Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Safety first: Booster for Boofers

Either I'm a bad driver or the dog just feels more comfy in her brother's booster seat.

Anyone else's pet do this, or is she the only...uh...special one?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Maria: the lazy girl

A few weeks ago, our 5-year-old son watched "The Sound of Music" for the first time. He especially enjoyed the character of Maria since he's met several nuns/sisters in the years I've worked with the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Many years ago, members of the Von Trapp family visited the Sisters' monastery in Clyde, Missouri, and became good friends.

Last night he asked to watch the movie again but couldn't remember the name of it.

"That one with Maria," he said.

When "The Sound of Music" didn't immediately pop into my head, he added, "You know, the one about the lazy girl who was always late for church."

It's nice to see what kids take away from a classic movie. Some take "Do Re Mi." Others take "The Hills Are Alive" and twirl around the family room until they get dizzy and throw up.

So I'll take comfort in my son latching onto the moment when someone gets in trouble. Let's hope it's a lesson learned.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Matter of heart might lead to breakthrough cardiac surgery

Kim and Bailey
(photo courtesy - St. Joe (Mo.) News Press

How can one dog help save the lives of people in the future?

Check out this great story from the St. Joseph News Press about Bailey, a shelter dog at the New Nodaway Humane Society, and one woman's battle to help save his life. Due to his unique medical condition, Bailey has been called a walking miracle. If doctors can repair his heart, it could lead to a breakthrough in cardiac surgery for dogs AND people in the future.

Thanks to the many volunteers who have helped raise money to pay for vet services/testing and to the specialists who have joined for Bailey's cause.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Star Wars: Obsess much?

So what does your 5-year-old child make at school during craft time?

Beautifully colored pictures of animals or the park or a sailboat?

Macaroni necklaces?

Cottonball snowmen?

Maybe. What does mine spend his time doing?

Making paper lightsabers. Not just one. But many. Many over the course of several weeks. There's rarely a day when he jumps into the car after school without sporting one of these suckers.

Nevermind he has three - count 'em - THREE psuedo-real lightsabers at home. Red. Blue. AND green. That light up. With sound effects. The whole she-bang.

But it's making his own that brings him joy. So I'll try not to get creeped out...too much.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's your sign?

The new billboard my cell phone company just put up.

I could easily switch to one of the major carriers...but it's fun people like this (and amazing customer service) that keeps me as a customer.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Miracle Worker

The couch was dirty.

OK. Not so much “dirty” as it belonged in the “Animal House” of the Delta Tau Chi.

I could even see Bluto’s butt print on the cushion.

“We need to get it cleaned,” my husband mused.

Thank you, Captain Obvious. There were six dozen things I’d rather be doing, including laundry, giving the dog a bath and declaring war on Sweden just because we can.

My husband pulled out the telephone book and began thumbing through the Yellow Pages.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Calling someone to come clean the couch,” he answered.

“You’re kidding me, right?” I said. “It’s a couch. Not a fur coat.” I snorted.

He gestured toward the couch. “Have you looked at that thing? It’s like Spring Break ’87 took place on it.”

I arched an eyebrow, “So what exactly happened on Spring Break ’87?”

A deer-in-the-headlights look washed over his face and he stammered, “Uh...what?”

I shrugged. “I find it curious that you threw that out there like that,” snapping my fingers. “So what was her name?”

Suddenly something outside the window seemed much more interesting than this agonizing conversation, and he laughed uncomfortably, “Hey...look at that bird. Out there...flying around.” Silence. “Silly bird.”

He looked back at me, my arms folded across my chest as if preparing for war.

He picked up the phone book and said, “Well, we can’t stand around talking about birds all day. Back to the matter at hand. Upholstery cleaners. I’ll find one.”

I grabbed the book from his hand, tossed it over my shoulder and snapped, “No, you will not.”

He sighed, “I don’t understand. Last week when there was 2 feet of snow on the driveway, you INSISTED we call The Guy to blade it rather than shovel it ourselves.”

Apples and oranges, my friend. Apples and oranges.

“It was 3 below zero, and the driveway is 40 feet long. That’s bad math no matter how you figure it,” I said. I gestured toward the couch and said, “That’s 8 feet we’re looking at right there. Eight feet I can handle.”

His long-suffering sigh was my answer, but he was already looking at my back as I headed out the room.
“Hey,” he hollered, “where are you going?”

“I’m off to search the Internet,” I answered. “If one can use it to learn how to train an elephant to sing the national anthem, then I can figure out how to get a little dirt out of polyester.”

One hour later....


It was really two. But only because I got distracted by some pictures of these unbelievably cute little elephants crooning, “Oh, say can you see.”

So...armed with one $2.97 can of upholstery cleaner, a soft-bristled brush, two lint-free cloths and the Can-Do Attitude that shaped this great country of ours, I got to work.

About two seconds into it I hear this over my shoulder, “I don’t think that’s gonna get it done.”

OK, Mr. Doubting Pants. Apparently he fought for the British in a past life.

“I’m just getting started, so give me a minute,” I said and elbowed him back.

He stepped back then stopped. And just stood there. Like Big Brother breathing down my neck.

I turned around and snapped, “Do you mind?” 

He ignored me and asked, “Did you do a test spot first?”

“No,” I snapped, “Thought I’d just wing it and see what happens.”

He shrugged and answered, “It’s your conscience that’s at stake here.”

Whoa. What the heck? I looked down at the couch and suddenly wondered if it was a special couch. Such as a portal to a magical universe.

Like to the Cheesecake Factory.

Because, you know, that would ROCK.

I said, “What do you mean?”

“It belonged to your grandmother,” he answered. “She died. And left it to you.” He paused, “She trusted you to take care of it.”

Oh. Dear. God.

But before the full-blown panic attack set in, we looked down at the couch where I had been cleaning, and as if by magic the spot began to dry and in its place was a shiny area so clean you could have eaten off it.

You know, if we were allowed to ever eat on the couch again in this lifetime.

I smiled and quietly said, “Thanks, Grandma.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jack and the Beanstalk'ed

OK. So my five-year-old requested "Jack and the Beanstalk" last night.

Classic story with giant produce, a goose that must have been exposed to some kind of industrial waste in order to lay golden eggs and a harried mom who really can't understand why her stupid kid would sell their only cow for a few crappy beans.

In today's world, she'd blame television.

In any case, "Jack and the Beanstalk" is one of the classic stories we don't have in book form. So Yours Truly went old school and recited it. Complete with hand gestures, scary voices and foot stomping. Seriously. No one has ever performed Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum better. Seriously. De Niro couldn't have TOUCHED it.

After mimicking the giant's death plunge from the beanstalk (sorry, it wasn't the G-rated version) where he collapsed into a bloody mess on the ground surrounded by partying villagers who don't understand the terms "home invasion" and "wrongful death suit," my son clapped his hands in delight. Then he got quiet.

Son: "That giant sounded scary, Mom."

Me: "He was. And stinky."

Son: "Maybe you can draw me a picture of him, so I know what he looks like next time." Pause. "But don't make him too scary, OK? I wanna be able to sleep at night."

So we got out the markers this morning, and I penned the giant's mug. In case you're wondering, I made him a Cyclops. Just because I can. And, no, I am not ready for those art schools you see on television.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Guy

Marriage is a partnership
Combining your strengths to overcome weaknesses. Working together to accomplish goals, pay the bills, raise the kids.

It’s about sacrifices, sharing, laughter and love.

But sometimes you gotta wonder if it’s just a load of crap. Because...really...I got a sneaking suspicion I’ve just been had.


“Let’s get after it,” my husband ordered, marching into the kitchen, bundled in winter garb, a snow shovel resting over his shoulder and on his face a look of determination that probably mimicked the guys who dug the Panama Canal. No job, you know, is never too big. With a little bit of crazy thrown in.

I carefully pulled the afghan over my head and snuggled deeper into the couch cushions, pretending indifference or deafness, whichever would get me out of the task at hand.

I was warm, I was cozy and I was definitely not in the mood to get involved.

Consider me France.

I quickly felt a poke at my side. I peeked over the edge of the blanket to find the business end of one snow shovel hovering over my person.

“Hey,” I hollered, “that’s spousal abuse.”

“Hey,” my husband hollered back. “It’s a warning. There’s over half a foot of snow on the driveway, and it’s not going anywhere by itself. Get moving.”

I sighed. “It’s cold, and there’s a lot of snow out there. Let’s just call The Guy. I love The Guy.” I paused. “He’s awesome.”

“No,” he answered. “We are not calling The Guy to blade the driveway. We’re Americans. Descended from a long line of other hard-working Americans who put their blood, sweat and tears into their land to make it better for future generations. And they did not - in fact - ever call The Guy.”

I snickered, “You’re not concerned about making our home better for future generations. You just want to clear the driveway so you can go get beer.”

He simply answered, “So what’s wrong with that?”


“OK, here’s the deal,” my husband instructed. “I’ll make the first pass then you follow. Between the two of us, we can get this knocked out quickly.”

I reached up with my gloved hand to shove up the stocking cap that had fallen over one eye.

Stupid winter clothes. I was wearing three layers, including ski pants, snow boots, wool socks and I was still freezing.

Then I looked at my husband and pointed.

“I have a question,” I said. “How come you have the better shovel?”

He looked at the ergonomic, back-saving, lighter, plastic fancy one clutched in his gloved hand and waved it in the direction of the one I held, a short-handled, heavy metal scooped monstrosity I struggled to lift higher than two inches from the ground and old enough to have been used during the Spanish Inquisition.

He shrugged, “‘Cuz I have to move the most snow.”

I arched an eyebrow in response and answered, “But I’m smaller. Shorter. I bring less leverage to the table.” As I said it, the wooden handle slipped through my gloved hand and dropped the metal end of the shovel on the toe of my right boot.


Too scared to look, I clapped my hands over my eyes and screamed, “MY TOES! OH MY GOD! ARE MY TOES STILL THERE!?”

Silence from the husband front greeted my outburst.

I cracked one eye and braved a peek downward. No bloody stumps greeted me. No blood squirting across the driveway.

My toes were still there. My shoulders slumped. Dammit.

You know it’s a bad day when you wish for severed digits. The look on my husband’s face said he agreed.
I reached down, grabbed the shovel and said, “Are you sure you don’t want to call ---.”He interrupted, “If you say ‘The Guy’ one more time, we’re gonna have words.”

Ouch. “And don’t forget, lift with your legs.”

The death glare that shot outta my eyes should have melted him on the spot...that is, if my darn hat hadn’t slipped down over my face again.

Stupid winter.


Two hours, four cramped hands and one bruised kidney later (that’s what happens when a guy turns his back within striking distance of my shovel) the driveway was once again cleared for use.

The husband left for his beer, and I was back on the couch contemplating my life before marriage and home ownership and wondering if The Guy was married....