Sunday, October 30, 2005

Exciting news from Hollywood
Hello cats and kittens – everyone knows that I am privy to all the hot dish for your favorite television shows. That’s right the citizens of Hollyweird run right for their phones to call me and tell me all the big, breaking news. Why? Because Sweeps is nearly here! Fasten your seatbelts – November is going to be bumpy!

Item!
Someone will die.
Who – I do not know. When? I have no idea. What show? Take a guess.

Item!
Someone will get married!
It’s true! And you’ll have a whole year to give your gift – if nuptials last that long.

Item!
Someone will get knocked up – because – someone did it, with you know, someone else.


Item!
Someone will learn a terrible secret – and/or pay a terrible price for knowing a terrible secret.

Item!
Something – somewhere- very shocking will happen to someone/something at some time. IT will be the most shocking thing you’ve seen all week. Or possibly in the past 15 minutes. And it will be a cliffhanger that will leave you breathless until sometime in December or January – whenever the show comes back on with new episodes.

You want specifics? I don’t deal in specifics people – I deal in big ideas. Do your own research! God, that’s what the Internet is for!

Fire up your Tivos and make sure the batteries in your remote are fresh.
Fun things when it isn’t snowing
Deeps woke me up early this morning. He’s the loudest quiet man I’ve ever known.

I suspect many husbands/boyfriends/roommates/brothers/etc suffer from this disorder.

“Why are you up? Is something wrong? Did someone die?” I asked as I rolled over to see the clock read 7:16 a.m.

I can’t think of a time he was up so early on a Sunday, unless he hadn’t yet gone to bed.

“I just woke up,” he said towel drying his hair. I squinted at him and made out his “Math is hard” t-shirt. That’s the shirt he wears when he does work in the yard.

“Oh God,” I said as I flopped back under the covers.

“So when do you think you’ll be ready to paint the shed?” he asked casually.

“For that - I’m going to need donuts.”

The lagoon at the Boston Public Garden. I spotted the pumpkin by the water on Friday. Posted by Picasa

This squirrel would like a few dollars to buy a cup of coffee. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Off the to-do list

Why it is hard to paint the shed - oh yes, that is snow. Yesterday it was around 34 and snowed. Today it was sunny, breezy and close to 70. Posted by Picasa
Enough is enough
Deeps has decided we do not have enough candy for Halloween.

I will not exaggerate – according to various packages; we own a combined amount of 13 pounds of candy.

Will that possibly be enough? That’s large infant size. He’s really worried we’re going to have to turn away some little kid dressed as a princess or Spider-man. I’m more concerned we’re going to have 10 pounds of leftover Snickers bars. And God help me if that happens – I am weak in the face of the fun-size.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm telling the Internets
My friend Gar, aka ex office husband, sent me this link today. It's right up there with Dan's classic senior photos collection. Where did that go, Dan?
Not a letter from McSweeney’s
This is from Cuddles, she sent it out today as part of an email called “Re: Christmas”:

We are going to exchange Christmas ornaments between families. You may purchase or make the ornament, they may be funny, pretty, artsy, etc.



No purchased adult gives............home made gifts may considered if
not tooo tacky.......ie.... no hard feelings if pitched.
Children/Pets are free game............Please sumbit lists.

My favorite part is about the “no hard feelings” – now you know why I call her Cuddles.
Theory of Relativity
I read an alarming article in the Boston Globe: Housing Prices dropped 6% last month.

Great – we moved into a total dump for nine months to save and save. We stopped going out as much, cut back on vacations, downgraded our Netflix and embraced the crockpot lifestay. And all the money we scrimped and saved over the past few years to made a paltry downpayment on our place? Yeah, so that’s gone.

After I signed the last papers at the closing I did turn to my husband and tell him we’d have to live here until we die. Until then – it is a paper loss. Of course, if the tax code is overhauled - I think we'll cross over into "totally screwed."
One More Curse to Go
I think it is very appropriate that in this season of spooky tidings, the White Sox have won their first World Series in like 3000 years.

Good on you, Sox.

I’ve been reading with interest all the hubbub about how fans reacted. People have written about how championships are rare around there. Except for when the Bulls won 6 championships in like 8 years – in the late 20th century.

Yep, championships are rare indeed.

But seriously - have fun and try not to shoot your guns off in the air. Like they used to do when the Bulls would win.

Back in the olden days.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Welcome!
If you arrived from The Boston Globe - welcome. If you're my mother wondering if I've drowned. I haven't - we have three floors.

And like 9 flashlights. We're covered.

If you're just a person who likes to read my stuff - look, I've updated!
My other husband
I’m breaking my own rule and writing about work – but mostly in the abstract. I let myself off on a technicality.

I have had several office husbands over the years.

In fact, I refer to them as such to people outside of work – if I ever talk about work (rare). I come home and tell stories about my office husband to my actual husband. We’ve laughed about this phenomenon for years. And then someone emailed me.

“Don’t you have one of these?” the email coyly asked with a link.

Oh yes – I do.

My husband approves – greatly – of my office husbands. In fact, most of our closest friends are also former office husbands (and their wives). I’ve worked in areas where there are more men than women. An office husband doesn’t always pop up (some men are just not ready for that kind of office relationship) when you’d like. You have to wait. I’ve learned to live without one for a while. In fact, I’d say I’ve really only had two serious (and a third who was more of a "starter" marriage) – but they were both excellent.

I think we helped each other professionally – which is the primary reason to have an office husband (it’s like an alliance on Survivor except instead of a chance to win a million dollars you might get a shot at getting a cubicle near the windows).

And I know we’ve helped each other emotionally – my last serious office husband helped me pull myself together when I got laid off. He nearly dragged me down the street to a bar at 11 AM when I got downsized. We had whiskey and that day forged our great professional relationship into a lasting friendship.

Someday I’d like my office husbands to meet. I wonder if they’d think they are similar (like all your ex-boyfriends – do I have a type?). I guess I really missed my chance for doing that when we eloped.

My most recent office husband - I was his first office wife - our office marriage wasn’t really well-defined. We talked about it today and he characterized it as a “Renee and Kenny” type of thing. I think that’s fair. I don't think we were able to help each other much in a professional sense - but we have a shared sense of humor and I was the first person he told when he was going to get engaged. I gave him my best old-married advice.

Despite our failed marriage - I knew I had something with him. Last week we met - with our actual spouses/partners for dinner. Chemistry like that outlives jobs and offices.

Luckily, I upgraded him to my “outside of work” friend – and he’s on the fast track to being a guy I’ll call to help us move heavy stuff.
(Not really) Breaking News
I was going to write a whole entry about how much I really enjoyed Midnight’s Children and Haroun and the Sea of Stories. But then – you know – it’s like saying, I really liked that episode of Little House on the Prairie.

Salman Rushdie already won the Booker prize for Midnight’s Children. And that was like last century. Then I thought I’d write about how much smarter I am when I read his stuff now because it took me forever to finish Satanic Verses (a million years ago), it took me three weeks to finish Midnight’s Children and it only took three days for me to finish Haroun. In the end I have no scientific basis for making such claims.

But it’s a blog – so I figured I’d do it anyway.

Salman Rushdie writes good books that will make you smarter.

In the winter, it is cold in New England.

Yes! It is true! People have to turn their heat on and everything!

Also – gravity makes things stay put. Call the media!
Short attention span theater
Cuddles told me that my entries are too long, so please enjoy this series of uhm… short entries. Please enjoy. It’s like Larry King but coherent.
To do list
Are you watching My Name is Earl yet? Seriously. It is THAT good.

“I have read the bible and there’s nothing in there that says they have a right to learn or anything.”

That was an actual line from the last episode. I nearly snorted Fresca out of my nose.
Say it, don’t spray it
I’m no Alessandra Stanley, but I do enjoy the Colbert Report. After a whopping five episodes I’m still laughing. I didn’t think the show had it in it – one trick pony and such. But it’s better than I expected and continues to get loud guffaws on a nightly basis. I’ve added it to the Tifaux.

Just what I need – more TV.
The case of the guy with the eyebrows
Rupert Everett made a pretty decent Sherlock Holmes – although I did find his make-up a bit overly pale. Yes, I watch the Masterpiece Theater. Don’t act surprised.
Dreams in the key of C
I had really horrible nightmares on Saturday night. I dreamed that Tom Cruise was stalking me. In the morning I was crabby and tired. Deeps asked me what was wrong – I thought about telling him.

But there’s nothing sadder than confessing to your husband that Tom Cruise freaks you out on both a conscious and sub-conscious level. And then Doogie Howser showed up on his new show dressed up from Top Gun.

Leave me alone, Maverick!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Forced hand
I like to do some crock pot cooking in the colder months. Friday seemed like a good day to crack out the old crock pot and make some ribs.

I figured by the time I got home from work the meat would be so tender it would fall off the bone.

I was partially right.

Apparently my gigantic crock pot is too big for most of the food I cook. I guess I didn’t put in enough meat (well over two pounds of bone-in ribs). They cooked; fell apart and eventually turned into a black charred mess at the bottom of the stoneware.

The house smelled like – I’m not sure: old, burned pig? It was unpleasant. We opened all the windows, turned on fans and desperately tried to air the place out. We went out to dinner with friends and when we returned a couple of hours later the place was less smelly but much more cold.

I caved and turned on the heat when the thermostat inside hovered around 50.

The best laid plans of mice and men…..

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Fuzzy Fruit from New Zealand
Deeps and I went to the grocery store. As always happens, I try to set some ground rules – if I don’t I end up with $13 worth of Pepperidge Farms milano cookies.

I swiftly turned to Deeps as he grabbed a cart (he’s the cart man, I’m the list keeper).

Me: If you want to put something in the cart you have to show me first.
Deeps: Why?
Me: Because you buy stuff we don’t need or that you won’t eat.
Deeps: Like what?
Me: Kiwis.
Deeps: Kiwis? I haven’t bought a kiwi this century – are you still complaining about this?

Oh yes, I am.

For a while my husband would buy kiwis – they were usually 4 for a $1. They seemed cute and tasty and fun. He’d buy them and then they’d disappear into the fridge until I threw them away like a month later. He never at a single freakin’ kiwi.

He was sauntering around with the cart and I was inspecting the mushrooms. I grabbed some carrots.

Deeps: You should get a bigger bag…
Me: You never ever eat them as a snack – only when I cook them. We don’t need a bigger bag.
Deeps: (grumble)

Later I found him eyeballing the pears. Two weeks ago he insisted that we buy these fancy pears because he was really in the mood to eat pears. I think I spent like $7 on those pears – do you think he ate any?

Me: Are you actually going to eat those pears?
Deeps: What?
Me: Do you remember that we bought pears a few weeks ago and you never ate them? I had to throw them out because they were rotting.
Deeps: Man, I bet those pears would have been good.

I huffed away. As I approached the deli window I had a slight change of heart which I loudly announced to the produce department.

Me: You can have two – but if you don’t eat them and I have to throw them out, you owe me $50.

The woman near the grapefruit started to snicker.

Deeps: Fine.
Me: Fine.
Deeps: Fine.

I figure shopping with Deeps is not that different from shopping with small children.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Seriously – the call from Jersey is not going to save us
The phone rang at like 6:55 this morning.

None of the Boehms will call that early unless someone
died. Then they’ll keep calling until you answer.

Deeps was sleeping and I grabbed the phone next to his
head as he made his “what – flurven?” noises. He’s a
slow waker. The caller ID said it was his parents
calling.

“It’s your parents,” I said handing him the phone.

The conversation, which was not conducted in English,
went something like this:

Deeps:Hello
Deeps' parents (probably both on the phone): Oh my god
there’s a flood – it’s on the news.
Deeps: What are you talking about?
Parents: We saw it on CNN or FOX or MSNBC or one of
the other channels we insist on watching very loudly!
Deeps: Dude, I’m asleep on the third floor. I don’t
know what’s going on.
Parents: The world – it is flooding and you should
know.
Deeps: I will talk to you later.

CLICK

“Who died?” I quickly asked. “Is everyone okay?”

“They’re calling about the rain,” he said.

I started to laugh because we – in balmy Arlington –
hadn’t really experienced any serious flooding.
Meanwhile in the next town over from his parents,
everything was flooded. It was on the news. And they
were panicking about Taunton – which is dire straits if that dam goes
but is also about 40 miles away.


“So no one is dead?”

“No.”

“Did they think the call from Jersey was going to be
the thing that saved us?”

“I don’t know. I mean – if something really bad was
happening I wouldn’t be answering the phone.”

“Your parents…….wow,” I said. “They really are
candidates for a pet.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cold Feet
I made a royal edict a few weeks ago – on the day we removed all the air conditioners.

“Due to soaring energy costs, we will not turn on the heat until November 1.”

Deeps was not amused, but didn’t complain much.

With the heinous rain, it’s been cold – so I’ve been trying to pretend the house is much warmer than it is. It is a balmy 67 but when it is so damp – that can be chillier than expected.

“I’m really warm,” I announce from time to time. I also trot out “Wow, the basement is really cozy.” This is true – because that’s where the water heater is and it radiates some heat.

I took a shower last night and there was a cold mist forming in the back of the shower because it was so cold upstairs.

I hate to make a royal edict only to backtrack later. But I don’t want to become entrenched in a hopeless situation. November isn’t that far away – I can make it. I’ll throw an extra blanket on the bed and pull out the fleece.

Plus if I rub catnip on my feet I might be able to get the cat to sleep on them – which would be sad – but warm.

Monday, October 17, 2005

An Open Letter to the Man Who Slapped My Car
First, thanks for giving me an entry. I felt bad for a while that my best weekend material might be about a damn skylight shade.

Second, why were you so angry?

There we were, minding our own business at a stoplight (it was red) and waiting for it to turn green so that we could proceed. You pulled up in your tiny white car and started honking the horn. I’m not sure where you are from, but here in Massachusetts a red light generally means STOP. I believe that is covered on page 1-3 of the driving manual.

I learned to drive in Indiana and I can vouch for the veracity of STOP being more universal than just a quaint New Englandy thing like frappe.

You kept honking and honking. We pulled up a bit, as much as we could. The giant Escalade in front of us is something of a hindrance. Basically, we couldn’t um, displace it and therefore had to wait behind it like everyone else. But not you. You honked and honked. And finally you got of your car and approached ours.

I was rather surprised by this for a couple of reasons – 1) there have been a few high profile instances of road rage in the metro area over the past say – 6 months and 2) you are a very tiny man. I think my 10 year-old niece could take you in a fair fight. You kept yelling at my divinely calm husband through the window. I gave you the universal “Dude, it’s traffic” shrug of the shoulders. You kept yelling and slapping the car – then you gave it one more slap for good measure as you walked away. I tried very hard not to laugh at you.

I suspect you were angry about something long before you ever had the poor misfortune to pull up behind us. I hope your day got better. I hope you learn to let go a little or maybe you should get a T pass. If driving on a Sunday morning in Cambridge is going to make you so bananas, please avoid driving during rush hour. You will probably have a stroke.

And I’d strongly suggest staying in the car in the future. Because not everyone is as nice as us – you might end up facing down something worse than a patient driver and a woman who shrugs her shoulders.
Hours to go before I sleep
After 3 months we finally got the skylight blind up. There was already a blind on the skylight (right over the bed) when we moved in but the color didn't quite work plus I was all into blackout shades. Mmm...
blackout. I'm a pretty light sleeper so dogs barking three blocks away or the cat sneezing in the basement will wake me up. So will any kind of light.

All summer I would dread when the sun would start to blaze through the window overhead. That's when I'd wake up and never quite get back to sleep.

We ordered one blind a couple of months ago but someone made some calculation errors (okay - it was me) and the blind didn't work. That was a waste of a perfectly good $150. Then we ordered another specialty
skylight blind so that we wouldn't encounter such problems.

It arrived last week before everyone came to visit - so we waited until today to tackle it. We put up blinds through the whole first floor in the time it took for us to get part of the blind up. It took about 5 hours of manipulation, cajoling (of the blind and Deeps) - plus there was furniture to move, dust to sweep up and drilling to be done.

I'm the official driller in the family - especially if an anchor is involved (I'm an advocate of the anchor). Deeps is good with the electric screwdriver (or rather, it is the tool with which he is most comfortable). As the shortest member of the family and being a bit dodgy about heights, I elected Deeps to be the main installer. So we went up and down ladders - debated the relative merits of a 6 vs. 8 on the screw size and then took a break to watch "Sell this house."

We're not great at this stuff - it probably takes us about twice as long as it takes normal people. We have learned one thing - when stuff starts to go horribly wrong (like say, the track the blind runs on falls out of the skylight and hits you on the head a couple of times) we take a break and reassess. I think it helps. If nothing else, it does ease the bickering.

Of course, when your project runs into hour five – you should expect hysterical laughter for no discernable reason. That's my other specialty.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

13 Words for Rain
When I was heading to the train yesterday the regular busker was playing his guitar and was singing "Who'll Stop the Rain". Which is a good question - who will stop the damn rain? Up until this latest deluge (which started over a week ago) we were basically having a drought. I don't think anyone talks about that because a) it wasn't so bad and b) droughts in the Northeast don't seem to get the same play as they do in the Midwest. At least, based on what I'm reading and hearing.

Even big city folks in Chicago or Indianapolis stay somewhat abreast of what is happening to the farms around them. Or maybe that's just me. I loves me some 5 AM Ag reports.

But - thanks for asking - no flooding for us.

My friend in LA gets anxious phone calls from her grandmother in Indiana whenever there is a flood, an earthquake, a fire, or any other kind of disaster in California.
Regardless of where it happens... (CA is a BIG state - like the size of a European country). We get calls like that too - don't worry! We live on a bit of a hill and have good drainage. Plus, I've got a skylight over my bed on the third floor if things become really bad.

All the rain has been a big test for the new house - it has a partially finished basement (one room is finished and one room is "raw storage") and after watching my
parents' basement flood over the past few years (thanks to new, nearby housing developments) I was a bit paranoid. Nothing worse than totally soaked carpet.

But so far - knock on virtual wood - we've been dry. The dehumidifier has kicked on a few times. I just inspected the basement - complete with flashlight and my rain shoes. No problems. It is bone dry and toasty down there - which is good because I just got a TV for the basement and some little gym things. Oh yes, it'll be the low-rent personal gym of my dreams. I just have to get Deeps to inflate my giant boxing dummy. You heard me - it's clobbering time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Worst Hostess Ever
If you ever come to my house I will make you sleep on an inflatable bed and also force you to buy your own coffee because I don’t have a coffee maker.

It’s a sin – I know – and boy did I hear about it. I thought K, sainted mother who nurtures children and animals, would stomp me with her size 11s (she’s a very tall lady). I also had her help me clean up and make lots of food. Then I got her drunk on what I dubbed "The Girl Drink" - so there's that. I believe I offered her cake for breakfast the next day.

And later poor John had to go buy himself coffee. My SpongeBob sippy cup was hated and detested and I ruined Gus by introducing him to the magic of 24-hours of cartoons. He’ll probably lose like 5 IQ points. It’s all my fault.

I also fed everyone leftovers and then left them to deal with the cranky old cat. Janna and John (and Gus) left on Tuesday and made us a sweet note. They also made the bed, but left a special section aside – where we later found the Poopus curled up and napping.

She’d break into their room everyday to do that – so I guess they got the hint. It’s not so much our room as it is her preferred sleeping quarters.

I did manage to offer Janna and John some decent advice – I gave them some guides to Boston and a map of the T. Then I suggested they might just want to drive.
When your mother calls
Kristen (a woman so virtuous that she is currently nursing a Monarch butterfly back to health) came down to visit us on Saturday. We’d invited the whole family down for a party but only she could attend as she wisely pointed out that a) small children and parties don’t always mix (especially when a sleepover was involved) and b) she was in need of a little “me” time.

We ate a tremendous amount of food, drank too much and overindulged in French Truffles (note to self: never by 5 pounds of truffles from Costco again - too deadly and delicious). We also talked a lot and caught up on general stuff. We shared (approximately) the following exchange:

Me: It’s weird that no one calls me anymore because they read my blog.
K: I know – and when they do call… they just go right into your latest entry.
Me: Yeah, they’re all “why did you use oil-based primer on the shed?” Blah blah.
K: It’s weird.
Me: It will haunt your children.
K: Probably.
Man of Action!
So this will be our first winter in our new house. I’m trying to hold out until November to turn on the heat – I might not make it that long.

However, I’ve been reading a lot about how to save money on heating. I’ve done everything on this list except the part about wrapping the water heater. That’s going on my list for this weekend.

As for painting the shed – well Deeps thinks we might need to wait for the Nor’easter to die down. Which should be sometime next week.

I’m going to have to dig out those LL Bean boots soon. For now, I’m going to get an extra blanket.

Stay warm!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Taking one for the team
People ask me what I like to watch, so here's my brief roundup of the new Fall season.

Prison Break: Laughably over-the-top but very watchable and engaging – like 24. Suspend your disbelief for an hour and see what happens.

Bones: The less gross CSI. The cast has a ton of chemistry but the writing is terrible. That said it has more character development than most any other cop show on the air despite having some of the worst dialogue. The perfect Inspector Sleepy Mystery.

How I Met Your Mother: High concept sitcom that is totally unremarkable in its approach to storytelling. Cast full of people you liked on other shows and some guy that looks like Jimmy Fallon. Neal Patrick Harris is fantastic in it - but overusing him is bad and I sense he could go the way of Jack and Karen by the start of season 2. If you’re looking for a funnier sitcom on Mondays you might want to check out Kitchen Confidential.B

Kitchen Confidential: Much funnier than expected – but then again we had very, very low expectations. The cast has good chemistry and the writing isn’t terrible despite the hokieness of the pilot. The later episodes improved a lot.

Everybody Hates Chris: Sort of like a hipper Wonder Years, the kid at the center of the show is fantastic even if the writing is a little uneven. I think the show could be funnier and have less heart. Still it shows a lot of promise and we’re keeping it on the regular viewing schedule.

My Name is Earl: I hoped it would be good – but I didn’t think I would laugh as much as I did. I laughed out loud at least three times during the pilot and I knew all the jokes. That probably reflects more on me than on the show. Subsequent episodes were dark and funny and went to some weird places. Jason Lee and his scumbag mustache are comedy gold. It is easily the best new comedy of the season.

The Office: I realize this is a mid-season replacement from last year, but lots of people didn’t watch it. And some may moan and groan about how this show is not as good as the BBC version. I agree. Last season I wasn’t thrilled but this season the show has found its distinctly American voice and started to get a real rhythm. It is also moving into the dense comedy realm of Arrested Development where you can hear the joke in the foreground and see something equally hilarious taking place in the background. Give it another shot. Paired with “Earl” it is part of a very enjoyable hour of hilarious television.

Threshold: I’m glad to see Peter Dinklage and Carla Gugino working – I just thought it would be in something much better. Beware! Evil Christmas ornaments will kill us all.

Invasion
: Good companion for LOST. I think it's a taut, claustrophobic and paranoid thriller. I'm not sure where they're going with it yet - but the fact that I still care is probably a good sign.

Surface: NBC has so little going for it – I really thought this could have been a much more interesting show. Watch out for the evil fish. Honestly – that’s the best you could come up with? I mean, I enjoy the way you blow your CGI wad with one great shot every episode. But why does the single mom always prance around in a bikini or some sort of mid-riff baring shirt? I'm rooting for the monster, but not your show.

Nightstalker (Kolchak): I like Stuart Townsend but I don’t like him enough to watch this crappy, crappy show.

Reunion: This is what you get when Fox realizes they have no crime show to call their own and come up with one mixed with a bad soap opera. Highly watchable on extreme fast-forward.

Supernatural
: There were a few genuine scares but I find the show really stupid. My husband finds the stupidity charming. I get distracted by Jared Padalecki’s hair and forget to be scared.

Close to Home: This show is so bad – I’m actually offended it is “set” in my hometown of Indianapolis. Even hot, understanding husbands played by Christian Kane can’t help it be better.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Guy
Kids like Deeps almost immediately. I usually have to give them food or something before they think I’m okay (just like pets). Gus started referring to Deeps as The Guy almost immediately.

And a little while ago Deeps went upstairs to play online.

“Where’d Deeps go?” he asked as he headed for the stairs.

The joy of Gus is that you’ll never get to hear him ask about you until you’re gone. I fully expect that by Wednesday he’ll be asking about the big fat cat.
Staying in Character
Gus, Janna and John are visiting us from Chicago. When they got in on Sunday we headed out for lunch and a trip to Henry Bears place. I know how to wheedle my way into the heart of a small child. Bribery.

Gus and John made their way to the trains. Deeps and I wandered around as Janna hunted for cool toys. Two other kids showed up and started talking to us and playing with the trains.

I gathered from the conversation that the kid was into dressing up. As he crashed some train cars together Janna asked him if he was frustrated.

“I’m not frustrated,” he replied earnestly. “I’m Batman.”

At this point I took a closer look at the kid and realized that he was wearing a black t-shirt, dark pants and dark gray underwear outside, over his pants. Like Batman does.

“My mother made me leave the cape in the car.”

I’m sure that happened to Bruce Wayne all the time.

His mother started chatting with Janna and she disclosed that the kid also had a Superman outfit and had become obsessed with Spider-man. He couldn’t actually identify Spider-man, but he liked to talk about him. And, like all the superheroes he knows, he insisted on wearing his underwear outside of his pants.

I’m sure DC gets letters like this all the time – Why does Superman wear his drawers outside of his pants?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Shock and Awe
I got a call a few hours ago from Peanut – she’s three.

“Hello, my CD is shot,” she said.

I didn’t understand here.

“Oh and how is it doing?” I replied. She handed the phone to her mother, Cuddles.

“Hi – Peanut came down and told me we needed to call Abba immediately. She said her CD is shot.”

“Oh – okay. Wait – she said it was shot.”

“Yeah, the Dan Zanes CD. Rocketship Beach. I told her maybe she could get it for Christmas this year.”

“She actually wore out a CD?”

“She said it was shot.”

"But where did she learn to talk like that?"

"I have no idea."

Who am I to argue with a three-year-old?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Not the Matchbox 20 guy
Dear Rob Thomas:
Are you going to kill off people in every episode of Veronica Mars this year? Because if so – awesome.

Your Friend,
Alyssa
Mr. Wizard
We had some old paint in the basement that we inherited with the house. We’d decided several weeks ago to clear out the old paint. Luckily, it is latex and we just had to let it dry out and the dispose of it in the trash (according to our town’s trash regulations).

We hauled up paint cans, popped off lids and placed them in a sunny spot in the yard. We waited and waited – some of the cans were pretty full. Nothing was really drying up. Deeps went to the hardware store.

A few weeks earlier I’d seen some product that allegedly would dry out a gallon of paint in minutes – you just stirred it in. The Mister suggested it was some kind of cat litter and wasn’t worth the expense.

Guess what he came back with from the hardware store? Oh yeah – Mr. Wizard bought four packs of the super dry out stuff ($5/pack – one pack does 4-5 quarts of paint) and went to town. If I’d have known he’d be so excited and utterly occupied by that stuff I’d have bought it years ago.

He dragged me outside two different times to show me how fast it worked and what a good job it did. Then I had to stir some in because he had to share the magic with me.

Sometimes men and women are really different.
Never never-nude
Someone was recently commenting about a small family of albino squirrels in a nearby neighborhood. Around town I see gray squirrels and the occasional black squirrel. I haven’t yet spotted one of the albino squirrels – but today I saw something new.

As I walked through the public garden a little boy was walking between his mother and father.

A crazy squirrel went up the path and stopped near the kid.

“Mommy, that squirrel is naked!” the boy exclaimed.

The squirrel in question was scrawny but average size – and totally bald below his neck. Devoid of all fur. In his birthday suit.

“Yeah, that doesn’t look like a healthy squirrel,” his dad suggested. “Maybe his mother forgot to send him out with a sweater.”

“I bet he’s cold,” the boy’s mother chimed in.

I thought the squirrel was probably embarrassed – the other squirrels probably tease him for being a nudist.
I don’t care for it
I’m not a baseball fan. I don’t pretend to be. I think there’s some kind of law in Massachusetts that you must love baseball.

At best I was ambivalent towards baseball. It messes up Fox’s program schedule for a month, but I survive. Last night I came home a bit later from the gym and flipped on the TV to start watching LOST on the TiFaux.

The LOST was missing – I had baseball instead. The local ABC affiliate had pre-empted LOST for the Sox(es?) game. My ambivalence melted away into actual active dislike. Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for a semi-coherent explanation about what the heck is in that hatch?!?

I’m over it now. But last night, I might have said some very naughty words.
Couple three things
My favorite site to tell other people about is Lifehacker. Have you ever visited - I like to go at least twice a week to see if there is some amazing little tip I didn't know about. It's not all techy stuff - I read stuff about creating cool little bookmarklets and another entry about the best way to clean grout.

I'm not sure if this is an argument for not having kids, not having a cat, or not living in the country - actually - it would seem to be none of the abovee. I do think someone has some cat karma going, and I think we know why....

This is the time of year when I review the 401k allocations and decide if we need to shift things up. Last year I skewed a bit more conservative in case we needed to borrow from the 401k to help with the down payment for the house. Now that we have the house and don't need to worry about it - we're going back to a more aggressive strategy. How did I come to that decision? I read some stuff, I played with tools, and I went back to the paperwork. The tools were more fun.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Right said Fred
I noticed our neighbor outside with a rake and loam and grass seed. His front yard was bare.

I should note that despite the dry (droughty) summer, he had a gorgeous and lush green lawn.

“What are you doing, Fred?” I asked. Because you know – I’m neighborly.

“I was starting to rake the lawn after I mowed on Sunday, I all the grass came up," he said wiping his brow. "I have to replant my grass – the grubs ate it.


Deeps and I both gasped in horror.

We have brown thumbs when it comes to the lawn, but even we know that grubs are a fate worse than crab grass.
The itch
We met one of our neighbors mother. They graciously invited us over for pie – I’m starting to like the suburbs – and coffee.

We chatted for a few hours and the topic of marriage and togetherness came up.

Our friends have been married for a couple of years. Her mother asked how long we’ve been married.

“A little over three years,” I replied.

“So you’re newlyweds,” she said smiling in the way that people smile at people who are young and in love.

“But we lived together for like 5 years before that,” Deeps said. “And we dated for almost 3 years before we lived together.”

“Oh,” our friend’s mother replied.

Newlyweds – not so much.
Remedial French
The French Connection’s mother and grandmother are visiting later this month. Allegedly my accent is good but I lose vocab all the time. In our house we communicate in clicks and grunts.

I’m not sure I’ll get to meet la famille, but I figured in case I was called up I should brush up on my French. So I picked up a few little novels en Francais when I was at a used book sale last week. I’m nearly done with Midnight’s Children (so close… yet so far!) and will soon dive into the magical world of Jules Verne.

Or the German-English dictionary. It was only a dollar.
The secret to my success
I throw parties from time to time – sometimes as often as once a month.

I’m not a cook – but I like entertaining. I don’t slave over a stove for hours and hours – I like to have stuff that is easy to get to and then let people go at it. I usually buy platters and pre-made items, then carefully arrange them on my colorful serving pieces (or not – you never know how low rent I’ll go).

But I do usually do two things “from scratch” as it were: my zippy dip and pigs in a blanket.

The zippy dip is comprised of fat free (they never know – not even the French Connection!) sour cream, ranch dressing mix (the Hidden Valley packet), garlic, cayenne pepper, salt, and the juice of one lemon. Mix and serve with fun things to dip in it. People love that stuff.

The pigs in a blanket are just as simple and totally delicious. Take li’l smokey (not cocktail wieners) and crescent rolls (I get low fat varieties of both the smokeys and the crescent rolls). Cut the rolls into thirds, wrap a piece of crescent roll around a li’l smokey and bake until golden.

Laugh at the pigs in a blanket if you will – I did. I made them as ironic hors d’oeuvres but they were all gone in minutes. Now people request them whenever we have a party. Actual honest-to-goodness requests.

We’re having a party this weekend and I found a giant package of smokeys at Costco – I think I can make a batch of about 4000.

I also bought a gallon of rum. So that should be extra fun.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Before and After: The Table That Ate My Life
What was I doing before – I can’t remember. I just know that I had a table and it ate my life. This memory problem may be attributed to poor ventilation - I can't say for certain.

Anyway - now the table is finished. Sanded, stained, poly’d, and recovered with fabric that is neither orange nor furry.


Before


And After
Salman Rushdie makes me crave bad food
I’m reading Midnight’s Children because a) I’ve heard great things about it and b) I found it in my “to be read” pile in the “reading room” (aka the guest room).

I like the book – it’s dense and rich and interesting. But it has the same effect on me that Grapes of Wrath did. When I read Wrath I needed a lot of water – I couldn’t drink enough. All those pages about the dust bowl just made me thirsty.

Rushdie makes me want food – even if it isn’t going to be good. For example, last weekend I wanted Indian food because he’d been writing so much about pakoras and chutneys. The only Indian food option was a bad one, but I ate it anyway because my craving would not be sated. Same thing happened again on Friday when I decided I wanted Chinese food because I was at the section of the book about fighting with China.

The local Chinese place isn’t so great – but I couldn’t be swayed. I ate some of the most hideous Chinese food in my life to get the craving out of my system.

I think I’ll finish the book in the next few days. That’s good for me and probably for my cholesterol.