Tuesday, February 27, 2007


mi·nu·ti·a - [mi-noo-shee-uh, -shuh, -nyoo-] noun, plural Usually, minutiae. precise details; small or trifling matters: the minutiae of his craft.

Sitting at dinner the other evening, my husband commented that having a blog is like having a journal, and he encouraged me to print and save all my posts in a binder. I agreed that it would be a good idea to save them, but that blog posts about bathtubs and body pillows is not what I would exactly include in a journal. He responded that its exactly the right material, and that it’s the minutiae of daily life that depict who a person is.

Minutiae. I was convinced that such a word was entirely made up. We even bet “cleaning the bathroom” on who was right, whether the word existed or not.

Much to my surprise, not half an hour later we heard the word used in a Seinfeld episode. Well, I clean bathrooms anyway, so who cares that I was wrong. It should make sense to hear it on Seinfeld. That’s the whole basis of the show. A show about nothing. And yet we love it so much! Here’s the first paragraph of Jerry’s Biography:

The most successful and influential comedian of his generation, Jerry Seinfeld's brilliant observational riffs on the minutiae of everyday life formed the basis of the television classic Seinfeld, the quintessential sitcom of the 1990s and one of the most beloved series in the history of the medium.

Well, here’s part of the transcript from the episode we watched. It’s “The Bizarro Jerry” where Elaine meets a group of three people who are in every way the opposites of Jerry, George, and Kramer. Enjoy a laugh.

ELAINE: What? What is goin' on with you two?

JERRY: Oh, I don't wanna talk about it..

ELAINE: All right, listen. Have you seen my addre-- [sees address book on counter] -ah! There it is. Okay. I got it. I'll see you later. [leaving]

JERRY: Hey! Wait! Wait! Wait a second! Where you goin'? I-I hardly ever see you anymore.

ELAINE: [stops, pause] Well, I. [a little ashamed] I guess I been at Reggie's..

JERRY: The Bizarro coffee shop?

ELAINE: Kevin and his friends are nice people! They do good things. They read..

JERRY: I read.

ELAINE: Books, Jerry.

JERRY: [pause] Oh. Big deal..

ELAINE: Well! I can't spend the rest of my life coming into this stinking apartment every ten minutes to pore over the, excruciating minutia, of every, single, daily event..

JERRY: {What's goin' on,} like yesterday, I go to the bank to make a deposit, an' the teller gives me this look, like--

ELAINE: I'll see you later man. I gotta go.

JERRY: [frustrated, to self] The whole system is breakin' down!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Take me on

I recently became a craigslister, and have been regularly scouting out deals on furniture and other things, and have also advertised my babysitting services. I’ve had several successful transactions. Of course, I’m very cautious about what personal information I disclose. I wont even contact someone by phone unless I’m sure it’s a legitimate transaction.

A few weeks ago, I received a very interesting email in response to my advertised babysitting services. “Lisa” asked, in somewhat broken English, if I could take on her three year old daughter in my home, in addition to the “care of her laundries.” She mentioned that she had a very generous weekly budget. I was a little surprised at the quoted weekly salary, and a little confused by it, and a little wary that it was too good to be true. Keeping myself as anonymous as possible, I probed for a little more information to see if it was for real or not. How much laundry? Can she drop her child off since I won’t always have a car? Does her child have any special needs (which would answer why she was offering to pay so much), etc. I even quoted her how much a private daycare costs around here and that she could do that for less than what she had offered me.

I got a reply from Lisa, who avoided answering my questions, but asked about my credentials as a caregiver. Am I certified? Do I know CPR? Do I have a drivers’ license and how long have I been driving? All of the sudden, this became a job interview for me. But she emailed me first! I was becoming more and more uncertain of this woman, and more certain that I was being fooled.

Then I got Lisa’s next email. She congratulated me on her decision to “take me on” and told me that I would need to submit some information to her so she could wire me my payment from some client of hers in the states that owes her money, and then I send her the rest…etc. The scheme was very detailed. To be honest, I didn’t even have to read the entire thing. I just noticed the bulleted list of needed information midway down which included:

  • Picture
  • Drivers’ License number
  • Social Security Number
  • Bank Account Number
  • and many more…

My response: Ha! Nice try!

Lisa never emailed me back.

Now, I’m an intelligent person. First of all, why did “Lisa” target a stay at home mom advertising her childcare services? Do I represent a cross-section of Utah Valley that is so easy to manipulate? Second of all, should I feel stupid for letting it go so far? I mean, honestly, it was too good to be true, and the English was so broken and awkward that it should have been a dead give away. And third, is the fact that I did let it get so far an indication that I’m desperate?

I really regretted that I deleted the string of emails, because you all would have gotten a great laugh out of it (whether you would be laughing at her or at me has yet to be seen). But then I got another one today! This time it’s from James and it was in response to a Wireless Network Adapter I posted for sale. Here it is. I have made no alterations to the spelling, grammar, or punctuation.

Dear customer,

how is everything including your work,hope all is well with you?if so splendid.It afford me a great deal of pleasure forwarding you this note from my desk.While i was searching trought i saw your past .i will like to buy your goods .Pls i will want you to get to me back so we can talk more better on it.


I know, it makes the ESL specialist who is reading this cringe. And he saw my past? Woah, that’s creepy. I’m almost tempted to “get to him back” and see what the scam is this time. Maybe he knows Lisa!

Friday, February 23, 2007

What's in a name?

Hello Friends! Thanks for reading my blog! You make me feel special! Help me think of an appropriate name for my blog...something funny, clever, witty, silly, whatever! Something that is appropriate to my blogging about my exciting life at home with my little Leah and my Chris. I want to hear your suggestions.

I'll keep accepting your submissions until I pick a few that I like, then maybe we'll vote on it or something. Until then, my blog will be nameless!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

How are the bathtubs?

“Ohh, it would be so nice to just soak in a hot bath right now.”

Response: “The tub is dirty, you’d have to clean it first.”

“I said I wanted to take a bath and relax, not clean the bathroom!”

This was last December, when we were planning on moving to a new home. Later that night, I went in to make a bath for the baby. My husband was right. It was gross. I wouldn’t let anything but my feet come in contact with it, and I’d scrub them vigorously, why should I make my child be mostly submerged? I immediately started scrubbing furiously, pushing back tears.

Within seconds I was bawling over the edge of the bathtub because I was afraid that no matter where I lived I'd always be disgusted by my bathtub. I felt like I would never be satisfied with my life because I would always want something more or something different than what I have today, the grass would always be greener on the other side of the fence, and my bathtub would always have old plumbing and be covered in someone else's (and my own) grime. So then it transformed into this awful depressed feeling that we were making a terrible mistake moving to a new place because no matter what I did or where I lived I would never be satisfied with my life because I would always have an ugly, dirty bathtub.

Soon afterward, when I had leveled, I realized that I had been a little emotional about dirt and had let that concern escalate, and that life really is good right now. We were making the right decision, and I could handle my bathtub wherever I live. I had confided in my visiting teacher later that week about my bathtub woes, and a month or so later after we had made the move, she very dutifully asked me, “How are the bathtubs?”

They’re great!

15 Minutes of Fame

The Benac bloggers are famous! Click here for a look at Aunt Nancy's story about family blogging, and check out my aunt's and cousin's blogs while you're at it!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Third Chances

"Do you believe in third chances?" I expectantly ask my husband as he takes a bite. I've made beef stroganoff for the second time in my life, and it still doesn't taste like Mom's. He was eagerly scarfing down the contents of his plate while I was eyeing a box of Macaroni & Cheese in the pantry.

The first time I made it, I had a very poorly stocked pantry so there was no cream of mushroom soup to add as the main flavor of the dish, the meat was tough, and I had defaulted to adding a tablespoon of butter every time it looked dry...lets just say that even though everyone ate it with smiles on their faces, I thought it was blah and had a snack two hours later. Thank you for being so gentle with such a pathetic cook.

Then today, I added too much cream of mushroom soup, too much horseradish sauce (I know, my mom doesn't even put this in at all), and the meat was tough. I'm going to try again. He is willing to continue being my food critic as I search my soul for the true stroganoff. Hey, as long as he gets dinner, he's happy.

I remember going through the perfecting stage with my spaghetti sauce. Two cans of tomato sauce, three tablespoons of sugar, a whole lot of garlic, some dried oregano until you see little flecks throughout the whole pan, onion powder if you accidentally added too much pepper, pepper if you accidentally added too much sugar...But unfortunately, even though my spaghetti may be delicious, you just can't eat it every day. So I'm expanding my horizons and working on stroganoff. (I've also perfected an all-fruit smoothie! 6 fruits and juices, no sugar added...unfortunately, that doesn't really count as dinner)

There are very few things my husband won't eat. He has a problem with fruit mixed with meat, such as raisins or grapes in chicken salad, and pineapples on pizza, he won't eat rhubarb, and he doesn't like liver. You'd think my job would be fairly easy: feed the hungry man who will eat practially anything. But I'm the one that is hard to please. He may say it tastes great and go back for seconds, but if I think its awful, he must be bluffing. So even though my stroganoff may be substandard to me, he just douses it with salt and pepper and garlic and eats it as if it were his last meal. I'm warning you, it just may be.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Money Matters to the Miser

It baffles me that even though my husband is employed full time for the State of Utah and receives an attractive government benefits package, our income still qualifies us for government aid such as WIC and the Earned Income Credit on our tax return. I'm in no way complaining about the tax return part, but doesn't that sound kind of strange?

I had a happy moment yesterday while filling out an online survey. Even though we are ironically still considered impoverished by the government who provides our salary, when I was asked to provide some information about annual household income I did not check the first box. I don't know...something about that just made me feel really excited!
  • Under $20,000
  • $20,000 - $39,999
  • $40,000 - $59,999
  • $60,000 - $79,999
  • $80,000 - $99,999
  • $100,000 - $119,999
  • $120,000 - $139,999
  • $140,000 and Over

Okay. Frugality. I know its a good thing, but where do you draw the line between penny pinching and being a miser?...miser is only one "y" away from misery, after all. I am reminded of this question every night as my husband and I put ourselves to bed. See, when I was pregnant, I spent $8 on a body pillow so that I could sleep on my side on the pillow and with it between my legs. It was a very comfortable solution. Of course, I got addicted to it and continued to use it after my pregnancy was over--it was just so comfortable!

Then Chris broke his arm and had surgery and made a strong case for why he should get to use the body pillow--to elevate his broken, throbbing arm. Okay, I can handle that. Well, his arm has been fine for 8 months and counting, and he still has nightly possession of the body pillow. Every night we entertain a dialogue that sounds something like this:

J: "Honey, can I have the body pillow tonight?"
C: "Well, I guess you can sleep tonight and I'll just be tired all day tomorrow."
J: "Fine, keep it."
C: "Well, if you really need it..."

For some reason, he wins every night. For a while I tried this tactic:

J: "Honey, I'm post-partum. I need the body pillow tonight."

He saw right through that. So I tried this:

J: "Honey, I'm pre-menstrual. I need the body pillow tonight."

Then a week later,

J: "Honey, I'm post-menstrual. I need the body pillow tonight."

That didn't work for more than two weeks.

On several occasions, Chris has suggested that we simply buy a second body pillow, but I just can't seem to be okay with that...If I concede and purchase a second, it means (1) That I'm not special and therefore am not entitled to any special treatment, and (2) That he wins and gets to sleep with a body pillow every night. Even if it means that we are both well rested, I just can't bring myself to spend 8 dollars more on this issue.

Then today, we used part of that poor-people tax credit to buy a coveted new couch. It just seemed like time to replace the furniture that came from a garage sale 3 years ago with a ticket price of $20. Plus, our new couch was only $400! Lets just say the price was right. Today after an afternoon of seeminlgy endless errands, I came home, put the baby down for a nap and collapsed on our new sofa. I had to try out its nap-ability. Woah! An hour and a half later, my husband came home from work wondering why dinner wasn't ready.

I think it's ironic that we could have solved our body pillow/sleeping issues with only an $8 investment, but instead we spent $4oo and will now fight over who gets to sleep on the couch.

Friday, February 02, 2007

When SUPERMOM comes out at night

She promptly answers the shrill call of duty--a sustained and panicked wail coming from the next room. The call is not a vain plea for attention, but a distinct cry for help! She instantly transforms into her hero identity in the darkness of the hallway. She is alert, concerned, and on a mission. Despite the clock's message that it is three-something, and the light of day isn't a passing thought on the horizon, she knows it is a true hour of need. Only she alone can solve the mystery and free the victim from her clutches of discomfort.

Our vigilante dons her hero utility belt, equipped with teething gel, diaper rash cream, children's motrin--a miniature drugstore to say the least, prepared to make her diagnosis. The belt coordinates perflectly with her pajama garb and mid night hair stylings. She reaches the distressed victim and proceeds to swiftly assess the situation, paying no mind to the darkness and her own near sightedness. She sings with the voice of a lark, and like a soft wind on a warm summer's eve, gently rocks her young in the Hero's chair. She is patient and calm, never once yearning for the warm berth from which she was summoned. Having entered unseen, she exits as a shadow, her true identity known only to the one who cannot speak. Only she can solve the mystery of the Mid Night Diaper Explosion.

She is strong. She is invincible. She has no sense of smell. She is SUPERMOM!

You would not recognize this same character in daylight as her public identity is a charade. In the face of innumerable opposition, she strives not as the supermom whose charge it is to keep the child happy, but merely to keep it alive. Her eyes are encrusted with sleep, her curse a keen sense of smell. And unlike her alter-ego who thrives on the elixer of life and never tires, she chugs the bismol of pepto, attempting to assuage the complaints of an angry stomach, and longs for the dull snore of her charge so she herself can return to a comatose state. The young human is indeed her pride and joy, but our champion is devoid of heroic energy. Her responsibilities are innumerable and her distractions many. She can only long for the darkness of night when her true identity awakens and she once again becomes Supermom.