Friday, March 30, 2007

Considerable Redness and Swelling...*

I have delivered flower arrangements for eight years and during that time have encountered a number of hazardous conditions--icy steps, snarling dogs, knee-deep mud pits people pretend are driveways, half-naked old ladies (no lie, once we called to let this woman know that we would be there in half an hour to deliver a plant we had repotted for her and the seventy-three year old woman came to the door in just a T-shirt and panties (bringing "granny panties" to a whole new level). Worse, the door was at the bottom of a set of stairs that led into the kitchen and as she was too frail to carry the gigantic plant, I had no choice but to follow her up the steps with her jiggly, saggy, old-lady butt right in my face.), not to mention various hazards in funeral homes including wheeled casket stands that someone has forgotten to lock so when you go to put the casket spray on the whole thing lurches back and forth and you have a moment of panic in which you're absolutely certain that you're going to spill the dead guy and how the hell are you going to explain that one to your boss, the family of the dead guy and the already grumpy funeral home director.**

Despite all these hazards (for which, incidentally, I think I should get hazard pay, but of course I do not), I have only ever seriously injured myself once while on deliveries--the day I totaled Cranky Boss Lady's car (because, of course, nothing bad would happen to the shop van, it would happen to be the day the van was at the mechanic's getting new tires and I was driving CBL's personal vehicle, a fuschia Ford Escort, which I just don't think was a coincidence) until Wednesday.

Wednesday I was delivering to another little old lady--a great customer, who has money to blow and regularly does so at our shop. She's housebound though so we take everything to her. She has a little set of six or eight stairs leading up from her garage to her kitchen. I've probably been up and down those stairs a thousand times. On this particular day alone, I'd been up and down them four times. I had brought in all the spring wreaths and wicker baskets that she'd ordered and was getting ready to leave when she asked if she could see the arrangement she was sending to someone else. No problem, right?

I went out to get it--an artificial arrangement in a little metal airplane done in patriotic colors for a guy who just had surgery to fix a deviated septum-- and brought it up to her. She was delighted with it and I turned to leave with the arrangement in my hands and promptly stumbled at the top of the stairs--or more accurately stumbled all the way down the stairs, almost but not quite regaining my balance several times before falling forward at the bottom of the last step and landing on my face on the concrete garage floor.

I never let go of the arrangement! I skidded on my face because I was so intent on not dropping the arrangement. (Save the arrangement, save the world?) It hit me that every time I've started to slip on an icy sidewalk, I have held whatever arrangement I was carrying up in the air to protect it to the best of my ability--the same way I would hold a child I was carrying. Gosh, that's just sad.

Sadder yet is my face today--two days later the bruising is still coming to the surface, the swelling is settling and shifting, the brush burns are an icky brown color that looks like it's oozing even when it's not. As an added bonus, I'm sore everywhere--Hubby and I have been debating whether it's the landing or the trying to catch yourself that does that to every muscle in your body, but whatever side of the debate you come down on, you still can't get off the couch without creaking and groaning and whining and moaning.

I need a raise.

*In case no one else is as much of a geek as me: "considerable redness and swelling" is from the Dr. Scholl's Gel Inserts commercial. One of those "I'm gellin'" asinine commercials. This one the guy's "not yellin' even though there's considerable redness and swellin'" from some dippy waitress who spilled hot coffee on his leg.

**Granted, this only happened once, but one "I almost spilled the dead guy!" is enough.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tune In Next Time When I Make Ronald McDonald Bawl Like A Baby...

I've been at the parenting thing for almost nineteen years now--you'd think by now they couldn't surprise me anymore, but somehow at the least expected moments, in the least expected places, they can still leave me speechless (snorting with hysterical laughter, but speechless).

The Scene: KFC drive-thru

Staticky Disembodied Voice: Welcome to KFC, can I take your order?

Masked Mom: Yes, I'd like a twelve piece bucket, please.

SDV: Would like you original recipe or extra crispy?

MM: Extra crispy, please.

SDV: (silence)

Son-Two (from the backseat with deadpan sincerity): Mom, do you think the Colonel's disappointed that you're not ordering original recipe?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Nose-Worm Update!!!!

(Masked Mom's Media Monday is on hiatus--but don't cry too hard. It will return with more pithy and pointless commentary as soon as things settle down a little around here.)

When last we saw the ...and-then-it-moved! nose-worm, it was at the hospital lab in a yogurt cup. The small-town hospital had no luck identifying it except to say that it wasn't a "common maggot."*

So off the little bugger (booger? bogger bugger?) went to Penn State where university minds went at it--and determined it was a carpet beetle larva. Apparently, little larva craweld up father-in-law's nostril while father-in-law slept.

The (almost) good news? It can't have been up there long because it was too "well-fed."


*Actually this was originally reported to me as "human" maggot. I'm taking some liberty in assuming that someone somewhere lost something in the translation and that "common" is close enough to "human" to count but makes a whole lot more sense. Nevertheless, I'm afraid visions of a "human maggot" will be wriggling in my head all night.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Odyssey

Over the weekend, Son-Two participated in his fifth Odyssey of the Mind competition. He's been an avid OMer since seventh grade--almost always on the "structure" team, whose goal is to produce a balsa wood structure (to specific criteria--criteria different and a little more difficult each year) capable of holding more weight than the next team's. This was no problem at this year's regional competition (which blessedly has been held in our own school for the past two years), since there was no other structure team in his division. They were guaranteed a place at the State competition just by virtue of showing up.

The guaranteed spot did nothing to dissuade any of the team from staying at school until nine or ten each night last week, putting the finishing touches on the structure as well as polishing their skit (another requirement). This year's skit had to include a "special effect." Son-Two's team chose to make one of the girls on the team disappear in a box created from plans they found on the Internet. The night before the competition, Son-Two was pretty sure the box was going to collapse on stage and humiliate them all. Instead, it worked perfectly--so perfectly in fact that the small crowd gasped and Son-Two's team was approached all afternoon by perfect strangers wanting to know how they'd done it.

Despite gasp-inspiring special effects, OM isn't really audience-friendly. The individual performances/tests are held in small classrooms throughout whatever school the competition's being held in--there is little or no seating and, in fact, even standing room is at a premium. The other part of the competition is "spontaneous" in which only the members of the team can even enter the room with the judges. After a (long) break for lunch, there is usually some sort of "entertainment" while the judges tabulate their scores and then there are the awards. There are often gaps of several hours between the different "events." Gaps spent aimlessly wandering the halls, an activity which I got plenty of in my own high school years, thanks very much.

The second or third year Son-Two was in OM, Daughter-Only was begging me for weeks before the competition to go along. I kept telling her she would be bored and that I didn't think it was a good idea. She kept begging and then she put together a six page packet explaining in words and pictures why it was so important to her to go. All incredibly well thought out and convincing. My favorite part, though, was when, in her opening paragraph, she referred to OM as Oblivion Minds. She was only eight or so at the time and I suppose it's just as impressive that she knew (and could spell) the word Oblivion as it would've been had she actually gotten it right.

I let her go and I can't help thinking it's significant that she hasn't asked to go again. I haven't gone the past two years either. Son-Two seems genuinely not to care whether I'm there or not--he's so over his mother showing up places...not to mention he'd barely get to see me anyway.

I'm kind of sorry I missed it this year, though. The marching band, who was in charge of the concession stand, burned some popcorn, setting off the smoke alarms and causing the building to be temporarily evacuated. I always miss the good stuff.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Masked Mom's Media Monday: Daylight Saving Time

The negatives of Daylight Saving have been enumerated elsewhere (including by Masked Mom herself), but what I've yet to see articulated in any convincing fashion were the "positives" of Daylight Saving. That's probably because there are no positives or the ones that do exist aren't concrete or provable.

This year's Daylight Saving adjustment is all the more annoying and pointless because it's happening three weeks early, a change for which there are the same vague (and unsupported) explanations as for Daylight Saving in general. (And including the three-weeks early change in a bill called the Energy Policy Act of 2005 does nothing to convince me that it's going to have a provable positive effect...)

A friend and I were talking about the fact that having it come three weeks earlier is going to be a huge pain in the ass for computers and computer programs--not so much for us at home but for people in companies with more sophisticated programs that are auto-set to change the first weekend in April. At home, it's a matter of manually changing the computer clock twice--once this weekend and once again when it springs ahead all by itself, completely unaware of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which I still see as kind of a pain in the ass especially since (again) there is no logical proven purpose to it.

Way worse than resetting the clocks on my computer and around the house is trying to recalibrate my internal clock--not to mention recalibrating my kids' internal clocks, which are always running behind in any case. Daughter-Only "forgot" to reset her clock last night and has to go in late to school today--don't worry I didn't fall for it--especially since their father calls all of them as a back up to their alarms (which "fail" regularly)--but she's late nonetheless since the argument we had over whether that was a valid excuse for oversleeping an hour took a considerable amount of time*.

It would be fantastic if the energy savings from this change were great enough to justify the energy we're expending to adjust to it.

Masked Mom's One-Word Review: Pointless.

*I would like to take this time to thank Daughter-Only for trying to get away with that excuse since it reminded me of the best ever "I forgot to change my clock" excuse, which was given by an assistant manager when I worked at Burger King, who claimed he was an hour late because he forgot to reset his clock--except that it was October and anyone with even a basic understanding of "falling back" would realize that if you really forgot to reset your clock in October, you'd have been an hour early instead of an hour late. Duh. The asst. mgr.'s name was Kirk, and we all called him Capt. Kirk to his face (pseudo-affectionately) and behind his back (completely mockingly). I once made the mistake of saluting him (he was a Capt, after all, and due a certain amount of respect) and he had a little fit about how "sarcastic" I was. My argument was that I wasn't sure how an action, rather than words, could be sarcastic. Of course, I was aware then (and even more so now that I have teenagers) that it's entirely possible to be sarcastic without saying a word, but it was worth playing dumb to see the color red poor Capt. Kirk's face turned. Hmmm, I think it just hit me (not for the first time) where Daughter-Only gets her knack for winning losing arguments.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Who Knew?

You know that "new car smell" that everyone raves about--that smell that's so sought after that there are actually air fresheners called "new car scent?" Turns out the inside of a brand new water heater has practically the same smell. All my hot water for the past two days has had that smell--it's sort of distracting to walk into the bathroom after someone's had a shower and have the whole room smell of "new car." But I guess there are worse things a bathroom could smell like, right?

On the subject of bathrooms--have I mentioned that Hubby always, always puts the seat down? Something else he's really good at? Putting in a water heater so we didn't have to call (and pay) a plumber.

He's my hero. (This week, anyway.)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Masked Mom's Media Monday: Signs of Spring

Masked Mom's One-Word Review: Yum.
I meant for this post to be a true ode to the fantastically amazing only-available-this-time-of-year Cadbury Mini Eggs, but this week has been a kicker--Cranky Boss Lady, crankier than usual; customers more demanding than usual; water heater on the fritz and needing replaced just as the temperatures dipped back into the single digits; a friend having to have his wife removed from the house because of increasingly erratic behavior including drinking copious amounts of alcohol among many other things. So, Yum is gonna have to cover it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Perfect Post for February

Blogs seem to come in two main varieties--snarky and sincere. Sure, there are the snarkily sincere hybrids and the sincerely snarky versions as well. But whatever the main subject of a blog--gossip, politics, family--they seem to fall on one side or the other.

Ocasionally while reading the sincere variety of blog, you'll come across a post so real and raw and open that it reminds you why you were drawn into the world of blogs to begin with. Kim's post, Round and round (again), was just that kind of post.

In a few short paragraphs, she captures the ups and downs and backs and forths of being the adult child of an alcoholic. So perfectly does she do this that even if you've never "been there", after you read her post, you'll feel you know exactly what it is to be there.

So, for your honesty and the courage to share, here's my button:

A Perfect Post – February 2007

And Kim, it's all yours.

(Other winners at Suburban Turmoil and Petroville.)