Saturday, December 30, 2006

Where the... ?

I served cereal to my children for breakfast today. Jay ate from the Superman bowl and spoon that he got for Christmas, and he took considerably longer to finish than the girls. Sarah and Lily had already bussed their bowls and left the kitchen when Jay finished, and I was distracted by loading the dishwasher. When I realized Jay was no longer at the table, it occurred to me that he hadn't brought his bowl to me. I took a quite inventory of the dishwasher, just to make sure. No Superman bowl.

Next question: if I were a two year old, where would I put a Superman bowl and spoon once I was finished eating? Anyone with significant experience with two years olds will know that "in my bed" or "in the toilet" are far more likely answers than "in the sink." The hunt began. I repeatedly asked Jay to show me where they were, but he didn't seem to know any more than I did. This was less than comforting. I checked all his usual haunts, finding only an old sippy cup filled with cottage cheese. I asked the girls to help look, but all they did was follow me around, looking in each place that I looked.

The breakthrough came when I was looking under things in the kitchen and petitioned Jay once more to find the bowl. He only said, "Can't..... reach......" in a strained voice. I looked over to see him with his arm stretched down into the kitchen garbage can as far as it could go. Ah. Mystery solved. Apparently, "in the garbage" is a viable option as well.


Stef's mom and step father were generous enough to give me, Stef, Bob and Cherie tickets to go see Monty Python's Spamalot for Christmas, along with babysitting all six of the children during that time. We did dinner at Yotsuba, the show, then dessert at The Majestic.

Yotsuba was, as always, wonderful. We did mostly sushi, and I got my personal favorite, takozushi! I also ordered Zaru Udon, a cold noodle dish. Mostly we got rolls, and they were all oishii desu. As a last minute impulse we ordered ice cream, which added $17 to the bill. More on that later. The four of us paid the $160 for dinner, then we left for the Fisher Theater and spamalot.

Spamalot, which none of us knew anything about other than the Monty Python connection and the obvious Holy Grail reference in the title, turned out to be a musical adaptation of the Holy Grail. There were some great numbers, and some fun surprises, and overall I really enjoyed it. Maybe it was the 16 year old Monty Python geek in me, I dunno. It stayed true to the Python spirit while being musical theater all at once. Were the ticket worth the $70 face value? Maybe. Probably. To me, anyway.

The Majestic is where things start to turn south a bit. Stef's mom had recommended this place (we had only the name and a general location to go by) for us to have dessert after the play. I didn't care all that much about eating at that point, but since Stef's mom thought it would be fun I figured I'd be game. The sorts of places that Stef's mom likes are typically Caribou Coffee-type places, so I was completely caught off guard by The Majestic. First off, the blast of smoke in my face as we walked in immediately warned me that I would have a very short amount of time in there before I would become medicine dependent. Second, the place was dark, and dark restaurants are always a little suspicious to me. The waiter sat us as far away from the bar as he could (30 feet of open space, give or take) and the air was a fair bit clearer over at our table. I looked over the special board, which listed lots of entrees in the $17-20 range, and the menu. Neither had any mention of dessert. I wondered if this was the place she had actually intended us to visit. When the waiter came over, he explained that they had a dessert cart that he could bring over if needed. We asked for a verbal list, made our choices, then drank tasty coffee and talked while waiting. Okay, talked might be a little exaggeration. We yelled. The music was so loud that I couldn't understand anything anyone else was saying. I could hear sounds coming out of their mouths, but whether it was English or gibberish was unknown. When dessert arrived it looked frilly, a stark contrast to the restaurant's loud, dark and smoky environment. My chocolate and blueberry torte occupied about 5% of the plate, the rest of which was filled with two small squirts of whipped cream and a lattice of drizzled chocolate and blueberry sauce. In the dim light I could barely tell the blueberry sauce from the chocolate sauce, and I sure couldn't tell you anything about the torte other the fact that it was dark in color and topped with whipped cream flowers. A while chocolate garnish graced the top of the slice, and looked exactly like a linoleum bathroom floor tile in miniature. I saw later that it matched the curved section of the slice, which had a candy backing. The torte was okay, not great. Stef's chocolate mousse was quite good. Bob seemed to enjoy his tiramisu. Cherie was enjoying her carrot cake until she got to the nut encrusted backing. The nuts just tasted off, and Bob hypothesized that they might be black walnuts. I tasted them, and they indeed had an unpleasant taste, and a texture like boiled peanuts. We asked the waiter to check on what they were, and he returned with the answer "roasted peanuts." "Roasted in what?" Bob rhetorically asked after the waiter had left. The only realistic scenario we could come up with was that the roasted peanuts had been around long enough to go stale (hence the texture) then the peanut oil in them had gone rancid. We left The Majestic (reeking of smoke) through the bowling alley back entrance to avoid the line of panhandlers that had accosted us on the way in. Oh, and remember the $17 ice cream earlier? We had thought that a bit pricey at Yotsuba. The bill (before tip) at The Majestic was $42.77. Ouch.

Total cost for the four of us for the evening: about $500. I think I just remembered why we don't go out and do things much.

Monday, December 25, 2006


  • Today at 8:00 AM we finally decided to wake up the girls. On Christmas morning?!?
  • Mark and I had a rematch. I fielded one painted model and many primed ones. He fielded all painted models. The only casualties in the game were painted models. Yes, I won.
  • AAA is apparently the new AA. Of all the toys that required batteries this morning, only one used AA's.
  • It takes a two year old approximately 5 second to both chew up an Aqua Doodle marking tool and then scribble on the Aqua Doodle pad with a Sharpie. Yay.

I feel like I've been complaining a lot in these entries, but I am just beat down this time of year. There is always twice as much need as there are resources, both tangible and intangible. Jay is a holy terror right now, so any peaceful moments are typically ended with his horrifying shriek (the one he uses when he is slightly to moderately unhappy with just about anything.) We've been asking the girls to please try and avoid doing the things that make Jay explode, but I worry that we are rewarding his tantrums that way. I know he's only two, but the girls could be reasoned with much more effectively at this age than he can. I look forward to three.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bear with me

1. My wife sent me to the store at 10:00 PM tonight for ice cream. While there, she called to request that I pick up Chorizo (Mexican sausage.) Ice cream and sausage at 10:00 PM? What is she, pregnant?

2. Rachel Ray better get off my cracker box or else. You can't swing a dead cat anymore without hitting her overly enthusiastic smile. I don't know who the heck she is (other than the author of the book being hawked on any and all Nabisco products) but she better crawl back under the rock she emerged from or face my incessant whining.

3. How many days can a person feel kinda yucky after having been sick for a month? Apparently many days. I just can't kick the sore throat / plugged up ears / wanna take a Tylenol feeling.

4. I still have a solid month of commission work to go, despite having already been paid for it. Christmas would have been a train wreck without the extra cash. I can work into the wee hours all through January with that knowledge.

5. Mark came over and played 500 points of Trollbloods vs. my Menoth. In the end, I stuck Feora's neck a little too far out and got handed her head for my troubles. I think it just proves that painted armies perform better. Mark's Trollbloods look better every day, and my Menoth remain primer white.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Possible Culprit?

So now I'm on antibiotics and a cocktail of over the counter drugs, and I'm slowly returning to the land of the living. While I was crashed out Tuesday, Stef got a tip that someone we know was having similar health problems and the source turned out to be mold in their furnace humidifier. She went and checked it out, and ours was filled with gunk and mold, which she proceeded to scrub out, bless her heart. The humidifier in question had been off for a couple years because the filter wheel wasn't turning, and it was easier to run a portable humidifier upstairs. About two months ago a friend of ours did a furnace repair, and during that time the humidifier got turned back on. I am hoping that all our sickness woes are a result of the moldy humidifier, and I'll be the last one to suffer from this onslaught of illness.

Being sick cuts considerably into my painting time. This current bout especially has hampered painting, since my eyes are goopy. I will have to break some speed records to finish my painting goals before Christmas.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Again?!? Sick again?!??

I am fed up with getting sick. It seems like the five of us have passed some germ or other around for the past month, and I am frustrated with missing church yet again. This time it's me who is sick, having some horrid bug descend on me Saturday afternoon. By Sunday morning all I wanted to do was lay in bed. Stef got up with the kids, but I got up and sent her to bed when it became apparent that she was suffering from a migraine. I'm debating whether to wake her up during Jay's nap (for minimal responsibility to start) or when Jay wakes up (maximum time to recover.) She took an Imitrex, which leaves her insensible for hours. When I'm at work, the only recourse for a migraine is to wait until I get home, as she can't responsibly be the caretaker for the kids after taking Imitrex. The proverbial rock and hard place.

So, like I said, it's been some subset of us sick for nearly a month. If just some subset of the kids were sick, one of us could take the healthy ones and go to church while the other stayed home with the sick kids. When one adult is lying miserable in bed and the other is caring for sick kids, church becomes very difficult. Did I mention that I am not fond of missing church?

The dogs have been nothing but trouble this morning. One of them decided to relieve itself in the house before we got up, and they have done nothing but crash around the house and bark since. Right now they are outside, and the loudest sound in the house is them barking at each other, carrying through the closed windows. Once Jay's awake I'm sure he'll replace them for loudest sound. His "indoor voice" is impressively "outdoor."

Whiny? Yes. Grumpy? Oh, yes. I should probably leave off the whiny, grumpy posts, but not everything can be an episode of This American Life. I'll cope if you will.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Civic Duty

I had my first assigned jury duty this morning. I showed up at District Court 14B at 8:50 AM, anticipating sitting as a jury member in a trial for the first time. What I got was a 20 minute video, about 20 pages of "Saving Fish from Drowning" read and a donut, but no trials. Apparently, most cases about to go to criminal trial are settled in some way before actually going before a jury. Of the sixteen cases on the docket this morning, all of them chose that route rather than be paraded before my intimidating gaze. I was back at work by 11:30.

I was looking forward to taking part in our judicial process. Now I just wish I had taken another donut.