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Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's Easter! Time for a Rant!

Happy Easter to all!

For those of you who celebrate in a religious way, Happy Easter!  And for those of you who celebrate in a secular way, Happy Bunny day!  And for those of you who do not celebrate Easter, pastel wrapped chocolate is going to be 50% off at midnight on Sunday, so get on over to Walmart and grab it before Skippy and his friends do.

Easter used to be my favorite holiday.  It was one day, not really a season, so there was little pressure for multiple gatherings.  It's not really a gift giving holiday, so very little shopping.  (We always get something for the kids.)  And hey, ham is super easy to make.

Well that's not the case anymore. Easter has, in my family, become yet again one of those holidays we have to do battle over.  Where's it going to be?  (Not at my house...since we got the cats apparently my home is a death zone to all my relatives.)  Will the kids be there? (Probably not since neither of my kids likes big holiday gatherings and what is it about teens these days where you can't get them to commit to ANYTHING more than five minutes in the future?)  When will we be there?  (My mother, on Easter, always manages to make the commanded arrival time half an hour before we can physically possibly be at her home.  We sing in church for the late service, so we can't even get on the road  a minute before 11:30 and it's half an hour to her house.  But we are supposed to be there at, yes, 11:30.)

All this I could get past if it weren't for the last thing:

What can we bring?

I work three jobs.  My kids both work. Hubby works long hours plus we try to eek out some family time, some volunteer time at our church and oh yeah, it's EASTER so we're at church pretty much every night during Holy Week.

My mother tells me, "Oh, I have everything taken care of. Just bring one thing."

What would that be?

What's the most time consuming...messiest...not-gonna-happen thing she could have a house full of ADULTS ONLY make?

Yep, two dozen colored, hard boiled, Easter eggs.


Just 18 more to go!

When the kids were little this was fun.  We made an afternoon of it.  But the kids are grown, and really not interested in decorating Easter eggs.  Two dozen?  Let's look at what I have to do to make this happen:


1) Get two dozen eggs.  (Acutally get 3 dozen, because I always crack several in the boiling process.)

2) Boil the eggs.

3) Find the color kit I bought on special two years ago.

4) Find the white vinegar.

5) Go to the store and fight the crowds to get white vinegar.(This will take an hour, since I buy white vinegar about once every three years, or when I'm asked to make decorated Easter eggs.)

6) Find newspaper to put on the table. (We don't get newspapers.)

7) Wait, clear the table of cats, cat hair, and assorted stuff that seems to assemble on the kitchen table no matter how hard I try to keep it all off the table.

8) Find six cups I can use to put the color for the eggs in.

9) Beg one or both of my children to help me color and decorate the eggs.

10)  Fight the urge to just dye a bunch of raw eggs.  Imagine the Easter fun when we crack those puppies open!

Now, what, you ask, does my brother, who has small children, get to bring?

"Oh, you're brother will probably get some salad from the deli."

WHAT????????????????

His kids have been in Florida for a week with their mom.  He works one job.  He gets to pick up a salad from the deli?  He always gets to pick up salad from the deli!

Which would explain why I got up at 5:30 on A SATURDAY MORNING...I have 500 things to accomplish today and making Easter eggs is one of them.

I'm going to need way more coffee...



Sunday, March 24, 2013

Forget time zones...it's a different day in my kitchen!

To say Skippy has an off beat schedule is a vast understatement.  The boy is want to be up for stretches of 24-30 hours at a shot and then sleep for just as long.  If he had any interest in medicine, he'd blast through those mega shifts in the first couple years.

But he works almost full time most weeks at a restaurant, and likes it well enough  while he's trying to figure out what he's going to do with his life.  We barely see him and even more rarely speak to him on the phone.  He's sort of a shadowy figure that let's us know where he is by which shoes he leaves in the front hall.

The other thing Hubby and I rarely do is speak to anyone on the phone in the wee hours of the morning.  We did that in the college years, when you stayed up until dawn debating pretty much everything, or, my case, trying to fit into things in the woman's dorm.  (For the record, I could fit into the drier, not the washing machine.)  We talked to our babies in the week hours of the morning when they woke and demanded food, diapers, cuddling. 

Well our babies are 16 and 19 now, and can cook and feed themselves.  And they have significant others to cuddle, so they don't look for it much from us.

Which means that at four in the morning, you can predictable find us asleep, in bed, with our phones quietly charging, waiting to jolt us awake at 5:30.

Not Skippy, not his place of work.
So imagine my shock when I woke to Hubby speaking to someone in the dark.  No, it wasn't the State Farm people who will answer your insurance questions at 3 in the morning.  (Did any of us ask for that service by the way?) 

He said, "We're in bed."

I said, "Who are you talking to?"

He said, "Skippy."


Nothing says 4 AM like a Grand Slam.
Now Skippy will, at times, text us late at night to let us know he's home or to let us know he's staying over at a friend's house, or he's going to Denny's or something. 

The last time he called either of us before dawn, he was on a cold Montana highway and his car was destroyed.  I, of course, went into full on MOM MODE.

"Where is he?"

Hubby says, "He's in the kitchen."

"Our kitchen?"

Hubby waves me off and said into the phone, "It's 4 AM."

He chuckles and turns off the phone.  "Apparently,"  he says, "Skippy woke up and saw that it was almost 4 and knew he had to work at 5."

Skippy never, ever works before 10 AM.  His place of business doesn't open until 10:30.  But he does sleep in a basement room with no windows.  And he was asleep the previous day when I got home from work at 6 as he sometimes is on days he doesn't work or works and earlier shift.

So it stands to reason that his internal clock was a tiny bit off.

"But why did he call you?"

"Because,"  says Hubby, "he got up, got dressed came upstairs and saw all our cars in the driveway, but didn't see any of us.  So he called to find out where we all were and why we were all home at 4."

"So what did you say?"

"I said we were all in bed.  Then he asked why we were in bed at 4, and I told him because it was 4 in the morning."

"So where is he now?"

Hubby curled  back up into a ball.  "He went back to bed.  He's got twelve more hours before he has to go to work."

Oh to have his schedule!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

My Brother summed it up in five words...I have a few more.

Hello all!

Sorry for the long break, but it's been something of a down couple of weeks for me.  I find if I don't feel funny, this blog isn't funny, and that's just not good.  But I'm feeling a little funny right now, so I have to share with you the day Noelle C decided two big things:

1)  She was in love with my brother.

2)  She was going to buy my brother's house.


 As you may guess, Noelle C is a different brand of Whackadoodledoo from Elsie W.  Elsie W was universally acknowledged of whacky in a very obvious way.  And while she did call me a couple of times outside of work, I never felt like she would hunt me down and kill me in my sleep and maybe dance in the moonlight wearing my Rick Springfield t-shirts.

The Steaming Cup, my favorite coffee/sandwich shop.
Which is pretty much exactly what I think Noelle C would do.

So I spend a lot of energy NOT talking about my personal life, relationships, church, or exact address.  In Fact, I've told her I live in DOWNTOWN Waukesha, words that strike fear in the hearts of anyone who doesn't live or down in the charming downtown area of my fair city.  Once upon a time downtown Waukesha was a mess of one way streets, no parking, and funky shops that mostly smelled like weed.

Well they cleaned up the one way streets, found more parking, and Febreezed most of the weed smell out of there and it's lovely. I spend a lot of time and money down there. You should, too.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I got some Auto Show tickets. I couldn't use them because Hubby had to work so I checked in with family members to see who'd like tickets to the Auto Show.  Brother did.  He lives and works close Initech, so he stopped by to pick them up.  He was in the office maybe ten minutes. 

It was enough.

He left and Noelle C started purring.  Really purring.  "Is that your husband or your brother?"

Brother and I have a complex relationship.  I doubt he'd see the humor in this portion of the conversation.  "He's my brother."

More purring.  "Oh, see, he's just my type.  I saw him and I perked right up."

Ew.

Brother is just barely 40.  Noelle C SAYS she's 56, but I have my feelings that she's far older than that.  Especially since just the other day she increased the number of jobs she's held in her life from an unlikely 150 to a really unlikely 300.  That's a lot of jobs, even for someone who has had as varied a work life as she says she has, to cram in in the 45 years she's been working.  (She insists she held her first customer service office job at the age of 11.)

Anyway, ew.

I thought that was the end of it.  Then, suddenly, she says, "I looked at apartments around here and they are very expensive. It's almost cheaper to buy a house."

Her drive to work is about 5 miles shorter than mine, but it's not an easy drive and I've encouraged her for a while to find a place closer.  I'll admit it, it's self serving.  First of all, if she doesn't live in Waukesha, there won't be any chance she'll expect to car pool.  Second, if she doesn't live in Waukesha it'll be less likely I'll find her standing over my bed with a knife in her hand.

But I'm an idiot.  Instead of grunting or smiling at her like I normally do, I said, "My brother is selling his house and it's really close to this office."

The next four hours were a whirl of questions about his house  (It's a cute little place in Milwaukee, he's put a ton of work into it and he'd stay there forever but he has to move to another suburb to be closer to his kids.)  and her squealing every fifteen minutes and shouting, "I'm buying a house!" She especially liked the basement where she say Brother's stationary bike and punching bag.  "He takes good care of himself, that's so attractive."
Double Ew.

 (Meanwhile, if you're looking for a house in Milwaukee, you can't go wrong. Such a cute house...wanna see it?  Click here!)

NBM got involved in this one, mostly because we all feared, since she's never own a home before, that she'd jump in and get herself all into something she couldn't handle.  That was our fear.   We were idiots.

She doesn't work on Fridays so she set up a meeting with Fritz, the unsuspecting realtor for the next day.  My mother and brother spent some time cleaning the house to make it pristine.  (He has small kids...and he's motivated to sell, so this was viewed, by him , as a good thing.)  Everything seemed perfectly normal and nice.

And then I got a call from Noelle C.

"I'm not going to buy your brother's house." 

"Okay," says I.

"I loved the basement, all the work he did. You tell your brother I'd buy it just for that."

I won't be telling him that.

"But I didn't like the tone of voice the realtor used on me. Like how dare I ask a question.  I asked questions about why the basement walls were reinforced and he answered me in a rude way."

I feel for Fritz.  I've never met him, but I've worked with her and I know she can turn from sunshine to hurricane in a second.  He was probably trying to answer her question and she had a thought about something a man said to her once in a basement fifteen years ago and that's what triggered it.

"Anyway, I also didn't like the neighborhood."

What's wrong with the neighborhood?  It's a really nice quiet street, close to everything, in a nice Milwaukee area.  And there's a great pizza place on the corner.

"What's wrong with the neighborhood?"  Why do I ask these things?

"Well, I saw a black person on the street."

Yes, there are black people in Milwaukee.  And Brookfield.  And Waukesha.  So what?

"And besides, Wauwatosa has been in the news a lot lately and I don't like that."

I had to think about this one a little bit because the house is in Milwaukee, not in Wauwatosa, which is about a block away from where we work.  So if she's freaked out because the house is near Wauwatosa, she should be MORE FREAKED because her desk is closer to Tosa than that house.

And I should explain for those of you who don' t know the dynamics of Milwaukee suburbs.  Wauwatosa is side by side with Milwaukee, and typically prides itself in low crime.  (High housing prices.  Low crime.)  It's sort of a myth because crime happens everywhere, but Tosa is in the news lately because a guy shot his wife who just happened to be a Tosa police officer.  It was big news because it's cold right now and when it's cold there aren't as many violent crimes in the area.  So we've been hearing about this nasty domestic shooting for weeks because nothing else is going on.

Oh, and the house, again, is in Milwaukee.  So why she rambled on about Tosa was beyond me.  But whatever. 

I thought that was the end of that.

Then I got a voicemail from my brother.  Five words.

"WHAT THE F+$@! WAS THAT?"

So I called my mother and got the whole story.

And now, Paul Harvey used to say, here's the rest of the story.

It seems that this appointment was no good from the get go. Whether she got turned down by the bank for preapproval, or what, I have no idea.  Maybe she saw a dead bird on her way to the house.  Who knows what sets her off?

Fritz, by all reports, is a pretty low key, low pressure guy.  Should have been perfect for her.  Apparently the conversation in the basement escalated far more than she let on, to the point where Fritz was uncomfortable.  (I can only imagine.  Wonder if she pulled up her top.)  She refused, refused to go to the second floor.  Looked at the main floor, the basement, and then started screaming at him.  As she backed out of the driveway, Steve McQueen style from what I'm told, she screeched, "DON'T EVER CALL ME AGAIN!"

Woman, you called him. I'm just sayin'.

I haven't seen Brother since, although I'm sure I'll hear more details soon enough. Meanwhile, Noelle C's acting like she never even went to the house, let her racist freak flag fly, and unsettled a man who's been selling houses for years.

Just another fun experience with Noelle C.

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