Stinky Fridge

Funky smell, bring in the funk, bring in the smell. This is a condensed version of a real life event. It was HOURS before I could find the culprit. As we have an open kitchen the stink started to move out into the house…like the blob.

Every time someone opens the fridge the smell shoots out stronger.  But, sometimes it’s so hidden you can’t find the culprit. People can start to turn on each other.   “I looked, I don’t know where it is coming from!”.  The best part of this vid was Vivien’s brief part. I think I should have a t shirt made with this image:fridge
Stinky fridges are well discussed online. The worst smell I ever smelled in a fridge was when the power went out and the raw chicken smelled so rank I became a vegetarian for a few years.
This pic sums up how we all feel when a funk is upon us. ( not Rex, found this online)

fridge

This is why preservatives can be good. cuts down on the funk

E-Cards Are Not Cards: How a Blended Family Can Send a Real Card

Okay, I’m about to gripe. But I’m not alone. I have had it with THE EMAIL HOLIDAY CARD. No, it’s not okay. And if it’s an email it is NOT a card. It’s an email, which we all get way to much of. All year we delete group emails. We rarely get personal mail through the mail box anymore. The holiday season is the one time of year we get some sort of personal mail. Something that a human had to stick a stamp on. Oh, goody, instead I will get less personal mail and more emails that lack any warmth. And don’t tell me they are green. That’s a cop out. They are powered and received on large machines that suck electricity faster than Tiger Woods can ask a cocktail waitress for her number.

I get it. Some years one is more overwhelmed than other times. Than either skip the ritual, or do a pared list like I often do in less well planned years. You know the great aunt who doesn’t even know what Facebook is let alone how to access the pictures you post there, people like that. Or if you are behind, send a New Years card.

I am not a fan of getting electronic greetings to begin with. If I have to sit and wait while some amusing Jacquie Lawson animated pixie talks about a bird landing on a leaf, and it unfolds same sappy greeting I’m going to stick a fork in my head.

Here is what I want in a Christmas Card: A picture and or a little something about your life. Or a short personal message. PERSONAL message. That means written to ONE person. Not everyone on your contact list. That is what Facebook is for. And even with people I keep in nominal touch with, I like seeing the pictures of the kids and the letter talking about the promotion and the terrier they rescued outside of church. I’m a dork that way.

When I got one or two of these email christmas cards a couple of weeks ago, I was like, okay, happy holidays to you too. But, now, it’s gotten to be too much. It must stop. We are already an overly casual culture. As Bill Maher joked, (paraphrase) dressing is so casual now that people aren’t going to be happy until they can walk around in a diaper.

Look, I always get my cards out late.

I have HORRIBLE handwriting.

I get overwhelmed and don’t send them to all my friends and family.

But, dang it, I’m still trying to keep this ritual going.

To that end… I wanted to share with you my personal journey with holiday cards this year and pass on a discount that I also enjoyed.

I think I am not alone in having a hard time finding one photo where all members are accounted for and no one is blinking. I don’t need a professional photo… we don’t all have to walk on the beach. We just need a decent picture. Where I don’t look tired and my back fat doesn’t show.

The single card holiday card is not my favorite. You know the kind that arrive, you notice how little Susie has grown and then it lies flat on the mantle or china hutch because there is nothing else to hold it up. When did the Christmas post card come into vogue? Well, better than an email card (which is not a card). It’s like bringing frozen apps to a party and expecting the hostess to heat them up (this happened to me last year). Don’t make me do the work to find a place to prop up the piece o’ greeting.

So, I stumbled upon a well known web greeting company, Tiny Prints. But they had the perfect blended family card. It holds 5 pictures. And not in a montage, but one where you can put a little story to 4 of the pics. And since a lot has gone on this year I thought this would be perfect.

I had some explaining to do. I had a baby, yet sent out very few announcements. We moved and never sent out a change of address. It’s not the kind you want to “woo-hoo every one, had to sell the dream house and now we are renting. Not sure how long we will live here, but the address is…” Yeah, let’s skip it.

I used the petite alma line at Tiny Prints. The one that has 5 pictures to choose from, plus you can write a little bit underneath about 35 words, so each picture had a caption/story.  

I always have a problem with typos or fitting a picture correctly, but they have a line where a real human who speaks English called me to clarify some of my choices/mistakes. They were cheaper than doing those ones on the Mac (which I tried and aborted).

So, if you are a late deliverer or REAL holiday cards here is a last minute discount for  Coolmom.com readers www.tinyprints.com/holiday and the Promo code is TPHOLIDAY.  10% off orders with an order of $75 or more. Expires 1/1/2010.

I also liked the graphics on paperculture’s card, but they weren’t folded so I couldn’t pull the trigger.

Yes, I wish I had a minion to run and get stamps and calligraphy the addresses so my friends and family don’t think they are getting a note from a prison, but I can hack it.

I’m not sending an email holiday card. It’s such a Teens decade thing to do, and I peaked in the ’90′s.

Thanksgiving Doesn’t Suck as Bad as Christmas

Well, it’s true right? First off there is no gift giving. Also, when something is heavy on your heart, a break up, illness in the family, robbed of life savings, it always seems to feel heavier on Christmas. I always felt less is expected of me on Thanksgiving. Bake and eat and drink.

Last year was my favorite Thanksgiving ever. Here I am having a gay old time. We were in my dream house, and for the first time in my life I could play grown up. I had a big house and the means to host the dinner. I was expecting Rex, surrounded by friends and family, and very happy.  Content.

Well, now, my sister Carole is hosting again as she has the biggest house. But everyone is fine, so I can’t complain. It’s one day. Not a whole season with Christmas and its build up. But I did like when I was (for once) not the guest on Thanksgiving.

We’ll still play football before the dinner, and I will again host Turkey Trot Trivia, a game I have long played as dessert is consumed. I’m a game person and highly suggest a game for a mix of people. It’s bonding, and if you have people of different views it can be a nice way to channel discussion away from controversy and into American trivia. I have tchotkes for prizes.

Do you like Thanksgiving better or worse than Christmas or Hanukkah? Is it harder this year? Do you have any quirky traditions?

We always go around the table and say something we are grateful for. Other than the obvious being good health, I still maintain we should all be grateful for modern plumbing.

Brother, Can You Spare a Ride?

I’m a tad stressed about Mark’s surgery and all the logistics that entails for a husband going through major eye surgery who cannot drive in a car for weeks, let alone help with the baby like he usually does. So I don’t want to say I’m not getting the desired support from certain family members when I need it. I’ll just say that someone who gave birth to someone who is not me sort of irked me today…

This person… has been saying she wants to help, so I called today and said could she please take Vivien to school since Mark has to be at the hospital at 8am. I will take Rex with me. I said we would need to leave by 7:20 at the latest.

Her: “Well, I couldn’t get there by then. I’ll come about 8:45.” Whaaaaa? She lives 1.5 miles away. Now, my stepson will be here, but he is 15 and not a natural babysitter. I explained that if there was a few minutes where only Oliver was in charge it’s ok as he could call 911 if the house was on fire, but he will not be waking Vivien up with a hug and making her breakfast and getting her dressed.

“Oh, yeah, that’s true.” She asks me again when we are leaving. Still 7:15 to 7:20. “I can’t make it by then. I will be there more like 7:45.” I don’t know what irruption in the space time continuum has occurred that one can arrive a one time and not 25 minutes earlier when there is not change in traffic flow or weather conditions between these 25 minutes, but there it is!

I thought of pressing the issue, but then why bother? If someone wants to be passive aggressive they can. And I thought, she was late to to our house the morning I gave birth to Rex.

Mark called this unnamed person and in a very nice way offered her a wake up call.

You could snap my muscles with a spoon. I don’t care what Stephanie Wilder-Taylor say, tonight I’m having some wine.

My sister-in-law Leslie is driving hundreds of miles to come down this weekend to be helpful. Bless her heart.

I also have to arrange a follow up doctors visit for him on Wednesday when I have to go to work for a short time and then take Rex to get his shots. Of course they don’t give us times beforehand because it’s so much easier to twist in the wind.

————————————

The other day I got such a nice little gift out of nowhere. A hello from my friend Stacie. We used to work together, and she knows I had my arm acne problem from pregnancy. Pretty, oh, pretty and if the water police aren’t around, I’m a bath whore. So she sent me french lavender bubble bath and lotion from EO. It’s all organic and all that jazz, but all I know is my itchy skin doesn’t explode after I use it, which is rad. And the smell makes me feel pretty.

A play on the old ad… “EO lavender bubbles, take me away”

They also have hand sanitizers, which I will be dousing us with as we enter and exit the hospital… but avoiding the eyes.

Sandwich Generation Part 206

One of those things that 22-year-old moms are less likely to face: do you take your baby when visiting your parent in assisted living? My father is still mentally with it but needs help, so a couple of years ago we decided it was best for him to be in assisted living. Many are grim or super expensive. The one we found that hit the sweet spot of human decency is about 20 miles from me.

I use to try to see him every week, but since Rex (well, since towards the end of the real uncomfortable part of pregnancy) my goal is more like every two weeks. So, here is one of the issues, do I take my kids or not? Up until recently Vivien was fine with visiting a-little- too- leisure- village.  But lately when I say “Do you want to see Papa?”  “No” is usually the answer. I don’t blame her since many of the people there are pretty out of it.  But when she would visit, it was like a light switch had gone off in their brains.

“Oh, a life force!” She used to sit on the laps of people in wheelchairs without a thought. Now, she has thoughts, and it’s “I would rather go to the park.”

Okay, so Rex and I could go when she is in school. (Timing the traffic is very important in LA) But like young Viv, Rex HATES the car. But my dad LOVES seeing his little grandson… not to mention how happy the other old folks get at seeing a young child.

Am I willing to cause my offspring discomfort to bring a few moments of joy to some infirmed oldies? Yes, sometimes I am. And sometimes there is no choice.

Today was that day. Rex, asleep in his car seat, and I went to visit my dad. I used to take my dad out more, but now that I once again have a stroller in my trunk, it’s pretty tough to get my dad’s walker in there as well.

My dad’s room faces a garden patio, which was a big selling point for us when we placed him there. We sat on the patio, and the folks who are with it cooed at Rex and rubbed his toes. The ones I call “pre-chew Charlies” didn’t seem to know whether Rex was there or a meteor had landed next to them.

When I allowed one sweet older gal to rub Rex’s toes, my dad came charging over with a enraged look on his face. When we walked away he said, “I was afraid you were going to let that lady hold him.” I couldn’t say to him, no, dad, but I did want to throw a little joy in the ladies day and let her touch the yummy baby skin.

To another lady, who is not too together anymore, who was reaching for Rex, my normally social, ladies man dad said, “He doesn’t have time for you.”

He liked introducing Rex to the staff. I think assisted living is like high school or college, but the status is a little different. In this world, it’s not new sneakers or a car but warm, soft skinned people who belong to you and who come to visit you.

Rex fell asleep on the way home, but as we got closer he woke up and cried and cried. I felt bad putting him though it, and I told him he made a lot of people happy today… that is if they remember it.

I Am a Madoff Victim

This has been the hardest blog post for me to do. When I vlogged about my miscarriage that was challenging, but this has other layers to it. By revealing about how we were robbed, how we are part of possibly the largest financial fraud in US History, I am not only disclosing my own life, but the life of my family. I didn’t blog about this before for many reasons. Chief was absolute shock. Then, it was too painful to discuss except with very close friends. I still have some friends I haven’t told. Sometimes it exhausts me too much to do so. Then when I wanted to blog about it, my husband didn’t want me too. I think like anyone who has either been in mourning or been the victim of a crime there are the stages you go through. For me this was both. We were robbed. Someone sits in jail right now because of what has happened to us and thousands of others. And it has altered the trajectory of my life. Many assumptions that I made are no longer valid. To have a secure retirement gave me a buoyancy I no longer possess. I would like that back.

I also didn’t want to blog about it if it was just for me to vent. I didn’t start this online adventure to be a Dear Diary, but I have been touched by comments that some of you have made on this site about your own struggles with the economy. So, I thought maybe by doing this we could help each other through a historical low. One of my initial reactions when we heard that our money was gone was to beat myself up… and my husband. We should have been more diversified ( we were, but not enough), we should have done this or that. And it did help when we realized that we were not part of a small fund like we had been led to believe, but a world wide one where people more savvy or richer than us were also robbed. Mort Zuckerman, Kevin Bacon, Steven Spielberg. And also better people than us, Elie Wiesel (who steals from Holocaust survivors?!)  I also started to hear from friends and neighbors how they too thought they might need to sell their house or move in with relatives, and it was for other reasons than our own, a real estate deal gone south, unemployment.

So, going forward I’m in a sense catching you all up with what I have been personally struggling with for the last 6 months. There is so much to say about this. But I’m still going to have some funny blogs and funny videos, because my whole life comedy has meant a great deal to me. It is healing (remind me to tell you about doing improv for chronic pain patients), and it has dictated my entire career to me. And like the saying goes, tragedy plus time equals comedy.

Have you heard about the pregnant lady who found out she had been robbed? Ah, yeah, not funny yet.

Baby Has Me In Training

I don’t know if it’s my general anxiety or my full bladder, but sleep has become a tad restless lately. Seeing that I’m only 21 weeks pregnant, I think it’s too early for this. But this is the third morning in a row that I am waking up at 5 am, unable to go back to sleep.

From 5 to 6 I have to lay and worry about everything and everyone. Or work up some dormant anger about some past slight. Having some time before the house wakes up is okay. I make my one cup of coffee for the day – a sweet half-cup before I’m forced to switch to decaf. Then I take a walk, read the paper, watch the news, space out online, but dang, I’d sure like more sleep.

I think the baby is nudging me to remember what it will be like when he arrives. No longer the leisure life of a kid in preschool, but growling at my husband if he doesn’t help with the 11 and 2 feedings. Oh, yes, I know what’s coming. Breathe in “miracle of life,” breathe out “someone will care when I die.” I must stay focused on the important things, not that disabled feeling for the first couple of weeks, or months, or year and a half.

If only I could take a sleeping pill!

Cool Mom Poll: Husbands That Bug

Even the best, best husbands can set your teeth on edge sometimes – just like a roommate, but harder to evict. Most women will roll their eyes about their man once in a while. It’s always weird to me when a woman NEVER rags on her husband. Instead of thinking they have a perfect union, I think, “What is she hiding?”

It’s just human nature: our kids, our best friends, that fat guy who banged his car door into mine at Target – everyone bugs everyone at some point.

So, what is your chief beef with your partner (man or woman)? What is the one thing that bothers you a tad more than all the other annoyances?

Here are your choices… remember, you have until 5:00 pm, Thursday, October 16, 2008:


To view last week’s poll results, click here!

Verbal Elder Abuse

Here’s a great piece I found in Tuesday’s New York Times about how damaging it can be to the elderly to be spoken down to by health care professionals. Now, I think health workers have a rough, tough job. But this is a pet peeve of mine from my own dad’s hospitalization.

My Parents on My Wedding Day

My Parents on My Wedding Day

It’s bad enough that the hospital workers, nurses, doctors, etc., yell at him when they speak. My dad has some problems, but his hearing is perfect, and I see my father recoiling. The demeaning language has consequences, and I’m glad to see it written about with some credibility.

I have my own anecdotes regarding poor behavior. A few years ago, my dad was in the hospital because he had gotten dizzy and a friend took him to the ER. Mistake number one. It is better to stay out of the hospital.

The staff at this particular hospital were not even on duty when I found my dad strapped to the hospital bed after a night or two of being there, his eyes wide-open and fearful. I said, “What the hell is going on?” The nurse said, “We had to strap your dad down. He is a bad boy.” I complained to the head nurse, who said, “Well, we had to – he was a bad boy.” The nurses used the term “bad boy” so many times I wanted to bitch-slap them.

Long story short, he wanted to leave, would get up, and they’d yell “bad boy” at him, which made him only more determined to leave. I complained to the doctor. I said they had given him medicine that was harming him, as was the treatment. The doctor didn’t think so. They gave medicine to him to “control” him. “He’s only calm if your family members are here.” So I said, “Then we aren’t leaving him.” My sister and I were present, took off the straps and called my mom and our other sister. I said that we had to stand watch and guard him while whatever they gave him passed.

And so we did (my dear mom taking the overnight shift). Within 24 hours, he was 100 percent back to his normal self. He didn’t need to be drugged or to be there at all – no one wants to be treated like a misbehaving child. This is especially true when that person is an older adult, frightened about where they are.

After that experience, we learned that if he goes into the hospital one of us has to go with him. Maybe we do not have to be there 24/7, but checking in as frequently as possible.

I’m going to be checking my own “sweetie” remarks today.

High Anxiety

Obstetrics freaks me out. Does it seem as scary to others who never had a miscarriage? I just went in for my 18-20 week structural ultrasound. When I was pregnant with Vivien, I was so confident, these visits never bothered me. Post-miscarriage, things are different and I have become a complete nervous Nellie.

Mark is out of town, so I decided to ask my mom if she would come with me. She would have been happy to do so, but she had to work. Thankfully, my sister was able to come along. I had to warn her that this doctor takes all the high-risk pregnancies, that means being in a waiting room for quite some time. I don’t mind though; with Vivien, I went to this doctor and everything went well. With my second, I went to a different doctor where I did not have to wait but I felt like I was being poked and prodded by amateurs. So I was more than happy to wait for Junior (what I call my baby boy I am carrying).

Waiting
While my sister and I were sitting in the waiting room, we could not help but notice the woman complaining on her cell phone. The woman was ranting to someone on the other end, “I don’t understand why I have to be here, I am not high risk, this is my sixth child.” My sister turned to me and said, “Maybe she’s not high risk but she is definitely crazy.” All I could think about was how in the world she was going to afford to send 6 kids to private school in LA, because it has been my experience public schools here blow. Sadly, after about two hours, my sister had to leave to pick up my niece.

Moment of Truth
Finally it was my turn to see “Dr. Sweet.” I lay down and all he does is stare at a bunch of pictures of inside my belly. I was trying to be brave but the ultra sound machine looks like an alien. I was doing a pretty good job until I thought, “in one second I could get the worst news or the best. In ONE second.” Then right as I am about to lose it on the deadpan doctor with no bedside manner, he finally speaks:

Doctor: “Okay”

Me: “Is he okay?”

Doctor: “Great”

Me: “Perfect”

I walked down the hall to the bathroom cubicle and cried. I cried for relief and I cried for how fragile we are.