Archive for August, 2011

White belt wife

August 31st, 2011

In most martial arts, you start as a white belt, and work your way to black. In some schools, you're white until you're black. In other schools, colors are assigned to denote rank. The colors are not standardized across all martial arts; they are particular to the school.

Recently, Claus was engaged in a controversial discussion that was dividing his group of buddies. The two sides couldn't agree on how to achieve something. Nobody was budging for months.

Finally, his side managed to convince the other side to see it their way. How did they do it? They planted a suggestion and made the other side feel like it was their idea in the first place.

Claus shared this news with me one evening after the guys came to their agreement. He was relieved and proud of his diplomacy skills.

Women have to do that all the time to accommodate men's egos. "Congratulations," I said. "You are now ready to be someone's wife."


Some weeks later, we had another conversation in which I was poking gentle fun at him. "Ha ha ha. Wife thinks funny," he said, faking a pout.

"Wife knows she's funny," I answered.

"Wife thinks she's right," he retorted.

"Wife knows she's right," I laughed.

Thinking he would get one over me, he said, "You said I was a wife!"

"You're just a white belt wife," I said. "You need more practice."

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Messy parrot

August 29th, 2011

We were standing near a bird display in a lobby, looking at a parrot named Christian. Olivia was fascinated by how this blue macaw could say words and wave with his claw.


At some point, Christian wanted a snack so he went over to the food bowl, picked up a peanut, and climbed back up to the top of his perch. As he ate it, the shell dropped to the ground below.

"Mommy, what's all that on the floor?" Olivia asked.

I was about to state the obvious, when I decided to turn it into a teachable moment. "You know how Mommy makes you eat your food at the table? Those are crumbs, because Christian is not eating over his bowl. I'm sure his mommy told him he can only eat in his dining area. Now look at the mess he is making for his bird mommy to clean up. I'm sure she isn't happy with that," I said.

She sure can be sassy for four. She looked at me flatly and replied, "No, Mom. He's a bird."

*sigh* I tried.

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August 26th, 2011

Olivia is into hiding. I forgot that I liked that as a child, too. I wonder why that's so popular with kids.

Anyhow, since she was very young, maybe a year old, she likes to play hide and seek with us, except she totally doesn't get the concept. She will find a place to hide and when I'm pretending to find her, she will announce herself to me, or she will snicker loudly which will give herself away.

After we "find" her she instructs us to play it again, and points out where she's planning to hide. (Usually same place.)

This has not gotten old for the past three years. When she hears Claus' car pull in from work, she'll exclaim, "I better hide! I better hide! Daddy's home!" and dart into a not-very-secret location.

Then she'll tell me, "Tell Daddy I went to school." That's somehow supposed to translate to, "Olivia is hiding here at home."

But we know. Claus will launch into this search mission, complete with running commentary, like, "I wonder if she is here under this pillow? This table?" etcetera, until he finds her and she screams with joy.

A funnier one is in the morning, she wakes up around 6 a.m. and wants to cuddle with me. She is indignant if I'm already out of bed. I usually accommodate her by returning to bed and lying down for five minutes.

During this time, Claus is usually coming out of his morning shower. She will pull the blanket up over her head and instruct me, "Tell Dada that I went to school."

We play that game a few times. It really doesn't even require Claus to canvass any territory. He just stands there and pretends to look, and she squeals upon the removal of the blanket.

As soon as she is "found" she will pull the blanket up over her head again and repeat the sequence.

We have our morning laugh and then it's time to get the day started.

I only wish I could perform a variation on this trick at work. I'll put a towel over my head at my desk and tell my cubicle neighbor to inform all others looking for me that I went to a meeting. With any luck, they'll believe it and wander away to look for me elsewhere!

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August 24th, 2011

Ever have one of those days where nothing goes right? I had a day yesterday where it seemed like everything I did embarrassed me. It's not that it went wrong; it just took a detour through shame first.

I had a business meeting mid-day and met someone at his office. After the meeting I went into the public restroom. I hung my purse on the door and put my papers and cell phone on the floor. (I know it's gross but there was nowhere else.)

After I left the bathroom, I got into my car and drove back to work. When I got out of the car, I did not see my purse in the trunk or in the front seat. I freaked out. I riffled through the trunk (which has a lot of stuff in it) and didn't see it.

I panicked and figured I left it on the bathroom door. I sped back to the bathroom to hopefully retrieve it. I also called my contact and asked him to please check the womens' public bathroom. Luckily, we have a friendly history that goes back a couple years, so it wasn't nearly as embarrassing as a first impression.

There was a lot of traffic in Waikiki so it felt like I was crawling. It's like the dream sequence where you think you're running but you go nowhere.

When I got back to his office, I sprinted into the bathroom and didn't find it. I freaked out some more and then decided to recheck everything. Wouldn't you know it; it was buried in my trunk.

I was too wired on adrenaline to register shame at this point, and I gave myself an upset stomach. I am upset now as I re-live it.

In the late afternoon, I had some friends come to try afternoon tea at the hotel. I never make reservations. It's always wide open.

Except, duh, I'm promoting the afternoon tea right now. So due in part to my own p.r. efforts, the tea is mostly sold out for August.

My friends show up and I can't get us in for tea. We went to another restaurant on property, so all's well that ends well, but kind of dopey on my part.

Lastly, I get home, and I am so glad to be wrapping up the day. After I shower, my kid comes over and hands me a pair of my underwear.

She normally doesn't select my underwear for me, so I asked, "What's this for?"

"It was in my nap-time sheet at school," she answered. I had washed the sheet and sent it back with a hot pink panty embedded inside.

This is why, to paraphrase that popular saying, you have to do more than wear clean underwear. You have to own nice looking ones, in case you end up accidentally sending it to preschool for 15 kids and three teachers to see.

What's your embarrassing story?


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Tooth Fairy payout

August 22nd, 2011

My daughter is a little ways away from losing her baby teeth, but someone at school taught her about the Tooth Fairy already. And with the patience of a four year old, she asks every week now when she will lose her first tooth, and how much will the Tooth Fairy pay for said tooth?

They're coming! The adult teeth!

They're coming! The adult teeth!

The first mention of this came at a time when I was not present, but the two guys were. Olivia's dad and babysitter are both Danish, and this was not an automatic response for them. It threw them for a momentary loop. There is no Tooth Fairy in Denmark, they tell me, but they did a literal translation of the words into Danish so they can continue speaking in Danish to her.

As such, they also had no idea what the Tooth Fairy pays for a tooth, and if it's the same amount each time. They asked me when I returned home for advice, but honestly, it's been too long since I lost my teeth. I can't even remember what I did last weekend, much less 30 years ago when my teeth were coming out.

As it happens, a recent Visa Inc. survey discovered that even the Tooth Fairy is not immune from the country's lingering economic challenges, leaving an average of $2.60 per tooth, a 40 cent decrease from last year's $3 per tooth.

Other interesting tidbits from the survey:
-In the Eastern U.S., the Tooth Fairy now leaves just $2.10, a 38% cut from the $3.40 she left in 2010.
-Southern states also saw a significant decrease in the Tooth Fairy's largess, $2.60 in 2011 versus $3.30 in 2010 – a 21% reduction.
-Midwestern children receive an average of $2.80, a modest 3% decrease from last year's $2.90.
-The West bucked the national trend of a belt-tightening Tooth Fairy, with children pocketing $2.80, up 4% from last year's $2.70.

As the sole American in my household, I'm going to make an executive decision to contact the Tooth Fairy and recommend a $2/tooth payout, consistent across the board for all 20 baby teeth. I know some parents prefer to use a declining pay scale for each subsequent tooth, but that'll be too hard for me to remember each time. Simple. I have to keep it simple.

Any suggestions on how much the Tooth Fairy should pay per tooth? What did you get for your baby teeth?

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