Sunday, February 28, 2010

I guess he DID say please.

This was a week that caught us by surprise. It just ended up being busier than either of us expected. Kid stuff, ministry stuff, house stuff--everything just combined to send Jason and I scrambling around all week. So on Saturday afternoon we decided to do something extr-y fun. We packed up and went with some good friends and their 3 boys to the Sydney Olympic Park and the Aquatic Centre there. The Olympic Park is really nice--it's vast, with all kinds of sporting venues and lots of cafes and parks to hang out in.

And the Aquatic Centre is kid heaven.

It has a water playground (pictured there), a huge twisty waterslide, a massive wading pool for toddlers and all kinds of fountains and other ways to get drenched. And the whole family gets in for $20. Another reason to love Australia. We had a great time and also achieved a parent's main goal for a weekend outing: tire your children out. If they're not begging to go home and go to bed, you haven't had enough fun.

After we swam, we had dinner outside on the grass under a large tree. Dusk was falling, and looking up in the tree we were sitting under, one of our friends noticed a bat hanging up there. It wasn't moving though. And it was just one bat. Except then we noticed another. And another. And several more. And then they started waking up and flying around. And y'all, they weren't those little bats that you can't tell if maybe they're sparrows or something. These were BATS. With batty little furry heads and big, leathery, batty wings. They were practically flaunting their battiness. Did I mention that they were BIG? And that they were BATS?

You are probably guessing that I wasn't so thrilled about this. Isn't it nice how we're getting to know each other better? I'm sure you can construct my worst nightmare from reading recent posts. A bat with a rat on its back and a red back spider perched on its head. Flying above my head, screeching and trying to get me to change cell phone providers.

I am fine with bats while they are just chilling in the tree, 20 feet above me, but I don't really wanna be around when they start swooping and stuff. The kids thought it was the coolest thing EVER and got closer to the bottom of the tree, peering up into the branches. Jason, in his element, bounded around on the grass pretending to be a bat, landing on the kids' heads and squealing. He is the fun parent. I am okay with this.

Meanwhile, I am rapidly finishing my sandwich and simultaneously buckling Grace into the stroller. She might make a tempting bat snack, you know, and I didn't want one of them snatching her up.

"Are you scared, Mom?" Ava asked me. "No, I'm not scared," I said, "I just don't want bat poop on my head." This was partially true.

They were well and truly waking up now, and as I had already started walking with the stroller, Jason and the kids caught up with me. Nate and I ended up walking together towards the car.

Nate: Mom, do you think God would make me a bat?
Me: I don't think so, buddy. He's already made you the way He wants you to be. Why do you want to be a bat?
Nate: So I can see other bats. And eat fruit.
Me: Um. Oh.
Nate: Maybe when I get to heaven He can make me a bat.
Me: Ya think?
Nate: I'll ask him. (Looks up and raises his voice) God! God? When I get to heaven, will you please make me a bat? (Lengthy pause. He is sincere in this.)
Me: Well? What did He say?
Nate: He say yes.
Me: Really? Are you sure?
Nate: Yeah. He always tells me yes.
Me: He does? How come?
Nate: I know a magic word.
Me: So you say a magic word, and God says yes when you ask Him things?
Nate: Yep.

I knew my spiritual life was missing something. A magic word. Nate's been asking God lots of things lately. You know, the usual: Can I have a puppy, Can you make it not rain on my birthday, and Can you make me a bat when I get to heaven. What kid hasn't asked for that? Well, the jury's still out on the puppy, his birthday isn't until October, and we'll have to wait till we get to heaven to see about the bat.

But who can resist a magic word? And hey, his reasoning is sound. He just wants to hang with other bats and eat fruit. It's what bat dudes do. And if that's wrong, he doesn't wanna be right.

I think I'll stop here. Cause really, this messes with my theology and I should just go to bed now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We did some other stuff but here are the highlights.

A brief list, to keep you informed. Of goings-on and whatnot. Mostly whatnot.

1. Today started out hot as blazes again. You know it's not a good sign when you are already sweating at 7:30 in the morning. But then, around 11am a cool breeze began blowing. It was like a miracle. A miracle from heaven. (Why do people say that? Where else do miracles originate?) Within an hour, the temperature had dropped and the house was blessedly cool. Australia, just when I think I'm out, you pull me back in!

2. Nate's dollar shop toys continue to entertain. Best 5 bucks I ever spent.

3. His wounds still require sensitivity. This is a kid who will rip the bandages off the worst scrapes after 20 minutes, declaring them "all better". But will he let us take these little band aids off? Not a chance.
4. This evening on the way home from dinner, Jason and I were trying to distract Ava and Nate from some petty conflict they were having. "Let's have a contest!" I said. (Ava, you see, loves to win and is a sucker for any contest) "Let's see who can be sweetest to the other person." They were at a loss. I waited. I prompted. "Okay, why don't each of you tell what you like most about the other?" This went on for a few minutes, with some help from us, and then we arrived at the house. We all went in and I kind of forgot the whole thing. I was busy doing all the stuff around the house that you get busy with after dinner and before kid bedtime. An hour later, Ava walked over to Nate with a card she'd made him. She read it to him, it talked about how strong and smart he was. "Wow, Ava--that was really kind of you," I said, kind of surprised. She looked up at me with an intent expression. "So, who wins?"

5. Do your kids, or children of your acquaintance, ever say a word the wrong way, but it's so funny that you never bother to correct it? In fact, you go out of your way to get them to say it more? Years ago, we had some friends whose daughter used to say "ass cream" instead of "ice cream". We were in our pre-parental season and thought it was hilarious. So we'd always say, "Naomi, what's your favorite dessert?" "Hey, what's that man in the truck selling over there?" Naomi's parents loved us for that, I'm sure. And now we get to do it to our own kids. We had pizza for lunch today, and across the house, Nate's voice rang out. "I want more PECKERONI!!" You want what, Nate? Peckeroni! Wow, Nate! What's your favorite kind of pizza? Peckeroni! Are you sure? Are you sure cheese isn't your favorite? No, my favorite is Peck. Er. Roni!!!!

Are we evil? I figure he'll work it out eventually. And in the meantime, look. Sometimes in a long parenting-filled day you gotta inject a little humor for yourself. If it's at the expense of a four year old, well, so be it. He got another piece of peckeroni, after all. It ain't all bad.

And after dinner tonight, we polished it off with a nice cone of ass cream.

So those are the highlights.

Contemplating the problem is worse than the problem lotsa times, isn't it? See, I can be philosophical.

Well, y'all, it's nearly 1 in the morning here in Sydney and I am too hot to sleep. Aw, thank you--you're sweet to say that. But I meant temperature-wise. It was a pretty hot day here today and the evening didn't cool down much. So here I lay (lie? whatevs.) with the heat-generating laptop. and the turbo fan driving up our electric bill.

Feeling hot and not being able to sleep are both things that get worse when you notice them. And combined, dude, it's lethal. So you're laying there going, "It's warm. I'm hot. Oh no, it's hot! What am I gonna do? Maybe I won't be able to sleep. Oh no, I won't be able to sleep! How will I function tomorrow when it's hotter and I'm tired? Can't sleep too hot can't sleep too hot can't sleep..."

Commence downward spiral.

Nate experienced something like this today. Not the heat or sleep deprivation, but the increased torture that anticipating something difficult can bring. I took him today for his 4 year old immunizations. The bummer about immunizing older kids is that you can't just spring it on 'em like you can with a baby. I mean, no one likes doing that either, but let's be honest. It's a lot easier to take a 6 month old to get her shots than it is a 4 year old. Cause now you have to use reason. Which, in less sophisticated circles is known as bribery.

Nate's morning was already off to a shaky start when I broke the news to him. He started crying and asking whyyyyy. I briefly (very, very briefly) told him why he had to get immunized, that it was a instant's worth of hurt to keep him from pain that is a lot worse. (Hmmm. There's a sermon in there somewhere.)

And then I pulled out the big guns that no 4 year old boy can resist. I said, "I know you can be brave. Being brave doesn't mean that you're not scared or nervous. It means that you're scared or nervous, but you do it anyway. You are my big man. I know you are brave!" No dude wants to look wimpy in front of chicks--even his mom. So, Nate agreed to go, with a trembling lip, and said he would be brave.

Lest you think it was my stirring speech that gave him resolve, I'll burst that bubble. I also told him that he could get a toy from the nearby two dollar shop. "Two toys!" he said. "Two?" I said, skeptical, "I don't know about that, buddy." "Two toys--one big one and one little," was his counter-offer. Done.

So in case you're wondering, in today's economy, here is what 3 shots will get you. (If your mom is a total pushover):
One green ninja sword (with sheath!)
One pirate telescope
A handful of gummy candy from the doctor
And later, an outing with Daddy to the bakery

Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me! Within minutes of the last needle, Nate was brandishing that ninja sword and feeling no pain. But I have to say, he was brave.

I am going to bravely try and sleep now. Hope your day is free of pain. Or the contemplation of it.

(Disclaimer for the anti-ninja sword or anti-gummy worms or anti-immunization folks: Salient points. I totally hear you. And have read all those reports, too. However, this isn't so much a debatey kind of blog. But good on you for taking a stand! And have a good day!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Maybe I will. GOSH!

I came down with a cold this weekend. When I get a cold, I nearly always lose my voice. It's so annoying. Cause I love the sound of my own voice. I mean, who doesn't? When I get laryngitis, it always sort of freaks the kids out. Cause then Mom's voice, an ever-present fixture in their young lives, is absent. Gone are my shrill reprimands from upstairs when they fight over the rocking chair. Gone are my promises of Popsicles once we get home. (Though thankfully the Popsicles are still here.) Gone is my slightly antagonistic singing of "The Patience Song" when they get, well, impatient. Would you like to add it to your repertoire? I learned it in college, on a trip to Kenya. In rural Africa, patience is more than a virtue. It is a necessity.

Have patience, have patience.
Don't be in such a hurry.
If you don't have patience,
You'll only start to worry.
Remember, remember,
That God is patient, too.
And don't forget the times when others
Have to wait on you!

Can't you just sense my children rolling their eyes at that one? But they secretly like it, I think.

Speaking of things I find myself saying, I discovered a new phrase to get Grace to eat this week. I'm not really sure how it all happened. She wasn't opening her mouth for her pureed apple and pumpkin. (Can't imagine why not.) And that line from Napoleon Dynamite came to mind. "I caught you a delicious bass." So I said it in my best Napoleon voice and offered the spoonful. She chortled and opened her mouth. Down the hatch! And, as you do when you find something that works for babies, I did it again and again till the jar was finished.

Who knew my girl was a Napoleon Dynamite fan? She's just like her mama! This whole experience reminded me of an old article in the New York Times Magazine that Becky told me about. Netflix offered a million dollar prize to the computer programmer who could refine and perfect their "recommendation engine". Kind of a "if you liked The Notebook, you'll love Dear John" kind of thing. Well as the article details, all these programmers and hackers could not work out why people liked Napoleon Dynamite. And there seemed to be no middle ground--people either loved it or hated it. Even people who normally liked the same movies had widely diverging opinions on Napoleon.

Here's an excerpt from the article that I think is interesting (And sorry for the screwy formatting.):
Worse, close friends who normally share similar film aesthetics often heatedly disagree about whether “Napoleon Dynamite” is a masterpiece or an annoying bit of hipster self-indulgence. When Bertoni saw the movie himself with a group of friends, they argued for hours over it. “Half of them loved it, and half of them hated it,” he told me. “And they couldn’t really say why. It’s just a difficult movie.”
Mathematically speaking, “Napoleon Dynamite” is a very significant problem for the Netflix Prize. Amazingly, Bertoni has deduced that this single movie is causing 15 percent of his remaining error rate; or to put it another way, if Bertoni could anticipate whether you’d like “Napoleon Dynamite” as accurately as he can for other movies, this feat alone would bring him 15 percent of the way to winning the $1 million prize.

What about you? You saw it, didn't you? Did you like it? The "problem" definitely holds true for Jason and I. He thought the movie was vaguely amusing but overall, kinda dumb. I thought it was achingly hilarious and evocative of so many people I knew in high school. Plus, it has a llama named Tina. If that's not comedy gold, I don't know what is.

So in honor of Napoleon, who got my daughter through most of her meals this week, I offer a sampling of some of the funniest lines, courtesy of IMDb. They have been making me laugh to myself all week, which has gotten me some strange looks while out and about.

Napoleon Dynamite: Stay home and eat all the freakin' chips, Kip.
Kip: Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I'm training to be a cage fighter.
Napoleon Dynamite: Since when, Kip? You have the worst reflexes of all time.
Kip: Try and hit me, Napoleon.
Napoleon Dynamite: What?
Kip: I said come down here and see what happens if you try and hit me

Trisha: I wanted to thank you for the beautiful drawing you did of me.
through gritted teeth]
Trisha: It's hanging in my *bedroom*.
Napoleon Dynamite: Really? It took me like three hours to finish the shading on your upper lip. It's probably the best drawing I've ever done.
Trisha: Yeah... it's really... neat.

Napoleon Dynamite: [referring to Deb's milk] I see you're drinking 1%. Is that 'cause you think you're fat? 'Cause you're not. You could be drinking whole if you wanted to.

[Napoleon answers the door and Deb is standing out there]
Deb: Um, hello. Would you like to look like this?
holds out a photo]
Napoleon Dynamite: [Napoleon takes the photo and looks at it] This is a girl.
Deb: [Deb continues nervously] Because for a limited time only, Glamour Shots by Deb are 75% off.
Napoleon Dynamite: I already get my hair cut at the Cuttin' Corral.
Deb: Well, maybe you'd be interested in some home-woven handicrafts?
Scene continues after Rex Kwon Do TV ad Kip's watching]
Deb: ... And here we have some boondoggle key chains. A must-have for this season's fashion.
Napoleon Dynamite: I already made like infinity of those at scout camp.

Napoleon Dynamite: So, we're pretty much friends by now, right?
Pedro: Yes.
Napoleon Dynamite: So, you got my back and everything, right?
Pedro: What?
Napoleon Dynamite: Never mind

Kid on Bus: What are you gonna do today, Napoleon?
Napoleon Dynamite: Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh!

Comedy. Gold. Get if from Netflix if you don't believe me. Clearly I have no voice and too much time on my hands. At least Grace understands me. Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I didn't mean to do it but I sorta did: A confession

This morning, I finished teaching my Scripture class at a local high school, grabbed Gracie from the girl that looked after her at the school for me, and rushed toward home to clean up the house and get her down for a nap. It had been one of those mornings where the breakfast dishes languish in the sink and everyone's pajamas rest wherever they were tossed while we all got ready. Congealed oatmeal is so fun to clean off a pot! And it's always a fun game to find where Nate left his undies. The trash can in the bathroom? The fridge? Never a dull moment! Anyway.

I remembered as I was driving home that I needed to run into the grocery store. I rushed in, carrying Grace on my hip and raced around, juggling the stuff that we needed. My phone rang, and assuming it was Jason, I answered it without looking at the screen. (Crucial mistake #1)

Instead of Jason's voice, there was a pause. And then, "Hello, is this Mrs. Amy Mispronunciation-of-last-name?" And instead of hanging up, I said, "Yes, it is." (Crucial mistake #2)

It was a guy calling from our old mobile phone carrier. Wanting to know why we switched. Keep in mind that we switched, like 2 years ago. And he wanted to discuss our reasons and, I'm sure, lure me back. It's like an old boyfriend who can't let you go. Wanting to dissect the relationship. Wanting you to come back. Whatever I've done, I'm sorry. Let's try again. Dude, move on. It's over. (None of this ever really happened to me. I was the one dangling after Jason forever. But I imagine this is what it's like.)

So, I don't know why we changed carriers. This is not in my sphere. See, Jason and I, we got some spheres. Some stuff he handles, some stuff I handle, some stuff we both handle. His sphere involves phones and internet providers and a proliferation of cables that we always seem to have around the house. I try not to ask too many questions. Just as he doesn't question when I come home with another throw pillow. There are some mysteries better left unsolved.

I told phone dude that I didn't know why we changed, I think I mumbled something about 3G service. (Crucial Mistake #3) "Really?" he said, "That's so interesting, because with us, blah blah blah..." It's at this point that I felt the will to live seeping out of my body. Grace was starting to try to pull my glasses off my face, I was losing my grip on my stuff, and my shoes were making my feet hurt.

"I'm sorry," I said, interrupting him, "I really don't know why we switched. My husband handles all of this." It's a sphere thing. You wouldn't understand. He asked to speak to Jason. "He's not with me. He's working." "Oh, okay," dude says. "Is there a number where I could reach him?" And here, as you might have guessed, is Crucial Mistake #4. Instead of saying no and hanging up, I gave phone dude Jason's number! I totally did--I admit it!

I believe the technical term for this is "throwing him under the bus". And my friends, there is nowhere for me to hide. I did it. So that means, for those keeping score, that in the past couple weeks I have: sent Jason off at 4am to split his toe open, made him endure my extreme rodent phobia, forgotten to get him a Valentine card, and now, given his mobile number to a telemarketer.

After I hung up and checked out at the store I sent Jason a sheepish text message. Don't you wish there was an emoticon for messages such as these?

"This guy from Optus is gonna call you and ask why we switched. I gave him your number. Sorry!! Had to get rid of him." And his reply? "Okay, love. No worries." What is not to love about this man? I think he puts up with me because I'm such a good speller and I correct all his typos.

And now, witness the murky depths of my own heart. Isn't the internet fun?

Monday, February 15, 2010

But, wait! It's not too late for a Valentine!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Grace is a bit too shy to say it herself, but she's pretty sweet on y'all.

Did you do anything special? Jason and the kids brought me breakfast in bed, which was lovely. It's always a bit nerve wracking, though--watching the kids teeter through the door holding a plate full of hot food. So that adds a shot of adrenaline to the morning! After that, we were pretty busy getting ready for church, and I have to confess that I didn't even have a card for Jason.

What? Don't look at me like that. I still use the line, "Your gifts are these three adorable children that I painfully struggled to bring into the world. You're welcome." Yeah, I'm thinking I have a few more years' worth of mileage out of that one.

Don't worry. I'll make it up to him! Cards and chocolate ain't exactly his love language, if you know what I'm sayin'. (You do know what I'm sayin', right? I was trying to be subtle. It's so tricky.)

You guys have a great day. Be sweet to each other!

Oh, and congrats to my cousin Patrick who got engaged yesterday! Some of you know Pat, and if you want to read about the very Pat-like way he proposed, go here. Mwah!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year, Y'all.

Today dawned cloudy and threatening rain. So we did what any family with three young children does in such circumstances: planned a big outing on the train into the city! This weekend is the start of Sydney's Chinese New Year festival. Back when Jason and I listed the ten things we'd like to do in the next ten years, we talked about making more efforts to do fun things with the kids, to build memories with them while they're young. And even though the weather wasn't looking so good, I'd heard that there were Chinese markets in a city park today, lots of yummy Chinese food, and entertainment. So, we loaded up the kids and headed for the train station.

A train ride was the selling point of the whole endeavor. It's about a 40 minute ride from our local station to Central, and for about half of that time, riding on a train is the most funnest thing ever conceived of in the mind of man.

Then it becomes wretched drudgery that we are cruelly inflicting on our children. How many more stops left? Are we there yet? Why did you make us take the train and not our car?

But after a slightly longer trip than we'd expected--having to change trains--we made it! Ava and Nate loved the red lanterns in the trees,

the dancing,

and this freaky clown game that I will see in my nightmares tonight.
I know. Terrifying, right? Oh, and get this!

Rats. Sheesh. Everywhere I go. So apparently, Chinese culture is getting in on the act now and tormenting me, too. Do you know what it feels like to be mocked by, like, a billion people? Thanks, China!

So, how did it all pan out? Overall, I'm glad we went. The kids had fun. But Jason and I were pretty underwhelmed by the whole affair. I was expecting a lot more activity, market stalls--just more hoopla than there was. The city has about 3 weeks of events planned for Chinese New Year, so I know today isn't the whole deal, but we expected something more. How do you say "Meh" in Chinese?

Grace was pretty much over it from the start.

So, let's see...what else happened? There was a group of people protesting against the Church of Scientology outside the train station, and I got to explain to Ava what a protest is and what Scientology is. That took some skillz. There was a nice-enough young guy next to me on the train who kept trying to get Grace to grab his finger and then wanted to hold her. (I pretended not to notice when he put out his hands. Look, I know I have an adorable baby who smiles at everyone, and I know she is like a ray of golden sunshine into the lives of others. But a mom's gotta draw the line somewhere, and a stranger holding her on a train seems like a good place to me.) Oh, and also the diaper bag tumbled off the stroller into a busy intersection and I said a swear word. I don't think the kids heard though--their sugar high was causing the blood to rush through their ears. Phew.

And that was our big day out. Highs, lows, trains, noodles, fun, me cussing, mud, chasing pigeons

and so, so, SO much more.

Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the tiger.

Ni hao and stuff!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

So it looks like this has become a thing. You know?

(Go here in case you don't know what I'm referring to in the title.)

Snippets of a conversation between Jason and I yesterday, before he left for the evening:

Me: Babe, could you get the tuna out of the pantry for me before you go?
Jason: Sure. Have you still not gone into the pantry?
Me: No. Well, yeah. I opened the door really quick yesterday to get some diapers out. But I could do it without actually walking in there. So I don't know if that counts.
Jason: Babe, you're gonna have to go in there eventually. All our food is in there.
Me: No, I don't. And they sell more food, you know.
Jason: Why don't you get the tuna with me? We'll go in there together. (Note: To his credit, his tone is only slightly condescending here.)
Me: No! I will eventually, okay? I just don't want to right now. I had a bad experience. (Note: We are always quoting that line from The Italian Job. Have you seen it? Where Mos Def's character says to Mark Wahlberg's character: "I don't do dogs. I had. a bad. experience."

Isn't that amusing? Our house is full of such witticisms and tomfoolery!)
Me: Can you just please get the tuna? I mean, do you realize that I get nervous opening, like, any cabinet in our house right now? I can't deal with the pantry yet!
Jason: Okay. I just think you're gonna have to take some baby steps toward working on this at some point.
(This makes me think of "baby steps" from What About Bob? but I'll spare you.)

You see, I know I'm going overboard about something when Jason starts to get all pastor-y on me. You know, counsel-y. His tone gets very calm and he says things like, "Your fear is real, but it isn't rational." And, "I know you're upset, but you're letting one isolated event cloud your whole perspective." Oooo! Mr. "affirm the emotions but point out the inconsistencies"! His eyes will be all full of compassion and he'll start troubleshooting. And I'll be all, wait a minute! I know what you're doing! You're pastoring me! I'm being counseled, aren't I?

(I am qualified to recognize this, you see. Because I have a bachelor's degree. In Psychology. Yes.)

And of course he's right, which makes it all the more annoying. That same evening, I was opening the drawer under our oven to get a baking sheet. As I pulled the drawer open, the pans in it shifted and made a clanking noise. I jumped in the air, and before I knew it, had slammed the door shut with my foot. Today I was driving, and something I had in a plastic bag on the front seat, fell to one side in the bag. I gasped and had to pull over and look in the bag and under the seat "just to make sure". I literally startled at my own shadow the other day. Maybe I'm starting to crack up. Do you think I'm starting to crack up? I think I'm starting to crack up.

So, make me feel better. What irrational thing heebie jeebies you? Doesn't have to be a rodent or bug issue. I know a person who is freaked out by feet. Doesn't like looking at feet, talking about them and definitely doesn't like them touching her. I also have a minor thing about koi fish. They were always in the pond outside my pediatrician's office when I was a kid, so now I associate them with feeling sick. When I see them, I always feel vaguely icky.

Well, I feel a little sheepish. I swear, in other areas I am, like, ultra-rational. So, so reasonable. So, spill it. What freaks you out?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Vacuum wasn't the only thing that sucked, I'll tell you that much.

Don't you think it's interesting the T-shirts that people sometimes choose to wear? I've been thinking a little about this since I read this post of Fraught's. It's as if people forget the fact that whatever sentiment their shirt carries is what they're sporting around wherever they go, whatever they're doing, all day long.

For instance. Today Jason and I were at the mall with Nate and Grace. We went to buy a vacuum. That's not the subject of this post, but dang. Buying a vacuum is a much more complex scenario than it used to be. Power heads, rotary brushes, bagless, HEPA filters, suction, carpet, tile, upright. Good grief. I now know way more about vacuum-ology than I ever wanted to. After we finally made the decision, I felt like I needed to go lie down for awhile. Such vacuum angst! But about the T-shirt. So we're sitting in the food court and this middle aged guy walks by pushing a toddler in a stroller. His T-shirt said, "When I become God, everybody dies."

And I was all, Really? That's how you're gonna finish that sentence? I mean, I can appreciate the humor of sentiments I don't necessarily agree with. But not only is that one vaguely stupid and weird, it's not even funny. Sir, you should get your money back for that shirt. Cause it doesn't even make sense. I mean, if you wanna say something, try harder, for pete's sake.

Like this, for instance.

Have you seen this website? They sell these as shirts or posters. Hilarious. If dude wants to wear a T-shirt that is in your face and somewhat abrasive, he could at least make it witty.

I like this one:

Or even:

If we're going to be snarky and mean-spirited in our T-shirt wearing, let's all be a little more creative, okay? That is all I ask.

P.S. And here's another one. Is he looking at me?

Do you have any favorites? Or any awful-shirt-sightings?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The art of the deal

Lately, Ava and Nate have been arguing a lot over who gets to sit in the super-comfy rocking chair that's in our living room. We've had it since Ava was born. It's one of the only things we brought with us to Australia and I always tell them how I used to rock and feed them in it as babies. They love to sit in it.

Nate has discovered the classic little brother move: wait till Ava gets up from the chair to go to the bathroom or whatever, and then take her spot. So now, Ava is afraid to get out of the chair: whether it's to eat, get dressed for school, pee. She asks me to bring her things, because if she gets up "then Nate will steal the chair". I accommodate her sometimes, but I'm gonna have to draw the line at a catheter so she doesn't have to go potty. It's like those environmental activists who live in trees to protest deforestation or something. They have food passed up to them in buckets and wear the same Guatemalan-style embroidered vest and cargo pants for six months. No matter what happens, they ain't coming down.

(It's not really much like that, is it?)

This morning, after listening to The Great Chair Debate, Part 37, I'd had it. (You may remember that I happen to be a little emotionally fragile right now.)I marched into the living room with Grace on my hip as they were watching morning cartoons. I turned off the TV. Gasp! Did Mom just turn off Fifi and the Flowertots? This means it's serious.

"Alright, both of you look at me. Natey, look at my eyes. I am really, really tired of listening to you argue about the rocking chair. You are both big kids now. You need to figure out a way to take turns. And if you don't, then guess who gets to sit in the chair? ME. Cause actually? It's my chair in the first place. Got that? One more arguing word about it and your rocking chair days are done."

Gosh that felt good! Wielding power over those smaller and more helpless than you are feels real awesome, doesn't it? I mean, isn't that why you become a parent in the first place? To give ultimatums and feel important? No? Just me, then? Oh.

A few minutes later I looked in the living room and saw this.

Besides noting their TV-glazed eyes, observe the power and beauty of compromise. Everybody's happy. You see a thing like that and wonder why the US Senate can't hammer out a deal on health care reform. For example.

Of course, this particular compromise lasted about ten minutes till somebody had to pee. Then it was back to the negotiating table. You see a thing like that and understand why the US Senate can't hammer out a deal on health care reform. There's just one dang chair and everybody wants it for themselves.

P.S. About that other thing: Not a lot of new stuff to report. No new dramas, either,so maybe we've plugged the last hole. Jason had a heart to heart with the exterminator yesterday, so hopefully I won't have to move to another state and change my name.

Friday, February 5, 2010

In which I do not cope well

Is this becoming "that blog about the rats"? Awesome. Because, honestly, writing about vermin has been a secret ambition of mine. Becky asked for an update, though, and I must give the people what they want.

So right after I posted the update last night, I sat in our living room with my feet tucked under me and waited for Jason to come home. (Incidentally, my neighbor Jules, who reads this blog, emailed me this morning to check on me and said she thought she heard a scream, but thought it was one of the kids. So that gives you an idea of my volume!) So Jason came home within about ten minutes. He came in, sat down beside me and said, "Are you okay?" And then I promptly burst into tears. Like a little girl. A wee, little, crybaby crying girl. Do you ever have those experiences? Where your reaction to an event is completely disproportionate and irrational? You know that it's irrational, but you still feel how you do. It's like the rational, realistic side of me is watching the blubbering, snotty me. And the rational me says, "Amy, this rat is not going to hurt you or the kids. It can't hurt you or the kids. You will deal with this. It will be okay." And the blubbering me grabs the rational me by the collar and shakes her, saying,"Shut up! Can't you see I'm freaking out here? This is the most awfulest day ever on the whole planet and I cannot live in this house anymore!!!"

Do you ever do that? Yeah, anyway. It wasn't my most mature moment.

So, I've mentioned before that we have a massive pantry, and after some investigation last night, Jason determined how the *creature* is getting in. There is a pipe that comes through the back wall and there is a little space between the sheetrock and the pipe. So they're not actually living in the pantry, but there is a way in from outside. Jason left a trap last night, and sure enough in the morning, there was one less rat left standing. Jason called the rental agency first thing this morning. They've already sent someone out several days ago, but obviously there is still an issue. "Tell them that your wife is about to lose it!" I told him. "Tell them that I am nearly phobic! Tell them I am looking at other houses for rent! Make me sound like a total nutcase if you have to!" He nodded and said soothing words, like you do when you're talking to a total nutcase. I don't think it would be a hard sell at this point.

So that's the update, Beck. The hole is barricaded, the exterminator has been called, and I am calmer now. Slightly. But I still won't go in the pantry. Jason said, "But what if there's something in there that you need today?" And I said, "Then I will go to the grocery store and buy it." He nodded and said soothing words.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

And yet, I remain unmoved.

We still have baby monitors in the kids' rooms, because the living areas of the house are far enough away that we can't always hear them calling out at night, especially if we have people over. Which we often do. So after we put Ava and Nate to bed at night, we switch on the monitor and often enjoy hearing the monologues they have with themselves. Nate, especially. He is quite entertaining.

Lately, it's his prayers that are getting us. We pray for the kids at bedtime and Nate has started praying outloud after we leave his room. It's so funny though--he is having a total conversation. He talks to God and then pauses to listen, then talks some more, then pauses and responds.

A couple of weeks ago, right after we got back from our trip, we switched on the monitor and heard Nate say in a tearful voice, "God? Can I have a puppy?" (Pause.) "God, I'd weally, weally like a puppy. Can I have one--please?" There was another pause then he said, "Thank you."

My eyebrows shot up as I looked at Jason. "Did the Lord just tell him he could have a puppy?" Cause I don't really want a puppy, y'all. To be quite honest, there is enough poop around here that I am charged with cleaning up and I'm really not interested in adding more to that, um, load. Can we start with a goldfish?

But if the Lord has indeed spoken, He ain't said anything to me yet. I don't want to be like Pharoah, so hardened that God sent plague after plague until he relented and let the Israelites go. But I figure if God told Nate he could have a puppy that He'll let me in on that fact as well.

Wait a minute. Plagues. Do you think this is why we've had our rodent problem of late? Is the Lord sending plagues to deal with my disobedience? Holy Moses!

Nate never said anything to us about his conversation with God. So let's hope that he's moved on to something else. In the meantime, unless a few thousand locusts come knocking on the door, I don't think we're getting a puppy anytime soon.

And now an update that you will not stinking believe: I promise you, just now, not five minutes after I hit "Publish Post", I got up and went to the pantry to get something out. And, ewwwww, I saw a blur of fur and a tail and y'all there was a freaking rat in my pantry. In my pantry in my pantry in my pantry. Of course, of course, Jason is out at a meeting tonight. I screamed and ran into the living room and jumped up and down. I just called Jason and he is on his way home and I promise you I am shaking. I know that's ridiculous. But there it is. I've closed off the kitchen and I don't think i will go in there again until all the rodents in Australia are dead. This is not funny anymore.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ikea, you make it so easy to love you.

Weren't you just thinking the other day that it's been an awfully long time since I've been to Ikea? No, seriously? Shut up! Cause I was totally thinking that, too! It has been entirely too long, a fact which we remedied this evening.

Not that I needed anything. But since when is that an impediment to a trip to Ikea? Sometimes you need things that you didn't know you needed. Mostly, I just like to stroll, look and see what's new, and avail myself of the hour of free childcare. There was some fun stuff to look at. And I got a new cheese grater! Wheee!

But these new fabrics just about ended me. Check it.

And if that weren't enough. I mean, look at these.

Could you die? Could? You? Die? How fantastic and fun are those? It's a new range of fabric called Annamoa. I stood at the display forever, looking at all the designs, talking to myself, and sort of cocking my head to the side like you do at an art museum. It was slightly pathetic, I'm sure. But I'm in love. "I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!"

(We've previously discussed how quotes from the movie "Elf" can enrich your life. And here is another fine example.)

Anyway, some of the examples shown above were sold out, natch. But I did snag this version.

The color in the photo isn't the greatest, but the fabric is really cute! I have some wooden frames that I'm gonna stretch the fabric over. And when I say "I", I mean "Jason". Then "I" am gonna hang it in our playroom. And then the house will be crushed under the weight of its own whimsy.

Some of you are reading this and thinking, I can't believe I just read a whole post about fabric. (Dad, I might be looking in your direction.) May I suggest that you scroll up and look at those photos again? And perhaps if your heart is still cold and hardened after that, you should rethink your priorities in life. Because who doesn't love pelicans and birdcages and giant crabs? Are you kidding me?

--You can read more about my ongoing relationship with Ikea here and here. I mean, if you're into that sort of thing.