Archive for the ‘Conversations’ Category

Michelle: Young lady, if you don’t (insert desired behavior here) right now, I’m calling Santa. I can still tell him not to bring you any presents!

Chloe: That’s ok, Mom. I don’t need presents; Christmas isn’t about presents.


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C: Mommy? Daddy? When I get older and I’m in high school, can I have a purse?

Mom: Sure, sweetie. Of course you can have a purse.


C: When I’m in high school, can I have a wallet?

Mom: Well, if you save your money, I don’t see any problem with you buying one now.


C: Can I have a car?

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Summer Thursdays in Wamego are a bright spot in our kids’ weekly routines. The local public library hosts a reading time that is typically accompanied by some sort of relevant craft. There’s a repeat in the afternoon for the older kids that, I assume, involves more complex stories.

Today was the last one and, contrary to tradition, the library served a snack along with its book and craft. Hyrum, apparently, was not really ready for this sort of delight.

H: I didn’t know today was going to be my lucky day! I thought today was going to be Chloe’s lucky day!

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I received a very enlightening phone call on my cell today while I was at work. “Gavin,” from American Shopping Center, taught me about all sorts of things that I just didn’t understand before. For example, “Gavin” is pronounced “Gay-vin” when you are trying to adopt an American name while living in India. Here are all the other things I learned from “Gay-vin”:

  1. I have never heard of American Shopping Center, even though it is a major brand-building company that works with all the major brands in the United States.
  2. American Shopping Center uses voice recognition software to record a vocal authorization allowing them to charge my credit card.
  3. This vocal authorization allows them to only charge my credit card $3.95.
  4. There is nothing wrong with this.
  5. It’s the same as giving my credit card information to Amazon.
  6. The $3.95 charge covers the cost of shipping me my free digital camera and 3 day, 2 night stay at any hotel in America.
  7. Oh, and there’s also a $40 gas card good at any gas station in the United States.
  8. American Shopping Center wants to do this for my benefit.
  9. American Shopping Center will send this to me because I have been a valued customer of a major U.S. brand in the recent past and they want to show their appreciation.
  10. American Shopping Center cannot, however, tell me which brand appreciates and values my patronage because they represent over 1500 brands and it would take too long to tell me all of them.
  11. There is nothing wrong with this.
  12. When I give them my credit card information, they will only charge $3.95 for the shipping.
  13. That is all they can charge, according to my vocally recorded authorization.
  14. The $3.95 charge will appear on my monthly credit card statement.
  15. American Shopping Center cannot take my credit card information to buy something on Amazon because you need authorization to do this.
  16. You need more than just a credit card number to buy something on Amazon: you must have authorization to use the credit card number.
  17. No really, you idiot, you can’t buy anything on Amazon unless you have a credit card number and authorization.
  18. I have never purchased anything on Amazon.
  19. I don’t know how Amazon works.
  20. There is nothing wrong with this.
  21. American Shopping Center has to send me this package.
  22. American Shopping Center is a reputable company.
  23. American Shopping Center is a reputable company with a website.
  24. American Shopping Center is a reputable company, with a website, that works for all the major brands in the U.S.
  25. American Shopping Center is a reputable company, with a website, that works for all the major brands in the U.S., but can’t afford a decent web designer.
  26. American Shopping Center is a reputable company, with a website, that works for all the major brands in the U.S., can’t afford a decent web designer, and can’t afford it’s own email domain (lvpremiums@aol.com).
  27. American Shopping Center is a reputable company, with a website, that works for all the major brands in the U.S., can’t afford a decent web designer or it’s own email domain (lvpremiums@aol.com), and only hires non-native speakers of English who have bad manners, interrupt people when they are talking, insinuate that the people they are speaking to are idiots who know nothing of how financial institutions work.
  28. There is nothing wrong with this, because all the major brand names in America are represented by American Shopping Center.
  29. American Shopping Center will not take “No thanks” for an answer.
  30. American Shopping Center must send me this package for my benefit.
  31. American Shopping Center will continue to insist that they must send me this package, even after I repeatedly tell them that a) I do not want it, thank you, b) I will never give out my credit card information to anyone who calls me asking for it, no matter what they say or how reputable they are or who they represent or how much they are going to charge it, c) I do not want them to continue to call at 9:30 pm or any other hour of the day for a week at a time, or d) I am hanging up now, so please have a nice day.
  32. American Shopping Center wants me to go to hell.
  33. There is nothing wrong with this.

There is just one thing that I understand very, very well: Never, under any circumstances, give your credit card or banking information to anyone who calls you. Period. They will take that information and drain your accounts dry. Even if you only vocally authorize them to charge the account for $3.95.

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I stayed home from work on Tuesday.

While this may seem like the beginnings of a tell-all confessional, just be glad that it’s not. I’ve been fighting a stomach bug for the past couple of days, and it’s not the variety of stomach bug that you might be thinking.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

One of the benefits of staying home from work on Tuesdays is not having to be in Manhattan in enough time to find a free (i.e., on the street) parking place with plenty of time left to walk up to my building and get to class by 8:05. Typically, that involves leaving my house right about the time that the kids stumble bleary-eyed out of their rooms.

Tuesday, then, was different. Since I had been up half the night already, I was more than happy to help Hyrum get dressed while Michelle was doing Chloe’s hair.

He’s been struggling recently with doing his own pants. He conquered the hook-and-clasp type pretty handily, but those darn snaps have proven just a bit too tough for him. That all changed on Tuesday. On Tuesday, as I was walking over to him, offering to snap his pants and already reaching out to finish the job, he took a step back and fixed a mighty eyeball on that snap. He maneuvered the snaps into position, flexed his muscles, and pop.

His eyes came straight up to mine, bright and victorious. I started in on the praise, laying it on as thickly and sincerely as I could for what was a victory a long time in the making. I raised my hand to give him a high five, his most favored celebration, and he reared back, ready to once again attempt to pound my hand into something resembling a fine cut of tender steak.

Just before releasing the cocked hammer, he looks me in the eyes and says, with the air of someone who noticed the hand buzzer right before shaking someone’s hand,

Hey, you’ve got sickies!

His mother has trained him well.

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All the youngest kids, waking Christmas morning, excited to see what the wrapping paper will yield. Six kids are there, three boys, three girls, eager for the moment when Mom and Dad will come to their rooms and line them up for their march out to the living room, lined up with the oldest in back. The presents are opened, one at a time, and the rest of the day is filled with cardboard boxes, good food, and rest and relaxation in our pajamas.

Today, it’s almost the same. The six youngest are again at Dad’s house, only this time, there are some spouses and grandkids thrown in the mix. The excitement is largely felt by the six grandkids, the oldest of which is merely six. The location of the house has moved from California to Utah, and there’s actually snow on the ground. With so many kids and grandkids around, there’s not enough beds to go around, but there are several air mattresses scattered throughout the house, enough to accommodate all that have made the trip.

JP, the second youngest, arrived around 10 a.m. or so Christmas Eve, along with Mom and Lisa. He’s got the mattress in the kitchen. Russ, the second oldest, just got in on his plane, around 8 p.m., and he’s a little thirsty. The mattress in the kitchen makes access to the cupboards difficult, if not impossible. And so he steps on it to get a glass.

JP: (to Russ, threatening) You know, in some ethnicities, a man would be killed for stepping on another man’s bed.

Russ: (not missing a beat) Dude, in some cultures, we’d be married.

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Watching a Travel Channel show about Disneyland, the voice over mentions that Club 33 is the only place in the park where you can buy alcohol.

Hyrum: We don’t drink alcohol.

Me: Good job, buddy. That’s right.

Hyrum:  Jesus said we don’t drink alcohol because it puts holes in our teeth. That’s why they call it alco-hole.

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