Friday, December 21, 2012

UNSUNG HEROES OF CHRISTMAS!!!: Mr. Potter's Wheelchair-Pusher

It's a Wonderful Life is one of my favorite Christmas movies. If you haven't seen it, you've probably been living under a rock for the past 70 years. It's classic, iconic, blahblahblah and pretty much every other Christmas movie made after it plays on it or borrows from it in some way. George Bailey is the quintessential good guy down on his luck. However, there's one guy I always feel sorry for when I watch that movie, and he isn't a Bailey. He's Mr. Potter's Wheelchair-Pusher. 


Yeah, he pretty much looks like this the entire movie

George Bailey seems to consider this silent, old dude to be in league with Potter and his various nefarious schemes (say that three times fast), and at one point calls Potter "a scurvy little spider" and then yells at Wheelchair-Pusher guy (who is actually credited as "Potter's Bodyguard", but he never seems to do much of anything but push Mr. Potter's wheelchair and look solemn), "and that goes for you, too."

Think about it, though. Bedford Falls is a small town without many job prospects. The Baileys own the Building & Loan and Potter owns everything else. The Baileys don't seem much for hiring anyone who isn't related to them (I have no doubt anyone from Ernie the taxi driver to Violet the town strumpet could do a better job than cotton-headed Uncle Billy), so that leaves most of the town working for Potter in some respect. Wheelchair-Pusher is one of many.

Also, his job can't be easy. I imagine it's kind of like working at Downton Abbey, you know, if the Earl of Grantham was Satan. Potter is forever barking at him to hurry up and push him faster. Mr. Potter is not a small man and have you seen that chair? Ornate carving and high, solid back and all? That thing has to weigh 50 or 60 lbs.! And do you think Prince of Darkness Potter pays a fair wage? Ha! I bet Wheelchair-Pusher makes less than Martini's bartender, Nick (the only guy who's actually better off in alternate Universe Bedford Falls AKA Pottersville, by the way - he owns the bar in Pottersville).

Notice also, that Wheelchair Pusher doesn't utter a single word in the entire film. This to me says one of three things:

1. He's mute, in which case finding any sort of employment has probably been pretty rough for him and he's probably been teased and marginalized his whole life given the time he's living in.

2. He's been forbidden to talk by Potter while he's on the job. Maybe he wants to speak up and say, "Hey, Mr. Potter, what you're doing stinks" but he's afraid of getting fired or having cigar ashes thrown in his face.

3. Potter has had his tongue removed to ensure his silence since he is witness to all of Potter's foulest deeds.

You have to agree that none of these options sounds particularly appealing. To make matters worse for Mr. Wheelchair-Pusher, he probably has no friends since the people of Bedford Falls (being the hypocritical bastards they are since half of them are employed by Potter, too) associate him with Potter even though Potter probably keeps him chained in a basement somewhere when he's not on duty.

So, let's sum up. The Wheelchair-Pusher dude has a tough job making peanuts working for a mean guy. He's mute, either by birth, by financial necessity, or by force, and all of the other folks in town are rotten to him because of his boss. He's not even allowed to sit down but has to stand behind Mr. Potter the entire film, and he's no spring chicken, either. Surely he'd like to have a seat and rest his old bones from time to time. Yes, folks, George Bailey may have it bad, but at least he has friends who will lend him $8000 when his dumbass uncle accidentally hands it to the one man who's been trying to destroy their family for years. Wheelchair-Pusher has nothing but a rockin' hat.

So remember Mr. Potter's Wheelchair-Pusher this holiday season and think: George Bailey was saved in the end, but Wheelchair-Pusher has to keep working for that monstrous jerk Mr. Potter and can you imagine how grouchy he's going to be when he learns George Bailey was born after all?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

UNSUNG HEROES OF CHRISTMAS!!!: Todd & Margo

I decided to suspend my regular weekly blog schedule this week in order to bring you a series I am calling:

UNSUNG HEROES OF CHRISTMAS!!!

(Yes, every time I say it in in my head, it's in an "Epic Rap Battles of History" voice)

I'm a major sucker for Christmas movies and I have 7 or 8 in regular rotation from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. Something I've noticed through this intensive yearly study is that the protagonists of said movies are often goobers, goofs, dorks, idiots, and occasionally jerks. There are usually one or two characters shining in the background, too. These characters are put-upon and exploited for laughs or for plot reasons. These are my UNSUNG HEROES OF CHRISTMAS!!!

Today I bring you two UNSUNG HE-- well you get the point -- from my favorite Christmas movie: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (if you haven't seen this movie, go away, we can't be friends. Just kidding, but don't come back until you've watched it. It's on like every channel right now. I hear Chip and Dale are going to be splitting the role of "Squirrel!" in a special Disney Channel adaptation).

Clark Griswold is technically the hero of this movie. Clark Griswold is a nincompoop. He's also kind of a jerk. He bullies his wife into hosting a big "fun old fashioned family Christmas" and then hides from the family and sticks her with the task of cooking for them and making sure they all have clean laundry and places to sleep. He lies to a salesgirl at the mall and tells her he's divorced so he can hit on her. He ignores the good advice of family and friends and dives headlong into disaster after disaster.

And he's a bad neighbor.

That's where my unsung heroes come in. Todd and Margo are the much-reviled yuppie neighbors of the Griswolds. You're supposed to hate them based on the fact that they wear ridiculous yuppie clothes and say ridiculous yuppie things, but I put it to you that this would be a very different story if told from Todd and Margo's point of view. To prove this point, here are the following excerpts from Todd's diary, a part of the original script that was cut and then lost over time (yep, I definitely didn't make this shit up...):

Dear Diary,

Today I had a very tough day at work. I had to lay off that lovely single mother with the heart condition. The boss is really coming down hard. I struggled all day to get my accounts in order and on the way to my car I was spit on by a homeless man. Dejected, I headed over to Margo's office to pick her up and take her out for a nice dinner to forget our troubles. She lost her secretary to some poacher from Frank Shirley's company this morning.

We headed home first to freshen up and I could barely pull into the driveway. Griswold had an enormous tree, roots and all, laying over part of our yard. I can't believe he's going to put that thing in his living room! Suddenly he appeared revving a chainsaw and wearing a hockey mask like a madman. It scared poor Margo half to death. Trying to make conversation, I asked him where he thought he would put a tree that big. You would not believe what he said to me, Diary! He actually insinuated he would like to stick the tree up Margo's...I can't even say it. I hope tomorrow is better.

Love,
Todd

Dear Diary,

Today was horrible. Remember that gorgeous stereo Margo saved up for and bought me as a surprise for my 30th birthday? It's ruined. Completely and utterly ruined.

Margo and I came home from work to discover the house was freezing. We soon found that the bedroom window had been broken somehow and my beautiful stereo was utterly smashed to pieces. Also, the carpet was mysteriously wet. I don't know how, but I think Griswold was involved. The window faces his house.

I'm just sick about it. I loved that stereo, and Margo worked so hard to buy it for me!
Love,
Todd

Dear Diary,

I'm writing this from the ER where I've been taken for observation. They think I have a concussion. It's a long story.

Margo and I had just returned from a refreshing jog in the crisp winter weather. She was looking particularly fetching this evening and I told her so in no uncertain terms. We showered and I planned a romantic evening for us. I brought out that bottle of Chablis I'd been saving since my graduation from business school. The stage was set. I gazed into her lovely eyes and leaned in to kiss her...

We were suddenly blinded by a blast of light from Griswold's house! We leaped from the bed to cover the window, but then the lights suddenly went out and we tripped over each other and knocked the tray of Spanish hor d'oeuvres I'd prepared over. That beautiful Chablis crashed to the ground as well. We had just had our carpet cleaned of the mold from the mysterious wet carpet incident the other night so I yelled to Margo to get a towel and clean the carpet. The lights flashed back on again and then just as I'd gathered the tray to take it downstairs and clean up, they went back off and I tripped on the top stair in the dark. I tumbled headlong down the steps and hit my head on the floor.

I'm still dizzy, my head is killing me, and we're looking at not only a prohibitive ER bill but also another carpet cleaning bill as Margo was unable to get the aioli out. This is shaping up to be a very stressful Christmas.

Love,
Todd

Dear Diary,

I woke early today and the weather was clear and lovely. I thought I would take a jog and got dressed and went outside only to discover a beastly, bulging sort of man in a short robe and an aviator's cap smoking a stinky cigar and drinking a beer and emptying some sort of foul brown substance into our sewer! I stared at him in horror and he said, "Merry Christmas! Shitter was full!"

Can you imagine! He was emptying the toilet from his RV into the sewer! I ran back inside to escape the horrific stench. I imagine he's a relative of Griswold's. They could at least let him in to use the toilet. It seems inhuman to make him stay in the driveway and relieve himself into a chemical toilet at this time of year.

Love,
Todd

Dear Diary,

Today is Christmas Eve and I am writing this from the lobby of the Holiday Inn. I can't find a room anywhere. Ironic, right? Perhaps there is an empty stable somewhere...

This was a terrible day. I had planned such a wonderful Christmas Eve for Margo and me. We were both very sad that we couldn't afford to fly home and see our families since we've had to pay to have the carpet cleaned twice, to replace the window and the stereo and for my ER bill for that concussion. I tried to put a happy face on things for Margo's sake and prepared a lovely cheese and fruit plate and a pitcher of her favorite margaritas.

We were beginning to enjoy ourselves when all of a sudden, a tree from our side yard fell and crashed through the dining room window! We were shocked and looked up to discover Griswold with a chainsaw. He was slowly dragging the tree out of our window without a word of apology! Can you imagine?

Margo had had it. The poor dear lost her favorite aunt last week, you know, and in addition to all her troubles at work and not being able to fly home for the holidays, well, it was just too much. She lost it and demanded that I go over and punch Griswold in the face. While I cannot deny that he deserved it, I am a peaceful man by nature and I chose to turn the other cheek even though I'm not sure how we'll pay to replace that window after all of the other unexpected expenses this holiday season.

Margo was too angry to listen to reason and marched over to Griswold's herself. I can't imagine what he did to her. She came back covered in mud with her clothes torn and scratches everywhere. I can't believe he would fight with a woman! She was so distraught that she punched me in the face and ordered me to get out.

And so, I sit here in this cold hotel lobby alone on Christmas Eve worrying about how I'll afford to replace that window, worrying about whether sweet Margo will take me back, worrying about whether Griswold will come back to finish the job he started on her while I'm gone. What a terrible, terrible Christmas.

Love,
Todd

So, this holiday season when you watch Christmas Vacation, think of poor Todd and Margo and their carpet, windows, stereo, and various medical ailments.


UNSUNG HEROES OF CHRISTMAS!!!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nearly Wordless Santa Sunday

So the kids went and saw Santa at a Christmas party at Ry's ABA center this afternoon. Unfortunately, these well-trained professionals had the misguided idea of creating a sensory-friendly event for the kiddos: no bright, flashing lights, no interminable lines to wait in, no weird, creepy elves smelling of cigarette smoke and muttering inappropriate phrases under their breath. Do you know what this means? My kids actually halfway enjoyed having their picture taken with Santa and I almost didn't get that "classic" Christmas card shot I was hoping for. Shot after shot turned out decent and tame...until this one. As it is, nobody's screaming or pulling Santa's beard off or pulling down their diaper to pee on the Christmas tree so it fell a bit short of "classic" status, but I think this one is pretty great:

Are you kidding me with this guy?



Friday, December 14, 2012

There's a Book for That Friday 12/14/12

First of all, before I get to the book at hand today, I wanted to give a big thank you and ginormous Internet hug to everyone who responded to and shared my blog yesterday and to those of you who donated. The fund for Bean's sensory clinic has tripled overnight! Kat is beside herself with joy and Bean's sweet little face is being shared all over the globe (along with a blog by a certain nut you might know). You guys are awesome. Keep in mind, though, that they still have a long way to go to reach their goal, so keep sharing and let's get this done!

Alrighty, now to the scenario of the day:

You're sitting at home in your Battlestar Galactica jammies and your Firefly sweatshirt watching a Star Trek Next Generation marathon (Team Picard!) with your faithful companion Mr. Whiskers, of course. You're on the edge of your seat because it's that one episode in which Picard and Dr. Crusher get those implants that make them read each others' memories and then at the end when they're removed, they sorta kinda go on a date and there's a lot of reminiscing and crap (come on, you know the one I mean). You could cut the middle-aged strange-fashioned sexual tension with a knife. "They're finally going to do it," you think, "This is going to happen!" You're grasping Mr. Whiskers' fur so tightly that he yowls an angry yowl you haven't heard since you tried to Catflex with him...

...and then she gives him a lame line about being afraid, a weak kiss, and leaves...

"OMG," you think, "Gene Roddenberry, you're playing with my emotions again!!!" You fling the remote at the TV in disgust and try to go to bed, but you find you can't sleep. You're too amped up. Your sci-fi senses are tingling. How will you ever find a release of the immense build-up of nerdiness in your system?

There's a book for that.


Pssh, he's no Patrick Stewart...


Yes! A romance novel for sci-fi geeks! Fantastic! Now we can all indulge our naughtier sides without having to interrupt the constant stream of good guys vs. aliens into our brains! Also, could you come up with a better pick-up line than "set phasers to do me"? I mean, honestly, who among us wouldn't drop our pants immediately for that one? Amiright?

Now, in all honesty, there is plenty of fanfic out there on the world wide webs-of-awesome-depravity devoted to various kinky relationships between various members of various Star Trek crews (and, hey, you could just watch any classic Star Trek episode if Captain Kirk is more your studly style), but if you want to go old school and amuse the librarian checking you out, I recommend Cosmic Sex.

Disclaimer: I have not actually read Cosmic Sex and am not responsible for any embarrassing situations, disappointment or pregnancies resulting from reading of said book.

Oh, and P.S. I'll love you forever if you send me a video of yourself using the line "set phasers to do me" on unsuspecting strangers. Just sayin'.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Very Worthy Cause

Hello gentle readers! I promise I'll be back to my regular shenanigans tomorrow (it is There's a Book for That Friday after all, and I have a doozy for y'all tomorrow), but I wanted to take some time today to talk (well, write) about a cause that I find vitally important. Now, don't leave just yet, I'm not going to get preachy at ya, but this is serious stuff and there are very simple things you can do to help.

Sensory integration is a huge problem for most autistic people. What do I mean by that? Well, most of us have certain filters in place in our brains. The brain decides which sights, smells, sounds, and sensations that it's currently taking in are important and which are not and it allows us to consciously focus on only the important information we're taking in. We hear a friend talking but we're able to ignore the birds chirping outside the window. We can watch TV without also having to turn and look at each picture on the wall, or the light coming in through the blinds. We only feel the need to taste food and drink and not every rock, stick and leaf we come upon.

Okay, imagine that those filters were gone. You would suddenly be compelled to consider every single aspect of your environment at once. Your brain would no longer prioritize sensory information so you would hear every sound being made around you at once. The sound of your companion talking to you would compete for your attention with the sound of the person next to you in the coffeeshop typing on their laptop, the sound of the espresso machine running, the person across the way talking on their cell phone, chairs scraping across the floor as fellow patrons stood up, the sound of someone zipping up his coat, a dog barking down the street. You would perceive it all at once without being able to filter out the unimportant sounds. Can you imagine trying to follow a line of conversation under those circumstances? And it's not only the sounds competing for your attention. You would also have to look at everything around, smell every bad and good smell in the air, consider everything you touched. It would be completely exhausting.

The lack of filters is one component of sensory integration and processing problems. Most autistic people also experience their environment too intensely. Loud noises can be physically painful. Some smells others ignore are completely abhorrent. Bright lights can put some autistic folks in an almost trance-like state. And they live like this every single day, struggling to swim out from under the depths of sensations that are constantly washing over them to break the surface and be able to make connections and perform necessary tasks.

Not being autistic, I may not have described this exactly as it feels, but I have read accounts of sensory processing problems from autistic adults and what they have to say falls pretty much in line with what I've described.

Now, there are certain techniques that are marvelously helpful in integrating the senses and allowing people with sensory integration and processing problems to focus on only important stimuli. You may have seen the Temple Grandin HBO movie in which she builds herself a "squeeze machine". Tight squeezes help some folks, as does swinging on a swing, holding vibrating objects, jumping or twirling, sitting in a pit of objects like beans, rice, or balls, etc. I have seen the evidence of this myself at Ry's occupational therapy appointments and at home. After being squeezed very tightly in a squeeze machine, he is calmer and more focused. He engages in less self-stimulatory behavior and is able to pay attention and follow directions. We are very blessed that he now receives occupational therapy through a school with a wonderful sensory clinic that has many tools to help our boy feel calmer and more secure and to focus on his schoolwork. Not everyone is so lucky.

And here we come to the real story. This is the story of my friend Kat, her husband James and their son James who is affectionately known as Bean. They live in my awesome home state of California and Bean is 4 years old just like Ry and also autistic just like Ry. Unlike Ry, however, his school does not have a sensory clinic. It's been a tough road for Kat and her husband James. They tried for several years to have a child and suffered a miscarriage and a stillbirth. Finally they were blessed with a beautiful son. As he grew though, Kat was convinced something was a bit off about Bean, but her concerns were ignored over and over again by his doctors. Finally, when Bean was 3 they got the news that he was autistic. I can attest to the fact that it's very hard news to hear at first. Your entire worldview, everything you expected or dreamt of for your child changes. It's a painful period of guilt, confusion, and shifting priorities. Luckily, though, they were able to enroll Bean in a great special ed preschool program at Rolling Ridge Elementary in Chino Hills, CA. Bean's teacher has been a great source of support for Kat and James as they learn the ropes of autism and Bean is now communicating his needs well and potty trained (a huge feat, let me tell you).

Unfortunately, Rolling Ridge Elementary is suffering under the same budget constraints as the rest of California. There have been massive cuts to the special education budget and funds that were supposed to go to special ed are being diverted to general education purposes just to keep the school running. It's a common problem, but I put it to you that it is incredibly unfair that the students who need the most help are having their resources reduced the most. Kat is a very generous and involved mother and has been donating items, money, and time to the school, but she cannot donate on her own what they really need and that's a sensory clinic. They need $20,000 to buy the necessary equipment and the school simply doesn't have it and aren't likely to get it any time soon. So, Kat, being the go-getter that she is, has taken it upon herself to raise the money herself. She's raised money in the past and given it to the school, but it was put into the general ed fund and Bean's classroom never saw a penny of it. So, she has started a private fundraiser and every single cent of the proceeds will go directly to constructing a sensory clinic for Bean's school.

Now, why should you care whether some kid you don't know is getting his tight squeezes or not? Because this isn't just about Bean. Autism levels are at 1 in 88 births now and rapidly climbing. We are raising a generation of children with no filters between themselves and their environments. These are the people who will be leading our nation, who will be our teachers, doctors, politicians, mothers, fathers, but they're going to need a lot of help to get there. We owe it to them and to their non-autistic peers to do whatever we can to accommodate our world to them as they struggle desperately through hours and hours of therapy and special ed to accommodate themselves to the world. In the grand scheme of things, a sensory clinic is such a small thing to give them, and yet it would mean so much, not only to Bean but to all of the other autistic children who will pass through Rolling Ridge Elementary in the years to come.

This cause is so close to my heart that it's the only charity we're donating to this holiday season. Y'all know things are tighter than tight for us, but I made sure there was room in the budget for Bean and his sensory clinic. I understand if you have other causes that are more personally meaningful for you, but I ask that even if you cannot donate, please re-post this blog or share Bean's link. It's such a little thing to do. Don't worry about annoying your friends, it's a small price to pay to get this information out there and if they're annoyed by a perfectly reasonable request for autistic children, well, then they're class A jerks. As Kat says, "We only need 2000 people to donate $10." If you don't have $10, please give Bean the gift of sharing his story with others.

The link is at the bottom of the page, and seriously, how cute is he?




Thanks for reading, everybody, and I'll be back at the funny tomorrow!

http://www.gofundme.com/1j26dc

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Don't Do That Tuesday 12/11/12

Happy Tuesday, all! Yes, it's that time again. I feel like I should add a disclaimer to this "don't do that": it's okay to laugh at it a little. It was kind of scary at the time, but it does have an element of the ridiculous to it. And the boy in question is doing just fine now. Also, this particular advice probably won't be at all applicable to you unless you have a child with a seizure disorder...but then when has my "don't do that Tuesday" advice ever actually been helpful?

Don't do that: Last Friday Boog was acting rather grouchy at therapy, refusing to work and whining, and his cheeks were deeply flushed. These are generally signs that he is currently having a migraine or about to have one, and when he has a migraine, seizures often follow. I took him home, watched him all evening and put him to bed early, hoping that was the end of it, because...

...we were going to get our Christmas tree on Saturday!!! Note: in case it wasn't obvious, I am approximately 6 years old and thus the Christmas tree is a big effing deal to me.

The next day he woke up and was grouchy and sleepy and still flushed. A smart mother unobsessed with juvenile holiday preparations would have kept him home. Unfortunately for Boog he does not have a smart mother. We did at least do him the courtesy of waiting around for a few hours before we left, because he usually has seizures in the first couple of hours after he wakes up if he's going to have them. By 1:00 p.m. I decided he was fiiiiiine and we left for the Christmas tree farm. That was our first "don't do that"...


Note: this is not the face of a child who's having fun...



We parked at the entrance to the Christmas tree farm and began the 1/4 mile hilly walk up to the trees. Poor Boog cried and dragged his feet most of the way up the hill and I said, "Oh he's just overstimulated. Buck up, soldier!" Soldier did not buck up, and Dylan ended up carrying him the rest of the way.



Note: this is not the back of a child who's having fun...


We found our tree and Dylan began to cut it down. Boog sort of danced around uncomfortably for awhile, which, of course, dumbass Mommy chose to interpret as "oh look he's having fun". As soon as the tree fell down and Dylan picked it up for a picture, Boog tripped. I dropped the camera and went to pick him up only to realize that he had fallen over a stump and was rolling down the hill. Oh, and he didn't so much trip as fall over because he was having a seizure.


The infamous stump can be seen lurking ominously in the left corner


Dylan leaped over the evil stump and caught him and held him on his left side while I fumbled for the Diastat...only to discover I had left it in the car...all the way down at the bottom of that big-ass hill (ahem...don't do that...).

I took off sprinting for the car, alarming fellow tree-hunters and stumbling and nearly breaking my nose because, of course, I wore my treadless brown suede boots instead of tennis shoes even though as I put them on, Dylan said, "Are you sure you don't want to wear tennis shoes? It can be kinda muddy there," (...another don't do that...).

I got to the bottom of the hill really quickly, but the trip back up was another story. I felt like Sisyphus...you know, if Sisyphus were boulderless and an asthmatic mother in treadless shoes who not only forgot her son's vitally important medication but also her own rescue inhaler (yeah...don't do that...).

Nevertheless, I pressed on and made it back up that g-d hill in record time...only to discover he had already come out of the seizure and was sitting up and retching but not in any immediate danger, to which I said, "Thank God" as I sat down in the grass and waited for my heart and lungs to stop exploding.

Once we collected ourselves and the tree and made it to the bottom of the hill, there was a long drawn-out sequence of one redneck tree farm worker saying, "Did you measure this tree?" and another responding, "No", and the first saying, "Well how big do you think it is?" and the second responding, "I dunno." Then there'd be a long pause and the first redneck would start up again a few minutes later with, "Did you measure this tree?" This went on for about 15 minutes (no joke) while Boog sat in the parking lot and threw up and cried until someone finally decided the tree was about 6 ft. tall and we could pay and leave...

...and on the way home he threw up all over the car...

Since Ry is totally fine now and his doc has upped his meds and is optimistic that will take care of the problem, I feel comfortable saying that the whole thing felt like "National Lampoon Christmas Vacation: The Autism Edition", and while watching your seizing son roll down a hill and your husband chase after him is not exactly funny in the moment, it does have a bit of retrospective dark humor.

In any case, what have we learned here (other than that I'm going to badmommy hell)? Take your strange-actin' epileptic child to a Christmas tree farm? Don't do that! Leave his Diastat in the car? Don't do that, either! Expect rednecks to be able to measure? Definitely don't do that! Bring your own measuring tape!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

There's a Book for That Friday

New weekly blog feature! I know, I'm full of 'em lately. Anyway, this one was inspired yet again by my sister Grace, who works at a public library. She's always posting funny book covers on Facebook and after I saw the last one, I thought, "Man, there really is a book for everything!" and then, being the sinister idea-vulture lacking in original thought that I am, my next thought was, "Blog!"

I present to you lovely readers the inaugural installment of "There's a Book for That Friday"! You know those stupid "there's an app for that" commercials from a few years back? Books are the O.G. apps, yo. Ooh, my phone can tell me what the weather's going to be like! Yeah? Try an almanac, you hipster freak. Boom! Oh, look, my phone has restaurant reviews! Yeah? Guess what? They're all by the same losers who are clogging your Facebook feed with fart jokes. Try the Zagat guide, son. Boom!

Now, picture this: you're home alone with your dear cat Mr. Whiskers on a drizzly Friday evening. You've just shared an enormous plate of chicken chow mein and are feeling a bit guilty about it. Running your hand anxiously over your growing double chin, you walk to the door to put on your running shoes so you can go for a jog to atone for your fatty, fatty sins. Oh, but wait! It's raining! Also, Mr. Whiskers would get lonely if you went for a run without him. What to do?

There's a book for that.


Disclaimer: Awesome checkered shorts sold separately

That's right! Despair not, fatty catlovers! Now you can feel the burn without leaving your precious feline friend behind! Also, it's so clearly totally fun for the cat, too.



See? Look how happy that cat is.


I confess I am sorely tempted to buy this book and try it out with one of my cats. However, I suspect the only burn I'd be feeling would be from the empty eye socket that once housed the eye my cat scratched out in an indignant rage. Seriously, did she feed Fluffy some crushed-up Xanax before attempting this shot?

Well, if any of you gentle readers are bolder than I and manage to get your hands on this book and a cat, please, please, PLEASE send me pictures! Also, full credit goes to Grace for these pictures. Thanks for letting me steal from your life. I promise to find my own funny books...eventually...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Don't Do That Tuesday 12/4/12

Don't do that Tuesday comin' at ya! Alrighty, today I have a short guest post from my sister Gracie (yes, she of tall-ass wall painting fame). Again, not so much a guest post as I'm stealing material from her life...but at least this time I'm not making fun of her. Then, I have what will probably be a long tale of minor woe from my own life. Enjoy my idiocy, y'all!

Don't do that #1: I'll preface this by saying that a. my sister works at a public library and b. people are gross. Here is a recent Facebook status from Grace that tells us all what not to do with our library books: "Just a couple thoughts...a q-tip is not a book mark...a tissue is not a book mark... a crayon is not a book mark...neither are toothpicks, napkins, personal mail or leaves. Paper-clipping every couple pages together is irritating... as are post-it notes everywhere, and if the books smell like any type of urine (man or beast) please just don't bring them back. Also one last thought the book drop is not a carnival game, one does not receive a prize for hitting the person who kindly checks your books in so you don't incur fines... Just saying."


Nicholas Sparks should not be used as an assault weapon (take note, Hollywood producers)


Oky doky, so, don't use disgusting personal items as bookmarks and don't play bean-the-library-page-with-Dickens. Got it? Good.

Don't do that #2: So this one is a bit TMI, but it's a definite "don't do that" so if you're squeamish, just stop reading now and go remove the tampon bookmarks from your library books, mmkay? Okay, so, Pippa is allergic to/intolerant of dairy and when she eats it, she's basically running a faucet of foul, green water out her tookus for 24-36 hours. This gives her a horrible, blistering diaper rash that then pops open and scabs over and disappears within a couple of days (getting the TMI factor yet?).

Anyway, so 5ish weeks ago, she stole some of S's cheese crackers and had aforementioned nasty reaction. The thing is, this time the rash did not go away but morphed into some sort of red, angry super-powered rash that started eating puppies and small children. I tried every remedy I knew of and nothing worked so last week I took her to the doctor. We saw one of my favorite doctors at the group practice. She's kind of old school, slightly hippyish, and loath to over-prescibe, which I find very comforting and kind of awesome in this day and age of "Got the sniffles? We've got a drug for you! It'll only give you three kinds of cancer as a side effect!" She looked at the rash and said, "Looks like some yeast got in there. I could prescribe you an anti-fungal cream but that stuff is so awful and can cause disease resistance and all. How about I just write you a script for gentian violet instead? That'll clear it up in 2-3 days tops."

Tried and true remedy that works fast? Sounded good to me! Here's where things started to go wrong...

I went to pick up the gentian violet at the pharmacy only discover that 1. my insurance doesn't cover Wiccan spell components 2. Walgreen's doesn't carry hippy herbs. The redneck behind the counter didn't even know what it was, but said she could special order it for me for the low low price of $27.99 (just to clarify that's not a low low price when you make peanuts for a livin'). I reluctantly agreed and we waited until the next day to pick up the stuff. Meanwhile Pippa's rash took over a small, impoverished Eastern European country overnight.

Now, the doc had warned me this stuff could stain and to put a towel down and make sure to apply it with a cotton ball. This was the understatement of the year. Within minutes of Pippa's first treatment, everything in the friggin' house was purple, and I mean PURPLE. I'm sure if you applied this junk to an adult who could, you know, sit patiently while it dried and make sure s/he kept him/herself away from porous surfaces, it wouldn't be so bad. Applying it to a wriggly 18 month old who is 100% convinced that you are TRYING TO KILL HER OMG, is another matter entirely.

Also, not only are half my towels, half her clothes, the floor, the bathtub, the door, the sink, the toilet lid, and a few stuffed animals permanently purpled, so are Dylan's and my fingers.

I look like I've been cleaning up Barney's nosebleeds...

Here's the thing I've noticed about having purple fingers: everyone from your mom to the garbage man wants to know why your fingers are purple. So, basically, I've got two options. I can lie and say I've been dipping Becky Thatcher's braids in my purple inkwell or I can say something along these lines: "Well, you see, my daughter has this horrible yeasty diaper rash that's basically eating her little girl parts, and my old school doctor told us to put gentian violet on it, which is this antiseptic sorta dye, ya know? Funny story. It's not actually made from the gentian plant but got that name because of the purple color. I guess that's not that funny...Anyway, so it makes things really purple and even though I keep writing gloves on my shopping lists, I get to the store and I can't read what I've written and I spend the whole trip wandering up and down aisles wondering what a purple-smudged "gmurve" is and I get so distracted I forget the eggs, too, and you'd think I'd look down at my fingers and remember, right? But one of the kids is grabbing men's hygiene products off the shelf and sucking on them and another is pulling down some woman's skirt because he thinks she's his mama and he wants to be picked up and the third is laughing maniacally and running full-tilt for the super-secret-and-mysterious employee's only door, which, of course, has been left ajar and...well you know how it is. Or maybe you don't, if you don't have kids, which is totally fine. Not everyone has to have kids. The world is over-populated, you know, and it's a totally legitimate decision not to. Dylan and I wrestled with that one for quite awhile. Plus, then you get to like sleep in on the weekends and go on vacation and stuff. Or, I mean, some people aren't able to, I have friends who aren't and it's really, really tough...and I'm really sorry I brought this up now. I hope I didn't hurt your feelings. Please say I didn't offend you. I'm really sorry. What was I saying?"

In my experience, neither response is met with much enthusiasm. Oh, and the best part? This stuff hasn't healed the rash one bit so I get to drag 3 kids back to the pediatrician this afternoon. Gentian violet, at least for this particular world-dominating rash, is a definite don't do that.

Alrighty then, class, what have we learned today? Used tissues as bookmarks in library books? Don't do that! Gentian violet on the world's angriest rash on the world's squirmiest toddler? Don't do that, either (unless you really like purple, that is)! Class dismissed!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nearly Wordless Sunday

Rolling out another new weekly blog feature today: nearly wordless Sunday! A lot of my friends who blog do "wordless Wednesday", but, let's face it, I'm too much of a blabbermouth (blabber...typist?) to ever be completely wordless. Also, on Wednesdays I generally have far too much to say to even be nearly wordless, but by Sunday, man are my words gone! Hopefully this feature will also be the kick in the pants I need to take more pictures of my kids...or...you know...just funny crap I see around town during the week.

Before this becomes "Incredibly Wordy Sunday", I present you with this:


Ah, familial bliss...


We did a little mini DIY photo shoot in our backyard this afternoon and I have to tell you, I was sorely tempted to make this shot, in which my son is trying to run away and my daughter's mining for gold, our Christmas card this year. In the end I went with a slightly more traditional pose, but I'm definitely getting a 5 x 7 of this one for the wall. It'll be a good one to show Pippa's first date when s/he comes to pick her up, hehe.