November 29, 2007

Confessions of a Crappy Sometimes House Wife

To the anal retentive clean folks, I’m going to probably repulse you.

To the average person, I’m probably going to get you to raise an eyebrow.

I suspect I should not admit this, but this is my blog, and I do tend to put an awful lot out there.

So here it goes.

I cleaned my refrigerator today.

For the first time in 11 ½ years.

Ummm… that would be I cleaned my refrigerator today for the first time EVER.

But wait, a bit of clarification, yes, I have washed out my vegetable and meat bins. Sometimes vegetables turn to water and that is just nasty. And I think I washed out a couple of the door bins… once… or twice. The door shelvey things that hold the condiments.

But that would be it. Oh wait, I've wiped down a shelf or two before… when something spilled. Only then.

It’s just not on my radar. But I had some vegetables turn to water the other day, celery was the rotting culprit, and as I cleaned out the bin, washing it down, I thought, ‘the rest of the fridge could use this… I feel certain’.

And so today, I spent two hours, pulling out every shelf, ever bin, every… everything, threw out old food (which I do once a week… give me credit for that!), condiments that had gotten old (ick… don’t ask me about the last time I did condiments), washed everything with warm soap and water, and wiped down the inside of the fridge.

It is CLEAN.

And this is what I learned… we have way to much frickin’ mustard in this house. Why. Why do we have FIVE kinds of mustard? I have yellow mustard, grey poupon, mustard with wine, mustard with mayo, mustard with… grainy stuff in it. WHY. I have no clue.

They are still there, but now they are at least located on the same shelf.

What in the heck possessed me to buy peach jelly? Evidently it was not a hit because: 1) I don’t remember buying it so it must’ve been a long time ago and 2) there is half a jar left.

A refrigerator is MUCH brighter when all the shelves have been washed. I have wiped them down, but never at the same time, so the fridge light never really filtered through all the glass shelves. Now when I open the fridge its like a neon light, “OPEN!!!!”

Good grief. Whoda thunk it?

And there looks like there is more room in the fridge when it’s clean because the empty space is so bright!

The low light was when I was scrubbing the walls down and kept scraping some pink stuff thinking, “What is this? Bubble gum” and then realizing, “Oh. Yuck. Its yogurt…”

Blech.

The highlight is… wow. It’s clean. The freezer is next. I do clean out old food from my freezer frequently, but I’ve never actually CLEANED it. Scary scary. I’m such a sucky housewife…

I shouldn’t quit my day job…


**Update: My oldest son just read this and said the following:

1) "Mom, Big Daddy bought the peach jelly. We all hated it. That's why its still there."

2) "I have to go look. All that hard work and none of us noticed." (This is why it probably never got cleaned. I hate doing crap that nobody notices... its so frickin' thankless, which is generally the life of a Mom anyway, but still.)

3) And upon returning from looking at the clean fridge he said, "Mom, make sure you tell them that it was really dirty. You got out all the nasty old jello, pudding and crumbs. It was really bad... and now its really really clean." He's exaggerating. There was no pudding...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:06 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

November 28, 2007

New Meanings to "Follow Your Nose"

In my post about nasty stench at the Grossology exhibit, a conversation came up in my comments that I found absolutely fascinating. In case you don't remember, here's a recap, and if you do remember, just scroll down to the bottom:

I once worked for a scent company. We provided scents to museums and Halloween Horror Nights. Scents like Dino Dung, rotting flesh. Bou, on the days we had to make scent cartridges for clients requesting our foul scents, hoo boy, what a stench! We'd open all the doors (warehouse) and try to counteract the bad smells with powerful positive scents running in our machines in the front office. But it wouldn't matter. And the people who were actually handing the chemicals would get to go home early to take multiple showers to try to de-stench themselves. And they wore plastic jump suits to try to combat the stench clinging to their person.

heh. When I worked there (2002), it was the first year Universal used our scents in Hween Horror nights. We told them not to use the bad smells inside. Yet they ran Dino Dung inside one of the buildings. Once. And it was weeks before the smell finally subsided. We warned them! LOL!

I really loved that company. Pity they relocated to another state.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at November 21, 2007 10:45 PM
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Wow. I had no idea there was such a thing as a stink factory! Do you guys have a suggestion box, or how do you come up with ideas?

Posted by: Peggy U at November 21, 2007 11:38 PM
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Peggy, they have a library of hundreds of scents. And most of them are good smells. And you might be surprised where you encounter them without realizing it. We marketed our scent machines as Muzak for the nose, and in fact, I think they are now partnered with Muzak. There are some major chain stores that utilize scent zones. The idea is if the store smells good, you'll linger longer and buy more. And in some applications (food stores), if you smell how wonderful something is, you're going to impulse buy it.

When I am out shopping, I am keenly aware of scents (because I worked there), and once I smell something, I search for the machine just to see if it's my company.

Best application: the M&M's store. You walk into the glorious scent of chocolate and even though I know it's a machine, I want to buy candy!

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at November 22, 2007 08:03 AM
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That's really interesting! I had no idea they did things like that. Pier One must do that, because whenever I go there I smell like that place afterward! Where do they put the machines, and what do they look like? I want to see one!
Posted by: Peggy U at November 23, 2007 06:59 PM
----------------------------------------------------
Peggy, I'm going to email you rather than take up Bou's bandwidth.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at November 24, 2007 09:17 AM

So I sent Writersblock an email and asked her to expand on this 'scent' business and how stores use them and her experiences. Good Grief. I don't think I'll ever smell something again in a store without wondering if its fake!

She posted it for me HERE. Go take a read. It really is fascinating. They even use scents to train our troops. Holy crap...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:39 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 26, 2007

Ho! Ho! Ho! Just Say No!!!

Oh! I can't believe I nearly forgot this!

Talk about the Christmas spirit!!!

I was riding my bike yesterday when I passed a home with Christmas music blaring out the windows while a guy, presumably the owner, hung Christmas lights. It was so cool.

Of course to you Northern folks, it would have seemed surreal as it was 80 degrees 99% humidity (I was drinking air yesterday) and the guy was wearing shorts and no shirt.

I rode my bike by that same house this morning and nearly fell off my bike when I startled out of my thoughts to some Christmas music. They have a wreath MOTION DETECTOR on their mailbox. I think the postman is going to frickin' HATE them.

Within a week.

The postman brings me my mail. Every day.

He is NOT the guy I'd want to piss off. No.

We will not be getting a motion dectector for our mail box. Good Grief!

Posted by Boudicca at 10:40 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Crazy Christmas Help

So I went to Brookstone today to pick up a very cool gift that I'm very excited to give and... met a saleswoman that completely freaked me out and now I'm afraid to walk in that store again.

Ever.

I like to shop in the middle of the week when most people are working and all the kids are in school. The mall is not so busy. I like that. I have my list, zip in, zip out, BAM! I'm done.

For the record, I love Brookstone. Its just so... gadgety. I usually buy one gift from there and nine times out of ten, I'll stop in before Christmas Eve and pick up a stocking stuffer or two for my husband.

He's a gadget kind 'o guy.

Not this year.

I beelined to the gift I needed, picked it up and thought I would wander quietly through the store and touch what I'd seen in magazines to see if there was something else I might want. I know, it is odd, but when shopping I become very tactile. I like to touch stuff. Sometimes I'll suddenly want to buy what is in my hands, but when I saw it in the magazine I may have been not so inclined.

And I'm quietly doing my thing, on my time, in quietnes, which is how I love the mall, and suddenly I was accosted by a salesperson.

I want you to read the following really really fast. I mean setting the record player (if all y'all remember what those are) on super duper fast so you get that funky fast voice.

That fast.

"Hi! Hi! Hi! Can I help you? Let me hold that for you! I'll hold it for you while you shop! I can take it to the register! Are you looking for anything in particular? I can help you in any way you need! I'll be on the floor! Just look for me! I'll have this at the register! Let me know if you need help!!!"

Holy crap. I stood there kind of shell shocked, speechleesly handing her my purchase, and quietly and SLOWLY said (in hopes that quiet and slow would rub off), "Why, thank you. I'll just browse..."

What I wanted to say was, "Step AWAY from the CAFFEINE!"

Good.God.

She had to have been mainlining it with something. Happy Juice. I don't know. But that was the beginning.

And in case you're picturing in your mind, 18 year old mindless happy strungout-on-too-much-Starbucks chicky girl.

NO.

She was 55 year old, mommish with blonde Farah Fawcet hair, and the thickest NY accent I have ever heard spoken that fast. I know many New Yorkers and they can speak at a fast clip, but this caffeine crazed creep chick could out talk anyone in spades. She was frickin' Mario Andretti of talk.

I immediately wanted to get the hell out of there.

Good feeling gone.

She'd messed with my shopping karma. I made my way to the check out where I was inundated with:

Doyouwanttobuytheaddedbonusforthis?Istronglysuggestit!

Me: No, really...

Her: blahblahblahblah!!!blahblahblahblah!!!

Me: Can I get a gift receipt?

Her:ohyes!Ijustneededtoknowyouneededone!blahblahblahblahblah!

Me: No, really, I'm fine, but thank you.

Her: OKthen!Wouldyouliketobuyoneofour5in1wobblyeggs?

Me: No.

I was starting to become rude. I'm NEVER like that to salespeople. I am never rude to salespeople or wait staff. NEVER. And I could feeling it creeping in! I could feel myself wanting to be really really nasty to her!

Her, reverting to some high speed kindergarten teacher voice which now made me want to frickin' bitch slap her: Oksee,thisdottedline?Wellyousignthere!!!

I could not get out of there fast enough. I'm telling you, I don't know what drugs she was doing, but there was WAAAAY too much happiness and ... fast. Speedy.

She was the absolute opposite of the workers at the soulless hellhole that sucks the Christmas spirit out of you.

Balance. I guess it balanced out yesterday. I'm pushing for NORMAL Christmas now. Its got to be there somewhere...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:57 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Feeling all Christmasy Inside in a Good Vs. Evil Kind of Way

Nothing quite says, "I'm ready for Christmas, Santa!" like Christmas sheets and a reindeer pillow with a Darth Vader comforter.

Fade into heavy Darth Vader breathing and his voice, "Bones... I am your Sannnta..."

Posted by Boudicca at 09:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 25, 2007

Its Beginning to Feel a Bit Like Christmas or Crazy Husbands Trying to Assist the Airport with their Holiday Airplane Traffic

Christmas must be coming because my husband was on the roof today. His disability is paid up. I checked. And the following conversation transpired today, to the best of my recollection.

Me: Where’s your father?

Ringo: On the roof.

Me: Great. I have to run errands and return something for him at Wal-Mart. Come show me where he is.

He led me to the part where it was easiest to see my ever lovin’ husband, on the peak, setting up lights, because, we all know, the airplanes can’t find the Palm Beach International Airport in the month of December without our house lit showing the way.

Me, handing Ringo the phone: Here’s the deal. If he falls off the roof, I need you to call 911.

Ringo: *blank stare*

Me: Then call me on my cell. I’ll set my ring to 4 and vibrate so I hear it. You know our address?

Ringo: Mom, I’m 12.

Me: Just checking. So keep an eye on him, OK?

Ringo looked up at his Dad on the roof. My husband looked down.

Me, shouting to the top: I’M GOING TO WAL-MART AND TO PICK UP THE BOYSCOUT POPCORN. I TOLD RINGO THAT IF YOU FALL OFF THE ROOF THAT HE IS TO CALL 911 FIRST AND THEN CALL ME!

Husband: *blank stare*

I am beginning to realize where my son gets his facial expressions. This blank stare is looking very familiar among those that hold a y-chromosome in this home.

Bones came out and overheard some of it and said, “Mom, I’ll sit out here and watch to see if Dad falls off the roof…”

Me: Thank you.

With that, I left, but not before quickly stopping the asexual mom-mobile, rolling down the window and leaving these parting words for Ringo, “Your father is on the roof. You’re the responsible party now. Check on him frequently.”

I was met, yet again, with a blank stare.

Let me state up front, that Wal-mart is a soulless hell hole that will suck the Christmas spirit out of you. I refuse to go back there during the Christmas season and I realize now why TGOO refuses to ever die in Wal-mart. On my list of druther not dies, Wal-mart is 2nd only to falling 30,000 feet out of the air in an airplane, a thought I find absolutely terrifying.

The people who work at Wal-mart, have blank expressions. I would be worried that my eldest may be aspiring to work at Wal-mart, with the way he emotes, or rather does not emote, except I am thinking he has acquired this blank stare when speaking to me honestly. A father/son trait exhibited when being confronted by what they find to be puzzling conversations by those who hold the xx chromosome.

Or maybe just me and chromosomes have nothing to do with it.

My husband picked up some plastic storage bins for me from said soulless place this morning and accidentally picked up the wrong sized lids. That’s cool. It happens.

On the drive to the soulless hell hole that will suck the Christmas spirit out of you, Bones called me to buy batteries. I said to him, “Bones, do not call me unless your Dad falls off the roof. I’m busy…”

While waiting in Customer service to exchange the lids, my cell phone rang. Again. It was Bones. I could feel it.

I answered, “Did your Dad fall off the roof yet?”

The little blonde haired 18 year old girl/woman with the tight mid drift shirt, running shorts, and very flat tummy, turned around to look at me rather aghast.

Bones: No.

Me: I’m busy, son. I’m in line and I don’t like to talk on my cell phone in public. I will call you back. DO NOT call me again unless your father falls off the roof. Have I made myself clear?

Bones: OK.

*click*

I have to wonder what that young woman thought. Heh.

Let the Christmas Season begin!!!

Posted by Boudicca at 09:26 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 24, 2007

Life Changes and Perspectives

We're back home from Thanksgiving, making our travels today as tomorrow will be a disaster on the roads.

Let me first tell anyone who does not know this, my own little public service announcement, if you do not have Skype and you live away from your family and you own a computer with internet access, as does your family... run down to the local store and buy a little computer camera, download Skype (bonus... its free) and get a camera for your family. It truly is a wonderful thing.

Bones was a bit weepy tonight, our having left my folks' home, so I called TGOO and had him log onto Skype, and I think it gave Bones a bit of peace of mind. Being able to see his grandparents and my sister and brother, made going to bed a bit easier. Plus, his uncle TN mooned him and so... Bones just felt like he'd never left!

Life was good.

So Skype. Think Christmas. Its a must for grandparents. It really is. It's a stable platform, the sound is good and you can get those video cameras for $30 at any store.

In other news...

...no offense to any of you from Kansas or Missouri, but I seriously never thought I'd see a day where I was wrapped up in a Kansas Mizzou game. I truly mean nothing by that, but when I think FOOTBALL, I think: Army/Navy, Michigan, Ohio State, any TX team, Oklahoma, BC, Notre Dame, any SEC team, any Florida team (except FAU and USF), most ACC teams, and Nebraska.

I may have missed a couple...

Kansas and Mizzou just never would have made that list. Ever. I just don't think of either of those two teams when I think, 'Football Power House!'

Wow.

And now look. I've had the game on since it started. Good grief. Go Mizzou!!

I can't believe LSU lost. Holy crap.

On the last note today, though, our trip home was extended an hour when there was a traffic fatality on I-10 East, in Gadsden County. It took an hour to get through. A pick up truck vs a Maxima I gathered, the pick up truck having flipped upside down and then landed on top of the guard rail.

I never saw the tags and figured they were locals...definitely not going to the FSU/Florida game. I could just tell.

I figured the person behind the wheel of the pick up lost control or something. Fell asleep? Who knew.

I looked it up on line. It was a couple from Michigan, minding their own business when the Maxima, driven by a 23 year old girl, fishtailed in front of them, causing them to lose control, flipping the pick up, and killing the 66 year old wife passenger and leaving the 70 year old husband in critical condition.

You know...

...

...I saw it and felt a sadness for someone that this holiday would never be the same.

But now? I know their names. And I know where they're from. I'm genuinely grieving for that family. They are in my prayers tonight. So so sad...

Posted by Boudicca at 11:38 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 23, 2007

A New Political Plight?

We were in the car yesterday taking the kids to see The Bee Movie. I try to get the kids out of the house for a couple hours while Thanksgiving dinner is being prepared here. The house is quiet and Mom can do her thing without the chaos my family brings with it. Plus, she’s so organized any time I say, ‘Can I help?’ the answer is ‘No thank you!’ (She did much preparation the night before.)

Morrigan was sitting in the back with the boys, her husband, Flam, and my brother.

Somehow we got onto the topic of Mo’s very neurotic cat, ESPY. (Can you tell my sister is a sports fan?) And somehow I brought up about the new neuter/spade laws in Palm Beach County and then something about California’s law. Then something came up about what is done to make sure cats don’t have kittens.

And really… I don’t know what happened. All I know is with each question, Morrigan would offer up an explanation that would go just a bit deeper down that path of reproduction.

All the other adults in the vehicle saw it coming.

Every now and then Bones would come up with a question that I could completely see it taking a Birds and the Bees turn, with all of us in the vehicle, and I’d shoot her a look of, “It’s coming!”

Bones is the only one not in the know. The other boys got the gouge. Not him. He’s only 8. And on a side note, yes, I still think something seems kind of odd with the fact that my two older boys knew about sex while still believing in Santa. There is something just a bit odd about that… kind of twisted.

Anyway, I think all the adults had made the command decision on their own that if Morrigan ended up with a sex question from Bones, she was flat out on her own. Nobody was bailing her out. I was just going to turn around, raise an eyebrow and watch.

Well… except my husband, who informed me later he would have bailed her out by changing the topic, but I can see that. This is the man that pleads the 5th whenever the boys ask him a question. I appear to be Dr. Ruth in our family.

In a younger body.

So barreling down the road I finally heard it. Bones said to her, “So, do cats do it the way Moms and Dads do?”

Silence. It was the moment of truth and she was frickin’ ON HER OWN. I didn’t even look back. All adults just stared ahead. In my head, I was thinking, “What? Does he KNOW? HOW does he KNOW?”

Morrigan replied, “Why, yes, they do…”

I think I inhaled all the damn oxygen in the asexual mom-mobile at that point and held it all in my lungs.

Bones sat for a moment and then countered with, “So cats get married like Moms and Dads? You have to get married before you have kids…”

And Morrigan paused and said, “Yesss… cat marriage….”

So now Bones thinks cats get married.

I noticed the other two boys were silent during this entire thing. The entire scene played out with them as spectators. I’ll have to get their take on it one day…

But, the thing is, it is perfectly fine for him to think cat marriage for now. I’m cool with that. It’s like my boys believing for years that all those animals were just being friendly and giving each other piggy back rides.

Really.

I’m fine with that.

But eventually, this little tidbit of information he has gathered this ‘cat marriage’ will present itself at an inopportune time… and THAT is what I’m waiting for.

The proverbial shoe to… drop. Hearing about cat and dog marriages around other people who will give me a blank look that really reads, “what in the hell are you teaching your kids?!”

Dogs and Cats, living together… Mass hysteria…

Heh.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:53 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

From the very first Thanksgiving until now, how things have changed. The pilgrims then worried of making it through winter, cold, starvation, hostile forces, disease, and just the basics in life were a struggle.

Yet, they were thankful.

Today we have homes with heating and air conditioning, closets of clothes, pantries and refrigerators full of food, great medicine, but still hostile forces. Our basics have changed, the necessities readily met. Basic now seems to refer to the type of cable one has in their home.

I think we are thankful. I feel that 99% of the people I know and read are thankful. I read the blogs as much as I can and overall, 99.9% truly of the people I read, feel blessed.

I like that. Sure we all have days where we want to pull our hair out and scream. We are living lives, not some fantasy world. Life will get under our skin, we’ll be overwhelmed.

But for the most part… we all feel blessed.

Today is a day that we can readily put it on our blogs and shout out that we are thankful, whether it is through lists (there are some cool ‘I am thankful’ lists out there), or posts, or a simple “Happy Thanksgiving”.

I am thankful for many things, but today, the most pervasive thoughts are for our men and women overseas. I am thankful for them and all that they do.

So to any men and women serving us right now, who may stumble upon this, Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all you do.

To any families who have family members serving this great country, Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for your soldiers, sailors and airmen and wish you great strength during this time.

You are in my prayers.

As for here at home, Mom has dinner started, we’ll be taking the kids out and about to get them out of the house, and Bones has a placemat he made in school complete with prayer. He’ll be leading our Thanksgiving dinner prayer.

And to you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving.JPG


Posted by Boudicca at 10:40 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

November 21, 2007

Beef, Corn and Kisses

I was reading the paper today and a couple things popped out at me and made me do a pause and a *blink*.

The first was when I read about the Buffalo Zoo and how they have lost three polar bears. It was very sad. Further down in the article it stated that the zoo was checked frequently by the USDA.

*blink*

The beef people?

Am I the only one who did not know that zoos are under the jurisdiction of the USDA, the same folks who are in charge of the meat we eat? I just thought that was… odd. I’ve never thought of zoos as agriculture. Circuses too I believe.

I’m not sure where I’d put zoos. I’d not really thought about it. OSHA? Nope. Children and family services? Uhh… closer, but nope. Humane Society? Mmmm… getting closer. FDA? No. EPA? Ohhh, could be. TSA? Nope nope.

The USDA it is. Interesting.

On to other thoughts...

Then. Holy crap. Good Grief. I’d never have possibly imagined. But…

Some family in Iowa had a grain bin come apart, and pour 500,000 bushels of corn, which created pretty much a sea of corn, that lifted the house off the foundation, crushed the house, and but for the Grace of God, these folks lived, but not without the help of the local emergency crews who had to use O2 hoses for the father and brother until they could be released from their corn and lumber prison.

*blink*

Folks, I know NOTHING about farming. Well, some, a bit more than Jimbo, but not much. I’m no expert on it like Jerry. But I’m telling you now, to be crushed by 500,000 bushels of corn just astounds me. I’ve heard about people drowning in grain silos, but to be sitting in your home, minding your own business and a sea of frickin’ corn lifts your home away like an odd version of the Wizard of Oz, and then crushes it, leaving you to fend for yourself? Holy crap. That just frickin’ blows me away.

The neighbors said they heard the rivets popping off that bin like machine gun fire. Talk about some serious PTSD. I’d spend my whole life being afraid of being around grain bins. Add any gun fire nearby, like hunting, and I’d probably stroke.

My Mom keeps laughing that I can’t get past this. Because I can’t. (She’s not laughing at the horror of the situation, but at me… and how I can’t quit talking about it.) She said, “Nobody would pop popcorn around you! One pop of popcorn and you’d hit the deck!”

Meanwhile, as an engineer, I’m thinking, “Who cheaped out on the rivets?” Those were new bins…

And as a human, I’m thinking, “I want to help…”

Of course though, reading about the farm story made me think of Jerry and what a frickin’ funny guy he is. When we were at Eric’s he changed into overalls and unloaded a bail of hay and straw he’d hauled with him to Eric’s, and gave us a demonstration on the differences. I laughed so hard. Jerry truly has one of the most wickedly funny senses of humor I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I laughed that whole weekend… I am still quoting him. Good Grief.

Oh and while I’m on odd tangents, when did Hershey’s Kiss start putting messages on their white pull tabs? Hello? It’s supposed to have Kisses, Kisses, Kisses all over it as it has for umpteen years! Not cute little messages like ‘HI’ or ‘Congratulations’ or ‘Looking Good’. Please.

Some days I can’t handle change… like the time Pillsbury changed their pie crust from folded to rolled. I actually emailed them about it. Evidently I'm the only one who hated the change. I STILL hate it... but it is what it is.

I'm ready for the Kisses to go back to Kisses. Forget the HI. Please.


Posted by Boudicca at 11:08 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 20, 2007

It Appears it IS Possible to be TOO Gross

Yesterday we traveled to the great city of Mobile, Alabama to check out their Explorium. It’s a children’s science museum. Their exhibit was ‘Grossology’.

It was gross.

Even my kids were grossed out.

It was all about bodily functions, what causes farting, belching, snot, mucus, puss, and scabs, and how the human digestive system works. It was interactive.

Just to give you an example of what we were getting into, unbeknownst to us, there was a slide for the littler people and then everyone could climb through the tunnel. The tunnel was the lower colon ending in the child being pooped out. I looked at Ringo and said, “Dude, climb through the tunnel and come out like poop. I’ll take your picture.” He looked at me like I was insane. “No”, was obviously the reply.

None of boys wanted to act like poop. Whoda thunk it.

There was a big nose that you could walk into, complete with black hair at the top of the entrance, where it had intricate detail from the hair to the tear ducts, to… everything. And then at the end, of its walking you through the nose… it sneezes. I ran out as quickly as I could when I realized that this damn cave nose was going to sneeze with ME in it, fearing it was going to be nasty and wet. Luckily it was just air, but considering what we witnessed there, I’m surprised it wasn’t icky.

There were machines created so a child could watch what happens in a stomach when drinking coke creates a burp.

Oh, and then there were the tubes that were simulating anuses, with pieces of rubber over the top so the child could make different sounding ‘toots’. It was just so very…wrong.

But the hightlight of Grossology, the one we continue to talk about, the one we cannot ever forget was… the smell test. The exhibit was about bacteria and the odors, the different odors they produce.

I walked up and there were four canister tube things. They were about 3 inches tall and were very narrow at the top. The directions said to squeeze it gently as you put your nose over it and guess the smell. Upon guessing the smell, you were to push one of four lighted buttons for choices. Of course… with four tubes… that meants that eventually each scent would be represented.

I got Mr. T to try it. I saw the four choices. No way in hell was I going to voluntarily smell them. I have to smell them pretty much day to day without wanting to.

First up… Mr. T put his nose to the tube, stepped back and said “EWwww” and he hit the button for ‘stinky feet’.

I suspect that the odor they had on exhibit was nothing compared to Ringo’s feet, but I had not the guts to see. No thanks.

Second, Mr. T put his nose to the tube, stepped back and said, “Uggggh… bad breath” as he hit the button for bad breath.

Now I’m watching thinking, “Really, are one of these two really going to be THAT one smell?”

He walked to the third, put his nose to the tube, grimaced at me and hit the button for arm pits.

That left the fourth and last tube. There was one choice left. I figured he’d not really been reading or didn’t know what the word meant. He bent down and smelled the last tube and quickly jumped back and screamed while holding his nose, ‘That smelled like crap! I smelled a butt!’

We could not quit laughing as he hit the last choice for ‘anus’. I asked him later, “T, what is up? Did you not read? Did you not know what an anus was? Did you not realize that with four choices were you inevitably going to get the bad one? Or did you think they wouldn’t really put a smelly butt smell?”

He replied, “Mom, I never thought they’d put butt. I really didn’t…”

Oh. But they did. Heh.

I think the biggest hit at the Explorium was an exhibit that appears to be permanent on the 2nd floor. You take a bar coded sheet of paper and scan it into the scanner and then sit at a computer and ‘create’ a roller coaster. It gives you choices of loops, hills and corkscrews and with each choice you make it explains whether it was a good choice or not and why it may not be a choice you can use.

For instance, my beginning hill was too long, and so friction stopped my car before it could make it on the down slope. The computer showed me a graphic and then came up with a suggestion to fix it, putting my slope on an x-y axis with red lines indicating on each axis what the best choices in height and length would be.

Very cool.

I added a corkscrew at one point and it said something like, “Your ride would require pulling 59 Gs. Pulling too many Gs can result in severe injury or death…” and then it explained what I needed to do to make it acceptable, once again giving me the x and y axis and controlling both width and height and then running it through a test again and again and again, until it worked.

This is where it gets really cool. At the end, you choose your ‘scene’, which is desert, toy room, snow mountain, and one other. There were a few. When the computer says you’re ready, you take your barcode into another room and scan it in the scanner there, and then sit in this rollercoaster car that is bolted in the middle of the room, facing a big screen.

From there, the roller coaster you just made plays out before you, like you are in the car, riding it. No kidding, the turns, the corkscrews, the scene… as if you were there. It is absolutely one of the coolest things we have ever done in a kids’ science museum, and I have hit many many science museums at various cities with my boys.

Two thumbs up. If you live near Mobile, you must do the Explorium. It was worth every cent. Or would that be scent?

Now we’re waiting for Grossology to make it to our woefully inadequate local science museum in Palm Beach County. I’m perpetually amazed that with the population we have and with the money in our county, that our science museum sucks as bad as it does. I hear it is up for renovation and that someone has poured money into it. Thankfully.

Mr. T is going to try convince his friends they need to do the smelling tubes…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:51 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

November 19, 2007

Turkeyrific

Not that I don't have anything to post, please. We went to the Grossology exhibit today at the Explorium in Mobile. It was gross. I have plenty.

But I have not the time as I'm trying to... get my Christmas cards out TOMORROW!! Whoo hooo! Usually they go out on New Years.

Anyway, so for your Turkey pleasure... Go HERE and take the Thanksgiving Quiz. My brother and I scored Turkeyrific with a 10 out of 20 score.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:38 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

November 18, 2007

You Say Megorium, I say...

I called Morrigan multiple times today to see what movies she wanted to see with the boys and me. There were many choices. Now that she’s married, she never answers her phone. Sheesh. It’s like she got a life or something…

Anyway, finally in aggravation I left a message for her on her cell, “Mo, we’re taking the boys to the movies. I want to make sure we don’t see one that you wanted to see with them. What movie do you want to see with the boys? Fred Claus, The Bee Movie or… Dr. Kevorkian and the Wonder Emporium?”

We finally caught up and we saw Fred Claus.

She called me after we got home and said, “Your message on my cell said Dr. Kevorkian and the Wonder Emporium.”

Me: Yeah.

Morrigan: How in the heck did you get Dr. Kevorkian out of Mr. Megorium?

Me: I couldn't remember his name, but they rhyme…

Morrigan: No they do not.

Me, in sing song voice: Yes they do! Dr. Kevorkian, Mr. Megorium. Kevorkian… Megorium.

Morrigan: That’s so… wrong.

Me: Heh. A movie with a little bit for everyone. While selling toys to children in the front of the store, he commits assisted suicide in the back. A little politics for the adults and Christmas entertainment for the kids.

Morrigan: I laughed, I cried…

Me: Exactly. See? Great movie.

Morrigan: Dr. Kevorkian and the Wonder Emporium.

Me: Are you going to call it that?

Morrigan: Of course! I think it’s hysterical!

Heh. We’ll let you know how the real movie is when we see it. Fred Claus was OK. Vince Vaughn has his persona on screen down pat. Tomorrow we go to Mobile to see Grossology. It just seemed like something the boys would like…


Posted by Boudicca at 10:25 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 17, 2007

Thank You For Our Troops

And from my hysterically funny reader and commenter, Peggy, I give you this touching story...

Go Here.

Today, as in every day, I am thankful for our troops.

Posted by Boudicca at 05:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Living a Smelly Sitcom

We are here with my parents for Thanksgiving. We made the trek yesterday, leaving after the kids got out of school, and pulling in around midnight. Traffic was hellish through Orlando, to be generous. It has never been as bad as what we experienced.

But we’re here.

So we got in the car, and the boys immediately started to take off their school uniforms and change into regular clothes and instantly I knew… someone had taken off their shoes. From who the offending odor came, I did not know. It could have been all three. All I know is I thought I might gag.

Nobody else seemed to mind as much. My husband didn’t seem to be near as sick over it as I was and when I said to him, “how in the hell can the boys stand being back there with that stench?” his reply was, “They’re kids. They don’t care…”

Good God. Folks, I cannot tell you how bad it was. I am talking Chemical Warfare bad. It was the likes of which I had never smelled, a combination of stinky feet, spoiled milk and garbage, all stirred in the cauldron that was my mini-van.

The stench was so bad that… you know how over time your nose can acclimate to a certain smell and you don’t even smell it anymore? That never happened. I smelled it non-stop for the entire 9 hour trip. And when we stopped to eat, and I left the van, my senses had some sort of reprieve, and when I opened the doors to the van to re-enter, I was knocked over by the offensiveness of it all.

Everyone else piled in. I had to talk myself into it. I had to mentally say to myself, “You can do this. What’s the goal. What’s the goal. The goal is to go to Mom and Dads. I can do this. Its not that much time… only a few more hours. I can do anything for a few hours.”

Arriving at their home, I think I nearly fell out of my van seeking fresh air.

The next morning, my husband had the doors to the asexual Mom-mobile left open, in an attempt to air it out.

To no avail.

I sprayed Frebreeze in it.

It made a dent.

My Mom and I went to Target and I bought a melon scented air freshener.

Mmm. This would be the equivalent of making a stew. You add the meat, you add the tomatoes, you add the spices… one smell does not knock out or eliminate the others, instead you get the smells swirled together.

Yes. That is like what we did. Except stew smells good. The asexual mini-van now smells like melon swirled with spoiled milk, stinky feet, and garbage.

I told my Mom it reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where the stink of the vehicle would not go away and in fact stays on someone. They had to get rid of the vehicle.

That’s my vehicle now. We cannot get the stench out. It is STUCK. But thankfully not on US. When we get back, I’m going to have the carpets in it washed, but I’m really really afraid… I’m living a Seinfeld episode.

My life plays out like a sitcom half the time anyway.

My druthers would have been NOT that particular Seinfeld episode.

Blech.

On a sidenote, it is my oldest boys tennis shoes. I've frebreezed them, put odor eaters in them, got him new sock, and put the shoes on the back porch to air out. They are the only pair of shoes he brought. We may end up burning them and buying him new... I see that coming.

Posted by Boudicca at 05:46 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Santa Spirit

Just a little something to get your started in the holiday spirit. Heh. Not safe for kids in the room...

Go HERE and click on Mom is Santa. Good Grief.

Posted by Boudicca at 04:52 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 14, 2007

Measurements in Parenting

I remember when I had my first child, I was apt to say, “I understand how child abuse happens. All it takes is someone the slightest bit unstable, and it can happen.”

Before I had children, I would never have understood that.

Caring for babies required a lot of energy, but in general was rather simple after they got past 12 weeks. (The first 12 weeks of a baby’s life is always tough.) Sleep, eat, feed, play, clean clothes, baths, controlled environments was what it was about. Throw in some colds, bad days, monotony and that was pretty much life until walking.

I had a parent whose children were older and grown say to me once, “As they grow, so do the problems.”

And for 12 years I’ve remembered that, witnessing it in my life.

As a parent we have outlined in our heads what makes a good parent. I have said often, I am not a great parent; I struggle to be a good parent.

I am active in their school, help them with their homework, have their friends over, cook meals, keep the clothes clean, make good lunches, monitor what they watch on TV and what video games they play, try to get them off to school with a happy heart, make sure they get the right amount of sleep, set structure in this unstructured world and try to listen… if they’ll talk.

I will confess that there are mornings when they do leave for school having pressed all my buttons in all of 15 minutes and I spend the morning yelling and trying to get everyone out of the house, nobody starting the day happy. On those days, I can only hope everyone’s day gets better. Luckily, those days are few and far between. But I am not the perfect parent and this is not the perfect family and it happens.

There are days that you just have to use a different yardstick on good parenting. In our heads we have the long range goals like I cited above.

Then there are short range goals for good parenting… days…

…like when they were babies and toddlers and the measure of my good parenting was “I didn’t hit them, beat them, or get even remotely close to violent”. It is what it is because babies and toddlers can push you over the edge with the incessant whining, crying, and neediness and there are days you are running on no sleep and are just DONE and you just have to put them somewhere where they are safe and walk away and take a deep breath until the bad moment passes.

Mentally stable parents do that.

Mentally un-stable parents shake babies and beat toddlers.

Even though mentally stable parents feel that urge… they walk away. They understand that out of control is bad and they step away.

And then you get a 12 year old and it is so much like having that toddler again. The push for independence… the push to get their own way. And you’re back to the constant frustrations of ‘why’, and the demands, and the disrespect.

Boundaries are set, rules are reaffirmed.

And there are days where the measurement of good parenting becomes, “I didn’t grab his hair from the back of his head and punch him in the face” instead you take a deep breath, bite your tongue and silently wait for the moment to pass.

Mentally stable parents do that.

Mentally un-stable parents punch their kid in the face.

Even though mentally stable parents feel that urge… they walk away. They understand that out of control is bad and they step away. And as a good friend of mine is apt to say, “Whose the adult here anyway?”

The humiliations change as well. With toddlers it may be a temper tantrum in public or their lifting up your skirt and showing the world your underwear.

With pre-teens and teenagers it’s having to face other parents or teachers or principals over misbehavior or bad deeds.

I find the pre-teen and teenager humiliation to be far more damaging… to me.

I remember a woman I know told me this story… and from her story I gained the utmost respect for her. I hope to see her in December because she needs to hear from me how her words and her actions and the how the story turned out, keeps me going at times. I use her story as a benchmark as to how bad things really can get... and still have a good ending.

Her son was a decent student, very smart, and never applied himself. He never got in trouble and was the typical teen boy. One day she got a call from the principal’s office. Her son went to the local Catholic high school here in town, where my children may end up. She drove down expecting just some sort of conference, or asking her about some volunteer work she’d done at the school… maybe if her son got in trouble, it was the typical juvenile prank crap. It would be something that would cause her stress, but they’d take care of it.

And what the principal called her for was… drugs. A note had been found from some girl at one of the public high schools, telling her friends there would be a party, with the inference of drugs, at this woman's house, when she and her husband were out of town, and the public school principal brought it to the Catholic schools principal’s attention and suddenly there was reason to search his car where they found some sort of ‘pacifier’ which was and still may be, big with the kids doing drugs.

She was floored. She had NO IDEA her son was doing any type of drug. She had no idea about this pacifier thing. She had no idea he’d be so bold as to have a party like this when she was out of town. She had no idea the kids he was hanging with were into the drug scene. She’d met his friends. They were respectful to her and they appeared to make decent grades.

And I believe her. I think she really was clueless and not because she wanted to be. I’m a parent. On any given day, just about any kid can be in the race for an Academy Award. They are tremendous actors and… liars. And getting them to talk when they don’t want to, trying to get them to cough up information, can seem to require a phone call to the CIA for their interrogation experts.

She said she wanted to die right then and there as she stared at the principal and realized her son would be expelled and that he was doing drugs. The vast humiliation as in her eyes, and the eyes of most of us, it becomes a reflection of our parenting.

A toddler throws a tantrum and people shake their heads and think, “I handled that differently” and everyone moves on.

A teenager gets caught doing something really BAD and everyone looks sideways at the parents and thinks, “tsk tsk, what crappy parents”.

But it is what she did next that impressed me. I cannot remember now whether he was truly expelled, and I know it was his Junior year, but she got him in some sort of counseling, got them into family counseling and then on Saturdays, she signed him and her up for a cooking class taught at our local culinary institute. He’d always loved cooking and she decided, “Then fine, he will explore this and he will do it WITH ME.”

Mother-Son bonding.

And so every Saturday for weeks and months, they cooked and talked, and the family stayed in counseling…

… and her son? He went to college and joined the Marines. He’s a health nut now, not even taking in caffeine and he told his Mom, “Mom, I was my own person by then. There was nothing you could do from keeping me from making those bad choices. You raised me right, but *I* made those choices.”

She still shakes her head. He may be right; there may have been nothing she could have done to prevent it, but her actions after pulled it back on track. I firmly believe that.

She was the mentally stable parent. She resisted that urge to grab him by the back of the hair and punch him in the face.

Trust me. I’m sure that urge was there and overwhelming. When she tells the story, there is still vast emotion in her voice and that was probably six years ago. She was proactive, not completely reactive. When she tells the story, you can still feel and see the humiliation in her face of when she sat across from that principal and realized what her son was really up to.

Some days the measuring of good parenting is by what we did NOT do. The short term parenting. The long term is what we did do… but the short term… on the bad days… is by what we did NOT.

Today… I’m working on short term. We’re not anywhere close to the level of high school bad, but buttons have been pushed that should not have been… and so we’re looking at the short term yardstick for good parenting this evening.

It happens.

And I want a crystal ball. I want to know how it all works out. I want to know they’ll all turn out…


Posted by Boudicca at 09:54 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Good Looking Stoic

I was reading our local paper on line tonight, and I caught that Matt Damon got the 'sexiest man alive' award this year.

Don't get me wrong. I think he's a very very good looking man. I just... prefer my men to emote a bit more.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:42 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 13, 2007

A Life Saved by Panties

So I had this party I had to go to Saturday night, a Country Western theme, as I wrote of last. I had to go stag as my husband was teaching this weekend. No, I did not wear a hat! I don’t own a cowboy hat, although I will say the thought did cross my mind as I am rather fond of them. But it did seem ridiculous to splurge on something I’d wear but one time. Jeans, the shirt that Bones chose, and black boots were my attire.

At this function, they’d rented a bull. One of those fake riding bulls that were real big in the movies in the early 80s. I gather they still have them around somewhere if the chairwomen of this function were able to find one to rent.

Jumping to the end of this story for a second, as I was leaving the party, around 10:30, people were still partying, many were gathered around the bull and I heard a group of them chanting as I left, “Bou! Bou! Bou! Bou!” trying to get me to ride.

Now folks, I’ve done some stupid stuff. I’m game to do some things others would not... I will make a fool of myself and laugh. But… let me state up front, I am extraordinarily in touch with my mortality. Breaking my very sober neck on a bull is not high on my list of ‘things I want to do before I die’. As a matter of fact… it’s not on there.

At all.

I graciously declined their offer and left.

Back to the middle of the party, dinner had been served, much drinking had been taking place, I’d paid the bills (I’m the school Treasurer), and I made my way to the bull as I heard that there were crazy people actually riding the bull.

Crazy people who were pretty lit.

I came upon one of the Dads whose wife is a friend of mine. He’s a big guy, big in every way, and makes me appear to be hobbit sized. He could palm a frickin’ basketball. He looks like a big Viking to me… with his beard and twinkly blue eyes. His wife is an absolute doll and is quickly becoming one of my favorite people.

Viking husband was holding wonderful wife’s purse. I asked him what he was doing and he told me his wonderful wife was in line to ride the bull.

I said, “Really? Holy crap. I’m sticking around for this…”

He said, “Are you going to ride?”

Me: Hell no. It hurts when you fall and when you’re 42, it hurts for DAYS.

So we waited and waited, evidently she was signing a release, when she came back to us and said, ‘I changed my mind.’

I told her I was looking forward to it as I’d not seen anyone ride yet… and she told me of women riding that I’d missed, where some almost fell out of their tops.

That’s another thing not high on my list of ‘things to do before I die’… fall out of my top in front of anyone, let alone parents of children my kids go to school with. And the principal.

Not that I have enough to fall out of a top… but still.

Finally the wonderful wife said to me, “You know, I really shouldn’t anyway. I did have back surgery a couple years ago…”

Now keep in mind, everyone was very HAPPY as this point of the party. Well, except for me. I was just ‘happy’ since I haven’t had a serious drink in 17 years.

I looked at her husband and looked at her and said, “Look, I don’t mean for this to sound offensive, but… I can’t believe HE was going to LET you ride considering you’d had frickin’ back surgery.”

Yeah, I know, nobody tells me to do anything. But I’m telling you now, my husband would have put the screws to me if I’d had back surgery and was talking about riding the bull. The ensuing argument would absolutely NOT have been worth the ride… no matter how much I really really wanted to break my neck before I died.

A teacher had walked up and the wonderful wife said to me, ‘Well, actually, I was standing there and I realized, with my luck, my shirt would ride up and my pants would come down and my underwear would show’.

Me: *blink*

Teacher: Oh, t-back, huh?

Wife: Oh no. Granny panties. I didn’t want 3 inches of my granny panties showing to every parent in this school…

Me: *blink*

Teacher, laughing, : Oh absolutely.

Me, laughing: Let me get this straight, you aren’t riding the bull, not because you had back surgery a couple years ago, but because you don’t want 3 inches of your granny panties to show?

You know, modesty is a funny thing. I could not quit laughing. Modesty trumped common sense.

She is a frickin’ riot. I laughed the rest of the way home…

Posted by Boudicca at 10:43 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 11, 2007

Valour-IT... the Finishing Line

The deadline has been extended to midnight Monday night.

Think about donating. Army, Navy, Marine or Air Force, it matters not to our wounded warriors.

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. Our wounded warriors in need are Veteran's now. I can think of not a better way to say thank you.

It doesn't take much... $5.00, $10.00 or more... anything. It all adds up. It all helps.

So think about it on Veteran's Day. Have you thanked a Veteran lately? And have you thought about helping one through Soldier's Angels?


Posted by Boudicca at 09:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Not Always as We Seem

We had a big fundraiser for the school last night. The event is a country western theme. I of course attended, being the person writing the checks for the event, it is good I go, but I went going stag as my husband is on travel again.

I had no intention of dressing other than jeans and a black pair of boots. I figured any shirt would do. Until… I got asked repeatedly if I had an outfit for the gig.

Blech.

I frickin’ hate costume dress up. It’s completely impractical. I had a party to go to that was 70s themed a few weeks ago. I went ‘cocktail’. Call me a stick in the mud, but I just don’t do the costume thing.

At work I was grousing about it. One of the guys said, “Try Wal-Mart” for a store to find something country westerny. I went to Target.

While walking through Target the following conversation occurred with Bones, to the best of my recollection.

Bones: Mom, Mom, Mom, I need more underwear.

Me, knowing damn well he just wanted me to buy him something: No you don’t.

Bones: Yes, I need new underwear.

Me: Dude, wait for Christmas….

Bones: Christmas? Who wants underwear for Christmas.

He was obviously not remembering the fact that he’s gotten underwear in his stocking every year since he was three.

Me: Wait for Christmas.

Bones: But Mom, there is no more room for both my butt and the chimes.

Me: *blink*

Me: *blink*

Me: chimes?

Bones: Yeah, you know… THE chimes.

Heh. I guess I do now…

But this is life with Bones. As afraid as I am of his future, or the fact I don’t get how he will ever make it through life responsibly, he is the comedian in the family and the rest of us are merely the audience or the straight man.

So I found it extraordinary the other day when I realized that the places we put ourselves in our families, the roles we play if you will, are not necessarily the ways the world perceives us. Whereas Bones is the funny man and the rest of us are the source of his impromptu comedic material or onlookers at the spectacle that is his life, within our family, others outside the family, who do not watch the ins and outs, don’t have these preconceived notions of ‘us’.

They don’t necessarily see the rest of us as the straightmen. In real life, outside the family, away from our family members, me might be considered the funny one.

Case in point, on Friday Mr. T got in the car and said, ‘Mom, I have a note for you from my teacher…”

Keep in mind that Mr. T is my analytical son, the over achiever who MUST make an A in everything. He’s the one that can be extraordinarily serious… the one that can remind me of TGOO… the one who most frequently pays the straight man to Bone’s comedian.

I replied, “OK, pass it to the front…” and with that three sets of hands passed it to my lap, where I found not a note but a packet of papers with a sticky note attached. It was a packet of papers full of information on our local middle school here for the Arts.

The note said something like, “Bou, I don’t know if you’ve considered this, but I think you should look into this for Mr. T. He completely cracks me up…”

I had to reread it. This middle school she is talking about is a pretty high end middle school academically as well as artistically. The kids have to WORK to stay there. You can enter via communications, drama, visual arts, and music. Evidently she wants him to try out for drama or communications.

I was stunned. So we will think about it. I’m not sure in general that that particular middle school is a good fit for him. Its not structured enough and he actually likes where he is currently going to elementary school which does continue through 8th grade… but it made me stop and think.

He and I will sit down and discuss it… but it was so funny. Outside the family… Mr. T is the funny one.

And to finish the first story, Bones picked out a purple shirt for me to wear. He said to me as I was leaving for the fundraiser "See Mom, I told you that you looked good in that color. It's a good color for your eyes."

Bones the Comedian and Fashionista.

Mr. T appears to be the Funny Professor.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:47 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

A Little Side Football Post

May God Bless Ron Zook! Whooo hooooo!

On another note, Holy Crap, did the Air Force Academy REALLY beat Notre Dame too?

Yeah, that coach is history. Seeeeee yaaaaa.

Geaux Tigers!

Posted by Boudicca at 09:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 08, 2007

Monday Night's Thoughts on Death

Just because I was dark did not mean I did not write. I just did not publish. I wrote this on Monday night.

Monday

I attended a graveside service today. A woman I knew for about 13 years… 76 years old.

She died LAST year. Yes. Last year.

As one of my friends said with great sarcasm, upon hearing I was going to a service one year after the death of someone I knew, ‘So, what’s the rush?’ to which I said, “Wonder whose been stashing the bod and how much that cost?”

I don’t understand some people, this ‘family’ that waited so long. Her plot and stone were paid for.

She never married, had no children, and no siblings. She had cousins and many friends. She was found in her home last December having died of a stroke. I hear she had been dead for a day or two before she was found. She went to bed and never woke up.

She was a quiet lady, very classy, and intelligent. She had a great love of giving back to society. I knew her from a woman’s organization I am very involved with. She was also extraordinarily active in Eastern Star.

When she passed, the President of our chapter kept in touch with the extended family to find out about services. We were told there would be some ‘eventually’.

Someone from the cemetery called our chapter and informed us she was to be interred this morning.

Nobody had organized anything for her. No family organized anything for her. Nothing.

This has happened before (blogged on HERE), although last time it was a very selfish and spoiled son who was just incapable of doing anything on his own at 60 odd years of age. My chapter put her funeral on… the funeral home confided to someone in our chapter that the son was dropping the ball and ‘could we help’? And our chapter Chaplain threw a service together and it was dignified and wonderful and well attended.

After the service the assistant funeral director said to our ‘then’ chaplain and to me, “Thank you for doing this… Nobody deserves to go to their final resting place without a few kind words said over their body.”

And that has stuck with me, the sincerity of his face when he uttered those words to my friend and me.

And as I sat here this weekend, thinking of how crazy busy this week was going to be, and how I feel like I’m drowning sometimes… work, deadlines, laundry, dishes, holidays, shopping, Christmas cards, school treasury, school benefits, homework, projects, and on and on and on the list seems to continue… I thought to myself, “She deserves to have people at her service.”

And so this morning, on my way to work, I got in the asexual mom-mobile and drove 30 minutes south of where I needed to be, and found her gravesite and found… four ladies from my chapter and three ladies from the Eastern Star… someone from my chapter had called them and said, “Please come…” and… No family.

None.

Our dear friend was laid to rest by a handful of women from two organizations she was a member of, a funeral director named Jose, and two men who were in charge of putting her ashes in the ground upon our departure, one of whom was holding a tube of epoxy to seal the lid on the urn when we were gone right before the ‘lowering’.

I found it to be so… sad. This wonderful woman and that’s what she had. Eight women, Jose, and two ‘grave diggers’… one holding a tube of epoxy, instead of a shovel.

Someone at the cemetery had taken the time to have someone put a tent up for us, with 12 chairs under.

As I sat waiting for us to start the service, wondering whether we were getting a body or ashes a gentleman showed up carrying a marble box with our friend’s inscription on the top.

He said to us, “Good morning. I’m Jose and… this is Betty.”

I think he was a bit nervous, this being an odd situation, I feel certain that internment one year after the fact is nowhere near the norm, and as he introduced us to our departed friend ‘Betty’, he lifted the top off the urn and there I saw her ashes in a plastic bag.

I had to fight the urge to laugh. I don’t know why I found it so humorous, but I did. Morbidly funny.

I sat staring at Betty and now, unfortunately, my last memory of her is not a luncheon we attended or modeling she did at a fashion show, but of a bag of ashes shoved in a square marble urn.

At the end of the service, I took Jose aside and thanked him for assisting us in paying our final respects to our friend. I told him we would be back to put our insignia on her grave, something she wanted and that our chapter does for free. He looked at me and said, ‘Oh. We’ll have to get permission from the manager for that!”

I looked at the rows and rows and acres and acres of gravesites, wondering if someone would even notice our little insignia we would epoxy on her headstone. Nobody even seemed to notice she was dead… except for us. Her certainty of the love others had for her had even had her pre-buy her stone with a little vase at the head so people paying respects could put flowers.

People who did not come see her to her final resting place. It hurt my heart.

I nodded at Jose and said, “Yes, I’ll speak to your management…”

And as we walked to the car, I said to the elderly ladies I was with, in a hushed voice, “Phht, forget that, I’ll come out here dressed in a black cat burglar suit and epoxy that quarter sized insignia on her stone. Nobody will ever frickin’ notice….”

My dear friend who is 82 looked at me and said in her thick southern drawl as she took my arm as I led her to her car, “Dear, you remind me more and more of me every single day…”

I had to laugh again.

And in my head on my drive home, I continued to hear the words, “Nobody deserves to go to their final resting place without a few kind words said over their body.”

And they don’t.

I’ll be taking flowers with me on the day I place the insignia on her headstone. She deserves those too.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:45 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

November 07, 2007

The Life Stages of Hurling

My eldest had a stomach virus last week. It was a 24 hour virus but he’s not really gotten his appetite back until yesterday, where I do believe he consumed about 5000 calories in one sitting.

Some of you may be saying, “Well, Bou, he’s 12, that’s what boys do.” I get that. I do. But I’m perpetually amazed at how much food this kid can put down considering he’s 4’11 and weighs, on a GOOD day 75 pounds. Maybe. When wet. I have no frickin’ clue where he puts the food. No clue.

He’s got that whole ‘wooden leg’ thing going on.

This past weekend when we were camping, there was an accident at a campsite and one of the Moms had to take their baby to the ER. She has four boys and one of the boys, her eight year old, insisted on going with her.

I said something to her husband about how I know their eight year old loves his Mama and the husband said, “Oh, Tommy is his mother’s protector. Nobody messes with his Mom…”

I looked at my husband and said, ‘Wow, I don’t think I have one of those…’ and then said, “Well, maybe one of the two younger two, but definitely not Ringo. He’d kick me to the side.”

My husband made sounds of, ‘Oh that’s not fair!’ to which I replied, “I have made peace with the fact that when that boy leaves home, we’ll never hear from him again. He’ll be like, “seeeeeee yaaaaa!””

Both men looked at me sort of aghast and then finally my husband replied, “That’s not true. Who did he call the other night when he was sick?! At 1AM, it was only YOU that he wanted!”

Please. The kid was throwing up. At 12 years old, they still don’t like to throw up alone. Give me a break. I’m still betting on the kid making a permanent exit from our lives when he’s got wheels and places to be.

He won’t even call me when he has to puke.

I’m Ok with that.

I’ve had to lecture him a lot lately on taking care of his body and eating right. He’s a frickin’ Hoover, sucking down everything in sight. Sometimes its good food and sometimes… not.

For instance, we were camping and he was up at 7AM, as soon as the sun was up (what’s up with that, by the way. At home I can’t get his butt out of bed until 9!), fishing pole in hand, on his bike, riding down to the river, a bottle of Frappacino he’d coerced me into buying while I did my pre-camping shopping stuck in one hand… coming back only a couple hours later to scavenge through the cooler, thinking I’d let him get away with eating a chocolate bar as he made his way back to the river.

NO.

I stopped him dead in his tracks, put my hand on my hip, and did the whole head shaking finger pointing “I don’t think so” Mom-i-tude I get. I told him again, “Eat right… you have one body. Take care of it. Put down the chocolate bar… you’re not two.”

Good Lord, living with a 12 year old is like living with a two year old, except bigger body and more attitude. The language is not much better as 12 year olds tend to morph back down to grunts.

Yesterday we sat down for dinner and I looked over at my counter and realized that half the groceries I’d bought three hours before were gone. The three Hoovers had sucked them all down. A take out box of sushi, a half a bag of Tostitos with salsa, 15 raspberry rugelach, 1 chocolate chip muffin, 1 yogurt, a brick of cheese, a half a tin of those fried onion things you usually put on the bean casserole at Thanksgiving, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Maybe not a partridge.

But the rest of it was real. And they were sitting at my table inhaling dinner and I found out later that my eldest, while running an errand with his father, got ice cream that night as well.

At dinner I lectured again about healthy eating. I know, deaf ears on boys and food, but it is making me nuts. Yes, we go through an abnormally high rate of carrots and fruit, but… I’m sorry… 15 raspberry rugelach is just insane.

Today Ringo had to take a container of Cool Whip, dyed green, to school for science. I picked him up today and he had the container in his hand.

“Dude, what’s up with the container?”

“Mom, I misheard, I was supposed to bring it in tomorrow and she didn’t have room in the school fridge.”

“You ate that crap, I can tell. Your teeth are green…”

Now he swears that it sat in the fridge most of the day. I know for a fact it sat in my car for two hours today.

I suspect he had some tonight as well.

Tonight I came home from something I had to attend with my husband and was greeted by Bones, “Mom! Mom! Mom! Ringo threw up all over the bathroom!”

Green cool whip puke, all over the floor, all over the commode, all… over.

Why do the children in his home never hurl normal puke? NO. In this house it is named.

There is the infamous “Pizza puke” that was right next to my bed and which got blogged upon.

Then there is the also infamous, “Chocolate Cake puke” that is in the doorway of my bedroom, which was a great lesson and one I impart on all new parents, “You may think when you are carpeting your home that your bedroom is your sanctuary and therefore it is safe to install white carpet, but it is not. At 2AM when your toddler ate too much chocolate cake at a birthday party, he will find his way into YOUR room, making his way to YOUR bed, on YOUR white carpet. Chocolate cake puke stains.”

And now we have Green Cool Whip puke.

This gave me yet another opportunity to ‘lecture’, not that it matters as I know all my son hears is Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah, wah, waaaah, waaaah, waaaaaaaah”, on taking care of one’s body, watch the junk one puts into it and… food spoilage. We’ve had a couple lectures on that already… when ‘to’ and more importantly when ‘not to’ eat food.

And this whole thing has made me realize that I can divide my life into… ‘The Cycle of Puke’.

There is the newborn stage where they get a bubble while feeding and puke milk all over. If you have hit the bonus prize, as we did with Ringo, you get a baby with reflux where the puking continues up to nearly a year and is consistently the shade of the last previous meal. Carrots stain.

Then there is the ‘whole food’ stage where they choke on too much meat or a green bean and hurl all over the supper table. Oh and the realization that certain textures are intolerable, such as my middle son who cannot eat coconut. The texture makes him gag and we’ve had coconut cake puke too… at a restaurant. That was lovely.

From there you move into the ‘pre-school’ and ‘child’ stomach virus stage of puking. Just their consistently being around other children will bring home the most rancid horrible intestinal bugs imaginable… stuff that should be used in germ warfare by the military.

Nasty stuff.

Note the capital ‘N’.

And then you move into the ‘pre-teen’ or ‘teen’ stage where there are still viruses, but mostly it is eating combinations of food that should absolutely NOT ever be eaten, and then on occasion adding a carnival ride to it. This would be like doing a modern day “Cool Hand Luke” contest with deep fried twinkies. “Oh yeah! Well he’ll match your 45 deep fried twinkies, up it five more and then ride the hurl a whirl!”

Blech.

Teens do it to themselves.

From there you move into the late teens and twenty’s drinking binge hurls. *shudder* I still have bad memories of that. Gah. Getting drunk on red wine with a screw on cap will insure you do not take Holy Communion without fighting the urge to hurl on the priest for a few years.

At least.

And then they grow up into the ‘morning sickness’ stage where they are either listening to their wife hurl for 12 weeks or they get to be the mother-to-be wretching every morning for 12 weeks.

And you move right back into the baby puke hurling.

It’s a whole cycle that starts at birth and that I don’t think gets broken until your kids are grown and out of the house… but then again… I do think Hubba has had some puking grandkids in her home.

But I can tell you, I know that Hubba and TGOO are past the major puke phase of their life.

I’m still covered in it…


Posted by Boudicca at 10:41 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

November 05, 2007

Navy Time...

I know I’m ‘dark’, but I had to do this… I had to.

Holy crap what a great weekend.

Of course I missed the best part… Navy beating Notre Dame. Gah! Of all the times to not have a television and to be out camping! Forty-Four years!!!

Obviously TGOO did not miss it. No. He said it was probably one of the best games he’d ever watched, going into triple over-time as it did.

Someone said to me at work today “Notre Dame sucks this year”, but my reply to that was, “yeah, well, Navy sucks EVERY year. Navy WON that game fair and square.” And before anyone gets upset by that… let me explain.

Navy/Army/USAF is college ball at its purist still. Those men on those teams know it’s ‘just a game’. Don’t get me wrong. They want to win. But life is really about what comes next. They aren’t ‘recruited’ just to play ball. Hells bells, Notre Dames offensive line, each player, had 40 pounds on the Navy defensive linemen. Notre Dame recruits for ball.

Navy recruits for…

Serving our country.

And the men of the military institutions for higher learning get that.

And it makes the win that much more sweet.

Serving our country… that’s what those men on the Navy football team will eventually do. That is their goal… it is what they are training, studying, and working for.

Serving our country.

There is nothing more honorable, my friends. Nothing.

Our country is at war and there are men and women throughout this great nation VOLUNTEERING to serve us. They are enlisting on their own accord. They are accepting military scholarships on their own accord. Nobody is forcing them.

On their own, there are great young men and women that are going into our armed forces, in myriad ways, knowing we are at war.

And some of them… some of them will not make it. Some of them will. Some of them will come back wounded warriors.

Valour-IT. Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops

It doesn’t have to be much folks. Its hard times for us all. Five dollars. Ten dollars.

I had a boss once that used to say, ‘If you watch the pennies, the dollars will watch themselves.’ And that is the case here… if everyone gives just a little, soon it will be a lot.

There are four service teams. You know I’m all about the Navy. I always have and I always will. Pick a team. Let your heart lead you and give. It doesn’t have to be a lot… just from the heart.

But hey, Navy rocks. Seriously, give to Valour-IT and think, “Go Navy!”

Fear The Goat.bmp

(I'm so loving this Goat picture... you'll see it again. Trust me!)

Donate... push the button and do it.


Posted by Boudicca at 10:45 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 04, 2007

Dark

Folks, I am going temporarily dark. It will just be for a few days or for the week.

It is Fall and with the Fall comes an enormous amount of stress concerning things in which I have no control. I just have to plod through it. And I actually flat out can't write when I'm this stressed... feeling pulled from more directions than I could think imagineable.

I just have to get it all in order.

Life happens.

I'm off...

P.S. Camping was fun... and I am slowly mastering this cooking over an open flame and enjoying it. Chocolate makes everything good. Heh. ;-)

P.S.S- I LOVE this post. The little people make me smile... Look at that last picture, with Tot's feet off the ground trying to be so big. You know Darth Vader was laughing himself silly under that mask.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:02 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

November 01, 2007

Valour-IT- Go Navy!

I have been remiss in blogging about this… and it is not for lack of wanting to, but truly for a lack of creativity on my part.

For the last two years I’ve tried to find some way to convey my love of our troops and the one blog fundraiser I support whole heartedly.

Valour-IT.

In 2005 I did a WWII Navy Poster theme.

In 2006 I did a WWII theme as well as listing my ties to the Navy, through various posts.

Its 2007 and my creative juices aren’t there. And THAT is why I’ve been remiss. I want to do this right. The men and women in our Armed Forces that can benefit from Valour-IT deserve to have it done right.

So… let me just lay it out there for you, in case this is new to you and a refresher for those of you who remember from years past.

Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops (Valour-IT)

From the Soldier’s Angels website:

helps provide voice-controlled and adaptive laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field.

Every cent raised for Project Valour-IT goes directly to the purchase and shipment of laptops for severely wounded service members. As of October 2007, Valour-IT has distributed over 1500 laptops to severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines across the country.

Did you read that? EVERY CENT. All of it. The whole kit and caboodle. Our wounded warriors get it all.

In the blog world, we have a little friendly competition… we divide up into the various Armed Forces groups and try to hit our goal first. Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy/Coast Guard.

That’s right, this year the Coast Guard is teamed with Navy.

(If you are a blogger, go HERE to join a team. Of course I know you are SERIOUSLY considering Navy... *ahem*)

So read about Valour IT HERE. Think about joining a team and donating to a most worthy cause.

That is all I ask… think about it. And if you feel so compelled… donate. (Click that little donatey button!!!!)

And really… when it comes down to it… GO NAVY!!! Whoo hoooo!!!

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PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">

Update: Is anyone else seeing odd code around this button? TGOO is seeing it... but I'm not. I'm using IE. Let me know in the comments. He uses a different browser.

Update2: It appears to be an issue with Firefox.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:18 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Camping with the Cubbies

No blogging until Sunday as we’re going camping. Noel has blown out the bad weather. It looks to be wonderful… and bonus is my husband is going. That should up the blog fodder quotient significantly.

You know… because he loves camping so much. Heh.

Ciao.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:25 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Random Thoughts on People

I’m still Treasurer of the school, something I am realizing may become a lifetime job, at least while my kids are still there.

There has been great aggravation with the job lately, much stress with various aspects of my life that may temporarily make this blog go dark for a week or so. Fall is tough for me, too many balls in the air and if I don’t go dark soon, I’ll drop one.

Anyway, so there is this big Benefit for the school, a big fundraiser, coming up in a couple weeks. Being the school treasurer I’m very involved… being this is a new group heading it up, I’m much more involved than I ever wanted to be.

I’m taking a lot of deep breaths as of late.

I sent the head chairman for this party an email explaining some of what she is seeing in the low turn out. The economy down here is just shot. I don’t know if that’s everywhere, but down here, it’s a disaster. We’re all feeling it and tightening our belts. Foreclosures are all over, the market is bad… taxes are scary high and home owners insurance is breaking most of us.

And so there has been some concern as to why so many families are not participating and I sent her a note explaining, the economy is tanking right now and families just cannot afford to do it.

Good Lord. There was nothing political in my note and it was actually written very professionally. I didn’t use words like ‘tanking’. And I got an email in response completely raking Bush over the coals and the Republican party and ‘what are we going to do? This country can’t take another Republican President, but Hillary or Obama?”

And I read the email and did a big *BLINK*.

Agree or disagree… it is irrelevant. I don’t know this woman from frickin’ Adam and that’s the response I get to my note saying parents are strapped and are making choices and supporting the school is just not it right now?

I was stunned. I didn’t respond. Perhaps my lack of response will be loud enough for her to hear that she overstepped talking any politics with me. She doesn’t know me that well.

-------------------------

I read recently about the ‘Christian’ folks who have been fined millions of dollars for protesting at a soldier’s funeral.

Good.

I wish it could be worse.

I’m not sure what part of what they did offended me most as it was offensive on so many levels.

Actually, that’s not true.

The first and foremost truly was the fact they were protesting at a soldier’s funeral. If Boudicca were Queen, they would promptly be deported to some hell hole in some remote corner of this world where they would be unable to practice their religion without fear of torture and death, unable to speak their thoughts without same retribution and unable to gather in any way without fear of being gunned down.

I think there are probably many countries that fit that billet.

Perhaps we should just send them to Iran, last I read the country fit the billet and they don’t have to worry because I think I also heard that Iran doesn’t have any homosexuals. *blink blink*

Which leads me to…

The rest of the offensiveness of the situation is like a cesspool. The whole anti-homosexuality aspect of their hating the war leaves me completely baffled. I had a really tough time understanding their logic. I didn’t see any linearity to it at all. And I have a difficult time understanding people’s hearts being so… dark and so small as to truly hate someone for their sexual orientation.

That puzzles me. And scares. Because you know... its such a Christian thought to HATE so intensely. /sarcasm off

What scares me more is they had children holding placards. I saw that and I think I emitted a *gasp*. The whole ‘breeding Nazi’ thing in action. Sometimes I lose faith in humanity.

That was one.

I just wish the judge could have levied something much harsher and closer to home upon these imbeciles other than a monetary fine, of which I feel certain the soldier’s family will see not one penny.

Something like banishing them to some place the opposite of America.

You know… just for being inhumane creeps and unworthy of living here.

And ultimately? A pox upon them and their ilk and may they rot in hell.

-------------------------------

And lastly, may God rest the soul of General Paul Tibbets, who passed away today at the age of 92. I will always believe in my heart and to the core of my soul, no matter who rewrites history, that we did the right thing and General Tibbets was a hero.

I was sent THIS interview today while at work and absolutely loved his memory and recollection. I found his thoughts on the terrorists today interesting.

General Tibbets will always be a hero to me. A hero with great understanding as to what has happened to this world and to this country… requesting no tombstone for his gravesite as he knew it would only draw protestors and n’er do wells.

Goodbye General Tibbets and… thank you for your service.


Posted by Boudicca at 04:20 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack