Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm Baaaaaaaack!

So, I hated to take a break so early in my blog-life, but I had to tend to some real-life issues and let me just say that no one would have wanted to read anything I would have had to blog about over the last couple of weeks. Seriously unfunny stuff. But, I am happy to say I am ready to blog again and I hope at least one person out there missed reading my posts...

I have to discuss funniness today, more specifically, unfunniness. Even more specifically, a total lack of a sense of humor. I don't understand this phenomenon and I have decided I can't be around an overly serious person who seems to have a total lack of a sense of humor. Now don't get me wrong, I understand that some people just don't share my exact sense of humor and I can accept that, although of course I think they're crazy...but it's the seriously serious that disturb me. I mean, I think we can agree that some things are just universally funny, like the time at the Home Depot when my kids kept saying "daddy, daddy!" emphatically to a random dude in the paint aisle. He was chatting with a salesperson and as we rolled past him I said "don't you remember that beautiful night we spent together...twice?" He looked at me so puzzled and then just uncomfortably looked away. The salesperson was laughing and I thought it was pretty darn funny if I do say so myself. I only said it b/c my kids were so obviously and blatantly calling him "daddy" that it couldn't just go ignored. I couldn't just roll past without saying anything at all, so I opted for the joke-out method. As I was driving home that day I was thinking about how I hated that dude for not thinking I was funny. I guess I should give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he didn't get it right away but when he realized what I meant on his way home he couldn't control the car b/c he was laughing so hard. Yeah, let's go with that theory.

That wasn't the case with my computer science professor from college. He was such an odd man and I was a little worried when he called me into his office one day to go over a recent paper I had written. He had made a copy and we were each holding one, and he was going over a few concepts I wasn't quite grasping (like all of it) and while he was reading he got to a part that was circled in red and he sort of stammered. I looked down and noticed that I had typed "3 1/2 inch floppy dick" instead of "disk" (hey, the "s" and the "c" are very close on the keyboard...and yes I'm that old that we were using those then-the disks that is.) Anyway, I busted out laughing completely involuntarily and I looked up expecting him to be chuckling or at least grinning, but nope, he was frowning and his brows were all angry-furrowed and whatnot. I tried to compose myself and I said "Oh my God, now come on, that's hilarious, right?" He just cleared his throat and continued all serious-like. Ugh. How boring. I mean, I know that might have been a tad bit juvenile, but the shit was funny. I'm sorry, it just was.

My point is, it's really annoying when someone doesn't find the same things funny that I do, but it's simply infuriating when you can tell that that person really just finds nothing funny. The main reason that I have hardly any "Mommy-friends" in town is b/c they are all too "mommy-mommy" serious for me and not nearly irreverent enough. I needs me some laughter, even if it's ridiculously immature every once in awhile. I met a mom at the park one day over the summer, as I so often do (parks : moms :: singles bars : singles) and we were chatting about mundane mommy crap and I was doing my best to stay focused on the topics she was discussing (very tough for me b/c usually I just. don't. care.) Anyway, she was talking about potty training (titillating!) and she said "I'm just going to go ahead and potty train my 9 month old, I remember my mom potty training me, don't you." I said "well, I do have this one memory of sitting on a potty out in the hallway and everyone standing over me cheering me on. Come to think of it though, I think that might be a college memory." She stared at me really strangely and then kind of ended the conversation with me and gathered her kids to go home. That's ok though, for me it's like weeding out the no-potential friends before I have to waste a bunch of time figuring out that she and her husband are in some religious cult that teaches that laughter is evil or something. If I can make someone uncomfortable on our first park date by making a silly & pretty benign joke, I'm pretty sure we shouldn't be swapping recipes and diaper-rash cream recommendations anyway...

So, I guess the moral of this whole thing is to just laugh at me dammit. It will make me like you much more.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Husbands Say the Darndest Things

So, Justin e-mailed me after reading my blog post the other day and in the e-mail he said something like "thanks for throwing me under the bus yet again in your blog." I replied "as long as I'm blogging you will likely be taking a permanent seat under the bus." I don't know why, but it's so easy to bitch about him in my blog, it's like my diary for spousal complaints for some reason. I think it's because our dynamic is just humorous. I mean, we don't really fight, we just bicker and argue and often end up laughing. And I guess b/c we feel so secure with each other and b/c we really do love each other (puke, puke) that it seems really harmless and comical to publish our banter for all to read and enjoy. And who knows, perhaps some other crazy, dysfunctional, irreverent couple somewhere can even relate.

Once, in the grocery store we were basically about to come to blows in the freezer section about some damn chicken: I was like "yes we did get that kind last time and we liked it. Why do you have to be such a freaking JERK?!?! God I hate you!" and he was all "Just shut up. I hate you too!" And then (this part sounds made-up b/c I didn't think people like this actually existed) a young couple approached and their conversation was "honey, should we get this skillet meal?" "Oh sure sweetie, that looks good, we could eat that one on Thursday..." We just looked at each other and I said "you guys aren't married are you?" The girl smiled sweetly and flashed her ring finger, which was adorned with a diamond solitaire, and said "No, engaged." I said "well you just wait! Your shopping conversations will change!" Anyway, there have been many times where we have been about to throw down while grocery shopping. One day I think some poor store clerk may get a little more than he/she bargains for when responding to a call for "cleanup on aisle 4."

The grocery store nightmares, however, pale upon comparison to my husband's comments or suggestions that are just, well, I don't really know how to put it. Like the time I said, "ooooh, look, my legs really look skinny right now," and he replied "oh, it's probably just the lighting." Thanks honey. And the other night he offers this one up: "Kathy, do you want me to watch the kids for awhile so you can go do the treadmill?" Yes, he seriously did say this. Let me clarify by saying there has been no "doing" of ye olde treadmill for quite some time now (and I've got the thighs to prove it.) This made his "suggestion" far, far worse. Really, does he *not* understand that this recommendation, or as he called it an "offer," is basically like me saying "Hey honey, want me to hold down the fort for awhile so you can go use your penis pump?" I mean, it's just as insulting. When I told him this, he replied all doe-eyed that he was "just trying to be helpful." And the thing is, he really, honestly, seriously, and genuinely probably was. He just doesn't understand that brutal honesty isn't my fave mode of communicado. I prefer the "oh-my-gorgeous-bride-you-are-perfect-the-way-you-are-and-there-is-nothing-you-could-do-to-improve-yourself-ever" blatant lying type of communication, thank-you-very-much! And, just for full disclosure, since I just know he's going to annoyingly bring this up after reading this, I did tell him that the night before I went down to (dust off and) use the treadmill but I got scared b/c I saw police cars outside and had just read about something creepy online and I thought someone was going to break in and kill me while I was exercising. While it was true, it's also the wildest excuse I've ever come up with to dodge a workout...

I live in a house with a precious 4 year old and a precocious & hysterical soon-to-be 2 year old, but I still think I need to keep a baby book for Justin to detail all of the great (and by great, I usually mean awful) stuff he says...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rainy Day Blues

What a sucky day it is in Rochester today. Now, normally I love me a rainy day (and a rainy night, as does Eddie Rabbit so it isn't the rain that made this morning a suckfest. Well it is, but only b/c we had to leave the house (dammit.) You see, my love for stormy, rainy, monsoon weather is like my love for snow: fun to sit inside and cuddle happily and warmly and watch the precipitation fall from safely behind closed doors and windows. But, it's a whole different story when you have to get ready, then get an almost 2-year-old ready and then a 4-year-old ready to include breakfast, hygiene, and wardrobe. By the time it's all said and almost done, you've selected and placed approximately 26 articles of clothing on everyone and you head out the door. Now, the chances are pretty good at this point (and it should be noted here that there is a direct correlation between the goodness of the chances and the bigger of the rush that you're in) that when you get to the car one (or more) of three (or more) things will have occurred: someone has pooped in the ten minute span between dressing and car seat placement, something has been left/lost and must be retrieved before departure can take place, something mechanical is preventing exit (car won't start, garage door suddenly broken and won't open, or husband moved car seats from one vehicle to the other and THE CAR SEATS ARE NOT INSTALLED, THEY'RE JUST SITTING ON THE FLOOR OF THE GARAGE AND YOU HAVE TO INSTALL THEM YOURSELF WHICH TAKES ABOUT 30 MINUTES AND YOU USUALLY CRY AND SWEAT AND CURSE TRYING TO GET THEM IN. Ahem, sorry, anyway, you get the point. And I've totally cancelled appointments b/c of that last one. Seriously, the few times that I've walked into the garage to go somewhere and seen the car seats just sitting on the floor I've been close to reacting like they were two dead bodies laying there, like falling to the ground and screaming "Oh God, no!! Why? Why? Oh my God!!" That's how horrible putting in the car seats is for me.)

This morning was only slightly better. We were all in the car and on our short drive to school, but once we got there (Kathy's Law) it starts pouring especially hard, like a little gift from the heavens just for us. Looking around at the kids walking in I was really appreciating the preparedness of their parents: I saw ponchos, umbrellas, rain boots, hats, raincoats, slickers, etc., etc. It was then that I realized not only do I not have an umbrella (not like I don't have it with me, but like I don't think I own one) but my kids are not exactly rain/weather-ready today. Julian is his usual Ralph Lauren model self, but he's wearing khakis and a button down with a cloth jacket over it and Charlotte doesn't have on a jacket at all, let alone the cutesy matching hat/raincoat/rubber rain boots combo that was the apparent choice of everyone else this morning. As I looked around at the lines of cars and buses and the throngs of students, parents, and teachers and contemplated my humiliating walk of shame I seriously considered leaving her in the car while I ran Julian up to the door (which was looking reeeeeaaallllly far away) but my neurotic paranoia of her being kidnapped or carjacking me overrode the threat of humiliation and I grabbed her and Julian and took off for the school entrance. Of course, at this point I feel like I'm feeling like it's in slow motion and that everyone is staring at me with their mouths agape and shielding their kids' eyes from the horror of seeing the lady with the poorly apportioned apparel on her own children. I then discovered that people were indeed staring at me, but it was b/c Charlotte had lost a boot in the middle of the freaking street as we were trying to shuffle across. I heard horns honking and people yelling and I looked down to see her bare foot hanging out in the rain. Oh my God, I hadn't even put socks on her in this freezing, rainy weather b/c I figured it didn't really matter since she'd be wearing boots. I didn't plan for said boot to come off in the street. I wanted to yell "it's in the boot!! It's down in the boot! THE SOCK IS IN THE BOOT! I TOTALLY PUT SOCKS ON MY TODDLER THIS MORNING...I MEAN, I WOULD NEVER *NOT* PUT SOCKS ON A BABY IN THE FREEZING WEATHER, YOU KNOW?" but I just scurried and dove down for the boot, got Julian safely to his destination for the hand-to-hand drop-off, and carried a drenched Charlotte (and self) back to the car. I kept apologizing to her, but she just kept saying "raining hard outside Mommy," and "lost pink boot," so I don't think she was too traumatized, or frostbitten.

When it comes to my mornings, when it rains it pours.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cooking with the Vosses

So, I've been a really busy bee this weekend, what with all the jewelry order fulfilling, family time spending, laundry washing and folding and putting away-ing, etc. etc. In the midst of all of this crazy-time, I managed to cook (yes cook!) a great meal yesterday: buffalo chicken salad, which we ended up eating for lunch and dinner. For some reason, I always feel like cooking one nice meal like that should get me off of the hook for cooking subsequent meals for at least a week, but it's not so. I'm not complaining about my husband (yet), he actually does a lot of the cooking and he does it quite well, and I also like to cook ok, it's just that it gets in the way of other stuff that I am doing that I do better. And for some reason, I get really frustrated with lots of things cooking-related. Anyway, after working away on a wedding order all day today and filling a bunch of other orders, the last thing I felt like doing was cooking a whole 'nother meal, but apparently my family expects to eat several times daily. So, I went to the kitchen and started cheffing it up (which almost turned into effing it up since I toasted the almonds until they were blackened dust...oops.) And here is where my frustration starts: my husband comes in (ever the nosy backseat chef) and, after waving the broom wildly under the smoke detector to shut it up after the almond tragedy, he starts micromanaging my cooking ordeal. Seriously, this gets on my nerves like none other. First of all, he thinks that any and all foods/spices/condiments, etc. that are even remotely similar (or start with the same letter, or rhyme, or he's seen near each other in the grocery store...) can be used as substitutes for each other. This is maddening. I mean, I'm no gourmet chef, but I know that butter can't be substituted for cheese just b/c they are both dairy products. So, he starts going through the pantry and offering me all kinds of unsolicited advice, which is a huge pet peeve of mine anyway. He hands me pine nuts and says "here use these." No, dear, I can't use those. "Well, here use these peanuts." OMG! Freaking PEANUTS are not a good substitute for TOASTED ALMONDS!!!!! This was almost as bad as the other night when he wanted me to fry up some french fries in butter b/c we didn't have oil or solid shortening. I'm not kidding people, these are the cooking ideas that he has. And he stands by them. Staunchly.

Almost as much as that drives me crazy are the sooooo helpful substitutions offered in cook books and online: a few weeks ago I went to make drunken apples, which is a favorite dish of mine. Despite the name, I wasn't thinking that this would require me to have some liquor on-hand, but it did, and our sober selves didn't have any. Neither did our neighbors (I discovered this after dragging myself next door in my pajamas at 4 in the afternoon, banging on their door and asking feverishly "do you have any rum? I reeeeeaaaaally need some," since I was in a big ol' hurry b/c I had planned poorly and the apples were already all a'boil.) I'm pretty sure they called CPS on me, but they didn't have any rum. Of course my next step is to Google "substitutions for rum" and do you know what the first several results suggested?! *Rum extract!* Wow, who would've thought that you can use the extract of the VERY SAME ingredient you are missing instead of that ingredient itself?! Genius! I NEVER would have thought of that myself! I wanted to spit at someone. I mean, seriously, if I had rum extract I would either also have rum or would've figured out to use the damn extract. I have run into this problem several times when cooking or baking: I'm look for a substitute for dried thyme and fresh thyme is suggested (really?!) or I look for a replacement for some basic pantry staple and am offered, as a substitution, a complex recipe with multiple obscure ingredients. If I don't have a basic pantry item like baking powder then the chances are pretty good that I don't have *both* cream of tartar and baking soda. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. And, I really do enjoy the back of one of my cookbooks which titles their "ingredients in a pinch" list as "Emergency Substitutions." Really? I mean, are we calling these emergencies now? Because I was kind of thinking the real emergency in a kitchen is catching fire to your hair or slicing off a finger with your Ginsu, but apparently also not having any molasses on hand ranks right up there, who knew?

Ahhhhh, the joy of cooking...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Meth : Mouth :: Midwest : Midriff

So, when I moved to the midwest I saw these horrific "Faces of Meth" billboards that show the befores and afters of meth users, and let me tell you, it ain't pretty. I don't know if they are effective for thwarting meth use but I will say that they are successful in making me want to puke when I see them. Take a look for yourself: (and try to ignore that one of those dude's faces seemed to clear up in his after...they should've photoshopped some open sores on his face or something, lest a bunch of acne-riddled teens will be on OxyMeth.)
Anyway, a large focus of the "transformation" of these folks is the characteristic "meth mouth," hence the analogy in my blog title. Meth really is to the mouth what the midwest has been to my midriff. You know how the camera adds 10 pounds? Well, Minnesota adds a lot more than that.** I even had a doctor tell me, after I told her I gained weight since I moved here, that "that's just what the midwest does to people." What?!?! How come no one told me that before I moved here? How come my new driver's license didn't come with a warning sticker: "CAUTION: permanently changing your address from VA to MN may cause increased appetite & weight gain." How come no one told me that in order to stay warm in the brutal winters I would hunker down with doughnuts and candy and only leave the comfort of my warm home for mandatory evacuations, which don't happen? So, speaking of driver's licenses, this is exactly what spurred this blog post: I keep a copy of my VA license in my wallet (is that legal?) just to reminisce. I tell everyone it's b/c I'm homesick (partially true) but I'm not gonna lie, it's more b/c I look damn good in that picture. But, the juxtaposition of the VA & MN DLs is making me crazy. A few people have seen it when I pull out my MN one, and sure they say all the "nice" things "you're just not as tan in the MN one," and "you're not smiling in the MN one," to which I say, I'm not tan b/c I haven't left the house in 4 months, and I'm not smiling b/c I had frostbite. And besides, who knew being pale and melancholy made you look fat? But, the uncomfortable, somewhat sad pity-look on their faces says it all "damn girl, you got fat!" And while I'm exaggerating and overdramatizing a little bit (I have to leave the house everyday, dammit and I *did* birth two babies in a pretty short span of time) it still sucks.

And so, looking back, I should have noticed the signs of the east coast vs. the midwest weight situation (even cigarettes at home are called Virginia SLIMS) but I let my love for my husband blind me and I moved here and got all fat and happy. Damn the love, damn the donuts, damn the blizzards (the snowy kind and the Dairy Queen ones, which share equal amounts of culpability for this situation) and damn the Midwest Midriff.

**Please note, if you live in MN and are reading this and are mad at me, I'm not calling you fat. You natives have evolved to be able to handle the midwest without adding extra layers of padding for warmth and protection. I am specifically referring to a group of us who have moved here from a warmer climate and have experienced Midwest Midriff, a medical condition which causes one to be cold when Minnesota natives are wearing shorts, and hibernate when the temperature reaches Too Cold Degrees Farenheit.**