Monday, March 30, 2009

In The Panic Room

My in-laws are coming to visit while Ryan is on Spring Break. They are coming for five days, and they are staying with us.


I know I agreed to this, I know I said "oh, yeah, sure" somewhere during the round (or ten) of conversations that determined when they would be coming and how long they would stay and what season it would be and if it would be okay with us and is Piper excited her Granny is coming and I need to know exactly what to pack and how many hours exactly does the trip take and if we would be properly gratified that they graced us with their presence and where Jupiter would be in the sky at the time of their visit.

I know I said that it was okay if they took up residence in our guest bedroom for nigh on to a week. But really, what else could I say? Because I think "Um, actually, you people freak out my kid and make me so uncomfortable it is nearly physical and say inappropriate things and complain about everything and just generally drive me completely crazy, so if you could get a hotel, that would be great" would not play well.

But I was fine with it, until yesterday, when the following conversation took place:

Steph: Oh, look, a flyer for the volunteer fire department's fish fry. All you can eat flounder and shrimp. You've been hankering for fish and chips, I've been crazy for shrimp. We should go to this. It's on the 4th, next Saturday.
Ryan: Um, okay, I guess we could. But my parents will be here at some point.
Steph: No, your parents are coming weekend after next.
Ryan: No, they're coming the 4th. That's this upcoming weekend.
Steph: Yeah, but that's not Spring Break yet...they're coming while you're still in school?! I'm going to have to entertain them for FIVE DAYS while you're in school all day? What the hell?
Ryan: No, Steph, that's the start of my spring break.
Steph: No it's not. Your spring break starts the week after next week.
Ryan: No, it's the week after this week. This is my last week of class before spring break. It's the end of the month this week.
Steph: Yeah, but your spring break doesn't start until the sixthhh...OHGOD. Crap. OHGOD.
Ryan: You know, I thought you were being pretty nonchalant about their arrival-
Steph: (looking around at cluttered dining table, flour-covered kitchen counters, mountain of dirty dishes, guest room that can charitably be described as "a disaster") OH GOD. They're coming this weekend. Oh my God. What am I going to do? Oh God. OH GOD!
Ryan: -but there she is! There's my girl.
Steph: OHHH GOD oh God OH GOD oh GOD OH NO.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Dare You Not To Laugh At This.

Go ahead. Try not to laugh.

I couldn't hold it in, either.

This comic inspires me to gut-busting, drooly, snorting laughter for some reason. Maybe it's because when I look at it, I immediately think "ahh, welcome to an average day in my house."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Baby, You Let Me Down

*sigh* I wish I could quit TV.

Just turn it off completely. Just stop watching.

It's broken my heart so many times. Every time I fall in love with a new show, it gets canceled.

Life on Mars is getting the axe - next week is the last episode - they're not bringing Swingtown back. Pushing Daisies is gone.

Maybe next fall I will be strong and not watch any of the new shows.

But probably not.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hazelnuts and Avocados

I used to hate hazelnuts.

I hated anything even remotely hazelnut-flavored. It made me gag. I thought it tasted like wet basement. I had no love for nuts in general (even going so far as to pick individual walnuts out of my chocolate-chip cookies and macadamia nuts out of chocolate pinwheel filing), but I found hazelnuts particularly repulsive.

Then, three or four months ago, I suddenly found myself eating hazelnut things. All the time. It started innocently enough: I was ordering a latte and felt a rush of desire to make it a hazelnut one. Bewildered but ready to try anything, I ordered it with hazelnut and vanilla, just to ease myself into the flavor. It was delicious. I was confused - I hated hazelnut, right? - but sucked down the whole darn thing. And then next time it was only hazelnut. I even went out and bought some hazelnut syrup to put in my coffee at home. I couldn't get enough of the stuff.

The same thing happened with avocados. I had always disliked them, even after living in California, where they are ubiquitous. Something about the oily taste and odd smooth-but-slimy texture put me off. I picked them out of salads, took them off my burgers, and rarely ate guacamole. I could only stomach that avocado-based condiment if it was homemade, very very fresh, and very very garlicky.

But one day I started thinking about guacamole. And then I wanted some. So when my husband (wonderful man that he is) brought me home some fajitas for dinner, I tried a bit of the ice-cream-scoop-worth of guacamole at the edge of the plate. And it was delicious. I slathered the stuff all over my steak fajitas. And then a couple of weeks later I ate it again. When I saw a "guacamole kit" at Trader Joe's, I didn't even hesitate before I threw it into the cart. I went right home and mixed up the avocados, lime juice, garlic, tomatoes, and onions. And when it was done, I shoveled it into my piehole at an astonishing (and somewhat alarming) pace. I got out the Alton Brown DVD's I bought my husband for Christmas and learned Alton's tips for making good guac. Now I make it, and I eat it. One avocado's worth of guacamole doesn't last a day in my fridge.

At first, I was disturbed by these new developments. The desire for both hazelnuts and avocados was so strong I feared I might be pregnant. Cravings for foods I had previously disdained were, after all, my first and best indicator that I had a bun in the oven. But that turned out to be untrue. I guess I just really like avocados and hazelnuts now.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Unexpected Fire Engine

This was sitting at the edge of a shopping-center parking lot.

I think it was there due to the presence of a Firehouse Subs eatery in the shopping center. It was just an odd thing to find at the edge of a parking lot.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

For The Love Of Ikea

I have been in a low spot lately. Too many problems, not enough solutions. When I get down in the dumps, I am cranky, morose, and mopey, but my husband is positively intolerable. He just runs around repeating "What can I do? What can I do? How can I help? What will make you happy?" and getting progressively more hyper about it until I either shriek "You can leave me alone for ten minutes!" or throw something at his head. Obviously that is not a good solution to either of our restless emotional states, so a different tactic was required.

I made Ryan take me to Ikea today, because that is my happy place. Really, who doesn't like to go to Ikea and pretend that they live in those tiny, well-organized fake apartments? I love organizational things, boxes and crates and bags and drawer dividers and pencil holders and pot racks and spoon holders and memo boards and baskets and hampers. I am obsessed with bed linens, too - I collect them the way some people do teacups or vintage buttons. Ikea allows me to get my ya-yas out in these areas pretty cheaply. Sometimes, like on today's visit, I don't even need to buy anything. Just knowing that I could compartmentalize every inch of our silverware drawer or each pair of socks I own is enough.

They say you can't buy happiness, but I think They just haven't witnessed two floors' worth of furniture and kitchen gadgets with amusing names. Not to mention the smell of cinnamon rolls that permeates the place. And the best frozen yogurt I've ever had, for just $1.

My happy place should probably be a meditation garden somewhere, or inside my own head, or a certain bridge in Amsterdam just as twilight is falling or something, and not a retail establishment. I suppose this makes me very bourgeois and Middle American and what-have-you. But you know what?

They do not have free childcare on special bridges in Amsterdam;

There are no tranquil meditation gardens within a 17-minute drive from my house;

And it is very hard to find good cinnamon rolls inside my own head.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Picture of Me

About the closest thing I ever take to a self-portrait. I don't much like to be photographed.