Saturday, March 13, 2010

At Home With Chicken

Ahhh, World,

So happy you could attend my little soiree. Kiss Kiss.

I'm having wine. Would you care for some, or perhaps something a bit stronger? Canape?  How have you been?  How's your mother?

Let me tell you about my day:

BigB has a tradition I like to call, "Inviting Strangers Into Our Home".

Inevitably, he invites them to come on Saturday mornings. To be fair, he usually gives me fair warning. To be honest the information usually goes in one ear, executes a leisurely figure 8 while attempting to bypass all the other crap floating around in there, and then tumbles out the other ear,  starts walking fast, and glances back fearfully from time to time.  Pertinent information does not seem to fare well in my brain. This means that when the stranger in question arrives on Saturday morning to fix the plumbing, or clean the furnace, or sweep the chimney, I am usually still in my pajamas, bed head still intact, and not in a pleasant mood, having watched multiple episodes of  Max and Ruby long before I should even be awake (in my opinion, not littleb's). This would be all well and good except for the fact that BigB manages to never be home when the stranger arrives, as another of his traditions is scheduling his haircuts to take place in the hour before appointed stranger arrivals. He always assures me he SHOULD be back. He never is. This is a problem for two reasons:

1.) Strangers in my home make me ill at ease unless I am drinking wine, which (thankfully) I am usually not on Saturday mornings. If BigB scheduled Strangers at 6 PM rather than 9 AM, things might go a little more smoothly.

Stranger: Hello, Ma'am, I'm here to fix the fuse box.

Me: What the fuck is a fuse box?

Stranger: Um, it's probably right over here, I'll just have a look, a'right?

Me: Whatever. Asshole.

Me: Well, Hi there, nice tool box, and who might you be?

Stranger: Umm, I'm Pete. I'm here to fix a fuse box?

Me: Really? I didn't know we had a fuse box. WTF is a fuse box and why do we have one?

Me: Would you like a drink? I have beer. You look like a beer drinker. How about a beer? BigB will be here any minute.

Me: Hey that really is a nice tool box. I have one, you want to see it? It's green. I have a hammer and two screw things. One for plus signs and one for minus signs.

Me: Did you know this house is haunted? S'true. Let me get you that beer and I'll tell you why we have electrical problems. Could you watch him for minute? (peeling littleb off my leg).

Stranger: ummmmm

littleb: Wanna see my peanut? (pet name for penis)

2.) I do not talk "home maintenance" and this normally creates a severe language barrier.

Stranger: Hello Ma'am. I'm here to check your drainage system. BigB thinks you may need to replace your downspout elbows?

Me: (intuiting that water is involved) Right...Well, the faucet is right over there. There's another one upstairs. My elbows are fine, though. Not sure what that's all about. You sure he didn't say "tennis bracelet"?

That leads me to today. Today's appointment was with the electrician. And I was well aware of it because BigB insisted we clean the upstairs last night as the electrician would need to access some outlets there and  the upstairs resembled a volcanic episode, assuming the volcano in question was spewing laundry, outgrown clothing, wet towels, scummy tubby toys, and general debris.

Due to frantic cleaning, which prompted the Teenager Who Lives in the Basement to ask, "So what's with this Electrician?  Is he super important or something?", and which caused BigB to stop and scratch his head for a moment because....damn good question...Friday night was spent in a frenzy of cleaning rather than the frenzy of blogging and wine drinking I prefer.

Saturday morning arrived and the coop was ready to meet the Very Important Electrician.

But still, there was BigB's hair to consider.

Sure enough, BigB was out maintaining his look, and the electrician was early.  And I was in the shower. Teenager Who Lives In the Basement yelled upstairs "Chicken, the 'guy' is here", and I yelled back "Where is BigB?" and he yelled back "Not Here" and I yelled "#$%#%) Asshole *&^%$#". 

So instead of the pajama and bedhead look, today I got to present the "wet hair, under-dressed, wrapped in a towel, and no makeup" look, which incredibly enhances my mid-morning surly look, don't you agree?

Whatever. I am over it now.  I can watch TV in the living room and there is light in my closet for the first time in a year.   Party at my place tonight.  Bring your plumber.  My toilet is running and I'd just as soon deal with it over wine.

Thank you so much for coming and for the lovely hostess gift.  Click on the Chicken crossing the road before you leave and double your fun.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Sad Adolescent Chicken Stories

When I was 8 a girl on the playground called me "nigger lips".  I was sad about that.

Silver Lining:  Big boys like big lips.  Who knew?

When I was 9 I stole a pretty, polished rock from a school display and my mother, who taught in my school, and totally knew I did not "find it on the way home underneath a fern on the side of the driveway, where there was also, hiding, a cute little baby rabbit that I left there because I know it is wrong to take baby animals away from their moms" made me take it back and issue a formal apology. That made me embarrassed and sad.

Silver Lining:  When I was 10 I stole a candy bar from Kenny's store but I felt so guilty I put it back so I learned a valuable lesson (I did not issue an apology, however, so some of the lesson may have been lost)

When I was 12 my best (only) friend dropped me like a hot potato to become part of the popular crowd and I was all like, I have no friends, and that made me sad.

Silver Lining:  So my Mom said carry a book with you and you will always look like it doesn't bother you that no one is sitting with you and now I am an excellent reader. (is that still sad?)

When I was 10 (I forgot one) I wanted to be an Indian more than anything.  A Boy Indian.  But I couldn't be because I was an evil white child whose ancestors stole land and were mean to the awesome Indians. And that made me sad. 

Silver Lining:  But then I grew up and met a real Indian and she offered to adopt me into her tribe. She couldn't make me a boy but that's okay because now it is the 21rst century and if I want I can still act like a boy. Except the whole writing my name in pee in the snow thing.  I'll have to give that fantasy up.

RELEVANT NOTE:  I've pretty much blocked out the year I was 13. 

When I was 14, I was in the school auditorium practicing my piece for some recital, and RC, a senior who also played the trumpet and who I very much admired said afterwards, surrounded by her posse, "Hey, you are very good", and I said, "Thank you" and walked away but then turned back and said, "So are you", which was really nice, I thought, but then K, one of her posse, said, "See, I told you she was weird".  And K did not even know me.  And that made me sad.

Silver lining:  1.) RC said, "oh, I think she's cute" (which is a mixed silver lining because cute is not what I wanted to be at 14 but still it was nice of her) and 2.) two years later I was leaving an outdoor concert with my (older, hot)  boyfriend in his really cool black convertible and we passed her and her friend walking down the dirt road. I heard her say to her friend, "Was that Chicken with TS?"  Oh yes it was, K.  Yes it was.  This story also has a moral for young Chicks:  If you are nice and polite (and have big lips, maybe) hot, older boys with convertibles will want to date you but if you are bitter and mean, you'll wind up walking down a dirt road.  Ha! So there.

And that's enough sad stories and meaningful reflection for one night.

Chicken, over and out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Little Symmetry Please?

Hi World,

For the first time, I've just noticed that my blog posts in the center of the page, and a bunch of other stuff posts to the right, but nothing posts to the left.  How could I never have noticed?  And why is it now driving me insane?

Ain't No Big Thang

Hi World,

This morning I woke up thinking, "It ain't no big thang" and now I can't stop thinking it. 

This means one of several things.  It could be I read the phrase on one of the many blogs I perused last night. 

It could mean I had a dream last night that I do not remember. Unless it was the dream I vaguely recall in which I found my cream colored turtleneck that I have been looking for all winter.  In that case, maybe I said, "oh I'm so happy to see you again.  Thank you so much for coming home", and maybe the turtleneck said, "shucks, it ain't no big thang".    And yes, when dreaming, I do think it is perfectly reasonable for a turtleneck to become a talking, animated object.  If my clothes start talking to me when I am not dreaming I will be appropriately worried.  Actually, I probably won't.  Please promise me that if I start blogging to you about how my sweater just complimented my accessorizing, and my jeans complained that my ass is making them look bad, AND I SEEM SERIOUS, that you will contact my husband and the proper authorities because this would indicate that the Chicken has finally and totally lost her marbles.  Which brings me to possibility number three regarding the phrase that brought us all together this morning.

It could mean that there is another voice coming through.  I think Pearl Annabelle Lafleur has maybe invited a friend to play.  That's fine.

It ain't no big thang.

Okay, world, littleb has pronounced it a boodiful nice day out there with storm clouds in the distance.  Storm clouds would be a new thing he just learned to fear in preschool.  Hope your day is boodiful and not stormy.

littleb is going to the dentist today for the very first time ever so stay tuned.  I have a feeling I'll be back soon.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chicken Math

Good morning, World:

Once again there is no sleep for the Chicken.  Not even the Rockstar Fantasy helped tonight. 

So that means another random, middle of the night post.  Your favorite, right?  And LOOK!  I figured out how to do a proper link.  Oh I know this is a small thing for you pro-bloggers but I am a blogger of Very Little Brain, so for me this is a BIG DEAL.

Basking in the glory of my achievement.

Still Basking.

Okay, I'm ready.

I was thinking today of how I could arrange for more blogging time.  I think I've come up with a plan.  What I need to do is replace me.  Because we all know cloning is years away for Chickens.  Sheep are easy, but Chickens take time. Chickens are complicated. 

So here's the plan:  The things that take up an awful lot of my time are cleaning, cooking, laundry and childcare.   If I really gave these tasks the attention they require to be done really well (and if I'm going to get someone else to do them, I want them done really well, not the half-assed way I do them), the time table looks something like this:

Cleaning:  2 hours each weekday, 10 hours on weekend = 20 hours
Cooking: To include daily lunch making. 1.5 hours each weekday, 2.5 hours each weekend day = 12.5 hours
Laundry:  Includes sheets/blankets, folding and putting away: Mean time (does not include "waiting") 1 hour each weekday, 3 hours p/weekend = 8 hours
Childcare:  Includes watching of Max and Ruby, chocolate snack preparation, potty calls, and answering all questions beginning with the word "Why". 14 hours p/day or 98 hours p/week total.

20+12.5+8+98 = 138.5

So I need help running my life about 138.5 hours per week.

At $10 p/hour.

That is $1,385 p/week.  Plus healthcare at 1.2 million dollars p/week (estimated)

Hmmm.  May have to get second job as Census Worker...

Okay, that is 40 hours traipsing through bad neighborhoods X $12 p/hour = $480 p/week - 45% for taxes = $171 p/week. 

Still a little short.  Much head scratching....

If I teach littleb how to cook, clean and do laundry, which he can hardly do any worse than I do, and I pay him in M&Ms, that will keep him busy 40.5 hours p/week, which will cost me roughly $233 p/week in chocolate wages.  Then I will only need help running my life 57.5 hours p/week because surely if littleb is busy he won't be out wreaking havoc amongst the masses, which brings my costs down to $575 p/week plus 1.2 million p/week for healthcare (estimated).


Got it.  If I coerce Teenager Who Lives in my Basement to oversee littleb when he (littleb not Teenager, God forbid) is not busy working, and pay him in chips and soda, I can avoid 1.2 million in healthcare costs (est.) and bring that $575 down to $322 p/week, maybe less if I buy 1 ton bags of chips at Sam's Club.  Plus, several other Teenagers Who Have Taken Up Residence in my Basement will provide extra backup care when it is main Teenager's turn to kill and maim on XBox.

See, World?  Sometimes we just need to manage our time better.  And a little delegating doesn't hurt. 

Speaking of work, the other day I posted about GG (still waiting, still holding my horses, btw) and about chores my family believes are completed by faeries.

BigB insists that in the name of fairness I post his list of things the faeries must do.  So ok BigB.  Here is your list:  And I made it longer than mine, but not to assauge your male ego, no, not at all. 

Paints, hammers and screws things
Rids the house of all traces of lead paint that might harm littleb should he stop eating chocolate long enough to develop a lead paint chip addiction
Files taxes
Stops the people living in the apartment complex next door from parking overnight in front of our house (I have no idea why this is important but it is. Very important. And the faeries would just F*ck it up, which is why BigB has to do it)
Keeps up on current events in case there are tsunamis headed our way
Follows through on rebates
Replaces the gas tank on the grill
Keeps plants alive
Plants the daffodil bulbs (upside down sometimes, but hey, China needs daffodils, too)
Rids house of bats when necessary (surprisingly, often necessary in our little urban utopia)
Calls "our friends in the digital age" aka the cable company when necessary. Which is far too often.
Car maintenance and legal issues
Provides back up money from secret wallet when Chicken is short of lunch money (see her list).

Thanks for your time.  Maybe I can sleep now.  And you can count on more posts coming your way soon now that I am going to have all this extra time on my hands.

Take care,

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shout Out To GG

I miss you GG.  Where are you?
Come forth and reveal yourself.

Send another postable email. 

I really need to know what your guilty pleasures are these days. 

While we are waiting, here are some household tasks that my family believes the faeries must be responsible for:

Refill all the salt and pepper shakers
Change sheets
Recycle the old magazines
Recycle in general
Bend a coathanger and clean out the drains when they get all stopped up
Clean off the front of the refrigerator and replace with new preschool art and family photographs
Clean UNDER the refrigerator
Replace the toilet paper
Sign permission slips
Make dental and doctor appointments
Buy toothpaste
Change lightbulbs
Sweep under beds

Oh and there is more.  So much more.  What am I forgetting?  What do you guys do that goes unnoticed? Please add to my list.  It might come in handy some day if I ever decide to go totally passive agressive

Signing off,

Chicken Upon Request..

Hi World:

My good friend and very loyal reader, CB, recently suggested I blog on one of the following:

"My secret guilty pleasure..."
"Things I have wasted money on..."
"One life changing event I wish I could re-experience..."
"Some of my favorite things... (sans the raindrops, roses, whiskers, kittens, mittens...)"
"The Oscars..."
"Toys I miss from my childhood that my kids think are cool too/too stupid"
"Clowns versus puppets..."
"Things I know now that I wish I knew then..."
"Stephen Colbert..."
"Chat Roulette..."

When someone is a friend, such a good friend that they make a point of reading and commenting on every post you blog, you do not take their suggestions lightly.  You jump on the train, with your scarf whipping around you in the breeze, throw up your hands and exclaim, "I am in". 
So, CB, thank you for the suggestions and this post is for you.  When the work load lightens up I hope you will reconsider my offer to guest blog because all of us on your facebook page know how funny you are, but the World (such as it is on this blog) needs also to hear your voice.
My first inclination was to write about my secret guilty pleasures.  I used to have a lot of those and mostly they involved television shows I enjoyed that I would feel embarrassed to admit I watched.  Since Littleb has been around, however, I watch more Max and Ruby than I do anything else and I feel more guilty for wanting to stab them with a kitchen knife and braise them than I do for watching them.  My main guilty pleasure now is "People" magazine.  I love it.  I will not buy it.  Instead, I constantly scan my environment for rogue copies which I scoop up and devour before putting them back exactly where I found them.
I think "Things I have Wasted Money On" holds the most promise because I always seem to be relatively broke, so I am guessing I waste a lot of money and several of the things I waste money on are most definitely guilty pleasures.
 For instance, I waste the most money on this:
And these:
I know.  No lectures.  If one goes, the other also has to go and I have not been that strong yet but if  I were to suddenly grow a pair, and give them up, I would save quite a lot of money. 

Here's another thing I spend way too much money on:

I have resolved this year to use the library more and the bookstore less.  It is working out pretty well except that approximately 15% of what I would have wasted on books is now wasted on overdue library fees.

Here are two more big wastes:

The cell phone is my son's.  Since all his age-group do not believe in actually speaking on the phone and communicate primarily through texting, I had to find a plan that included unlimited texting.  Then I bought the insurance because he's 14 and his previous phone met its demise when he took it for a swim in the community pool.  After approximately two months with the new insured phone, he traded it with a friend for an old uninsured blackberry, which promptly broke.   I am done with phones for this kid but keep forgetting to cancel the plan, which will result in a further waste of $200 to cancel before the two-year mark.  I hate phones.  The other thing that I waste way too much money on is cable television.  We have a bundle plan that includes phone, internet, and cable.  The ironic thing is that I do not answer the phone if I can avoid it, which I totally can, and I rarely enjoy the luxury of watching a television show of my own choosing.  I do enjoy the internet.  All told, I waste about $300 p/month on technology.

Meet littleb:

Sweet, right?  Take him to a grocery store and he turns into a world class ninja diamond thief.  Picture him rappeling from the ceiling, lighting softly along top the compartments of the frozen food aisle, and before you even have time to think, "hey, where did b go?", he is back and your cart is full of fudgesicles.  Littleb is a born choc-a-holic and junk food junkie.  He comes along to the grocery store supposedly to help, but his motives are much darker.  Semi-sweet, actually.

While I am reading labels and contemplating 9-Grain Vs. Whole Wheat, "b" is very quietly tossing Suzy-Qs and Little Debbie cakes into the cart.  As I rummage the shelves for our favorite Yoplait strawberry yogurt, he throws in six packs of chocolate pudding.  I pick out some cheerios and he nonchalantly slides in a box of Cocoa Puffs.  While I'm contemplating saltines vs stoned wheat thins, he is contemplating oreos vs chocolate chip, finally deciding on both.  All told, Littleb's help costs me about $23 per week on average.  His siblings are very thankful that they no longer have to accompany me to the grocery store and I suspect there is coaching going on because I do not think most three-year-olds know or care about the differences between Cape Cod, Utz, and Lays, but Littleb does and insists on buying his brother's favorite brand every week. 

Now I just need to teach him to read so that "People" somehow ends up in my cart every week and I can pretend I don't see the cashier scanning it but if she makes a comment I could say, "Oh man, my son must have thrown that in but since you've already scanned it and my mother-in-law reads it, I'll just keep it.  Thanks."

Logically, I know that not one person in the world cares whether or not I read People magazine.  But it is not something I can be logical about.  This is along the same lines as Big B's fondness for Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight.  He will claim that he doesn't watch them.  It just so happens that they come on right after the news.  Sure, B.  Keep telling yourself that.  Meanwhile, I find it very interesting that you know Gwyneth Paltrow has a kid named Apple and that Mary Kate and Ashley have their own fashion label. 

Thanks again for the suggestions, CB and hope you all enjoy your Sunday and your own guilty pleasures.  Which would be.....????

Take care,