The closest to Normal (Illinois) that I've ever been.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Unlucky Penny

Yesterday we went to feed Penny the turtle, and found that she had died. We were rather shocked because Penny had previously shown no signs of illness at all. Judging from the very unappealing state of her body, she must have died the previous day--it was a closed casket funeral. We buried her under the tree in the front yard (under three layers of mulch and a layer of shade cloth--it was quite an undertaking (ha!)
The kids made a memorial. The kids were bummed out, but not much more demonstrative than that. Sam really enjoyed taking Penny to school the other day--it made him exceedingly popular. (Hopefully Penny's death was unrelated to her outing). Ironically, Saturday was Lucky Penny Day.

Today Joseph has been playing with a wooden snake, carefully tending to it and feeding it smaller snakes. I asked him about his snake, and he told me:
When it was a baby, it got chased into the garden by a wolf. The lake was mutated and it got mutated into a grown-up. Now its poison doesn't hurt you, but its poison has AIDS in it. The AIDS attack your white blood cells. But because it was a baby, it has to bite you many times to kill you. It can only give you one AID at a time. But if you feed it it won't bite you. Do you want to feed my snake?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Let's be gods!

This morning Joseph greeted Danny with: Let's be gods today! Which one are you? Joseph was the God of Thunder, but he couldn't decide whether he should be Thor or Zeus. Danny told Joseph that Thor rode a goat, so Joseph decided to be Zeus. Danny was (Famous) Ray, God of Pizza, raining pepperoni down on humanity.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Since moving

This is a list of things that have happened since we moved a week and a half ago:
  1. We spent 12 hours giving the old house a professional clean out.
  2. Our old landlord told Danny that "the house could be cleaner" and announced that he would be withholding our deposit because there was a small stain inside one of the kitchen drawers and some vandals dented the garage door.
  3. I drove by several hours later and it appeared that our landlord was having a massive party at the old house.
  4. We unpacked completely. After all of our hard work downsizing, we were able to fit everything into the new place.
  5. We found that the new house has some weird batchelor-type features: the washing machine is not hooked up to the hot water, someone installed vinyl siding over the window in the storage room and there is no outdoor water spigot. Our new landlord has a plumber-friend coming over to install the hot water and spigot.
  6. I decided that the new place is not bad at all--the neighborhood is very quiet and green with no students, the house looks pretty good with all of our stuff in it, we have nice neighbors, the dog loves lying out on the front porch, and the walk to school is not too bad.
  7. Sam was very upset because he got lost on the way home from the bus stop. (Hard to imagine--he gets dropped off 4 blocks from our house on the same street.)
  8. Penny the turtle got to visit Sam's class. Apparently she had a helluva time: she enjoyed some fruit, tried to escape and had a fight with the classroom turtle. (It makes me think of Bart Simpson's elephant Stampy because "Some animals are just jerks!")
  9. Joseph rode his bike to school. He was extremely pleased.
  10. I bought blackout curtains for our bedroom. The house is already really well sound-insulated and between the curtains and the lack of drunken student yodeling at night, I sleep much more soundly. I think that also my complexion has completely cleared up. (Alternatively, the fact that I don't have a decently-lit mirror anymore prevents me from knowing if I have any pimples.)
  11. We are having thunderstorms and torrential rain now. The new house appears to be completely water-tight (even the porch!) and we can park the cars a yard from the front door. I hope that the old landlord is enjoying his leaky basement and the long walk down the flooded mudslick of a driveway that he never got around to re-gravelling.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Action Figure

Joseph came home from school with this happy little guy. Upon questioning, he told us that it was a baby Darth Sidious named Darth Bidious. Well, of course--what else could it be!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Anothra Mothra's day

Does anyone care what we did for Mother's day? If no, stop reading now.
Today I rode my craptastic/vintage bike to work for the first time--I think that I looked like Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie. Anyhoo, after a delightful morning watching crickets mate (and not mate), the guys picked me up for some delicious St. Louis-style ribs at Famous Dave's. We had a lovely meal which ended up being freakishly cheap. The guys gave me some lovely presents, including a hand-made paver (Joseph tells me that it represents an ant feeding a honeydew aphid), Ephemere beer, organic Rubens chocolates and books of Kenken puzzles. (I think that this pretty much covers all of my vices, no?)

We then took a road trip to the mall in Champaign for some shopping. (Oddly enough, I gave the kids the choice between skating and the mall, and they chose the mall.) It would appear that the economy has hit the mall hard because there was no longer a book store--the kids were pretty bummed out. Also, my main destination Ann Taylor Loft has apparently up-sized their clothes. I am exactly the same size as I was last year, but now I can no longer wear a size 2 and there were very few clothes available in size 0. (Seriously, I am NOT a size 0!) Aaarrrghhh!

I finished the day by taking Argos to the dog park where he HURT HIS LEG. You may recall that last year Argos messed up his leg at the dog park and was limping for months. We were all scheduled to take him to the vet school for imaging when it miraculously healed.
UPDATE 5/11: I took Argos to the vet and he is now on anti-inflammatories and reduced exercise. As an unexpected twist, I found out that Argos somehow recently gained 8-lbs of fat. This is totally unacceptable to me because I have a rule that Argos is absolutely not allowed to weigh more than me. So the dog is on a diet.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


What the heck is it with this time of year? After months of nothing much going on, suddenly everything happens NOW. So this weekend we moved to a new house. It was hellacious, but thanks to Jeff and family, we were able to get all of our stuff crammed into our new place (tiny--and no basement or garage) by Sunday night.

Monday Joseph had homework due, Sam needed a plain white T-shirt for tie-dying, and there was a parent's meeting (didn't go!). Tuesday Sam had a (surprise!) concert. Wednesday was Pajama Day for Joseph (where the heck did we put his favorite pajamas?). Thursday is the last possible day to mail (belated?) Mother's Day cards. Friday is the deadline for summer camp/swimming lesson registration. And we have been invited to multiple end-of-year parties/drinks/events that we have been too crazed to attend.

And all week Danny and I have been trying to simultaneously unpack the new house and clean out the old one. Our old landlord has a reputation for spurious deposit-witholding, so Danny and I did a professional quality clean-out on the old place. (Yes, Danny and I are professionals. Remember?--we used to own a green house-cleaning company?) Meanwhile I have been doing cricket mating trials every other day and have been trying to help a grad student prep for her defense.

We are adjusting to the new place. It is really nice living in a quiet neighborhood without ISU students yodelling obscenities and pillaging all night. The walk to work is not that much longer. Danny has been walking Sam to the old bus stop every morning and the dog and I have found a new running route. Argos had some mishaps with the new electric fence but eventually decided that the new yard is an OK place to go to the bathroom.