Sunday, June 28, 2009


I must admit that I am addicted to my cell phone. Completely and totally smitten with my little personal communication device. Remember all the hype about 2 years ago when people where standing in line to buy a fancy new phone called the iPhone? Yes, I was one of those crazy people standing in line (with some assistance from Skaterboy).

Something happened over the weekend. I can get incoming calls and texts. Some of the apps work completely, some partially and some not at all. For example, I can turn on the camera but I can't take a picture. The weather app works perfectly. But I can't make a call or look up a contact, listen to my iPod, check my mail, or surf the internet. If you send me a text, I can read it but I can't answer you. It was all very confusing until I figured out that it appears the bottom of my phone lost it's 'touch'.

I've always said I refused to buy a new iPhone until they came out with a 32gb phone. Guess what came out within the past two weeks? A 32 gb iPhone with 3Gs! So I guess I am going to be forced to visit the AT&T store this week. Like my good friend said "you need a new phone to go with your new purse"! Wish me luck, I've heard that they sold out of the presale phones before the launch date. I don't think I can survive very long without getting a cell phone fix.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Today is the day that we honor our fathers. There are a lot of men in my life that deserve to be honored.

  • My father, God rest his soul, taught me more than I could ever learn from school or a book. He taught me to embrace the things that are important to you. Whether it is being green (Dad was embracing the green lifestyle way before it was trendy) or going the extra mile to get ahead in your career. He taught me the value of an education. It doesn't matter how many degrees you have, he taught me that learning something new - at any age - can be fun and personally fulfilling. He taught me to enjoy the simple things in life. Hiking, camping, or just "puttering and muttering" in the yard, I learned to enjoy those moments and look back at the end with a sense of satisfaction. He taught me that it is okay to take a chance to do something different. He taught me the value of family. I think he always made his decisions on not what was best for him, but what was best for his family. For all these reason and a billion - cagillion more, I will always love him.
  • My wonderful husband, Mr. M. He is a wonderful husband and a great father. He is patient and understanding. He knows when it is time to talk and when it is time to just let the boy be. I love to watch him with Skaterboy when they are in "the zone" - sharing something that they both love and watching them connect in only a way that a father and son can.
  • Skaterboy - the newest father-to-be. I wish him all the best in this journey that will last the rest of his lifetime. He is scared and yet, at the same time, he is proud to know that he will soon have a little baby girl in his life. This is a life changing event for him (and for the Mamma, too) and he could have taken the easy way out. But he hasn't. He is standing by her side and helping her through her pregnancy. He is a good kid and I am positive that he will make an excellent father. I love the boy as if he were my own flesh and blood and I'm certain that he will make me proud as he grows into his newest role as a father.
And to all of the other men in my life that have helped me to become the person that I am, thank you. Thank you all for passing on your love. I love ya'll!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pickles, Dinos and Bob

This is the story of how a jar of pickles, dinosaurs and a little guy named Bob saved my Friday night. My sister rarely goes out. She asks for a sitter so rarely, that I try to go out of my way to watch the kids when she asks. Last night was one of those rare occasions. She apologized in advance because she thought it would be a late night so I promised to give the kids latte's and feed them cotton candy so they would still be wide awake when she got home!

Dinner was the first order of business and I figured they would want some kind of fast food, so that would be easy - right? Wrong! Apparently, Aunt Bonkeygirl is a gourmet chef and the little ones clamored loudly and clearly for the one thing they had to have - chicken dinosaurs and mac & cheese. Ugh, not again! In a fit of desperation we fixed this one time as a quick and easy meal and now it is the only thing they want to eat when they come over. I really shouldn't complain because it only takes 15 minutes to prepare, but I'm not a fan of the dinosaur chicken. If you are not familiar with the preschool set, you may not have any clue what Chicken Dinosaurs are. Simply, they are chicken nuggets shaped like T-Rex and a Stegasaurus. Half eaten dinos drenched in ketchup do put a new spin on Jurassic Park!

After dinner, they wanted to go back in the pool (as they put it "it's a beautiful day for swimming!") but I wasn't quite ready to swim again. I used the old "you have to wait 30 minutes after eating to swim" story and they bought it. While we were waiting, they spied lightning bugs and started chasing them across the yard. What's more fun than having your very own lightning bugs, so Aunt Bonkeygirl found an old pickle jar that would be a good home for some lightning bug flying too slow or too low to get caught. Fortunately for the lightning bugs, we could never catch any, but we have the jar for the next time.

Those two love the pool and I was finally able to convince them around 10 pm that it was time to put our PJ's on. We all changed into our PJ's and climbed into Aunt B's "ginormous" bed to watch Kung Fu Panda. But we couldn't watch the movie alone, we had to have all of the special Lego's with us. But we had to be very careful not to smash them. I think every little Lego person was on the Pirate raft - Spongebob, Patrick, the mechanic guy, and my two favorite pirates, Twinkie and Bob. That many squirming bodies and leaving enough room for Bob not to get squished didn't leave much room for me, but we managed to keep everyone fairly content until Mommy came to pick them up.

I'm quite sure they were asleep before they got home and will have some fantastic story to tell Mommy in the morning about dinosaurs, the green/purple/blue pool, where lightning bugs sleep during the day, and Bob.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It figures

I take 2 days off work to work on the bathroom mini-remodel and the glass people call.  Our special order glass is in!  WooHoo!  Oh but wait, they are completely booked this week and can't even think about an installation until next week.  Perfect (*rolls eyes sarcastically*).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mis-Adventures in Air Travel

My MEF NV posted about her adventures as a pseudo travel agent today and I was reminded of a travel story from my past.

A few years ago, my very single, bachelor uncle passed away unexpectedly.  He lived on the East Coast so we had to make some hasty travel plans to tend to his estate. Being a seasoned traveller, my Dear Old Dad (DOD) took care of making the arrangements for us.  His challenge was to book one-way flights to DC for 5 people at the last minute.  If you ever met my father, you will know that he is extremely detailed oriented and liked to make sure that he got the best deal.  He poked around on the internet looking for the best airfare and finally came up with a flight that met his budget criteria.  Mumbling and grumbling about having to spend "that much" on a flight, he went to book the flights when he found out that you could only buy 4 tickets at one time.  He bought the first round of tickets for my uncle's siblings and himself.  He then booked my flight separately.  When the total came back, he couldn't figure out why there was such a difference in the price per ticket. He poured over the confirmations and checked and rechecked his calculations.

Now we already know that he is detailed oriented so we all assumed it was some glitch in the reservation system or a freak drop in the airfare.  Finally, we discovered that there were 2 flights to DC that left at or near the same time.  On in the morning and one at night.  I was the sole passenger booked on the AM flight.  He quickly called the airline to see if he could fix his mistake and they happily agreed to change his flights - for a slight rebooking fee that almost doubled the price of the original tickets.  There was no way that this was going to fly (no pun intended) with his frugal German heritage.  Thankfully, the reservation agent gave him a cheap option out.  She told him that historically that flight was rarely full and that they could try to fly standby to catch the morning flight.  Problem partially solved!

For as long as I can remember, my uncle had lived out of town.  None of us had an extra key to his house.  When we asked about how we should get in, the local officials said that we could essentially 'break-in' the same way they did.  In order to facilitate the illegal activity I was about to undertake, my DOD persuaded me to take a cordless drill in my suitcase since I was the only one confirmed to arrive in the morning.  

So we get to the airport and check in.  We definitely raised some suspicions as we had one confirmed one-way ticket and 4 stand-by one way tickets. Did I mention that we were flying to the nation's capital? About one year after 9/11 and it was near Labor Day? In those days, the security screening was done right at the ticket counter.  The agent asked me to open by bag and questioned what I had in a plastic grocery bag in the corner of my suitcase that had a vague outline of a huge pistol.  Not wanting to undergo a full body search, I opened my mouth to politely answer the agent when DOD appeared behind me and answered "Don't ask!".

I groaned as I envisioned spending the next 8 hours under a bare light bulb answering rapid fire questions from the good cop/bad cop trying to beat a confession out of me.  I decided that honesty was the best policy and while shooting DOD the dirtiest look I could muster, timidly replied "it's a drill, ma'am".  "Why on earth do you have a drill in your suitcase?" the agent asked.  Continuing down the honesty is the best policy path I blurted out "Well, I need it to break in to a house." DOH!  In hindsight, that probably wasn't the best answer considering the look on her face.  I swear she started to pull to pull out her walkie-talkie to call for back up and have me hauled off to the pokey when I quickly explained the whole story. While it wasn't really any of her business, I sure didn't want to go to jail for some suspicious terrorist activity.

Once she understood the situation and that I wasn't going to violate any national laws, she let me go after making me disconnect the battery from the drill. I lectured my DOD all the way to the gate and of course, he thought the whole thing was funny.  Sure funny for him, he wasn't the one who had visions of bright lights and rubber hoses dancing in his head! 

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lessons Learned

He who landscapes part of their yard with rocks, and has a dog who loves to run through the rocks, should pick up aforementioned rocks before cutting the grass. Why, you ask?  Because when you don't you run the risk of seeing this scene out your window.

The scariest part? The rock chard that shattered the largest window in our house, missed my head by about a foot. I escaped unscathed. I can't say the same about the window. I think the glass splintered for 30 minutes straight before we took the preemptive measure to take it down before it fell on somebody or the poor dog.     

I wonder how much this is going to cost us?
P.S. It should be fun trying to keep Coal from jumping on the window when he sees imaginary bad guys in the back yard in the middle of the night until we can get the window repaired properly.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Coal's Big Adventure

Yesterday, just as I was ready to start a meeting, I got a phone call from home. "Uhm, can the dog go in the pool with his radio collar on?" Several scenarios flashed through my head - mainly ones where my poor dog had his fur standing on end from the shock. A couple of quick questions revealed that:
  • No, the dog wasn't in the pool - yet.
  • No, electric shock therapy had been delivered - yet.
  • Yes, this was actually a preemptive call to make sure no harm would befall the pooch.
About 10 minutes into the meeting, my phone starts to ring again.  I check and it is Skaterboy calling again.  Since I just talked to him a few minutes before, I figured it was something unimportant so I silence the ringer and move on.  

My curiosity got the best of me and I rang the boy back to see what was so gosh darn important that he had to call again so quickly.  I'm not an uncaring step-monster but his calls generally fall into a few select categories:
  • He is hungry and needs some cash for food (like I can just fly out of work and run home to give him $5 for Subway)
  • He is hungry and wants to know what is cheaper - Subway or Chinese?
  • He is looking for something and wants to know if we have said item in the house (a tape adapter for an iPod, blank CD's, money to go get food - do you see the theme here?!)
He immediately launches into this story about the dog.  "His ear is hanging lower on one side.  And he keeps twitching"  WTF??  I make him start over and explain the story to me again.  Why is the dog's ear hanging lower?  Apparently in an effort to put the aforementioned radio collar back on the dog, Skaterboy accidentally poked to dog in the ear.  Or the eye.  He wasn't really sure which one.  "He keeps twitching!" he said with a rising panic in his voice.  Mildly panicked, I start to question him further.  Twitching like he has bugs in his ears or twitching like he is having a seizure?  Much to my relief it is only the buggy kind of twitching.  

Still trying to wrap my head around how you poke a dog in the ear (or eye) I ask if this happened before or after he was in the pool.  'oh, this was before he went in the pool.  He completely freaked out in the pool".  Now, this dog has already been in the pool more times than any human being combined in my household.  The first time was voluntary but probably on accident.  We just took the cover off and while working on the filter, we heard a splash.  We turned around only to find Coal standing on his hind legs, hanging on to the side with his front paws.  Totally calm cool and collected.  The second time he had a little help from yours truly.  I'm sorry, but if you would have walked past him hanging over the edge of the pool with his nose in the water and his tail up in the air, you would have nudged him in too!  He reacted the same as the first time - hanging on to the edge, calm as could be.  You could see him trying to figure out how to get out but not really sure which direction to go.

Apparently in the presence of teenagers, the reaction was different.  The story goes that the dog slipped on the coping and fell in.  Then he completely panicked.  I can only assume that multiple teenage boys flipping off diving boards got the deck and coping sopping wet.  And the dog overly excited! Of course, Coal likes to be by the people so this time he went in next to the diving board.  Where the water is 9 feet deep.  Not the shallow end where it is 3 feet deep.  Skaterboy and his friend both struggled to get a 75lb wet, flailing, fur bearing creature out from the deep end.

Needless to say, when I got home, both child and beast were very subdued.  The boy felt bad and was giving him belly rubs and treats.  I inspected the poked ear/eye region and didn't see anything out of place.  He would let you rub his ears/eyes/muzzle without any complaints and didn't even trying to chew on our fingers.  I honestly think the dog was milking it for the sympathy.  The boy does the same exact thing!

Coal was exceptionally loving last night, curled up with his chin on my lap for most of the night.  It was odd, but I wasn't too worried about him.  If he didn't bounce back to his normal self by the time I got home tonight, I would try to get him into the vet.  I tried to calculate the cost of this vet visit in my head and thought about how I would explain the injury to the vet (since all my knowledge was second hand).  I asked for a re-enactment of the injury because I wasn't too sure what really happened.  SB walked through the act of putting on the collar when I finally figured out what may have happened.  Distracted, he tried to put the collar back on when the dog moved his head.  Coal isn't wild about any collars and has a tendency to try to duck out of the way.  The collar has a buckle and your natural hand position is to have your 'thumbs up'.  Thus, my CSI theory (that is Canine Scene Investigator) is that he scratched the inside of his ear with his thumb nail.  Combine a scratch on the inside of your ear with a plunge into a heavily chlorinated pool, where you think you are going to drown and are swimming for your life, you have a pup who is a little scared, a little worn out, and who has an ear that doesn't feel so hot.

I am semi-pleased to report that Coal is his normal self tonight.  The in-your-face with a chew toy, steal the pillows when he thinks you aren't looking, running across the yard with a huge hunk of firewood in his mouth, kind of normal.  Sigh....I kind of miss the lovey dovey dog from last night!

Monday, June 8, 2009

This one's for my Ma

I called my mom yesterday to apologize.  I thought about inviting her to the Barn party on Saturday, but I thought she would be bored hanging out with a bunch of high school jocks.  I was so wrong!

NV often writes about the great 8 - the group of friends that we met in high school and are still friends today.  One of the 8 also happens to be a cousin - not a direct cousin but we never cared.  Well, BCuz's baby graduated and she threw him a party this weekend.  Turns out that all of my Mom's cousins were in attendance.  

A few recognized me right away.  The dead give away - apparently I must look a lot like my Grandma because I heard over and over, "You look so much like Aunt Sally!" We chatted and caught up but I'm sure Mom would have much more to add to the conversation.  

So Mom, I'm sorry for not insisting you join us.  And here is a picture to let you know that we were all thinking about you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

OMG! I'm in Love!

I am NOT a domestic diva.  I don't like to cook or clean - I do it but it is way down in priority on my 'to do' list.  I groan whenever my SIL stops by because I worry that my house isn't clean enough for her standards.  She is one of those people who cleans constantly.  I clean when I have to or I know company is coming.

A little while back, my trusty vacuum that my parents bought me when I got my own place gave up the ghost.  I looked around and picked out one that I thought would work perfectly.  It seemed perfect - it was bagless, an auto retractable cord, and all kinds of on board attachments.  But I hated it from the very first time I used it.  It was heavy and even though you could turn off the carpet brush, I had to use the hose attachment to clean my hard floors (the dirt, dust and whatnot spit all over the place).  The hose attachment is too short so I am forced to hunch over while I clean the carpets in 3/4 of my house.  After I spent an hour or so Sunday hunched over, vacuuming the same surfaces over and over again, I decided that I was done with this one.

I have always been intrigued by the Dyson commercials and everyone I know who has one raves about them.  I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the cash on one but I did some research online and decided to bite the bullet.  Target had one in their ad this week - pretty much the regular price but they were throwing in a free battery powered hand-held vac.  I also had a nice gift card from Mom that was burning a hole in my pocket from the holidays.  Plus, the ball is cool and it's purple!

I opened the box tonight and started to vacuum.  I was impressed immediately because I could vacuum the hallways without using the hose attachment and it was picking up the dog fur with ease. Plus it weighs 10 lbs less than my other vacuum which is a huge difference.  And I didn't have to bend over at all to clean anything.  Yeah, no more aching backs just to clean the house! Then I tackled the rug in the family room.  It is a 5 x 7 rug and Mr. M and I were completely shocked when we looked at all the dust, dirt, dog hair and fibers in the canister.  Plus, the rug was visibly cleaner than it has been in months (even after I steam cleaned the rug!). Remember I just vacuumed within the last 36 hours.  I was on a roll!  

We have berber in our bedroom and I have never been happy with any vacuum we have ever had.  None seemed to pick up the dust along the edges of the room. None until now.  I could see the difference immediately.  I even vacuumed the valance in our bedroom with ease!

I should be slightly embarrassed by this but here is all the dirt that was picked up in about 15-20 minutes even though I just cleaned on Sunday night.  
Here is to many happy days of vacuuming.  Maybe I will be more motivated to clean now that I have something that works, doesn't kill my back and it kind of fun to use.