Monthly Archives: October 2007

I should not be allowed to own a car

Yeah, so I have never had good luck with cars. Not since the days when I lost my first car because my insurance rates went through the roof due to a few speeding tickets I got in high school. That car was the only really reliable one I’ve ever owned.

I’ve had a series of craptacular cars and spectacularly annoying things that have gone wrong with them. After my beloved Tempo came the 1974 Oldsmobile 98, or some such nonsense. I got it as the very short end of the stick trade with my uncle for the car I could no longer afford to drive. It was literally big enough to hold my Tempo and two of its car buddies with room for a driver and a couple of passengers. It was a horrible beige color and had one green door. It was actually the worst looking car in the entire parking lot of my high school and the only car my economics teacher agreed could not possibly depreciate anymore than it already had.* To make matters worse, on Halloween night while we were trick or treating a classmate decided to throw a large boulder threw the front window. Apparently he thought I’d called the cops on him while he was cruising by the movie theater I worked at. I had no idea, did not call anyone and was the unfortunate recipient of his bad luck and even worse temper.

Thankfully I had to drive it for a little less than a year before I got the 1989 Suzuki Samuri. Man, I loved that little jeep wanna be. It was a stick shift, and while I learned to drive on a stick, I wasn’t great at it. I stalled in the drive thru of more than one fast food place. That was the least of my problems though. On a car ride back from college orientation with my best friend, it somehow managed to throw a rod. We were stuck on the side of the road for well over two hours, which included the time it took us to walk to the gas station and wait for my dad to come pick us up. It turns out the engine had previous problems and the former owners bondoed it together. While waiting to be repaired it was set on fire by what I can only assume were some local farm kids with nothing better to do. Bye bye cute car.

After that came the Ford Fairmont. It was also a piece of crap and after owning it for less than three months, the power steering fluid went out, so every time I had to turn a corner I had to use both hands and plead for the car to actually turn. Forget parking in anything other than an empty space surrounded by at least three others on either side.

It was soon replaced by the blue car. I don’t even remember the make of the blue car. What I do remember is that it didn’t have a catalytic converter and since I lived in one of three counties in the state to require emissions tests, boy was I surprised when I didn’t pass. I had to pay to get the catalytic converter put in only to have the transmission go out less than a year later.

That’s when I got the car that will live in infamy among my college friends. Granted, since none of them had cars, they were thrilled I had one, but it didn’t stop the multitude of jokes. I’m speaking, of course, abou the emergency rescue vehicle. Yes, that’s right, for a period of nearly two years I drove what used to be an emergency command unit van from my father’s fire station. It was not only fire engine red with a reflective stripe of white tape around the entire thing, but also had a back up beeper. I didn’t realize that until I was trying to get out of the very busy BMV parking lot after a frustrating conversation with the woman behind the desk that left me without the correct registration. The van also had no back seats, just a bench with two cushions right behind the cage separating the drivers from the passengers. On the plus side it also had walls that had been replaced with dry erase boards so at least it was entertaining, even if it did make my best friend sick to ride in it. Oh, and the heat didn’t work.

The van was followed up with a hand me down Ford Escort, which I have to say was to this point the best vehicle I’d owned. It was tiny and could be whipped into any parking space. Of course, there was that Christmas Eve when we were loaded down with gifts from my folks on the way to K’s folks to celebrate actual Christmas day with them when the timing belt broke leaving us stranded on the side of the road for over two hours while we waited for K’s dad to come get us and take us back to their house. Luckily this time the car died at a stoplight right by a busy truck stop. Of course that was across the very busy highway, but thankfully since it was a holiday there wasn’t a lot of traffic.

The Contour was the first and only new car I bought. I loved it and took great care of it. In the end though, it too let me down. The engine blew and had to be completely replaced. Not too long after something else went wrong and since I was moving across the country I decided to just get rid of it. I sold it to a friend for the price of the repairs. Unfortunately he has even worse luck with cars than I do and it died on him not to terribly long afterwards.

That leads me to my current car. The Buick. What can I say? I bought it in Florida and just like everything else from that horrible place, it is cursed. So far this year I’ve had to replace the back window motor which cost me over $400. Then the serpentine belt broke which meant another $150. The other back window motor broke, but is being held up with clear tape. Then today, came the latest blow: as I was driving down the highway, a car ahead of me burped up a rock which nailed my poor windshield. I now have a crack. It’s not too big yet, but with winter on the way, I know it’s only going to spread. So there’s another $500 at least.

There’s no doubt about it, cars hate me.

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Filed under bad days, bad drivers, my childhood, nostalgia, ramblings, travel

Reconnecting with an old love

This weekend I was reacquainted with an old flame of mine. Although it has been awhile since we’ve been thrown together, it took mere minutes for me to remember why I fell in love in the first place. I was a little surprised by how quickly all of my feelings returned, especially since in the past it’s been easy for me to fall in and out of love. Once one passes out of my life, I’m rarely able to find space in my heart to revisit it. This time, though, I think it may be permanent.

 

I fell in love for the first time at a rather tender age. I was only seven. My step-father brought home this strange box and hooked it up to our TV. Atari. An odd name to say the least. At first I held my nose up because he interrupted my cartoons to plug it in. After five minutes of watching that little frog trying to cross the road, I was hooked. Yes, that’s right, my first love was Frogger.

 

In those days I was young and inexperienced. Looking back, I realize these first games: Frogger, Freeway, Break Out and Pit Fall were not true romances, but rather school yard crushes formed not based on actual connections, but rather on the newness of the sensation. I quickly lost interest in Frogger when I found Freeway, it’s lesser known, but infinitely more attractive younger brother which featured not a frog crossing a swamp, but a chicken actually trying to cross the road. The joke of it was so tempting that I forgot all about the poor frog, leaving him to be eaten by the alligator once again.

 

Two years later, I barely glanced at the Atari. We now had something even better, a Commodore 64 C. Gone were my days waiting for my parents to be done watching the news in order to get my fix. Instead, I could go into the den, grab a joystick and have hours of interrupted time with just me and my new love. As most young girls do, I spent my time flirting with several games. I didn’t understand real love yet. I only knew a world was opening up to me. I wasn’t ready to commit myself to any one game yet, so I tried them all. I found brief happiness with Spy Hunter and Burger Time. On a family vacation to Las Vegas, I experienced my first fling. While my folks were hitting the casinos, my little sister and I were left to play in the small arcade in the lobby. I wandered in to find a Tapper machine. Thanks to a bucket of quarters given in return for a promise to watch my sister, I got to spend most of the vacation with my new love. I’m not sure what my sister did on that floor while I caressed that deliciously phallic fake beer tap, and to this day I still don’t care. She played on the floor and I got to put my initials into the screen in the number 2 position. I was jealous I wasn’t number 1, but I kept telling myself I needed to play more to truly win Tapper’s affections. When we returned home, I begged my parents for Tapper so I could learn all it’s ins and outs. They obliged and before too long, I had mastered all of it’s secrets. That’s when I got bored and started looking for something else to fill the void.

 

Like all kids growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, that void was filled by Super Mario Brothers. I admit I was a bit of a late bloomer. I first noticed Mario in 5th grade, but I didn’t have the right parts yet, so I couldn’t learn to play. I had to wait until well after most of my friends had moved on to bigger and better things (like real boys) to fulfill my Mario fantasies. I didn’t get a Super Nintendo until I was in high school. An act of rebellion, moving in with my father, prompted the purchase. He needed something to keep me occupied while he was working late. My Super Nintendo offered me something no other gaming system had given me: privacy. Instead of courting my loves openly for all the family to see, I could steal away into my very own bedroom and devout as many hours as I wanted each and every night to conquering my video world. I was alone with my games and I liked it. It didn’t matter that it was two a.m., I turned my Nintendo on and took Mario on yet another adventure. Once I’d beaten the game, something most of my friends had already done a thousand times, I started trying all sorts of new things. First I tried to win without warping. Then I tried to win using the fewest lives. Then by getting the most points. This relationship lasted a long time. It seemed there were always new things to try to reach that gratifying end.

 

Like all the others before though, once I’d learned all of it’s intricacies, I got bored. I needed a challenge. I tried Tetris, but it only left me feeling cold. That damned music invaded my dreams and I found myself trying to stack my books in my locker in the most space efficient way. The game was turning me into someone I didn’t like, so I gave it  up cold turkey and never looked back.

 

In college I had so many other things going on that I didn’t have time to seriously commit to any game, not like I had Mario. Instead, I thought it was best to play the field. After all, there were so many horizons opening up before me. I didn’t want to confine myself to one game. My affairs during these years were brief and I’ll admit, they left me feeling unsatisfied. Don’t get me wrong, they were fun while they lasted, but I always felt empty after a night of playing Zombies Ate My Neighbors. I had  brief affair with Super Mario Kart, but unfortunately I could only play it when I went to visit my parents because I only had a Super Nintendo. I couldn’t afford the long distance relationship, so I had to say goodbye to it before it really had the chance to develop into something more serious.

 

It wasn’t until well after I left college that I found the game that would become my true love. The funny thing of it was that I didn’t go looking for love. I’d given up on gaming systems and had gone back to the simple joys of PC gaming. I was already in a pretty serious relationship with Rollercoaster Tycoon at the time. My sister was visiting me from out of state and I wanted to introduce her to my new game. I was particularly excited because there was a new expansion set coming out. I was so enamored with the original game and the first expansion set got me even more excited, so I had high hopes for the third one. I knew my sister would fall in love with it too. Unfortunately when we arrived at the store I realized I’d gotten my dates wrong. The new set didn’t come out until well after my sister would be back at home. While glancing the game isle at Wal-Mart, I saw it for the first time. I’ll admit Wal-Mart is not the place I expected to find lasting love. Heck, I didn’t even seriously consider buying it. I picked up the box on a whim and looked it up and down. It was only mildly interesting to me. My sister was way more hot to try it. Since it was the first time she’d ever visited and I really wanted her to have fun, I decided to take it home and give it a spin. If nothing else I figured I could send her home with it.

 

The first few minutes had me mesmerized. I knew after creating my very first Sim that I’d never be able to go back to Roller Coaster Tycoon. Sure, I spent a little more time with it, but it was obvious the passion was gone. After a few more weeks, I’d officially severed my ties and was utterly devoted to the Sims. For the past seven years, I have never strayed, even when my husband tried to tempt me away with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer game for PS2. I think I played it once to appease him, but I knew where my heart belonged. Sure, I’d watch him play Buffy, especially when he unlocked all it’s secrets and I got to see the real Spike’s recording sessions, but it was pure voyeurism. Nothing real there. For me, it was the Sims and nothing else.

 

I adored the Sims. I bought every expansion set. Once when the Sims Hot Date expansion was released, I actually delayed play rehearsal for thirty minutes just so I could go and buy it when one of my students told me it was out. I knew I wouldn’t be able to play it until after rehearsal and a 45 minute drive home, but just having it was enough. I admit I spent a good portion of the rehearsal reading the game play book rather than watching their actual scenes. The anticipation was excruciating and the actual game play, awesome.

 

When my son was born eight months ago, I had to say goodbye. Actually, I had to say goodbye about a month before he was born. Sitting for long periods of time was uncomfortable. Not to mention I had a pile of grading and lesson plans to get done in order for a sub to take over my classroom. As much as it broke my heart, I had to let go. For the past eight months I’ve thought about my Sims a lot, but never actually had the time to go back to them, apologize for my absence and try to start it over. Every other time I’ve tried to restart a love affair, it has ended badly. I’ve realized the spark is gone and given up after a few minutes.

 

This time though, it was different. I started playing on Wednesday night and have played every day since. Every time my son goes down for a nap, I jump on the computer. Last night I played from the moment his bath was finished (his dad was on bedtime watch) until after midnight. That might not seem like much to some of you, but it was four hours of play time. For a girl who is usually in bed by ten, even on the weekends, it was a real commitment.

 

Even though I’ve had to restart everything since my saved games were somehow lost in the last eight months, I didn’t care. It was so much fun to get back into a neighborhood, create a new Sim family and start studying to clean, forcing my Sims to make out and changing virtual diapers. It doesn’t matter that I do all of these things in real life (well, I don’t force other people to make out, but I do smooch on my hubby). Somehow in the Sim world, even changing diapers and getting up at 4 am to get the screaming baby out of bed is fun.

 

Now that the game is back in my life, I’m sure I’ll talk more about it. For now, I am wasting precious seconds I could be teaching a virtual child to walk or making sure I bring home enough Simoleons to buy that telescope my Sims have been whining about.

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Filed under addictions, entertainment, good days, Joss Whedon, love, my childhood, my son, nostalgia, products, ramblings, what makes me me

$1.99 margaritas, tasty, but not a good band name

For the last year and a half or so I’ve been pretty damn sober. Granted, for a good year of that I was either pregnant or breastfeeding, so alcohol was a big no-no and despite my mother-in-law suggesting that wine might somehow help me produce more milk, I imagined a drunken baby and decided against it. Although I don’t really like wine anyway, so it wasn’t any sort of hardship to turn down her offers.

I’ve actually never been much of a real drinker. I can’t help it. Aside from my college days (and the few years directly after when oddly I drank way more than I ever did in actual college), I’ve never been one to pack away the alcohol. I attribute this mostly to the fact that the only real drinks I like are generally so sugary that more than two of them makes me tummy ache. Unlike many of my friends, the thought of a beer on a hot day never sounds good. I don’t want to sit around sipping on bourbon and Coke because, well, it doesn’t taste good. A glass of wine poured for me at dinner always gets finished off by my husband. It’s not that I don’t like the effects of alcohol; it’s just that the taste is not one I’ve acquired.

It probably doesn’t help things that when I went on the big diet a few years ago, I realized just how many calories alcohol has, so it became a forbidden substance. Unlike Diet Dr. Pepper, there is no margarita lite that still gives me most of the same great taste with no calories. Ever since, I drink on special ocassions like my birthday or big parties, but for the most part, I stick to water and diet Coke. Seeing me drink is actually such a rarity that when we were overseas and my in-laws were buying, my mother-in-law actually made multiple comments about how I obviously wasn’t pregnant and that maybe I wasn’t a tee-totaler after all. I just smiled.

Tonight though, we went out for Mexican food. As part of a promotion for a fairly new place, they had $1.99 frozen margaritas. How could I pass that up? I had one and my head was spinning. I don’t know if it was not drinking in almost a year and a half or a sign I’m getting older, but one cheap ol’ margarita made the room start spinning a bit. Well, if not spinning, at least made things seem sort of slow like trying to move through water. I was blissfully happy I didn’t have to drive because when I went to stand up, I had to focus and steady myself.

My words had that slight slur to them and I started bringing up odd things like my amusement with the Steak N’ Shake sign that said, “Halloween milkshakes lurk within.” Here it is over an hour later and I still feel that sweet little buzz of alcohol corsing through my body.

I’m not sure there is a point to all of this. I’m tipsy and so I’m guessing there doesn’t really have to be. I probably shouldn’t have polished off that big fatty meal with an extra dose of alcoholic calories, but man, the frosty sweetness of lime and tequila were just so tasty tonight.

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Filed under food, good days, ramblings, what makes me me

Tumor should be a four letter word

A good portion of my childhood was spent worrying about my dad. Every night before I would go to sleep, I said my prayers with my mom. She would listen as I’d ask God to bless everyone I loved in life (and ocassionally a Cabbage Patch Kid which she’d admonish me for). I made sure to just give my dad a cursory blessing because I knew she didn’t like him. Instead, I’d wait until after she’d leave and I’d spend the next minutes until I fell asleep asking God to send extra special angels to protect my daddy.

He was a firefighter, and I’d spend hours worrying that he’d run into a burning building trying to save someone’s home only to be engulfed in the flames and leave my life forever. I’m not sure why I was quite so scared of this. As K once pointed out, my dad was a fire fighter in a small town with hardly any two story buildings, let alone towering infernos likely to envelop him in a smokey haze. If my dad has taught me anything though, it’s just how dangerous fire can be. I won’t even stick my hands through candle flames (despite seeing my friend’s hands come out unscathed time and time again), for fear of fire.

My dad always assures me he is not going to get hurt because he is good at his job. And I know he is good. He holds just about every master fire fighter certification there is. He’s an arson investigator. He teaches fire school all over the state. He’s even been invited to the National Fire Academy, not once but twice. He knows his fires and how to avoid getting hurt. Not that it matters though. Even in my early thirties, I still say those extra prayers, despite the fact he mostly just does paramedic work now, which means his expoure to burning buildings is mostly simulated in trainings he conducts for his departments.

Still, I’ve spent an awful lot of time worrying about my dad dying in a fire. Well, either from that or from lung cancer. He started smoking when I was seven. He quit when I was 15 and I was so proud of him. His lungs were well on their way to recovery and he was really starting to get healthy again (he didn’t even gain tons of weight as he substituted gum for cigarettes). Then my grandfather died and he just lost it. He started smoking at the funeral and hasn’t stopped puffing away in the last 11 years.

All of this is probably why when he called on Friday and told me he had a tumor on his kidney, I got the proverbial wind knocked out of me. It just didn’t make sense to me. I sat, unable to say anything more than, “ok” while he unfolded the story of finding blood in his urine and trips to the doctor. Although he kept repeating the fact that they weren’t sure what it was yet, that it hadn’t spread to his lymphatic system and that the doctor seemed very optimistic, it didn’t matter. I was eight years old again, lying on my top bunk praying silently for my daddy to be ok. My childhood fears were coming true. I might actually lose my daddy.

I’m trying really hard to stay upbeat and positive. He has no idea what it is yet. There is a good chance it’s just an annoying lump of tissue that likes his kidney, totally benign and all. Apparently my family has some sort of medical history of “fatty tumors.” But it’s a big tumor and he’s not exactly the healthiest guy in the world. I know it’s defeatest and all, but all I can think about is my son may never really know his granpa. I know many people would say I’m being a drama queen, and I no doubt am to some extent, but even though I’ve always worried about losing my dad, I never truly thought it would happen.

My fears were always assuaged by the fact that my dad is a hero. He’s invincible. He saves people. Including me. My daddy has always been my rock. He’s always protected me. I know that’s sort of the typical dad thing to do, you’d have to delve way into all the wounds of my childhood to truly understand just how amazing my dad is. We are close. Very close and I adore him. The thought of losing him, well, to be honest, I can’t even really bring myself to think about it because I just start crying. I’ve always known that when my dad dies, I am going to be inconsolable. I just never really thought I’d have to think about that reality at this point in my life.

I know I shouldn’t let myself get upset. I know I should try to be positive and wait until I know something before I get upset. Afterall there is a good chance I’m getting myself all worked up and becoming absolutely distraught only to find my self-induced drama laughable in a few weeks when my dad comes out of all this unscathed. It’s very true that I could be aganizing over nothing. However, right now all I want to do is curl up and hide underneath my warmest blanket. I feel eight years old again, wondering if the next phone call will bring my daddy’s voice or heartbreaking news.

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Filed under bad days, love, my childhood, my crazy family, ramblings, what makes me me

I was robbed!

Today I was robbed. Not in the typical someone broke into my house and/or car and took my personal property, but in the I was so close to winning something that the loss of it is slightly physically painful to me.

I had the radio on this afternoon on my drive home and once again the song of the day came on. Today I actually knew it, so despite my better judgement, I picked up the phone. I fumbled around with my phone, accidently hitting my call log instead of phone book. When I finally got to my phone book, I hit the down arrow, costing me a few more seconds as calls were no doubt flooding the studio.

To my absolute shock, the phone rang. I’ll be the first to admit that I have the radio station in my cell address book because when they have prizes I like, I’ve been known to call in. I have never gotten anything except a busy signal. When the phone actually rang, I was sure I’d gotten the wrong song and almost hung up in haste. I held on though and heard a voice say, “You just missed it, you’re caller 18.”

I couldn’t believe it. Caller 18? The next caller got to chose shoes or gas money. Not that I wanted the shoes, but free gas? That’s a no brainer. Seconds later, my husband called to talk to me. I told him that I’d just missed winning $300 in gas and he gave the appropriate “gosh, that sucks babe” response.

We hung up and I turned the radio back up just in time to hear the 19th caller’s voice. It turns out I was wrong about the shoes. They weren’t valued at $300; they were $500. I was seriously robbed!

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Bed time, my latest source of tears and frustration

Bed time is frustrating at our house. Not my bed time. Personally, I love my bed time. I put my comfy pjs on, crawl under the fluffy comforter, pull out whatever novel I’m inching my way through and read for the five to ten minutes before I give in and sleep takes over. It’s one of the best times in my day.

The bed time I’m referring to is my son’s. I should preface this by saying my son is an amazingly good baby. I realize you are probably a bit suspicious. After all, what parent doesn’t gush about how great their kid is, right?* But as my close friends can attest, my kid is actually decent to go out with. He’s generally smiley and perfectly happy to examine the toys attached to his high chair, sit in his car seat and play with chimes or just hang out on my lap trying to grab at my food or drink while I gab on for good chunks of time with my friends. He doesn’t generally throw hissy fits or scream. He’s even better at home when he has an entire floor to roll around on and a multitude of toys to stuff in his mouth.

Still, bed time is rough.

We have a great little bed time routine. It usually starts out with either myself or my husband reading him a story while the other one fills his little bath tub. As soon as it’s done we stop reading (half the time he’s not paying a bit of attention to the book anyway and squirming because he’s being held against his will), strip him down and plunk him in the tub. He LOVES bath time. He plays with toys, tries to grab bubbles, giggles, splashes and since he’s recently discovered his penis and it’s the only time he’s naked, spends an awful lot of time grabbing at that. I sing him songs, my husband makes silly faces at him. He’s an angel.

He lets us get him out of the tub, brush his teeth (two on the bottom, one poking out on top and one just getting ready to poke out), smiling the entire time. Then comes the tantrum. When we take him back into his room to put his pjs on, he throws a fit. He squirms while I try to dry him. He tries to roll over while I put his diaper on. He flails his arms while I try to get a onsie over his head and he starts sobbing when I try to put his actual jammies on. He won’t actually calm down and act slightly human again until he’s had a bottle shoved in his mouth and he’s being rocked to soft lullabies.

I blame my husband for this. While I’m getting the jammies on, he makes a bottle and brings it in. He sits in the rocking chair and swishes it around to further mix it. My sons hears it. He twists and sees it. Then all hell breaks loose. It’s like my husband is taunting him. He might as well call out in that nasty sing song voice of older siblings everywhere “guess what I’ve got.”

Ok, so that’s totally unfair of me. After all, my son does the same thing when my husband is in charge of jammy-ing him and I bring the bottle in, despite the fact that I hide it and pitch in to get the kid dressed for bed. I think it’s actually the anticipation and the knowledge that a bottle always follows his bath. I tell you, when that kid decides he is hungry, he lets everyone know.

The nice thing is that once the bottle has been recieved and he’s been rocked, we can put him in his crib and while we might here a little tossing and turning and some ocassional babbling, he goes to sleep within 10 minutes and is out until the next morning.

I realize bed time could be a lot worse, but if you’ve ever tried diapering and dressing a kid who just won’t stay still, it can make for a long, trying couple of minutes.

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Filed under married life, motherhood, my son, ramblings, what makes me me

How I spent my weekend

Grading. And cooking. And cleaning. And, well, generally being domestic. This is not, I must point out, my idea way to spend a weekend, but after weeks of neglect, I realized my house was in desperate need of attention. That probably sounds bleaker than it actually was. It’s not like things were starting to sprout in the corners of my kitchen or I was down to my last clean pair of underwear. More like my kid was starting to pick up so much carpet fuzz on his outfits that the original color was unclear at first glance. It’s his own fault for rolling off the blanket I put down for him, but rolling is sort of what he does these days. Besides, the blanket actually really needed to be washed too.

 

Saturday wasn’t exactly a cleaning frenzy. Instead we got the household shopping done, including taking an extension for the baby gate we ordered on-line back to Target. Somehow my husband misread the description. The extension we got is obviously meant to keep mastiffs or children of giants out of rooms, not standard American babies. Stepping over this thing wasn’t even kind of an option. Not that it matters since it doesn’t fit the gate we have anyway. So, off we went. After we finished up at Target we headed up to the tractor supply store. No, we haven’t suddenly started farming our backyard (although my husband does have a riding lawnmower for our less than ½ an acre). It seems it’s the only place to get cedar chips and my husband wanted them to put stuff into pieces of nylon and hide in our drawers to keep away silverfish. Apparently we have them and they hate cedar.

 

Since we were practically there already, we stopped in at the pumpkin patch. My friends and I usually go about the middle of the month to get our pumpkins, pick some apples and devour some of the best caramel apples and cider slushies. It’s usually a slightly chilly romp through the patch which takes a good half hour minimum. Yesterday it took more time to find a parking space and walk out to the field than it took us to do any sort of shopping. For starters, despite what the board said, they weren’t picking any apples. That shaved quite a bit of time off our visit. Then the tractors going out to the pumpkin patch were so full of people that we would have had to wait a good ten minutes to get on one (yes, I know we could have walked, but it’s more fun to ride the tractors). I didn’t even get my caramel apple because they changed the entire store around and no longer sell them at the counter. They have to be bought at the snack stand, which does explain why the line for snacks was about fifty people deep and the check out lines only had about three people each. I didn’t realize it until it was too late and my baby was already getting grumpy (as was my hubby), so I sighed, heaved the baby and the pumpkin a little higher on my hip and stood in line.

 

I spent the entirety of that evening grading 10th grade midterms. UGH! The highest grade in both classes was a 94%. One kid who took an almost identical midterm when he had my class last year got a whopping 39%. It was the second lowest grade in the class. Pathetic! Oh, I did watch the They Might Be Giants documentary, Giants: A Tale of Two Johns. It was lots of fun and I was once again reminded why I love them. I need to see them in concert again soon.

 

On the plus side, while we were at the pumpkin patch, I did grab a bag of already picked apples, which leads me to how I spent today. Today was my attempt at becoming a domestic goddess. It started this morning when I ran to the grocery store while everyone else in the house slept. I came home and got the beef and noodles that were tonight’s dinner started. They took a long time in the crock pot, so I had to get them going early. The baby woke up during the process, so I had to get him, wake up my husband so I could hand the baby over and then finish getting dinner ready. I got three loads of laundry done and two additional loads (one that had been sitting quite dry in the dryer from last weekend) put away. I swept and mopped the kitchen floor. I swept the laundry room floor. I picked up various clutter. I played with the baby. I graded senior short story projects.

 

Somehow in the middle of all this I also took the time to make my world famous cranberry apple crisp. Obviously my world is very small, but in this household, let me tell you, my crisp is raved over. There is probably a collective rolling of eyes from all my nearest and dearest. I get a little over-zealous about my crisp. I’m not saying other people don’t make perfectly good crisps, but every single part of mine is homemade (not my recipe though, so I don’t get total bragging rights), and it is full of ooey-gooey-buttery-cranberryy-appley goodness. Ok, I’ll admit it, I do think my crisp is the best one I’ve had (I should note here that I don’t come from a line of people who do any cooking if it can’t be popped in the microwave or thrown on a grill, so it’s not like I have a lot to judge from).

 

Since it’s still the weekend and I have warm crisp cooling on the stove, I think it’s time to wrap this up, grab a bowl full and sit down to finish the short story projects. Grades are due Tuesday morning. Not that it matters because my seniors will be bugging me for their grades the second they walk in the door. Damn AP kids caring about their education. I just want to enjoy the fruits of my weekend labor.

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