Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tricks & Treats

It's been quite a week, so I'm keepin' to a short list...Ready?

Trick:  Dealing with lice in my house and on my (and Kate's) head.
Treat: Winning the war (I hope!!)

Trick: Doing load after load of laundry
Treat: Super hot water gets stuff REALLY clean...

Trick:  Being stranded in traffic while Kate is puking at school
Treat: Spending a recuperative day with her and her princess videos

Trick: Cupping your hands to catch your daughter's throw up in the makeup dept. of Whole Foods
Treat: People do get out of your way at check out!

Trick: Getting assaulted by the same flu bug two days later
Treat: Having a great excuse to stay in bed and not wear makeup

Trick:  Losing all interest in food
Treat: Compulsory weight loss plan!

Okay, so the week was mostly tricks, between disinfecting the house from either lice or flu bugs and getting my patooty kicked by the flu bug on Friday.  

But, the silver linings were there; the boys did not get either of the maladies, my house was a tad bit cleaner and the weekend showed promise.  

Although I was too weak to go out and enjoy the Halloween mayhem Friday night, tonight I enjoyed the good, old fashioned Halloween fun of carving pumpkins with the family and going candy hunting.  

We got out the face paints and did up the kids and Tom. Friends came over and we hit the streets.  

Kate and her buddy made about one square block before tiring out in the sudden, chilly air.  

The big boys did a 2 mile long dash and staggered home with buckets of loot.  

Tired, satisfied kids, showered up and collapsed into bed.  

Yup, the tricks were rough, but the treats were sweet.....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

20 Things I Know...

1. Plagues sweep through PreK like the Test of Job...

2. First Lice, then Stomach Flu, then, what? Locusts?!

3. Preschoolers give you 2 seconds notice before they barf...

4. ...In the shampoo section of Whole Foods...

5. At those moments I never seem to have a cup or wipe...

6. Women hold out their hands to catch their kid's vomit...

7. Except for some female Whole Foods shoppers in the same aisle.  They glare and back away...

8. All men back away.....even fathers....

9. Kids bounce back 24 hours later...

10. Have an activity ready to take care of boredom...

11. Decorate a pumpkin like your favorite book character...(Homework..)
12. Ping Pong Pig!

13. Okay, so I helped make PPP (Ping Pong Pig)...

14. 4 year olds can paint & draw, but I draw the line with glue guns...

15. Sick kids love liquidy Jello through a straw...

16.  So do I, with vodka or as a Jello shot...

17. Spending the day at home with a sick kid slows things down..

18.  I kind of like that....

19. It was Disney Princess Film Festival...

20.  And I kind of liked that....

Saturday, October 23, 2010


It all began this morning when Kate climbed onto my lap for a snuggle.  

And then I saw it; tiny, stealthy, gnat-like.  

I gasped, 

killed it then found another and then another.  

Still gasping, 

Kate looked at me in alarm, 

"What is it, Mama?" 

"I think you have lice, Kate", I replied with a sick feeling in my stomach. She burst into tears of humiliation.

I started to pick through her hair like a monkey and found scores of eggs and nits.  

The realization of what lay ahead felt like a lead weight.  

The rumor mill swirled late last week about a lice outbreak at school and now it was coming home to roost.

Today, like most days, are busy with stuff going on.  Jack has a big karate event followed by a much anticipated sleep over at the dojo.  Kate has a birthday party and a sleep over at her nanny's.  

And WE had a night ALONE for the first time in a LONG time.    

All dashed to bits...  

The next thought was my battle cry...Let's nail these nasty bugs!  

The kids and I prepared to jump into the car for a Walgreen's run.  

With found lice on Kate's pretty head, I knew the cashier's reaction to having my kids in tow as I slapped the Lice Rid medicine on the conveyor belt would be of fear and disgust.  

I had to come up with a proactive measure that would satifsy even the guy selling Streetwise at the Walgreen's entrance.  

A kerchief....  

So I found a bandanna and wrapped it around her head to quell the arobatic vermin.  Once we got back, fifty dollars worth of lice remedies in hand, we stopped by a neighbor's home for quick advice.  They had suffered twice over the summer and were unwilling lice experts.  

"No, you have the wrong stuff...they are immune to Rid.  You need "QuitNits".  

Off, kerchief clad victim in hand, we went to Whole Foods, to drop another fifty bucks.    

I dosed Jack with the stuff, just to be safe and fine tooth combed his head.  

Whew....the kid was clean.  

Miss Kate got smeared with QuitNits, like she was in the salon for a single process coloring.  On went the lovely shower cap for 4 hours.  

Since Jack was cleared to go to his karate event, we had a little logistical problem.  Dropping him off with Kate, donning her cap of shame, would cause some alarm.  

She needed a better disguise...Kerchief Plus Raincoat.  

The hood  and kerchief covered her plastic baggie head.  Now she just looked like a cancer patient. 

Oh well, the pitying stares were misguided, but she WAS worth some level of pity...

We dropped the boy off and headed home to commence the shock and awe attack.  

Having lice creates a good excuse to really clean your home.  I am not at all happy about it, but now that it's done, I feel better.  

I sprayed (detoxed) the mattresses, upholstery, rugs, toys, backpacks, lunchboxes, you name it... with Rid lice spray.  Then I vacuumed the bejeezus out of all that.  Piles of clothing went to the dry cleaner.  

Huge-r piles were dumped near the laundry room for super hot cleaning. It looks like we are candidates for the "Hoarders" show....  I think I'll be doing laundry until my son gets his first armpit hair....  

Next came me.  I found three of those 6 legged bastards on my head and my husband found one more.  

I think he has more primate in him than he is willing to admit, because he had a little too much passion for picking at my head.  

It was truly gross.  

So now, as I write this, I have the Quit Nits glopped on my cranium, shower cap holding it in.  

Facebook is good for unique wisdom and a great friend of mine suggested throwing tea tree oil and olive oil into the mix.  

You can bet we are going to bed with a spa treatment of olive oil in our  

Trader Joes sells tea tree shampoo for pennies and I will be buying a case tomorrow.  

It will be ALL we use until, oh, about 2050.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Beware of Barfing Zombies.....

Am I alone in thinking that Halloween has gotten out of control?  

Having grown up watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" on CBS prime time specials, instead of from a DVD, Halloween had a very special mystique.  

It was about the smell of burning leaves, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, that smoky aroma permeating our food and clothing...

I remember the excitement of "pumpkin night", when my dad would help us carve the pumpkins.  Our job would be to scoop out the slimy, seedy mess onto newspapers spread out on the floor.  He would masterfully create the scariest visages on those pumpkins.  

No wonder we hardly ever had any trick or treaters to our house....or perhaps it was because we lived at a wooded dead end of the street and Mom would turn off the lights and blast scary Halloween sound effect records.  More than a few kids cried..... 

It was about the excited anticipation of Halloween, planning my costume and how Mom would craft it.  One year I was a princess fairy (no surprise) and Mom made my wings out of bending hangers and stretching pantyhose over them.  I loved it!  

My brother and I would take off into the neighborhoods at dusk, plastic pumpkins in hand, returning a couple of times to dump them out and head back to the streets to fill them up again.  One of our neighbors were dentists and they always gave out toothbrushes and those awful red tablets you chewed to find out where the cavities were fermenting in your teeth.  

It's a wonder no one egged their house..  

We would be out for hours, dashing from house to house.  You could hear "Trick or Treat!" being chanted blocks away by dozens of kids.

Commercialization has taken over Halloween and it seems more for the adults now than kids. Halloween goods hit the shelves just after the 4th of'd think it was Christmas, for crying out loud! 

I get it...the grown up parties, the decorations, the booze brings in a whole lot more cash.  Until our house became a truly scary dump with the construction accident, we had our own Halloween parties that bought into the whole adult extravaganza.  Hopefully we will again...

But I miss the innocence of the "Great Pumpkin" age....

I took the kids to a pumpkin "farm" today.  

It was more like a pumpkin amusement certainly cost as much as an amusement park!  

There were carnival rides, 

pony rides,  

pig races, hay tunnels, 

corn mazes, tractor rides, 

haunted barns and train rides.  (BTW, do they sell these-here stocks at Walmart?  Just kidding...)

The whole place was paved and the "farm" feel was lost on me.  

Don't get me wrong...the kids had a lot of fun, but all I saw was what a huge moneymaking event it was.  

It was over the top when we walked past the vomiting zombie fountain on the way to the Porta Johns.....

Satisfied with their pumpkin farm fix for the year, we drove the 90 minutes home. 

I was yearning for a little fall comfort and nothing soothes my soul ( and love handles!) like a little cooking.  So I made some chili, corn muffins and salad and this CRAZY GOOD dessert....S'mores Bars from the October issue of Family Circle.  Halloween may have gone the way of the mighty dollar, 

but it will always be more homespun in my heart....

Makes 24 bars

14 whole graham cracker boards, crushed
3 T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 stick melted butter

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 1/4 C sugar
1 C flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

1 jar (7.5oz) Marshmallow Creme
2 T milk
1 C choc chips
3 whole graham cracker boards, broken

Heat oven to 350.  Crust:  In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter until evenly moistened.  Transfer the crumb mixture to a 13 x 9 baking pan; press crumb mixture evenly over the bottom and up sides of pan.  Refrigerate until chilled and set.  Brownie: combine the bittersweet chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave chocolate mixture 1 minute.  Stir the chocolate mixture until smooth.  Nuke 15 seconds more if needed.  In a large bowl beat together the eggs and sugar on med high speed until well blended.  Reduce the speed to medium and gradually add the melted chocolate mixture.  Beat until smooth.  Stir the flour and salt into the egg mixture; stir in the vanilla until smooth.  Scrape the brownie mixture into the crust lined baking pan; smooth the top level.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Topping:  whisk together the marshmallow creme and the milk until well blended and smooth.  Pour the marshmallow topping mixture over the brownie layer.  Tilt the pan to level the topping , covering the brownie layer completely.  Sprinkle the choc chips and broken graham crackers over the top.  Bake at 350 for 3 minutes or until the chocolate chips are glossy.  Cool completely and cut into 24 bars.   ADDICTIVE!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Purrfect Mummy.....

I had to laugh this afternoon when I got home from work... 

Our tenant's cat, Pudge, was hangin' with his new favorite Halloween decoration, a mummified cat, in the window.  

Notice the splatters of concrete on the window & the reflection of construction equipment...lovely, huh? Yeah, that and piles of plywood have been our version of concrete ducks, men holding lanterns or giant reflective balls, gracing our city landscape.  You can bet the neighbors LOVE it....okay, not so much.... 

Our favorite crusty construction guys return later this week to FINALLY finish the job under our house...

That is, I hope so.....

Friday, October 8, 2010

What Happens in Vegas.....

.....Sometimes lasts ten years!   

October 7th, 2000 we sealed the deal at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas.  

80 of our friends and family enjoyed the long Columbus Day weekend, celebrating with us, hanging by the pool and gambling the night away.  

It was so much fun.  

Tiger Woods was having his annual celebrity charity function the same night and we saw Charles Barkley, Seal and some other pseudo-celebrities that night.  

After the wedding we all headed out to the Mandalay casino and Tom said Tiger checked out his new bride.  Little did we know...huh?  

10 years fast forward, a move to and from LA, 3 apartments, one house, job changes, 2 babies, construction nightmares, new business 

and here we are, almost as broke as the day we said "I do"....  

All I could afford to get Tommy were a pair of shoes, but as my anniversary card said to him, shoes can be romantic, too.  

If he did not wear shoes the night we met, Rock Bottom Brewery's bouncers would not have let him in the door, thus no fateful meeting.  

His shoes kept him strolling back to my apartment door, they walked down the aisle with me, helped me to Prentiss Maternity Hospital and through the door of our first house. 

Shoes, to me, represent the journey through life.  

Life is still challenging for us, with the house nightmare not over yet and our little business still in the scary, survival stage, but we know that everything is gonna be alright.  

I have walked 10 years with my love 

 and I hope the road is long....