Odds & Ends

Burn Notice

Every morning when I reach inside my bathroom medicine cabinet to grab my toothbrush, this dusty little box of burn cream greets me. I don’t remember buying it, so I’m positive it’s my husband’s nice way of saying he thinks I’m a such a colossal klutz in the kitchen that even two giant oven mitts won’t be enough to prevent catastrophe. And I can’t tell you how many times I try to bake cookies only to have one kid precariously strapped to my leg like a tourniquet and the other one dangling her feet over the hot oven in an obvious attempt to dry her toenail polish.

Hey, Kids! Let’s Lie Still for Awhile!

This winter has been particularly mind-numbing for my kids. In an attempt to shake things up, they’ve taken to planking, also known as “The Lying Down Game”.  This is what we’ve come to in this day and age for entertainment; a game where you’re required to do nothing more than be as lazy as possible. Naturally, I thought my kids and I would be great at it.

After we had fun with this new fad, I suggested a couple other games such as:
“The Sit Still At Dinnertime and Eat Some Broccoli” Game, “The Stop Throwing Broccoli at Your Brother’s Head” Game,  “The Sit in the Backseat of the Car and Not Whine Until My Head Splits Open” Game, “The Lay Down and Go To Sleep All Night Long Without Coming Into Our Bedroom to Wake Us Up Every Two Hours to Tell Us There’s a Monster Under Your Bed and He Wants Goldfish Crackers and Chocolate Milk” Game and my personal favorite, “Close Your Eyes, Think Happy Thoughts, and Not Talk for One Minute” Game. My kids didn’t understand the rules to any of these games so I abandoned my ideas and we played Twister instead. And, unlike my sledding experience from last week, I ended up in traction.

The fabulous Spectra of Spectrum Woman is hosting a Snowman Contest. I finally managed to scrape up enough snow to make a few snowmen.

Ahhh! Run, everyone! It's Attack of the Killer Preschooler!

Sadly, my daughter kept stepping on them as soon as I would make them, (sorry, Spectra, my goal was an entire army of snowmen) so I could only get a few in this shot. I think she enjoyed the destruction and devastation a little too much as evidenced by the wild-eyed, crazed-grin look in the picture above. Her much crueler older brother came upon the scene and things got really nasty.

Stating the Obvious

Watching our local news the other night, I’ve noticed how easily they could be using the old “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” motto. For instance: Snow. Every year they run the same stories, interview the same people with the same obvious questions and statements. They film the snowplows getting ready. They film people panicking inside a Home Depot store once all the shovels run out. They film people panicking inside Shop N Save once all the whiskey runs out.

Then the unlucky reporter stands outside in blustery wind and snow, silently cursing the lucky SOB’s who are still inside the cozy studio, to tell us the golden nugget of earth-shattering info that when rain is falling and it’s below 32 degrees, it changes into frozen precipitation.  Next they interview some guy on the street who says, “Yeah, this snow thing is the pits, man! I hate it! Gah!” and then, to perhaps ignite a tantalizing debate, they interview another guy who says, “Snow? Oh, yeah! Love it! Bring it on! I can finally put those expensive mukluks I bought to good use!”

And year after year, people act genuinely surprised that 1) Maine gets snowstorms 2) When it snows, things get pretty damn slippery 3) It sucks to shovel snow 4) Snow tends to melt once summer hits (and then, thank God, we can all complain about the heat).

Stating the Not So Obvious

I was tucking my five year old into bed last night when out of the blue she yelled, “Hey! Did you know that Mrs. O’Connell (her preschool teacher) has a pet porcupine named Mr. Fester?” I said, “Huh. No, I did not now that.” (My suspicions of Mrs. O’Connell are only increasing with this new information.) She continued, “And she also has a pet bee! Yeah! It’s true! Once I was sitting there at my desk and a bumblebee was buzzing around the window. I named him Bob.”

Before she went to sleep, we read three books. After I closed the last one, she yelled, “Hey! Did you know that I can read with my eyes closed?” I said, “Huh, really? No, I didn’t know that.” She nodded her head excitedly and said, “Yeah, I close them and I can still see the words!” If only I could have that superpower. The only ones I’ve perfected over the years are: “Listening to my husband without really hearing him” and “Sleeping with my eyes open.” Both extremely valuable powers to have, I suppose. Helps keep our marriage healthy.

79 thoughts on “Odds & Ends

  1. hahaha once again you’ve given me so many delightful nuggets that I don’t even know where to begin! I’m surprised your kids didn’t plank on the snowmen! (I love those little guys. You’re a patient woman to stand by while they were being destroyed.)

    When it comes to weather cliches, I enjoy, “People forget how to drive in the rain!”

    1. I think at one point my son was rolling around on top of the snowmen, laughing maniacally.

      Yes, why is it every winter we ‘forget’ how to drive in the snow? We never forget how to drive so you’d think driving just a little slower would come back to you, but no.

    1. I have pulled the “let’s be quiet” game out of my bag of tricks many a time, Sue. What’s funny is my kids actually fall for it, if only for a few seconds.

      I do bake cookies. It’s so hard, what with the opening of the package, the breaking apart of the dough into those perfectly shaped circles…but I manage.

  2. Haha– the extremely obvious weather reports were standard when I lived in freezing Calgary, Alberta as well. (What I never understood was why the city’s “snow plowing budget” was blown after the first snow storm… every. single. year! Really?? Get a clue, city councillors! It snows a lot in the Canadian Rockies!)

    Those last two nuggets are priceless. Healthy relationship, indeed! 😉

    1. Yeah, you’d think we’d have a clue about snow in winter but each time we are genuinely shocked when we get snow. What?! It’s 10 degrees and it’s NOT raining! I don’t get it! It’s preposterous!

      Whenever my husband talks to me I am always either asleep or awake but not listening. I think he does the same to me.

  3. Very funny! Have you ever thought of being a stand-up comedienne? Oh, wait. You already do that. Winter seems longer when you have kids, doesn’t it? Maybe you should move to Texas. We on,y had three weeks of winter, and even then it was more like your spring. Great post, as usual!

    1. It is a looooooooong six months, Susan. If we could shorten winter to maybe three, like it says it’s supposed to be on the calendar, I’d be happy. Unfortunately, with global warming, we are well on our way.

    1. They were into it for a few minutes anyway. I tried it (planked across two kitchen chairs) and I couldn’t sustain it for long as my entire body started to cramp up. I guess it’s a game for the very young.

      1. Maine is like that–up and down. We’ll be hot tomorrow then drop back down to freezing the next day. You’re lucky you live in Colorado, I’ve heard it’s a beautiful state…the one part of the country I’ve never been.

    1. Hehe! I have loads of pets. Every time I go outside I have pet ants, pet flies, pet birds…but only for a second or two. It kills me how my daughter’s brain works. She actually believes her teacher had a pet bee. She is just too cute for words.

  4. Hi,
    I had to laugh about your weather reports and how the people responded, the media do like the scare tactic routine. 😀
    Such a shame about your snowmen they really looked cute too. 🙂

  5. “Listening to my husband without really hearing him” — that’s why I blog.

    Your kids are great. In spite of killing snowpeople, they will grow up to be kind people. I did.

  6. How come the snowmen are pink? Your winters are similar to ours, and yes when it snows here everyone seems surprised and interestingly, they interview all of those same people. Like you we’ll be dealing with snow and cold temps at least through end of March, then it hopefully starts to warm up. There’s always that one April snowstorm that really pisses everyone off!

    1. We had a few little spray bottles filled with food coloring and water. So we had blue, pink and green snowmen at one point before my daughter killed them all. I thought the pink added just the right touch of carnage to the photo so it all worked out.

  7. Motherhood captured:
    “After we had fun with this new fad, I suggested a couple other games such as:
    “The Sit Still At Dinnertime and Eat Some Broccoli” Game, “The Stop Throwing Broccoli at Your Brother’s Head” Game, ”The Sit in the Backseat of the Car and Not Whine Until My Head Splits Open” Game, “The Lay Down and Go To Sleep All Night Long Without Coming Into Our Bedroom to Wake Us Up Every Two Hours to Tell Us There’s a Monster Under Your Bed and He Wants Goldfish Crackers and Chocolate Milk” ”

    Sadly, it changes little in the teen years.

      1. Not only do mine still hug me, I was blessed with the rare, “Thank you, Mom, for everything you’ve done for me. You really are my best friend, mentor and confidant, and pretty good mom, too.” the other day. Keep laughing with them, and they’ll keep laughing with you!

        1. Wait a minute here … they’re supposed to laugh WITH you? I thought they were supposed to laugh AT you. One little preposition is going to equal many years of therapy, I fear.

  8. Snoring Dog Studio

    I love your world, girl. Your writing delights me. Love the pink snow army – well, gathering, let’s say. Yes, daughter has a career in marketing or finance in front of her.

  9. John-Paul

    I really have nothing to say except you need to stop writing about my life and my children and making it sound hilarious. We both know how many times I have cried trying to explain the rules to those games, or shouted at the stupid weather man on TV. So take down the secret video cameras in my house, and leave me alone. Please.

    1. But if I do that, my blog will suffer. I’ll have zip to talk about. Please reconsider, JP. I promise, after awhile you won’t even remember the cameras are there…plus, I’ll give you a cut of my blog profits…what’s half of nothing?

  10. OMG, my boyfriend LOVES planking, along with his kids and my daughter. I’m still not over the whole “really, is this fun?” question yet, myself, hee, hee. Darla, thanks for always giving us a good ol’ belly laugh each and every day. I’m not quite sure what the week would be like without your blog posts filling my in-box, allowing me to know that smiles for miles are on the way! Also, I think I’d forget snow existed if it weren’t for your posts! 😉

  11. Your children are planking! Can I possibly love this anymore? The Lying Down Game. You are hilarious. That picture is priceless, my friend. 🙂

    And can I tell you how right you are about the news? I can’t even watch it anymore (yes, we’ve been over this, I used to be a reporter). It’s all recycled — that is the perfect icon. I think the only reason it works to air footage of SNOW, THAT WHITE STUFF FROM THE SKY must be that there is a high turnover in the news business. New reporters and producers and directors coming North from warmer Southern climes, who truly are amazed at the snow. It’s almost a rite of passage, to stand outside in a storm. Maybe if I can dig out my old footage I’ll share a short clip I have where I did just that…

    I like the segmented format of this post — too many funny thoughts to contain within one subheading. Ooh. I used the word subheading. Now I feel like blogging makes me smart.

      1. Just watched it! 🙂 She is beautiful! And she has a great voice and delivery. Very engaging, the way she talks and looks around with her eyes. Thank you so much for sharing it. I went to college at Syracuse, so it brought back a lot of memories. I’m glad to hear it’s hard for her to watch the news as well — you just get so jaded when you work in the business, I guess. So much death and destruction and despair. What does your wife do now? (Darla, hope you don’t mind MJ and me having a private conversation here on your blog!)

      2. Wow, I am very impressed, MJ! She was wonderful.

        I can see why you never watch the news. I see this clip was 25 years ago and, shocker of shockers, the news was really depressing even then! Some things never change. I normally watch the news for the weather forecast, then switch it off. I do read the newspaper (I’m probably the last one on the planet) But I try not to watch too much news…it’s done wonders for my mood and piece of mind. I am trying to focus on the positive news out there (there is some of that if you look real hard)

    1. I keep forgetting you were a reporter, Melissa. So you were the poor soul outside in the snowstorm telling everyone the obvious, huh? I hope they paid you big bucks for that? I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see a clip of you, are you kidding? Please, link it here!

      Hope you and the family are doing well.

      P.S. I love the word subheading. I didn’t know that was what I was doing. Who said blogging is mindless and has no educational value?

  12. It’s so good to hear a woman admit that she doesn’t listen – very refreshing. I appreciate your honesty!

    Sounds like the kids totally have things in control! hehehe

    BTW, D-Woww, I loved the video clip on previous post, and am expecting more in the future. You have WAY more courage than I do. 😉

    1. Y’know, I should clarify the listening thing. I am subconsciously hearing his words, I let them seep into my brain so I can pull them out later and use them against him when he least expects it. mwa ha ha!!! So you can never be certain a woman is listening to you or not, let that be a warning for you.

      Glad you enjoyed the vlog. I think next time I’ll make it much shorter, I just talk way too much (what? You say you’re not surprised?!)

  13. The Lying Down Game seems remarkably similar to my Sitting Down Game. I’m not sure there’s a market for both.

    A bumblebee pet isn’t as exciting as you might think. I once had a pet bumblebee that I kept on a string. He never did anything except fly in circles. I eventually let him go when he proved incapable of learning any tricks.

    1. With your recent back injury, I think you should continue to practice both games constantly. can you turn your neck again? I pulled mine reaching for the remote yesterday.

      My daughter would love to have a bee named Bob on a string. Looks like I don’t have to shop for her birthday after all.

  14. Pingback: Winner of iPad Cover Announced « Lessons From Teachers and Twits

  15. First of all, histerical post 🙂 Your wording puts me in a delightfuly happy mood. ALso, as for the pet bee stuff, my post on “bee petting” is here: http://spectrumwoman.com/2011/11/08/bee-petting/ Plus a video at the end of this coment…
    So glad you finaly entered The Snowman Contest; this sad, slushy, warm winter has not produced much interest. However, once I post the prize…I hope interest will spark 🙂

    1. This winter has been overall snowless for us. And when we do get snow (like last week) the temp shoots back up and melts it before we can even go outside to enjoy it.

      Ooh, can’t wait to see what the prize will be!

      1. I better get it posted this weekend – I don’t foresee any snow here either. Guess this was just a dudd winter 😦 too bad too, because I loves me some snow.

  16. I love your daughter more and more every time you quote her.

    Wait, you’re telling me that Maine gets snow? Get outta town! I always thought your blog header picture was taken in North Dakota? Well, good luck with that.

  17. HI Maineiac– Love the title. Maine (specifically the Belfast area) is my favorite place in the world–where my family and I escape our lives in L.A. as often as possible. I wanted to share a post I wrote about it – http://walkingpapers.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/264/ – if you have any interest.
    Loved seeing the tiny snowmen–we’ve had an unusual lack of weather out here and NO snow in the mountains, which is unusual even by Southern California standards. I can’t wait to get back to Maine!

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. I agree, Maine can be a gorgeous place, especially in the summer and fall. I doubt I’ll ever move from here again–I love the ocean too much. Glad you enjoyed the tiny snowmen. We didn’t receive much snow this winter so the kids were pretty disappointed.

      I’ve never been to California, I hear it’s also a great place to live. I checked out your blog and I am very impressed with the new adventures you and your family have embarked on! What an incredible story. Best wishes to you and thanks for visiting my blog.

  18. Darla from where you got these names! 🙂 I thing “Close Your Eyes, Think Happy Thoughts, and Not Talk for One Minute” Game is going to be my personal favorite also.
    By the way how can you tolerate watching those local news channels. In this part of the world, anyone who watches these channels regularly can guess what the news will be, and how the reporter is going to present it. To be honest, I watch our local news channels to get some fun out of it.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Arindam. I think the “Close Your Eyes, Think Happy Thoughts and Not Talk for One Minute” is a game I’d like to play with most adults some days.

      I try not to watch the news too much anymore. It really is too depressing.

  19. You’re right about recycling the weather-related news reports. Every winter they tell us what to do when it’s really cold outside (“Stay indoors. Wear layers of clothing.”) And then in the summer, when it’s really hot (“Stay indoors. Drink a lot of water. If you have a fan, turn it on.”)

    I love the picture of the little snowmen with their arms in the air. Another great post, Darla.

    1. I suppose everything will be okay in life if we just ‘stayed indoors’, huh? Those little snowmen sure were cute, for about an hour, then they melted. Global warming, schlobal warming! Good to see you again, Charles! By the way, I am writing that book. Finally. Today is The Day. I swear. Just have to cough up that first line. Wish me luck, I’ll need it.

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