Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Real Conversation with Mom: Games We Don't Play

Mom:  "Now, you can't work all this week.  I want to play backgammon or Skip-bo or screw-your-neighbor this week."

Me: [pause] "What was that last one?"

Mom:  "Screw-your-neighbor.  The game with the marbles."

Me:  "I have no idea what you're talking about.  And I'm pretty sure I don't want to know."

Mom:  "Don't be an idiot.  That game with the big marble board and the marbles and the dice!  You get to land on people and send them back.  Screw-your-neighbor!"

Me:  "I think you're talking about Aggravation."

Mom:  "Aggravation?  It's called Aggravation?!"

Me: "Yes."

Mom:  "Well, screw-your-neighbor sounds more fun.  I'm going to call  it that."

Me:  "Not in public, please."

Mom:  "You are so uptight!  Who wouldn't want to play screw-your-neighbor?"

Me:  "Depends on the neighbor, I guess."

Mom:  "I know which one I'd like to [inappropriate material deleted] and his cute little [even more inappropriate material deleted] and ice cream!"

Me: "I can't believe you just said that.  What's wrong with a nice game of gin rummy?"

Mom:  "You get ice cream on the cards.  So do you want to play aggravate-the-screwed-neighbor now?"

Me:  "I'm telling my sister on you."

There is, in fact, a card game called "Screw Your Neighbor."  It's not the game Mom's talking about, but it does exist:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranter-Go-Round.  Mom is vindicated.

Sort of.

Thanks to the eight people who e-mailed me with this information.  I'm worried about all of you.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Non-Emergency Calls to Ireland

Hello, everyone! For those who have asked, I will add some photos from Ireland to the blog when I return to the States. I'vegiven up figuring out how to do it here.

One of the requirements for taking this group of students on this amazing trip is to have a cell phone for emergencies. Logically, I figured I'd just turn on international calling on my current phone, since it's compatible. But there's a problem with that: there are some people who have my cell phone number. Here is a list of the so-called emergency calls I've received over the last two weeks. While I've been in Ireland. Where I only planned to use Skype.

Me: Hello?
Automated Voice: You have received a commercial call; if you would like to refuse further calls of this nature, please press one.

Me: Hello?
My Aunt Trudy: Hi! How was Ireland?
Me: I'm still there.
Aunt Trudy: well, I thought I was calling your mother. How did I get your number in Ireland?
Me: This is my cell phone.
Aunt Trudy: Did you find that pottery place? You know...
Me: You're breaking up [a lie]. I love you, goodbye.

Me: Hello?
Automated Voice: You have received a commercial call; if you would like to refuse further calls of this nature, please press one.

Me: Hello?
Automated Voice: You have received a commercial call; if you would like to refuse further calls of this nature, please press one.

Me: Hello?
Mom: The television does not work! I've worked on it for an hour! What do I do?
Me: Call AT&T.
Mom: What is their number? Why are you in Ireland? You didn't ask me how I felt about this! The Saints lost and I am UPSET!
Me: I can do nothing from here. Who did the saints play?
Mom: You are no help at all.

Me: Hello?
Automated Voice: You have received a commercial call; if you would like to refuse further calls of this nature, please press one.

Me: Hello?
Unknown Voice: I would like to confirm a service call.
Me: Where?
Voice: [my home address]
Me: Why are you calling this number? I am in Ireland.
Voice: Well, I have another number,the one someone called us from.
Me: please use that one.

Me: Hello?
Mom: Why did the AT&T guy call you?
Me: I do not know.
Mom: well, he's coming today.

Me: Hello?
Automated Voice: You have received a commercial call; if you would like to refuse further calls of this nature, please press one.

Me: Hello?
Mom: I wanted to let you know that I did not give that guy your number.
Me: Okay.
Mom: The television is now fixed, and I guess the saints are not your fault.

Me: Hello?
Automated Voice: You have received a commercial call; if you would like to refuse further calls of this nature, please press one.

Me: Hello?
Automated Voice: You have received a commercial call; if you would like to refuse further calls of this nature, please press one.

Me: Hello?
Unknown Voice: would you like to rate your experience with AT&T's customer service?
Me: NO.

At this point, I turned the phone off. "Emergency" now means me having an emergency here in Ireland. If anyone in the States has an emergency, you'd better e-mail me, because you sure as frell cannot be trusted with my cell phone number.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Real Conversation in a Dublin Pub

Dubliner: So, how long are ya staying' then?

Me: Seventeen days.

Dubliner: Lovely. And these students of yours, they're good ones?

Me: Yes, they've been wonderful.

Dubliner: No callin' ya out of bed or anythin?

Me: No, nothing like that.

Dubliner: Then do ya mind if I ask ya a bit of a personal question, then?

Me: Go right ahead.

Dubliner: Do all Americans wear their shirts wrong way out when they travel?

Me: [discovering the tag on my sweater on the outside] Only when we're lacking a pint.

Dubliner: Ah! Let's get the lass a pint then before she starts wearing' the wrong shoes on 'er feet!

Me: I love Ireland.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Real Conversation with Mom via Skype

Me: Do you miss me?

Mom: No.

Me: No?!

Mom: I don't have to clean up after you.

Me: I'm a little hurt.

Mom: Deal with it. And bring me something expensive home.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Walking in Dublin and Buenos Aires

Hello, all! I am safe in Dublin, and none of the students I brought with me are dead or maimed...victory!

My partner, Lee, ran afoul of security before we even left the airport, however. For those of you who have not been to Ireland, signs are generally in Irish with an English translation underneath. Irish is a beautiful language, and its lovely sounds can sometimes be strung together in long, disorienting ribbons that can knock the unwary completely sideways. Poor Lee was so viciously assaulted by the sight of one particular Irish word that he instinctively pulled out his camera and shot it.

Unfortunately, the shy English translation was completely overlooked. It read, "No photography allowed."

Airport security in Dublin is quite thorough, and Lee was forced to delete his photographs right then and there. His explanation, which really only made sense to another scholar--"that's just such an amazing word!"--was, like many scholarly exhortations, dismissed out of hand as the ravings of a madman or an elaborate joke at someone's expense.

You'll be happy to hear that I did not run afoul of security, though I did forget about our coach driver yesterday in my enthusiasm to herd the students to St. Patrick's Cathedral. I just marched them there, leaving Joe, our poor coach driver, waiting for us at the other side of Dublin. We did call the poor man eventually, and he caught up with us, probably the first time he's had to chase down American visitors trying to get them into, rather than out of, a device that would spare them undue exercise.

Ironically, anyone who was with me on a delightful visit to Buenos Aires a few years ago is probably thinking, "What the frak? She hates to walk!" (Okay, only my colleague Dennis is thinking the word "frak" if he's reading this at all, which I doubt.). You see, I was most irritated to be force marched across Buenos Aires, and because I am me, I did not conceal my annoyance. But there is a critical difference between walking in Argentina and walking in Ireland in January: the weather.

I have lived in both very hot climates (Florida, New Orleans) and quite cold ones (Buffalo), and I have developed this philosophy: hot=leisurely stroll, while cold=brisk trot. I believe this strategy is a major reason that I am still alive.

Buenos Aires in January was 150 degrees in the shade, and while I had a lovely, long, 5 mile stroll one afternoon, hiking at breakneck speed for a mile to get to a restaurant was just not on. In Dublin, though, I keep having to slow down for the group, or, in one instance, the coach. When it's cold and wet, a fast walk warms you up even in the freezing rain. Especially when you've lost the umbrella that you bought to replace the umbrella that you lost.

Of course, no one who was with me in Argentina will believe this until Lee gets back to tell them. That's why I'm trying to shelter the poor man from any more brazen Irish words; if he doesn't survive their blandishments, my other colleagues will continue to think of me as a lazy whiner, rather than a meteorologically sound thinker.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Banned from the Whooshy Thing

When I was a little girl, I loved it when my parents would go through the bank drive-through window.  This was before ATMs were common, and my dad would communicate with the bank teller through a speaker, making withdrawals or deposits by placing things in and removing them from a plastic cylinder that made a satisfying whoosh sound as it shot up the the tube and into the bank.

I thought of it as the whooshy thing.

If the teller noticed me in the car (and I made insane faces and hopped around frantically in the backseat to make sure that she did), a lollipop would be included in the cylinder when it whooshed back with Dad's receipt.

It was one of the great disappointments of my childhood, however, that I was never allowed to put the cylinder into the whooshy thing myself or press the button to make it whoosh.  I wanted to do it badly, but there was just no way I could reach from the backseat, and my parents rightfully assumed that letting me out of the car would be dangerous.

There was a kind of nostalgic excitement, then, when I moved to my current town and opened a bank account at a branch that has whooshy things.  At last, I could make them whoosh!  Clearly, this was the pinnacle of adulthood.

It didn't work out quite that way.

You see, after you get your receipt out of the cylinder, you're supposed to close the cylinder, place it back into the slot and drive away.  You are not supposed to either a. press the button again for another whoosh, or b. toss the cylinder in the backseat and drive away.

Extra whooshing was met with increasing levels of irritation each time I visited the bank:

Me:  <extra whoosh>
Teller:  "Did you need something else"?
Me:  "Oh no!  Sorry!"
Teller:  "Have a nice day."

Me:  <extra whoosh>
Teller:  "Did you need something else?"
Me:  "Oops!  I accidentally pressed the button again."
Teller:  "Have a nice day."

Me:  <extra whoosh>
Teller:  "Did you intend to press the button again, Ma'am?"
Me:  "No.  It's just so tempting, you know?"
Teller:  "Please, have a nice day, Ma'am."

Me:  <extra whoosh>
Teller:  "Please don't press the button if there is nothing in the cylinder, Ma'am."
Me:  "I blame my father.  He never let me make the thing whoosh."
Teller:  "Please, have a very nice day, Ma'am."

Driving off with the cylinder, however, is much worse than accidental whooshing.  I don't know how much those cylinders cost, but probably not enough to make up for the irritation of the people who've been behind me in line to use the whooshy thing.  Luckily, those people have always had horns on their cars, and I only made it all the way home with the cylinder once.  After that, I learned that frantic beeping meant to look in my backseat.

Me: <rushing into the bank> "Oh, I'm so sorry!  I accidentally drove off with this!"
Teller:  "That's alright, Ma'am.  Thank you for bringing it back."

Me: <rushing into the bank> "Oh, I'm so sorry!  I accidentally drove off with this!"
Teller:  "Thank you for bringing it back, Ma'am."

Me: <rushing into the bank> "Oh, I'm so sorry!  I accidentally drove off with this!"
Teller:  "Ah, you again, Ma'am.  I tried to flag you down.  Thank you for bringing it back."

 Me: <rushing into the bank> "Oh, I'm so sorry!  I accidentally drove off with this!"
Teller:  "Um, Ma'am?  The bank manager would like me to suggest that you consider using the convenient ATM machine outside.  Do you know which line it is?"
Me:  "I'm not allowed to use the whooshy thing anymore?"
Teller:  "It might be easier for everyone if you used the ATM."
Me: <heartfelt sigh>
Teller:  "You have a really nice day now, Ma'am."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Introducing Jack

In a couple of days, I'm flying to Ireland with a colleague, his wife and nineteen college students.  I love Ireland, and I'm quite looking forward to the trip.  Unfortunately, in order to go on the trip I have to pack.

I am not good at packing.  I'm sure that comes as a complete surprise.

Packing for Ireland so far:
1. Order new guidebooks for Ireland.
2. Buy new adapter/converter kit.
3. Begin laundry.
4. Open all three suitcases on the bed.
5. Decide that the little suitcase is too little, the middle suitcase is too damaged, and the large suitcase is too large.  Think nasty thoughts about that Goldilocks chick.
6. Browse ebags looking at new suitcases.
7. Do more laundry
8. Go to discount store and buy a suitcase that is almost, though not quite, as nice as the one on ebags.
9. Buy bright new luggage tags.
10.  Find bright old luggage tags.
11. Request everyone I know tell me which luggage tags they prefer.
12. Search for receipt for bright new luggage tags.  Fail to find receipt.  Decide to use bright new luggage tags.
13. Do more laundry.
14. Search all of the cabinets for the cool black toiletries case.  Find the beat up old red toiletries case.  Rage at the cats about missing case.  Be ignored by the cats.
15. Begin adding things to toiletries case.  Subtract things from toiletries case.  Add more things. 
16. Fold some laundry.
17. Put clothes in suitcase neatly, tops on one side, bottoms on the other.
18. Take all clothes out and repack, one complete outfit on top of the other.
19. Zip suitcase.
20. Remember underwear.  Do more laundry.  Add underwear to suitcase.
21. Change mind about two outfits; remove them and add three outfits plus sleepwear.
22. Add shoes.  Worry about the weight of the suitcase.
23. Borrow scale from neighbor to weigh suitcase.  Get five different weights.  Hope like hell one of them is right.
24. Add socks to suitcase.  Borrow scale from a different neighbor and weigh suitcase again.  Remove a pair of shoes.
25. Drink a glass of wine to calm down about spending three weeks with only three pairs of shoes.

It pretty much goes on like that until I absolutely have to put the suitcase into the car.  This is why I usually don't pack at all until the morning I leave on a trip.  But when you're spending three weeks with a group of students in a foreign country, you're expected not to have to go borrowing hairbrushes from them.

Which reminds me that I haven't packed a hairbrush.  Frak.  I wonder how much they weigh.

Anyway, this is all pretty normal for me and not even interesting enough for a blog post, and certainly not important enough for me to have to call upon Jack.

Jack, you see, is my husband.  Once in a while, he's my brother, but usually he's my husband.  And he's deeply incompetent.  He never tells me where he's going or what he's doing, and that gets me out of all kinds of trouble.

He's also entirely fictional.  In my head, I call him "Jack the Bodiless" a reference to a character from a wonderful science fiction series, except that instead of being the next step in the evolution of the species and a possible saint, he's my pretend friend who takes the blame when I'm publicly embarrassed.

Yes, I realize that's a technique used by three year olds.  Hush.

If you return to step 2 above, you'll see that one of the first things I did was buy one of those adapter/converter kits that has plug adapters for electrical plug shapes around the world plus a converter so that you don't blow your appliances up.  Now, I actually already have such a kit, having bought it for a trip to Argentina a few years ago.  But, being me, I knew that finding that kit was highly unlikely, and I didn't want to have to go searching for it on the eve of my departure.

A few weeks later, I met with my class, and I remembered that a former colleague had brought an adapter in to show the students what they looked like in plenty of time for them to find their own.  I decided to do the same, so I took my new kit to my office.

I haven't seen it since. 

I'm pretty sure it never even made it to the classroom for the show-and-tell, but if it did, it didn't make it back to my office.  Maybe it was never in my office.  Maybe it's under the front seat of my car, but if so it's staying there because under the front seat of my car is scary, and I'm not prepared to venture there.

Foolishly, I just kept hoping the kit would turn up.  When it inexplicably failed to do so, I got frustrated and started looking for the old one which, to my shock, I actually found!  And it had the plug for Ireland!  And...it was missing the converter part.  Frell.

After chastising the cats quite severely, I headed out in the darkness and the rain to buy a converter because I had to have it now or I wouldn't be able to sleep.  I went to an electronics store and bought one for about three times the price of the one that had gone missing.

At home, I looked it over.  It seemed like overkill somehow.  I couldn't remember using anything like this in Argentina or even during past trips to Ireland.  I turned to the internet for solace, typing in questions about what kind of converter/adapter one needs for the electronics I was planning to use.  Now I must point out that I'm not using hair dryers or straightening irons or flattening irons (for flattening clothes, not people).  It's Ireland in January.  Everything will be damp, if not wet, most of the time, so those are not useful appliances for this trip.  No, I have an ipad, an iphone and a camera.

Some of you are already laughing, aren't you? 

For you non-apple users out there, let me tell you what I found out, again, just as I had the last three times I've traveled overseas:  you don't need power converters for most apple products.  The ac adapters that they come with all accept up to 220 volts of power (the U.S. uses 110 and Europe 220).  All you need is the plug adapter.  Moreover, the camera I had also uses a charger that accepts both voltage levels.  Moremoreover, just as I was cursing to myself about forgetting this fact once again, I find the mini travel surge protector that also comes with a built-in converter.

Now, some people would throw up their hands and just be happy that they can now plug anything into almost anything anywhere and probably not blow anything up.  But not me.  I went out into the dark and the rain and paid money for something I did not need.

This would not stand.

Clearly, I had to take the expensive converter back.  But stores never let you just give something back and take your money or store credit.  They always want to know why.  Do they have any idea how much pressure this puts on the consumer?  I think they do.  They figure there are plenty of people out there who just can't say, "My mother thinks I'm three sizes smaller than I actually am," or "I was drunk when I bought this; can you really see me in this color?"  I think they're hoping that we'll just keep the damn product rather than admit that we've bought something useless or inappropriate.

Hence, Jack.

Jack never listens when I tell him I'm going to the store to pick up a product.  He always goes out at the same time and brings home the same thing.  Sometimes, he gets the size or color wrong, but not usually.  That would invite offers of an exchange.  No, Jack takes it upon himself to buy exactly the same product, so I, poor wife/sister, have to schlep back to the store to return the one that I bought.

Jack never returns things.  He always makes me do it.

Thanks to Jack, I have a credit on my account and a song in my heart.  I'm ready for Ireland.  Except for the laundry and cleaning the gutters and the on-going shoe crisis.  But I guess no imaginary spouse is perfect.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mom Reinterprets Lady Gaga

Mom:  "What is the name of that song?"

Me:  "I think it's called 'Born this Way.'"

Mom:  "Oh, that's Spike's song!"

Me:  [long, frightened pause] "Do you mean Spike from Buffy or Spike our cat?"

Mom:  "Our kitty, of course!"

Me: "Why is this his song?"

Mom:  "Because he can't help it!  His adorableness is just him.  There's nothing he can do about it.  Him is sweet and adorable, and everyone else is just jealous.  He was born this way!"

Me:  "Well..."

Mom:  "Shut up!  He's cuter than any other kitty, and he was born this way!"

Spike:  Born This Way

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Real Conversation with Mom: The Refrigerator

Mom:  "Stop!  Hold it right there!"

Me:  "What?"

Mom: "Now, I know you are not that stupid.  Why are you putting the broccoli on that shelf?"

Me:  "So that I can see it."

Mom:  "It goes in the vegetable crisper, dumbhead."

Me:  "I do not put produce in the rotter."

Mom:  "The what?"

Me:  "The rotter.  Those little shelf things that pull out.  If I put produce in there, I can't see it, so I forget that it's there, and it gets all slimy and rotten."

Mom:  "You pay for the produce, and you forget it's there?!  What do you put in 'the rotter' then?"

Me:  "Batteries and nail polish."

Mom:  "You are not allowed to put groceries away anymore.  Ever.  Got it?"

Me:  "But..."

Mom:  "No!  You throw stuff in the freezer so that when it opens, it all falls on my head!  You won't use the crisper except for the wrong things!  I've bought batteries three weeks in a row!  I thought I was going crazy!  And let's not even talk about the cabinets!"

Me:  "What do I do wrong with the cabinets?"

Mom:  "You know exactly what you do.  You let things melt while you alphabetize the damn spices.  Listen to me.  You. Do. Not. Put. Groceries. Away.  Anymore!"

Me:  "I like the spices in alphabetical order."

Mom:  "I do not care.  The queen has spoken!  And the queen will beat the sh!t out of you if you put the groceries away again!"

Me:  "Mom, you are seventy-six years old.  I think I can take you."

Mom:  "I will ask Deno* to beat you up, and he will do it for me!  And the cats will pee in your bed!  The queen has spoken!"

Me:  "Yes, Mom."

*my department chair; he is not a violent person, but it's probably not worth the risk

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why FedEx Cannot Find My House

I own a house, or, at least, I live in a house and pay the mortgage, though not to the bank where I got the mortgage, but to someone who bought it from someone who bought it from someone who bought the mortgage from the bank.  Nevertheless, since I do all of the maintenance before paying someone to fix the maintenance that I do, it's my house.

Frankly, I never really imagined owning a house.  An apartment was one heck of a responsibility and one that I don't think I really lived up to.  Nevertheless, I love the house, and I bought it for a pretty nice price.

The house, however, has two significant problems.  Now, because it was built in 1940, it has lots of little problems, but I've decided that these are charming idiosyncrasies that I can live with.

(I'm pretty sure that's what my friends think about me, by the way.  I've always been lucky in my friends.  After all, they could decide that I either need to be torn down, remodeled or sold to someone unsuspecting.  Instead, they endure or even embrace my nonsense.)

The first problem is the kudzu.  Somehow, when I bought the house, I missed the fact that the kudzu-infested lot it sits on would be mine as well.  No, I was enchanted by hardwood floors and a roomy basement, and completely missed the giant mounds of kudzu climbing over the invasive bamboo, artistically enhanced by the English ivy, poison ivy, wild thorn bushes and wisteria.  I've been fighting foot-by-foot, injury-by-injury, expletive-by-expletive and have reached a kind of d├ętente for the moment.  But resumption of hostilities is due in March.

The second problem is that house's street address is not actually on the house's street.

Go ahead; read that sentence again.  I'll wait.

Understand?  The house is located on, say, Caprica Street, but the address is 540 Tauron Drive.  (For non-Battlestar Galactica fans and other aliens: no those are not real streets in my city.  If they were, I'd definitely live on one of them, but they're not, so don't worry about it.)  You see, the house is on a corner lot, and the address of the lot is 540 Tauron Drive (again, not really), but the driveway is actually on Caprica Street.  The house also faces Caprica Street and is directly across from another corner lot, one with a house and driveway on Caprica Street, but with a Caprican address.  Those are my beloved neighbors, those lucky smegs, and it must be said that they treat me like any other Caprican, politely ignoring the fact that I'm really a Tauron.  And they always have a Guinness for me in the fridge. 

Meanwhile, if the trees have leafed out and/or the Bamboo-Kudzu Alliance has regained a foothold in my territory, you can't even see the driveway from Tauron Drive.

So in order to get to my house, you need to follow the directions that I give you.  They're good directions, too, with both street names and landmarks, so no matter which species you belong to, you can understand and follow them.  Unfortunately, just because people can do things doesn't mean that they will.

Most people, when I start to give directions to my house, nod politely and ignore me.  And while this is an appropriate way to respond when I start whining about how annoying plastic covered paperclips are, it's not an appropriate response when I'm trying to save you from wandering around and around Lake Sagittarion, searching for an address on Tauron Drive that does not appear to exist.  But, you see, those head-nodders are thinking, "Yes, yes, that's all very well, but I have technology!  I don't need maps and directions, for I have a GPS!"

Poor, poor fools.  You see, GPS is like the Deep Thought computer; some gps devices do bring their owners safely to my house, but others, many others, do not.  Instead, they bring their owners to a wall of trees and invasive species bunkers where they pause, back up, go forward, circle around, and, eventually, curse expressively, especially if they didn't bring the phone number that I insisted they take in case they got lost.  Because they knew they wouldn't.  Because of GPS.  Which basically spat "42" at them and left them stranded, none the wiser.

The strangely fascinating part of this problem is noting which organizations can find my house and which ones can't.  The city can find me; so can the gas company and UPS.  But FedEx, AT&T and the cable company are completely flummoxed.  I don't feel guilty about any of this; I didn't designate the lot Tauron, nor did I build the house like a Caprican.  And I do give directions.  I even explain about the failures of GPS and Deep Thought; it's not my fault that FedEx doesn't hire more Douglas Adams fans.

I do worry about the pizza guys, though.  I keep imagining them weeping on the shores of Lake Sagittarion while the large pepperoni slowly congeals.  Tragic figures, those pizza guys.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cleaning the House

I'm not much of a housekeeper.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that I would rate a D- in housekeeping except when I have a writing deadline looming at which point I go insane and do things like clean out the refrigerator.  Because deadlines are frightening.  They have the word dead in them.

My mother, on the other hand, is a darned good housekeeper, and she doesn't understand why I don't clean things up naturally.  So, mostly for her sake, I'm going to explain what happens when I try to clean the house.

Stage 1: Realizing It's Time to Clean the House

Normal Person (that is, my mom)
a. Remembers it's a day of the week ending in y which means that something is due to be cleaned
b. Identifies dust and understands that the proper reaction to seeing dust is to clean

Me (that is, me)
a. Trip over something.
b. Trip over something else while backing away from first thing tripped over.
c.  Sit down to rub body part and knock something over
d. Realization that the house is now dangerous and must be cleaned

Stage 2:  Planning to Clean the House

Normal Person (still Mom)
a. Go to cabinet and get out cleaning supplies

Me (me)
a. Wonder where cleaning supplies are
b. Look in all the cabinets.  Find furniture polish.
c.  See that there are no uncluttered surfaces to polish.
d. Google "who invented furniture polish?"
e. Put down furniture polish and think about what to pick up first
f. Google "most efficient way to clean a house"
g. Make a sandwich to refuel after exhausting google search

Stage 3: Preparing the House to Be Cleaned

Normal Person (this will always be Mom in this post)
a. Put newspapers and magazines in recycle bin
b. Gather up all of the books and toss onto daughter's bed
c. Yell at daughter to go somewhere else so cleaning may begin

Me (this will always be me in this post)
a. Gather newspapers and magazines into a pile and organize them according to date
b. Read newspapers that have not been read
c. Pick up books, one at a time, and place all read books on a bookshelf organized according to subject matter.  Re-alphabetize individual bookshelves according to authors' last names.
d. While putting books on shelves, grab a book which hasn't been read for a while and start reading.
e. Find three books that are bad, boring or confusing.  Make a list of people who might like those books.  Text some of those people to see if they want the books.
f. Spend an hour on the internet waiting for people to text back.  Also, order more books.

Stage 4:  Cleaning the House

Normal Person:
a. Dust
b. Vacuum
c. Break
d. Clean mirrors
e. Clean toilet and tub
f.  Sweep and mop floors

a. Pile dirty clothes in, well, a pile
b. Discover clean clothes in washbasket and begin putting them away
c. Reorganize clothes in closets by color
d. Break
e. Find vacuum cleaner and unwind cord
f. Go look at notes on most efficient way to clean a house
g. Facebook
h. Find an outlet for the vacuum
i. Suck cat toy up into the vacuum
j. Start to take the vacuum apart
k. Wonder if the part that just broke is important
l. Accidentally tear vacuum bag and cough frantically
m. Break for benedryl and hot tea
n. Look up vacuum cleaner specs on google
o. Buy new vacuum cleaner
p. Post photo of new vacuum cleaner to facebook
q. Look up "who invented the vacuum cleaner" on google; complain in facebook about spending all day cleaning the house
r. Trip over pile of dirty clothes, rebound off of the wall and fall onto the can of furniture polish
s. Give up and read a book.

As you can tell, I put a great deal of thought and energy into cleaning the house.  Too much thought, perhaps.  Somehow cleaning never gets done.  I have the best of intentions, though, which, now that I think about it, is how most D- grades are actually earned.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Eve

My New Year's Eve involved fireworks, a green drink and a cowbell.  The rest is silence.

Except for the cowbell.  Obviously.