Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Grandparents: Reasons to be Thankful

If you are living under a rock somewhere, or are in some faraway non-American land, like Azerbaijan, you may not know that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I suppose if I was a normal blogger I would feel compelled to make some kind of list of all the things I am thankful for on such an occasion, but let's face it, I am far from normal. The only normal thing about me is that I have 2.5 kids, just like the "average" U.S. family. But soon enough the Baby will turn 2, and I figure that's about the time she'll finally count as a whole person, so even that part of my life will become abnormal. To make a long story even longer, I am not going to make a list of what I am thankful for.

There is one thing that I am extremely thankful for, though. Actually, it's four things. Those four things are the kids' grandparents. They are almost always willing to take at least some of our kids if we get into a pinch, and have regular days each and every week in which they willingly take them for hours at a time. I never said they were sane, just that they were willing. And for this probable insanity, I am grateful!

Sometimes they are even willing to take one or two of the kids for a sleepover. Although, for some reason, sleepovers have become fewer and farther between than they once were. I blame myself. I haven't done the necessary work to make sleepovers happen. I may have mentioned this before, but the Wife and I have stumbled upon the best, most foolproof way to make sleepovers happen: we don't ask!

Yes, the best way to ensure a sleepover at the grandparents' house is to just show up with a bag packed with pajamas and whatever else your child may need to spend the night. Then, when your children walk in to say Hi to grandma and grandpa, just teach them to ask nicely if they can stay. What grandparent in their right mind could say no to such angelic faces? It is physically impossible for them to say no. It works every time!
I would get the kids some pizza sleeping bags for their sleepovers at the grandparents' house, but they have mushrooms on them, so our kids would probably refuse to get in them. Kids are so picky sometimes!
The only problem is, the Wife and I have to remember to implement it, and we need to make sure we have a packed bag waiting in the car at all times... Lately we haven't done those things very well. But, what better time to try again than the night before Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving morning is always a lazy day for grandparents, any way, right? Might as well have one, two, or three kids around to liven things up a little. Now, we just have to figure out which grandparents will be the victims, I mean, lucky winners. Yes, which ones.....?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Opposite of Fun...

This might make me seem like some kind of crazed, homicidal maniac, but I have found it to be very exhilarating, and maybe even a little fun, to kill the mice that live in our house. It's exciting to set the traps. It's thrilling to figure out where to place them for the optimum kill ratio. My pulse pounds when I sneak downstairs twelve times a day to see if I've caught anything. And it's a time for jubilation when I find one of the little buggers smushed within the jagged death-jaws of my plastic reusable traps. All in all, the whole process is surprisingly fun.

You wanna know what isn't fun? In fact, it's not just that it's not fun, it's that it is the complete opposite of fun. The antithesis of fun. It is completely void of all fun. It's abominable, awful, and totally terrible all rolled into one (can you tell who's been reading his thesaurus lately?). This calamity occurs when, instead of finding a nicely smushed, ready-to-be-disposed-of mouse corpse in the jaws of one of the traps, I find a very much alive, kicking and screaming mouse that's only been grabbed by one or two of its legs. It's the worst!

This has now happened twice in the past week. Instead of joyfully strolling out to the garbage can to dispose of a body whose life was sucked out of it without my having to witness it, I am forced to put on my executioner hat and do the dirty deed myself. So far, the best way I've come up with is to put the poor little rodent in a plastic bag and then smash the bag against the driveway several times. That might not be the most humane way to do it, but at least I don't have to look at it while it's happening. Even us crazed, homicidal maniacs have some scruples.
If you see me outside, swinging one of these around wildly, and then smashing it on my driveway, there's no need to be afraid. Unless you are a mouse. Then you should be very, very afraid...Mooooohahahahahaha!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

R.I.P. Gromit 2005-?

For those of you who don't know, we have two dogs, both of whom are annoying in their own way. Toby is annoying because barking is one of his favorite hobbies. He absolutely loves to bark, at anyone or anything that he happens to view as a threat. We can put him outside on his chain for the sole purpose of going potty, but instead of actually doing his business, he spends the entire time scanning the surrounding terrain for any and all dogs, humans, squirrels, or falling leaves that are apt to launch an attack on our home. If he sees any of these possible intruders, he is quick to fire off a preemptive verbal strike, at the top of his little yorkie-poo-sized lungs. In his eyes, he has successfully thwarted each and every planned invasion. In my eyes, all he really is doing is annoying me and everyone else in the neighborhood.

What really gets my goat is when I go outside to get him, and he looks at me with this sheepish look on his face, as if to say "Oh, ha ha, I was too busy thwarting all of the attackers...I haven't actually gone potty yet..." So then I have to stand there in the bitter cold, waiting for him to find a spot worthy enough for him to do his business. Remember, we live in Minnesota. It's always bitterly cold here.

Other than all the barking, though, Toby is really a very friendly dog. Our other dog, Gromit, is annoying in his own way. He may be the grumpiest mammal of any kind to ever walk on God's green earth. He doesn't like anyone, or anything, at any time, or under any circumstance, except for his food bowl, his ratty old tennis ball that he carries everywhere, and the Wife. He adores the Wife. If the Wife is somewhere in the house, Gromit wants to be there too. If Gromit thinks that the Wife is in a certain room, even if she isn't, he will sit outside the door, waiting for her, for hours on end. The funny thing is that the Wife has never really done anything special to Gromit to warrant all of this attention. It's almost like he fell in love with her the moment he walked into our house for the first time, and nothing will ever change his mind. It's weird.

If you, however, don't happen to be the Wife, Gromit would be just fine if you fell off the face of the earth. He is as grumpy as grumpy can be. One of his favorite activities is sitting under the dinner table while we all eat, waiting to attack any toe that has the audacity to wiggle, or any chair leg that happens to move. Don't get me started on how annoying he is when he attacks the vacuum any time we try to tidy up the place. I have come to the conclusion that pretty much the only thing that makes Gromit happy is not being happy.

The kids seem to have picked up on how grumpy Gromit is. Last week, the Girl got a very troubled
look on her face, and asked the Wife, "Mommy, is Toby going to die first, or is Gromit?" Although a very odd question to ask, the Wife composed herself and told the Girl that, although we never know what is going to happen in the future, Gromit is about a year older than Toby, so there's a fairly good chance that he will die first. Upon hearing this news, the Girl's face turned from troubled to ecstatic, and she did a little dance to show the joy that this news brought to her. We thought this was a strange reaction for a 4-year-old to have, but it just proves that it's better to be annoying and friendly than annoying and grumpy. I think maybe I better take note...