Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rest Assured that I Am Very Stimulated

Hey, did you know the government is giving away money? Not "guy in front of the Capitol wearing a question mark suit" free money, but "actual, for reals y'all, dollahs in your bank account" money. It's true!

I'd heard some rumors about stimulus payments, but I regard most of those media reports with extreme skepticism. When Kai Ryssdal tells me "Congress is considering . . . blah blah blah" it goes in one ear and out the other. Partisan bickering and a huge federal deficit plus - you know - the [airquotes] Senate [airquotes] (Deliberative Body my ass. It's a bunch of old codgers and their hoity-toity staff blathering about -- OH HI Aunt Bob. Didn't see you there. Would you like some candy? Ahem. Anyway) means most of those Marketplace stories might as well be offers to enlarge my penis.

Add in a disclaimer about phase-outs at certain income points and the "do nothing but file your tax return as the law requires" rigorous application process, and never thought I would see any cash.

Then I heard reports that "the government will start mailing checks soon" and I was still all "Phfffttt [rolls eyes, makes lame jerking-off hand motion], whatever."

Then. Yesterday.

Woo fricken hoo! Who's your uncle? Who's your uncle?

SAM. Sam is my uncle.

I got my rebate check yesterday. Rather, my bank account got an unexpected infusion of cash from my employer and your favorite bureaucracy: the feddul gubmint.

SSN ending in a low number? Check. Direct deposit for 2007 tax refund? Check. Stimulus payment? Virtual check.

I’ve got some cash flow concerns this month, what with the bucketloads of money I forked over to the contractor and whatnot. So when I checked my bank balance and it was much larger than I expected – on the day before payday – I kind of panicked.

Efficiency! From my IRS. Who would have imagined?

Oh, hey, did you know you get extra money for kids? I did not know that, and I work here. (Jesus, woman. Pay just a little bit of attention.) I'm sure Kai mentioned that at some point, but I was probably merging around cherry blossom traffic or mulling an offer to gain 3+ inches at the time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

God I'm Dumb

When I saw this headline in yesterday's online Post ("Mars Buying Wrigley for $23B"), I thought the planet was buying the stadium.

Which is crazy, I realize. Because everyone knows the Martians are football fans, right? How else do you explain the redesign of Soldier Field?

A candy company buy-out. Sweet.

Also: Mars is buying Wrigley? That's nuts.

In addition: I nougat something like this was bound to happen.

Sorry for that last one. Trying too hard for snickers.

Monday, April 28, 2008

No. Way.

I'm experiencing a food-related malaise that I'm blaming on pregnancy. Nothing sounds good, nothing tastes good, and nothing sits well once its down. Now that alcohol is off the table, food is really the only thing I've got left to look forward to every day (you know, aside from this) and the resultant situation is so depressing it almost makes me cry.

This morning I found out that Cannon Carry Out now serves corn dogs.

(No, I'm not even kidding.)

(Would I kid about corn dogs?)

You're welcome.

(They're not great - the one I had was kind of cold - but they're deep fried and actual corn dogs so shut the fuck up.)

(I'll probably go get another one at 3 o'clock.)

(After the stomachache from eating the first one goes away.)

Friday, April 25, 2008


One of the side effects of "repeat everything Lumpyhead says" is that he's now setting us up.

He still likes it when you repeat what he says, even demands it sometimes, but I feel like such a chump when he tricks me.

Lumpyhead: (eating mixed vegetables) It's a green bean, Mama!
Me: It's a green bean, huh?
Lumpyhead: NO! It's not a green bean, it's a pea. (Grins goofily.)


You know what else makes me feel like a chump? When I bid on something on ebay when there are five days left on the auction, then completely forget about it until I find out I've won the item, and end up paying more for shipping than is reasonable.

It results in stuff like this in my house.

Yes, it's missing a piece of track and the set should have a Mr. Incredible train car, but Lumpyhead loves it. He plays with the thing constantly.

Lumpyhead: (holding the second car) Monsters In-CORE-perated!
Me: Yep, Monsters, Inc.
Lumpyhead: This guy's name is Sarah.*
Me: His name is Sarah?
Lumpyhead: NO! His name not Sarah. His name is Sully.

Okay, got me again. Chump.

*Lumpyhead has internalized a little morality tale we told him once, and now thinks there is a monster who steals dolls.
Lumpyhead: What happened to the Buzz Lightyear at Ian and Claudia's, Mama?
Me: I don't know. What happened to the Buzz Lightyear at Ian and Claudia's?
Lumpyhead: Ian was naughty.
Me: Oh. Then what happened?
Lumpyhead: A monster came and took Buzz Lightyear away.
Me: Um, okay.
Bump: What's the monster's name?
Lumpyhead: Sarah.

Bump always presses the last point. I'm willing to let the story end with Buzz Lightyear going away because Ian misbehaved. Bump wants to make sure Lumpyhead is clear on the monster's name.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another Helpful Hint From Lumpyhead's Mom

Playing pool pregnant is really tricky.

Maybe I'm exactly the wrong height, but my fat belly doesn't clear the table. This means I have to stand even further away than I normally do. Add to this the fact that I have really short arms (Bump calls them my T-Rex arms), and suddenly I'm using the bridge for anything over two feet from the rail.

But really, none of this matters, because even under the best of circumstances I suck like a dyson at pool.

(Happy Hour was still fun last night, though. Aunt Bob, Anne, Work Sarah, Bump and I missed you.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

College = Destiny?

My colleague's son is a high school senior. I've been carefully following the drama of his applications, acceptance/waitlist/rejection letters, and decision about which school to attend.

It's a thrilling thing to watch, especially when you have no stake in the matter. He's a good student with strong extracurriculars, and has several fine institutions from which to choose.

It's a big decision. Probably the biggest decision he has made in his life.

But I think, ultimately, it doesn't matter at all. He will make great friends and become the man he will be, no matter what his diploma says at the top.

Bump disagrees. He thinks just about everything in his life right now can be traced back to college, and he would be a different man had he chosen a different school.

What do you think?

Sure, most of my choices have a basis, to some degree, on decisions I made in college or people I met there. But I like to think my personality would be the same no matter where I spent those four years.

For me, college was about the friends I made there. The classes and campus only served as a conduit to those people. I like to think I would have been drawn to similar people in a different environment.

Although a different alma mater would make the recent gift of these two hoodies odd instead of awesome:

I assume that young people find their place and make amazing friends no matter which school they choose. Is that true, or is your choice of school the most defining thing you'll ever do?

How different would your life be, had you gone to a different college?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Was Wondering the Exact Same Thing

Lula was a pain in the butt this morning, whining about everything. I knew it was bad when Lumpyhead walked up to her and asked, "Baby, what's your damage?"

I guess we say that a lot.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Garden Tool

The new chief gardener for the community garden Aunt Bob and I share is annoying the crap out of me. I'm hoping that as the season progresses, I will come to admire her enthusiasm, rather than just rolling my eyes and muttering "cripes" every time every time I get another of her ten-page emails.

Aunt Bob and I have been in our plot for five years - cursing the tomatoes that never seem to grow, surprised by the herbs that over-winter some years but not others, and enjoying the bounty of the inherited raspberry bush (if the birds don't beat us to it).

We've seen chief gardeners come and go. Lois was the first, an odd older woman who didn't believe in planting in rows. She was forever giving us seeds in unlabeled window envelopes - you know, the kind that come with your bills - to "try." We never knew what the hell we were planting, but it was always fun. We would secretly designate entire patches of the garden as "Lois," and just see what came up. She had the plot next to ours, and I saw her often that first year. If she wasn't tending her own crazy chaos of a plot, she was trimming weeds around the garden perimeter, or clearing paths, or making sure the fences were in good shape.

I saw Lois much less often the second year. I heard her father was ill, and her own health was declining, so I wasn't shocked when there was a new chief gardener the next year.

I never saw our second chief gardener. She called once to remind us we were expected to use our whole plot, which ticked me right the hell off because she was referring to a patch of the back garden where three consecutive crops had failed. She also complained about state of our plot, but I found out later the weeds she was grousing about were actually a patch of cilantro. Quite the horticulturist, that one. The second year, she sublet her plot to a nice German couple.

The current chief gardener started off on the wrong foot. She reconfigured the plots, first promising us a larger plot, but in return we would lose a couple of feet of our current space. I agreed, and then she told me she had already moved our thriving thyme plant for us. It was outside of the boundaries of our new plot. Um, thanks?

Later she emailed to tell us that instead of a larger plot, we would actually be getting a smaller plot. That couple of feet we lost on one side were now in exchange for: surprise! Nothing. Um, thanks?

She has instituted new rules, claiming that a minimum of five hours of work per week is required per plot, and each gardener is expected to pitch in for "community chores" - path clearing and the like - the things Lois used to do. She sends emails about "work parties" and forbidden plants and cover crops and the proper way to dispose of rocks. I hope that I will appreciate all this later in the season, when my plot is not overrun by weeds that have gone to seed in neighboring plots.

Aunt Bob has been dutifully slaving away; weeding and tilling and planting spring lettuce; terrified of the "warning flags" the chief gardener has threatened for untended plots.

I braved the pollen and finally got to the garden this weekend. There was some litter near the back of our plot, a discarded label that bore only the words "Garden Tool."

"What a perfect new name for our new chief gardener," I thought.

Oh, and the thyme plant she moved? Now pretty much dead. Thanks.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Holy Crap, Part II

Dudes. Dudes! Check it out.

Look what I saw today:
Can you believe it? Real, live Pope-tarts. I know. I can hardly stand it.

And look what they're holding! Yep, that looks to be Pope-SWAG.


(This Papal visit is going to be the death of me. It's at least assuring that my immortal soul is going straight to hell.)


Nom nom nom.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Holy Crap

I was expecting wicked traffic today, but it was actually pretty righteous. Pope-ey. Pope-tastic even.

Are people really scalping tickets to tomorrow's mass? Really? You've got to be among the faithful to score a ticket in the first place, right? Even if you got away with it, wouldn't God know it wasn't you in that seat?

Are tweener Pontiff fans called Pope-tarts?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Right. Maybe That's Worse.

I have songs from Here Come the 123s - Lumpyhead's current obsession - in my head. All day.

Just when I manage to get rid of one earwig, another pops in. Lumpyhead sings the songs when he's away from the CD or DVD, so I'm just as likely to get his version of the song in my head as the TMBG version. ("Zero ZE-ROH. Zero me so mush . . . ")

I complained about this last night, and Bump looked at me skeptically. "I have to listen to it all day," he said flatly.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Marquis de Lula

Lula loves pictures of babies. She prefers photos of herself, of course, but any baby will do. When we were staying at Aunt Bob's, Lula spent nearly all her time pointing at Aunt Bob's bookshelf of pictures and squealing "Baby!" -- expecting to be brought closer to the delicious pictoral goodness.

We dug out some books featuring pictures of baby faces, books Lumpyhead once liked a lot but has long since ignored. Lula loves them, but particularly enjoys the pages that depict babies crying. She reacts excitedly to the books in general, but when we get to the part where the baby is sad or angry . . . she claps her hands and laughs.


Absolutely freaking hysterical.

I'd be worried about this, but I'm preoccupied by the fact that Lumpyhead yells "Mama!" while pointing to the picture on this page.
Then he says, "Heinie-butt."

My son thinks I'm an ass.

That, or he thinks it is my ass in the picture, which I guess is an enormous compliment.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Best Chia Pet Ever

Lumpyhead's preschool class grew grass in little pots.

The teacher put the pots in cups with each child's face on it, so on Thursday Lumpyhead brought home his face on a dixie cup with Chia hair.
I think it is the most hysterical thing I have ever seen.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Back during that glorious week when Bump and the tormentors were in Florida and I had a whole weekend to myself -- and it was a long weekend! Three days! Score! -- one of the indulgent things I did was go to the mall. Normally I dislike shopping intensely, but buying bras was on my list of Things I Must Accomplish, so off to the mall I went. I ate a leisurely lunch without having to pick up any food off the floor. I stopped at the Godiva store and bought a snack that I didn't have to share. I browsed stores I usually don't have time to think about.

I bought shoes that were really cute but pinch a little bit.*

I went to Sephora and got a new moisturizer.

I also decided to try a product to get rid of this annoying brown spot on my face.
This one. See it on my cheekbone?

So I bought this, um, stuff. The product seems to be called "Lumedia, Formulated to reduce the appearance of Hyperpigmented Age Spots and stubborn discolorations of the skin (including melasma and freckles)," which 1) seems like an awfully long name and 2) always makes me think: "Are you like me? Can you just not get your pigmented age spots to calm the fuck down already?"

The Sephora employee recommended the product, so like a bleating sheep I bought it.

Anyway, I've been using it faithfully since March 1. (Except, you know, I didn't have it with me for those few days I was in Sioux Falls, and then I forgot about it for a few days after that, and I apply it once a day but that second recommended application typically doesn't happen, but still! Almost faithfully.)

The Sephora man told me to give it a month or so.

and after a month or so. . .

duh dun da DUH!Yeah. Nuthin. No Change.

$96 of useless crap. It's probably hobo semen in a black bottle.

*Times I have put those shoes on since buying them: 4
Times I have worn them out of the house: 0
I told you, they're uncomfortable. But every time I put them on I think, "Hey! These are really cute!" Also, I have since purchased Croc flip flops, which totally win the footwear battle against cute any day of the week.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Confirming that Yes, There is Only One in There

Thank you very much.
Can you make anything out of that? Little Dude's arms are crossed in front of him, his face pointing to about 4 o'clock.

We were able to do the 3-D scan yesterday (oooooh. . . aaaaah. . . ) which was very cool, although I thought every picture looked creepily Kuato-like. Organs seem to be in the right place, and, oh yeah: "he." We knew that already, but I can't remember if I told you.

Baby didn't exactly cooperate for his first photo shoot; he kept blocking the camera with his hands. I'm guessing he is just so embarrassed by his NCAA pool picks he's reluctant to show his face around here. (He did worse than her, for heaven's sake. At least he narrowly edged out her.)

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Weekly Breeder

I just passed a guy in the hallway who I haven't seen in a long time. It was a quick exchange. He asked how the baby was. "How old is he now?"

Then he said, "Wait, are you pregnant again?" (Which is normally a pretty dumb thing to ask, but since I look about 57 weeks pregnant right now,* he was pretty safe.)

The last time I talked to this guy was December 2004. I told him the "baby" was great, almost three. His - ahem - sister was fourteen months old, and yes, I'm due in August.

Dude looked a little startled.

Then we parted, and I still feel kinda dumb. I think I left that guy with the impression that I'm on some kind of ill-conceived (har) mission to populate the world with as many hapa children as I can in a four-year span.

*No, for real, Internet. I look very, very pregnant. Such that when I rode the metro a few weeks ago, my fellow passengers "tsk tsked" and scowled at all the seated riders who didn't stand up immediately. When a seat opened up and a clueless 50-something white guy sat down before I could get to it, there was nearly a riot.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I Got Yer April Fools Joke Right Here

Bump had a rough day yesterday. First, he fell for my joke post. Now I think I'm hilarious, but saying you just made someone's life 1000 times easier - then telling him you're only kidding - is plain mean. Even I recognize that.

Second, he got not one, but TWO parking tickets. His tags expired at 11:59 on March 31. Nine hours and seven minutes later, he got slapped with a $30 ticket. Oh, Arlington County, now I understand how you can afford to renovate that park across the street every other damn year.

Nana was driving his car when it was ticketed, and she was mortified. We laughed it off - Bump has his renewal stickers, he just hadn't put them on yet - and the last time a similar thing happened with our county decals he was able to get the violation waived.

Now, he should have gone out right then and put the stickers on his plates. But it was raining. And Bump was a little distracted by the contractors, scheduling the cleaning lady before the Sunday Open House, finding a sitter for Friday, having to constantly bark "Baby, get out of there!", Lumpyhead needing another tissue, juggling nap schedules with one available crib but two children, and getting Nana to the airport.

We scored a babysitter for our anniversary. We should have put the stickers on when she arrived, but we were distracted by a baby for whom boxes and furniture present no obstacle (over, under, or shove it out of the way - she's quite wily - curse you, Mobility!), briefing the babysitter on the location of stuff in the chaos that is our house, a whining Lumpyhead ("Lumpyhead come to dinner wif yooooouuu!" "Lumpyhead go out for dinner tooooooo!"), finding an appropriate bribe to appease His Highness, and Bump requiring a shower before appearing in public.

After our very nice dinner, we returned to Bump's car to find a second little love note from our fair city for expired tags.

How was your April 1? Tell me about any good pranks you saw/heard of/played that didn't involve parking enforcement.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

18-20-25-31-36, 11

Wow. Missed by one. If only that 11 had been a 7.

I haven't gone to the DC Lottery Headquarters yet, but I'll probably go at lunch. I can't stop shaking. I bought the ticket at the liquor store last week, but forgot to check it until this morning. Now I'm totally paranoid that I'm going to lose the ticket between here and the Frank Reeves Center.

What should I do? It's not enough to quit working entirely, but I could take a year or two off while the kids are still little. Bump and I could take a vacation, but where should we go? Should we take the kids? Leave them with grandparents? You want them?

Should I stop being silly and stash all the money in the kids' college funds, or buy a bigger house than we thought we could afford?

What would you do?