Monday, February 27, 2006

Oldie But Goodie


  1. Stray cats will not be fed.
  2. Stray cats will not be fed anything except dry cat food.
  3. Stray cats will not be fed anything except dry cat food moistened with a little milk.
  4. Stray cats will not be fed anything except dry cat food moistened with warm milk, yummy treats and leftover fish scraps.
  5. Stray cats will not be encouraged to make this house their permanent residence.
  6. Stray cats will not be petted, played with or picked up and cuddled unnecessarily.
  7. Stray cats that are petted, played with, picked up and cuddled will absolutely not be given a name.
  8. Stray cats with or without a name will not be allowed inside the house at any time.
  9. Stray cats will not be allowed inside the house except at certain times.
  10. Stray cats will not be allowed inside the house except on days ending in "y".
  11. Stray cats allowed inside will not be permitted to jump up on or sharpen their claws on the furniture.
  12. Stray cats will not be permitted to jump up on, or sharpen claws on the really good furniture.
  13. Stray cats will be permitted on all furniture but must sharpen claws on new $114.99 sisal-rope cat-scratching post with three perches.
  14. Stray cats will answer the call of nature outdoors in the sand.
  15. Stray cats will answer the call of nature in the three-piece, high-impact plastic tray filled with Fresh'n'Sweet kitty litter.
  16. Stray cats will answer the call of nature in the hooded litter pan with a three-panel privacy screen and plenty of head room.
  17. Stray cats will sleep outside.
  18. Stray cats will sleep in the garage.
  19. Stray cats will sleep in the house.
  20. Stray cats will sleep in a cardboard box lined with an old blanket.
  21. Stray cats will sleep in the special Kitty-Komfort-Bed with non-allergenic lambs wool pillow.
  22. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed.
  23. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed, except at the foot.
  24. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed under the covers.
  25. Stray cats will not be allowed to sleep in our bed under the covers except at the foot.
  26. Stray cats will not play on the desk.
  27. Stray cats will not play on the desk near the computer.
  28. Stray cats are forbidden to walk on the computer keyboard on the desk when the human is asdfjjhhkl;ljfd.;oier' puyykmm4hbdm9lo9j USING IT.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

I'm a Grandma

So last night S. announced that she was a beautiful caterpillar. She had blue on one side, red on the other side. Her tummy was gray with a long orange stripe that disappeared right around bedtime. Her cheeks were pink and her nose was purple. She also announced that she was carrying baby caterpillars around in her tummy and ignored me when I told her that caterpillars come from eggs laid by butterflies.

She nibbled on some leaves and set up a little nest for her baby caterpillars on the floor in her room before finally settling down in her own bed for the night. This morning, she announced that all her baby caterpillars were no longer in her tummy. They were now in her bed. She was going to send them to school in a big bush where nobody could see them while she went to school herself. So I asked her how many baby caterpillars she had. Her answer? 10!

I am the proud grandma to 10 baby caterpillars every color of the rainbow. They are snuggled down in a bush on S.'s bed where they are in school until we get home this evening.

This is quite a change for her. She's been a little blue horse for around 8 months or so. I wonder if I can convince her that caterpillar mommies don't shriek at the dinner table...


Monday, February 20, 2006

Study, Study, fo Fuddy, Fee, Fi, Fo Fuddy, Study!

I have an exam over reinsurance principles and practices in 18 days, and I should really be studying. If I can force myself to work through one assignment every day, I should be okay for the test. Unfortunately, I'm having a very hard time screwing up the discipline to do much of anything, let alone delve into the extremely glamorous and titillating topic of reinsurance.

Shivers just run up and down my spine as I struggle to answer questions such as:

Describe the factors a reinsurer considers when underwriting a primary insurer before entering into a reinsurance agreement.


Define Capacity ratio

(Answers, in case you really wanted to know:

Financial strength, experience, reputation, management

The ratio of net written premiums to policyholders' surplus, also known as leverage ratio. If the number exceeds 3 to 1, the insurer is over selling.)

M.W. (yawn)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

L. Turned One Yesterday

Happy birthday, L. I can hardly believe a whole year has gone by. It has slipped away with breathtaking speed.

We almost didn't have your party, and some of our friends decided not to come because you showed signs of getting sick. However, it turns out all you've got is a cold. I'm afraid that with a February birthday, you will have many, many memories of feeling cruddy on your birthday. I sympathise. Mine's in December, and I've probably been sick for half of my birthdays.

Anyhoo, back to your birthday.

Probably because you weren't feeling so hot from your cold, you didn't get much of a nap yesterday morning. I just knew you would be crying and miserable for your party that was scheduled from 2 to 4. Our first guests arrived right at 2, and you were sweet and cuddly with everybody. When we set you down with a slice of birthday cake, you dove in with gusto. Icing was squished everywhere, and I think you probably ate more cake than you wore (which was plenty, LOL). Your cousins wanted to know if that was your first time to have cake. It was, and they were impressed that you knew precisely what to do.

S. helped open gifts. By then though, you were so tired, you kept slipping sideways on my lap. As usual, you surprised me with your very sunny disposition even through the yawning. No crying or fussing the ENTIRE TIME, and the last of our guests left at 5:00. However, by then, you were yawning and waving bye-bye at everybody trying your best to shoo them out the door. We all thought that was pretty funny.

Happy birthday my little ray of sunshine.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I Think I am Ready to Quit

Freudian slip? Or just too exhausted to keep up?

This is supposed to be my last week to pump milk at work. I planned on weaning myself to one pump session per day (lunchtime) by the end of this week. Over the weekend, I planned to nurse L. mornings and evenings only, and come in to work on Monday with minimum engorgement by the end of the day.

The timeline has been stepped up a tiny bit since I forgot my pumping parts this morning. They are sitting in their little baggy on our kitchen counter waiting to be shoved into the pump bag. I am pretty uncomfortable right now, but things are manageable. At least this time I'm not wearing a shirt with quite a bit of cleavage showing. My sweater is blessedly high necked today.

If things aren't too bad today, I will pump off a little of the extra milk when I get home this evening. Then tomorrow, I will bring the pump NOT intending to use it. I've got enough frozen breastmilk to make it through the next couple of weeks while we transition L. to cow milk. If my stockpile runs out before L. is solidly onto cow milk, I do have a couple cans of formula that were sent to us compliments of the formula companies.

Freedom beckons!!!


Miss C. Update

It turns out that doctors found tumors in Miss C.'s brain and uterus only. This is bad, but not as bad as the original indications that there were also tumors in her liver, kidneys, stomach and lungs.

We are continuing to pray for her. According to other teachers, Miss C. is determined to beat this.


Monday, February 13, 2006

(Some) Men are Pigs, AKA Mrs. W. Gets Mad

(Mr. W, if you’re reading this, this does not pertain to you in any way, shape or form, I’m just venting)

I’m angry. No, I am furious.

Pah! On you men who will stop at nothing to inflict pain on the women in your lives. Pah! You slimy pieces of filth. Pah! Pah! Pah!

I’m fed up with men who think that a woman doesn’t ‘deserve’ child support because she divorced him.

I’m fed up with men who think it is okay to use their own children as pawns in order to intentionally hurt their children's mother.

I’m fed up with men who consistently put their own needs first. Why can’t they suck it up and be adults! Most people will continue to work at jobs they dislike out of a sense of responsibility to their families. You should too!


I’m fed up with men who drag women through the courts and force them to fight for every meager cent they need in order to raise the children THEY HELPED CREATE! For crying out loud, a few dollars is not much to ask! Better yet, be a PARENT, not a sperm donor.

I’m fed up with men who take beautiful, strong and intelligent women and do everything in their power to turn those gorgeous, magnificent creatures into broken husks under their control. Pah!

I’m fed up with men who think that women who do not break down and cry when abused are heartless bitches. We aren’t! Often, all we have is that one tiny shred of dignity that will not allow us to show you our pain. We feel it, but we know that the one thing we can deny you is your seeing it.

I’m fed up with men who cheat on their wives only to turn it around and blame the wives, the mistress, any body or any thing other than themselves. Nobody pulled your pants off but you, buster.

Yes, I know women have committed very similar atrocities. Right now, however, I am angry that several women I know and love are suffering at the hands of men who at one time or another professed their undying love and fathered children with them. Pah!

Back to your regularly scheduled fluffy programming later.


Dear Miss C.

We have gotten dreadful news from daycare. Miss C. is apparently riddled with cancer. I am unbelievably sad.

Miss C. is one of those magical people who adores children and whom the children adore. She was in the infant room when S. first started daycare. She wound up transferring through various rooms that coincided with S.'s advancement, and S. adored her. I adored her. Mr. W. adored her. No matter how crabby or separation anxiety-ridden S. was, Miss C. could comfort her and we never left S. in her care without a smile on her face.

Three quarters of the kids in that daycare know Miss C. and hover around her like so many little bees. 'Miss C., look at my shirt, it has Mickey Mouse.' 'Miss C., I have a boo boo, and it's got a Chicken Little bandaid.' 'Miss C., we have a new cat.' 'Miss C., I'm going to be a horsey for Halloween.' Each little one clamors for her attention, and Miss C., always has the time for each and every little announcement.

Miss C. has been in the 2 year old room for a couple of years, and so S. has grown apart from her a bit. I'm not sure if we will tell S. what precisely is going on with Miss C. I am praying for a miracle, since that seems to be what is needed for her. I am also remembering the many days Miss C. comforted my daughter (and by extension me) during those early years when we were very much in the experimental phase when it came to parenting.

God, I love that woman. She is a fabulous teacher, and I really want L. to experience her magic as well.



Sunday morning, Mr. W. hardboiled some eggs. He and S. each had one for breakfast, and I decided to split one with L. at lunchtime. She eats the yolk and I eat the white.

Since L. tends to protest cold food, and I prefer my egg whites warm, I decided to reheat our egg in the microwave. I carefully peeled off the shell, broke the white in two pieces and removed the yolk. I popped the plate in the microwave and set it for 45 seconds. About 10 seconds into microwave time, I thought, 'Gee, I should probably squash up that yolk.' I had taken one step toward the microwave when FOOMP! the yolk exploded.

About 1/3 of the yolk remained on the plate. In between bouts of hysterical laughter, I fed L. that remaining third. Once it was gone, she had the most pitiful look on her face and kept looking for the rest of the yolk on our plate. Poor baby had to settle on peaches instead of an entire yolk.

I did manage to wipe away the tears of laughter long enough to scrape little bits of exploded yolk off the inside of the nuker. Did I forget to mention that I also forgot to cover the plate while it was heating? I did.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Just in the nick of time

I just love how I can track my packages while I'm sitting at my desk at work!

Miss L. turns 1 year next Saturday, and we are planning a smallish birthday party for her and some of our closest friends and family. I picked out the theme (ladybugs, if you're interested) 5 or so months ago. I kept getting good coupons for free shipping, % off, etc. but kept forgetting to order the plates, napkins, cups, etc. before the coupons expired. So Monday, I finally remembered to order the stuff (15% off and free shipping, no less). The order confirmation page promised delivery by 2/16, and I thought great, that gives us a couple of days until we actually need the stuff. It was only Monday night that I got to wondering, 'So, Mrs. W., when precisely WERE you going to mail out the invitations?'

The miracle of computers shows that my order was delivered at my front door this morning! Yippee. We should be able to write out the invites tonight, put them in the mail Saturday morning, and most everybody should receive their invitations on Monday. We're still planning to call ahead and warn people about the upcoming festivities, but at least we won't be handing out the invites at the party. I'm not hugely up on etiquette, but giving out invitations while people are already at the party seems just a little off even to me.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Yellow Roses

Last weekend, Mr. W. made a grocery store run while I stayed home with the girls. While he was gone, I decided it was past time to trim Miss L.'s fingernails and went to town on them. She fussed and fought with more than her usual crankiness during the procedure, and I managed to nip the end of her sucking thumb. She screamed, I cried and the poor little thumb bled for well over an hour.

Right around the same time L. and I settled enough to put her to bed, Mr. W. came home with his grocery haul. Tucked within the fruits, vegetables, meats and baby food was a dozen yellow roses, my absolute favorite. Mr. W. on a whim decided to surprise me with flowers. He had no idea I had spent a solid hour consoling a screaming baby, but he could not have picked a better time to show up with flowers for no reason.

I'm beginning to wonder about these roses, though. When he brought them home, they looked kind of pitiful, the buds were very, very tightly closed and the leaves were mostly blackened from being crushed. I stripped the leaves, trimmed the stems (under water) and added the packed of whatsit that came with the flowers in their water. These roses opened up into the most glorious blooms. As buds, they were a deep yellow, but now that they are open, I can see that the outer petals are deep yellow, and the center petals are almost white with tiny bits of pink showing in the centermost petals. Not only that, but 6 of the stems have started sprouting leaves of all things. I have never, ever seen cut roses sprout new leaves. I am thinking once the blooms have faded, I will snip them and see if roots grow.

We had gorgeous rose bushes at our last house, and I miss them. Wouldn't it be wondrous if these out-of-the-blue-when-I-really-needed-consoling grocery store roses became bushes in our backyard? Even if they do no more than put out the few leaves I have seen already, it is still exciting to me.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

How does she do it?

L., bless her, has had a cold that gave her nasty coughing spells. Per our doctor's recommendation, we started giving her a little cough medicine to help with the congestion and cough and allow her to sleep better. After three days, we realized the medicine was constipating her something awful. The poor baby was gassy, bloated and miserable.

Yesterday, we stopped giving her the medicine and started giving her prunes hoping to sort of flush her out. She was pretty pitiful last night waking every 2 hours to fuss and moan, pass some gas and then conk back out. At 4:30 this morning, she was crying enough that I went ahead and took her out of her crib to hold and nurse her. After twenty minutes, she passed some more gas and basically passed out in my arms.

After wretchedly interrupted sleep all night, I am a cranky beast. Even Mr. W., who is generally a morning person, is pretty crabby. So how is it that L. woke up this morning all sunshine and roses and full of baby glee? There is something about morning time that sets her aglow. Since there is very little about morning that sets me aglow, I find the whole concept of being cheery first thing in the morning completely alien.

I just don't know how she does it. Unless she is very ill, L. always wakes up in a good mood.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Is it stress or mad cow?

Just lately, I discovered something about myself that I find surprising. When I am thoroughly stressed out, my left eye twitches, and I don't recall this having happened before last year. The last 3 weeks though, my eye twitch has become a frequent, and extremely annoying, part of my life.

I'm 99% sure it is entirely tied to the fact that I am dealing with a bunch of people who are a little peeved that their bonus payment structure has been... well, restructured. It's not a major restructure and the defining criteria for reaching bonus requirements has not been changed. However, so far today, I have spoken to and e-mailed with a dozen or so whiny and/or peeved agents and their managers. Whininess from S. is enough to make me see red. Whining from a bunch of well-paid professionals makes me see blurry plaid (you see, my eye twitches). I normally end all my e-mails to these guys with, 'I will be happy to answer any further questions you may have.' You just don't know how tempted I have been to end rather with, 'I would ordinarily be happy to answer any ridiculous question you may have, but I've already answered it half a dozen times today, so ask your manager first.'

A very small part of me wonders if this eye twitch is the beginning of some awful neurological disorder since I lived in Europe during the mid to late 1980's and actually ate beef. Maybe it's mad cow coming to have its way with me. On the bright side, if it is mad cow, then I won't be dealing with these jokers for too much longer. Macabre, I know, but you wouldn't believe the crap these guys (and it is the guys, the ladies apparently have better things to do than whine) keep throwing my way.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

It's Super Bowl Sunday and I married a Texan

One day a year, I let Mr. W. watch football, and I don't complain (much). It's the Super Bowl and a Texan male just wouldn't be a Texan male if he did not watch that one sports event every year even if his favorite team is not playing (the Vikings, if you can believe it).

I could go to our room and watch something else, except L.'s crib is in there and she is sound asleep. I could do some work around the house, except I'm feeling quite lazy this evening and hey the dishwasher's already going. I could be doing some stamping this evening, which I probably will once I get this urge to write purged.

It's once a year, so I guess I'll live. I've learned to adapt to life with two dogs and being mama to a girl with the deepest Texas twang I never wanted to hear from my own offspring. Why, oh, why can't she pick up on her mama's Georgia drawl? I've also learned to live with the fact that Mr. W.'s red pickup truck will be part of our family until the end of time.


The teal chimney

I live in a newish subdivision (first homes built in 1997) in a smallish town in the middle of Texas. The houses are studies in shades of brown, grey, red and white. Even though no two houses are exactly the same, they all bear striking similarities to one another. You have the brick exterior, the sidewalk to the front door, the brick enclosed mailbox, the attached garage on the side of the house and the steeply pitched roofs. No wild colors beyond the flowers planted in the flower beds. The lawns are all reasonably well-maintained.

Unlike my previous neighborhood. There were so many retirees there that all the lawns (with the notable exception of ours) were excruciatingly tidy with nary a weed and never a wayward blade of grass.

Most of the trees in my neighborhood are about the same age and thus about the same size. It is basically a non-threatening study in uniformity. White chimneys dot the roof tops every where we look with one notable exception.

From our back porch, we can see a teal chimney. It belongs to the house back and catty-corner to ours. We have not met these neighbors, but I kind of would like to get to know the people who had the, I don't know, impishness? to paint their chimney teal when everybody else stuck with the oh-so-safe white. I imagine that they are fun-loving people with a quirky sense of humor. Probably great to have around for parties.

On the other hand, they could have just bought the house that way and haven't gotten around to re-painting. It's still fun to sit on our back porch, look at the teal chimney and wonder.


Friday, February 03, 2006

A Three Year Old's Interpretation of Groundhog Day

S. came home from daycare on Groundhog Day with a styrofoam cup that housed a groundhog on a straw. You push up on the straw and out comes the groundhog, pull down on the straw and the groundhog disappears inside his hole. Apparently, they learned all about Punxsatawney Phil at school today. Curious to hear what all S. had learned I asked her what she knew about Groundhog Day.

S: The groundhog comes out of his hole. He looks around. He goes back in his hole. People play sad music and are very sad.

I guess that pretty much sums up most people's reactions to the news that we will have 6 more weeks of winter. Of course, living here in Texas, S. knows nothing about true winter. Having lived in Germany for 5 years, I know plenty about winter, which is part of the reason I reside here in Texas. Well, that and I married a native, who I doubt would leave even upon threat of painful interaction with fire ants.


Culinary Experiences in the Wheezer Household

S.: I want peanut butter on my wienie.

Mrs. W.: It's 'May I have'

S.: May I have peanut butter on my wienie?

Mr. W.: I don't think you're going to like that very much.

S.: Pleeeeeeeaaaaaaase (tears are closing in)

Mrs. W: Just put a little bit on the end. If she eats it, then we can peanut butter the whole thing, but I really don't think she'll like it.

Mr. W.: That's what I'm doing now

S. (with a big mouthful of hotdog, peanut butter and bun): Ummmm, that's so good. I like it! I like it, Mama!

Mrs. W. (suppressing the urge to gag): Oh boy. This is just so gross.

Mr. W. finished doctoring the hotdog with peanut butter. Would you believe she ate the entire thing, peanut butter and all? I'm telling myself it's okay since she tends to refuse meat altogether and at least she was getting plenty of protein.


S.: Broccolli, I want broccoli.

Mrs. W.: S., it's, 'May I have'

S.: May I have broccoli?

Mr. W.: Sure

S.: Broccoli is a fruit.

Mrs. W.: Broccoli is actually a vegetable.

S.: At Grandma and Grandpa's broccoli is a vegetable. At home, it's a fruit.

By the by, have you ever in your life heard of a 3 year old who loves broccoli but hates hamburgers?