Friday, December 24, 2010

Misted toe and other holiday treasures

“For claymation, that’s one hot chick.”

OK. Not a sentence a gal hears her husband say every day. Not even mine.

I could only shake my head and ask in disbelief, “Did you really just say those words? Together? In a row?” I snorted and added, “I think it’s time to put down the beer.”

He put down said beer then pointed to the television where “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” blared happily in front of our five-year-old son.

“Come on! Look at her,” he said. “Blonde hair. Blue eyes. And she’s – like – 60 years old, but she’s still hot.”

I snorted. “The show’s not that old. 40. She’s not a day over 40. And you know the hair is a wig, right?”

He shot me a nasty look and answered, “You’re just jealous.”

Jealous? Of claymation?

I took another look at her. No wrinkles. No gray hair. No extra 20 pounds on the hips. And her boobs didn’t jiggle when she walked.


My husband was right. Claymation rocks.


Later that evening, after watching yet another Christmas classic and witnessing two cartoon creations share a smooch, I smacked my forward and said, “That’s what I forgot to hang in the house – mistletoe!”

“What’s misted toe?” my young son asked. “Do you have to go to the doctor for that?”

I looked down at him, his face eager with the expectation of knowledge.

Kinda like the time I tried to explain the concept of terminal velocity when he asked why his basketball fell faster than a marble when pitched off our second-story balcony.

But I digress…and we promised not to talk about that particular incident anymore.

“Not ‘misted toe’” I laughed. “MISTLEtoe. And it’s awesome!”

I sat down next to him and proceeded to fill in all the wonderful details about the magic of mistletoe. After I finished, I clapped my hands in excitement and asked, “So what do you think?”

His look of eager anticipation had quickly turned to fear. Frankly, I doubt he’d heard anything after the word “kiss” had entered the equation.

He shuddered and answered as only a five-year-old boy can. “Eeeeewwwwww!”

Oh, he’s gonna make some girl so happy one day.


“I know Santa Claus is for real,” my son announced one day after school.

I froze like a reindeer in headlights. Crud. This day had arrived. And I wasn’t ready for it. I thought we had another year. Maybe two before we started this little dance.

But apparently the kids had been talking. 

Stupid kids.

“I…uh…er…whew!” I stumbled. “How about some ice cream? You want ice cream? I think we should go get some ice cream? What about you? Wanna get some ice cream?”

My son said, “It’s 12 degrees outside…of course, I want ice cream. But let me finish.”

Darn. Distraction failed. I should have thrown in an Xbox. That would have done the trick. I sighed.
“I know that Santa Claus is for real,” my son repeated.

I took a deep breath, bracing myself for the question I was about to ask....“How do you know Santa Claus is for real?”

He shrugged and said, “Well, who else would put presents under the tree?”

Oh. God bless the innocence of youth. I nodded in agreement, patted him gently on the head and said, “Who else, indeed.”

And before I could relax from that Dear Diary moment, he moved in for the kill.

“But what about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Is he real?”

High on the knowledge my son was still in Santa’s corner I quickly answered, “Of course. Don’t you?”

He shook his little blonde head sadly and said, “No, I don’t think so.”

Aw. Crud. Death to Rudolph? I think I’m gonna cry.

“But…he’s in the book…and there’s a song about him…and everything,” I stuttered, trying not to panic but failing miserably. “All the reindeer loved him, you know. They shouted out with glee…and everything….”

My son looked at me with kind eyes that betrayed his pity, “Just because he’s in a book doesn’t make him real, Mom.”

My face fell with sadness at the passing of this small part of his innocence. Sensing my distress, my little boy put his hand on my shoulder and asked, “Wanna go get some ice cream?”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The bucket list

Plumbing is best left to professionals.

Otherwise, it’s never gonna turn out the way you want. Unless you planned to flood the bottom floor with 6 inches of water then – yes – by all means, go for it.

So why oh why were my husband and I even attempting it?

Hubris. That fancy little word for confidence that teeters on the edge of cheery optimism from the Little Engine That Could and that kiss-your-rear-goodbye downhill skier from ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” opening montage.

So when I broached the subject about fixing the leaky downstairs toilet ourselves, my husband’s reaction was utterly predictable.

“Are you crazy?”

I shrugged and said, “How hard can it be?”

He just stared at me.

I rolled my eyes and snorted in disgust, “Please. It’s a toilet. Not the space shuttle, which I have flown, by the way.”

Then it was his turn to roll his eyes. “You flew a flight simulator at Space Camp when you were 12. And didn’t you crash it, causing death and destruction along the entire Eastern seaboard?”

He had to bring that up, didn’t he? Some wounds, you know, never heal.

I took a deep breath, “In any case, it needs to be done.” Then I stared a hole right through his forehead until he squirmed and yelled, “OK! I give up!”

I smiled, crossed my arms over my chest and figured this would be a snap.

Twenty minutes later we were dismantling the contents of one Toilet Repair Kit and reading about the required tools necessary for the job: wrench, screwdriver, scissors and bucket.

A bucket?

“If we turn off the valve and shop vac the water in the tank, what do we need a bucket for?” I asked.

My husband, on his hands and knees with his body curled around the toilet, could only shrug in response. He reached under the tank and unscrewed the bolt fasteners. I heard a loud WHOOSH followed by "Holy Sh--! My husband scrambled to untangle himself from the base of the toilet and yelled as water flooded to the floor.

The torrent ended quickly as there was just a small amount of water left in the tank. My husband quietly muttered, “Guess that’s what the bucket was for.”

Score 1 for the toilet.

OK, so we were off to a rocky start, but I still had confidence. We continued unfastening nuts from bolts and eventually managed to remove the non-working guts from the tank.

Score 1 for us.

Then we had to put everything back together again. I stared at the piece in my hand, looked at the bolt in the toilet and quickly assessed, “That ain’t gonna fit.”

My husband took the plastic washer from my hand and laughed, “’Course it will.” He then held up said washer to said bolt and went hmmm.

Which is plumber-speak for we got a problem here.

“See? The diameter isn’t wide enough to fit over the bolt,” I said. Then added, “I took Calculus, you know.”

He looked at me and said, “What’s that have to do with anything?”

I shrugged.

He stared at me for another moment then looked back at the washer and again tried to shove it over the bolt. As if it had magically expanded during the Calculus-portion of our conversation. I rolled my eyes.

I took it from his hand and said, “Look. There are notches in the middle. I think you are supposed to cut out that piece so it’ll fit over the bolt.”

He asked, “What do the directions say?”

Brilliant. Let’s finally consult the directions an hour into the project.

I grabbed them off the counter, perused the Pig Latin-inscribed diagrams (without even trying to decipher them) and quickly tossed them to the side.

“Doesn’t say a damn thing,” I stated.

I grabbed the scissors, took a deep breath and began snapping away at the plastic. I handed it over to my husband, Mr. Doubting Pants, who skeptically looked it over then bent over the toilet.

A short pause followed by, “Damn.”

I leaned over and saw that the washer now fit snugly over the bolt. I straightened, looked him in the eye and said, “Go ahead, you can say it.” I poked him in the ribs and said, “I. Am. A. Genius.” 

He sighed, and I added, “By the way, I got an A in Calculus.” Then I mockingly saluted him and walked away. 

Score 1 for me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, WonderMutt

Eight years ago today, the world was blessed with a beautiful, goofy, freakishly huge Golden Retriever named Chaser.

I miss her talented tricks, obsession with tennis balls and love of Cheetos, belly rubs and Grandpa Bill.

She was unbelievably special to us, and a part of me will always be with her.

Love you, WonderMutt. I hope they have tennis balls in heaven.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Reason #1 why it stinks being a female who has given birth:

A clean pair of underwear will last approximately 2.5 seconds after you let go of one gigantic sneeze and end up peeing your pants.

Reason #2 why it stinks being a female who has given birth and lives with males?

Only the dog – a fellow female – understands why you did it.



Silence. Followed a split second later by a not-so-great feeling that means I have to find a new pair of undies.

“You have GOT to be KIDDING me!” I screamed from inside our walk-in closet. I then added an extra S#&!

I stripped off the offending undergarment, tossed it into the laundry basket, pushed open the door and walked into the bedroom – only to find our 5-year-old son on my bed, laughing at the funny antics of SpongeBob SquarePants on TV.

As I was currently in a state of undress that was only legal in Vegas…on a Tuesday…I quickly ducked back behind the closet door and asked, “Uh, how long have you been there?”

He looked over at me and answered, “Long enough to hear you say, "S#&!'"

I sighed, slumped and THWACK – my forward connected with the door.


Rubbing the growing lump on my head, I made a mental note to have the Please Do Not Repeat Swear Words Just Because Mom Said Them lecture – again – with him soon. Then I considered my quandary. I was here.

In the closet.

My underwear. You know, ones not currently balled up in the laundry basket, were in the dresser all the way across the bedroom. My fuzzy robe hung on a hook behind the bathroom door about five feet away.

OK. Plan B. I turned around and surveyed the clothing options within the closet to make me presentable for a walk across the bedroom.

Oh, look-ee here. My prom dress from 1991.

It was long, white, puffed like the Michelin Man and contained about 56 miles of lace. That could work.

I reached for the hanger, pulled the dress out, cocked my head to the side and…hey…it shrunk. What was up with that?

Oh, yeah. I was a size 4 in 1991.

Unless I snapped my fingers and made the Way Back Machine suddenly appear, there was no way in hell that dress was ever gonna fit again in this lifetime.

I made a mental note to send it to Good Will. Because I was no longer feeling any good will toward it myself.

Moving on.

I quickly thumbed through the hangers. Business suits, dress slacks, silk shirts and fourteen pairs of the most uncomfortable heels Paris Hilton wouldn’t even wear.

Well, that’s not gonna work.

OK. Plan C. I turned toward my husband’s side of the closet and grabbed his suit jacket, wrapped it around my body and prayed like hell all my lady parts stayed hidden during the jog to my dresser.

I was halfway across the room when I heard, “What in the hell are you wearing?” from behind me.

I spun around and came face to face with my husband. I pleaded, “I have an explanation. Really. I do.”

He crossed him arms over his chest and waited with a Let’s Hear It look on his face.

I skimmed over the part about ruining my undies because – really, that’s oh-so-not-sexy – and quickly proceeded to relate the dilemma of being naked in the closet, needing undergarments but having a 5-year-old in the vicinity.

At the end of my narrative, my husband looked at me and quickly responded, “Why didn’t you just ask him to leave?”

OK, a useful tip I could have used TWO SPONGEBOB EPISODES ago!

I snapped open the dresser drawer, grabbed the first pair of undies my hands touched and slunk back to the closet while howls of laughter from the XY-chromosome members of the household trailed behind.

I walked inside the closet, cursed the fact that 24 hours of labor had ruined my bladder control forever, and pulled on my ill-gotten pair of new cotton drawers.

And then – before I could stop it – ACHOOOOO.

Ah, S#&!