Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blog, Featuring Extreme Wit

You know what word I love? "Featuring". It has replaced it's homely and uninspiring cousin, "with". "Featuring" gets added to product descriptions in order to boost gravitas and it has all sorts of applications. Musicians use it: "Eminem featuring Rihanna", "Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys". It's a selling-point for DVDs: "with extras featuring cast interviews!". I went out to dinner the other night and all the evening's specials were [meat] "featuring" a balsamic vinegar reduction, picked radishes, raspberry coulis, etc. I even discovered a Cold Stone ice cream concoction that "features" M&Ms (not to be confused with Eminem -NOT tasty). I was only at Cold Stone for empirical purposes btw.

I wonder what would happen if I started adding the word to my everyday vocab to spice things up a bit. "Today's schedule will feature a mid-afternoon nap."

"What's for lunch, mom?" "Turkey roll ups, featuring baby carrots and drinkable yogurts."

"Please excuse my appearance. I'm featuring a giant pimple in the middle of my mono-brow at the moment. You can leave if you're grossed out or stay and feel better about your own face."

It's risky - like "awesome" it may become diluted with overuse - but I think I'll give it a spin.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Five Stages of Summer Vacation

I'm not a psychiatrist and I don't play one on TV but I do believe that I can identify 5 distinct mood changes since school let out in June.

1. Denial - I really don't have to be the sole source of entertainment for the next three months, right?

2. Anger - What do you mean you're bored?! You've been dying for school to finish! Why don't you play with the gazillion games and toys we've accumulated over ten years or better yet (gasp!) go outside and look for bugs/have a water fight/kick around a soccer ball etc., etc., ad infinitum.

3. Bargaining - I know you said your camp is full to capacity but you simply have to make space for at least two, preferably three, children. Just for a week. PLEASE.

4. Acceptance - My kids are awesome. Annoying but awesome. And I really got to know them better this summer. We have some really fond memories of trips and family nights and learning all kinds of new skills.

5. Abject elation - T minus 14 days and counting.

Bless their little cotton socks. I will miss them ...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oliver Stone's The Pencil Case

Toward the end of the school year, we received an email from the PTA: Would we like to have our incoming second grader's school supplies purchased by the PTA and delivered to our second grader in the classroom on the first day of school? If yes, please complete the form and submit it with payment of $45.

$45?! I looked at the list. Some markers, some colored pencils, a couple of glue sticks.... standard stuff. Surely not $45 worth of stuff.

To be honest, the cost wasn't even why I opted not to fill out the form. The real reason? I'm a sucker for supplies.

I loved back-to-school shopping as a kid. I loved deciding which lunchbox I would carry for that year (Scooby Doo! No... Jabber Jaw!). I loved selecting a binder-- I remember reveling in the high-tech-ness of the Trapper Keeper. And I really loved the pens. I could (and still can) test pen after pen, making beautiful rainbows on the "try me" paper.

Turns out my son was not quite as interested in the undertaking.

No biggie because Target makes it super easy. PTA list in hand, we cruised through the back-to-school section and picked up everything (minus some 3X3 lined post-its) in under 10 minutes for about $18.

$18 vs. $45. You can imagine how smug I felt.

A few days later I swung by Staples and found the lined 3x3 post-its that Target didn't carry. They came in packs of six. The list called for eight. Annoying. I bought two packs. Together they were around $10. Still smug.

But then... I happened to be at Target one day and noticed that Target (being awesome in a truly Target way) actually has copies of the local schools' lists available in the supplies section. I picked one up just to make sure I hadn't overlooked something.

What's this? A new parenthetical had been added to the list: eight pads of lined 3X3 post-its (NOT the pop-up kind).

Target still had no lined post-its whatsoever. And, wouldn't you know, the ones I had bought from Staples (the only lined 3X3 post-its they carry, mind you) were pop-up ones.

I had to order mine online. Even with free shipping they came out to $17.

Grand total (after I returned the "bad" post-its): $35. But when I add in the time-value of two trips to Staples and searching out the best online vendor I'm not sure I really saved $10.

I did pick up some great markers though.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quid Pro Woe

A few years ago, while on vacation, my husband took one for the team and watched Sex and the City with me on the hotel TV. It was a real stinker. And I've been paying for it ever since.

How? Countless airings of Bad Boys (parts one and two), some choice selections from the Nic Cage oeuvre, and any movie in which Jack Ryan is played by Harrison Ford. Evidently USA and TBS love these movies as much as my husband.

I kind of don't mind watching those same movies over and over because they require so little of my attention. I can read, flip through a catalog, mess around on the computer, change the laundry, or do a crossword puzzle without missing anything.

But I may be in some real trouble.

Last night, for the first time in ages, we saw a movie with no cartoon characters or animatronic guinea pigs. A real movie. In an-honest-to-goodness-theater. One small problem: the movie we saw was my idea (on the recommendation of every freaking publication I read)-- The Kids are All Right.

Eh. The kids (and the film) really were just all right. The acting was strong (Annette Bening makes a very believable lesbian) but it was a little slow. To his credit, my husband did not sigh audibly, excessively shift in his seat, or fall asleep.

As the credits started to roll, I looked at my husband and could not stop giggling. He asked why I was laughing and when I finally regained control I told him what had been running through my head for most of the movie.

Now I'm going to have to see The Expendables.



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Please No S'More

My husband is off work at the moment and rather than take a break from his normally hectic lifestyle, he has filled his two weeks off with ambitious plans. I am his reality-check/logistics manager but sometimes I have to just go with it.

On Tuesday, in a car filled with balloons and gift bags, on our way to our daughter's 5th birthday party, he suggested to the party girl that we go camping that night to celebrate. The kids screamed in delight. My reaction was ... (TUMBLEWEED)

Yep. My husband and I used to go camping a fair bit. Not K2 or anything like that, but Bryce Canyon and the like. All that came to a screeching halt when we saw 'The Blair Witch Project'. So it had been, what, ten or eleven years? since our camping equipment had been touched. We had two musty sleeping bags and a two-person tent. For five people. So we scrounged from neighbors, emptied the closet of duvets for padding and drove up to a park to our campsite. It was a stone lean-to.

We gave the kids the tent and my husband and I lay awake all night on the dirt floor (I even took a sleeping pill!), batting away bugs like lunatics, hiding under our sleeping bags then getting too hot, and freaking out at every twig-snap. At about 3am our youngest daughter came to sleep between us, forming an 'H'. I needed to pee for about 5 hours but dared not venture out and in the morning I had to pry my husband off the floor as he was crippled by back pain. We left by 7:30 am, with the kids asking all the way home when we could go camping again. My husband's response, thank the sweet lord, was "not for a while."