Thursday, September 30, 2010


My first car was a 1985 Volkwagen Jetta, lovingly nicknamed The Jedi. I shared it with my sister, and I'm pretty sure the only reason we called it The Jedi was because my friend joked that you had to summon The Force every time you turned the key, not because we are Star Wars fans at all. In fact, I've only seen Star Wars twice and one of those times it was in German.

Towards the end of The Jedi's life with us, it had fun little quirk called deciding not to start. We'd drive it to three or four places and then at the fifth place we'd run in, run back out, attempt to start the engine, and nothing. No noise. After several minutes a click could be heard. After leaving it sit for 20 to 30 more minutes, it would start immediately upon turning the key. We replaced numerous parts with no success in solving the problem.

It's funny how our parents didn't seem that aggravated by the car until they got stranded themselves. By that time we were so accustomed to it that we just said something to the effect of, "Oh, it's clicking again. Get out and let's sit over here and wait." And we got out our books or phones or whatever to pass the time.

My second car was a hand-me-down from my sister. It was a 1990 Chevy S10. It had one of those sliding windows in the back of the cab, and my sister taught me how to open it from the outside with a butter knife and a flip flop just in case I ever locked my keys inside. This skill came in VERY handy.

The truck didn't have much power, but it drove me from place to place. Of course towards the end it too had its issues, the main one being that the needle on the gas tank didn't read correctly. I still owe my friend Sarah big time for making her walk to a stranger's house when we ran out of gas on the way to Wal-Mart in college. I think she was sick at the time. Not good. Not good.

The second best memory I have of that truck is the time I was driving to see Punkin's dad (back before he was Punkin's dad) and I kept hearing a THWUNK THWUNK THWUNK as I sped down the interstate. I finally found a place to pull over and discovered that the metal stripe detail along the side was coming off. Not knowing how I could possibly stand the noise any longer and fearing for the safety of other drivers should the piece free itself, I yanked it off and threw it in the cab.

The best memory I have of that truck was when I was pregnant, about three months along, and on my way to a garage sale with a girl who I had just met but who is now a very good friend. It was a very hot day so I had the air conditioning cranked (you had to turn it off before you started the engine, though), and as we're driving, one of us noticed smoke coming from the dash. "Ya, that's probably the air conditioner. Sorry. We'll have to open the windows."

A few months after that incident I purchased the 1998 Camry that I drive now. A few months after I got it I started having trouble with the door to the gas tank. I would pull the lever inside the car and the door would pop open, but it would immediately close again. After a few embarassing encounters with asking strangers for help holding the door open at the pumps, my dad gave me a small block of wood to hold the lever open. Problem solved.

Now that the car is paid off, little things have began to come up. The clock fell into the dash one day when I was trying to set the time. The plastic part on the volume knob broke off. The parking brake light is always on. The fan sounds like a training session at NASA. But the car runs and the insurance is cheap.

The other day, though, we pulled up to church, I got out, and I walked to Punkin's side to get him out. I pulled on the handle to open his door and nothing happened. I looked down and I was holding a piece of plastic in my hand. I looked at the door and saw that a piece of plastic was missing. I pulled the handle off of his door. I put it in my purse and walked to the other side.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

little things i've been wanting to share (kind of like really long status updates)

1. As I walked up to my building Wednesday afternoon, the maintenance man pops his head out at me from the basement apartment (they must be gutting that place), "I got your new faucet and disposal all finished. Even put in a sprayer for ya." Sweet, I thought, as I walked in to check it out. Well, I have a new stainless steel faucet and white sprayer, but I also have a hole where the old faucet used to sit. I just laughed.

2. Every year the grocery store near my house is invaded by giant inflatable Halloween decorations, most of which are cute as well as obnoxious. One, however, that sits atop the frozen food aisle, is a downright ugly depiction of Frankenstein's monster. At first Punkin wouldn't even go down the aisle. "No monster. No monster." But I assured him it was okay. Over the next few visits he became less fearful and began repeating me, "No hurt you." So what does my son shout from across the store yesterday when he sees it? "MONKEY! DER HE IS! MONKEY!"

3. I snuck into Punkin's room earlier tonight while he was sleeping to put his laundry away and felt something cold under my toe. I picked it up but couldn't figure out what it was; it felt like chewed up food. As I walked back into the light of the hallway, I looked down and discovered that I was holding a turd. Punkin pooped his pants earlier because he's apparently forgotten that he's potty-trained and as he walked to the bathroom for a change it must have fallen out. A turd.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

baby steps

When I moved into this apartment two years ago I accepted the fact that it was an older place and that the landlords weren't willing to update certain features, such as anything. So I am assuming that the stove, sink, and fridge I have been working with are from around 1978 when the place was built.

The faucet in the kitchen is like none I have ever encountered before. To those who meet it for the first time, it is probably rather jarring. It turns ONONONONIT'SREALLYONFULLBLAST and OFFOHIT'SOFFOHGOOD, once you figure out that the only way to shut it off is to shove the base down and not the handle. Of course I've learned to give only a gentle tug to the handle over time to avoid being sprayed and have become rather accustomed to the feisty piece of metal.

The faucet has been shrugged off twice by two apartment managers, but when I started seeing sparks from the cooktop of my stove and hearing what sounded like rocks in my garbage disposal, Oma pressed me to bring it up again when the manager came by to investigate. She lifted up the top of the stove, "Ya. This is really old." Then she turned on the disposal, "Woah! Okay. That's broken." And then I casually mentioned the faucet, since the disposal was being replaced anyway. "Oh my gosh! What in the world?"

My new stove arrived a few days later, my disposal the day after that (although it's still waiting to be installed), and I am still waiting on that darn faucet. It's hard to know what to be most excited about, although I probably have to say the stove since the risk of fire and disease (it was impossible to clean the old one without it falling apart) have been greatly reduced.

So I'm in the shower on Sunday morning, running a little late because of, what else, Facebook, and I come out to the living room to hear Punkin call out, "Momma, Lookit!" Someone got busy, Harold and the Purple Crayon Style all over the wall, floor, and brand new stove. I have never in my life been so grateful for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

The thing is that Punkin has never really been very interesting in coloring or writing like he has these past few weeks. At first I was blaming it solely on his newfound interest in Blues Clues, but his teacher reminded me today that he's been watching his TV Teacher every day. It's a pretty cool program that teaches handwriting through videos and I think between seeing it and watching his classmates, it's having an impact. Why he hasn't caught on that most people use PAPER, I don't quite know, but we're working on it.

just wondering

I know this is completely out of nowhere, but do you ever wonder what Seinfeld would be like if the characters were introduced to Facebook? I just keep thinking about the drama over Jerry's girlfriend and which order she put people in on her speed dial and I can't help but wonder how that would translate to status updates and tagging photos that accidentally get seen by your boss.

But which one would be the first to get addicted to FarmVille?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

he's like a cat; he knows his way home

You guys, Toodles is back! Oh ya, "I'm back babydolls!" What? You haven't seen The Pineapple Incident of How I Met Your Mother 500 times? Too bad for you. You should check that out. Ted just keeps coming back to the bar for more, even after his friends put him to bed. Kind of like our little Toodles. Punkin keeps tossing him away and yet he still ends up back in our apartment. That Toodles, I told you, he has something special going on.

You must be wondering how we got him out of the wall. Well, Opa came over to babysit on Tuesday night and discovered that the vent underneath the hole in the drywall was actually a cold air return and open to the wall (no duct work). So he unscrewed the vent cover and found about 20 toys piled up in there. And then Punkin proceeded to drop Toodles down there again after Opa had the wall put back together. Of course.

He did it again the next day and someone jokingly suggested hanging a picture over the hole. After some consideration, I decided it was worth a try. I took a large frame, made a collage of photos, and hung it smack dab over the problem. So far so good.

We have lost Toodles three more times since then, the most memorable being at Oma's school. He was tossed into the bleachers in the gym and I thought he was a gone for good. The next day at work I reached in my purse for my cell phone and there he sat, faceless and yet smiling at me.
He's currently somewhere in or around the loveseat. I gave up looking, knowing that he'd find his way back to us eventually.

I had to warn the respite worker who came on Friday to stop him if he tried messing with the picture because there's a hole back there and he might lose some toys in the wall. I realized half way through the sentence that I was giving away my super-clever disguise, "Hey, the wall is messed up, so I hung a picture over it." This, naturally, was after Punkin greeted him with an overly chipper, "Hi Daddy!"

YEP. Someone has taken to calling all of the 20 something males he sees "daddy." That's not awkward at all.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

i can't bear the heartbreak

So Punkin has this playset based on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. His second favorite part is the car, and his most favorite part is the little Mickey ears on top of the yellow building. His name is Toodles and he flutters around the scenes of the cartoon bringing Mickey and his friends the Mouseketools they need to complete their missions. (Hey, I don't write the stuff, I'm just telling you about it.)

Punkin scoots off to his room every time the show is on to find Toodles and runs back with him, shouting, "Oh Toodles! Oh Toodles!" and then later when the mission is complete insists I shout, "Say cheers" with him.

Well, Toodles is small, his head is about the size of a nickel. And he rests on top of a short blue stick. So you probably won't be surprised to learn that he was lost for several months and that during that time Punkin wanted little to do with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. That is until, low and behold, I found him buried underneath a large basket of trucks. Oh, the rejoicing!

It was like falling in love all over again. Toodles went potty with Punkin. Toodles went to school with Punkin. Toodles even convinced Punkin that he should work on writing his letters with is occupational therapist on Wednesday. Toodles has some serious powers. And then it happened.

See, we also have this hole in the drywall. Normally it's covered with duct tape (I love me some duct tape), but on Saturday it wasn't. I think Punkin had powered through it the day before. Anyway, I looked up from harvesting my blueberries on Farmville and saw his little hand on the wall.

"What did you do?"
"Get it back?"
"Get what back?"
"It's gone!"
"What did you put in there?"
"Where it go?"
"What is it OH nooo. Is it Toodles?"
"Punkin!" I whined in desperation. "He's all gone. I can't get him back."
"Get it back?"
"I can't. He's stuck in the wall. He's stuck in there."
"OH NO! My Toodles! Is gone!"

And so we went round and round and continue to do so even today. A couple of times I've caught him tapping on the wall or picking at the hole as if attempting to rescue his beloved friend. It's pretty sad. I put duct tape over the hole again, but that agitated him even more.

There is hope, though. There is hope! As I was looking online for a link to the play set I found this:
You better believe I'm the mom who would buy him a replacement toy for the one he threw down the hole in the drywall. Just start working on accepting it now.

Friday, September 10, 2010

what? you have some other use for mega blocks?

Punkin calls these Red and Blue. He likes these particular sizes and none of the other ones. It's the size, not the color, because Oma has some orange ones he likes as well. Sometimes they're airplanes, sometimes they're sharks, and sometimes he can't tell me anything other than their color. He carefully carried all seven of them up the ladder of the slide,

arranged them just so,

and let them go.
Then he did it all again, of course, about 25 more times.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

yes, that is duct tape on my freezer

THIS was inside and apparently making a viable attempt at escaping:

Several hours and a few false starts later, it came off in one huge chunk with the pry of a Pampered Chef Mini Spatula. Just one more joyful adult moment.
Maybe my mom won't be afraid to stay for dinner anymore. (Just kidding, I know it's because of my cooking!)

Monday, September 6, 2010

my guy

I just can't say how thankful I am to Lion's mom, Karen, for giving me this camera so that I can capture every smile, wacky outfit, and fleeting moment of eye contact. He even took time away from Blues Clues to smile for me; I felt very special. And yes, he always picks chairs to bring out the gorgeous in his eyes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

ups and downs, but mostly ups this week

Two rather remarkable events took place today. The first was when Punkin crawled into my bed this morning and I discovered that his hair was perfectly coifed for picture day. It made up for having to get up two minutes later when he ran into the bathroom for a morning pee and plopped his stuffed snake in the toilet. Well, it kind of made up for that. It helped anyway.

The second was when he reportedly pooped in the potty at school without stripping naked and perching on the seat like a cross -legged bird. I don't care what the kid does at home, but undressing and redressing in public is becoming rather tedious. Does anyone else's child do this?

Kindergarten is going really well. We've had a few small upsets including one rather violent display of affection stemming from feelings of jealousy when another boy was holding hands with his friend. He literally tackled them both and attempted to pry their hands apart. I tried really hard not to giggle as I talked to him about how sometimes it's another friend's turn to hold her hand. And if he wants to hold her hand, he needs to ask, "Can I hold your hand, please?"

He's also a smidge impatient at lunch/recess. He inhales his lunch and thinks he can immediately go play outside. Not so much; you have to wait for the rest of the kids, buddy. So I guess he threw his tray yesterday and his milk today. We had another talk. "We sit and wait. No throwing tray, blah blah blah." Apparently the lunch lady is rather amused by the faces he makes while he sits in time out. I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds it funny!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I give up trying to write about our trip. I quit. I'm done except to show you this adorable photo and to tell you that my son is an angel. AN ANGEL. He was perfect in the airport on the way there, only anxious at the security check that his backpack and blanket might not be returned to him, and ecstatic when they came out the other side of the metal box.

Two other things made him very happy -- repeatedly yelling "blast off!" on the plane and watching the luggage carousel spin around once we landed.

On the way back, however, we had a bit of a meltdown in the airport that resulted in an employee approaching us to ensure everything was okay. I'm sure everyone was staring, but honestly, when Punkin's screaming and smacking his face, usually all I can see is him, all I can hear and focus on is him. I just worked on keeping him safe until a distraction (candy and a puppy) were found.

Now without further ado, my son collapsed on the front steps at 10:30pm:

Okay, fine. Here's another picture. But only to help me make another point. And that is, WHY OH WHY do they make the trailers on these trucks detach from the cabs? Why must the toy makers torture me?

The family member we went to visit generously allowed Punkin to pick out two trucks like this and I have spent every moment since putting them back together. It is a pretty sweet truck, though, isn't it? It even says NASCAR on the side. I know, right?