Sunday, April 29, 2012

Current Events for $200, Alex

Well hello there! Long time, no see, right?

I know, I'm a horribly sporadic blogger these days...

Anyway, a few recent hits and misses in the life of yours truly:

For the record, I don't know how to set the clock either...
 Chris brought home a new microwave last weekend after our dinosaur finally succumbed to its inevitable extinction. As you might've guessed, I have no freaking clue how to use it... 

"Chris! How the hell do I thaw out 2 pieces of fish? I pushed defrost, but it's still not working!"
"You have to pick a category to defrost."
"There isn't a fish category! Does fish thaw like poultry? I hate this piece of shit already!"

I miss my old junker with the turn dial, even though it really only heated food to two temperatures - frozen solid and molten lava hot. I also miss the days of walking past the microwave without noticing that someone took their food out and left 2 seconds on the timer. If people (my husband) don't start clearing that damn timer, I'm going to have to start chopping people's (my husband's) hands off.


Summer's almost here and life is moving forward accordingly.

Yesterday was City-Wide Clean Up Day here in GC. If your town doesn't host one, you're seriously missing out. Free disposal of all of the random junk that I have no use for anymore? I'm in!

I cleaned out the garage all by myself, and I'm pleased to say that we hauled off an entire truck load of crap. Adios, rusted out BBQ grill, bag of leftover fireworks from last year, stinky comforter filled with holes!

Still filled to the brim, but at least there's a path to walk through now!
Since I was in a rare productive mood (and I was already sweaty and stinky), I made the decision to dig up overgrowth and use it to fill in all of the giant holes in our back yard. My entire body regrets it today. I could never be a farmer...

In a fruitless effort, I attempted to dig out a ginormous wooden post from the old clothes line. The other is gone, but we left one standing, logically. As I stood there looking at it like an idiot, Marlee picked up the shovel and started to dig her own hole.

She hit cement after a few shallow scoops and we unearthed 2 small rectangles. Because I'm obviously off my rocker, I immediately knew that they were headstones and we had bodies buried in our back yard. 

Tell me if you found those babies buried in the ground, you wouldn't freak out a little too...
 For three reasons, this made perfect sense to me:
  1. My house is haunted. Genuinely haunted. Yes, it scares the crap out of me. No, not bad enough to move out.
  2. The house next door used to serve as a doctor's office/small hospital. My house has only been here since the 1960s, but there's definitely a lot of history to the neighborhood. It's totally possible that someone died there and they buried them where my back yard is, right?
  3. As I mentioned before, I'm obviously off my rocker. My line of thought isn't always rational.
We didn't find any bones, but then again, I didn't want to find any bones. I can only imagine the scary scenarios that come with disturbing a grave. I'm cool, thanks!

I wrote a while ago about my burglar/creeper. Just to update you all, the Old Man came over in a fit of rage (or fatherly concern, it's pretty much the same thing with him) and burglar-proofed our house. The screens are now drilled into the window frames, he created extra slide locks with big hunks of wood like you'd see on a barn door, rigged up the motion lights to point in a different direction (complete with RED duct tape...). 

Also, because I'm 28 years old, I'm still terrified of getting in trouble with my dad. He's forbidden us from opening the windows after dark. Sometimes we sneak it...sometimes he drives by at 2AM and sees that the windows are open and we've broken his rules... sometimes we get our asses chewed by the Old Man even though we haven't lived at home in almost 10 years...

I saw a flashlight dart across the yard on Thursday night - aka 'Crime Spree Thursday'. Chris went out with a flashlight to look for the burglar. I went out with a metal pipe, just in case I needed to issue a beat down on someone. When we couldn't find anyone, I decided to go pick up the Old Man so we could go on a creeper hunt. (Chris had to stay home with the sleeping kids. He could defend himself better than I could if they came back.)

Long story short, the Old Man walked to our house with his wooden ball bat while Jimmy & I drove around looking for suspicious activity. We never caught anyone, but two things are now glaringly apparent: my father is more of a bad ass than Chuck Norris and the Dos Equis guy combined and I'll genuinely feel bad when he finally gets his hands on the elusive GC Creeper, and my brother would never have me drive his getaway car - it seems I'm too cautious. It's sad that I even drive too slow when I'm supposed to be driving slow...


We went to an 80s themed get together last night. Dude, it was totally radical!

As I got myself ready, Marlee took delight in seeing that I was cutting up clothing. She looooves to cut up clothing, much to my dismay because she has absolutely no business cutting up her clothing. Mia, sweet big girl, loved my use of pastel eyeshadow. "Oh Mommy, your eyes look so pretty with that pink and blue!"  She also loved the fact that I cut up clothes for the night, but only because I used a pair of her tights to make my leg warmers. "I hated wearing those tights. You can cut up the pants I have on right now next time you need to cut stuff because they're really uncomfortable..."

A night of 80s Scene It and this song on Rock Band? Righteous!

And the little ones had a pretty good time too...


And that's it for today because I feel obligated to spend the rest of the day cleaning house and playing with my kiddos.

Mia has a field trip on Tuesday, which means I'll be driving to the big city all by myself so we don't have to ride the bus home. I hate city driving with a passion...Post to follow!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chopper Shopper

In life, we each have a special place that soothes us to the core as soon as we step foot inside. For a child, it might be Granny's house and for a reader, the library.

My special place is the grocery store. To be exact, it's the Price Chopper around the corner from work. Those magical doors part as I approach, welcoming me inside like a beloved friend, the florescent lights beaming down on me like rays of heavenly light sent from the Lord himself as I get a cart and begin my journey.

I stopped in tonight after work to pick up a few necessities (milk, bread, eggs, butter) along with a few things that just sounded good (salsa, black beans, rotisserie chicken) and as always, found myself at ease. 

Pushing my cart through the store, I found myself soaking up the happiness with each new aisle. I smiled at a little girl, hugging a bag of marshmallows to her chest like it was her favorite teddy bear. I had to hide my smile when I turned onto the freezer section and heard a 50ish nurse belting out Boston's "More Than A Feeling" like she was driving down the highway with her windows rolled down. I walked slowly behind an elderly couple as they lightheartedly bickered over which kind of orange juice they should buy. (They went with the pulp-free FYI.)

I was in no hurry, and yet, I went to the self-check line because I was too impatient to wait for my turn in the regular line. As calming and lovely as my Price Chopper is, it's like any other store one might go to, and there are rarely more than 3 cashiers manning the registers after work. When I have too many items to hit the express lane, I use the self-check...and that's when the irritation sets in...

Tonight, like every other time I've ever dug through my purse in search of my keyring discount card, I couldn't find it. "Jennifer, get your ass out of the way!" came a voice as I stood there, elbow deep in my ginormous handbag, desperately searching for that stupid keyring. Glancing up momentarily, I saw two friends begin to ring their groceries up at the self check across from mine. "I can't find my God damn Chopper Shopper card..." and went back to looking. 

A few moments later, I scanned my card and started ringing up my food only to remember that I freaking suck at scanning and bagging my own groceries. 

It was a typical trip through the self-check line:
  • Scan an item
  • Attempt to bag
  • Sensor doesn't recognize that the item is in the bag
  • Cuss the robot voice asking me if I want to skip bagging the item
  • Remove from bag
  • Re-bag
  • Remove bag from bagging area
  • Cuss the robot voice asking me if I removed a bag from the bagging area
  • Place bag back into bagging area
  • Wait for the sensor light to turn green
  • Cuss the robot voice asking me if I brought my own bag
  • Remove bag again and place it in my cart
  • Repeat the entire process with the rest of my food
My friends were long gone by the time I hit the half way point in ringing up my food. If I didn't know better, I'd assume they overheard my expletives and it scared them off. In reality, they're used to my outbursts and probably found my bitching funny.

Sometime between muttering "...mother fucking Capri Sun" and swiping my debit card, a sweet old lady wandered up behind me and gently put a hand on my shoulder. "Oh honey... it looks like you're having a moment of frustration..." 

You don't say, Grams? What was your first clue - the foul language, or the slinging of tortilla packages? 

All I could do was close my eyes and nod in defeated silence as this kind old gal schooled me in patience. "All you have to do is wait for that little light to turn green, sweetie! Then you're good to go, but if you don't wait, that grouchy computer voice will scold you!"

As she walked away with a reassuring pat on the back, I took a deep cleansing breath. Focus, Jen, focus. You aren't going to be bested by a machine are you? Absolutely not! And walk out of the PC grouchy? Hell no!

I rang up my items like a professional - calm, cool, and collected - pretended not to wince at my total, and left the store smiling just as I had when I came in, and when I got to the car? I might've even laughed at myself for having a hissy fit in my happy place.

Monday, April 2, 2012

B & E in Old GC

It's been quite warm lately in our neck of the woods. 

How warm, you might ask? Warm enough that I'm baring my blindingly white legs in red shorts today.  Warm enough that I'm able to say "'s going to get so hot in the house if I cook..." and Chris agrees that we should just eat cold sandwiches for supper. Warm enough that my peonies and my freckles have both started blooming. Warm enough that my radio is playing a steady stream of country music and southern rock at all times. And last but not least, warm enough to sleep with the windows open.

Look, I'm just as paranoid as any other mother when it comes to sleeping with the windows open, but to be blunt - it's hot as shit in our house and being the tyrant that I am, I refuse to turn on the air conditioning until June. Most nights, the windows are shut and closed at bedtime, and then re-opened first thing in the morning. Occasionally though, it's just too hot to leave them closed.

To make a long story short - someone tried to break into our house last week.

I closed the windows to our bedroom on Wednesday night, forgot to open them on Thursday, noticed a breeze coming through on Friday evening, and woke up on Saturday morning to find that someone (no one who lives in our house) had removed the screen to one of our bedroom windows.We have large 3 panel bay windows on that side of the house, and the one in our room is directly above Miles's bed. 

Ironically, this pic was taken Wednesday evening. The window behind Miles is the one referred to in this post.
We believe that it happened on Thursday evening because it's the only time that no one was at home. Thankfully, nothing was stolen and we were able to put the screen back into the window frame once we found it (cleverly hidden behind the kids' outdoor play kitchen).

The fact that some uninvited person may or may not have been in our house scares me, makes me feel violated, and flat out pisses me off. For the sake of my sanity because I refuse to be a victim, I'm going to assume that this turd burglar reads my blog and I'd like to pass along a few things for that person to keep in mind, should they decide to return:

1.) Seriously, of all of the well kept houses in this neighborhood, you picked ours? Is this your first B & E or what? Was it the brush pile in the ditch or the sweet collection of plastic sand toys next to the freshly built mud hole that lured you into our yard? The dead rose bush caught your eye maybe? Or was it the child-height smears of lip gloss on the front window that screamed to you "Hey! I'll bet these schmucks have a ton of valuable things!" Guess what? The resale value on 99% of our belongings is equal to the price of a jar of peanut butter. You must be a new reader - check out this post and rethink things.

2.) We called the cops and an officer came out to assess the situation. Actually, we called them 3 times 16 hours before someone showed up at our house, but the point is, someone (I'd say his name, but the officer never actually told me his name) with a freaking badge promised that GCPD would increase patrols in our neighborhood. You've got to love living in a town where 'calling the non-emergency number' translates into leaving a message (or two in our case) on the answering machine at the police station. For the record, residents of Garden City, any time you want an officer to come to your house - even if it's for something small and not an emergency - you should call the Cass County Sheriff right off the bat, rather than waiting for the GCPD to respond. Otherwise, you run the risk of the officers accidentally deleting your messages before paying you a visit apparently. If you call the County, the officer miraculously shows up within about 3 minutes. Do I sound bitter? Probably. Your disturbance really put me in a frustrating situation, and to be honest, if we had a gun, I probably wouldn't have called the police so that I could avoid dealing with the sequel to Super Troopers. I would've just sat up all night and waited for you to return because that's what sane people do.

3.) I'd also like to warn you, Creeper, that when I informed Officer No Name that we don't own a gun and I had every intention of beating you to a bloody pulp with a baseball bat if you returned, the officer told me (jokingly) that I could do whatever I needed to do to keep my family safe before they put your sorry ass in the patrol car and hauled you to County. Let's get this clear, I smile a lot, but that doesn't mean I'm nice - especially if I'm trying to keep my children safe. I could never throw a ball very well, but I was a decent batter. I liked to swing at the low ones, so you're likely to need surgery on your lower extremities and lose the ability to reproduce if you come back. Plus, we watch The Walking Dead here, so trust me, I'd definitely remember to smack you right upside the head with said baseball bat despite my preference for grounders. You might come in walking upright, but you'll be rolled out on a stretcher. That's a promise!

In short, if you're a local, let this be a warning that strange things are a foot in GC. 

And if you're the idiot criminal who completely sucks at your career? High five, loser, you have succeeded at being a failure at life in general.