Tom's Visit

It was a hot Fall day, the last hot day of the year. I was relaxing in bed reading a book with the window wide open, hoping for the canyon breeze. All the children were asleep in their beds and Olaf was out playing World of Warcraft. The was a slight breeze but not the full-fledged gale force winds that come whipping through the canyon some nights, but it was cooling off and becoming pleasant. Occasionally I would hear the leaves blow and crinkle in the wind.

Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle. Is that a pattern in the leaves crinkling? Oh, I must be really tired! No, wait, there it is again. Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle. By now I have completely perked up and realized that outside my window there are footsteps tiptoeing through the leaves!

I sit there, frozen. But, I have to do something! I finally muster enough courage to jump out of bed, run down the hall, and tell Olaf about this. I must have looked a little crazy because he instantly asked me what was wrong.

"There's someone in the backyard!"

He jumps into action.

First he runs downstairs. He takes several minutes to open the safe, load the clips, insert the clips into the guns, and finally safely shut and lock the safe so no one else can gain access. The whole time I'm waiting at the top of the stairs, frozen in place. Afraid to move around because in my haste to tell Olaf about the Prowler I hadn't put any clothes on and was still in my underwear. I was too petrified to go back to my room for some clothes and too afraid to move around in case the Prowler became a Peeping Tom and looked through my open windows.

Then Olaf bounded up the stairs and opened the "Junk" cabinet in the kitchen. It's not really junk but it's not kitchen stuff. We have a whole shelf dedicated to flashlights and knives. That's what happens when you live in a house full of boys. After checking almost every single flashlight he finds one that works reasonably well. We will be buying batteries come morning.

Next he runs down the hall to get some clothes on himself. It was a hot night and he was also lounging in his underwear. Moral of this story: Don't come to our house late at night.

Finally, after an eternity, he is ready to contact the Prowler. First he gives me the phone and tells me to dial 911 if anything goes wrong. In my head I'm thinking "What constitutes Wrong?" Then he heads out into the backyard. As he turns the corner towards our bedroom window I hear his voice wafting through the windows.

"I hope you have health insurance because if I see you you're going to need it!" If I wasn't so scared it would be comical, kind of like a Scooby Doo rerun, only in my backyard.

I hear his footsteps through the leaves. Other than that it is silent. The crickets aren't even singing. And then the neighbors car alarm shatters the night air. And then slowly, one by one, the dogs down the street start barking. The dogs finally quiet down and all is silent again.

Obviously the Peeping Tom is now gone. He thought he would be smart and watch Olaf from behind our neighbor's car, but the alarm was extra sensitive and touching the car set the alarm ringing. Then as he tried to escape he set all the watchdogs a barking. It was quite the eventful night. After finally quieting down I still had a hard time going to sleep.


6am Block Party

For an absolutely hilarious account of a 6am Block Party just two blocks away from me read my friend's blog (click on blog). She captures small-town living at its best.


Awesome Things I Love About Living in a Smallish Town

  1. Seeing someone you know every single time you go to the store, even when dressed in jammies or with messed up hair or on a no-shower day.
  2. A next-door neighbor chasing a 2am would-be car thief (of another neighbor's car).
  3. Kids playing on same soccer/football/baseball team as their neighbors.
  4. Kids being able to walk or ride bikes to almost all their friends houses.
  5. The old man that staffs the crosswalk on E Canyon Road who waves to everyone in town as they drive by.
  6. Your neighbors bringing in your garbage can when you're out of town.
  7. Your kids going to school with your schoolmates friends' kids. And for that matter, your kids having the same teachers as you.
  8. The inability to take an evening walk without seeing and visiting with a minimum of three friends.
  9. Knowing at least a few of the employees at every single store in town.
  10. Mentioning I live next to J. Lee Butler's field and instantly everyone knows where I live.
  11. Kids playing night games in the summer with their friends.
  12. Leaving my windows open and not worrying (not that there is no crime in town, because that would simply be naive to believe that and I have even been the victim of crime in this house.)
  13. Knowing lots of people in the annual City Parade and getting seats by yourself to watch the parade but still seeing nearby lots of friends.
  14. A minimum of three wedding announcements on my fridge in any given month.
  15. The "$1.75 Worms" sign on Canyon Road that's been there longer than I've been in town.
  16. And mostly this awesome car that lives around the corner from me! I just might have to go knock on their door and beg for a ride.


The Haunting of the Hansen Household

Several years ago my job was Dreaded Daycare. No. that's not the Haunting part of this post. I endured Daycare for a week shy of a decade. I know because I started Daycare the week school started. It started with a cute little boy nine months younger than Middle Child. His big sister had been taking care of him through the summer and his Mom was in a panic because she hadn't found anyone and school was starting! So I quit my lucrative part-time job at Penguin Copies to operate a home-based Daycare so I could be home with my little darlings/devils, whatever the day may bring.

At one point I had a young girl coming over at about 6 am. You read that correctly. I am not a morning person, never have been and never will be. I need at least one day a week to sleep in or I get very cranky. This girl was so early that she would go downstairs, flip the TV on to some cartoons (I always made sure it was on the right channel the night before), and quickly fall back asleep until I got her up around 7:30.

One morning I called for her to come up and finish getting ready for school. She came up and told me the TV wouldn't turn off. I sent First Born down to check, surely all you had to do was hit the power button.

He came up and informed me that even though he had turned the TV off it was still sending out sound. I thought for sure he was wrong, so I went to check it out. Sure enough, the sound wouldn't completely turn off.

I laughed and told all the kids the TV was possessed. They thought it was pretty funny too. In retrospect they laughed because I laughed and they hadn't seen Poltergeist, although I haven't either because I'll have nightmares for months on end. I like my sleep too much to consciously give myself nightmares.

Throughout the day I called several sisters and told them a ghost had taken up residence in my TV. They also thought it was amusing.

When Olaf came home I told him the TV downstairs was possessed. "What?" he asked, thoroughly confused. I explained the situation to him and suggested we call a Priest to do an exorcism. I thought that would be kind of fun to watch, I've never seen one.

He went downstairs and checked the TV out. He came back up and told me we didn't need a Priest. "That's an electrical hazard! The TV has some electrical problems, so I unplugged it. We don't need a fire burning the house down, now do we?"

There will be no Haunted Tours of my house anytime soon.


Dog Training

The only thing we can train our basset hounds to do is to run outside when they somehow secure some unauthorized food.

"Please let me out! You'll never know I had it!" Those eyes just beg for more food.

And to whet all your tastebuds. Something Tank didn't get hold of, Middle Child's birthday cake. I frosted it with the NieNie Mudcake recipe as found here at the bottom of the page. Needless to say, it was delicious.

He turned 12! I'm not quite sure where the time has gone but he sure has grown up lately. He can sleep in like a teenager. He can pull attitude like a teenager. He can shirk chores and homework like a teenager. But, thank goodness, he's still sweet like a little boy and loves to give hugs. He's got more love to spread than the rest of us combined. He makes up for our lack.

Happy 12th Birthday Middle Child!!!


Good Friends

One thing that I have enjoyed is getting to know some of Calvin's friends. Mainly girls, he didn't bring them around the house. He was probably afraid Olaf would tease him, and he should be afraid. Olaf is like Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys 2 when the daughter is picked up for a date. Olaf claims he laid off the teasing and he did, but from a teenage boys point of view it was nowhere near enough.

But over the last few months I have gotten to meet a few of Calvin's girl friends. I already knew a lot of his guy friends so it has been a lot of fun to meet the girls. I have been really impressed with all of them. They are all very nice and charming. They have all been friends that I like. They are the kind of kids I wanted to see with my child. It really impressed me that he would choose such good friends. It makes a Mother's heart happy.

The couple of times I've gotten to meet with Calvin's friends have been wonderful. If any of them are reading this, you are welcome to come over any time!


Falling Down the Stairs

I promised to write Calvin's Falling Down the Stairs stories yesterday. But between working extra in order to get off early today for Middle Child's 12th birthday party, cleaning because my parents came today (ok, all I really did was mop and pick up, you can't really call that cleaning), finishing several loads of laundry, and being whisked away for a surprise 16th Anniversary evening of Dinner and a Play, I didn't even have time to check me emails. And since I'm not allowed to blog at work I just couldn't fit it into my schedule. So today I am bringing those stories front and center for everyone's laughing pleasure.

When Calvin was younger he would get in trouble with me. Who knows what the cause was; he was young, he was my first and I felt the need to quash every undesirable bad behavior, we are both oldest children and butt heads, he was a young boy and did things he knew was not right (nothing serious), he liked to annoy his brothers, and he liked to fight me on almost every front. Nevertheless we would butt heads on occasion. Usually we butted heads for a bit and then he saw the light and did what he was supposed to do.

But on occasion he would not see the light and would work himself into a frenzy. A full-fledged psychotic breakdown. Well I guess it wouldn't be a complete breakdown because we never had to commit the poor kid, but he would get pretty worked up. When he got this way he needed a "Time Out" from life. Not a "Sit-In-the-Corner-Time-Out" but a "Go-To-Your-Room-and-Chill-Time-Out." For some reason he felt being sent to his room to relax was the equivalent of being sent to a Siberian Work Prison. As soon as his room was mentioned he instantly became the most repentant person on the face of this earth. He would plead and beg and implore to not go to his room. He would have tears streaming from his crazed eyes from the Angry Confrontation while he informed me that he was no longer upset.

I knew better. I knew he needed a 15 minute break to catch his breath and calm down and he would come back up with that goofy grin on his face and the world would be all sunshine again. He just needed a short break. For some reason he couldn't see that. He thought he would be just fine. He would still be so worked up that within a couple pleadings he would be crying again. And occasionally I would lose my cool and shout "Get to your room now!"

Finally he would surrender and head down to his room. But remember, he is worked up into quite the frenzy. He would head down the stairs. Normal, modern-day, widish, straight, 12, stairs. It would never fail. He would Fall Down the Stairs. Not the way a normal kid would fall down the stairs. He would start by walking sideways, still begging to not have to go, then he would trip and start falling. He would fall head over heels, he would slip and slide, he would contort and twist his way down the stairs. And most likely he would wrap one of his feet up into the railing and try to tell me his leg was broken. He would cry and lament and weep that he was Hurt.

The first few times this happened I would race to his side and pick him up. I would feel sorry for him and let him back up into the Real World. But then I became wise to his antics. I realized it was another ploy to get out of being sent to his room. I soon became numb to his cries. I would completely ignore him except for on occasion for when it went on too long and I had to remind him to "Get to Your Room!"

One time Olaf was home to witness his tirade. As he was lying on the stairs claiming to be hurt Olaf almost fell for the scheme. As Olaf told me, "He might really be hurt!" I sternly told him to not go anywhere near the stairs if he wanted to stay in this house. After he realized it was part of Calvin's game he understood, but I will never forget his first time.

The best part was after Calvin got to his room, Baby would head to the top of the stairs with broom in hand. He would shake the broom and yell down the stairs in Baby Talk. This always broke the tension upstairs and made us laugh. After Calvin did his penance and was in a happy mood again he was allowed back into the Real World and everything was sunshiny once again.


Spitters Anonymous

Calvin used to spit. All the time. Not occasionally, but constantly. In retrospect it's quite humorous. But at the time it drove me crazy. I'd find it on the carpet, on the front porch, in the sink. I'd holler his name and make him come clean it up whenever I found it. If there had been a Spitter's Anonymous Group I would have driven him there myself. But there wasn't. This habit lasted for a long time. It lasted all of kindergarten and some of first grade. I hounded him to stop, but we all know how well that works. Finally he slacked off and only spit occasionally.

I'll never see that kid spit again. Some days, still, that's almost more than I can bear. But somehow I manage to get out of bed, shower, go to work, come home, take care of the other two absolutely wonderful children I have, and all of a sudden I made it through another day. I still miss him terribly. He was such a good kid and I just try to remember all the good times we had together, although I can't forget all the falling down the stairs incidences we had. I'll tell you that story tomorrow. I promise you will laugh.


Mr. Law-Abider: Updated with Pictures

A couple days ago I was at Target. I headed for the checkout lanes and they were all full. That is one of my pet peeves of shopping, checking out if there are long lines. I absolutely hate waiting in long lines, it's one of the reasons I avoid Wal-mart, the lines are always ridiculously long.

But this day there was a pleasant surprise in line waiting for me. The cutest little fat baby was in line in front of me. He was hanging out in those extra big carts created for Mormon parents who need to corral five young kids at the store. He was so darling. He kept smiling at me. He was barefoot. He had beautiful skin. He was so fat! If it was possible I could have just taken him home.

But I couldn't. That is called kidnapping. You can go to jail for that crime. For a very long time. So I did the next best thing, which can probably send me to jail to, if I'd been caught. I took a picture of him! I couldn't resisit.

When I got home I told my boys how I found the cutest fat baby at Target. Then I got my phone out to show them his picture. Baby looks at me a little funny and asks, "You took his picture?"

"Yes, he was so cute!"

"Did you ask his mom?"

"No, she was busy with her other kids."

"Did she notice?"

"No, I just pretended I was playing with my phone and took his picture."

"Is that illegal?"

I'm not sure where Baby gets his facts, but he's a little too smart for me. I was just excited to show them this adorable baby boy. Obviously the adorableness factor was lost on him. But then, I forget, I have boys that just don't appreciate the same things as I do.

PS. I decided against better judgment to post the cutest fat baby picture. I know it's a little fuzzy but I was trying to be discreet in the checkout lane at Target. Let me know if you think he's as cute as I do, cuz I could just squish those chunky thighs of his!
(Why is it baby's have cute chunky thighs and grownups just don't!)


What Do You Do With Your Receipts?

Have you noticed how cash register receipts are getting longer? It's a little mind-boggling. We are using higher tech registers at the store, shouldn't we be using less paper?

When I was in college the first time around I worked at Target, the best store on the planet, as a cashier. I remember most people wrote checks for their items. I remember how to find the Routing Number and Account Number on any check.

We had to hand key all that information into the cash register. (I remember a grocery store in town that still used the grease pencils and the cashiers memorized the weekly ad.) I think I remember (oh the fickle mind!) actually using the old credit card machine with the carbon paper for credit card receipts. But it wasn't long before we were able to "swipe" the card and then the cash register would spit out the receipt the customer signed. People were so leery about this whole change. It was a serious change in the shopping industry and people were very worried about the change. And our slogan during this change was "We're using less paper!"

And now we've come full circle. When some stores, such as Sunflower Markets, are using double sided receipts that are so short I almost lose them, most others are adding coupons and surveys and more coupons onto their receipts. Kmart is one of the worst offenders. Tonight I bought two items. I received a receipt over 12 inches long and two other 8 inch coupons. I don't know if anyone else does, but I find this most annoying. So annoying that I rebel in my nonagressive style. I rip off the actual receipt, stick it in my purse and throw the rest on their floor. If they are going to try and fill up my purse with useless crap, they are going to get it right back. I do the same for fliers left on my car, I throw them to the wind. And I don't even feel bad, paper disintegrates quite easily.


Man Day

A couple months ago Middle Child and I went to Denver to visit Sister Quilter and a Cousin. We had a really good time and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Baby was a little sad about being left behind. But he decided to make the best of the whole situation. He planned a "Man Day" for him and Olaf. I don't think he'll ever mind getting left behind again after the success of this day!

Baby decided they need to take a hike. He made sure he had some water in order to stay properly hydrated.

He made sure they had their trusty compass so they wouldn't get lost and have to eat their friends. (or each other since they had no friends with them)

Baby decided they needed to hike to the large pipe in the background. I'm not sure where he got this idea, but he decided on Man Day that was what needed to be done.

The pipe was quite a ways above level ground.

They had to climb pretty high.

I don't think they even brought ropes.

But as you can see they finally made it to the top. Olaf said if they had fallen it might have been the end.

Baby brought a flashlight so the pipe could be explored. But I don't think he brought markers so he couldn't announce his presence to the world like so many others.

The day was finished by some shooting of guns.

And finally they hit the local burger joint, I'm not sure which one because we have several awesome local places. (anyone who fancies In-n-Out as a good burger joint has obviously never tasted a Glade's SuperCheese or Barry's Fries or a Little Acorn Grilled Cheese.)

PS. I forgot to mention that he didn't shower while I was away. Another part of Man Day.