Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Sneak Preview

We got a new camera! It was time. It has been time for awhile now. The bad days for our camera progressed from mere lines through the picture, to this:

And then finally, it reached the point where the photos were completely unintelligible and no amount of banging, slapping, or knocking it would solve the problem. It reminds me of when our last TV started to give out. It never fully died, it just got to the point where the controls were messed up. You couldn't use the remote and the buttons on the actual TV sometimes didn't do what they were supposed to do. You couldn't change the channels down, only up. And then they would keep changing out of control. Still, I was willing to cope because I'm that cheap, but when we got to the point where pushing the channel down button instead caused the volume to skyrocket up out of control, we started considering a new TV. Even then, I was feeling guilty about spending the money. I didn't give in until M brought me to the realization that I had taken to sitting on the coffee table to watch TV because of not having a remote and needing to repeatedly fiddle with the controls hoping that I would get lucky and land on the correct channel and volume. Fast forward to the present. I finally realized our digital camera had gotten to the point where I was "sitting on the coffee table." Luckily, the new camera arrived yesterday, just in time to record all things Halloween at our house. (Okay, it was more than luck. We paid for a rush order on Newegg to make sure...)

So without further ado...

We carved pumpkins as a family last night. The family pumpkin (the big one) was "designed" (from a limited set of options) by Claire. She kept saying, "Happy pumpkin, I love you SO much!" The other 2 were done by M and I after we got the kids to bed. How computer geeky are we??? I dub them our emotikins. And I've decided that carving pumpkins with a drill and mini-hacksaw is the only way to go.

And, most importantly, I put the finishing touches on the kids costumes today. Just in time too, since we have a church party tonight!

Here is Claire's Belle from Beauty and the Beast ensemble:

Don't forget the accessories: shoes (courtesy of Grandma), hair bow (Claire INSISTED), mock gloves/gauntlets, and matching trick or treat bag

Scott, true to life, is going to be The Beast as Claire's sidekick. Here is the main "prince" part:

Again, don't forget the accessories: shoes (they aren't as mismatched as they look in this photo), matching trick or treat bag, and Beastly head cover. This is the back view showing the stylin' pony tail. The next photo shows the front view.

Now hopefully the kids will actually keep the costumes on...
And now that the costumes are done, maybe I can start living again!

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Guinea Pig

In theory, I blow dry my hair straight most of the time when I actually intend to interact with real human beings (the people I live with and clean up after have disqualified themselves). But the results are often less-than-fabulous. So I have been devouring hair advice from whoorl, as you've probably already noticed. I try to blow dry my hair the way she does on her recent video tutorial, but alas, I'm a hair gimp. (I'd link to the video, but it seems to have disappeared at the moment. She had a bit of a blog explosion a little while ago and I'm not sure she's fully recovered. But here's the post it went with.)

Enter Claire.

I blow dried Claire's hair straight for church a little over a week ago. It was a great way to practice my technique without needing detachable arms. I'm exultant that apparently I'm at least passably capable, because Claire's normal corkscrew jumble became this:

It was so fun to see how long her hair really is!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Recurring Dialogue

Me or M: "Claire, you're so smart!"
Claire: "I sure are!"

Monday, October 22, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New and Improved Me

For all of you who voted back when me and m'hair were featured on whoorl, feast your eyes on the results here. If you didn't vote, I suppose you can go look anyway...

Can't...Blog....Must.... SEW!!!

Halloween is just 13 days away, EEEK!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Propaganda for NSIM

The issue I'm going to rant about today is straight from M's agenda. He gets so worked up about this issue! He asked me to blog about this and I was happy to oblige. It amazes me that this isn't more of a hot button issue. Forget SCHIP. Forget Blackwater.

What our nation really needs is universal milk cap color coding.

I mean, how do they pick? Do they just throw darts? To become a distributor of dairy products, do you have to sign an agreement that you will ensure that your milk cap colors are completely different than everyone else's? It sure seems that way. How can something so important be left to the color choosing whim of the various dairy companies?

Perhaps y'all (I've decided that I've lived in Texas long enough that I claim the right to this superbly useful plural second person pronoun) don't appreciate the gravity of the milk cap color situation. Let me enlighten you to our plight.

First of all, I hate having to actually read the label of the milk every time I reach into the fridge. See, at our house, it is totally within the realm of possibility to have all 4 "grades" of milk in our fridge at one time. You see, Scott is still under two and is a little bean pole (unlike the thunder-thighs that Claire was as a toddler) so he drinks whole milk. Claire drinks 2% most of the time because that's what her pediatrician suggests. M would probably prefer the whole, but for the cost as much as for his health, he usually drinks 2% too. Then I prefer the "unleaded" variety. Skim is so much better for quenching thirst and for cutting through sweets. When you put away the sweets like I do, you really need something that will dilute the the richness and let you plow ahead with your indulgence. But given the fact that we're all milkaholics, we're always looking for ways to cut down on the number of milk jugs in our fridge. So sometimes, milk supply optimization requires that M, Claire, and I drink 1%. So not only do we have all 4 types of milk, but we have to buy milk pretty much every time we find ourselves at a store that sells it. (Is that a sign of addiction? Never mind...) I mean, it is totally normal for us to go through more than three gallons of milk in a week. And when milk is cheap, we try to stock up as much as possible given expiration dates. So at any given time, we could have 6 gallons of milk in the fridge, each with a different color cap. Total chaos. Every time, I have to read the label to find which milk I'm looking for. And when the jugs are stacked three deep, can you figure out what that one in the back is from the cap you can see? No, of course not! You have to pull the other jugs in front of it out, balancing some precariously on shelf edges and juggling others in your free hand, just to see if that one in the back is a red Costco whole milk or a red HEB 2%.

The second problem is that as conscientious as I am, my husband is well, as loathe as I am to say it, absentminded. So everyone in the house ends up being served the wrong type of milk when he's the milktender. Not that this is the end of the world or anything. I mean, a little more or less milk fat never killed anyone. (Well, not as an immediate result...) But I just have to point out the milk cap color inconsistency is more than his sometimes distracted mind can keep track of. He can't help but automatically reach for certain colors based on our usual purchasing patterns.

I did a little searching and determined that there is at least one other person out there who thinks this is an important issue. Credit to them for the following:

This may not be the exact color scheme I would choose, but goodness, who cares as long as it's standardized!

Monday, October 8, 2007

This is Worse Than a Giant Zit in the Middle of My Forehead

Alright, you've all successfully made me look like an idiot. How humiliating! I've got a measly four comments so far on my last post. I know there are more than four people reading my blog. No really, I do know. I am using Site Meter on my blog. That little icon at the bottom right corner? It means I know people are reading, I'm just not sure who they are. But fine, sit there at your keyboard laughing at me.

This is bringing back unpleasant associations with middle school and high school. I thought I was over the days of wallowing in self-pity due to my social outcast status. Well, I guess I might as well go put back on my old army surplus pants and combat boots, re-dye my hair a fabulous shade of fuchsia, and embrace the fact that I'm horribly unpopular. (Wow! So melodramatic! It's really is like being a teenager again! Are you all laughing at me even more as you picture my past fashion blunders?)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Keep Up the Habit

As many of you are probably aware, yesterday there was a big push in the blogsphere to delurk. I really wanted in on that action, but I suspected that, much like myself, many of you might have been feeling a little commented-out yesterday. So I decided that I would insist that you (yes, YOU!) delurk on my blog today instead. This will help keep you in the commenting habit!

So, here is your food-for-comment:

What is your least favorite holiday?

Cuz, honestly, for me it's Halloween. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to deprive my children and scar them for life or anything by being an anti-Halloween fanatic or anything. Dressing up can be fun. But seriously, can I just have the candy without all the dark creepy stuff? And the girls who use it as an excuse to dress like hookers...

But even if you love/hate all holidays so much you can't pick a winner (loser?), please, let me know you're out there ambiving and leave a comment anyway.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fridge Update

Before I receive any more undeserved pity, I must announce that my fridge is now fixed. So I only deserve 7 days worth of pity, no more. The repair people actually did come yesterday evening at about 6:30pm. They obviously went to great lengths to come and do my repair and for that I am grateful. It's amazing the kind of results you can elicit when your sob story involves two little kids. Once they actually got here, they were able to fix it in about 10 minutes. Such bitter irony: almost a full week of waiting for 10 minutes of work.

Last night M and I spent a romantic evening cleaning out our fridge. There was an exciting new ecosystem forming in there, but we decimated it with a variety of cleaners. This morning the fridge had been running long enough that I could take everything out of the coolers and put it back in it's proper home. I can just hear my mayonnaise saying, "Ah, home sweet home."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Why Do Stereotypes Have to Prove Themselves True?

All right, appliance gods, we have to talk.

First of all, there's the spelling thing. When I want to use the full name "refrigerator," it uses only a "g," but when I want a shorter way to say it "fridge" has a "d" and "g." What up with that? Do you know how many times a day I've had to remember that distinction in the last 7 days???? Which brings me to the larger issue.

My refrigerator is a glorified cabinet. No wait, it's worse than that because now it's full of melted ice water (from the brief attempt to keep it cold in there with an extra bag of ice we had), rotted produce remains (the stuff that wasn't worth saving), and the smell of warm barbecue sauce. My other cabinets definitely don't have those problems, no matter how bad a housekeeper I am. So make that, "My refrigerator is a big stinky cabinet." I mean, I love Rudy's Sause, but not enough to enjoy "eau de BBQ" every time I open the fridge out of mindless habit. (Why do I keep doing that? You'd think I'd learn. Especially since the only way to get to my fridge is to basically trip over the two big coolers in the middle of the kitchen floor full of ice and all my perishable food staples. I suppose if nothing else, maybe this experience will break my habit of mindlessly opening the fridge when I'm bored.)

How could I abandon my Rudy's Sause to the broken fridge abyss you ask? We all have to make choices in a moment of crisis. I did the best I could... Back when the fridge first started to go, the things made of predominantly vinegar seemed like they would fare better in the slowly deteriorating environment. I mean, better to lose the the mustard and bottles of salad dressing with only a few tablespoons left of whatever creamy dressing whim struck me when I was pregnant than risk a coup when Scott discovered we'd be spending another week where he couldn't drink milk. (Yes, you're doing the math right. I'm not making any announcements about being pregnant again. The salad dressings were past their expiration dates anyway.) The problem became compounded when my first and thoroughly useless repairman came on Friday and my fridge gave up the ghost. Or maybe I should say it gave up the rest of its freon. It used to cool at least a little bit. As I watched, the repairman opened up the back, pointed out a bad weld on what he called a previous repair (previous repair?!?!? your guess is as good as mine...), then touched the suspect spot. This commenced a loud hissing sound that signaled a new chapter in our refrigerator saga. No longer were we in the "mildly cool" stage. No, no! Now we'd progressed to "accelerate bad smells because it's musty and warm in here" stage. So in the interest of whining as much as possible, here is my timeline:

June 23, 2007 - We purchase a brand new (still has all the packaging tape and styrofoam) LG refrigerator from a scratch and dent appliances store. It indeed had some pretty significant cosmetic damage, but since I have two children under the age of 5, this seemed irrelevant. It comes with a full manufacturer's warranty, so everything will be fine, right? (On the cosmetic side of things, it was a good call. My kids have already generated two new dings on the front of this thing in the two months we've been using it.)

July 21 - We actually pick up our new fridge and start using it.

September 22 - We notice that our recently purchased ice cream is more of a chilly soup/foam. It never recovered from the trip home in the trunk. We wonder if we've overloaded the freezer and blocked air flow. We move a couple things to the chest freezer in the garage and turn the freezer a little colder.

September 24 - We notice that things have not improved in our freezer. We completely rearrange everything so that we have even less than before in the freezer and spread it all out in a nice even layer just begging to be frozen. Also, we adjust the temperature again. I begin hunting for our owner's manual. "Which box I haven't unpacked yet did that end up in?" Also, I must not forget to mention that, apparently oblivious to the mounting peril, I go the grocery store for our bi-weekly trip and stock up our fridge. How dumb could I be? But hindsight is 20/20...

September 25 - We try everything suggested in the owner's manual. We start cooking up our own ideas. We leave only a few things in the freezer and place a test cup of water in there to see if it will freeze overnight.

Wednesday September 26 - By morning, the cup of water in the freezer has succeeded only in forming only a very thin layer of ice which begins to disappear as the morning wears on. I decide to call LG. I spend my morning making touch tone selections and listening to hold music. They reffer me to someone who offers to come the next morning, but Claire has a preschool field trip we're all going on, so I put it off until Friday morning. If only I had known then that the freezer inadequacy was just the tip of the melting iceberg. After I set up a repair appointment, I realize the few things we've left in our freezer are now thawed and dripping everywhere. So I transfer what can be salvaged to the other freezer, then start to realize that my problem may be getting worse. Is it me, or is the fridge not quite cold enough? After an hour of conflict, I finally ignore the voice in my head that says, "The fridge is definitely colder than a breadbox (what scale can you use?), the food will be fine" and heed the alarmist voice in my head saying "How will you know if the fridge is cold enough? Do you want another upchuck festival?" (Man, that just keeps coming up, doesn't it? Sorry...) I pull out our cooler and borrow one from the neighbors. I scrounge ice from our house and our poor under-appreciated neighbors.

Friday September 28 - Repairman #1 comes. His name was given to me by LG, so why couldn't he fix anything? He doesn't "do" the sealed system. Well I don't "do" soggy cheese that has been floating in a cooler full of ice and water. So I call LG again and get three different names of other repair companies so I can call until I find someone who does "do" the main components of refrigerators. The first company I call sounds like it will work great. They can't quite squeeze me in that day, so I schedule them to come Monday morning. I try calling the other two companies and leaving messages to see if they can come any sooner. They never return my calls. Hmmm.... I guess we'll wait through the weekend.

Monday October 1 - Repairman is no show. I get a call at about lunchtime telling me that the repair guy is bogged down with some huge job that turned out to be more than they expected. He won't get to me today, he'll come the next morning at 10am so that I'll be back from dropping Claire off at preschool.

Today, Tuesday October 2 - Repairman is no show by 11:30am so I call to see what's up. He's behind but he'll come this afternoon. Well, that's all fine and dandy, but I have to pick Claire up from preschool at 12:15. Now, we all know how this works. If I go, I just KNOW the repair man will definitely come while I'm gone. But as long as I'm here, he'll never show up. I mean, afternoon seems like it would mean later than 12:30, but I'm not willing to bet a likely case of food poisoning on that. At this point, I'd rather eat the soggy ziploc bag of raw bacon we fished out of the cooler yesterday than risk not having my fridge repaired as soon as humanly possible. Ah ha! I need a substitute me! Enter my good friend Liz. I frantically call and have her come stay at my house while I go get Claire. She is under strict orders to pretend to be me at all costs if the repair people try to make contact. (What will I do when Liz finally finds a job? Then she won't be available for crisis impersonations and other sundry shenanigans!) Of course, the repair company does call while I'm gone. Of course. They tell her some sob story about how they're short-handed and over-worked. Cry me a river... Wait, I'm already up to my neck in river generated by melting ice in my kitchen. They tell her/me that they'll try to come later in the afternoon but that if I'm desperate, I can see if LG will just send me a replacement fridge. He also says this would probably take about 3 weeks. Gee, I wonder what I'll pick???? Anyway, at about 4:30pm today, I called to see if they were still going to come now that afternoon was rapidly turning into evening. They said they'll still come before they finish up for the day. I'll believe it when I see it.

Everyone jokes about how terrible it is getting warranty repair work done. Everyone jokes about how terrible repairmen are about coming when they say they will.

I hate living in a joke.