Thursday, December 20, 2012

Skin Deep

Its been ages since I last blogged. Time flew and suddenly its the end of the year! What?!!! I have to say that Hurricane Sandy not only stole November from me, it aged me by about 8 years (don't ask how I came up with that number just take it as read). I am more stooped, much grayer and all traces of collagen in my face blew away in the high winds.

The other day I woke up and looked in the mirror and Morley Safer was looking back at me.  The deep tram lines between my eyebrows and parentheses around my mouth made me look like a bitter old hag (no comments please) so I decided to do some scientific-ish research into improving skin tone through diet and supplements.

Now, I am the queen of knee-jerk reactions.  My husband has to edit/destroy every Monday morning email I write to my kids' coaches about the amount of play time they got during the weekend's games. Even my nice emails come across as snooty because email has no tone and I am English.  Anyway, when I came across an article about a supplement that boosts your pituitary gland (thereby improving collagen production, muscle tone, hair lustre, sleep quality, etc.) I jumped on it.  Snake Oil!  Fantastic!

Long story short, I'm not seeing any improvement.  I saw Denise Richards on TV yesterday and now I'm dying to know HER secret.  That chick is radiant! On balance though, of all the things Sandy took from people, my youthful glow is a small price to pay; what we at Weaselsnot like to call a "princess problem".  Plus I've asked Santa for a new face for Christmas.  Hope I made the "nice" list.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Why-yi-yi Oh Why?

The Frankenstorm is coming!  The governor of Connecticut was on TV this morning calling the storm "the worst disaster of our lifetime that we have been able to prepare ourselves for."  (He's got a way with words)  Winds will reach sustained speeds of up to 80 miles per hour, storm surges will flood coastal areas and people may lose power for days.  Already thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes.

The only non-threatening aspect of this storm?  It's name. Sandy.  Really?  It's like the big, jowly bulldog that answers to Fifi.   Here's what comes to my mind when I hear Sandy.

Little Orphan Annie's lovable rescue pup.  Only a threat if your last name is Hannigan.

Because I am TV-minded, the name Sandy also makes me think of the warm-hearted patriarch of the Cohen family, played by Peter Gallagher.  Sandy Cohen brought the Hannukah to Seth's Chrismukkah, which I loved him for.

And, of course, last-- but not least-- the name Sandy calls to mind pop culture's most famous Sandy:
And this scene (more specifically the song "Sandy" that Travolta sings later on in this scene) is the one that is plaguing me.  I can't help but try to make new lyrics.

Stranded in my drive-way,
Shut-in--not cool.  And the district
has cancelled all school....

Sandy, can't you see, I'm in misery.
You're gonna hit, they've closed Target
There's nothing left for me
Trees have flown, all alone
I sit and wonder why-iy-iy oh why
They named you-- ugh--Sandy.

Let's hope Sandy turns out to be all hype and as wimpy as its name suggests.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Have a Good Excuse

Weaselsnob has been doing all the heavy lifting around here lately. I haven't blogged in a while.  This is because:

a) We just packed up our whole house and moved;

b) I spend my days either unpacking boxes or waiting on (bad musical) hold finding out why Verizon and/or Cablevision has blown off their service window YET AGAIN; or


Clearly I do not have my priorities straight.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

La Vie en Bleu

For some time my 11-year-old daughter has wanted to chop all her hair off a la Emma Watson.  I have stalled her for as long as possible knowing that while short hair on a girl wouldn't cause a flutter in England, American girls prize long hair. That's just the reality.  Plus, she dresses exclusively in sportswear and already gets mistaken for a boy. On the heels of the London Olympics, however, she begged me to let her "Abby Wambach" her hair and against my better judgement (and own cringe worthy experience) I let her. 

Every woman I know with curly hair has at some point cut it boy-short.  And regretted it.  I totally had a John Taylor haircut in the '80s until a dear old lady approached me on the sidewalk one day and said, "You look like a nice, strong young man.  Could you help me with these boxes?"  Yeah.  Haven't had short hair since.

Weaselsnark recalled a time when someone told her she was in the wrong bathroom.  "No, I'm a girl", she squeaked in mortification.

Needless to say I was nervous about the haircut but - shocking newsflash - my daughter is not in fact, me!  Her hair looks so pretty short and she is absolutely FINE with people thinking she's a boy.  When I suggested on the first-day-at-school-with-boy-hair that she dress slightly more femininely she pooh-poohed me and came downstairs wearing soccer shorts, a basketball shirt and Sambas.  "I'm going to pretend I'm the new boy," she laughed.

Now she comes home every day with a tally of how many people mistook her for a boy and she sincerely finds it funny.  She even had her own weaselsnark experience in the bathroom! Her best friend who also battles the boy-identity issue even with very long hair advised her that when people ask if you're a girl or a boy just answer, "Yes".  God bless.  That's confidence for you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Is anyone else experiencing a plague of crickets or grasshoppers at the moment??!  How do they get in the house?  In the last week I have had one jump out of the washing machine at me, one on the ceiling by my bed (ew) and one on the back of my headrest in the car.  In the last incident I out- screamed Minx's 7-year-old friend as I peeled up our road like an old lady, crouched over the steering wheel (PLEASE do not jump into my hair!!!!).  In moments like that, you come so perilously close to the abyss that madness becomes almost a welcome state of disconnect.

It's not that crickets aren't cute in an intelligent-looking, elegant kind of way. It's just the possibility of having one randomly fly at great speed in your direction with its long legs and antennae twitching.  And I just can't subscribe to the Disney-fication of wild animals.  It's too hard to suspend belief when Bambi is eating all your carefully tended Hostas, Simba has dismembered his trainer or Jiminy is hiding in your smalls.

Monday, September 10, 2012

No Ifs, Ands, or Butts

In the process of packing up our house I came across my son's joke book-- a notebook in which I compiled jokes that my son made up.  I started keeping the joke book when he was about four and stopped updating it when he was about.... four.

Okay, so it is more of a joke pamphlet than a joke book.  Nevertheless, at a young age he was churning out some pretty decent material.

Q: What did one poop say to the other?
A: You look flushed.

Not bad wordplay (if you can get past the poop part).  Unfortunately, for the past few years, there has been no getting past the poop part.  Or the parts that poop.  My kids (and their friends) think that true humor lies in the mere utterance of certain words.  I have tried-- and failed-- numerous times to explain to my son how much funnier he is when he turns a phrase or draws a parallel.

Toilet humor, I tell him, is beyond lame.

Which is why it is all the more shameful that I am still laughing when I think of the anatomy lesson my seven year old daughter's friend gave me.

"Do you know what this is called?" she asked, pulling on the extra skin on the back of her elbow.

I shrugged. 

"The wenis" she informed me, matter-of-factly.  "And do you know what this is called?" she asked, pointing to the inside fold of her elbow.

I shook my head.

"THE WAGINA!" she guffawed, ever so pleased that I had walked right into it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

Over the summer my kids (and I'm including my husband in this bracket) stepped up their campaign to convince me that we must get a dog. I had fobbed them off for years arguing that I couldn't possibly clean up the shit of two living things concurrently so until they were all out of diapers ...

Obviously (hopefully), we have been diaper-free for 4 years now but something rekindled their interest this summer - maybe visiting friends with cute dogs? - and I am once again in the hot seat. The thing is, I like dogs. I just don't want any more responsibility or guilt since I am looking to going back to work at least part-time. More importantly, I also REALLY don't want to have to scoop poop.

Minx has been the most vocal canine advocate and recently when my parents were visiting she kicked up again. My mother, who honed her own arguments a generation ago, explained that I work very hard and don't need anything else to clean up after.

"My mom doesn't work!", spat Minx with a scowl.

Granny patiently explained that I did in fact work and that if Minx wasn't careful, she would arrange for Minx and I to have a Freaky Friday so that she could walk in my shoes and develop a healthy respect for me.

"Yuck!", quipped my elder daughter, "I definitely wouldn't want Minx for a mother!"

Minx turned to her and with laser precision said, "I'd buy you a dog."


Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I just got an iPhone! It's not that I particularly wanted a new phone but my Blackberry was quite literally deteriorating and leaving black spongey bits on my hands and in my bag. Of course, like having anything brand new I couldn't stand the thought of scratching or smudging it so I left the plastic protective cover on.

I was determined to program the thing myself and as long as you keep a clear head this is not a difficult task. Apple practically spoonfeeds you. I set my ringtone (a questionably-geeky SciFi noise), my email and text preferences and my screen saver and shockingly, I managed to download my contacts from one phone to another which my husband hadn't even attempted when he upgraded. Who's a Luddite now??!!!

It was (sad to say) a couple of days before anyone called me on my new phone and when I picked up, I could barely hear anything. Everyone in the car - husband, three kids - immediately lunged for my phone, screaming instructions on how to improve sound quality. Did I turn up the volume? Yes. Was it on mute? No. Did you turn on manual volume control? YES! Thank you, all, but I am not a COMPLETE idiot! I did check the basics!!!!!

Oh, famous last words.

"Did you take the plastic cover off the screen (where the speaker is)?


Friday, July 27, 2012

Life on the Streets is Hard

More and more, recently, I find myself wishing to be deputized. Oh, for a police siren mounted to the top of my car that I can illuminate at will when someone-for-whom-the-rules-don't apply pisses me off. And a nice, shiny gold badge (or a cool flip-out) would go down quite nicely too.

I've been hearing stories all summer about the parents who send their kids to sleepaway camp with two cell phones because they are not supposed to have phones at all and one might get confiscated. I know I've already described the mother who only put down one instrument on the choice form because she wanted her kid to get the violin. Why don't the rules apply to them??!

There is a sour-faced woman who parks every morning in the fire lane outside the coffee shop and runs in for her morning cuppa. I know this because my kids catch the bus for camp just outside said cafe and many mornings this woman is told to move her car to let the bus pull up. But she persists in parking there every morning, leaving her engine running, and ignoring actual parking spots not 20 feet away.

Well, this morning I decided to get a coffee after the camp bus left. I was third in line, when this lady parked out front, strode in looking harried and asked the woman at the front of the line if she could cut in because she was in a rush. She didn't ask the rest of us and if she had, I would have told her to either make her @###%^$% coffee at home OR, if she was in SUCH a hurry, go without.

To add insult to injury, after she got her coffee she stopped to chat for 10 minutes with the woman who let her cut! Car idling (and polluting).

What exactly are the paramenters for making a citizen's arrest I wonder ...

Monday, July 23, 2012

You Cannot Bee Serious!

The kids were at camp all day last week so, having let a few things slide, I made myself a to-do list and began working through it methodically. Some of the things on it were fairly urgent as you can tell by the fact that it took me until Thursday to get around to calling JP McHale about our bee problem.

We hadn't seen many bees since that horrible day in June but once in a while we'd find two or three clinging to the curtains in my daughter's room. So two guys came out, took one look at the nest, took one look at each other and said, "We can't help you." Apparently, we have honey bees nesting in our wall/roof and honey bees are officially endangered.

So I now have a bee-keeper coming out tomorrow. On the phone he estimated the removal to cost several thousand dollars (he, himself only charges $200/hour and is "usually done in a day") which will include finding the hive, usually 15-20 feet into the wall between two studs, opening up either the roof or the wall, removing the hive and taking the bees to their new home and re-insulating and closing up the roof or wall.

My husband, never one to spend a dime saving when he could kill, suggested getting someone in to just blast the little critters. Mr. Bee-keeper replied that while not exactly illegal, this would not be the advised plan of action because we would then have 30-60,000 bee carcasses and a hive and about 5 gallons of honey rotting/pouring down the inside of our walls which would no doubt attract other, more aggressive varmits.

Guess I'll have to wait a while longer to tick this off my list. Next up: calling JFK's Lost and Found to see if they found the iTouch my son left on the plane. Yeah. Good luck with THAT.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wonder Woman

My parents were pretty far ahead of the curve in terms of health awareness and nutrition.  In addition to promoting an active lifestyle and mindful snacking (only one sweet or soda per day), my mom cooked and served a healthy, complete meal (and salad) every night-- an impressive feat that shames me on those days when the best I can manage is to warm up leftover leftovers. 

There was no official list of forbidden foods in our house but there were many processed goodies that never crossed the threshold: including all sugar cereals, anything by Hostess, and Wonder Bread.

I work hard to instill healthy habits in my kids.  Be active and eat right.  I'm not inventing the wheel here: if they develop good habits now hopefully they'll keep them up for life.  The activity side is easy-- both kids are happily  involved in lots of different sports.  The food side takes more effort.  I feel like I'm always at the store buying produce.  And reading labels. And trying new recipes. And searching for the perfect luunchbox foods.

Bread is particularly tough.  It has to be wheat (whole grain).  No HFCS.  No "hearty" texture.  I've determined that there is only one kind of bread that meets all my needs and my kids' particularities (at least until someone markets a crust-free bread, which would be a huge hit) and sometimes I can't find it on the store's shelves.

The other day I was faced with that very problem.  No bread.  I started half-heartedly to check the other loaves on the shelves.  It was slim pickings.  Seeds, nope. Extra Hearty, seriously? Corn syrup, nope.

Wait, what's this?  Wonder Bread Wheat?  I picked up the happy red, blue and yellow package assuming I'd soon be sneering and putting it down because c'mon, it's Wonder Bread.  The devil's bread would have to have high fructose corn syrup in it, right?  But guess what?  It passed all my tests.  In what felt almost like a rebellious move I bought the Wonder Bread.  My kids are so lucky, I thought, remembering the few times I made squishy yummy dough balls out of Wonder Bread at other kids' houses.

And.... my son hated it.  The pieces were too small for him.  He called it mini-bread.  And he celebrated the end of the loaf.   "No more Wonder Bread!" he happily cheered to his sister.  Thirty-seven miles away, I imagine my parents were high-fiving.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

No Piggin' Way

My mother and her beloved dog, Eloise, gave birth to their first babies within weeks of each other.

A new baby requires loads of time, energy and attention.  As a matter of course, the naming of the new dog was not a top priority.   And so it was that the puppy was forever known as Puppy.

I came along six years later.  By the time I was old enough to appreciate Puppy she was almost gone.  We never got another dog, despite my best efforts.

As a consolation gift (actually, it was a birthday gift), I was given another fluffy, four legged animal.  A guinea pig.  I know I always rush to hyperbole but a guinea pig has to be the Worst Pet Ever.  And, like a couple who inexplicably tries to save their marriage by having a kid (or another kid), I thought having a second guinea pig would make the first one more fun.

I was wrong.  Babies ensued (We had a boy and a girl in the same cage! Galactically stupid!).  And then a premature follow-on pregnancy that killed the mother in childbirth.  And then infanticide by the father.  And then my brother had to feed the surviving son by dropper every few hours because I was away at camp.  And years and years of chirping and pooping and rat feet and...... ugh.

Last week I was at an impromptu birthday gathering for a ten year old girl who was visiting from out of town.  A married couple that has known the father for years came up from the city and brought "their boys"-- two guinea pigs.

I know that my husband and I kind of treated our dog as our first baby (my mom even calls her her granddog) but, really, guinea pigs??!   I could not imagine anyone loving guinea pigs that much.  I had to ask lots of questions.  And the answers left me gobsmacked.

Their boys don't live in a cage.  They have two living areas in the apartment and are allowed to run free.  They poop in one spot only.  They come when called.  Ooooookay.....

My daughter loved holding and playing with those guinea pigs.  I told her don't even think about it.  I'll get her a puppy first. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Siri-ously Lacking

Those iPhone Siri adds with John Malkovich are pretty creepy, right?  I mean, it is one thing when my kids try to engage Siri in actual dialogue, but a grown up sitting alone in a semi-dark room conversing with computer code?   What exactly are they selling?

Not that it wouldn't be nice to have a computer friend.  It would love and support you unconditionally like a dog but could also keep your calendar, scour the internet for the answers to trivia questions, and compose emails.  But Siri is not that gal.

Yesterday I had scheduled-- partially out of convenience and partially out of necessity-- a mammogram, my annual gyno exam, and the extraction of two wisdom teeth.  A hideous day.  Did Siri care?

What's my schedule for today?

You have 5 appointements for today [list].


I do not understand what you mean by "hug."

No, Siri.  No, you really don't.

But she is reminding me to take my meds.  So there's that.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Method in the Madness

I do believe that we are all in need of a little light relief from the fifth circle of HELL that is soccer tryout season. So ... remember two years ago, dear faithful readers, when my daughter made a coffee-tin Daniel Boone for a school biography project?

Here I am again with another 3rd grade masterpiece, this time from my son. Presenting (drum roll, please) Mr. William Shakespeare!

Let Rome in Tiber melt!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is There a Doctor in the House?

In sixth grade I spent countless hours on the phone with my best friend.  I called her so many times that, to this day, I still remember her telephone number.  I also remember her cold-as-ice father answering the phone sometimes....

 "Hi Mr. Bestfriend!" I would chirp politely, "This is [Snark], may I please speak with Bestie?"

"Dr. Bestfriend," he would correct me.  He was an opthalmalogist.

Even at 11, I knew he was a ridiculous pompous ass and was kind of embarrassed for him that he was so proud of his title that he couldn't let the occasional "Mister" go.

We are currently negotiating the sale of our house.  The potential buyers just sent us, through their broker, an infuriating letter presenting and justifying their final, painfully low offer.

My husband keeps reminding me not to take it personally and I'm doing my best.  But I refuse to overlook the extreme lameness of their signing their letter "Doctors X and Y Smith."

Are you kidding me?  Assuming we proceed with this deal and it goes smoothly (fingers crossed!), it will take every ounce of self-restraint I have to make it through the closing without referencing and ripping them for that. 

All the best,

Weaselsnark, Esquire

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Be Careful What You Wish For

Last post, when I was sort of complaining about having a quiet week and writer's block ... what an idiot. After posting, I went upstairs to take a shower and heard weird buzzing sounds coming from my daughter's room. I poked my heard around her door looking for the source and found 179 bees frantically making themselves at home. I know the exact number because I counted them the next day when I vaccuumed their dead corpses (are their any other kind of corpses?) off her curtains and rug. I don't know why I counted. I was just curious I guess.

But, wait, there's more! Rewind. I saw the bees, shut her door, went to take a shower, then gathered my things to make a quick drive into town to pick up bee traps and a nest-destroying chemical flame-thrower. Just as I was closing the door, I heard the phone ring. It was the school nurse to say that my son had suffered a minor concussion at school. Apparently, while standing and attempting to retain a pencil moustache on his upper lip, he leaned backwards and sat down, missing his chair, and hitting his head on the chair then the floor.

Fortunately, he was fine. In fact, when I picked him up from the nurse's station he's was flirting outrageously with a fourth grade girl. Still, a concussion is a concussion, meaning no physical activities for a week AFTER the last headache. He missed all the soccer try-outs and I had to add faxing them the dr's report to my to-do list. He missed the state-mandated hearing tests because of the the almost constant ringing in his ears.

Do bad things happen in threes? I really hope not. Maybe I can count the general state of my hair as my third giant disaster.

I will NEVER again complain about life's quiter moments.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cut it Out

On our street there are ten kids in elementary school and each morning-- at the bus stop-- they attempt to jam two hours' worth of activities and mini-dramas into ten minutes.

I am often the only parent at the bus stop in the morning (don't get me started).  So, usually, my role is equal parts referee, town crier ("CAR!"), and volume modulator.

Yesterday morning, the kids were playing some hybrid of tag and sheer physical intimidation that had my daughter using me and our dog as cover/base.  I was talking to another parent but took a moment to point out the leash to my daughter and how she couldn't run through it.  Can you see where this is going?

Sure enough, her brother came running at her and she took off-- tripping over that same leash and hurtling herself face first (or so I feared) onto our bumpy road.

After helping her up and ascertaining that the worst of her injuries was a scraped up knee, I lit into her for not listening to me.  Didn't I just say not to run through there?  That the leash would trip you?

Nice, huh?  And I couldn't let it go.  It was like there were two of me:  the chastiser, finding 50 different ways to say "I told you so" to a crying seven year old; and the loving, soothing mom shooting the chastiser the death glare.

When I went into the school at 9:30 for a meeting, I stopped in at the nurse's office to make sure my daughter had gone in to have her cut cleaned up.  I'm fairly friendly with the nurse so, while I was there, I confessed to her my shame over my reaction at the bus stop.

To my surprise she commended me for how nice I was before yelling.  With her kids, she said, she always jumps immediately to "What were you thinking?!!!" without even stopping to brush off the dirt.

She said the yelling is the release after the fear for their safety and that it actually shows how much we really care.  It comes from love.

That's her story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing

I've had writer's block for several weeks now. Nothing very extraordinary has happened is why. So seeking stimuli, I decided to get my soccer mom butt to the gym this morning but the only thing of note there was a man who grunted loudly wth every sit-up he eked out (and he eked out quite a few, I can tell you). I could hear it even through my headphones - I won't tell you what I was listening to ... oh, all right, it was James Taylor ... hey, I was winding down, ok?! It was Monica-Seles-at-Wimbledon awkward and everyone was staring at him.

So, nothing to really write about there. My soccer drama continues of course. My older daughter is trying out for a couple of different teams for next year, one of which will mean a huge family commitment in terms of traveling across state lines to games and tourneys. That's the team she most wants to join, natch. My son has tryouts for our town team this weekend and may get bumped down to team B, which will probably mean he won't want to play anymore. And Minx is on the fence about a private club vs. AYSO but do we really need a private club at age 6, and for someone who, granted LOVES soccer, but still cartwheels on the pitch during games?

I haven't even scratched the surface. There is baseball, t-ball and basketball to contend with as well as piano recitals, end of year teacher's gifts, the drama of state testing and making a coffee-can Will Shakespeare (remember Daniel Boon?).

Other than being spread too thinly and driving too much, though, I have to say that life is pretty good. Summer is most definitely in the air, laundry loads are getting lighter, I can pick flowers from my own garden and BBQ to my heart's delight. Aaaaaaaaah.

Now, if I could just figure out how to rid myself of a wasp infestation ...

Take THAT, writer's block!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Soccer Coach, Stoned

Sorry to bore you with another soccer story but such is my life right now. So, for my oldest daughter's team we carpool with 2 other families. Without going into too many details, the girls' coach is mercurial and often cruel. She trains them at the intensity of a professional team, including having them carry each other on their backs for sprints and jumping side-to-side over a cowering fellow teammate wearing cleats (yes, ouch). Every time I drive (and presumably with other parents, too), our three little girls concoct ways to kill their coach without getting caught. Sometimes, after a particularly vicious drubbing, they don't even care about serving time and just want immediate results. While cast as a big joke, their ideas are quite elaborate and absolutely cold-blooded.

What made me laugh/cringe this week was that three OTHER girls from the team arrived in THEIR carpool with their soccer shorts full of pebbles to throw at the coach if she was too mean to them! I pictured a scene from biblical times (or modern day Afghanistan?) peppered with a dash of Monty Python. She's a witch!! Stone her!!!!!

Time to shop around for a new team??? I think so.

Spell Check in Aisle Three!

Who ticked off the nuts?

Exhibiting great self-restraint (for me), I managed not to pose that question-- or any of the 15 variations on that theme bouncing around in my head-- to the checkout lady.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Real No Know

One of my most cringe-worthy memories is from high school (natch).  I decided, mid-assembly, that the candidates running for senior class president were too clique-specific and lame and that I would be a far more universally liked and desirable choice.  Unfortunately, I didn't consider that by volunteering to run for office I would be forced to stand up and present a platform.  Right then.  On stage.

Yeah, I had nothing.  It was a rambling speech that stressed only my ability to straddle the line(s) between all the different generically Breakfast Club-like factions of our grade.  Think Sally Field's "You Like Me!" only less earnest and more deer-in-headlights.  Not quite enough to win an election.  My grade was wiser, evidently, than the "who would you rather have a beer with?" population of America: they chose the smartest kid with the best ideas (even though he was a founding member of the Existentialist Club.  I am not making that up.  Yes, it was private school.).  Imagine that!

My political career may have been short-lived but it was honest: I did get along with most of my senior class (minus one obligatory blood-feud-of-forgotten-seventh-grade-origin frenemy). There was, however, one girl who drove me insane.  She was a super-eager, sugary sweet hanger-on who was desperate to be popular.  She laughed too much.  She talked too much.  She inserted herself (inanely) into conversations.  And, while I tried to tolerate her, one day she pushed me over the edge.

We were all just hanging out during a free period or after lunch or something and she was blabbering on about some nonsense when she said (to me):  "Omigod, I was so crazy this morning that I ran out of the house with two different color socks on.  I felt like you!  Isn't that such a you thing to do?!"

Record scratch.  What???  I was no Rachel Zoe back then (still not).  But I had never, would never leave the house with two different color socks on.  By accident or on purpose.  I wasn't wacky or zany or absent-minded or anything like that.

Coming from anyone else I probably would have just let it roll off of me but, man, I tore that poor girl apart.......

Flash-forward to yesterday morning.  Standing at the bus stop, I realized that I had forgotten to write a "bus note" for my son to go home with a friend after school.  I quickly borrowed a pen from one boy and found a scrap of paper in my son's bag to scribble on.

A fourth grade neighbor girl said (to me): "You always forget to write your notes for school."

Simultaneous record scratch and flashback.  What???  This was, I think, the absolute first time I had ever forgotten to write a note.  And for sure it was the first time I had ever written one at the bus stop.

I reined in my inner, indignant 17 year old and calmly told the little girl that, in fact, she was mistaken.

And that she must have me confused with her mother.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Girls Will Be Boys

Overheard in my car on the way down to U11 soccer practice:

Girl 1: I like your shorts!

Girl 2: Thanks! I got them from the Boys' department. In fact, I get all my clothes from the Boys' department.

Girl 1: Me too! My mom says I should at least set foot in the Girls' section at Target so I literally put one foot in the Girls' section than head straight over to Boys'.

My daughter: I hate girl clothes.

Girl 2: I don't have ANY girl clothes.

Girl 1: Me neither ... Oh yes I do!!! My soccer uniform!!!!!

All: (hysterical laughter)

Me: (note to self: marketing opportunity in boy-fit girls' clothes)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Yum(my) Mum(my)

Easily the best effort-to-outcome ratio to date.  Happy spring!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Scent of a Woman

As I've mentioned before, I have a very sensitive sniffer.

I'm guessing that's why I'm not much of a perfume wearer; and why my idea of hell is a Yankee Candle store.

And yet, I find myself in love with a fragrance. To the point where I even bought a hippie dippy diffuser thingy with bamboo reeds in the hope that my house will be.... infused.

A few days ago I would have mocked the diffuser. Today, I am sizing up various vessels in my home, assessing whether they could serve as auxiliary bamboo reed holders. I simply can't get enough of this smell!
It's called Mandarin Coriander. It's somewhat reminiscent of Calyx (the Prescriptives perfume) but fresher and less aggressive-- and without the negative association of my nutso college roommate who practically bathed in that stuff.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Golly Gee

Growing up, there were a handful of albums that were always stacked on the record player (I know. So old. Shut up.): Cat Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel, Godspell, Pippin, Sesame Street Fever and Come on and Zoom.

Remember Zoom?  I was never really into the show (it skewed older. I was--and still am-- a Sesame Street kid) but, man, I loved that album.  The cover opened up like a book and had the lyrics to the songs printed inside.  I spent hours listening to the music while studying the words and pictures (as I recall, the illustrations were amateurish and somewhat disturbing).

One of my favorite songs was a riddle called Fannee Doolee.  Fannee Doolee hates to read, but she loves a good book.  She hates to bake, but thinks it's fun to cook.  And on and on.  What's Fannee's deal? Why is everything about her a contradiction?  It's revealed in the reprise: Fannee only loves things with double letters.

I found myself thinking about Fannee Doolee the other day when forced to recognize the pervasiveness of a major contradiction within myself:  I won't back down from any argument but I shy away from confrontation.  Or, in Fannee's terms, I hate to pick a fight but I do love to battle.  

This is not a revelation.  What was surprising was the ridiculous way in which my little quirk manifested itself this past week.  The last time I was at our town's library (my favorite place in town), they told me I had two overdue books.


I take out at least twenty books for me and the kids each week, which-- as someone who hates to lose things-- I've always recognized as a potential disaster.  In order to keep tabs on the books in the house, the kids and I long ago established a system.  Okay, "system" is overstating it-- it's really just a reusable grocery bag (the library bag).  If a book is not being read, it is in the bag.

I checked to see if maybe they reshelved the books without checking them in.  Nope.  Hmmm.  A shadow of doubt crept in.  I scoured the house and car but no books.  Where could they be?  It didn't make any sense.

Unwilling to admit defeat or face the circulation desk, I renewed the lost books online.  And then.... I stayed away from the library.

So lame!  Is a lost book even a conflict?  What, exactly, was I avoiding?  Finally, today, I went back to the library, checkbook in hand.  But first I swung by the children's room one last time to check the shelf.  And there were my missing books. Hah!

I hate to gloat but I do so love being correct. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

And Now for Something Completely Different ...

Minx has been taking piano lessons since September. She absolutely loves to make music and while her first request was to play the drums, she seems very satisfied with our compromise. The first hint of trouble came a few weeks ago, when it was established that although she had taught herself 'Yankee Doodle', playing first the left hand than the right, and counting and naming the notes, this wasn't in fact her homework. She hadn't played any of the songs she had actually been assigned.

The teacher asked me if Minx was enjoying her lessons to which I replied, "Of course! She leaves each Tuesday proclaiming it to be the best lesson ever!" Well, in that case, the teacher felt that there might be a control issue, ie. who is leading the lesson (aside: she gets that trait from her father). She was concerned that reigning Minx in might put her off music altogether.

Apparently, it wasn't a question of Minx not listening, rather she was choosing her own way to respond. For example, instead of saying the names of the notes on the page as asked, she would play it on the piano. On at least one occasion she had miaowed the note, which on the one hand is borderline rude and on the other is highly amusing and either way hard to punish since it was in perfect pitch. Sometimes she left the piano altogether to play with the egg timer.

So I had a little conversation with Minx about being respectful. I explained that while it was fine to go off reservation on the piano at home, during the lesson she must do exactly as the teacher asks and will learn music much faster that way. It seems to have worked so far but I can see that there will have to be weekly reminders and I live in a state of nervous tension over the upcoming recital in June.

I guess I should just relax and celebrate the entertainment value of having a child who can miaow the E Major scale. It's better than burping the national anthem, right? Oh lord, I hope she never cottons on to that idea.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

There's the Rub

After months of dealing with the fallout of Hurricane Irene vs. the water table; the aftermath of the freak October snowstorm vs. our trees; and the repercussions of living nowhere near the town sewer line, we are finally, finally, ready to put our house (back) on the market.

Well... maybe "ready" is not the right word. I don't know that we'll ever feel completely ready.  There is always some project to be undertaken or improvement or touch up to be made.  But at some point you just have to stop and be satisfied that you've done the best you can.  Because, really, is that tiny nail hole in the molding going to turn off an otherwise interested buyer?  Is it?!  Should I patch and paint it?!  Sigh.

Back in the days of yore, when I was a young associate forced to sit through agonizingly dull drafting sessions at the printer, there would come a time (usually in the early pre-dawn hours) when the senior partners would say "pencils down,"* meaning: no more back and forth over nonsense, no more changes, the deal is done. 

So I guess the time has come for us to put our pencils down. 

Except... on a whim today I picked up a Magic Eraser.  I know I am super-late to this party but WOW!  It really is magic.  Scuffs on the walls?  Gone.  Mark on the ceiling from an ill-chosen fly swatter?  Gone.  Errant marker lines on the door frame near the craft table? Yup, gone.  Amazing. 

Don't think I wasn't tempted to rub that thing on my under-eye circles.

*   Ack! Pencils! I' m dating myself.  It's like when I say Walkman instead of iPod.  Back then we would also fax people things.  And for a while there we even worked in MS-DOS.  "Boy, the way Glenn Miller played....."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Excuse me but aren't you ...

I was standing in line at Starbucks when I noticed that the woman behind me looked an awful lot like Catherine Zeta Jones. Her outfit was black and chic but nothing too obviously Hollywood and she was ostensibly alone. Her jewelry, including her wedding band, was very simple. For a brief moment I considered telling this complete stranger that she looked just like CZJ (who wouldn't want to hear that?) and then I heard her order. That lilting Welsh singsong voice was a dead giveaway.

I looked around in complete amazement then tilted my head towards her and whispered, "Are you Catherine Zeta Jones?". To which she whispered back, "Yes." Now what? My brain absolutely froze. I searched for something to say that didn't sound completely dorky or stalker-ish, rejecting 'How is your husband feeling' and "How old are your children now?", along with 'I'm a huge fan.' In the end I went full-scale Chris Farley and muttered "That's awesome."

That's awesome???!!! Holy crap. I NEVER say awesome! It's such a teenage American cliche that I don't even use it when I am genuinely in awe! She was gracious, smiled kindly and then joined an older woman, who could possibly have been her mom, for a little shopping. Why didn't I ask her what she was doing here in our hometown? Why did I even draw attention to myself in my gym clothed, frizzy haired, didn't check my teeth after eating salad for lunch condition?

Is there a cool way to meet someone famous I wonder? Whatever. My brother will be SO jealous!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Girl, Interrupted

My 11-year-old daughter is a complete tomboy-jock. She plays every sport known to man and then invents more. On more than one occasion recently she has been mistaken for a boy, but since that has also happened to her best friend, she thinks it's funny; a badge on honour if you will. She has also (too early) reached the age when it's cool to be bored so the whole grunge, he-she wardrobe fits right into the 1990s Seattle persona.

However, on Wednesday I had to take her to an orthopedic specialist because her shoulder hurts when she runs and she had to be pulled out of two soccer games last weekend in some state of distress. Apparently her ligaments are very long in her AC joint (acromioclavicular not Air Conditioning) which means that her bones aren't held apart when she runs and they crunch into each other. Ew.

The upshot is that she has been told not to run for at least a month. Can you say "full-on meltdown"? And that's just me! Last year she was out for bruised growth-plate issues in her heels (also related to loose ligaments) and now this. The doctor says she'll grow out of it but that could be several years away so what do you do in the meantime?

I wish parenting was more linear. This to-ing and fro-ing business on each and every decision is for the birds.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Must Be My Liberal Arts Background

Yesterday I took my daughter to a birthday party for one of her classmates. It was a rock climbing party so I hung out for a while to watch. My only mistake was not tuning out the conversation going on next to me.
Mom #1: We took the kids to see The Lion King in the city yesterday.
Mom #2: Did they love it? 
Mom #1: Omigod no! It's so scary! The dad lion falls off this cliff and dies and then his son thinks it's all his fault!! I couldn't believe it.
Mom #2: (shocked) Oh, that's awful!
 Me: (in my head) Seriously, have you not seen the movie? Did you think the Broadway show could somehow gloss over a major plot point that drives the whole story?
Mom #2: Well, we saw The Lorax
Mom #1: How was that?
Mom #2: The kids liked it. But I just can't stand these movies that try to jam a message down your throat. I mean, I know that the liberals in Hollywood get to decide what we see but, really...
 I could take no more. I interjected myself into the conversation.
Me: Did you know that Dr. Seuss wrote The Lorax in the '70's? Pretty prescient, really. More of a "paved paradise and put up a parking lot" thing than a straight global warming message.
Me: You must have hated Wall-E.
 Hey Weaselsnark, why aren't you popular with the Chicago Police Department?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

And She Told Two Friends....

The other night we ate at a very trendy South Beach restaurant.  A restaurant where boldface names are frequently spotted by the tabloids.  Unfortunately, we were there for a work function and were shuttled to the restaurant, along with 25 or so of my husband's colleagues and their spouses, in a massive tour bus.

Like a mortified teenager, I contemplated asking the driver to drop us off a block away from the restaurant.  Unfortunately, by the time that idea occurred to me we had already stopped in front.

Dignity dented, I had no qualms about securing a good spot inside-- "good spot" being wholly defined by who I would have to talk to all night.  It's my best-developed survival skill.  I surrounded myself with people I like, no whammies.

Before the waiter could even take our drink orders, one of my friends leaned in and asked if I was reading "that book."  What book?  "The mommy porn," she said.

She explained that she had been on vacation a few weeks earlier with a couple of other families and that the other women, close friends of hers, had been so engrossed in their Kindles that they would barely speak to her at the pool.  When she called them on their rudeness they blamed it on the book, Fifty Shades of Grey.

Intrigued, my friend had downloaded it and then found herself up all night reading.  She was asking me about it because there had been a story about the book-- about the secret cult-like phenomenon of the book-- on the Today show.  I had never heard of it.

I can't stand feeling like I'm out of the pop culture loop. Back at the hotel I went straight to ibooks, pausing for only a brief moment to contemplate what impact downloading something categorized as "erotica" might have on Big Brother's cookie profile of me.

Fifty Shades evidently started as Twilight fanfiction.  It is a thinly-veiled retelling of that book's ordinary girl tames the unattainable god-like man story, with an emotionally unavailable/sexually deviant billionaire taking the place of the vampire. Unlike Twighlight, this book does not have an abstinence agenda.  Quite the opposite.

But there's got to be a ton of downloadable erotica out there (I refuse to search ibooks to confirm that!)  Why is this book getting all the attention?  The media coverage seems to suggest it's the nature of the relationship, which dabbles in S&M. 

That could be it.  I don't know.  My old roommate used to ask me to edit her Smallville fanfiction for her.  She wrote slash stories about Clark Kent and Lex Luthor, so let's just say that it takes a lot to shock me.  It's all pretty repetitive and I wind up feeling embarrassed for the writer and myself.  And yet...

I emailed my friend this morning to tell her that I think I must be a masochist: I'm now reading part two of this wretchedly written trilogy because I have to know what happens in the actual story.  It's truly painful.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Only I Can Criticize Me!

I absolutely HATE making mistakes. As a child, if I were told off, I would recede into what my family called my "black mood" for hours at a time, unable to forgive myself or the messenger for calling attention to (gasp!) my faults. I have somewhat mellowed over the years but by a disappointingly small degree.

Last week I drove into the city (with all three children, during rush hour) to pick up my mother-in-law from the train station. Approaching a major intersection I found myself having to sneak between two city buses, the one on my right stationary and the one on my left moving. Realizing it was too narrow for me to comfortably squeeze through I stopped. Well! Cars behind me started sitting on their horns and the traffic cop at the intersection was blowing his whistle furiously and stamping his foot so STUPIDLY I drove through.

The next thing I knew there was a loud bang and my wing mirror flipped up (insert colourful language). So I pulled around the corner to inspect the damage and saw that happily the mirror was unscathed! I snapped it back into place and drove off to collect my mother-in-law.

The next day my husband came in from his run and asked me what the heck I had done to my car. What?!!! The entire right side was slightly scraped. At the time of the accident, in my relief over the state of the wing mirror,it didn't occur to me to check for other damage or file an accident report. Still, the damage wasn't so bad, just superficial. "It'll probably buff right out!" I assured my husband.

Long story short, the damage will cost almost $5000 to repair. Yes, that's three 0s. My husband sends me an email with the quote from Geico and quips, "Guess it WON'T just buff right out."

We've been married for 17 years. He REALLY should know better.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

One a Day

That's how many stink bugs I find in my house. Granted, one a day is way, way preferable to 50 all at once; but it is a little freaky to me that each day brings exactly one bug face off.

It's gotten to the point that I count on it. Like waiting for the other shoe to fall. If the kids have gone off to bed B.S.B (before stink bug), I know that one of them-- a child, not a bug-- will be downstairs before I can fast-forward through most of The Voice to tell me that they have spotted my foe in their room.

I think I've established that I don't like bugs. I'm not one of those chill, crunchy types who can take note of a bug in the house and then do nothing about it. And yet, paradoxically, I feel bad about killing them. Killing them myself, that is. I'd have the exterminator here weekly if I weren't worried about the cumulative effects of the chemicals on my kids and my dog. (There's a parallel to be drawn between that mental disconnect and how troops get sent into battle....)

Just stay out of my house, I beseech all of bugdom telepathically. I never even consider killing bugs that are outside. That's shared territory. It's when they come in and threaten to creepy crawl (or fly!) their way into our hair or our ears.... Well, that's when I feel compelled to act.

And then feel bad about it. The daily battle waged between my neuroses and irrational fears on the one side and my empathy for living creatures and fear of bad karma on the other is taking it's toll on me.

I don't know who said it first but, seriously, if the outdoors is so great, why do the bugs keep trying to come inside?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Don't be THAT guy

A friend of mine told me that the best advice she ever gave her kids was 'Don't be THAT guy'. Don't be the boy who combines Mentos and Diet coke in the parking lot of Rite Aid. Don't be the girl arrested behind middle school, charging $5 a pop for sexual favors. Don't be the dad at the soccer game wearing the too-tight tracksuit with his name embroidered on the chest, who yells so much at their own kid that even the opposing team's parents and coach are cheering the kid on.

My husband and I went to a wedding on Saturday night and had not one but two THAT guys at our table! Or, I should say, THAT girl. One of them, in her late 20s actually introduced herself as "Eleanor, but my gay friends call me Ellie" (So ... 'Eleanor' then). She then butchered my name and had the nerve to ask if my accent was Irish. Even before the main course was served she was three sheets to the wind, telling everyone her life story before barfing, passing out and finding her second wind in time to heckle the best man's speech. When we left at midnight, she was still drinking.

The second woman, who was probably in her late 50s, initially rolled her eyes at the obnoxious behaviour of our table companion but quickly became her dance partner. As more alcohol was consumed she became obsessed with men's ties, particularly those of the groomsmen, dancing over and grabbing said neck wear, then writhing erotically with it. Thankfully, she passed out reasonably early on and had to be escorted back to her hotel.

I'm not a volume drinker so it always amazes me that people of any age can let themselves get so plastered that they literally can't control bodily functions. It's sad, really. So I've got to agree that the advice stands. I think I'll pass it on to my kids.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Oscars: Going to the Dogs

The Oscars were so boring that, without a doubt, the highlight of the evening was Esparanza Spalding's:

a) ginormous afro,
b) missing tooth,
c) moving rendition of "What a Wonderful World,"
d) all of the above.

Wrong! That was a trick question. There was no highlight. It was a show so devoid of entertainment value that I actually felt a little depressed afterwards for having wasted three hours of my life watching it.

I traded emails with a friend during the broadcast just to get through it.

Me: Do you hear like a bell clanging noise?
Her: For real?
Me: Yes. Like weird feedback that sounds like clanging or a bad cell phone ring.
Her: No, Coach, I don't hear that.
Me: You don't? Listen carefully. It's almost constant.
Her: You're insane. Bradley Cooper looks terrible with that mustache. Sad.
Me: I'm not! Search "feedback noise at the Oscars."
Her: I swear we don't have it. That's crazy!

[much back and forth re: JLo's nipple, Billy Crystal looking like an old woman, Barbra Streisand's dead-on Jennifer Aniston impression, etc.]

Her: The noise go away?
Me: No. But I just read something about it online that says they think only 25% of people can hear it. So I'm special. Or "special."
Her: Special like a dog?
Me: Yup. Or an alien abductee.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Here Come the Judge

You may want to sit down because what I'm about to say may shock you: I can be pretty judgmental.

Was that an audible gasp? I did warn you.

I tend to have an opinion about everything and everyone. And though some reactions are educated and well-reasoned, others are baseless and completely wrong. That total attention-seeking bitchy mom that I rolled my eyes about all through kindergarten is now one of my most reliable, generous car-pool buddies. The crazy, pseudo-crunchy neighborhood couple we bended over backwards to avoid having dinner with.... Well, I was right about them.

Having children has really forced me to recognize how wrong I can be about things and how I shouldn't judge others until I've walked a mile in their shoes, or thrown a stone at their house, or insert your own aphorism here. When my son was a baby I would page through the One Step Ahead catalog and roll my eyes at the crazy childproofing gadgets in there. A lock for your toilet seat? A tent-like enclosure for your crib? Who were the suckers buying these things? And then I had my daughter, who started throwing herself out of the crib at nine months and who I once found standing in the toilet (to the everlasting delight of my son, who still tells that story).

I didn't get the toilet seat lock but I certainly became more sympathetic to the plight of those with curious toddlers. Never say never, right?

And, yet, even though my eyes have been opened (repeatedly) to the fact that not all kids are the same, I still think that keeping your kid on a leash is wrong. And I still say that I will never, EVER, let my kids play their devices at the table, whether in a restaurant or otherwise.

Last night we were out to dinner with our children and at the tables on either side of us were kids fiddling with their handhelds while the parents sat silent. Not texting (which I am not naive enough to think won't become an issue at some point), these kids were playing games. And wearing headphones.

Judgment rendered: that's just lame.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Daily Grind

The guys working on my house dug a four foot deep hole in my basement last week. The dirt that filled that hole? It's lying on a tarp next to the hole. Which means that for more than a week the playroom has been off limits. No Xbox. No Wii. No treadmill. I don't know who is having worse withdrawal symptoms, me or my son.

Oh, and over the course of the past two weeks each of my kids has been hit with both a stomach bug and a fever virus. Tag team style.

So, yeah, I'm grinding my teeth at night.

The thing is, I have a mouth guard that I wear when I sleep so it's okay. Last night, as I lay back down after administering some pre-dawn tylenol to my fireball of a daughter, I was thinking about how awesome my mouth guard is.

What other bad habit do you get to continue to engage in without suffering the repercussions? There's no such thing as a tar-absorbing lung shield, no nail tips that provide biting satisfaction while preserving your cuticles, no "do over!" at the craps table, no removable saddle bags to collect the extra piece (or two) of cake.

The humble mouth guard stands alone. It allows my stress to manifest itself in grinding but without hurting my teeth. And I actually sleep better too. If only they could figure out a way to make it a little more attractive....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

100 Ways to get sent to Gitmo

Today was the 100th Day of school for my kids. The elementary schools in our town make a big deal of the event by drawing pictures of themselves at 100 and writing about what they would do if they had $100 or 100 wishes, etc. My son had to do a project listing 100 things.

I had already been through this with my elder daughter two years ago who chose to list "Hello in 100 languages". We found a website called "Hello in 100 languages" and - Bob's your uncle - a bit of glue and a map of the world later, we were finished. My son, who suddenly seems a very long way from his Quaker preschool roots, chose "100 Modern Conventional Weapons".

Unfortunately, this was not a quick project. Making the initial mistake of looking up "modern warfare" we were redirected to video game websites with all manner of weird postings. Between the Internet searches and the local library checkouts the NSA probably has me red-flagged right now. It doesn't help that I am a murder-mystery aficionado and foreign national to boot.

And now I've just mentioned the NSA and weapons in the same blog post. And now I've just done it again! As long as I don't mention the president I should be fine ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yea or Neigh?

My daughter begged me to let her take horseback riding lessons. I wasn't thrilled with the idea (or the cost) but I signed her up because I assumed that precedent would be predictive-- that within a month or two she would change her mind and start dragging her heels when it came time to go, as she had done before with hip hop, swimmming and the piano.

(Cue John Belushi:) But noooo!

Of course, THIS activity is the one she has decided to stick with. Even through the winter. She says she wants to become a professional horseback rider, build her own horse farm and teach other people how to ride. She even asked for horse cupcakes for her birthday celebration at school.

So, I tried. Now I'm thinking these "horses" may be just the thing to turn her off the real deal forever.

Is there such a thing as passsive-aggressive baking?

Monday, February 13, 2012


Weaselsnob's Minx approached me at my daughter's birthday party yesterday:

"Ask me how old I am."

Okay, how old are you?

"I'm 40-something. That's what people say when they don't want you to know how old they really are."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Super Bowl

We're deep in the third quarter here in the Weaselsnark household.

And, by that, I mean that three out of four members of the family have now been struck by the stomach bug.

It started on Sunday night after the Giants victory (woo-hoo!). My husband woke up in the middle of the night and was violently ill. Food poisoning, he surmised, based on prior experience. My mind raced to what food we'd eaten that day. I couldn't think of anything that he had eaten that we hadn't all shared in our Big Game Smorgasbord. Uh-oh.

For the next few hours I vacillated between lying in bed in a state of wide-eyed panic waiting to dash to the bathroom myself and running upstairs to check on the kids to make sure they weren't "going number three" (my neighbor's euphamism for vomiting).

But the night passed without (further) incident.

Cut to Tuesday night. My daughter came downstairs at about 10:30pm covered in foulness. It was even in her hair. So gross. After getting her cleaned up, changed and settled in my bed I went up to her room.

Evolution has favored a special kind of parent adrenaline that kicks in to help in times of severe body fluid events. I know this to be so because there is no way I could have tackled what I found waiting for me in my daughter's bed if it weren't. Suffice to say, one pillow and several stuffed animals made the ultimate sacrifice. Ironically, the one thing left completely unscathed was the bowl I had given her ("just in case") to throw up in.

Whether my husband's food poisoning was merely a coincidence or whether, in fact, he was patient zero, I figured it was only a matter of time before my son succumbed to the stomach bug. So last night I took extreme preventative measures: I removed the comforter, books, extraneous pillows and his one beloved stuffed animal from the bed. And, ever hopeful, I left him with a big bowl and instructions to try to aim for it should the need arise.

And he did! That superstar came down at 11:30pm last night with clean hair, clean pajamas, and a bowl full of puke. My heart swelled. I was so pleased about not having to strip the bed and stay up doing loads of wash that I almost forgot to comfort my poor sick son. Although, in my defense, because he had avoided getting any throw up on himself he wasn't particularly freaked out or upset. He just washed out his mouth and went right back up to bed.

With a clean (super) bowl.

And then there was one.... tick, tick, tick....

Riches to Rags

Stemming from an incident with my father, on which I will not elaborate, my mother established a rule in our house that once clothing had been consigned to the "polish tin" (ie. was only useful for polishing shoes) it could not be retrieved. Along those lines, I feel that my husband's fleece, which I have just spent the last 20 minutes debobbling with an electric shaver, has lived a good life and must be replaced. But my husband thinks otherwise.

Once, he actually asked me to darn his socks! His $5/3 pairs Target socks no less. If it's a small hole - or minor pilling - sure, I'll have a go but where do you draw the line on repairing clothing? What is the effort:result ratio I should be pursuing?

This winter I have inexplicably gone through the toes of every pair of dark socks I own. My feet haven't busted through like the Incredible Hulk, but it is weird that they all went at the same time. They are so bad that I didn't even consider darning them, even if I knew how. Anyway, nobody wants a sock bump. I'll have to go and buy a slew more and throw the others out, wasteful or not.

Maybe I'll be green and keep them for sock puppets (NOT).

Monday, February 6, 2012


My son got a gift card to a sports store for his birthday and had been itching to spend it. It worried me a little that he didn't actually NEED anything but I took him to the store and as soon as we walked in we saw the sign for 50% off football jerseys. The next day (Friday before the Superbowl) was team spirit day at school and there at the front of the rack was a blue Manning jersey!!!! And it was size XL so he could wear it for years. We snapped it up along with some flannel Giants pj bottoms. Score!

On Friday I dropped him off at school. He started looking around anxiously at all the other kids and said to me, "Mom - why does everyone else's Manning jersey say #10 and mine says #18?"

"Maybe he changed numbers?" I replied, hopefully.

Poor kid. Now Peyton Manning is arguably the better player (I'm told) but he is out for at least a year and will probably no longer play for the Colts. It REALLY should have occurred to me to question why an Eli Manning jersey would be on sale three days before the Giants were in the Superbowl. Over the weekend another mom confessed to making the same mistake, although hers was returnable. It's just so embarrassing.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Can You Heal Me Now?

I'm the anti-Ziggy-- I can't function well with any kind of black cloud hanging over my head. A parking ticket at a (reported) broken meter? I have to drive straight to the police station to deal with it. An unacceptable Explanation of Benefits from the insurance company? I must immediately call the doctor's billing department to ensure that the proper codes are being resent.

If I can't fix (or at least try to fix) a problem it weighs on me, the noise of it filling my head like I've held my ear to a conch shell (*cough* Mental! *cough*). One Saturday last fall I received a jury summons to appear on a date that was unworkable and nearly ground my teeth to bits waiting for the court to open on Monday so I could talk to somebody about changing it...

... which explains why I simply had to call Verizon last night as soon as I realized that my blackberry was no longer able to send emails-- even though it was 5:30pm, the most consistently chaotic time of day in our house. Last night was no different. Worse even.

There was no quick fix for my phone, unfortunately, so while the Verizon Guy (VG) and I ran through diagnostic tests, I started to make dinner. Test email #1: Fail

One of my son's friends was an unexpected addition to our table and I was psyched that the meal I had planned was not only quick and easy to make but also picky-kid-friendly: BBQ chicken, garlic bread and salad. While VG walked me through the initial steps, I took out two baking sheets, lined them with foil, threw the marinated chicken under the broiler and spread garlic butter on the french bread. Smooth.

While I removed the battery and waited for the phone to reboot, I flipped the chicken and prepared the salad. Multitasking Master. Test email #2: Fail.

VG needed me to log in to the email settings function on my blackberry. I asked him to hold on a second while I gave the kids the five minute warning. Chicken out. Bread in.

What's my password? I took a stab at it and failed so VG had to reset the password as I typed it. That was tricky. Oh crap! The bread!

Keeping my cool with VG, I grabbed the charred bread and put it out on the porch so it wouldn't set off the smoke alarm. Two hungry boys materialized in the kitchen. Time to wash hands, I pantomimed, gesturing that my son should tell his sister to do the same. Test email #3: Fail.

VG decided that we should delete and reset the whole email account. I started to boil water for mac & cheese (to replace the bread), plated the chicken and salad, and poured three glasses of water. The kids took their seats and started to eat. Then my son's friend realized that my dog, who he is scared of, had escaped my room. I tried to entice the dog out from under the table. No dice. VG was amused. I finally managed to get her outside. Where I had put the burnt baguette. Whoops! I quickly went back outside and grabbed the (now cold) bread before her old nose could sniff it out.

While my blackberry started to synchronize, I threw in the mac and cheese. The dog barked to be let in. Holding the landline and the blackberry I went out on the porch, scooped up the dog and carried her back to my room. Still synchronizing....

The mac and cheese was ready just as VG wanted me to try another test. I needed a colander first. As I was about to pour out the pot I realized that I shouldn't use my usual colander because my son's friend is allergic to strawberries and there could be some risk of cross-contamination. Whew. That was a close one.

I doled out the pasta, dropping some on the still-hot burner where it sizzled menacingly, as VG and I waited for Test email#4: SUCCESS!

No more black cloud. And the kids all cleaned their plates. Sweet.

Clear Skies, Full Bellies, Can't Lose.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Public (Dis)Service Announcement

I remember the day, all those years ago, when the Center for Science in the Public Interest's Nutrition Action Healthletter ruined movie theater popcorn for everyone by revealing just how mind-blowingly bad for us it is. A day's worth of calories! Enough saturated fat for a family of four!

Total bummer.

For at least a year after the popcorn bombshell, I used to sneak air-popped popcorn in a plastic grocery bag into the movie theater (a concept that seems borderline insane to me now). Eventually I dropped popcorn altogether and switched over to Twizzlers, which I would eat like a chainsmoker until they were gone. Which was usually by the end of the previews.

Now that the majority of movies I see are animated and/or Rated G, the only thing I can count on enjoying at the theater is whatever I'm eating while watching the movie. So I'm back to movie popcorn. Size small. With peanut m&ms mixed in.

Thing is, I'd prefer not to know how bad I'm being. I like to think you suffer the consequences of bad eating only if you knowingly engage in the bad behavior. So, exactly the opposite of the old axiom "Ignorance of the law is no excuse." The barrista pours my latte with 2% when I clearly asked for skim? The bad fat calories in that decadently creamy drink are on him, not me. Because I ordered skim. See how that works?

I unfortunately stumbled upon some new intel today. Bad, bad information that I wish I could unlearn: the Eat This, Not That people have determined that the fat in a large cup of Cosi's Tomato Basil soup is the equivalent of a Burger King Triple Whopper. Or a whole medium-sized pepperoni pizza from Domino's.

Sigh. No wonder I love that stuff. If you see me sneaking grocery bags full of Healthy Request soup into Cosi please call the men in white coats.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chalk It Up To Old Age

As further proof that Weaselsnark and I are morphing into one person, I too had a physical right after New Year's. I went to my doctor with a list of concerns straight out of a Shel Silverstein poem, determined to uncover the mystery ailment that is preventing me from having the girlish figure I enjoyed at 16.

Alas, she found that everything was within the normal range. Not even an under active thyroid to blame. In fact, she consoled me by saying that not being Kate Moss, I was at low risk for osteoporosis which would have had more weight (ha ha) had I not already got osteoarthritis. What's one more osteo?!

On the way out she took a final look at the little white bumps that have appeared on the skin under my eyes and declared that they weren't milia after all, but calcium deposits, which is the same diagnosis I got from my last mammogram. I am now concerned that I am turning into a piece of chalk. Possibly (I didn't do so well in chemistry) this make no sense whatsoever. Either way, I am calcifying inside and out.

My doctor suggested getting tested for food allergies (I think to get rid of me) so I went and did that. Twelve little drops were applied to my forearm, then the skin underneath was broken. Imagine my excitement when #12 started to form a nice hive and itch like crazy! I have an allergy! This could explain EVERYTHING!!! Sadly, it was the test sample, given to make sure you haven't taken antihistamines in the past 48 hours and thereby, skewed the results.

Alas, it's back to sensible eating and exercise. WAH-wah.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Why I Overtip the School Bus Driver: Reason #437

I'm trying to break my son of a bad habit: he's starting to preface things with "No offense, but..." I first took note of this little verbal crutch while driving him and a couple of his friends to practice the other night.

"At recess I scored the winning touchdown because [the quarterback] saw that I was being covered by [another one of his classmates]. No offense, but he stinks and so I was basically wide open."

and then,

"No offense, but he's a total liar. He was definitely tagged."

On the spectrum of bad habits, this new one is not as disfiguring as nail biting (which he dabbles in) or as disgusting as nose picking (which, thankfully, to my knowledge, he does not) but it is way up there in terms of being-- for lack of a better word-- offensive.

I explained to my son and the other boys that saying "no offense" doesn't get you off the hook for whatever follows. In searching for an example that would illustrate the lesson without singling any one of them out, the best I could come up with was "What if I said to Lady Gaga 'No offense, but I don't think you are very pretty.'?"

Missing my point completely, one of the boys piped up "But she isn't pretty." He then started singing along to the radio, loudly changing the words of the Maroon 5 hit to "Boobs like Jagger." Hilarity ensued.

Third grade boys are so painfully lowbrow. No offense. (Ha! None taken. As if! They revel in it. Little buggers.)

We could be (high strung) sisters!

Beginning to see similarities everywhere! Monica Potter from Parenthood and Elizabeth Hasselbeck??? (Also potentially androids). And don't you think that if they make a Lifetime original movie about John Huntsman, the title role should go to Ralph Macchio? Oh, you know I'm right.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oh, show me the way to go home ...

I'm tired and I want to go to bed. I had a little drink about an hour ago and it went right to my head. Sorry, I was thinking of a good way to segue into my latest "Hello, Cupcake!' fiasco - in which the theme, for unknown reasons, was "Shark Attack" - and the little ditty from 'Jaws' came to mind. It was a true labor of love, involving many, many types of candy and snack foods, the remainder of which is now sitting provocatively in my pantry.

Btw, Twinkies (the shark) are GROSS although my son assures me they taste better with icing. Hmm ...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sunrise, Sunset

Another milestone I wasn't prepared for...

Back in 2002, early on in my first pregnancy, I went on the internet to search for information about what exactly was happening inside my uterus. I think I was just trying to justify why I was absolutely ravenous and craving buttered bagels at six weeks. I signed up with to get weekly updates on "my baby."

I liked receiving those emails. They were informative and served as mile markers for the pregnancy (they always reminded me what week I was in-- I had "mommy brain" before I ever had kids).

After our son was born, the emails kept coming every week (or so. I stopped reading them faithfully). Your baby is three months old. Your toddler is two years old. Your big kid this week... Of course by then I was receiving two emails a week-- one tied to my son's age and one to my daughter's age.

I delete the emails immediately most of the time. Unless it's a list of the top baby names. But I got one yesterday that caught my eye: "Your 8-Year Old: Wow, where did the time go?"

Ever the sentimentalist, I opened it and learned that I'm being cut off!!!

"Can you believe your child is almost 9? It's been an amazing journey, and we're so glad to have shared it with you. And though you've reached the end of our age-by-age newsletters and articles, our door is still open.... We wish you the best as you parent your tween and teen!"

How will I fill the hole in my life? Okay... the hole in my inbox? Buttered bagels?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Weight for It....

Happy New Year!

In one of the more dunderheaded moves of 2011, I booked my physical for January 3, 2012. What better way to ring in the new year than by worrying about all the sugar and alcohol you consumed non-stop for the last two weeks of the old one?!

"We got your bloodwork back, Weaselsnark. I'm afraid there has been a mistake at the lab. The numbers they've sent appear to be a recipe for hard sauce."

My doctor isn't one to beat around the bush either. Even though I'm relatively fit and thin, she always pushes me on how I need to do more work with weights. She basically calls me out on being a skinny fat person.

So, it being the time of the year for resolutions and all that, I came home and Amazon'ed the book she wants me to follow. It hasn't come yet but my doctor promises me that if I actually do the exercises I will see and feel real results in just 28 days. We'll see.....

What I really need is to resolve to stop spending so much money on Amazon.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I am SUCH a nerd. We needed some new place mats and the one which displayed all the US presidents was on sale so ... James Buchanan/Anthony Hopkins, right?!

Suddenly, I'm craving fava beans and a nice Chianti. Tit for tat, Clarice.