Monthly Archives: March 2012


We’ve wanted a new car for some time now. Our Malibu was ever faithful and never really needed major repairs, but it was getting to the point where its idiosyncrasies were outnumbering its good points.

For example:

The air conditioning would shut off for no discernible reason, requiring the driver to turn the fan off and then back on to get it to start up again;

The turn signals would work sometimes, but other times they wouldn’t work unless the driver wiggled the hazard light button.

The Passkey system was jacked up, so now and then when the driver tried to start it but didn’t hold the key in the start position long enough it would lock out, requiring a 10 minute wait before attempting to start it again.

Yeah, that last one was the most fun.

It was all very exciting, because every problem was intermittent so you never knew when you were going to have to deal with it. Greg, however, is not a very spontaneous type of person, and I think it was getting old.

So last night we went car shopping.


I hate dealing with salespeople. In fact, one time when we were shopping for a truck, Greg told me I was ‘borderline abrasive’ with the dealer. Like I cared. If I was gonna plunk down the kind of change they wanted, I could afford to be abrasive.

At one point the salesman pleaded with Greg to help him out because I was being so hard-nosed in  negotiations. Greg said no, sorry, that I did his negotiating for him.

A little later I pointed at the sales contract and flatly refused to pay the administrative fees. I said, “Yeah, we don’t pay administrative fees. That needs to come off there.”

And, of course, they did.

Anyway, after much wheeling and dealing and negotiating, we came home with this:

jetta front

jetta back

The Malibu got around 22-23 MPG on average; the truck gets about 13-14.

This puppy got 46 MPG on the way home.

We’re feeling pretty damn good about that.

Outside. Outside!

Greg was gone on a business trip to New Hampshire this week. When he’s gone I get antsy and try to kill time, and when I get antsy, I get overly ambitious and take on a series of Herculean tasks, which wouldn’t be so Herculean on their own, but when performed in rapid succession it’s a whole ‘nother story.

On Tuesday morning I started with plucking weeds from the garden. Then I pulled a full pound of salad greens and another 1/4 pound of asparagus from the beds, checked on the chickens and strawerries, and checked my tomato seedlings to see if they’re coming out of whatever it is they’ve got.

That didn’t kill enough time, though, so I cleaned out and mulched the perennial bed and mowed and trimmed the yard.

perennial bedbleeding hearts

Yesterday I swore I was just going to relax for the day and watch a movie or something, right after I mulched the rest of the flower beds in the front yard.

But as we know, one thing sometimes leads to another. I have long hated the way that bed looked. The mulch was always in the grass, there was no good edge between the bed and the yard, and I was just sick of looking at it. So…

I did this:

landscape edgers

Consequently, today I am feeling muscles I had forgotten I had. I guess two days of antsy-driven hard labor will do that.

But now I can stand to look at the front of the house, and oh! The hydrangeas are budding!

To My Husband On Our Anniversary

“To My Husband On Our Anniversary.”

That’s what all the stupid greeting cards say. Then you open them up and it’s some equally inane bunch of words clustered together by somebody sitting in a cubicle at Hallmark writing couplets.

The past year has been an interesting one, to say the least – especially the latter half. Thank you for having so much faith in me, for knowing who I am and knowing that I would never, ever do anything to break our vows. Thank you for providing for all of us so we don’t have to worry.

Cards don’t say the right thing, and neither can I, but I’ll sum it up like so:

Here’s to 9 strong years. May we have at least 9 more of these years together (times 7, because hey, you never know what future medicine will accomplish).

Behold the Lowly Dandelion.


I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Really? A dandelion?”

You’re thinking this is a weed, the scourge of well-manicured suburban lawns and gardens everywhere. You’re thinking what this dandelion could use is a healthy dose of 2, 4-D. That herbicide is almost banned in many countries despite my college professor’s insistence that it was safe! safe! even as a main ingredient of Agent Orange. I’m sure you’d easily find entire tanks of it lying around in an old farmer’s barn somewhere.

But I digress.

If you’re thinking it’s a weed, you’re plumb wrong.

This dandelion, friends, is the most beautiful flower in all the universe because Ethan picked it for me at the bus stop this morning, and gave it to me – completely without shame – right in front of all the other kids.

The dandelions he picks for me serve as a yearly reminder that my little boy is growing up, and it will soon be considered very uncool to go around picking flowers for your mom.

For now, though, for this moment, I’ll take this dandelion and faithfully place it in a bud vase filled with water, knowing full well it will probably last only a few hours – likely not even a full day – before shriveling up as dandelions do when removed from their natural environs.

After all, though thinking of it just about breaks my heart in two, this dandelion may be the last he gives me.

An Essay on Leprechauns.

This weekend is, of course, St. Patrick’s Day. Ethan’s teacher asked the kids to write a sentence about what they would do if they caught a leprechaun. The responses were very cute. Many of them would ask the leprechaun to show them his pot of gold; others would make friends with him, or take him home.

Then there is Ethan’s response:


In case you can’t read that, it says, “If I caught a leprechaun, I would…toast him for dinner.”

Following that is the artist’s rendition of a toasting leprechaun.

Get Used To It, Son.

Every day after school Ethan asks me if he can go out and ride his ATV.

Fear not, Mothers of the World. It’s not a real one, it’s a Pow-Pow-Power Wheels style ATV.

This afternoon, shortly after he began, he came running in the house.

“DARN IT!!!” He yelled, clearly frustrated. “I HAVE TO GO POOP!”

And he did. For a very long time. This is not unusual.

Upon emerging from the bathroom, he refastened his helmet and told me, “Life really sucks sometimes.”

“Why,” I asked. “Because you had to stop ATV-ing to poop?”

“Yep,” He said. “I gotta tell ya’.”

Those Kids.

Yesterday Laurel couldn’t find a book. She looked high and low for it.

“I know I was just reading it,” she exclaimed, “but now it’s missing!”

“That’s impossible,” Greg opined. “There is no way you were just reading a book and it suddenly vanished.”

Laurel’s response: “You’re talking to me and you claim such a thing is impossible?”


This morning I blew a kiss to Ethan.

He dodged it.

“Aw, man,” I pretended to pout, “I can’t believe you dodged that kiss!”

“Don’t worry,” he assured me, “Kisses can go around curves.”

“Oh, okay. That’s a relief,” I told him.

“But the thing is,” Ethan continued, “yours don’t corner well.”