Monday, August 27, 2012

An Irrational Fear of Caffeine Addiction and Coffee Mate

I usually drink decaf coffee. I have this irrational fear of getting addicted to caffeine and getting headaches on those days when I don't drink it. I hate headaches. And I have a secret belief that caffeine is a powerful drug with incredible magic powers that should be used sparingly. I'm just like that.

But I do occasionally have caffeinated coffee. Sometime just to amuse the kids - they like me best when I'm full of energy and bouncing around the house like Tigger.(I can be downright bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy, fun fun fun fun fun, the most wonderful thing about caffeine is . . .  well, you get the point.) And sometimes I just like the extra kick if I'm sleepy.

So, the other day at work I went out to run an errand in the morning while my computer was being worked on. While I was out I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts and got myself a medium full-caff coffee. It was delicious and I was full of energy all day. I was SO productive!

But then later in the day, about 3 in the afternoon, I saw my little bottle of half and half. I bring my own half and half everyday for my daily decaf because I'm afraid of the Coffee Mate. I know - so many fears in this one little mind - but it's made out of chemicals and strange mysterious substances that fill me with unexplainable dread. So I avoid it.

But I digress - I saw my half and half and thought, "Hey, I could get some more coffee. I don't want to waste that tablespoon of half and half!".

So I did. I went up to the break room. They were out of decaf, so against my better judgement I had my second 12 oz cup of fully loaded coffee for the day.

Shortly after that it was time to depart for the day. On the ride home I was energetic and singing along with the radio. But then, 5 minutes from home I hit some construction. I was at a dead stop in a line of cars on a road that was down to one lane, for a full 10 minutes. (Especially frustrating when I could almost see my house.) Now, 10 minutes doesn't sound like much, but my coffee - all 24oz - kicked in about 1 minute into the wait. If you've never seen me fully caffeinated, you don't want to witness it in a closed space like a car. In the kitchen it's all bouncing, jumping, flipping, raucous laughter, obnoxious comments and fast breathing. In a car, where I am driving, where I need to keep my foot on the brake and my hands on the wheel it's like confining a cat in a bag, like shaking a box full of rubber balls, like trapping a frightened grasshopper in a bug box. In other words, it's a lot of bouncing, rebounding and ricocheting. Lots of hand tapping on the wheel, bouncing legs, seat dancing. The guy behind me must have thought I was nuts!

But finally I was able to start moving and got home pretty quickly. Once home I got out a saw, some sandpaper, a hammer, some brushes and paint and got the most done in 15 minutes that I've ever gotten done in such a short amount of time. Then it was off to karate for some sparring. And when I got home I baked a few cakes and mixed up some Friday muffins. (You think I'm kidding, don't you? Well, you'd be wrong.)

By the end of the evening I'd finally exhausted my supply of caffeine and slept like a baby until morning. (and by 'slept like a baby' I mean I was up several times during the night - not out of hunger, but just for the usual kid-crises that always occur in the darkest hour of the night.)


Monday, August 20, 2012

Duck Dreams

Dreams can be so funny. I had a dream the other day where I was in this big room. It had tile floors and a big stone staircase.

And it was full of ducks.

And the poor ducks were cold - because they didn't have any feathers.

I spent the dream trying to track down someone who could turn the heat up so the ducks wouldn't be so cold.

And that my friends, is the kind of dreams that Ginormous Duck has. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Caffeinated or Decaf? Dealing With Multiple Legs

I was sitting quietly at my desk, working diligently, when, a shadow fell across my papers. A large looming shadow - spindly, yet sinister. My eyes opened wide and I looked at the strange dark shape oozing across my desk pad. Then I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye and looked up to see the evil that was making the shadow - lurking by my left temple, mere inches from my head. Creeping down the corner of my overhead was an arachnid of monstrous proportions. Not a tarantula, but of slighter build, but no less sinister for its slenderness. Its Uncle Bens Long Grain & Wild Rice-size body was rimmed by 8, 3-inch legs, each rising and falling in a strange, synchronized rhythm. It stopped and turned, staring into my eyes. I leapt from my seat, sending my chair shooting out behind me. I looked around wildly for something, anything to defend myself from this monster. Finding no blades, axes, hammers or flame-throwers I had to settle with a stack of paper. I hefted it in my hands. It had some weight. It would do the job.

I leaned forward and flapped the stack of papers toward the thing to knock it down to a place where I could more easily squish it and it dropped down with an easy grace, bouncing slightly as each leg flexed to absorb the shock of landing, much like a land rover hitting a pot hole. It scuttled a few inches and I took a swing. But alas, there was too much crap in the way. It managed to protect itself in the curve of my sunglasses between the folded bows and the lenses. It stayed there for a moment, peering out of the lenses at me, magnified and darkened by the lenses so it looked like a huge dark jungle-spider, the kind that eats birds and small monkeys. I could see a slight rise and fall of its body as it bounced on its many legs – laughing at me.

I dropped the stack of papers, but  could see right away that it was futile. The papers were propped up by the nearby phone, leaving plenty of room for a long legged beast to escape. I beat at the top of the papers, trying to squash them flat. The hand set clattered onto the desk, pens and pencils scattered. And the beast skittered out from beneath the papers and made a beeline for the family photos. Whether it was trying to threaten those I love, or just trying to hide I don’t know, but it disappeared behind a silver frame. I panted heavily, my heart thudding in my chest like a panicked bird trying to escape a too-small cage. I stared at the photo for a moment. The picture did not move. No legs or fang-filled mandibles appeared around the edges. I continued to watch the frame. It continued to do nothing. Then it occurred to me that there was a space at the rear of the desk – just enough space for a tiny body and 8 flexible legs to cram itself down. It could be stalking me across the rug from beneath my desk right now. I took a step back, scanning the floor to see if it was even now stalking me from an unexpected position, flanking me. But all remained quiet.

However, I knew that I couldn’t just sit down and begin working again. Despite the fact that it was no long in view, I knew it was still there, lurking, waiting for the opportunity to slink out and pounce. I briefly considered leaving the office and working from home, but knew that I would have to return someday. And when I did, it would be there waiting. And if it wasn’t I would always and forever wonder when it would make its reappearance. So I stood my ground, albeit shakily.

Then, with a deep breath, I picked up a fork, not to skewer the monster should it reappear, but to attempt to uncover the beast without risking touching it with my bare skin. I carefully moved aside my rock collection. I knocked my stuffed kiwi bird out of the way. I pulled my tiny kaleidoscope to safety and pushed my barrel of monkeys out of the way. I knocked my spare sunglasses aside. And then, steeling myself, I hooked the top of the frame and pulled it forward. And there was the beast - lurking behind the frame. It rose up on its rear legs and hissed, a deep, terrifying sound that reverberated through the stacks of paper on my desk, sending them rustling and crackling like a pile of fallen leaves. Venom oozed from the tips of its lethal fangs. And just when I expected it to charge it turned and ran up the wall and across my bulletin board.

I grabbed my heavy stack of striking papers and struck! Bang! I dropped them and leapt back. After all, the beast could have leapt onto the back of the papers and could even now be scuttling up toward my fingers, fangs at the ready. As the papers landed, sliding across my desk I saw the quivering remains squashed onto the papers of my bulletin board, sandwiched between ‘Security Codes’ and ‘Testing Checklist”. I breathed a shaky sigh of relief, not taking my eyes from the beast lest it rise again. But it didn’t. It was still, legs askew, one pointing off to the left, several dangling down and one pointing straight at me in accusation. As I watched, the accusing leg dropped silently to my desk, never to rise again.

For several minutes I stood, staring at the leg and the lifeless corpse, just breathing and trying to stop the shaking. It was over, done. The beast was stilled and all was quiet again in the cubicle. But could I continue to work? My eyes roamed nervously. What if there were more? Was this just a mercenary working on its own? Or was this just the scout, searching ahead before the rest of the army followed behind? I stood for several more minutes, eyes scanning the fuzzy cubicle walls, the mottled rug on the floor, the drop ceiling and vents overhead and thanked the gods that the vent grill was not directly overhead, but was off center. I felt a tickle at my leg – nothing. I moved some papers gingerly and jumped. Nothing. An itch on my arm – nothing. Then I grabbed my empty coffee cup and backed slowly out of my cubicle, glancing behind to make sure nothing was trying to trip me.

As I brushed nervously at every twitch and tickle I contemplated my coffee. Should I get caffeinated or decaf? Caffeine could prepare me for further onslaught - prepare my nerves, muscles and brain synapses for an upcoming battle should it be necessary. But if it wasn’t necessary, I would be hopped up on caffeine, nerves jangling as I tried to concentrate on work, eyes darting back and forth, searching for the unwelcome invaders. I finally settled for a half-caff. If there was an approaching army, I would at least be half prepared and if nothing else, could skedaddle with the quickness of an Olympic runner. And if there were no further surprise attacks, at least I wouldn’t be bouncing around my cubicle like a rubber ball in wooden box.

But I expect, for the rest of the day, indeed, for several days, if not weeks, I will be jumpy and nervous, anxiously hoping I don’t have to do battle again.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Grill Set Nut Tightly! And Let Slip the Dogs of War!

  It seems that lately when we purchase some random household appliance, it comes with instructions that are barely coherent.

For example, some recent instructions warned me not to "pull the cord constrainedly." Whatever you do, don't do that! Or the consequences will be dire. My problem is that I don't know what that means so how can I avoid doing it? That may be the very thing I do each morning as I rise. I have been known to approach the appliances and fondle the cords. Am I doing it constrainedly? I don't know. I just don't know!

And if you were instructed to "loose the set knob" what would you do? I can only assume this one is a typo and it should have read 'loosen the set knob', but what is a set knob? There was no diagram or explanation beyond that phrase. Maybe it means to let it loose, like 'set the knob loose', set it free. If it really wants to be a part of the appliance, it will come back.

And my favorite - how about "secure the rear grill by grill set nut tightly." What?!? I'm so confused! Did Yoda write this? But even Yoda is intelligible. "Grill set nut tightly?" I can only assume it means to tighten a nut on the grill. But what if it means to toss a 'set nut' on the grill and close it tightly while I cook it? Or maybe, or maybe, I don't know. I can't even begin to guess at that one.

But despite that, it wasn't really all that complicated to put it together. I prefer to follow instructions just so I don't end up doing it three times, but in this case I was much better off just going by instinct. Then I didn't have to worry about grilling anything, or setting anything loose and hoping it returned. I just wanted my fan to work!

I'll grill your set nut tightly! And I may even tighten it constrainedly! Watch out!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon

Do you know what amazing event is to occur this month? What rare and wonderful thing is going to amaze and amuse us? That's right! A blue moon. (I'm going by the "two full moons in one month" definition. If you want a full explanation check out the Wikipedia entry). Blue moons only occur once every 2-3 years.

August 31st will be the second full moon in the month of August. We're going to celebrate with 'Blue Moon Cookies' (half moons frosted blue) and some as-yet-to-be-decided events.

Maybe Blue Moon Pizza with blue cheese, or a Blue Moon Movie Marathon where we get to watch any movie we haven't watched in a blue moon. Hmmmm - I have some planning to do.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Curse you, Michael Flatley!

I am so NOT the Lord of the Dance. The other day as Sweet Pea was practicing some nice little tunes on her Irish tin whistle I decided to dance a little jig. It involved a few taps and toe steps, a little twirling and a whole hell of a lot of yelling. All I can say is make sure that there are no spare tools lying around if you decide to dance a jig.

Sweet Pea was very amused. She giggled for many many minutes. And then the hubby told me I was no Lord of the Dance which caused us all to giggle for a bit longer.

Curse you Michael Flatley - I blame this one on you! (just because I can! I certainly can't blame it on my own ineptitude, now can I?)


Friday, August 3, 2012

Dinner Conversation Is Overrated Anyway

I'm a very quiet person for the most part - at least outside of my own home. I tend to listen, but not participate much in conversations.

Of my three ducklings, one takes after me somewhat in that regard. Here's a recent conversation to illustrate that fact:

Hubby: They have these theaters where you can dine in while you watch the movie!
Duckling: Awesome! No need for dinner conversation!

I love that observation! Not 'No more annoying popcorn! Now I can have a steak at the movies!' or 'Action! Excitement! Good food and company!' but more of a 'now I don't have to pretend to be interested in what these losers have to say'. Awesome!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'm So Disgusting!

  Having kids is a very humbling experience. The older I get and the older they get, the more disgusting I become. Apparently my breath is often foul. My hair is always fuzzy. My arms are too hairy. All of my tiny scars, unsightly blemishes, discolored spots, zits, hairs, bumps and lumps are glaringly obvious and hideously barf-inducing. I never realized what a completely foul creature I really am.

But I suppose it's balanced out by the many years of pure adoration where I smelled like roses and didn't have a single flaw (at least in the ducklings eyes.)

Every time I'm told how disgusting that stray hair is, or how gross that chicken pox scar is I just mentally add it to the scales in my head. So far, the 'you-are-the-most-awesome-person-in-the-world-who-can-do-no-wrong' side of the scale is still very much outweighed by the 'you-are-the-most-disgusting-and-annoying-person-in-the-world'. But the teen years are yet to come so that could rapidly change.