Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mice Are STILL Not Nice

An update on the ongoing mouse eradication. 

Mousies #1 and #2 got snapped in a trap. They were wittle mice, but I am not sad.

Mousie #3 went for the Smarties strategically placed on a glue board sometime after noon on Monday and before 8 a.m. on Wednesday. My assistant teacher, Melissa, found it not long after we arrived but well before the kiddos did. I knew she found something by the squawk she let out and her hasty retreat from the Mouse Cabinet, shaking her head and saying, "It's still alive! It's moving! It's not dead!"

I took a few steps toward that side of the room, saw #3 squirming, let out a shriek, and ran. From what, I don't know. It wasn't going to attack me or anything, but it's just so ICKY.

The commotion in the room (plus me screaming, "DOUGGGGGGG!!!") brought our building engineer to the room. He sauntered in and picked up the glue board, taking it outside to give it the Little Bunny Foo Foo treatment before disposing of the glue board and its, um, contents.

It was another baby, but I'm still not sad, especially after seeing what happened to my penguin.

According to Wikipedia (don't judge me), mama mouse, in her prime, can produce 10-12 mousettes at a time.



Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Because I Couldn't Come Up With 20

Get a roll of pennies ready and play "I Have Never" with me. Throw in a penny for every one of these you've done, but I haven't.

I have never had even one itsy bitsy sip of coffee.

I have never experienced labor.

I have never been in a car accident.

I have never played golf. (But I've driven a golf cart. On a golf course. In the dark....)

I have never eaten sushi.

I have never, even in college, drunk so much alcohol that I got sick. (See my aversion to getting sick here).  

I have never mowed a lawn.

I have never changed a tire.

I have never smoked a cigarette. (I PRETENDED to occasionally, to look cool, but I just held it and waved it around.)

I have never gotten a speeding ticket.

I have never shoplifted, although someone I was with took a pair of patterned tights that I wanted to buy and stuck them in a shopping bag and walked out of the department store with them, because she didn't want to take the time for me to wait in line to buy them. I was MORTIFIED and sure the Shoplifting Police were going to find me. I was so shaken up by it that, as I was putting the tights on later that day to wear to a concert, I stuck my thumbnail through them and ruined them, then had to return to the department store and actually BUY a pair, WHICH IS WHAT I WAS TRYING TO DO IN THE FIRST PLACE.

I have never eaten a s'more. (I like the individual components, but I don't want to eat them all together. Except I like Moon Pies, so that doesn't really make a lot of sense.)

I have never owned a dog.

I have never learned to swim.

I have never had a pedicure.

I have never seen the Hornet Spook Light. I've never even TRIED to see the Hornet Spook Light.

Anybody have any pennies left? (Shout out to Donna, Jennifer and Amy with a big "I doubt it.") Go ahead and challenge me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Yam What I Yam

Several of the bloggers I follow have posted blog entries telling readers a little more about themselves than they would find on their "About" page. Since there is virtually nothing ON my "About" page, here are a few facts you can mentally pencil in. (Since most of my readers actually KNOW me, I'm not sure I can come up with much to surprise them.)

Who am I, anyway?

I have three hard and fast rules that I will not break regarding my children, particularly relating to sports or other competitions. I will not wear a shirt that says "______'s Mom". I will not write messages on my car. (Have seen such delights as "Go, Caitlyn! Shake it, baby!" on a minivan at a dance competition for kids 12 and under. That's just wrong on so many levels.) And I will not go "woo!" I am not, nor will I ever be, a Woo Girl. (This includes wooing during  Zumba.)

Robin and the Woo Girls, "How I Met Your Mother"

I hate, hate, HAAAAAAAATE coffee. I hate the way it tastes. I hate the way it smells. I hate the way it looks. I hate it when someone tries to get me to taste something that "just has a little coffee in it - you won't even taste it." YES, I WILL! BECAUSE IT'S DISGUSTING AND CANNOT BE HIDDEN IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER.

I collect snow globes. Not fancy, music box snow globes, but the cheap, plastic ones that you find at souvenir shops. Or try to find them. They aren't easy to find these days. I look for one everywhere we travel. I love snow globes so much that, if I find out YOU are going somewhere I haven't been before, I will probably ask you to bring me one back with you. (Ironically, although they are MADE in China, you cannot BUY one in China. Not that I've ever been to China. But I know someone who has....)

I love to sing. I sing in the car like I'm a rock star. I sing in the shower. I sing when I'm cleaning the house. I just DON'T do it in front of other people. Except for preschoolers. They don't judge. (And Melissa, who, by virtue of her job helping me with the preschoolers, is subject to my singing as well. Sorry, Melissa.)

I don't have a poker face. And I'm a terrible liar. I blame it on the dimples. They always give me away.

While I am very patient with preschoolers, I'm very impatient with other things in life. I touch wet  paint. I open the oven door multiple times to peek at what's baking. I CAN'T WAIT for the microwave timer to get to zero. I flip hamburgers and pancakes too soon. I make a right on red and take a different route to avoid sitting at a red light. My nail polish always has a finger print in it from checking it. I refresh my facebook page, blog stats, and email a hundred times a day (well, that might be a slight exaggeration). 

I love to read, especially murder mysteries. In fact, I get so involved in the mysteries that I read that SOMETIMES, I dream I have killed someone and hidden the body. HEY, THEY'RE JUST DREAMS, PEOPLE! RELAX!

I'm a fairly good cook when I'm in the mood. (Too bad for my family that I'm not in the mood more often.)  I'm even better at the fun stuff. I love to bake: cookies, cakes, muffins, breads. I also make candy (like, for real, with a candy thermometer and everything). Except divinity. Can't make divinity. I can also decorate cakes, if the need arises. And I make the best caramel popcorn you will ever eat. No lie.

I've only thrown up three times in my entire life. The first time was when I was in kindergarten. Second time was when I was 7 and got my tonsils out (I SAID it was a sad story). The third (and final) time was December 23, 1971. I was in 6th grade. It was so very horrible that I vowed it would never happen again. And it hasn't. There were naysayers that said I wouldn't make it through pregnancy without throwing up, and when I was pregnant with my son, there was even an office pool to predict when that would happen. NO ONE WON. I'm in it for the long haul.

I have food rules. Many food rules. Like my food can't touch (I have divided plates to prevent this). And I eat one food at a time from my plate, after tasting each one first and determining the order of preference (least to best - which is the opposite of my dad, who eats the best thing first, then the best of what's left, continuing that way because, he theorizes, he is always eating the best thing on his plate that way, even when it gets down to something he doesn't like). My hamburgers have to be plain and well done. Except for McDonald's ones, which I eat as-is. I hate cheese on my burger. And don't even get me STARTED on celery. I separate M&Ms and jellybeans into colors before eating them (by color, of course). Three Musketeers bars?  I eat the chocolate coating off first, of course. Eggs are for holding cake batter and cookie dough together and never to be consumed on their own. When eating out, all sauces must go on the side, because chances are I'm not going to like them anyway. I only drink milk if it's in a real glass (no plastic). I don't drink soda out of a can or bottle. Must. Have. Ice. There are more, I assure you. IT'S AN ENDEARING QUIRK.

Now that you know all this, don't you feel us growing closer...?

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Is there anything much more delightful than spending time with an old friend? (And by "old," I mean long-established, not advanced in age. NOT.)

Last week, I got to do just that with my friend Dana. She and I have known each other since we were 12. We only lived about a block away from each other then and spent a lot of time going back and forth to each other's houses. I liked to go to hers, because her mom bought Hostess Ho Ho's and Ding Dongs and kept them in the freezer for us. Dana liked to come to my house, because my mom baked cookies.

We were close friends throughout junior high and high school. CLOSE. Like teach-me-how-to-use-tampons close.

Then we graduated from high school and our lives diverged. Dana chose marriage and kids, raising two very amazing boys and trying to raise her husband (they really were just babies when they got married). I don't know how she did it, but she also managed to attend college in between all that and then became a writer. A real one. Not just newspaper articles, which she did as well, but she's written BOOKS. 

I went straight to college, then out into the big world. Our lives could not have been more different.

(And make fun of Facebook if you will, but it is a wonderful tool for getting back in touch with old friends, ones you wish you'd never lost track of, ones who were an important part of making you who you are today. Dana and I reconnected several years ago, thanks to Facebook.)

And it's as if we were never apart. Some friendships are just LIKE that.

Dana lives near Los Angeles now (ironically, very near where I lived when I was out there, although we didn't live in the area at the same time), but, lucky me, was in St. Louis to visit her first grandchild (a darling baby girl, in case you wondered). We arranged to meet in the middle for a good visit.

We took over a booth at a Panera for hours. We laughed. We cried. We looked at my boobs (in the bathroom, in a handicapped stall, and not without raising the eyebrows of a woman who was in the next stall, who probably thought she had somehow stumbled into a bus station restroom).

It was hard to say goodbye at the end of the afternoon, but the good news is Dana plans to make frequent trips back to see that sweet baby girl. And when she does, we will make arrangements to meet again. We also have another girls get-away in the works with our high school friends Abbie and Melody (watch out, Vegas, we may be heading your way).

My friends have been so very important to me since my diagnosis. Not that they weren't BEFORE, but since then, they have been an invaluable part of my recovery, regardless whether they are a few blocks away or a few thousand miles away. They make me laugh. They build me up. They let me spill my guts. They take my mind off of things I don't want to think about. They pray for me. They admire my boobs. 

Never doubt how much I value all of you. 

Now, bring it on in for a group hug.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mice Are Not Nice - Part III

The good news:

The bad news:

It was a baby mouse.  

We all know what that means - there are more. Many more....

The scene of the crime.

P.S.: The penguin survived the bleach water shower. He's a little skittish, though. For that matter, so am I.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mice Are Not Nice - A Sequel

The gauntlet has been thrown. This. Is. War.

Every Friday, after my preschool kiddos leave at noon, I get the room ready for Monday morning by changing the helper chart, the letter of the week poster, and the weekly Bible verse poster, all of which requires me to get in a wooden cabinet that sits against the back wall of my classroom. This is also the location for our Circle Time. I sit on a little chair about 6 inches away from the cabinet when the kids are at Circle Time. I keep my stereo and cds on top of the cabinet. I get in the cabinet daily for such things as birthday pencils, dry erase markers, and stickers.

Inside the cabinet. Well, half of it.
Looks innocent enough....
I opened the cabinet door today and caught a whiff of - mouse pee.


Looked a little closer and saw the inside of the cabinet was liberally sprinkled with mouse poo. HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT EARLIER WHEN I WAS GETTING OUT A BIRTHDAY POEM?!

Smarties detritus
The first thing I noticed (after noticing the poo) was a bag of Smarties, which had only been in the cabinet for a week, with a hole chewed in it (stupid mouse - the bag was OPEN). Smartie wrappers and Smartie mess everywhere. 

Little mousie nibbles on Smarties.
Armed with latex gloves, paper towels, spray cleaner and bleach spray, I began taking everything out of the cabinet, shaking it over a blanket of paper towels to flush out loose poo, and then cleaning each item with the spray cleaner, followed by a liberal dose of bleach water.

It. Was. Disgusting.

It's a good thing I have no idea what'
these remotes go to.
Candy mess was EVERYWHERE, as was poo. And mousie pee, which is less visible but very vile smelling.

The little rodent wasn't happy with just Smarties. Oh, no, he also found a couple suckers that he took out of a box and carried about a foot away (isn't that a mile in mouse distance?), making a sticky mess. He also found a mini Tootsie Pop and opened THAT and worked on the sucker.

The little sonofabitch didn't make
it to the tootsie roll center
of the tootsie pop.

And then, the worst discovery of all. My penguin was violated.

He looks so sad.

Suckers stuck to his feet and one to his ass (not pictured). Poo not only on his feet (that IS pictured) but on his shoulder as well. HIS SHOULDER! THE MOUSE CLIMBED UP ON HIM AND POOPED ON HIS PENGUIN SHOULDER! And right before "P" week!

Two hours later, the cabinet was empty, the shelves washed and sprayed with bleach water. The candy and anything he peed on was thrown away. My poor, pitiful penguin got a shower in bleach water and was set out to dry. 

So, Mr. Mouse. Be forewarned that it was ONE thing for you and your friends and family members to get into the craft closet and make a mess there. But you have DESECRATED MY PENGUIN! Not to mention what you did to my Smarties, remotes, All About Me poster and ladybug beanbag.

My only consolation is that I know that SOMEWHERE in that building, there is a fat mouse in a diabetic coma, suffering from severe tooth decay.

Nonetheless, GAME ON, MOUSE! GAME ON.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Me vs. Machine: Part 2

An addendum to my previous post:

Verrrrry old building
Tonight, I decided to venture to the top floor of the Y to confront the elliptical machines there. Now, the downtown Y is in an ancient building, probably close to 100 years old. You get quite a workout just walking up three flights of stairs to the floor with the weights and cardio machines.

The top floor, I discovered the other night, has mood lighting. Yep. It looks kind of like an indoor mini golf course. There is a running track that loops through the middle, then tucked away in corners are some treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes. 

I approached an area that held four elliptical machines. One was occupied by a woman. I climbed on a machine. And nothing happened. The control panel didn't light up. It was really dark up there, so I couldn't READ any of the buttons, but I pressed them anyway. I shuffled my feet. Nothing. So I moved to the next machine. Climbed on. Pressed buttons. Shuffled my feet. Aaaaaand nothing. 

Seeing me waving my arms at the machine and talking smack to it, the woman next to me said the machine would start up as soon as I started using it (which, in turn, feels like you're trying to steer a car after the power steering has gone out). After a small struggle, I got it going. But with every step I took, there was a loud squawk that sounded as if I were stepping on a bird. Even with earbuds in and music playing, I could hear the squawk, so I got off THAT machine and moved back to the first one I was on. I decided to watch a little tv instead of listening to music, so once I got the control panel activated, I turned on the little tv that is mounted on the top. Chose the Colbert Report to watch. Unplugged the earbuds from my phone and prepared to plug them into the tv. Aaaaaaaaand no earphone jack. Anywhere. Of course, since the dim lighting meant I couldn't SEE anything that wasn't a brightly lit LED message, I had to feel all over the control panel for a jack. Then I used my flashlight app on my phone and looked. Still nothing. I decided I wasn't cut out for the combination of mood lighting and elliptical machines, so I got down, gathered up my stuff, and moved back downstairs.

I felt like an old pro when I clambered onto the elliptical this time.

I tried sticking my phone in my sports bra instead of my waistband, as suggested by my friend Dawn, and my boob tried to make a phone call. Phone went back to waistband of my yoga pants and only fell down my leg one time. Progress.

I did learn something (besides that my eyes are too old to operate machinery in dim lighting). I discovered if you think you're all that, you do the elliptical without holding onto the machine. Apparently, this makes it easier to flirt with the weight lifters. That's okay. I out-boobed her. 

And if I had stayed on the top floor, I would have missed the young woman of questionable sanity in the weight machine room, sitting on a leg press machine in the corner, eating chips and drinking from a can of Pepsi, then shoving the leg press with her feet and then allowing the weights to crash down when she released it. All of this was done with a variety of sound effects, none of which I care to think about ever again.

Best part? I made it thirty minutes IN A ROW on the elliptical machine without passing out. I. Am. AWESOME.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Me vs. Machine

Looking over my list of goals, it appears I stand a better chance of moving to Nashville WITH Jimmy Carter than I do of mastering the elliptical machines at the Y.

I've been on two different machines at two different locations, and I've been an "I Love Lucy" episode every time. 

In three days of workouts, I have fallen off the machine, knocked my phone off more times than I can count, gotten tangled in my earbuds, and tried to remove my fleece pullover with my earbuds still in my ears. I've stood on it, trying to figure out how to program something that has NO DIRECTIONS on it and talked to myself out loud. (I've also talked to the elliptical machine out loud to no avail - it's not coughing up its programming secrets). I've tried, nonchalantly, to look at my elliptical neighbors and see how THEIR machine are programmed, but I can't make them out. And they are pointedly ignoring me, perhaps even wishing I would just give it up and go home. (They obviously don't know me at all.)

I always forget to plug my earbuds into my phone and open Pandora until I get on the machine, then have to stand there and balance while pushing buttons on my phone (think balancing while having each foot in a different canoe). Because I don't have one of those cool arm bands to hold my phone, I have to tuck it into the waistband of my yoga pants (as yoga pants have no pockets). Then, at least once during my workout, sometimes more often, the phone works its way loose and falls down my pant leg, hanging by the earbud cord. Be assured there is NO graceful way to retrieve it.

I'm not going to go into the rest of the workout. How I forget that just because I can't hear anyone else while wearing the earbuds, they can certainly hear ME when I sing out loud. How, once you get the hang of the machine and think you're all bad ass, you find that you're panting after a minute and a half. And that each minute feels like about twenty. And that stopping is awkward at best, putting you squarely back in the feet-in-two-canoes scenario. And, if you forget that you have put your phone on the little ledge of the control panel because you were tired of fishing it out of your britches, then you might, MIGHT yank it off the ledge when you step off, violently popping the earbuds out of your ears and sending the phone crashing to the floor, usually landing right under the foot pedals.

I have only begun to fight.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

It's A Goal, Not A Resolution

I hate New Year's resolutions. I think a bucket list is negative, since it implies that I am going to die and that's not something I wish to contemplate at this time. So instead, as one of my blogging heroes suggested, I am going to make a list of goals that I wish to achieve, if not this year, then SOME DAY. (There's a chance some of them might not really be considered "achievable" by some of you nattering nabobs.)

1. Achieve a well-toned body.  I was on my way there when the stupid cancer drugs that caused the stupid menopause and screwed up the stupid hormonal balance caused my muscles to go to mush. I WILL be back.

2. Go back to LA to visit. 

3. Meet Jimmy Carter.

4. Be a mentor for other women facing breast cancer, and especially so for women who are planning to have tram flap reconstruction. I am a wealth of information on that! 

5. Take my daughter to NYC to see plays on Broadway and see the Rockettes.

6. Make a decision on a paint color for my bedroom and then actually paint the room. It's only been 14 years since we moved here. I think it's time.

7. Finish my son's scrapbooks before he graduates this spring. And since I'm, oh, about 9 years behind, this MIGHT be considered one of those unattainable goals.

8. Move back to Nashville. In lieu of this, then visit Nashville way more often than I do now.

9. Figure out Twitter. The learning curve is a steep one for me. Although I totally didn't get Pinterest at first, either, and now I'm one hell of a pinner, so there's hope.

10. My husband recently pointed out that pretty much everything I eat has a bar code, as in I eat a lot of processed food. So, instead of just PINNING vegetable recipes on Pinterest, I'm going to make an effort to actually cook and eat them. (He also says potatoes don't count, which is a shame, because one-third of the veggie recipes I have pinned do, indeed, include potatoes.)

Ready, set, go!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Out With The Old, In With The New

Buh-bye, 2012! Can't say I'm going to miss you much.
This is not a good picture.
We're cuter than this, usually....

You brought me some good stuff, like bringing my person back into my life, reminding me often that I have two very bright and witty children, introducing me, via my friend Dawn, to Philosophy Amazing Grace (I should be paid by them for plugging their products so much).

You also brought me some crap. Well, really, one big ol' piece of crap that you dropped in the middle of my life, where it proceeded to ripple outwards, ring upon ring. 

I walked into 2012 with cancer, although I didn't know it at the time. I'm leaving 2012 without it. Okay, without my boobies, too, but that's all good, because I have the new ones now (they're AWESOME - have you heard?). And the flat stomach. 

In retrospect, I guess ALL those ripples weren't bad.

But I'm done now. Keep your crap, 2012.

And bring it on, 2013. I can take it.