Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I don't have a cell phone

Usually, I have to repeat that line, because this news is revolutionary. That's right folks, I don't have a cell phone. I used to have one, until one day I dropped it (after several previous drops) on its end and it smashed into several pieces. I was able to revive it for one last call to my sister on her birthday, but that was The Last Phone Call (ooo! Now doesn't that sound like an intriguing title for a future BYU/Easter film!), and ever since, I have been left wireless-less. So for all of you who are wondering why I haven't called you back, it's because I'm not getting the messages.

By now I'm sure you're wondering, Is this really worthy of a blog post? Well actually, this is not so much to talk about my lack of cell phone, but about how crazy of a concept this apparently is. Whenever someone gives me a number or asks me for mine and I tell them said fact, the reaction is: A-Pure Astonishment, 2-Pity, and D-Rapid backing away. Okay, okay, so maybe my cell phone fiend-friends aren't really ready to drop me like a hot potato (or in my case, like a cell phone) as soon as they discover that not only do I not have an iPhone/Blackberry/Supercool Trendy Expensive Object to access email, internet, and any number of other distractions on me at all times, I don't even have a free-with-2-years'-commitment flip phone with which to text or converse. (It turns out that actually I am commitment-averse, if you want to know the truth.) But they are definitely surprised and wonder just how I can function.

True, there have been some dashed inconvenient moments without a phone, like when I got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to Max's Pediatric GI appt or when I couldn't find my church buddies on the way to our RS Broadcast meat-fest. And I must admit, there's some sense of security to have a working phone when I'm driving with nearly no gas in the tank late at night in a TX rainstorm, with a weak battery to boot. However, it's also a little bit liberating. -Not that I was one to constantly be on the phone anyway, I have few friends that like to actually speak to me in person- they all seem to find that email, FB and voice mail are much more efficient. But it's actually nice to just do things the old fashioned way: talk to the person... later... when I'm at home and not in the company of other people who really don't need to hear my conversations.

Hey, I'm not trying to offend anyone. But have you noticed how much cell phones have permeated life? Has anyone else noticed that people check their phones constantly, mid-conversation? Sometimes they answer a phone call or text while you're chatting, and you get the feeling: "Hey, it doesn't matter who YOU are, this person contacting me is more important and whatever they have to say has GOT to be better than what you're droning on about." It's permeating everywhere- the menu of the restaurant Mark and I tried out last week had "No cell phones please" along the bottom, which seemed superfluous since it was a rather fine eating establishment. However, I saw more than one that evening despite the request. And in church situations, too...and I'm not just referring to Sunday meetings. Have you been visit taught by someone who is texting as you're talking?

I know it's a tricky balance, since many people (like Mark) use it for everything: alarm clock, notebook, phone and address book, etc. Don't get me wrong- They're great devices, and I'm confident that I will have one again before much longer. It's wonderful to have it when getting off a plane and trying to meet up with someone, getting directions in a new neighborhood, and when finding out specific ice cream requests. Or some validation or assistance, right when you're needing it. A cell phone is also great for sending a quick message when it's late at night or when there's no time to talk. However, we all managed to live full and productive lives, pre-cell era. Can't we just put it down for a few minutes- or hours? I really don't need to hear that you're getting email while I'm trying to sleep...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Columbus Day 2009- Exploring Murphy's Law

Some days, it just seems like fate is out to get you. Usually, it's not for anything big. Just to annoy you until you throw your hands up in the air and say something to express your exasperation. For example:

The children had Columbus Day (October 12) off from school to go see Oprah at the state fair and U2 in concert that night. Mark did not have the day off, so our plan was to skip those other crowded, rainy, costly, educational venues, and go visit him for lunch. After lots of last minute running around, we realized that the communication was amiss, and the time for driving there before his Important Meetings had lapsed. We were all bitterly disappointed. As it was a Monday (Laundry Day), I was trying to wash our clothes, but the dryer refused to work. -What's this about time and a half for holidays? Yuk Yuk Yuk.

So we entertained a dryer repairman for lunch instead, although he was much timelier than I'd anticipated and also cheaper, but it unfortunately meant that we were going to be quite late to the outing our friends had invited us on to celebrate Rainy Mondays and Bored Kids. Finally, we were ready to go, and I had all children dressed and smelling appropriately, buckled into their proper spots in the minivan- when the car would not start!! Since we have a jokester toddler who loves to turn on the little tiny lights above our heads without our noticing, I was actually hoping it was a dead battery. However, the neighbors couldn't find their cables. We did find some other helpful neighbors who did have cables, vehicle, and (bonus!) advice for us. So eventually we were on our way... to the Auto Zone. Fortunately, it checked out as just a baby prank and got to go bounce like crazy at one of the local jumpathonaramas. When Katrina bounced out of one, landed on her leg, and partially knocked out her front tooth, I was sure we were headed for the ER, but Fate decided it had dealt me enough hassles for one day.

You better believe we got rotisserie chicken for dinner that night when we stopped at the store for Max's medicine. Making rice and frozen corn was already enough work for me. Yes, I freely admit that I am a wimp when it comes to irritations. Better not throw any real trials my direction.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The things we do for lovies

This past week we had an incident with a missing lovie. Max has these little blanket/bear animal mutations that were given to him shortly after he was born, the likes of which we'd never owned before. I don't really know what to call them, and one of the Givers dubbed it a "lovie," so that's what we call them. One of them has large brown polka dots, which Matthew dubbed the "coconut lovie," and it disappeared a couple months ago on Laundry Day when I was trying to wash it (the nerve!). So although the silky lovie was less preferred, Max has been resigned to just clutching that one as thumb-sucking moments require. He is at an age when he's becoming more and more attached to it, and calls for it when he needs it: "Wuhvie! Wuhvie!"

Unfortunately, another laundry day came in which I needed to launder a lovie. With errands to run and children in and out of the house, sometimes the things that start in the laundry room do not end up in the laundry room. It's my die-hard habit after 6 and 1/2 years of going to laundromats or laundry rooms in apartment dwelling to do all of my laundry on one day, so after washing, drying, folding and sorting 7 loads each Monday, I get to bed on the late side. Max had gone to bed hours before, without a lovie, because no such lovie could be found. He went to sleep okay with some other distractions, but in the middle of the night (approx 3 am), I heard:

"Wuhvie! Wuhvie!" (sob sob sob)

Such a sound is heartbreaking to hear, so I got up and went downstairs to hunt, and to find a sippy cup for consolation in case my hunt was futile. I even wrenched open the back door and crept out into the damp, still, night to see if I could spot anything on the lawn, although the visibility was minimal and bugs maximal so that was short lived. Combing the laundry room for any signs, I finally spotted Coconut Lovie- behind the dryer, wedged between hoses and wires. I climbed up on the dryer to grab it, but ultimately had to get the grill tongs for the long reaching powers. Brushing off the dust, lint, and who knows what else, I was happy to have something for my baby. He was so grateful, my sore knees did not mind one bit.

And Mark snored through the entire event, so if someone ever creeps into the house at night, it will just have to be me and my Grill Tongs defending the family. But don't you worry- I've got lovies as backup.

A Most Unusual Trip to WalMart

Matthew learned how to ride a 2-wheeler a couple months ago. We knew this day was soon in coming, because he'd been riding a 2 and half (of a tiny) wheeler for about a year prior to this. To explain: I backed over his bike-plus-training-wheels the summer of 2008, and one of the training wheels was bent beyond all possibility of repair. So we removed it, and he learned to ride with the slightly warped one that remained.

Why, Cheapskates (ahem), didn't you just buy another set of training wheels? you may be asking. Because this was already the 2nd set of training wheels of that bike we had backed over, since Mark backed over it the year before. Not to mention, the first set put up such a fight that it tore out the rather expensive tire of our minivan. No more $ on training wheels was going to be spent for this thing!

But I digress. You may notice that Matthew was rather big for his bike. We were grateful for this bike, which the former owners of this house handed down to us a few months after moving here, and it has definitely served its purpose. Since the kid gets everything he owns (except socks and underwear) passed down to him, we told him at his birthday last January that we'd buy him a bike this summer after he learned to ride the bike he had without that crazy on-again, off-again training wheel. Matthew fulfilled his end of the bargain, but sometimes it takes his procrastinating parents a little bit longer.

A couple weeks ago, he and I were dragging the recycling & trash out to the curb and noticed a bike in our neighbor's trash pile. We decided to add it to our "treasures" in the garage and see what we could do with it. I talked to Matthew about getting the new bike or fixing up the old one, and he wanted to fix up the old one. Knowing that the day will soon come when that will absolutely not be the response, I decided to throw it in the van and drive to the cheapest bike shop I know to see if it was worth fixing.

I don't typically shop at WalMart much- there's a shiny new one in our area, but that area is constantly congested with construction traffic and frankly, Target's closer, which I'm more familiar with. However, the WalMart has a bike shop in the back and the guys there are extremely nice. I went and parked about 5 feet from the door and we went in to hand off the find and ask what they thought. There's a man who works there who looks just like Santa- long white beard plus mustache, old-fashioned spectacles, tummy that shakes like a bowl full of jelly, etc. The royal blue vest looks odd over his red coat, but whatever. I handed it over to him and he immediately started working away in the workshop- pulling out the weeds, taking off wheels, etc.

Max was about to Lose It so when Santa told me he was going to put in a innertube, I asked the other guys there if we could walk around and come back later. When we returned, the chain was functioning again, the tires were plump and rolling, the brakes tightened, etc. Santa even took it out for Matthew to test drive. Of course, it's a little awkward driving a bigger bike, especially when you start 2 feet away from a brick wall and pointed to connect with said wall, but Matthew was absolutely thrilled. And you know what the bike repair cost us? With tax, $3.07. For all of the labor, no charge. I'll just have to take some milk and cookies by another time.

The other thing that made it a surprising trip will have to wait for another day, but other than Max screaming his head off in the store and throwing fistfuls of crackers at me, it turned out to be a pretty good trip to the store.

Such a big shot on his bike! He's pretty happy about it, riding around in his Spider Man slippers. And he was really pumped when Mark and he went on a ride together Saturday- "Mom, even though it's old, my bike went faster than Dad's!"