28 April 2008

FINE, I'll Post.

Can't a lady get a two-week break around here without all y'alls whining about it? As my father often reminded us in our youth, "I was not put on this earth to entertain you." I always suspected this was a lie, though. What other purpose could he possibly have?

Speaking of lousy friends, my lovely friend who I never speak to, Trina, finally bit the bullet and started a blog of her own. One of the first entries she wrote described her trek to the Mall in D.C. to see the Stephen Colbert portrait at the National Portrait Gallery. No, I never did get to see it after swearing on the grave of Al Gore that I would. Stephanie has yet to forgive me for that affair and I've been expecting her therapy bills for some time now. In the mean time, after having experienced a heathly dose of The Flu herself, she insisted that I give it a go myself, which I did. She found this hilarious.

Incapable of barely leaving my bed, let alone my house for an entire week, needless to say I did not make it to see Colbert-on-a-Wall. When I informed Sweet Trina of my hatred for her due to her having seen it and my not (she is at the upper-right with her adorable offspring who I hate to point out cannot possibly appreciate the magnitude of the momentous situation she finds herself in there), she responded with a sympathetic "NEENER NEENER!!!" See, this is why I hate my friends. That should be ME she's holding, dammit.

Aside from crying myself to sleep on my little pillow every night, I can't think of much that's been going on here as of late. I went to Ms. Leslie's bridal shower over the weekend and got to catch up with her, Ryann, and a bunch of people I don't know but who I'm sure are nicer than people I usually associate with. When I'd introduce myself to people they all said, "Are you the Abby who comments on Ryann's blog so much?" OK, 1) Yes. 2) "So much"? I don't consider myself a prolific commenter on blogs, much as I am not a prolific commentor in person. I comment when there's something to say; otherwise I like to keep it shut. This makes me think that if I am considered a big blog comment-leaver-person, then everybody else sucks for commenting even less than I do. What, like you have something better to do? NO EXCUSES. And 3) How strange to be known for that. How the crap did they even guess that? I don't remember the people who post on my own blog, and I supposedly know most of them, many of them very well. Someone else's blog? Not a chance. Their memory for such things astounds me. My memory capacity is used up storing away word-for-word conversations to be used against various people at future dates. It's all about priorities I guess.

Did I mention my brother is running for county commissioner? Funny story. Remind me to tell you next time.

15 April 2008


Why do I love this so much?

I love The Fruit Guys, particularly the most recent incarnation of them. Their seriousness is classic. And while we're on the subject, just what the heck is the fourth guy supposed to be? I don't know any fruit that looks like that, or at least not fresh anyway.

08 April 2008

Motherhood's Finest Hour

I shared the following story with Stephanie yesterday evening. She asked if I was going to blog about it and I told her that no, I didn't dare, because I think I've given Child Protective Services enough public evidence as it is. However, upon further mental review, I've decided that I cannot let this incident go undocumented. So for those of you mistakenly thinking I'm some brilliant piece of work, the following true tale is for you.

In my defense, yesterday was a bit harried. After several errands and a quick potty break, I threw the kids in the car to head for the commissary before it got too late to get back and make dinner. Peanut was still sleeping in his carrier and I had a blanket covering the front so he'd be warm enough as it was a chilly day. Peawhistle was strapped in, playing with some toy.

I trucked on down the road to the base, but not before the guard at the gate looked through the back window of the van questioningly before letting me proceed. I parked in the parking lot of the commissary and hit both buttons that open PW's and Peanut's sliding doors. PW's door (on my side) opened, and Peanut's door closed. Yes, closed. I had driven five miles to the commissary with the van door open the whole way. No, I most certainly did NOT notice. I asked PW, "Peawhistle, has that door been open the entire time?" "Yes." "Why didn't you say something?!" I drove the whole way with the wind blowing through the van and me not even noticing it. And it's no wonder the guard gave my van a second look, probably wondering what the crap I was thinking. I'm relieved she didn't give it more thought at the time, because being stopped for that infraction would have been life-altering, I can tell you that.

I can't even begin to imagine how that looked to other drivers on the road. They were probably more surprised that there are still people out there who are not completely over John Mayer by now; I can't really blame them for that one as I can't believe I was listening to him again either, but there I was, van door open, blaring the self-absorbed likes of "Bigger Than My Body."

I'm very greatful Peanut's diaper bag, on the floor by the door, hadn't flown out along with the Baby Bjorn, both of which stayed safely inside the car. At least Peanut was strapped in pretty good and didn't notice a thing as he was still sleeping soundly when I got him out of the car.

So the next time you're tempted to think something you did was stupid, recall that I accomplished this minor feat in poor parenting. You're welcome.

02 April 2008

Devotion in Vain and a Walk Downtown

Whether you needed to know it or not, I am a huge fan of The Daily Show (TDS) and its quasi-spin-off, The Colbert Report (TCR). I have been a fan since TDS's inception and a fan of Colbert's since back in the day when he was still considered "the new kid" on TDS.

For the past six weeks, last year's Colbert portrait (each year a new portrait of himself hangs above his fake fireplace on TCR's set) has been hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. It hung in a place of honor, right above the drinking fountains in between the men's and women's bathrooms up through yesterday, April 1st. The portrait was featured at the Gallery only because the Smithsonian refused to take it, claiming it was not in fact a national treasure, despite Colbert's insistance that he/it is/are. Well, after seeing the massive crowds that the portrait alone drew to the Gallery, the Smithsonian changed its mind and stated that they would love to have Colbert's portrait hang in the Treasures of American History Exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum, starting April 2nd and ending April 13th when the exhibit closes.

This is my chance, I thought. I had avoided the Portrait Gallery, mostly because I think it would have been deadly dull to wade through all of those other less amusing portraits, dragging two screaming children along, just to get to Colbert's likeness. But the Air and Space Museum? One of my favorite museums of all time? Well that, my friend, changes the entire situation.

I had thrown around the idea of dragging PW to the Natural Science Museum as she loves dinosaurs, but after she freaked out at the Baltimore Aquarium and refused to look at even the smallest of harmless fish, I figured giant dinosaur skeletons might do the tot in completely. However, I know she loves aircraft--to an unhealthy degree I might add--to the point of sleeping with her toy helicopters ("hopdopters") and screaming at any and all aircraft in the sky. You throw Colbert's portrait from the show in there too, and that equals a trip downtown to the Air and Space Museum.

I called Stephanie (you remember Stephanie) and informed her we were going today to the museum and asking if she wouldn't like to join us. Oh, and her kids (Flopsy and Hunka Munka) could come, too. She attempted to weasle out of it, convinced getting lost at IKEA and eating meatballs in their cafeteria would be a much more enjoyable and worthwhile use of our time. I won the argument by insisting that getting lost at IKEA is something you do on a rainy day, not today. We can get lost in IKEA any damn day. The Museum is superb for today and today only so get your mind around it already.

We then haggled over details, like if we should make the kids ditch preschool to get an early start, or if we actually wanted them to learn something. We decided upon being good parents and chose to meet up at 11 to get Subway sandwiches for ourselves, load up the babies, load up our van, and then head over and pick up the kids from preschool by 11:30. After a few false starts, we were right on schedule picking up the kids. And that's when we stopped being on schedule. After previously forgetting her camera, her shoes and socks, her jackets, baby, feather pillows, camping gear, and other assorted essentials I'm sure she didn't tell me about, we had to go back to Stephanie's house to then retrieve Monopoly, a period map of the Battle of Gettysburg, an antique hutch, rare tropical fish, thumb tacks, a paper shredder, and an autographed photo of REO Speedwagon. Assuring me that there was nothing else from her house that she needed for our afternoon out, mostly because I'm sure the entire contents of her household were now within the confines of my van, we finally left for D.C.

We chose to drive the distance to Pentagon City Mall as it would allow ample time for the girls to eat their lunches and for the babies to (theoretically) sleep, and it would be a shorter Metro (subway) ride to the Smithsonian. We spent an inordinate amount of time feeding babies and trying to keep everyone else in the car once we'd parked at the mall. After a long but pleasant Metro ride into the city, we walked the distance to the museum. By that time it was 8p.m. and time to go home and go to bed, or rather it felt like it what with it taking HOURS just to get four children and their supplies going in one direction and without any fatalities.

The museum was entertaining as always, and I was pleased to see that they had reopened the aircraft carrier exhibit at one end. We went in as many exhibits as we thought the kids would enjoy to any small degree (thinking wisely to skip the WWI and II aircraft exhibits as we didn't think they would appreciate those as much as they should). We saved the Treasures of American History exhibit for last, mostly because I couldn't find it originally and Stephanie had completely forgotten about it. I eagerly trudged through the entire exhibit, small as it was, taking in every bit of pop culture history to be had. And then I came out of the exhibit. No portrait. I dragged PW back through the exhibit, now at a more fevered and frantic pace. No portrait. I asked a guy at the exit who looked like he worked there (which he did). He thought it was still at the Gallery and suggested I ask the people downstairs if they knew of its whereabouts. We followed his advice and went downstairs to inquire at Customer Service. Apparently I was not the first person to ask, either, as the guy laughed hesitantly, perhaps not knowing if I was going to kill him based upon which answer he produced. He said they had been informed just that afternoon that the portrait had left the Gallery and would arrive at the museum by the end of the week. I pointed out that "end of the week" does not equal "April 2nd." He noted such, but continued to insist that he had no involvement in conspiracies concerning this and could offer no further assistance to me. I couldn't help but wonder how it could possibly take three days to move a painting less than a mile, but I admit I am not privy to portrait delivery procedures. Perhaps they first needed to pack it in dry ice or a flour and paprika mixture before it could be transported properly? I would have just wrapped it in bubble wrap and thrown it in the back of a truck, but maybe that's why I'm not in charge of things like that.

Despite this disappointment, we still had a wonderful time at the Air and Space Museum and I believe the girls did as well. Before heading back to the Metro, we made one last bathroom stop, the 57th of that day so far. It now being 5 at night, and rush hour in D.C., the subway was packed. And broken. Many, many angry (and some stinky) commuters, crammed together in each car, in a non-progressing train without A/C, with more angry commuters trying to stuff their bodies into each car at each stop, and all while Peanut wailed his tired, hot, and hungry little head off. Our fellow commuters amused themselves while they waited by smiling at Peanut and then glaring at me for bringing him. After three weeks, we finally arrived back at Pentagon City. When it became obvious that we would not get the children home before their bedtimes, let alone dinner, we chose to eat dinner at the mall. A healthy round of our favorite game "Sit Down and Eat Your Pizza Or Else" and 102 more bathroom breaks later, we finally got to the car. Another hour taken in packing said car and 20 minutes of Stephanie trying to convince me that we could indeed leave the mall parking lot using our credit card instead of waiting in that silly 13-car-long line, and we were on our way, and thanks to me, down the wrong freeway. Fortunately, it joined up with the right one eventually, but at that point it seemed as though we couldn't possibly NOT go down the wrong road. I mean, really. And then Peanut started crying and didn't stop until we got home.

Traffic wasn't nearly as bad as it should have been (although it was 7:30 by the time we got home) and after only an hour's travel time (which is excellent time, actually) we made it, none the worse for wear and all in one piece.

Yes, the lack of Portrait was a grave disappointment, but I was delighted that I was able to see artifacts that I had always managed to miss at the American History Museum, mostly because they would see me making my way towards these objects and quickly announce that the museum was closing in two seconds. So I finally got to see the ruby slippers and scarecrow costume from The Wizard of Oz, Edison's lightbulb, Custer's coat, Helen Keller's watch (did she need to know the time or something? Why? Did she need to be somewhere?), the Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter, the Lone Ranger's mask and a silver bullet, and C3PO and R2-D2, which were worth the entire trip by themselves. Oh, and we had a lovely time with Stephanie, Flopsy, and Hunka Munka as well, despite their forced participation in my brilliant and cunning plan.

Will I make it back? After all that, I BETTER get a Colbert Portrait picture out of this, so yes. Some time between the "end of the week" and the 13th. And I hear next week will be rain-free, too. Perfect day for a jaunt to the museum. Again.