Wednesday, January 28, 2009

These Are the Rules; You Shall Obey Them!

The rules of the household are as follows. If you do not obey these rules, you will be taken behind the shed and shot.

1. When the Master of the House is cooking breakfast, do not touch the bacon. Do not ask for bacon. If you ask for bacon, you will get no bacon. If you try to touch the bacon before all the slices of bacon are cooked, you will get no bacon. If you plead for bacon, or look at the bacon with a gleam in your eye, you will get no bacon. Commentary on how the bacon is being prepared is unwelcome, and may get you shot.

2. Cheese must be sliced in one direction only. Slicing the cheese "against the grain," off kilter, too fat, or too thin will result in severe reprisals and occasional stabbings with the cheese knife. American cheese and "cheese food" are not permitted in the household.

3. Teabags are not to be left in the sink.

4. If someone in the household sneezes, you must immediately snap to attention and shout "bless you!" Failure to immediately shout "bless you!" will result in an aggrieved cry of "Nobody said 'bless you!'" Attempts to make good after the fact will not result in forgiveness. You will be watched most carefully.

5. If the younger members of the household are engaged in a musical performance, the guests must sit quietly. Talking during the song will result in your name being put on The List. Singing or movement during the song: Your name goes on The List. Clapping before the song is complete will get your name on The List. If your name is put on The List, you will be disappeared. Those whose names are not on The List will get a reward sticker.

6. Only the Master of the House shall be permitted to cook the following:
If this rule is not obeyed, it will result in aggrieved cries of "These are horrorful pancakes, mommy," "Why is my spaghetti all clumped together?," "Daddy's oatmeal is so much better," and "You messed it up AGAIN. This is horrorful!"

7. If the Master of the House emerges from the shower to find no towel, you will be blamed. Return all towels to the bathroom after use.

8. Mein Schtinky Teddy shall always be referred to by his full and proper name. He is not to be called "that thing," or "that putrid bear." Mein Schtinky Teddy shall be honored and revered, flung down the stairs, and ritualistically gnawed upon.

9. Any inquiry made to the Eldest Son shall not be made during his working hours, when he is engaged in massive art projects, engineering contraptions, birthday-party planning for invisible friends, and the like. Any inquiry made during these times will result in an apoplectic fit and bites to the ankle area.

10. "Pizza patting" is not recommended. Anyone caught "pizza patting" will be subject to ridicule and ostracized socially for several days.

11. If a phone is not placed back in the charger after its use, your phone privileges may be revoked. You will also be beaten about the head with said phone, and made to wash the linens.

12. Wring out all sponges after use. If a sponge is discovered loitering at the bottom of the sink, you will be made to eat a "sponge sandwich," scented with mildew, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

13. In any dispute pertaining to these rules, Baby (aka "Baby Sunshine") shall be consulted to bring order, clarity, and a gummy smile to the proceedings, resulting in fewer purges, deportations, and executions than would normally be anticipated.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Word "Atop" Is Mentioned Twice Here

16 Random Things About Me [too lazy to write a new blog post so using this]

1. I once danced atop a fire truck to the tune of "Low Rider." I had red feathers glued all over my body at the time. Don't ask.

2. As a child, I forced my pet (feral) rabbit to try to climb a tree. She did not succeed. In the same year, I charged guests at my sister's wedding 50 cents to go to the garage to view the rabbit in its hutch.

3. I cannot ice skate for beans. The last time I tried, I fell and bruised my cheek.

4. I still find poop funny, but increasingly less funny as my children's amusement with the topic grows. I'm sure there is a math formula to represent this.

5. I like chicken pot pies. Especially the "Mrs. Budd's" brand.

6. I went to high school with Lyle Menendez. He was a dope. Once, in math class, I saw his weiner poking out of his ultra-white tennis shorts. It was traumatic and creepy.

7. I have been known to make "rutabaga noises." If asked, I will deny this.

8. In high school, my friends and I invented an evil bunny character named Lumpen. He had red, carroty hair and a mole underneath one eye. And he said things like "bok, bok, bok!"

9. My friends have dogs and horses with the same names as my children.

10. My sister and matron of honor vomited (repeatedly) on the morning of my wedding with a dreadful hangover.

11. I write snarky articles for and was once told in the comments section to "get out of this town and go back to Brooklyn."

12. There is a portrait of a devil in our closet. Red, with horns. Like, the actual devil.

13. I could eat a whole bag of Cheetos if given half a chance.

14. My brothers used to dare me to put "the entire sandwich in my mouth at once," and I always complied, with ill effects.

15. One of my favorite things is a figurine I made out of three rocks glued together. The rock on top looks like an egg, and so I call the creature "eggy."

16. I once leapt atop the bull statue down on Wall Street and rode the poor bugger. Now look what's happened.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Some sample audio specimens picked up in our household over a period of two days, beginning 5:56 a.m. 1/2/09 and ending 6:46 p.m. 1/4/09. The specimens were reported to be the work of a 5-year-old male and a 3-year-old male. These items are a representative sample that is approximately 1/16% of the total extruded over the course of the time period noted.

Put your elbow in the potty; it's fun! It's fun!
Put your buttocks in the potty; it's fun! It's fun!
Put your head in the potty; it's fun! It's fun!
[This was followed by screams and an incident in which the younger brother's fingers were slammed in the bathroom door.]

Come to my doody par-ty. Come to my doody par-ty.
Doink! I'm a turd!
[Sung while in traffic on I-95.]

Poop raining down from the sky, oh yeah!
Poop raining down from the sky, oh yeah!
Next it's gonna land on your head.
And cover you in poop! Even your nostrils will be made out of poop!
[Still stuck in traffic on I-95.]

You're invited to see
my poop in the toilet!
You're invited to see
my poop in the toilet!
[This was followed by a plea to send real invitations to a "Poop Party" hosted by the 5-year-old. The Poop Party would take place in our backyard and would include a game called "pin the tail on the poop." I was forced to write the invitations but have refrained from sending them, claiming that I "can't find any stamps." Soon he will be onto me and you may get such an invitation in the mail. Please ignore it, at all costs.]

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Curious Case of the Nutball Who Wrote on Our Ivory Piano Keys With Blue Marker

Normally, one has to keep an eye on kids with markers. When an adult is seen with a marker in hand, it's usually not a sign for alarm. This used to be the case, anyway.

A few weeks back my kindergartner had a playdate with a classmate from school. Because it was their first "date," the mom decided to stay for a while. I was working from home so I made polite chit-chat for a few minutes and then excused myself. Our nanny stayed below to get the kids some snacks, while the mom--who happens to be a piano teacher--played a few sprightly tunes on the 1910 Chickering piano that is a family heirloom of my husband. I worked upstairs happily while she played.

The next evening, my husband sat in the near-darkness, idly tickling the keys. Suddenly he gave a hideous roar of outrage. I ran in to see what was the matter. On about 12 of the piano keys, the notes (C, D, G, etc.) had been penned in bright blue marker. In a vintage music book of Christmas songs, the same blue marker had been applied. The notes were written very carefully, clearly by an adult hand.

We managed to get the marks off with some assiduous rubbing and pure, old-fashioned spittle. But I sent the following note to the mom:

"I don't know if you were aware of this yesterday, but someone actually wrote in blue marker on the ivory keys of our antique piano during our playdate. There were also notes written in the old music book we had on the top of the piano, in the same marker. (I assume this happened while I was upstairs working.) We are trying to get the marks off but worried about damaging the keys, since the marker used seems to be leaving a tint/stain behind....
We're not very happy about this so just wondering how it might have happened. This piano has been in our family for years.
Thanks for any insight."

I thought this was an awfully restrained note.

And she wrote back:

"I am so sorry. The best way to clean the ivory keys is:
I don't know how old this piano actually is, but if it is 50 or more years old, I am pretty sure that the keys are ivory, and ivory tends to yellow over age. DO NOT use chemical cleaners on the keys if they are ivory. The best thing to use for cleaning piano keys is a solution of vinegar and water. Ivory keys used to be the norm.

I can do this for you if you want. Also ivory is like "teeth" and many people use white toothpaste as well. Do not use water."

How about SPIT? I wanted to ask. And, if one is so knowledgeable about ivory keys, why would one choose BLUE MAGIC MARKER as a writing tool? Would you go to someone's house and write on their wall? What type of pen would you use? I, for one, would choose BLUE MAGIC MARKER.

A little while later, this email arrived:

" My friend a piano technician at the Steinway piano store also told me that rubbing alcohol mixed with water on a cloth is a sollution they use for their Steinways."

This was very helpful. I have learned a lot about caring for ivory keys through this process, and I hope you have learned a great deal as well. Remember, no water!

As for the book, I fear that none of these methods will make an impact. But at least I'll know what keys I'm playing when I launch into "Jingle Bells"!

A second playdate has not yet been arranged. When it is, I will be packing several Sharpies.