Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Would You Rather Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Innkeeper's Assistant

Emily Dickinson Pictures, Images and Photos
In the spring of my senior year of college, my work study money was running out. I had spent the last two years working in a library and loving every minute of it. It was just me and the books. If I were to enter into plural marriage, it would be with a huge stack of books. I was sad when the money ran out and couldn't work anymore in those quiet corners shelving all the Grisham and Steel books that people love to read so much. I would love to blog about my time there, but it will have to keep for another day. This post will be about the job that came after my dream job.

I found an ad on campus advertising a position at a local Bed and Breakfast. It seemed like one step above the Subway I worked at my first two years of college. I've written about that experience before and I wasn't itching to get back to bread with pubes and cheese with eyelashes. I decided to take a chance and called the number on the flyer.

It turned out that the job entailed me alternating work at two inns that this very eccentric couple owned. They were on the same street, about 1/2 a mile apart and my home was only a 1/2 mile away from that. My college experience was all about riding the bus and walking so I was excited about commuting easily on my feet. Both inns were stunning and very old. One of them was across the street from Emily Dickinson's house! She was my ghost bosom buddy so I felt happy knowing that I could look out the window from my job and see her anytime I liked.

I called myself an innkeeper's assistant, but really I was just a maid. I served breakfast, washed dishes, cleaned rooms/beds, and did laundry. I would work at one inn and then sprint down the hill to work at another. My first day of work, I got to cook two dozen eggs in a massive wok and I was thrilled. I actually really enjoyed this job. I enjoy solitary monotonous work. Most people would loathe doing the same mundane tasks over and over, but I liked it because I could work and still be lost in my head. No matter how old I get, I love to lose myself in thought. This job was perfect for that.

As much as I loved the job, it came with its own perils. I learned very early, that one boss would take my tips if I weren't quick enough to get them. I made myself have bat ears and listen for the person handing their keys back and then fly to their room to scoop up my tip and then fly back to where I was working. People left very generous tips and since I was making only $8 an hour, 4 hours a day, I could really use those tips. I'm sure the owner must have been dismayed that I was taking my own tips, but she never mentioned it to me directly. I was the hardest worker they had ever had and since I was willing to work at both their businesses, they did not want to lose me.

The other peril of the job had to do with bodily fluids. If you are in any way squeamish, I would suggest skipping the next paragraph or two... Obviously, people don't just sleep in their rooms, they enjoy adult time and bathroom time. Most of my experience comes from bathroom time. People will smear the grossest things on walls, tubs, and toilets. I guess if you are paying that much, it's OK to be freak nasty with your menstrual blood. My bosses would always apologize if they happened to notice a particularly scary situation in a bathroom that I was cleaning. I would just breathe through my mouth, open a window for some fresh, crisp Massachusetts air, and think of England. If bedding or mattresses were soiled, I was always told that the owner's would take care of that. I recall one incident of my boss scrubbing a stain from a very old quilt while muttering the foulest words I had ever heard. I loved it and will treasure that moment always.

I think my bosses thought of me as young and naive and wanted to shield me from things. It was strange, I was 21 and almost a college graduate. I actually was very interested in all the bawdy things that can happen at a Bed and Breakfast. There was one time that a pair of randy dudes and possibly some other friends stayed a night. When I got to work, I was told that I was forbidden from cleaning their room. They had had some sort of orgy involving a lot of massage oils and I was not to see the aftermath of it. The owners locked the door and got to work. I was dismayed, I wanted to see the sex den. I had seen the two young men leaving and they didn't seem that wild. Certainly not wild enough to knock lamps around and pull mattresses down and soak most surfaces with pungent fluids. I suppose I should be thankful that my innocence was preserved and that I was not responsible for cleaning the destruction of an orgy, but my curiosity for that room has never left my head.

I worked hard every morning through that spring and into summer. I missed my own graduation because I preferred tips to standing in a giant stadium with my 6,000 classmates. When wedding parties came to visit, I often got $20 and $50 bills left on dressers for me. I would wake up early and skip to work. I really liked being a maid. It was just me, filthy rooms, and Emily. Life can surprise you and hand you bliss where you least expect it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Consignment Insanity

Four Pictures, Images and Photos
Twice a year, my town has a consignment sale held at the fire department hall. I usually check it out, never knowing when I might find a hidden deal. I got there pretty early, but there was already a line around the block. Every time I've been to this sale, I've never had to wait in a line. I was a little worried because my spirited girl does not do well in a line. Luckily, there were toddlers in front and behind me to keep her amused. I was still considering if waiting in this line was worth it. Are people queuing up expecting to find ingots of gold in those boxes and on those tables? They would let in small groups as people left. When people left, they were hauling giant bags of toys and clothing. It was like the Apocalypse was coming and they had to fight it with used onesies. Two women behind me were in a panic and one said "There won't be anything left for us!" I could feel their horror moving through the line. I was immune to it, we have multiple thrift stores in the area, there are always racks of wash worn tee shirts somewhere.

Once I got in, it looked like Disneyland in the height of summer. The racks were being stripped bare and people were pushing and shoving their way into the thick of it. One frau looked like she would cut me if I even considered touching an Old Navy holiday tee. I wanted to tell this lady that there was nothing to worry about, I buy my holiday tees new when they are on 75% off clearance. Her shirt was safe.

If you've read this blog long enough, you should already know that I mostly hate people. I also hate having my personal space invaded. The crowds at this sale was bringing my annoyance level to its maximum. I had to keep my mouth shut tightly so I didn't say "it's a clusterfuck in here". It was just the one coherent thought I had in all the chaotic used clothing madness. I had a pair of $2 uniform pants for my son and a pair of $1 sparkly PJs for my daughter and I still wasn't sure it was worth it. I decided just to buy them and book it.

Unfortunately the line was wrapped all around the warehouse! If I had seen that before I came in, I would have never bothered to be part of those elbow brawls in racks. Every single person in that line had the standard huge Apocalypse blue bag of crap clothing. Since it is consignment, they have to write down every item sold and which person it belongs to and that takes forever even with a handful of people in line. Every time I've come to this sale, I've been able to get in and out with relative ease. It must be the economy that is driving people to this sale. It's like they've never heard of the Good Will.

I hurriedly put my finds back and hauled ass out of there. It was a good thing I left when I did because I saw the Four Horsemen rushing in behind me. They were looking for footie PJs.

Friday, September 25, 2009

White Trash Recipe of the Week

gandhi Pictures, Images and Photos
Gandhi's Legs

3-4 chicken drumsticks
1 pkg of Mahatma Saffron Rice

Preheat oven to 375. Put rice and the amount of water the instructions specify in a small casserole dish. Place the drumsticks on top. Bake for about 40 minutes. The juice from the legs will drip down and add extra flavor to the rice. Feeds 2 adults or 1 adult and 2 small children.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Would You Rather Wednesday?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Potent Potables

Macgyver Pictures, Images and Photos
The Spa is Still Open
My daughter still continues to try and sneak toothpaste for her hair and face any chance she gets. She's taken to stealing my husband's full loaded toothbrush that he leaves on the toliet top when he's in the shower. She also managed to find some shimmering Chapstick and made up her face with it. Her face was iridescent when I found her and smelling of coconut. I'm not sure when this mania for beauty treaments will end, but it seems like nothing is safe from her experimenting hands.

Another Battle Won
After a week of having nothing shipped out from my Blockbuster queue and two fruitless emails, I decided to call. I was told that they are upgrading their shipping process to be much faster and that this is affecting everyone. I'm not sure why shipping has to completely stop for them to upgrade their system, but I managed to get a $10 credit applied to my next bill and magically, two movies shipped out of my queue. I also used my free coupon to finish off Season 1 of Big Love, so things are looking brighter.

End of Summer Garden Review
My tomato plant, Leroy, now looks petrified, but still staying in my flower bed. He's like an all knowing stone statue. I plan to keep him there through winter with my gnome. My rose volunteer, JFK Jr., is climbing up my box window. We won't have any blooms this year, but I am glad I don't have to worry about finding something for him to climb on. My son planted an orange seed about a month ago and now it's a nice little sproutling right in my marigold bed. All the neighborhood kids check on it daily.

Expert Dentistry
Tonight, my son decided to shove the antenna wire of his remote control car deep into his teeth. It wasn't even the straight part, but the curly end. He had double the wire in there. I had a moment of panic not being able to get it out. I was thinking I'd have to take him to an after hour clinic with it just hanging out of his mouth. I frantically called my husband and he suggested putting some soap in there to "get things moving". I decided to blast some spray oil in there and then MacGyver it out with a toothpick. Luckily that worked and the crisis was solved.

Soymilk Surprise
At the grocery store this afternoon, I reached for a carton of soymilk. I didn't realize that someone had already decided to open the top and me grabbing it turned into an experience not unlike Splash Mountain. I asked my son later why someone would open a carton like that and he said "They were robbers and probably wanted to drink some, but didn't want to waste money on their credit card". I'm glad me repeatedly telling him he can't have something because I don't want to waste money on my debit card has finally sunk in and he can apply it to a real life situation.

Here I Go Again
I'm not ashamed to admit that I blasted some Whitesnake as I rolled through my town this weekend. It was a warm day and my kids were in the car so we decided to have some good times. They are used to Mommy turning it up when Def Leppard or Prince comes on, but Whitesnake was a new treat. I love when I'm stopped at a stoplight and people can't move because their jaws are so far on the ground. Yes, I'm playing crazy loud Hair bands while my kids are in the car and it's fun!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Your Weekly Horoscope

Capricorn: You have some really scary cleaning that you have been putting off.

Aquarius: Your schedule is booked with watching the new fall t.v. season.

Pisces: Something sharp may jab itself into your foot.

Aries: You may find yourself lurking in shadows waiting to wrestle your demons.

Taurus: Your mind is running on optimal functioning levels.

Gemini: You will succumb to the urge to blast Hair bands out your car window.

Cancer: Your secret beauty treaments are harming more than helping.

Leo: This is a good week to experiment with new foods.

Virgo: You germ phobia will be out of control this week.

Libra: This is a good week to take an autumn stroll.

Scorpio: A family member will visit you.

Sagittarius: Your current selfish behavior is very unbecoming.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Vocabulary Lesson

blockbuster Pictures, Images and Photos
I love words and I generally like learning new ones, but this week, I learned a new phrase that I wish I hadn't. It's called account throttling and it applies to my Blockbuster Online account. I already knew both words, but never realized that you could combine them together to equal the shitty service that Blockbuster has been providing. I'd like to thank Google for giving me a name to an experience that I thought I left behind with Netflix many years ago.

We early Netflix subscribers. My husband and I both love movies. G likes action and thrillers. I call them man movies and don't mind being sexist in the least about that. I prefer strange foreign films and independent movies. He calls them sick and weird most of the time, so I guess we're even. We always get the 3 movies at a time plan and depending on football season it will be 2 movies to me and 1 to him or vice versa. Luckily, it's football season, so I can get all the sick movies I enjoy. Actually, I've become a little bit obsessed with watching all the Big Love episodes they have right now. I really enjoy Wife #2, Nicky. I feel like I relate to her in many fun ways. Unfortunately, account throttling is coming in between me and the Hendricksons. It's like a Netflix flashback.

If you are unfamiliar with account throttling, it's basically when online movie sites hold back movies from frequent renters to give them to infrequent renters. They have different ways of doing this; they can send from the furthest shipping center from your home, not clear a movie from your queue, or simply not send any out for days. With Netflix, we experienced them not clearing movies from our queue and shipping them from far off places. I didn't know what account throttling was back then, I just assumed they flagged our account as being frequent users and put us on a slow down list. We maybe got 3 movies a week, but I guess it was too much for them. They are in business to make money, why send them out so quickly, right? After a month of frustration, we switched to Blockbuster and were very happy with them for the last 4 years.

Unfortunately this month, Blockbuster decided to throttle us. They only are sending out two movies at a time and taking about 4 days to send it. I've emailed them and got the standard "you have to have so many movies available" response. They are all available! No one wants my bizzarre movies or Big Love, there are plenty to go around! After telling them that I "know all about your throttling", I was told that they are doing system updates and that is why I am only getting two movies at a time, sent out 4 days after they receive them. I was emailed a coupon for a free rental to ease my pain. I'm going to use it, I need my next fix of Juniper Creek. It still doesn't ease anything.

I suppose there's always Redbox. I don't think they can throttle you, but technically you could throttle the machine if it gives you trouble like Roman Grant would do.

Friday, September 18, 2009

White Trash Recipe of the Week

Hamburger & hotdog buns Pictures, Images and Photos
Makeshift Garlic Bread

*Inspired by too many left over Labor Day hamburger buns.

Nearly stale hamburger or hot dog buns
Minced garlic or garlic puree
Butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together garlic and margarine/butter into an easy spread (if using butter, you may have to heat it to soften). Separate those buns and place them on a baking sheet. Spread your garlic mix. Bake until a bit brown on the top, but still soft inside. Maybe 15 minutes?

*Yes, I realize this recipe is vaguely dirty. Have fun with those unused buns!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Midnight Spa Treatments

toothpaste Pictures, Images and Photos
My daughter lives to do naughty things in secret. She is a loud kid, always singing or talking to herself so the minute she is silent, I know she is up to something. I often find her in corners marking up walls or sneaking a chocolate she found. When I catch her, she always says "Nuffin' Mommy. Go 'Way". I really thought that this was a daytime activity only, but last night, she really went big.

Around midnight, I thought I heard some movement in my bedroom. The room was dark and the kids were supposed to be asleep, but apparently Lady A. decided to go into the master bathroom with her owl eyes and take some toothpaste and then go into the side table drawer and take out some Vaseline. In pitch black, she managed to mix together the toothpaste and Vaseline and apply it to her skin and hair. She was giving herself a midnight spa treatment, but it ended up looking something very similar to a scene in There's Something About Mary.

I went and scrubbed her minty, oily head and got her back to bed. I thought I fixed the problem, but in the morning, her hair mask was still there. I tried scrubbing it again, but the soap wouldn't get it all out and she was getting angry with me for bothering her so much. I just decided to braid her wet hair tight and hope that fairies get it out during the day.

I ran some errands and took her to a play area. By this time, her braided hair was very stiff and still Danny Zuko looking. There were also random white paste flakes. I kept thinking as she was playing "Wow, I'm a crap mom who can't clean her own kid. I'm sure everyone is noticing that hot mess on her head". To make matters worse, there is a Purell dispenser at the play area and A. decides to get some Purell and rub it into her hair! Some of the moms noticed and giggled about it so I just confessed to her hair treatment at midnight. In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

I thought maybe that girl was on to something with the Purell. It's alcohol based and that gets a lot of stuff out. I couldn't really pump Purell into my hands and try and clean her right there, but I tried to discreetly use a baby wipe in her hair. That has alcohol too, I think? We drove home and she passed out in the car with her hair still firm with a variety of scents. We're going to go for hair washing #3 this afternoon. I'm not holding my breath though. Vaseline mixed with toothpaste is apparently the strongest hair style product available and I plan to market it soon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Your Weekly Horoscope

Capricorn: You will annoy people with your many Facebook status updates.

Aquarius: You will be busy trying to finish work before your deadlines.

Pisces: People will applaud you even when you say cruel things.

Aries: You may have a chance encounter with Charon on the River Styx.

Taurus: Writing has become a big priority for you this week.

Gemini: Mosquitos will ravage your legs.

Cancer: It is an excellent week for picking dandelions.

Leo: You will try and break the rules without getting caught.

Virgo: You are thinking of wearing someone like a scrunchie.

Libra: You will do something even more outrageous than Kanye West.

Scorpio: You will excel in baby wrangling.

Sagittarius: Sleep is your most sought out activity this week.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Fun

Quidditch player Pictures, Images and Photos
My husband has been on call this last week so it means lots of work. He's working all day and all night at the office or working from home. This weekend, he had someone cover him for a couple of hours for my son's soccer game, but as soon as he got home, it was back to the basement for conference calls and whatever it is he actually does. I'm not too computer literate. He types in all these random letters and screens fly. It's like magic and there is no way I could ever do something like that. Since it's the weekend both kids are home and it's always loud and crazy so I took them out so that he could work a little in peace.

I took the kids to what I call the "brunch special". We go to a buffet restaurant at around 10:45 am. You pay the cheaper breakfast prices, but manage to get some breakfast and then the lunch they start putting out at 11:00. Like Hannah Montana says; it is the best of both worlds. Apparently, I wasn't the only one with that bright idea. The lines were huge and the place was packed and I was wrangling two kids. It still worked out O.K. I got my son set up to eat and then hustled to get plates for my daughter and I. A buffet is the best place for my kids because my toddler is antsy to eat soon and my son has turned pretty picky. There was one moment where I had to bribe my toddler with an ice cream cone so that my son and I could actually finish our meal. I don't feel guilty about bribing with junk food, but I do feel guilty about not feeling guilty.

After the brunch special, we went to the mall next door. Taking both kids there is like herding unruly sheep. Each wanting to go their own way at different paces. My daughter hates the stroller and I often find my son trying to sit his 6 year old behind down in it. We make a compromise; one store for me and one store for them. They still climb under racks and roll around on the floor. I should probably never take them anywhere except vacant fields, but I'm part of the mall generation and it calls to me like a siren. I've learned to deflect dirty looks about my bad parenting and my crazy kids. Yes, my toddler likes to lie on her belly and pretend to swim and my son likes to play spy behind displays. I wish they could stand like frozen statues next to me, but I've had 6 years of rowdiness with no tranquility, so I'm not holding my breath.

We had one fun experience at a Lego table. My kids were sitting playing with other kids. This one little boy went a little crazy with a chair and hit this other kid. The mom hears her kid crying and saying "chair". My daughter happened to be having fun pulling her chair out and then pushing it back in and so this woman assumed it was my daughter hitting her beloved baby with the chair. She said "Honey, you don't hit other children with chairs" and then as an aside to her husband "That's why we actually watch our kids". The funny thing is, she didn't watch her kid when he got hurt and I was there the whole time. I said "It wasn't my kid, lady" then I put my hand in my pocket to secretly flip her off and then told my kids it was time to go. My son said "May May didn't do that!" as we were walking away.

She was the exact type of mom that I can't stand. Upper middle class, generally blonde, khakis/crisp shirt, talks to her kid in some weird super mom voice, and has a stick up the ass. I've been told by many people (including my own husband) that I have class issues. I do readily admit to them. Even with a college education and a rise in income brackets, I can't seem to scrub that white trash feeling out of my soul. I instantly dislike people that were probably preps in high school. I hate moms who still act like being with other moms is just an extension of a snobby high school clique. It's certainly the reason I have problems with some of the ladies in my neighborhood and why I reacted in serious anger to the lady in Carter's. If I could find a playgroup in a trailer park, I'd be perfectly content. I'm a square peg in a suburban hole.

We had one more jolly time at the Halloween store. They have this broom that comes alive with spooky sounds and music when you pass it. I didn't see it until it activated itself right on my little girl. It really terrified her. She already calls the store "spooky world" and once the broom started to follow her, she started to cry and say "No like spooky world! Go home." My son and I love Halloween, but I'm thinking that we'll have to scale back our visits to Spooky World because my daughter was traumatized by an animated broom.

That was my exciting Sunday so far. It's nap time, Cartoon Network, engineering magic, and rot on the computer time for the family now. I'm grateful for this blog so that I can complain about bitchy ladies at the Carter's Outlet and laugh about myself. Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 11, 2009

White Trash Recipe of the Week

Watermellon Pictures, Images and Photos
Watermelon Slush Surprise
*Inspired by a 15 lb watermelon that no one could bear to eat anymore.

The remains of a 15 lb. watermelon

Take out the melon flesh with an ice cream scooper. Plop it into a blender. Blend it. It may take a little time to get things moving, but you just have to be patient. Pour into cups. If you find stray seeds, just spit them onto the floor for fun.

*Honestly, it tastes really gross, but my kids seemed to love the novelty of it and drank a good bit of it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shop of Desperation

Family Car Pictures, Images and Photos
I am very bad about taking my car in for service. Waiting in that shop is like toture. It's never just an oil change, there is always something they find that will cost you an insane amount. I am not patient by nature and have only so much tolerance for handling my crazy kid in public places so I tend to put it off. A few weeks ago, I noticed that my brakes (just got new ones in January) were making a weird groaning/creaking sound when I was driving at slow speeds. It was disconcerting because you do need to have brakes. If I could drive with my feet like the Flintstones, I probably would, but since I can't, I knew I needed to deal with the brakes. I was also a little overdue for an oil change, maybe by 3-4,000 miles? My husband is great doing projects around the house, but he generally does not bother with our cars, so it means service for them, lots of annoying scheduling and waiting. Once G found out about how much I've delayed my service, I got a fine lecture. "It can damage the car not to have routine need brakes...we are almost car payment free...can't afford another car..."

I sort of live my life in a flighty, distracted way. I like to shirk duties that bore me or cause me unneccesary stress. Dealing with the car is high on that list. I do feel guilt easily though, so lectures are generally effective in getting me to do things. I finally manned up and made the appointment.

The building is half service center and half car dealership, and 100% lame. The people that sit in the chairs look either bored, terrified, irate, or sickened. It's really a nonstop loop of all those emotions for me there. However, most of them are by themselves and can at least pretend to read or look at the mute, close captioned morning talk shows on the T.V. while they wait. I have my daughter, wild as colt, wanting to find good times in the loudest possible way. To be fair, the center does have a closet sized kids' room, but chewed Legos aren't that my fun for my explorer. She wants to see vending machines, crawl under tables, take out the contents of Mommy's wallet, laugh and shriek, run circles around display cars, and really just live life to the fullest in a Honda service center.

After the hour and a half that it took for the oil change and brake check, they tell me that my brakes have too much rust. I don't drive enough, I need to drive more. The thought of driving more and using more gas is not appealing to me. They tell me they can sand off the rust. They also tell me that various fluids are black and full of mold. Really, they could tell me anything and I would pay it because what do I know about cars? I just want it to run. Although vaguely in the back of my mind, I remember them asking about this particular service a year ago and me shrugging it off... Looking at the cost of everything, I want to curl up and cry. I hate the costs! It's almost as bad as struggling in the waiting room of doom with my wayward toddler. I'm also informed that the MAJOR service is coming up and another issue with a fuel injector that will need to be taken care of at that time. It's scary stuff and my face is the wheel of horror, disgust, anger, and disbelief.

After being told to wait another half an hour, I go back to chasing A. for a good hour. I tried to cajole her into looking at an ESPN magazine, but that worked for all of a minute. I tried to take her back and make those chewed up Legos as appealing as possible. We even had snack time at the vending machine. I tried singing along to the 80s hits playing in the background, but I was ansty and my kid was antsy. When everything was finally done, I was actually glad to pay that scary amount just to get out of there. Now my future plans will be to figure out how long I can delay the MAJOR service so that I don't have endure any of that anytime soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Would You Rather Wednesday

Monday, September 7, 2009

Your Weekly Horoscope

*In honor of Labor Day, I am announcing the profession you should have had according to some very complicated star charts of mine.

Capricorn: (Hogwarts Instructor) This combines your need to teach with your fine appreciation of magic.

Aquarius: (Dolphin Trainer) You love the water by nature and can tolerate huge aquatic creatures.

Pisces: (Soda Vending Machine Person) You don't have to deal with annoying people and you have an addiction to caffeine.

Aries: (Franchise Owner) You like to boss get high on power and enjoy bossing around minimum wage people.

Taurus: (Missionary) You can visit far off places and spread your message.

Gemini: (Librarian) You hate people and love books.

Cancer: (Disney Movie Character) You like singing, talking animals, and magic.

Leo: (Reality T.V. Star) You enjoy attention and wouldn't mind loading up on freebies and hosting night club gigs.

Virgo: (Garbage/Recycling Dude) This job would teach you to recycle correctly.

Libra: (Shopping/Lunching Wife) You prefer to spend your days swiping your credit card, taking yoga, and gossiping over lunch cocktails.

Scorpio: (Cattle Rancher) You like the great outdoors and have a secret adventurous side.

Sagittarius: (Professional Sports Player) You love sports and wouldn't mind the money that came from playing them well.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Yellow Jacket Dance

Yellow Jacket Pictures, Images and Photos
I try to stay away from creatures that sting. Ants, mosquitoes, and anything in the bee family. Most of the time, I can avoid most stings. I have fallen into an ant hill and if I stay outside at night, I will be eaten alive by mosquitoes, but generally, bees, wasps, and Yellow Jackets have an understanding with me. They gave me traumatic experiences in my youth, so now my adulthood is mostly free of them. It was like an evil exchange.

When I was 5, I was hanging out in the shallow end of a pool. I could not swim yet. Someone had a radio playing and there were lots of other kids around. While I was playing, a Yellow Jacket came and flew around my head. I went into panic mode and somehow managed to run myself into deeper water where I couldn't touch the bottom. I sunk under the water in a panic. I just remember thrashing like a caught fish. Luckily my eyes were open and I could see an inner tube just above me and I managed to pull myself up to breathe again. Ironically, the song playing at the time was Every Breath You Take by The Police. As much as I love the band, I will always have an intense hatred for that song. Obviously the Yellow Jacket nearly drowned me, but the song seemed to mock my experience.

When I was 10, I was visiting my grandmother's trailer and running around in the corn fields and woods near her home. On one particular race into the woods, my foot fell into a yellow jacket hole and disturbed the hive. I ran deep into the woods to this place I was convinced was a prehistoric swamp and hid there. Unfortunately, some of my cousins came to join me and met the angry swarm and one girl was terribly stung. At the time I thought it was some kind of karma for making out with all the other male cousins in the station wagon at night, but really it was just mean of me not to run back to the house and warn them. That was Yellow Jacket guilt learned early.

I didn't learn to be careful, because by the time I was 13, I still got into trouble with those creatures. My friends and I were running in the woods in our neighborhood and managed to disturb another Yellow Jacket home. This time, the swarm was coming for us! Fortunately, there was a pond nearby and we galloped toward it and jumped into the water and stayed submerged until they finally went away. I remember as we were running telling the other girls "We have to run in a zig zag pattern!". I'm not even sure if that works, but we zig zagged all the way to that filthy pond that once had a dead cat in a plastic bag floating in it.

Aside from an incident with Yellow Jackets and Dippin' Dots (an embarrassing moment in Six Flags I do not want to recount), I think I've been left alone by those malicious creatures. Last night though, there was no escaping them. I took my son to soccer practice and noticed they were flying about everywhere. I guess they were attracted to all the tasty Gatorade varieties. None of the other parents seemed happy about them. There is a Yellow Jacket Dance that you can watch whenever one flies around a person. It involves keeping your legs straight, bending forward, bending backward, waving your arms, and shrieking. Usually the women shriek, the men just do a short sort of shout. Everyone was bending and swaying like trees with crazy limbs last night. It was nightmarish. I tried to kill some, but I now learned from Wikipedia (research for this piece) that doing that can send out stress signals for more of them to come out. My daughter happened to be picking clover flowers and there must have been one in the grass and it stung her right in the finger. She's a loud girl, but I never heard a cry like this before. She is a tough girl and after five minutes, was O.K. She just knew now about the danger of the flying yellow menace.

I'm not especially happy with the Yellow Jacket right now. I thought we had a semi-truce going on after some unfortunate incidents in the past. Don't sting my kid for no reason! They will have to send out a million stress signals when I get around them because I have revenge on my mind. I am done dancing and running for them.

Friday, September 4, 2009

White Trash Recipe of the Week

Potato Heads Pictures, Images and Photos

Thrice Baked Potatoes
*Once baked by nature and twice baked by man

4 good sized potatoes
A cup of shredded cheese
A big chunk of butter or margarine
1/2 cup of milk
Salt/Pepper to taste
Garlic (optional if you feel adventurous)

Preheat oven to 400. Stab potatoes with forks so they don't explode. Cook for about 1 hour. Just go in and squeeze with an oven mitt occasionally to see if they are ready. Once cooked, remove from oven. Split them and remove the innards and put in a bowl. You can do this wearing an oven mitt or tough it out and use your bare fingers.

In the bowl with the potato innards, add the milk, butter, salt/pepper, garlic (if you want), and half of the cheese. Mix it up. Scoop it up and add it back into the potato shells. Add the rest of the cheese on top. Switch the oven to 375 degrees and bake for about 10 minutes. Thrice baked awesome!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's Official: Nobody Likes Pica

sponge Pictures, Images and Photos
If you visit regularly, you know that every Wednesday, I do silly polls. I do them for my own amusement. It's fun having horrible options and being forced to choose one. I also love polls in general. If I see one, I always am compelled to vote. I know that my polls don't have especially large turnout, but it doesn't deter me from making them. I am very excited to know that my last week's poll (reflecting cravings during pica pregnancy moments) got the lowest turnout ever!

I know that no one really wants to crave sponges with mildew or Pine Sol, but it happens. Well, it happened to me. I am always slightly anemic with low blood pressure and body temperature. It often makes it hard to give blood, but normally it does not bother me. In pregnancy, my anemia really kicks into overdrive and having morning sickness all day for months on end does not help keep iron pills or iron rich foods down. I didn't realize until it was too late that my head would be filled with bizarre cravings all the time.

When I was pregnant with my son, I wanted very badly to smell/taste mildewed sponges. I would have even settled for a washrag. I never realized how much smell and taste are tied together until those senses became very sensitive in pregnancy. My rational mind was appalled by what my body wanted to consume. I turned to ice cold wet carrots to appease those cravings. It worked somewhat because wateriness is something I desired. I was eating 5-10 lbs of carrots a week. I brought them with me to doctor's appointments and even had a bag when it was time to deliver. I was teased that my baby would come out orange and it did worry me, but I never told anyone that it was either carrots or the mildew. Luckily, a few days after delivery, the cravings disappeared.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, pica reared its head again. This time it was cleaning products that I wanted to smell and taste. I remember going to a miniature golf course and noticing that they had drained their little ponds and were scrubbing them with Pine Sol. I couldn't concentrate on golfing because I just wanted to lie down in the pond and inhale that glorious odor. I ended up washing my floors a lot that pregnancy. My rational mind was still strong and I never ingested those chemicals. I turned to cherry tomatoes to help me fight my urges with a few carrots thrown in.

Those are the stories behind my last poll. I can see why no one would want either option. Of course, with any of my polls, I've experienced both options so it's always funny to see what people would really prefer. I think my poll for tomorrow should incorporate unicorns and rainbows for maximum results. I know there is a science behind successful polls and apparently pica is an epic fail.