Saturday, March 28, 2009

Consecutive Day in the Office #20

Bump left for his fantasy baseball draft yesterday. His mom is here to watch the kids, which is good, because otherwise they would be sitting in a crate beside a little food and water, or something, right now.

After I boasted to Aunt Bob that I didn't have to go to the office today, I checked my email - inadvisable, I know - and found the predictable "gitcher ass in here, missy" missive I knew would be waiting there.

Ugh. So. What else?

I decided to commence Operation Sleep Through the Night Already, For the Love of God with Nathan Jr last evening. The general principle of Operation Sleep Through the Night Already, For the Love of God is that after the 11:30ish feeding, no more bottle until morning. No bringing him into our bed. No picking him up. If my presence in the room is a problem, I will sleep on the sofa. I figured this was the perfect opportunity: Bump won't be bothered by the baby's squawking in the middle of the night, and his mother is around so I can get a nap during the day.

So after that last bottle, I put Nathan Jr in his crib and went to bed myself. Instead of squeezing my pillow onto the far end of my side, so there would be room for the baby at 3am, I placed it in the dead center of the bed. I stretched out, taking up as much room as I could.

There was no baby blatting at me, tangling his fingers in my hair or thwacking me in the eyeball with his tiny fist. There was no snoring husband, nothing furry or scruffly or stinky or wheezy on the other side of the bed.

Just me.

And it was lonely.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm Not Giving My Children Away

but I'm certainly willing to lend them out for a little while. Which one do you want?

a) the one who woke up wet at 4am?
b) the one who woke up wet at 6am, then refused to go back to sleep?
c) the one who woke up hungry at 2am and 6am, went back to sleep the first time but not the second?

Huh? Huh? Which one you want? BECAUSE OH MY GOD.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Inadvertent Smartass Strikes Again

Bump reports that Lumpyhead and Lula have been repeating a line from Olivia to each other, over and over and over and over and over again.

Lumpyhead: "Made with real lemons!"
Lula: "Made with real lemons!"
Lumpyhead: "Made with real lemons!"
Lula: "Made with real lemons!"
Lumpyhead: "Made with real lemons!"
Lula: "Made with real lemons!"
Lumpyhead: "Made with real lemons!"
Lula: "Made with real lemons!"

Bump became so exasperated he announced "We're going to be watching a lot less Olivia around here."

A half an hour later Lumpyhead eagerly asked to watch A Lot Less Olivia.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Close Call

Hey Nathan Jr! How ya doing? Just hanging with your Dad, huh?
You wanna wear this nifty firefighter hat?
We got it at a bar. For free.
Tee hee. Baby in oversized goofy plastic hat looks funny.
Jeez! [Scampers out of ass-kicking range] Sorry.

Yeah. You sorry all right.
Imo hafta beat some peepullz
ass next time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kick Em When They're Down

So! [brisk clap] On to more laundry questions.

4. Should we put laundry bins in the laundry room and adopt some elaborate (and clearly labeled, NATCH) system for pre-sorting? Or should we concede right now that the children will never follow the system - and we'll get lazy ourselves after about two weeks - and just put laundry bins in everyone's bedroom and sort when it's time to wash?

5. Do you wash gray stuff with lights or darks? This is killing me, Internet. I NEVER KNOW WHERE IT SHOULD GO.

6. How often do you do laundry? As needed? Once a day? Every Thursday? We're still adapting to having convenient laundry facilities and have kept to our old every-couple-of-weeks laundry schedule. It is interrupted only by 1) my mother's visits, when she does at least a load of laundry a day, because she loves to do laundry, which [shrug] what can you do? Or 2) the occasional catastrophic shit requiring immediate laundry intervention. It's awfully nice to have immediate and sole access to a washing machine for those little events, by the way.

7. Relatedly, when can we insist the children do their own laundry?

8. Can we make them do ours?

9. What should I do with all my quarters? I still have a HOARD ALL QUARTERS habit that I can't quite break (see Adjusting to Convenient Laundry Facilities, Failure to above). The change compartment in my car – the emergency go-to stash for quarters lo these many years – is so full it falls open when I hit a bump.

10. Anybody want to come to my house for a rousing game of Quarters or Speed Quarters or Chandeliers? No need to bring coins.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kick Em When They're Up

Before more questions about laundry, some answers.

In general, the main difference between my mother's and my approach to laundry can be summed up thusly: My mother loves to do laundry, I do not. I don't hate it, I just don't find great joy from laundering and ironing stuff.

First, on towels: My mother is a wash after each use woman, except when she's staying at a hotel that posts those little placards about re-using your towel. Then she feels like she has to re-use her towel and it makes her all skeevy. I change my towel on a very precise "every once in awhile" schedule. Result? My mother's bath towels wear out 1,000 times faster than mine. I don't think she's any dryer than I am after a shower, but she might be cleaner - aaaaaand now I'm thinking about my mother getting out of the shower and I'm going to blame you for that.

Moving right along to sorting. My mother has a system for pre-sorting laundry. She has three bins outside the bathroom: one for lights, one for darks, and one for . . . well, I'm not sure what the other one is for. Towels? Reds? Dad's Everyday? ("Dad's Everyday" is a category my mother uses to describe my father's work clothing. These items are likely to be full of paint, sawdust, mud, or whatever; and are washed together no matter the shade.)

This uncertainty over the third bin was a great source of confusion for me when I was growing up. It was compounded by the lack of labels on the bins. Which one was for darks? The one on the left? Or was that for lights? I tried to use what was already in the bins for a clue, but OHMIGOD, WHAT IF THE BINS WERE EMPTY? (Which they were a lot, because my mom loves to do laundry.)

Worse, what if my brother had gone before me and it was his laundry already in the bins? He was even more clueless about the system than I was. And what if the item was soiled? Was it dirty enough to be laundered with Dad's Everyday? My little teenaged self couldn't deal with all the drama – or maybe I was just abundantly lazy – so I eventually adopted my brother's method of dealing with Mom's bins: Ball up all your shit and throw it in the middle bin. PROBLEM SOLVED.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

People Love It When You Lose

I've been thinking about laundry a lot lately (I know, sexy) and I have some questions.

1. What kind of washer and dryer should we get in the new house? I covet the Duet, but have heard unfortunate things about front-loading washers and musty odors. A washer that makes my clothes and towels smell like damp basement would force me to walk around naked and never shower again, and trust me, nobody wants that. I think I want a large-capacity machine, for no particular reason other than bigger must be better, but I'm not committed to that. What do you have? Do you like it? Do I really need a king-size machine?

I also need to know your laundry habits.

2. Do you have an elaborate pre-sorting system, or do you just throw everything into one basket and require 25 square feet of floor space to sort your lights and darks when you decide it's time to wash the clothes?

3. What's your towel habit? Do you wash your towel after each use, or finally throw your bath towel in the laundry when your bathroom starts to smell like a bag of Fritos?

I have other questions, but that's all for now.

Monday, March 16, 2009

He's Probably Watching Too Much Word Factory

As I left home this morning, I overheard Bump and Lumpyhead debating whether or not C-A-T is a word.

Lumpyhead's stated position was that C-A-T was not a word. Bump argued that it was. The dispute ping-ponged a couple of times: it isn't, it is, it isn't, it is.

Lumpyhead sternly informed his father, "Actually, it's NOT."

Bump gently told him "But it IS a word. See?" He pulled out a clipboard and wrote the letters. "C-A-T spells cat."

Lumpyhead pointed at the paper. "Not cee aye tee, ZEEE aye tee."

"Oh," Bump said. "Right. Z-A-T is not a word."

Debate over. Winner: Lumpyhead.

But listen Sparky. Your father and I are eager to encourage you along this fabulous journey toward reading, but you're going to have to learn to enunciate. Jeez.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

School Photo

Lumpyhead's preschool provides the opportunity for sibling photos on picture day. We took advantage, and I'm quite pleased with the result. I might be violating all kinds of copyright here, but this is what we got.
This photo features a child who is:
a) happy;
b) so sleepy she can barely keep her eyes open (but not screaming, so stonefaced = WIN);
c) also sleepy, but imagining the eight ways he's going to kick your ass for pointing out that he's not wearing a hat.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Outdoor Dining, Part II

The Screen Porch Cafe doesn't just serve sausage and waffles.

It also serves a lovely afternoon Happy Hour featuring wine and cheese - provided the guests stop by a great cheese shop on their way over.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Outdoor Dining

I can't believe it snowed a week ago, but yesterday it was so beautiful Lula and Lumpyhead ate breakfast on the porch.

I also can't believe there wasn't more kicking.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Bird Bird Vodka

The one true test, if you want to find out if someone is really from Minnesota, is to ask them: "Duck, Duck, . . ."

If the respondent finishes that phrase with "Goose," the person is NOT a true Minnesotan.

If the respondent answers "Grey Duck," you have a real Minnesotan on your hands. I'm not sure what to do after that, other than to suggest you might want to wash your hands.

Today I had the opportunity to teach my children the game "Duck Duck Grey Duck." We hosted a playdate with many cool people and aside from having some trouble waiting his turn to be It, Lumpyhead did well with the organized activity.

Later, one child -maybe it was Beck - who had clearly played the game before asked if we could play "Duck Duck Grey Goose" again. I was all ANY TIME BABY! Any. Time.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Limit Does Not Exist

Last night the kids got "Movie Night with Linda" and Bump and I got "away for a drink." A good time was had by all, and a good time and much beer was had by me.

Aunt Bob joined Bump and me and we talked and laughed and I composed a HIGH-larious post about it on my blackberry. Of course it made absolutely no sense this morning. Not only was the post not funny without the beer, it was completely incomprehensible. It seems my drunken thumbs can't spell for shit. Or punctuate.

But here's the gist: Use math to solve a real-world problem.

A bar offers $1.50 pints on Wednesdays. On Tuesdays, that same bar charges $4.95 for the first pint but only $2.00 for each refill.

Now, you might think that Wednesday will always be a better day to visit the bar than Tuesday, but wait! Because we belong to the special club, our Tuesday pints become SUPER MUGS.

So I asked Bump - my Math Genius Husband - "How many beers to I have to drink on Tuesday to make it a better deal than Wednesday?"

He thought for a minute. Then he pulled out a scrap of paper and created a formula and did calculations in his head and scribbled furiously and thought some more. Watching him work was like watching an artist paint - or a chef cook - or insert some other analogy wherein you watch someone with a true gift for something use it for a fantastic purpose. (The gift being math and the purpose being beer and thrift, of course. Sigh.)

This is him explaining that the two lines are roughly parallel. Or something.

He made his first calculation based on the SUPER MUGS containing 22 oz. of beer. Then the waiter said the SUPER MUGS were 20 oz. and that threw everything off and [wail] [gnash teeth] Tuesday was never a better deal than Wednesday.

But then! We realized that on Tuesday you get to take a pint glass home with you. Once we adjusted the equation for the glassware having some value (about $3.50) it only took four beers to make Tuesday a bargain.

This is important, see, because on Wednesday the bar is packed with twenty-somethings and you can't get a table and it's loud and more old person grumble mumble.

Okay, fine. Math is not funny. I can't make it funny. I think the drunken post had some mention of nipples and whipped cream, but I don't think even that can redeem this post now.

So I'll give you a photo of Bump in a hat.
The bar was giving out free hats last night. You may see this exact same hat on Nathan Jr in the future, but I'm not making any promises. Especially if it's Tuesday.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Nathan Jr Channels His Inner Construction Worker

And he'll fuck you up if you make fun of his bowl/hard hat.
Hey hey hey baby, shake that thing over this way.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My Family Goes Nuclear Again

My parents leave today. For those of you keeping track, they arrived on Valentine's Day. That's eighteen days of Gramma, which was awesome for the kids but a slightly different experience for Bump.

On the bright side, he had help while I was working 14-hour days and he was dealing with three sick children. Before the Dreadful Sick descended, he was able to spend a few mornings reading a book at a coffee shop. He also went to the dentist.

While my parents were here, I took Lumpyhead to the doctor when he complained about his ears hurting. I took Lula a week later and now have twin bottles of amoxicillin in my refrigerator. I spent a Sunday with my father and mother at Urgent Care because Dad was worried he had an infection in his foot and wouldn't go to the doctor without Mom.

Then my mother caught the flu and Bump and I were all OHMIGOD WE HAVE FIVE CHILDREN.

Gramma's presence meant that yesterday morning, Bump and I could play in the snow with Lumpyhead and Lula while the baby stayed warm inside the house.
Nathan Jr is not amused by your snow antics.

And while my parents are sad to go, they're also eager to get back to their own house and their own bed and their own schedule. Bump is looking forward to walking around in his underwear again, and relieved that tonight no one is going to try to talk to him over his TV shows.

But we're going to miss having a nanny who unloads the dishwasher and picks up the toys.
Nathan Jr wishes you a Happy Square Root Day

Monday, March 02, 2009


Let the record reflect that I am the one taking the photo, and therefore NOT the one throwing a snowball our preschooler.