Saturday, December 29, 2007

Evil Genius In the Making?

Tonight the boys have been playing and fighting on & off. One minute they're playing quietly and the next moment the younger two have been running to me and complaining about their older brother.

There is no doubt my oldest is my baddest and most obnoxious child. I think he takes pride in this. I also know that the middle and youngest boys like to instigate a fight and play victim. Sometimes I try to separate or mediate and other times, like tonight, I tire of the chaos and tell them to work it out.

Of course there needs to be a threat, such as " If I have to tell you boys one more time to be quiet and stop fighting....." followed by a consequence. Tonight's was " You won't be allowed to have a sleep-over at your cousins' house tomorrow."

A short time later, my 6 year old "baby" hands me this note ( pictured above ).

"Mom! Devon gave me this note" he whines with a sad, hurt look on his face.

" Dear Colin, You have a brain that is the size of an ant and the ant is 1/1000 of an inch." proclaims the offending missive.

" Devvvon!!" I yell " Come down here!"

My oldest promptly comes to see what I want.

" Did you write this note?" I ask

" No " he replies " That is not my writing! It looks like Colin's"

The printed note is in much neater than my 6 year old's typical writing. I look him in the eye and repeat the question. I get the same response and realize he is telling the truth. I call down my middle child. Same interrogation, same answer. I finally call down my youngest, who left the room when I called his oldest brother down.

"Colin, did you write this note?" I sternly ask while I make him look me in the eye.

" Yes..." he replied. " I did it because Devon was hurting me and I wanted to get him in trouble."

" Well it didn't work!" I said and sent Colin to his room for lying.

When he was out of earshot I looked at his brothers and warned them that they better watch out. Their baby brother is getting quite clever. One day he will get revenge and it won't be pretty. Like the bunny in "Hoodwinked", his cute, cuddly demeanor belies the evil genius that lurks within.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

They Don't Make Them The Way They Used To

Monopoly - The Electronic Banking Edition - featuring properties from the Here & Now tm Edition
One of the many presents my boys received this Christmas, was this new modern edition of Monopoly. The new Electronic Banking version eliminates the need for paper money with programmable debit cards.
My boys immediately were excited about not having to count money and that there was a new electronic gadget to play with.
1. Electronic Banking component
Boys: Love it: Faster playing time and it " teaches you how to use a credit card".
Mom: Hate it: Eliminates the educational component of counting money and making change.

The next difference we noticed was in the game pieces. The Race Car, Thimble, Shoe, Cannon, Money Bag & Dog have been replaced with a Space Shuttle, Ball Cap, Altoids??!!, Flat Screen TV, A "Segway" and a Tiny Dog in a Handbag.
2. New Modern Game Tokens
Boys & Mom:
Hate it!:
We agree that the new ones are too modern and we all have our old favorites. I'm not ready to replace my shoe with a Segway!

Updated properties and $million dollar plus price tags are another update I could do without!
The game board looks like it was designed by Donald Trump, perhaps an Apprentice project gone terribly wrong.

Gone are the Railroads, Waterworks & the Electric Company; replaced with Airports, Cell Phone & Internet providers. Park Place & Boardwalk are now Fenway Park and Times Square. Rents are in the thousands, designated by a k after a 2 or 3 digit number.

3. New Board Design, Property Names & Price Tags
Boys and Mom:
Not loving it!
Once again we are in agreement. The new game board looks odd. We all prefer the old board & properties. I rather not have inflation adjusted prices. A bit too much realism.

If we wanted reality, we'd play a video game like Grand Theft Auto!

The reason I love to have family board game nights is to pay homage to days of yore; the family life that June Cleaver and Andy Griffith epitomized. Even re-makes of my favorite cartoons are getting "jacked-up". Alvin & the Chipmunks, Speed Racer.....

Why do we always try to come up with new & improved, modernized versions of a timeless classic???? Somethings should be left alone! I give this new version - 2 thumbs down!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Newsletters - The One I've Been Waiting For

I decided to file this one under "Color Me Bitter".
This is a post for those of us that get at least one newsletter each year that is "over the top" and brings out the "hater" in you.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tis The Season - To Use Your God-Given Talents

Just when I thought I couldn't take any more depressing Holiday news stories, I saw this gem of an article that left me choked up. It has all the makings of a Holiday classic. I bet Hollywood will buy the story rights and make a movie!

The Rev. Hamilton Coe Throckmorton gave each adult in his congregation $50 and the goal of using their God-given talents to double the money to raise funds for the church's mission work.

To find out what happened, click on the link below!
Columbus Dispatch 12/21/07 Better to Give

Friday, December 21, 2007

Reasons to Have Children - IV

Reason # 4 : They help you discover the magic of the holidays.

Sometimes it takes having children to discover the wonderful treasures that surround us.

Yesterday we took our kids to view the Holiday Lights that our suburb sponsors. My camera battery ran out of juice and I only got a few shots. I think we'll come back tomorrow if the weather is still nice for walking around.

If I didn't have children, I probably wouldn't have taken the time for an evening stroll at the downtown park. If I took the same tour without my children, it wouldn't have been as delightful.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tis the Season - To Reach Out to Your Neighbor

Yesterday my friend David called me to see if he could purchase unsaleable food items at a reduced cost from my shop. There is a blind Nun he regularly visits and a few elderly neighbors that don't appear to have family and are too proud to ever ask for help. David wanted to make up some Holiday Food Baskets to take to them.

I told him NO! I couldn't take money and would gladly give him a nice selection of items that are either near their sell by date, recently expired or goods marked " Sample". I told him he could bring me a sandwich from my favorite bakery.

It made me feel good to be able to help out, and even better to not only get my favorite sandwich but a piece of my favorite cake ( Carrot Cake )!!!!

I wish more people would take the time to look out for their neighbors. This is what helps make the world a better place and what the "Season" is all about!

Reasons to Have Children - III

Reason # 3 - They make good blankets!

When my children were smaller, I loved to take naps with them.

Babies are warm & snuggly and little heat factories! Sadly, I understood why Michael Jackson affectionately called his son "Blanket".

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tis the Season - Random Holiday Bits

The Naughty list! -

Columbus, Ohio - woman knocks over 69 year old nun after stealing a teacher's purse at a Catholic school. The purse snatcher had pushed the nun to the ground by her neck, breaking her cross.
Looks like someone's getting coal in their stocking this year!
December 7, 2007 The Columbus Dispatch-Woman wanted in theft at school

Brooklyn New York Mailman arrested for pocketing greeting cards to get at cash inside.
I guess he can fahgeddabout his holiday bonuses from his customers.

Kosher Ham?

Balducci's apologizes for signing error.

To our valued customers:

We apologize for this unfortunate error and oversight. It was never our
intention to offend anyone, especially during this holiday. We will be
reviewing our employee training policy. We understand why this is
offensive and please know we are attempting to determine the source
of the error.

To see what this apology is about :
see what NancyKay Shapiro found for Hannukah at her local
gourmet grocery.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Burger Boys

We had dinner last night at Frisch's Big Boy. The boys had some kid's meal coupons from Halloween and we thought we'd have a family dinner out. When I was a teenager we used to hang out at the local Big Boy. It was a blast from the past. I don't think much has changed. Same menus, same icon dressed in checkerboard overalls.

As we opened the menus to order and I stared at the shiny image of the smiling mascot, I had an epiphany. Big Boy and Burger King might be related. They both have shiny fiberglass faces, although Burger King is way creepier.

I stared at the photo of Big Boy and wondered if this is what Burger King looked like as a boy.
If so, what made him turn so weird and scary?

Reasons to Have Children - II

Reason #2 - Cheap Labor

" Billy-Bob-Joe-Bubba-Harris Jr. the 3rd." - 10 years old

Note the many breaks, mostly to either watch a cartoon or play a video game.
I guess you get what you pay for!!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Reasons to Have Children

Reason 1.: They provide you with fine art!

Alex - Age 9

Colin - Age 6

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tis the Season To Be Careful

Tomorrow is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, which marks the first official shopping day of the Holiday Season. Most people have the day off, unless you work retail or if you are a thief. Criminals never get a holiday and this is their busy season. I have a few tips to help you avoid being an easy mark for thieves.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your packages and belongings with you at all times. Before you get in or out of your car, scan the parking lot to check to see if you are being watched or followed. Walk to your destination quickly and confidently. Avoid looking like a "mark"
  2. If you carry a purse, use one that zips shut and with a strap that can be worn across your body. Try to minimize the amount of plastic and currency that you carry.
  3. Use a credit card and avoid debit cards where you need to key in your code. Make sure the person behind you is not close enough to read your card numbers.
  4. Keep your receipts in a safe place, separate from your purchases, in case your shopping bags are stolen.
  5. Keep track of your bank account activities by frequently checking online for any unaccounted activity.
  6. Have a list of credit cards and phone numbers to call and cancel cards if your purse or wallet is stolen.
I know first hand how easy it is to become a victim. This happened to me four years ago in early November. My car was broken into during prime-time for drop-off at a child care center. I was dropping off my youngest child and left my other two children who were 5 and 7 years old at the time in a locked car to save time. I was parked in the front row, parents were coming and going. I was only gone for a few minutes.

As I was racing back to my car, I saw a car full of people speeding away and one of my children waving frantically to me. As I ran to my car, I saw my other child crying and shattered glass everywhere!

I knew that there had been some car break-ins during odd times in the afternoon but never dreamed that this could be done during such a busy time. I had felt that if I was leaving my kids in a car, I could leave my purse. (and no, I did not leave the keys in the ignition! The keys were with me. I was asked that a lot. ) There was a parking lot full of people and no one saw anything. No one, except my poor kids!

The window was popped with a screw driver that was expertly jammed into the corner of the driver's side window. The window quietly shattered into a million tiny pieces. The parents coming and going did not notice the man leaning over the car window and the man with the screwdriver did not care about the children in the car. He only cared about my purse stuck under the passenger seat which he quickly grabbed.

Thankfully no one was hurt and I learned a big, painful lesson that day. In addition to the broken car window, I was left with an identity theft mess that took quite awhile to clear up.
It is amazing how much damage can be done with stolen checkbooks and credit cards! Even though my husband was still at home and was able to start calling my banks immediately, it took a few hours to get the credit cards shut down. The checking accounts took longer.

While I was getting my window fixed, I spent my time on the phone tracking activity. First the thieves went to a few gas stations and bought gas and cigarettes. Then onto the cellphone store for pre-paid cellphones. Then trips to several branches of my bank to cash other people's stolen checks, against my account.

Then onto several grocery stores and department stores. I was able to locate security camera footage at several of these places for the police and found that at least three different "crack whores" were using my ID.

An officer that I was in frequent contact with, ID'd the first thief from the gas station footage by her street name. Her last known address was a street corner.

It was at that point I decided I also needed a "street name". I became "Bad Momma"!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Antidote for Holiday Hell

Recipe for Disaster
1 bunch of relatives
1 pinch of unresolved issues
a cooler of "adult" beverages
sharp utensils such as carving knives
1 small dining room
seating chart ( optional )

As your guests arrive, take their coats and casually toss them on a couch or bed in your designated "coat room". Hand each adult guest a beer, glass of wine or alcoholic beverage of their choice.Carefully seat your guests near the person most likely to irritate them. Throw in more "adult beverages".Wait until guests are sufficiently marinated and bring up an unresolved issue or touchy subject. Make sure the table is full of sharp objects such as carving knives and hot dishes.

Have a phone nearby and be ready to dial 911!

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times for Emergency Rooms across the U.S.

Something about putting a bunch of people that are related, together in close quarters with a bunch of cutlery and bottles (or cans ) of "truth serum". Unresolved issues seem to surface and before you know it - hand to hand combat breaks out. It's always fun until someone gets hurt!

I have a few helpful tips to avert disaster. Remember, just like fire needs oxygen to keep burning, drama needs fuel to keep it going! Observe from a distance, avoid getting drawn in. Be prepared with some distractions. Distraction is the best weapon when tempers start to flare-up at family get-togethers. A little preperation can save much aggrevation!

Antidote for Holiday Hell

1 bunch of Celebrity Gossip Magazines
A television tuned to the latest football game
Several plates of appetizers
Everybody's favorite desserts
1 handful of shiny objects
A back-up dinner, in case of a cooking mishap

Family gossip usually starts the drama machine. As soon as the haughty whispering starts, direct the attention to the latest issue of People, US Weekly or the Star that is conveniently nearby. It is better to gossip about someone you don't know than those in the same house.

"Did you hear the latest about__________? ( fill in the blank with your favorite celeb )"

When the men-folk start to misbehave, turn your t.v. to a football game.

"Oh look! The game's on!"

The hypnotic lure of the idiot tube usually keeps 'em in line. Just make sure there are plenty of "cold ones" and snacks for commercial time.

Food is a great silencer. When mouths are full, it is hard to argue. Strategically placed plates of pre-dinner snack foods are a necessity at family gatherings.

Shiny objects are also a useful distraction for both men and children.

Make sure you have a back-up dinner in case of a kitchen mishap. Food disasters are a great source of tension.

Dessert is the crown jewel of a good meal. The threat of not serving it due to ill-mannered guests helps keep everyone in line.

A good sense of humor is also really helpful. Look on the bright side, if there is drama, it gives you something to talk about. Perhaps start a contest with your friends to see who can have the most disastrous holiday. This is one contest where everyone wins!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Making Santa P.C.

OH NO! Say it isn't so! Is Santa another misogynistic male? Apparently controversy over his use of the " Ho, Ho, Ho " greeting has broken out in Australia.

The furore erupted after recruitment company Westaff suggested its Santas swap 'ho, ho, ho' for 'ha, ha, ha' because the traditional term could be viewed as derogatory towards women and could frighten young children.

Perhaps Santa is in need of a total update to make him more "politically correct". First get him on a diet. With all that extra weight, Santa is a walking billboard for Heart Disease. Put him on a season of " The Biggest Loser ".

How about a haircut next? What's he hiding behind all that hair? He could be mistaken for a terrorist or bank robber. Rush him to the set of Bravo's Shear Genius for a new 'do.

Finally let's get Santa some new duds. I bet Heidi Klum would be glad to have Santa as a guest-challenge on her Project Runway which is also conveniently on the Bravo campus.

When we are done with Santa, move on to Don Imus for a badly needed make-over!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Holy Halloween, Batman!

As usual this Halloween, I stayed home to hand out candy ( microwave popcorn ) while my husband took my boys trick-or-treating. This year my middle child was sick and had to stay home with me. His brothers took an extra bag to collect candy for him but it wasn't the same.

My poor sick child took me up on my suggestion to dress up in his Harry Potter costume and stand behind me as I greeted the Trick-or-Treaters that came to our door. We didn't get very many "guests" and he ended up passed out on the couch.

My 10 year old put a do-rag around his head, borrowed a red cape from an old Superman costume and carried his trusty sword to go as a "Swordsman". My 6 year old wore a Batman costume that was handed down from his brothers.

After a few years of practice, my little Batman had a plan of attack. He found the shortest route between houses, even if this meant cutting though flowerbeds and bushes, to get to the next house. He would rush to the door, pushing in front of all the other children and quickly ring the doorbell.
As soon as he got his treats, he would scamper off to the next stop.

A four year old neighbor, dressed as a skeleton observed this technique and turned to his mother.
" That kid knows what he is doing! I'm going with him!" he exclaimed as he took off running.
" Wait up Batman! Wait-up, wait-up!"

His mother's protest fell on deaf ears. " Honey, I think he is too fast for you." At this point the boys were about five houses ahead of their respective groups.

Sorry Robin, it looks like Batman has a new sidekick.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cargo - Why I love my Mini-Van

About 1 1/2 pallets of food products with room for more! This is my dream car!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Go Fly a Kite

One of the best parts of being a parent is that you get to have a second childhood. Last year I rediscovered the thrill of kite-flying. We had a blast! I did learn a few tips.

  1. Bring a pair of work or garden gloves to protect your string-handling hand. It only took one good rope burn to learn that one .
  2. Find a large open area clear of trees and power-lines. Our local middle school athletic field works well for us. This took a few kite-eating trees till I got the hint!
  3. Wait for the perfect wind conditions. Not enough wind can be disappointing and too much wind can be hazardous. We lost a few kites due to crashes and string breakage.
  4. Bring a pair of scissors along. They will come in handy if you need to cut a kite string to try to salvage a kite that is tangled in a tree.
  5. Bring a notepad and pen in case you can not get the kite out of the tree and want to leave a note for the property owners.
  6. Have a few "spare" kites in reserve, especially in the "off-season". Last Fall when I could not get my oldest son's kite out of a tree, I could not find a replacement to buy in any store.
  7. Just Do It! We just got back from a test run for a new kite, where I took the above photos!
Next time someone tells you to "Go fly a kite!", no matter what the context in which it was said, thank them, grab your kite(s) and head to the nearest open field.

The Plant Rescuer

Newly planted Yucca-Rescue plants

If there isn't a plant rescue group for unwanted landscape plants, I think I will start one. I started yesterday with some Yucca plants.

My landlord at work is in the process of re-landscaping and had some of his men pull out dozens of new Yucca plants that have sprung up where a few large Yuccas had been pulled out a month earlier.The guys asked me if I wanted the new growths they were digging up.

Last month, the large, four foot tall plants were pulled out and put in a dumpster. I was sad that I could not salvage them. This was my chance at redemption. I could not save their "parents" but I could find new homes for these "orphans". The guys filled up 3 boxes of Yucca shoots. I loaded the boxes in the back of my van to take home.

When I got home, I found that I could only use one box of plants. This left me with two boxes to find homes for. I felt like a child with a box of kittens as I knocked on my neighbors' doors. I was not having any luck until I saw my next door neighbor and his mother who just came to their house to babysit. While these neighbors are not gardeners, it turns out Grandma was happy to take a box off my hands.

That left me with one box. I called David this morning and it turns out he had a spot at his house that was in need of drought-loving, low-maintenance landscape plants. He came to pick them up.

As I waved goodbye to my last group of babies, I was glad I was able to come to their rescue, and find them homes. I then had an 80's flashback to my college days and remembered the time my friends and I "saved" a plant from a campus bar.

An African Violet Named "Ursula"

My memory is a bit fuzzy. It was many years ( and beers!) ago. I was out with a group of my friends at our favorite campus bar, The Thirsty I. We were celebrating a birthday. I don't remember whose. After several pitchers of beer and "chair dances" later, we began to dance with the African Violet that was the centerpiece on our table.

My friend Mindy and I decided that our plant-centerpiece was not happy and needed to be rescued. We enlisted some guys that were waiting outside the bar. When the coast was clear, we handed the plant outside the window to our waiting friends.

We then exited the bar and were re-united with the newly liberated African Violet. We named her Ursula and took her bar-hopping. After what was probably the most fun night of her life, Ursula went home with Mindy and her roommate. I'm not sure whatever happened to Ursula. She may have had her life shortened by alcohol poisoning..... College life, go figure. Come to think of it, we may have been more of plant-nappers than rescuers. There is a statute of limitations on these things, right????

I'm not sure if this bar is still around but I am prepared to make full restitution. How about a box of Yucca plants?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pack Rat

Last week my my middle son announced that he needed to take a pillow to school. His fourth grade class was having a read-in as a prize for their fundraising efforts. Of course he waits to tell me this until five minutes before having to catch the bus! I quickly found an old pillow and was scrambling to find a large shopping bag.

" Don't we have any large shopping bags?!!!" I exclaimed in frustration.

" You can try my bed." my oldest son volunteered with a reluctant look on his face.

I ran upstairs to check his bed. Sure enough he had a large plastic bag from Macys tucked in a corner of his headboard. He also had a smaller one from Barnes & Nobel. What the hell is he doing? Running a shopping network?

The Home Shopping Bedwork
My two older boys share a room. To maximize the space, we bought loft beds so that the boys can have their desks and dressers underneath. My 10 year old prefers to sleep on top of his comforter with a Sponge Bob blanket on top. This way he doesn't have to make his bed. I don't complain because this is also less work for me.

I had noticed that my oldest is a pack rat and had a tendency to stash "treasures"in the gaps between his headboard and the mattress. As long as there are no food items, I have been o.k. with this. Today I decided to take an inventory.

  • a Rubric's Cube
  • Pokemon Cards
  • a set of miniature 8" tall football goal posts
  • a head lamp for reading
  • wallet
  • another book - SO YOU WANT TO BE AN INVENTOR
  • over a dozen clothing tags that "looked cool"
  • an electronic quiz game
  • Pajamas
  • a pair of gym shorts
  • a shopping bag ( minus the one I took)
  • a plastic Ninja sword hanging from one of the bedposts

My son came up just as I was finishing my list. " Whatcha doing? " he asked.

" Making a list of what you have in your bed." I answered back.

He peered over my shoulder and made a few corrections. " Make that two headlamps. " he said. " And you need to add a deck of cards."

" Why a deck of cards? " I inquired, as if everything else made sense. " What do you play?"

He told me that he used them to play War against himself. I guess this way he always wins.....Or does he? Do you think I should make him clean out his bed?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Santa Claus, the Nutcracker & the Tooth Fairy

Last Saturday afternoon, I came home to find my 6 year old son writing a wish list for Santa with a little help from his 9 year old brother.

I want all the Attactixs and Littlest Pets, a plastic Diamond, a set of Playdow a X-Box 360, a Wii and a Game Cube, a play station four and three and two and one.

I read his list and was surprised at all the electronic games he asked for. I guess he was trying to make up for our lack of video games.

"Why are you starting your list so early this year?" I asked.

Apparently the night before , he and his brother went to Walmart with their dad. It is not even Halloween yet and the stores are starting to put out Christmas merchandise. Well it worked!

My youngest saw lots of things that he wanted but realized they were " too pricey" to ask for from Dad. However, Santa usually comes through for him!

There was one item on the list that had me puzzled. " Why do you want a plastic diamond?" I asked.

" For my Nutcracker!" he responded " So that he looks nice."

I did notice that he had hung some Mardi Gras breads and a bracelet on his wooden friend. I guess the toy soldier is in need of more bling.

The Nutcracker was a gift from last Christmas.

Last year, I was given tickets to take my family to the Nutcracker. My two older boys had already seen it and declined. " It was sooo boring! I tried to make myself fall asleep!" my oldest son gave as his reason. My middle child agreed.

My youngest had not seen the Nutcracker and welcomed the chance to have a fancy night out with Mom & Dad. I bought him a cute 3 piece outfit with an argyle sweater vest, plaid shirt and corduroy pants. We had great seats and he was taken with the colorful characters and scenery.
At intermission I had thought about buying my child a Nutcracker but the lines were long and prices were a tad high. I opted for the concession stand instead.

The next day, I asked my friend David to keep an eye out for any deals on Nutcrackers when he was out and about. He found a two foot tall one for $10 at a local discounter. This was a great deal!!!

When this toy soldier magically appeared under our tree, my youngest knew who this was for! The Nutcracker became his favorite toy and went everywhere with this child. He kept guard in the bedroom, sometimes ending up in bed and when he went in the car, he was seat-belted in his own seat. The Nutcracker received so much "love" that an arm fell off and had to be re-attached.

When the Toothfairy was a no-show, the Nutcracker was blamed.

Last night I saw the Nutcracker stationed outside my son's bedroom door. I did not think much about it until this morning when my youngest boy woke up, looked under his pillow, got out of bed and angrily confronted his two foot tall friend.

"Bad Nutcracker! You scared her away!"

I then remembered that my son lost a tooth last night. Apparently he put the soldier outside of his room so he wouldn't scare the tooth fairy away.

" He probably scared her away!" I told him. " Nutcracker needs to be put in our room. Remember?" I was proud of my quick recovery.

" Oh yeah." he replied as he picked up his friend and put him in our bedroom.

Since this past Christmas, when the tooth fairy failed to show right away, this toy was blamed for scaring her away. We solved that problem by temporarily putting the Nutcracker out of our child's room and into the parental bedroom where my husband and I would trip over him on our way to bed. This always has a funny way of insuring that money and teeth will be exchanged overnight.

Tonight, on my way to bed, I spied our wooden "scapegoat" and reminded my husband that the tooth fairy needs to come tonight.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”. Sir Walter Scott

Friday, September 28, 2007

Why I Love Bad Customer Service

Today I came into work with a message from a new customer on our answering machine. She wanted us to know that her co-worker had received the gift that we sent out for them and was "completely blown away" by it. She loved everything that was sent in her "Road to Recovery" basket and thought it was 20 times bigger and better than the gift she was originally sent.

We were given a nice budget of $120. Apparently they were unhappy with first gift company that was used because much of the food products were out of date and the recipient thought the gift looked like it retailed for about $30. She couldn't believe that both packages had the same budget.

I live for calls like this!

The first company used was found on the internet, was not local and appears to be primarily a wire service of sorts that uses affiliates across the country. By going through so many middlemen, it is difficult to give a good value. It is also hard to control the quality of what is sent. You get much better results if you find a small, local company that you are dealing directly with.

Moral of the story is: Support your local small businesses that give you good service. In today's economy they need your business to ensure they will be around tomorrow. In return you'll get your orders handled with extra love and care!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lottery - Week 2

This is my week to buy 5 sets of lottery numbers. I have to admit I was a bit intimidated. I waited until the last day which is today.

I left work a little early tonight, at 4:15. First I had to stop at the bank to make a deposit. Then I had to decide where to get my winning ticket. I chose the supermarket nearest to my house as it was on my way home.

As the automatic doors opened, I picked up a shopping basket and made my way to the "Guest Services" line. I felt a bit nervous. I've never bought lottery tickets at the grocery store. I also am a novice at this form of legalized gambling.

I was in luck, there were several people in line which gave me time to get my bearings. On the second attempt, I found the correct form for the Mega-Millions game. My plan was to pick my own numbers, using at least one of the combos from last week that I felt good about.

I borrowed a pen from the service desk and pulled out last week's not so lucky ticket. The lottery form looked like a punch card. As I tried to find the numbers to x out, I found the numbers on the card blurry and almost impossible to decipher. Reading glasses would have come in handy.

The line was starting to grow, but lucky for me it was slow going. I gave up trying to make out the numbers and changed strategy. Instead of choosing my numbers, I made pretty patterns with my x's. This took me back to my school-days. I would do this on multiple choice exams when I did not know the answers.

I overhead two men behind me in line talking about a recent winner who didn't realize he had been filling out his card upside down until after he finished picking what turned out to be the winning numbers. This story gave me hope that being sight impaired might enhance my chances of winning.

I had just finished my picks when it was my turn for service. I was a bit uncomfortable and nervous, like I was buying something illicit. I held my breath as the clerk ran the ticket through the machine.

The card was rejected. The clerk studied the ticket to see why. "Come on, come on, come on..." I said silently as I squirmed.

I had forgotten to pick the + number in each row.

"Do you want to pick the numbers or have them done on auto-pick" the clerk asked.

"Auto!" I tersely answered. I didn't want to hold up the line.

The card was put through and rejected again. The clerk scanned my ticket and discovered that I picked an extra number on one line. I guess I was too focused on pattern making and trying to pick in a hurry. He asked which number I wanted to get rid of and I randomly picked the number 12.

At this point I felt eyes burning into my back like lasers and I wanted this to be over. I took a deep breath and hoped the machine would finally spit out my ticket. Thankfully it worked!
I snatched my change and receipt from the cashier.

I took my empty basket to fill with a few random groceries to justify my trip. I hurried through the checkout line and to my car. I felt a rush of adrenaline.

" I did it!" I thought to myself. I called David on my cell phone. " Do you feel lucky?"

I told him I would email the numbers to him when I got home. I also confided being proud of overcoming my fear of buying lottery tickets. He told me that I should feel good about myself.
I was doing a good thing. I was making a donation to our schools and helping pay for my children's education.

A few more hours to find out how we fared.

I feel like a winner already!

Update - Later the same weekend

P.S. In case you are wondering we did not win. In fact I only had one number right. Hope David does a better job this coming week.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Child Labor in the United States

While activists take aim at sweatshops and factories that violate labor laws overseas, there is a growing problem here in the U.S. This issue affects children as young as pre-school age and is common place in our Elementary Schools.

It starts out seeming innocuous with fliers and booklets that are sent home in September. Soon the propaganda is spread in school assemblies. Before parents realize it, their children are brainwashed into becoming door to door salespeople.

Armed with catalogs of gifts, gourmet food, candy, wrapping paper and more, our children are enticed into sales positions by promises of prizes. Fueled by pep rallies and peer pressure, our sweet innocent children take to the streets to beg our neighbors, friends and family members to buy their wares.

We have developed a " Just Say NO!" policy to these fund-raising tactics. We prefer to make an outright donation of money that the school would have received from our sales, had we participated. The last thing I want to do is buy or sell items that I have at my store or have wholesale access to. Why would I want to buy $6 or $8 rolls of wrapping paper that I can get for $2 or $3? We also save the time and stress involved in cornering "victims" into buying things they probably didn't need.

Having three school-age children , we usually get three copies of sales materials. We either return or recycle two sets, keeping one set, which is placed on a table near the front door. It comes in handy when other children ring our bell to sell us items we do not need. We whip out our stack of catalogs to reverse the pitch.

That usually sends folks running!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Put a Fork In It!

My friend David called me yesterday to inquire what I thought was the proper shade of pink for Breast Cancer. Baby Girl Pink or Shocking Pink? He had a client throwing a party for Breast Cancer who wanted to have "Breast Cancer Pink" Mums planted around his patio.

I thought the standard color was baby pink. I asked a co-worker and she thought the same thing.

I guess it's trendy now-a-days to throw parties for diseases! We're taking theme parties to a whole new level. I wonder what type of food is going to be served? Will the host go to the local "naughty" gift shop and get ice-cube, jello & cake molds in the shape of breasts? What about putting out bowls of "Peppermint Nipples" mint candy? Will there be party games? How would Colin Cowie ( a premier party planner ) throw a party in honor of Breast Cancer?????

Anyway David only had two choices of pink flower spray dye to use, Baby Girl Pink or Shocking Pink. He decided to go with Shocking Pink. When I asked why he made that choice, he explained that the lighter shade might go noticed and that the bright shade would be much more dramatic. He went on to say "There's a saying in the Gay community. It's not done until it's overdone!"

I think I am going to have a party for Prostate Cancer. Meatballs and Cocktail Wienies anyone????

Monday, September 17, 2007

Free Money

The other day I was driving with my favorite 6 year old back-seat driver. Out of the clear blue, he asked me if I could take him to National City Bank. When I inquired why, he told me he wanted to open an account there.

"Why do you want to switch banks?" I asked.

"Because you can earn points and get free checking!" he replied.

In the discussion that followed, my future banker explained what he thought free checking meant.
He thought you could write checks for whatever amount you felt you needed, to buy what you want. I then had a case of deja vu when I explained how checking accounts work.

I remembered back to when his oldest brother was five years old and we were in the Wendy's drive thru line. We had just come from Karate class from which he had recently received his membership card from Nationals.

As I was digging in my purse to pay for our meals, he stopped me.

"Here Mom, I've got this!' he proudly announced while handing me his Karate ID Card as if it was a credit card.

After choking back the laughter, I politely declined. Later that evening, we took a walk as I explained how credit cards work.

I think that's how a lot of adults get into credit card debt. Their parents never explained that there is no such thing as free money!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Didn't Visualize Hard Enough!!!

Well, I didn't win the lottery last night. I suck at visualizing! I was at a luncheon last week with a motivational speaker. There was an audience participation part where we had to close our eyes and visualize where we want to be in life. I couldn't bring myself to shut my eyes. I was in luck, our Life Coach-Speaker had her back to me.

I could not help but look around the room. I caught a woman across the table peering about with one eye open and the other shut.
"Ha!" I thought. "What good is visualizing with only one eye closed? At least I made a commitment to keep both of mine open."
Besides, what's the worst that can happen? If I get caught by fellow attendees, they are in the same boat. If I get caught by the speaker, she'll take me off her prospective client list!

That's my problem in life. I have no goals, unless "Winning the Lottery"counts as a reasonable objective. I prefer to go where I am led rather than lead where I go. I think this makes life more fun.

Oh, shit! How the hell am I going to win the Lottery with that kind of attitude? I better go buy THE SECRET book. It's my turn now to buy the next set of numbers and I will need all the help I can get!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Winning the Lottery

A few hours from now, I am going to win the Mega Millions Lottery. Actually, I will be splitting the jackpot with my friend David. For the past 24 hours, I have been visualizing our big win.
Isn't that the "Secret" to winning in life?

This week is the first week of our joint lottery venture. We made a pact to take turns buying $5 worth of numbers each week. We plan to start our own village with the jackpot. Kind of our version of Mayberry. A town where everybody knows each other and there is a sense of community. Community and accountability!

That's the problem with society today. No one is accountable for their actions. Our citizens are more mobile and are not as connected to their township like the good old days. Neighbors keep to themselves. There is a disconnect.

Back in the days of Mayberry RFD & the Andy Griffith show, if something of consequence happened, the whole town knew. If Opie was out of line, he would have to answer to Aunt Bee and his dad, Andy Taylor. This was a village where you could raise a child!

What would you do if you won the lottery? I bet you'd want to live in our "Mayberry" town!

Less than 2 hours to go! Gotta visualize some more.......

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Note to Paris Hilton & Michael Vick: Thanks for finding God, I didn't know he was lost!

Sex, religion & politics are the three topics that are taboo for conversation at cocktail parties, yet makes for great news! Lately God has been making the celebrity gossip/news headlines.

".....I have become much more spiritual. God has given me this new chance." - Paris Hilton quoted from a Barbara Walters interview.

In response to his guilty plea for involvement in dogfighting and animal abuse:
"We all make mistakes," said Michael Vick
. "Dogfighting is a terrible thing and I reject it ... I found Jesus and turned my life over to God. I think that's the right thing to do as of right now."

This week at the Emmys, comedian Kathy Griffin created quite a stir with her acceptance speech.
"A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this. He had nothing to do with this," Griffin said. "Suck it, Jesus. This award is my God now."

I was a bit surprised at the level of protest over Kathy's remarks. Of these three celebrities, I found Ms. Griffin's remarks the most honest. While I feel what she said was in poor taste, especially for an awards show, she had achieved the "buzz" she was going for. I can't help but wonder to what degree her remarks were influenced by so many "A-Listers" recently "finding" god.
Come on people, Kathy Griffin is a shock-value comedienne ! There is nothing virtuous about her shtick. Do you think God wants credit for her award?

I am more offended by celebrities like Paris Hilton and Michael Vick who announce to the world that they have "found" god, as a way to erase their sins and gain public acceptance. I rank their sudden re-birth as believable as the now popular "48 hour Rehab"!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Sea Monkeys - Making a Comeback!

When I was a child, my parents would not let me buy Sea Monkeys. I really wanted them! I was sucked in by the ads that were placed in the comic books we read back in the 60's. I was convinced that this is how they looked. ( see above image ) I fantasized about growing these tiny underwater people and how they would be my tiny pet-friends. My dad refused to let me waste my allowance on brine shrimp.

Almost 40 years later, I came across this blast from the past in one of the wholesale toy catalogs that I have at work. I once again felt the urge to own these mail order pets.
I asked my boys what they thought about Sea-Monkeys. In addition to the picture in the catalog, I showed them a few actual images from the web. "Ew!!! They look like mosquito larvae!" was the response.

Yet when the Sea Monkeys Magic Castle boxes arrived at my shop, the same kids that were repulsed, suddenly wanted to take a kit home. Even though my boys were aware that the images on the package, is not what "Sea Monkeys" actually look like when hatched, they still had to have them. This is the power of good (albeit misleading) packaging!

The Best Sea Monkey Story

This past week, I was at a gathering where somehow the subject of Sea Monkeys came up in a discussion of nostalgic toys. A gentleman in our group, also a child of the 60's , was lucky enough to have owned these sea creatures. That is until his sister's friend drank them!

Why would someone drink Sea Monkeys?

Apparently the teenage friend was drunk and mistook the glass container the Sea Monkeys were in for a glass of water. She vomited after she realized what she had done. She also was afraid that she might become pregnant from swallowing these tiny sea creatures.
What would these hybrid babies look like? How would she explain this to her parents??? Who would put their beloved pets in a glass of water?

This would never have happened if only he had owned the Sea Monkey Magic Castle!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Animal Rummy - A "Family Friendly" Game?

Animal Rummy - a fun children's game or recruiting tool for homosexuals?

Quick! Someone call Jerry Falwell! I found something that could be bigger than his "outing" of Tinky Winky!

I recently brought home a four-pack of card games for children. I like to test toys and games out on my kids for potential products to sell in my shop. My boys love card games and I wanted to see if they would enjoy the same pasttimes that I did at their age. The first deck we opened was "Animal Rummy". I chose this deck to start with as it fairly easy to play.

After explaining the rules, I started dealing out cards. The images are fairly kitschy with illustrations from the 50's. There was Silly Goose dressed in a blue shawl and red bonnet, Funny Bunny with a pink bow and holding a bouquet of violets and Slick Chick with a hat adorned with flowers. Pretty Kitty also had her floral "couture" hat. Other characters are Wooly Lamb, decked out with bows, Wise Owl looking natty with his top hat, Sassy Squirrel wearing a red ball-cap and striped tee and Brown Mouse dressed in blue gingham and looking very "country".
But wait there is more.....Turned Turtle showing his best side, Sly Fox pimped out with his green hat and matching green belt and what???...Gay Dog?????

Gay Dog appears to be a cocker-mixed breed with a green hat with a purple band and matching purple bow around his neck. Must be something about the color purple. Isn't that what first tipped off Jerry and his band of Religious Right-Wingers off to poor Tinky's orientation? I guess the purse is what did Tinky Winky in.

Poor Gay Dog with his big brown eyes and soft curly fur coat. Leave it to a children's game to "out" a butt-sniffing, effeminate, slightly neurotic breed. Come to think of it, Sly Fox could be on the same team with his tightly-cinched waist belt, queer-looking hat and tongue hanging out rather salaciously! And what about the turtle? What does "turned" mean? Has he been converted to play for the other team? What's with the tongue??? Is Turned Turtle also gay?

What do you think? Is this an innocent children's game or a recruiting tool to corrupt our sweet, naive youngsters?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Spam - Not Just For Lunch

Who is ED and why do they want to get rid of him???? Why do I get dozens of people each day that want to be my drug dealer? Girls want to meet me or tell me about their boyfriend's endowment.
I also get special stock tips, numerous applications for mortgages that have been approved and foreign nationals that want to give me money. I also have been getting greeting cards from anonymous friends. Banks that I did not know I had accounts with, need me to change my passwords or update my information.
Why me???? How did I become so popular? How do these people find me?
This is at least 90% of my daily emails!!!! I am torn between feeling dirty and being angry for being mistaken for an idiot.

I wonder what kind of idiot responds to these misspelled, poorly written, and insulting spam-mails?

Not me.....

Monday, July 30, 2007

Letters from Camp

This time last year I received a frantic phone call from my sister. She wanted me to Fed-Ex a care package to her 11 year-old son, Justin and his 8 year old brother, Aaron who were away at summer camp. Apparently Justin was extremely homesick. Aaron was also a bit reluctant to leave the comforts of home. The boys' counselors let them sneak in some Hermit crabs that my sister let her boys buy on the way to camp. It was hoped that this would ease the separation anxiety.

The situation was so bad that Justin's camp counselor called. The counselor recommended that my sister write more frequently and send a care package.

Justin, her oldest had been faxing a series of letters that my sister found upsetting. She felt guilty leaving her two boys for four weeks at an out of state, sleep-away camp and the notes broke her heart. It was a several hour-long drive to take them there and she was ready to jump in her car, drive for hours and take them home, early.

After getting all the necessary information to send a care package, I asked her to fax copies of my nephew's missives. They were so over-the-top, and entertaining I am adding them to my blog. The original letters have been destroyed by the author. He found out his Mom and Aunt had been sharing them with others. All that is left are the copies that were faxed to me.

Spelling & grammar are mostly verbatim.

1st Letter

Dear Mom / Dad:

Take me home now I want to go home so badly I don't care that the crabs are here, the crabs could die for all I care but I just can't believe you just left me here

take me home now,

2nd letter

Dear Mom / Dad:

Please take me home!

I'm misrable without you. I can't stop thinking (about) you guys and the more I think about you the more I cry.

Who knows they may give us a refund.


Letter 3

Dear Mom /Dad: tuesday

I want to go home, Aaron wants to go home were both really homesick, he allways asks
" When are we going home" but when I ask him how home-sick he is he says just a little but I know he is really sad I just don't want to call so I disapoint everyone and oh yea, I sharted in my pants.

continue on second letter

love Justin

letter 4

Dear Mom / Dad : teusday

I miss you so much I just want to go home. I miss your guses comfort I even had a dream that I never saw you again. I was fishing with dad at the beach when dad went for a swim but I dont rember much of it but in the end dad was atacked by the fish and I jumped in to help him but I woke up.

Love Justin

letter 5

Dear Mom / Dad:

Take me home now! I'm getting really pissed of 'cause your not repling to my milloins of letters and Aaron's hermet crab died and they say I can't call you unless I'm like totaly balling so call me the seconed you get this

take me home now
p.s. I 'm just about to fake cry so I can come home

letter 6

Dear Mom:


The best part of the story is that when Mom & Dad came to pick the brothers up when the session ended, the boys were crying because they were not ready to go home!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Side-Show Tomato

I found this tomato growing in our garden. It has a proboscis that looks like Pinnochio's nose. My hubby is afraid the tomato has some sort of produce cancer and will not eat it. I think it looks like a chicken. I used another tomato and some basil leaves to prove my point. What do you think?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Don't Rap & Drive

And other helpful driving tips

Rush hour traffic can get backed up at the light before the freeway intersection on my morning commute to work. There are a few apartment complexes and streets that empty into the main drag.

I make a conscientious effort to not block driveways when I come to a stop and will signal a driver that it is o.k. to cut in front of me by wildly gesturing with my right hand.

The other day, I was approaching this intersection when the gentleman in a white car in front of me was waving to a car stopped at the end of a driveway.

"What a nice guy!" I thought. "The light is green and he is letting her cut in. Even I am not this courteous! "

As the other driver started to turn onto the street, the nice gentleman did not stop. Fortunately the lady had good brakes! I glanced back to the white car. WTF??? - the guy is still gesturing!!!!!

At that point I realized he was keeping time to his drive-time jive, blissfully unaware that he almost caused an accident.

.....Later that day I received a monthly newsletter in the mail at work from a local auto service. As I was glancing through it, a headline caught my eye. " Don't Text And Drive "

Now that just struck me as hilarious! Who the hell can text while driving? I can't even do this when chewing gum. I rarely text and when I do it requires all my concentration.

"Andrea!" I gleefully called out to one of my co-workers. " I have a driving tip for you!"

She looked up from her lunch-time reading.

" Don't Text And Drive!!!!!" I chortled, expecting her to laugh with me.

" I've recently stopped doing that." she said straight-faced.

I realized she was serious. I knew that she was prolific at sending text messages but how the hell can you do this while watching the road??? Apparently she can type out short messages on her cell phone keypad without looking.

Is there some kind of special typing class for cell phone users??? Must be a Gen X & Y thing!

I surveyed all my 20 something associates and they all admitted to texting while driving. I could feel my grey roots showing. Wow do I feel old and feeble.

I came up with some other driving tips :

If you are not a good driver, Do Not get customized license plates or have your business logo emblazoned on your vehicle. You can be easily identified and trust me, this is probably not good promotion. My mini-van has a bumper sticker that states: "IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY DRIVING, STAY OFF THE SIDEWALK" Now that's truth in advertising!

Only put cans or cups of clear, sugarless drinks in your car's cup holder. This will minimize the stain & sticky residue factor when there is a spill. Try to limit sips to when car is at a stop. Oh, BTW...Gin,Vodka or any other clear "adult" beverage is never o.k. while driving.

If you must talk on your cell phone, put it to speaker and keep your phone out of sight. Make sure you are able to keep both hands on the steering wheel so you won't piss-off other drivers. (Drivers that are seen talking on cell phones while driving can incite "cell phone rage.)

and last but not least,

If you like to sing along, chair dance or use your steering wheel as a drum when listening to your car stereo, DON'T do so while driving!!!!! Either turn to a classical or talk radio station or turn off your radio. You look like an idiot and you might cause an accident!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Almost Dying from Laughter

My oldest son was a Heimlich maneuver away from a possible homicide charge. The weapon? - inducing laughter with a really lame joke /really stuuupid statement while his brother had a mouth full of blue Kool-Aid.

Dinnertime with three young boys can be extremely challenging. In addition to having to be a short order cook ( if you consider microwave meals or pizza to be cooking ), I also have to be a Peace Officer. As the boys have gotten older, they have learned how to use the microwave themselves and are not supervised as closely. These lapses of policing provide opportunities for the boys to get out of control.

It starts with a slightly silly comment or joke and before you know it my three little monkeys get spun out of control. All it takes is a silly look or word to induce raucous laughter. It is all in the delivery! At this point either glasses full of liquid get spilled or food gets spewed across the table signaling the end of dinner with no hope of dessert.

This past week, dinner started out much the same. Food was set out, boys seated, Dad was in the basement on his computer and Mom retreated to her "quiet room" *. The giggling started and before I knew it I heard laughter followed by a big thud.

"Alex!!!Alex!!! Are you alright?!!!" my oldest and baddest boy yelled to his brother. As both my husband and I came running, my middle child was on the floor choking with his big brother slapping him on the back.

Apparently as Alex was taking a big gulp of Kool-Aid, his brother made him laugh. " Boogers are tasty!" was the lethal joke. Unable to swallow and fearful of spraying the room with blue liquid, he fell to the floor choking. He somehow managed not to spit out any of his drink. After coughing and gasping for what seemed like an eternity, he regained his breath.

Blame and punishments were doled out. I was in trouble for not keeping watch; dessert and after dinner television were cancelled for that evening. My youngest son refers this event as " the time Devon almost killed Alex".

So now you will believe me when I tell you dinnertime at our house can be murder.

* my "quiet room" is what I started calling the living room after I got a new comfy "shabby chic" sofa group. The boys were allowed to jump on and pull apart Dad's to make sofa forts but not with in my quiet room with my new furniture!

Project Hummingbird

My 6 year old is becoming a "birder". I had given him a Fandex Family Field Guide on North American birds which he has memorized. He constantly IDs birds and he appears to be right most of the time. Unfortunately we don't know enough to catch possible mistakes.

When he was at the library a few weeks ago, he was given a bookmark with a photo of a duck on it. He took one look at it and announced, " This is a wood duck!". The librarian peered down at him from her perch at the checkout.

" Isn't it pretty? Wooden ducks come in lots of colors!" she chirped in a sugary voice.

My little birder looked at her with a puzzled look. My husband explained that our son had a bird guide committed to memory and this was a photo of a wood duck, not a "wooden duck". From the dumbstruck expression on her face, I guess she learned something new that day.

To encourage this educational hobby, Daddy bought a Hummingbird feeder and hung it outside an upstairs window so the boys can watch the Hummingbirds snack from dawn to dusk. Hummingbird feeders come in bright colors, usually red to attract the tiny, long-beaked, helicopter-like birds.

My clever boys decided to help "advertise" our new 24 hour diner. They used brightly colored K'Nex plastic building pieces to create a windowsill garden. ( see above photo ).

From the looks of our frequent little whirling customers, it looks like their campaign was a success! ( see photo below)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

How to get a total stranger to pay for your groceries

It's never a good idea to go to the grocery store late at night or when you are hungry. A few weeks ago I did both.

My brother-in-law & his eldest son were coming in for the weekend. I wanted to make sure we had a well stocked refrigerator. By the time I left for the store, it was after 9:00 p.m. and I took my oldest son. We were both tired and hungry. The boys love to grocery shop with me, especially when I am hungry, because I am an impulse buyer. I will let them buy brand name products and a lot of junk that Dad won't. Dad is price conscious and is a fan of the generic brands of grocery items which don't quite taste the same.

We made a thorough sweep of the store and filled our cart with all the essentials and more. By the time we made it to the checkout, my tired assistant was beyond hungry. We were in luck, there were no lines and the cashier had a bagger.

As my son was helping unload the cart, I had the cashier ring up the family-size pack of chicken breasts first because I was confused about a sale sign near the chicken. When the chicken was rung up at regular price, the cashier gave the pack of poultry to the bagger to check the sale sign.

I was a bit concerned that the meat section is at the back of the store but we had a lot of groceries and no one behind us. The bagger also had our chicken which I wanted either way and we were now committed to wait until he returned.

The rest of our groceries were rung up and bagged while a man with three items got in line behind us. He put them on the conveyor belt, oblivious to our situation. I was now getting uncomfortable. Where is our bagger boy? I have a surly 10 year old giving me the evil eye, another person in line and I just wanted to leave.

In the blink of an eye, before I could apprise the gentleman of our situation, he had pulled out his credit card and with a flick of the wrist, paid for our groceries.

He was on auto-pilot and did not notice that his small pile had not moved from where he deposited it. The cashier was flustered as I thanked the man for buying us $80 worth of groceries! Now we both had to go to customer service to correct the situation. Just then the bagger boy came back, sadly with no answers. " They are all different prices??!" he reported back, clearly confused.

As I was leaving the line for the service desk, the cashier grabbed the chicken from her "helper" and ran off to the poultry cooler. My new "friend" and I had to reverse the transaction at the service desk. He sheepishly apologized while I tried to make light of the situation. Of course when we got back to the line, my chicken and the cashier were MIA . After a few more uncomfortable minutes she returned.

" The sale was on chicken breasts with bones, yours were boneless!"

I thanked her, although at this point I really regretted questioning the price, grabbed the cart and rolled out with my angry side-kick in tow. As we made our way out the door, I started to laugh as I realized how farcical this shopping trip had become. By the time I reached the car, I was laughing so hard, I was crying.

It may not be a good idea to go shopping late at night when you are tired and hungry, but you might get lucky and have someone pay for your purchases.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

You Say I Have ADD like it's a Bad Thing?!

I've been diagnosed with Adult ADD. Mind you not by a medical doctor but in the court of public opinion. The first time was several years ago by an employee of a vendor I did business with. Apparently this gentleman was afflicted with ADD and recognized a fellow "sufferer". He founded a local support group in the small southern town in which he lived and was trying to offer me his unsolicited advice. While it was inappropriate to do this with a total stranger, I realized he was trying to be helpful.

I also have been told by a former employee that I was one of the most clear-cut cases of ADD that she has seen. ( notice that she is a "former employee"). This associate's husband was on medication for ADHD at the time.

Recently I found out that one of my siblings is on medication ( Adderal?) for ADD. He finds it helps him in business communications as well as being able to focus.

I for one am happy the way I am without medication. ( unless caffeine is considered a drug ). I also think that we are a label-happy society. Bad habits and idiosyncrasies with medical names become disabilities. So you don't mistake me for Tom Cruise, I think some people clearly need to be medicated and under physician care. I prefer to look at the advantages that ADD brings.

1. People with ADD tend to be highly intelligent and make good entrepreneurs. ( from my well-read former associate who is Mensa material.)

2. ADD helps enhance multi-tasking abilities. ( important if you are an entrepreneur).

3. If you are blessed with ADD, you probably are creative. One of my marketing interns who helped keep me organized told me, " You can pay someone to organize you. You can't pay someone to be creative for you." I think you probably can but it would cost more than a small business person could afford.

4. ADD gives you the ability to eavesdrop on another conversation while having one of your own.
A great power if you are a mom or if you are a busy-body and have to know everything that is going on around you.

5. People tend to underestimate the ADD afflicted and mistake them for being scatterbrained and of less than average intelligence. We just have a lot on our mind and will use this fallacy to our advantage.

Thankfully I use my powers for good, not evil.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Control is only an illusion

Control is an issue we struggle with our entire life. When we are children, we push to be independent from our parents. As young adults, we try to live on our own and are reluctant to ask for help. I don't remember the exact situation but my father's words are burned in my memory.
"You will always be dependent."

At first this statement really bothered me. And then I came to realize he was right. As a parent, he was happy to help lessen my struggles, whether they were financial or emotional. It was a symbiotic relationship. My father derived pleasure at being able to take care of his child, and I was grateful to have support a system.

The tables get turned as we get older. The parent starts to reluctantly depend more on their children. And fights it every step of the way!

This past weekend I took my oldest son for a weekend trip to Connecticut to visit my Aunt & Uncle who moved from California to an assisted living facility near my aunt's family. My Uncle, who is my dad's older brother, and his wife have no children. One of my aunt's nieces and her husband have been working hard to get my Aunt & Uncle's affairs in order.

The visit was a nice chance to bond with my eldest child and help lift the spirits of my uncle.
My son was eager to get away from younger brothers and have an adventure. My uncle was having a difficult time adjusting to living in an assisted living facility and needing round the clock help.

It was an interesting juxtaposition. My 10 year old son, trying to assert his independence and my uncle bemoaning his loss of control over his life.

I advised my uncle to relax, let family help and I made a silent promise to myself that if I find myself in a similar situation in my twilight years, I will let my kids take over.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Diet Coke & Freezer Experiment

I was getting ready for work this morning and contemplating what to do with my damp, frizzy hair. I seem to be experiencing the pendulum effect from using a straightening iron on my hair.The more I straighten my hair, the frizzier it becomes when I don't.

I heard my eldest son yelling for his father. "Dad! DAAADDD! Come here! "
Whenever there is a crisis, Dad is the go to guy. At the moment let's just say he was indisposed.

" Dad can't come down right now" I yell. " What is the matter?!"

" Something happened to the freezer!" he yelled back.

"Oh shit!" I think to myself. " I bet I know what it is" I say while I bounding down the stairs. I just remembered that I had put a can of Diet Coke into the freezer as I was leaving the house last night to pick the boys up from Karate. I was going to enjoy a "cold one" when I got back home in half an hour or so. I guess I forgot.

"How bad is it?"
"Take a look for yourself!"

Oh crap! The can was split down the side, it must have burst at the seam. I never saw a can blow up that way, and for a brief moment I thought it was cool. Then I surveyed the carnage. I was going to have to completely take out all the shelves & frozen food to clean.

" Dad is going to kill you!"
"Do you think I can get this cleaned before he comes down?" I inquired as I frantically started to pull out the entire contents of the freezer. I scraped the frozen mess off the sides . Some of the Diet Coke chips went flying and relocated to hard to reach places as well as creating a mess on the kitchen floor.
At this point my middle child had arrived and was filled in on the situation by his older brother.

" This is why you never should put drinks in the freezer. Let this be a lesson to you boys" I warn. Like I had somehow planned this whole fiasco to serve as a demonstration on what not to do.
" We would never do that! You are gonna be in trouble!" they chimed in unison.

I felt like a child and then I remembered, " I'm an adult. What is my husband going to do? Spank me? I don't think so!"

I had made pretty good progress when down came Dad. " What happened?".
My middle son ratted me out before anyone else could. " Mom put a Diet Coke in the freezer and it exploded!"
"You big dummy!" my husband said. " You might want to put some clothes on. The neighbors can see through our sheers, you know!"

It was getting close to the time the children needed to leave for the bus stop and I was in my underwear. While I doubt anyone would see me, I didn't want to risk it. I ran upstairs, threw on some jeans & a tee shirt. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. If my husband was Don Imus, he would have called me a nappy-haired ho!

I went back to the scene of the crime, this time with clothes on! I worked fast and furious to finish. After what I thought was a thorough cleaning, I failed inspection. Twice!

I now had 5 minutes to fix my hair, put on make-up and find some clean clothes to wear for work. Needless to say I was late. On the bright side, it gave me something to bitch about to my workmates and to my friend David (who always has better horror stories). It also gave me something to blog about.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

MySpace Tom - I'm Sorry

As if there was ever a doubt, I am now officially a dumb-ass!

Tom, I am soooo very sorry that I thought you were a stalker. It has been brought to my attention that you are the president of MySpace and appear on new members friend's list as sort of a Spirit Guide to the Nether-World of MySpace. A social director, like Julie on Love-Boat. Who knew?
Apparently everybody but me.

You, with your goofy, toothy grin, were my first MySpace friend and I foolishly deleted you. I am such a loser. At least on MySpace, I had a friend.

On Blogger, I had to create another identity so I could have at least one comment. All those profile views are ME, checking to see if anyone looked at MY blog. Did you know that every time you click on your own profile, it looks like you have viewers? I probably shouldn't tell anyone but GUESS WHAT? - no one except me is reading this!!!!

Now I know what Jessica Simpson must have felt like when she discovered that "CHICKEN OF THE SEA" is a metaphor for Tuna. She does know that now, right?
I had the chance to count the most popular and influential person on MySpace as my friend and I blew it. With over 171 million friends, you must be a good guy. And now I have no friends.

Can you blame me for thinking you wanted a piece of this? ----->