Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet

I love Halloween. My sweet tooth loves Halloween. My kids love Halloween. My mom has given us all kinds of cool decorations. We dress up and do Trunk or Treat at church the weekend before Halloween. We love Boo at the Zoo. We go to Deanna Rose's Pumpkin Hollow. We go to Johnson Farms to choose our own pumpkins (preferred spelling = punkin). We grab neighborhood friends and go trick or treating. We go to the All Saints Day Mass the next day.

Some people, whatever their religion may be, don’t “do” Halloween because they consider it an evil holiday. How can candy be evil?! I know there are scary aspects to Halloween, so we as parents protect our kids the best we can. Just like how all year long we protect them from cars running them over, from drowning, from perverts and predators.

We dress up for parties, prom, etc., so why can’t kids dress up and ask for candy? They aren’t devil-worshipping! I’m sure there are all kinds of reasons why I, as a Christian, should not celebrate Halloween.

But I’m doing it anyway, and you can all bite my Snickers bar.

P.S. I think it’s hilarious to see a kid dressed as a devil at the church’s Trunk or Treat. My friend Kyle says the devil doesn’t like to be made fun of … that he likes to be taken seriously. So kids dressing up as him must really burn the devil’s a**.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Bagelful Babysitter

YES! Two food posts in a row! I am the size of the average American woman (forget you, Janice Dickinson!), which is a size 12. I am happy this way and like to eat food and keep it in my stomach! If I ever lose weight, it’ll be because I am too busy with kids and writing to concentrate so hard on chocolate and other carbs, so don’t send me hate mail if I ever turn up as a measly size 8.

Currently I am in love with Bagelfuls. I can’t even tell you who makes them because the kids and I ate them so fast and recycled the boxes already. I dream about them at night.

1. The kids can pop them into the microwave themselves, and they (the Bagelfuls, not the kids) heat up in only a few seconds.

2. They are only about 4 Weight Watchers flex points, so they are great for a dieting chick, if you are so inclined.

3. They are great for times when you need a grab-and-go snack or meal.

Flavors: I tried original (regular bagel with plain cream cheese inside), strawberry (regular bagel with strawberry cream cheese inside) and blueberry (blueberry bagel with plain cream cheese inside). They all rock, and I hear there’s also one with chive cream cheese!

Environmental Cost: I recycle the box, but each Bagelful is in its own plastic wrapper.

Money Cost: At $2 for 4, I know it isn’t the cheapest thing, but I love how easy they are. Anything that gives me a few extra minutes at the computer is worth it. It’s like a babysitter in a box … okay, not really. I’m sure the Grocery Goddess can tell me where to find a coupon for Bagelfuls, so we’ll all be waiting for her to post a comment.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Field Trip: Shatto Dairy Farm

The Shatto Dairy Farm field trip was, like, the most awesomest field trip EVER! And yes, I DO plan on teaching my children my crazy form of grammar!

The tour went like this: seeing where they process the milk,



seeing where they wash the bottles, milk-tasting, seeing where they milk the cows, milking a cow by hand, feeding and brushing calves,





buying stuff in the cool general store. You can buy their yummy milk in half gallons or pints, in any flavor (whole, skim, 2%, banana, root beer, strawberry, chocolate). Sometimes they even make the BEST ice cream, which tastes like when my dad makes it himself. We even bought some butter!!! There is a deposit that you pay them for the milk bottle, but you can get it back when you return the bottle to a store that sells Shatto milk.

We went with what I call my Protestant Homeschool Group (Shaping Hearts) on a Friday morning this month. Aron was off work and got to come, too. The cost was $4 per person, which included a tour that was over an hour long plus all the milk tasting you could want. I was pretty sure Eva was going to wean off of me when I saw the way she was inhaling the Shatto milk.

The sad part was when I asked, “What do you do with the babies once they are born?” I wish I hadn’t asked. Crybaby (me) learned that the calves only get to stay with their mothers for about a day (then they have to moooove out). They don’t want the calves to get attached to their mothers because then they are hard to handle (hmmm, sounds familiar). Plus the calves rough up the udders of their mudders (haha!). So the boy calves are sold and the girls are born into their mother’s profession. One cow has had TWELVE calves so far. Tresa said it’s almost enough to make her stop drinking milk.

Yeah, I get it. I drink milk, so I am perpetuating this. But I am an Open Wound at times, and it makes me sad that animals are separated from their mothers. Zoos also make me sad. And Sea World. Sue me.

Oh, and yes I did try out the milking machine on my finger. It hurt less than a breast pump.

By the way, if you read my earlier rant about MapQuest, you’ll appreciate the fact that the Shatto web site says to NOT go by MapQuest’s directions, and Mr. Shatto (who is very cool!) provides directions himself on the site.



The milk we bought (we called the pints our "milk babies"):

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Post-dating Blogs

Yeah, it’s like when you used to be able to post-date a check. Remember those days? Now you write a check and (1) you are looked at very strangely and (2) the check is somehow run through your bank in the same time it takes to run a debit card, so why even write the flippin’ check in the first place?

Don’t get me wrong, you bloggers with the fancy Web sites. I like that you have Guest Bloggers when you go on vacation or move. Maybe you DO have the option of post-dating on your site and choose to actually take a break. It’s just depending on people is not my favorite thing to do (it makes me feel guilty for some reason).

[My mom is laughing at this point because I totally leech off of her when Aron goes out of town.]

Anyway, I’d be constantly calling my Guest Bloggers to ride their butts: “Did you post yet? Your house burnt down? I don’t care. I’m sure they have Internet at the shelter you’ll be staying at, so go there and post your damn thoughts on the matter. And they’d better be good.”

So for those of you on Blogger, check out that little thing toward the bottom that says, “Post options.” Click on it. You can set your nifty little post to post (I love words that are both a noun and a verb … like lots of cuss words are; so diverse!) at whatever date and time you want! And I went ahead and put the “sign up for my posts via e-mail” thing on my blog to make sure I totally inundate my poor readers.

Well, I’m going to take the leap: I would LOVE to have some Guest Bloggers because I’m sick of the sound of my own voice. So here are your assignments:

Eva: you’re on the VBAC and homebirth beat

Chris: you’re on the digital scrapbooking beat (explain what it is like I’m a 2-year-old because I’m not clear on what it is!)

Lisa: you’re on the 30 Queries in 30 Days beat and I’ll stick that one on my writing blog, as well

Tresa: oh, man, there’s so much you could talk about! Travel widowing, healthy baking, writing poetry, sewing, your recent travels

Anyone else have something to say and don’t want to start an entire blog? E-mail me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com. And, dear Lord, it does not have to be about anything related to this blog. Write about travel, an ex-relationship (I could put you as Anonymous!!!), your crappy job or lack thereof.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm a Bad Wife

I Wouldn’t Wanna Be Like You

Anyone remember that song? It rocks. And applies to Aron. Meaning: who would want to be poor Aron? Let’s investigate:

His wife is a lazy vacuumer. When she vacuums, loud clanking and crunching noises ensue. She sucks things up into the vacuum that should not be vacuumed.

Recently his wife accidentally let a dishrag fall into the kitchen sink drain and ultimately broke the garbage disposal. He called his dad for some assistance and I think he was told, “You don’t need a new garbage disposal; you need a new wife!”

He comes home from work to a house full of his own kids plus all the neighborhood kids.

He never comes home to a dinner of coq au vin or duck a l’orange.

He never comes home to a wife stripping wallpaper in the bedroom like she’s supposed to be doing. She likes to say, “I’m an artist (yeah, right … she’s merely a wannabe writer), so I don’t see the things that need to be done around the house.”

And he tolerates all of this with such grace that it brings tears to my eyes.

10/24/08

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Naptime Confession: I Let My Babies Nap on Me Daily

“That baby is never going to be able to go to sleep without you.”

“Don’t you want to lay him/her down so you can get some things done?”

“So you’ve come to my house to visit during your baby’s naptime. Where are you going to lay him/her down? Did you lug a portable crib? Want me to make him/her a pallet on the floor? I could pluck some chicken feathers and make him/her a nice bed in the laundry room!”

Here’s a link to the story La Leche League’s New Beginnings published in 2007 about my “problem.” E-mail me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if the link fails to produce my astonishing work of genius.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A “Typical” Homeschool Day

Joel is doing Math and Spelling with me; later he’ll do tons of handwriting (he loves it) and will read to Callie.

Michael is playing Mickey Mouse Kindergarten on the computer; later he does some Explode the Code for reading and learns about money.

I’m painting and stickering Callie’s nails and we’re counting; later she’ll color and play with Eva.

Eva is eating banana puffs and trying to figure out how to drink apple juice from a sippy cup in her high chair; later she’ll play on the floor, nurse, fall asleep.

I’m making cookies, ignoring the phone, helping the kids, organizing photos. So much for being “in the now.” Eckhart Tolle and Oprah would kick my ass.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Anniversary (10 Years)

So here’s what we did for our 10-year anniversary back on the 10th.

Aron and I went to dinner in my mom’s little 1995 Cavalier with the baby. It was easier than worrying about her crying at home, and Mom and Dave had enough on their plate with our other 3 kids. We got to sit outside. Cheapskate that I am, I even had a coupon for a free meal!

Then we went to Starbuck’s (yes, one that is slated to close) so I could grab a venti mocha and a pound of coffee beans for my mom as “payment” for “babysitting”, which she totally hates (the fact that I feel like I need to do something nice for her for watching the kids).

Once home, we opened presents. I got a rockin’ dictionary, thesaurus and the book Writer Mama, all things I’ve been wanting for some time! I got Aron a nice pan that he wanted. I know, really romantic, but before you judge let me tell you past birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries, Mother’s Days, Father’s Days and Valentine’s Days have been filled with large power tools, jewelry, chocolates, etc. This year we’re making a conscious effort to scale down a bit, especially since we’ve already bought each other everything there is to buy. I’ll take the security of a savings account over diamonds any day. So here's one of my gifts ...



... and please don't throw the baby out with the frying pan ... or out of the frying pan and into the fire???



Then Aron said we were going to go get dessert with the kids in tow. We piled into the minivan and headed … where? Past Downtown, up North, and on and on. Had to let the kids out to pee in Liberty. I have to say I was still pretending to be surprised, but I knew from earlier in the day when I found a packed suitcase that we were going overnight SOMEWHERE. Didn’t know it was going to be The Elms.



I love The Elms. When we checked in, they had a big cake left from a party and offered us all huge pieces. Then we went swimming in the Alice in Wonderland-type indoor pool. The next day we had a breakfast buffet, went for a walk, the kids pined over the huge hot tub ...



... and drove to a nearby park. We also found what we THINK might be the Stairway to Heaven (good song) ...



Then we went to a birthday party at Tresa’s.



Then to Bass Pro, and Callie drove the kids right on outta there ...



What a great anniversary. Thanks, Arvid!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Attachment Parenting … of Dogs and Cats

It cracks me up to see dogs and cats in purses and slings and strollers. What? You’ve never seen a dog or a cat in a stroller? I have.

A couple of people at my husband’s work (where there is an entire refrigerator for beer and one for food) a few employees bring their dogs to work. One of the dogs is huge. The people who bring their dogs to work are the same people who put their CHILDREN in daycare 50 hours per week back when their kids were young.

And if you work full-time and can’t take your dog to work, there’s always the option of Doggie Daycare.

And some people who berate me for having my HUMAN CHILDREN in my bed are the same ones who gladly let their animals sleep in their bed.

America is so messed up.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Kingdom for a Decent Nursing Bra!

*Warning: Female Content (it’s like Adult Content, only I’m politely telling my dad he won’t want to read this one)

So after only 9 months my $60 nursing bra is getting to the point where it looks like I have 4 boobs. Even on the highest setting, I have to keep adjusting. It’s like when a guy adjusts his, um, AREA, only it’s worse when I have to reach INTO my shirt and pull each of those puppies away from the center of my chest. They tend to migrate toward each other like old people to Florida.

My question to you is this: Can anyone make a decent bra for us poor, well-endowed women?

Here’s a helpful bit of info for nursing bra makers: Already-large breasts full of milk are HEAVY. It’s like putting 2 gallons of milk into a chiffon handkerchief. Nursing bras should be made of Teflon or something similar.

I know those of you with small breasts generally wish for larger ones (as evidenced by the major increase in breast augmentation surgery), but I am telling you there are many times I wish I could be YOU! My husband’s cousin wore one of those cute Glamour Mama nursing tank tops when she had her baby, and I was so jealous! Those tanks would NEVER hold my goodies in place.

So right now I have a Bravado bra … and we had a good relationship until it turned on me recently. Once I had a Liz Lange bra that I marched into Target and bought. It was underwire and worked great until the damn wires poked through the fabric and eventually had to be taken out = no support. Aron even sewed my bra to keep the wires from defecting, but no dice (you gotta picture my sweet husband sewing my bra!).

I’ve been saying for 7 years that Victoria’s Secret needs nursing bras, and I’ve heard they recently started carrying some! If they have support + coverage, I will be their best customer. Throw in something sexy in several colors, and I may even consider becoming a franchisee!

My line of nursing bras would be called “Nursie Bag Kerriers.” Look, my parents always said they named my Kerrie for a reason. They should’ve spelled it “Carry.”

originally posted 10/18/2008 and is still relevant 3.5 years later!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Crybaby’s Testosterone Vacation

There are so many ways in which I make up for not having the “girlie” gene. To get you caught up, I don’t like to go shopping for shopping’s sake (although a good bargain does thrill me). I don’t window shop. Figuring out which colors go together is like a foreign language to me. I can barely dress myself and try to stick with either neutrals or else whatever people cast off at me.

But I have the crying thing down. I can be tough when it counts. I don’t cry when I’m in labor, for instance, or even when my baby is presented to me. Later, however, I am a basket case. I cry when it's time to say good-bye to my niece who lives 4 hours away. I cry when Aron has to leave town for a week. Not SOBBING, just crying.

So Tuesday when my baby boys drove away with Aron to go on their FOUR-DAY fishing and camping trip with their uncle and cousin, I lost it. I didn’t let THEM see me lose it. Thing is, I kind of take them for granted daily. Then when they leave for any period of time that’s not 2 hours I feel like I’m missing a limb.

I have a mantra for these 4 days: “They are having fun. They are fishing. They are camping. They are with their dad. They are having fun. They are warm. They are safe. No bears will come near them. They are having fun.”

Does anyone else worry so damn much about their kids? Does it get any better the older they get? I think my husband is about to commit me to therapy for worrying.

Tresa says, "Just the girls!! I can only imagine the estrogen bouncing around in manic, psychadelic patterns..." True that, Tresa. True that.

So it's Friday morning and I haven't heard from them since Tuesday. They're staying at a campground called Purgatorie. I bet they've left Purgatorie by this time (10 a.m.) and are heading back to Heaven. Sorry, a little Catholic humor for you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

If I Am Ever Stranded on an Island Alone …

… I would need crates of Chapstick, L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in deep black and nail polish in all colors for my toes. That’s about it.

Oh, and a solar-powered laptop with wireless Internet so I could e-mail and read books online and lots of paper and lots of PaperMate Profile pens. That’s all.

And maybe a credit card so I could PAY for my e-books and music downloads.

What would you need?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Disappointment for Kids 101

The 4th of this month was Oktoberfest for the Young Gardeners Club at a local nursery. The postcard I got said there would be a petting zoo, face painting, straw bale maze, arts and crafts, treats and a free pie pumpkin. There was no time on the postcard, so I looked up the phone number and called. The kid told me it was going on from 9-6.

So it’s 4:45 and we are ready to go, sortof. Aron and the kids walked a little friend back to his house and were coming “right back.” About 5 p.m. the baby and I had been waiting in the car for a while and I was stewing. I drove over to get my man and kids and was not so nice to my man when I saw the neighbor guy and him holding FISHING RODS and chit-chatting. And they say WOMEN are bad!

So we race to the nursery, having ourselves a good fight on the way. Not so much fighting as me hopping my guy’s a**. And I am aware there are those of you out there who don’t have a clue what Aron is doing with a shrew like ME, but keep that opinion to yourselves, thank ya!

The parking lot is dead, and I have a sinking feeling. We piled into the nursery and came upon an Ed Harris-looking guy. He said all festivities were over by 5. I told him my gripes about the kid telling me the wrong time, no time on the postcard, how disappointed we were, etc. He just kept saying “sorry” over and over. I said, “Okay, so you’re sorry. But are you going to listen and take my suggestions for next year?!”

Like thieves in the night, we grabbed our free pie pumpkins and watched the petting zoo drive away. Eva was fussy; I had woken her from a nap so she could sit in a rolling container of negative energy. Poor kid.

I told Aron the nursery debacle was a waste of a good fight between him and I (or is it he and I or him and me?).

The kids cared less than I did – I wanted to cry, but they were cool with going to the park instead, where Michael fell off a swing and bloodied his lip.

Thanks for listening; I feel better. Lesson learned: before going to an activity, call the place beforehand about SEVEN times to make sure all information jives.

Monday, October 13, 2008

MapQuest Kinda Sucks

You aren’t going to believe this one, so put down that damn coffee mug before you read this. Swallow your donut first, too (what, do I think a bunch of cops read my blog or something?). If anyone in your house (or workplace) is sleeping, DO NOT say, “WHAT?!” loudly. I’m warning you.

So I’m reading this blog (you can link to it using the sidebar over to the right of this page … it’s called Life as Mom). This chick (who I totally dig, by the way, because she is the Grocery Goddess) posts about how much she LOVES MapQuest. I post a comment, something like, “Are you kidding me? They give the worst directions. They didn’t even have the hotel in Phoenix where we were staying in their little database. And people I know trying to get around the city where I live is impossible with MapQuest. Glad it works for SOMEONE!”

So I look at the comment above mine, and it says something like “congrats on having MapQuest contact you.” So I look one MORE above, and I swear to God MapQuest has written a comment to THANK this chick for writing good things about them.

Now, I know for a fact that MapQuest will be seeing this very (negative) blog post that you are reading right NOW. How did I figure this out?

Well, it’s pretty clear that companies have nothing better to do these days than to Google themselves. Losers! I thought only people like ME did that! I guess it's cheaper than a SURVEY like AFI sends out!!!! It's a good way to gauge customer satisfaction since actually answering angry e-mails (or that relic called a PHONE) isn't an option.

By the way, I understand how difficult it would be to run a site like MapQuest. New stuff goes up, old stuff closes, highways and road have construction. I get it. But when something CONSISTENTLY sucks, what other conclusion can I draw?

I suspect Primerica also does it, and I can only HOPE they read my previous post about them. Oooh, and American Family Insurance. Okay, then I hope people see all the POSITIVE posts I’ve written, as well (Starbuck’s, good book reviews, Red Box).

Please, PLEASE post comments about MapQuest and tell all your friends, too. I HAVE to know that I’m not crazy and that LOTS of other people also have bad luck with MapQuest. Together we can change the world … haha!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Grandmas Who Help Out

On the 9th of this month I was sick. I must’ve eaten some long-overdue leftovers, which isn’t like me. I lay around in bed not knowing how I was going to get through the day, take care of the kids, let them play outside with no supervision. So I called my mom.

Some women call their husbands. I used to not get this. I mean, the guy is working his a** off so you can stay home all day with the kids; please don’t bother him! I know people who can’t go to the doctor without their husband either coming along or else staying home with the other kids. Tooting my own horn: I have no problem dragging all 4 kids to my annual Pap smear. I just give them blindfolds.

Anyway, now I get the whole relying-on-husband thing. Some people don’t have family nearby; some people don’t LIKE their family.

My mother, however, wouldn’t care if we all had The Plague … she would come over and take care of us anyway.

Within one hour, she shows up with McDonald’s for lunch for everyone, Coke for me (the best medicine EVER), and Hershey bars for everyone for later. She checks in on me, writhing around on the bed (me, not her), and goes downstairs to take care of my 3 cherubs. I can hear the kids talking and talking and sharing and talking to her … all at once. She is so patient with them. The mother of one has no problem taking on 3 these days (the baby was in bed with me).

So this post is a thank you to my mom as both mother and grandmother. I don’t only sometimes need her around; I also want her around.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dirty Laundry

Okay, here’s how I do laundry:

1. Cram as much as I can into the 30-year-old washing machine.*

2. Don’t sort colors.

3. Put in some detergent, maybe some baking soda or vinegar, too, if it’s a tough load.

4. Set the machine for a cold, large load.

5. Start the machine.

6. When it’s done, check for stains that didn’t come out and cram the rest in the dryer.

7. Later, ask the boys about 8 times to go down and get the laundry.

8. Let clean laundry sit in basket for a day to get nice and wrinkly. Only put it away when there is new dirty laundry to be washed.

9. To put it away, sort into piles … have the boys throw their pile on a dresser for later putting away; have Callie put the girls’ pile on the bed until I can get to it.

My friend Ellen has the System. She has 5 kids and does laundry daily. Her kids are totally trained to bring down dirty laundry, and they each have a milk crate in the basement so she can sort their individual laundry into each crate. They pick up their crate later, put their stuff away and return their crate. WOW. That is going to be me when I grow up.

See how I’m World’s Best Wife? My poor husband only has white underclothing when he takes it out of the package. And I’m not even sure where the iron is located at this moment.

*Diapers are a completely different story

Friday, October 10, 2008

Aron + Kerrie = Love Forever

Today I have been married to Aron for 10 years. We met on July 20, 1995. My friend from work, Anita, was dating Aron’s friend Dave. Aron’s car was in the shop so he was crashing at Dave’s so he could get a ride to work in the morning. I was hanging out at Dave’s with a guy I was seeing non-seriously. He was a jerk, as I had a tendency to date before I met Aron.

Aron was double-dipping his chip in salsa and I gave him s**t about it. I was a big TV watcher (shocker!) and was proud of my Seinfeld reference. He looked at me like I was the supreme b**** of the universe (still does! Just kidding!) and basically ignored me. I didn’t know he didn’t own a TV (and he didn’t the whole 3 years we dated)!

A couple of nights later a bunch of people were going out for Dave’s birthday. Aron and I flirted some, but mostly tried to pretend to ignore each other. Later we split into groups somehow and I got into the group without Aron. He got to go to a dance club and I got to sit in ANOTHER bar listening to some married total schmoe ramble on.

At the end of the night we all took a limo to a hotel. Aron and I sat outside talking and that’s when I found out he went to DeVry and wasn’t just a loser without a car and that he had dreams for his life. Soon 8 or 10 people crammed into one tiny hotel room for the night. Aron and I ended up sleeping on the floor next to each other. I got us rolled-up towels for pillows. He was a perfect gentleman.

The next morning we happened to ride together back to where my car was parked in the city, then I took him to my apartment for lunch, to his apartment to get ready for work, and then to his work as a cook. He couldn’t believe I was being so nice to him. We traded phone numbers. Later I went to his work to show him the pictures from the night before. We agreed to go out the next night dancing.

We almost didn’t connect. I was at my apartment on a Monday night waiting for him to call and say he was coming to pick me up. I had just about considered myself stood up when I decided to call him at work. He thought I was coming to pick him up (his car was in the shop, remember?). I felt so dumb, but happy to go get him.

We had a hard time finding a decent dance club that was open and settled on Perkin’s for some chow. I still tease him that he paid for dinner with a check (we were both SO broke back then!!). I actually stayed the night at his place that night (I can’t believe I was so forward!) and we didn’t even have our first kiss until the next day. Again, he was a gentleman … none of that hanky panky stuff!!!

A couple of weeks later I told him I loved him, and he told me the next day after we saw A Walk in the Clouds at the movie theatre. We clicked from the start, and it was always comfortable. We always said we wanted to have more than 1 kid but less than 6. We shall see.

Glock, I would marry you all over again … if we had the time!

Dave and Anita got married the same day we did.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Another Poem

One Step Further
Author Unknown

Do more than exist: LIVE

Do more than touch: FEEL

Do more than look: OBSERVE

Do more than read: ABSORB

Do more than hear: LISTEN

Do more than listen: UNDERSTAND

Do more than think: REFLECT

Do more than just talk: SAY SOMETHING

*And no, smart-asses, I am not trying to be lazy when I put others’ poems on my blog. It’s stuff I really like and think you might, too. Of course, I could be way off-base, as well. In which case, I’d rather you deem me lazy than dumb.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Red Box

Have you seen the Red Box at McDonald’s and Price Chopper? If you have not tried the Red Box, YOU MUST!

Cheapskate me usually puts movies on hold at the library and gets to keep them for a week. I almost NEVER do Blockbuster, even with their new extended due dates. I would love to try Netflix, but I haven’t researched the fees and terms yet. Aron gave me a movie gift certificate so I can see movies alone but I haven’t been to one yet (wonder why?!).

But I digress, as I like to do. So for only $1 plus tax you can rent a movie until 9 p.m. the next day. If you want to keep it another night or – God forbid – FORGET (like I’ve done), you just pay another $1 plus tax per night.

They have a lot of new releases and good kid movies. They also have some weird crap that never even made it to the movie theatres, so watch out. You just walk up to the Box, touch the screen and you’re on your way to Movieland. Your DVD is mechanically vended to you (doesn’t that sound professional?). When you want to return it, just pop it back into the machine.

So try the Red Box and let me know what you think. I own no stock in them (that I know of … don’t get me started on 401(k)s and who has the time to peruse theirs to make sure all their money is being invested in socially responsible companies?), so this is a purely neutral review.

Potential problem: What about when movies get too scratched to play? I put Post-it notes on DVDs so the library knows about it, but there needs to be a tiny man with a DVD polisher inside the Red Box.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Problem Solved T-shirt (Women Nags!)



I bought this T-shirt for my husband a couple of years ago. I know it is sick. I know it is wrong. Politically incorrect, perhaps. But I just love it. I got one for my step-dad, as well, seeing as how my mom and I are -- either unfortunately or fortunately -- similar.

The fact that I bought this shirt for my guy shows that I am down with the plight of the married man, or men in general. It is a Catch-22, really. Men don't listen to us, so we nag more. The more we nag, the less they listen to us.

Just for today, no nagging. Take the trash out yourself. Change the oil in your car. Pick up the dirty underwear, put it in the hamper and DON'T yell at your man later. Give it a try.

I'm laughing my ass off picturing you women actually considering taking my advice!!!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

American Family Insurance

I recently got a survey in the mail from my insurance company. They “commissioned” J.D. Power and Associates (wooo … I’m impressed) to conduct a nationwide survey.

They want me to take the time to answer about 50 questions about my service, the value, any recent claims, billing and the usual stuff like how much school I completed, how much money our household makes, how many times I poop in a day and what color it is, etc.

I hate this crap. One question says, “Please let us know if we may share your name and specific responses with your agent.” What is this, high school? Should I talk behind his back or let him know through a third party that I think he’s cute, but that he needs some Clearasil?

I didn’t take the survey but wrote this note, attached it to the survey, and mailed it off:

“Instead of having each agent check in on their own customers personally, you have chosen to waste money on a huge market research firm. I wish you had just given us all a discount instead of hiring J.D. Power and Associates. Then you would DEFINITELY have a near-100% satisfaction rate! How can I rate my overall experience with your company when I consider insurance to be merely a necessary evil?”

And you can’t even blame this rant on my period because I haven’t had one in a year and a half, so there.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Freaky #5: Natural Family Planning

Aron was a lifetime Catholic (with a few lapses!), and felt strongly about us not using artificial birth control (the Pill, condoms, shots, etc.) once we got married. Since our marriage prep classes were sorely lacking in info, I tearfully set out on my own to figure out how NOT to get pregnant on my wedding night.

It took the INTERNET, folks, for me to find out about something called Natural Family Planning. I was intrigued, and we attended classes at a hospital to find out more.

It was a lot of information, and we don’t even use the method where I would have to take my temperature every morning at the same time and graph it, and then put on my scientist hat and analyze the data. I won’t go into detail here … you can check it out for yourself using my link off to the right of this page (if you're reading this on Facebook, go to thekerrieshow.blogspot.com first).

I am so angry that the Catholic Church doesn’t want Catholics using ARTIFICIAL birth control, yet they don’t try very hard to teach any other way besides using NOTHING or that damn Rhythm Method (don’t get me started). There was some local hoo-ha a while back about whether Catholic premarital counseling should include teaching NFP. I say absolutely. How do you expect someone to do something your way if you don’t even clue them in on how it works?

I dig it because it’s free and I’m not putting chemicals into my body. At a monthly co-pay of $10, I’ve saved $1200 in the last 10 years by not taking the Pill. And in case you hadn’t noticed, Callie and Eva are about 3 years apart instead of my usual 2, so NFP DOES work to AVOID pregnancy.

I’m just here to inform, People, not judge. Except when I do product and book reviews. Then there’s all kinds of judging goin’ on.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Primerica

*Warning: highly boring financial talk, which I LOVE!!! So I apologize in advance to my faithful readers. Tomorrow I’ll be back to writing about boobs and cussing children.

I had a lovely little 401(k) which I rolled over to an IRA at my credit union after I got fired J My money grew quickly at the credit union … it was safe and cozy there.

Then along comes a bitchy Primerica rep and all she could offer us was the advice to roll my comfy IRA over into Primerica’s mean, English nanny-like brokerage.

Two years later, and not only has my sweet little IRA’s growth has been seriously stunted. I decided to take action and get my money back. I will DEFINITELY have to wear the redemption check in a sling and breastfeed it for like a week so it will feel whole again. It will have to sleep in the family bed for a while before we send it to the credit union.

So here’s what they hit me with: a $20 fee to CLOSE the account; a $30 fee to TERMINATE the account (aren’t closing and terminating JUST ABOUT the same damn thing?) and a $115 fee that they called some Class B shares sales charge. WHATEVER.

When I cancelled it, I told the woman that I hope their sales reps are driving massive SUVs with GPS and eating caviar every night because they are taking money from a housewife’s future retired mouth.

You can bet your left butt cheek that Suze Orman would kick my right butt cheek for this situation AND for the fact that I’m about to just put all our money under the mattress. (Note to thieves: I’m just kidding about the mattress thing.)

P.S. When I got the check, it was another $250+ short because the market was crappy just prior to me closing my account. No Starbuck's for me in my old age, I guess. Don't shed a tear for me, friends. I'll muddle through.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The House of Style

My house looks like I am growing a mini Rachel Zoe (many shameless references to her to follow). Except Rachel Zoe probably does not tell her mother that she pooped on the floor.

Monday my sister-in-law gave us a huge bag of kid clothes and shoes, including leotards and never-worn Dora underwear. It was like we won the lottery.

Tuesday I went to Ellen’s. It was BANANAS how much clothing she had in her basement for 5 kids … and she had already gotten rid of a lot. I took some cute stuff for all my kids’ future needs. AND my mom brought me a bag of magazines from my fabulous Aunt Cathy … Oprah, Bazaar, Vanity Fair, People. I was SHUTTING IT DOWN (which, in my world, means I locked the kids out of the bathroom and had a good read for about 5 minutes)!

Wednesday we got home from Leigh’s to find a little chair, a princess coloring pad TO DIE FOR and a bag of girlie stuff like wands, tiaras, leotards, princess heels from my friend Ambre and her daughter Amatista.

It ALMOST makes me want to drop 20 pounds and go vintage clothes shopping. But I am currently having a love affair with Russell Stover dark chocolate coconut creams. I like to buy the poor little misfit ones because they are unwanted (and cheap).

Who else watches The Rachel Zoe Project? Dontcha think Taylor is good at her job, but a total witch? Poor Brad needs some serious training and a little coddling. Doesn’t she know that he could become her gay husband?

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