Some Might Have Called It A Disaster…

Posted in Everyday Life on May 16th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

… but not me.  I’m talking about my hugely busy, albeit super-fun weekend.  It began Friday night when we took the kids to the Fort Wayne Tin Caps (minor league baseball) game.  We decided to go mainly because we needed to get to a Ticketmaster outlet to buy tickets for an upcoming arena football game.  Since we live in a rural area, the nearest Ticketmaster is an hour away, but the drive to the city to get tickets was still cheaper than all of the service fees Ticketmaster wanted to tack on for phone or internet orders.  So we decided while we were in the city, why not take the kids somewhere fun, so we decided upon the baseball game.  The only problem is that we found out just as we were leaving (at 4:10) that Ticketmaster closed at 5 – we live more than an hour away, especially at rush hour on a Friday evening.  It was a big deal because we had already bought our baseball tickets, and the only reason we decided to go to the baseball game with such a busy weekend ahead was because we were going to use the money that we were going to save buying the football tickets at Ticketmaster – except now we weren’t going to make it by 5 (did I mention that Ticketmaster’s website said they were open  until 6?  So this really wasn’t our fault…)  Long story short, we arrived there at 5:20, and the people at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne were very accommodating.  We got our arena football tickets at the original price without the crazy sur-charges – YAY!  So on to the baseball game…  It was fun, though we had barely sat down on our lawn seats when my almost 2-year-old son took a tumble and was one dad-catching-his-shirttail away from falling from a 3-foot-high ledge onto cement and cracking his head open.  We promptly moved seats, and after my son ran around for a bit, we were actually  able to watch some of the game, even though our team lost.

Saturday was my daughter’s birthday party, and we ended up with about 10 kids (this is a guesstimate – they were never still enough to count them all!).  Thankfully, the weather was nice, so we decided to keep all the kids outside for the entire party.  The kids started to get rambunctious, and it was difficult to keep so many kids entertained and out of trouble for so long (note to self – next year, an hour is plenty long for a kids’ birthday party) – we had the parents coming 2½ hours after the party  started on Saturday, which was WAY TOO LONG!  Everything was going ok though, until one of the party guests opened the gate while playing hide n’ go seek.  Suddenly, we had 2 dogs loose and roaming the neighborhood.  2 of the adults fanned out to go catch the dogs, and I was left to control the 10 kids (AND my son and his cousin who are around 2 years old).  Some of the kids were scared for the dogs, some were bored by being outside, some were whining for cake, and others just stood there, looking as shell-shocked as I felt.  Then the phone rang, and it was a neighbor on the next street over (whom I’ve never met) saying that they have our dogs.  Thinking my husband was still around, I followed my mom and oldest daughter with some leashes to capture the dogs.  Somewhere in the melee, it became apparent that my husband was just on his way back from looking for the dogs, and he comes back to the entire birthday party which he thought was unattended (though I was leaving as he was coming), but in the meantime, my daughter had decided to lead her guests into the house, like some sort of catastrophic parade.  We got to the neighbors house, but they only had one dog by this time, so my mom and my daughter went to find the other one while I returned the puppy to the house.  When I got back, we were still missing a few adults who were out looking for the dogs, and my daughter the birthday girl is begging for her cake.  Eventually, my mom and my daughter returned with the dog, everyone was fine, but we were still missing some adults who were still out looking for the lost-now-found dogs.  We found everyone, and tried to relax, even though there was still an entire hour left of the party –  WHEW!  For the most part, the kids were good, but there was one little girl who was not a very good listener.  She seemed to rub off on  the other kids too.  Is it a coincidence that this is the same little girl who had opened the gate in the first place?  For the rest of the party, she was obsessed with the puppy.  She wanted to hug him, squeeze him, and hold him every second.  After his romp around the neighborhood, he was quite tired and made an easy mark to catch, but he was still a good sport –  good thing he’s great with kids.  I asked her to leave the puppy alone at least 4 times, and I heard my mom doing the same, and later my husband said he also tried, especially when he saw her dragging the puppy by his collar.  She reminded me of the character Elmyra from the cartoon Tiny Toon Adventures.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, I had fun finding the following clip – picture this little girl at our birthday party leading the pack of 10 kids, and you’ll wonder how we survived.  Starting at the 35 second mark, this could have been a scene from our house on Saturday:

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After the fiasco of a party (the kids had fun, so I wouldn’t call it a disaster, even if it was stressful at times), my family took the kids to their hotel for a party, and Hubby and I got some alone time.  The problem was, after the busy week we’d had, we were too tired to do much of anything.  We hastily chose a Redbox movie,  and it was terrible.  To my husband’s credit,  he wanted to  just forget it after seeing the small selection, but I pushed for Meadowoods since it was the only horror movie available and it was just $1 and we had already waited in line at the Redbox – I didn’t want it to be for nothing.  But it was a complete waste of time (movie-wise I mean, for any time with Hubby is well-spent); we would have been better off watching someone’s youtube videos for 88 minutes instead, that would have been far more interesting.  If only Redbox had an imdb link at the Redbox units – perhaps Meadowoods’ 3.1 rating would have made me just want to forget it too…

Sunday our church service ran late (of all days), and so we were running late for the entire day…  But we had a nice brunch with our family before seeing them off back to Illinois.  We then picked up my daughter’s friend for a playdate, and I was off to my MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) group get-together a little late because I  had to finish up my thank-you notes and my appetizer.  I had decided upon little smokies in the crock pot instead of picking up a 7-layer dip as I had originally planned because I didn’t want to be even later after having to stop at the store to get the dip.  Everything was well-planned, and the appetizer actually tasted good…  but I forgot to drive gently on the way there – I was already late and in a hurry.  I wasn’t even out of town before I had to hit the brakes and make a hard stop, sending the crock pot flying, leaving me with a huge pool of barbeque sauce on the front passenger-side floor.  I pulled over and cleaned it up best I could – I am so thankful I had a roll of paper towels and extra plastic bags in the car!  But when I got to my friend’s house, my smokie appetizer in my crock pot had NO sauce left…  oh well, what could I do?  There was plenty of other great food, and I ate too much.  I think I was the only one to take the food they brought home with them, but I can’t really blame anyone for not wanting seconds on the sauceless smokies.  To add injury to insult, the crock pot tipped again on the way home (what is WITH my driving?), and I had smokies on the floor of my car this time.  Did I mention that Hubby and I spent an hour cleaning out the car last week?  But I guess it worked out since if we hadn’t cleaned out the car, the BBQ sauce would have spilled all over the junk that was in the car – this way I just ruined the floor of the car and the floor mat – and luckily for me, I have 4 kids and therefore don’t put too much stock into the car’s appearance or condition.  Besides, talk about built-in air freshener…  if anyone accuses our car of stinking like anything but BBQ sauce for a long time, I will certainly be surprised!

After everything that went wrong this weekend, some might classify it as a disaster, but we call it FUN!!  🙂

Redbox Junkies

Posted in Movies on September 2nd, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Now that the kids are back in school (2 out of 4 anyway), I have some (stress on the some, not a lot of) extra time to sit and blog again –  something that wasn’t made a priority over our busy summer.  Among our summertime fun and adventures were many trips to the Redbox.  Surely you know what I’m referring to, for if we have such futuristic technology here in the NW Ohio boonies, then it must exist in most places.  The Redbox is a machine (about the size of a gas station ATM on steroids) that distributes $1 one-night dvd movie rentals.  You can choose a movie for $1 from any Redbox location (our small town has 3, just an example of how they are everywhere), and then you return your movie to any Redbox location by 9:00pm the next night.  We first got hooked on the concept when we were on the way back home from Florida and the kids got sick of the movies we had brought for the car dvd player (poor things!  Who’s with me from the days when we were lucky enough to bring our Walkman on the trip with a couple of tapes!) .  So  anyway – we stopped at a Redbox at a McDonald’s in Tennessee, the kids watched the movie a few times, and we returned it at a Walmart in Ohio – for just $1!  Ok, this is quickly and unintentionally turning into a plug…

So anyway, my husband and I got kind of hooked on the Redbox this summer, watching a movie almost every night – seriously!  We went through a horror phase and watched many of a series called After Dark Horror Fest: 8 Films To Die For, and even though many of the movies (there were 8 movies in the series, but the series ran multiple years) in the series were low-budget, many were actually worthy of the recognition and worth watching.  Among our favorites of the horror genre was Hack! starring none other than Danica McKellar, Winnie from the late ’80’s / early 90’s tv show The Wonder Years; as well as The Hamiltons, a surprisingly great-for-what-it-is little horror flick.

Somewhere within the mix was a forgotten (though I liked it slightly more than my husband did) Michael Moore parody (making fun of Michael Moore movies, not done by Michael Moore) and the best Redbox movie ever called Sunshine Cleaning.

I highly recommend Sunshine Cleaning.  Don’t let its similarities with another movie called Little Miss Sunshine get you confused.  The two movies share the word Sunshine in their titles, an actor (the late Alan Arkin, wonderful in both roles), and some producers – but neither their plot lines nor their characters intersect.  You can check  out Little Miss Sunshine for yourself if you haven’t already – I recommend that one as well.  But Sunshine Cleaning is less mainstream and my husband and I enjoyed it immensely.  It stars the talented Amy Adams as a single mom who, along with her flighty sister (Emily Blunt, also a really good actress), start a cleaning business, though it’s not your normal, everyday cleaning business –  they are hired to clean up extreme biological hazards, ie, crime scenes.  What follows is a heartwarming tale which takes many entertaining and at times, comedic turns.  The characters are well developed as is the plot, and the movie just makes for a well-spent evening – especially for just $1.  Again, I’m at risk here for sounding like a plug, but oh well!  Go get Sunshine Cleaning from your local Redbox – you can even reserve online for pickup before you go!

Bowling For Columbine

Posted in Everyday Life on August 12th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

While I’m on the topic of date night (see my previous post)…

This week we did not feel like mini-golfing again on date night, so we went bowling instead.  I did so well, we got a printout of the scores, much to my husband’s dismay – I’ve already mentioned how he has bad luck at physics-dependent sports like bowling and mini-golf.  And I got tons of practice at bowling as a kid – I was in a weekly bowling league for I don’t know how many years.  Later in high school, I took bowling in gym class and joined intramural bowling after school where I  was crowned, “Female Bowler of the Year” for the two years I was in it –  not a difficult feat, seeing as how there were under 10 girls involved, but still, if we had had a competitive bowling team in high school, perhaps I would have been a high school athlete, hehe!

I’ve spent about 23% of my adult years pregnant (!) and most of the rest of those years raising small children who would wreak havoc with a bowling ball, so needless to say, I have not had a chance to hone the skill I developed as a youngster.  I do enjoy the occasional bowling game,  though, and rarely do I top my previous bowling average from back-in-the-day: 132.  Well, the other date night, not only did I top my old average for the two games we played but I somehow tied my all-time high score!  Well, anyway, here are the scores, and this reminds me to make joining a weekly league a priority when the kids get a little bit older!

8-11-09 bowling scores 002

And about the title I chose for my post…  I just finished reading the book Columbine by Dave Cullen, and it was a fascinatingly detailed account of the 1999 Colorado high school massacre dissected from just about every angle.  If you like to read true crime or just want to know every detail about the massacre (it holds a special fascination for me since it was unfolding just as Hubby and I arrived at our honeymoon destination after a 24-hour road trip back in ’99), you should read this book.  It’s both sad and informative, and the author does mention that the Michael Moore movie, Bowling for Columbine, has little to do with the circumstances involving the high school massacre.  But, Bowling for Columbine is a catchy title nonetheless, which is why I borrowed it, not because I’m a Michael Moore fan.  Actually, we saw a parody of his movies the other day, and I will be sure to include the movie review in an upcoming post called “It Was A Redbox Summer”.  Stay Tuned!