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Van Chatter

October 30th - on the way to errand #1:

Me: Both of your Halloween parties are at the same time, so I won't be able to go to both. Does anyone have a solution?

Emma: Well . . . there will be lots of moms at my party already, so I think you should go to . . .

Me: Karl's?

Emma: . . . neither.

Me: Well if you don't care if I come, why can't I go to Karl's party?

Emma: Because it's not fair. OK, I have an idea. What if whoever doesn't have Mom at their party gets some sort of special treat after school that the other one doesn't get, to make it fair?

Karl: What type of treat?

Emma: How about a Frosty? What we need is something with the same amount of special, uh, spec -

Karl: The same amount of speciality?

Emma: Yes. The same amount of speciality as having Mom at the party.

Me: (dryly) So I'm worth a Frosty?

Emma: Well we haven't decided yet.

On the way to errand #2:

Emma: Mom? How much would you sell me for?

Me: You're not for sale.

Karl: Well what if you had a lemonade stand and me and Emma were standing nearby and someone asked "How much for the children?"

Me: I'd tell them that you're not for sale.

Emma: But you'd offer them some lemonade, right?

Me: Right. Naturally. Lemonade eases the disappointment of not buying children.

Karl: If I had a million dollar bill I would keep it. What would you do?

Me: I'd try to get it away from you!

Karl: (laughing) Why would you do that?

Me: Hey, it's a million dollars!

Emma: If I had a million dollars I'd keep $10 and give the rest to you, Mom.

Me: Thanks, Emma!

Karl: If I had a million dollars I'd give one dollar to you and keep the other nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine dollars for myself.

Me: Wouldn't you give any of it to the less fortunate?

Emma: Hey that reminds me - we're doing a food drive at school for kids that don't have houses and stuff. It's only 3rd, 4th and 5th grades that are doing it and the classroom who brings in the most gets some sort of great prize. We've got a one in twelve shot of getting that prize!

Me: OK, but that's not why you're bringing in the food - you're bringing in the food to help people. A mystery prize is just icing on the cake.

Karl: Huh? What's that mean.

Emma: (to Karl) I don't know either. You think it's just a term and she really means the world or something? I don't like icing without the cake.

Karl: I don't like cake without the icing.

Emma: No, no, you got that backwards. Hey! Let's pretend it's backwards day and say the opposite of everything.

Karl: What would be the opposite of "I love you, Mom"?

Emma: It would be "I hate you, Mom"

Me: Shouldn't you say "I hate you, Dad"?

Emma: Well we'll have to tell Dad about opposite day first, or he'll be really sad.

And so on . . .

And so forth . . .

Time to bundle up and unleash Harry and Vamptessa on the neighborhood. I'm sure the candy assessing/counting/trading/boasting will provide even more blog fodder!

Halloween_blog_collage

That's Karl, er, Harry, casting a spell on you. His black hairspray has migrated all over his forehead, ears and the collar of his shirt. Let's hope it washes out easily!

RMQOTD (Now repeat after me - without wands please - repeat after me; RIDDIKULUS!)


Boo!

So my good friend Sherry, er, Cheryl has managed to infect me with an altering bug. I purchased a John Deere metal lunchbox at Walmart last year with the intention of altering it, which, naturally, I never did.

Until last night.

Or, more accurately, until the wee hours of this morning.

I wanted to make a gift for my friend Bonnie, who, like Cheryl, is an altering queen. I filled it with alterable items, hardware, doodads, whatnots and Whoppers. Bonnie, if you're reading - I guess it won't be a surprise, but I'm bringing it to you at work tomorrow, so don't call in sick . . . or else!

Altered_lunch_box_halloween

Papers are K&Co (spots), We R Memory Keepers (orange plaid), 7 Gypsies (black harlequin) and Wordsworth (inside walls). Stamps for "BOO" are Stampin' Up. Epoxy stickers are Creative Imaginations and the rest is just paint, ribbon, bottlecaps and a whole lotta decoupage.

I'm already scouring my house for other things to alter. Hello .  . . monster!

Heh.

RMQOTD (I was totally fine. I've never even been to Mount Vesuvius.)


Snow Yeah!

OK, let's set the scene:

Karl4

Our driveway received a good 2 feet of snow and all that snow had to go somewhere. The small amount that wasn't eaten by my son . . .

Karl1_4x6

. . . we shoveled into the front yard, resulting in a sweet mound that just needed proper grooming to become a most excellent sledding hill.

John finished the driveway while I finished the sledding hill. I tried it out and discovered that the initial drop-off was too great. I discovered this when my sled dove into the snow at the bottom and jammed my finger all the way up to my wrist. (OK, I might be exaggerating the injury, but you should know that typing is excruciating and yet, I type. You're welcome!)

Finally I had the hill to a point where it needed children.

I have children.

My children are wimps!

Seriously! John went in and yelled for them to come out and the answers were:

Emma: No thanks.

Karl: I don't think it would be prudent in this temperature. A blizzard can create a white-out, and a white-out is when the wind is blowing at blinding speeds, picking up hundreds of feet of snow, blocking sight from objects and homes in the snow. People have lost their way to their homes only a few feet from their front doors.

*sigh*

So I recruited the much-less-wimpy neighbor children and their Dad, Tod, who did the honors of deciding the sledding order and shoving them forcefully down the hill. We were attempting to clear the two tire tracks in the road.

Finally my kids came out, and had a ball, of course!

Emma4

Here's Emma, getting a good push from Tod, with an audience of patient and orderly children. Emma actually broke the record early on:

Emma2_1

But I think in the end it was little Nathan who went the furthest:

Nathan4_4x6

I took a lot of pictures before realizing that I wouldn't be in any of them. I asked John to snap my picture and, as usual, he took great care in composing the shot.

John: Not there - you have a pole growing out of your head. Move over so there won't be a distracting background.

Karen: How about here?

John: Perfect!

Karen2

*sigh*

I decided to take matters into my own hands. I'd just do a "hold the camera at arm's length and get a photo of us together" move . . .

John_and_karen

*sigh*

Oh well! I got great photos of the children!

Karl2_1 Emma3 P_four_4x6

Now as for the DVD's, we got the footage for Wild Side done, but it hasn't been edited yet. Still, I think the DVD plan is going to work out - they're pretty much home movie quality, but with interactive features, being able to see the instructor demonstrate the folds/construction/mechanisms makes all the difference in the world. While we were watching it back John commented that he totally understood how I was folding that exploding heart, so we think this is definitely the way to go. Exciting!

The kids have another snow day today, but it's predicted to be melted off by tomorrow.

Good times!

RMQOTD (Round up the usual suspects!)


BLIZZARD!

SNOW DAY!

Even John's office is closed! We're finally going to shoot the instructional DVD's for my classes. (The DVD's are for the folks who can't take the class in person but buy the kits through the website)

This ought to be fun!

Outside it looks like this:

Blizzard

Stay warm!

RMQOTD (Why don't we just step outside and settle this thing Eskimo-style?!)


Both Ends

Yes, I'm posting again. Twice in one day, which should once and for all prove that I have, in fact, freed myself from the burden of being blogless.

I went on a boondoggle with Ev this morning, although it didn't end up being all that boondoggle-ish because it had great value. I ended up with several fun new purchases including that big circle cutter from EK and the paper tagger thingie from Around the Block. While on our excursion, Karl called me to say that he had forgotten his library book and would it be possible for me to bring it to him since today was library day and he really wanted a new book. I agreed to bring it to him before library time.

Now I was supposed to go to the grocery store today. We have very little food and are almost out of milk, which constitutes a cerealmergency for John. However, between my boondoggle and a half-hour trip out to Karl's school, it wasn't looking promising for King Soopers. On my way home from the school trip I realized that I was quite hungry, but also realized that our kitchen is rather devoid of food. Should I get drive-thru? In theory I didn't need another massive-calorie meal, especially after just returning from a trip. In reality, though, french fries sounded heavenly!

After much debate between the evil-red shoulder Karen and the angel-white shoulder Karen, I compromised on a Frescata sandwich combo from Wendy's, ordering the turkey sandwich and vowing to only eat half the fries. Pulling around to the pay window I witnessed the guy in front of me scouring his car for loose change and then regretfully telling the lady at the window that he didn't have enough and driving off. If I had clued in faster I would have just gifted him the meal, but he had driven off before I totally figured out what happened.

Pulling up to the second window for my food, the lady asked if I'd like a free chocolate Frosty because someone had been unable to pay for it and now it would go to waste.

I should have explained to the woman that the fries were my only calorie indulgence of the day (besides the 4 trips to the Halloween candy bowl, but she didn't need to know that) and she should gift the Frosty to whoever came after me, but what I said instead was:

"SURE!"

And then happily accepted a large Frosty and drove away smiling.

I may have run over angel-white shoulder Karen on my way out of the parking lot. Not sure, since I was singing a "Wendy's is great! Gives me the chocolate Frosty!" duet with devil-red shoulder Karen at the time.

John called after I got home and I told him my "Free Pie" story. (In our family, any sort of windfall in the food department, like when Karl threw up in Mom's brocolli bowl and earned a take-home chicken plate, is considered a "Free Pie" story. Remind me to tell the origin of the "Free Pie" on some other post)

Me: . . . and so I took the free Frosty, but I didn't eat it. It's in the freezer.

John: You didn't eat it?

Me: I didn't eat it! (yet) Oh, and I unclogged the toilet.

Refer, if you will, to the title of this blog post. I dispensed with the food story first, out of consideration, since the second story might ruin your appetite. I'm courteous that way. You're welcome.

When I was a kid we remodeled our house and expanded the second floor, adding on a bedroom and bathroom. Dad did a lot of the work himself and I've secretly always wondered if that's the reason that the upstairs toilet was so easy to clog. Like maybe he used too small of a pipe or something. In any case, my brother, sister and I are masters with a plunger. I can unclog a toilet that would otherwise be rendered plumber-worthy. I'm not just boasting - it's a skill that I've spent over twenty years perfecting.

My son, bless his heart, keeps me from getting rusty.

Apparently last night was a real doozy because John mentioned that he had "plunged the hell" out of that toilet to no avail. Which brings us to the second half of the phone conversation:

Me: I didn't eat it! (yet) Oh, and I unclogged the toilet.

John: Oh yeah? Well I'm sure it was just because it sat overnight.

Me: No, it was still seriously clogged. But I did it! I have a gift.

John: Wow. That's your gift? Your gift from God? How nice for you.

Which took all the fun out of the victory.

You know, if Wendy's was just going to give the Frosty away, they should have given it to the guy with no change. He wanted the Frosty, after all! If I hadn't been so busy basking in the glow of the free ice-cream-like substance, singing with devil-red shoulder Karen and running over angel-white shoulder Karen, I maybe could have looked around to see if he was still in the area - maybe up by the stoplight - and gifted him the Frosty that was gifted to me by virtue of him not being in financial flushitude.

But instead Free Frosty is in my freezer.

And I said "flushitude"

Which ties in both stories quite nicely!


Emma Bear

Karl had his second perfect day in a row at school yesterday. Yes, this is a post about Emma, but I have to explain first how it came to be that we were heading to McDonald's at 5:20 pm. At Karl's new school they have a point system and 30 is a perfect day. Friday I was at the Austin Convention Center running a very busy Dollar Scrapbooking booth when Karl called me, bursting with pride, to say that he'd received all his points - his first 100% day since starting the new school!

Now a perfect day on Friday is a thing of beauty, but a perfect day on a Monday was (in my estimation) darn near impossible. He's not exactly in his routine on Monday mornings and saying goodbye to his computer is always a sad spectacle. So imagine my sheer joy when he burst into the house yesterday afternoon with another perfect point card! I felt it deserved ice cream.

Emma returned from Art Club at 4:30 and I questioned her on her day, trying to find something to celebrate so her ice cream reward wasn't just a Karl-reward-tag-along. She remembered to bring home her sweatshirt and thus . . .

Me: You remembered your sweatshirt?! Whoo-hoo! Let's go get ice cream!

Emma: Really? Cool! Does Karl get some, too?

Me: Well he did have a perfect day at school, so . . . yeah . . . I guess so.

(See what I did there?)

But first we had to go to the bank and that took longer than expected, so I explained that the best I could do, since I had to get home to babysit Ev's boys, was a drive-through milkshake, which suited them just fine.

The drive from the bank to McDonald's was entertaining as usual. They had finished up their bank suckers and the conversation went as follows:

Karl: I can inhale through my lollipop stick.

At this point he started sucking in forcefully with the stick in his mouth. The stick, mind you, was not a hollow straw or anything. There wasn't an airway passage through his Dum-Dum stick, and Emma, who, coincidentally, is no dum-dum, called his bluff:

Emma: You're not breathing through that stick. You're breathing through your nose!

Karl: I am not! Here, I'll prove it to you. I'll pinch my nose and breathe through the stick and you watch my belly to see if it gets bigger from air rushing in.

Emma: Fine.

And this is the point when Karl started to turn blue from pinching his nose and sucking on his stick, while Emma's eyes were glued to his stomach, such that neither of them noticed me pulling into the parking lot of McDonald's.

Me: Oh man! I picked the wrong time to get ice cream - it's after work and everyone will be picking up their dinner from Mickey D's.

Emma: What's Mickities?

Me: Not "Mickities" - "Mickey D's" - it's an expression.

Karl: (finally giving up on the stick experiment and gasping for breath) She means McDonald's.

Emma: Oh. (pauses) OK, we've learned something from this experience: don't call McDonald's "Mickities" because it's confusing.

Me: My bad.

Karl tends to be known for his "Cast me in 'Jerry Maguire, Part Deux'" speech patterns, but Emma can often hold her own. I think she has a future in sarcasm, and, naturally, we're so proud! At her parent-teacher conference last week the teacher said that she often slips little wry comments into her lectures just to see if Emma will laugh because she has such a great sense of humor. (Oh, and Emma got all A's and one B, yada yada, but did you hear that the teacher said she was funny?!)

So here are a couple of things in tribute to Emma. The first is a layout called "Selfs Portrait" (see what I did there?) that I did at a recent crop. The photo wasn't the best quality so I threw it in the crimper. (hence the vertical lines - it's actually pretty nifty in person!)

Selfs_portrait

I also thought I'd share the class that I designed for Lance at Rusty Pickle. It's called Girl, Unexpected! and will be taught at stores. You can make it into a Girlfriends album or it can be generic female. I decorated mine about Emma's first 8 years. I think you can click any of these pages and make them bigger if you want to read the journaling. The flip-out platforms on the front cover might end up being an optional take-home assignment for advanced students because they're tricky and time-consuming. And I must give inspirational credit to my friend Bonnie, who does amazing things with recycled packaging and inspired the use of the buckle packaging to make a shaker box on the front of the album. Thanks, Bonnie!

01_gu_cover_email 02_gu_pages_12_email 03_gu_pages_34_email 04_gu_pages_56_email 05_gu_pages_78_email 06_gu_pages_910_email 07_gu_pages_1112_email 08_gu_pages_1314_email 10_gu_back_cover_email 09_gu_pull_out_tags_email

Heading to Bellevue for the CK Convention next week. I'm teaching These Three Classes at Lasting Memories in Lynnwood on November 1st (next Wednesday) and would love to meet any of you crazy cats from the Pacific Northwest. Or if you can't come to the classes, stop by the Dollar Scrapbooking Booth and say hello!

RMQOTD (Jerry, do you know the human head weighs eight pounds?)


Stuff

John told me about a conversation he had with Emma the other day:

Emma: Dad, I have a great joke to play on Mom!

John: Really? What is it? 

Emma: I'll ask if she wants a glass of water and then I'll get it for her, but the joke will be . . .

John: What?

Emma: . . . that I'll give her UNFILTERED WATER!!!

And then she laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

Our old fridge came with the house and didn't have a water or ice dispenser. Instead, the previous owners had installed a filtered water spigot on the sink, which is where we have filled up our drinking glasses for the last two years. Of course, the joke was really on Emma because if you were to ask me how many times I've changed the filter in two years . . .

(Hint: I'm thinking of a number between negative one and one)Fridge_3

But our unfiltered water drinking days are over because now we have not only FILTERED water, but also COLD water and we can choose between three sizes of crescent shaped FILTERED ice cubes or (hear the angels?) CRUSHED ICE! Oh Mylanta! Isn't she purty?

I Photoshopped out most of the fingerprints. Ev says I can get some wipies at the store that are designed for stainless steel appliances, so that's on my list.

But isn't she purty?!

The fingerprints are actually sort of charming. No, really, I mean it. They're all concentrated at kid-height where they've closed the door by grabbing the edge instead of the handle. I like those little finger marks - they're cute! It gives me a homey feel, thinking about the kids getting milk for their cereal or fetching a yogurt for snack.

Yeah, I'm weird.

I also don't mind when the men in my family leave the seat up.

Hey, I said I was weird, didn't I?

Seats in the up position just don't bother me. Now I can't say that I wax nostalgic (ala new fridge) and imagine my husband or son in the bathroom (because I'm not THAT weird!) but what I DO do (Beavis and Butthead interruption: She said "doo doo"! Hyuck!) is to put the seat down and proceed with my business.

That's right, without any fanfare and very little effort I merely return the seat to its downward position and get on with my day. I have to wonder why this is such an issue for some women. Do they not want to touch the seat? Because I'm assuming the reasons for entering the bathroom are not particularly high on Sampson's List of Sanitary Activities and a good handwashing will be in order afterward regardless of seat position. But I'm just guessing.

(Note: Sampson's List of Sanitary Activities is a fictional list and should not be sought at your local library.)

There are all sorts of things that just.don't.bother.me. Like unmade beds or a purse that doesn't match my shoes. I also don't mind misspellings on scrapbook layouts or chairs that haven't been pushed in. I've been known to drink white wine with beef.

It's all such small stuff. And I don't sweat the small stuff.

But then there is the large stuff. Huge. Big. Totally sweatworthy. Like . . .

  • Catching my iPod headphones on a piece of furniture and ripping them from my ears. This INFURIATES ME! I try to remember to snake the headphones through my shirt to avoid this, but I don't always remember. Want to hear some foul language? Impersonate a cabinet knob and pull out Karen's headphones and then prepare to clutch your pearls!
  • Listening to John eat cereal. It's been 11 years and cereal has never dropped from #1 on John's List of Favorite Foods. Morning meal? Cereal. Evening snack? Cereal. Decibel level? 10,872. I think Frosted Mini Wheats and Grape Nuts should come with a complimentary set of earplugs. I'm just sayin'!
  • Commercial Shows that simultaneously go to commercial. You know what I mean, right? You're watching one show and it goes to commercial, so you hit the "jump" button to switch to your backup channel. Probably it's something that you have seen a million times, like Jaws or Overboard or maybe something on VH1 (Remember 1992) or E! (101 Celebrity Bloopers) - something that you can just watch for a few minutes and then switch back to your primary program. But so often it goes to commercial AT. THE. SAME. TIME!!! Which is why the "jump" button should really be a three or fourway toggle switch. (Note to DVR manufacturers. The first one to come out with a 3 or 4way channel toggle button becomes my new Moxie, cost be darned!)

(Note: John's List of Favorite Foods actually CAN be checked out from your local library!)

(Note: Just kidding)

And so, in conclusion, if you've made it this far it should be painfully obvious that I didn't have much to blog about today. The kitchen cabinets are on order and demo will start right after Thanksgiving. The chance of the kitchen being 100% complete by December 17th (the day of my crop) range from slim to none, so I have regretfully postponed my crop until January. Now I'm just shooting for a Christmas Kitchen. Whoo hoo!

By the way - who else thinks Peter on The Amazing Race is a jerkface with a capital JERK?! Sarah should take her one good foot and kick him to the curb! And then they should go find Zack and Flo from Season 3 and swap partners so Peter and Flo can scream at each other and Zack can cheer Sarah on to victory in her next triathlon, perhaps loaning her his headband, and they'll live happily ever after with three legs and a lot of hair. I mean really - isn't Peter the person who made her leg? Do they not sell hydraulic fluid and tools in India? He's got his driver's license and a 12-hour break - FIX HER KNEE ALREADY!!! Or, if he can't fix it, STOP YELLING AT HER TO HURRY! I would have rooted for the crocodile to eat his foot if I didn't think it was bad for the crocodile.

Oooooh. Burn!

RMQOTD (Legend has it a crocodile bit half your leg off.)


SB EXPO AUSTIN - Need Workers!

Hey guys! At long last I have a new post, which is below this one, but I needed to post for workers, too.

I'm running the DollarScrapbooking Booth in Austin (Oct 19-21) next week and need booth workers.

Here are the shifts:

THURSDAY SET-UP 11am - 5 pm (need 2-3 workers) Lunch is on us. Duties include: setting up tables, putting out baskets, opening packages, stocking booth, etc. Dress comfortably and casually. Work this day for first shot at all the great products!

FRIDAY: 8am - noon (need 2 workers), noon-4pm (need 2 workers), 4pm-7:30pm (need 2 workers)

The vendor faire is open from 9-6 on Friday. Admission to the show is included. Work two shifts and we'll buy lunch. Wear comfy shoes.

SATURDAY: 8am-noon (need 2 workers), noon-5pm (need 2 workers), 5pm-8pm (need 2 workers)

The vendor faire is open from 9-5 on Saturday. Admission to the show is included. Work two shifts and we'll buy lunch. The 5-8 shift is for tearing down the booth, which includes boxing up product and loading the containers. Wear comfy shoes.

Payment is $10 an hour or 20 items an hour. You can combine payment as you see fit. (Say 20 items plus $30 for working a 4-hour shift) To get an idea of the quality of items, go to the DollarScrapbooking Website - we're talking really great stuff here!

Booth duties include restocking items, answering questions, managing the line and the baskets, bagging orders, and straightening. The booth is crowded at all times, so you won't be bored.

e-mail me: karen.bee4@gmail.com and tell me which shifts interest you. Thanks!

ALSO: The CK BELLEVUE (NOVEMBER 3-4) convention is right around the corner. The same info applies except I only have a few shifts still available:

Friday: noon-4 (need 2 or 3), 4-7 (need 1)

Saturday: 1-5 (need 1), 5-8 (need 1)

Would love to hear from you!


I did it!

Something_heavy I am no longer TUSH! (Trapped Under Something Heavy) Woo hoo!

So much has been going on around here so let me explain . . .

No. It is too much. Let me sum up:

Karl was tutored at home for three weeks while they switched him to another school that is much further away so he's now riding the bus and has to get up at an indecent hour which requires me to do likewise and three weeks without working put me terribly behind in several deadlines that I scrambled to repair and the kitchen plans were totally put on hold and the contractor stopped calling and threw away my file meaning I had to start over (sort-of) when I finally got back to it last week with the idea that I am determined to have a beautiful new kitchen by December 17th when I will host a crop for my local club and I got to go to Rusty Pickle's retreat last week and teach a class and I have two trips for DollarScrapbooking coming up and no, I'm not at Memory Trends.

All caught up? All rightie then!

The Rusty Pickle trip was just fabulous, and flattering, and fabulous. Those Chefs are seriously talented! I flew in for just one day, taught a class, and flew home again since my anniversary was the next day. Wish I could have hung out longer, though. The class project, not surprisingly, (I mean, we're talking ME here, and I can't seem to improve in these two arenas) was slightly too long and slightly too complicated but what was so nice about teaching to a group of professional designers was that they taught you just as much as you taught them. We pooled our knowledge and got a gameplan for tweaking the class to be more universally do-able and time-conscious. Look for the class, called Girl, Unexpected, to be taught by Lance at stores in the upcoming months. I hope to do some more class design for Rusty Pickle because the people and the products . . . MWAH!

In my mad dash of preparations for the trip, though, I was able to EITHER get my hair highlighted or buy an anniversary gift for John. My hair looks great. Heh

Our anniversary was Saturday and we had plans to go to dinner and a play. My parents kept the kids for the weekend. Sometimes if we make plans we don't do gifts, so I was hoping this was one of those times. As I boarded the plane on Friday evening to head back home, I gave him a call.

Me: Hey there! I'm on the plane - should be home in a few hours. I'm looking forward to our anniversary plans! Um . . .are we doing . . .you know . . . gifts?

John: Well *I* got *you* a gift! (He said that sort of affronted-like, as though it was a silly question)

Me: Oh! Well of course. I mean, I got you one too, but I didn't want to embarrass you in case you didn't get me a gift. No worries.

John: See you soon.

Me: Okie doke! Hey, it's raining here and we might be delayed. Don't worry if I'm late.

Actually, it WAS raining in Salt Lake, and we WERE delayed, which made the whole ruse of buying myself some shopping time moot. By the time I made it to my car in Denver it was 8:30 pm and Best Buy, which was 20 minutes away, closed at 9!

Look, the way to a man's heart is not through his stomach.

My guess is that Laura Ingalls coined that term and her choices were:

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

The way to a man's heart it through covering him in ice to break the fever that came on with the pneumonia that was caused by moonlighting as an ice delivery man to subsidize the rent at his ex-girlfriend's sister's blind school.

I mean, the point is that food for a man in days of yore was a welcomed break from heavy manual labor, bathing in an icy creek, or picking up supplies in Mancedo. Obviously you could woo him with strudel.

But nowadays even Betty Crocker is shopping at Best Buy because the way to a man's heart is not through his stomach . . .it's through electronics!

I knew what I would buy for John. I bought him an iPod several years ago when 13 Megs was the top-of-the-line. Recently his iPod stopped working and I suggested that he send it in for repairs. It's been on his list of things to do for over a month and in the meantime he's been borrowing my iPod for his bike rides and business trips. I figured it was time to upgrade him to a new one that played video, etc. (And to get my iPod back, of course)

I found a sales guy, told him what I wanted, and he retrieved a 30Meg black iPod from the locked case. I told him I wanted some sort of sports sleeve for it so John could ride his bike and he grabbed that for me too, all the while saying "You're a nice wife!" while giving me a look that suggested he'd marry me too if only I'd buy him a new iPod for our 11th anniversary. I was so totally NOT looking my best, either. I'd been traveling, and driving, and stressing, and my makeup had worn off hours ago, leaving Mt. Vesuvius looking lava-red on my chin. But he only saw the iPod-buying-beauty on the inside.

Beer goggles got nothin' on electronics, yo!

The whole transaction was over in 7 minutes. I'm a very proficient last-minute shopper! And I was rather sneaky in how I presented it to John. I wrapped up the sports sleeve but put the iPod in my purse. The next morning went something like this:

Me: Happy Anniversary! Open your present!

John: (pulls out the sports sleeve) Oh. Wow. This is . . . great.

Me: (enthusiastically) If you ever get your iPod fixed you can use it for your bike rides!

John: Uh. Yeah, yeah. That will be great.

Me: I thought it might encourage you to send in your iPod. Are you going to send it in?

John: Uh. Yeah. I'll do that. (thinks to himself: My present is so much better than this!)

Me: Well . . . I guess you won't have to wait. (hands him the iPod)

John: WHAT?!!! What did you do? Oh come here, my precious!

That last part about precious was not, I repeat, NOT in regards to me! In fact, he only had eyes for the iPod after finding out its features. He forbade anyone to touch it while it was charging because he didn't want a single fingerprint on the shiny silver backing.

John: You know, I really like your hard plastic case - do you think they make those for the big iPods?

Me: Yeah, they probably do. You want to exchange the sports sleeve?

John: If you wouldn't mind. Your case is really strong, too, although I did crack it.

Me: Yeah, I noticed that. How did you crack it?

John: I dropped it while riding.

Me: While RIDING?!!! You dropped my iPod while RIDING?!!!

John: Yeah, and I dragged it for a block. No damage though. See how great that case is?

On Sunday he begged me to go exchange the case for him. He couldn't touch his iPod, after all, and it was killing him. I agreed, still on the high from the beautiful jewelry he gave me.

In Best Buy I scanned the wall of iPod cases, noting all the brightly colored silicone, but not seeing a hard shell case. I asked a salesguy who looked to be about 19 if they had any hard shell cases for the bigger iPods.

Salesguy: Yeah, we have them right there. (Points toward the wall of silicone.)

I couldn't see any hard cases, so I examined the trajectory of his gesture and honed in on an empty peg with fine print that said "VideoShell" above it. He was pointing right at it.

Me: You mean the peg where nothing's there?

Salesguy: (seems to notice for the first time that he's pointing at nothing) Oh, yeah. The one with nothing there. Hmmm. Let's check the other side.

It was looking bleak but he did finally find one lone case and I gleefully took it home, where John was pacing back and forth and staring longingly at his iPod charging on the table.

You may think that two trips to Best Buy was enough for a weekend, but think again! We have one of those Reward Zone cards that gives you coupons throughout the year, so I was able to save 10% on the iPod and the case and I still had one more coupon that was expiring yesterday.

So I bought a refrigerator!

Initially I had a salesguy who I will call "Carny" because he seriously looked like he'd spent years on the carnival circuit running the Tilt-o-Whirl. In a pleasant turn of events, however, he turned me over to Beau, who was only slightly older than 19-year-old-point-at-nothing-guy but infinitely easier on the eyes. As he was ringing me up he let out a large hiccup.

Beau: Sorry about that. I get weird hiccups.

Me: Oh I know what you mean. When I get hiccups they tend to stay with me throughout the day.

Beau: No. I mean I let out one large hiccup every hour.

Me: Okay then.

The fridge is coming on Friday. After taking such a long break from my kitchen plans I spent a fortune yesterday, putting down deposits on cabinets and new flooring and buying a refrigerator. Still, it's feeling real, and that's a good thing!

And it feels great to crawl out from under that rock!

RMQOTD (I lost my hand! I lost my bride! Johnny has his hand! Johnny has his bride!)