"Your pants are all wrinkly."
"That's because you didn't get me all steamy before I got dressed this morning."
One track mind.
Years ago when we had the water leak in the basement and were trying to figure out where it was coming from, we tore up a couple of boards on our deck. Of course, it turned out the water wasn't coming from outside the house, but rather a cracked pipe inside, but we left the biggest of the boards torn up. We are lazy that way. We recognized that the deck needs to be replaced anyway. We educated all the kids about the hole, and even though it is in a bad location at the top of our steps in front of the gate, no one ever had a problem with it.
About, oh, three? months ago, we got a quote to have the deck redecked, and in the course of doing whatever he did to create his estimate, the guy put the board back in the spot, but of course didn't nail it back down. So since then we've had this loose board that the kids would occasionally step on or loosen slightly, but nobody ever fell through, I guess because they are so light and quick. So we left it like that, and I half hoped that the bear or racoons would fall in, and I also felt it was a cool booby trap in case someone tried to come up on our deck in the dead of night to break into our house - we'd at least hear them coming from all the swearing when they fell in.
BigDaddyFish wasn't feeling well last night, so he didn't take our trash or recycling to the curb last night. This morning he was running late, so he missed the trash truck, but recycling only comes once a week so we wanted to get our bins out. I grabbed a full, wet, dripping bin and headed down the stairs, BDF right behind me with a pile of wet cardboard boxes. We came back up the stairs, me in front and BDF behind me. I am neither light nor quick nor accustomed to carrying trash/recycling down the stairs, and my propensity for klutzy behavior is well documented. Down I went, arms a flailing, landing of course with my left shin hard up against the diagonal edge of the solid part of the deck, catching myself with the middle of my right forearm against the railing. Fortunately, the railing held. Unfortunately, it didn't give very much. BDF told me not to move, but I was pissed and embarrassed, so I yanked my leg out of the deck, shrieking through my closed mouth where I was biting my lip to keep from embarrassing myself even further, and limped to a chair.
The pictures above were taken about an hour later. BDF pulled the board back up so that people can see where they have to step so they don't fall in. I'm calling a guy today who gave me a good estimate to re-deck the deck. I'll take a picture later of my leg later - right now it's just a faint mottled purple under my whiter-than-pale skin and slightly swollen, but I can tell by how fraking much it hurts that it's going to be spectacular.
Make me feel better. What klutzy thing have you done recently?
I was lucky enough to be one of the featured BlogHer blogs on the ivillage home page over the weekend with this post. Someone else even linked to me from their forum. Thank you, whoever you are, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's like that a lot around here.
...my birthday didn't completely suck. I DID get to go out to dinner with BigDaddyFish, without kids. I had a babysitter so I didn't have to drag the
monsters darling children with me to Target, which would have made it a deeper circle of hell than it already was. The kids made me pictures while we were out to dinner, and Sunny's picture of a birthday cake with lots of candles was obviously that without interpretation. I got 2 emails from my friends Fish-Flopper, who I've know forever, and hokgardner, who I've met here online because of our blogs, and who had a not-the-best birthday herself last week. And the whole experience gave the meat for a post whose framework I've had in my head for years. So not entirely bad. And oh, yeah, it wasn't pinkeye like I thought so we just have to figure out what Nemo's allergic to.
That said, it wasn't a great day. Probably the second worst birthday I've had yet. But! On the next day, there was spice cake:
Did I tell you we have baby fish? We decided we weren't going to go into the business of breeding fish again when we got these, but rather just let nature take its course. But we have 2 hearty buggers who hid out in the plants and survived and are now big enough to roam the tank. One day I'll have a camera with a good macro setting on it, but in the absence of that, how about gratuitous baby cuteness?
I went to bed at 12am and the baby woke me up at one to nurse and BigDaddyFish still wasn't in bed because he was having an existential crisis and I had to talk him out of it and we didn't go to sleep until 2:30 and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
I didn't get to sleep in like I wanted and the baby woke me up by poking me in the eye and when it stopped hurting and I could open it I discovered his eyelids were pink and puffy and swollen. The doctor couldn't get him in until 2:15 and my babysitter didn't come until 3 and I had to take all 4 kids with me.
I think I'll run away from home.
The girls came into our bed and were loud, loud, LOUD and it made my ears bleed. The baby sat on my head and jumped and it hurt. BigDaddyFish asked me why I didn't go down and get breakfast for everyone while he took a shower. I gave him "The Look." And not the good one, either.
As BDF was leaving the house I asked if there was any way he could leave a little early so that we could go out to dinner before Deadliest Catch and he looked at me blankly and I said "You know, for my birthday?" because obviously everyone forgot and I was certain I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
At breakfast Nemo dumped all of his cereal and milk in his lap and on the floor. Little Man asked for cinnamon toast so I made cinnamon toast and he shouted at me "You BURNED it in the middle! It's dark! This is NOT the WAY to MAKE CINNAMON TOAST! YOU RUINED IT! I AM NOT GOING TO EAT IT! I AM GOING TO THROW IT!" without even tasting it and the toast wasn't even burned. I had to get in his face and tell him he could not talk to me that way even IF the toast was burned which it wasn't and it was my birthday and everyone forgot and my feelings were hurt and I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Trout ate all the chocolate pudding. Little Man ate all his cinnamon toast and then ate all the marshmallows and made Sunny scream because she wanted marshmallows but he gave Nemo a marshmallow and he put it in his hair and got all sticky. I had to bake my own birthday cake. The next day.
At the doctor's office everyone climbed on everything and lifted up the venetian blinds and kicked each other and would NOT. STOP. TALKING. And of course we got the doctor who never talks above a whisper and I could barely hear her. She said Nemo doesn't have pinkeye, he's having an allergic reaction. I had to put Trout in the corner and Little Man on the exam table on the opposite side of the room and Sunny in the chair and Nemo had to stand up. She sent his prescription to Target via the internet. No one got a dinosaur but Nemo.
I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
I dropped the kids off with the babysitter and I went to Target and they didn't have the prescription and they asked me to wait for 20 minutes while they checked the voice mail so I went and did my shopping and came back. They still didn't have the prescription so I called the doctor's office and they put me on hold for 15 minutes while they looked for the prescription and they talked to the pharmacist and then hung up and didn't even apologize to me. The pharmacist asked if I could wait for 20 minutes. I said in 20 minutes I was running away from home.
After the 30 minute trip to Target that took 2 hours I went to my bedroom to listen to my iPod and fold laundry and my iPod was dead. The kids were yelling and I didn't want to go downstairs to plug it in so I folded laundry in pseudo-silence while Trout listened to Daughtry too loud and Sunny and Little Man fought and the baby woke up and cried and the babysitter tried to contain it all.
I took a shower at 5:30. I cut myself shaving my legs. My hair wouldn't cooperate and I had nothing to wear. I said I'm having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day but no one was there to hear me.
At dinner there was iceberg lettuce in my salad. I hate iceberg lettuce. There was Sportscenter on the big screen and I hate Sportscenter. There wasn't enough alcohol in my margarita and I couldn't finish my chili and didn't get dessert.
The kids were still awake when we got home and they were supposed to be asleep and they got up eleventy million times and Nemo wouldn't nurse to sleep. There was no "After the Catch" after Deadliest Catch and the season is over. There was a thunderstorm and a noise on the deck that sounded like the bear. I told BDF that I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He said some days are like that.
Even on your birthday.
Confused? Go here and get my most favoritest children's book ever.
Not five minutes after BigDaddyFish and my wonderful neighbor finished carrying our old stove out to the curb so that the county recycling folks can pick it up, BDF stood on our deck frantically tapping on a window to get our attention. The baby started screaming for Daddy, but nobody went out to see what he wanted, so after about a full minute I finally strolled out.
"SHHHHH! Look over there," BDF whisper-shouted. "Get them to be quiet!"
"What's going on?" I whisper-shouted back. He answered with a point to the edge of the woods.
And indeed it was. A medium-sized, probably adolescent black bear was wandering nonchalantly behind the row of townhouses next door to ours. I summoned Trout and Little Man, and we stood at the rail of our deck, fascinated. I ran for the camera, but in the 15 seconds or so that I was gone the bear...
disapparated transfigured disappeared completely.
"Give me that - I'll get the picture," said BDF as he took the camera from me and dashed down our steps and a couple of steps back into the woods. He stopped, crouched down, looked around. He took a few steps left, and kept looking.
After about three minutes of watching my husband skulk through the woods and fielding my children's queries of "Is Daddy going to die?" "What if the bear eats him?" "What if the bear crashes through the windows?" (my kids watch entirely too much tv, obviously), I got sick of waiting for him and went in the house. The kids gave up about 30 seconds later.
"What'sa matter, didn't want to see me die?" asked my husband as he came in the house about five minutes later. My husband clearly watches too much tv, too.
"No, I could just tell that you weren't having any luck and got bored." We marvelled for a while at the fact that the bear just disappeared. He moved amazingly fast and quietly for a bear.
"If I only had about three other people I could bag it," said BDF.
"What?!? I don't want the bear to get killed," I said.
"No, I mean get its picture." Okay, I apparently watch too much tv, too.
So there's a bear in the neighborhood. I had heard my neighbors talk about it, but this is the first time we've actually seen it. It's such a surprising thing, because this is a townhouse neighborhood. For all that I live in the woods on the edge of a park, this is still the DC metro area. It is incredibly populated. If the part of the county where I live ever decided to incorporate, we'd become the second largest city in Maryland after Baltimore. We had an estimated 85,000 people in 2005. Our townhouse development has more than 150 houses, and although we have the woods and lake out back, we are smack in the middle of surburbia. There are major roads and buildings and schools and stuff within spitting distance. Even the lake and the park get a huge amount of human traffic every single day.
I feel bad for this bear - he clearly is eating enough (in fact, BDF thinks he came near the houses because he smelled our trash cans - more about that in a bit), but I don't think he's going to have much success mating here in the neighborhood. He shows the right amount of fear of humans, and I don't worry much about any of us people having a run in with him. We residents have known about him for a while now, and none of us let our kids out without an adult being nearby (well, except me - but then again I actively encourage my kids to play in traffic), so I don't think him being around is a safety issue. Animal control has been called before and they could never find him (I tell you, he transfigures), so I'm unsure how to go about getting him relocated someplace more ... beary. That's a task for tomorrow.
Being on the edge of the woods and the lake, we see our fare share of wildlife: Squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, birds (including bald eagles), large numbers of deer (because they don't allow hunting here, our herds are HUGE), foxes, and racoons. Ah, the racoons. There isn't a single resident here that hasn't had their trash cans raided by the racoons on a fairly regular basis. We've tried all the tricks, but the only way to keep them out is to lock up the trash cans inside some sort of structure, which makes taking the trash out a bit more of an adventure than one might think.
Some of the racoons are more timid than others, and some are more easily scared off than others. Periodically over the nine years we've lived here a racoon will show up for a while, eventually we'll catch them in the act of scavenging through our trash and chase them off with a broom, and they go away. Then a few months will go by and the next crew will move in (or the old crew gets ballsy and tries to come back - how long is the life span of a racoon, anyway?).
For the past week or so we've had a racoon getting in our trash, but it hasn't made a big mess, not even knocking the can over but just ripping the lid off and dining in the can. Early Saturday morning I was reading in my bedroom when I heard what sounded like a combination growl/scream, and heard the telltale knocking around the racoons do when they get into the trash. The growl/scream was weird enough that BDF came running down from our loft as I jumped up to kill the lights and try to see what was going on outside. I stayed in the bedroom and BDF ran down to the kitchen. He hit the lightswitch outside, and we discovered not one, but two adolescent racoons raiding our trash. One was rather daintily standing on the deck next to the can, and the other was perched atop the old oven that BDF and I had dragged out there because I didn't want two ovens in my kitchen for a week. At first I thought they were fighting over the trash can, but as I watched it looked to me like they were in cahoots. I opened the window and said "Go away!" out the window as loud as I dared at 1 am, and the dainty one skedaddled over the rail to my neighbor's deck. The one on top of the oven simply looked at me and climbed into the trash can to eat his fill. As he started to dine I hissed at him, like a cat, and he stopped and stared up at me. I didn't blink. He started to eat and I hissed again. Three times he started to eat, I hissed, he stopped and stared at me, but he didn't move. After the third time BDF burst out the door armed with the broom, and would you know that ballsy racoon didn't even flinch? So BDF bopped it on the back with the broom, at which time it decided it was time to go and ran off into the woods.
Last night they got their revenge by actually knocking the can over and making a bigger mess. So we're back to locking up the cans again. And before you start telling us all the racoon deterrent tricks you know, we've tried bricks on the can lids, bungy cords on the can lids, and a whole host of other things to keep them out - nothing works short of locking the things away. These are wiley little buggers.
But thanks to the particularly stinky trash due to it being torn open, eaten a bit, and repackaged a couple of times, BDF thinks the bear was attracted to our trash and was coming to eat it. He said the bear was right in the middle of the green space between our townhouse and our neighbor's (we have end units) and was startled by BDF. At 5:30 pm on a summer evening. BDF also told me that the top hinge on our gate at the top of our stairs has been broken off, and we suspect the bear had come up here before and its weight broke the hinge. We kinda like having a bear out back, but on our deck is a little too close for comfort.
About 12 years ago now, my father took BigDaddyFish, Uncle Orca/Agincourtdb and me to the annual reenactment at Gettysburg on July 4th weekend. That year, for whatever reason, the reenactment was held on the actual soil that the battles were fought on, instead of the nearby farm that hosts the reenactments now. That year it had rained for a week before the reenactment, steady, soaking rain that saturated the ground.
Back then there were maybe a couple of thousand reenactors, and they didn't have the living history site and other things going on that they do now. We drove up separately from my father and somehow ended up parking away from where he did. They parked us in one set of fields, and the reenactment was held further down in another field. That year they were filming some of the reenactment, to be used in some movie, but I don't remember which one.
Anyway, they have the battle and we watch and it starts to rain. That doesn't stop the reenactment so it didn't stop us, until it started to thunder and lightning, at which point we all called it quits, filmcrew and reenactors and spectators alike. The reenactors went back to their camps to be miserable, and we spectators started for the fields to go home. The rain steadily fell, heavier and heavier, and it didn't take very long before we were absolutely soaked through to the skin. Never do I think I've been that wet without getting in a pool or bath, even one year when BDF and I went backpacking in the Smoky Mountains and it poured. We still had rain gear then.
We got back to the parking fields and discovered that most of the vehicles were sunken to the top of the tires in mud. The already saturated ground couldn't take the new onslaught of rain, and they had a couple of guys on big tractors taking turns pulling out the cars that couldn't get out. Which was most of them. People were really really stupid about things, loading up the car with five people and then not understanding why they couldn't get out, or getting going only to stop for some reason and strand themselves ten feet away from where they started. It was a disastrous mess.
But we had a Jeep. A 4WD cherokee, back when it was still just a little box on wheels. We also were smart, so BDF got in the Jeep and Agincourtdb and I stayed out. Agincourtdb scouted out a route through the mud and sunken vehicles to the one paved road going out of the place. I simply tried to stay out of the way. Just as BDF got ready to go, a man stepped behind the Jeep.
"You can't go. I won't let you." Excuse us?
"I'm next. The tractor's coming to pull me out because I have to be at blah blah blah whatever justification and I'm next. You can't go."
Agincourtdb has always been far better at dealing with the public than the rest of us, so we let him handle telling the guy that we don't need the tractor and we are going to leave. The guy became more and more indignant, insisting that we would just get going and get stuck in the way so that the tractor couldn't get to him and he wasn't going to let us go. Agincourtdb tried to explain to the guy the error in his thinking, but the guy wasn't having it. Finally Agincourtdb said "Sir, I suggest you move. We are leaving now."
The guy didn't. We tried to warn him, but he didn't move. So BDF did what he had to do, and You Can't Go was treated to a mudbath. He was covered with mud, where he had been only wet before. BDF got the Jeep out, skated over the mud along the route that Agincourtdb directed, to the road, where the guys directing traffic saw what was happening and stopped everyone to let BDF get on the road. He opened the doors and Agincourtdb and I got in, waved to my dad who was waiting for the tractor, and went home. It took a day for my hair to dry.
I tell you this amusing story because this year we took the whole family and went to the reenactment at Gettysburg on July 4th. This year, like a decade earlier, it rained, but no thunder and lightning, and nobody got sunken in mud. We did, however, get drenched. But unlike then we have kids, and unlike then they had a living history village and reenactors of all ages. There were sunbonnets and hoopskirts and muskets and uniforms everywhere. They were filming again for a new movie, and there was so much to do and see besides the reenactment of the battles themselves. So the rain was only a minor distraction. Our kids loved it and showed such a huge amount of enthusiam that I think we may try some reenacting in the future.
But maybe only when the forecast calls for sunny skies.
At one point the commentator said something to the effect of "Now is where I get goosebumps - Americans fighting Americans on American soil on the Fourth of July." Indeed.
Afterwards we drove around through the actual battlefield park. Some of us went up the huge observation tower overlooking the Peach Orchards and the Eisenhower National Historic Site. I almost chickened out two flights of stairs from the top, but then I decided I'd be pissed at myself if I came that far and didn't go all the way to the top, so I pushed on. I'm glad I did and I'm proud of myself that I didn't let my fear get the best of me. Unfortunately my knee started acting up on the way down, and I ended up favoring the left knee with my right thigh. Today was the first day I woke up without pain in that thigh.
We were too late getting home to see any local fireworks, but we did get to see bits and pieces of about six different displays along our route home. Sunny was upset that we missed the fireworks but as BDF pointed out, we kinda did have fireworks that day, and we were able to see the encore performance of A Capitol Fourth on PBS, so she got to see fireworks after all.
Much better than 12 years ago, despite the rain jinx.
Check over here to see a bit more about what my kids thought and did the last two weekends.
Or, if that's not your style, see what I thought of "What Not To Wear Mom Makeovers" over here.
Kam A., who commented on the Giveaway post. I took all the names of those who commented on both the original Black v. Stainless post, and on the Giveaway post, and assigned each a number, which was easy because there were only 17. Then when BigDaddyFish walked in the room, I asked him to pick a number between one and 17, and he picked 14. Then he asked why. So I told him.
So now, without further ado, here are the new fridge and oven, freshly installed this afternoon, no thanks to a bad combination of Home Depot and my "old" house:
When Home Depot got here to deliver the appliances, they pulled the stove out and told me they couldn't install it. It seems my house is too "old" and the gas line to the stove was about half the diameter of the new one. Plus they said I didn't have a gas shut off right next to the stove (they were wrong). I panicked and called like 4 people, but the HD guys said call a plumber. So I called Germantown Plumbing, who rescued me before, and within one hour they were here and hooked it up lickety split. Now I just have an extra, non-working oven in my kitchen for a week before Montgomery County can come pick it up. If you are in Upper Montgomery County and need a plumber, please call those guys. They are FAST and do great work for a reasonable price.
I think they look great, don't they? I can wait to make a garlic roast and a cake. Or brownies. But not at the same time.