Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Last Friday was a terrible day. And I left work completely bummed out and sad. Why? Because I realized as I got in my car that I had lost one of my earrings. Not just any earring, but one of my FAVORITE earrings that I wear all the time. My big silver Tiffany Beads, which I instead prefer to call Balls. I went back to look for it and I couldn't find it. The He and She Bosses were out of town, but returning the next day (and I work out of their home) so I sent the She Boss a text message. This was our conversation:
Me: So po'd. Lost earring. If u find, plz let me know!
She: Oh that sux. I'll look for it. Not a diamond?
Me: No, Tiffany.
She: Oh, bummer. I know how u luv ur balls. :)
Yes, I do. I love my balls. My mother in law had given them to me for Christmas two years ago. And it was so much fun getting that turquoise-ish blue box with the white bow. I said to Uberman "Take a picture of my gift!" And he says "Okay, open it." I said "No, I don't think I'm gonna. I'm just gonna keep it like this." But I was glad I opened it because I loved my new sparkly silver balls. And of course I made jokes all day about how I had always wished I had balls like her and now I had big set of my own. Yeah, good times.
I wore those earrings every other day or more. And I know it's a dumb thing to get all sad and sappy over, but I swear I felt like my dog died or something. Okay, maybe not that bad. But I was sad and mad at myself for not being more careful with my balls.
Monday I couldn't wait to get to work. I just knew the She Boss would find it. I went in, fully expecting to see it sitting on my keyboard, and . . . nothing. She said she looked everywhere, no ball. I refused to give up hope. I knew it had to be somewhere close. On my way out that afternoon I looked in the driveway and the entry in case it fell off outside, but no ball. I checked my car, I climbed under my desk (wow, was that a sight), I searched high and low, no ball. Yesterday I looked again, no ball. I was so disappointed I couldn't find it. So sadly, I was down to one ball. I felt like John Kruk.
And then today, I dragged myself out of the car, up the driveway, casually glancing around just in case. And then, out of the corner of my eye, something shiny caught my attention. I looked down at a patch of rocks in the entry way. It was like a beacon, a light shining down from the heavens, illuminating this one patch of gravel. Is it?? Could it be?? A choir of angels began to sing in my ears "Glory Glory Hallelujah!" Or maybe it was "I'll Fly Away," I can't really remember. But there it was, my beautiful ball!! Lonely and a little tarnished, probably scared and shivering in the 89 degree weather. Oh praise the sweet Baby Jesus! I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see my beautiful ball in a pile of rocks!
I danced into the office, shaking my money maker and singing "I found my ball! I found my ball! Go April! It's your birthday!" The He Boss looked up from his desk and he's all "Wow, you are really happy about your earring. Did it have sentimental value?" And I'm all "Hells yeah! It's from Tiffany's!"
So the rest of the day was spent in sweet thankful euphoria. Nothing phased me, because my balls were back together. I started calling them Peaches and Herb, because they are reunited and it feels so good. Nothing could take away my high. Not the countless morons who called the office with stupid questions. Not the usual nail biting stressful deadlines I deal with.
Not even that one idiot coworker who drives me completely insane with his laziness: "Um, hey Ape ha ha ha. Anyone ever call you Ape?? Ha ha. I am so funny no wonder my wife left me. Um listen, can you do me a solid? I'm on the road and I can't find this address I'm supposed to be at, you know, 'cause I'm such an asshat and all. Can you look this address up for me and tell me where it is? Because you know I couldn't find my way out of a paper bag with both ends open. Thanks Doll. Were you born in April? Ha ha ha."
On any other day I would have totally said "Dude, I'm not your secretary. Get your ass to Best Buy and invest in a Garmin Nuvi. I can't be mapquesting at your demand when I am so busy and important. Douchebox." But today I gave him his directions and told him to have a nice day. And then waited for him to call me back when he realized I sent him to a proctologists office. What? Oh if you knew him you would have done the same thing.
And of course it didn't phase me at all when I got stuck behind a moving truck trying to go through the round about. Or when the line at the grocery store was 8 people deep and I had one item. And when one of the snooty mom's on my son's baseball team made a comment about him being 5 minutes late for the pregame warm up, I just laughed and complimented the zebra print stilettos and rhinestone studded jeans she was wearing. At 4:30 in the afternoon. On a Wednesday. To her son's baseball game. Whatever. Who cares! Because my balls are back, Baby!
And I realized last night why I was so happy. It really wasn't because of the earring. It was because I really believed I would find it. And I did. I felt like I had accomplished something all because I believed it was possible. And in all seriousness (I have no idea if that is a word), I think God really does give us these little moments about tiny, insignificant things, like an earring or a TiVo remote or an iPod, as small exercises in faith. If we build our faith in small sets, the greater sets become more achievable. Are you following me on this? Am I making any sense? Or am I still in my Tiffany fueled euphoria?
Like the great Tony Robbins says, if you can believe, you will achieve. At least I think it was Tony Robbins. Maybe it was Walt Disney. Or maybe I saw it on a sign at Sea World, I don't really remember. But who really gives a flip? My sweet balls are together again!
Monday, April 28, 2008
Wow can you believe it? We have been together for 36 years, 7 months and 21 days now. It hardly seems that long. We've had some incredibly good times together. The Jubilant First Steps of '72. Operation No Training Wheels of '76. The Far Out Roller Boogie of '77. Oh how we loved the way our legs looked in our skates and knee high tube socks.
Remember Beginning Ballet in 1978? And Madame Whatsherface asked us to come to the front of the class to demonstrate the five positions? Remember when she told us we were exquisite? Such a pretty word to say to a chubby seven year old girl. And even now our husband makes fun of us because we often stand with our feet in third position. Exquisitely.
Or what about The Great Badminton Smackdown of Ninth Grade PE? We finally found a sport where we didn't totally suck. And even though other people laughed when we called it a sport, we didn't care. Because we rocked at it. Plus we giggled when we said "shuttlecock." And still to this very day, it makes us giggle like a fourteen year old.
We'll always have the 1990 Winter of Jazzercise. That was the best we have ever looked. And we still have the size four prom dress to prove it. Aaahh, good times.
We've had our fair share of battles. There was the Day Roller Boogie Died, otherwise known as the Broken Arm of '82. Then came The Anaphyllaxis Scare of '85 (my dad didn't think that one was so much fun), The Epidural Rejection of '97 (and yes, I'm still bitter), the Great Gallbladder Recon of 2002, and our most recent battle, still in progress: Mission Smokin' Hot April - The Return.
We haven't always agreed on everything. I would like to partake in the latest fad of plaid walking shorts, but you insist upon depositing fat reserves in our hips and thighs. In case you didn't know, Madras + Saddlebags = What Not To Wear. If I have a craving for orange juice, I mistakenly take that as a signal that you are asking for it. However, you cruelly force me to suffer from the worst indigestion and heartburn for days after it is ingested. What's up with that? And I love Nars lipsticks, but you insist upon the lips breaking out and swelling up if I even say the word "Nars," and not in a sexy Angelina way either. Although our husband and bank account appreciate your lipstick discernment, I would very much like you to butt out.
Yet, aside from our differences, most of the time we have managed to compromise in some way. I stop eating crap, you ease up on the muffin top. I drink more water, you provide me with three weeks a month of practically blemish free skin. I hit the treadmill, you triple my energy level and allow me the most restful sleep.
So I really felt like we were finally connecting. Finally finding a way to peacefully coexist. I was accepting your flaws, and in return you were accepting the occasional bacon cheeseburger with very little consequence. But lately, I feel you are turning on me. And it may have started out as a practical joke on your part, but now you are becoming just plain spiteful.
I didn't say anything about the stretch marks during Operation Baby Maker 2000. And I kept my mouth shut when you decided our feet needed to add a half size after Operation Baby Maker 2003. Do you have any idea how many precious pairs of shoes I had to part with? I am still in mourning over the loss of my strappy red satin hooker heels. Every time I see a garage sale sign, the memories come flooding back of the horrible day I let them go for three dollars. Three. Dollars. I bit my tongue until it bled when you decided, without consulting me, that after five years of wearing Clinique Happy perfume, you were going to change our chemistry so instead of the fresh, citrus scent we were used to, we now smelled like a mix between freshly mowed grass, skunk and rotting beef. Not cool.
Your diabolical schemes to rob me of my self esteem have gone on long enough. I am not going to sit idly by and allow you to sabotage our most important battle yet: Mission Smokin' Hot April - The Return. With that said, there are some issues that require your immediate attention.
First, I do not appreciate you surrendering "the girls" to the all mighty Gravity. Who do you think you are leaving your post in the middle of a mission? The girls have been through a lot, providing more than 12 months of nourishment for each of the three babies. I know they are tired and down trodden. And yet I still believe in them. With the help of my friend Victoria and her many secrets, they still have a few good years left. I am not ready to give up on them. So consider this your one and only notice: Perk up or they are getting replaced.
Secondly, you know how concerned I was when I started losing so much hair. I called the doctor and consulted with a nutritionist. So what if I am considering the weight watchers leader a nutritionist? At least I talked to people. And I was told by both of these reliable sources that the sudden hair loss was probably due to your shock at my weight loss. After all those years of me threatening, you never believed I would step up and follow through. It was like you went nuts with the downsizing. "Well we have all this extra hair, let's throw out the old and bring in some new!" Yeah, that would have been fine and dandy, except I noticed a few weeks ago that the new hair you ordered is the wrong texture and color. Our hair is straight dark brown with natural chestnut highlights. This cheap crap you replaced it with is stiff, wiry and silver. And resistant to chemical coloring products. Un-freaking-acceptable!
Finally, this last item is what caused me to lose my patience with you. I know you think you are being funny, but when I've got my game face on, I have no sense of humor. So I would appreciate the elimination of the hair that you jokingly allowed to take over my chin. I am the mother of three, I do not have the time or resources to spend all morning in front of the magnifying mirror with several pairs of tweezers. I have breakfast to make, lunches to pack and kids to get to school. On time. Have you seen some of these moms at my kids' school? Then you know what I am up against. I don't care if they are more plastic than Boo's barbies. I need to represent.
Look. For the most part, I have been good to you. I have never filled your lungs with first hand cigarette smoke. Your mouth, nose and veins have always been a drug free zone. And except for the occasional margarita, Bahama Mama and that week in Munich last year, I have not subjected you to an overuse of alcohol. I am obsessive compulsive about brushing teeth, removing makeup before bed, and seeing Dr. Phillips for our annual, ahem, oil changes. I diligently check the girls each month for lumps, I routinely slather on the SPF 50 and I make sure I get a minimum of 64 ounces of water each day. I am trying my best to do my part on all things we can control. Give a sister a break!
We are 36. Nowhere near menopause. Not even close to the AARP. Haven't even reached our prime. Plus haven't you heard? Forty is the new thirty. Yeah, I have no idea what that means either. All I am saying is that according to my life line and my Great Aunt Rosie who supposedly had "the gift," we've got a long ride ahead of us. Let's find a way to get along.
Or so help me God, I will make an appointment with some snotty Scottsdale cosmetic surgeon faster than you can say extreme makeover.
Friday, April 25, 2008
There it was in my mailbox. Disguised as a piece of junk mail, a random flyer I may have mistaken for an advertisement, addressed only to Occupant. And then right before I was about to toss it in the recycle bin, the return address caught my eye. It was from my city. The city name in all caps and bold type. Then under that the words "Police Department." And then under that, in smaller font, not all caps and not bold type, almost like they were attempting a whisper . . . the words Sex Offender Notification Unit.
What. The. Eff??
I ripped open the stupid little circle sticker keeping the flimsy, tri-folded piece of paper closed (they might as well have sealed it with a Wal-Mart smiley face), and grasped onto my cold kitchen counter top as the words and wave of nausea engulfed me.
"The (insert city name here) Police Department is releasing the following information pursuant to blah blah blah the Community Notification on Sex Offenders Law, which requires law enforcement agencies to inform the public when the release of information will enhance public safety and protection.
"The individual who appears on this notification has been convicted of a sex offense which allows for community notification and requires registration with the (insert county name here) Sheriffs Department. He has served the sentence imposed on him by the courts and has advised the sheriffs department he will be living at the location listed. He is not wanted by the police department at this time." (Yeah, just like that in bold type.)
And then this piece of crap excuse for a notification goes on to tell me that it is not intended to increase fear and that "an informed public is a safer public." And then it has the audacity to let me know that it is a crime for anyone in the community to threaten, intimidate or harass sex offenders, and citizens who violate this law will be prosecuted. It does, however, politely and proactively provide me with two phone numbers: one to help me join or begin a neighborhood watch, and the other to report any current criminal activity on this or any other offender. Oh thank you (insert city name here)! Thank you so much!!
The middle portion of the paper included a color photo of this man, along with his full name, intended address and vital stats including make, model and color of vehicle. And under that a brief description of his convicted offense, which involved taking the worst possible advantage of an 8 year old female child and forcing her to do things I can't even bring myself to type.
I am a fairly open minded individual. And if anything, I am compassionate. Often to my own detriment. But I am also a mother. With a fierce primal instinct to protect her babies. I realize the guy has to live somewhere. But why here? Why my neighborhood? Mind you, he is not in my immediate subdivision, but he is within walking distance. The only barrier between us is a major street without a traffic signal and appropriate crosswalk. And that still makes him too close for my comfort.
We live in a nice community. A gated community even. Oooooh, whoop dee doo. Of course all that gives you is a false sense of security and higher HOA dues. But I do find a little comedy in the fact that God forbid I leave my trash can out over night or I have two weeds in my front yard, but a sex offender wants to move in? Oh pshaw, no problem! Are they going to be asking me to contribute to his "Welcome to the Neighborhood" muffin basket, too?
And I thought it was bad enough that our community is suffering from the recent epidemic of foreclosures. I would so much rather have negative equity in my home than a Level 2 Sex Offender living a football field away. To be honest, I would rather a renowned serial killer live right next door. Okay maybe not, but still. And I realize there are probably sick, twisted people living all around me that the police and I are totally unaware of. But this is confirmation of the monster hiding in the closet. This is no longer the bliss of ignorance.
I am angry. Angry that my children can not play out front in the street with their friends without me having a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Angry that we live in a world where I now have a reason to tell them they can't go run and play in the greenbelt two doors down. Or ride their bikes and scooters around the corner to their friend's house. Angry that I might have to tell them more than just don't talk to strangers. I might have to answer questions when I am not sure they are ready to know the answers. Angry that this man's house is between ours and their school. And that it is perfectly acceptable for him to live so close to a school.
I am not saying he should be living in your neighborhood, or anywhere but mine. I am just wondering why we can't find a place for these people, their own little society on some uninhabited island somewhere. Where there are no children and it will be easier for them to control their urges. An informed public is a safer public, my fat ass. In my opinion, a public without sex offenders living amongst them is a safer public. How 'bout that??
I have no intentions to threaten, intimidate or harass this man, if he is even worthy of being called that. I hope I never see him when I am grocery shopping or picking up the dry cleaning. I realize he has served his time and the state of Arizona considers him reformed. But what if he's not?? And I really want to know what they consider to be the appropriate amount of time for stealing the innocence of child? That child will never be the same. Why he should he be allowed to go about his life and live anywhere he pleases?
And the Christian inside me is saying all the things you are thinking about forgiveness and redemption, and still I am afraid. And sad that my little piece of Utopian suburbia is now tainted by a bad man (possibly reformed) in our midst.
And I may be opening myself up for a whole lot controversy, but I really want to know your opinions. How would you feel if it were your neighborhood? Why should this man serve 5 years (I have no idea how much time he served, I am just looking at statistics on sex offenders and this seems to be the average amount of time) and then get the privilege of going about his life, when this child is changed forever? If you see this differently, help me see it your way. Help me find peace in this situation.
I'm gonna go hug my babies.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Is it time to get a life when . . .
. . . you pull into Sonic for your morning Diet Coke with vanilla and you compliment the car hop on her recently highlighted hair?
. . . aforementioned car hop thanks you for noticing and says "You just missed your husband, he came in for his morning Diet Dr. Pepper about 5 minutes ago."?
. . . the clerk at Blockbuster asks what you have been doing to lose weight? And if you have already seen Becoming Jane because he knows how you love you some Jane Austen?
. . . the manager of Einstein Bros. sees you pull into the parking lot and has your Tasty Turkey ready for you at the front counter when you walk in? And no, you didn't call ahead. And you tell him not to discuss the Tasty Turkey's with the clerk at Blockbuster after you just went on and on about cutting down on the carbs?
. . . you are actually worried that Blockbuster dude might think you're a hypocrite?
. . . the check out girl at the grocery store says "Oh are you making tacos? Didn't you just make tacos two days ago?" (Look, is that hard?? I mean all you have to do is scan the flipping item, stick it in a bag and take my money. If I wanted smart ass comments about what I am making for dinner I would have stayed home. And what's it to you?? Maybe my family LOVES tacos. Maybe it's their favorite. Maybe I have a child who is allergic to all other foods besides tacos. Maybe instead of questioning my dinner preparations you should be thinking of ways to set up a foundation for families with children who can only eat tacos. Maybe you should just shut up and let me go on my taco-eating way. Mmmmkay?? Oh and by the way, two days ago I made chicken tacos. These are beef. Entirely different type of taco. So shut your pie hole and commence to scanning my products. And be gentle with the shells or you'll really piss me off.)
. . . your TiVo was not playing nice with your cable provider and instead of recording the first new episode of ER since December (yes, I realize I am the only person in America still watching this show, but hello?? it's been 14 years and I need to ride it out, why quit now??) it recorded 59 minutes of black screen?? And this happened two weeks ago and you are still not over it and refer to that TiVo as the POS that screwed you? And you are so not afraid to let that TiVo know he is no longer your favorite and you prefer his brother upstairs? Because his brother is there for you, he never lets you down! Oh and if the POS had not recorded Gossip Girl that would have sent you over the edge and he would have found himself being sent to the Orphanage for Unwanted Crap otherwise known as Craig's List?? And even typing this right now you are getting so mad you want to go home and reformat his hard drive?? That'll show him. POS TiVo. Spawn of Satan. You will rue the day you messed with ER!!
. . . you have been trying to plan a couples date night with some friends but your husband won't commit to a date until he consults the Diamondbacks home schedule and pitching rotation??
. . . you think the producers of the movie Fever Pitch (either the one with Jimmy Fallon or the original with the yummy Colin Firth, doesn't matter) ripped off your life and totally owe you some residuals? And you know the only reason why you aren't sleeping in baseball sheets is because you are a total thread count snob and you can't find baseball sheets in a decent thread count of sweet Egyptian cotton.
. . . you threaten your readers that if one of them knows where you can find baseball sheets in a minimum 600 thread count (and Bogart, for some reason I think you do) you will BAN them from this blog if they share this knowledge with your baseball obsessed husband who insists he will sleep more peacefully if he is shrouded in his team's color and logo? Do you hear me?? This is not a threat. You will be excommunicated from the Land of April for treason. Got it??
. . . the absolute highlight of your week was getting a comment on your blog from a total rock star blogger, like say Blogging Freaking Barbie!! And you were so excited you broke out in song and dance and thanked God you were in your office all alone so there were no witnesses? And then you called your husband and even his laughter at your unsurpassed dorkiness could not bring you off of your high, so you called your mom and your best friend to brag about your awesomeness?? And when you stopped to get gas and the clerk at QT said "How are you today?" you said "I'm great! Blogging Barbie totally commented on my blog!" And then you totally did the whole miming of the pistol shoot with your thumb and index finger, confidently flicked your hair and strutted out to your car?? And then you went home and talked smack via email to your friend Becky who is obsessed with getting in the blogger "In Crowd" and told her you were now too cool to hang out with her?
. . . you too may or may not be obsessed with becoming a part of the blogging "In Crowd"?
. . . you actually think there is a blogging "In Crowd"?
So what do you think? Is it just me or do I need to change some things up? Yeah, you're right. I am totally normal. I'm gonna go grate some cheese.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I was making small talk with an acquaintance today. We were talking about traveling, places we had been, places we wanted to go and places we would go again and again. When I told her my favorite city was London, this is the actual conversation that followed:
She: Oh, I loved London!
Me: Me too!
She: All the castles and the great food.
Me: Yeah, it's the best.
She: Oh, I know! I can totally see why they call it The Magic Kingdom.
Me: Yeah, I . . . Wait. What?
She: The Magic Kingdom. London. I get why they call it that.
Me: (staring) Uuuuhhhh . . .
She: (nodding) Yeah. Mmmm hmmm.
Me: Um, you mean the United Kingdom?
She: (thinks for a second, then shakes her head) No, I am pretty sure they call it The Magic Kingdom.
Me: (left eye narrowing, right eyebrow elevating) Uuummm, nooooo. It's the United Kingdom. Are you talking about Epcot?
She: What country is that?
Me: Uuuuhhh . . . Oh wow. (Shakes head, stifles eye roll) Um, the Magic Kingdom is in Orlando. Florida. You know, Disneyworld? And London, is um, in England.
She: (blank stare)
Me: And, uh, England is, um, part of the United Kingdom. (Uncomfortably clears throat.)
She: (thinking) Hmmmm. Are you sure?
Me: Yep, pretty sure.
She: (laughing) Oh who cares? (Waves hand in the air) Whatever. Magic Kingdom, United Kingdom. Same thing.
Yeah, same thing. Both have castles, both have royalty, both have a guy with big ears. Yeah, totally the same thing. No wonder why they think Americans are so stupid.
Monday, April 14, 2008
But I thought about all of my mommy friends. The ones I can share the best and the worst with. The ones I can be completely honest with. The ones I can cry with and say, I made a mistake, thank you for listening, thank you for understanding, thank you for seeing the good mom in me even when I can't. I am lucky. I have people like that in my life. Lots of them. You know who you are.
But some women don't have that support system. They don't have someone there to laugh with and say "Yes!! I have been there! I have been that crazy woman in Wal-Mart that I swore I would never be! I feel your pain!" There are many women who feel completely alone in this mommy thing.
I envy those mom's who are confident in their decision making. The ones who always know they are doing what's best for their kids. The one's who accept they are doing the best they can and don't look back.
I am not that mom. I doubt. I worry. I always look back.
I used to give dirty looks to that woman in Wal-Mart, before I had babies of my own. I would look down at her from my high horse with disgust and condescension. I was so high up I could not see the weariness in her face, the dark circles from lack of sleep, the exhaustion of answering the same questions again and again, the frustration of saying the same thing over and over, in one ear and out the other. I see her so closely now. Because through the weariness, the dark circles, the exhaustion, the frustration, I can see the love. I can see that this is one tiny moment of many bigger moments. I can look at her with a reassuring smile and say "I have been there." She may have a different number of kids in her shopping cart, she may have a different hair style and a different house and a completely different life, but she is me. I am her. We are the same.
I didn't delete the post because it was a moment of honesty. A real life look into my life. And although it was my life, I know it is someone else's life. Someone may read it and see that it happens to all of us. Just like my friend Katie commented on the post, we all have moments of psycho in us. Being a mom is so freaking hard. As women, we can be so hard on one another, when we are really all in the same boat. We need to lean on each other. Judge each other less and support one another more.
We may handle things differently. But in the end, we love our kids the same. We have the same hopes and dreams for them. We are going through the same experience, but differently.
We are the same.
*The title refers to a phrase used by a good friend whenever he is apologizing for asking a personal question. "Don't mean to be all up in your Kool-Aid." Apparently this is a very common thing said in the inner city of Milwaukee. Dude, I am originally from Utah. The only Kool Aid I know of is the sugary drink we lived on in the summer. I am so uncool. Or un-Kool? Ha!
So let me just set this juicy little story up for ya. Last night my sweet faced 10 year old Junior asks if he can go out to my car to borrow my iPod cable so he and Minimac can rock out with the wicked awesome iCoaster they spent most of the early evening building. So of course, in order to get into the car he needs the keys because it's locked. Duh. Fast forward to this morning, I give the five minute warning (which really means ten and I think they are on to me) and Junior comes into my bathroom where I am combing his sister's hair. He tells me he is not sure what he did with my keys when he came in. Last night. So I ask if he has looked for them and he says yes. So I say go look some more.
A few minutes later I find him playing with legos on the living room floor. I ask if he found my keys. He says no. I tell him he better keep looking. Now I have to say, by this time I am getting a little irritated because A) my keys are lost - and B) he doesn't seem to be concerned that my keys are lost and C) we need to leave in less than 5 minutes. So we all start looking for the keys. He's looking upstairs where they were playing with the iCoaster, I am looking in the kitchen, Minimac is looking in the living room, and Boo is looking in my purse and her backpack (whatever, she thought she was helping). Next thing I know Junior is sitting on the stairs with his backpack, sunglasses on, head on hands on knees. Here is the conversation that ensued:
Me: What are you doing?
Me: Did you find them?
Me: Dude. What are you waiting for?
He: For you to finish looking for your keys.
In case you haven't guessed, this is where I lose it. I mean this is a bright kid. On the honor roll. Can explain all that boring stuff about how earthquakes happen. Knows every car on the road, its average gas mileage, horsepower and when they are coming out with a new body style. Lectures me on filling up with a higher octane every thousand miles or so because it's good for the fuel injector. Reads encyclopedias for fun. Totally against Barack Obama because he thinks his stance on immigration is crap. No, I am not kidding.
So I am yelling. I am blaming. I am losing my flipping mind because now we are off schedule, they might be late for school, I might be late for work, blah blah blah. And he just doesn't care. I know what you are thinking, too. Where's my spare set? Not the point! For one thing, I don't have a spare key to my place of work. And can you imagine how embarrassing it is to call your boss while he is out of town to say "Yeah, I'm not coming in because I don't have a key." Never mind that I myself misplace my keys almost every other day. Seriously, at least three times a week I ask Uberman "Have you seen my keys?" To which he always responds with an eye roll, a shake of the head, an exhale-slash-sigh thing and a "No, I have NOT seen your keys." This is not about me, okay? This is about an irresponsible 10 year old losing my keys. (You know, I couldn't even type that with a straight face.)
Now Junior is my sensitive child. The one who will grow up to be a minister, or a doctor or join the peace corps. Junior has empathy for everyone. Junior is like a third parent to his younger siblings. Junior is repsonsible. He is the only person in this house who will do something without being asked. When he had to get glasses for reading, he felt bad it cost us so much money. Because $100 is a fortune to a kid. Junior is a 40 year old man trapped in a 10 year old's body.
Now just because he is all of those things, doesn't mean he can't be a master manipulator. He starts getting teary eyed and here come the "I can't do anything right" speeches. Which only fan my anger fire. I am ticked off and he knows it. And my voice is rising. And I can hear myself and I know I sound like a crazy person. I am one jar of cold cream away from "No. Wire. Haaaannngeeeerrrrs!!!" And my inner Dr. Phil starts speaking. Cue southern accent: "Yur a-chain-jun who heeee eeizz!" (Yes I have an inner Dr. Phil. I also have an inner Oprah, an inner Posh Spice and an inner Elle Woods. What of it?)
I take a few deep breaths. I lower my voice and I ask him calmly to retrace his steps after he came in last night. He says "I thought I tossed them on the table in the entry way." So I say, through gritting teeth, "If you tossed them on the table, they. Would. Be. On. The. Table." Deep breath in, deep breath out. He says "I don't know, Mom. That's what I did with them."
Forget it, we need to go. I shoo everyone out the door, lock it with my spare set (Thank you God I knew where those were) and get everyone in the car praying that my office door wil miraculously be unlocked. As I back out of the driveway, I yell, I mean firmly state, that after school, no one - NO ONE - will be watching TV, listening to iPods, playing or participating in any type of recreation that involves any kind of fun until my keys are found. Got it?
The short two minute drive to school is quiet. Junior is looking out the window. I start feeling bad. Low. Convicted. I reach over and take his hand. He kisses my hand. I can feel his tears. He says "I'm sorry." I say "No, I am sorry. I am the grown up. I should not behave like that. It is not okay."
He gets out of the car. I tell him I love him. He says "I love you too." Which he never says when he gets out of the car at school. God forbid someone hear him saying something so uncool to his mom. I tell him he is a good kid. It was not his fault I yelled. It is not okay for a grown up to behave so childishly. Then he is comforting me, "It's okay. You're a good mom." I cry the whole way out of the parking lot and onto the road. I call Uberman and replay the whole horrific morning, adding in the I suck at this, and I'm a terrible mother, these poor kids deserve better, maybe he still has a shot with Selma Hayek, I hear she's a great mom, blah blubber blah. And Uberman says . . .
"I have your keys. They were in my hat (which I lovingly call his man purse) that was on the table in the entry way."
As soon as I got to work (door unlocked, thank you Lord!!), I sent his teacher an email. "Um, hi. This is Junior's crazy mom. Can you please tell him his dad had the keys? And all is well. And we are totally not emotionally abusing this kid, I swear. We are like totally the perfect little Beaver Cleaver family. Mmmkay? Thankssomuch."
So I am pretty sure with Junior it will be therapy instead of college. Thank God he is so smart, he'll probably get a scholarship anyway. And when I picked him up for school? Instead of a mopey I'm still afraid of you smile, I got a "Mom, guess what? Jack* totally farted today in art! It was an art fart! Get it? I was so embarrassed for him." So no, not emotionally damaged at all.
So commence with the spit shinin' of my crown Brenda! Make sure you pack it up real nice in bubble wrap. And if it came with one of those silky sash things, you can keep that. I don't need to draw any more attention to my hips!
*Name changed to protect fellow 10 year old's privacy and fragile self esteem.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
So I'll tell you one cute story and then I'll let you go enjoy your Sunday. Last night Gracie (our house guest) was snuggling in my lap and reached up to give me a kiss. Which I kindly refused. So Boo says "Mommy, why won't you let Gracie give you kisses?"
And I replied with "She licks her butt. Do you want her putting her tongue in your mouth?"
To which her response was "She already did."
How harmful is it to mix a little bit of bleach with Cinderella toothpaste? Anyone know?
Friday, April 11, 2008
What an example I am of practicing self control, huh? And if I had heard those words come out of her mouth? Her lunch would have consisted of a bar of soap with some dishwashing detergent on the side. While sitting in the time out chair.
Do you know my dad's mother raised 6 kids (one with special needs and three with diabetes) without ending up a raging alcoholic? And my mother's mother raised nine (NINE!!!) and never ate one of them. And this was back in the forties and fifties, without most of the comforts available to me. So what is my problem? I guess I should be thankful I said it to the four year old, at least I still have chance she might forget it.
I often wonder how bad I am screwing these kids up. I have told many of you this before, but Uberman and I always say we will pay for their college or therapy, which ever comes first. But no way are we paying for both.
So for all of you who are hanging on to the hope that you will be awarded Mother of the Year, you might as well give up. Because I obviously have it in the bag, Baby. I wonder what they give you? Gosh I hope it's not some lame trophy. Like I need another thing to dust. (Can someone help my mother in law up please? She's rolling on the floor laughing.) Oooh, I hope it's a crown! How cool would that be? And it would look super cute with my hairstyle. Oh I hope it's sparkly like the one Princess Diana wore when she got married to that ugly guy with the big ears. And hopefully it comes with a parenting book by Dr. Phil titled "Really stupid things not to say to your child." I'll let you know.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Okay, I am lying. I have actually been kind of dangling over the edge since Easter, but today I full on took a flying leap right off the weight watchers radio flyer. I won't detail every item that was consumed today but I will tell you there was a cherry pop tart (okay 2), a snack size kit kat, some crackers with mozzarella cheese and a WW lemon snack cake. And since the last item belongs to the wagon, I don't think it counts. Right?
I also had the equivalent of 5 diet cokes. And the day isn't over. I think I need an intervention. Maybe even rehab. Or a box of milk duds. Oh how I love the duds.
And yes, I am feeling it. I am sugar high buzzing like I used to in my early twenties. Ahhh I was such a crazy kid back then.
Oh I'm gonna be hurtin' tomorrow. What cures a food hangover? Anyone know? Because I am thinking it's a quarter pounder with cheese. But no pickles because that would make it gross.
Please, someone, anyone . . . help me! Lead me through the serenity prayer. Or at the very least meet me somewhere for a pizza.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Well guess what? I have a special talent too. As a matter of fact, I am so proficient in this area that I should teach a class at some ivy league university. If there were an Olympic-like event for this talent, I would be a gold medalist. If there were an Oscar ceremony for this, I would be Meryl Streep. If there was anyway I could make money at this talent, oh and believe me I am still trying to figure out how, I would be so stinking rich that one dollar bills would become my toilet paper.
Care to guess what my talent is? Because I am sure many of you have seen it in action. Give up? Okay, here it is..... I tend to speak without thinking. Yes, it's true. The results often include shocking, embarrassing and offending the people who were fortunate enough to witness my amazing talent in all its glory.
Now I can't take all the credit for it, it's not like I work hard at being a dumb ass. And no offense to any of my family who reads this, but I think we can all agree it is genetic. Am I right? Somewhere along the line, the internal filter became recessive in our DNA. I bet it's on my Grandma Green's paternal side, because I don't remember her mother showcasing this talent on a daily basis. But I do remember her chewing tobacco, so maybe I lucked out in the gene pool lottery after all.
The problem is, it is never my intent to hurt someone. It is never my goal to make someone feel small or less valuable than anyone else. It is never my mission to alienate the people I love, respect, or admire. It is just the unfortunate consequence of me not taking a moment to double check the words that formed a life of their own inside my filter-less brain and came flying out of my mouth like monkeys escaping the zoo. The worst part is, half the time I don't even know the monkeys are on the loose. It doesn't take the psychotic ramblings of a deranged tree hugger at the QT to let me know that I can be a little self absorbed. Most of the time I think I am being funny, and I forget that not everyone has an appreciation for sarcasm as an art form. And not everyone gets my deranged sense of humor.
So in case you haven't guessed, someone I love, whose friendship I cherish, was recently the victim of my thoughtless, projectile vomit of words. And I am so very sorry and so very ashamed that my insensitive and careless ramblings caused this person pain. She knows who she is.
One day I will learn to think before I speak. And it is up to my two best friends who have stuck with me through thick and thin, who have often been victims themselves, to please continue to remind me that not everyone thinks I am so clever and witty. And that sometimes I can come off like an obnoxious a-hole. Raia and Dee, thank you for loving me despite my flaws. And to my dear friend who is going through so much right now, thank you for your forgiveness.
Monday, April 7, 2008
There I was, minding my own business recovering from the sticker shock at the price displayed on the gas pump and wondering why my ass hurt, when out of the corner of my eye I see this woman walking toward me. A big ogre of a woman, with wild frizzy hair. She was wearing this billowy, gauzy long shirt and matching pants the color of an old burlap potato sack. Out of no where she starts ranting about how I personally am contributing to the duration of the war in Iraq, the elimination of the ozone and the melting of the polar ice caps.
It took me a brief moment to realize she was talking to me but I finally caught on when she pointed her nubby little finger at me and said "I don't know how selfish, spoiled assholes like you can sleep at night."
Um . . . What? Seriously, am I on Candid Camera? I looked around me for the camera crew and when I realized there wasn't one I thought, Wow, this is really happening. I'll just ignore her and try to remember to pray for her when I am not calling her bad names in my head. As she hopped on her little alternative fuel powered broomstick and started to fly off, I noticed she was also wearing a pair of bright Barney-the-dinosaur purple Crocs. And the hilarity of the whole situation got to me and I started to laugh. I couldn't help it. I thought I chuckled quietly, but apparently she heard me. Oh crap I thought, now I really pissed her off.
She started yelling at me "You think this is funny? You think global warming is something to laugh at?" And then she said something about me being ignorant and self absorbed, flipped me off and flew away.
And I stood there with my mouth open, looking around to see if anyone else had witnessed the craziness that had just unfolded in front of us. And then I was angry. Not at her, but angry at myself because I never said a word. I was too in shock to speak. It was probably best I didn't say anything, I mean she was obviously loony tunes and who knows what she was capable of. And of course, as always, the witty comebacks were flowing after she was gone.
For example, if I was not so filled with the love of Christ I might have told her to back off and that I usually insist people get to know me before they start talking about how spoiled and self absorbed I am. I may have kindly suggested she contact her doctor to request a refill of her anti-psychotic meds. I could have noted that unlike hers, my car was made in America, or at the very least, all those factory workers in Mexico were paid American dollars to make it.
If I was not so moved by the Holy Spirit to keep my mouth shut, I may have mentioned the number of five year old Chinese orphans who probably participated in the making of her ugly, synthetic and non-biodegradable footwear. I might have pointed out that at least my shoes were leather and were not contributing to the manufacturing or disposal of toxic chemical waste.
If I didn't have Jesus in my heart, I could have explained to her that I recycle, I don't like wasting electricity, and I don't buy bottled water (unless I'm having a party, and then it's just easier, right?). I may have told her to take her nasty, hemp shrouded ass back to her commune and to give Al Gore my best.
And don't go accusing me of not helping the environment, Freak Show. I think I am doing my part to make the world a prettier place . . . by not wearing fugly purple Crocs. So stick that in your bong and smoke it.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
2 boys + 2 teams + 2(2) practices + 2(2) games = 1 exhausted mom.
The boys are in different divisions of Little League due to age and skill level. Minimac's team is made up of mostly first and second graders who are fairly new to the game. They know how to hold a bat and which direction to run the bases, but they still get bored in the outfield and start wiggling teeth, looking at bugs in the grass or occasionally spinning in circles. Junior's team is a little more competitive. Most of the kids have played before and know the importance of keeping track of how many kids are on base, where to throw the ball when it's caught and when it's safe to steal a base.
But during my many hours of sitting in camp chairs and bleacher seats, watching the teams practice and play games, and talking to the other parents, I have observed a few other interesting differences setting these two divisions apart, aside from age and skill level. Here they are:
Mac's Beginner Team -
Team Objective: Have fun!!
Coach Objective: Teach the kids the fundamentals of this amazing game. Emphasize teamwork, camaraderie, good sportsmanship. Try not to show frustration when kids are just not getting it. Encourage players when they make mistakes. Put up with endless questions and suggestions from concerned parents who were not willing to volunteer their precious time to actually coach the team, but are more than willing to volunteer their ideas on how you can improve your coaching skills. Most important - have fun!
Player Objective: Be a good sport, try your best. Do not cry if you strike out. If you are thrown out or tagged out, do not call players on opposing team cheaters, liars or poo-poo heads. And most important, have fun!!
Parent Objective: Cheer for all the kids! Positively reinforce all players with phrases like "Good swing Jimmy!" and "Nice hit Bobby!" and "Amazing catch, Johnny!" Enthusiastically volunteer for one of the following team positions:
- Team Mom - Responsibilities include notifying all parents of practice and game schedules, passing out league rules, collecting money for coach gift, and planning end of season party.
- Snack Mom - Responsibilities include assigning each player a day to bring the ever important after game snack, calling that player's parent at least 48 hours prior to game to courteously remind them of their snack assignment and alert them that #7 must have something sugar-free, #24 requires nut-free, and #35 needs gluten free.
- Dugout Mom - Responsibilities include making sure each player knows their batting order, assisting catcher with putting on the catcher gear, providing first aid if necessary, and reminding the players it is inappropriate to knock on any one's protective cup, even if it is their own.
Junior's More Advanced Team -
Team Objective: Win! Oh, and have fun. But if having fun interferes with the win, then ditch the fun and just win.
Coach Objective: Assist the kids in developing their individual skills and finding their specialty position on the field. Emphasize team work, initiative, good sportsmanship and most important, winning. Make sure the umpires know when they are making bad calls. Make sure the other team is intimidated by your team. Size up opposing team's pitchers to ensure they are following division age limit, request birth certificates if necessary. And if you have time, try to get the kids to have a little fun.
Player Objective: Win! Try your best. Don't cry when you're told to sit on the bench. Hit the ball, striking out is for wussies. Run like the wind. If necessary, knock over opposing team's players if they block the plate. Get your pants as dirty as possible, clean uniforms are for wussies. Shove as many sunflower seeds in your mouth as you can so you can spit shells while running the bases. A player who can't spit is a wussy.
Mom Objective: Support your player in whatever way helps him win. Bleach his white pants so they are clean and white as snow for each game. Supply him with sunflower seeds and Gatorade. If he gets hurt during the game, stay in your seat unless the paramedics tell you it is time to get in the ambulance. A player with a hysterical mother offering to kiss him better is a wussy. Support the other players with encouraging cheers and clapping. If another player on the team sucks, only discuss it when his parents are out of earshot. It is your responsibility to bring a better snack than the mom who brought it last game. Being competitive is being a good example to your player.
Dad Objective: Support your player in whatever way helps him win. Make sure he has the best bat, glove and cleats any third world country can manufacture. If he gets hurt during the game, tell him to rub some dirt on the wound and walk it off. If he strikes out or drops the ball, sink low in your seat and pretend you either didn't see him or better, you don't know him. Dad's with sucky players are wussies. Support the coaches when ganging up on the umpire. Remember, umpires are the guys who want to play this game but aren't good enough. Remind your kid that if he doesn't shape up and start hitting and/or catching the ball, some day he could, God forbid, find himself in an umpire uniform.
Now of course, Uberman and I do not subscribe to the unhealthy belief that winning is everything. And frankly, we think the competitive nature of this game is taking over what's really important, having fun and being part of a team. We realize their chances of being professional baseball players are slim to none. Uberman is a firm believer that being good at playing is not the be all end all of being a baseball fan. It's more important to know and respect the science of the game. That way you at least have a shot of, one day, having the best team in your fantasy league. Right?
Oh, no. It is far more important to us that our boys get out there and have a good time, get a little exercise and make a few friends. That's what being a kid is all about.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to go help Uberman duct tape the bat to Junior's hands so he will stop throwing it when he swings. By the way, does anyone know where I can find a hot dog cart and ice cream truck for next week's snack?
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
This is the baby who would not sleep unless he was in his swing. The baby who cried and screamed if I left the room and he couldn't see me. The baby who refused to walk until he was fourteen months old and then took his first steps when no one was looking. The kid who stuck a popcorn kernel in his ear (twice), resulting in an emergency visit to an ENT downtown during rush hour traffic while I was 9 months pregnant with his sister. The same kid who two months later stuck a sunflower seed up his nose, resulting in an emergency room visit at 9:30 at night during flu season, where his unhappy father waited 6 hours for x-rays and a cat scan only to be told the seed could not be found and must have passed to his throat and been swallowed.
Needless to say, that $300 copay is being taken out of his college fund. Oh, wait. This is the kid who says he is not going to college. This is the kid who is going to live on the beach in Mexico and eat fish tacos every day. The kid who saves every penny so he can "invest it and earn compound interest," so he will be a millionaire by the time he's eighteen. And then we can't make him go to college, right? The kid who doesn't want to get married because girls only spend your money. The kid who says the very thought of kissing a girl makes him throw up in his mouth. The kid with the infectious giggle, the fiery spirit, and the sweet, kind heart. The kid who still let me shower him with birthday kisses this morning and danced with me while I sang "You say it's your birthday, it's my birthday too!" The kid who wants to go to Hooters for his special dinner.
I'm a little nervous about what the next eight years will bring with this kid. But I know it will be an adventure. Happy Birthday Doodlebug.