Friday 27 April 2012

Pillow Talk and Ostrich Sex

I wake suddenly from a strange dream.  When I roll over to look at Daddy, he is checking his phone messages in bed.

Me:  "Oh my God, I just had the craziest dream....what time is it?"

Daddy:  "7:50"

(I roll over and hug him.)

Me:  "Oh my God it was so dream...."

Daddy: "Yeah?"

Me:  "Totally.  For some reason I was working on an ostrich farm-"

(Daddy starts looking at me like I'm crazy.)

Me:  "And we had to get the ostriches to mate-"

(Daddy rolls his eyes and lies back down on the pillow)

Me:  "So first, we trick them into this sort of corral thing, road-runner style-"

(Daddy heaves a big sigh and rolls over.  I continue talking in his ear)

Me:  "By that I mean we put this pile of bird seed in the middle of the corral and wait-"

Daddy:  "......(sigh)..."

Me:  "Hey, how do ostriches have sex anyway?  I woke up before that part.  We weren't having much luck with it in the dream."

Daddy:  "...(sigh)..."

Me:  "Like, all the other birds I've seen have sex kind of fly there, y'know?"

(Silence from Daddy)

Me:  "But ostriches are so big.   How do they hang on?  Do you think they use their necks?"

(More silence)

Me:  "Hey, I bet there's a Youtube video!  Y'think they'd have a Youtube video of ostrich sex?"

(More silence.)

Me:  "Are you officially ignoring me now because I'm talking about ostrich sex?"

Daddy:  "Yes."

Me:  "I'll go make you some coffee."

Daddy:  "You're going to check Youtube for ostrich porn, aren't you?"

Me:  "Yes."

And here you have it folks: ostrich porn!  (Warning: NSFW)

Youtube has everything.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

If We Die In a House Fire It Will Probably Be My Fault.

Daddy is a safety nut.  Not so much because he is a zealot about safety but because of the safety credits you can get with home insurance.  We have at least four smoke detectors in our house, that I know about.  And our house isn't that big.

He put all the smoke detectors in at the same time.  This is important because it means he put new batteries in them at the same time.  Which means that the batteries in all four smoke detectors tend to run out of juice, all around the same time, but not exactly.

Also, for some reason I don't really understand, he did not hang them on the ceilings (which would have made sense) but instead hid them in various little nooks or behind picture-frames on shelves like they were Easter eggs or something.

Our smoke detectors have this neat little feature: whenever their batteries are close to running out of juice the alarm goes off in small but shrill, ear-piercing little shrieks sporadically to let you know it's time to change them.  Ingenious, non? 


Because when I say sporadically, I mean sporadically.

#3 Does not apply for this is neither unique nor isolated.

Sometimes the alarm shrieks every two minutes, sometimes every thirty seconds, and sometimes in fifteen to twenty minute intervals, depending on whatever pattern is the most annoying to me at any given time.  

For example: 

-If I am trying to fall asleep it will go off every two minutes, giving me just enough time to almost lose consciousness before jolting me back into wakefulness.

-If I am on the phone it will go off every thirty seconds so that I am unable to really concentrate on the conversation because I am being distracting by my oncoming rage stroke.

-If I am trying to find where the hell my husband hid the damn thing, or which of the four is going off at that particular moment it will go off in 15-20 minute intervals, therefore wasting my time and making it incredibly difficult to locate the smoke detector using sound.

This always seems to happen when my husband is not home to tell me where it is or, better yet, take care of it himself.  And if ever I do somehow manage to find the culprit, what happens is this:  

-I can't figure out how the hell to remove the battery because there is no logical way of opening up the battery compartment on our models.

-While trying to open it, the damn thing goes off in my hand, only the noise is constant and wailing as if we are in a real fire, and then I spend about five minutes running around in a panic trying to find a way to make it shut up.  

-Then I accidentally shut it up by banging it repeatedly on the floor, which is good because it shut up (finally!) but bad because I don't know what I did to make that work which means that the next time I am in the same position I will not have learned anything from my experience and will therefore be condemned to repeat the whole damned nonsense.

Once I have finally, finally made it die....the next smoke detector goes off and the fun starts all over again.    Mind you, after dealing with a second one I make Daddy go and preemptively change the batteries on whichever ones are left.

You'd think I would learn and make Daddy teach me how to replace the batteries, or find the smoke detectors or any number of things that would make this ordeal less frustrating, but once they are done I tend to forget all about it until the next time.  Yes, I'm stupid like that.

I'm in smoke-detector-battery-hell right now.  So far it's only been the one, which has been located but is still going off sporadically.  It's been living in a kitchen drawer for about a week now.  Usually he changes the battery as soon as he knows about it but he's been pretty distracted lately and he keeps forgetting about it despite my incessant bitching.

So, I thought I'd help him out.

This morning, while he was in the shower, I carefully hid the smoke detector in his car.

I wonder how long it will take him to find it.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

The Talk: I See Your Hand Drawn Sex Pictures and Raise You a Turkey.

A while back I had written a couple of posts about The Talk: my misadventures in providing Frick's sex-education.  I had the intention of writing about my own sex-education, but other more pressing posts needed to be written.  And then I read this hilarious post by Yvonne at Attracted to Shiny Things.

Yvonne, you and I need to start some kind of support group for PTTSD: Post-The Talk Stress Disorder.

I know the title of my post implies that my experience was more traumatic but that's not really the case.  They're just about equal in their capacity to scar for life, Yvonne's being slightly more pornographic, but I wanted a snappy title.  If you haven't clicked over to her post yet, do it now.  (NOW, I say!)  That shit is pretty danged graphic.

First, let me tell you how I really learned about sex.

I was a shy kid so I didn't make a friend of my very own until I was nine years old.  I just played with my brothers and their friends (all of whom are younger than me).  One day the new girl, Jenny, approached me and informed me that I was to come call on her after school that day.  We were inseparable from that moment until the day she moved away again, 6 months later.  I never understood why she wanted to be my friend.  I was skinny and goofy-looking and unpopular.

I bore a striking resemblance to this man. 

Jenny was cool and pretty and had long hair.  Also, she had breasts!  Nine years old and she had breasts.  I had to learn her secrets!  This was a time when nine-year olds with breasts was pretty rare.

One day Jenny was in an unusually pensive mood.  We were just sitting around, bored, when out of nowhere she just blurted out an entire textbook of sexual information; puberty, menstruation, intercourse, babies.  My theory is that her mother had just given her The Talk the night before (what with her having breasts and all) and she was still dealing with the trauma.  I was shocked.  I accused her of lying to me.  She swore it was true.  A few days later she had stolen the instructions from her mother's tampon box to show me as some kind of evidence.

Seeing the official Tampax logo on those instructions (and suddenly realizing that they most definitely were not weird adult Tootsie Rolls as I had thought) I was convinced.  And slightly horrified.  And maybe a little grossed out.  This topic occupied most of our conversations from thereon after.  We giggled a lot.

So that was my introduction to sex-ed.  By no means accurate or complete (much was left to our imaginations), but a beginning.

Now let me tell you how my mother thinks I learned about sex.

Sorry, Mummy.

I was in 7th grade.  By that time the public school system had already got to me in the form of late eighties AIDS-awareness programs in health classes.  Also, I learned all about teen pregnancy from watching DeGrassi Jr. High.  Also, it's just about the only thing twelve year olds ever talk about.  It seems that Mummy was the last person to tell me about the birds and bees.  And it's such a shame because her somewhat improvised presentation was resourceful and creative.  I'm sure she felt positive about the whole thing, and rightfully so, as I imagine her own education probably consisted of an informative book discreetly left on her bed....if that.

We were in the kitchen making dinner.  I was tearing lettuce for a salad and my mother was making a stuffing for our entree that evening...roast turkey.  As we were thus engaged, she started giving me evaluative, sidelong glances, which were making me slightly nervous.  Then she started talking.

"So your breasts are really developing..."  (they weren't)


"...and you'll likely be starting your period soon..." (Mummy had told me about periods when I got my first bra, not realizing that Jenny had already stolen her thunder thereby depriving her of my initial shock and denial.)


"...and I just wanted to make sure you know how babies are made."

"Oh."  I had no idea what to say.  I knew I was about to hear my Mom talk about sex things.  I silently prayed that this would be quick and painless.  Well, at least it was quick.

"Do you?"

Don't answer that!  It's a setup!  No, she's expecting an answer.  Deny it!  No!  Blame the school!

"Uh, sure.  They uh, taught us in health class....sperm meets egg....(unintelligible teenage mumbling)"

"But how does the sperm get to the egg?"

(Jaw flapping but no sounds coming out.)

"Well, whaddaya think?  A man walks into a room and impregnates a woman by osmosis?"

(Finally able to produce sound) "Uh....uh....uh...."

At this point, based on my extreme embarrassment, she may have had some idea that I knew at least a little bit about sex but she bravely continued.

And that's when she did this:

"This," she announced, grabbing a cucumber off the counter and brandishing it at me, "Is a penis.  Having sex means putting the penis into your vagina, but these days sex can be dangerous-"

Yanks open a drawer and pulls out the Saran Wrap.

"So you have to protect your self-" (wrapping the end of the cucumber in Saran Wrap) "like this.  But with condoms.  But you know if you don't have any condoms you probably could use Saran Wrap."

And that's when she demonstrated exactly how her newly protected cucumber was going to make sweet, sweet love to our supper without producing unholy veggie-turkey babies or contracting poultry-based STDs.  Needless to say, I had very little appetite at the dinner table that night.

Really Mummy?  Saran Wrap?  I can't really judge you too harshly for that one seeing as how at the time you hadn't thought about contraception since you had your tubes tied in 1980, but that's pretty bad advice.  I guess as a responsible, forward thinking Mom you felt that something, even Saran Wrap, was better than nothing.  At least you didn't just say, "Sex: Don't Do It!"  or "Just say, NO!" which would have been even less effective in preventing pregnancy than plastic wrap.

I commend you for doing your very best, Mummy.  It's not an easy conversation to have with your kid at any age.

(On a lighter note, during my research on MacGyver-inspired birth control I found out that people have used:

-a snack-sized Doritos bag
-spermicide made from toothpaste
-tin foil

I don't know what's worse: allowing someone to put that stuff in your vagina or allowing the guy dumb enough to think it would work into your vagina.)

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Oh Joy, It Happened Again!

Not too long ago I hit a blogging milestone.  I had been approached by a random stranger who clearly had only seen my web address somewhere with the word "Mommy" in it and therefore targeted me as a place to publish their shit.  Personally, I think this is terrible etiquette and deserving of a bitch-slap.  And so I delivered that bitch-slap in written form...and then published it on my blog.  Because why shouldn't I turn that lemon into lemonade?

Well, it happened again.  And it couldn't have come at a better time because I only have a two hour window to write today and my original topic was turning out to be difficult to open.  I noticed I had a new message in my inbox and it turned out to be this:

Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2012 13:30:01 -0400
Subject: Website Question
From: (I'm a bitch but I'm not so bitchy as to publish her e-mail address)


I recently came across your blog and really like the content and the theme of your site. I was wondering if you accept guest posts because I have recently started writing informational and educational articles about maternity, health, motherhood and other thing closely related to that niche. I believe an article on one of those topics would mesh with your blog very well and also benefit your readers tremendously.  Please let me know if you are interested in seeing and sharing an article with your viewers. 
Kind Wishes,

And, being the courteous woman that I am, I replied:

Dear Katie,

First, let me commend you on your decision to start writing.  I like nothing more than to help a fellow writer in whatever humble way I can.  Secondly, thank you so much!  It's always kind of thrilling to receive a compliment on my writing.  Really, you flatter me too much in this obviously-not-a-generic-form-letter e-mail.  I can tell how long you must have spent on my site because, obvs, you really get me and my readers.  I, too, have written educational and informational articles that have benefited my readers tremendously.   Articles you might remember (from having looked at the content and theme of my site) as "The Ten Commandments of Mothering and How to Subvert Them", "7 Reasons Why Pre-natal Classes Are Bullshit", and "Swearing At Your Kids is Good For Them!"  As you can tell, I live to educate and inform.  That is why my readers keep coming back.

So, to show mutual respect, I paid very close attention to this thoughtfully written, obviously-not-a-generic-form-letter e-mail.  Unfortunately, I notice that your articles are intended to mesh with all topics closely related to the niche of maternity, health and motherhood.  In all honesty, it is my opinion that my blog is quite distantly related to that niche.  At least two or three times removed.  I apologize for the mix-up.  I can see now, having gone back and reviewed some of my posts, how you might have been confused.  Perhaps it was my profligate use of the F-word or the fact that I routinely shit on informational articles about maternity and motherhood (though not so much health) that steered you wrong.  So, I think it's not very likely that our articles will mesh.

At this point, you might be asking me why I went through the trouble of carefully crafting this response rather than just replying with a simple "No, thank you" or not replying at all.  Well, it was because you took the time to read and enjoy my blog.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that.  It almost hurts me to reject you after you went through all the trouble of researching what it is that I write before approaching me with your request to guest-post.  And really, I must accept responsibility for that after having written all my blog posts so ambiguously.  I thank you for helping me learn this lesson and will be sure to take care to insert more sarcasm in future posts.

In the meantime please be sure to enjoy my post entitled "Does This Make Me a Real Blogger Now?".  I truly believe it will mesh well with your future endeavors, serving to educate, inform and benefit you tremendously.

Kind Wishes,
Mommy Rotten

There's really nothing wrong with approaching someone to guest post, but it is seriously rude when you do it without doing your research first. When you explicitly state that you read and enjoyed my blog and then the rest of your message makes clear that you are LYING that, my friend, is adding insult to injury and I will punish you.  Although, I do think I could get used to this because responding is so much fun.  

I kind of hope they never learn.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Weird Science

I like to kid about my relationship with my mother in-law, pretending she intimidates me etc., but the truth is I think she's great.  One of the things I like about her is that she's a science geek.  She passed her love of science on to my husband and our mutual interest in the subject is one of the pillars of our marriage.

Recently, Mother Rotten signed my kids up for a science club program at the local, government run and funded, drop-in play centre.  Canada's government is very passionate about early childhood education.  After you turn five though, you're screwed.  It's mostly for Frack to get some social interaction but since we're homeschooling, Frick comes too.

The first of the day's experiments was to make "elephant toothpaste".  In theory it is a pretty cool experiment and looks like a lot of fun.  In fact I checked out all of the experiments conducted online and they are all terrific science exercises that would be great fun and very educational for you to do with your kids.  One of the three ladies conducting the experiment (let's call them Larry, Curly and Moe) promised the kids they were going to see stuff shoot out of a soda bottle real high, almost to the ceiling!

Oh boy!

Which of course stirred Frick's imagination with fantasies of Mentos and Diet Coke, inducing him to hint not-so-subtly at the subject periodically throughout the afternoon.  I think he was hoping if he mentioned it enough someone would magically produce the necessary materials from their purse and we would all proceed to create an orchestral display of exploding diet coke bottles.

They brought out the necessary items to make the elephant toothpaste: an empty soda bottle, some dish soap, some peroxide, some food colouring and some yeast.  I began to question their scientific competence when, in attempt to keep the kids interested, they decided to toss the ingredients in the soda bottle with dramatic flourishes as if they were doing the witches' scene from Macbeth instead of being more careful to be sure the stuff actually got in.  I should also mention that at no point did anyone don safety goggles.  I hear hydrogen peroxide in your eye hurts like a bitch.

When they added the yeast they were supposed to dissolve it in water but they didn't give it enough time so it turned into a big gluey mess that got stuck in the funnel they were ineffectively using.  Also, Moe used boiling water instead of warm water which is a fairly decent way to kill yeast if that's what you're trying to do.  Apparently living yeast was the key ingredient because the end results were pretty underwhelming.

Undaunted, they bravely put a good face on it and then Moe came out with this little gem:

"Hey, this is real science people.  It doesn't always work."

Uh, I'm pretty sure that's the opposite of science, Moe.  Nice work.

"Science.  It doesn't always work." -Isaac Newton

The next experiment was making home made lava lamps, which involved filling containers with water, oil and food colouring.  Oh neat!  I knew how that was going to turn out and thought the kids would like it.  Until Larry gave all the kids alka-seltzer tablets, told them to put the lids on the containers and shake them up.  If you read the instructions they are pretty specific about not putting the lid on until after all the fizzing stops and nowhere do they tell anyone to shake up anything.

I made my kids take their lids off when they were done shaking, which I felt was safe because they had wide-mouth mason jars, but the boy sitting next to them had his in a plastic water bottle.  I spent the next ten minutes staring at that water bottle.  It was so full of gas from the alka-seltzer that the bottom of the bottle was distended and it wouldn't sit flat on the table.  I was sure that the kid would choose this moment to open the bottle, thereby spewing its coloured lava lamp contents all over the place (and on my kids) but thankfully he didn't.  The pressure building up in that baby probably would have made it hit the ceiling.

For their next trick, Curly set up an empty soda bottle on the table while Moe came over with her kettle of boiling water, waving it around dangerously dramatically just before pouring it into the bottle.  Ever have one of those moments when every fibre of your being wanted to jump up and stop someone from doing something?  No cheap, recyclable soda bottle is meant to handle that kind of heat!  What are you thinking!?!

There was a brief moment of panic as the bottom of the soda bottle threatened to melt and pour boiling water onto the table and nearby children.  Curly at least had the sense to stop Moe from pouring any more.  I looked it up.  The original instructions only said to use hot water, not boiling water.

They put a lid on the bottle and then put the bottle in an ice bucket, pouring cold water on top.  The bottle shrunk and the kids "ooh"ed and "aah"ed appropriately.  Frick had been studying chemistry recently, so I asked him if he could guess how it was happening.  His attempt was interrupted by Curly, who informed him that:

"The pressure of the air on the outside was pushing in on the bottle forcing the air in the bottle out through the top."

Whaaa?  The know-it-all student that lives inside me wanted to shout out "That's not right!" but I settled for waiting until she wasn't looking in my direction so I could quickly shake my head "No" at Frick.  And then Mother Rotten piped up.

"Really?  The air gets out even though there's a lid on the container?"

I love her.

I can't remember exactly what Professor Curly here had to say about that, just that it was equally ridiculous and misinformed.

Finally, there was a little extra time at the end and Larry, Curly and Moe really wanted to give that elephant toothpaste shooting up to the ceiling trick another try.  They figured that if they added a lot more peroxide than the recipe called for it would make it more potent.  It was more potent but I think that might have been because they mixed the yeast properly this time.  There was more foam but nothing that jumped up to the ceiling.  And then Moe said:

"Hey kids!  Let's see what happens when we add all kinds of stuff to this!"  Which got all three women to start tossing all kinds of household substances into the mix, willy nilly.  As a person who has worked in many crappy jobs and received some very basic WHMIS training, this is maybe the worst idea I have ever heard.

Did you know that if you take some Windex and mix it with some Clorox you could make chlorine gas (toxic to breathe) or nitrogen trichloride (explosive) or hydrazine (used in rocket fuel)?  Lots of people have accidentally injured or killed themselves trying to make a stronger cleaner.

I began to get very nervous when I noticed the smoky vapours emerging from the bottle.  Fortunately, whatever they poured in next stabilized the material and I am still around to tell you the tale, but shit!  Responsible adults should never tell kids to mix up chemicals just to "see what happens".  Ever.

You know I'm pretty sure to have that job you have to have a college diploma.  I can't wait to see what Larry, Curly and Moe are cooking up for next week.  Yes, I am going back.  Someone has to keep an eye on them.