Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bad Day 294--Say it again. I dare you.

Husband has made a few gaffes in our history together that were so bad, they are now legendary. The two worst were actually before we were married. Once, when we were going to a play, we stopped at Taco Bell first and ordered through the drive-thru. He forgot I was in the car and ordered something for himself without giving me a chance to say anything, then paid for it, then ate it and asked me why I wasn't eating and where was my food.

The second time was sort of my fault because I was stupid enough to ask him what the most romantic kiss of his life was after we got engaged. I thought he would say our first kiss, or the one after he told me he loved me, or when he asked me to marry him. But no. He went on for 30 minutes about some kiss with some other girl and how awesome it was and it was just like a movie. I am still angry about that one and the thing Husband learned quickly--and that all husbands all over the world should keep in mind--is that when your wife asks you a question and the answer is not about her, then lie. Quickly. Yes, I am telling you, for the good of your marriage--make it up. She will never know that's not the truth if you play your cards right and you can avoid decades of pain and suffering.

See, I thought that Husband had learned this lesson, but today he forgot every rule of marriage and said the words that were guaranteed to make me seethe. Flames. Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl- heaving breaths. Heaving breaths... Heathing... (Bonus points if you know that movie.)

What happened was he was telling me about some conversation he had with some person I don't know and don't care about in Afghanistan about what they learned while they were there. And I stupidly asked what his greatest take-away was. So I know, it's my fault for setting him up, but he walked right into the trap without thinking and then he made it so much worse. He said, get this, that his biggest takeaways were all about working in an extremely poor country with no infrastructure. Not about how he missed his family, or what a bad idea it was to leave us, or how much he loved and needed me. No, it was all about foreign aid programs. So, trying to help him dig himself out of the hole, I said I thought you would say it was about how much you missed me. And then he said the mother of all bad lines--Oh, that goes without saying.

OK. No. It. Doesn't! Nothing about loving your wife and missing her goes without saying. Because if you never say it, it doesn't count. You know that scene in Ghost where Patrick Swayze can't say "I love you" out loud so he only says "ditto?" That scene was written by a man because all women know that "ditto" is not the same as I love you. It does not count if the words do not come out of your mouth. So here we are, Husband. Good luck climbing out of this hole because now I'm all angry again about dumb Kimberly and your stupid sunset kiss and that was over twenty years ago. Jewelry. Big jewelry. Expensive jewelry. Maybe even in a Tiffany blue box. Also the printer I asked you to order back on tax day and a computer for Child 1's birthday which is in two weeks. But first the jewelry.

Speaking of jewelry, this woman in Florida is having a worse day than me. She went to a fund raising event where there were glasses of champagne with fake diamonds in them, but one of the glasses held the real thing--a 1 carat stone worth $5,000 and someone actually swallowed it. 

Accidentally of course, but then she had to confess when no one else had the real thing and then she had to get it removed through a colonoscopy. Ick. They steam cleaned it for her, but still. So, Husband,  if you get me diamond earrings as an apology for thinking that I should be able to read your mind, I promise not to swallow them. I won't even throw them at you. This time.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bad Day 293--Wait, what day is it again?

Husband freaked me out tonight when he told me I was missing two posts because the last one he could find was from Sunday. I told him I was sure I posted last night and he said no, the only one was about the powdered sugar, and then the children reminded him that here it was only Monday. Not only is he 9 1/2 hours ahead, but he was also on the wrong day. It's a good thing it's not Tuesday or else his parents would have missed their flight. We love them and would be happy to have them stay longer, but they probably want to get back home. We took them to Red Robin tonight and Father-in-law is now a fan. Since they also have them in his home state, this could become a regular thing. We are all sad that they are leaving tomorrow, especially me because I have to get up at oh-dark-thirty to drive them to the airport. It's a good thing they flew into the one close by because if they had flown into the far-away airport, I would have just said to take the car and leave it there and I would buy a new one.

Today was the perfect spring day, finally! Cool and breezy and raining. I loved it! You are probably wondering why I was so happy to have a chilly day full of rain, but then you would be forgetting my new gold raincoat which I got to wear at last when it was not too hot. And it looked amazing. Except for one thing which is that it's not really gold--it's sort of a bronzey green. Yes, I had that same thought, too, but it's nylon and sort of iridescent and is apparently one of those colors that is one thing under fluorescent lights and completely another in natural light so when you buy it in the store you are sure it is gold but outside it is green. So it may have clashed a teeny bit with my pink dress and my bright blue floral rain boots. I will have to re-think those rain boots. Maybe copper ones! Ooh, let's check on Zappo's!

No worries, though. It is supposed to rain again tomorrow and I have the perfect olive shirt and tweed pants to wear.

This man in India is having a worse day than me. He apparently let his 9 year old son drive his Ferrari and took a video of it and posted it on Youtube. Here is a still from the video

You would think that if you are smart enough to have accumulated enough money to buy a Ferrari, that you would also be smart enough not to let your unlicensed child who can't see over the steering wheel drive it. But that would not be true in this case, and the police have charged him with a crime. He'll probably get off with a small fine that won't be anything near enough to prevent him from doing it again since he already let the boy drive a Lamborghini and a Bentley. Somebody should cheat him out of all his money quit so he stops endangering the rest of India. So thank you, Mr. Bad Father, for reminding me that indulging the children for my own entertainment is a bad idea, and to be grateful that Child 1 is not only old enough to drive legally, she is also a very safe driver and her car cost nowhere near $4 million. Honestly, a 9 year old driving a car worth $4 million which is like a billion rupees! I'll stick with our Volvo, thank you very much. Much cheaper to replace if it gets wrecked, which it won't. Right, Child 1?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bad Day 292--I should have been more specific

I never ever thought I would complain about having a child who is extremely trusting and obedient, but we discovered today while cooking that maybe sometimes you should question authority. See, we were trying out recipes from the gluten-free dessert cookbook that the children gave me for my birthday. We actually had all the ingredients for some berry bars with lemon icing, or I thought we had all the ingredients which is not exactly the same thing as having the ingredients. This is what the bars were supposed to look like, but ours did not look like this.

We made the bars and put them in the oven, and then when it was time to make the icing, there was no powdered sugar. No problem because I happen to know that you can powder your own sugar from regular sugar with a blender. The children also know this because apparently, when Husband was home at Christmas, we did not have any powdered sugar then either and he tried to make some in the blender but he forgot to put on the lid and he sort of exploded the sugar everywhere. Or so the children tell me because I was not witness to this event and wasn't told about it until long afterward. Husband must have cleaned up the evidence.

Anyway, I told Child 2 she could make the sugar in the blender, so she and Child 3 went into the kitchen and I heard lots of blender noises and some giggling and then I told them to follow the directions to make the icing which involved adding orange juice to the sugar and whipping it into icing. Child 2 yelled from the kitchen that it was lumpy and what should she do, so I said she should use the beater. She said really? I said yes, go use the Kitchenaid mixer because that will make the icing fluffy. So she left and said it wasn't working. I said bring the icing here so I can see it, so she did. And I looked in the bowl and there was about a tablespoon of lumpy stuff at the bottom. I said, where's the rest of it? Child 2 said that was all of it. I was really, really confused because I had told her to put 1 1/2 cups of sugar in the blender and I had visions of powdered sugar all over the kitchen. So I asked her what happened to the other cup and a half? And she said there was some stuck to the bottom of the original bowl, but that was most of it.

This wasn't making any sense to me. Mother-in-law said I looked confused. So I went into the kitchen and she showed me the tiny bowl they had used before which had nothing in it. So where did the sugar disappear to? Well, apparently Child 2 had blended Splenda instead of sugar and what happens when you put a cup and a half of Splenda in a blender is it disappears and you end up with about a teaspoon of very fine dust. So we started over. The bars were awful, by the way, so we won't be making them again, but we did decide the dough would make a nice shortcrust base for apple pie filling and caramel and a brown sugar crumble on top. So that's what we'll try next time. Maybe that will disguise the rice flavor of the rice flour because the lemon frosting did not do it.

This elk in Colorado is having a worse day than me.

No one is quite sure how she got the tire around her neck, but wildlife control can't sedate her to take it off because they think she might be pregnant. Hopefully, although the tire may be a tad uncomfortable, she just thinks it's a lovely accessory and enjoys her necklace. She can apparently still eat and jump fences, so maybe she'll be alright and it won't cause her any harm. But thank you, Ms. Fashion Elk, for reminding me that good accessories make you stand out in a crowd, even if you are an elk, but they really ought to be more comfortable to wear than a tire.

Bad Day 291--Can you be so busy you forget to be tired?

So today started at 7:30 am and is just now ending at 11:45 pm and I am so tired I'm not even sure what my name is let alone what I did all day. I have vague memories of weeding (in a park), going to a farmer's market, making up a new recipe for chicken salad that involved apples and grapes and leftover barbecue chicken from Child 3's dinner last night (she ate one bite), shopping, mailing boxes and boxes and boxes of school supplies to Afghanistan (finally!), making chili, and driving Child 2 back and forth to a dance that she just had to go to which was 1/2 hour away. Oh, and I also walked the dog and went grocery shopping and did some dishes. I'm not sure I showered, but I did brush my teeth so I suppose that's good.

I am sunburned (from the weeding even though I put on sunscreen), have blisters (from wearing sandals because the weather was so warm), and completely exhausted. I have no idea how we accomplished so much in one day, but maybe it was because the day looked like this.

In my rare moments of down time, I talked to Husband, chatted with Husband's parents who forgave me for dragging them all over the state on my errands, and looked up Husband's address on Google Maps. We can sort of see where he lives, but we don't know which building he is in. Google Maps is awesome and really, really scary. Funny, though, there are no street views of his town in Afghanistan. Wonder why?

Apparently anyone taking a taxi to the airport in Las Vegas is having a worse day than me. It looks like riding in a taxi in Vegas would be a lot of fun, and the strip is a lot longer than it looks and riding in a taxi is way better than walking on asphalt in 100 degree weather.

But what's bad about Vegas taxis is that they like to meander on their way to the airport and a legislative audit says they overcharged tourists by about $15 million last year. Yes. 15 million. Dollars. American. I guess they figure everyone is so drunk they won't notice or too unfamiliar with Nevada geography to realize they went to the airport by way of Arizona. So thank you, Vegas Taxi Drivers, for making me very grateful that I don't have to rely on you to get to the airport. Every time we've gone to Vegas, we drove ourselves and I think we'll just continue with that trend because apparently what stays in Vegas is actually your money and I would like to keep mine, thank you.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bad Day 290--False alarm

Work was short today because the nurse called at 10:45 and said that Child 3 had thrown up in class and I needed to come get her. She neglected to tell me that first, Child 3 had fainted, and then thrown up when she came to. I was panicking because I thought she had the stomach flu. When I picked her up, she was pale and shaking. But it was all OK, because apparently, Child 3 also has a weak stomach and that is why she fainted and threw up. She was reading a book that had a scene about acupuncture in it and it made her woozy and she passed out. I know what it feels like because I did almost the same thing in 5th grade. We were watching a health film and it showed a beating heart and I passed out and hit my head on the desk and I had a big bruise and my teacher who was crazy told me to stop faking. Right. OK. At least I didn't throw up. Don't look, Child 3, but this is what grossed you out.

So I took her home and we took a nap and everyone was fine. Then I took a car load of donations to the thrift store and I got a pedicure and brought home barbecue and we ate outside because the weather is beautiful and it feels like a party when we eat in the backyard.

Husband's parents are arriving tonight for the weekend in a couple of hours. I hope they don't mind the mess. Thankfully, they are not those kind of in-laws. At least the dishes are done. But maybe I should unpack my suitcase before they arrive.

Any girl who decides to wear this to prom is having a worse day than me.


Seriously. Someone actually thought this might be something that a teenage girl would want to wear to prom. So everyone else will be in dresses, and this girl will be in an ill-fitting jumpsuit? I mean, it makes the model even look horrible! If it doesn't even fit properly on the model, the who the heck can wear it? Honestly, worst prom dress ever. It's even worse than this one which obviously doesn't have enough fabric to keep the model warm.


So thank you, Talentless Designers, for reminding me how lovely my prom dress was, even though I didn't get to wear it because I was sick with some awful disease which now that I think about it might have been a gluten allergy. But that is another story.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bad Day 289--Let's celebrate leave your children at home day instead

First, Child 2 wants everyone to know that she made dinner last night and it was very creative. She made hamburger pie which is really meatloaf with mashed potatoes on top. The recipe is gluten-free because you make it with potato flakes instead of bread-crumbs. It is my grandmother's recipe and it is awesome and we put cheese on top. When Child 2 made it last night, she put the cheese on in the form of a smiley face. Then she held up the pie and said "it's dinner, and it's happy to see ya!" About 20 times, but it's still funny. If you know Child 2 at all, then you know that 1. that is a line from Mulan, and 2. she played the part of Mushu in the play a couple of years ago and she was great! A natural comedienne, that girl.

Today was "Take our children to work day" so of course I left mine at home. Child 3 went last year and it was fun, but this year, I just couldn't see trying to get everyone ready to leave the house at 6:45 and my office only has one chair and two people would have had to sit on the floor and then I would have had to listen to I'm bored, when are we getting smoothies, isn't there anything fun to do in this place, why do you have to work, can I watch youtube? All day long. So I didn't bring them. Next year, when Husband is here and we can double team them, maybe we'll participate. But this year? Nah. Also, I had real work I needed to do, so it was not a convenient day. And it was a bad day at work because the bad news kept pouring in and it would not have been good for the children to watch me crying at my desk.

Tonight, I left the children on their own and went to dinner with friends. Child 3 heated up some barbecue chicken to eat (on a gluten-free bun, of course) and made a lovely dinner for herself and her sisters, while I chatted and ate Venezuelan food. It was so much fun. I forget what it is like to speak with grown-ups during a meal and these ladies are all extremely smart and funny and entertaining. It was fun and reminds me that I need to get out of the house more. Also, I need the distraction.

My friend "Daphne" whom I swore I gave a pseudonym to before but I can't remember it, alerted me to this stalker in Utah who is having a worse day than me. First, he is a stalker so he is crazy and deserves everything he got. But second, he picked the wrong girl because people had her back! When he attacked her she pressed her panic button and sprayed him with pepper spray, then a 75 year old woman started beating him with a baseball bat. Then her neighbor, who is also a martial arts instructor, came at him with a sword. This is a picture of the swordsman with the sword.

The stalker ended up turning himself in, probably because he was afraid of all the brave people with weapons. I so want to live in that neighborhood! I'm not sure my neighbors would know if I were being attacked, but then I have The Dog to keep people away and she does a pretty good job. But thank you, Stupid Stalker, for reminding me to be grateful that I have never and will never work with you. Security background checks are good for something after all! And to those awesome bat and sword wielding neighbors, you can move into my neighborhood any time. There are a few houses for sale. Give me a call!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bad Day 288--Is it bedtime yet?

I was in my pajamas before 7:00 pm, and today was a pretty good day at work. It's just that I constantly feel like I've been run over by a stampede of caribou and those sharp, pointy hooves hurt! Not to mention the antlers. OK, I've never actually been trampled by reindeer, but I can imagine and I definitely know what it's like to feel bone-weary because my bones hurt. And my back, and my head, and my feet, etc., etc., etc. I'm not sure why I am so tired, but it might have something to do with having the weight of the world on my shoulders. Atlas would be grateful that he isn't as weary as I am at this moment.

I am in bed shopping for groceries, which is the best way to shop ever, while Child 2 makes dinner and Child 3 does the dishes. I am supervising from my bedroom. It's awesome having teenagers for children and having responsible children in general because it makes it so much easier to just let everything go, which I am. The house is a mess. The Dog needs a bath. I have piles and piles of laundry to do and I'm just not going to do any of it. OK, I never bathe The Dog because that was the deal when we got her and I'm going to do some of the laundry. But most of it is going to sit in the hamper and I still haven't put away my suitcase from London and the kitchen is a disaster zone, and I'm not going to do anything about it. Judge me if you want--frankly, I'm too tired to care.

The tulip fairy left flowers on our doorstep again yesterday. Whoever she is, and I'm assuming it's a she because men don't usually think of these things, she is a wonderful and thoughtful person. Or two thoughtful, wonderful people because it might not be the same person. But at any rate, I love the tulips.

These car owners are having a worse day than me.

You can't see, but there is a taxi and a BMW and a white delivery van under that tree which fell over in DC while everyone was waiting at a stoplight. Except for the BMW which was parked. I actually saw this on my way to the Metro. So thank you, tree victims, for making me feel very grateful that I take the Metro in. For all its many faults, public transportation pretty much guarantees that my car won't get smashed by a falling tree on my way home, except for the part where I have to drive through Tree City. I hadn't thought about that part. Now, I'm going to eat dinner and go to bed. (Husband, that is no excuse for not calling. Just because I might be asleep doesn't mean the children are.) And no, I don't care if they are still awake when I go to sleep. Didn't I mention that they were very responsible? It's not like they are toddlers. Sheesh!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bad Day 287--How much wood would a wood truck truck?

Today was good until it wasn't. At work, I was recognized as an expert in my field, which always surprises me, and I won an inter-agency fight, which also surprised me but made me happy because I was so right. But then I came home to a bunch of people who think I am wrong about everything and I know nothing and my clothes are ugly. OK, the child who said that last one was 4 at the time and it still makes me laugh, but I am Rodney Dangerfield at home and I get no respect. I may have told this story before, but when I first went back to work I would come home at the same time as Husband and they would cheer, "Daddy's home!" and run and hug him. Then they would turn and yell at me, "you forgot my permission slip!" And there would be no hugs. Tonight, on the way home, I called Child 1 to have her start dinner because it was her night to cook. First she tried to screen my call, but I was persistent. Then she decided we should have Chipotle instead of cooking so I went with her to get pay for the food, and I completely forgot that Child 2 had clarinet lessons. Child 2 reminded me just when her lessons were supposed to be done, so it was too late. So now I am going to set an alarm on my phone so that next week, we don't blow it again and nobody had better yell at me that it's my fault because I am so tired of being in charge of everything.

To make myself feel better about blowing the lessons, we watched Hawaii-five-0 at dinner. You can tell that I'm rather obsessed with crime dramas set in Hawaii, mostly because I like to pretend that I am there. I may have mentioned before that I spent the best month of my life in Hawaii many years ago and I've been trying to get back there ever since. Can you see why?

I made it back once when we were in China, which was awesome because I was in training with some great friends. And we tried and tried to get there when we lived in Korea, but it never worked out, so we went to Guam instead which I think I loved almost as much. But today, on the episode of 5-0 that we watched, Hawaii was doubling for North Korea which just makes me crack up, because anyone who knows North Korea knows that it doesn't look like Waimea Bay, it looks much more like the Oklahoma dust bowl but with mountains. Here is an actual picture of North Korea.

See? Totally not like Hawaii in any way. At all. The reason there is smoke coming out of the truck is that it is burning wood for fuel. Yep, that's right. They don't have enough gasoline, so they use wood, which is probably one reason why there aren't so many trees. Also, since it's completely above the 38th parallel  that means the climate is a lot like Nebraska, which means there are no palm trees. So the next time you see a TV show or movie where they North Koreans are all scary and have awesome technology and things like airplanes that actually fly and it is green and lush, remember the wood-burning trucks and laugh along with me.

Reese Witherspoon is having a worse day than me. In case you can't tell, this is her mug shot.

Not bad for being drunk and disorderly, is it? See, Ms. Witherspoon was drunk in a car with her husband when he was pulled over on suspicion of a DUI. And instead of being kind and polite to the officer who had every right to protect the rest of America from being killed by people too drunk to drive, she got out of the car and asked him if he knew who she was and said he was about to get on national television and made a big commotion and got handcuffed. Well, she was right because that story is all over the news. Only instead of being mad at the police officer, all of America is laughing at how ridiculous and entitled Ms. Witherspoon sounded. I'm a little sad, because I liked her and thought she was smart, but she acted just like any other Hollywood brat. So thank you, Ms. Witherspoon, for reminding me how smart it is to never, ever drink and drive and even smarter not to ride in a car with a drunk driver and to never yell at a police officer. Elle Woods would be ashamed of you. No snaps for you.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bad Day 286--One is not a lonely number

It is a Monday night and I am completely on my own. Child 1 is out, Child 3 is on a date with Artemis for some girl time, and Child 2 is still not back from NYC, so I ate dinner in bed while watching Magnum P.I. while trying to ignore The Dog who won't leave me alone. Honestly, she is the dumbest dog. If she knew which side her bread was buttered on, she would love the children and ignore me entirely. But since she's a dog, she is genetically programmed to chase things she can't catch--me being just one of them. Also birds, squirrels, rabbits, her tail. Sigh.

It's strange to know that this is only the beginning and that someday, not too far in the future, the children won't be around to not do the dishes/throw their books on the floor/watch TV instead of doing their homework. There were days when I couldn't even go to the bathroom without someone interrupting and it always seemed like those days would never, ever end. And please, no helpful tips about locking the door. If you have ever had a two-year-old kicking the door and screaming non-stop while you are in the bathroom, then you should remember just how much fun that is and why I stopped locking the door. There were years when I never slept alone in my bed and sometimes had two or three extra people in it--especially when Husband was on business trips, but sometimes just because they wanted to be with us. Once, after I arrived in China after a long separation, I awoke in the middle of the night to find children all over my bedroom floor. They must have missed me because that floor was hardwood and couldn't have been comfortable to sleep on. The only reason they weren't actually in the bed was because it was too small and too hard. King sized mattress my foot! More like a queen box spring.

So now, I look at my empty bed, and shout Wahoo! Finally, no one to steal the covers or kick me in the middle of the night! I've been sleeping horizontally just because I can. Hey, I love my children and Husband, but a girl needs her beauty rest and I am going to enjoy the peace and quiet while I can.

Speaking of bathrooms, this woman in Kansas is having a worse day than me. She went to the restroom and found this.

Apparently, one of the circus tigers had escaped and they had blockaded it in the bathroom, but they neglected to block all the doors. So when she opened the door, she saw this big tiger walking toward her, so she quickly went back out the door and surprisingly did not have a heart attack. I hope the circus comped her tickets because honestly, don't people have nightmares about things like that? OK, maybe just me, but thank you, Ms. Tiger Escaper, for reminding me to never, ever go to the circus. Screaming children in my bathroom is stress enough, thank you. Now excuse me while I go eat chips in  my bed because there is no one to tell me not to.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bad Day 285--Sunny and cool with a touch of lavender

In case you are keeping track, the Cheesecake Factory is not gluten-free friendly. Their menu is a mile long and comes in three parts so I thought of course they would have an allergy menu, but they don't. What they do have is a kitchen manager who will come and talk with you but forget to mention things like the lettuce-wraps you ordered come soaked in soy sauce and that they put layers of graham cracker crumbs in-between cheesecake fillings which he assured you contain no flour, so you happily ate the filling until you notice the thin layer of crumbs and then you are sick for two days. And you get a migraine the next day. I would never go back again, except that Child 1 loves it so much that she wants to go for her birthday which is in a couple of weeks, so how could I say no? But I will research online first. Also, farro is wheat, in case you were wondering, which I was. So not safe to eat if you are allergic. Too bad because it looks yummy.

Because of the aforementioned migraine, I spent most of the day in bed with The Dog happily snoring next to me. I have discovered a new way to get her to stop eating our guests which is to pick her up and hold her until she stops barking. The only problem is when you have a migraine, this is a pain almost worse than death. Or at least you want either The Dog or you to keel over so that the stabbing pain from the barking will stop. But after about five minutes of agony, she calmed down and slept in my lap. So now I realize I must spend more time with The Dog when company comes which does not make me happy. This new technique had better work because if it doesn't teach her to be nice to our guests, I will be really mad that I got dog hair all over me for nothing.

I know Child 2 is alive and well because she is sending me joke texts. Apparently what you get when you cross a performance troupe with cows is the Moo Man Group. She must be having fun. This cat in New Zealand, however, is having a worse day than me.

He was abandoned by his owners and found his way to a McDonald's parking lot where he would beg for fries and chicken nuggets which apparently made him really, really sick over time and in very poor health. An SPCA employee noticed him and took him home, but for a while he wouldn't eat regular cat food because it wasn't McDonald's. However, now he is OK and you can see above that he looks pretty healthy. So thank you, Frankie the cat, for reminding me to be grateful that I will never eat another Chicken McNugget because obviously, a diet like that can kill a cat, and also people allergic to wheat.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bad Day 284--She sounds hideous! Well, she's a guy, so. . .

My favorite commercial is back on TV and I am so happy about it. We giggle every time. Marketing genius, whoever came up with that idea. Uhh, khakis?

I got up at 5 am on a Saturday to take Child 2 to the bus for her band trip to New York which she didn't want to go on and didn't set her alarm on purpose so she might miss the bus. But, ha ha! I did set my alarm, so she went. And of course, she is having an awesome time. The thing you have to know about Child 2 is that she doesn't like to go on overnights which is why we have so many sleepovers at our house. But I also knew that once she got on the bus with her friends, she would have a great time and I was completely right. I expect to hear all about how amazingly cool NY is if she ever calls, which she hasn't.

While Child 2 parties it up in the Big Apple, the rest of us went shopping and two of us came home completely demoralized. Pat of the problem was we picked the wrong mall and it didn't have very many good stores, and part of it is that I no longer have a store that I can go in and buy without trying on because who knows what size I am? And it is not just British designers that are out to get me anymore. No, now it's the Gap. I bought a pair of jeans in Old Navy and then I went into the Gap to try on the same size and I couldn't even button them. So. Very. Frustrating! You would think that since they are both owned by the same company that they would have consistent sizing, but no. That would not be the case. So now I have to try things on which means I will buy a lot less because as you know, I hate trying things on because I am allergic to dressing room mirrors and lights. And also now Gap pants. Mind the Gap! Seriously, they are in league with the British fashion industry. This is why I have lots of handbags and shoes. Maybe I should just stick to shoes.

This state senator from Missouri is having a worse day than me.

One of his constituents somehow got on his e-mail newsletter list and didn't want to be on it. So he asked to be taken off, in a not exactly nice way. OK. A kind of mean way, but still, what he said (Take me off your mailing list. Freak.) did not deserve the rant he received back. First, this elected politician accused his constituent of being a troll and getting on the mailing list to cause trouble. Then, he called him names, disparaged his intellect, and made fun of his beard. Seriously? This guy wants people to vote for him, so he doesn't write a nice letter thanking the constituent for his e-mail and apologizing for bothering him with the newsletter? He is actually mean and petty and immature? OK, then. He was so rude that his constituent sent the entire exchange to the newspaper, who promptly printed it because it was too good not to share. So good luck with your next election, Mr. State Senator, and thank you for reminding me that emails are forever, especially when they are printed in the newspaper. Seriously, not the best move for an elected official.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bad Day 283--Today, it was raining

OK, I think that the chicken wings were breaded. It was hard to tell because they were covered in barbecue sauce and the tangyness of it must have masked my burning tongue feeling, but today, I am sick and in pain, yet I still went to work because I could sort of function. I did manage to get some stuff done.

Then after work, I went to get a new tire which meant driving to two places because the first said they didn't have any in stock and could order it for us, but I don't want to keep driving on the spare, so I went to a big chain tire store and successfully fought off their attempts to sell me an entire new set and it took them 2 hours to change the tires! 2! Thankfully, I thought to bring my iPod because Child 3 was with me and she was bored, bored, bored. I have an entire season of Modern Family on my iPod, so she happily watched that instead of the horror that the tire place had playing on CNN. See? Much happier than criminal manhunts.

She was freaked out enough by the bombing, she didn't need that, too. Anyway, now I have one brand new tire and 3 older ones, but I don't care. Husband can fix it when he comes home if that's what he wants. If it's not, well then, he shouldn't have gone to Afghanistan and left me in charge of everything.

Child 1 is off at the movies with friends. Child 3 is supposed to be watching Psych with me but is nowhere to be found. And Child 2 is throwing temper fit after temper fit because she is going with her band to NYC tomorrow and she doesn't want to go. Seriously? Are you kidding me? A trip to NYC without parents on which she will go to a Broadway musical and see the Statue of Liberty and hang out with friends and she doesn't want to go. Tonight, she is definitely not my daughter. She is trying to bully me into ironing her shirt for her, but she should realize by now that no one can make me do anything I don't want to do. Just talk to the tire guy and ask him how receptive I was to buying more than one tire. Oh, I was polite and friendly, but no. I said no, thank you and smiled until he figured out he wasn't swaying me.

This hotel manager in Austria is having a worse day than me. He is the manager of a hotel in this lovely city, so I know you are wondering what could be bad about that?

Lovely, isn't it. The problem is, it must be the off-season because the manager was stuck in a broken elevator for four days. The only reason he was rescued was because someone noticed the pile of mail that had built up outside the door. But the manager said he had undergone survival training in the army, so that helped him. I'm not sure what you can forage to eat or drink in an elevator, and I'm pretty sure I don't really want to know. But I do know that I don't ever want to take the elevator in that hotel. So thank you, Mr. Survival Manager, for reminding me to be grateful that I could be stuck in my lovely home for four days and still have plenty to eat and drink. Now excuse me while I go supervise the ironing because Child 2 is making me nervous.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bad Day 282--At least it wasn't raining

Today I was going to go back to the gym. Really, I was. But I decided having a flat tire would be more fun instead. OK, it wasn't that I decided to have a flat, it just happened, but still, that ate considerably into my evening hours. It was this flat, seriously.

I was really proud of myself because I didn't panic. First, I recognized that I had a flat before driving all the way home on it (which has happened before, um, maybe more than once.) Then, I pulled over and called Child 1 to come meet me, which she did right away. Then, I remembered that I had signed up for roadside assistance when we added Child 1 to the insurance for just this very reason, so I called them and they sent someone to help me change the tire and then I drove to the gas station and filled up the spare with air because it was low and the tow truck's compressor was broken and Child 1 followed me home to make sure I was OK.

All the while, I was thinking how smart I was that I had already planned dinner and it was going to be quick and easy, and everything was in the fridge ready to throw in the microwave, and then I got home and discovered that we had left the food out all night and day and there was nothing to eat for dinner. So we ordered pizza. And wings. And watched an episode of Psych. I probably shouldn't have eaten the wings, but they were only barbecue. Still, I don't feel all that great and I am tired. And Mom left, so now the world is again on my shoulders. I am tired and I honestly think I deserve a medal for not panicking at the flat tire. But now I am tired and I am not going to the gym, so Child 1 and I are studying about the Great Depression and then I am going to sleep. I may or may not have enough energy left to call Husband who is partying with friends in Kabul. He did not have to fix a flat tire today.

This man in Australia is having a worse day than me. He crashed his car into a tree on his property and then got out when it rolled on top of him. He was stuck under the car for four days. But luckily, he had a very loyal Australian kelpie who stayed with him and kept him warm. Australian kelpies look like this.

It must be nice to have a dog that is smart enough to save you from death. If I were trapped under the car, The Dog would first lick my face until I screamed and then would run off with my shoes. The children would only notice I was gone when we ran out of milk or chips. So I could literally die of starvation if I had gone shopping right before. Still, thank you, Mr. Dog Owner, for reminding me to be grateful that the car didn't roll over on me when I was looking under it for the spare. Because I always put on the emergency brake whenever I get out of the car. See, Husband? There is a good reason to use the parking break. You can stop rolling your eyes now.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bad Day 281--Are you achin', for some bacon?

I accidentally overdosed on Zyrtec this morning and apparently what happens when you take allergy medicine twice is it makes you twice as tired. I literally drifted off in the middle of speaking a couple of times today. My poor office had to resort to reading my gestures because I couldn't remember any words in any language, and I speak 5, so you would think that at least one of them would pop up when I need it. Thankfully, my co-workers are either very patient, or they are used to me being spacey by now.

So tonight Child 1 asked if we could make skillet lasagna, so I went to the grocery store that carried the gluten-free lasagna noodles, and they didn't have any. Not one package. So we made skillet penne instead, and it was amazing! I used Italian canned tomatoes which were delicious and we will definitely do this again. I love making dinner in one pot and food that tastes like lasagna made in a wok in 30 minutes is awesome. Thank you, Stevie, for that fabulous idea. Also, cooking the pasta in sauce makes up for the fact that it is gluten free pasta and has less taste. At least they are not as bad as most gluten-free cookies. I offered one of the good ones to Mom the other day and she said no thanks, she tried the ones in the kitchen. I said no, these were the good ones and she said she would stick to Thin Mints and I completely don't blame her because rice is not a dessert. It does not taste like dessert; it tastes like rice even when you make it into a cookie. There is one company that makes good gluten-free cookies and this is it.

That's it. All the rest are terrible, even the cream-filled pretend Oreos which are not the same as Oreos. I miss Oreos. And brownies.

Bobbi sent me this picture of  this animal control officer in North Carolina who is having a worse day than me.

Now, I'm not exactly sure what happened, but there was a pig on the loose in Greensboro, and this officer had to come take care of it. I know he is having a worse day than me because any day that ends up with someone carrying a big, fat, hairy, scary pig around is a bad day. So thank you, Mr. Animal Control, for keeping the streets safe from wild pigs. I have a really good recipe for pork roast if you need it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bad Day 280--Migraine: 1 Me: 3

So on day four of the migraine war, I managed to get to work and get enough medicine in me that I could mostly function, sort of. I couldn't remember my own name, but I have an automatic signature in my e-mails, so that worked out OK. I think I lost an hour or two in there somewhere because it felt like all of a sudden I looked up and it was 4:30 which means time to actually send the thousands of e-mails I was composing. OK, not thousands. That was my last job in which I supervised a team that answered about a thousand e-mails daily. So maybe dozens today. I also had a nice chat with Husband on the phone about people using your picture on their websites without your permission. This has actually happened to us twice--both times by government agencies. First, about 6 years ago, the immigration service used a photo of Child 3 without our permission. It had been taken while we were on the Mall and she was wearing a cute 4th of July dress. I was shocked to see her on the immigration web site. More recently, another government agency whom Husband has never worked for posted a picture of him on their recruitment page. Again, they didn't ask for permission or he might have suggested they actually use a picture of one of their own employees. Still, that is fun for me to look at the picture of him, especially because I think he is asleep in it. I have it bookmarked.

Mom is still here, which is a blessing because tonight I forgot that Child 2 was starting clarinet lessons, so I had to rush to get dinner on the table and then leave to take her to her lesson. So when I got home, Mom had put all the food away, which was awesome because the children would have just left it on the table for The Dog to eat and she would have thrown it up all over my bedroom. The Dog likes Mom a lot and follows her around like one of the family.

Then, I got a package in the mail that said it was a present for me, which turned out to be maple sugar candy from Sister 2 which was awesome! Because I love maple sugar candy almost as much as I love chocolate and it has no wheat. Mom said to be sure to check the ingredients which I did and this was them in total "pure maple syrup." So we all had some and let it melt in our mouths and it was sugary and luscious and every bit as good as I remembered. That made my day. I love you, Sister 2!

Someone else left chocolate chip cookies on our doorstep, although we suspect it is the girl whom Child 2 left brownies on the doorstep for last week. Anyway, two of us ate all the cookies because there weren't very many and two of us can't have wheat, one of us (guess who?) can't have chocolate, and Mom is allergic to eggs, so unless they were vegan cookies, she couldn't eat them. But again, it was a nice thought and Child 1 & 2 thoroughly enjoyed them and Child 3 was so happy she had maple sugar candy that she didn't care.

People in Florida are having a worse day than me because of the Giant African Snails.

Giant African land snails can carry a human parasite called rat lungworm, which is a form of meningitis and potentially deadly.

In case you can't tell, that snail is as big as his hand. They are pests and each one can lay 1,200 eggs, so they are tough to eradicate and they are taking over Miami--they have killed over 114,000 so far. Besides eating everything in their path, their slime gets all over everything and their shells can puncture a tire. I used to think it might be nice to retire in Florida, but with all the giant mosquitoes and snails, I'm scared. Snails don't normally bother me, but then they aren't usually as big as my head. So thank you, Floridians, for reminding me that it is too cold for giant snails where I live. Also, The Dog would never let them in our yard. At least she is good for something.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bad Day 279--The migraine won

I fought off a migraine all weekend, but today, it ambushed me at 5 am and I had to surrender. So yes, another valuable sick day lost while I spent the morning in bed wishing I had never been born, or at least that I had been born without a head. After taking a double-dose of the medicine that turns me into a space cadet (no, not literally, Child 2, that is a euphemism for how I can't remember what I'm saying in the middle of saying it), it is down to a dull throb. Still, I have the lights dimmed. What were we talking about again?

The most fun part of the day was when I realized that the problem with our printer is not that it was out of ink. After first driving to the store to purchase said ink, re-downloading the driver and re-setting the printer countless times, it was obvious that it was not going to cooperate. So I had to drive to Kinkos and print, sign, and scan my tax forms there because today is tax day and they are due. I sent them off to our accountant because things are so complicated now we can't do them on Quicken anymore, and she said something was still missing. Thankfully, she is foresighted enough to have filed an extension for us and now I can check through all of my e-mails and find the missing form later--after Husband goes online and finds us a new scanner/copier/printer because I may have irreparably damaged the other one when I was calling it names and trying to get it to work. Also, it doesn't work! This one looks nice.

So yesterday, we established that Colorado Springs is not in Arkansas, but today we learned that Boston is in Afghanistan. Many, many people in Boston are having a worse day than me. I won't say I know how you feel, because I can't even imagine, but I will say that I am thinking of you and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this horrific violent act. May you all find something that brings you peace and comfort to hold onto. I am going to hug my children extra hard and be grateful that Husband is safe in Afghanistan. What a horrible irony that is.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bad Day 278--Why ketchup?

Just a quick word of advice. If you are the type of person who bursts into tears at the smallest provocation, like I have been of late, make sure that you have tissues in your purse besides the British souvenir ones that you bought in London. Otherwise, you will be forced to blow your nose into a Union Jack and you will feel pretty foolish and vaguely disrespectful, even if the British are the ones who sold you the package of tissues with their flag on them, which they were.

Because I am exhausted after sobbing a good part of the day, I thought I would let you see an e-mail exchange between us and Husband. Very often, during times when we miss him a lot like at church, we will take advantage of modern technology to e-mail him. This is today's result.

From: Me
To: Husband
Subject: Your absence

Dear Husband,
This letter is to inform you that you have a number of unexcused absences. Please write our administrator with the reason for missing so many days. Remember that all unexcused absences must be made up, preferably with jewelry and other luxuries.
Your Family

From: Husband
To: Me
Subject: RE: Your absence
Dear Jennifer,

I am truly sorry for my absences.  Could you please provide the name of your administrator so that I might attempt to make amends for the time that I have missed.  I have a year supply of ketchup that I could offer as a token of my contrition and my commitment to not do it again.  Please advise my children that I love them and am practicing the family dance on a daily basis so that I can thoroughly embarrass them upon my return.


Your Husband

From: Me
To: Husband
Cc: Child 1
Subject: Re: RE: Your absence

The administrator would be Child 1. She came up with the luxuries line. A years' supply of ketchup will be a nice start, but will not fulfill the luxury requirement.
Love, J

I fully expect some kind of luxury item when he returns home. A rug would be nice, but jewelry is more portable. Child 1 wants a new laptop.

Everyone in Louisiana and Arkansas is having a worse day than me because North Korea is bad at geography. The North Korean propaganda machine has released a video that threatens the US with their untested missiles. Here is a still of the video where you can see their targets. The dot on the left is supposed to be Colorado Springs.

So I am sorry, people of Texarkana or Little Rock or Nachitoches: you are in danger because no one in North Korea has ever actually looked at a map of the U.S. And thank you, DPRK, for yet again making me feel better about my intellectual skills because everyone knows Colorado Springs is in Antarctica. So aim your missiles there.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bad Day 277--Not that lady, the other one

We were accidental tourists today. We didn't mean to go to the Cherry Blossom Festival parade, but it was happening when we went to the National Gallery of Art, so it was a bonus. We had wondered why there were so many people on the metro, most of them wandering around lost not understanding how to use the metro and eating bananas, which there are signs all over the place saying eating on the metro is illegal. Yes, that's right--illegal. Not just frowned upon; you can actually get arrested for eating on the metro and their are signs that say so. Nevertheless, people were eating bananas and the entire car smelled like bananas and that is not my favorite scent.

We went to the gallery with Artemis and Mom because there is an exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite paintings there and one of my favorite paintings in the world is The Lady of Shalott. Artemis had been previously and said it was there and I didn't go to the Tate Gallery in London when I was there because I thought all of my favorite paintings were at the Smithsonian for the moment anyway. So we went and I saw Dante Gabriel Rosetti's Persephone.


And then we saw the Millais painting of Ophelia. And then we went through the entire exhibit and at the end I said to Artemis, where is the Lady of Shallot? And she said there and pointed to a painting I had never seen before which was this one.

Now, that is a nice painting and beautifully done and full of symbolism and I do like that she has red hair, but it is not the painting that I dragged the children down to the Mall to see--the one that Child 1 kept asking how many other paintings did she have to look at and which one was the one I wanted her to see so we could go home? No, that painting is still in the Tate Gallery I assume, and is this one, which wasn't there.

The Lady of Shalott by JW Waterhouse

So then we looked at some photographs and some lovely American furniture, and we had lunch and went home. It was still a lovely day and I had fun in spite of the migraine that I have been fighting since 5 am and the fact that we had to get the car inspected because I didn't realize it's sticker expired last month because this is the car I don't drive. Thankfully, the place down the street did it in 30 minutes.

The people riding in this airplane to Bali all had a worse day than me, and it is easy to see why.

It was apparently raining and the plane overshot the runway and crashed into the sea. Luckily, no one was seriously injured and the passengers all got out. I am very glad that everyone is OK, and really, if you have to be in a plane crash, this one didn't turn out too badly and they all did manage to make it to Bali. And to be honest, if you are afraid to get on another plane for a while, Bali is not a bad place to be stuck. So thank you, Crash Survivors, for reminding me to be grateful that I have actually been to Bali and didn't crash, although you know, if we had, it would totally have been worth it. Bali is an amazing island and is one of the places I close my eyes and dream about when I am looking for serenity and peace. Bali, Bali, Bali--it's working. I'm feeling all relaxed and drowsy just thinking about it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bad Day 276--Am I happy, or glad?

It is EER editing season and I spent a good part of the day reading EERs, which some people find tedious, but I actually love because 1. I am a very good editor, and b. I am a little nosy so finding out what everyone has been doing over the past year is a lot of fun. I know, you think I am a lousy editor because of all the mistake in this blog, but honestly, I am too tired at the end of the day to go over the posts with a fine-tooth comb so you all will just have to put up with the grammar errors and spelling mistakes and lack of agreement, etc. However, in EERs, those mistakes are the kiss of death. But that is not how I edit. That is for other people to do. What I am excellent at is helping people find their inner voice, which is important in EERs because boring and stuffy and matter of fact is exactly the kind of writing the department expects and what will put the promotion panels to sleep and get people skipped over. Now, if I could only do that for myself. . .

I am getting a little angry with the weather gods who decided to skip spring and drop summer right in the middle of April. It is warm and muggy and I am not happy. You see, last January, I bought a new raincoat knowing that spring is cool and rainy, and it was raining this morning, so I wore it. I don't have a picture of it, but it is not unlike this one on Katie Holmes, except it has a hood.

The only problem is that by the time I walked to work, I was sweating! It is too hot to wear my raincoat! This does not make me happy because I spent all last spring cold and wishing I had a better raincoat, and now, I have one and it is too hot to wear. So I am asking you, weather gods, in the name of all that is fashion, please, please give us some cooler rainy days this spring! My raincoat is too cute to keep hanging in the closet.

This member of the Taliban is having a worse day than me. Oh, I know, the Taliban are always having a worse day than me because they have to be members of the Taliban, and why on earth would that be any fun?

PHOTO: Taliban fighters line up as they hand over their weapons to join the peace process in Herat, Afghanistan, Nov. 3, 2012.

But this guy sent a message to everyone in his contact list and he published the names in the CC line instead of the BC line which put the e-mail addresses for everyone in the Taliban and all their contacts out there in the public for all to see. So dumb move. That BCC line is tricky and something people need to watch out for. I'm not saying I've done this, but hypothetically, if you send a flaming e-mail to someone complaining about something that they did and you are totally wrong, then, again, hypothetically they might just reply to you and might just put your supervisor and everyone you work with in the bcc line so they will all know what a jerk you are. Just hypothetically, you know. So thank you, Mr. Dumb Taliban, for reminding me to be careful to make sure I put the right people in the BCC line when I forward flaming write something sensitive to a bunch of people. I hope you live in fear, looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life for your stupidity. And may you succeed exactly as well as you did with this e-mail in all of your endeavors.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bad Day 275--Hi Mom!

Mom is here and I got texts from Sisters 1 & 2 tonight, so I am feeling extra loved. Also, Husband misses me. I could tell because he sent me plaintive e-mails yesterday while I was in training lamenting that he couldn't reach me. If he were here, I would probably have been annoyed that he didn't remember I wasn't in my office, but since he is in Afghanistan, he gets bonus points for loving me so much that he can't stand not reaching me when he wants to. We are all counting down the days until he comes home again, which we just discovered might not be as soon as we wanted him to because he doesn't have as many leave days as we thought. Ugh.

Today was an uneventful day. I did all the usual work things and had a baked potato for lunch like always. Some friends sent me their EERs to look over, which I am happy to do because they looked over mine. I was all feeling like I was behind because I just got it to my rater, but then Husband hasn't even finished his own part yet, so that made me feel better. He kind of has an excuse given all the drama of the past week, but still, I'm not as far behind as I thought and given that I like to be early, as I've mentioned before, I am right on time.

My dirty little secret is that I used to be a procrastinator in high school. I would put everything off until the last minute and kidded myself that I worked better under pressure. My freshman year in college, I was famous for pulling all-nighters because I had a paper/test/project/presentation due the next day.

Then by my junior year, I decided that I hated all-nighters and I couldn't take the stress anymore, so what if I just did things early and then I could avoid the stress, and I decided that was a much better way to go and I raised my GPA by a few 10ths of a point and got a scholarship because of it. So that's how I've been ever since, only I married a procrastinator and gave birth to two. Maybe someday they will appreciate my strategy, but I'm not sure they ever will. However, even though Child 2 got her optimism from Husband, she gets her early-birdism from me and I hardly ever have to remind her to do her homework and she has a  lot of free time to play video games and it totally annoys her sisters, which I think, to be honest, she plays up a little on purpose. Maybe she is my child after all!

This girl in England is having a worse day than me.

Or actually, a worse 13 years than me. You see, she has only eaten Ramen noodles for 13 years. She started when she was 5 and now that is all she will eat. She is so picky that she won't eat out and she is malnourished and her doctor says she has the health of an 80 year old. She can't stand vegetables or fruit. I mean, honestly, how can she not have at least wanted to try a chocolate bar, or a brownie, or a scone, or ice cream? Or blueberries or ripe cherries or mango or dragonfruit? All these delicious things in the world she could eat that I can't and yet she chooses Ramen on purpose every day for every meal. So thank you, picky girl, for reminding me that although I will never have another brownie ever again, I can have a berry-berry smoothie whenever I like, which might be right now, if only I had a good blender. OK, not whenever I want, but sometimes when I go out for smoothies, and that is better than never at all.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bad Day 274--Ooops!

Apparently, what happens when you take two different kinds of cold medicine at the same time is that you not only forget your name, you also forget to push the publish button on your blog and you just shut your laptop and go to sleep around 7:30 and then wake up at 2:30 am and can't go back to sleep and still have to go to work the next day. If I were one of the Seven Dwarfs, I would definitely be Sleepy. Or Sneezy.

But that is what happened to me anyway. I'm sorry if anyone assumed there was something wrong, and thank you to Sister-in-law 3 for letting me know about my mistake.

I had to go to work because I wasn't going to work today. I was going to an off-site training thing and if you know the Department, then you know that you cannot take sick days while in training and still get credit for it. So I went. I hope no one else gets sick, but I was very careful not to sneeze on anyone and I washed my hands a lot. Also, I drank a lot of Diet Pepsi, the kind with caffeine because I almost fell asleep several times. In fact, I am falling asleep now and it is only 7:30 pm. So I'd better get up and move around or I'll have another night light last night and no one wants that. Mom is arriving tomorrow. My Mom. So for a few days, at least, there will be another responsible adult in the house. As soon as she gets here, I am going to bed and not getting up for days. Or at least until I have to go to work.

These two people from Germany are having a worse day than me. They apparently went for a short drive near their home in Bavaria that was supposed to take around 5 minutes and ended up in Austria 150 miles away. Apparently, they didn't notice this sign which says you are crossing the border into Austria.

But then, I shouldn't judge because Mom and I once tried to go to the airport in Newark and ended up crossing the river into NY without noticing it until we were on the other side. However, I was 11, so my lack of direction at the time can be excused. And Mom had just had her 5th baby, so again, not really fair. This couple, however, were a brother and sister who were 77 and 70 respectively. The man's son came to get them and took them home so you can bet that was the last time his dad ever drove. So thank you, directionless siblings, for making me feel better about getting lost occasionally and very grateful for GPS, which I highly recommend for people who cannot tell which way is north without mountains. Although, I figure if I run into the ocean, then I will be way east, but I think I might notice the signs welcoming me to Delaware first. Now excuse me while I go to sleep, but this time, I will push the publish button first.

Bad Day 273--I couldn't have said it better myself

I have taken so much cold medicine that my brain is one big pile of mush. It could also be the sleep deprivation. But at any rate, I am having trouble remembering words and I did a lot of walking into rooms and not remembering what I was doing there today. Like right now, I had a whole idea for a blog post, and now I remember none of it. It's lost in the fog.

The LA Times can read my mind, even if I can't. They published a great article on what not to say to people who are going through something difficult, which at some point will be everyone on the planet. So everyone take note because they said it much nicer than me. The idea is that people who are not in the middle of the crisis should not complain or offer advice or compare their problems to the person who is actually suffering. The rule is support in--dump out. If you read the article, you will understand. I fully admit that in the past, I have said some stupid things to people who were suffering, for which I now apologize. Now that I know how stupid those things are, I use my go to which is usually something like here is chocolate/a cookie/a copy of the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Because sometimes, it is easier to let someone know you care by giving them something. Also, then you can talk about the thing you gave them and not why they are hurting which they might not want to talk about. So to the people who gave me flowers and a teddy bear and dinner over the past few days, you are all amazing and lovely and thank you, thank you. I have to say that I already like the bear much better than I like The Dog.

Francois Hollande (who is the president of France) is having a worse day than me because his camel is dead. I know you are wondering just why the president of France has a camel and it is because France saved Mali, so they gave him a camel. Here he is with the camel. He left it in Timbuktu because it is very hard to put camels on the French version of Air Force 1, or so I assume.

Now, remember when Child 3 thought that chamomile tea was made from camels and she said she didn't approve of using camels as food? Well, apparently they don't feel the same way in Mali because the family he left it with ate it. Yes, they were hungry so they cooked and ate President Hollande's gift from the people of Mali. So now Malian government feels terrible and is replacing it with a better looking and bigger camel which they intend to ship to France before it can be eaten. So thank you, Camel Eaters, for reminding me to be grateful that when our friends brought dinner tonight, it was stuffed grape leaves and they were delicious and most definitely didn't have any camel in them. And to whoever left the tulips on my doorstep, they are beautiful. I wish you had left a note so I could thank you in person.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bad Day 272--Sick day, again

So I woke up this morning at 2:30 am with a headache and fever and stuffy nose and sore throat, which isn't surprising given the amount of stress I've been under and the fact that I can count the hours I sleep each night on about 3 fingers. So I tossed and turned until about 5:30 am and then called in sick. Then Husband called at 6:30 because I had e-mailed him that I wasn't going in so he should call me at home. It was nice to hear his voice in spite of the headache. Then I woke up at 7 and thought, I should call in sick and I dialed the number but thank goodness remembered before I pushed the talk button. In the olden days, when we had actual rotary dials, it was much harder to stop a call, but then since the dialing took so long, I might have remembered before I finished. Then I tried to go back to sleep but of course I couldn't.

So I have spent most of the day in bed reading and sweating because it is HOT outside. We have gone from winter to summer in one day. I hate this new weather that can't make up its mind. And then I took a couple of children to doctors' appointments and it was the most beautiful day and so like me to be sick and miss it. But supposedly the weather will be nice all week so maybe I can go for a walk at lunch tomorrow if I am well enough to go in. This darn fever, and the headache won't go away.

Other than that, I am doing a little better. There was a Brother sighting on his birthday, so family tells me he is alive and well and not in a ditch. And I am taking Sister 1's advice and thinking a lot of the beach which is our happy place. So when I start feeling the stress, I am focusing on this. It's the beach in Guam and you can totally see why Child 3 thinks we should live there and open a gluten-free restaurant. It really, honestly does look like that.

So I close my eyes and I imagine my feet digging into the warm, powdery sand and I can hear the waves gently lapping on the shore and feel the breeze and smell the frangipani and I so need a tropical beach vacation. Or posting. Husband's next job will have to do with the South Pacific islands, so maybe. . . . A girl can dream, can't she? And seriously, meditating about the beach does help. Next spring break I'm going somewhere warm with a beach and a hammock where I can nap all week.

Poodle lovers in Argentina are having a worse day than me. Apparently, some people bought what they thought were poodles in a bazaar for about $150 apiece. Here is a picture of both a poodle and the animal they actually purchased.

Now, if you know what a dog really looks like, you would not be fooled into thinking the animal on the right was a poodle. I am not a dog expert, but even I know that beady little eyes and a pink nose does not equal a dog. So you are right in thinking that they were duped. What they bought instead of a poodle was a ferret. Yep. A. Rodent. For $150. Honestly, had these people ever seen an actual poodle? So thank you Clueless Pet Owners, for reminding me to be grateful that The Dog is not a ferret. I would actually like a ferret even less than The Dog who just a second ago tried to steal my dinner. Thank goodness it was only Chinese food and not the yummy skillet lasagna from the recipe that "Stevie" gave me that I made yesterday. That was awesome and I am so not sharing the leftovers with The Dog. She would just vomit them all over my shoes.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bad day 271--I'm still standing.

The fact that I am still on my feet after this weekend is surprising. Artemis says it's a triumph and I agree with her. Child 1 says I'm not on my feet because at the moment I am in my pajamas and sitting in bed. So technically, she is correct. (But she's also eating Thin Mints in front of me, so I'm a little miffed with her at the moment.) Still, I made it through today and I didn't fall apart once. In public, that is. In private, in my bedroom, I was a mess. Husband's Niece 2 is in town with her high school orchestra and we picked her up and took her to see her great-grandfather's grave in Arlington Cemetery and I didn't cry once, which for me is a record because I cry every single time I go to Arlington Cemetery ever since my first trip in 8th grade. Whoever doesn't get emotional at the sight of this has no soul, and I have mentioned before that I am rather patriotic (you know I have a rhinestone flag pin, so it gets me every time.

As a consequence, we don't go there very often. But today, I held it together until we got home and then I skyped with Husband and sobbed and sobbed. Thankfully, the girls were at a park in the warm, sunny weather, so they didn't see what a wreck I was. This has probably been the worst week I have ever had, and that includes the one when I lost the baby, and the one where I almost died from e-coli, and the ones when the stupid doctors in China told me I had cancer when I didn't. And the one when Husband left for Afghanistan the first time. That was an awful week, but this one was much, much worse. So if you ask me how I'm doing and I say I'm still alive, then I think that's pretty optimistic of me considering I would rather have e-coli again that go through another week like this one. And that e-coli thing was pretty nasty and I was in a third world country with really terrible health care, so that is saying a whole lot.

Brother is having a worse day than me. I know this because it is his birthday and he is somewhere dying in a ditch, unable to call for help. He must be because his birthday is a whole month after mine which he completely forgot to recognize in any way shape or form. So if he weren't lying in a ditch somewhere or lost in the jungle, or stranded on a deserted island because his plane went down and the island is enchanted and can jump through time and there is a polar bear there, then I would wish him a happy birthday. But since he is unable to communicate with the rest of the world, I am very sad for him. (Sister 1 contributed to this post, Brother. She says you haven't called her in years. Years!) But if for some reason you are able to communicate and feel very, very, awfully terrible that you forgot my birthday last month, and apology e-mail will do, or just a post on my blog. I still love you, Mr. Birthday Forgetter, and I am grateful that you are my brother.