Thursday, February 28, 2008

How Chip Hanauer Screwed Up My One And Only Vacation

Twenty-three years into my parents' marriage they were no longer on a strict budget and could make travel arrangements any way that suited them. On the other hand, 23 years into my parents' marriage, my brother and I were 21 and 19 and no longer living at home. The house was paid for, Mom and Dad both worked full time and Dad wasn't indefinitely on disability.

That's my excuse. And you can't talk me out of it.

Twenty-three years into our marriage, Mister and I are still raising one of our children. Our house (because, unlike my parents, we have moved a couple times) isn't quite paid for yet. I only work part time and my sweet hubby has that issue with being unable to pass his company's physical standards (which are tougher than the standards for FIREMEN) so he isn't going back to work any time soon. Hence the strict budget we live on.

So when it came time to make plans for our wonderful little sojourn to Sin City, money (more accurately, the everlasting shortfall of it) was the definitive factor in where we stayed.

Hubby did all the planning while I was at work. This was no small source of frustration to him. A bogus companion airfare voucher sent to us by our airline mileage plan (followed by a We're-Sorry-For-Any-Inconvenience-However-We-Were-Just-Teasing-You-With-That-Voucher-And-Now-We're-Revoking-It letter) wasted hours of his research and patience.

By the time he finally got a package scabbed together, it came down to two choices of hotel accommodations--both at the same price:

Treasure Island


Circus Circus.

Exhausted and no longer able to care, Hubby made the wrong choice.

Before we left, I tried to do a little research on the hotel. Specifically, I wanted to know what amenities it offered. Nowhere on its webpage could I find any information as to comforts.

It took only two steps beyond the threshold of our room to figure out why the website didn't list any amenities: there aren't any. I don't mean that there isn't a hotel spa, or a pool, or even a coffee pot in the room. I mean there were no towels. Seriously. And, judging by the trouble it took to scrape up some linens for us, housekeeping is only staffed every other day.

Long before the not-able-to-take-a-shower-because-there's-nothing-but-toilet-paper-and-bedspreads-to-dry-off-with crisis, I could not figure out what sort of logic would cause this man who loves me to choose Circus effing Circus for our special vacation. Halfway to the airport it came to me: Hubby (ever the standard issue male) had made his choice based on loyalty to a hydroplane and its Seattle-born driver. Curse you, Chip Hanauer!!!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

and another meme jacked from Ajooja

1. Do you like bleu cheese?
Yes, but a little goes a long way.

2. Have you ever smoked heroin?
Eeeeek! I've hardly done any drugs!

3. Do you own a gun?
I don't, hubby does.

4. What flavor do you add to your drink at Sonic?
We don't have one of those here . . .

5. Do you get nervous before doctors appointments?
Depends on what the appointment is for.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
I always think they smell good but I can't actually eat them.

7. Favorite Christmas song?
O Come, O Come Emmanuel

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?

9. Can you do push ups?
Oh hell yes! And not just the girly ones. (Did that sound all dykey?)

10. What do you order at Starbucks?
hot chocolate or a glorified milkshake

11. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
the necklace that's made from a piece of red transferware

12. Favorite hobby?
making my children regret that they called me for advice . . .

13. How do you eat your eggs?
Scrambled. I am a child in a woman's body.

14. Do you have A.D.D.?
no : )

15. What’s one trait you hate about yourself?
Can't improve on Ajooja's answer: procrastination.

16. Your eye color?
Green. But not that pretty, sparkling, clear green--more of a muted grayish green.

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
Bed. Hubby. Hubby in bed waiting for me.

18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday?
potatoes, salad, turkey sandwich

19. Three drinks you regularly drink?
water, milk, Coke (the bane of my existence!)

20. Current worry right now?
Both older children and their choices . . .

21. Current hate right now?
That one neighbor who manages to be insulting and smug every time she opens her mouth!

22. Favorite place to be?
swimming at Ross Lake

23. How did you bring in the New Year?
on the couch reading

24. Where would you like to go?
Doesn't Fiji have a nice ring to it?

25. Name three people who will complete this?
I don't think anyone will.

26. Do you own slippers?
Yes. Number One Son gave them to me for Christmas a year ago.

27. What shirt are you wearing?
Faded, tattered, baggy, ugly green sweatshirt of hubby's. He hates me wearing it, but it's so comfy.

28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
Too hot and slidy.

29. Can you whistle?
Yes, but not like my great grandmother did. She could do amazing bird whistles. I miss her.

30. Favorite color?
Blue. Or Yellow. Or Green. Or lavender. Depends : )

31. Would you be a pirate?
Nasty teeth--no way!

32. What songs do you sing in the shower?
I never sing in the shower. Except maybe that one song about f***ing Matt Damon.

33. Favorite girl’s name?
I'm not pregnant so I really don't think of these things.

34. Favorite boy’s name?
See above.

35. What’s in your pocket right now?
No pockets in my jammies.

36. Last thing that made you laugh?
A hilarious drunken scene from "Good In Bed"

37. Most frequently dialed phone number?
Beautiful's cell.

38. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
Definitely the elbow thing.

39. Do you love where you live?

40. How many televisions do you have?
Two in use. One waiting to be given away.

41. Who is your loudest friend?
Clarice--you claim that title, right? : )

42. How many dogs do you have?
One ill behaved but lovable young dog.

43. What are you thrilled about right now?
Can't say I'm thrilled about anything at the moment.

44. Do you have a crush on someone?
My favorite line from Sixteen Candles was spoken by the dad, it was something like "That's why they call it a crush. If it didn't hurt, they'd call it something else."

45. What is your favorite book?
Till We Have Faces

46. What is your favorite candy?
hmmmm . . . something with dark chocolate

47. Favorite Sports Team?
pair skating team Ekaterina Gordeeva and her late husband Sergei Grinkov

48. What song do you want played at your funeral?
Seek Ye First because I always loved singing the descant when I was a kid : )

49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night?
Nodding off while hubby talked to Number One on the phone.

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?
It's too late to go running. Good.

Monday, February 25, 2008

good solid advice

Beautiful and I laughed so hard at this! Laughed til we cried. Laughed til we had asthma. Laughed til we were sore and/or wet . . .

And the rebuttal (pun fully intended ; )

Thanks to Beautiful for sharing this with me. Ahh mother and daughter togetherness. Good times . . .

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tuesday evening while packing for our trip:

Kristin: (dialing Beautiful's cell)

Beautiful: Hi, Mom.

Kristin: Hi, Sweetie . . .

Beautiful: Mom--what's wrong?! Why are you so upset?!

Kristin: It's Dad,

Beautiful: What? What's wrong with Dad?

Kristin: It's . . . Well, he's . . . I'm sorry--this is difficult for me to talk about . . .

Beautiful: Mom--what's going on with Dad??????

Kristin: It's just . . . He's taking his fanny pack on our trip!

Beautiful: What!? NO!!! Oh, Mom--I'm so sorry! No--he can't do that! Let me talk to him.


Mister: Hi Beautiful. How are you?

Dad, you can't take your fanny pack!

Yes, I can. It's practical.

It's practical for a 63 year old woman!

I used it last month when I went to see my cousin--nobody said anything about it.

Not to your face . . . Dad, you just can't do this to mom.

I'm taking it. Period.

Beautiful: *sigh*
Kristin: (still trying to convince him of his folly . . . ) Do you remember when you bought that piece of obsolescence? We were in Mexico when Beautiful was a baby--20 years ago!

It was only 19-1/2 years ago. Don't exaggerate.

Yeah, because me being a little off about the date is the problem here . . . My point is, it may have been 'in style' when you bought it 19-1/2 years ago, but it isn't now.

But it's still in great condition!

MC Hammer pants and muscle shirts were also 'in style' back then and I don't see you wearing those!

I would if I had some in really good condition.

Kristin: (face becomes the dictionary illustration of 'the agony of defeat')
Update: Upon disembarkation at LAS, Mister was taken into custody by the Las Vegas Fashion Police. There has been no word yet as to the length of his detainment or potential release date.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Today is my one year blogiversary.

When I started this blog last year I was in a horrible place. I was watching my daughter give her very self to a person who was not worthy. I could see the handwriting on the wall and it was terrifying. In my original profile I stated that my hobby was lying on the couch sobbing 18 hours a day. And that really wasn't too far from the truth.

Not only was I a mess from watching the coming train wreck in my daughter's future, but I think I was beginning to feel useless. Number One Son has really come into his own during the last couple years away at university. And Beautiful was making it clear to me that though she wasn't making the decisions I wanted her to make, they were her decisions--and her mistakes--to make. No matter how much I loved these kids and saw myself continuing on as their mother just like I've always been, I felt the shift. Or maybe I felt the sand shifting beneath my feet. I was being downsized . . .

The changes that have developed over 365 days are nothing short of miraculous. Just as my friends Mary and Mr. Pid reassured me again and again and again, Beautiful finally did the math and broke off the life-sucking relationship. Her circumstances aren't picture perfect now, but she's come a long, long way. And may I indulge in a hallelujah!!!

My dream of massage school has been indefinitely postponed, but that's life and things will somehow work out. Working at a paying job for the first time in over 15 years has proven beneficial for all of us, though I do miss my time with Youngest. I miss homeschooling. I miss being home . . . Then again, Mister is an excellent housewife and takes good care of me : )

This is a fine little community. You all have been incredibly supportive. Writing goofy narratives, sharing about my family, complaining about everything has been liberating in its own way too. Thank you for sharing in the silliness, in the sadness, in the selfishness and the happiness. Y'all are great. Let's get together for drinks : )

Saturday, February 16, 2008

the kids are alright

We had a delightful quickie weekend visit with the kids. Number One was in town visiting his girl for her birthday. They will spend the evening having dinner at a fine restaurant (the name of which he would not divulge because it was a surprise for her) followed by Dvorak's New World Symphony at Benaroya Hall. Nice!

Before heading to town for the evening, they came to our house for the day. Beautiful joined us to round out the crowd. We ate, played games and laughed a lot. It was one of those days that was warm and spontaneous and couldn't have been more perfect.
No mercy--even for a guest!

Youngest helps me take a photo of Number One.

Youngest helps me take a photo of Beautiful.

So good to have big bro home, even for just a few hours . . .

Well matched couple : )

Friday, February 15, 2008

For husbands: a tutorial

Hubby walked into the bedroom this morning as I was preparing to take a shower. Being naked in front of anyone in the stark daylight is not one of my favorite things. Immediately I put my hands over my stomach--the area that used to be washboardlike and is now, ummm, not--and said, "I hate this part of me--I want it to be gone."

Hubby responded incorrectly. "It's not as bad as mine," he cheerfully replied.

"Wrong answer. Try again."

"It's better than it was a couple years ago?"

"Nope. That's not it either. Try again!"

"Ummm, I'm not bothered by it in the least--after all, you're 40, not 20?"

"Bzzzzt. You lose!"

"But, wha . . . "

"Hubby, the proper response is 'I don't even notice because I'm too busy looking at your tight little ass'--now I know it's not really anymore . . . "

"Oh, the hell it isn't!!!!" he exclaimed.

Nice save, baby!

for Geggie : )

Geggie described her Valentine's day with her sweetie and asked the rest of us how we spent our day. Part of my answer was this:

"Youngest and I spent the afternoon making Valentines for his friends out of
recycled Coke cans--it was hilarious and they turned out kinda cute (in a
homemade out of a piece of junk sort of way . . . )"
Being the polite kind of girl that she is, Geggie asked to see a photo. I know she was just being nice, but what mom needs a better invitation to share her child's handiwork with the world?

These valentines look seriously awful in the photo. They're only twice that awful in real life. No--kidding--they're not quite so bad in person.

Oh--and the smaller heart on the waxed string on the right is the necklace Youngest made for me. Isn't that just too sweet? I thought so too, until he confessed that he originally made it for the neighbor girl he fancies but was too shy to give it to . . .

Thursday, February 14, 2008

a day for emotional terrorism

Thank you all for your well wishes. By yesterday evening I was feeling markedly better. Feeling well enough, in fact, to be bitchy with hubby, have a nonsense argument with a friend (you know who you are ; ) inadvertently hurt Youngest's feelings and say all the wrong things to Beautiful. All in a day's work : )

[I did not, however, manage to ruin Number One's day. And for those of you who were curious and asked, he did take my broad hint about the importance of Valentine's Day--especially the first one he and his girl celebrate together--and sent her an envelope full of pressed flowers, i.e. he wanted to send her a bouquet but doesn't know about contacting a florist in another city . . . ]

On the upside, darling Mister brought me a lovely bouquet of flowers and a heart-shaped box of chocolates. He also brought Doritos, chocolate ice cream and a 2 liter bottle of Coke. Evidently I was bitchier than I gave myself credit for and he was pulling out all the stops trying to turn my mood around. I am so powerful!

Youngest carved me the sweetest heart-shaped pendant out of scrap wood. It's, hmmmm, rustic? But is already my favorite piece of jewelry.

Nobody else's Valentine's Day could possibly compete with gifts that come from fear and lack of craftsmanship, but I hope you all had a love filled day anyway : )

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I got nuthin . . .

I haven't written much lately. And that which I have written has been lackluster at best. Don't quite know what's up with that. All I have right now are random bits and pieces, but I'm unable to turn any of them into a proper post.

  • Just had a very excited (and relieved) phone call from Number One Son. He attended a career fair yesterday at school where he spent 4 hours talking to 8 or 9 companies and every one of them is seriously interested in him.

  • This morning Number One had several interviews. Not only has he been offered internships with prestigious companies, but the company he really wants to work for has actually offered him a job. Base pay is 60K plus 10% living expenses when he's in another city. Not. Too. Shabby.

  • All this is in stark contrast to the last couple years when he was unable to secure an internship (well, one company gave him one but then they lost their funding and *poof* Son lost his opportunity.) He's the same kid with the same grades, but now he's closer to graduating and he carries markedly more confidence going into the interviews. Good on ya, Son!

  • I'm sick again. Hubby has had projects taking up all his time over the last couple days and it irritates me. I want to be nurtured. Strike that--I want to be babied : ) But honestly, if he were here hovering over me I would hate that too. I am fickle. And I want ice cream, dammit!

  • Also--I am trying to mostly give up sugar. And it makes me a tad grumpy. And it makes me want ice cream, dammit!

  • Along with sugar I must turn my back on my constant, faithful lover, Coke. Dammit.

  • Not willing to lose all the progress I have gained in my insane fixation to be all healthy and crap, I tried going for a short run yesterday. That was a crazy idea. Here's what I learned: if I'm sick, it's okay to just sleep on the couch all day. The end.

  • In addition to a dear friend's sister being very recently diagnosed with breast cancer, I found out 2 days ago that my childhood best friend had a mastectomy within the last year, underwent chemo and just found another lump on the other side. She's only 40. And she has 3 very young children. I am devastated for her. And I have no idea how to wrap my head around it.

  • I also have no idea how to wrap up a blog post after burdening the rest of you with that awful news. So how about I do it like this:

  • Geggie, I can't find your e-mail address on your blog. I would love to get your recommendations for places to eat, things to do, what to avoid while in Vegas. Would you mind e-mailing me at Thank you.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


An emotional morning at home. An exhausting day at work. And Mister knows me well enough to know when I need to be taken care of.

During my drive home from work he calls my cell. "How are you?" he asks.

"I just want to go to sleep. For a week." I wearily reply.

"I'm making you breakfast for dinner" he says. And my eyes tear up just a little. This man loves me.

When I was a little girl, it was a special treat when my dad made dinner. Special because his specialty was breakfast for dinner. Pancakes, sausages, eggs, orange juice. It was all warm and rosy with Dad in the kitchen and the decadent smells of a big breakfast cooking as the sun went down.

Mister has never quite appreciated my affinity for breakfast dinner. He has never liked it when I try to pass off bacon and pancakes as "dinner." He has no emotional attachment to that menu. And during our almost 23 years he seemed not to understand that I do have an emotional attachment that goes far beyond just the food.

So the gesture of him making this special comfort food for me after a particularly cactusy day was tender and loving and thoughtful.

"And there's something I want you to do, okay?" he sneaks in at the end of the conversation.

I'm too tired. I'm worn completely through and can't imagine lifting a finger to do anything else just now. But for him I comply. "Yes?" I ask.

"I want you to ask for four days off in a row at the end of the month. I'm taking you to Las Vegas for our anniversary."

This man loves me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

the gift that keeps on giving

Mister: "Oh, and Kristin--don't show me any more of your blog posts."

me: "Okay . . . but, why?"

Mister: "Because I'm a man. And a man should not stand in the shower and mindlessly sing about f*cking Matt Damon."

heh heh

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Just another load of guilt to add to the pile . . .

I stopped going to church about a year and a half ago. No ill will towards the church I was attending, I just felt like I would be outrageously hypocritical sitting in a pew when other things were going on in my life. I'll just stop the explanation right there . . .

Despite my lack of presence anywhere near a sanctuary, I still tithe. Well, I still set aside a tithe in the form of cash in a special compartment in my wallet. The compartment can't hold it all anymore because I have yet to actually get it to the church.

Should I deposit the cash and send a check? If I did, hubby would no doubt notice a draft for the large sum that has accumulated in a year and a half. An argument would ensue. (Hubby and I have a difference of opinion on this subject. Don't ask . . . )

And which church should I give it to? "My" church which I no longer attend? My in-laws' church where they take my son--a place I am loathe to set foot in? (Too long a story to elaborate. Don't ask . . . )

My favorite charity, Operation Christmas Child? I can't just give them an envelope of cash so I'm back to the same check writing problem.

I have considered taking it to the bank and drawing a cashier's check. Problem is, I keep forgetting. You'd think I'd be a little more conscientious about this important issue, but I'm still me, so . . . don't ask.

In the meantime, I haven't been to the bank in weeks and I've run out of regular household cash. Which would have been okay except that I desperately needed gas yesterday and I had to stop at a gas station where they don't accept checks. Hubby doesn't allow us to have debit cards (again--don't even bother asking) so I was left with only one option: I was forced to borrow God's money.

Nothing makes me quite as uncomfortable as temporarily dipping into the money earmarked to help other people. I feel as though I'll be struck by lightening on the spot. Whenever it happens, I always return that money as soon as possible, and it's not like there's any interest on it, but still I feel like I might as well be grabbing a handful out of the collection plate as it passes by . . .

This is the most uncomfortable kind of debt. As though I don't already live with enough guilt . . .

Matt Damon makes for a happy pick-me-up

I am just so tired this morning. Too tired to follow up on a couple posts that are swirling around in my head. Too tired to write personal messages to friends (sorry, friends.) But this video was a fantastic mood lightener : ) I'm pretty sure I'll be humming the song at work all day.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

an encouraging conversation

"Hi, Mom. How's the running going?"

"Hey, Number One! Well, let's just say I'm never going to be able to keep up with you. Baby steps, but I am making progress."

"Good. I think the timed run/walk routine is a great idea. Fewer injuries that way."

"Besides the benefit of working into it slowly, the timed approach gives me the stopwatch in addition to the iPod to keep my mind occupied. Without them I'd be bored silly. And I'd probably give up."

"Yeah, I know what you mean. I can't stand just running for the sake of running. But put a ball or a Frisbee in front of me and I can go for hours on end."

"Just like a Golden Retriever?"

"Yeah. Pretty much . . . "