Friday, December 31, 2010

All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in 2010. (Unless I learned it earlier.)


Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a go-to gal for advice. For example, if someone were to ask me, "Ninja Mom, what can I do about this unsightly facial hair?" I'd tell them, "Chew on toys produced in China and wait for paint toxicity to cause terrible health problems, making your nanny-goat chin hairs seem less important." This kind of helpful advice is why I am asked---at least once a week---to stop talking. The year 2010 was no different. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't share some of this life-changing wisdom with you.

In the heartwarming, kitten-calendar, puppies-in-a-basket, babies-in-Halloween-costumes, Obama-on-a smoke-break, Palin-cuddling-a-freshly-killed-bear-cub, tradition of "All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," I give you  "All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in 2010."

  • Share everything, especially if you are an accused rapist with your hands on top secret documents and have overheard sensitive and private conversations in the Pentagon Bathroom/Afghan Backrooms/Twitter.
  • Play fair, or if you're a newly discovered, arsenic-based life form, play outside the rules.
  • Don't hit people, or if you're North Korea, don't sink South Korean Navy ships or the world will suspect you of being a big meanie and will do nothing much about it.
  • Put things back where you found them, or if you're Eyjafjallaj√∂kull, spew volcanic ash over all of Europe and leave it there, forcing traveling pop stars and actors and other self-important people to be stranded at European airports without adequate access to Diet Cokes and cigarettes.
  • Clean up your own mess: Still looking at you, Eyjafjallaj√∂kull. But should also include BP here, because there's an important lesson to learn about cleaning up after one's offshore oil platform explodes. It's important not to lie about how much oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. Otherwise the rest of the world won't know how many rolls of paper towels to bring to the clean-up. 

BP, I think I have a coupon. Go on, you need it more than I do. You can get these babies here at 30 rolls per carton in the event that the unthinkable happens. Like you decide to take shortcuts with your safety protocols on your drilling rigs.
  • Don't take things that aren't yours, unless you're Greece. Then take a multi-billion euro, EUIMF bailout (complain about taking one if you're Ireland).
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody, unless you're Julian Assange, an African dictator who refuses to accept his loss in a democratic election, or an unpronounceable ice-capped volcano in Iceland because you have no voice box.
  • Wash your hands before you eat, or if you're an egg-producer in Iowa you should wash your eggs before you distribute them to people who enjoy not having salmonella.
  • Flush, just, everyone, please, we all need to share the food court bathrooms.
  • Warm cookies and milk are good for you; being a miner is not.
  • Live a balanced life, unless you're Congress. Then swing wildly back and forth between a Democratic controlled Senate and a Republican controlled House sprinkled with Tea Party ideals while the rest of the populace hangs in the wind. We don't mind being unemployed and under insured. We'll just sit here and try not to go bankrupt or die alone while you work out this governing gig. 
  • Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some every day, unless you're not five-years-old. In that case, act like a grown up and pour yourself a cocktail. It's New Year's Eve and you've earned a little R&R. Next year you need to find a job, come out to your Army captain, start planning to give your retirement fund back to the government when they realize they've spent a bit much these last few years, start planning to give your retirement fund to your health insurance company when the government realizes they haven't fixed that problem quite yet, write every check in the month of January twice because you'll forget it's 2011 now, and give up another food item because it will no longer be healthful to consume (I'm guessing Splenda).


***

Notes from a Ninja

Thanks to this site for the text of "Everything I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" and to Wikipedia for this article on the year's top news. 

Thanks, too, to dbs at Think.Stew for sharing some award love with me. I've mentioned before that I think dbs is the best commenter ever to comment on my blog, but he's also a darn good blogger of his own. And, he loves me, so, that's endearing. See my "All I got you was this hug" page to view my latest honor: The Guide Blog Award.

Happy New Year to all! Hope you remember where you parked. 

***

You should click this: one click = one vote. It will make me famous and I will pay you in Oreos.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hypodermics on the floor, car door doesn't work no more!*


randomtuesday

Let's get ready to randoooooom. Keely,  the Un Mom, is the originator of RTT. If you really want to be entertained, head her way. Check out the other bloggers who like to share random little somethings on Tuesday.

***
On the first day of Christmas? My MIL had her entire plane given away---oh-so-generously---to a previous flight that had been robbed of their plane by flaming jet fuel or something. I don't buy it. I imagine their plane was home watching the holiday edition of Minute to Win It. So my MIL's plane had to pick up the slack. That left my MIL stuck here for two extra days (which, the children and I were happy about) while snow piled up in the Northeast making any chance of escaping our house nil as the day went on.

***

For the second day of Christmas? I got personal sewage. In my basement. Conveniently oozing over half of the laundry/utility room floor. We had to evacuate myself and my MIL and my newly arrived parents and siblings to the local mall for hours of non-stinky entertainment. The Hubster stayed home to wrangle plumbers. We oh-so-generously gave them a lot of money. They gave us a pump to suck up toilet offal from the basement.

***

We decided we will stop observing the days of Christmas. *I can't seeeee you.*

***

I know why the $15 Scotch Pine stings. It's because although it was a lovely looking tree and a bargain, it has morphed into the kind of tree that might have washed up on the New Jersey coast in the late 80s.

I vacuumed up 3,456,935 of these today. Those that I missed will be picked up by the undersides of my children's feet. Thanks to this site for the pic.

***

I backed into the driver's side door of my husband's EBFT (Electric Blue Ford Taurus, come on, every neighborhood has one). It didn't look like more than a little bump. Apparently he can't open the door. I suggested going Dukes of Hazard up in that EBFT. He didn't seem amused. You?

***

*Obviously everything Mr. Billy Joel sings in the song "We Didn't Start the Fire" is punctuated with an exclamation point. Don't embarrass me with your periods.


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Monday, December 27, 2010

A Ninja Mom Christmas Carol. Staves 3-5: Two More Toy Attacks and an Ending.


Author's Note: I had a Christmas Day stomach bug (no, that's not a euphemism for drinking too much on Christmas Eve) that knocked me flat for a day and some. Also, I kind of forgot I have four kids and a house guest. I've been celebrating and enjoying family time so I neglected Ninja Scrooge. I'm sure you're hoping this means that I've given up on my "A Ninja Mom Christmas Carol," but I haven't. Sorry. I know Stave 2 was a terrible, semi-drunk post. I wish I could tell you that Staves 3-5 are going to be better, but we all know that's unlikely. In the tradition of bad movie sequels that don't live up to their progenitors, I give you the rest of "A Ninja Mom Christmas Carol: I'm Not a Quitter Version."

***

"Hey, it's 1 am!" quoth Ninja Scrooge. She'd had the funniest feeling that she'd been through this evening more than once. It was as if she were a comedic actor famous for playing a wise-cracking, egocentric Army recruit, and a wise-cracking, egocentric ghost wrangler, and a wise-cracking, egocentric TV exec (visited by a dead colleague and three other spirits on Christmas---though that hardly seems relevant) who found himself playing a wise-cracking, egocentric TV weatherman who cracks wise and is self-centered over and over and over again. Like that last sentence, reliving the 1 am hour was a bit of a workout. As is watching Groundhog Day.

Cue the second of the Attack Toys (coincident with the Second of the Toy Attacks, which works out nicely): the Perry the Playtpus Karaoke System of Christmas Present. With a jarring squeal of feedback from the semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of sing-a-long action, Ninja Scrooge was made ready, if a bit nog-groggy, for a trip down Christmas memory lane.

He's already the spare-part mammal, why not a karaoke system as well? Thanks again, Amazon, for this pic.

"What, no eye-poke?" Her taunt was met with a slam to her left temple from Perry the PKS of CP's microphone. When Ninja Scrooge recovered from wincing, she was no longer in her home office, but was standing in her kitchen in front of her junk drawer. She also had a desire to sing "I Will Survive" while pumping a fist in the air, but karaoke will do that to a girl.

In the semi-dark she peered into the drawer where moonlight glinted off of the empty package of AAA batteries. The same moonlight glinted, oh so briefly, off of Perry the PKS of CP's microphone as it glanced off of her right temple. When the pain ebbed, she was standing three feet to her left in front of another kitchen junk drawer (four kids and only two junk drawers, that's "restraint" by most standards). Here, too, were the remains of battery packs. A lone 9 volt rested against a corroded C battery.

"You're trying to tell me something, Perry the . . . you know who you are. But, is it about, um, batteries?"

When she recovered from the final microphone thwump to the base of her skull, she was face down in the pile of yet-to-be wrapped electronics gifts. Everywhere she looked there were items that required alkaline adrenaline to get the Christmas party started right, to get the party started quickly, right? But there was also a chance that she was in the grips of karaoke madness. And a chance that it's a sad youth for which the soundtrack includes C&C Music Factory. Let's not mention Paula Abdul.


"Straight Up" now tell me do you really wanna sing some together? Oh, oh, oh . . . this platypus is for havin' fun. Thanks you folks here for this album art.

From the chilly depths of her bedroom closet where all the still unwrapped Christmas presents (seriously Ninja Scrooge, still not wrapped at 1 am?), Ninja Scrooge saw an amalgam of battery chugging electronica. A specter of technology to come. A Frankenstein's monster that might be the brainchild of the Jobs-Gates' family trust of the future (funded by the Japanese Neo-Governmental agency, Wii--Constitutional Monarchy). It was, and thankfully she had just the name for it: the WiiPadKindleDroid of Christmas Future.

I can't Google the future (yet), so no hits on the WiiPadKindleDroid. But when I plug "Wii Pad Kindle Droid" into Amazon's search box I get this: DBTech Mini Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard (with built-in touchpad mouse, backlit display, and laser pointer). So, when the WiiPadKindleDroid does arrive, we'll have a mini keyboard to go with it. And then some. Amazon, props for the pic, future gazers.

"Lead on. The night is waning fast, and it is precious time to me, because I'm all alone here tonight and I still have to wrap all these gifts. The Hubster might help but I can't risk the Santa-Only Paper SNAFU of Christmas '09. Lead on, Spirit."* And the WPKD of Christmas Future did nothing, because Ninja Scrooge didn't have the app for "chilling foretelling of imminent demise as a lonely, despised curmudgeon." So, she filled in the blanks. 

According to Ray the long dead universal battery charger, Ninja Scrooge was on the path to disappointing her kids once again by promising battery-powered delights she could not fuel. Num Nums the Zhu Zhu Pet Hamster of Christmas Past reminded her that batteries do not, in fact, jump into one's shopping cart just because one stares at them. Perry the Platypus Karaoke System of Christmas Present showed her that batteries do not multiply by procreational means if left in the junk drawer. And the WiiPadKindleDroid of Christmas Future? Probably it wanted her to invest in MicroTendoZon, powered by Apple. Before she drifted to slumber on the painful edges of her children's shattered Christmas wishes, she vowed to prod the Hubster to wakefulness and send him on a battery run to the 24-hour Walgreens. Then she passed out.

Morning broke with a tremor in Ninja Scrooge's heart. The smell of brewing coffee met her senses and wiped the dullness of sleep away while percolating the previous evening's memories. Oh no! The unwrapped gifts! The unpurchased batteries! The children and their Christmas hopes! Ruined! And just when the lessons of last nights spectral visitations were sinking through the nog fog. She would remember the batteries next year. Oh that she could have had time to send the Hubster out for D cells and those little watch batteries for the talking books and mini gadgets. Would that the spirits had left her with enough time to repent and make good on her failings this morning.

She pulled on her robe and hurried into the living room, hoping to fall to her knees in front of the children and offer them anything: her soul, her credit cards, a Dora the Explorer TV marathon, if only they'd forgive her.

But, what wonders these? The gifts were there, wrapped and each with a smaller, gift-wrapped bulge taped to their tops. Batteries! Each battery-powered gift was wrapped, waiting under the tree, with its batteries thoughtfully appended. It was then that she looked up to find the Hubster standing over her with a steaming mug of coffee---two splendas, heavy on the milk.

"You there! What day is this?" Ninja Scrooge demanded.**

"Why, it's Christmas Day, dear," replied the Hubster. ** "The kids aren't up yet. You passed out in the closet on top of the presents. I found you there and put you to bed. While you slept I wrapped the gifts and realized that all of them require batteries; what ever happened to Slinkys? Luckily I bought a super-sized pack of assorted batteries at the Dollar or More store yesterday. Oh, and you look fantastic all puffy-eyed and hungover. And I exchanged my Call of Duty: Black Ops game for an hour-long massage for you at Estrogen Day Spa, because, you're forever my girl. Merry Christmas."

And Merry, Merry Christmas to all of you. If you don't do Christmas, then let me just wish you all merry.

***

Click here for the first stave.

Thanks to this site for putting the text of "A Christmas Carol" online. Sorry I plagiarized so terribly. I've never been more thankful that the guy I ripped off is dead. Enjoy your roll in the grave, Charles.
 
*Line stolen and slightly altered from Dickens fourth Stave in "A Christmas Carol."
** These bits more like borrowed from the final Stave.


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Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Ninja Mom Christmas Carol. Stave 2: The First of the Toy Attacks.


It was still dark when Ninja Scrooge woke herself with a sloppy snort of her own making. Her laptop calendar was chiming. She still hadn't switched the AM and PM function and all of her reminders, therefore, occur in the middle of the night and she's not really all that savvy enough to figure out how to fix the clock on the calendar, sooooo, as you're reading this already, a how-to in the comments section would be mighty kind. If not, it's handy being notified that in 12 short hours you need to be present at a Daisy Scout meeting, but less helpful if you happen to be sleeping at 1 am when the reminder goes off.

But wait, how can it be 1 am? There were the impressions of the keyboard's arrow keys fresh on her slimy cheek to prove that she'd been snoozing in her own nog drool for some time, yet the last she remembered it had already passed 1 am when she had her little tete-a-tete with Ray on the computer. And now, as the sleep abandoned her eyesight, she came teta-a-tete with another electronic abomination: Num Nums the Zhu Zhu Pet Hamster of Christmas Past. (It didn't say, "Hey! I'm Num Nums the Zhu Zhu Pet Hamster of Christmas Past." But I'd like this post to end sooner rather than later so I'm not spending all day spelling out each detail. Scrooge, know him? Yeah, he had three Christmas visitors: the Ghost of Christmas Past, Larry, and Curly. Now you know.)

It's okay to be frightened. Thanks again, Amazon, for lending me this animatronic rodent picture.

Nums Nums chattered like cricket having a seizure and emitted what, at 1 am while working on an early Christmas hangover, sounded an awful lot like holier-than-thou admonitions spoken in faux hamster. He revved up his little hamster wheels and chugged up Ninja Scrooge's arm. With his pink button nose he poked her in the eye. When her eye stopped watering, she was no longer at her desk.

"Good Heaven!" said Ninja Scrooge. "I lived in this house only a year ago! I think that was Georgia. No, wait, were we in Georgia a year ago or Massachusetts? What am saying? It was North Carolina. Wait, is this my old house or---Num Nums, I think we're at the wrong house. Yeah, look there, we lived across the street."

So, after Num Nums the ZZPH of Christmas Past poked Ninja Scrooge once more in the eye, her tears washed away the old scene and brought them in sight of---Walmart. "Um, so were skipping the house, then? Right-o." And there, in the electronics section of the Super Mutant Walmart, she saw herself, picking through a bin of batteries and comparing their sizes to a list of batteries she would need to ensure that the legion of Zhu Zhu pets (3) that she bought at a 300% markup that year, would continue to work past 8 am on Christmas morning.

"Oh! Remove me from here! There's an overweight toy shopper holding a Power Wheels Jeep standing atop my foot! You'd think you'd be more careful about these things, Mr. Christmas Past. I thought, well, if no one can see me, should I be able to feel my foot going numb?"

And when she looked up again, they had advanced a few days to Christmas afternoon where Ninja Scrooge watched her daughters wail in disconsolate misery because their Zhu Zhu pets (the 300% more expensive than usual Zhu Zhu pets that some price gouging Satan spawn had sold her) were inert. Their batteries had died.

"Take me back! Haunt me no longer! I regret that I never did buy those batteries at Super Mutant Walmart! I regret my cheapness! Oh! The humanity!"

With a final eye poking, Ninja Scrooge became aware that she was returned to her lap top, and fell once more into an instant snooze.

***

Staves 3-5 to come, today (or maybe tomorrow)! I think I'm going to need a lot more wine. Well, these staves won't write themselves! I'm going to continue to trample this Dickens classic with my sorry parody.


Click here for the first stave.

Also, thanks to this site for putting the text of "A Christmas Carol" online.


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A Ninja Mom Christmas Carol. Stave 1: Ray's Ghost.


The batteries are dead: to begin with. There is no point spinning them while still lodged in the battery compartment. And while Ninja Scrooge could run off to Walgreens and hope to find a size N battery for the Barbie paraffin nail spa she thought Bee would rather starve than live without, to be sure that the only thing deader than this N battery are her chances of finding one at Walgreens at 1 am. And door nails. They're pretty dead.

"Battery Humbug! A humbug to batteries. I've gotten by without battery-operated toys in the past and by egg nog my children can do it, too. What kid doesn't want a Slinky? It's a classic! Or, or, this pack of DoubleMint gum? Where did I put those reindeer socks . . .?"

As Ninja Scrooge searched through the miserly veneer of Christmas gifts she'd bought for her children, she thought she spied a familiar something peeking out from the stockings she'd packed with dental floss, number 2 pencils, and copies of Going Rouge: The Sarah Palin Rogue Coloring & Activity Book. It was a glimpse, only. A trick her mind was playing on her. After all, the net of neurons that held that mind together these last 12 days of Christmas shopping was by now loosely held in place with Scotch tape and curling ribbon. And yet, oh!, that looked so much like her old friend: Rayovac PS3D Universal Battery Charger for AA, AAA, 9V, C and D Rechargeable Batteries. He went by Ray, or, on festive occasions like Earth Day or Al Gore's birthday, Ray.


Like I could make this up? Thanks Washington Post for this frightening slice of reality.

"And a Humbug to you, too, Ray! You've been dead these five years. What business do you have popping into my tired psyche now. I've presents to wrap!"

Oh! that that would be the last conversation Ninja Scrooge would have with Ray. As she packed away the last of the business side of Christmas and placed the final magical product of Santa's labors under the Tannenbaum, she turned to Twitter to share in the exhaustion of hundreds of twits riddled with Christmas chores. They were mostly incredibly trite and boring and, frankly, if she'd had to read one more line about who was ill and who was tired and who was drunk, she would think about quitting Twitter once and for all (not really).

While retweeting snarky comments about Santa being a fatty bratty, Ninja Scrooge's laptop went black for a moment, and when the dark curtain of electronic shut down was pulled aside, there was Ray.

Ray, dead these five years. Thanks, Amazon, for this wonderful likeness




Ray didn't say "I wear the chain I forged in life," as does Marley's Ghost in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" because Ray is a battery charger. So, Ninja Mom was left to fancy her own silent accusations. It seemed then, to her, appropriate to slam back the spiked nog and yelled spittle-flecked insults at her once handy tool. 

"So what? Now you're here to tell me kids don't really like pitted prunes in their stockings? They can't make use of some handy duct tape and Riccola cough drops? You accuse me of sucking the 2010 out of Christmas? What with it's wonder of technological innovation, full of wireless this and 3D that. Why our house will be bankrupted within the year by the energy costs of powering the game systems, the walking puppies, the talking babies, the glow-in-the-dark paint sets---Humbug you foul, silent accuser!" 

At that point Ninja Scrooge brushed her finger over the mouse pad, vivifying her Twitter session and leaving her with only the idea of Ray's wordless reproach. Perhaps she imagined it? No matter, she was already head down on the laptop, drooling nog from the corner of her mouth and dreaming of giftless holidays, like Arbor Day.

***

Staves 2-5 to come, um, today! I think I'm going to need lots more coffee. Well, these staves won't write themselves! I'm going to continue to trample this Dickens classic with my sorry parody.

Also, thanks to this site for putting the text of "A Christmas Carol" online.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Even the magic of Jesus can't prevent fiber optic sweaters.


randomtuesday

 Let's get ready to randoooooom. Keely,  the Un Mom, is the originator of RTT. If you really want to be entertained, head her way. Check out the other bloggers who like to share random little somethings on Tuesday.

***

The Bloggess is single-handedly usurping Santa as the most magical person to ever facilitate gift exchange. Want to make a difference this Christmas? Go read what the Bloggess and her readers have done for hundreds of strangers and then check your pantry. Got a few extra cans and boxes of food? Going to the grocery store for some cranberry sauce? Well, make it two and donate some food to your local food bank. I missed out on being someone's personal Santa through the Bloggess, but I'll have my shopping cart loaded with some extra Who-hash this week for the hungry in my 'hood.

***

The presents are ready for a smooth coat of dancing reindeer wrap. I've got extra tape. All items that require shipment have been shipped. There's a leg of lamb (stop wincing, it's delish) in the fridge and my recipes and ingredients are assembled and ready. I've started stuffing stockings. I want to feel light and unburdened. Instead I feel the specter of Christmas items forgotten dogging my every step. Can it be possible that I'm actually ahead of schedule or is the ghost of Christmas present ready to take me on a tour of neglected holiday to-dos?

***

I missed a chance to go to an ugly sweater Christmas party. I mourn the loss of the opportunity to wear this.

What, no light up Nativity? Tacky, tacky, tacky sweater picture found here. 
 

***

I was very disappointed last night after I inhaled a bit of chocolate and went to brush my teeth with my minty paste. Couldn't it taste like mint-chocolate for even the first moment? Gyp.

***

Our Elf on the Shelf forgot to move to a new location two nights ago. When Bee found him still attached to the tree star on our Tannebaum she was more than a little disappointed. Thinking fast, I suggested that his wee foot was stuck in the tree topper's base. I also suggested that maybe we could say a prayer for Fitzack (that's the elf, keep up will you?) to find the strength to free himself. Thinking fast, Bee said, "Yes! That will work because Jesus is magic just like Santa." It might be time to address our delinquent Sunday schooling. I'm pretty sure Santa magic and resurrected from the dead magic are not the same thing. By the way, Fitzack did free himself in a miracle of Daniel-in-the-lion's-den proportions. Score one for Christ.

***

Christmas specials that would put a spin on the usual holiday offerings:
  • Dexter for the Holidays: A how-to on gift wrapping dismembered bodies.
  • A True Blood Christmas Feast: New twists on favorite cocktails including the Sookie Stackhouse Bloody Mary.
  • The Walking Dead Christmas Special: A Zombie Christmas Carol. Ebeneezer will be visited by Christmases past in a very real, undead way.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas 2010: It's a Christmas Miracle! All the adults in Charlie Brown's world receive extensive speech therapy and for the first time ever we hear Charlie's mom say, "Lucy's kind of a turd, honey. Let's give the football thing a pass this time."

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's my birthday, fete me or read me. Either way.


I'm 3*ish today! Yes, I'll tell you: I'm 34. Thirty-four. I'll let the reality sink in. And the reality is that 34 is a remarkably dull birthday to celebrate. Not a milestone, really. Not a thirty-aught or forty-aught. Not even a birthday ending in five. Thirty-four, the loneliest number, aside from, well, one. And aside from the fact that I'll be sharing it with the five other people living in my home, our two dogs, and one mother-in-law. But when I'm not in the same room with any of those people it will be lonely.

In honor of me---I'm my biggest fan, it turns out---here are my favorite posts from this blog. Maybe you'll read something you missed. Maybe you're new here and want to know what a Ninja Mom does for kicks. Maybe you'll get bored and watch The Office reruns. I'm not Carnac, for Pete's sake. Who knows what you'll do next? (And if Carnac doesn't ring any bells, replace it with Patrick Jane).

This is what I asked for for my birthday. Amazon will sell you a CD, too.
This is what I should have asked for. Call me Simon. (Eye candy borrowed here.)

Posts not nearly as old as I am, in no particular order:

Feel free to sing "Happy Birthday to Ninja Mom" as you leave.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The bully.


***This is one of those serious posts. Please visit many of the fine bloggers on my blog roll if you're looking for a laugh. Sorry, kids. Back to funny next week.***


I wrote a post full of details. I wanted an exact recounting of the bullying that my kindergartner has been subjected to for the last few weeks, truly the last month, if I tally it all up in earnest. I wanted to tell you all about the hurt of it. The feelings my daughter, my husband, and myself are feeling. I wanted you to read the exact things I've heard from my daughter that have made me feel angry, vindictive, gut-wrenchingly sad, and helpless. I just wanted to unburden myself and to paint a picture of this other girl as a cruel child. Doing that and reading your comments that I imagine would be full of shock and disgust, would feed my anger and confirm my opinions. I might feel a bit better about things with that kind of sympathy, but I might not.

The details don't matter much. Some of them are even silly: this bully's been making mean faces at my daughter and pretending to throw snowballs at her precisely because it bothers my kid. Other accounts are plain  mean. This girl is gathering a clique of girls and is refusing to allow my daughter to be a part of the group. She makes up with my girl at the beginning of class and by day's end tells her they are not friends. She told my daughter, "There is no you." This prompted my kid to tell me, "She made me feel like I don't exist." All this from a girl who was once one of my daughter's friend, a girl who I've invited into my home and spent our free time and family time with. A girl who is now intent on belittling, betraying, and berating my daughter. A girl who is only six years old.

It's not so much what this girl is saying and doing to my daughter, it's the way my daughter is reacting to it that hurts me so deeply. She's lost. She's without rebuke. She's speechless when her attempts to talk with a mutual friend incite her bully to declare, "She's my friend, not yours. You can't talk to her." What tools does a five-year-old have against an emotional, sophisticated attack worthy of high schoolers? What vocabulary does my child have to tell another girl to stop being a petty, manipulative brat when the only real defense she's versed in is "you're mean"? How do I explain that a person who tells her, "Don't tell the teacher what I said," knows too well that she is misbehaving? My daughter understands that this girl is protecting herself against punishment because she knows what she's doing is wrong. But does my kid appreciate that this child's trying to protect her campaign of bullying from being squashed by the teacher? That tomorrow it won't be better?

My girl is staggering from the back and forth. "Come over to my house and play with my new toys." And later, "Stop talking to me, I'm not your friend anymore." Each day this week when I've picked her up from school she climbs into the car and begins crying. She's desperate to have this friend back, after all, they've always enjoyed each other before. I'm desperate to have her know two truths. First that Bee is an amazing person with a winning personality and a kind heart, there will be real friends in spades for her in this life. Second that a friend who is only your friend when no one is looking, well, that's no friend at all. 

All of this torment has caused my daughter to ask to stay home from school. It's made a place that was safe decidedly not so. Bee's enthusiasm for participating in class, for making new friends, is waning. This is the cost my daughter's paying. And yet it seems like such a minor thing at times. The taunts and teases and the struggle of this other girl to assert some social power, it's the stuff of teen movies. I don't want to overplay it here. My kid's not being physically harmed. Attempts to form an exclusive group have been unsuccessful; the other girls keep petitioning the bully for Bee to be in the group, too.

I've spoken with my daughter's teacher and she's aware, both from her own observation and from my recounting, of the problem my daughter is having with this girl. When I called she'd told me she's already had occasion to reprimand the bully and force an apology. She was glad that I was sharing new information about the things this girl is saying and doing when the teacher's back is turned. I'm grateful for the help from the teacher and, despite my fears, I'm confident that my daughter will again be comfortable in school. We're on it, all of us. My husband and I, the teacher, and my daughter who we've coached to tell this girl, "You're being mean and I don't want to be friends with mean people." This too shall pass.

In light of the magic that is Christmas and Santa, during a time of year that belongs to believing in the goodness of others, it aches to see some innocence lost. It feels like the "share, be kind, and be good" lessons we've been touting are being tested and rejected all too soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pick me! Pick me!


I got a letter in the mail from the Indiana Office of No, You Can't Get Out of Jury Duty, Citizen. I was both bummed and flushed with excitement. Bummed because no way can I leave my four small children to go play juror number seven. (I mean, they really are small. They can't even reach the gas pedals, yet. How would they take themselves to McDonald's for lunch?) I was excited because I want to serve my country in a way that makes me feel equal to brave men and women fighting on the front lines of combat, as suggested by the Indiana State Bar Association and the Eleventh Judicial District Court of New Mexico. “By serving on a jury, a person performs one of the most important obligations of American citizenship – perhaps the most vital duty next to fighting in the defense of one’s country.” I'll mull that over, taking into consideration that the obligation of jury duty doesn't require weeks of weapons training.

I'm not buying what the 11thJDCNM is selling. I can't help but think that there are a host of duties more important than hanging with people whose lives aren't important enough to get them out of jury duty. For instance, voting in public elections is pretty vital. Also wrought with civic vitalness are avoiding filling out one's census form, removing one's ball cap during the national anthem at baseball games, remembering what comes after "under God" in The Pledge of Allegiance, not tuning in for the State of the Union address, and buying fireworks and beer on the Fourth of July. Sitting in a box made of a half wall while hearing testimony about the dubious blood lines of Labradoodles sold to Dougie Dog Owner just doesn't smack of civic importance. Nor does weighing evidence to determine whether Ginny owes Cletus the back rent on their shared apartment---even though her name's not on the lease and she'd already agreed to pay him with the title to her '78 El Camino. It's possible that I'm thinking of Judge Judy.

This is a Labradoodle watching Judge Judy. Even this crossbred frankendog is more intelligent than Judy's average defendants. Picture retrieved here.

Ride or rent money, Judy be the judge. Sweet wheels for sale here.

But I shouldn't get ahead of myself. I've not actually been summoned for jury duty. My county's Jury Administration Office sent me a Scantron questionnaire. While I do not take lightly the filling in of small ovals, the truth is that the test they sent me is more like the PSATs than the SATs. That is, I haven't actually been selected for jury duty, I've been selected to be pre-screened for jury duty. With the proper use of a number 2 pencil, I could help my county government determine whether they should waste their time calling me as a juror. The form posed a series of questions to determine my eligibility. They are what you'd expect: Are you 18? Are you a felon? If so, was it a bad felony or a really bad felony? Do you live in the indicated county? Do you live? If not, be aware that the State of Indiana no longer selects deceased jurors. If you are selected for jury duty would you like a Kosher lunch?

No, no, sometimes ( just kidding!) NO, pick me! Boring image found here.

I filled out the questionnaire very honestly, including the blank bit at the back where people are allowed to whine and beg for an exemption. I was Kool and the Gang about the whole thing. I wrote:
"Please pick me, please pick me, please pick me, please, please, pretty please. I'm drowning in soiled diapers and laundry and Dora and "Mom! She took my Barbie/Cookie/Crayon/Soul!" So, tell me what it is you need me to write here in order to guarantee a stint as a juror and I'll write it on this one hundred dollar bill. Not that I'm bribing you to have me as a juror, I just ran out of space and had to use this cash money that no one will ever know you've accepted as a bonus for hours of tedious questionnaire processing. So, call me. I will rock the verdict. I'll be here watching "Twelve Angry Men."

They aren't going to call me, are they? And I was all set to volunteer to be madam foreperson.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Music is in the err.


One of my Studio30Plus colleagues, Neil Kramer at Citizen of the Month, hosts an online blogger holiday concert. There you can feast your eyes and ears on the musical talents of participating bloggers. I imagine they are all either very good, very bad, very funny, or a complete waste of time. One of those. Go see them by clicking on:

The Fifth Annual Blogger Christmalhijrahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert!

What an idea! The availability of such talent, within which I can mingle my less-than-worthy efforts, at no cost to the viewing public, well, it's a service to humanity, isn't it? So, go there and listen to the collected offering of a whole bunch of bloggers. Among them you'll find my recent parody of "God Rest You Merry Gentleman," titled "God Rest You Merry Roo(ty): Bribery and Threats." Yes, I'm now wishing I'd taken the time to do my hair or otherwise appear less slovenly for this video. C'est la vie, people. C'est la dirty vie.

And when you're done with that, check out Studio30Plus, we not 20 and we're not afraid to blog about it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Squirrel beer and Santa come-ons, ho, ho, ho.


randomtuesday

Let's get ready to randoooooom. Keely,  the Un Mom, is the originator of RTT. If you really want to be entertained, head her way. Check out the other bloggers who like to share random little somethings on Tuesday.

***

The kids have decided that all of the Christmas decorations I've put out, especially the little stacking boxes, are great places to stash yesterday's cookie. Well, if I'm lucky it's yesterday's cookie and not snow. Or my car keys.
***

I found this through him which lead me to them, and back to this. Here's what's great about the critter cozy. Nothing. It's creepy. But if you drink the 55% alcohol beer that comes in the roadkill beverage holder, you will probably forget you're drinking from a dead rodent. On a related note, those gals at Moggit, are pretty funny and rip righteously on some poor taste in decor. What does it say about me that I really like some of the things they rip on?

He looks very festive for the holidays, don't you think? Or maybe he's dressed for a dinner of your face. Keep your friends close, and your taxidermied rodents around your beer. Thanks to these folks for this picture (that will haunt me).


***

We went to the botanical gardens with our friends this weekend to see Santa and---this is the special part---his real live reindeer. I don't think it was the headline crew. I'm pretty sure Donner and Blitzen were still in the North Pole prepping for takeoff. These were most likely Gimpy and Woozy, back-up reindeer.

***

It was just my girlfriend, her daughter, my crew of four, and me at the Santa-and-Reindeer Expo this weekend. So, because our Hubsters were not there to roll their eyes and reminisce about the girls that got away, we posed for a picture with Santa without the kids. I offered to sit on the little wooden seat next to the big guy, but he patted his open knee (girlfriend was perched on the other) and invited me to perch as well. As we were walking away, he wanted to know what we big girls wanted for Christmas. I thought about telling him, "Lotsa Lovin', it's not what I want; it's what I need. Coal won't be enough to cover my naughty." But I didn't and I believe it's this keen sense of good judgment that has heretofore kept my children out of state custody.

***

Other things I might have said to Santa (feel free to add your own to the comment section):
  • Please tell me you're real, Chubs. These Christmas gifts are expensive and you've set the bar higher than my bank account allows. 
  • I want my boyfriend, Artie, to be able to walk for Christmas. 
  • Can you lend me some elves? Just until I'm done shopping and baking and shipping and trimming? The toilets in my house aren't going to clean themselves. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How do you take your holiday?


Service Professional on the Phone: "So, Ninja Mom, have I answered all of your questions?"

Ninja Mom: "You have, I didn't know there were matching Snuggies available for our American Girl dolls and our parakeet. Thanks!"

Service Professional: "You're welcome and happy holidays."

I'm hearing that "Happy Holidays" line a lot---a sign of the season. There are folks who will hear it and think, "Just say Merry Christmas, terrorist." Others will hear "holiday" and recall Hanukkah festivities, or Kwanzaa, maybe even Festivus. Some will not even want to hear about holiday wishes. They will be offended by the intrusion of joyful wishes upon their harried and miserable year-end. Me? I just can't imagine what else a person should say.

Let's picture the alternative. A place where all interests are considered and every person's seasonal rites are catered to. Pretend that every call you make, every encounter with a salesperson, is punctuated by a custom wish for your brand of holiday to be celebrated in the manner most appropriate. For the Christians, joy all around for the birth of the Messiah. For the Wiccans, I don't know, a wish for happy drunken dancing in the pale moonlight and wassailing of the trees?

Apparently wearing black-face is okay if you're a tree wassailer trying to summon the Ents. Picture from here, really, people do this.

Imagine you need to call your cable provider, or your credit card company, or your parole officer. Before you connect with a live person, approximately 36 minutes after you started thinking "If no one picks up in the next five minutes, I'm hanging up," you'll be given the following prompt:

After your interaction with our trained representative, you'll be offered a chance to hear a recorded seasonal message.
  • For a Christmas message, press 1. 
  • For Hanukkah message, press 2. 
  • For a Kwanzaa message, press 3.  
  • For a message solemnly commemorating Ashura, press 4. 
  • For a Pancha Ganapati message, press 5 for our call center in New Delhi. 
  • For a wish for your enlightenment as you celebrate Bodhi Day, press 6 to connect with Buddhist monks not currently under a vow of silence. 
  • For a New Year's message from the artist formerly known as an unpronounceable symbol, press 7. 
  • For a Chinese New Year message, call back in February. 
  • For a Bah Humbug, press 8. 
  • For a message: affirming your belief that God doesn't exist, that Christmas has become a holiday of overindulgence and capitalism, that Government is too big, that Government is too small, that taxes are too high, that social services are too meager, that light-up plastic Nativity scenes are tacky, that Santa Baby is overplayed, that Groundhog Day is underrated, that Jesus is the reason for the season, that Druids and fairies are the reason for the season, that Justin Bieber is the reason for the season, that the National League should have designated hitters, that American league pitchers are cream puffs at the plate, that Team Edward is best, that Team Jacob is best, that bedbugs won't bite, that the Bogeyman is not real, or that reindeer really know how to fly,  press 9. 
  • To hear a list of all the people you probably forgot to buy presents for, press 0.
Happy Holidays! Or not. It's your call, really.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I am stupid: The time I thought the baby had internal bleeding.


Ah snow. We've been having it here for a week now. Not to say it snowed a week ago. That's lazy snowing. Apparently here we got ourselves some assembly line, first-, second-, and third-shift, hard-working snow. I believe it's called "Lake-Effect Snow." I believe it but I don't know it; facts bore me. But now that I live near a great lake (sorry, Great Lake), I will be believing the heck out of lake-effect snow.

But all this snow reminds me of a precious time in my life. A time when I called my mother to ask her why, DEAR GOD why?, didn't she tell me having a newborn was going to be torture? I think she answered that either (a) she did tell me but my pregnancy brain was full of tiny socks and Dreft laundry detergent or (b) no mother ever tells a first-timer because (1) first timers are annoying and deserve what they get and (2) no mom-to-be ever believes the pundits.

But the snow. The snow reminds me of Bee's birth because she was born in February in Boston in 2005. We broke snowfall records that winter. I was at home with a three-and-a-half pound preemie and I couldn't bear to leave our condo without fiberglass insulation surrounding her tiny form. When I gave her her first at-home bath she immediately turned blue. I spent a significant amount of time trying not to break her.

So when the colic began I had already laid the groundwork for paranoid, inflated reaction-ism. If turning blue in the bathwater was threat level orange (high likelihood someone made a mistake allowing me to take home an infant), then screaming from six pm until the roosters take over at the dawn shift was threat level puce (extreme danger of murder-suicide). Naturally, I called the pediatrician, just like I did nearly every week for the first 3 months of her life.

Me: I think my baby has colic.
Nurse: Are you sure she's not gassy/hungry/tired/teething/hot/cold/screwing with you?
Me: I think you need to give the baby drugs. Or give me drugs. I have a third story window and I'm willing to jump.

Later that day at the doctor's office I was told that sure, the baby might have colic. Apparently colic is like irony: tough to define, but you know it when you hear it. She also spit up quite a bit. (Please God, not colic!) I thought maybe she had gut problems that were keeping her up all night shattering glass with her wails. (Please God, not colic!) He didn't think she had larger issues like GERD or reflux or demonic possession. (Please Linda Blair, not colic!) He would continue to think that she had none of those things when I called a week later, and then a few days after that. But when I called for a third time he suggested I maybe treat the baby for gas (at home with Mylicon drops) and reflux (with a prescription for Zantac). 

I was desperate for her to be burning a hole in her esophagus rather than accept that I might have to wait out colic. So I was thrilled to have the go ahead to start dosing my babe with what I was sure would cure her ills. I popped pink Mylicon drops into her gaping mouth every time she began to cry. It's fair to say I was reckless about it. I was not careful about measuring the dosage nor did I keep a good handle on the time between doses. So the following day, when she was still screaming and I was almost out of my precccccccious pink Mylicon drops, I was tired and ready to die. Ready to die and take the kid with me on a flaming coaster to Hell. That's when she vomited blood.

Well, it was a big spit-up. Maybe not vomit so much. And it was mostly spit-up colored. Maybe not bloody so much. But it was tinged with blood. And the baby was as upset as ever and I hadn't slept in a few weeks or so and I was pretty sure I hallucinated a conversation with Elmo about tax law and hydroponic gardening and I was ready to go into the light. But I called the pediatrician instead. They wanted to see us right away. After all, blood!

So I wrestled the baby into her fiberglass snowsuit and into the car seat and headed down from my third-floor walk-up to the bodega (that's a corner quickie-mart, for those of you not playing the New England version at home) to get cash for the cab. A Hispanic fellow was out there loitering (or maybe snow shoveling) and he had the nerve to address me during my time of distressed bloody duress. What follows is the exact transcript of our conversation.

Hispanic fellow: You baby's head is open.
Me: (shrilly) I don't have time to talk to you right now!!! *march, march, march purposefully to the bodega 200 feet away*

(Less than five minutes pass; walking back from the bodega)

Hispanic fellow: You baby's head is open.
Me: (even more shrilly) I can't talk to you now, asshole! *march, march, march purposefully to my stoop less than 20 feet away from the Hispanic fellow I just loudly called an asshole where I would stand for the next few minutes waiting for my cab and would also look down at my baby to realize that her hat had fallen off of her nearly bald head---"You baby's head is open, pendejo."*

Five minutes after that we were in the relative comfort of the warm but pungent cab when it hit me: Mylicon drops are pink. Pink spit up might indicate a bit of blood, but pink spit up after force feeding an infant an entire bottle of pink-tinged gas medicine probably means I'm not fit to keep company with the comatose. I think I owe an apology to a whole lot of people I interacted with that day. Consider this post my mea culpa.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Welcome to Casa Navidad, don't eat the snowman.


randomtuesday

Let's get ready to randoooooom. Keely,  the Un Mom, is the originator of RTT. If you really want to be entertained, head her way. Check out the other bloggers who like to share random little somethings on Tuesday.

***

I neglected to poop scoop before this Lake Effect Snow (of certain doom) began here. That was four days ago. Now when the children ask me if they can make a snowman, what do I say? "Sorry honeys, I don't want the snowman to melt later and reveal that the magic is not in that old top hat we found, it's in his heart of poo." Yet again we fail to be tidy neighbors.

***

We made a gingerbread house from scratch.  Although it took nearly three days to make the dough, roll and cut the dough, eat the dough scraps, make the royal icing, bake the pieces, assemble the pieces, buy the candy for decorating Casa Navidad, eat the candy, realize we are running out of candy for decorating because we keep ingesting it, glue the candy to the house, and then shoo away both Roo and the dogs who are very keen to eat the gingerbread house---it wasn't that difficult to do.

***

Our kids have, with their combined salivary efforts, managed to lick everything involved with the gingerbread house except for one spice drop. This is information I'm sure I'll neglect to share with my family when they come to visit and we invite them to demolish and devour the house. What's a little spittle among relatives?

***

How much should I tip my maids for Christmas? They change all the sheets on the bed, even the ones in the twins' room with the collected stains of toddlerdom. Milk stains here, some errant pee leakage there, none of this frightens my maid ladies. They also vacuum up the puppy mill--worth of dog hair and crusty food bits that are only now recognizable by molecular identification. Sometimes I forget to leave the check and they clean up anyway. How do I put a price on my gratitude during the holidays? Does a bag of M&Ms cover it? No? Add Happy Cleaning as the beneficiaries of our life insurance? 

***

I want a mug from The Bloggess. It's this one. I think nothing says "Mommy forgot to take her antidepressants" quite like a mug that promises stabbing.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

UPDATE: Now with video. Nothing captures the Christmas spirit quite like a carol parody.


I sang the first verse to Roo(ty) just the other day and thought to myself, "Self, I think we're overdue a new song parody." Self agreed.
 
*** 

God Rest You Wild Rooty
(To the tune of--do you really need me to spell it out? Fine, here's Barenaked Ladies singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Or, if you want to sing along, listen to this awesome instrumental version by Jake Pancho and his pops.) 

Or, watch me sing it (sorry). 


God rest you wild Rooty,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember chocolate cookies
Were baked just yesterday,
To save you now from timeout
A cookie I will pay:
Oh-oh, tidings of bribery and threats, bribery and threats.
Oh-oh tidings of bribery and threats.

In Christmas house, in living room,
My children run amok,
And lay under the Tannenbaum,
The ornaments are shook,
The witch this mother Ninja
does shoot a nasty look:
Oh-oh, tidings of bribery and threats, bribery and threats.
Oh-oh tidings of bribery and threats.

From Dad your earthly Father
A lecture sure will come,
Unto you impish devil spawn
If you don't clean up some,
How can you kids make such a mess?
One cookie many crumbs:
Oh-oh, tidings of bribery and threats, bribery and threats.
Oh-oh tidings of bribery and threats.

The children at the Target
With candy canes in hand,
Scream while I grab presents
That cost more than a grand,
Sugary treats the quiet reap
Throw tantrums and you're banned:
Oh-oh, tidings of bribery and threats, bribery and threats.
Oh-oh tidings of bribery and threats.

When to our home our family comes
The twins will be all smiles,
And Bee will utter niceties
That make up for our trials,
Roo will coo and laugh and play
And charm them all the while:
Oh-oh, tidings of bribery and threats, bribery and threats.
Oh-oh tidings of bribery and threats.

Now to the toys sing praises,
All kids who have been good,
And with joy, love, and grattitude
Behave as though you should,
For if you step over the line,
You'll ruin my good mood:
Oh-oh, tidings of bribery and threats, bribery and threats.
Oh-oh tidings of bribery and threats.


Bribery, threats, or a mob connection. "I told you I'd call Uncle Guido if you wouldn't quit crying!" Borrowed here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

From household chore to bold career: Let's sweep!


I'm going to make entering sweepstakes my new career because I have a degree in English that I've aptly applied to changing diapers and not screwing up Fox in Sox when I read it aloud and that's pretty sad, so from where I'm sitting entering contests for a living is about all I'm qualified to do. Anyhoo, I have as much chance of winning PHC (RIP Ed) as I do of becoming a professional blogger (emphasis not on "prof" that means "to educate" but on "essional" that we all know means "paid to host ads on one's blog").

It turns out that "sweeping" (Blog Reader: Are you the only person who calls it "sweeping"? Ninja Mom: I'm also the only person who calls a pacifier a coco, what's your point?) is a legitimate way to make a living if you enjoy protracted bouts of Ramen Surprise for your family dinners. But that's not really my concern because in the arena of money earning and jobs with benefits the Hubster does the heavy lifting. That leaves me free to pursue more important adventures, like trying to win an Xbox Kinect from Kellogg's Raisin Bran Crunch.

I think in these depressed economic times it's important for us all to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and do our part to secure our family's, and possibly the world's, economic security by trying to win free things so that we don't go into debt for a sweet new Chevy Cruze that we can get for free from Conan O'Brien. Further, I favor the contest entry approach to financial freedom because I don't have bootstraps (or know what the are, but luckily Wikipedia does, and they are not only obvious, bootstraps are also boring). I believe that this disturbing lack of bootstraps for Americans to use in the act of pulling themselves up is wholly responsible for the burgeoning housing bubble which, when it burst like an infected pustule, lead to criminal lending practices that (and I'm not clear on the details but it seems likely) lead to Bernie Madoff cheating everyone you've ever known out of every penny they ever saved. When I run for President, or possibly PTC secretary, I plan to run on a platform of "Doc Martens on every foot!" because they have bootstraps.

You might be wondering if I couldn't save our household some cash by cutting down on expenses instead of devoting my time to filling out hundreds of contest entry forms. But the truth is that we run pretty lean if you consider that we only go on one week-long vacation in addition to limiting ourselves to chocolate bought at the grocery store and not from Godiva. We will not be getting designer jeans for the kids this year or special snow booties for the dogs so I think you can go ahead and feel sorry for us. I also think that any real sacrifice on my part, like dismissing my house cleaners (God bless you, ladies) who come here every other week and make it look like we've never eaten a meal in our kitchen, is not something I'm cut out for. Plus winning makes me feel superior to everyone else. I once won a money tree as a door prize at a church fund-raising event and I was an instant celebrity with strangers who came to kneel before the tree and me, kiss my hand, and bring me libations from the community iced tea pitcher in small Styrofoam cups. Lazy suck-ups; win your own door prizes.

If you're lucky you'll not only win a tackily crafted tree with wadded up dollar bills on it, you'll also get this piece of floral foam! Here's where I borrowed this exciting photo.
I think it will be helpful if we recap a few important points from this post. First, there are a terrifying number of run-on sentences with questionable punctuation. Second, there are a lot of Web sites and blogs devoted to the fine art of sweeping that, because I didn't already cover this topic in this post, I really shouldn't be mentioning in a recap, but you'll kindly remember that I was an English major and therefore barely qualified to add single digit numbers let alone be expected to organize my thoughts succinctly because when one has a 12-page paper to write about The Ancient Mariner one must understand that poetry will not be mastered by the pressure to maintain orderly thought. So, you can see those strike-it-rich-through-contests links below. Third, everyone is giving away a Chevy Cruze, go ahead, Google it. We'll all have free Cruzes if we try. And fourth, I love my maids more than my own family. I will cut you if you try to take away my maids.

Sites that are maintained by delusional people who might want to consider a different and more lucrative hobby, like making and selling Meth:

  • Contest girl will teach you how to put having fun at the very bottom of your contest-entering priorities.
  • The About.com site for having a career in sweepstakes winning is also the one that warned me I might need to live off of ramen noodles in order to support this hobby full time.
  • I kinda hate that this sweeping hobbyist spells her name Nikkole because my name is Nicole and that's the "right" way to spell it, freak. But otherwise she seems nice.
  • Nikkole lead me to "Sweetie" (not her real name, which, is actually Wendy) and I think it's very upbeat that she encourages us all to "Win stuff you can't afford!" And I only felt a mildly nagging urge to ask, "What if it's stuff I can't afford and don't want?"
I have to go now. These contests won't enter themselves! I'm hoping to win a puppy in time for Christmas. Unfortunately the first question in the puppy contest is a really tough one and I'm pretty sure I need to undergo a religious conversion if I want the puppy, but, hey, it's free!
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