Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wallpaper Answers: The E! True Hollywood Story

Tuesday night someone who previously lived at our house came by and asked to look at it. I said sure even though I have partially stripped wallpaper, partially painted rooms and boxes piled everywhere. I thought that Michelle would take a quick look and be on her way. But no, she was at the house for one and a half hours! I found out a lot about her and her father, his remarriage after her mother’s death. I know she lived in Paris when she was twenty, and where her husband’s parents live (Dallas). She was delighted to see the house and I pumped her for information regarding the wallpaper.

She actually helped choose the wallpaper in the dining room, living room and hallway. She thinks the wallpaper that was put over wallpaper, paint and special wallpaper paper was applied by her father. I asked her if she knew what was under the wallpaper in the dining room. Direct quote: “Knowing my father, it is on top of more wallpaper.” I’m not surprised. But she gave me her father’s home phone, cell phone, address, social security number . . . . I can find him and hurt him. When I am arrested I’ll use the wallpaper defense, throw myself on the mercy of the court and pray that the judge has had experience removing wallpaper.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


We moved the couch in the family room upstairs to the living room then moved the couch from the van into the family room only to discover I didn’t like the cream couch against the yellow walls. I decided we need to switch the two couches. But they are really heavy and awkward to move. So when my husband asked if I wanted to move them right then. I said, “No.” I’ll wait until some unsuspecting man comes over, ask him for help, and then I’ll plead girl and let some men move them!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In case I need to wait for a table

I brought a couch with me to dinner. I didn’t plan to but it worked out that way. It all goes back to my old couch I meant to replace a couple of years ago but never did. When we planned to move to Texas we were just going to use the couch in the apartment for the one month we planned on staying there. But our plans changed and although I left our old rug in the dumpster we moved the couch to the house so there would be something to sit on.

I found the perfect couch for me but reality interfered and I realized that it would be foolish to buy anything but leather. SOMEDAY I WILL OWN A FABRIC COUCH! Marcy dragged me to a furniture store and I found that I liked the exact same couch as she did. The only hitch was that it came in cream. If I want the dark brown I have to wait 4 months. I liked the cream but I imagined Will with a permanent marker writing A E I O U or JUMP all over the couch. And I wondered it would be the wisest thing to buy (foreshadowing for a future event).

Saturday, Marcy and her husband went to the PIT where the furniture store sends all their floor models and anything that has been scratched. She called me because she found two cream couches! She bought one and I sent my husband to buy the other. Now we have matching couches. I feel like I’m in Junior High again because my best friend Sarah use to purposely try to dress like me. I was a little stupid back then and I didn’t realize that if you went shopping together and bought the same clothes that you would occasionally wear the same outfit. The identical twin thing was exacerbated by Sarah trying to wear what she thought I would wear on the same day I would wear it! I was stressed and embarrassed because I was worried people would think we had coordinated outfits the night before and my friend was trying to channel my inner, admittedly 80s pastel, fashion sense. I was a little upset with her when she told me she was doing it on purpose!

Now my life has come full circle. I have regressed to a 7th grade level and my house is wearing the same couch as Marcy’s.

The couch was still in my van when I went to dinner with DK because we didn’t have time to take it out. But I figured if we had to wait for a table we were covered (because we could sit on the couch in my van). Since DK is a brat and moved a half hour away she doesn’t come over to my house very much anymore so who knows who long it would have been before she saw it. “I brought a couch for you to look at,” I told her.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Competing with the Spirit

During church Will felt prompted to sing . . . too bad the song was I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas. Then the chorister asked any of the children who liked games to raise their hands. Jake raised his hand then yelled out, “Ones with violence!”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pigs are Flying in our House

Today I heard something that shocked me. It was unexpected and while not unwelcome, it was certainly unexpected. Jake and Lizzy were fighting over whose job it was to clean the family room. They argued for several minutes while I listened to them in a stupor. “Are they really arguing over this?” I asked myself. Previously it had been Lizzy’s job but I gave it to Jake a couple of weeks ago because a half hearted attempt at cleaning is better than no attempt at all.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I told one of my friends (who shall remain anonymous to protect the guilty) I wanted a wife to cook for me. After I explained that she would just be my wife (no hanky-panky with my husband) she said she wouldn’t mind giving the hanky-panky responsibility to another wife as long as she cleaned too.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Sometimes when I put Will in the shower and walk away for a couple of minutes; I come back to an empty shower with the water still running. I step in the puddles on the floor. The puddles lead to a pile of blankets which cover a soggy boy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sarcasm and Oblivion

“Thanks for watching William,” I said to Jake.

“You’re welcome,” he replied. “I was keeping an eye on him.”

I looked down at Will’s peanut buttered body and didn’t know what to say to such sunny oblivion.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Family Business

Will is following in my footsteps as a wallpaper history reconstructionist. He is starting small. I found him in the backyard methodically and painstakingly pulling off strips of paper from the cover of Where the wild things are. I wonder if I could teach him to strip wallpaper from the walls. No, I don’t dare. It’s enough that I have the vowels written in permanent marker on my rocking chair. I shudder to think of how he would decorate the walls!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Excavation Continues

I’m like an archaeologist who specializes in a brief period of time. I specialize in “wallpaper history deconstruction.” Basically I look at each layer of wall paper I remove and hypothesize over who would put up this particular pattern, first I determine whether the paper had any religious significance. Then if there is no religious significance I hypothesize over the type of person who would willingly put up such ugly wallpaper. Perhaps the person who chose this wallpaper was the one who fell in love with my Formica bathroom cabinet. I name the people that put up the wallpaper. Sometimes they get more than one name; especially the group that wallpapered directly on drywall!

It's exciting to discover how many layers of wallpaper are on my wall. It’s just like unwrapping a present from your special uncle Frank that you know you will need to displace in a place of prominence for at least 2 years. So far I have discovered that on at least three of the walls in my office there were two layers of wallpaper and a special wall paper that you are not suppose to remove because it doesn’t come off. Unfortunately, I tried. And now I have a few “textured” spots on my wall. I took care of it by nearly asphyxiating myself when I painted a special primer on the wall that bonds with paper, then puttying the wall and sanding it with an electric sander. Yeah, I’m pretty handy, but it still looks like crap. When I found that same paper on three of the walls in my bedroom based on my expert opinion as a wallpaper history deconstructionist I knew that the peoples who occupied this house during a previous period of time had a pretty serious secret they wanted to keep hidden. And because I respected them I didn’t try to remove that paper. I went native and left the layers unexcavated.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Will just had the best conversation I’ve ever heard him have! He was on the phone with his dad, trying to get off as usual when his dad asked him what he was doing. Reading.” I prompted. Well, the conversation went on from there. There were a lot of Dr. Seuss’ and Oh Say Can You Says mentioned. And I heard Merry Christmas once. But Will was laughing and on the phone for several minutes!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bann-ed from TV

"That's what I don't like about people," said Lizzy. Liz just complained to me that her father told her if she doesn't stop watching TV and start doing her jobs she'll be "bann-ed" from TV.

Driven to Extremes

One of my friends once told me while she was in the midst of construction that she would literally walk down the street naked if it would help her house get finished sooner. I am almost to that point with my wallpaper. Although, I can’t imagine how doing that would help get the wallpaper off my walls. Unless, hoards of neighbors seeing my naked body run into my house screaming, “My eyes! My eyes!” And they start frantically removing the wallpaper in exchange for me putting on clothing.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dancing Queen

Marcy and I went to see Mama Mia Friday. I left the theatre with a several thoughts. 1. So glad I didn’t take Bri! 2. Marcy is the right person to see this with. 3. Where is my ABBA CD? 4. Who would be up for starting an ABBA tribute band?

I enjoyed the movie. As much as I’m sure my husband will be devastated that I didn’t drag him off to see it, I couldn’t wait. (I’ll make it up to him when Menopause the Musical comes back to Boston!) I am going to have a Mama Mia party when it comes out on DVD. I will send my husband and children away for a night, put in an in ground pool in the backyard, and make myself a 70s sequined pantsuit!

The best part of the movie was the Greek chorus. I love any movie with one! I’d love to have one following me around! Wouldn't that be awesome? Any trauma or stress in my life would finally have an appropriate response. I wonder who is available and how much I'd have to pay them to follow me around?

Bonus: now I have a plan for my Halloween costume.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Marcy said that this kind of stuff only happens to me or her mother.

But I refuse to believe it. There must be others out there who also bravely and without complaint live lives of quiet desperation! When we moved out of the apartment I canceled our cable, phone and internet. At least, I thought I did. According to Comcast I called and told them I was moving but there was no record of me actually asking them to cancel our service. I talked to a supervisor on the phone but got nowhere. I was assured that their infallible computer system would have logged my call. Clearly not, since I know I called twice and I wrote an actual date on my calendar for the disconnection. They had a record of when we transferred our phone to a different company. They received their equipment back but quite naturally assumed (and rightly so) that I would like to pay for internet that no one can access in a place I no longer live.

The loveliest part of the conversation was when the supervisor snippily said to me that they didn’t even have a forwarding address, implying perhaps that we didn’t really move or that we were trying to skip out without paying which clearly wasn’t the case since it was automatically charged to a credit card. I felt like she was a vindictive ex-boyfriend who was going to keep the dog and break my dishes if I insisted on leaving. We were at an impasse.

Then my husband called customer service and snap it’s done. Comcast was super nice to him and they will credit us for the last two months we were charged for.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I’ve hit the wall – the wallpaper wall

I hate wall paper! I realized last night when Marcy literally removed 1 square foot of wall paper to every ½ square inch I removed that I should just paint over the wall paper in my living room, dining room and hallway! This is my new theme song.

Wrestling Barbie

I heard yelling from the kitchen. I walked in the sunroom. Jake and Lizzy were huddled over some Barbies. “Body Slam!” Jake yelled as one of the Barbies pinned the other to the floor.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Boston Driver

One of my friends drove me to Weston on Sunday. We had the good fortune of being behind an out of state driver (kidding, she had a Massachusetts license plate). I moved here over eight years ago and I like driving here. You know all those stereotypes you hear about how bad Boston drivers are; don’t believe them. Admittedly I make my husband drive in downtown Boston and it annoys me that there aren’t any road signs (I know, I know, if you don’t know where you are going you don’t belong here). And sure, you have to be careful especially in Boston about getting stuck behind a double parked car whose driver has run into Dunkin Donuts to get a coffee and read the paper. But if I put on my turn signal people don’t automatically speed up for fear I will pull out ahead of them, they let you in! Often they give up their right of way. And double parking can be convenient when you have groceries. However, on Sunday I had the dubious pleasure of riding behind the absolute stereotype of the quintessential Boston Driver.

We were late (because of me) so when we got behind someone driving 20 miles an hour we were a little concerned. We passed a 30 mph speed limit sign. Surely, we thought she will speed up now. She did – to 25 mph. “Is it an old lady?” my friend asked, “Maybe she’s lost.” Five excruciatingly slowwww minutes creep along. My friend taps her horn. Naturally, the driver slows down even more. We pass a 40 mph sign, then a 45 mph sign. A horn sounds from the trail of cars behind us. The passenger waved out the window. Finally, she turns off on a side street. We turned off shortly after that and I counted ten cars behind us before we were out of sight of the road.

Is it possible that some people have a genetic defect that causes them to drive like a butt?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Maybe he just doesn’t want me to die and leave him alone with the kids.

My husband didn’t want me driving his car up to New Hampshire because the check engine light went on and he didn’t want me stranded. He, however, drove it to Delaware. He would have driven up to New Hampshire to get me but I wouldn’t drive to Delaware to get him. Does that mean he’s nicer than me?

Monday, July 14, 2008

You Don't Buy Me Flowers, Anymore.

Last week I took Lizzy grocery shopping for the first time since she started kindergarten. I forgot how much she liked it. Mostly, I believe because she got a cookie from the bakery every week. We were by the bakery when she told me to close my eyes. “Why?” I questioned.

“Just do it!” I was told. So, I did. Well, kind of. I peered at her through squinted eyes. She ran to the flowers. I forgot how much she liked to buy me flowers. Meaning: she liked to choose flowers to give to me that I paid for. She almost always chose the Crazy Daisies. The Crazy Daisies are dyed hot pink, yellow, purple and blue; the kind of flowers that when placed in the vase dye the water purple. If I ever suggested a different, more muted arrangement she would politely but firmly let me know that it wasn’t my decision. I was the recipient not the “chooser.”

She looked at all the flowers than carefully pulled out a Crazy Daisy arrangement. She ran back and presented the flowers to me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Computer Whiz

I think Will did something to my blog before he froze the computer because I can't fix the last entry. Now if only he could do something to our bank's computer that would deposit millions of dollars in our account. That would be good.

Sculpture and Quirky Modern Art

On Thursday, I took my kids and my mother-in-law to the DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park. It was so cool. I had gone before and looked at the sculptures outside but had never gone inside. I love this museum. Attention visitors: we have a new stop on our itinerary!

Unfortunately, not everyone loved it quite as much as I did. One of my children who will remain nameless started complaining about being hungry before we even stepped out of the van. When that same child heard a museum guide mention a café, the museum ceased to exist as an independent entity and became something that existed for the sole purpose of enclosing a café! When I said we were not eating at the café all the good in the world died and all that was left was despair and horror.

Since I exist for the sole purpose of torturing my children; I felt that my work for the day was done.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I hear Bri practicing the piano. Then I see the Harry Potter book on her lap. She’s practicing and reading AT THE SAME TIME! I guess she is my child.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Shopping List

I looked down at my shopping list. Right under tomatoes was Flat Screen TV. Did Jake really think that if he wrote it on the list I would come home with one? If that was how it worked I can think of a few things to add to my husband's shopping list.

And More Camping

Last night we started with three children sleeping in the tent. Then Bri came in because they wouldn’t leave her alone. About 10 minutes later Lizzy came in. I kept waiting for Jake but he fell asleep out there. Bri ended up sleeping in Lizzy’s bed and Lizzy slept in Jake’s.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Post Script

It started thundering last night so after thinking about the lightning that struck the tree in my neighbor’s yard, which threatened my electrical wires; I decided to bring my kids inside the house last night at 12 o’clock.

This morning they were all confused about why they were inside the house when they woke up. I told them we obviously have fairies in our yard.

Camping, baby

Marcy and I set up my tent in the backyard a couple of days ago. Jake and Lizzy were wild to sleep in it. Tuesday night I said they could sleep in it once I got back from picking up Bri from an ice cream sculpting (eating) activity. By the time I got home Jake was already in his bed and when I asked him if he wanted to go outside he blearily replied that it was too late and he was in bed. So, Lizzy armed with a koala Webkinz and Bri armed with a flashlight and two books slept out there.

In many ways this is camping at its best. I slept in my air conditioned bedroom while my children enjoyed the great outdoors. They had access to bathrooms and a kitchen. We didn’t have to pack anything or drive anywhere. I didn’t have to sleep on the ground. It didn’t matter that my husband was in Delaware. And most importantly I had a TV to help Will fall asleep.

I’m trying to figure out if I could substitute this for actual camping. Maybe I’ll ban my kids from the house for a couple of days. They can forage in the backyard for food (we have a lot of wildlife – my husband saw three wild turkeys a couple of days ago!) If they get really hungry I can throw food off the deck. We can dig a latrine in the woods behind the house. Recycling is picked up on Fridays – so they’d have magazines for toilet paper. We’ll call it Survivor Backyard: Whoever Survives is the Winner. I almost think it could work, especially if I put Bri in charge of challenges. But ultimately it would fail. The lure of electronics and indoor plumbing is too strong for my children. The TV, Gamecube and DS are more powerful than any force of nature. I truly believe that Jake could be swept away by a tornado and still not put his Gameboy down.

But if this counts as camping, I could expand on the idea. If they could spend all day at a neighbor’s house and return home only to sleep in the tent, it would be just like a sleep away camp (only cheaper). Or I could film it as a reality show. I would just call it a psychological experiment when DSS showed up at my door. We will see how long sleeping on the ground holds any appeal for the kids. But they’ll get a real camping experience tonight because I think it’s going to rain on them!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Where are my earplugs?

My husband’s mother is staying at our house this week so I didn’t sign Jake and Lizzy up for day camp. Instead I’m trying to plan interesting things to do everyday. Monday we went to Stone Zoo. On Tuesday we went to the wooden park. Today we are going to Alvin and the Chipmunks. I never liked the cartoon so naturally I decided to take them to the morning movie. If their grandmother had wanted to take them I could stay home and not subject my eyes and ears to this movie. However, she chose not to go. Go figure? So, I will sacrifice my good taste for a couple of hours.

I don’t understand. Isn’t their a rule somewhere that states that grandparents must take their grandchildren to crappy movies at least once a year? If there isn’t, I think there should be!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Jake asked, “Am I a good waiter?” One second before he dropped a plate on the floor and broke it.

Answer, “No.”

Monday, July 7, 2008

I’m Sorry Ma’am but You’re too Dumb to have a Mouse

The mouse on my computer stopped working. I could move it back and forth but not up and down. I took out the ball and cleaned it. Still didn’t work. I cleaned it again; nope, still wasn’t working. I fiddled with the insides. The part the made it go up and down didn’t really work. And worked even less when I broke off a little piece. I decided to try surgery.

My husband says that if you look inside something about half the time you can fix it. I opened it up. Perhaps my husband should have mentioned that you should be really observant about where things go when you open it up. I knew where the piece I broke off went but not where the little spring thing went or exactly how the little round circle lay on the other plastic piece. I called the time of death exactly 2 seconds after the first incision.

I opened the box containing the kids’ computer but their mouse used a different connector. Since I couldn’t use my computer to look up Dell phone number I called Marcy and asked her to look up their number so I could order a new mouse. Once she understood what I was calling about and stopped laughing at me; she told me the joke about the woman who was to dumb to have a computer and told me to go to Staples. I responded, “So I didn’t need to save the mouse for the model number on the back of it?”

Maybe I need a new mantra. How about I may not know stuff but I know people who do? Or at least I’m amusing, or perhaps Hey, she was laughing with me, not at me!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The 4th of July

For the first time in 8 years we did not go into Boston to watch the fireworks. We were exhausted from Six Flags and the people who usually drive in at 8:00 am to get a great spot right on the Charles didn’t. So, we couldn’t drive in at 6:00pm, eat the snacks and drinks someone else hauled in it, and have a front row seat for the fireworks. Doing it ourselves seemed like too much effort. So we went to Newton.
After being use to seeing one of the best fireworks displays in the country, Newton’s seemed kind of lame. I recognize that any city’s wouldn’t seem great but it didn’t help that I wrote down the wrong directions and we had to wait for the fireworks to start then drive in that direction and as a result we ended up seeing them from the side of a road the day before garbage day. We parked beside a gigantic mound of trash and peered down the street towards the sky. Will enjoyed them for a while then was ready to go even before it was over. I agreed with him. Am I ruined forever for normal fireworks? I worry so. Maybe if I have snacks and a chair it would be ok. Certainly I need to watch them in a park rather than by a pile of trash.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Six Flags

Thursday, we took the kids to Six Flags. Lizzy is too short to go on a lot of the rides so my husband heroically volunteered to take her to Wiggles’ World. I took the kids on some intense rides. I am just too old for some of them like the Mind Eraser. I do not want my head flung from side to side hitting both sides of the “padding!” It gave me a headache.

We continued the family tradition of going to amusement parks in the rain. It was clear and hot until about 5:30pm. Then it started to rain heavily. We huddled under an overhang to avoid getting wet while Lizzy and Jake ate giant ice cream cones. Then Lizzy mentioned she was cold. I can’t imagine why.

Will finished soaking himself by rolling in a giant puddle. Fortunately, we had a change of clothes so for about one minute he was the driest of all. But his shoes were completely wet. He said “car” and “home” but the other kids didn’t want to leave. Will loved the Looney Tunes characters that walked around. He hugged the skunk we met for several minutes but ignored the Martian. Later on we ran into a group of about six different characters. He hugged Tweety and sang Barney’s I Love You song to it and tried to get him to sing along. Then he hugged the duck, then Bugs then . . . They thought he was cute and gave him an autographed picture.

The day went pretty well. We didn’t lose Will once (he was too tired to run anywhere!). Although, he tried to go up the Splash Water Falls conveyor belt, oops! Jake did run away because he was so eager to see Drake Bell in concert. It was soooo thrilling to see him. My husband had the kids about mid field sitting on a fence. (Bri took a picture -- we’ll see how it turns out.) But ultimately I decided that his music was not worth the sacrifice of my eardrums. So, Will and I hung out at a picnic table at the back where it was slightly less ear piercing.

Recap of the day: We stuffed the kids with fried foods and ice cream and took them on rides that shook their brains. The kids went to their first real concert with a Nickelodeon celebrity. We had only one trip to a First Aid station and only two escape artists. The kids had a brilliant time.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Will touches my face and calls me “moon” often. I think he thinks it’s interchangeable with mom. Maybe it's a term of endearment.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's Better than a Snow Cone

Lizzy and Will were jumping on the trampoline. It started raining. My mother-in-law said that my kids would probably come in soon. Clearly, she is use to normal children. I looked out the window. Lizzy was shivering under the sun room. Will was still jumping. I went outside to bring him in. By this time it had started to hail. Will was eating the hail off the trampoline. I called to him to come inside. He ignored me and I had to walk out in the pouring rain to get him off. We were all soaked.

Later I found him jumping wearing only underwear. I know naked is coming.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

We made it through this school year but I'm still waiting for the Suspension

Anyone who has had both boys and girls knows there is a difference between them. Before I had one of each I totally bought into the Nurture verses Nature view of child rearing. I bought gender neutral toys and thought I could mold my children however I chose. Unfortunately, a little something called testosterone got in the way of my plans. My son started to make his own guns out of sticks or legos. What do you do when that happens? "I'm so glad you are using creative open-ended play, but ah . . ." Anyway I've given up.

In this time of zero tolerance I'm waiting for that phone call telling me to come pick up Jake from school. There has been foreshadowing of this inevitable occurrence i.e. the time he made a drawing of a gun and cut it out at school and got a bus slip for bringing it home on the bus. (No, his teachers' didn't have a problem with it just the bus driver.) He also got in trouble on the bus for reading a book about a video game (rated E) because he and his friend used violent words. I'm trying to explain to him why he shouldn't do that kind of stuff but he doesn't get it. It didn't help that my husband thought it was hilarious.

Jake brought home a poem:

Oh, No

A wife has a knife.
So I have to run in the sun.
There's no time to give her a cap,
then take a nap.
Oh, no I guess I did!

Certain parts of the poem were crossed out, new poem:

Oh, No

A fiddle has a riddle.
So I have to run in the sun.
There's no time to give it a cap,
then take a nap.
Oh, no I guess I did!

I think we can all agree that the suspension is inevitable at some point.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Step One is Admitting you have a Problem

I managed to get nothing done yesterday except to forget to take Bri to her piano lesson. Her teacher called because she was worried that something had happened to Bri. I reassured her that Bri was fine. My brain obviously was not. I guess I’ve hit rock bottom. I don’t care that the house is a mess. Is that step two in moving recovery? My husband's parents can sit on boxes and eat off plastic dishes. My husband actually asked me if we were going to use real dishes again because I hadn’t unpacked them yet. I reassured him that at some point in the future we would, uhh probably. Maybe I can even get use to this wallpaper.

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