Thursday, January 31, 2013

The land of the living

Well! Howdy all. It sure has been exciting round these here parts recently: plague, pestilence and pneumonia.    All in the day's work, really. I know I have been complaining (a lot) on the Twitter recently of being diseased but am now feeling good enough to mock it. Onward Ferb!

Monday was the day I finally bit the bullet (in the metaphorical sense because actually biting a bullet would probably be painful. And dirty. I digress) and actually saw a health professional for something other than check ups. Mostly because my coworkers were threatening to throw me into the Murder Van Van of Shame but still. I entered our medical center complaining of cough, Mysterious Localized Aches and low grade fever. I left with a diagnosis of community pneumonia, tennis elbow and the bazooka of antibiotics, Axy-blah-blah-blah-icin. And my father says I have the personality of a rattlesnake! This'll show him; a rattlesnake wouldn't share diseases with a community, WOULD IT, POPS? I THINK NOT.

This has actually been a very fun experiment as the last time I was on antibiotics, it was for a lady infection and the medicine was...suppositorical. Is too a word. Now. You know how in drug commercials the list of side effects runs almost longer that the commercial itself? That. My head goes from clear to stuff dripping from every orifice known to man to stuffed with wool all within the same hour. My appetite has been wonky from normal to nothing doing no-how to I SHALL SUBSIST ON RUFFLED POTATO CHIPS ALONE. Balance has gone from bad to alarmingly bad and how crow, how are you even allowed to drive? But the most fun? My hearing. Or lack thereof. Even more so than usual. If this is the thing that drives me over the edge to actually do something about it, fine but I just want it out there that I BLAME THE COMMUNITY FOR THIS. I can only hope that I'm fast approaching toxic levels of awesomeness with this stuff swirling around my bloodstream.

Now THAT is a side effect worth choking down.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hm. This blog needs something. I know! More cowbell!

Or maybe just some really cute pictures of the kids whilst I recover from my visit to the land of Ill.

Suspicious pirate is suspicious.
I shall love him and squeeze him and call him George. Or Minnie. Whatever.
Just hanging with the polar bears in January. As you do.
Caught! Like polar bears. In a trap.
I'm still cute even though my head leans to the left, right?
I've got Henry the Hippo AND the LeapPad. I WIN TODAY!!!!
A hippo, two kids and a giant robotic crab walk into a bar...
We built this arch on rock and roll.....
My Being Human recap will be late and weak this week because a) sick and b) wasn't paying close attention but in the meantime....

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hair today, gone tomorrow. Or Saturday. Whatever.

Can I tell you a secret? It's been well over a year since I've had a haircut that I haven't done myself (extreme sickness and exhaustion equals poor decision making. The more you know.) so I've been throwing it back into a clip or ponytail or artfully staging my selfies so you can't tell what a hot mess it is. Because it is. A huge hot grey mess because why would I waste good money on hair color knowing that I'm just going to chop it off? And because I work in a manufacturing plant and wear a uniform with my name on it, stylin' hair is really pointless because no one can see you under the hair net which leads to the Hair Spiral of Shame.

However, I'm staring down the barrel of 39 and swearing to myself that I will return to the land of the real and not smelly jobs this year so baby steps beginning with: hair cut and color. (And working out so my nice office clothes will fit because no tengo dinero for moro clothes-o but that's a different post altogether.) I know my hair texture and what lengths work best for me so before plopping myself down in the chair and calling out 'Bob me baby!', I thought that I might actually attempt to become an informed consumer and figure out want I want - more or less. Let's consider some of the alternatives, shall we?

Kinda the usual but w/ waves.

Short. And sassy. And short. Also: roadkill
The Uma Thurman aka Captain Helmet
Fun and spiky to the right (to the right to the right to the right)
Also, no vision but hey, if it looks good.....
Fun and spiky to the left (to the left to the left to the left)
There is no amount of product in the world to get my hair to do this.
The Uma with even more helmet bounce!
 I could totes pull this off.
I'm coming for your job Sharon!
The So Wanna Be Katy Perry
Comes with a built in hair net!
The short 'n sassy n'...gray.
Oh HE-llo darling, there you are; I've missed you  so!
Though I must say that the corkscrews are rather tempting....

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Being Human Recap: Dafuq?

Previously on the SyFy drama 'Being Human', Aidan was rescued from being buried alive and left for over a year (he's a vampire, it's cool), Josh killed his maker in an effort to free himself and his girlfriend Nora from the werewolf curse and was partially successful and Sally the ghost was brought back from limbo, not to her previously ghostly form but all the way back using the heart of the dead werewolf, her buried body and a lot of brown paper macheie.  It's all very complicated and kind of gross. Moving on.

Aidan is feeling a bit on the peckish side seeing as he was literally six feet under for over a year but managed to grow an impressive Ted Bundy beard while locked away nonetheless. Vampires can grow facial hair now so it's best to throw all that you thought you knew about vamps out the window. While he was taking a timeout, the vampire population of Boston was pretty much decimated by a particular virulent strain of the flu, leaving the vast majority with lovely oozing sores which meant scoring a blood whore fell somewhere between slim and none. They don't know who has had/been exposed to the flu so can't risk feeding as there is no cure wonderfully demonstrated by Amish Mafia Vampire number one who turned to dust while driving. Don't dust and drive folks; it never ends well. Disoriented, weak, and starving, Aidan desperately tries to make contact with his erstwhile roommate Josh....

Josh our neurotic hero is torn between reveling in his new found freedom from the curse and guilt over that the killing of his maker didn't also cure Nora. For Nora to be cured, she has to kill Josh which will really put a damper on their relationship. Luckily, Nora has embraced her inner wolf so her time of the month is no real big deal. She tosses back a couple of raw sirloins and holes up in her storage unit. (Why does no one else rent a storage unit in this place? How is this not suspicious to management?). Josh usually will spend the night in his old hidey hole next to her (see: neurotic, guilt) but Nora forces him to actually go and LIVE as this is what he wanted so badly. Josh reluctantly sees her point and takes Sally, who has a raging case of cabin fever, out drinking. What could possibly go wrong here?

When Sally was brought back from limbo, she didn't come back alone. She located a couple of her old ghost posse whom she was responsible for sending to limbo in the first place and cajoled, coaxed and bullied them into trying to find a way out so they were with her when the witch opened her door to bring her back. I actually thought that all three of them would be fighting for space in Sally's body which had the makings of a really macabre version of Three's Company but alas, Stevie and Emo Boy were returned to their own bodies, presumably without being dug up and lacking a werewolf heart but whatevs. The big warning was that Sally COULD NOT SEE anyone from her past. Not sure why that warning was given repeatedly so going to the local bar in the neighborhood in which she was alive seems a perfectly logical thing to do. Clearly the afterlife has not made her any smarter though she could be thinking with Ms. Vagine de Cobweb so we'll give her a partial pass on it. She of course sees Trent who OMG was AT HER FUNERAL. Poor girl didn't even have a chance to finish her martini but she covers with a faking her own death story and further distracts him by sticking her tongue down his throat. Josh is neurotic AND clucking so he makes sweet sweet love to his bourbon and imagines turning into a wolf again. Perhaps to be drinking something else? I have an excellent recipe for a kamikaze....

Sally is ready for a little sumthin sumthin so like any good roommate recently returned from the dead, she asks Josh for his condoms and takes Trent back to the house like a goody bag (her actual words. Geez, no wonder Danny killed her). He gets cold feet at the last minute saying he doesn't feel so hot and Sally takes her first zombie rejection pretty well. Josh wanders the streets of Boston and waxes poetic about the moon because he can be a giant noob.

Aidan is confuzzled as all get out, almost gets his ass kicked by some wolves and is rescued AGAIN by his protege/nemesis Henry who's all, hey man, let's go back to my place for a drink. And by a drink I mean from my girl who I put my vampy whammy on and lock her up like a veal because FLUUUUUUU! Aidan remarkably resists as his somewhat latent conscience wakes up and kicks him in the nuts because DUDE.

Meanwhile, a forbidding grizzly dude breaks into an Amish house asking about his son. His gaze is continually drawn to the black wolf skin hanging on the wall and figures out it was his pure blood werewolf son. The Amish are of course vampires so they get their vamp on and he goes to town with a stake and not nearly as well as Buffy I must say. (Why do the bad guys wait to attack one at a time? Typically strength in numbers works to one's advantage but they're supes so: super.) He takes them out and mourns beneath his son's fluffy skin. Of course Josh and Nora had run with Black Wolf and his sister Batshit Insane so Buff Daddy goes in search of them and finds Nora in her storage unit of sad. They have Big Talks and turn together....

Next morning, Sally is craving fatty pork (perhaps she should start off slow, maybe with a nice vibrator or something) and tries to talk Josh out of proposing to Nora right after changing back to human when they hear sirens and upon investigating, discover that Trent has died mysteriously in the street and Sally was responsible because she had contact with someone from her past! Josh goes in search of Nora because he is neurotic and dumb and Aidan stumbles back home still starving. Sally offers her blood because she can and Aidan is all, um, yeah, 24 hours ago you were dead so I don't think so. They share a LOOK and finger play and it's all very awkward. Josh arrives at the storage unit to find a huge hold punched in the door and an ominous blood trail like something was dragged away. (They are so gonna keep his security deposit now).

So: Life! Death! More life and afterdeath.  Stay tuned for next week where Aidan is noble, Sally is horny and Josh is neurotic and conflicted. Otherwise known as business as usual.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On second thought, literacy is overrated

Yesterday I took the day off of work to be home with the kids to cover the public school closing for Martin Luther King Day and, to be honest, for a three-day weekend AND to watch the Inauguration. (Was thwarted BIG TIME by DEMANDING CHILDREN WANTING TO PLAY but no matter. Snuck glances  at the ceremony when Noah's back was turned.) Towards the middle of the afternoon when Noah was napping, I was messing around on the computer (and cursing it out under my breath for being an asshat), I detected with my keen Mommy sense that Noelle might be a little...bored. Barbie: A Mermaid's Tale can only hold one's attention for so long after all so I offered to play a game with her or read or do a puzzle. I clearly win at engaging-your-child parenting. Anyway, she chose the Super Why word builder game.

I was a bit surprised by that choice as I was fully expecting something like Twister or Sorry or even Fancy Nancy's Perfectly Pfabulous Parfaits or something. No matter. I'm cool, I'm hip, I can roll with it. (Ha. Haaaa.) So we began.

I had the purple and green letter cards (boy colors, CLEARLY) and she had red and pink (because GIRL. DUH.) We then took turns putting cards down in the order she dictated until we had three rows of four cards each. At that point she seemed a bit stumped as to what to do next so I suggested (clever me) that she see if she could pick out any words from those 12 letters. She jumped right on that suggestion and soon we were playing a game where I would build a word and ask her what other words could be made by changing the first letter. We went through the usual suspects: CAT to BAT to SAT to MAT. All good. Because they are learning combination sounds/diphthongs in school, we moved on to some of those: DECK to DUCK to MUCK...she cast around for another letter...F! FUCK.

FUCK indeed.

"Is that a real word Mommy?"

Yay! Put on the spot due to my own cleverness.

"Yes baby but it's not a nice word so we don't say that." Cough

And mysteriously enough, right after that was snack time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Once more into the breach

Back in November, Dyl and decided that we should probably start being grown-ups and maybe look into refinancing the house as our mortgage is absolutely killing us. (Knowing that we were paying a ridiculously inflated rate on our property tax also didn't help matters. Good thing we just got the new property value: $45,000 less than before. Yay?) So I did probably one of the dumbest things you could do: I picked up an envelope from the mail pile dining room table, opened the offer, read it and decided to call. (Yo! Print marketing! I'm your gal; call me). The lucky recipient of my tentative steps? Quicken Loans.

Now actually, they have been very great to work with - it's all online with some phone calls; they set up a personal website for you, it's very easy to upload documents and the initial interview was very pleasant. Notice before when I said we started this in November? Yeah, still not even close to closing and our rate lock expires at the beginning of February. And it is a very nice rate lock, 1.75 percentage points below our current rate which would bring our payments back to the land of reality from their extended vacation on WTF Island. The issue now? The supporting documentation. Lots and lots and lots of it. And re-faxing the same documents 3 times (I sweartagawd that if they tell me I have to send this one thing in again, I will fly to Michigan myself to administer the beat down.)  Complicating the process is that we've gone somehow from rolling the closing costs into the loan (as I had been able to do previously to get out of an ARM that had me quite worried) into needing to have cash on hand. A lot of it. Right after the holidays. Did I say fuck? I meant  FUCK. Also: headdesk.

So we called in favors, played the lottery, sacrificed a live chicken and our part of the bargain is done. And now? We wait. To hopefully get to close before the rate lock expires thereby making me snap and CUT A BITCH.

The ironic thing? The current holder of our mortgage sent us a nice official letter offering us the chance to refinance due to our outstanding payment history (read: being effin' gouged) and their partnership with another lender will make this all possible. That lender? Quicken Loans.

And that was the point that Dylan had to go running in search of the straitjacket and xanax.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Civil Discourse

The other night while we were eating dinner and discussing the President's proposal for gun control, Noelle was sitting quietly finishing her dinner. During a lull in the conversation she turned to me and said, "Mommy, Martin got shot."very matter-of-factly. Alarmed Dylan and I both gave her our full attention as she went on, "...Martin King-y. He got shot."  Comprehension flooded our faces.

"Yes honey, Dr. King was shot."

"Why was he shot?"

And here is where I was completely unprepared to discuss race relations of the 1960s with a six-year old but having promised that we would always answer her questions to the best of our abilities, into the fray we boldly plunged. "He was shot because a man who had light skin and light hair thought he was better than Dr. King who had dark skin and dark hair."

"Oh." Pause. "He was a bad man."

"Yes honey, the man who shot Dr. King was a very bad man."

"Did he shoot him with a bow and arrow?"

"No baby, he was shot with a gun."

"I hate guns."

"Me too."

From that point, Dyl and I tried to frame our explanations that there were a large number a people who thought that since they had light skin and light hair that it made them better than anyone who had darker skin and hair (and in some parts of the country still do). Her face lit up.

"Oh! Like the Sneetches! (Dr. Seuess story)."

"Right, exactly like the story. The Sneetches with the stars thought that they were better than the Sneetches without the stars but we know the truth: that it didn't matter because they were all the  same."

I relayed the story later that evening to my mother who commented that prejudice and hate is a learned characteristic. My grandparents had very strong prejudices towards a group but thought the individuals were just fine. It was exceedingly frustrating for my mother who was never able to get them to see the absurdity of their positions so all she could do was to raise my sisters and me with as few of those prejudices as possible. And Dylan and I will raise Noelle and Noah with fewer still. Maybe if everyone thought in a similar fashion, we could erase prejudice from the earth, one generation at a time.

As for me, I'm looking forward to Monday when I will be able to share not just the Dr. Martin Luther King celebrations with my daughter but also the inauguration. She's a pretty neat kid and I have to do my part too to lessen the chance of her learning prejudices against others.

And then? We'll bounce.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

On Guns and Control

So. Hi. It's...been a while. Lots has happened: a hotly contest election, a horrific massacre of schoolchildren, the holidays, the Redskins and the Ravens both in the NFL playoffs (well, not anymore. Godspeed RGIII.) And today I was able to use some of my lunch hour to watch the President's gun control press conference.

Full disclosure: I tuned in about 3 minutes late so I missed the opening pieces but what I heard was fair, balanced and reasonable. Background checks for anyone buying a gun? How is this possibly a bad idea. I would take it one step further: we have to license and register dogs and cars, why not guns? When used for their intended purpose they have but one use: to kill whatever is being targeted at that time. Limits on magazine capacity? Again, why is this a bad idea? If you are using your gun for hunting and it takes more than 10 bullets to kill a deer, well, then you might want to consider a new hobby. Banning military-style 'assault' weapons? Again, a no brainer. Why are they needed? For hunting? Good luck getting any useful meat out of that carcass. They exist in the civilian world for one reason: to give people who have nothing else to hold onto that they have a measure of control, that they are powerful. Very few gun enthusiasts have come out and declared the white elephant in the room that I have seen but the few who have, the admission is: it's fun. It's fun to shoot and you feel powerful and in control. God-like almost. You have the power to decide if another (human or animal) lives or dies. Heady heady power indeed.

The President took great pains to remind folks that he is not talking about hunting rifles, handguns, sport guns (whatever that means). No one's 'rights' are being infringed upon. You can still have guns, what you can't have are military style weapons that are designed to deliver bullets as fast as possible into as many objects as possible and you can't have unlimited ammunition with which to do this. But you know whose rights have been infringed upon? Those who have been cut down by assholes wielding these weapons. What about their inalienable right to LIFE, LIBERTY and the pursuit of HAPPINESS?  Kind of hard to do that when you are dead, don't you think?

But this won't work, then only criminals will have guns, etc. etc. and so forth. Guess what? Doing the right thing isn't easy and banning the sale of certain types of weapons and ammunition and requiring stringent background checks for any and all guns purchased from anywhere is the right thing. Twenty first graders paid the ultimate price for the gun lobby's 'rights' while theirs were dismissed without pause.

Maybe all guns should be banned. With great power comes great responsibility and if adults in this country aren't willing to bear the heavy weight of responsibility, then maybe they shouldn't have the power either.