Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dead electronics are not always bad.

We went down to Grandma and Grandpa's house today.  On the 90-minute drive home our portable DVD player went on strike.  I can hardly blame it. After playing a fairly innocuous Pingu disc all the way down to Punta Gorda, Hannah chose the dreaded "Barbie in A Fashion Fairytale" for the ride home.  I set my teeth, loaded it up, and turned on the player before we left Grandma and Grandpa's driveway.  After several moments of "It's loading..." and "It's still loading" updates from the back seat, I hear
"Mom. It says 2 words in the corner that I don't know."
I turn around in my seat to read "Wrong Disc" on the screen.
"You've got that right," I think.

I take out the disc, clean it with the eye glasses cleaning cloth I carry around, and put it back it.  It fires up and gets through all the previews and advertisements before it locks up and delivers the  "Wrong Disc" message again.  

"I'm saved!" I think.  

I hate Barbie movies.  They're trite, poorly animated, and all have essentially the same story line: Regular-Gal Barbie finds herself in a glamorous predicament, never of her own causing, which she navigates by sheer pluck, good-naturedness, and a little bit of magical help from her new friends.  Some joker cranks out these piles of drivel by the dozens, and my daughter ends up getting them as birthday presents.  I can't wait to go on vacation and leave them behind in a random hotel room.  Not that I've managed that, yet. She's hyper-vigilant about them. 

Next I hear "Can I just watch something on the iPod?"
"No. The battery is just about dead." I'm playing Angry Birds with the sound off.
Whining: "Now I have nothing to do-o-o."
"You have books back there.  You can play with your Bunny. You can just relax and listen to the music," which, incidentally, is an all-kids programmed station on satellite radio. She knows all the songs and enjoys singing along, typically.

In the end, the kid actually chooses to look out the window.  She exclaims at every horse and cow we pass, and there are actually quite a few on that stretch of I-75.  We make up names for some of them.  She gets excited about how the seagulls appear to be flying backward when we drive past them leading up to the Sunshine Skyway bridge.  She will not be disabused of the notion that they are all actually going backward. 

Remember when you had nothing else to do but look out the window on a car trip?  I know, I defend my portable child-distracting electronics as fiercely as the next person, but what a delight to find my daughter entertaining herself in such a colloquial manner.  It made me proud.

Now I have to go research cheap, portable DVD players before our summer vacation.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I like to feel just a little sorry for myself sometimes. Then I remember to shut up.

I worked all day today.  It's Saturday.

I love what I do.  I was at the smaller of my two part-time jobs, where I do family and individual counseling. I had a good day where everyone showed up as scheduled, and no one was feeling in immediate danger of harming themselves or anyone else, and I added some interesting new clients.  You really can't ask for more there.

But that means my family had what we call a "Hannah-Daddy Day."  There are so few Hannah-Mama days that I sometimes feel a little jealous.  But I remind myself how fortunate I am to have a part time job in my own field, where I'm paid to do that for which I am trained, and I should stop being a big pouty-faced baby. Sometimes I even follow my own advice.

This evening after I came home everyone showed the classic signs of having missed me.  Hugs and kisses were followed by Hannah telling me I smelled good: like a milkshake.  High praise from my child, to whom nothing is better than a milkshake.  After dinner we played Steal the Bacon in the backyard.  This was kind of exhausting for 2 barely-hanging-onto-30-something parents trying to match the enthusiasm of a 6-year-old. During bedtime stories Hannah wanted to know what a seneschal was.  I don't know how I could ask for more here, either.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I think this probably speaks for itself.

Hannah was singing this song this afternoon.  There's no way for me to stop singing it, unless you start singing it for me.  Thanks for your help.

Monday, May 16, 2011

There are worse literary icons to emulate.

We got haircuts this weekend.  Hannah went first.  I gave the hairdresser instructions, she demonstrated adequate understanding of my instructions, then cut off 2 inches more than I told her to cut.  I wasn't particularly upset, but I know we had a whole discussion about it, complete with both of us touching Hannah's hair at the place on her back I thought it should stop.  Her hair no longer approaches her back.  Since it wasn't me giving the haircut, Hannah was very polite, and kept most of her negative opinion to herself.  However, as the haircut progressed, I watched her scowl deepen and her posture slouch further into the acetate, jungle-animal robe draped around her shoulders.

I've been threatening this haircut for years; Hannah cries like I'm beating her every time I brush her hair.  Real tears.  Sometimes she can even work up a sob or two.  She won't leave a barrette in her hair for longer than it takes to get out of my sight, and pony tails are sheer torture.  So now she has a sweet little Prince-Valiant-looking haircut with bangs that taper down at the sides of her face.  I asked her when she was finished if she liked it, and she was definitive in her response:
No.  I look like Ramona.

That was true. But it's better than looking the way I imagine the scrappy kid from "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why was that so hard?

I finally found out how to close a yahoo mail account.  They don't exactly make it readily apparent.  Once you find the page, it's nothing at all to close the account, provided you remember the password you set up less than 24 hours ago, Jennifer.  But just finding was a real act of moral fortitude.

Or maybe I'm just a moron, and it shouldn't have been such a big deal after all.

In the end, I was finally able to attach You're Doin' It Wrong to another email, so my beloved 3 followers won't have to miss a single episode of my inanity.  Is that a word?

By the way: I remembered what it was I was going to write about yesterday.  Then I started to write it, but I realized it was in too poor of taste for even me.  So, in the end, the evil of technology triumphs over the flippancy of Jennifer.  Lucky break, that.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I kind of hate technology.

I've just spent 30 minutes trying to reset the email on this stupid blog.  We're getting ready to change cable providers, which means my email will soon be defunct, and I don't want to have to try to figure out how to retrieve all this junk to import it elsewhere.  Plus, I like my blog name, and I'm guessing I can't make a new blog with the old name if the old blog still exists somewhere in the ether.

Here's my pointless, circuitous journey.  The first thing I try is a bust:  I can't use our secondary email, because it's already linked to another Googley-thing.  So, I create a THIRD email account that I really don't need, because, God knows I get enough junk spam crap in the two that we already have. Next thing I know, I've inadvertently switched the Googley-thing attached to the secondary email account to that email, because I have too many damned windows open, so now I can't connect THIS Googley-thing to the tertiary account, because there's already a Googley-thing connected to it, albeit inadvertently.

Now I'd just like to close out the tertiary email account, because who needs it?  But I can't even see where to close out a yahoo mail account.  does this mean that no one ever closes those things, and there are just infinite mailboxes full of crap out there that people just refuse to open?  I'm trying not to clog the universe with e-junk, insubstantial as it might be.  If fear it dirties my soul.

By the way, I no longer have any idea what I'd originally planned to write about today, but I know this wasn't it.  Can we just go back to passing a spiral notebook around like we did in high school?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I feel I may have stumbled upon a theme.

My daughter woke up this morning full of righteous indignation. Upon seeing the dog, still in his post-surgical cone, she proclaimed:
"You said it would be off today!"

It's 7:15.  Did she think it would evaporate over night?  Dissolving over time like the stitches?  Maybe she thought some pet version of the Tooth Fairy might come along in the night to help.  Even if it required human intervention, clearly it should be the first thing I attended to in the morning.  What could possibly take precedence over relieving the poor, sweet dog of the shame of the cone-head appliance?  What kind of parent allows this to go on?

Me: I said it could come off sometime today.
(This is not really true.  The sometime was implied, but never spoken.)
Me again: I can't leave him home alone all day without the cone. He'd probably scratch something and bleed all over the place. You and Daddy can take it off him when you get home this afternoon.
Hannah: hmph. 

Clearly she was not satisfied with this answer.  I have broken a deal with the dog, and I won't be easily forgiven by the child.  Don't mind that the dog never shows her any sort of appreciation.  He won't obey her when she gives him a command. He doesn't come when she calls, unless she's calling "cookie." He won't play with her.  Hannah really wants Bear to be her dog, but he's not on board with that yet.

This doesn't matter to Hannah.  She's in the business of ensuring liberty from cones, and justice for all, and doesn't require any kind of expression of gratitude.  Either that or she enjoys busting my chops about anything she can find.  It's hard to tell with little girls.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The dog ate my vacation.

We've been planning this trip for nearly a year.  We were going to go camping for a couple days, stay in a cabin in Blowing Rock for a couple days. Maybe have a chance to see an old friend who's moved up to North Carolina.  But instead I spent our vacation budget at the vet.  Routine stuff. Then blood work.  Then old-dog blood work on top of that.  Teeth cleaning. Removal of several masses on his head while already unconscious for the dental stuff. It swallowed up all of our lodging budget.  Plus, the ever-increasing price of gas has quelled my desire to drive through 4 states.

But it's all worth it to see my dog in that sad post-surgical cone.  Not that they gave us one at the vet.

Me: What? No cone-head?
Vet Girl: Um.  No?  I guess not?  Why?
Me: He had one last time he had something weird removed from his head.  I mean, he hated it and spent 3 days walking into walls because he couldn't see, but, if it's necessary...
Vet Girl: blank stare.

I brought him home yesterday afternoon, where he looked sad and laid in a heap on the floor for 2 hours.  Then he started scratching.  He made one wound bleed, but didn't quite pop the suture. I applied pressure.  I left him alone for 2 minutes to wash out the bloody rag and he scratched open another one. My husband hustled off to the pet store 30 minutes before closing to find an OTC cone-head appliance.  Which turned out to be better than the prescription one I got from the vet last time: this one's translucent, so he can kind of see where he's going.

Now he's just staring at me with that soulful, thanks-mom look in his eyes.  Oh. Wait.  That could be soulless homicidal fixation.  It's hard to tell with a dog.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dad Jokes never die. They just get repackaged.

A little less than 2 years ago my Dad died.  It was, without question, the worst thing that has ever happened in my lifetime. I still refer to it privately as The Day the World Ended.  Photos from that year are divided into Before and After, and, as he appears in some of the Befores, I try to avoid that "album" in my library.  But once in a while I get blindsided.

Dad had some recurring jokes that only got funnier with retelling.  This only works, mind you, for Mavrick jokes.  We have some outside corroboration of this from family friends who also agree that old Mavrick jokes retain their comedic value.  Not all of them; hell, no one can be funny all the time.  But Dad had some real winners.  Yesterday I was run over by two of my favorites:  You like Ice Cream, don't you?  and Wanna see something cool?

When my brother Nick was about 6 he decided he hated mashed potatoes.  He would later decide that just mashed potatoes could constitute an entirely acceptable meal, but as a small child he was having none of it. One day at dinner, my Dad tries to trick him into eating his mashed potatoes by asking him the now-immortal question:
Dad: You like ice cream, don't you?
Nick: Yeah, why?
Dad: What do you think they make ice cream out of?
Nick: (puzzled look)
Dad: (smirking and eyebrow-pointing at the mashed potatoes)

Years later, someone gave my Dad a Timex watch with the Indiglo illumination feature as a Christmas present.  He thought that was the greatest thing since pocket watches migrated to wrists.  All day he would sidle up to someone and ask "You wanna see something cool?" and push the magic button, partially covering the face of the watch with his left hand to better showcase the dim blue light.  He never stopped thinking it was cool.  Years later he would continue to ask my sister's friends "Hey, you wanna see something cool?" when she brought them over to the house.  Amazingly, we were never embarrassed, because it's Dad.  And Dad Jokes are always funny. Always.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon, 2011, grocery shopping day at Publix.  My husband, who had left me to contemplate my yogurt choices, leans over conspiratorially when I catch up to him and asks:
"You wanna see something cool?"
Me: Of course.

Now I'm laugh-crying in the frozen food aisle, and I don't even care who sees me. The ghost of Bill Mavrick strikes again.

The picture is a little hard to make out, and you have to ignore the fish sticks in the middle.  Mashed potatoes on top, ice cream on the bottom. The perfect Dad Joke sneaking up on me in the grocery store.  If only the light inside the freezer ahd been blue LED...

And you just thought it was a bad job of freezer case stocking.