Here is one way to annoy your step son:

When he comes home from college during the middle of the day to do homework, and he sits with his back to you on the couch in your kitchen/family room, and he tries really hard to concentrate on the text book he is reading, make sure to start doing the prep work for Swedish Meatballs for the evening meal which will include crushing dry cornflakes on the counter.  Since you discover that you are out of baggies to put the cornflakes in, just place them on a piece of plastic wrap and fold it over.  Use a plastic measuring cup with the mouth of the cup facing up to do the crushing, it will amplify the sound of the cornflakes being crushed.

Then stand with a grin on your face as you crush the cornflakes over and over.  Watch your step son’s head rise slightly as he stops reading to listen to the crunching sound behind him.  Crunch the cornflakes some more.  Grin.  Crunch.  Your step son will try to be polite for awhile and ignore the sound.  Crunch.  Grin.  Crunch.  Finally he won’t be able to stand it any longer and he will swing around with an annoyed look on his face which will change to a smirk after he sees what you are doing.

You will hear, “Man, I thought you were eating potato chips.  I couldn’t believe how loud you were eating them!  What an obnoxious sound.”

After a good laugh you can finish making the Swedish Meatballs and your step son can continue with his homework.

That is what happened at our house this week and it is what prompted our latest family poll.  I could see that someone crunching “potato chips” loudly was an annoying sound to Squid and I know that I also hate to hear someone eating their food loudly.  People chewing with their mouth open, making smacking noises, is enough to send me over the edge.  It is a sound I do not like to hear.  I asked the kids and Hub what they consider the most obnoxious sound to be.  Here are their answers:

*Hub hates it when people rub their hands on latex balloons.  It gives him the shivers.

*Though Squid hated the sound of what he thought was someone loudly eating potato chips his real answer to the question is that he hates the loud barking of our dog, Max.  Max’s bark doesn’t match his size.  It is louder and deeper than one would think and when he lets it out suddenly in the house it drives Squid crazy.

*Huh says she hates the sound of her alarm clock going off in the morning because it means she has to get up.  When Huh gave her answer there was agreement from the rest of the kids that that is indeed a sound none of them enjoy hearing.  Mack said, “Even if my alarm was the sound of crickets I would hate it because it is waking me up.”

*Juju looked around and then said, “My sound that I most hate to hear is my step sister, Huh.”  From upstairs we heard Huh loudly say, “Don’t make me put a hurt on you!”

*Mack says the sound that most grates on her is Squid screeching Hub’s first name in a high pitched voice whenever he is trying to find him.

*Shroom doesn’t like the sound of the squeaking belt on Squid’s car.

*Hoob’s obnoxious sound is the universally hated fingernails on the chalk board.

*Yawlin says he doesn’t like to hear babies crying because it makes him want to cry.

Right now I am hearing the sound of Huh vacuuming her room.  Now that is a sound I like to hear!  🙂

Things have been rather hectic around here lately so I haven’t had much time for blogging.  I have one hour of free time before I have to pick Hoob up from her dance class and so decided to write a few quick updates on past posts.

*On Saturday, the day I posted that my family is my priority, I took Mack birthday shopping at the mall for her 16th birthday.  While looking for one particular shop we passed a dress shop that was going out of business.  I sent Mack in to start trying on dresses and quickly called Hub to bring Huh and Juju so that they could try dresses on as well.  The girls had a blast trying on dresses and we walked out of the store with seven formals costing us a total of $245.00.  Seven formals for $245.00!  This was the same dress store that, one year earlier, Huh and I had bought her Homecoming dress costing $189.00 (she paid half).  They were selling the dresses for $20.00 to $30.00 each.  Roughly, had we paid full price for the dresses, we would have spent  $1,300.00.  Ya gotta love a deal like that!  The girls all understand that we are now done shopping for formals while the three of them are in high school.  They will share the dresses and, with the two dresses that Huh already owns, will be able to wear a different dress to each dance.

*For Hub’s 45th birthday, in addition to the gifts already planned, I had the kids each create a coupon for a service they would perform for him.  The coupons included many offers to do certain undesirable chores, a morning that breakfast will be fixed for him, some organizing tasks to be done, and an offer to take him mountain biking (from Squid).  I also, sort of, encouraged the kids to decorate Hub’s truck and, sort of, provided all of the stuff for them to do so.  When Hub discovered his truck in the morning it was covered with crepe paper, balloons, confetti, and “Over the Hill” signs.  Inside the truck were more balloons and many, many, many packing peanuts.  Poor Hub had a lunch date scheduled with an old high school friend and had to clean the truck up himself since the kids were all at school and I was subbing second grade.

*The Blaxican hasn’t kept his word to not speak to Huh, but he has been much nicer to her and even offered to apologize to me.  The apology hasn’t happened yet and I am keeping close tabs on how he treats her.

*Yawlin received much good-natured ribbing from family members when I told them how he seems to have outgrown hugging or kissing me in front of his friends.  Yawlin finds the whole thing rather funny and even laughed when I told him I blogged about it.  His compromise is to give me a hive five as he passes me when his friends are present.  Sometimes he will even walk behind them and slip me a quick hug and kiss when they aren’t looking.

*I made the zucchini jam that my mom told me about but I couldn’t find apricot Jell-O so I used peach Jell-O instead.  I kept everything else in the recipe the same and it turned out great.  I had the kids all try it on a roll before telling them what it really was.  They were all fooled and really like it.  I also tried making the jam with raspberry Jell-O and frozen raspberries (instead of the pineapple).  I blended the frozen raspberries in the blender before adding them to the mix and the jam turned out delicious.  The kids really like it.  I will be trying the same thing with Strawberry Jell-O and frozen strawberries in a few days.

*Our towel problem still exists.  I had decided to give the kids two towels each for the week and if they left the towels on the floor and ended up having to dry off with a wet towel they were out of luck.  There would be no more towels until after I had laundered them on Saturdays.  Unfortunately before we could see if this new plan would work the towel rack got pulled from the wall (the towel ghost seeking revenge perhaps?) and the kids haven’t had any place to hang their towels in the bathroom.  We have been so busy that we haven’t had time to fix the towel rack.  I think I will opt for individual hooks instead of one long bar.  Each person will be assigned a hook and then I just might be able to see who is hanging up their towel and who is not.  Hopefully with the new hooks and the new plan our towel problem will disappear.  Now…to find the time to hang the hooks…

Well, that’s us for now.  Time to go get my daughter.