Friday, March 30, 2012

Just send my mail Here

Yesterday I attempted to do something all on my own. It did not go well.

The other day Elle put together a set of bunk beds with a host of issues, so when I decided to purchase a bed frame for myself I thought that being the older sister, I would show her how easy it actually is and then I could rub my success in her face for years to come.

That is what we call a Pipe Dream, people. What actually happened was me putting 90 miles on my car, three trips to Ikea and a possible theft on my record. It was a very taxing day.

It started out okay. Last week I bought this bed frame from Ikea. If you've ever been to Ikea, you know that everything comes packaged in flat boxes and you have to find items by aisle and bin number. Soon I will tell you just how idiot proof this is not.

Due to raising a village, I didn't exactly have time to put the frame together, so it sat in the garage for a week until I set aside some time for creating.

Yesterday I was 100% kid-free due to the alignment of the planets and my astrological sign being completely bogus, so I spent the morning roaming through Ikea where I found the perfect duvet cover and curtains. That afternoon, I decided to start the frame project 20 minutes before my 9 and 10 got home from school.

I hauled everything up the stairs and for once, I am sorry that there is no photographic evidence because I kicked some cardboard booty. Seriously, I felt like I was on Survivor. Only completely clothed, bathed, and not incredibly stupid. I didn't even fall down the top stairs a little or trip over the stupid laundry pile that someone didn't put away and now I'm totally going to dock his allowance because HOW HARD IS IT TO PUT AWAY A COUPLE OF SHIRTS AND A PAIR OF SOCKS, KID??

After I opened all of the boxes I stood back to survey the pile of white swirly metal and... four dark wooden boards? That's weird. A few photos for the sake of documentation:

 Directions: Ah, look how happy he is with a buddy! 
WHAT ARE THESE FOR?! Dark wood with a white metal frame?
 I may have trapped Elle in her room...
... because I made a bit of a mess.

Yeah, so. Those dark boards? Turns out I pretty much stole those from Ikea. BUT. It was an accident because when I was standing in front of the bin that day, there was this HUGE sign that said "This product comes in two boxes" with an arrow pointing to the boxes below. It was NOT my fault. No one caught this error because I used the self checkout. 

I had to drive back to Ikea yesterday (for the second time) to return the stolen property and explain my moment of stupidity to the clerk. I just know he talked crap about me after I left. Look at me, I'm talking crap about myself on the internet.

Upon further review of my original receipt (AFTER I GOT HOME), I discovered that in addition to stealing parts to a bed frame, I had also somehow purchased a set of feet for an entirely different kind of bed. Sweet. Was I drunk that day? Geez. How does one buy/steal two items that aren't even remotely connected to their intended purchase? I'll tell you. Those Ikea people tried to trick me. Because on my third trip there yesterday, I checked the bins and all that crap was in the wrong spot. Totally not my fault, yo. I suppose it was okay to return the third time because I decided that I needed a bigger bedspread because the Queen size I have doesn't begin to cover the sides of my bed.

Check this out:

How high is this bed?? I felt like royalty sleeping in this thing last night. I also slept with one hand clamped around the headboard because I was afraid that I was going to fall off. Plus, I'm scared of heights.

Also, please don't judge my bedroom. I know that it looks like a dorm room. It's a work in progress.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


What do you get when you cross two incredibly attractive girls with tool belts and a 900 pound cardboard box?

We don't know either. We had a hard time finding any pretty chicks to help us.

What we did have was Elle and me carrying a ginormous box of wooden boards up a flight of stairs while the cat tried to use us as an obstacle course. I'm starting to think that animal has something against me.

In the interest of safety, Elle and I decided to use our brute force to propel this up the steps. That box was so freaking heavy that there was no way we could lift it quite that high in the air.

 Boy, is Elle going to love this photo!
Also, just getting this beast up the stairs cost us each $1.50 in my 9 year old's swear jar. She's saving for her trip to Ireland when she turns 16. I plan on using those funds to send her to summer camp.

Victory was Elle's.

Eventually we got it into the correct room and twelve hours later, Elle had it no where near put together. Around 11pm I heard pounding coming from upstairs, so I sent Elle a text from the couch.

Me: Do you have Phineas and Ferb up there with you?

Elle: Yes. We're building the most poorly constructed piece of shyte to ever leave Vietnam.

Me: Eight year old kids aren't really all that good with power tools. You could build a rodeo pen and charge admission.

Elle: I'm about to turn it into a fecking bonfire.

Eventually I tuned out the hammering and use of power tools and fell asleep. The next morning Elle had a set of bunk beds and $14 in the swear jar.

We all won.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Here Kitty, Kitty Killer


Um. So. How's things? Good? Okay. Family doin' alright? Sounds good.

Me? Well, I am fairly certain I've lost my mind the last few days. I keep waking up from these really terrible dreams that involve me trying to stab my cat and other people trying to stab me.

I'm not going into major detail here because we all know how annoying it is when others want to share incredible details of their slumber. Personally, I want to off myself.

My first dream started off fine. I think I was hanging out with family. The dream ended with me apparently needing to stab the cat with a pin in order to break his spirit free because he was supposed to save the world. It reeked of Harry Potter, which is weird because I have never caught more than 15 minutes of those movies at a time. Ever have a dream where you are trying to sock the sh*t out of someone and if you manage to make contact, it is with about as much force as a newborn kitten pawing at the air? Yeah. That was how effective my kitty-slaying went. It ended with me waking up with my heart pounding because I thought I had just met my alter personality, Melanie, for the first time and she/me is a murderer. I started re-evaluating my childhood pets and checking my memory for unexplained pet disappearances.

Then, last night I had a dream that some gangstas were chasing me through the high school parking lot trying to stab me. None of the teachers would help me and everyone kept laughing at me because apparently my terror is just freaking hilarious. Eventually the gangstas caught me and started poking the backs of my hands with their pocket knives. I did manage to punch one in the face (mew, paw) before James Roday saved me. Then, we ran off and got married and didn't invite Elle because James Roday and I are in love.

When I woke up, I realized that the stupid cat had been clawing my hands. I'm sure he had been trying to save me from the dream, instead of sending horrific messages to my unconscious mind.

Stupid animal.

Nice to know that I almost made an appointment with a shrink because I thought I was losing my mind and not because my effing cat likes to shred my hands while I sleep.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Thinner" is not always better


I'm totally not one to over-react at the slightest hint of difficulty.

Did you guys see how I was freaking out earlier over the Silhouette Cameo that I bought? No? That is because I had to rewrite the post four times because started out as such a CRAZY PERSON rant that I was too embarrassed to publish it (and now you're confused because you already thought I was nuts. You have no idea).

Let's start by making one thing clear: This is not a how-to blog, it's not a review website, it's not even a properly punctuated. site. If you want a really detailed review of several different electronic cutters, you can go here. This site helped me make my decision.

I spend an outlandish amount of time on DIY blogs and Pinterest looking for awesome things to make. I love those sites because someone else already took the time to grow the idea, plan everything out, make me a shopping list and basically drove me to the craft store where I barely managed to purchase the supplies so that the person could almost hold my hand while "we" made the craft.

I have a fear of creativity, I think. Which is weird, because I have an entire room dedicated to my habit. And I've made a lot of really neat things. I could prove it to you, but then I'd have to kill you. Or drag out my Terabyte and search 5 million photos for my creations. Neither one is going to happen.

WAIT. I just remembered that the photo of the mugs I made for The League are on my laptop (remind me to tell you who the League is. It's a great story, but we just don't have time right now).

Believe it or not, this was ALLLL my idea. I am positive that not another soul on this earth has ever created something even remotely similar to those mugs. And what's more, I drove myself to the craft store and searched those vinyl letters out. Then, I drove to an entirely different store to purchase the mugs. After that, I was taxed so I took a nap.

The letters were a bit pricey and I knew that if I owned a Cameo, I could just cut those letters out myself without ever leaving the house (more time for snoozing!). Also, I could totally get away with Vinyling the entire house while Elle was gone.

Wow. Lots of back story here.

Let me get to the point.

The Cameo came with an instruction DVD and after I watched that and plugged everything in, I was ready to make my first cut.

I had a little trouble getting the letters to show up on the screen, but the Help menu took care of that right away. I played the instructional DVD while making the adjustments (the folks at Silhouette must have known I was going to buy one of these and made the directions pretty idiot-proof). I grabbed a piece of paper, loaded it onto the tray and prepared to watch the world end.

Hm. The paper appears to have adhered pretty well to the tray and now everything is ripping to shreds. I'll just make sure I set it lightly on the tray next time. Uhm.. it's still sticking. What the HELL. Why is this sticking so much? The chick in the video pulled hers right off. I WANT TO KILL THIS MACHINE! AAAAAACK!

You may not have known this, but the Cameo appears to be prejudiced against thin card stock.

I knew the initial few cuts would probably code on the tray and die in a blaze of peeling. But this? REALLY?! I was going to kill someone. I was afraid that I'd dropped a few hund... erm, bucks on a machine that tried to mock me.

I prepared to execute another cut when something struck my eye.

Hm. Why is this thing asking me to Enviar para Silhouette? What does that even mean?

I glanced at the headers and realized it was all in a foreign language. AWESOME. The machine was clearly against me.

Fast forward to me emailing the Silhouette Support Team. They are really quick in their responses.

Me: I really wish I would have paid more attention in high school Spanish. I can't understand anything and I don't know how to set the language to English.

Silhouette Response Team Alpha 1: Not to make light of the concern, but you've provided us a good laugh with your high school Spanish comment. Here's how you fix it. Gracias.

Ah. Humor. I've never before seen that with any Tech Support.

I emailed a thanks in which I may have explained that their timing was impeccable because the Cameo and I were just about to don metal helmets and fight it out on my coffee table.

Their response? They were happy to have saved the Cameo from Mortal Combat.

Awesome. I freaking love those guys. I want to friend them on Facebook and send them every single thing I ever make on the Cameo because I know they will just love it.

After I fawned all over my new friendship, I ended up using thicker card stock and the paper came right off the tray.

See what I made for Elle's bathroom?

I think the hooded-eye look is extremely flattering on me. Don't you agree?

I'm totally not trying to paint the Cameo in a bad light. I'm merely trying to show you that I tend to flip the hell out over small incidents that are usually quickly resolved with minimal effort. And also, that the support team at Silhouette absolutely lives up to their stellar reputation. I think you should all go out, buy a Silhouette Cameo and do something goofy to it so you can talk to the super cool folks at Silhouette.

**I was not paid to review the Cameo and all of the poorly written opinions on this page are entirely my own.

I'm also taking suggestions for things to make for Elle's room.

Not a Review. Not even a Preview.

For the last few months, I have been eyeing the Silhouette Cameo (electronic cutting machine for the crafty-types).

I finally broke down and bought one. And now I'm scared of it.

I checked out the software (included with the Cameo) prior to purchasing the machine and it looked more intense to use than a pair of scissors, yet less intimidating than Rocket Science.

And yet, it has sat in my room, untouched, for over two weeks because I am terrified that I will fire it up and discover that I am too dumb to operate it.

I'm going to take a few days and try to master this punk.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Also. Does anyone have any band-aids? It is a cutting machine and I am somewhat accident-prone.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Expired Experience

Last Saturday I made some bomb-diggity Guinness Cupcakes in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

Photo totally jacked from

Actuallly... I cannot believe that I didn't tell you guys about it. Did I? Hang on.


Oh, yeah. I posted the recipe to Facebook. Not Eloquence. Sorry peeps!

Here's the link. Gina is the creator of the website and she does an ah-mazing job creating low-fat recipes. Seriously. Every single recipe I've tried has turned out to be my new favorite. I'll starve to death if she ever shuts down her site.

Moving on.

I made the Cake Bombs (renamed by moi to sound more like Car Bomb) as a bribe for Mumsie to watch all 5 kids while Gary, Elle and I went out for Patty's Day. I also made them for my dad (because who DOESN'T secretly enjoy getting their hard-core Mormon dad to unknowingly ingest beer?).

I sort of really enjoy baking. And I used to do it all the time before I realized that yummy baked goods equals a thickening waistline.

Elle does not bake. Except for Flat Chocolate Chip cookies (she says it's her recipe, I say it's something she's doing wrong). She only makes them once in a while and when she does, it's schforteen-teen dozen and leaves them all over the house as some sort of really rude eating trap for me.

When Elle moved in with me and we created The Chaos House, she brought her baking ingredients.

Let's take a pause here while I give a bit of background.

Mumsie is older than us (obviously). We won't call her old because she'll stop coming to visit us, but we will say that she doesn't find strict adherence to expiration dates entirely necessary. Coming from the food service industry, Elle and I will toss something the day before it expires because we have taken the food safety courses and we know what can happen to spoiled food.

You die.

Well, not always.

Elle always freaks out when she finds something expired at Mumsie's house.

Elle: MA! You can't eat this yogurt! It expired yesterday!

Mumsie: I've been eating that expired cottage cheese in there for a week. It's fine.

Elle: [death]

When I started gathering the ingredients for the Cake Bombs, I noticed that there were two open containers of baking powder in the cupboard. I checked the expiration dates to see which I should use first.

And, dear readers, do you know what I found?

Here's my container: 

Aaaaand, here's Elle's. 

In. Your. FACE, little sister! BOO-YAH!

Her baking powder expired nearly three years ago!

No wonder her cookies came out all funny (and delicious).

That's all. I made the bombs, they were good, and now I have created a surprise Bake-Attack on my little sister via the internet.

Things are never normal around here.

I also have three leftover Cake Bombs if anyone wants one.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Aftermath

Afternoon, peeps.

And how are we all doing after last night? I'm sure each and every one of you ate your traditional St. Patrick's dinner of corned beef and hash, sipped a single beer and turned in for the night after watching a re-run of Cops.

I did not.

Details aside, I believe that Elle said it best when she posted her Facebook status as this:

All. Partied. Out.

Yep. And I didn't even do anything crazy last night.

I think.

Well, the only one who could be sure of that is... that would be... Huh. Come to think of it, I think I was the only sober one.
The Day After

 Elle. On her phone, like usual.

Gary stole someone's jacket. Don't worry. She deserved it.

Happy Day After, and may you all get the rest you need in order to return to work on Monday.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

This post is dedicated to my brother, Gary.  

I don't know about you folks, but today I plan to embrace my (slight) Irish heritage and enjoy the day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beerffee. Or Coffeer. I'm not sure which.

Let's face it.

Elle and I, when left to our own devices, will generally create some kind of situation. Sometimes involving cops, other times firing people who don't work for us. It is what we do.

Tonight, for like the first time in a looong time, Elle finally had an evening off from work. She holed up in her room playing lame video games while I scrubbed the floors and cleaned the gutters sat on the couch and thought about all of the things I should be doing but wasn't.

Around the time I dragged myself into the kitchen to make dinner, Elle wandered in.

Elle: Food?

Me: [pointing to fridge while flipping through a magazine]

Elle: [opening fridge] Are you kidding me?

Me: [disinterested] Huh.

Elle: If you're going to grocery shop, can you do it with a little less... force?

Me: [standing beside her and reviewing the contents] I just got the stuff on the list. Check it out.

The creamer is mine, the beer is hers. 

Elle and I agreed that we had some crowding (you can't see them all, but there are actually 7 bottles of creamer and about 70 bottles of beer. Check out the crisper). We decided to plug in the garage fridge and move some of the surplus out there.

I was sweeping while Elle was standing around talking about how inefficient some people are when I decided that maybe she should sweep. I got her back pretty good because I'd just murdered a spider with the broom and when she saw its little ugly carcass she ran around the garage screaming like a howler monkey.

Can you even see it? It's totally not big. Don't mind the cat food. That's just there for perspective.

After I died laughing, I told Elle to start moving the fridge while I cleaned up the midget spider body. 

Elle: What is a baby blanket doing in here? 

Me: [shrug] Probably the little girls. Or where the spider lived. Just yank it out so we can move it.

And that's when THIS happened, yo.

HA! I totally knew that thing was in there all along!!

Geez, Elle. You don't have to get all Chuck Norris on the toy.
It's not like the Chuckie doll that comes alive and eats your face. 

Eventually, I stopped making fun of Elle and talking about what a big fat BABY she is, and the fridge was moved.

Lookie! Surplus Fridge.
Am I the only one that noticed Elle has her beers all separated by label and height? 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm Kind of a Handi-Woman Ninja

I'm not one to toot my own horn (mainly because that saying totally gives me the creeps), but yesterday I single-handedly repaired my own sink.

I know. I was just as impressed as you are.

What was less impressive was the sink vomit that greeted me the other morning. Check this out.

This photo is not an accurate portrayal of just how disgusting the water looked and smelled.

Not being one to feel one-upped by the sink totally one to feel one-upped by the sink, I grabbed my tool kit and hunkered down for a look.

I really wanted one in pink because I'm that much of a girl, but they were out of stock.

That thing? Not supposed to be there. 

I did have to phone and get some advice from an actual male about what to do because knowing my luck? I would take that white thingie-mabobber off and end up with sewage spraying me in the face. Never mind how sewage would have arrived in my kitchen sink. My luck is just that bad.

You just be quiet about me needing to use a butter knife to get the proper screwdriver head out of there. That thing was a pretty good replica of Fort Knox, I tell you.

I managed to break it out, properly remove the white thingie-mabob and clear the hole that was leaking.

And OH. MY. GAWD. You should have SEEN the crud that was hanging out of the sink. Luckily for you, I managed to resist the urge to reveal my lunch and grabbed a rag to clean it up before the thought occurred to me that I should photograph it for you guys. Because no one needed to see that.

Here's my handi-work, all nice and tidy. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am completely exhausted. I'm going to go and play on Pinterest for the rest of the day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It was a Flogging worth waiting for

I think I'm getting used to this whole lack-of-sleep thing. I woke this morning to shades of grey (rain) and Mumsie hollering at me from the bottom of the stairs. For a second, I thought I was back in high school. I almost panicked because I didn't remember doing homework the night before and I couldn't figure out why I smelled like Capri-Sun Captain Morgan.

And then it came flooding back.

The party bus. Captain Morgan juice boxes. Lots and lots of music, loud people and Flogging Molly.

Gary and a couple of his friends joined us for the concert in the city last night. They picked Elle and me up in a party bus (which is, apparently, how the United States Air Force does things. I would have expected an airplane, but whatever. Maybe Gary's truck was in the shop).

Blogz, Gary, Blank, Elle, Blank, Blank, Blank and ME!
I'm not really sure what me and my huge arm are looking at. 
Also, doesn't it look like we're all about to head off to Bingo in our Medical Transport Bus?

** I realize that some of my posts lately seem to involve me, Elle and excessive drinking. And by excessive, I mean three times in the last 8 years. I'm not an alcoholic and I don't need a meeting. I just enjoy going out and being around with people who are over the age of ten. Roll with it.

In this state you get your liquor at a liquor store which is closed on Sundays, so after waving good-bye to our children, we sped off to the local grocery store for a few Road Sodas (I'm pretty sure Rawr was online last night nominating Elle and I for Parents of the Year as we drove off in our Party Bus).

I did find these really cool Captain Morgan freezer sipper thingies (much like Elle's margarita mix that I stole). This is a bit of a secret that I like to spill the beans about at incredibly inopportune times so listen up. I kind of dislike beer. A lot. I know. Sister of the Beer Connoisseur prefers her hard liquor. I just can't handle the carbonation. That, and it's totally gross stuff. I much prefer the Cap'n Sips, which apparently I was calling Pirate Bay all night.

I thought we were going to grab a case of beer for the boys and be done with it. Um, I really wish you could have seen the cashier's face when Gary, Mikr and I sauntered up with cases upon cases of beer towering over us. I forgot that these boys are drinkers, so we pretty much cleaned out the cold case at the store.

We'll just skip over the part where we returned to the bus and had a little scare when my brother and sister SEPARATELY shimmied on the stripper pole, the stop at McDonald's for a straw because I don't like alcohol touching my taste buds and we'll just get to the concert.

A few of the guys didn't have tickets, so we ushered them off in the bus as we crowded into the venue.

Ah, it was like cockroaches scattering in a single-wide trailer back in Mississippi. I think I blinked and everyone was gone. I went to the ladies room and looked for Elle. No luck. I kind of hung around the men's room trying to look like I was looking for something in my purse. All that got me was one weird look and two job offers. Ew.

I finally located Elle and Gary near the entrance. We scrounged up a few more from our group and hit the line to go upstairs. Let me share this with you:

It is one thing to ingest alcohol in large quantities and then stand in line for about an hour while trying to make nice with the guys in front of you so that they'll let you cut in line. It is another thing entirely to take Elle and have her walk by and watch the line part like the Red Sea. It's why I bring her along. After the chick with the stamp covered my entire left arm in kiddie stamps (seriously, it was a stamp of two kids holding hands. What is that? Birth control for the conert?) we made it upstairs and settled ourselves right in the walkway near the bar counter. Have you met Gary? He's like 7 feet tall (no joke) and he goes where he wants. Or stands where he wants, for that matter.

The concert was supposed to start around 7:30pm with some band or another opening and then another band playing and then some silence and a whole lot of Dude, where's the freaking group we paid money to hear? I think it was close to 10:30pm when Flogging Molly finally came out and played. It was loud, it was awesome, it reminded me of when Elle and I went there to see Bush (OH! Remind me to tell you about that some time. Liz totally missed out on Gavin Rossdale's sweat. Stupid me).

Elle and I totally bonded with some guy and his girlfriend over some other guy's terrible choice in skinny jeans, ballet flats and huge mohawk. I wish I'd brought a camera to capture that look because it would scare children.

I am fairly certain that I could leave my life and become a concert junkie (NOT the gross kind). I kind of like this whole go-out-in-public-and-have-a-life thing I've got going on.

St. Patrick's Day is coming up this weekend and I kind of wish I was going to be in Ireland this year. It's been four years since our visit and it's just one more year until we go back.

I wonder if they have Cap'n Sips there.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Resolution Time

Today, March 11, 2012 I vow to make a change.

I will stop saying things like "swearsies" and then breaking promises.

I also vow to drink more water. My head is killing me today.

No matter. How much brain power could it possibly take to maintain chaos?

Tonight Elle, Gary and I are going to see Flogging Molly. This is my first time seeing them in concert and I'm pretty excited.

I'm kind of relieved that Shenanigan and Rawr won't be joining us. I think they're both still pretty pissed about Elle and I losing them in the city last night.

And if you'll excuse me and my lame blog post, Rawr needs my Birthday Helper Skillz at her house.

I told you this was going to happen. Lame posting was expected.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I know that I've been a bit... absent. Lately.

And I am sorry about that.

But you guys, I'm from sunny California. This is the PNW. If I don't get my Vitamin D while the sun shines (heh), my brain will start to deteriorate at an abnormal rate and then who knows what kind of monkey-jumbo I'll be posting.

It could be about my cat's eye fungus that after three weeks and $70 in antibiotics later, refuses to go away.

Or I could tell you all about the mysterious dust that keeps showing up all over my hardwood floor immediately after scrubbing it for an hour.

The five cases of cookies that has to be sold in the next 48 hours.

Daffodils. Sunshine. The leak under my sink. Shopping. Why my niece looks like Peg Bundy.

Also, I really haven't been doing anything other than soaking up the sun, so there isn't a lot to tell.

I'll be back tomorrow with some Blog Fodder.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Get Your Vitamins!

Hello, dear readers.

I'm feeling a bit rushed this morning. If you'll look just out my window, you will notice THIS.

I'm not sure if it shows here, but my windows have GOT to get cleaned. Volunteers? Anyone? No? Fine.

Yesterday was sunny as well, so if you'll excuse me, I'm going out to enjoy this.

Vitamin D is essential to proper blogging.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Highway to Success

Yesterday I promised less free-time writing and more focused ranting.

There is a difference.

Maybe not.

I did allude to attending a 5 hour class on Playtime with Kids. I suggested calling the class "52 ways to get those bratty kids outta my face" but the instructor was not, apparently, taking suggestions.

The class was held in another town about 45 minutes away, a town I'd driven through just once before. Since I am completely against technology and do not own a navigation system or a phone equipped with GPS I had to resort to archaic measure. I Googled the directions.

Most of the drive was pretty uneventful. I spent time wishing I'd grabbed my Canon (Biggie C is what I call it) because the mist was amazing and the light was PERFECT. Of course, if I'd pulled off the road, no doubt I'd have been lost in the fog for hours shooting about 500 photos and would have missed the class. I'd spend time describing the scenery, but we're supposed to be on track today. Try to keep up, peeps.

There was one terrible freeway mess where I ended up in an industrial area where I'm pretty sure the Mafia goes to handle their problems. There were a LOT of sanitation trucks in that parking lot where I turned the car around.

I was becoming increasingly agitated once I reached the town because my little freeway folly had cost me ten minutes and, as you may recall, I cannot stand to be late for anything. I don't want to live in Tard Land with Elle. I'd left early enough in case I got lost but I was having trouble locating the address on my sheet. I passed The Plaza, which was a sweet looking mobile home park complete with a guy sitting on a stoop wearing a dingy white tank top and shorts (in the rain!) and a kid running around a dirt yard hitting things with a stick. It was pretty reminiscent of EuroTrip when the kids hit Bratislava during the summer. I didn't dally because I'd left my brass knuckles at home and I wasn't wearing my good velour sweatsuit. In shady neighborhoods, that kind of stuff can get you initiated.

I was pretty excited to discover a gorgeous lake because who needs a camera? I mean, I have hopes and dreams of becoming a photographer. You'd think that the little Canon I keep in my purse would have a fully charged battery. Nope. Not mine! Do you think they make attachable solar panels for cameras?

I finally found the address and pulled into the lot. I like to check out my surroundings when I'm driving around with 10 cases of Girl Scout cookies in the front seat of one of the areas most popular make of stolen cars. I'm certain of one thing: Elle may have tried to set me up. Leaving all those cookies in the front seat was like setting a trap for a bear. I dabble in Risk Taking, so I left everything in plain view.

There wasn't anyone else around, so I spent a bit of time trying each door and looking for an entrance. I forgot that Elle is a nerd and set her car clock ahead by ten minutes so I ended up sitting in the car for a half hour listening to Hinder on the radio and cleaning out my purse.

If anyone has been to the PNW, they'll know that just because it isn't raining doesn't mean the air isn't wet. By the time the class started, my hair was so frizzy I was one red polka dot scrunchie and a pair of stirrup pants away from working at Wal Mart. I fit right in with those other (sweet) providers.

Eventually, class did start and we had a fun time. I made blue play dough and a felt board. I contemplated creating an entirely inappropriate scene of my travels that day, but I opted not to because if I act like an idiot, they won't let me care for other people's kids. Then, I won't have a job and I would have to couch surf from reader to reader. Do you see where this is going?

I left all five kids with Elle (sucka!) on both Saturday and Sunday. By the time I made it home Sunday evening Elle looked liked she'd lived in the woods for a month. Don't ask me how she ended up with pine needles and dirt in her hair. We only have maple trees around here.

I do apologize, it's very distracting trying to blog and watch my cat clean himself all over my couch. I'll let you folks get back to what you're doing and I'm going to go start dinner. Completely unrelated to me chasing my cat off the couch.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Moo Point (like that Friends episode)

Dude, did anyone notice that I've been posting regularly for like, the last 4 days? It's like we're in January again and this is all new and shiny and I'm not pissed off at Google Adsense anymore. Only, it's March and I'm still pissed at Google Adsense.

I've had a very busy February and some day soon, when I feel like posting my personal life all over the internet for people as far away as Ecuador and Latvia to read, we can discuss.

Let's take a moment to welcome all the new people here at Eloquence. The last few days, I've been getting readers from really interesting places, like Australia, Venezuela, Italy, Russia, Malaysia, Brazil, France, Taiwan, Czech Republic and Germany *can you guys help me clear up that thing about the guy who claimed he was from Auschwitz?*

There are like, one of you from each of these places, so feel free to feel as though this is a direct and personal greeting from me to you.

I'm not even really sure why I'm sitting here pointing this out. Is that against Blogger code to say where readers are from? Bad ethics? Hopefully, none of you are logging in from a compromised site and I hope no one gets caught and punished for this. Then again, if any of you are 30, living in your parents basement and abusing your internet privileges, I hope you do get in trouble. It's time to move out, man.

I suppose it's safe to say that this post is going to turn into a rambler. Not really specific and more along the lines of me abusing the power of a Wi-fi connection and your free time.

OH! Guess what. I feel like I single-handedly brought on sunshine today. No, seriously. Yesterday, I posted about our incredible rainy season. Today, after my second class (I'll talk about that tomorrow. It was like I went to daycare myself) I drove the 30 minute's home in rays of sun. And the whole time I was thinking God heard my plea for a weather change. It's like he knew that I would beat someone to death with an umbrella if I had to endure one more cloudy day! He must really love me.

I think it's best if I go now.

I'm not sure if I can salvage this post, so I'm just going to go watch television with Elle and eat ice cream. The kids can put themselves to bed.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Students, gather round

Whoa, I just got in from a very informative class titled "Why You Shouldn't Go Into the Child Care Field."

Well, I might have tossed out a few of those words, completely re-written the title and sat in class thinking of ways I could better use my time.

The actual class was put on by the local child care union (Yes. I belong to a Union. Do not screw with me. We have trains. Or is that Union Pacific? I forget.). There is actually a list of really fun-sounding classes that teach providers different methods that can be used to control children instilled in their businesses. The topic today was getting children back outside.

Let's pause here for a moment. Take a look out my window. What do you see?
 Well, this might not be exactly what it looks like outside now, since I don't actually live in an area where trucks are that color yellow.

This actually is outside my window. This is a nice day. It's not pouring, the temperature is hovering around 45 degrees and the wind is quiet (for now).

We don't go outside a whole lot here because we are California natives. This is what we're used to:

 Okay, fine. I lived 4 hours from the beach in California.

This is more like it, only more real and less cartoon.

You get the jist. I crave sunshine. I love leafy trees, green grass and being outside. What I have now, here in the PNW, is essentially an Irish landscape without the amazing accents. Oh, and my red hair color seems to be coming back. For a while there, we were afraid the sunshine had bleached it out. Sunshine and little tiny restaurant minions that suck the lifeblood out of you, but that is another blog post.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I'm supposed to haul 5 kids outside to play in the freezing wind and rain. Let me just get my boots. Not.

Don't get me wrong. I have no problem bundling the kids up in their puddle boots, rain coats and mittens and sending them out to play. I don't want to go out there.

I was optimistic about the class today, seeing as how these are people who have lived in the Northwest for years (I assume) and I hoped to gather some pretty awesome ideas.

Check out my list of suggestions from these PNW Natives:

  • It's cold.

Cool. Check out my suggestion:


Seriously? I've been spending the winter wishing I was more creative and all the others had to say was "it's cold out there."

The instructor had a  what do you call it... mission? desire for sanity? similar to mine. Kids need to be outside. Forget the television and computer screens. Make them use their imaginations.

I'm going to stop right here, because my anti-technology rant is long, unpleasant and makes Elle want to rip her phone charger out of the wall and whip me with it. All you need to know is that I am not a fan of the constant texting, cell phones constantly ringing (in the middle of class, lady with the Scottie Dog shirt!) and people's faces sucked into any kind of screen ALL THE DANG TIME.

The only real thing I enjoyed was making a list of things I used to do outside as a kid. I'd like share them with you (in case many of you happen to be those parents that let their kids watch tons of television. This way, you can fix that and you won't need to be subjected to my lecture).

  • Making tunnels through the tall grass and having hiding places where Elle couldn't find me
  • Picnics in the woods on a huge rock over by my grandma's house
  • Playing in the three-story tree house my dad built. An owl and a hornet nest lived in the top floor, so no one ever went up there unless my older brother dares us to.
  • Picking blackberries for hours with my siblings and friends. Coming back with purple-stains on our fingers and no berries in the bucket
  • Playing in the sprinkler with wild abandon
  • Spraying Elle in the face with the hose with wild abandon
  • Having a car wash for our bikes 
  • Playing in the Swamps of Sadness (from the Never Ending Story) down the dirt road and in the woods by our house
  • Stealing a baby chick from the neighbor's farm, leaving $3 in unrolled pennies on their doorstep and trying to convince my mom that one of our hens' eggs had hatched in the night. Having my mom call my bluff and having to return it (Brother, you know you were the mastermind in that. I don't care what crap you told Mumsie).
  • My dad taking all 6 of us kids to countless streams, rivers and lakes to get us out of our mom's hair for just a blooming minute. Camping with our cousins and having nerd fashion shows.
I could go on forever. Do you have a favorite childhood memory? Tell me about it.

I promise not to make fun of you (unless you're related to me. We all own rights to every ridiculous thing any of us has ever done).

Friday, March 2, 2012

This is why they can't have nice things!

Greetings. It is by pure happenstance that this message is coming to you via this blog, instead of tonight's 6 o'clock news.

What have I done now, you ask? Well, in a nutshell, over the course of two hours I managed to alienate four high-ranking PTA members (which now I'm REALLY going to be nominated president. Crap!), break two copy machines and piss off the school secretary. I'm pretty sure my son's teacher is regretting her decision to accept my offer for help.

It all started with an email. A friendly note from the teacher with a few updates for the class, a couple of reminders for upcoming events. I like to respond to every email I get (which none of you would know since no one EVER emails me. Slackers). Usually, if no response is necessary, I'll just shoot back with, "Thanks, have a great day!" or maybe "I am sorry. Like I said, it won't happen again. You don't really need to email the entire team."  And so on.

When it comes to teachers, I always like to offer my assistance. Earlier this year I got to help out with my son's Science Olympiad. It was pretty cool watching the kids design things like rockets and water barges and then use them for different experiments (the objects, not the kids).

When the latest email came, I responded with the typical, "Thanks, and be sure to let me know if I can ever help out with anything!"

To which the teacher replied, "I have a mountain of copying to do for the colonial unit if you'd like to dedicate a few hours."

Erm... hours? What are we doing, photocopying an entire library? Sure, whatever. I'm game. Bring it, yo.

Well... I didn't actually write that. I just agreed to come in on Friday.

This morning I ushered the kids off to school, drained my coffee, grabbed my hand sanitizer (because kids are filthy animals) and traipsed off to school for Mission: Papercut. Normally I walk to the school because we live so close, but they chain all the gates together after school starts so I had to drive the long way around. It took me like, 2 minutes longer and I was afraid of being late. One thing to know about me: I detest tardiness. One thing to know about Elle: She lives in Tardiland. (Heh. If you change the spelling, it almost sounds like Elle lives in Tard Land).

I made it with seconds to spare. After signing in and grabbing my visitor badge, I inadvertently went out through the wrong door and had to be let back in--

Hang on. I feel like I'm describing the school like it's on some kind of lock-down 24/7. We are totally not from the 'hood. Our school system is just cautious. And just because you need a microchip badge to get through the doors or your own ladder to climb the fence doesn't mean our kids are in danger. It means that they're safe.

Anyway, let's just cut to me and the teacher standing in front of the Copier 5000. I'm holding about 65 folders in two colors and trying to pay attention while the teacher explains how to operate this beast.

Teacher: Just select F5, press this button here, select ZYR, go back to this screen and select F7, then press 1, then START. Piece of cake, yeah?

Me: [staring dumbly] Uh... how do I select the number of copies?

Teacher: Oh! Silly me. Go back to the first screen and select F9 instead of the second button, go to this screen [as she skims through the screens like a mad woman] and do this, this, here and there.

Me: [eyes glazed over] Ah...

Teacher: Okay, thankyouBYE! [flees room]

I stood there staring at the monstrous machine, willing it to click on and work on its own accord. I reached out, shielding my eyes with one hand, and poked the menu button.


Crap, what was THAT? I frantically started punching buttons, hoping one of them would cancel whatever it was I'd just done.

BEEPBEEPBEEP... beerrrrppp...


Maybe I'll just use this other machine over here. Okay. Where do you put the paper? Oh. Here.

And the machine promptly shredded the form.

Alright. Cool. That was my only copy. Um, I wonder what this does?

Apparently "F1" means take all of the paper from the paper tray and shoot it out the side of the copier. I'd just begun to feel a bit nervous when PTA Lady #1 entered the room.

Whoopsie! Looks like we've got ourselves a bit of a problem here! Let me help you, dear.

#1 reached over, pressed a button and the paper-shooting came to an abrupt stop. I thanked her and smiled with relief. I wondered if this could be like High School where I would smile pretty at her and hope to praise her into doing the work for me. Then I remembered that this was actually a primary school and that back in high school, I was the nerd doing other people's work in hopes that I wouldn't get spaghetti thrown at my back in the cafeteria.

I politely asked #1 to explain the copier to me.

#1: Well, now someone should have shown you! Which teacher just shoved you in here without an explanation? I'll tell the secretary. That won't happen again, I assure you.

Me: Oh, well, it's just that I kind of--

PTA Lady #2 enters the room carrying a metric crap-ton of blue sparklers and favors with It's a BOY! printed all over them.

#2: Oh, GOOD! Two girls to help me. Here. [shovels an armload at me] Take these to room 234. And when you come back, run out to my car and get the rest, would you? [disappears through a door marked PRIVATE.]

*What kind of school has a door marked PRIVATE? What what is in there? I need to know. Is it a room full of donuts? Confiscated toys, like marbles, rubberband shooters and contraband? I'll give five bucks to the person who breaks in and gets me a sample.

I looked at #1 and stammered something about needing to finish the copies before helping with an apparent baby shower. #1 glared at me.

#1: She's been trying for years. It wouldn't hurt you to help out just this once.

Me: I don't even know her!

#1 left the room in a huff. I saw her in the hallway talking with #2 and two other ladies. They all looked my way, shot me some pretty horrific looks and stomped off.

Omigawd, Omigawd, they hate me. I don't even know them. They obviously remember me from the PTA meetings--- GASP.

Suddenly, it was all too clear. Remember back when I attended my first PTA meeting? #2 was the lady I'd asked directions to the meeting. This whole time, she'd been lurking in the back of the meetings, thinking I was a moron. Well. I'm not a moron and I would prove it to her.

I would finish this copying and help with the baby shower crap. And I'd do a better job than all those other PTA harpies.

I opened all of the cabinets to the copier until I found the directions. I followed each and got the machine running. It was actually pretty simple once it got running.

I poked my head around the corner and saw the gaggle of PTA women clustered together at the far end of the hall. Closest to me, there was a table laden with baby shower paraphernalia. The school secretary was arranging bouquets of blue flowers. I sidled up to her and asked if I could help, keeping an eye on the broads.

The secretary eyed me, noticed my visitor badge and relaxed. She handed me a folder and asked me to put it in the teacher's lounge. I offered to take the blue place mats with me as well, and off I went.

I swung back by the copy room to check on my nemesis. The machine seemed to be jammed. I set the folder down and went to work on the mess. About five minutes and some very ink-stained fingers later, I'd got the entire thing un-jammed and ready to go. I looked around for the folder.

That's funny. It was right there a second ago. It's not like--

Oh, no. Um, was it me, or was the copier suddenly sounding a little bit like it was in shred mode?

I yanked up the lip to the machine and watched in horror as the blue folder shot through the compartment, got completely tangled up in the paper feed and shot out in a disgusting mess of ink and rips.

Nnnnnhhhhhh, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? Wait. Was there even anything in the folder?

I checked.

Oh, good. It's only ultrasound photos of this couple's first child. I'm sure they won't have me shot out in the street for that.

Of course, that was when not just the secretary but the entire horde of PTA ladies decided to enter the room. I stood there helplessly while they just stared at me.

I won't get into specifics, but let's just say that my copy day was over and I'm pretty sure the teacher will hear about it.

On the plus side, I accidentally stole the visitor badge when I ran out a side door so if I ever need to infiltrate that school, I totally can.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Bird Less Traveled

Yesterday our worlds ended when we met Dre, the thirty-something guy who detests chicken. I suppose it would have been kind of me to encourage y'all not to storm his house with pitchforks and burning torches, except that someone needs to get through to him! I'm baffled. How do you not like chicken?

Elle and I pondered this quite heavily for a few days. Recently, we came up with a plan. We'd just get Dre a pet chicken and through caring for the bird, he would grow to love poultry. That, or dealing with rooster poop would cause Dre to loathe the foul (fowl?) friend and Dre would eat his feathered foe out of spite, causing him to enjoy this delectable meat.

There aren't many farms in our area, and with the threat of foxes out in the country, Elle and I opted to visit our local feed store, The Horse Trough, posing as farmers who needed a fresh crop of chickens.

We wanted to look the part, so we borrowed some of Mumsie's flannel shirts, stuck our hair in braids and slapped on some flip flops (um, we don't keep mud boots here in the city, so we opted for air conditioned footwear because it's hot in the country, right?).

Upon entering The Trough we were greeted with the stench of hay, animal fur and licorice.

Me: Look, Elle. Black licorice. How sweet is THAT?

Elle: I think that's just rope.

Me: [biting it] Yeah. It is. Ew.

We headed over to the counter where a man in green bib-overalls was standing, watching us.

Farmer: Can I help you?

Elle: Yes. One big chicken, please.

Farmer: [eyeing us suspiciously]

Me: It's for dinner. Do you carry any corn on the cob or grits? [whispering to Elle] Do we need any hay for Bessie today?

At this point, Farmer is looking pretty skeptical. I decide to dial it up a notch.

Me: Bessie's got consumption. We're not sure she'll make it through the night.

Elle: [kicks me] She means that we'll just take one chicken. Dr. Dolittle will be by later to check on Sally. Er, Bessie. Ahem.

Farmer: [crossing arms] Dolittle? [jerking his thumb at me while I try to blend in with a stack of hammers] And that one is licking rope.What's going on here?

Me: [muttering] I thought it was candy.

Seeing that we've been caught, Elle lays it all out on the table. She tells Farmer about Dre, his aversion to poultry and our quest to right this terrible wrong. All the while, Farmer keeps his face a perfect blank slate, which is hard to do because Elle was going into some intense detail. Right about the time Elle was explaining that the poor economy was directly linked to Dre's hostility toward barnyard fowl, I interrupted. I told Farmer that Elle and I were interested in mailing chickens to California and could he help us or not. Farmer refused, so we asked if we could crate the bird on a train, like in the olden days. Elle pointed out that there aren't any steam locomotives left in these parts, and I countered that the chicken wouldn't know the difference. Farmer informed us that chickens weren't in season anyway, so I asked if he had any contact with the East Bunny and whether the rabbit would offer us a discount if we picked it up ourselves. It was around that time that we were not-so-politely asked to leave.

Elle and I tried all three feed stores in the Tri-County area and each time came away empty handed. Well, except the last one. We got a free sample of hoof wax just for coming in.

Elle Googled "chickens in the PNW" and got a few hits. We took a trolley over the bridge and downtown to the Wednesday night market in order to meet with a medicine woman but it turns out she just sells chicken blood for potions. I know what you're thinking. Outside market? In the winter? Absolutely.This is the Pacific Northwest. If we waited until summer, we'd have a 2 week window before the rain started again.

While we were down there, we met up with some homeless dudes. Elle and I took them down to the pub and played some shuffledboard with them, treated them to a few beers and hoped to score some inside info on a local chicken smuggling ring. Only, Elle and I didn't know how to play shuffleboard. Elle tried to look up the rules on her phone, but her battery was dead so we used soccer rules and hoped no one would notice. They didn't. They were also plastered, so that may have been part of it.

Realizing that the Chicken Quest was a failure, we finally left for the trolley station. Elle suggested one last stop at a mini mart just down the block from the trolley stop. Guess what was sitting at the register?

Billy the Rooster. Elle tried to bargain with the cashier, but it seems that Billy was a family heirloom and that he was not for sale.

A moment.

Who in their right mind does theses two things: A) Chooses a rooster as a family heirloom and B) keeps their heirloom on the counter of a convenience store?

I mean, Billy should have been adopted as a member of the family and then proudly displayed on his own shelf. He needed a coop and maybe a harem of chicken b*tches to keep him company.

Billy had none of this.

I motioned to Elle that we should just nab Billy and run. Elle motioned back to eff-off because she doesn't need a police record. I motioned that I used to jog regularly over a year ago and I was pretty sure I could outrun the eighty-five year old shop keeper. Elle motioned that did I remember that I jogged about as fast as this guy hobbled with his cane. I motioned back that if Elle couldn't motion anything nice, she may as well not motion at all.

Elle got all mad and motioned to me with one finger that we should go. I misunderstood and returned the motion. Elle motioned to me to stop motioning because the shop keeper was motioning for us to get out.

We loco-motioned out of the store and walked back to the trolley station.

Elle: That was a bust.

Me: Yeah. You need to work on your gesturing.

Speaking of Chickens, has anybody seen this? The Bloggess is one of my favorite sites. Check her out! Only, promise to come back because it gets lonely over here all alone.