How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I think this picture says it all, but if you would like more of an explanation, by all means, read further.
Ahhh, summer vacation is finally here, which basically means even fewer child care options. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It's just an adjustment.

My daughter and I have been doing pretty well so far. She has basically been glued to the computer, allowing me time to explore other ways of keeping myself busy. So on Tuesday morning, I mustered up the motivation to tackle cleaning the toilets. However, this little plan of mine was quickly derailed when my curiosity implored me to investigate why the upstairs toilet would not stop running.

Earlier that morning, I had asked my husband what was up with that, and the reply I heard went something like this:

"Er, mumble whole unit...mumble...I replaced the something or other and it's still broke."

Look, it's not that I wasn't paying attention, I just really didn't understand. Now before I go further, I have to brag about my husband a little bit. He is a master fixer. He can fix anything from your car to your computer to your air conditioner. If there is a problem, yo, he'll solve it.

So, there I was, toilet brush in hand, when the impulse to investigate matters for myself took over. Before I knew what came over me, the lid was off the water tank and I was staring at a bunch of parts that I don't know the name of. After a lot of trial and error, mostly involving me with my hand in the tank and my head in the toilet to see if I had stopped the water running, I finally figured out that the flap doohickey was not sealing properly. But, if I pushed down on it hard enough, it would seal and the toilet would stop running. The second I stopped applying pressure with my hand, the toilet would just start running again.

So I am sitting there with my hand on that flap trying to figure out how I can keep the darn thing sealed without holding it down and here are the obvious solutions that present themselves: duct tape, or something really, really heavy. I couldn't quite grasp how I would make the duct tape idea work, so I went with something really, really heavy. Next problem that needed solving: what do we have that is really, really heavy...


I rummaged around in the garage for a bit and found some heavy things, but decided against them because they weren't mine. What I was really wishing for was an anchor.

Finally, I made my selection.
Here's how it went down:

Clara (still riveted to her iPad): "What's that?"
Me: "It's a bag of rocks."

(I go upstairs to deposit the bag of rocks on the flap doohickey. Not heavy enough. I am delighted to remember a brick I saw in our back yard a few days ago.)

Clara: "What's that?"
Me: "It's a brick."

(I go upstairs to add the brick on top of the bag of rocks on top of the flap doohickey. Still not quite heavy enough, but now the trickle of water coming into the toilet bowl is so slight, and I am totally out of bricks and better ideas, I deem this repair "fixed for now".)

I don't know how many pounds of pressure I was applying with my hand, but I do know it was more than a bag of rocks and a brick.

Obviously there are drawbacks to having a bag of rocks and a brick holding down the flap doohickey. For example, it makes flushing a challenge.

But luckily, my husband is competitive in nature when it comes to fixing things, and he would not be upstaged by my brick and bag of rocks approach. He promptly installed a new and improved flap doohickey which did the trick.

It's a win-win.

I can't wait to see how this summer unfolds.

Things That Are Really Gross

Of all the things I've been thinking about lately that amuse me, I'm going with this: Things That Are Really Gross. I don't know why, but things that gross me out to a certain degree make me laugh. A lot of times, the humor comes out at the exact time that the grossness is at its peak, resulting in a serious case of the giggles. Sometimes, you can't (and probably shouldn't) see the humor in a gross situation until well after you are removed from the event. Like maybe you are driving down the highway and you glance back at your two year old to see a despondent expression on her little face right before she starts blowing chunks all over herself, your iPad, her carseat, and the car floor. Now you are driving a screaming, crying 2 year old covered in her own vomit down the highway, as you desperately look for an exit and try not to lose your lunch as well. (How is it that one small bowl of macaroni and cheese can transform into thirty liters of vomit when it comes back up? ....Oh, and add a little bit of partially digested chocolate pudding to that mix. (*dry heaves*)) Nothing about this situation struck me as funny at the time. I felt too bad for my little girl. Poor thing. But the odor in my car lasted longer than the distress of this particular incident. I was grossing out friends and relatives recounting the vomit tale within a day. (Who doesn't appreciated a good vomit story?)

But sometimes, the amount of grossness is at just the right level for you to start enjoying it immediately. For instance, what is the grossest bug you could possibly imagine? Right, the silverfish. Silverfish hold the title for grossest bugs on the face of the earth. *shudder*

So yesterday morning, when I found a silverfish of record size in the bathroom sink, I was delighted to share the news with my little girl. (She had just been given a "bug kit" to further her research in entomology.) As I predicted, excitement ensued. 

"Get the bug kit!"
"Where are the tweezers?" (Not eyebrow plucking tweezers....the kind used to catch bugs and put them in a bug kit. I don't know if they have a special name.)
"Catch it! Catch it! Catch it!!!!!"

Me (bug catching tweezers in hand):
"Eeeeewwww. I can't believe I'm doing this. I hate silverfish."
"Eeewww. Eeeewww. Eeeewww!"
"Man, these guys are so fast."
"Eeewww." (giggles)
"Eew, eew, I got it, eew, I can't believe I'm doing this. Ew. Okay, here I got it. I may have maimed him a bit. No, wait, he's moving. He's still alive. Eew."

Actually, I took this picture later in the evening. Turns out the bug kit must have special exterminating powers.
Now if you are wondering why I was the one doing all the heavy lifting in this scenario, it is because my daughter was doing pee-pees on the potty. I try to facilitate these efforts whenever possible. So, yesterday morning I caught my first silverfish and it was just as gross as I would have ever imagined it to be.

But that is not the only really gross thing that inspired this post. Oh yes...."But wait, there's more."

It is actually the following recipe that I found in a magazine yesterday evening that inspired me to ponder things that are really gross. If I had a pinterest account, I would definitely pin it up there. In fact, I may have to get a pinterest account so I can do just that.

Source: Suburban Parent "magazine"
Yes, that's right. They are suggesting that you can take this little shortcut to make your own "homemade corndogs". Just cut up hot dogs and mix them into your cornbread muffin mix and bake. ?....??....?!....
*dry heaves*
(Did they really think a picture of hot dog muffins would bring this idea home?)


Ugh. Where do I start?

I have been such a bad blogger lately. First I just gave up on the A-Z Challenge. That was a decision. Probably a good one for all involved. (Meaning me, my attention starved daughter, and my attention starved husband.) Then I just gave up on blogging entirely. No more writing, barely reading, and basically, not caring. But now where does that leave me..........

Well, it leaves me returning to the old, non-blogging me, and I don't like that me. She is way too serious and not great at finding the humor in most situations. She ruminates and has a hard time directing her thoughts. She is dancing a lot these days, but "thinking" too much in between. (And, basically every joint in her body is popping when she moves because she is too old to be doing so much dancing.) The old, non-blogging me is starting to annoy me so I'm saying good-bye to her. Now I just need to tap into the balanced blogging me. She is somewhere between the non-blogging me and the X-treme blogging me. I am obviously not channeling the balanced blogging me yet, because the balanced blogging me would not still be typing right now, making herself late for a friend's baby shower.........

......or would she....?


T is for Twirl

There are probably as many different ways to twirl as there are ways to move. Spin on one foot with your arms above your head like a ballerina. Spread your arms out wide and turn on both feet. Find a partner and lock arms. The possibilities are endless. I caution you. Twirling can result in dizziness, falling down, and giggling.

It is hard to be serious when you are in rotation. You can probably forget about disciplining when you are struggling to stay upright. Today, my daughter decided to try to run away once I got her poopy diaper off her. (She's 3 and almost a half....don't ask...) She plays this game a lot, but today was different because I managed to get one hand on her wrist before she got out of reach. She is small, but she is strong. So with her in one hand and wipes in the other, she started running in circles (while giggling hysterically), spinning me like a top while I tried to remain in control of the situation. There was no way I was going to let go because I figured if I held on, I could contain the poop. So around and around I went, hollering "stop" ineffectively. I got dizzier and dizzier, until finally, the giggles just started; and the harder I tried to convince myself and my child that this was not funny, the more the giggles took hold.

You might imagine that this did not end well. It usually doesn't when there are kids and poop and twirling involved. Let's just say, miraculously, nobody got hurt. But this is exactly how I came to think of my "T" post for the challenge.

T is for Twirl.


S is for Shuffling

Think you don't have time to practice your dance skills? Think again. I carved out a whole hour of practice today by combining what is usually one of my least favorite chores with music and dancing. It turns out, mowing the lawn is the perfect vehicle for practicing the shuffle step. You've got the push bar for balancing. You get dibs on the iPod because you are the one mowing the lawn. And no one is going to interrupt you, because again, you are mowing the lawn. It's a win-win for all involved.

Dial it over to LMFAO, pop your ear buds in, and start your mower. Before you know it, you are party rocking your way across the lawn. Now put a little bounce in your step. Let your feet glide across the grass. Grass provides the perfect amount of slippage for practicing the shuffle step in your high-tops. Go ahead and get into it. What do you have to lose? It is socially acceptable to dance out loud with your iPod while you are mowing your lawn. (I don't really know if that's true, but so far no one has come by to ask me to stop.)

If you are unfamiliar with this type of shuffling, here are a couple of guys who seem to be pretty good at teaching the moves. (Well, as long as you don't read the comments on YouTube. Geez. Everyone's a critic.)


Q is for Quickie

Yes, I know that we are on letter 'P' for today, but I kind of got off track anyway. This is just a quick post to say thanks for all the comments and to those who have stopped by from the challenge. I'll be making my way over to your blog soon.

For everyone who is keeping up with the alphabet, hats off to you!

...and now, back to your regularly scheduled program......


M is for Moms who dance the Merengue

I started this blog on the advice of my doctor. She said, "I think you should start a blog to help other moms." I took the "start a blog" part of that advice, and I figured I'd work out the "helping other moms" part eventually. I don't really know what I could write that would help other moms, but I do know that other moms help me all the time. I've read other moms' blogs that helped me to laugh at myself. I've read mom blogs that helped me realize that I am never alone. Sometimes people are freer to be honest with some level of anonymity. And some of the honest feelings and thoughts that moms have are not the feelings and thoughts we are generally encouraged to share.

But sometimes, we find others in our lives that share our secret passions, our hidden dreams, our muted voices. And sometimes those people are the moms standing next to us at Zumba.

I met Ramona last night. She brought in a little girl a year younger than mine to the gym day care. While we were waiting for class to start, I asked about her little girl. We started chatting and then she said: "This is what 'going out' is for me now. I get to shake my stuff and feel like I've still got it." I knew exactly what she meant, and told her it was the same thing for me. Zumba class is not a workout. (I mean, you get a workout.) Zumba is all of us moms on the dance floor with no inhibitions dancing the merengue with passion and zeal. We are not warming up to go out clubbing afterwards. The class is our party for the night, and we let it all hang out.

After class, Ramona and I chatted a bit more. I look forward to dancing with her again in another class. Dancing a mean merengue with other moms on a Friday night. Join the party!