Wednesday, January 23, 2008


When my boys grow up and lounge in a therapist's leather chaise one day, they might be saying, "My mother was a neat freak. The queen of neatniks everywhere. All those anal rules about folding towels and fitted sheets drove our dad to the edge of madness, but he stayed because Mom was the trophy wife he married on the first try." OK, so maybe I embellished that trophy wife part a teensy bit. We all know every psychosis known to man is blamed on his mother anyway, so this small deal I make about cleanliness will be the least of their worries. My boys are perhaps the only children on the planet who ask permission before dumping out a crate (a labeled crate, mind you) of toys. Overheard just this morning as I was cleaning up after breakfast (because I never, ever leave crumbs on the table or dishes in the sink):

Deal to Bird: "Can I dump out the cars?"
Bird: "Yes, but only if you clean up the balls first."

Music to my ears! Some might say I am squashing their creativity, but there was a day last week that I tolerated the Legos, Lincoln Logs, Kapla blocks, AND random assortment of weathered blocks and spools from Mac Daddy's childhood strewn on the floor at the same time. At the same time. Did you catch that? At the same time. I've even submitted to MIXING Playdoh colors. Deal loves the kaleidescope of colors he can create, but Bird cringes like I do at the concoction. If I squint, the mixed Playdoh looks a bit like a Pucci print so I can appreciate it if I kick in my fashion sensibilities. And admittedly, there is some crazy satisfaction in mashing together the purple and green, but I've learned firsthand that too much mushing makes the whole blob puce.

Teaching my boys about cleanliness and the the simple act of putting toys, shoes, coats, and backpacks away is part of my job. It is my responsibility to teach them how to be good citzens, stewards of our planet, and gentlemen. Some woman will thank me one day. It is common for Bird to exclaim out of the blue, "I love it when our house is clean!" He won't even ride in a friend's car because he thinks it's too dirty. And believe, he's said so aloud...to her. I'll be covering the chapter on Tact and Decorum at a later date.

Hopefully a woman like the one I saw in the locker room at the gym this morning won't be lurking around my boys. After a long workout on the ellipitcal thingee I went to take a shower, wearing my flip flops, natch. As I walked into the shower I noticed a pile of stuff on the shower floor next to me. Here's an inventory of what I saw ON THE SHOWER FLOOR, with no cover, container, or makeshift protection from the gazillion bacteria and viruses lurking on that one 6 x 6 inch square of tile: a disposable razor, a bar of soap, one of those netted puffy scrubbers, a tube of Crest that someone squeezed in the middle (a deal breaker for me), and get this, a TOOTHBRUSH! Did I mention is was ON THE SHOWER FLOOR?

The same floor littered with pubic hair before it swirls down the drain. The same floor that tinea pedis grows rampantly on. The same floor that people pee on to get a two-fer in the shower in the drought-stricken ages we are living in. Trust me, I know this happens. If nothing else, I do know that Deal once peed in the shower by accident after we were rinsing off after a swim.

I'm curious what was going through that woman's mind as she set her toothbrush on the shower floor. Can you imagine? I heard that staph germs can spew 25 feet after you flush the toilet so you shouldn't keep toothbrushes exposed anywhere near the toilet. I'm pretty sure the same folks would tell us that putting your TOOTHBRUSH on the SHOWER FLOOR is even more DISGUSTING. For the record, all the toothbrushes in our house are well protected from staph germs. Bird goes so far as covering his with a Spiderman travel top just because he's super clean, or some might say fussy, like I am. For starters, those pesky staph germs are kept at bay if you just shut the toilet seat before flushing. Now some woman will really thank me for that one day.
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

We've Come a Favre Way, Baby

We're sad in our house tonight. I hate to break it to the boys in the morning that the Packers lost.

I'm not a bad sport, but those Manning kids make me crazy (and not in the same way that George Clooney and Penn Badgely do).
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Packer Country Is Wherever You Are

Green Bay Packer fans are EVERYWHERE. Trust me, when you least expect it, a zealous fan sporting the big, green G will be in line behind you (sometimes inebriated or well on the way). This very scene played out for me in the NEW DELHI AIRPORT, as in INDIA. And once again on a cruise to TORTOLA where an entire group of workers from Manitowoc were on a company incentive trip. Those guys wore Packer cummberbunds and bowties on formal night. Clearly the definition of "formal attire" differs regionally.

So I married a Packer fan. Luckily the colors don't suck. It would have been awful to marry a Dolphins fan. Teal and orange? Sheesh. I can live with green and gold...more green than gold is more flattering for everyone. My husband, henceforth known as Mac Daddy for purposes of this blog, is from Wisconsin, which makes him a die hard Packer fan. It's like being born in the U.S. to become a citizen automatically. He can't help being a Packer fan; he was BORN one. Since we have been married for over five years, assuming the same citizenship rules apply, I am a Packer fan now too. Our children, because their dad was BORN a Packer fan, are naturally fans too. Blood runs green and gold, as they say in 'Sconsin. My guys stop short of face paint and the regular Lambeau Field brouhaha, but we have all forms of Packer gear known to man: hats, shirts, #4 jerseys, slippers, pennants, and even Christmas ornaments. I myself have an awfully cute pink Packer baseball cap (proceeds benefit breast cancer research). You too can get one here http://www.sportsfanfare.com/sf-reepnkgby04.html.

Today is a big day in Packerland...not that I'm into sports at all. I view big game days as an opportunity to eat junk food (loaded chicken nachos and brats, natch, for today's game), drink some beers, and read trashy magazines (Us Weekly and People). My little words of wisdom are that all you need to watch in any game are the last two minutes. Everything always hinges on those fateful two minutes. Why waste the other 178 minutes when you could be doing something remotely productive, oh say, like folding the mountains of laundry piled on the guest bed or clipping the holly bushes that are growing as wild as Mr. Magorium's hair? Hint Hint, Mac Daddy.

While I don't enjoy sports, or even understand any sport other than tennis, I do succumb to Packer fever. I can't leave the Green Bay airport without buying one last Packer souvenir. Everyone could use a logo-emblazoned cheese plate with matching knife, right? And don't get me started on the lunchbox that came replete with a stash of cheesecurds and sausage sticks. I didn't grow up in a town with a football team so I happily embrace the Packers. I've even visited Lambeau Field (the old and the new) on several occasions. I kicked a field goal at the Packer Hall of Fame, and had my photo taken with a lifesize Brett Favre cutout. Crazy as it sounds, Lambeau Field really does have an undescribable mystique. You can feel a special aura around the whole place. Wacky, I know. It really is hallowed ground. Millions of frozen fans can't be wrong. You won't find such fierce camaraderie anywhere. It's true that a fellow Packer fan will stop to help change a flat tire on a stranded car that sports a Packer sticker.

There are no fair weather Packer fans. Being a part of such fan verve, even if I just married into it, is pretty damn fun. Note to Brett Favre, notice how we pronounce "verve" versus "Favre" even though the phonetics are not the same (maddening, I tell you!). Here at Dirt & Noise we are gearing up for today's big game. Bird and Deal are sporting their #4 jerseys and have been chanting "GO PACKERS!" all morning. We don't even remind them to use an inside voice.
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Fun with Grammar!

I remember having to conjugate the verb "to be" in Mrs. Robinson's English class in eighth grade. We couldn't leave for lunch until we had conjugated the verb correctly. I whipped out my #2 pencil and jotted down I am, you are, he/she/it is, etc. Then I left, fully expecting my classmates to follow. Even my friends, the OTHER smart, nerdy girls who weren't cool enough to hang with Ronnie Wilkerson at dances, did not follow. I waited and waited and waited. No one left Mrs. Robinson's room. That was one of my defining moments; I realized how dumb so many people are.

Do the hairs on your neck stand at attention in the grocery check out line with the sign that reads " 10 items or less?" Argh, I shudder just typing that. Do you use "none" with a singular verb? Do you answer "well" when someone asks how you're feeling (assuming you're not fighting a nasty case of dengue fever or anything)? If you have even one shred of appreciation for proper grammar, then check out http://nationalgrammarday.com/.

My boys' use of adverbs makes me prouder than a horny male peacock in mating season. In fact, Deal, who is just 2 1/2, tries so hard to use adverbs properly that he ends up saying things like "I am trying very hardly." I don't sit around with grammar flash cards at home, we simply talk properly. I even change the grammar in books we read if something is written incorrectly. All those nut jobs are worried about sinful books being removed from our school libraries, but no one gives a hoot about all those books that say "Johnny and me went to the circus." (by the way, I abhor the circus...another post, another day).

One time a babysitter read a book to the kids that I had previously edited in my rendition. She, of course, had no way of knowing my little grammar practices, so she read the book as it was printed. Bird apparently freaked out about it (because that's what 4-year olds do, and they do it so well) and corrected the babysitter. He told her that whatever word she flubbed, rather, the word she did not edit, was not the right adverb. ADVERB! He actually said that. Needless to say, she was not happy. Then again, would you be if a kid who can't read or write had just corrected your use of your native tongue that has served you well for 50-some years? Admittedly, I gave Bird a mental high five for catching the error.

Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here!


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