The Hazards of Sand

Jolie just turned two and her big birthday gift was a sand castle play table. We’d recently been to the Ultimate Play Date where the kids “dug for fossils” in kiddie pools filled with rice and dinosaur toys, so I was pretty sure another sensory play gift would be a hit.

Sensory playAll I needed was something to fill the play table I bought. On the box kids are depicted playing with sand, beans, balls, and rice. I was set to buy some rice in bulk and make it an indoor toy. This is Phoenix and it gets too hot to play outside, unless it’s the middle of the night and even then you need a heat survival kit. Do they actually make those? They should. It could come with Gatorade, cool cloths, a tent/canopy for shade, and a plane ticket from Phoenix to Seattle. (I won’t take credit if you decide to market that product.)

Lucas decided we should buy sand, thus making it an outdoor toy, because he wants our kids to die from heat stroke. Or, he just thinks it would be more fun. Yeah, probably that. Because he was busy that afternoon, I offered to be the one to go to Home Depot for sand. I mean, it’s JUST SAND. How hard could it be?

An employee directed me to the aisle that had bags and bags of sand. I had no idea there were so many varieties. I figured there were two: 1) beach sand and 2) other sand. Finally, I found a bag marked, “Play Sand: ideal for children’s sand boxes!” But it was in a 50 lb bag and you have no idea how heavy 50 lbs is until you try to dead lift it. I got another employee to come help me put it in my cart but just as he was about to I noticed how much prettier the sand in the bags next to it was. It was tan-colored, soft and fine. So much better than the gravelly, dirty brown play sand.

The pretty sand only came in 100 lb bags so after I checked out yet another employee had to help me load the heavy bag inside my car. At home Lucas carried it inside before he realized it was silica sand. He explained it’s dangerous industrial sand that can cause silicosis, which is a disease with NO KNOWN CURE that causes your lungs to form nodules and fibroids. I’m not even sure what nodules and fibroids are but I know I don’t want them on my lungs. Oh, and silicosis can KILL YOU. So, it’s not exactly what you want to put in your child’s sand box.

Lucas had to lug all 100 lbs of deadly sand back to Home Depot and return it. And he politely but pointedly told the manager that two employees had specifically asked what project I wanted the sand for and were told it was a child’s sand box. Still they let me buy silica sand. Hmpf.

Sand castle play tableThe non-deadly play sand

I’m not actually mad at Home Depot. In fact, I can use this as a legitimate excuse to never have to go shopping there by myself again. And, I learned something from this. There are two kinds of sand: 1) deadly sand and 2) non-deadly sand.

Get Organized for Spring Fun

Today’s post is brought to you by Monkey Bar Storage, who has some great tips to share for getting organized. Just in time for spring cleaning!

Spring has sprung and everyone is getting excited about the outdoor activities that come along with the warmer weather. Gardening and enjoying the weather are just two fun things that you can enjoy during this time of year. However, enjoying these activities can be hard when your supplies are a mess and it takes hours just to look for the one item that you need. Follow the tips below to help organize the materials in your garage so that Springtime activities are a breeze.

Throw Out the Unused: The most needed and least frequently done organizing activity is taking inventory of what you currently have. It’s time to throw out the unused, unwanted, and broken items that are cluttering your precious space. Avoid holding onto items that you haven’t used in 1+ years. Donate items that are still in good condition.

Invest In An Organization System: The quickest way to achieve an organized garage is to invest in an organizing system. There are many racks that are specifically designed to hold garden tools, or even sports equipment. They come in a variety of prices and qualities to meet your goals. With the convenience that comes with having a spot for every one of your items, they are very much worth their price.

Monkey Bar Storage

Replace Broken Items: It’s no surprise that plastic toys and other outdoor items have cracked or broken while they’ve been stored in the garage. Now that you’ve already followed the step to throw out these materials, feel free to replace them if needed. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, local thrift stores are a great place to find replacement garden tools and outdoor toys for kids.

Place Based on Frequency: When arranging items on your new garage organization system, place them based on how frequently you use them. Less frequently used items should be placed up high and out of the way. Items that are used on a daily basis should be kept at eye level.

Enjoy the Weather: You’re now ready to enjoy the weather that comes along with Spring! Be sure to keep your garage organized by placing items back in their spot after using them.

Find Monkey Bar Storage on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Do drug dealers know about this?

Sunday night I noticed how bloodshot Madison’s eyes were and, because we’ve all been passing around colds like notes in a boring history class, my first thought was: Oh, crap. Pink eye.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how contagious pink eye is or what a pain in the butt it is trying to make sure no one else gets it. Because the moment you tell yourself not to touch your eyes under any circumstances that is when they become itchy and watery and you get an eyelash in them. Then you reflexively rub them and spend the next few days freaking out, worrying you’re going to get pink eye too.

The eye doctor’s prognosis the following afternoon was a relief: an infection/irritation from contacts. The treatment? Eye drops, twice a day for five days. Unfortunately, she’d said, they didn’t have any samples so she’d have to write me a prescription, which I promptly went to fill at my usual pharmacy and was told they didn’t have it. The second pharmacy did have it (yay!) and they told me it would cost $186 (boo!). That was with a discount, by the way, or it would have been $239. Somehow that didn’t make me feel grateful to “only” be paying one hundred eighty-six dollars(!). For eye drops. To be used twice a day for five days. Does the math jump out at you too? That’s ten drops at $18.60 each.

ZyletLucas took the calculations further. The 5 mL bottle we got constitutes only 8% active ingredients. Let’s make it easy and round up to an even 10%. That means we bought 0.5 mL of active ingredients for $186. There are 3,785.41 mL to a gallon. (Thank goodness for free online weights and measurement converters.) Divide 3,785.41 by 0.5 and you get 7,570.82. Multiply that by $186 and you get a whopping $1.4 million. So, what did we learn today, class? One gallon of the active ingredients in the eye drops is worth $1.4 million. Think about that the next time you think buying a gallon of milk for $3.29 is expensive.

I’m wondering if drug dealers know about this. Instead of risking decades in prison and thousands of dollars in fines to peddle heroin in the streets for a couple hundred bucks a gram, they could be millionaires selling eye drops on the black market. I’ll bet they’d feel pretty silly if you explained this to them.

Anyway, since Madison can’t wear contacts for five days she has to wear her glasses to school. They’re an old pair with one badly scratched lens from the time she slept over at a friend’s house and the dog chewed them. I’ll give you ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SIX reasons why I don’t feel that sorry for her, starting with the fact this is largely her fault for not taking proper care of her contacts.

Tuesday night I got an email from her high school. They’re usually just to remind parents about upcoming half-days or school concerts and the like. In other words, I usually send them to Trash unread. But this message was to inform me that Madison was “marked absent from one or more classes” and I should contact the attendance office. Instead of accusing her of ditching, which is what I naturally assumed, I asked her if there was anything interesting about her day she wanted to tell me. No, there wasn’t. I played her the message and she still didn’t confess. We logged on to her school website and found she’d been marked absent from English. That’s her 4th period class right before her 5th hour lunch. Highly suspicious.

Madison insisted she’d been present and would talk to her teacher about it. When she did so on Wednesday her English teacher admitted she made a mistake. The reason? She hadn’t recognized Madison in her glasses. I think that’s incredibly HILARIOUS. I mean, didn’t you think it was ridiculous no one recognized Clark Kent and Superman were identical except one wore glasses and the other had a curlicue of hair in the front? Well, apparently glasses are indeed enough to fool everyone in Metropolis and English teachers.

You can keep that disguise in mind if you’re ever on the run from the law for selling heroin. You’re welcome.

The coolest SJP interview ever

If you liked Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment you will love Sarah Jessica Parker’s fabulous Manhattan home. She is so adorable and personable in this interview. I love that she describes New York as “symphonic” and says everyone should be following Word of the Day on Twitter. And in case you were wondering, her favorite color is peacock blue.

Casual Friday

You’re in a long line full of other last minute Christmas shoppers. Your smartphone is in your purse. So what are you going to do for the next ten minutes besides read the tabloid headlines or choose one of fifty kinds of gum? Click these links. Read the funny tweets. Boredom solved!

Momma's Gone City—  Jessica Shyba’s Instagram. Full of heart-melting photos of a boy and his puppy napping together.

—  Aaron Paul helps a fan propose

—  100 years of fashion in 100 seconds

—  19 what-a-coincidence pics

—  The next time you think it’s cold where you live: Antarctica Condition 1 weather

—  Peanuts Christmas dance in NYC

—  Do nothing for 2 minutes

—  Some quirky gift ideas: goldfish bath plug $12, Death Star ice mold $8, inflatable fast food $3, sock sandals $10, Nicholas Cage hairstyle whiteboard $20.

—  Some tweets that made me smile:




For those hard-to-buy-for people

My husband said he wanted an inflated y-axis calibrated purple diametric twerking squid unicorn for Christmas.

Okay, he didn’t say that at all. But that’s what it sounds like when a computer programmer tells a layperson what they want. It’s very exact and technical and sounds like gibberish to me.

Even if I didn’t understand (and had to write it down so I could show a salesperson and be pointed in the direction of twerking squid unicorns), at least he gave me some gift ideas.

You know how every year there are hard-to-buy-for people on your Christmas list and they never give you any suggestions of what to get for them? They say, “Oh, don’t feel like you have to buy me a gift. I don’t need anything.” But you know they’re going to get you a gift and it’s not like you’re not going to buy your mother a present. Even if they mask being unhelpful with concern: “Save your money. You work hard for it.”

With Christmas just one week away I’m getting pretty desperate to finish my shopping. Here is what I’ve decided to do: Anyone who doesn’t give me at least one idea of what to buy for them is getting a garden gnome. The has-everything-they-need people on my list should beware because I will buy the ugliest gnome I can find. Then I’ll wrap it in tin foil and put a recycled bow on top. Merry Christmas!

garden gnomeI’m actually hoping I’ll have to give someone a garden gnome this year so it can serve as a warning for future Christmases. As in, “You better tell Melissa what you want. Remember Christmas of 2013? She gave her own mother a garden gnome pushing a cat in a wheelbarrow. She doesn’t even have a garden or a cat!” Every year I’ll choose something tackier. 2014′s default gift is a pooping moose scarf. Trust me, no one on my list will want that.

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A Handmade Calendar

Every Christmas my mother makes a 3 1/2 x 5 desk calendar as a gift for someone who loves Disney but she never realizes how good of a job she does. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s awesome. You should see the scrapbooks she makes. WOW.

The Disney Channel

Hudson on the TVWhat? How do you watch TV?

Instead of working today, do this

Elf yourself. I did. Look how well I can do the Charleston.

On the Fritz

A few days ago the washing machine started making a funny noise. The kind of noise that makes me glad I have a husband who can fix things. But also a noise that let me know we will most likely be spending money we didn’t intend on spending. Right before Christmas.

On the other hand… new washer? Which I totally wanted anyway. Which might be on sale because there are lots of husbands out there who buy their wives new washing machines and blenders and probably even toasters for Christmas. (If you’re the wife getting a toaster I hope it’s one of the 4-slice kinds with slots big enough for bagels.)

Then my husband took the washer all apart and I could hear him shouting from the laundry room that he’d found something. I thought it was a sock escape tunnel and he could block it off and we’d all finally stop wearing mismatched socks. Instead he found a bobby pin that was stuck and I was pretty surprised that a bobby pin could cause this much trouble. But of course it didn’t because removing it didn’t solve the problem. I still have to scold my teenage daughter for leaving bobby pins in her pockets. Like you really need to carry them for emergency fly-aways.

The upshot is we are calling a repairman who will likely fix it and I won’t be getting a new washer on sale for Christmas. I did get this cute picture though.

Hudson and Lucas in the washerAlso, our dishwasher isn’t all that great so there’s always that. They’re probably on sale too. I can research this while I’m sitting at a laundromat this weekend.