Monday, January 16, 2012

Cupcakes, Birthdays and the Lure of Free Dessert

Sunday afternoon, Elliot and I trekked to the store to buy supplies for Fred's favorite flavored birthday cupcakes - yellow with brown frosting.  He instantly groaned when I informed him that our darling child would be helping me make them. 

If I could read his mind I think it'd be something like this:  Oh man, that's going to be a disaster.  I'm going to choke and die on egg shells, the counter - and all walls leading to the bathroom for hand washing - will be sticky and there will be batter shot all over the kitchen when she lets him use the mixer.  How do you even get that off the ceiling? And my wife is a totally lazy slob so I know I'll have a ton of cleaning to do.  Happy Freaking Birthday to me, man.

Or something like that.

Other than completely obliterating the egg on the counter (note to self:  Elliot doesn't get the difference between gently tapping the egg and crushing it), the cupcakes turned out perfect.  So there, Freddie Bill.  And, I did manage to get the dirty dishes stacked in the sink instead of all over the kitchen, sticking - nearly permanently - to the surface of wherever I left them.  So... uh... double there, Freddie Bill.

Happy Birthday to the best husband I could ask for.  (Well, other than Matthew P. Damon, of course.) (Or Nick Newman but he'd likely run back to Phyllis at least once a year.)  Happy Birthday to the hands-down best dad ever. 

Now let's go out to eat so I can make complete strangers belt out an obnoxious rendition of the Happy Birthday song to you just to get myself a free brownie sundae.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Impending Birthday Blues

Get ready to console Fred Seckman, ladies and gentlemen because he has officially asked for a completely unaffordable birthday gift.  (Well, in our current financial position since we ain't no lotto winners. And, considering we're in the market for an entirely new furnace/pump system.)

I assume he's tired of the old socks-and-undies routine based on the numbers of items he was able to rattle off in a matter of seconds.  But it was the last one that stopped me in my tracks.

Whoa, Fred Seckman, just who do you think we are?  Did you get some astronomical raise I don't know about? Did YOU win the lottery?  Did you cash out our retirement accounts?  Cause, whoa, man.  Whoa.

What did he want?  An all expense paid trip to Wrigley Field for Opening Day for him and 10 friends.

I did some quick math on the basics:
  • Tickets to the game - $50 each x 11 people:  $550.00
  • They'll have to take 3 cars - 533 miles each way / 22mpg x $3.20 for gas x 3 vehicles:  $232.58
  • Gas station snacks and Mountain Dews - $4 each x 11 people x 4 stops: $176.00
  • Fast food meals - $10 each x 11 people x 4 times:  $440.00
  • Hotel stay for 2 nights w/ 2 per room - $210 x 6 rooms x 2 nights:  $2,520.00
  • Fancy breakfast at hotel - $18 each x 11 people:  $198.00
  • Then they'll eat at Harry Carays downtown - $45 times 11 people: $495.00
  • They'll obviously need beer and snacks at the game - $20 times 11 people: $220.00
  • Souvenirs at the game and new hats - $35 each:  $385.00
... and it comes up to about eleventy billion dollars, or $5,216.58.  Note:  This figure doesn't include any speeding tickets, toll fees or the bail I'll have to post when he runs on the field naked and gets arrested.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Word for 2012

Once a month, we have an all-staff huddle where I work.  It's a great chance to catch up on the happenings around here since our organization does so much different work by people spread out across the state. 

At the beginning of each huddle, we do some kind of ice-breaker.  Normally, these make me cringe as they bring back memories of days in which an ice-breaker seemed a mandatory part of Day 1 in any class you took or group you joined.  Horrid.  Awful.  Dreaded, even. 

(Side note:  I used to get so nervous before tests that I was prepared for that I'd have to poo a million times so you can imagine my level of anxiety on the first day of anything.  Hello, TMI.)

Yesterday, however, was good.  We were asked to give our name and then one word to describe how we felt / looked at going into 2012.  There were a lot of answers you'd expect: energized, ready, excited, refreshed, etc. but my answer was a little different.  My word?


Relieved that 2011 is behind me and relieved that a new year was escorted in without any major glitches.  Relieved that I seem to be on track to a healthier me on a variety of levels.  Relieved that I have a strong base of family and friends that supported me through was was probably the toughest year of my life.  Relieved that I can breathe again.

Also?  Relieved that I know my word can and hopefully will change as the year goes on.  For now, I'm content basking in the glow of filing things away and storing them up but I know that won't last forever.  I hope to be hopeful next followed by rejuvenated.  (Or some other sappy crappy word like that.)

What is your word for 2012?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Recent Reads

I finally got the brainpower back to read so I've been making up for lost time.  Below are the books I've read recently, categorized by my super scientific calculations:

You Should Totally Read This
The Almost Moon - Alice Sebold
These Things Hidden - Heather Gudenkauf
You're Not You - Michelle Wildgen
Autobiography of a Fat Bride - Laurie Notaro
Paint it Black - Janet Fitch
White Oleander - Janet Fitch
There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell - Laurie Notaro

Meh - It was Decent
The Bricklayer - Noah Boyd
Wire to Wire - Scott Sparling
Midwives - Chris Bohjalian
Crybaby Ranch - Tina Welling
Bossypants - Tina Fey
Spooky Little Girl - Laurie Notaro
Same Kind of Different As Me - Ron Hall
Hardly Knew Her - Laura Lippman
More Than it Hurts You - Darin Strauss

Don't Bother
The Belivers - Zoe Heller
The First Husband - Laura Dave

I Died a Little Inside
Badd - Tim Tharp
Falling Home - Karen White
If You Were Here - Jen Lancaster

You're welcome.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

While I Was Out...

I feel like I've been checked out for the last year or so and definitely checked out of this blog for months.  So many times I wanted to dust off the keyboard and clack out the latest Seckman adventures, mishaps and news but I just never knew what to say.

Should I explain my absence?
Did I actually need to?
It felt heavy.  Daunting, even. And, I didn't know where I'd start.

I can sum up the last 12 months with these words: Depression and Anxiety blows, y'all.  So with a new year comes the chance to start over new. I will not dredge up the past and force myself to relive these last 12 months but to move forward and get back to what I love to do: write, entertain and document our lives.

So, what'd you miss, you ask?  Sadly, lots.  A montage, just for you:

I was informed I was the worst mom ever by my darling child.  Elliot got busted making out with a classmate.  (3 times.  He is 4. But, he said to the Center's Director, it's okay because he'll marry her.)  Fred got a hard-earned and well-deserved promotion at work. He also told an Urgent Care doc that I pushed him down the stairs. (I didn't.) 4 months later he had surgery after finally admitting it wasn't healing and I'm officially on shovel duty through the end of January. We went to Disney World again and met up with the Medwicks.  It successfully reminded me just how much I miss them.  I've spent a bundle of money buying fabrics that are cute with absolutely nothing planned to make with them.  Elliot got his first love note from a girl at preschool - it was him and her holding hands with a heart over it.  (Yes, it's still hanging on the fridge.)  Fred surprised me with a Forever Lazy and a new diamond wedding band for Christmas.  (Not sure which I love more!)  I fell down the stairs in November and then re-injured the torn plantar fascia when Evil Stacey talked me into working out with her. I got a new nephew - Wyatt!  Elliot lets me paint his fingernails.  Eric, our favorite Lazlo's manager, demoted himself and returned to being a server.  He is now our favorite Lazlo's server. Over Thanksgiving we saw Elliot's love of apple pie come to fruition. I successfully brainwashed Fred's family into serving canned cranberry sauce at every big family meal.  Fred finally got me to buckle and he's now the proud owner of a gigantic TV.  We launched the first (and hopefully annual) Fredtoberfest.  Elliot was sick on Halloween and had to spend the night watching out the window with a super sad face at everyone walking around scoring bags of candy.  Fred made me miss all but the last 5 seconds of Elliot's first Christmas Program.  (Yes, I'm still bitter.  No, it's not the reason for the ring.) I hosted a Pampered Chef party with one of the biggest whack-job consultants I've ever met.  I helped teach Stacey to sew and form an addiction to fabric. Elliot attended his first wedding and got to put on a real show on the dance floor including all the moves to Cha Cha Slide. Recently, I experienced the most awesome beverage my mouth has ever encountered: a well-made mojito served in a jar.

I have no doubt I'm leaving some things out like the time the sales person at a shoe store asked me out to lunch or the asses that are occupying Lincoln in front of the State Office Building (as if they aren't some of the most disgruntled, government-hating folks out there) or even telling you some of Elliot's hysterical (read: awful) knock-knock jokes.

The final thing we did in 2011? The Seckman Trio hung out at Dave & Buster's on New Years Eve eating delicious food and playing arcade games until we were pooped (read: broke and way past Elliot's bedtime).

And, I think it was the perfect way to let loose at the end of a trying year - laughing, playing, winning prizes and remembering just how much I love my awesome family.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goodbye and Hello

Goodbye to the worst year ever.

Hello - and welcome - to the new year.