PSA for my fellow cheapies

Should you happen to want restaurant gift certificates for way cheap,'s 60% off sale is currently on for one more day... The discount code is GENIUS. And it is. We've actually used these several times, and it's been great. You buy your certificates for specific restaurants in your area, and then you use them for anything but booze (which in my case isn't such a big deal...) The kicker is that you can get $25 worth of certificates for five or six bucks during the sales; they're always discounted a little, but spending a fifth of what something should cost really appeals to the tightwad in me.

This is significantly more important today, as our heater has crapped out and of course, OF COURSE it's not going to get above 60 degrees for a few days, so the repairman is on his way and I already know it's going to cost $89 for the diagnostic service. At this point, I would probably sell off an arm or something just to get heat back in here - Norah and I both slept in multiple layers last night under a series of quilts and down comforters. Rob was on call, so he got to sleep in the heated deliciousness of the VA. Life is so unfair.

Rah Raisin Neon!

Having anagrammed myself (thank you, MB, for giving me this incredibly fun way to avoid doing the dishes), I've discovered that my name can make the following useful phrases:

A Insaner Rhino
Hernias Rain On
Insane Air Horn
Ha Roar Ninnies

So! Easter was this weekend, which was extra fun - we had a neighborhood egg hunt, and Norah was delighted to learn that hollow plastic eggs are actually sometimes filled with things! And those things are often edible (although in the case of these things, they are decidedly NOT)! Or shiny! Or stickery! Needless to say, the Easter Bunny is the big stud around our house these days; yesterday, Norah sighed contentedly while wearing all of her mardi gras Easter necklaces and said, "That Easter Bunny. He's a good guy."

Here is the slightly confused Norah at the beginning of the hunt. She still doesn't really understand the Easter Bunny concept, even though now she knows he's the source of all things sweet, sparkly, and/or made entirely of crystallized high fructose corn syrup. He's either a gift-giver, like Santa, or he's a delivery boy - both grandmas sent Easter packages that they both swore were from the Bunny, so Norah's pretty sure that he's kind of like a nice version of our UPS guy.

Adrienne was here, as previously discussed, and helped with the searching (which was convenient, since she also got suckered into helping with the hiding). Norah's butterfly t-shirt was "delivered" to Adrienne's via the EB, yet another confirmation that he travels in a big brown panel truck.
This is Norah's buddy, Ellie, who lives down the street. Ellie's mother is at exactly the same point in her residency at UNC as Rob is at Duke, but Ellie's mother is about 30 weeks pregnant. Talk about dancing backward in high heels, man.

And lo, there were plastic beads. And the beads were GOOOOOOD. Happy Easter, friends.

They're just trying to scare you

I hate email forwards. I mean, seriously, I HATE them. Not the ones that are kind of cute, like Mills' dogs movie or, and you know you love it, the dramatic Prairie Dog!

I also don't mind the ones that are actually worth something -'s secret 50% off code springs to mind. Speaking of, right now it's "green," but I think it's changing soon. No, I hate the ones that are designed to create mass panic, like the one I got today that said in HUGE RED LETTERS that Glade plug-ins cause house fires. Come on, guys - don't we have enough to panic about without adding fear of air freshener arson? Besides, my only fear regarding air freshener is that someone will someday buy me a nasty one, and I'll have to use it out of politeness, and it'll make my house smell like a gas station bathroom.

Anyway! Not much up around here, as you can tell. Rob has just finished installing a new showerhead, faucet, and turny-onny part (handle? what is that thing?) and now he's dancing around doing air punches and saying, "Who's bad ass? WHO IS BAD ASS?" Honestly, I think it's bad ass, too... the old faucet, etc., was held to the wall entirely with mildew. Yesterday he put down the new floor - we were going to tile, but decided that that's lipsticking a pig, so we used those sticky linoleum tiles instead. And voila! Instant proud Rob, instant happy me, instant delighted Norah because she didn't have to take a bath tonight while the plumber's putty set.

Yesterday I volunteered for the WUNC-TV telethon thing, also known as Festival 2008! because nothing makes me party as hard as spending the shopping money on invisible airwaves. Honestly, I'd send them money if I thought we had it to send, but the police, firemen, and homeless guys got to me first. So I gave up my time and answered the phones for three hours, which was an exercise in dealing with humanity. Some people were very direct - here's my credit card, here's my amount, send me a thank-you card, and g'byenow - but the majority of the callers really wanted to discuss something. Anything. The current program, what was on yesterday at 2:30, the incentive gift (for a while, it was a home remedy book that consisted entirely of fodder for those horrible forwards; you should have seen some of the remedies for constipation). It was actually pretty fun, if a little nutty now and then, and I felt like I did a good thing.

And Norah would like me to tell you that she has yet to have an accident in her Curious George underpants, because you can't pee on Curious George, that would be SILLY. Everything that would be bad, or wrong, or sinful, is SILLY in Norahese - I can't wait to tell the next bank robber I see to knock it off, he's being silly. Or rather, SILLY. Indeed.

There you go, all the news that's fit for public consumption - don't you feel smarter? Now go unplug your Vanilla Cookie Breeze before we have to call 911.

Things which make the tire man seem utterly insignificanter than he already is

Norah got into her snooty-booty Montessori preschool! It's actually not even close to snooty-booty, but every time I tell someone about applying there for next year, they get this LOOK like we're monogramming her toilet paper before she uses it. These are the people who are unfamiliar with how cool Montessori education actually is - how amazing the kids are with each other, how everyone respects everyone else's personal space, how three-year-olds add multiple columns of numbers while the four-year-olds write cursive. Really, I'm more into the social skills aspect of it, and the fact that the teachers are totally kind, 100% of the time. My baby is leaving me, and she just has to go someplace where the parental figures are as sweet to her as I would be.

And also, that adding thing, that is just BAD ASS.

So that's cool... Also, my sister called today and said she was coming for my birthday in two weeks, as did my parents, who have to go look for their new house in the mountains anyway. This is kind of especially awesome, because I was afraid I would have to spend my last 20-something birthday alone while Rob spent some QT with the sicklies in the VA. (I fully support healthcare for veterans, but SERIOUSLY, it's my birthday. We used to do birthday WEEKS in college. This is not something I take lightly.) Nonos already made my mom promise a cake, which is somehow Their Thing - Mom says they're coming or we're going to whatever holiday, Nonos says, "Are you making cake?" Usually there are sprinkles involved, and once even five bottles of food coloring. Either of these things clearly say "excellent birthday" in my mind.

And Adrienne is coming next weekend, and we shall party with Lisa, sans kids and plus margaritas... at least, two of us will be plus margaritas, and I will be plus sweet tea. Which is almost as good, really.

Although I have asked Rob about none of this - I hope it's all right with him, and he gives me PERMISSION. Ahem.

Oh, REALLY now.

So the Highlander needed some tires. The old ones had seen me through 48,000 miles and a nail pop on Labor Day weekend (one that cost me $100 to get fixed, because hey, it was a holiday and apparently even though the tow/tire place was open and readily available to plug said nail hole, it was still a holiday, and ha ha ha that costs more. Duh!) Rob explored the internet, and we learned the valuable lesson that, like self-diagnosis, one should not tire shop online, because one will inevitably pick the wrong tire and end up with dengue fever instead of a cold.

The Sears guy took one look at the printout I handed him and said, "That one won't work, because you have a limited edition Highlander, which is just code for 'requires extra special parts that are totally going to cost more.'" Maybe not in so many words, but yeah, that's what he said. I laughed bitterly and explained that my husband had printed that out, and he must have just been wrong about the 17" versus 16" size requirements. We got things figured out and I picked a new fancy tire and all was going smoothly, until we got to the pricing.

"Well," sez he, "this one is the right tire for your car, but maybe you want to wait."

"I don't really want to wait, since my old tires are essentially bald and losing about 15 pounds of pressure every ten minutes. I think maybe I'll just go ahead now," I said.

His eyebrows met in the middle. "Yeah, but these tires, they're $20 more each."

My eyebrows met in the middle. "That's okay, really. I knew it would be expensive, and you guys are doing that free installation thing right now, so I would just like to--"

"What I mean," he said, "is that you might want to talk to your husband first and make sure it's okay with him. I mean, that's an extra $80."

[cue scratching record, and of course screeching tires.]

My eyebrows actually crossed and switched places.

End of an era that will not, even while intoxicated, be missed

Norah's wearing underwe*r, using the potty, the whole bit... and she is rather jubilant about the whole thing:

For a short, nostalgic, probably insane moment, I thought about how much I didn't want to do this with her, how much I wanted her to stay my dependent little babycakes. And then I thought about the smell, her poor little sensitive butt, and the diaper rash that would NOT go away, and I changed my mind quicker'n we can get those p*nties down in an emergency.

I LOVE THIS STAGE. LOVE IT. Almost as much as I love her Curious George undi*s.

(I'm putting asterisks in here to avoid pervy Googlers. You know how it goes.)