Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hijacking: The Great "Facial Tissue" Fiasco

(Disclaimer: This blog post is a hijacking, something I've wanted to do for a while, but hey, I feel it's time, and this is a justified topic. All opinions expressed in this post are those of the blogger's husband, and not those of the blogger, even if they should be because it's bloody common sense in this case)

There are certain things in life that just matter. They just do, it's a fact of life.

If you prefer a certain kind of car, for whatever reason, you are more than likely going to keep choosing that model or brand of car. It's what you like so you roll with it.

If you like foam pillows (for whatever misguided reasons you might have), you probably won't be able to deal with feather or down pillows, no matter how unbelievably comfortable they might be.

You might have a favorite type of ketchup, or mustard, or some other random condiment that you favor over another, and if push comes to shove and what you want isn't available, sure you might sink to the depths of depravity and use what's there, but that doesn't mean you have to like it, and can't sit there wanting your preference to be nearby.

So we come to the crux of our current fiasco. In addition to the sinus infection from Hell that won't go away, now my nose is running and I've caught some evil bug to make my life slightly more miserable (hopefully short-lived), and I'm at work. Google is fantastic, I love it here, but we have one greatly lacking amenity.

Our Kleenex (or "facial tissue" to be specific in this case") sucks.

Now, if you've never had the pleasure, and I use that word very lightly, of having to blow your nose into these things, well, you aren't missing much. It's like rubbing some 100-grit on your already distressed nose. It's not fun. Imagine the "toilet tissue" in a porta-potty at some big festival, and blowing your nose with it. That's what you get when you pull a Surpass brand "facial tissue" from it's evil demonic nondescript beige box of torture and press it to your face. It's just wrong. You are probably thinking to yourself, "Surpass? I've never heard of those before." These lovelies are a product of Kimberly-Clark Professional, and can be found via a quick web search where you also find they are made from at least "10% recycled consumer products", my guess is that 10% is directly from defective pads of 3M sandpaper, but I might be wrong.

I expressed my utter displeasure with the Surpass brand "facial tissue" to my wife, and she MOCKS me for my family's undying preference to Puffs tissues. Is wanting something that doesn't feel like sandpaper against my nose such a bad thing in all honesty? Is having a preferential brand of anything so horrible that one would be mocked as whining? Can't a man want a stupid specific type of facial tissue (normal Puffs, no lotion, those are just slimy and vile). I think not.

So tomorrow, if the Great Sinus Flood of March '09 has not stopped already, there will be a box of plain old Puffs tissues on my desk and I can banish the Surpass back to the depth of whatever Hell they originated from. I'm sure my wife will continue to brand me a whiny $@%*&, but I say good riddance.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Break Survival Log: Days 1 - 4

Last Friday was the official start of Spring Break for the entire state of Oregon. From the coast to the eastern desert region, kids young and old spilled out of schoolyards, tumbled off of buses, and sprinted home full of delight and thrilled that they were least temporarily.

And so began Mommy Survival Boot Camp.

To be honest, for the most part Spring Break has gone off without a hitch. Unlike some (insane) people we know, we aren't going anywhere. We're boring like that. We're just hanging out at home. But that doesn't mean that I don't have to find a way to fill the endless hours with something other than Spongebob, The Wonderpets, and my personal favorite, Phineas and Ferb. So we have endeavored to keep busy.

After a blissfully uneventful Saturday, my little campers were getting restless by Sunday afternoon. So while my little guy AND my big guy napped the last of the daylight away, Banana and Kbear suited up and we drove to the gym for a swim.

Thus began the "Swimming With Wildlife" chapter of our Spring Break Extravaganza.

The girls were having a blast jumping, splashing, and paddling around in the shallow end of the pool while I relaxed in a comfy padded chair at the water's edge. Banana was showing off her newly acquired skills from two weeks of school swimming lessons (have I ever mentioned how much I love her school?) and floating on her back like a pro and Kbear was being incredibly brave and actually venturing off of the steps past the waist level with the assistance of her Nana-purchased-super-cool-Speedo arm floaties.

And then it happened.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a middle aged man (maybe early fifties) enter the pool area from the locker room. Being a Mom, I make it my business to be nosy and check out anyone who enters the vicinity of my kids, but I have to admit that more than typical overbearing mommy protectiveness, what really caught my eye was the fact that this dude had the single most hairy set of legs I've ever seen. It was genuinely incredible.

So Mr. Hairy Legs wades into the pool and as he passes by where I'm sitting, I note that the poor dude's follicle issues don't just concern his lower extremities. This guy was FURRY.

Now before I should go on, I feel the need to make a quick point. I'm not making fun of the guy. I'm REALLY not. I get it - some guys get old, and they get hairy. It grows in their ears, it grows on their chests, etc etc. I GET IT. And I'm sure that it takes a hell of a lot of courage (and possibly several years of therapy) to go swimming or to walk around sans shirt when you practically have a pelt. MY POINT is that although *I* understand that these things happen, I have two incredibly precocious, curious, LOUD little girls who are prone to asking embarrassing questions at extremely inopportune times.

It was about this time that I noticed Kbear. She had stopped her wading and was paused mid-float on the steps.....staring. She was utterly fascinated by our overly-insulated swimming companion. She watched him intently, worrying her lower lip with her teeth the way she does when she's really concentrating. And that's when I started to pray.


Thankfully, the moment passed uneventfully. I was safe from true mortification and thankfully, so was everyone else in the pool. However, it was soon after that key moment that I decided it was time to hit the showers and head home. I wasn't about to push my luck with Fate.

Monday was a whirlwind of sidewalk chalk and lunch at McDonald's with my friends Charlotte and Laura and all of our assorted children in what had to be the most crowded and noisy play place on the planet. Two Excedrin migraine later, we met up with my mother-in-law and my sweethearts of a niece and nephew after dinner for ice cream at dairy queen, where Chunk appointed himself the dessert sampler and proceeded to check the quality of every one's orders.

Today was (thankfully) a down day. The kids all slept in. We had a late breakfast and did some crafts until my mother-in-law volunteered to pick up the girls for dinner at her place with their cousins. It's been a wonderfully quiet afternoon and I got my kitchen cleaned without anyone coming in for a snack five minutes after the last clean dish was dried and put away.

We've still got a lot planned. I promised the girls some time with their Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker, we're going to hit the park, do some more crafts, play with some more chalk, take over the library, and last but not least, celebrate a certain young Chunker's SECOND BIRTHDAY this weekend.

How fast it flies! Let the Spring Break Survival continue!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mama, she's a QUEEN!

You've got to love small town living sometimes.

On Sunday night, Skippy and I decided to say the hell with cooking. Everyone was recovering from colds, and I hadn't taken anything out of the freezer so we decided to chuck responsibility out the window and go out for pizza. We invited my mother-in-law Dixie with us and then headed over to pick up her along with Banana and Kbear, who had spent an afternoon playing blissfully at Grammy's house. Then we headed across town to Spooky's.

Having grown up in suburban Chicago, I am super picky about my pizza. Just any old pizza will not do. Unfortunately, oftentimes in many Oregon towns if you ask the locals where the best pizza place is, they will point you to Domino's in one direction, and Pizza Hut in another. Not many options abound. It is a sad sorry state of affairs.

However here in our own little bit of the middle of nowhere, we are 'lucky' enough to have Spooky's. Spooky's is our local pizza joint that specializes in locally brewed beer, insanely over-priced pizza, and a variety of sandwiches. They have a big screen TV for watching sports, a small arcade for the kids, and various temporary tattoo and lead-based toy machines that will dispense anything to you for a quarter. Last but not least is the giant moose head mounted in the doorway that oversees all of the proceedings. The killer fries make up for the moose head.

And let's face it...beggars can't be choosers.

So we get settled at our table and Skippy heads off to order way too much food for way too much money and the girls run off to the arcade while Dixie and I try to strap Chunk into his highchair. The place is hopping busy on a Sunday night and I'm people watching the long line leading up to the counter when a young lady catches my eye.

First of all, there's something about the way she's holding herself. Very confident, full of smiles and laughter. Her hair frames her face in big fluffy curls and her makeup is perfectly applied. She has cowboy boots and a gorgeous black cowboy hat sits on her impecably done hair.

She is without a doubt one of our local rodeo princesses.

When we moved to Oregon, the rodeo culture was completely new to me. And I have to admit, I get just as much of a kick out of seeing these girls in the local parades as Banana and Kbear do. I'll also admit that I'm not completely up on the logistics of the competition but I know that it takes a lot of time and money and dedication to support those young ladies. When Banana and K see them in the Cherry Fest parade every year, they literally squeal with delight at the gorgeous horses carrying such pretty girls in crowns seated in beautiful flower festooned saddles.

And there was one, right in the middle of Spooky's.

Once our cheesy breadsticks arrived, Banana and Kbear came running from the arcade and I leaned across our table conspiratorily...

"Pssssssst.....girls. Look over at the next table.....I bet that's a rodeo princess."

Kbear's eyes grow huge, "Can we go talk to her?" she whispers.

We three grown ups chuckle indulgently and give them some conversation coaching and watch while Kbear brazenly walks up to interrupt the other table's dinner, Banana play acting shyness behind her every step of the way.

"Excuse me," K says politely as the young lady in the cowboy hat turns around, "but are you a princess?"

The girl flashes my girls a big smile. "Actually," she tells them confidingly "I'm a rodeo QUEEN."

The girls eyes get HUGE and they scurry back to our table, obviously overwhelmed into stunned silence by their discovery. A few minutes later, Miss Cowboy hat comes over to our table and takes a moment to crouch down so that she can talk to each of my girls, asking them their names and signing little cards with her picture for each of them.

Without a doubt, it was the highlight of my girls' weekend. They jabbered about it all through dinner and all the way home and Banana even insisted on taking her "autograph" to school with her the next day.

So thank you, Miss Wasco County Rodeo Queen Melissa. You were sweet and gracious and made my little girls' night!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Forgive me, people of the interwebs....

For I have sinned.

It has been....well it's been a long ass time since my last blog.

I've got to tell you, I'm not sure what happened. It's not that I haven't realized that I've fallen behind on my blogging, it's just that we've been busy. Really, insanely, constantly-on-the-go busy. But it's not as if we're busy doing anything that is fantastically interesting. Skippy goes to work. I do laundry. The girls go to school. Chunk says "Mama?" fourteen thousand times a day.

I mean really, contain your excitement people!

In a nutshell, everything is fine in the W house. Our third Oregon winter is hanging on a bit harder than in previous years, and we are all VERY ready for spring. Here's a quick rundown on the whole fam:

Chunk: Continues to be the coolest little boy ever born. He is a constant crack up. New words include "Hello" (pronounced "Heh-wo"), "funny," and the ever popular "I want cheese." He is also fond of grabbing his diaper and telling me "EWWWWWW" after a bodily function and we are gearing up for the great unknown: "POTTY TRAINING A BOY." I am kind of waiting for warmer weather...although why I don't know - it's not as if I'm going to turn him loose in the yard with a bare bum.

He is the busiest child I have every seen and scary-smart. He also has a keen sugar radar - a few weeks ago I had some chocolates hidden in my nightstand drawer. Chunk managed to sniff them out and promptly devoured them. I didn't realize this sad sad fact until I went to get one later that night....and found one wrapper and one half eaten raspberry fig newton that had been left as payment. Some would say at least he traded me something!

Chunker will be two in just a few short weeks! It's hard to believe.

Kbear is also being her normal self, which means she is a cuddly and sweet little monster who is incapable of sitting still. She is in her last few months of pre-school and every day she asks when she gets to start Kindergarten and ride the bus like a big girl. Honestly, I'm still not ready but I'm looking forward to having a great summer with her.

K is probably my most challenging child. She is trouble personified, but also sensitive and sweet. It's hard to chastise a monster who looks like a curly haired angel. She is addicted to hot chocolate from Starbucks and if I'm not careful she's going to put a serious dent in my already-meager coffee budget. She is also very excited to start softball in the spring, even though she has no idea what softball is. And she continues to eat more breakfast than the rest of us combined, before she grazes throughout the rest of her day.

She is sweet and friendly and she is going to make my life a living hell in ten years.

Banana is rockin' school and is doing very well. She is getting unbelievably tall and her hair is getting long. In the mornings I'll catch her brushing it in the bathroom and I am struck at how gorgeous she is. Bree is reading at a second grade level and is doing well in her new math group. She is in the drama club at school and her class is finishing up two week's worth of swimming lessons on Friday.

Banana continues to be my "little mama." She is generous and empathetic and completely over sensitive like her mother. She has developed a nice group of friends at her new school and I honestly think that moving her this year was one of the best things we could have done for her, even if the schedule is a bit of a challenge. I have a lot of opportunities to participate in her activities, from the field trip I accompanied her class on (we saw "Click Clack Moo" in Portland), to attending her "publishing party" to helping out at this Friday's sock hop. She is excelling in everything she takes on and I really feel proud of her.

Currently she is all about her MP3 player. Sometimes when she's walking around the house with her earphones on, I get a glimpse of my teenager in the making. She also LOVES to read - last night we started our first "big" chapter book, Black Beauty. Like K, she is looking forward to starting softball in the spring. Like K, she has no idea how to play. It should be fun.

Skippy continues to enjoy this job at Google. Recently we received his yearly bonus and I am happy to say that we are now officially OUT OF CREDIT CARD DEBT! It wasn't too bad to begin with, but it's nice to have it gone. Now we're tackling some other financial woes of the past and working on saving towards getting out of the rental Amy hates. We are also in the process of saying goodbye to his beloved Grand Prix. With our tax refund we purchased a used Durango that has NOT crunched three deer over its hood on the freeway. It will be sad to let the Pontiac go, but all things must end eventually.

Skippy's travel has been put mostly on hold and we are enjoying having him home. His sleep apnea is also slowly coming under control and he and I are both working on becoming healthy again. I forsee lots of bike rides in our future as the weather improves. We're also going to clean out the garage - something that if he didn't know before, he knows now since he reads my blog.

This weekend we might have a HOT and SEXY date - Banana's school is sponsoring a bingo night - how cute and pathetic are we?

And I guess that leaves me. I've been having some medical ups and downs lately and we are working towards bringing my migraines under control. I was also recently informed that my blood pressure is pretty much out of control so I've just started a new medicine, a beta blocker that will hopefully help with both the BP and the headaches. I've reconciled myself to the fact that I will most likely need some sort of medication for the rest of my life, but if that's the price I have to pay to not have a stroke in my thrities, then so be it. There are worse things in life. Yesterday I had an MRI that left me feeling very uneasy about tight closed in spaces and I'll be happy if I never have to have another one again.

Overall, I am healthy and happy. I'm working on shedding some pounds, working on getting the blood pressure thing on track, and working on sleeping like a normal mother of three instead of like a college kid. I am looking forward to spring and hoping that some of the visits we are discussing with friends and family will work out this year. I still love fact I've come to love it more and more with time and I feel like my family is building a wonderful life out here.

I'm also going to really work at the blog thing. Even if things aren't that exciting, it always feels good to sit down and bang something out on the keyboard.

Let's aim for twice a week for now, okay?

See you soon!