Saturday, October 31, 2009

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Happy Halloween

There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin. - Linus van Pelt

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Ghosts of Halloween Past: Year Three

Last year Bob was old enough to sort of get the Halloween deal. He decided for himself that he wanted to dress as a stegosaurus. Wanted to, as in suggested the costume and wore it willingly. Without the forced humiliation and questionable parenting choices (all in the name of cuteness), I was forced to redefine my role. I packed my powers of negotiation and manipulation in storage until they would be needed again six months later for potty training.

Bob was understanding the cause and effect reaction behind trick or treating.. The cause: large toddler as plushy member of the Stegosauridae Group. The effect: giant bag of candy.

It was all so easy. The adorable costume, again lovingly handmade by Aunt Jen. Bob's new found excitement for all things orange and pumpkin-y. His post trick or treating nickname for all of our neighbors, "my candy friends." Bob was very committed to his character and had even come up with his own catchphrase, "I am a stegosaurus. I eat rocks."

The morning after Halloween, I picked through Bob's sugar haul, throwing out the little round toddler-choke sized Sweet Tarts and saving the almond joys for myself. Through the window I could see Bob playing quietly outside. I watched as he tenderly picked up a handful of gravel and crammed it in his mouth and started chewing. I did the slow motion-y-feeling-emergency-mom-run out to the backyard. As I ran, I cursed method acting.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Ghosts of Halloween Past: Year Two

For Bob’s second Halloween, we suited up our poor defenseless son in a spectacular cowboy costume. (Chaps and vest lovingly made by Aunt Jen.) This ensemble was conceived around one glorious centerpiece: a pair of size 6, Children's Old West® Round Toe Western Cowboy Boots, a present from our cousins in Texas.

Although the boots were technically Bob’s size, when I tried to get them on him the week before Halloween, his tiny sausage feet were getting stuck half way down the leg of the boot. I decided that a boot horn was the answer. After tours of the local shoe repair shop, Target, Rite-Aid, Walgreen’s, and CVS, I was finally able to locate an overpriced, electric green boot horn. I was then able to jam Bob’s foot three quarters of the way into the boot where it would stick, suctioned in by the useless hunk of neon plastic.

No matter how much I told (pleaded with) Bob about how fun this activity was, he did not appear to enjoy any of it.

Desperate, I wrapped his little feet in sandwich bags and coated the outside of the bags in Vaseline. His little plastic wrapped piggies slid right in. I can feel you judging me from here and I don’t blame you. (Really he only had on the slime boots for 15 minutes, 20 at the most, Your Honor.)

He was a sweet little cowpoke. Of course, once he had on the jeans and chaps, you couldn’t really see the boots anyway. The bonus was that the gooey-baggie rig caused him to walk a little funny, he moseyed just like a cowboy.

Trick or treat.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Ghosts of Halloween Past: Year One

On Bob’s first Halloween, he was almost six months old. Since we weren’t up for the baby pimping trick or treating thing where the parents drag the infant flower/puppy/pea pod door to door and then split the candy between them (genius), this was a holiday celebrated by photo-op only.

Bob’s crafty-brilliant godmother, Jennifer, made him a tiny pumpkin costume. After she dropped it off at our house, I managed to stuff my flailing baby inside the fur jack o’ lantern and then laid him down on the white duvet to take a photo to email to Jen. With the combination of bad flash photography and white sheet background, Jen commented that it looked like we were selling Bob on Ebay. (Search Category: I Can’t Take It; Sub-Category: Cheeks Surplus)

For the “real” photo shoot, my friend Karen and I lugged our costumed babies (her son Ringo, a tiny tiger) to the fancy pumpkin patch in West Hollywood. Because it was LA and LA doesn’t know from autumn in October, it was creeping close to 85 at the patch. Our crabby kids were melting inside their little, sweltering, humiliation suits.

At their tender ages, our guys were not yet sitting up on their own very well. We took turns propping the guys up on stacks of pumpkins and then running back to try to get as many photos as we could before they slid down and softly face planted into the imported hay. They were in baby hell but we got our pictures for the grandmas and that’s what it’s really all about.

Trick or treat!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Not to Do: Buffet

You did this:
You and your husband broke out of your regular evening of sweatpants, kettle corn, and viral videos put on grown up clothes and attend a charity fund-raiser. This cocktail hour event was held in the penthouse of a swanky Beverly Hills hotel. In the last four hours before leaving the house you had eaten half of a gluten free toaster waffle and some warm Dr. Pepper that you found in the car from yesterday. Upon arrival at the event, you exchanged cordial greetings with the hosts and then quietly sprinted to the appetizer buffet area.

You were recently diagnosed with celiac disease, a wheat gluten allergy that messes with the digestive system. The basic treatment for celiac is - do not eat wheat products or those made with wheat gluten. You did not have a problem finding appropriate food at this event. The caterers had provided an antipasto table that would make Giada de Laurentiis proud. Nearby, were platters of fresh melon and figs, and chafing dishes heaped with chicken and fish. As you balanced a Jenga-like pile of food onto your child sized hors d'œuvre plate, you avoided eye contact with the small man with a mustache and toque standing behind the carving station because carving stations freak you the hell out.

Do not do this:
Next to the shrimp, was another chafing dish filled with what appeared to be beef satay. It called to you. As you laid the skewers across your plate, you hoped that it had not been marinated in soy sauce or other wheat gluten heavy ingredient. Nearby you noticed a small stack of business cards for a local vegan and organic caterer. It crossed your mind for just an instant that this might not be beef on your plate but rather something else entirely. You promptly ignored this thought because you really wanted beef satay. You moved on.

Once you and your husband had made room for yourselves on one of the plush couches near the bar, you started in on your tower of snacks. You started with the beef satay. As you swallowed the first mouthful it become clear that this was not beef. It was seitan, a meat-like substitute made from pressed wheat gluten. Wheat gluten. That you are allergic to. Allergic in an exploding colon kind of way.

You made a mental note that wanting it to be beef doesn’t make it beef.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Role (Super) Model

It went down like this. Jeff, Bob and I were driving down the freeway in the station wagon. We witness a driver in the next lane tossing a soda can out of his window. Bob is confused.

“Why that guy put his drink on the ground?”

Jeff and I respond simultaneously:

“Because he’s a litterbug,” said Bob’s father.

“Because he’s a gigantic, creepy, tool who hates the environment,” said Bob’s mother.

Playdate at our house, anyone?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: Regretsy

A most fetching "Chicken Poncho"

Because we all adore the handmade wonderland that is Etsy, you will be really into the genius blog, Regretsy. Regretsy is a best-of-the-worst collection of the most odd and what-the-hell-is-that-no-really-what-the-hell-IS-it offerings on la etsy.

Perhaps you’re in the market for a cheese grater clock or a simple roll of crocheted toilet paper? This site has done the work and vetted the good stuff for you.

Regretsy: Handmade? It looks like you made it with your feet.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Know Them: A One Act

It is 11:00 AM. BOB and I are at the Zoo.

Those are big turtles.

(Reading from the sign)
Those are Aldabra tortoises. The scientific name is Geochelone Gigantea.

Those are big tortoises.

It says the Aldabra tortoise is from the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles Islands of the Indian Ocean.

Is that a mama and a daddy?


It is.

How can you tell?

I know them. See? They are having a talk.

What are they talking about?

Maybe snacks? I like snacks.

Me too.

Now they are kissing.

You think so?

Hurry. We have to go.

Why? What's wrong?

They want a privacy for the kissing. I know them. Mama, don’t look.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Germans Are Coming

As I pull my thrice re-heated coffee out of the microwave, Bob comes running into the kitchen.

“The Germans! The Germans!”

We don’t really know any Germans. So of course, I immediately assume that Bob is having some type of past life regression experience. (I’ve lived in Southern California a long, long time.)

“What Germans, Honey?”

“The Germans! They are here!”

Maybe time travel. I didn’t see The Lake House but I know the plot.

“Where Bob? Where are the Germans?”

Bob points to his head. I knew it. He has always had those “old soul” eyes.

“The dentist said I have to brush my teeth because there are Germans in there!”

“Germs, Bob. They’re called germs.”

“I need to brush now, Mama.” Bob wanders off to the bathroom.

I guess that explanation makes sense too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A New Family Tradition

My husband Jeff grew up in East Lansing Michigan, a land where apparently they have autumn and the leaves change colors and fall on the ground and you have to rake them and everything. Autumn for him also meant an annual Rosenberg family trip to Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. John’s Michigan.

This year, some 20 years since his last visit to Uncle John’s, Jeff was feeling especially nostalgic for the apple picking, doughnuts, and corn maze-ness of his youth. We packed ourselves into the station wagon and headed out of LA into the wilds of Yucaipa, an area a couple of hours away, previously only known to me as an off ramp on the way to Palm Springs.

For Jeff, the highlights of that day are as follows:

8:30 am Exit driveway.

8:32 am In the car on the way to breakfast, Jeff dribbles hot coffee from a leaky travel mug down the front of his light blue shirt.

9:10 am Seated in a booth at the Coral Café, Bob orders a hot cocoa to go with his pancakes. When the cup arrives, Bob reaches for it, Jeff moves to block and the scalding chocolate leaps from the cup onto Jeff’s face, shirt, and pants. Jeff receives minor burns. Bob is concerned. “Oh no Daddy! This is terrible! I wasted my cocoa!”

11:30 am Arrival at the quaint and lovely Snowline Cider Mill. Two bottles of cold cider purchased. Three ounces of the contents of one bottle rushes straight to the front of Jeff’s left pant leg.

11:50 am While I stand in line to get cider doughnuts for the guys, Bob finds a really good stick in the orchard and tests it out by cracking it over Jeff’s head. No broken skin. Some swelling.

12:40 pm Bob enjoys a Frankenstein cookie on a stick. I purchase two hot, spiced ciders for Jeff and myself. Cider applies itself directly to front of Jeff’s formerly solid blue, now not so subtly patterned shirt front.

12:55 pm There is a situation in the men’s porta-potty that involves Bob stripping naked. Urine and other fluids are adhered to Jeff’s pants in the process.

1:15 pm In our attempt to pick fresh raspberries, Jeff is repeatedly pricked with tiny stickers and comes away with 14 smashed berries in a green produce basket and two smashed berries on the back of his pants.

2:25 pm Back on the road, Jeff reaches for a bottled water. I mention that when the water runs out, if he is still thirsty, he can then suck on his shirt. This comment is viewed by my husband as less than supportive.

I love autumn.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

They Are Watching You

On any given day, you can find deep within the closets, sofa cushions and laundry hampers of our home, stuffed animals hidden by our dog, Daisy. These critters, originally belonging to Bob, have been adopted by Daisy and now rest in various stages of “broken in.”

Stage 1: Licked until soggy, then sun and or mud dried until crunchy.

Stage 2: Pointy parts (noses, tails, feet) nibbled on down to the fabric.

Stage 3: Thin strands of stuffing delicately peeking through one tiny hole in the fur.

Stage 4: Eyes missing.

Stage 5: Full disembowelment and strewn stuffing carnage.

The final stage takes place in the backyard and although it is generally 6th in the order, in the manner of cause and effect it would be more appropriately labeled Stage 4-1/2.

Final Stage: The poos have eyes. You heard me.

Picture that image in your mind’s eye.

Because I love you, I will not provide a photo. You’re welcome.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Heady Oh Knob

Bob to English Translation Guide:

Heady oh knob - he I come! (Yelled after counting to 10 while playing hide-and-seek)

Take off the wraps. (Peel an orange)

I'm going bike-triking. (See photo above)

Fickits. (Fix it)

Poo-nano (Piano - this might be on purpose, just to be able to say "poo" illegally)

Eye creams (Ice cream)

Buh-weedifull; related Fankaskick (Beautiful, Fantastic)

Octopus Prime (Transformer: Optimus Prime)

Wap (Lap or Nap or Map or Yap; very versatile - like "Aloha")

An ass-trophy (Catastrophe)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: Miss Capucine

Miss Capucine is an excellent storyteller and cuter than a box of baby bunnies. I am now considering having all of Bob's crazy stories dubbed into French, with English subtitles.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Email from Elaine

My dear friend Elaine and her husband Eric traveled to China in August to meet, for the first time, their gorgeous, two and a half year-old son, Nicholas. They've all been back home in California a few months months now, settling in. I received the following email from Elaine yesterday. My responses to her are italicized.

Elaine wrote:
I just have a few questions...
When will I be able to use the restroom alone?

I have no idea. I don’t even bother to close the bathroom door in public places anymore.

Are these my only options for showering?

1. Get up at 6:00 before Nick wakes up and Eric has to bathe before work.

2. Have a toddler screaming outside the shower while I try to quickly wash myself.

3. Shower with my child and have him try to squeegee my legs when we are finished.

You are so cute! "Showering." There is a reason God invented Febreze.

My hair is “done” when it is firmly pulled out of my face with one of the 3-pack of headbands I bought at Dollar Tree. When did I become that mom?

A few months back, my darling son informed me, “Mama, you’re not a woman, you’re a mama.” I'm pretty sure he was talking about my hair.

How long will I need to listen to “Shake Your Sillies Out” before I stab myself in the eye with a Gerber Graduates® fork?

I’ve heard that some moms make it through The Wiggles experience by developing a crush on Anthony Field the “Sexy Wiggle.” I’ve had the Olivia theme song stuck in my heard for three days. No matter how hard I squint at the TV, Olivia’s dad just doesn’t do it for me.

Is it true that if you don’t look under the couch, there aren’t any toys there?

“Under the couch” is the Bermuda Triangle of the home.

Will I ever have the time for a manicure and a pedicure again? I’m not talking about at the salon. I mean just the “do-it-yourself” kind at home. Just wondering.


Should I even bother to buy “mom” clothes or are the yoga pants and Old Navy tank top going to be “it” for the next 16 years?

Sister, the yoga pants and tank ARE your “mom” clothes.

Why do (so-called?) friends and family give you toys that are either really, really loud & annoying, or have one million tiny pieces? (That is just plain mean.)

Obviously, they love your son and they hate you.

Miss you guys!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sombrero Triste: A One Act

BOB is watching the computer screen over my shoulder as I change my Twitter profile background photo.

Who is that crying hat boy?

He’s you. Baby you.

Bob is crying?

You were.

Why is that Bob crying?

He didn’t like his hat.

Who put the hat on him?

I did.

Why did you do that if Bob didn’t like it?

Because it was pretty cute.

What part was cute?

The baby and the hat and the crying.

That is mean.

But you were adorable.

Mean Mama.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I was not really in the market for a cat. I think of myself as a dog person. In 1999, my sweet black lab Stella was 15 years old and she wasn’t getting around as well as she used to. I was working long hours and I wanted her to have some companionship when I wasn’t home. I know she was usually sleeping all day while I was gone but I couldn’t help thinking that keeping the TV turned on to the Food Network just wasn’t enough company for her. I decided she needed a friend.

My friend Jennifer and I went to adoption day at a local pet store. A rescue group brought in cats they got from the pound and fostered them until they could find them permanent homes. Not knowing how a grown cat would react to a 75 pound canine roommate, I decided that a kitten might go into the deal with less dog hating baggage. Enter, Pearl.

The rescue group had only one kitten there. She was an all black, feral little number. $40.00 and a car loan’s worth of paperwork later, she was in a cardboard carrier on the way home with me to meet her new best friend and start her new life.

Pearl and Stella became fast friends. They slept together on Stella’s pillow and Stella gave her big sloppy tongue baths. Pearl took a little longer to warm up to me. Now, 10 years later, she is still warming up to me. I get it. She’s a dog person.

When Stella died a year later, Pearl and I both woke up the next morning with our first patch of gray hairs. We were mourning our friend. Our friend had left me, the dog person, with her cat. I adore her cat.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bob Rosenberg, Photographer at Large

Bob borrowed my camera. He snapped 184 photos in six minutes. I said the word "careful" until it ceased to have meaning.

The world from the height of 39 inches.

"My cheese feet."

"Daisy said, 'Cheese.' She told me that with her mind."

"Hi Mama. I can tell you are saying, 'Cheese.' Say it louder. Are you smiling?"

"She is good at smiling. And licking."

"That is my best shoe. It said, 'Cheese.' It was sneaker cheese."

"Daisy has pets very much. And cheese."

"This is a beautiful tree. I heard it smiling."

"I am watching Daisy, watching the squirrel, say cheese."

"There was a spider here before and it didn't want to cheese."

"I am cheese."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Early Trick or Treat

We do have conversations here about topics other than poop, but not lately. The last few days Bob has dedicated most of his three year-old resources to assessing which items will and will not “become poop.”

Here are the findings that he has reported:

Carrots = Poop

Oatmeal = Poop

Library Book, Hardworking Puppies by Lynn Reiser = Not Poop

Chicken = Not Poop (He is currently boycotting chicken.)

Abraham Lincoln = Not Poop

Yogurt = Poop

Corn = “Super” Poop

White Size 10 Child’s Ankle Sock = Not Poop

Band Aids = Not Poop

On/Off Button From New Pumpkin Flashlight = Poop (Good to know.)

If the delicious missing pumpkin flashlight button does not show up as promised within the next 48 hours, I will commit to a future post exclusively about insurance co-pays.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: G.R.'s Definitive List

Smacksy Satellite Office: East Wing

Thanks to Greg Rutter’s Definitive List of The 99 Things You Should Have Already Experienced On The Internet Unless You're a Loser or Old or Something I have discovered that if I put another hour and a half into clicking on viral links, I can shake my old(ish) loser(y) status.

Although I did not find my favorite link on this list, Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat. (How does this revelation affect my standing?)

Friday, October 9, 2009


The battery operated toothbrush that Bob demanded
but refuses to use because it is "very too loud"

Were you to stand in the street in front of our house, every evening around 7:15 you would not only be creepy but you would also be convinced that this is the time of evening that we reserve for branding our child. Bob reacts to having his teeth brushed as if we are doing it with a minty fresh lit cigar.

In order to get the toothbrush inside Bob’s mouth, Jeff holds him on his lap and I pry open Bob’s teeth with one toothbrush and then brush with a second one, a system recommended by our pediatric dentist after my husband nearly lost a finger to Bob’s baby-pit-bull-death-grip.

It’s a nightly group effort with Jeff holding and soothing, me brushing and pleading, and Bob screaming and screaming some more.

The other night, Bob pulled one of his other old tricks into the rotation as we were trying to get him into the bathroom and did the boneless-legs-I-can’t-stand-up thing that kids excel at. I reacted in my calm, happy mommy way.

“Jeez, Bob, if you would just cut the B.S. we could get this over with.”

“What’s B.S., Mama?”

Jeff smiled broadly from his perch on the edge of the bathtub. Both guys stared at me expectantly.

“B.S. is an acronym.”

“What’s the B.S. for Mama?”

“Well... B.S. stands for ‘Bob Stuff’ so cut out that crazy Bob Stuff and let’s get on with it.”

My husband gave me a high five and a fist bump and Bob found his legs and screamed somewhat less enthusiastically than usual. Tiny victories.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sweet Talker

This Is Some Other Lady's Behind

Taking a cue from my genius mommy-pal Karen, I’ve been teaching Bob to add “beautiful Mama” to the end of questions that he asks me. For instance Bob might ask, “May I please finish your ice cream, beautiful Mama?” or “Can we drive the two blocks to the park sweetest Mama?” It’s a fantastic device because it's adorable as a box of bunnies and as a bonus it teaches him the subtle art of the manipulative and hollow compliment.

On a recent trip to Von’s, Bob spied a box of fruit roll ups on the shelf. He pointed aggressively at the box but words failed him. He let out a yelp.

“Bud, what are you pointing at?”

“I want… want… I want!” He got louder as he became more frustrated.

“What are we looking at? The granola bars?”

“I want!” Now he was yelling.

“Come on sweetheart, let’s take it down a notch.”

“I want… I want... I want a gorgeous mama! I want a gorgeous mama! Want one! May I please have a pretty mama?”

Aisle 4 was amused. I made a mental note to get my highlights touched up.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Holy Jellyfish

Bob was a little clingy as Jeff was dropping him off at Sunday school. The sweet, young teacher, Miss Maria, was working to engage Bob in an art project.

“Look Bob, today we are making these jellyfish.”

“Hey, check those out Buddy. Aren’t they cool?” said Jeff.

“That’s a plate?” Bob asked.

“That’s right. We take half of a paper plate and we’ll use that as the jellyfish’s body. You can color it. Would you like to make one?”


“Bob, let’s say that nicely,” said Jeff.

“Yes please, Miss Maria.”

“Sure, Bob. We can use these colorful streamers to make his testicles,” said Miss Maria. She paused, and instantly paled as she realized her anatomical gaffe. Jeff smiled.

“Tentacles, we’ll make tentacles,” corrected Miss Maria.

“We can do both, Miss Maria?” asked Bob.

Contrary to the evidence, Miss Maria is not a blood relative.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Nannies

Back in our old neighborhood, Bob and I would make the daily trek across Robertson Blvd to the “good neighborhood” to play at the park since the park on our side of the great divide was sort of garbage-y and men-in-long-shorts-with-white-knee-socks-riding-on-children’s-bikes-ish.

Bob and I showed up around the same time everyday and over time I got to know some of the other regulars. The two I saw every 3:30 without fail were The Nannies. Soledad and Sandra were women in their late twenties. They both had children of their own, close in age to the kids in their charge. Everyday, they would leave the kids with their grandmothers and commute over an hour to go to work, caring for other families.

Although I am a couple of fourteen-ish years older than these ladies, they were both vastly more experienced in the world of childrearing and I often went to them for advice.

One afternoon in the sandbox, I asked them if they’d ever had a problem with any of the kids using bad language. Soledad said, “Oh yes, Jean Luc said C-R-A-P the other day. I know he heard it from his father.” We all laughed and I made a mental note that “crap” was considered bad language.

Sandra said, “I heard Skylar tell her mother,” she lowered her voice to a stage whisper, “to shut up.” More laughing.

“What do you do?” I said.

“I have found that if I don’t make a big deal out of it, she’ll move on to something else,” said Sandra. “She’s just looking for a reaction.”

“I try to correct him and just tell him that he’s using the wrong word and give him a better one,” said Soledad. “Why? Did Bob say something?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Really bad?”

“He said, G-O-D D-A-M-N it.” I laughed feebly. They did not join in. Soledad and Sandra exchanged looks.

“That’s terrible,” said Sandra.

“That’s really bad,” added Soledad.

Sandra said, “Where did he hear that?”

A montage of my expletive filled moments raced through my head. In contrast, I thought of my sweet non-swearing husband.

“From Jeff.” I found that I had crossed my fingers behind my back as I said this because apparently lying of any kind immediately reduces my maturity level by 38 years.

The ladies nodded. “Of course,” said Sandra.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Philosophy 101

Bob and Jeff were in the backyard yesterday playing wiffle ball. As always, it didn't take long before the conversation topic turned to poop.

“Daddy? Remember that time Daisy ate my poo poo?”

“Yes. I’m afraid I do.”

“When Daisy ate my poo poo and then she had a poo poo, was it still my poo poo?”

“Hmm. Kind of? It’s complicated.”

I think Bob’s philosophical question in the realm of subjective idealism takes a certain amount of excrement-y genius. Or he's just really opposed to sharing anything.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: Dog Slide

Daisy: The Other Happiest Dog In the Ever

Black Labrador Retrievers are some of my favorite people.

A couple of outstanding friends of mine posted this video on Facebook recently and watching it makes me all squeal-y and break into spontaneous applause.

The following explanation accompanied the video:
These people were always finding water all over their pool deck and furniture, every time they came home, after being away for a few hours. They thought the neighborhood kids were watching for them to leave, and using the pool. However, they could never catch them doing it. So, they set up their video camera and left. This is what they found out...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Smacksy Saturday Photo: The Phone

Instead of my cell phone, I left the house today with the "cell phone" water game that Bob got out of a birthday piñata. The service was almost as good as AT&T. For real.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Another Thing I Did Not Make Up

As Jeff was getting dressed for work this morning he said, “Did you have that restaurant The Ground Round out here growing up or was that just in the mid-west?”

“It doesn’t sound familiar. We had a place called Bonanza that had pictures on the walls of Lorne Greene, and young Michael Landon, and you know, Hoss. Was it like that?"

“No. They had these bowls of peanuts at the tables and you were encouraged to throw the shells on the floor.”


“Our house is like that.”

"You did not just say that."

"What? I didn't mean it in a bad way."

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I have recently become the Earthquake and Safety Aide at Bob’s co-op pre-school. From what I understand, my duties will involve maintaining the earthquake kits, organizing the emergency supplies closet, and checking the expiration dates on the Bandaids. This aide position is like a warm embrace for my OCD and my preoccupation with earthquake preparedness. If there were an e-Harmony for pre-school co-op parenting mandated “volunteer” gigs, this is the kind of match I would expect for my $59.95 a month service fee.

I can trace this preoccupation with preparedness back to elementary school. My sixth grade teacher, Mr. McElroy, was a large red headed gentleman who favored sweater vests and frequently sang the chorus to "Lady of Spain" during our math quizzes. Every Friday was class movie day. Mr. McElroy entrusted Greg MacCrone with all of the responsibilities of movie day since he was the only one in the class who could operate the projector. Greg, a sociopath in training, was also in charge of picking the movies.

Every week, Greg’s picks were the same: A film with bare chested third world women, Disney’s Johnny Tremaine bio-pic, something with animals killing and eating other animals, and a selection from the U.S. Defense Civil Preparedness Agency series, Your Chance to Live. All of these played out over the high pitched maniacal laughter of Greg MacCrone.

The Your Chance to Live movies were educational films about disasters with themes like “Tornadoes,” “Volcanoes,” and “Technological Failures.” To say that these films were creepy does them a disservice; they were testaments to abject terror. Scary music, detached and poorly written voice over, scenes of panic, death, and devastation, the Tsunami episode still gives me weekly nightmares. (Ask my therapist.) Ditto the scenes of people buried alive in lava at Pompeii. Always manning the projector controls, Greg would rewind the film and replay the most disturbing sections. (Cue Greg MacCrone cackle.)

Lost in his world of paper grading and oldies radio, Mr. McElroy seemed oblivious to the wholly inappropriate nature of movie day. I, however, am scarred for life. Now, as the newly appointed Earthquake and Safety Aide, I will put my own trauma aside and as a public service I present to you a rare gem of weirdness, terror, and low production values, Your Chance to Live: Earth Watch.

Your safety is my goal. As for insurance co-pays for your mental health care practitioner, you are on your own.