Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two wives down, four to go

For the past month or so, I've become completely and utterly obsessed with the TV show "The Tudors" on DVD. This is a soap-opera-like series based on the life of King Henry VIII and his six wives. It is completely trashy, and yet you don't notice any of the trashiness because everyone is wearing fancy costumes and speaking in English accents and murmuring about going to war with France and signing treaties (when they're not flinging their clothes off or taunting the Pope or beheading each other), so you can convince yourself it is actually highly educational and not trashy. It is trashy-cational.

I finally finished season two, and I'm actually a little bit relieved that season three is not yet on DVD, so that I can have my life back for a little while. I'm not sure if I remember how to live a normal, non-Tudors life. I'm going to have to try.

After each episode, I'd find myself running to Wikipedia to find out more. I'd find myself talking back to the TV, as though talking to the TV would not only influence the plot, but could change things that actually happened 500 years ago.

"Take the oath!!!" I said. "JUST TAKE THE DANG OATH!!!"

Thomas More did not listen to me. And look what happened to him. Seriously, don't talk to me about Thomas More. I've been upset for days. I just can't take it.

Anyway. If Wikipedia is right (and it always is), then "The Tudors" is fairly accurate, although there are a few errors. For example, here is the real Henry VIII:

Here is "The Tudors" Henry VIII:

Historical accuracy is highly overrated.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Important moments

Our little family had some big achievements over the weekend. First, Jay went to Omaha and ran his first half-marathon! He finished with a good time, and we're very proud of him.

While Jay was away on Sunday, WCK and I went grocery shopping at Hy-Vee. As we walked down the spaghetti-sauce aisle, WCK announced that her tooth had fallen out. Sure enough, she had the little tooth in her hand! Several other shoppers witnessed the big event and were able to congratulate her, too. It was very exciting. We had to go to the cheese department for a slice of congratulatory cheese. (OK, we always go to the cheese department for the free slice of cheese, but on Sunday it felt like it was special cheese.)

WCK put the tooth under her pillow last night, and this morning it had vanished. The Tooth Fairy left a card in a special pink envelope decorated with fairy stickers and WCK's name in silver letters. Inside were four gold dollar coins, a nice letter from the Tooth Fairy, and a sprinkling of fairy-dust confetti. The fairy also left a gift bag, and inside was a tube of Hannah Montana toothpaste. I thought the toothpaste gift was really exciting, but it was not such a big hit with WCK. In fact, she saw the toothpaste before she realized the Tooth Fairy had also left her some money, and she was nearly in tears that the fairy had left her such a lame gift.

Really? Four-year-olds don't think that tubes of toothpaste are exciting gifts? I will have to talk to the Tooth Fairy about this.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bucket of spaghetti

A drive-through Italian restaurant just opened in Kansas City, and it sells spaghetti by the bucket. Seriously. A bucket. It's like a one-gallon ice-cream bucket filled with spaghetti. Jay has been absolutely thrilled by the idea of the spaghetti in a bucket, because he always loves feeling that he got a "deal". For $19.99, you get the spaghetti bucket, a second bucket filled with sauce and meatballs, an entire loaf of garlic bread, and a giant box of salad.

Last weekend we were pretty excited to get the bucket deal, never mind that we're a tiny family of three and one of us weighs 37 pounds, never mind that this bucket deal is probably a glaring symbol of everything that's wrong with America. We wanted the bucket. The three of us ate our fill of spaghetti, and the bucket still appears to be completely full. I swear, no matter how much we eat, the level of spaghetti in the bucket does not go down. My two scientific theories are 1) It's an enchanted bucket that refills itself or 2) The noodles are constantly giving birth to more noodles. Do they reproduce asexually, like Jabba the Hutt? We don't know.

I've given up on eating the spaghetti, but Jay continues to eat the leftovers, trying to get the most out of the spaghetti deal. We have no room in our fridge anymore, because the fridge has been taken over by the buckets. Remember the time Homer Simpson became obsessed with an enormous sub sandwich and kept it for months and months until he could finish eating it? It's exactly like that.

I'll update you next month and let you know if the noodle level has gone down.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I was wrong about the demonic babies

They're not demonic babies. They're "zombie babies". In case you still don't believe me:

WARNING: Do not click unless you are sure you want to see this. Once you've seen a zombie baby, you will never remember a time in your life when you hadn't seen a zombie baby. And if your husband goes out of town for work, any little creak in your house at 2 a.m. will obviously be a group of zombie babies breaking into your house to eat your eyeballs.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vat of demonic rubber babies

Every year around mid-September, a "Halloween Superstore" opens in a strip mall near our house. Every year around mid-September, WCK starts begging to go to "the scary, spooky store", even though it is, quite frankly, terrifying. The same child who ran screaming from the room because she thought "The Tinkerbell Movie" was too scary actually wants to go browse the selection of disembodied limbs and talking zombies and giant rats and bloody skulls. Are you in need of an evil clown or a three-foot furry spider or a portrait of the Mona Lisa that turns into a portrait of a skeleton when you walk past it? Of course you are! Go to the Halloween Superstore! They have everything.

Do you wonder about the people who work at the disembodied-limbs factory? I do.

Anyway. We didn't have anything going on yesterday afternoon, so I decided that, yes, we could go to the Spooky Store. I've accepted that WCK is not going to change her mind about being Hannah Montana for Halloween, so I thought we'd check to see if the store had any costumes that cost less than the ones we've found online. The one positive side of WCK wanting to be Hannah Montana is that one of HM's many outfits is a pink puffy dress, and WCK has actually agreed that she will wear this dress. Usually, WCK is opposed to anything puffy and pink. This might be my only chance to see WCK in a pink puffy dress for decades, so I am grabbing my opportunity.

We ended up having a pretty good time at the Spooky Store. The best part was when WCK broke out dancing to "Witchy Woman" (or, as Jerry Seinfeld called it, "Witch-CHAY Woman"). I tried to keep us mostly in the little-girl-costume section and away from the really scary stuff, although some of the little-girl costumes were pretty scary. They all start to look somewhat hooker-ish by the time girls get to be about nine. Really, costume industry? Really?

We also passed by a vat of demonic rubber babies. It's exactly what it sounds like. And "Vat of Demonic Rubber Babies" would make an excellent name for a band.

In the end, the Spooky Store did not have the pink dress, but they did have Hannah Montana wigs on clearance, for half the price that I've seen online. We had to get one, because everyone knows that you can't have a Hannah Montana costume without the wig. WCK could not wait to try it on when we got home, running up the stairs to the mirror and proclaiming, "I AM SO HAPPY! I AM SO HAPPY!" She looked a little bit like a blonde Cousin It with bangs, but WCK's happiness cancels out the creepiness of the wig. I told her that we have to put the wig away in the closet so that it doesn't get all messy before Halloween, and she agreed. Mostly, I do not want to have to go back to the Halloween store to get a fresh one, because I'm a little scared of running into those demonic babies again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Field trip!

WCK went on her very first school field trip on Wednesday. The class went to a farm, and all of the parents were invited to come along too. When we got the permission slip a couple of weeks ago, it said that the kids could either ride the bus or ride with their own parents, but the parents were not allowed on the bus and had to drive on their own. WCK was actually very gung-ho about riding the bus and could not stop talking about the bus until about five minutes before she had to board said bus, and then she informed her teacher and me that she was not getting on that bus.

The teacher and I decided not to push it, although I did drive through the parking lot where a crowd of mothers had gathered, and I spotted the moms of two of WCK's good preschool buddies. They told me that both of their children were riding the bus. I reported back to WCK that Friend A and Friend B were both on the bus. Didn't she want to ride the bus?

No, she said. She was not getting on that bus. At least she doesn't cave in to peer pressure. I hope she remembers the Bus Incident when all of her friends are smoking marijuana.

Anyway. I ended up driving her to the farm, which was fine, since I was going there anyway. I did feel a little sad that she missed her first bus experience, but, secretly, the bus did scare me a little bit. WCK is still under 40 pounds, which means that she still rides around strapped down securely in a five-point harness, like she's blasting off for a mission to Mars. School buses don't even have seat belts. I kept thinking of that episode of The Simpsons where the bus is about to crash, and Otto the bus driver yells, "Fasten your seat belts!"

"We don't have any seat belts!" cries Lisa Simpson.

"Oh," says Otto. "Then just try to go limp."

I know The Simpsons is not exactly a documentary, but, you know, it could happen.

Fortunately, everyone made it to the farm in one piece. We saw lots of animals, played in the hay, walked through some prairie grass, went on a hayride, and picked out some apples to take home. We saw two adorable baby piglets, snuggled together in the hay. As everyone oohed and ahhed over them, the tour guide pointed out to all of the four-year-olds that the pigs would eventually become bacon, pepperoni, and hot dogs.

WCK actually thought this was cool. "I always thought hot dogs came from dogs!" she said.

It was a very educational trip.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I ran a 5k!

I've walked several 5ks before, but this was the first time I actually ran one. It's also the first time I've ever participated in a race that raised money for a disease that I personally have:

The race was held in Pittsfield, Illinois, which is just 30 minutes from where my sister lives. She found out that this race was going on, and it just happened to be right around my niece's birthday, so we made it into a family weekend. Jay, WCK, my sister, my brother-in-law, my niece, my parents, and my brother-in-law's dad all participated in the race. It was a beautiful course that went around a lake, and I was amazed by how many people showed up. I got to talk to the race organizer for a few minutes afterward. She also goes to the Mayo Clinic and has had myeloma for nine years. She pointed out a man who is also a myeloma patient at Mayo, and -- listen up, everyone who has been given the "you have three years to live" speech -- he was diagnosed in 1990. That's nearly twenty years ago, people!

There were a few brief moments before I crossed the finish line where I thought I was going to throw up, but I did not throw up. I crossed the finish line triumphantly. See? Absolutely anything is possible.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Great day in Kansas City

We had a fun day today. We spent all afternoon at the Irish Festival in Kansas City. This pretty much sums it all up:

There was lots of music, good food, and kids' activities. Apparently, the Irish are big believers in bouncy castles and inflatable slides, because they were all over the festival. We decided to just buy WCK a bracelet instead of individual tickets so she could go on the inflatable things as many times as she wanted, and we spent most of the time at the festival just watching WCK bounce up and down. We also caught a performance of Mr. Stinky Feet, and WCK was picked to go on stage and play a maraca during "Buggy Hop." This is now the second time she's been among the chosen for the Stinky Feet band, so it's old hat to her now. I was still very proud. Obviously, Mr. Stinky feet recognizes her as a brilliant performer. She owned that maraca.

Afterwards, we had dinner at Gates, one of the best barbecue places in Kansas City. We hardly ever get to go to Gates, and it was WCK's first time there. (The verdict: "I think only grownups should eat barbecue. It's too spicy.") She ate mostly pickles, french fries, and bread. I had "burnt ends on bun". Jay, however, decided to go all out and eat two of every animal. I had to take a photo of his meal:

Do you hear that sound? It's Jay's arteries hardening.