Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Harry Potter Lives!

Friday, December 29, 2006 By No comments

Proof that we watch way too much Harry f-ing Potter in our house surfaced today, when my 23-month-old daughter requested "Hey Pah-Pah" and I popped in "The Chamber of Secrets" (or, as my brother called them when he was three years old, "see-cruds").

When the scene where Harry Potter arrives at the Weasley's house came on, Emerson stood up to watch it. Julie Walters bursts in as Molly Weasley: "Where HAVE you been?!"
-"bin!" Emerson chimes in, grinning at me, palms up inquisitively.
What the hell?

"No note! Car gone!" Walters half-shrieks.
"No noh! Cah goh!" Emerson mimics, hands on her hips.
Oh, god.

"You could have died! ("diyah!") You could have been seen!" ("seeeeend!")
"They were starving him, Mom. There were bars on his windows," her on-screen son replies. "Deys a bar on da weeennow!" Emerson echoes, then turns to me and begins to shake her finger back and forth.

"You best hope that I don't put bars on your windows, Ronald Weasley!" Walters-as-Weasley finishes triumphantly.
"Yooo binna habba duhbuh weeenow!" Emerson warns me. "Ohr, tiyam out!"
Well, at least she understand the consequences of misbehaving: the dreaded time-out.

You Can't Touch This!

James Brown died on Christmas Day, and because Scott and I both work in the media, it has turned our lives upside down. It's been non-stop 15-hour days since then. We've been trying to figure out where all the celebs are staying - Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Dan Akroyd, John Goodman, Eddie Murphy, and Patti la Belle are just some of the names - without much luck. But today, all the work paid off because MC HAMMER IS IN AUGUSTA!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Have Yourself a Slacker Little Christmas

These are pictures from our office "Christmas tree." It was weeks before there were ornaments, so Abbi improvised. Here are her pictures.

Inspiring Words

Thanks to Lillie Morris for these words of wisdom:

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intentiwon of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, egg nog in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO! What a ride!"

Friday, December 22, 2006

Panty Raid

Emerson is in her mimicry phase. Everything we do, she wants to do, too. Is Dada shaving his face? You can be sure to find her perched on her little chair, reaching for his electric razor, just a few minute after he finishes. Is Mama cooking? Emerson will help by bringing random ingredients from the refrigerator. Macaroni and cheese with grape jelly, anyone? Really, we have plenty.

She wears our shoes and shuffles around the house. She envelopes her head in Scott's baseball caps so that she can't see where she is going. She points imperiously to the dog and shouts, "No, Rara!" whenever there is food nearby. He likes to steal it and run off laughing. Yes, our dog laughs. Do not question this if you have not met him. He's a little trickster.

This morning took the cake. While following me around the house, watching me get ready, she freaked out when I started to put on my panties and then she ran into the kitchen. I followed her to see what she was doing.

There she was on the linoleum floor, pulling on a pair of underwear from the clothes hamper. It took her a while to figure out how to get them on straight, arrange her legs properly, and stand up. When she did, it was golden. She was so proud with them pulled up to her armpits over her footie pajamas, grinning, shuffling towards me like an old man while holding them up. "Fwowers!" she said, pointing to the lace arrangement, while I died laughing. "Very good!" I choked out. "Flowers!" She clapped her hands and shuffled off, a victim of emulation being sometimes not so flattering.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dictionary of Toddlerisms

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 By 1 comment

Emerson is not quite two years old, and she's doing her best to communicate. But sometimes we still have to intuit what she intends to say. Here are some of the words she uses and their sometimes "smurfy" meanings.

P.I. Go - piggyback ride
bedai – raisins
beebobai – drink, from the Spanish "bebida"
cocks – socks – that’s an unfortunate misnomer that I wish I could change. She doesn’t seem to be responding to my efforts.
buh - peanut butter
pee-buh - jelly
nak - snack
hey pah-pah - Harry Potter
carshee - either "car" or "carseat," used interchangeably
eye-sigh baby - Baby Einstein
eye-sigh baby e-i-o - The Baby Einstein Old McDonald
boot – book
soos – shoes
kees – cheese
see-rall – cereal
ehfant – elephant
hi-fi – high five
one, two, fee, fohw, fie, seben, seben, eight, nigh, ten, leben, teh, firtee
NAH! Absolutely not.
Si – yes
Doh-doh – dog
Oh-so – bear (the Spanish word)
Rarah – our dog, Scrabble
Sawee – sorry
Moosh – kiss
Hot – hot
Hot – bright
Hot – warm
Hot – the stove at all times
Hot – any meal placed in front of her
Hot – the microwave
Hot – cold
Hot – coffee
Hot – painful
Up-and-down - stairs
poppers - crackers

Monday, December 18, 2006

One of Those Days...

I'm having one of those days where I might as well chop off my own head because everything I say and do makes me seem like an asshole.

First, I forgot I was supposed to take the baby in this morning because my husband was on the morning radio show.
Then, as I was getting Emerson out of her car seat at the day care center, I failed to properly unlatch one of the straps and about yanked her leg off taking her out of the car.
After, as I was putting her diaper bag in her cubby and her sippy cup in the fridge, I stepped on another child's foot.
When I stepped on that child's foot, I jumped back and knocked over Emerson, who was following me around the room.
I stopped by a fast food joint to get a soda because now I really needed caffeine, and as I was paying for my order, I dropped the debit card out of the window.
I got out of the car to get the debit card. As I was standing back up with it, the cashier opened the window and banged my forehead.
I almost choked on the first swallow of soda because at 33 years old I am still apparently learning to control my esophagus. While coughing, I hit my already-bruised head on the door frame.
I drove into work without incident and found a spot close to the entrance.
I got to my desk and realized that I'd forgotten to pay the day care center this morning. Doh!
Then I remembered that the car insurance is due this week.
Then I remembered that I left my coat at home and the office is freezing.
Then I remembered that I was supposed to get up earlier this morning to finish my stories because we're on an early holiday deadline.
As I was finishing my stories, the phone rang. It was the local rabbi reminding me that we'd scheduled a meeting this morning.
"Oh, God," I exclaimed, mortified.
"Well, that's prayerful," he replied, with a laugh.
Mentally, I banged my head against the table while we tried to find a time to meet.
He said he'd call me back.
I put stories in the wrong folders on the server all morning and had to go searching for them.
Ditto for photos.
Finally, it was lunchtime.
I went to pick it up and magically found a parking space right near the door - no small feat in downtown - and went inside to find that the order was ready, and there was no line. Amazing!
When we got the boxes open at the office, the food was all wrong. I don't know what they gave me, but it certainly wasn't what I had ordered.
While I was eating my suspect meal, my husband called to tell me that his most recent story had caused "a shit storm." But not to worry! His boss was going to purchase him a bulletproof vest.
I'm just waiting to see what happens next.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Swedish Christmas goat survives attack

Saturday, December 16, 2006 By , 1 comment

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN- Vandals tried to set fire to a giant straw goat in central Sweden but failed to burn down the traditional Christmas monument, which has been soaked with flame-resistant chemicals, officials said Friday.
The overnight raid was the season's first attack on the 43-foot-high Christmas goat in the city of Gavle, 90 miles north of Stockholm. The goat has been burned down more than 20 times in the last 40 years in what has become a yule tradition.

"Somebody tried to set fire to the right front leg, but the flame-resistant chemical worked 100 percent," said Kurt Lagerholm, chairman of the goat committee.

"There's smell of gasoline and the ribbon is a bit smutty, but otherwise it's unhurt," he said.

Since it was first erected on Dec. 3 in 1966, the goat has been hit by flaming arrows, run over by a car and even had its legs cut off — surviving only 10 times beyond Christmas Day.

This year, officials doused the straw goat with flame-resistant chemicals and set up two 24-hour Web cams to try to protect it, but Lagerholm said the overnight attackers managed to sneak past the cameras by coming in at the only angle the cameras did not reach. The suspects were still at large Friday.

Last year's goat was burned down by vandals dressed up as Santa Claus and the Gingerbread Man. They were never caught.

- What I don't understand is why there is a traditional Christmas goat in the first place.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Chicken of Fury

Thursday, December 14, 2006 By 1 comment

These are Emerson's Halloween pictures. She's so adorable, but so very angry. She is...


There was a party at her day care, a little Halloween parade, and all of the children were supposed to hold on to a rope and follow the teacher around the gym while all of the ridiculous parents cooed and chucked candy at their addled little noggins.

Not the Chicken of Fury. The Chicken of Fury wasn't having any of this bullshit and went on a rampage, running away from her teachers and throwing herself on the floor in front of everyone, whining and stiffening her body in the way that children can magically add 40 pounds to their tiny little bodies. I broke ranks and scooped her up, plying her with candy and smooches. She never once smiled. She was too furious.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Halloween Party

Ah, co-workers... You spend 40 hours a week with them, and then they want you to go drinking on the weekend. What is this torture?

Oh, hey. Look at me in the background, not objecting or anything... Hmm.

That's Betsy in front, our new Creative Director, being her smiley, awesome self. Great party, Betsy and Ed!

This Chicken Never Crossed the Road

Another one! Will the onslaught never cease?!

(Thanks for the picture, Joe, but did you have to chew on it before you took the shot? Nasty!)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Musical Fruitcakes

Possibly the Greatest Christmas CD Ever Made! Buy it NOW!


Warning: This is possibly the scariest idea from a so-called "Gift Guide" that I have ever seen.

(scroll down)

Kinetic Mesh Active
Slip Brief 3051
by C-IN2

<------ AAAAHHHHH!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Feel the Power of the Chicken

Every day for the last 6 months, I have found a discarded chicken bone on the sidewalk outside of our offices. I am thinking either a really fast cat manages to take down pigeons on a regular basis, - which makes it not-chicken-wings-at-all - or somebody upstairs is chucking refuse at our heads as we leave the building.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Just Some Lady Business...

Saturday, December 02, 2006 By , 3 comments

(DISCLAIMER: Men, you might want to turn away from this post.)

So I was bitching about my tampons today. (Hey, I warned you guys!)
"Geez! I just went to the bathroom at home!" I stomp, irritated that - while hooray for getting my period from a reproductive standpoint - my day will be continually interrupted because the tampons I decided to try SUCK.

A. nods.
"Is that just too much information?" I ask, apolegetically.
"No, actually, it's good to know," she replies.
"Oh, great, well then, don't ever buy the tampon that I'm using."
"You know what's good are the sport tampons," she says, earnestly. I'm not sure if she realizes how hilarious that sounds.

Sport tampons. Tampons for the active period in your life, like, when my uterus is engaging in a rousing match on the tennis court. Please. My uterus is more likely to engage in a rousing nap on the couch. I assume what makes them sporty is their absorbancy, and not their aerodynamics, or something like that. Hopefully not their design, or something like they come in the colors of your favorite sports teams, 'cause who would see them?
"I'm a Steelers fan!"
"Oh, yeah, prove it!"
"Okay, look!"
"GAAAHHHH! My eyes!"

But I can see how someone doing something crazy like running a triathalon (Hi, Jim! Yes, I said it was crazy! There is simply no reason to run, swim or bike with such haste, unless someone is doing the same behind you with a knife. And screaming. And the screaming is your name. And there is no one else with the same name anywhere near you. Only then should there be hasty exercise. Which is how my ass got this way, and why you have the lovely wife that you do. And now that I am actively competing with Virginia Woolf for longest parenthetical statement ever written, I shall continue) would require sporty tampons. I mean, there can be few non-lethal things worse than having labored for however long such self-torture takes, only to cross the finish line and think, "I have that not-so-fresh feeling."

So, hooray for sport tampons.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Win Symphony Tickets!

The Metro Spirit is looking for the best, funniest, and most interesting predictions for 2007. Meterologist Jeff Rucker may be right, but he has nothing on us. We won't spare anyone or anything in our quest to make this the best and most accurate forecast ever.

Answer just eight short questions and you can win EIGHT (8) seats to the Augusta Symphony's Columbia County Music Series Concert on Saturday, January 25, 2007, at 7:30 p.m. That's one seat per question!

Just follow the quiz and have fun!

Click here to take survey

A "Fishy" Dilemma

Alright. I took the accompanying photo off at a very reasonable request. But I'm still going to tell a portion of the "tail."

There is an ad that has been running for three weeks that advertised "She-Crap Soup" instead of "She-Crab Soup." I won't name the publication, because it's almost 100% awesome. But it's still funny.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Cowbell

I'm sure everyone is familiar with how disorganized and pretentious any local music scene can be. I spent a couple of years in Athens, second only to Austin in prestige on the college rock scene, and it's not much better than other places. Some talent, but it all fades away when graduation rolls around, you know?

For some reason, the Augusta scene attracts a lot of goth-y bands. Maybe it's that the only all-ages venue, Sector 7G, is a post-punk oasis of underage piercings. Maybe that is the scene here. But the more goth a band gets, the more obnoxious their names are.

"What is it with these bands around here?" I snap at our copy editor. "Why don't they just name themselves Black Black Blaaaaack?"
She laughs at me.
"Or, like, Wellbutrin Nation, since Prozac's already taken," I continue, irritatedly.
"Also, I don't know why they have to be a mile long. I can hardly fit them in the listings," she says.

Seriously, what happened to simple "The" - somethings? The Shins, The Killers, The Replacements, The Queen, The Vatican, The Gettys, The Rothschilds... oh, nevermind. Instead, we get shit names like By the Sins Fell Angels. There's probably a parenthetical phrase after that continues on for another couple of sentences. Good luck fitting it all on a CD cover.

"Whatever," I snark. "They should just name themselves 'Zoloft.'"
She laughs in agreement.
"Oh! Or 'Zoloft the Conquerer!' That would be awesome!"

HUGE IN BELGIUM! The copy editor alerted me to yet another dumbass band name: Through the Eyes of the Dead. That doesn't make sense, first of all. Second of all, their acronym would be "TED," which is a way more humorous and "emo" band name than the one they're currently sporting. Third, all the eyes of the dead see are the inside of their coffins - and eventually worms and maggots.

AND IN KYRGYZSTAN! Another stupid local band name is Challenge Theory. What theory challenges them? Could it be the theory of evolution? It sounds like a bunch of knuckle-dragging frat boys got together, inspired by the god-forsaken legacy of Hootie & the Blowfish (now with more tasty Blowfish goodness!), and between bong hits said, "Duuuuuuude! We could totally rock if we were in a band!" And now they are. Hooray for us.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

As Seen Through a Transparent Eyeball

I work at a newspaper, and I love it. But any public forum invites crazy people to step up and open their yaps: County commission meetings, radio call-in shows, newspaper complaint columns, and the never-ending Internet... nothing is safe.

So I get a lot of crazies on the phone where I work. Today, I spoke to "Selene." She calls a couple of times a week to ramble about the classes that she organizes. I can almost hear the granola rattling around in her brain. After one particularly grueling 15-minute conversation, during which I almost fell asleep during her nonsensical patter that is utterly free of organization, I finally cut her off.

"Okay, so I have all the information except the location," I said.
"Well, I don't want to tell you."
(There is a moment of silence in which I consider stapling my ears shut so I don't have to hear her anymore.)
"You don't want to tell me?"
"Well, I'll tell you, but I don't want it in the paper."
"You want people to just guess where the classes are going to be?"
"Well, they can call, and I might tell them the location, but sometimes I get some people who are really mentally ill. You know?"

Yes. I do know.

"I mean, I want everyone to be able to come. It's a great stress reliever, and, as we know, stress is the cause of all wars."
"Oh!" I say, with a laugh. "I thought it was a shortage of chocolate."
There is a moment of shocked silence on the other end of the phone. I hope she isn't lighting some Wiccan revenge candle - oh, I know. That's not fair. Really, I don't have a problem with Wicca. I have a problem with Wiccans.
"You know," she said, quietly and seriously, "that stuff is really bad for you."
"I know," I say. "Sugar and caffeine and fat."
"Yes, but as you get older you can't digest it and it really clogs up your system," she says. "It's just really awful stuff."
I am unwilling to deal with her anymore.
"Yeah, but you know what else it is?" I ask.
"It's yummy!"
She sputters and stutters, laughing stiffly. I intervene before she begins to spew marijuana smoke out of her ears.
"I'm just joking," I said.
"Yes, well, I have to go."

Friday, November 24, 2006

One of the Many Reasons I Married Scott

I ran into my lame-o ex-boyfriend at CVS today. I was picking up a prescription and, of course, I was waiting because even though my doctor called it in two days ago, they had not yet filled it. Sure. Great. Thanks.

So I'm trolling the aisles for stupid pappy crap that I don't need - candy, soda, whatever - when my ex-boyfriend came slinking down the aisle, stupid ponytail still intact. Stupid never-been conditioned ponytail. I mean, I bought him conditioner and he still wouldn't use it.

Anyhoodle... Although taken by surprise, I smiled and said "Hi, [name redacted]!" He didn't even glance in my direction. But he came down the aisle from behind me, so it's not as though he didn't see me. And it's not as though I whispered. He intentionally ignored me. We crossed paths again. I was fuming a bit, but I tried again, thinking that no one could possibly be so... whatever... as to be so ridiculously rude twice. In the same place. In the same day. But guess what? Same response.


I left the store without getting my prescription because it hurt my feelings, and because I was angry. That kind of behavior reeks of the blame game, and we broke up amicably - THREE YEARS AGO. Afterwards, he acted like the jealous little man he is (not a crack on his height; on his personality), and it put some very effective distance between us. But it's been a while, and I only hold grudges for serious offenses, not snarkly e-mails detailing how I'm allowed to behave post-break-up. Not allowed to date for three months? You must be joking. I had a date before I even received that e-mail, fool.

Regardless of the jealousy and childishness (again, not a crack; I have my faults, too, they just don't surface in those situations. But ask my husband about my hair trigger temper), again, I wasn't holding a grudge. But I have since found out that when it comes to confidences, his ability to keep them is conditional. He revealed enough on his usually very entertaining blog to let me know that. I guess his character is as imposing as his stature.

Okay, that last line was a crack.

Anyway, whatever. I don't really understand behavior like that, and when I can't understand something, I tend to obsess about it until I either get bored with it or figure it out.

But somehow I think the time I spend on this one will be short.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

We're Serious Journalists

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 By , No comments


Hey guys,

I'm going to be taking over the ordering of office supplies. I'm placing an order at the end of the day today. After today, I'll be placing an order on the first Friday of every month. We will not be ordering multiple times during the month because there is no reason to pay shipping prices multiple times. Let me know what you need for today's order. I've also organized the supply closet so we can better keep up with what we have. Please help keep it straight. You will have a crazy woman on your hands if it gets back in the shape it was in.

thanks, N.


N. - Here's my list:

Furniture for the empty vault
Money for the empty vault
Diet Coke
Glue (for sniffing)
A monkey


I'm sorry, but Office Depot is all out of these items at the present time. Please check back later.

Thanks, N.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mmm... Chocolate

We had a great time watching one of my co-worker's daughter last night. She's super smart and just darn nice. As a thank-you, my co-worker gave us a box of truffles.

"They're from Target," she said.
"Dude, chocolate and Target? That's like my dream gift!"
"I know!"

The description on the tag said that they're hand-packed fresh after a warm chocolate bath and general sprinkle of pure chocolate flakes. Where can I get a warm chocolate bath?!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Vanity Pretty Fair

Because we ladies simply never shut up at work, much to the chagrin of our male bretheren, the copy editor, editor and I are discussing the movie "Vanity Fair," with Reese Witherspoon.

"What did you think of it?" the copy editor asked me.
"I don't know. Usually, if there are corsets and accents, I like it.... and I like Mira Nair. I guess the story arc was too divergent in parts," I stumble. Alice nods.
"I can see that," she says. I turn back to my desk and see the editor glaring at me.
"What?" I am worried. I cannot anger my comedy partner. My days will be bleak, filled with endless words. Nothing but words.
"You and your big words," she says.
"What big words are those?" Alice asks.
"Apparently 'story' and 'arc' are just too huge for her," I reply, and we all laugh. "Wait! Wait! Here, I'll rephrase my review!"
I stand up at my desk and beat on my chest.
"Uh! Uh uh!" I imitate a gorilla, and run over to pick imaginary lice out of the editor's hair.
"Is that better?" I gasp, through laughter. We're both laughing so hard that we're crying.
"Okay," Editor Supreme says. "I think there's enough laughter over there. Do I need to find some work for you?"
"Just her!" I laugh.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Back atcha

The publisher is looking over the pages before they go to press as I am walking by.

"Um, hellooooooo, where are the House Party pictures?" he asks the editor.
"Um, hellooooooo, I don't know, ask Joe," she mimics.
"Um, hellooooooo... just saying hello," I sing as I pass.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Spiteful Sprite

Emerson has hit the terrible twos much faster than I imagined. This morning, she asked for Sprite. Then she asked for a cup. It seemed like such a simple thing...

Emerson (running to the fridge as fast as her little bowlegged self can go and patting the door): pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry? pry?

Me (following with eyes still closed from sleepiness and hair all crazy): Oh, you want Sprite, sweetie?

Emerson: (nods frantically, as though the need for Sprite is so great that whiplash is but a small concern)

Me (yawning): Okay, beautiful.

(I pull out the 2-liter of Sprite)

Emerson: ( begins pointing to the cabinet): cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup?
Me: No, shit, honey. Alright, I'm getting the cup. cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup? cup?

I pour the Sprite into a cup and hand it to her. She knocks it out of my hand with a wail and runs out of the room in despair. I have no idea what I did wrong. She runs back in, still wailing. I offer the cup again. She wails louder and runs out of the kitchen again. This continues until I give up, put the entire apparatus back in the fridge and just go pee.

This does not sit well with my little dictator. She screams outside the door until I finish my bidness and open it again. I look down at her tear-stained face, red with fury, as she gasps and sniffles. She looks back up at me with serious eyes full of hope and says
: pry?


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Razor's Edge

"Hairy!" he says as he rubs his hand briskly over the fish-white skin of my legs.

"You should see my armpits," I mutter irritably.

"Why don't you shave them?" He is poking at the short hairs like a toddler discovering a bug on the sidewalk.

"What for?"

"It's sexy! Girls aren't supposed to have hairy legs."

"Says who?"

"Says the entire leg-shaving free world!" He is waving his arms, bouncing slightly in frustration and making it impossible to write.

"Really? Is that near Neverland?"

"Why is it such a big deal? Why don't you just shave them? I bet if you did it every day, it wouldn't take so long."

I can see he's pleased with this brightly volunteered constructive criticism, considering his approach to be the perfect blend of nonchalance, support and helpfulness.

I hate that. I start to contract him but he cuts me off.

"No! You should do-it-ev-ery-day." He slaps his palms together with each syllable, emphasizing his committment to my leg-shaving experience. Great. It merely serves to remind me of the constant drudgery to which I would be subjecting myself.

"In shaving, as in life, it is not the length of the hair that matters, but the surface area to be covered," I singsong in a faux philosophical tone. His eyebrow raises in amusement.

"As in life?!" he chuckles.

"Yes! Confuscious say: He who shave leg get cold leg."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Overheard at the Halloween Party

"What's normal for sex? Try every night!"

"Hey, I have something that might interest you."
"I doubt it."

"New spiders are showing up."

"That's like where he goes when he's a bad boy."
"Oh, you have no idea."

"I think Corey should lose his shoe. I'm going to hide it."

"Your mother!"

"Oh, no. Zombies. Hey, look! Chocolate!"

"Michigan sucks!"

"Go away. We're talking about you."

"I'm pretty sure that's illegal."

(frantically) "Where is the bathroom?!"

(drunkenly) "You're so awesome."

"I'm pretty sure that's illegal."

"It's green apple - it's kind of girly."
"Well, I'm a girl."

"What do you want to hear? Avette Brothers?"
(was there any choice?)

"I'm going to regret this tomorrow."

"Did you hear about the fart machine?"

"Has anyone seen my cigarettes? Anyone?!"

"And then there was the stabbing."

"You'd make a great hooker."

"Wait - why are we 'woo-ing?'"

"Grab her butt!"
"Um, I'm feeling kind of harassed right now."

"Get Andy to do it. He can't get in any trouble."

"You will never beat the goat."

"You're fake laughing. Don't fake laugh at me."
"Honey, everyone fake laughs."

"I'm all about the leather."

"Where did you get those scratches?"
"My dog."
"Oh! I thought you were into something freaky."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

An Old Story

Circa 2000...

At 5 a.m., I am awakened by the certainty that we are not alone. Sensing my partner asleep beside me, I slowly open my eyes. A breeze brushes my face and then I look into the face of terror: the gaping maw of a giant, ferocious bat!

Wheeling around the room, it swoops and glides, circling the corners and hardly flapping its leathery wings.

I woke my partner because, as the female, I'm like that robot on "Lost in Space." I alert others to danger. I do not deal with it myself. Is the feminist within me ashamed of this? Hell, no. Not when there's a bat. As the male, it is my partner's duty to act upon the danger.

This was the source of some discussion. Apparently, my partner does not share my philosophy. But, feeling his manhood threatened, he crept from the bed and crawled in only his boxers across the floor to the bedroom door.

"Here, batty batty!" he called and I sniggered and peeked out from under the blankets. Lured, I'm sure, by my partner's siren-like call, the bat careened out of the door and my partner promptly slammed it. I sat up. Now what?

Now he goes back to bed. He crawled back in bed and started back to sleep as I stared at him incredulously. "May I remind you that there is a bat in the house?" I asked.

"Aw, it's out there."
"But what if it comes back in here?" There was a odd, unattractive and uncomfortable 3-inch gap between the bottom of the door and the carpet. Sighing irritably, he flung off the blanket and trudged across the room. He locked the door. Genius!

"Oh, so much better," I muttered and barricaded myself with the comforter. "That'll show him."

Life of the Dead

So one of the editors, the high school intern (who we love, and who sometimes babysits for us), and I are discussing my zombie evacuation plan. I've drawn a diagram that is lacking only in X's and O's to move around - in sheer panic, of course. That's how people move around in my plan, with the much running and shrieking.

"That's a very elaborate plan," Editor says.

"I know." But I am chagrined. There are fences in the way of two of our escape routes.

"I don't think you've thought it out well enough," Intern says. "What about vampires?"

"Oh. I'll just have my husband breathe his garlic breath on them," I snicker, and they laugh with me. Boss Ron shakes his head and rolls his eyes. He's been riding my ass all day long, and even though I've not taken a break for lunch, he would rather see me bleeding from my eyes than cease my incessant writing. Lots of writing. Serious writing. My pinky is cramping. See? Ouch.

Intern takes the legal pad away from me: "Here. I'll make a list."

Editor and I whisper back and forth like adolescent about how Ron is getting our nerves. We're annoyingly high school about it, but it's deliciously evil fun. Intern gives the legal pad back with the list of things I must prepare for:
  • Vampires
  • Mummies
  • The Blob
  • Ron
I hold the pad up for Editor to see and we burst into laughter.

"I think Intern gets a bonus the next time she babysits," I crow.
Editor laughs: "I think so!"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Most Perfect...

The World's Most Perfect Stapler

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The World's Most Efficient Stapler Thief

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AND the number four prostitute in all of Kazakhstan.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Graveyard Shift

It doesn't matter if you believe in ghosts. At midnight in a cemetery in the middle of Nowhere, S.C., shadows, breezes and soft sounds take on supernatural shape.

The woods are pockmarked with tombstones. It’s so dark I can see galaxies whirling overhead. I trip over graves. A vision of mummified hands reaching out of the ground overwhelms me. Perhaps they shouldn’t have sent the only reporter with a zombie evacuation plan, although, to be honest, the plan involves mostly running and shrieking.

Yet my guide is calm.

"We’re here to debunk this," declares Ginger Yarbrough, organizer of Georgia Ghost Hunters. "We rule out all the man-made and natural explanations first before we try to say there’s spirits."

Ginger and seven other members have brought me to a 200-year-old Huguenot graveyard an hour from Augusta, down a one-lane dirt path through a thick forest where trees bend like frightful fingers reaching for prey.

This group doesn’t look for the paranormal. They look for the normal. If lights in a home flicker, they blame the tree branch or a power line. They check for vermin, leaky pipes, gaps in insulation and other earthly explanations for unearthly sensations.

In the graveyard, the ghost hunters set up candles to provide a little light plus video cameras and voice recorders to document the hunt. They calibrate EMF meters to detect the presence of electromagnetic fields, infrared thermometers to spot temperature differentials and tri-field meters to detect magnetic fields, electrical fields and microwave emissions. When manmade and natural causes have been eliminated, Ginger says, it is generally believed that ghosts generate these fields and temperature changes.

"The most common energy form that a ghost uses is simple heat," Ginger says. "A ghost will absorb heat to help it manifest, which is why people feel cold when a ghost passes them."

These are true believers. Ginger is completing a certification from the Stratford Career Institute in parapsychology and astrology. She and her mother have seen enough unusual phenomena in their lives to scare legions of schoolchildren. They’ve been hunting ghosts for three years, in public and for private homeowners.

"But we keep all private investigations discrete — their name is kept under lock and key, so to speak. We are completely non-profit and do not charge fees for our service as we are trying to collect all the data we can," she says.

They hunt to find legitimate hauntings, in small part to convert the unfaithful. She’s looking for the real deal, because she believes she’s experienced it. "I want the evidence to put it up on the table and say, ‘Look. You cannot disprove this."

Leon Wilkes, a group member who is in the military, tells a story about a house in Iraq that spooked his entire troop of hardened soldiers. Almost everyone in the group has a story about a supernatural experience. I’m just not so sure. I’d like to believe it’s possible to communicate with the souls of departed loved ones — hi, Grandma! — but I’ve never encountered anything of the kind.

"The paranormal is a touchy subject and most people are afraid to do anything about it because they think they may be humiliated," Ginger said later.

That doesn’t stop me from nearly wetting myself when the EMF meter in my hand goes off. Everyone in the group turns to stare at me as I freeze. I put the sensor out again and it lights up. I prepare to activate my zombie evacuation plan.

"Is there anyone here who would like to communicate with us?" Ginger asks the forest while I fight the urge to run and shriek. After a disappointing silence and several tests, we determine I had moved the sensor too rapidly, which gave a false positive.

"That’s why it’s important to look at it from a scientific perspective," Ginger says. "You have to debunk it first."

Leon, in a fearless — and, I think, foolish — stab at making this trip worthwhile, begins to taunt the spirits of the dead who lay in these woods.

"I think you’re too chicken to come out," he calls. "I don’t believe you even exist."

He walks out of the walled burial ground, continuing his tirade, and Ginger and Lisa Barret stay where he began. Ginger thinks she heard a noise nearby, like change rattling in a pocket. Inexplicably, a vine slaps Lisa in the face, and Ginger’s camera picks up red and white streaks in the forest, something she calls a vortex, a strand of light. She thinks it’s a portal through which ghosts travel, though other ghost hunters say it could be individual spirits moving or an "orb."

My camera captures a picture of what the group says is a flaming orb, the best they’ve ever seen. It’s a round spot in the darkness, visible only on my digital camera. Some people say it’s energy. Some say it’s a small ghost.

Just then, Leon calls that a shadowy figure peeked at him from among the trees.

"He wants to come out and play, now," Leon says. I really hope not.

Immune to my protests, the group enthusiastically agrees to go down to the nearby lake. As we descend the hill, the temperature plunges from a chilly 52 to near freezing. I’m shivering in a T-shirt and sweater, more immediately frightened of chiggers and poison ivy than spectral beings, and I see unmistakable beaver activity. We crunch down the hillside toward it, every footstep a beacon for beavers and bears and who knows what all else. Are there bear zombies? Oh, god. I bet there are.

It’s, rather appropriately, a dead lake — a lake that held water in the past but is now merely an overgrown basin, choked with weeds, scrub and fallen trees. Leon continues to harangue those who previously rested in peace as he and Ginger start across the edge of the basin. I see lights twinkling just above the grass near the middle. Right. I’ll just wait here.

Time creeps as I watch my breath rise as a mist in front of me. It’s something Ginger pointed out that they try to avoid when photographing phenomena. Even the clothes of someone who has just smoked a cigarette may contaminate visual evidence.

Then someone in the lake yelps.

"That [expletive] just growled at me," Leon calls as the trio tromps back through the overgrowth. Leon is shivering violently in his autumn jacket.

"Feel him!" Ginger says. "He’s ice cold!"

He is. While Ginger, clad only in a T-shirt and jeans, is still warm to the touch, Leon feels
frozen. They claim to have heard a growl just before the temperature around Leon dropped aggressively.

I look out over the rustling grasses. The lights I had seen are gone.

Although none of the equipment registered abnormal readings, the members are convinced of a spiritual presence, in this case, an "intelligent haunting."

It’s one of the different types of ghosts and hauntings that the Georgia Ghost Hunters categorize.

"No one knows for sure why they are here with us," Ginger said. "And there is no reason to be afraid of them because usually they have the same emotions and personalities they had when they were alive. They are around us all the time."

In that case, I have to revise my zombie evacuation plan.

<------- "Flaming Orb" the original shot (above) and pulled out in close-up (left).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Help Teach a Woman to Fish

Pristine white cribs stand empty and waiting in quiet rooms painted a soothing azure at in this old building. Yellow ducks adorn a bathroom that has never cleaned chubby cheeks. A walk-in closet stocks Huggies diapers and wipes, Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and row after row of tiny little outfits alongside adult-sized pants and shirts.

Renovations to the Garden City Rescue Mission’s homeless shelter for women and children are 95 percent complete. The paint is dry and the beds that have been donated so far sit assembled and awaiting sleepy little heads. But more is needed. The Fenwick Street homeless shelter renovated the second floor of its building to house up to 50 families, but cannot help them until it is able raise $20,000 to install two fire escapes. In the meantime, mothers with young children may be literally left out in the cold.

"The sad fact is that sometimes they’re stuffed in the backseat of their car, or wherever," Sharpe said. "There’s really no place other than the Salvation Army for them to go and if you talk to them they’ll tell you they’re overrun and they can’t keep up with the demand."

In a push to finish before a potentially lethal cold snap, the Garden City Rescue Mission will hold a Fall Fish Fry on Oct. 7 at Victory Baptist Church in Belvedere, sponsored by Dye’s Southern Catering.

"There’s going to be a lot of hauling children around," Sharpe said. "It’s going to cost a lot to run."

Sharpe estimates that 15 to 20 bunk beds and 15 additional twin beds will just cover their sleeping quarters, but to help these ladies get back on their feet, they’ll need mini vans, car seats and operating expenses to help mothers find jobs, visit pediatricians and attend church. Already they are feeling the pinch. The shelter’s electricity bill has already jumped $800 a month, and Sharpe expects the center’s other utilities to double.

Sharpe’s mother, Susie, and her husband left good jobs with health insurance behind in Florida to come up and work with their soon on his ministry. It’s the children that break her heart. She tells a story of a woman so poor that her children had never owned a book or a toy.

"They didn’t even have an old dirty truck to push in the dirt," she said. "These children had never been read a Bible story or a bedtime story."

When she agreed to come up, she insisted on a playroom for the children, and it is almost done. VeggieTails toys sit in their boxes and children’s books yearn for sticky fingers to turn their pages. The playroom is Susie’s baby. It waits for other babies to fill it with laughter, and there will be no shortage. Families with children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population – 33 percent of the homeless, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and domestic violence accounts for half of that.

Tile and new carpet were lain by one of the gentlemen currently housed in the men’s shelter on the bottom floor of the facility. Many of the men who live in the shelter are skilled workers, the "working homeless," who comprise 15 percent of the homeless population. Some of them have been through painful divorces. Others have had a run of bad luck.

Their stories are not too much different than the American story. As the availability of affordable housing declines, shelter becomes harder to maintain. One estimate by the Federal Housing Authority states that one quarter of American workers are a single paycheck away from financial disaster.

Travis used all of his creativity and connections to complete the work, calling upon skilled friends and family members and guest preaching at churches around the southeast. He has been largely successful - one North Carolina congregation cut him a check before the services were even over on the day he gave his sermon. The mission has paid for work as the project progressed, instead of going into debt, and volunteers donated time, materials and labor, to complete most of the work.

But work remains, and that’s what makes the fish fry so important. The menu will include catfish filets, freedom fries, cole slaw, hush puppies, grits and banana pudding, all catered by Dye’s Southern Catering. There is no per-plate charge to eat the fresh, fabulous fish, but donations will be accepted during the dinner.

"We’ve had people use the fish fry as an excuse to give significant donations - $500, $1,000," Sharpe said.

But if you can’t attend the fish fry and still want to help, the mission has an ongoing need for every day items like crib sheets and baby blankets, toiletries, cleaning supplies, dry goods, furniture – and, of course, cash and manpower.

"Think about running a shelter of this type," Susie said. "You need someone here 24 hours a day."

The Garden City Rescue Mission is located at 828 Fenwick St. in downtown Augusta, GA. Call 706-724-6960 or visit Help by donating items or services for women and children. Donate cash, too. It's really, really important. Even $5 makes a difference.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pillow Talk

As I've discussed here before, Scott talks in his sleep. I like to know what he's thinking about in his sleep, so I can rarely resist questioning him. Last night, he got his revenge when I came back to bed at 3 a.m. after dealing with Emerson for an hour.

"mmwabba ... is goo for the community," he mumbled.
"What did you say, honey?" I whispered.
"I said it would be good for the community," he said, a little more clearly.
"What would?"
"Hold on," he said.



"Is that what you wanted to say?!"
"MMmmm. Yep."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I won a very special honor today, one that I was not expecting.

"It's official," Scott told me today. "I'm being submitted for the Edward R. Murrow Award."
"That's awesome!" I said. "That reminds me: I meant to tell you that I won something already!"
His mouth opened and his eyebrows raised in surprised delight. "What?"
"I entered the Paul Newman's Own recipe contest and I won third place!"
"Wow, honey, that's great!"
"Yes!" I laughed, pulling out my prize. "I am one of only 100 people in the continental United States to win this flexible cutting board!"

In your face, jealous bitches!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Monster Mash

Thursday, September 21, 2006 By , No comments

A co-worker and I are discussing our employer.

Me: So that’s my new nickname for him: Frankenboss.
Co-worker: Yeah, you know, he kind of embodies many of the characteristics of all the classic monsters. (He ticks them off on his fingers as he goes) Vampire sucks the life out of you. Frankenstein was a clodhopping idiot. Wolfman can change, and mummy, well, again, he was an idiot.
Me: (huge laugh). Clodhopping. I didn’t know that could be a verb.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Happy Man

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 By , No comments

It's Wednesday, and no one can leave for lunch while we're on deadline. So our fearless leader springs for hot dogs from the cart outside. C., our most recent writer to be hired, walks past four of us with a Brat stuffed full of all the fixings.

"Man, that's a big weiner!" P. exclaims.
Three of us burst into appreciative laughter.
"What the hell?" C. says, grinning.
"That's... That's not what I meant," she says, sheepishly.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

No One Cares About Your Lunch

I am completely pissed at myself for allowing my blog to devolve into "Look what I ate!" Yet my life has been like this:
midnight: baby wakes up screaming
2 a.m.: back to bed
5 a.m.: baby wakes up screaming. Run into open door of the armoir.
5:45 a.m.: back to bed
6:30 a.m.: alarm goes off. Hit snooze.
7:30 a.m.: Crap! Crap! Crap! I overslept!
8:45 a.m.: Act like it is totally fine that I am 15 minutes late.
9 a.m.: First insult from boss hits me in the face. Resolve to duck next time. Promptly forget resolution. Repeat all day long while fielding an overwhelming amount of special project, freelance writing and editing requests while trying to complete my regular assignments. Give them the Crazy Eyes.
5:30 p.m.: Race out the door to get Emerson from day care.
6:30 p.m.: Get home (if I'm lucky).
7 p.m.: Feed Emerson and play with her until...
8:30 p.m.: Emerson to bed.
9 p.m.: Try to have a conversation with my husband while working working working.
2 a.m.: Fall into bed exhausted.

So what I have for lunch, my point being, is the most exciting part of my day.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Atlanta weekend

We were in Atlanta from Sat - Mon. Sorry that we missed you! It was Scott's birthday, and our second anniversary, and we dropped the baby with my parents and went driving around Atlanta, laughing like maniacs at our freedom and cursing the much lostedness that befell us.

I learned something: many many things have moved while I have been gone, including roads. I don't know why they do that to me, and force me to take a wrong turn on Monroe and end up completely not at Piedmont Park, nor on my way back to Va-Hi. It is simply wrong. They could at least fax a memo. Oh, and also? That turn at Piedmont and 14th Street? Yeah. I am hating it so badly right now that the pavement has cracked.

Anyway, if you get a chance, please go eat at Sweet Devil Moon at 10th and Piedmont diagonally across from the Flying Biscuit. I was so sad when my tummy was full and we had to leave. The waiter did not understand what it means to come back to Augusta, the culinary landscape of which has long been overrun by chicken wings (admittedly in more than 50 flavors, and yet... no), where there is no Peruvian tapas bar with the yummy yummy black beans hummus and ceviche to die for.

And also, where the vegetarians among us are sickly and sad because there are only potatoes and salad to eat. Oh, and did I mention that I stopped eating meat? Well, I still eat fish. But I am remembering now why I gave up trying not to eat meat. It's almost entirely unavoidable here. It's like you can't own a restaurant unless the Cattleman's Assocation approves it. I'm telling you, they issue everyone a T-Bone at the county line.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

MMmm. Sammich.

I am eating a sandwich from New Moon Cafe, out of which I expected a better vegetarian option. Grilled veggies and cheese - hard to mess up! Unless you are a restaurant so new that you do not yet have: a credit card machine, bags, to-go cups, straws, trained employees or phones that work better than cellphone reception in Siberia. This sandwch tastes like two onions had a party, got too drunk to know better, had unprotected sex, and then had little onion babies on my damn sandwich. Plus, it's dry. I said "no mayo," not "remove all moisture from the earth's atmosphere and hide it away while the dough is baking, resulting in bread that resembles a slice of baked mud."

Geez. $6 for this.

Meh. The hummus is decent, and the bagel chips are great.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A New Meaning for "Pickpocket"

So the editor of the parenting publication was talking to one of the advertising people. It seems that there is a discussion about whether or not certain terminology should be used to describe body parts to children. The former parenting editor was a stickler for using proper words for genitalia, and the current editor doesn't agree and uses a pseudonym for someone's "lady business."

"Well, my grandma used to call it her pocketbook," the ad rep said. "And she used to tell us, 'Never let anybody go in your pocketbook.'"

I can only imagine the confusing conversations in that house when she was looking for her keys.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Family Ties

When I think back upon my parents' activities when I was growing up, there are a few constants: books, books, books, crossword puzzles, and popcorn. I swear, for the first five years of my life I thought my parents' heads were made of paper. They were always reading something: newspapers, books, magazines, you name it, and there was popcorn just about every night. There still is. You can set your watch by the ding! of the microwave oven going off on my father's nightly bag of popcorn.

In fact, my recognition that appliances don't come as wallpaper in a home was the addition of an air-popper that my parents bought. It was in the years before microwave popcorn, and it was a noisy behemouth of a machine that took up a lot of counterspace but had this little grate at the top into which you put a pat of butter that would slowly melt and drip over the popcorn as it popped. A fan at the bottom blew the popcorn throught a spout into a waiting bowl.

Damn, we loved that thing. If we were playing in our rooms, and heard the takkatikkatakkatikkatakkatikkatakkatikkatakkatikka of kernals falling into the metal bottom of the machine, we'd come running for our smaller bowlsful. And also, to make sure that they didn't put too much butter. Cholesterol has never been a concern for Dad.

We muched it, lying on the carpet in front of the TV, enjoying Special Network Presentations of "My Fair Lady," "The Sound of Music," "Gone With the Wind," "Mary Poppins," "Barefoot in the Park," and "The Wizard of Oz." This was, of course, before HBO, VCRs, video rental stores, DVDs, Netflix, and, finally, YouTube. It was still the heyday of the movie theatre, and these presentations were a total treat. Sunday nights it was the Disney presentation of the week, Friday nights brought "The Muppet Show," but most of the time it was movies we waited for. Lots of them were in black and white, such as "To Kill a Mockingbird," "National Velvet," and "It's a Wonderful Life."

Last night, the Imperial Theatre unveiled its new marquee. At a cost of $250,000, it didn't come cheap, but it was specially designed to look like the theatre's original facade, but with an incredible high-tech twist. All-in-all, it is a fantastic addition, and we wanted to be there for the unveiling.

Outside, there were Model T's and other antique cars lined up along the street, which had been closed off for the evening. A crowd gathered outside, and mayor Deke Copenhaver gave a lovely speech. Emerson goggled at everything from her stroller as Scott moved around the crowd, interviewing folks for WGAC news. After the crowd counted down from 10, the curtains dropped and the marquee flashed on and - oh, it was perfectly beautiful. Everyone admired and applauded the effort, then streamed inside for the festivities.

Polite and smiling young ladies with "cigarette girl" boxes around their necks greeted us with boxes of free popcorn, and sodas were complimentary at the cash bar. Inside, silent films from Charlie Chaplin, the first performer to ever grace the Imperial's stage, played while an organist rocked the Wurlitzer. We met and chatted with dozens of people we knew - friends and family, commissioners and candidates, media and PR, and just plain folks. We wrapped purple and green glowsticks around Emerson's ankles and I wheeled her stroller down closer to the front of the theatre so that she could see the screen.

She was entranced. She sat with her popcorn box in her lap, stuffing her face and refusing to share with me (she pulled the box away and squealed "NO!" every time I tried to take a few kernals), utterly engrossed in Chaplin's many failed attempts to get his drunk self up some stairs to bed. I watched her, watching the screen, and shot sapphire bullets of pure love at her (I'd have hugged her but she'd have thought I was trying to get her popcorn). I reveled in the hometown feel of the whole event and then realized what Emerson reminded me of.

Kicked back in her chair, goggling at black and white movies, hoarding popcorn, she looked totally like my dad.

And that is awesome.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I work in 1970.

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This man has never heard of sexual harassment laws, and now he has defiled one of our editors' cell phone. And also, he was doing this while one of our reporters was attempting to conduct an interview. You can hear her at the end say, "I'm trying to talk to someone!"

Monday, August 14, 2006

We Don't Need a Boat

The newest craziness? Scott wants to BUY A BOAT.

Apparently his uncle, who lives on the lake, something something I wasn't listening and it will be less than $1,000 total. I'd rather pay off the damn car first, we only have a couple grand left, but he's all into this idea.

I just don't think he's going to use it as much as he thinks he is by himself. He was arguing that he could go fishing and we could eat the fish, and the boat would pay for itself in fish savings! Isn't that amazing!

No. It's not. It's a boat.

Scott and Chris have vowed to use it all the time, and his grandfather, and yeah, right. All I know is this: IF (big if) we decide to buy this fiberglass vessel to hell, Emerson is not going near it.

Friday, August 11, 2006


One of the nice places about where I work is that almost everyone has a great sense of humor (those who don't generally keep their mouths shut), and we delight in making each other laugh. So when I saw a remote-controlled whoopee cushion at the drugstore, I knew we could put it to good use.

My partner-in-crime taped it under the publisher's chair with packing tape before she left work last night. We had a meeting scheduled with him at 10 a.m., and about 15 minutes into it, a soft "plffffsssss" drifted up from behind him. One of the editors, sitting on my left, covered her face with her hands, shoulders shaking. One of the designers, sitting on my right, chortled. He stopped and looked at us.
"What?" he asked.
I couldn't hold it in anymore. I covered my face with my spreadsheet and laughed out loud. My two-coworkers were already ahead of me.
"What are you laughing at?" he asked, grin askew.
"PLLLLFFFT! PLLFT! PLFT! Plllffff...."
The editor is crying now, I'm holding my stomach, and the ad assistant and another designer, who are across the room with the remote, have joined into the laughter. His face turns a little red, but he laughs out loud.
"What do you guys think, that I'm sitting here farting?"
We erupt in rolling laughter as they set it off again.
"Where is that coming from?!"
He looks under his desk. As he bends over, they set it off again. He quickly stands up.
"Y'all are so juvenile!" he laughs.
We laugh even harder. My stomach hurts and he's right. It is juvenile. It's also damn funny. He looks under the desk again, and around it, as disgusting noises follow him. He spins his chair around, and sits back down, grinning. They set it off again, and he leaps up and turns his chair over.
"God, you taped it to my chair?! You guys are so stupid!"
He struggles to remove it while they keep up a constant strain of noises I haven't heard since summer camp. When he does, he turns it over in his hands, examining it. He flicks the off button and I pick it up and push the button one last time.
"I just turned it off!"
"No, that was just for the remote."
"There's a remote?!"

Yes. And it will be used much more in the future.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Either Very Old, or in Desperate Need of a Copy Editor

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Brain Sucking

There's a singer named "Jem"? Is she truly outrageous?

For those who missed it, that was a reference to the decades-old Saturday morning cartoon show called “Jem!” I can’t remember exactly what it was about - some kind of Josie and the Pussycats update, I think, with the main characters in a band and a rival “bad girls” band - but the theme song went: “JE-em is truly outrageous, truly, truly, truly outrageous. whhoah-oh-oh-oh JEM!” Great songwriting there.

Anyway, I watched Saturday morning cartoons for the first time in well over a decade last week. I am "Taking An Interest" because one day Emerson will definitely be concerned about some cartoons. Here’s what I learned: They all suck.

No, it’s not because I’m an adult. Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob Squarepants are really good. But most of them are toy products that use the cartoon as half-hour ads. Like, the Bratz dolls. They were dolls first, and now they have their own cartoon? And their superpowers are LLLLLLLLLLAME. One of them has a superpower called “Girl Advice,” another is “Makeup,” and another is “Fashion.” How does that even work? “Evil gotcha down? Gloss it over with our new superberryblast lip slickers!” Blech.

I understand creating a cartoon and enjoying a successful merchandising offshoot. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Why did that work? And why are herbivorous animals ordering pepperoni pizza? Not my cup of tea, but creative work that paid off in the end.

Here’s my point: Emerson can’t watch these marketing ploys. They will suck out her brain. I suppose I will have to scrounge old DVDs of Schoolhouse Rock. Or maybe we can move to South Dakota, or the Yukon Territory, or the deep jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula, jaguars be damned. How am I supposed to instill solid values in her - education, kindness, hard work, tenacity, manners, accepting that your mother is right in all things - without a supermarket display of my new and improved flavors that change colors when you chew? Morals don’t have a theme song. I should write a theme song for morals! But it would be the most boring, least rockingest song ever. I could hire Barry Manilow! Or who is the guy who wrote the song for “Welcome Back, Kotter?” That song could put me right to sleep when I was a kid. That’s a guy who can write a theme song for morals.

But who buys into morals these days? Only conservative religious types, and - my apologies to any of you reading this; I have known many and liked almost all of them for a short time - I do not believe in their weird division of the sexes.

Actually, now I do. I believe in dividing the sexes. A brilliant idea! I divide them as of now. I will hang a “No Boys Allowed” sign on our door, and I will mean it. That is it. That is the answer. Emerson will be a nun. A nun! I have such a big brain, how do I keep my head upright? We will move to France and she will take her vows, cut off her hair (not that she has any yet), and the ascetic nuns of the Order of Saint Claire will raise her within the cloistered walls of that venerable institution.

Wait. Isn’t Saint Claire the patron saint of television? That is truly outrageous.

Monday, July 10, 2006

New Job, Mad Baby

So, Scott got a new job. He is now the news reporter at WGAC, News/Talk 580 AM. See? And we are in love with this new job of his because it comes with a car. Now, I know many of you are drooling right now because, let's face it: company car = HUGE PERK.

Yet you have not seen this, the clown car. Every time he opens the door I expect an army of midgets to spill out of the sides. I could have sworn I saw an elephant parking it for him last week. This thing is plastered from hood to trunk with logos, telephone numbers, and call letters. It bristles with antennae - probably to signal the clown car mothership. It has (and will not tell you how inappropriately he has used this) an emergency light on the roof. It is super awesome. But this means that he can no longer stay home with the baby. Now that I'm employed full-time again, we began the dreaded day care.

It happened so fast that we didn't even have time to prepare her. It was a phone call on a Wednesday, and report to work on Monday. So Monday morning, when I dropped her off, there was a lot of screaming and crying... much of it mine. When I picked her up again, there was more, but she wasn't just afraid. She was pissed. At me.

The week went like this:
Day One: Emerson screamed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Day Two: Emerson cried from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Day Three: Emerson laid face-down in the corner of the room and refuse to interact with anyone all day. Hit anyone who tried to come near her.
Day Four: Stood with her back to the wall and hated everything. Not only hit anyone who tried to come near her, but actually chased down another child to hit him, because he moved too fast for her to get him the first time.
Day Five: Refused to eat.

She ran screaming into my arms at the end of each and every day, as though they had been using the toddlers as forced labor, busting rocks in the quarry. But, eventually she began to interact with others, usually when it involved food.

It has been a very difficult transition. I frequently considered quitting my job. But this past Friday was the most heartbreaking of all. When I dropped her off, she went right into the arms of her teacher, Miss X, and gave her a hello kiss.

Miss X is a child-stealing whore. I hate Miss X.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Dies Enter?

Well, don't compain to St. Peter that you weren't warned.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

What the Hell?

What I can't figure out is the point of this. The deer has a bullseye on it - should I shoot at it? Why is it waving its arms? Or is it pointing to its nether regions in a crude gesture of defiance?
I don't know if you can see it, but the deer is tethered to some power source within the truck, so the truck owner had to install the deer, run the cable, plug it in, and presumably NOT have an outlet to light his Marlboro Reds-in-the-box. If it were me, any giggly glee I felt at the prospect of displaying such a monstrosity would have been stamped out by the mere thought of the process of installation.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Truth in Advertising

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Welcome to Augusta.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Break it Down Again

So check this out. Here is a list of all the things that broke this weekend:
  1. my computer
  2. the laptop on loan from Chris
  3. the printer
  4. the DVD player was already broken but it irritated me all weekend just sitting there with its not-working self
  5. the car
  6. the car we were test-driving to replace the car that broke down
  7. the ceiling fan in our bedroom
  8. a candle holder that fell off the wall without warning
  9. Scott's third toe
  10. my digital camera battery (work, not personal camera)
  11. Emerson (she has a fever)
  12. Scott (he got dehydrated at work so they sent him home. He had to rest and drink lots of Gatorade and water)
We're clearly overdue for a gift from the Universe, and I'm thinking it will be something pretty big, like superpowers. Clearly, about the only thing that didn't break on us this weekend was my sense of humor - and dinner with Patsy tonight will at least wear that down pretty well.

Tune in tomorrow to see if I survived the cookout.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Why I Love My Daughter

I came home from a meeting on Thursday to find my husband in a panic.

"I need help!" he said, as he dragged the non-slip mat from the bathtub onto the back porch.

"Oh, god, the baby," I thought, and dashed inside to look for her. There she was, naked as the day she was born, running around the apartment with her arms over her head like an orangutan.

I picked her up, her naked butt against my right arm, felt her forehead for a fever, and checked her head and hands for injuries.

"Honey," I called, as I carried her out to the back porch, "I don't see anything wrong."

He sighed heavily. "She pooped."

I jerked my arm away from her butt. It was clean. Her butt was clean. I looked at him quizzically.

"In the tub," he said.

I snickered and went inside to check out her handiwork. Oh, look: with corn.

"Alright!" I said, laughing out loud. "Emerson made a good poopy!"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Epipstolary Complaint

Natalya -

Okay, there comes a time in a woman's life when friends should turn to her and say, "Stacey, we hate to be the ones to tell you this but... Dude, they could show a MOVIE on your forehead. Go out and get yourself some bangs."

Why did you people not tell me that I have male-pattern baldness? WTF? I would like to be told when I look like a freak of nature, so that I may amend what I am doing to myself, and look less freakish of nature. Sometimes it is okay to point out to people that their forehead is taking over, like a huge glacial mass on the front of my head.

There it is, in all its gleaming glory, white as snow, shining like a beacon to all the
huge-foreheaded-freaks of the world: "Huge-Foreheaded freaks of nature, HERE IS YOUR QUEEN! LARGE CRANIUMED PEOPLE OF EARTH, BOW DOWN TO HER! But be careful not to lose your balance and fall on your face, you top-heavy weirdos."Thanks for the "heads up." I will make a hair appointment ahora.

Love the nostrils, by the way.


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Monday, May 08, 2006

Stupid Advertising

What. the hell. is cashmere extract?

"We looked for the softest thing we could find, and this is it," a new Softsoap commercial tells television viewers.

Cashmere, FYI, is wool from the Cashmere goat, a kind of Asian goat. So what can you extract from wool? Mittins? Lint? That's certainly what my dryer trap extracts. And socks.

It turns out that the Softsoap website actually tells you, which may be a bad thing:

What is cashmere extract and where does it come from?

Goats have two layers of hair. The inner layer of their hair is soft and is referred to as cashmere. Cashmere extract consist of proteins taken from this inner layer of goat hair.

Mmmhmm. So, to recap, "cashmere extract" is goat oil. It is oil. It is from goat hair. It is goat hair oil. That has been extracted, and - why?

I thought hair oil was the kind of thing that we ladies paid Pantene to get rid of, and now Softsoap wants to add the stuff to our skin? I smell a cage match. Then again, I might be smelling goat.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Universe Now Just Messin' With Me

So, previously, the universe was hating me and was acting in a generally hateful manner that was full of hate. Now, however, the universe has backed off and is now merely chuckling to itself and tossing random obstacles in my way to its infinite amusement.

Let us discuss today...
I got four hours sleep before Emerson woke up. Scott slept in until 11:30 so I didn't get a shower because he had to leave immediately for class. Two hours later he called to say the transmission blew out on the car. He was walking home.

Repairs on the other car were going to be $300 more than we had to spend, but that's just the way it goes. When Scott walked in an hour later, he grinned. It wasn't the transmission.
"Something else makes a car shudder, shake, and go slow," he said. "A flat tire."
"Well, why did you walk home?"
"Because the jack is here."
We left it out of the trunk after changing the brake pads. Duhr.

Figuring he'd be starving after walking so much, I had marinated a whole chicken all afternoon and stuffed my special herb mixture under the skin for maximum flavor. I mixed up garlic-parsley mashed potatoes and a key lime pie. I popped the chicken in the oven, and just asked Scott to turn the heat down to 350 in 15 minutes while I took a shower.

When I got out, Scott stopped me from going in the kitchen.
"We're not having chicken for dinner," he said.
What did I do wrong? Did I put it on "broil" by accident? I opened the oven door and glass showered my feet. There sat my beautiful chicken, splayed on the rack, sans Pyrex baking dish. I looked at my husband.

"See, when I opened the oven door, I noticed it was crackling a lot. I thought, oh, it must need some more water in the bottom." He held up a coffee mug with water still in it. Oh, no. The sudden temperature change shattered the dish.

So I cleaned out the oven and popped the key lime pie in the oven to cook while I went to buy Popeye's to go with the mashed potatoes and green beans. When I got back, the pie was ready. "Scott will you take it out?" I asked as I unpacked the chicken.

He opened the door and yanked on the rack too hard! The pie plate came flying out of the oven - and landed on his oven mitt! Saved!

I collapsed against the refrigerator.
"Don't even laugh," he warned.
Too late.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My Husband, The Pied Piper

When we went in to speak to the prominent attorney and investigators about the bad thing, I went in a suit and heels, with planned factual statements and what I thought was a very calm, professional presentation that focused on what I knew and excluded personal and personnel issues.

Midway through, Scott – in torn jeans, a t-shirt, and ballcap – breaks into the conversation with, “Fellas, let me break this down for you. These people are criminals,” and gave a speech that made me look around the room for Jesse Jackson. I thought, “Shut up! You are making us look like crazy people!

When he left to go pick up Emerson, I thought they would turn to me and want to get back down to business. “My husband is a little emotional,” I imagined apologizing. “Your husband is a very eloquent man,” the attorney said.


He asked what Scott planned to do when he graduated. “Well, WGAC called him a couple of weeks ago,” I said. “He’s an honors student in the top two percent of his class, so he has a lot of options.”

Prominent Attorney shook his head. “He wants to work for Danny, not Austin. Tell him to give me a call when he’s closer to graduation.”

How does Scott do that? He hadn’t even had a shower!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Proof That the Universe Hates Me

So today, we met with a prominent attorney in regards to the bad thing that happened. I don't want to say much about it, except that it is neither personal nor personnel in nature.

His agency decided to investigate. So it's looking like a good day. Then Scott leaves the meeting and Godzilla steps on the car... or at least that's what it looks like. The wind caught the hood and it flew up, smashed into the windshield, knocked the sunroof askew, shattered the windshield, and bent the hood up.

Scott limped it home and I got a ride from an investigator. Pop quiz, which is less safe: No visibility, or no way to stop? I dunno. But when I got home, he had gone in the car with no brakes to get the baby. They made it home safe.

But then we had to put brake shoes on the car that Godzilla skipped over on his way to Tokyo. An hour after he began, Scott was back inside calling a mechanic. Eventually, we finished the brake job. It took three hours and we were both tired, dirty, oily, smelly, and pissed.

Into the shower we went. Being parents of a toddler and a rat terrorist with two jobs and five classes between us, sex has not been our priority. But the toddler was with grandma and while the shower began as a practical measure, it became a prurient one. Just as the theme from "Shaft" was firing up in my mind, I heard it: the world's most erection-killing sound...

... "Scawett?"

Seriously, that's how his mother pronounces Scott's name. And there she was, in the apartment, in the middle of our shower sex, with our toddler in her arms.

But, lo! The toddler was asleep. If I could just get her into her crib without her waking up, the ghost of Barry White might come back to visit. And maybe he would bring Marvin Gaye with him.

Slowly I crept back into the nursery. Just as I put her down, she sprung to life. "Hey, dog-dog!" she waved merrily at Scrabble.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Why I Love Penny

Only Penny would use a sentence like: "Well, more yodelly than I can yodel," and only I would be right there with her.

Birth Control is For Sissies

If you are the parent of a child under 2 years old, never ever at all not even once:
  1. Think your child cannot understand you. I said "outside" in the bedroom this morning, and Emerson, who was three rooms away, came racing into the bedroom yelling "nahnahnahnahnahnahnahnahnahnahnahnah" at the top of her lungs. That means she heard me say something she wanted.
  2. Think your child cannot hear you. Listen closely to whatever your child is saying while he or she concentrates on their play activities. I guarantee it will closely model whatever you say when you are frustrated.
  3. Squirt canned whipped cream into his or her mouth. Apparently, this is a frightening sensation completely not improved by the creamy goodness that follows. Emerson screamed for a solid ten minutes and then (once she had calmed down and reasoned through what had happened) hit me in the face.
  4. Put your toddler on a ride-on toy and push it forward - no matter how gently - with your foot. Inevitably, he or she will topple over backwards. Instant head injury!
  5. Convince yourself that you have child-proofed every room in the house. There are cabinets you have not even thought about since before you were pregnant, and your little pooper will sniff them out, test the doors, find it open and climb right in. Oh, there's the missing bottle of wine!
  6. Think you can understand toddler brains. His or her burgeoning ability to communicate does not give you an insight into what goes on in your child's mind. Emerson says "neh" (no) to everything. "Do you want a bottle?" "neh." "Do you want a snack?" "neh." "Do we need to change your diaper?" "neh." "Do you want to go outside?" "neh." The actual answers are: only if it's chocolate, yeah I want some cheesy poofs, don't freaking touch the diaper, and I want to play in traffic.
  7. Think the grandparents give even one care about your house rules. My mother has fed Emerson chocolate cake while sitting right in beside me and swearing the whole time that she was not feeding my child sweets at 10 p.m. at night how dare I suggest such a thing. Emerson's grandmothers will raise her to believe that cake-and-ice-cream is a perfect, nutritionally balanced combination that is good for any meal.
  8. Think that there is any way to keep your child's bodily fluids off of you. I have found baby poo under a fingernail, experienced the joy of being peed upon, wiped spit up out of my bra, and picked a booger out of Emmie's nose with my finger. Sound gross? My brother once had his son, Jackon, throw up all over his face. I saw it happen.
  9. Think you are ever getting a good night's sleep again. Emerson is 15-months-old and still wakes up in the middle of the night. If she doesn't, I panic and have to run in and check on her.
  10. Let your child out of your uterus. This is just asking for trouble. Install a stereo, a Playstation, and a window and call it a day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Just... no.

So Scott and I are flying high because we both have promising job leads that we are thisclose to snagging. They are good jobs, and we both want them like crazy. We may not get either one of them, but in our heads we're already spending our windfall of extra salary. I have a six-month plan that involves debt reduction, a certified pre-owned car, and furniture that does not require glue at the corners. Scott is apparently thinking about something different.

"Honey," he said, while we are reading on the back porch. "What do you think about, if we both get these jobs, maybe having another baby sometime next year?"

I stare at him, aghast. "Why you gotta impregnate me all the time?!"

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Do You Think Marx Cares?

I was making conversation with a lady while we were waiting in line at the grocery store. Both of us had our children with us, and we were cooing at them while they made friends. "Hey der dada," Emerson said, as she does to everyone. I will hold the woman's name because she is a teacher in Columbia County.

"And what does your husband do?" I asked. Now, I am aware that this question is sometimes used as a measure of social worth, but this was - rather obviously, I thought - not how I meant it.

She laughed derisively: "I think it's bourgeoisie of you to assume that I have a husband," she said.

Blink. blinkblink. blink.

"Well, would you rather I were proletariat about it?" I asked, and turned my back to her as I waited for the cashier to finish with the customer in front of me.

It was obvious that she meant it as an insult, but the term "bourgeoisie" is most often used by upper crusters looking down their noses at the middle class. She is middle class. The term is less frequently used by Communists and Socialists as an insult against middle class members whom they do not respect because they are of the opinion that they don't work for a living. Yet, again, she is middle class. Between the two of us, I am the proletariat.

Perhaps she was attacking middle class values. Maybe she has an alternative superhero hiding under those ubiquitous khakis and pastel button-down. It is possible that she has secret tattoos, and facial piercings to remove before she goes to work. She might tell people her child's name is Jennifer, when she was actually named Joyous Thunder by the charismatic head of the matriarchal polygamous cult of which they are a member.

All that would be fine... if she hadn't been wearing a wedding ring.