Archive for February, 2010

It is unwise to try and move a piano. 

The end. 

— Mox

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What other way could I explain it except to say that? 

Picture it:  on Friday, the sun came out.  When I went out to run my errands I had to come out of my coat.  It’s been so long since it was above freezing here that 40° felt remarkably warm.  I even went to pick Spawn up from school in a tee and fleece pullover.  Saturday was even better.  I didn’t even take my coat off the peg.  62° that day.  Sunday dawned with thin, high clouds, and made it all the way up to 65°.  My husband did yard work. 

Yesterday, Monday, it all came crashing down.  By the time Spawn got out of school yesterday it was barely above the freezing mark.  Today, I walked out of the gym and got hit in the face with icy little snow pellets. 

Not my idea of a good time, y’all. 

It didn’t take long for my blood to thin out over the weekend, and now I’m freezing all. the. time.  Unless I’m in a hot shower. 

The kids have missed so much school that all the snow days built into the calendar, except one, have been used.  The school board, in their infinite wisdom, has been considering what to do if we have more than one more snow day.  The idea of having school on Saturdays has been floated.  You can guess how well that idea has been received. 

That’s just crazy talk. 

I am beginning to count down the days until the official beginning of Spring.  Around here we are winter-weary and very ready for better days. 

— Mox

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This is going to be a strange, strange week, folks. 

I may have mentioned here once or twice (or about a thousand times) that I am a routine kind of person.  I like having a routine.  I like knowing that B follows A, without fail, every day.  Keeps me from having to think too much about the mundane parts of my day.  That way I can get on with the stuff that interests me. 

I know that some of you out there are not as in love with mundaneness and routines and all that stuff, and you are precisely the kind of people who make me crazy.  My husband is one of those types.  His personality is such that he could fly by the seat of his pants every day for the rest of his life and be perfectly happy with that.  What can I say?  Yin, meet Yang. 

But this week is going to be a bit light on routine, mostly because I am out of work.  My days are free. 

I am hopeful that this is short-lived.  I’m not jobless, exactly, but I am damned close.  My boss is out of town for the week and we have absolutely nothing to do, no work on the books.  (Damn economy.)  So instead of going in to the office and racking up hours for which there is no billing to be had, and therefore no pay to be had, I am fiddle-farting around at home. 

This is what the beginning of madness looks like. 

A survival instinct has kicked in, somewhat.  My plans for the week include hitting the gym every day and not rushing through my workout.  Spawn’s school is gearing up for the used book sale next month, so I will be doing some gleaning of books here at the house and at the houses of friends, and also giving my time to the cause.  And yes, I am also going to be out and about with a stack of resumes.  At this point I am less interested in a career than I am in keeping the household budget in the black.  Not exactly what employers want to hear but it is what it is. 

On the upside, this might be the week I finally get organized. 

— Mox

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My dad is my hero.  I just want to get that out up front at the beginning of this.  He’s the guy I look to when things need fixing, and he is a wealth of talent and wisdom.  And I know that I am lucky to still have him around and that he’s still able to do things. 

But my dad is an old guy.  Old Guy. 

The older he gets, the Older he gets.  I suppose it’s a natural progression of things, to become more crabby as you age, to think that the world is going to hell in a handcart.  And though I’m growing older, too, it seems there is a widening gap in our generations. 

Last night I had dinner with my parents and afterward we sat in front of the fire and talked.  Conversation turned, as it sometimes does,  to cars that my parents have owned in their 48 years of marriage — the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Now, I don’t understand my parents when it comes to the subject of cars, because my father more or less dictates to my mother the car she will drive.  The first, last, and only time I let my husband have any influence over a car that I drove, I ended up on the side of the road, at night, in the winter, with a blown engine on a 1985 Mercedes.  We’d been married four months.  My father thought I had lost my mind, and after spending an unholy amount of money to have my car towed to the garage in the middle of the night, I thought I had lost my mind, too. 

Prior to that, and following that, I have always selected my own vehicle. 

But my parents are of a different generation, one that has more clearly defined gender roles.  And one of those roles is defined as “the man decides what car the woman will drive, and then pays for it.”  I like that last part, but not enough to let someone else dictate what car I should be driving.  Fortunately after the Mercedes incident, my father believes that I have better judgement than my husband when it comes to car purchases and lets that subject alone. 

But to my mother, he cuts no such slack.  The last two cars they’ve owned have been real stinkers, and my mother has not been happy with them.  Eventually she wore my father down on this last car to the point that he went and bought her a new one.  And we were discussing this fact last night when he told me that what he didn’t like about the last two cars were that they were both designed by women. 

And I quote:  “They need to get these women out of the engineering office and keep them from designing cars.” 

My father:  Old Guy. 

Of course this is the same man who raised me to believe that I could do and be anything I wanted to be.  He’s just… farther down the road than he used to be. 

I get pretty bent out of shape when I hear statements like that, because I know good and well that gender has nothing to do with a great many things that people are capable of doing, just like race has nothing to do with it.  Some people are better than others at certain things, and that’s got less to do with gender or race than it does with natural talent and aptitude.  To suggest that women have no place designing cars… well.  No.  Just… no. 

But there again, this is my dad.  And my dad is an Old Guy.  And sometimes, with my parents, it’s simpler to just smile wanly and say “okay” and get on with my life. 

My dad, who raised me to believe that I could do and be anything I wanted, is a master at letting things roll off his back.  I’ve learned this from him, and it’s helped me to live my life in a calmer fashion.  I can smile and shrug things off, because I realize that people’s minds belong to themselves, and they have their rights to their thoughts and opinions.  And I can disagree without being disagreeable. 

I bit my tongue so hard my mouth started to fill up with blood. 

— Mox

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I think it’s fairly safe to say that I have lost what little is left of my mind, and the rest of me is frozen. 

Tired of hearing about the weather yet?  I know I am. 

So today was yet another snow day, and since this is Mardi Gras that means that the kids did not get to have their party today at school.  It also means that I have a 16″ King Cake sitting on the kitchen table that I must find some way of disposing of, ideally by tomorrow.  I’ll make coffee if you want to come over and have a piece.  If you get the baby it’s all up to you next year.  I’m done. 

I hate to be unproductive, so when faced with a string of days where I’m essentially homebound, I start doing the Happy Homemaker routine.  I am not good at this, just so you know.  One of the things I do when I am seeking something productive to do is go through my pantry.  My pantry is always something of a treasure hunt, and I always seem to find odd things tucked in the corners.  Obviously I’ve bought these things with a purpose in mind, though some of the time I can’t recall what that purpose was.  Irish steel cut oats, for example.  I remember reading that they were tastier and better for you than regular oats, and miles more nutritious than the instant oats (which I tend to favor), and I also recall a day spent in search of them.  When you end up at a specialty grocer, it’s a sign you’ve gone too far.  I bought a tin of them (authentic!  they come in a tin!) and made a batch and you know what?  I do not particularly like Irish steel cut oats.  And I have most of a tin left over.  What the hell am I going to do with it? 

Another thing plumbed from the depths of my pantry is a jar of organic almond butter.  We’re not big peanut butter fans here, so I bought the almond butter (at an insane price) with the idea that maybe Spawn would eat it and I could get some protein into the kid.  Think again.  So I found a recipe online for almond butter bread and that is what I have spent a portion of my afternoon working on.  Lesson there is:  I do not make good bread. 

I always feel a little bit guilty that I am not the kind of mom that can whip up great and interesting things to do on a snow day.  I know I could be spending some “quality time” with the kid, but Spawn is pretty content manufacturing entertainment that doesn’t include me.  There is probably a little too much TV/Nintendo/computer time in that equation, but we have already worked every puzzle we own, played quite a few board/card games, made homemade playdough, worked on art projects, and played with the cats.  I’ve even made the kid do a few household chores, just for some variety.  One thing we haven’t done, despite repeated requests, is go sledding.  Because the temperature out there includes a wind chill in the teens, my answer to that is OHELLNO. 

My brain has started to liquefy and run out my ears. 

— Mox

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Seriously? Seriously.

President’s Day.  A day we should have had off from school, but instead a day that was pressed into service as a makeup day for snow days missed earlier. 

This morning, this was the view across the street from my house: 

the woods are lovely, dark and deep...

So guess what?  A snow day!  To be made up at a later date!  And I got up with my alarm at 5:30 anyway!  Hooray! 

At this rate we’ll be going to school until Kingdom Come. 

Spawn doesn’t mind too awful much to miss the day, of course.  As long as the cable holds out (it went out for a bit earlier today and caused a mild panic) we’re good.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a school-wide Mardi Gras party (for which I have ordered — and paid for — a King Cake), but even though the streets in town are in relatively good shape I sincerely doubt there will be school tomorrow.  And once Ash Wednesday gets here there’s no going back, party-wise.  With it being Lent and all.  You know.  Time for spiritual reflection and all that. 

Well.  I, for one, am not letting this latest round grind me down.  With the ferocious wind that came with this latest system, my car looked like an abstract snow sculpture, so I went out with a broom and cleaned it off and started it up.  I am leaving this house today, if it is the last act I commit on this earth. 


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I love a good, long, hot shower, particularly in the winter.  I know this is not good for my skin, but all that delicious hot water sluicing down from the top of my head to the tips of my toes… I don’t care. 

Back in college there was the Hour Shower.  The Hour Shower was best attempted during off-peak times (never in the mornings, which is when most of the girls on my dorm floor took their showers) because the capacity for hot water was better if you were the only person in there steaming up the joint.  The Hour Shower was good for many things, such as exfoliating, shaving, deep conditioning, and thinking.  The capper to the Hour Shower was a bottle of beer (or a wine cooler, if that was more your taste), which ideally was ice cold.  Drinking an ice cold beer in the shower, the play of the cold sensation going down your throat while the hot water turned your skin pink — didn’t get much better than that.  An hour later you were waterlogged, clean, and slightly boozy.  It was the ultimate in pampering yourself as a dorm-residing college kid, since you didn’t have to worry about paying the water bill. 

When we bought our house, the original 1930’s-era pink tiled bathroom was intact, complete with cast iron tub.  A cast iron tub is great for a long, hot soak, because once you heat that tub up with hot water, it holds the heat.  We added a second bathroom several years later, with a fiberglass garden tub, and I am here to tell you, it is just not the same. 

But I don’t have a lot of time for long soaks in the tub, and even if I did, filling our garden tub tends to drain the hot water tank completely.  If it’s just me in the house, that’s not a big deal.  But my husband has a fondness for taking warm (not hot) showers, and in the dead of winter a cold shower is grounds for divorce.  So mostly I take long(ish) hot showers these days.  I’ve got to — he’s the one paying most of the bills around here. 

The only downside of hot showers is what they do to your skin.  No matter how much water I drink in the average day (which is to say, quite a lot) wintertime + hot showers dry me out something fierce.  Wintertime air is pretty dry to start with, and hot water strips the skin of its’ natural moisture, and the combination of the two leaves me looking like a papery husk a lot of the time.  I slather on the lotion, but that only goes so far.  My hands get the worst of it, since I’m washing my hands a lot, or using that alcohol-based hand sanitizer stuff, and no matter how much or how rich the lotion I use on my hands I still end up with sandpapery skin.  And I itch.  The worst part of itchy skin is that place on your back that you can’t quite reach, no matter how you contort yourself.  This is why they make door frames.  I’ve been known to pay for an hour long massage just to get lotion rubbed into my back, without the expectation of reciprocation. 

It’s humid here in this neck of the woods for much of the year, and once spring rolls around the desert also known as my skin will begin to recover.  Considering that we’re heading into a weekend with a forecast of (yet more) snow, recovery looks to be a long way off. 

— Mox

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