Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We have a winner for the Quirk Factor's ugly home atrocity contest! Actually, there was only one entry- but it was a good one. I guess that's what happens when you only have a handful of readers! It's okay, I love you each and every one of you.

Without further ado, the winner is...Jodi from Reimer Reason!

If anyone is unfamiliar with Jodi's blog, you should really check it out. She writes from the heart, and her son's smile is the closest thing to sunshine that I've ever seen. So, go on over there and give her a big "monkey shout". Seriously, go check it out. Now.

Oh! You wanted to see the winning entry? Well here it is- This is a picture of the surprize that lay under the carpeting in Jodi's family room- faux river rock vinyl. Fabulous!

That doesn't just river rocks.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Them's fightin' words.

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that Jaysen has a preoccupation with videos. If you're new to this blog, let me just say that preoccupation is an understatement. He has an addiction.

My son loves videos. Primarily the Baby Einstein and So Smart series. VHS tapes come in first place, with DVD's running a close second. You can gauge his anxiety level just by how many tapes he has with him at that time. He carries these tapes everywhere. He studies them, talks to them, plays with them, sleeps with them, eats with them, and occasionally even watches them. My son is also 6 years old.

That being said, he received his first dose of true, mean-spirited, kid taunting.

We went to Dollface's house to help her put up her fence, and let the kids play. Jaysen really likes her kids, especially the two younger ones, and her son is the same age as he is.

I have found that there are instances where kids will either be really open and encouraging with Jaysen (usually girls), or they think his quirks are "weird", and tease or shun him (usually boys). In the latter instances, Jaysen hasn't appeared to care or notice, and seems to brush them off. Until now.

As kids will be kids, and kids will be crabby when tired... the kids were playing out back. All of the sudden, Jaysen runs from the back of the house, crying. I asked him what was wrong, and he managed to snuffle out "he...said...' tapes' !"

Ah. The peer pressure has begun.
T-rex had fired an insult at Jaysen, and it hit a nerve- bulls eye.
The dilemma is, he does watch baby tapes.
Because he was so upset, I told him that if T-rex hurt his feelings, he didn't have to play with him- that he could play with Kayleigh instead. So he and Kayleigh went off to play.

Later that night, I revisited the situation.

Me: When T-rex said "you watch baby tapes", how did you feel?
Jaysen: I mad. That's mean. I don't like T-rex and he not my friend.
Me: I know your feelings are hurt...
Jaysen: Yeah. He hurt my feelings. I don't wanna go over anymore. Ever again.
Me: Well, kids argue and tease each other. You'll be friends again.
Jaysen: I not going back ever again.

Me: Jaysen. Let's look at your tapes. See right here where it says for babies?
Jaysen: (reluctantly nods his head)
Me: I know you really really like your tapes, but maybe it would be better if you left them at home, or in the car, when we go places? You could have them at home, but keep them at home?
Me: What do you think?
Jaysen: (excited) I know! I know what I can do!
Me: What's that?
Jaysen: I can speak up!
Me: Yes, you can speak up for yourself- what would you say?
Jaysen: I say 'you don't say that! That's a bad word, and you don't say! It hurt my feelings!

(such a problem solver. I realize that this is where I'm supposed to say "yes! Speak up for yourself and it will all be good!" But I'm also realistic, and know that this sort of stuff doesn't fly with kids)

Me: Jaysen, I don't think kids will understand what that means. I don't think they would know what you mean by 'that's a bad word'. I have another idea. How about when we go out, what if you let me help you pick out a tape that other kids won't tease you about?
Me: When you start second grade, kids will probably tease you about the tapes. Second grade is too old to carry around things like that. You don't have to come up with anything right now, but think about it and we'll figure something out.
Jaysen: (somber)...okay.

And thus was Jaysen's first exposure to real heartbreak. I'm sad because my baby's feelings were really truly hurt, but I'm relieved that the incident happened with T-rex and not a schoolmate where it could have formed a chain reaction that spread like wildfire. I'm thankful that Kayleigh was empathetic to Jaysen's pain and offered to pull him aside to play with her. And I was pleasantly surprised that Jaysen's first solution was to "speak up" (for himself).

I knew it would eventually reach this level with the tapes, and I'm curious as to what the outcome will be. Peer pressure is a powerful thing, and I'm hoping he will be influenced in the right direction. I always said that I was not going to force him to give them up, as his attachment to them is fierce. He will have to make the decision on his own, with my guidance and support. It's not going to be easy, and he will be facing his very own internal battle. Meanwhile, my heart is breaking for him.

A parting thought: Isn't it odd that when the influence is negative, we call it "peer pressure" - but when it's positive, we call it "modeling"? Interesting.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Contest time!

That's right! The Quirk Factor is holding its very first contest. My "ugly wall" has motivated me to seek solace in other people's home atrocities!

All you have to do is submit (or link to) a picture of your very own home nightmare, with a description of what it is. Submissions will be open for one week, so have your entries in by Tuesday the 29th.

Once all submissions are in, Jaysen (who gave the "ugly wall" its moniker) will help me decide which entry is the most atrocious, and we will choose a winner.

The winner will get... a surprise care package! Whoot Whoot! What will be in the care package, I haven't decided yet- but if it's coming from me, you know it will be chock full o' good stuff. And by good stuff, I mean a few interesting items, as well as a fair amount of snark. Then again, depending on who the winner is, you may get a whole package of snark.

So be proud and show off your atrocities! Distasteful flooring under your new carpet? Rip it up and let's have a look! Okay, don't go that far- the care package will have minimal monetary value.

Your motivation:

(for those of you just joining, this is what I found under my ugly wallpaper when I tore it down. Yes, it is a semi-permanent part of the actual wall.)

Jodi: if you would like to play, resubmit your lovely find so I can have all the entries in one section.

Good luck, and may the ugliest/most interesting/surprising home decor win!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes part 2.

Those of us with children, know that they change us in body, mind, and spirit. Those of us who have had children a little later than planned, are aware that the "body" part of those changes, do not necessarily spring back as easily as it had when we were younger.

After I had Jaysen, I was back to my pre-pregnancy size within 2 months. Rylan... a whole other story. Rylan was so cruel to my body, that I am still left with this (among other things) wonderful little reminder of him in utero, in what I can only describe as what looks like silly-putty where my lean, flat stomach used to be. Jaysen lovingly refers to it as my "squishy belly". Yes, this child does me wonders in the self esteem department.

You must also remember Jaysen's prior obsession with "boobies" and The Great Boobie Predicament. Since our talks about breasts being "private parts", he's gotten better with this and doesn't try to gratuitously sneak a squeeze or perseverate on the word itself anymore. Matter of fact, he doesn't really even say the word "boobies" much above a whisper.

That being said, I took Jaysen swimming. We were in the locker room changing out of our bathing suits (because there is no way I would allow him to go into the men's locker room by himself), when I took my top off and turned to grab my shirt, only to hear Jaysen laughing-

"Mommy, I can see your...oval things."


Oval things?


Friday, July 18, 2008

Vacation highlights

We're back from Charlevoix! Yes, we missed you too.

First, some awesome houses designed and built by Earl A. Young:

A mushroom house

And a hobbit house

Then there was swimming:

Lots of fun at the beach:

And watching the sunset:

Of course, Jaysen had his own highlights, which he captured himself...

The draw-bridge:

Ice cream:

And the vending machine at the hotel:

It was a very nice getaway, despite that it was cold for most of the time. Beach-fun was mostly limited to playing in the sand and on the playground, but it warmed up the last day, and Jaysen was happy he finally got to swim in the lake.

Companion and I met the "town crazy" who had coffee with us one night. Well, we were having coffee, he was pouring vodka into a coffee cup. He also took his shirt off so Companion could "check out his tan" 10:00pm. That was just before he pulled out a joint, and told me to take a scissors to my jeans and cut 'em off really really short- y'know, to show everything off. Eep. Go away scary-man.

In other news, Jaysen lost another tooth in Charlevoix. He is now missing both of his front teeth, which makes conversation interesting with him. He'll ask me a question, and gets frustrated if I don't understand him. But he's finding out all of the cool things you can do with no front teeth- like drink through a straw, eating french fries, and inserting other various objects into your mouth without opening it.

Oh! I did manage to ask Jaysen if he was still going to get married while we were there, to which he replied, "I did!" Hmm... I suppose I missed the wedding.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

U-G-L-Y You ain't got no alibi...

We leave tomorrow for vacation, but first, I leave you with this-

I've gotten the itch that my life needs change. More like a renovation. Since I actually like my life (as chaotic as it may be at times), I decided to wreck the house.

We bought the house from a 92 year old woman. She knew her stuff when it came to gardening, but for decor? Let's just say it looks like a 92 year old woman lived here. It's not the age of the house, my house before was built in 1922 and it had so much character...*sigh* it was adorable. This? Ugly.

I decided that the kitchen was the first place to start. I can't afford for real renovations, so I thought we would take down the orange and yellow flowered wallpaper and slap some paint up there. You should have seen the look on Jaysen's face when I told him to tear off the wallpaper! He looked at me like I was thirteen kinds of crazy. Once he was sure I wasn't joking, and he really could rip off the wallpaper, he had a blast.

When we first moved in this house, the first thing I said was "that wallpaper has to go." Trust me- this is in the running for the World's Ugliest Wallpaper. At least that's what I thought until I saw what was UNDER it.


My hideous wallpaper before:

And the atrocity that lay beneath it:

A little closer...

Oh yes, folks...those are chickens.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Declaration of nusiance.

That's what it said on my ticket-

I had the hearing for my great lawn debacle today. You remember the lawn attached to the house that I haven't lived in for 2 years now? The one that just won't foreclose? Yeah, I had to go to court for that. I was the last person called- bonus, because I presented in front of an empty courtroom.

As I approached the podium, I came face to face with the officer who cited me, officer Hovarth. Or Horvath. I can't remember his name exactly, but all I knew was Magilla Gorilla was standing there. This bad mamma-jamma stood like 7 feet tall and was 300 lbs of stock. I was in the presence of the grand intimidator, or a WWF reject.

After the judge swore us in, Magilla presented his side of the story- grass was long, blah blah blah...

And I presented mine- I had a neighbor maintaining it, but I was not aware that they were only doing the front yard. I also was not notified until after the 7 days allowed for me to rectify the problem had passed. I admitted responsibility, and agreed that I was absolutely at fault.

Magilla had pictures that he wanted to submit into evidence. My grass was 10-12 inches high, when the city limit is 8 inches. The judge looked at me, I said I wasn't arguing that the grass was out of control. He told Magilla I wasn't contesting the condition of the lawn, but Magilla persisted about the pictures, Judge caved, and said he could show me the pics if he wanted to, which of course, you know he did. Apparently, you are not allowed to have brawn and brains at the same time.

This guy loves his job. The lawn enforcer. He was proud of his pics, would not work with me when I had called the previous week, refused to lessen the cost of the maintenance. Forget that there was no leniency despite the fact that crackheads stole my lawnmower. Magilla loves his tough-guy buzz cut and the fact that he's saving scraggly lawns across the city.

The judge said that since I wasn't fighting the responsibility, and that I have maintained the property for the past 2 years without any prior violations, he would drop the ticket fine down to $75, contingent on when I pay the lawn maintenance fee in full. Okay- cool. I walked across the street, paid my $370 to the city, and went back to settle up with the court (thanks Dad!). So, I'm done with that.

It just sucks that we're leaving for Charlevoix on Friday, and I just had to hand over our vacation funds. Whatever. I can just picture officer Gorilla giving his shoes a nice spit shine tonight, after eating his rare steak. With his fingers. And his napkin tucked into his shirt.