Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meeting the Neighbors

I've come to realize over the years that I'm somewhat of a recluse - not a complete one, but somewhat of one. Maybe a better way of saying this is that I like my space and my privacy. I'm fine with meaningless chit chat per say in line at the grocery store or library, but when it comes to acquainting myself with people whom I may be forced to have continued dealings with, well, that's where things get tricky. I met the woman who lived in the house (from which we just moved) next to us, actually the day that we began moving. She seemed interested in saying hello and being neighborly after we'd been there eight months already and had shared no more than a wave here and there, but as for me, I felt no need to begin this late in the game. I halfway wanted to just let her know there was really never going to be any great benefit in her conversing with me as we were leaving that very day, but I kept my thoughts to myself and tried my best to amiable.
We've now been in our new home for almost two weeks, and I have been fortunate enough to have already met our two nearest neighbors. Unfortunately, both meetings were somewhat awkward and embarrassing. The first one was yesterday. I was minding my own business and relishing the quiet solitude while Kyla was napping when the doorbell rang. . twice. . and then again. . and then a couple more times. All the while, I was running around trying to find the key to unlock the front door (yes, that's right. . there's no nob, you actually have to have the key to unlock the door. . don't ask me. . .). The doorbell continued ringing intermittently about every three to four seconds. Eventually I just went to the front door and shouted through the glass, "Hang on. I'm trying to find the key to open the door." With all the pressure surrounding the neurotic doorbell ringing I wasn't able to think clearly to find the key, and thus I resigned myself to opening the garage door and then walking around to the front door. As I rounded the corner, trying to imagine what in the world could create such a crisis that the man had to go AWOL on my doorbell, I also felt strangely self-conscious . . I mean, I wasn't expecting visitors and was lounging around in old dirty clothes with my hair frumpily clipped. . No make-up. . Heck, I hadn't even looked in the mirror in about 5 hours. . Not good. . "Helllloooo. . " I called out to the white haired man oblivious to the fact that I was now standing behind him. "Oh, Hi. . I'm Gary, your neighbor. . I didn't know if anyone was home or not, but your dog seems to keep getting out. I've already put him back in your yard twice, but somehow he's already out again." I tried to be overly kind to sort of make up for my lazy and somewhat grotesque appearance. Really it was nice of him to have put our dog back twice already, it just wasn't a good time for me to attempt to present myself as normal.
My second neighbor encounter which happened with the neighbor across the street also took me by surprise - well this was really more of sneak attack in my opinion. Moving has brought on some serious fatigue, which seems to just grow more with each day - and with that growing fatigue is a growing underlying crabbiness. I had put Kyla down for her nap and decided I'd try to weed one of the beds out front. The dog had been on the porch all morning (due to the fact that we can't let him out until we find where he's getting through the fence), so I decided I'd bring a rope with a leash (for extra room to run and play) and tie him under a tree up front so he could enjoy some of my delightful company while I worked in the front yard. Sadly, my efforts at being a friend to my dog were deemed a complete failure by him . . He didn't want to be tied; he wanted to run crazy all through the front yard and the road and the neighbors' yards, and because I wouldn't let him, he commenced letting me and the whole community know how terribly he'd been wronged. I tried to appease him with a toy or talking to him, but alas, it just wasn't good enough. The barking and whimpering began getting to me. I talked sternly to him and raised my voice, but to no avail. After about ten minutes or so of Bear's annoying banter something snapped in me. "BEAR!!!" I hollered at him loud enough to get even his attention. I have to say that I was surprised at my own volume; I could here my outburst echoing throughout the neighborhood. I carefully glanced around hoping no one had heard me, and that's when the fellow across the street (who up until this point went wholly unnoticed by me) called out a "Good morning!". I was mortified. "Good morning!" I called back in a tone that was far to chipper to even be mine after having just bellowed at my dog. Silence. "I'm gonna kill my dog" I laughed cheerily. Silence. I weeded for another minute or two, and then went inside and took the dog to the porch.
Nothing like becoming familiar with the neighbors. I have to say, as an improvement from our previous home, they all seem pretty normal. I on the other hand portray rather oddly.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Motivating Campaign Line

Today while emailing and discussing with a very dear friend of mine her issue with not feeling inspired to feign a state of bliss every day for her office coworkers even if she's feeling rather poopy, a fabulous campaign quote emerged. It seems my friend's peers would rather her put on a display of continual perkiness even when life is rough and she's not really happy about it. While emailing over this subject with her, another friend in on the emailing threw this classic comment out:

"So you're expected to be the sunshine that breaks through the cloud of crap over their heads."

Allow me to just state this is probably one of the best comments of all times, and I plan to attempt to use it as frequently as possible. Further, I feel it best to get word of this comment out so that the presidential hopefuls can begin incorporating it into their speeches. I can quite easily hear both Obama and McCain using this line to persuade the general populace of their beliefs.

Obama: We're not going to be the rays sunshine breaking through the cloud of crap over the heads of the warring countries of the world.

The government's role is not to be the sunshine breaking through the cloud of economic crap hanging over this nation's head.

I'm hoping to get some sort of compensation for the publicizing of this awesome campaigning rhetoric.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Neti Pot Demonstration

As we all know, Little Jimmy is prone to sickness. Since having his adenoids out and tubes in his ears last May, he has not had a single infection. But then, he has also been out of the day-in-day- out exposure to germs via the classroom. By the end of his first week at school, he had a full blown infection. I took him to the doctor and was informed, as anticipated, that it was a sinus infection. She gave a prescription for an antibiotic, and recommended using a Neti Pot if at all possible. Given our previous and prolonged experience with sinus infections, we were fairly comfortable with the whole Neti Pot thing. Now if you've never seen one used before, let me tell you it is both comical and gross. Here's how it works: fill up a tiny teapot (specially designed for this purpose) with warm water and a saline solution; place the spout of the teapot in one nostril (while standing near sink), lean forward and tilt head slightly in the opposite direction and begin pouring. The water should eventually pour out the other nostril thus "rinsing" the sinus cavity behind the nose. Yes, it's complex and graphic, but little Jimmy is really quite the pro at it. In fact, he's so good at it that he approached me yesterday with his Elmo doll and a My Little Pony teapot which was being used on Elmo as a Neti Pot. I figure this might be a rather abnormal scene which many parents would not be too familiar with, so I snapped this picture to capture the moment. . . Only in our household.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Weather Channel

I thought about Jim and I recreating this exact scenario from our own footage, but I figure these people do such a great job, why not just share this link:
Awesome. . It just doesn't get any more real than this, folks! Please do note the couple casually strolling past at the end of the video after all their clips of other violent storms (which in no way relate to the storms weathered in the US this year).

***NOTE: Clearly TWC does not want this video viewed too often because it won't allow me to directly link to it, however, click on the above link, then select the video to the right entitled: "Is Cantore Ever Scared in Hurricanes?" You will NOT be disappointed!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Savoring Nutella

Yes, I enjoy Nutella, but never before have I actually observed another human being so fully absorbed in savoring this creamy treat.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Permits for Parenting, Please!

Throughout the course of the last week of school, I've noted some rather disturbing displays of parenting gone awry. I'll cut right to the chase: some parents are making things more difficult for their children. Now I know for a fact that I'm really not one to be talking about other parents being bad examples, but this goes a little bit beyond the standard curse word slippage or disinterested parenting that does on occasion occur. No, what I've observed from a handful of parents amongst the many is more atrocious than these.

Several children have been spotted sporting what I might consider to be rather loud hair-dos. These dos entail mohawks and/or odd coloring. Keep in mind that this is in the lower elementary school grades (kindergarten through third grade). My first reaction is to observe the child; most are just innocent little kids behaving as such. What strikes me as strange is why the *parents* opt to send their children to school in this fashion. It's a different idea which might be fun to try out in the summer, but in school it's simply loud and defiant. The county school rules for appropriate dress clearly state: "Any extreme in hair or appearance that may disrupt the normal operation of school will not be acceptable." While I fully believe in people expressing themselves as they desire regarding their appearance, it just does not seem plausible to me that children this young could actually concoct in their little minds a means of this sort to test the limits of the school. No, clearly this is the parents' doing. Clearly the parents take issue with the school, the rules, or authority in general. My point is this: parents shouldn't wage their battles vicariously through their children. Life is hard enough; these kids truly do not need the added stress of being a banner for their parent's sense of style or refusal to comply with basic rules.

Also observed recently with annoyance was the parents themselves. Why exactly is it that fathers are dropping off their children at school while dressed as *gangstas*. Seriously, folks! Put all your black, baggy, chain-laden clothing with sideways hats away. Again, it's fine to express yourself, but do you really need to make such a strong statement while dropping off your kindergartener at 7:30AM? What sort of message do these people think their children need to hear, and what sort of message exactly is it that they are choosing to convey. Kids need to hear and feel (I know this is a huge generalization, but bear with me) that they are loved and protected and cared for. They do not need to be focused or dwelling upon their parent's persona as they embark upon their day of learning. Really, for these parents, it appears to be *all about them*. It's not about what's best for their kids; it's about what makes them feel good.

And speaking of feeling good, one mother today was observed having just dropped off her child at school who appeared to be on cocaine. I'm not a drug user or a cop, so I can't be certain of it (it's possible this could be the result of diet pills or some other type of upper), but the woman was notably keyed up and almost spastic looking as she walked back to the parking lot. I for one know how hard it is to get out of bed early in the morning having had very limited sleep, but is it really necessary to begin the usage of drugs so early in the morning? Couldn't we just stick with coffee for the sake of our kids? Again, it's clear that it's not about the kids; it's all about the parents - the world revolves around them.

I should make clear that these observations were made in just a few of the parents with the rest of the parents behaving in a more accepted fashion, but the fact that I'm even observing these things is repulsive. I know that many parents weren't necessarily planning on becoming parents, and I respect and appreciate the decisions they've made to endeavor in the child rearing process. But what I want to draw attention to is that at some point, it'd be good for these children if their parents could focus a little more upon them and less upon themselves.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Moving. . . Again.

After a brief eight months in our current residence we're moving again next week. Obviously this was not our game plan, but it seems with the current housing market a lot of people are being surprised. The house we are currently in was one we were renting with the intent to purchase once our other home sold. We dropped a rather massive chunk of change as a guarantee of purchase and signed our names in blood agreeing to pay a set figure for this place. Last month, we were preparing to close on this house when we had the home appraisal done as required by the mortgage company. Much to our surprise, the house was almost $30,000 less than what we had agreed to pay when we began renting. Apparently, that's just how much the housing market in our area has gone down over the course of eight months. As we had no intention of purchasing a home which we'd instantaneously be upside down in, we began casually checking out other homes for sale just to see what we might come across. Although we'd lose the money we put down initially, it was feasible that we'd come out ahead anyway if we found a really good deal. None of the houses listed on the market were doable, but there was one home a few blocks up the road (which the pilot for Jim's boss owned) that had previously been for sale which we liked. Jim spoke with the pilot and they were willing to give us a deal as they no longer had a realtor fee to pay. . which brings us to today.

There are boxes everywhere. And not a single one of those boxes has been packed by me. . Normally I'm the type who'd be on it and have everthing taken care of lickety split. I've done the vast majority of the packing with previous moves, but this one is different. Quite simply cannot bring myself to pack. Never in my life have I felt such indifference and lack of motivation. Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to being in the other house; I just don't want to pack. . . And given that the home is in our same neighborhood and three scant blocks up the road, it seems like moving really isn't a big deal. . Cognitively I know that if I don't plan for this move like any other, it'll drag on forever, but in all reality, it just doesn't seem like a big deal.

So, we shall see; next week will be the true test of my husband's packing ability. Will he have packed quickly enough? Will he have packed carefully? Will he have packed smart? All will be clearly visible for the world to see next week. So until then, I'll lethargically continue observing the boxes and my decorless home in apathy.