Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Yesterday morning our backyard was covered with 3 enormous piles of cement blocks and when I got home from work, there was this:

Just like that, we have a foundation for our addition. Miguel spent the evening giving us high fives because, “They are really building on”. He’s been a bit skeptical about the process but, now, he is a believer. Me, well, I’m not so sure. I am biologically predisposed to anxiety and I am an overachiever. As you can imagine, this is not a good combination. Last night, I said to Luisa, “Well, there’s no turning back now” even though I know that the “no turning back point” would have been before we got rid of the realtor, refinanced the house, hired the contractor, tore off the back of the house and dug the giant hole in the backyard. She looked at me blankly and I could see that she was trying to compute the most reassuring response. She made a slight tactical error by starting with, “Well, I did think it was going to be bigger…” but recovered quickly and followed with, “It is going to be great...it’s so exciting…I can’t wait…”

This whole process has made me realize that I am a person who really likes to keep all available options open. I am not indecisive – I enjoy possibility. I am happiest when faced with the fork in the road. I would like to set up camp at the fork in the road and have cheese and crackers and a nice Bairrada. I could be a one woman Chamber of Commerce for Forks in the Road. But, alas, I can’t really stay there…too much noise and traffic.

I know we made the right choice when we decided to stay and build onto our house. After a childhood filled with constant moves, I am tied to a place for the first time in my life. It grounds me. I cannot imagine leaving our home, the park, our friends and our history as a couple and as a family. It’s time to move forward and to allow my anxiety to give way to joy about the new possibilities in our house. I know this will come in time…too bad I’m also impatient.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Rattle Rattle Thunder Clatter

My car rattles. Not my VW Golf of Loveliness but my 2002 Saturn Vue. It was not that long ago that I loved my Vue. The Vue and I were close. Then…

Last fall, the Vue started to rattle. Luisa first suggested that the car had always done that. I knew that was not true but I let it go because I’m generous that way. Then, it got a little bit worse and Luisa said that it was because the car was plastic and it was expanding and contracting with the changes in temperature. Saturns do that, it’s true, but this rattle was not that kind of rattle. Things continued to deteriorate and the rattle got to the point where friends riding in the car would shout over the din, “What the hell is that noise?!” It was bad then but you should hear it now. Pedestrians turn their heads toward me when I drive by. They fear me and my rattle. Music does not drown out the rattle. Talk radio does not drown out the rattle. My son, the boy who has no volume control and is never silent, CANNOT DROWN OUT THE RATTLE. It’s like there is a mischievous gnome clumsily juggling glass bottles under the front end of my car. Sometimes, the gnome clacks them together because that’s how car gnomes are. I cannot stand the rattle.

This morning, it came to my attention that I may be a little obsessed with the rattle. Apparently, when we are in the Vue, I talk about the rattle and nothing else. This seems to be a source of frustration to those around me. This morning, while Luisa was driving me to work in the Vue, I mentioned the rattle…just in passing, of course. I might have also laid down an edict (the tiniest of edicts) in which I said that the car would be sold if the rattle could not be repaired. I find that edicts go down easier if they are put to music, so, I sang a little song, “Bye Bye Saturn Bye Bye” but my musical stylings were not at all appreciated. Luisa saw my edict and raised me one. She said that we would not be selling the car and that I would just have to wear ear plugs. You don’t solve a rattle with ear plugs. I was outraged at the fact that she was dismissing my incredibly legitimate concerns. We then arrived at my building and I gave kisses to all and that was that. Luisa then dropped Miguel at school, picked up some friends at the airport and took the Vue to the mechanic.

The Mistress of the Flans returned from Brazil today and I mentioned the issue of the rattle. She had noticed it when Luisa picked her up from the airport but said that she did not think it was that bad. Long story short, she suggested that the problem was not the car but me and my fickle self. Then, I talked to my friend Kristin and she said that she, too, was with Luisa on this one. Neither believed it was reasonable to suggest selling a car because of a rattle. I was beginning to consider introspection when the phone rang. It was Luisa. The mechanic called and the swaybars have gone bad on the Vue. I don’t know what they are but they are important and if they had not been properly addressed they would have broken and caused $600 damage to surrounding very important car parts. They might have also killed that mischievous gnome. No one wants a dead gnome. So, Luisa gave the go ahead for the repairs. It will cost $400 and I have never been so happy to spend $400. I also get to say that I was right…it has not always made that noise and it is not because the car is plastic. This was a bad rattle and, because of my vigilance, it will be fixed. It’s a good day when you get to reclaim your sanity and say “I’m right”. A good day, indeed.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Peep Finale

On Saturday night, Luisa and I sat down with 150 peeps (30 of each color I found - red, blue, purple, pink and yellow), a box of toothpicks and 200 bamboo skewers. I had a few ideas but no definite plans. We turned ourselves over to the process and created this year's centerpiece together.

Luisa: Alright, we have 30 rows of each color.
Me: Let's create squares.
Luisa: We have 30 rows and we need 4 skewers per square, so, four goes into 30 7 times.
Me: We can make 7 squares then?
Luisa: Yes, but some will be multi-colored.
Me: No, I don't want multicolored squares...

This is what happens when a math geek and a Peep freak get together. Luisa was right there with me...skewering, figuring, theorizing and creating. As we were lining up the skewers to make the squares, I said, "They have to face out." Luisa said, "Of course they do!" It was one of those moments when I realize that she just "gets" me and I fell in love with her all over again right on the spot. By the way, Happy 13th Anniversary Luisa!

One thing we noticed this year is that the Peep eyes were rather haphazard. One purple Peep had three eyes, one of which was on its tail. There were also some weepy Peeps...

And without further ado...I present the 2006 Peep Centerpiece...

That's it...we are done with the Peeps until 2007!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Peepy Friday

I took today off from work because Zeca only has daycare for half of the day. I have many phone calls to make and errands to run, so, this will be short.

First, the Mystery of the Purple Peep has been solved. Jil, a parent at Miguel's school, stuffed the Peep into Miguel's box. Apparently, Jil has been secretly reading this blog which is very cool. So, thank you (and hello) Jil - the Peep is very happy in its new home...

Secondly, today's picture is of the Peep centerpiece from last year. In my defense (yes, a defense is needed as you will soon see), we had a newborn baby. Newborn babies excuse everything. I didn't come up with a vision for the centerpiece until the morning of Easter which is never good. It is hard to create when the baby is crying and wants to nurse, your post partum hormones are raging and your 3 year old is begging for Peeps and licking Peep sugar off the table. There would have been no centerpiece at all if not for Luisa who took the peeps from my trembling hands as I sobbed and did the best she could with the materials and Peeps we had available. We learned a lot from the making of this one...1)Peeps do not do well threaded onto wire - there is ripping and sticking and terrible deformities 2)Grand Peep Visions should be tested in advance and 3)There are some things that even cute stickers can't fix.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Peep Fairy

When Luisa picked Miguel up from school last night, she found a giant, plush, purple Peep stuffed into his school mailbox. I tried to explain to him that it was probably meant for me because people know how much I like Peeps. He insisted that it was meant for him because it was in his mailbox. He insisted that he needed the purple Peep. I was faced with a dilemma...love of Peeps versus love of child. I let him have the damn Peep.

Later in the evening, I called my friend Peggy (a teacher at Miguel's school) and asked if she had put the Peep in his box. She has yet to respond but I don't think it was her because the Peep does not smell like her house. Yes, my sense of smell is that impressive. I then called my friend Kris (also a teacher at Miguel's school) and she said that she did not put the Peep in Miguel's box. I then called my friend Kristin and asked if she had, by chance, been stuffing large Peeps in people's mail boxes and she said that she had not. So, we have a mystery here.

Who put the purple Peep in Miguel's mailbox?

Today's peep photo is of the the second Peep centerpiece that I made (2004). This is the one that set the standard for future centerpieces. After the Easter egg hunt, I took it to work where my colleagues nibbled on it...until a staff person threw it unceremoniously into the trash without even asking me. I still haven't quite gotten over that.

Peep Fact (Courtesy of Raquel): Employee Candy Madea is Peeps eye inspector. Peeps with missing or mislocated eyes are melted down.

Where are the PETA activists when you need them?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Home Stretch

For all of you that are just trying to survive the peep posts, we are in the home stretch now. There will only be two more peep posts and then a post-Easter recap that will include a picture of this year's peep centerpiece.

I would first like to declare peeps to be the winner of the official Up Popped A Fox poll that pitted peeps against circus peanuts. Circus peanuts came in second and dental surgery came in third. The poll was illuminating...I did not know that circus peanuts were such scoundrels. Thank you all for voting.

Peep Fact: Just Born is America's largest manufacturer of seasonal marshmallow confections, with PEEPS® hailing as the top selling non-chocolate Easter candy brand for the last decade. PEEPS® even outsell jellybeans.

Today's peep picture is the first of three depicting the evolution of the Vikki Reich peeps centerpiece. From simple beginnings...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My professional life

For those of you that don't know me...I am an Adult Protection social worker for Hennepin County in Minnesota. I investigate reports of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. It's a great job and it is shocking or mundane, depending on the day. Today, things are more of the snoozy variety. Here is what I have done since I got to work today:

  1. Co-facilitate a meeting to discuss case load standards and case assignment issues
  2. Obtain copies of case load statistics for the past 5 years
  3. Write the minutes for the meeting and e-mail to everyone
  4. Go to Starbucks for beans - purchase Organic Shade Grown Mexico Starbucks coffee beans (recommended by Starbucks barista barely old enough to have facial hair)
  5. Eat turkey and cheese sandwich with a side of baby carrots
  6. Read and respond to e-mails regarding the minutes (6 people praised me, 1 shamed me)
  7. Talk about crazy colleague with work friends
  8. Report to a supervisor that my meeting minutes offended a co-worker to head off the complaints about me that will surely follow
  9. Return to my desk to find a GIGANTIC stapler on my desk with instructions from the head clerical person that say, "Vikki - here is the new stapler for CEP/Intake. Being such a smart person, I'll let you read the instructions and explain to others."
  10. Recycle numerous pop cans in cube (11, to be exact)
  11. Read stapler instructions and curse at heavy duty stapler that will not submit to my intellect
  12. Engage in e-mail conversation with offended co-worker regarding meeting
  13. Give up "working" and start blogging


No peep fact for today...just a picture of my son eating his very first peep ever (Easter 2003)...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Cars and Peanuts and Peeps

We did it...we bought a second car. We bought a used, I mean "pre-owned", Volkswagen Golf. It's a nice little car and, though I haven't driven it yet, I am told that it is zippy. My girlfriend cited many wonderful things about the car...not least of which is that the odometer is in kilometers rather than miles. This brings my European gal pal great joy. We bought the car in Hudson, Wisconsin and as I followed Luisa back to Minneapolis, I could see her singing and doing a little dance in the Golf. I could see her joy from the car behind - that's some joy. There is no doubt that the second car will make our lives easier or, at least, more flexible but the car cannot go grocery shopping by itself which makes it a little less useful than I would like it to be.

Now, let's talk Peeps...

In last week's episode, our heroine (Vikki) is betrayed by two of those closest to her. Her partner (Luisa) dared to say that all the Peep talk was driving readers away from this blog. Then, a so-called friend (Kristin) compared Peeps to Circus Peanuts. Circus Peanuts people!

The differences are stark, no? The Peanut does not glisten like the beautiful peep. The Peanut has neither beak nor cute tail. The Peanut has no personality. Then, there is the taste. While I don't eat a lot of Peeps, I am not repulsed by the thought. I would never eat a Peanut - they smell like the bottom of my grandmother's purse...kleenex and lipstick.

Let's take a poll - Peeps or Peanuts?

Friday, April 07, 2006

About last night

I rush from the car to the house in the pouring rain, Zeca bouncing in my arms. We get inside and get out of our soaked outerwear. Zeca goes into the kitchen and I go to listen to messages. Suddenly, I hear water running in the kitchen. I think, "What the hell is she in to now?" I run to the kitchen and Zeca is playing quietly with the refrigerator magnets. I follow the sound into the pantry where I see water streaming in from the ceiling. Not dripping. Streaming. There is a plastic basket nearby and I put that under the stream. The basket has holes in the side and the water seeps out, cascading down the counter onto the wood floor. I run to the dining room and grab a large bowl. I put the bowl under the stream while I go to grab towels. When I race back with the towels, the bowl is already full. I empty the bowl and run back. I start to mop up the water with the towels when I am pelted with small objects flying through the air. I turn to see Zeca, her fat hands full of cat food. She is tossing it into the air like confetti. I am being pelted with celebratory kitty chow. I yell, "NO!" She laughs and works faster. I grab her and carry her to the other side of the room while I try to scoop up the food to put it back in the bowl. She runs back, grabs more - food rains down on us again. I kneel, stretch out one leg and put my foot on her chest to keep her at bay. She squeals and strains but does not figure out that she can just walk around my foot. I scoop up the food and throw it in the bowl. I put the cat bowls on the counter. I go back to the pantry and the bowl is full of water again. I need a bigger bowl. I pick up Zeca and run to the basement. I find a lovely green bucket and I bound up the stairs with Zeca hugging the bucket. I pry the bucket from her hands. She cries...she does not want to be separated from the bucket. I put her down and place the bucket under the stream. I go to the refrigerator and get the cheese. I cut cheese cubes for Zeca so that she will not mourn the bucket. She eats cheese and I mop up water. Soon, she is gone and I hear banging in the foyer. I run to the foyer to see her banging on the storm door. She is gleeful - she has mashed cheese all over the glass. I shut the door, leaving cheese on the storm door. I carry her to the other room and call the contractor and beg him to come fix this. He promises he will be there as soon as he can. I hang up. I stand there in the foyer, holding my cheesy daughter while water streams into the bucket and the power flickers. The door opens and Miguel and Luisa walk in - "Welcome to the not so fun house!" I say.


Peep Fact: It would take approximately 8,000 vertical PEEPS® to equal the height of the tallest building in North America, Sears Tower in Chicago.

In this picture, our peeps enjoy a nice campfire on the beach.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Another day

I got home from work last night and the back porch of our house was completely gone. It actually looks better now. It's weird to look out the door in our bedroom that used to lead to the deck and see nothing but sky. Miguel is fascinated by the changes and is also mourning the loss of the deck and porch. Last night, he kept saying, "I'm going to call Paul Newman and tell him I want my porch back!" We tried to explain that the contractor's name is Paul Pope but he insisted that Paul Newman is taking our house apart. Here is the most recent picture - you can see Miguel frolicking in the foreground.


Peep fact: This Easter, Just Born expects more than 800 million PEEPS® Chicks, Bunnies, and Eggs to be consumed by men, women, and children throughout the United States and abroad.

I love peeps but I do find it hard to believe that they are consumed "abroad". Today, I went to buy my peeps and Target was already out of yellow and pink! I hope that I can find them somewhere else. I did pick this up for myself, though...

The peep plush pack is new this year. I have one sitting on my desk right now. You're jealous...I know...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Last night, Luisa and I were talking about the blog and I was despairing over the fact that no one has commented on my peeps posts. One would think that such despair would elicit unconditional positive regard but, no. She dared to suggest that, perhaps, people are not interested in peeps, that maybe the peeps are driving people away from the blog. I gasped in horror at her blasphemous words. She continued and said that I may have started the peepy countdown to Easter too soon. I tried to explain to her that I never intended the blog to be "all peeps, all the time" but by then she was shaking her head and tsking. I'll show her that I have more than peeps on the brain...

They started construction on our addition yesterday. Actually, they started deconstruction yesterday. They removed the siding and storm windows from our current 3 season back porch and will continue the demolition today. The back porch has to go so that they can pour the new foundation and build the beautiful two-story, two-room and new 1/2 bath addition. It's starting to seem a bit more real now. As we finished emptying the porch, I felt a little sad. It seems silly to be sad about losing a useless, leaking 3 season porch but the feeling was there nonetheless. Luisa said it was the end of an era...she can be so dramatic sometimes. Statisticians can be so flighty and over the top.

My hope is to take pictures every day that there is any kind of progress so that, at the end, I will have a full series of the construction. Fear not, legion of readers - I won't post every picture I take. Here are the first two:

It looks so naked and vulnerable…and dilapidated. It’s a great house, really. It’s just going through an ugly phase…some Clearasil, braces and a wardrobe update and it’ll be better than ever.

************************************************************************************* And for those of you who can open your heart to marshmallow goodness…

Peep fact: In 1953, it took 27 hours to create one PEEPS® Chick. Today, it takes six minutes.

In this picture, our peeps relax on the beach while the lifeguard recounts the events of the day.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Quick Pic

Continuing the countdown...

Peep fact: Over 70 million peeps chicks lined up beak to tail are needed to reach from New York City to Los Angeles.

I want the job of figuring out the estimated number of peeps needed for various things. Either that or I want to be paid to come up with new paint names.

In this picture, our peeps frolic on the beach under the watchful eye of the lifeguard. This was taken from the opening scene of the blockbuster "The Peep Show".

Monday, April 03, 2006

Peeple who need Peeple

Yesterday morning, Miguel woke up and could not wait to tell me about a dream that he had had. He said:

I was at a birthday party with Stella and Augie and there were all kinds of peeps! There were pink and blue and yellow peeps but there were also orange and brown peeps! They were so sugary and yummy. It was like a peep party!

My heart swelled with my pride because my son knew instinctually that the peep season was upon us. Robins, schmobins - peeps are the true first signs of Spring.

I am a lover of the peeps. I don't really enjoy eating them, though I do force down a row or two every year out of respect. I love peeps as pop culture icons, as confection curiosities, as a medium for creativity. At this time of year, I often feel compelled to run out and buy peeps in large quantities because they 0nly come around once a year and I fear that the stores will run out before I get enough of them. Who am I kidding? Can you really ever have enough peeps? I must confess that I have bought hundreds of peeps...box after box lined up on my shelves just waiting to be freed from their packaging, waiting for me to unleash their potential.

So, as we countdown to Easter, I will include some of the stills from my unfinished movie, "The Peep Show" and I will include pictures of the peep centerpieces I have made for the past few years. Perhaps, I'll even include a peepy fact or two (courtesy of the Just Born web site). Enjoy!

Fact: As many as 4.2 million PEEPS® are made each day at Just Born's Bethlehem, Pennsylvania factory.