Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lessons in probability

Area of my kitchen floor: 209 square feet
Area of a Cheerio: 1 square centimeter
Probability that I will step on the single Cheerio on the kitchen floor and grind it into fine powder: 100%

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Science magazine comes out weekly, too

Am I the only one who is consistently surprised that I have to buy groceries every week? And clean the bathroom? And vacuum? (Not that I vacuum every week. Ha.) It just always seems impossible to me that I have to do any of these tasks when I clearly just did them last week.

And by way of explanation for my non sciency readers, Science magazine is just about the most prestigious journal to publish in, and it comes out every week. Every single week. So if you stick your copy in a pile to get to later, you will quickly have a small pile of backlogged issues to read. And then you will have a large pile. And then you will have a large lump that used to be a pile, but the pile got too big and all the magazines slipped and you won't even bother to try to straighten it up because you know they will all just slip again. And then you'll let your dues lapse for AAAS because it will be the only way to get them to STOP SENDING THE MAGAZINES.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How The Husband Very Nearly Ruined Mother’s Day

I’m an easy going person. You don’t get much more low maintenance than me. Take my birthday, for example. All I ask is that my mother calls me The Husband gets me a card. No one else even has to remember it. And I even remind The Husband when it is coming up!

Valentine’s Day? Whatever. A card would be nice, but if he forgets (which has been known to happen), I don’t really mind. Hey, he brings me flowers for no reason all the time, so who am I to complain if he doesn’t bring them that specific day?

And yes, I’d be pretty upset if he forgot Christmas, but only because that would mean he’d had some sort of major head injury.

So for my very first Mother’s Day, I had fairly low expectations. It’s not like I thought I’d have the day off – I’m still a major food source after all. But still, even I have my limits.

See, the night before Mother’s Day, Jack had a rough go of it. Of course, I’m talking about “rough” for Jack; basically, he woke up just when we were about to go to bed and required holding and rocking for about ninety minutes. And because Jack prefers me in the night, The Husband was frustrated in his attempt to give me a break and get Jack back to sleep, and I had to stay up a bit later than I would have liked.

Then, the next morning, Jack woke up earlier than usual, around 5:30 or so. Given that it was Mother’s Day, I asked The Husband if he would go get the baby and bring him to me to nurse in bed. Somewhat grudgingly, he did so. And wooo-eee, but did that baby stink. So I nursed him, and then said, “Do you think you could change his diaper?”

The Husband groaned and said, “I’m really really tired. Couldn’t you do it?”

So I did. And with only the teensiest bit of martyrdom, because, honestly, The Husband looked much more exhausted than I felt. I actually felt like I’d had a reasonable amount of sleep. And naturally, there was a little stinky Mother’s Day gift in the diaper for me. So I had to deposit the baby back in bed with The Husband and then deposit the gift into the toilet and clean up the diaper. (Remember, we use cloth.) Chore done, I returned to bed for what I thought would be an hour or so more of comfy family dozing.

Yeah, no. Jack was UP. He was awake. He was kicking. He was poking me really hard in the eye. And, as far as I could tell, The Husband was oblivious, sleeping away on his side of the bed. Finally, I gave up, got out of bed, and started to get dressed.

See, this is where my line is. I didn’t mind that I got less sleep than The Husband did the night before my very first Mother’s Day*. I didn’t mind having to get up and start my day an hour earlier than I had expected. I didn’t mind – much – having to change a poopy diaper first thing in the morning.

But I did mind The Husband’s sleeping in while I got up to take care of the baby on my very first Mother’s Day ever.

Any other day, I would have happily let him stay in bed, because he was clearly exhausted. But on Mother’s Day? So there I stood next to the bed, looking down at my comfy family, and feeling the prickly little feeling of self-pity and resentment. Should I ask him to get up? Should I let him sleep? I didn’t really want to ask him to get up, because, somehow, that ruined it. I wanted him to offer. And even though I knew he was tired, I really didn’t want to let him sleep in.

But apparently, The Husband’s guardian angel was on duty, because he had a prickly little feeling of his own. Opening one eye, he asked me, “Do you want me to get up with you?”

“Yes,” I said. And he did. And he fed the baby while I steamed some plums for later. Then he surprised me with a card that he put on the flowers he had brought home the day before. And then he acted in the exact same way as he does on every other Saturday and Sunday, and made me breakfast to order.

He makes it so easy to be low maintenance.

*The Husband claims that he was awake the whole time I was in Jack’s room. Since I was actually dozing, I must have gotten more sleep than he did after all. But I did not know this at the time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I know not these “early sixties sitcoms” of which you speak

On Monday, I was feeding Jack on the couch, watching some Gilmore Girls, and I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. I glanced over to the dining room, and what should I see but a mouse, casually walking along the baseboard behind the radiator, bold as brass. In the middle of the day! This mouse didn’t even have the common decency to be nocturnal.

I heroically refrained from screaming out loud into Jack’s ear. No, instead I just gasped and then got up to try to see where the mouse went so that I could catch it. Or, more accurately, try to catch it, but actually just to scream and flinch and let it get away.

Unfortunately, I lost a line of sight with the mouse for a second and it disappeared. Secretly relieved that I wouldn’t have to go through the charade of trying to catch it, I put Jack down in his crib and called The Husband in a panic. He did his best to reassure me and said he thought we had some mousetraps by the attic. We did not. So I was left wondering whether I should cancel my fun plans for the afternoon in order to buy mousetraps, or whether we would be OK without a mousetrap for a few hours. And that was when I saw the mouse again.

This time I did scream. And Jack cried. And the mouse ran. I screamed again and the mouse took up a position under the table by the window, and I began looking for a bucket or something to put over it and leave as a little present for The Husband. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Oh, come on! Your big plan was to leave it trapped under a bucket for five hours until your husband got home?”

Well you know what I say to you? I say yes. Yes, that was my plan. Except you forgot about the part where I was also going to leave the house in the interim.

At any rate, by the time I got the bucket, the mouse was gone again. So I went to get Jack and try to soothe him, and of course I saw the mouse make a break for the linen closet and screamed into poor Jack’s ear and put him back down in the crib, scared to death that his mother had gone mad. And as much as I wanted to scoop up the baby and make a break for it, I couldn’t stomach the thought of that mouse having the run of the house, so I went to get the bucket again.

But then I looked at the bucket and realized that the likelihood of my actually trapping the mouse was next to nothing, what with the flinching and screaming and all, and I was suddenly struck with the memory of the time my father made me help him catch a bat.

I know what you’re thinking. You’ve just finished reading about how I completely fall to pieces when faced with a loose rodent, and you’re wondering why my dad thought I would be any help in catching a rodent that flies. I cannot answer that question. To this day, I wonder what my dad was thinking. Had he not met me before? My entire life I have been a pointer, as in, “There’s the bug! There it is! There! There!” I do not squish the bugs. Other people squish the bugs.

So when my dad handed me a tennis racket and told me to follow him to the room containing the bat, I can’t imagine what he thought I would do with it. It would appear that he thought I would use the tennis racket to hit the bat, but he must have known that I would be incapable of this. What I did do with the tennis racket was to use it as a shield for my head whenever the bat made any sort of motion that could be interpreted as possibly flying into my general vicinity. I may also have waved the tennis racket ineffectually at the air with my eyes closed a few times when the bat was safely across the room, but, trust me, I was no threat to that bat.

But what does this have to do with the vacuum and the mouse in my linen closet? Well, once my father managed to stun the bat with his own tennis racket he used the vacuum cleaner attachment to suck it up. I very distinctly remember the ssscchhhhhllloooommp sound as the bat disappeared into dusty oblivion. And what is a bat but a flying mouse? So I thought that, while there was no way I’d be able to stifle the flinching for long enough to trap the mouse under a bucket, I would be able to stick a vacuum cleaner attachment near it.

So I got the vacuum out, set up the attachments, plugged it in, and, with one finger on the “On” button, I opened the closet door.

No mouse. But I did find a giant hole in the wall.

I put in a call to the exterminator, and my neighbor, who was out in his backyard, kindly came over and set a trap for me in case the mouse came back while I was out. I figured the mouse was coming in through the giant hole, so a trap in the closet would be sure to catch him.

But that very night, while The Husband and I were watching Heroes, I heard a soft rustling sound behind the bookcase in the living room. THE LIVING ROOM. What kind of mouse walks around in the day and then hangs out in the living room? The food is in the kitchen! Fortunately, The Husband was home to catch the mouse this time, which he did by trapping it behind the other bookcase and then, on my suggestion, sucking it up with the vacuum cleaner. I heard the familiar ssscchhhhhlllooooommp that let me know the mouse was no longer a threat to me, and then I made him change the bag.

During this process, I stood on a chair.

Shut up.

Incidentally, you get extra super bonus points if you know how this post got its title.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Congratulations, Maggie and Phillip!

Even though Maggie didn't get her week off between work and the baby, we're all very happy to see Jackson!

Congratulations, Cheungs!

Monday, May 07, 2007


We have a cabinet for Tupperware and non-brand Tupperware in our kitchen. It is chock full of containers and lids of a wide variety of sizes and shapes. We have tiny 3-tablespoon size containers and large 2-gallon containers.

Unfortunately, the number, size and shape of the lids bears no relation whatsoever to the number, size and shape of the containers.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Cringeworthy: Part deux

When I wrote the original “Cringeworthy,” I had lost the scrap of paper containing my cringeworthy memories. But I knew, I just knew, there were three of them. And I finally remembered the third one.

While in college, I once attended a classical guitar recital with an acquaintance of mine. He had to go to it for his music appreciation class; I went for the joy of hearing the music. I had never been to a classical guitar recital before, and this one was not very well-attended. Still there were maybe forty people in the audience.

I enjoyed myself, and at the end of the first song I started to clap, but no one else was clapping. “Oh, it must only be the end of the first movement or something,” I thought, and hastily stopped my boorish clapping. I had been embarrassed in the past by clapping at the wrong moment during an orchestral concert, and didn’t want to repeat that error.

So each time the musician appeared to finish a piece, I readied myself for applause, but waited for someone more knowledgeable in the way of classical guitar music to start us off. No one did. “I guess you just don’t clap till the end at a classical guitar recital,” I thought, and joined in the smattering of applause when the guitarist finally finished his last piece.

But now, looking back on it, I realize that the poor guitarist was actually getting more and more upset as he finished each song and not a single person in the audience clapped. Not one clap. Nothing. Silence. I don’t know if everyone in the audience was also waiting for someone else to start it, but I do know that the guitarist had a very, very bad night.

I'm probably doomed if we have a second one

Jack and I were at my sister's house on Monday, visiting. When brother-in-law #4 came home from work, we were all hanging out in the living room, and Jack was sitting on my lap, quietly observing the scene.

"Mo, is he always that quiet?" Brother-in-law #4 asked me.

I should probably take a moment here to mention that Elfin Nephew, Big Sister and Brother-in-law #4's eldest child, was a "difficult" baby. Not colicky, exactly, but he was a crier. He cried a lot. He cried whenever things were not precisely as he wished them to be. Whereas Jack cries... pretty much never. OK, sure, yesterday he got his 6-month shots, and he cried during the actual poking, but I gave him a bink and he settled right down. He also cried for a second when I accidentally stuck my finger in his eye today, but only for a second. And he was tired at the time. He's the easiest baby I have ever met.

So getting back to the scene in progress, Brother-in-law #4 asked me if Jack is always so quiet.

"Well, yeah," I told him.

Brother-in-law #4 considered this. Then he said, "I think I'm upset about that."