Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chutes and Ladders

WCK has been begging for months for the game Chutes and Ladders. I don't think she even knew what it was, but she wanted it desperately. We needed to run some errands on Friday, so I told her that if she cooperated with the errands, she could cash in a Target gift card that one of her friends gave her for her birthday. Of course, she selected Chutes and Ladders, as well as a book about frogs, and her very own copy of Watch Out for Jabba the Hutt. You can imagine how excited I am that we now have our own copy of Watch Out for Jabba the Hutt.

Anyway. While we were paying for everything, I was very distracted by WCK's constant questions about everything. This is how I go though life now. I don't pay close attention to anything. Someday, we're going to get into a fiery wreck as I'm trying to merge onto the interstate while trying to answer the question, "Why don't bees take showers? Why, Mama? Why? WHY??!?!"

As we headed toward our car in the parking lot, I started thinking that the total I paid was really low, even with the gift card. I checked the receipt, and sure enough, they hadn't charged me for the Chutes and Ladders game. For a few moments, I thought, "Cool. Free game," and I kept walking. I knew, though, that I had to head back into the store because

1) It's important to be mature and set an example here, blah blah blah
2) If I shoplift, I am no better than those lowdown, dirty goose thieves
3) It's bad enough to shoplift anything; it's really, really low to shoplift Chutes and Ladders. I mean, shoplifting is even worse than any of the bad deeds depicted on the game, including pulling kitty's tail, eating all of the cookies, or skating when the sign clearly says, "NO SKATING." I could not play a Chutes and Ladders game day after day knowing that I really deserved the biggest chute of all.

So, I turned around and headed back into the store, where the lines were now enormous, and WCK was screaming that she wanted to go home. The checkout lady looked at me like I was insane, and she even seemed a little annoyed that she had to ring it up again. I felt much better, though. Now I'm headed up my ladder toward some great reward, instead of sliding down a giant chute into the fires of hell. Whew.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Goose theft

This morning, WCK and I went to the front window to wave goodbye to Jay as he left for work. We were stunned to discover that our concrete goose had vanished. Yes. SOMEBODY STOLE MY GOOSE.

Here is a photo of the goose in happier times, dressed as an apple for WCK's first day of school:

My grandpa bought this goose for my grandma maybe 20 years ago as a special present. My grandma had a great sense of fun; she had lots of outfits for the goose, and she'd dress it up for holidays and family gatherings. When my grandma passed away in 2001, I inherited the goose and her collection of outfits. I continued to buy my own outfits for the goose, mostly from a great web site: I try to remember to dress the goose up for all the big holidays. Every time I dress up the goose, I think about my grandma.

Since WCK was born, photos with the goose have become a big family tradition. When WCK turned one year old, I bought a special birthday outfit for the goose. We took her picture with the goose in the birthday outfit on every birthday. Every year on Halloween, I would dress the goose as a vampire and take a photo of WCK next to the goose in her Halloween costume. We even have a photo of a tiny, two-month old WCK in her baptismal gown, and the goose is dressed as a nun. (My grandma called this outfit "The Holy Goose").

Last fall, I bought the apple outfit, planning to take a photo of WCK with the apple on every first day of school until she graduates from high school or becomes annoyed with me.

NOW MY GOOSE IS GONE. Who would do this? Who? That thing is solid concrete and probably weighs about 80 pounds, so they probably made a big effort to steal it. Sure, I can -- and probably will -- get another goose, but it won't be my grandma's goose. It won't be the same.

WCK was devastated. She cried for a lot of the morning. She insisted that we go for a walk though the neighborhood to look for the goose. I filed a police report and e-mailed the Neighborhood Watch Lady, but I'm not sure what good it will do. I feel like Pee Wee when his bike got stolen. I believe the Soviets are involved.

My only hope is that it's part of some kind of whimsical prank, that someday we'll get a Polaroid of the goose, say, in front of the Great Wall of China, and then he/she will be returned in time for WCK to pose with the apple again before school starts.

Happy travels, goose. Happy travels.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wax on, wax off

When I took WCK to her four-year checkup at the pediatrician's office last month, she completely failed the hearing test in her left ear. They had her wear a pair of headphones, and a voice told her to point to different pictures on a big piece of cardboard. She just sat there doing nothing and looking a little confused. The doctor looked in her ears and said there was a lot of wax in there, so that was probably the problem. I'd never noticed that WCK had any signs of hearing loss. She talks nonstop and has a pretty big vocabulary. Still, we were pretty freaked out, because Jay has a hearing loss, and we have no idea if it is hereditary.

So, the doctor sent me home with some drops to put in WCK's ears, and we had her re-checked yesterday. The drops apparently did not work at all, so they had to squirt water into her ears with a giant syringe. She was extremely brave during this procedure, and, my goodness (and please stop reading the rest of this sentence if you are easily grossed out), the entire supply closet from Madame Tussauds fell out of her ears.

She then passed her hearing test with flying colors, and the doctor gave her a popsicle. All the way home, she kept asking me, "Mommy, why is everything so loud?" If that's not bad enough, this morning I explained to her yet again that the doctor took the wax out of her ears to help her hear better.

"I want to go back to the doctor and have her put the wax back in, so everything's not so loud!" she cried.

Oh, dear. I guess she was much happier in her muffled little world.

Monday, June 22, 2009

LHOTP update

Today I spent a harrowing 44 minutes and 30 seconds absolutely certain that Half-Pint was going to die of Mountain Fever. In the final 30 seconds of the episode, Doc Baker revealed that it wasn't Mountain Fever after all! It was merely poison ivy!

The logical part of my brain knows that a) this has got to be the worst TV-show ending ever and b) it's also a total ripoff of the "Jan's not allergic to Tiger; she's only allergic to Tiger's flea powder!" episode of The Brady Bunch. The Little House on the Prairie part of my brain, however, was so shaky with relief that I could have kissed Doc Baker.

I think I'm trapped in an abusive relationship with Little House on the Prairie.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A little stress on the prairie

I mentioned at Christmastime that I received the entire Little House on the Prairie series on DVD. This is a set of 60-some discs in a box shaped like a covered wagon. It was the greatest Christmas gift ever. Ever!

I watch my Little House DVDs whenever I can. Right now I am getting toward the end of Season Three. I think this is where the series really hit its stride. Albert has not joined the cast; Mary still has her eyesight; we haven't hit the dumb episodes where everyone in town gets phones or Nellie turns nice. As much as I love it, though, I think Little House is going to be the death of me. I'd forgotten how horribly, horribly suspenseful these episodes are. I know, logically, that Michael Landon is not going to be killed off in Season Three, but while I'm watching these episodes, I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown, never sure that everything is going to be all right.

Here are the last three episodes I've watched:

1. Charles accidentally gets shot while on a hunting trip with Laura, and the only person who can help is Burl Ives, but he's blind.

2. The children are walking home from school when a sudden blizzard hits, and all of the menfolk in town have to go searching for them. Mr. Edwards doesn't find his kids until the very last second, and I just knew they were not going to make it.

3. Carrie falls down a mine shaft.

I can't even bear to recount everything that happened when Carrie fell down the mine shaft, but I will say that the actress who played Ma should have won an Emmy for the way she was lying face down in the dirt with her hair all disheveled.

Here's the summary for tomorrow's episode: "Mr. Edwards and Doc Baker help out in a nearby town when there's a mountain fever epidemic."

I just know that is not going to end well. I think I need to go lie down.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monthly NKOTB salute

I've given up on remembering to post my video salute on time, but here it is.

I swear to God I never owned any of these products, and watching this commercial actually made me feel a little sad that I didn't. What I wouldn't give now for a Donnie doll that I could change from his snazzy flag jacket (for when we are out and about) into his street clothes (for when we are relaxing at home). And, seriously, how cool is the phone?

Friday, June 12, 2009

VBS dropout ... no graduation day for you

WCK and I spent this week at Vacation Bible School at our church. WCK attended the preschool class, and I helped out on the snack committee every morning. Actually, on the first morning I was sent to the gym to help out with the games, and I was pretty relieved when I got to rejoin the snack committee for the rest of the week. Simply being back in an elementary-school gym filled with dodge balls and an actual gym teacher -- even though the gym teacher was a very sweet lady -- was enough to give me secret panic attacks.

I think there is something wrong with me.


WCK had a few moments when she did not want to go to her class by herself, she was completely terrified of the daily skits performed by the high schoolers, and she absolutely would not get up on stage to sing during the evening program. Other than that, though, we really did have a very good time. WCK made some really cool crafts, and I did witness her singing and dancing on stage during music time on Wednesday morning. I'm surprised by how good of a time we had. I'm sure we will do it again next year.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Vacation Bible School. My church didn't have Vacation Bible School when I was a kid. One summer when I was probably a little bit older than WCK, my mom tried sending me to VBS at a nearby Lutheran church with a neighbor girl who was my age. At some point, somebody -- probably the 5-year-old neighbor girl, although my memory of this event is pretty vague -- gave me the impression that I really should not be going to the Lutheran VBS because of my non-Lutheran-ness. I began to imagine all of the Lutherans eyeing me with suspicion. Whether it was because of my Lutheran-suspicion-paranoia or some other reason, I decided I did not like VBS, and my mom let me drop out after a day or two.

Look at me now. I've gone from VBS dropout to ... a member of the snack committee. A snack committee member wields a lot of power. I now have the skills to make snakes out of hot dogs, cucumbers, and carrots for 300 people at a moment's notice. Take that, Lutherans!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Money Pit

On Friday night, we started to notice a weird smell in our upstairs hallway. Saturday afternoon, Jay went up to the attic to check it out. He found four bird carcasses up there.

The worst part of this story is that the bird carcasses are not the worst part of this story.

I was in the kitchen and heard a horrible crash. I ran upstairs and saw that there was pink insulation all over the floor of our office. There was also a hole in the the ceiling of our office. Jay's leg was sticking out of the ceiling hole.

Yes, he had been reaching for a bird carcass and slipped, and accidentally stomped right though the ceiling. Fortunately, Jay was unhurt, and my parents just happened to be on their way to Kansas City, so my dad was able to help patch up the hole pretty easily.

I guess it could always be worse:

Friday, June 05, 2009

The summer begins

Wow. I haven't blogged in over a week! There hasn't been anything too terribly exciting to talk about. With WCK out of preschool, the days have been a little long, but we've been pretty good about filling them with fun summer activities. This week, we've already completed one list of books for the summer program at the library, gone out for ice cream, played at a couple of parks, and gone roller skating again.

We've also just spent a lot of time out in the yard, blowing bubbles, playing in the wading pool or the sandbox, and playing various games invented by WCK that usually involve one of us chasing the other one around the outside of the house. My favorite one was called "Animal Who Bites." One of us was, of course, the non-specific Animal Who Bites, and she had to chase the other one around the yard, while growling wildly. It was pretty much the same game as "Wild Animal" and "Tyrannosaurus Rex", but I think "Animal Who Bites" has the best name.

Today, we decided to go down to Crown Center to see a new Lego exhibit there. I was expecting something fun and fanciful made from Legos, like the statues you see at LegoLand at the Mall of America. Instead, it was a bunch of somber, modern-art-type sculptures that nobody was allowed to touch. Don't get me wrong: The Lego statues were pretty cool -- but not to a four-year-old. She really did not appreciate the life-sized green naked man who was removing his own head, the disembodied hand, or the tiny gray naked man who was curled up in a fetal position. We didn't stay long.

For the rest of the day, all I heard was, "Why was the Lego mik-zibit so BORING? WHY?" Well, Crown Center exhibit-planners? Why?