Microwaves, Movie Nights & the Perfect Popcorn

Pop Secret

Thanks to Pop Secret for sponsoring this post. All funny commentary is my own.

As you may be aware, we just (as in about 5 days ago) moved into a big, beautiful new house. It has everything our old house didn’t like closets and central air. Along with all these astounding modern amenities the house also came with a microwave, which is something of a miracle to me since I’ve lived my whole adult life without one.

I could never get one because my first apartment had no countertops. No exaggeration. It was basically the size of a smallish walk-in closet, which by New York City standards was luxurious. When we bought our first home we had slightly more countertops, which is to say we had countertops. But an old house with five doors in the kitchen, didn’t leave a whole lot of room for counter space. Now as I reach midlife I finally live in a house with space and countertops. And let me tell you, it’s amazing.

All this is my way of saying for the past 20 years I’ve never been able to have popcorn. Do you know what that’s like?

It’s a travesty.

I suppose I could have popcorn if I wanted to settle for crummy, store-bought, already-been-popped popcorn. But I don’t settle. I’m better than that. I wanted real, live, fresh, delicious, pops of corn that inflate before your very eyes into fluffy puffs of salty goodness. Which these days can only be had if you own a microwave. And, that’s all I ever wanted a microwave for, really. Popcorn. That’s it.

All this time I’ve held out for real popcorn so when I was asked to do a post about Perfect Pop from Pop Secret right before I was about to move in to a home where I could actually make popcorn, I was like, Are you kidding me? This has been my dream for 20 years. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do (well, that and a few other things like write a book, but popcorn was the main goal). And, now I finally can.

I’m proud to say the inaugural use of the microwave was to make Pop Secret popcorn with the Perfect Pop app, and you know what? The only thing better than being able to make warm, buttery pops of corn in the comfort of your own home is making perfectly popped pops of corn in the comfort of your own home. Because nothing’s worse than opening the bag after the giddy anticipation of eating the mouth-watering, buttery delight just to find every last piece burned. Especially when you were so looking forward to stuffing your face after inhaling the intoxicating scent as you eagerly awaited the microwave bell to ding. And all it took was one second to ruin it all.

It’s devastating.

It’s the kind of devastation you just don’t recover from. Sure, you might try to eat around the burned parts out of a fierce desperation and false hope that you’ll find one or two salvageable pieces, but you’re just fooling yourself. The damage is done. The happy, fun evening you envisioned is spoiled forever.

See how fast Crazy is stuffing popcorn into his mouth? So fast you can't even see his hand.

Crazy can’t get the popcorn into his mouth fast enough. His hand is moving so fast you can’t even see it. Mr. Potato Head is moving in quick, too. It’s cut-throat up in here.

Well, those days are behind us. Pop Secret has created The Perfect Pop app that telepathically communicates with your microwave and dings at the precise moment your popcorn is ready. It’s magic. Or technology. Which is basically the same thing.

Before I even finished reading the email on how to get the app on my phone, my daughter had already downloaded it (because she’s all teenage like that), but you don’t need a teenager to do it. It’s super easy. Then we tossed the popcorn in, played the app and were regaled by movie trivia. As the popping neared completion, we saw “the view” inside the bag, adding a dramatic build-up to the final moment.

I gotta say the app doesn’t lie. There was not one burned morsel in the whole bag.

Look how delicious it was.

I think he's trying to drink the popcorn.

I think Crazy’s trying to drink it. That’s how perfect it was. We’ve been eating it nonstop ever since.

 

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I Stole Some Plants (but They Were Mine First)

My yard looked a little like this. Just kidding. That's the Luxemburg Gardens in Paris

My yard looked a little like this (just kidding. That’s Luxemburg Gardens in Paris.)

Ok, got the plants. From yesterday, remember? I had to sneak over to my old house and dig up all the plants from the yard I wanted to bring to the new house. What? They’re my plants. Actually, some of them were the previous owner’s plants (he was a botanist), but he died so I don’t think he’ll mind, plus that yard was an overgrown jungle when we first moved in, and we totally turned it into a magical “park-like” setting. For reals. I’m not even bragging. Everybody loved our yard. But it was a LOT of maintenance, which we didn’t realize when we were young, naive, first time homeowners who went haywire planting all sorts of flowering plants and bushes and borders and rhizomes and unstoppable, spreading vines hell bent on world domination. But that’s the new owners problem now.

Suckers.

But wait, there’s more –>

Moving Out

MovingOut

Oh.My.God, guys. Never move. Do you know what a royal pain it is? Literally. Everything hurts. Which is really sad because we hired movers. I guess I’m sore from watching them move all our stuff. And telling them where it goes. Because that’s a lot of work.

Seriously, though, I really am in pain from the whole moving thing. Muscles I didn’t even know I had hurt. Like my ankles. And, I use them pretty regularly. If they’re not in good shape, what is? Even my butt hurts, which begs the question, have your butt muscles ever hurt before? Didn’t think so. How would gluts even get over exerted? What do you use your butt for other than sitting?

The disturbing part is I like to consider myself pretty fit. I mean I go to the gym twice a week, but holy hell I have a full-body ache. Nothing compares to this. Not even skiing. So listen up people who complain they can’t lose weight. If you really wanted to get buff become a mover.

I might not have moved furniture or heavy boxes from the storage locker, but I did move stuff. I’ve been moving stuff for the last 72 hours straight. All the odds and ends, and let me tell you, there are about a bazillion odds and ends. Most of which I don’t even want, but I couldn’t leave any of it behind so I packed it up and took it with me to the new house where I still don’t want it.

But wait, there’s more –>

Kicking My Kids to The Curb

Come September my kids are on their own to make it to school and back. They’re old enough (I think). I’ve taught them to look both ways before crossing the street (although I’ve never seen them put that into practice). And, I can spit and practically hit the school from my front doorstep so I’m pretty confident they’ll make it.

We gave it a trial run at the end of last year, and it was going fantastic until I was informed by my son’s teacher that Crazy (my son) was behaving like a lunatic on the way to school. So it was with a heavy heart that I called an end to the experiment.

But this is a whole new year and, hopefully, a whole new Crazy.

He is three months older and certainly that many months wiser. He is going to be a second grader next month and my daughter a fourth grader. If they can’t walk to school by themselves now, then when? I certainly have no intentions of schlepping my kids back and forth to school all the way up until they can drive themselves. I know plenty of parents do, but I’ve always found that puzzling.

When I moved to my town, I chose it partially because of its pedestrian nature. Unlike the sprawling suburb where I grew up, my town was one where residents could walk everywhere: the park, the schools, the little downtown. Back then my husband and I owned a single car, and with both of us commuting to the city, it was really all we needed.

Now, we’re a two-car, two-kid kind of family, but I plan to give up driving my kids anywhere they can walk just as soon as they can walk it. Up until this year I’ve hustled my kids the couple of blocks to school, waited impatiently for the morning bell and scurried home afterward just to repeat the whole process a short 6 hours later. I’ve done it exactly 1,440 times. And, I’ve hated every minute of it. Not because I’m particularly lazy. I like to walk. But because it would save me so much time if I didn’t have to escort them. I might be able to squeeze an extra 45 minutes out of my day, maybe more. I also loathe the morning stroll because it creates extra work, and I don’t feel like fixing my hair and make-up just to return home to shower and do it all over again. But I do. I refuse to let people see how I really look. I at least want the illusion of grace and competence if I can’t actually have it.

My disdain for this twice daily ritual even caused me to consider moving to any other town in my state based purely on their bussing system and the duration of time my children would spend in it. But that reason wasn’t quite enough to convince my husband to move, and I continued to believe I would walk my kids to school for perpetuity.

Then, one day it hit me. Why can’t they walk themselves? I’d completely forgotten kids actually grow up.

This year is the year. It’s time to give it another shot. I’m pretty sure the kids won’t perish crossing the one neighborhood street on their way without a crossing guard, but it’s a chance I’ll have to take.

Now, when can they be latch key kids?

The Magical Mystery Dog

White Dog

The most bizarre thing happened the other day. I ran to the food store so my kids wouldn’t starve because that’s the kind of mother I am, and when I returned I pulled into the driveway to find a shaggy white dog sitting on my front porch. Just sitting there on the doormat in front of the door as if she lived here.

I stopped short in the driveway and stared through the windshield, waiting for my brain to correct itself and make the dog disappear. Then I blinked, and when I opened my eyes, I half-expected the dog to be gone. She wasn’t.

Sitting in the driver seat starring through the windshield I thought, Why does God keep sending me all these stray animals? I can’t take care of them all. God, you know I have a full plate. Please, enough with the animals already.

God, also knows I can’t say “no” to a lost, helpless, doe-eyed animal. Shaking my head, I eased my foot off the brake, slowly pulled up and parked the car. “Great. I’m gonna have to adopt this one too.”

Hopping out, I walked around the back of the car and cautiously approached the porch. The dog never moved. She watched me climb the stairs, remaining in her spot as if she was just waiting to for me to return home and let her into the house.

Speaking in a soothing tone, I kneeled down before her and noticed a collar. I stuck out my hand, and as she sniffed me I saw her paws were wet and muddy, and she was trembling. I placed my hand on her head and stroked her white fur. “It’s Ok puppy. It’s Ok. Don’t worry.”

But wait, there’s more –>

Storage Wars

Storage Wars

Photo credit: zen via photopin cc

The same goes for the storage locker. (I have no idea what I am talking about here. I saved this post in drafts, and when I called it back up I had no memory as to what the hell I was referencing. But I liked the sentence so I left it. Still, what kind of weirdo starts a post like that?)

This piece is supposed to be about moving and the storage locker we had to procure in order to have a place in which to cram all our worldly possessions in order to sell this house and, ultimately, the collection of all that crap at the end of the whole process.

Which is where we are right now.

And I just realized the opening sentence might be referring to the seemingly endless moving process and how even after the completion of the anxiety-provoking, sleepless-night inducing purchase of one house and sale of another phase, which should usher in a relaxed, euphoric stage, the work still isn’t over.

But wait, there’s more –>

4th of July Fireworks, BBQ’s & Deathtraps

This is my 4th of July post from last year, and it will probably be my 4th of July post forever because if you’ve read one 4th of July post you’ve read them all. I mean how different can the 4th of July get? Mine are pretty much all the same. Every year I fear for my life.

fireworks

That looks like a safe distance. Photo credit

Before we get to that, though, let’s start off with a nice little father and son tale (from a year ago, but if you haven’t read it it’s new to you).

The holiday week kicked off with a little father-son bonding time, but almost as soon as the two left I started to worry.

But wait, there’s more –>

Blog Tour Coming to a Screen Near You

type writer

I was supposed to do this about a week and a half ago, but my kids messed everything up. They’re back from their four-day stint with my folks (insert crying emoticon here), and very needy with wanting attention and to do things and go places and eat. It’s all very taxing, which is why my blog has taken a backseat. Not that it should. I know my blog is more important than my kids, but you know what they say – the squeaky wheel gets the grease and my blog is very, very quite. It’s gonna need to speak up if it’s going to compete with the kids because they never shut the hell up.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about answering some writerly questions and introducing you to other great bloggers you should be reading if you know what’s good for you. Last week (or the week before – who can keep track anymore) Middletini asked me to be part of a blog tour that she was asked to be a part of by Herd Management who was asked to be a part of by Foxy Wine Pocket who was asked to be part of by somebody else. Thats how the internet works. I met Middletini at Blog U, but I didn’t know how much I loved her until I started reading her blog. I know, I’m an idiot. Kathleen is a lawyer and single mom of two who started blogging as a way of preventing losing her mind as she headed into her 40′s and her life hadn’t turned out as planned. Who hasn’t been there? As an added bonus she starts each post off with a suggested cocktail (that’s a lot of cocktails, people – you might even qualify for a bar tending license after this) because, as she says, she’s less offensive when you’ve been drinking. But don’t let her fool you. She’s very sweet and not at all offensive. To see what I mean check out a few of my favorite posts like Elmo Ruined Everything, which is about how Elmo caused her divorce (sorta), and I Can’t Explain it Either because it’s funny and it has a truly fantastic Vine video of a guy in tighty whiteys and black socks dancing.

Now is the time in the program where I have to answer some questions about writing. Strangely, they all had the same answer. I tried to expand on it a little bit so they wouldn’t be so boring.

What Am I Working On?

What amn’t I working on? Keeping this relentless blog afloat, getting two rather unmotivated kids to pass grade school, going viral, moving my whole life, getting along with Facebook who can be a real jerk sometimes, learning how to edit photos, possibly opening a little shop on Zazzle (I need an assistant) and keeping up with the Kardashian (actually I’m not. Even though they are on the cover of every magazine I really don’t know who is who over there because there’s a whole bunch of them, and they all basically have the same name. The only one I really know is Kim and that she’s getting married again after her two second first marriage and wanted to have the wedding at Versailles, which was just too perfect, but the French shot them down because The French have good taste and some common sense, and that’s just one more reasons to love that country.), oh, and, writing a book. Which I might note, I just finished the book proposal on, which was taking up an inordinate amount of my time (read: all my time because I became obsessed because I have a problem). I’ve been quiet on that front because I don’t like to talk about myself, which is kind of ironic because I have this blog. And, also because I’m kind of superstitious, and I don’t want to jinx myself, which I might have just done by writing this.

But wait, there’s more –>

Childless and Loving It

My kids have been away this week.

This is what it felt like.

This is what it feels like.

I don’t wanna brag, but they’re gone. Don’t be mad. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. My parents offered to take them, which I don’t think has ever happened before. And, I’m not gonna lie. Every minute of it has been heaven.

You know that book/movie, Heaven is for Real? Well, that kid doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. I’ll show you heaven. Heaven is not having kids for 4 whole days.

I’d like to say I miss Crazy and The Kid, but I don’t. (Don’t worry. I will. Eventually. Just not yet.) For the first time in a looooooong time, I feel free. And it’s a nice feeling. I can’t say I ever feel free with the kids. I mean I love em and all, but I feel pressure. All.The.Time. Pressure to keep them occupied and busy and learning and doing and going. It’s a lot. And it’s made me see how truly crazy this parenting gig is. I mean working full time and then cooking and cleaning and doing laundry on top of it is more than enough. No wonder I’m always stressed and frantic.

But wait, there’s more –>

Saladworks: A Review

It didn't quite look like this but...

It didn’t quite look like this but…Photo credit: rofi via photopin cc

I like salad and I like works especially when someone else is doing it for me, and since I’ve been living on the lam I’ve been getting to eat out for practically every meal. Which is why I’ve decided I now love moving thing. I never want to stop moving. If I keep moving my house will always stay clean (because you can’t live there), my kids will no longer be able to collect garbage and I’ll never have to cook another meal again! It’s the perfect solution to all my problems.

Anyway, the other day I was super excited to try Saladworks because prior to selling our home I didn’t get out much. And, also I like salad. I just don’t like making salad. I make salad practically every night. I don’t like to make it, but I make it because I like to eat it, and I’m trying to keep my kids and husband healthy despite their desire to eat nothing but deep fried foods and Skittles. But making salad is not exactly fun, and what’s worse is I am the only one in this whole entire family who ever makes it. My husband does cook dinner sometimes, but then we don’t get a vegetable. I know I shouldn’t complain because he’s making dinner after all, but just once I’d like someone to make a salad for me. And, now I’ve found that someone, Saladworks.

But wait, there’s more –>