7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 189)

September 28, 2012 | 48 comments

— 1 —

Let’s hear it for the last Friday in September! I am really, really ready for October. With the CNMC and the filming taking up two weeks of the beginning of the Fall semester, everything got off to a shaky start (read: my husband got more than a few “I CAN’T LIVE LIKE THIS ANYMORE!!!!” phone calls, sometimes before 9:00 in the morning). I’m pretty much ready to just call September a loss and embrace the goodness that October undoubtedly holds for us.

— 2 —

Also, October is the month when I can get excited about having some reasonable weather. Here’s how it goes:

October 1. All excited that cool fall weather is just around the corner! –> Second week of October. Highs still in 90s every day. –> Third week of October. Still fighting heat stroke every time I step outside door. Falling deeper and deeper into pit of weather-related despair. Air conditioner blasting all day. Threatening to stop leaving the house altogether in protest of the sun and its hotness. –> Last week of October! Crazy cold front! All of us freezing in our Halloween costumes that we bought when it was 98 degrees but we don’t care! We can even pretend that the weather is going to stay cool for a while and that we won’t have our dreaded annual November will-to-live-sapping heat wave come through!

See? There’s hope.

— 3 —

Let’s start the weekend with a Mensa-style mindbender. If you like the one about how to get the fox and the chicken across the river, you’ll love this:

A very tired woman is walking out of ballet class with a 15-month-old and a five-year-old. The five year old trips and falls down. It takes the child a moment to collect herself and get up, and when she does she realizes that she’s fallen into an ant bed and is covered in fire ants who have all begun to sting her at once. The mother can’t set the baby down because there is a busy parking lot next to them, and the baby had previously established that she wanted nothing more than to run into the middle of it. The five-year-old’s clothes can’t be stripped off without great effort because she’s wearing a ballet leotard and tights, yet the ants are able to bite through them. The baby sees the parking lot in all its glory, and begins screaming and fighting to get down. Question: How does the mother get the ants off the child without setting down the insane baby?

P.S. I attempted to answer this question today, and got an F.

P.P.S. Throw in any suggestions for cream thatย soothesย the pain of fire ant bites.

— 4 —

Joe put this bumper sticker on my car:


My first reaction was: That’s awesome. Then I started analyzing it, and I wondered if I should take it off. Did it seem to suggest that I am the Pope, rather than that I merely drive the Pope around? I imagined some car pulling up next to me at a light, a rosary hanging from the rear-view mirror, the driver rolling down the window and shaking her fist at me while yelling “HERETIC!” and then it gets really awkward because it turns out it’s someone I know from church and I try to explain that I’m not trying to say that I’m the Pope but rather that I drive the Pope around (which I don’t) (but I’d be happy to if he needed me to!) and then the light turns green and…Anyway. I think I fell asleep before I could finish my bizarre worrymare.

I never did decide what to do about it. It’s been on there for three months.

— 5 —

As usual, what I should have done before I got myself all overwhelmed earlier this month was to read Steven Pressfield’s blog. He is one of a handful of writers whom I suspect has had a microchip planted in my brain so that he knows what I’m thinking about at all times, and tailors each one of his posts to address whatever I’m struggling with at that moment. In this case, his post about how time is not our enemyย is exactly what I needed to read. It was a refreshing smack upside the head to be reminded that we can inadvertently succumb to Resistance when we refuse to be patient and insist on getting it all done NOW NOW NOW.

— 6 —

I may have found the world’s oldest Pinterest user! A few days ago I forwarded this pin to my dad and told him to show it to my 98-year-old grandfather, who loves to cook:

Just this evening I got this, a picture of my grandfather’s remake:

Born in 1914, and he’s drawing inspiration from Pinterest. How awesome is that?

(He reports that his version is almost perfect, but he’s going to try another batch with lard. Mmmmmm.)

— 7 —

Speaking of Pinterest, someone forwarded Joe this pin and he promptly declared that it encapsulates my personality with such perfection that it’s eerie. If someone were to walk up to him and say, “Show me ONE item on Pinterest that sums up every single thing there is to know about your wife!” (which would be weird, now that I think about it, but anyway…) he would show them this:

If you could summarize yourself in just one pin, what would it be?



  1. Grace

    Your grandpa is killing me. I couldn’t love it more.

    And your bumper sticker analysis ….. ha — I think I wold go through a similar thought process. But it was so thoughtful of Joe!

  2. Ann-Marie

    I know it sounds crazy, but put Deoderant on her ant bites. It takes the itchy/burning away. Good luck.

  3. Blair

    Yes, here’s to hoping for a calm and Texas “cool” October! Your grandfather always sounds so cool!

  4. nancyo

    It’s warm here in GA but not like TX. October is my favorite month, so I’m hoping for some crisp weather.

    Ugh, the fire ant problem doesn’t have a solution, I’m afraid. Benedryl might help, but it could make her sleepy.

    Thanks for giving me an excuse to go back and look at some of my pin boards! Here’s one that comes close to summing me up:

    • Dorian Speed

      Oh, man, Nancy – that pin is brutal! Or is it just the sting of self-recognition I’m feeling?

      • nancyo

        LOL, you be the judge!

  5. sarah

    Does the five year old have two broken hands? Otherwise, I’d like to point out that she’s FIVE, and if she can’t take off her own clothes then there’s more of a problem in that family than some ant bites. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Sara

      Hahahaha! Best Comment ever. But have you ever had fire ant bites, Sarah? I think all they can do is scream and panic—-I’ve never heard anything like the Fire Ant Scream in my life!

      Vinegar. I don’t know if it works a long time after the fact, but definitely immediately.

    • sarah

      talking of very tired women … I actually read this as a logic problem and only now, the next day, has it occured to me that you meant something which really happened to you! Major idiot moment. Sorry! I meant to be facetious, but not about a real-life thing.

      I’m sorry your dd went through that misery and I hope she’s improving now. Did you try Benadryl orother anti-inflammatory anti-allergy medicine?

      Shrinking away now to beat myself over the head with my own snark …

      • Jennifer Fulwiler

        LOL! From one tired woman to another: no worries at all! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Dorian Speed

    October is my favorite month, and I always start burning pie-smelling candles and dressing in layers, staying inside with the air conditioning on so that I don’t have to confront the reality of South Texas Non-Autumn.

    The Renaissance Festival in Magnolia is out in the middle of the woods and it’s often quite chilly when we go for the School Days, so if you need a dose of Fall Weather: you should go.

    Your bumper sticker post reminded me of a weird bumper sticker I saw today that I think may be a Catholic version of the “Coexist” image. This comment is therefore a blatant plea for your readers to come decipher the symbols based on a blurry photo I snapped with my cell phone.

  7. Tonia

    Having once gotten about 35 fire ant bites, I sympathize with your little girl. The best thing I found was the neosporin with pain relief stuff – it stopped the itching way better than the creams marketed for fire ant stings.

  8. Misty

    While my weather certainly cannot compare to yours in AZ, I did declare in mid-September that I was suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) not due to lack of sunshine but rather due to oppressive heat and humidity that beats me into a defeated woman desperate for a morning where I do not need a shower simply after stepping outside to get the mail. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Kathleen Basi

    #1 is me. Just so you know Steven Pressfield isn’t the only one with microchips in other ppl’s heads. ๐Ÿ™‚ Although mine has nothing to do with a reality show filming.

    #3 makes me laugh, but I do feel bad for the poor injured child!

  10. Laura

    We are enjoying wonderfully cool weather up here in the Midwest. Hope yours cools down soon. Does standing there screaming along with the 5 year old help at all? I love that your grandfather is still so incredibly active. God Bless.

  11. Phyllis A.

    Great posts today. A desperate for relief, friend of mine found that Mineral Ice (the blue, muscle rub) is great for insect bites. Just dap in on when you’re bitten and whenever you get itchy. But beware that if you have a cat the smell of the Mineral Ice will attract them as if you are wearing catnip. Must be the menthol.

  12. Emily

    Wow, those cookies look amazing! I have no idea what I’d do about the poor child getting bit. Probably shoo her into the dance studio and put the other baby down there. poor thing ๐Ÿ™

  13. Anne

    your grandfather is a smart man. lard makes everything better.

  14. Colleen Martin

    We love Jim Gaffigan too!

    • the Holy Terra

      Jim Gaffigan! I’ve been trying to remember his name for days. I have the camping image on my pinterest board, too

  15. Erin

    I’ve had an actual pin/button stuck on my bedroom mirror for over 10 years that says “I’m doing the best I can, so don’t give me any sh*t.” It may not sum up my personality in totality, but it does a pretty good job on my life.

  16. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    #7? Love. Emphatically and completely.

    Hurray for your grandma, and for Steven Pressfield ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Dwija {House Unseen}

    My personality pin ALSO ESCHEWS CAMPING AND ALL ITS INHERENT EVILS. But I can’t find it right now. Because these children…these children…with the wants and needs…

  18. Brooke

    I would have had the same reaction to the bumper sticker! And no. 6 is just awesome!

  19. Kelly

    I hope your daughter is okay! I had something similar happen to my son in a sandbox. But because we don;t live in fire-ant-land, it was not as bad.
    The best pin I can think of is one that said “I swear if my memory was any worse, I could plan my own surprise party!”

  20. TheresaEH

    WHERE can I buy that sticker eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. GeekLady

    Oh, poor 5 year old. Fire ants are brutal. GeekBaby went to the outdoor toychest at my parents and accidentally stood in a nest, so he ended up with bites all over his feet and had to be hosed off. You can try a 1% hydrocortisone cream if she’s still itchy. REI even sells little ~1g foil packets of the stuff, and I keep one in the altoids tin first aid kit in my purse. Because fire ants are everywhere. Argh.

    This part of the year triggers my gardening reflex. I’ve put out basil and italian parsley and chives, and I have some bare root strawberries I need to dig a bed for, and I have two pots of brand new lettuce seedlings, and an orange tree and a lemon tree that need transplanting into bigger pots until we can decide where they’ll go in the ground. I miss four real seasons though. Himself has been ready to move to Minnesota after we visited my mom’s family there over the summer. I laugh, because he starts whining whenever it gets colder than 45ยบ, but I miss the cold, and the produce you can only grow with suitable chill hours.

  22. GeekLady

    Oh, tell you grandfather that the texture will be flakier with lard, but the flavor is better with butter. Nothing wrong with using a mix of both. I’d use butter for these, since they’re all crust, even though I never make pie crusts with butter.

  23. melissa

    This wouldn’t have worked for your daughter in the parking lot, but if you are at home when you get fire ant bites, soaking the affected area in water as hot as you can stand it helps to counteract the chemicals that cause the stinging and itching. The sooner you do this, the more effective it is.

  24. Rose

    Hey, Jen. I accidentally linked to the draft of my post – would you mind deleting that, please? It’s number 83 I think. I’ll relink. Thank you!

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Sure! I put the right link in the first one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Kara

    2. Yup, just like AZ, except it’s rarely cold on Halloween.

    3. Babywearing the 15 month old would’ve helped this situation immensely. ๐Ÿ™‚

    7. Hilarious.

  26. Randy

    Can the 5 year-old hold the toddler? I would expect so. If that isn’t the answer then I don’t see why it is at all similar to the fox, chicken, corn thing. That one is a pure logic problem. Parenting issues don’t have the same well-defined parameters.

  27. Cynthia

    Oh Jen, I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I really teared up at the mention of your 98 year old grandfather trying out the pin idea. How incredibly sweet…and honestly, his did look just as good as the picture. Goodness, I’m hormonal….but even without that, I still would have smiled at the mention of it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. Steph

    Love that pin, Jen! Too funny. I guess I’d say this pin sums me up pretty nicely: http://pinterest.com/pin/111323422009915871/ although to be clear, I am not a “small boy.”

    Funny takes today! You had me giggling.

  29. Christine Dalessio

    #6- how awesome is your grandmother?! and #3 – so sorry, hoping the five year old is feeling much soothed!

  30. Mamabearjd

    My daughter had an allergic reaction to fire ants when she was bitten many many times – under the watch of my parents – and her throat didn’t close but her eyes were almost swollen shut and so we carry an epi-pen with us always because there is always, in Texas, a “next time” with fire ants. If she swelled you might want to ask your Dr about it.

  31. Tracy

    Re: Fire ant bites. It’s best right away (so much so that I keep it in the car now) – plain white regular toothpaste. Dab a bit on each bite and it seriously helps stop the itch – and I’ve even skipped the blister stage. I was a skeptic but then we tried it (yes, I also live in the South, land of the fire ant, what joy). It works.

  32. Rhonda @ A Naptime Novelist

    Scorpions AND fire ants? Why, oh why, do you Texans stay in Texas??!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!

    And Texans love Texas.

    I don’t get it.

  33. Erika

    Having a like-minded 14 month old myself, your dilemma was indeed a mindbender! So sorry for your daughter, though. Ouch!

    Love that bumper sticker. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen someone sporting the same one around town here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Jen/Rabbit

    Am I the only one who thought of peeing on the ant burns???? You can do that while holding a baby. Or you can have the 5 y/o pee herself. It would work.

  35. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    Also, is #3 based on a true story, because it sounds like it is based on a true story.

    My solution? Run inside crying and beg someone to help me. Done.

  36. CMerie

    I stepped in a mound of fire ants a few weeks ago at my sons soccer practice. Yeow! My first experience. After trying many different things, including hydrocortisone cream (it worked pretty good for a little while) I had my best success with a baking soda and water paste. Then I realized my toothpaste was the baking soda kind and used that. Ah! Relief! Again, for a little while! ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck. And PS – Congrats on the new baby!

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