Friday, July 29, 2005

Tree House Fun

Two days ago my friend told me she had to ground her son for an afternoon. He had been on the roof with his dad when his dad got down for a minute. When the dad got back on the roof, he found his son peeing down the sewer vent. I had a pretty good laugh as she told me the story. I have long since learned not to be smug about these kinds of things and I was NOT thinking things like, “If you just did a better job teaching your child…” or “Why can’t you control your child?” But I was thinking something like “Tee-hee! At least something like that hasn’t happened to me!” Well Julie, one day later and I can top that.

Yesterday my 4 1/2 yr old daughter came into the house with her head hung low and said to me, “I’m sorry, Mom.”

“Sorry for what?”

“I pooped.”


“I pooped.”

“Aaaar! Where did you poop?”


At this point I think I yelled something like “I’m going to kill you!” Guy, in an attempt to calm me down and comfort his penitent daughter, intervened by saying things like “Was it an accident?” and “Did you try to come inside and you didn’t make it?” She of course answered “yes” and “uh-huh.” I finally got control of myself and then began asking more questions.

“Where is the poop?”


Right. I gathered that from the grass answer. I was going to have to be more specific because my daughter was not volunteering anything more than she was asked.

“Okay. Show me”

She took me into the back yard under our big sycamore tree. Sure enough, there sat a little pie on the grass. It was time to learn more details.

“Did you get any on your underwear?”


“Did you pull down your pants and sit right here and do it?”


“Then how did this get here? Where were you when you pooped?”

“Tree house.”

I looked up. There, sitting on the branched trunk of my tree, were more little pies.

“You were up in the tree house when you did it?”



After more of this questioning I finally pieced together that she and her friend Cammie (3 1/2 yrs) were playing house and apparently two of the slats of the tree house floor looked like a toilet. My daughter was playing at using the toilet, and then I guess the urge got to her before she could get down the tree and inside. When nature calls…

After reminding her that we don't pretend to use toilets in tree houses, I sent her inside to get in the tub while I set to cleaning it up. My husband had some remarkable ideas like “Just throw it in the bushes—the cat goes in there” and “just squirt it until it dissolves away.” I reminded him we were talking about human fecal matter and I think I said something like “Just go away if you can’t contribute any useful suggestions.” He went inside and started fixing lunch.

I proceeded with the revolting task of scraping what I could up with paper towels and then hosed the tree house, the trunk and the grass down. I thought of bleaching the whole area, but I wasn’t sure how the tree and lawn would have done with that. As I was finishing up a half an hour later, Guy opened a window and told me to come in. He told me I was going to have to call Cammie’s mom because he wasn’t going to do it. I asked him why I needed to call her. He said that our youngest (2 1/2 yrs) had come to lunch and said “I going to poop on Cammie.”


“I going to poop on Cammie.”

Long pause…why would he say this…“Wait a minute. Did Cammie have poop on her?”

Apparently she did, but she had cleaned herself up with a wet-wipe. Great. Now I had to call my neighbor and tell her that my daughter pooped on her daughter and to put her into the tub quick. Nice. And this isn’t just any neighbor. No, this is the neighbor who keeps tabs on everything and everyone on the street and makes sure everyone else has the scoop, too. We call her Neighborhood Watch. (Really, I could write a whole blog just on her. Maybe I will.) Anyway, now Neighborhood Watch knows what my daughter did to her daughter. And you've probably already heard this story by now.

After I got off the phone I started wondering something else, so once again I asked my daughter.

“How did the poop get on Cammie?”


I guess Cammie wasn’t in the tree house at the time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I Say Tomato, You Say Tomato

The other day I thought I’d start keeping track of some of the interesting colloquialisms and pronunciations I hear from my friends and family. Many are particular to Utah, I’m sure, and I think some go back to small towns like Spanish Fork and Lakeshore 50+ years ago. There are some that drive me nuts-o, and some I find charming and funny. And I’m sure there are plenty more I don’t even hear because I’m just so used to them—or because I say them. I’m probably guilty of some humdingers! So let’s have some fun and make a list. I’d love to hear yours. Here’s a start…

Of course, the obvious heck, gosh, dang, darn… Me? Guilty. Heck, I’m from Utah!
Chimbley—just funny.
Asparagrus—kind of annoying.
Pellow and melk, not pillow and milk. Drives me nuts.
I seen Betty down to the Wal-mart. Yaaaahrr! I hear it all the time.
Irregardless—this one is in the dictionary, but it says “used humorously.” I don’t know if they know it’s funny.
Crens (crayons)
Crick (creek)
An (and)—I’m sure I say this one all the time.
Pedistool (pedestal)—this one makes me laugh.
Ping-kwin (penguin)
Roof or roof—I’m not even sure which one is right.
Doesn’t that make a rabbit slap a bear?—what does this mean?
Git (as in “Git down from there! or “Hey! Go on! Git!”)
Wint (went)
Shmorning—you know, like “The shmorning I wint down to Wal-marts to git some melk an asparagrus an guess what? On the way I seen Harold. He was fixin his chimbley.”

Well, that’s all I got fer now. Ahl be lettin’ ya know whin I heer summore.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Dark Knight

If you haven’t already, you need to go see Batman Begins. Holy league of shadows, it was fantastic! One of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It was all I could do to not stand up and yell a big, guttural “Yaaahhhhhhr!” at the end of the movie. But it isn’t just this movie I loved—I’ll tell you more about that later; I just really like Batman. Here’s why:

1. Batman rocks. I don’t care who you are, you have to love him. I mean, he wears black (sexy, muscley black for the ladies), he has a cape (how cool are capes? Edna Mode was oversensitive), he’s sneaky and stealthy (how does he do that?), and he’s got a ton of cool stuff (c’mon—a batmobile, a batcave, grappling hook guns?…this stuff is great!). And he’s just a regular guy—he doesn’t even need superpowers to be this great.

2. Bruce Wayne is such a compelling character. Tragic, really. Boy does he have issues to deal with. Bats aside, his parents were killed in front of him and consequently he’s riddled with sadness, guilt, anger, and hate. That right there is enough for a pretty good character. Throw in a childhood phobia, martial arts, a mansion, a villain and a butler and voila! A great character!

3. Alfred is fabulous. He’s smart and witty and loves Bruce through all his issues. And doesn’t he embody what we all want? Someone who is loyal, loves us and takes care of us no matter what. (And calls us master, and cleans the mansion, and cooks, and sets out our clean, stylish, pressed clothes…)

4. The villains are pretty cool. You can’t have a great good guy without some really good bad guys.

So Batman is awesome. It’s no wonder he has captivated audiences for years. Now to the new movie (I won’t say anything here that would spoil it). What made this movie great?

1. It was nice to see Bruce’s character developed so well. It helped you understand what motivates him and why he makes the choices he does. You get to see his vulnerabilities as well as his courage, strength and nobility.

2. Batman had some really great new stuff. I'd had some issues with how his cape worked and where he got all his neat-o gadgets that were solved in the movie. (If I read comic books I'm sure those issues would have been solved already, but I just haven't found the time to get into it that deep.)

3. The computer-generated images were done well. Sitting next to an artist in a movie can wreck it for you when the CGI stuff is lousy. Guy will groan or make these little comments if the graphics aren’t up to par and after a while you get an eye for it. They have to be believable or it just isn’t any good. The CGI work in Batman Begins was superb by my book (and Mr. Critical agreed).

4. Scarecrow was so cool. The previews show you what he looks like and he is creepy! He was also believable. I won’t tell you his MO, but it worked for me because it didn’t seem so far out of the realm of reality.

5. The pace and action of the movie was good. I don’t really know movie speak, but you know when a movie has too much action, or not enough? This one was just right. The sound was great, too.

6. The movie was artistic. The whole feel and look of the movie was very epic. There’s nothing quite like seeing Batman’s silhouette while he looks over Gotham City at night. Oooooooh. Chills.

I could probably go on, but I’ll stop there. If you aren’t a Batman fan, maybe this movie will do it for you. Don’t even plan on comparing it to the Batman movies from ’89 and the 90s. The first one was okay—Michael Keaton did a pretty good job and Jack Nicholson had some great moments. But boy did the series go down from there. The one with Schwarzenegger was a real stinker. This new movie blows them all out of the water. So go see it and let me know what you think.

Here’s to you, Batman. May you strike fear in the hearts of villains everywhere!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Concerning Mold and In-laws

As I was diligently performing my noble domestic labors today (making egg-salad sandwiches for lunch), I noticed a spot of mold on a piece of bread. Instantly I had a dilemma (and microscopic mold spores) on my hands. The question: What to do with the loaf of bread? I am sure there are some who would throw away the loaf. Not me. I searched through the slices of bread, picked off any spots of mold I found, and made sandwiches to feed to my unsuspecting family, operating under the premise “what they don’t know can’t hurt them.”

What a lousy premise. Who thought of that one anyway? People didn’t know that rats were hauling around the Plague and contaminating their food. People didn’t know that leeches were sucking them (not the bad spirits) dry. And look what happened to them. But this hasn’t been the only erroneous logic I’ve used in my parenting. I’ve also heard myself say, “If you do that your face will stay that way!”

Anyway, I’m sure my family will be perfectly healthy after eating the sandwiches. The bread will taste like any other bread. Their only complaint will be that it is wheat, not white. But they are getting used to my new health-conscious answer (“the whiter the bread, the quicker you’re dead!”—perhaps more bad logic), so that doesn’t bother me. The thing that made me pause and reflect was when I heard the voice in my head ask me if I was turning into my father-in-law.

My father-in-law. Larry can take bailing wire, a few screws and pieces of scrap metal and make pretty much anything he needs. He’s really quite clever this way. A greasy Martha Stewart of sorts. But along with his innovative spirit comes a pack rat beyond any I’ve seen. He had enough stuff that a house, a garage, a tool shed and a cabin weren’t enough to hold all his junk. He had a barn, too. He sold the barn a year or two ago and watching him try to part with his stuff was pretty poignant. He managed to pass a few important items on to his sons, though. (Thanks, Dad.)

But that’s just the mechanical stuff. He has the same philosophy when it comes to food. Once I watched him work to get the last little bit of poppy-seed salad dressing out of the bottle. I would have whacked the bottle a few times, and maybe even put it upside-down for a little while to let gravity do its thing. That’s not good enough for Larry. I watched in disbelief as he added water (not a little) to the bottle, shook it up, and poured it on his salad (which probably had been recovered from someone else’s plate about to go to the trash). I saw him do the same thing with a ketchup bottle, too. I try not to be wasteful, but come on.

It’s not just the last bits of dressings in bottles, either. He takes leftovers to a whole new level. Expiration date? They don’t know what they’re talking about. Smell? What smell? If it’s not lumpy, drink it. If it’s not too fuzzy, eat it. And my poor OCD mother-in-law can’t stand anything a mess. Imagine the controversy when she starts to clean out the fridge. She’s learned it’s best to do it while he’s working or out for the day. She has actually brought leftovers to my house to put them down my disposal so he won’t see.

The thing of it is, Larry is healthy as a horse. I don’t know if he’s ever had food poisoning, and I think he’s only had Giardia once (he probably forgot to strain the water through his handkerchief). So maybe what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you after all.