Monthly Archives: May 2010

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait.

Remember this post?

Well, it’s been nearly six years now since we moved into this house.

Six years with that old, small 22 cu. ft. fridge. Yes, that’s small. We cook at home a lot, so we have a lot of food in the fridge.

And that husband of mine kept fixing it.

But finally this week, after using a knife honer to break up the big block of ice formed in the ice bin for the umpteenth time, even Greg was sick of it.

“Go look at refrigerators,” he said.

So I did.

With purpose in my step and Ethan trailing along, I marched into Lowes and all the way to the back, my eyes drawn to a few gleaming beauties at the ends of the multiple aisles of refrigerators.

Naturally, those are the most expensive ones. Oh, marketing geniuses, I’m onto you. I looked inside the refrigerators, looked up at the price tag, and sighed wistfully.

Reason reigned, and I walked the inner aisles looking for a suitable substitute. I kept returning to those sexy refrigerators on the endcaps, though.

I couldn’t justify that kind of expense for a refrigerator, even if it was a whopping 27 cubic feet AND would fit into the space I needed AND was stainless steel AND had French doors with a bottom-mount freezer AND a swanky touch pad for controls. And I didn’t really enter the store with the intention of buying that day.

But I could dream, right?

And frankly, I thought the touch pad was way over the top. Yes, you can set it to dispense X ounces of water so you don’t have to use a measuring cup, but really? Do I need that? I think not. I’m lazy but I’m not that lazy. Ridiculous excess.

So just as I was going to walk the inner aisles one last time, the department manager came by. “Ma’am,” he asked, “are you looking for a French door refrigerator?”

“Well,” I responded, “I think so. To be honest, I’m not really sure what I’m looking for.”

Note: Yes, I regularly end sentences with prepositions when I’m speaking.

Then he started telling me about the nice features of one of the sexiest refrigerators, one of those that had commanded the longest of my longing gazes. I didn’t want to be rude, but I had already made up my mind that I was not going to spend That Kind of Money, so I was only half-listening when he spoke a word that brought me to attention.

That word was “Clearance.”

“Clearance?” I asked.

“Yeah, have you seen this one over in our clearance aisle?”

Well no, no, I had not, so I followed the Pied Piper of Lowes over to the clearance aisle, wherein sat another of The Refrigerators. The one with the siren song. The one he’d just shown me. And it was marked down by $400.

“This one,” he said, “the reason it’s on clearance is that a customer (who was quite difficult) returned two of these refrigerators before he was happy. In fact, the only part of this refrigerator that has even been out of the store is the door. This guy, he was an airplane engineer, he was so particular that when his refrigerator got to his house he saw a dent in this door that we can’t even see; so we swapped out that door with one on a brand new fridge here in the store, but because we did that we had to put the brand new one on clearance. So I think I could let this go for…” And he started calculating.

I’m a pretty fast thinker, so in the 10 seconds or so that he was ruminating, I thought, “Maybe I should offer him $200 below the clearance price. That would be a full $600 below retail. That’s a pretty sweet deal. Hmm, but what if I do that and he tells me no? I don’t like rejection. I hate price haggling. I never know how to do it and I always feel like an asshole. I can’t see a dent in that door but even if I could, so what? I have two kids, one of whom is in a very destructive phase right now. It won’t be long until Ethan’s shooting BBs at it anyway….”

And then the salesman opened his mouth and I could have sworn all I heard were choirs rejoicing because lo, he quoted me a price that was ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS below the retail price. I thought I heard him wrong, so I quoted it back to him and he said yes, and oh, I called Greg.

Greg was trying to drive home. Greg probably thought there was some emergency from the way I was gushing. I don’t usually gush and, as a rule, frown upon the practice. On this occasion, however, I was unashamed.

“Greg! Where are you? Can you stop by the Lowes at the Bluffs? I’ve found a fridge and it’s huge and I think it’ll fit and it’s on CLEARANCE, on clearance, I tell you, and the guy says we can have it for a FULL THOUSAND below the regular price oh my god you can’t get a regular fridge like the one we have for that and there’s a dent in the door but I can’t see it, but I know if anyone will see it you will see it and so I don’t want to pull the trigger and buy this until you’ve had a chance to look it over.”

So he said he was on his way, and before he got there I called him at least once more (maybe twice, actually) to check on his progress.

Aren’t you glad he married me and you didn’t?

Anyway, so to avoid making a long story even longer, suffice it to say Greg came, Greg saw, Greg purchased.

And now we have this:

new fridge front

with about half to two-thirds of our food transferred from the old fridge

empty freezer begging for our food

Now we have to replace the range. It’s the only white appliance we have left.

Kidding. But Greg suggested I start trolling the clearance aisle at Lowes. He also suggested swiping a ball-peen hammer and hurrying the process along a bit.

He was kidding, too.

I think.

Going Head-to-Head with the Bitches of the World.

Background: At Laurel’s school, the parent pick-up line forms in such a manner that poor souls who are parked next to it are blocked in. Most people know this and avoid parking there between, say, 2:30 and 3:30. If someone does need to get out, the parents parked in the line will gladly readjust, get out of line, what-have-you, so the blocked person can back out. They’ll even let the blocked parent know when it is safe to back out.

Unless the blocked parent is rude, you know.

So yesterday, I’m parked in the line, waiting for dismissal, blocking someone in.

Now, had the blocked driver approached with something along the general lines of, “Oh, I’m sorry, can I get out, please?” I would have cheerfully moved and of course signaled her when it was safe to back out.

But she didn’t do that.

She came out and yelled in my general direction, “Uh, I need to get out here!”

Hmmm. That’s when I raised my brows.

When someone speaks to me like that, I’m not inclined to be accommodating. I fear I’ve become rather unaccustomed to being spoken to in such a manner, and therefore I’ve little patience for it. I didn’t say anything though, because a) I was a little surprised a grown woman would speak to another grown woman she didn’t know that way, and b) Ethan was with me and I thought maybe I shouldn’t exhibit my nasty side. So passive-aggressiveness ruled, and I just took a Really Long Time to get out of the way. Then I really stuck it to her when I didn’t signal her when it was safe to back out, so she nearly wiped out a minivan when she roared out of her space. “Take that!” I thought. Passively-aggressively.

Okay. Whatever. I chalked it up to a bad day. Maybe she’d just had a really shitty meeting with the principal. Maybe her kid had been diagnosed with head lice for the sixth time this year.

But then today, lo, I was blocking her in again. She came out and once again she yelled, “Uh, I need to get out here!”

Well. The brows went even higher this time, but I changed my tack.

This time I decided discretion be damned, I wasn’t going to let myself be treated this way, and I DAMN sure wasn’t going to let Ethan think he should let someone treat HIM this way. F the passive part of passive-aggressive.

This time I looked her square in the eye and as though I were itching for a fight said, “Yeah, how ‘bout ‘please?’” Okay, I admit, I kinda was itching for a fight, after all.

Out of shock or fear, I don’t know (either is acceptable to me), she rather politely and meekly said, “Please?”

Maybe she figured that in a battle with me and my truck, she was going to get the raw end of the deal. Maybe I had a crazy look about me. I don’t know. I suspect the latter.

So I put the truck in reverse. As I backed up I took a parting shot so as to reinforce her memory for next time. In that really obnoxious motherly tone everyone recognizes, I declared, “See? That makes a difference!”

So yeah, that’s me. Taking out the rudeness one jackass at a time. If only I had an unlimited span of years I could conquer them all.

Disclaimer: Yes. I fought rudeness with rudeness. What can I say? I’ve always been more eye-for-an-eye than turn-the-other-cheek. Sometimes you’ve gotta give what you get. And you know what? I’m betting if she ever needs me to move again, she’s gonna think twice before she leaves out the ‘please.’ After all, I’ve got a crazy look about me. Who knows what I’ll do?

Science.

Back in the winter, Laurel started a science project.

It was very interesting – she wanted to test reused, recycled, or environmentally-friendly materials to see which, if any, could compete with fiberglass wool insulation.

The materials she chose to test were crushed styrofoam packing peanuts, used plastic grocery bags, and…

 

…wait for it…

 

…human hair.

So I gamely asked my stylist if she would be so kind as to collect a giant garbage bag of hair from her clients and others over the course of the next week or two.

She did, and shortly before Christmas we came home with a big plastic bag full of hair.

So she got her experiment all together and predicted that human hair would outperform the other materials. Greg and I were dubious.

But she was right. Human hair is a significantly better insulator than fiberglass. Go figure, nature trumped engineering. As usual.

So because she was right, her project went along to the Greater St. Louis Science Fair.

And she won a blue ribbon.

Last night we went to the awards ceremony.

blue ribbon

And I wasn’t wearing makeup, as you see. In my defense, I got ready in about 15 minutes, because that’s about all the time I had after getting home and taking care of what I had to do. But we had reservations, so I sacrificed my hair and makeup to take Laurel out to a Lebanese restaurant. So deal with it, yo.

winners

But here’s the REALLY cool part. She also won a special award from the Air and Waste Management Association. They gave her a certificate and $30 in Barnes and Noble gift cards. It’s almost like they knew her personally.

So out of all these:

projects1

…and all these:

projects2

Laurel won one of the special awards.

We’re proud of her of course, but more importantly, she should be proud of herself. So be proud of yourself, Laurel. Let this be proof positive that when you apply yourself and you don’t procrastinate (insert ‘the look’ here), you can do great things!

You Can’t Say I Didn’t Try.

Every day for at least three weeks, Ethan has begged to go on a bike ride. A lot. Many, many times every day.

Sometimes he will resort to wearing his helmet for hours in the house as he goes about his business – eating lunch, playing computer games, what have you. I can only guess he’s trying to guilt us into it. Yesterday when we brought Laurel home from school, he ran in, strapped on his helmet, and was back out the door before I even made it in from the truck.

As a result, today I thought I’d be the Good Mother and take him for a bike ride. But oh, no, I wasn’t going to stop there. We were going to take a bike ride TO GRANT’S FARM.

And the heavens opened up and choirs of angels sang.

We didn’t have the bike rack on the truck because we were hauling science fair projects to Queeny Park this morning. Greg said, “Just put the bikes in the back of the truck.” Well, that doesn’t work, so after hunting around for a 3/4” socket (ahem, do not look at me that way, organizing sockets is not part of my job description), we got the bikes loaded on the rack and away we went.

And they didn’t fall off. Success!

By the time we arrived at Grant’s Trail, it was past noon of course, and we had to be finished shortly after 2 so we could pick Laurel up. I am absolutely neurotic about these things – constantly checking time – and today was no exception, so we rushed to the trail, I yanked the bikes off the rack while Ethan strapped his helmet on, and away we went.

My concern about time was all for naught, because Ethan, well, when he bikes, he really flies. No joke. And the kid is competitive. When someone passes us, he pumps his little legs even harder and says, “Mom, can I pass them?”

We had some talks about the laws of physics and that no, his little 12” bike was not likely to catch a 24” bike no matter how hard he pedaled or how strong his muscles.

Even so, it’s taken me longer to type these words than it took us to arrive at Grant’s Farm, owing to Ethan’s reckless, breakneck speed. No, really – at times he goes so fast he nearly loses control. He also tends to stop suddenly for no obvious reason with a screeeeeeeech of his tires. I follow closely behind him on the trail, which means on any given ride, I narrowly escape launching over the handlebars at least twice in my efforts to stop before smashing into him.

Upon arrival, he couldn’t contain his excitement about the tram, THE TRAM! OH MY GOD IT IS LIKE A TRAIN BUT ON THE ROAD THE TRAM! We dropped our bikes at the rack and we went to THE TRAM!

parked

Now for The Goats. Anyone who has visited Grant’s Farm with small children is familiar with The Goats, and is feeling a little panicked as they read this. The Goats are not really goats. They are the animal forms of the Busch family’s sadistic leanings. Grant’s Farm sells little bottles of milk for $1.00 so unsuspecting children can sacrifice themselves on the altar of goat gluttony. The goats are straight bastards, knocking over little kids at will as they fight each other to get that precious milk. But I know the secret to remaining sane, and I’m such a generous soul, I’ll let you in on it. Early in the season, the new baby goats are still learning how to be bastards and, not having bloated up to 50 pounds via overfeeding of milk, they are relatively harmless. It took me a couple of visits to figure this out, but now I can confidently say I’ve outsmarted the Busch family’s fiendish plot. Aside from resisting the urge to deliver a goat across the pen for trying to untie my shoe, a good time was had by all.

They're not too bad at the beginning of summer

We checked the time and moved quickly through the eagles, monkeys, and elephant.

eagles monkeys elephant

Fortunately for his time-obsessed mother, Ethan has a pretty short attention span. The camel took up a more time than all the other animals combined, and I spent a full $1.00 on food (horrors!), but the delight in his eyes was worth it.

Camel lips make Ethan laugh

Then finally, gloriously, we arrived at the Bauernhof, the adults’ reward for bringing their bad little kids to Grant’s Farm. Here’s looking at you, 2 free samples of Anheuser-Busch products allotted to each adult. The Goats are forgiven.

Ethan chugged lemonade, finishing it well before I finished my beer – and because he was in a hurry to get to the tram, he told me I should hurry. I did.

refreshments all around

Before we left, we made a quick stop at the stables at the Bauernhof, where I pissed off a horse. Yeah. The Clydesdales are not really in residence there, but other horses are. I told Ethan, “Look, horses like to be scratched on their noses like this.”

Well, the horse wasn’t paying much attention to the goings-on, I guess, and being disturbed wasn’t on his agenda. As soon as I touched his nose he startled and snapped at me.

Snapped! At me!

Ethan thought that was about the funniest thing he’d seen all day and set
about encouraging me to pet the other horses.

I declined.

We boarded the tram and scurried back to the parking lot.

pointing out what he is certain is raw sewage dumping into the creek

Ethan donned his helmet…

ready to head back to the truck

…and we sped back to our truck just in time to pick Laurel up from school.

But as we drove away, Ethan exclaimed, “I am SO ANGRY at you because you won’t take me to Monkey Joe’s, and I want to do FOUR fun things today, not just ONE!”

So much for Good Mother status.