February 25, 2011

Flashback Friday: My housework rap

Here's a little ditty I wrote back in January 2010.  (You'll have to supply the beat-boxing.)

Yo! I'm Danielle, and I'm a housework slacka.
I don't put stuff up. I'm an expert stacka.
A horizontal filer, a piler, an I'll-do-it-in-a-whiler.

As a result, I'm a clutter compiler.
I tried Fly Lady, but that plan is whack.
I attack the dog hair, but the hair fights back.
Why do boys' toys have so many pieces?
We give some away--still the number increases.
Cleanin's no fun, but it's gotta be done.
So I'll end this rap and go clean up some crap. Uh!

February 24, 2011

...and I like to do drawerings.

Although the title refers to one of Mike Myers' goofy SNL comedy skits, I'm finding that I really do like to do drawerings.  I suck at actual, legitimate attempts at artwork, but drawerings? I got that.

Here's what I've been up to this week.

Me: a self-portrait.

To keep it real, I made one eye higher than the other one and gave myself a double chin.  My family and friends helpfully pointed out that I look like I'm wearing a straight jacket.  That was unintentional.  In reality, I tried to make it look like I was crossing my arms because when I draw hands, they look like this:

 My next endeavor was an amazingly true-to-life rendition of Shrinky Dink.

Despite its inherent awesomeness, Shrinky Dink complained that I added wrinkles by the mouth.  I was going for an irked expression.  So they are expression lines, Shrinky Dink.  If I meant to draw you with wrinkles, it would have looked more like this:

Now before you all think I'm a bad friend, let me share with you what Shrinky Dink did to my self-portrait when I told her that I have poison ivy on my eyelid. 

She even added the byline: Yo ho ho and a bottle of calamine.

Yes, I have poison ivy on my EYELID.  My husband Tree Guy is a forester and often brings home such "gifts" from nature.  Usually I avoid poison ivy by refusing to wash my husband's clothes, but this week (in an effort to bribe him to take that table back to the furniture store finally) I did his laundry.  And a weepy, crusty eyelid is my reward. 

There is a back story to the laundry thing.  A couple years ago mysterious things started to happen to the laundry whenever I washed my husband's clothes.  Despite checking the pockets, a pen would ruin the load.  Candy and gum wrappers would hide in pockets and jump out to scare me as soon as I pulled the clothes from the dryer.  An errant penny would kick the crap out of the dryer--but only during Tree Guy's loads.  A bleach spot would randomly appear on a t-shirt (even though I never use bleach). The last straw was when a Sharpie exploded inside the washer.  I was so traumatized by our laundry poltergeist that I vowed never to do Tree Guy's laundry again.

Desperate to stop obsessing about the water ring on the dining table, I sacrificed my principles.  And when I told Tree Guy (who loves to be profiled online) that my gimpy eye is yet another sign from on high that I shouldn't be doing his laundry, he gave me this look:

I get no respect.

February 19, 2011

I'd like to thank the little people...*

*Remind me to tell you about my former "little people" phobia.  I overcame it by watching a Little People, Big World marathon.  The Urban Dictionary dubiously lists the name of this phobia as Lollypopguildophobia.  Perhaps the true name is listed at The Phobia List.  (Is it weird that I have a list of phobias bookmarked?)

But back to the subject at hand.  I am blowing kisses and doing a pageant wave right now because Byn at 365 Days of Clean Eating recently awarded me with the Stylish Blogger Award.  Thanks, Byn!

There are a few responsibilities that come with this honor.  In addition to linking to and thanking the granter of this award, Stylish Blogger Award recipients must share seven things about themselves and give the award to fifteen recently discovered bloggers.  (I'll highlight my top ten, because I'm the boss of me.)  Here goes:

1.  I once broke up a fight between a dog and a black wolf.  The wolf bit my arm.  I am now a werewolf.
2.  I threw shot put, played basketball, and lifted weights in high school.  I ate and smoked in college.  : /
3.  I love to read.  Especially historical fiction.  I've learned more history from reading this genre than I ever did in school.
4.  I was once sneezed on by an elephant.
5.  I wasn't a good flosser until my early 30s.
6.  I am a sweet tea addict.
7.  I was in commercials and musicals as a kid.

Some of my favorite bloggers are:

Tiff at freeplaylife!  She is a powerhouse of unschooling/photography/RV living coolness.
Hyperbole and a Half is the funniest blog EVAH!  I laugh until I pee a little.
The House Creative is inspiring eye candy.
Dysfunction Junction is Shrinky Dink's new blog.
I like the premise of I Married a Moron - And Survived!  Though not married to a moron personally, I've known a few...
Who wouldn't like Diaries of a Grumpy Grateful Mom?
Annie over at Pentriloquist calls it like she sees it AND she's funny.
365 little joys is a photography blog project recently launched by a friend of mine.  She's an awesome children's photographer, and her kids are seriously cute.
Belle over at Codependent Beauty has such a fresh blog.  It makes me happy just to visit.
Dontcha Wish You Could Blog Like Me? because she tells it like it is.  And she writes about poop.

February 15, 2011


This is Tree Guy and me.  He maintains that we first met in college at a Habitat for Humanity-like volunteer event.  I don't remember meeting him, as I was focused on the poor dog who was living in a fenced-in mud pit behind the house we were fixing up.  My recollection of our first meeting is when a mutual friend (and fellow gerontology student) brought Tree Guy to my 21st birthday party.  I did my drink-a-wine-cooler-with-no-hands trick.  He must've been impressed.  With that illustrious beginning, you'd expect an exciting and passionate courtship.  But really, he had me at, "I brought you some sassafras tea and apple dump cake."

I'd been suffering from strep throat, a common malady among college students with questionable hygiene practices.  (I seriously don't remember ever cleaning our dorm bathroom.  Ever.)  Tree Guy came over with some sassafras tea that he'd made (from sassafras roots he found in the woods, y'all) and cake that his roommate's girlfriend had made.  I think I might have swooned, though that was probably due to the fever.

The thing that sealed the deal was when Tree Guy offered to be my brother.  I'd lost my only brother to suicide two years before, and I commented to Tree Guy that I envied him his two brothers.  That's when he said it.  And that's when I fell in love.  With his kindness and decency.  I hadn't had much experience with those traits in boyfriends past.  And I think I took Tree Guy totally by surprise.

This was taken during our trip to Colorado in 1996.

Tree Guy was a forestry major and his life plan involved living (alone) in a van down by the river cabin in the mountains, working as a wilderness guide or a forest ranger.  I don't think he'd considered the possibility that he might someday get married and have a family.  Once we started dating, he benevolently changed his plan to four or five years of working in the mountains and then marriage and all the accoutrements.  But pushy persistent girl that I am, I somehow got him to agree to a year-long engagement.  It turns out, those cabin-in-the-woods jobs aren't so easy to come by--not if you want to actually get paid, that is.  (Apparently there are plenty of college students who will do the job for just a place to lay a sleeping bag and a fire to sing Kumbaya by.)  This was unfortunate for Tree Guy, but fortunate for me ('cause I'm straight out the suburbs, yo.) 

We've been married for nearly fourteen years, and at the risk of gagging you, it really gets better each year.  If Tree Guy had a theme song, it'd be Whatta Man by Salt 'N' Pepa, featuring what was probably my favorite group from the '90s, En Vogue.  (Okay, maybe I'm not straight out the suburbs...)

I'm a lucky girl.  And I award myself a piece of chocolate (seriously, eating a piece of chocolate here) for choosing such an awesome babydaddy.  Here's what awaited me when I got home (from a romantic day of Remicade, an appointment at the urgent care clinic, and grocery shopping for my grandma) on Valentine's Day.

February 13, 2011

Farts in church

One of my 86-year-old grandma's favorite sayings is, "Well that went over like a fart in church."  She has other ones too, like her ever-looming threat to shoot you in the foot.  Meemaw has no qualms about threatening to whip you with a wet noodle either.  She likes to cuss too.  If she forgets or loses something, she says, "Well, $#1T!"  If she's mad at someone, she has no problem throwing out, "Well, that a--hole!" 

Perhaps her propensity for threats of violence has to do with the aging process itself.  She has long maintained that it's hell to get old

Unfortunately, memory loss is rearing its ugly head.  It's especially hard for her because she knows her mind is going (her words).  Well, sometimes she knows it.  At other times, she will employ her finely-honed skill of denial and inherent Germanic stubbornness and answer your patient reminders with, "Bull$#1t!" 

And really, what can I say to that?  I mean, I don't want to get shot in the foot.

But my grandma wasn't always this cranky, y'all.  She and my grandpa helped raise me, and my grandma was my soft place to fall.  She loved me (even liked me a little) during my distinctly UNlovable teen years.  She was the pie-baking, favorite-meal-cooking, nurse-me-when-I-was-sick grandma of my dreams for my entire childhood.  So although she's feisty and sometimes difficult now, I can't turn my back on her and leave her care to strangers. 

But I ain't gonna lie, caregiving is hard.  And the least of it is the actual work involved.  Guilt trips should be classified as lethal weapons, as a well-timed guilt trip can lead one to consider jumping off the roof of the nearest Golden Corral.  (Ooh, remind me to tell you the Golden Corral story someday.)

The upside to having such a scrappy grandma is that she can be really funny.  One of our "things" is to lie to the ER staff when she goes to the hospital.*  She plays right along.  When she had a heart attack in 2009, we told the nurse that she fell while drinking.  A few weeks ago, she was rushed to the ER with difficulty breathing.  (She's fine now.)  I told the nurse that she streaks around her apartment building in nothing but Depends.  My grandma, scared as she was at the time, cracked up and slapped me.  And then cracked up again when her nurse responded, "You shouldn't be running in your condition!"  *(Disclaimer:  We let the staff know we're kidding right after the joke.)  

Perhaps my favorite Meemaw-ism occurred last week when we had her over for dinner.  We were discussing our um, exciting week at home with all the neighborhood kids out of school because of the snow.  In the course of the conversation, I mentioned some smackdowns initiated by Shrinky Dink's eldest daughter (Thing 1).  I explained that Thing 1 has trouble with impulse control, and that when she's upset, it seems like she needs some form of external control.  My grandma deadpanned, "Yeah, like a two-by-four."

I think I'll pass along her suggestion.

February 11, 2011

Flashback Friday: Attention shoppers! There's a lunatic on aisle three.

Today we're flashing back to January 22, 2010.  Below is a post (from my former blog) about my harrowing run in with Road Rage Randy. 

Road rage. I think we've all been tailgated and flipped off a time or two by a hot-headed jerk whose mama neglected to teach good manners. But have you ever been a victim of parking lot rage?

My mom has been having car trouble, so she asked me to take her by the grocery store after she got off work today. I'd already done my grocery shopping earlier in the day, so I took the opportunity to go across the street to another store to return a purchase. Afterward, I pulled into the loading zone at the grocery store to wait for my mom to come out. She'd said she only had a few things to get, and I figured she wouldn't know where I was parked otherwise.

So I'm sitting there, just chilling, listening to the radio--when a gray-haired, red-faced guy pulls up behind me in a giant extended cab Chevy. He honks his horn. For a long time. Clueless me thinks, He must see someone he knows! The guy honks again. Longer this time. I look in my rear view mirror. He seems to be talking to himself. I get out of the car (smart, right?) and say matter-of-factly, "I'm just waiting for my mom to come out. I'm not in the red zone or anything." He yells over me, "GO PARK IN A REAL F-ING PARKING SPOT! GET THE HELL OUT OF THE LOADING ZONE!" He continues to cuss at me. Noting his increasingly red face, I helpfully reply, "Sir, I think you need to take your blood pressure medicine. Seriously, you're gonna have a heart attack." I get back in my car. But I don't move the car. (He's not the boss of me!)

I'm confused at this point, because I know I'm not doing anything wrong. In fact, there are three other cars lined up in the loading zone in front of me. Harassing Honker is in the loading zone as well! For those of you who need a visual, I drew up a little sketch of the scene. (Which displays the sum total of my artistic ability...)
Click to enlarge.

Seething Store Guy stays parked behind me yelling at me through his window. A good ol' country boy (God love 'em) about my age comes over and tells my Ticked-off Tormentor 1. to leave me alone, 2. that I'm not doing anything wrong, 3. that I can park where I want 'cuz it's a free country, and 4. that HE can go park the hell somewhere else. (Booyah!)

I thank Chivalrous Country Boy for standing up for me and he leaves. I stay in my car. Parking Lot Pesterer pulls up right beside me and turns diagonal so that I'm blocked in. He just sits like that for a couple minutes. I'm getting a little scared at this point. The guy is obviously a nut and I have no idea what he's going to do next. Since becoming a mother, I value my life too much to take the kind of risks I would have when I was younger. So rather than grab a tire iron and redecorate his tail gate, I do what civilized grownups do--call the police.

Hypocritical Heckler pulls into a loading zone between two handicap parking spaces and goes into the grocery store, calling me an f-ing b---- the entire walk to the doors. I'm still on the phone with the Five-O while this is happening. A second later Red-faced Ruffian comes out of the store, gets in his illegally parked truck, and leaves. Perhaps he saw the police officer that my mom told me was standing right inside the store. Who knows. After he left, I told the police dispatcher that I didn't need an officer to come--but I gave her Agitated Antagonizer's license plate number and truck description just in case he decides to go harass someone in front of the pharmacy.

My mom came out and I told her the story. She was like, "You should have called me! I'd have put my foot up his---..." And she would have.

So that was my Friday night. How was yours?

February 10, 2011

The cartoon wars

Did I really just post about love and whatnot? Well, I'm annoyed at Tree Guy right now because he won't be my personal slave and return our new table top to the furniture store in exchange for a new one. Our dining room table developed a warped water ring on it in the first week of use, which I find unacceptable in a brand new piece of furniture that is intended for dishes!

Since my husband is the designated handy man in the house, it falls under his jurisdiction to take the table apart and transport it to the furniture store. (Am I right, ladies?) However, in typical man-fashion, he has declared that since the water ring is now covered by a place mat, there is no longer a need to exchange the table. This line of thought is related to the man-specific practice of tossing dirty clothes a foot from the hamper, turning stained shirts inside out instead of changing them, and extending the 5 Second Rule into a full minute.

This after those fabulous chocolate chip cookies I made him!

And not only is he falling down on his manly duty, but he said I look like Fiona from Shrek in this cartoonized picture of myself.

So naturally, in revenge all fairness, I cartoonized him too.  And our witty (and perceptive) family and friends noted that he looks like Al Bundy from Married with Children.

So there!

P.S. Honey, please take the table back to the furniture store.  Even though I can't see the water ring, just knowing it's there will drive me crazy.  And you don't want that.

Love and food and whatnot

Check out my friend Byn's blog, 365 Days of Clean Eating ('cause nobody likes eating dirty food).  Tree Guy and I are featured in a Valentine's Day Spotlight, as is Shrinky Dink's recipe for Southwest Chicken Soup.  (Yeah, I totally stole her recipe.  It was worth stealing!) 

My man can cook some authentic Mexican food, y'all.  This is despite the fact that he is whiter than Wonder Bread.  (That reminds me of a funny blog, Stuff White People Like.)  Squirrel!  Okay, I'll try to focus.  Here is one of Tree Guy's culinary creations.

But our relationship isn't one-sided, people.  Just last night I made Tree Guy these cookies, from an ancient family recipe (read: the one on the Nestle Tollhouse bag).

Now that's love.

February 07, 2011

Just another manic Monday

Schools were closed again today due to last week's snow storm.  And I say, Hooray!  We homeschool, so a snow day means the neighborhood school kids are available to play all day and I have a legitimate excuse to be a homeschool slacker.  Shrinky Dink and others of her ilk aren't so thrilled about the news.  They aren't used to being in close proximity to their delightfully moody pre-teen children for days on end.  I swear that Shrinky Dink has developed an eye twitch in the last week.

In a selfless act of mercy, I agreed to an afternoon of McDonald's and errands with Shrinky Dink and BeBe's kids her kids.  My son (who I'll call Nature Boy) and I bravely accompanied them to public places(!) with only the occasional smack down occurring amongst the children.  McDonald's was fine.  Shrinky Dink and I even managed to have an adult conversation (once her kids un-Vecroed themselves from their mom).  No food fights broke out.  No blood was shed.  We call that a good day. 

And then we went to Hobby Lobby.  Yeah, I don't think we really thought that one through.  Our thought process went something like this:

Shrinky Dink:  Hey, let's go to the local Fragile Goods store and spend an hour with all four children!
Me:  What a great idea!  I mean, the kids have been getting along so well all afternoon, and they are really stir crazy from being stuck indoors all week.  Let's set them loose amongst glass wall art and ceramic decor!  


The good news is that only $14 worth of damage was done to the store.  The bad news is that I nearly had a nervous breakdown.  I was so stressed out that I got all PTSD and left my purse in the store.  Which only became apparent when we arrived at our next destination.  Then my son had the nerve to complain about the drive back to the torture chamber Hobby Lobby to get my purse.  "I don't want to have to be in the boring car even longer!"  It's a good thing I'm on Zoloft, y'all.

On the way, Shrinky Dink and I had a Seinfeldesque conversation about last night's switcharoo emailing with the Match.com guy.  She said, "It reminds me of that story about the guy with the big nose who writes the letters to the girl because the other guy can't do it."  I was like, "What are you talking about?"  She said, "You know, that guy with the big nose..." 

Me: "Pinocchio?" 
Her: "No!  It's a Shakespeare story about a guy with a really big nose...." 
Me: "Look, Disney's all I got, okay?  I don't know anything about Shakespeare and a guy with a big nose." 
Her: "Yeah you do!  Remember, there was a movie and Steve Martin played the guy with the nose--" 
Me: "Now that you mention Steve Martin, something is coming to mind." 
Her:  "He was in a movie with Daryl Hannah, and it was called Roxanne." 
Me: "Yeah, and he sang (singing) "Roxanne!  You don't have to put on the red light!" 
Her:  "No, that was Sting." 
Me: "No, I'm pretty sure Steve Martin sang that song."   

Shrinky Dink's delightfully moody pre-teen daughter (who I'll affectionately call Thing 1) had been smarting off to me (as well as to anyone within hearing distance) for the past half hour, and in a display of efficiency, used the extra van time to insult and threaten Nature Boy under her breath (reminding me again why I'd hoped for a boy during my pregnancy).  Yes, the impulse to backhand her from the front seat was strong, but verily I say unto you, the Lord stayed my hand.  (Which is a good thing, because while Shrinky Dink is slow to anger, you really don't want to piss her off.)

Somehow we made it back to our neighborhood.  We were lulled by a brief period of peace in the van on the way home, so Shrinky Dink and I decided to extend our time together and work on the craft projects we'd picked out at Hobby Lobby.  Aside from Shrinky Dink's littlest girl's puking-in-the-garage episode, most of the evening went well.  We (responsibly) parked the kids in front of the TV and sat down at the kitchen table to work.

We were in our creative zones when we heard, "I'm bleeding!" coming from the living room.  Not wanting to be left out, Shrinky Dink's middle child (Thing 2) had slapped my son in the face and scratched him under his nose.  (I told you they're like Tasmanian Devils.)  I'd like to say that my perfectly well-behaved son had done nothing to bring on the slap, but in reality, he'd grabbed Thing 2 and her slap was a reaction to being surprised.  Sigh.

It was time to go.  It was BEYOND time.  But the streets are covered in snow and ice and the little pukester (who I'll call Peppermint, because that's what she calls people when she wants to insult them) was asleep on the couch, as was Dr. Jekyll/Mrs. Hyde Thing 1, so Shrinky Dink couldn't take Nature Boy and me home.

So I called my husband (Tree Guy) to come pick us up.  He was in the throes of trying to set up our new Blueray player to stream Netflix, so I benevolently offered to wait another 10-15 minutes.  After 20 or 30 minutes, Tree Guy still hadn't shown up.  Nature Boy was getting cranky and tired.  So we decided to walk home in the snow and ice.  Tree Guy opened the door for us in (mock) confusion.  "Why didn't you call?"  I was a little crabby at this point, but I patiently said, "I DID call!  I said you could pick us up in 10 or 15 minutes!!"  He said, "Oh, I thought you said you'd call in 10 or 15 minutes."  Yeah, right.  I think he just didn't want to leave the peace and quiet of our house to go pick us up.

And really, after the day we've had, I can't blame him.

February 06, 2011

The one in which I pimp out my best friend

My friend (who I'll call Shrinky Dink because she's a therapist and an artist) is dipping her toe in the murky waters of the dating world after a stressful divorce from The Planet's Biggest A-hole.  Since she's a psychotherapist (how lucky am I, Crazy Papers herself, to have a therapist for a best friend?!), there's not much chance of meeting Mr. Right at work.  (Inpatients have other things on their minds, you know.  Not that some haven't tried...) 

So I encouraged her to sign up for Match.com.  My guitar-rocking, kilt-wearing, computer-nerd-and-proud-of-it dad has found success on Match.com, so I figured Shrinky Dink had a good shot too.  She's a beautiful woman, a great mom, an excellent cook, and a fabulous writer.  She's got game, y'all.  She also has a crazy ex and three girls with the energy levels of Tasmanian Devils.  Sooo, any guy for her has to be man enough to handle that. 

She invited me over for a girls' night in (her clever way of luring me over to watch the Superbowl).  Since football is boring (except for the butt-watching, that is), I amused myself by checking out her Match.com profile.  I discovered that Match.com is a pretty handy way to get a feel for a person (and just as important, a way to covertly assess his grammar usage).  I checked out the profiles of about twenty potential Mr. Shrinky Dinks before finding The One.  He's a silver-haired, burly scientist who shares Shrinky Dink's love of Thai food, back porch philosophizing, and DIY projects.  He looks professorial, but says he's a country boy at heart.  So I "Winked" at him in her stead.  And then I emailed him, identifying myself as her meddling best friend.  He's an ecologist who likes fishing, so I cleverly "reeled" him in with fishing phrases.  I wrote, "In a lake of minnows, you sound like the Big Catch."  (Minnows live in lakes, right?)  And amazingly, he wrote her back and suggested they meet for coffee and convo.  Score

We'll see whether he's a keeper or a catch and release.

February 05, 2011

Snow way!

I never believe the weather forecasters when they predict The Biggest Blizzard Ever!.  Too many times The Big One has been a little, piddly sprinkling of powder.  So when my best girlfriend suggested we go stock up on groceries at Walmart in anticipation of the coming snow storm, I pshawed it.  And was welcomed with the above sight the next morning.

I admired the Spongebob-esque way the snow determinedly clung to our door's nooks and crannies.  The three foot snow drift on our front porch (not shown in the photo above) was charming in its way.  My son and our snow-loving dog were excited.  I just wanted my sweet tea from Quik Trip.

We've been snowbound for the past four days.  And aside from my lack of sweet tea, I've enjoyed the forced break from regular life.  Today marks three weeks since we moved into our new house.  We're about fifteen minutes from "town" now, which is the country to those of us who are used to the Quik-Trip-on-every-corner suburbs.  Ordinarily, I like to get out of the house every day.  Somehow I drum up "errands" enough to make daily treks plausible.  I am decidedly un-green (red?) in my transportation usage.

So I'm surprised at how much I DON'T want to leave the house now that the snow is starting to melt.  The thought of getting back to my usual schedule and responsibilities is daunting.  It's been nice to hole up at home with my guys and my dog.  But alas, that greedy monster Walmart is beckoning and I can't resist the siren call of my QT sweet tea.  We'd better get out today because, in a ridiculous display of nature's bounty, it's going to snow again tomorrow.  And then again mid-week.


February 04, 2011

Life is funny.

So here I am, seven months into a blogging break.  And I miss writing.  I don't miss obsessing about html and the formatting of my posts (hello OCD!), but I do miss riffing on the crazy stuff that happens day to day.  So I think I'll give this blogging thing another go.  And I'll try to keep the crazy in the content rather than in the construction. 

I tried to recover my old blog, Wit & Whimsy.  But Google, bless it, makes it impossible to recover a blog when you no longer have the email account associated with it.  And I got rid of that email address, because it was a blog-specific email address and I didn't use it.  I was trying to simplify, yo! Ah well.

For my second foray into the world of blogging, I've decided to focus on finding the humor in everyday life.  There are a lot of crazy folks out there, y'all.  Nonsensical things happen all the time.   For some of us, each day is a comedy of errors.

And sometimes life is just too funny not to document.