Thursday, January 25, 2007

Webkinz Update

Thanks to Anne for alerting me to an article in today's NYT about Webkinz.

What Wasn't Wrong With Henry

In the midst of having my washer and dryer fixed yesterday, by a very competent repairman I learned the following:
1. The deliverymen didn't pull out the shipping pin from the washer so when the drum inside was trying to spin it really couldn't, and all the force was directed into shaking the washer, hence the movement.
2. I needed a new silver tube thingy for my dryer exhaust which he installed for me.
3. The school nurse called to say that she thought Henry had chicken pox! Henry has had the vaccine, so if he had a case it was likely to be mild. Since I was trapped here with the repairman my mom was nice enough to pick him up from school.
4. One short visit to the doctor later, where we were told to enter through a back door and knock on a window to gain entrance, like lepers, the doctor offered a diagnosis. She had to use her magnifying glass to examine the two small spots on his cheeks to confirm that it was actually folliculitis, not chicken pox. This just means he has an infection in two hair follicles, and is not contagious.
5. Then a quick stop to confirm that my in-laws mailbox was indeed empty and I was through with an exhausting day.
Now, to pick up where I left off yesterday, I am off to the gym.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What I Won't Be Doing Today

  1. Going to the gym
  2. Picking up a mystery prescription at Target
  3. Purchasing those weird clips that go at the back of a piece of framed art
  4. Checking to ensure my in-laws mail box is empty for the second time in a week (don't ask)

Instead I am spending the day at home waiting for the washer repair man. As I mentioned in my very first post, we have laundry woes. We finally bought a brand new washer and dryer and the first time I used it the washer actually moved during the spin cycle. I went downstairs and it had turned 45 degrees to the left on its own!

So after spending an hour on the phone (mostly on hold) with various Sears representatives on Monday, the earliest I was able to get someone to come out and look at it was Wednesday. A computer called last night to say that I needed to be home from 8-5 today to wait for the repair person. Granted, I might be able to squeeze in items 2-4 on my list if the person arrives at a reasonable time but I am so annoyed because if the original delivery people had bothered to set it up properly -- which might have taken 10 more minutes -- I would be spared from spending the entire day here.

On a positive note, I can finally put hoodies and sweatpants in the dryer again. Now, if I only had a washer I would be all set!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Suburban Apologist, or my Son's Obsession is Rubbing off on Me

Normally I don't feel like a creature of the suburbs. I just happen to live here, and wince as I turn into our neighborhood with its welcoming slab of granite announcing which of the identical developments you are entering. But Henry's latest favorite pastime, and my interest in it just blew all my anti-Suburbanite too cool for the strip mall cred.I am talking about Webkinz. They are stuffed animals that you adopt online and then they appear on your computer screen for you to name, and play with in a virtual room, kind of like doll house, but much more gender neutral. But you can also buy them pineapple and passionfruit, and cook them panini sandwiches, and shop for them.

You can dress them like Pirates and name them and bathe them and buy them a swimming pool. There are also computer games that are child friendly, and books you can buy and read inside Webkinz world. And a cave you can go into and mine for virtual riches once a day. Henry has a Lion that he named Iop(?!), and he checks on him once a day and usually plays with him a little as well. He is so much more attached to the real stuffed animal than he is to any other toy he has had since he was tiny. On some level it is very real for him, and that is how I get sucked in too. "Mom, will you put Iop to bed for me?" This means get on the web, log onto Webkinz, and instruct Iop to get into his virtual pajamas and then go to his virtual bed. It is much easier than putting real children to bed, so I always say yes. And he would know if I didn't do it because he would find him out wandering in the virtual yard the next day and he would give me a hard time.

Lucy has a tree frog that Henry uses on the computer and tonight he made both of the animals dinner.He set the table for them and folded their napkins, and baked both of their entrees in the play oven.

And of course, he wants more of them because in each animals bio it lists a "best friend." He doesn't want Iop to be without his best friend. What's a mother to do? Explain about marketing ploys to a five year old or tell him that his birthday is coming soon?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I didn't buy it on eBay or Vintage Coats 101

I started looking for vintage coats on eBay after deciding that the options available for purchase at the mall were boring.

I got the idea to look on eBay from Ambika at The Fray but once I started searching I was off to the races. There are a lot of really cute coats on eBay, and although I did end up buying two coats (one eskimo, and one pea coat) for next to nothing, the coats that I didn't buy are way more interesting.

When I was browsing I thought this orange coat on the left was very cute, but at the end of the seven day auction, it sold for just over $300! I was priced out of bidding by the end of day two.

I also liked the black coat on the left, though it was a little longer than what I was looking for. It went for a whopping $390!

I acutally think it is pretty great that people are willing to pay that much for something that isn't brand new just because it is aesthetically pleasing. And as usual on eBay, I learned a few things when I was shopping.
  1. The cutest coats are listed by an informal mafia of youngish women who also appear to model them for the photos.
  2. Vintage coat buyers are snipier than bakelite buyers, and the coat prices were skyrocketing in the last few minutes.
  3. Most of the sellers are meticulous about documenting faults in the clothes, but if they aren't then you have to assume the phrase "needs a few stitches" = gaping hole that requires a professional seamstress.
  4. Clueless sellers often underprice their items but they may not describe them accurately either. I purchased a Pea Coat described as "New" which was actually an unworn vintage coat. Although the condition was excellent for a vintage item, its leather buttons have begun to decay just from sitting in a closet. Still a great find.

Monday, January 15, 2007

So typical...

What went right:

The Hold Steady Tour With the Thermals
Sure, the Hold Steady may be in the UK for Valentine's Day (promoting the recently reported release of Boys and Girls in America there), but their hearts will always be in the U.S. And so will their recently announced tour with the Thermals, which is without question the best double bill we've seen in 2007 (all 15 days of it).

What Went Wrong? None of those 15 days are even close to Buffalo!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A presumably wonderful book I won't be reading

  1. Anyone who writes or blogs about his or her family owes an unconscious debt to Calvin Trillin.
  2. Trillin has recently published a book about his late wife entitled About Alice. There is a lovely picture of the Trillins on their wedding day, as well as a story about the book on the NPR website.
  3. Why won't I be reading the book? My mother was kind enough to lend me a copy of "Alice, off the page," an essay that appeared in the New Yorker last year, which I did read. (Amy, photocopied for you, but never sent)
  4. But as I read the essay tears were streaming down my face the entire time. I distinctly remember Cary was watching the US Open while I was reading, and I could not stop sobbing through nine or ten pages of text. I can't quite imagine reading an entire book about Alice.
  5. Needless to say, she was a remarkable woman. That I happened to have been acquainted with her daughters during college may have heightened my reaction to the essay, but only slightly. I was surprised to see a reference to the essay pop up here.
  6. So if you can control your sobbing, and are looking for a good book to read, check it out.

Friday, January 12, 2007

What's wrong with New Year's Resolutions

  1. I don't really make resolutions at the New Year. I don't tend to keep them if I do.
  2. I don't mind of other people do, unless they start messing with my workout. They gym is packed right now with well-meaning folks who think they are turning over a new leaf. I have only one thing to say to you people: "Get off my elliptical!"
  3. On Wednesday night I had to use a treadmill, and I ran. While it was thoroughly enjoyable, it is now Friday morning and I am about to head back to the gym.
  4. But I still need two hands to lower myself into a chair because my quads are so sore.
  5. And from now until probably President's Day, when at least some of these well-meaning optimimists will go on vacation, I will have to duke it out for a position on my preferred piece of cardiovascular equipment.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I will do my best to reevaluate that glass

The New York Times ran an article today that self-identified pessimists were more likely to die from heart disease than those who identified as optimists. According to the researchers subjects with the highest level of optimism were 45 percent less likely than those with the highest level of pessimism to die of all causes during the study. There are a few possible confounding factors, like they didn't screen the patients for mental illness, and all of the participants were elderly Dutch (sorry, LHM). Still, I can go to the gym and eat all the cruciferous vegetables in the world, but a sunny outlook? Not bloody likely.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Lucy at a Vegetable!

1. Before I get too excited, this is what she ate. It might only pass as a vegetable on a school lunch menu, and hence technically still qualifies as a www moment.
2. The first ingredient is peas. That is the good news.
3. The bad news is that after each serving I gave her (I lost count) I had to wash my hands because these things are so greasy.
4. Did I mention the first ingredient is peas? That's a green vegetable. Plus she drank apple juice today. So she won't be scorbutic for at least a month!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I am back in off the ledge...

I just remembered that it doesn't have to be G-mail. And the good folks at Yahoo have come to my rescue. Now I just have to remember to check that account. That is what three days with very little food and no coffee will do to a person. Oh, and Henry stayed home from school today too, and then he turned out to be perfectly healthy.

F'ing blogger ... so much for improvements.

Well, I may be done blogging if I can't get my e-mail address off the stupid mast head. I can't sign up for Gmail account because I don't have txt messaging on my cell phone. I specifically signed up for no text messaging on my cell phone because I didn't want it and now it may ruin this for me. I am so upset. I am still sick. I am still eating crackers and drinking gatorade and now I have exposed my e-mail to the stupid blogging world. It is so stupid. I should have never converted. But it really is perfect. Really. I started a blog about what went wrong. I guess it is perfect that it should end with something going wrong inside the blog.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

This and That

  1. I have been pretty sick for the last few days, so please forgive me for deviating from my regular format since these things didn't all happen in a 24 hour period.
  2. Cary had to order a half pizza for New Year's Eve and then eat leftovers for New Year's Day while I ate crackers and drank gatorade.
  3. I found out that I have been excused from Jury duty since I wrote a letter four weeks ago explaining that I need to be here to care for, Lucy but there was no way to tell that I was excused until I called and was told that I was already excused by virtue of having written the letter.
  4. This is fortunate since I have an appointment with the Neurologist tomorrow and am hoping I get to scale back my migraine meds since I have had only one headache (following my last family dinner) in nearly two months! I did not want to reschedule.
  5. I went grocery shopping today because it is Tuesday, and I must go but I had a hard time figuring out what to buy. I did get more crackers...