Thursday, January 31, 2008

Brotherly Influence

Today, I was doing Phonics with Sleepy. We were going through his sight words and I asked him to put each word in a sentence. We came upon the word "what". His sentence was, "What the heck?!" I think his brothers have a lot of influence on him. Once upon a time, Grumpy was known for saying, "What the hell?" on occasion. We have asked him to change the last word. Therefore, whenever Sleepy thinks of the word "what" he thinks of that sentence.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Grocery Budget


I'm usually the one going over to Rocks In My Dryer to get as many tips as I can cram into my brain, but today I actually have one that many of you probably already know about. Since I didn't know about this particular tip, I thought I'd share for the fun of it. A couple weeks ago, I realized that there HAS to be a way to get our grocery bill down to a reasonable amount. We have five little ones at home, but they don't even eat that much and are even downright picky at times. I had been trying to save money at the grocery store as well as I knew how, but I knew there had to be something that I could do even more. So, I looked up on the internet for some frugal recipes that didn't taste like cardboard and hit the jackpot. I called my oh-so-wise mother telling her about my find. My mother raised four children on a budget, so she is full of great ideas on how to save money. So, she told me about this particular tip that I'm going to share with the world. She told me to bypass the produce section in the wintertime. WHAT? What about my grapes or clementines? What about my potatoes? What about my TOMATOES? I can't live without my tomatoes! I have to have tomatoes on my tacos! Then she told me to use canned tomatoes. She said to drain a can of diced tomatoes really well and serve them up with my tacos. I thought, "I could do that." Besides, I'm the only one in my family who likes them anyway. I could also find canned fruit and be perfectly happy with that. Potatoes? Use the boxed potato flakes and make them your own way to be perfectly yummy. I went to the store with my list in hand and went to work. When I got to the cash register, I stood there with bated breath to see how I did. The woman behind the counter probably thought I was a little batty when I smiled with glee and did a jig when she told me how much I owed. I still had to buy milk (I CANNOT go without that), but I saved a bundle. I don't know why I didn't think to just pass the produce section before, but it is a great way to save money. Thanks, Mom! For more awesome tips, go to Rocks In My Dryer.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Painting Problems

Today is my Happy's third birthday and he is very excited about his cupcake cake and pinata. Happy was my "easiest" labor and delivery and was born in a little kiddie swimming pool in one of our bedrooms. Of course, he has not been the easiest child to keep out of trouble. He goes looking for it like our own little Curious George. Whenever he sees something new, his eyes brighten with curiosity and his brain churns to know how it works. When he yells, "Whas dat?", our immediate reply to him is, "Not yours!" He has had many adventures in the past year and to celebrate I will post my favorite story about him which also happens to be my first post for my blog. This post was also written before I became pregnant with Sneezy. Happy birthday, sweetie! Mommy loves you!


My youngest son, Happy, is going to be two years old in just a couple weeks and not a cuter cherub in all the world. Big, blue eyes, long, curly lashes, and the wildest mop of blond hair you've ever seen. His favorite things to do are cuddling with mommy, reading books, and getting into trouble. Just last week, I made the wonderful and wise decision to paint my hallway a dark sage green. I was so excited and full of plans on how to accomplish this great feat on my own without any problems. Of course, this kind of thing NEVER goes off without a hitch. I can always count on my youngest to make it a little more difficult for me. The first day of painting, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. I got the first coat of paint on the wall all the while feeding, clothing, teaching, cleaning, etc., and only getting paint on myself. I sit on the stool in my kitchen looking up at this beautiful, rich dark color on my wall giggling like a little girl. Later in the evening, I finally decide that maybe I should put up the painting equipment even though I knew that I had a gate put up so that no one could get into the hallway and thus, into the paint. Well, I knew that had been too easy. I go to pick up the drop cloth and underneath it I find smears of my beautiful, dark paint on my year old berber carpet. You could hear the oxygen going down into my lungs as I take a deep breath of air to scream, "Noooooooooo!" of course ending in a wail. Earlier in the day, I put Happy down for a nap not thinking, that duh, I should put away the paint BEFORE HE WAKES UP. Did I learn my lesson? We'll see. By the way, that Dirt Devil spot cleaner is a miracle worker. You can hardly even tell that there used to be smears of dark paint on the carpet. Ha. The next day, I get the second coat of paint on with just a little more trepidation than the day before. I decided to put the paint stuff in my bedroom and keep the door shut. Well, Happy has recently discovered how to open doors. He then proceeded to do what he saw his mommy doing. Paint the bedroom wall.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Grandpa To The Rescue

Even though you know there is something plugging up the pipe, you never really expect to see the thing that does the plugging. I suspected maybe a toy car or something, but I was wrong. A few months ago, the boys had informed me that the upstairs bathroom toilet was clogged. It was nothing new to me to have to go in, get out the plunger, and start plunging. That's exactly what I did, but when the toilet wouldn't cooperate with me I started to get mad. The boys cleared out of the bathroom when after the fifth time I plunged nothing happened. My thoughts were definitely not peaceful when I locked the bathroom door to keep the boys from going in there and doing their business in a clogged toilet. That bathroom door was kept locked for months since Doc and I are not plumbers by trade or hobby. Since God blessed us with two other bathrooms to use, we didn't have to build an outhouse in the backyard. When Doc's parents came to visit a week or so ago, Grandpa came to the rescue when I informed them they would not be able to use the toilet since I had duck-taped it to prevent the boys from using it. I mean, when you gotta go, you gotta go. So, off went Grandpa and Doc to the fix-it store and they came back armed and ready for battle. Happy stood on the sidelines and watched as they took apart the pipes. After a while, Doc came downstairs with what was once one of my huge seashells that I decorate with. It had found a nice spot in the pipes thanks to our little Happy. After saying good riddance to the now disgusting seashell, we are happily using the toilet again. I wonder how long it will take until it gets plugged again.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Lecture

I've inherited many traits from my parents, but there is one of them that drives my family nuts. The trait of lecturing. When they don't flush the toilet, the lecture begins. When they refuse to eat their food, the lecture goes on and on. When they sneak knives out of the cabinet and go pirating, the lecture could last for half an hour. One of the most infamous moments of lecturing from my father happened when I was a teenager. My dad was very particular about what movies we would watch as a family, so we were all ecstatic when we were allowed to watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. My dad put the movie in and we all settled back to be entertained by the handsome Harrison Ford. I was laying on the floor totally oblivious to the disaster waiting to happen. My sense of humor was ignited during a scene in the movie where Sean Connery slaps Ford in the face for saying the Lord's name in vain. At the expression of shock on Ford's face, I immediately dissolved into uncontrollable giggles. My father misunderstood my reaction to the scene and abruptly paused the movie. He stood up in the middle of the room with his hands on his hips and gave me and the rest of us a ten minute lecture on saying the Lord's name in vain. I remember looking up at my father with the same expression of shock on my face as Ford's had been. I had no earthly idea why he thought I had even thought it remotely funny that Ford had cursed in such a way, so I tried to calm him by explaining why I laughed. It took great effort to calm him, but eventually he turned the movie back on and we were again immersed in the action/adventure flick. As my oldest son puts on the bored expression of, "Mom's lecturing again," my mind floats back to that episode with my dad. I look at myself internally and realize that I have the same propensity of lecturing as he did. But, there is something that I understand now that I didn't when I was young. I know that it drives my children batty when I go into the lecturing mode and even my husband will say that I say the same thing over and over again and I go on and on. Still, I think the reason I do this is because we have our children for such a short time. There is not enough time to teach them everything they need to know. When they leave the house, they will be so young and will still have so many lessons to learn. I know that with some things they will have to learn the hard way. So, I lecture trying to cram as much information into their brains as possible hoping they will be ready for the world when they are men. Nothing will prepare them more than experience, but I'm hoping that when they come upon a sticky situation they will remember their mother's voice saying, "Don't run with scissors in your hand."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No More French Songs

In Music class today, I introduced a new song to Grumpy. It was a French song and Grumpy immediately refused to sing it. I was confused and asked him why. He said, "The French don't like us." I laughed and said, "Why do you think they don't like us?" He became agitated and said, "Because they don't! We've been in a war with them. Bashful told me!" (Bashful had just learned about the French and Indian War.) "But, Grumpy," I said, "we haven't been in a war with France for hundreds of years. Our countries are friendly now." "No!" he said, "They don't like us! The Franks are our enemies! (He had learned about the Franks in History.) The Muslims don't like us either and why am I learning about them in History?" He became even more agitated and tears almost came to his eyes. "WHY AM I LEARNING ABOUT BAD GUYS??" he yelled. I was stumped with that one, but I had a ready answer. The answer that I always have to those kind of questions. "Because I said so," I said.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Car No More

When my husband went and got himself a brand-new PT Cruiser, he was happy as a bug in a rug. Soon after that, he was driving along on the interstate minding his own business when he needed to pass a truck. Debris from the truck came flying at him and put a gouge in the side of his car. Some weeks later, flying rocks put more damage to the car. No more brand-new PT Cruiser.

It was Grumpy's turn to go out to breakfast with Doc one Saturday morning. They were driving to the restaurant when Grumpy noticed a car that looked the same as Doc's. He said, "Wow, Dad! Look! That car looks the same as yours....except it doesn't have cracks in the windshield."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Manners for Boys

He was licking his plate like a dog last night. Sleepy is only five and has a hard time keeping his mouth closed while he chews his food. Every single night at the dinner table, I must teach my sons good table manners. So far, Bashful and Grumpy have managed to take my advice and chew with their mouths closed, but occasionally I will see Grumpy smear his messy fingers across the tablecloth or his pants unaware of the napkins right in front of him. If I must leave the table to feed the baby, I will go into the living room and listen to the conversation they have with their father. Sometimes it is hard to hear them talk over the chewing of their little brothers, Sleepy and Happy. Last night, I offered applesauce as a side dish. Sleepy had poured some out of the jar, but a little had slidden down over the side. Out comes his tongue and he has almost touched the jar with his germ-infested mouth when I yell, "Eeeeerrrrrr! Stop right there! You do NOT lick the jar, kiddo!" Even Grumpy, later on, took the fork he had been using and dipped it into the jar of applesauce to eat from it. "Aaaaahhhh! I'm surrounded by barbarians!" This and teaching them to put the seat down will be a never-ending process.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Minister's Wife

Ordination weekend went by so fast that my head is still spinning. My time was spent mostly making sure that no disasters happened and that the boys were on their best behavior. It was hard to just sit and savor the moment. I am so thankful that Doc's parents were able to be here to see their son ordained. It was the moment they have waited for since he was a boy. Doc's mother has believed for years that God has called my husband to be a minister. At the time, Doc was going through the normal teenage rebellion and she was doubtful, but God's message to her was clear: "I will call him to the ministry." It was a beautiful and moving service. I was glad our children were there to witness the event. They have been waiting for a long time, too, and they often would say, "I can't wait for Daddy to become a priest." They are very proud of him. When I was a teenager, my father would come into my room every evening to say good-night. He would kneel beside my bed and take my hand. He would pray then and often for God to give me a Godly man who would be a good husband and father. When I was twelve, I realized I wanted to be a minister's wife and a mother. These things have all come to pass and I can only be grateful to my loving and merciful God. My heart is full to overflowing. He is good.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

SUV Dreams

In 2004, we were blessed with a bright red, brand new minivan. I remember complaing to Doc that EVERYONE with kids had a minivan. Why couldn't we have one too? So, my husband did his duty and went out and got us our home away from home. It officially became a piece of crap when a gallon of milk spilled onto the floor of the front passenger seat. Of course, it was my fault. Since then, our van has been anointed with all sorts of fast food, toddler snacks, vomit, papers of all kinds, coffee cups, dog hair, puppy pee, spilled liquids, etc. Recently, our already beat up minivan was in an accident. The kind where it was crushed like a sandwich. The poor thing had to be driven carefully to the body shop and the boys and I waited for our rental. The rental place had just that morning promised me a large SUV. Who cares about global warming when you can drive around in THAT? As I do a little dance in my head thinking about having ample room for my brood and pretending that the SUV is actually ours, I look out the window and do a double take. I blink in denial. I slowly shake my head and say, "Noooooo! He promised me the SUV." In a tragic turn of events, the rental guy brought me another minivan. As we are driving home in the immaculate van, the boys exclaim how cool it was. I laugh and say, "That's only because you can see the floor." Now all I have to do is hope that the body shop totals our van and we get a new one.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Sharptooth Story

Today is my Grumpy's birthday. To honor this special occasion, I'm going to publish my first story about him. I can't believe a year has gone by already!


When my second-born, Grumpy, was two years old, he watched The Land Before Time. I didn't know how much he loved that movie until one time I put in the video for him and his brother and he rushed to the couch as fast as his little legs could go in order to watch with total absorption. Since then, he and his brothers have watched every movie in the series. They love to make scary, dinosaur sounds and crawl on all fours at the same time. They are all dinosaur crazy, but Grumpy particularly. He is also my drama king. My seven-year old is usually screaming or crying about something so I don't drop whatever I'm doing to see what the problem is right away. His older brother loves to torture him by saying or doing something that bothers Grumpy tremendously. One day last fall, Grumpy starts crying about something upstairs. I am busy doing something and I don't feel like being interrupted when I say in a bored voice, "What's wrong?" not caring if he could hear me or not. When his crying doesn't stop and only gets louder, I finally walk upstairs to resolve another brotherly dispute. What I saw made me scream. There was blood all over my boy's hands and feet and all over the carpet. There he was sitting on the floor holding his foot with tears running down his cheeks. I immediately felt like the worst mom in the world. I scooped him up in my arms and carried him to the sink which was no small feat. I made him sit on the counter and stick his foot in cool water all the while listening to his screaming and trying to calm him down. When I got a good look at his toe, I felt my gorge rise. I could see fatty tissue and that's all I needed to see before I run down the stairs and call my husband. Thank God for cell phones. I said, "Please tell me you are on your way home!" He said he was and I informed him of the latest escapade. Grumpy told me that he had stepped on the filing cabinet in their room. I didn't understand until I saw that the bottom drawer had been pulled out and there was a metal piece sticking up on the end. You can bet that the filing cabinet will never see the light of day again. When my husband got home a few minutes later, I took my son to the ER. They gave him a topical ointment to numb the toe, but he still had to get a shot. Because of the ointment, the shot didn't hurt as much as it would have, but my Grumpy still cried. I felt his pain as I comforted him and told him he was my brave boy. While the doctor was putting stitches in, he asked Grumpy what he had stepped on. My dinosaur lover said, "I stepped on a sharptooth!"

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ordination Weekend

This past weekend, my husband was ordained. He is now an Anglican priest. His parents were able to come and witness this special event and it was a joyful time for all of us. It was also a very eventful weekend for our children:

Happy follows Grandpa to the bathroom and asks, "You going to pee and poop now?" Grandpa says, "Well, I'm thinking about it."

We are at a restaurant and Grumpy asks how old Grandma and Grandpa are. After hearing their ages, he says, "Wow! They're almost dead!"

Happy kept calling Grandpa by the wrong last name. Doc and I would yell, "McIntyre! McIntyre!" to tell him he had the wrong name. So, when Happy followed Grandpa to the bathroom yet again, he would lay on the floor, look under the crack and say, "What are you doing, McIntyre?"

During church, the boys went up front for the children's story. When asked what a carpenter does, Grumpy said, "A person who cleans the floor."

The morning of Doc's ordination, I told Bashful to get out the jelly from the fridge so he could make some toast for breakfast. I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off getting six people ready when I hear a splash and a yell from Doc coming from the kitchen. He had been standing about six feet from the refrigerator door, but was still splashed with orange juice. Poor Bashful had received the brunt of it all over his face and hair. I was one part frustrated and one part understanding as I told him to go take a shower and get dressed. All in all, it was a crazy weekend.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Wicked Witch

I had watched Bill Cosby: Himself lately and found it to be hilarious. I would scream in laughter sometimes because his kids sounded just like mine. He called them "brain damaged people". I have often wondered if all of my children's marbles are there. I have to tell them the most obvious things all the time. Things like- wash your body or you will stink, brush all of the teeth in your mouth or you will get cavities, eat your food or you will be hungry, don't be loud or the baby will wake up, dry yourself off with a towel when you get out of the bathtub, put your clothes on or you will be cold, put away your Nintendo games or they will get scratched and unusable (that's a big one), etc. The list goes on and on. With school it gets a little more frustrating. I often have to tell them to put their books away or they will be wasting time looking for them the next day. They will also have to hear the angry shrieks of their mother in their ears while they look for them as well. Case in point- Bashful and Grumpy had both lost a book they needed for the day. I was doing my usual yelling at them for not being responsible. My yelling is not a sweet, cream-filled princess voice. It's ground up from the bowels of my stomach and comes out sounding like a wicked witch. Well, the wicked witch was yelling at them to find their books and stop scratching their games and then turned to sweet talk the baby sitting on her lap. At the immediate change in my voice, Grumpy jerked his head up. I'm not quite sure what he was thinking, but I have a good idea. He will probably talk about how his mother has "issues" for the rest of his life.

A Grumpy Day

Sometimes Grumpy and I have to battle it out during homeschool. Take today for instance. It was around 10am and I told the boys to go get a snack while I put a load of laundry in the washer. It didn't take long and I was already yelling at them to get downstairs to finish school. I gave an assignment to Grumpy and he went to work. After a while, though, he started to complain about it. When I told Sleepy he could take a break, Grumpy was up in arms. "Why can I take any breaks?" "You just had a break, Grumpy." "That was just a snack, not a break!" he cried. "Sleepy is only in kindergarten. He can take breaks. You still have a lot to do. Now get busy!" He turned around in a huff and grumpily went back to work. After a while, he brought it to me and said something that I didn't hear because I was laughing my head off at one of the posts of my favorite blogs. I know I should have been paying attention to my absentee son, but it was too funny. After I came out of my laughing spree, I noticed there was no Grumpy. I yelled up the stairs for him and asked what he was doing. "I'm taking a break." I could feel the air in my lungs as I gasped in outrage. "YOU GET YOUR BUTT BACK DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW! I didn't tell you that you could take a break!" I cried.

Yesterday, we had quite the battle as well. I had decided to incorporate more physical activity into my lazy sons and told them to run up and down the stairs for two minutes. With a scowl on his face, he stomped up and down the stairs. When I made him run, he put his hand to his chest and acted like he was having a heart attack. At least, his attitude was better with the sit-ups.

He hated his Literature assignment so much today that he finished it with this letter. He had to imagine that he were a little girl's father and he had to write her a note telling her how proud he is of her for not lying anymore.

Dear Pearl,

I am very proud of you Pearl (only half proud) for not lying. Your friends are proud too.

Hate,
Your father

When I asked him why he was only "half proud" he said, "because she's a girl!"

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Family Affair

The whole family was in the room for the affair. Since our family lives a thousand miles away and our friends are an hour away, we had decided that Doc would watch the boys in a waiting room of the hospital while I gave birth. We didn't know what else to do. So, the morning of my first contraction we were headed to church. Doc immediately freaked and turned back for the hospital. I was hungry, so we stopped at a fast food restaurant so I could eat. I figured I needed my strength for what was ahead of me. The contractions stopped for no apparent reason and we went home. Since I was jumpy, I decided to make a casserole and freeze it for my family. Without knowing it at the time, I was in labor while making food. I shake my head at that now. After that, we started for the hospital and as my husband alternately slams on his breaks and speeds up on the highway, I grind my teeth during a contraction that felt like transition and ask him to "stop that". I didn't add "or I will strangle you". I hate hospitals. I had to walk from the car to the room I was staying in. I should say walk then stop to breath through the horrendous pain while everyone stares at you and the brood you have brought with you. They also want to ask a lot of questions when all you want to do is snarl at them and say, "Give me a bed already!" The nurse checked me finally and since this was my fifth baby, I had a pretty good idea where I was at. I said, "I bet you I'm at eight centimeters." She said, "No, you are more like four to five." I was in disbelief. No way was this labor going to go well when a four feels like an eight. After I reached six to seven centimeters I was looking around for an epidural. The nurse helped me come to my senses and she gave me a little somethin' to help me get through the last two centimeters. Yeah, okay. So I didn't get through it all without medication, but when I finally pushed this baby out into the world, my midwife informed me that he was coming out face up. The baby wanted to come out the wrong way! She made me feel better when she told me that it is the hardest labor a woman will ever have to go through and why it took longer than usual to push him out. So where was my husband in all of this? Right beside me.......and so were the boys. As the pain became unbearable, I wouldn't let go of his hand. I looked at him with pain in my eyes and said, "You cannot leave me! You can't!" He looked helpless standing there and decided to put the boys in the corner near my head with the chairs facing the wall. They were smart enough not to look and were busy with their activities I had packed for them. I heard later that Grumpy was nervously rocking back and forth in his chair. So, the whole family got to see the littlest one right when he was born. Even though they didn't see a thing, the oldest ones will probably never forget their brother's birth.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Hamper Emergency

My little Happy has a quirk. This quirk is costing me in time and detergent. The child has yet to understand that if he is thirsty, he can get a cup and fill it in the bathroom sink. For some reason, this doesn't occur to him and instead he stands on the toilet, leans over, and puts his mouth under the faucet. In turn, this becomes a messy business and his shirt becomes soaked with water. Since he hates the feeling of wet, he takes off the shirt and leaves it where he stands. He is also being lazy about using the toilet. If he doesn't get there in time, (and this usually happens often), he takes off his underwear and pants and throws them on the floor. Throughout the day, he will often change clothes four or five times. There will be a trail of clothes all over the house by the end of the day if I don't get on him to put them in the laundry room. He always comes to me with his shirt wet and says, "My shirt wet, Mom!" "Don't you dare take that off, kid! It's just water. It'll dry!" "It WET, Mom!" "I don't care! Don't take it off!" Of course, I'm not intimidating enough and he will go change thinking that as long as he is not running around naked we won't have a problem. Now when the bathroom light turns on, I immediately say, "Get out of the bathroom!" Of course, it doesn't occur to me sometimes that maybe the kid actually needs to go. "I need to go pee, Mom!" "Oh." I'll find out later that he wet his pants by walking into the bathroom and seeing all the clothes on the floor. I need to get a hamper.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Liver & Onions

Last night, I made chicken cacciatore for dinner. You would have thought I made liver & onions. I smothered the chicken with spaghetti sauce and melted mozzarella, but to no avail. They were not eating it. I felt myself getting huffy and exclaimed, "When I was a kid, my mother made me eat liver for dinner! Do you know what liver tastes like? It is the most disgusting thing in the world! I was not even allowed to leave the table until I ate what was on my plate!" Memories always come back to me when I think of the times my siblings and I had to eat something we didn't like. The time my brother tape-recorded my pitiful crying when I had to eat my vegetables, my sister hiding her food in her napkin, the sun setting and I'm still sitting there refusing to eat the nastiness, the times my father would threaten to make me eat my own vomit if I threw up. After dinner, my father would also say, "Do the dishes." What he actually meant was clean the whole kitchen from top to bottom. Not only do the dishes, but clean the kitchen counter, wash the table, sweep the floor, etc. etc. He would often joke that he had four dishwashers. When my mom stood at the stove cooking dinner, the mouth-watering smell wafted throughout the house and we would follow our noses into the kitchen and ask what was for dinner. Whenever we heard it was liver, our evening immediately went down the tubes. We all knew that it would be a torment to sit at the table and cough down the cow organ. I often wondered how something that smelled so good while it was cooking could taste so bad once it hit the plate. I think of the many battles at the table my parents had to deal with during my childhood as I look at the pitiful faces of my sons as they move their chicken around on their plates with their forks in one hand and their chins in the other. I remember the wails and whines of my brothers and sister. I recall the threats and the spankings and I made a decision. I told them to leave the table immediately. I know I am a bad parent for not making them eat every bite, but I realized that this is one battle that I just don't want. Because of the world we live in, there are bigger battles coming and I have to save my strength.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Here, Kitty Kitty

One day, Doc came up to me and announced that we have a mouse in the house. I looked at him askance because there is nothing more than having a mouse in the house to make it all of a sudden feel.....unclean despite my efforts.

Since then, I have found mouse poop in the laundry room, Bashful's closet, and the basement. Aargh! Doc then suggested that we get a good mouser. There is no definite way of making sure that a cat will be a good mouser until the deed is done, so I sneered at myself as I said, "Okay, fine. We'll go look at cats, but it better be a nice cat."

I must be insane. We now have a cat. She is four years old and the most demanding little priss I've ever met. We must be cat people. Sitting at dinner one night, we saw her trot over to her litter box around the corner. I said, "Look! There she is! Isn't that such a good kitty?" As we heard her scratching at her litter to cover up her mess, we said, "Cats are awesome, man! You bring them home and voila! They take care of themselves!" They are useless when it comes to protecting the home and scaring away the bad people, but since my men must have a pet to love, so be it.

She is nice to the boys even though Happy loves to put his humongous head on her stomach thus making her get up and flee. As being a good mouser goes, well, there was an incident that gave me a pretty good idea on her skills.

The mouse is quite the arrogant one and we've seen the back end of him a few times as he scurries underneath furniture scaring the living daylights out of me. A couple nights ago, I was feeding the baby when I turned to look over at the fireplace. There was that dang mouse scurrying up the fireplace.

"AAAAAHHHHH!"

Since all I had as a weapon was the remote control plus a baby in my arms, I turned to look for the cat. There she was snoozing on the couch just a few feet from the fireplace. "You dang cat! Do your job, for Pete's sake, will ya? Doc! DOC! The mouse is in the fireplace!" He ordered me to turn it on and fry the sucker.

Well, that would have worked if the thing had actually been in the logs, but since it works on gas the sucker was able to get out alive through the pipe. I picked up the cat and put her nose to the fireplace, but she was definitely not interested.

Since then, we've heard her trying to catch something, but the mouse is winning. Ah, well. Time to put out more traps.