Monthly Archives: November 2007

Lemon Pie

I don’t recall exactly where I came across this Mock Apple Pie recipe, but I do remember that at the exact moment I finished reading it I thought, “Oh yuck!”

Then I contemplated why anyone in the world would want to make something that sounded so vile and why anyone would try to pass a pie made out of nothing more than crust and Ritz Crackers off as an apple pie.  And I thought, “No way!”  and “People have some seriously messed up notions of apple pie if they can possibly believe Ritz Crackers = mom and apple pie…”  But then I started reading the reviews.  And to my surprise, review after review after review was pretty favorable.

All of a sudden then, I HAD to try it.  Because, you know?  Apple Pie!  Without having to cut up all those apples!

So I went out to the store.  I bought a refrigerated pie crust.  Lazy cook’s way you say?  Not good enough you say?  Well, let me tell you something: If I’m tossing crackers into a pie plate with some sugar and water you can be damn sure I am NOT pulling out the bowls and the flour and the lard and the rolling pin to make a crust.  So, refrigerator case crust it is.

I bought a big box of Ritz Crackers.

When I got home I discovered we were out of lemons.  The lemon I had pictured in my mind while I was in the grocery store, actually, it was a half a lemon sitting in a baggie on the middle shelve of my fridge, well it was GONE!  My husband had used it for something else: a cup of hot tea most likely.  But the lemon, it was a key ingredient in the mock apple pie recipe!

So the pie had to wait a while – – while my husband went to the store to get a replacement lemon for me.

When he came back we were all set.

Snags was just as skeptical as I was, but he wasn’t about to let me play the role of The Little Red Hen all by myself because he wanted to be able to eat some of the pie.  He helped unroll the pie crust and place it in the pie pan.  Then he helped break up the Ritz Crackers and dump them onto the crust.  He measured out the sugar and poured the water into the saucepan.  He grated the lemon and helped me squeeze out the lemon juice.  He watched as I poured the sugary syrup onto the crackers in the pie pan and he helped place the top crust and flute the edges with his thumb.

He went to bed, I watched the pie bake.  I’m not sure bake is the right word, but the crackers had to soak up the syrup and the crust had to brown, so into the oven it all went.

In the morning we cut the pie. 

The reviews from my kitchen were as follows:

My husband said: “The pie is good, but it’s nowhere near an apple pie. There’s no crunchy sweetness with juicy apple flavor.”

Snags said:  “This is terribly NOT Ritz Cracker pie!”  To which I asked, “Oh yeah, what is it then?” and he said “It’s LEMON pie!” 

And I have to say, I think he’s right. The recipe called for two tablespoons of lemon, but I think one would probably have been fine.  Or maybe none.  Maybe I didn’t need to send my husband out to get that replacement lemon after all…  I could try it over, skip the lemon juice, maybe replace it with apple juice.  But I’m not so sure I’ll make it again.  It’s not bad, mind you, not at all.  But I’m pretty sure a pie full of crackers has a lot more calories and fat and sugar than a traditional apple pie.  One that, you know, uses real apples.

At any rate, I had two pieces for my breakfast.  But the second piece was only because after a teeny bite Snags proclaimed “I like it but I don’t want anymore.  I don’t want to eat nothing but SUGAR for breakfast mom.  I need something healthier than that.”

Fine then.  There I was thinking I could be an all cool Bill Cosby-like mom, feeding my kid chocolate cake for breakfast, or in this case, Mock Apple Pie, but he didn’t want any part of that. 

So what DID Snags want for breakfast?  What was the HEALTHY alternative he craved in place of Ritz Cracker Mock Apple turned Lemon Pie? What did he want instead?
Pancakes with SPRINKLES and chocolate chips on them.  Because of course, there’s no sugar in THAT.
 

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Filed under breakfast, humor life, lemon pie, mock apple pie, recipes, Ritz Cracker Pie

How NOT to Make a Sale (Part 1 of the Carpet Chronicles)

Our dog, Pee Pee* has been finding her way around the gate we set up to keep her confined to the kitchen and out of our family room while we are away from home. She’s 12 years old and on a vet prescribed diet that causes her to drink more than the average dog, and consequently, to urinate more than the average dog.  It’s become a problem in that she can’t seem to hold her bladder very long and has been  sneaking into the family room and using the carpet as her own personal fire hydrant.

It took a while for us to notice this.  I guess the puddles that Pee Pee made were absorbed by the carpet and soaked up like a sponge,  long before we ever actually spotted the stains with our eyes.  However, the incredible REEK of urine ultimately blew her cover.

When spot cleaners and odor elimators failed to do the trick, I decided the most efficient way to handle this would be to pack our things and move away, leaving the dog with the leaking bladder behind.  Unfortunately, the housing market stalled, leaving us rather stuck.  And I was too lazy to pack.  So the next best solution, it appeard, was for us to replace the carpeting in that room while at the same time, configuring a better kind of gate (electrified, perhaps) to keep Pee Pee from going in there at all.

I called Empire Today because they had a catchy jingle and their television commercial promised an “easy, in-home estimate.”  To my delight, they were able to set me up with an in-home appointment for that very same day!  The friendly customer service representative informed me that the estimator would come out to our house between 7 and 9 p.m., and that “all decision makers must be present.”  “Okay,” I said, “Deal!  Send the estimator on out!”

That evening, my husband and I sat watching the clock in anticipation while we savored what we believed would be our final days suffering the rank urine stink wafting through the air in family room.    7:00 p.m. passed… then 7:30.  Around quarter ‘til 8:00 my phone rang and Steve, the sales guy, called to say he was on his way.  He just left his prior appointment in the city (an hour’s drive from me, by the way) and he anticipated that he would be at my house in ½ an hour.  “Wow! He must be driving a race car!” I remarked.

An hour later Steve called back to say that he was on my street, but he needed my house number.   I told him my house number.  “Oh,” he said, “I was at your neighbor’s house.  Are you the house on the corner?”  I confirmed that yes, that was indeed my house on the corner.  I guess the reflective numbers on the mailbox, and the big brass ones nailed to the front of the house somehow failed to clue him in.

A few moments later, he knocked.  I opened the front door to a young man nicely, yet casually dressed, and who also happened to be talking a mile a minute.  He introduced himself, shook my hand, shook my husand’s hand, and announced he already knew my husband’s name since he had originally stopped at my next door neighbor’s house.  I can only assume she said something like, “No… I didn’t call about carpet… You know, there is a funny odor wafting from the house next door… Oh, you must want so and so, right there, at the house on the corner!”

Steve proudly told us how much money in sales he had made for Empire over the past year ($2,000,000.00 if you’re interested).  I immediately thought that this wasn’t exactly the sales pitch I’d anticipated.  In fact, it was rather turning me off a bit.  I mean, he was selling carpet, and $2 million in carpet is either a REALLY high volume of carpet sold at average sale price, or a lower volume sold at ridiculously high prices, right?  Regardless, it seemed an odd way to get started.  And although it left me wondering, I couldn’t ponder it too much because he kept talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking.  Diarrhea of the mouth, I believe the saying goes.  I really had to stay focused to follow him.

My husband and I, along with Steve, moved into the kitchen where Steve removed from his messenger bag, not a clipboard or an Empire Today estimate form, but a composition notebook.  The kind you used in grade school.  He set it on my table, but didn’t bother to open it.

He pulled out a tape measure and set about measuring.  He measured the family room, yet he didn’t write anything down.  And the whole while, he kept talking, talking, talking, talking, and talking.  But not about carpet, and not about the measurements he was taking.  Just about himself, his life as a salesman, some property he wanted to buy, his successes (and there were many!), his girlfriend of 12 years…

Since I had inquired about prices for replacing my kitchen floor as well, he measured part of the kitchen, but he failed to measure an entire section of flooring where we were standing.  Maybe he eyeballed it?  I don’t know if that figured into any of the calculations that he may or may not have done.  But once again, he didn’t write anything down.  Not the family room measurements, not the partial kitchen measurements.

Eventually Steve made his way out to his car and returned with 3 books of carpet samples.  The quality of each was never really explained.  One was (his words) “cushy”, the other “soft”, the last, “more plush”.  One had a 7-year wear and crush warranty.  The other two had 10-year wear warranties, and 5-year crush warranties.  But according to Steve, the sales guy, they were all about equal quality.

Actually, he didn’t say they were all equal quality, he said something about “not a big difference between them” or “not enough difference to matter”.  He then admitted to having a “super plush” sample he could have shown me… It was, he said, better than what he had with him, but he had, unfortunately taken that sample out of his car just the day before!  The company, or someone, I wasn’t sure exactly who, was now doing car inspections, and Steve had to remove it from his car because, as he said “otherwise they think you’re stealing from them.”  Sure, I nodded, as if this was a totally reasonable expectation.  But what I thought was, “So, you’re unprepared? You have something better but you can’t show it to me?  Isn’t that like coming to take a math test without your pencil?”  I even contemplated if that was why he wasn’t writing anything down, maybe he forgot his pencil. But he eventually managed a pen from somewhere, so lack of a writing instrument, then, wasn’t the problem.

We examined the carpet samples at my kitchen table.  We looked at them in the family room to see how the colors looked in that lighting.  We walked on them to see which felt the best.  My son, ready for bed and clad in pajamas (that glow in the dark!) joined us and declared a favorite.  I even tried to get Pee Pee to try the samples.  You know, just to see how quickly the urine would soak in, and how well the fibers could hold the stink.  But my husband stopped me.

While we were walking back and forth over the tiny carpet samples, Steve went back to his car to retrieve his laminate tile book to show us options for our kitchen floor.  And just let me say here that Wow!  That stuff is nice looking.  I didn’t know they had fake ceramic tiles like that.  I just may pick something like that whenever we get around to replacing the kitchen floor, although I hope they have more than 8 colors to choose from because 8 is all that Steve had with him.  Either that’s all they make, or he took the rest out of his car so he couldn’t be accused of stealing the better fake tiles, maybe.

After what seemed like forever, but in reality was probably merely an eternity, we moved back to the kitchen table and settled down to business.  Steve ran some numbers through his calculator.  I believe he used some special carpet cost equation calculator where X+$2million in sales + whatever you can dupe the customer out of = your commission and last laugh.  Or maybe he pulled a figure out of his pie in the sky dreams.  Because his price quote (again, not written down) was $2,880.00.  Yes folks.  For one room.  One 40 square yard room.  Do the math on a regular calculator and it comes out to some $75.00 a square yard of pure carpet gold.  Ca-ching!

The kitchen flooring cost something equally unbelievable, $6000-something.  Either I don’t recall exactly, or I didn’t hear him precisely with the ringing disbelief reverberating in my ears.  I figured I wasn’t redoing the kitchen floor any time soon, so the price didn’t really matter right now anyway.  Come to think of it, I wasn’t redoing the family room floor either, at least not at that cost.

I asked how long the quote was good for.  Steve appeared to think about that for a minute and said, “I don’t know, I guess until Empire raises their prices.”  I said we’d really have to think about this.

He seemed to understand that we weren’t handing over our wallets to him so he asked, “Did you have a number in mind?” 

 I replied, “Well, for the kitchen no.  But for the family room, for the carpet, I was thinking maybe $1200.00.” 

“Let me try to get you a better deal,” he said.  He went on to explain that sometimes, the warehouse, as it gets near the end of a roll of carpet, will give you a fantastic deal because they want to get rid of the remaining roll.  He called it a “roll back” or an “end roll” or something to that effect.  He said he’d call the warehouse and see, but I had to pick 2 colors, my first choice and a back-up, in case they weren’t running low on my first choice. 

I chose, just to be clear here, Shaw brand carpet with the 7-year wear warranty, the color “sandcastle” as my first choice and the color “honey” as my second choice. 

Steve made the call…

Now have you ever heard someone make a telephone call and for whatever reason, maybe the person answering on the other end is yelling, or maybe the caller’s cell phone speaker is turned up too loud, you can hear the person on the other end?  That’s what happened here.  I could hear the person who answered on the other side.  And to my astonishment, she didn’t answer, “Empire Carpet Warehouse” or anything business-like like that.  She said “Hi Babe!” 

Steve, to his credit, didn’t hesitate at all and responded with an appropriate sounding, “Yeah, I was wondering if you have any of the end rolls for “sandcastle” or “honey.” And what kind of deals you had on those?”  He did not identify himself.  He did not specify that it was Shaw carpet as opposed to one of the other brands of carpet he had been showing us, which may or may not have had similar color names.   The other end of the phone was silent.  I assume this was per prior agreement that must have gone something like this “Yeah, hon, sometimes I’ll call you when I’m working, okay?  You answer, and if I’m talking carpet, I’m just trying to fool my potential customers.  Play along, don’t say anything.  I’ll let you know how it all went down later.”  Because before the person on the other end had said another word, he looked at us and said $1700!”  “Wow!” I was thinking, as I mentally rolled my eyes,  “What a deal.  He came down over a thousand dollars in mere minutes!”  The person on the other end finally said something, “Love ya, Babe! or “Good luck!” or perhaps “stop for a gallon of milk on your way home, would ya?” (it wasn’t too clear).  He agreed to whatever was said, hung up, and said there was a coupon available too, on their internet site, which would lower the price even more, to $1630.00!

I said again that’d we’d really have to think it over.  At that point he said “Are you secret shoppers?” 

“What?” I asked.  It was so out of the blue, I couldn’t have been more stunned by the sudden turn of events if he had asked “Are you vampires?” He repeated the question and John told him no, we weren’t “secret shoppers.”  So Steve closed his composition book and said, very discreetly, almost whispering, “I can get you this carpet for $1200!”  “In fact,” he said a bit louder “I can probably get you better carpet for that price.  My buddy installs carpet.  See, Empire, they keep raising and raising their prices making it harder and harder to make a sale.  They hired more salespeople, and guys like me, they’ve cut the number of leads I get in a day.  They are withholding our sales commission too for over a week!  It’s so unfair!!!  I said to them, after all I’ve done for you?  After all the sales I’ve made for you, THIS is how you treat me?  I’m so angry, I’m thinking of starting a union…”  Or maybe he said joining the union.  Or getting a mob of his other similarly ill-treated co-workers to join him in standing up for their rights, whatever they may be. 

On and on and on and on he went.  Eventually he came down to offering us better carpet for about $1000 if we went with him and his buddy.  He offered to leave us with his cell-phone number and although I had it on my caller-ID, I pretended I was interested and I agreed.  He wrote it down on a blank page in his composition book, then closed the book and put it away in his messenger bag.  “What?”  I thought, “How is writing the number on a page in your book then putting the book away in your bag and not giving us your number, giving us your number?”  And then he kept talking.  Something about his mom and a real estate deal and some guy he didn’t trust.  And he’d told his mom for the past six months that he didn’t trust this guy.  And it’s just not working…. 

Then he decided again to leave us his cell-phone number.  So he pulled his book out of his bag and turned back to that same page.  Upon seeing he’d already written the number down, he announced, “Oh!  It looks like I already wrote the number down.”  He pondered that for a full minute then said “I’ll write… I’ll write…. carpet and flooring on here!”  And he did.  Then he put the book away.  Again. 

At that point, my husband spoke up.  “Did you get his cell phone number?” he asked me.  “Oh,” I feigned looking around, “Um, did I?  I don’t think so…”

It took one, or perhaps it was two more rounds of pulling out the composition book and putting it away before he figured he ought to tear the page from the book and hand it to me.  I thought to file it away right then in my kitchen trash can, but I didn’t want to be rude.  So instead, I started gathering up his carpet samples and leaning them against the door.  It took a little longer, but he finally finished his story about his mom, and got his coat, and retreated to our front porch.  There he proceeded to carry on for another 10 minutes about the upcoming football game.  

If all of this wasn’t bad enough, during his rant about Empire’s rising costs, Steve told us that he could guarantee us, that with his friend doing the installation, all the people working on our carpet installation would speak English.  With Empire, he said, we’d be lucky if ONE of the installers spoke English.  I found this offensive just at the face of it.  But it wasn’t until I was rehashing this odd experience in my mind as I was trying to fall asleep, that I thought what was really ironic about that, is that our last name has a decidedly Spanish ring to it.  So much so, that half the time telemarketers call us, they are speaking Spanish when I answer the phone.  “No hable Espanole! No hable Espanole!” I tell them, before I hang up.  And it’s true.  Aside from that phrase, the only other Spanish I can manage is counting from 1 to 10.  Anyway, I’m not sure, but Steve might have gotten us confused with our neighbors, whose house he went to first, by mistake.  Their last name is actually, “English”.

*Note: Not her real name.  Names in this story have been changed to protect the guilty.

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Filed under carpet, dog, humor, life

Things He Thinks About

Do you remember those commericials that went something like “It’s 10:00 p.m.  Do you know where your children are?”

Well, my son is six, so I pretty much ALWAYS know where he is.  If I can’t see him I can hear him.  Like right now, he is upstairs complaining LOUDLY about something having to do with his LEGOs.

His dad is upstairs in the kitchen making bagels because:

a) he found a recipe

b) they are the easiest thing in the world to buy already made, but nooooo…..

c) he feels a need to dirty more bowls and pots and pans

d) we already ate pancakes and bacon at 7:00 a.m., and

e) he’s tired of playing with LEGOs

But back to my son.  Like I said, even if I can’t see the child, I can hear him. He does nothing quietly.  He’d make for a terrible cat burglar.  He even thinks out loud.  So here, for your amusement, are some things my son thinks about on any given day: 

How did people go to the bathroom a long time ago when they were locked in the stockades?

What if people didn’t have butts?  How would they go to the bathroom?  I guess they’d have to poop out of their penis. (I gather this would be painful, but at least the guys would be able to eliminate.  Women would be out of luck.)

Where did people go to the bathroom in ancient Egypt?

What did they wear in ancient Egypt since they didn’t have clothes?  They only had that little thing that covers their butt and their penis.

I’m going to take a trip to ancient Egypt!

Why can’t you marry your cousin? How will they know if you marry your cousin?  Who is going to tell the marrying people that it’s your cousin?

I’m off to grab a bagel and climb back in bed.  The kid woke me up way too early to try and come up with answers to his questions.

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Filed under humor, life, Snags, thinking out loud, thoughts

When the Dark (When the Clocks Change, Part 2)

I cannot get the beginning lyrics to Ben E. King’s song Stand By Me out of my head. The part that goes:

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid, no I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

Because not only did I miss out on that lovely extra hour of sleep that most people get to enjoy at the change over to standard time, but I battle against a nightly panic when I step outside after work to head to my car and find that it’s pitch black out. 

I should be used to this by now, considering it happens every year.  But I am not.  Every evening, now that it’s dark before 6:00, I feel very suddenly and extremely rushed.  I feel a need to hurry home, to be home ALREADY, to draw the blinds, lock the doors, and batten down against the night.

It doesn’t make sense, really.  If I look at a clock I can easily see that it’s 6:00 p.m. and all is well.  We’ll eat dinner when I get home, around 6:30, like we have all summer and early fall, like we did when it was still light out.  But this sense of urgency, of the day being OVER, of it being too close to bedtime, of me not having had enough daylight to spend with my son, I can’t shake it.  It will repeat itself nightly until some time in the Spring, when the clocks jump forward once again and the sun still lights the sky when I climb into my car to drive home after work.  But right now, as soon as the sun sets, I feel like the day, the ENTIRE day, not just the work part, is over. Finis. And like I missed it. 

The feeling evokes anxiety of the kind I feel on Sundays, my least favorite day of the week.  Even on Sunday morning, with a whole day ahead of me, I feel that the weekend is over, that I’m only preparing for Monday.  I feel like I must hurry, that I cannot relax.

Once I am home in the evenings, where it’s warm and bright inside, but dark and cold outside, the idea of a world full of lights and activity just down the road from me seems impossible.  And yet it’s not.

I’m nearly always surprised, on the occasions that I venture out of the house after dark in the winter, to find that others are out and about.  It’s as if the jolt of an electric shock runs through me and wakes me up when I see that the parking lots and shopping centers are well lit, the roads are buzzing with cars, the restaurants are serving dinner and the stores are full of bustling shoppers.  Life, I suddenly realize anew, does go on after dark.  Obviously not everyone feels the need to bunker down when the sun sets.

And then there are people who prefer the darkness.  I call them vampires.  Or former co-workers…  I used to, many years ago, work for an environmental firm.  It was a place that, among other things, was fond of trying to conserve energy.  Some of the offices had been fitted with lights that were set motion detectors.  The lights would come on as you entered the room.  But they’d shut off if they didn’t detect nearly constant movement.  Unless you were a very fidgety kind of typist, you’d be sitting in the dark after a few keystrokes.  Then you’d have to stand up and wildly wave your arms around trying to trigger the sensors into turning the lights back on. 

In other areas of the building they didn’t bother to install motion sensors.  They simply turned the lights out.  During the day.  While everyone was working.  The bosses felt that the sunlight filtering in through the windows was light enough, so they’d turn out hallway lights and half of the ceiling lights over the maze of cubicles.  Even on the sunniest of days it made the place feel dim.  On cloudy days it was like working in the deep dank recesses of a cave.  In the winter, by late afternoon, the place was full of long suffocating shadows – filing cabinets and bookcases looming out of proportion.  The last person to leave the office was supposed to turn off all the lights.  Since that was often me, my husband gave me a flashlight to light my way lest I trip over an errant file folder on my way to the front door.  It was unnerving, working all day in a dimly lit building then being the last to leave and needing a flashlight to do so.      

I don’t know how much energy, if any, was saved this way, but I know “that deal with the lights” as I came to call it, nearly drove me insane.

Now the night has come, and the land is dark, but it’s okay.  I am home.  I am bunkered down against the cold, against the night.  And the moon is NOT the only light I see.  I’ve got the lights turned on all over this place. 

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Filed under anxiety, darkness, life, lights, standard time

When the Clocks Change

So that extra hour of sleep this weekend… You know, the one you got with the change back to standard time? How was it?  Did you enjoy it?  If you did, don’t tell me about it.  I haven’t benefited from that extra hour of sleep even once in the past six years.

Since my son’s birth, little joys like an extra hour of sleep, even once a year, have become a thing of the past.  The kid wakes up pretty much the same time every morning, regardless of when he goes to bed the night before.  If I put him to bed at 8:30, he’s up by 6:15.  If I keep him up until midnight, he’s still up by 6:15, with the added bonus of grump personality to polish it off.  To remind me that not only was he up until midnight, but so was I.  And that sucks.

This year though, I actually allowed myself to get my hopes up a little.  Snags and his dad were having an Xbox night, and I thought I’d head off to bed early, maybe grab two extra hours of sleep.  It was going to be great.  My husband would put Snags to bed and then he was going to sleep in another room because I was getting up early to go running, and he didn’t want my alarm to wake him.  You know, the way his alarm clock wakes me every.damn.morning. of the week. 

So I went to bed.  And you see where this is going right?  It’s all downhill from where I got my hopes up.  Because an hour later I woke up and needed to go to the bathroom.  I went, then I crawled back in bed, closed my eyes, and the dog started scratching at the bedroom door.  She needed to go outside.  Grudgingly I got up, went downstairs, and let her out.  I climbed the stairs and crawled back in bed.  And that’s exactly when somebody else’s dog, outside somewhere, started barking.  Bark, bark, barking.  So my dog started growling.  Right there, in the middle of my bed, in the dark, she’s lying there growling. Now this this probably only went on for ten minutes, but it felt like hours until I got up and shot both dogs. 

Okay, okay.  I didn’t shoot them (please note, no animals were harmed in the making of this story).  But I did lie there imaging myself calling the police and asking them to troll the neighborhood listening for the barking dog and for them to shoot it to put me out of my misery…

Eventually the outside dog stopped barking and my dog stopped growling in response, and I fell back to sleep.  But then I dreamt about work stuff.  Now dreaming about work generally sucks any time it happens but it is especially sucktacular when it happens on weekends. 

I don’t know if I met the work deadline in my dreams because my dog woke me up AGAIN by scratching at the bedroom door so she could go outside and do her business, AGAIN.  Had my husband been in bed with me I would have kicked him and pretended I hadn’t, pretended I was sound asleep, and he would have heard her and gotten up and taken her outside.  But of course he wasn’t there.  So I tried to fool the dog into sleep by calling her name all sweet and enticing like until she jumped back on the bed, and then I petted her, hoping she’d fall asleep and forget about her need to pee for the second time in three hours.  But it was wasted petting because she didn’t fall asleep, and she jumped down off the bed and scratched at the door with her mangy paw until I gave up and took her downstairs to let her out again. 

This time, as I headed back up to bed, I started thinking about Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the book I have been reading, and how perhaps there was a vampire RIGHT BEHIND ME ON THE STAIRS and so I ran up the stairs as fast as I could, cursing the dog and the scary book and the night and the fact that I had to get up in a few short hours to go running.  Of course when I got to the top of the stairs my heart was pounding, and as I climbed into bed AGAIN, I could feel my heartbeat and hear it in my ears.  Like a bad drum beat.  In the middle of the night.

I tried to fall asleep again but this time my brain wouldn’t shut off and I just kept thinking of all kinds of shit: the route I was planning to run, how cold it would be in the morning, the birthday party Snags had to go to in the afternoon, whether or not I’d let the dog back in the house if she woke me up a third time, the laundry I needed to take care of so I’d have some clean clothes for work, the Halloween decorations that I needed to put away, the scary book I was reading…

Then I realized it was hot in the room.  I tried to ignore the feeling but it wasn’t getting any better, so I threw off the covers.  That didn’t help so I got up and changed out of my flannel pajamas into something not so flannely and crawled back under the covers trying to decide if I should leave the flannels on the floor or put them in the bed under the covers.  In the morning, I knew, I’d be cold and want to change, but the flannel pajamas would be too cold to put back on if I left them on the floor. Even in different pajamas I was hot, so I had to get up again to turn on the ceiling fan.  Ten minutes later, of course, I was freezing, so I had to pull all the covers up onto the bed again.  All in all, between the temperature game and my brain that was on overload, I was awake for an hour and a half.  Add to that the treks up and down the stairs to let my dog out, and the stranger dog barking outside somewhere, and instead of gaining an hour of sleep, I lost a ton.

What’s that saying?  One step forward, two steps back?  So I’m mad. And bitter.  I can’t get that sleep back.  It’s gone forever.  And sadly, I know that when Spring rolls around, and we all have to move our clocks forward again, I’ll be even more behind.

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Filed under daylight savings time, dog, humor, life, sleep, standard time

And Then She Said

And then she said, “Your son is successful in all the areas here, he doesn’t need improvement in any of them.  Let me show you some of his work and give you some examples of what I am talking about…”

She pulled out the spelling test. “Your son,” she said, “was the only child in the entire class who knew how to spell every sight word we’ve learned so far.”

“Look at his writing,” she said, as she pulled out another sheet.  “And look here,” she pointed.  “He knows how to use punctuation marks!  I can talk about something one day and the next day he is incorporating it into his writing.  Because I know he is listening, it is easy for me to sneak in more learning.  I can write a question on the board and casually mention to the class that this is a question mark and we use it when we ask a question, and the next day your son is using question marks appropriately in his writing.  None of the other children are doing this.” 

“And here,” she pointed again, “he is using QUOTATION MARKS!  I talked about them just the other day and the next day he was trying them out!” 

“I LOVE having him in my class,” she said.  “I just get so excited because I see he is learning things and I can just slip new concepts in, like punctuation marks, and I know that he at least, will pick up on them.  We don’t usually teach punctuation marks in Kindergarten but it’s an easy thing for me to slip in there and your son picks up on it and has something new to think about and practice using.”

“In math, he is so advanced I’ve arranged to meet with the math enrichment teacher to have her develop a special math program for him so we can continue to meet his needs and so he won’t be bored.  It will be special, just for him, and only one or two other children in the entire Kindergarten.”

“The other children,” she went on, “look up to him and go to you son for help on things.  In fact, just the other day a bunch of them went up to him on the playground to get him to solve a problem for them.  They had been playing something and had some kind of problem and one of them said “Snags can help us solve this!”  And the children all agreed, so off they went to find him.  He has lots of friends here. He gets along with everyone.  He likes to help others.”

“He follows the rules, he is responsible. I can always count on him to listen and do what I have asked.  I don’t have to repeat myself.”

Right up until that last sentence I had been nodding my head and smiling encouragingly.  Tell me more! I thought. Go on, brag up my kid!  I thought.  I mean, I knew he was pretty smart.  We haven’t done any IQ tests or anything, but compared to some of the kids he plays with whom I can’t even understand, who don’t know their shapes or their colors or how to count to ten, well, he just seemed pretty smart to me.  He can count up to 200, and he uses words like apparently and evidently and vegetation and possibility and perhaps.

But then she said “He follows the rules…I can always count on him to listen and do what I have asked.  I don’t have to repeat myself…” and I got such a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  She can’t be talking about my kid, I thought.  Certainly not.  Listening?  Not having to repeat herself?  If she’s got this part confused with some other child, then maybe all the smarty pants talk was about another kid as well…

Because right before the babysitter knocked on the door so my husband and I could go to the parent-teacher conference, I had to take the LEGOS away for misbehavior.  For not listening.  For not following the rules.  Get a bath without arguing.  Brush your teeth and get your pajamas on…  “Okay, fine then.  I am taking away the LEGOS!”

But she said she was talking about my kid. 

So I invited her to come live with us.

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Filed under humor, Kindergarten, life, parent teacher conference, school, smart, Snags