{ Let me check your pants }

 A few months back, when we were looking for a new place to live, I applied for a job as an onsite apartment manager.  It's not like when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I said "the onsite apartment manager for an over 55 property", but I was willing to take one for the team.  I've been out of the paid workforce for over 10 years, so when they called and asked me to please bring my resume to the interview I thought that maybe they were joking.  They weren't.

I actually Googled "how to write a resume with little or no paid work experience".  Supporting my theory that you can learn anything from the internet, I was able to write something that was not a total embarrassment.  It consisted of basically taking all of the stuff I've done as a volunteer and making it sound like someone should've been paying me to do it.  I was ready to start sending out demands for back wages, but apparently the people at the property management place were less impressed.  Here's something I learned from that - nothing makes you realize that everyone who ever claimed that you are smart and capable and talented were lying right to your face faster than not being able to get a job as a resident apartment manager. (I also kinda blame Google.)

I was asked to put together a similar job history for an application to a midwifery program that I'm interested in.  I wrote the work timeline that they asked for, but it sounded pretty boring, so I tore it up (I actually just deleted it, but tearing it up seems way more dramatic and decisive) and wrote this instead:

  • Mom - 1999,2002,2005;  employment responsibilities include: First Responder/Medic (specializing in Magic Kiss Treatment - proven to heal any hurt, except broken hearts),  Transportation Services, Science Project Research Fellow, Lego-Conflict Mitigation, Light Saber Technician (contracted primarily by pre-school boys),  Financial Controller, Calendaring and Schedule Coordinator, Life and Style Coach, Soccer Party and Birthday Catering, Homework Tutor  (English: all levels, Math: K-3), Head of Housekeeping, Laundry Delivery Service, Social Etiquette Instruction, Director of Nutrition and Food Preparation Services , Psychological Counselor for ‘Tweens, Costume Mistress (including but not limited to Halloween, Soccer, Ballet, and School Pictures), Law Enforcement Agent, Pharmacist (special training in the uses of Tylenol, Chocolate Cake and Breastmilk).
I never submitted it.  I had finished up my application, tracked down my transcripts, and was figuring out how I was going to pay for school, when I found out that I was getting a new employer... baby #4... and it is because of him that I need to update my resume.

I was picking up the living room while the baby was on his stomach doing his wounded-soldier-drag-crawl when I looked down and saw poo running up his back.  Not down.  Up.  Have you ever heard that saying about  poo not running up hill?  Well, put enough gas behind it, and it loves running up hill.  I grabbed the wipes and started my HazMat cleanup, but seriously,  who was I kidding?  Whoever invented those wipes either has a baby with the world's smallest bum, or a baby that came out knowing all about flush toilets.  So, I just flipped him over and pulled the whole diaper off... and then I panicked.

My baby is breastfed.  I do not even own a bottle (Keep your pants on people.  I'm not telling you what to do with your girls, only what I do with mine) - and I hold off on solid foods until my kids can say, "Hey lady, how 'bout some of that sharing that I hear so much about?"  (Primarily because the constant cleaning-eating-spilling-cleaning-eating-spilling cycle annoys me.)  So, I was pretty sure that there should have been no  big red things in my baby's diaper.

At first I thought that it was blood, (because of the hemophilia) and I had no idea how I was going to apply direct pressure and get an icepack to go ... where it needed to go.  Then, I realized it was something solid and so (thankfully) not a trip to the emergency room.  I then did something that I never thought I'd do.  I picked two red mystery objects out of my baby's poo with my bare hands, wiped them off, and examined them. (Take that "Dirty Jobs" guy.)  I'm pretty sure my younger self was there watching and shaking her head ... and gagging, but my poo curiosity was just too strong.  I looked at the red things.  I turned the red things over.  I thought "I am really glad no one can see how interested I am in these pooey red things." I realized what the red things were.  Two partially digested pieces of cardboard... from an empty box of Girl Scouts cookies that had been discarded onto (what else) the floor by the swarm of locusts that are my children.  Awesome.

So... thanks Motherhood, I've just added two more jobs to an exponentially increasing list of skill sets - Waste Management and Forensic Anthropologist, (although considering that my baby's first solid food was an empty box of Girl Scouts cookies, I might want to brush up a little on the "Nutrition Director" portion of my work history... also, probably not great commentary on the "Head of Housekeeping" thing either).  Now all I have to figure out is where to send my invoice.  

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{ Exposing My Pants }

We are having a talent show at my church.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to encourage our kids to display their unique gifts with our congregation and to make me feel like I was teaching them something useful by throwing some good Bible stuff at them like "don't hide your light under a bushel" and "don't bury your talents in the dirt like that one foolish servant did" and "honor your father and mother- but mostly your mother if you want your days to be long upon the land".  (Whenever I heard that one about the "hiding under the bushel" when I was young, I pictured that song "On Top Of Spaghetti" where the meatball rolled off the table and (having apparently gained an enormous amount of momentum from its fall), made it out the door and continued rolling until it finally came to rest under a bush.  I think after that it grows a meatball tree - and what could be bad about a tree that can grow meat?)

After determining with my sons that each of them would display one of their original Lego creations, and my daughter deciding that she would show some of the pottery she made while learning to throw on the wheel, my children asked me what I was going to do.  My first choice was "stand in the middle of the gym and tell people what to do"... but I was afraid that someone might think "Hey - she's super good at being bossy.  Let's put her in charge", and since my goal is to never be in charge of anything ever - it seemed counterproductive.

I considered tap dancing.  I took a couple years of tap lessons when I was a kid.  I don't know if I was very good, but as far as I can tell, the best tap dancer you've ever seen - not much better than the worst tap dancer you've ever seen, as long as they're enthusiastic, wear something with feathers and wave their arms around in really big circles a lot.  (Actually, as I'm picturing this in my head, I'm thinking that maybe I should've gone with tap dancing.  I would've made it on YouTube for sure.)

Since my first two ideas weren't super viable, I decided to read one of the stories from my blog. (Think a slightly-less-talented Sarah Vowell from "This American Life" only without the interesting voice.)  This is a little scary for me because I'm not sure what I'm going to do if I get up on stage, read one of these things... and hear no laughter.  This had not occurred to me until one of the ladies from my church who read my blog recently told me that she "didn't get it".  (I like her a lot though, so I'm ok with it.)  My husband asked me if it hurt my feelings, and I could honestly answer "no".  I'm a big believer that writing, or music, or painting or dancing has nothing at all to do with how it is received.  Once an artist has finished their work, the art part is over and it doesn't belong to the artist anymore.  People are free to like it, or hate it... or not get it.

However... it is a lot more comfortable for people to "not get it" when you are separated by a computer ... and the internet.  (Which I still contend is Al Gore's most significant contribution to our society... aside from the term "lock box".)

So... I need some reader feedback.  In order to determine which one of these blog essays, (heretofore known as blessays), I should read, I'm asking for your suggestions.  Tell me which blessay you think I should present and I'll  narrow it down from there.

... and if it all goes badly when I'm finally on stage, I'll just have to improv a really sweet tap routine.
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{ Someone's got lucky pants }

We have a winner!  (Actually two)...

This month's giveaway goes to

Marci Nafziger who is now the proud owner of a set of really cute little owl magnets
Julia McGuire who will be displaying all kinds of fantastic things with her new and equally fabulous monkey magnets.

As always thank you to our generous sponsor Mostly Magnets.  Keep them in mind whenever you are in need of prettying up your fridge, workspace or locker.

Watch for our next giveaway starting the second week of March.

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Last Day for the Feb. Rants In My Pants Giveaway

The February giveaway ends today.  Don't forget to get your name in the drawing for the super rad magnet sets. Remember - 2 winners this month!

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{ Why Do Your Pants Smell Like Popcorn? }

I have a very sensitive nose.  I once saved my husband from what I'm certain would've been a nasty case of food poisoning or possibly death by smelling one mold spore on his sandwich bread from 10 feet away.  It was very impressive.  I do not subscribe to the "just cut the moldy part off, the rest of it's fine" way of thinking.  When I was in 6th grade we learned about mold and what I remember is (as I am constantly reminding my family) that mold is a continuous filamentous structure.  This means that it tunnels along, unseen in your food, and then at the last minute looks you in the eye and laughs.  Basically it's the mole of the fungus world... only grosser because you might accidentally eat it.  (By the way, if you are some kind of mold scientist and are going to leave a comment telling me that mold is not a continuous filamentous structure - just walk away now.  If I have to stop sounding smart because you are a know-it-all, I might have to cut you.)

Because of the aforementioned sensitivity, I have some very definite opinions about smells.  I love the smell of lilacs at Easter time. I love the smell of my baby's spitty breath. I love the smell of a sink or bathtub that's been scrubbed down with Comet.  (I have a childhood memory of my grandmother cleaning her tub with Comet once before I took a bath.  I also remember wishing that she would've let me have more water because it seemed like she had a really big bathtub and I was pretty sure that I would be able to pretend I was a mermaid or a whale.  I tried this once at my own house as a child resulting in the flooding of my parents ceiling and me running nudey across the kitchen trying to escape my very irritated mother.  The problem with the wet/nudey escape is that you end up not so much running as sliding on your belly across the linoleum.)

One of my least favorite smells?  Burnt popcorn.  It's not so much the initial smell that bugs me, but the fact that it creeps along like that smoke monster on Lost taking over every part of the house.  Also, once burnt popcorn has made itself at home, it is pretty hard to evict.

What I learned this week is that when the motor on your washing machine burns up half way through the spin cycle, leaving plastic shavings on your still really wet clothes it smells like a bag of burnt popcorn.  Only this bag of popcorn was being popped by one of those crazies who are trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for something really obscure like "largest bag of popcorn ever popped"... but because they left the room to check on their huge ball of tinfoil, they couldn't hear the popping slow to every few seconds and instead became the world record holders for the "largest bag of popcorn ever burned".

My family (as always) had a lot of suggestions about how the situation should be handled.  It basically became an episode of Solve-the-Crisis-Family-Feud.

Solution #1 - Plunge and scrub the clothes in the bathtub and tell your family and friends that you are doing it because you care about the environment.  Challenge them to wash their clothes in the bathtub too so that you look authentic and passionate.

Solution #2 - Plunge and scrub the clothes in the bathtub and tell your family and friends that you are doing it as research for a book that you intend to write about how giving up modern conveniences is liberating and character building - or some other such nonsense.

Solution #3 - Load up the little red wagon and walk the mile to the Laundromat/Keno Parlor/Dry Cleaner.  Tell your friends and family that you enjoy the exercise.  Also, come up with a smart sounding theory about how paying to do the laundry actually saves you money.

Solution #4 - Use the salad spinner.  I'm not sure how I would fit my husband's jeans into the salad spinner, but I'm fairly certain that I shouldn't tell my family about washing the baby's poo-explosion clothes in the same place where I wash their food.

Solution #5 - Craigslist.  You can get a replacement washing machine for $50 bucks... as long as you "don't mind holding the lid down during the spin cycle" or are not concerned that "the inside smells weird, but the clothes come out pretty good."

My mom had the best solution, "buy a new washing machine".  I have long believed that the people that claim that money can't buy happiness are either liars, stupid or rich... and now I have proof.  Money can buy jeans that don't have baby vomit on them.  Money can buy little boy shirts without juice stains.  Money can buy running clothes that aren't covered in old sweat.  Money can let you send your kids to school in clothes that smell like fabric softener instead of burnt popcorn ... and that, people, is happiness.

(ps- thanks to my mom for our new washing machine and to my sister who took my laundry to her house and returned it washed, dried and folded.)
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{ Rants In My Pants February Giveaway Featuring Mostly Magnets }

Let's see if you grew up in my house.  Here's your first test.  What do you do when I say the word "Oklahoma"?  If you just can't stop yourself from singing really loudly about waving wheat and how the wind comes right behind the rain, then you may have grown up in my house.  (This impromptu -Broadway-show-tunes-extravaganza also happened/happens when anyone said/says the words "I've got chills", "tradition" or "76".  If we were/are really lucky my mom might throw in a couple of the old Cougar Marching Band moves with that last one.)

(If you have no idea what the heck I'm talking about, don't worry - you'll like the giveaway stuff anyway.)

Well, warm up those voices people.  Meet our February giveaway sponsor - Mostly Magnets from ... Oklahoma (Norman to be exact). This cool shop was founded in 2007 and introduced into the Etsy landscape in 2008.  Run by sisters (insert lyrics from White Christmas here), Marie and Malin, their shop specializes in  glass magnets and push pins, many of which are made with their original art work.  

My favorite thing about their sets (besides the prospect of prettying up the refrigerator by replacing the Pizza Hut and Chem Dry phone number magnets) is that they make great, little inexpensive gifts.  Pick a person.  Pick your favorite magnets.  Pick something you want them to hang up with the magnets and... Presto.  Instant gift karma.  (Think a child's work of art for a favorite teacher  ... or... a stack of notes telling your amazing wife how amazing she is for Valentine's Day... or ... pictures of the kids for your mom on Mother's Day.)  (I love giving pictures of my kids.  I edit them in Picasa (which is easy and free), have them printed out by Ritz photo or Costco (which is easy and $1-ish), throw in a set of magnets for stylish fridge hanging (easy and $6.50) and I am the favorite daughter/daughter-in-law for yet another year.)

So ... in honor of gift giving, we will have TWO winners this month.  One lucky reader will win a set of the owl magnets and one will win a set of the monkey magnets.  If you think these magnets are as cute as I do, read on...

To be entered in this month's giveaway please visit Mostly Magnets' Etsy shop.  Hustle your pants right back here and fill out the entry form found at the end of this post.  I'm using the entry form method so that I can protect your email addresses from blog crawling harvester bots.  Honestly, I'm not totally sure what the heck these things are, but I've read about them and I just keep picturing something out of that movie Arachnophobia. Better safe than bitten to death by a bunch of crazy blog crawling harvester bots, I say.  It's only 3 questions - name, email address, and your favorite item at our sponsor's store.  Totally painless and totally worth it.  Doing that gets you ONE ENTRY and ONLY ONE ENTRY.  (No duplicates please, that's cheating.) 

If you just can't stand losing and would like to rack up some additional entries, listen up.  You can earn ONE ADDITIONAL ENTRY EACH by following Rants In My Pants (my blog must show up on the "blogs I'm following" portion of your dashboard or it doesn't count), linking to the giveaway from your blog or website, posting a link to the give away on Facebook, Tweeting about the giveaway, taking one the buttons from my sidebar for your blog, and/or writing a post on your blog about the giveaway.

If you purchase something from our generous sponsor (in the month in which they are featured), you will earn 5 ADDITIONAL ENTRIES.  (I'll need an invoice number or some other type of verification so that I can double check with our sponsor.  Like I said, I don't want cheaters to prosper.)

YOU MUST fill out a different form for each entry. (For example. if you pick a favorite item and become a follower you fill out the entry form twice.)  If you don't, don't blame me when you don't get your rightful chances.  I will use random.org's random number generator to pick our winner.  The winner's name will be posted on Rants In My Pants and will be notified via email.  They will have 24 hours from the time of the post with the big announcement to claim their prize.  If the prize is not claimed within the time limit, everyone (except the "too bad for you" winner) will stand up and cheer, because we'll try again with the random number, claim it within 24hrs. thing.

This deadline for entering this giveaway is February 22, 2010 @ 5pm PST.

Good Luck.

This giveaway is open to US residents only.
Must be 18 to enter.  If you're not 18, get your parent to enter for you.

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{ 6 Pants, 5 seats }

Do you remember that riddle about crossing a river in a boat with a fox and a chicken and a bag of grain.  I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but I'm pretty sure that it ends with the poor guy in the boat spending all of his time making trips across the stupid river instead of getting on with a life full of eggs and bread and ...a pet fox. (Maybe the guy in the boat watched too many Disney movies as a kid.)

Since the birth of our fourth child, my life is becoming increasingly similar to that guy in the boat.  For a couple of years now, our family has owned one car.  A good friend of mine, had generously been allowing us to drive one of her unused vehicles, but that offer is up due to the fact that kids have a pesky habit of  turning 16, taking driver's ed and then wanting to drive their mom's car.  This would be a much smaller dilemma if a.) our car came with as many seats as there are people in our family, b.) there were no such thing as seatbelt laws  or c.) my husband's suits didn't get all wrinkly when riding in the trunk.

As two thirds of my options are frowned upon by the State of Oregon, we need to sell our current car (I'll just say that getting to church right now makes that boat riddle look easy).  Hopefully then I'll be able to buy my dream vehicle ... anything with 6 or more seats, preferably with flames or the face of Jerry Garcia painted on the side. ( I did find what I thought was a keeper on Craigslist.  $800.  How often do I really need "reverse" anyway?)

So... if you or anyone you know is looking for a 2006 Passat  3.6L 4 Motion Sport let me know.  (Obviously that description was written by my husband - I would've said "silver car, possibly some kind of VW, not broken".  Sorry Gloria Steinem, but there it is.) Just click the "E.mail" button on the sidebar to contact me.  If you play your cards right I just might throw in a chicken and a fox.
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