Saturday, June 26, 2010


Paul and I were out looking at the new HTC Hero - which runs the droid operating system - for me for work.

Don't you love that techno language? I don't know what it all means, I'm just repeating what Paul said. 

What I do know is that I love Paul's "droid" and I want one too. Fortunately, Paul is all about the newest gadgets and apps (apps IS a word I do understand) and so shopping with him for stuff like that is quite fun. I love it that we can just go to the store, and that I don't have to worry about understanding what exactly is going on... I can just pick out whatever I like and Paul will tell me if it will work the way I need it to work or not. He'll ask me the questions I would not have thought of: (How do you like the calendar? Does it seem easy to use? Will your nails get in the way of typing on the keyboard?) No thinking on my part. Kinda like going to a car dealership and saying, "Oh! That one is pretty! I like that one!" and not learn anything practical about the damn thing.

This is how I prefer to shop.

Anyways, after our trip to the Verizon store where I got to play with all the cool phones, and Paul and John (no not the Beatles members - my husband and the Verizon guy) talked using language of which most I did not understand - Then my techno-savvy husband and I got in the car to head home to the boys.

Paul: Wanna go have a drink?


Well THAT was spontaneous.

When I sit in my office and daydream about my husband, the word spontaneous does not usually enter my mind. But that's okay. That's why I married him. There are no surprises with Paul. And frankly, when it comes to marriage... I would rather pick someone who doesn't surprise me too much than someone who did. I like knowing what I am dealing with.

Me: A drink?

Paul: Yeah.

Me: Uhm... yeeeaah! Do you even need to ask? I'll call Zach and tell him.

I called.

Me: Hi Zach, it's mom. Your dad and I aren't coming straight home after all. We are going out for a drink.


Zach: A what?

Me: A drink.


Zach: A drink.

Me: Yes.


Zach: (He slowly enunciates the word and speaks more loudly). Drrriiinnnks?

Me: (I also increase my volume). Yeeeessss. Drrriinnnks.


Zach: Like alcohol?


Me: Uh. Yeah. Like alcohol.


Zach: Just the two of you?

Me: Uhm... yeah?


Zach: Alone.

This obviously strikes him as odd. I can't figure out if it is the drinking part, the alone part, or the drinking alone part.

Me: Yes Zach. Just Dad and I. Alone. Out for drinks. Alcoholic drinks.


Zach: Huh.


Me: Do we have your approval?

Zach: Sure.

Me: Okay. See you later.

I turn to Paul.

Me: We have been given the green light by our offspring to go out and act like a couple who has a life outside of them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Armpit hair and foot massages

At dinner tonight:

Me: So I think we need to give a public shout out to Evan and Zach for their great work at the Boys Ranch today.

Paul: I know!

Ethan: What. What did they do?

Zayd: Ugh. (pause). Can I have more steak?

Zayd does not like it when others are given praise for work because it draws attention to the fact that Zayd does not like work.

Me: Zach and Evan are volunteering at the thrift store everyday for a few hours.

Zayd" Ughhhh... (he gets up to get more steak).

Me: Sandy called to tell me and said you two were charming and you did a great job. She is excited to have you back. Dad and I are really proud of you. If you keep this up, then when you apply for your first job, you'll have a good recommendation from someone who has worked with you. It will help a lot.

Zach: She told you we were charming?

Me: Yup!

Zach: So what did you say?

Me: I said, "Thank you! They are good boys."


Zach looks at me suspiciously.

Zach: Hmmm... I'm surprised.

Me: Why? You are good boys. I knew you would do a good job.

Actually Sandy had tried to call my cell three times today. Twice when they were working at the thrift store and once afterwards. She never left a message. I was sick to my stomach thinking, "Crap. What did they do?" So when she told me they "were charming" I thought, "Thank God," but I said, "Thank you."

Ethan: Did anyone say anything good about me?

Me: Uhm.. no. Nothing specific.

Ethan gives me a sour look, sits for a moment and then gets up from the table too.

After a minute or two of eating in silence, Ethan is back with little cups filled with water. He serves me first.

Me: Oh! Thanks Ethan! That is so considerate of you.

Zayd: (moans loudly in disgust).

Ethan runs off and zips back a couple more times with water cups for everyone.

Me: What is this all about?

Ethan gives me a proud smile and sits at the table.

Paul: I think someone needs a few kudos too.

Me: Ahhhh... Well, thank you Ethan. That is very nice of you. We appreciate it. Right guys?

I get halfhearted grunts from Evan and Zach. Zayd says nothing.

A moment later, Zayd's arm shoots straight up in the air.

Zayd: I wish I had armpit hair.


Zayd often makes odd declarations at odd moments. Like when he yells out "C-D-F" during television commercial breaks -- something which started about year and a half ago.Apparently CDF is the acronym for some company that makes CDs.


Don't try to find logic in this. There isn't any.

Evan also raises one arm in the air.

Evan: Well... I used to want armpit hair, and now I don't.

Zayd: Why?

Evan: Because then you would have to wash it.


Zach: You don't wash your armpits?

Evan: Oh. I wash them... (Evan begins to fiddle with his non-existent armpit hair)... but I'm glad I don't have to worry about conditioning it and stuff.


We all stop chewing and look at him.

Evan: What? What? (he looks around at all of us). You don't need to condition it?

Zach: No. You don't condition armpit hair.

Evan: Oh! Oh. I didn't know that.

Zayd: I would condition my moustache... (he says stroking his non-existent moustache).

Zach: You don't have one.

Zayd: I will. And then... I would pull out all the gray hairs... because I would want my moustache to look beautiful and silky.


During this armpit conversation... I slowly become conscious of the fact that my feet are being rubbed under the table.

I look under the table. It is Ethan. Sitting in front of my chair rubbing my feet.

Me: Ethan? What are you doing?

Ethan: I'm giving you a foot rub!

Zach: Oh my God.

Me: Now?

He smiles at me proudly.

Me: (I look at Paul who is across the table from me). Uh... apparently our youngest really likes praise.

Paul: Ya think?

I look under the table again at my 6-year-old seriously focusing on my foot rub.

Me: Thank you Ethan. This is quite lovely. Getting a foot rub while I eat dinner.

Actually is it kind of disturbing... but whatever.

Two seconds later...

Paul: Oh! (he says totally startled) Wow. (pause). I'm getting a foot rub too.

Everyone looks under the table.

Ethan is lying on his back under the table, using his hands to rub Paul's feet and his feet to rub mine.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Breakfast with Nana & Papa

We are going to the lake tomorrow for Father's Day, so Paul and I decided to take my mom and dad out this morning for breakfast -- to Papa's favorite breakfast spot... the IHOP.

We had to go early, because Mollie had a vet appointment at 9 am. I called them the night before to see if they were up for it. It was about 7 pm.

Me: Alllooooo? (I usually talk to my mother initially doing my impersonation of her accent - which, is spot on by the way.)

Nana: What.

She sounded groggy.

Me: Wanna go to IHOP tomorrow morning for Father's Day breakfast?

Nana: But tomorrow isn't Father's Day.

Me: I know. But we won't be around on Sunday.

Nana: I don't know. Let me ask your dad. HAAAASSSAAANNNN! YEA HASSAN!


Nana: HAAAASAAAAN! (even louder).

Now, I think I've explained the communication process between my mom and dad before - my mom will yell at the top of her lungs to have my dad answer the phone - my dad is usually at the farthest point away from my mother in the house.


Me: Mom. Mom. Just call me back.

Nana: Well... what time do you want to go?

Me: Let's leave at 7:30.

Nana: SEVEN-THIRTY! GAAAD! Why 7:30!

Me: Because Mollie has a vet appointment at 9.

Nana: POO Mollie!

Yes. She really said that. Actually, "POO (insert noun)" is a phrase that works well for many instances when displeasure needs to be articulated. POO is usually followed by the name of a person - most often me, my children, my husband, my sister, her children and her husband. I don't know if my brother has gotten the "POO" - although in my opinion, he deserves all the POOs...  The POO is especially effective when the person being "POOED" is present when the other articulates the "POO-ing." However, the person expressing the "POO-ing" usually does not speak of the "POO-ing" to the "POOed" person. It is someone else, who just happens to be an innocent by-standard.

Does that make sense?

Anyways. Mollie was POOed.

Nana: GGAAD! I have to get up at 7:30! It's so early.

Me: Mom. Where are you right now?

Nana: In bed.

Me: Mom. It's 7 right now. You can't get up in 12 hours?


Nana: Fine. Okay. Let me talk to your dad.

A few minutes later my mother calls back and it's a date. I tell her we'll pick them up just before 7:30.


On our way to IHOP, Paul asks my parents if they heard about the tornadoes that hit Wadena, MN.

Nana: Oh yeah! I know Wadena! It was bad I heard.

Papa: Do we know Wadena?

Nana: OF COURSE we know Wadena Hassan! Wadena. It is after Detroit Lakes on Highway 10.


Papa: Oh... Wadena.


Papa: (He turns to Paul) You know... you know why I remember Wadena.... I got a speeding ticket in Wadena.

My mother whips her head over and looks at me with a crazed look in her eyes. Then she leans forward to talk to my dad who is sitting next to Paul in the front seat.

Nana: HASSAN! What are you talking about? You never got a ticket in Wadena. You are mixing up.

My father ignores her as if she isn't even in the car, and keeps telling Paul the story...

Papa: Ya... Wadena. I tell you, I was just going out of the town... and I could see him...

Nana: HASSAN! You are CRAZY. You did NOT get a ticket in Wadena!

Papa: Mayla. Mayla. Mayla. Of course I got a ticket in Wadena. You are forgetting.

I know what he is doing. He is trying to make my mother crazy. He knows he never got a speeding ticket in Wadena... he wants to mess with her. And you would think after 45 years of marriage that she would be on to him.

My mother looks at me again - totally beside herself with frustration... and says to me in a serious voice:

Nana: He is losing his mind I tell you. He is forgetting everything. He is imagining things. Gaad.

Me: Dad. How about we not talk about the speeding ticket in Wadena right now.

Nana: Chino! He DID NOT get a speeding ticket in Wadena.

Me: Okay. I know. Let's just not argue. Let's just go enjoy breakfast at IHOP.

Good God.

We get into IHOP and the server takes us to the left side of the restaurant..

Nana: (whispering loudly enough that it is no where near a whisper). Why are we going this way? We don't go this way? Why do they always want to put us this way?

Me: (I stop the server). Uhm. Excuse me. Would you mind if we sat in a booth on the other side? By the window please?

Server: Oh sure! Of course!

We turn and start walking the other way...

Nana: (again in her loud whisper)... Why did she put us here then? Why would we want to sit here when we could sit there?

Me: Mom. It's okay. It's all taking care of... we are sitting by the window.

We finally settle into our booth... order the coffee with "Lots of cream" as my father always says...

and the speeding ticket comes up again.

He is sitting across from Paul and I... and he looks directly at Paul - like talking "man to man"...

Papa: So... the speeding ticket in Wadena...

omg - I am going to kill him...

Nana puts her had on her forehead and turns to him...

Nana: Well-aak Hassan! You DID NOT get a ticket there. You are mixing up. It was in Brookings.

My dad doesn't even acknowledge her comment and continues with his story talking directly to Paul. And for the next FIVE MINUTES, continues telling a story that NEVER happened about a speeding ticket in Wadena. All the while my mother is talking directly at me at the same time, telling me he is crazy, forgetful and losing his mind.

Thank God it was 7:30 am on Saturday at the IHOP and we were one of a handful of customers.

Papa: I told the guy (the officer) (And then my dad starts laughing) I told the guy - "There are so many people speeding, though."

And then my dad stops and starts chuckling some more...

And the guy... The guy says, "Well I couldn't catch anyone but you."

Papa's face crinkles up and his head starts bobbing up and down but there is no sound. That's how he laughs. We often ask him if "hurts" when he laughs....

Nana: Oh my Gaad. You are crazy Hassan. You did not talk to the police in Wadena. You are forgetting!

... and then Papa looks over at me... and gives me a quick wink.

I give him a smile and a look that says, "You are really awful, you know that don't you?"

But, it's Father's Day. And if my gift to dad is offering him an audience while he makes my mother crazy... then so be it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Billy Teeth

The boys had money burning holes in their pockets while we were vacationing in Florida - no one more so than 6-year-old Ethan.

There is a chain of beach stores where we were visiting called "Alvin's Island." You can get anything from sandals, to beach toys, to coffee mugs in the shape of breasts... and general knick knack junk or trinkets.

I really wanted to by the boob mug for my dad. He would have loved it, but it had a chip.

So, we stopped at Alvin's Island because Ethan really "really needed to buy something from Florida."

I got to follow him around the store - carefully steering him clear of the aisles of boob mugs.

Ethan: (exasperated) WHAT should I buy!? (sigh) I don't know what to buy!

Me: (being logical) Well, why don't we look for something that will remind you of our trip to Florida?

He isn't listening to me at all. He is power walking through every aisle - looking for what? No clue. Just for something that looks like something he should have.

Ethan: Arghh. I can't find anything to buy!

Of course he can't. We are in a mega warehouse of junk. 

Me: Well, you know you don't HAVE to buy anything.

Ethan stops power walking and turns around to look at me like I have no head.

I know. Trying to yank a teaching moment out of this situation is pointless. But pointless endeavors have never stopped me before...

Ethan: Mom. I HAVE to buy something from Alvin's Island. I HAVE to.

Me: Okay. Okay. So - how about this! (I point to a cool shark's tooth necklace).

He doesn't even stop.

Ethan: No.

Me: How about this? (It's a t-shirt that says "Destin")

He doesn't look.

Ethan: No.


Ethan: OH WOW! MOOOOMMMM! THIS is what I want to buy!

He pulls a packaged pen off a rack. It is a shock pen. You push the button and it shocks you.

Me: No.

Ethan: WHY?!

Me: No. You are not spending $6 on a pen that gives you an electrical shock.

Ethan: But it is SO COOL.

Me: It is not cool. It is dangerous - and it shocks people and you aren't getting it. AND it has NOTHING to do with Florida!


Ethan: (big sigh) FINE.


Ethan: Now I don't know what to buy...

We walk around the store for about 30 minutes. Frankly, I'm ready for him to just buy the damn shock pen... but... he finds something else...

Ethan: Oh my God Mom! I need this. I really need this.

He pulls another package off the rack. It is called "Billy teeth."


Hillbilly teeth.

Now I am torn between wanting to get him out of the store, and wanting him to use his money to purchase something that at least has SOME connection to Florida.

A split second later, I have rationalized the fact that we are in what my sister refers to as "LA" - "Lower Alabama." So... maybe Billy teeth would be appropriate?

Me: Fine.

Ethan pays the cashier $3 for his billy teeth and he's got them suctioned in like dentures before we get out of the parking lot.

Zach: Those are pretty cool teeth you have there.

Ethan: Yea (he says in a muffled voice - he has his Billy teeth in - so his enunciation is off).


Ethan: But I should have gotten the more expensive teeth.

Zach: What are those?

Ethan: They were the ones that had GOLD teeth in the front!

Ah... the missed opportunities...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dog kisses

Ethan: Mom. I kissed Mollie on the lips today.

Me: Why?

Ethan: I don't know. (He looks to the ground and pauses). I just don't really know.


Me: What did Mollie think?

Ethan: I don't know.

Me: Why did you kiss her?

Ethan: I don't know. I just really wanted to! I really really wanted to!

Zayd: Do dogs have lips?


Ethan: Yes. Because I kissed them.