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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

13 Things I Can Never Fix . . .

1) A deflated balloon stuffed down inside the bathtub drain. Drano won’t budge it, there isn’t enough suction power in any wet/dry vac manufactured, forget the clothes hanger, the favorite piece of wire . . . nothing short of a plumbing miracle will remove that slippery piece of rubber.

2) Broken zippers on the favorite purse or backpack. Never fails, perfect purse for the perfect location, and then the dreaded un-zipping occurs. Or the backpack is loaded, kids in the car, dog at the ready, and three out of four zippers on the beloved backpack unravel.

3) Something too high (out of reach) when I can’t find my oh-so-tall son or my handy-dandy step stool. Why did I put that set of wine glasses, casserole dish, fondue set (filling in the blank) up there? Oh yeah, it’s because I never need them. Except, of course, now I do.
4) Brand-new ball point pens that won’t write. Isn’t there some sort of testing these things go through? Well, there should be.

5) The ‘Service Engine Soon’ light on new cars. It’s really all a twisted ploy by car manufacturers. There’s really nothing wrong with the vehicle, but that neon yellow light goes on and stays on until some certified mechanic rattles around under the hood of my car, mumbling about a lot of parts that do who-knows-what and how much it’s going to cost. Eventually, the lights reset until the next mileage trigger goes off, and I’m back at the dealership again.

6) Wiring a DVD through a VCR through a Satellite Box into a Picture In Picture TV. I knew I should have added an engineering minor to my college degree. I just didn’t know I would need it to turn on my TV.

7) A wobbly ceiling fan. Forget that penny trick on top of one of the blades to balance it. By the time I finally figure out which blade the penny needs to be on . . . well, I need a chiropractor to realign my back and shoulders. And the first time, I vacuum (yes, I do vacuum my ceiling fans. If you could see all the Texas dust that settles there, you’d understand why.) But the first time I vacuum the ceiling fan, I suck that penny right off. Then the wobbling starts all over again. I finally attached a string puppet and told the kids to watch that instead of the mis-wired TV.

8) That electrical surge my cell phone sends through my computer. (okay, ever read Stephen King’s book, The Cell, where everyone who was using a cell phone at a certain moment had their brain scrambled? Think it can’t happen? Put your cell next to your computer and leave it. When you get those unexplained squiggly lines across your computer screen, that’s when the master cell mind is downloading updates into your phone. Maybe scrambled brains isn’t such a stretch after all, Mr. King.

9) My not so newly planted mums. Mums are supposed to be hardy flowers, capable of withstanding the great perils of Texas climate. Mine, however, need to move to another state, because they ‘ain’t’ looking so good here in the Lone Star State. I’ve water, fed, even replanted and still no blooms. Lots of green on the bush, but nary a bud to be found. Do they make flowerless mums? Or is this some special talent I alone possess?

10) The one strand of Christmas lights that fails on Christmas Eve, right before all the pictures are about to be taken. I’ve even tried buying all new strands for the tree one year. Didn’t help. I still lost a strand.

11) No money . . . well, it’s not exactly no money, but more like the actual checking account. I mean, do I care where a missing penny or two goes? Oh wait, I put it on the ceiling fan for balance. And I saw how well that worked out.
12) My kids losing their clothes and it somehow being my fault. All right, it’s not like my kids (teenagers) are stripping in the street, so losing clothes should be tough, right? Apparently not. I am the laundry queen, I’ll admit it. I wash, dry, fold, and leave the clothes for my teen’s own personal escort service back to the appropriate closet, drawer, or middle of the floor. Yet, somehow on that perilous voyage across the house, clothes develop a mind of their own and leave the building. A little Elvis must be in my house, and maybe he’s wearing my kids’ clothes, because no one else can seem to find the treasured T-shirt, favorite-oh-my-God-I’ll-die-if-I-don’t-find-those-jeans, the game-winning soccer socks, or the ridiculously expensive new jacket . . . point made I’m sure.

13) The perfect biscuit. I like to cook . . . yeah, I honestly enjoy it. One of my family’s favorites is homemade biscuits. I’ve been making them for years, and wearing them around my hips for equally that long. After all this time, and thousands of biscuits, it only seems fair that I should produce the perfect biscuit every time. Not so, fellow cooks of the world. One out of ten times, I manage the perfect color, consistency and taste for a pan of biscuits. Oh, don’t think my family complains about the other 9 not so perfect breakfast treats. Far from it. They’re always eager to scarf down my less than stellar attempts. But it’s the principal of it. Somewhere along the line, experience really should be all that’s necessary. Now, if I can just find that line, then perfection will be in my grasp and I truly can fix everything.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cats and Christmas

Does this describe you at Christmas? Squeezed with too much to do?

Or perhaps this one? It seemed like it would be a good idea, but suddenly you're out of room?

Or is Christmas just one lovely surprise after another . . .

I hope the kitties find you enjoying your Christmas spirit.

Stuff to finish before Christmas

All right, so I'm cheating a little bit.

I hope that by posting the things I really need to accomplish I'll make myself accountable. I'll let you know how it works out.

1) Finish shopping . . . it would be helpful if I knew exactly what I was buying for each of those left on my 'to do' list, but the reality is that I'm one of those who sees the perfect gift and buys it. Sometimes, it's perfect for me and not quite so perfect for the recipient. I don't let this bother me too much. They can always give it back . . . right?

2) Cook some goodies. Goodies translate to sweets. And there is the nut in the peanut butter and why I haven't performed this particular task yet. Once I start baking sweets, I feel this overwhelming urge to taste the product of my hard labor. Bottom line: I have to eat them. Since, I finally slimmed my hips back into size 10 jeans, I'm not all that anxious to expand them again. However, I'll eventually give into this temptation and cook some goodies and eat them.

3) Write my annual Christmas letter. Doesn't sound like that'd be hard for a writer, does it? But I have this unwritten rule -- I go with a theme for my Christmas letter every year. Now, it's not like I truly understand themes (ask my critique partners or my oldest child, the English Lit major and they'll tell you). I finish a 100K word book and then ask them what the theme is. That aside, I do like a theme in my letters (maybe because they're shorter and I can hold onto that thought). So, I've been vacillating over the theme. Actually writing this blog is another prime way to procrastinate on my letter. But it's time to 'Git 'er done' as Larry the Cable Guy says, so tonight it's writing my cheerful missive while drinking mass amounts of eggnog. Should make for interesting text!

4) Mail my annual Christmas letter. Last year half of my stack never hit the mailbox. Oh, they were typed, printed on lovely holiday stationary, stuck in envelopes, addressed envelopes I might add, and then perfectly arranged in a pocket in my husband's car. I found them in February. Oops. I really started to send them on anyway, and blame the post office, but I had a conviction of honesty and simply threw them away. So, if you were one of those who normally receives a card from me each year and didn't . . . the post office didn't strike with mean intent. I was simply, tragically unorganized. I did save the letter to my computer . . . if you're feeling terribly left out, let me know. I'll email it to you.

5) Finish my sewing projects. In years past, I've been the craft queen. Not this year, so I started a few sewing projects for my youngest. Now, all I need to do is get them completed. Half sewn garments sorta loss their impact when they're unwrapped.

6) Mail the gifts to out-of-town relatives. This is another biggy for me. Last year, my lovely sister-in-law didn't get hers until May. No, the gift wasn't stuffed in a pocket, but left in my office floor in an unmarked box. Spring cleaning hit and I found the gifts. Oops, again. I'm really going to do better this year.

7) Plan Christmas Eve (private time for just my family) meal, and plan the Christmas day menu. It's always at my house and somehow that puts me in charge of menu-planning. Considering my organizational skills, or lack thereof, it's easy to see how much my family loves me.

So what have I accomplished . . .?

All the decorations are up, inside and out.
I've wrapped every present that I've already purchased.
I've cleaned my house. Okay, so it's as much as anyone can clean with five folks and a dog constantly under foot. So, how about, I've relatively cleaned my house?
I've purchased gifts for at least 6/8ths of the folks on my list.
I ordered early enough that all my Internet gifts have arrived, and yep, they're wrapped.
I purchased special gift boxes for those expensive gifts.
I've even managed a special trip to Dallas for several hard to find things.
I bought replacement light bulbs for my 5 optical trees. Now, I just need to find the detachable plugs. Why weren't those in the box? No, good answer.
Updated all the addresses for my Christmas letter.

All in all, I'm feeling hopeful that I'll accomplish my 'to do' list, and if not . . . there's always next year, right? Maybe I'll just go to Valentine's card and save myself a little grief.
Happy holiday organizing to all of you fellow elves.

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