Friday, February 8, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Is it February already? How in the heck did that happen? Sometimes I feel like our lives are moving at light speed! Well, let's see . . . what have we been up to?

It's been raining cats and dogs this month. In fact, we now have a 3-foot hole at the top of the slope in our back yard and a huge pile of sand in our flower beds. We had to cover the hole with a tarp. In spite of the damage, I'm happy for the moisture. I hope it helps the 7-year drought. The hills around Southern California are so green and beautiful; I'm pretending that I live in Ireland.

Claire has been "quacking." "What is quacking," you ask? Claire and her friend have been dying to go toilet papering, but I haven't been too keen on the idea. I don't want to open Pandora's box and end up spending the next 3 years with a yard full of T.P. streamers flying from the trees. It's been raining so much, it would be a total disaster. So, in lieu of toilet paper, we thought it would be really funny if we bought a bunch of fake yard ducks to stick all over our target's front lawn with a sign that says "You've been quacked. Pass it on." The idea is that "the target" can then take the ducks to another house, and so on, and so on. However, Claire decided that she would rather make ducks out of card stock. "I think it's going to lose some of it's pizzazz" I said. But she didn't care, she wanted to craft. So, she invited her friend Haley over and they spent the entire evening making ducks and attaching them to Popsicle
sticks. (I think the ducks look a little more like parakeets, don't you?) They dressed up in crazy outfits (to avoid being identified) and we drove over to the house of a friend, Paul Davis, the first official recipient of "the ducks." We cruised past the his house to check it out, and of course out in front, were 7 parked cars, full of teenagers. Paul has big sisters. We parked around the corner and waited for all the teenagers to disband. We sat there for about two minutes. I have to pause here and say that waiting turned out to be an adventure in itself. Do you recall the days of "hide and seek" when you would hide and wait for an opportunity to make it back to the safety zone? For some reason, the minute you hide, you instantly have to go to the bathroom. No amount of concentration will make that urge go away. Well, the minute I pulled around the corner and parked the car, I had to go to the bathroom. Bad. It was "hide and seek" all over again. Sadly, I am old and can no longer "hold it". I had to drive like a maniac back to our house for a "potty break." I almost didn't make it home. (How embarrassing would that have been; wetting your pants with tweeners in the car. Claire would never speak to me again! Even worse would be getting pulled over by a policeman for speeding.) Fortunately, by the time we got back to Paul's house, the teenagers were all driving away. Claire and Haley went into action and tip-toed town the street. They finished so fast that I thought they had been caught. I insisted that we go back to Paul's house so I could take a picture of them. They didn't want to go; they were too terrified of being caught. It was so hilarious. We snuck back to the house, and there in one corner of the lawn, right next to the side walk, was a little pile of ducks sitting in a 10-inch circle. (Like that makes any kind of statement!) I said: "You rookies, you have to cover the entire lawn, not just a little 10-inch corner." They didn't care about doing it right, they just wanted to get back to the car. So, I quickly took a picture and we skee-daddled. Regardless of their amateur de'but, I think Claire and Haley had a lot of fun. They can't wait to do it again.

Last Saturday, Eden and I took a field trip to Ikea
. Ikea is Eden's favorite store. It has everything he loves: mod furniture and Swedish stuff. (Did I mention that he is currently obsessed with Scandinavian anything. Right now I'm listening to some horrible Swedish singer on the stereo. I think her name is Bork). We had lunch in the Lingonberry cafe -- Swedish meatballs; my personal favorite. Then, we spent about 2 hours looking at all the cool stuff. Well, to tell the truth, we were forced to spend 2 hours in the store as we weaved and wandered into all sorts of road blocks. It's impossible to find your way out of that place! We seriously could not find the way out until Eden discovered a hidden door that lead to the exit. When we at last saw the checkout stand (which by the way, has no bags or boxes), Eden bought a cool lamp for his room.

Eden has also been very interested in the Primary Elections. On "Super Tuesday" we spent the evening watching all the returns come in around the U.S. Eden says he really wants Hilary Clinton to win because she would be the first girl to be President. He thinks Hilary
has the most experience because she has lived in the White House. (I think Hilary should hire Eden to be one of those people who telephones the Democrats and asks them who they will be supporting as their candidate. He asks me about every 5 minutes.) The next day, Eden asked me who won. I had to explain that we wouldn't be voting for President until November. He was so mad! He does not want to wait that long. Neither do I. I don't think I can take six more months of: "You should really vote for Hilary, Mom."

Matt is still loving work. ( If you read January's blog, you know why.). This job is going to involve A LOT of traveling. In the next 6 weeks he will be traveling to Northern California, Italy, and Israel
. (Here's another confession. I make fun of Matt because I am secretly jealous that he gets to travel around the world. In the past 10 years, I've traveled to Utah, Utah, Utah and Las Vegas. Some day, I hope to make it to Idaho.)

Matt has a new hobby and I'm happy to report, it does not involve any high-risk, thrill-seeking, or emergency room visits. A week or two ago, he bought a steering wheel and gas pedal for his Play Station 3. It has been the hit of the neighborhood. The other day, I went upstairs to do some laundry and there was Matt, sitting with 3 or 4 neighbors (who are all under the age of 7)(the neighbor kids affectionately refer to Matt as "Eden's Dad." It's hilarious to hear them talk. "Eden's Dad", can I have a turn driving?") I finally had to kick them all out so we could eat dinner. His race track buddy (an adult) has been coming over too. They are working on some setup that will allow them to race each other over the racing cars. Neither of our kids were there! Matt and his "peeps" took turns driving with the new steering wheel. Internet
. I'm actually thankful that he's driving in the playroom, and not on a race track. For his birthday, Matt wants a metal driver's seat to go with the new steering wheel.

Last week, Matt helped Eden's scout troop earn their wood working badge by making stools. He spent a lot of time cutting out all the pieces for the boys to assemble. I have to say, Matt has the patience of Job. I went out to the garage to see how the project was going, and there was Matt, at the table saw, with 7 hyperactive boys running around screaming. I think if it were me, I would have cut off my hand! It made me so nervous, I had to avert my eyes and close the door. (The spots you see in the photo are actual wood chips flying from the table saw. Don't ask me why no one has on safety glasses.)

As for me, I've been busy helping my sewing buddies finish dance costumes for Temecula
Dance Company's competition team. As most of you know, I decided that I no longer wanted to be in the sewing business. However, my friend Dana, whom I used to sew with, is still making costumes. My heart goes out to her. Right now, she has the biggest mess you have ever seen in the middle of her kitchen, living room, bathroom, and dining room. In fact, it moves right on out the front door. There is fabric and thread everywhere you walk. I'm not exaggerating. Last night, her husband was frying bacon and eggs right next to a pile of costumes. The first competition is tomorrow, and she's still not done. I remember how horrible it was trying to get all those costumes finished. I had to stay up all night long for a week straight. I just couldn't let her do that, so I offered to help her finish up. I only managed to make a dent in a never-ending project. Dana still had to burn the midnight oil. (That might explain how she came down with a case of pneumonia.) Dana wasn't the only casualty. Somewhere in the middle of all the chaos, my sewing machine fell off the table and is now in the repair shop. In spite of all the mayhem, we got everything done right before all the parents came to pick up costumes. I had a lot of fun with Dana this past week. I admire her grace under pressure. She also makes me laugh (a lot)!

Elphie
has been making lots of trips up the slope to visit the 3 foot hole. She has also enjoyed taking walks to her personal poop-yard; a patch of ground cover around the corner near the elementary school. Her hair is getting too long. She can't see because she has some sort of bang covering her eyes. She's also been suffering from insomnia as she has been jumping on Matt and I in the middle of the night. Nevertheless, we love her. (Especially me, and I'm the one who really didn't want a dog!)

Before I close, I learned from Claire that Paul Davis just discovered who it was who Quacked his house. I asked about his response. Claire said: "Paul thinks that Quacking is the dumbest thing ever." Bummer. Next time, I think we better hit the dollar store and purchase some plastic flamingos.

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