Yeah, sure. There’s no way this is going to end badly.

I’m having flashbacks to the ants already.

If you weren’t around for the Great Ant Debacle of Aught Eight, you can catch up with the following links:

I, For One, Welcome Our Insect Overlords

Anthology of Interest I (scroll past the first couple of (non)interesting tidbits)

Prison Break

The Ants are Free!

Wherein Stimey Acts Even Crazier Than Usual

The main difference between these tadpoles and those ants, I think, is that tadpole corpses (or, lordy, FROG corpses) will be harder to get rid of.

I Hate That Auto-Bitch

My phone isn’t working—not the iPhone, which we all know has had some issues recently as well—but my land line. It stopped working somewhere around last Tuesday or Wednesday. It would ring once and then nothing. I could still make calls, but no one could call me. Which, I’m going to be perfectly honest, has its benefits.

Then at some point it worked enough so that if you got to the phone right after it rang that first time, you could talk to whomever was calling.

“Well, just carry the phone around with you,” was Alex’s Mr. Fixit response when I asked if he could work on getting the thing fixed.

“Thanks a lot, asshole,” might have been my response to that.

A couple of lazy days later, and Alex waited the phone into submission. It started working again. We could call, people could call us, everything was great. We don’t know why, but who the hell really cares, right?

Until this morning when the phone reverted back to I-Hate-Stimey mode and stopped working. So *I* called the phone company (thanks for nothing, Alex) and ended up deep in conversation with the Autobot—you know, the computer voice that interprets your answers and tells you to fuck off and fix your own damn phone without ever having to let you talk to a human being? (Who would tell you the same thing anyway.)

And, yes, I know that the Autobots are from the Transformers and that the nice lady who recorded the messages is not from the planet Cybertron (or Hasbro-ville), but Autobot was a lot nicer than Auto-Bitch, which is what I almost went with.

I somehow managed to fuck up the first call which ended with the Autobot assuring me that I might have trouble ordering pay-per-view and that they were aware of the problem and then she hung up on me.

After I called back, stopped muttering, and very clearly started speaking, she seemed to get me a little bit better. As an aside, I wonder if they teach the speech recognition software to listen based on human speech tinged with barely concealed impatience and annoyance. Because that is the only way I have ever spoken to an Auto-Lady.

The fact that she started each of her sentences with “GREAT!” didn’t help.

Basically, what she came up with was, “Your phone line is fine,” “You should check your home equipment,” and “Do you want me to walk you through checking your equipment step by step, dumbass?”

Naturally, being the dumbass I am, I asked for help. She told me there were four steps to check my equipment and that they were as follows:

1. “Make sure the battery unit has power.” I know right where to check for this because it’s the place where the incessant alarm beeping happens for seven hours when the power goes out for a long time. But I did learn that there is a “Silence Alarm” button on the thing. That would have been useful last time the power went out for a day and the dog spent several hours cringing at the beeping.

2. “You need to check your equipment. Pretend you have four phones. Unplug 1st phone, blah, blah, blah…” (Here’s my question: how can I test the phone when it’s unplugged? I guess I should pay more attention to Autobot.)

3. “Unplug the 2nd phone, blah, blah, blah…” (At this point I started questioning Autobot’s four-point system. This seems way more like a 2.1 or a 2(b). Also, I didn’t find the answer to my question after 2.0/2(a).)

4. Unplug the 3rd phone, blah, blah, blah…the problem is with the first phone.”


I think I should have paid more attention to the blah blahs. Evidently it wasn’t as simple as I thought.

But because I didn’t want to seem dumb in front of Autobot, I nodded, told her I didn’t need anything repeated, let her log my issue, and told her I would call her back if steps 1-4 didn’t work for me.

And she said, “Thanks for calling Verizon! Goodbye.”

And I said goodbye.

Because I am an idiot. And she’d hung up on me even before I managed to get the word out, so basically, I was saying goodbye to an automated voice after that voice was no longer even on the line. I’m pathetic.

And you still can’t call me.

The Lie

Today, after he got home from school, one of the first things out of Sam’s mouth was, “Is Santa Claus real?”

I casually walked him a little distance away from his brothers and asked him why he was asking.

“Some of the fifth graders on the bus were talking about it,” he said.

“Do you think he’s real?” I asked.

“Yes,” he answered.

“Me too,” I said.

And that was it. Well, except for what seems to be the seed of an elaborate plan to somehow catch Santa in the act this Christmas Eve complete with instructions to “tell Dad not to go in the living room on Christmas Eve, and you too. And I’ll tell the brothers not to go in there unless they have to get to the bathroom.”

I’m curious as to what he’s planning. I’m worried that it may involve snares.

Part of me thinks it adorable and sweet and a sign of his impending maturity. And the other part is all “Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.” I vividly remember reading Maria’s post last year about how she never started the whole Santa myth with her daughters and incredulously thinking, “You can DO that? Why didn’t someone tell me that eight years ago?”

Because, honestly, I want to come clean. But I’m in too deep. The lies have stacked upon the lies and now it’s not just Sam believing in Santa Claus, but it’s Quinn believing in the Easter Bunny and it’s Jack believing that a giant tooth called the Tooth Fairy leaves him money under his pillow when parts of his body fall out.

I wanted to be all flat-out, “No, Sam. Santa Claus is not real. We made him up because that is what the whole damn world does, and it’s fun and please don’t wreck it for your brothers or your classmates, and it’s okay, just because we lied about that doesn’t mean you can’t trust us, and Santa is really more the spirit of Christmas and the embodiment of our love for you than an actual person, so really he does exist, right? But, no, he’s not real.”

But I didn’t say that because I didn’t really want to snap his little heart into sixteen pieces five minutes before I had to drag the whole family out of the house to go to Jack’s speech therapy.

Anyway, before I ask to hear your stories of Santa and the devastation he wreaks on the 8- to 10-year-old set, I leave you with this awesome response to my tweet about the conversation I had with Sam:

I love twitter.

So, bring ’em on. I wanna hear your stories of The Lie and the devastation that followed. (Or is coming. Because, yeah, it’s coming. You can almost feel it, huh? It’s like a 500-pound reindeer lightly pressing his left front hoof on one of your shoulders and you just know the other 499 pounds are going to come down on you soon. And at an inopportune time. Oh…it’s coming.)

Can Wii Have Fun? Yes, Wii Can!

I have been fortunate to be able to attend many blogging events in the past couple of years, but I’ve never been the one who gets to actually host one before. But in my new capacity as a Nintendo Brand Enthusiast with Brand About Town (see bottom of the post for disclosure), I was lucky enough to be able to host a Wii Fit Plus party for some of my good friends!

Yay, me!

I wish I could have invited each and every one of you to this party. I actually had a lot of private angst over my invite list. We ended up with a wonderful group of women from both my blogging and my non-online circles.

We met at the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda, where I immediately embarrassed the friends I carpooled with by taking a lot of photos of the outside of the building. Evidently, they haven’t been to a lot of blogging events with me. ‘Cause I’m the photo queen. On a related note, you can all go see the Flickr group for the party here.

The great thing about the gallery is that three of its walls were made of glass, so all the passersby could look in and see us being silly.

At one point I had to engage in a making-faces contest with some small children. Because I am evidently six years old.

The Brand About Town people definitely wined and dined us. I gotta say though that their green smoothies freaked me out a little bit. (And I wonder why my kids are so insane about what they eat.)

I drank one of the strawberry smoothies.
Which was by far the least scary smoothie.

Here we are learning about the new features of the Wii Fit Plus. I will not go into them here, but if you are so inclined, you are welcome to read about them in my review, which is posted on my review site.

We split up into groups to play, based on the highly scientific drawing-a-rock system.

I was “believe,” as in “I believe I will make smart-alecky
comments throughout this event.”

We started with yoga, which I do not normally do. Here is my friend Heather doing what I refer to as The Charlie’s Angels Pose.

Here are Leticia and ALW flapping, flapping, flapping for all they’re worth, trying to score points in a flying game.

Naturally, all *I* was trying to do was balance my camera and my glass of wine.

It was so wonderful to see my friends. It was also wonderful to see my friends grin when the Brand About Town people gave them each a Wii Fit Plus with balance board.

Above you see Jill, me, and Leticia in the front row and ALW, Robin, Susan, Kate, Andrea, Sue, Sandie, Kimberly, Joanne, Heather, and my non-blogger buddy M in the back row. My friend E is not pictured because she had to leave early because her husband locked himself and his kids out of their house and car. E’s husband? You’re on notice.

Thanks to Nintendo, Brand About Town, and all my friends for coming. It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

Also, I’ll be giving away a Wii and Wii Fit Plus with a balance board on my review blog soon! Stay tuned for that announcement!

Disclosure: I was not compensated for hosting this party. However, I also did not have to plan or pay for it. As a brand enthusiast, I am sometimes sent free things, which I review on Things. And Stuff., my review site. While my guests were each given a Wii Fit Plus with a balance board when they left the party, I walked out with a (fabulous) Wii Fit warmup jacket. (Which was promptly stolen by Jack.) My guests also each got a jacket.

(He insisted on holding a Wii remote and standing on the balance board
while I took his photo. Seriously, HE should be the brand enthusiast.)

On Peanut Butter and iPhones

So. Recycling.

A couple of you wanted some further information on my bold statement that you don’t need to wash out your peanut butter jars before you recycle them. Now you should remember that I am often a little hit or miss when it comes to “facts” and “truths,” so you should take what I’m saying with a grain of salt. (Or a dab of peanut butter, if you prefer.)

What happened was that I asked the guy about things like mayo jars and peanut butter jars and if I needed to clean them out. And he said, “Rinsing them out usually doesn’t do a lot of good, so use a spatula to clean them.” And then he told me that metal recycling gets heated to 2000 degrees when it is recycled and eliminates all traces of labels and food, so you don’t have to clean those out.

So I’m going to generalize that to say that you should try to get big chunks of food out of jars, but that it’s okay if a little residue is left because the recycling process should take care of it.

And remember! I am totally making this up.

(Although I did check one or two websites that seem to back me up.)

Does anyone have actual information on the subject?


In other news, I am on my third iPhone in as many weeks. My original one stopped picking up wifi signals. So I took it in a couple of weeks ago and they had to give me a new one because the one I had was “unfixable.”

Then, last night, one row of the keyboard stopped working in every app that uses a keyboard on my brand new iPhone. So I took it in and the guy was all, “Oh, it’s probably just a loose cable. I’ll go fix it.” And then he came out a few minutes later to tell me that he had to give me a new one because it wasn’t the cable and this phone was also unfixable.

I’m going to see how many iPhones I can go through before my warranty runs out.

I Tried Hard to Come Up With a Good Title About Recycling the Recycling Center Field Trip, But Nothing Worked. Clearly.

You probably don’t remember this…

…but I took it when Jack’s four-year-old class went on a field trip to the recycling center and Quinn missed the tour because he wouldn’t wear the earplugs. Well Quinn is now in the same four-year-old class and today was the field trip to the recycling center.

Look familiar?

I’m pretty sure that Quinn has some sensory issues, and based on his consistent weirdness about things that go on or in his body, I wasn’t entirely sure he was going to agree to wear the earplugs. But everybody was going in to the tour and I told him that he couldn’t go in if he didn’t wear the earplugs and so he popped them right in.

And then he freaked out whenever they fell out and started yelling about how loud it was. But I was wearing earplugs, so the screaming was totally not a problem for me.

Anyway, I was really proud of him. I spend so much time trying to reasonably explain things to Sam and Jack, both of whom don’t respond well to reason (although Sam is getting better), so I was completely thrown by a kid who heard: If not A, then not B and accepted that he wanted B, so he would do A.

I’m really glad he did, because *I* think the recycling center is the coolest. Although rumor has it that it was smelly. But I have a cold, so I couldn’t tell.

In this next photo, Quinn was pointing out that there was glass down below. He seemed pretty proud of himself for locating it.

I always learn fascinating things at the recycling center tour. And by “always,” I mean “both times I’ve been there” and by “fascinating,” I mean “fascinating.” Did you know that in Montgomery County, Maryland, you can’t recycle clear plastic berry containers? And you don’t have to totally scrape all the peanut butter out of the jar before you recycle it? And that you shouldn’t recycle the greasy half of the pizza box?

That last one resolves a long-standing argument that Alex and I have had. Take that, Alex!

I wanted to take lots of photos of the displays there that showed different materials in different stages of their recycling journey, but I was already the person there with the most obnoxious camera and the most trigger-happy picture finger, so I didn’t.

Instead you’ll have to make do with this:

Also, before you all start asking—because I still get this question in the comments on the last recycling center post—here is the information on tours.