Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Continuing Adventures of the Plunger Avenger

About four years ago (wow, that was a long time) I wrote this post about one of my many superhero identities.  This is a post of the continuing adventures of the Plunger Avenger as she branches out from the toilet to the general vicinity of the bathroom.

When the toilet is in crisis who comes to the rescue? THE PLUNGER AVENGER! She is fierce, she is fearless, she can wield a plunger like no other. She can take down ninjas with one swift suction to the face.

Someone flush multiple toothbrushes down the toilet? Call the Plunger Avenger!

Hair bands, elastics, scrunchies? Call the Plunger Avenger!

Perhaps you snuck some forbidden treats from the cupboard and wish to hide the evidence. Did the thick plastic wrappers get stuck part way? Have no fear, call the Plunger Avenger, and for a fee (namely chocolate) you might be able to buy her silence.

Ever tried flushing a pair of child’s sunglasses down the toilet that have lost their lenses? That one is a bit trickier and will often take the Plunger Avenger’s sidekick to defeat – the Snake is a good one, or sometimes it calls for the Wrench Master (for toilet removal).

The Plunger Avenger is on call twenty-four hours, seven days a week and has just one request: KEEP THE BATHROOM DOOR CLOSED!!!  The toilet has many dastardly capabilities, it can hide unwanted broccoli (my kids haven’t done this to my knowledge, nor did I, but I am sure someone somewhere has), send fish and squirrels to a watery grave, or steal your most prized possessions.  Avert this and all other tragedies and CLOSE THE DOOR!!

As the Plunger Avenger I would like to share this disastrous foray into the bathroom that had nothing to do with the toilet today and would have been avoided altogether if THE DOOR HAD BEEN CLOSED.

It started with an open door, beckoning the two-year-old to the mysteries of the bathroom and beyond. A vortex that sucks toddlers, squirrels, and other curious creatures in and spits them out only after they have undergone hideous transformations.

James was such a victim. The Plunger Avenger did not become aware of the situation until it was too late and the little tyke staggered out, screams tearing from his young little lungs, his eyes squinched shut as great gobs of goo oozed down the side of his face.  He staggered toward her, a strange sort of alien being, slimy and smelling of coconut, his arms outstretched with pitiful wails of “owie!”

The Plunger Avenger knew right away he was a victim of the evil villain Sham Poo, which the older girls keep locked away tight in a bottle lest he escapes and attacks the younger children. He’s quite dangerous and, as is prone to do, went right for the young boy’s head and eyes, depositing gobs and gobs of his viscuous goo all over his head. It slumped over his left eye and trailed down his cheek. The boy’s attempts to wipe it way, only made it foam and rubbed it in.

The Plunger Avenger had to act fast to defeat Sham Poo. The worst was already done, but she knew she had to wash away his gooey slime. She sent her PAT (Plunger Avenger in Training) to trap Sham Poo back in his bottle and CLOSE THE BATHROOM DOOR, while she snatched the little screaming James into her arms and dashed at super sonic speed into her bathroom with the removable shower head.

The boy’s eyes were shut tight, and his cries began to ease and he thought perhaps he could open his eyes, but to no avail, the goo was still there and great cries of  “owie!” permeated the premesis.  He tried this a few times until he decided it was better to keep them closed for good.

The PA turned the shower on and began to rinse the goo away. It was thick and coated the boy’s head, face and shirt. She rinsed for well over five minutes, leaving the boy gasping as she sprayed water time and time again in his face. Finally he was stripped down and completely clean, if still smelling of the evil Sham Poo’s coconut scent. She rinsed his eyes for nigh on fifteen minutes before leaving the screaming little soul to peace.

After much consolation and coaxing the little boy opened his red little eyes to a world of wonder. The Sham Poo’s goo had left its mark and would sting for quite some time, but he had the Plunger Avenger to cling to for comfort solace.

As a reminder to all who dare tresspass into the deadly vortex that is the bathroom, just SHUT THE DOOR and let the  evil within alone.


Filed under Children, Every Day Life, Humor, James

Sniffing Books

I pulled into the handicap parking space outside Barnes and Noble while my friend, Betsy, hung the handicap marker on my rearview mirror.

“Do you have your sunglasses?” I asked as I exited the car and came around to her side of the vehicle.

“Yep.” She put them on and accepted my offered arm as she flicked her cane open. “You do realize that with my sunglasses on inside I really will be blind, right?” (She has retinitous pigmentosa and is legally blind – she can see a very little bit in well lit places – in the dark she can’t see a thing.)

“I promise not to steer you into any bookshelves. At least, not on purpose anyway.” We laughed and entered the store.

Just walking into the book store with her without her sunglasses on is entertaining. We get a myriad of strange looks, but with her sunglasses on we got  completely baffled stares as I steered her towards a large display of books right in the middle of the center aisle stretching through the store.

I paused and looked over the books as she stood silently by my side, waiting.  I picked up a large book with a shark on the cover and handed it to her. Her fingers danced across the cover and down the sides. After frowning, she ran them over the title as though it were braille and then lifted the book to her nose. After a long inhale she shook her head no. “This one smells a bit fishy to me.”

I barely smothered my giggles as I took the book back and glanced at a pair of ladies staring at us from across the aisle. I wanted to stare at them full on and really observe their arched eyebrows and puzzled eyes, but I didn’t dare turn my head and contented myself to my peripheral observations. I picked up a second book and handed it too her. “How about this one then?”

She proceeded to do the same as she had previously, pausing after running her hands over the book to flip through the pages and sniff them. “This one, this one smells a bit smokey.”

I glanced briefly at the title and noticed it was some thriller with fire or smoke in the caption and smothered more laughs as I set it down. I watched as the two ladies passed by,  shaking their heads and laughing.  We decided to try a different part of the store and headed to the back corner where there were numerous chairs and tables arranged.

Facing the shelves my back was to our unknowing audience, but I managed to turn my body slightly in order to catch numerous reactions out of the corner of my eye. I snagged the first book I came too and handed it to her. She felt it, smelled it and grinned. “This is a Sue Grafton book, I think I might like it.”

I took the book and looked at it. “You’re right! It is!” I allowed my eyes to dart quickly around me. I saw a pair of raised eyebrows behind a newspaper as a girl ducked her head quickly so as not to be caught spying, a man studiously staring at the book on the table in front of him, and another girl with a furry black hat staring unabashedly at us.

Not wanting to appear as though I was observing them I quickly grabbed the next book my hand fell on and gave it to Betsy. She took longer with this one and smelled numerous times. She opened the book and sniffed the pages, her face becoming more and more puzzled. Finally, she shook her head and handed it back to me. “I don’t think I’d want that one. It smells so strange. Almost foreign.”

I raised my eyebrows and observed the author. It was a struggle not to burst into laughter. “Yeah, it looks like its by some Russion guy.” This time I glanced the eyes and eyebrows pearing at us in blatant curious wonder, the distracted man who quickly shifted his gaze back to his book, and the girl with the furry black hat with her jaw hanging open.

I gripped Betsy’s arm and we shuffled off down the aisles where we could disolve into giddy laughter as she whipped her sunglasses off. “I can’t believe you got me to do that.”

“Me neither!” I broke into a huge grin. “Wasn’t it fun? Next time we need to bring  our entire writing group and have them staked out around the store so we can get better observation of people’s reactions.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Next time?”

“Oh yeah. You so want to do that again. Admit it.”

“Ok, yes I do.”

I need to go practice my poker face now so that I don’t break down in laughter every time she starts sniffing the books.


Filed under Humor

“I don’t know that my mom is pregnant”

We found out a few weeks ago that number six is on the way.  SIX!! We felt very strongly for some time that we had another member of our family waiting to join us, but it is still mind boggling to me.  We told a few people when we found out, we usually wait to tell people until we’ve safely made it through the first trimester, but the more kids you have the faster you pooch and the harder it is to hide (for me anyway).

So a week or so ago one of my friends, not realizing that we hadn’t told all the kids yet, mentioned it to my 7-year-old. “Are you excited your mommy is having a new baby?”

She looked at the woman, shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know that my mom is pregnant.”

I waited for her to ask me about it, but she never did. My friend and I, and Paul all had a good laugh over it, but the question never came. We finally gave in and told the kids this week and Em was elated, as was every one else, but she never acknowledged that she had been told a week earlier – I don’t think it ever sunk in 😀

So, there you have it! Number 6 is officially on its way. I had my first ultrasound today and so I now have a due date – September 10. My first prenatal will be partway through Feb. Oh – and morning sickness? Eh, not much, just perpetual nausea that lasts most of the day – and being REALLY tired.  Other than that, we are good (as long as no one minds the messy house).

So, this year is proving to be an interesting one full of changes: a baby,  and some major change in living arrangements and/or job, and with any luck maybe I’ll get a bite or two on one of my manuscripts – 20 rejections on one and counting – yeehaw! (I can’t complain or get discouraged until I hit triple digits :-D). Who knows what will happen or where we will land. My parents are coming home soon and we will either be buying their house (if Paul gets a better job that will allow us to) or flying the coop to who knows where. The great job/house hunt has begun and where we land is anybody’s guess.

Scary, exciting, nervewracking, and wonderful all wrapped up in one.  We get to focus on painting and being sure the house is ready to sell in case we don’t buy it, while hoping we can stay (we really do love it here and the house, and yard and… and…) but looking anywhere and everywhere for a job that will support the growing family better and pay Paul what he’s worth. (He’s officially done with school by the way – woot!!)

So, maybe this will be our year too – at any rate we already have one marvelous change and are looking forward to possibly many others and hopefully not TOO much stress along the way. 😀


Filed under Children, Em, Pregnancy

Star Wars for Cars

For the past year our local church building has been in the process of being renovated. As a result, we have about a 20 to 30 minute drive to church. Yesterday on the way the Lizy and the kids made up a new game. At first I wasn’t paying much attention, but then I noticed that they were calling each other “Paduan” and talking of  “Darth Vader”, so I began to take notice.

It was quite ingenious. They had decided all the white cars were storm troopers and the black ones were Darth Vader.  All other cars were fellow Jedi.

They started out with two weapons each – one blaster and one light saber. Every time a Jedi passed they collected one more weapon.  When a storm trooper or Darth Vader passed they had to spot it – yelling “Storm!” or “Vader!” or other such variations (it got pretty noisy sometimes).  If a storm trooper passed without notice they lost the battle and  half of their weapons. If Vader passed without notice they lost all of their weapons.  They could also fight off cars from behind.

I think the most fun was listening to Jacob try to get into the game by making light saber sound effects every time a car passed.


Filed under Children, Lizy

Ruminations on eating olives in an upscale restaurant

At Paul’s work Christmas party he won a gift certificate to a marvelous restaurant (the owner of Paul’s company is also a part owner of this restaurant) in the pearl district of Portland, so we arranged for a babysitter and prepared for a fun night on the town. We don’t make it to Portland very often, let alone the pearl district and looking forward to the opportunity.

I must take a moment to say now that I was a little nervous. My experience with NICE restaurants is limited. I felt a little like my character Belinda – the farm-girl tomboy planted in the middle of an upscale big city area. Yikes! My main worry was that my goofy tendencies would embarrass me horribly.

My biggest restaurant eating fear is ordering a dish where you have to cut meat around the bones and still look refined and lady-like. I never quite got the hang of that one. So imagine my dismay when our plates arrive and I am staring at divinely succulent, bone-in lamb. With no small amount of trepidation I approached the lamb and almost sighed aloud in relief as the meat fell away from the bone without any effort on my part.

It had been a long time since I had lamb – I don’t think I have had it since my farm days, well, I may have had some at a Mongolian grill restaurant or something, but that hardly seems to count as it is thinly sliced and carries merely the hint of the flavor. The lamb at this restaurant was divine. Paul had the roasted chicken (which was bone in too, and it didn’t fall off the bones as easily as my lamb did, which made me relieved I had gone with the lamb 😉 ) and it was divine as well. The best chicken either of us have ever tasted. Mmmmm.

With that major pitfall avoided I sat back to enjoy my meal, and then I eyed the olives accompanying the lamb on my plate.

I knew instinctively they were not pitted and so began the debate. Do I ignore them? for how does one eat olives in an upscale restaurant with decorum and dignity?

I attempted for a moment to pin one down to the plate with my fork, but the pit kept getting in my way and it would go skidding from beneath it in a mad dash to freedom. I passed one to Paul to observe how he (slightly more experienced than myself) would go about it. He had no trouble at all pinning it down with his fork and cutting away. Of course, part way through he became tired of the ordeal and popped the thing in his mouth when no one was looking. A second later I heard a soft plink as the pit was deposited on the side of his plate.

I looked at him in accusation. How could he possibly get away with that? I knew, I would never pull it off. I counted off the dangers of eating olives and began to make a list, while Paul listened in amusement.

1. In an attempt to spear the olive I manage to launch it, hit the waiter in the eye, cause him to stumble backwards, dumping food and drinks all over the neighboring table.

2. In an attempt to spear the olive I launch it at the wall of wine bottles, knock out the bottom one and send them all crashing in a deafening wave of glass and liquid. Of course corks go popping and nailing people in the back of heads and what-not.

3. Worse yet, I attempt to spear the olive and launch it into the open mouth (as the person is taking a bite) of a patron at said neighboring table, so they choke on it and I become a murderer.

4. I decide to forego decorum and dignity and pop the olive in my mouth. The minute I do, Paul’s boss undoubtedly shows up and there I sit with cheeks full of olive as I stare blankly at him. At this point I either choke on it from insanely nervous laughter, or trying to swallow the evidence in a hurry. Paul has to perform the Heimlich and then either 1 or 2 happens all over again.

5. Same as three, but I manage to get to the point where I need to dispose of the pit discreetly. Paul’s boss walks in at that moment. I could attempt to cough and hide the pit in my hand, but undoubtedly that would be the hand he would want to shake, or I would be left sitting there for an indeterminable amount of time with a soggy olive pit in my hand. (ewwww)

6. I get to the pit disposal point, manage to get it discreetly onto my plate (so I think) and find everyone (Paul’s boss included) staring at me in horror at my lack of decorum and dignity.

After making my list, I decided what was life without a little adventure? So I decided to approach dignity and decorum one more time and successfully maneuvered my way through olive eating 101. No eyes were poked out and Paul’s boss never showed up. (he wasn’t expected, mind you, just part of my list)

Of course, Paul had the decency to point out that once I made this post something would undoubtedly say, “The olives were a garnish. You weren’t supposed to eat them.”

It really was a marvelous restaurant and a very fun experience.


Filed under Humor