Friday, September 29, 2006


Oh, in all the chocolate mystery of last week, forgot to mention our mail.

Seems it suddenly was no longer being delivered the week before last. We, being the observant folks we are, didn't notice right away, not until Saturday, when we both were home and couldn't just figure the other person had brought it in, which was followed by Sunday (no post office is open) and by Monday, when we forgot to call.

But Tuesday! Yes! On Tuesday, Charles called.

The nice, helpful (because everyone at the small rural post office is nice and helpful, if not particularly competent) person said, "Oh! So you want your mail delivered, again?"

"Yes, please," said our Marvelous Charles.

"Ok, then."

Seems that someone had called and told them to stop delivery on our mail.

This is odd as neither Charles nor I did so. My mother-in-law denies it, as well.

I was a bit concerned, as on the official form that was included in the 27 lbs of mail that reached our mailbox on Tuesday afternoon, there was mention that the mail was only to be resumed with written instructions (not phoned in) if required before 10/4/06. Neither of us wanted to go down that road. Especially as we were now getting our post, again.

According to the nice, helpful post office employee, they'd gotten a call telling them to hold our mail for a couple of weeks.

I'm going to hope they just mistook something. I'm also hoping the person who wished their mail to be held has a large box or gets very little mail.

I'd hate to come home to that.

Now, the other option is that it had something to do with our sad sack of a mailbox:

Pictures for you

You'll note that it is listing, both to the left and posteriorly. It also has a very large dent in the side.

In all fairness, it was mostly like this when we moved in a couple of years ago. And then it got creamed, once again, by the snow plow, that first winter, but Charles propped it up with lots of rocks (now covered with vines), and there it's stood, or leaned, for the duration. It does work just fine, well, except for the little red flag, that fell off a year ago, but as we never put mail out in it, preferring to use the post office or one of those big blue mail drop boxes, we figured it was fine. We grew quite fond of it, taking some inappropriate delight in its patheticness. I'd suggested replacing it when the flag fell off, last year, (Or was it the year before?) but Charles pointed out that, as it was autumn at the time, which would soon be followed by snow-plow season, what would be the point in putting up a fresh mailbox?

I agreed. Less energy expended in keeping the old one.

After the events of the past week, however, we secretly wondered if this was some sort of plot to get us to replace our poor maimed mailbox. Guilt finally kicked in, and we hauled out the green plastic monstrosity that Charles's mom had gotten us many, many moons ago in a fruitless attempt to get the box replaced. (Being the adept passive-aggressive couple we are, we just smiled wanly and put the unopened box in the garage, by the old, broken Nordic Trak and put a cat litter box on top of it. After dropping a few more hints, she gave up.

So. Sunday morning found us sprawled on the driveway, vaguely waving at neighbors driving by, trying to get the green plastic monstrosity put up. Having neglected to have a 4x4 piece of lumber on hand, we kicked around using the battered-and-bent metal post from the old box (as there were no holes drilled into it, we'd have needed to rig something to attach it to the plastic pole sheath, like duct tape), tried to rip up some wooden pallets for the boards, and finally settled on nailing two 2x2 rails together (making a 2x4) and screwing the whole mess through the slots in the plastic post.

We then piled lots of rocks all around the base and, voila!:

Pictures for you

We have a new perky, chipper mailbox. Looks sort of like Beaker from the Muppets, doesn't it? Just needs some orange sticky-uppy hair on top.

It's sort of stable, in that it shouldn't blow over in a light breeze, but if plowed by a plow, should keel over nicely, rather than standing all proudly and getting smashed. We could only dig down about a foot before hitting bedrock. I do like that it does lean a bit, as well. We could do such things like pour concrete and level it, but, well, why?

So, there. Mail box: With flag, without dents, no orange hair.

Here's hoping it will make the mail happy and the post won't have to go to extreme measures such as canceling its own delivery in order to avoid any further embarrassment of being seen in such a clunker of a receptacle.

Sorta like trading in your old, rusty VW Beetle for a K-car.

(Personally, I loved my old VW Beetle.)


Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I think of myself as a fairly level-headed person, but sometimes situations present themselves in such a way as to defy the rational and mundane.

For example:

Just this past Saturday, a mere few days ago. Charles finds a bag of bounty in the space between his side of the bed and his dresser. Sounds great, right? Especially as this bounty is in the form of chocolate. Not to-die-for chocolate, just regular Hershey's milk chocolate, but, hey, chocolate all the same. We confirmed chocolate freaks do not look such gift chocolate horses in the mouth. We are too busy putting the chocolate in our own horsey mouths.

But this bounty from the heavens was enough to give us pause and stop and ask ourselves, "What the hell?"

See, It was a 1/2 bag of little solid milk chocolate Easter eggs. The sort the Easter Bunny sticks in those plastic colored eggs and hides all over the house, hopefully where the kids and NOT the evil dog can get to them.

Pictures for you

So. Consider the following:

  1. We are as far from Easter in the year as you can be.
  2. If confronted with extra candy (yeah, right), The Bunny always puts it in the candy bowl in the cupboard. A cupboard conveniently too high for anyone under 5'5" tall.
  3. This past year, there was no extra, forcing the parents to pilfer from their offspring the candy that had always been their due for letting The Bunny enter their house and rummage through their stuff, ostensibly hiding eggs, but really checking out what DVDs we had that he could hit us up to borrow later.
  4. This past year, and maybe the year before that, The Bunny was unable to procure these little, solid mild chocolate eggs wrapped in pastel foil, and had to make do with the less satisfying Hershey's Kisses wrapped in pastel foil, to go with the little peanut butter cups in pastel foil. And bigger peanut butter eggs. And jelly beans, the good kind. And solid chocolate rabbits. And some chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs. But not Peeps. We don't do Peeps in this Bunny's household. (Aside: I wish I'd been a part of that second Peeps link. The whole damn site is a scream. I wish I'd been a part of it. But then, I'm a geek.)
  5. How the hell did they get on the floor in our bedroom, this bag of Easter candy? The loft above the living room is where The Bunny assembles the eggs for hiding and the baskets o' loot. The kitchen is where such things are stored.
  6. Charles denies any knowledge. In addition to being Canadian, and therefore impeccably trusty, honest and true (It's the Mountie heritage. Go watch Due South.), he found the bounty and, if it were his, he'd just have picked it up and put it somewhere the dog and kids couldn't get to it without pointing it out to me.
  7. I have no idea, otherwise I'd not be blilthering on about this, I'd just say, "Oh, yeah. Wondered where I put that. Thanks. Care for an out-of-season chocolate?"
  8. If the dog unearthed it, why didn't she open it and eat it, pooping out bits of foil in the manner of our first German Shepherd, she who unbelievably sneakily ate a large candy dish of Christmas stocking chocolates and then spent the rest of Christmas Day farting unbelievably horribly and pooping out piles of red and green foil-decorated shit. (YES. We know dogs can die from eating chocolate. We'd put it out of what we thought was her reach. We didn't realize she'd done it until we saw what came out of her and figured that the damage was done. She came through it fine and it now makes a good story, especially when you realize she ate the whole bowl full of candy without moving the bowl or leaving a speck, so Charles and I just assumed that the other had put the candy away, in an attempt to curb our gluttonous Christmas consumption.)
  9. If the cat unearthed it, how did she get it there? She's tiny; not much bigger than the bag.
  10. If the kids unearthed it, why would they leave it there, unopened and not eaten? My kids inherited both my and Charles's intense chocolate loving genes.

So. As you see, we are flummoxed.


Portals to other dimensions?

Are we being 'Punk'd'?

(And one other thing: Of course I sampled a chocolate. Silly question, being who I am. It was not covered with that white powdery stuff that chocolate gets when old.)

I'll now entertain theories from you-all, my intelligent and imaginative friends.




Friday, September 22, 2006



I'm back!

Miss me?

(Remember me?)

My Mum and step-dad came out for a lovely week of visiting, eating, scowling at the grounds, more eating, shopping, deciding to not do a damn thing about the grounds for now except hack back the large viburnum under the window next spring, eating more, going to the apple orchard, and so on. My wonderful parents also took on several home improvement projects that I'd wanted to get to but honestly weren't going to happen until both small-handed ones were in school full time and I had absolutely nothing else claiming my time. As a result, all the bathrooms have decent light fixtures in place if the impossibly tacky, cheap-assed shit that the previous owner put up. And nice new towel bars and such. And, as an added supreme bonus, they pulled up the grate in the drive and dug out all the silt that had clogged the drainage area. No more ice rink encompassing the driveway next winter! No possible flooding of the garage if the rains dump too much and rise above the lip to to the garage.

I did get to catch up on reading blogs Tuesday (the one day I worked), while lunching, but that was all that was to be. I had plans to post, people. The plans, though, they were just not to be.

In short, I suck.

I suck and I have nothing to say.

So, with that, I leave you with a meme from our lovely Ruth, the Mother of Invention. (note the parental theme, here, connecting the above with the below? My lit teachers would weep with pride.)

Three Things Meme:

Three People Who Make Me Laugh:

- Marvelous Charles. Most think I fell for him because of his hotness. Nope. It was his sense of humor. Really. Funny and hot. Who could resist?

- My friends (in the computer and out).

- All things Monty Python.

Three Things I Can Do:

-Listen really well.

- Put people who are terrified or in pain at ease.

- Raise one eyebrow and then the other in rapid succession.

Three Things I Can't Do:

-Avoid making snide comments during meetings. If there's no one to share them with, I make them to myself.

- Pretend to like someone I despise. Fortunately there are very few of these people I've met.

- Take a hypocrite seriously.

Three Things I'm Doing Right Now:

-Finishing breakfast.

-Watching through the study window for Colin to get on the bus.

-Stewing in my own filth. I've not had my shower and my hair could provide enough crude to power all 3 of our cars, even the shameful SUV.

Three Things I Want To Do Before I Die:

- Get the best of the damned squash bugs and watch them writhe before my mighty gardener feet. Or at least not weep in frustration each summer as I survey their devastation.

- Go to Europe and see and eat and drink lots of European things. (Yes, 'Europe' is a large and varied continent. I realize this. It would take the better part of a year, I imagine. You asked.)

- Never run a marathon. So far, I'm well on my way to achieving this one.

Three Things I Hate The Most:

-Mean people

-Sanctimonious people


Three Things That Scare Me:

-Something horrible happening to my kids.

-Something horrible happening to Charles.

- Creepy, crawly, flying bugs.

Three Things That Stress Me Terribly:

- Giving a speech.

-Suddenly finding myself being late. (Given this, you'd think I would not be late as often as I am.)

- Large social gatherings.

Three Things I Don't Understand:

- Extremely low-wasted pants.

- High heels.

- The fame of Paris Hilton.

Three Skills I'd Like To Learn:

- To crack an egg with one hand.

- Pottery.

- How to look 'put together' for more than 5 minutes. I'm a bleeding mess most of the time.

Three Ways To Describe My Personality:

- Full of self-doubt, recrimination, and insecurity.

- Terribly soft-hearted and wanting the world to love me.

- Extremely lazy, yet wanting things perfect. I'm a perfect mess, I tell you.

Three Things I Think You Should Listen To:

- Your dreams. Seriously. Life is too short to not do what you are called to do.

- Your stomach.

- All sides of the issue.

Three Things You Should Never Listen To:

- People who always put you down

- People who never tell you things that might upset you.

- The musical stylings of Air Supply. There were many good things to come out of the 80s. This is one of the worst, however.

Three Favorite Foods:

- Chocolate. Of course.

- Seafood. All seafood. As long as it's fresh. (So why the hell am I living 1000 miles from the nearest coast?)

- Fresh bread.

Three Beverages I Drink Regularly:

- Water. Finally, I can honestly put that. (You see, I don't care for water, no matter how good it is for me. Mind over taste buds, you see.)

- Coffee. The good, freshly ground stuff. (Sadly, it's now decaf, but with age comes bowel intolerance.)

- Wine. Usually red. Especially a good, but not expensive pinot noir. (And for the record, I loved pinot before it got all snotty and expensive, and then switched to merlot, which then got all snotty and expensive, and then switched to shiraz, which followed suit. So now I'm back to poor, 15-minutes-of-fame-used-up pinot noir.)

Three Shows I watched As A Kid:

- Looney Tunes cartoons.

- Superfriends.


(Can you tell that the only time we got to watch lots and lots of TV was Saturday morning, when we could turn on the TV from the time the test-pattern ended at 6:00 am until our folks got up at 10:00 am. It was our bribe for letting them sleep in their one day a week. We also got to have Pop-Tarts for breakfast. Unfrosted, but still: synthetic, nutritionally devoid Pop-Tarts.)

Three People I'd Tag:


-And You,

- And, of course, YOU!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

And There Was Much Rejoicing




Saturday, September 9th. A day that will ever be celebrated in the House O' Piffle. The day we joined the rest of the civilized world and can now pay extra moolah to our communications company for (siiiiiiiiiigh) High Speed Internet.

Yes! Finally! They deemed that the deer, the cows and the us yokels who live among them are worthy, at least in our little backwater.

We're still trying to get our heads around the concept. I sent out pictures this weekend. Large sized pictures, more than one per sending. This would have taken around an hour on the dial-up. Yes. Really. Two to three large pictures. An hour. If lucky. Usually, the damn thing would time-out, even with the 'keep alive' enabled.

As of this weekend, it took less than a minute. More like 30 seconds.

I wept.

I keep logging on as I pass a computer, just because I don't have to actually connect. Just click the icon and, voila! Interneting! Used to take several minutes to establish that connection. And the phone! It is usable! During the interneting! Who knew?

Charles keeps pulling me into the room to see these sites that he's not been able to access. Sites with (gasp) video feed. Let me repeat: WE CAN NOW ACCESS VIDEO. Us! Never mind that these sites are all audio-video techie sites that hold no interest for me. It's the principle of the thing.

One problem, though, is that it is cutting in on my spider solitaire play. My stats are definitely suffering. See, I'd play a game or two between each web site. And, as it is so blisteringly fast, I feel the pull to surf more, as I can surf more. No longer do I sit there and shrug, saying, "Eh. It's not worth the 10 minutes to get there."

We're almost afraid to see what happens with iTunes, now. Charles downloaded one 4 minute song about 3 months ago. That also took more than an hour. Not really much of an incentive to spend money on that, right? But now? It will probably be waaaaay too quick and easy. Instant gratification.

Life is good.

Very, very good.

What next for our berg? A Mc D's? No, wait. That'd be bad. Unless you were one of our terribly nice neighbors who I was chatting with a couple of weeks ago. We were moaning about the lack of really good restaurants, or at least a decent pizza place, and she, in all seriousness, voiced the wish that the Golden Arches would put up a shingle. Or a Pizza Hut. Fortunately I realized that she really wasn't kidding before I put my foot in it. Not good to offend your neighbors out here. The winters are cold and long and the neighbors are few and far between. Never know when you might need somebody.

It's best to keep on the good side of one and all, even if it means not making snide remarks about their definition of a 'good restaurant'.

Midwest to the core.


Monday, September 11, 2006

In Which She Natters On and On About Her Plants

We've been overrun out here in rural Wisconsin.

*cue the theme music from Hitchcock's The Birds*

We call them The 'Flies.

There are hoards of them. Hundreds and hundreds of little yellow butterflies, the size of your thumb,all around the front path, where the fall flowers are starting to bloom. They fly up in a storm of soft yellow when ever you try to walk to or from the front door. They seem to like the white asters best, not so much the purple ones, which I think are much prettier and would think would taste more 'fruity'. But then I would choose grape pop over lemon-lime any day.

Pictures for you

They also love the sedum, which is the only reason I've not ripped them out of the garden. I'm not a sedum person. I know. Sacrilege.

Pictures for you

Everyone is supposed to love sedum 'autumn joy'.

Pictures for you

I am also not a hosta person. Well, I'm not a hosta person when they are used in the way that has been set down by law here in the Midwest, ringing the base of each large shade tree and marching along the border of your house's foundation. Bleh. Same with daylilies. Triple sacrilege. It's not that I hate them, I just hate the way they are used in garden after garden. Mixed in with other plants, I like them fine.

I think the garden police would be coming for me for having these views, except I've not changed the previous owner's plantings of the hostas and overused yellow stella d'oro daylilies marching around the base of our house. I'm thinking about it, though. My mum's coming out and she wields a mean spade. I just need to figure where to put them once they've been evicted. And it's going into winter, so maybe they're safe until next spring, when I'll probably be too busy with all the new plants I will have acquired in next spring's plant lust to mess with transplanting them.

But some year.

Some year, I will break the law and either move them or intersperse them with a riot of other plantings.

Better put aside some bail funds.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Definition of Futility # 43

Thinking you can fold the clothes and make the bed with this lurking and diving in the clean laundry:

Pictures for you

Now where are those heavy dragon hide gloves?


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Thar They Blow!

Um. Hi.

By my calculations, I have approximately 15 hours until I start vomiting so hard my toenails come up and my gut starts cramping badly enough to make me weep. Then I will run a decent fever and sleep like the dead.

But 24 hours later, I should be good to grimly stand.

It's always fascinated me how predictable a gastroenteritis bug is. How it hits in waves, sparing those who dodged it the first exposure through immunity or proper hand washing, laying low those who didn't. Hitting those who then got cocky the second time around.

I'm pretty sure Colin got it from the zoo on Thursday, as that was our only outing. That or the restaurant where he got his celebratory Oreo sundae afterward, to fanfare in the first day of school on Friday. I'd love to blame some evil classmate from Friday, but I think that it's just too short an incubation.

At 2am, Saturday, he woke Charles and I, telling us he had a stomach ache. Charles set up camp on the living room couch and I curled next to the sad boy in our bed. At 2:01, he started dashing to the toilet and didn't stop for about 6 hours. Then, he slept and spiked a fever. He looked pasty until he went to sleep last night and woke better this morning.

At 3am, today (Sunday), Sara did the same. Vomiting commenced at 3:01.

So far, Charles and I are fine. At least I think he's fine, he's out running errands. There's a barf bag in the car.

So, at present, I feel like a condemned woman. Counting the hours. Musing on whether I should choose something I don't care for as my last meal or if I should eat something I crave frequently, like a cheeseburger, fries and hunk of chocolate fudge cake. If I choose the former, I reason, I won't develop an aversion to something that I care about, but if I choose the latter, not only will the calories be 'free' (as they'll be in the toilet), with any luck, I won't feel the urge to eat any of that for years to come.

Hey, it happened with calzone. And that one Thai noodle dish.

The only thing I am hoping for is that, if I am to get this, it hits me on schedule, tonight, so I can spend Labor Day Monday cursing my existence, and not either a work day (I don't have sick days. Apparently, those who work with the sick aren't supposed to get sick. Perhaps it is thought that our moral fiber or our disinfectant hand gel is superior to such things. Or perhaps the powers that be don't subscribe to the germ theory of infection.) or a day that I'm home alone with an energetic 3-year-old with a reconstituted immunity and a large, vibrant puppy.

Please, oh please, hit me tonight.