April Fool

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Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day.

(Dammit, I just remembered that I need to change the air filters tomorrow).

Gene looooves April Fool’s Day. Last year he called me from Bumfuck, Kansas (look on a map, it’s right there) to say he’d been arrested and that he needed me to Western Union bail money. Dork. He claims to have 8 plans for this year, but his favorite was sending me flowers at work (awww) with a card saying they were from one of our restaurant managers who Gene thinks has the hots for me (booo).

Aw, darn, baby…April Fool’s is a Sunday this year!

So, who knows what it’ll be? I used my one and only decent idea for April Fool’s last year (picture of a positive pregnancy test, remember?) so I’ve got nothing.


Stepmonster

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In the middle of all the drama with The Boy I decided to hunt up a message board support group for stepmothers. I found one and I’ve been lurking there a few weeks now. What I read really depresses me. Either A) The stepmother and her husband have 100% custody of the kid(s), which makes me sad because that probably will never happen for us or B) The stepmother and her husband have some other percentage of custody of the kid(s) and she’s always complaining about it.

I’m neither of these – we have The Boy every other weekend and 1 month this summer, plus assorted visitation for assorted holidays. I would love it if we had full custody of him, but he loves his mother and half sisters very much. Gene told me he was a father before we even met for the first time. The boy has been a large part of all the choices I’ve made about how to live my life these last 10 years (the city I live in, the house and car we bought, the activities the 3 of us do together). And I just don’t understand why all stepmothers can’t be like me. If they can’t be like that, why bother??

I have known The Boy for 10 years now so I truly feel I know what I’m talking about on this particular subject:

Fact #1 about Stepparenting: It is super hard. Imagine you have a child. Now imagine you have only the barest control over what that kid wears, says, does, lives, goes to school, acts, does for fun. And imagine you and your husband get to bankroll the whole damn thing.

Fact #2: You KNEW this guy/person had one or more kids. Did you think they attended Swiss boarding school as if they’re kids from soap operas??? This man is not a solo act, sweetheart. He is a package deal with these kids – this is where the phrase “Ready made family” comes from. Resentment is NOT an option.

Fact #3: You MUST take care of the ones that came first before you even think about ones that aren’t even there yet. If your man has 3 kids from his first marriage and you want more kids, you’d damn well better get the stepkids house in order first. THEY CAME FIRST. This one is the scariest for me: A year ago, The Boy’s house was in order. Now? Not so much. So now what do I do?

(I went on from there, but deleted it all. You are so welcome).


100 Things About Me

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1. I have never seen an episode of Oprah. Never, ever. Not even when the topic was interesting to me.

2. My laptop at home has MS Publisher installed (I demanded it) because whenever I write something it makes me pathetically happy.

3. I have a secret baby registry on BabyAge. (When Plan B comes around, I will register somewhere else, but I use this as a place to include stuff I like).

4. The “somewhere else” in Thing 3 will probably be Target and USA Baby because I am boycotting ToysRUs and BabiesRUs because I remember the Xmas Massacre of 1999 on TRU.com and because the company sucked ass, at least to a subcontracted phone jockey.

5. My dream job is Curator of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

6. Or, if time travel were possible, a backup singer for a certain someone, circa 1991. (My theory was that the band got first crack at the talent after the show).

7. Even if they didn’t get first crack at him, it would be so cool to be them. They’re so pretty and well dressed and they sing so nice.

8. Whenever I see Henley solo now, I look to the part of the stage where they used to stand and think “I miss the dancing bimbos.” Once the Eagles all got married, the dancing bimbos disappeared. I think that means Thing 6 was probably pretty close!

9. I have been blogging for 2 years. The goal was to examine my feelings about Plan B.

10. My favorite song of all time is still Fleetwood Mac’s As Long As You Follow, but when it comes on the iPod, I don’t usually listen to it. I think the first 10,000 listens probably were enough for now.

11. I didn’t start dating until the summer before senior year of high school.

12. My dating career went like this: 1) Alkie 2) Geek 3) Loser 4) Blind Date Loser #1 5) Blind Date Loser #2 6) Gene 7) Oklahoma Pervert #8 Gene again. Lovely – 3/8 of my dating career was spent with Losers of some variety, 1/8 was spent with someone who is a convicted felon and 1/4 of it was with my husband. I am so pleased to have finally gotten it right.

13. All of the people in Thing 12 were met on AOL except #3, #4 and #5. The blind dates were because I was trying to find a date for a sorority dance and neither boy liked me enough to spend a second evening with me. Ouch. I ended up taking a stuffed Banana in Pajamas B2 doll as my date (and his brother B1 as the date of my friend Julie – while I definitely consider her husband Joe a tradeup, I think B1 had his appeal, ha ha ha).

14. Did you see the word “sorority” in #13? Yep. Tri-Delta. I’ve tried to join an alum chapter here in Cheesecake two times. The local contact won’t respond to my emails (update: I’m actually an official member of an alum group). I hope someone from there finds this. Bitches. I PAID for you! (I’m leaving this part in even though I have updated the rest, because it makes me laugh very hard)

15. I will do anything it takes to avoid having to write or sometimes read the things I have written. Even write in the blog (which doesn’t count).

16. I have two dogs, Betty and Scooby.

17. I don’t know what’s more annoying: the fact that Betty is the beauty of the family or that she fucking KNOWS she’s the beauty of the family.

18. I have also never seen an episode of Charlie’s Angels, Fantasy Island or the Love Boat. My mom was pretty devotedly anti-Aaron Spelling. (Come to think of it, I’ve seen only 1 episode of 90210 and no Melrose Place).

19. I chew my fingers (cuticles – or what’s left of them?). I always feel better after I do that – I equate it to those girls that cut themselves, though. I don’t know what to do about this, but I will fix it before Plan B comes around.

20. I snuck into the office today (a Sunday) for the simple reason that I needed to send a fax and the Parcel Plus across from my house is closed on Sundays.

21. My favorite word is fuck. Sorry, Mom. You tried. (I’ll get it all back with Plan B, though, so revenge is sweet!)

22. If you wake me up between the hours of 11 pm and 8 am, I will probably try to shank you. This is a current bone of contention between Gene and I. He likes to go to breakfast on the weekends, but the good places fill up early, so his solution is to leave the house at 6 AM. I no longer believe in the Tooth Fairy, so I sures to hell do not believe in 6 AM.

23. Redacted

24. I should probably delete Thing 23.

25. Also redacted

26. My real first name is Ruth. My mother intentionally named me that and then never, ever called me that. WTF??

27. I can fit an entire Peanut Butter Cup in my mouth. The 2-pack of them lasts me about 2 minutes.

28. I never, ever wear makeup. When I was growing up, Mom and I said every summer that that would be the year I’d learn to wear makeup. Never happened.

29. It’s probably time to learn, though. Pretty soon I’m going to look old. And not mature-old, but “ack, you’re old!” old.

30. The second anniversary of my 29th birthday is in March. I looked, and I turn 29 for the second time on a Thursday.

31. My idea of a perfect day is a day where I don’t have to go to work and I’m alone in my house. The weekends while Gene and the boy were in OH would have been perfect but I was still in a daze and in a snit.

32. I’d read all my favorite blogs, or save some to read while I’m avoiding writing.

33. An integral part of my perfect day used to be the Patty-cure but Patty has retired to an office job, so no more Patty-cures 🙁   I have a new place now for pedicures, so maybe I’d go there.

34. And after I got home, I’d write a dozen brilliant pages and a short, non-insane blog post.

35. I spent many years planning my wedding (from approx. 1998-2002 but not full time!). I even had three wedding dresses.

36. A Bill Levkoff white bridesmaid gown, a David’s Bridal cheapie, and finally my gorgeous Jasmine Collection gown.

37. Hysterically, I had torn the picture of the Jasmine gown out of a magazine back in 1998.

38. Imagine the $ I could have saved. It boggles my mind.

39. Brides of the world: Do not think you need to buy your gown four years early. You will only get fat.

40. Wow, Thing 39 would make an awesome fortune for a fortune cookie!

41. I am was pre-diabetic.

42. It’s like pre-engaged, without the ring, but with an instrument designed to make you bleed.

43. Hmm, sounds more like marriage!

44. Anyway, since the diagnosis of pre-diabetes, I’ve really cut back on a lot of things: sugar in the form of Pepsi, sugar in the form of Chocolate.

45. I miss Pepsi and Chocolate. Sugar free peanut butter cups are terrible, but I’ve finally gotten over my dislike of Diet Coke.

46. I have also lost 10% of my original body weight (was: 223, is: somewhere between 198-202 195 185).

47. Some of the medication I am on makes it even harder for me to get an entire night’s rest. Or maybe I just need less sleep.

48. This has actually facilitated some good things. I’m writing more (not in the blog, though)

49. But even better, it’s made me want to write more and I love that. It was such a big part of my life for years and years and when I don’t practice it, I miss it.

50. I have figured out that I can either clean the house or cook and clean up after meals, but I can’t do both and still hold a full time job and hold down my exhausting “Sit next to Gene and watch Dr. Phil/CSI/Cheaters” schedule.

51. My current preference is to cook. I really really hate cleaning.

52. I know that I could technically both cook AND clean if I could only convince either Betty or Scooby to help out some, but the lack of opposable thumbs is an obstacle.

53. I have no idea what I’m going to do when Plan B comes along. I have figured out a way to get my house clean now, but that option dries up when I’m no longer working. And who’s going to have the energy to cook a meal?

54. I am a control freak.

55. Anyone who has driven a car that I am a passenger in knows this.

56. It’s better to just let me drive.

57. When someone else is driving, I can’t properly relax. I used to be able to read in the car (for hours, my dream!) but I can only read a few pages before having to vigilantly watch traffic.

58. I do this because I know we’re going to be in a huge accident, but if I watch carefully maybe I can save us.

59. I think this all means I’m pretty solidly a “glass is half empty” girl.

60. I added to my supersecret Gymbo stash this weekend. Just a hooded towel thing. Or maybe it’s a pajamas. I’m not really sure.

61. Stupid Gymbo and their stupid Penguin stuff again this year.

62. I suspect that Plan B is going to grow up and hate penguins and the Eagles.

63. At that point, s/he is going up for adoption.

64. My favorite punctuation mark is either the semicolon or the long dash –. My journalism writing prof gave me such crap for over using one or both of them.

65. I had a great childhood.

66. I got a reputation early on for being weird, which is why Gonzo from the Muppets (the “Weirdo”) is my favorite character.

67. My dream is to have a daughter who wants to be a cheerleader.

68. I loved my childhood and being smart but it would have been neat to be popular.

69. I tend to have road rage. Maybe it’s related to the control freak thing. Acutally, strike that. It definitely is related.

70. I would be very happy if I never received another anything with penguins on it. Enough ornaments, pictures, etc.

71. I am afraid of hospitals.

72. I have never had to stay at a hospital for myself.

73. Plan B will be born in a hospital and that really, really scares me.

74. Hopefully, our hospital will be one of those with the rooms that the dad can stay in.

75. I am THAT afraid.

76. Actually, Gene is threatening to have a Rat Pack style birth, with he and his brother smoking cigars and drinking scotch. (At a bar, not the hospital)

77. I want to hire an Eastern European woman in a babooska to sit at the foot of my bed and yell “PUSH stupid American woman!”

78. Seriously, I think she’d be more helpful than Gene anyway.

79. One of my big dreams in life is to ride in a 747 airplane. I take forever to choose flights on the off chance that USAirways will need a friggin enormous plane like that to fly from Cheesecake City to Indianapolis. No dice yet.

80. I used to want to be a flight attendant. I even interviewed with D*lta and USA*rways and was asked to interview with another (C*ntinental? U*ited? Someone).

81. All of this happened during the Gene and Elaine breakup of February-June 1999. (In one long freakish, drunken fit of internet surfing one afternoon I applied to every airline that did not require FAs speak a foreign language…viva le screwdriver!)

82. The day I interviewed with D*lta in Atlanta was the greatest day of my life. I felt so grownup flying (!) to a job interview (!) for a job where I’d fly (!) everyday (!). I couldn’t get a flight back that night so I had to find a hotel room. It all worked out but it was still the coolest day ever!

83. I had a note in my calendar to call one of the airline recruiters in June 1999. They wanted to interview again but I had to do my journalism internship and graduate from college. (I had originally interviewed in February or March of that year).

84. But instead of calling the recruiter, I IM’d Gene, and history was yet again made.

85. I was a little wistful until 9/11.

86. One of my friends from college is a flight attendant now. Whenever I see her (not often enough), I beg her to tell me stories about her work.

87. I have a very small group of friends. Small = 4. (Hi Brandy! Hi Julie! Hi Amanda! Hi D!)

88. I’ve really always been that way. I just don’t have it in me to be a social butterfly. Even at work events now I usually can’t bring myself to mingle with more than one or two people. If I try, I usually end up asking people something stupid like, “So, was your paycheck right?”

89. I’m winning an award from my employer in a few weeks. Gene is going with me to the dinner and hopefully I’ll have an “on” day so I don’t seem rude or loserly.

90. I am an obsessive bargain shopper. This weekend alone I saved nearly $100 on groceries.

91. I also love to shop online using EBates. If you click on the link to the store you’re shopping at through ebates.com, you usually get a percentage of your total order (3%-8% for most retailers) sent to you quarterly. I have mine sent to my PayPal account. I’m going to blow it all on baby stuff on eBay if we go through with Plan B.

92. I also pad my PayPal account with secret shopping. I did two shops last week and I have another in a week or two. The money isn’t very big but I think it all adds up.

93. I have not paid a dime to be a secret shopper. Never, ever, ever pay to secret shop. They are supposed to pay you. You can get all the pertinent data for free.

94. I love being from Indiana. It gets a bad rap but I like it because it’s so darned flat. Where I live now your options in bad weather are hindered due to mountains and that’s just dumb.

95. I can’t handle complicated computer/video games, but I love to play games like Diner Dash and The Simpsons Road Rage. Anything that you can play for free through Yahoo games is probably my speed.

96. I love getting email but hate reading it. I commented on a blog and the blogger emailed me back (!!) and now I’m too scared to read it (!!). As if it’s going to say “UR STOOPID N I HATE U”.

97. This has taken months to get written. I think I started it in October 2006 (?).

98. It’s hard to do. One hundred is a LOT.

99. Eight is my lucky #.

100. But I like 100 the best.

(WOOOO)


Remember 26 days ago?

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When I said I’d put a post written by Gene on the blog?

And then 26 days passed and I hadn’t done it yet?

Well, HERE! (And please remember that Maaahhh Huzzband is a lifetime member of the NRA). 

OK, read the article above first.  I’m not going to rehash everything in there, but comment on a few points that I think are interesting or important.

Just to let everyone know where I stand, I am a lifetime member (endowment member, actually) of the NRA.  I resisted joining for quite some time because I felt the organization was not truly representative of “me”.  They are, admittedly, avid and effective defenders of the Second Amendment.  Previously, however, I had a little bit of trouble with their “slippery slope” arguments against almost all forms of gun regulation.  Two things changed my mind.  First, someone said that the NRA needs me to help be that voice of reason and moderation, a point of view I believed.  Second, after doing some research I found a lot of their positions reasonable, their arguments cogent, and the majority of their goals in line with my own.  I am a gun owner (handguns, long-guns, and shotguns), but I am not a hunter.  I own firearms for sport shooting and self-defense.  In this analysis I am not going to go into my personal decisions about hunting or shooting, or why I made the choices I did.  If you’re curious about that… ask the question and maybe I will answer it.

So, on to “my comments”.  Basically, I have three, two about Mr. Zumbo’s comments and one about the characterizations of the NRA and gun owners in the article.

“Excuse me, maybe I’m a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity.” – Jim Zumbo

I have to say, I agree with Mr. Zumbo about that.  I’m not a hunter, so I can’t really claim membership in the “hunting fraternity”, but I have to say hunting in general is not a very “sporting” prospect, hunting with firearms less so, and hunting with long-guns that have a high-rate of fire, large magazines, and other accoutrements probably the least sporting.  Hey, its just my opinion.  Hell no, I wouldn’t hunt a bear (or quail for that matter) with a pointy stick, but I also wouldn’t hunt him with a H&H Double or an AK-47.  So, if Mr. Zumbo’s comment was an indictment of hunters who use “these weapons” to create an even more un-level playing field, hey he’s got a point.  I have to say, however, using any firearm (or ranged weapon) against any animal is not exactly a “fair” competition.

“As hunters, we don’t need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them… I’ll go so far as to call them ‘terrorist rifles’.” – Jim Zumbo

Well, there’s the rub isn’t it?  This comment, I do take exception to, and it appears the rest of the NRA and the hunting community were right behind me.  What’s wrong with it?  Where should I start?  First, we don’t call mini-vans ‘terrorist vehicles’ (many IEDs are planted in mini-vans), or 727s ‘terrorist airplanes’, or Iraq a ‘terrorist country’ (even when Saddam was in power).  As a general rule, I despise sensationalist labels, and this is probably one of the worst.  Labeling something or someone because of its ‘media connotation’ is, to me, akin to racism.  That aside, rifles aren’t terrorists and I hate the idea of redirecting that responsibility from the people to the tools, and let’s be honest… terrorists would use and do use anything they can, from rifles to rocks to bottles of gasoline.

Finally (and this is also directed at those who demand that “assault rifles” be outlawed), there is no standard definition for the term “assault rifle”.  The Clinton administration attempted to ban “assault rifles”, the bill defined an “assault rifle” as a rifle with a pistol grip, a bayonet lug, and a magazine capacity of 15 or higher.  So everyone started getting AK-47 knock-offs without pistol grips (they had stock grips that do the same thing but look different), no bayonet lug (I’m sure the bayonet-toting bad guys were crushed), and a 14 round magazine… much safer.  The problem is that you can’t regulate the weapons based on caliber (many rifles designed for the military use the same caliber as civilian hunting rifles), or magazine size (how many is too many?  Two?  The industry will design some way around that, and its silly anyway), or how a weapon “looks”.  The bottom line – a .22 caliber single-shot revolver will kill you just as dead as an AK-47 or .30-06 hunting rifle or a shotgun or knife or a shovel.  The difference in lethality between ranged weapons are negligible.  There are only three meaningful differentiators concerning firearms – 1) rate of fire (fully automatic vs. semi-automatic), 2) skill (which includes safety), and 3) intent.  We already have very effective laws concerning rate of fire, don’t need any more.  Background checks and similar rules are supposed to weed out those of ill-intent.  What we really need are regulations that require training and safety instruction for gun ownership… not laws that single out firearms based on how they ‘look’ or who else uses them.

So, that takes care of Mr. Zumbo’s comments, what about the article in general?  Typical Washington Post “editorial disguised as article” shenanigans.  Mr. Zumbo made a comment directly against the interests of his supporters (Remington) and employers (Outdoor magazine), they are perfectly justified in dropping their support of him… its their dime.  To criticize the “gun lobby” or the NRA for “turning their backs” on Jim Zumbo despite his “numerous apologies” is quite disingenuous.  How many articles in the Post support forgiveness for Mel Gibson… who was drunk, apologized profusely, and did NOT make “anti-Semitic” remarks (he made stupid, ill informed, and inaccurate remarks about the Jewish people… but they were hardly “anti-Semitic”)?  Anyway, just as the Dixie chicks learned when they criticized a political figure the majority of their fan base supports… your comments have consequences, and its not censorship unless its done by the government.  Therefore, quit chapping the NRA and the others for reacting the way they did.  I am sure the NRA’s opposition would react in a similar way.

Now that my rant is drawing to a close, I will share with you some interesting facts about firearms and firearm ownership:

1)       More children in the U.S. die from drowning in backyard pools that from shootings (accidental or otherwise)… how come Paul Newman doesn’t have a weepy commercial about that?  Studies that claim otherwise (9-14 gun-related child deaths per day, typically) count everyone under the age of 24 , and the majority of those died during the commission of a crime. 

2)       Firearms are used three to five times more often to stop crimes than to commit them.

3)       Over a period of years, Britain gradually slid down the “slippery slope” of “gun control”, ending with outlawing all firearms in 1998.  On OCT 13, 2002, London’s Sunday Times reported that “Britain’s murder rate has risen to its highest level since records began 100 years ago.”


whaaaa?

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Why did traffic on the ole Blog go all the way to 28 (yeah, don’t laugh! My traffic is quiet since you can’t Google me anymore) on 3/23? I mean, that was the day after the day I turned old 30. Did someone have an itchy blog surfing finger? As far as I can tell, no one got here other than literally typing the URL.

Weird.


Reading? What’s that??

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I had to reveal something pretty awful to the boy this past weekend:

“No, I’m not reading anything right now”

I am now, more or less (I’m on page 10 or so of The Worry Cure and my friend Julie gave me Shopaholic & Baby for my birthday), but it’s been a few weeks since I challenged myself with the printed word, if I don’t count word search magazines (it turns out I cannot do word searches while on car trips – something about it makes me vaguely car sick).

And I haven’t been watching as much TV (I gorged on Daily Show and Colbert Report over the weekend in a futile attempt to keep up), and I haven’t been on the treadmill. It’s beautiful outside when I get home – still sunny and everything – and I just can’t get motivated.

And we won’t even discuss the bag of mini powdered doughnuts. And the Skittles.

The house is a certified disaster, if I don’t include Gene’s office (which is an uncertified disaster). We had to take everything out of his office because the company that put in our closet re-did his office. So now there’s a filing cabinet in front of the TV (not blocking it, of course!). We have removed huge amounts of crap from our house in the last few days. The boy was very helpful at loading the back of the car for two separate trips to Goodwill. And we still had a huge stack of things for the Kidney Foundation, who came to the house today while I was at work.

I need some time to catch up on EVERYTHING. I am taking Friday afternoon off, if the stars align and I can finish the 8027s (Allocated Tip Report, due 2/28, extended to 3/30). Gene doesn’t get why I won’t take the afternoon off if this report isn’t done, but I just can’t. I think it’s a personal pride thing.



Realization Strikes Again…

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I have figured out why I am devastated (only minorly) about the whole Kansas losing to UCLA thing, why I spent an hour (at work, shhh) reading comments on PopCandy about the Battlestar Galactica season finale (and it’s not just because I totally love Mary McDonnell in anything she does) and why I can’t stop re-reading things I’ve written.

If I spend my free time doing all of that, I can’t think about things w/ the Boy. I can’t really talk about all of that here, I am pretty sure I bore the fuck out of my friends whenever I bring it up (but you know, thanks for pretending to care! Glad to provide gossip!), and talking about it to Gene is just difficult, so I can’t really talk about it anywhere and now even thinking about it just results in thinking myself in circles. So. Escapism it is.

Stepparenting is not for pussies, y’all.


Measles?

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So I washed one of our two sets of sheets last weekend…and they sat in the washing machine until maybe Tuesday. (This is standard procedure for my dumb ass). I ran them through the rinse cycle again (yes, I really am Suzy Homemaker!) because that’s what I do and they came out with a trillion red dots all over them (mostly the fitted sheet, hooray). Washed them again, ditto.

So now I have most of a set of sheets in my back yard, baking in lemon juice (I’m through about 16 oz so far) because that’s what the Internet told me to do. And you know what? So far it has freaking WORKED. I had no idea! I really thought the sheets were a goner. Every hour or so I prance back outside and spritz some more lemon juice on (with my handy Pampered Chef spritz bottle, go me, way to use stuff!) and it works!

And I bet my sheets will end up with rockin highlights to boot!

(And yes, I’m watching out for Dog Pattys when I stretch the sheets out…yuck).


And in newsier news…

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I am still doing OK in my NCAA tournament bracket. What’s weird is that when I look at my bracket (and I do, often, even when there are no games currently being played) all but one of my incorrect guesses are on one side of the bracket (I thought Texas A&M would beat Memphis – who knew Memphis even had a college?). Other than pointless navel gazing, I wonder what that means. Ugh, I totally had Maryland going to the Elite 8 and Wisconsin going to the Final Four. I have guessed that Kansas (against Georgetown) would win the whole mess. Luckily, Stephen Colbert agrees with me, so we’re good to go if that counts for much.

I guess the good thing is that I didn’t bet on any of this and literally titled my bracket “Oh, why not”.

::walking away, muttering about Duke and Notre Dame both losing in the first round…grrr::

Edited to Add: What do you MEAN Kansas lost to UCLA??? Noooooooooo.