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May 2007
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July 2007

Parenting. And other stuff we're not good at.

Like locking our vehicles.

John's Sirius receiver was swiped out his car last week when he brazenly left his car unlocked with stuff out, about, unhidden and in full view (redundancy, so good at the redundancy). Stuff like CD's, his receiver, his bluetooth . . . and, if I'm guessing, dollar bills on the passenger seat and a sign on the window that said ROB ME - I DESERVE IT!

They took his receiver and bluetooth and left the CD's alone. So they have good taste. Not to say that John's CD collection is weird or unlistenable or anything. No, wait, that's exactly what I'm saying.

Anywho - his Sirius receiver is gone and he shocked me by announcing that his plan to deal with the situation is to cancel his subscription! Say wha? What will he do for tunage? Play the CD's that thieves didn't even think would fetch a dollar at the used-CD store? Listen to live radio . . . like animals?!!

I, for one, could not drive without my Sirius. That's why I bought a van with a built-in receiver and park it safely in the garage. I used to flip between the 80's channel and the 90's channel, but somewhere along the way (probably when Justin Timberlake SNL-hosted his way into my heart) I switched over to Hits 1 and that's where I've stayed. I'm pretty much up on all the latest tunes, yo.

Unfortunately, even with the bleeping, there are some themes that are not suitable for children. At first I would turn down the music if I felt it was not-so-good for little ears, but come on - those tunes are so catchy! If you ain't got no money take your broke a$$ home! and You're way too beautiful, girl . . .you'll have me suicidal, suicidal, suicidal! and We have to take our clothes off. We have to party all night. We have to take our clothes off, to have a good time. Oh yeah!

I mean, what are the odds that he's picking up the words, right?

And then one day I heard him singing "Hey! Hey! You! You! I don't like your girlfriend!" which he declares is his absolute favorite song EVER!

But it was soon replaced by Carrie Underwood's Before he Cheats. They play that a lot on Hits 1, even though it's rather country.

Karl calls it "4-wheel drive" which seems fine with me.

Emma looked up from her book one time after hearing the chorus and asked: "Is she saying 'cheese'?" to which Karl answered: "No. CHEATS!"

I guess he's picking up the words.

For those of you unfamiliar with the song, the chorus goes like this:

I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped up four-wheel-drive.
Carved my name into his leather seats.
I took a Louisville Slugger to both headlights.
Slashed a hole in all four tires.
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.

And my nearly-9-year-old-son sings along with wild abandon. Get the boy a Veggietales CD - STAT!

Tonight I made a rather awful taco salad for dinner. That's another thing I'm not so good at. Cooking. And don't even razz me about the kitchen because, like they say: If you can't bake it . . . fake it! (they=me)

I was telling John about our day while I dished up the barely edible taco salad when Karl came bursting in the door from riding his bike and started watching something on TV. I lowered my voice so he wouldn't hear our conversation because he doesn't really like people talking about him but quickly realized that he was engrossed in the TV.

ME: What's he watching?

JOHN: Oh. I got him hooked on Ice Road Truckers.

ME: What's the premise?

JOHN: They have a couple of months to bring 10,000 trailer-loads of equipment to the diamond mines in northern Canada. They can only deliver it when the lakes are frozen over so the trucks can drive on the ice.

ME: (blinking) Uh. Does anyone ever fall through?

JOHN: Oh yeah!

ME: (blinking rapidly now) Like, their whole truck and everything?!

JOHN: Yep.

ME: (creating a wind tunnel with my eyes) AND THEY DIE?!!!

JOHN: Uh-huh. Oh, and they curse a lot, too. But it's all bleeped out. They curse like truckers, actually. (laughs at his own wit)

ME: And WHY are you letting our son watch this?

JOHN: Because it's interesting! They make a few year's salary in just a few weeks. And there's a diamond mine from DeBeers and this is their first mine outside of South Africa and it's 40 below up there! Pretty big culture shock, huh?

But I was too busy blinking to listen to him prattle on. Plus I had to choke down a crappy salad, so I decided to change the subject from his bad parenting to my bad parenting.

ME: On the way to the library today they played that Before He Cheats song on Sirius. Karl was singing along, as usual, when he suddenly asked the question I'd been dreading: "Mom. What's he cheating at?"

JOHN: Uh oh. What did you say?

ME: Well I just stammered for a second, saying "Uh" and "Well" and then he said "I think he cheated on his driver's test because he just got that new four-wheel-drive and all."

JOHN: That's hilarious! Did you just let him think that?

ME: Of course. I was relieved.

JOHN: Well, I mean, you could have maybe told him the truth . . . without all the gory details, of course.

ME: I think Ice Road Truckers is enough innocence-crushing-reality for one day, don't you?

JOHN: Good point.

And then I told him about their first swim lesson. I signed them up at the local high school this year. They've got semi-private lessons, which means just the two of them with an instructor. The instructors are from the girl's swim team and their coach, who has apparently been the coach for about a century and doesn't stand for no pansies, even if they're two years old. I expected him to bark out: "There's no crying in swim lessons!" while working with a little tyke who wasn't happy.

My kids have a nice instructor named Dani. When we walked over to meet her the conversation went like this:

ME: Hi Dani. This is Emma and this is Karl. They're twins. I just wanted you to know that Karl can't see very well without his glasses so you might need to get pretty close to him when you're giving him instructions.

DANI: No problem. Hi guys! Let's get in.

KARL: I really can't see well at all, but these goggles help. Without my glasses on it looks very fuzzy but out of my left eye it mostly looks black and white and out of my right eye I can kind of see colors but they all mix together. I also lost my noseclip and I'm not happy about that because I always get water up my nose. My sister can swim underwater for three minutes but I can't do that because it's hard for me to hold my breath and I'm not very good at blowing bubbles either but I like the water slide at the YMCA and we went to this new pool recently and it has this whirlpool thing and it spins you around and around and . . .

And he kept right on talking. Dani couldn't get a word in edgewise, so she just plopped him on a noodle and told him to swim down the lane. And he kept right on talking. He talked, paddled, talked, kicked, talked, talked, talk-

COACH: Hey! Less talking and more swimming!!!

Yes, the coach interrupted the lesson he was giving to swat the annoying fly that was my son. (That's a figurative swat, of course) I burst out laughing but quickly put my hand over my mouth when the coach swung around accusingly to see who was disrupting the sanctity of his shallow end.

There's no laughing in swim lessons.

I was particularly amused because I often say "Less talking; more walking" to Karl when he's droning on about diesel fuel or digital theater technology while I'm trying to pick up the dry cleaning. I feel like saying "Look, I don't care about when you and your friend Binky found the world's largest pine nut."

Which probably makes me a bad parent.

RKQOTD (Emma: What's a gram? Karl: A gram is a Canadian ounce. Emma: Really? Karl: Really.)

Scrapbook Expo - Atlanta

I will be running the Dollarscrapbooking booth at the Scrapbook Expo Deluth/Atlanta July 13-14 and need workers.

Here's what I need:

THURSDAY SET-UP (July 12) - 11am-8pm, need 2 workers.

Thursday set-up duties include helping assemble the booth, stock baskets with product, open packages, move boxes, etc. Dress casually and comfortably – the convention hall is often hot on this day. Lunch and parking are provided.

FRIDAY BOOTH WORKING (July 13) - (show is open 9-6)

8:30-1:30, need 2 workers

noon-4, need 1 worker

1:30-7:00, need 2 workers

SATURDAY BOOTH WORKING & TEAR-DOWN (July 14) - (show floor is open 9-5)

8:30-2:00, need 2 workers

noon-4, need 1 worker

2:00-8:00, need 2 workers (this shift includes 3 hours of tear-down)

Friday & Saturday booth duties include some combination of the following duties: answering questions, managing the line, handing out baskets, bagging orders, helping with check-out, re-stocking and straightening. Wear comfortable shoes. If you work all day we’ll buy lunch and give you a lunch break. Admission to the show on the day(s) you’re working is included. Parking is paid for all-day workers and pro-rated for partial-day workers.

Saturday tear-down duties include consolidating, labeling and packing boxes, folding tables, packing items into storage containers, etc.

The pay is $10 an hour in cash or $20 an hour in product. You can split your pay between product and cash as you see fit. The products in the booth are all top-quality recently discontinued or overstock items from major manufacturers. Check out for an idea of the products available. (Actual show stock may vary)

If you're interested in working, or know someone in the Atlanta area who might like to work, please e-mail me or leave a comment below. Feel free to sign up for multiple days/multiple shifts. Sometimes people worry that they're being "greedy" (Not naming any names *cough*Dawn*cough*) but it's actually so helpful when the same people work multiple days - they already know the routine and where all the restock product is. So please, spend all weekend with us!


Elevator + Etiquette = Elevatiquette.

Or should that be Etiquator?

Oh well. There's a Sniglet in there somewhere. Some way to describe those unwritten yet universal rules for riding on an elevator with a bunch of strangers. Rules like:

  • Hold the door open for people behind you. If you're savvy, like me, you'll do this by pressing and holding the "doors open" button, but an arm held up against the rubber seals will do just as nicely. What you should not do is blithely enter the elevator, press the floor you'd like to visit, turn around and then notice the frantic lady trying to enter as the doors are closing. Giving her that equally frantic look as you attempt to locate the "doors open" button is not good enough. Invariably the doors shut before you find the button and even if you look sincere, perhaps flashing her the "these gosh-darn elevators have a mind of their own" expression as the doors slowly erase her from view, she's just going to assume that as soon as you are alone in the elevator your face will twist into a triumphant grin and you'll throw in a closed-fist-elbow-toss "Yeah!" for good measure. Nope, nothing short of an amputation-risking arm jut into the nearly-closed doors will keep you in good graces.
  • Face the front, try not to cough, and move to the back to let more people enter. OK, so that's more like three rules, but they're universal. Facing the back of the elevator will just creep people out and coughing or sniffling just reminds everyone of the shared germy air you're all breathing. And even if there really isn't room for more, you must wiggle and shuffle and look around with a general air of "How can we get this person into this overstuffed elevator? Can we create a pyramid? A mezzanine?" until the doors close, at which point you relax and say to yourself: "It's stairs for you, sucker!"
  • Act like you don't hear the conversations of others. In general, you should just not speak to your traveling companion when in an elevator, but most people don't seem to heed this rule. It's like that 2 minute pause in the conversation is too unbearable to contemplate. So it is up to you, the poor innocent bystander, to act like you hear nothing while, of course, listening to every word. This is not to be confused with AEE (Acceptable Elevator Engagement) which occurs when there is some MICIB (Mutual In-Commonness Ice Breaker). MICIB's usually take the form of badges or hotel issues. If someone is wearing a badge to the same convention that you are attending, you are perfectly within your right to say "You here for the show? Who are you with?" or whatever. Or if someone enters the elevator in a swimsuit and stares blankly at the buttons, you can say "3rd floor, towels to the left". But, similar to people talking loudly on their cell phones, you must ignore the conversations of others if they do not include a MICIB.

It was that last rule of Elevatiquette that I broke in the DFW airport recently. A twenty-something couple (holding a baby, no stroller) and their twenty-something male friend, all sans luggage, sauntered into the elevator. Male Friend held the button while the elevator filled up with travelers. The three of them had no sense of urgency and it was obvious that they were not there to catch a plane. My curiosity about their purpose in the busy airport was suddenly satisfied when Male Friend pushed one of the floor buttons and said to his companions; "I'm not sure that this is how we get to the Hyatt, but I'm going to try it."

At which point I blurted out: "Hey, that rhymes!"

There was a kind of hush. It was like everyone stopped breathing and just stared, bug-eyed, at me. Think Eddie Murphy/Trading Spaces/blunt dinner table comment about expensively bejeweled girlfriend. THAT kind of hush!

I glanced at my watch, tapped my foot to the tune in my head, and in general acted like I didn't feel their stares until the silence was broken by Baby-Lady, who started laughing. Male Friend was still gape-faced for another 10 seconds but then he, too, laughed. Baby-Lady said "Oh, you're just now getting it?!" and then everyone was chuckling and breathing again.

Now I know what you're thinking. "Why follow the rules of Elevatiquette, Karen? YOU didn't, and it worked out just fine." Ah, but it could have gone either way. My audience barely caught the joke and, in Male Friend's case, only because he had 5 floors to think about it. You can't always be guaranteed a quick audience or a long ride, after all. No, no - just play it safe and avoid the vatorconvos (Sniglet).

RKQOTD (John: after throwing coins into a charity bin We're broke now - we used all our change. Emma: Oh please. We have bank accounts. We have properties.)

Isn't that . . .


Why yes. Yes it is. Mr and Mrs Elliott Yamin! You can't tell from the photo, but we're actually wearing matching "Care like YAMIN it" bracelets! If that ain't love then I don't know what love is. Heh.

I got home from Europe Monday evening and was supposed to fly right out again for the Great American Scrapbook Convention on Tuesday, but when I found out that Elliott was playing in Denver Tuesday night, I opted for the earliest Wednesday morning flight I could find. So last week was a bit of a whirlwind, but it all worked out just fine. Glad to be home, though!

Ipod_blog_2Elliott seemed slightly surprised when I asked him to sign my iPod, but he is, after all, my most played playlist.

He also signed my tee-shirt, which I wore proudly on Wednesday during booth set-up, only to discover that all three of my helpers, Lydia, Connie and Cindy, had never watched American Idol! Geez.

In other music news, we'll be rocking out with The Police tonight.

RKQOTD (Karl: Mom, wouldn't it be cool if our seat belts were actually called "eat belts" and we could just nibble on them when we got hungry? Me: Well what would you do for safety? Karl: OK, maybe there could be TWO belts - a seat belt for safety and an EAT BELT for food. Me: And what would it taste like? Karl: You would pick out the artificial flavoring when selecting your vehicle. Me: Sounds like a great invention. Karl: Yeah.)