Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not Exactly the Extended Vacation I Would Have Requested

My grandmother died at 2:30 this morning. I'm glad I was able to be with her when she died.

Bump and Lumpyhead will leave for DC tomorrow as originally planned. Lula and I will stay for the funeral, which is Thursday, and return to DC on Friday.

We weighed lots of factors in coming to this decision, including cost, convenience, and feasibility. For example, we immediately ruled out the option of Bump returning to DC with both kids tomorrow while I stayed here, based on Lula's behavior on the flight out. (I'm super-psyched that I'm getting the naughty one.)

If we thought Bump's presence would be helpful over the next few days, he would stay -- even though he's pretty sick of being here. (There's not much to do here. And by "not much" I mean "absolutely nothing.") But he is likely to spend his time simply wrangling Lumpyhead and Lula, and he would rather be in DC - where the living room is child-proofed and Lumpyhead’s sleep environment is constant - if his sole directive is caring for his own children.

We considered keeping our original itinerary plus a new round-trip flight, meaning I would fly back with Bump and the tormentors tomorrow, leave them in DC and return to Minnesota for the funeral. But that was actually more expensive than all four of us staying in Minnesota until Friday, and it meant a lot more air travel for me, so, no.

But now Bump is separating our things into two piles - go and stay - and I am second-guessing our decision. I realize I've never been away from Lumpyhead for longer than a day or two, and I miss him already. I'm worried about being solely responsible for even one of my children without Bump as a backup. I'm dreading five more days in this tiny town, where I spent my entire childhood plotting my escape.

A Timeline of Our Trip Thus Far

Sunday, 12/23
6:30pm: Bump and I load the kids, two carseats, two strollers and eight suitcases into a cab and head for the airport. My intent when booking an 8 pm, 1-stop flight to Sioux Falls was that the tormentors could sleep and we wouldn't have to change planes. The flight is delayed 45 minutes, so we're not hopeful the plan will come together.

We arrive at the airport; our flight is delayed further.

I call everyone I know in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to see if the airline is lying about a snowstorm in MSP. If not, are the roads too bad to rent a car and drive from MSP if we miss our connection to Sioux Falls?

Lots of my friends have relocated from DC, and in calling them all I realize I need to update my damn cellphone address book.

One of the calls I make to an outdated cellphone number is to a guy named Tony who believes I am the woman who went home with him last night. I inform him, quite flatly, that I am not. Tony is unconvinced.

Get two kids, two strollers and four bags through security.

My friend JD calls me back. Although he is with his wife's family in northwestern MN, he calls his parents in MSP for the weather report. Bless his heart.

I call JD back to thank him for his efforts.

Except JD's phone number is one I need to update. I again try to convince Tony I do not want to hook up with him. Again or for the first time.

Our flight is not cancelled, but delayed 12 hours. We are told to reclaim our checked bags and come back tomorrow morning.

We load the kids, carseats, strollers and eight pieces of luggage back into a cab and go home.

Monday, 12/24
We wake up. We should be calling the cab at this point. At least we're already packed. We throw the kids, carseats, strollers and eight bags in another cab.

Get two kids, two strollers and four bags through security. Again.

Begin boarding the plane. Our method for boarding puts Bump on the plane first with all the bags. He sets up the seatbelt thing for Lumpyhead while I let the Lumpyhead run. I get on at the last possible minute with both kids.

As I'm huffing onto the plane with Lula on my hip and Lumpyhead in tow, I see a woman I used to work with on the Hill. She's lovely, working for a big DC lobby shop, sitting serenly in First Class. I'm lugging two children and haven't washed my hair. I feel awesome.

She brightens and says hello. We exchange quick pleasantries. She seems surpised that I'm still on the Hill, and I remark that it's been a long time since I've seen her. "At least two kids ago," she says cheerfully.

Low point of the trip. Lumpyhead is whining and Lula is screaming. I vow never, ever, to do this again.

High point of the trip. Lumpyhead is silently watching a video on the laptop and Lula has fallen asleep.

Most of the flight falls somewhere in between the high and low points.

Because of the "warm" weather (mid-twenties) we drive through patchy fog from Sioux Falls to my hometown. On the way, Lumpyhead asks for Aunt Bob's Little Guy. We tell him that ABLG is visiting his grandmother. "In much different weather," Bump adds.
"Yeah, they're probably playing golf and drinking beer," I say. "Or maybe they're at the beach house."
"Fuckers," Bump and I mutter simultaneously.
"I hope it rains on them," Bump gripes.

My family asks how the flight was. I announce that we are not doing this again. "Seriously. One of you is going to have to die to get this production back on a plane," I yell. "So one of you will miss it; you can decide who it is."

Tuesday, 12/25
We have a lovely Christmas. My grandmother joins us for the day. Lumpyhead and Lula love the Christmas tree and their presents and are showered with attention from their grandparents and uncle and aunt. It snows all day; a beautiful, windless snow that is gorgeous and festive.

Thursday, 12/27
The nursing home calls to tell us my grandmother has the flu.

Friday, 12/28
My mother and I stop by the nursing home to see my grandmother. We know immediately it is not the flu. We insist she see a doctor, who orders her admitted to the hospital. My mother and I spend the afternoon arranging the transfer, waiting for the transport to arrive, and filling out paperwork.

We leave my grandmother, finally resting comfortably at the hospital.

The doctor calls to say that his orignal diagnosis of a bladder infection worsening grandma's heart function was incorrect. My grandmother has had another heart attack.

Saturday, 12/29
My mother, Aunt Karen and I visit Grandma in the hospital. She is doing quite well, is responsive and looks to be on the mend. She asks about my children, "Did they sleep well last night?" I had to tell her that, no, they did not. Lumpyhead woke up every ten minutes and Lula was up early and often.

We leave Grandma once again resting comfortably in the hospital.

As Bump and I are leaving for a movie, the hospital calls with bad news. Instead of a movie, Bump stays home with my dad and the kids while my mom and I race back the the hospital.

My grandmother had another stroke after we left. She seems to be resting comfortably now, pain-free. The doctor does not expect her to last the night.

It is sad to see her go, but honestly, she's been gone for a long time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Buffy Beware

Lula has four teeth now. This is not noteworthy, I suppose, except that in addition to the bottom front teeth one would expect, she has her top lateral incisors.

Lateral incisors. The two teeth beside her front teeth. No front teeth.

This is weird, right? (This is where you tell me that, while this is a bit unusual, you know dozens of children for whom this happened and none of them needed thousands of dollars of orthodontia.)

It's not obvious all the time, but it is starting to become more noticeable.
See, you can't see nuthin. Just my regular bottom teeth.

But when she's really mad, or laughing really hard, or if I cruelly pull her top lip up to take a picture:

(I would apologize for the boogers, but honestly? It's an impossible task to stay ahead of them these days. Lula has a cold that just won't go away, and under the best of circumstances she despises you for even thinking about touching her face.)

We've begun calling her "Fang."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Puddle Jumping

The snow is gone. Lumpyhead asks where it went every time he goes outside.

His hat is goofy and his raincoat too small, but his boots? His boots are awesome.

"I running so fast!"

Yeah. Of course he fell. Right in that puddle. He may even be on his way down in this picture.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Yeah, so that whole thing about Lumpyhead not really caring about the snow?

Turns out he was kinda into it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Oh the Weather Outside Is. . .Well, Not 'Frightful' so Much as 'Pretty but Inconvenient and Potentially Really Annoying'



It's snowing in DC today.

I've really been looking forward to snow this year. Rain in December just isn't right.

There might not be enough to stick, but I'm sure it will be enough to totally fuck up traffic on my commute home tonight. Everyone will freak out and drive like an idiot, even if the accumulation isn't shovel-able.

If it does stick, it will be black and disgusting by 10am tomorrow, with frozen patches of black ice creating accidental hilarity everywhere.

If the snow had started earlier, I might have gotten the day off, dammit. Instead I'm stuck here giving the taxpayers their money's worth.

But the Capitol Dome looks beautiful with snow sifting peacefully over it. The Capitol Christmas tree lighting happens tonight, and the weather is perfect. There's an evacuation drill of some kind for people who aren't me, creating a crowd of unfortunate, improperly dressed suckers huddled in the park across the street - which makes me laugh.

I tried to convince Bump to bundle up the kids and take them outside (and take pictures, for God's sake), but the suggestion was met with a positively lukewarm response. ("Umm. . . maybe." Right after I turn this coal into a diamond with the power of my ass.)

Lumpyhead didn't seem all that interested in the flaky precipitation when Bump pointed it out to him, so maybe Bump's instinct on this one is right.

I may not have pictures of my kids in the season's first snow, but I got to wave at evacuees in the snow from the window of my warm, dry office. Ahhh, the magic of the holidays.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I spent all weekend trying to complete this stupid work-thing. I didn't have to go into the office, which was nice, but having to work from home kinda blew.

I'm often distracted at the office by digital baby pictures on my desktop and thoughts of home. It's quite another thing entirely to be reading a random GAO report, feel a tug on your foot, and look up to see this:
Whatcha doin?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Kiss Your Heinie Goodbye

On Sunday Lumpyhead suggested we go to the museum. His proposal went like this, "Go see efelant? Get a pretzel? What do you think about that?"

I'm a little sad that "heinie" is no longer Lumpyhead's word for elephant, but the sudden arrival of "What do you think about that?" is cracking me up. (Heinie! But! Crack! Hah ha ha ha.)

While it is good that my son is learning to speak with words people actually understand, it is still a little heartbreaking to see the funny words go.

When my cousin Dan was a toddler, he called his pacifier his "meat." I thought it was silly at the time, but now I think that is freaking hysterical. (Yes, my sense of humor is actually less mature now than when I was a teenager.)

What special words did you or your kids have for things? Did any of those labels stick long after the toddler started using the correct term?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bad Idea Jeans

So I was leaving Tuesday Happy Hour when I saw this exposed wiring, and I thought, "Hey, why not stick my finger in it?"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Sunday

Lumpyhead has been farting like a distressed dog all morning. Bump fed him chili last night for dinner. I swear there's a yellowish-green haze in my living room.

I turned on a CD and Lula immediately scooted around so she could see the TV. She was righteously pissed off when she saw the screen was black and realized she had been tricked.

That is all. May your day be sunny and your fantasy teams victorious.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Schadenfreude Denied

I came to the internet this evening hoping to read your tales of inlaw nightmares and family theatrics and too much wine with your turkey. I assumed you would be blogging your brains out, working through your myriad issues now that the dishes are washed and your kids are in bed.

I am sadly disappointed.

Either you haven't had time to write those posts yet, you all had marvelous holidays with your extended families, or are so shell-shocked from the experience you just can think about it right now.

That, or your families read your blogs.

Hey, if it's that last one, send me an email about how horrible your Turkey Day Feast was, okay?

Mine was fine, a boring shade of lovely; I'm looking for some drama.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Edited by Lumpyhead

Bump and I were talking about something at dinner the other day. I don't remember what it was, exactly, but it sucked.

Me: That sucks.
Bump: Yes it does.
Me: That sucks. SUUUH-cks!
Lumpyhead: Sucks and shoes!
Bump: That's right, Buddy. Socks and shoes.

It should be noted that Bump also gave me the requisite disapproving look.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gluh. Ton.

Hey, remember when I took Lula to the department store for photos, but she cried and cried for like 30 minutes straight and we only got two photos that looked like this:
and this?

No? You don't remember? Well, it was awesome.

Anyway, I went back this weekend to try again. Guess how it went?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thank You For Calling the House of Vomit, How Can I Help You?

Lula came down with the Blog Jinx Flu last night.

Awe. Sum.

After spewing six times on Tuesday night, Lumpyhead woke up on Wednesday morning feeling chipper and ready to dance the Puppetmaster with Elijah Wood. Lula, on the other hand, woke up this morning - after seven or so good spews during the night - ready to vomit a couple more times.

Bright side? Our living room carpet is already so disgusting that a couple of vomit spots aren't a big deal.

I'm operating on just a couple hours of sleep; it's difficult to concentrate and I find myself having to do the same tasks multiple times.

I left Bump this morning with a toddler chattering non-stop, a barf-scented baby, and two loads of laundry waiting to be taken out of the dryer.

Given the alternative, I think I'm glad to be at work, fuzzy and repeating myself.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Conversations with Lumpyhead

An interesting side effect of preschool and parking my child in front of the television for long unsupervised stretches is that Lumpyhead spouts new words and phrases that Bump and I have not taught him.

He surprises us with odd things, like shaking Bump’s hand and saying “Nice to meet you, Papa.” (Actually, Little Dude, you’ve met that guy already, on several occasions. You were sober during all of those introductions, so now you're just being rude. Also, we need to work on that dead fish handshake by the time you go for your first job interview.)

Or when we announce it is time for dinner and Lumpyhead enthusiastically declares “Oh boy! I love eating food!” (If that’s true, why are you so damn skinny? And “oh boy”? I’m sure I have never said that. Oh shit, oh crap, oh please, oh man . . . so where in the hell did you hear “oh boy”?)

Often he mumbles through the filler, and we're left to piece together what he means by the keywords. But every once in awhile he produces a full thought and accompanying complete sentence. “Hey mama, you wanna build track with me?” (Well, no, I’m leaving for work right now. But since you asked so nicely, sure, I’ll build track with you. I’ll blame traffic.)

We habitually repeat what he says, so Lumpyhead has taken to issuing most of his statements in the form of a question. Our little Jeopardy contestant has figured out his name is not you, but still makes all declarations in the form they are to be repeated. Then he happily answers our planted question, with a strangely hispanic accent.

Lumpyhead: [finishing dinner] Are you all done?
Me: Are you all done?
Lumpyhead: Jessss. . .

Sometimes we fail to repeat the question, so he asks again with emphasis. Just like we do to him when he’s ignoring us.

Lumpyhead: Do you want coo-keys?
Me: [no response, because he’s not getting cookies]
Lumpyhead: Do you want coo-keys? Do you want coo-keys? Do you want coo-keys, Lumpyheeyud?
Me: [resigned] Do you want cookies, Lumpyhead?
Lumpyhead: Jessss. . .

While these instances are fun, typically we have no idea what the hell Lumpyhead is babbling about. Much to his frustration, the random blend of noises and letter combinations he spends his time chanting have no meaning to us English-speaking, context-requiring, unimaginative simpletons.

But there is a great satisfaction - on his part as well as ours - when the occasional lightbulb switches on and we solve the mystery of what the fuck “calibowl” means.
Lumpyhead: You go to Aunt Bob’s [mumble snorf] tapas and calibowl?
Me: What? You want to go to Aunt Bob’s for tapas and calibowl? Dude, I have no idea what the hell –
Lumpyhead: Calibowl.
Me: Calibowl?
Lumpyhead: Tapas! Tapas and calibowl. Tamas.
Me: Oh, okay, Thomas. Fine, Thomas and calibowl. Calibowl. That really doesn’t help. Can you show me? . . . No? Well. . .
Lumpyhead: Thomas and calibowl. [repeat for five minutes. . . ] You go to Aunt Bob’s and play Thomas and calibowl.
Me: [LIGHTBULB] Clarabel! Clarabel! You want to go to Aunt Bob’s and play with Thomas and Clarabel?
Lumpyhead: [grinning like a madman] Jeesss. . . .
Me: (Yay! I got it! I understood! But. . .) No, we’re not going to Aunt Bob’s right now.
Lumpyhead: [crushed]

A lot of work for one little victory. A great, fleeting, useless victory.

And for the record, Aunt Bob’s Little Guy doesn’t even have Clarabel. He’s got Annie. Now come here and let's work on that handshake.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Turns Out You Don’t Even Have to Blog It, You Just Need to Say It

You know the Blog Jinx? The one that dictates the minute you post “Little Carter has always slept well” or “My Julia doesn’t pick her nose,” you’re guaran-damn-teeing that within the week Carter will be waking you up three times a night and Julia will be eating boogers like they’re cheerios.

Hey, guess what? The Blog Jinx works even if you don’t blog it - you just need to say the words out loud.

Last night, I wimped out on Happy Hour, so Aunt Bob came over after all the Tormentors were abed and we drank a bottle of fabulous wine, ate froufy snacks, and played a round of poker. (Bump joined us for the cards and Aunt Bob proceeded to hand us our asses. Cleaned up, she did.)

We were chatting about vomit (because, well. . . never mind why) and Aunt Bob recounted a lovely instance in which her Little Guy threw up so many times in one night she ran out of sheets for him.

Lula has barfed a couple of times, twice managing to hit me square in the chest/neck. Gross.

Then I said this: “I don’t think Lumpyhead has ever thrown up. Bump, how many times has Lumpyhead vomited?”

“Um, never,” Bump replied.

And the gods laughed and laughed and laughed. I’m sure if we had bothered to listen, we could have heard it, their roars of hiccupy, spasmodic, gasping laughter.

Lumpyhead was up all night, puking his little guts out.

He ate spaghetti for dinner last night, in case you’re wondering. I don’t think I’ll ever eat spaghetti again.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Okay, Okay.

With deepest apologies to Nonlinear Girl for not delivering immediately.

I gave Lumpyhead my sticker on election day, but he didn't use it, so we could take this photo last night. Just for you.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Dis Good Guy's Gotta Good Disguise

So there's an otherwise-boring story in the Star-Tribune today about a man who is accused of being "one of Minnesota's biggest tax cheats." He claims to be broke (surprise, surprise), even though he was worth $20 million in 2003. He's been on the run for over a year.

Here's the interesting part (to me, at least):
Beale went by the name "Bob Johnson'' for much of the time he was a fugitive.

Bob Johnson.

First I thought, "Wow, he couldn't come up with something better than 'Bob Johnson'?" But I guess "Hyden Runfromthelaw" might raise suspicions at the pharmacy. Bob Johnson is probably perfect. (Quick, find every Bob Johnson you know and accuse him of being a wanted man. Only, you know, don't make it sound like a come-on like I just did there.)

So, what would your fugitive name be? I'm thinking "Jennifer Park" for myself.

That, or Heidi McRunfromthelaw.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

All Electorating and Stuff

I meant to post these yesterday, but didn't have time.
Also, it turns out they are boring and I really don't have anything to say about them. So. . . .yeah, we voted.
Lula was deeply skeptical, as always.

It seems this delay is lucky for you, though, because now you also get the photo of Aunt Bob and me at Happy Hour. The excitement. Can you stand it?
Some photos I wish I'd gotten, but didn't:
1) Bump, Lumpyhead and Lula with stickers on their heads.
2) "This Could Be You" with a Member of Congress

Allow me to explain "This Could Be You." It has become a tradition that if no one joins Aunt Bob and me at Happy Hour, we take a picture of ourselves with some random patron at the bar. It's meant to serve as an enticement for you to come join us next time. "Look how much fun This Random Person is having with us! You could have such an enjoyable time yourself!"

It also serves as a reminder that you're totally replaceable. Don't want to come drink with us? Fine. We'll drink with someone else.

We never post the "This Could Be You" shots because I suppose it's unfair to put a complete stranger's face on the internet without his knowledge or consent. I mean, he probably agreed to be photographed because he thought he was going to luck into some digits, then saw the wedding rings and went back to his beer slightly disappointed. He shouldn't get his face plastered all over the internet just for that.

But last night there were at least two Members of Congress at the bar, who we could have easily convinced to be in our "This Could Be You" picture. And I failed to seize the opportunity. Blast.

(I'm also bumming that we don't have photos of the week we met Anne. She will have to ditch yoga again to come meet us, so we can get a picture.)

So. You coming next week?

Monday, November 05, 2007


Lumpyhead probably watches too much TV. He asks for specific shows, his latest obsession being Toy Story.

He doesn't ask for the movie by name, rather he makes his request using the characters in it. He started by asking for "Woody, and Woody's Hat, and Buzz Lightyear." (I don't know how Woody's hat became its own character, but it always has been.)

Then the list began expanding. "Woody and Woody's Hat and Buzz Lightyear and Mr. Potato Head." (Fine, he has a Mr. Potato Head toy, so it's not a big surprise that Lumpyhead focused on that.)

"Woody and Woody's Hat and Buzz Lightyear and Mr. Potato Head and Jessie and Jessie's Hat." That would be a request for the sequel.

It's getting out of control. This morning Lumpyhead asked for "Woody and Woody's Hat and Buzz Lightyear and Mr. Potato Head and Jessie and Jessie's Hat and Slinky Dog."

I walked out of the room at the start of his request to get something. When I came back, he was still talking.

Friday, November 02, 2007

You Want One? They're Fresh, I Swear.

Halloween cupcakes, baked on November 1.

Yeah, shut up.

Nana Vicky sent a big care package last week, including the makings for Halloween cupcakes. We finally got around to baking them last night. Lumpyhead helped, and was very proud of himself.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

No, Lumpyhead

Aunt Bob gave us a copy of the book "No, David" by David Shannon. It's a book about a naughty little boy whose mother scolds him for doing things like playing ball in the house and running down the street with no pants on. Lumpyhead has always loved it. One page of the book features David picking his nose while his mother admonishes him to "Stop that this instant!"

Lumpyhead has begun sticking his finger in his nose while saying "Stop that this instant." He's not pulling out any boogers (yet), he's just shoving his finger up there.

His father is super-psyched about the whole thing. I think it's hysterical.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yo Gabba Gabba

I give you DJ Lance Rock Lumpyhead.The costume parade at preschool went pretty much as I expected. Either people had no idea who the hell Lumpyhead was supposed to be, or they "got" his costume right away.

We go trick-or-treating tonight in Aunt Bob's neighborhood, where even fewer people will recognize Lumpyhead's costume. But as long as they give him candy, who cares.

Lula remains unimpressed by all this Halloween nonsense.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lumpyhead’s DJ Lance Costume

The DJ Lance costume is finished.

I think we can all agree that I wouldn't last one episode on Project Runway. Tom and Lorenzo would be brutal.

Close up of the hat:It is not as big and furry as I would like it to be, but it's the best I could do. In the couple times I have put it on Lumpyhead's noggin to test for fit, he has hated it. Awesome. I bet he won't wear it for more than two seconds.

The glasses arrived a couple of days ago:
(Men's black-rimmed glasses from ebay, with no-power lenses.) Unlike the hat, Lumpyhead seems to love these, even though they slip down his nose immediately.

I made the shirt, pants, and hat using this pattern, then glued felt trim onto them.
"Made easy" would be the key selling point about this pattern, because I'm a lousy seamstress. It still took nearly two weeks. (I'm sure it would have taken an eleven-year-old Indonesian sweatshop worker 14 minutes.)

The biggest let-down of the whole process? These things:
I printed the puppets onto transfer paper, sewed up a little pouch, and stuffed it with batting. The plan was to have Lumpyhead carry them around in my friend Rich's poker chip case - which is silver on the outside and black felt-lined on the inside - to which we would affix color paper cut-outs to make it look like DJ Lance's boom box. But I'm really disappointed with how the dolls turned out. Because of the jersey-knit fabric I used and the "lousy seamstress" thing, they look like iron-ons stuck to some hoopty old socks.

Now, because 1) they suck and 2) we don't think we can convince Lumpyhead to carry the poker chip case around, they won't be part of the costume. Which is sort of a shame because . . .

From the “Because I’m a Damn Genius, Yes I Am” Department

While I was making the dolls action figures, I did this.
Can you see it? How about now?
It's a spot on our dining room table where all the finish has been removed. It is exactly iron-sized.

Why, no, I don’t know how that got there.

[whistles while avoiding your eyes]

Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Guaranteeing Tacos

In case you missed it, we can all thank Jacoby Ellsbury for scoring us one free taco.

A free taco from 2-5pm on October 30. Because mid-afternoon is when everyone is really jonesing for some scary food-like product. I guess this would put your severe diarrhea somewhere in the middle of prime time, depending on your digestive system and the speed at which it processes garbage. I wouldn’t count on watching House in real time, is all I’m saying.

Kevin Youkilis noted that this promotion “might cost Taco Bell more if they did it from 2 to 5 a.m.” Good point.

To be fair, Mr. Ellsbury was clearly goaded into stealing that base by Royce Clayton last night, in perhaps the best exchange Major League Baseball has ever seen. (I’m sure this is available on YouTube by now, but it went like this:)

Royce Clayton: Hey, you like Taco Bell?
Jacoby Ellsbury: [Nods]
RC: You know, if somebody steals a base in the World Series, everybody in America gets a Taco Bell. Free taco.
JE: Everybody in America?
RC: Everybody in America gets a free taco.
JE: Doesn’t look like we’ll be getting one tonight.
RC: Nah. But America’s depending on you, next game.
JE: Tomorrow?
RC: Yeah.
JE: Tomorrow night.
RC: Tomorrow night. Woo hoo. Tomorrow night, you guaranteeing tacos.

I’m sure Taco Bell has insurance for this kind of thing - like the furniture store in Boston that promised to refund everyone’s money if the Sox win the Series - but honestly, Taco Bell is going to make a ton of money from this.

Because who the hell eats only one taco? Once you’re there, you’re obviously leaving with more than just your free taco.

I mean, if you’re going to have to run to the bathroom later anyway, you might as well make it worth the trip.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I’m Crazy Spoon Head. Now Gimme Some Candy

I have a dentist appointment next Wednesday. I’m going to reschedule, because I don’t think I can bear to go to the goddamned dentist on Halloween.

Halloween is for stuffing your mouth full of mini candy bars before your kid sees you, then hiding the wrappers beneath a layer or two of kleenex in the trash can. Halloween is not for flossing. (Because flossing right before my appointment is sure to fool Gwen the Hygienist into thinking I’ve been faithfully flossing daily for the last six months.)

I’m sure the dentist’s office will understand that I can’t make my appointment because I’ll be too busy hoarding my son’s hard-won booty and/or stealing the stash Bump ostensibly purchased for the couple of random trick-or-treaters who wander by.

I want to leave work early on the 31st so I can take Lumpyhead trick-or-treating, not to have someone poke at my gums until they bleed. (Yes, I understand that the bleeding is related to the not-flossing. Back off. God, you’re as bad as Gwen the Hygienist.)

Lumpyhead is going trick-or-treating as DJ Lance Rock. It will either be really cool or the lamest costume ever. I suspect that no one over the age of four will have any idea who the hell the kid in the orange jump suit is supposed to be. (A really skinny convict? Why does he have a furry hat?)

Unrelated to Halloween, our receptionist - who I suspect is evil - keeps a candy dish stocked outside my office. I have discovered that I love caramel peanut butter cups. Also, when did they start making Milk Duds out of crack? Because, damn.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Dead Dog, a Dickhead, and the Former Vice President Walk Into a Blog

My friend ElectricYoak is a teaching assistant for a fancy-pants grad-school class. His dog died yesterday. Among the email back-and-forth, he sent me this:

One of my duties is to prepare the powerpoint and I use my computer for the lecture. Even though I uninstalled it, I still have this fear that when Vice President Mondale is lecturing from my computer a "Hey Dickhead" IM is going to pop up on the big screen in front of 200 people.

I’m so honored that he thinks of me every Tuesday.

Oh, and if the mood strikes you, go send his lovely wife - the primary owner of the much-loved Loyd - your condolences on her awful loss.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bump Is Totally Taking Her Next Time

Yesterday I brought Lula to get official photos taken in the sailor suit.

"Official" means go to the photo studio in a department store that rhymes with "beers" (but there is no beer there, don't you think that's just wrong?) and have some pimply-faced teenager who took a photography class two semesters ago push a button.

You know it's not going to go well when you see the "We're Hiring!" sign prominently displayed.

Look, I know, I know. If I want real pictures, I need to pay a real photographer to take them. But I'm cheap. And the photos of Lumpyhead in his kickass sailor suit were department store photos, so Lula's might as well be, too.

The grandmothers have been clamoring for Return of Sailor Suit, The Girl Version for quite some time. Do you think we should use the one with the hat:

or without?
Yeah, it was awesome. (Not.)

Lula was a wreck.

These are not just the bad photos from the session, they are the only photos from the session.

I suppose we'll try again in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Can Today Be Love Your Auto Body Day?

Sarah tells me it’s Love Your Body Day. I learn a lot from the internet.

I’m sure you have never waited so long between oil changes that the little reminder sticker on your windshield displays only sad, faded numbers that you can no longer read.

And I’m sure what prompts you to get your oil changed is the realization that the appropriate number of months or miles driven have elapsed since your last oil change. You are not nudged into action by the fact that you seem to be out of windshield washer fluid, so you might as well have all the car’s essential liquids topped off.

Also, I bet you don’t decide “today is the day for that oil change” because you are already so late for work that another 30 minutes is not going to make a difference.

Or maybe you change your oil yourself, on the weekends, because you’re all conscientious and self-reliant and shit.

Well, fuck you.

There. I’m glad we’re past all that.

So let’s say you have taken your car to the garage for an oil change, only to have the mechanic come find you and walk you solemnly to your hoisted car. (Is this the equivalent of gyno-stirrups for your auto? Is it embarrassed to be up there on the lift, having you parade around its undercarriage whilst some greasy-handed man pokes at it?) The mechanic points to your cracked and nearly-bald tires and insists that you desperately need all four tires replaced. Today. As in, “it’s a good thing you weren’t planning to take a long drive on these tires” and “if you were my daughter, I wouldn’t let you drive back to your house on these.”

So, nearly $350 later, you’ve got your damn oil change. And four new tires.

Later that day, on the way home from work, you notice that your radio is really soft. Then you realize it’s not the radio that is quiet, it’s the car that is loud, and suddenly you’re sitting on a jet engine. The damn thing is so loud that when your two-year-old son rides with you he spends the entire drive asking, “What’s wrong with Mama’s car?”


Back to the garage. New muffler. Another $350. Warnings that within a few months that timing belt should be replaced.

I just wanted an oil change.

The car is over 7 years old, so I knew that blissful period between “loan paid off” and “all manner of shit goes wrong” would be over soon. Oh, it’s over.

I wonder if I would love my body more if I just spent over seven hundred bucks on it, after recently tossing several thousands in (insured, thankfully) front-end body work at it, with another several hundred on the horizon.

(Probably not, as the kind of work I need totals much more than a couple thousand.)

(My teeth would probably be whiter, though.)

(And my insides wouldn’t smell like sour milk.)

(Or so I assume.)

(What do you think your innards smell like? Remember, it's Love Your Body Day . . .)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm Trying to Teach Him "He Who Smelt It, Dealt It"

[Unidentified thump]
Bump: What was that noise?
Lumpyhead: Papa farted.
Bump: Hey!
Me: [giggling]
Bump: I didn’t fart.
Lumpyhead: Mama farted.
Me: [indignant now] Hey!
Bump: [chucking the Laugh of Righteousness]
Me: I didn’t fart, either.
Lumpyhead: Baby farted.
Lula: [stares blankly. Drools.]

[Shrug] Fine by me.

Because Lumpyhead’s rote response to “What’s that smell?” is “Mama farted.”

I'm sure his father taught him that.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cool Tricks Part II

Bump cannot hang a spoon on his face without the aid of uni-directional bonding strip. (HA ha!)

But can you stick a suction cup mobile to your forehead?

Didn't think so.

Don't be sad. I can't do it, either.

I hope they never recall the Skinsticker Forehead Mobile for excessive levels of lead, or we're all going to be sorry.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cool Tricks! Cool Tricks!

My name is Lumpyhead, and my cool trick is hanging a spoon on my nose.
[Cool, cool, cool tricks. Yeah!]

Bump couldn't get the spoon to hang on his nose, so he hung it on his cheek. With tape. I'm pretty sure that's cheating.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Is It the Teeth?

Why do babies suddenly switch from angel breath to dreadful full-on morning mouth? One minute they're blowing sweet kisses into your face and the next they're heaving the rife stank of landfill waft in your direction.

Lula has made the shift from exhaling marshmallow-scented purity to smelling like she just ate a vat of Elmer's glue.

Listen, I'm not saying I'm always a mentos ad - you don't want to be within 10 feet of my fetid morning ass-mouth - but I was hoping Lula would have milky-scented sugar breath for just a few more months.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Just Following Directions

The sticker told me to.

(Oh, and if any of you were planning to meet us at Rock Bottom tonight, we've postponed that venue until next week. Cheers.)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Random "Milestone" Post You Can Feel Free to Ignore

Lula finally has teeth. On Saturday I saw and felt the first one breaking through. Bump and I are waiting expectantly for the diarrhea and associated diaper rash that accompanied Lumpyhead’s first teeth. Good times.

There is no sign of Lumpyhead’s two-year molars. Every time he’s acting like a little shit I think, “Hmm, could it be the teeth?” but it turns out he’s just being a pain in the ass.

I came home last night to Lumpyhead sprawled out on the living room floor, talking to himself.

His new rainboots arrived. They’re cute (covered in frogs, like Egypt in the full grips of Plague Number 2), but way too big. Apparently he put them on, took one step, and fell down.

When he trips or bumps into something or injures himself in some minor way, he says, “Okay? Okay? Are you okay?” Since we’ve been working on “Your name is not ‘You,’ it is ‘Lumpyhead’” he often adds “You okay Lumpyhee-yud?”

I’m pretty sure he now thinks his name is “You, Lumpyhead.”

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Having a Daughter Means

I can put goofy things on her head.

>Okay, that last one is a proper hat, but I still think it's funny.

Wait, I guess I put goofy things on my son's head, too. Never mind.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rock Bottom

Usually a title like that begins a post about how, after much reflection and denial and self-hate, I have reached some awful conclusion about myself.

Or perhaps I’ve taken part in some parenting-related debacle that highlights, once and for all, that this was not the adventure I signed up for.

Instead, it is an announcement that next week’s Tuesday Happy Hour will be held at the Rock Bottom Brewery in Ballston.

I’m thinking of joining the Mug Club. (“Do you like beer?” asks the propaganda. “Yes! Yes, I like beer! This club is for me,” I dutifully reply.)

Last night Aunt Bob and I met Anne at Chef Geoff’s, where - as promised - we had much great food, libation, and merriment. (Great Food! Libation! Merriment! I like all of those things.) We were thrilled to discover that the happy hour specials were available all night on Tuesdays, so, woot! we’re probably going back there again. Aunt Bob and I also discovered that if we shared the humongo mug, the beer stayed colder, she could have more beer without being overserved, and I could just have more beer. Bonus.

Sure, sometimes I drink too much and Aunt Bob has to ferry my slurring, overly-animated drunk ass around. And when I use my shirt to wipe Lula’s chin or Lumpyhead’s nose, then wear that same shirt for a few more days, I feel a little unglamorous.

But I won’t hit Rock Bottom until next week.

You should come, too, and we could both join the Mug Club. Together.

Aunt Bob, you’re driving me home, right? I’ll have a shirt with three-day-old snot waiting for me.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Oh, WCCO. First a Drunk Duck Decapitator, Now This. Where Have You Been All My Life?

I'm not sure what the oddest thing about this story is.

A. "The sheriff's office urged parents to always directly supervise children when they're shooting firearms, and for shooters to always know what's behind their target."

(Maybe that's not odd. That's just sound advice.)


B. The victim just kept driving.

According to Mapquest, Cusson (where the truck driver was shot) is 50.2 miles from International Falls (where the man was treated and released from the hospital). Granted, it was probably the nearest medical facility, and if the man was already headed that direction, why wait for an ambulance when you can just drive yourself there?

I don't think I would keep driving after being shot by a .22. But then, I guess I'm just a sissified city girl.

I imagine the conversation that followed this incident went something like this:

"Say Bob, how was the drive today?"
"Oh, not too bad. Had a little rain. Got shot in the arm."
"Oh yah?"
"How much rain do you suppose they got over there, then?"
"Oh, less than a quarter-inch."
[The End]

Saturday, September 29, 2007

In Case You Were Wondering

A half-cup of mixed grain cereal, a full container of sweet potatoes and corn, plus a half container of peas makes for some very interesting-looking baby vomit. Lots of interesting-looking baby vomit.

I blame the peas.

And if I’m interpreting Lula’s expression correctly, that interesting-looking baby vomit hurts when it comes out your nose.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Ducks Can Live in Any Setting" Unless Some Drunk from Colorado Rips Their Heads Off.

Well, this settles it. (This too.) If I’m ever going to get drunk and decapitate a duck, I’m not going to do it the lobby of the St. Paul Embassy Suites.

Lesson: only be horrifically cruel to animals during duck season.

Got it.

[OH MY GOD! ElectricYoak informs me that - get this - I have actually been in this hotel. When I was in town for his wedding, this is where we stayed. I now remember the duck pond. And suddenly this story is EVEN AWESOMER.]
Just when you thought a Manager's Happy Hour featuring free beer and mini corn dogs couldn't get any better, it turns out the happy hour is feet away from an Animal Cruelty Hotspot. Oh my freaking GAWD.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Goldilocks and the Three Beers

Once upon a time (a week ago), somebody I know met some cool people.

Later that day, she met some even cooler people for happy hour.
Fine, we are not Hall of Famers. We are not Bears. But we're still cool.

Aunt Bob and I have vowed to do a weekly happy hour. We might spend the whole time talking about our kids, but by god, we will get away from them for a few hours. I feel like we must commit to this - to spend at least two hours a week not being at work or being mom - to regain some balance.

Today is our third happy hour, and each afternoon beforehand I feel guilty for the minutes I will not spend with Lumpyhead and Lula. I worry that our husbands are not getting the break from parenting they need. I fear I will miss bedtime. But I know Aunt Bob and I need this, and if we do not schedule this outing and hold each other to it, it will never happen.

Plus I have a great time while we're out.

So, on Tuesday nights, Aunt Bob and I will be at Mommy Happy Hour. Kidless cocktails. Babyfree beverages.

You should come, too.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yet Another Way in Which I Am Unnecessary

I tagged along for preschool pickup again today; I think Lumpyhead has turned the corner. Sure, he was still a whiny Pain In the Ass – but I think it was because he didn’t eat his lunch and not because his parents abandon him twice a week.

So there’s that. I don’t think I’ll keep showing up for pickup, even though I can now be back at my desk in about an hour. (Typical. I finally figure out how to do something and I immediately don’t have to do it anymore.)

Bump’s friend Tom (the guy who lost his violin) was in town on Saturday night. My colleague Linda agreed to babysit on very short notice (for she rocks), and Bump and I were able to go meet Tom. We went out to dinner (which was yummy) and played a couple rounds of pool (which went like this:
Bump and Tom: Here you go [handing me my ass]
Me: Why thank you).

Tom was performing at the Warehouse. Bump and I got to hear the sound check, but were too lame (and tired, but mostly lame) to stay for the performance.

We did get to hear the first piece of the night by another artist, which confirmed that I am not the target audience for avant garde performances. At all. For example, it sounded to me like the performer was administering some sort of hearing test, so I kept fighting the urge to raise my hand. Usually when you hear those kinds of noises and see a guy fluttering around with sound equipment, it is because he is trying to get those noises to stop. This guy was making those noises on purpose.

Tom told us we could leave if our ears hurt, but I felt compelled to stay either because it was the polite thing to do or because I was just too stunned by the aural assault to move. It was probably for the best that I didn’t see Tom get up and leave, because if I had, I’m sure I would have beat a double-hasty retreat my own damn self.

Meanwhile, Linda spent all evening drawing Thomas and Rusty for Lumpyhead, much to his squealing delight. The next day when Lumpyhead brought me his magnadoodle and asked me to draw Thomas, I failed miserably. Lumpyhead often points out the obvious by saying, "I see Thomas!" or "I see Rusty!" or "I see [whatever]!" He took one look at my Thomas rendition, started with "I see. . ." only to trail off because the thing I had drawn looked nothing like Thomas. He regarded me quizzically, erased the picture, and instructed me to draw "Thomas" in a tone that suggested perhaps I misunderstood him the first time. My second attempt wasn’t much better.

Bump later drew Gordon to scale, complete with landscaping, just to prove that magnadoodle-drawn trains are not a myth.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Do You Smell Vegetables? I'm Sure Lula Does.

Lula can be a joy to feed. She eats a healthy portion, opening wide each time you get close to her with a full spoon.

Or, she’s a total pain in the neck.

Food In Mouth-Hole NOW!
Sometimes I am far too slow when fixing Princess’s meal, and in the half-minute it takes for me to stir her cereal she goes from reasonably hungry to flipping starving. She arches her back and squeals, blocking each stab of the spoon with her panicked flailing.

I Hate Peas. Or Applesauce. And Sweet Potatoes. Or Maybe I Love Them All.
Sometimes I have the nerve to prepare Her Majesty a food she does not care for. Just because she ate two servings of squash and corn three days ago does not mean she likes squash and corn. Oh no, it does not. She clamps her mouth shut, sometimes even smiling at me with a tight, closed-lip grin.

Past the Goalie! Score!
Sometimes, despite her protestations, I can slip a spoonful of whatever into her mouth when she lets her guard down. You can usually tell what “whatever” was by the spatter pattern it creates on my shirt immediately after I sneak it in. She’s got a fairly good range as a spitter.

Faster, Peasant! Faster!
Sometimes I’m just too slow on the spoon. During my foolishly long pauses (I would argue that it takes a fraction of a second to dip the now-empty spoon into the baby food to reload it. Lula believes this is folly and I am just dawdling), Lula will open her mouth wide even though there is no food in the vicinity of her face. She often accompanies the fully open mouth with a scowl, just to let me know she has noted my laziness.

The Prize Fighter
Sometimes Lula presents a moving target. She will shake her head back and forth or rock from side to side or otherwise juke, jive, bob and weave her way through a meal. This is why she often has food in her ear.

Screaming the Scream of a Thousand Banshees
Lula likes to scream. It can almost be mistaken for a happy noise, but I am quite certain it is not. If she does this at mealtime, at least she’s giving me an open mouth to shovel food into. She’ll quiet down while swallowing, then immediately scream away again.

Perhaps her teeth hurt. Maybe the food is the wrong temperature. Maybe she doesn’t want what I’m serving. Maybe she’s too hungry. Maybe she’s not hungry enough. Maybe she wants her bottle.

Who the hell knows, but the screaming is driving me nuts, particularly when she does it in the middle of the damn night. (Say, between the hours of 1:00 and 2:30 am. For example. Ahem.)

Her preschool teacher reported that Lula employed both the Screamer and the Prize Fighter at lunchtime today, which explains why her nose is now full of green beans.

Lumpyhead did much better at school today. He reportedly cried at dropoff, but was not a sodden, tearful wretch at pickup. He still answers the question “What did you do at school today?” with “I cry,” but at least he follows that with “I go playground” and “I play toys.” There’s apparently a truck at school that he fancies. Woo fricken hoo.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Morning Conversation

Me: Tomorrow, you get to go to school.
Lumpyhead: I cry at school.

No shit.

Well, the first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

Monday, September 17, 2007


Today I used my lunch break (“break” because, honestly, it was waaaay more than an hour) to join Bump for Lumpyhead’s preschool pickup.

I received happy reports of how Lumpyhead did better today. He had a rough start - cried for about an hour - but his teacher dug up a copy of Dr. Seuss’s ABCs that Lumpyhead carried around for the rest of the day.

I’m happy with his progress. I hope Thursday will be better, next Monday better still, and eventually there will be no tears.

I’m chagrined that Lumpyhead cries. I know he is not the only two-year-old bellowing in the room, but I also know there are children who manage to be apart from their parents without throwing a gasping hissy fit. I didn’t think Lumpyhead had separation issues, but I guess all his babysitters have come to our house where he has been surrounded by his toys and books and familiar things, so how could I judge his separation issues?

Which leads to all sorts of doubts. Was this squealing avoidable? Did we coddle him? Is this just a phase? Does it have to be this hard?

I want everyone to be as delighted by my son as I am. I want him to thrive in new settings and not bawl his eyes out. I don’t want his little nametag to be unnecessary because all the parents and staff recognize him as Lumpyhead, The Kid Who Is Always Crying.

I want him to impress his teacher with his ability to count to twenty, not shock her with his wailing endurance. I want him to show that he can recognize every letter and describe what sound it makes, not display how much snot one little boy can produce when he spends four hours caterwauling.

When I pick him up I want his bright eyes to twinkle with humor, no longer red-rimmed with tear-clumped lashes.

For now, I will settle for a boy who spends his day at school clutching a sticky book as a talisman, finding comfort between occasional crying jags until we come to retrieve him.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Since the horror that was Lumpyhead’s first day of preschool, I’ve talked myself down off the ledge a little bit (with the help of some colleagues who have been doing daycare dropoff for years - who are awesome, thank you, even though they don’t read this).

Yes, Lumpyhead was released early from his first day. While I originally interpreted that as, “Oh god, they couldn’t stand him for another minute,” and “Lumpyhead failed preschool,” I’ve since come to think of it as, “Why torture the kid for another five minutes? He’s completed his day, he's eaten his lunch, his mother is here, let him go.”

I feel better about that.

I worried about the minutes Pete and I spent dicking around outside the school - while Precious suffered inside - but have come to realize that if Lumpyhead was really in trouble, they would have called me. Or, you know, have gone to get Bump, who was in the next room. God, I’m such a shit-for-brains sometimes. (Yeah, hey, those of you who are looking at your computer screens right now and sputtering “sometimes?” with incredulity? Yeah. Fuck you.)

We have not been practicing goodbyes this weekend, because, frankly, goodbye was not the problem. Being in an unfamiliar place without Bump or me or anyone he knew was the problem. And Lumpyhead will learn, soon, that he can be in that situation and have tons of fun and learn new things if he would just stop wailing like an injured hyena.

We have been talking to him about how much fun school is and how he will go back tomorrow and what he will do there, but frankly, I expect he’ll be a hot, sticky mess tomorrow, too. Less of a hot, sticky mess than he was on Thursday, but still a wreck. I think the only way he’ll learn the lesson we need him to learn is if he continues to go to school and is left alone there.

Luckily, we know how to do that. It’s just hard.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happy New Year. Now Come Collect Your Squalling Child

My baby started preschool today. No, I’m not being melodramatic, the baby started preschool today. The one on the right:
She did well, by all accounts. She had a short nap and ate a good lunch and when I took her back into the room after class, she kicked her legs excitedly and giggled. Enrichment can’t start too early, you know.

Um, right. Lest you have forgotten, she is in preschool only because it’s a cooperative preschool and in order for Bump to be able to co-op in Lumpyhead’s class, Lula needs to be in school one day a week, too.

Oh yeah, someone else started preschool today.

It was a mild disaster.

Originally, Bump and I were going to drop off both kids, and he was going to show me around and fill me in on what I needed to know. For starters, how to get to the preschool.

Instead, the woman who was scheduled to co-op in Lula’s class couldn’t make it, so Bump had co-oping duties this morning. He had to arrive early, leaving me to drop off both kids with nary a clue about procedure or who the children’s teachers were or where to park the damn car.

Luckily, Pete was available to show me the ropes, or I might still be driving around Arlington with only a vague idea of where the school is located.

After a painless dropoff – Lumpyhead ran into the classroom without so much as a goodbye wave, there were toys in there, you know – I chatted with other parents over coffee and donuts. I got periodic reports about how he was doing (screaming, for the most part, but so was everyone else). When he had settled down (“He and Liam are playing with the dollhouse”), Pete and I hightailed it out of there to hang out at a coffee bar.

After a lovely couple of hours, we returned to the school. We tried to take some photos of ourselves with my camera and otherwise killed time until it was time to collect the children.

Upon entering the building, we saw another mother who had been instructed to send me to Lumpyhead’s class the moment I arrived. (Good thing we dicked around so much before coming in. Ugh.) Lumpyhead was wailing, and apparently had been doing so all morning. He was dismissed early and I tried to calm him down.

He asked for Thomas. He wanted to go home. He was a hot, teary, sweaty mess.

I managed to chat with his teacher about strategies for Monday. We’ll be practicing goodbyes all weekend, as well as looking at pictures of his teacher and him in the classroom.

I had planned to go in to work after dropoff, but when Bump had to co-op I decided to go in after pickup. After all the clingy weeping, I decided not to go in at all.

So, I’m taking the day off. For Rosh Hashanah or something. I did spend most of the day with my favorite Jew, so that’s gotta count for something.

Monday, September 10, 2007

One of Those Mornings

There are days when I leave for work, when Lula is giggly and Lumpyhead is sunny, and I feel like I really drew the short straw by getting stuck with the whole “career” part of the one-earner family.

Then there are days like today, when Lula didn’t sleep much, is hungry but won’t eat, and emits a high-pitched screeching noise at irregular intervals. Lumpyhead is cranky and squeals nonstop requests for chocolate chip cookies and stupid tv shows, choosing to speak only in that awful, aggravating whine that makes my ass hurt.

These days make me feel pretty smug about getting stuck with the whole “career” part of the one-earner family.

I go to work and look at pictures like this
and this
and even though I know Bump is dealing with this
and this
With only blissfully silent photos, I soon forget about the shrieking and the whining and the pants(es) full of poop.

And I miss them.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

So Very, Very Wrong

I'm ashamed to admit that when I heard of the great tenor's passing, I thought "poverati" would be a great term for poor people. It's much more evocative than trailer trash or tornado bait.

I'm ashamed, but only a little bit.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Is It Wrong That I STILL Think This Is Funny?

Hey, guess what? Last week at the beach, Lumpyhead inadvertently locked himself in his bedroom. He wasn't happy about it.

Lumpyhead squealed while Sarah tried to unlock the door with a pen (no go) then verbal direction ("Turn the thing on the knob! No, the other way. Just a little more! You can do it! No - wait, turn the - almost . . ."). Peter eventually jimmied the lock open with a wire hanger.

Meanwhile, I laughed and laughed and laughed.

And ran to get my camera.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Beach Week By the Numbers

1 - number of hours I walked from our beach house to a very lame playground and back. I carried both children - Lula in the bjorn and Lumpyhead on my hip - along a fairly busy road for half of the journey. Lumpyhead discovered that whining constantly at a certain pitch will drive his mother insane, and the only way I could combat the whining was a change of scenery. I knew there was a playground around somewhere, I just thought it was closer. I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

2 - number of DVD players where Lumpyhead would stand and whine for videos. Awesome.
Me: Want to go the beach? Want to swim in the pool?
Lumpyhead: I watch Blue Thomas? I watch Yellow Thomas? I watch Letter Factory? I watch Blue Thomas? I watch Yellow Thomas? I watch Letter Factory? [repeat. By the end of the week, add Monsters, Inc., Toy Story and Yo Gabba Gabba to the litany, and ratchet the whining up a few notches.]

3 - number of “Ron Paul for President” signs I saw on the Outer Banks. Seriously, Outer Banks? Ron Paul?

4 - number of minivans we saw that were the same color, make and model as Sarah’s while we were trying to catch up with her on the ride to the beach. (We left later than we said we would, she did not.)

Coincidentally, four is also the number of dead animals we saw on the road during that same span. Later we saw a truckload of busted watermelons, prompting dueling voicemails - Sarah asking me if she’d missed some kind of roving Gallagher show, and me asking her if watermelons counted as roadkill if you weren’t a vegetarian.

5 - for a span of about sixteen hours, the number of adults present to wrangle seven children. (See 7. And 10) Those few hours nearly killed me. (See 1)

6 - the first number on the clock when Lumpyhead decided to wake up every morning at the beach. I realize that to some of you this doesn’t seem like a very big deal, but for a mother whose child usually sleeps until 8, often 9, this is a Very. Big. Deal. I don’t know why Lumpyhead decides he must wake up at the ass-crack of dawn only when we’re on vacation - it may have something to do with his room at home being very dark - but it bites the big one in my view. (If your child usually wakes up at 6, and you’re busy rolling your eyes at me right now, imagine what it would be like if your child decided to wake up at 3am when you went on vacation. Go ahead, imagine. [pause.] See? So there.)

7 - number of children between the ages of four and seven months at the beach house. Behold:
Front Row: me, Lumpyhead, Aunt Bob's Little Guy, Lula, Aunt Bob and Claudia
Middle: Squeak and his little brother Jumbo (they are 14 months apart, Jumbo is about five months older than Lumpyhead)
Back: Sarah and Ian

8 - number of adults we planned on having at the beach house. (Gabe couldn’t make it. Booooo.)

9 - number of adults we should have had at the beach house, at all times. At least.

10 -the number of hours Bump drove to attend a preschool orientation meeting in the middle of the week. (Yeah, I thought he was crazy, too, mostly because it meant that he left me to deal with our two yowling children in an unfamiliar environment. Thank God there were other parents there, or I would have lost my damn mind.) Bump felt it was important he attend this meeting, so he drove back to DC on Thursday and took Peter with him. We managed not to burn the house down while they were gone, but that’s all I’m gonna say about it. At least Bump came back; Peter didn’t.

23 - number of dollars per hour the babysitting service would have charged to watch all seven kids. The service we never used. The service we will use, as God is my witness, next year.

37 (approx.) - number of times Lumpyhead asked for Yo Gabba Gabba between the moment the Goon Squad left with the DVD and the moment we were able to fire up the show on our Tivo.

220 (approx.) - the number of times Lumpyhead has asked for Yo Gabba Gabba since we showed him it was available on his very own TV.

298 - number of pictures I took on our hectic, hysterical, very fun vacation.