From the mouths of babes

Maly ran outside to the backyard yesterday afternoon. I went outside to see what she was doing. I caught her with a hand trowel digging in the dirt where we buried our dead fish last Oct.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Trying to dig up Willie. I want to see him.”
“Maly, don’t dig Willie up. He’s not alive anymore.”
“And he has skeleton bones now?”
“Yes. That’s correct. He’s a skeleton now.”
“Why is he a skeleton?” Of course I did what every loving intelligent parent would do. I sat Maly down, handed her my computer and told her to google the word decomposition. ;-)
“Mommy, do we die too?”
“Yes, Sweetie.”
“Where do we go after we die?” Gulp…and there’s one of the questions you know your child will one day ask, but for some reason that day just seems to come so soon. I sat her down next to me on the top step of the deck. I told her about heaven (which she’s already heard us talk about) and getting to be with God. I told her that being in heaven would mean being happy all of the time. I also told her she’d get to be with Mary and Jesus. She seemed satiated by my explanation. We sat on the deck for a while and watched the wind blowing through the trees.

Lat night while I was preparing dinner, Maly turned to Josh and said, “Daddy, when we die we go to heaven and we get to be with Mary.”
Then she turned to me and said, “Mommy, do we see in heaven?”
“Yes, Maly. I think we do see in heaven.”
Long pause
“Let’s have a conversation here.”

Umm…I thought that’s what we were doing. Kids say the darndest things.

4-Wheeling Riley

I think if you ask most people who know me they’d agree I’m pretty attentive to detail. However, pregnancy has done a number on my mind. I’ll boil water to make tea and then forget to pour the water into the tea pot. The other night John and Christine came over for dinner and I threw whole potatoes with their skins still on in cold water thinking we’d have mashed potatoes in minutes. I’ve walked out of stores with other people’s bags (innocently I might add), but none of these compare to Sunday’s events. I kissed Josh goodbye and headed to the store to run an errand. As I was backing out of the garage in my Jeep I noticed our neighbors Stacy, Brandon and Ray waving at me from across the street. At first I thought they were just giving me a neighborly wave, but as I backed into the street I noticed Stacy running in my direction waving her arms and franticly motioning me to stop. I pulled over to the curb and rolled my window down. She held her hands up and said, “Don’t move. Riley is on top of your Jeep.” As she said this I turned back to see Riley jump to the ground and run towards the driveway. “Oh my gosh!,” I exclaimed. I thanked Stacy for the warning and sheepishly waved to Ray and Brandon. Before I pulled away I leaned out my window and yelled to all three, “Riley isn’t the sharpest tack in the drawer, but I guess I should be more observant.” We all laughed and I drove away. I called Josh immediately to tell him of Riley’s adventure. Although I couldn’t stop laughing I also felt a little like crying. What would poor Riley have done if our neighbors hadn’t been there to stop me? Josh’s response to my question was, “You have a canvas top. He could have dug his claws in.” Yikes! From now on I’ll be more careful.

I did have a talk with Riley when I got home. I reminded him that although Jeeps can be fun they are also to be taken seriously and if he really wants to go 4-wheeling he should learn the right way. I have him signed up for classes with Gus.

Busted Blender

  Note to Josh:
When the blender makes a funny sound, smells like burning plastic and begins to smoke…that’s probably a good sign that you should stop. The 4 previous blenders that you burned up should have been a clue.

Does anyone know where to get an industrial strength blender for Christmas? Preferably one made out of titanium?


It’s hard to believe that this is only our 2nd Halloween in our house. Last year Josh and I were so excited to finally have trick-or-treaters that we decided to go all out. (You see when you live in an apartment you don’t get trick-or-treaters.) We headed to the local craft store and bought some ornaments to decorate the lawn and house. Then we headed over to the mall to Spencer’s to get some scarier items. We found a noise detector ghost that’s supposed to light up, move and howl whenever it detects noise. It’s really neat too except that you pretty much have to clap your hands to get it to work. We hung it up outside by the door thinking that as trick-or-treaters approached it would go off. No such thing. I don’t think it worked once. The other big thing we bought was a DVD that plays different excerpts of ghouls, ghosts and goblin heads making scary faces and saying scary things. Josh used an old t.v. and set up an elaborate scene in our spare bedroom by our front walkway so the kids would see it as they walked up. He started a couple of weeks before Halloween and spent countless hours working on his scene. He went to the hardware store and found some plexiglass. He hunted outside for sticks and leaves. He rolled an old office chair into the bedroom and found a blanket to use. Long story short, we had a really cool goblin head that looked like it was floating in the room. Josh had also purchased a Michael Myers mask (from the movie “Halloween”) to don when kids came to the door. Do you think any of this scared the kids? Nope. They laughed! We’ve decided that kids are too desensitized today when it comes to horror. Maybe we need to try what my childhood classmate’s family did. Tyler Peterson’s parents always got into Halloween and their house was the “cool” house to go to for treats. Tyler’s mom would dress up like a witch and Tyler’s dad would dress up like a werewolf. They decorated their porch and Tyler’s mom would sit in a rocking chair stirring a black cauldron with dry ice in it. She never broke character and she’d tell you in her best witchy voice to stick your hand in the cauldron to complete her potion. When you’d stick your hand in the cauldron you felt a mushy wet mess that she would then tell you were brains (cooked macaroni noodles). As we left the porch Tyler’s dad would jump out from behind a bush and chase after us. We’d all scream and run away until we were breathless and we’d go back every year…even when we were too old to be scared. I think Josh and I should consider taking this route, although as I sit here and write I can’t help but laugh. Last year we almost ran out of candy and I had to run to the store to buy more. This year I planned ahead and bought candy at Sam’s three weeks in advance. Tonight was chilly and we had far fewer trick-or-treaters than last year. Needless to say the only dent in the 7 lbs of candy I bought is from Josh and me eating it over the last few weeks.

One more thing, where I grew up…Iowa…we had to tell a joke in order to get a treat. That’s why they call it Trick-or-Treat. You have to do a trick (tell a joke) in order to get a treat. By the middle of the night the neighbors answering the doors were finishing your jokes and sometimes would ask you for a different one. You always made sure to have two jokes ready. By the end of the night they were so tired of hearing them they would open the door and all but throw the candy bowl at you. As we got older we got smarter and would wait to trick-or-treat until later. That way we knew everyone would be tired of hearing jokes and would be ready to get rid of their candy. We got a lot of loot that way. I think you would call it power trick-or-treating. Josh made fun of me and said that telling jokes for candy must be some kind of Yankee thing. I told him that explains why people in the north tend to be smarter. We had to work for our candy…

Thundercloud Subs and Stormy Customer Service

So you know that rule about receiving bad service? If you have good service you tell one person, but if you have bad service you tell six. Well, I’m going to tell everyone who reads our website (and I’m pretty sure it’s a lot more than six) that I had bad service at Thundercloud Subs. I got home from work tonight and Josh had printed out a flyer from their website that someone had sent him via email today. Apparently they’re running a 30th Anniversary sale and everyday for a month they have a sandwich on special. Today’s sandwich was Roast Beef and Avocado for $2.99. Regular price is $5.19. The “special” is supposed to be the price the sandwich was when they first opened thirty years ago. Now those of you that know me know how I love a good sale, deal or coupon so it didn’t take much to convince me that we should get dinner from Thundercloud. A side note to this is that Josh was the one to suggest we get dinner from there. He doesn’t ordinarily like Thundercloud (ask him about it), but I do. Since I rarely dine out without Josh (eating at El Arroyo doesn’t count) I thought this would be a great opportunity to reintroduce Thundercloud to him.

I arrived at the store and walked in with a family of four. They politely motioned for me to go in front of them and when I told the clerk I’d like the special she quickly responded, “Oh. Didn’t you see the sign on the door? We’re out of the special.”

Since the door was held open for me I did not see the sign so I stepped aside to call Josh for his alternative choice. I got back in line as the family of four was finishing their order just in time to hear the employee making the sandwiches tell the employee at the register, “Don’t sell anymore avocado. We’re out of it.”

Shoot. Strike two. The sandwich I always get is the Veggie Delite…it comes with avocado. That’s okay. I’m willing to try something new so I make a choice for Josh and a new one for myself. I get back up to the counter and ask the employee if they will substitute something comparable for the price of the special. Before I could finish my sentence she blurted out, “No. It’s only while supplies last.”

I debate a moment and realize I don’t really feel like ordering two meals full price…that whole bate-and-switch thing came to mind. Get them in the door for a special and then tell them you’re out of it, but you have something else that’s more expensive available.

I step back again, look over my flyer and realize nowhere on it does it say “only while supplies last.” I walk back to the counter and say to the employee, “I’m sorry. I don’t see anywhere on here where it says only while supplies last.”

She halfway rolls her eyes and says, “It says it on the door. It’s not my rule. That’s just how it is.”

I tell her, “I understand that, but since I drove all the way here only to be disappointed could they not make one exception by substituting one sandwich?”

Again she shook her head and made more excuses of how she just works there and she has no clout and it’s her manager’s rules, blah, blah, blah. I interrupted her and said, “Since they are his rules may I speak with your manager?” “He’s not here.” “May I speak with the manager on duty?”

Again rolling her eyes she took out a piece of paper and proceeded to write down a phone number. “There isn’t one here, but you can call the corporate office and they will take care of it.”

I took the paper, walked outside to check the sign on the door and called the number. By-the-way, nowhere on the door was there a sign that said “only while supplies last.” The office was closed for the day so I left a message. I told them I work in the food industry and know what good customer service is and didn’t feel the situation was handled well. I also told them I thought their advertisement wasn’t very good/misleading. I then told them that if someone would like to resolve the situation they could call me at my daytime number. I hope someone does call because I’d like to hear their reaction when I answer the phone, “El Arroyo Catering.” It’s not that I wasn’t willing to pay an extra $3.00 for a sandwich, or that I had a huge problem with having to change my selection, it was the way I was treated and the unwillingness to satisfy my needs. So I’ll wait to see if I receive a phone call from the main office tomorrow. I know if it was my boss who received the phone call he would make every effort to satisfy the customer and rectify the situation. We’ll see if Thundercloud has the same perspective.