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    My heart was in the right place

    May 8, 2009

    mgI woke with a start when he shoved my arm. I think it took two shoves.

    D: There is a beeping outside.
    K: Ok?
    D: I’m gonna go check it out.
    K: Ok. What do you need me to do?
    D: Nothing. I’m just gonna go.

    Horrible person that I am, that “What do you need me to do?” was really “why the hell did you wake me up?” in my head but I maintain lack of sleep makes me mean.

    He got all prepared in a man way and I heard him and the dog go out the front door. Five minutes later he came back.

    D: I couldn’t find where it was coming from.
    K: What do you think it is?
    D: I don’t know. It might be a carbon monoxide alarm.
    K: Do you want to call the police?
    D: They’ll just want to talk to us.
    K: They won’t. We’ll just give them our names. I mean, what if it IS a carbon monoxide alarm?

    I sent a text to The Cake Lady.

    K: You guys okay? There is an alarm going off in the neighborhood.
    CL: We’re fine. I’ll go check.

    Five minutes later.

    CL: I can’t hear it outside.

    In the end, I called the cops. I was not having dead neighbors.
    I talked to the 911 operator, blah, blah, blah.

    Then I tried to go back to sleep. Which of course I couldn’t do.

    We heard the car come up the street and pull into our driveway.
    Then another.

    Conversation.

    I’m laying in bed, proud of my fulfilling my civic duty and looking out for my fellow man. Derek got up and went outside to talk to the cops. Nobody could figure out where it was.

    He came back inside.

    K: Well, we did our best.

    Then there was a knock at the door.

    Derek went down and answered the door.

    Cop: Sir. (pause) The alarm is coming from your trash can.

    I was lying in bed. The words that came out of my mouth would curl the ears of a sailor.

    And then the cop and I said, in complete unison, with him downstairs and me in my bed…

    “There’s a smoke alarm in the trash can.”

    Yeah. That cleaning rampage I was on earlier? When I was throwing out everything not tied down and throwing raw sewage on top of it to keep my husband from digging it back out? I came across and old smoke alarm that we had replaced at the old house.

    Apparently it still worked.

    Oops.

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    The funny things in life and the Virginia Wine Showcase 2009

    February 4, 2009

    Does anyone know what it means when you call your bank and they say you are $100 overdrawn but you have an available balance of $390?  I don’t know what that means.  I would have beeped through the menu to find out but anyone who has ever been in a car with a kid while using dialing menus knows that is the best way to end up being connected to the nice customer service guy named Aaron in India.

    Does anyone know why they make “childproof” locks for closets and doors that only take about two seconds for your kids to figure out before they are mainlining Tums and bandaiding each other and making really awesome sculptures out of tampax?  All of which were on a shelf 6 feet high which means that someone had to use someone else as a ladder to overcome the first three feet?

    Does anyone know why reasonably intelligent women like myself never get a clue and just teach the DAMN NEARLY 4 YEAR OLD TO EITHER COOK COMPLETE DINNERS OR DO THE LAUNDRY?  I should just send him back to Montessori.  He won’t be able to read until he is 8 but by golly, he’ll be able to cut a block of cheese for his friends and know the names of every tree in my backyard.  No, wait.  That was what he learned last year when he was 2 1/2.  Of course I would have to get him out of the bathroom closet.  See above.

    Does anyone know how everyone manages to be bugged about the condition of the house yet people continue to climb over the Mt. Everest of laundry that was clearly just thrown over the banister because SOMEONE DIDN’T WANT TO GO INTO LABOR OVER YOUR NASTY SOCKS by carrying the laundry downstairs like a sherpa?  So she just threw it over the banister and now it’s in the hallway.  As in the front entryway of the house.  As in, let’s just shove these pajamas over to the left so we can actually open the front door.

    Does anyone know exactly how much longer we will be tortured by Cabinet appointments?  I say we just give everyone a pass for everything less than 1st degree murder (unless it was justifiable homicide, of course) and put ourselves out of our misery.  I intend to use the “Turbo Tax Defense” myself this year, and I recommend everyone else do the same.

    Come by Saturday or Sunday, February 7 or 8, or both, to the Virginia Wine Showcase and say “Yo, Beotch!!!”  If you want a discount coupon, check this out.  I have rock star placement because I threatened to have a baby during the festival so they put me by the front door.  Look for the “Mommy Needs a Glass of Wine” banner hanging high above the crowd (unless that available balance of $390 means I don’t have any money.  Then just look for the insanely pregnant woman selling wine tees).

    ****Kidding, Turbo Tax.  Just kidding.  Every year you prompt me to complete that form for SS and unemployment.  Seriously.  I don’t know what that guy was talking about…

     

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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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    Happy Friggin’ New Year!!!

    January 1, 2009

    I am so hung over.  You know when you go to a party and all night everyone is drinking and a) no one thinks to put a pitcher of ice water on the table to keep the natives hydrated or b) even makes ice so now everyone is drinking drinks without ice?  And that crappy hostess is you? And you get hung over because now you have eaten salt-laden goodness for a total of like 6 hours and you haven’t had anything to drink other than illegal sips from someone else’s Anchor Steam because wielding your very own beer after you have pried your fat pregnant belly under the table is just frowned upon by even the loosest of folks?

    I’m too old for this.  I laughed so hard last night I actually laid my head down on the dinner table and cried.  That might have been when my husband started his falsetto/vasectomy voice across the table or maybe when I was rehashing for the 6th year in a row the story about my gay ex-boyfriend’s emotional breakdown of nuclear proportions in my kitchen one New Year’s Eve and BeBe didn’t think it was funny because she was drunk thanks to that Trader Joe’s Sparkling Limeade and vodka concoction and then someone asked if Carl and I used to date?   Which we never dated but we did have that marriage pact and then Carl got emotional and thanked Derek profusely for marrying me.  I really can’t pinpoint the crying party but I do think the top half of my bra was hanging out my shirt for the better part of the night and when I commented on it, Amy said, “who hasn’t seen them?” That would be my girls, which were hanging out the top of my bra.  The crying in laughter was definitely NOT when Carl strayed from our 8 year New Year’s Eve script and brought up my ex who threw about the Baby Jesus or his reference to my church as “The Pickup Church.”  or the reference to my match.com years.  I mean days.

    The Cake Lady spent the better part of the night being “on” and hobbling around on her bum knee due to an unfortunate mini motorcycle accident and then there were all manner of “bum” stories.  Who knew “bum” meant so many different things to so many people.  PopPop offered again to birth my child for me and while I am sure he is an excellent plumber, I mentioned I may have to pass on that one.  The Husband was forced to tell The Boy to stop “grating the guests” which could have referred to either The Boy’s attempts to use an actually cheese grater on Tom’s arm OR screaming loudly and annoyingly in a manner which would have suggested that bedtime would have been helpful, say, 3 hours earlier.   Dinner wasn’t on the table until 9, the host was pissed off because his grilled tenderloin was cold (so you are saying I should have started the green beans earlier?) and his exact helping of potatoes dauphinoise wasn’t cooked enough (mine was org@asmic, thank you very much) and I think he was still pissed off because of the damn vasectomy from last month.  Seriously, get over it.  By 11 he was hammered and then he was really funny, which is why I married him.  Which is not to be confused with the vasectomy, which is why I am staying married to him.  Derek did his best to share the marital disharmony by making Amy her very own bucket of popcorn from my brand new popcorn maker that Tom did NOT buy for Amy for Christmas and I don’t know if they fought on the way home because of it.

    Matt and Deb waxed wistfully nostalgic about their kids growing up so fast and college applications and we folks with small children looked at them like they were crazy.  Because they are.  Time has stopped over here.  So much so that when the clock struck midnight, we missed it.  It was only at 12:01 that someone realized.  No, wait.  I think that means that time is moving faster.

    I need a Gatorade. Happy 2009!

    Go on over to PBS Supersisters and tell me your best impossible NY resolution.   And just know that that 50 pounds is going to be 60 by March, at the rate I’m going.

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    Not exactly the Merry Christmas mall employees anticipated

    December 23, 2008

    We have this little problem in our family.  Everyone wants to go everywhere with everyone else.  I moan but I really want to be with all of them too.  Actually, I really want to be with my husband so I tolerate his clones.

    So tonight we all headed out to pick up the combi double stroller we found on Craigslist and then off to the Apple store to rectify the problem that is my fat ass.  I know it’s shocking that Apple can fix the size of your backside, but it’s true.  No, actually they can fix the problems caused by your ass such as standing directly on your I-Phone as you get out of the truck.  Not good, People.  And because it already had 17 hairline fractures on the glass screen and I’m pretty much as irresponsible as they come, I offered to take my husband’s I-Phone that looks like it was purchased yesterday (even though today is its one year old birthday) and get him a new 3G I-Phone.  He says that life is sometimes unfair in a good way in your direction but it so rarely is unfair in his good direction.  It was the least I could do.

    We were getting out of the truck and I finally just asked who smelled like ass.  In a house full of men, they pretty much all do but every once in a while someone carries his ass smell around in his diaper and I try not to propagate that smell at all cost.  Why should strangers be traumatized?

    K:  I think The Baby smells.  Do you want to change him?
    D:  Eh.  I’ll change him in the mall.

    Fast forward to the Apple store, then the AT&T store and it was as if time stopped.  No one took The Baby to change him.  I think he still stank but no one was listening to me.  Derek then started to complain that Nate’s diaper had leaked and asked if I could go buy him pants.   I looked down and both Derek and The Baby were soaked.  It was weird.  He headed off to Cheesecake Factory where we were on the eternal list and I headed out to find sweat pants that did not cost 19.99.  WTH?  I’m sure people buy $20 sweat pants for their 2 year old but I am not one of those people.  I found a pair of pajamas for $8.99 and The Boy and I headed out to find the other two.  My new-used phone rang.

    D:  Nate’s not wearing a diaper.
    K:  WHAT????
    D:  Nate has no diaper on.  That’s why the leak was so bad.
    K:  What do you mean?
    D:  Did you forget to put a diaper on him?

    This is a valid question to ask a pregnant woman.  Along with, “did you make sure you took ALL the kids before you left the house?” and “did you blow out all the open flames before you left the house?”  Anything is fair game.

    K:  I remember putting a diaper on him.  And he stank when we got out of the truck.  Was there poop in his pants?
    D:  Nothing.

    Maybe I should mention that Nate has been taking off his diapers after he “fills” them.  Somehow his clothes remain on but you’ll find a crap diaper under the dining room table.  It’s happened twice in the last three days.

    K:  Dear.  God.  Where do you think he took it off?  OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG.  Did you leave him alone anywhere?
    D:  Of course not.
    K:  Where is the damn diaper?
    D:  Um, Merry Christmas mall employees?

    Because making minimum wage at a lousy job at the mall two days before Christmas isn’t bad enough, you now get to find a “filled” diaper under a rack somewhere at the end of the night.  Nice. To the people at the mall, I am so very sorry. So. Very. Sorry.

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    Luckily he’s not anything like his brother

    December 21, 2008

    I went to a Holiday Cookie Exchange party the other night at The Cake Lady’s house.  It’s only been since I have moved to this house that I have “friends.”  Before I had “friend (Hi, B, Renee, Cath!!!  Singularly and never in the same place)”  Now I go places in packs like the rest of you popular people have been doing for years.  I pee with other people now.  It’s nice.

    Of course I didn’t tell The Boy that I was going to The Cake Lady’s house because if he knew I was going to be with his lover Harrison then it would have been all over.  I just told him that I was going out with Wendy.  And the interrogation began.

    E:  momomomomomomomom.  I want to go with you and Wendy.
    K:  You can’t.
    E:  Why?
    K:  Dad would miss you.
    E:  Dadadadadad.  You wouldn’t miss me.  Why can’t I go with Mom?
    D:  How come you always put on makeup when you go out with your girlfriends?

    Um, cause I’m hoping to pick up the guy who cleans out the fish tank across the street?  It’s a vag1na party, for heaven’s sake.  I’m putting on makeup to cover the fact that I am twice the weight of every person who will be at this party and will be nibbling on nothing, complaining about moving from a size 2 to a 4 during the holidays.  A juniors 4, that is.  Nothing says “Look at my face instead of my ass that can barely fit through a doorway” like harem red lipstick.

    K:  You can’t come.  It’s just for moms.
    E:  But MOM.  I want to go to Wendy’s house too!!!!
    K:  You can’t go to Wendy’s house.
    E:  So you are going to Wendy’s house?

    Rookie, rookie mistake.  Had I been the interrogator, I would have given the suspect my best “SUCKER” face.  His father looked on in dismay.  The kid is 3 and he just flipped his mother.  This isn’t looking good.  Wendy showed up in the nick of time and brought a plate full of kick ass cookies just for the kids.  We left. Apparently their father let them have two and then they had to go to bed.  He put the tray up on top of the fridge.  We had an awesome time at the party and I talked too much.  That happens when they only let you out of the psycho ward every 6 months for visitation.

    The next day the kids were being kinda quiet in the kitchen and there was some noise but I wasn’t paying attention because I was busy taking the 600 dead lights off the tree and putting on the new strands.  I love Christmas.  Because the lights had to work the first 20 minutes I put them on the tree and then put all that breakable stuff around them.  Dammit.  Suddenly I heard The Husband YELL.

    It appears that The Baby (you read that right) decided that he and The Boy needed some of Wendy’s stash and he found a stool in the laundry room.  He brought it out and put it against the counter.  He climbed onto the counter, up on the microwave and began reaching across the top of the fridge from the top of the microwave for the cookies.  When he couldn’t reach them, he decided to just push the tray over onto the floor for easier access.  Why do all that work for one when you can have 20?  It was only then that The Dog decided that maybe he too should indulge in some reindeer games.  When The Husband entered the kitchen, he said there was a feeding frenzy on the floor, with the kids trying to eat faster than the 95 pound Lab.

    You tell them never to stand on the top of the microwave, but do they listen? No. You think you lock the stools up in the laundry room but does that stop them? No.

    I’m so glad my husband is leaving me alone with these children tomorrow. Go to work. Really. I’ll be fine. I have to wonder what happened to that last pack of matches though…

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