Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Yoda One For Me

We had a major milestone in the Hale house recently when we introduced our son to the Star Wars franchise. We decided to try episode IV out first. It's practically G-rated by today's standards and we figured that the space travel/sci-fi thing would catch his attention. Much to our delight, he loved it and has been begging to watch The Empire Strikes Back ever since, my least favorite of the trilogy. It's so long and boring (sorry hardcore Star Wars fans who vehemently defend this one as the best) but I know he'll like it. My husband is pleased and so am I. We can't wait to introduce him to all manner of made-in-China, lead laden Star Wars merchandise. 

We brought our Star Wars box set on vacation with us thinking we could take advantage of the home theater system and watch Empire on the mac-daddy screen. Imagine our surprise when the house was not equipped with a VCR. The humanity! When my mother-in-law heard about my son's interest in Star Wars she told me that she had a twin sized Star Wars sheet that used to be my husband's. She offered to give it to my son. I knew the sheets she was talking about (light blue—every child of the seventies had a set) and wasn't exactly thrilled about the prospect of those sheets gracing the mattress in my son's very non-Star Wars room.

My daughter's birthday is this Sunday and a package from my in-laws was waiting on the porch when we got home today. Inside was a gift for my daughter and a small gift bag for my son. I gave the bag to him thinking he'd open it and cast it aside as the frivolous non-toy that it was but it did not go that way. My son opened up the bag, smiled a shy smile and asked if this used to be his Daddy's. I told him it was and he quietly unfolded it, wrapped it around himself and laid on the couch smiling. He's been in that position ever since.


Friday, April 25, 2008


I had an eye exam today. I've been out of contacts for about 2 months now and for the past few weeks I've been walking around with my super chic fake Chanel shades over my glasses. Admit it. I'm just about the coolest woman you know.

I don't like to have my eyes dilated but, due to some maintenance meds I take, I have to once a year. I got my eyes checked, dilated and prodded in every conceivable manner. I picked out some glasses (post dilation) and got a little seasick looking in the mirror. I shudder to think what I ended up with. They'll probably make me look like Harry Cary but, at least I'll be able to see. Plus, I got some contacts so I can turn my cool meter up a notch when I lose the pair of glasses under my faux Chanels. This was all to the tune of $336.00. That's AFTER insurance people. Holy crap! Eye care is expensive.

My daughter, who accompanied me to the eye exam, insisted that she wear her princess dress and spent the entire time charming the pants off of the staff by twirling and leaping in her fluffy skirt. She left the office with three plastic toys from the prize bowl and an inflated three-year-old ego. I left with a $336 hole in my pocket and some old-lady cataract shades. Go figure.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Finally, Some Testosterone

My husband's family swore up and down when they married their three boys off that their offspring would produce nothing but males. I heard it too many times to count. Fast forward ten years later. The ratio of boy grandkids to girls is 1 to 4. Hello Karma! Those four girls have Papa Dale wrapped so tightly around their fingers that I'm pretty sure he would don a tiara and a tutu just to make them smile. It's a sad, but very sweet, state of affairs.

It is for the sake of my poor son, surrounded on all sides by girls, that I welcome the newest (and yet-to-be-born) member of the Hale clan, a bouncing testosterone-producin' baby boy. Congrats Ben, Stacie and Kaylin!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

For Heather

My dearest friend in the world, Heather, has recently started reading my blog. She's kind of stunted when it comes to email and the internet so I want to welcome her to the blogosphere. These are for her (and she's the only freakshow that knew me at age 12 and will thus get them):

I was mad at Julie, the dog, Norman.

Looks good. Looks real, real good.

Have you ever been to the Golden Corral?

So, I could draw Debbie?

Yo' Telly man. Why you takin' science man?  You don't need to be takin' science man!

OK. I'll stop with the inside jokes (I use that term very loosely). Couldn't help it. I knew it would make Heather smile.

A Freakin’ Bear

In the days since my vacation my backyard has gone from a peaceful oasis of natural beauty to an unsafe breeding ground of predatory life forms. I just finished my vacation book, The Year of Fog. Through her well-crafted novel, Michelle Richmond awakened within me an extreme kidnapping paranoia. That, coupled with my already heightened fear of child predators formed by watching one Bear
too many episodes of 20/20, has left me an emotional basket case when my kids are out of site and in the comfort of their own backyard. It's absurd and I know it will lessen as the book fades from my memory but I've got some other issues to face right now.

Check out this article. No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is a black bear that wandered from its forest home into civilization. The civilization he wandered into just happens to consist of my little 'hood. The bear was hit by a vehicle about a block and a half from my house. Now, when I let my kids into the freedom of my fenced-in (4 foot picket) backyard, I am exposing them to the possibility of a bear attack. A BEAR ATTACK. And it's not like my house is surrounded on all sides by a pristine forest. I live smack dab in the middle of a residential area. The street the bear was killed on is a four lane road, complete with a high school, a CVS, several gas stations and car dealerships.

My peace-lovin' husband has never owned a gun but shared with me on more than one occasion that he would purchase one if we ever lived near bears. I guess we're going gun shopping soon. Gun shopping and child-leash shopping. Knowing Tennessee, we should have no trouble finding a one-stop-shop for both!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


We're on vacation this week and spent today in the wonderland that is Dolly-in-da-hood. My son did me proud and proved that he is no longer a ride wuss. He's a thrill-seeker now! My daughter, um, not so much. She was more of a fried chicken/biscuit seeker, enjoying the country cooking that is abound in Dolly Parton's theme park. She spent the thirty  minutes following lunch walking at a snail's pace throughout the park, gnawing on a chicken leg.

We went to Smoky Mountain National Park yesterday and saw all manner of spring blooms and wildlife, including an adorable otter sitting on a rock. I was the only one that saw him (we were in the car) and, although I believe my fellow passengers are skeptical of my experience, it was, hands down, the most exciting wildlife siting of my life. I'm determined to find an illegally domesticated otter on the black market and raise him as my pet. Yep, I'm only one person but I can do my part for nature and give an unsuspecting otter a life of American gluttony. It's my civic duty.

I must say that the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area is a literal cesspool of weapons outlets, rebel flag merchandise, restaurant franchises and airbrushing vendors but it is redeemed entirely by the Smoky Mountain National Park. I could spend the entire week there and never get bored.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Can See Heaven

I am a stickler about car seat safety. In the field day of motherhood there are many events. Breastfeeding advocacy might be yours, or perhaps homeschooling. Mine is car seat safety. I'm a car seat Momzilla. My son looks like an oversized baby in his Britax. At five-years-old, he belongs in a Carseat
booster seat, but I stress about his freedom of movement and the fact that his positioning, not the exceptional design of the car seat and straps, will determine his level of safety. I'm going to suck it up in August and get the kid a booster seat but, until then, my son's shoulders are still below the straps and I plan on making good use of that pricey seat.

I'm especially cautious when I have other people's children in the car with me. Every other Friday, I pick up my friend Candice's son, Cody. He goes to school with my son and they are great friends. I take them to lunch and then to my house for some play time. For this reason, I keep an extra car seat in my car, strapped in and ready to go. I had removed it, though, and moved the rear seat to move some big items so I had to reinstall it in the car line. I'm a stickler about installation and I always tug at the seat before Cody gets in it to make sure it hasn't loosened since the last time it was used. I went through this whole process when I picked Cody up last week. I made sure all three kids were strapped in well and I set off towards the golden arches.

There's only about a mile and two stoplights between McDonald's and my son's school. I was chatting  with the kids about the day's activities when I stopped, rather abruptly at the first light (it was pink). I heard a thud and looked in my rearview mirror. Cody was gone. Disappeared. Vanished. I freaked and called his name,

Me: Cody? Cody?

Cody: (calm) I'm here.

Me: Are you OK?

Cody: I can see heaven.

Thankfully, "heaven" was the sky, not the afterlife. While I had expertly installed the car seat, I had failed to lock the actual rear van seat into place (our seats flip back for tailgating purposes when they aren't locked). When I stopped quickly, the seat (with Cody in it), had flipped back so that Cody, still strapped into the car seat, was essentially lying down. He had been cushioned by the car seat so didn't bat an eyelash but it was pretty jarring to suddenly notice that one kid wasn't in the car anymore!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pants Schmants

Our temperatures topped out at about 71 degrees today and my kids, scarred from our brutal winter (sorry Northern folks—I realize "brutal" has a very different meaning in the South but it's all relative), were playing in the yard and decided to pull out the hose this afternoon. There were screeches of laughter intermixed with a few high-pitched angry screams. Aaahhh… the glorious sounds of Spring.  Not long after the laughter faded, Bubba showed up in the kitchen buck naked from the waist down. Here's our conversation:

Me: What happened?

Bubba: I got wet.

Me: Where are your pants?

Bubba: I don't know.

Me: What do you mean you don't know?

Bubba: I can't remember (it's important to note that just 2 minutes prior his pants were on)

Me: Well, you need to go find them.

Bubba: OK.

Me: (a little frantic) Wait! Put some pants on first! You can't just walk around naked in the backyard.

Bubba: But Sissy is.

And that, my friends, is how it came to pass that my kids are running around my backyard as I type this in 70-degree weather with their bathing suits on.  It's a beautiful thing.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Castration Anxiety

I took Dudley (our dog) to the vet yesterday to get "fixed."  My son was in preschool but my daughter was with me for the drop-off. Both kids have gone with me to the vet with the Duds before to get his shots so it wasn't a new place for my daughter but she was accustomed to taking him in, going into The_dud
the examination room with him, and bringing him back home. She had a conniption fit when the vet tech took Dudley back into the bowels of the office and I informed her that we were leaving:

Daughter: What about Duddy?

Me: He's staying here. He has to spend the night here tonight after his operation.

Daughter: (lower lip making it's way out, face contorting and breath becoming heavy) Duddy want to come home with us. He need us! He need us!

Me: Sweetie, he's going to come home with us tomorrow. You can come with me to get him but he has to stay here after his surgery so they can make sure he is OK.

Daughter: (jumping now, each time feet getting further off of the ground) No! No! He want us Mommy! Duddy want us!

This continued for a little while and nothing I said seemed to console her.  Everyone in the office was staring at us with sympathetic eyes that expressed equal amounts of sympathy for my daughter, for her intense empathy for Dudley and me, for having to deal with my daughter. "Poor thing," they said with an overly dramatic frown. I laughed a nervous laughed, picked my daughter up and carried her out to the car, kicking and screaming. It was one of those rare moments where I was completely at a loss for what to do because I did sympathize with her. A part of me wanted to just hold her and comfort her until she understood that Dudley was not being abandoned. The other part of me, the one that was being kicked and scratched and yelled at, wanted to haul her back into the vet's office and inject her with a non-lethal dose of animal tranquilizer so I could put her in her car seat.

She was like a wild animal. Every time I pushed her bottom into the car seat far enough to get the strap almost buckled, she would arch her back and come out of the seat. After about four times and some serious not-detectable-to-my-daughter's-delicate-ears profanities, I got her in. She cried the entire way home and spent the last twenty-four hours asking about Dudley:

Where's Duddy Mommy? He needs us. He wants his Mommy.

Does Duddy miss me?

(Every time we got in the car) Are we going to get Duddy?

Suffice it to say I was relieved when I picked the Dud up this morning. He seems relatively unaffected by his sudden lack of testicles and happy to be home.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fools!

For anyone who read today's earlier post and failed to read the comments, it was an April Fool's joke. There are no Baby Hales on the way. We've got all we can handle for the time being!

Big News

I found out this morning that Hale baby #3 is on it's way. I thought I'd throw it out in the blogosphere for all of my friends and family to see, save me the trouble of calling so many people.