Monday, June 28, 2010

Mildew and old boyfriends

I came home today and when I opened the door to the house I got a faint whiff of basement mildew and the first thing I thought of (fondly) was my teenage boyfriend, Jake LaValley, because he always had a slight case of mildew smelling body odor and back then I was so in love with him it smelled good. I told Mitch that it smelled like my old boyfriend and he said, "He was........Musty???"

The basement is mildewy because I was trying to be diligent about keeping my basement mildew-free during the humid summer so I set up the dehumidifier.  Yay me!  How grown up and preventative!   Ironically, it leaked all over the carpet and sped up the mildew breeding process by about a million percent.  That's what thinking ahead gets you, a basement full of mildew and bittersweet memories of stinky teenage boyfriends.

Normally I would never call out a person on the Internet using both their real first and last names and blabbing about their strange teenage body odor twenty-some years after the fact, but as far as I know, Jake LaValley fell off the face of the earth because although he was self-confident enough to have a Que Sera Sera attitude about his own B.O., he wasn't self-confident enough to break up with me face to face.  One day he was there, and the next day he was gone.  He drove off to Montana and called me a few weeks later to tell me he left. (classy!) He was my first love and my heart was broken into tiny, jaggedly shredded, bloody, infected shards.

So he'll never know I wrote this because who knows whatever happened to him?  He successfully vanished.  I'm over it now (I really am) but it took a LONG time.  I seriously thought I would marry him.  I overlooked the fact that he shushed me once while he was totally mesmerized by that Whitesnake video Here I Go Again with Tawny Kitaen crawling all over a car (gross).

 Get your junk off my Jaguar, skank.

I also overlooked the fact that whenever we made-out his bucky teeth would give me disgusting hickeys in about two seconds flat.  On the up side, I learned that a cold spoon and a comb will make hickeys go away a lot faster than natural healing.  Seriously, it works.  He would give me a totally innocent peck on my forehead and boom: hickey.  Hey thanks!  Can't wait to explain this bruise to my parents.  A turtleneck in the summer is strange, but a turtle neck covering your entire face is something people will ask you about. 

Love really is blind.

I haven't thought of Jake in a long time, but now that I'm watching TV in my stinky basement, I can't seem to get him out of my head.  Aside from the alluringly unique B.O. and the bucky teeth, what really hooked me was the fact that he was so funny. He made me laugh every day.  (I mean, of course, except the day he vanished.  I wasn't laughing much that day.)  What I learned from him is that funny is important, hickeys are gross, orthodontia: not such a bad idea, and deodorant is a must.

Hey,... revenge IS a dish best served cold!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

On the Lake

We went out to the Rainy Lake today.  Sam drove.  It was VERY windy!  Kira bought an air mattress with some of her garage sale money and it blew away without hardly touching the water.  It was amazing. 

Sam driving.  Kira driving Sam nuts.

Majestic water dog.

The little man in the red hat sitting behind Sam is me.  The sad thing is that this is probably the best picture I've taken yet this summer.  Makeover time!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Garage Sale

We had our garage sale today.  We did pretty good but no matter how hard we tried, nobody wanted to buy my sister's dog.  Even when we lowered the price and said we'd throw in her bindle sack for free. 

Too bad.  She's out on the curb in the free box right now.  At least I think she still is.  Hey Amy, I bet next year you'll help with the garage sale, won't you? 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Busy day!

The kids and I got up early this morning and drove to International Falls because it's one hundredth anniversary (birthday?) of the Boise Paper Mill.  Boise had a party in the park for the community so we went to get some free stuff and see people.  You will never guess who I ran into, Kady Hexum of the Kady Hexum blog fame (see my blog list). 

She's REAL!  She was hilarious and Beth and I chatted with her for a long time.  When we got home I was telling my mom that I ran into someone from high school that I hadn't seen since high school (not Kady) and inside of five seconds she annoyed me as much as she ever did in high school.  Sam said, "Oh, you mean that short-haired blond lady?  She was annoying."  Sorry Kady!  I didn't think you were annoying! (much)

Later we went on a tour of the paper mill.  I grew up here and had never been inside the mill before.  Now I know all about it.  And I got to wear a hard hat, but for some reason we couldn't take any pictures there (paper secrets) so sorry, no pics.  It's really loud in there.  I would hate that.  Except you could go on a farting free-for-all and nobody would ever know because they couldn't hear it and the wood pulp would disguise the smell.  That and a paycheck would be the only plusses of working there.  I got lots of free paper. 

Tomorrow everyone who lives on my parent's street is having a garage sale so Sam and Kira hauled some of their crap up here to sell.  We were marking the stuff today and I asked Kira, "How much do you want for this big dog? She said, "Hm... free I guess."  I told her that she didn't haul it all the way here not to at least try to sell it and said, "How about 50 cents?"  Then she said, "Better make it two dollars."  There's no rhyme or reason to her pricing.  We spent the week cleaning out her room.  She's a pack rat.  She had a bucket full of candy wrappers that she was saving because she thought they were pretty.  That is just the tip of the iceberg.  (We're not selling those at the garage sale.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kira hates a party

She told me that yesterday when she was in a snit about something.  I love talking to her when she's in a snit because 1) she's hilarious, and 2) I egg on my daughter when she's in a snit for my own entertainment.  Yeah, I admit it. 

We were in the car going to the playground because it finally stopped raining and we had to get out of the house.  Sam came along with us and he and Kira were fighting, hence the snit.  Somehow the subject of parties came up and Kira said, "The only party I like is Mat's Halloween party."  I asked her why and she said because she didn't like being around a bunch of annoying people who are being loud and pretending to have fun.

Oh my god, my anti-social genes are extremely dominant over Mitch's - wait, Mitch is anti-social too.  Our kids are doomed to be hermits. 

In the interest of keeping the snit going, I asked if she liked school parties.  She said, "Oh yeah, they're real fun.  They give us five pieces of popcorn on a paper towel and say, 'THERE'S YOUR PARTY!'"

Then she told me about a Cinco de Mayo party in second grade.  Her teacher had a piƱata but she wouldn't let anyone hit it with anything, she cut it open, and then she took ten minutes to sort the candy onto little plates while the kids sat in their desks and watched.  At this point I almost had to pull over because I was laughing so hard.  Kira kept saying, "What?  WHAT?!  WHAT?!!" and then when we got to the playground she stormed out and did some anger-swinging until she calmed down.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Serial Nerd

I'm watching Magnum P.I. right now.  I watch it every night at 8:00 because I'm a creature of habit to a crippling degree. I have recently started to schedule my evenings around Magnum.

 1984 Tom Selleck.  I'd hit that. (sorry, dad)

I am a sucker for a series of any kind, especially book series, which is good when it's a Harry Potter or a Lord of the Rings, but when it's a Sookie Stackhouse series and I can't stop because the story isn't over yet, and there's about 400 more books, it's not so good.

When I worked at the jail one of the inmates and I were talking about books and I told him I loved any kind of series, mainly because then you don't have to think about what you are going to read next.  (I'm that lazy)   This thoughtful inmate suggested I read the Left Behind series.  The only question I had for him about it was "How many books are there?"  In retrospect, the questions I should have asked:  Is it about the rapture?  Is it preachy?  Is it badly written?  Is it painful to read?  Are there crappy movies starring Kirk Cameron made from the books?

but most importantly - IS IT ABOUT THE RAPTURE?  Don't start a series about the rapture when you're an atheist AND a book-series addict because it's painful to read and it's painful to stop reading.  If you've never heard of it, it's about- you guessed it - the rapture.  One day people are just walking around, doing their thing and all of a sudden, a lot of people are just *poof* gone.  All that is left is their clothes.  They've gone up to heaven (naked) for the rapture and the rest of the people (sinners/assholes) are left to fend for themselves.  Too bad!  Guess you shouldn't have sinned so much!  Ha Ha!  I read the first book in that series.  The whole book.  I managed to stop after that. Barely.

When I was in college I watched a lot of Who's the Boss.  If I was a psychology major I could have written a thesis about the dynamic between Tony and Angela.  (BTW, Mona was the boss. It was a trick question.)  I didn't like the show because I loathe Tony Danza and Judith Light reminds me of a skinny female Sylvester Stallone, but I watched it because it was on twice a day, every day.  I couldn't stop myself.

Question asked, question answered.

Needless to say, I'm dying to see Eclipse, the third movie in the Twilight series.  I made a point this week to brush up on Twilight by watching the first two movies.  


Monday, June 21, 2010

The Experiment

My husband, Mitch, is a wetlands biologist.  He does all kinds of science-y things with water and wetlands and soil.  Over a year ago he made up this little experiment to see how long it took sediment from a particular wetland to settle.  He put the water and the sand and sediment in a peanut butter jar and left it on the deck to see how long it would take for the solids to settle to the bottom and the water to clear up.

In over a year, it has never settled.  Of course the sediment particles are extremely small and take a long time to settle to the bottom even if it was left alone, but whenever the kids or I see it clearing up we clandestinely give it a good shake.  Mitch has never said anything about it; not, "Who keeps shaking my damn peanut butter jar!" or "I'm done with that experiment, so feel free to use it as a toy," so I asked him about it.  He said he stopped the sediment experiment when he realized what we were doing, and quietly started a new experiment:  Seeing if and when we will ever leave it alone. 

I gave it a good shake right before I took the picture.  I'm not sure I like being the subject of one of his experiments, but I'm sure it isn't the first time.  In fact I know it isn't.  He hasn't come out and told me this, but he is doing an experiment on us right now.  He thinks he's the only person who changes the toilet paper roll in the downstairs bathroom so he has decided not to do it and see how long it takes one of us to do it.  It's been a few weeks.  But guess what, I know that he hides a roll in the shower, so go figure that into your data, Egghead.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Dad: A life in 18 pictures

It's Father's Day so I am going to dedicate this post to my dad, Chuck, by telling the abbreviated story of his life in 18 pictures.

He was born a looooooooooong time ago to this beautiful 1940's hottie.  (Hi Grandma!)  This is not the best picture of him.  In fact, it doesn't look anything like him, so I'm questioning if it really is him or if my Grandma maybe had a modeling job posing with old-timey babies.  I've never heard anything about that so I'll just assume it's him.  Or it's my aunt, but you get the idea.  (Another annoying thing about babies is that they are so androgynous.)

Then he grew up.  He was SUPER skinny and he liked cords, rolling his sleeves up and standing in the front in pictures.  

He was one of the first dads to wear long socks with shorts.  (He's always been a trend setter.)

Then he met this beautiful lady, who is my mother. (Hi Mom!)

She likes bananas and wearing curlers.  She used to SLEEP on those curlers!  SEXY SEXY SEXY!

They got married they say in 1969, but I suspect it was really in 1970 and sort of shot-gun-ish.  My mom explains the maternity wedding dress by saying that it was an "empire waist" and it was really "in."  Yeah, okay, whatever.  Whenever it was, my Dad sure was happy about it! 

The highlight of my dad's life was having this beautiful child who grew up to be a beautiful adult.  (He also likes loooooooong sideburns.)

My dad likes hammocks.  Actually, I've never seen him lay on a hammock, but I found this picture and he looks pretty comfortable, so he must like it.  Dad, you want a hammock for Father's day?

Here he is when my sisters and I were teenagers.  You can see the aging.  Sorry, Dad.  (It was mostly Beth's fault.)

Oh, I forgot to mention that he and his beautiful wife had a couple other kids after the first one, but never hit that first high again.  Too bad!    They are okay.

My dad likes to impulse-buy Corvettes.  I look super cool in the driver's seat, but you know what?  He NEVER let me drive it.  Not even once. 

We jump ahead a few years to when my dad became a grandfather.  Finally, a boy! 

Then a girl who has all of his summer fashion style and sense.

She also has an affinity for looking cool in fast cars.  (but who doesn't?)

My dad is a good Grandpa.  I was going to say "great" grandpa, but then I know you would all be writing in the comments asking me, "Does he really have great grandchildren?" and I'd have to explain myself.  I suppose I could use a synonym since I am an English major.  He is an exemplary grandfather.  How's that?  Now you just think I'm snooty.

A little over a year ago his third grandchild was born.  Another girl.  She's a doll but I think someone should tell him you're not supposed to drive babies around in the bed of your truck. FYI:  they bruise like peaches.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!  I love you!

I hope you have a great day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the father of at least two of my children!  I love you!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Summer of Self-Improvement: Day 1

I decided to start eating healthy, exercise a LOT, and expand my mind this summer.  It's getting off to a slow start.  Here's what happened. 

1. The power went out for about an hour, so in the interest of keeping the cold in the fridge, had pudding cup(s) for lunch instead of salad. 

2.  Went out to run errands.  Got some gin and some tonic.  Justified it by getting diet tonic and then walking next door to the liquor store instead of driving across the parking lot.

3.  Saw many skinny, wiry marathon runners running all over downtown, getting in a last practice before Grandma's Marathon tomorrow.  Was reminded to carb-up for dinner tonight. 

4.  Saw a morbidly obese woman in the library and told myself that compared to her, I'm in fantastic shape, so there's no rush to start this self-improvement business.

5.  Had to pee super bad, but didn't want to go at the library, so instead of standing around trying to decide what language I would try to learn this summer with my legs crossed wishing I was wearing Depends, walked away from language-tape display and went to "beach reading" display. 

5.  Went to the bathroom anyway because of close call while trying to decide if I've already read that John Grisham book, saw self in the mirror.  Discovered why people say horizontal stripes are unflattering.  One stripe going over one boob and under the other.  Looks like I'm deformed.  Have been walking around like this all day.  

6.  Came home and thought about going on a walk, decided it's too hot and windy and my time would be better spent drinking a gin and tonic and reading a trashy library book on the deck.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A few things...

First of all, and most incredibly; a hummingbird almost flew into Mitch's mouth yesterday.  But that's not even the incredible part, the incredible part is that he says that happens to him all the time.  I don't know about that, but this is what I saw yesterday:  Mitch was on the deck grilling pork chops and he looked in the window and he opened his trap to boss me around, and out of nowhere, a hummingbird flew right through his open mouth from one side to the other!  It was amazing.  Obviously I don't have a picture because it happened in a millisecond and I wasn't expecting it.  DARN! 

Today the kids and I went to a family gathering at my uncle's beautiful house in Side Lake, Minnesota.  It was a mostly beautiful day but the weather got a little scary after our pontoon boat ride.  FYI:  When a pontoon boat says "maximum capacity: 6-8 people," you shouldn't put 13 people on the boat because at times the front end dives down like a submarine and it's kind of scary.  I forgot my camera (DARN!) but my dad took pictures all day and sent me some. 

This one is by far the cutest.  Kira and my niece, Sidney.  

Hey, guess what's nerve-wracking?  An antsy one-year-old who is determined to get over the side of a boat, and Kira assuring us that she'll make sure that doesn't happen. 

This is further evidence that I am the most un-photogenic person on the planet:

In case you're thinking that I was making a stupid face for the camera, I wasn't.  I didn't even know he was taking this picture.  This is apparently how I look sometimes.  Like Dave Matthews when he sings, but not only when I sing, all the time.

Dave Matthews.  Dork.

This is the group photo.  It was not done professionally as you can probably tell because there is an unidentifiable person behind the pole.  My favorite part of this picture is my sister Beth showing us her muscle.

Wow, Beth!  Impressive!

Monday, June 14, 2010

On the Road

Sam, Kira and I drove home from International Falls today.  We decided to take it easy and make a few stops and take some pictures since I had my camera the entire weekend and didn't take one picture.  First we stopped at the big, saddled walleye in Kabetogama.  Sam, being a teenager, groaned and pretended he didn't want to pose in the saddle while his mommy took his picture, when we all know inside he was dying to do it.  Oh well, while he dragged himself out of the car, pretending to be reluctant, Kira raced up for her picture.

Awesome.  I wanted a picture with them both in the saddle, so Kira slid forward to make room, but Sam refused.  This is as close as I could get him to Kira and the saddle.

Look at all the room on that saddle!  What a party pooper.  I thought maybe if he could have the picture all to himself without Kira he'd be a little happier.  He wasn't.  I finally got him to get up into the saddle by threatening to not leave until he did.  So he did.

He even looks quite happy, but if you'll look down to the lower left, you'll see Kira horning her way into his walleye-saddle solo by sticking her head in the fish's mouth.  I didn't even notice she did that until I came home and looked at the pictures. While we were there Kira made me promise that if she ever catches a walleye this big and tames it and trains it to wear a saddle and swim around with her on its back, I will let her keep it.  I said no. 

Next we stopped at a gas station that has some deer behind a fence.

We got some corn and a deer came over right away.  Every time I tried to get a picture with all three looking at me the stupid deer would turn around.  Jerk.

Finally!  Two human faces and a deer face!  There was also a peacock behind the fence with a ratty looking tail.  He stayed way on the other side of the pen most of the time we were there, but something about us caught his fancy and he charged toward us.

The kids acted all brave but if there wasn't a fence between him and us, they would have both been pretty worried.  I wasn't scared.  (I wasn't)  We also saw a snake in the long grass but green snakes in green grass don't make for good pictures.  Also I was having the heebie jeebies and it was hard to take a picture when I was mostly concentrating on keeping out of its path all while Kira was yelling, "CATCH IT!  CATCH IT!  IT'S COMING RIGHT TOWARDS YOU!  TAKE A PICTURE!"  It went into the deer/peacock enclosure so thankfully the pressure for catching it and taking it home was off. 

Then a deer fly bit me so we came home.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer of 2010 To Do List

1.  Go to the eye doctor.

Get ready for your summer flashcards, Kira!

Kira finished school yesterday but I think this year I will actually have to get her on some sort of regimen where she can keep up her academic studies.  Last summer she forgot how to read.  It was a tough two weeks before school forcing her to remember.

This summer I think we'll have to have an intensive course on basic animal knowledge.  Why do I think this?  Two reasons, so far.

Reason number one:  Right now we are watching the rest of the movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  It's a Disney movie from the 60s about a submarine and a crazy submarine captain.  There happens to be a pet seal on the sub.  It crawls around and begs at the table and wears a collar and barks and claps.  Kira loves it.  But today I realized she didn't know it was a seal.  She said,

"Do you think they ever take that sea-dog off the ship?"

I cracked up and she said, "What?"  I said, "Kira, it's a seal."  She said, "Oh, it is?"

Reason number two:  Mitch bought this toy for Kira when he went to Chicago.

She said, "What do you think it's supposed to be?"  I said thought it was a cow and I asked what she thought it was.  She looked at it for a while and said,  "Probably a giraffe."


My handsome little angel at the cabin with Grandpa.  He misses his mama so much, can't you tell?

See you Saturday, Sam!

(Do you want me to bring you some white socks?)

Kira in the Car Part X

"Mom, do you think if everyone in the world all blinked at exactly the same time it would make a sound?"


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why I hate the dentist

Hypothetically speaking, because we are all SICK TO DEATH of hearing about my personal dental issues, this is why I hate going to the dentist.

Let's say that you get up at the crack of dawn to go and finally get the permanent crown for the tooth you had to have a root canal in last month.  You remind the assistant that you have an irrational fear of all things dental and ask about novocaine.  She says you won't need it because the tooth has no nerves in it anymore so it couldn't possibly hurt. (silly!) Your dentist comes in and chats with you for a while about the Stanley Cup and how much he hates the early morning and then he gets started.  He can't get the temporary crown off and almost breaks all your other teeth when his torture tools keep slipping off said temporary crown and then he begins to sweat uncontrollably and says to the assistant, "Is it HOT in here?  I am so hot!"  He keeps trying and keeps saying, "It's almost there" and you can tell, because the tooth is in your head, that it's not any closer than it ever was.  You're remembering him saying how important it was to have a crown put on because the tooth is so very weak and could break at any time, and that you shouldn't eat anything sticky with the temporary crown because it could just slip off.  You realize that the tooth is way stronger than anyone ever thought, and the temporary crown will never in a million years just slip off, and he's going to have to break it if he wants to get it off.  After another five minutes of sweating and pulling, he says, "Well, I think we're going to have to break it off."  And then he breaks it off.

Hypothetically speaking, that's why I hate the dentist so much.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I'm feeling like a bit of a lazy failure today.  A few days ago I decided that I was healed enough after the dreaded wisdom tooth surgery to stop taking Vicodin.  I told myself I would alternate between heavy doses of ibuprofen and Tylenol because honestly, it didn't really hurt all that bad.  This morning I got up, the swelling is almost gone and the bruising is surprisingly faded but WOW does it hurt today.  It's like the worst jaw ache I've ever had.  Really tight and sore so I caved and took one of the Vicodin.

I know, I know, you're saying, "So what!  Why feel bad!  That's what it's for!"  The reason I feel bad about this (besides the fact that every one I take is one less to be hoarded)  is because Mitch is out of town for work and it's just Kira and me home.  She is such a terror and today I realized that during her entire life I've been constantly prepared to whisk her off to the emergency room at a moment's notice.  She's either climbing 50 feet up a tree, or doing a double flip on the trampoline, or bringing home her "new friend" who turns out to be a strange 150 pound rottweiler wearing a barbed choke collar.  I can't do much whisking when I'm stoned out of my gourd on narcotics.  (For all the dangerous stuff she does, we haven't had to take her to the emergency room for a few years.  Knock on wood.)

So this afternoon I couldn't stand the pain anymore and I took a pill.  Thankfully I've kept her busy since she got home from school with making muffins, playing with the dog (our dog, not the rottweiler) and I even took out my precious Dr. Quinn DVDs and I'm letting her watch those.  Good parenting?  I don't know.  In one scene of Dr. Quinn, a man was wanting to spend some time with a saloon hooker and the bar owner said, "She's five dollars!" and Kira said, "Hey!  I could afford to buy her!"  Cringe. 

Tonight we are going to watch 20,000 leagues Under the Sea, and then it should be bedtime.  Then I can relax.  Mitch is on his way home and should be here later tonight.  Whew. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mrs. Green Jowls

Day four of wisdom tooth surgery recovery was the day I finally had to get off the couch, get dressed and do something productive.

 Day 4 bruise beard

My parent's took the kids for the weekend so I had to meet my Mom halfway between our towns and pick Kira up because she has school this week.  Yesterday morning, as I was lying in bed sleeping, the phone rang and on the answering machine was the secretary from Kira's school asking where Kira was.  What?  Kira told me she had a four day week.  I knew that this was a four day week.  She told me Monday was the day they had off.  She was wrong.  Thursday is the last day of school.  Sneaky little turd. 

Today is day 5 and I'm feeling pretty good.  I went to the doctor this morning and he said I'm healing as if I'm on day 7 instead of day 5.  EAT THAT, FELLOW PATIENTS!  He was a bit surprised at my swelling.  I'm not even swollen anymore.  Here's me today:

If he saw me a few days ago I wonder what he would have said.  Probably, "Holy shit!"  Today my bruises are turning green.