Friday, June 22, 2007

Home semi-sweet home

This past Sunday I, by total accident, came across the listing for a home that was a wonderful buy. It was a great house, in a great location, on a great piece of land, for a great price. Matt and I thought, let's make an offer contigent on selling our house--what have we got to lose? Well, the answer is, apparently, our sanity. Five days, 3 real estate agents, 3 home viewings, 4 offers, 1 counter offer and 4,000 phone calls later, we are not one iota closer to knowing if we will get this house or not. It doesn't help that the house is currently owned by a guy who can best be described as a pompous schmuck, or that everyone else involved in this situation seems to be vacationing in another country this week (schmuck included). I am WORN OUT. Thank goodness that while we'd love to get this place, we are perfectly happy where we are and will be fine if this doesn't happen. I feel for the people who have to go through this over and over again until it finally works out. They deserve their own patron saint or something.

We are going to spend the weekend trying to NOT think about houses, and rely on our last bit of patience to wait on the final word. If we do get the house, I'd like to still be sane enough to enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rhyme time

There's lots of activity going on around the AMEN household--Matt burned his hand on the lawnmower, we MAY be getting a new house (MAY--don't get all worked up yet), but I'm choosing to use my blog to talk about something random and, in the great scheme of things, unimportant. But it's fun. And it's my blog!

Abby has learned the concept of rhyming. And is addicted to it. Ever since the day she noticed that the words "shirt" and "skirt" sounded a lot alike and I explained what rhyming is (while I was getting her dressed)(because the reason that the words shirt and skirt were said in the first place was that I was trying to get her to hurry up and get dressed herself)(which went out the window when she got all excited about rhyming), she spends, it seems, every waking moment racking her brain for more rhyming words. We will be eating dinner or brushing teeth, and all of a sudden she will shriek like she's seen a mouse. Then, "I have another rhyme, Mommy! More and Door!" It's very exciting. She almost explodes when we find a rhyme that lasts through several words. When we did the Night-light-sight-bite-might-right-tight-kite-white string, I wasn't sure that she wouldn't pass out then and there.

I've had to explain to her that rhymes only count if the words are real words--that put a stop to the "paper-maper" bit. And we have to be careful, since she does just like to run through the alphabet and say all the possiblities. We stay away from words like duck and fit.

I'm pretty sure that this is yet another indication of above average verbal intelligence in our little girl. Pretty soon she'll be on her pre-school's debate team, arguing against the social injustice of the extra-cost Friday snack cart.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mommies ALWAYS know

My mother is a wonderful grandmother to my kids. She takes the job very seriously, especially the part about spoiling. She and dad are the wost about snacks and junk food. Every time, EVERY time Abby is with them and I'm not there, they give her things that she's not supposed to have. Now, this doesn't bother me if it's every once in a while, but it's EVERY time. I think they sensed that it was bugging me, so they came up with the brilliant plan of telling Abby to keep it a secret.


The first few times, she didn't even try. Finally, they scared her enough into believing that she might never get another milkshake or candy bar that she tried. She really, really tried. But come on. She's 4, and she's Abby. She doesn't stand a chance. The first time they tried this was when she rode with them down to Little Rock. We met them down there, and I had a sneaking suspicion they had stopped for a "snack" along the way. I asked, but they insisted they only went to McDonald's to use the bathroom, and then left without getting anything. So I waited for mom to leave the room, and then my conversation with Abby went exactly like this:

Me: Abby, what did you get at McDonald's?
Abby: I can't tell you.
Me: Was it a milkshake?
Abby: Yes.
Me: What flavor?
Abby: I can't tell you.
Me. Was it chocolate?
Her: Yes.

Mom couldn't believe she caved so easily. What I can't get over is that now that she KNOWS she'll be ratted out, she continues to try! Just tonight, Abby went to their house for a while. My first clue that she'd been treated was the giant chocolate milk moustache on her face when they came back. They both steadfastly insisted that other than a tiny bit of milk, Abby had not had anything else. I just waited. When my grandmother called and got on the phone with my mom for a minute, I got face to face with Abby, and gave her my best mommy smile.

Me: So, Abs, you can tell mommy--what treat did you have?
Abby: Nothing!
Me: Aw, come on--I won't even tell daddy!
Abby: Nothing! (ooh, she's getting good--better bring out the big guns)
Me: If you tell me you can have a cook--
Her: I had pudding and 2 Hershey kisses! Can I have my cookie now?

Mom got off the phone just in time to hear the confession. She couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it took me as long as it did to get it out of her.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's got a nice view, but it's a little cramped

One of my favorite things to do in the world for fun is go to amusement parks. I LOVE to ride roller coasters. When I was a kid, even the merry go round terrified me, but literally one day, I went to a park and couldn't get enough. I'm hooked. The faster and crazier the ride, the better. I would love to live near a park to get to go regularly.

That said, if something like this happened to me, everything would change:

I know that half of you will be too lazy to click on the link, so I'll give you the gist. It's an article on about a dozen people who, when the electricity went out at Magic Springs amusement park in Hot Springs, were stuck on a roller coaster. Upside down. 15 stories up. FOR HALF AN HOUR. If you want to see the picture, you have to click on the link--it's worth it if you want to get a full grasp of how terrifying this would be.

Can you imagine? You're riding a roller coaster, approaching the largest loop--likely going pretty fast. You head up, and start slowing down. Huh? You come to a stop upside down. Funny, this has never happened before. You don't move. After about 10 seconds you start to panic. People are screaming. It's probably quite painful, because, whether you like to think about it or not, gravity and centrifugal force (or something physics-y like that) are actually what keep you in that seat--the harness is there mainly to make you feel better, and to keep you from doing anything stupid. All your blood is in your head, which is probably pounding. Then you start wondering if the coaster can hang on to the track, or if the whole thing will eventually fall. Finally, someone gets word to you and your fellow passengers that the fire truck is on its way to rescue you. While you wait, you tell everyone around you what messages to give your family should you not make it, though it's likely if you don't, they won't either. To keep from going crazy, you all start to sing the Gilligan's Island theme song together, and talk about what you're going to do with all the settlement money you'll surely get from the amusement park--assuming you survive.

The truck arrives, and you finally start to feel like you might make it. Then you realize that to get you down, the coaster will not actually be put right side up--a fireman will UNBUCKLE you and presumably CATCH you before you fall and lower you to safety. Now, I trust rescue persons as much as the next girl, but seriously. Amazingly, it happens the way it is supposed to, and you end up safely on the ground, right side up. You immediately pass out.

Let me be clear. I adore roller coasters, and understand on a logical level that the chances of this happening twice to a person are astronomical. But if it happened to me, I would never, ever, EVER step foot on a coaster again. I wouldn't even look at one. I'd probably think twice about an elevator.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Telling, isn't it, that the most comments I have gotten on a single post in a long time--maybe EVER--was on a post about TV?

At work, we are headed into a straight month of New Student Orientation. Five days a week of 18 year old freshmen-to-be. I'm not sure that I can describe what it's like, but you know I'll try.

Here are the attributes that I have found to be present in most incoming freshmen (IFs), and my take on them:

1. Terror. The override motivation for ANYTHING an IF does is always, always looking cool for the other IFs. Therefore, IFs live in constant fear that they will be seen doing something "uncool", like tripping, or saying something stupid, or standing within 10 feet of their parents. For this reason, you have to literally push them sometimes to get them to do what you need them to do. They will stand at the back of the room for 20 minutes because they're scared they'll sit in the wrong seat--you have to finally go tell them which seat to go to, then they're fine.

2. Entitlement. I'm sorry to say that the current generation of IFs have been taught, by their parents and by society, that they are owed everything they want in life. Who owes them this, I don't know. It's almost amusing to watch an IF be told that they aren't going to be able to take all their classes after 10 AM, and that they might in fact have to WORK to get good grades. "But I'm smart! I should just be given good grades!"

3. Exhibitionism (females only). Never have I seen more girls wearing less clothes. They're like peacocks, showing off, but with many fewer feathers. I understand completely that they are meeting their college classmates for the first time and are trying to make a good first impression, but exactly what impression is it you're trying to give in a painted on tank top and shorts so small that they don't entirely cover your panties, at the waist OR the legs?

4. Sloppiness (males only). I know this is the "style" right now, but when I see a guy come in with hair that hasn't been cut (or combed) in ages, pants sagging down to his knees, and ONLY the front of his shirt tucked in (what IS the point of that, anyway?) I just want to smack him upside the head! Towards the end of last summer, my tolerance level was so low that I told a boy who came up to ask me a question that I would answer it when, and only when, I could no longer see his underwear peeking out above his pants.

I do not mean to imply that IFs have no redeeming values. Each summer, I meet many nice, smart, funny kids on their way to a successful college career, students that I know I will see walk across the stage at commencement and that I hope to see in my class. Sadly, though, even they aren't paying that much attention to orientation--they're too busy staring at the girl wearing the leapord print miniskirt and bra top.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

If they just let me run the world...

There are many unwritten rules in this world that I just do not understand. When I question them alound in conversation, whoever I'm talking to, usually Matt, says "that's just the way htings have always been." What kind of reason is THAT? I realize that I am up against human nature when I suggest change, and that usually I am not an expert in whatever area I'm spouting an opinion on, but it's possible that I could be right sometimes! Let me tell you which topic has brought this issue to my attention recently.

Television schedules.

I make no secret of the fact that I love a fair number of television shows and watch them regularly. When you have kids that go to bed early, and a big TV, the stage is just set for this addiction. From September until May, I get to enjoy my favorite shows several nights a week. Then within a week or two of each other, they all end for the "season", and I am stuck watching reruns of half-rate sitcoms or, worse, SciFi (love you, honey!).

This is what I do not understand. TV networks fight tooth and nail to get their shows watched. They spend gazillions of dollars to promote each show, and then each network puts their best show on at the same time as all the other networks' best shows and hopes for the largest share of the audience. We, the said audience, race from channel to channel catching what we can, then finally give up and sacrifice watching some good shows so that we can see our favorites. As a result, some really good shows are cancelled.

So WHY don't the networks save half of their good shows and run them in the summer? Whatever network did it would certainly have the lion's share of viewer's attention for those months, and the viewers would become loyal to the show (since nothing else was on to take their attention away). Then the next "season", the network could put this new hit show from summer in its fall lineup, and it would already have a strong following. Watch, repeat!

I'm not so arrogant to think that I am the first person smart enough to think this. (Though it would seem that way) So there is presumably some reason they DON'T do this. Except what if there's not? What if I called up CBS's president and told him my idea, and he just said, "Well, the guy that was president before me did it that way, so..." In fact, that's probably what would happen--what else could we expect from the man who, this summer, is allowing his network to bring us a show called "Pirate Masters?"