December 23, 2010

My grown-up Christmas list

Dear Santa,

I think we're finished here. As far as I know, we're just patiently waiting on you now. Everything that was on my purchase list has been acquired and is all wrapped and sorted into piles to help take the crunch out of the 10 p.m. - midnight portion of Christmas Eve.  (I learned a little lesson after last year when that freak blizzard sort of wrecked last-minute Christmas Eve errands and stretched our 1.5-mile long journey home from Christmas Eve dinner into a 45-minute trip. You just never know.)

Ho! Ho! Ho!
 Now that everyone else's lists have been checked - twice - it's time to make it all about me again. (I know, I know. I'm working on it.) Anyway, this is my grown-up Christmas list.

  • Just enough snow tomorrow to dust the grass but not enough to keep us from moving about the country freely
  • Good health for our friends and family
  • A bath for our stinky dog
  • A protest-free church outing tomorrow evening, with everyone properly clothed
  • Peace - world and otherwise
  • A longer fuse
  • Toilets that automatically close and flush - I live with so many boys
  • Perspective - I lose it occasionally and it's sad when that happens
  • Perfect recall of our boys' enthusiasm for the season this year - it's kind of intoxicating
It's not much, Daddy. But it's definitely wrapped and signed with love.
I could go on and on here, but I know this probably isn't a good time. We look forward to your visit tomorrow and hope you'll call attention to the special oatmeal & glitter concoction that will be sprinkled for the reindeer on the front lawn.

Love, Susan

December 21, 2010

Approval ratings

I'm going to use this forum to take a quick poll. (It shouldn't take long since there are four of you who read...) I'm kind of putting myself out there, but I just really need to know.

I printed and mailed approximately the same number of Christmas cards this holiday as I have in recent years. I did do just a little bit of list pruning because postage isn't going down and neither is the cost to print cards, and I figured there were a few people in our roster who probably wouldn't miss us and some who see us everyday so I figure they don't need a photo.

Now we're at December 21 and I have noticed, for sure, that we have apparently been pruned from some lists as well, because we have not received nearly as many cards as we have in years past.  Nor have we received as many as I sent. Hmmmm. 

I read this story earlier today and breathed a small sigh of relief.  If writers at Slate are talking about it then perhaps it's not just me?

So, I'm wondering. Is the cost of Christmas card production and delivery getting to folks? Are people concerned about the environmental impact of all that photo paper flying about the country? Does it take too much time?  Is the pressure to capture a photo of your children smiling and clean just too great?

Wait. What? You don't know what I'm talking about and you've received a record number of holiday greetings? 

Seriously, people. I want to know. Is it just us? Is it you too? What say you?

December 13, 2010

Let's all panic about mercury

We've had a burnt out light fixture in our master bathroom for weeks. It's high enough that it requires a ladder to change it and the bulb is a special halogen one that requires a trip to Home Depot to purchase. It's not a big deal, but is just annoying enough that we had put it off nonetheless.You can imagine how delighted we both were to discover, after dragging out the ladder, that a new bulb didn't fix it and now, after much testing of breakers and messing with switches and fan cords, the fan isn't working either.  Awesome.

But, really? That's not the point of this story.

During the process of figuring out our bathroom light was (is?) finito, I left a basket of extra bulbs on the dryer in the laundry room.  About 10 minutes later Mark officially declared the bathroom light dead and mentioned that the extra bulbs had fallen off the dryer because it was running and the basket bounced right off the edge - gosh, good thinking, Susan - leaving broken glass all over the laundry room floor. I was thrilled both with my forward thinking and also the realization that I was probably going to have to clean up that mess since I had basically made it.

When I walked into the laundry room I saw that, miraculously, a whole bunch of bulbs had NOT broken, but what had shattered was one, giant compact fluorescent floodlight. You know, those bulbs that are supposed to be recycled, not just thrown in the trash, because they're full of MERCURY.

Red alert.

Mark stayed completely calm as I learned, via the wonders of the World Wide Web, that while the EPA doesn't recommend you call in a Haz-Mat team, they'll scare you right to the edge of doing just that. (EPA RECOMMENDATIONS) You can find conflicting reports on how dangerous this smashed up mercury tube really is, but the bottom line is that you're not cleaning up your run-of-the-mill broken pickle jar here.

The boys were really good while we locked them in the basement calmly asked them to play downstairs as we cleaned up a pile of broken glass using cardstock, duct tape and wet paper towels. The most fun part of the cleanup was that we had, in accordance with government recommendations, turned off our furnace and had opened doors for ventilation while the mercury vapor...vaporized.  Cleaning the floor with numb fingers, in very tight, VERY COLD quarters was a blast.  I had so much fun that I could almost forget I had possibly mercury poisoned my family.

We were eventually left with a sparkling clean laundry room floor, a whole pile of laundry, a bag and sealed jar of contaminated glass and duct tape and a lot of apprehension. Did we overreact!? Did we underreact?! Who left us home alone?!

I talked to a Hazardous Waste Expert at the city today (Hi, Tamra!) about what to do with the bag of glass and cleaning supplies that we've got sealed up sitting outside our garage. Tamra said we done good and she gave me permission to stop worrying.  She assured me that the amount of mercury (dust, vapor?) in the bulb is neglibile and that the EPA suggestions are designed to move you into overreaction. 

If you're still with me, I'll leave you with these thoughts...I know that these bulbs save energy and are environmentally-friendly and we're all being urged to use them in our homes.  BUT, let my stupidity be a reminder. As educational as this was,you might want to consider carefully where in your house you use CFLs and remember to handle them with caution.  I would also maybe ditch the mercury thermometers while you're at it. That clean up sounds even more fun.

p.s. Any brilliant suggestions about our bathroom light? It's dark in there.

December 9, 2010

From the desk of Andrew, Vol. 3

Andrew's a busy guy and if you didn't already know that, all you need to do is see his to-do list to be convinced. This reminder was recently retrieved from his backpack.

This has prompted me to add something to my to-do list about keeping Andrew's load this light for as long as possible.

November 30, 2010

We've got spirit, yes we do

We've dived head first into Christmas around here. The boys and I put the tree up on Friday, on Saturday all four of us took advantage of nice weather to put up outside lights and Thomas was my helper to the end on Sunday, stringing garland and lights along the staircase.  [Sidenote 1: Mark and I worked together on outdoor lighting for the first time ever and were still smiling when the project was complete. It was quite possibly a Christmas miracle.] [Sidenote 2: We only broke three ornaments in the tree decorating process which, given all the help, was also probably a miracle of some sort.]

All this Christmas spirit has generated a lot of conversation about the holidays and, in particular, the big guy in the red suit. Questions I have fielded in the last four days include...


Andrew: How come Santa never gets older and how come he never dies?
Susan: Well, blah, blah, blah, Santa's spirit is in our hearts and he's timeless and blah, blah, blah where's your dad?

Thomas: Do the reindeers come inside the house?
Susan: No, Santa leaves them outside.
Thomas: Well, I hope he knows not to leave them in the street because there are a bunch of them and they would block the cars.

Andrew: How much do you think Santa's sack weighs?
Susan: (Not making eye contact.) I'm not sure. It depends on what toys are inside.
Andrew:  (Staring me down.) Well, I don't think it really matters.  He has a lot of toys inside if he has toys for the whole world. It seems like it would be really heavy...

Andrew: Do you think Santa eats all the cookies at every house?
Susan: I suppose so.
Andrew: If he eats all those millions of cookies how come he doesn't throw up?
Thomas: Because, Andrew! Santa is magical and Magical People never ever throw up!


With our Santa question quota firmly met for the week, we're looking forward to beginning the Advent Box tomorrow. In years past we've made a game of my filling the little compartments with great secrecy so the boys never see it happen and they love to check a dozen times each day to see if there's a treat.

Tonight after dinner they disappeared into the dining room and grew suspiciously quiet after a few minutes, which obviously should have been our first sign.  That makes them coming downstairs in hysterics the second sign, technically.  It was then that I went to check on their work.  They had been filling the advent box on their own.  Each door was full of...wait for it...pepperonis. Turkey pepperonis to be exact.

We've taught them well. Nothing celebrates the reason for the season better than processed meats.

November 22, 2010

Things about which I wonder

1. Does the 25 cent deposit required to use a shopping cart at Aldi actually improve cart retention? It just seems like if you really want or need to steal a shopping cart that a quarter isn't much of a barrier to acquisition.

2. I spend all day long thinking about, and missing, my boys. Yet, within minutes of being home I'm thinking I could use just a minute. Is this nature's way or my total ineptitude?!

2. How did this pencil mark land on my ktichen ceiling? No one here seems to have any idea. It's a true mystery, which actually isn't my favorite genre.

4. Is it normal for a four-year-old with a limited culinary palate to love pickles?  I'm beginning to worry that he's pregnant.

November 12, 2010

From the desk of Andrew, Vol. 2

It's time for another installment in the "From the desk of Andrew" series.  This entry is brought to you by the letter "I," and follows closely on the heels of a parent-teacher conference where we were informed that Andrew is a good student who is reading well. We were also assured that his phonetic spelling - or lack thereof - is developmentally appropriate.

It will be shocking to learn that the area where our young pupil can strive for improvement would be in exercising self-control. 

 I'll leave it to your imagination to determine possible reasons why a dinosaur would be saying, "Excuse Me." I didn't ask for an explanation, because something told me that expressing any interest would be the wrong way to go here, but I'm going to guess it has something to do with the cloud emanating from his backside.

November 4, 2010


The boys were heading outside to jump on the trampoline and were generally pushing and shoving their way to the deck. When they opened the door the dog jumped up to come inside and Andrew SCREAMED at his brother, "Get out of the way. You're being rude. You need to let the dog come inside right now."

Thomas responded, "Yeah. I know. Ladies first. I know, Andrew." 

With that, they escorted the dog inside and went dashing into the yard.

November 2, 2010

From the desk of Andrew...

He's become a prolific letter writer. I look forward to emptying his backpack each evening because treasures like this often flow forth! I believe this installment proves he has taken my threat that there will be no more Silly Bands and no more Pokemon cards in our home quite seriously.

November 1, 2010

Halloween and other scary things

Halloween was a weeks-long series of pumpkin patching, carnivals, parties and trick-or-treating this year and it was also a series of costumes for Thomas. We visited the pumpkin patch twice - once with Thomas' class and once with Grandpa and Grandma.

We started the festivities a week in advance at Thomas' school carnival where the kids play games to win prizes and generally marvel at seeing their teachers in costumes.

On Friday both boys had parties at school and for this event Thomas decided he would be a football player rather than wear the skeleton costume that he had begged to have for weeks. In a rare moment of knowing that I should choose my battles, I agreed to let him switch costumes, as we had all the parts lying around the house anyway.

He initially planned to be a "Texas Longhorn football boy" but had another change of plans late on Thursday when a classmate told him that if he was a Longhorn she wouldn't marry him. After a conversation - wherein I basically told him that while this "friend" is cute and nice, I would hope that the girl he might someday choose to marry would not threaten him over his wardrobe choices -  he was not dissuaded.  He spent Friday as the Jayhawks' #10. Saturday found him back in the Texas jersey for the bulk of the day but by Sunday he had again decided that he's a Jayhawk at heart. 

We trick-or-treated with neighbors and after 15 short minutes Thomas announced that he thought he had enough candy so Andrew carried on with the tribe and Thomas and I returned home to have dinner with our friends, the Wards, and hand-out treats at our house. Everyone was happy with that plan. Andrew came home an hour later with a bushel basket full of candy and riding high on the idea that he had been wandering the streets after dark.

This afternoon has seen them sorting their haul, trading treasures and giving me the things that have peanuts, which is a very generous test of my willpower. They both consumed way too much chocolate after school today but isn't that kind of what November 1st is all about?

In other frightening notes...

  • I walked a full block down an alley in Downtown Lawrence today thinking that someone was following me because I was hearing jingling.  I kept looking over my shoulder, but nothing. As I bounded up the stairs to my office I heard it again. That's when I realized that my predator was my own necklace.
  • I pretty much utterly failed by forgetting to snap a picture of my costumed boys pre-begging last night. I'll see if I can talk them into dressing up as football players just one more time this week to document the look.  Considering that they would wear the jerseys to bed if I let them, I'm not thinking it will be a challenge.
  • Also? Mark had a birthday last week. We're not allowed to discuss it or celebrate it or acknowledge it in any way but the boys really felt like we needed to get him some sort of gift. Thomas was adamant that this would be exactly what daddy needed and that it would help him a lot. Having no better suggestion from the birthday boy, he was gifted with this beauty when he arrived home from a work week in Atlanta. 
It's a pooper scooper. 

Happy Birthday, Hondo! We love you!

October 23, 2010

Our marching Jayhawk

Today was KU Homecoming and while the Jayhawks' play on the football field has left much to be desired during the last few weeks, we don't mind because today was all about the pre-game.

As previously mentioned, Thomas' preschool teacher, the fabulous Miss Lori, somehow sleuthed out an opportunity for her class to march in the Homecoming Parade.  The parade is lead down Jayhawk Boulevard from the Union to the Chi Omega fountain by the KU Marching Band and is composed mostly of floats built by Greek organizations, honored award recipients and the alumni band.

While it is possible that I'm a bit biased, I'm pretty sure this year's parade show was stolen by the addition of the Pre 2 marching all-stars.

Each child in Thomas' class was assigned a job either as a banner carrier, trumpeter, flutist, sousaphone player or drummer. Thomas' assignment as a trumpet player should come as no surprise, given his Louis Armstrong tendencies.

The kids were involved in this project from start to finish and they helped make their "instruments," decorated their visors and then learned about the instruments they were carrying.  Thomas learned, for example, that a trumpet is "kind of like a mellophone but it's really a horn with a bigger bell." All fourteen students also walked the full mile route on their own leg power, which is a feat in and of itself.

The awesome Miss Lori and the part-time staff, who are KU students and voluntarily participated in this!, corraled the kids along the entire route, freeing up the parents to be spectators which was a total treat. We all met our marching geniuses at the end of the parade and then had a group tailgate on the hill. Both boys had more fun than should be legal playing football on the hill with their friends, eating hot dogs and generally messing around.

As a special bonus, Thomas got to meet a real KU Marching Band trumpet player, thanks to the kindness of one of his teachers, Kirsten, who played in the band for four years. His name was Josh and after he serenaded Thomas with the KU fight song, he was kind enough to pose for a picture. I don't have his permission to post this but he told me that the thought the kids were the best part of the parade so I'm hoping this will meet with his approval.

After all of this fun, the Jayhawks played some football I think but we'll choose not to dwell on that. Instead, I'll choose to remember it from Thomas' perspective. On the walk back to the car I asked him what his favorite thing was about the parade and the tailgate he said, "Well, just all of it!"

Well said.

October 16, 2010

Selective hearing

Mark and I were preparing lunch today when we heard from overhead a LOUD thud, immediately followed by clattering and silence from upstairs.  About 90 seconds later Andrew appeared in the living room and sat down in a chair with no apparent purpose. 

Mark: "Andrew, what was that noise?"

Andrew: "What noise?"
Mark: "The one that was so loud it shook the ceiling and the neighbors probably heard it."

Andrew: "I don't know. I didn't hear it."

October 6, 2010

Guilty as charged

In addition to learning about Fire Safety this month at school, Andrew's class is starting on a unit about Stranger Danger and Drug & Alcohol Awareness.  It's a sad world, y'all. 

I guess the good news is that even in this time of lean budgets, Andrew's school still has a full-time social worker who helps the teachers with this curriculum. Today's lesson was a really good one. I think we can all agree that kids should refuse prescription medications, alcohol, drugs and tobacco. And, we can probably agree that adults should never abuse those things. 

However, how am I to respond when my son comes home and informs me that I need to stop doing drugs.  The drug about which he's concerned?  Caffeine. 

Really?  Are we taking this too far?

If you need me I'll be huddled in the corner of my kitchen sneaking sips of coffee and Coke, Coca-Cola that is. 

September 29, 2010

Our marching Jayhawk

Thomas' class is learning about marching bands this week, in preparation for getting to participate in the KU Homecoming Parade next month. One of his teachers is a former KU Band member and her sister is apparently still in band, so they visited Pre 2 yesterday with their instruments. The sousaphone made quite an impression!

He could hardly wait to get home and get out the trumpet to wow us with his ability to play the KU Fight Song. Please excuse the shaking camera; it's difficult to film while convulsing with laughter.

Click here for the video.

September 27, 2010

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project is one of my most neglected online bookmarks. You have to be in the right mood to really want to be happy and certainly in the right mood to really want to have someone tell you how to feel it. It's a great website, but I don't visit it all that often. In all honesty? Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to read about how simple it is to feel blissfully, ignorantly happy.  (How's that for "ray of sunshine?")

However, when I visit I'm reminded that the first step is to be conscious of the feeling when you have it. With that said, here are the things that have made me happy today.

1. Coffee.
2. My grandmother knowing what Andrew ate for lunch because she keeps track of the school lunches in the newspaper.
3. Thomas explaining to our collective hair stylist what he wants to be for Halloween in such detail that she put down the scissors and turned away from him because she was in hysterics.
4. My grandmother knowing who Brandy is because she likes her on Dancing With The Stars. Grandma's 89.
5. The Real Housewives of wherever. If those women can't make you feel good about your own version of crazy I don't know what would.
6. Mileage checks. I really know better, but it feels like free money.
7. Thomas throwing his arms around Andrew upon our arrival at school, yelling to his friends on the playground, "Hey, guys! My Andrew's here to get me!"

How about you?

September 21, 2010

Points to ponder - Tuesday edition

1. I calculate that there are 1,440 minutes in a day. Of that time, I estimate that I lie in bed staring at the ceiling sleep for approximately 480 minutes. After spending an average of 10 minutes each morning in the shower, I dedicate the next 80 minutes to getting dressed and ready for work, preparing breakfast, locating backpacks and lunches and driving the kids to school and myself to work.  Once there I spend the next 390 minutes wishing I was someplace else working diligently. 

I've checked it twice, because math isn't my strong suit, but the way that works out would indicate that from the time I leave work I still have exactly as many minutes left in my day as I typically use for sleep.  Hmmm. I wonder where those go?

2. We have a trampoline in the backyard that the boys spend a lot of time in - bouncing, talking, laughing, fighting, laughing and bouncing some more. Unfortunately, the net has taken a beating. That's due, probably in equal parts, to the boys bouncing against it, whipping Kansas winds, questionable construction and one unfortunate incident wherein Thomas ripped a hole in it with a plastic golf club while friends were visiting because he was, and I quote, "building a bigger living room in the trampoline for Molly."  (Who says chivalry is dead?) 

Until now I have been able to repair the tears with cord and keep it operational but last weekend it tore at the top and I can't reach it. Then the whipping winds came and the small tear became a gaping hole and I'm out of ideas. I went online today to see about ordering a new net.  It turns out that's not an economical solution.  How can a new net cost 2/3 as much as a whole new trampoline and why am I not in the trampoline biz?

3. I took the boys to Home Depot today. I love Home Depot. I love the way it smells, I love the idea of potential projects and I love the orange aprons their employees wear with their names written on them in black magic marker. Thomas and Andrew love to sit on the lawnmowers out front.

Our mission today was to buy one gallon of paint. During the short time it should take to accomplish that task we visited their restroom twice and revisited the question of why I sit down on a toilet. Why can we rarely accomplish everything that needs to happen in a restroom in our own home and also, why can't we synchronize?

September 14, 2010


Words to strike terror in any mother's heart...

Andrew: "Thomas, want to go jump on the trampoline?"

Thomas: "Yeah.  And then do you want to do the game called 'Spin the other brother all around and around and around?'"

Andrew: "YES!"


September 2, 2010


On this day 10 years ago it was 106 degrees here in Lawrence and we gathered 200 or so of our sweatiest friends and family for a wedding. Today it's 70 and rainy, so go figure. Other than that, and the fact that we have two testosterone-laden human beings living in our house, everything pretty much remains the same; I'm
still married to my best friend.

Happy 10th Anniversary to us! (I couldn't find a bottle with a 10, so we
improvised. The traditional 10th Anniversary gift is aluminum so it works.)
We've certainly had little itty-bitty glimpses in the last decade of exactly what "for better or for worse," and "in sickness and in health" look like, but have really just been so very fortunate. (As I type, those little testosterone machines are in the other room giggling hysterically, and that alone is an amazing gift.)  

Tomorrow evening we're headed out to a celebratory dinner, as I think we should be, because I can't think of many other things that either of us have stuck with for 10 years! I'll be wearing a beautiful new necklace that I was surprised with this evening and will be proud and happy to be with my love.

Happy Anniversary, Hondo! Here's to the next ten years.

Love, Me

August 28, 2010

Satellite parking

Eleventy dollars. That's how much Thomas told me it costs to park in the lot that's adjacent to the boys' living room airport. When they used teamwork to drag the entire basket of cars from the basement to the living room because they had already used all the cars upstairs, I should have been suspicious. Instead, I was cooking dinner. And, obviously not paying much attention because I was genuinely surprised when they showed me this:

The airport centered on the use of the coffeetable as a parking garage and the new lego plane that Andrew recently built, which I'm told is a 747.

Thomas even made many trips between the kitchen and living room with his toy coffeepot bringing coffee to the "airport worker," his brother, who I'm not sure was appropriately thankful for that kind of tarmac-side service. 

August 26, 2010

Getting it together

I would dearly love to be one of those people who always has it together. We all know them.  They're the people who always look put together, who multitask seamlessly, whose kids are always happy (and without food on their faces) and they certainly always say the right thing. I have moments of delusion where I feel as if I have the tiger by the tail, but it always comes crashing down.

Today was no exception.

My most entertaining not-so-on-top-of-it moment for today came in phases and started over my lunch hour when I ran into one of Andrew's classmates and his dad in the Toy Store. I was there because my nephew, with whom I had lunched, had earned himself a new airplane. I spoke to this friend of Andrew's and his dad and learned that the child was "sick" but had started antibiotics and so his dad - as only dads are apt to do - had brought him to the toy store to kill time and to touch every toy in sight to ensure that others will also soon be diagnosed with strep throat. I wished him well and told him I hoped he felt better and that we would miss him at soccer practice tonight but that I hoped he would feel up to playing on Saturday at their first game.

This afternoon when I picked Andrew up from school he told me his friend was sick today and I, as only someone who totally has it together could, told him I already knew that because I had seen his friend downtown and was sorry he wouldn't be at soccer practice. Andrew began to laugh and then said, "Of course he won't be at soccer. He's not on my team this season, don't you remember?"

Of course I do. [ahem...] Right. That was last season. That would likely explain the confused look that this child's father flashed my way in the Toy Store. 

Oh well, I tried.

August 13, 2010



Apparently whomever owns this bike that's parked in my work parking lot is new to Downtown Lawrence.  It appears they believe they will save a parking spot with this bike. I'm thinking they'll lose the spot and the bike, but that's just me guessing.

August 10, 2010


Many of you already know this, but gosh, time flies. 

I know this in part because it's been three+ weeks since I've turned any of the dozens of blog posts I compose in my head on a daily basis into a reality here. During that time we've taken an excellent vacation to California, celebrated several birthdays and generally tried to wring the life out of summer. There's lots I should share.

I know it also because tomorrow this boy goes to first grade.

I owe him a birthday post where I share how wonderful I think he is and how much I love his constant curiosity and his ever-growing command of the English language and his willingness to try new things. I need an hour to sit down and document how we're simultaneously so much alike and so totally different and how I love him for all of that and how good he is for me. I don't have that hour tonight because the labeling of new school supplies and backpacks calls, but suffice it to say that I couldn't be more proud of this boy who is going to first grade tomorrow.

It seems darn near impossible that he could be ready for that but the fact that he's reading and writing and doing math in his head would indicate otherwise. I don't know that I'm ready but, fortunately or unfortunately, these things aren't left up to mothers. All I can do is hope he figures out how to painlessly manuever the school lunch system and look forward to the report tomorrow afternoon.

Look out first grade.  Here he comes!

July 14, 2010

You wanna piece of me?

I logged into hondo with the intent of documenting my recent 48 hours in Andover, Kansas, where the boys and I just spent a couple of days with four of my college friends and their kids.

However, imagine my surprise to find that someone had hijacked my blogger identity in my absence.  Apparently someone who was left behind had a little free time and decided to tweak the look of hondo by removing the barb wire background and inserting some bluebirds and other chirpy looking images. I had kind of been meaning to find a new, less abrasive look for this little online journal I keep, but when I saw the birds and swirls I realized that I really kind of like the barb wire. In fact, I think I had really rounded the corners too much with the pink. You'll now be treated to a new and improved tough girl look that's a little more streamlined. Pink is for sissies.

I also realized upon looking at the pathetic pictures I took with my phone - since I forgot the real camera - that I have very little in the way of photos to do justice to this excursion. The good news there is that I certainly didn't live this trip behind the camera!  The basic story is this: five women who met in 1991, eight kids, beautiful golf course lodge, dozens of frogs, hours of swimming, some wine, some margartias, very little sleep and more than a few trips down memory get the picture.

In the last 48 hours I've been reminded of some wonderful truths:

The later the grown-ups go to bed, the earlier the kids will wake.

Kids can play together for hours and never stop to be bothered by the fact that they can't remember one another's names.  At various times in the last 48 hours our collective children were referred to by each other as "that one"; "the other one"; "the boy who has the same shirt as me"; "that girl who lives in Colorado" and "the girl with the really bad cough."

(I like to call this the Yalta Conference. I don't know what was being discussed but it was very important.)

A good friend is one who has seen you at your worst and your best and still offers to help check your child's hair for ticks in the dark while said child sleeps, because other still-awake children have been discovered to have acquired some on their frog catching expedition.

Tiny, adorable frogs caught from a golf course pond will not all survive the excitement of being trapped into a suntea jar and then transferred to separate water bottles.  It will at first seem excessive to trap 25 of them for eight kids but those numbers actually work out in the end.  Some of them will literally be encouraged to death during frog races.

When left with some unsupervised free time, older, cooler kids will teach the younger, more impressionable ones some neat tricks like armpit farting.  Anyone who encounters Andrew in the next month should be prepared to squelch this new activity.

It's amazing how none of us have really aged in 19 years and yet we have all these kids.

Sunsets in the country are more beautiful and we were treated to a spectacular one on Monday night to which the old Blackberry camera couldn't really do justice.

Friends really are, in so many ways, a kind of family you choose.

July 11, 2010

Hello, my name is

We have a new addition to the family here at the House of Hondo. Andrew celebrated a fabulous 7th birthday this week and this little guy was one of his gifts.

Meet Redtail.

Thomas went with me to  select the actual fish and to choose the rocks for the bottom as a birthday surprise. We of course had to be ready to unveil our new fishy friend within minutes of Andrew's return to the house because there was no way T was going to be able to keep this secret for even a minute longer.

So far, Redtail seems happy in his new home and I can assure you he'll be well fed since they have both already asked twice today if it's time for him to eat.  I only hope the enthusiasm will continue when it's time to clean the bowl.

July 7, 2010

Swing, batter, batter

Last night concluded Andrew's rookie season of Parks & Rec. T-Ball. I have to say that six-year-old boys playing t-ball are pretty much adorable. They all look alike with their little bird-like legs, Parks & Rec. issued t-ball jersey and batting helmets. It can be difficult to tell them apart, but gosh darn if they aren't cute.

Aside from their common physical appearances, they also display a number of common interests. They all, without exception, love to kick dirt. This is even more fun if you've been asked repeatedly to stop. They also love to spit water. They drink some of it, but a fair amount of it ends up on the ground. They also love to climb fences; backstop fence, outfield fence, neighboring tennis court fence, they're all good.

Andrew has enjoyed t-ball, but I don't think that he's loved t-ball. He loves the batting and running part. He just doesn't really love the standing and waiting part. Playing outfield is decidedly not his pace and he just kind of endures it. He also frequently spaces out and watches birds and talks to his teammates. He has to be frequently reminded by his coaches to open his glove.

I have learned this season that, in t-ball, the batter has a decided advantage.  The likelihood of the batter making solid contact with the ball is good; it's on a tee after all. The likelihood of the fielding team to ever touch the ball before the batter has rounded first, or even second, is slim. It's more likely that they will be out in left field wrestling each other for the ball. There are no shut-outs in t-ball and there aren't even low scores. It's a homerun derby most nights.

Andrew was particularly squirrely last night. He was guilty of the aforementioned dirt kicking, chant-leading, fence climbing and water spitting all just while waiting to bat in the first inning. And, when I approached the bench to remind him to pay attention to what was happening on the field, he became guilty of talking to me in a cool guy voice to impress his friends that was, well, less than impressive.

Finally we reached the bottom of the third and final inning and Andrew was sent to field as the "pitcher." Given his antics and general lack of focus I was fearing for his teeth and gritting mine, hoping to high heaven he would at least quit kicking dirt and pretending to pitch long enough to open the glove and feign interest for a few minutes.

Soon after the start of the lineup, he jumped out of nowhere and grabbed the ball and ran to tag someone approaching third. Never mind that his coaches were screaming at him to throw to first. In typical Andrew fashion, he thought he knew better. It worked, but I was kind of mortified that he had blatantly disregarded the yelling of three grown men.

That sets the stage for the collective surprise when, on the next play, he actually fielded a ball and successfully threw it to first without prompting. That's where his teammate - get ready for this - caught it for an out. They did this three times in a row to finish out the inning.  He and his buddy, Jackson the first baseman, couldn't stop congratulating each other.

I'm taking mom license to tell of this feat because I'm certain they couldn't repeat it if they tried and it did shatter some basic tenets of t-ball. In the meantime, he has been able to put his feet back on the ground and I only heard him tell the story once today. 

This afternoon I asked him what had been his favorite thing about t-ball. I prompted that maybe it had been running bases, or learning to bat, or learning to play outfield.  Nope. His favorite part he said, without hesitation, was "hanging out" which I'll assume is code for "climbing fences and kicking dirt."

June 30, 2010

If, then

Surveying the hoagie roll waiting on his dinner plate, Andrew asked what kind of seeds were on the top of the bun. I told him they were sesame seeds and never made eye contact because I really didn't want them to become an issue.

He was quiet for a minute and then said, "So, I guess sesame seeds must grow into bun plants?"

June 26, 2010

Keeping the day job

I have often thought that someday I'll quit my day job and embark on some new career that's completely unrelated to the way in which I currently earn a living. I still may. Let me assure you, however, that leap will not be into lawncare.

Mark is feeling much better, but is still under doctor's orders not to ride his bike, do any lifting or engage in twisting motions like those used in swinging a golf club or starting a lawn mower. Our lawn did not get that memo and has continued to grow unchecked in the last week. This morning he mentioned that he was going to need me to help him start the mower so he could take care of the tallgrass prairie we call a yard.

Thinking that was not a good idea, I suggested we contact our backup plan, the college student who mows next door, but we only know how to reach him via e-mail, which he doesn't appear to check more than once every couple of days. Because it's supposed to be hotter tomorrow than today, and then supposed to rain in the evening, Mark felt strongly that it needed to happen today. I tried to walk away from the conversation but it became increasingly clear that I was going to have to bite the bullet and do it myself if I couldn't come up with a better idea.

Fast forward two hours and I found myself in the garage getting a lesson in how to start our mower.

I know you're thinking that I should already know how to do that. You're right. I believe, however, that I last mowed when I was in about the 8th grade, which amounts to about 23 years of water under the bridge. I needed a refresher. Once Mark talked me through the basics of starting it and employing the self-propel feature, he headed inside to hang with the boys and I was off and running. Being a relatively intelligent person in relatively good physical shape I was confident that I could knock out the yard in time to eat a late lunch; that's why what happened during the next two hours was totally surprising.

It wasn't pretty, folks.

I started in the front and side yards and within minutes had ditched Mark's suggestion for what pattern to use. I quickly decided that whatever pattern required the least actual pivoting of the mower would be best. I had also decided that I don't like my neighbor as much as I used to think I did, because he stood in his yard laughing at me and yelled a few encouraging phrases which pretty much made me just want to run my mower up over his feet.  By the time I finished the front yard I had worn blisters on my thumbs and I was bleeding.  So far, things were going great.

I went inside for a drink of water and Mark suggested a break. It might have been the beet red quality of my face that was concering or perhaps my language regarding my neighbor?  Quitting sounded good but I knew that if I didn't go back out right then that it wasn't happening today. When I started mowing it was 88 degrees and at this point it was 90; no time to waste.

I perservered for the next hour, at which point it was 92 degrees and I had mostly mowed the yard. I say mostly because as you'll notice below, if you look carefully, it's possible I might have missed a few spots. I was hurrying.

The things I learned today include the fact that mowing is more difficult than it looks, gloves might have been a good idea, our yard is clearly way too big and whatever genius decided we should place swingsets and trees and trampolines in our backyard should definitely be fired.

p.s. the barb wire stays until the thumbs are healed. 

June 18, 2010

Blog as barometer

I logged on to my sister's blog yesterday and was greeted by a beautiful new layout and design. I was instantly jealous because I've meant, for months, to do something to jazz up the hondo layout, but had  figured I needed Photoshop, which I only have access to at work. Because my parents raised me with a completely annoying work ethic, I just hadn't been comfortable doing that on my employer's time. 

Imagine my delight when I fired up the laptop from home today and was offered access to approximately a gajillion new layout tools from Blogger. To that I say, it's about time! After perusing some options I've settled on this one for today. I anticipate this will change frequently because changing your blog to match your mood has just been made way too easy.

So, yeah. Barb wire. I tried to soften it with the touches of pink. Is it working? The last few days have been the kind that leave you pleading with your children not to grow up too quickly because being a grown up ain't all it's cracked up to be. Or, perhaps I just max out too quickly in the responsibility department and we should hire out that part of their training for the future?

Mark had an outpatient surgery on Wednesday and, with a couple of huge assists from Grandpa and Grandma, the day went well. Then came Thursday, which is when it started to feel a bit like the wheels were coming off the cart. I woke up at 5:30 Thursday morning to the unmistakable sound of a sick creature. My first thought was that it must be Mark but quickly realized that it was the dog. She will hereafter be referred to as the damn dog.

I rushed her outside after one heave on the carpet and thought we had dodged a big bullet. I stumbled back to the couch upon which I was sleeping - so that I could be close to Mark who had chosen to sleep on the other couch for post-surgery comfort - and realized that what I was smelling couldn't be right. It turns out that I hadn't woken for the main part of the damn dog's show, which started on the stairs and trailed throughout our home. Awesome.

It only took about four hours to steam clean the carpet, which is when I got to work on cleaning up the deck where she had continued her puke fest after I put her outside. Mark suggested that I might go walk the backyard to see if we could tell what in heaven's name she had eaten to make her this sick. I didn't find a thing except for the discovery that the previous evening's torrential rains had washed several cubic yards of mulch away from the swingset, into the grass and up against the fence. The day was getting even better.

Enter Grandma, who offered to come help me with the shovel and rake brigade to get the mulch back where it belonged before it washed into the neighbor's yard, never to be seen again.  But? Before I ever lifted a finger I went in the house to check on my patients and discovered that the human one was very uncomfortable and nauseous and the canine one, who was trapped in the kitchen, was wheezing and drooling uncontrollably. That's when I took her to the vet while my mom AND dad moved mulch and kept an eye on the post-surgery situation playing out in the living room.

She only barfed once in the car and I had to drag her inside the office. I left her in their capable hands, telling them I couldn't stay because I needed to get home for Mark. That was partly true but it's also possible I've never been so happy to part company with another living being. We needed a break from one another. I returned home to find that super mom and dad had pretty much fixed the mulch situation, reseated the weed mat that was tangled in the mud and that my dad had gone to buy a few extra bags of mulch to secure the perimeter.  Thanks be.

When the vet called at 5 p.m. to say that they couldn't find anything technically wrong with the damn dog and that I could come get her but that she was still having "loose stools" (sorry) and I would need to go buy her some Pepcid and cook some rice dish for her to eat, I did what any loving pet owner who is staring down the barrel of night two with her post-op husband and a looming t-ball practice. I bought her a night at Spa Animal Hospital. She's being bathed before her return. I hope she enjoyed her stay. She is truly the best last dog we've ever owned. 

Mark is trying to rally this afternoon but it's a little slow going. When you see the barb wire replaced with roses you'll know we're fully back amongst the living.

June 10, 2010

Identity crisis

Andrew's summer camp classroom has been home to a mouse for the last year.  This was the same room in which he spent his afternoons during the school year and Harold the mouse was like a class mascot. The kids loved him and their teacher was a very good caretaker. That teacher has, however, departed to attend veterinary school and their new teacher apparently isn't fond of pet mice and has decided that Harold can't stay.

Andrew got in the car after school this afternoon completely distraught because another family at the school removed Harold from the premises today in a butter container, bound for his new home. He reports that Harold is going home to Grace's house to live in a new cage that is...the horror of  It is also rumored to have a picture on the top of a mouse wearing...a tutu. And?  The biggest injustice? Harold is going to have a new name. From here forward he will be referred to as...Cupcake.

Andrew's not happy.

June 8, 2010

What she said

We visited the Life Rocks family in Virginia last week.  We stayed for six days and six nights which felt to me like they whizzed by and possibly felt as though they moved slightly slower for the people in whose house we were staying.  We did double their household population for nearly a week and the youngest of us did bring with him a brewing case of what was diagnosed mid-week at an Urgent Care facility as bronchitis-with-yucky-attitude-and-flaming-fever.

I had fully intended to document our trip when we returned with photos and narrative but it turns out we forgot our camera and were reliant upon Mark's phone.  And?  My sister already did it.  I should really not just link to her work, and had fought the urge for a full 24 hours, but then she went and sold me out as the crappy driver that I am today.  Also, she insinuated that she's a faster learner, so guess what I've learned? Me have learned how to link if me thinks someone else already did me's work for me.

Check out this and this for her rundown.  Go ahead. I'll wait.  When you come back you can read my trip highlights as filler. 

The highlights for me were:
  • Watching a baby girl eat her body weight in "free" blueberries.  (We underfilled other containers to make up for her shoplifting tendencies.)
  • Hearing my nephew tell us that he loves us. It's just something of which you don't tire.
  • Watching the three boys play together in a much healthier fashion than last time they were together.
  • Receiving the full-on tour of Uncle Jeff's jet and squadron and seeing an F-22 demo flight then knowing later that Andrew really did kind of "get" how special that opportunity was.
  • Seeing my sister and Andrew bond over their shared love of collecting shells, rocks, etc. 
  • Riding in my sister's Wave Runner Camry on the James River Bridge. I know she referenced it, but I really can't do justice to how seasick and amused we were by the time we reached the other side.
  • H&M with the girls. Girl time is good.
  • Andrew reading books to the little boys when they woke up too early to come out of their room.
  • Learning that Andrew thought he was the luckiest guy in the house the night that we took T to the doctor because he got to stay home with Aunt Steph and she let him stay up to watch television with her after the little ones went to bed.
  • The fact that the boys watched a DVRd episode of Wipeout, in its entirety, at least three times during the week. 
  • Taking an afternoon nap with Thomas.  Simple pleasures. 
  •  My sister's cooking. She does this thing where she plans whole meals in advance and then begins preparing said meals more than 30 minutes before she wants them on the table. I might have to try it because they were delicious.
  • Riding in the car with Andrew and Natalie and watching them entertain one another in the sweetest way.  It might have been wishful thinking but I'm pretty sure she was saying his name.
  • Riding on a ferry because ferries are just cool.
  • Hearing Thomas and Wyatt discuss whether they believed we would indeed have to drive backwards all the way home when we missed the ferry, as we backed off the bridge lest we get stuck there for the hour wait.
  • Wyatt pledging allegiance to the flag - any flag.
  • Listening to Wyatt correct Uncle Mark's lyrics to "Proud To Be An American."
  • Getting in the car to drive the two littlest boys and learning that when Uncle Mark chauffered  he entertained them by telling stories about his imaginary friend, Bob, who had apparently been a trouble passenger. Bob was, as far as I could tell, a laugh riot.
  • That quiet time after kids went to bed and grownups watched tv, watched movies and generally conversed like grownups do. 
  • A night on the town in Virginia Beach.  If you get a chance to see Damon Wayans, take it. He's funny. 
  • Jeff bathing kids in their skivvies in the front yard. They'll likely never forget it. 
  • Knowing that we get to soak up more Rock time in the next 18 months.
Because we've established that I'm a lazy, slow-learning linker, do go check out the photos we have in the flickr sidebar.  They feature four pretty cute kids if I do say so myself.

May 26, 2010

Points to ponder

Thomas just entered the kitchen and said to Mark, in an authoritative tone, "Andrew is a first grader now but he's still in the bathroom jumping up and down because he needs to make a potty and that is rediclious, because Andrew is a first grader now and he is really going to have to work on that." 


May 24, 2010

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

It turns out that my neighbors, the ones that aren't garage sale people?  They aren't, until they see one in action and then it seems they're attracted to them like moths to a flame.  Saturday was Garage Sale Day at House Hondo and from the minute that preparations began my high falutin' neighbors just couldn't stay away from the action.

On Wednesday Mr. Neighbor wandered over to compliment me on my mad classified ad writing skillz. How would he know about my gift of the oversell?  He always reads the newpaper classifieds. 

On Thursday he came over to see how the clean-out was going and informed that he would never have one of these because he didn't want to have to clean his garage for strangers.  I told him he had one day left to haul his merchandise northward and he assured me that he wasn't interested - until an hour later when he and Mrs. Neighbor came hauling a child's Cozy Coupe and three enormous black garbage bags full of treasure into my garage.

I hadn't been outside for more than 10 minutes on Friday morning before he came strolling over to see how things were going. He came back two more times that day just to survey my work. Later that day someone stopped by who knew that the sale was advertised for Saturday but wondered if they could look early.  Guess what they puchased first? That's right. A Cozy Coupe.

Saturday morning came and within an hour of opening the doors, Mr. Neighbor was back for a visit. Despite my apparent finesse with the classified ad,  I really can't effectively put words to how delighted I was to hand him a $5 bill for his trouble.  He protested accepting it for about 0.3 seconds and then practically skipped back home waving his green-tinted Lincoln. 

An hour later Mrs. Neighbor appeared. She brought a gift of Coca-Cola because when she sent Mr. Neighbor to the grocery store that morning he wanted to get us a treat for our trouble. She stayed for the better part of 20 minutes quite obviously totally intrigued. 

A bit later we sold some more of their goodies and so, just basically to entertain myself and my mom, I sent the boys next door with another $2. They returned with Mr. Neighbor and the Neighbor Kids, who went to play in our yard. That left Mr. Neighbor back in our garage playing Chatty Kathy.

All in all the Garage Sale of 2010 was a success. We found happy homes for a lot of things that we no longer needed or wanted and people paid us to haul them away.  By 5 p.m. last night I was able to get the car back in the garage and after one more trip to a social service agency this week the mess will be completely gone.

Special sale shout outs go to:
  • my mom, without whom I would have bailed on the project at about 10 a.m. on Friday when preparing all the mess was overwhelming me
  • my dad, who removed Andrew and Thomas from the premises for most of the morning making it possible to have strangers remove their outgrown toys
  • Mark, who never complained about the fact that I brought the wrong bike into the house for easy access, forcing him to ride a second-tier bike on Saturday morning and exit through a throng of bargain shoppers while wearing full-on lycra and a helmet
  • Thomas, for wearing Grandma's "money belt" with pride upon his return and for being the best sale helper that any four-year-old has ever been
  • The Neighbors, for participating in one of the most entertaining sociology experiments I've ever witnessed!

May 14, 2010

It takes so little

I'm sometimes kind of easily amused but these moments have entertained me in the last few days.

Yesterday I reminded Andrew that his school year was coming to a close and he needed to soak up all that Mrs. Bowman had to teach him in the remaining 10 days of class. He looked at me and said without hesitation, "Oh, I would except I'm pretty sure we're done learning this year."  I assured him that probably wasn't the case and he responded by telling me that he had been watching and Mrs. Bowman hadn't taught him anything new in five days so he was pretty sure that meant he was all done.

It is surely a burden to know everything at six-and-a-half.

Mark was trying to tell Thomas goodnight and this is the thanks he got tonight. "Daddy, I don't want you to kiss me goodnight until you decide to shave off those 'worse-kers.' They're scratchy. They're the worstest worse-kers. You need to go cut those off your face."


I had my last stint as a volunteer in Andrew's kindergarten class this morning. The teacher was experiencing a technology glitch and, in an act of desperation, she asked me to play Simon Says with the kids to keep them engaged for a couple of minutes while she worked through the problem.  I immediately had 20 smiling faces glued to me waiting to see how I would perform. As I stood up, Andrew said loudly, "Oh, you guys, my mom is really good at Simon says!" eliciting cheers from his friends. 

It's so good to know I have a marketable skill set for the future.


I've hesitated to document this last one because at least one grandma will likely NOT be amused but this has become the digital babybook and I need to record this for future blackmail purposes.

On Monday morning, Thomas entered the bathroom while I was showering and was laughing hysterically, asking if he could pee in the shower. I redirected him to the toilet, which was a whole four feet away. When I got out of the shower I reminded him that we potty in the toilet only and he said, still laughing hysterically, "But Andrew peed in the sump pump!" 


On the previous Saturday evening we had employed a babysitter for the boys. Apparently Super Sally was playing hide-and-seek with them and the boys were in the storage room, very proud of themselves for being someplace where they didn't think Sally would find them. (I'm sure they had been so quiet getting there that she would never have thought to look...) Andrew decided he needed to use the restroom but didn't want to leave the safety of his hideout so, in an act of genius, peed in the sump pump instead. This was, as you might guess, wildly entertaining to his brother who had kept that secret for 36 hours but couldn't keep it a moment longer.

Needless to say we had a little talk about that and I don't think he'll do it again but this has to be top of the list of things you never thought you would have to actually say out loud as a parent.

May 7, 2010

Of pledging

First, thank you all for having my back on the garage sale thing.  I feel so loved knowing you would offer your pork rinds and travel trailers and toilet planters just to support me as I junk up the neighborhood.  I should state that my neighbor is really a very good neighbor, snotty comments aside. She's not someone with whom I will ever be best friends but will loan me an egg if I need it and would bail us out in a crunch anytime. She's also home a lot which is really a bonus when we're not because she's very nosy observant.


Mother's Day is saturating the airwaves this week and I've heard several funny Mother's Day bits on the radio in recent days. One involved a local station giving away hotel rooms for one, as a Mother's Day treat to the moms with the most convincing stories indicating that all they really need is a break from their families. Another station today was giving away spa packages to moms who called in with the most embarrassing kid stories. I think that had I called and reported something Andrew did a couple of weeks ago I could have been a candidate.

KU's new football coach has committed to run a "clean" program, which means that his entire staff has pledged not to use foul language with players, not to condone any alcohol or drug use and to generally encourage players to behave like reasonable human beings. At the recent spring game, Coach Gill asked the adults in the stands to take a pledge with him stating, among other things, that we would act as role models for the youth in our lives.  As we were repeating after him, phrase by phrase, we got to the part about not condoning alcohol use by anyone under the age of 21, for any reason. 

That's when Andrew turned around, stuck his arm out and put his pointer finger in the air, aimed right at Mark and said, in his loudest outdoor voice, "But, Dad! You gave me beer once.  Don't you remember!? You shouldn't do that!" 

Needless to say I didn't finish the pledge, what with how I was doubled over laughing and dying of embarrassment. People around us seemed to get a good laugh too.  Right before they called child services on us.

I attended a Mother's Day picnic with Thomas' class today at a local park. It was a little breezy and a little chilly but we endured.  It's also all worth it when a group of four and five-year-olds pledge their love via song and with cards and handpainted flowerpots. The kids had also each answered some questions about their moms and his answers certainly make me feel loved. And also entertained.

And, of course I'm the "bestest one" because I'm not the one that supplies beer to minors.

May 4, 2010

I am what I am

I'm an admitted consumer. I'm not terribly proud of that but I am also not totally ashamed by it either. I believe my consumerism to be somewhat in check since most of my wardrobe hails from either Target or Old Navy and my home is furnished primarily with family heirlooms - some more heirloomy than others, if you know what I mean.

The obvious hurdles to overcome in being a successful consumer are the ability to purge things you're no longer using and to finance new purchases.  Having hit a crossroads this winter where our storage room is completely maxed out in its storage capacity and the items on the wish list are a little more substantial than a new pair of flip-flops, I've decided it's time to hold the dreaded garage sale. I've put this off for years but I think it's a workable solution to freeing up some space around here while offering some gently used items to others who might like a good bargain and also, hopefully, generating a little cash-ola.  I'm thinking this is a really good, environmentally-friendly win-win for me and my potential shoppers.

I've set a date and have enlisted help from my mom, who is a garage-sale hosting veteran.  Because our location is not terribly conducive to cars parking on the street I thought I would mention to our neighbors - the ones most inconvenienced by the traffic disaster I will hopefully create - my plan, as a neighborly heads up. I also mentioned that if they had any interest in a garage sale of their own perhaps we could coordinate our efforts.  That was really a sidenote to my message, but just a thought.

This afternoon I found my mailbox full of mail, but most of it belonged to the aforementioned neighbor. When the boys and I went to deliver it she told me that she had received my message and thanked me for letting her know but assured me that they wouldn't be interested in having a sale that day.  I reiterated that I just wanted to make them aware of my plans from a parking perspective and was ready to walk away.  That's when she said it, with more than a hint of judgment.

"Thanks for notifying us, but we would never have a sale here because...well...we're just really not garage sale people." 

Oh.  I see how it is. I apparently am "garage sale people."  I think she thought I might be dissuaded and that I might look at her differently after that position statement. 

Let me assure you. I'm not and I do. So, come mid-May, the neighbors should be prepared for the Hondos to drag every last piece of junk we have right out onto the driveway. I'm thinking that the directional signs will be in neon colors and maybe we'll get Andrew out there on a loudspeaker to auction off the double stroller.  Then she'll see exactly what "garage sale people" look like. 

This should be fun.

April 25, 2010

Public Service Announcement

If you're anything like me, you read things like this and think to yourself, "Oh, that's nice. I'll try to remember that."  I urge you to write this down. You will not remember it in the heat of the moment. Save this information someplace safe where you will be able to quickly retrieve it. 

It could save a load of laundry.

It's ironic that on a gray, rainy, drab Sunday afternoon we opened the dryer to find a load of clothes that had shared their bath and subsequent blow dry with three crayons.  Red, blue and yellow. We had the primaries covered and everything in the load was covered too.

Murphy's Law was, of course, in effect and the load contained my favorite-ist jeans - ones that I spent too much money on and would never replace - as well as Andrew's brand new khaki shorts, Thomas' favorite fleece jacket and most of Mark's work jeans and a whole host of other now newly spot-colored items.

This recipe for rewashing has *mostly* saved our wardrobes...

Hot water
Your regular amount of your regular liquid detergent
1/2 c. Borax
1/2 c. Baking Soda
1/2 c. Shout stain liquid
a generous squirt of regular Dawn dishwashing soap.

I found this recipe online while searching frantically for a method of removal that wouldn't require me to treat each spot with WD40.  I wouldn't say that it was 100% at stain removal but, my word, it's a significant improvement.  Someday, should you ever be faced with a similar laundry disaster, you'll wish you had saved this info.  Your favorite jeans will thank you!