Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The power of song

Mrs. G wrote this post today and it got me thinking. No, no wacky "trip to IKEA" stories. We don't have an IKEA store in Whoville. I haven't the foggiest idea where the nearest IKEA store might be. Chicago? Does Chicago have an IKEA? Ahem, sorry, back on track now. No it was something towards the end of her post that took me back in time.

For many years my parents rented a very large house at the Jersey Shore of the Midwest Lake of the Ozarks. The Sibs, and mom and pop, would gather for a week with our spouses and children. One room per family. Yup, them were some TIGHT quarters. I don't think all five of the Sibs ever came to the lake at the same time, but most years there were four Sibs plus attendant family members. So in other words, a full house.

Anyhoodle. The general day went something like this:

6 to 8 AM: Children arise at varying intervals and get fed breakfast by Grandma and Grandpa. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES are they to wake their parents!

8-9 AM: The Troika* arises and sits at the table drinking coffee and discussing the amount and quality of sleep they had the night before.

9 - 10 AM: After convincing one of the hapless men to act as lifeguard for the children; the Troika grab grandma and go for a walk.

10 - 11 AM: Back at the kitchen table for crossword puzzles. Yes, we know, we're loads of fun.

11 AM - 4 PM: Dock/Boat time. This is the tricky part. Remember at any given time there were somewhere between six and ten children. Many years the make up of said children consisted of infants/toddlers/preschoolers. So there was a lot of running up and down from house to dock ferrying lunch/drinks/snacks and running up and down from house to dock with little people for potty breaks and naps.

Plying the Troika with alcohol was the best way to keep them from complaining too much about all the up and down from house to dock. And for the most part the men complied with all requests for additional supplies of alcohol. But SOMETIMES the men complained about retrieving cold beer for the Troika. And so the Troika would resort to low tactics to elicit the correct response.

The surest way to get the men to comply was by singing show tunes at the tops of their lungs. We'd start with friendly songs from "The Sound of Music" and "The King and I". Then fun songs from "Hello Dolly" and "South Pacific". Followed by tarty songs from "A Chorus Line" and "Chicago". Then groovy songs from "Godspell" and "Jesus Christ Superstar". But nothing, NOTHING, sent them scurrying faster to fetch cold beer for the Troika than a rousing rendition of "Surrey With the Fringe On the Top".

I'm just sayin'.

[*My brothers, Sib #4 and Sib #5, started calling me and my sisters "The Troika" some time during their college years. Funny little shits.]

Extra aside: I've been reading the comments from my post yesterday and I am formulating a response. You know, trying to find my voice with out being disloyal to my brand. More later.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Is it just me?

Things other bloggers "get" that I....don't:

The list goes on. Bloggers worry about their "brand". They fret about their "voice". They're troubled when other bloggers say mean things about them or something they wrote. They AGONIZE.

You know what I worry about? Almost everything. I am after all, a glass half empty type of gal. You know what I don't worry about? THIS BLOG. Tell me, what am I missing?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The List

Standing in the kitchen doing dishes last night. Precious Youngest and Boyfriend come in looking for batteries for the remote.

Precious Youngest: rummaging in a drawer "How many batteries do we need?"

Boyfriend: "Two AAs."

Precious Youngest: "Good, that's all we have left."

Fannie: out of sheer habit "Write it on the list."

Precious Youngest: "Target?"

Fannie: "Yup."

Boyfriend: "List?"

Precious Youngest: "For stuff we need to buy. If you use the last of anything you write it on the list."

Boyfriend: "You have a TARGET list?"

Precious Youngest: "Yeah, right under the grocery list. If you just write it on the list, eventually it will show up."

Boyfriend: "That's what we need, a list!"

This morning I called home from work

Fannie: "I'm running to Target on my lunch hour, can you read me the list?"

Precious Youngest: "Deodorant, moisturizer, tampons, paper towels, Tide, AA batteries and Sour Gummy Worms."

Fannie: "Sour Gummy...Whaaa?"

Precious Youngest: "Boyfriend wrote that. He thought it was worth a shot."

Friday, July 25, 2008

I am so frustrated and fed up with my sister's house situation I can't think straight. I was sitting, doing some deep breathing (trying to stop thinking about ways to kill maim hurt the woman who derailed the closing) and trying to think good thoughts.

What popped into my mind was a happy coincidence from last night. The Saint and I were taking the Terrorist for a walk and decided we should swing by our neighbor's house as I still had a dish of hers left over from the white trash extravaganza 4th of July.

What to my delight should I find when they answered the door? They were babysitting their five month old niece! So I got to pinch and squeeze a baby for two hours. And then her mother came and picked her up and I got to sleep through the night. The best, right?

Then that got me thinking that I never showed you pictures of the yummiest baby boys residing in New York City at the moment. So without further ado here are my nephews:

Why hello there!

Precious Oldest with S

Sib #5 with B

Gym time

Precious Oldest gets a big smile out of B!

I should NOT stand next to my too damn skinny just months after giving birth SIL.

And THAT was the my favorite part of our visit to the Big Apple!

The Last Lecture

This is the most inspirational thing I have seen in many years. Do yourself a favor and watch this:

Rest in peace Randy Pausch

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fucking Fuckers

The house? My sister's HOUSE? The one she's supposed to close on this Friday? Is part of an estate, with three GROWN children as beneficiaries. One of whom, we discovered at 4:30 this afternoon, has FILED FOR CHAPTER 13 FUCKING BANKRUPTCY!

People! Do you know what this means? We are FUCKED. Now we have judges and attorneys who have rulings to make before she can close on the house. And no one knows how long this will take. So we cancel the workmen. And the movers. And the utilities. And we wait.

And last night? We made great progress packing. We had a plan for tonight. And for tomorrow night. And now? I'm just pissed. And frustrated. And I just......


Talking to my sister on my way to her house last night:

Fannie: “Have you made any headway with the packing?”

Sib #2: “Oh, yeah. I think you could even wait until tomorrow to come over.”

Fannie: “Really? Are all the pictures off the walls?”

Sib #2: “Yes!”

Fannie: “Honestly?”

Sib #2: “YES!”

Fannie: “If I come over there, will I think the pictures are off the walls?”

Sib #2: …………………

Sib #2: “no”

Sib #2: “WAAAHHH! I hate moving!”

Fannie: “Oh for Pete's sake, I’m pulling into your driveway now!”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

For the love of family

GAH! I just deleted a whole freaking post. Now I have to start over. Bah. People, I am TIRED. First we had the staying up late getting ready for the weekend, and then we had the staying up late to party on the weekend. It was very fun. My father teared up when he saw everyone there, and he loved the slide show.

In other stressful exciting news, my sister closes on the house on Friday and moves the same day. *The total estimate to fix everything was about $5,000 and the sellers agreed to pay the biggest chunk of it. And as the Saint points out; the bones of the house are great, it’s just the circulatory system that’s in the crapper. And that? Can be fixed.* I’m trying not to be my usual glass half empty self, but damn it I think it’s going to be a long week.

Now I love my sister with my whole heart and soul. But if you look up disorganized procrastinator on Wikipedia? You’ll see a picture of Sib #2. And yes, her life has been crazy stressful the past several years, but she’s always been this way.

Last summer my sister moved from her old house to a nearby duplex. (With movers I begged to do the job with one week’s notice because that’s all she gave me.) We went over to her old place a few days before the move to get everything finished up before the movers came.

My sister, who wasn’t working at the time, assured me she’d been packing EVERY DAY. Ahem. There were about six boxes packed. Pictures were still on the walls and books were still on the shelves. The refrigerator and freezer were full of food and the drawers were full to bursting. The saint had his tool box so he could unhook her washer and dryer. But there was a load of wash in each and plenty more waiting.

Now she’s working full time, so I expect things to be in even worse shape this go around. I’ll be going over after work all this week to try and spur things along. Unfortunately our last e-mail exchanges with me pushing to schedule workman, getting started on school registration and switching her utilities ended with her calling me “bossy”. More than once. Sigh....

Monday, July 21, 2008


My niece to her mother (my sister) after 48 hours of family togetherness, including a trip to the zoo in 95 degree heat:

"Mom, enough with the BINGE BONDING!"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oh my freaking.....part 2

My father's surprise birthday party is tonight. The ruse to get my dad to town and to the venue is that I "won" a wine tasting at an auction and I wanted them to come. *Much to the Saint's dismay, this is NOT an unusual occurrence. My father KNOWS this.*

Ahem, so I called the restaurant today to confirm time, numbers and to make sure the hostess knows that when we show up and ask for the "wine tasting" they play along. But they couldn't find our party on the books. Well not booked under insertmaidnenamehere, so I tried my name. Nope, nothing. So I asked to speak with the party planer gal. Who is not in today. Well shit folks, it's tonight at seven o'clock and there's seventeen people....oh, they found it! My mother used an ALIAS!

They live three hours away, but my mother decided to book the party under an assumed name. And then failed to mention that fact to ANYONE. The woman cracks me up.

By the by, I've been working all week on a slide show for the party. It's AWESOME. I went through all the old photo albums and pulled dozens of pictures to scan, then started in on all the digital stuff. I started with an album my paternal grandmother gave me a few years before she died.

*Grammy was convinced that upon her death we would sweep through her house and unceremoniously pitch everything. While that most likely would have been my unsentimental M.O., I think cooler heads would have prevailed. But Grammy, being practical in nature, thwarted any future attempts to jettison the remnants of our collective childhood by putting albums together for each of her five grandchildren. Each album was filled with pictures of that particular grandchild growing up. Smart, no?*

So I have about 120 slides that will run on a loop. And my father is grinning from ear to ear in every single one!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An open letter to the new stylist

Dear Tiffanie,

I'm sure trying to keep up with over-flow clientele while Heather is on maternity leave sucketh mightily. But I feel I need to give you a few pointers that might help you sustain your chosen career path.

I was pleased that you made eye contact and offered a firm handshake when you introduced yourself; I was NOT pleased that I did, in fact, recognize you. Because eighteen months ago you were shampooing my hair! Because you've only been a stylist for a year! Holy crap, maybe I should have said something right then and there. But I didn't, so let's move on.

The failure to offer me a glass of wine was a grave error. I'll over look it only because, as a rookie, perhaps you're not yet able to distinguish which clients have absolutely no problem drinking alone at 4:15 on a Wednesday afternoon. Here's a little hint. THEY LOOK A LOT LIKE ME!

The real problem is that you failed to offer me a beverage of any kind. Not even WATER. It's JULY. I was swathed in a SMOCK and a CAPE! In a room filled with small appliances that produce HEAT! I realize this was a hair appointment and not a Mensa meeting but for the love of .....

Please refrain from asking if I'd like to start with deep conditioning for my "dry ends". My "dry ends" are why I come in here every six weeks. Why would I deep condition something that will soon be snipped and strewn on the floor of the salon?

Also? I have no desire to establish a relationship with you. God willing Heather will be back in September and you will be a distant memory. I'm happy to make idle chit chat while you snip my "dry ends". However, I do not want to bond with you over the roar of thew blow dryer. Period.

The upside is that you did a decent job. And for HALF of what I usually get charged. *Note: ask Heather, WTF!* So I'll refrain from bad mouthing you all over town and simply ask that you take what I've said here today under advisement.

Best, Fannie

P.S. BTW? My hair is not fucking LIMP; it's FINE. kthnxbai.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We have a winner!

I knew I could count on Daisy Jo!

"I say #3, although I'm not 100% certain. I'm waffling with the Junior League presidency."

Seriously people? You think I was in a BEAUTY PAGEANT? I'm 5'3" tall for crying out loud! Her waffling on the Junior League presidency made me chuckle. As I drink and swear like a sailor it hardly makes me Junior League material now does it? HOWEVER I was an active member for fifteen years and did, in fact, serve as president.

AAAAnyway, were any of you secretly cringing at the thought that perhaps Precious Youngest had her sites set on the Pageant circuit? Or worse, that I was sitting here nodding my head saying "Yes, EXCELLENT idea!" and "You look so PRETTY in sequins!" Because she's not and I'm not. I have been spending a lot of time looking at sparkly dresses though. More specifically ball gowns.

Yes, I've been extra busy because my daughter is going to be a Debutant. Following in her sister's footsteps, Precious Youngest will take her father's arm, courtesy deeply, and be presented at my Junior League's Ball later this year.

So please feel free to talk among yourselves. Question my family's participation in this archaic rite of passage. And if I'm out of pocket on occasion? It may be because I'm contemplating tiara styles.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Remember the house? And the inspection? It is not.going.well.

The team that came out last week to do the inspection was wonderful and thorough. It's been twelve years since we went through this and now they put the reports on line, with pictures and everything, which is very cool. But I digress.

Here's what they said. The roof and foundation are in good shape. A little termite activity, to be expected in a house that age, that the sellers agreed to treat in the original contract. All the windows are new, as are the kitchen appliances. The furnace and A/C are less than ten years old. The siding is in good shape, so is the deck.

BUT. There's always a BUT. There are some things that need to be addressed. There are wiring AND plumbing problems in the 36" CRAWL SPACE. And the A/C is not working at full capacity. The chimney crown has deteriorated and the chimney had so much debris that it needed a separate inspection.

The chimney inspectors came out last Friday. $600 bid.

The plumbing/AC/Heating dudes came out this morning. But my sister failed to mention the AC/Heating part. So just a plumber dude showed up. Plumbing bid is over $1,000. Though he couldn't inspect the WHOLE crawl space because of all the EXPOSED WIRING. And we have to wait until tomorrow to get the AC/Heating guy out.

So basically it's a death trap. I hope the words DEATH TRAP help when we go back to the sellers to re-negotiate.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Happy Birthday - Yes, Again!

Do you know anyone who is a double threat?

Who has an infectious laugh that has you clutching your sides, wiping tears from your eyes? And you can't remember what got you laughing to begin with?


Who has a sense of humor, and the timing to go with it, that takes your breath away?

Seventeen years ago today, after lingering in OB Comp and praying as much as I've ever prayed in my life, we had Precious Youngest. (Our pediatrician was present for the birth, which made subsequent doctor visits....awkward.

She is an Irish goddess
She is an introvert
She is a night owl
She "met" her best friend when she was three days old
She exhibits no typical "youngest child" characteristics
She was NOT happy being Precious Only when her sister went to college
She is a great photographer. (Check out the flikcr in the sidebar, all hers)
She starts her senior year of high school next month, I am in shock.

I'm considering about forbidding her going out of town for college next year, what do you think?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Pop

My dad is seventy years old today.

  • He was an only child, unusual in the working class Catholic neighborhood he grew up in.
  • He and my mother lived on the same street growing up.
  • He was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne .
  • He has an incredible zest for life. Whatever he’s doing, at the exact moment he’s doing it? Is the best possible thing one could be doing AND at the best possible place.
  • He doesn't like to be alone; he doesn't even like to go by himself to put gas in the car.
  • He is an Eagle Scout

[Warning, RANDOMNESS AHEAD: Along with my father, my brothers are Eagle Scouts, my grandfather was an Eagle Scout, the Saint is an Eagle Scout, as are HIS father and HIS brother. My mother was the Brownie/Girl Scout/Cub Scout leader for probably a gazillion years. I was a Girl Scout through 8th grade (I know, total dork right?) I was a Girl Scout leader BEFORE I HAD KIDS! I went on to be the Girl Scout Leader, Daisies through 6th grade, for BOTH of the Precious Daughters. So yeah, the Scouting? Is in our blood.]

  • He (and my mother) can still ski, camp, hike, sail (and all manner of other activities ) in a way that would put people half their age to shame.
  • He brags about his awesome roses, but truth be told he replaces half of the bushes every.single.year.
  • He is never happier than when he is together with all of his children.
  • He knows a little bit about a lot of things; and he's not afraid to use it.
  • He only has two speeds; full on and asleep. (Seriously, I've seen him fall asleep standing up!
  • He appreciates a good meal as much as I do.
  • I hope he's around for a long, long time!

*Update on yesterday's post*
I WAS born in the Bronx.
I din't say OLYMPIC medal for pete's sake, see numbers 16 and 38.
I DO hate winter, despite being a kick ass skier, see numbers 12 and 49.
I DO shave my legs every day, see number 3.
I DID go to London when I was seventeen.
So - still waiting for a winner - carry on!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Quiz

I have a little project that’s taking up some time right now. I’d like to talk about the little project, but I don’t want to shock all of you. Because the little project, which also involves Precious Youngest, might be perceived as …well… a little…

So, a quiz. I'm going to give you ten "facts" about myself. Nine of them are true. If you've been reading here for any length of time it should be possible to figure out the untrue "fact".
  1. I won a medal in slalom skiing

  2. I was born in the Bronx

  3. I represented my state in a beauty pageant scholarship program

  4. I was the president of the Junior League

  5. I was a debate geek

  6. I don't like winter

  7. I drink wine every day

  8. I was not in a sorority

  9. I went to live and work in London, by myself, when I was seventeen

  10. I shave my legs everyday
Talking about the untrue "fact" might help me ease into talking about my little project. Hell, there may even be a prize for the first person who guesses correctly! So my bleeps, have at it!

Oh my freaking…

While I should be posting vacation pictures, pictures of my adorable nephews and filling you in on the house situation I will be doing NONE of those things. Because? Of the cluster fuck that my father’s 70th birthday party is turning out to be.

My dad will be 70 this Saturday. And yes I do plan to let you all in on my father in all his wacky glory. But right now? My mother is driving me batshit. Partial information is being sent out to me and my siblings (#s 2-4 will be here for the party) ONE AT A TIME in a fashion most closely resembling Chinese water torture. Drip.Drip.Drip.

The Saint forwarded an e-mail to me (that was sent to his HOME e-mail, the one he checks once every blue moon) telling ME that I have a hotel room reserved for the night of the party. The party that will be in the city in which I reside. At a lovely venue 5 minutes from my house. While the hotel is 30 minutes away. And I just don’t…..

It’s bad enough she’s trying to “surprise” the nosiest man in North America. But NOW she’s thinking it’s all going to be too expensive. But she wants it to be nice. But what if people order too many cocktails? But people should get what they want. No, she doesn’t want me to pay for anything. But did I remember they’re retired and the market is tanking?

Now I’m supposed to convince my husband and children we should pack a bag FOR ONE NIGHT to stay in a suite at a hotel IN OUR TOWN? I just don’t…..

Trust me when I tell you I am RARELY at a loss for words. But I just don’t……

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wish us luck

I'm meeting my sister and the inspector at the house today at noon. We're hoping there aren't any big surprises. Because if there are? I may not get a new neighbor.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Phone Calls

I’ve been putting off these calls, but I made them today:

To my gynecologist to make an appointment to have my lady bits examined. Because that’s all kinds of fun.

To radiology to make an appointment to have my breasts squished. Because if you’re going to have your lady bits examined, you might as well go whole hog and have a stranger fondle you.

To the salon to make an appointment for my hair to be cut. By someone I’ve never laid eyes on. Because my regular stylist decided that propagating the species was more important than my hair.

Is it STILL Monday?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

We had a good time

The Prep

The Magic Lanterns

The saint shows him how it's done

The Food

The Snakes

The Fireworks

The Aftermath

Did you have fun?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

Thanks to you all for your prayers and good thoughts. Offer, counter offer, counter back, SOLD. My sister will be down the street before school starts. (Unless the inspection finds something heinous!) It's going to be hard, but we'll be able to do so much more for her and the kids from two minutes away.

As for the white trash extravaganza? The lawn was mowed and the tables & chairs are set up. The brownies are baked, the potato salad is made, the Saint is starting on the ice cream, then I'll do the baked beans. We've got Burgers, Dogs and Brats at the ready. Oh, and large quantities of fireworks from kid friendly sparklers and smoke bombs to ginormous blowy uppy things.

We plan to hit the pool for a few hours, then we'll throw it all together. Hope you enjoy yourselves today - and be safe!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

If you're so inclined

My sister, Sib #2, needs some prayers right now. If you're not of the religious persuasion, can you spare some good thoughts?

Sib #2 divorced her alcoholic, abusive husband (Asshole from here on out) almost two years ago. She had to sell her house and move into a rental. She went from teaching pre-school part time to a full time corporate job. She is raising three children more or less on her own. (Asshole is currently under house arrest after is third DUI.) Two of the children are TEENAGE GIRLS, enough said.

She's been looking at houses in our neighborhood. She wants to move her family closer to us for many reasons. One of which is that her ten year old son needs the Saint in his life as much as possible. It will also cut her commute time from thirty minutes to ten.

She's working with a realtor friend of ours. We all looked at a tiny house last night. It is half a mile from us. It is what she can afford. If Asshole continues to pay child support. Which may or may not happen. She made an offer last night.

She's taking a giant leap of faith. I'm praying that whatever happens will ultimately be for the best.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Beantown, part II

Boston Common

The city was VERY excited that the Celtics won.

House of Representatives


Granary Burying Ground

The big pyramid shaped monument is where Ben Franklin's family is buried.

The Boston Tea Party was planned here.

First Public School , Ben Franklin was a drop out.

King's Chapel

Paul Revere House

Paul Revere had 16 children with two different wives.

She had thirty two cannons

and a crew of 450 that slept in two shifts.

They had their meals here too. There was one cook.

Dudes, there was more but I'm too tired to upload any more pictures.