Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Hodgepodge That's Practically Perfect in Every Way

I missed it last week, much to my disgust, but we're back with the Hodgepodge! Don't forget to leave a comment before you click the link and hop over to Joyce's blog to see what everyone else had to say. And to leave your own link, of course.

1. What is something that bothers you if it is not done perfectly?
An imperfectly set table annoys the fire out of me. I mean, it's not like it's so very hard to lay a straight napkin and center everything in front of the chair. And does it really take so much longer to place the silverware instead of making it look like you tossed it in the general direction of the table? If that's the way you're going to do it, you might as well just pick up your place and go sit in front of the TV to eat your meal. Wait a minute ...

2. What is one of your best childhood memories?
One time when one of my brothers said something inappropriate, my mother disciplined him by setting the kitchen timer and telling him he couldn't speak for ten minutes. After she left the kitchen, my sisters and I reset the timer for thirty minutes. My brother had a fit, but since he wasn't allowed to speak, there was really no way he could tell on us.

Hey, it may not be the best memory, but I enjoyed it.

3. Do you plan to watch the Royal Wedding and when was the last time you wore a hat?
 Well of course I'm going to be there! After all, I am related to the groom.
 Oh wait, you weren't talking about my son's wedding? Is someone else getting married?

As for the hat question, before I married Indiana Jones, I didn't realize that people still actually hunted. When he told me it was one of his hobbies, I asked him if he realized he could now buy pre-packaged meat in the supermarket. At any rate, shortly after we were married we went "Up North" for my first hunting season. Someone presented me with a knitted cap in blaze orange, reminding me that I needed to wear that color whenever I went outside so that I wasn't mistaken for a deer and shot. In order to "pretty up" the hat, a gigantic fake mum had been woven into the side of it. The mum was the same blaze orange color, and it was roughly the same size as my head. I've still not decided if it was intended to be ornamental or an easy target. At any rate, I conveniently lost the cap fairly quickly. And, no, there are no pictures.

4. Where do you fall in the birth order in your family? Do you think this has influenced your personality?
I fall more frequently than any of my siblings. It hasn't influenced my personality, but I do bruise more often.

5. Where do you think you spend most of your money?
At the store. (Duh!)

6. When you need to confront someone would you rather communicate in person, on the phone, by email or by letter? Why?
If I'm gonna confront you, I want to do it in person. Gestures and facial features are as much a part of communication as words are, and I want to make sure that I'm not misunderstood. Plus, you can't ignore me if I'm right in front of you.

7. Dodge ball, freeze tag, kickball or jump rope? You have to pick one.
Well okay, but if I pick one it doesn't mean I have to actually play, does it?

8. Insert your own random thought here.
If I don't take out any time for sleeping between now and the wedding, I think I might actually get everything done.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Suits and Calling the Cops

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. I'm sure it would have been much nicer for you if you weren't wondering where on earth I've been for the past week. (Actually, it's been two full weeks since I've posted, but whose counting?) In addition to the usual work at my first job, plus the ever increasing one day a week work at the church, plus the homeschooling and the planning for our ladies' luncheon and the work we're doing for VBS which is approaching all too rapidly ... wait, where was I?

Right, Easter. It's been in the back of my mind that our two youngest boys needed new suits for the wedding which is fast approaching this summer. (The other boys are in the wedding, so they're wearing tuxes.) Since almost every store around had suits on sale the week before Easter, I thought it would be an excellent time to buy these new suits. With that plan in mind, I took all four boys to the mall one evening last week after work.

SIDE NOTE:  Boys can be just as picky when it comes to shopping for clothes as girls can. It took us until the mall closed, but we did manage to get the suits we needed. We had to go back on another to finish out the shopping deemed necessary for the week, but that's another post.

I've written in the past about the things that happen to my boys' Sunday clothes. They tend to do double duty as basketball uniforms and commando gear, so I planned on buying these suits and tucking them away until the wedding. With one exception. I wanted the boys to be able to wear new suits for Easter. I was sure that, for one Sunday, I could manage to threaten and/or ride herd on them enough to protect the new suits. With that thought in mind, I read them a long list of do's and don't's--actually, the don'ts consisted of don't sweat. At all. That meant the Do's consisted of stand quietly and stay inside buildings at all times.

I knew I was setting high goals, but at least it gave them something to shoot for. Sunday night after the service I stopped Nicky just as he started to run across the parking lot.  Meaning just before he broke into a sweat. I also corralled Joel from the field next to the church, but he was still standing upright and hadn't actually started a commando-style crawl through the grass yet, so I considered the day a success. When we got home I told the boys to hang their suits up and put them in my room where I would keep them until just before the wedding. Literally, minutes before the wedding when I will produce them again, let the boys wear them, and hope they manage to stay clean for the ten minutes before the ceremony starts. Again, high goals, but something to shoot for.

As the boys headed upstairs to change, Joel paused to show me the slight rip in the pocket of his new suit coat. A rambling story followed that included a game of ping pong in which he was not participating--only watching. How could he possibly have ripped his brand new suit the only time he wore it--while participating as a spectator? And more importantly, do you think the suits will be safe if they put them on only five minutes before the wedding ceremony?

In other news, yesterday was my day to work at the church. As usual, the boys' friends showed up and a game of airsoft guns started on the property outside the building. (No one was wearing suits at the time.) Before the game was over, we had been visited by no less than three separate vehicles from the County Sheriff's department. It seems that people driving by thought it looked suspicious for almost a dozen boys to be running around the property with airsoft guns. Especially when some of them were dressed in camouflage. Or maybe it was the fact that it was long-sleeved camo and the temperature was near ninety yesterday. Apparently people don't realize that, if the situation calls for camo and hoods, you wear them no matter how hot it is. At any rate, the sheriff's department received multiple phone calls and we got multiple visitors yesterday.

I'm betting that if we ever get robbed, no one reports anything until long after Elvis has left the building.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The 411 on the 3-1-1

A couple of weeks ago when I was flying off on my chick weekend, I saw signs like this everywhere at the security checkpoints at the airport.

I understand the reason for all the security restrictions, and I have to say, I'm fine with them. I'm willing to do with a little extra inconvenience if it helps keep us safer. (I realize the actual safety factor might be debatable, but that's a subject for a different post.) I'm not particularly thrilled with the possibility of full-body scans (something that I didn't have to endure on this trip), but I would definitely choose them over the extremely thorough patdown alternatives. No one's giving me an intimate patdown without buying me dinner and some really expensive bling first. (Hey, I'm not easy!)

I do have a confession to make about the above signs. I think I'm the reason for the final "1" in the 3-1-1 equation.

I think I've mentioned before on the blog that I'm a little high maintenance. What I mean by that is, it takes a lot to put together the whole package in the mornings. In addition to the body wash, the facial cleanser, the shampoo and conditioner, there's also the facial moisturizer, the face cream, the body lotion, the powder, the hair gel, the mousse, the hairspray, the hand lotion, etc. You get the idea. What can I say? I put a lot of effort into making myself look ... really average.

I'm also brand loyal. I refuse to use any old bargain brand of product. I'm not insanely outrageous about the beauty products I buy, but as I've told my husband many times, I can't look this good for free. Although I do sometimes think I should be getting a better return on my investment.

At any rate, several years ago my husband and I were flying out of Birmingham, Alabama, for a weekend in Florida. There was a church down here that was considering Indiana for their pastor, and they wanted to meet the wife. (We've lived down here for the past four years, so you can guess the outcome of that particular weekend.) While packing for our trip, I dutifully filled little 3 ounce bottles with the various liquids and gels I needed to make me look like me. That took a lot of little bottles. And I ran into a some trouble when I pulled out my ziploc bags.

In the first place, my bags weren't quart-sized, they were sandwich-sized. At the time, I didn't realize how big a difference that would make. Plus, I didn't just try to pack all my little bottles into the ziploc bag, I tried to pack all of our toiletries. That included our deodorants, toothbrushes, Q-tips, etc. I've always packed all our toiletries together, and I saw no reason to separate them. Except that I quickly discovered that everything would not fit into one little ziploc bag.

If I'd been thinking, something I clearly don't practice on a regular basis, I could have put one ziploc in each of our carry-ons, and that would have helped. But not completely because I couldn't fit everything into two ziploc bags either. Or three.

Try five.

My husband frowned at the five ziploc bags I was tucking into my suitcase and commented that he didn't think security was going to let them through. "But I need them," I answered, as though the logic of my argument could not be refuted. Apparently he felt I would take rejection better from a TSA agent than from him because he didn't argue further. He only commented that, if they didn't allow all those plastic bags, the excess would have to go in the garbage can. If that was the case, I wasn't to say a word in protest, he cautioned. I guess he figured missing our flight because we were suspected of possible terrorist activities wouldn't make a good impression with the candidating committee. Point taken.

I'll just be casual and quick, I decided. If I acted like I and my five ziploc bags of beauty products were supposed to be there, perhaps no one would notice.

Birmingham is not the biggest airport in the country, and we were the only two people going through the security line. We piled our jackets, laptops, shoes and my purse onto the conveyor belt and then swung our suitcases up on the line. I quickly unzipped my suitcase and pulled out all of my ziplocs, sliding them into a nearby tray. I was casual. I was quick.

Perhaps if I hadn't been standing directly across from a TSA agent ...

She said, "Whoa!" and the entire belt stopped. Two other agents came over and the three of them inspected my multiple bags of beauty products. When they stopped laughing, (I'm sure they were laughing at my packing stupidity and not at my delusions about the effectiveness of my beauty regime), they explained as though talking to a young and not particularly bright child that one bag per passenger was allowed.

I think sometimes it helps to encourage people's belief in your own stupidity. I frowned and looked confused until one of them suggested that one bag could technically belong to my husband. Eventually, with time running out, they hustled me through the metal detector--Indiana had already gone through and put his shoes back on--and then took me over to a garbage can. I was mentally bracing myself to toss everything when one efficient worker grabbed my purse. She proceeded to toss into it everything from the ziplocs that didn't actually need to be in there. She then consolidated the rest and managed to fit it into two bags, one for me and one for my husband.

I smiled gratefully at her and started to thank her for saving all my stuff, but there was no answering smile. "You might get away with this stuff here," she warned me sternly. "But if you pull this stuff at Orlando's airport, they'll nail you."

By the way, she used another word for "stuff".

I have learned my lesson. For my chick weekend, I had one quart-sized ziploc bag in my carry-on. I did, however, have to pay to check a piece of luggage.

What? I told you, I can't look this good for free!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Hodgepodge Where The Picture Doesn't Show Up

Don't ask me why the Hodgepodge picture isn't showing up because I don't know. I still don't know how Joyce gets the picture up in the first place. What I do know is that it's seven questions and a random thought and you'd better get busy if you want to join the fun. But you have to read my answers first and leave a comment because, let's face it, you're already here.
1. Would you rather talk to everyone at a crowded party for a short time or have a significant conversation with two people?
Well if I'm talking to everyone all at once, then that could be kind of fun, couldn't it? Because then I think I could classify myself as the life of the party. And who doesn't want to be that?

2. What objects do you remember from your parent's living room?
The lumps on the couch. Oh, wait! Those were my brothers!

3. Do you hog the bed? Steal the covers? Snore?
There is occasional bad bed behavior that goes on in our bedroom, but I am not the culprit. Although, if you were to ask my husband, he would say that he's not either. I don't know who that third person is who steals the covers, hogs the bed and snores, but if we ever catch him, he's a goner!

4. Speaking of Easter dinner....what is your favorite way to cook/eat lamb? Or does just the thought of that make you squeamish? If you're not cooking lamb what will be your entree du jour on Easter Sunday?
My favorite way to eat lamb would be after the waiter serves it to me at the restaurant. Our entree on Easter Sunday will be a Honeybaked Ham. But lest you think I'm completely lazy, I will be making all the accoutrement myself.

5. Let's throw some politics into this week's mix-oooohhh...Do you know the whereabouts of your birth certificate and when was the last time you had to produce it to prove you're you?
I actually have three copies of my birth certificate, and I know where all three copies are. I may misplace a child occasionally, but I know where to find important papers.

6. As a child, how did people describe you?
Entertaining. Hard to imagine, isn't it?

7. What do you complain about the most?
Living an estrogen life in a testosterone-filled world.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I just found out that not everyone in my house was taking advantage of the fact that they had clean underwear readily available every day. We have since corrected that oversight.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's All In How You Measure

As much as I love my family, sometimes living with six males (seven if you count the dog) can be overwhelming. Recently I found myself struggling with the ever-increasing desire to scratch and spit in public--always a sure sign that I need a little more estrogen in my life. Thankfully, I was able to get back in touch with my feminine side by taking a four day weekend to go visit a close friend. We hadn't seen each other in over two years, and her husband was out of town, so it was the perfect time to reconnect. We shopped, ate out, talked incessantly and watched movies where no one got blown up or shot. In short, it was the perfect chick weekend.

That Sunday I visited our home church in Alabama, where people seem surprised that I would take off on my own without the rest of the family. In truth, my guys accepted that I wanted to get away, but they didn't really understand either. So today I will attempt to explain exactly what I needed to take a break from.

1. The smell. Guys have a scent all their own. If they're not actively sweating, they have a musky male odor that can be endearing when taken in small doses. Multiply it times seven and it gets a little overpowering. Add to that the odor of their sweaty clothes and old sneakers and you know why even Febreeze is not strong enough for my house.  Consider the fact that I often drive home from church with guys who have played basketball after the service. No matter what the outside temperature, they generate enough sweaty steam to fog up my windshield. Every. Time.

2. The competition. Hey, I'm a bit competitive myself, so I understand a little healthy competition. But in the life of guys, everything is a competition. And my guys are in it to win. When applied to sports, I understand the mindset. I do have a problem, though, applying competition to bodily functions. Our house tends to be quite musical in the morning, and my boys take it as a challenge to best each other in the amount/volume/odor of flatulence they can produce. It doesn't seem to matter that there's no market for that sort of thing in life, nor that the ability to win this sort of competition is not admired outside of a guys' dorm. Nor does it seem to matter that I'm constantly reminding them that they don't live in a guys' dorm.

Sometimes I think I do.

3. Mostly I needed a break from the male mindset. Guys are not tactful by nature, and quite often they blurt out whatever thought crosses their minds. For instance, I've lost almost 60 pounds. My guys have been complimentary and encouraging. Sort of. In their own way. Some examples--

--I announced my most recent weight loss, and the boys all complimented me enthusiastically. Wanting to go that extra mile with the encouragement, one of them commented, "I knew you were losing weight. Your arms aren't nearly as big as they used to be."

--We went through a drive through and I asked my 11 year old to hand me my wallet. When I finished the transaction, I turned to him and found him staring at my driver's license. He had the same look a person gets on their face when they're passing a traffic accident and they simply can't look away. (I can't blame him. Driver's license pictures are supposed to be ugly, but I went the extra mile with mine. Obviously, I was 60 pounds heavier. My face was flushed and I was wearing a bright orange/red top. I gave a great impression of a squashed tomato.)

"Driver's license photos are supposed to look bad," I told him.

"Can you have it retaken?" He still couldn't look away.

"Not until it expires." I decided to go ahead and let him get out what he had to say. "It looks pretty bad, doesn't it?"

"No," he lied, struggling to tear his gaze away. "Except for the chin. And the cheeks." Pause. "And the hair ..."

--My husband has been extremely complimentary and encouraging on the weight loss. And mostly in a very good way. But even he occasionally can't hide the male thought patterns that come crashing through. Every once in a while he'll ask me for the current number of pounds lost. I'll proudly tell him and then congratulations start all over again. I'm still losing, but the loss has slowed some. Recently he asked me and the number of pounds lost was the same number it had been the last time he asked. Seeing his surprise, I hurried on to explain that weight loss isn't measured in pounds alone, but also in inches. Rather than detailing the specific inches lost from hips, thighs, waist, etc., I simply told him I'd lost 46 inches so far.

When there was no sound, I glanced up to see a horrified look on Indiana's face. "46 inches?" He repeated. "Where?"

I was insulted. Hadn't he been telling me all along that he could tell I'd been losing? Where did he think the inches came from? I told him I'd lost from hips, thighs, waist, etc.

"Oh." I could see some male-type thoughts tumbling through his mind. "Wow." Pause. "That's almost four feet." Seeing the look on my face, it was his turn to be surprised. "What?" he asked. "Isn't that good?"

Forty-six inches sounds good. Four feet sounds like I had a dwarf growing out of my hip. Apparently only a female would understand that you don't convert measurements when discussing weight loss.

And that, dear readers, is why I needed a break. I needed to smell some perfume and shop for girly items for a while. I needed someone who didn't have to discuss pounds or feet(!) to know that I'd lost weight. Instead we simply chattered about sizes and giggled that I had to go down another size in skirts to find one that fit.

Sometimes females just need to get away from the dwarf growing out of their side. Either that, or they'll find themselves joining in on the competition.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Follow the Signs to the Hodgepodge

And you thought I wasn't going to play today, didn't you? Admit it! You thought I wouldn't! I don't know why. Just because I've had exactly eight posts in the month of March, and only three of them were not Hodgepodge posts. Yes, I know I've been remiss. I'm sorry. I'd like to promise I'll do better, but I don't think it would help our relationship by lying to you. 

All the same, I know I must do something. I've lost five (count them, five) followers in the last week. I'm afraid I am literally boring people to death with my non-posting. Which, I suppose, is better than boring them to death with posting. At any rate, I can't take that kind of rejection. So here I am at the weekly Hodgepodge, which I absolutely adore, by the way, answering seven questions and giving a random thought. Come on and play along, will you? 

 1. National Read a Road Map Day falls on April 5th. Would people say you have a good sense of direction? Do you rely on a GPS when you drive somewhere new? When was the last time you used a map?
I detest GPS units, probably because they sound incredibly superior as they direct you, and then they sound annoyed at your stupidity when they announce that they are "recalculating". I have a fabulous sense of direction, so I don't need a GPS myself. In fact, I've become somewhat of a living GPS unit for the males in my family who frequently call me for directions while they're driving. When this happens, I will sometimes direct them with a British accent, but always with a superior attitude.

2. What's your favorite cookbook?
The one used by someone other than me.
3. What painting would you like to "walk into" and experience? Why?
I would not like to walk into any painting because I would be afraid I couldn't get back out of it when I was done. I'm weird that way.
4. What annoys you more- misspellings or mispronunciations?
Misspellings annoy me considerably. I have been known to correct the spelling in my son's texting.
5. What is something your mother or father considered important?
My mother thought it was important for her girls to act like ladies. Someday perhaps I will achieve that goal.
6. Do you like or dislike schedules?
I am very fond of schedules. Unfortunately, no one else in my family is fond of schedules and they are continually disrupting mine.
7. Let's have some fun with National Poetry Month (that would be April)...write your own ending to this poem-

"Roses are Red
Violets are blue...
I've wracked my brain,
But I've got nothing for you."

Incidentally if you'd like to read the history behind that little ditty you'll find it here.

8. Insert your own random thought in this space.
I've not neglected my blog because I have nothing to say. On the contrary, so much is happening, I've had no time to post. I've written fantastic posts in my head, though. Roll-on-the-floor-laugh-out-loud kind of stuff. I'll try to do better. Hopefully I'll do one more post this week about why I took a mini-vacation away from all my guys. A little hint:  it had something to do with smells and the four-foot dwarf growing out of my side. Yeah, just ponder that mental picture for a day or two until I get back to you.

Related Posts with Thumbnails