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Sunday, March 30, 2008

La Biblioteca

TV Guide always puts out an issue where they feature “The Best Show You’re not Watching.” I remember one year it was Gilmore Girls. Another time it was Arrested Development. I watched both those shows so I’m obviously in the know.

That’s why you should listen to me when I say I know the best place you’re not frequenting. (It’ll be no surprise if you remember a little bit of high school Spanish.)

The library.

Sure, I used to purchase books from Barnes and Noble. Even got a nice little collection here. And it’s good to own books, makes you look smart. But how often do you re-read books? Like never.

But here’s how the library works: you can borrow books, read them and then return them. And best of all, it’s free! No, I mean it’s free even to join. There’s no initiation fee. Anyone can join. You just need a driver’s license or a recent electric bill.

Why does it seem like people don't go there as much anymore? I'm here to tell you the library is cool.

Yes, there are a few drawbacks:
You can’t write notes in the books
You can’t dog-ear the pages
Sometimes you don’t finish the book in time and you try to renew it but someone else is waiting so you can’t
You can’t use the books as a coaster

More library pros:
It’s free!
They have new books! My library, at least, has this thing called the “floating collection” which has newer books. You can only keep them for two weeks but still, they’re the same ones on the display tables at B&N.
The library setting is so peaceful. It’s one of the last few places to not allow cell phones.
You can check out audio books and listen to them in your car.
Did I mention that you get all this for free?

Right now I’m reading “Shopaholic and Baby.” It was just released the end of 2007. You can't get much newer than that unless you pre-order something on Amazon where you have to pay for the book AND the shipping.

I mean, you rent movies. Why not rent books?

So go to your local library. You too can read new, free books. You’ll impress your book club, save money and support your local community (not really financially, more emotionally).

Oh, and if you have time left over after reading your free books, also watch Greek on ABC Family. I'm telling you, I'm totally in the know.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Due Dates

Flashback 1993--Summer before junior year in high school:

I was going to the beach (and when I say “the beach” I just mean Galveston, no need for jealousy) with some girlfriends and I remember looking at the bottled water I was drinking and noticing the expiration date: May 1995.

“Hey, look at this,” I said. “May 1995. That’s when we graduate! That makes it seem like it’s not so far away!” I think we all got excited and sang our faux class song, Prince’s 1999. Except we changed it to, “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1995.”

So what if we still had two full school years? That date was printed on something tangible so it meant that it would be here...someday.

I find that I always look at due dates on food and beverage products and think about how they relate to events I’m looking forward to in my life. If it’s something canned, like soup, then it’s still too far away. But if it’s something dairy, like sour cream, it’s gonna be here before you know it!

So now I’ve been doing that with the baby’s due date.

A couple of weeks ago I pointed out to Frank that our Egg Beaters would expire on April 23rd. “That’s BS’s due date!” I told him. Now when the REAL eggs say 4/23/08, we better have our hospital bag packed.

On Monday, I got an awesome one: Orange Juice with BS’s due date! Orange Juice! Now that stuff does not last forever. Although I did freeze it so ours might.

But the orange juice is very close to the most important grocery store due date product: MILK. When BS’s due date is on the milk, I’ll probably jump up and down, right there in the dairy aisle.

Ooh, I got one better than regular milk: Manager’s Special milk! If I’m in the store and I see BS’s due date on Manager’s Special milk…well, I better get out of that store. Don’t want the other shoppers to lose their appetites.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Which of these kids is doing his own thing?

BS got a life lesson and he/she is not even born yet. After doing the first load of baby laundry, a sock is already missing. And naturally, it had to be the ONLY one with a cute print on it.

Oh, well. Life is rough. BS will have to learn that sooner or later.

More Frankosophies

These Frankosophies have to do with economics. Frank was an economics major in college. He actually got two degrees—one in economics and one in marketing. And he has an MBA. This all prompted the conversation that lead me to feel like an academic loser when we moved into our first home:

Frank: “So we could hang one of my degrees here…and the other one here…and the third one here. And then we could put your two degrees on that wall.”

Me: “Um, two degrees? I just have one.”

Frank: “Really?”

Me: “Yes. Most people just have one.”

Frank (trying to make me feel like less of a moron): “But hey, yours is a Bachelors of SCIENCE. You’re like a scientist!”

Me: “Yes, a scientist of advertising. Let me get my lab coat.”

So anyway, Frank, the brilliant economist, has a theory about inflation. He believes he has discovered two areas that haven’t been affected by inflation:

1. Lap Dances
2. Lawn mowing services

Now, about #1: Frank doesn't frequent gentlemen's establishments so he's hardly an expert. He just goes for the obligatory bachelor party. But he swears that the price for lap dances has not increased. And even though Frank has told me about this Frankosophy, I don’t know the going rate for lap dances. I tried to Google it just now but got a bunch of different answers: from free to $200. So maybe Frank is just going to the cheap places.

When we had someone mow our lawn in Dallas, they charged us $10 (backyard only). The whole lawn would have been $20. Every time they came to mow the lawn, Frank would launch into his Frankosophy :

“When I mowed lawns in junior high I charged $20. In high school I charged $20. And today, these guys charge $20. The price never changes! It hasn’t gone up in at least 15 years! It’s incredible. You would think they could charge more by now.”

Despite this economic oversight, he still couldn’t stand paying someone to mow the lawn and bought his own lawn mower.

Let me know if you can think of any other service or good that hasn't been affected by inflation. I would try to come up with some but what do I know? I'm just a scientist.

Monday, March 24, 2008

My 15 Minutes

Frank had off on Friday so we spent the day running around, doing lots of errands. Our final stop was the Home Depot where an older orange-apron-wearing-staffer asked me lots of pregnancy questions:

“So when is the blessed event?”

“What are you having?”

“What? A surprise? Don’t you know it’s the 21st century?”

“What are the names you picked out?”

“What? You’re not telling? Well, don’t name it something nobody can spell. My friend Garn had the worst time…”

This went on for another four-six minutes. We finally were able to buy contact paper and refill the propane tank as long as we didn’t make eye contact with anyone else in the store.

When we left Frank said, “So people do this everywhere you go, huh? Let’s count how many people stopped you to talk about your pregnancy today. And we can only count people we don’t know.” (So, for instance, we didn’t count the lady who was preparing our taxes because she HAD to say something. It was relevant to the conversation.)

From the YMCA to the mall to the Home Depot, we counted twelve.

Some were quick, passer-by comments like a guy at the YMCA who said, “You’ve got a built-in floatation device!”

Others are long monologues about their own baby experience like the guy at the jewelry store at the mall who told us, “Oh, not finding out is the best…and everything they say about high or low is BS…I remember with my first…and then with my second…I walked out into the waiting room and told the family…it’s just amazing! Amazing!”

I told Frank when we were counting up my commenters: “This must be what it’s like to be a celebrity!”

Of course, I love the attention but sometimes I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to deal with my public. I said, “Like if I was Paula Abdul, everywhere I go I’m ALWAYS Paula Abdul but to people who see me, it’s like their ONE chance to say whatever they want to Paula Abdul. So everywhere she goes, people are probably like, ‘How do you put up with Simon?’ Okay, maybe Paula Abdul isn’t the best example.”

My preg-celeb days are limited though so I better enjoy them. Soon everybody will just be looking at my baby and totally ignoring me. Go ahead and get your autograph requests in while you still can.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why Taylor Swift Rocks

When it comes to country chicks, some prefer the over-singing, over-made-up Carrie Underwood. Others fall for the “It’s cute that I’m so dumb because I’m so cute, right?” Kellie Pickler. Me? I’m all about Taylor Swift.

First, I just love every song she sings. Like turn-it-up-belt-it-out-sometimes-even-shed-a-tear love her songs. These are my faves:

Tim McGraw (that’s the name of a song, her breakout hit): “When you think Tim McGraw, I hope you think my favorite song, The one we danced to all night long”

Teardrops on my Guitar: He's the reason for the teardrops on my guitar, the only thing that keeps me wishin' on a wishin' star. He's the song in the car I keep singin', don't know why I do...

Our Song: Our song is the slamming screen door, sneakin' out late, tapping on your window, when we're on the phone and you talk real slow, cause it's late and your mama don't know. Our song is the way you laugh, the first date "man, I didn't kiss her, and I should have"And when I got home, before I said amen, asking God if he could play it again

Then I saw her on Regis and Kelly and liked her even more: she’s only, like, 17, and she wrote a lot of those songs. She wrote “Our Song” for her freshman year talent show!

When we figured out how to watch videos on demand on our DVR, I showed Frank the video for Our Song and then I explained to him what a freakin’ genius TS is: “Did you listen to the lyrics? It’s about how this couple didn’t have a song and then he explained to her that all the little moments in their lives are the soundtrack of their relationship. I already thought it was a great idea for a song and then I found out she wrote it when she was only like 14! And she actually plays the guitar. She’s really a great role model."

I was really emotional as I gave my Taylor Swift endorsement. Frank just asked, “Is her hair crimped like the 80s?”

“It’s just naturally curly!!” I said in her defense.

And today I heard Teardrops on my Guitar where she talks about this guy Drew and how she loves him and on the surface it sounds like just a typical love song. But really, when she says, “he’s the kind of flawless I wish I could be” I realized that she’s not really in love with Drew; she puts him up on a pedestal and is actually envious of him. She’s so deep, that Taylor Swift.

But I’m too old to join her fan club or go to her concerts. But maybe she'll be my MySpace friend!

Why WG Expanding Rocks

I may not have the greatest singing voice but I’ll tell you this: I LOVE to sing. I sing loud in church and around my house. Until now, nobody has appreciated my talents. But I think I may have found an audience in toddlers and babies.

For instance, BS dances around when I sing. And if I stop, BS kicks for more. Some of BS’s fave songs are:

You are my Sunshine
Bippity Boppity Boo (from Cinderella)
Sara Smile (we’re not naming BS Sara; it’s just my fave Hall and Oates song)
Mr. Rogers Ending Song: It’s Such a Good Feeling
Here’s a video of Fred doing the song

One night I was singing Bippity Boppity Boo to BS and you could actually see the baby moving in my stomach. I said to Frank, “See? The baby loves this song!” Frank said, “So this is like a thing you have with the baby? I didn’t know about this!” A little jealous, Super Dad?

But if you’re skeptical and think maybe BS is actually asking me to STOP singing, I have another fan…one who is not a fetus.

My neighbor Debbie had her baby last night so during the afternoon I watched her 3-year-old daughter. She asked me to read her this book of kids’ prayers so when I read “Day by Day” I said, “You know, this one is also a song” and I started to sing it. She looked out the window like she was bored so I stopped. But then when I got to the next prayer she said, “Is this one a song too?” So she liked my singing voice after all! I said, “No, but I could make one up!” Then every page after that she would request songs. Some of them were trickier than others to improv so when in doubt, I just sang anything biblical: Jesus Loves Me, Michael Row the Boat Ashore…I’m pretty sure she couldn’t tell the difference.

Maybe I could have my own show on PBS: Writinggal Rocks the Kiddie Songs. Parents will say, “She sings terribly but my children love her!” The concept is not that different from Barney or the Teletubbies. Except I won’t wear a unitard.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fun at the Film Festival

We started this fun activity last night: it’s sort of like a film festival. We go once a week for four weeks and it’s two hours long. It’s just $50 per person and you get to see several movies. We went with our neighbors.

The films are a mix of horror and romance. On the downside, there’s lots of gore and violence. On the plus side, there’s also a lot of nudity. But then there’s that element of family too. Oh, and they were all filmed in the 80's so it’s sort of historical. Big bangs. Bad make-up. Laughable wardrobe choices.

They even let you bring pillows so you can relax while you watch the movies. You’re allowed to eat snacks but I definitely cannot watch these movies and eat. Last night, during the really gross part, I turned to look at our neighbors, Josh and Claire, and they both had their eyes covered. The film festival really should supply barf bags. I might put that in my feedback.

So we’ve got three more weeks of the film festival and then a couple of weeks after that, we actually get the opportunity to ACT OUT the movies ourselves! I will play the female lead and Frank will star as the supportive man. He definitely got the better part. Don’t worry, I will not make you watch our movie.

Minding our Manners

We used to eat in front of the TV most nights of the week but lately, we started eating at the table. It’s not because we’re trying to be more civilized or anything, it’s just that there hasn’t been anything on TV with the writer’s strike.

Eating at the table has been nice—we get to hear about each other’s days (“I made some spreadsheets about chip sales,” “I wrote a story about old people’s dental problems”) and enjoy our food.

The only problem is, now we notice each other’s bad table manners:

For instance, Frank chews loudly.

“Have you always chewed so loud?” I asked.

“Yeah, my family always said that about me.”

“I guess I never noticed because we’re usually watching TV,” I told him. “I don’t really care but try not to do it in public.”

“Well, while we’re on the subject, maybe you shouldn’t make sandwiches with your food in public.”

“What’s wrong with making sandwiches?” I asked. By the way, I love making sandwiches out of non-sandwich food. Spaghetti, for instance, makes a great sandwich with garlic bread and ranch. Yum.

“It’s just gross because it’s all messy and you have to use your hands,” he said.

“Okay, I agree to stop making sandwiches in public if you stop taking such humongous bites of everything!”

Seriously, he should enter some sort of contest where the winner is chosen by who can get through the meal in the fewest bites. Sometimes he has to contort his head in weird ways just to get the correct angle for the giant bite.

“Again, I don’t really care. I just don’t want you to do it at like business lunches or dinners,” I told him.

So we’ve been practicing at home. Every time Frank takes a way-too-big bite I say, “No!” and if I start to make a sandwich he says, “What are you doing?” If his bites are smaller, I notice his chewing is quieter too. Oh, and he also scolds me for using my napkin to blow my nose at the table. I scold him for not using a napkin at all.

All of this dining decorum is exhausting. Thank goodness the writer’s strike is over.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Belly Game

Here’s how it works: you guess whose belly is bigger: mine or Frank’s.

Okay, who did you guess?

Did you guess mine?

You are WRONG! You lost the game! We have been measuring our bellies and Frank’s is still a whole inch bigger than mine. I know; it’s hard to believe. It’s not Frank’s fault: he works out, he eats somewhat healthy and he limits his alcohol consumption to those four beers on Friday.

Yet his stomach is bigger than a nearly-eight-months pregnant lady. It’s fascinates us. It confuses us. But as Frank says, “It must have something to do with geometry.”

Shepherd’s Pie: My Oh My

A website was pushing Irish recipes so I decided to try Shepherd’s Pie. I didn’t know what it was but when I read the ingredients I thought:

Beef: Good!
Mash Potatoes: Good!
Gravy: Good!
Cheese: Good!
Vegetables Good! (Well, good for you)

I want to tell you three things about this Shepherd’s Pie:

1. How good it was
2. How I peeled the potatoes
3. How Frank ranked it

So here we go:

1. It was really good.

2. Even though the recipe said I could make instant mashed potatoes, I got ambitious and decided to make real ones. I am not good with potatoes. I never cook them long enough and as I discovered Wednesday, I don’t know how to peel them.

This is pretty embarrassing to admit but when I went to peel the potatoes, I couldn’t figure out how to use the peeler. I needed help. I don’t have a trusted staff at Writinggal or Cookinggal headquarters so I had to rely on a friend—
the internet. I actually Googled “How to peel a potato.” Things popped up but they weren’t that helpful. I needed a visual aid. I added “+ video” to my search and found this easier way to peel potatoes

Guess what? It actually worked! I was just like the lady in the video. The skin came right off. Thea, would you be offended if I got rid of the potato peeler you gave me?

3. So I made the Shepherd’s Pie and when Frank had his first bite, as usual, he announced his ranking: “This is so good. I can’t decide if I should give it an 8.5 or a 9.”

Now let me back up and say that these are both extremely high scores. As Frank says, “I don’t just throw out tens left and right!” That’s true. The only thing to ever get a ten was drop cookies. And if it has vegetables, it automatically loses a point. It's like a figure skater getting a nine when she didn’t even attempt a triple axle. That’s the highest she can get so she's stoked.

Then he took another bite and said, “I give it an 8!”

“An eight? Why did I get downgraded?” I asked.

“Well, I was deciding between 8.5 and 9 and I decided on 8.5. But I don’t like to give halves so I went with 8.”

I also got credit for “good amount of spiciness” (which I added in myself; it wasn’t even in the recipe). I’m such a wild, Irish Cookinggal!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More Daddy Dictionary

Frank has gotten so into this dad thing that I can’t seem to stump him with any pregnancy-baby words. Although we did both admit yesterday that we used to think colic was an actual disease, not just a fussy baby.

Still, Frank makes funny new dad comments that are blog worthy:

1. We got a gift from our friends, the Richters, that’s a box of cards called “52 tips for new parents.” Frank started this tradition of reading one every night before we go to bed. He reads it out loud so the baby can hear his voice. He reads it like an elementary school teacher, first reading the title very loudly and carefully: “QUALITY TIME WITH BABY,” and then facing the card away from him and slowly showing it to a pretend class. Then he reads the card in his dad voice which we need to work on because to me, it sounds creepy. BS thinks so too.

But the best part is that BS is going to think Aunt Thea is a total parenting expert. Frank calls these cards “Tips from Thea.” He says, “Okay, time to read ‘Tips from Thea!’” Let me note again that we didn’t get these from Thea nor does she have a baby (that I know of). She is full of good tips though.

2. Speaking of reading out loud, I was reading an article to Frank in the doctor’s office yesterday. It said that babies get really fussy around 5:00pm. I said, “But babies don't know what time it is.”

Frank said, “I know. When you're a baby, it's always like Vegas.”

3. I guess we read out loud a lot! I was reading a booklet from the hospital to Frank and it said, “If you wish to have your baby son circumcised, that will be done by your obstetrician.”

Frank said, “What? The eye doctor is going to be there?”

Queen of the Q-tips

If there was a job for estimating Q-tip usage, I would have that job. And not only would I have that job, I would be the employee of the month. No, the employee of the year. What I'm saying is, I totally rule at estimating Q-tip usage.

If you'll recall, in December of 2005 I bought a bunch of Q-tips from Costco.

I said back then that the Q-tips would last us until April 2008. Here we are, 20 days away from April 2008 and I've got 31 Q-tips left. There they are in the picture. We use about two a day so by my latest estimation, we'll be out of Q-tips by March 26th. "But that's not April 2008!" you may scream at your computer screen.

But sometimes Frank goes out of town and forgets to pack Q-tips. So if he does that a couple of times, I think we can last until the end of the month!

If you are thinking about buying Q-tips in bulk but are unsure of how many to purchase and would like to know how long they will last, please let me know. I'll consult with you to determine your estimated Q-tip usage. I have a 93% accuracy rate.

Sure, you can try to estimate it yourself but I really recommend you leave this up to a professional. Oh, and I charge by the hour. Hey, I gotta make a living. I obviously need to stock up on more Q-tips.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fre, my new frie

This no-drinking thing the doctors have come up with hasn’t been as bad as I thought. I mean, I always have a clear head, I wake up feeling pretty good and I don’t have to worry about staying something stupid (well, at least, not because I’ve been drinking). I do, however, miss my wine.

I got this shirt to express my feelings:

And that wine I’m holding? The alcohol has been removed! It’s called Fre. It's my new frie.
A pregnant buddy told me about it. Frank thinks it tastes like grape juice. I’m fine with it. It totally tricks me and makes me think I’m part of the party.

So maybe it doesn’t taste EXACTLY like wine. But hey, preggars can’t be choosers.

Four Beer Friday

Frank works hard all week. So by the time Friday is here, he’s ready to let loose.

This past Friday involved a wild night at our church with a fish fry and then a little stations of the cross. After that we hit Blockbuster and got Good Luck Chuck. (Frank’s reaction: “I feel dumber for having watched it.”) Sometimes we also watch 20/20—if we can stay up that late. (Hey, we’re on Eastern time! It doesn’t come on until 10:00pm here!)

But no Friday would be complete without Frank’s four beers. For some reason it’s always four. When he gets to the fourth I inevitably say, “I’m tired. I’m going to bed.” And he says, “I’ve still got half a beer left. I’ll be in a little while.”

Every now and then he’ll come with me and bring his beer to bed with him. That’s okay with me but I don’t really like seeing the empty beer can on the nightstand in the morning. I mean, last time I checked, our house wasn’t on wheels.

Even if we don’t wake up to the beer on the nightstand, I can always count on waking up to another sight: Frank’s clothes strewn about the living room. Usually I find shoes and a button down shirt and sometimes, if I’m lucky, pants.

This past Saturday I just found a button down shirt—in the kitchen. Not sure how that happened but when I asked Frank how he felt Saturday morning he groaned and said, “Four Beer Friday.”

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Oh my garage!

Check out our new garage door. I don't really have a story around it, just wanted to use that cool blog title.


After (don't mind the dead grass; we're in a drought):

Bumpin' BS

Look at this thing. It’s not just big; it sticks out really far. Farther than you think. Well, at least farther than I think.

Every day I have to apologize to BS for running him/her into things.

I run into doors, door frames and walls. I think I can fit between things that I can’t fit between. And yesterday, I closed the dishwasher door on BS! I’ve got a big scratch!

Oh, and when I reach up to use the microwave, my belly runs into the dials on the stove. I’m OCD about the dials on the stove, always making sure they’re pointing to “off.” At night before I go to bed I look at the four of them and say, “Off, off, off, off.”

Now I say, “Off, off, off, off” every time I walk past them. BS could have easily turned them on. Maybe I need those childproof stove-dial covers already. Frank doesn’t think we need them at all. “So what if the kid turns on the stove? What’s the big deal?” he asked.

This, coming from the guy who will barely touch my belly, he’s so afraid of hurting BS.

All I know is BS is still dancing around in there. We’ve either got one tough baby or a baby with a lot of bumps and bruises.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Better Late than No Thin Mints

January 2008: I started craving the stuff. It’s my favorite time of year when Girl Scouts start knocking on your door or their parents start hitting you up at work. But alas, no knocks. No pushy co-workers.

February 2008: ditto. It was a long, sad month. I basically gave up. I figured Georgia was anti-Girl Scout cookies. At least nobody came by trying to sell peach cookies. Gross.

March 2, 2008: A glorious day. We were walking into church (five minutes early, go Lenten Writinggal) and I saw a table set up outside. I squealed.

Seriously, I squealed.

Frank had to usher me past it but promised, “We’ll get some afterwards.”

“I’m sooooo excited!” I said, still squealing. “I thought I wasn’t going to get any this year! I mean, nobody came by the house, nobody asked you at work…”

“Well,” Frank said, “Somebody asked me at work.”

“WHAT??” I asked, my squealing turning to scolding.

“See, what happened was, they sent this email, saying that we could sign up for cookies and…”

“And what? Why wouldn’t you buy them? You know how we feel about the stuff! You know you can only get them once a year, right?”

“But I was hoping someone I knew better would ask…”

I then reminded him of that old tale about the duck holding the fish who saw the reflection in the water and thought it was a bigger fish so he dropped the one he had…I think that applied here.

At mass during the announcements Frank whispered, “They haven’t mentioned the Girl Scout Cookies for sale outside.”

“I’m glad,” I told him. “I don’t want everybody running out there!”

But they did. It was a mob scene. “Get out the exact change!” I told Frank after going over our order. He reminded me, “You can’t say Tagalongs or Thin Mints anymore…” But when I nudged my way up there I saw that they WERE labeled as Tagalongs, Thin Mints, etc. AND they were still $3.50, not $4.00 like they were in ’06.

After I was done they had to make an announcement: “There’s only one box of Tagalongs left!”

“YES!” I told Frank. “We got there just in time. We almost missed out on the Tagalongs!”

Then Frank went into his annual rant on two topics relating to the stuff:

1. Tagalongs are good but they don’t give you enough. He can eat one box in one sitting. In fact, he has eaten one box in one sitting.

2. It’s not fair that Girl Scouts get to sell the stuff but as a Boy Scout he had to sell Scout Fair tickets. Nobody wanted to go to the scout fair where they learned to tie knots and administer first aid; they just bought tickets out of pity.

He’s right. Nobody pities the Girl Scouts. They are the beholders of the stuff. And now I am the beholder of the most delicious cookies ever. And I will not let them go even if I think I see a bigger fish. Or bigger cookies. Whatever. It applies here too.

Spring Time = Sale Time

The other Atlanta moms have been telling me about these consignment sales around town. They’re mostly in churches and they have lots of quality used stuff for babies. As we’ve been shopping for baby gear, Frank keeps asking, “When are all those consignment sales everybody talks about?” I had to explain to him that they were seasonal so they only happen in the fall and the spring. Since it was winter we were out of luck.

But he was still super eager. One weekend in February it was a little warm and Frank said, “Will they have a consignment sale now?”

“It’s not like it just gets warm and they set up shop! They have these dates planned far in advance,” I told him.

But last weekend there was one by our house. You really can’t just wander in there. You’ve got to have a plan. And a basket. I thought they meant like a cute wicker basket but apparently they meant laundry baskets.

And you have to understand the rules. Wednesday night they had a preview sale which is only for people who volunteer for at least three hours (not me). Then on Thursday night it opened to the public. It went on all day Friday, all day Saturday and Sunday was half price day.

You have to decide if you’re going to go at the beginning or at the end. There’s really no point in going on Saturday because it’s way too crowded, all the good stuff is gone and all the bad stuff will be half price the next day anyway.

I decided to go the first night that was open to the public. Frank even went with me! We didn't know what to expect. We thought it might be in a big tent so we bundled up. It was actually in a storefront though. And when I saw that everyone had laundry baskets, I left my wicker basket in the car.

When we walked in it was mommy madness. They were piling clothes into laundry baskets like they were going out of style (which, by the way, they were). They were stocking up on toys, gear, books and bedroom furniture.

There were pregnant bellies everywhere and I told Frank, “It’s Shlumpadinkaville in here!” And this was a pretty fancy one. There was one particular Shlumpadinka who I really wanted to send in to Oprah. She was pushing around this bright pink-flowered bassinet with lots of purchases in it. It was like she had won a contest where she had 30 seconds to grab stuff in a store and she had cleverly used the bassinet to haul it all.

Someone said to her, “Oh, you must be having a girl!” And Shlump said, “No, we don’t know what we’re having. We’re not really into things being gender specific.”

I said a silent prayer that she would have a girl so a poor little boy wouldn’t have to be photographed in that bassinet. But then I thought of the unfortunate little girl’s shlump hair and decided I should just leave it up to God's will.

Despite having to push through the Shlumpadinkas and do a lot of digging, we scored some pretty good stuff. What did we get? A jogging stroller! Frank spent a lot of time out front with the volunteers, learning about the strollers. He was BFF with them by the time we left.

That was our biggest find and actually the only one I’m going to tell you about. You see, I’ve decided that if you see some of my purchases and compliment me or BS on them, I’m going to lie and act like I paid full price. Well, I won’t lie. I’ll just say, “Thanks” and not add that I got them at a consignment sale.

But I did work hard for them. I had to wait in line for twenty minutes! And when we finally were trying to leave, that major Shlumpadinka tried to befriend me! (I did look a little shlumpy, having coming straight from spin class so I can’t blame her for thinking I was one of her own.)

“These things are great!” she said, “I sell stuff here too and I always end up breaking even!”

Yikes. I hope the stuff I bought wasn’t hers, I thought, ready to get outta there.

Frank, on the other hand, was pumped up about more consignment sales. We heard some people in line talk about another one going on this weekend. The lady said, “I don’t know if it’s good but there are a lot of rich people in that area!”

Frank hit that one on Saturday (without me)!

So now that it’s basically springtime in the south, this is where you’ll find us (or at least Frank) each weekend, digging through other people’s stuff. But BS will not be sleeping in a pink-flowered bassinet--even if it IS 50% off.