Monthly Archives: July 2009

Shopping Tips

Have you ever wondered if you might save time by shopping really early in the morning–thereby missing out on the crowded checkout lanes, etc?

Short answer: No. At least, not in Moses Lake. 
First of all, Safeway doesn't open until five. FIVE. I know. The gall of some corporations.
Walmart, on the other hand, is open, and the aisles are crowded with helpful salespeople eager to know if you've found everything you need. (I know this stretches the limits of credibility, but it's true–they only come out at night.)The problem is, none of those helpful people seem to have been trained to work at the checkout. If you can grab a couple of other early-bird shoppers and agree amongst yourselves to make your line look extra long, an especially alert aisle-wanderer might notice and call for an official checker. Otherwise, you might as well lay down on your cart of s'more ingredients and take an early nap. 

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My six-year-old has been waking at the break of dawn every day for a week. Running upstairs, then creeping back down. Hmmm. 
This morning I was out on the lookout when he raced into the kitchen. He took inventory of the various camping supplies I've started to assemble and then started back down the stairs before catching sight of me. 
"Whatchya up to?" I asked him. 
"Well," he said. "Every morning I check to see if the food is still there–and then I know you didn't go to the cabin without me."
"We wouldn't go to the cabin without you!"
"I know, but I might be really hard to wake up, and then you might not notice."
Vote of confidence from the peanut gallery. Maybe he's noticed the size of the baggage under my eyes lately–if he only knew I've developed allergies to the very air I breathe (apparently) and is worried about my mental health. Maybe? Who am I kidding? He thinks I'm a lost cause. 

We are (read: Mom is)  trying to pack for a two-week camping trip, for eight people. Food for ten-ish. (Two of them are over 65, will only be there 5 days, and may or may not eat much, but one doesn't want to discount them entirely in the menu, correct?)

Whatever gave me the idea this would qualify as a vacation?
We don't have enough clothing to live in civilization for a week without doing laundry–therefore I'll be doing laundry in the river no matter how much I pack, so . . .  I'm thinking we'll really keep the baggage to a minimum and just take a clean change of clothing for the trip home.  They can wash themselves and their clothes in the river every morning, at the same time–right?
Set that one to agitating for now, on to food. Do you have any idea how much food it takes to feed eight people for two weeks? How much ice to keep it cool? Because I'm not willing to live on packaged/preserved food for two weeks.
Best of all, departure is scheduled for thirty minutes after the last children leave tomorrow. You know what I'll be doing tonight.
On a brighter note–the forecast where we're headed is at least twenty degrees cooler than here every day we'll be gone. Ahhhh. We've been sweating through triple digits the last few days and it's going to get hotter. 
And with any luck, whatever allergen is in the air here right now here won't be there.

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Boogers, Lost and Found

There was a box of Boogers on my counter this morning. 

I have no idea where they came from, but the label promises that all 3.5 tangy ounces were "Picked Out Especially For You!" and  that they "Look and Feel Real!"
I haven't been brave enough to look inside, yet, to verify such a thing. I started to, but just touching the box induced my gag reflex, and so I moved them across the room. 
So far nobody has claimed ownership.

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Got Stress?

I read an article that claimed men can suffer for up to an hour after a rush of cortisol (the stress hormone) while women can suffer for several days. But for some reason, the researcher made no comment on this statistic; applied it to none of her conclusions about male/female relationships. 

So here's the deal–you aren't imagining things! When you have an argument or experience a stressful event, your husband really does roll over and go to sleep leaving you to hyperventilate all night, all by yourself. They are hardwired to do this. 
I pointed this research out to my husband. That he can go to sleep any hour of any day he wants, because he has this incredible ability to overcome the cortisol "hangover" as it were, so quickly. He disagreed; "No," he said, "I think it's because I don't have arguments. I keep my mouth shut."
So true. He doesn't argue. With anyone. In his contracting days, when customers didn't pay him, he walked away. I'd stay awake all night composing threatening letters in my head. He doesn't attend social functions and never answers the telephone. When intruders breach the threshold of his castle, he retreats into the farthest recesses. It's a peaceful existence. And as for those of us he can't avoid altogether–well, he's right. He keeps his mouth shut. 
Which brings us to the next topic of the article–a man's tendency to clam up when we want to talk. That's hardwired, also. Talking about problems makes them worse for him. (Granted, if we believed we could solve any problem in less than an hour by just avoiding it altogether, maybe we would too!)
Here's my question–if the hormonal/chemical effects of a stressful event last days in women, when are we ever not suffering from elevated levels of cortisol? Really–do you ever go days at a time without a stressful event? 
How do we survive
Although, when I went to the dentist a few weeks ago my blood pressure was 70/42. The hygienist joked that no wonder I could do daycare, with blood pressure that low–who knows, if cortisol raises blood pressure, maybe I need more than my misanthropic counterpart, just to stay conscious. Maybe a stress-free life would kill me.
So here's to the tattletales, the whiners, the climbers, the dumpers, all the checkers at Safeway and the employees of the US government–bring it on! A girl's got to survive.

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On my way home from returning a DVD rental this weekend, I realized that not only had I not stopped at the video store to return the rental, it was still at home by the door. I did, however, pick up those ten gallons of milk and had filled up my gas tank. Since I was out returning the DVD, anyway. . .

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Sleep (or The Interruption Thereof)

Two nights running now, I've woken at two a.m. Wide awake, and itchy. Everywhere. Inside and out. The roof of my mouth, my eyeballs, inside my throat. I have to disrobe in order to scratch the most maddening spots on my thighs. Random episodes of violent sneezing. 

I'm beginning to look a little owl-eyed, but I'm getting a lot done with all this extra time on my hands.  Finished a novel. Sorted the silverware into spoon/knife/fork bins. For about six months now, we've just dumped the silverware basket from the dishwasher directly into the drawer. Why sort when it's all going to be used at the next meal? (Seventy-five pieces of silverware. Twenty-three different patterns. Where are all my spoons?) Threw away at least a third of the things in my kitchen cabinets. 
I don't do well with antihistimines, so no, I haven't taken any.
On another note:
Specifically the bright yellow note I affixed to the door leading from the main house into the day care, about thirty minutes into nap time today, (after exactly seven episodes of door opening/shutting/waking small people) that reads: STAY OUT. 
Who do they think I wrote the note for? Clearly everyone who reads it feels that they are the exception. 
The ten-month old has just woken, and is sitting in the middle of the floor, singing. The kid's got volume, if nothing else. Good thing she's so darn cute. And she is. I think this is my favorite age–just beginning to crawl, irresistibly clever and funny. Pure humor–they have no jealousy, no self-consciousness, no inhibitions. Pure joie de vivre. And lots of drool.

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"Mom, can we watch a movie tonight?"

"Ummm. Yes, if you clean the bathrooms first. You two on this one, You two clean that one."
So off they go, cleaners, rags, brooms. Pretty soon I overhear one of the older boys ask the youngest brother, in a voice that clearly intimated baby bro was a hopeless imbecile: 
"What are you doing?!!!!!!
"Cleaning the toilet."
"Why? Mom didn't say clean the toilets, she said clean the bathrooms!"

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Bathing With a Leper

Visited Soap Lake this weekend. Figured, since we live so close, we should check it out–I'm told that people used to come from all over the world to take advantage of its "healing waters".

The ground along the shoreline was teeming with small flies. And I do mean teeming. As far as you could see in any direction. Surely the water was clean though, right?  We kept our shoes on until the last possibly minute and then sort of wrinkled up our noses and ran across the last slimy (advocates call it "creamy"), buzzing stretch out to the clear water. 
And clear! You could see sunlight on the bottom. No algae, no mud, no silt; it is technically called a meromictic lake: meaning the layers of water do not mix. Ever. Apparently most other lakes do. 
At the bottom, dissolved gas can build up–I'm thinking this was the cause of the bubbles that rose up from the mud. Here and there a steady stream of bubbles–rising up to the surface as though some bottom-dweller lurked below. The only life form we saw were red fish the size of pepper grains. They swam around in what must have been millions to a school–looked like someone had spilled a bottle of Tabasco sauce in the water and it had gradually diluted and swirled out over a huge section of the lake. 
The lake is very shallow–I counted two hundred steps from the shore to where the water almost touched my knee.  The kids said it tastes like play dough. When it dries on the skin it leaves a crusty, white residue. All around us, men and women were coating themselves with the blue-hued mud. That's when I noticed a man off to our right. A few yards away from where my youngest bobbed in his bright green floaty. The man was clearly suffering some kind of illness, the most obvious symptom of which being open, oozing sores all over his body. 
M and I looked at each other. Suddenly "healing waters" took on a whole new meaning. This is where sick people come when they've lost all confidence in conventional medicine. And we're bathing with them?!

Call me small-minded, but we beat a hasty retreat, protesting kidlets in tow, back to our own seaweed-and-algae-filled lake back home

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Does Anyone Have a Pen?

Cleaned out my purse this weekend. Seemed like a good thing to do, as we were headed out of town; just keeping the baggage to a minimum, right?

Aside from things with a legitimate right to be there (pennies, bank and library and insurance cards) it contained:
  1. One safety pin
  2. Two peanut M&M's
  3. Three Legos
  4. Twenty-seven crayons 
  5. Nine ballpoint pens
  6. Three pencils  
  7. Four expired coupons
  8. Fourteen pieces of gum
  9. Six sticks of gum. As in unused. OH, you thought #8 referred to this? Oh no. Those fourteen were already chewed. What else do you do with your flavorless gum in the middle of church when Mom won't let you stick it to the bench in front of you? That's right, you wrap it in a bit of paper or foil and you drop it back where it came from. 
  10. Wrappers (gum, fruit snacks, granola bars, etc). No, I didn't count them. 
  11. A straw
  12. Thirteen phone numbers and/or addresses written on scraps of paper. Without names. I have no idea who they belong to.
  13. A full size pair of scissors. The funny thing is that my kids are always asking me, on car trips, etc, "Mom, do you have any scissors?" Like I carry around a full spectrum of office supplies with me. Give me a break. Fine–I stand corrected. But now I really don't have any.
Conspicuously missing? My nail clippers. Any currency more valuable than a nickel. The blue notepaper I wrote my bank account numbers on. (Eeeek.) 

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Mom. Mom. Mom. 
What, what, what?

I think I know why there's pee on the toilet seat. 
Because when I stand like this [demonstrates] sometimes the pee goes this way, and sometimes it goes that way, and sometimes it goes right up in the air!
We had this conversation in a room full of people. Spluttering, laughing people. This didn't seem to bother him.

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