Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Day As a Slug, Part II

Did I mention this house is really small?

So I came home from work Saturday and I was exhausted. Not because of work, mind "volunteers" for the day -- court-ordered community service -- didn't show. So I worked on our database all morning so that the Washington Post will receive only 25 of our mailings at a time instead of 150 (many people receiving multiple copies). Things like that. Hardly taxing -- but abysmally boring.

Anyway, allergies bothering me, poor night's sleep, etc. Suffice to say I was tired.

I really just wanted to get comfy and watch movies for the rest of the day. And knit. Since I'm knitting a gift, I insist on calling it "doing something," so that when Dirtman asks me what I did that day, I can say "I worked hard knitting so-n-so's such-n-such" and it doesn't sound like I beached myself in a chair and watched movies.

So I said to Zsa Zsa (because, you know, I never talk to myself), "Why not? I'm not going anywhere and Dirtman will be at work until 9 o'clock. I'm going to get in my flannel pajamas, knit and plug in the DVD series known as Movies Only Mom Likes."

(I have one pair of flannel pajamas that are affectionately know as my Oxymoron Pajamas. They're made of heavy, warm flannel, but have pictures of popsicles on them. This amuses Heir 1 no end.)

So I did.

And no sooner did I get myself installed in my comfy chair (All together now: Not the Comfy Chair!) in my baggy flannel pjs and fuzzy slippers (oh, yes. fuzzy slippers) next to the fireplace with my mug of tea and my knitting with Lion in the Winter playing, than Heir 1 and the entire Strasburg High School Classes of 2005, 2006 and 2007 came marching through my livingroom.

Dogs barking, doors slamming. More cars driving up. More dogs barking. Somewhere in all of this is Peter O'Toole screaming, "There'll be pork in the tree tops come morning!" (which is, like, the best retort ever when someone says, "When pigs fly!").

Anyway -- not the most relaxing moment and we won't even go into the loss of dignity of being caught in your flannel pajamas at 2:30 in the afternoon.

I followed up Lion in the Winter with You Can't Take It With You, which should be required viewing of every Wall Street executive, whether they still have a job or not. Meanwhile, more people were cramming themselves in Heir 1's bedroom. (He claims they were all just the same people coming and going.)

I even attempted to get into the kitchen to make brownies, but another wave came through and if being in your pajamas at 2:30 in the afternoon is pathetic, being in your pajamas at 2:30 in the afternoon and making a pan of brownies is just sad and depressing.

Finally I gave up and retreated to my bedroom with Zsa Zsa, Abbey, Whiskers and Topper, who at this point was having a nervous breakdown because he could hear strangers in the house and because he's like the Don Knotts of the Aussie world. (Topper and Salt have the crud again this fall. You regulars remember the annual Topper/Salt crud. It's not pretty.)

So today I have to make up for slacking off yesterday. And make brownies.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Other People's Cookies

You know it’s there.

No one wants to admit they know it’s there, but it is.

I don’t know about your grocery store, but in mine, no one is ever in the cookie aisle. In fact, they make a point of virtuously marching past it; may even snarl something like, “We can skip that aisle” – as if they were selling porn or heroine or cheap romantic fiction down that aisle.

I have fond childhood memories of the cookie aisle (big surprise there, right?) that involve my mother…well, there is just no other way to say this…shoplifting.

Well, not shoplifting, really. Everyone did it. Back in the day, there was always an open package of cookies in the cookie aisle. I don’t know if this was a peculiarity of grocery stores in New Jersey or a courtesy left over from the “olden days,” but there would be two or three open packages from which shoppers would help themselves.

That was back when shopper weren’t afraid to be seen in the cookie aisle.

I do believe that it was actually the grocery manager who opened those cookie packages to entice people down the aisle or to offer a free sample.

We were, as were our fellow shoppers, always very courteous about our treatment of the open cookie packages. No one took more than one per person. Since children were always supervised, there was no danger of a little Finster grabbing a handful of Oreos and sticking them in his pocket.

Can you imagine if they still did that these days? Mothers would be leaving kids in the aisle while they shopped. They’d be demanding the service of juice lest little AshleyBrittneyCaitlin choke on crumbs. And then there is the danger of peanuts and all the liability involved (I’m sure there is a reason – buy why were peanuts never a problem 40 years ago? Have to Google that…).

Anyway – no more shoplifting in the cookie aisle these days. No more nothing in the cookie aisle these days.

I know this because Dirtman sent me there this weekend. Our resident cookie baker (me) HAS BEEN A LITTLE BUSY OF LATE, so I was forced to venture to this aisle – I have to admit – I have purposely avoided. I have no defenses against Mr. Chips Chocolate Chip cookies (the original, please; stop messing with perfection).

Have you been in the cookie aisle lately? It’s like entering an airlock. You can’t hear anything going on in the rest of the store in the cookie aisle. The air is dense, holding the sweet smell right at nose level. It’s narrower than all the other aisles, so there is no getting away from cookies in your face.

And you are always alone. I think this is because, upon entering the cookie aisle, you enter into your own, personal dimension. Yes, the food marketing industry has cornered the market on this technology so you can fill your cart with Nutter Butters, cover them up with bags of Romaine lettuce, and no one will ever know.

So, there I am in the cookie aisle, alone. I grabbed three flats of generic sandwich cookies (representing only three nights of snacks around here…) and was slipping them into my cart when – suddenly – a glitch in the technology.

A woman and her daughter appeared before me. Our eye contact was for only a split second and we all looked away, like we'd walked into each other’s stall in the ladies’ room.

But then I saw the mother look at the cookie packages in my hands with disdain. I realized she couldn’t help notice the cliché of a middle-aged fat woman holding a pile of sandwich cookies. I wanted, at first to be defensive, but realized she was in the cookie aisle too.

I wanted to say, “Those ain’t exactly rice cakes you’re holding, sister.”

Only they were.

I slunk out of the cookie aisle and back into reality, where I promptly marched up to the service counter and complained that their Dimensional Transcendation Manipulator was on the blink. I would not be back to buy cookies until it was fixed.

Fortunately, there are other grocery stores in my area…

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's sort of an animal picture...

...okay is was the first full-price movie we've seen in over a year and a half.

...we had to go.

I ask you: A film comes out called Men Who Stare At Goats. Are we not, in fact, obligated to see it as soon as possible?

Actually, all this came about when I, clicking about the internet and came across the trailer for the movie. I would have bet it was a Cohen Brothers movie -- it's not. But maybe that's because it stars George Clooney and Jeff Bridges (think: The Dude joins the military...).

"We have to see this movie!" I said and Zsa Zsa. But I more meant me and perhaps another...human.

Later that day, Heir 1 came home from work and announced that, no matter what happened between then and November 6, there was a movie we were going to see first run --

I broke in and said, "Men Who Stare At Goats?" (Actually, to be honest, I couldn't remember the name of the movie and said something like, "Men and Their Goats," which pretty much sounded like a movie from an entirely different genre...)

Does it make me a bad mother because I went to see the movie on an afternoon Heir 1 had to work? Well, it was the only afternoon that Dirtman and I both had off together and, coincidentally, the afternoon that John Boy offered to pay.

We went to see the movie at this place that just opened up called Alamo Drafthouse. Basically, you take your seat and they wait on you -- snacks, entrees, drinks -- Guiness on tap!!!!! (Guiness on tap requires multiple exclamation points and they don't count against your quota.)

I know they have similar places in more urban areas, but this is a new concept around here.

I repeat: Guiness on tap!

Anyway, the only thing I will say about the movie is that I recommend it. To say anything else would ruin it. Seriously, the less you know, the more you will enjoy it.

Many quotable lines. You know how we Linguinis love those quotable lines...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Too, too Twain

Abbey, helping me to enjoy Mark Twain

There is very little wiggle room in our entertainment budget these days, but I decided that my share of the whopping $30 a month (this includes gas money to get to wherever we are to be "entertained") would be a basic subscription to Netflix.

I'll admit that I really didn't get the concept of Netflix when it first came out and, to be honest, my public library has a huge selection of DVDs -- not this year's (or even last year's) releases but, if you're patient, you eventually get to see what you want. And, naturally, we have video rental places, but even those are pretty much out of the budget range, not so much because we can't afford the rental, but because a per-night rental fee is really not cost-effective.

Anyway, I signed us up for a trial period and was pleased to see how accommodating Netflix is about enabling you to cancel after the trial period (which I'm not going to do). We signed for the absolute lowest cost, which enables us to receive only one movie at a time, return it, then wait for them to receive the return and send us another. What this means is that for approximately $9 a month, we receive two movies a week, plus all the online stuff we want.

How pathetic is my life that this entire arrangement makes me so exceedingly happy that I feel the urge to post about it? When I say all this out loud to people, it sounds really lame. Saturday, when I came home from work and found myself completely alone, I watched all 3-1/2 hours of the Ken Burns documentary on Mark Twain on the Netflix website. I haven't been so happy in a long time (exclamation point excluded due to overuse).

Tonight we're watching Cold Comfort Farm, which I've seen several times (originally at the recommendation of John Boy -- go figure) and has become one of my favorite movies.

Honestly, I do try to keep Dirtman's interests in mind as I add to my Netflix queue, but after a while, I can't help myself. I start clicking on all the Myrna Loy movies, all the Spencer Tracy movies, Cary Grants, Katherine Hepburns, all the pretty-costumes-that-might-possibly-translate-into-everyday-wear movies, all the "I think that too" movies and, most of all, all the "I want to click my heels three times and be inside of this" movies.

Dirtman doesn't stand a chance. He doesn't try.

Dirtman has seen about 15 minutes of each movie picked and promptly falls asleep in his chair -- even the movies he's personally chosen. So I have absolutely no remorse in chirping "Tonight we're watching Henry V!" (Sorry-- I figured I'd have to use the exclamation point with a verb like 'chirping').

I might add that most nights I'm here all by myself, so a steady stream of Thin Man movies isn't going to bother anyone. And -- I might add -- I live with a man who watches Dog, the Bounty Hunter (the mention of which made me throw up a little in my mouth).

I rest my case.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Benadryl-induced Post

I suppose I'm writing this into the ether. There can't possibly be anyone left out there...

I have no burning issue to discuss. I only offer this by way of an update.

It almost hurts to come back here, to this blog where I've mostly expressed my adventures in being a homemaker and mom. Perhaps I came across as smug about my roles, it was unintentional. Yet, I must have. I have a few people who have more or less told me "So there -- now you know what it's like to have to work for a living." Because -- you know -- frugally maintaining a home and raising two boys to be assets to society is totally not work...

I notice a lot of people when their circumstances change this drastically start a new blog with a different tone or stop completely. Besides, blogs are rather passe' these days, what with Facebook and all. (I'm afraid I'm a little too wordy for Facebook, though I do have a page.)

Instead, I will continue on with Linguini -- if only to keep myself honest. So I won't edit my past by deleting what I was, though life these days bears very little resemblance to the future I thought I was aiming for five years ago.

Believe me, the domestically-inclined, introverted Sisiggy is still here. Only she's been dragged out of her nest and forced to pretend she's a perky extrovert. And she's waiting for the much-talked-about moment when "acting like" becomes an actual part of her personality.

Ohh -- this became way darker than I intended.

Let me just say that I do have a very good job and I work with very nice people. The Volunteer Farms continue to be on the up-and-up ethically and financially and, while I might not quit (can't afford to), I would not be sharing its links and "friending" the organization on Facebook if it were otherwise.

Okay. Enough. So on with the newly-updated Sisiggy, the working woman; the (gulp) perky extrovert. This Sisiggy is forced to use lots and lots of exclamation points! She has cornered the market in exclamation points used in e-mails! Because she is an extrovert! And she's very, very perky!!!!!!