Category Archives: Shopping

Ricky Schroeder, Ebola And Clint Dempsey’s Sweat



Recently my husband finally cried “uncle” and made an appointment to see a sleep specialist. Lack of sleep has the tendency to wear down even the most stubborn. I’m not sure he’s had a decent night sleep since 2007. I, on the other hand, sleep very well, almost too well, a fact that he resents greatly.

As a result of the ACA, before doing an overnight in-patient sleep study, doctors first have to have the patients perform a home sleep study. This requires wearing headgear that records, well, we aren’t exactly sure what it records, but whatever it is, any data collected will be used to determine a sleep apnea diagnosis.

First, let me back up a bit to explain the context for the following incident. Recently, for throwback Thursday, I posted the following photo of myself and a former classmate with the caption: You know, if someone would have told me 30 years ago I’d be taking my daughter to a soccer tournament wearing a jersey with this boy as a sponsor, I wouldn’t have believed it.


After a couple of comments like “what a great thing that he’s giving back to the community” and ” Go Zoe!” another former classmate commented,

“The boy in yellow?”

to which my husband responded,

“He’s the taller boy. Not sure who the boy in yellow is. Looks like Ricky Schroeder.”

And then-

“Yep, it is.”



Flash forward to the first night of my husband’s home sleep study. As he drifts off to sleep, he murmurs, “I love you Ricky Schroeder.”

A couple of minutes went by and then he said, “Do you think they’re recording what I’m saying?”

To which I responded, “I certainly hope so.”

We have yet to receive the test results. I have a feeling the technicians analyzing his kit are going to put that one in their “greatest hits” collection.

*World Issues With Zoe And Parker*

The following are actual conversations from the car ride after Zoe’s last soccer tournament.

Zoe: Do you know what’s going around?



Jeff: OMgosh

Zoe: Dad’s right. What are YOU talking about?!

Jeff: She’s talking about a disease. She forgot she was talking to a 10 year old.

Me: (Muttering) She asked what was going around. Ebola is going around.


Me: Zoe I’m really proud of how well you played, even with your hurt arm.

Jeff: It’s not like she could whimper about a sore arm when the girl on the other team was missing an arm.


Me: I had a weird dream last night. It involved a bear. I was really scared when it came in the house, but it turned out to be a nice bear who just wanted me to cuddle it. I also had a dream you were randomly holding other women’s hands.

Jeff: You won’t even let me go to the boobie espresso.

Parker: In Nepal you can hold anyone’s hand. You don’t have to be married or boyfriend/girlfriend. You can hold anyone’s hand.

Jeff: Not me, according to your mother.

Parker: In Nepal you can.

Jeff: Not even my Nepalese friends.

Parker: (giggling) Nepalese.


Nathan turned 16th this past weekend. I asked him several times what he wanted to do. “It’s a big deal!” I said. He said, “Only for girls.” Apparently he was right, because the only non pink, non-sparkly 16th birthday decorations was a package of napkins in rainbow colors with the number 16. No matching plates, no balloons, nothing. I had to buy generic decorations and add “16” stickers to them.

We were planning on just a family barbeque, and then asked if he wanted to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. He said no. The morning of his birthday Jeff said that they should go to the gym. Suddenly Nathan wanted to see the movie after all.

We decided rather than fighting the crowds we would go to the IPIC theater. IPIC used to only serve adults over 21, but recently started allowing kids. I have a feeling we are really going to regret taking our kids there. They will never be satisfied with a regular theater experience again.

Recliners, blankets, pillows. I came back from the bathroom and Parker had buncha crunch candies being delivered- in a martini glass. He prefers his chocolate shaken, not stirred. He didn’t make a sound during the entire movie other than a few blissful sighs.


The look on Zoe’s face when she opened the menu and realized she could order food was priceless. Cost of soft pretzels sticks with two gourmet dipping sauces? $10.


Happy 16th birthday Nathan!

back to school

Last year’s school clothes shopping ordeal…

should have been enough to dissuade me from attempting to take more than one child school clothes shopping at a time. Alas, my “let’s get it all done in one painful trip” instincts won out over common sense. Also not a good use of common sense? Allowing Parker to wear his Heely’s.

I took Zoe into Justice and Parker let out a cry of, “Please not this place again!”

Nathan went next door to Aeropostale (The pronunciation of which remains a point of contention in our house). He had a gift card and instructions to buy larger jeans than the ones he currently owns. That should be an easy task for a 16 year old, right?

Zoe meandered through the glitterized world of Justice in hopes of finding something she’d be willing to wear.

Parker said, “Mom, there’s something you should know about clothes.”

“What’s that?”

“Anything that says the word cool on it is NOT cool!”

“Duly noted.”

Nathan came back with a bag in about 15 minutes. My instinct said that wasn’t nearly enough time to try stuff on.

“What size did you get?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you try them on?”


I looked in the bag. “These are 27/28’s. Last year, before you grew 4 inches, we bought you 28/30’s. Either you didn’t notice that these jeans are way too short, or you didn’t try them on.”

“They seemed fine.”

“Go back. Go back and get at least the same size you have now, but preferably longer.”

After he made the exchange and Zoe found enough sparkle- less clothes to fill a bag (40% plus an additional 20% off) we made our way to H &M.

“Would you wear this?” I asked.

“A Sweater?!?” He responded with the ferocity one might reserve for such outlandish suggestions as eating your own feces.

I had no idea sweaters were so offensive.

We managed to leave the mall 3 hours later with not a single item for Parker. I did fend off requests from him for a “Guardians of the Galaxy” Starlord mask and gun set, along with an xbox 360 game.

Parker may end up wearing the same outfit on the first day of 3rd grade that he wore on the last day of 2nd grade. It’s not like he grows very fast anyways.


Last winter, Jeff and I attended an auction to raise money for Zoe’s soccer club. If you’ll recall, I was the only one dressed in 20’s themed costume and managed to inhale and choke on a piece of coleslaw.

Well, this past Friday we were finally able to use what we had bid on and won at the auction- a behind-the-scenes Seattle Sounders experience.

Zoe, Parker and I, escorted by  pre-MLS Sounder alumni player-turned- Rush Coach Doug, were able to watch an entire practice, meet the players, and get autographs and photos.

Just before we were supposed to meet the man in charge (Chris Henderson) at the gate in front of the practice field, Parker decided he had to use the bathroom. We had just been up at the main building 10 minutes prior for Zoe and I, but he had chosen to Heely around the floor instead of going to the bathroom.

I dragged Parker back up to the building, and when he was done we started walking back down towards the field. From the back entrance of the main building a tall man in a Sounders shirt and cleats emerged and began walking towards us.

I knew he must be a player, but my knowledge of soccer players is pretty limited. I didn’t know his name, and he didn’t give it. He started a conversation, and was so friendly and casual that I started to wonder how he could possibly be a professional athlete. There was no “do you know who I am” or “Aren’t you lucky that I’m talking to you” vibe coming from him at all. He was pretty impressed with Parker’s Heely ability, and Parker didn’t seem to realize he was talking to one of the players. We walked down the entire pathway talking as if it was no big deal.

And that was pretty much our experience with every single player on that team. They went out of their way to talk to my kids, ask if they wanted autographs, gave high fives and fist bumps and I never saw even an ounce of attitude. I became a bigger fan of the team than I already was, just because I was able to see first hand what great guys these are.

Clint Dempsey was the first to leave practice, and Zoe went over to have him sign her shirt and Parker had him sign his hat. They both came back with sweat stains on their stuff (and a little on them). I explained to them that there were a lot of people who would be thrilled for the opportunity to have Clint Dempsey sweat on them.


Clint Dempsey appears to be giving Zoe a back rub


Marcus Hahneman was on two world cup teams and played over in the Premier league in the UK. He spent quite a bit of time talking with us and our escort. Nice to see someone of my age still playing the game.


Lamar Neagle is a local boy who has been with the Sounders since their re-inception as an MLS team.


Djimi! He also played in the Championship League in Europe


My buddy Chad Marshall who walked down to the field with Parker and I


Parker had Obafemi Martins sign both his hat and his shirt. Following the practice, Parker got pizza sauce all over the signature.


Quite possibly our favorite person of the day, announcer Ross Fletcher. He said to Zoe, “Sorry about my accent,” to which she replied, “It’s beautiful.”



We had such a great time that we decided we wanted to go to Sunday’s game. It was a bit surprising to see our escort from Friday, Doug, being honored amongst other alumni players in a pre-game ceremony.

Parker seemed a little underwhelmed by the whole experience, but then he puked up his pizza on the floor outside the bathroom and he started perking up. His favorite part of the game was when the crowd started heckling and booing the officiating.


I think we may have some pretty serious soccer fans on our hands.


Go Sounders!


Update- day 17. Still no sign of the wallet. I am beginning to think there may be a black hole in our closet. It will require further investigation to determine. If you don’t hear from me for a while, I have fallen in the black hole.













I Wouldn’t Trade My Christmas Memories for a PS4

My beautiful picture

I’ve been transferring old family slides into digital format the past few weeks, and I’ve come across some real gems. One of the things that struck me, especially when looking at photos like the one above, is that I wasn’t imagining it… Christmas felt different back then. And I think I know why.

Look at the expressions on the faces of my sisters and I. (My sister Shannon is on the far right, Colleen is in the middle, and I am the blondie on the left.) Christmas held a wonder for us that I just don’t see in the faces of my kids. Gifts didn’t have to be extravagant to get reactions like this:

My beautiful picture

This picture is blurry, so I have no idea what she just opened, but I can tell you, it wasn’t a $500 video game system. When was the last time your kids responded like this? I can’t think of the last time mine did.

Parker wants a WiiU. We have a Wii, but the new games he wants can only be played on the WiiU. $300.

Nathan wants a PS4. He has an XBOX 360 and a PS3, but those are considered old junk now. $500…if you can find one.

Eventually, they also want an XBOX One. It’s not their first choice, but, after all, the 360 is sooo outdated, eventually we will HAVE to get a new system for all those games we have.$400.

And yet, when I think back over my life, most of my favorite gifts cost less than $25. The year I turned 20, I had a jerky boyfriend who wasn’t around on Christmas and I was pretty bummed. I am the youngest in my family, so when I went up to my parents’ house, it was just the 3 of us for the first time ever. It was pretty depressing. That was until I opened a gift that my mother had gotten for me- Molly Ivins’ book, “Molly Ivins can’t say that, can she?” I started reading and soon I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe. It saved me from the Christmas blues.

My childhood is filled with gifts that spurred my imagination and just looking at the pictures of them brings back memories of fun times. Some of these you may remember, some may be earlier than your time. These items represent my Christmases past.

little people a frame

What is more 70’s than an A-frame house? A turquoise and brown A-frame house. This toy reminded me of the cabins at the camp where my family spent a lot of my childhood, El Camino Pines near Frazier Park, California. We called it “Walton’s Mountain,” because much of the show was filmed up there.

My beautiful pictureCabin in the background

Another “little People” set I loved was the Sesame Street neighborhood.fp_sesame_street6


I spent hours re-enacting episodes.

Many girls my age wanted Easy Bake ovens, but I had to have the Holly Hobbie Easy Bake oven.


My beautiful picture

If I’m being honest, I’m not sure a lot of baking went on after this Christmas morning. I seem to recall eating dry cake mix a lot. (If I ever start a career as a rapper, that could totally be my rapper name- Cake Mix-a-lot)

I was a big fan of Holly Hobbie. I’m guessing that’s why in so many pictures I have come across, my sisters and I are wearing bonnets. That, and “Little House on the Prairie.”

I also loved Colorforms, and one year I got a Holly Hobbie Colorform set exactly like this:

holly hobby

I spent hours arranging different scenes.

I was also a Barbie girl. Most of my Barbie stuff I seem to recall came on my birthday, but I do remember one Christmas I got the Ballerina Barbie.

ballerina barbie

I got it from my great grandma Lulu. (Her name was Mildred, but she came from Honolulu. It was our way of distinguishing her from another Grandma- Grandma Mexico, who, you guessed it, went to Mexico on vacation one time.)

We spent that Christmas in Laguna at my grandparents’ house.My Grandma Charlotte (who was just “Grandma”) had hidden the gifts under her bed. I couldn’t contain my curiosity, so I snuck a peek, and discovered by stealthily pulling down one end of the wrapped gift what it was. I was excited for the Barbie, but that taught me a lesson- it’s no fun to pretend to be surprised when you’ve already ruined it for yourself. I never did that again. I believe that was Grandma Lulu’s last Christmas with us.

Another “last Christmas” memory is from my dad’s dad’s final Christmas before succumbing to cancer.

We knew he was ill, and so we made the trip to the Bay area of Northern California, and my mom’s side of the family came as well. We showed up on Christmas Eve to discover he had not decorated the house for Christmas. There was no tree. He had thrown away all of his ornaments.

We got in the car and drove around looking for an open lot, but they were all closed. My father eventually hopped a fence and stole a tree. We went to 7-11 and bought flocking spray and tinsel. We went back to his house, put up and flocked the tree, and decorated it with snowflakes we cut out.

Because there were so many of us, several slept out in the living room. It was like a giant family slumber party. I had trouble sleeping, so I stayed awake playing with my yes and no book.


( I liked to challenge myself by getting the books that said they were for older kids.)

I spent hours playing with these books. Hangman, trivia questions, dot to dot.

Mastermind was fun too, but you had to have someone playing it with you, and as the youngest I was on my own a lot.



Not that we didn’t also have electronics.

My first electronic toy was Alfie.


Alfie was amazing. He beeped and booped when he turned on. I could change the game card and play all different sorts of games. When I was right, he be-booped in celebration. When I was wrong he did the “beee-booooo” of a disappointed robot.

I didn’t get the Coleco football game, but my sister Shannon did, and I often stole it from her.

coleco football I could never play this now, those tiny red blinking dashes that represented my players would be nothing but a blur to my old eyes.

Another cool electronic game that I had a lot of fun with was “Merlin.”


I don’t remember a lot about the games. I think there was tic tac toe, some sort of musical game, and I swear something like blackjack. Nothing like getting kids started gambling at a young age.

When they turned my favorite video game, into a watch, that hit the top of my list. pacmanwatch

It wasn’t the most responsive game, and the buttons were tiny, but boy was it cool.

And then there was the Texas Instruments computer.


See that slot on the right? That’s where you put the “software” cartridges. I think mine came with TI Invaders, a knockoff of Atari’s Space Invaders.

Of course you didn’t need cartridges to play with this computer. It came with a programming code guide, so I taught it how to run programs that would guess math problems. All I had to do was copy the programs from the book and my parents and grandparents were amazed. Child prodigy, they said.

A few months later I was in our local Safeway (which also had laser discs for home rental at that time) and saw a bin filled with cartridges on sale. I bought myself the Alpine skiing game (it even had a yeti that would jump out. Strange, considering the yeti lives in the Himalayas and not the Alps).

Alpiner2Is that a buzzard flying across the screen?468257-alpiner_6I never got this far

Notice the phenomenal graphics- In color!

Unfortunately for me, that sale bin was a sign of the end for the TI system. Within a year of getting it, they stopped making it and it’s accessories.

And then there was the Christmas of 1983.


Cabbage Patch Kids. People were going out of their minds in the hunt for these dolls whose butts bore the autograph of their creator, Xavier Roberts.

xavierrobertscabbage patch doll

I was one of a million girls that year who put a Cabbage Patch doll on my Christmas list. My parents tried in vain to locate one, with no luck.

My mom, never wanting to disappoint, somehow managed to find a woman who made look-alike dolls. When I opened it Christmas morning, I remember feeling a mix of emotions. It wasn’t a legit CPK, but I knew somehow that it was more special. It represented my mom’s heart, and I was thankful for that. I named her Charlotte Claire after both of my grandmothers.

My sister Shannon, a senior in high school, was working at a store called Sprouse Reitz. For those who have never heard of it, Sprouse was a small department and drug store.

sprouseWayyyy before my time, but you get the gist.

This past Thanksgiving the topic of Sprouse came up, and my sister swore she is still in possession of the horrid brown polyester uniform she had to wear while working there. With her name tag still on it.

Anyway, the day after Christmas, she went into work and they had received an unexpected shipment of Cabbage Patch Dolls.

I could have one if I wanted one.

I agonized over the decision, because I didn’t want to hurt my mom’s feelings. She said she understood, but I just wasn’t sure. In the end, I did get one, but it was never as precious to me as the doll my mom had made for me.

I get a little sentimental when I think about those Christmases. I think about the year my parents couldn’t afford to buy me the outfit from Laura Ashley that I wanted, so my mom went and bought the pattern and sewed it for me. She even sewed in a piece of ribbon that said “Laura Ashley” so it would look like a tag.

I think about that ratty leftover Christmas tree that my dad hopped a fence to steal, that was decorated with paper chains and homemade snowflakes, but stood tall in the center of a room full of people I loved. Some of those people were gone within 5 years, and we never had a Christmas with everyone like that again.

I try really hard to create special moments for my kids, but in the end, it never is about the gifts under the tree that stick with you. Memorable moments can’t be choreographed with the perfect music and candlelight. They just happen.

My beautiful picture



























A Turtly Awesome 10th Birthday In Parrotdise (Hawaii Part 2)


In my hurry to get part one written, I missed a couple of things, as well as several typos. So allow me to back up a bit before we venture into Zoe’s birthday.

Saturday after I got back from the store I suggested we head down to the International Marketplace. I was bummed to find out that the marketplace, one of my favorite places to go in Waikiki, is slated to be closing at the end of the year. Rumor has it, it will be replaced by a store I would be uncomfortable shopping in, like Sak’s 5th Ave.

We walked down the beach instead of the sidewalk because I thought it would be a more scenic route than on the street. Jeff started seriously regretting his agreement to tag along. Zoe and Parker were having a difficult time resisting the urge to go into the water and walking on sand is deceptively difficult.


About halfway down the beach, we came across a man with a parrot stand. He had all sorts of tropical birds, and he was selling the opportunity to be photographed holding them in front of Diamondhead. His business? “Parrotdise Hawaii.” Get it? Parrotdise.  Zoe and Parker were intrigued, but a little skittish. The man was very patient and he convinced them to go along with these shenanigans.

He positioned them in the right spot, and then began placing birds on them.


See this man in the dark pants? He and his wife (right behind him) stopped to check out what was going on. Soon, the man began taking pictures of the man positioning the kids.


And just when I stepped out of range, missing what was surely to be my favorite picture of the day, the man shooed his wife into the scene, she popped up behind the kids and he snapped her picture. With my kids holding parrots.

The parrot man shouted something at them in Japanese and made them leave. I was laughing so hard I could barely breathe. They only looked mildly chastised, mostly smug. I’m not sure if they just wanted pictures of the birds, or if it was a photo that would be captioned “look at these silly Americans paying money to hold a parrot.”

On my first trip to Hawaii when I was 10, my mom , my older sisters Shannon and Colleen and I were in the water at Waikiki beach when we noticed three Japanese men swimming in their tighty-whities and their white undershirts. One had a camera, and we noticed that the other two kept inching closer and closer to us so that the man with the camera could take a picture. Eventually they made enough charade-type hand gestures asking my mom if they could have their picture with us. So somewhere in Japan, someone has this photo. Not sure what they did with it, or the story they told their friends when they got back home.

The parrot man did a great job with the kids. The bird on Parker’s shoulder kept trying to eat his hair, and Zoe’s kept resting its head on her face. If you’re ever on Waikiki, it’s a fun way to get pics.



When we finally made it to the International Marketplace, Zoe was lured in by the Maui Divers booth, with their hairy oysters and pretty girls shouting “Aloha!” as excited customers waited to see what treasure was held within the slimy guts. We watched for a bit and then moved on, with Zoe glancing back longingly.

She talked me into getting her a fresh pineapple juice to drink- out of a pineapple. It was pretty sour, and the pineapple isn’t the easiest to lug around.


Parker got bored by the whole thing pretty quickly. The only thing he was interested in was a wooden tiki mask.


I said to Jeff, “Hey, if you want, there is a trolley that you can catch back to the hotel. Zoe and I can finish here and you can go now.”

Jeff responded, “That’s the smartest thing I’ve heard you say all day.”

After the boys left, Zoe, Grandma Toni and I went back to the pearl kiosk. Zoe had watched another lady do negotiations, so she walked up to the girl and said, “I want to make a deal.”

She laughed in surprise and  said, “well, what kind of deal are you looking to make?”

Zoe said she wanted to do two oysters for $6 instead of one for $12, and that she planned on making jewelry. She doesn’t get her negotiating skills from me.

So she looked over the oysters, and after long perusal, decided on two. She did the requisite tap 3 times, then made a wish and shouted “Aloha!”


The first oyster revealed twin purple-black pearls. The second was a giant white pearl. Although she loves turtles, she ended up putting the white pearl in a plumeria pendant. When the salesgirl discovered that Zoe’s birthday was the next day, she told her to pick one more oyster as her gift. It was another white pearl. It was a fun early birthday present.

Sunday the 13th was Zoe’s 10th birthday. When she woke up, she got to open her gifts and I made her requested breakfast of French toast and bacon. We had orange juice and POG (Passion orange guava juice) and fresh sliced pineapple.

After opening her gifts, we all got ready and loaded into the car for the journey up to the North Shore.

Our first stop was the Dole Plantation. I have a large fondness for the dole whip pineapple floats. We didn’t spend a lot of time there, but while we were there, this happened…



And then there was a bit of a scuffle. Check out Zoe’s face in the background of the pictures…


Nathan continued his attempt to avoid a single photo being taken of him during the entire vacation…


Sydney got in touch with her inner child and her inner Ariel (Little Mermaid) by singing “Part of your world” like she used to when she was 2…


And Zoe copied her big sister.


We then made our way further north to Haleiwa, the small surfing town my brother and his family have lived in for over 15 years.

They live on what used to be a taro farm, and their dream is to once again make it a working taro farm. Farm living in Hawaii means geckos crawling all over your property


153 Papaya trees

And bananas by the boatload… (Cue the “Banana boat Song”: Come Mr Tally man, tally me bananas)


We stopped by the store and grabbed food before heading the beach, Puaena point. This was definitely not a tourist beach.

Zoe’s dream was to learn to surf and swim with the sea turtles, and on her 10th birthday, that dream came true.

My brother, who has been surfing since he could walk, now exclusively does stand up paddle surfing. It’s a lot more difficult than it looks. For me, at least. The more coordinated among us got up on the board fairly easily.

hawaii11Zoe and my brother Billy, who prefers to be called Bill, but I simply CANNOT.

The swells were starting to come in, so the bay, which is flat and calm in the summer, was starting to be a little choppy. Nothing compared to what’s coming this winter, when the swells will reach epic proportions and Haleiwa will become flooded with surfers from around the world in search of dream waves.

Sea turtles were everywhere. In Hawaii, they call them honu. They swam right under the board as she paddled around. When she was out swimming in the waves, turtles were swimming all around  her.

Nathan did pretty well on the paddle board as well.


Hopefully the pictures of me falling over never see the light of day. I know they exist, and I believe they are being reserved to be held against me some day.

173 looking for crabs

178 Loading up and heading out

After the day at the beach, we headed back to the farm to get cleaned up. We had sand in all sorts of places which will not be mentioned.

My brother, his wife Brooke, and the rest of us went to a place right by the water called Haleiwa Joe’s. It was delicious. We had appetizers coming out our ears. Mahi-mahi, Ahi, Kalbi ribs.  Zoe ordered herself a filet mignon. Why not? It was her birthday.

She finished her day with paradise pie, a takeoff on mud pie.


It was a birthday to remember, that’s for sure!


Coming soon… Hawaii part 3… Who let the dogs out at the Polynesian Cultural Center?



Please Don’t Make Me Angry. You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry.


I’m not a happy camper this morning. I’ve had a frustrating day and it’s only 1030.

The day started out with great promise. My husband brought me home my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. It was yummy. I don’t know if it was $6 yummy, but it was yummy.

Today was the day my refrigerator was supposed to get repaired. For those who don’t know, on July 15th we came downstairs in the morning to discover our refrigerator spewing water out the dispenser, and our kitchen, laundry room, part of our dining room and family room under 2 inches of standing water. (see previous posts for the saga of the flood and

At the time of the flood, a repairman came out from the company where we acquired the fridge. Let’s call this company, oh, I don’t know… “Sneers.”


So the repairman comes out, tells me he’s been doing the job since the 1968, back when the colors du jour were “harvest gold” and “avocado.” He says he’s never had so many issues with a fridge brand as he’s having with these “newfangled computerized Japanese-manufactured refrigerators.” Swell.

tumblr_mdkiu3ehfF1r48hglo1_500 I’ll bet that refrigerator lasted 50 years

I should back up a bit.

We bought this fridge brand new 2 years ago following another fridge debacle. When we moved into our house 4 years ago, we had to buy a new fridge since our old one was thrown in as part of the sale of our old house. (I’m not a great negotiator- I threw in our patio set also.)

So 4 years ago I went to Sneers and bought a Kenmore refrigerator, exactly like the one I had left behind in Huntington Beach. The salesman talked me into an extended 3 year warranty even though I knew my husband would kill me if he found out. I personally like warranties. He thinks they are a scam, and you never get your money’s worth. (He may be singing a different tune now.)

For the first year and a half of owning the Kenmore, I noticed that the ice maker had a tendency to jam up. Sometimes it was fine, sometimes it churned and churned, with nothing coming out. That is, of course, until I lifted up the flap of the door dispenser, jabbed the frozen chunk with a knife to break it up, and then suddenly it was like an avalanche. Sometimes that wouldn’t work either, so I would try to pry the ice maker out of the inside of the door, but many times it was so adhered it took herculean strength to get it out.


On the evening of my husband’s 20th high school reunion alumni night, I found myself engaged in a battle with the icemaker again. He and his friend who had flown into town for the reunion were about 20 minutes from leaving when I went all “Incredible Hulk” on the icemaker and used my brute strength to yank it off. ( I have a broad back. It comes in handy sometimes.) The momentum of the release caused the icemaker to fly up into my face, hitting me square in the mouth. @#$%$@&!!!

I went into the bathroom and realized I had put my lower teeth completely through the area between my bottom lip and my chin.

I came back out and my husband stared at me with wide eyes.

“You ok?”

“Nope. I have a hole in my face.”

“Oh. What are you going to do?”

“I am going to drive myself to the walk-in clinic.”

“Oh. Ok. We’re gonna go now, then.”


(In his defense, I once made him drive himself home from a dinner party with the stomach flu so I could eat the filet mignon I had just ordered before he started puking. I think we’re even.)

I drove myself to the walk-in and got 5 stitches.

When Jeff got home that night he looked at me and said, “You got a soul patch.”


The next evening I got to meet all of his high school friends and his ex-girlfriend for the first time with stitches in my face. I debated on which was a better look- the band aid across the chin, or just the stitches by themselves. I decided to skip the Band-Aid.

We were mingling at the reunion and my husband leans over to me and says quietly in my ear, “You look pretty tonight. And a little like Johnny Depp.”

As you might imagine, the teeth through the chin was the final straw with me and the ice maker. I scheduled the Sneers repairman to come out.

He took one look at the fridge and said, “Yeah, that’s what I thought. A lot of the doors on this model came from the factory warped. It allows enough air to get into the ice to melt it a little, then refreeze it. We have to replace the whole door.”

Thank goodness for extended warranties, right?

He ordered the door and said he’d be back in a few weeks.

A giant door arrived at my house just before my appointment. When he showed up, he opened the box and said, “Did you look at the door?”


“Well, it’s the wrong door. For a different fridge.”

He sighed, either at my incompetence for not checking, or at his own people for sending the wrong door. Probably both. He hauled that door out and rescheduled me. He made me promise I would check and see if the door was correct before he came back out.

A few weeks later, a new door arrived, I opened the box enough to see that it was the right door. He called me the morning of my appointment to make sure I had gotten the door and it was correct.  The repairman arrived, opened the box and then looked at me.

“This door is dented. ”

“You didn’t tell me to look for dents. You told me to make sure it’s the right door.”

Long sigh.

He went out to his truck with the dented door and didn’t come back for a while. I thought maybe he was trying to decide how he was going to kill me.

When he came back in he said, “I don’t want to come back here. I got my supervisor to issue you a credit. Go buy yourself a new fridge.” And left.

So I did. Two years ago, I bought a brand new fridge. State of the art, the salesman said. Highest rated, the salesman said. Know what he didn’t say? Likely to go haywire and flood your house. He didn’t say that.

So when the repairman came out following the flood, and handed me a $750 repair estimate and a strong suggestion to buy a new fridge, I panicked. I couldn’t make that decision at that moment. State Farm wants the parts. They want to go after the manufacturer and get all of our (and their) money back for the $10,000 worth of repairs the flood has necessitated.

The repairman told me that he strongly advised declining the repair and paying the $130 for his visit. He told me that they would apply the 130 to the repairs if we chose to make them. He also said that if I repair the fridge, I should consider buying another warranty. The new fridge, because it was a replacement, was under the original fridge’s warranty. So it expired one year ago. He said that if we repaired the fridge, we would likely see him again. This was not encouraging.

With those dire warnings in my head, I went refrigerator shopping.

Have you looked at the prices of appliances lately? I didn’t see a single fridge under 2 grand. The fridge I bought 2 years ago is 700 dollars more now.

I decided we would take our chances. We would get the repairs done and buy a new warranty and cross our fingers.

Last week I called Sneers. The woman I spoke with barely spoke English. She said her named was Judith, but I’m pretty sure she’s lying.

I explained the situation to Judith, and she offered me an appointment for today, 8 am to noon. I didn’t have a choice, I needed to take it, otherwise it would be during the first week of school.

I said, offhandedly, “Make sure he brings the parts.” Ha ha.

She said, “I will make a note that you’d like him to bring the parts, if possible.”

“Um, no. Not ‘if possible.’ He needs to bring the parts. There’s no other reason for him to come out here. You already have in your system the problem and the parts needed. ”

“I will do my best.”

“I don’t think you understand. I don’t want him coming here without the parts. Someone already came out. Now I need them to come back and make the repairs.”

“Ok, ma’am. If you choose to refuse repairs again, you will be charged $130.”

“No. I already paid $130. That needs to be attributed to the costs. That’s what the repairman said. You apply the 130 to the repairs.”

“You won’t decline the repairs. It won’t be an issue. You will get your $60 credit.”

“No. Not $60 credit. $130.”

“You get $60 credit. I put that on your account.”

“Never mind. I will talk to the guy when he gets here. With the parts.”

“Ok ma’am.”

So you’ll forgive me if this morning, when the repairman came out and told me 1) he doesn’t have the parts he has to order them, 2) He wants me to pay $500 up front 3) their policy has changed and I now only get $60 of my initial service call credited to my repair bill and 4) he can’t schedule me for another 2 weeks, I got a little peeved.

First of all, when he got here, he had no idea why he was here. There were no notes in the system at all. I said, “But you have the parts, right?”

He looked at me, surprised and said, “I don’t know.”

He went out to the truck- no parts.

I went on to explain my conversation with “Judith” and also my conversation with the previous repairman. He told me that I had to pay up front for the parts before he would order them, and that he wouldn’t leave with out it, or I’d have to decline the repairs and pay another $130.

I started to feel my heart rate pick up and my breathing grow shallow. I was trying to be nice, but I was having more and more of a difficult time doing so. My pumpkin spice latté was starting to churn in my stomach.

I said, as calmly as I could, “That’s not going to happen.”

He started to look a little scared. He could see I was beginning to get a crazed look in my eyes.

“I can’t leave without payment.”

“You haven’t done anything. Why did they even send you here? Why are you here?”

The look of alarm on his face made me feel a bit of compassion for him. He said quietly, “I don’t know.”

After all, this wasn’t his fault.

I said, “This may be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Can you get me the number of someone that I can talk to about this? I’m gonna pay for the parts so you can get on with your day, but I want you to know, I am NOT ok with this and they WILL hear from me.”

As soon as he left, I was on the phone with Sneers.

The woman I spoke with was not budging. I felt myself getting more and more worked up as I talked with her. I kept saying, “Why did you send him here?” I never got a convincing answer.

She said, “You declined the repair. We had to send him out to diagnose the problem. It was a month ago.”

I responded, “That’s just not true. He didn’t diagnose anything. He had no idea why he was there, he couldn’t find any info on the original visit in your system, he looked at my original estimate form, and then went to his truck to see if he had the parts that I had explicitly told “Judith”  he NOT come without. He did not have the parts. He didn’t DO anything! Why would you have me sit here all morning waiting for some guy to show up and say ‘Yup, the other guy was right. That’ll be another $130 please.'”

But she wasn’t budging. I could feel myself crossing the threshold of rationality.

I finally got her to agree to have the tech manager call me back.

Sydney came down later and said, “You really let whoever that was have it.”

I said, “Yeah, I’m getting ready to write a blog post about how mad I am.”

She said, “What happened to the post you were going to write about random acts of kindness?”

“That’s going to have to be another day. When I’m not so pissed.”

I think I’m gonna sic Jeff on them. The most I’ve ever gotten out of a customer complaint is a box of cookies from Time Warner after their supervisor called me a bitch and made me cry. Remember, I’m not a great negotiator.

Last year, Jeff called DirecTV and complained because we weren’t getting channels he thought we were supposed to. I think he negotiated free TV for life and the customer service rep’s firstborn.  If I have him take on Sears, he’ll probably end up with a new fridge, a riding lawnmower and a whole Kmart.


Jesus Wouldn’t Have Rice In His Beard And Other Tales Of Back To School Shopping


I took my kids to the mall yesterday.

We were leaving church, which is halfway between our house and the mall.

I thought to myself, “I could actually get ahead of the game- no last minute labor day back-to-school shopping! I’ll be like those moms who smugly show up to the teacher meet and greet with their bags of baby wipes and tissues, and the superior knowledge that my children’s drawers and backpacks are fully stocked. No midnight runs to Walgreen’s the night before school starts! This is my year!”

“We’re going to the mall.” I declared.

Parker: “To Toys R Us?”

Me: “No, to buy clothes. For school.”

Zoe: “We should do that another day.”

Me: “No. This is the day. We’re doing it.”

I ignored the moderate protests and turned up the music in the car.

I parked by the Sears because it was the only part of the lot where there was availability. This should have been a major red flag, but I chose to ignore it.

Since we had to pass through Sears anyway, I decided to take a look at their refrigerators. We still haven’t decided whether we are going to repair the parts which caused the massive flooding of our kitchen ( and or replace the fridge completely.

The refrigerator salesman popped up behind me out of nowhere and bellowed, “Can I help you find something?”

I said, “No.”

He asked, “Not buying today?”

I began to tell him our refrigerator saga and my current dilemma when I caught some movement out of my right eye. I turned just in time to see that Parker had crawled up into a fridge and was attempting to close the doors. Zoe appeared to have boosted him up and was on the outside helping shut him in.

“Get out of the refrigerator!” I yelled, startling the salesman.

He handed me his card, said, “Seems like you’ve got your hands full. Give me a call if I can help,” and then scurried away. I was unsure if the help he was offering was regarding my appliance needs, or if he was offering to help me make my kids “disappear.”

I glared at Parker and Zoe and marched them towards the escalator. I could hear the commentary of the salespeople behind me, but I used my motherly ability to tune them out.

We got out of Sears and Parker told me that he wanted an electric lime green fleece pullover like Lucas, the boy who lives across the street. He refused to look at almost anything else. The exception? Shirts with toys attached. I’m sure some genius marketing exec is really proud of himself for this one.

156638276_-iron-man-captain-america-hulk-thor-t-shirt-boys-tee-toy .

“I want this shirt. I like pterodactyls.”

“Since when?”

“I just do.”

He doesn’t like pterodactyls. He likes the idea of getting a “free” pterodactyl toy with the purchase of an ugly shirt.

.4a94777a19523_55289n Don’t be silly. I know this isn’t a pterodactyl. I didn’t actually buy the pterodactyl shirt.

I was getting hungry, but the food court was at the other end of the mall. We ran the gauntlet.

“Oh look! pretzels!”

“I want Cold Stone!”

“Let’s go into the Disney store/Lego store/Game Stop so I can show you what I want for my birthday.”

“Your birthday is in two months. We’re not going in there. I’m not looking at toys. We’re looking for school clothes. If we don’t find something soon you’re going to be wearing that pterodactyl shirt and jeans that are 4 inches too short to the first day of school.”

“Fine. But can I get an oatmeal raisin cookie?”



Zoe: “We have to go into Justice.”

Parker: “I hate this store. This is a stupid store.”

Me: “I don’t disagree with you. But you can’t leave.”

Zoe: “Claire got turtle stuff here. I want turtle stuff.”

Me: “I don’t see any turtle stuff. Ask the girl.”

Oh. They had turtle stuff. I may have accidentally forgotten to buy some of the turtle stuff she put into my hands.


Zoe: “I want this shirt. It says ‘Choose to be amazing.'”

Me: “It’s too small. And it’s the last one.”

Zoe: “So?” (Is there a more aggravating word uttered by preadolescents than this one tiny syllable?)

Deep breath. Me: “Sooo, you can’t buy a shirt that’s too small.”

Zoe: “I can make it work.”

Me: “No. You can’t.”

Parker: “This is a really stupid store.”

Me: “Shh. I know. It’s almost over.”

We got up to the counter.

Zoe: “I want that shirt with the paint splatters all over it but it’s too high.”

Me: “Oh well.” (no sympathy.)

Justice Girl: “It’s buy one, get one free. If you buy this jacket for $42, you’re only getting the turtle earrings for free, and that’s like $4.”

Zoe: “Oh good! Then I want that tank top that looks like it has paint splatters all over it.”

image This is what gloating looks like.

Justice girl: “Ok. But that’s only $17. You should also get the yoga pants that go with the jacket.”

Zoe; “Good idea!”

Me: O_O

Justice Girl: “So you’re going to get lots of Justice bucks to spend after August 31st!”

Me: “That means I have to come back here.”

At this point Parker decided it would be really humorous to start foaming at the mouth and panting like a Zombie.

Me: “What’s wrong with you?”

Parker: “Unh Unnhh.” Drool. Drool.

Me: “Fine, I’ll take you to go get food. Maybe after that you’ll start acting like a human again.”

We got to the food court, which was a total madhouse. Parker marched straight to Sbarro.

Parker: “I want pepperoni pizza.”

Me: “Looks like they’re out of pepperoni. Can you have cheese? You usually order pepperoni and then pick them off anyway.”

Parker: “No. I want pepperoni.”

Zoe: “I want Chinese”

I looked at her.

Me: “What are you eating?”

Zoe: “Some sort of meat. That lady over there handed it to me as I walked by.”

Me: “That’s not Chinese. It’s Japanese. Go find out what you just ate.”

Zoe walked down while I ordered Parker’s pepperoni pizza, and walked back to where we were waiting for it to finish cooking.

Zoe: “It’s teriyaki chicken. Does panda Express have teriyaki chicken?”

Me: “Panda Express is Chinese. Teriyaki is Japanese.

Zoe: “Well I want teriyaki chicken.

Me: (for the 100th time that day) “Fine. You and Parker sit here with the shopping bags and I’ll go get your teriyaki chicken.

I walked down to the Japanese food. I noticed that every single person crowding around the Japanese place was Mexican. There were at least 15 people speaking Spanish around me. All of the kids working the Japanese food counter were not only Japanese, they had very thick Japanese accents and were speaking to each other in Japanese.

I marveled at the diversity I was witnessing at the food court in general. You have to understand, the county I live  in was almost completely caucasian while I was growing up. I remember in high school reading demographic statistics that showed the minority population of my county and then trying to count white people until I ran into a minority because I didn’t believe there were even as many as the report stated. Now, I was looking over a food court that looked more like the United Nations. Indian, Chinese, Black, Japanese, Native and everything in between. It makes me happy that my kids get to be exposed to people of different cultures and ethnicities in a way I wasn’t as a kid. Plus, I had no idea that Mexican people were such fans of teriyaki. You learn something new every day.

Suddenly the guy working the grill started slapping Styrofoam containers up onto the counter.

“Chicken teriyaki. Chicken teriyaki. Chicken teriyaki. Chicken teriyaki,” he shouted as he scooped chicken into each box. Apparently the woman doling out samples was doing a great job of luring customers in for chicken teriyaki. Either that, or it was actually the only item on the menu.

I brought Zoe’s food back to the table.

Zoe: “Who’s the cutest guy in the food court?”

I looked around.

Me: “I don’t see any guys I consider cute.”

Zoe: (pouting) “I know.”

A minute later-

“Look! That looks like Jesus!”

She pointed to a man with long, scraggly hair, a long scraggly beard and dingy clothes standing in front of the teriyaki joint. He looked homeless.

Parker: “It’s not Jesus. It looks like Shaggy.”

Later, as we left, I looked over at Shaggy Jesus. He had rice in his beard.

We made our way back through the mall to the center area, where Parker was lured by the fountain.

I looked over at him, and he appeared to be clutching something in his hands, his eyes were closed and his lips were moving silently. I wasn’t sure if he was making a wish or praying.

I whispered to Zoe, “What is he doing?”

She said, “I think he’s making a wish.”

Suddenly a small blonde toddler with no shoes on came up to the fountain next to Zoe and tried reaching into the water. He was soon followed by two mall security guards who came over and asked us if he was with us. We told them he wasn’t. We looked around but saw no one to whom he seemed to belong.

They told us they’d been watching him run around the center of the mall for 10 minutes, and after 15 minutes they had to call the real cops if the parents didn’t show up.

One guard said, “My guess is he escaped from the play structure at the other end of the mall. He doesn’t have shoes on.”

He sent the other guard in the direction of the play area. A few minutes later the radio warbled something and the guard responded. He muttered, “Should have known it was the dad. It’s usually the dad.”

We followed the boy and the guard toward the play area and soon we could see the other guard walking with a man. The man quickly walked towards the boy shouting, “You! You!” He picked him up and turned back towards the play area.

I felt my empathy for the dad dissipate a bit. It happens. I’ve lost my kids at the mall before. And Target. And Wal-Mart. And… well you get the gist. Kids can be like Houdini. But a two year old who gets lost shouldn’t have the first words he hears from his daddy be an accusation. Hopefully later those words were soothed with lots of hugs.

We never found the lime green fleece pullover. We never got any actual school supplies- no pens, pencils, papers, notebooks. The good news is I didn’t lose my kids, and although my fantasy of this:


Ended up looking more like this:


I did manage to get a lot of clothes for them. I still have to shop for Nathan, who has grown 5 inches this summer (no exaggeration) and about 3 shoe sizes.

Aww crap. I forgot shoes. I still have to buy them shoes.

Remind me some time to tell the story about the labor day weekend I worked at a shoe store.










I’m Gumby Dammit! And Other Moments From Nathan’s 15th Birthday


15 years ago, our son Nathan was born in the caul. For those of you who don’t know what that means, you might want to google it. I’m afraid if I gave an anatomical description of it, I will lose half of my readers. Let’s just say that he came out “still protected.” Medieval legend says that being born in the caul is a sign of good luck and being destined for greatness. I don’t doubt it for a minute. This kid is by far the luckiest one of our family. We found out he was a boy through an ultrasound on  St. Patrick’s Day 1998 and my doctor, Patrick, insisted when he was born that all of these signs pointed to the fact we should name him Patrick. We didn’t.

Although he looked quite a bit like Winston Churchill as an infant (see above picture) he quickly grew to be an adorable and sweet little towheaded boy.

image image

For those of you who don’t know, Nathan is the only one of our four kids not born in the middle of October. Sydney, Zoe and Parker’s birthdays fall between October 13-19th. This year we are spending that week (known in our house as hell week) in Hawaii, and since Nathan is the only one who won’t be celebrating his birthday in Hawaii, I decided to bring Hawaii to his birthday.



image My mother made this little Hawaiian Nathan paper doll

He spent his day the way he wanted to- his friends had spent the night before and they played video games all morning, followed by going to see “Pacific Rim” at the theater. I dropped the boys off with their fandango tickets and $60 cash. My husband met them there. He said they went to get snacks and came back with one icee and three straws. I said, “But I gave him $60. They could have each gotten their own!” My husband’s theory is that one of them figured out that the large Icee was bottomless and thought sharing was the best way to go. He described how during the movie they would take turns keeping the icee in their cupholder, and then he would see a hand reaching for it. Whomever had grabbed it would then have to figure out which of the three straws was his.

Leading up to his birthday I had asked him if he wanted to go out to dinner or have dinner at home. He chose the latter. His tradition the past several years is to have the “World’s greatest sandwich.” Some of you may have missed that post, so here it is, recipe included.

Thankfully things went much better this time, and I managed to make (with the help of my mother-in-law Toni) 11 World’s greatest sandwiches with no injuries or fires of any kind. It was a birthday miracle.

After dinner came gifts. Nathan tends to be a quiet kid, who is never comfortable being the center of attention.

image image

I finally got his birthday wish list on Tuesday, which gave me very little time to get his gifts. Another reason I love Amazon and prime shipping. Of course, one of his requests was for cash, but I didn’t want to just give him cash, so I ordered two different items (yes, from Amazon) to make it more interesting.

The first was a pinball machine. The object was to get all three mini pinballs into a certain hole, and then you were to press a “win” button to release the drawer. I had put two gift cards inside, so the only way he could get to them was to play the game.


It was pretty hard. He was getting a little annoyed that he had to work so hard to get his gift. At one point he decided to go get a screwdriver and planned to pry the whole thing apart to get to the goodies. I convinced him to try again. Later in the night he was able to get the balls in and the drawer released. His persistence paid off.  But he was still peeved.

My other genius idea to give him cash was a puzzle box. When it arrived I realized that the box the puzzle box came in was even better a gift than the actual puzzle box. Clearly this was created by non- English speaking people.

image “Enlighten your IQ! The best welcome gifts for the children!”

image “Intellect game?” “Skillful devise” “Iron bead moved to the end with open up the lid”

image “Into the coin.” Or, perhaps you meant coin into the bank?

image “Stimulation fun game!”

Nathan tried for a while before getting very frustrated and setting it down to move onto his next gift. My father, the engineer, decided this was a challenge which he would like to pursue. He spent quite a bit of time trying to maneuver the “Iron bead moved to the end with open up the lid” before he started bashing it against my kitchen table. Defeated, he set it down.

A while later, Sydney was sitting with the puzzle box and pulled off the lid. She said, “Papa I think you already solved it, you just didn’t know it. Either that, or it never got set originally and all this effort was in vain. Maybe it was open the whole time.” I said, “There’s a life metaphor in there somewhere.”

My mother said, “Katie was always good at solving puzzles.”

I said, “I don’t know that I would say that. Although I am one level away from beating Candy Crush.”

Sydney asked, “Then what happens?”

Jeff said, “Then I get clean socks.”

Nathan’s next gift was a face bank. When I saw it on his list I had no idea what it was. This is what it is:


Above is the video I took as we tried to figure out how it works.

His big gift of the night was a Selk bag, otherwise known as a wearable sleeping bag. I have yet to understand under which circumstances he plans on wearing this thing, although he told me he slept in it last night. He awoke during the night in a panic over how hot and sweaty he was, so hopefully he didn’t break it trying to escape it.

I picked green because it was the only color other than pink that was available on Amazon prime shipping. The net effect is that when he wears it, he looks just like Gumby.

image gumby1

The final portion of the birthday extravaganza was the ice cream cake he had requested. Unfortunately it was about 95 degrees in my kitchen and once I took it out of the freezer we were in a race against time to get it sliced.


Parker was having a difficult time controlling his compulsion to blow out the candles.

image image

But Nathan outsmarted him by covering his face as he leaned in to blow them out.


I think his birthday was exactly the way he wanted it. Hopefully he won’t hold a grudge about having to work for his gifts. I may never give cash or gift cards without a challenge ever again. Hey, there’s nothing that says I can’t enjoy watching them struggle to open their gifts from me, is there?

image saturday-night-live-1980-1984-

“I’m Gumby dammit!”











My WHAT Has Shipped?!?


This is not an usual site on my front porch. Ok, maybe not quite this much, but it is a rare day that we don’t receive some sort of shipment from somewhere, and often from Amazon. I love Amazon. I love that I can think to myself, “Hmm I really want ______, but don’t feel like driving around looking for it. I wonder if Amazon has it.”

And they almost always do. And I can get it delivered to my door in 2 days with free shipping. It’s almost like having a magic genie to grant my wishes.

Because we own our own business, my husband also often has packages shipped here. My kids always get excited when there are packages on the porch, even though they hardly ever are for them. This was my conversation with Nathan last week:

Nathan: Did you see you got a package from Amazon?
Me: Yes. Did you open it?
Nathan: No. But I want to.
Me: It’s nothing exciting.
Nathan: I wanna open it.
Me: If opening that box that contains my Tahitian lotion will make you happy, be my guest.
-He opens the box and pulls out a jar
Me: Surprise!
Nathan: It’s body butter.
Me: See? Exciting.

He then proceeded to read the ingredients off the side of the jar, as if that somehow validated his interest in opening my package.

ProductBodyButter-TahitianFlower It really is amazing lotion. Smells like the ocean (If the ocean smelled like flowers and not dead sea creatures.)

Most of our packages are delivered by UPS. I always figured that my UPS drivers never paid that much attention to the houses on their routes because they see so many. One day the driver, a woman, had to deliver a large package that I needed to sign for. As I signed the paperwork she said, “I see you got a new car. Got tired of trying to park that giant Escalade on this steep driveway, huh?”

My friend Rebecca over at is married to a UPS driver. Sometimes he works in my neighborhood. Last Christmas Eve she told me he would be out in my area so I put out some cookies and candy for him and his partner. I put a giant note on them that said “UPS.” I felt really bad, though, because it turned out that one of my expected packages was delivered by FedEx prior to them picking it up. I stopped feeling bad when it turned out that the other package that was supposed to be delivered at the same time mysteriously got lost at my local FedEx office until two days after Christmas. I am convinced they got huffy and decided not to deliver both packages.

Soon after, my friend’s hubby started vomiting violently and spent much of the next few days in the hospital. I’m not pointing any fingers or anything, but the timing is a bit suspicious. That’s all I’m saying. (*Editor’s disclaimer- I do not really believe that the FedEx driver poisoned the treats I left out for the UPS drivers. I think he actually had a virus.)

tumblr_m7lah1NMAs1qhqad1o1_500 Lesson learned- If you’re gonna leave treats for the UPS guy, you’d better leave them for the FedEx guy too.

Anyways. Back to Amazon. Since we use Amazon Prime all the time, sometimes the account doesn’t get logged out. This is where things have gotten complicated around here.

Parker is really into action figures. He likes to play out whole episodes of his favorite shows with the character toys. He seems to think every character from every show is represented by a real life toy, so he often is begging me to look for them. Somewhere along the line he figured out that Amazon is where I find the majority of his toys. Last year, when he was still 6, I allowed him to create an Amazon wish list in my account, where he can accumulate all the toys he wants in one spot for further evaluation.

One night last summer, I received this email:

314492_10151062988164089_24144485_n My WHAT has shipped?!?

What this was, was a giant blue balloon that cost $1.79 and an additional $2.99 for shipping. It wasn’t eligible for free shipping, so the shipping costs were more than the actual item. Nearly $5 for a balloon that wasn’t even blown up.

The next morning I said, “Parker, did you order a giant blue balloon on Amazon without my permission?”

He said, “It’s an adventure sphere.”


“An adventure sphere.”

He told me that he was trying to order something he had seen on a commercial for one of his favorite shows, “Adventure Time.” Here is the commercial:

adventure-time-live-action 482120_10151062567529089_1613220176_n (Commercial on the left, Parker on the right)

About 2 weeks later, the adventure sphere arrived.


Parker said, “That’s not what I thought it was,” and threw it down on the bench.

About a month later, Nathan walked into my room and was holding the balloon and the package.

“How long ago did my balloon get here?”

I stared at him for a moment in disbelief and then started laughing hysterically.

It turned out that Nathan had thought he was ordering a giant ball of some sort. I don’t think he ever attempted to blow up the “adventure sphere.” Later I asked Parker why he took the blame for ordering something he didn’t order. He responded, ” I thought I did it.”

A couple of days ago, Nathan mentioned wanting to order something for himself as an early birthday present. I said, “What is it?”

“It’s a wearable sleeping bag.”

“A what?”

“A wearable sleeping bag.”

I went over to the computer and got ready to google it, when Nathan came over and edged me out of the chair.

“You’ll never find it. Here, let me pull it up.”

He then proceeded to pull up one of the most awesome displays of random useless crap I have ever seen in my life: .

Here are some of my favorite items listed for sale on this website:

suit-pajamas Pajama suit. As seen on “How I Met Your Mother.”

bottle-opening-sandals Sandal bottle opener- for those days on the beach drinking Corona and listening to Jimmy Buffet.

beer-bottle-chandelier Beer bottle chandelier. You could make one yourself with all the Corona bottles you opened on your sandal, but you’re too drunk to put it together. We’ve done it for you.

batman-brake-light-cover Batman taillight cover. You know you want it. You can also purchase the accompanying Batman Snuggie.

toiletbowlmug You know what your breath smells like in the morning. Why not just be real about it?

thug-life-fake-tattoos I’m getting this for all my Bible study friends to wear to our next get together.

baby-crib-dribbler What’s good for the bunny is good for the baby.

So finally after perusing things I never could have imagined actually exist for purchase, we came to the wearable sleeping bag.


My nearly 15 year old son is going on a youth group camping trip with the church. There will be girls there. I started hemming and hawing and saying thinks like, “Do you really imagine yourself walking around in this?” And, “What if it is too big? You might trip all over the place.”

He said, “Yeah, maybe I will get something else.”

This morning I received this email:


I asked my husband if he had ordered some sort of metal. He looked at me like I was crazy. I looked up what it is, and this was the description:

gallium-metal“Experience the mind-blowing power of science every time you place some gallium in your hands. This unique metal transforms from a solid to a liquid while in your hands because of its unusually low temperature melting point – and once you let it go it returns to a solid form.”

It had to be Nathan.

Me: Nathan, did you order some sort of metal chunk from Amazon for $35?

Nathan: Yes, I got it instead of the wearable sleeping bag.

Out of everything he could buy, he bought a piece of metal.

I get why he didn’t get the “DJ catscratch turntable” since we don’t have a cat.

cat-scratch-dj-turntable “You might not know it, but cats are natural DJs. Now you can let Mr. Fluffums practice his wicked DJ skills while also keeping his nails sharp with these cat scratch posts shaped like turntables that will actually spin when your cat puts his claws into it.”

But at least maybe he could go with something more entertaining than a chunk of metal.

smartphone-laser-tag Smartphone laser tag. Now THIS is genius.