Friday, October 23, 2009

An "A" in Teacher's Aide?

Ok, so today my first-born child, Thing 1, informs me that he got his report card and he has straight A's. 4.0 GPA. He's all smugface about his grades and I'm all Woo-Hoo! and proud of my baby boy, my 6 foot tall baby boy, and can't wait to brag about his accomplishments to his aunts and uncles.

Aunts and Uncles who are quick to point out that of his five classes this Senior year, three of them are Surf Team, Teacher's Aide and some computer art class where he's learning Photoshop. Yes, he actually got a grade for being a Teacher's Aide. In a class where he spends most of his time texting his friends and playing solitaire on the classroom computer.

That will be very impressive on his college applications. He takes his SAT's in two weeks. I don't think there are going to be any questions relating to being a Teacher's Aide but hey, times have changed and maybe I'm wrong.

Tomorrow, we head out to the desert where TheManTheMyth and Thing 1 will race in a National Hare & Hound. And where Thing 1 will have an interview for a possible sponsorship deal. This ought to be good. Thing 1 is not known for his stellar communication skills. Especially when it's with one of his Heroes. He's already working himself into a bit of a state over this interview. If he gets the sponsorship, it will be a HUGE accomplishment in his racing career. So let's keep our fingers crossed that someone else will take over his racing expenses.

So. Halloween is in a week which means Ghoulies and Ghosties and Long Legged Beasties and Things That Go Bump in the Night stories. And I've got some. And not just things experienced at Casa de Gramma. So next week (There's no internet connection in the middle of the desert) I'll relate more of my personal experiences. The Green Street apartment, the house in Laguna Beach and The Norwalk House. Along with what *I* feel is the Creepiest Place in Long Beach, CA.

And no, it's not my boudoir.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Things that go Bump in the Night

It's almost Halloween and that means it's time for ghost stories.

Fourteen years ago, I inherited my Gramma's house (after buying out my sisters shares) after she and my dad died within a couple of weeks of each other. We spent several months going through 40+ years of Gramma's life and doing some updating/remodeling before we were able to say "See ya, Sucker!" to our old house in Norwalk. The house that I'm POSITIVE was built on cursed, unhallowed, unholy ground, stories of which I will relate at a later time.

Almost immediately after settling in to Casa de Gramma, "things" began to happen that made me think that Gramma was still hanging out. For starters, I would see Gramma at times. Usually in Thing 1's bedroom because that had been Gramma's room (she and Grandpa had separate rooms due to his sawmill snoring). From where our bed was placed in the master bedroom, I could see out the bedroom door and straight into Thing 1's room. Sometimes at night, I'd hear something, sit up and I'd see her standing in her former room for just a second or two and then I'd blink and she'd be gone and I'd roll over and go back to sleep.

And then there was the footsteps. Usually around 2:00am, I'd hear footsteps coming from Thing 1's (Gramma's) room, down the hall and into the kitchen, stopping at about the kitchen sink. Sometimes I'd hear the return steps but not always. You see, when my Grandpa was still alive, Gramma would get up every night around 2:00am to give him his heart medication. She'd walk down the hall to the kitchen, stand at the sink to get a drink of water, peer through the blinds of the window over the sink and then walk back to bed. She continued this habit for years until she was felled by a stroke while standing at the kitchen sink.

So, after hearing the nightly walk for several weeks, I finally mentioned it to TheManTheMyth, thinking he'd look at me like I was kookoopants or something. His reaction? "Oh my God, I thought it was just me! Hell yeah I hear the footsteps and hell no I'm not getting up to see who or what it is!" My big, brave husband!

Over the years, the activity comes and goes. Sometimes I'll see movement out of the corner of my eye of someone walking in or out of the hall doorway but when I turn my head completely, nothing is there. Or I'd hear her voice calling my name, clear as a bell. A couple of weeks after Gramma died, the lady next door, who had been very close to Gramma, came over with a story. She was driving around the corner one day and saw Gramma standing on the front lawn with her broom (Gramma would sweep the leaves off the lawn every day). She said Gramma waved like she always did and Lisa waved back, just like she always did. Lisa said that it was so real it didn't register for a few minutes that she had just waved to a woman whose funeral she had attended a couple of weeks earlier.

Our family takes it in stride but overnight guests can be caught off guard. The bed in my office used to be placed in such a way that if you sat up, you'd see straight through to the kitchen. One of our most frequent overnight guests told me that he'd hear the footsteps going into the kitchen but he'd never hear them leave the kitchen. He said one time he dared to peer over the covers and saw a shadow figure standing there in the kitchen. He dove back under the covers and from that point on, would sleep with his head under the covers.

I cracked up one time (ok, more than once) listening to two of Thing 1's cronies discussing their experiences. One said, "It's no big deal, you hear stuff but you don't SEE stuff." and the other one said, "Oh you SEE stuff all right." The bed has since been repositioned so that you can't see into the kitchen anymore and Wyatt thanks me for that.

So last night, we go to bed. Sleep sleep, snore, snore. All of a sudden, I'm woken up because the light turns on. I'm getting ready to complain to TheManTheMyth for turning on the light while he's getting ready for work when I realize that A) he's asleep next to me and B) it's 2:15am. Odd, I think to myself, but I get out of bed and walk over to the wall switch and turn the light off. Sleep sleep sleep. Suddenly, I'm woken up by TheManTheMyth sitting up in bed. Why was he sitting up in bed? Because the overhead light just turned back on but came on slowly, as if someone was turning the dimmer switch to full light. Except there is no dimmer switch. We both look at the clock. It's 3:15am. Exactly one hour since the last time the light turned on. He gives me a funny look, gets out of bed and heads to the bathroom. Comes back and DOESN'T turn off the light but just gets back in bed. Hello? Turn off the light, dude! So I get out of bed and turn the light off yet again.

I fall back asleep. Once again I'm woken up because the light is slowly turning on AGAIN. The time is 4:15am. TheManTheMyth mutters, "What the fuck?" and I'm now irritated because my desperately needed beauty sleep keeps getting interrupted. I get out of bed and turn off the light yet again and bark out, "Knock it off!" and get back in bed where I was able to get 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Oddly, we experienced the same thing back in the Norwalk house right after Thing 2 was born. The light in the nursery had a habit of turning on by itself in the middle of the night. I thought TheManTheMyth was doing it so he could check on the baby in the middle of the night and he thought it was me. He checked the electrical wiring but couldn't find anything wrong that would cause the light to turn on by itself. Just another of the many experiences we had in that house.

So. I don't know if this is Gramma letting me know she's come for a visit or what but I can think of better ways she could pop in and say "Hi" without interrupting my sleep.

Love ya, Gramma!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

That $%&*#! Vacuum

Back in January, Thing 2 and I had a Girl's Night Out, which means we went to a hockey game (Red Wings (boohiss) vs Ducks) because in OUR family, it's the girls who are the hockey fans. TheManTheMyth and Thing 1 are Not. The following is the story of what happened when we got home from our game:

Thing 1 is waiting up for us and immediately informed me that I should NEVER leave Daddy home by himself at night (Technically, he wasn't home "alone" because Thing 1 was home but sequestered in his cave of a room but let's not quibble over minor details). Why shouldn't TheManTheMyth be left home alone at night, you ask? Here's a good reason: A vacuum salesman came to the door and asked if he could demonstrate the Super Incredible, Magnificent and Fabulous Kirby Sentria Vacuum System

This thing slices and dices, will trim your hair, cut through a cinderblock and clean a fish! Ok, not really but notice it comes with all sorts of attachments to make your Cleaning a Whole Lot Easier!

Thing 1 tells me that the demonstration was easily the most incredible thing he had ever witnessed (take THAT, Sham-wow!) and that the Kirby totally blew my dependable Dirt Devil bagless vacuum clean out of the water.

I look at Thing 1 and wait for the punch line. He tells me to turn around and look. Look at my brand-new vacuum.

Turns out that TheManTheMyth was also impressed. So much was he impressed that he bought it. He bought the vacuum. He bought the ELEVEN HUNDRED DOLLAR VACUUM. That's right, $1,100.00. American money.

I must admit that the suction power on this thing is beyond fabulous. Seriously, it's that good. And I must admit something else:

I hate it. I hate that vacuum. I hate that vacuum with the heat of a thousand suns.

Why do I hate it? Here's why I hate it, in no particular order:
- It weighs a friggin' ton. Schlepping that sucker from room to room is a pain in the ass. It's so heavy and cumbersome it careens around corners and comes at you like an out-of-control locomotive.
- It requires vacuum bags. I hate having to deal with vacuum bags. Because of the amount of dog hair that has to be vacuumed up, the bag starts to smell almost immediately even though it's not even halfway full. So unless I want to smell the stench, I have to empty an almost empty bag way too frequently. So I'm going through vacuum bags like crazy and these bags aren't cheap. Vacuum bags are the #1 reason I had (Keyword: HAD) a Bagless vacuum.
- It's LOUD. Seriously loud. We're talking jet-engine loud. I've missed phone calls, people at the door, Lucy barking because someone's knocking on the door, gunshots, fighter jets flying overhead and cannon fire because I can't hear it over the sound of the vacuum.

But the biggest reason I hatehatehate this vacuum is because if I want to switch from vacuuming my hardwood floors to vacuuming the Oriental Rug in the living room, I have to turn the vacuum on its back, unhook the hose attachment, get the carpet attachment out and attempt to attach the carpet attachment exactly right or it won't work. Attaching the carpet attachment means you have crank a knob, hook the attachment onto the hooks Just So, crank the knob that attaches the fan belt, flip a lever to lock it in place, flip the cover down and hoist the vacuum back upright. But if you don't do it exactly perfect, and I NEVER do, then the second you turn on the vacuum the stench of burning rubber fills the room because the fan belt has slipped off and fat chance of getting it back in place. Which just happened. Again. It happens Every. Single. Time.

So now the vacuum, that %^&*! vacuum, is laying dead on my living room floor, again,

because the fan belt has slipped off, again, and I can't seem to dig it out from deep within the bowels of the carpet attachment. And there the vacuum will lay until TheManTheMyth comes home from work and he can fix HIS vacuum which cost as much as TWO Dyson Animal Ball vacuums, which are bagless I might add. The way vacuums should be.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A proposal of sorts

On a message board I post on, the question o' the day asked how your significant other proposed to you. Some spouses went all out to make their marriage proposal An Event and others went along lines of "Well, are we getting married or what?"

I see so many women who expect Unique and Fabulous proposals of marriage that include the man on bended knee (preferably in a public setting) while holding up the 2 carat diamond so that she can scream and squeal and give a Victory Cheer. "Yes! I finally wore him down with my incessant demands that he propose to me! I win! Ha! Ha!"

On the other side of the coin, I had a friend, a guy friend, who planned a big Event for his marriage proposal. You see, he had competition for her hand and was desperate to show her that he was the better choice. He had already bought her flowers and baubles and fancy dinners but he needed to do something Big. So he took her on a romantic getaway, wined and dined her and on the last day, he took her up in a hot air balloon. While they were up, up and away, soaring over the countryside, he produced a ring and in front of the other passengers, asked her if she would do him the honor of becoming his wife. And she declined. Doh! He was DEVASTATED but didn't give up. But he realized he needed to rethink his wooing strategies.

A couple of weeks later, they were in a noisy crowded restaurant, waiting on their hamburgers and french fries and he half-heartedly "proposed" again. To his amazement, she said "Yes." She just wanted to be his wife but she needed him to understand that Big Showy Productions didn't work with her.

TheManTheMyth and I had been together for about a year and living together for 9 of those 12 months. We were at a wedding, the 4th one we'd been to in as many months. As the reception was winding down, we were talking about how many weddings we'd been to lately and he made the off-hand remark, "I think the next wedding we go to should be our own." My brilliant response was something like "Huh wha?" I asked him if he was drunk (that would be Yes) and if he was asking me to marry him. He replied in the affirmative and that was it. There wasn't any "Will you marry me?" on bended knee, no big announcement, just a "yeah" when I asked him if he was proposing. No fanfare, no trumpets. No ring.

So. The next day, we got up without discussing our engagement and went to a boat race with a group of friends. I kept waiting for him to make the Big Announcement to everyone but the day went on and he never said a word. Since I knew he was drunk when he "asked" me, I was starting to wonder if maybe he didn't remember his proposal and I certainly didn't want to tell everyone only to have him say, "What the hell are you talking about?" How embarrassing would THAT be?

So, we get home that night and I'm all verklempt. Finally, I got up the nerve to ask him if he remembered what had happened the previous night (he did) and was he serious about it (he was). He said he had gotten a bit of a kick out of watching me squirm and sweat. And they say romance is dead. Two days later I had my ring and 6 months after that we walked down the aisle.

That was 20 years ago.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Router Up!

Thing 2 and I headed off to spend the weekend in Palm Springs at Sister Tracie's lovely abode. We had lots of fun, ate lunch at Tyler's, watched lots of college football and tried to avoid the jillions of motorcycles because, unbeknownst to us, it was Bike Week in Palm Springs.

After lunch at Tyler's, we walked over to this little jewelry store that sat across from Tyler's because Sis needed some jewelry repaired. They have beautiful custom jewelry but they also had other things for sale.

So, would these be classified as Art? Knicknacks? I thought Thing 2 was going to explode with both mirth and mortification when she saw those.

So after lunch and our visit to the jewelry/sex shoppe, we headed back to the house to watch the USC/Notre Dame game and I tried to do some work on our website. The house was set up for wireless internet so I got out my laptop and attempted to log on to Firefox. Nothing. We couldn't figure out what was wrong with the wireless so a call was placed to Time Warner and after talking with the nice tech support lady, we discovered that the modem was turned to "Off." Flicked the switched, internet fired up and life was good.

Fast forward to this morning. I tell TheManTheMyth that we need to go wireless in our own home. I had resisted for over a year because I figured that if we went wireless, then Thing 1 would disappear into the depths of his room with my laptop and I would never see either of them again. But after the convenience of being able to log on to the internet without dealing with cords, it was a chance I would have to take.

So I head over to Best Buy to look at wireless routers. And talk to Geek Squad member "Ivan." Ivan asks me some questions, including who my internet provider is. And then Ivan tells me something very interesting and I'm all No Way! And Ivan's like, Way! And I'm all "are you shitting me?" and Ivan's all "I wouldn't shit you! You're my favorite turd!"

What Ivan told me is that if my router from Verizon Fios has an antenna on it, it's wireless. And guess what? It does! Turns out we've been wireless since we switched to Verizon Fios which was, oh, TWO YEARS AGO!

What's funny is that every time I would boot my laptop, a little notification would pop up telling me which wireless networks were in my area and I had no idea that MINE was one of them! I found this out when I called Tech Support and "Daryl" in Mumbai walked me through the log-in and set-up process. I'm wireless! Who knew? Ivan did, that's who!

I'm not telling the kids, though. I'd never see my laptop again.