Tuesday, June 30, 2009

All That And a Bag of Chips...

Picture, if you will, a small bag of chips. The kind you get with a Subway sandwich when you upgrade to a meal deal. Got the picture? I'm pretty sure I can snarf down that bad boy in about 2 minutes. Tops. And that's a conservative estimate. Yet it takes me son roughly 25 minutes to eat the contents of the snack bag.

This afternoon he came home from a full day of tennis camp and swimming and inquired about the small bag of Doritos he saw in the pantry. I usually don't have that type of deliciousness on the shelves of my pantry (for the aforementioned reason in paragraph one). I told him he was welcome to it, as long as he sat down and told me about his day. As I listened to his camp stories, I became fixated on his approach to eating a a bag of tortilla chips.

First of all, only one chip leaves the bag at a time. Never, not once, did I see more than one chip in his hand. Each chip is nibbled at least 4 times, sometimes 5 or 6, before it completely disappears in his mouth. And, each bite requires at least 10 chews before the chip is actually swallowed. While the chip is slowly pecked at, he twists and turns it as if he is in search of the perfect bite; as if, somehow he is solving a puzzle. He keeps his eyes focused on the Dorito while his fingers and lips gradually turn a bright, neon shade of orange.

He never speaks with his mouth full (note to self: keep up the good work in the manners department), so when I asked him a question, if his mouth was "full" (and by full I mean with an 1/8th of a piece of a Dorito chip) he'd hold up his orange-stained pointer indicating that I needed to wait before he could elaborate. I'm telling you, I was tempted to rip the bag out of his hand and shove a handful in my mouth.

Enter my daughter. Who has an entirely different approach to snacking. She also had a full day: field hockey camp in the morning followed by an afternoon of swimming. As she breezed into the kitchen where her brother was torturing me with his monotonous, deliberate approach to eating Doritos, she informed me that she was starving. She had a scoop of peanut butter for breakfast, a smoothie for lunch and now, at 5:00 pm she was standing in front of the refrigerator in search of the perfect snack. She had a few teeth pulled yesterday to make room for braces and her mouth had been throbbing for most of the day. She needed something soft, yet satisfying, so she settled on a cup of strawberry banana yogurt.

She used to have good table manners (note to self: revisit the concept of social behavior with my daughter), but they seem to have fallen by the wayside as of late. She managed to inhale the entire cup of yogurt in 3 ginormous bites. Quite the contrast to her brother. Not only did I see it, I heard it. She blamed the grotesque noises on the expander in her mouth and the gaping bloody holes that once housed teeth. Regardless, nobody should have to hear yogurt being ingested, thank you very much.

Thus my snacking goal for my kids this summer: normal bites in a timely fashion. A lofty goal, indeed. But if they can achieve it by August, they'll be all that and a bag of chips...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Tragic Week

I was chatting on the phone with a friend this past Thursday, catching up on our summer plans as well as the celebrity news of the week when she warned, "There is going to be one more death before the week is over, my mother always said these things happen in threes..." After we hung up, I sat down in front of my computer and was bombarded with the news of Michael Jackson's cardiac arrest.

My friend was right; first Ed McMahon, then Farrah Fawcett and now Michael Jackson. And so, I will always hold my friend responsible for Michael Jackson's untimely demise. Always. She's lucky she wasn't alive in Salem during the 1600's; I would have had her burned at the stake.

A tragic week, to say the least. They will all be missed. My 9 year old son and I spent Friday afternoon watching Michael Jackson music videos on YouTube. He was a big fan of the King of Pop, but he didn't know Farrah Fawcett, so we googled some photos of the beauty in her heyday. He wasn't all that impressed and after looking at a few Google images, he requested some more Michael Jackson music videos. (Forgive me, Ed, we never got around to googling you.)

But the week in news would not be complete if I didn't touch on Mark Sanford. South Carolina is a 20 minute drive from my front door, so I thought it was just the local media going crazy with coverage of his disappearence and reappearance. But apparently the rest of the world was just as curious: Mr. Sanford's lover's name drew more Google searches than Michael Jackson or Farrah Fawcett. It's a bizarre story, perhaps more wacko than Jacko. Either the man is a complete and utter assclown, or he completely lost it. I think it's a combination of the two.

His wife, Jenny Sanford, is also getting a lot of press. Some feel that if she had been concentrating on what was going on at home, instead of what was going on at the office, none of this would have happened. I'm not even going to comment on that load of crap. As if her husband's infidelity, poor judgement, and outlandish behavior is the result of something she did or didn't do. Please. Others are applauding the fact that she did not stand by her man - not when he went missing and not during the press conference. A Charlotte Observer blogger wrote, "Jenny Sanford is going through a defining moment in her life and she has chosen to put herself and her kids first..."

Kind of.

Sure, it's nice to see a woman stand up for herself....but I'm not buying the bit about putting her family first. To me, the definition of putting your family first is staying out of the press altogether. Why is she even granting interviews? It's none of our business what is going on in the private life of the Sanfords. (That coming from an avid reader of People Magazine who loves reading gossip and trash.) Why is she telling the media how she found out about the affair? I cringed when I read her words, "He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her." Did he really need to be told not to see his mistress? And did she really need to share that with the world?

Ms. Sanford went on to say, "You would think that a father who didn't have contact with his children, if he wanted those children, he would toe the line a little bit." I agree 100%, but I would have thought that a mother who claims that she is putting her children first would toe the line a bit when it came to spilling her guts to the media. Spill your guts to your family and friends, but spilling it to the media cheapens everything. She's a smart woman and I believe her intent was to use the press to her advantage: she sounded loving and forgiving and reverent. Mark Sanford comes off looking like a horse's ass, but in so doing, I think Jenny Sanford does herself an injustice.

I get that she is mad as hell at her husband. She has every right to be. And I get that she wants to hurt him. I would want to rip his head off. But what I don't get is when the Observer reports, "For Jenny Sanford, the focus is the couple's four sons." I would think if the four sons were the focus, she'd spare them the heartache of reading about their parents' marital woes in the newspaper .

Jenny Standford doesn't owe anybody an explanation. I wish the media would leave her alone. She didn't ask for, nor does she deserve the public humiliation. She is quoted as saying that parenting is the most important job; if that's the case, I wish she'd spare the kids by staying out of the spotlight (even if the coverage makes her look like a media genius).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Now Accepting New Patients

There is a dentist office a few blocks from my house located above one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. There is limited parking for the shops on the street and so this dentist has put up signs claiming a few of the spots for his patients and his patients only.

Every time I visit the restaurant (and I'm there more often than I'd like to admit) I think about walking up the stairs to the dentist office and inquiring about his lease. "Just out of curiousity, does your lease include those two prime parking spots in front of my favorite restaurant or is that just something you decided to do on your own?" I've also been tempted to park there and deal with the dentist and his drill if it ever came to a head. But the rule follower in me is not able to do so; I resent the signs, but a sign is a sign and so I obey. Needless to say, the dentist has left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended).

Yesterday I was driving by the office and noticed he's got a new sign on the road; a cheap, tacky, knee-high sign that reads, "Now Accepting New Patients". Rrrreally? So, if I had inquired about a teeth cleaning last month I would have been turned away and told that Dr. Parking Space Hog was not "accepting" new patients? Huh.

Granted, I am not in the market for a new dentist, I've been going to Dr. Sowell since 1987 and have no intention of leaving him for a hoarder of parking spots. And just for the record, I'm the kind of patient dentists would love to get their hands on as explained in an earlier blog. But if I were shopping around for let's say, I don't know, a new set of dentures, I would be the one doing the choosing, not the dentist. It would be me accepting a new dentist and not the other way around. I believe this dentist has his dental practice on East Blvd confused with a plastic surgeon's office on Rodeo Drive.

I realize that times are tough and people are probably foregoing their 6 month cleanings and this guy is doing his best to drum up some business. I just think "Accepting New Patients" is a bit much. For a dentist. On East Blvd. In Charlotte. I have nothing against dentists...in fact, I am desperately trying to cut back on expenses, too, but I would rather have my right hand cut off before missing a teeth cleaning. I love getting my teeth cleaned. If I ever win the lottery - and I realize that you have to play the lottery to win - something I do not do - but if I ever win, I'm going to hire a personal chef, a personal trainer and a personal dental hygienist (if they'll accept me.) So, believe me, I'm doing my part to support dentists.

I stopped at the coffee shop a few businesses down from the dentist office yesterday because I received a coupon in the mail. Clearly the coffee shop owner needs to talk to the dentist about how best to acquire new customers. Coupons = good. Accepting New Patient Signs = bad. Seriously, how would it look if the coffee shop had a sign outside their door that read, "Accepting New Coffee Drinkers."

Like I said, I am not looking for a new dentist. Lately my dentist has been practicing yoga with me at the Y. We've done sun salutations together, so even if I wasn't happy with his work - which I am - there's no leaving him now. Namaste. But if I were in the market, that bit about accepting new patients would not persuade me to inquire within. The only thing that might get me to visit that office is if the dentist gives up the prime parking spots.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

If It's Free, It's For Me...

It's been awhile since last I posted!

My family and I just returned from the Isle of Palms where we had the time of our lives. Some friends offered us their family beach house (after reading my staycation blog...the one that mentioned we would not heading to the beach this summer.) We were reluctant to accept such a kind offer, but man, were we glad that we did!

The accommodations were fabulous. The home has been in their family since the 1950's and it's loaded with family pictures and knick knacks and every time I came back from the beach, I felt like I was stepping into a novel. There is a lot of love in that house and we were thrilled to be a part of it. Mother Nature fully cooperated by giving us glorious weather and the icing on the cake was that a very good friend of ours and her family were vacationing on the island as well.

But now we are home and back to reality...

The first week that my kids were out of school, my husband was consulting in the Ukraine. The second week we were at the beach. So, this is the first week that all four Reids are home in Charlotte under the same roof. And just as it took some getting used to having my husband around when he was laid off in November, it's going to take some adjusting to having the kids around while he's trying to get some work done this summer.

I'm thinking if this gig continues, he's going to have to find an alternative to our 2nd floor office. Yesterday I had to time my vacuuming around his call to somebody named Vladmir in the Ukraine; not a problem as I'm happy to put away the vacuum and blame the dust bunnies on him. No, the problem is not in avoiding housework, but rather constantly having to shoosh the kids when he is on the phone with suppliers in Europe. I'm afraid, "Kids, quiet! Dad is on the phone" is going to be this summer's catch-phrase.

When he finally emerged from the office yesterday, I mentioned my concerns. Now, my husband is a very easy going guy, but when he replied, "I don't mind the noise, just as long as they don't fight" I looked at him to see if he was joking. He was not. Um, hello?

He'd barely gotten the words out when I heard the kids screaming and yelling followed by the sound of 4 feet thundering down the steps from the third floor. As long as they don't fight, you say? Chances are pretty good that there are going to be a couple of fights. And I'm not talking about a couple of fights throughout the summer, I'm talking about a couple of fights each day. Don't get me wrong, my kids get along rather well, and for the most part they enjoy each other's company. But, like most siblings, they have their moments and those moments are often LOUD.

I mentioned to my BFF that I need to find some free office space on East Blvd (East Blvd is two blocks from my house; I'm envisioning a walking commute). I realize that I've taken the whole "if it's free, it's for me" thing a bit too far, but surely there are some empty offices that he could keep warm until the economy picks back up? He has a laptop and an iPhone, so no need for electricity or a phone line (although an overhead light might be nice) (but a big window would do in a pinch). He doesn't need much space, but he does require a door because when HE CALLS THE UKRAINE HE SPEAKS VERY LOUDLY. In exchange for the free office space, I'll provide freshly baked muffins in the morning and delicious snacks in the afternoon. Surely that's an offer some desperate landlord can't refuse, no? I will add that he's a very likable guy and would be an asset to any office.

My friend very kindly responded with an offer to use her house as office space. She's got a beautiful office (that overlooks a pool) and said that he is welcome TO TALK ON THE PHONE AS LOUDLY AS HE WANTS as nobody is home during the day. She pointed out that her courtyard is a lovely place to work and added that she would make room in her fridge and pantry for snack storage. Now, that's what I'm talking about....

If he doesn't take her up on her kind offer...I just might.