Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Search of One Good Lunchbox...

You wouldn't think it would be that hard, but it is. The quest for just the right lunchbox is a tricky one. Cooper has to take a lunch to preschool, and for the last two years he has looked like a little construction worker, taking his lunch in a mini playmate cooler.

It was beginning to show it's age, and I had grown weary of washing all the little containers I had to put his food in. So we tried buying a new one from Tupperware, but it was microscopically small. Who do they think is using something that small? Barbie? It also, in retrospect, did not solve the needing to wash containers conundrum.

Then one day Busy Dad had a give away, of the lunch box that his son Fury uses. I was familiar with this lunch box since he began posting his Lunch Box Daily pictures. The lunch box he uses, a Go Green lunch box comes with a little white board inside the cover, so you can write notes to your child, or in the case of Fury, really awesome super hero themed cartoons. Apparently Fury has become very popular at lunch time.

I did not win the give away that was on Busy Dad's blog, but I decided to go for it and bought this lunch box for Cooper. It is sort of a bento box concept, with individual compartments for the food, and the lid locks in place to keep the food in each of the compartments.

This is my first real attempt at a drawing for Cooper. I will never reach the caliber of Busy Dad, but I can pull off a fair looking Spongebob Squarepants when I try. Cooper thought this was too cool, and didn't want me to change the picture this morning when I put his lunch together.

So far this box is working out really well. I encountered a little difficulty with yogurt, since the yogurt container by itself is too tall to put inside the box, but I can put it inside a smaller container that does fit. I could put it directly into one of the compartments, but that seems like I would be risking a complete distaster with yogurt everywhere.

It comes with a little thermos too, but right now we are not using that as he likes this milk that is in a single serving container already.

Go Green did not give me anything for this recommendation, nor did they ask me to make it. I just really like the product and the white board makes me happy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

You'd Think I had the calves of Princess Fiona

I am currently harboring a serious rage against all dress winter boots. Boots like this for example:

Actually, boots EXACTLY like that, which I ordered, from my beloved Zappos because they have such a lovely and wide selection, because they have free shipping, and free return shipping, and they tell you things like how big around the shaft of the boot SUPPOSEDLY is. But look at that lovely, stable, wedge heel, the lovely tall boot. It was perfect. Except.

This boot is described as having a 16" shaft at its widest. Below is a very bad photo I took with my phone of me measuring my calf at its widest. Note it is just shy of 15". On the 14 and 3/4 side of 15". So one would think that I had at least an inch to spare.

This is another very bad photo of my leg. I know, SEXXHAY. But I wanted to document for the masses that I in fact do not have the calves of Princess Fiona from Shrek, in her ogre mode. I have quite normal sized, normal shaped calves. Even though the angle on it makes it look HUGE, I assure you, it is a normal sized leg. Now, if we were talking about my thighs, we might have a different conversation. But my calves are lovely.

And yet, AND YET! This is the second pair of boots I have purchased, which SAY they will fit, which I cannot get zipped up past the lower part of my calf, just about half way up my calf.

Who are these boots designed for? Any boot for that matter, because this is the second pair that I have had this trouble with. This time, if I am still of the mind that I would like a pair of dress boots for the winter by this time tomorrow, I will go to DSW where I can try on 30 pairs of boots and display my shamefully humungous calves in public for all to see. For now I must comfort myself with sassy reviews of these boots on the Zappo's site. When they ask "How could we have avoided this return" I will remark they should suggest to shoe makers that they make boots women with normal sized calves can actually wear; not just boots for half starved waifs. That'll show 'em.

Friday, September 16, 2011

How to torture your work study student or drive students from your office in one simple step

Today I was reading The Oatmeal because it is HILARIOUS, and I found this quiz. It is a hearing test. This concept, that there is this frequency, this sound that teenagers are able to hear that most adults over 25 cannot because our hearing has begun losing its range, isn't new. But I saw it on The Oatmeal, wondered if I could hear it, so I clicked on it. I couldn't hear anything immiately, probably ONLY because of this sinus infection/throat thing I have going on, not because I am over 40 or anything like that. So I turned the volume up a little. Suddenly my work study student, who sits about 10 feet away outside of my office says "OH LORD WHAT IS THAT SOUND???" And I said, nonchalantly "Oh, can you hear that?" To which she replied "GOD YES IT IS AWFUL MAKE IT STOP."

And now I know exactly how I can rid my office of annoying students (not that we have any of course). With one little click.

Try it. See if you can hear it. Even if you cannot, but you want to drive the cats or dogs or teenagers out of the room, you may find it handy.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Have Always Hated Charlie McCarthy

This is Phil the Cuckoo Bird. At least that is what Cooper calls him. I had a different name for him once upon a time, which I have long since forgotten. I purchased this puppet for some inexplicable reason, on a business trip to Indianapolis. Perhaps something in me knew that 6 years and two husbands later I would have a child who would fall in love with this puppet and begin torturing me.

Part of this is Jack's Big Music Show's fault. They have an episode that features Phil the Cuckoo Bird, who looks remarkably like this puppet. Once Cooper saw that show, he began calling our puppet by that name, and insisting that our Phil do all of the things that THAT Phil did.

Specifically, he wants it to talk, ALL THE TIME, in a southern accent, and fall down. He wants ME to make him talk. I am now constantly berated to "MAKE HIM TALK MOMMY" and then a fuzzy pink bird lands in my lap.

I will admit that when I make Phil fall down, which involves him flipping over on his back and plopping down on the couch/bed/whatever we are sitting on, and Cooper dissolves into gasps of laughter, it is probably one of the best parts of my day. But I really hate making him talk. At the end of a work day where I have been listening to students and parents tell me how they cannot afford to pay their balance, or are indignant that they have stop on their account because they haven't followed the directions they were given 5 times in the last 3 months in writing that would have resolved their issues, I find it hard to focus my addled brain long enough to have a conversation as myself with The Bob and Cooper, nevermind find the energy and creativity to be someone else.

I have tried hiding Phil. Short of throwing him out altogether, which right now I don't have the heart to do, I have not been successful in hiding him long term. Cooper has this amazing capacity for not using something for months, even almost a year, and then for no reason that we can discern, he will exclaim "Where is such and such." Then we spend 20 minutes wondering what is he talking about, and another 20 minutes finding the thing he is seeking once we do figure it out. This time he found Phil on his own. It was in a big bag of stuffed animals, and suddenly there he was, in my lap, and I was being instructed to make him talk, please. (Side note: There are more "pleases" being said in our lives these days. Day care almost paid for itself.)

I wonder if Edgar Bergen ever felt this way about Charlie McCarthy. I have heard stories about the puppet being a member of the family, to the point that it sat at the dinner table with the family, but who knows how much of that is true. Did Edgar ever want to just put that puppet in a drawer and go be a shoe salesman? Put him the composter and call it a day? Let a certain Schnauzer known for his destructive destuffing of stuffed animals have his way with him? Did I say that out loud?

Monday, September 5, 2011

What's a Cubit?

This weekend I was reminded of how outstanding The Bob is. You see, a week ago Sunday, when that lovely little lady, Hurricane Irene blew through our neck of the woods, yet again, despite all of our planning (four, count them FOUR sump pumps, emptying the pool about 6 inches in advance of the storm) our basement took a direct hit.

We had a plan! We pumped the pool like I said, so that it could accommodate the rain that was coming. We left the sump pump out there in the pool, to use if it began filling up. We had another one waiting in the Pit of Despair, in the event that began to fill and threatened to flood the basement. We have the installed pump, that can handle 25000 gallons of water a minute, at the ready.

And we prayed we wouldn't lose power. And we didn't!

But all of that was for nought. At approximately 9am, the rain began falling in earnest, the wind whipped and threatened to take trees down. At 9:10am The Bob said "I am going to pump some more water out of the pool" and a few minutes later I heard "NEED SOME HELP DOWN HERE!!" being bellowed from the basement.

It was like the Poseidon Adventure, sans Shelly Winters. Thank goodness. I don't need her haunting my basement on top of the rest of the muck and ooze that is down there. Inside of 5 minutes, the backyard filled with water, the pool overflowed WHILE A SUMP PUMP WAS MADLY PUMPING WATER OUT OF IT. The water just rushed for the lowest point in the yard, the Pit of Despair, and not even the two sump pumps down there could keep up. It is as close to a flash flood as I wish to be.

Now, we did just buy a new treadmill (we have killed two in floods and one died of old age) so I ran over there, and with the strength of 10 Grinches I hauled the front of that sucker up and propped it up on an overturned Rubbermaid tub. I was not losing another one to flood waters! Then I ran and unplugged the freezer, and ran upstairs to turn off the furnace (the one time I am thankful for oil vs. gas) at the emergency switch. Then we left the basement, and watched the water bubble up out of the middle of my backyard for another 15 minutes.

As suddenly as it happened, it stopped, and the sump pumps began catching up. The water receded and in half an hour it was almost like it hadn't even happened. Except for that residue of mud it left behind throughout the entire basement.

We continued to pump the pool out a little longer, in the event Irene wasn't done beating us up. We turned on fans throughout the basement and a few hours later we discovered that the furnace survived, the freezer still turned on and froze things, and we DID NOT LOSE THE TREADMILL!

But there was still the issue of the mud. Yesterday The Bob began the cleanup work. Shelves were moved out to be rinsed off. The floor vacuumed and scrubbed with my special mixture of a little water and a lot of bleach. Many things are being thrown out. Thank goodness for the Scavengers. These guys show up the night before trash day, and pick your garbage clean of all metal and other usable objects. It is fabulous. But that Bob, he was as sweaty and dirty as I have ever seen him yesterday. He just got down and dirty in an effort to make the basement tolerable again.

In the meantime, I am looking up contractors because somewhere there is someone who can stand in my backyard, who is capable of diagnosing the problem and coming up with a plan for how to make the flooding stop. I don't care if that solution is a big ass drain in the middle of my backyard, and if they told me it would stop if I got rid of the pool, I would be out there with a jackhammer and a standing order from some clean fill to be delivered. In the meantime I will be looking up the instructions for building an ark.