Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Laura Ingalls Wilder, big fat liar

We've had back-to-back blizzards here in Kansas City. Right before Blizzard Number One, I actually got excited about all of the snow, because WCK and I could finally make the snow candy that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about in Little House in the Big Woods. I've never made this candy, but I've wanted to for about 30 years. This snowfall, I was actually going to do it! Here is how it is described in the book:

One morning, she boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup, and Pa brought in two pans of clean, white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams onto the snow.

They made circles , and curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and were candy. Laura and Mary might eat one piece each, but the rest was saved for Christmas Day.

Doesn't that sound fabulous? Here are the sweet little girls making their beautiful candy for Christmas Day:

I don't care if I go blind someday! I have perfect snow candy!

And here is how ours turned out:

Epic snow candy FAIL!

This was the "good" batch. The other bowl looked a little bit like puke.

So, what went wrong? Clearly, it was not my fault. I've spent 30-plus years obsessed with all things Little House, so surely I can manage some simple snow candy. I think Laura Ingalls Wilder was obviously lying about the snow candy. I think pioneer life finally got to her and she went crazy and she was all, "I'm going to make up some outrageous recipe for something like, oh, I don't know, snow candy and see if anyone actually makes it! Hahahaha!"

I would not put anything past Laura Ingalls Wilder. Everyone pictures her looking like this:

La, la, la! Let's go pick wildflowers, Michael Landon!

But in reality, she looked like this:

Kill them all, Mary. Kill. Them. All.

See? She's a little bit shifty and terrifying. Laura Ingalls Wilder and Shel Silverstein could get together and have a demon baby.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dear New Kids on the Block, I'm sorry.

About a month ago, the New Kids on the Block announced that they're going out on tour with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees, and I nearly peed my pants. Then I discovered that Kansas City was not on the tour, and I quickly un-peed my pants. Really, New Kids? Really? After all we've been through together?

I felt so betrayed, and it was like they didn't care about my feelings at all. Every day they were on their Facebook page going, "Woo hoo! Look at our fabulous tour! And everyone can come except Karen! Ha ha HA!" I'm paraphrasing here, but that's pretty much what they were saying. Every day.

I tried to console myself with the fact that Donnie Wahlberg has been wearing funny-looking glasses lately. I mean, I know he's getting old and he probably needs them to read, but ... really?


As the weeks passed, my bitterness increased. Oh, yeah, New Kids? Well, I never really liked you anyway! You are super dumb! I don't need you anymore! I am so over you, stupid New Kids! And just so you know, the Backstreet Boys would never do this to me!

Then, a couple of days ago, I was driving WCK to a birthday party. I had the radio turned down low, but I started imagining I heard "Hangin' Tough". I often imagine that I'm hearing "Hangin' Tough", so it took me a minute to figure out that I was really hearing it. I turned the radio up in time to hear the DJ say, "Tickets go on sale next week!"

What? WHAAAAAAAAAAT? The New Kids came through for me! They came through! I nearly started crying right there in the car. My seven-year-old was completely mortified.

Now I feel terrible that I ever doubted them. Of course the New Kids on the Block would never betray me. What was I thinking? 

New Kids, I hope you'll send me some kind of sign that you forgive me. Maybe, I don't know, Donnie could rip his shirt off in the middle of "Cover Girl". That will be our secret signal that everything is cool between us. I shall await your sign, Donnie.

July 21, 2013: The Shirt will once again see the light of day:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Light in the Attic II: Shel's Revenge

What is the scariest thing in the whole entire world? If you answered, "That photo of Shel Silverstein on the back cover of A Light in the Attic", you would be correct.

See? Super scary:

Please, Mr. Silverstein. Don't murder me in my sleep.

WCK and I were reading poems last night when she had the brilliant idea to put Shel Silverstein on Jay's pillow to scare him. So we did.

"Good evening, Jay. BWAHAHAHA!!!"

Jay is pretty used to things like this happening around our house, so he didn't even question why Shel Silverstein was on his pillow.  Later that night, I went to bed a little bit after Jay did. I lay down in the dark and landed on something hard ... Mother of God! I'd landed on Shel Silverstein!  Of course, this meant I had to go wrap Shel Silverstein around Jay's electric toothbrush.

The next morning, WCK walked up to me in the kitchen and said, ever-so-innocently, "Mommy, I'm so hungry. Can you cook me something ... in the microwave?"

"Oh, you will be eaten by a boa constrictor. A boa constrictor. A boa constrictor."

The horror! Shel Silverstein was waiting for me in the microwave. Is nothing sacred?

Throughout the day, Shel Silverstein ended up in the garage, in the bathroom, in the hallway outside WCK's bedroom, and on Jay's computer desk. At dinner, Shel Silverstein just happened to turn up on Jay's plate right after WCK set the table. This time, Shel was delivering an ominous message:

"HI, Jay. BOO!"

 It gets scarier and scarier to live in this house every day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Bunch of Smart-Mouthed Kids

WCK has been sick several times this winter, twice with strep throat and once with a three-day stomach bug. Every time she is sick, all she wants to do is lie on the couch and watch sitcoms on the Disney Channel. And I always let her because I am a lazy mother they seem to make her feel better.

But here's the thing about sitcoms on the Disney Channel: They are terrible. Do you hear that sound? It is Walt Disney rolling over in the chamber where he is cryogenically frozen.

There are probably half a dozen "different" sitcoms on the Disney Channel, but really, they are all the exact same show, and that show should be called "A Bunch of Smart-Mouthed Kids (Some of Whom Play in a Band)". The majority of episodes end in a dance-off. Sometimes there's a smart-mouthed talking dog. This show is on pretty much all day and all night on the Disney Channel.

But during the last stomach bug, I let WCK watch hours and hours and hours of "A Bunch of Smart-Mouthed Kids", all the while worrying that she was going to get brain damage. But I still let her, because I was trying to finish a really long Stephen King novel  I had really important things to do around the house.

Last Saturday morning, she woke up saying she had a sore throat, and she really wanted to  spend the morning watching "A Bunch of Smart-Mouthed Kids." Of course, seasoned mother that I am, I saw right through this obvious ruse and I made her go to swimming lessons and drama class. When I dropped her off at drama class, she seemed fine. When I returned to pick her up 90 minutes later, I saw all of the other perky children standing in a circle, sharing what they felt was the "Wow Moment" of the class. I doubt my own child experienced her own "Wow Moment", as she was half sitting, half lying on the floor, looking like one of the Walking Dead.

Actually, she was one of the Lying On The Floor At Second-Grade Drama Class Dead, which is a tier below Walking Dead, as far as wellness is concerned.


So we returned home, where I discovered she was running a 101 fever. She was actually sick, just as she'd been trying to tell me all along. Attention Mother of the Year Committee: I'll send you a private Facebook message with my address so you can send my trophy.

WCK went straight to the couch, but this time we turned on Animal Planet, and she spent the afternoon watching a marathon of "Too Cute", which is a show about kittens frolicking to and fro. Ha! I did something right! I steered her away from "A Bunch of Smart-Mouthed Kids" and I found a show that is not the least-bit brain damaging!

Fast forward to that night, when WCK woke up screaming hysterically. I bounded into her room, where she was screaming and crying enormous tears.

She said she'd just had a nightmare about being attacked by a horde of evil kittens.

Yeah. Animal Planet damaged her brain.

The next morning, WCK seemed better but her throat still hurt, so I took her to the children's urgent care to be tested for strep. Seasoned mother that I am, I was sure it wasn't going to be strep. Of course, it was strep. As soon as we sat down in the waiting room, we looked up at the big-screen TV and saw, you guessed it, "A Bunch of Smart-Mouthed Kids". Next to me on the table was a Hannah Montana novel.

As much as I hate living in a world where a Hannah Montana novel is an actual thing, I'm starting to wonder if "A Bunch of Smart-Mouthed Kids" has mysterious healing powers. I mean, medical professionals were obviously relying on it to soothe the sick children in the waiting room. Maybe I'm not a terrible mother after all. When I get that Mother of the Year trophy, I'll let you know.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Sleepy Spike

Finally, here's an update on my M-spike. I forgot to post my results last month, so I thought I'd just wait until I got the results for this month. I just talked to the nurse today, and my M-spike is still stable: It's been 1.4 for two months in a row! I've been on the reduced dose (15 mg) of Revlimid since November, and Spike is still sleeping peacefully in there. Here's Bon Jovi doing an impression of my M-spike.

Shhhh! Don't wake him!

Friday, February 01, 2013

Welcome to the House of Pain

Remember when I said the story of the new water heater was a blog post in itself? Here it is. Let me begin by saying that Jay calls our house "The House of Pain".

And it's not like this kind of  House of Pain:

It's more like this kind:

All right. It is not that bad, but stuff is breaking down around here all the time. Jay and I don't know how to fix anything by ourselves, so we always have to call a guy. Over the years, we have accumulated all kinds of different guys. I've spent a significant amount of my time waiting around for various guys (who are always scheduled to arrive "any time between 8 a.m. and noon, but maybe after noon, too. It depends."), and then listening to said guy exclaim that he's never seen such a bad case of wood rot/water-heater rot/demonic possession of a garbage disposal in all his days as a carpenter/plumber/exorcist. Then he sprinkles holy water and I give him lots of money.

Once we had wood rot that was so bad, our wood-rot guy (his name is Bob, and he's like a member of the family now) had to rip down the entire front of our garage and rebuild it. He discovered that the builders failed to put a teeny piece of metal at the top of a window, and water had been running down inside the wood for 14 years. None of the damage was visible until it got really bad. And that's not all. When Bob ripped down the boards, he discovered that we'd once had termites in the garage, but so much water got inside the wood that the termites all drowned. It was a dark-cloud-silver-lining type thing. Well, not for the termites.

A few days ago, Jay and I noticed a small puddle forming in the basement storage room, but we both chose to quietly ignore it. I think my brain just refused to see the puddle, because my brain could not bear calling another guy. I'd just spent three days over the past few weeks waiting for the furnace guy, the dishwasher guy, and the garbage disposal guy. Actually, the dishwasher guy and the garbage disposal guy were the same guy, but he had to come twice.

After a couple of days, my brain reluctantly saw the puddle and started thinking about it. I tried  hopefully mopping the puddle, but it kept growing. Then I had the terrible thought that the puddle might someday reach our treadmill, and I'd be electrocuted while running. It wasn't the painful death that was scary to me; it was the fact that "Woman Electrocuted on Treadmill" would be national news, in a News-of-the-Weird-type way, and every runner who read the story would immediately want to know how fast I was going before I got zapped.

Those of you who aren't runners think this is ridiculous. Those of you who are runners are totally thinking, "Well? How fast would you have been going when you died in a tragic treadmill vs. puddle accident?" 

Then the coroner's report would come out and everyone would know I was only going 5.3 mph, and I'd be really embarrassed.

So I decided to call a guy.

It turns out the puddle was coming from our water heater. When the guy pulled it out, he discovered that the back side was dented and split down the middle, perhaps minutes away from causing a giant flood. He got kind of excited and had me go get my phone and take a photo of it so I could show Jay, because he'd never seen such a damaged water heater in his 15 years as a plumber. Of course he hadn't. These things only happen in the House of Pain.

He said it was likely the fault of whoever installed it in the first place, and that the big dent on the bottom had to have been there all along. Our house was built in 1998, so now I can't stop imagining that the 1998 water-heater installer was wearing a pink and white tux. You just know he kicked our water heater in anger because he and his fiancee just had a fight about what the teddy bears on top of their wedding cake should be wearing.

A white tux. I say, put the teddy bear in a white tux.