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Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Feel this, Daddy?"

Short Person pulled out her basket of pretties. It is stacked full of things like headbands, barrettes, clips, combs, and ponytail holders-- a dream or a nightmare depending upon which day it is and which end of the comb you are working on. Today, I was on the receiving end of the yanks and tangles, as Short Person was doing my hair. Best I could tell, it was her goal to see if every clip would fit in my shoulder-length hair. Once she finished, there were about 20 clips in my hair, a bemused husband on the couch, and a proud child standing behind me.

LJS, either out of a perverse sense of humor, or because he was feeling ignored, decided to ask Short Person if she was going to do HIS hair.

Short Person looked at him and sputtered, "But... you don't have any hair!"

LJS, who was laying down on the couch, asked her to feel in the back of his head to be sure. So, Short Person walked over to stand next to him. Looked down at him very sadly and then took her hand and started patting his head-- none too gently.

"Feel this, daddy? NO hair."

And with that, she pursed her lips, picked up her pretties, and walked away, leaving LJS to contemplate the none too subtle approach of his child.

While I laughed...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Skunked! (and Short Person's 5th Birthday)

We were driving in the car on our way back from a day at the grocery store. It was a school field trip for Short Person's pre-k class so that they could learn about what happened behind the scenes at the places we shop.

The tour included a stop in the bakery, where the kids were shown how the baker's make large quantities of cakes, donuts, and frosting, and also where they got to watch the cake decorator put that same frosting to good use. Since it happened to be a birthday cake they were decorating, the class took the opportunity to sing "Happy Birthday" to Shortie, for the second time that day. Once the bakery was toured, it was off to the meat department where each of the kids got to make hamburger and watch the butcher wrap and tag their grinds, then to the milk cooler, where the kids got to watch as customers chose their gallons of milk-- a reverse image of the usual.

All-in-all, it had been a fun day, and now the four of us, Anjee, Eye, Short Person, and I were on our way back to the school to finish out the rest of the day.

Since all of the pre-k kids had asked their parents to attend the field trip, there was a caravan headed out of the parking lot. It was here, a few cars back, that we waited, talking.

"So, I wake up, at 3:00am, to a string of curse words being shouted by LJS as he threw the dogs in the garage. I couldn't figure out what was going on... and then I smelled it." I groaned, using sound to give a precursor to the conclusion, not that I needed too since I was sure Anjee could guess what the smell had been.

"It was a stunk, Anjee!" Short Person finished for me, imparting the best moment of the story.

"A skunk" I corrected, sighing. "This is like the third time they've been sprayed this month! I seriously thought LJS was going to lose it, and oh man... my house stinks SO BAD." I shook my head. What a way to wake up, I thought. "I just lay there praying that I wouldn't throw up. You know, I think they harness that stink to use in those fainting wake up pills."

Anjee is laughing, as is Eye from the back seat, not that I blamed them. Had the situation been reversed, I'd have been laughing too. Looking back, it was pretty funny. LJS had let loose an impressive amount of curse words in a very short time period.

Anjee and I continued to talk for the next ten minutes, going over different subjects as the girls giggled and chattered independently from the back seat. Then the conversation ebbed for a minute before Anjee turned to me and asked, "So, do you feel lucky today?"

I smiled. It was St. Patrick's Day, the day of leprechauns and rainbows and pots of gold, but mostly it was Short Person's birthday. Nothing could get me down. "Sure. Why? What's up?"

Anjee responded that she had purchased some raffle tickets at Oregon's 150th birthday celebration and the drawing was later that afternoon. "So, I just wanted to know if you feel lucky today." She said.

"Of course, I feel lucky. It's Short Person's birthday. It's a lucky day." I smiled.

And that's when the little voice from the back seat piped up and said, "Except for the skunk. Right, Melody?"

In between the hilarious fits of laughter, I forced out the words. "Right, Eye. Except for the skunk."


It was a good day. Short Person turned five. It's hard for me to believe. I still remember her first birthday when LJS and I, in the midst of our friends and family singing "Happy Birthday" to her, looked at eachother both of us on the tears as we stood in suspended time disbelieving that we had a child.

Now she's five. Independent and funny and smart and... everything we could have ever hoped for, for us.

In the end, the thing that strikes me as prevalent is how much I praise God for her. Had LJS and I attempted to create a child, that little person would never have turned out as well as the joy we've been given in Short Person.

We ended the evening at Red Robin's for dinner, with a big costumed bird singing "Happy Birthday" to her-- for the fourth time that day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Laughter in the Midst of Stress

This post is going to take you from our water heater straight into LJS and my bedroom. While I am not going to go into any great detail worthy of an erotic story or Harlequin scene, it will not doubt have some stuff in there about how our relationship works. If you are uncomfortable with that, turn back now. LOL...

Monday, after we'd gotten the first of three water heaters home and installed, and after discovering that it had major malfunctions of the leaking kind, we decided to meet in the bedroom for a little R and R. Unfortunately, as luck (or lack thereof) would have it, we also noticed we were out of condoms. As we snuggled up, prepared to do other things, I started laughing at our day. There is, after all, only so much that can go wrong before you either laugh or cry and since it was only day 3, not 4 or 5, I was still in the laughing stage.

We were having fun, playing around, but I still wanted sex. "You know" I said, "aren't you at all tempted to just have sex without the condom to see how bad our luck really is?"

"Uh... NO."

I laughed. I knew he'd say that, but I still wasn't willing to give up the argument now. "Come on. How are we supposed to know if our luck really is bad if we don't give it all we have? Let's test fate! Sex with NO condom. Let's just do it... It'd be quick." That last probably wasn't much of a persuasive argument, but I was trying to emphasize that it would be painless and over soon. He could do it and then in one month, we would know if we were really having bad luck.


"Please? It'll feel good."

By now, he's laughing. A mix of horror and hilarity and "Please God, help me" thrown in. "No."

"Meg's always wanted a baby brother or sister. Just think, we wouldn't have to give the dogs away then because she'd have something to occupy herself." Meg has been trying to give our dogs away for a year or two now. She wants a bunny rabbit and mommy made the mistake of telling her she couldn't have one until we no longer owned dogs.

"Umm... no. Now get on with it, Woman."

He's not budging, so I gave up the argument and settled in, but part of me still wonders... Would we, or would we not, have gotten away with it? I guess we'll never know how bad or good our luck was that day.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Hot Water Odyssey

On Saturday, our hot water heater finally died. Not died exactly, as it still heat water. More like gushed. Rivers of water slid down the garage, ending in pools where the concrete dipped and held. We'd been expecting it for awhile and weren't too worried. They are easy to replace.

Or so we'd been told.

At work, one of my job functions is to issue permits for plumbing, building, and mechanical work. Hot water heater replacement permits are easy to issue and inspections usually take place the same day the install is done-- which is usually the same day the call is made that someone has lost hot water.

We went online to the Sears website, found a model we liked, went to the store to get it, found out they didn't have it, came home, dialed the 800 number, placed the order, asked for installation, paid for it, and resigned ourselves to the fact that we'd have to wait until Monday for hot water.

It is important to note that there was an advertisement on the Sears website, under the 800 number that said, "calls placed before noon will be able to receive same day installation". Or, something to that effect. We called at 2pm, the next day was Sunday, so we figured Monday was a definite go-- and they led us to believe that, telling me that the installer would call with a time.

After a very stinky Sunday, where no one was happy, we prepared ourselves to go to work on Monday, happy that the wait was over and our water heater would be up and running by the time we were home for the day. I showered at a friends and Mike sponge bathed-- I'm convinced out of sheer stubbornness.

By 11:00am, however, I still hadn't received the phone call from the installer letting me know what time he would be there. I was getting worried, so I called the 800 number. I was assured that the order had been faxed over the day before and that the woman on the phone was sure installation would take place later, but she transferred me to the installation department just to confirm and get a time.

The installation people could not find us in the computer. THEY stated that the order hadn't yet arrived. Since I'd called it in two days before, I was getting a little high on the laurels. After going around and around, she finally told me that it was too late and that the earliest it would be was Tuesday before installation could occur. One more day with no hot water did NOT sound good. I called LJS and relayed the conversation and we hung up to contemplate separately whether we should go to Home Depot and then install ourselves.

An hour later, an employee from the Sears store called to say that she was having trouble filling the order and the earliest install date showing on HER computer was the 21st. NO WAY was I waiting that long! Crud, besides the shower, I have dirty dishes everywhere. We've been boiling water and hand-washing, but they are quickly getting away from our ability to boil water.

That phone call made up our minds for us. We cancelled the order and install and set to Home Depot this evening to pick up a hot water heater. LJS had looked online, read reviews, and picked one that was highly recommended. We got it home and he went to work installing it, noticing about half way through that the pressure relief valve had been installed backward and that he was going to have to stress the pipe to get it to the front. Something he didn't know how to do, but felt he could learn.

About an hour later, it was installed, filled with water, and heating. That's when LJS went to go check on it.

And noticed it was leaking.

From two places.

The top AND from the power source.


He switched off the breaker, and pulled off the panel. The foam wrapped around the elements was soaked with water and running down the side of the hot water heater. What are the odds that we would get the ONE in probably 1000 that had that defect?!

There's nothing you can do sometimes but laugh. Poor Meg wanted to play catch with us and all her Mommy and Daddy could say was, "Sorry, Honey, but we are on the verge of nervous breakdowns."

"What does that mean?" She wanted to know.

"Basically, Hon, it means that we need to drink a lot."

With a very confused look on her face she said, "Okay", and went about torturing the dogs by trying to play catch with them, while Mike and I attempted to formulate a plan for how to obtain hot water.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mom, according to Short Person (two weeks away from her 5th birthday)

1. What is something mom always says to you?
"I'll think about it."

2. What makes mom happy?
"Me listening to you."

3. What makes mom sad?
"Me saying 'I hate you'." (Well, at least she knows it upsets me! lol...)

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
"Tickle me!"

5. What was your mom like as a child?
"Like me"

6. How old is your mom?
"40" (gasp, choke... I didn't correct her. lol)

7. How tall is your mom?
(She had to count a lot, but then she got) "You are 33 tall!"

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
"Play in the snow"

9. What does your mom do when you are not home?
"Stuff at work and go to the store"

10.If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
"Making snacks"

11. What is your mom really good at?
"Walking on the treadmill"

12. What is your mom not good at?
"Killing the three ghosts on Garfield" (she's talking about a nintendo game called "Garfield's Nightmare")

13.what does your mom do for a job?
"I know that really easy...Clean Up"

14.What is your mom's favorite food?

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
"Packing what I like" (to wear)

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
She couldn't think of one.

17. what do you and your mom do together?
"Watch tv and cuddle"

18. How are you and your mom the same?
"We like to eat candy"

19. How are you and your mom different?
"I like to eat more candy than you"

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
"Because sometime you are proud of me, by giving me hugs"

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
"My dad being silly"

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
"Probably like to... work, the library, and the store... Wait! I know. Come home."

It Isn't Every Day...

I was getting ready to leave for the store when out of the corner of my eye something moved. Now, I've never been known for having the best eyesight, and in my own home, where I'm less able to play the "Oh sure, I can see" card, my squinting brought immediate notice from the other two occupants of the couch.

"What IS that?!" LJS asked. Luckily, I had seen it hop, so I was fairly confident in my response.

"I think it's a frog." Course, it was also possible it was a piece of lint that sort of glided across the wood flooring, but then it hopped again.

"Oh great." LJS groaned. "You know if the dogs see it... goodbye frog."

I put my stuff down and went to gather our rodents from the couch before they caught on to the commotion as Short Person started freaking out.

"A FROG?! Ahh!!"

LJS and I simultaneously rolled our eyes. "Honey, it's cute. It isn't going to hurt you." We watched as she still decided standing on the couch was the safest thing to do and then LJS went to go get something to catch him before the little hopper fled behind an immovable object.

It only took a few seconds and I decided that, since it wasn't every day a frog came to visit you, I needed to grab my camera. Thinking back now, I wish I would have told Meg that it might have been the Frog Prince come to visit her. I would have loved to see her reaction.

Course, knowing Short Person, she would then have insisted that we keep it, build a castle for it, and feed it while she worked up the courage to kiss it.