Wednesday, February 22, 2006

No, no, don't call the police. It's just a tea bag with bones.

The tender thumping of basses in parked cars that normally drifts through my neighborhood after dark was violently interrupted this evening by blood curdling screams coming from my kitchen.

My darling husband was standing outside in the cold with the dogs while I sifted through the dishes in the sink, trying to get all of the small items in the dishwasher. After doing so, I went to check to progress of some pans that had been soaking (because, you know, when you're a wife I guess that's what you do-check the progress of things soaking.) As I shifted the various pots and pans around, I noticed something lying next to the drain at the bottom of the sink. I *thought* I knew exactly what it was and I *thought* I knew exactly who was to blame.

You see, every Friday Ross has accountability time with MattWhite. They call accountability, I call it their tea party. There is a special box of tea set aside that is only for their meetings-we are not to touch that tea at any other time. Matt always drinks out of a red mug and Ross drinks out of his Mickey Mouse mug, the only novelty item found on a display rack actually printed with the name "Ross." I know exactly which mugs they use because they always leave them in various parts of the house for me to find later. In efforts to curb this habit, I took action and spoke to MattWhite, because he's a take action kinda guy. I was assured that the mugs would be in the sink post-tea party, and he has not failed me yet. However, I still find tea bags either caked in the mugs or to some surface very close to said mugs. I was sure that what I saw at the bottom of the sink was an almost week-old tea bag, the reminence of MattWhite's and/or Ross's carelessness. And I was ready to yell.

The shrill of "RRRRRRRRRROSS!!!!!!" was halfway out of my mouth when I reached down to pick up the "tea bag" and discovered it was a drowned mouse. My reproach was interrupted by a primal and desperate scream of utter disgust as I flung the mouse back down into the sink and threw myself against the screen door, unable to get Ross's attention in a more civilized manner. While waiting for him, I proceeded to flail about the house, gagging slightly, and still screaming.

He ran inside, looking thoroughly confused by the sight of his wife well into a nervous breakdown. Eventually he managed to decipher my words. He peaked into the sink and said, "But it's so small," to which I responded, "I thought it was a tea bag. But the tea bag had BONES!!!!!!!" This explanation received the ever elusive Ross Catrow Full on Belly Laugh. But, being the brave soul that he is, my dear husband retrieved the furry and boney tea bag from the sink and placed it gingerly in the trash can outside. But not before I ordered him to take a picture for your enjoyment. I'll put it up as soon as we get it off the camera. I hope the full extent of my trauma will be an enjoyable and fullfilling experience for you once completed. Count this post as just an appetizer...the main course is on it's way. WOULD YOU LIKE TEA WITH YOUR DINNER?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Crazy-A**ed Dog

I got an email this afternoon from Ross saying that our dog Shooter had another seizure. Shooter had his first seizure at 4am one morning in May. After frantically taking him to the emergency clinic on Cary, we chalked it up to a freak thing and moved on. Well, I called Ross after getting the email, interrupting him as he nursed Shooter through his *second* seizure for the day. If you've never seen a dog have a seizure, it's one of the most pitiful sights imaginable-and Ross had to watch it twice today. If you know how much Ross loves Shooter, you understand that this was heart-wrenching for him.

Anyway, I dropped my kids off at resource and left work early so we could get the ol' pooch (who was inexplicably drooling so much that his entire upper-half was soaking wet) to the vet. They checked him out, did some blood work, and $240 later, told us that his seizures weren't frequent enough to put him on meds, and we should just keep a journal of his behaviors and contact them if it happens again. A lot of good that did. However, we did receive confirmation for something that we have believed for a long time: it is highly possible that Shooter is clinically OCD and that his symptoms flare up like crazy before he has a seizure. Allow me to list some of Shooter's "quirky" habits that indicate a true medical condition:

1. Sniffing the doorknob in our bedroom every two minutes. He will seriously leap up off of the bed and fly to the doorknob about 10 times before he will settle down for the night.

2. Whenever someone gets up from the desk chair in the office, no matter where he is the house, he will run for it so he can sniff the edges.

3. He will step up and down on the loveseat in the living room several times before actually coming up to sit with you.

4. For a two day period last winter, he would walk in circles in his crate, nipping at "something" in the corner as he passed it.

5. He once chewed on his feet so much that we had to bandage them up. He looked like he had been in a war.

Sigh. At least our other dog is ridiculously normal. But I mean, we love Shooter like crazy, OCD and all. It's just been a very long day.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Teacher Shoes ^ Maxxxxxxxxx

I <3 my faux dansko shoes. They are faux because I got mine at Rackroom Shoes and not via the Internet or the Walking Company. But mine look pretty much like this:

Rather than paying $114 for comfort, I paid $39.99. I'm told that I would be even more comfortable had I gotten the "real" ones, but I think if I were anymore in love with these shoes, we would be approaching a weird area. I now wear these shoes whenever I am awake. They are currently acting as slippers as I type this blog. They are not cute; they are not dainty. But daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn, I could stand up all day in these things. When I am no longer poor, I will go buy ones that look like this, and this, and this, and this. And my life will be grand and orthopediacly fit.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Happy times

The sister is engaged! We are so so happy to have a new Bonus Brother coming soon! Congratulations Robin and Matt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Summer, I love you. Please come back soon.

The last few days have been a total tease. Even some dandelions started pop up, thinking that the bitter days of winter had passed, to be followed by the joyous warmth of Richmond in the spring/summer. The teachers at school were going out for recess duty even when they didn't have to. Classes were being conducted under the big tree in front of the school or in the courtyard because we couldn't resist the glorious weather any better than the kids could. I love being able to go outside just wearing my jean jacket (embelished with my "I love math" button). My dogs ran around outside with their tongues flapping out of their constantly smiling mouths, refusing to come in because rubbing their faces in the grass and digging giddily was just too wonderful to put an end to.

Now it's snowing. WTF. The dandelions have shriveled, I have to wear my big black jacket that I hate, and my dogs refuse to set foot outside. Screw winter. I SUPPORT GLOBAL WARMING SO I CAN GO OUTSIDE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I love my family so, so much.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What I took from work today...

I'm amazed by how few parents understand that all children lie, especially concerning situations that get them into trouble. What amazes me even more is that the children who get in trouble at school for lying the most often have the parents that are the most adamant that their children always tell the truth. You would think after hearing that your child has had their pants on fire for six years, you might catch on.

Quizzie poo

[Marital Status]married
[Shoe size]7 1/2
[Parents still together]no
[Siblings]Bryan and Robin
[Pets]Shooter and Zapp (both dumb dogs)
[Animal] puppy
[Drinks] Amaretto sour
[Soda] Coke
[Book] To Kill a Mockingbird
[Flower] Iris
[Color your hair?] yes, very much so
[Twirl your hair?] no, there's not enough of it
[Have tattoos?] no
[Have Piercings?] in my ears
[Cheat on tests/homework?] no
[Drink/Smoke?] yes/no
[Like roller coasters?] yes
[Wish you could live somewhere else?] no
[Want more piercings?] no
[Like cleaning?] sometimes
[Write in cursive or print?] both
[Own a web cam?] no
[Know how to drive?] yes
[Own a cell phone?] yes
[Ever get off the damn computer?] yes
[Been in a fist fight?] yes
[Considered a life of crime?] no
[Considered being a hooker?] no
[Lied to someone?] yes
[Been in love?] yes
[Made out with JUST a friend?] no
[Been in lust?] yes
[Used someone] yes
[Been used?] yes
[Been cheated on?] I don't know
[Kicked someone in the nuts?] no
[Stolen anything?] no
[Held a gun] yes
[Current clothing] pink sweater, jeans, green socks, slippers
[Current mood] exhaustified
[Current taste] chocolate
[What you currently smell like] kid dirt
[Current hair] tousled
[Current thing I ought to be doing] eating dinner
[Current cd in stereo] ummm, i have an ipod
[Last book you read] Smashed: The story of a drunken girlhood
[Last movie you saw] Half of the Fantastic Four
[Last thing you ate] A candy bar that as I got as a present from a student
[Last person you talked to on the phone] my moms
[Do drugs?] no
[Believe there is life on other planets?] no
Remember your first love?] yes
[Still love him/her?] no
[Read the newspaper?] if it's on the internet
[Have any gay or lesbian friends?] friends by association
[Believe in miracles?] yes
[Do well in school?] yes
[Wear hats] no, but i should
[Hate yourself?] no
[Have an obsession?] sure
[Collect anything?] dust?
[Have a best friend?] yes
[Close friends?] yes
[Like your handwriting?] yes
[Care about your looks] yes
[First crush] Just Van Gorden in 1st grade
[First kiss] Jonathan Lukens in 9th grade
[Do you believe in love at first sight?] no
[Do you believe in "the one?"] yes
[Are you a tease?] no
[Too shy to make the first move?] no
[Daydreamer] no
[Bitch/Asshole] no
[sarcastic] yes
[Angel] no
[Devil] no
[Shy] yes
[Talkative] no


Monday, February 13, 2006


My step-father's mother died on Saturday. She was a great lady. My mom married my step-father, Stewart, when I was 15, my sister was 17, and my brother was 21. So, along with a new daughter-in-law, Joyce got three grown grandchildren. She accepted us without question and hen-pecked us like we were her own. I remember that every Christmas she sent us each a fifty dollar bill in an envelope marked with our name in quotes. For six years I got envelopes marked with "Valerie." Then when I got married, they were marked with "Valerie and Ross." Always in quotes-it never failed. And if I didn't send a thank you note immediately, boy did I hear about it.

Joyce got sick a little over a year ago and they didn't give her very long to live. Eventually she refused treatment and decided she just wanted to be at home and go her own way. She spent the last few weeks going over with my mother exactly what she wanted for her funeral, down to the menu from Ukrop's to be served at the house after the service. She even bought herself some new underthings and a new pair of shoes to go with the dress she wore to my wedding, her outfit of choice to be buried in. She was a no-nonsense woman in every sense of the word. She didn't sugar-coat much and the coming of the 21st century did very little to change her way of doing things. I miss her very much, even though we didn't see her very often after she got sick.

I did my best to call my mother often to check up on her and Stewart as they got things sorted out. It was good to hear her laugh about some of the things they found in her house (apparently she had quite a collection of dirty books-gasp!). The service is on Wednesday. My hubs has never been to a funeral before. I tried to explain to him what it was like, but all I could say was that it's something that you just do. You don't want to be there, but you don't *not* want to be there, either. And one doesn't rejoyce at the fact that he/she is quite accustomed to going to funerals, like I am.

Regardless, I hope we do things that way she would have wanted us to. I hope I have the presence of mind to be as specific with my loved ones as she was. I've talked to so many of my co-workers who have had to makes plans for their family members who never wanted to talk about what should happen when their time comes. Not that Joyce would have had it any other way-she always knew what she wanted and I hope we do well for her on Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Who <3's Math?!?!?!?!?!?!

My school does, that's who! Last night we had our very first "We Love Math Night." We enticed families to the school with $3 dinners consisting of Olive Garden spaghetti, salad, and breadsticks. Then, after stuffing their faces, we wowed them with the fun that math can be. There was a raffle and prizes and candy abound! We had a great turn-out and the parents really got into helping their kids out with the activities. My group taught the kids about tanagrams and we had just as many parents playing with them as kids. People were jumping up and down and yelling when they solved the puzzles. It was so great to see the kids in a less formal setting and to just get to play with them. I will confess that I spent a considerable amount of time racing through the halls with some of my students. Don't tell the principal! I know they won't-I gave them hush money. And by hush money, I mean hush-Milky Ways. Sigh, it was a great night-one of those that makes me pray that I have a huge flock of rambunctious, math-loving boys one day. I mean, I'm married to one already.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The nakeds

Friday was the first Friday of the month, so as per semi-usual, Ross and I made our way out to Broad Street to get some free access to what the Richmond art world has to offer. But that night we had a particular destination: Gallery 5. I'm sure it was your destination as well, considering half a Richmond was there to see one particular exhibit: NAKED PEOPLE!!!!

Ross and I had been hearing about this exhibit for a while, via his connections with Patchwork Collective who is BFF with the Gallery 5 director. As soon as we heard about it we knew we would have to go-it would guarantee to be a night full of awkward situations and Ross and I looking at each other and whispering, "OHMYGAHHHHHHHHD!!!"

There was a decent line when we got there around 7:30. Once we made our way into the building, we stopped to watch Matt White of Patchwork conduct his improv jazz/rock/tunrtable/etc. esemble. The DJ even made Ross a balloon hat. The, FINALLY it was time to go stare at nudes and be immature. After standing for 30+ minutes in line composed of people who either wanted beer or wanted to see naked people (the bar and stairs to the exhibit were right next to each other-poor planning indeed), we triumphantly made our way up the stairs. And there they were: The nakeds.

They were posed atop pedastles, sheerly painted with various designs, trying to not look at the people who were trying to not seem like pervies as they looked at them. There were various parts everywhere, and it seemed that no one knew where to look. The thing that made me laugh was how quickly people circled through the exhibit. Cause I mean, when you look at a painting or sculpture, you can stand and stare, lean in a little to get a better perception of texture or stroke. But, if you did this it would just make everyone feel uncomfortable. Maybe that was the point. I dunno. But I *do* know that when we left the building, the line had gotten INsanely long, almost wrapping around the building. What can you do? Richmond loves the nakedness!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Don't Fall in the Hole!

The pipe has been fixed! We have water! We have a hole big enough to bury someone in our front yard! I have never been so happy to see caution tape in my life. The wonderful folks over at Kelleher came and fixed us up today. They had to make the hole bigger, and we'll probably have to call them back to replace the entire pipe later on, but we're set for now. The hole is still there and I've decided to look at it as a monument to our experiences in homeownership.

While I was lying in bed last night, I was thinking back to all of the "catastrophes" we've had in our house since we've moved in. By the grade of God, they started out very small, just to break us in. Allow me to recap.

1. First day: The pilot light on the water heater goes out. We have no clue what to do. We call my stepdad, the boiler specialist. He tells us to light the pilot light. It takes two more phone calls for us to realize that he means that we actually need to use fire to light it.

2. Light downstairs flicker every few minutes. We think it's a major electric issues. My father-in-law tells us we just need to replace the breaker. He was right.

3. A few months later, the upstairs toiet starts leaking. We wait many weeks before doing anything, and opt to just stop using that toilet. Eventually we get it fixed by Jack, a very flaky but very nice plumber.

4. Jack to the rescue again. After Chris Wolf goes under our house, we discover that we have a leak pouring out the equivalent to a bathtub full of water everyday. Jack patches it up, and pretties up our crawl space while he's at it.

5. Water heater cracks. Jack replaces it within days, and cleans up our water heater closet. We start to think he should be our maid, too.

6. Water spot appears on the ceiling in the back bedroom. We promptly call the roofer people. They fix it. So now we just need to coat the ceiling with Killz. Yeah, like that'll happen.

7. This week's saga of the busted pipe.

As you can see, God has been merciful, adding to our load just a tiny bit each time, instead of starting us off with a whammy. Hopefully this will be it for a while. And if not, I know we have awesome friends/family/Jacks to get us through.