Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Odds Are

Last night the girls and I went grocery shopping.

Every time I reached for something off the metal shelves I got a shock. Not just a little spark, but those loud, sharp pops that feel like industrial rubber bands being snapped against your flesh by thick-fingered, Olympic weight lifters.

The second time it happened, we were standing next to this big, burly guy. I reached for some fruit cups and SNAP!

“Jesus Christ!” I yelled. I know I shouldn’t blaspheme, but the current must have traveled straight to my brain. That’s probably the same reason I turned to burly guy and said, “I almost wet my pants on that one.”

Burly guy heard this and looked at me as if I was wearing a pretty blue bonnet and ruffled petticoats. I can’t say that I blame him. Little girls wet their pants. Men are incapable of leaking urine even in the face of the most horrifying of circumstances. But there I was volunteering that a small static charge almost got the best of my bladder (actually, it hadn’t, but I was trying to be amusing which is something I really shouldn’t do in public anymore).

We wheeled away from burly guy in a hurry after that. But I continued to get shocked. I even stopped and looked around for cameras thinking I was on a Japanese game show. I didn’t see any cameras so I started picking things off the shelves as if I was playing Operation (take out olives, take out cinnamon, etc.). I found myself being drawn to products packaged in non-conductive materials. I’ll buy canned-goods the next time I’m at the store wearing a grounding wire.

Now that I think about it, I don’t even know why I have to do the shopping. I want to hire someone to stock our larder. I remember looking at some notes John Lennon wrote to his personal assistant that were being auctioned off by Christies. I could see John sitting at the kitchen table first thing in the morning thinking, “I’d like some fresh blueberries.” Then he’d pick up a pen and write, “Please pick up a quart of really sweet blueberries and find me some nice socks.” He’d hand the note to his assistant and before he knew it he would be eating blueberries and sitting around in a pair of nice new socks.

It takes money to pull off that trick. But I have a plan.

The lottery.

I know I’m not going about winning the lottery the right way. I usually buy a ticket every other month and when I do I always let the machines choose my numbers. According to the Powerball Web site (my personal game of choice) my odds of winning are 1 in 146,107,962.

This newfound Vegas mentality got me thinking about odds. Somehow I knew that I have a better chance of being killed by a moose in my own living room than of winning Powerball. I wanted to confirm this so I went to the National Safety Council’s Web site to see what my lifetime odds are of dying by whatever means were. I started small and looked at being bitten or stung by nonvenomous insect and other arthropod. Turns out I’ve got a 1 in 286,537 chance that I will be in the wrong place at the wrong time when a rogue cockroach decides to see just what it would take to bring a human down. Change the cockroach to a hornet or a bee and my odds increase to 1 in 68,981.

Because I’m not sure if I’m allergic to bees and the only cockroach I’ve ever feared lives (lived) down in New Orleans I thought I should examine something a little more germane. Like shoveling snow - Pay attention, Debbie because overexertion brings with it 1 opportunity in 29,101 for me to expire. Winter is coming and I want you to have these statistics in mind the next time I reach for the snow shovel before you do. The more I shovel, the more likely it will be you’ll have to do it on a permanent basis (or at least until the girls are big enough to take care of it). You think about that. . .

1 in 29,101. That number was still too big to have much impact. I needed to make these statistics a little more real so I looked for the lowest number on the chart associated with a specific cause. It was 212. I have a 1 in 212 chance of dying via accidental poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances.

When I think of all the diapers I’ve changed and all the ones I’m going to change, my blood runs cold.

212. That’s about the capacity of a movie theater. If death was an usher she’d have to walk up and down the aisles, choose a row, then a seat before she found me and made me leave before the end of the movie (where was she when I went to see Blair Witch Project?). Sure, I’d be a little nervous watching her comb the audience, but I still feel that I would have pretty good odds of surviving the death usher scenario.

So, if I apply lottery numbers to the death usher example, death would have to go through 689,189 theaters (212 seats per theater) to find me.

Why in the hell would I think I could ever win the lottery?

Because I’m a huge pessimist, that’s why.

I just know death will want to go see Batman Begins when it hits the second run theater market. She’ll sit down beside me and see me eating Dots with my popcorn. After about five minutes of me chewing next to her she won’t be able to take it anymore and reap me. When they empty out my pockets, that’s when they’ll find the winning Powerball ticket.

Just my luck.

By the way, the odds of being killed by that Moose (not necessarily in my living room): 1 in 49,665.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Best Day of Fun Ever

Why is it that every time I go to a sporting event I sit in front of a person who insists on shattering my eardrums with their clapping? It's as if they've learned some secret technique developed by the Pentagon to assault enemies with a simple hand clap.

This time we were clapped toward deafness at a Brewer's game. Our ears weren't quite bleeding but this guy truly had high decibel clapping skills. Plus, he was completely in love with the sound of his own voice. He talked. A lot. He even made some comment to his kids about not embarrassing him by clapping so loudly (he must have noticed Deb and I wincing each time he brought his hands together near our skulls). Knowing he was causing us pain seem to please him.

But I'm being negative. I shouldn't be negative. Aside from the audible assault it really was a perfect day. Easy in and out of the ballpark. Beautiful weather. Well-behaved children. Allie had cotton candy for the first time and as she ate it she told us she was having, ". . .the best day of fun ever." After a few handfuls of cotton candy and a big chunk of licorice rope she probably would have told us the same thing if we had thrown her down a mine shaft with an open crate of rabid bats.

She rode the sugar rush almost all the way home.


I saw Jon last week. We had lunch together with other people from work. He had the bison burger and was a little intimidated by the size of our waitress's arms. Probably more like turned on by the size of her arms (I know I was), but that's beside the point. I like it when Jon stops by to see us. I wish he was able to do it more often despite the fact he chastised me for posting photos of Julia's offal.

I've been waiting to use the word offal for weeks. It feels like the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders.


Fuzzy Sara is dead. Please don't ask me how she died. I would have no choice but to implicate myself. I'm sure she could have contracted some weird hamster virus, but I'm sure the month's worth of fecal matter in her cage and a less than consistent feeding schedule might have been contributing factors.

Jon, I was tempted to grab my camera when I found Fuzzy Sara's body. But then I heard your voice and I let her rest in peace.

It's very late. 2:00 a.m. I should be sleeping. But I can't sleep. I've got a case of the willies.

I can't help but feel as if I'm being watched.

Watched by students.

Watched by students somewhere in Texas.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Smoosh

Last night, there was a group of kids hanging out in the street in front of our house. They were loud, awkward and loopy like most 12 to 14 year-olds usually are.

As Deb and I buttoned up the downstairs and headed upstairs to bed I stopped. I stood in the dark and watched the group of kids shuffle around on their skateboards being loud, awkward and loopy. Then I noticed one of the reasons they were being so loud.

A bunny was running around in circles in the middle of the road. I watched the bunny as it careened off the ankles of the kids hanging out around my house (and now I know if there actually was a Trix Rabbit the children wouldn’t try to get their cereal back, they’d just shriek and run away only to come back every now and again to try to poke the rabbit with a stick).

I lost interest in the kids pretty quickly after that. You see, the rabbit wasn’t an adult. It was small. In fact, it might be about the same size as the rabbits born in my backyard a few weeks ago.

Oh no.

It was the bunny I planted in the ground with my sneaker last June.

It had to be.

You may remember back on June 28th. . . Okay, you probably don’t remember but I wrote about how I accidentally stuffed a baby bunny’s head into the turf. I described how its little legs floundered around in the air before I finally got around to plucking it out of the soil. It was bleeding from the nose. I didn’t think it was going to make it. But I put it back into its nest and was relieved to discover it some how survived.

It survived with BRAIN DAMAGE!

There’s a developmentally disabled rabbit wandering our neighborhood and it’s my fault. I thought about making it a little hockey helmet it could wear to protect its already damaged noggin’. After all, the rabbit wouldn’t be difficult to catch because all it does is run in circles. But that didn’t seem appropriate.

This morning as I pulled out of the driveway I half expected to see Ricky (that’s what I named the rabbit) still tearing around the street making furious loops that went no where fast.

He wasn’t there.

But I did pass a tiny, short yellow bus, the size of a breadbox, as I pulled out of the neighborhood.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

More Chlorine, Please

Greg: Hold on, I'll get Julia a swim diaper.

Nana: She doesn't need a swim diaper.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Tornado Footage

Click the multimedia button and click Tornado. The quality isn't the best. I used the little Canon Powershot to shoot these clips. We're extremely grateful that our friends are alive. We're lucky the funnel stayed away from us.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Subtle Changes

You no longer need a password to see movies.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Meet Ms. Grady

This is Allie's Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Grady.

She looks very nice. We got her picture off the school Web site after she sent Allie a letter today. Here's what the letter said:

Dear Alexandra,

My name is Ms. Grady and I'll be your teacher this year. There are a few things that I want to make clear before you step foot into my classroom so please read this letter carefully.

First of all, I hope your parents like pizza because you're going to have to sell a lot of them this year. It seems that Ms. Grady didn't do so well at her first stab at online poker and therefore I'll be relying on your fundraising efforts to catch up on a few mortgage payments.

I have a lot of rules. Have your mom or dad look up OCD on the Internet and that might help explain things like why I'll be asking you to screw the cap on your glue stick on and off three times before you put it away each day. And you'll be washing your hands a lot. I mean all the time.

One item that didn't make it on to your school supplies list that you will need for my class is a black, hooded robe. Once a month, we'll be taking a trip behind the school to sacrifice a small woodland creature to the dark lords. Hopefully all six ceremonies will go well so that you, or one of you classmates, will be able to participate in our final rite in a very, very special way.

Finally, our classroom is a lot like Vegas; what happens in Ms. Grady's class, stays in Ms. Grady's class.

Got it?

Ms. Grady

Okay. While that may not be the actual letter Ms. Grady wrote to Allie (and she did write a nice letter introducing herself to her students) that is really what she looks like.

Allie is as excited as she has ever been now that she knows what her teacher looks like.

We bought her school supplies this weekend. These are her gym shoes:

They look a little funny because Julia is wearing them instead of Allie, but you get the idea.

What do you think, Grandma Judy?

Heh. Heh.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Endearing Disfigurement

They're supposed to be safe. Blunt-tip. Safer cutting angle. Shorter blades. Human flesh detecting auto locks.

Uh, oh. . .

Guess they didn't have time to engineer that last one into the design before they unleashed kid friendly scissors on to the market.

It's really not the scissors fault. They did what they're supposed to do. And Jaden, the kid who tried to disassemble Julia, used them the way they were supposed to be used. Sort of.

Truth is, Jaden just wanted to give Julia a haircut. He didn't know Julia's Nana had already trimmed her bangs last weekend or he thought Nana did a crappy job. Regardless, Jaden went to work.

How'd he get hold of his weapon? The kids happened to be working on an art project and there happened to be a pair of kiddy scissors lying on a table and before Karina had a chance to notice, Jaden had already performed his Sweeney Todd impression on Julia's ear.

Deb was out of town so I got the call from Karina. Poor woman. She was very upset. I left work and took Julia to see Dr. Tom. Deb made it back in time to come to Dr. Tom's office where we were told it was just a superficial cut and didn't require any sort of treatment at all (that'll be $110 please, thanks for dropping by).

Julia's is fine, Karina feels better, Deb and I are relieved and I'm guessing Jaden isn't allowed within seven feet of anything with an edge on it.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Another Movie

Waterfight 2005.

Enter the password and click on multimedia.