Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My To-Do List

We are planning to sell our house and here is my to-do list, in case you are interested:

  1. Discover the surfaces. I will achieve this objective by removing excess clutter, dusting, and replacing clutter with open space, tasteful Objects D'Art and books. This also means removing 90% of the toys that currently lay claim to 80% of my house, as well as reducing the excess clothing to 10% of its current claim to the closet and drawer real estate.
  2. Edit the furniture. Select the best looking pieces of furniture and banish the rest to the garage, basement, storage, or Salvation Army. Then create cozy spaces that bring to mind a calm and serene resting opportunities or jolly social encounters.
  3. Scrub the Carpet. While the furniture ballet is in full swing, I will vacuum then clean the carpet with my Mom's rug scrubber. This will eradicate all evidence of potato chips ground into the carpet by chubby little feet, old milk and juice stains, vomit (both Kitty and kiddy), and perhaps blood from my one-year old carpet.
  4. Defeat the Basement Clutter in a to-the-death Cage Match. I will savagely attack the overflow of books, memorabilia, and out-grown or out-of-style clothing with the help of my tag-team partners: Doc and Mom in a Clean Sweep Smackdown.
  5. Spring Clean Possum Lodge. The nature of Possum Lodge is one that leans towards disorder and dust. This will have to change, obviously. We must clean and replace the pine boards we had to remove due to water damage. I must clean the pine walls with Murphy's Oil Soap, sweep and mop the floor, clean all and replace some of the rugs, and hang up "No Smoking" signs. And, if possible, we need to teach the cat to shit in the box; shitting near the box will simply not do.
  6. Paint the walls. If there is time, the interior could use a fresh coat of paint. I have two toddlers, need I explain further?
  7. Fine tune the exterior. Kill the weeds growing in the driveway. Replace the grass in the dead spots, remove the beginnings of a patio Doc and I tried to build, weed the flower garden, remove either the sandbox or the play cube, Clean out the garage.

I know this list is ambitious and it is likely that some corners may have to be cut, but it feels good to put the list out there. Maybe, doing all of this work will cause us to decide to stay. Who knows? I'd appreciate any suggestions you may have though. Leave me a comment.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Putting Faces with Names

I don't ordinarily do this, but I am posting some pictures from our recent trip to Boston. Bon appetit!

That's me in front of my party's mascot.

Doc and the Princess on the shore.

Below...Doc the Majestic...

Monday, August 15, 2005

It's Official: He's Famous

Ryan Seacrest has just secured his place in the pantheon of fame. According to an article by the Associated Press, Ryan Seacrest has signed on to host "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," a fixture of American pop culture, which Clark was unable to host last year due to a minor stroke. And not only is he the co-host, but he will also take over as host eventually. And proof positive that he has made it: he will executive produce the show as well.

Ah, yes. I remember the early days of American Idol. Such a monkey, he was, jumping around the stage, mugging for the camera, and wearing down the nerves of the already Idol-weary Brian Dunkleman. I hated myself for watching this show, especially in the beginning. My addiction to talent shows outweighed my annoyance with the hosts, the format of the show, the exploitation. Doc would have none of it, you can be sure. He does not take kindly to shows that exploit people's suffering. But I stuck with it and I'm glad I did.

Ryan Seacrest has grown over the four seasons we have watched him host. He seems to be maturing and taking a stand to protect contestants from the evil machinations of 19E, the producers. He also looks better. His weight has evened out as well as his tan. He's just...he's...sniff...I'm just so proud of him! Way to go, Ryan. You've smoothed out your weirdness and dialed down your manic antics, the end result being a savvy professional who is set for life. I doff my hat to you, good sir.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lucy's Games

The other night, Lucy woke up an hour after being put to bed. Ordinarily, we let her cry until she goes back to sleep. But on this night, Doc and I had recently returned from a five-day trip and left the girls with Grandma and Pop, so I went and got her. I brought her downstairs and changed her pants. Then I curled up on the sofa with her to comfort her and hoped that she would fall back to sleep.

She was very sedate yet wide-eyed. Usually, she and her sister are going full speed ahead all day and the only time they are still is when they are asleep. So, to have her still, in my arms and wide awake was quite a treat. We were laying on our sides face to face. She was looking right into my eyes and then she started the Nose Game. The Nose Game starts friendly enough. Lucy points to my nose, I say "honk" or "beep" and she giggles. This continues for a little while and then she gets this glint in her eye and she goes for broke. She ups the ante and tries to stick her finger in my nose instead of poking it on the end. Every time I brush her hand away, she giggles and tries again. I don't think I can describe what an odd and discomforting feeling it is to have a 16-month old's index finger expertly inserted up my nose. It's creepy. Not to mention the fact that her little fingers at present have sharp little baby fingernails that can do real damage to soft tissue. It doesn't help to say no and display whatever expression conveys me at my most squicked out, this just makes her laugh harder.

Another game she plays is also an exercise in dexterity. We have this little Sesame Street music toy. It looks like a mini boom box and has a spot to insert cartridges that each contain one song. Well, our little Lucy is not interested in the music. She likes putting the cartridges in. We spend at least a half an hour together with this game. She picks up one of the cartridges, all of which are dangling from a lanyard connected to the mini boom box, lines it up, and puts it in. Then it is my job to remove the cartridge, otherwise, she will try to put another cartidge in while the earlier one is still in place.

Her newest game is "Night, Night; Good Morning." With both of the girls I played this game. I would say "night night" and lay my head down and snore in the manner of Olive Oyle. After a few noisy inhales and exhales, I would lift my head and say "Good morning!" always to the delight of the toddler or infant at hand. Eventually, though she wants to try it herself and yesterday, Lucy did just that. She can now say "night, night." It's so cute when she is pretending to be asleep. Sigh. She also prompts me to play the game by covering me with a blanket and saying "night, night."

Then there is the old standard, "Peek-a-boo". When Riley first started playing this game, she would hide under the covers for a very long time. Ever the performer, Riley would wait until we said "Where's Riley?" 5 or 6 times before she would pop out and exclaim, "Peek-a-boo!" Lucy? She's a traditionalist. We ask once and she delivers.

It is so nice to have two ambling little girls who express themselves so well. I am so pleased to have them communicate with me. Very soon they will both be out of diapers (Riley is and Lucy will be soon, I hope) and off to school. Then I can breath a sigh of relief. Yeah right.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Wedding Party

Last night Doc and I had the pleasure of a visit with Madame E and Espresso Toast. They both came down to the Lodge and we had a few drinks and listened to a mix CD I made of my favorite tunes of the moment. We were having a very good time catching up with each other and actually occupying the same physical space, rather than communicating via email or commenting on each other's blogs.

As we sat at the bar, the conversation turned to our friend Matt once again. And since it was handy, Doc grabbed a framed photo to show to Ms.Toast so that she could see what Matt looked like. Slipped in the corner of the frame was a very saucy wallet-sized Glamour Shot of me. I have bare shoulders and have a black feather boa around my arms. It's a profile shot and I'm looking up and off to the side with the slightest little smirk on the corner of my mouth. It was one of many shots that Doc and I had made for our engagement portrait. Doc asked Madame E and Ms. Toast if they recognized the girl in the picture. It took them a few moments to realize it was me, after all, it was taken eight years ago.

Once they recovered their shock, Ms. Toast mused that she didn't think she had any pictures of herself from eight years ago. A beat went by and I suddenly remembered that I had one and I told her so. She stopped and looked at me. I said, "At my wedding; you are standing at the corner of my church and you were wearing a short skirt and black tights and boots..." Then Madame E chimed in, "Don't you remember? You wanted your picture taken outside of the church because it was the church Marilyn Manson grew up in?"

At this point, I dashed into the back room and found my photo album. We flipped through the pages, laughing at all of the silly people in the pictures. Doc and I handed out disposable cameras at the reception. I highly recomend this practice because the people who attended my wedding took some of the best pictures.

As we thumbed through the photo album, we came to the shot of the table full of my friends. It struck me: The people seated at this table, for the most part, are people whom I consider my very best and closest friends. Madame E, Ms. Toast, Big Orange. Joanne and her husband are there and so is an old pal, Steve. I'm not as close to Joanne as I used to be and I haven't talked to Steve in years, probably not since my wedding day. Although, If I were to run into Steve, I'm pretty sure we'd be able to pick up where we left off as if no time had gone by.

We finally came to the picture of Madame E and Ms. Toast, which was taken by my friend Joanne, with her own personal camera. They are standing at the corner of the church, under the sign. Madame E is looking at the camera, smiling sweetly. She is wearing a long black coat with her hands in her pocket. To her left stands Ms. Toast, who is turned to the side and with her hip aimed at the camera, vamping like Catwoman while flashing her white boxer shorts covered with blue sheep drinking coffee. It is a priceless photo. We were beside ourselves with giggles. I vowed to have copies made for each of them and Doc declared it a shot worthy to hang on the Lodge's Wall of Fame.

I was suddenly overcome with a warm feeling of gladness. It struck me that my best friends were at my wedding and they are still in my life. We may not have been as close then as we are now, or we might have been closer then than today, but we are still in touch. Time will never diminish our shared history. I felt so grateful. When I got married, it was at a time in my life when I didn't fully understand what it meant to be a good friend. Sure, I was a good listener and I liked to have fun, but when the boat would start to rock, I'd usually opt for swimming away rather than staying the course. I'm so grateful and relieved that these folks stuck around, even though I may not have deserved it. I felt grace.

It is so special to me that I'm friends with people who witnessed my wedding. For such a long time, I lived in a place where I knew very few people and I had to start from scratch building trust, building shared history. It was hard work and I had to kiss a lot of frogs, so to speak. I was sad to leave those new friends when we had to move 300 miles to the north. It was not just because I'd be missing those folks, but I was faced with the gravitas of finding new friends. I worried that my old friends would have written me off and I'd have to start all over again.

Forutnately, I discovered that this was not the case. For the most part, I have fallen right back into step with my old pals: my friend from college, Terry; my cousin and her boyfriend; Madame E and Ms. Toast; Big Orange and his Good Wife. They didn't forget me and they didn't give me too hard of a time that I had been so remote for so long. And as good friends do, we mended fences, if we need to, and picked up where we left off: laughing, goofing around, dancing, talking, and toasting each other's good health.