Friday, October 25, 2013

Errors Around Town

First off, commas really do change lives!  You've probably all seen the examples of  Let's eat, Grandma and Let's eat Grandma but yesterday I read of a real life situation on my cousin's facebook wall where someone's entire life was the result of a forgotten comma.  A woman, let's call her Jane, was pregnant and got a letter from her husband serving overseas where he said, You name her Jane.  She thought it odd to name the baby after her but was touched that her husband missed her and wanted the baby to share her name.  Baby Jane was born and a few months later he returned home. He asked why in the world she would name the baby Jane?  She showed him the letter he had written and he explained that he had meant You name her, Jane.  As in, you decide on a name.  Seriously, people.  Commas change lives.

Nothing tops that story but here are some errors I've seen over the past few months:

This gem is located right in front of Elle's dorm.  

This is posted on the door of one of All-a-Boy's classes at the high school.  That's right, it is written by a teacher.  I'm just glad she teaches math and not English.

 Look at the description for Bistec en Rajas.  I have no idea what that means and I don't want to know.  Where do you think they find chunks?

I can't allow my kids to go to a school that has typos in their recruiting mailers.  Even if your qualify for a scholarship.

I love you ROCK STAR.  And I love how the image of the hand is stolen from shutterstock and they didn't even really try to hide it.  The dollar store always has something awesome for me but this is one of my favorites.

My friends went to Boston and sent me the next few pictures from their journey.  Thanks Larsons!
Come to Rhonda's house and find out why you are a great.

Every S deserves an apostrophe!

This one is just funny.  No guarantees if you're shopping here! 

 These next three pictures are from my trip to New York a couple of weeks ago.  There's no grammatical error but there's definitely something wrong going on here. 

Do you need a closer look?

Your eyes do not deceive you.  That's Bedtime Bear hanging from a hook in the corner of a restaurant on Broadway.  

I couldn't resist asking what this was all about.  What do you think?  Leave your guess in a comment and I'll send (or deliver for local friends) a care package with some of my most favorite things to the first person who gets it right.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Own Little Modern-Day Miracle

What Lies Beneath.  This picture will make sense later.

I was driving around this afternoon, taking Thumbelina to an orthodontist appointment and Little O to school, when I figured I might as well go pick up some milk and finish my grocery shopping while I was out with Little X.  Thumbelina said she'd just come with me to get the milk since it was now lunch time at school and she wouldn't be missing any classes or anything.  So I started to head to the freeway but then something in my brain shifted and started changing plans so I decided to just take her to school after all.  After dropping her off I told myself, time to get milk.  But I suddenly had the thought that we would be fine without milk until tomorrow - what I needed to do was go home and eat a grilled cheese sandwich.

And then I started arguing with myself.  (I know, it's embarrassing to admit, but this was really happening.)  I don't want a grilled cheese sandwich.  I'd have to get out the griddle and a spatula and clean them up afterwards.  And I'm not really that hungry right now anyway.  The thought wouldn't leave me. You want grilled cheese!  You can use three pieces of cheese and cook it at a nice, low temperature and put a bowl over the top of it so the cheese melts just right while it's cooking up all golden, buttery brown.  Doesn't that sound nice?  Dang it, grilled cheese.  Why do you have to be so delicious?

I drove toward home.

As I pulled into the driveway I noticed that Little X was asleep.  I started thinking of all I could accomplish while he was having a little snooze and already had a mental list of tasks as I laid him down on my bed.  I gathered a load of laundry to put in the wash and went to get my sewing machine out of the closet when the thought came to me again: grilled cheese.  In a minute, I told myself, and put the laundry in the washer.  I started to fold and put away the clothes in the dryer and decided to make Curly's bed for her when the thought came again: grilled cheese perfection without anyone else around to ask for a bite!  I decided that I must be hungrier than I thought and went upstairs to the kitchen.

It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I do not like to clean.  So, as delicious as grilled cheese was sounding I decided to bypass the extra mess and just get some pretzels from the pantry to tide me over while I finished the things I wanted to get done.  As I reached for them I thought, you don't want salty, dry pretzels!  Why eat something you don't even want?  Just make a grilled cheese sandwich! And I thought, maybe I'll just eat a piece of cheese for now.  So I opened the fridge and that was when I noticed the puddle.  Not just a little puddle, but a large one. It came out from beneath the refrigerator and pooled under the cupboards all the way to the sink.

What the heck? I wondered.  I got some towels out and dried up the mess but saw that the water continued to puddle out from beneath the fridge.  There was a leak somewhere.  I pulled down the stuff from the top of the fridge and pulled it out just far enough to get a peek.  All I saw was wet.

I pulled the fridge out all the way and noticed a teensy spray of water shooting out of a teensy little hole in the water line to our fridge.  My first thought was to call Allen.  But my second, almost simultaneous thought was to fix this myself.  I traced the water line back to the sink and found a little shutoff valve on it.  Righty-tighty I told myself and sure enough the water stopped spraying.  All that was left was to clean up the mess.

Do you remember the last time you cleaned beneath your refrigerator?  Me either.  I forgot how much dust and trash and junk can accumulate under there.  Imagine a whole nation of dust bunnies with a 10 year collection of paper scraps, lost toys, forgotten pennies and random ABC refrigerator magnets... all soaked in water.  It looked like swamp sludge with cheap kiddie prizes mixed in.  Gross.

Two hours later, I am proud to say that the mess is cleaned up.  I even salvaged some of the prizes much to the delight of Little X who spent a good half hour telling me what they were and thanking me for each one.

Why do I call this a modern day miracle?  Because our kitchen has flooded before.  The size of the puddle that had accumulated was manageable.  If I had gone shopping for groceries like I had planned then chances are Cowgirl would have come home to a much bigger puddle while I was out running errands and picking kids up from school.  I would have rushed home with a whole van full of kids to keep out of the kitchen while I cleaned up the mess - which likely would have caused some water damage to the floor after sitting for so long.

I have learned that miracles happen all the time these days but people have stopped seeing them as such.  I try to always recognize God's hand in my life and I have no doubt that this was a time when He was there for me.  I know that in a few days, maybe even by tomorrow, I would have discounted this whole experience as coincidence.  This is why I write such things down.  I need to remember.

Could something as silly as a sudden craving for a grilled cheese sandwich have somehow come to mind by divine intervention and saved me from Major Flooding of the Kitchen, Part 2?

You can think I'm crazy or whatever else - but I say yes.  Absolutely.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have time for that grilled cheese sandwich.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Random Thoughts

Huge storm rolling in. 
This has been the most rainy autumn I remember.  I love it.

When people post a picture and add 'hashtag-no-filter' I have no idea what that means.  Does it mean people usually put some find of filter on their pictures?  The only filter I own is the one in my furnace and I just remembered that it probably needs to be cleaned.  Dang.  Hashtag-dirty-filter.

Is it just me or does everyone else get asked, "So, any fun plans today?" by cashiers and sales clerks at stores when there's a lull in the conversation and they're feeling awkward?  I am usually not feeling awkward until they ask that.  It's like an I'm Feeling Awkward Alert.  Are they trained to ask that question or do you think they all thought of it independently?  I think they should be trained to offer compliments instead.  No, even better - if they can't think of anything to say they should offer discounts!  Now we're talking!

I saw an article somewhere recently that said that the going price for a lost tooth these days was up near $4. FOUR DOLLARS.  What??  I remember what I used to get whenever I lost a tooth - a Canadian dime. Your guess is as good as mine as to why I was getting Canadian money, but I don't remember caring either way because a Canadian dime worked in the prize machines outside of the grocery store and as long as I came away with my handful of Chiclets or Sixlets it was all good.

So... is the tooth fairy Canadian?  Also, Chiclets are a gross excuse for gum.  And Sixlets are not real chocolate.  I am older and wiser and have real taste buds now.

Living vicariously through your kids is something you're not supposed to do but most of the time it can be pretty awesome.  However, I am discovering that it can also be pretty heart-wrenching when you see them experiencing things you would rather forget ever having gone through.

I wish other kids (and adults!) could see my kids through my eyes.  Awesomeness is their superpower but most of them keep it hidden away and all anyone sees is their alter-egos.  Which are also pretty awesome, actually.  But what do I know?  I'm just their biased mother.

Being a mom to these 10 kids of mine is the best thing I'll ever do, I'm pretty sure.  There is no fame or fortune or anything else that can replace motherhood for me.

That being said, there is still a whole mental list of things I want to do in my life and I'm not even close to completing it.

Regardless of how long I stand and stare at what's in the pantry, it never makes itself into dinner.

I can not spend less than an hour at our local thrift store.  Even when I tell myself that I'm only going to go in and see if I can find just that one book or basket or shirt or whatever, there are too many treasures to be found and I can't leave without a quick run-through to my favorite sections of the store.

I've discovered that I almost always like thrift store clothes better than what I can find at the mall.  The best part is that they've been washed at some point so they're already shrunk down to post-wash size and I don't have to worry about them shrinking too much after purchase.

I can not stop watching this video lately:

or listening to the song.  I see the darker-haired guy as Josh Groban every time I watch it and that makes it even better. (He's pretty much Josh's Norwegian twin. Look at the guy.  You know it's true.)  I think Josh Groban should do a cover of this song, actually.  That would be awesome.

The Fox song is so catchy that even Little X can sing the chorus.
Even while eating enchiladas!  (I told you awesomeness was a superpower around here.)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Not My Typical Post

I generally try to avoid politics and discussions about politics because I know that not everyone thinks the same way I do and I don't like to offend my friends.  Actually, the main reason I avoid talking about politics is because I don't feel like I have enough knowledge to defend my opinions in the inevitable discussion which follows.

So.  That being said, I saw this on a friend's Facebook wall a while ago and the discussion I read in the comments was one that I was reluctant to chime in on because I wasn't sure I was understanding both sides.  I decided that my own little corner of the blogosphere was a better place to share the video and clarify my understanding of what is being said, as well as sharing my own story.

So first, watch this:

And now for my questions.

Why does it matter what 5,000 people (a pretty tiny percentage of US citizens) think the distribution of wealth is?  It is what it is, right?  People thinking it's different doesn't mean anything significant, does it?

What exactly does "redistribution of wealth" mean?  I picture Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  That doesn't seem right to me.  I understand that some people think that the wealthiest Americans should make less money and the poorest Americans should make more money.  But how?  I don't understand how this would happen or who should get to decide how it would happen, if it ever did.  Isn't that something we choose based on the decisions we make?

Here is what I know.

I was born into a family where both of my parents were Deaf and ended their formal education after high school.  They both worked hard for most of the years I was at home in order to provide for our family of 6.  Mom was a seamstress and did data entry.  Dad worked as a pipefitter, custodian, plumber, and anything else that helped him to support our family.  I had two older siblings and one younger brother.  Times were often tough but we were mostly happy and always found a way to provide for each other.  My siblings and I were never encouraged to attend college because my parents never felt it was necessary.

When I left home I was the first in my family to do so.  I drove from California to Utah in a 1976 Dodge Aspen that my parents helped me pay $500 for.  The day I arrived I went to the local university and community college and found myself two jobs as a sign language interpreter.  I worked 60 hours a week and provided for myself.  It was empowering.

Allen comes from a family of sixteen kids who were raised by two supportive parents that cared for their family on a school teacher's salary.  His mom never worked outside of the home.  They always had what they needed because his parents knew how to budget their money and taught their kids how to save.  They never felt poor.  The kids all learned to work together.  His parents encouraged all of their kids to get good grades and move on to college after graduating from high school, so they did.

When we got married, Allen and I both worked while we were going to college.  I continued to interpret while Allen worked wherever the pay was decent.  At first he worked on campus.  In the summers he painted houses.  After a while he got a job at a food manufacturing company, and then for a company who produced high-end speaker systems.  He did janitorial work.  At one point between jobs he worked at Jiffy Lube because it was the only place that was hiring.  We had a couple of kids and took care of our little family.  It wasn't always easy, but we made things work.  I shopped for clothes at thrift stores.  I planned my menus according to what items were on sale at the grocery store.  I stopped attending school so I could be home with the kids more.  I worked days while Allen worked nights.  I took jobs at restaurants and golf courses when interpreting work wasn't available.  Things always seemed to work out with thoughtful planning on our part.

We dreamed of buying a house but couldn't afford it.  One day we went for a long drive and found a little town that most people haven't heard of, about 90 minutes away, where houses were very affordable.  We put a small down payment on an $18,000 house and Allen commuted an hour and a half each way to work for a year.  Allen fixed up the yard and remodeled the house on weekends.  After a few years we were able to sell the house for enough of a profit to make a down-payment on a house back in the place where we wanted to raise our family.

When our third child, Thumbelina, was only 8 months old she had to have major cranial surgery due to cranial synostosis.  Allen was out of work when this happened and had to continue his job hunt in the middle of it all so he wouldn't miss any opportunities that might come.  Thankfully I had insurance through the school district I was working for, but we still had a large portion left to pay after her long hospital stay.  We worked hard and paid what we could each month until we finally took care of that debt.  We took out student loans when we needed to and paid them back on our own.  We had yard sales and even sold a few things to a pawn shop.  At one point I taught accordion lessons on Saturdays to bring in a little extra cash.

School was sort of an off-and-on thing for Allen, which was part of the reason his jobs weren't the most high paying.  We recognized that this needed to change and we decided to work together to make school a priority for him.  Allen carefully chose his field of study and after many years of determination and juggling schedules he got his degree.  It was not always easy but we knew that in the end Allen could better provide for the large family we hoped to fill our home with.

Allen graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1999 and found a job with the company he is still working for today.  (Pretty much the best, most family-oriented company on the planet.  I wish everyone I like could work there.)

Did we have to work hard to get where we are?  Yes, we did.  And we continue to do so.  So here's the part I guess I don't get.  Wherever we are on the scale of Poor to Rich, isn't that where we deserve to be?  And if the guy who makes more money than he even knows what to do with chose his profession or lucked out or worked like crazy to get there, doesn't he deserve it, too?

I really would love to hear what you think about this, whether you agree with me or not, because I am trying to understand both sides.  I really am.

The floor is yours.