Friday, March 27, 2009

Where Have All the Skittles Gone??

I warned you I've got writer's block, right?

Bear with me while I whine about festively colored candy.

The Rite Aid by my house is supposed to have Fun Sized Bags of Skittles on sale this week for $0.99.

Not just a single bag (that would totally be a rip off for .99, but, a BAG of fun-sized bags of skittles. For .99. I KNOW. It's a good price.)

BUT, they never seem to actually HAVE the Skittles for sale. Fun size bags of Skittles are my kids FAVORITE FAVORITE FAVORITE candy. (And also mine, barring dark chocolate.)

I was there on SUNDAY MORNING at 9:30, before they even had the sale stickers up (not because I am that insane for Fun Size bags of Skittles, but because I was at Rite Aid getting other things, and I noticed that their ad said they were on sale for .99.)

I wandered over the candy aisle (the store was EMPTY. EMPTY I tell you), and the store clerk was hanging the sale notice over a sad section of candy bin that had ONE (1!!) bag of fun-size packets of Skittles in the bin.

I grabbed the single bag. I asked the clerk, "Do you have more of these?"

He said, "No, actually, we don't."

I said, "you have ONE bag of the candy item that is supposed to be your special this week?"

"Um, yeah," said the clerk. I think he was about 17. And he actually LOOKED 17. (Not like on TV where all the boys who are supposed to be 17 look like they are about 26. This kid, looked like a kid.)

"Do you think you'll be getting some more?" I asked.

"Um...I don't know. And my manager isn't here right now? So...maybe you should try again later in the week."

"You know you didn't have these at Valentine's Day, either? I mean, you were supposed to have them at Valentine's Day, but you didn't ever have them. Ever. Not even on sale, I mean, you didn't have them. Maybe you should tell your manager."

Store clerk boy looks at me like I am a 'very troublesome customer' what with all the harping on the apparent Skittles shortage and pushes his glasses up his face a bit. "There's no rain checks, um, on those, so, I really think you should try later in the week."

"I'll do that, thanks."

Then I walked over to the register, and he followed me, because he was the only person in the store who was working. I think he was terrified I was going to go on and on and on about the Skittles some more, but I figured, he's just a 17-year-old kid, who is clearly not in charge of the merchandise ordering.

I do wonder, though, if this shortage of Skittles is limited to my neighborhood Rite Aid, or if the Skittles company has cut way back on production, or what.

This girl? Would like a rainbow of fruit flavors. In fun size bags.

I wonder if there is some freakish Skittle hording household in the neighborhood of my local Rite Aid, buying up all the candy? What do you think? Are you having trouble finding Skittles, too?


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We'll go flying down the highway with my arms around you singing 'Born To Run'*

Until a few days ago, I never had a car that I loved.

I had a car that I liked, quite a bit, from 1996 to 2002. It was a green Saturn SL2, and we bought it when Husband and I returned from living in Japan. It was cute and it ran well.

Unfortunately it also had a serious radiator problem. We replaced the radiator in that car three times in six years. I don't think that's normal.

Prior to that, I had a car that I a very adversarial relationship with. It was a red 1989 Ford Escort, and it had a manual transmission. At the the time it was purchased, I did not know HOW to drive a stick.

I suppose, all things considered, if I hadn't come to own a car that required me to learn how to drive a stick, I probably never would have learned. And I do maintain, to this day, that the ability to at least operate a manual transmission car is an essential skill.

(I mean, what if you ever get caught in some South American country in the middle of some guerrilla warfare and the only way out is to jump into a car with a manual transmission? Where will you be, then, huh, if you cannot drive a stick? Even farther up a creek without a paddle, that's where.)

Umm...anyway, that car was a 1989 Ford Escort with a pony engine and a manual transmission. (Husband taught me how to drive it when he was still "Boyfriend".) My father and I drove it from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Tuscon, Arizona in the late summer of 1994, when I moved to Arizona to start graduate school.

Husband and I also drove it across the desert, from Tucson to Los Angeles, in order to interview for the jobs we eventually took in Japan. (Do you know, with the glaring exception of Phoenix, there really is VERY LITTLE between Tucson and Los Angeles. It's like, eight hours of hot sand and desert vistas. Kind of pretty, but sort of terrifying to be driving through in a questionable car.)

Also, that car had a black interior. I think that Laura, Elizabeth, Bunny'sMom and anyone else who has ever lived in Arizona will agree with me on this point - owning a car with a black interior while living in the desert? Kind of sucks.

I really cannot fault the car for being what it was. The car did take me from one end of the country (and back again) and the only time it ever broke down on me was when I left the lights on for eight hours when I was on campus at the U of AZ.

(It was 110 degrees that day, it was after 8 PM, and when I returned to my car, it would not start. I had only been in Tucson for ten days, I didn't know ANYONE, I didn't have AAA, I didn't have a cell phone, and I would have been totally screwed if two really nice people, who were walking their dog on campus that evening, hadn't taken me to an AutoZone, assisted me in choosing the right kind of battery for my car, driven me back to campus, and then INSTALLED the battery for me. Where ever you are today, really nice couple in Tucson, Arizona in August of 1994, I appreciate your kindness to this day. I do. And I sincerely appreciate that you were not serial killers. And that advice you gave me about calling AAA and getting a membership the very next day? Yeah, I totally took that to heart. For real. I have the AAA card in my wallet RIGHT NOW, and I have ever since then.)

Where was I???

Oh yes, I never really loved a car.

My most recent car was a small Pontiac, and it was a decent car. I was strong-armed by the salesman into buying a black car, because it was the only car in stock that I could get the x, y or z discounts on. Something like that. I had to 'take delivery from dealer stock', I believe was the phrase. But it was black, and I wanted a red one. Or a green one. But I got a black one because that was my only option.

That car did not have traction control or anti-lock brakes, and it scared the crap out of me several times this last winter. I had had the car since the fall of 2002, and it had definitely seen better days.

Did I mention that I did not love it? And that it scared me very much this past winter what with the sliding around the road and all?

We had come to a point where we were going to either have to put a couple thousand dollars into that car, or get a new car.

And then, I saw it.

The car. MY car. A car that yelled out to me, "YOU MUST OWN ME! I MUST BE YOURS! WE WERE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER!!!!!!"

I felt very foolish, feeling so strongly about a car. And I felt guilty. Because it was not an American car and I felt obligated to buy an American car.

Dutifully, Husband and I test drove several other cars.

But none of them spoke to me. None of them called out to me and begged me to take them home with me. None of them had as many airbags, traction control, a navigation system, or Bluetooth. None of them scored as high on safety tests, nor were they rated among the ten most economical cars to own. Not like the car I wanted. Not like the car that was screaming out to me to come take it home.

And so, giving in to my selfish heart, a week ago Saturday...I got this:

I call her, "Le Grille-Pain Rouge". The Red Toaster.

I don't know if you can tell from the photos, but she is SCREAMING, FIRE ENGINE RED.

And she is mine.

And I love her.


*Pat Green, Feels Just Like It Should

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Maybe she's not a personal trainer and is, in fact, a really wily serial killer?

I think Jillian Michaels is trying to kill me.

I'm on Day 3 of her 30-Day-Shred DVD workout and I am pretty sure every muscle in my body aches.


Technically speaking, I am on day 2, because I've done the workout the last two nights, and I won't do the workout again until this evening, but really, the point is, I HURT.

The workout is only 20 minutes, and yet, afterwards, I feel as if I might die.

Which is, I gather, the way I'm supposed to feel after the workout.

My reasons for this fitness routine are two-fold. Or maybe three-fold. (Thri-fold?) (Multi-fold?) (Origami-like?)

First, Husband and I, in the not too distant future, are extremely lucky in that we are going to go sit on the beach for a few days and drink rum and snorkel and get sand in unfortunate places, and I don't want to look like a whale whilst doing those things.

Second, our d*&n treadmill is STILL BROKEN. Allegedly, it might be fixed on Thursday. It's been over two months of monkeying around regarding the warranty and it's become tiresome.

Third, I recently found out I am going to have to have some surgery in May, and I've been told that it is better, all around, if one is having surgery, to be in decent physical shape before the surgery happens. And right now, owing to the broken treadmill and the bleak, hideous, gray and wretched winter we have just had - I am SO. FAR.OUT.OF.SHAPE that I cannot even see "in shape" on the horizon. Unless the shape is ROUND. Which is not the shape I am going for.

So, I will soldier on with this aching. And with this murderous woman who is trying to kill me.

Although, if I don't look any better in a bathing suit after 30 days of this, I might have to hunt HER down. (Kidding!) (Mostly!)


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

See I'm all About Them Words, Over Numbers, Unencumbered, Numbered Words

I seem to have run out of words.

Normally I have lots of things to say. More things, more words, more topics of conversation, lots of things to write about.

Writing has always been part of who I am, part of WHAT I am.

Yes, I am lawyer, but I write. I write and write and write and I always have.

But for weeks now, months maybe...words fail me.

I would like to tell you an amusing story about how I got stuck in Elevator Number 4 (da*n you, wretched elevator number 4, cursed lift that seems to have some kind of voodoo hoodoo jinx upon it) and how I freaked out while stuck on Elevator Number 4, somewhere between floors 11 and 12, and how I hit the panic emergency button and the vaguely unnerving doorman tried to convince me that I was going to be just fine over the elevator intercom system...

And I'd also like to tell you that being stuck on an elevator for 3 minutes seems A LOT LONGER than 3 minutes, even with a doorman trying to talk you down from a full blown panic attack.

And I'd like to tell you all about how Lana looked at Husband and I last night and told us, with great seriousness, that she "didn't like God very much, because He sends the rain." And how it was very hard not to laugh hysterically at such a thing.

I'd like to be able to tell you about the crippling anxiety I seem to be struggling with right now, but I really don't have courage to go there.

I'd like to be able to put proper words to the idea that I feel a bit like the world's gone completely mad, and I'm not sure what there is to be done about it.

I'd like to express how angry I am about the fact that the folks at AIG, who lost $10,000+ of Husband's retirement money this year, are getting BONUSES. BONUSES. For losing MY HUSBAND'S MONEY. (And yes, I know it was a lot of money for a LOT of people, but in this's PERSONAL.) Who gets a BONUS for losing a GAZILLION dollars? Who? What planet does that happen on??????????

At any rate, I miss writing. I miss my words. I miss story-telling.

I get more satisfaction from writing than from anything else that I can think of, and I'm sad that my writing-bone seems to be busted.

So, for now, I'm going to try to write a little bit every day.

I need to stretch these writing muscles that I think are maybe being atrophied by the aforementioned crippling anxiety.

Forgive me if I don't have a lot to say right now. But I'm nonetheless going to try to be saying a lot of nothing, until I can come up with something.


*Jason Mraz, You and I Both - incidentally, the other day, I heard a version of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain is A'Gonna Fall" sung by Jason Mraz, and now I am completely in love with it and I want to hear it again. But it isn't on YouTube which is just sad because I would like to share it with you all...and I cannot seem to find it on any album for sale, either. Anybody know where it can be obtained? (Legally, of course. I'll pay for it, I just cannot seem to find it!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hello Blackbird, Hello Starling, Winter's Over, Be My Darling*

Yesterday, walking back from the courthouse, I noticed that some buds were pushing up through the flower beds along the courthouse lawn.

Could it be that we are finally done with the snow? PLEASE?

Winter has to be over because Sunday night we had a full-on tornado warning. And, in fact, a tornado did touch down in one of adjacent counties.

My family and I hid out in our basement when the sirens started going off. Some time later we emerged to find the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. Weird.

The over-the-top weather guy for our area decided to pre-empt my children's favorite television show with "extended weather coverage" - so not only were my children TOTALLY FREAKED OUT by having had the tornado sirens drive them to the basement, they were subsequently TOTALLY FREAKED OUT by the fact that their Sunday night ritual of watching America's Funniest Home Videos was NOT HAPPENING.

At which point Gabriel burst into tears and he did not stop crying until FINALLY the weather man shut up and allowed the last 15 minutes of AFV to air.

Seriously, without that 15 minutes of hilarity, I'm not sure Gabriel would have gotten himself under control. He is totally terrified of tornados, and he is a CREATURE OF HABIT, that one. So a combination of a tornado warning coupled with an upset to his expected evening routine was just more than he could take.

I have been feeling really exhausted this past week - like, tired to my bones and blah and unmotivated. I think part of it has been the epic battle that Husband and I have been waging with Spr!nt since February 13. And the less epic but only slightly less frustrating battle we have been fighting with D!ck's Sp*rting G**ds, regarding the alleged extended warranty that we paid a lot of money for to ensure that if our treadmill broke, they would fix it. And yet, the treadmill is broken, has been since January 6th, and it's STILL BROKEN. It's been a monumental disaster in craptacular customer service. Why can't companies just DO the things they SAY they will DO?

And I think it's been the weather - just months of gray and wet and snow and cold and I'm just a mess. I spent half an hour on Saturday sitting beneath my sister's magic light**, and I think I really need one of these lights. For one thing, my office doesn't have a window, so if I have no reason to go the courthouse, I can spend an entire day with no natural light. I haven't thought about it before, but it cannot be good for me.

At this point, I am hopeful that spring is finally sprung. (Although, it is rainy and gloomy here today. Again. Argh.) But the good news is that I have an actual DATE with my HUSBAND this weekend, that involves an overnight babysitter, teppanyaki dinner reservations, and a movie. We haven't had a DATE in months and I am really looking forward to it.


*Josh Ritter, Snow is Gone
** a light that is supposed to simulate natural light

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Pajama Fan

Yesterday evening, we were sitting at our kitchen table, eating a bedtime snack and reading some stories.

I was wearing the Hello Kitty pajamas that Lana (with Husband's assistance) gave me for Christmas.

Lana climbed into my lap when I finished reading our second story of the night, and began tracing the Hello Kitty face on my pajama top with her index finger.

"Me and Mommy both love Hello Kitty," she said, happily.

So I said, "Yep, we both love Hello Kitty."

"What do Daddy and Gabe like?" she asked.

"The Tigers," I said. "Daddy and Gabe love the Tigers and baseball."

"I like baseball!" she protested.

"Yeah, but your not as much of a baseball fan as Daddy and I are," Gabe said. "We are real baseball fans."

Lana seemed to have no response to that for a second and then said, "I know what mommy is a fan of!"

"What?" I asked.

"Mommy is a fan of pajamas! You are a pajama fan, mommy!" She declared.

And I'll tell you what - truer words have not been spoken.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Is this racism or does she just hate lotion?

I am surprised how well Lana is doing, all things considered. Gabe had a very hard time after his tonsils came out, and we ended up back in the doctor's office with a dehydrated kid in a lot of pain.

Lana is uncomfortable when her pain medication starts to wear off, and she's a little sleepy (probably from the pain meds) but she seems to be doing fairly well.

Last night, about 30 minutes before she was due for another dose Tylenol with Codeine, she declared that she was itchy. So itchy, in fact, that she was "dying from the itchy" and that I needed to do something about it 'right now'.

When I told her I could help the itch, but I needed to put lotion on her to do that, she declared that I was a bad mother who did not like having kids.

I asked her what made her think I didn't like having kids, she said, "because you never make us any good food."

This was after I had steamed five dumplings and cut them into tiny pieces so they wouldn't hurt her throat. Because the only thing she wanted to eat on the planet was dumplings, and I wanted to get some protein into her, and I am a sucker like that. (Note, she ate four of the five dumplings and insisted I save the one leftover dumpling for today and not eat it myself. Because evidently I'm also the kind of mom who cannot be trusted when there are leftover dumplings about.) (Okay, she might be on to something there.)

She loves dumplings, she would eat them every day if I would let her, and on a day that I made them for her, I was the kind of mom who never gives good food.


After she had her medicine, she decided she would let me put lotion on her, but only if Husband helped. We were slathering up with Eucerin, and she suddenly declared, "I hate my brown skin!"

I said, "what?" because I didn't want to think I heard her correctly, and she said, "I hate my brown skin" again.

And my heart broke into a thousand pieces and fell out of my body onto the floor where it settled into a pool on the carpet screaming "failed mother!" at me.

Well, at a minimum let's say I felt pretty lousy about it.

"Why do you hate your brown skin?" I asked.

She didn't have an answer.

I'd like to think she was expressing her displeasure with the fact that she needs lotion all the time (and let's face it, regardless of what shade it is, if you take a child from a climate that is consistently warm and humid, and put her in a place where it is cold and blowy and snowy, lotion is going to be a skin-care necessity.)

I don't want to think that she was expressing a sentiment from any other children at her school or elsewhere that her skin tone is undesirable. Because if that is the case, my head might actually explode. We have her at a school with the second highest percentage of Asian students in this part of the state. There are lots of Asian kids in her school. But most of the kids in her school are Caucasian. And I just hate to think that someone has made her feel bad, or lesser or inadequate, because of her skin.

(And truly, Lana's skin is a beautiful color that millions of American teenagers spend millions of dollars exposing their skin to the cancer rays of the indoor tanner in an effort to achieve...shouldn't they be jealous?)

I knoe she will encounter ignorant people in her lifetime. I know it will happen. I know that I cannot shelter her from Ethnicism and Racism and people who make assumptions that she will be good at math. But does it have to happen in Kindergarten?

And maybe I am reading to much into this? Maybe she just hates lotion?

Not sure what to think....


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