Friday, February 25, 2011

Just roll with it

This ran in several Patches, including my home page, Hellertown/Lower Saucon. Did I mention what an awesome editor Josh Popichak is?

I have three fully capable children, not hampered by any type of physical impediment. So why can't they replace the toilet paper?

Instead, they take a roll from the nice little stand next to the toilet, and deposit it on the vanity, where it gets wet from the sink and ultimately, half the roll is of no use.

These are the same children who have taught themselves to play musical instruments, learn complex graphic arts programs, played complicated video games, researched in depth technical papers for school, and taught themselves to knit adorable hats and mittens. But apparently that little spring mechanism is rocket science to them.

And Heaven forbid that they run out of additional rolls on the handy little toilet paper caddy.

I've been amazed at what they do to avoid going into the hall closet, get out one, just one roll, return to the bathroom, and place it on the dispenser. It's as if the hall closet is some foreign land being guarded by the Marines; if they dare open it, death will come swiftly and surely. I've actually gone into their bathroom to find an empty toilet paper dispenser and an expensive box of Puffs Plus roosting precariously on the sink. And three rolls on the caddy.

You have to understand; in order to get to the expensive box of Puffs, you have to bypass the hall closet, where the regular toilet paper is stored, go into another room, walk back, again passing the closet that houses the proper paper, open the plastic shrink wrap and rip the cardboard off the top of the box, and move objects around on the vanity in order plop the Puff's container down.

One time, I decided to conduct a little test. I purposely didn't add the tissue to the handy little stand, which was well within reach, of the, um, "throne".

Next, I took the lone box of Puffs from the living room and put it into my bedroom on my make up table, behind my mirror, camouflaged by tubes of makeup and assorted creams. And waited.

Sure enough, days later, I went into the bathroom, and there sat the box of Puffs. I went into my room, thinking that perhaps they'd found another box somewhere in the house, but no, no; they found the box that I'd hidden. Again, they bypassed the hall closet at least twice in their efforts to avoid attaching a roll of toilet paper to the dispenser.

I've spoken to other moms who seem to have the same problem with their very own minions. One friend, Andrea, finally gave up, and purchased a pole style dispenser, and miracle of miracles, a new roll showed up on the peg. Needless to say, she's elated.

Moms rejoice for the littlest things.

There's also a lack of basic skills with other bath room tasks. It's like some unwritten law that all kid types abide by. I've had to replace a bar of soap that technically can no longer be called a bar. I think the more accurate description is a sliver, so thin that you can read the paper through it.

The pricey hand soap pump that was purchased to match the d├ęcor of the bathroom has called the shower stall home more times than I care to admit. So apparently, cardboard soap boxes vex them as well. What makes it worse is that it's made of porcelain and should it break, the result would be an even pricier trip to the emergency room.

What is it about common bathroom and household functions that turn our kids into cavemen, struggling to light a fire?

One time, one of the ferret's toys ended up in the middle of the stairs. I began to bend down to retrieve it, when I had a thought. Why not leave it there and see how long it takes before one of my kids picked it up. At the very least, Ferret would play with it and it wouldn't be there much longer.

The toy was smack dab in the middle of the stairs, in the middle of the tread. The kids would have to step to the side while clinging to the banister in order to avoid it. I was truly optimistic that one of them would move it.

A week later, I finally picked it up.

I was baffled. I could only imagine the Olympic worthy feats they probably employed; hurdling, pole vaulting, tight rope walking, and swan diving were tops on my list of imagined tactics they'd utilized. They'd had to have done something, accessed some kind of other worldly skills, just to keep from picking it up. I even pictured myself holding up score cards.

On the bright side, they really did teach themselves to play musical instruments, and do all that other stuff I told you about at the beginning of my little rant. And they're good kids, making sure that Mother's Day doesn't go unnoticed, for both me and their grandmother. They're quick with a hug, and for the most part, don't mind running to the store and doing other things around the house. Heck, I've even trained them to do the laundry!

I'm continuing to hope that at some point, they'll be able to figure out that befuddling little spring. If not, I can only imagine the phone call in the middle of the night after they've moved out. "Mom, can you come over and put toilet paper on the roll?" I'll laugh really hard.

And then I'd go.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Surviving Valentines' Day

Found out that the Upper Macungie editor on Patch forwarded this article.  It's now running in 5 different cities, with the possibility of a few more.  Yay, me!  (I'm old - I get excited easily)  You can read it online at my homepage on the Hellertown Patch, Nazareth Patch, Upper Macungie, and the Hatboro Patch. I'm pretty sure Lower Macungie will be running it as well - woo hoo!  (Again, sorry, I'm easily amused).  

Anyway, here's my latest installment of silliness.  Up next, teens & the toilet paper dispenser; it has them baffled.

Surviving Valentine's Day

Remember when Valentine's Day was romantic? There were candlelit dinners, the occasional roses, a few stuffed animals and several sparkly baubles in those good old days. Now, you're lucky if you get a burrito from the drive through at the Taco Bell. What happened?

One word – kids.

Once you have kids, going on a date is a huge deal, and you're usually too tired to make the effort. After you've made enough pink cupcakes to circle the globe and purchased boxes of Spiderman cards that say things like "swinging your way", getting dressed and going out is too tiring. Picking up the phone and ordering take out in your sweat pants and fluffy slippers is a little Utopia here on Earth.

Putting on a little black dress requires energy that we just don't have anymore. And small evening bags make us laugh really hard; we now carry suitcase sized purses stuffed to the brim with first aid supplies and enough food to feed a small army.

But men, just because you've been granted a reprieve from the fancy dinner doesn't mean women don't want gifts; the sparklier, the better. We don't let geography get in the way.

You see, for most moms, Valentine's Day has been elevated to a High Holy Day. Christmas is for the children and anniversaries are about the two of you. By now, what used to be a highly anticipated gift getting day, birthdays, are dreaded. We don't want to be reminded of our age. Therefore, by default, Valentine's is "The Day". However, we don't make it easy on you guys.

If you bought flowers, but no candy, you think we're fat. If you bought a silver necklace, why wasn't it gold? We keep forgetting that unlike us, you guys are pretty simple. You don't have ulterior motives, and sometimes a gift is a gift. Well, except when you buy us lingerie – then yeah, you've got ulterior motives.

There are things you should avoid, though. For example, think before you make a public declaration of love. If you take her to a hockey game and have "Marry me, Ashley" flashed on the jumbo screen, there's a pretty good chance that there is more than one Ashley there. Mass hysteria will ensue.

Never bestow upon us anything practical on this High Holy Day. Women have been known to launch vacuum cleaners with the precision of a stinger missile. That Diaper Genie that she's been ogling? Buy it as a Valentine gift, and you'll be wearing it with the sausage-like roll of dirty diapers dangling from your ears.

Handy tip, never give her a present that came from the Wal-Mart. Cutting the tags off and putting it in a Macy's box isn't clever, it's just plain dangerous. We can spot a Wal-Mart gift a mile away, and you'll be in the dog house for days.

Another tip; you may want to avoid is telling her that Valentine's Day is also for men. That's kind of like telling the Bride that it's the Groom's day, too. First she'll laugh; then she'll turn on you. Run. Run very, very fast.

The biggest, most unforgiveable sin, however, is forgetting The Day. The only acceptable excuse for missing it is death and/or imprisonment. You may also want to consider entering the Witness Protection Program. You'll probably spend more money making it up than you would had you just ordered flowers. Sandy beaches and expensive jewelry might be the only way to atone for your sin.

In all seriousness, Valentine's Day isn't about gifts. It's about the time and the thought and remembering that sometimes, two hearts need to take a moment for romance.

Whether you've spent the day explaining that putting on a cape doesn't mean you can fly, digging Lego's out of your feet, pointing out that despite the handy size, the washing machine isn't the best place to bathe the dog, or dealing with towering teens with attitude, it's all about the gesture.

Romance can be found every day in the little things. Take the time to look at your shared history through photographs, and you'll remember how you began your love story. Life goes by so fast and stopping for a minute to let the person you love most in the world know that you appreciate them is itself a precious gift.

Keeping connected, taking care of each other's needs, and saying I love you often are all woven into the fabric that makes up our lives. Those are the things we'll remember long after washing machines are once again being used solely to clean clothes, Lego's have been packed up and the teens are grown.

Of course, there's still nothing wrong with a sparkly, sparkly bauble. Or perhaps you can splurge for the Burrito "Grande".

Happy Valentine's Day!

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy
She was pretty dumb.