Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some answers for you to chew on for a few days

Oh, my darling interpeeps.

I am leaving you for a few days to head out of town for some more girl time. I know it just seems like I got back from some time away, but lucky me, I get to go again.

I am heading to this conference, where I hope to pay enough attention that I learn something, and attending a huge party where I will actually get meet a large group of you, face to face, for the first time.

I leave you with some answers to your burning questions:

1. Spray-on tan: Absolutely god's greatest invention for skin-cancer phobics like me. (Yes, Dad, I realize I am the same girl that used to lay out in the backyard with baby oil burning on my skin. I know, I know...).

You do it at your normal tanning salon, but be prepared to pay about four times what you would for a regular tanning session. It is safe, FDA approved, and very effective. It lasts about 5-7 days, and then gradually begins fading away. For me, it just evens out my skin tone and gives me a slight glow.

Not once have I come out looking either like an oompa-loompa or worse, DonatellaVersace, which is what I was at first afraid of. I get that sun-kissed look, without the harmful, wrinkle-causing touch of the sun. I highly recommend it. I did it a few times this winter when I was feeling especially pale and ugly. Perks you right up.

2. My new mascaras: Hit up your local mall and stop by Sephora. Ask one of the annoyingly eager ever-friendly workers for Dior Show (for thickness) and Fiberwig (for length). Best new discovery I've made in a long time. It has plumped up and lengthened my normally stubby eyelashes. I'm in love.

3. Dan: I have gotten a few comments and some emails in slightly worried tones about Dan, who seems to leave nasty comments for me every day. He is (until proven otherwise) my brother. I love him for his sarcasm and would actually faint dead if he ever said anything semi-nice. Please do not worry about the things he says. It's his love language. Thanks, though, for your concern. It's nice to have somebody who cares if my feelings are being hurt.

That's about it. Just finishing up the laundry, lists, cleaning, and packing for my weekend away. Can't wait to meet you all.

I only wish it were going to be warmer. [Stupid weather has forced me to rethink my entire trip wardrobe.]

See you soon!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Helpful hints

Things not to ask me about today:

Discovering the next door neighbors were cutting down a tree at six a.m. this morning. Yes, with a chain saw. At six-freaking-o'clock-in-the-morning.

The pain in every part of my body brought on by the trainer I pay to torture me every week.

The laundry that is not done.

The baseball game that I barely got my son to (because I'm a moron and thought it started a half hour later than it actually did).

The temperature of said baseball game hitting a high of 43 degrees.

The three hot chocolates I had to buy at the baseball game to keep little fingers warm (and the subsequent spills that made it a major waste of money).

The mac and cheese three little people might be having for dinner tonight, and its lack of nutritional value.

The trip I am taking in two days and am nowhere near ready for (and still have NO IDEA what I'm going to wear).

The blog I have been ignoring all week, much to my chagrin.

Things you may ask me about today:

My new spray-on tan that makes my pasty-white skin look slightly brown. And therefore less full of freckles.

My new mascara(s) (thanks, Nicole!)

Cookie dough (always a favorite subject)

Guess that's it. Any questions?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Today she is six

And I am very afraid that if I blink, she will be 16.

Happy birthday, baby. Love you more than you will ever know.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pride Cometh Before the Poor House

I have an issue that I'd like to complain about today.

School picture day.


There is something so cheesy, so tacky to me about the faded blue/gray background and posed child with a fake smile. It is the same no matter where you go. Granted, the school photographers are shooting anywhere from 500 to 600 kids in a day and, therefore, my kids only get one shot to look their best in the photo. I understand they're not going to spend the time it takes to get that one perfect shot.

Believe me, that task is next to impossible. I've spent the time it takes.

I have had to beg, demand, cajole, and even resort to paying my children in order to have them pose for me. I usually shoot about a hundred pictures, and will be lucky to get one or two that I like. There is no way the best of my children will be captured by the school photographer in one shot.

And yet, I feel compelled to purchase a package each and every time (which is twice a year in our current school). Not compelled because I want a collection of these ugly, stiff pictures, but because I refuse to have my child be the one child in their class who doesn't buy a package. I will not have them look longingly at their friends' ugly pictures and wonder why they don't have an ugly picture of their own. I will not have teachers and classmates think we cannot afford to buy a photo package. And that pride leads to us to spend a large amount of money every year on pictures that look ridiculous.

Here are just a few from my hidden collection:

I ABSOLUTELY KNOW that my children are the most beautiful children ever created, but these photos do not remotely capture anything other than stiff, awkward, serial-killer like expressions. I hate them. I don't send them to grandparents. I most certainly do not put them up on the wall.

You must be asking yourself then what pictures I do deem worthy of putting up on the wall? I am a photo snob, and I'll admit it. Here are some of my favorites, taken by me, of them:

See? You see what I mean now, don't you. Here is a picture of our photo wall with my favorite shots blown up.

And so, next week when I enclose a check in the Tacky-Photos-R-Us envelope for Hannah's ballet pictures, please know that I do it very begrudgingly. But I'd rather waste money than appear as though I have none.

Please tell me there is someone out there like me. I can't imagine that I'm all alone in my insanity. Right? RIGHT?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

His and Hers Perceptions

The Husband is generally not around during the week as he travels a lot for work. He's not privy to my daily routine, and I am not privy to his. I'm sure he has his own ideas about what happens around here.

Here's what I think his perceptions are of how I spend a typical day:

7:00 a.m. The alarm goes off. Yell at the kids to get out of bed, then fall right back asleep.

7:50 a.m. Rush out of bed and shove the kids out the front door for school. When they ask about lunches, tell them to just share what the kid next to them brings for lunch. Feel good for teaching them how to share.

7:51 a.m. Eat my own hearty breakfast of donuts, brownies, and chocolate milk.

7:55 a.m. Scratch rear end with long poking stick.

7:59 a.m. Yawn. Consider taking a shower. Go back to bed instead.

11:45 a.m. Wake up and shove Hannah out the door for the kindergarten bus pick-up. Remember her need for lunch and throw a pop-tart at the bus in the hope that she catches it.

12:01 p.m. Go through McDonald's drive-thru and order a Big Mac, three orders of fries, and a large milkshake for lunch. For myself.

12:12 p.m. Rush home to watch several soap operas while gorging on McD's.

2:00 p.m. Take a much-needed nap.

3:20 p.m. Greet the children at the front door with strict instructions not to disturb my second afternoon nap. Tell them to do their own homework.

5:00 p.m. Wake up from nap, order a pizza, and ignore the large pile of dishes in the sink.

5:30 p.m. Feed the children. Eat remaining donuts from this morning when the children aren't looking. Laugh when the children ask for vegetables. Force them to eat greasy pizza instead.

6:00 p.m. Send the children to bed.

6:01 p.m. Begin five hour nighttime television marathon involving TIVO'd episodes of soap operas that I missed while napping.

6:30 p.m. Consume remaining eight slices of pizza. Wash it down with some diet coke and feel good about my low-calorie drink. Feel deep sense of satisfaction for making such a healthy choice.

11:00 p.m. Begin to get ready for bed, and realize I am still in my pajamas from the night before. Smile wickedly at that thought and crawl into the unmade bed.

11:01 p.m. Fall asleep while eating a bag of Doritos.


Oh, I wish. Here's how I REALLY spend my days:

6:28 a.m. Wake up. Hit the snooze button three times and wish it was a Saturday.

6:55 a.m. Get out of bed. Find two of the three children already awake. Wonder how I gave birth to such cheerful early risers.

7:00 a.m. Feed the children a breakfast of Eggo waffles, apples, peanut butter, and skim milk. Throw in the first of several loads of laundry. Pack lunches. Clean up breakfast dishes, kitchen, living room, and sun room. Vacuum entire first floor.

7:50 a.m. Hug and kiss the boys, and watch them walk to the bus stop. Wait for the bus to pass and wave them off to their day.

8:00 a.m. Hit the treadmill. Sweat and run to a re-run of Desperate Housewives. Silently be grateful there's a new Grey's Anatomy this week.

9:00 a.m. Read a few blogs.

9:20 a.m. Shower, blow dry hair, apply make-up, and get dressed. Change the laundry.

10:15 a.m. Assemble goodie bags for Hannah's birthday party this week. Play dollhouse with her. Listen to her excitedly describe YET AGAIN every character on High School Musical. Nod, and smile, and say, "Oh really, wow!" while secretly wanting to punch Sharpay and Troy. Go pick up dry cleaning.

11:30 a.m. Feed Hannah her favorite lunch of Spaghettios and goldfish. Force her to drink a glass of milk.

12:00 p.m. Watch for the bus with Hannah. Wave to her, even though she never looks or waves back.

12:01 p.m. Run to the grocery store, milk store, Target, and post office. Stop for a diet coke at McDonald's. Savor its absolute perfection.

1:30 p.m. Come home and unpack groceries. Change the laundry again. Go downstairs to office and transcribe three very long and boring files.

3:15 p.m. Greet children at the door and remind them to take off their shoes. Help McKay with his 4th grade math homework and find that it is too challenging for me. Try not to let him know this. Pretend to love math. Wonder when I lost so many brain cells.

4:00 p.m. Begin dinner. Remember laundry that is waiting and switch loads again.

5:00 p.m. Feed the children. Make them eat their vegetables. Feed self. Do the dishes. Re-vacuum entire first floor, most especially around Chase's spot, who wins the Messiest Eater Award every night at dinner.

5:45 p.m. Listen to Chase and Hannah read.

6:30 p.m. Fold more laundry. Put away laundry. Take out garbage.

7:30 p.m. Drive McKay to his baseball game. Cheer, yell, shout, and moan. All at the same time.

7:43 p.m. Take both Chase and Hannah to the bathroom, which is conveniently located about 14.8 miles from the field. Remind them AGAIN to go before we leave home.

9:45 p.m. Game ends. Congratulate McKay on his triple play. Avoid pointing out that it was errors and overthrows made by the other team. Be glad he is so happy about it. Take three tired kids home. Force them to shower against their will. Send them to bed.

10:30 p.m. Remove clothes, wash face, brush teeth, and climb exhausted into my neatly-made bed.

10:31 p.m. Fall fast asleep and dream about doing it all again tomorrow.


See, honey? I think we all know what REALLY happens around here, even you. I'd like to say that I'm living the first life, as it seems to involve lots of donuts and naps, but unfortunately, that is not my life. This one is.

And it's not so bad.

Gotta run though. I'm sure there's a donut somewhere with my name on it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I feel the earth move under my feet

There have been some disturbing events in my town recently. Let me share them with you.

Disturbing Event Number One:

Two days ago, a home in the neighborhood adjoining ours caught fire. We smelled the smoke first, and thought the neighbors were making something extra delicious on the bar-b-que.

Then we heard the sirens.

[This photo was taken from my front porch:]

Disturbing Event Number Two:

This morning, at about four-thirty a.m., a 5.2 earthquake rocked the Midwest. I immediately sat up in bed and (in my delirious half-asleep state) thought it was a windstorm. The ceiling fans were rattling, the beds were moving, and I could hear things throughout my whole house banging around. I put my hands up, trying to brace the wall (because that's totally going to hold up the house, you know). The shaking continued and I realized it was not the wind, but the entire earth moving beneath me.

And you know what? That realization was surprisingly not comforting.

But the shaking and quaking eventually did end, and we escaped without any damage (as did most of the Midwest, thankfully). Chase woke up in the middle of it, and could not go back to sleep. So he did the only logical thing he could think of - he woke his brother up to play.

Yes, at four-thirty in the morning.

Disturbing Event Number Three:

Remember this?

Well, I have had three packages delivered this week by UPS. And it was not my peeping tom regular driver.

Now. I figure it can only mean one of three things:

1) I have either driven him off the job, what with the frightful sight that is my nekkidness, and he is now out on workman's comp due to the mental hardship of that day;
2) My house is now the best house on the route and I will never see the same driver twice;
3) None of the above - it's only a coincidence.

I should also mention that one of the packages was delivered by a woman.

I think it's number one. Discuss.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Linky Love

I have no humorous or poignant words for you today, as I am still bitter and angry at having to hand a small fortune over to my wasteful government yesterday. But I know someone who is funny and poignant.

My word-inventing interpeep Lisa, at Take 90 West, has written THE MOST HILARIOUS post. Seriously. You must go there. Right now. I laughed so hard, that I had to wipe the tears from my eyes to even finish reading. Seriously funny business going on involving man purses, European tourists, and American appetites. That's all I'm gonna say.

What? You still here? Go there. Now.

Oh, and when you're done there, stop by my adorable cousin Kimberly's blog and sign up for her Desperate Housewives Swap. You've only got a few more days to get in on the fun. Who doesn't want good mail?

Go. Now.

Come back here tomorrow. Maybe I'll be funny by then.

But probably not.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A letter to my government

Dearest Federal Government:

Today, on the day in which you see the need to take half of my soul in taxes, I would like to make a plea.

If you must steal 35 percent of my husband's hard-earned money, can you please not spend it on wasteful things, as you have in the past? You know, like when you spent $13 million to help fund the World Toilet Summit in Ireland?

Oh, yes they did.

And you think that's the least offensive thing? Take a look at this.

Don't even ask me to pretend to understand it.

I ask you, good sirs, to take my money and do something good with it. Like fixing health care. Or making our schools safe, productive environments of learning.

Those kinds of things I get, and will unclasp this fist from my dollars a little less begrudgingly for.

Much obliged,


Monday, April 14, 2008

Loving Hannah

Last night, I got an email from a good friend we knew in Boston (hi, Kathy F!). This dear, sweet woman and her husband were huge fans of our kids. So much so, that her husband (on his way to work) was one of the first people to come see me in the hospital after I delivered Hannah. I've never forgotten their many kindnesses, and getting back in touch with her took me back about seven years in time.

We moved to Boston in September of 2000. It was the peak of everything - economy, dot-coms, housing, jobs, technology - the world seemed so boundless then, didn't it? So full of promise?

Then about a year into our time there, on a crisp September morning, the world forever changed. I have written in the past about my experiences on that awful morning, which you can read again here.

Let's just say that September of 2001 rocked our family personally, as well. I had found out a few weeks prior to 9-11 that I was expecting another baby. I wish I could say that every part of me rejoiced at the opportunity to be a mother again, but I didn't. This was a major surprise. A surprise that neither one of us could find the energy to get excited about.

At the time, we were overwhelmed with the daily exhaustion that came with raising two wild and energetic boys. McKay was three, and Chase was not yet two. We felt insane with just the two kids we had. We were living in an apartment, and in light of the newly-shaken economy, had just downgraded to an even smaller apartment until we could be sure our job was viable long-term. And the thought of even one day with the boys and a newborn in a two-bedroom apartment did little to cheer me up. We just weren't ready for a third. The timing seemed all wrong.

We told no one about this pregnancy, and that included our extended family, parents, and friends. I felt that until I could be happy when I shared the news, it was better to keep it to myself. So we did what every American did in those months following 9-11. We watched the news for hours on end. We flew our flag. We drove to and from work. And we tried to remember to count our blessings.

Several months went by, and the news was no longer concealable, as my growing belly announced our situation for us. Thanksgiving came, and we drove down to spend it with Gabi and her family, figuring it was time to announce this baby to those we loved. Gabi's husband, Brad, was the first to greet us that weekend and said nothing - thinking I had simply gained some weight (thanks, Brad). Gabi could tell right away, and gave shrieks of excitement and joy. I tried hard to catch some of her enthusiasm, while feeling very guilty for not being more happy. A surprise visit from Opa that weekend, and the cat was definitely let out of the bag.

A few weeks after we got home, I had my first ultrasound. I remember laying on the paper-covered table, in the darkened room, waiting for it to begin. Laying there, staring up at the white ceiling tiles, I was not sure what to hope for. Another boy? Could we handle one more? And a girl? I don't know how to take care of a girl (forget the fact that I am one). As all these thoughts ran through my head, the cool shock of the jelly on my largely protruding stomach brought me back to the present.

And as the technician began to probe and measure, this little, flickering heartbeat caught my eye. I could make out tiny, perfect toes.

And fingers.

Arms and legs, and hands and feet, moving to a rhythm I already knew well.

And then something happened. A rush of emotion came over me and tears filled my eyes as I saw the first glimpses of this baby. Not just an inconvenient thing that seemed to have come so unexpectedly without our consent, but my baby. A sweet, little person that we would get to know soon.

"It's a girl," the technician told me with a smile.

A girl. We were having a girl. In an instant, I felt as though everything came into focus. As I lay there on the table, I began to feel an overwhelming sense of happiness. I knew then that it would be okay. It was going to be more than okay.

It was going to be fantastic.

And you know something? It has been. Every single day spent with this sweet angel in our family has been filled with bliss.

Silly, pink, fluffy, girly bliss.

And I wouldn't trade it for all the riches in the world.

I love you, baby.

God sure knows what he's doing with those big surprises.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Back from the dead with an introduction


Remember me?

Well, I'm back from the dead and in tip-top shape, thanks to antibiotics, codeine cough syrup, and sleep. I appreciate all your many well-wishes while I was away. Unfortunately, you didn't listen to me when I said not to blog. I do not think my Bloglines will ever be caught up.

There was someone who forgot to send well-wishes and good thoughts my way, however. And that someone knows who he is.

My brother, Dan.

Have you not met Dan? Well, that's a shame. Let me introduce you.

Dan was born the third child in our family, right after me. Which makes him at least second best for sure. Unfortunately, he is now, and will always be, our mother's favorite. This is a fact that my elder brother and I cannot not possibly forgive him for.

Dan was always an annoyingly happy child. Very comfortable with whatever life threw at him. Even if it included the inability to tan or gain muscle:

He was a cheerful worker. Happily doing his chores with a stupid grin on his stupid face. It's no wonder that Mom liked him the best.

Oh, and you know the kid that could spend an hour eating an ice cream cone? Yeah, that was him. We'd all gobble ours up in about fourteen seconds flat. And then we'd have to sit there for another 40 minutes, greedily watching Dan, as he ever-so-delicately ate his ice cream.

One. lousy. miniature. bite. at. a. time.

You'd have tied him up in the basement, too. I know you would have.

His pre-teen years were the only years in which he rebelled. [And Dan, don't be pretending you didn't look at Jared H.'s girly magazines with the rest of your buddies. I know the truth. Perhaps that is the reason for your sour expression in this joyful family photo. Guilt, maybe?]

I sure hope so. Pervert.

(Notice my guilt-free, shining countenance.)

And in his free time growing up, Dan did a lot of this:

Sadly, he has still not outgrown it.

But, he was able to clean up his act in time to serve a mission for our church to Brazil. This was a great time of growth and learning for Daniel. I think he probably found teaching people equivalent (or above) his intellect to be quite a challenge.

Here is an example of an intellectually superior investigator:

Yes, Daniel converted many farm animals to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And his growth and knowledge has certainly continued after his mission as well. He is now married (to a beautiful woman who is WAY too good for him) and has three adorable children (so cute, in fact, that we all think they're the mailman's).

He continues to strive daily for the spiritual enlightenment that comes from studying the scriptures. As you can see, Dan is always extremely diligent in this area:

In addition to his dedicated spirituality, Dan is actively involved in a rigid exercise program. Here, you see him leading his weekly men's group in Hula Dancing.

Or auditioning for the Village People. We're not sure which.

All in all, Dan is a very generous, wonderful, giving friend. He always has the nicest things to say to me, his favorite sister. Especially on my blog. I do so look forward to his thoughtful comments, for I know that each comment is crafted with love and care, and said in the hopes of raising my fragile, yet growing, self-esteem.

Smell ya later, loser.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

death by sinus infection

i. am. sick.

cannot even use proper capitalization, for fear of clogged sinuses exploding.

must get well.

will try to be back tomorrow. have big post planned wherein mocking of brother will take center stage.

here's hoping.

don't do any good blogging without me.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Top Ten List for the Husband

For many months now, I have been spouse-less during the week. The Husband has been on the road every week, racking up those frequent flier miles, and getting stranded at airports all across the country.

But come Monday morning this week, the strangest thing happened. I woke up and he was home. That six a.m. flight? Did not have him on it.

I almost didn't know what to do with myself. It was very confusing.

So, in case any of you ever find yourselves in this position, I thought I'd present you with my Top Ten List of Clues that Your Husband is at Home. Lest you get confused and call the police on the strange man eating out of your refrigerator in his sweatpants.

Number Ten:

You know your husband is home when quite suddenly, your car has to share the garage. And she's not very good at sharing. She likes to park right in the center where children cannot bang her doors on anything or get scratched.

Nine: The usually manageable loads of laundry look like this:

Eight: Your bathroom is filled with the musky scent of this (and hopefully not because you have been wearing it):

Seven: Suits needing dry cleaning will miraculously appear out of nowhere and clutter up your bedroom furniture. You will smile for a minute and wonder sarcastically just who will be taking that suit to the cleaners.

But only for a minute.

You know you'll make him do it.

Six: When the alarm goes off at this unholy time in the morning, there will actually be someone in your bed saying OUT LOUD in their grown-up, manly voice, "Time for us to get up."

That can be very unnerving, for usually the snooze button is hit several times before that happens.

Five: You will be eating this for dinner instead of feeding the kids macaroni and cheese, and munching on the Lucky Charms straight out of the box.

Four: Keys and wallets will be left out on counters and tables. They will not belong to you, and you are pretty certain they do not belong to your ten-year-old.

Three: The brownies you made in the morning will mysteriously have large chunks missing. The children WILL be innocent, of this you are sure.

Two: Sparklers, ice cream, and caramel topping will be combined with your pan of brownies to satisfy sweet tooths and pyromaniacal needs.

And the number one clue that your husband is home:

The covers neatly tucked into the foot of your bed will look like this in the morning. And you know with a certainty that you did not sleep on that side of the bed last night.

Still, it's nice to see this face once in a while in the mornings.

Even if he eats all the brownies and plays with fire in the kitchen.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A word of advice

Let's just say you are in your mudroom, putting in a new load of laundry. You have just finished working out, and are still wearing your exercise clothes. You notice they would fit nicely in the load you are putting in the washer. You then realize that you have nothing else to put on at the moment, but figure you can make a mad dash upstairs. After all, your daughter is in the basement happily singing along to Disney's latest brainwashing tool High School Musical, and your boys are at school. Plus, you were just about to jump in the shower anyway.

DO NOT, under any circumstances, listen to the voice in your head that tells you this is a good thing to do.

It's not.

For as your jiggly, white, naked body is sprinting up the stairs, the doorbell will ring. And you will notice the goofy smile of the UPS man, peeking through the glass on the side of your front door.

And he has just seen you in all your naked glory.

I mean this advice generally, of course. It's not as though anything like this has ever happened to me in real life.

Definitely not today.

And definitely not, say, about an hour ago.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Blaming Grandpa

This morning, at the unholy hour of five-thirty a.m., the phone next to my bed rings. It startles me from a deep and peaceful sleep. My heart jumps, knowing if the phone rings that early, the news can only be bad.

I stumble for the phone to see who is calling.

Without my contacts or glasses, I am essentially blind, and the most I can make out is our last name.

In a panic, I answer the phone, praying that the Husband (who is traveling as usual this week) is not in some dire situation requiring either bail money or an E.R. visit.

The squeaky, giggling voice of my oldest son says, "APRIL FOOL'S, MOM!"

Then I hear him fall down in a fit of hysterical laughter.

He had used my cell phone to call our house.

At five-freaking-thirty in the morning.

I lay my head back on the pillow, exasperated, and try to find a reason not to take him out of this world (after all, I did bring him into it, or so the saying goes). Unable to go back to sleep, and struggling for patience, I head downstairs and begin the breakfast preparations for my early risers.

It turns out that I was not the only victim of McKay's pranks. He had switched everyone's coats and backpacks around in the mudroom lockers. He filled a squirt bottle with water and secretly squirted his sister in the back of the head. He left crazy notes. He slipped contraband items into his brother's school backpack.

He was a troll. And all before the sun was even up.

Watching him run around pulling all these stunts, I realized something. He is a miniature version of his Grandpa.
My Dad is the king of April Fool's Day. All through my childhood, he was the master prankster. Every year, you never knew what to expect. He knew just how to catch you by surprise and do something you could not have imagined.

Like the time he nailed all my shoes to the floor.

Yes, to the carpet. In our house.

Or when he woke me up in the middle of the night and told me I had missed the bus and was late for school, but waited until I was showered and getting ready to mention his little joke.

And his pranks were not merely reserved for April Fool's Day. Ice cold water was routinely dumped over the top of the shower curtain. Waking up to colored milk was a disturbingly-common occurrence in my youth. And I will never forget the time my Mom put hair dye in my Dad's hair and shut off all the water in the house so he would be unable to wash it out.

Let's just say that I learned at a very early age to never be surprised at anything.

And so I will humor the little boy in this house. I will smile, and laugh, and tell him that he got me good. But he should know this:


That five-thirty wake-up call will one day return to haunt him, probably about the time he turns 16, and longs to sleep until noon.

And if he gets mad?

Well, I'll just tell him to blame it all on Grandpa.