Sunday, September 26, 2010

Girl Power

Ali and I were watching Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief today when she turned to me and said, "Mom, I think there's something really wrong here."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah! Dude! Do you see all the dudes? Like Percy Jackson and Harry Potter and all those movies. There aren't any girl heroes. It's so totally not fair."

"You're right."

"And there's NEVER been a girl president," she informed me.

"Maybe YOU can be the first girl president," I said.

She pondered that a moment. But she has other plans. She wants to invent a chemical you can take that will let you age to about 50 years and then stay alive but never get any older and always stay healthy.

It's all part of her plan to keep Jeff and me around and healthy because she doesn't want to go through the heartache of losing us. She's also planning to invent a new way of eating that everyone -- even hoboes --can afford so no one will ever go hungry.

She spent part of the afternoon Saturday hanging out in back of the Subaru. She's got another idea of inventing a car that will have magic amounts of room so if you lose your job and have to live in your car, it won't be so bad.

These magic cars will be available on a sliding cost scale: a dime for hoboes or other down on their luck and millions of dollars for the rich, who don't really need the cars but will want them because they're going to be super cool.

She claimed hanging in the Subaru was part of her research. I tried to tell her that people who actually live in cars don't have laptops, books and snacks in there with them, but she wasn't to be dissuaded.

Continuing on with her plans for the future, she tells me, "And the only way to die will be from getting shot or murdered."

"If you can invent something so great like that chemical and those other things, can't you find a way to stop murder and crime?" I asked.

"No, Mom," she said, firmly. "Some things you just can't fix."

I'm going to start an account for her post-graduate needs right now. It can easily be turned into a campaign fund. The way I see it, she's destined to do something great regardless of what she decides on. Let me know if you want in....


Jeff spent the last two weeks negotiating with a replacement window salesman. I stayed as far away as possible because whenever Jeff gets going, we always get a fabulous deal but I want to slip his poor victim some money, or at least bandage their wounds. Jeff hit another home run and we finalized the deal on Saturday.

Within a month, the American WeatherTECHS crew should be breaking out the windows that were installed back in 1951 when Herr Gelb built our home. I'll submit a consumer report on Angie's List when they're done installing our fancy, energy efficient panes.
So far, the experience has been good. Well. It's been good for TeamReed. I do feel sorry for poor Dave.

I was telling Jeff's dad about the negotiation process and Ali overheard me. She grabbed my arm and said, horrified, "Did Dad really torture a man and make him give him his baby?"

I had some 'splanin' to do...


I saw a bunch of old Statehouse Press Corps friends this week. It's been more than 15years since I toiled in the basement during the legislative season. I had one of those moments when you see folks you haven't seen for a while and you wonder how it came to pass that they got so much, uh, more mature... And then you catch a glimpse of yourself in the elevator doors and you realize that you fit right in...

It was great fun, though, and I wish my friend Mike Smith only great things as he steps away from feeding the beast every day...

Well, the Colts have won, most of my fall decorations are up, we managed to get in one bike ride amidst our couch laying this weekened, and we're powering down to prepare for another work week. Have a great one!


Oh! I almost forgot. I've finally managed to drag my sorry butt across the acceptable weight range for my height, according to Weight Watchers. Cross your fingers that I get closer to the middle and can soon stop hanging on the outside railing like a first-time roller skater...

Once that's accomplished, I can go about trying to figure out how to stay there. Ugh. It'll be a never ending battle.

But with nearly a full 9 months in, a trip to the Bahamas in the spring and Jen's wedding in the summer, I have incentive to stick to it. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Great Weekend: could I have another?

We had Book Club Friday. The book was "One Day" by David Nicholls. At the risk of sounding like a chronic crank (we were united on this one) don't buy this book. It's awful. The characters are awful and their relationship is even worse. Another $16.95 and six hours I'll never get back.

But Book Club itself was way fun. Kate and I got into a giggle fest that brought me back to high school. Remember when you and a friend would laugh about something and then you just couldn't stop even though whatever sent you off the first place wasn't that funny? I swear I earned an activity point just from laughing.

Ali came home from her Friday sleepover early Saturday afternoon only to be absconded nearly immediately by some neighborhood girls. They flitted from house to house until our neighbor's little girl's birthday party, after which I came home with two extras.

With Ali gone Saturday morning, Jeff and I wandered around the Broad Ripple Farmer's market for an hour. It was beautiful weather and we ran into Duane and Kirsten, so it was even more fun. We finally got back to our happy threesome this afternoon some time.

Growing up in the country like I did, there weren't that many homes with kids my age nearby. Yeah, I was overrun with siblings, but the girls were too much older to really want to hang with me and the boys were, well, boys.

This weekend, I could hear and sometimes see Ali and the girls, all within a few years of each other, as they giggled and joked and ran around like gerbils from this house to that house to back to that one again.

Jeff and I did a little more yard work Saturday, but today the only real activity was a short evening bike ride.

Along the way, I made Weight Watcher's zero-point soup, cleaned the house a bit, did the usual chores and even started a closet purge. Not sure when that project will end. I'm going to call in Jeff for an ugly check.

The way I look at it, I'll have a better chance of keeping the weight off if I have to buy a bunch of new clothes. The guilt (and my cheap gene) will keep me on track if nothing else will...and whether I like to admit it or not, Jeff has a way keener sense of fashion than I do. So I'll end up with a more attractive wardrobe even if I don't buy anything new.

My favorite fitness trainer, Kelsey Taylor, claims she saw some muscular definition in my arm last week, and I could swear one day, also last week, I saw a thigh muscle overtaking a wad of fat in my thigh. I could be wrong. It's not like I'm actually familiar with real fitness yet.

My point is, I'm on the upswing. Maybe. We'll see what Weigh-in Wednesday brings...

Monday, September 13, 2010

My leg needs something to kick

Alison got off the couch the other day and started repeatedly kicking out her left leg.

She's been taking Tae Kwon do lessons, she had been watching an Invader Zim marathan for a few days in a row (it seemed to me) and she's sometimes fidgety, so it wasn't that unusual.

Then she said, "Hey, Dad. My leg feels like it needs to kick something."

He'd been equally stationary for most of the afternoon deep in replacement window or fantasy football research, depending on when you asked him.

"Oh yeah?" he said, in a fog.

"Yeah. It's been a while since I kicked your butt in Mario Kart."

And it was on.

It had, actually, been a long while since they'd taken a break from their racing addiction. Ali had a long, long record of besting the old man. But she was confident. Some might say cocky.

When he won the first race, she was suprised. When he won the second, she was annoyed. By the end, she was wishing she'd stayed on the couch.

Yesterday morning, I heard noises from downstairs early, but I ignored them and rolled over. Then, I decided I'd go work out rather than laze around and when I came back, they were at it again.

"She practiced," he said glumly.

And so she had. The crown is back on the red head. And they're back to the races.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Saving Susan(s)

Mother Nature is a bitch and worse, she thinks she is the boss of my yard.

I spent a good portion of the past three days reminding her that there's plenty of greenspace left in the world and she can just keep her nose out of mine.

It's the neighbors' fault, really. Mark and Jerry are going to take down most of the brick wall that separates our yards on the east side of the house. It's leaning. (The wall; not our house.) I wonder how much of that can be blamed on small red head and her gang of assorted fellow urchins who may or may not have used it as a tower to jump from, a balance beam to walk on and a "betcha can't do this" platform.

I'm trying not to wonder so much that I offer to pay for a portion of rebuild. I'll probably just blame Mother Nature. The wall is old. It was here long before we arrived. I'm sure it's not our fault...

Anyway. I have a bed of black-eyed susans that have basked in the shade of that wall for a few years now. Mark warned me that the wall crew comes this weekend. To save the susans, I had to dig them up and move them.

The first wheel barrow full of flowers went to the fence that separates us from the west side neighbor. They'd originally come from her yard years ago, and they've proliferated like crazy in ours. They grew so well, she actually got a little jealous, so a couple of years ago, I dug some up and gave them back to her, planting them alternatively on her side of the fence and then mine, thinking they'd poke through the pickets and be pretty for both of us.

They don't seem to like her yard as well as ours, so I've had gaps on my side this year. It's really been annoying.

I don't have any gaps any more.

The second wheelbarrow of black-eyed susans went to another flower bed across the yard, under the back porch windows. It's the crime scene where my backside was stung by a bee this summer, so I was wary. but I filled in some holes there, too.

On Saturday, I started working on the third wheelbarrow full of flowers but got distracted by the state of my front yard. My good friend Pamela planted some flowers and plants for me after I had Alison. It's filled in nicely, but it's all sort of at war. I moved the Lamb's Ears, which had been languishing as the flox, spikey grass and ground cover tried become lord of the range. We'll see how it does out in the open away from the battleground.

The spiky grass has been bullying the flox from Day 1 but I haven't ever really put the hammer down on the grass. I introduced the ground cover, thinking it would sneak in and choke out the spikes. I spent a good three hours digging out spikes. I relocated a little bit but bagged most of it.

I eventually relocated some flox across the walkway to fill in the areas left bare by the spikey grass eradication. It was bumping up against some other flowers in that bed. Why can't they all just get along?!

Today, I went back to the brick wall and got a third wheel wheel barrow full of susans and put them under the magnolia, and along the shorter end of the brick wall in the front yard. (That end is in good shape and won't be dismantled.) Then, I had to move some ferns that had overrun the stepping stones Ali follows to climb the magnolia.

In between all of that, we made time for a couple of walks, a bike ride along the tow patch and a trip to Lowes where I spent all the birthday money I'd gotten from my Maine family on nine new perinneals to fill in the bed along the driveway.

I told Jeff I was stopping at noon today, but it was probably after one o'clock before the tools were returned and the debris picked up. I stopped counting activity points, but I did allow myself some wine with and after dinner tonight. (I walked during that last glass, so I'm pretty sure I evened it out...)

Earlier, I'd made the mistake of noticing that the lilies of the valley that came with the house were encroaching again. Those things have more crazy roots than I do 5 1/2 weeks before my date with Julie at Ado Hair salon. And like mine, they refuse to stop coming back. It's maddening.

I ended up with four lawn bags full of crap, dead tree root and the remains of the tiger lilies and irises to show for my work.

There are still dozens of black-eyed-susans still along the back yard wall. I think I'm going to see if they can survive the great wall demolition and reconstruction project.

Jeff, who hates yard work, was a great help. Alison not so much. That's not really true. She makes a pretty good waterer, when she's not trying to water me. She even brought me an unsolicited cup of ice water this morning.

She's recently been allowed to subscribe to Moshi Monsters. Actually, seconds after I'd said yes, she'd found my credit card and was subscribing herself. It's been occupying a lot of her time, lately. I'm telling myself that it's educational...

I'm tired of the yard. As for Mother Nature, I think I'd remind her that I saved a bunch of susans this weekend. Surely she can find a better place for all the plants I don't want to see spring up next year...