Friday, April 30, 2010

Before and After

I am not a great housekeeper.  I don't like clutter, but that doesn't mean we don't have any, or maybe a lot, around our house.  I do usually keep it contained in one or two areas.  I don't like my house to be unkept, but I'm also not a great role model for picking things up.  I definitely don't like things to be dirty, but I am not one of those people who has a cleaning "schedule" and having a housekeeper went by the wayside when we moved back to OH.  I am the type of person that cleans when something gets dirty enough that it bothers me.  Sometimes, that could be one thing out of place or one speck of dust or one drop of dirt.  More often than not, it means that the house is such a mess I would be embarrassed if someone stopped over unexpectedly.  When that happens, I just crack the front door and talk to my visitor that way.  Ha!  Just kidding.  I will invite you in, but I will apologize for the mess.  And I will clean after you leave for fear another visitor will pop in.  The best and most effective way for me to get my house clean is to plan a gathering at my house - book club, happy hour, dinner with friends - really, anything that means I will be having visitors and I have to get my house under control.

I don't like unfinished projects or rooms that are not properly painted and decorated. However, if you look around my house, mainly the upstairs rooms, you will see some rooms have made it past the painting stage, but not to the final personalization stage, often called decorating. Our master bedroom has yet to be painted. It is still the most boring beige you have ever seen, compliments of the previous owners, who were about the most boring people that have ever built a house.  I just hung window treatments in our dining room.  We have lived here 2.5 years.

I have three boys.  And their friends who come in and out.  And a husband.  None of them seem to really know how to hit the toilet full on.  Or maybe they don't shake enough afterward and the piss dribbles onto the side of the toilet and/or floor.  Or maybe it's because frequently, two boys are pissing into the toilet at once, which is sure to result in poor aim due to the laughing and the pushing one another while pissing.  Or it could be that there is one boy taking a piss and another thinks it would be funny to throw open the door and scare him, resulting in piss flying everywhere.  Whatever it is, the end result is my downstairs bathroom smells like piss.  (Their bathroom, upstairs, probably does, too. However, I don't go in there unless we are expecting overnight guests who may be using that bathroom.  Thankfully, my husband takes charge of that room and he has the kids clean it on a fairly regular basis.  Again, since I don't go in there, I am not sure what "clean" means to them.)  Anyway, I was so fed up with smelling piss.  No amount of cleaner, scrubbing or air freshener was going to remove or cover up the smell.  So I bought a heavy duty steamer.  If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen my comments about my excitement over ordering and receiving this little miracle machine.

To try it out quickly, I steamed the gunk around the kitchen sink faucet.  That thing is powerful.  I used the straight nozzle, that you use for tight spaces, like in between the faucet mount and the sink.  I then just pointed that nozzle on the floor grout.  OMG.  There was a white line of cleanness!  I was stunned.  I ran and got one of the little round brush thingys and ended up doing 1/2 of my kitchen.  I finished the other half the next day.  I also did the bathroom, which now smells steam clean fresh.  However, in the process of cleaning it, I got to smell the stench steaming hot piss.  Gag.  I really don't recommend that and suggest maybe you wear a gas mask if you are going to take on this challenge.  I did open the window.

So here it is.  The little miracle machine!
 Here is what it can do!
Before

After

Before
 

After
The lighting is a little different on these last two, but you get the idea!

I am in "clean" heaven and it really was easy!  I only went over the floors once and I used the softest brush.  Imagine if I had used a more "scrubby" brush.  Maybe next time, which hopefully will not be six years from now. I'm fairly sure the grout had not been cleaned since the house was built.  (And here is my two cents when building a home - don't pick light colors because "they go with everything!".  Live it up a little and think more along the lines of "what hides the dirt best?"  Then you'll get something that is less work and a little bit of color in your house.  I'm pretty sure the builders of this home were terrified of anything that wasn't white or beige.  I did meet the wife.  She had a "beige" personality.)

The best part of having a steam cleaner is that the temperature of the steam is hot enough to kill viruses and bacteria and there are NO CHEMICALS!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My family

It's rare that I have pictures that include my entire family and/or pictures that are of just MG and I.  So here are two pictures.  Enjoy!

This is MG and I celebrating his b-day and our 16th wedding anniversary back in January.

This was taken at a beachfront restaurant on our recent spring break trip.
You can click on either/both pictures to enlarge them, if you so desire.

Cute things CJ has said recently:

Last weekend, he was kissing one of the pages in the book I was reading.  He then said, "I LOVE that word."  I responded with, "What word?"  He said, "Mother.  You are my mother and I LOVE you, so of course, I love that word."

Frequently, when leaving the house together, he will say, "WAIT!  I need to give you a 'go with' kiss.  When  (fill in the blank with "I get on the bus" or "you drop me off" or "when you get out of the car"), I will give you a good-bye kiss."

He is my sweetest child.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Big vs. not big

Did I catch your attention with that title?  Did you think this post would be porn or borderline porn?  Sorry to disappoint, maybe next time, though.

MG works for a huge company with about 135,000 employees throughout the world.  When I was a Human Resources Manager, I worked for a small company, with about 100 employees.  I had one assistant, not a multitude of assistants.  If I wanted something done, had a question, suggestion or complaint, I went right to the source.  Since I reported directly to the CEO and President, I could walk right into their offices to get something taken care of.  If I had a question regarding an employees' paperwork, I went right to the employee - either by phone or in person.  It's not that way at X&Y, where my hubs works.

We take full advantage of the medical flexible spending.  You know, where you put money aside pre-tax to use to get reimbursed for medical expenses.  With three boys, one set of braces and another set to come in the future, two people wearing glasses and the usual maladies that hit our family, we save quite a bit of tax $$ doing this.  And who doesn't like to keep their tax $$ from going to the government?  That's what I thought.

In the last few months, we have turned in A LOT of bills to be reimbursed for.  Some were big ones and some we had just held on to until we had enough to send in.  Some were from this year and some were from last year and it seems that is where the confusion lies.  For the last couple of months, when the check comes, it's messed up.  Can he just walk to the HR department and say, "hey, you fucked up again"?  Noooooo.  He has to call the employee service center.  In Costa Rica.  Where you get a different person every time.  It's as bad as calling  for some kind of technical service.  You get the run-around, you get a variety of answers and it might all be in broken English.

I understand the need for this type of service center.  135,000+ employees are a lot to service.  It just makes it really difficult on this end to get things straightened out.  I don't know how many people are in payroll, where they process the reimbursement forms to reimburse on the paycheck, but when something looks funny or you don't understand, they don't call to see what the issue is.  They sure as hell can't walk out to the employees desk to ask "What's up with this?"  They just do something, and it appears it's ususally wrong.

On the flip side, working for a company this size comes with other great benefits, which I am so thankful for because they are wonderful!  I just hope we don't ever have a question about any of them.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hey, there's a Bistro in my McDonald's!

I mentioned that on our vacation, we went to the world's largest McDonald's in Orlando, FL.  However, I spared you the details of what their menu was like.  Well, the day has come, my friends, that I will share the magical, mystery tour of what is known as the McDonald's Bistro. 

We were in line to order while our kids were on the 2nd (3rd ?) floor playing in the arcade and playground and I became so overwhelmed by the menu that I thought I might have a panic attack.  The choices!  Oh my, the choices this McDonald's had.  It really is much easier when you just have burgers and fries and maybe a couple of other choices like salads.  And ordering?  Ordering was a two step process. First, you come to one "station" to place your order to someone who barely speaks English, and get your bill total. You then take your receipt to the next counter to pay for the food and get the food. Well, you get your food unless you ordered something "special," which Sous Chef, MG and I did.  Sous Chef ordered a meatball sub, MG ordered something fancy, and I ordered a spinach wrap turkey sandwich with a salad. Our items were made in another part of the 1st floor and picked up there. I almost dropped my plate, yes I said PLATE, when I realized my food came on a PLATE, with real silverware.  I guess between the menu and the plates/silverware, they can call themselves a "bistro."

This McDonald's had made to order pizza and specialty pizzas, gourmet sandwiches and panninis, and they had a pasta station.  They even had pasta with shrimp on it!  I know this not just because it was on the menu, but because it was on the flashing marquee in front of the restaurant - pictures and everything.  I guess I could have overcome my anxiety by just ordering the "Chef's Recommendation" that appeared on the menu.  What was he recommending?  Garlic Chicken Alfredo and Shrimp Marinara.  Oh, there's also a "Delectable Desserts" menu and gourmet breakfast items. 

To keep you busy while deciding and waiting for your order they had a video showing a gourmet chef preparing meals. A gourmet chef? At McDonald's? Now that's just nuts. I'm pretty sure he was just your average McD's worker with a chef's uniform on and a fancy chef name edited onto the video.


I can honestly say that just because the word "Bistro" appears in your name and you use words like gourmet and other fancy terms, it doesn't guarantee your meal will taste gourmet and fancy.  It wasn't bad food, but it sure didn't qualify as gourmet.

I can also say this.  The one thing this McDonald's was missing was alcohol.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Legs for Lyman

I have a good friend whose 4 year old son battles CF every.single.day.  He is doing great!  Lyman and his family are participating in the Great Strides Walk this weekend.  If you would like to meet Lyman and his family, watch the above video.
If you would like to take it one step further, go to Lyman's fundraising page and donate a few $$ towards finding a cure for this disease!

Thank you!

Hostess Etiquette

I am no Emily Post, but I think I am socially aware enough to know how to behave when hosting a party, especially when that party is for my kiddo and I do not know many, if any, of the parents who will be dropping off said kiddos at a third party location (IE: indoor romper room/blow up toys/glow bowling facility).

For those who are not aware of the proper hostess etiquette in this all too common situation, here are the guidelines:
  1. Make yourself available to greet parents and child/ren when they are arriving.  This means be present at the entrance, introduce yourself to the parent and the child.  DO NOT stand off in a group of moms and chat it up about the latest gaming systems while most of us are trying to figure out who the birthday girl's mom or dad is so we can let you know our child has arrived and we can get questions answered.  Important questions, like "Do you need me to stay?",  "What time is the party over?"  Oh, and about the party end time, it's probably a good idea if you know the answer to that.
  2. When the party is over, be at the exit to make sure kids are leaving with their parents, to say goodbye to the kids and give the kids the opportunity to thank you for inviting them to the party.  DO NOT chat it up with ONE other parent about God knows what that is a seriously LONG conversation that has nothing to do with the party or the fact the party is over.  Please make yourself available so my kid can politely show his gratitude and say his farewell without having to stand waiting for a good five minutes before he just says, "Thanks!" and walks away without you hearing him.  When that happens, I will then make my child return to say it again.  This time however, he will do what he did, which is tap on you repeatedly and say, "Excuse me" until you acknowledge him.  I will let him get away with it because you are being a rude hostess by not being available to properly acknowledge the departure of your party guests.  In depth conversations can wait until all guests have left.
  3. In the event that your party is being attended only by your friends who know what you expect and can say their hellos and goodbyes on the phone or in a group setting or you're such good friends that hellos and goodbyes are not even necessary, ignore suggestions 1 and 2. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

First, mom jeans. Now, mom hair?

Did anyone see the Today Show segment this week regarding "mom hair"?  COME ON!  Most of us gave up mom jeans years ago (and if you haven't, it's time!), leaving many of us pooch bellied mamas trying to find "the" pair of jeans that results in the smallest muffin top possible.  Do we really need the added pressure of being labeld with "mom hair"?  Those damn celebrities are sticking it to the average woman again!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The dark side of spring break

My larger community (ie. the suburbs around me) have suffered the losses of two young lives to high school spring breaks.  Two more are hanging on in hospitals, loved ones praying for their full recoveries.

The first death took place about the time my family was on our Spring Break.  A local boy from a Cincy school doing what you typically think of as "spring break."  Underage drinking, not paying attention, (probably) getting cocky by hanging over one's hotel balcony to yell at people on other balconies and below and then falling to his death.

The second death occurred this past weekend when a group of eight local girls were in a single car accident in Alabama while on their way home from a spring break trip.  One died, two remain in the hospital and the rest are home with their families now.  So far, it appears no drugs or alcohol were involved, but only two girls were wearing seatbelts, according to the news reports.

Though different scenarios, both are equally sad.

My husband and I have different thoughts on high school kids going on spring break trips.  He thinks it's ridiculous and that no high school kid needs to be vacationing in a drunken party town for a week.  (I need to point out here, I was totally shocked when he told me this.  MG often is more of a "free-range" type parent than I am!)  Especially on a parent's dime.  I don't really disagree with that.  I'm certainly not saying I would permit my kids to go on a spring break trip alone.  But I do recognize that there are some low key places one can go for spring break.  I also recognize that not all kids behave the same.  The major thing I can't ignore, though, is that in a few short months, these HS kids are all going to college.  And I don't know about you, but I don't intend to go to college with my kids.  So that means that at the young age of 18, which I was and most HS Seniors are, these kids are going to be out on their own, ready or not.  I'm not saying that's an excuse to hand over one's credit card and send them down the highway to Daytona Beach, Panama City Beach or any other party location.  However, I can't overlook that if kids can't handle spring break as a senior in HS, they may not be able to handle college, either.  There's not a lot of growing up that happens between April, when they are seniors in high school and August, when they leave for college.

It seems like a very fine line to me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Discovery Shuttle Launch - UPDATE

There was some problems viewing this due to a privacy restriction.  I have corrected that, I hope!  Carry on.

If you read my earlier vacation post, you know we went to see the Discovery shuttle launch on our spring break. This is the 2nd launch we have seen. After this one, there are three more launches, so you better hurry up and get to one by the end of the year!  If you haven't seen a shuttle (or rocket) launch, it is really cool. We went to Jetty Park, which is about 12-13 miles from the launch pad. This is ALMOST as close as you can get without being on site at Kenneday Space Center. We camped in our van, which may or may not have been a good time, depinding on who you talk to. I slept better that night than I had in a few days! (By the way, our previous launch we watched from Titusville, which was also a GREAT view of the launch, and has a better view of the actual launch pad.  Titusville is as close as you can get without being on Kennedy Space Center property.) There were hundreds of people camping, maybe more, to watch the launch. When you are around that many people for something as exciting as this, you can feel the excitement in the air!

Unfortunately, we did not have our tri-pod. I think my hubs did a pretty good job making this video while also trying to see the launch as a spectator and not a videographer! Turn up your volume a little at around 55 seconds until about 1 minute 25 seconds. That's when you can finally hear the rumble and that's when we feel the earth shake.  This video doesn't portray just how loud it is, though!  The launch took place at 6:30AM.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ch- ch- ch- changes!

Do you notice them?  A new background, new music, booklist updated and some stuff removed.

As for the music, enjoy! I am heading out in a few weeks to see Frightened Rabbit in concert.  Oddly enough, I had just downloaded a bunch of their tunes to my MP3 player when I got the invite to go see them in concert.  Perfect timing.  I'll come home from that concert with the taste of an ashtray in my mouth, which always happens when I go to shows at that venue.  Weird, but I kind of like it.

Now for the books.  Man, all of the books I have read recently have been awesome!  See the list to the right and down a little.  I am almost finished with The 19th Wife and it is very good.  My favorite on that list, though, is probably Wench.  I do need to say, however, that I could relate to But Inside I'm Screaming.  There are often times when I think I might be on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  I mean, really, who can't relate to that?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Facebook

My 12 yr. old, who will be 13 in a couple of weeks, finally asked for a Facebook account.  I got him all signed up and I let him know I was friending him (though I have it set up so he can't see and doesn't get my status updates, comments on my page, etc.) and that anything posted to his account would be sent to me in an e-mail.  He didn't mind TOO much, but he did make a comment that "none of my friends parents do that" and all those other things you expect kids to say.  I told him his friends probably just don't know their parents are watching. 

But are they?  I know MY friends are all watching their kids on Facebook, checking their phones, etc.  But is he right?  Are his friends' parents totally letting their kids roam free on Facebook and the rest of the internet?  Believe me when I say I am not overprotective.  My kids roam freely through our community, I don't hover over them and their schoolwork, I don't make daily (well, actually NEVER) calls to the school to complain about anything.  What about you?  How do you handle this?  Do you follow your kids on Facebook or other social networking sites?  Do you ever review what is going on on their text messages and e-mails?  It won't change my mind about what I am doing, but at least I will know if I am a total nut or just one of the bunch, which may be one in the same.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth

I know you are all sitting on the edge of your seats and losing sleep at night wondering what it's like to travel with the Jo family.  I gave you a little teaser the other day with my entry about how I thought I hated flying but may have discovered I hate driving more.  That was Day 1 & 2 of our trip.  I will give you a quick rundown.  I promise, this will not be like going to the neighbors to watch their boring vacation video.

As you know, Day 1 and most of Day 2 were spent in our mini-van with me gripping the dashboard in between trying to ignore my husband's driving habits.  He has seen my entry from the other day and passionately denies that he speeds up when he sees brake lights.  He then laughed after he made that claim.

So, here we go (click on any picture to enlarge it):

Day 3 - Melbourne Beach, Florida.  Walking to the beach, Sous Chef gets a splinter the size of a redwood tree.  The waves were rather large and brought out all the surfers.  Great for them, but not so great for Big E, who was knocked flat on his face more than once even though he has proper training about ducking into the wave and keeping your back to the wave.  He vomited salt water two different times, but immediately went back in.  Sous Chef had a blast, mastered the waves immediately, and ended up with sandrash on parts of his body that should NOT experience sandrash.  Ouch.  I had a face plant of my own and a mouthful of water and decided resting on the beach blanket catching some rays was a much better idea.

We visited a friend of mine from high school and her family, reminisced about when she, and I and three other girlfriends went to NYC for spring break in HS. Oh, and we talked about the pros and cons of "soft" toilet paper vs. "strong" toilet paper.

Late at night on this night, we pulled into a campground and slept in our van surrounded by hundreds of other "campers" to be ready for the shuttle launch the next morning.
The Three Amigos
CJ is overcome by a wave.

Day 4 - Discovery Shuttle launch. (I will do a separate post with pictures/video.) There really is not much to say because words can't describe what this is like, except that it is spectacular. This was the 2nd launch we have seen, it was the 4th to the last launch before the space shuttle program ends. We were at Port Canaveral and literally minutes before the scheduled time for the launch, a HUGE cruise ship pulls into the canal to get to it's port. It blocked our view for several minutes and lots of people were panicing. I think I got to hear some serious cursing in a variety of languages!
We forgot our tri-pod and it's hard to get pictures when you are also trying to watch the event take place, but here is a decent one. I will load the video in another post.

Cocoa Beach, Florida. The waves had calmed down quite a bit and we all spent a lot of time playing in the ocean, except Sous Chef, who prefers the stronger waves and couldn't stand the pain of the salt water on his sandrash. He had fun building sandcastles and playing in the sand.

Day 5-8 - Disney World.  Let the financial bloodletting begin!  Seriously, I would love to see their financial statements for just one day.  Our family is not a "Disney" family. We own very few Disney movies, my kids don't love, or even care about, the characters.  We don't "plan" the trip by reading all the books and websites and mapping out our every minute in order to have the most "efficient" use of our time and activities.  All the kids care about are the rides.  And the food.  Man, this family can put away the food.  Expensive, not always good, institutional type of food.  The ice cream was good, though.  CJ and I swam with the sharks and sting rays.  I rode things that my neurosurgeon would have had a heart attack over, but I did refrain from riding some of the rides that I knew would probably undo every stitch of the two brain surgeries I have had.  We learned Big E cannot spin uncontrollably in circles and the Mad Hatter Tea Cup ride did him in for about 1/2 hour. 

I love rides, but I do get kind of freaked out on some of the more intense, "mental" type of attractions.  I actually chose not to go on the Lilo and Stitch thingy because I knew from the description all they did was give an attraction that I had ridden before a different name.  The last time I was on it, I got so freaked out I sat there the majority of the time with my eyes squeezed shut. My kids, of course, had no issues with it and could not figure out why I wouldn't join them.  On another ride where you go "into the past" to bring back a dinosaur, there is a time when the ride stops in total dark, the recorded voice was screaming "Get out, get out" and something about a problem with the "plan".  This is never good and my heart was racing with anticipation.  I managed to keep my eyes open, but once the spotlight came on, there was a dinosaur hanging above my head with heat and wind blowing like he was breathing on us.  I just sat looking straight ahead with shoulders tucked up to my ears.  I know this only because when we came out, there were pictures.  Lovely.  Everyone else in my car was looking up with either shocked faces or laughing.  I prefer the "if you can't see me, I can't see you" approach.
The Jo Family at Hollywood Studios. Sous Chef took the picture, which explains his absence.  He loves using the camera.
I spotted these at Animal Kingdom.  Really, who wears high heels to an amusement park?

Day 9 & 10 - Basically, a repeat of Day 1 & 2, which means me as a door handle holding, invisible brake pushing, grasping the dashboard passenger.  The traffic was awful.  Actually, I did better coming home because I focused on reading a book and ignoring the driver's bad habits, for the most part.

Oh, we also ate at the world's largest McDonald's, which is in Orlando (not on Disney property).  I'm not sure what day it was, so I am throwing it in here.  I guess I never thought about there being a McDonald's that could boast being the biggest, but I should have known it was out there somewhere; apparently in Orlando.  It's really much bigger than this picture looks as there is an entire back of this building that you can't see.



For some reason, this picture turns the wrong way when I import it.  Anyway, we stopped to get gas on our way home on Sunday in a little town that appears to be named after CJ.

Who wants to join us for our next trip?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hold the sugar, please.

Driving from Ohio to Florida requires crossing the Mason Dixon line into the south. I assure you, once we did this, at every restaurant we went to, I ended up with sweet tea, even when I made it clear I wanted UNsweet tea. Most of the time, I usually would just say, "Excuse me, I ordered UNsweet tea," and it was taken care of.  Not without a funny look, though.

However, one conversation went like this:

"....and I would like an iced tea."
"Sweet or unsweet?"
"UNsweet, please."
"Oh, HOT tea? Sorry, I misunderstood."
"No, I would like UNsweet iced tea."

I did end up with an unsweet iced tea. However, when I stopped someone to top off a carry out cup and said, "Could you refill this with UNsweet tea?," I ended up with sweet tea. When I explained to the hostesses that I actually wanted UNsweet tea but got sweet, they looked totally confused, as if they had never heard of UNsweet tea nor had they ever met a creature who would make such a request.  This scene was repeated pretty much our entire vacation.

During this trip, we ate at the "world's largest McDonald's" (yes, there is a McDonald's that boasts this fact, and I assure you, it is a huge McDonald's) and I got my own UNsweet tea.  The dispenser clearly said unsweet.  Guess what?  They were messing with me.  It was totally filled with sweet tea.

Friday, April 9, 2010

It's a traveler's paradise.

In the south, there is a restaurant that we always go to when on the road. It's Shoney's. If you have never been to a Shoney's, you don't know what you are missing. It's mediocre, low quality food for a low price. I don't know why we keep going back, but we do. And for some odd reason, we love it. I guess it's tradition and it just wouldn't be a road trip to the south without a trip to Shoney's.

Our recent trip to Shoney's was better than most. We got a lot of chuckles and I even was profiled as a "northerner." I'm still considering filing a discrimination lawsuit.

When ordering our food, I wanted to know about two different fried shrimp dinners. The descriptions seemed very similar and I was unclear about what made them different enough to justify that one came with the "all-you-can-eat soup, salad and fruit bar" (a must for Shoney's diners!) for a cheaper price than the other without the salad bar. Our waitress said the one with the salad bar came with JUMBO shrimp. So I asked how many. Her answer, "I don't know." Not "I'll find out," or "Gosh, I'm new here and no one has asked that before," or "I can't count that high." Just "I don't know." At least she said it with a smile. So I ordered the JUMBO shrimp with the soup, salad and fruit bar. Sous Chef ordered the spaghetti. I made the mistake of asking "Is the sauce with meat or without?" The response, "I don't know." So I just followed up with, "Well, if there is a choice, make it the meat sauce." And of course, my order for UNsweet tea went unnoticed and I ended up with sweet tea. The sweet vs. UNsweet tea is a whole other story and will follow in another post.

When she delivered our food, she held each plate, said what it was, and waited for that person, or in this case, the parents, to take the plate and deliver it to the child or to ourselves. I could not even look at my husband because I knew I would burst out laughing.

Twice, one of us had to go to the waitress station to get a refill because she seemed to just disappear and we had empty glasses and no creamer for way too long.

When checking out, the manager asked how the service was. I told him fine, but a little slow. He apologized and I said, "No big deal, but you asked, so I told you." That's when the slander occurred. "Are you from Michigan?" "No, Ohio." He smirked. He SMIRKED. So I said, "Do you think I'm acting like a northerner?" I said it with a smile, of course. "No," he said, "you haven't cussed me out yet." All I can say to that is "That fucking asshole is damn lucky I didn't smack that shit eating grin right off his fucking face." There, now I cussed him out.

All in all, though, we can't wait to go to another Shoney's. We love that southern hospitality.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

And I thought I didn't like to fly.

Remember back in September when I went on that awesome trip to Hawaii with my BFF? The only thing I wasn't looking forward to was flying. I am not afraid to fly. Flying is good. It's the crashing that is not so good. I am afraid to die in a firey plane crash and leave my family behind. My doctor prescribed me Xanax so I wouldn't die from anxiety. It was good.

On our latest excursion, I've discovered I hate driving maybe more than flying. At least with flying, the torture generally only lasts a few hours.

Day 1 of our driving trip went like this:

First stop: Wendy's, just around the corner from our house, for food. When we eat in the car we call it a "car picnic" and my kids love it. They were so excited to be having a car picnic. We were off to a great start! Happy kids is a must for an 18 hour drive, broken into two days. My husband ordered medium drinks for the kids. They were about 1/2 gallon each. My husband's comment was "Great, we'll be stopping for toilet breaks every hour." I got a large drink, but I have a bladder of steel and it's very rare that we make a pit stop for me.

Second stop: Bank ATM. Before we could get to the ATM, though, when turning into the bank, we hit a bump, which caused the youngest child's 1/2 gallon drink to bounce out of its cupholder and all over the van floor. Pit stop #1 and not because a child had to pee. I think I made my first comment about how I should have taken a Xanax before we left.

Finally on the road, we quickly run into bumper to bumper stopped traffic on the highway. What is usually a 20 minute drive to the Ohio/Kentucky border took just over an hour. I now make my second comment, but about my 473rd thought, that I should have taken a Xanax. Unfortunately, they were packed away and I couldn't get to them. My husand confirmed I had my muscle relaxers and that there would be enough for him to take six of them, but not while he was driving, of course. We are not afraid of prescription drugs in a time of need.

The entire drive to south of Atlanta (and then from Atlanta to Central Florida the next day) was bumper to bumper traffic. I drove for a few hours, but the rest of the time my husband drove. His driving is a lot different than mine. When I see brake lights ahead of me, I start to slow down in preparation of stopping. When he sees brake lights ahead of him? He speeds up - I guess he is in a hurry to slam into that car in front of us and he wants to be going good and fast so when we do slam into that car, there will be no doubt that it will slam into the car in front of it and so on. Someday, we are sure to make the news for causing a major pile up on the highway. I frequently say, "they are braking ahead." He frequently says, "I see that." I say, "Then why are you speeding up?" He never has an answer that makes me feel calm. On this trip, he actually accused me of being "jumpy" and making HIM nervous. I agree I was a little jumpy. That usually happens when my life flashes before my eyes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I have a friend...

In case you aren't aware, I am a married female and mother of three boys.  I like boys.  Over the years, it seems I find boys less irritating.  It's probably because I grew up with older brothers, mostly boy cousins until I was older and mostly boys in my neighborhood.  That and I am not a particularly girly girl.  I look like a girl, I dress like a girl and I love clothes, hair, makeup stuff.  But I don't always act like a girl.  I'm not very sensitive or easily offended and I don't cry easily.  I'm not worried about  "appearances" or "keeping up" with the other women around me.  I don't worry about what the general public thinks of me (though I do want those I care about to think nice things about me!).  I am outspoken and not afraid to stand up for myself.  I'm not like a lot of other girls I know.  (I do however, seem to pick girl friends who are similar to me!)

I have several very good women friends, a wonderful BFF, none of whom I could live without!  I do, however, have one particular friend who is a boy.  I met him when I was in college, I think maybe my junior or senior year.  After I graduated, we became roommates for a few years.  I then met my hubby, moved out to live all alone for a while (which I LOVED).  Eventually, I got married and have lived among men and boys ever since.  It's perfect for me.

Back to the friend who is a boy, who is probably shitting himself right now because he has realized this post is sort of about him.  Do you have a friend of the opposite gender?  It can be a unique relationship.  I adore my "boy" friend.  He is like the brother I should have had.  I do have two brothers and I think they're pretty cool in their own ways, but we are all three different in so many ways we seem to lack a connection.

There were a variety of people I knew who thought we should NOT be roommates.  Well, it was mainly my mom, because opposite genders who are not family should not "live" together, even in platonic relationships where you each have your own room.  You would have thought having the guy roommate during college would have prepared her, though in college we did have a third female roommate, so maybe that buffered the blow a little bit the first time.  Others who did not know us would give me the "raised" eyebrow when they found out I had a guy roommate.  This usually happened at my place of employment where I had my first real post college job.  They eventually got "used" to it and stopped making comments.  When I met my husband and we were dating, the neanderthals he worked with couldn't believe MG would "let" me "live with a guy."  My husband's comment was always something like "They're just friends.  And he was there long before I was." 

George (name changed to protect his privacy) and I are still friends after 20 or so years.  He is single, though that could be/is changing.  We get together about once a month for lunch or dinner.  We go to concerts together.  I still get funny looks from people when I mention these things and people realize my husband doesn't go with us.  MG knows he is always invited to join us at any time he wants.  But he also knows how much I enjoy being with George and he opts out, just like he opts out of a girls only lunch date or concert outing (though honestly, I don't think he really IS invited to girls only events.  That would just be wrong.).

What about you?  Do you have a friendship with someone of the opposite gender?