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December 2006

Frightful!

As in "the weather outside is"

As in "a month without a kitchen is"

The contractor is coming bright and early tomorrow to demolish the kitchen. It's also frigidly cold outside and a light snow is falling. If enough snow falls, the children will have a snow delay or *shudder* a snow day! What will this mean? For the demo crew, a constant soundtrack something like this:

"What's that there? What are you doing next? Where are you putting that cabinet? I'm wondering how that tool works. Is that the plumbing for the sink? I'm wondering where the water comes from. Can I see in that electrical box? I wish I had a hammer. Where will our old sink go? How does that water hook up to the refrigerator? See that there? That's our old filtered water, but Mom never changed the filter so we were drinking unfiltered water for months! I'm wondering how that filter works. Is that a Phillips head screwdriver? How many volts does that drill need? Where do the volts come from? Can I see inside the garbage disposal? What's that tube from the dishwasher? I wish I could help."

And so on . . .

And so forth . . .

And so we must all wish warm thawing thoughts for a long and proper school day tomorrow.

The flooring contractor dropped off a huge pile of wood today to let it aclimate. They'll start laying the new floor on Monday.

This is all very exciting.

And by "exciting" I mean "frightening".

To Be Continued . . .


Moments

Have you ever had one of those moments where you're sitting around wondering if your contractor would just show up to demolish your kitchen without calling first?

No? Just me?

Six weeks ago we discussed a start date of the Monday after Thanksgiving, but nobody called last week to confirm. Endless games of computer Scrabble have not shed any light on the issue. I know! Weird.

I mean, if I were to empty out the cabinets and then they called to say that it would be another week, well that would be a lot of unnecessary work plus a lot of time that could otherwise be spent playing Scrabble. You see the dilemma.

On a completely different subject, we belong to the YMCA. (I told you: Completely.Different.Subject.) Yesterday we went swimming and the kids were excited that the water slide was open. They only recently grew tall enough to go down the slide, so they're relative newbies. The lifeguard assigned to the slide signals to the top when it's clear for the next kid. Karl has, in the past, ignored the signal and hopped on the slide too early, causing whistles, finger-wagging, and general admonishment. In light of such history, I thought I should probably go over the rules with him again.

The lifeguard heard me going over the rules and assumed that it was Karl's first time on the slide. The lifeguard made him stand by the height-requirometer to verify his size and then the lifeguard said it was OK for him to use the slide. Why do I keep saying "the lifeguard" instead of "he" or "she"?Pat

Because the lifeguard looked like this: 

He/she had short feathered hair, androgynous glasses, and was wearing a tank top and shorts. No straps were visible under the tank top, making it impossible for me to determine which pronoun to use.

Me: Karl, remember that you have to look at the lifeguard before you go down the slide. The lifeguard will give you a signal when it's time to go. You can't go until the lifeguard says it's OK.

See what I did there? The lifeguard could hear our conversation, you see. I was really quite proud of the job I was doing. But then the lifeguard jumped into the convo:

Lifeguard: Has he been down the slide before?

Me: Yes, but he can't see well, so he has a hard time seeing your signal.

Lifeguard: Can he hear OK?

Me: Yes, his hearing is fine.

Lifeguard: I'll just call out "Go!" when it's safe.

Me: Oh that would be great, thanks! (and then, calling after Karl) Karl, she'll say "Go!" when it's time to go!

AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH! I realized what I said immediately after it fell, unrecoverable, from my mouth. The lifeguard had his/her back to me, so I thought about running as fast as I could in the opposite direction, but right then, at that perilous moment, in an "angels we have heard on high" type of way, I happened to notice the ever-so-slight hint of a STRAP under HER tank top!

WHEW!

Saved, uncharacteristically, from an oh-so-Karen embarrassing situation.

In other embarrassing situations, we seem to be the only house on our block who doesn't love Christmas. Or so you might surmise by the black hole of darkness that is our home once the sun goes down. Everyone else has been oh so ho-ho-holly-jolly, taking advantage of the warm weather this weekend to decorate their houses with lights and candy canes and blow-up snowmen and Santa statuettes. As I type I am keeping an eye on our across-the-street neighbor who is darting all over his roof like a well-seasoned reindeer, hanging icicle lights from the tippiest-top peak of his house while his wife arranges greenery around the front door and decorates the porch swing with bright red bows.

Show-offs.

Even when we get around to decorating, which will not likely be today, since I need to verify my life insurance policy before even opening the door to the storage room . . .

Yes, those of you who have been reading a while may remember my Boxhoarder post from January of this year, when the storage room was cleaned. No, I didn't kick the habit. Yes, the boxes are back. Don't judge me!

. . . it will be a rather meager display of icicle lights along the garage and lower gutter, some colored lights wrapping two columns, and perhaps a smattering of lights in the front yard tree.

Look, if you put them up, you have to take them DOWN, you know. And that takes TIME. And ENERGY. And GOOD TIME-MANAGEMENT SKILLS.

And the simple truth is that Scrabble isn't going to play itself!

REQOTD ("Treat others the way you would like to be treated"? THAT'S the Golden Rule? I thought the Golden Rule was to have fun. I guess that must be the Silver Rule.)


Venturing Out

On Monday we ventured out. Emma had a playdate so Karl and I went on our own makeshift playdate, which consisted primarily of errands, but also included lunch out, so he wasn't totally gypped.

Crafters_pick_1Lamenting my complete and utter lack of horse hooves, one of our stops was Hobby Lobby where I was armed with a 40% off coupon and was determined to find an excellent altering glue. I chose this:

I chose . . . wisely!

It's AWESOME!  Dries fast, dries clear, sticks to plastic-coated-wire baskets. In other words, it's AWESOME! (Oh wait, those are the same words)

Saturday we ventured out to buy a dishwasher and to select the tile for the backsplash. Sunday we cleaned the house and then our neighbor, Alex, came to babysit so John and I could go to the movies. Prior to her arrival Karl asked if he could have a piece of his Halloween candy. Emma's candy has been gone since, oh, November 1st, but Karl has been spacing his out.

Karl: Can I eat this candy?

Me: Yes, but be careful about the chocolate. If you get chocolate on your hands make sure you DO NOT wipe them on any furniture or the carpet or anything.

Karl: Why not?

Me: (did he really just ask me that?!) Why do you suppose, Karl?

Karl: Because Alex is coming to babysit?

Yes, my son apparently thinks "company's coming" is the only reason not to use furniture as napkins. Some jenius! Remind me to examine the downstairs couch and his bed. Bleh.

Yesterday I didn't venture out. Of my pajamas. The weather was lovely and the kids were outside, so it was time to tackle the square basket that I bought at the same time as the round one.

This one uses two Fancy Pants papers and one piece of We R Memory Keepers Boho Chic. The corners were the tricky part, since they couldn't be easily woven, so I needed the glue. The gold netting trim is from the holiday section of Hobby Lobby and the brown ribbon is from the sewing section. Both were on sale. Sandy recently went to a bead show and bought me the brown heart beads. I had the pearl ones in my stash. In hindsight, I probably should have spray-painted the basket gold instead of leaving it white, but I'm certainly not starting over.Brown_basket_collage 

Today we're venturing out. Not enough funny stuff happens around here and my blog is due for a really funny story, don't you think? Plus the kids have insanely amusing conversations in the van. Not that we're venturing out solely for blog-fodder, of course.

I also want a few more of the wire baskets.

Heh.

REFOTD (Random Emma Fact of the Day): Yesterday she learned to whistle. She's a whistling fool. Whistle, whistle, whistle. Hey. . . "whistle" would be an excellent Scrabble word, especially if you could hit the red triple space with it! But I digress. After 24 hours of near constant whistling, I'm no longer calling it "impressive" so much as "annoying". I asked her to take a break from the whistling so she switched to singing Feliz Navidad. Loudly. But accurately. I mean, she doesn't even mumble through the Spanish parts. Bravo, school system! I call that impressive.

For now.


Somebody stop me!

Seriously. My house is a wreck. In 2 hours my kids' WEEK-LONG Thanksgiving break will start and instead of doing anything remotely responsible with my last day of freedom . . . I altered.

The white wire bucket and the fake poinsettias are from the dollar store. The paper is Basic Grey Fruitcake. Other supplies are green rickrack, beaded green organza ribbon, and jingle-bell-beaded red satin ribbon.

Ev asked what I'm going to do with it.

Dunno.

Am I supposed to have a purpose?

I'll probably fill it with gifts & goodies and give it to someone for the holidays. Or maybe I'll keep it as decoration, fill it with bulb ornaments and put it in the center of the be-draped dining room where a table really ought to be. I'll figure out something.

Christmas_pail

I'm getting rather passable at this altering stuff, huh? (Be kind)

RKQOTD (I wish it was summer so the trees wouldn't be just trunks with a bunch of sticks on them.)


Ornamental, my dear Watson!

So I'm talking to Cheryl on the phone the other day and she mentions that she has to run to the craft store for more of whatever fabulous glue she uses to make all those fabulous altered items. I told her that if I found myself suddenly out of glue I'd be mixing up some baking soda or melting down a horse hoof or something - anything to keep me from having to venture out.

And no, I don't actually have any horse hooves lying around.

But I digress. . .Dining_room_drapes

I put the draperies up last week after purchasing them with my 20%-off-everything coupon. Here are some photos:

Bay Window - before and after

Side Window - after. The eggplant color of the curtains looks like it was dyed to match the walls! Awesome!

We remain sans-table until the hardwood floors go in.

Finial_1The drapes are button-top chenille and the rods came with these fancy twisty finials, of which I only needed 2 for the bay window.

Looking at the four leftover finials it struck me that they'd make great Christmas ornaments.

Which brings me back to my original point about the horse hooves.

I wanted to alter the finials, but I needed to figure out how to hang them. They're threaded, so the most logical solution would have been a trip to the hardware store to see if they had eye-hooks with the same size thread. Did I do that? Of course not!

Instead I spent a bunch of time cutting up a styrofoam block to make plugs, threading chains through the foam, hot gluing the plugs into the finials, and then covering the tops with punched cardstock circles. It worked, but probably took longer than a trip to the hardware store.

The ornaments turned out adorable, though:Finial_ornaments_isolated

#1: Gold and Silver ribbon woven, God's Eye style, through the ornament. Gold organza ribbon bow.

#2: Tacky tape wrapped around each spoke and then dipped in green glitter. Red ribbon bow and hot-glued silver star button.

#3: Beaded wire wrapped around the spokes. Silver ribbon bow.

#4: Tightly wrapped ribbon around the spokes. Gold ribbon bow.

Pinecone_ornament_isolated I also had the wild idea to decorate a pinecone as an ornament. I only made one. You can see why:

I sat on the floor and hand-cut all those little pieces of paper and hot-glued them onto the pinecone. Why did I do this? Dunno.

It's one piece of Scenic Route paper, glitter and ribbon.

Plus a pinecone.

Plus a lot of patience.

Oh, and you have to hang the ornament low on the tree so you can see all the *&%@# paper! From the side it still looks like a brown pinecone. Aurgh!

And that's what I've been doing instead of laundry.

REQOTD (Emma: Thanks for giving all those craft supplies to my Girl Scout troop, Mom. Me: No problem - that's what Moms are for! Emma: (after a long pause) Well . . . I don't think that's what Moms are FOR, exactly.)


Fire that Fairy!

The kids had appointments with Dr. McMeltMe yesterday. He's the orthodontist who has been monitoring the evolution of my children's snaggletooth smiles. The update is as follows: Orthodontia is in their future, and the only question is when. Dr. Mc explained that he'd like to wait until he can do it all in one fell swoop, rather than stretching out their care for years. To which I answered:

"Really? Because we could come here for years. Really, we could. We don't live very far away (giggle) and what else do I have to do? You smell dreamy!"

OK, well maybe I didn't exactly say that *out loud* but I was thinking something in that vein. (I'm a married spud. I'm a married spud.)

Emma's front tooth was hanging by a thread at her appointment. She was determined to let yesterday's corn dog lunch remove her tooth, so she wouldn't pull it. Sure enough, she came home from school with the tooth tucked nicely in an envelope and, for once, we had nary a scare of losing it.

Emma_tooth_blog

Which is not to say that we didn't have drama. *sigh*

The last time Emma lost a tooth the Tooth Fairy forgot to come. The TF realized this first thing in the morning and high-tailed it to Emma's room. Emma was already up, but the TF hoped that she had forgotten to check under her pillow. Sure enough, Emma was sitting nicely in her bed, playing with a doll and humming to herself. There were no hysterics, which lead the TF to believe that the tooth had been forgotten.

The TF sent Emma on an errand to find a hairbrush and then quickly shoved some money under the pillow. Whew!

As I passed her in the hall I nonchalantly said: "Hey Emma, did the Tooth Fairy come?" expecting her to gasp in remembrance and high-tail it to her room.

"No," she answered, matter-of-factly, "My tooth is still there."

What?! She had looked? Oh man! What now? "Uh," I stammered, "Maybe she was running late. Shouldn't you check again?"

"OK," she said, "But I just figured I'd try again tonight." She strolled into her room, discovered the money, and was amazed.

"Mom!" she called. "The Tooth Fairy came this morning!"

"What? While we were both upstairs? How gutsy of her. I didn't see anything, did you?"

"No! How did she get in without us seeing her?"

"Oh. Uh . .. maybe she came through the window."

"The window is closed."

"Well . . yeah . . but maybe she turned herself into fairy dust."

"Mom, even fairy dust can't go through a solid window."

I just stared at her dumbly for a second as beads of sweat appeared on my forehead. Finally I whisked her out of the room, saying: "Magic! It's all magic. What do you want for breakfast?"

This whole Tooth Fairy thing is a lot of work! Emma was disappointed that the TF hadn't left a note, as per her usual practice. I explained that maybe the TF didn't *always* leave a note, or maybe she only left a note if the kid wrote *her* a note, or maybe she only left a note when she needed to explain something, like that she was giving the tooth to the mom for a scrapbook page.

Which brings us to this morning, when I sat bolt-upright in bed, and said, with elegance, "SH*T!"

John: What?!

Me: The Tooth Fairy didn't come *again*! Oh geez.

John: There's some money on the nightstand - go sneak . . .

Me: She expects a note. I'm going to have to sneak downstairs first.

So I snuck downstairs, where Emma was watching TV, and composed the following note:

Dear Emma, Huff! Puff! I am so tired! You keep losing a tooth at the same time as a lot of other children, so it takes me a long time to make it to each house. I had to sneak into your room again after you were already up. Do you want to know how I did it? Nope, can't tell you - it's a secret! So you finally lost your other front tooth. It's a fine tooth. I'm leaving you a dollar for it. See you next tooth! The Tooth Fairy

As I passed Emma, she mentioned that the TF had forgotten to come. I explained that maybe she was just running late, casually sauntered from view . . . and then ran like mad to Emma's room!

Breathing hard and reminding myself that two sets of stairs doth not Pikes Peak make, and perhaps I should start training for the Ascent soon, I shoved the pillow aside. Oh man! She'd written a note! What if it had a question in it? Or a request for Two Dollars?! I quickly unfolded the note and was relieved to see that it merely said:

Dear Tooth Fairy. My mom wants this tooth.

OK. Breathe. Breathe. I grabbed the note and the tooth and got out of there. After a few minutes I called down to Emma:

"Emma, are you sure that the Tooth Fairy didn't come? Because I just found your tooth under my pillow!"

She came running, found the dollar, found the note, and seemed perfectly satisfied.

And so the Tooth Fairy got out of another scrape. I believe she, like John, has a bit of the feline in her. Or, more probably, Emma is wise to everything and doing a marvelous job of acting.

RKCOTD (Me: Karl, you sure like yellow, with your yellow coat and yellow backpack. Karl: What if I had yellow wallpaper, and a yellow bedspread, and yellow toys, and yellow clothes? Me: You'd probably only eat bananas! Karl: (looking around the living room at the various decorations, including some decorative orbs in a vase) And what if I had a yellow couch, and a yellow chair, and yellow candles, and yellow vases and yellow balls? Me: Bwaaaa haaaa haaaa! Karl: What's so funny?)


It's a FANCY purse!

Emma has a friend over for a sleepover, which is wonderful because I was able to finish an altered purse that I've been working on, on and off, for a few days. My first color scheme (pink, white, teal) ended up looking like a handy tin in which to carry maxi-pads. It just screamed "Stayfree!". So I ripped it apart and started over with the reds and blacks. I like it much better now.

Sr_purse_collage_1

Supplies: Scenic Route papers, Prima flowers, Junkitz jump ring, Jewelcraft fringe, Creative Impressions eyelets, large silk flower, rhinestones, bead chain, wire, beads, ribbon and Crystal Lacquer

The girls were in the backyard when I went out to take photos of it:

Me: Hey Emma, Tarrin - come over here and tell me what you think of this purse I made.

Tarrin: (gallops over) Oh wow! It's a FANCY purse!

Me: Why yes! It's very fancy. Do you like it?

Tarrin: Sure do!

Emma: (lopes over with much less enthusiasm) That's pretty cool. (yawns) I know what you made it out of - that Girl Scout tin that had Whoppers in it.

Me: (impressed) You're right!

Emma: And YOU ate all the Whoppers!

Uh. OK, yeah, probably so. I mean, I didn't eat them all at one sitting or anything, but it's possible that the tin was, you know, inadvertently tucked behind a box of mac n' cheese in the pantry or something. Inadvertently, that is.

Look, the Whoppers needed to be eaten so I could make the tin into a FANCY purse! Don't judge me!

But do tell me what you think of the purse.

RKQOTD (Mom, did you know that a shark can smell a drop of blood in a million drops of water?)


Nine Lives

Let's talk about cats, man!

We don't have any cats. We don't have any pets at all, actually. John used to have a few fish during his whole Feng Shui phase, but they died and weren't replaced. Actually, there's a funny story to that - he named his three fish Dory, Marlin and Nemo. Cute, huh? Yeah, the kids thought so, too. They were about five years old at the time.

Do you know the life expectancy of a fish that you pay nine cents for? We're talking the fish that are marketed as food for larger fish. Exactly.

Nemo died first.

After a heartfelt and delicate explanation of the whole "circle of life" to the children, Emma asked: "Where is Nemo now?"

To which my mother, who had just entered the room, said "We flushed him!"

Nice.

Dory and Marlin didn't last much longer. Our only other foray into the world of pet ownership (since the kids, I mean - we used to have a Jack Russell terrorist pre-kids) was Pumpkin, the hamster. She lasted 9 days. After 4 days it was obvious that she was sick with wet tail so we took her back to the pet shop where they said they'd "take her to the vet." John pointed out that it was very unlikely that they would attempt to save an $8 hamster and perhaps "vet" was a euphemism for "dumpster". In any case, they called us 5 days later to say that our hamster had "passed away" and that we could come choose another one.

No thanks!

And by now you're probably hoping that I'm not going to announce that we've acquired a kitten. We haven't.

No, the title of this post refers to my husband, who must have a bit o' the feline in him because he definitely has nine lives, at least with me. Somehow he always gets out of scrapes. The discarded BB&B and LnT coupons are now a non-issue because LnT has a Veterans Day coupon, good tomorrow and Saturday, that gives you 20% off your ENTIRE ORDER and BB&B will accept it! Meow!

Speaking of cats, I would be remiss if I didn't gush on my dear friend Cat, who lives in the land o' banana slugs and was grand help and company at the Bellevue show. Cat, Sandy and I went to dinner on Thursday after setting up the booth, and as we waited for a table we engaged in typical mindless chatter:

Me: So have you always been "Cat" or do you also go by "Catherine"?

Cat: In high school I was Catherine but I changed it to Cat in college.

Me: And do you know Kitty?

Cat: Kitty Foster? Sure. Why? (looks at me quizzically)

Me: (realizing that the cat connection isn't really as interesting said out loud as it is in my head) Uh, because you both have cat names? (babbling now) I mean, it's kind of cool that I have two friends with cat names. You know - cat, kitty - get it?

Cat: I get it.

Me: Well . . . plus there's my good friend Puss.

Cat: (laughs, but quickly turns to Sandy, who is not babbling incoherently) So how did you and Karen meet?

Sandy: We met at a stamp store where she used to teach. She invited herself to a party I was having.

Me: Yeah, I really did. She was having a CTMH party and I'd never been to one so I asked if I could come. I was eavesdropping on her and her actual friends.

Cat: Hmmm, typical. (turns back to Sandy) Has she started stealing your jewelry yet?

Me: Ix-nay on the ewelry-jay! I've got my eyes on a nice brooch! Plus, that's how I lost my good friend El Gato.

And then we laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed. I pretty much called her El Gato for the rest of the weekend. Good times.

Blog_collage_1 In other news, Karl lost a tooth yesterday at school and they sent it home, nicely packaged, in a small sealed envelope. Now I've mentioned our whole penchant for losing lost teeth, right? And yet, I thought if I just explained to Karl how careful he needed to be with the tooth it would be fine to take a picture in the grass.

Picture #1 shows the gap (lower his-left, your-right)

Picture #2 shows him looking down at the tooth

Picture #3 shows him (you guessed it) dropping the tooth

Karl, Mom, Emma in unison: AAAUUUUUGH!!!

But actually, we found it! How amazing is that?

Now to explain this next part, I have to paste in an excerpt of Karl's first note from the tooth fairy, back in the summer of 2005:

Congratulations on losing your first tooth! This is my first time coming to your house. I like your room. That was a nice song playing on the CD player. I danced just a little bit. (Shhhh, don't tell anyone!)

Karl used to listen to music on his boombox, but since he got his iPod, he now uses an iPod pillow (you can find them at BB&B, and receive 20% off if you're lucky enough to have an unambitious husband and therefore; a coupon)

Karl announced last night that he would be writing a note to the Tooth Fairy but that none of us would be allowed to read it. It was private, he said.

However, the Tooth Fairy generously let me know what it said:

Sorry but now you might not be able to listen to my music. Can I have two dollars?

Yes, my son attempted to weasel double payment from the Tooth Fairy! How very industrious of him! The Tooth Fairy left him the standard dollar with a note of explanation:

I'm leaving you a dollar for your tooth. I know that you requested two dollars, but the 2006 Standard Tooth Price List requires me to leave one dollar per tooth.

And this was, of course, completely reasonable to Karl. If there is a guide/standard/owner's manual, that's unquestionable authority!

He's doing very well at his new school, by the way. We had a conference yesterday and his teacher said that he's adapting nicely, but that he tends to forget to raise his hand and sometimes interrupts and/or shouts out the answers.

I discussed this with him this morning:

Me: Karl, your teachers say that you're doing well, but that you're not remembering to raise your hand and that you sometimes interrupt. Why is that?

Karl: Well I usually know the answer.

Me: I understand that, but the other kids might also know the answer and are just taking a moment to think about it. You need to wait until you're called on, and you need to stop being such a know-it-all. Nobody likes a know-it-all.

Karl: Well it's hard not to be a know-it-all when I actually know it all.

True story.

RKQOTD (Mom, I want Emma to stop pulling my finger!)


Twenty-Percent Off

What constitutes a hero? Our servicepeople, naturally, and indestructible cheerleaders, but what about everyday heroes? A teacher that goes that extra mile for a child. Volunteers who deliver food to shut-ins. A neighbor who rescues your cat from a tree. And, of course, RoCLV's.

What are RoCLV's, you ask? Really? You have to ask?

RoCLV's are Reporters of Carpool Lane Violations, and, in Washington state, they're heroes. As evidence, consider the signs on the Interstate that read:

REPORT CARPOOL LANE VIOLATIONS - CALL 564-HERO

I tell you. Some blog posts just write themselves.

We were heading to the airport Sunday morning when I saw the signs. I mentioned them to Sandy, who has been nice enough to go with me on several trips now, and assumed that my comment of "HERO?! That's the phone number they chose for carpool lane violation reporters?" would start a delightfully snarky banter about the appropriateness of bestowing hero-status to stuck-in-traffic-tattle-tales.

But Sandy merely said "Oh, that's not very nice. I suppose they want the kids to call."

Truth time: I don't even know what that means!

Sandy and I speak different languages. She does not share my deep and abiding love of sarcasm. She can occasionally dish it out, and she can most definitely take it (please, she's been MY friend for years), but mostly she just ignores it, or responds with some sort of wholesome cheery comment.

Case in point #2: We were not seated together on the plane ride home, so we were exchanging flight stories upon our return.

Me: You know, I usually book a window seat for the ride home since I'm often tired and want to sleep, but I've figured out that I'm definitely an aisle girl.

Sandy: Really? I love the window. I like to feel cozy and closed in and I like to look out the window.

Me: I have control issues, and I hate not being able to get up if I need to. It just feels claustrophobic. I'm definitely an aisle girl.

Sandy: Well that's true. With an aisle seat you have that area next to you where the people walk up and down.

Me: (dryly) You mean the aisle?

Sandy: Well I know it isn't much room . . .

See that? My dry comment just sailed on by. It's a wonder, really, that we're such good friends, what with me being so wicked and her being so . . . not wicked! I actually have several friends who are extremely sweet and nice and I have to wonder -

What do they see in me? Heh.

But seriously, I love that Sandy can come with me on these trips. She's a good friend, invaluable at the booth, and we have a lot of fun together. Even if 20% of the time we don't understand each other.

Speaking of 20% off . . . (see what I did there?)

Last evening Becky came by to give me a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon. I've been saving them up so I can get rods and drapes for my dining room bay window. I need three rods, four panels, two connectors and nine coupons.

Now there isn't too much in my house that is sufficiently orderly - just passable (at best) - but I'm actually pretty good with my coupons. They end up in a white envelope that I carry in my purse so I always have them if I'm out shopping.

But when I go on trips I leave the white envelope at home, since I'm rarely buying draperies out-of-state. So after taking Becky's advice to check out the sunset:

Sunset

SunsetkarlAnd then after taking a photo of my trusty assistant:

I went looking for the envelope to file away my new coupon, but couldn't find it. Today I finally asked John about it:

Me: Hey, do you remember seeing a white envelope with a bunch of coupons in it?

John: Yep.

Me: What did you do with it?

John: (proudly) I filed the coupons into our newly created "Coupons" file folder in the cabinet downstairs!

Me: Wow! How very organized of you. OK, I'll look for it, thanks.

John: Of course, most of them were expired so I threw those away.

Me: (panicked) But not my Bed Bath & Beyond coupons, right?

John: Uh. . .

Me: Because they'll accept expired coupons at BB&B and Linens & Things. I've been saving up for months to get enough for the bay window.

John: Uh . . .

*sigh*

I tried explaining my frustration about him tackling the ONE thing that I actually WAS organized with, while he tried to convince me to be more appreciative of his efforts, until we ended the phone conversation with black clouds of grumbliness over our heads.

Back to the trips for a second - I must commend Sandy on her excellent photography equipment and skills. So impressive are they that I've been leaving my camera at home, bringing instead just my card reader so I can download Sandy's photos onto my laptop.

Scrap_expo_1 Only I haven't remembered to download her photos in two trips, so I have nothing to show for Austin or Bellevue except for an Austin photo of sisters Vicki, Amanda and Lacey, who were nice enough to ask for my photo when I'm really only big in Europe and to e-mail it to me afterward. It was pretty hard to get my swollen head back into the booth after that, lemme tell ya!

In Austin I was also able to see Brendan, John's best friend and the best man from our wedding, and Katie and Jessica, John's twentysomething cousins who are enjoying their post-college pre-kids years.

Katie and Jessica are not scrapbookers, but dutifully came down to the convention center to check things out on Saturday. They wandered the event, accepted an ATC from a zealous trader who expected them to mail her a return card since they came unprepared, (Note to zealous lady - don't hold your breath!) and even did a Make n' Take page at one of the booths. When Katie offered her scraps to the lady seated next to her there were audible gasps as they were instructed to "keep all your scraps to make a coordinating second page!" It was quite an eduction for two PYT's! (And hello - when I called them PYT's they didn't even have a CLUE what it meant, which only reinforced the designation)

OK, one last thing and then I release you from my clutches. I'm changing my sign-off again. I'm switching to either REQOTD (Random Emma Quote of the Day), RKQOTD (Random Karl Quote of the Day), or RKCOTD (Random Kid Conversation of the Day) This will encourage me to note (even better) the crazy and amusing things my kids say while not boring my blog audience with endless posts about the crazy and amusing things my kids say.

REQOTD (Mom, what's the Japanese word for ambulance?)