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Cupcakes, Vases, Birds, and Bees

  • March 2, 2009

My alarm goes off every weekday morning at 6:30 AM. I get up and let Chloe out and then I pour the first of eight cups of coffee (with a little soy milk) and sit down on the couch to watch the local news. Here in Iowa, our weather changes so fast, that I like to make sure I knew exactly how to dress the offspring and whether or not they will need boots, snow pants, and hats and gloves. Then, at 7:00, I watch the Today show for a half hour because Matt Lauer is hot and I need to know what’s going on nationally. Then, at 7:30, I wake up the offspring.

Today they woke up on their own and were both down on the couch with me by 7:15. They proceeded to talk so loud I couldn’t hear what hottie Matt Lauer was saying. Then Matthew demanded that I get his clothes because he wanted to get ready early so he’d have plenty of time to play Marble Blast Gold on the computer.

I told Matthew I was not doing anything until 7:30. Finally, when I was good and ready, I started our morning routine.

I am not a big fan of spending a lot of money on kid’s clothes. They are hard on them, they grow out of them almost immediately, and buying expensive stuff is like flushing money down a toilet. Old Navy and Gap are my favorites with a little Target thrown in.

I usually get the kid’s clothes ready the night before because I do want whatever they wear to match, be weather appropriate, and be wrinkle free (even though I loathe ironing I do it anyway).

However, this morning both kids did not like what I had selected and ironed the night before. Matthew’s pants “fit funny” (probably because he’s going through a growth spurt and keeps “incredible hulking” right out of his clothes). I ran upstairs and found another pair of pants that were, luckily, wrinkle free. Then he put on the new shirt I had pre-washed but hadn’t done a thorough tag-ectomy on so I had to grab the kitchen scissors and cut every possible tag off immediately.

Lauren was worse. She didn’t like her shirt because it was purple, her pants were too long, and the first sweater I picked out was too hot. I ran upstairs two more times and she finally settled on wearing black pants with a long sleeved white t-shirt and her Hawkeye jersey.

During all this up and down the stairs nonsense Matthew and Lauren took it upon themselves to get into the cupcakes Dave and Lauren made yesterday (she guilted Dave into making them by saying, “Daddy, can you please make me some egg free cupcakes? I didn‘t get to have any of the banana bread you made with Matthew the other day.”)

Then Matthew guilted Dave into making more banana bread because the bread they made the other day was “so awesome” and he wanted more.

The mess all three of them made was catastrophic and fully worthy of a haz-mat team. I refused to clean it up by myself but I wish I had insisted on loading the dishwasher because Dave loads it like a crazy person.

Therefore, even though I had offered a breakfast of smoothies and oatmeal there was no way to stop the feeding frenzy chocolate blizzard I found them in the middle of. Cupcake crumbs were flying when I returned to the kitchen.

When Lauren came back from brushing her teeth, I noticed the sleeve of her white t-shirt was covered in chocolate frosting. I went upstairs one last time, grabbed the only remaining long sleeved white t-shirt in her closet, and made her change.

I kept my cool though. Sometimes I have to remind myself that they are not intentionally trying to drive me insane. I pretended the cupcakes were the same as donuts, which, while not healthy, are in fact a common breakfast choice for lots of people, and I let it go. Luckily, we are not in the PMS zone so things went pretty smoothly for a Monday morning.

Yesterday we went to Pier 1 because I’m looking for a vase for my mantel to replace the red one with the snowflakes I’ve had up there since December. I really wanted to go alone but Dave wanted to get out of the house too and we promised Matthew and Lauren we would go to Toys ‘R Us, which is right across the parking lot from Pier 1. Matthew had a gift card to use and Lauren wanted to pick out a marble jar reward (Matthew’s reward was the aforementioned Marble Blast Gold).

When we got to Pier 1 I said, “Hey, why don’t you guys and daddy go over there and I’ll be over here looking at some vases.” I took off and when I stopped thirty seconds later to examine a vase, I was summarily rear-ended by Dave, Matthew, and Lauren (in that order).

“Why are you following me?” I asked. “Go somewhere else.”

They just kept following me anyway. Dave kept suggesting things I didn’t want and then both kids had to go to the bathroom. I finally found a vase I liked but now that I’ve put it up on the mantel, I don’t know if I like it there. I might like it somewhere else which means one vase will be the catalyst for me to move around and re-arrange every home accessory I have on my main floor.

Dave also decided to have “the talk” with Matthew over the weekend. When I met Sharon and Kathleen on Friday morning for a big gabfest, the subject of the birds and the bees came up. Kathleen has three boys, one of them older than Matthew so I asked her what age we should start talking to Matthew about sex.

“Right now,” she replied. “It’s not too early and you don’t want him to get inaccurate information on the bus or from older kids.”

I told Dave what Kathleen recommended and he went up to Matthew’s room yesterday and opened the dialogue. I told Dave that Kathleen recommended asking Matthew about what he already knew and then going from there. I also told Dave that Kathleen mentioned stopping if Matthew appeared to stop paying attention as we shouldn’t overload him all at once.

When Dave came back down, I asked him how it went. Dave said he told Matthew that there would be lots of changes going on in his body and that these changes would take several years. He told Matthew that hair would start to grow under his arms and on his penis. He also mentioned that some boys grow hair above their lips. He briefly talked about body parts and how some of them might feel good when touched and that that’s totally normal but something that should be kept private. Dave said at one point Matthew started spinning around in his swivel desk chair. When Dave asked Matthew if he had any questions, Matthew nodded. “Dad, when do you think I’ll get that moustache?”

I think that’s enough birds and bees information for one day. We’ll keep building on that and by the time Matthew turns ten this summer, we’ll hopefully have given him the information he needs to ease his way into the puberty years.

As for Dave and I, we had a great time Saturday night when we saw Slumdog Millionaire. I’m in the middle of writing my review which I’ll post later today or tomorrow.

Right now, I’ve got a vase to find a home for.

Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em

  • February 28, 2009

One weekend in 1987, when I was still attending the University of Iowa, I decided to go visit Stacy and Lisa at Iowa State University for VEISHA.

VEISHA is an annual weeklong celebration held each spring on Iowa State’s campus. There’s a parade and open house demonstrations of university facilities and departments. The acronym VEISHA stands for the colleges of the university that existed when the celebration was founded in 1922. Now they just call it Veishea since some of the names of the colleges have been changed.

We could have cared less about what VEISHA stood for (and probably couldn’t identify all the colleges anyway). All that mattered to us was that VEISHA meant two things: Boys and beer.

I met up with Stacy and Lisa at their dorm and Kristin joined us a short time later since she was driving up from Des Moines.

We started the evening at a party that Stacy and Lisa knew about. We stood around holding red plastic solo cups of cheap keg beer trying to meet as many guys as possible. After a while, we decided to head to a bar since no one seemed to be having any luck at the party.

I was driving, and we tooled around Campustown in my 1981 Honda Prelude, sunroof open, Scritti Politti or the Outfield blaring from the stereo. We had all taken our keg beers for the road and I was less worried about being pulled over for a DUI than I was about driving a car with a manual transmission while simultaneously chain smoking Benson and Hedges deluxe ultra light 100’s and trying to keep my beer from sloshing all over the front of my miniskirt when I went around a tight corner.

We decided to see what was happening at the Cave-In, a favorite Campustown bar known for its dime draws. I parked around back and we all got out of the car.

I don’t know exactly how it happened but Kristin tripped by the back of the car, hit her chin on my bumper (the force of which spun her around), then hit the back of her head on the bumper and landed on the pavement hard, sending one high heeled white pump flying across the parking lot.

I lost it. We all did (well, not Kristin). Lisa was pretty near peeing her pants and we were all on the ground by this time trying to get a hold of ourselves.

But wait. It gets even better.

What we didn’t notice right away was that the cigarette Kristin had been smoking was someone extinguished by the beer in her plastic cup that splashed up when she fell (or landed). And that extinguished cigarette had enough beer on it to make it sticky enough to stick to Kristin’s forehead.

And she didn’t realize it.

And we didn’t tell her.

Because we were too busy having hysterics in the parking lot. And Lisa was now telling us that she was going to pee her pants any second. I was pretty much in the fetal position on the ground of the parking lot because I could not get myself under control to save my life.

Kristin still doesn’t know there’s a cigarette stuck to her forehead. And what are the odds that the only one of us who doesn’t have bangs is Kristin? She did have big, huge, shiny waves of late eighties hair shellacked a couple inches high with no less than a quarter can of Aqua Net. But she wore her hair off her face, which left a veritable sea of forehead available for errant Marlboro Light 100’s to land.

I guess she couldn’t feel the cigarette. Not that we helped by pointing it out or anything.

(Straight-to-Hell, party of three? I believe your table is ready!)

So then we walked around to the front of the bar and got in a very long line with a whole bunch of other drunken college students. We managed to turn it into our own personal mosh pit because we were so out of control and hyper and Kristin kept falling down. Random people kept asking her if she needed a light and she kept saying, “I don’t have any cigarettes” which frankly did nothing but set me and Lisa and Stacy off again.

It sounds horrible that we didn’t help our friend. Kristin was, and still is, a very pretty woman and I think we were a little bit j-e-a-l-o-u-s. She never could hold her alcohol though and this mishap was just not going to get by any of us unnoticed.

Finally, after a couple more falls, the cigarette fell off and we waited in line until we got into the bar.

The next morning, when we told Kristin what had happened, she was kind of pissed. But not only was Kristin pretty, she was sweet and good natured and didn’t hold it against any of us, even though she would have been justified in doing so.

I told that story for years, complete with re-enacting the fall. Maybe that’s when I started being so entertained by people wiping out.

Kristin set the bar pretty high. There hasn’t been a fall I’ve witnessed since that has come close to making me laugh as hard as I did that night. Then again, maybe nothing can compete with a college memory of girlfriends, cheap keg beer, and a wayward cigarette.

If you have an opinion, will you share it?

  • February 26, 2009

Has anyone seen Slumdog Millionaire?

Dave and I have a babysitter for Saturday night and we were firming up some plans on the phone this afternoon.

Dave asked, “What are we doing again?” And I said, “well, you wanted to go see Slumdog Millionaire so why don’t we go to the movie and then go have an appetizer and a couple glasses of wine somewhere afterward.” Dave thought that sounded great and I said, “Okay, that’s what we’ll do on our date night.” To which Dave replied, “Ugh, I hate it when people call it that.” “Really?” I said. “You mean because you think it’s odd to date someone you’re already married to?” “Yeah,” he said. “That seems kinda weird.”

And I understand because I am always amazed when I ask a woman “who is babysitting your kids tonight” and she says something like “my husband.” Um, no, your husband cannot babysit his own kids. He’s home PARENTING while you’re out with the girls.

So anyway, all that aside, now I’m not really sure I want to see Slumdog Millionaire. I heard it got some awards recently and everyone says it’s fabulous and it got five stars but will I like it? The review said something about disturbing images and if there’s one thing I hate at the movies, it’s disturbing images. Does anyone know if any of the child characters has something “really bad” happen to them or anything? Is that what’s disturbing? Something happens to a child? Also, is there any throat slitting or execution style killing because I will totally come unglued if there is. I am still haunted by that scene in Air Force One where the hijackers kill the press secretary and I was sure that Harrison Ford was going to save her at the last minute AND HE DIDN’T.

So, can someone tell me why I should see this movie? Because I’m thinking Confessions of a Shopoholic is sounding pretty good right now. I read the book and nothing bad ever happens to Becky Bloomwood. But I think Dave is really looking forward to Slumdog Millionaire and I can see the chick flicks with my friends and Trish.

So please, help me out. I’m not very good with the unknown. I prefer to see movies based on books so I know exactly what will happen and I can prepare myself ahead of time if there are any “disturbing images.” If you loved Slumdog Millionaire, can you tell my why?

I appreciate any feedback you can give me if you’ve seen the movie. I really want to have a good time on “spending some quality alone time with my husband without screaming kids movie appetizer wine night.” That’s what I’m calling it instead of “date night.” I just made it up. I’m sure that’s painfully obvious.

Let’s Ask Tracey More Stuff!

  • February 25, 2009

Once again, totally fictitious answers to totally fictitious problems from totally fictitious people I don’t know because they’re make believe.

Dear Tracey,

My husband and I recently moved into a new home. The next door neighbors brought us a pie and introduced themselves. They seemed nice enough and they have children the same age as ours.

I am concerned about a few things, however. We invited them over for cocktails last weekend and it got weird toward the end of the evening.

The husband seemed to be giving me googly bedroom eyes and then he reached across me for his drink and touched my boob. He also wanted to know if I‘d show him “where the master bedroom was.“ Meanwhile, his wife had my husband cornered in the kitchen and she was trying to rub her body up and down his leg. My husband said he thinks he heard her purr. She also said she needed to take a shower because she was a “dirty, dirty girl.” I managed to cut the evening short by pretending to pass out on the couch while my husband hustled them out the door.

Before they left they invited us to their home next weekend to meet several of the families that live in the neighborhood. We don’t know what to expect and neither of us is remotely interested in becoming a swinger. My husband and I have a great relationship and he’s not interested in anyone else’s hoo-ha. There’s no way I’m getting up close and personal with my neighbor’s wiener either. How should we handle this unfortunate situation?


We didn’t realize we were moving to Swingtown.

Dear ‘We didn’t realize we were moving to Swingtown‘,

Well, you do have quite a problem on your hands and it’s one I’ve frankly never encountered before. I had to do a little online research since I’m not personally privy to how the swinging lifestyle works.

I discovered that being disease free is very important to swingers so I have no choice but to recommend that you start a rumor in the neighborhood that you and your husband both have uncontrollable, rampant, super-herpes. It’s the only way. If either of you ever have a really gross cold sore on your lip it would go a long way toward validating this rumor. Please also mention frequently that you are allergic to latex because a die-hard swinger may not be put off by one little STD.

You also need to identify the non-swingers in your neighborhood, invite them over for drinks and dinner, and do some serious damage control. They may not totally believe you but since you aren’t going to try to have sex with them, they probably won’t care.

I believe swingers and non-swingers can peacefully co-exist. If you find that’s not the case, wait until the housing market improves, stick a for-sale sign in the yard, and move to a more normal neighborhood. You might want to do some advance research on your neighbors this time. Good luck!

Dear Tracey,

I’m a member of the PTA and I’m working on a fundraising committee with three other parents. There is one mom who is really starting to piss me off. She keeps sending elaborate e-mails with flow charts, Excel spread sheets, and summaries about everyone’s responsibilities and she has suggested “goals and benchmarks” for completing everything. I heard through the grapevine that she’s an out of work former business executive that got fired late last year, probably for being totally annoying.

The other moms and I are not her “minions” and I don’t appreciate her trying to turn this fundraiser into the social event of the year. We are supposed to be organizing a bingo game, bake sale, and a raffle so we can raise money for new library books. I’m about ready to tell her to shove her ideas about “swag” and “black tie only” up her butt. And seriously, if she asks me one more time to tell her about the dress I’m going to wear, I will throttle her. I’m wearing jeans and so is everyone else.


Drama with another mama

Dear ‘Drama with another mama‘,

Working on a committee is never easy, especially with someone who has decided to use the fundraiser to fill the empty void created by losing her job. She is probably wishing she had an excuse to get dressed up again and hasn’t been able to get used to the fact that wearing sweats every day is perfectly acceptable.

Remind her of the common goal to raise money for books. And since it might help to make your point in a language she understands, why not put your suggestions into a nice PowerPoint presentation so she can feel like she‘s at work again.

Then, ask her to come to your house and discuss the fundraiser over margaritas. Show her that it’s OK to drink on the job when you’re not getting paid and can’t get fired. Get completely liquored up and make fun of anyone else working on the fundraiser that you don’t like. Then drunk dial her old boss and hang up when he answers (remember to *67 first, natch).

My prediction is that you’ll be BFF’s in no time and the fundraiser will be a huge success.

Dear Tracey,

My life sucks. I got fired from the insurance company where I’ve worked for ten years because the cute blonde receptionist they hired didn’t like me. Since she gives my boss a hummer every day at lunchtime, she has become the most powerful and influential employee in our department and she got me canned.

Then my boyfriend Jason broke up with me because he’s in love with some whore named Terry. I ran into Jason and Terry the other day when I stopped at Kum and Go for a bottle of wine and a Slim Jim. Terry has a fucking Adam’s apple and a five o’clock shadow and was holding Jason‘s hand. Terry is way better groomed than me and acted like he’d never seen someone at Kum and Go in pink flannel pajama pants, purple Crocs, and yesterday‘s underwear.

I’ve also gained some weight so in an effort to lose a few pounds I started taking Alli, the over the counter weight loss drug that Wynona Judd recommended. I had one ill timed cheeseburger from Sonic and crapped my pants in the car on my first date with a hot guy I met on Now he’s got a big orange stain on the upholstery of his passenger seat and I‘m (surprise!) still fucking single.

Lastly, I had to spend money I don’t have to sign up on because word’s gotten around at that I’m a “shitter. “


Should I just hang myself?

Dear ‘Should I just hang myself‘,

When life hands you lemons, grab a cocktail shaker, sugar, and vodka and make yourself a lemon drop martini as big as your head. Consume. Repeat. Consume. Repeat.

And seriously, wouldn’t you rather know you and Jason both liked boys sooner, rather than later?

I know jobs are scarce in this economy but try to look at your recent firing as a good thing. Treat this as an opportunity to switch careers and only accept offers from companies with ugly receptionists.

As for Alli, taking a drug that makes greasy orange poop leak out your bunghole is never a smart move. Please listen to me and not that washed up fat country singer Wynona Judd, and stop taking it immediately.

Trust me, things can only get better. Good luck to you!

*****Do you have a problem you’d like my help with? If so, leave it in the comments section of this blog post and I’ll make up an answer for you. Remember, no question is too outrageous or inappropriate for me to handle. Just make something up. I do it all the time.

You’re going to want to make this dip

  • February 24, 2009

My neighbor Wendy gave me an awesome recipe for habanero and roasted pineapple dip.

I know. It sounds gross. But it’s not. It’s so not gross that I have re-named it Wendy’s crack dip. Every neighbor in the ‘hood knows what I’m talking about when I’m say I’m bringing crack dip whenever we’re having a big get-together.

I haven’t had any crack dip since I started Weight Watchers. I made some to bring to a party and I’d forgotten that I had given the hostess the recipe. When I showed up with my bowl of it I felt bad for not calling ahead and telling her because she made it too. I’m planning on running the recipe through Weight Watcher’s online recipe builder tool even though I’m pretty sure it will implode when I get done entering the ingredients. I really want to have some crack dip soon but I need to know how many points it’s going to cost me.

Last summer I gave the recipe to Dave’s cousin Cassy. We were talking with her when we got together with Dave’s family for Thanksgiving. She was telling us about how she gave some of the dip to her insurance agent to try. I was like, “did you have some dip in your car or what?” And she was like, “yeah, I drive around with it sometimes.”

Here’s what you need:

(2) 8 oz. bricks of Philadelphia cream cheese. Do not use the fat free kind because Wendy will feel a chill go down her spine if you mess with her dip. Leave the cream cheese out for several hours so it’s very soft.

(1) 9 oz. jar of Archer Farms brand Habenero and Roasted Pineapple dip. This is only available at Super Target. Sometimes a regular Target will also have it. It is located between the pickle/olive section and the mustard section (Kathryn I think I told you it was with the salsas but I was wrong). I just stocked up because I like to have no fewer than three jars of this stuff in my pantry at all times.

Shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Start with about 1-2 cups. You can add as much or as little as you like.

One-half a red onion, finely diced. Again, you can add as much or as little onion as you like.

Take the cream cheese and mix it with the entire jar of Habenero and Roasted Pineapple dip. Make sure you combine it well. Add the shredded cheddar and the onion and mix again. Chill for at least 1-2 hours so the cream cheese can firm back up.

Serve with Ritz crackers. Occasionally I will spread the dip on tortillas, roll them up, and slice them for tortilla roll-ups. I think serving it on Ritz crackers is better but the roll-ups are very portable.

If you have somewhere to go this weekend and you need to bring an appetizer, give this one a try. Seriously, you will find that certain people will just park themselves next to it and not leave.

If you make the dip, and you love it as much as I do, please leave a comment on this blog post and let me know what you thought. You have plenty of time to buy all the ingredients so you can make it this weekend.


Don’t be jealous of my W-2

  • February 24, 2009

I’ll always remember 2008/2009 as the “maybe Dave’s getting laid off years.” When your household only has one income, the possibility of that income going poof can be quite unsettling. And it’s not like I’m kicking anything in to pay the bills. I have the coolest job in the world, as a stay at home mom, but unfortunately it’s not a very lucrative gig.

If I were able to find a job right now, I’d take it. I’m not super positive about being hired in this economy but I am thinking ahead about what I might do next fall when the offspring go back to school and the economy has (hopefully) rebounded.

Top 5 Careers and Training for Social Butterflies

I saw this headline on the MSN homepage Saturday morning and thought, “What a coincidence. I’m totally a social butterfly and I could really use a job. Perhaps I should see what this article is all about.”

Apparently, social butterflies can’t get through the morning without checking Facebook, MySpace, e-mail, and text messages (so obviously we have the attention span of a fruit fly). Personally, I also have to check for new posts on fifty-seven different blogs, see if Lostpedia has posted any new Lost theories, and confirm whether anyone at has signed my guest book. Sometimes I also go to and put different hairdos on a picture I’ve uploaded of myself. (Maybe these sites are not so much for networking purposes but rather because I have a pretty wicked Internet addiction and too much free time).

The article listed the top five jobs for anyone who craves social interaction. The first career they recommend is Promotions.

To determine if I’m a good fit for a career in Promotions, I was to ask myself if I always seem to know where to find the best parties. Absolutely! They are all at my house. Then I was to ask myself if I’m always shopping for the latest trends before my paycheck can catch up with me. Yes! Wow, this is so accurate it’s freaky. And probably they mean Dave’s paycheck because technically I don’t receive one of my own (which is why I’m reading the article in the first place). However, for the last six months it’s only been pseudo shopping and not real shopping. I have online shopping carts filled with all kinds of crap but I never actually click the checkout button anymore. Progress, yes?

And guess what? For a managing position in Promotions, you need a bachelor’s degree in business administration AND I HAVE ONE OF THOSE!! And Advertising and Promotions managers earn annual salaries in the neighborhood of $91,100. This just keeps getting better and better. Dave would probably do cartwheels if I got me a Promotions job.

The next career recommended for a social butterfly is Culinary and Hospitality, which sounds a lot like cooking and cleaning to me. I do a lot of both (though maybe not quite as much cleaning as blogging these days). I actually thought of going into catering because I make the most awesome chicken enchiladas you’ve ever had but probably you can’t build a catering career from one recipe. And even though I love to entertain and will spend days planning menus I only like to do this if I’m also going to be eating, drinking, and getting tipsy with everyone. Working as a Catering Manager or Executive Chef means I’ll be making stuff for other people to eat and drink while I just watch so I’m going to have to pass on this career.

The third career recommendation is Fashion Design. This one in not going to work for me either. I love Carrie Bradshaw but if her wardrobe on Sex and The City is considered fashionable by designers then I’m not qualified. Please, did you see the butt ugly hat she was going to wear to marry Mr. Big? It had a big fucking bird on it! Blechh! Plus I think fashion designers might have to sew and I’ll have none of that.

The fourth career that might be a good fit for me is Nursing. Another big coincidence because when I was a freshman in college my major was pre-nursing. Then I hit a little snag called Chemistry. I have flunked chemistry once and dropped it twice. Three chemistry strikes and I had to change majors. I’m totally cool with science classes like biology and anatomy (except when I took anatomy at the University of Iowa and we had to go to anatomy lab with real dead people and it grossed me out so bad I refused to breathe through my nose or eat chicken for two weeks). Any science class that also requires math means I’m out. If your bus was determined only by math abilities, I’d have arrived at my elementary school on the short one. This is too bad because have you seen how much money nurses are making these days? They’re really in demand right now.

The last career to consider is Entrepreneurship. Ding, ding, ding!!!!! We have a winner folks! It says this career is for people who march to the beat of a different drum and for whom the traditional work week has never held much appeal. A bachelor’s degree in business administration (check!) can pave the way for me to own my own small business, franchise or entrepreneurial idea.

Now I just have to think of an idea.


Still thinking.

That big empty vacant space in my noggin doesn’t seem to be producing any viable ideas. This is harder than I thought. I’m sure a fabulous idea will come to me if I’m patient.

I could run some ads on my blog but I think I’d earn like seventeen cents a month so probably blogging isn’t going to pay the bills either. My W-2 for 2008 shows I grossed $18 for one hour of freelance work I picked up last February but if I can earn $36 blogging in 2009 then I will have doubled my income from last year so I won’t rule it out.

I’m sure I’ll find something. Dave’s been supporting everyone all by himself for a long time and I want to help him out. If companies would start doing more hiring and less firing that would have a positive impact on my job search.

I would actually love to find a Promotions-type job. I think I’d be pretty good at it. Until then, I’m a mommy-blogger-enchilada maker-wine drinker. The pay may not be very good but the job satisfaction is incredible.

Tweet Tweet

  • February 22, 2009

I’m on Twitter.

I don’t know how it works.

Kind of like when I first joined Facebook and had no cool applications.

I’m stalking Ashton Kutcher @aplusk.

He’s an Iowa boy.

My tweets are boring.

Do I need to spend more time on the Internet than I already do?

Probably not.

If you are a Twitter expert, can you help me out?

If you’re on Twitter, leave your user name in the comments section and I’ll follow you.

If you can.

Comments aren’t posting well these days.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

I don’t know why.


I was cool with everything but the spiders

  • February 21, 2009

(click on photos to enlarge)

There’s some land in rural Iowa that’s been in my family for as long as I can remember. It’s been handed down from my grandparents to my dad and now to my brother Georgie. He and his wife Stefanie live there in a house they built.

It’s a beautiful place and I have a lot of childhood memories of time spent there. There are acres and acres of land to explore.

There’s a lot of wildlife too. One time the trail camera Georgie set up in the woods took a picture of a large bobcat, which freaked me out. Some time later, when we saw a fox in our yard, I called Georgie right away. I had to tell him he wasn’t the only one who had wildlife on his property.

There’s a pond where we used to swim when we were younger. I don’t really like to swim in the pond now because the water isn’t as clear as it used to be and I’m convinced there are giant scary fish in it like the gargantuan catfish Trish caught when we were ten. My dad threw it back and I’ve always wondered what the life span of the average catfish is.

When I was about nineteen Georgie, Trish and I were fishing in the pond, and Georgie didn’t look before he cast his line. We had to drive to the urgent care clinic in town to have the purple mister twister lure removed from my jaw.

The pond is just big enough to be able to ride a jet ski on (sort of) so you have to pay attention not to hit the bank. And it’s a Jet Ski that you have to stand up on, not a wave runner where you can sit comfortably while you ride around. You steer a Jet Ski by shifting your weight and you have to keep your speed up or you’ll tip over. It’s kind of like riding a bike on the water and it’s not easy.

Trish was taking a turn on the Jet Ski once and crashed into a tree that grew at the water’s edge on the south side of the pond. Even though we were all yelling at her to slow down, I don’t think she even backed off on the throttle.

A few years ago, we went down to Georgie’s and I was riding the Jet Ski. I could hear Georgie yelling something at me as I went by. “What? I can‘t hear you,” I yelled. I had to do another lap and come around again. Georgie yelled a little louder this time. He said, “My ice fishing shack fell through the ice because I didn’t pull it off the pond in time when it started to thaw. It’s under the surface of the water about three feet so don’t crash into it. “

I got off the Jet Ski immediately. I would rather come face to face with Trish’s big mutant catfish from 1977 than wipe out on a jet ski and then body slam into Georgie’s submerged ice shack.

Dave and I went to visit Georgie and Stef when Matthew was about two. It was summertime and I noticed there were daddy long-legs spiders everywhere. I hate spiders and even though daddy long-legs spiders aren’t as bad as a wolf spider or a brown recluse, I still don’t like them. I went to Girl Scout camp when I was ten and instead of tents, we slept in teepees. The teepee walls were covered in daddy long-legs spiders and our cots were pushed right up against them because the teepee was so tiny.

The spiders were crawling all over Georgie’s deck. Dave and I commented that we had never seen so many all in one place before.

Georgie tried to freak me out. “Tracey, daddy long- legs spiders are the most venomous in the world but their fangs are too short to penetrate human skin,” Georgie said. (He was totally lying but I didn’t know that until I got home and googled it. It’s actually a popular urban myth).

Later that night, after we put Matthew to bed, Georgie built a huge bonfire in the fire pit. I was wearing a white t-shirt and Stef said, “I think there’s a spider on your shirt. I see a little dot and it’s moving.” I jumped off the tree stump I was sitting on and started doing the spider dance, brushing off the front of my shirt while simultaneously screaming. I managed to calm myself down and returned to my tree stump.

Georgie and Stef had to leave to fill up their giant water tank so they could add water to their well. They said they’d be back soon so Dave and I waited for them on our stumps around the fire pit.

As the flames grew and the air above the campfire heated up and filled with smoke, about fifty squillion kajillion daddy long-legs spiders started raining down out of the pine tree branches that hung over the fire pit. I jumped off my tree stump shaking my arms and legs and I flung my head up and down and side-to-side to dislodge all possible spiders. I had a complete and total kook-out meltdown and by the time Georgie and Stef pulled back into the driveway, I had relocated Dave and I back onto the deck. That wasn’t good enough though because the spiders were still all over the deck so I went into the house, changed my clothes, medicated myself with beer, and refused to go outside for the rest of the night.

Everyone thought it was hysterical. Maybe I slightly over-reacted but I can’t imagine trying to relax around a nice campfire if there are spiders crawling all over me.

Now whenever we go to visit Georgie and Stef I keep a close watch on Matthew and Lauren. I scan the horizon for wild animals and I make sure no one goes near the pond without a life jacket.

The last time we were there, we let Matthew have a turn on the Jet Ski. He did a good job riding it. There was no ice-fishing shack to watch out for but there are still a couple of trees.

And I didn’t see a single daddy long-legs spider anywhere.

  • February 19, 2009

If you click on the picture you can see the Weight Watchers sign near the top of this building. This is where I weigh in every Thursday morning and as of today, I’m down 17.4 lbs.

Put that in your cone and LICK IT Baskin Robbins!


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