Sunday, December 28, 2008

Goodbye 2008. Let me show you the door.

Since I am celebrated out, I have decided to skip over the last week of parties and late nights and move right on to the diligence that comes with January. After two weeks of subsisting on Dr. Pepper, card games and homemade rolls (oh so yummy), I am actually starting to crave both order and vegetables again. I am sure that it will fade with time, but while I still have plenty of simple carbs running through my system, I figured it would be a good time to make a few resolutions.

So, the theme of my 2009 is "...may it go better than 2008". I'm setting my expectations low, so I will actually have a chance of meeting them. I ended 2008 a full 15 pounds heavier than 2007. The first ten pounds I would like to blame on my sister and all of the self-coddling I indulged in after her death. The last 5 pounds, I will blame on my other sister who came out over Christmas and insisted that I partake of all sorts of sugary goodness with her (as much as I resisted). See, none of it is my fault at all. But, even though it has nothing to do with me, I am still going to have to be the one to work to get it off. Life is so unfair that way. So, I am hoping to end 2009 in at least the same place I was at the end of 2007.

Now, of course, if I am following popular American culture, I would list "save more money" directly after "lose weight" on my resolution list. But, I'm not going to. See, I'm a little frustrated with the whole saving money thing right now. We lost a full six figures in our retirement funds this year due to the supposed "global recession" issue and I am staging my rebellion by funding a trip to DisneyWorld rather than contributing to my Roth this year. It is probably about time I did something irresponsible and I think this is just the thing. Now, as not to go overboard, we will still get our 401(k) money put away, but that's it. I will resist every temptation to put any other money into retirement funds.

My third resolution is to take things one day at the time. I've felt overwhelmed a lot as of late and I think that this will be the most important of the resolutions, should I choose to carry any of them out. With three kids, a husband, a slew of students and pile of laundry the size of Seattle, I sometimes wonder if I am going to make it to the next week, but I can usually see my way clear to survive the next 24 hours. I can always do another day...and it is that very perspective that keeps me going.

So, that's my plan for 2009. I totally think it is doable.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Almost Comical

Do you ever have the feeling that your day is following a script? That some sadistic situation comedy writer has carefully orchestrated every movement down to the creepy Salvation Army bell ringer loudly singing off-key carols in the Kroger lobby? Yeah. That's how today has been.

I had big plans for today. You see, tomorrow my mom and sister come to visit. I had shopping to do and a house to clean and all kinds of big plans to ensure Christmas-time bliss. Of course, I should know by now that the key to disappointment is high expectations.

I woke up this morning with two crusted over eyes. I was the last in the family to get the leftovers from our Thanksgiving trip and I almost thought I had escaped. But no, a full two weeks after our return I came down with a double case of pink-eye. So, this morning, I called and made myself a doctor's appointment and then dragged Michael, fully garbed in Thomas the Train pajamas, through a waiting room, a doctor's office and a Wal-mart pharmacy experience which I couldn't possibly give justice to at this late hour.

Then I went home and looked at my house and I wanted to cry. It didn't help that a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios had been left unattended by a certain 1st grader and dumped over by either the toddler or the cat. I carefully scooped up what I could of the Cheerios and just decided to avoid the sticky spot on the floor until later that day. Maybe the horse pill super-antibiotics that my doctor had put me on would kick in and I would suddenly feel great in a few hours.

After car pool, piano lessons, and a quick nap, I made an executive decision that my visitors would value a full fridge over a not sticky floor and made my way to Kroger. You guessed it. This is where I spotted the creepy singing bell-ringer. I had never seen a Kroger so busy in my whole life. Never. What was the deal? It didn't help that this particular Kroger is in the middle of remodeling to better serve us and in order to go from the meat department to the cracker aisle required a hard hat. But, back to the point, yes, the Kroger was super busy. Then I noticed that just about every cart had a large bag of de-icing salt under it. Then I heard a lady talking to another in line about whether or not the ice storm that is coming tonight is going to shut down the city like it did in 2002. Then I realized that everyone was stocking up so they wouldn't have to leave the house tomorrow. Then I remembered that I am picking up my mom and sister in Louisville at the airport tomorrow with two swollen crusted over eyes in a minivan that has a questionable braking system. And, I had plenty of time to think this through, because the line I had carefully selected was held up for a good 20 minutes for some unknown reason after my groceries were already on the belt.

So, with all of this heavily weighing on my mind, I made my way home and with the help of my sweet husband, I got groceries put away and even managed to get the sticky stuff off of my kitchen floor. My eyes were crusting over again, but I had a system comprising of warm washcloths and gentle strokes and I was at least managing to save most of my eyelashes.

Just as I was ready to go to bed, the final straw was placed. I was looking up my son's school website to try and get the time to record his school program from the TV when I noticed that he was, as a 3rd grader, required to wear an orange or yellow dress code shirt to school tomorrow for this special day. Though I was sure we had purchased every color possible of the schools required dress code, apparently we had neglected both orange and yellow. Had he been in any other grade, he would have had the shirt. So, at 10:00 p.m., I was back at Wal-mart. The only orange dress code shirt left was a size 10-12 husky. It'll drowned him, but it is the right color and quite a bargain at only $6. Of course, it took me 20 minutes to check out since the register locked down when the woman in front of me attempted to use a gift card (apparently the registers are not set up to actually redeem them). While we waited for a manager to come, the cashier looked at me and said, "Wow, what's wrong with your eyes? Are you sick?"

I just nodded. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Let's talk toilet seats....

Lately, I have had what some might call an unhealthy obsession with toilet seats. Since I grew up in a household of mostly girls, it didn't occur to me until recently that a mixture of boys with germaphobic me would result in an almost constant anxiety about the state of our toilets.

Now, my husband has had many years of practice and I'll dare say that he is a fairly good aim. But, the younger boys....not so good. When we were first potty training J in Ohio, I would just keep a package of Scrubbing Bubble Toilet Wipes close by and make sure to wipe around the toilet and on the seat every time he used the facilities. Now that we have three boys, I just can't keep up. So, I just do what every mother with three sons has done since the beginning of time, I clean as often as possible and learn to look before I step when I am approaching a toilet.

Lately, though, we've had an additional problem. The toilet seats have become uncleanable (I know - not a word). It's true. No matter how many industrial strength cleaners I have poured onto them, they are still stained and the kids bathroom has taken on a permanent odor that I would rather not describe in detail.

So, sometime last month, I declared that our toilet seats would be replaced and I started researching. I had a quest. I was in search of the perfect toilet seat. I listed the problems with our current toilet seats and worked from there. First off, the current toilet seat had a gap between the top seat and the bottom seat which meant that when the occasional lazy boy decided to use the toilet without lifting both seats, any excess would drain to the back of the toilet and down into the hinges where the seat meets the toilet, which were impossible to clean without the aid of a phillips' head screw driver and an oxygen mask. Secondly, the toilets slammed. In fact, Michael has entertained himself for a full ten minutes at the time with this activity. Lift up the seat, slam the seat, watch everyone jump, repeat. So fun. Then there was the yellowish-brown stain issue. I was relieved to see that none of the new toilet seats I was looking at came with this feature.

Yesterday was the big day. I finally bought new toilet seats. I could hardly wait as we drove home from Lowe's. These were not just any toilet seats. They had all of the options. They came with the easy hinge, which allows the seat to come off from the toilet with just a turn which makes for easy and thorough cleaning. In addition, they are unslammable (which I believe actually is a word). They also have a lifetime warranty on the finish - guaranteeing that yellow seat stains would be a thing of the past in the Cook household. And last, but not least, the top seat meets the bottom seat, so when our boys forget to lift both, their misdirected flow will safely slide into the toilet bowl rather than the hinges behind it trapping odor forever.

After the unpleasant experience of changing out the seats which required a full aerosol bottle of scrubbing bubbles and a sponge which should probably be burned, I eyed the new seats in all of their glory. They were so beautiful. So white. So clean. And then came the real test. I the boy's bathroom...and I smelled...nothing. That's right. Only the residual fumes from the arsenal of cleaners that I had used remained in the air. In fact, if I hadn't my eyes open, I wouldn't have even known I was standing in a bathroom. It was heavenly.