Sunday, May 28, 2006

Can't Sleep

What do you do when you can’t sleep? I have a myriad of remedies, ranging from reading and writing to just closing my eyes and trying to envision the back of my head. Sounds weird, I know. But you should try it some time- it really works. Just like if you feel a sneeze coming on and you don’t want it to get away, you’re supposed to scratch your wrist and think of cows. Never fails. On the flip side, if you feel a sneeze coming on and it isn’t a very good time for a sneeze, the tip is to quickly locate a light source and stare at it until the sneeze goes away. I’ve used this method through many a church service, but I have come to realize that it has nothing to do with a light source or even looking at anything. The secret is simply in keeping your eyes open, because it is impossible to sneeze without closing your eyes. Some have even gone as far to claim that if you were to sneeze with your eyes open, your eyeballs would pop out. This makes for an interesting mental image, but I am doubtful that it’s true. I have two friends that have a glass eye. (To clarify, they do not share a glass eye, thankfully they each have one of their own. Nor did they lose their respective eyes by sneezing with them held open.) Is that strange to know multiple glass-eye owners, or does everybody know a couple of these folks? I guess it’d be hard to really know, unless they were like my one friend who enjoys popping it out at parties. I never go to any of his parties. I was at a goodbye party a few hours ago. A guy in our Lifegroup is moving to Texas, so we hung out with him and watched as the Suns allegorically lost one to the Mavs. I enjoy a good play-off game, but you know what I hate about the NBA? Watching grown men whine. In baseball, when they get a bad call, they never whine at the umpire. They yell at him. I much prefer yelling to whining. Hopefully there won’t be much of either in my house. This entry is going to be a short one, because it has already accomplished its purpose: to bore me to sleep, and it has likely done the same for you. Buenos noches, mis amigos.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Return to Sender

I get the mail a couple times a week, at best. It's always jam-packed, but 95% of it will invariably end up in the trash can. I've gotten pretty good at picking out the junk mail and knowing which envelopes need to be opened and which can be expedited directly to the garbage. Dead give aways are the obvious computerized attempts at handwritten addresses or the ominous phrases printed on the envelope. Pretty much anything that says "Do Not Discard" or "Personal and Confidential" will never see the light of day at my house. I'm pretty sure I get more "personal and confidential" mail in a given week than the head of the CIA.

Then there is the barrage of catalogues from companies I have never purchased from, and never intend to. Some I have inherited from the previous home owner while other retailers have, through some form of surveillance, determined my demographic and send me catalogs they feel are appropriate. One that I find particularly irritating is the monthly arrival of Pottery Barn Kids, which I have learned not to open, because every time I do my house magically gets uglier. They may have enough sophisticated technology to know that we have children, but they obviously didn't go as far as to hack into any of our financial records, otherwise they would know that they are just wasting their paper on us. For the price of what it cost to furnish our entire home, Bethany could be sleeping in a beautiful pink and white "Madeline Canopy Bed", and if Matthew got a second job, she could have the matching curtains too. Maybe it costs so much because they go to the trouble of beating up the furniture for you to give it that lived-in look. "Manufacturer's Distressing" is the technical term for it. Personally, I am drawn to manufactuer's distressing not because it is considered chic, but because when the piece is eventually rammed into a wall or sideswiped by a tricycle, any damage will blend right in.

The other day I got the mail and it contained a letter that I look upon with heightened disgust, a letter from the HOA. Not an unusual happening, I must admit. It always begins by stating the "violation date" and it always has to do with our landscaping. We're the first house on the corner, so I'm sure that has something to do with it. This time it was the weeds. I thought they blended in nicely with the lawn, but apparently Kinney Management doesn't share my opinion. They really are sticklers, that HOA. Last year we were trying to do our part in the water conservation effort by not fixing our broken sprinkler system, but with complete disregard for the environment they demanded that we "revive our dying lawn". I guess not everyone sees the beauty of two-toned grass. Neither Matthew nor I had a clue how to fix the system, but before I resorted to buying a can of green spray paint my dad came over and saved the day. As a result of a well-watered lawn, however, we are now plagued by the violating weeds. You just can't make these people happy. I'm sure their yards are perfectly spotless. They probably shop at Pottery Barn.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Adventures at the Airport

I returned from my sister's California wedding this past week. It was a lot of fun and everything went really well considering it was planned from 500 miles away. Bethany was the flower girl and while she didn't exactly walk down the aisle on her own, she was adorable. Actually, she pretty much ran the other direction. But like I said, adorable.

On Sunday the bride and groom took off for the Mexican Riviera while the rest of us headed back for Phoenix. That was a bit of an adventure of its own. First of all I was flying with two children under 2 years old without my husband. I am convinced that this would surely have been my end if my mom and some friends hadn't been there to stand in the gap. It took two of us and a helpful airport employee just to get us through security. Each child must first be removed from the stroller and carried through the metal detector, then the stroller itself must be made to fit through the scanny thing. This poses quite a challenge for a full-size Graco Duo-Glider, which we affectionately refer to as "The Suburban". The whole contraption eventually made it through, albeit in several pieces. It was while I was attempting to reassemble it that the real escapade was taking place.

My dad was the next in line, carrying his small duffle bag and a box of wedding gifts that the groomsmen had given him to take home with us. Everything was going swimmingly until the TSA guy stopped the conveyer belt and frowned. "Who's box is this?" He asked.

"It's mine." My dad replied, stepping through the detector.

"Do you know what's in this box?" TSA guy asked accusingly.

"No, actually I don't", my dad answered. "They’re my daughter's wedding gifts".

"Oh, you don't know what's in here, huh?" TSA guy taunted.

"No, I don't!" my dad insisted.

Really?” He sneered. “You have no idea what’s in this box?”

Turns out that among the wedding gifts was an entire set of steak knives, complete with a butcher knife. It wasn't looking too good for dad. Not only had he inadvertently broken a federal law, but this particular TSA agent suffered from a severe case of "Mall Cop" Syndrome (MCS). In case you aren't familiar with this condition, it generally afflicts those who carry a pretext of authority but in reality have very little at all- those uniformed individuals who dream of carrying a firearm and chasing down evil-doers in squad cars but are trusted with only a maglight and a golf cart. Victims of MCS are known to consistently overreact to rebellion with fervent zealousness, eager to throw some weight around, even if it’s in the form of a beer belly. But I suppose I can empathize with the guy. After hours of watching x-rays of underwear and hairdryers go by, those knives must have been a sight for sore eyes. It was clear from his visibly repressed glee that he was secretly hoping this mild-mannered grandfather with a bum knee was really an international Ginsu-Ninja terrorist. What a notch in his belt that would be. So my parents waited with him for the Sheriff to arrive, along with one of the bridesmaids who was still carrying her flowers to give their story a little more credence. Is was up to the Sheriff to decide what my dad’s intentions truly were and if he should be fined the maximum $500 per violation.

But, as it turns out, my dad was not trying to take over the world or the airplane, and the sheriff determined that he found “no foul intent” with him. My mom was then allowed to check the box along with the other bags and both of them made it onto the plane without further incident. The TSA agent didn’t get to make the catch of his career that day, but at least it gave him a good story to tell his wife that night, and an interesting blog for me.