Monthly Archives: April 2007

Gender Preferences.

Laurel and Greg had a conversation this weekend that went something like this:

Laurel:  'I wish I were a boy.'

Greg:  'Why is that?'

Laurel:  'Because Mommy says it hurts to have babies, and I don't want it to hurt.'

Greg:  'Well, I think it just hurts for a little while, then you get all the joy of having children.'

Laurel:  'I still wish I were a boy because then I would only have to worry about the sperm.'

The Painted Kitchen.

Our kitchen desperately needed painting, but I had avoided it because the cabinets, the cabinets, dear god, the cabinets!  So much trim work makes for a tedious chore.  But Saturday morning I woke up and decided it was the day for it, and I could not wait another day.

So we did.

This is great, but now we want new countertops.  It never ends.


Dodging Salesmen.

I really went and did it this time.

Greg and I long ago decided we needed life insurance but we just never got around to it.  This week I finally got in gear and did some research.  I made a big mistake by going online to, because I gave them my real phone number.

First mistake:  I gave them our phone number.  Normally I transpose numbers when asked for my phone number on websites because I hate-hate-HATE getting calls from telemarketers, but I figured we were serious this time about getting quotes.  My apologies if someone local has '0845' as the last 4 digits of their phone number.

Second mistake:  I failed to read the privacy policy, which gives permission for to distribute my number to everyone in the developed world.  Yesterday I received 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, FIVE calls from insurance agents trying to hawk insurance to me.  I finally gave one guy the time of day only to have him second-guess the amounts we requested, as though they weren't enough.  Greg and I thoroughly considered our options and we know what we want, and to have some hack take a condescending tone with me as though I just rolled into town in a truckload of produce really chaps my hide.  They don't take no for an answer, they keep calling, and they argue with me.  Does this actually work for them, or are these just signs of desperation?

I swear, the phone is ringing RIGHT NOW as I type this.  So make that 6 calls.  And so today's round begins.

I feel as though I've invited a plague of locusts into my home.

Next time, I'm reading the damn privacy policy.

On Striking Balance.

A conversation with a 7-year-old environmentalist: 

Laurel:  "Mommy, what are they building there?"

Me:  "They're clearing land to build new shops and restaurants."

Laurel:  "Oh, no!  Why?  What about all the trees and grass?"

Me:  "Well, this area was blighted, and the city leaders decided it would be best to allow the new businesses to come in.  Those businesses create revenue for the city through taxes, so the city will hopefully have more money for things like parks and planting trees."

Laurel:  "I want to give money for parks."

Me:  "You don't need to give money to the parks.  You could volunteer your time, though.  Time is money, as they say.  I'm sure they would be happy to let you pick up litter."

Laurel:  "Yeah!  Or if a tree is about to fall, I could help push it out of the way!!"

Me:  "Umm, no.  But you could probably help pick up litter."

Laurel:  "Well, okay."

Me:  "I will call and see about this, but remember, it will require hours and hours of commitment for you to pick up litter.  You can't just give up after a few minutes to go play on the swings."

Laurel:  "Yay!!"

Me:  "I'll call the office tomorrow if you're really serious."

Laurel:  "You know where the office is?  How do you know where that is?"

Me:  "It's in the rec center."

Laurel:  "But how do you know?"

Me:  "Because I've seen it."

Laurel:  "Maybe you can just ask the lady at the pool if I can do it."

Me:  "What are you talking about?"

Laurel:  "You know, the lady who lets you into the pool."

Me:  "The lady at the pool doesn't know."

Laurel:  "Why doesn't she know?"

Me:  "Because it's not her job.  I'll have to call the parks and rec department."

Laurel:  "Tomorrow?"

Me:  "Yes.  Tomorrow.  Christ."

And I did.  And I'm waiting for a call back.  I hope the guy calls me back really soon, because woe is me if Laurel gets home and I don't know when or if she can pick up trash.

For the Love of Apples; or, Unintentional Racism.

This weekend, Greg and PawPaw and the rest of the bunch went to visit my mother and install a brand new furnace and air conditioner.

While there, we discovered Ethan l-o-v-e-s whole, unpeeled apples.  He and Laurel enjoyed apples together:

On the way home, we taught Laurel how to look for out-of-state license plates.  As we were passing a car with a New Mexico plate, Laurel guessed, 'I think that one is Mexico.'  Then, after noting it was New Mexico, she claimed, 'Well, I was close!  I just figured it was Mexico because of the color, because it was yellow.'

Hmmm.  We're not sure where to go with this one.  I just hope her presidential campaign managers don't catch wind of this.

Well, at least Ethan had the right idea:


Stay Off the Roads.

This afternoon, at approximately 3:15 p.m., I will do the unthinkable.

I will take the kids on a 3-hour road trip by myself, stretching my patience to new limits.

I can't wait.

Ethan was running a fever of 103 degrees last night, prompting a call to the pediatrician.  He's much cooler this morning, but there is some residual crankiness, which serves only to complement my own crankiness this week.  In typical toddler fashion, he has the attention span of a gnat and he likes to throw things in the car.  Of course, once he's thrown the item, he immediately realizes he wants that toy more than anything on earth, leading me to feel around blindly in the back floorboard for whatever toy he threw. 

On top of that, there is the ever-inquisitive Laurel and her endless questions.  This morning on the way to school she wanted to know why carbon monoxide tries to bind to oxygen.  I explained, and told her why CO is so poisonous, and one should never run an engine without proper ventilation, etc.  Of course, that only leads to more questions ('should we park the car so the tailpipe faces out of the garage?'), so it goes on forever.

Cross your fingers for me, wish me luck, do a patience dance, or whatever.  Just help me get through this afternoon!  If I don't make it, then do as my mother used to suggest when my sister and I were acting up — 'Just ship me off to Nevada!'

(that's Nevada, MO, folks, where the insane asylum was)

Hair Today.

In an unexpected twist this morning, He-Who-Combs-Hair-Before-Taking-Out-Trash styled Ethan's hair as follows:

As you can tell from his expression, Ethan was none too happy, and will be taking after his daddy with the hair thing.

Strange Elections.

In Webster County, Missouri, where I grew up, they hold elections for Coroner.  Having grown up with this, I didn't realize how strange the idea was until Greg pointed it out.

A couple of days ago I was going through some old photos and found this:

Perhaps giving out campaign balloons to little kids worked — Michael won the election.   I graduated high school with him, and I'm sure he's doing a great job.

Laurel’s Autobiography.

Laurel has been studying biographies in school recently, and was assigned to write an autobiography.  I think it's interesting to have a 7-year-old do this, because you find out what is important to them, if you can manage to wade through the terrible paragraph structure.  So here is the text of her autobiography, exactly as written other than the blanks replacing her full name:

"My name is Laurel _____ ________.  I have been to Chicago.  I was born July 31, 1999.  When I was born, my mom lived in Springfield, Mo. When we went to Chicago, we went way up in the Sears Tower.  There was lots to see.  We went to a pizza restaurant, too.  We have moved 3 times.  One house was concrete, another was brick, and another was brick.  Right now I am 7 1/2 years old.  I turned 7 1/2 on 1/31/07.  I went bowling twice in my life.  I went to Bunker Hill 2 times, also.  You live in a cabin, swim in a river, and eat in a bit larger cabin!  You can play tennis or golf on (almost) the top of the hill.  It's also a good place to play hide & seek.  At the food cabin, there's plenty to eat!  Mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, eggs, ham, milk and orange juice."

Well, the only facts she has mixed up are where we actually lived when she was born (Jefferson City) and the bit about the concrete house (although I can see why she would think that — we DO have a lot of concrete involved in the construction of our current home).  But she's spot on with the rest of it.