Tuesday, January 29, 2013


In case this blog has wrapped you up in a warm blanket of humor with a touch of suspense (that would be the cold nose), here are some updates...

1. The caterpillar is still in the cocoon.  Maybe he's just hibernating?  Or else in the spring we are going to have a dissection day at my house.  Yay science!

2. Christmas came and went, and we still have our tree up.  Taking down a Christmas tree is like picking out your own casket.  You know the inevitable will happen, and this is just one part of the puzzle.  ....but if I'm honest, it is still up, not because taking it down will make me sad, but because the time we have to do it, my husband has been working.  I'm not doing this job alone. With kids.

3. I never made it to the 100 'hovers'.  I'm not sure I had to do them all in one series, but that is what I tried to do.  I got to 60.  When I did do them, I tried to find a little place on my own (read- cramped closet) because I am a touch self conscious.  Even if they knew what and why, I still didn't want my family to see me doing this silly move.  I blame the Hover, which may as well stay a 'squat' because the action is as ugly as the word.

4. No weird chicken disease, so go ahead and share a glass with your feathered friend.  I'm proof that everything will be ok.

5. That parenting book.... not sure where I put it.

6. In direct correlation of #5, my son has since handed over a mystery $5 bill and my credit card.  Where the heck did I put that book?!

7. I did get that king sized bed.  Dumb move. I will never do that again.  My kids wiggle.  A lot.

So there you have it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bring Me the Virgins!

Apparently, and you have to say that word as you would hear a 5th grade teacher saying it to their class ... "aPPArently, you all have forgotten that desks are for keeping papers on, not as storage for your used chewing gum..."  you know, with the accent in the middle.

Well, apparently, I am a murderer.  My friend's husband, I'll call him Pulmonologist Percival, gave me grave news about my wood stove, which was very unfair, because I had no bad news for him.  I was informed that   it would be better for my health, and that of all the people in the immediate vicinity of, say, eight miles, to snort heroin.

He actually didn't say that it would be healthier, but the inference was there.

I guess that heating your home with a wood stove puts the same amount of toxins in the air as, oh, a factory in China.  And also that I'm giving my neighborhood cancer.  Merry Christmas! :)

As it usually happens when you get bad news from a doctor, I went home and googled it.  Turns out, they do teach these doctors a thing or two about stuff, because he was right.

Hopefully I'll get off with just manslaughter, because I wasn't cancering anyone knowingly.

Now that I knew the facts, I could be facing 2nd degree murder!  That is totally unacceptable.


So we did it.  We took a teeny loan and got one of these...

It's a gasification wood boiler.  It lives outside and will heat our whole house.  With a thermostat!  Our wood stove that we have now, let's call it the Asthma Chamber, it only heats the upper rooms in the house.  Our downstairs is a balmy 50* all winter.  And I am the thermostat for it.  If I'm cold, another log added...

I told my husband that we should build it a little room under the bridge that goes over the creek.  We could call it the Ogre, and pretend we are feeding it forest virgins in order to have safe passage to the swingset.
I'm not sure why he shot that idea down, but I'm assuming that it is just a bit to far from the house to be efficient.  Otherwise he'd love the idea.  I'm still going to call it the Ogre and feed it virgins.

Unfortunately, the Ogre won't be operational until next season.  He lives in Buffalo, and won't be coming to stay with us until spring.

So the Asthma Chamber will be working for a few more months.

Sorry about the cancer, neighbors.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Avert Your Eyes Before it's too Late!

Did I say that I love global warming? Really?

Well, I never said Harvard was knocking down my door, now did I?

Reality just bit me.  Actually on my leg.  A freaking bug bit me.  IT'S THE MIDDLE OF JANUARY, PEOPLE!

So now I have a fear that might take over after a few more years of this warming trend.  It's that the flies, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, chiggers, and any other horrible biting menace will take over the world.  Forget  about the machines, Terminator's got nothing on the misery that a practically invisible mosquito can do to the human race.  I think I just twitched.

Think about it... I knew a Navy diver who trained with the SEALS.  When he went through the 'are you a bad ass enough muscle man to be a diver' training, they unleashed this abomination on them.  Our government, thinking of nothing more hideous, put these guys in a steamy room with millions of mosquitoes.  If they swatted, they were done.  Out of the program.  Because of mosquitoes.

We are in for one heck of a rude awakening.  I like the movie GI Jane and all, but there's no way I could last more than a second in that training.

Have a party in your shoes
 and invite your pants down!
 They would make me cry just looking at the pants they were wearing. ...really, have you seen the movie?  Here, this is what has been burned into my mind, and it is what the SEALS are all about in my head...

I am not even going to consider roaches yet.  They are direct spawn of Satan  and should be eliminated.  Or at the very least, ignored.

But what are we supposed to do about the global warming?  I try not to drive too much, but life tends to go on without me if I stay in my hovel.  We recycle everything we can and compost the rest.  I try very consciously to do my part.  I honestly don't see it as a help, though.  Just look at other nations that spew pollution like it's going out of style.  I mean, when you have to beg out of the Olympics because you might win a bout of lung cancer if you actually run the marathon, you know something is very, very wrong.  China had to shut down their factories around Beijing in order for the smog to lift just enough so that the spectators wouldn't bump into buildings while walking to the event.  One Chinese man was actually quoted saying 'usually we use canes that the blind people use. We are teaching our youngsters how to read braille instead of looking for an address marker so they know they are at the proper door.'

So when that is happening in a developed nation, what do you think is happening in the not as developed nations?!  I'm not sure what impact eating a more vegetarian diet will have.

But I'll keep at it, give it the good fight.

The first thing on my agenda though, is to petition Hollywood to resist the urge to put muscle men in short shorts.  If we can protect our eyes, then maybe we can learn to see past those thighs and address other issues.  Like the weird smell in grandma's house.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Clear The Roads!

Traveling with children. Without the husband. It should be the beginning to 'Children of the Corn.'    I can't take Valium because I happen to be the only one that is legal to drive.  Damn those laws.

The ride, I'm not afraid of.  It is the one time that I really can't complain when the kids want to become total DVD zombies.  I'm afraid of this...

The bed bug infested room.

Crusty carpets.

The covers that never get washed.

The remote.

but most of all...

which one of the kids gets to sleep with mommy.

We don't have to worry about it on the way home.  We are driving straight through, and I'll have my husband with me, so there will be no ability to say one 'one on the way, the other on the way back'.  But this time...

I am thinking about car camping.  Usually this is cringe worthy, but I'm that kind of pioneer girl, and I can pull it off with two dogs and an elephant if I wanted to.  But it's going to be cold.  Really, really, cold.  In the teens kind of cold.  Camping in the cold is not super fun, especially when it is in the back of a station wagon in a wally world parking lot.  (They let you camp in their parking lot because they know you will come in to use the loo and buy an extra blanket and a Snickers while you are there.)

So I am going to resign myself to a hotel.  Thus, accepting the argument that is sure to come.  Who gets to sleep with mommy?

 I want to just get a king sized bed and be over it, but those rooms cost more.  Especially if you want one.  If you want two beds, then they give you one king, and the two queens are going to be extra.  I know how it works.  I'd do it too if I were the shmo that owned a cruddy hotel chain.

I'd love to stuff them in a bed together, and get my own bed, my own bugs, but I know that won't work.  I won't get a lick of sleep because I'd have to pull them apart all night as they practice mixed martial arts on each other as they slept.

So I'm calling upon all the laws of nature to be on my side.  Please let a mom, preferably one with five year old twins, be working the desk when I call to make the reservation.  She'll understand.  And maybe she'll think I'm a poor single mom and give me an upgrade, whatever that is...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I almost burned down my house today.  For the second time.

We heat our home from a wood fired stove.  It is efficient and more importantly, cheap. The idea is to replace the stove with one of those newer fancy gasification stoves so that smoke doesn't choke off the neighborhood.  Really though, it's more about efficiency and how warm I am, than how much we smoke out our neighbors.

Prior to putting in the wood stove, it was just an open fireplace. It was with this regular fireplace that I tried to burn down the house for the first time.  The proof of the first attempt is a few little scorch marks on the wood floor right in front of the fireplace.  We found them the morning after.  So basically, we could have become crusty meat pops overnight.

Not to be outdone by myself, I took a swing at it again, determined to win the stupid award of the century.
This time, I left the door to the stove open.  I had only just lit it, and if you leave the door open for a bit, all the oxygen that is sucked in can really feed the fire and make it roar in no time at all.  Normally, when this is done, you should probably keep an eye on the fire as it bursts to life.  Nope, not me.  I went to check that nothing was happening in the webosphere, because that's critical.

At about the same time that twitter was silently tweeting, I heard an odd rumble bonk.  Or donk. Maybe a clunk.  However you'd like me to describe the sound, just picture two flaming chunks of tree trunk bashing into the door of the stove and trying to dive onto my super cool shag rug.  And you know that any super cool shag rug would catch fire faster than a turpentined cat.

Because you can spit the width of my house, I was available to prevent the torching before the shag got shagged.

We live to try again another day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Did Jane Ever Go To Jail?

The kids are in the bath, and I'm eating the last piece of pizza.  My ass is protesting, but (no pun intended) I need it.  I need to eat it out of spite, revenge and serotonin.  Pizza has that, right?  I need some peace flushing through my veins right now.

I caught my son stealing today.

So I'm eating his pizza.  The spite and revenge don't matter much outside of my imagination because 1. he isn't watching me eat the pizza after he told me not to, and 2. he's finished dinner anyway.

'Been Caught Stealing' is playing in the background as I try to figure out what to do.  Yes, we are going back to his teacher tomorrow with the pilfered marbles in hand so he can give them back with a tearful apology, but what else to do?

Mind, this is all in the same afternoon that I found a box of 'treasures' under the bed.  Not the typical treasures either.  He made a concoction of items that he collected from around the house.  In the box, from bottom to top, were... batteries, the contents of 2 bottles of shampoo, the contents of both a bottle of powder and calcium tablets which when mixed with the a fore mentioned shampoo created a weird gloopy white sponge.  There were also some matchbox cars and teeth whitening strips that I think he used as sprinkles.

This science experiment of a family is shattering all of the hypotheses I had.  I think my brain is leaking, just like batteries that are eroding in a bath of shampoo.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Love Global Warming

I don't see the problem with global warming.  Why wouldn't you want to be closer to the ocean? Or have a longer growing season.  Think about how long we could eat fat juicy tomatoes that we just popped off the vine!  Mmmmm, tomato and mayo sandwich on squishy white bread!  Nothing like it.

I've often said that I would move only as north as Durham, NC (remember the movie Bull Durham? Yeah, that Durham), but if this trend continues, I'd be willing to look at places closer to the Mason Dixon.  Seriously, it's the beginning/middle, of January, and it's supposed to be 66 degrees tomorrow.  I'm very supportive of those temperatures.  Maybe I'll stop recycling and drive around town without an exhaust system on my car.  Better yet, I'll just buy an old diesel Volvo and refuse to run it on veggie oil!

...but if I do any of that, I'll ostracize myself and probably be shunned by many of my granola crunching friends.  I'll be warmer though.

Not that I have anything against winter, per se.  It does have its place.  Mainly that place should be in Ansel Adams photography and on pretty January/February pages on my calendar.  So far, each winter we have been in NC, we have had about one decent snow.  In my view, that's about 1-3".  It makes even the ugliest area beautiful, you can sled and build snowmen, then it melts the next day when the temp creeps back up to 60 degrees.  Another bonus for our area is that we shut down when it snows.  I don't mean 'we' as warm weather people that fear the chilly white stuff.  I mean 'we', as in the entire town.  Schools, businesses, government.  About the only thing that stays open is the hospital, and I think the student docs probably just sleep there.  And we stay shut down for approximately the same number of days as the number of inches of snow.

The winter before my husband and I moved here from Florida, this area of NC got 23" of snow.  Three weeks, that's how long it took to dig out and find the stores and schools.  Three weeks.  My rule-of-thumb stands.

Since then, the global warming has taken hold.  Thankfully.  Bring it on, sun, bring it on!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winning vs. Whining

I'm trying to learn how to parent.  I just borrowed a book from a friend that will apparently teach me everything I am doing wrong and will miraculously bring peace and tranquility to my household.  It's lucky I didn't purchase the book myself, because if it doesn't work, I would have taken it back to the book store for a refund.  These self help books should come with some sort of guarantee.

The world, or at least MY world, needs to come to a hault while I read this manual.  Pause the fighting, pause the whining, and let me learn how to do it right.

This all assumes that I think I am doing something wrong.  Which I don't.  I saw a bumper sticker that said 'My people scream.'  and I thought, ...see, I have 'people.'

I'm only on chapter 2, but I have already discovered why 'the look' doesn't scare the crap out of my kids.  I can remember getting 'the look.'  I knew a portion of my life would never be the same if I continued on the path I was heading, all from a lazer beam, brain burning, skin melting, look.  At least that's what I remember, even though I was never beaten... I thought I didn't have what it takes to manipulate the look like my mom.

The reason 'the look' doesn't work, is because we no longer beat our kids.  The book tends to put this fact in a sugar coated way, by saying the societal shift has dictated....blah blah blah.  What they mean is, we don't get to have the kid go and cut their own switch from the willow tree.  And I get it.  I think I'd be in trouble if I lived in the mid-evil world of belt beatings and switches.  Sometimes my flight vs. fight response kicks in when the kids do something abysmal, and I am washed in a cold, fiery fury.  Then I yell and stomp my feet and sometimes even cry a bit.  If I lived when it was acceptable to beat them, I think sometimes I would have.  No one understands this unless they have their own children.  Kids can wear you down faster that a knife fight in a phone booth.

So I'm trying to better my tactics.  Education is always the answer, right?   I'll write about my success, if the book is as miraculous as it claims to be.  If it doesn't work, you'll know that too.  Not because I'll write about it, but because this tiny corner of Chatham County N.C. will be burned to the ground from the lazers that I will have installed in my eyes.

If I didn't get the 'look' from genes, I'll get it from science.