Archive | July, 2011

Why I Shouldn’t Be in Charge of Anything, Ever.

I have online ADD.  Of course, this week, I’m going easy on myself.

Y’all, this week .. no, in THREE DAYS, not even a full week .. I have built over 350 powerpoint charts.  I was a chart MACHINE this week.  And although that sounds impressive, because THREE-HUNDRED-FIFTY is a big ole number, it’s just powerpoint charts in the end.  And they will most likely – all of them – never see the light of a projector bulb again.

So, anyway.

It started with me wistfully looking at our yard.

We have a spacious backyard (that we almost never use) and a decent front yard.  This summer, the rain has been plentiful as well as the heat, and the grass has been obnoxiously growing on pace with our national debt.  For the past three years, we’ve had “our guy” come and cut it every other week and that’s been sufficient.  This year, though, every other week is disastrous.  It clogs his mower, and there are clippings EVERYWHERE.  Sure, we could just have him come every week, but .. I’m no mathmetician, but it seems like that would double our expenses.

So I started thinking, “Maybe we should just go ahead and buy a riding mower.”

I would buy a push mower except that I think we have one but it doesn’t work.  It doesn’t work because Bryan used it once.  I know it used to work because I used it the fifty bazillion times before that.  I love him and he is EXTREMELY handy at most things, but lawn care is not one of them. (He will attest to this.  Lawncare and/or gardening is not his bag.)

When we moved in, I was all, “Let’s get some estimates for lawn guys,” and Bryan was all, “No, we have a mower,” and I was all, “Okay, then YOU do it,” and he was all, “OKAY, I WILL, BITCH” but the bitch part was inferred by his tone and I was all, “I’M WAITING, ASSHAT” except I really said asshat and guess what?  THE MOWER SUDDENLY DIDN’T WORK.

Welcome to the joy of being married to me.

And I love our lawn guy, a college kid who has grown to now run an entire network of college lawn boys, but if we owned our own riding lawnmower, we could have the perfect lawn like ALMOST all the time and we’d save money!  And if it was a riding lawnmower, I wouldn’t mind mowing our lawn.  Seriously.

I went and looked at prices for new riding lawnmowers and .. um .. I do not think we would be saving money there.  So I hopped over to Craigslist.

First of all, why do people feel justified to ask for such outrageous prices for things that DO NOT WORK?  “Snapper riding lawnmower.  12 years old.  Does not start.  $1500 OBO.”  UM, WELL.  If I wanted a GIGANTIC, NONMOVING THING, I’d just get a giant metal chicken for my yard.

MASSIVE SHOUTOUT to Beyonce the Giant Metal Chicken

 (Please click that photo.  It is my favorite new thing on the internet, mostly because I love Jenny so hard, but also because it’s amazingly hilarious and totally something I would do if I had friends with a truck.)

Anyway, so while looking for a riding lawnmower that both 1) runs and 2) is below $3K, I realized that there is also livestock listed in this same category on Craigslist.


For LESS than a riding lawnmower, I can buy:

  • A minature pony
  • a jersey heifer – which, obviously, is a worth investment just for the jokes ALONE
  • a goat
  • non-metal (i.e. REAL-ASS) chickens

Now, we don’t fully utilize our backyard.  I think I mentioned that earlier.  Don’t you think a collection of Nigerian Dwarf Goats and Jersey Heifers help us fully find our backyard’s potential?  WHILE PERMANENTLY ALLEVIATING THE NEED TO MOW AT ALL?

I rest my case.

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July at a Glance

(Remember how this week was going to be hellish for me? LOOK, SHINY AND CUTE THINGS!)


1. 7/One, 2. 7/Two, 3. 7/Three, 4. 7/Five, 5. 7/Six, 6. 7/Seven, 7. 7/Eight, 8. 7/Nine, 9. 7/Ten, 10. 7/Eleven, 11. 7/Twelve, 12. 7/Fifteen, 13. 7/Fourteen, 14. 7/Sixteen, 15. 7/Seventeen, 16. 7/Nineteen, 17. 7/Eighteen, 18. 7/Seventeen, 19. 7/Twenty, 20. 7/Twenty One, 21. 7/Twenty Two, 22. 7/Twenty Three, 23. 7/Twenty Four, 24. 7/Twenty Five, 25. 7/Twenty Six

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Something I’ve Bought Lately, but Not Really.

I know this sounds silly, but this is something that our family often forgets about, but when we remember, we’re SO GLAD that we actually use it.

About three years ago, I signed us up for a family membership at our local YMCA.

Now, truly, I did it because Tony goes to daycare there and we get a discount on our weekly rates if we’re members.  But we’ve ended up using the facility enough that it’s paid for itself dozens of times over.

Our YMCA has a fantastic facility.  I learned to run at this facilityWe’ve had several birthday parties here.  Jack and Bryan play raquetball, basketball, and numerous other “ball”s here.  Lately, Tony and I have been going swimming a few nights a week, and he’s eager to start lessons.. which, of course, we will take at the Y.

The cost is not outrageous, but it’s not free either.  But the membership gets us unlimited access to the facility and most of the programs.  And our fees go to more than upkeep of the facility; they also go to scholarship funds, assistance for lower-income families so they can also enjoy the facility, and various do-gooder things that make me feel good.

Every time we go, I feel bad that we don’t go more often.  They have a fabulous steam room, a sauna room, great clean locker rooms for entire families (which is important to a mom with a young son.. some locker rooms don’t allow cross-gender of any age), and lots of playground type areas for the kids.  A great indoor walking track, a volleyball court, several racquetball courts .. I could go on and on.

The truth is, we don’t have enough time to fully enjoy the entire facility.  So we make do with what we can and knowing that on a hot day, I can kick the boys out to do something active?  THAT IS WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION, MY FRIENDS.

So check out your local YMCA and see if it’s right for you and your family.  Of all the monthly recurring charges that I grumble about, I have never EVER regretted this one.

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For No Particular Reason

I had a dream some weeks back that was so deeply .. moving? unsettling? real? .. that I didn’t really talk to anyone about it.  I may have mentioned it to Bryan, in passing, but I’m not even sure I did.  It was something I held to me, very tightly, unsure of why my subconscious needed to do that.  Or something else like that.

Today I read a post that was beautifully written, by one of my favorite writers on the intertubes, and it resonated with me so strongly.  Some people fear death.  My family doesn’t. 

My grandmother, who passed in April of 2010, was a typical italian matriarch.  I’ve written here often about how she used to take me for a picnic in a local cemetary because .. let’s face it, cemetaries are beautiful.  They’re serene, they’re calm, and they’re usually well taken care of.  The Bitter House was actually across the street from my favorite cemetary I’ve ever seen.  It’s gorgeous in there.

I had this dream, some weeks back, and it unnerved me.

I dreamed it was Christmas Eve.  It was Christmas Eve of 2011, and that was made clear by the presents we were wrapping at my mother’s house.  My mom was in the kitchen, finishing up cookies, and Jenni and I were wrapping.  It was evident that we had left our men to their own devices as we finished playing Santa.

The phone rang, and my mother’s hands were covered in dough.  She asked me to get the phone.

It was MaMa.  My grandmother. 

I was overcome.  I could barely talk.  I know the color left me.  Mom stopped and Jenni stopped what they were doing.  Nobody moved.

“I was calling to wish you a Merry Christmas,” she said, her voice low and gravely, but still melodic as it ever was.  “And to make sure everyone is doing well.  Are your boys well?”

Choking back tears, I confessed, “We’re all very well, thank you.”

She chuckled, that same 1940s Hollywood laugh that the starlets all had.  Gutteral and all-knowing.  Snarky before we even knew to call it that.  “Send everyone my love, Sarah Lena.”  And she clicked off the line.

I stood there, with the phone in my hand and looked around.  We were all crying, all of us, tears of confusion and loss and the knowledge that we never really lost her.  And I did as I promised, walking to each of them and hugging them, telling them that they are loved, beyond space and time, and wishing them each a Merry Christmas.

When I woke up – with a start, obviously – it was 3:02 a.m. 

At first, I dismissed it as a dream, but I know better.  I just KNOW better.  I know that there are fuzzy lines, that there is a gray area.  I know that our minds speak to our hearts, even we ourselves can’t hear it, and we are ultimately taken care of.

I also know I need to get better about answering my phone.

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I normally hate to do back-to-back HOW CUTE IS MY KID? posts, but this week is going to be hellish, and this is quick and easy but still very much HOW CUTE IS MY KID?

So, y’all know Bryan was in a show.

Bryan’s on the right.

And you probably know that Tony is obsessed with the show as a result.  Like, obsessed.  It’s the ONLY thing he wants to listen to in the car, we’ve watched the (horribly done) DVD a bazillion times, and his favorite toy in the whole wide world is Bryan’s cane from the show.

This weekend, Bryan and Jack had to run to a football league meeting and Tony and I stayed behind.  Which Tony was not happy about.  He’s really starting to become sensitive to being left behind because he’s little.  And really, even though that was not the case, he immediately became sullen that he was too little.
I thought I could make him happy by singing to him.  At first, I started singing “Sit Down, John”, which is his favorite song from the show.  And then he wanted the cane.  AND THEN HE STARTED MIMICKING BRYAN. PERFECTLY.


He was cracking me UP.  And then, when Bryan got home, I showed him the video, and Tony kept going.  His SECOND favorite part in the show is when Bryan/John Adams gets into a fight with Mr.Bill/John Dickinson.  At first, we had to explain that, no, that’s Bill and he really is a Good Guy.  He just PRETENDS to be a bad guy onstage.

Tony grabbed the cane and shouted at me, “ARE YOU CALLING ME A MADMAN?”  Which is totally a line from the show.  Preceeding the fight.  So: we fought. 



(My favorite line in dialogue that not many people notice: “YOU.  ARE BILL!”)

Later, after we’d calmed down, Bryan said, “Tony, you’re a really good John Adams.” 

Tony said, “Yep.”  And then proceeded to quote a lengthy bit of dialogue.

… I fear we have a long life as stage parents ahead of us.


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