Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear Kate on the Eve of Your Wedding

Dear Kate,

Greetings from across the pond. Can I call you Kate? I figure I can until Friday when you're officially Princess Catherine.

This is just a little congratulatory note to you on your upcoming nuptials. Hey, no hard feelings for not inviting us to the wedding either. I think of it as being lucky enough to not have to smile my way through my 59th bridal shower. "Oh wow! That's a nice can opener!" But if by chance I had been invited, and you got married in 1998, here's what I would have looked like making a phone call.

Anyway, I wanted to take a minute to offer you some marital advice as you embark on your most joyous adventure with Prince William. Clearly, our mothers gave us the same advice when they told us "you can fall in love with a rich man just as easily as a poor man." Good call on taking that advice Sister! You outdid yourself you little overachiever!

I feel that I'm qualified to offer this advice to you for the following reasons:
  • I've been married for 10 years
  • We both have brown hair
  • My father's middle name is William
  • I have a niece named Kate
  • I've seen Mary Poppins numerous times
  • I own a conservative blue dress (although mine is actually black, kinda slutty and bought at Macy's)
  • I'm close personal friends with your future Grandmother-in-law. Here's a photo of me and the Queen (taken with my own camera). I actually call her Liz. Good times. 


 I'm including my wedding photo for you as my credentials.


I look back fondly on my own wedding. Might I suggest a Soul Train line on the dance floor? If you're wedding is like mine, the Queen might just do the bump to Donna Summer's Bad Girls with your uncle.

Soon you'll be off on your honeymoon. Something you should nip in the bud: When you're tired and go to bed, Prince William might want to go down and drink in the bar with the two nice overweight gay guys you befriended. Nothing bad will come of it, but for God's sake - it's your honeymoon! Don't stand for it.

In our first year of marriage, we bought our first house. I think you might have that "palace thing" already taken care of, but if you don't, you might consider inviting Prince Harry and some of his chaps over to help you guys move. Just buy them a case of beer and you'll be golden.

And if you're as blessed as we are, soon you'll be having little Heirs-to-the-Throne of your own. Now, when you're sitting at a barbecue restaurant and you go into labor DO NOT let Prince William try to talk you into hanging out a while longer because he just ordered all-you-can-eat ribs. No princess should have to sit at a BBQ place in labor, let alone for ribs!!! They weren't even baby back! Instead, go back to the palace and wait while he showers and brews a pot of coffee before driving you to the hospital.

Do you guys celebrate Mother's Day over there in England? If so, feel free to have William call my husband when he needs some advice on what to get you for your first Mother's Day gift. I was given a nice little lucky bamboo plant from Walgreens. Nothing says "thank you for bearing the future King of England" like a terracotta pot with a face on it.

And if by chance William is jet skiing on the 4th of July and loses his wedding ring in the ocean, it's not a big deal. Oh never mind. Sorry about that. 4th of July might be a touchy subject for you Brits...

I guess I can also skip over the mother-in-law advice.

In my opinion the most important thing to remember about marriage is to always have fun. For instance, if Prince William tells you that he prefers you to put the tongs back into the utensil container tong-side-down, I recommend doing the exact opposite to piss him off. Seriously, that's what I call fun. And you should totally learn how to mock him. Great!

Well, at the risk of running too long (I'm sure you've got a tiara fitting or something) I'll sign off now.

One last bit of advice: Knowing that there are going to be billions of people watching your wedding might make a girl nervous. Just picture them in their underwear. Really...it will be 4 a.m. at my house and I'll really be in bed in my underwear watching it on TV and Facebooking with my friend Leigh.

Pip Pip Cheerio! I hope that's correct. I learned it from an episode of the Backyardigans.

Love,
A

For those of you who wanted to follow us by e-mail, I stuck a little thing over there on the upper right-hand side of the page for you to get updates. It's called "Follow us by E-mail"... Ironic, I know. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Up Your Keister for Easter

To look at me you'd think I'm a somewhat "normal" individual, but only my best friends (and now about a dozen blog readers) know that I am a descendant of lunatics.

Meet my grandfather Russ. And we actually referred to him as "Grandfather." I have no idea why anyone ever chose such a high-brow name because it's safe to say he's not the type to be invited to the Royal Wedding. A pinochle game? Yes. Anything that required decorum. Not on your life.

He always had raunchy one-liners and off color jokes to deliver to his embarrassed, yet always amused granddaughters and became instantly admired (at least in this capacity) by the grandson-in law that he probably secretly hated.

Grandfather was a piece of work.

So, the reason for this post: He's been gone for 7 years now, but his legacy lives on. Certainly not because of his humanitarian efforts, but because if his little nuggets of wisdom and what we'll loosely call humor.

So in the wise words of my Grandfather: UP YOUR KEISTER FOR EASTER!

And by the way, this wasn't used as an Easter greeting. He was a Jew (at least by birth, but a Jew nonetheless). This was more of a "screw you" comment coated with a big dose of Russ humor. It was a 365 day a year kind of thing.

I challenge you to use it often today. Ryan walked in to our room this morning and said "Happy Easter." His father rolled over to him, still half asleep and muttered "Up Your Keister for Easter." No joke. Every single family member of mine will use this at some point today and hopefully one of my old co-workers.

Give it a try: UP YOUR KEISTER FOR EASTER!

Easter love from our looney bin to yours!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why Does Hugging Trees Have to Be So Darn Hard?

Let's just say that there is a little more work to be done on Ryan's part to get on his teacher's good side. I'll leave it at that.

So being the expert in strategery and butt kissing that I am, I began prepping Ryan way in advance of Earth Day to earn a few much-needed brownie points with his first grade teacher.

On a recent car ride home I listed out all of the things that our family does that are good for the environment...just in case his teacher (who just happens to be the head of his school's "Green Team") asks in class. These include: using reusable drink and sandwich containers for lunches, using cloth napkins at home, recycling, using reusable grocery bags and not flushing the toilet (it's actually only Ryan who does that).

 So today's car ride conversation:

Me:  "Hi Ryan. How was your day?"

Ryan:  "Mom, can we make a compost pile?

Me:  "No."

Ryan:  "Why not?"

Me:  "Well why do you ask?"

Ryan:  "Because I want to make a hill."

Me:  "Why?"

Ryan:  "Duh, so I can roll down it..."

Me:  "So you want to roll down a big pile of garbage?"

Ryan:  "No...we'd put grass on it."

Now I attempt a little less Earth-friendly conversation that didn't involve the thought of  foul smells, buzzards and more new sod that we can't afford.

Me:  "So did you get any tallies for getting in trouble in school today?"

Ryan:  "Just one."

Me:  "What for?"

Ryan:  "For trying to make a compost pile."

Me:  "What???"

Ryan:  "I brought my banana peel back to the classroom after lunch and my teacher gave me a tally for bringing trash back from the cafeteria."

Me:  "And you were going to compost it?"

Ryan:  "Yeah."

Me:  "So what did you do?"

Ryan:  "I put it in my lunchbox."

Me:  "Where is the banana peel now?"


Ryan:  "I threw it in the grass near the bus loop..."

Me:  "Oh no! Did your teacher see you?

Ryan:  "No."

Me:  "OK." 

By now I'm hysterically laughing.

Ryan: "AND DON'T BLOG ABOUT IT!!!"

No harm no foul. Banana peels are biodegradable.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Like A Boring Vacation Slide Show, Only Not As Interesting

I spent the last week in San Francisco (one of my very favorite places) for work/pleasure with a crappy camera and an iPhone.

I haven't traveled in over a year for work so I didn't feel bad about leaving the kids at home with their father. I always came home to them having all their limbs before and was completely thrilled to be going to a place where I actually have real friends! I could live with the thought of my daughter going to school with hair like a Survivor contestant for a few days.

AND not only did I have friends in San Fran, my BFF Meredith flew in to join me for the weekend. (And by BFF I mean somebody that would be willing to wait two hours at the airport for my plane to come in after hers). Mere has 2 tiny girls and is a stay-at-home mom. She needed a break. I won't use BFF again because I'm not 13.

And the icing on the cake was that my former co-workers were going to be in the city the same time I was. So like a weirdo stalker I booked at their same hotel and guilted a few of them into flying in to eat dinner with me.

Here's what life is like without three kids.

My date picked me up in a Dodge Charger which I found humorous for some reason.

Here's a Farmville billboard on the interstate. Yes, it's my dirty little secret. Not taking a picture of this would be like a crackhead NOT taking picture of a big pile of crackrock on the side of the road. Really, I'm quitting after I master my crops.

Then we parked and walked around for a bit and passed a store window that was selling Kama Sutra figurines and I couldn't resist taking a picture. Of course, I had to do a little editing to make it blog appropriate. Happy Easter!

We had an afternoon sushi snack and tooled around until we could visit our other friends. We went to H&M and I asked Mere if she liked a little cotton striped dress to which she responded "You should NEVER wear horizontal stripes." Scroll down to see what I was wearing... We'll chalk it up to jet lag.

Here's Beth, my college roommate and sorority sister. She's living in a hotel room while her bathroom gets renovated. She looks the same as she did in college except for one minor detail. She wasn't knocked up in college.

And here's Heather. She joined us after doing her taxes. I was mucho jealous. She's married to a French guy, ooh la la, I think that in and of itself is the bedrock of a good marriage. She'll surface again later.

From there we drove out to see Julie and Chris, who moved out to the cute little town called Lafayette into a cute little house for their cute little selves and their cute little kids.

Here's me an my new best friend Dane having a battle. I once referred to him as "Kid" and he corrected me telling me "I'm not a kid, I'm a Jedi Knight." He's right. Totally a Jedi.

On Saturday Julie and Chris took us on an awesome tour. Mere's cousin Hillary met us at Christy Field. One day into the trip, Mere's husband, at home with the kids, texted her that he's "surprised she hasn't jumped off the roof or become a complete alcoholic." Ah an epiphany!

I've seen the Golden Gate Bridge from every angle imaginable. In this photo I told Julie to take off her hat so the shadow didn't cover her face. Chris pointed out that it was actually my head causing the shadow "like an eclipse." I've been told I have a big head before, but this takes it to an entirely new level. An eclipse? That's just mean (although scientifically accurate)!

On Monday, Mere went home. My friend Dane and I had another light saber battle and played a little Just Dance Kids on the Wii. 

Chris drove me into the city to begin my two days of work. Here's a picture of a buffalo from Golden Gate Park. I only took this picture so I could come home and show off my picture of a Tatonka. TATONKA!

On Monday my old coworkers came in town I had a great dinner with Dawn, Becky and Beth and then I saw the group again on Tuesday night after their team building event. Clearly, they had a good time...

I went to a conference on Tuesday for work. I only took one picture. If Skippy from Family Ties and Jay Leno had a love child he'd look like this guy.

I also became very fond of my Instagram phone app on this trip. Very cool the way it lets you take boring pictures and push a couple of buttons and make them interesting. That third one is the City Beer Store that my friend Beth and her husband Craig own. I don't drink beer, but boys would love this place.

Then finally, one last dinner with Heather in which I partook in a 5-cheese Mac&Cheese with black truffles to be followed by banana bread pudding. Leave it to the Local to pick out my favorite place that I ate the whole trip! Didn't get to meet Frenchie though. He had to go to a work soiree. Did that sound French?

On Thursday morning I jumped in a cab with my boss Sam and we were off to the airport.

I was shocked at how many San Franciscan mother's traveled on the airplane with their nannies. I kinda wanted to be disgusted with them, but then I thought about it. If I had the money to pay someone to walk my kids up and down the aisle of a plane for 6 hours, I'd do it too.

I landed at home, made a few calls during the drive and walked in the door to kiss the Manny. He's probably not as good as the ones those other moms had, but he's cheap and my kids had their limbs. Although, Ryan was late for school two days AND he played hooky a third...I don't even want to think about it.

Home Sweet Home.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Magical Box

First off: A blog post title that my husband will love.

A few days ago when I blogged about our "hot date" I wrote the following:

So I hauled it home to clean up and remove the following items from my kitchen table: a green feather boa, a report card, two clip boards, a pair of $107 compression hose, a Nintendo DS, a container of beads and sunscreen. And by "remove from my kitchen table," I mean "move onto the dining room table." They are still sitting there along with a cardboard box of other oddities.

To which my old friend Dane commented: 
"If the aforementioned items were not considered oddities, then PLEASE take a picture of your "cardboard box of other oddities"! I am so intrigued as to what might be found in that magical box!

So this one is for you Dane. But to keep it interesting I took photos of some of the more unique items along with an old Mike Wazowski Happy Meal toy. This will also make two blog posts in a row with a Billy Crystal reference. I see a trend here. 

And by "Box" I was kinda lying. It was more like a box and a few dollar store bins. I'm not proud of this. 

This is what it looked like before I started going through it. Not for the sake of cleaning mind you, but for the sake of a blog post. Awful.

Here's Mike Wazowski with a hot pink dentist freebie quality tooth brush that was given to the only one of my children that would pick a pink toothbrush last week at school. Now she wants to actually GO to the dentist. Crap! Foiled again!


"Yay! I'm in a baby wipe container full of hand-me-down Silly Bands," says Mike Wazowski. "Weeee!" As if we didn't already have enough of these, the kids' Aunt Lisa dropped these off on our front table last week. Haven't given them to the kids yet because I don't feel like taking out the vacuum cleaner that I use when I need to get them off my floor.


"Hey lady! Please fan my butt with that little red hand fan." Wait! Does Mike Wazowski have a skull and crossbones tattooed on his ass??? No silly goose! That's just me getting funny with the photo editing program. Gotcha didn't I. So silly...


                             
Happy Meal Mike Wazowski must have eaten the granola bar that was once in this wrapper because I'm sure no person in my household would have been so lazy as to throw it in the Magical Box instead of in the trash. "Yummy granola bar," says Mike Wazowski. No need to pay us for the product placement this time Quaker. Wink wink.


Here's Mike with all of the other toys that were in the box. Not that Mike was in the box...I actually went into the playroom to get him. I think Pluto looks drunk. I wonder what kind of conversation Mexican Donald and the Ninja Turtle had while they were waiting to be rescued. I wonder what language it was in. Dude!


Mike shares our warehouse club committment phobia. "BJs or Costco?  BJs or Costco? I just can't make up my mind!" Either can we Mike Wazowski. I feel your pain. I mean Costco has a better cheese section, but BJs is closer to my house and has GAS!


Here's Mike Wazowski standing in my sunglasses case which no longer houses pretzels, but still doesn't have any actual sunglasses in it either. Good thing those Toy Story stickers are still there. Pixar familiarity for Mike, ya know. 


Speaking of sunglasses...you have no idea how hard it was to decide which side of the sunglasses to use for this photo.


"Oh, those pictures are so cute," says Mike Wazowski. "Too bad your lazy ass never sent the pictures back to school before the ordering deadline. Now you're just going to have to rip off the proofs and cut the image numbers off the bottom and use them like wallets, Mother of the Year." Great idea Mike Wazowski! Glad you thought of it!


Mike Wazowski would like to be like one of those extreme couponers, but just can't get into it. The thought is good, but Mike spends too much time on his blog. See if you can spot him in the bin of uncut coupons that are probably all expired. 


Moving right along to a teeny tiny bag of dog food. Which probably isn't that weird. I'm sure that many people have a teeny tiny bag of dog food in a box with toys and toothbrushes on their dining room table, right? 


Here's Mike Wazowski celebrating his Irish heritage with the head thing I wore at the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Mike Wazowski thinks not enough people read that blog post. I agree.


"This Magical Box is too exciting for me," says a very sleepy Mike Wazowski. "I need to take an upside down nap on some paint chips, an untied string of beads, and one of those airplane headphone adapters." 


OK Mike Wazowski. You can take your nap right after we take this picture together and I put you back in the playroom. And by "put you back in the playroom" I mean "leave you with the rest of this mess on the dining room table." 

Mike Wazowski wants to know if you've liked our Facebook page yet. It's over there on the left. "Give the lady a click," says Mike Wazowski. 



Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'll Settle for Lukewarm

This is what a conversation with my husband would have been like in 2001.

"Hey Love of My Life. How about we go out for sushi?

"Oh, that's a splendid idea, Dear. Let's leave in 5 minutes. Have I mentioned how gorgeous you are today? I don't tell you that nearly enough. Sometimes I am just overwhelmed by how lucky I am to be married to you Sweetie. You are the wind beneath my wings. Mmmmm. Sushi sounds scrumptious."

It would have gone something like that. He might not have said the part about sushi sounding scrumptious.

Fast forward to 2011 and a sushi dinner with my husband is now referred to as a "date" instead of two people who are married just going out together.

It now requires two days notice, a babysitter, several Facebook status updates about the date, leaving work early to clean and sadly, a Groupon.

I called him on Thursday and suggested "how about we get Miss Cassie to watch the kids on Friday and we can go use that sushi Groupon."

"Why???" wasn't exactly the response I was hoping for, but I let him overcome his initial confusion of his wife suggesting to do something that doesn't involve kids. He agreed. Ah, love is in the air!!!

Once I got poor, naive Miss Cassie and her unsuspecting son Ian on the hook for a Friday night at our house, the reality finally sunk in.

I was determined that we wouldn't talk about kids, paint colors or Charlie Sheen (because we always get in a fight about him).

Here's a shot of us while we were preparing for her to arrive (she was a few minutes early). Poor, poor Cassie.

I spent the rest of the day strangely "excited" about our date. So excited that I actually felt like I was kind of cheating on him since I was looking forward to an activity with HIM. That doesn't happen.

Like the complete dork that I am, I kept referring to it as a "Hot Date." ("Hot Date" is actually in Billy Crystal's voice from When Harry Met Sally in my head.) Then it occurred to me that if I kept calling it "hot" it wasn't actually hot at all. Lame.

Friday rolled around and I had to leave the office early to clean up for Cassie so she didn't think that we live like heathens. It's important to note that we DO live like heathens, we just don't want Justin's teacher to know that.

So I hauled it home to clean up and remove the following items from my kitchen table: a green feather boa, a report card, two clip boards, a pair of $107 compression hose, a Nintendo DS, a container of beads and sunscreen. And by "remove from my kitchen table," I mean "move onto the dining room table." They are still sitting there along with a cardboard box of other oddities.

I left to get the kids (where we watched some teenagers get arrested out the school window - but that's a story for another blog post) and got home to resume Operation Don't Call Child Welfare on Us. Justin took my lead and wet one of my expensive hand towels in the sink and began trying to clean crayon off the wall.

My Date arrived home with chicken strips for the kids, I showered, painted my toenails and we read the kids the riot act regarding manners, not walking on furniture and hitting.

We took that self portrait of ourselves in the kitchen because this was a special occasion. Then we had Cassie take this one. I'm trying to teach him a lesson about smiling for pictures so I'm going to use it even though he looks drunk (which ironically, he was not). All's fair in love and blogging Baby!

As we walked up to the restaurant we heard the sound of what was either a parrot or an extraordinarily annoying child a few doors down in the plaza. We picked a table outside and quickly determined that it was a parrot...because it kept squawking over and over and over and over...

To the left of us was a 60-something couple on their first date and much to my delight, it was quiet (other than Polly) and they spoke loudly. "Awesome, now we don't even need to talk!" She was divorced, had two kids, the son lives in NY, has a couple of grand kids, traveled in Israel, etc. I had plenty to keep me occupied.

Look at my hot date. He's so hot.


After we ordered, the Class Act I'm married to told me he was going to step away for a smoke. When I protested, he decided to give Polly a run for her money and squawk as loud as he could in reply. Yes, my husband squawked like a parrot in a public place on our hot date and everyone turned around to look. And it made me laugh hysterically long enough to not be able to protest again when he walked away for his cigarette.

The food arrived and I quickly scarfed down a few pieces while he was gone. Note the empty chair in the photo above.

Sushi was yummy. There would be conversation about a Groupon laser hair removal offer (and I used names of people he knows. He was grossed out. Sorry E.C. and A.E. - it's a funny story).

Date was over...or was it?  We called Cassie and told her that we were going over "to frolic like lovers on the beach and we'll be home within the hour." It would be a quick frolic.

So there we were walking hand and hand down the beach looking like a couple from a Viagra commercial. I rolled up my jeans (like a smart person) and he didn't. Instead he walked through the water completely soaking the bottom of his jeans.

"Why didn't you roll up your jeans Hot Date?"

"Because even if I roll them up they'll still end up getting wet and not only will they be wet, but they'll also have sand in them."

"You're an idiot."

We took 10 more steps, the water came up and got my rolled-up pants wet.

"Well, at least I don't have sand in them..." Yes, I totally had sand in them. He's allowed to be right every once in a while.

"That was awesome when I made that bird sound. Shut that Mother F#$%*r right up." Yes, he really said this as we were holding hands on the beach. So romantic.

As we walked back to the car we commented on a big mansion that we both love. "You know, we should paint the house like that with the green and white with black shutters."

Crap! I talked about paint colors. But by God - another Charlie Sheen argument did not ruin my Hot Date!

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