Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Subaru Heaven???

Ok, I will freely admit it. I like commercials. I am one of those sad sacks that makes an event out of watching the Super Bowl ads and, yes... I even go online the next day to read about the best and the worst out there.

I love funny ones, poignant ones, innovative ones - you name it...I am a sucker. BUT, there is one caveat that I do have and I'll hold on to it with everything in my being. In order for me to like a commercial...It has to MAKE SENSE!!!

There is one commercial out there right now that chaps my hide because it comes very close to being great, but it falls painfully short. Yes, I am talking about the Subaru Heaven commercial.

Let me get this straight. My kids come home telling me all about my carbon footprint after visiting a landfill and then turn on the tv to see a guy who probably works at Apple (they either drive Volkswagons or Subarus, right) just leave his old car out in a meadow? HWAH?????

I can just imagine some of the conversations taking place as bitter divorcees try and explain this commercial to their children...

Daughter: Mom, what is he doing? Why is he just leaving it there?

Mother: Apparently, he loves it and he wants it to be with...other broken down Subarus.

Daughter: But he can't just leave it there! Think of how much you could recycle from just the metal on that thing. Plus, didn't he just say that he didn't need a tow even after two days of driving? If he loves it so much and it still runs fine, then why is he leaving it?

Mother: I guess he got a little tired of it. Men sometimes get tired of something they've had for awhile, even if that thing has been very good to then. Suddenly, he wants to upgrade to a newer model. He doesn't want anyone else to benefit from what she still has to offer, so he takes her to an abandoned field and leaves her there with all of the other old broads feeling used and helpless. Then he puts his arm around his new girlfriend and drives away into the sunset while someone else is left to clean up the mess he leaves behind in his wake.

Daughter: Oh. Are we still talking about the Subaru?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Of Dentistry and Drama Queens

Not much has been happening in the Runkel household these past few days. The kids are back at school and Hal and I are slowly but surely digging our way out of a mound of email. We have yet to break down and buy the new washing machine that we know we need. Yes, you heard me right. I am blatantly taunting the laundry gods by knowingly using a machine with a cracked tub. I laugh in the face of the Maytag Man, and I am fully aware that somehow this will catch up to me and it won't be pretty.

All in all, it's been pretty quiet. Well, all except for Sunday's baseball game when Brandon caught a grounder with his face. He popped right up, but his lip decided to stay embedded in his braces. Yes folks, if you're keeping score, that's metal 1...lip 0. Thankfully, an elder in our church is an orthodontist and was kind enough to meet Hal and Brandon halfway between our house and his to perform a wee bit of roadside surgery. He's fine now. His lip is still roughly the size and color of a racquetball, but other than that, you can't tell that anything happened.

In the middle of this small issue, Hannah had an actual crisis. I'm talking an end all be all smack down crisis. What, you're wondering, could it be? A lost friendship? The traumatic start of her journey into womanhood? No, my friends, it was much worse than any of that...

She finished reading the last of the Twilight books.

I, for one, was glad to see this come to pass. Maybe now she would stop asking to visit Forks, Washington for summer vacation. Perhaps now she would stop telling us how vampires really act - how beautiful and intelligent they are. Again, friends, this was not meant to be. For instead of moving on to another tween dream series...she started reading the first one all over again this morning.

Oh, to be 12 again....or not.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Top 10 Things Parents of Teens Want...

Hal just took a survey in his ScreamFree Liftoff class. Here are the top 10 things that parents who have teens really want...

1. ...some level of respect from my teen.
2. exercise some self restraint because I say too much.
3. motivate my teen more in school work.
4. ....have my teen accept responsibility for his actions.
5. ...for me to stop “losing it”.
6. be able to communicate better with my teen.
7. get rid of his attitude (ornery, disrespectful, aloof, entitled).
8. find the right balance of friend/relationship/discipline.
9. figure out effective and appropriate consequences to address behavior.
10. ... did I mention respect?

I'll keep you posted on what Hal says about these issues in coming blogs. Let me know if you've got a concern that wasn't on this list.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Between the Hours of 8-5

Why do repairmen even bother telling you that they will be at your house between the hours of 8-5? Why don't they just say, "You'll wait for me all day and the one time that you absolutely have to leave home to pick up your kids from school, I will pause by the front of your house and then speed away while calling and leaving a nasty message saying that you weren't home and you'll have to reschedule."?

I'm just sayin' - it seems to happen that way.

Thankfully, my husband was able to come home early and meet Mr. Fix It in my stead. Yes, my adoring, fantabulous, brilliant man (who I just found out actually reads this blog and was none too happy with the crack about his handyman skills)saved the day yet again.

Alas, my greatest fears were realized. I DID have to pay a guy $70 to come out and tell me that I need a new washing machine. Not only is the tub cracked, but the transmission is broken. When he opened up the belly of the beast and showed me the issues, I nodded like I understood what he was pointing to. In fact, all I could see was the crud that had accumulated under the machine. There were corn kernels, melted chapstick tubes, something that resembled grey jello, and (gulp) mouse turds.

It might not be totally rational, but I believe with all of my heart that those freakin' rodents somehow ruined my washing machine. It wasn't enough to cause panic and wreak havoc whilst they lived here. No. They had to sabotage my machine to top it all off. They're probably sitting around a big hunk of cheese having a good laugh about it right about now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Do It Yourself - Or Not

We came back yesterday from a week in Houston and today began the journey back to normal. School was back in session (thank you sweet Zeus)and I had ample time to work on the old taxes and start on mount st. laundry.

After wading through a waist high - I am totally not even kidding - mound of smelly, dirty vacation clothes, I started load 1 of what I hoped would be many. Alas, twas not meant to be. After five minutes of bubbly bliss, I noticed a steady stream of water seeping out from under the machine. How could this be??? How could she let me down when I needed her most?

I tried to pretend that nothing was happening - stuffing a towel under her in the vain hopes that she was joking. But she was not to be denied. She mocked my "band aid" and spat out more water.

I have been married long enough to know that fixing appliances is not something that my husband was wired to do. Nevermind the fact that his father was an air conditioning repairman and a mechanic in the air force. That gene just didn't make it down the pipeline. I gave up the fantasy long ago of the sexy "do it yourself" type of guy. My guy is more the - give me the phone and I'll call a guy - type of guy...which is fine by me. Except that money is tight and I hate to pay someone to come in, repair one hose, and charge me $100.

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I did what any college educated, liberated woman would do..I turned to YouTube. I wish that I could tell you that I figured out how to fix my washing machine for the price of a movie ticket. But that would be a big fat lie. I did find out how to open up the machine so that it is rendered totally useless and disable several important looking wires. I also found this, which made the whole ordeal worth it. Apparently, THIS is what women really want out of a washing machine.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Deserve that Pool

Ok, so yesterday, my sister in law's house was filled with relatives. One of them happened to be the cutest 4 year old I have ever seen outside my own chromosomal likenesses.

Her name is Anna Claire and this was our conversation as we looked out at the beautiful pool in the backyard:

AC: I deserve that pool.

Me: Really? You deserve it, huh?

AC: Yep.... What does "deserve" mean?

Me: Well, you deserve something if you've been worthy of it.

AC: Oh. What does "worthy" mean?

Me: Um, It means that something is valuable or precious.

AC: Ahhh. What does "valuable" mean?

Me: (sigh) Ok. Let's think about this. You have a dog that you love very much, right?

AC: Oh, yes...

Me: Ok. That dog is valuable to you. That dog is worthy of your love and affection.

AC: (loooong pause) (looks again at pool)(nods head convincingly) YUP. I definitely deserve that pool.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Holding My Breath

The kids and I are in Houston this week for Spring Break (family is here, in case you're wondering). Hal is soon to join us and just called me with a vital task to undertake.

I am on point to purchase U2 tickets at 10:00 EST. Hal has always been the purchaser of tickets, so he just gave me a crash course in ticketmaster protocol. T minus 9 minutes and counting. I am sweating with nervousness because of all the events in the past 5 years, this is the one that he most wants to attend. Wish me luck...

Friday, April 3, 2009

From Russia with Love

In these two weeks here, I have learned a few things about Russian culture:

The Russian people…

1. …are deathly afraid of drafts.
Apparently, there is no greater sin in Russia than opening a window and allowing fresh air to come into a room. They believe with total sincerity that drafts cause illness. For this reason, they keep their homes roughly the temperature of hell and refuse to sit on the floor or go barefoot for fear of getting sick. You can share eating utensils all day long and cough directly into your hands, but God forbid you should crack a window to relieve yourself from the oppressive heat emanating from the radiators that never stop pumping out blazing hot air.

2. …really like paperwork.
We must have filled out the “required forms” for our lost luggage about 5 different times. At one point, I made the egregious error of crossing out one word and replacing it with another. When I turned this form in to the customs official, her eyes narrowed and she wouldn’t even touch it. She pushed it back to me with her pen and said with total disdain and in broken English, “Lady. Fill out again. No mistakes. Do right this time.”

3. ….do not believe in keeping their dogs quiet.
During our stay at the retreat center, there were no less than 40 dogs barking 24/7 in the Siberian countryside. Maybe they were trying to keep warm – who knows. All I can tell you is that I have never hated a living creature more than that first night when I was trying to fall asleep. I am not talking about an occasional bark or even a chorus you might hear in the middle of the night. I am talking full on crazy kennel barking. Constantly.

4. …have an incredibly tall and beautiful female population.
When we got off the plane in Moscow and began making our way through the terminal, I thought that maybe we’d accidently landed on the set of a James Bond flick. I kept expecting a young Sean Connery to come around the corner, lighter in hand, for the cigarettes of the high heeled leggy beauties peppering the terminal. In America, I am fairly taller and thinner than the average woman. In Russia, I am a troll.

5. …are just as interested as we are in having great relationships.
For all the differences I noticed, one thing is certain: There are far more similarities. After a few short hours there, I was able to see that we all really want the same things. Peaceful homes. Happy families. Good friendships.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Coming Home!

We are on the last leg of our trip home and words cannot express how glad we are of that fact. The trip was amazing and I don’t regret a single minute of it, but boy is it nice to be on American soil again. The sheer fact that I can read the street signs and recognize the things that I eat is enough to make me kiss the ground.

We actually saw our luggage for a brief moment yesterday. After being held up in customs for 10 days, we were able to rescue it from the clutches of the Russian government with only minor complications. We walked into the “left luggage” office in Moscow yesterday – and stifling the urge to ask where the republican’s luggage was sent, we set about filling out the necessary paperwork.

Ahhhh.....luggage.....glorious luggage....