Saturday, July 28, 2007

Life Saver.

I know this has been up on the most popular articles on the NY Times for at least a week, but I'm still a little thrilled every time I see it: 101 simple meals in under 10 minutes.

I need to print it out and put it by the fridge for nights when I'm tempted to feed the boy another hot dog.

16 loads of laundry down.

And about 2-3 to go.

I know you are thinking, how many loads? What is wrong with this family? Is she one of these freaks who wears something for like 2 minutes and then says it's dirty? Does she treat her son as a fashion plate and change his clothes three times a day?

But understand, this is not only two weeks of clothes but all of our "moving" laundry. Extra towels and sheets that were thrown in a box with an open container of Ajax. Plus, we have a German washing machine which can only hold maybe 1/3 of a normal load of laundry.

And sometimes I do have to change Munchkin three times a day. But either due to diaper blow-out, extreme mud or a bout of self-expression with the Crayola markers.

So I've been up pretty much all night getting these loads in and out of my newly fixed machine. And I have never been so happy to do laundry in my life.

Now putting it away is a whole 'nother story. There's nothing wrong with living out of a pile of clean clothes from CPT Dick's side of the bed, right?

Chinking away at the First Amendment, a little bit at a time.

Mothers in the Los Angeles area are up in arms about the blog of a man named Jack McClellan.

McClellan, you see, calls himself a pedophile. He has no known convictions. He says on his blog that he has never molested a child. But on his blog, he talks about children he sees out in the world and events that cater to children. He posts photos -- nonsexual photos, mind you -- of children that he sees when he goes to these events. He, supposedly, wants to promote the acceptance of pedophiles.

So Mamas are joining together to try to find a legislative way to stop his blog. They want to enact some law that would prohibit the posting photos of children out in public (usually fair game under the first amendment) on any sites with a sexual content or themes. I'm sure they want more but that is as much as they will admit to right now.

Now, as a mother, I'm just as disgusted with McClellan wandering all over Los Angeles, attending children's events and then blogging about them. It's pretty disgusting.

But in recent years, with many facets of life, we seem to be more interested in being safe than free. And if we want to set new precedents around free speech, we need to think long and hard about what we are trying to accomplish. We need to stop acting from that internal Mama-bear visceral reaction and really consider how those laws might impact related blogs, websites and newspapers in the future.

In my mind, these Los Angeles mothers have already done more than any law ever could. They are getting the word out. They are making others in the area aware (and maybe also a little paranoid). And isn't that the point? What more do they think a law can do?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sweet Relief!

After following up twice a day every day this week, they are coming to fix my washer today! This afternoon!

I'm so excited that I don't even care that they are making me basically sit here from noon until six to wait for the guy.

But question: how am I going to express my gratitude to this man who will restore clean underwear to my world? Would it be inappropriate to greet the repairman with a bottle of champagne and a loving embrace?

Too much, you think? Because at this point, with dirty clothes in piles all over my house, I really can't tell.

Entering the common lexicon.

Do you recall "Dick in a Box?"

I pasted the video below in case you don't know it. It's hilarious not just because it suggests that men should put their junk in a box and give it to women but it totally makes fun of boy bands.

Although I do like to play this video every now and again just for a laugh, just showing it is not my point.

Today, as I stood in line to inprocess Finance (don't ask...let's just say I better be getting a damn fine present when my husband returns from the field), the two soldiers in front of me were talking.

SOLDIER 1: Man, I got this chick's number the other week. I've called her twice though, dude, and she has not called back.

SOLDIER 2: That sucks, dude.

SOLDIER 1: She was really cool. I'm not sure if I should call again or maybe send her flowers or something.

SOLDIER 2: Flowers?

SOLDIER 1: What? Too much?

SOLDIER 2: Dude, you know what to do.

SOLDIER 1: What?

SOLDIER 1: C'mon, man. You know. Step 1, buy a box. Step 2, put your junk in the box...

And then I couldn't help myself. I joined in with Soldier 2 to sing the chorus of "Dick in a box." I mean, what else could a girl possibly do?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Throwing myself upon the mercy of the Developmental Nazis.

Well, after Munchkin's last evaluation by the developmental nazis called for an intervention, maybe, and then his ENT diagnosed a hearing problem, we went ahead and decided to okay the adenoidectomy.

That was nearly two months ago. And we have seen a difference. He's listening much better and seems to be using a few more words much more consistently.

But I'm not certain that he's where he should be. In fact, I'm not at all sure where that place is.

And so we will return for another evaluation. I'm calling it Developmental Nazis: The Return.

Wait a second. I can't call it that. That's how I referred to our last visit. Man, I'm losing it.

There's just something about these people that just gives me the total heebie jeebies.

Oh, please make it stop.

Lindsay is probably going to jail. Britney possibly pregnant by gosh-knows-who. Paris right back to her partying ways and making out with Mischa Barton's very strange looking ex-boyfriend. Nicole Richie still way too thin and perhaps also sperminated.

Ummm, has anyone happened to notice that there is a war going on? That we have an election coming up? That the Dow tanked today? That there may be shenanigans a-happening in the Justice Department? That obesity may be contagious?

Hell, I'd settle if anyone has noticed what Angelina Jolie and her passel of kids are doing these days.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller, anyone?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I phoned my sister earlier today and my soon-to-be four-year-old nephew who usually runs screaming from the telephone when it's presented to him actually requested to speak to me. To me!

I was completely charmed. And remained so even after I realized that he only wanted to present me with his birthday list. Hey, at least I'm that important. He doesn't usually deign to accept presents from too many folks either.

"NEE, my birthday is coming up."

"I know! What do you want this year? Anything good?"

"Well, Mommy says no but..."

(And I hate this part, because Mommy often says no to stuff I think is absolutely brilliant -- you know, for anyone's kid except my own).

"If Mommy says no, honey, it's probably for a good reason."

"But I want a tank. A real Army tank. And CPT Dick can get me one."

"A tank?!"

"Yes, and I know Mommy says no because I'm too young but I promise I won't shoot it right now."

"You won't?"

"No, I'll keep it in the backyard and just play on it. I won't touch the gun or the big red button that shoots the gun."

"The big red button?"

"Yes, the big red button that kills the bad guys. Duh. I won't touch it."

(Note: He says "duh" like he's 16. I'm certain that he rolls his eyes when he does it, too).

"You don't think you might be tempted to shoot the tank, honey?"

"Well, only if any mountain lions come into the backyard. Or when Mr. X's dog comes and poops in the front yard. Then I think that Mommy will say it's okay."

Landover Baptist does it again.

I love satirical news sites like the Onion but the Landover Baptist Church website takes the funny to a whole 'nother level. And not just because a woman I used to work with was beyond convinced that it was a *real* Christian site.

They've had previous posts about Harry Potter, but their latest, "Gay Sex Scene Edited Out of Final Potter Novel" had me in stitches.

Anal sex as common as a handshake in Britain? Brilliant, that.

My new version of hell.

My washing machine is broken.

It's a front loader and the latch that keeps the door shut just sort of fell out. The door won't close at all now, making any attempt at turning it on just a lark to see how much water could really build up on the laundry room floor. Could there be Slip'n'Slide potential? Probably not, so we haven't tried it.

The repairman came out last Tuesday to fix it but said that he had to order a part. He figured he'd get it by Thursday and he could be back on Friday to fix my machine and restore order to the universe.

It is now Tuesday and when I followed up, the dispatcher informed me that he wasn't even sure the part had been ordered yet. Yay! Way to hustle, guys.

So I have a two-year-old -- a two-year-old who likes to occasionally whizz on the bathmat and throw up milk on non-Stain-guarded fabric surfaces, not to mention just get outside and get his clothes generally filthy and muddy -- but no washer. And 10 days makes a whole lot of laundry even when he's on his best behavior. I thought the kid had more clothes than any other kid on the block (the benefit of having 7 grandmothers) but we still have piles and piles of dirty clothes all over the house. And this morning, when I realized that all of his t-shirts are dirty, I ignored the college student that lives in me who said to just head to the PX to buy him a few more shirts before school (I might have listened if the PX opened before 10am) and instead channeled my inner Mom and spot-treated a t-shirt that didn't stink too bad and put it on him a little damp. Hey, it's raining today. Who is going to notice?

But thank goodness the Munchkin is still in diapers. Because we have a serious underwear shortage around here. After searching everywhere, I realized that the only clean panties in this house are my old maternity thongs. And since I was just heading out for a run, I figured how bad could it be? Sure, they are a little big and stretched out but I'm only going out to exercise. It would definitely be more prudent to throw one of those on than to go commando.

Wrong. Oh, I was so, so wrong.

My new version of hell is to come home from a 5 mile hilly run with one side a maternity thong hanging down around my left knee, with chafage that does not need to be discussed in detail, only to be greeted by a great big stinky pile of laundry in the foyer, topped with day-old milk vomit on a bedspread (Note: rinsing the chunks off the fabric did not do much for the smell).

Time to call the Maytag man again. And keep calling until they make that part magically appear.

And in the meantime, off to the laundry mat.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Will wonders never cease...

Placentophagy? Really? I mean, it's fascinating but what is the chemical/biomedical basis to believe that it actually fights post-partum depression?

He's gone, oh-wha, oh-wha...

CPT Dick took off today for training. He should be back sometime before September. Don't really have a clue when because there is a big ol' rumor afoot that their planned fall deployment may be pushed back until early next year. If it is, they won't have to train quite as long.

Now, some of you may be thinking, "A postponed deployment! That's great! What wonderful news! He won't have to leave so soon!" And you'd be right on that front. It is a good thing. A few more months with him around is something I would appreciate.

But I have to be honest, the thought just depresses me. The rumors just totally depress me. One, because as of now, they are only rumors and so only serve to get the hopes up of the soldiers and families in our unit. If they don't come to pass, well, that's a whole lotta shit to clean up.

(I won't mention how that at hearing the rumor, my mother-in-law sent me a long-winded email about how she's so grateful because she hopes the war will be over by the spring and CPT Dick will never have to return. And I know that she will now send me newsclippings and links with anything that might suggest the war is ending. She did this through his entire first deployment and I have to tell you, it's the most annoying thing ever).

Two, I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to fixate on ripping off the band-aid. I don't want to spend too long thinking about it and agonizing over any potential pain. I want to just get it over with. And with a deployment of 15-18 months in our future, I want it to start so that we'll be that much closer to it ending. Does that make any sense?

I want him to go so he'll be back that much sooner.

And finally, I'm just tired of the Army jerking us around. I know it's not being done to me personally. I don't even register on the DoD's radar. But after our unit deactivation and all of the nonsense surrounding that, I just want the facts. No conjecture. No maybes. No rumors. The facts. I want a date. I want to put it on my calendar. And I want to be able to expect that my husband will leave on or at least somewhere right around that date so I can make my own plans.

Ridiculous, no?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Better than I thought it would be.

How many things in life can you honestly say are worth the wait? That actually manage to compare to the anticipation?

The new Harry Potter actually is. It's well done, true to the first six books and leaves a satisfying ending to Harry's story.

But now that the wait is over, the book is purchased and read, I am sort of bereft at the idea that there will be no more. Harry's story has come to an end, my first real voyage into a pop culture phenomenon is finished, and I wonder what will come next. I'm guessing it will be something that Munchkin brings to my life (Wiggles? Barney? Dora and Diego? God help me).

But in some ways, as long as the craze delivers, I can't wait.

One heck of a woman (and even more mascara) goes to rest.

Tammy Faye Messner (formerly Tammy Faye Bakker) lost her battle with cancer.

I can't tell you why, exactly, but I'm sure going to miss her. She was a little on the nutty side but always seemed like she was a genuine and warm person.

Bless you, Tammy Faye. I hope that you've found the heaven of which you always dreamed.


After focusing on it for a few straight days, we are officially unpacked! The missing/broken tally wasn't too bad this time around. We are only missing two shelves from an old, crappy IKEA bookshelf and CPT Dick's set of poker chips. And one framed map had the glass and frame broken. Pretty darn good, really.

Of course, CPT Dick is brokenhearted about the chips and thinks I should file a claim for their $40 value. Ummm, no.

I know some folks file a claim after each move, noting each ding, dent and scratch. It can be lucrative if you have patience for the claims process.

After our last move, where our couch's frame was broken, they lost the legs to the dining room table, and they gouged my antique hope chest, I did file a claim. But boy, did they take their pound of flesh in the process. Between finding receipts, old credit card statements, taking photos of the broken items and visiting the claims office no less than 8 times, we got a check. But the check was not nearly in the amount that we should have gotten.

Case in point. My dining room table was fairly new and although not the best out there, relatively expensive. I splurged a little because, you know, I expected to use that table for the next 20 years or so. And because of that plan, I wanted the same legs back. So I called the store where I bought the table and found that I could special order the legs for ~$80/per leg. They would be the same legs, same finish, with the same trim and carving as the table. Perfect match.

Well, the claims office thought my request for matching legs was ridiculous. How dare I ask for legs that match my nice, newish table?! What the hell was I thinking? I'm an Army wife. If I chose to waste my money in a store that was not the PX, that was my own folly. And as such, they determined that I could get plain, generic legs in a finish that looked like it might almost match for $20/leg.

To add insult to injury, they then reduced that amount further with their standard depreciation formula. I had owned the table for two years. No matter that it was still perfect. You know, minus the legs and all. According to their calculations, it wasn't worth what I paid for it, so I couldn't have the full amount for the legs.

I fought it. I fought it hard. But I lost. And I took that dinky amount they gave me and bought the right legs for the table, paying most of it out of my own pocket. And being the cheap, frugal bitch that I am, it killed me a little inside to do so.

So you'll understand why I ain't gonna go to the mattresses over some silly poker chips. It just ain't worth my time.