Monday, May 6, 2013

Hint-a-Day May

I'm going to try something new for the remainder of the month of May. Every day I'm going to post something that someone might find helpful. I feel like I spend a lot of time here just trying to make you laugh and since I can never be sure that I'm succeeding in that regard (since I'm not standing behind you while you're reading my posts...yet) I figure that if I tell you something helpful, this will at least ensure that you haven't wasted your time here. Because:

Tangent Warning: I seriously love that meme because it's so true. My favorite use of it was on Pinterest where some girl posted at least 50 pictures of different've seen those pins, like this:

And after this string of pictures of manicures that would require hours of labor by some poor person wearing a jeweler's magnifying loupe to paint the detail work, someone wrote in the comment section, "Ain't nobody got time for that." Amen, sister. Something else that one does not have time for:

Indiana Jones-themed manicure.
How could you survive a day with your nails like this. It would drive me insane.

Okay, back on topic. In Atlanta, we're going to trade in the minivan for a boat, or perhaps retrofit it for some water skis. It has rained every weekend for the entire spring. If you think it's fun to sit in the house with a bunch of kids who would rather be playing baseball and soccer, you'd be mistaken. In fact, I think I may have a touch of cabin fever. I say this because when I think back on Saturday, it seems more like a fever dream than anything that really happened.

It all started in the morning when the pouring rain cancelled all the games. I was enjoying the fact that the children seemed to be momentarily occupied with the Wii as I "worked" on the computer doing something very important like keeping up with who is taking care of Charlie Sheen and Brook Mueller's twins now that she's in rehab for the 19th time (A: Denise Richards, described as Charlie's "second ex-wife").

I wrongly assumed that since the pre-rain plan was for the K to take the Boy to baseball and then to a doctor's appointment in the afternoon, he would be sticking around the house for the day. This was incorrect as the K told me his plan was to go to the gym and to the office. After some negotiations, he agreed to hang out with the children, but insisted that I needed to go do something in order to make his change in plans worthwhile. I looked out the window at the driving rain and countered that the Baby had been begging me to take them all bowling and that perhaps he should do that, while I luxuriated in my child-free house reading about the woes of the rich and foolish. He agreed, although I sensed some inertia with the bowling plan which concerned me: He started cleaning out his half of the bedroom closet.

At this point, I took stock of family dynamics and assumed that the following would happen:
1. There would be no trip to the bowling alley in the morning.
2. I would be forced to leave the house to get some "free time" for myself.
3. This free time would involve me doing something that I needed to do, but didn't particularly want to do.
4. I would arrive home, the K would take the Boy to his appointment and the Baby would melt down because she hadn't gotten to go bowling.
5. I would be unable to take the girls bowling because the Boy would melt down when he got home because he didn't get to go bowling. He would probably say, "it's not fair!" and throw something.
6. By the time the Boy got home from his appointment there wouldn't be time to go bowling because the K and I were going to a Kentucky Derby party.
7. The children would all cry and say that it was, "the worstest day ever!" Which we all know were the original lyrics to "American Pie" before Don McLean changed them to, "the day the music died."

So, to sum up, I realized that the goal of the remainder of the day would be to mitigate everyone's crankiness. It's always a good idea to have realistic goals: This might not be the best day, but try hard to not make it the worst.

I began by putting on all my rain gear and heading outside to harvest some of our cash crop of mint. I promised Steph, the Derby Party hostess that I'd bring her some mint for the Derby mint juleps. Okay, if you would like to have mint in your garden, plant it in a pot because it's like kudzu or bamboo in how it takes over. See here:

I don't know why we have two basketballs and a soccer ball hidden in the hosta like it's Easter. Oh yes, I do: the children never put away their toys.
By the way, that picture was after I picked a bunch to give to Steph. I wrapped the bunch in a wet paper towel and stuck it in a cup. I told the K and the children to have fun bowling (even though I was 99% sure that when I got home they'd all be sitting in the exact same positions as when I left) and set out for Publix.

Much to my delight/horror, a Cinqo de Mayo celebration was in full swing at Publix. Here's what that looks like:

Is this bad? I'm not Mexican, so I don't know. Maybe a little bit? Oh, they also had maracas that they were half-heartedly shaking in a oh-my-gosh-I-hope-no-one-recognizes-me kind of way. I decided not to worry about the likely politically incorrect nature of the promotion and ate some chips because I'd forgotten to eat lunch.

I did my grocery shopping, but I also had to pick up some rain ponchos because Steph let me use their rain ponchos on our trip to Disney and they got destroyed in the great Disney Fantasmic washout. I also had to return some props that Steph loaned me for the K's white trash birthday party. Namely, some plastic Bubba Gump cocktail shakers that I used in the decor:

So, just to summarize this is what I dropped off at Steph's on the way home from Publix:

1. Three plastic Bubba Gump cocktail shakers,
2. A large bunch of fresh mint, wrapped in a paper towel and shoved into a red plastic cup,
3. Three rain ponchos.

Steph's daughter, who is almost 12 answered the door and I very hastily explained that I was returning some thing to her mother and ran off before she saw the contents of the bag and had a chance to ask whether I'd had a bad reaction to some medication.

When I got home, all that I predicted had come true: the children were sitting in front of the television watching Monsters, Inc. in 3D, the K had finished cleaning the closet, and no one had gone bowling. Further, as soon as the K and the Boy left for the doctor, the Baby started screaming that she wanted to go bowling. "I told you so," I told myself. "Nobody likes that," I said back.

In order to placate the Baby I decided we had to get out of the house, and do something fun enough that she'd be satisfied, but boring enough that the Boy wouldn't care that he missed it. This can only mean one thing: Shopping! So, in the pouring rain, we drove over to our pathetic local mall to see if I could find any fun hats for the Derby party. I had my hat from last year on standby, but with the cold and rainy weather, I was having to reconsider my outfit. We hit Burlington Coat Factory, which, as they say, is more than just great has a lot of utterly random stuff, too. The hat section was pretty well picked over, but I tried on one fascinator that the girls both said looked terrible. I couldn't find a mirror, so I took their word for it. I ended up finding a scarf to jazz up my old hat. Here's the finished product:

In case you are in the market for a monogrammed hat,
I got mine at
The Baby wanted something and I'm all about bribing her to make her happy. The toy section at Burlington is like the land of misfit toys. Among the items, a VHS of Kurt Russell in:

which I should have bought just because when again would I have that opportunity? Also, in case you were wondering, the Kurt Russell collection includes, Strongest Man in the World, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Horse in the Grey Flannel, and Now You See Him, available at Amazon.

Initially, the Baby had her heart set on a Dora the Explorer sprinkler, which is exactly what you want when it's been raining for 40 days and 40 nights. Then she saw this beauty:

It's a Barbie mermaid whose tail doubles as a surfboard. Her name is Merliah, which sounds like the name of an asthma drug or something. ("Side effects of Merliah include incessant ringing in your ears, a stabbing sensation in your side, hair loss, psychotic behavior, and death.") Of course I bought Merliah, and she now surfs on the Baby's bed:

The Baby already has a doll of Ariel, the Little Mermaid and I asked if she thought they'd be friends. She said no, because Barbie was much cooler than Ariel because she has pink streaks in her hair and a abdominal tattoo that appears when she gets wet. I'm sure the fact that she stratifies her dolls into cool and not-cool groups portends a miserable adolescence for the Baby. Hopefully, by that time they'll all go to school on-line because global warming will make it impossible to go outside. Fingers crossed!

So, aside from the Derby Party, that was my Saturday. Here is the Cliff's Notes version of what can learn from this blog post:

1. Have realistic goals: This might not be the best day, but try hard to not make it the worst.
2. Plant mint in a pot or it will take over your garden like a green wave of smothering freshness.
3. Misgivings about possible racism in a supermarket promotion seem less important when they're giving away free food and you're hungry.
4. If you lend me some random items, be prepared for even more random items to be returned to you.
5. Buy monogrammed hats here.
6. Buy your Kurt Russell movie four-pack here.
7. Buy your mean-girl Barbie mermaid with the pharmaceutical name here.

Even if I don't write a big post tomorrow, I'll be sure to check in with some can't-miss tips. Do you have any "helpful" tips? Please share in the comments.


  1. Helpful AND funny! Now that was a winner!! I was also caught up in the Cinco de Mayo fiesta at Publix and sampled enchiladas, then chocolate cake, then chips & guac, which I found to be an unsatisfactory order. The whole scene was a little scary, but a lot funny!

    1. I didn't see the cake. I totally would have gotten a sample of that. Was it "Mexican" chocolate cake or did they just forget the pretense and decide that everyone loves chocolate cake? The mustaches were what made it.

  2. As you know, I was at the fiesta too. I also went to BCF. I bought a hat that neighbor architect helped me put together with her hot glue gun. She was shocked that I don't own one. The best hat at the party was also constructed by an architect with foam board. Tip: Hire an architect if you want to have the best derby hat. If that's not an option, have hot glue gun and foam board on hand at all times. I hope this is helpful.

    1. That is good advice. I guess that Derby hats are one time when having an architect is better than a stylist.

  3. I cannot grow mint. Mine always dies. It has every time I've tried, for years. Helpful hints needed for how to grow.

    1. I use a technique that I like to call "benign neglect." If you want some of my super-hardy mint to transplant. I am happy to pull some up with the roots and you can plant them in your garden.