And Then I Stepped in Gum . . .

Monday, May 31, 2004

Singing the Praises of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is truly a miracle product. A few months ago, when I got a free sample in the mail, I tried it out on some marks on our walls, and it worked really well. It's gotten off crayon, finger smudges, grease stains, furniture marks, eyeliner, and myriad other marks that our walls accumulate throughout the course of normal family life. But today's feat marks the acme of Magic Eraser achievement.

Ian, our little artiste, is obsessed with writing instruments. I have had to literally collect all the pens, crayons, and markers I could find and get them out of his reach, as he loves to draw with whatever he can find. Many times his art makes it to actual paper, but he can at times be indiscriminate with location. (He especially likes the sound of the crayon drawing on the Little Tikes plastic kids' table, but I often let this go.)

Of course, this can lead to problems. He's already, at 17 months, written on more books than Katie has in her whole 5 years. At one point he colored both legs with copious amounts of green marker scribbles. And he's written on the walls numerous times (he is the source for the eyeliner work referenced above). But today he found a Sharpie. A permanent marker. Writes on anything. Including your big sister's "favorite" plastic Clydesdale (I say "favorite" in quotes because today was the first I'd heard of this preference).

Yes, Ian decided the Clydesdale's right flank needed a bit of decoration. And while he was at it, he colored one of Katie's shoes (which he was wearing at the time), his right knee, his left hand, and his face. With Sharpie.

Much moaning and gnashing of teeth ensued (most of it from Katie, a bit from me). Katie tried to wash the marker off the horse with soap and water. It was her favorite horse, she wailed. I, being the resourceful mommy that I am, immediately thought of the Magic Eraser. And ta-da! The ME worked. Scrubbed that "permanent" marker right off the little plastic toy. It is truly a miracle. I even got a "thank you" from Katie (almost a miracle in itself).

I thought about trying to use it on Ian, but rubbing alcohol sufficed for him. Alas, the ME could do nothing for the suede shoe, but Katie didn't really care about that anyway. Isn't it nice to be the hero?

Now where is that lockbox for all the markers . . .?

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Another Milestone Passed

We have survived our first hosted sleepover. I have only one question about the whole ordeal -- what on earth were we thinking? (In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that Dave would probably strenuously object to the use of the term "we" there. In fact, at one point, he half-jokingly accused me of orchestrating the whole thing in order to get him to see the merits of a vasectomy.)

It actually didn't go too badly, all things considered. The terrors -- I mean, girls -- behaved most of the time. It's just that for an event with the world "sleep" in its name, not too terribly much of that happened. Of course, we let them stay up late to start with, so the girls, who are 5 and who both have 8:00 bedtimes, didn't even get put to bed until about 9:30, and that was because they were saying they were tired. They had made their own pizzas, watched The Lion King 1 1/2, made foam treasure boxes, eaten grapes, and played some kind of made-up game about a unicorn-pegasus who uses magic on Nemo and teaches him to fly. So they'd crammed a lot in. I read them a story and we sang our songs. And then the fun began.

We had them sleeping on the pullout sofa in the living room -- Katie's choice. Dave and I went downstairs to watch some TV. They came down every 10 minutes, I kid you not, from 9:30 until 11:30. Excuses ranged from not being able to sleep because of car headlights through the window to sleeping bags being uncomfortable to Karina missing her family. And of course, at 10:30 they were hungry and thirsty (they got water, no food -- mean mom!). We had two phone calls to Karina's mom. At 11:30, Karina was crying and saying she wanted to go home, but the phone call convinced her to stay. Since the living room was a complete no-go, and I had hopes that if I secluded them well enough in a dark place, they might sleep late in the morning, we instituted a change of venue. Katie threw a fit at the idea of sleeping in her room (too mundane? I don't know), so we put them in her tent in the basement. We got them all situated, and told them they needed to sleep.

Much loud talking and giggling ensued. Threats were communicated. Katie came to our room three more times. I think they finally fell asleep around 12:30. And then they were up at 6:30. Argh! So Katie, who usually gets 10-11 hours of sleep, got 6. Needless to say, she was Miss Fun this morning. About half an hour of sobbing and being sent to her room for various reasons. But she finally perked up a little, and the girls had pancakes and bacon for breakfast, played outside, and did one more craft (sun-paint on bandanas, that only worked marginally well -- and I only had to break up one catfight over the paintbrush). Then Karina's dad came, and Katie cried that Karina had to leave. Then she slept for 2 hours. Not quite enough to make up for it, but them's the breaks.

Now we're off to Ikea for their "super summer sale." And the dangerous thing is that we've just realized we have access to a truck next week, so we could buy things to bring home and pick them up later, no matter how big they are. Yikes!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Random Bloggage

I'm distracted today. Can't concentrate on much. Dave's running around being Mr. Efficient Packer the last couple of days, and I'm lucky to get three boxes from the pantry done. Yesterday I blamed it on recovering from mowing the lawn without having taken my allergy medicine, but I don't know what to blame it on today.

I took my car in to get its oil changed (only 1,500 or so miles overdue) and to get inspected, having realized yesterday that, oops, my inspection sticker expired on the 9th. Well, Jiffy Lube doesn't do inspections, I found out, but that's where my coupon for the oil change was, so I went there anyway, and figured I'd go elsewhere afterward. However, I ended up walking home from JL -- the guys there broke my car. Something was screwed on too tightly and they snapped it -- I don't quite follow what happened. The upshot was they were going to have to have it towed to a mechanic to fix it, and I'll get the car back tomorrow. The guy was exceedingly apologetic -- I think he kept expecting me to light into him and cuss him out -- but it was really no big deal today. Dave's not working, so we've got both cars around, and there's no place I really have to be by myself. So, c'est la vie. He gets a pass from the customer from hell this time.

In other news, I found out my brother has been diagnosed with lupus. I heard it from my mom, so I don't have a whole lot of details, but I'll call him tonight. I'm worried, of course -- it sounds like a relatively serious, but fortunately not usually life-threatening, disease. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he's going to be OK.

That's it from here -- not much going on.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Beware the Saturn L300 of Doom

I've been driving for 16 years. I wouldn't say I'm the best driver in the world, but I'm not the worst. I've had a couple of accidents, but they were all slow-speed, parking lot or snowy road fender benders, and no one was hurt in any of them. But lately I seem to have become a menace to small furry creatures.

I started this blog a little while ago, and one of my first posts was about hitting a rabbit on the road. I felt bad, but I also reasoned that that was the chance the poor bunny took when bounding across the highway at 1 in the morning. Today I had a worse experience. I hit a cat that leapt in front of my car on my neighborhood street.

I stopped immediately, and looked into my rear view mirror, hoping I hadn't actually hit it, only to see it writhing at the side of the road. I ran out of the car to the cat, and petted him gently as he twitched a few more times, thinking that if it was just a broken leg or something, I would take him to a vet. Unfortunately, he died. He was probably a stray -- he had no collar or tags, and he wasn't particularly clean -- but I feel awful. I don't know what to do to make up for it.

All I can say is, this is just one more reason for our cats to stay inside the house. I would hate to know that one of our pets died like that -- alone at the side of the road, with no one to know what happened.

Speaking of cats, we have had a change in situation regarding our nasty, evil cat, Zara, whom we were considering putting down to put her (and us) out of her misery before we moved. Long story short, for about the last 8 months, Zara has been more evil than ever (she was always a bit grumpy), and has been unable to tolerate our other cat, Ophelia. Most of the time, Zara holed up in our room, refusing to come out to the rest of the house. We took her to the vet, and even put her on a type of kitty Prozac, but nothing helped. Lately she's been getting a little bit better, but not that much. Still, it was enough that we were considering commuting her death sentence. So the other day I called the vet to ask about the process of euthanasia, so that we had all the information we needed. He suggested a last-ditch medication -- last-ditch because it has the potential to cause diabetes or sudden bone marrow failure (and death), though that's relatively rare. He wrote the prescription, I picked it up that afternoon, and we started Zara on it a few days ago.

Oh. My. God. It's a miracle -- we almost have our old Zara back. She's coming out in the living room (I keep being surprised by her, since I don't expect to see here there). She's purring. She's snuggling. She's able to come within 2 feet of Ophelia without growling and hissing and freaking out. She's playing with us. She's scratching the sofa again (OK, that's not the most desirable thing, but it's something she hasn't done since she changed, because whenever she has been in the living room, she's just slunk around the perimeter of the room or hidden under the end table). I'm so glad this seems to be working for her.

Now we just have to figure out the logistics of getting her and Ophelia down to Alabama next month at a minimum of cost, effort, and trauma. At the moment, the plan seems to be that we'll fly my sister and her fiance up here and have them drive the two cats down in our second car, which will save us the $1,000 we've been quoted for transporting the car and the ~$800 it would cost us to board and transport the cats. Let's hope the happy hormones keep Zara in good spirits through all the changes!

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Where is everybody?

OK, I know some of you are out moving and unpacking and stuff, but I miss everyone's posts. Tori, Lani, Theresa -- what's going on with you guys? And all of the blogs that I read but whose authors I don't know personally seem to have taken a hiatus also. The only one who's posted recently is my hubby, and I know how he feels about everything anyway. (Well, not really -- his blog has actually been pretty enlightening.)

So today we splurged and bought ourselves a new refrigerator. No, our house isn't finished yet, although it's getting closer (username JennDM, leave password blank). But the sale was good, so we bought it now. I can't believe we're spending almost twice as much as we need to on a refrigerator, but I have to admit that I love this refrigerator. No more stooping to see the bottom and never using the food in the back of the fridge because I can't really see what's there. It's just beautiful. I can't wait until we get it.

We also looked at washers and dryers, and I have to say, it's really hard to get excited about these. I have no idea what we really want for this. The $1,000 ones sure would be nice, but I really don't see the point. So we're looking at mid-range, and I just can't see enough of a difference among the different types. We decided not to make a decision today -- we're going to research it a bit and see what we can figure out.

Yesterday was spent packing -- Dave in the studio, and I in my office, the kids relatively on their own for most of the day -- so I dragged all and sundry to an arts and crafts fair for some enriching time together. Not Dave's favorite thing to do, but he didn't whine too much. Usually I spend most of my time at a craft fair thinking, "I could do that -- they want how much for it?" Today I actually bought something -- a dress for Katie and a matching dress for her doll -- from Babies and Bows. The dresses were just beautiful and really well-made, with very nice fabric. And the prices were reasonable too -- $28 for Katie's dress and $12 for the doll's. I think this will be her "graduation" dress.

I'd love to know the behind-the-scenes stuff of a craft fair life. I wonder how much money one can make at it, and how much effort one has to put in to make a living. I've been getting into crocheting and knitting, and recently I made a couple of bibs and booties sets for a friend who's having twins, and they only took a few hours to make them. I wonder what people would pay for them. It seems like an interesting alternative fantasy life to pursue some day.

I'll think about it while I continue packing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I'm not worried . . . well, not really worried

Ian ia 16 months, 3 weeks old. He's a very bright kid. We know he is. At less than a year, he was trying to put keys in the doorknob, having obviously figured out what keys are for and how to use them. Today I watched him go through the steps of setting up a baseball tee-launcher thingy, putting the ball in, standing the tee up, stepping on the launcher button -- none of it successfully, but still, he knew all the steps from having watched an older kid do them. He can follow all of our directions, including two-step directions like "Pick up your truck and put it in your bedroom." He can nod and shake his head to commmunicate "yes" and "no" at the appropriate times and with appropriate vigor. He can wave "bye." So we know he's smart.

So why am I so hung up on the fact that he's not talking yet? I mean, really no countable words. All right, he says "nuh" for nurse, and "uh-oh," and "ahhh-ohhhh" for all over (at the end of TV shows, when he sees the credits). But no actual, discernible words.

Now, I'm one of the most laid-back moms I know (about most things -- of course, I have my neurotic quirks, like not letting anyone leave the house without a hair brushing). And with your second, you're even more laid back. I do remember being worked up about Katie being 14 months old with no words, and now, at age 5, you can't shut her up (believe me, we've tried). So at 14 months, I said, "Eh, he'll talk sooner or later. Really, I'm not worried." At 15 months, I figured it was just a matter of time. At 16 months, I'm -- well, not exactly worried,, more like concerned, I guess.

It sure would be easier if this kid could talk. I mean, we've made astronomical leaps and bounds in communication just since he started nodding, but talking seems like it would help even more with everybody's frustration. Still, he's a happy, healthy, smart kid, who can keep himself pretty occupied (not always safely occupied -- he clambered to the top of an 8-foot slide today), and I shouldn't worry. I'm not worried.

But I keep thinking about it.

Monday, May 10, 2004

It's Been a While

I know, I know. I'm tardy in updating. I actually spent half an hour on Saturday writing an introspective post that had been on my mind for a week and a half, then hit the wrong button and lost all of it. Argh! I'll try to recreate it at some point, but maybe I need to try blogging in smaller chunks.

Here's my insight for today. Dave and I have been going through boxes of old papers that we've toted around for far too long (college notes on Classics 10A, for example -- and even stuff dating back to elementary school). Today I ran across a copy of "The Combination Chronicle," a newsletter (on that lovely smelling old ditto paper) for my combination 5th/6th grade class in Bellevue, Nebraska. My contribution to the project? I'm listed as proofreader. Could it be fate?