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    Minor radioactivity, shminor radioactivity

    January 28, 2009

    D:  What is that sound?
    K:  The fan sound?
    D:  Yes.
    K:  A fan.
    D:  (blank look)
    K:  It’s in the attic.  I heard it all day yesterday but first I thought Pete was doing something crazy with some building or something next door but then it didn’t stop and I had only been in bed for 13 hours at that point so it wasn’t like I was going to get up and tell you about it.  Then at hour 16 when you came in to check to see if I was breathing I was so excited to see you that I forgot to tell you.
    D:  There’s a fan on in the attic?
    K:  Um, yes.  Do fans normally kick on in 30 degree temperatures?  I’m thinking not.
    D:  Maybe it’s the radon fan.
    K:  Huh?
    D:  The fan that removes the radon from the basement?
    K:  And?  Is it something crazy like how out here in the country everyone has 16 different water treatment/softener machines in their basement and the freaks up the street are still boiling their drinking water?
    D:  Probably yes.  Well, technically, I think radon is slightly radioactive but it’s not that big a deal.

    The power of the understatement that is my husband.  Who says this kind of crap?  Slightly radioactive?  All I can see now is someone checking those little pen-like things in our shirt pockets to determine if we should be sent to quarantine.  This is the kind of things you think when you grow up in the shadow (or technically within 20 miles) of a nuclear power plant.  

    K:  Um.  Hold the phone.  What the hell is “slightly radioactive?”  Would that be “we’ll only slightly die in our  beds tonight?” because I swear I would have told you 12 hours ago if I had known that something in the house was radioactive.
    D: I’m sure it’s fine.  We’ll look it up on Google.  I think it really has to build up to affect you and then you have to be in the basement.

    Where I do all my work.  In the now radioactive basement.

    Turns out the fan is going. It’s just attempting to throw a blade or lost a bearing or something else.  No worries.  We bought one for half-price on e-bay because nothing says concern for your family’s safety like cutting monetary corners in these times of economic woes.

    I only have to sell 22 kids tees to pay for the fan to keep my radioactivity down to within federal limits.  Buy up.

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    CPSIA, or How to Lose Your Small Business and the Shirt Off Your Back

    January 22, 2009

    Baby Brewing

     

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

    The emphasis was added by me.  I’m sitting here at my computer trying to think of something thoughtful and coherent to write about this new law known as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) which goes into effect on February 10, 2009.  I’m at a loss.  No, wait.  Losing is what is about to happen to me.  Julie from Mother Goose Mouse tagged me on this and when Julie asks you to do anything, you just do it. 

    Maybe you have heard about it, maybe you haven’t.  A result of that horrible fiasco with Mattel a year ago when they provided China with the lead-free paint and the manufacturers sold the lead-free paint and slapped on lead-FILLED paint on toys, Congress rushed this lead testing legislation right on through.  In fact, it received one”nay” in the House on the first pass (Thank you very much, Ron Paul).  The Senate?  Nearly as pathetic. 

    “We must protect the children.”  I find it fascinating after having read the legislation that those who passed it may not have even given it a glance.  Rather than target items that have in the past been found harmful for children (such as toys), the legislation takes a fabulously broad CYA approach.  If we require everyone to repeatedly test everything for lead, we will ensure that children will not be exposed to it.  Sounds great in theory, right?  Except now everything that could go in the mouth of a child 12 and under has to be tested for lead.  Even things that have never harmed children before.  Even things that have never had lead in them.  We are required to repeatedly test these lead-free items:  first the manufacturer and then anyone else down the line who alters the item in any way.  My shirts that are made by American Apparel?  Even though American Apparel has tested them and found no lead, I have to test them again because I alter them by screen printing.  My ink that I use?  Lead-free.  Already tested.  I still have to test the finished product.  I find this overwhelming since I’m not exactly sure how I would get lead into these lead-free tees with lead-free ink.  I guess it’s time to take the tin foil hat off my head. 

    I cannot find one case of lead poisoning as a result of lead in 100% cotton tees.  If you know of one, let me know.  How exactly is this law making kids safer if in some cases they were already safe?  The legislation is filled, however, with promises of millions of dollars to do research to determine the effects of lead on all of these things if they were to ever have lead in them.  Um, okay? Do I think toys should be tested?  Of course.  My kids put everything in their mouth when they were little.  That seems logical to me.  Raise the fines and consequences for people who break the law and expose kids to unsafe conditions?  Absolutely.  Throw out this tremendous net thinking it will keep those who need to be watched on track?  Insanity. 

    The trouble is, children’s apparel is included in this lead testing legislation.  No one trusts China anymore but because of our trade agreements, our rules have to be the same.  I have to have all of my kids clothing tested for lead which has never been in the dye in my clothing and isn’t now.  This law doesn’t make children any safer because they were never at risk from my clothing.  

     

    And wait ’til you hear about the testing.  I have to send completed items to be tested.  So if my “I’m better than a puppy” comes in pink, blue, organic cotton and white with brown ink, I have to send in four completed tees in each size.  They will charge me for each component (tee and ink) for all four.  They are going to charge me $75 four times to test the same ink on four different shirts.  Did I mention that my ink company has already tested the ink and that the lead contained it in was so incredibly small that it didn’t even register?  That American Apparel has to do these same tests before they send their cotton tees to me?  They will send me certifications that the shirts comply but the law says I have to retest.  So now I have to send full shirts out that will or will not be destroyed as a result of testing, at a cost of $150 per shirt.  To put it in perspective, I will have to pay $1,800 just to test the “I’m better than a puppy” tee (that doesn’t include the onesies and the long sleeve tees).  Maybe I shouldn’t have offered all those colors in all those different styles.  Maybe I shouldn’t have given my customers so many options.  The law is retroactive so everything I have sitting around has to be tested.  I find myself with a couple of this color in this size and a couple of this color in this size.  When I say a couple, I mean that over six sizes, 16 styles and different colors, I am sitting on around 500 tees.  Let’s not get into the fact that $900 of that testing on those four shirts for just ONE STYLE of the “I’m better than a puppy” is for ink that has already been fully tested once and DOESN’T EVEN REGISTER THE LEAD, LET ALONE GET ANYWHERE NEAR THE LEAD LIMIT. 

    As a student of the law, I can tell you that there is no shortage of legislation regarding consumer protection.  I’m a firm believer that toys and other items that are or could be harmful to children should be banned.  Rails of cribs that kids can chew on?  Shouldn’t have lead.  But passing legislation that basically says anything that can ever go in the mouth of a child 12 and under must be tested for lead is ridiculous.  Requiring people to re-test after a manufacturer has already tested is ridiculous and a waste of money.  Requiring people to be tested by a previously approved testing facility mandated by the government makes you wonder if you are in the wrong business.

    In this economy, Congress has successfully pissed off a wide range of people.  Wait until all the Green people realize that old toys will have to be thrown into a landfill rather than be recycled because any sale of them will violate this law.  How about those of us who loved to scour consignment stores because it is better suited for our budget and we don’t NEED new every single time?  Love yourself some Etsy?  Every single one of those people making stuff for kids will most likely be shut down by the cost prohibitive testing (which most likely will already have been done by manufacturers anyway). 

    But, Internet, while excessive and unnecessary government intervention is screwing me, there is a rainbow for you.  That rainbow is the HUGE sale at Baby Brewing.  All of the kid and baby tees, regularly $16, are now $6.  I figure it is better to cut my losses now rather than either wait for Congress to have their heads removed from their, well, okay, who are we kidding?  If you could hook a sister up and pass the word along to your friends, I would really appreciate it.  Come on.  Everyone you know is having a baby.  It can’t hurt to stick a tee in a closet for a baby shower or a preschooler party you forgot you were getting stuck attending. 

    If you want to read more about this travesty with the CPSIA (and all of the industries that will effectively be shut down), others have done a much better job of explaining it in a way that does not ramble or seem like a rant.  I’m off to cry myself to sleep. 

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    Kids. They never listen.

    January 12, 2009

    natepizza

    You have some questions right now.  Yes, The Baby has a butter knife in his right hand.  Yes, that is a quart of motor oil to his right.  The food getting spit out of his mouth?  The pizza from yesterday that he found somewhere that he was properly advised NOT TO EAT because it is a day old and would taste like crap.  Which apparently was not believed.

    I then went downstairs to upload the pizza debacle.  When I came back up stairs, I found this.

    table

    Technically it is the dining room table but it is still in the living room from New Year’s Eve.  Yes, that happens to be a 5-gallon bucket of deck stain on the dining room table.  It has to warm up to actually be put on the deck because you can’t put deck stain on a deck in weather under 40 degrees.  It was colder than 40 degrees where the stain was in the garage.  Grant it, it’s colder than 40 degrees on the deck.  Hey, I’m not the mathematician in the family but 2 plus 2 is looking a lot like 5 right now.

    The stickers on the reading glasses?  So Dad knows which ones are the correct ones.  Not to be confused with just trying them out at the store to see which ones are best.  Let’s just buy 4 pairs and play the “I CAN’T READ” game every single time a pair goes on.  Or at least 75% of the time. The crumbly mass The Baby is sitting upon?  Hot crushed red pepper.  He was actually sneezing.  Pink earphones?  In a package when I saw them last.

    The Republican haircuts?  I know the craze is to make your child look unwashed by letting their hair grow long and unruly.  We like to use clothing as a conversation piece about whether these children ever get bathed.  And when someone has vomited in the barber shop just a couple of days before, they do their best to make sure you aren’t coming back any time soon.

    mirror

    There are an incredible amount of hand prints on that mirror, right?  Those prints are from a year ago.  My husband keeps his stash of his beloved Windex well-hidden.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I can barely keep the fam in clean underwear and socks.  Clean a mirror?  Surely you jest.

    feet

    Nasty feet with unclipped toenails?  Check!  On the table?  Check!  Not just on the table but the nicest table cloth.  Interestingly enough, no one even hedged or looked apologetic when I busted them.

    It’s not even 10:30 yet.

    Jess is very concerned about what we intend to call The Baby when we have the newer, more important Baby.  It’s clear The Boy is a disappointment.  We may as well get a jump on moving beyond the middle child and focusing on the child that is most important, Baby #3.  If you have an opinion (as I know you do), let me know in the comments what you think the name should be for The Baby and for this little rug rat that is determined to come out via my belly button.30weeks6days

     

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    After all that heckling, you know Noah’s neighbors were sorry

    January 7, 2009

    ArubaWe should have built an ark.  We should have built an ark.  Have I mentioned that we should have built an ark?  Or at least a boat? Wait, we have that boat.  But I think it leaks.  The Husband swears it doesn’t.

    With temperatures hovering at 34 degrees, it won’t stop raining.  As I speak, the children are mesmorized by Steve Songs singing that “Rain is falling down, falling down, falling down” song and frankly, as much as I love Mr. Steve, I want to throw a boot at the television.   I can tolerate that 50% of the country had a white Christmas while we did not, but the rain has got to stop.  The only way daily rain is tolerable is if it was 80, I was illicitly lying on a beach chair at an all-inclusive in Aruba and I was carefully calculating the number of SECONDS it would take for that tiny rain cloud to pass over my body and move on as the sun shone brightly.  Kinda like those water spritzers they have at the pools in Vegas.  But all natural.  On the perfect day it would be exactly 120 seconds.  Just enough time to rinse the salt water off your body but not long enough to get your towel too wet.

    Don’t ask how I know these complicated equations.  I just do.

    I don’t know how you people in the Pacific Northwest do it.  Oh, that’s right.  You have SNOW now.  Are we getting your rain?

    The roof is leaking.  At least it’s in the bathroom.  On the bright side, you are already wet from your shower.  And my basement full of thousands of shirts?  Dry as a bone.  See, it’s not all doom and gloom over here.  Except that part where The Boy threw up the second we walked into the barber shop last night.  He had complained about wanting to throw up but I thought he was just faking.  What a horrible mother.  We were out to dinner and his father said, “give him that cup in case he wants to throw up” and I was all, “if I give him my sprite cup then I can’t refill it.”

    Thirty minutes later I was cleaning up puke at the barber’s.  That’ll teach me.  I also was carrying a plastic bag for him to throw up in but in good pregnancy form, held it in my hand as he vomited 4 times.  You think the thought would have crossed my mind to open it up and, I don’t know, stick it under his mouth?  Nah.  The barbers thanked me profusely for cleaning up because apparently the last horrible mother who didn’t believe her child was going to throw up was in such denial that she didn’t believe he threw up even as they walked through it to the door.

    It felt slightly like watching a dog throw up.  You stare oddly at the vomit, wondering where all that stuff came from because none of it looks remotely like Kibble.  This time it was the shell pasta that threw me off.  We haven’t had pasta in a week.  I’m pretty sure we don’t have any leftovers in the fridge.  Who knows?  He was asleep at 7 and woke up looking fresh and frisky this morning.  We’ll see what happens.

    I had to get up at 11:40 last night because I forgot my credit card bill was due.  In this economy, I could have awakened today to a 78% interest rate and a $200 late fee.  Too bad we couldn’t have just gotten that American Express bailout directly attributed to my card.  That would have been nice.  Bastards.

    I really don’t have anything else for you.  Sorry.

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    What the hell was I thinking?

    January 4, 2009

    Which, might I say, sounds like a new maternity tee.  Maybe with hockey sticks in lieu of the L’s.

    I was lying on the couch today watching Iron Chef and getting really nauseated.  Not from the food (even though it was beans) but from the speed at which Bobby Flay was moving.  Would that be motion sick then?  I don’t know.  I had a long day.  I went out to lunch with the girls in the ‘hood for Alicia’s birthday and we discussed everything that anyone could discuss in three hours. Including my husband’s lesbian ex-wife’s tell-all book that we are going to start a book club JUST so we can read it together.  Except I don’t want to pay for the book unless she’s gonna send back some of that alimony he paid her.  All the big ticket items.  Three hours.  I think our waiter wanted to kill us.  I would have killed us.  I felt for him.  I mean, when I wasn’t breaking one of my first New Year’s resolutions, which is to save the general public from seeing my butt crack at every turn.

    Could someone explain to me what is so damn difficult for the maternity clothing makers to make a pair of pants that don’t want to make its way to your KNEES at the earliest convenience.  Having already sacrificed fashion AND embraced elastic, you think the elastic could just hold up a pair of pants.  Grant it, the pants are probably on their 10th pregnancy after having been passed around but elastic is not a difficult concept, people.

    And there is nothing nastier than a pregnant backside bearing pink flowered maternity thong underwear.  It isn’t necessary.  But I can’t keep my pants up.  I have contemplated suspenders but how would that work?  Would I have to wear suspenders that go up my sides and over my arms? It’s not like suspenders would make maternity fashion any tackier.  You think we would have gotten rid of the bows by now but NO.

    So I would just like to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone who had to see my ass today because I couldn’t hold up my pants with both hands.  I needed one to wield my fork.  I mean, you don’t think my ass is getting this big out of sheer luck, do ya?

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    I’ll give you a New Year’s diet

    January 2, 2009

    So I’m on the computer today in the kitchen.  That would be The Boy’s computer.  He told me this himself.  Had he also told me where his brother hid my laptop, I might have let him right back at his pbskids.org games.  Instead I was trying to do accounting type things on the computer because for whatever reason that computer is the only one with Excel.

    What I didn’t realize is that the boys got hungry and helped themselves to a bag of dried fruit.  A Costco-size bag of dried fruit.  I estimate they ate about 10 oz. a piece of a mango, apricot and PRUNE medley.

    Oops.

    Warning.  Crass conversation ahead.

    The Boy:  Mom.  Pee just shot out of my butt.

    People, I have three sisters.  Growing up we referred to bodily functions such as these as No. 1 and No. 2.  No lie.  My kids barely know their ages so the number thing was out.   Now I’m forced to have conversations that include words like pee, fart and poop.  What.  the.  hell.

    K:  Ethan.  Technically that is not pee.  I think you might be sick now that you ate that half of a bag of dried fruit that you stole from the kitchen cabinet when Mom was trying to focus on her 2009 goals for world domination in the Smart Ass Tee department.  Where’s your brother?

    I didn’t even need to ask.  I could smell him from about 20 miles away.  We spent the better part of the afternoon and evening running between two bathrooms.  I’m sorry.  Did I fail to mention that yesterday The Baby decided he was going to potty train himself.  He made it 24 hours before needing a new diaper and then all bets were off as his ass nearly exploded every 30 minutes after that.  They both offered to share the toilet at the same time but a mother has to have limits at some point.

    After about the 11th trip to the lav, I began to wonder why anyone would ever pay for a colonic.  It can’t be cheaper than a $4.85 bag of dried fruit.

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