Sunday, July 30, 2006

Grocery Shopping Blues

July 30, 2006

To Whom It May Concern,

Let me just start my saying that I have been a loyal customer of your **** ******’s Haggen Store since it opened.

There are several things about your store that keep me coming back again and again. You have reasonable prices on everyday items and I can always find that “special ingredient” when I am in a bind. The store is consistently clean and tidy and the atmosphere is very “unsupermarket” like, which is nice in comparison to the glaring lights and linoleum of other stores in the area. You have a great selection of items, the seafood and meat are always fresh and the deli is unsurpassed. The store employees are always nice, friendly and helpful and I could go on and on about the kids play area. Basically, I adore the store and shopping there.

Unfortunately, I was so offended by a remark made by a cashier last week that I am considering changing my grocery shopping location.

My 7-year-old son and I were at your **** ******* store on Friday, July 28, around 12:00pm. We were waiting in line behind a middle-aged woman who was buying, among her usual grocery load, several magazines. The new issue of People magazine has a headline which reads “I’m Gay” and a picture of the former Nsync member who is coming out of the closet in the magazine. It was on the top of the woman’s stack of literature. Not a few seconds after the magazines were rung up, the cashier said (in a voice clearly loud enough for my son and myself to hear) “WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO?” while holding up the People magazine.

The look on my face was most likely priceless. A mixture of disgust, appall and genuine anger. I cannot believe that an employee trained in sensitivity training in this day and age would feel it appropriate to spew his personal biases upon his customers, the customers standing nearby and their accompanying children. I cannot believe the insensitivity that this individual felt it necessary to share. I do believe that he had no idea if the woman he was helping was gay herself, or anyone around who could clearly hear him for that matter.

Because I was so shocked and disappointed and trying to downplay the rude checker’s remark for my child, I could not think of anything appropriate to say at the time. My frustration also got in the way of me looking at his name tag (but if you’d like to know, I can return to the store and identify him 100% as he is a long-time employee and I know exactly what he looks like).

I would like your store to do everything it can to assure that the checkers working that day at that time are aware of the meaning of the words “customer service”. If they need reminders of how their words and personal opinions can hurt your business, feel free to share with them, my letter.

In closing, I would like to clarify that I do not blame People magazine in any way for their cover. I am a People magazine subscriber and do not take offense in any way to what they print. I am offended by your employees remark and I expect that something will be done to avoid this happening to anyone in the future. I may be reached at the contacts listed below if you have any questions.


Carrie *. *****
***** **th Place NE
**** ***, WA *****

I will send this letter tomorrow.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's Just Sand

Here I am, half-way through summer, over 30, with kid #3, and I learn this new trick? All summer, I've been perplexed with how dirty Katie's swimsuits get at the beach. This is especially hard for me due to the fact that I'm addicted to stain removal. Each time we come home and I wash her light colored suits, there are always little black specks all over them - from that dirty sand, I think. So, I wash and wash and figure that I'll never buy her anything but black from now on (pretty goth for a 2 year old when all the suits are bright, fun colors, don't you think?).

And then, one magical day at the beach while admiring our daughters frolic in the lapping waves, I turn to my good friend Linda and say "I wish Katie's fishy suit didn't get so dirty at the beach, I hate all those little black marks all over it".

To which she replies "It's just sand, stretch it out under running water and it'll come right off". I hear angels singing, the theme to Chariots of Fire, I picture a giant-sized lightbulb coming to life in my empty head. I can't wait to get Katie home, strip off her sandy suit and have a go at it in the kitchen sink.

Finally the time is here, I grab that suit and like a crazed lunatic during a full moon, I tackle the sand. It comes off so easily, I keep saying to myself "I can't believe this". I try to think if there are any more sandy beach clothes in my children's drawers because the satisfaction I'm experiencing is intoxicating. I am obsessed. I can't wait to take her to the beach again and let her cover herself up in sand only to be whisked home by her crazy mother who will then spend 30 minutes stretching and pulling under the faucet only to hold up the finished suit and proclaim "VICTORY"! Aaaaaah, the sweet sound of success is a happy mommy with a clean swimsuit dancing around the house saying "I got the little black marks out, it's my birthday . . . uh huh, I'm gonna party like it's my birthday . . . I'll drink Bacardi like . . . oh nevermind, I got those little black marks out"!

See more cute pics over at Linda's!

Monday, July 24, 2006


"Boys will be boys", I seem to be saying that a lot lately. It's a pitiful cliche, a stereotype and overused just as much as "girls are different"; but today, right now, at this moment, it couldn't be more true. I always say that my boys are so different. They were different as infants, toddlers and now as boys.
McRae was a mellow baby, maybe because he had 2 parents all to himself (a luxury foreign to my other 2 children). I watched over him like a hawk, for every moment during the first 3 months after he was born. He slept in a stroller that folded down completely flat and looked just like a bassinet. If you locked the wheels, what was the difference, really? When the time came to move him to his own room, just across the hall from ours, I wheeled him a little each night, and finally, at the end of the week, he was on his own. I rocked him to sleep every night after that, I took him everywhere with me. He hardly ever cried and grew into a funny, independant, adventurous and incredibly curious toddler in spite of all of my attention. Now he is all of those things and more. He is incredibly smart, but finds school "tedious". We have a lot of homework drama at our house with McRae. He is the most nimble kid I've ever seen jump a fence, and I am amazed (and frightened) with his "no fear" attitude towards just about anything.

Wyatt was different than his brother not only because of his size (3.3 pounds bigger) but his temperament. He was one of those "rock and bounce and don't you dare sit down" types. He was a good baby too. He slept well in his own room from the beginning because he quickly ourgrew his bassinet. He gained independence from me sooner than his brother in the areas of walking, talking and breastfeeding, but relied on me more in the emotional department. People always assumed he was older than his age, and often (when riding in the double stroller) the boys were mistaken for twins. He remains close to both myself and my husband, and doesn't like to be away from us for very long. Although his teachers refer to him as a leader, a good role model and an excellent student who can always be relied upon, he struggles with his "good boy" label, and tries to break free of it when he can. He loves and excels at everything he tries, and is always a good sport. He is also the most empathetic child in the world. Always concerned with others feelings, to the point that it worries me sometimes.

These boys are so differently seperately, yet when together it is like their bodies and minds meld into one: the "I can't keep my hands off of you" beast. Will someone please tell me that this will get better? I don't know if it is the fault of testosterone (which being a female, I don't have. Or maybe a little, I don't know but I do know that it's not enough to understand this relentless physical relationship that exists between my boy children), or their age, or the fact that they are so close in age, which is a blessing AND a curse at times. They can be hanging out one minute, reading their Nick magazines, or catching bugs, and then BAM!

They collide, always in fun, mind you, but tangled up in each other in the strangest of poses.

It goes on, and on, and on.

I seperate, I plead with them to cut it out before someone looses an eye (or in our case a tooth). I try to ignore it, I sing "la la la la" to myself. I. Can't. Take. It. Any. Longer. I am beginning to think I need to pick up a copy of "How to socialize Your Puppy".

Thursday, July 20, 2006


As I sit and think about all of the trials and tribulations in my life right now, with Katie's potty training efforts taking center stage, I have to remind myself that really, it isn't all that bad. Yeah, things could be better . . . Wyatt's tooth drama could finally be over, McRae could stop making "that face" that confuses and perplexes me at times (a "tick" of his that crops up when he's over tired) and start saying "okay mom" everytime I ask him to do something. I could not be doing 2-3 loads of laundry in 80 degree weather with higher temps expected tomorrow and beyond, I could be sleeping better and exercising more. I could be dealing with less tantrums and more tea parties, but hey, that's life. And right about now, I am feeling darn lucky to have those "trials".

Could be the time of year (3rd anniversary of my father in law's death and the week of my "nanny's" birthday), could be that lately, everyone around us is experiencing some sort of bad news, could be my hormones; but whatever the reason, I am grateful for the simplicity of my complaints, the averageness of their importance and the fact that I have so many people that I love around me to feel this way about.

After seeing the looks upon the faces of our fellow Americans today as the Marines finally rescued them from Beruit, I am grateful for the fact that all of my family is safe and sound nearby (although I fear for my Uncle who will be travelling to Africa next month).

After hearing that a fire that claimed the lives of 2 children and 2 adults locally was not only intentional, but their deaths classified as homicides, I am sickened that there are people capable of acts such as that wandering around our neighborhoods and so I am grateful that my new neighbor is a police officer.

After learning about the tragic motorcycle accident that took the functionality of anything beneath the neck away from a dear friend of my cousin's, I am worried about how she will cope, and greatly saddened for her friend whom we enjoyed so much at our grandmother's 86th birthday party.

After listening to my childhood friend explain that her grandmother had passed away, in between sobs, I am feeling helpless that there is nothing I can say to make her feel better (I know because I've lost a grandma) and I am even more grateful that I am lucky enough to still have my Grandma Carol in my life, in the lives of my children and just a phone call away if I want to tell her that I love her.

After hearing that my parent's neighbor was critically injured when a jack failed and machinery fell on his face, I am so glad that he was able to walk away with his life, and a very sore, wired jaw for 5 weeks, and grateful that a very bad outcome was avoided.

This Saturday, I will attend the funeral and graveside services of the last living sibling of my maternal grandfather. A man known to me as "Uncle Ernie", who would always send my brother and I sticks of Juicyfruit gum in our birthday cards and always had a ready smile and a joke. A man who offered us a glimpse of what our real grandfather may have been like, had he survived long enough to see my mom turn 7 months old. And so, we will mourn his death, celebrate his life and lean on each other as we say goodbye. We will be grateful for the time we had, however little or long it was, and reflect upon all of those we have lost in our lives, which funerals tend to do to me, at least. I will be grateful that I will be surrounded by the people that have been the ones to make my life easier, each in their own way; Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandma and Grandpa and most importantly, Mom and Dad. Because, without them and the family my husband and I have made, I would be alone. And being alone would be worse than potty training a stubborn 2 year old, doing oodles of laundry, worrying about your son's tooth, or a funny face that your other son makes. It would be worse than being stuck in Beruit.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Picture Palooza, Part II

As promised, here are the best of the pictures from our yearly pilgrimage to east of the mountains to the land of hot weather, cool water, fun camping, great wine and of course, the famous Blueberry Hills restaurant ("I got my thrills . . . on blueberry hill . . .").

Same girl, same sink, different pineapple

Braydon and Lila in the lake

McRae at the waterslides

Braydon and Wyatt at the waterslides

The gang

Kenny and Rylee

Surprise! Look what happened while we were at the waterslides! The water main for the entire park bursted, yup you guessed it, right outside our trailer at our campsite. Lucky for us, no water got into the trailer (through the open windows), but it did make for a lovely mess the remaining 2 days of our trip! Time for another beer, me thinks!

More from the lake:

Wyatt and McRae overlooking the lake from our favorite drive-thru which serves the sloppiest ice cream cones in the world!

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Go-karts are always fun.

The cheerleaders: Katie, Lila and Kylie

The teenyboppers: Taylor and Jessie

That's it for this year! If you'd like to see some more funny pictures from our trip, Linda has some posted!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Grown Up

I think that one of the hardest things about parenting has got to be watching your children grow up. Granted, with my limited experience since my kids range between 2 and 9 years old, I know little of what is to come, but I can speculate a bit.

Take Katie, my fierce daughter who, at 2, knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. Now these traits are challenging, to say the least, right now; but I hope that they serve her well as a young woman. Just uttering those words "young woman" gives me the chills. No way. No way will she, my baby, be a young woman. But folks, denying that would be like saying the sky is really purple (maybe it is) or that the grass is fushia. She will grow up, it is inevitable. All I can do is try to make it as painless as possible.

That's why, when she tossed her head of curls over her shoulder and glanced at me the other day while wearing her pink Barbie backpack, and said "I'm going to school now, have a nice day", I had to hold back the nagging urge to gather her in my arms and say "no, no you're too little to go to school, be momma's baby for now". Instead out came "okay, have fun".

I fast forwarded to the day when she really will go to school for the first time (god help the bus driver, wait I am sure I will chauffeur her myself and walk her directly to her desk, then hang out in the corner while the kindergarten teacher gives me dirty looks...) she will be confident, ready and excited to begin her academic career at age 5. I will be sobbing, mourning the last of my "babies" to leave the nest, wondering what I'll do with myself while she is away at kindergarten for half of the day...did you say half the day? Wait, half of the whole school day, like 3.5 hours, every day, for free, all to myself? I feel a latte coming on.

Friday, July 07, 2006

It's a Picture Palooza!

The trailer is packed, the mail is stopped and the sunscreen is waiting in bulk to be applied to my children's bodies! Lake Chelan, here we come for our annual week-long camping trip. Hope you have gassed up the go-karts, blown up the floaties and readied our campsites because we are ready for a v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n! And, you will find us grown-ups enjoying "happy hour" every day under the silver Coors Light banner! Cheers!

Here are some highlights from last year:

Katie is ready, goggles and all!



Our gang

Tube time

The horseball competition in full swing

Nothing beats a bath in the sink

Linda with Riley and Katie

Hangin' out in the shade

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


July 4th was my cat's birthday. When I was 6 years old, the neighbor's cat had kittens and my Mom asked me if I would like to go over there and choose one to take home. I remember peering into the box of kitties and picking out mine, the only calico out of a litter of black and white kittens, the runt. The nice lady in charge told me that I could have her if she lived, and in a couple weeks she would be ready for me to take her home.

Those were the longest couple of weeks in my 6 year old life, but I finally brought Muffin home and if she were alive today, she would be 27!

July 4th will also be remembered as the Great Water Heater Fiasco of 2006. I know, I know, not truly a "fiasco" in the sense that it could've been soooo much worse, but still a fiasco in my opinion!

Imagine it is 1:30 in the morning and a very tired tooth fairy creeps out to the car in her garage to fetch the $2.00 bill she must place, ever so gently so as not to awake the tooth looser, under his pillow. Imagine the sound of a fast drip, drip, drip as she opens the door from the house to the garage. She looks over at the water heater and then down, to the location of the dripping.

What to do? She weighs her options since of course, as with all fiascos, her husband is on shift. Should she call her Dad, because he's closer? Or, should she call her husband and wake him and his Captain up at this hour? Minutes tick by, and she snaps to it and rings her husband at work. She calmly explains to the Captain that she has a little, not life-threatening emergency, and could he please wake her husband?

Then the fun begins.

"Do you see the switch on the bottom that turns off the temperature?"


"Turn it off, righty tighty - lefty loosey"

"Okay, hmmm . . . oh, there okay I got it"

"At the top of the tank, do yo see a knob to turn off the water"

Looking, looking, searching. She sees pipes leading out of the contraption - pipes would mean water, right? Water in a pipe, shut it off, "Oh, yes there it is! Okay, yes, it's off".

"Righty tighty, lefty loosey?"


"Okay, do you see the gas line . . ."

Her mind wanders at the mention of the words "gas line" conjuring up horrific images of being blown to smithereens . . .


"Turn the lever perpendicular to the line"

She remembers geometry, in high school, paralell means in line with, right? That means perpendicular is a 90 degree angle . . .

"Oh yes, it is off"

"Okay now you need to drain the tank, get the hose and you see that little spout on the bottom of the tank? Hook the hose up and make sure that it is far away from the house, aim it downhill, not in the flower beds."

She proceeds, as directed by her magnificent Husband at 2:00 a.m., to drain the entire hot water tank.

Finally she climbs into bed around 2:30 a.m. and sleeps for a little while, knowing that her house will not flood (at least not today). Plans A, B and C are premeditated for the morning and worst case scenario puts her and the kids showering at her parent's house while Daddy fixes the hot water tank. Thankfully (and thanks are not enough), her brother-in-law works for a plumbing supply company and has the pull to get someone to meet him at the store to get us a new tank on a holiday at 8 in the morning!

All morning her Hubby and his brother disconnect the old tank and replace it with the new one. They miss the 4th of July parade, but get hot showers 4 hours later! Life couldn't be sweeter. It could've been so much worse, a much greater fiasco, if you will. If she hadn't gone out there to get that $2.00 bill, if it had been next week while they were on vacation, if . . . You can play the "what if" game until you're blue in the face with this one. Bottom line is, they didn't have to replace all of the flooring on their lower level, the furniture and all of the toys and appliances!

Oh, and the tooth fairy did make her scheduled destination under the striped pillowcase with the goods extracted from the car, without even an ounce of detection by the soundly sleeping 7 year old!

Fiasco, you betcha! I now can walk any one of you through the proper steps to drain your tank, not to mention place a $2.oo bill under the head of a sleeping boy who left this for the "toothfairy": Here is the tooth that I wuldnit pull out! I love you! (Written on a small, white piece of paper, spelled according to Wyatt)

Think she'll mind if I tuck it away in my underwear drawer for now?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Lame List

In the fun of all things lame, I bring to you my lame list thanks to Lisa.

According to me, the following are lame:

1. migraines (ouch)

2. liars (no tolerence)

3. poi (glue)

4. brussel sprouts (fed them to the cat)

5. VH1 Country (ears are bleeding)

6. pollution (cough, choke)

7. magnetix (choking hazards - personal experience)

8. no Sex and the City (I miss the girls)

9. bug bites (ouch)

10. going to the dentist (ouch)

11. slivers (ouch)

12. tantrums (wow)

13. tequila (scarred for life)

14. bratz dolls (burn them all)

15. low-low-rise pants (don't care how cute you are, keep it in the clubs)

16. the "war" in Iraq (enough already)

17. anti-choice (none of your business)

18. pedestrians in the road (use the sidewalk please)

19. raccoons in my backyard (dirty little . . .)

20. brain freezes (ouch)

And now (just for my own fun so as not to breed hatred amongst me, myself and I), to counteract all that negativity, here are 2o things that I think take the cake:

1. Christmas (the gatherings, the food, the traditions)

2. sand (warm)

3. snow (cold)

4. Hershey's coconut kisses (sinful)

5. bleach (best all-purpose cleaning product available - just don't get it on your black shirt)

6. spray tanner (Neutrogena Micro Mist)

7. baby lotion (reminds me of babies)

8. babies (love 'em)

9. lipstick (can't live without it)

10. lavendar (for relaxing and growing)

11. love (seriously, it IS all you need)

12. humility (you can learn a lot from it)

13. DMB (can't have a list without them on it)

14. Dian Fossey (my hero)

15. satellite radio (don't have it, but would love to)

16. family (that includes all you love)

17. books (only good ones)

18. pina coladas (yes, I like 'em)

19. Maya Angelou (she should be president)

20. Goodnight Moon (who doesn't?)