Adults Say The Darndest Things

A few weeks ago, the children and I were in an elevator with a man around my age. He had reddish hair, so when he spoke to me I expected it to be a comment about Sam and Grace’s ginger mops. I get a lot of those, and they’re always the nicest coming from a fellow redhead.

Instead he said, “You have both genders?”

It was odd phrasing, but I told him yes, I have a boy and a girl.

“Good work!” he commended me as the elevator arrived at its destination.

I was and remain baffled as to how I could possibly have had anything to do with their sexes. I just grew them, dude.

How it was that I got a cell phone and a Nintendo3DS, and took a solo trip with Grace.

Most marketing and PR emails are like this:

Dear Annika,

In today’s fast paced world, moms all agree: you can’t live without Spartblat’s Amazing Diaper Powder! We thought readers of Through the Looking Glass would like to know that we’ve updated the formula. Please share this information with your readers! If you have any questions or would like me to send you HIGH RESOLUTION JPGs, please feel free to call me at [long-distance number].

Jenni Jinglehopper

As you can imagine, I just love getting those. (I made that one up, but I assure you it is pretty damn close to the real thing.) Last November I got a particularly long one that got my attention. It didn’t ask me to do anything for free; the opening paragraph mentioned a friend of mine who could verify that the emailer is legit; it was about a brand that I already love: Nintendo.

You might remember that it took me 50 days to open our Wii after Shelby and Briana gave it to us a few years ago. I was very resistent both to expensive gifts and to becoming a multiple platform household. But once we opened it I came around. My only real complaint is that Sam is the boss of me and never lets me use the Wii Fit.

So I hesitantly became a Nintendo Brand Ambassador. I signed the agreement because it specifically said that I am not obligated to blog or tweet about Nintendo, which I thought made it less icky. (I mean, for heaven’s sake. I don’t even run ads on my blog anymore.)

Last month I was invited to join all the other Ambassadors in Seattle on April 1st to tour Nintendo for the release of the Nintendo3DS. I actually said no, because I didn’t want to leave Grace, but they said I was welcome to bring her on the trip at my expense (which was $0 because she flew on my lap) if I could find a sitter for the actual Nintendo visit. Georgia volunteered to watch her, and Will had vacation days available to hang out with Sam, so we decided to go!

And so it was that this past Tuesday found me dragging the children around town trying to find a cheap prepay cell phone so Georgia would be able to reach me if necessary, and so I could do things like call home. I wound up getting one for $14.99 at Target. Unfortunately, Target keeps the electronics across from the LEGOS, so it actually cost $42. But now we have clone troopers and Mandalorians! Yay!

I haven’t had a phone in ten years, and I got the cheapest one they had, so it was still a dumb phone–but a dumb phone with a screen and texting ability! Man, I really hate pecking those things out on a numeric keypad. But it was really great for staying semi-connected. I hooked it up to Twitter and followed my family members and Georgia, who also texted me updates on how Grace was doing during the day on Friday (in short: she did great and is now betrothed to Henry). I was also able to confuse the hell out of most of my friends by tweeting about being at Nintendo.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Grace and I flew out of Burbank on Thursday morning. She laughed on take-off and loved looking out the window. We were on the left side of the plane, and most of the good stuff was out the right side until we hit the Cascade Mountains. We saw Mount Shasta and Crater Lake, which is one of the most spectacular things I’ve seen from the air (and I’ve flown over the Grand Canyon).

We were put up in a very nice hotel (FANCY, for real), and Georgia and her children met us for dinner. We went to the Cheesecake Factory, where no one so much as brought us water for half an hour. I joked that no one wanted to serve the table full of lesbians and small children. I highly doubt that is inaccurate. We got free cheesecake, though, and Georgia had a gift card, so the whole thing cost us nothing but annoyance and some crying from Henry, who did not want to be there.

IMPORTANT: Georgia is AWESOME. I love her and would totally move to Seattle so we could hang out more. Quick, someone find jobs for us in Seattle! (Note: I have not consulted Will on this. But I’m sure I can talk him into it.)

So, now that this post is five million years long, let me tell you a little about what I did on Friday. Basically, I–and 120 other awesome bloggers–hung out and played games on the Nintendo3DS, was given a tour of the Nintendo offices, played more games, was fed, and got the employee discount in the store. Oh yeah, and every single one of us was given our own Nintendo3DS.

Let me reiterate: I am not obligated to write about this. I’m telling you because I had such a great time and am genuinely impressed with everything I saw. Also, if I mention my Nintendo3DS even in passing, I am legally obligated to tell you that Nintendo gave it to me, so I figured I’d get that out of the way. Now then, about my new toy: I LOVE IT. The end!


I mean, I’m not kidding that I love it. I really do. The technology is so amazing to me. Look, the last 3D movie I saw was 13 Ghosts. The Castle film from the 50s. It is in black and white. The effects are literally made of cardboard. It is lame. (The 3D; the movie was kind of awesome.) I haven’t seen any of the new-style 3D until now, so 3D that goes back into the picture instead of leaping off the screen is MIND-BLOWING to me. And of course, the Nintendo3DS does it without glasses. And they’ve incorporated 3D cameras that take 3D pictures and videos, which–holy crap. There is a TON of other stuff built in, including a Mii Maker, StreetPass (which is this crazy, slightly creepy feature you can turn on so that when you pass someone else with a 3DS your Miis jump onto each other’s machines), and these augmented reality games where you use the 3D camera to view a card and 3D stuff that you can interact with shows up in the picture. WHAT.

I really loved meeting all the other bloggers. Everyone was SO nice, Grace was a hit (of course), and I have a ton of new people to follow on Twitter. (Damn it. I just got the number under 350.)

So, yeah. That’s how I spent my spring break. Grace, by the way, is a terrific traveler but makes having a king size hotel bed pretty unfun. Seriously, a king size bed and she slept ON TOP OF ME OMG. I missed Will and Sam like crazy and am very glad to be home. I have Lego Star Wars 3, in 3D, and Sam does not know about it yet. Actually, he saw the box and flipped out, but he hasn’t seen the Nintendo3DS yet and I hid the box and distracted him with Mario and Luigi dolls.

Was you ever bit by a dead bee?

I was.

Yesterday I arrived at work and set my bag on the table so I could switch out my glasses. As I reached for the zipper I suddenly felt an intense pain in my knuckle. It was very localized and felt like paralysis, or at the very least numbness. There was a little thorn stuck in my skin, which I removed. It looked like a bee stinger, but there was no bee anywhere to be seen. It could also have been from a plant or cactus. Whatever it was, it clearly was intended to paralyze and possibly kill the predators (which must be much smaller than me) of whatever-it-came-from. My finger is swollen, but it’s barely noticeable. The area immediately surrounding the sting feels bruised and is tender to the touch. I have ever-so-slightly limited range of motion in that knuckle. I used draw out salve but nothing more came out, so I think the stinger was intact when I removed it.

It is all SO WEIRD.

A Long Time Ago, At 30,000 Feet

About ten years ago, which was the Dark Ages BB (Before Blog), Will had moved to Los Angeles without me. Because we were really bad at breaking up, I flew out to visit him. On my last night in town, we had dinner at The Stinking Rose before he dropped me off at the airport for my redeye. (This was also BTSA, so he very likely dropped me off inside the airport. Imagine!)

Since this was also BC (Before Children), I was able to sleep on the airplane. Until about, oh, maybe 3:00 in the morning? I woke up in the near-dark and was overwhelmed by a foul stench. This was the sort of smell that, were I deep in a mine rather than aloft in the sky, would make me assume I was about to die. As it was, I was not terribly assured of my continued well-being. Until it hit me: the smell was me. I was sweating and farting pure garlic. After that, my only fear was that my fellow passengers would discover the source of the smell and boot me off the plane in mid-air.

Last night we returned to The Stinking Rose for the first time, on the occasion of our friend Mandi’s birthday. We ate and ate and ate (and drank some beers) and it was delightful. Despite my concern that the children might wake up choking on our smell, everyone slept through the night just fine, and when I woke up I smelled normal. YAY!

…except the garlic smell has been slowly seeping out of me, and now I stink. And today I am working at the yarn shop. So I get to share my scent with lots of people. Crap.

Oh, honestly.

Earlier, Grace scratched me, so hard that I hollered, right next to my eye. In order to prevent that from happening again (for like 3-4 days), I am trimming her fingernails.

I bet you can guess where this is going.

I trimmed a nail and the clipping flew right into my eye. OH YES IT DID.

I am not sure whether to laugh or cry. I’m leaning toward laughing because SERIOUSLY, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

It’s possible I’ve forgotten how to laugh, though, since I spent three hours this morning looking for the DMV paperwork to renew the Vespa registration which is due TOMORROW and was RIGHT ON MY DESK so of course I still haven’t found it. (I did renew the registration, however, using the information from last year’s paperwork which actually turned up first THAT IS HOW MESSY AND UNORGANIZED MY DESK IS.)

So if you don’t hear from me for a while you know why.


So, after approximately 1500 miles on the road in a rental, we returned to Los Angeles and were rear-ended in our car. SIGH.

The good news is that no one was injured beyond the basic rear-ending type injuries (I have some signs of minor whiplash and soreness around the seat belt touch-points), though we were all really worried when Grace started screaming after impact. She’d been asleep and was just really scared. Not a nice way to wake up!

We were at a complete stop and I think the guy who hit us was going about 5 mph, so I can’t see any damage beyond a tiny dent and some paint scratches, but I am waiting until our insurance office is open to find out where to get the car looked at. At least we probably don’t have to replace the car seats, which would really tick me off (not that I’d object to getting the kids safe seats, but because it would be such a complex endeavor).

So, let’s recount all of the car accidents I’ve been in, not counting things like scratching other cars in parking lots (which of course I never did, especially not as a teenager).

17th birthday: rear-ended another car in the rain when she stopped short in front of me due to a third car driving erratically. This one involved a lawsuit (she sued me)! Car totaled.

18 years old: spun out on black ice, friend driving behind me crashed into the side of my car his brother was riding in (no injuries, THANK GOD). Car drivable but totaled.

20 years old: made a left turn out of a parking lot. Woman turning left from street across the way pulled out, saw me, stopped, then COMPLETED HER TURN RIGHT INTO ME. Then she called her adult son who called someone to pretend to be a witness. I convinced the police they were scammers. Car NOT totaled.

(21 years old, probably shouldn’t count, and anyway I think Will was driving: stopped on country road for deer to cross in front of us, one of the deer ran head-first into the side of our car. Insurance companies were not called. Car dented but fine.)

21 years old: stopped at red light, man going about 35-40 mph switched lanes into my car. Why he was not STOPPING FOR THE LIGHT is anyone’s guess. He later made up a story about a third car cutting him off, and somehow the insurance companies believed him. Entire frame of Will’s car was bent, car totaled.

31 years old: last night, car NOT totaled. I’m pretty sure.

Hmmm, seems like there was more than that. But really, that is plenty.

I had something I was going to write about.

Ooh, what was it? Dang it, I am brainless today. But! For once it is not for lack of sleep! I have actually been sleeping pretty well! No, today I am tired because I did a photo shoot, went for a two mile walk/run with a baby strapped to my back, and then spent something obscene like three hours editing photos from this morning. (Like seven of them. In three hours. My computer is seriously on its last legs and there is absolutely no way we can replace it. Crappit.)

So I was going to write about…something…and I was going to conclude it with an allusion to a Sam story that I started writing down yesterday, and now that I think about it that’s a terrible conclusion, referencing something that’s sitting in my drafts folder where you can’t read it. Oh jeez, I should not be allowed to have a blog.

Wait! I remember now! I was going to tell you about how! Much! Fun! I had yesterday taking apart my doorknobs. Yes, doorknobs.

So. Guess what Sam has figured out. Go on, guess.

…Did you guess Sam has figured out that he can turn the lock on the bedroom doorknob and then pull the door shut from the outside so that no one can get in? If you did, you deserve a metal. Because seriously, how did you know? So yeah, I went to get something from the bedroom and couldn’t get in because the door was locked, despite everyone being not inside.

So, thanking sweet baby Jesus the entire time that it was not Grace I was going to get (because if she was inside napping I wouldn’t have opened the door until she was awake and therefore most likely seconds away from crawling right off the bed), I took the doorknob off with a screwdriver, turned the lock manually, and opened the door. Sam watched and assisted, and I explained what we were doing and why he should never, ever turn the lock again.

I am sure you can see where this is going.

Sam did it again, and gleefully brought me the screwdriver so he could help again. I switched the knobs so the lock was on the outside. An hour later my sister discovered that the bathroom door was locked from the inside. By now an expert, I had the knobs disassembled and reversed inside of two minutes.

Of course we cannot keep the locks on the outside of the doors–too dangerous in the event that just one adult is home with the children, because you just know that adult would get locked in the bathroom–but it will do until I can either buy new, lockless knobs, or have maintenance replace them for us. Also I stashed screwdrivers inside both rooms.

I guess this is what I get for cutting Sam off the television. (That was the unexplained allusion I, er, alluded to earlier. More on that later.)


This morning, lying in bed, I passed Grace over to her father. When she saw him, she grinned the type of enormous grin that splits her face in two. Oh, she is so beautiful.

“Every day’s pretty much Christmas for her, isn’t it?” he remarked.


My sister had Grace in the Ergo and I was carrying Sam on my hip. A middle aged woman–

Digression: When I was a kid, middle aged meant late 30s-40s. Now, it most certainly does not mean any such thing. This woman was at least as old as my parents.

Further digression: oh hey, apparently middle aged means whatever age my parents are.

–stopped us to ask if they are brother and sister. “You look like a movie star!” she said to Sam.

“And where did they get their red hair?” she asked. “Their Grandmother,” my sister said.

“Oh, he’s so cute,” the woman said, looking right at Grace. Yeah, she thought they were brother and sister and Sam was the sister. Oh well. At this point I just think it is funny.

She turned back to Sam. “You be good for your moms.”

Yup. It’s taken nearly 32 years, but I have finally been mistaken for a lesbian.

Jordin Sparks wrecked my night.

My sister and I had dinner at the Farmer’s Market tonight ($11, total splurge, and no I am not being sarcastic) and then went window shopping at the Grove.

Our last stop was Barnes & Noble because I wanted to look at some sewing books. Nothing in particular, just part of my semi-obsessive search for perfect the dress pattern. We went up the escalator to the second floor and headed toward the section. I noticed a small crowd of people who appeared to be lined up for something, which struck me as odd since events are on the third floor. Then I noticed a security guard standing between me and the shelves of craft books.

I asked him what was going on and he said, “They’re doing autographs and photos with Jordin Sparks.”

“I don’t even know who that is.”

In case any of you have been under the same rock as me, she (I assume she? I really don’t know, but I had to google her because I forgot her last name and I typed in Jordan like the boy name but it told me I meant Jordin which sounds girlier) is an American Idol person.

Do not get me started on the fact that American Idol has nothing to do with books and also the fact that Barnes and Noble does events on the third floor.

Anyway, they weren’t allowing people past a certain point, which OF COURSE was before the books I wanted. An employee standing nearby asked if I was after a specific book, and I’m sure she would have gotten if for me if I were, but alas. I just wanted to browse.

So we came home and I am browsing Flickr instead. I am not even upset, just baffled.

Foursquare reminds me of my ex-boyfriend.

If you’re on Twitter, you’ve seen people posting from their Foursquare account, announcing where they are at any given moment.

It’s the exact reason people give for refusing to use Twitter, in app form.

Seriously. I roll my eyes like crazy every time someone says something like, “Who’d want to know what you’re doing every minute?” because 1) um, everyone, and 2) duh, that’s not what Twitter is about.

But it is what Foursquare is about. And I FUCKING HATE FOURSQUARE.

I haven’t unfollowed anyone who uses it (yet) but I am sorely tempted. Especially now that I’ve figured out the real reason it bothers me (and it’s not as though I need one).

When I was 18 I dated this guy, Eric. He was a terrible boyfriend for me. I’m not sure if he was a terrible person or not, but ugh–rotten boyfriend. One of the things he did was show up unannounced. All the time. Like a fucking stalker. (My apologies to anyone who has actually been stalked. I am fully aware that this was not as bad.) Mostly he’d show up at my house. This was okay for the most part–I mean, I did like the guy. It was a little awkward at times, though, because I was a live-in nanny. I was friends with the family, but still; it was my job. One time he showed up at a park where I’d taken the kids. I think that time I’d told him where I’d be, but I’m not sure. (Do you remember that sort of detail from 13-14 years ago? I didn’t think so.)

One morning I went shopping with the little girl. We went to Adam’s, a combination grocery and nursery (the plant kind, not the baby kind). They sold amazing fresh produce, some gourmet foods, and milk in real glass jars with a $1 deposit. Suddenly Eric, who did not shop there, popped up out of nowhere, scaring the heck out of me.

That’s right. He stalked me to the grocery store. Back then, he had to show up at my house and ask where I was. Nowadays, people can show up unannounced with far less trouble, thanks (or no thanks) to Foursquare. Which is why I will never, ever use it. And I wish you would all stop.

(Incidentally, that little girl? Hated Eric. She used to bring me his shoes and say, “Eric has stinky feet.” And he did. He refused to get his cat fixed and it peed in his shoes.)