Monday, July 23, 2007

Minutiae and Majoriae (Is That A Word...?)

On the Major side: The top goes down on the Plymouth again!!! It required a trip to Convertible Specialists in San Gabriel and hanging out there almost three hours (my Carl Hiaasen book kept me entertained, as did peeking out into the shop at the other cool old cars there), but damn, all it needed was a proper charging of the hydraulic system, the top motor is in great shape! Turns out that a couple of air bubbles had escaped the attention of my mechanic (who told me up front he was not an expert at these things). Eventually the bubbles joined forces at some point and were enough to stop the top from going up. So the 38 year old convertible top motor lives. Go, Detroit steel! I've been running the top up and down practically non-stop over the last week to really test it, before I proceed with the next step...body plugs, carpet and PAINT! The upholstery and rechroming will have to wait for now, but J. got me some new quilted moving pads that I'm going to fit as seat covers, sew holes for the seat belts and add some grommets to tie the things down with. That'll work!

The other day N. and I had gone on a foray for my $100.00 shoes that I have to wear. I hate buying shoes, just like I hate buying tires. Very expensive and not fun. As we came out of the store and were getting into the car, I see out of the corner of my eye something odd--a drunken bum...on a scooter. One of those electric ride-on things. Humorously surreal, as it's around 10AM and he's cruising down the sidewalk in a decidedly wobbly manner, a can of beer clenched in his fist. He stops. Suddenly, he bellows, "MAN, I'D MARRY YOU JUST FOR YOUR CAR!" I make the mistake of laughing, and off he goes--apparantly, 'extra-damned-loud' is his normal volume level. And he's a big guy, so he can really YELL. He goes on and on about what a great car it is, how much he loves those old cars, yada, yada, yada... People a block away are turning their heads to see what all the damned hollering is about. Geez. As we drive away, N. says, "He was LOUD!" No kidding.

As far as the little stuff goes, tonight I opened the enclosed part of Ace the rabbits' hutch to check for eggs, since the hens LOVE to go in there. Not only are there eggs, but Sugar the Buff Laced Polish hen is in there, looking offended. She's a sweetie, so I reach in to pet her a bit and say hello. Damned if she didn't bite the heck out of me! Not just a little warning peck, either--a full on BITE! Didn't know she had it in her.

We took N. down to Huntington Beach yesterday. The conditions were a bit odd, what with the monsoon conditions coming up out of Mexico. The surf was a little bit higher than normal but was WAY fiercer than normal, too. Rip currents aplenty, and the lifeguards were out in full force. I took N. out into the surf about knee deep while J. stayed on the beach blanket. Every few minutes there'd be a wave that would come in MUCH farther and taller than the others, and it was amusing to see the people that had arrived on the beach and misread the waterline, placing their chairs and whatnot too close to the water. Surprise! Also entertaining were the 30-something Hispanic guys who had brought along a huge killer whale pool ride-on toy...their kids tried it out and quickly decided it didn't work in the waves (smart kids). Well, the DADS swaggered on out to the surf, laughable inflatable toy in hand. Their wives stayed in the beach chairs, watching...and you didn't even need to speak Spanish to understand what the ladies were telling the guys.

Sure enough, the macho men stuck that toy between their knees and ran out into the surf...which had pulled out a bit...remember those once-in-a-while huge waves?


Tumbling men! Everyone on the beach laughed.

By the way: beach showers are NOT for lounging in like you haven't had a wash in three weeks, especially when other people are stacked up 10 deep waiting for you to finally hose the sand out of your crotch and move along. The next time I see someone doing this I shall forcibly drag them out of the beach shower by one ear. Face it, you are never going to get all that sand out in a piddly beach shower anyway.

Also, kudos to the seagull who intercepted a Frisbee in mid-flight, thinking it was a slice of bread thrown into the air. One of the guys playing Frisbee had to hike down the beach a bit to retrieve it. We finally got out of there just as it started to rain--fat, warm, large tropical drops.

That night, around 11PM, long after N. was asleep, I heard a sudden commotion out front, banging and laughing. I opened the door to see what was going on...to see some guy on his hands and knees on TOP of the cab of J.'s truck. He's laughing and so are his buddies, who are dashing around in the street. Great, I figure, drunk teenagers. I call J., who had also heard the noise and was on his way out to see what it was. We both go out onto the porch, where J. asks the guy (a whole lot nicer than I would have) to get off his truck.

"Sorry man, a DOG chased me up here!" The kid calls back. Well--! That's about the last thing we expected to hear... His buddies have taken refuge in their car, where a tail wagging, smiling pit bull has them cornered. J. and I are laughing and J. goes out to see if the dog had tags (it didn't). The dog was perfectly friendly, the kid and his buddies obviously saw A PIT BULL OMG and freaked out. Once J. got out there and showed the kid it was harmless the kid climbed down, climbed into his friends' car and they split.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Daughter, The Weed

Well, as every parent with school age kids knows, you have to pounce on next year's school uniforms NOW. Because by the end of July, they are gone. Finished. And none of the stupid stores will reorder. Apparantly, kids never outgrow or ruin uniforms midyear, and so never have to replace any. Ha.

Today I loaded up on N.'s first big uniform haul in three years. She enters third grade in September, and so far she's been getting along fine with her uniforms that we got in Kindergarten. Then, even with getting the smallest size, they were miles too big for her and I had to take them in & shorten them--still a bit baggy, but acceptable. In first grade the altered clothes fit, hurrah! Other than having to replace the white shirts I had foolishly bought before Kindergarten (where they only use the finest black and blue paints with the darkest pigments). Last year, second grade...at the end of the first grade school year I had her try everything on, inspected them for rips, etc. All well and good, everything fit. Cool! Uniforms were pressed and hung in the closet to await the start of second grade. I congratulate myself for escaping uniform shopping.

Less than three months later, about a week before school started, I have a horrible creeping feeling and had her try them on again...because, my GOD, she'd outgrown everything else she was wearing by leaps and bounds, mostly shoes.

Yikes, the uniform pants fit at the waist but are laughably SHORT. The jumper dresses are a total loss, immodestly short and nothing to let out. I remove her name tags and donate them to the school, as they are still in great condition (as is the way of ALL clothes that are outgrown, while your stuff that fits ends up wearing out before it's time). The culotts are OK, thank God. The shirts are a teeny bit short when she raises her arms. Child is instructed not to raise her arms for entirety of the school year. The long pants fit fine at the waist, but are way short--but huzzah--I'd taken them up in Kindergarten, so NOW I can let them out to their normal length. I do so, smugly. Ha HA, take THAT, hated uniform shopping!

Until I have her try them on. Mother Macree, they are STILL too short! The kid has simply miles of leg. Break out the steam iron and re-hem pants again, leaving only a tiny hem and torturing the pant cuffs mercilessly with the iron until the old cuff mostly disappears. Not great, but acceptable. She doesn't look like a dork, at least.

So I knew I was in for a major uniform expedition this year.

Shirts are purchased a wee bit big, as the ones in her perfect size across the shoulder are too short. Also I get dark blue except for one light blue shirt. Last years' long pants I am shortening to Bermuda short length, as they still fit fine in the waist. More long pants, again a bit big in the waist in order to be long enough in the leg. I do find some stretchy culotts that fit perfectly, and a few pairs of new uniform shorts. The dresses and skirts they offer this year are irredeemably, aggressively ugly, so I skip those in hopes of finding some that don't look so institutional elsewhere.

I find one pair of sneakers that fit...for now. I KNOW they won't by the time school starts, but she's run her current pair into the ground. The next size up is miles too big, so we'll have to wait until the end of August to go on a shoe hunt. I do manage to grab some bulk packs of socks & undies.

I feel like a chipmunk hoarding for winter, or a post-apocalyptic survivor grabbing anything I can. Criminy.

Except I still have to get her a new backpack...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Rocket Girl, Away!

N. rode this cute little rocket ship roller coaster at the OC fair today:

She ran right to the front car, I think she already had this scenario in mind...

Quick, off to SparkleyShip One! LAUNCH!

Now, Rocket Girl, AWAY!!!

It's County Fair Time! And That Can Only Mean ONE Thing...

...vomitous, deep-fried fair food!

Every year over the last few years, the Orange Country Fair in Costa Mesa, CA has introduced some new, weird, deep-fried food.

It's a bare-faced, shameless celebration of FOOD THAT IS BAD FOR YOU. First they take some commonly known junk food such as Twinkies, Oreos, and Coke--and then just to twist the knife a little they deep fry that sucker. Top it off with oh, say, chocolate sauce and powdered sugar and you're good to go. And if they can ram that sucker on a stick, and even better!

The problem is, now every year they have to come up with some new exotic treat, eternally forced to one-up themselves. So we've done the deep fried Oreos...Snickers bars...Twinkies...cheesecake...heck, even Coke, last year. What could POSSIBLY BE LEFT?

Here ya go.

Yeah, baby,
A Chicken & Krispy Kreme Doughnut sandwich!!!

But wait, stop those dry heaves, because that's not all!

Naturally, simply a hunk of chicken on a glazed doughnut isn't vile enough. We need MORE. Add raspberry jelly AND honey!!! Perfection!

As you can see from Chicken Charlie's menu, sadly, health food is not their forte.

Hell, even the promised 'Fresh Veggie Combo' on the far right, initially seeming an oasis of sane food in a freakish sea of grease...has the words, 'Deep Fried!' under it, cruelly yanking away any chance of escaping your arteries hardening. Under that, they laughingly list the innocent vegetables being tortured: asparagus, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and zucchini (Ok, I can actually get behind torturing zucchini). It's scary that the broasted chicken is the healthiest thing on the menu.

At any rate, J. decided to try one. Here it is, in all it's nasty glory.

They missed the 'deep frying' step here, but still, a more unholy union of foods I cannot imagine.

Here he is, trying gamely to swallow the bite he took.

All in all, J.'s verdict was, 'it wasn't bad'. N. opted for the deep fried cheese balls, but we took one look at this one and tried to convince her they were really deep fried slugs. Antennae, ahoy!

I just watched in horrified fascination.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Life Is Outrunning Me

I hate it when that happens. Things are happening that I'm planning on, but before I'm ready for them.

My car needed work: brakes, transmission adjusted (annoyingly, it won't reliably go into 'park') and the ignition was refusing the key. Had to wait until N. was out of school and I could go without the car for a few days.

OK, so the thing spent three days lounging at the mechanics last week, because everyone else had the same idea. My mechanic is close to having a nervous breakdown, he's so busy. I need the car back so I can go and get new glasses, which I'm trying to schedule for next week.

Get the car back, and it's acting strange on the way home, although it's problems seem fixed. Later that day, I go out to the car...and my car radio is possessed--it scans through all the channels and won't stop, then it fades out and turns off. Restart the car, repeat weird radio problem. *sigh* Well, I knew that radio was on it's last legs, anyway. Start car to run errands...and it dies. Hmm. Go to restart it, and it's dead.

OK, now I'm getting annoyed. An electrical problem. I just GOT the thing back. I need it to be reliable and NOT strand me on some hot as Hell LA freeway in summer. I call the mechanic and he swears up and down that he didn't TOUCH the electrical system. I suspect he shorted something out. So J. gets out his volt meter and finds that the battery has a low charge, and it's dropping. The alternator (which is less than 6 months old) isn't charging the battery. We jump the car and get it back over to the mechanic. HE tests parts, and says both the alternator and voltage regulator are fried. So we take it back home and J. spends a couple of happy hours in the oppressive heat changing out the parts. Joy, it lives again. It still is acting funny though, so I think it has more surprises waiting in the wings.

So this morning I have a doctors' appointment, another tomorrow with a different doctor--I'm going to call the optometrist to make that appointment, but first I run out front to turn off the sprinkler. I get some water drops on my glasses so I grasp them to take them off so I can wipe them dry...

They fall in half in my hands.

*double sigh* I truck back into the house and dig up an old pair of glasses, which I'm wearing now and are a grand headache in the making. I call the optometrist...he only works on Wednesdays.

What's this Wednesday, kids? Fourth of July, yay!

He can't see me till NEXT week. Just once I'd like things to just HOLD OFF for a bit. I'm going to get them done, I swear! Gimme a break, for cri-yi!

Am I...Wha...?

Last night when my daughter came out to kiss me goodnight, she had a serious expression as she asked me, "Mom, are you still sarcastic?"

I looked over her shoulder at J., who looked every bit as puzzled as I was. Don't laugh, or you'll never get this particular tidbit explained, my brain warned me.

"Uh...what?" I finally said lamely...all originality, that's me.

She looked annoyed. "Are.you.still.SARCASTIC!" She said--slowly, loudly and exasperatedly, as to an idiot.

Puzzled look on husbands' face deepens.
A thought occurs to me: I've been ill. "Oh...do you mean 'contagious'?"

Enlightenment dawns on her face. "Yes!" she says.

No, I tell her, I'm OK now. At this she goes ahead and gives me a kiss goodnight, and J. and I wait until she's in bed to giggle amongst ourselves.