flightless hag

A chronicle of the adventures of birdwoman: a lonely, talentless freak who wanders the internet in search of entertainment.

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Location: Philly

I'm a 40-something married white female, survivor of weight watchers, avid reader of pulp. Dogs (not cats), extreme right (handed, not politics), ENTJ, alto, wanna-be knitter.

June 22, 2014

This was some week

So, this week was a crazy one. I thought since grades went in last week, it'd be easy peasy fresh and breezy....

except, I'm no cover girl.


Monday, I decided to try to update my OS on my mac, since I could no longer run ANYTHING. Firefox and such wouldn't update, so I couldn't even get in to my gradebook anymore... sigh. So, I ended up having to go to the Geniuses, because I wasn't about to let the tech at school wipe my computer.

So, Apple wiped my computer.

I spent all of Tuesday making sure all of my apps still work (thank god for time machine, and wow, upgrading was time consuming but EASY. Not like the old days where you'd have to reinstall everything. To note: My OS was from early 2008. And all my stuff still works after a wipe. LOVE it.)

Wednesday was Moth's graduation from Elementary School. Yes. I said that right. Graduation. From Elementary school. Whatever.

I went, because he's a sentimental sap, and he wanted me to. (rewind 2 years - stinky wanted me far, far away from the festivities. Mom embarrasses him by her very existence.)

Wednesday was also our school's very first National Honors Society induction. I was on the committee. We selected 24 kids from the 60 or so that qualified by GPA. (not bad in a school of 500). School had closed at noon due to heat, and we still had a good turn out for the ceremony.

Thursday was graduation, and I left 2 hours in. They hadn't e'en started handing out diplomas yet. I remember at good old TAHS we had a separate "senior awards night" and now I know why. As my students are wont to say, "it's too much, miss".

Friday, I got up to go running, fell off my stairs, and hit my head/neck on the corner of my couch. Hard. Really, really hard. Gave myself a minor concussion. Scared the poop out of me, I tell ya. Having blood run from your ear is not cool. I had to go to school because it was close out day, but I spent the whole day wondering, why do athletes do it? Especially football players? I mean, I felt like I was gonna boot all day. And mine was MINOR. How do those guys - more WHY do those guys - put themselves at risk like that? Weird.

Yesterday, I delivered Stinky to my sister, who will show him what a nice mom is like. One he wouldn't be embarrassed of by her very existence. Alas. He'll find out that she hugs, and he'll be glad to return to me!

That was my week. Somewhere in there, Comcast came and FINALLY (after 2+ weeks) turned the phone and internet back on. And now I can blog away! Right.

(*)>

June 17, 2014

What a Fiasco

video


So, I've been a complete Basket Case lately. I missed Father's Day. I even missed my kid's piano recital. How did I get the video above? Well...

I was 4 minutes late. FOUR. She had him go first, I suppose to reinforce to me that I ought to get to things on time. Shoot. If my mom didn't get that in my head, no piano teacher will succeed. And, generally, I'm on time. Even early. But, I was doing soccer mom x4 duty on Saturday. And, I've been a complete Basket Case lately.

So, I walk in while he's playing his second song. I waited til the end of the recital, when everyone else left, and asked if he could play this one again. So, it's staged. And it's here because I can't mail it because it's Too Darn Big.


In other news, um... there is no other news. I haven't had internet or phone service at home for 2 weeks now. Comcast customer service is a JOKE. When I called to reschedule an appointment after they failed to show, the rep had the utter gall to COMPLAIN about my cell phone line quality. I started talking like I was dealing with a foreign, mentally-challenged child. "THAT'S... BECAUSE... MY... REAL... PHONE... HAS... BEEN... OUT... FOR... A... WEEK." By the time I was giving my cell phone as a call back number (they apparently tried to confirm our appointment on the phone that is out... morons), practically yelling each number distinctly, Stinky was in stitches at my antics.

Summer is rapidly approaching. We've got plans, though not evil ones. Unfortunately. And school police just ran down the hall - a NEVER occurrence at this school - so I have to go be newsy. Have a nice day, and pass it on.

(*)>

May 18, 2014

60's hits for 60's folks

Today, I went to see the Philly Pops. I've always wanted to go see them, and it was a fun show. They had 4 dudes from Jersey Boys (not Jersey Shore) who call themselves the Midtown Men. They were jammin. They sang all sorts of stuff from the 60's, backed by the Philly Pops orchestra. I couldn't help but wonder if some of those orchestral dudes weren't cursing at fate: they studied at Curtis to perform Rachmaninoff and Schoenberg, now they play Robinson and Spector. On the stage where the Philadelphia Orchestra plays, but still...

Alas.

As I was saying, it was a lot of fun. As I looked at the audience, I saw a lot of hair a bit greyer than mine, hips a lot stickier than mine. I saw one couple who was TOTALLY into the show, much to the chagrin of their stuck-up seat neighbors. That was quite a lot of fun to watch, actually. But still, I suppose that music is for the generation above mine - specifically that of my oldest siblings and cousins.

I remember, as a kid, those cousins making fun of my Aunt Fannie and Uncle Don listening to muzak-type stuff: pops orchestras, like Arthur Feidler and the Boston Pops, performing radio hits. And now, those kids are paying for the privilege of watching what they used to dis. I think that's ironic, but ever since people started making fun of that song, I've never been certain what irony really is.

Speaking of, I wonder, will Alanis will ever be muzaked? (you-you-you outta know; tune carried out by the french horn.) Will Smells Like Teen Spirit will ever be carried over into "pops" territory? Probably not, but some of my kid music, like Come On Eileen or We Got The Beat, seems to be custom-made. When I'm in the crowd listening, as an oldster, will I be the dancer across the way, or the stuck-up seat neighbor? I hope I'll be the dancer, but find myself rather empathetic with the snob.

Maybe I should stick with Rachmaninoff!

(*)<

May 11, 2014

the opiate of the masses

Today was a Big Day for the boys.

They got confirmed.

The Bishop raised hands over them, and lightning Did Not Hit The Church. I think this is headline worthy.


So as you may or may not know, John and I decided on a middle-of-the-road Episcopal church when we moved to the current aviary. I was raised Methodist; John is a recovering Catholic. We figured the Anglican church was a happy medium.

We generally like our church. They mostly leave us alone and we do the same. We're not huggers; we're not joiners. Our church is okay with that. But in the last few years, our boys have been asked to acolyte. Our boys. Our little pyromaniacs.  Carrying fire through the church.

Still, there are so few kids their age the priest was stuck. And acolytes have to wear dresses, also known as robes. Humiliations galore, which fits in with our parenting style. So, we agreed. It, unfortunately, has the side effect of forcing John to go to the smells and bells service at least once a month.

Anyhow, these confirmation classes started sometime this spring and have been going on for a while. This confirmation mass, which would be longer than the normal 1.5 hour mass, was looming over us like a cumulonimbus. We knew this service was going to be a doozy, with the bishop presiding over 3 confirmations and 2 baptisms (thank god Bishop Windbag retired a few years back... We still shudder about the 2 hour service that jabbermouth presided over a decade ago.) We knew we'd get through it, though. After all, it's all on the kids at this point.

But on Thursday, the priest sends an email reminding us that our boys had to be in coat and tie.

Our boys. Formal.

Great. Did I know this? I did not. It's Thursday, I am in the last crazy quarter at school, and we're having company all day on Saturday. What's a hag to do?

So, I walked to Burlington Coat Factory after school. Thank God For Burlington Coat Factory (ha). I get home and say, "Boys, I have presents for you!"

They were all jazzed. Then they saw suits. And dress shirts in bright colors. And ties. They whined. They grumbled.

They acted like I do when I'm told I have to wear a dress.


But once I got the suits ON them this morning, and they saw the mirror? Straightening of jackets. Squaring of shoulders.

"Hey, I look pretty good!" Stinky says in amazement. (of course he does. He looks like his dad.)

So Moth puts his on and says "Hey, I like suits!"

Still, they act like ratfinks:

 

Now, they're confirmed. My job is done. I think I'm going to become a wiccan: they have better holidays. They have holidays like every 1.5 months. There's equinoxes and solstices and samhain (halloween) and beltane (may day) and some crazy ones I've never heard of and are nigh impronouncable: imbolc and lughnasadh. Who doesn't want to celebrate St. Bridget's day? Or Walpurgis? It's gotta be better than Groundhog's day, even if it is the same time.

Anyway, now that I've got my religious jealousy under control, I'm signing off. I have all of 3 hours before I turn into a pumpkin and the weekly cycle of insanity begins again.

Later, gaters.

March 28, 2014

Environmental waste

So, we have a guest speaker coming in today. She's going to talk to the kids about environmental conservation and her research in Antarctica.

I find this dichotomy disturbing. If you truly wish to perform environmental conservation, stay the heck away from the last pristine biome in the world.

But there's recently been a tendency among us middle class ed-u-ma-cated folk to worship the "environmental" solutions, when common sense tells you: that's worse than what we were doing!

case 1:  my "green" dishwasher. If I use the "saver" cycle, I must completely wash my dishes first, and they don't go through a sanitization cycle. Then, they don't dry, so water just stands in the dishwasher. Talk about a "green" cycle. In order to actually get clean dishes, we have to use the "high heat" setting. Which is no longer green. :(

case 2: the stupid CFL lightbulbs. Talk about a scam. GE and the rest couldn't compete with the Chinese when it came to making incandescent lightbulbs. Since their profit margin was dying, they decided to do what any honest American entrepreneur would do: legislate their problem away! They got congress to pass a law that all of us Yanks have to use CFL lightbulbs. You know them, the spiral bulbs that are supposed to last something like 5 years (NOT) and are full of TOXIC MERCURY SALTS. Nice. A bulb breaks, you need an EPA clean up kit. Additionally, they take for freaking EVER to warm up. God bless you if you put one of these crappy things outside. By the time the thing warms up enough to create light, it's morning. We've started buying LED lightbulbs, which are supposed to last 10 years (Right. Have they even had one for 10 years to test this?) but at least they're not toxic. And darn are they bright. I feel like the gestapo is questioning me when I turn one on in the morning.

I'm sure there are more. But thinking about the silliness and hypocrisy makes my teeth itch. Like that "Into the Wild" book. Just the idea of reading about some suburban kid who decided to "live off the land" and proceed to starve to death seems like an exercise in futility. I can't believe they made a movie out of that crap. I thought I was alone in this thinking, but apparently I am not. Perhaps all is not lost. Perhaps there are more voices in the not-wilderness who respect the wilderness enough to leave it be.

But meanwhile, I'm sitting in an assembly, encouraging my kids to think about visiting Antarctica. Whatever.

(*)>

March 15, 2014

Stages of juvenality

Juvenality. Is that even a word? It is now, suckas.

Down here in bird land, we're all suffering through different states of juvenality.

I believe that John and I are firmly entrenched in our stage - potty humor and, in my case, a sailor's mouth that increases exponentially as the school year goes on.

It'll be interesting to see where our children land.

The Moth is still in the land of "if you hear something you don't quite understand, make it make sense." This is quite humorous when it comes to song lyrics (the song "some nights" by fun., last spring's hit for Mothman, had the strange lyrics: "some nights I stay up crashing in my bathtub..." Actual words? "some nights I stay up cashing in my bad luck..."). So the other day, he was playing with his various lego/plastic/whatever dudes, and one of them got fatally shot. As he died, Tim mimicked him falling over and plassing flatus. I said, "yo, tim, what just happened to that guy?"

"Mom, that was his last gas."

I believe I remember reading that corpses are actually full of foul air as they decompose, so if you roll them, they do pass some horrendous gas. I do not, however, believe this was Tim's meaning. I think he heard/read the phrase "last gasp" and this is what he decided it was.

Stinky has finally taken up reading. I always knew he would, but he's been too impatient for it so far. He's into what you'd expect: Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, Tess Tosterone, you get my drift. He's also gone back to drawing, though all his stuff is stick figures. They've come a long way. If they weren't all depicting battle (usually gruesome), I'd almost admire his cartooning ability.

It wasn't something to admire when he drew them on the back of the pew insert for the season's mass music, though. Oops. If only I had my eraser. But Stinks doesn't like my eraser anymore. Why not? Well, he brings it to me the other morning and says quietly, "Mom, why is this eraser covered with Trojans?"


Somehow, perhaps from the horrified look in his eye, I know he's moved on to the non-bellicose version of the Trojan in his mind. There's no gift horse here... just a teenaged boy's embarrassment. My answer was, "Well, you know in England they call erasers rubbers, right? Maybe that's the same in Germany."

I don't believe that helped him and his distaste for this eraser. He had, when I first purchased said rubber, looked upon it with avarice. No longer.

I had to prove to my employers that these children are mine, again, this year. Our budget crunch has lead to the completely logical step of hiring expen$ive consultants to check every recipient of school district insurance. If only those consultants would take one look at the Rogers boys? No question. From the crap hair to the crap attitude, they're mine.

And I couldn't be any happier about that.

(*)>

February 08, 2014

John, Don't Read This Until 2/9

So, Mothman and I just went to buy "big beers" for daddy for his birthday.

(I, once again, forgot it was his birthday until I got on the puter and saw it was 2/8. I am a Very Bad Wife.)

Anyhow, we didn't go to any old distributor, we went to the uber-classy Beer Shoppe. You know it's classy, because shop is spelled with the extra "pe".

If you've never lived in Pennsyltucky, you don't know about our bizarro alcohol laws. Wine and liquor are sold in "state stores" which are limited in licensing. Beer is sold at "distributors". Distributors can only sell by the (unopened) case, which can lead to beer-sasters. I mean, picture me buying into the pretty pictures on the box (cause I don't like beers, meself, so I usually go by the artwork) and getting an entire case of Coors Ice for John. An entire case. He'd drink it, because I spent money on it, and it was there. And he'd be more bitter than a double IPA.

(OK so I lie. I do know SOMETHING about beer, and I'd never buy him Coors, because he'd divorce me.)

So, how can you buy a mixed case of beers?

The Beer Shoppe has a little bar/fry food area in the back, with a big-screen TV. Now, to get back there, you have to walk through an aisle of incredi-beers. Thing is? Loophole? Bars can sell six-packs.

Because you want people who have been drinking to buy another six to drink on the way home.

So, little stores like this get a bar license, and though they do sell food, their primary income is selling microbrews and imports.

Mothy and I picked up 6 4-packs. 3 domestics from small breweries, 3 imports from famous British/Irish breweries. (which, oddly, they now sell in cans. Strange.)

I go to check out, and I'm told that the clerk cannot sell me this much beer. It's 2 4-packs more than the maximum number of carry-out ounces a bar can sell.

Really?

So, I had to get in line twice to buy two separate batches.

Then, they wouldn't let me leave the store with both of my purchases.

I had to take one set out, return and get the other set.

Is this goofy, or what?

Ahh, pennsylvania, I do love you so. Goofiness and all.

(*)>

Let it snow, let it snow, let it... BANG Shot that singer dead.

This has not been a bad snow year.

Three years ago, we had such massive snowstorms that we shoveled almost 5 feet in less than a week. That's a bad snow year. That will get even the lazy Rogers family to take action.

John bought a discount electric "snow shovel". Not a blower, but enough to "take the top off".

Hence, two winters without snow.

This year, though, the warranty is off on the shovel, so old man winter or mother nature or some other celestial anal sphincter decided to get us.

We've had lots of stupid, just enough snow to make you shovel, storms. The shovel works pretty well with the powder, and does make shoveling faster. Which would be great if we got snow. Problem, though, when you get ice. And it's as annoying as that old "ice ice baby" song.

This week, we got the mother of all ice storms, two days after we got almost a foot of wet, heavy snow (that likes to stick to trees and power lines...). And the temps never went above 33 until after the ice, then we got rain. Into the ice-snow fiesta. Whoever wrote that winter wonderland song needs to be shot, too.

Wednesday morning, as all the schools were closing and the federal, state, and local workers were told to stay home, I sat, sipping my fresh coffee, and thought, "I can't believe we still have power!"

The lights went out within five minutes.

Now, I say the schools all closed, but my school district had a scheduled teacher-torture professional development day. There was no delay, much less a cancellation. Worse, they scheduled us to travel to schools in remote locations of the city. I rode with a friend who lives a few blocks away from me. She picked me up an hour late, at my request, since we had no power. I wanted to make sure someone would be here to bail the sump pump and watch the kids.

Even John's huge chemical company closed on Wednesday!

We started the drive in. Of course, there were no traffic lights. But there was barely any traffic because MOST EMPLOYERS ARE SANE AND HAVE A MODICUM OF CARE FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES. (mostly because they know replacing a workforce is rather tedious)

There were trees down everywhere. There were trees FALLING everywhere. She joked that she felt like she was driving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Crap kept falling on us, and she had to do many creative maneuvers to get us there alive and in one piece.

We made the joke that our relationship with the school district is kind of like a battered spouse. Every time they sock you in the face you think, "I thought he changed! I really thought he cared about me!" But who cares what a teacher thinks? We are society's ultimate chew-toy.

The whole time, though, I wasn't too depressed. At least I was in heated buildings! Not so much my family.

For the last 3 days, we have had no power. And, as John said, we went through all the Kubler-Ross stages of grief and loss:
  1. Denial and Isolation: It's not true. The power is not really off in the middle of the freaking winter. When I get home, it'll be on. I'm certain of it! This attitude was reinforced when it came on at midnight and warmed our 55 degree house back up to 67... before it cut off again at 4am... to not come back
  2. Anger: Oh yes, there was a great deal of anger. I mean, it's 20 degrees outside. It's 48 degrees inside. My kids are cold. MY DOG IS COLD. GRRRRR.
  3. Bargaining: Ok, we are wasters of power. When the power comes back on, we promise we'll be more conscientious about how we use it. And we'll be grateful. And PLEASE WE'LL DO ANYTHING...
  4. Depression: This was a big one for me yesterday morning. I woke up, mostly warm under the covers, though my face was pretty numb. And I knew I had to take a shower. (our water heater is gas). I swear, if I had been more comfortable in bed, I would have just rolled over and forgotten the world.
  5. Acceptance: At work, I was thinking that at least the stuff in the fridge didn't go bad. The house was too cold for that. I was planning where to take the kids since the library shut at 5 on Friday (9 the other two nights- thank goodnesss). My big question was how long it would be until our pipes froze, but I was working contingencies on that, too.
And just as I reached acceptance, the power came back on.

THANK YOU PECO!! This was a real mess, and you have been working like crazy people fixing it. We do not blame you. We thank you for fixing the problems the wrath of Winter Storm Maximus (side note, when the hades did they start naming winter storms?) hath wrought.

Please keep the thousands of other folks in the area who ARE STILL WITHOUT POWER as I type this in your thoughts. If anyone reads this, that is.

(side note: anyone know the best kind of portable generator? I think that's our next purchase.)

(*)>