Archive - January 2009

Everything Was Going So Well
Welcome To Sombertown
What I Meant to Say
What a Day!
No You Didn’t
There’s Been Knitting
At Least I Didn’t Say “I Told You So”

Everything Was Going So Well

During Pumpkin Girl’s piano lesson I realized that it was a good time to mop the kitchen and bathroom floors. So I did.

All clean and shiny and smelling like lemon verbena.

As I said goodbye to the piano teacher, I caught a whiff of something, shall we say…not so pleasant.

I walked through the kitchen towards the living room and realized I hadn’t seen Bip in several minutes.


He replied from the newly cleaned bathroom, “I have sumting to tell you.”

Oh no.

Let’s just say that his stomach is clearly upset and he had made a mess of epic proportions all over his clothes, himself, the toilet and my clean floor.  Clothes were immediately thrown in the washing machine, and I carried Bip at arms length upstairs for a bath.  Boo was put to work supervising the bath while I tackled the bathroom.

I wiped up and mopped again, remembering to throw the mop head into the washer with the clothes and now my bathroom is clean again.  This time it smells like Chlorox wipes and Lysol spray.

I bathed the boy and washed my hands 52 times because of course I didn’t wear gloves while cleaning. Gloves are for rookies anyways.

Oh, and the computer is acting up again.


We finally got some snow today!  We’ve been freezing our patooties off, but not any snow.

This is the snowman the boys made.  It wore Philip’s beret briefly before he headed back to work.

Pumpkin Girl and I made this one.

We barely got enough snow to make those two snowmen and just doing that uncovered the grass.  I bet that’s all the snow we get this season.  Do you think we’ll get much more in Colorado?

Welcome To Sombertown

No doubt you’ve all seen the Rankin-Bass Christmas movie “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”  Do you remember when Herr Burgermeister says, “Toys are hereby declared illegal, immoral, unlawful AND anyone found with a toy in his possession will be placed under arrest and thrown in the dungeon. No kidding!”  We laugh because it is such an outrageous thing to say.  Toys!  Illegal!  Bah, what will they think of next?

Well, welcome to Sombertown, folks.  On February 10th, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) will take effect and all toys sold in the US will have to be tested for lead and phthalates.  Sounds good right? Keep those cheap, imported, lead laced toys out of the hands of our children!

The problem is, every toy currently on the shelves will have to have been tested or pulled from the shelves.  Not just toys either.  The way the law is written it applies to bicycles, clothing, books, craft kits…ANYTHING marketed at children under 12 years old.  Good ahead, click on that link in the last sentence and see what’s about to happen to your local libraries.

Have you ever bought a knit Barbie dress, a handmade doll cradle or cute hair bows at a craft show?  What about cloth diapers from a work at home mom? I have.  But you won’t be able to anymore.  The CPSIA applies to these, too. Testing these products will be too expensive for these “manufacturers” and they will have to go out of business.  And you’d better believe that the big name toy manufacturers will pass on the added expense to the consumer.  Already one European company, Selecta, which makes some of my favorite wooden toys has pulled out of the US market.

You can read more about it all here:  All Worry and No Play

So what can you do?  Visit the Handmade Toy Alliance, read what they have to say, follow the links at the bottom of their homepage to write a letter to your Congressmen.  This is serious, people.  Imagine what is going to happen when this law goes into effect.

In the words of Kris Kringle, “Watch out for that dolly. She’s a hardened criminal, I hear.”

What I Meant to Say

What I wanted to tell you on Tuesday, before my day went all higgeldy-piggledy, was about how nice my birthday was.

Philip got me an iTouch which I am enjoying immensely.  I don’t use my cell phone often enough to justify any more than a prepaid plan, so an iPhone would have been an extravagance I was unwilling to pay money for.  We hit a minor snag during the day when we couldn’t remember the stinkin’ password to our router, so my iTouch wasn’t able to do much of anything.  We finally got that squared away and I got busy downloading fun applications.  I got Aurora Feint, Mancala, Topple and Suduko.  If you’ve got an iTouch/Phone, what free or cheap applications do you enjoy?

I also got a Wii Music game.  Way. Too.  Fun!  Easy enough for the kids to enjoy, but still somewhat challenging.  Pumpkin Girl and I totally rock the handbells, playing “Do Re Mi” together.

Speaking of Pumpkin Girl, she and Boo made me a book, complete with recycled cardboard box covers.  The funny thing is, they faced the boxes so the graphics are facing out, and they used a Hostess Cupcake box and a Nilla Wafer box.  Yummy!  Pumpkin wrote the story about a princess and her family.  Boo did the stapling. They were all secretive and busy the day before, the way kids are when they are planning a surprise.  I pretended not to know something was up and made sure to stand on the landing of the stairs and call down loudly to Philip that I was going upstairs now, just in case he needed me.  The scurrying, squeals and slamming of the door that followed cracked me up. I think their book is my favorite gift ever.

We had already gone out to eat on Sunday since we anticipated a lot of pre-inauguration traffic on Monday night.  Bip loves Chili’s, so we stopped there on the way home from the craft store.  It was lunch time, but we ordered dessert.  I’m not sure why, but they asked if we were celebrating a birthday.  We told them we were celebrating mine and they gave us the dessert on the house.  It was their white chocolate molten cake.  Delicious!

So see – I can have good days, too! Granted, they aren’t nearly as funny in retrospect, but they do happen!

What a Day!

My husband had today off as did many people who work in the District.  So we took the day off school too, even though we got a great civics lesson watching the inauguration.  We looked for a church friend on TV, he was part of the honor guard and carrying a flag.  They never zoomed in close enough to any of the military people for us to identify him, though.

Did anyone notice that we traded one big eared president for another?  I wonder what that means.

My friend Shanti, who is younger than me and therefore far less curmudgeonly, got out with the crowds today.  Check out her Inauguration Meanderings.

Our day did not actually center around politics, though.  We spent most of the time seriously purging and packing up the childrens’ rooms.  It is so hard to get them to give up any of their valuable possessions, no matter how infrequently they play with them.  However, they were very willing to allow us to pack up lots and lots of toys and stuffed animals until we arrive in Colorado – in 6 months!  We agreed that if there is anything that got packed up that they want to play with before we move, they can ask and we’ll get it for them.  Everything else that stays packed up until after we move – well, we got them to agree that we’ll evaluate it at that time.  I’m betting a lot of it can be given away.  Ideally, of course, we’d get rid of it before we move, but this is a good compromise.

Going through every square inch of the bedroom and playroom was exhausting and frustrating.  Yet satisfying.  Pumpkin Girl especially, who is very sentimental, saw the benefit of moving out lesser used toys to make room for her ever growing collection of craft supplies (resemble mom much?).

Then I spent a good half hour sobbing my eyes out on Philip’s shoulder about a misunderstanding I had with someone else.  Turns out I completely didn’t understand what I read and by the time I had a solution worked out, a new email had arrived explaining what the situation really was.

But right under that email was a notification from PayPal regarding the shipping information for a $1,600 order I didn’t place!  Holy Fraud, Batman, we’ve been hacked!  The next 45 minutes or so was spent with Philip on one phone and me on another, filing a claim with Paypal, contacting the bank, etc, etc, etc.  Someone paid for a Macbook they bought on eBay with my Paypal account.  I have now changed every single password on every online account that I can think of, including the one to my blog.

It’s no wonder I have a headache, is it?


Today is my birthday and in honor of the occassion, I declare a national holiday.  Go ahead, take today off!  And if you live in DC, take tomorrow off, too.

It’s ok, you can thank me later.

No You Didn’t

Here’s a funny story for you, just because.

About 15 years ago, there was a commercial for Jello No Bake Cheesecake.  A youngish woman was busy getting ready for some sort of informal get together at her house and thankfully, with all she had to do, spending time making a delicious cheesecake was not one of them. Thanks to Jello, of course.  Her friends are complimenting her on the cheesecake and asking her where she bought it and she says she made it herself.  One friend says, “You made it yourself?! No wonder you didn’t have time to do your hair!”  At which they all laugh and the hostess throws her napkin at her friend.  The ad ends with the line, “Jello No Bake Cheesecake – you’ll even have time to do your hair.”

Cute ad, right?

At the time, Philip was attending an Army school and the wives would often have coffees – it’s actually a Social Function, not just a couple of friends over for a cuppa.  A Coffee involves more extensive cleaning of your home, a couple of different tasty treats and nicer clothes.  Still informal, but a Function, nonetheless.  We sit around talking and socializing and if there is any information that needs to be broadcast, this is the place to do it.  Don’t get it mixed up with lunch at the club or a Family Support Group meeting (or whatever we’re calling them these days) or a Welcome or Farewell Tea.  Anyhoo…we had coffees about once a month at different people’s homes.

So we’re having a coffee and all is well and we’re talking and having a good time.  Someone compliments the hostess on her cheesecake and she says, “Oh it’s a Jello No Bake Cheesecake.”

Oh yes I did.

And oh no, they did not.

That is, they did not laugh when I promptly blurted out, “No wonder you didn’t have time to do your hair.”  One of the girls- I call us girls because we were all in our early 20s – even glared at me.  I was aghast when I realized that they had no idea what I was referencing.  Apparently I was the only person who had seen the commericial. I explained myself and got some laughter, and thankfully the hostess was gracious and understanding.  The one who glared at me never saw the humor, but she was sort of snooty anyway.

I’m not sure there is a moral to this story.  Just something funny to warm your probably freezing day. :)

There’s Been Knitting

Sorry about the big silence last week.  My parents were visiting and I had to spend less time on the computer and more time making it look I was doing housework or being busy.  I did get a lot of knitting time in, with a couple of completed projects to show for it.

I made a dishcloth – woohoo!  No stunning feat of knitting prowess here, just a stash of cheap yarn and the need to get out from under the massive projects I’ve undertaken of late.  Very quick, very satisfying.  You can find the pattern here:  Ballband Dishcloth.  That’s the yarn company’s actual website, but aren’t my pictures way better?

And then I started this:

No, not a ghost with a hat, but a snowman without a scarf.  I’m still working on the scarf, then I’ll show you the finished product.  He’s just too cute not to share right now.

But before I started either of those projects, I finished something that is a surprise, so if your name is Jenn and you had a baby on Christmas Eve, you need to click away right now since this is the last thing in this post, or at least act surprised when you see this in person.

Really cute mock cable baby hat and…

a soft, warm blanket with a matching crocheted edging.


It’s still several days away, but the Inauguration is already annoying me.  It’s messing with my plans all over the place.  Last week, the President came to our base to say goodbye to some of the folks here and shut down the main street and a couple of the gates.  Something was Up today too, as I tried to leave base to take my parents to the Metro station.  An MP was stopping cars and having them turn around.  Right before I got to him, 2 of the President’s helicopters left from the helopad where they’re stationed.  Hmmm. The MP instructed me on how to get around the road closure and then I asked him what was up.  “Sorry, ma’am, I can’t discuss it,” was the answer.  OK, but hey look – aren’t those both the helicopters? (Whenever the Prez travels in Marine One, both helicopters are used at the same time.  Don’t worry, I learned this from the Military Channel, not any of the Army’s Top Men.)

So my plans for the upcoming national holiday are thwarted, too.  We usually hit some of the Smithsonians, but seeing as how they line the National Mall, I don’t think it’s going to be worth the hassle, being less than 24 hours away from the Big Event.  We considered leaving town for the weekend, but we’d have to return on Monday, coming into DC at precisely the same time as every.single. other. person. who thinks seeing the Inauguration will be fun.

Oh, and they are closing all bridges from VA into DC and a good number of offramps from MD to DC, too.  So at some point or another, it is going to be near impossible to get into the District.

Just call me Gripey McGripester.

At Least I Didn’t Say “I Told You So”

On Christmas Eve, Boo put on his dress pants and we discovered that he was outgrowing them, as ten year old boys tend to do.  They were still ok to wear to church, but it was time for new pants.  Later in the week when he was folding his laundry, he left the pants in the living room

I told him to put them away and he told me that he wanted to give them away now that they were too short.  I asked him to please put them away anyway, since he could still wear them if he needed to, until we could get him some new ones.

As ten year old boys tend to do, he brought the pants to his room, but left them on the floor, where I discovered them several days later, crumpled in a heap, now needing to be ironed.  I gave him a stern lecture and instructed him to put them away. Which is what I told him the first time.  No, I didn’t iron or rewash the pants.

Now here we are, a few weeks later.  My parents are visiting and wanted to take us all out to the brunch at the Officer’s Club after the children’s religious education class.  About 20 minutes before we need to leave to drop them off, Boo comes to me and asks if he should change into a collared shirt and his dress pants before class or after. Of course, I reminded him that his dress pants were a wrinkled mess from lying on his floor.

What ensued next was mind boggling.

He threw such a hissy fit over not having anything nice to wear for brunch.  We recommended that he wear jeans with his collared shirt, tie and dress shoes, but he wouldn’t have it.  We suggested just wearing what he was wearing, since brunch here is not all that dressy.  Nope, wouldn’t hear of it.   He was stomping around and carrying on so much that we needed to point out that if he’d hung the pants up in the first place, he would have them to wear.  Oh, and remember -he felt they were too short to wear anyway.

He stormed off, declaring that he was old enough to stay home alone, so he wasn’t going to brunch.  He said something else about not feeling right about wearing every day jeans with a nice shirt.

When he had left, Philip and I looked at each other and said, “Is he throwing a fit over…clothes?  When did he become so fashion conscious?”  It was pretty darn funny.  I guess we really should have been more sympathetic but honestly, who knew he cared so much about clothes?  This does not bode well for the teen years when he realizes that the ladies care about the fashion.

The lesson here is of course, when mom tells you to do something, you really should do it.  Or risk being known as Fashion Boy from here on out.

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