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Borderline

I just want to take a moment to extend a huge "thank you!" to all the Scrap-a-Ganza attendees who filled up this class without so much as a description! In honor of you I'm wearing my "I'm famous in Europe" tee shirt today. It's keeping me motivated for all the packing and chores!

And now, to finally unveil what you'll be making!

The Borderline spread is travel themed and uses primarily the Narratives Honeydew collection from Creative Imaginations with some Pizzazzil, Anthologie and Art Warehouse thrown in. It's a very generous kit and I thank Heidi for approving it.

The interactive techniques include a Tag Mountain on page one that reveals a hidden area for photos and journaling, and a nifty Roller Pull on page two that reveals two more hidden areas. You'll be able to fit a lot of photos and memories on this one spread, and with an easy page-protector modification, these pulls will work inside your album - no need to remove the layouts from the page protectors first.

Borderline_class_summary_2

Now some folks here in the States have seen this layout in person and want to take the class or purchase the kit so I will order the materials when I get back from Europe and this will be another class option on my website for stores and/or kit purchase.

My big summer plans include a lot of home time, and a lot of work on my website to make class kits available by mail order. I'm the only employee of my little business here, so I'm experiencing some growing pains, but bear with me and hopefully it will all be a well-oiled machine by fall!

I shall try to check in from Europe! Au Revoir!

RKQOTD (while he and Emma watched Joey Fatone dance his freestyle routine JOHN: Wow! That's sure cool the way he can lift her up and spin her around like that, huh? EMMA: Yeah. She doesn't seem to mind.)


Tuesday Play Day

It was Tuesday morning and my To-Do list was looking something like this:

  • Finish Borderline handout - e-mail to Heidi
  • Pack kits & box them up
  • Bills and mail
  • Send Verizon card to Kristi
  • Figure out how to unlock kids' bathroom door
  • Laundry
  • Clean house
  • Recyclables
  • Groceries
  • Goodwill
  • Teacher Gifts
  • Blog post
  • Check weather in France

Yes, I'm referring to France . . . the country! Leaving on Saturday for a teaching trip to Europe and am I ready? Signs point to "not a chance!"

But, after all, it was only Tuesday and I had a plan.

Until . . .

ME: (returning from walking Emma to school) Hey, why are you still home?

JOHN: I decided to take the day off! You just got back from a trip and now you're leaving again and I just thought it would be nice to spend the day together!

ME: Oh! How . . . uh . . . uh . . . nice!

Actually, after the shock wore off and I'd viewed the mental image of my to-do list spontaneously combusting, it WAS rather nice to spend the day together. We started with coffee.

Now there's a story, as there often is, about coffee. John's middle name is "Granola". OK, not really, but it should be. He's all about clean living, healthy snacks, working out, limited chemicals, etc. He drinks water with meals, doesn't do soda, and coffee is a very occasional thing.

But about a month ago he walked over to Starbucks with a co-worker and became . . . hooked!

JOHN: I had Starbucks this morning.

ME: Oh yeah?

JOHN: Yes, and it was so good! It perked me up! I had so much energy for work.

ME: Why do you think every office has a coffeemaker, Mr. Dumas?

JOHN: Well I know, but still - I didn't know it was so . . .

ME: Miraculous?

JOHN: Exactly!

And so his love affair with Starbucks was born. Within a couple of weeks he was going 2-3 times a week. I added a budget item for coffee. I'd find him with a dreamy far-off look and ask him what he was thinking of and the answer would invariably be; "Starbucks!" He bought a special mug.

JOHN: Guess what?! I bought a travel mug from Starbucks! Now I can carry my coffee back to the office without sloshing!

ME:
Well done. I'm so proud. What does something like that cost? Eight bucks?

JOHN: Seventeen. But I get a dime off my coffee every time I use it!

ME: So you'll have it paid off in a couple of weeks, then?

JOHN: Yep!

Little did he know, in his ignorant state of bliss, that tragedy was lurking . . .

JOHN: (a couple of days later) I rinsed out my coffee mug in the break room and put it by the sink to dry and then when I went to get it . . . it was GONE! I assumed one of my friends had taken it to mess with me, so I sent out a stern e-mail to return it. But they all claim that they didn't take it. (voice shaking, despondency setting in) Do you think it's possible that someone *choke* STOLE *gasp* my Starbucks mug?!

ME: (pausing, blinking, staring) Well YES it's possible that someone stole it. It's the BREAK ROOM! People steal all the time - sodas, leftovers, cookies - hello?! They don't even admit to getting the baby in the King Cake! (Louisiana shout-out) Did you at least have your name on it?

JOHN: No, I didn't have my name on it. It's our break room. Everybody leaves stuff in there.

ME: Dude. It's gone. Have you tried an e-mail to everyone?

JOHN: Well I posted a sign. "Lost - one red Starbucks mug. Return to the break room, no questions asked!" but what do I do? If I buy another one and then someone returns it . . .

ME: Just buy another one. If the other one turns up you can give it to me.

JOHN: (lovingly, with a "My soulmate!" sort of tone) You want your own Starbucks mug?!

ME: Not really.

He did buy another one, and the original one was never returned. On Tuesday he made a point of showing me the model of his mug. He pointed out all the features - the flip lid, the squishy ergonomic handle, the shiny loveliness of it - I think I've been replaced in his heart. I'm just sayin'!

He bought a different color than red which he explained was "too flashy". This time he wrote all over it: "Property of John Burniston" and "Do not steal this mug!" It gives the barristas a chuckle.

After coffee we went to Target to take care of teacher gifts. I wanted to cross at least one thing off the list, after all. As we were leaving I went to return our cart and noticed several wayward carts clogging the exit area so I just took a moment to tidy them up.

JOHN: What? Do you WORK here?!

ME: They were all over the place! It was hard to get around them.

JOHN: Oh wait! Here comes Mr. Monopoly!

ME: Huh?

JOHN: You know - Mr. Monopoly - with his monocle and limousine - to adopt you!

ME: (with dignity) Actually, that was Col. Sanders.

When I was a mid-kid, meaning old enough to return a shopping cart after Mom put the groceries in the trunk, I used to have this fantasy.

Even back then people were rude with the carts. They left them all over the parking lot, and there's nothing worse than thinking you've found an excellent spot only to find it clogged by grocery carts that were not returned to the proper area. At our smalltown grocery store, though, they didn't have those corrals out in the parking lot. If you were going to return the cart, you had to walk all the way up to the front of the store. And I, for one, was sullen about it.

MOM: Karen, return the cart.

ME: But M-aaaah-um, nobody returns the carts! Can't we just leave it here?

MOM: No. Take it to the front.

And so I would begrudgingly push the cart to the front. Mom didn't even drive up there to pick me up - I had to walk all the way back to the car!!!! Even in the RAIN!

It was those long hikes to the store and back that gave me time to develop my fantasy. Here's what I imagined happening:

A long stretch limousine pulls in front of me just as I'm about to cross with my cart. The door opens and a man in a white suit with a big hat, big mustache, and big accent steps out of the car. (He may have also had a cane - I did say Col. Sanders, didn't I?)

COL. SANDERS: I say, young lady! I shuh do appreciate you returning that cart! I had a job at a grocery as a teenager and I had to gather up all the carts in the parking lot because there just weren't enough people like you, little lady. I made my millions in the grocery business but I never had a daughter. I'd like to adopt you!

To this day I always return my carts. But of course I've outgrown the fantasy. If I seem to be looking around as I return my cart it is only because I'm interested in the scenery. Heh

After Target came an ill-timed bike ride where we got drenched by rain and then, when the kids got home from school, we kept the Play Day going by heading to the theater to see Shrek the Third.

The popcorn and drinks totaled $8.70 and I gave the lady a $20.

CONCESSION LADY: We have these collection jars for Children's Miracle Network. Would you like to contribute anything?

JOHN: You can put the coins in there.

CL: Why thank you! She gave me $11 and dropped the thirty cents in the jar.

ME: Well that seems rather cheap, doesn't it? Here, let me put the dollar in there, too.

CL: Thanks!

JOHN: Oh yeah. That will make a HUGE difference!

CL: (joining in on the joking) Yeah, they're all better now!

So we headed to the theater and before the previews started there was a commercial for the Children's Miracle Network. It showed several kids playing and one by one they'd say things to the camera:

KID1: I couldn't walk.

KID2: I couldn't breathe.

KID3: I was very sick.

KID4: I was very sick.

JOHN: Don't worry! A DOLLAR IS ON ITS WAY!!!!

After our active and fun-filled play day we settled, as we often do, onto the couch to watch TV. The general routine is that at 8 pm the kids get ready for bed, brush teeth, and give us "Hugs n Snugs". They then are allowed to read in bed for a half-hour, at which point we get involved in TV. When 8:30 comes around we pause the TV, call up "Lights out!" and the kids answer "OK" and we un-pause.

But there are times when we just plain forget to call "Lights out" and one or both of them decides to just keep reading until further notice. The other night this very thing occurred and Karl went to bed too late.

JOHN: We really have to do something about bedtime. We need a better routine to let them know when they have to turn out their lights.

ME: You mean like one of us prying our butt from the couch, climbing the stairs and verifying that they've turned their lights out?

JOHN: Good God, no! I was thinking a series of tones or something.

We may have a problem. I thought that the season finales of all our shows would drastically reduce our TV consumption for the summer, but now So You Think You Can Dance is starting, and Last Comic Standing, and that Next Best Thing impressions show . . . and round and round we go!

The Boston/New Hampshire trip was a lot of fun. Thanks to Sharon and Co., at Right at Home, for a thoroughly enjoyable class, and thanks to Dawn, Chris, Jenny, Lisa, JenDavis, Tami, Stephanie, Sandy and crazy-Cheryl for helping me run the booth. Couldn't have done it without you! MWAH!

RKQOTD (as Emma and I pulled into the driveway and saw John and Karl sitting in the garage working on a project EMMA: Mom! Be careful! You don't want to hit the boys . . . ME: I'll be caref- EMMA: . . . especially Dad!)


Breakfast

The last time I went to breakfast with Evelyn and Bonnie we met at Cracker Barrel on a Sunday morning shortly before Christmas and planned to spend the rest of the day scrapbooking at a local store. Those plans were ruined when Bonnie's truck got broken into while we were merrily eating our biscuits and gravy. Those of you who are scrapbookers will clutch your pearls when you hear that her window was smashed and the thief took her FULLY-PACKED NAVIGATOR! (I know!)

Bonnie recently had a birthday but today was the first day that our three schedules were simultaneously free for breakfast. We made the plans by e-mail and since Cracker Barrel was definitely out, and since I am completely unfamiliar with any restaurants beyond a 5-mile radius of my home in bland suburbia, and since I had recently (and inexplicably) cut out some Denny's coupons and noticed them in my purse. . . I suggested Denny's.

Look, I don't go out to breakfast much.

Last night Bonnie tactfully e-mailed a suggestion of a local restaurant apparently renowned for its fluffy omelets and Evelyn and I jumped at the suggestion. I explained our plans to John.

ME: I'm going to breakfast with Bonnie and Evelyn tomorrow at some place I've never heard of. I had originally suggested Denny's . . .

JOHN: (interrupting, with disgust) Denny's?!! What are you . . . traveling?!

ME: (mustering dignity) Look. I don't get out much. And hello? Denny's wouldn't be franchised all over the country if they couldn't make a decent breakfast!

We met at the non-Denny's restaurant and boy were those omelets fluffy! Like that was a seriously good breakfast! It lasted me through lunch - it was THAT GOOD!

I had to take a lot of crap from Bonnie and, via Bonnie, her husband, who apparently has the same high opinion of Denny's as John. (Meaning he's not a fan of Denny's. Not that he's not a fan of John. Although . . . I met one of John's poker buddies this weekend and his first words were: "You're John's wife? I'm so sorry." So . . . yeah.) As told by Bonnie:

FLOYD: They're taking you to breakfast at DENNY'S?! Because she has COUPONS?!

Look, Floyd. The coupons really weren't a factor in the decision. Well, only in so far as seeing them in my purse made me think of Denny's as an option for breakfast food. I'm not the connoisseur of breakfast eateries as you apparently are, oh grand puhba of A.M. fare! If the omelets weren't so damn fluffy I'd probably still be mad at you, but as it turned out - OH HAIL GRAND PUHBA OF A.M. FARE!! I AM NOT WORTHY!! I AM NOT WORTHY! WELL-FED, BUT NOT WORTHY!!

So anyway . . . plump, as we were, on light and fluffy eggs, we decided to head over to a nearby store but unfortunately got trapped in a construction traffic jam. For 15 minutes we barely moved. And as I sat daydreaming I kept noticing a flicker in my rearview mirror and, shaking myself awake, realized that it was the windshield wipers of the truck behind me - set to intermittent.

It was a bright and beautiful, sky-so-blue, cloudless, bird-chirping SUNNY DAY! It hadn't rained! AT ALL!

And yet those wipers kept wiping. Every three seconds. One-one-thousand, Two-one-thousand, Three-and-wipe. One-one-thousand, Two-one-thousand, Three-and-wipe.

How could he not NOTICE those things? I became fascinated. He was talking on his cell phone. He finished one call, put through another, and those wipers just kept on wiping. One-one-thousand, Two-one-thousand, Three-and-wipe.

I called Bonnie, who was in front of me.

ME: Bonnie, the guy behind me has his windshield wipers on and apparently doesn't notice!

BONNIE: Huh. That's strange.

But I suspect that it was just a polite "That's strange." She didn't seem to be at all fascinated by the phenomenon. We chatted for as long as we could but, after all, we'd just left a restaurant where we'd chatted for an hour, so in the end we had to just hang up.

One-one-thousand, Two-one-thousand, Three-and-wipe.

Then I got an idea. An awful idea! Karen got a wonderful, awful idea!

I know just what to do, I laughed with a twitch

Then I found the right button and turned on the switch!

I chuckled and clucked, You, sir, are my pawn!

Look up and you'll see - my rear wiper is ON!

I left it on for three cycles and . . . he didn't notice!

One-one-thousand, Two-one-thousand, Three-and-wipe.

WHAT THE HAYULL?! Is this guy's wipers BROKEN?! Are they permanently set to intermittent? I MUST HAVE ANSWERS!

I tried something different. I kept my hand on the rear wiper button and turned it on right after every swish of his wipers.

One-one-thousand, Two-one-thousand, Three-and-wipe. CUE REAR WIPER. One-one-thousand, Two-one-thousand, Three-and-wipe. CUE REAR WIPER. One-one-thousand, Two-one-thousand, Three-and-wipe. CUE REAR WIPER. One-one-thousand, Two-one-thousand, Three-one-thousand, Four-one-thous . . .

OH MY GOSH!! IT WORKED!!!!! I actually manipulated the guy behind me into turning off his wipers! And I didn't even catch his eye or wave my hand out the window or ANYTHING! That's POWER, baybee!! I have a gift.

I called Evelyn.

ME: Ev! I totally made the guy behind me turn off his wipers!!!!

EV: Wait, whoa. Slow down. Tell me about it.

ME: Well it all started . . . .and then he finally turned them off! Can you believe it?! Hey wait, Bonnie's saying she wants to get into the turn lane and bail. Sound good to you?

EV: Sure. That's fine. Hey - how are you talking to Bonnie when you're talking to me?

ME: BECAUSE I HAVE A GIFT!!!

I didn't say that last part, but I should have. Some gift. I can't even think of the perfect comeback. Instead I just told her the truth, which was that Bonnie did a very anti-ESP thing and leaned out the car window, pointed to the turn lane and shouted "That way!" to which I exaggeratedly nodded, signaled, waved goodbye to wiper man, and followed.

Evelyn ended up behind me so I turned on my rear wiper and made her laugh.

And so that's why, if you want me to make you laugh, you should probably stick with breakfast and not lunch, where I am rarely funny. I'm moderately amusing at dinner, but I am never irreverent at brunch. (All this am-I-funny-at-meals talk is in reference to a stupendously flattering feature of MOI, and my other gifts, at Today's Creative Blog by my just-crowned-best-friend-of-all-time Kim in Cam Ass.)

Thanks Kim!

RKQOTD (Emma: Mom! You're combing through my hair like you're having a house party!)


I'm dreaming of a white . . .

. . . Memorial Day?!

I mean, seriously. Another snow delay? In MAY?! Nothing quite says Snow_n_tulips_blog"spring" like snow on the tulips, I always say. Actually, I never say that.

Speaking of tulips, the ones by the tree, although plentiful and beautiful, pale in comparison to the three gloriously tall and snow-resilient Holland tulips that are blooming (yes, blooming!) by the front door. Here's the biggest and prettiest:

Holland_tulip_blog_2

Mmmm . . .Precious . . . my Precious!

The snow delay was yesterday, by the way. The snow melted and turned to rain, which made for a miserable and soggy soccer game for Emma. Today is shaping up rather nicely, though, with sun and spring-like temperatures. Which is not to say that a blizzard won't arrive by noon, cuz you just don't know.

The new icemaker was installed this morning. We're supposed to have ice by tomorrow. There hasn't been this much anticipatory excitement in our house since Christmas Eve! I even wrote a little poem about it:

O Ice. O glacial frosty nuggets of slipperiness. O rugged, tortured, thirsty mouth. O wicked, sharpened, enameled teeth. My clumps. My clumps. My icy, icy clumps! Slide toward the mouth like a bobbing apple. Refreshment. Contentment. Refrigeration. Elation. O Ice.

What do you mean "weird"?! I am forced to presume that you simply cannot appreciate my esoteric (with a splash of Alanis) prose. Oh, and if you have to look up "esoteric" be prepared to laugh at the irony. I did.

The guy that showed up to install the icemaker was an older guy and geez was that guy out of breath! Not sure why, since he didn't have to climb any stairs and his truck was parked in the driveway. Nonetheless, I found myself folding towels in the family room where I could keep an eye on him. My thought process went something like this:

What is it again? A.B.C. - Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Wait - isn't Airway and Breathing the same thing? No, I think they mean to open the airway first and then check for breathing. Yeah, that's right! I remember. Now is it 2 breaths, 15 compressions or 15 breaths, 2 compressions?

Luckily my expert CPR services weren't required and Darth finished installing the icemaker and went on his breathy way.

Now for a little business. No takers on the Friday shift for CK Manchester? Jenny, Dawn, Chris, Lisa, Tammy, Jennifer & Cheryl - don't any of you know someone who'd like to earn SIXTY products for a mere 3 hours of work? Did I mention that I always have chocolate on hand? (And by "on hand" I don't mean "available". I actually mean ON HAND. I'm a sloppy eater.) Heh.

Speaking of the New England trip, I'll be teaching at Right at Home in N. Attleboro, MA on May 16th. The project will be the Inner Circle Album. Follow the link to Right at Home for information on cost and schedule.

Also, if any of you live in Nantes, France, I'll be teaching all day at Fee du Scrap on May 28th. The projects will be the Inner Circle Album, the Flip Flop Summer Spread, and the Seasons Mini-Album. We're also working on a possible class schedule in Rotterdam, Netherlands on May 31st. I'll post information if that firms up.

So with three back-to-back trips on the horizon, I've got a ton of work to do! Back to it!

RKQOTD (Emma: California is lactose-intolerant.)


Addendum

This isn't a new post. (Please! Do I want to set the precedent of DAILY updates? Shiver me timbers!)

No, this is not a new post. It's merely an update or addendum to the previous two posts.

Item of Business #1: CK Manchester - You guys are AWESOME! You've taken every worker spot except one. Still looking for one person to work at the Dollarscrapbooking booth on Friday, May 18, from 4-7 pm. Post or e-mail me if interested. The pay is $10 an hour or 20 dollar-items per hour. (So for those of you feeling lazy in the mental math department- that translates to a cool $30 or 60 products for this shift, plus free admission to the show)

Item of Business #2: Karl's Obsession Manifests Itself Again (capitals make it seem more ominous) - Just today, while driving from school to horse therapy, I mentioned to Karl that I'd ordered a new filter for the refrigerator. He immediately said "Well make sure you hold a container under the filter hole when you change it. Water from the waterline can pool in that area and drip out during the filter changing process."

Good to know.

Now Karl's horse therapy is out in the country, but so is his school, so we take the back roads to get from one to the other. There is rarely any traffic. On the way back, we were listening to my iPod using my nifty new plug-the-iPod-into-a-cassette-tape-converter-and-finally-the-cassette-deck-has-a-function-worthy-of-its-console-space and the convo went like this:

KARL: I like that song!

ME: (holding iPod up to change the song) Oh yeah? Well if you like that one, you're sure to love this one - let me find it . . .

KARL: Mom, you shouldn't hold that iPod up to your face while you're driving . . .

ME: Yeah, you're right. I just thought you'd like-

KARL: . . .because if you got in a collision and the airbag deployed it could smash that iPod right into your face!

ME: Right. I thought maybe you were going to suggest that I shouldn't be distracted so that we wouldn't have a collision at all!

KARL: Yeah. That too.

I ordered that Dangerous Book for Boys that Nancy recommended in the comments section. If you're feeling bored you should check out the video about it at Amazon. I shall report back how much Karl loves it. I also ordered the first six Nancy Drew mysteries for Emma. She checked one out from the library this week and it brought a little nostalgic tear to my eye!

Item of Business #3: The telephone is ringing - is that my mother on the phone? - Why no, it's Evelyn, calling to tell us that her husband Desi scored tickets and we will all be going to see THE POLICE in June! Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I am WALKING ON THE MOON right now! EVERY LITTLE THING HE DOES IS MAGIC! It's like SPIRITS IN THE MATERIAL WORLD decided that I shouldn't be DRIVEN TO TEARS! I mean, WHEN THE WORLD IS RUNNING DOWN YOU MAKE THE BEST OF WHAT'S STILL AROUND, and what's still around is THE POLICE! O MY GOD to have TEA IN THE SAHARA with Sting. BRING ON THE NIGHT, baybee! J'AURAIS TOUJOURS FAIM DE TOI! What? TOO MUCH INFORMATION? You don't want me to STAND SO CLOSE TO YOU?! Wow, I guess the TRUTH HITS EVERYBODY. Ok, fine. I'll stop. ON ANY OTHER DAY I'd keep going, but there's NO TIME THIS TIME. One way of stopping would be to just, you know, stop. But THE OTHER WAY OF STOPPING is to grab my CANARY IN A COALMINE and trot off BEHIND MY CAMEL. DE DO DO DO, DE DA DA DA!

This wasn't a new post.


On any given Tuesday . . .

Karl_tinkertoy_blogOn any given Tuesday you might find an 8-year-old boy building something out of blocks, or Legos, or, in Karl's case, Tinkertoys.

This is his "Thing-a-ma-jig" and that yellow crossbeam with the green paddles is a "wind velocity measurer" that spins wildly (causing him to grin wildly) when he holds it in front of the fan.

Look, I love it when kids in general, and my kids specifically, choose "unplugged" activities that require imagination and no batteries. Unfortunately (or, more accurately; genetically) we produced a couple of technojunkies. So when I spied Karl playing happily with his TAMJ and even muttering a soundtrack as he moved it across the floor - I was nothing short of thrilled.

On any given Tuesday you might find an 8-year-old boy muttering a soundtrack as he moves his imaginative contraption across the floor. It would typically sound something like this:

It's time to take this ship into space! Fire up the engines! Prepare for warp speed. Oh no! Here come the Zurlogs! Fire! Ptew! Ptew! Ptew!

Or perhaps something like this:

The Thing-a-ma-jig 3000 is going to win this race today! On your mark, get set, go! The Thing-a-ma-jig is in the lead! It's tearing up the track! Oh no! It's going too fast! Watch out for that other car! CRASH!!!! (tear Thing-a-ma-jig apart and make explosion sounds)

Because, you know, we're talking about boys here.

No, we're talking about Karl here.

And Karl is the kid that defines "typical" by being the antithesis of typical. And so I wasn't really surprised (albeit impressed in a trainwreck-that-you-can't-look-away-from manner) by the snippets of his soundtrack that floated into the kitchen:

If the engine disconnects from the vehicle this can cause a loss of power resulting in extra effort being necessary to move the vehicle. There are traveling and turning wheels on the vehicle, however the turning wheel was designed for additional use other than the forward wheel.

And occasional snippets like these:

. . .system will automatically engage . . .

. . . the exhaust pipe will not . . .

. . . sign up for more electricity to power your vehicle . . .

. . . signal and turn off engine to ensure that . . .

Yes. Karl was basically authoring and reciting an owner's manual to his Thing-a-ma-jig while driving it around the floor.  If something fell off of the Thing-a-ma-jig he would launch into the troubleshooting guide:

If the forward thruster falls off the vehicle immediately reduce power and call for assistance

And Seth Meyers says: Really? Really, Karl? No mid-space collisions or time travel? You prefer owners manuals? They're a good read? Really? Really.

The benefits to his OMO (Owners Manual Obsession) are, of course, that Karl can troubleshoot any appliance and was able to tell me how to quickly add a "1" when calling back a long distance number from Caller ID. The drawbacks are that our owners manuals are always in his room, dog-eared and well-read but missing from the glove compartments when we may, you know, NEED THEM! Plus he's always reprimanding me:

Mom, you should always keep pot handles facing toward the center of the stove.

Mom, you should not leave the keys in the ignition while children are in the car. For that matter, you should never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. An accident could occur, someone could try to steal the car with the child in it, or the child could suffer a heat stroke. (Dude! I'm just getting the mail!)

Mom, the filter needs replacing in the refrigerator. Not replacing it could cause the water to have an unpleasant taste.

Seriously.

But it's beyond owners manuals. In the last week he has explained, in technical terms, how a compass works, why 3D movies were invented, what causes fog, and, when I was bragging to John about how smart coupon-clipping and the use of my savings card resulted in a $63 savings off our last marathon grocery shopping trip . . .

Mom, have you considered visiting smart source dot com where smart moms can save up to $80 on their grocery bills?

Seriously.

He might be Experiment 627. Cue Karl: "Ohana means family . . .

. . . in an extended sense of the term including both blood-related or extended. It emphasizes that family and friends are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another. The term is cognate with (and its usage is similar to) the New Zealand Maori term "whānau".

(With apologies to Wikipedia for crediting the content to Karl and apologies to Karl for insinuating that he's an alien)

But seriously. Call me Truman. Where are the cameras? Is smart source dot com a sponsor of this eight-year-long experimental television program where I play the role of the mother of a third grader who constantly makes me feel like my elementary school must have sucked? What is the goal here? I'm not sure that Karl's broad operational knowledge is even useful beyond specific mechanic and repairman career paths. (Not that there's anything wrong with that) With a head full of pop culture and trivia he could win a million dollars on a game show, but knowing the hazards of mixing ammonia and bleach just means that none of us will die in a freak cleaning accident which, truthfully, was never a credible threat for me anyway.

Ah but I love him.

Seriously!

RKQOTD (While cleaning his room Karl: I can't pick up these small pieces of paper. Me: Nonsense. If you can see them you can pick them up. That's what your small fingers are for. Karl: It's also why I have opposable thumbs.)


My inner Meredith

OK, so Grey's Anatomy fans know all about Meredith and how she didn't swim. I thought it was rather cold of McDreamy to use the "you didn't swim and I can't always breathe for you" excuse to semi-break-up with her when really he just wants to be Chief of Surgery and is worried that Richard will not pick him if he continues to date Meredith. And let's just suspend our disbelief that Richard would admit such inappropriate selection criteria to the very guy he's discriminating against. But then, the lawyers might be busy with their own inter-office dramas, like having sex in storage closets and planning proms, so maybe Richard felt safe admitting it.

But my real point in all of this has nothing to do with McDreamy, Richard, closet sexcapades or laughable penis-fish metaphors (Izzie, I'm looking at you!). No, I make reference to Grey's only to make my own profound metaphor - I didn't swim!

I slaved for a week before Phoenix getting things arranged for the convention and my private classes. Some of the materials didn't arrive until 5 pm on Wednesday when my flight was first thing Thursday morning. That meant an all-nighter of cutting papers and packing kits. Oh, and the tooth fairy forgot to visit Karl that night. So, yeah, I'm a louse.

And then came four days of the most grueling schedule I've ever had the incompetence to attempt. I taught sixteen classes in four days. I traveled all over the metro Phoenix area. My days started at 6 and ended at midnight. I had a total of six meals and a couple of them, like chili-cheese fries that I ate in the bathroom of my hotel room so as not to wake my roommate, hardly qualified. My two-hour class was (as per usual) underestimated, timewise, meaning that I was leaving one store late and speeding perilously to the next.

This was all, of course, my own damn fault.

And yet . . . it was so fun! I loved all the stores I went to: Scrapbook Barn, Mad Scrappers, Scrap Happy Sisters, Keepsake Trends, Melrose Vintage, A Scrappin' Affair and Annalis Scraptique. The owners, students and staff were just . . . awesome! Like super-dee-duper awesome! Like I wish I had not scheduled myself so tight and could have hung out after class. Stupendously awesome. Barney Stintson Awesome.

And the convention classes themselves went surprisingly well. The original projects had been taken, or lost, or something, which I found out Friday morning just before teaching. And there are always challenges with time and space when you're teaching 70 people at a time, but overall I thought the students were very understanding and did a remarkable job despite the challenges. I think it's pretty nifty the way Rusty Pickle's classes are each designed by a different member of their design team, thereby offering a little something for everyone. It was fun to teach classes that I didn't design. Plus I felt a special kinship to Tricia Rubens, who designed the Ode to Mom class which, although a stunning and clever design, cannot possibly be completed in 2 hours. Sing it, sister! I can't design a completable class either!

And so I flew home last Monday, exhausted and sufferering from numb toe syndrome (I coined that myself) obviously brought on by 18-hour-days in heeled flip-flop sandals, and had to immediately tear into a week of soccer games, dentist appointments, school programs, snow days (yes, two snow days in late April!), a Girl Scout activity, Moxie bursting at the seams with recorded TV, and a million e-mails.

Sometimes things just break. I felt very broken last week. My icemaker just wouldn't make ice anymore. (That's not a metaphor . . . my icemaker really DID break! They have to order a new one. We're all very put out about it.) So anyway, shoved unceremoniously, as I was, into a deep bay of salty life water . . . I'm afraid I didn't swim.

Basically I checked out of responsibilities for a week. I took the kids to the movies, read a book, took a few naps, went for a hike with the family, had some friends over for dinner, bought a new TV, watched it more than I care to admit, and let a thick layer of dust settle on my laptop.

I had planned to resume my life of responsibility and purpose yesterday (Monday) but the kids are off from school for TWO MORE DAYS - this time for literacy testing. So yesterday was full of testing, playdates and soccer. I feel like my poor blog has ended up not in the backseat, but in the trunk, or to describe it more accurately; clinging to a string that's hanging from the trunk as life drives with great speed down the highway.

Metaphors. So good at the metaphors!

And so I return. A little rusty on the good humor, but confident, well-rested, overfed, under-iced, and ready, oh so ready, for the kids to go back to school tomorrow!

One more thing - I need workers for the CK Manchester Convention where I will be running the Dollarscrapbooking booth. If you post a comment or e-mail me, I can send you all the particulars. The dates are May 17-19 (Set-up on Thursday, convention Friday and Saturday) at The Center of New Hampshire Radisson, in Manchester. I'd love to see you there!

RKQOTD (Emma: Mom, why were we supposed to wear crazy socks today? Me: Because all the Girl Scouts are watching Happy Feet. You're wearing crazy socks to make your feet happy. Emma: Well my socks don't make my feet happy . . . or angry . . . or any emotion, really.)