Where the hampster wheel always turns

About Me

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Middle aged underweight high school graduate
"It is not advisable James to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener." - Francisco d'Anconia, Atlas Shrugged
"The soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut taxes now." - John F. Kennedy

Kondiment Karma

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In general I try not to get noticed. As you know, I'm rather unsuccessful at this endeavor, but not in a good way.   Usually when I take off my slippers and venture out of my house I have some sort of run in with humanity.  If you haven't noticed lately, humanity is crazy.

Our little family is still in the throes of orthodontia.  Somehow, all three of my children were born with teeth that confirmed my long-held suspicion that there is significant inbreeding in my family line. 

Being the responsible parents we are, we've tried to correct any physical evidence of their dubious heritage and made sure we give strict social instructions when we attend family reunions.  Thus far, none of them have tried to date relatives, but they are still young. 

Orthodontia is neither cheap nor easy.  We spend an inordinate amount of time in uncomfortable waiting rooms, watching Disney movies and fish tanks.  The mind-numbing tedium of these visits has encouraged me to find things to look forward to.  On a recent visit to Unnamed Child #1's orthodontist, I pulled into the parking garage and was giddy with joy to get a COVERED parking space.  Unless you have lived in the Southwest in the summer, you have no idea how wonderful it is to return to a car that is only 115 degrees inside rather than the frequent 145 degrees. 

Not only did I find a covered spot but it was next to a darling little yellow VW bug which allowed me to park and slug my offspring in one graceful motion. 

Just as I was ensconcing into the blissful shade there is a loud BANG which makes me instinctively throw my protective mommy body toward my progeny.  Because I am still seat belted in, it ends up being more like a pathetic lurch where I clothesline my neck, jerking backward with the recoil and end up nowhere near my child.  In fact, my pathetic motion does more to frighten her than it does to protect her. 

My tiny brain slowly realizes that we are not being shot at, but now I worry what part of my van has fallen off.   Slowly I peer out the driver's side window looking toward the ground and I notice this:

Clearly, I have driven over a small rodent and exploded it on the side of the cute bug, sullying its passenger side door.   Slowly I step out of the car, and try and wrap my mind around the situation.  

There, on the ground is a bag of Jack-in-the-Box trash that someone abandoned with wanton disregard for communal hygiene.  As a side note, this is one thing I will never understand, littering.  I don't get why people think it's OK to just throw stuff on the ground, flick cigarette butts out their windows, or leave shopping carts blocking perfectly good parking spaces.  Literally eight steps away from the trash on the ground is a perfectly good, mostly empty trash can.  

I gather up the debris of my roadkill and walk to the can, trying to figure out what to do.  In general I try and leave the world better than I found it, at least the same as I found it.  Clearly, this is not a walk-away situation.  But I have NOTHING to clean ketchup off a car.  For a moment I consider using my arm, but my kid stops me.  I can't leave it there, but what exactly is the proper procedure for vehicular condiment assault?  I have no napkins, paper towels, plastic bags, nothing in the car that I could even smear some of it off.  I crawl around the back and find an old half-empty water bottle and try and rinse some of the schmear off.  It mostly just makes some of the ketchup runnier causing it to drip further down the door, but clearly not getting it off the door.

Long ago, Unnamed Child #1 has left me, partly from embarrassment and partly because she had an appointment.  I finally decide I need to get reinforcements and dash into the orthodontist.  I'm worried the little bug driver will return and drive away.  I imagine the single driver driving away in the blistering sun, parking and not finding my mess for days - long after the acidity of the ketchup has etched its mark into the door, ruining the paint.  

Hurriedly, I sprint through the door and quickly ask if they have any paper towels.  Of course, this is weird, and the receptionist peers over the counter at the ground thinking I've peed my pants or barfed in their waiting room.  This is an entirely logical guess, but all I can think about is the bug driver driving out into the world with the car equivalent of toilet paper stuck to your shoe.  

Gasping with breath I sputter, "I need some paper towels!" She points to a bathroom and as I start to go in, she follows me asking if everything is OK.  

I'm not sure I know how to respond, and what sort of liability I might be opening myself up to.  For example, she might, perhaps, own a yellow bug currently parked in the shade, slathered in ketchup.  I just say I have a small mess I need to clean up and take a ridiculous armful of paper towels.  

Moments later, I'm on my hands and knees, in a sea of ketchup-covered wadded-up paper towels wiping as gently as possible, trying not to set the car alarm off. "Cause we all know that's what would likely happen right now.

I cleaned the bug, good as new.  Well, that's not true, but when I left the parking spot, hauling a bushel of smelly paper towels, the ketchup was gone.  I felt good, I left the world at least as I found it.

Settling in to my seat in the orthodontist waiting room, I fanned through a backdated issue of People magazine.  Briefly, I catch eye contact with the receptionist, she smiles and makes a wiping motion against her cheek.  Picking up on her signal, I wipe my cheek, and sure enough, I looked like the side door of a cute, yellow bug. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

So today, I'm out in public which we all know is a dangerous thing, and things are going pretty well. I'm shuttling my newly-freed-from-school kids around and we have NO schedule. It's pretty cool. I really enjoy summer with my kids. They're now at the age where they don't need to be supervised. Well, supervised as much, but most supervision is to prevent damage to furniture and structures not to prevent their demises. As we're cruising the boulevard we run in to all sorts of summer people and it's kind of fun. Usually I can go a long, long time before I run into other people and with my kids to supervise I think we're probably safe. Ha. Ha. Ha. Leaving one establishment I run into a woman I know a little. Me knowing someone a little is dangerous. I don't have a good filter and usually don't get embarrassed so you can see how this could be a problem. I exchange pleasantries with the woman and she says to me, "I've been thinking about you a lot lately." Immediately the blood drains from my face. Of course I'm scared. Who in their right mind would think about me, and how could it ever possibly be good? In my panic, I say nothing. "You're weird, and quirky, and funny." Yes, those were her exact words. Since they were a statement rather than a question I still remained pale and silent. "But you're also deep and wise. You don't see both those things in one person very often." I sort of chuckle and smile and think she just complemented me, although I'm not quite sure, so I'm going to have to go with it in order to maintain my fragile self-esteem. I walk out to the car shaking my head, weird and deep. This is why I have you five loyal readers. Where else can you go for weird deepness?

If You Had Doubts, We Are White Trash

Friday, February 3, 2012

We have three teenagers living under our roof right now. Four, if you are not calculating by actual age, but three who by standard definitions are classified as teenagers. If the messy rooms, sleeping during the day and giant consumption of pudding didn't clue you in to that fact, the target on the front of our house would soon tip our hand: we were recently toilet papered.

Kudos to the attackers, this was not a meager job. Someone's parents shop at Costco. Early Saturday morning when I beheld the handiwork I actually gaped, yes gaped at the volume of triple ply that decorated our yard.

Now I am not against toilet papering per se, I understand it's a rite of passage to both perpetrate and be victimized by the practice but I do have an opinion that I do think the general population should share. (I know you know I think ALL of my opinions should be shared by the general population, but this one is really good and surprisingly sane.)

Toilet paper should only be administered as high as the perpetrator can reach. NO throwing the roll up over a homeowner's 95 foot high trees despite how strong your throwing arm is.

Our front yard is full of extra large citrus trees. Citrus that used to be a commercial grove so they are really big. And this particular morning they were covered stem to stern with toilet paper.

Lucky for me I have kids.

Stop laughing.

Again, lucky for me I have kids - so I rouse the little beauties from their teenage slumber-comas and send them to the yard to collect. My kids are fairly good workers, BUT this was embarrassing, front yard work. People would SEE them. Their friends would SEE them. How humiliating it would be for their friends to see them with armfuls of toilet paper. We collected over three large trash bags of toilet paper.

I regret I didn't take photos.

Here's the net of why you should be glad you don't live by us:

A) Unnamed child #1 remarked multiple times to me and the other kids that they were impressed with the quality of toilet paper used in the attack. Not the volume, mind you, but the actual quality, even rubbing some against their cheek at one point.

B) We couldn't (read: didn't) clean it all up. Some of it was WAY too high and would have required a commercial ladder to pick it down. So of course, we left it.

It wasn't much, but against the citrusy green, the strips of white did stand out. For a couple of weeks.

Some neighbors already dislike us because we were the first ones to not seed for a winter lawn a few years ago. Now, only one guy on our street still does it. We are like a cancer of sub-standard landscaping spreading throughout the land. Liberating, but not pretty. Now those same neighbors plus more dislike us for further adding to the blight and leaving copious amounts of toilet paper waving in the Arizona wind.

Of course, I think no one sees it, or like the dust in my living room, I think no one notices. But everyone does.


How everyone? Well, yesterday hubby tells me that one of our friends, mother of young children who drives by often, was lamenting that their house was out of toilet paper when her toddler says, "Mommy, we can go get it from that house that grows it on their trees."

Snow White IS Friendlier than Babies

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I know there is a good reason people have them, but at this exact moment I'm blanking.

We are invited to an annual New Year's Day party with some long time friends. It's a wonderful afternoon of food, friendship and hardcore games particularly Apples to Apples. You know how intense Apples to Apples can get. And yes, Andrew, I still think Snow White is friendlier than babies. I was robbed and the grudge will be nurtured all year until I can reclaim my rightful green card from your biased spiteful hands that have not yet had a baby to see how unfriendly they are. Particularly in the plural - babies are much less friendly than baby and the card said babieS. Snow White breaks in, cleans your house, makes dinner and sings songs. No baby I have ever heard of does that. If they did, I would have had more.

See how competitive Apples to Apples is?

Babies, why did I have them again? Everyone who has a baby knows they are not friendly. They might have some cute factor but mostly they poop and pee and puke. Then, supposedly they grow out of that and just want the car keys, food and money. So, underscoring my point, babies are not friendly and the teenagers they grow into are also not friendly. Snow White... she is friendly.

And imaginary.

The Ring in the New Year with Apples to Apples party, also included Tee pee Mexican food and an unlimited supply of Dilly bars and soda. Let me introduce you to my children: in most settings they behave with respectable decorum and restraint. Most. But throw in some Dilly Bars and a soda and all bets are off.

At the end of the festivities, Unnamed child #3 was lying in the corner under a pile of wooden Popsicle sticks and aluminum cans. If I hadn't seen it before I would not have recognized her, but we were able to upright her burpness and shepherd her into the minivan under strict instructions that nothing was to projectile out of any orifice of her body. Nothing.

We made it home, Hubby talking about his new plans to hike Macchu Piccu, Unnamed #1 trying a new angle to get an iPhone, Unnamed #2 ensconced in a Kindle completely ignoring us and #3's green face pressed up against the minivan window panting and moaning.

We all know I am nothing if I am not efficient. My little family has all sorts of needy demands and over the holiday break repeated requests were made for me to make them chiropractic appointments. If you saw how they wrestled with each other and the puppy you would agree they all need straightening out, but getting to a chiropractor over the holidays can be tricky. Being the efficient genius mom I am, I made Monday morning appointments for our entire clan. Everyone all at once. Only one trip.

Sporty Spice, aka Hubby, gets up rain or shine to train for his next marathon, Grand Canyon in a day climb, or whatever. This morning, being a spanking new year he enlists #3 to jog with him. Off they go with his Garmin strapped on, shoes tied and hope for the future brimming. We can all agree not to like them very much.

Back they return only to be quickly arranged in our little Prius and whisked off to the chiropractic appointments. Efficiently whisked.

Not three minutes down the road, but far from our home, #3 starts reliving their culinary abandon of the previous day combined with a Garmin-measured run. In order to fully appreciate what you know is going to happen you have to know how we were arranged in the Prius for our whisking.

Unnamed #1 was driving, without a license. Sporty Spice was shotgun. Unnamed #2 backseat right, Unnamed #3 backseat left, Me perched on the humpy thing in the middle of the back seat that has a seatbelt but cannot possibly meet the legal requirements of being a seat. Especially when a woman of average size can use the ceiling to steady herself with the crown of her head on the ceiling and gripping the metal bars of the headrests on the front seats, legs straddling the hump in the floor eerily reminiscent of a gyno visit, as her teenager swerves wildly down the road to the chiropractor. All of you with Prius' - Californians and Seattle residents, look in the back of your Prius and feel my pain.

So Unnamed #3 starts moaning, and gyrating. I ask the requisite questions: "Are you going to barf? Do you need us to pull over?" Framed with the compassionate, "You better not Dilly Barf all over me!"

Unnamed #3 can't commit to the evasive action we should take and says to keep going only to have the next action be a dry heave. I tell Unnamed #1 to get off at the next exit as Unnamed #3 starts to erupt. To their credit, it wasn't Vesuvius, it was more Kilauea. Not a projectile eruption but more a lava flow. Of barf. In a small car filled to the legal capacity.

I'm calling to the front for SOMETHING to contain the barf. My minivan has bags and napkins and all sorts of provisions for children's various eruptions. The commuter car has an empty CD case, some golf tees and a bunch of loose change. And yes, I thought of stuffing the loose change in their mouth to see if I could plug the hole.

So in the barf induced panic, Sporty Spice removes his baseball cap and hands it back to #3. Immediately it is catching the lava flow of barf which seems to be less restrained now that we have a containment item. The unfortunate thing is the containment item ball cap was full of ventilation holes so essentially she was using the cap to strain her barf onto her lap.


The sad thing is, Unnamed #3 didn't even need the lecture. After the eruption ended she popped right in to "I know, I know, I shouldn't eat that much junk and soda."

They almost raise themselves!

I wish I was in a car with Snow White...


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Recently I had a bit of unsupervised time to myself. Yeah, not good.

Puttering around convalescing from a brief illness and the obligatory quarantine I was going a bit stir crazy. I don't like to be trapped, and trapped in a house with only laundry to keep me company makes a girl a little antsy. Yes, there was plenty to do, but I wasn't physically up to it, so all I could do was stare at my disordered desk, dusty picture frames and furry carpet with disdain.

Illness messes with my mind. I suppose it does everyones, but I have a really hard time accepting the fact that I can't go on with my normal life while the nature of things takes its course. Fine you say, no one likes to be sick. Yes, I know, but I don't just dislike it, I drag out the drama and start talking to inanimate objects like Tom Hanks in Castaway. It's really not healthy, even for a sick person.

So there I am, wasting away brain cell by sane brain cell when I decide I can't take it anymore. I lurch out of my bed and ensconce myself in my hot pink robe and head to the bathroom where I behold myself in all my Barbie glory. After a moment I have to lean in to make sure it's as bad as my reflection is telling me. My whole face is ashen, swollen and my eyes are bloodshot. At first I look behind me to make sure Lindsay Lohan has not stumbled into my bathroom, but no, it's all me. I stick out my tongue - since that's what they have you do in all the movies when you're sick, and even my tongue is ugly.

I run some cold water and bury my face in the puddle I've collected in my chubby man-hands hoping some of my swelling will erode. Slowly looking up into the mirror, now I'm just a drippy, swollen bloodshot mess, only now I can see - I've got Bride of Frankenstein gray streaks through my temples too. Beauty.

I've always had a bunch of wiry gray hairs scattered through my hair, but they've yet to have a convention and of course this is a particularly good day to do so. I contemplate my generally accepted strategy of pulling them out and realize that the giant bald spots they would leave would not be an improvement so I just give up and start heading back to bed accepting that I will likely die soon so I shouldn't worry anymore.

Halfway back to bed a thought hits me... I've been unsuccessfully making hubby "tint" his hair for years. It wasn't because I didn't like his hair, it was because we both hated it when people asked if I was his daughter and a little tint seemed to mitigate the rate at which that question was popped. The problem was, he hated doing it and so he would tint, and then grow his hair out 5 inches, get it cut and tint it again. Tinting every seven months is not a good strategy if you are maintaining an image and so I finally gave up. Suddenly, the thought that hit me was he still has a bunch of boxes of "Just For Men" hair dye in his vanity.

My own vanity grabs me by the neck and I rummage through his man-stuff fishing out a couple boxes. Sprawled across the bathroom sink I've got my options and their instructions. There is some medium brown, dark brown and one that is particularly interesting to me: "sideburns, mustache and beard" dye. All of the packaging says it targets the gray, takes only 5 minutes and makes the user look appealing to others.

Since my appearance right now would make a badger vomit, that idea sounded good to me. Now my problem is which one to use, and the bigger question: is man hair the same as lady hair? I think it is, but how would I tell? Usually the Internet is the source of all wisdom, but I'm too weak to look it up and apparently delirious enough to throw caution to the wind. That and my plan B was to color each strand with a brown Sharpie, which will take a lot longer than the 5 minutes this says it will take.

Stroking the side of my head I decide that my gray temple hair, were it cut short enough, would be a sideburn so I should probably use the sideburn, mustache and beard box. It has a lot of instructions, and mixing up but I figure if it just targets the gray then I'm gonna be fine.



Using the poorly constructed plastic glove they include - side note, why does it have to be a plastic glove made from sandwich bag material. Are springy gloves THAT expensive and hard to find? I know it's a $5 box of men's mustache dye, but really? - I smear the concoction on my "sideburns" combing it in to the ends and effectively making myself look like I have a mullet held in place with an inappropriate amount of hair gel. We know from previous trips to the waxing salon that I didn't have a mustache anymore, so I didn't use the entire tube and was excited I would have enough for a second application 6 weeks from now.

Because this process is an intricately timed endeavor I need to go check a clock. I waddle back to my bedroom where Unnamed Child #1 has wandered in. Our eyes meet and immediately she knows something is up.

"Mooooom?" she says in a very accusatory tone.
"Yep" I nonchalantly reply.
"Whaaaat arrrre yooooou doing?"
"Dying my hair."
"With what?"

Now, for some reason, and I really can only blame the fact that I was near death with sickness, I had the box in my hand. So, like Vanna White, I lift the box and with my other hand highlight my reading skills: "Just For Men Sideburns, Mustache and Beard 5 minute dye."

if you have never seen a teenager flip out, and you want to, I suggest you use Just for Men Sideburns, Mustache and Beard dye in front of them.

The screaming made me get a gut laugh, and she started saying there was no way she could be more embarrassed by me, and what was wrong with me, and how could I, and she would make this her Facebook status if she wasn't so embarrassed by me.

"I'm siiiick" I say, hoping she will feel sorry for me, or finally realize my brilliance that she's been ignoring.

It didn't work.


My 5 minutes was up, so I couldn't answer her and headed dutifully to the shower.

While I admit I was swollen, and bloodshot and a bit delirious from the medications, I think I look awesome. I am totally doing this until my husband's stash of unused hair dye runs out.

When I shared my awesome brilliance with her, my hairdresser simply said, "Yeah, I could tell. Don't do that again."

Yeah right. I have half a tube left and lady hair is just like man hair. If you don't look too closely.