Monday, August 29, 2005

Girls, Girls, Girls

I've been around little girls so much over the past 9 days that I've been soliciting my male neighbors to talk about football and monster trucks in an effort to achieve normality. I took a week off of work to celebrate Stacey's last week of summer break before school starts again, and I found myself hanging out with her and her friends a lot more than I imagined I would.

First was the rock-climbing birthday party, a raging success, but a lower turnout than I expected. We had 8 kids total, and missing were 3 who had confirmed and 2 I thought would definitely show since they had in the past. Had they all showed, though, the party would have not gone as well since we had just enough adults to belay the climbers that showed up. Everyone had a good time and got thoroughly exhausted, and then managed to go through 4 large pizzas and most of 2 birthday cakes. Stacey got lots of loot and lots of attention, so she was happy. She's also a good climber, the first to make it to the top of the climbing structure.

Next was the Monday sleepover, followed by the Tuesday babysitting of all her friends who's parents were at work, followed by a somewhat costly trip to Dairy Queen with all the girls who slept over plus one straggler. Nothing required an inhuman effort from me to manage, it was just an all day affair with giggling girls dancing to pop music and playing with Brats dolls, the new Barbie. I jumped in occasionally, teaching the kids the correct way to do some old school dances like the robot and the swimmer, and showing them the one my posse made up back in the early 90s, the "readin' the book".

After that was the Hillary Duff concert. A neighbor had tickets she couldn't use and asked me if I wanted to take Stacey. I said sure, and brought two of her friends with us. The girls were giddy, doing their makeup in the car, and running around with their little purses and sashes. At the concert I decided to be extra generous and blew my extra spending cash on concert T-shirts for all 3 of them and some drinks and popcorn. They all had a blast, shrieking until they were hoarse. I still have a slight ringing in my ears from the whole ordeal.

Last was the lemonade stand and cleaning up the fallout from it. The girls and I went through a car wash, and then they helped me vacuum out my car, very nice of them. Afterwards I chaperoned them going to a local grocery store to buy poster board, lemonade mix, and pop, most of which they purchased with their own money. After a quick stop at the pet store for them to play with hamsters and a puppy, we went back and they started work on their advertising, and set up their stand early the next morning.

After spending all day out in the heat selling drinks and failing to make back their expenses, they were all at each other's throats, and I tried to heal any emotional wounds by taking them all out that evening for ice cream. Again. That went moderately well, and I expect they'll be best friends again sometime soon.

Now I've had enough little girl activities to last me a long while, and Stacey had a busy week with her friends with lots of ups and very few downs. A good last week of summer vacation.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Tomorrow is Stacey's birthday, W00t! However, it will probably rain. B00t!

In a week or so, provided people have a good time, I'll have some pictures out on my photo site of the event. This year we're doing a climbing party at a place called Summit Vision, where the kids (and maybe some adults) will climb a climbing tower and various other things. Seemed like a cool idea.

Go buy some jewelry.

Butterfly Lane Creations

Yes, this is a shameless plug. The above link is for the website of a friend of mine who I used to work with. I helped her tweak some CGI and HTML, and had a chance to see some of the bracelets and such close-up. Good stuff.

Working on the site gave me a chance to brush up on my CSS a little bit, and I'm adding another item to my to-do-when-I'm-not-feeling-lazy list, writing a template for this site that I'm more happy with. Maybe one day I'll get around to it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Coathanger = po man's plumber

I learned everything I need to know in life not in Kindergarten, but by watching Macgyver. I'm also close to dead broke right for various reasons, so when my kitchen sink backed up last night, calling a plumber wasn't an option I was ready to entertain. Buying a $5 bottle of Liquid Plumber was also not going to happen if I could avoid it.

After debating for a few minutes with my roomie on the best approach for using a coathanger to unclog a sink, I went to work threading an unwrapped hanger down the sink, through the side of the garbage disposal, and down to the grease trap. After twisting the hanger around in the grease trap for a while, I gave up and decided to take the sink apart.

So I took all of our miscellaneous cleaning supplies and placemats out from under the sink, and found a good container to bail with. As soon as I put the container in the sink to remove the first scoop of water, the water started to bubble and swirl and make the unpleasant sucking noise that only kitchen sinks can, and all the water drained out normally.

I was unhappy about that, as I had stolen myself to the task of dismantling the sink, dismissing everything else I wanted to do that night, and now the task was taken away from me. My unhappiness was short lived, of course, as was the idea that the sink was deliberately spiting me. My current theory is that the coathanger actually did the trick, and I just needed to be more patient.

So now I saved $5 on a bottle of Liquid P and a possible $50 or so on a real plumber by sacrificing a 5 cent coathanger I wasn't using anyway. Now more of my hard earned cash can go to buying the last round of birthday presents for Stacey's party, which is this Saturday!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Picture Perfect

Every once in a while a two hour block of your life seems like it is dragged directly from a Disney film, a Norman Rockwell painting, or a chapter from a Leo Buscaglia book. This morning was like that for me.

Stacey had been with me for three weeks, and is going back to her mom today. My task this morning was a simple one I've done hundreds (thousands?) of times before: get her up, in the shower, feed her, drop her off at day care. Today my heart really wasn't in it though, because I was still exhausted from yesterday's activities.

Yesterday, Stacey, my mentee Dave, and I went to COSI to see the Titanic exhibit, and did much running around there and walking in the hot sun, and walked about a mile from COSI to the closest Mongolian Barbecue to eat dinner. After dropping Dave off at home, Stacey and I got Heidi (her dog) and went down the dog park for about an hour to let her run around. Basically we were both beat by the end of the day.

So I attempted to get Stacey up for a couple minutes, and decided to give up and try again later, so I crawled into bed beside her. She stirred a little, and scooted over to me and put her head on my shoulder, all with her eyes closed lest I accuse her of being awake. Heidi promptly got jealous and jumped on the bed and laid down on Stacey's other side and scooted in close so the three of us made a giant Stacey sandwich.

I vaguely remember Stacey talking to the dog after that, and the sounds of running water. After that I remember Stacey pulling at my arm and trying to jerk me out of bed. "Daddy, we're going to be late to Roya's."

She had gotten up, taken a shower, got dressed, and combed her hair, all while I snoozed. I took my shower, we brushed our teeth together, and said goodbye to the dog, and headed to McDonald's for some drive-through breakfast. We talked on the way to day care, and I told her how pretty she looked and how proud I was of her for taking care of herself and being mature (yes, while I snoozed, shush! I'm telling a story here!)

At the day care, the teachers were all glad to see her, and some of the younger kids' faces lit up and they ran over to her with whatever little toy they had. I took my goodbye kiss and left her to enjoy herself with her little toddler and preschool friends, where she no doubt acts like a substitute mommy.

I couldn't have made up a more poignant story of a great kid and her early morning antics. Stacey was already the best, but she just keeps getting better all the time.