Monday, March 30, 2009

A New Family Member

Well it's been eight days since I've last written. Honestly, I almost forgot my password (how embarrassing). Disney World was of course wonderful. What a terrific time of year to visit. The weather was so nice. It's unbelievable that all last week I was in shorts and swimming in the pool. I returned to Pennsylvania during a tornado warning and a wind storm.

I was so tempted to go flower shopping. I was inspired by all the nice gardens while in Florida, but I know it's just a bit too early for PA planting. Everything will surely die (although that is already a possibility with me as the gardener).

The 18 hour ride in the car to Disney wasn't that bad. Our family has done it many times before, although this time we had a new member joining us. As you know, I give nick names to all our family members (to protect the innocent): Potter and Scooter are my two sons, Pal is my best friend, Pookie is my sister, Hubby is the love of my life, Freddy Kreuger is our television, and now our newest member is Good Ole Bessy.

I know what you're thinking. We bought a cow. Well, not exactly. Bessy is our new GPS. It was the only thing my husband wanted for Christmas. All right, I gave it to him for Valentine's Day (a romantic present or what?) He's been dying to use it and Disney was the perfect opportunity to try it out for the first time.

I'd like to report that Bessy and I are good friends, but like most family members, we have our issues. First, she is always ready with an opinion. If you want to go one way, she wants to go another. Second, she is always right. When you decide to do things your way she begins to scream: "Recalculating!" The roads then disappear on her screen and a picture of your car is left in the middle of nowhere while Bessy finishes with her tantrum. Lastly, don't dare try to find something (like somewhere to sleep) during your journey. She is likely to point you in the direction of that Quality Inn in downtown Jesus Town where a black cat guards the front door. I kid you not. I never stopped the van. Just kept driving until once again Bessy stopped sobbing and pointed us in the direction of that quaint Holiday Inn Express.

While I sat cursing from the drivers seat, my husband could do nothing but grin. He loves Bessy, and I don't understand why.

Sometimes I guess it's just better not to ask why. Just when you think you've run out of crummy presents to give (ties, baseball caps, T-shirts, etc. etc.), along comes Bessy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bags For My Bags

I have a serious problem. I've had it for years, and I'm not sure how to get help for it. I know there are others out there who suffer like I do. I've seen you. You've probably even seen me. We can't miss each other because our problem follows us wherever we go. What's the problem you ask? I don't know if I've ever said it out loud before, but here we go. I'm an over packer.

That's right folks, there's no denying this disease. It snuck up on me so innocently, then just kept snowballing. I didn't realize there was even a problem until about age 26 when I took a trip to Las Vegas with my girlfriend. It was a five day trip. At about 5am I stood in front of my home loading my suitcases into my car. I had my trusty large suitcase that comes standard with most luggage sets. It weighed about 60 lbs. Back then my long curly hair couldn't be dried by just any hotel hairdryer. So of course I packed my own. Along with a diffuser, gel, moose, pomade, and hairspray. And then there was of course my carry-on. Again, another piece of luggage loaded to the brim with do-dads and what-nots.

Then here comes my friend. Out comes her carry-on, which by the way was a quarter of the size of mine. She threw it into my trunk. The weight of her luggage convinced me she had probably just packed flip flops and a bikini. (Not a big deal since we were headed to sunny Las Vegas). She then hopped into the car.

"Wait a minute," I said. "Where's the rest of your luggage? We don't have time to run back to your home and make it to the airport!"

My friend was practically in tears laughing so hard. It was then that she informed me that all the luggage she brought was already in my trunk.

"Shocking," I thought. How does one fit all that stuff into such a tiny space? Immediately my mind began to fade into the Spoon Full of Sugar scene in Mary Poppins. Surely my friend had also packed a lamp and talking umbrella to entertain us on our trip.

Well, as it turns out, despite lugging all my personal belongings cross country, I was still the one who borrowed clothes from my friend that week.

It's been almost ten years since that trip. I would love to be able to say how far I've come since then or at least report that I'm on the road to recovery. The hard truth is that the car is almost filled and there are still more bags inside the house. In fact there are bags inside bags.
It's 8 hours and counting to the big Disney World Trip. I still need to fit 4 more bags and a cooler in the minivan by tomorrow morning. If that's a success, I'll just have one more problem....Where do I put the kids?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sometimes Plan A Works

Well, I left everyone hanging last Friday with my Vacuum Cemetery post. Amazingly, Hubby was able to replace the belt and I'm happy to report: "We're up and running!" Sometimes Plan A works.

Now, on to bigger and better things. Four days and counting and we will be on the road to Disney World. How excited am I? As for now, I will describe my mood as anxious. I have list upon list of things that need to be accomplished before Friday morning. There are even list for the list.

Scooter and I began our adventures in Super Walmart. We headed directly to the snack and juice isle. Anyone brave enough to take an 18 hour drive will need to have a fully stocked cooler. Next we headed to the DVD Clearance section. Some oldie but goodie flicks that the children haven't yet seen were thrown into the cart. God bless the Mommy who invented the travel DVD player. (I didn't even research that statement. I know in my heart she's a Mommy.)

Next I headed to a new kid friendly hair salon I found on the internet. My little Scooter suddenly became God awfully frightened of these places about two years ago. Try as we may we finally had to break down and buy our own hair cutting kit. Shortly after getting tubes in his ears Scooter became hyper sensitive to noises. While some things haven't gotten better, other issues remain status quo. Sometimes ear plugs work; sometimes they don't. I often find myself sitting in the car with Scooter or redirecting his attention somewhere else while Potter and Hubby go and enjoy the activity we originally planned to do with the entire family.

So, all was well for about 10 minutes, and then it was Scooter's turn. Tears, screaming, shaking; he made the littlest of children there look like princes. I finally had to call it off. No bribing in the world was going to work on this kid, not even the Disney World vacation. (Which I'll admit, I tried). The Dialogue went something like this.

Me: Scooter, if you want to go to Disney on Friday, you'll need to get your hair cut.

Him: Why?

Me: It's very hot, and you have too much hair on your head, you'll sweat.

Him: No I won't.

Me: Your getting too big to still be acting like this. You have to learn to calm down and have a good time. It will be over before you know it.

Him: It's already over.

Me: Scooter, will you please get back in the chair?

Scooter: (Talking in third person) Maybe when Scooter gets bigger, you can bring Scooter back here.

Me: (Thinking to Myself) Hell No!

Me: (Saying Out Loud Now) There's no reason to come back if you don't at least try to get your hair cut today.

Him: (Looks at Hairdresser) O.K. then, Scooter won't be back!

Well how do you like those apples? My child is sillier than me. This is no fair. All I want is a nice haircut for him. Is it that impossible? The poor child looks like a really cute mop. The layers go on forever.

I've decided that later tonight we will try the "at home method" once again. It's never as good, and it often is uneven. But, it seems to be our last resort. What can I say? Sometimes Plan A Works, and Sometimes you need a Plan B,C, D, and E lined up just in case.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vacuum Cemetery

At home I'm known as the Vacuum Queen. Silly as it is, I love this chore. I vacuum no less than three times a week, and usually mop twice.

Now don't forget, I also have 2 small boys, a husband and a dog. I haven't figured out just yet if they are in charge of making the mess, or the mess follows them. Either way, it's a constant battle for cleanliness.

Because of this strange habit of mine, you can probably imagine that I have gone through more than one vacuum. Well, this August my husband and I will have been married for seven years. Exactly 4 vacuums have gone to heaven since we've been together.

I can't exactly explain what happened to any of them. All I remember is one day I was bringing home my shiny new vacuum and a couple months later there was a funny smell. This would often be followed by regurgitating dust particles, sometimes smoke, and only once a little flame. (Not a full blown fire. Just something that was easily put out with a palm, shoe and old shirt.

Most people probably think I put my vacuums through hell just by using them so much. The truth is, I'm actually quite gentle. I clean the beater brush regularly, empty canisters and change bags, but to no avail. The closest I came to torturing a vacuum was the time my husband threw his fishing line in the guest room table. Only he accidentally left a little hanging on the floor. In I came with the vacuum. You can imagine what happened next. Imagine having your car in Park, the ignition turned on. Now place your foot on the gas pedal all the way to floor, and don't let up for about 10 seconds. That was the sound I heard. It was followed by a flume of smoke, a small chuckle (yes, it laughed at me), then finally silence. Poor guy never stood a chance.

After vacuum #4 went into the light, my husband vowed that we would spend some money and buy a nice vacuum. Something "top of the line" I think he said. So that Christmas I received an Oreck. I know some women would be completely disappointed with receiving an appliance for a Christmas gift. I however knew what was in that box. I think I heard angels singing.

And so, after sending 4 vacuums to the cemetery, I have been the proud owner of a trusty Oreck for the past 2 years. That is until yesterday. I was vacuuming (of course) when that all too familiar smell of burning rubber began to resonate from the undercarriage of my favorite appliance. Immediately I ran to the receptacle and pulled out the cord. "No no no, not you," I cried. I can't let this happen again. I turned it on it's side to see if I accidentally grabbed anything (like invisible fishing line). There was nothing to be found. "It will be all right," I promised my friend. "It will be all right."

Well tomorrow is a new day. Hubby will be home during the morning shift. I have already added "Change the belt on the Oreck" to his Honey-Do List. It's an easy remedy, and one that I hope will work. The thought of putting another vacuum to rest hardly sits well with me. This guy was truly loyal. In it's short life span it must have tackled at least 100lbs. of cheerios, not to mention the countless other morsels that have fallen from our dining room table.

Until then, it's back to the basics. A broom and a dustpan. Tear :(

Tune in tomorrow (same Bat Time same Bat Channel) to find out: Did Honey change that belt? Did Mr. Oreck respond? or Did another vacuum "Beat the Dust?"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Where's Mommy?

The jury is in. I'm officially my own cartoon character. That's right. Just call me "Where's Mommy?" (Along the lines of Waldo, but a much better dresser). I truly do not look like that cartoon to your left, but it's the best I could do with my God given gifts in artistry and some off the wall avatar site I found in Bloggy World.

I have been noticing this strange trend in my household that I'm not so sure I like. Here's how it works: If I am within an ear shot of my children; all remains calm. This could mean the same room or a connecting room. As long as they can see my where abouts, a sense of calmness remains in the home. Now keep in mind that during this period I don't necessarily have to say a word to my children. I am strictly there for their pleasure.

Now imagine if you will a world where Mommy's have to empty their bladders from time to time. (And the sirens go off!) "Where's Mommy? Where's Mommy?" I hear from behind the bathroom door. And no, it doesn't necessarily have to be the bathroom, it could be anywhere in the home beyond the invisible electric fence.* (* The fence isn't really electric, but once the screaming ensues, a definite jolt is felt through my spine).

I try to remember to announce that I will be heading to the curb to retrieve the daily mail. But as soon as I turn back to the porch I find my little guy peering out the door with that look of "Is she coming back?" "Will I ever be fed again?"

It's funny how certain habits start in your home, but it didn't take me long to figure out the point of origin for this problem. See, today Hubby was working from home since he pulled an all nighter for a special project. Despite trying to go about my daily routine and allowing Hubby to do what he needed to get done, as soon as his rest period was through, guess what I heard come from his lips? "Where's Mommy?"
"Shocking?" I'm not so sure. Children constantly mimic their parents. Why should this instance be any different? It was a bit funny though.
As a Mommy, we constantly hear our name being called. Whether it's for a question, a comment, a boo-boo repair, or just a much needed hug. We are the band leaders, the teachers, the Chicks-In-Charge. Sometimes it's overwhelming to always feel we're on-call, but I know there will come a time when the noise will stop; and it will be missed. So for now my little ones, I take pleasure in being your "Where's Mommy?" and of course your Waldo.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Loosing Time

I've lost many things over the years. Case in point: my keys during my college years (my mother accidentally put them in her purse), a gold hoop earring (still looking), and a sneaker (which fell out of my book bag in 11th grade). Some may even argue I've lost my mind (the jury is still out).

But the one thing I've lost that I can never get use to is time. No matter how it is explained to me, somehow the pushing and pulling of minutes from one season to another still remains trivial.

We try to teach our children to be honest kids. "Don't take things that belong to others." Yet another year has gone by and I've been robbed. I'm downright peowed!

I've tried locking my doors and windows. I even invested in a dog (although somewhat docile). All to no avail. I still wake up the next morning late for everything. My hour is gone.

Last Friday the NBC Nightly News thought it would be educational if they informed people that heart attack rates actually go up 5% the month we lose an hour. Duh? I guess they thought they could make up for that scary stat by pointing out heart attack rates go down 5% when we add that hour in the Fall. Well thank you Brian Williams for that false sense of security I've been carrying around for the last 34 years.

I get that it's only an hour, but assuming that most of the people who read this blog are Mom's, let us ponder what we really accomplish in an hour on any given day. Hold on to your hats Daddies. You may not see my super cape, but you better believe I have one.

In an hour I can run two loads of laundry and have one half dry. I can scrub 3 bathrooms and vacuum 2 floors. I can feed 2 children, run 1 to school, and pick up a Dunkin Doughnuts Coffee before returning home. I can write a post on my blog while simultaneously loading a dishwasher and reading the front page of today's newspaper. And the list goes on.

But those things won't get done today. You know why? Because someone stole my hour. Gone, done, adios, over. There's no S.O.S., no sniffing hound dogs, no search parties. It's like the child who decides to hide in the hamper during hide and seek. You'll never find her no matter how hard you look. You know why? Because it's the best darn hiding place. Some things just aren't made to be, that hour.

FOOTNOTE: (No children were harmed while writing this blog. The child in the hamper was actually me at 8 years old. I wasn't found during that game. In fact my friends began another game before I came crawling out of that way too cool hiding spot. Some people are just totally unaffected by change; while others just hide in hampers).

Friday, March 6, 2009

School Photo Saga

I guess it's been about 2 weeks since I received the infamous school photo information packet in Potter's book bag. I'm unsure if it works the same way at everyone's school, but basically this is how it's done.

We were told in a very kind letter that we are obligated to purchase a picture package from ABC Company on a certain date. We are to circle the package we choose, and return the envelope on picture day with a check. In large bold writing it says (I kid you not) "We Prefer Cash." Our children are told they MUST wear their uniforms (Catholic School), and to make sure they are properly groomed since the photographer is not allowed to touch the children.

It's at this point that I'm beginning to wonder if the photo will be used for America's Most Wanted. What has our world come to when on a cold windy picture day a photographer can not help a child fix their hair so that they look half decent?

You can probably guess where this story is going by now, but just in case, let me say I decided to use gel in Potter's hair that day for extra help with those curls that sometimes pop up during 60 mile winds. I was pleased with how nice my son looked when he left that morning for school, and I felt confident that his school picture would turn out just fine.

Hold that thought. Who am I kidding? This is The Adventures of Mommy Maestro. Why on God's green earth would you expect this story to have a normal ending?

So as the story goes I received those beautiful pictures yesterday. Well, I use the word beautiful because the picture of course was of my son, or at least I think it was. Somewhere between the word cheese and the click of a flash something so odd happened to my child's face. It was the look of confusion, happiness, boredom, and silliness all wrapped into one.

Now I remember back in the day when a child would reveal such a face, a photographer may not actually know until the film was developed. But in the digital age, these things just don't happen. We take a picture, we like it, it goes on our memory card. We don't like it; it gets deleted and forgotten forever. Let's just say that this was one of those pictures that may have been better forgotten.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So I made the best of things and I laughed until there were tears. I really can't place blame when I don't know who to blame. Sure, I could send these pictures back. I still have the option. I could probably just demand my money if I returned the packet, but for some reason, I think I'll keep it. Sure, it's $17.00 that I'll never get back, but it's also a laugh that I may not have had; and a memory I'll treasure forever.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dusting Off the Bowflex

Oh don't laugh. You know you own one, or some equivalent you purchased late at night while watching infomercials that promised to restore your old self to new. So I fell for it. I fell hard.

I'll admit, my basement resembles the inside of LA Fitness; and I'm not the least bit ashamed. Wait a minute. OK, maybe just a little.

There was a time in my life when all that equipment went to good use. I racked up plenty of miles on that treadmill. But that was all in the B.C. Era (Before Children).

I always promised myself that I wouldn't blame my children for my loss of interest concerning my waist line. I use to think Stay At Home Moms had the life. They could exercise when they wanted, shop when they wanted, even finish that novel they've been working on (When they wanted). And then I received the shock of my life...I became one.

Corporate Life doesn't hold a stick to my daily adventures, and now the only money I make is when some curious soul clicks on my Adsense Bar.

I often sit here at night wondering when the last time it was that I sat down for more than 10 minutes straight; and yet I'm worrying about my waistline. What happened? Well, here are a few possibilities:

1) My inability to pass a Dunkin Doughnuts without stopping for a coffee and chocolate chip muffin.

2) My inability to balance Karate Class night with a healthy dinner, and therefore I must rely on my local Chick Fillet to bail me out once again.

3) My inability to accept just one piece of Pizza with peperoni will actually fill my stomach.

4) My inability to watch nightly T.V. without a hot cup of tea (good) and some cookies (bad).

The list could easily go on, but I think you get the idea. I just looked at the calender and noticed that out trip to Disney World is almost upon us. I'm almost praying for Blizzard conditions in Florida just so I can avoid the bathing suit saga. Sure I bought one, but I still haven't tried it on. It is sitting nicely in the guest bedroom with the tags still attached.

I'm thinking a good 7 pounds with some major toning will do it, but I don't think there is any equipment that will make that promise by March 20th.

I'm looking forward to this weekend. The cold spell is suppose to break and I may have a chance to take a walk (A very very long walk).

Until then, I think I'll just grab a rag, and dust off the Bowflex.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Some "Bling" for My Blog

How excited am I? I get excited just receiving a comment on a post, but an award? I must admit I let out a yelp (a little higher of an octave than the kids, a little lower than the dog). It's great to know that there's actually people out there who enjoy the art of rambling. This award was given to me by Jen at It's a Beautiful Life. I stumbled upon her blog quite randomly one day, and I feel I've never left. Please stop by for a visit. Give her a little time this week to get back to you. She is currently shopping for a new computer, after viruses sought out and destroyed her old one.

Anyway, the rules of the award state that I must list seven things I love, and then to pass the
award onto seven bloggers I love to read. So, here we go.

Seven Things Mary Loves (Besides Hubby, Potter, and Scooter)

1) Long Hot Baths
2) Cracker Jack Prizes
3) Dunkin Doughnuts Coffee/Vodka (Tied for Third)
4) Disney World
5) The Carol Burnett Show (I realize it was cancelled over 30 years ago)
6) Comfortable Shoes in Size 11 (Yes, I'm related to Big Foot)
7) Country Music

Seven Blogs Mary Loves To Read

1) The World According To Me By: Kathy B.

2) Irishembi

3) A Parents Life to Behold Through the Insanity and Bliss By: Kim

4) Two Be A Mom By: Calista

5) Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder By: Anna

6) A Hapa Girl and Her Happa Family

7) One Year Apart By: Susan

Congratulations to all of you. I look forward every day to reading about your newest adventures. Remember to pass that award on to your favorite reads.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Parental Guidance Suggested

The phones began ringing at 6am this morning. The automated system sent the anticipated message that school was closed today. I am usually up by that time, but I quickly surmised that Hubby's work may have closed as well and he decided to let me sleep. Just what I needed.

An hour later I made it downstairs to find kids fed, and Hubby working at his computer. This Bug that has overtaken my body must have had a one way ticket. I imagine a bunch of virus blobs sitting on beach chairs and sipping umbrella drinks right in the middle of my immune system. They take a look out at the horizon and make a quick call to their travel agent: "We'll be staying here another week. This place is great!"

Despite the fact that my body has been turned into a vacation spot for unknown pathogens, I'm quickly reminded by my children that the white fluffy stuff on the ground does indeed melt and I will have to act fast if I am to bring them sledding.

A cup of coffee, shower, and pop-tart later I venture into the cold with my 2 boys and Hubby. Had I watched the forecast I may have been warned that the temperature only reached 21 degrees and the windchill made it feel like single digits. Needless to say, 20 minutes later I came crawling back inside with children in tow. Their cheeks were bright red, jeans filled with ice, and despite gloves, their fingers stayed in one position for the next minute or two.

Last thing I remember I was making sandwiches for the kids lunch. I never made it to lunch though. I put my head on the couch pillow around 11am and woke up a little after 3pm to the sound of Ghostbusters (Yes, the movie).

Scooter received the movie from my sister for his birthday. I didn't think twice about it since I remember watching the movie as a kid myself. All I have to say is: "What were my parents thinking?" Like my children now, I'm sure I had no idea what was going on or what was being said at the time. The kids giggled in some parts and hid under the covers during other parts. I sat with my mouth open.

What should I do? Turn it off, let it run. My brain wasn't capable of overthinking today. It had already been taken over by viruses and what not. I tried to send messages to my husband via spelling of words. I will allow him to get away with that face of annoyance he shot my way, since I'm unsure myself if I actually spelled the words correctly.

Before I knew it, the movie was over (thank heavens). It was safely taken out of the DVD player and placed behind the video library...way behind the video library. Here's hoping the children will forget about it until let's say 18 years of age.

I generally show nothing but rated G movies in my home; at least at their age. There will be plenty of time to watch all those flicks that are anxiously awaiting to corrupt their mind. Until then, this Mama is keeping a close watch.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Weekend Warrior

I absolutely refuse to dedicate another post to viruses, flues, or germs. Despite the popularity of this subject, and the fact that in the past 10 days, all of the above have managed to seek and destroy life as I know it here on the Brennan Ranch; I promise not to speak of sickness today.

For that reason, I sit with a cup of hot tea, wrapped snugly in a cover, (which is being used to squeeze the fever out of my brain), and I'm focusing on blogging if for only a ten minute catch-up of weekend activities.

Murphy's Law truly ruled the last 2 days. It must have known that when I was in need of the most rest, I was pulled in a million different directions.

The highlight of course was my little Scooter's Fourth Birthday. This is the one time I will thank the recession when a few weeks ago we decided to do a birthday at home. I could only imagine my state of mind if I had been stuck in a Chuckee Cheeses. No matter how bad you feel, there is no canceling a child's birthday, unless they themselves have been abducted by aliens. A party would still be expected if I had been abducted by aliens, but remember, this is Murphy's Law at work, and I was forced to stay grounded for the day.

I guess the mixture of prescriptions, cough medicine, and pain killers took their toll. We were about to sing Happy Birthday when my five year old realized I hadn't put enough candles on the cake. (And the educational system finally pays off). Despite this small hiccup, the party went well, and as I promised Scooter, (he will tell you) he grew another inch on his birthday.

On Sunday I again overscheduled for someone who wasn't quite ready to take on the world. I told my parents I would take a ride to the Philadelphia Flower Show. Hubby was looking forward to a day with the boys. And so I went.

I try to take this annual trip when I can. I use it as an excuse to get new ideas for my garden. The harder truth is that my parents are the ones with green thumbs, and apparently that strain of DNA never made it through the blood stream.

I came close a few times to napping right on the Convention Center Floor, but there was entirely too many people. Besides, the thought of being stamped on the forehead with a Jimmy Choo made the whole idea less than desirable. I marched on.

We finished the morning with a light lunch. I returned to my minivan and took off back to home. There's nothing like walking in on a Daddy Day. It was as if life ceased the minute I left. Teeth had still not been brushed, hair not combed, and one child still in his PJ's at noon. I did not recognize this chaos. I smiled in spite of it all because the way I saw it, after a head count I still had 2 children, one husband, and a dog. This was good enough for me. In fact, I was so content, I went to bed.

And that is where I stayed until 5pm. I would like to report that I woke up feeling better, but I won't report either way, because I am not talking about germs anymore.

Well, the city of Philadelphia just reported a snow emergency! Normally, I would be stoked. I'm guessing my son will be off from school, and I will be pulling a sled and continuing to learn the art of snowball construction.

And so, I will march on.