Friday, January 04, 2013

Mr F IS the boss of me. (Life With Unicorns)

I don't usually post stuff on Fridays, but, then, I don't usually get up at 4:00 a.m. on Fridays, either, so it seems I will be shaking up my routine here in 2013, albeit unwillingly.

I don't usually post stuff on Fridays because Friday mornings we have a business meeting with the partners; we all go get coffee and breakfast and talk about the big important things we plan on implementing at the firm, then go into the office at 9:00 and forget all about those things.  It's a good system, except that the meeting is at 7:30 and that means that I have to leave for work at 7, which is an hour earlier than usual, which means that I don't get my usual time in the morning to do some writing and blogging, which I usually do from about 6 to about 7, "about 6" meaning "6:22 or whenever I actually get up and start doing something after I get sick enough of hearing the local weatherman claim that the weather is going to be beautiful seven days from now."

I have long had a theory -- if you will allow me a digression from the main topic of this post, which is something I almost never do, so please indulge me -- I have long had a theory that the weathermen are deliberately saying that the forecast will be great seven days from now because they want to increase viewership, and I'm pretty sure that's true, and this week, when I have been awakened at 3:30 (Wednesday), 4:15 (Thursday) and 4:00 (today) I have proven that true, more or less, because our weatherman (who is awful at his job, just awful; he's always running behind and doesn't have his microphone on and otherwise just being bad at standing in front of a screen and talking about that screen.  Honestly, at least once per week he will not be there when they say "For an update on the weather let's go to Brian" (which is his actual name), and he will come rushing into the scene and be hooking up something and saying "I didn't realize it was time for the weather," even though this particular station has as one of its key morning-news selling points the fact that it does the weather every 10 minutes.  How can you forget your entire job in ten minutes?  Less, actually; he does about a minute of weather every 10 minutes, which means that he manages to forget his job in nine minutes.)

Where was I? It's early.  Oh, yeah: this weatherman on Monday said that the weather would be cold and crummy all week but "warmer on the weekend," but on Wednesday he said that it would continue to be cold and crummy but "warmer on Sunday" and then today he said the cold will continue through the weekend but we would be "warming up next Tuesday or Wednesday," and while some people will say something like "well, that warm front probably slowed down or something," those people are clearly just pawns suckered in by Big Weather, and don't realize The Truth, which is that weathermen know that if they present an optimistic weathercast, more people will tune in.

"I like that guy on Channel 27," they will say, "I don't know why, but I'm going to watch him be late for the weather every 10 minutes," and they will not realize that they like him because he's telling them "the weather will be better next week," something he can say because nobody ever goes back and check these things and compares them, or calls him on it.  I was going to keep a log, once, of predictions the weatherman made, and try to point out with Objective Scientific Fact (that's why it's a log and not a journal: scientists don't use journals) where he was going wrong, but honestly I have quite a few crazy things already going on and so I let that one kind of slide, but what with all this extra free time I have from getting up at 3 or 4 a.m. I might take it up again.

I have all this extra free time (high five for that segue?) because Mr F has this week especially become a very odd sleeper, and by "odd" I mean just that: he doesn't sleep at regular times, and oftentimes his lack of sleep will keep us up indirectly because we have to keep going in and checking on him, and other times it will keep us up directly because we have to drive around the neighborhood in the middle of the night.

Mr F (who got his haircut and whose scar you can see really clearly now:

has never been a good sleeper; he stays up late, wants to sleep in, and sleeps sometimes for an hour, sometimes for twelve hours. We used to joke, about Mr F, that he would go four days without sleeping and then sleep for 24 hours, but that wasn't really just a joke.  Like the best jokes (man walks into a bar), there is a kernel of truth to the joke, in that Mr F really does spend a lot of nights not seeming to sleep, which cuts into our sleeping time, mine and Sweetie's, because we have to listen to him talking all night, and tapping all night, or talking and tapping all night long, and occasionally we have to get up at 3 a.m. to find out what the thump! was.  (It's usually nothing.)(Usually.)

We make the boys stay in their room at night by a hook-and-eye on their door, but we leave a baby monitor on so that we can keep track of what's happening in there, a makeshift measure because I can't afford closed-circuit TV at the moment, and I'm not sure I would get one if I could afford it because, judging by horror movies, closed-circuit TV is primarily used these days to prove that you have demons living in your house and I am just too tired to deal with that right now.

On nights that are good, the baby monitor usually just treats us to a staticky background version of whatever movie the boys are watching; we let them fall asleep watching TV and we leave the TV on, usually with a DVD that will continuously play, because Mr Bunches is afraid of televisions that are turned off, which, again with the horror movies, having seen Poltergeist actually worries me a lot: when Mr Bunches sees a TV off, he demands that it be turned on, and last night, when their old TV stopped working--

-- did I mention that their old TV stopped working and that we have to go get a new TV for them tonight? Because their old TV stopped working and we had to make a last minute substitute for them, using this old TV that we didn't remember we had until Mr F found it in a closet a few weeks ago and tried to play with it; the old TV we think used to belong to Middle Daughter and it's about a 10" screen, one of those tiny little TVs it's hard to believe anyone ever used.  It is about the size of the iPad, which seems almost embarrassing for a TV, doesn't it? TVs these days are the size of rooms.  Laptops are 17", so to see a TV as small as the one they have now makes it seem like the TV isn't really trying --

-- and when Mr Bunches realized that I couldn't even get the TV to turn on, he freaked out; he ran out of the room crying and grabbed Sweetie and asked:

"Can we please move to another house?"

And just let that sink in.  WHAT DOES HE KNOW?   What was the old TV guarding against that has now moved into our house?

OK, it's early, I'm probably just a little overtired.  Mr F, meanwhile, likes to have the TV on because if he didn't have it on, he'd have little or nothing to do all night on those nights that he doesn't sleepMr F doesn't play with toys all that often.  The other day, he was playing trucks on the table, and I watched him for a while and saw him drive them around and roll them off the table, but when he noticed me watching he dropped the trucks and left.

Other than occasionally playing Secret Trucks, Mr F's main forms of entertainment are "watching Little Einsteins DVDs when Mr Bunches lets him" and "tapping", taking his spatulas or hangers or wooden spoons and tapping them on things, and if we didn't leave movies on in his room he'd have to spend the night tapping his spoons in the dark, and thinking about that makes me too sad for words, so we leave the TV on.

Which means that usually we just hear as background noise The Incredibles or (rarely) Little Einsteins or something, but some nights when Mr F is up and around, we hear him talking to himself, in his own language.


It's hard to say what he's saying.  The most common phrase is "Oooo Daya," which he says a lot.  For a while, he would say "Mom... may... EEEEE." which sounded in real life like he was stretching out the word Mommy and then imitating someone yelling, but I do not comment on where he might have learned that phrase.  Mostly it is nonsense, but it is loud nonsense, and I don't know how Mr Bunches sleeps through it.

So this week, twice, I was woken up just by Mr F talking loudly in his room and when I get up I have trouble falling back to sleep, and so from 3 or 4 on, I would toss and turn in our bed, listening to Mr F talking and tapping over the sounds of The Incredibles, and I would myself put the news on to watch as the overnight news people made stupid jokes or the morning news people forgot that weather is every 10 minutes, and eventually at 5:50 I would realize that the alarm was about to go off, so I would get up and turn the alarm off and go turn on my coffee and lay in bed grudgingly until 6:22 at which point I'd think "Well, I might as well get up," but that routine changed this morning.

At four, I heard Mr F talking and tapping, and that woke me up.  I got up and put on CNN, which I don't usually do but I couldn't find the remote for the TV so I was stuck with whatever was on, and CNN was acceptable enough that I didn't bother looking around for the remote, because my whole goal was to try to at least get back to that half-asleep state where your body thinks maybe it is sleeping even though your mind knows full well it is not, but your body keeps saying "No, no, I think we're asleep," and your mind will kind of play along and say "Okay, maybe we are asleep but how come you just heard that news story" and your body is all then "Man, you're being a jerk, if you would just go to sleep with the rest of us we'd be fine" and your mind says "Did the TV just mention what's-her-name, Sofia Vergara? Maybe we should look at that?" and then Sweetie pulls the covers off of you and you are freezing, but while all that was going on, Mr F switched from talking and tapping to crying, sort of, whining a little in what might be crying but might (as it was one night) just him talking in a way that sounded like crying.

It's not acceptable to ignore crying, even if you are possibly asleep and if Sofia Vergara is possibly on TV, so I got up reluctantly to go check on Mr F, still trying to not fully wake up, even though that's hopeless because checking on Mr F means (usually) taking him to the bathroom and then letting him go downstairs for a drink of water and then going to get him off his swing because it's 4:30 a.m. and we don't swing in the middle of the night and then getting him some puffs because even though we don't do that in the middle of the night, either, it's not worth the fight and then taking him upstairs where he will do a quick patrol circuit to make sure Sweetie is there, and then going back to bed.

I was prepared for that.  But what I was not prepared for, this morning, was for Mr F to make a beeline downstairs and put on his Crocs and grab the car keys.

"No," I said.  "We are not going for a ride."

Mr F pulled at my hand and pushed at the door to the garage.

"No," I said, over and over, and tried to lead him back upstairs, but he wasn't giving in.  He lodged himself into the doorway, he flipped over, he wriggled free, and he ran back to the door, clutching the keys.

"Go," he said, and the rule is usually that if Mr F says something, he gets it, but it was 4:40 a.m. and I was still hoping against hope that I was going back to bed for at least an hour.

"Not right now," I said, "We'll go to sleep and then go for a ride," and I picked him up and carried him upstairs where by now Mr Bunches and Sweetie were awake.

"He's so crying," Mr Bunches said, and added "Stay home?" because even Mr Bunches knows where this is going.

"Stay home," we agreed, and for about the next 15 minutes we:

-- Reasoned with Mr F:  "It's 4:45 a.m.  We'll go to sleep for an hour and then go for a ride."

-- Cajoled Mr F: "Here, do you want to watch Little Einsteins? Let's watch TV and then sleep."

-- Gave Mr F a time out, in which he sits on my lap and we count, together, to 10, him repeating the numbers after I say them, with us not moving on to the next number until he repeats the former one.  At the end, when we reached 10, he jumped up and ran downstairs.

-- Tried to hold Mr F on the chair in their room and rock him to calm him down some, with the results being that he twisted around to slide off, inadvertently (?) kicking me right in the solar plexus.  (That's the part where if someone kicks it you can't breathe for ten minutes, right? Because that's what happened.)

-- Said "Okay, we'll go for a ride," and Mr Bunches sadly decided he would join us, so at 4:57, officially the four of us were backing the car out of the garage to go for a ride around the neighborhood, Mr Bunches watching Teletubbies on his iPad, Sweetie and I listening to the music quietly, and Mr F tapping away as he looked happily out the window.

The ride lasted 15 minutes.  We came back home, and he was fine; he's been calm and is sitting in his room now, while Sweetie and I and Mr Bunches have begun our day, all tired and groggy.  And the rule remains that when Mr F says something, he gets it.

UPDATE:  IT's 6:07 a.m. and Mr F and Mr Bunches are both sound asleep.  Here is a live shot of Mr F at this exact moment:

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Free samples by mail? Sign me up! What? I have to sign up MYSELF? WHY IS LIFE SO HARD?

Sweetie and I have decided that this year we have to economize and live on a better budget, which in layman's terms means "No more taking the boys to the toy store every thirty minutes."  The cost of those Legos adds up!

But that does not mean that we have to do without everything, or even ANYTHING, not when I know about, a website that does what the name promises: gives me as many free samples as I can possibly get in a day of clickin.

With All Free Camples, I can getfree stuff 2013 and beyond, and I never miss out because All Free Samples updates me via an email.  And they are constantly adding new free deals they find all over the web.  Right on their front page now are free contact lenses, free conditioner, Amazon mp3 credits and a free Audible audio books membership.  Paging around on the site gets free life insurance quotes, free household products like Pledge and stuff -- all kinds of money-saving ideas and bonuses.

They even break them out into categories, so you can find what you're looking for more quickly.  And the range is amazing.  They've got a "Travel" category, with links to free nights at hotels, free backpacks, and more; but even if someone whose name rhymes with "Petie" says you're not taking a vacation, you can use the "Entertainment" section to find stuff closer to home: free apps for phones and Kindles,  free tickets to shows, and free links to podcasts that ordinarily cost you money.

Economizing doesn't have to mean "no fun."  And it's easy to save money when you get an email telling you what new deals are out there every day.  So you should be like me and go sign up now.

I've got a superfast shutter-speed on my camera; Mr F has a swing. (A Photo Essay)

With the holidays over, I need another topical reference to make this post seem hip and trendy.

Now that we've avoided the fiscal cliff as a nation, it's time for you to think about avoiding your OWN financial dilemmas: Namely, are you paying too much for your website or domain name?

The answer is yes.  You are.  Because you're probably paying more than $1.99 to register your domain name, which is what you'd pay if you used some of those Jaguarpc coupon 2013 I listed above -- or the even more coupon codes you'll get by clicking that link.

Even if you already have a domain name registered, the discount codes you can get at that link are helpful: you can lock up similar domain names and redirect them to your sight.  Let's say you have a hugely popular blog, something where you write about your kids and make dumb jokes and post a lot of pictures and talk about your vacations.  And let's say you have a domain name that mentions NONE of that.  You COULD go get domain names that mention those things: "" or "vacationsarecool" or something -- and redirect them to your site.  That's a trick the big guys use, so why not emulate the ones who are making lots of money.

And, of course, if you DON'T have a website yet, you absolutely need one.  A business without a website is like... like... I don't know what to compare it to, because businesses without websites don't exist very long.