Saturday, January 26, 2008

Things That Don't Bring Me Joy

1. That my aging dog is starting to cost a fortune. He seems to have a growing list of needs that require the vet's two fatty cysts that look like boobs and a canine tooth that may need extracting. In an effort to lower expenses, I asked my dog groomer neighbor to teach me how to express his anal glands.


Oh. My. God.

I'm scarred for life.

That's it. I can't get passed what I witnessed tonight to add to the list.

Pray for me.

Friday, January 25, 2008

10 Things That Bring Me Joy

I noticed on some of my favorite blogs that people get "tagged"...or something like that...and post a list of, ummm, stuff. Now, I didn't get "tagged" (loser) but I decided to share with my readership my top ten greatest joys. And, just to keep things interesting, I skipped the obvious. There will be no mention of sleeping children, puppies or spring flowers. These are my real joys.

1. Q-Tips after a shower. I'm like a dog when you scritch it's special spot (behind it's ears, sickos). I shut my eyes and slowly twirl the Q-Tip...around and around and around...drying out my big ears. Oooh, it feels so good.

2. Plucking a rogue hair from my chin. I have an old lady, coarse hair that grows under my chin. I think if I left it alone it might reach my collar bone and get stuck in my necklace. But...I don' every couple of weeks I have to go after it. And I can't see it, even with a flashlight and a magnifying mirror, so it's a bit like searching for a nickel in the grass at midnight. Man, when I finally feel the tension of the tweezers against the hair root and I know that success is just a matter of constant, gentle control, it feels uh-mazing.

Yes, I am considering therapy.

3. The Mail. I can't wait! Our mail carrier's truck/jeep has a very distinctive sound and I know he's coming when he's still on a neighboring street. I'm like one of Pavlov's dogs...waiting in the window until he passes my driveway (I don't want rush right out and look desperate, for God's sake!). You should see me at Christmas. I can't wait to count my Christmas cards. And yes, people, I do take mental notes about who can't be bothered to send me a card.

4. Salad, especially when other people make it. A good salad makes me really happy.

5. Finding money. I once found $50 at Wegmans. I was in the express lane checking out and saw a nice crisp President Grant staring up at me from the floor (settle down...I had to google the reference). However, since I have a conscience, and couldn't tolerate the thought of a little old man eating cat food because he dropped his money, I turned it in to the service desk. But before I left, I asked about the possibility of the money going unclaimed and was told that if no one inquired about it after two weeks, that I could keep it. And damn if I didn't call every other day for two weeks to see if it was gone. They knew my name by the end of those two looooong weeks. Sure enough, no one had any faith in mankind and bothered to call Wegmans. So, thank you, suckah!

6. The Food Network. When I finally win the lottery, I'm going to have the fanciest, biggest kitchen in America. I'm going to have so many gadgets and appliances that I'll need to warehouse them in an attached garage. And I'm going to have a pantry that would make Bobby Flay drool. I will fry my eggs in truffle oil and serve kobe beef hamburgers on the 4th of July. And I'll have a maid to clean up the kitchen when I'm done with my uber tasty culinary creations. Yes. I will.

7. An empty house. Although I can't remember the last time I was all alone in my house, it is something that I know would bring me a lot (you have no idea) of joy.

8. 9pm. God, how I love 9pm. By that time my offspring either need to be in bed or sleeping at someone else's house. I punch the clock at 9pm, pour a glass of wine, call my parents, then let my eyes glaze over on the Food Network...or HGTV...whatever.

Tick, tock...9:oopm.

9. Finding the clothes dryer empty. I just love it when you think you have a load of laundry to fold before you can put the next load of wet clothes in, and you open the dryer and it's empty. Yipppeee!

10. Comments on my blog. 'Nuff said.

Okay, your turn. What brings you joy?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Ouma

It's hard to remain uninspired when this amazing woman was your Ouma.

Not only did she survive life in a concentration camp during WWII, she did it while protecting and nurturing her very young son, my dad. After losing her husband in the war, she and my dad left Holland for South Africa to start a new life. She worked hard (damn hard) and overcame her circumstances to become a prominent figure in both academia and theater.

Her life story is rich with the kind of details only found in movies. Faced with adversity, she met every challenge head on and prevailed with dignity and grace. She was educated, ambitious and empowered long before the women's movement and it would serve me well to aspire to her achievements.

My fondest memories of my Ouma were of visiting her on Sundays. Her little house in Cape Town had this amazing backyard. It was dark and mossy, worlds away from the beautiful antiques that filled her home. It was like a secret garden and when I close my eyes I can even remember how it smelled.

I remember sitting with her while she recounted stories of her move to South Africa. I remember the sweets she would set out for us when we visited.

I remember the softness of her face, the translucency of her skin and the way her eyes closed when she laughed. I remember how it felt to be hugged by her.

It has been over 25 years since she passed away, but I still draw strength and inspiration from the woman she was and the life she led. I know deep in my soul that her spirit will live on within me and my girls as they grow and eventually create a life as accomplished women.

So, to my amazing Ouma, happy birthday.

I love and miss you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Desperately Normal

Alright already! The complaint department is CLOSED. I knooooowwww it's been 10 days since my last post.


It's just that my little life has left me somewhat uninspired lately. Not because it's falling apart (it's not)...just that it's so average. So very average.

There are no imminent house issues. We have had moments of panic and frustration, but generally speaking things are all moving in the right direction. We hope to close on March 14th, but if I've learned anything through this process it's that things can change quickly. I try not to think too much about the close because I don't think I'm emotionally fit enough to deal with it all.

Closing the door on this little house for the last time will surely rip the beating heart right out of my chest. I will be so sad. And because I have so many friends on this street, I know I'll be in the neighborhood regularly, and I'll have to witness each unforgivable act done to my house.

What if the new owners don't put up window boxes? Or weed? What if they yank my awesome hydrangeas out of the ground?

Maybe I should dig them up now and bring them with me.

Letting go will be tough.

And the new house. So many unanswered questions. So many what ifs. So much work just getting into the damn thing. I was thinking that maybe y'all could start a fundraiser to hire professional movers for us. And painters to cover the sea foam green in the master bedroom. Maybe a bake sale? Or car wash?

Just a thought.

Holy crap...speaking of the master bedroom, I had an unpleasant revelation about the whole bedroom/master bath set up. It blows. The master bath is chopped in half. The loo and the shower are in one small room and the sink is in a separate space (right next to toilet/shower). It's set up kind of like a hotel room, with the sink area as part of the bedroom.

Which means that every single morning, at precisely 6:15am, I am going to be awoken to the sound of my darling husband hocking a giant, nasty lugey into the sink right after he brushes his teeth.

Every. Single. Morning.

This is by far his most repulsive habit (sadly, there are others). It is just disgusting. But, for the better part of the last 14 years I've been spared the snort-gggggaaa-spit routine by either the depth of my sleepiness or the location of the bathroom.

All bets are off in the new house. The sink will be only feet away from my slumbering head.

And frankly, this might be a marriage breaker for me. I get annoyed when he wakes me up for a good reason ("I think Maggie's running a fever"). I don't do well being rudely jostled into my morning. In a perfect world, I would slowly and gently regain consciousness when I'm actually DONE sleeping. Alarm clocks would be banished and children would synchronise their waking hours with mine.

Waking up to him spitting wads of snot into the sink will torture and eventually kill me.

Or him.

(Sorry, Mom)

Rest assured, my computer friends. We will have a new bathroom wall before the end of March. Green walls be damned, sputum issues will have to take priority.

So, there you have it. All my averageness. But, since an official complaint has been lodged, I promise to share my boring life on a much more regular basis. You can expect updates on the darlings, on my newly changed job (oy, the stress) and other evuh so interested snippets of life in my shoes.

There. Am I forgiven?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Flat Jack

So y'all know about Flat Stanley, right? Stanley flattened himself to fit into an envelope and sent himself around the world.

Or something like that.

Well, somewhere in my beloved South Africa is Flat Jack. As part of a class project, Jack created a paper version of himself. I have seen him on his classroom website and he is rockin'!

Anyway, Flat Jack was first sent to Swaziland to my aunt Winky (who's married to Wiggy...both given those nicknames long before they married...who'da thunk, eh?). Jack was so thrilled to have one of the only Flat people to leave the United States.

And to a place where people run naked with the lions, no less!

Sorry...couldn't resist. Just had to mock two stereotypes that we heard more than once upon our arrival in the States.

I had a couple of reservations about sending Flat Jack to South Africa. The first...what if he never showed up! I made sure the address I sent was clear, with the proper punctuation, etc...but wasn't sure if Jack would take his time and write carefully and legibly.

What if he ended up in some tribe in South America?!

Second, I opted not to warn my aunt (mostly because I thought it was just so darn cute and didn't want to ruin the surprise)...and wasn't sure if she'd toss it out without even opening it. I probably would have.

"What's this crap? Creditors don't even have the decency to write my name in the right place anymore?"

But...(drum roll, please)...

There has been a Flat Jack sighting is Swaziland!!

And he has apparently been sent on his way to Capt Town to my sweet cousin, Emily.


I am so freakin' excited!! For Jack, for his classmates and for me!! I can't wait for Jack to come home from school to tell me his class got a postcard from home. Flat Jack will surely be the most traveled dude in his class. And for that, I am so grateful!!

So, for my family in South Africa (Emily...I think you're the only one who reads pass the word along), thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to respond to the Flat Stanley project. I can promise you that Jack is so excited and will so appreciate you taking the time to report on Flat Jack's travels.

I am already touched beyond words that this little 3rd grade project is bridging the oceanic gap between the family and county I love and the family I'm raising. I'm sure I'm not supposed to be all sappy about it...but, well, hell.

I just think it's so damn cool!

So, if you've sent Flat Jack on his way or are anticipating his arrival...thank you.

So much!

Friday, January 11, 2008


It's Saturday night...10:56pm.

The credits for "Gladiator" are rolling...again.

My face hurts...again.

God I love that movie.

PS. Rough drafts for 2 news posts started...don't lose the faith!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Next On The List

If there ever were an indicator that I don't possess the cajones to be an air traffic controller or one of those people who work on the floor at the stock exchange, it was the way I handled the past week. What a freak. The constant sense of angst, the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, the over-the-top dramatics.

Get a grip.

Anyway, I'm not going to beat myself up...but I do need to work on managing stress and keeping things in perspective.

Sooooo...what happened?

Last Wednesday, in my pajamas, we found out that our "new" house had received an offer that bumped ours. So, we had to scramble and concoct a back-up plan. We were able to remove our contingency, but were strung out through the weekend and only found out last night at 7:30pm that we are, in fact, in a legally binding contract.

The house is ours.

At the same time we learned that we could breathe easier about the "new" house, our agent scheduled to meet with present us with TWO OFFERS ON OUR HOUSE!

Can you believe it? Not one, but TWO offers!!

So, we were able to pick them apart and choose the conditions that best meet our needs. We are scheduled to close on both houses on March 14th.

I am beyond thrilled. This is starting to feel like the exciting adventure that Mom and Dad tried to convince me it could be. I am even allowing myself to envision how I'm going to spread out my kitchen shit in all those cabinets.

We are awaiting attorney approval on the contracts and then we can seriously start planning the move. Moving almost 15 years of stuff is daunting, but we'll figure it out. There's a whole lot of crap crammed into this little palatial estate! on the list? I thought I might download the Christmas pictures of the three kids and all their holiday joy. It's only been 3 weeks, right?

Aw, nuts. There goes my Parent of the Year award and it's only January 9th.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Better News to Drown Out the Whining

This is the email my sister sent out to the rest of our scattered family today.

"Results of Dad/Pieter's PET Scan

First scan completed post cancer to check the entire
body to make sure no spreading or new spots have
appeared and they found NOTHING! He's all clear! :-)
Next scan is in 3 months.

What a great start to 2008, eh?

Love to all!

-Brighid and Family"

How can I whine about the house deals?

Great news!! We have much to be thankful for!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Well, Crap

The seller's agent just stopped by (unannounced...I'm in my pajamas, thank you) to inform us that they've received a non-contingent offer.

Now we have three days to pull a giant rabbit out of our hat.



Can you believe it? It's been 8 years since Y2K. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting on the couch, panicking that I didn't have a purse full of cash to cover a month of expenses (remember?). There sat Steve, all calm and irritatingly practical. There I was...defcon five, full steam ahead melodramatic.

Yes, it pisses me off when he's right. I would rather have waited in line for my government cheese than have the clock turn to 12:00am without so much as a blown fuse.


So, anyway. Here we are in the New Year. As my mom and dad so aptly put it, we've scraped 2007 off the bottom of our shoes and we are poised for great things, great health and even greater love. It is a New year indeed

I should work for Hallmark.

So, where are we now? We've officially signed our listing agreement and have the FOR SALE sign tucked away in the garage, ready for the unveiling on Friday morning. Our first open house will be Sunday, and we fully expect a bidding war by 4pm sharp.

Please, sweet mother of all things good, let there be a bidding war...even just a little one ("do I hear fifty cents?").

The kids go back to school tomorrow after entirely too much time off. I wish I could say I'll finally be able to put my feet up, but my boss is expecting me to use my phone talents to their potential (he, apparently, has no concern for my house selling/buying I will stop feeling guilty that I didn't send him a Christmas card).

And I believe that brings us up to date.

Oh, except for one other small detail no one mentioned when we set out on the relocation adventure.

Stinky food.

As in preparing stinky food. As in lingering stink from stinky food. As in not a good idea.

We can usually count on having fish at least once a week, with steamed broccoli or cauliflower somewhere around that frequency, too. Sauted onions and garlic are a staple, as is twice monthly chicken French (think fried and odorific).

We have already eaten more pasta than I care for and as much as we love Eggs Benedict, I can't serve it every night.

Do you see where this is going?

More stress. More crankiness.

Please send house selling mojo our way asap.