The turtle

There is a saying at my office: “Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” About a year ago, I distilled that into something more concise: “This is a YP.” (YP = Your Problem) Granted, that phrase actually came from my brother Jeff, but it’s a good phrase all the same.

I haven’t been to the office yet this week, and I stopped by this morning. There was a little gift on my desk: a necklace with a charm in the shape of a cranky turtle. The turtle is holding a sign that says, “Not My Problem.” The necklace was accompanied by 1. some pictures of a stranger’s wedding that Target Photo Center accidentally mixed in with some photos of a project of ours (wow; lots and lots of glitter on that bride), and 2. a note from my coworkers:

In an attempt to provide visual cues to the rest of us, for the times when you do not wish to be helpful to your clients, we have purchased this necklace for you. If, at any time, you feel you need to deflect responsibility for something, all you have to do is put on the Turtle. Then, when someone tries to dump something on you, you simply say, “Sorry. I’m wearing the Turtle.” [Note: Dave says that the Turtle will have no power at home, so don’t try using it to get out of dishes or baths.]

Huh. I’m going home.

And I’m bringing the Turtle.


    Your cousin is marrying his Baby Momma next summer. All of the cousins in your family are very close, so you are all surprised that no female cousins are in the bridal party.  Baby Momma has chosen no less than 15 attendants, none of whom are related to the groom. Instead, she asks you and your sister to hand out programs at the church. The catch: she wants you to wear the same dress as the bridesmaids, for a cost before alterations & accessories of $250.00.

    I told the person for whom this situation has come up, that I would ask around for opinions. I say, for $250 I’ll walk down the aisle and stand in the front, or else I’ll wear my own dress. WWYD?

      Again, my husband outdoes me.

      We got each other tattoos this summer as an early anniversary gift, and our anniversary is coming up on Monday. So I thought that, as a little lagniappe gift, I would have Dave’s Swiss Army watch repaired and give it to him when we go out on Saturday. Well, they called yesterday to say that they need to send it someplace else, that has the tools required to do the repair that his watch needs. So it won’t be ready tomorrow.

      And then, last night, Dave gave me my “little extra gift:”
      Grind & Brew

      Argh. He always, always, ALWAYS outdoes me on gift-giving occasions. Only one time did I ever beat him, and that was the time I took him on a surprise 4-day weekend to New Orleans. And that was 6 years ago, so clearly I’m clinging to an old victory here…….

      Any ideas on what to get for him, for tomorrow?

        Halloween costumes

        Here’s where we stand:

        Gabby loves Care Bears. So I meticulously tracked down, bid on, and won a Cheer Bear costume for her. It arrived Saturday, she took one look it, yelled, “No way!!” and ran off. I have yet to convince her to so much as touch it.

        Cameron loves dinosaurs. However, it seems that where dino costumes are concerned, you have your cool-but-expensive ones, and then you have your reasonably-priced-but-dorky ones. I finally found one that straddled the line (a little, anyway, I still paid more than I wanted to), and I expect it to arrive tomorrow or Thursday. Cameron, however, expected it to arrive within 5 minutes of our order. The fact that it has inexplicably not yet arrived, a whole 24 hours after I ordered it, will surely render him comatose with depression if it does not show soon. And God forbid it doesn’t fit. In fact, forget I ever said that.

          Pick your Favorite:

          After an entire day of horror in the bathroom down the hall, we’ve decided to take the direct approach and hang a sign. Which do you like best?

          “My 2-year-old can flush the toilet. Can you?”

          “No one wants to hear from your Curried Chicken”

          “Seek Medical Assistance”

          “You know someone else is in here with you, right?”

          “That’s How You Get Hemorrhoids”

          “Please Choose a Lunch That Agrees With You”

          Any other ideas?

            How does that shoe taste?

            Once again, I have totally put my foot in my mouth. Some colleagues and I were talking about a really annoying client, whom I have met in person and they have not. I said, “He is the biggest loser. First of all, he told me he lives with his mother. Secondly, he’s got a stupid long ponytail consisting of about 7 hairs, a mullet in the front, and he has… a….. moustache…..” At this point I realized I was not only describing our client, but I was also describing my colleague’s husband. I just tried not to look at her as we finished the conversation but I know she made the connection, because I immediately got about 500 Instant Messages from other people in our office, laughing at me for describing the Ultimate Loser and having it match her husband to a T.

            Then, not TEN MINUTES LATER the client came up again, and I thought to myself, here’s a chance to say something about the client that makes him such a total dork that R doesn’t take it personally. So I said derisively, “You know what else about that guy? I guarantee you he’s a Trekkie.”

            You got it– R’s husband is a Trekkie.

              How to Have a Bonfire

              1. Marry man who insists on keeping financial records from the Time Before the Moon.

              2. Convince him to destroy all records from the 2 oldest years (this will take approx 7 years of marriage).

              3. Somehow get it into your head that it will be fun to have a fire in your firepit, on the patio, and use the financial records as kindling.

              4. Choose a hot and humid evening. (Be sure to sell the idea to the kids ahead of time, so you have no chance of backing out for weather reasons.)

              5. Bathe kids, get them into pajamas and assemble s’mores ingredients while husband inexplicably makes 4 toasting sticks out of wire hangers (why four?!?!? Does he plan to give each kid a stick and say, “Here you go- stick this into the fire while Mom and I grab a beer?”).

              6. Have husband forget everything he knows about fire and physics, and stick a shopping bag full of paper into the firepit, pack wood tightly around it, and attempt to light. In ensuing thick plumes of undoubtedly toxic-fume smoke, repeatedly save blinded children from running into the caustic flames.

              7. Take some photos of husband trying to start fire. Note that husband is not amused. Wonder if neighbors have called the fire department yet.

              8. Allow kids to play on swingset in the dark, while fire gets going. Look up just in time to see son at bottom of slide, blindly holding out his arms while his sister barrels down the slide like a bullet– straight into his face.

              9. As you run to the rescue of 2 screaming, bloody children, notice that the burning shopping bag has collapsed. Husband is now holding 2 sides of the firepit closed, and looking worriedly at the other sides.

              10. Daughter is fine. Son’s upper lip is shredded and approximately the size of a banana. Give him freeze pop– freeze pop sticks to skinned lip. Daughter notices freeze pop and shrieks for her own.

              11. Fire is, miraculously, going and under control. Lawn and house are not aflame. Make some s’mores with kids, then put them to bed.

              12. Sit outside with your feet up on your husband, chatting idly and watching the fire. Realize that you have had an awesome time tonight.


                Dave likes to make me breakfast in the mornings when I go to the office. He also packs me a lunch to take with me so I don’t have to figure out what I’m going to eat. But several problems have cropped up here:

                1. He packs my lettuce and tomato EACH in separate baggies from my sandwich, and includes a teeny little Tupperware with mustard (so that everything is fresh at lunchtime). So every day I’m going through 3 Ziplocs, besides which it takes me 10 minutes to assemble everything.

                2. He packs too much food, every day. Then he thinks I’m not eating enough during the day.

                3. He thinks I’m short on protein, so he makes me scrambled Egg Beaters on an English muffin every morning for breakfast. I have told him that this is too much food, that I would rather have a banana or maybe a yogurt smoothie, but he insists that this is better. So as a result, every morning I get to the office and am absolutely stuffed.

                Now, I know what you’re thinking. And I totally realize how thoughtful this is of Dave. But if I keep eating according to Dave’s Megadiet, I’m going to have so much junk in my trunk that none of my clothes will fit. So I guess the real question in this: how do you get through to a man, who is doing something nice for you, but who is also convinced that he knows better than you, what you should be eating?

                  How much Wood Trim is Enough?

                  I don’t know if Dave and I will ever truly fit into suburbia, because we continue to have that uniquely urban attitude toward our neighbors, i.e. Don’t Bother Me and We Won’t Bother You. Those of you who live in a large city know what that’s about. But we now live in the suburbs, which means making friends with our neighbors. (BTW my neighbors are all nice people– it’s just the concept I have trouble with.)

                  On Wednesday, I got cornered. We were on a walk, and Cammy stopped to play with some kids playing in their driveway. I normally wouldn’t mind their playing together, but I really wanted to get home and give the kids a bath; but the husband made a beeline for me: “Hey, how’s it going? Did you move in recently? We just moved in about a month ago” blah blah blah. So I was chatting with the husband and mentally searching for an escape, when he mentioned that he was putting up trim in his kitchen. “I bet it looks great,” I said absently…. and the trap was sprung. “Come on in and have a look!!!!!” and before I could formulate a response, we were in the house.

                  Oh my God, the kitchen trim. It was like…. you know those cars you see on the road that have been COVERED in chrome, everywhere? The cabinetry in the kitchen is white, countertops are white, walls are white. And the trim is honey oak, and it is everywhere. The top of the backsplash. Along the sides of the backsplash. All over the kitchen island. Around the pantry door. Along the top AND THE BOTTOM of all of the cabinets. This contrasting oak trim against the white painted surfaces. Wood grain against smooth surface. It looks quite simply, absurd. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And I said, “Wow, it looks fantastic!…… but I really have to go.”

                  I dread passing by their house again. I might have to declare that street a no-fly zone.

                    “Don’t laugh” revisited…..

                    We were having dinner, and Gabrielle decided she wanted to get down; however, she hadn’t eaten anything; she seemed to be trying to absorb the pizza through her skin instead as she was covered in sauce. So, she started sticking her leg off the chair, saying, “I need det DOWN….. I need det DOWN…..” and Dave said, “Gabby, you cannot get down until you get cleaned off.” And then the deathmatch began:

                    Gabby [enunciating very clearly as though Dave is an idiot]: Daddy. I. Need. Det. DOOOOOOOWN.

                    Dave: Gabby, if you’re getting down, then I need to wipe you off first.

                    Gabby: [staring Dave in the eyes, starts easing herself off the chair]

                    Julie: [bites inside of cheeks to keep from grinning]

                    Dave: Gabby, do NOT get down until I have wiped you off.

                    Gabby: A-wight. [puts toe on floor]

                    Dave [sternly]: Gabby!

                    Gabby: [jumps and yanks foot back up]

                    Dave: Okay, let me just…..

                    Gabby [singing loudly]: I need det DOWN….. I need det DOWN…. I need det DOWN……..

                    Dave: Gabby, that’s way too loud. Please stop it.

                    Gabby [leaning over the table so we can all hear whispering]: I need det DOWN…. I need det DOWN…..

                    Julie: [still trying to hold it together]

                    Cameron [shaking his head sorrowfully]: Wook at her, Dad. She’s gonna get down.

                    Julie: [starts giggling quietly]

                    Dave [sternly]: Mommy, this is NOT funny. Gabby, I will be right there to clean you off. Stay right there on that chair and….

                    [Gabby suddenly makes her move. She jumps off her chair and scrambles onto Dave’s chair. Once there, she pushes her hair back from her face with her sauce-covered fingers and starts airily eating Dave’s pizza. I’m trying like hell not to laugh as Dave decides whether this is an infraction of the rules, and Cameron congratulates Gabby on an excellent jump. She sees me wavering, and decides to finish me off:

                    Gabby [to the McDonald’s jingle]: Dah dah dah dah……. I wuvin it!!!!

                    Yep. I started laughing. I can’t freaking help it– she’s just so damn funny sometimes.

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