A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Review

So when I’m not blogging or parenting or wifeing, I am most likely reading. I’m one of the co-founders of my very own book club, was an English major in college, and used to manage the children’s department at an independent bookstore which sadly closed its doors in 2006. Point being, I like to read – a LOT – and consider myself “something of a literary expert” to vaguely quote one of my MLM’s favorite t.v. shows, Word World (and oh yes, I do love all of the ABC, reading themed shows on PBS these days). So anyway, I read a lot, and the last month has mostly been devoted to reading A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I’m assuming you’ve heard of it – otherwise, hi there and welcome to Earth!

I’d heard the rave reviews about this series for years, but hadn’t read them myself for various reasons – like being in hardcover for ages, the sheer quantity, and that mild itching theory of mine that a lot of books get seriously over-hyped. But SOME books are hyped just right and when my SIL loaned me the first nine books, really, what excuse did I have?

I began reading this series at the tail end of January. From that point on – it became an obsession – food, sleep, socializing, even my book club books – all took a back seat to Snicket’s genius. My husband endured weeks of me excitedly rambling about how Snicket was the next Chaucer (as in creates a character for himself inside the novel who happens to be less intelligent perhaps on purpose for the sole reason of pointing out the obvious – thus showing his true genius), a real literary pro who had created one of the world’s few masterpieces. I dreamt about this series and frequently found myself referring to the heroine of my book club pick as “Not the Baudelaires.”

But enough fanfare. Really, if you don’t have cheap access to this series, it is a bit of an undertaking and may get expensive at 13 books total (I highly recommend Amazon) but it’s seriously worth it. Here is an author who can pay attention to EVERY detail and ensure you are immersed in his world. And he takes one seriously complicated plot and delivers it in 13 manageable pieces, building and smoothing and leveling so that you properly digest every book. And if you aren’t well read or are in fact a child – his primary audience – this is an excellent series to help you build up your vocabulary and knowledge of the world, as Snicket will constantly define words, explain away anything and give examples of everything, without losing your interest somehow. He accomplishes what those SAT novels wanted to accomplish without being completely nerdy and even I, the English major, learned a few new things in this series. Your parents, in short, will approve.

Anyway, if you or a child you know have been meaning to read this series, run, don’t walk, to the nearest library or bookstore and get ready for one of the best reading experiences of your life. Seriously.


oMop, Oh You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me! a.k.a. Hi!

When I was in college, you know all those three years ago, I hated that whole “first week” pattern of teachers lecturing about what they would lecture about – I always found myself thinking, “Stop telling me what you are GOING to teach me, and start teaching!” So I won’t make that mistake here, dear readers. I won’t tell you for the second or third time who I am, what I plan to blog about and why you should read. Rather, I will simply begin blogging and you can choose whether or not to read, as soon as you see fit. If you love me, keep reading. If I’m like a train wreck you can’t take your eyes away from, again, keep reading. But if you are so bored you’d rather watch water boil, by all means, go cook up some Ramen instead – but then come back and read some more! (j/k, I think…)

Without further adieu, my first REAL post, in which I simply blog:

So, I love my son and all, but in one hour without him this morning I managed to empty the dishwasher and load new dishes, vacuum half the apartment (I may have done more but 10 minutes were devoted to de-clogging the poor beast of all the “fuzz” that My Little Monkey (son, we’ll call him MLM for the sake of conciseness or maybe just clever initializing) has been collecting which didn’t make it past the carpet “brush” thing), mopped the floor with my new oMop (keep reading for my review of said Method-ical mopping system) and took out the trash – that’s right – all by myself – some of said trash has been lingering in this apartment for MONTHS. And in one hour of free time I got rid of it for GOOD.

So, the oMop, purchased at Target a few months ago under the theory that grown assed ladies need to own things like mops and irons, was used for the first time this morning while Sesame Street blasted through the apartment because I couldn’t bring myself to turn off the tube, even though MLM had gone off on a play date with my MIL and thus wasn’t there watching it, if only because the show playing gives me an idea of what time it is, how long he’s been gone and what I should really be doing – does that make sense to anyone else?

Anyway, back to review. Basically, I attach cleaning cloth to the nifty oMop, squirt some cleaning liquid on floor and, um, mop? Right? According to the package, I then let the floor dry and admire my clean floor. This should be easy, but I am not exactly a mopping maven and I’m not convinced I did it right. Maybe I didn’t use enough liquid. Maybe I didn’t scrub hard enough. Maybe it simply hadn’t “dried” yet. Point being, the floor looks the same to me. And there are some spots on the floor that I was hoping would be cleaned up and decidedly weren’t. I ended up moving on to other chores and will try again next week with more vigor in one of the aforementioned areas (i.e. more liquid or more elbow grease). In, oh say, a month, I will probably have decided if it was worth the dough. If I actually commit to things like mopping floors. P’shaw.

Speaking of cheap assed kitchen products, last night our beautiful Chefmate Santoku knife proved that when the famous Jagger said, “You can’t always get what you want,” he should have added, “but you will almost always get what you paid for.” Sure we were a bit shocked to see we could get two Santoku knives (the average lookin’ size and the wee baby size (for super skilled toddlers perhaps?)) for the low price of $20 when the average ones can sell on their own from 50-750 dollars, but who were we to complain? Beggars can’t be choosers, and our bank account tells me we are, in fact, beggars. For weeks we were fooled, thinking we’d really hit the jackpot with that $20 and were in love with the best two knives in the apartment. Our knife block mourned our loss of love as we undoubtedly chose Santoku over their sorry asses every day (seriously, our knife block sucks – it was pawned off on us by my parents who also hated it, and probably was given to them by someone who hated it even more…) until one fateful day, i.e. yesterday, when our big daddy Santoku knife met its demise in the hands of MLM’s big daddy, a.k.a. my husband (DH). Simply slicing some of his morning after bread (an Alton Brown recipe involving a half a bottle of beer from one of his cookbooks – a.k.a. DH’s favorite cookbook) for a late night snack, the knife literally broke in half. The handle “exploded” as he worded it, revealing the poor craftsmanship behind our “good buy” – it looks like a real Santoku knife chopped off the handle of our fake Santoku knife and our fake Santoku cried mercy and died. For real. So now we are basically without good knife-age, unless you count the baby Santoku which is still in the drawer but I’m now terrified to use. And our knife block, which will live with us until we can afford a real set of knives and then pawn off the old block on some other sucker.

And that is the story of my one hour without MLM. Are you hooked yet?