Snakes on a Train

Posted on 4/30/2009 10:02:00 AM

Why do I think that the smirk on her face is less about being happy to play on the choo-choo in the mall-sponsored playground and more because she's replaying the plot from Throw Momma From the Train in her head?

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Childhood Heroes

Posted on 4/29/2009 10:00:00 AM
When I was a kid, back in the heyday of television before cable and when local stations actually produced some of their own programming, my mornings before school were dominated by three guys: Wallace, Ladmo and Gerald. The Wallace and Ladmo show was basically a time slot of cartoons interspersed with live action hosts and their comedy buffonery. A little bit Captain Kangaroo, a little bit Romper Room, a little bit vaudeville all rolled into one show which became a local institution for thirty-six years. Multiple generations of kids grew up with them and they currently hold the distinction of being the longest running, locally produced daily children's television show ever. Since networks don't produce their own children's programming any more, it's probably a record that will never be broken.

Title sequence:



Wallace and Ladmo were the background score to my eating breakfast and getting dressed activities every morning before school. A big feature on the show were the rare and elusive Ladmo Bags (which was basically just a paper lunch sack with the words "Ladmo Bag" written on it and stuffed full of Twinkies, candy, coupons and other crap -- it was brilliant in its simplicity). Kids lucky enough to come to a taping of the show got seat numbers and might have their number picked out of a hat to get a Ladmo Bag and sit on the bench on camera. You could send also write your name on a postcard for entrance in the big raffle barrel they'd pick from every day and you might be lucky enough to receive a Ladmo Bag in the mail after having your name announced to the entire viewing area. As a teenager and young adult we used the expression, "I never got a Ladmo Bag" to indicate that we were somehow the recipients of a deprived childhood. *I* never got a Ladmo Bag. *I* never sent my name in on a postcard, but *I* felt deprived just the same.

Wallace and Ladmo were accompanied by a number of other cast members over the years, but the ubiquitous Pat MacMahon was the most memorable. He had dozens of regular characters, Gerald the prissy brat everyone hated, Aunt Maud who read stories that always seemed to be just a little bit off, Boffo the unhumorous clown, Marshall Good, Captain Super... those are just the few I still remember. In addition to Pat (who they only called by the name of the character he was playing at that moment, but if you were a really savvy kid, you knew his real name and what he looked like with no mask or wig), they had local and sometimes national celebrities visit, a few regularly occurring guests like the local animal shelter, representatives from the police and fire departments, and even bank managers who wanted to teach kids to start a savings account. But mostly, they just did their schtick was brought the Funny. Local celebrities, these guys showed up everywhere, the state fair, local parks, holiday parades, running Ladmo Bag giveaways, signing autographs and doing little improvised stage shows. I once saw them perform at some local event and it was the highlight of the year... I did not win a Ladmo Bag there either. *sniff*




The show was silly and low budget and created very much in the tone of a vaudeville stage show with twenty year old jokes, prat falls, old tymey movies, and recurring characters. But we kids loved it. I think the best part about these guys was that they never talked down to the kids watching and therefore you could get caught up in deep philosophical conundrums like this one:



Or pick up on some of their more irreverent humor like this:



Sadly, the show was retired in 1989 and Ladimir Kwiatkowski died a few years later. Bill Thompson (Wallace) is no longer performing, but I recently read he still makes appearances - in a sense at least. He shows up at a restaurant every Thursday and holds court as people come to shake his hand, bring their kids to chat with him, and ask for his autograph. Pat MacMahon always had a side gig on the radio and is still doing that. There's never been anything like it since - and probably never will be again.

As an adult, I can't say I'm a better (or worse) person because of the influence of Wallace and Ladmo. Their overwhelming goal wasn't to teach me critical thinking, spelling, or math skills. There was no finding the clues to figure out the puzzle, no guiding manta of "We're here to help," no final song about how you can be a hero by picking up trash in your neighborhood, just like the garbage collector. They were just there to entertain kids; nothing more, nothing less. They dedicated their whole lives to that. As aspirations go, I'm sure there are more lofty ones, but when I sit down and think back on these three guys who wanted nothing more than to make kids laugh, I can't come up with a better use of time.

I wish my kids could get to grow up with them too.

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Let Me Get All Up in Your Health Care Plan

Posted on 4/27/2009 02:14:00 PM In:
The funniest thing that exists on the webbersphere this week:


Boyfriend With Health Benefits - Watch more Funny Videos

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Grandma was visiting for awhile and while we were out exploring the other day, we found these unusual toys at a Ten Thousand Villages shop and bought a couple for the girls. For some strange reason, they remind me of the movie Being John Malkovich and because of that, while they are absolutely adorable, they also serve the added purpose of REALLY CREEPING ME OUT.


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Unwanted Onions

Posted on 4/26/2009 06:25:00 AM

These onions grow wild in our yard and we've been fighting a losing battle against them for years. This is the reason my front lawn has become a bunny birthing center the past couple of seasons - much to the bunnies' dismay - it's the rodent equivalent of the buffet table at Piccadilly Cafeteria. This year the onions have all but taken over and yesterday I finally purchased a weeding fork and pulled up HUNDREDS of these things only to look around me and realize that it was like trying to sweep all the sand off Venice beach with a broom from my daughter's toy kitchen. If anyone has any tips for getting them out of your lawn, I'd be thrilled to hear them -- because it's gotten to the point where I feel like the untimely end of my existence on this plane will be exactly like The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill, with the exception of it being much more aromatic.

Maybe I should just invite the neighborhood over on the pretense of making a really big salad.

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Gang of Pigeons

Posted on 4/25/2009 06:20:00 AM In:

The only reason for posting this photo is so that I can print the lyrics to the following song and ask you, dear reader, if you know where it came from. Because if you don't, you are dead to me.

"We'd like to perch on Scorsese's head!
Why can't we perch on Scorsese's head?
Goodfeathers perch on Scorsese's head!
Sparrows should perch on Scorsese's head!"

OK, I'll forgive you if you watch these videos and think that they're funny.

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Kite Day

Posted on 4/24/2009 12:20:00 PM
Unbeknownst to me, yesterday was a bit of a tradition at The Dormouse's grade school: Kite Day. I thought maybe this was some little known holiday - Go Fly a Kite Day where the government had officially sanctioned it's celebration as a tongue in cheek wag of the finger to Texas as it tries to secede from the Union... but no, that's in June. This is just a local school tradition, I guess. No one seems to know how it got started. At any rate it was kind of a cute idea and we bought into it when the note from school came home. So we agreed to take her to buy a kite to take to school before The Big Day.

Of course you realize that a natural byproduct of telling The Dormouse anything that requires her to wait more than ten minutes to accomplish it is hearing, "Can we go get my kite now? Can we? Huh? Can we? How about now? Kite? Kite? Canwegetakite? Canwegetakite? Canwegetakite? Canwegetakite? Now? Kite? KITE! OK, I won't say 'kite' anymore, kite kite kite kite kite kite kite." for the entire space of time between when you say you will do it and when you actually do it. We were prepared for this and managed to ignore her for two days until the night before Kite Day.

We actually have a kite at home but this activity required that she bring it to school with her, pre-assembled, so the teachers wouldn't have to put together six hundred kites that day. There was also no helping them to launch the kites. And I can understand that. Really I can. That's just a little too much work for a group of adults who are already outnumbered and know if the building wasn't bolted to the ground, the children might run off with it and start their own society with the Lord of the Flies as the new principal. But the downside to that idea is that a large percentage of the kids - including my daughter - take the bus to school and would need to bring their pre-assembled, ready to fly kites to school on the bus then keep them somewhere in the classroom for much of the morning before they opened the doors and unleashed the children onto the playground to run back and forth as their kites bobbed and dragged and dug more divots into ground than a golfer with a 632 handicap.

Since the kite we already owned requires a masters degree in engineering to put together and someone taller than four feet to transport (this is what happens, ladies, when you let your husband purchase a kite unaided by your veto power), we decided that all things would be easier if we just went to Target and bought a cheap, normal sized, traditional kite. Here's what we didn't count on: not that many stores actually sell kites and they don't stock a whole lot of them. So when The KoH took The Dormouse out on Wednesday night to buy a kite, he had to go to three different places and then wrestle the very last Barbie kite out of another student's parent's hands. (It's a good thing he was bigger than her.) I'm sure the assault and battery charge is pending, but whatever, she had a kite. All was right with the world. She finally got on the bus with her pre-assembled kite and muscled into a seat between thirty other kites-with-little-kid-legs yesterday morning and headed off to school.

I happened to be at the school for a parent meeting yesterday morning and was able to snap this pic with my phone of some of the kids flying their kites. They wisely only let out a couple of grades at a time. Look! There are even one or two kites in the air.


It was cute and the kids had fun and I don't know what they learned but I'm sure it was something. Whatever, it was over. The Dormouse maybe got her kite up in the air once or twice, but listening to her retelling of the events, I'm not even sure that happened before she immediately broke and then lost her kite altogether. She came home without it that night is what I was sure of and I can't say as I was disappointed.

The problem here is the aftercare lady, who is pretty much always a day late and a dollar short. She liked Kite Day so much, she told the kids they could bring their kites back again today, which The Dormouse interpreted as, if I don't bring my kite back again today, the universe will implode and all that will be left of my life is a cold pathetic piece of black matter from which no light will emanate ever again and life will not be worth living anymore because it just doesn't matter if you don't have a kite. Even if I'd wanted to and believed vainly that there might be one or two kites left in the stores, I couldn't get out again to buy another kite last night. So finally, and I realize this is a rookie parenting mistake, I told her that she could bring the kite we had at home.

Fast forward to today when I had totally forgotten about this promise because when she went looking for the kite last night, she couldn't find it anyway. With ten minutes to go before the bus arrived, she managed to find the damn thing and then the kite assembly nightmare started all over again. Not only had the kite not been taken out of it's case since last year, but I had also never assembled it before. So I started trying to put it together with no promises and in a fit of "hurry up, the bus will be coming any minute now" and finally got it all in one piece only to realize that the kite was about four feet in diameter and there was No Way In Hell she was going to get that thing on the bus with her. I finally agreed to drive her to school and tried to put it in the back of the car, but surprise, surprise, it was too big for even the hatchback. I had to break the entire thing back down again in order to get it in. Then we loaded up and drove over to her school to reassemble the kite in the parking lot. The Dormouse picked up the kite that was now twice as big as she was and we waddled up to the door of the school avoiding cars and knocking over stray kiteless children, where the Assistant Principal was standing looking at us with horror-struck eyes because kite-day was over dammit! and she was probably more frightened by the possibility of a school full of students with kites for yet a second day than I was at at the thought having to put that thing together again.

"Look, I know what you're thinking...," I apologized, "but the aftercare woman told her she could bring a kite again today, and I'm working so I couldn't bring it later which is why she in aftercare in the first place and this is the only kite we have left since the other one broke yesterday and...... pleeeeeese let this be the only Kite Day you have this year."

And with a wave of the hand, she ushered me inside and said nothing else.

Kite Day can kiss my ass.

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Last of the Daphne Flowers

Posted on 4/24/2009 06:13:00 AM

I've written about my Daphne plant before. On the continuum of Good Smelling Things, this is right up there between sausage cooking on the grill and Oprah Winfrey.

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Supervision

Posted on 4/23/2009 06:03:00 AM

On a sunny day recently, The KingofHearts decided to take the afternoon to work on his brakes. I love this, not because it's a great photo (it isn't), but because this is the scene whenever there's a project to be had at our house. The KoH starts working and suddenly neighbors arrive from across the street to chat, offer a helping hand, but mostly just to act as unofficial foremen on any work that may be undertaken because things like that just can't happen without their knowledge. This is one of the only redeeming values my neighborhood has to offer and the main reason I'm not all that hip on moving anywhere else in the area. It's a rare thing when you have good neighbors and you should appreciate it when you do. I do.

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Early Morning Jog

Posted on 4/22/2009 06:58:00 AM In:
Just a little canal on the river side of Georgetown. I thought this looked like a really cool place for an early morning jog. But whenever I decide I'm going out for a run, I only get about half a block away before all I can think of is, "Who is chasing me?" So I stop and eat a donut. There could be a flaw in my workout philosophy.

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If She Were a President, She'd Be Baberaham Lincoln

Posted on 4/21/2009 06:56:00 AM

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So Very Tired

Posted on 4/20/2009 06:52:00 AM
I was cleaning up in the kitchen a couple of weeks ago and suddenly heard a sound I hadn't experienced in a very long while. Then I thought to myself, "Hey, I remember that sound! I haven't heard that sound in five years."

It was quiet.

And then my next thought:

"Too quiet."

So I went to investigate:



Somebody couldn't wait for bedtime. I think this will make a nice photo to frame and display at her wedding reception, don't you?

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The Big Chair

Posted on 4/19/2009 07:39:00 AM In:

Outside of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown, stands this giant lime green Adirondack chair. For the ten plus years I've lived in this area, I've never been able to figure out what this has to do with instilling in each student an appreciation of his or her innate intellectual and creative potential; developing the personal sense of discipline, cooperation and hard work necessary to succeed in professional occupations; and to giving students the preparation to make significant contributions to their professions, families, and communities, but there it is, just the same.


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Impromtu Memorial

Posted on 4/18/2009 07:16:00 AM In:

This is a photo from one of my previous trips to New York that I just now found on my hard drive. There are quite a few of these informal monuments to September 11th, 2001 all over the city and this one caught my eye with all the tiles glinting in the sun. I could have stood there all day looking at each individual tile, but there were falafels to be eaten, so we moved on.

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They've Found Something... Small Pieces

Posted on 4/17/2009 07:34:00 AM In:
I'm going to go out on a limb here and expose myself here as a the pop culture-knowing sham that I am and admit that I've never seen The Exorcist. Maybe it's a combination of being too young when the movie first came out, too old when it was re-released, and being just a little bit weirded out by devil/possession movies in general (and maybe that's just because when I was fifteen I saw Poltergeist in a small town movie theater with an exit door that let out into the cemetery.) I think the issue there for me is that even if you're not the kind of person who doesn't buy in to devil/possession stories, it's still clear that there are people who do and that provides a grain of truth to every story of that ilk no matter how fantastic. Me? I generally come down on the skeptic side of most things but I also keep in mind the Hawthorne effect. Maybe sometimes things exist simply because we are there to observe them.

Andy: Do you believe in UFOs?
Morris: No.
Andy: Neither do I. But do you believe there are people out there who believe in UFOs?
Morris: Yes, but I think they're crazy.
Andy: Well, then why can't you believe there are people who believe they are witches?


Whatever the reason, now, i
t's almost become a badge of honor that I've managed not to see The Exorcist by this time in my adult life. What I think is interesting about this is, pop culture being what it is, this movie has become interwoven into the fabric of our society. When you mention it, everyone knows what you're talking about - even if, like me, they haven't seen it. Much like the "redrum" line from The Shining. I've heard so many quotes and seen so many clips here and there that I pretty much know the whole story and have probably seen three quarters or more of the movie, just never in order. But I can still square my shoulders, jut out my chin and say, "I've never seen The Exorcist," and be totally truthful about it. And weirdly, I'm impressed with myself because of that.

I didn't know this until the webbertudes enlightened me a few months ago while I was trying to make sure I got the quote right for this post, but The Exorcist is supposedly based on a real event. William Peter Blatty claimed that it was an article in the 1949 Washington Post about a boy in Maryland that inspired him to write the novel. Whether or not that's true (and the is good evidence to suggest he made it up to sell more books) and however much he fictionalized the events, something frightens and fascinates us about these kinds of movies. Blatty attended Georgetown University at the time and not surprisingly he set the story in Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood but the real story that inspired the book took place a little further away in Maryland.


There were many scenes filmed in and around Georgetown though (if you want you can find them all yourself) and I wanted to take a gander at the famous steps in one of the last scenes a few weeks ago. These are known as The Exorcist Steps but prior to the movie, they were called The Hitchcock Steps - so apparently there's always been a creepy factor to them. I've spent a good deal of time in Georgetown - even played with the Georgetown Symphony for a little while - but I never was able to find those creepy steps until recently. We finally managed to locate them despite the best efforts of Google Maps. (Oh Google Maps, I trusted you. How could you have led me astray so?). Turns out they are a half a block away from a restaurant I used to eat at all the time. *sigh* Finally with the help of my smartphone, I found the correct site and we got there just in time to catch a priest who was tumbling down them (kidding about that last bit). I highly recommend seeing these steps on a rainy day - that big stone wall next to them weeps when it has been raining a lot and totally adds to the ambiance. I was able to get at least a few photos of the spot without random people in the frame... but just barely. Good luck going anywhere in D.C. and taking a picture without a tourist in it.

The steps are decidedly less creepy in light of day.

Or just with a wide open f-stop.

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Some Things 'Bout to Change Around Heah

Posted on 4/16/2009 07:41:00 AM
If you're like me and rarely venture out of your blog aggregator, you won't notice this at all but if you occasionally remember that this here blog thing is part of a larger website and is meant to be read within a visually pleasing design, then you'll notice I've been working on a new template.

I loved my old template, designed by a
really cool person who made some of her hard work available to stupid blog novices like me... for free. (This, is to have the true love of Christ.) I really had no desire to change except for the fact that Blogger has introduced a whole new snazzy template language that wasn't completely compatible with the code of my pink and black flowers. So while that template still worked, it was created several years ago and a lot of the new capabilities I've tried to implement over the past year or so weren't supported by the old language. Not that that mattered, I guess, since I can't even remember now what it was I was trying to implement so I'm thinking it wasn't all that important. But as to them switching over entirely one day, the handwriting seems to be on the wall.

I realize that there are still a lot of problems with this template - for some reason, pictures are no longer included in posts for email subscribers (which doesn't make sense to me at all since it's still the same feed burner) and I'm still trying to work out much of the new code to be less of a strain on the eyes (seriously, why do the text on the side bar and in the comments HAVE to be the same color?). It would be nice if there were some type of tutorial to explain what means what in their html code because then my hunt and peck, trial and error method of making changes could be streamlined somewhat. It's times like these that having a little bit of knowledge backfires on you because you might know something about html code, but you don't know enough. So what that does is make you stubbornly refuse to pay someone else to create a design for you since you can "do it yourself for free." But then it will take you so much time that you might as well have paid someone to do it and it would be over and done with in a fraction of the time it will take you and even if it wasn't, at least if you had an issue with the final product, it would be someone else's problem. Instead you will fiddle and futz with it until you die just to change that text over there from dark gray to a slightly lighter shade of gray. Or is that just me? Anyway, I've adopted a zen approach and am trying to just fix one thing at a time as it bothers me in order of importance for what bothers me the most. Today, I'm just happy it doesn't still say "Blog-Title-Here" where the header should be.

That is all to say I hope you like the new look around here. While I know there are some problems I'm trying to work out, ultimately, it seems to be much more in character with how I view my life and household. My apologies if something is not working for you here. I'd like to say I'll lose some sleep over it, but since I couldn't really sleep much less and still be a functioning human, that seems unlikely.

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Te Adoro, Antone

Posted on 4/16/2009 06:57:00 AM In:
Just some random street corner near Park Avenue, I think. I've been obsessed with fire escapes for as long as I can remember. Partly because I grew up in Western sprawl suburbia and had never even seen one outside of tv and movies until I was an adult, and partly because I saw West Side Story at an early age and I always thought it would be a neat trick to stand on a balcony and sing at the top of my lungs, disturbing everyone in the neighborhood but my parents inside, who hadn't heard a thing.


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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Posted on 4/15/2009 06:45:00 AM In:

Surfing around on the slow lane of the information superhighway recently, I learned that the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe's culture changing novel,
Uncle Tom's Cabin, not only still stands, but is a short drive from the District in Maryland. Interestingly, I did not know that what inspired Stowe to write the book, was, in fact, another book: Josiah Henson's autobiography. The land has been saved from gentrification and the plan is to turn it into a museum by 2012. It's not currently open to the public, but I found directions from my new favorite website and we traipsed off to check it out. I wasn't able to find a lot of history about the site, but what I did you can read here. If you can't wait until 2012 (which I realize, is only three years away, but for some reason because it's over the decade mark, seems like science fiction to me at this point), here are some pictures:

The main house.


The cabin, which later served as a kitchen in the early 20th century, attached to the main house.


Detail of the construction.


Front door of the cabin.


Bell at the front door of the manor house.


Bell at the back door of the manor house.

Looking up from the side.

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Godzilla vs. Flowers

Posted on 4/14/2009 07:32:00 AM
It was a nice day yesterday, so I took my macro lens outside to try and get a shot of these delicate little-flowers-I don't-know-the-name-of that grow completely unaided by anything I've tried to do in my garden. We were having a lovely time...


And then Godzilla came lumbering by...


And destroyed the village.


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Yogurt Trumps Momma Any Day

Posted on 4/13/2009 09:00:00 AM


If I didn't have such a fine, healthy sense of self esteem (*cough, cough, sputter*), I could really let this bother me.

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Feeding the Obsession

Posted on 4/13/2009 07:06:00 AM In:

The subways in New York are much more interesting than in D.C. and many stations have really really cool mosaics and art deco touches. These were in the station near the hotel we stayed in near Times Square and there were more on the other side of the track. It was all I could do to keep from hopping over the third rail to go to the other side and take pictures of the rest.


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This Blog Has Been Much Too Sentimental Lately...

Posted on 4/12/2009 04:34:00 PM
Happy Easter!


via

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Fun with Easter Decorations

Posted on 4/12/2009 08:54:00 AM
You might have better things to do with your Easter Sunday but clearly we do not.








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Beautifully Imperfect

Posted on 4/12/2009 07:46:00 AM In:
One thing that no one has ever accused me of being (except with sarcasm) is an incurable romantic. I know that's something that's bothered my husband over the years, but... you know, he married me, not Cinderella. Here's my issue with Cinderella: while it's a nice story, it ends too soon. Sure, she married the Prince, they had a fairytale wedding, beautiful dress, $1000 wedding cake, but no one ever tells you what happened after the wedding when she and the Prince headed home to the kingdom and she found out that the Prince had decorated his castle entirely with free sports memorabilia from ball games, bean bag furniture and empty beer cans stapled to the walls. How did you handle that, Cindy? Because if that had been part of the story, the whole Cinderella thing might have had a tiny bit of relevance in my life.

Here's the thing. I learned a long time ago that there are no perfect relationships. Life doesn't end when the Knight in Shining Armor sweeps you off your feet; it goes on. After Knight shows, you might have a big party, but when the big party is over with and you've swept up all the cake crumbs and crumpled paper cups off the floor of the cultural hall in the church building, the adventure begins. This is life. This is where you endure to the end.

My philosophy of marriage is that in general, it sucks and if you can avoid doing it you should. Sharing your space, your home, your life -- dealing with someone else's foibles, baggage, and weird habits on a day to day basis is not only difficult, it's insane. Why would anyone willingly choose that life if they didn't have to? It's my own personal Ockham's Razor of relationships: all other things being equal, marriage is not really worth the trouble. But then there's this monkey wrench you throw into the mix: you put up with it because you love the person. And you realize that the toenail clippings in the rug, the stolen pillows, the socks on the floor... that's all a part of life. And life, whether you're living it with someone or not, is full of Stuff You Do Not Want to Put Up With... but you will. Because even that stuff? It's beautifully imperfect.

To my beautifully imperfect husband... you won't hear me say it publicly much, so brace yourself: I love you.



Happy Anniversary.

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Blink

Posted on 4/11/2009 08:36:00 AM
Some things, you just take knowing how to do for granted.


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Promising New Growth

Posted on 4/11/2009 07:21:00 AM
The KingofHearts got tired of trimming our hedge row -- and listening to our good natured, but sometimes a little intrusive neighbor complain about how our hedge row was so overgrown that she couldn't see into our windows from her house -- last year so he pulled out these giant Chinese Elms we had surrounding the front yard. He replaced them with one of my favorite plants ever: the Burning Bush and then we stood on one foot and turned a circle counter clockwise while chanting "grow, grow, grow" while we prayed they survived the winter. I love them because in the fall, the outside leaves of the plant turn a vibrant red color, making the bush look like it's on fire. He loves them because they grow a lot slower than the Chinese Elms and that means less pruning... and less complaining.


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In Need of a CPAP Machine

Posted on 4/10/2009 07:56:00 AM
The Dormouse: "Good morning, Grandma."

Grandma: "Good morning. Who came in and slept with me last night?"

DM: "I did."

GM: "But you left. Where did you go?"

DM: "Back to my room."

GM: "Why did you go back to your room?"

DM: "BECAUSE I COULDN'T STAND THE SNORING!!!"

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Marry in Haste, Repent at Leisure

Posted on 4/10/2009 06:24:00 AM In: ,

This marriage meme has been making the rounds on Facebook and the blogoweb recently and I've seen it or versions of it about half a dozen times recently. I think that means I need to celebrate the anniversary we share this month by saying some really snarky things about my marriage... because that's how I express my love. (Which may mean I love Angelina Jolie more than my husband.)

What are your middle names?
For the purposes of this blog, I've tried very hard not to reveal any names - not because I think you, dear reader, will come to my house in the middle of the night and stab us dead or rob us blind, but rather because my family has somewhat unusual names and I want my kids to be able to get a job one day without being fettered by the Google Effect. (Oh, and by the way, the Google Effect works if you were wondering. I know because we just hired a new person at work and I'm wondering if he really wants all of us to have seen that picture of him in a superman shirt with x-ray vision beams coming from his eyes that's on his facebook page... either way, it didn't stop me from printing it out and using it against him on his birthday.) But just this once, I'll give you a little taste of real life in the Wonderland house and tell you the truth: my middle name is FancypantsJohnson and his is OvaltineJones.

How long have you been together?
We've been married twelve years (
seems like twenty) and together just a bit longer than that... so... you know... FOREVER.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
The answer to that question depends on whom you ask. He seems to have known about me for some time before I knew about him. (Although, I believe that his comment about me was something to the effect of "There's just something not right with her.") Once we were both mutually agreeable that we knew each other, it was a couple of weeks.

Who asked whom out?
He asked me out. To eat pizza and go to a movie. He's extremely creative with the dating activities, you see.

How old are each of you?
I am forty-one and he is thirty-six. But given the fact that he grew up in a very small town and every musical fad, fashion trend or pop culture craze took an additional five years to reach him down there in redneckville, there's more like a ten year age difference between us.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
Given that he has one brother I've never met, I'm going to go with mine. But other than that it's pretty much even money.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
I think the thing that has caused the most stress in our lives is also the thing that has brought us the closest: losing a child. That kind of thing tends to either make or break a marriage.

Did you go to the same school?
Unless you count the School of Hard Knocks, the School of Rock, the School of Fish, the School of Thought....

Are you from the same home town?
No. But it is ironic that we both moved 4000 miles away from the homes we grew up in to meet and marry a person who grew up 700 miles away from those homes.

Who is smarter?
The KingofHearts and I are a study in different learning styles. He has the ability to hear once and repeat almost anything that disturbed the cilia inside his cochlea. I, on the other hand, have something close to a photographic memory for anything I've seen. You'd think that these two abilities would make us two halves of the same whole... that with his skill and mine together, at least one of us could always find my keys. You'd be wrong.

Who is the most sensitive?
WHY WOULD YOU EVEN THINK OF ASKING THAT QUESTION?!? HAVE YOU NO FEELINGS? Obviously, it's him.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
One of our favorite things is to go to restaurants we've never been to before. When we find one that's actually good, we dub it our New Favorite Restaurant. We have a New Favorite Restaurant about once a month.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
We've driven an awful lot of miles in the car from one road trip or another. Often we decide to go without having the slightest idea where we're headed. So we've probably logged more miles together exploring the area within a two hundred mile radius of where we live, than any one trip in a straight line.

Who has the craziest exes?
I think that I have the more varied list of unusual exes - there's the guy who only drove white BMWs, the guy who played a bass made from an orange crate on the streets of Austria, the guy who thought Prince was a gift from God for the human race. His are more of the psychopathic variety.

Who has the worst temper?
I get mad and yell. He throws things. I'm not sure either is the most adult way to deal with life's frustrations.

Who does the cooking?
Depends on who's the hungriest. I can't wait until the girls can reach the counter tops because we both can go without food a LOT longer than they can.

Who is the neat-freak?
He is fond of giving this advice to young about-to-get-hitched couples: "Just remember: It's not about the socks on the floor. It's never about the socks on the floor." And he is absolutely right. Very often, it's about the inconsiderate bastard who would rather drop his socks on the floor and leave it to the people he lives with to have to look at, step over and be embarrassed by those socks on the floor for days until they are just so sick of seeing the socks on the floor, they will pick up the socks themselves instead of him taking two seconds out of his daily existence to reach down two feet, pick up the socks and put them in the hamper. Let's just put it this way: I am much less the harpy wife when he puts away his socks.

Who is more stubborn?
This is like asking what is deeper? The Grand Canyon or THE GRAND CANYON.

Who hogs the bed?
I think this can be explained with a story. One night as I was dropping off to sleep and very comfortable on my own side of the bed with my own half of the blankets, I heard a whoosh sound and realized that he had reached over and grabbed the pillow I was lying on out from under my head so fast that my head actually hung there in the air for a few seconds like Wylie E. Coyote before thumping down on the bare mattress. BECAUSE HE DID NOT HAVE ALL THE PILLOWS.

Who wakes up earlier?
I am the early riser. Which is a shame for him because he is the one who has to be at work first.

Where was your first date?
Though this wasn't technically a date, per se, we always point to the July 4th festivities on the mall in Washington, D.C. as our first date. Just me, him, and 120,000 of our closest friends.

Who is more jealous?
I believe that, much to his consternation, my jealousy bone was donated to science years ago.

How long did it take to get serious?
How long did it take him? Or how long did it take me? Because those are two entirely different questions.

Who eats more?
Hamburgers? Him. Cheese? Me.

Who does the laundry?
Depends on who's out of underwear.

Who's better with the computer?
A former boss once explained to a colleague that the difference between a pilot and a fighter pilot was that the pilot knows how to fly the plane but the fighter pilot straps the plane to his ass and makes it do whatever he wants to do. In his simile, I was the fighter pilot. So that makes The KoH the pilot.

Who drives when you are together?
We have this unwritten rule: If we are driving in the car he drives most often, he drives. If we are driving in the car I drive most often, I drive. It works for us.

I find it fascinating to see how other people think about their marriages so feel free to copy and paste these questions for use on your own blog and leave a link in the comments for us all to be enlightened. I would also like everyone to notice how I answered all these questions about my husband without once mentioning his ex-wife.


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Heaven Smiles Down Upon

Posted on 4/09/2009 06:49:00 AM In:

I promised the story of the The Daily Show Security Guards, but I'm not sure in retrospect it is even that interesting. Suffice it to say that I think someone could find work in Auschwitz if born in another place and time. Here goes anyway:

When we walked up to the studio there were a couple of lines and we started asking folks which line was for ticket holders, which was standby, etc. We had still not clarified that when a woman with no identification, only a white shirt and khaki pants, walked up behind a group of us and started yelling. We had no idea who she was, whether she was another ticket holder or just some random person off the street. She did not identify herself; just began yelling at us to follow her around the corner of the building and not to ask any questions until we got there. Someone tried to ask if this was the line for ticket-holders or the VIP section and she did this talk to the hand thing that I've only ever seen on television - never in real life. I finally piped up, "Are you even from The Daily Show? Because I'd hate to think we were being kidnapped for medical testing and just followed you submissively to our deaths." She completely ignored me. Some people have no sense of humor.

In her defense, I get that being an audience wrangler a television show is probably one the suckier jobs in the world. I can imagine there's a fair amount of dealing with belligerent people who don't want to follow the rules, but we were not those belligerent people. We were all nice and well-mannered and not even one fist fight broke out while we were standing there. There were several others in addition to her who came out periodically to make the same no guns, no weapons, no recording devices, no gum (oh yes, you heard me, no gum - what are we in second grade?); you will get kicked out of the show if you break our rules announcements and they managed to do it without being a major jackass to everyone in line. She was just mean.

Later when we had to go through the metal detector, I tried to take my coat off and hand it to Her. We'd been given the lecture at least eight times that we had to take every everything out of our pockets before walking through the metal detector and I knew that my coat had metal buttons on it... making it decidedly metal detector UNfriendly. As luck would have it, Nazi Security Guard was the person pawing through my belongings and when she saw me start to take off my coat she yelled at me, "Do NOT take off your coat! Leave your coat ON and walk through the metal detector."

I'd been through airport security often enough with that coat on, so I tried to help her out: "My coat has metal buttons on it and it's going to set off th..."

She cut me off with a hand again, "I SAID, leave your coat ON and WALK FORWARD."

I shrugged my shoulders and walked through. Surprise, surprise, the metal detector beeped.

She sighed audibly and announced to the room, "Did you take everything out of your pockets like I instructed you? Obviously not. YOU ARE HOLDING UP THE LINE."

By this time I'd had it, "YES. I TOOK EVERYTHING OUT OF MY POCKETS LIKE YOU INSTRUCTED. THERE IS NOTHING IN MY POCKETS. MY COAT HAS METAL BUTTONS AND AS I PREDICTED, IT SET OFF THE METAL DETECTOR - THAT'S WHY I TRIED TO TAKE IT OFF... TO AVOID HOLDING UP THE LINE." I whipped my coat off and threw it on the table, then walked back through, beepless.

Seriously? THAT required all the yelling? Some people just make their jobs harder on themselves.

We had a really wonderful time at The Daily Show taping. Jon Stewart was funny and personable and though he did not offer me the opportunity to run off with him to the South of France for a romantic tryst, I can forgive him for that because I ended up sitting just a few feet from Aasiv Mandvi for about half the show - yummy! But Jon? Here's a tip: people would have a whole lot better experience at your show if you'd fire that bitch.

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The Bop Graveyard

Posted on 4/08/2009 06:29:00 AM
I think every parent I know has some cutesy name for a pacifier: bacci, paci, ninny, fier, binky, nuk, bo-bo, chupete, soother, plug, sucky, chewy, num num...

My favorite is dumbtitty. Now why couldn't I have learned about that before I had kids?

I'd like to pretend I'm different and we never used any of these euphemisms. But as it turns out, if you think you're somehow different, you'll eventually be struck with the sudden realization that you're just as looney as every other parent out there in the history of parenting. Trust me... it may take years, but it will come.

When The Dormouse was pre-verbal she was crying for something one day and we couldn't figure out what it was... finally in a bout of frustration, she reached both hands out toward a place on the chest of drawers where there was a pacifier sitting and yelled, "BOP!" in the most clear, yet pathetic voice you've ever heard. It stuck.

Here's another piece of advice: when your eighteen-month old keeps coming out of the bedroom with a bop in her mouth and you take them away from her because "it's not bop time; bop time is bed time" and then you turn your head for a minute or two and look up and she has yet aNOTHer bop, you might want to look under the crib in stead of just yelling, "WHO is your bop supplier?!?" Because you might find her stash:


I guess this means we need to get rid of the crib before she's old enough to put her weed in there.

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Art: A Driving Force

Posted on 4/07/2009 07:35:00 AM In:

The reason we went to Grand Central Station last week, was to take in the BMW Art Car exhibit where we saw this gigantic canvas, painted entirely by using cars as paint brushes. While I'm not much of a car guy, per se, I'm always up for checking out new art and watching the process of creation. This was more fascinating than most:



Plus I got to get yelled at by a security guard for touching the stantions that surrounded the Warhol car. This, is to have truly lived.

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Right Wright

Posted on 4/06/2009 08:13:00 AM In:
I have a long standing obsession with Frank Lloyd Wright and his work... and not just because I grew up in the shadow of one of his workshops. His designs speak to me and the experience of being inside one of his buildings is like no other. There's not another architect I know of where I can feel his mark on the place just through the physical act of walking through the door. Looking at photographs doesn't do him justice... you have to experience a Frank Lloyd Wright building to know what I'm talking about.

(click on the photos to embiggen - some day I'll get a blog platform that allows for a decent size viewing of a photograph... but not today)

I once heard one of my favorite singers, Tony Bennett, sing in a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed concert hall. Somewhere in the middle of the show, he paused, looked out around him at the hall and said, "Woo! Frank Lloyd Wright... he really got it RIGHT, didn't he?" Sure it was corny... but then to demonstrate the acoustics of the hall, Tony had the entire band turn off all their electronics and he sang a song a capella in that great big hall. You could hear him as clearly in the last seat of the upper balcony as you could if you'd been standing on the stage next to him.

Wright's life was an interesting mix of hubris and tragedy which makes him fascinating and complicated as a person. You never know whether to love him, hate him, feel sorry for him or admire him... and consequently, I do all those. As his career started to take off, Wright began "signing" all of his buildings with these red tiles. He called the color Cherokee Red (although I've seen many shades of this color and they all tend to be called the same thing) and it was arguably his favorite color (not a soda) meant to harmonize the natural colors of both brick and wood. He kind of became a rock star in the architectural world and is the only person I know of who signed his buildings, although, I'm sure that others have followed suit since then.


I have to admit, the Guggenheim Museum is not one of my favorites. I know some people think it's the pinnacle of modern art; personally, I've never really responded to the outside of it like I have other Wright buildings. But I did want to see it just the same so we decided to make a quick stop there on our way to one of the many fine eating establishments we patronized. Unlike D.C. (and one of the reasons I love D.C.), museums in New York are not free. You have to pay a tidy sum to go look at the art and when you do that, you tend to feel you need to stay there all day to make your visit worth the admission price. In D.C., I will go in a museum to look at one painting I've been hankering to see, then turn around and leave. Not so, when you have to pay an arm and a leg to see the same painting. You have to amortize the cost of admission over hundreds of works and that tends to kill the day. We did not have the day - we did not have twenty minutes - and while one day I'd really like to comb every one of the hallways in the Guggenheim, my big investment this time was in seeing the building. So I hung out in the lobby, looking pretentious and trying to take artsy photos while my traveling companions looked at postcards of the artwork in the gift shop. We're nothing if not frugal.


Outside, it looks like all the photos you've seen, it's modern and different, but maybe because it's modern and different it's a little bit unremarkable. Then you walk through the door, he explodes the box once again, and it's that same old hero worship:


I really need to find a better lens for my camera or bring a tripod with me everywhere I go because most of the pictures I took came out too blurry to use for anything but proof that I'd been there. I'm irked by that fact, but I guess it just gives me an excuse to go back to New York sooner.

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Once Burnt, Lesson Learnt

Posted on 4/05/2009 06:31:00 AM
I've been asked by several people what we've learned from The Incident a few weeks back. What nugget of knowledge would I impart to people who wanted to make their homes and belongings a little bit safer? Whenever I get that question, I always reply with "Where do you want me to start?"

There are so many things I have to say on the matter that people start rolling their eyes when I respond. I'm sure you will too, so feel free to skip over what promises to be a very long post if you're into denial that the world is a horrible, mean place and the only philosophy of life you can deal with is: fire bad, tree pretty. For the more persistent among you, you can read the whole thing. Otherwise just skip down and click on the links... they never steer you wrong.

I think that now, after a month of dealing with banks, insurance companies, police and a veritable plethora of other people who seem to have some stake in my financial dealings with the world, I do have a few items that I would do differently if I could go back in time. And because I'm cool like dat, I will now share them with you. I have to say up front though, that none of the things I'm about to write would have kept my house from being burglarized if someone really, really, wanted to get in. Most would just have made it more of a nuisance for the burglars and made my life easier afterward. Most dishonest people are basically opportunists - they aren't going to go to a whole lot of trouble to take your crappy stuff. We're basically working class folks, so it's not like the dudes from The Italian Job are trying to steal my twenty-five inch television that weighs more than seventy-five pounds. My philosophy is if you make it too much trouble, the thieves will move onto someone else because whatever they're going to steal from me is probably only going to buy them a couple of nice meals.

The first thing that I realized I had done that was really smart, was at some point in the past, I had taken all the credit cards out of my wallet and xeroxed them. This helped me remember exactly what cards I needed to cancel and in quick order. Within an hour from getting home that night, I had every credit card that I could remember cancelled before any fraudulent charges were made. The thing that I had not been so smart about was that I hadn't kept that up to date and the list wasn't complete. So, three days later when I remembered a gas card that was stuck back in the back of my wallet that I never used and hadn't copied, I made a frantic dash for the phone and found that my friendly neighborhood burglar had been able to fill up his gas tank at least once. Fortunately, however, the company did not hold me responsible for that charge.

Get a police report number. I cannot count how many times I had to provide this information to someone. I seriously doubt that anyone, anywhere, looked it up to make sure it was genuine, but any time someone acted even remotely annoyed at what I was asking them to do in the wake of a burglary, I whipped out the "I have a police report number, would you like it?" no one even questioned me. I probably could have just made up the number.

We got an alarm system for the house about a year ago and I have been religiously setting it every time I leave the house. The alarm company gave us these key fobs that you could use once outside the house to set the alarm with a single touch of a button and not entering a code. The problem that morning was not that I forgot to set the alarm, but that I apparently didn't push the button hard enough or long enough or whatever. The alarm never got armed that morning. When I am outside the house with the door closed, as you need to be, I cannot hear the beeping confirmation inside the house that the alarm is set. We think the same culprit has attempted to break on to several neighbos' homes and because I've heard their experiences, I'm confident that if the alarm has gone off when they kicked in the door like it was supposed to, the burglars would have simply run off. It also occurred to me later that if my purse and keys were ever stolen, the thief would have my drivers license (which had my address on it), a key to my house, AND the key fob to turn off the alarm without entering a code. We've since put those key fobs away in the safe and only set the alarm using the code on the keypad.

I changed every password on every online account I ever had. Ones that I used to make purchases and/or had financial information first, but also any others I could think of. It would have been much easier to do this had I kept a list of them... but I tend to only use ones that I use regularly, so it was pretty easy to get through them all.

Since some financial information was on one of the computers that was taken, I went to the three major credit reporting agencies and put a fraud alert on our social security numbers to avoid identity theft. Now if anyone tries to open a new account or get a loan using our social security numbers, we will get a phone call to verify. I highly doubt that whoever has my computer is savvy enough to find that information on it, but better safe than sorry. This also forced me for the first time in years to look at my credit score... not as bad as I would have thought.

We replaced all the locks on all the doors in the house. Probably not because we had to. We don't think any keys were stolen and the lock on the basement door that was kicked in was usable. But we'd had that same key for years and weren't completely sure we still even had all the original keys. So we went to Lowes and spent about $60 on new knobs and deadbolts for each door in the house. The insurance agent actually questioned this and asked why we were asking for reimbursement for locks on four doors when only one was damaged."You could have just had a locksmith come out, after all." I explained, "Look, if you don't want to pay for that expense I get it, but even if we were sure that no keys were stolen, it was still cheaper to replace the locks on four doors ourselves than have a locksmith come out to re-key the one door that was damaged." She couldn't argue with that logic.

I did not know this before, but here's a bit of inside information: If you report a computer stolen to the police, they will not even ATTEMPT to look for it if you don't have the serial number and/or service tag number from the back of the machine. You also need that information for the insurance claim. At work, since I have to keep track of ten+ computers, I've gotten into the habit of making a small book sized box with the name of the computer on the outside. Then I put every manual and piece of paper that came with the computer in there for a time in the future when I might need it. I also put all the discs for the software installed on that machine in the box. They all sit on a bookshelf in my office. That way if I ever need to re-install the software, find a registration number, see the original paperwork etc., all I have to do is open up that box. The KoH follows the leave it on the kitchen table until the wife gets sick of looking at it and either throws it away or puts it in the shop, never to be seen again method of document storage. So while I found my serial number in about two seconds, The KingofHearts did not. It was only through an expense of many hours of phone calls, driving many miles and the happenstance that he'd taken his computer in for repair and they wrote down this number that we were able to retrieve it. I have since brought my anal retentiveness from the office to the home and when we got the new computers, I had the bright idea to stick them on the copy machine and simply xerox the service tag and serial number information on the back - that way I can never blame poor handwriting on my inability to get it correct. So now we have a box for each new computer and that xerox copy is in the box.

Another thing I didn't think about until I called the company to see if they could provide me with the serial number on The KoH's computer (they couldn't) was if you report your computer stolen to the company you purchased it from, Dell, or HP, for example, they will flag it as stolen. That way anyone trying to get service on the machine will be denied and they will report it to the police. Not that I think I'm gettin' my machines back, but I certainly don't want to make it any easier for the jerk that has my stolen machine to get even more from the deal by having someone help him/her use it.

We purchased a decent sized home safe for our valuables - about a $100 expense - and The KoH bolted it to the floor. Now things that aren't valuable enough to put in a safe deposit box, but we really don't want to see walk off, are in that safe. Boxes of checks, a stash of cash, extra keys to the house and car, the one piece of jewelry that was valuable to me and wasn't taken because I was wearing it at the time and all the xerox copies of the credit cards or any other financial information - basically stuff that I need occasionally and don't want to go to the bank to get it every time. Anything else: the deed to the house, car titles, wills, etc., remains in the safe deposit box at the bank... where we have a brand new box number because my key to the old one was in my wallet that was taken.

I have long since been smart enough to keep my pictures and personal data files on an external hard drive. The hard drive wasn't taken due to a combination of luck and laziness on the part of the burglars; it was in a drawer that they didn't open. So when the computer was taken, the only photos that we lost were duplicates of ones that were already on the external hard drive. I should have been smart enough to put the financial data information on that hard drive too. I did learn, however, that it probably would be a good idea to store that external hard drive in the safe from now on.

Insurance claim agents get really defensive if you leave a message with a colleague that ends up sounding like you've said I haven't heard anything from you in a week and I'm calling to find out what's up with my claim, you useless waste of space? Then when they call you back, you will have to stroke their ego a bit if you want some decent service from them in the future. I did not say that; it just ended up sounding like that on the message her office mate took. Choose your words carefully.

For the first couple of weeks after the burglary, we knew we'd be replacing every bank account and credit card we owned. And I knew that the banks and credit card companies would be sending all the replacement cards, checks, important things and whatnot information to our home address. And here's the thing: when someone's been inside your house, they know where you live. I knew that the burglars knew a bunch of shiny new credit cards and checkbooks would be coming in the mail too. So I took a bit of a preventative measure and had all our mail held at the post office on the day after the burglary for about a month until all our replacement checks and credit cards had arrived. The post office will perform this service for a period of up to three months and they were very cool about it when I explained the reason. Technically, you're only supposed to be able to pick up mail every three days if you want them to continue to hold your mail, but the people in our local Post Office were really nice about the whole thing and let me pick up mail pretty much as often as I want.

Obviously, though, holding the mail at the post office was only a temporary solution. I spent a modest sum of money on a locking mailbox for the future and we installed it forty-six to fifty-one inches above the street level, just like the Postal Service recommends. Now, I know that the simple act of putting a lock on a plastic mailbox isn't going to keep someone out of my mail if he/she really wants to get in... but a lock on my door didn't keep someone out of my house if he/she really wanted to get in either... so I'm just considering this an added level of defense. So there's that. That and the fact that the door on our old mailbox often used to just fall open to reveal everything sitting inside as if in invitation, "Hey, here's something that looks good, why don't you take this?" Now it will take more than two seconds and a quick hand to yank something out of the mailbox. Neighbors are likely to see that happening if someone has his arm in my mailbox up to his shoulder. I know there are more secure ways to handle this, like getting a PO Box at the post office. But here's a little secret you may not know about me: I'm lazy. Or maybe I've told you that before. I simply cannot expend the energy of trying to get the entire world to change my address and then go to the post office daily to pick up mail at a PO Box. I know my limits.

My life is pretty much lived on line these days and I had a number of automatic payments that keep me with a roof over my head. This has, by far, been the most frustrating, make you want to bang your head against the wall, part of the whole experience. The police, the insurance, the feeling of violation, the loss of stuff, all pale in comparison to trying to get all my creditors to apply a new account number to a automatic payment I've been making for years. I'm so not joking here. Here's something I learned: when you call to give different account numbers to the automatic payments, the best thing to do is cancel the old automatic payment completely. Then hang up the phone and call back and set up a new one. In Every. Single. One. of the automatic payments I have, I tried to just give the customer service dude the new account number since it was still the same bank, same routing numbers, and still a checking account. Seems logical, right? Every. Single. One. of those payments was screwed up in one way or another and I missed the payment that was due that month. I have spent way too much time trying to deal with this than if I'd just canceled the automatic debit and started a new one.

I that same vein... when your mortgage consultant cheerfully tells you, "Oh no problem, I just need your new account number and we'll re-post the payment," do not believe him. Because he is wrong. You will find out three weeks later, your payment still has not been made and now your account is in default, and only because you yourself notice that the payment hasn't cleared your account, not because anyone from the mortgage company thought to notify you. When you talk to the supervisor of the department she will say, "Oh that person gave you wrong information, we never do that," and when you ask, "When were you going to inform me?" she will say, "We never do that either." And then you will have to write an email to the mortgage company accusing them of trying to get you to default on your loan so they can foreclose on your house and no wonder everyone hates mortgage companies these days. And then they will ignore that email completely. Because they have bigger fish to fry.

You need to tell people to whom you have written checks before your bank account was closed (because your check ledger was taken too and you don't know which check number was which) that they should just not cash anything. Then they will ignore that, hold the check for two more weeks and then present it for payment on your closed account. Then get bitchy because your check bounced.

In that same order of things, you might think that since nine major banks and credit card companies were so accommodating with your sob story and made it relatively easy to arrange for a new payment to be made or to close the account, that it'd be that easy to deal with all your creditors. Never underestimate the power of day care providers to make something more complicated than it has to be.

Ultimately, while the whole thing opened a big can of Pain In Th'Ass, it has not robbed me of my good humor or belief that most people are basically good. When you are struck with just how easy it is to break into a home, the real surprise is that it doesn't happen more often... and that makes me feel good about the human race. Also, after having been through some of the events I have seen in my past, I tend to measure the BAD in my life by a much bigger yard stick than by whether or not I have to change the locks on my house or whether I have to make a bunch of nuisance calls to banks. Stuff is just stuff. The important things and people in my life are safe and sound and I choose to focus on that for the time being. Call me a Cockeyed Optimist.

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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