Thursday, October 21, 2010

Heartwarming Milestone: Abe's First Joke

I used to post pictures on here but then I got this new stupid computer that I can't for the life of me figure out how to download pictures from my camera. Not to mention that my camera requires the user to have an IQ higher than mine. Everyone always raves about Mac computers, but I spend my whole time on the verge of screaming "JUST LET ME RIGHT CLICK." The transition from PC to Mac has been rough and I don't know if I will ever post pictures again. So, If you want to hear about what the Kramers have been up to, you'll most likely have to use your imagination or else come on over and hang out with us. If you go the imagination route, please picture me with muscular, yet feminine arms, thick hair and no freckles. If you come over, bring a bag of chips or something and avert your eyes from my flabby arms.

This morning I was asking the boys what they want for breakfast. Jack requested a bowl of Cocoa Krispies. Chocolate flavored cereals, or actually any super sugary cereal are a real problem around here. Jack and John are totally incapable of moderation when it comes to consuming them. Jack will demand Cocoa Krispies for breakfast lunch and dinner and snacks if they are in the house. If he is denied then it is guaranteed that a fit will ensue followed by hours of begging and obsessing. Usually I just make it a point to not buy the cereals I know are going to start a fight, and it solves the problem. He will eat healthy and well balanced meals. The problem is that Kristen who I like to call Queen of the Coupon, recently bought an entire pantry full of cereals that are off limits on the Kramer side of the communal living commune.

Kristen is my sister and my best friend and we live next door to each other and tore down the wall between the two backyards. The kids roam freely between the two households and it is the perfect set up. We can watch each other's kids all the time. There's always someone fun to talk to, and we usually take turns cooking meals and share everything. Actually, I can't imagine not living next to my sister. How does everyone else in the world get a shower?

Sometimes the commune concept has snags though. like when Kristen, Queen of Coupons, figured out how to ad match cereal to a price that is equal to a coupon she found. One week she ended up with probably 70 boxes of cereal for a few dollars. Of course, they were all sugar cereals so now my kids look at my offering of Cheerios, Bran Flakes, or Special K and then high tail it next door.

This week I made a deal with Jack that he could have one box of Cocoa Crispies from the Gartner's stash but only one bowl a day. I thought that they would be gone soon and that John would come in one day and save the day by eating the whole box in one setting and it would be over. Instead these Cocoa Crispies are like that story in the Bible where the woman gives her last bit of meal and oil to the stranger who turned out to be a prophet of God and after that, her barrel of meal and her jug of oil were never empty again. There was always just one more loaf of bread to be made. She never ran out. I don't know who Jack ever served this to, but I swear there is something supernatural going on here. The Cocoa Crispies NEVER run out. For me it isn't a blessing, it's a curse.

So this morning, Jack asked for his usual. When he said "Cocoa Crispies" Ham laughed and pointed and said in his two year old pronunciation Go Go Pee Pee, CO CO CISPEE. It kind of reminded me of a yo mamma joke without the yo mamma. He said it in this taunting, sarcastic way that was obviously to trash talk Jack. Abe and I laughed and laughed. I thought it was pretty good that he came up with the rhyme and the attitude. Jack was less entertained. He countered with the age old "me Chinese, me play joke, me go pee pee in your coke" of course, with his hands pulling his eyes back into his best asian impression. He didn't get why Ham's joke was a home run and his was a bomb. I'll admit that in my childhood I said this same rhyme and thought it was hilarious but this time I gave him a good long talking to about racism and sensitivity. Of course, he repeated the joke about four hundred times in the days that followed. I swear these boys are turning into adults before my very eyes. Its almost disturbing. Almost. Mostly it's just hilarious.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Timing is Everything

So Yesterday I had a strange experience. Actually a string of experiences that were all a huge pain in the butt but from which I learned a lot. I've been having a lot of that lately in my life. So, It was time to grocery shop because I was out of everything. John and Jack went away for the week to the beach in California for an air show and I enjoyed a glorious staycation here with Abe. It truly was glorious. I did whatever I wanted and If I didn't feel like doing it, I just didn't. Abe and I are the two members of this household who enjoy that approach so it was a truly restful week. But, grocery shopping is just not something I felt like doing while staycationing, so our cupboards were bare. John had the day off so I got to go to the store all by myself. Also it was payday and I had done a bunch of research on ad-matching and clipped coupons etc. and was ready to recharge my food storage. I like shopping with a friend so I called Kara Sly and asked her to tag along because I knew she was due for a shopping trip too. She wanted to come but was getting her kids down for naps, and jumping in the shower etc. so she said she'd head over and call me when she got there to see if I was still shopping.

One hour later, I had a couple of hundred bucks of food packed into a cart. The bottom was all packed, it was overflowing, and every nook and cranny was filled. Most of it was frozen or refrigerated stuff so I was trying to hurry so it would all stay cold. Of course when I wanted to check out, Every other human being in the store had the same idea and the lines were four or five carts deep.

While we are talking about the checkout lines at Walmart, I just want to know, Why do they even bother building all of those lanes if they have no intention of ever using them all at the same time? I have been there on Christmas Eve with hundreds of shoppers milling around in snaking lines to check out and still I have never seen even fifty percent of the lanes lit up at the same time. I want to stand on my cart and yell, "ATTENTION WAL MART EMPLOYEES, THIS IS NOT A DRILL! THESE ARE ACTUAL PEOPLE TRYING TO GIVE THEIR MONEY TO WAL MART. ALL HANDS ON DECK! OPEN ALL THE LANES!" Of course I would never do this especially since I have found that one's friendliness level is directly proportionate with the level of cooperation one receives in attempting to use Walmart's ad-matching policy liberally.

I have an uncle who claims that his cars are magnetically attracted to uninsured Indians. I feel this way about my shopping cart and customers paying with multiple forms of government assistance and using expired coupons and writing checks and haggling over every item. I also tend to get the check out lady who is brand new and has been abandoned without any training or help. All of these things were true yesterday and by the time I got all my stuff rang up I was dying to get out the door. Thats also when Kara called saying that she had just arrived. I told her it was too late, I was already checking out. We'd have to do something else together soon. peace, out.

Then I swiped my card and it was DECLINED! This has never happened to me and I was mortified! The lady tried running my card again but it declined again. At this point Karma kicked in hard and the people behind me in line who had all of their frozen goods on the belt were shooting me daggers with their eyes. I had become exactly what I loathe. The problem is I had literally no other way to pay. I could call John but by the time he could get their with cash or a credit card, it would be at least twenty minutes. So the check out clerk was trying to do that trick where they suspend your transaction and let you step aside and check other people out while you figure out your dilemma but something was malfunctioning and they couldn't get it to do that. Then I remembered Kara! It was a miracle. I got her on the first ring "Emergency at aisle 5! RUN!" She appeared within seconds with her fully functioning debit card and saved the day. I have never felt such relief. Plus, I happened to loan Kara a couple of hundred dollars a few days previous and the total of my groceries was almost exactly what she owed me and was going to pay back that day anyway. Turns out Karma doesn't hate me as much as she likes to screw with me every now and then.

You would think that this is the end of the story about timing saving the day but it is actually only the beginning. I got out to the parking lot and was madly filling my minivan with bags when I saw a woman who was holding a tiny baby (maybe two months old) in one arm and had a huge armload of groceries in the other arm. She was then attempting to make a phone call on a phone that was not working. She was pacing around trying to get a signal and it was like a million degrees outside. I asked her if she needed help. She told me her phone wasn't working and asked if she could use my cell phone to make a call. Sure. Then she made the call but she was obviously calling really obscure acquaintances asking them to track down other people to try and track down a ride. I stopped her. "I can give you a ride." She was elated. I even had unused baby car seats installed and ready to go. I was glad to help. We got all loaded up and headed to her house and she told me her story. She just moved here from California and doesn't know a single person here. She has two little kids and she had to go to the grocery store that day because they were totally out of food and she had no choice but to walk carrying the baby. She hadn't realized how far it really was and she really didn't know how hot it would be. The further we drove to get her home the more concerned I became. She had walked for miles and was planning on walking back those miles carrying the groceries. No stroller, no help. She was so grateful for my help. She thanked me and thanked me. I told her that I'd like to exchange phone numbers and I could give her a ride to the store next time she needed it. She was elated. I told her that I could bring her to church and there would be hundreds of fabulous women with similar minivans who would like nothing more than to be friends with her and give her whatever help she needed. We also do playgroups and crafts and have an entire organization devoted to getting your family everything you need. She wants to come to church right away and I am sending the missionaries to her house. It felt so nice to help someone in need and it gave me a good opportunity to count my blessings and to be glad that I didn't have to walk anywhere or even pay for my own groceries. My life is so damn abundant. There really isn't any other way to put it. Abundant with friends, sweet minivans, beautiful healthy children, and a world wide church that is set up so that I could move anywhere on the planet and have an instant network of sincere friends and trusted social programs. Driving that woman home was nothing more than a five minute drive to me but to her it was a big deal.

John pointed out that she could have been a serial killer and I guess thats true but the baby put the odds in her favor of being non-homicidal. I was actually the more dangerous person involved as it did cross my mind to steal her baby. I have been baby hungry like nobody's business and I want a girl so bad. This was one of those perfect little hispanic babies with huge brown eyes and a hairdo that could be mistaken for a wig. Her mom let me take her out of the seat and she just cooed and smiled at me. She had velvety thigh rolls and smelled like baby powder. Yes, I was definitely the only one who considered committing a felony by driving away with that baby and never looking back. Instead I carried her into the house and gave her back to her very grateful mother.

I drove home thinking of how glad I was that a freak banking error had delayed me just to the right moment that I could help someone in need. It felt good to serve and it really was worth the mortification of debit card denial.

Kramer Boys

Kramer Boys