Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lord, Please Save Me from the Pies...

I am at home, completely alone, with these:

Two warm, fresh-from-the-oven, HOMEMADE pumpkin pies. Oh, yeah. No Sara Lee pies for me,'s homemade all the way. (Except for the crust, because I don't know how to make scratch piecrust.)

Oh, and I've eaten about a quarter of this, just trying to get it into the container:

The Husband and I both love homemade cranberry sauce, but both of our families prefer the serve-in-the-shape-of-the-can, jelly kind. So, I cooked up a batch of the good stuff for us to have with our leftovers. I could eat the whole thing in one sitting.

We don't host Thanksgiving dinner, so my work is pretty much done. I have to make a corn pudding tomorrow morning, and then just concentrate on trying not to eat so much that I become ill. My office had a breakfast potluck on Monday, and I'm still feeling the effects of it. That + two huge meals tomorrow = BLEURGH. I'll probably be rolling around on my bed in misery by this time tomorrow.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday...try to be nice to all the family members, keep the Rolaids handy, and remember that we have a month to lose all the weight we gain tomorrow, before the Christmas portion of the Eating Season. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Paradigm Shift in Household Chores

A few days ago, JD at I Do Things So You Don't Have To wrote a post about a visit to her mechanic. (Hilarious, as always.) Many of the commenters, including me, were women who noted that they would prefer that their husbands take care of anything involving cars. That blog post got me started thinking about the division of labor at my house, and the major paradigm shift we went through a couple of years ago.

When the Husband and I first moved in together, we divided the chores pretty evenly, with a few exceptions: I did not want to have anything to do with cars or repair of broken items (because I don't know what I'm doing), and killing bugs (because I'm a wuss). He complained bitterly about the bug-killing thing, particularly when I would wake him up to get rid of a spider, but he dealt with it.

When we built our house five years ago, our street was still partly un-built, and we spent the first winter waging war against mice. The Husband and I seldom argue, but we had a full-blown dustup over a dead mouse; he expected me to remove a carcass from a trap, and I refused. My reason? "You're the man. You're SUPPOSED to do things like get rid of dead mice." He didn't appreciate that answer, but he could tell I wasn't budging on touching the dead mouse, so he did it. The next winter, we were delighted to find that the mice had relocated to someone else's house, and we thought our dead-critter removal days were over. Boy, were we wrong.

Shortly after we moved into our house, we adopted two male Cocker Spaniels. They are great dogs, but they proved utterly useless in the Great Mouse War of '05. They would just sit and watch the mice run across the floor, cocking their heads, while I was screaming and freaking out, knowing that the verminous little monsters were going to poop in my cabinets. When we adopted Abby from the shelter in the fall of 2006, we assumed she had the same disinterest in critters that the first two dogs displayed. Boy, were we REALLY wrong.

You see, Abby only looks like a cute, spotty, little nose-kissing sweetheart; she's actually a cold-blooded killer. She started out with birds, mice, and moles in the backyard. Each time she killed something, I would have a fit and call the Husband to dispose of the carcass. And each time, he would get angrier at me for refusing to dispose of the carcass. Then came the Day of the Rabbit.

It was a weekday. I had gone home on my lunch hour, as usual, to let the dogs out and give them fresh water. When I let them out, I noticed that they all ran to the same spot in the yard, barking furiously. Never a good sign. I stepped out onto the patio and saw that they were chasing a rabbit. I was well aware of Abby's prowess at killing (she can snatch birds on the wing, if they are flying low), but I never dreamed that she would be able to catch a rabbit..until I saw the way she was pursuing it. While the boys were simply running around and around after the bunny, Abby was crossing its path, making tighter circles with each pass. I started to have a really bad feeling about Mr. Bunny and his chances of getting out of my yard alive. I tried to call Abby off, but she was completely focused--and then--POUNCE! And SHAKE!! And bye-bye, bunny.

You need to understand at this point that I absolutely love animals. I cried like a baby once when I ran over a bird, even though I'm terrified of birds and don't want them anywhere near me. So, the thought of the dead little rabbit in my back yard broke my heart. And freaked me out, when I realized that someone was going to have to get rid of it. I called the husband at work (in another city, 40 minutes away), bawling. Here's a rough transcript of that conversation (keep in mind, I'm sobbing the whole time):

Husband: Okay, Abby killed a rabbit. I'm at work--what do you want me to do about it?
Me: I don't know.
Husband: I can't drive all the way home just to pick up a dead rabbit.
Me: Are you sure?
Husband: Are you crazy?
Me (sobbing even harder): I don't think I can do it.
Husband (annoyed): You have to. The dogs can't go out again until the rabbit is taken care of.
Me: (sob)
Husband: You're going to have to get a grip. Stop crying, get a couple of grocery bags, and go out there and pick up the rabbit. Tie the bags closed; throw them in the Herbie; go in and wash your hands; and call me when you get back to work. I love you. Bye.
Me: (sob)

It was awful, but I followed his instructions. And since then, I seem to have gotten...braver, somehow. Abby has continued to kill things, and I have cleaned up dozens of carcasses, without crying. (Except for the bird that she swallowed whole, which is a blog post in itself). At some point, I decided that, if I could clean up carcasses, I could kill bugs, too. Imagine the Husband's surprise when he asked me (following a series of thumps and bangs in the kitchen) what I was doing, and I answered, "Killing a spider." I've even killed a couple of really big ones! I'm kind of proud of myself, to be honest. But I still refuse to have anything to do with the car, except for driving it. A girl can only take so much.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sir Dance-A-Lot is on Fire!

Woohoo! Go, Lance! He and Lacey TOTALLY kicked butt tonight, including Brooke's. Both of their dances were great--technically correct, and full of fun. It was so cool for him, particularly because his grandpa was in the audience. I will be REALLY surprised if he doesn't make it to the semifinals.

(Sorry. It's almost over..and I'm aware that I have a problem. It's just so much fun to watch.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Um...Am I Supposed to be Doing Something?

It's going to be a busy week, so I thought I should sneak in a quick blog post while I have a minute. Our drama team at church is putting on a play next Sunday, and I have been assigned with preparing some photos and a PowerPoint presentation to run along with the play. It's not difficult stuff, just time-consuming, so my evenings will be busy. There was something else I needed to do for the play...what was it again?

Oh, that's right. I need to LEARN. MY. LINES. The play is in six days, and I have no idea what my lines are, even though there are only five of them. Yep, five lines, and I can't learn them to save my life. Each time they come up in the script, it's like I'm hearing them for the very first time. What happened to my memory, anyway?

When I was young, I had a near-photographic memory. I was actually accused of cheating on a history test once because my answer was phrased exactly the same as the text in the book. The teacher didn't believe me at first when I told him that I remembered things based on how they look, and I could "see" the text printed on the page in my memory. (He eventually let it go, although I don't think he ever trusted me after that.) It was great--I didn't have to write myself notes, make lists, etc., I just remembered. Everything.

Unfortunately, I kind of went a little nuts in my 20s, and killed a ton of my brain cells. I didn't notice the effect right away; everything still seemed to be working okay, until the past couple of years. Now, in my late 30s, some parts of my memory are still fine: song lyrics, birthdays of people I haven't seen since the 80s, those types of things are all still there. Important things, however, are gone. I have to write myself notes for everything, and I can't even remember five stinkin' lines for a play.

Luckily, lots of the other folks on the drama team have memory problems, too, so they are pros in the art of cheat-sheet-concealment. After discussing my problem with them at practice on Saturday, I think I have a plan. Since I can't trust my faulty memory (especially in a high-pressure situation), I'm going to copy all of my pages really small and tuck them in the sleeve of my costume. Ta-da! No more worries about embarrassing myself in front of a couple hundred people by forgetting what I am supposed to say! I just have to remember to write myself a note so I won't forget to put on the costume.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My REAL Laptop

For my birthday in August, I received the gift of wireless Internet access from my wonderful, generous aunt. The same wonderful aunt who, several months ago, had also given me her old laptop when she got a new one. My plan, all along, was to have everything set up so that I could start a blog; I wanted to write in the evenings from the comfort of the couch, and still be able to watch TV. (My desktop computer is upstairs, away from the TV, the kitchen, and the door that the dogs want to go out of every few minutes.) My lovely Husband, who is also a Computer Guy, set it all up for me and it works like a charm.

You know there has to be problem, though, or I wouldn't be writing about it. The problem? My REAL laptop is not a computer at all. It is a 35-pound, buff-colored Cocker Spaniel, who believes that my lap was created for the sole purpose of providing him with a napping spot. Every evening, whether I'm using the computer or not, he stretches out across my belly, and will not move. For anything. I'm actually typing this AROUND the rotten mutt, and he has the audacity to bat my hand away from the touchpad with his paw every few minutes, because it is too close to his whiskers. People who don't have pets (and maybe some who do) probably wonder why I put up with it.

Here's why:

I just can't resist his little face, that's all. And he totally knows I'm a sucker.

Oh, there are also two more dogs, and I'm a sucker for them, too. So, if I don't write a blog post for a few days, it's not because I don't have anything to say. It's just that all three of them are on my lap, and there's no room for the computer.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Exhibit #4,876 in My Case Against Bugs

So, I had to go to a nearby small town today for a meeting. The meeting was completely pointless, and a waste of time and gas, but at least the scenery on the way back to my office is really pretty. I had good music playing, and I was all set for a nice drive back--until I felt a tickle on my leg. It was a SPIDER! On my leg!! And I was in heavy traffic!!! I commenced my usual bug-flinging routine/fit, until I was pretty comfortable that I had flung it out the window. Whew. Okay, back to the music...gorgeous day...beautiful leaves...AAGGHH! Spider on my HAND!! More wild hand-flinging, some unintelligible ranting, and it disappeared--under my seat. At every stop on the way back, I was checking under my seat (and on my arms and legs) for the cursed monster. Man, I hate bugs. And the worst part? It's still in there!