Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Art of Christmas Shopping

This time of year comes at the same time.  It is not surprise to anyone.  December 25th is always December 25th.  You would think we'd plan ahead...some of us do.  Most of us?  Do NOT.  We wait until the last moment to fight mall traffic, glare down other shoppers for a parking space, wait in long lines all so our kids can rip open presents, toss them aside and move on to the next gift.  If we have very small kids, 99% of the time they will be far more pleased with the huge box whatever you got them came in.  MnM's in a stocking trumps all.  So why do we do it?  The money, the stress...why?  Because.  And because we do it, I have assembled a how to list for the savvy shopper....

My Guide to Christmas Shopping

First, you'll need money.  Get some from the bank.  Head to Costco.  Fight for a parking space.  Buy the Scooby Doo limited edition set that comes in the groovy Mystery Machine carrying case because you are a child of the seventies and LOVED Scooby, but claim it's for your children when you run into an acquaintance who has a shopping cart full of grown up stuff like fancy crackers, some weird book on sculptures and wine you know cost way more than your Scooby set.  You know you'll get more out of the cartoons than she will out of the wine but don't mention this to her.  Start to compare carts.  You have cartoons, a fuzzy blanket and ice cream.  Realize she is probably also comparing carts and will probably go home and tell her husband what a lazy, ice cream loving, fuzzy blanket wearing, cartoon watching idiot  you are.  Decide you should throw in some fish oil to make your cart a little more well-balanced.  Decide you need some samples to get you through because it's going to be a long day.  Pretend that you are still shopping and non-chalantly walk past sample tables.  Listen to demo lady rambling on and on about how versatile Greek yogurt is and wonder if she realizes there is no one at her table.  Decide you should never go into the demo business because you already talk to yourself way too much and the last thing you need is to do it in front of hundreds of people while trying to push something gross like plain yogurt...and what if you were sampling something good, like cream puffs?  There is probably some rule about not eating the samples and you know with your love of cream puffs, you'd be fired for breaking that rule.  It is a certainty.  See Facebook friend.  Avoid making eye contact because even though this is a 'friend', you don't REALLY know this person and realize you make all kinds of idiotic, personal comments on Facebook and she probably thinks you're nuts and since you have only cartoons and ice cream in your cart, that might prove her suspicions correct.

Head to K Mart, where mother has told you digital cameras are on sale.  Find it, head to the line.  Pick the line that isn't moving.  Realize woman in front of you keeps trying to do the eye contact thing with you so you can strike up a conversation about how slow the line is, blah, blah, blah.  Know in your heart she is a talker and will probably want to babble about the holidays, what she still needs to shop for, who she needs to shop for and how she always ends up in the longest line.  You are not in the mood.  Stare at ceiling because at this point, she is so desperate to chat she's well within your personal space bubble, trying to get your attention. Wonder what the hell is wrong with this broad and why she won't take a hint. Realize you have been staring at ceiling in defiance for a little too long and she is starting to back away from you, obviously convinced you are insane or have some weird eye condition she doesn't want to catch.

Watch as manager comes to rescue distressed cashier.  Do the "oh, no problem" chuckle with other people in the line.  Know that underneath, it's a problem and every last one has wondered what the fuck is taking so long and duh, it's the holidays, we can't be standing in line for one spare minute.  Get to vehicle.  Realize drivers side door is impossible to get to because some jackass has parked waaayyy too close.  Enter through passenger side.  Bang head on rear view mirror and in an effort to steady yourself, cut arm on Starbucks straw.  Fight traffic.  Take long slurp of mocha.  Prepare yourself.  For the mall.

The chaotic energy from the wonderland that is the mall is palpable.  Find parking space a few miles away.  Once in, head for first store.  Wonder if the entire country is in denial about the fact we are in a recession because everyone is hauling several bags and looking sooooo happy doing so.  Watch as idiotic shit flies into peoples hands...
Yes.  $4 for a dozen blue gumballs.  Watch SEVERAL people gleefully purchase these.  Start to question your fellow mankind and their intelligence.

Decide you are a smarty pants and will focus your gift buying on books.



Walk past Santa photo line.  See young couple in line.  Immediately read both body language and facial gestures.  She is super duper excited about their cute as kittens photo with Santa.  He is super duper excited that she will think he is Mr. Sensitive and reward him with a sexual favor later.  You're old, but not too old to read those messages.  Laugh and wonder if you should go back to Urban Outfitters and get him that blue ball gum.

Head to next store.  Explain to sales person you are trying to find a 'simple, elegant' monogram pendant for your young daughter.  Watch her jump up and down, clap her hands and show  you a three inch high bauble full of cubic zirconia.  Try to not smack her in the head.  Take a good look around and realize every sales person you have come in contact with appears to be sucking on some form of happy gas or a lithium lozenge.  They are way too cheery for the mind fuck that is hundreds of stressed out people, demanding their attention.

Next stop: Pillow Pet kiosk.  Convince yourself the salesperson is a heroin addict because he has horrible skin, keeps nodding off and is really skinny...decide you are right because he is really close to Mrs. Fields and that yummy cajun place that always gives out the chicken samples and if he worked at the mall even a few days a week, he'd have more meat on his bones.  Wonder if he naps on display models during the slow times.  Keep this in mind when he informs you the only polar bear pillow pet is the display model, which is what your kid wants.  Decide she can deal with a penguin that is still in it's sealed plastic and hasn't been defouled with junkie drool. 

Walk by Mac store.  Or Apple store.  Or whatever it's called.  Know you have no business going in there at all.  You are much more comfortable in the As Seen on TV store.   Go in.  Debate with yourself on the purchase of a FlowBee.  Decide against it.  However, the pasta maker in the microwave thing?  Maybe.  You will NOT be a sucker for the ShamWow, though.  You have standards.  And besides, the last time you bought them, they didn't work.  You are an informed, intelligent consumer who doesn't waste money on frivolous things.

  Like AWESOME boxes of candy.


Head to Target for stocking stuffers.  Watch as woman at the front of the line attempts three times, with three different credit cards to make her $445 purchase.  Feel sorry for her that she isn't as good of a shopper as you.  Wonder if she knows about the As Seen on TV store, because if she's going to shop, she might as well get some miracle products!  Like a pasta maker that lets you cook pasta in the microwave.  Or those weird foot pads that suck out all of your toxins.  Or the Turby Twist.  So many magical products to choose from....decide you want to strike up conversation with woman behind you since this loser is taking so long.  You really want to talk about that pasta maker and how crazy the mall was and who you still need to shop for and how this line is sooo long.  She starts staring at the ceiling.  Wonder if she doesn't realize she's kind of being a bitch by blatantly ignoring you.  You wanna talk, dammit!  She continues staring at the ceiling, as if purposely avoiding you. 

Realize she must have some weird eye condition. 
 What else could it be?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Moment of Insanity aka Chub for Grub

Recently, I decided to embark on a little adventure...in an effort to fill my karma bank, I made public my decision to collect pledges per pound of weight lost and money collected would go to a food bank.  This is a lovely idea.  This is a beautiful, well thought out plan. This scheme hatched when I was high on Kit Kat bars and Reeses peaut butter cups I had stolen from my kids Halloween candy bags.   Phone calls were made.  Facebook pages created and emails requesting sponsors were sent out...by the way, if you're reading this and want to, ahem, add to my 'motivation' that would be great!  As it stands, when (not if, WHEN) I lose my 50 pounds, I will (provided no one flakes out of me) collect almost $1500 for a wonderful organization that feeds lots of hungry people throughout the year.  If you are ever tempted to do something like this, please follow my advise for an easier transition to your new way of eating.

My Guide to Navigating a Low Carb Lifestyle in the Name of Charity Once Sugar Buzz Wears Off

The first thing you should do when struck with an idea that involves the fun, fun task of weight loss is to TELL EVERY ONE YOU KNOW.  Convince yourself the more people paying attention to the junk in your trunk the more likely you will be to follow through!  You are a pioneer!  You will go where no one has gone before!  Put your idea on the internet and babble on and on about it to all of your pals.  Listen to them enthusiastically pledge their money.  Watch them smile and beam at what a great, thoughtful idea this is.  Try not to do that eyebrow raise - head swagger thing that will tell them that yeah,  you know this is a peach of an idea and yes, you are one hell of a gal.  Soak in accolades for a few days.  Walk a little taller.  Remember how you lost 40 pounds before and it was a piece of cake.  Think about cake.  Think about cupcakes.  Begin to realize if you are going to lose 50 pounds in six months, the love affair you've been having with cupcakes needs to end. 

Pull out low carb cookbooks.  Decide to start this thing off right with a sugar free chocolate cream pie.  Whisk, melt, stir.  Taste.  Wonder what the fuck you have just gotten yourself into because you a) have a major sugar addiction and b) fake sugar sucks.  It just does. Start to feel that panic you felt when your kids were babies and you couldn't find a pacifier when they were screaming.  Decide YOU are the boss of this situation.  Remember where you hid children's Halloween candy.  Go through it, pulling out  your favorites.  Hide in coffee cup in cupboard.  Tell yourself this just makes good sense...like carrying a pair of tweezers in your purse or a condom...well, the condom thing isn't really applicable to you because you have become celibate by default.  Start to wonder if nuns chose nun-dom because of those dresses because man, oh man, could you really do some cupcake eating if all you wore were black and white muu muus all day long.  Think about what a bad HABIT that would be.  Crack up at yourself.  Habit. Heh heh.  Habit.  Start to feel a little to Beavis and Butthead.  Refocus.

Run into a friend who works out like a fiend and probably has never had a french fry in her life.  Admire her figure.  Revel in her praise of your selfless decision.  Dismiss her comment about your age and how the last time you lost weight, you were in your twenties.  You've had kids since then and you are in your forties.  Blow this off.  For just a few minutes.  Look for paper bag to breath into because you are starting to hyperventilate.  Shit.  Go to book store...see a disproportionate number of books about fighting fat after 40 and wonder why 40 is the magic number for sucking at weight loss....who determined that?  Isn't 40 supposed to be the new 20?  Wonder if you've gotten in over your head.  Decide you have not.  You can do it! 

Stop at grocery store on the way home to pick up a few things for  your new way of eating...or WOE as some of the hipster (read: dorky) diet websites call it.  Walk into store and get greeted by perky lady sampling cake and egg nog.  Decide you don't want to hurt her feelings.  Take a sample.  Look outside...see two high school girls collecting food for local food bank.  Feel like a jackass. This is the universe telling you to stick with your plan.  But still finish your sample because it's only two bites and this is about MODERATION, not DEPRIVATION.  Decide it's a good thing you were never into drugs because you would have made a terrible junkie...you are BRILLIANT at justifying the "just a little" way of thinking. Wonder if you will ever conquer the sugar monkey that has been on your back for years. 

Decide to make the best of this....you CAN do it!  You WILL do it!  You have no idea how you will look, if 50 pounds will make a huge difference, if the only difference will be loose skin, in which case Oprah will need to be notified about this little plan so she can hook you up with Dr. Oz or whoever to cut it off and hopefully give you a new wardrobe and makeover, because she is so moved by your determination to show such self discipline in the name of benefiting others.  Wonder if you will look way older or way younger because it's a tough call...you're are on the wrong side of forty to expect to look anything other than not terrible. What if you get jowls?  Right now you have a chubby face, which means the extra skin is still somewhat firm...think about other parts of your body that might look jowlish.  Again, think about your Oprah plan and hope she  is open to financing boob jobs.

Find that in spite of cake samples and sugar free pie disasters, you have dropped 4 pounds.  Only 46 more to go and you will march your skinny ass down to the food bank, give them a wad of checks, pat yourself on the back and drive to the nearest cupcake shop to celebrate with your monkey.  Because face it, he's not going anywhere.  He's just been sedated by steak.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Brilliant "Get Back Some Good Karma" Plan

A few weeks ago, I planned a class party for a bunch of first, second and third graders.  The theme was "friendship"...no autumn, no Halloween, nothing fallish, just "friendship"...not a whole lot to work with so in my effort to fill the two and a half hour party I suggested having a local children's art teacher come in and give a lesson using oil pastels. She agreed, we set it up and the party was planned. 

The day of the party, I rearranged the tables in the classroom to accommodate all of the children, spent lots of time dividing up oil pastels into little Dixie cups and cut the shit out of my hand, cutting paper to the appropriate size.  Then?  She didn't show up.  Now, trying to find something for 50 (yes, 50!) children to do when your entertainment has just flaked out on you is a bit of a mindfuck.  But somehow, we managed...of course, not without me complaining to the other teachers and fellow party volunteers about what an assbag this person was for flaking out.  Several people pondered the possibility of an emergency, an idea I smashed because I was pissed.  Remember this.  I bitched and moaned and totally disregarded the remote possibility something had happened and assumed she had just screwed me, the kids and left us hanging.  Ok....


Four days later, I get a phone call from this person...a sobbing phone call complete with apologies about why she didn't show up and it involved her then UNCONSCIOUS child.   Pause while you envision the ass of a donkey where my head would normally be.  In all of my years, there are a handful of times where I have truly, utterly felt like a total dick.  This was one of them. 

Now...one more story and I'll bring this all together.....last year, when I was going through one of the worst times of my life (we'll get to that in some other post...trust me...Lifetime movies have NOTHING on what I went through the past 18 months...but anyway.....)...whilst going through hell, I decided it would make total sense to feed the homeless....in all seriousness, I thought it would be a nice thing to do, give my kids a chance to soak in the fact there are kids around here who don't have a home and are hungry....so, we found a homeless shelter for women and children, found out that on Sundays the kitchen is closed and they needed 85 sack lunches delivered.  This was truly a moving experience for my children, as they delivered these meals to kids their age.  I decided this should be an annual holiday tradition for our family and recently started calling some shelters.  Turns out, with the economy in the hole, rather than a tuna wrap & chocolate chip cookie, the shelters really need cold, hard CASH. 

Like most, we have also been hit by the economy, so writing a check to a shelter that would make a real difference didn't seem doable.  Then, it hit me!  As I was sucking back my iced mocha, thinking about how great it would feel to dress up as a mermaid for next Halloween but then realizing you never see chubby mermaids, what with all the swimming they do and fish they eat...wait, would that make them cannibalish?  Maybe they are vegetarians...ANYWAY....I was just thinking how fun it would be to dress up as something that didn't require a million yards of fabric to cover my chubby body and feeling disappointed about the shelter situation, I heard the words "Chub for Grub" explode in my head....so here's my thought: I would reach out to everyone, make a website (chubforgrub.com - no I haven't made it yet, the website address is available so don't steal my cute idea, ok?)  where people could go on and SPONSOR ME....however much per pound...I'm giving myself six months and I'd like to lose 50 pounds.  The idea is once the six months are over, I collect the money from my sponsors via my website and donate every penny to the shelter!  You might be asking yourself why you'd want to sponsor a chubby little housewife lose weight?  Well, knowing it would go to help homeless women and children is your answer...I wouldn't keep any of it because a) I'm not a douche who would take money that is intended for homeless people and b) I NEED TO RE-FILL MY KARMA BANK AFTER THE DEBACLE WITH THE ART TEACHER.  UNDERSTAND??  OK. So that's my idea...of course, the fact that I have eaten approximately 4 pounds of Halloween candy and don't want any thing sweet ever again may possibly be giving me a sense of certain, undeniable future victory and in a week when the candy is gone I may be singing an entirely different tune, but I don't think so....I'm excited, I will be blogging about my 50 pound adventure and hope lots of people recognize the opportunity to help out not only the homeless, but also me.  That's right. Me.  Because if I have LOTS of people paying attention, I will be less likely to blow this off. 

I'd love some feedback, too....stupid, crazy idea? Good idea?  Do you want to do it with me?  Do you have some chub you'd like to exchange for grub?  This could be big if enough people hopped on board. No, not Bill and Melinda Gates buying a trillion malaria vaccinations, but it could make life a little more bearable for some people who would benefit from the kindness of strangers.

And?  I think I would make a REALLY cute mermaid. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Ode to the Stay at Home Mother

Some things? Have to be said.  Let me preface this by saying I have fully appreciated the lovely gift of being able to stay home with my children.  I have never had to drop my kids off to a daycare center with people I didn't know nor have I been forced to miss school functions because of a tight deadline at work.  I get that.  I appreciate that.  I understand that.  However, I feel the "other side" could use a bit of a wake up call as to what exactly "not working" entails.  Since my first born was a baby, all I have heard is how lucky I am and I am always very quick to agree.  It's when I'm told how lucky I am with a head shake, eye roll and condescending chuckle that gets my back up.

Guess what?  I worked before I had children. Yes, I had a paycheck, health insurance, a 401K plan and a parking spot just for me at an awesome lot downtown.  I met big wigs.  I received daily phone calls from some of the richest people on the planet (LITERALLY)...sometimes work related, other times to say hello.  No, I am not exaggerating for effect. I have been flown to Hawaii, California and New York for work and stayed in four star hotels while doing so.  I doubt there is a celebrity ANYONE can name that I can't do the six degrees of separation thing with. OK? I gave that up to be a stay at home mother.  Now, am I saying I regret it? Never.  I know how lucky I am. Yes, I said lucky.  But if one more snotty "working" mother gives me the metaphorical head pat because she thinks I simply don't understand her high pressured job, I might just bitch slap her.  But because I'm not the violent type, here's what I would say if I ever had the nerve....

Dear Condescending Working Mother Who Thinks All Stay at Home Moms Couldn't Possibly Understand What You Deal With On A Daily Basis Because You Think All We Do Is Watch Soap Operas And Take Yoga Classes -

Something you need to know about stay at home mothers.....

We are the ones who help your kindergartner find the bathroom.  We are the ones who stay in the bathroom with them because they are scared.  We are the ones who gently remind them to wash their hands.

We are the ones who walk your first grader to the nurses office when they have a boo-boo, a sore throat or have puked all over the classroom.  We are the ones who expose ourselves to your highly contagious child and by default, our own kids, in doing so.  We are the ones who help the teacher clean up said puke.

We are the ones who devote time to help your second grader catch up on reading by sitting with him or her and reviewing spelling words.  We are the ones who correct homework and spend our nights cutting out various shapes so your child can do a fun craft project. We are the ones who tie a million shoes.

We are the ones who plan classroom parties and make sure Bobby Joe doesn't get the ice cream sandwich because he is lactose intolerant so we make a special trip to the grocery store so he can have a fruit popsicle. 

We are the ones who chaperone your kids on field trips and make sure no one harms or abducts them.  We are the ones who wait for your dumb ass to show up because your child is freaked out by the fact you seem to have forgotten what time school gets out. (Seriously, I had a little girl ask me once to wait with her until her mom came.  She was little and we waited for her mother for 45 minutes... when she finally showed?  didn't  get out of the car OR have the decency to even try to look embarrassed. And no, there was no thank you or apology). We are the ones you will flippantly dismiss with some bullshit line about how we have "no idea how hectic the business world is" and that's the reason you're late.  Yes, this has happened several times.

We are the ones who recognize your child dawdling in the hallway because they have missed their bus but are too little to know what to do so we take them to the office so that you can be called.

We are the ones who bake cakes for cake walks and glue your child's artwork on a matted frame for you to ooh and aah over.

We are the ones the  exhausted teachers approach for help and we say yes. 

We are the ones who tell the asshole kid who has just shoved your child into a locker to knock it off and put enough fear into them that they do, indeed, knock it off.

We are the ones your child hugs at school when they are scared or just need a little comfort.  We are the ones who wink at your child and make them smile.

Do we live at the schools where these things happen?  No. We are simply there a lot, dropping off our kids, picking them up and helping out teachers who are overworked and underpaid.  Yes, we have a life.  Contrary to popular belief, it does not revolve around petty gossip, Days of Our Lives and pedicures.  Our lives, just like yours, consist of balancing relationships, paying mortgages, finding good books to read when we have a moments peace and wondering how our kids are going to turn out.  You don't know why or how we became stay at home moms.  Some of us didn't really have a choice. Some of us threw our hearts and souls into it and never looked back and some of us yearn for a business meeting where people actually listen to us and the words "Fart Face" or "Booger Head" are never uttered.  But we all get up every day and do what we do for our kids...and yours. 

Am I overdoing it?  Perhaps.  Am I lucky to be a stay at home mom? Yes.  And guess what? So are you.  My "luck" is benefiting us both.  You are just too preoccupied making sure I know how busy you are to realize it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Motherhood

Today at Target I walked past the baby section on my way to the much, much more fun Halloween section.  As I meandered past, I saw a very pregnant woman and her spouse, agonizing over receiving blankets....would this bright pattern be too distracting or would it stimulate young junior's mind in a good way?  As I laughed to myself, I heard this woman say to her husband, "it really doesn't matter, my mom said I slept through the night the minute I came home from the hospital so I'm sure not much is going to change..." She kept babbling, he kept nodding and I kept laughing.  My ass off.  I feel a public service announcement is necessary in the form of my tiny little blog...perhaps one night an overwhelmed new or expecting mother will google "new motherhood" and this will come up.  And she will feel much, much better.

Guide to New Motherhood - Everything You Need to Know from Birth through the First Month

Birth - Stop envisioning yourself showered in a golden light, looking fantastic as you sip on a cup of tea and ever so slightly moan at a nagging little pain. Reality is much, much different.  First, you will be hooked up to a monitor.  Then get a blood pressure cuff.  And a finger blood oxygen thing.  An IV.  If you are super lucky, they will pump you full of Pitocin which is code word for  incinerating pain. Now, labor pains are unreal.  They are a deep, deep, intense, insane mind numbing pain.  If you decide to get an epidural, you will have to literally sign your life away while someone you've never met sticks a long ass needle in your spine...but the pain is SO awful, you will happily do this.  Once this lovely event happens, you get the enjoyable catheter with the bag of pee it's connected to hooked onto your hospital bed like some disgusting purse. You will wonder, at least once, if you are actually dying because the pain is so intense.  Your husband will become the jackass who doesn't understand what you are going through.  (Note to the dads: Don't talk about how tired you are, how hungry you are or how you wish "something would happen already".  Don't.  And after the mother of your child goes through this hell? Do not, under ANY circumstances, talk about how you don't think you can get a vasectomy because it would REALLY hurt.  No. Don't.  Trust me.)  People you have never met and probably will never see again will snap on gloves and get to third base with you.  If your darling little baby doesn't come the way nature intended, you will start hearing the phrases "not progressing" and "take the baby".  When these start floating around, that means  you are heading to the operating room.  Regardless of how your baby makes his or her way into the world, the minute you hear that cry, you're a mother.  And your life as you know it?  Is over.

Hair - Kiss it good-bye.  Mother Nature let you hang onto it during your pregnancy but the Hormone Fairy will pull rank, do her action and your once lustrous hair will start falling out.  What that bitch doesn't take away,  your baby will.  The only thing harder to pry open than a pickle jar is a baby's fist...and babies love to grab fistfuls of hair and yank it out.  Repeatedly.  Side note: They also do this will earrings, so dangly ones need to be put away so you can keep your earlobes in one piece and studs need to go because they are a choking hazard.

Skin - If you are nursing, it will be dryer than sandpaper, no matter how many bottles of water you drink.  Oh, and those bright red streaks on your hips, boobs and stomach? Yeah, those are stretch marks and they aren't leaving.  Ever. No amount of Baby Belly Butter or whatever the fuck cream in a fancy tub you buy to make these things go away, they aren't leaving.  Deal with it.

Muscle Tone - Unless you are some freak of nature, this changes as well.  Things jiggle that never did before.  Things droop.

Boobs - When your milk comes in, these look SPECTACULAR!  Of course, they will feel like someone has made two cuts just below your collar bone and dumped 5 pounds of pea gravel in your boob cavity but for about 2 minutes, it's worth it because again, they look so good.  Your husband will lose his shit and want to play with your new boobs.  This is out of the question because they are excruciating.  And you get to attempt to latch a very hungry, strong nursing baby to these things.  Now, unless you have twins, your other boob will be confused once the feeding frenzy has begun and it will order the release of milk.  This might come in the form of a drip, a drop or a spray.  It's really nice if  you are laying down and this happens because then it comes out in geyser form and you end up with a breast milk shower if you didn't have the forethought to cover it up before you begin nursing. You will need breast pads.  Like little mattresses for your boobs.  What's really awesome is when you are out in public and your baby cries and you end up with two wet stains on your shirt.  So trust me, you will need breast pads. 

Stomach - If you housed a large baby and because of his size, had to have a c-section, you have your own built in Boppi. 

Eyes - They will be bloodshot, half-open and have sets of luggage under them because sleeping is part of your past.   Also, everything will look different because you are seeing things through the eyes of a mother.  That little outfit with all the buttons you got when you were pregnant that you thought was so cute? It might as well have the words "I will choke your baby" embroidered on it.  The couch will look like some medieval suffocating device because what if the baby somehow got wedged in between the seat cushions??  Forget about window blinds...can you say "baby noose"?!  The toilet looks like a death trap and you will wonder if your grandma was right and if your 15 year old arthritic cat really can suck the baby's air out. Everything looks different.  Everything.

Mind - Sesame Street is on at a very early hour.  You will watch this because it's either that or the farm report or infomercials and you will figure the baby might subliminally pick up on the alphabet while you sit with him or her at 4am, half asleep.  You will get to know the whole gang.  You will have a favorite.  Yes. You will. (Oscar!)  Aside from taking care of your baby, your mind is shot.  You will be ridiculously sleep deprived and hormonal.  These two ingredients will turn you into a drooling idiot for a few months.  But don't worry, what you lose in IQ points, you will make up with your knowledge of all things related to mastitis and hemorrhoids.

Sleep - I can not stress this enough. You won't get any.  Not enough, anyway.  You may even be lucky enough to deal with a colicky baby who NEVER sleeps and ONLY wants to nurse.  You might go weeks and weeks before you sleep more than a few hours here and there.  There might come a time when your baby finally falls asleep, boob still in her little mouth.  Then you will watch her body start to stiffen, and her face get red. Then you will feel hot poop explode out of her diaper that looks like watery Dijon mustard.  You might even have the energy to be appalled at yourself for actually contemplating if you should wake the baby to get you both cleaned up , an act which will piss her off and keep you from getting that much coveted nap or if you will literally sit in shit in order to close your eyes for a few minutes. 

The Dad - Your baby's dad will be the rock star.  He will come home from work, kiss the baby, hold the baby and give the baby back.  This will last for a few minutes.  A mother is like a tugboat, the baby is the barge and the dad is the groovy speed boat that zips by...it looks exciting and it's fun.  However, the tugboat is going to keep the barge going in the right direction, staying on course, no matter how many rough waters she comes across. This? Is why professional athletes say hi to their moms on national television.  They know that deep down, it's the tugboat that got them from point A to point B.  Every man I know has at one time, when his wife was nursing, thrown his hands up in the air, shrugged his shoulders and said "I'd like to help her out, but I don't have boobs."  Yes, even your Prince Charming will say some version of that line of bullshit...and he will think that because he doesn't have boobs, he's pretty much off the baby hook.  Yes, he will. 


The Baby - makes all of the above worth it. Take pictures, because you won't remember a whole lot...and before you know it, your baby won't be a baby anymore...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was groggy.  I had a three month old baby who I was nursing every two hours and a SIDS obsession that wouldn't go away, even though I slept with my hand on his chest so I could feel his little chest raise up and down, up and down.  I woke up (but as any new mother knows, you never really wake up all the way because you never fall asleep all the way). Propped up my pillows, ran to fill up my water bottle because again, as any woman who has ever nursed, you get insanely thirsty.  Gently picked up my son, who had just woken up and began nursing him.  As soon as he was going strong, I flipped on the television...and saw it.

As my husband and I watched the news in silence, we turned to each other.  I said, "what happened to New York???  Do you think it was an earthquake??".  He looked at me and in a very even tone simply said, "no.  This was Osama Bin Laden and we have been attacked."  I didn't even know who Osama Bin Laden was....I had just spent the last year absorbing anything pregnancy, baby or breast feeding related.  None of those topics discuss the unrest in the middle east or the fact this man was quite powerful...and hated us.  Like trying to shove a square peg in a round hole, it didn't work in my mind.  I just didn't, couldn't, wouldn't accept that a group of people could knowingly plan, execute and murder thousands of people.  Here.  In America.  My America.  These people had children, friends, spouses, parents.  They were loved and needed...and for those who didn't die instantly, they spent the last moments of their life terrified. It just didn't compute.

As someone who has always tried to believe the best in people, I have always had an incredibly difficult time understanding how people are able to intentionally hurt others, especially people with whom they have no history. I can understand passionate anger and vigilante justice in that there is a basis for the repercussion. I am sure we have all done the theoretical "I'd kill someone if they *fill in the blank* my child". But the people in those towers, in the pentagon and in those planes did nothing to deserve their death. I simply could not understand it. 

I looked down at my baby.  The most amazing, wonderful thing my eyes had ever taken in.  I felt such a combination of anger, sadness and helplessness. I knew then this would forever change America.  He simply would not have the same experience here as I did.  He wouldn't have the sense of security that came from two oceans.   I had spent months preparing for his arrival...before he could even hold his head up, everything with a sharp corner was covered.  Cabinet doors had safety latches installed.  I got a life insurance policy.  I washed his clothes in Dreft.  I had a pot of water boiling continuously to sterilize anything he might possibly need to put in his mouth...pacifiers, teething rings, etc.  Post c-section, I didn't take even one pain killer because I didn't want it to get in my breast milk.   I waited until he was sleeping before I tried to trim his nails.  To think there were mothers who had done all of those things for their babies and were now at home, watching the news and realizing the planes smashing into the building where their children were haunted me. It still does.


I remember the days and weeks after that, we all flew our flags.  People started talking to each other more.  Country singers wrote a few songs about 9/11 that could arise passion and tears at the
same time.  I remember President Bush telling the crowd in New York that the people who had knocked down those buildings were going to "hear from all of us."  I remember his speech where he talked about one of the  men on the flight who's famous last words were "Let's roll."  I remember a lot.  What I don't remember is when we stopped flying our flags so much.  When we stopped talking to each other.  When the flags weren't at half mast and when seeing one no longer meant 9/11, it meant another soldier died far, far away.  I don't remember when I stopped wanting to donate blood. I don't remember when I lost respect for our president.  But all those things happened.  Slowly.  But they did.

When my son was in preschool, he asked me what 9/11 was.  I told him there were a small group of people who had hurt a lot of people.  He asked why.  I told him, truthfully, that I didn't know. I'd like to say that after this happened, I researched the whys and the history of this group of people.  I haven't.  I still don't know why they did it because understanding that kind of hatred isn't something I want to do.  I have no interest in money trails, what country funded another country in order to buy weapons, who's religion is 'better', who stood to profit off a war, or how long it will take America to 'recuperate'.  The bottom line is as I told my son 5 years ago.  A small group of people hurt a lot of people.  The whys and hows don't matter.  It happened....and the wound will take a very, very long time to heal and it will leave an enormous scar.

The memory of that day is like having an inoperable, benign tumor.   We wish like hell it just didn't exist.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Chili Contest

Every year, for the past 4 years, I have entered the chili contest at the fair.  Every year, it gets a little bit more competitive.  Last year, some wisenheimer had celery on her list of ingredients.  Celery.  Humph.  Anyway, I have consistently placed in the top three, so of course, my confidence was booming this year...things did not go exactly as expected....so I give you my guide....

How to Make Ass Burning Chili & Allow Your Masterpiece to be Judged.

First, start thinking of catchy names for the bowl of fire  you are about to create.  Judges might be impressed by your wit if not your chili.  Give up when the only thing you can think of is either Bowl of Fire or Ass Burner.  Decide that if there is a lady judge this name might make her uncomfortable...then what if she deducted points because she's a snoot who can't take a little humor? 

Next, take children to Asian market to find stuff for your chili because it's cheaper.  Eureka!!! Find GOOD LUCK PEPPER!!!!!  Freak out.  Exclaim to children this is a sign that you are TAKING THE BLUE RIBBON!!!!  Force son to pose with your good luck pepper.  Know that INSIDE, he's brimming with just as much enthusiasm as you.  Only he is hiding it better.


Get so double rainbowed out about this you fail to notice daughter pawing through "pretty little orange ones"....aka habaneros.  Rip it out of her hands and wonder if merely touching it will make her skin peel off.  Feel eyes pop out of head when she then rubs eyes.  Nothing happens.  Wonder if chefs on Food Network who ALWAYS talk about wearing gloves "whenever touching habaneros" are getting kick backs from glove company because this seems to be a warning predicated on bullshit.  Anyway. 

Prepare your chili...


First, chop....



Season....


Add the heat...all 14 different kinds of hotter than hell peppers...
....instead of gloves, use plastic grocery bags to cover hands.  Realize you have actually always used grocery bags on your hands when you chop hot peppers and that you really are a redneck because purchasing food prep gloves has never entered your mind. Once.  
But buying Slurpees and Cheetos has.  A lot.


Admire your good luck charm, which has been given it's own special paper towel on which to rest because you are not sure if you should keep him and lay him on the top of the bowl you entered in an effort to Jedi mind trick the judges or put him in the chili.  Decide he needs to be a part of this, he's not merely for decoration...although he IS cool....



Wha-La!  Tell yourself this is one of the best pots you have ever made.  Remind yourself you've got your secret weapon floating around there, spreading the magic pepper juices. Dream about your blue ribbon.  Think about how great it would be to give chili away for the holidays with a picture of you and your ribbon and a little talking cloud thingie over your head saying "Happy Holidays!". 

Head to the fair.  Try not to burden children with chili contest obsession.  Agree to some rides and the petting zoo. Feign interest in the million different variety of rabbits.  Oooo and aahhh over baby chickens.  Realize again, you have a petting zoo AT HOME and wouldn't they much rather suck back a Purple Cow??



Take children to rides.  See something no mother ever wants to see......
Feel really bad for mom doting on now pacifier less child who is clearly her first.  Fight the urge to tell her it's ok to pick the damn thing up, suck off the fair ground cooties and give it back to the kid...don't do this, because you have no time for chit chat.  You have a contest to win, Walla Walla burgers to eat and E.Coli to scrub off of your childrens farm animal loving hands.

Stop for deep fried pepsi because you saw Andrew Zimmern eat it on Bizarre Foods.  Tell kids it's gross because you don't want to share because IT IS SO DAMN GOOD.  Vow to learn how to make this. 

Load kids up on cotton candy...be grateful you took this photo because an hour from now she will look you dead in the eye and tell you she never got any cotton candy...but YOU HAVE PROOF!!!



 Head to the competition....get a sinking feeling when you realize you are -
 a) the only one bringing your entry as is..not in a cooler or insulated lunch box.  Just in your hand.
 b) there are twice as many judges as previous years and
c) SEVERAL more competitors. 

Take in your competition....feel confidence slip away as you observe various entries....



"Oh, hi, I'm going to really set the scene with my sombrero place mat and TYPED ingredient list...I'm SOOO fancy...yeah, you like that?  It's a little cilantro garnish."




"Look at me, all decorated with dried peppers and I, too, have my own place mat....and guess what?  I have 'strongly brewed coffee' in me.  How's that for fancified? Yeah, you're feeling pretty intimidated now, aren't you? "




"That's right, people, this is one of her nice, glass bowls.  I also enjoy being showered with scallions and bathed in sour cream, just for shits and giggles....oh, and my special ingredient?  Cashews.  You heard me."




"You can all suck it because I came with a side dish.  That's right.  Notice the cornbread?  Yeah, and those delicately sliced peppers baked in?  Not an accident.  I am IN IT TO WIN IT"



"I have blue ribbon written all over me.  I'm shabby chic, what with my raffia bows, have the bandanna napkin and red checked place mat to appeal to those cowboy looking judges, my ingredient list is typed in a lovely font and I'm in a damn cute little pot.  Just give me the ribbon now."


Take this all in.  Swallow pride.  Feel eyes slowly pull back to your entry....



"bet you're wishing you had saved that "Good Luck Pepper" to decorate me with now, huh, jackass?  Thanks.  Why don't you just throw me in a dumpster when this is all over because clearly you don't think I deserve any frills.  Just treat me like the ugly stepsister, that's fine...oh, and THANKS for letting  your kid help you write out my ingredient list, by the way.  That paper is all sticky from whatever the hell was all over her fingers, she drew a picture on it and I'm pretty sure she misspelled CHILI.  That's great.  Good job.  Loser."





Resign self to "participant" ribbon.  
Listen to results...
5th place...
 4th place...
 3rd place....
then....
Second Place...
YOUR NAME IS CALLED 

Red Ribbon.
Second Place.  Not last.  Not even close to last. 

Try REALLY hard not to gloat. 
But it's difficult......
very difficult....



Not as difficult as it is to stay awake after a day at the fair, but pretty close.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Annie the Rabbit and her Tales of Adventure

We have a rabbit.  A seemingly docile, sweet little furry thing.  However, she has put me in a number of predicaments I do not appreciate.  Last week, my husband and children thought she needed a leash and harness, so they could walk her.  This seemed like a fine idea until I was sent on a journey to drug alley to a place that supposedly specialized in all things rabbit to acquire such an item.  This gem is located on Drug City Way and I am convinced is a front for something illegal.  Like Satrialles for the Soprano team, only with less ambiance and way more stink.  For one thing, if you are going to specialize in something, you should sell that something.  This place had two empty cages and a few mini bales of rabbit hay.  NOTHING ELSE.  The employee looked like she had been sucking on a hookah for 40 years and was intently staring at the gigantic water color painting of a white rabbit...which of course, the irony of THAT little nugget did not escape me.  I held on to my daughters hand tightly, asked about rabbit leashes and got a look that literally said "are you THAT stupid?  obviously, this joint is a cover...go back to PetSmart in the burbs, housewife."  Honestly, I felt like I was the innocent character in a Quintin Tarantino movie...I expected Bruce Willis with his trusty samurai sword to come up from the basement, all bloody from beating the shit out of the gimp. I actually DID find a rabbit harness and leash at PetSmart, where we went next...pink and green and just right!  The kids walked her a few nights then like most things, lost interest.

A few days later, I decided to take my kids swimming and drove home, still in my swimming suit.  Kids ran in the backyard to play and I headed towards the shower when I heard cries and yelling...rushing to my backyard, I see an open rabbit cage...containing no rabbit...because someone thought about walking her on her little leash but lost interest the minute someone else showed up with an Otter Pop.  Then it was all about Otters, not Rabbits, and so, she did what rabbits do....she jumped.

So now I give you, the all important...
Guide to Finding a Lost Rabbit

First, panic...that brings the adrenalin up to a nice crazy level and is contagious.  Step in dog poop.  Holler at kids to scoop poop because all three of you are running around, trying to catch the little bastard and you see landmines everywhere.  Hand children bags.  Start scooping.  Realize you are the only one doing so.  Ask in as calm a way as you can manage what the hell is going on and listen to both of them tell you they a) didn't see any poop and b) they "lost" their bags......

Realize one of them has hidden HER bags under toy jeep wheel.  Point this out.  Listen to pleas of innocence and watch shoulders raise in apparent wonderment as to how unused poop bags managed to find a hiding place.

Spot rabbit.  Chase her like a maniac.  Encourage children to also chase like little maniacs.  Agree to let neighbor kids come over to "help".  Realize this was a bad move, because this has aroused the curiosity of their father, who is standing at the fence, watching you and your two children transform themselves into Larry, Moe and Curly.  Feel face burn because you?  are still in your swimming suit....and it ain't pretty.  Feel self conscious.  Watch neighbor chuckle. Fight 14 year old girl urge to put hands on hips and say something like "oh yeah? so what if I'm in my swim suit, running around?  YOU are wearing WHITE  knee high socks with your sandals, retard."  Don't do this. Take high road because you are a grown up.  Suck in stomach and wonder why the fashion gurus ever got rid of swimming dresses, because THOSE WOULD BE NICE TO BRING BACK INTO STYLE.

Realize chickens are out and are beginning to go a little chicken crazy.  Use dog as excuse to run back into house, because, as you tell your kids, the dog could catch the rabbit and eat her...even though the dog hasn't even moved since this comedy of errors began...

Stand on the safe side and watch as four kids try to lure her out from under deck with carrots and treats.  Call husband in panic.  Listen as he explains she'll 'probably come back' but if not, 'lesson learned' and try to change subject. Realize rabbit will come out when she is good and ready and no amount of carrots will work.  Try to convince kids of this....fail.

The next morning, get phone call...rabbit has been captured by neighbors!!!...decide this calls for your specialty "thank  you for running amok in YOUR backyard trying to get this little fucker, I really appreciate you not making a stew out of her" cupcakes because the look on your daughters face upon hearing the news is worth the effort.


 Truly the best chocolate cupcakes, EVER.  They are made from scratch, with the best chocolate and real deal butter cream...admire your work. 

Decide to take these to neighbors NOW or you will eat them all within a very short amount of time.  Collect children, walk to first house.  Notice door has been recently painted and isn't quite dry, so doors are ajar.  Ring bell.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  Watch in horror as pack of dogs come charging.  Hurl yourself in front of children from werewolf midget, who has just lunged at your cupcake packing 6 year old.  While your back is turned, the owner comes to the door, trying to settle down her army of canines that includes the most obese pug you have ever seen.  Turn around to greet her and deliver box of deliciousness.  Feel head jerk back as you  recoil because she is wearing more headgear than you have EVER seen and you simply weren't expecting it because the last time you saw headgear on a peer was in high school...think of Joan Cusack's character from Sixteen Candles.  Wonder if you should ask her if anyone ever says they look alike.  Decide against it.  But this broad is in her forties and covered in metal...and to top it off, she has a very thick accent so you can't understand a damn word she's saying, what with a million mouse traps circling her skull and attached to every tooth in her head.  Nod head, smile, feel like a jerk because you were NOT suave about the headgear discovery.  Feel werewolf nipping at ankle.  Fight urge to kick it.  Watch in horror as she squishes cupcake box because she is using other hand to keep this idiot from maiming you.  Fight control freak urge to grab box, rush home, re-decorate and return.  Have NO idea what they hell she is saying, just nod and start slowly backing away, thanking her again profusely for helping to rescue your rabbit.  Watch her get a confused look on her face.  Realize you may have given box of goodness to someone who has no fucking idea what you are talking about but at this point, you just need to go.

Head to next house.  Lead the posse, not taking any chances.  Prepare self for whatever lies ahead.  Get greeted at the door by lovely older woman, who explains it took five adults to finally catch rabbit.  Thank her over and over again.  Realize introductions haven't been made.  Watch her introduce herself to children, and listen as she tells them "I already know your names, I hear your mother yelling them all the time".  Start to feel way too hillbilly-ish at this point.  You not only are the only house in the neighborhood with a fucking petting zoo in your backyard, you also gave the neighbors a show with your swim suit rabbit dance and now you find out they can hear your dumb ass three houses down, bellowing at your kids.  Start to feel like Fred Flintstone when Mr. Slate would yell at him and he would shrink in his chair. Decide now was NOT the time to let your daughter walk around with her joke teeth....
Come home, determined to start anew...lecture kids on importance of rabbit leash and not letting her out of her cage because you are NOT going through this again.  Watch them absorb about 10 percent of what you are saying and wander off to play.  Look outside and realize the chickens seem to be attempting some sort of alliance with you....

And that?  May have made the entire adventure worth it........

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Introducing, the one, the only, the latest dessert craze: the CAKE BALL!

My step by step guide to the art of balling.  Making balls.  Getting ballsy.  Balling out.  Juggling balls.  You get the idea....

Last month I chatted with a lady who kept talking about her latest discovery, the cake ball.  She went on and on about how delicious they were, how I wouldn't believe it, etc.  And lo and behold, she was right.  I started to tinker around with the idea of various flavors and came up with one that just works for me..the margarita cake ball...pause to drool a little bit....ok, here's what you need to do:

First, assemble your ingredients.  Instead of water in the recipe, use margarita mix.  Add some lime zest and throw in a tablespoon of margarita salt.  Start to feel a little Martha Stewart-y because you are kind of making up your own recipe by adding the salt, which you tell yourself is bordering on genius.




Beat it...dump it.






Bake it and wait....
Watch as daughter wheels around corner with a rabid look in her eye, zeroing in on the beaters...listen to her beg to lick beaters.  Give in.


Watch as son gets wind of your consent to let youngest ingest raw egg cake batter...observe him start to lick batter bowl in a way that tells you he knows you will come to your senses soon, so he needs to squish his entire face in glass bowl.  Hope children don't get salmonella. 


While cake is baking, feel stomach growl.  Scrounge up leftover hamburger patty from last night.  Heat in microwave with some cheese.  Realize you are out of buns or any member of the bread family.  Decide to start Atkins.  Visualize losing 40 pounds before summer is over.  Start to think about all the steak and salad you are going to eat.  Realize those damn chickens might be helpful to your new low carb way of life, what with those eggs you are STILL waiting on...wonder what kind of outfit you will wear when you send in your 'after' shot to the Atkins website.  Spend the next 40 minutes debating with yourself about whether it should be a dress or skinny jeans.....



Once cake is done, dump it into a large bowl and crumble.  Fancy it up by grating some lime zest into it.


Zest like a maniac.  Break zester. Realize with  your shitty memory you will probably never have another one because who would ever remember "oh, I need to pick up a zester" while out shopping.

.


Make lime butter cream.  Start to think you are onto something and that cake balls just might be your ticket to financial freedom.  Start to brainstorm what your cute little ball store will be called.  Decide Cake Balls of Fire is the name for you.  Envision a cake ball sign that looks like a comet.  Start to get excited because you are old and this?  Is a killer idea.  Feel like you have finally struck it rich, minus the actual money part, because you have come up with a BRILLIANT idea.  Cake balls for everyone. 




Decide this whole Atkins thing is just too unhealthy and that moderation is the key.  Remember everything you've heard about low carb diets causing kidney failure...decide this is a nightmare you don't need, especially if you are going to be a guest on Oprah's Millionaire Moms show talking about your cake ball dynasty.  Make out with rubber spatula containing lime butter cream goodness.






Add butter cream to crumbled cake.  Now the magic really starts....


Squish it......

Ball it....then pop it in the freezer.





Roll your frozen margarita balls in melted white chocolate.  While they are still sticky, sprinkle with lime zest and margarita salt.  Imagine telling Oprah about how it's all about tenacity and creativity.  Wonder if she and Gayle will invite you along when they do another Route 66 show.  Decide you would probably say no because you don't need to be horning in on their friendship and third-wheeling around the country with them when she would probably rather just have you visit her at her house in Hawaii.  Decide your dog and her dogs would also be good friends since they all have a large portion of yellow lab in them.  Wonder if there is a small chance you know way too much about Oprah.  Decide that isn't the case and your vast knowledge of all things Oprah  will only help you get to know your new BFF better and not make you look stalker-y. 


Admire these lovely little bite sized confections of awesomeness.  Eat several.  Realize your eyebrows have been raised for a long time because you have an insane sugar high.  Force them down.  Race upstairs to begin your research on cake balls, because you must verify this is your brain child.


Whimper.  Have enormous sugar crash that does not bode well with the waves of disappointment washing over you.  Kiss your Oprah dreams good-bye.  Realize you keep squeezing your eyes shut and clucking your tongue because of the pure amount of solid sugar coursing through your veins.  Decide that you must have given yourself diabetes by inhaling a dozen cake balls so you REALLY need to cut back on sugar.  And carbs.  Revisit and re-commit to your original Atkins plan because as good as these are, you're pretty sure you have just given yourself 11 cavities from these balls of sugar and won't be able to eat anything remotely sweet ever again.  Until tomorrow.  There's always tomorrow....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How to Survive the Traveling Carnival

Today is Sunday, which in our family, occasionally means we may go on a family outing.  Today's adventure took us to a traveling carnival and all I can say is I'm glad we made it out alive....because I may need this for future therapy sessions, I am documenting my experience.........

Guide to the Traveling Carnival

First, you want a memento of the occasion.  Spot photo booth that sells giant photo buttons for $8.  Decide this is a bargain and force family to sit in uncomfortable position while Carney #1 takes digital photo.  Remember  but don't mention you have digital camera in purse and could have asked anyone to snap your photo because this will just piss your husband off.  Realize  you've been staring at Carney #1's teeth for too long because you have a thing about teeth and can't get past wondering how she can eat that giant elephant ear with teeth that look like they've been scribbled with burnt sienna crayons...wouldn't it hurt??  Realize you are staring and awkwardly avert eyes to canvas ceiling.  Pretend her mouth is a solar eclipse that is dangerous to look at because you don't want to offend her by staring anymore and you know if your eyes wander anywhere close to the proximity of her head, you will not be able to pull them away from the train wreck that is her pie hole. 



Next, spend $16 so whole family can "race" the cars assigned to skee ball type game.  Win stuffed animal that looks like a cross between a lizard and a fish that undoubtedly cost two cents to make.  Wonder what the animal is supposed to be because daughter thinks it's a ladybug.

Head toward ticket booth.  Notice older lady dragging oxygen tank behind. Decide that if you ever get stuck on oxygen, you are going to put that tank in a stroller because what if you were dragging it and didn't notice it got unplugged? Then you needed mouth to mouth and the only person who could help you had fucked up teeth and then you'd give yourself a stroke seeing that come at you so you figure better safe than sorry. Also, strollers have cup holders and storage underneath so you could have somewhere to put your giant photo button.

Divvy up tickets.  Send first born and husband on a ride you overhear Carney # 2 say has "been actin' up lately". Wonder how you will catch 90 pound child if he is hurled through space because there are a lot of cords circling the ride and if you trip, then you're both S.O.L.

Take daughter to giant pink slide.  Hope Carney #3 who is helping her at the top of the slide doesn't  have prison record.  Wonder how much these carnivals make because surely they make enough to fix signs that make them look incompetent?? 

Yes, the last line reads: "Childern must not be carried".  Childern.  Not children, but childern.  Feel confidence soar in the folks running this gig.  Decide you're committed and head to Ferris wheel.  Totally kill daughters fun because she wants to rock it to and fro and it says "Danger, Do Not Rock Seat" everywhere you look.  Point this out to her.  Listen to her talk about how fun it would be if we fell out because then we could get casts on our broken legs and people could write on them.  Start to panic a little because you are so squished in this thing you start to wonder if Carney #4 (another fella who could REALLY use a dentist) is going to be able to unhook the metal trap that is cutting off the circulation in your thighs....and she keeps rocking this fucking thing just enough to freak you out but not enough for it to be obvious, so if you lose it and get mad, she can deny she's trying to rock it.  But you KNOW she is.

Survive.  Meet up with husband and son.  Send daughter and husband to bumper cars.  Take son to BB gun game where he attempts to shoot out the little red star on the tiny piece of paper.  Carney #5 is  very muscular, blond, good looking and friendly. Flirt a little.  Watch son whiz through the 2 tries you paid for.  Watch as Carney #5 insists on giving son a million extra bb's as well as pointers. Flirt a little more.    He has recognized son is left handed and  is very encouraging.  Get an odd feeling when you realize several other potential customers have wandered by and he hasn't even attempted to carnival bark them into his lair.  Start to wonder if he is a member of some white power group sent to this rural carnival under the guise of "BB gun carney guy"to recruit new members because he is zoning in on your blond headed, blue eyed boy like he's the prize winning trout at a fishing derby.  Stop flirting, say thank you and leave.  Notice he has all of his teeth and they are white.  Nod to yourself because this is proof your suspicions were RIGHT ON THE MONEY.

As you head out, see a food booth selling deep fried Snickers bars.  Decide the carnival life is for you.  Minus the bad spelling and klan member because that?  would KILL your sugar buzz.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Adventure to the Land of the Lost aka The Laundromat

Having a zillion animals and children who seem to think the "no eating ice cream bars in my bed" only applies to other people, I found myself in the sigh worthy position of having to face the fact my down comforter needed to be cleaned.  So I shoved it in my washing machine, dumped in a ton of laundry soap and let 'er rip.  Go to pull it out and it weighs about 300 pounds because once soaked with water, it was simply too heavy to spin....I had a feeling this might happen so decided to run the washer again...in retrospect, I get that adding water to something I wanted to have less water in was not one of my most brilliant ideas, but at the time, I panicked.  My plan? Failed.  Now, a water logged, king sized down comforter is difficult to get out.  Especially when it has gone through two heavy load cycles. I put on my obstetrician hat and, using my arms as forceps and a lot of comforting encouragement to the washing machine, we got that sucker out.  Then I had to flop the dripping mess into the bathtub while I tried to figure out what to do.  Aha!  I'll stomp the water out!  Didn't work.  Not a bad theory if our bathtub was vertical but alas, it is not.  Henry comes in and asks if he can help.  Sure!  Watch him hop in with black feet because he has been playing in the backyard for hours barefooted  and in his boy brain, didn't think stepping on a recently washed and bleached WHITE comforter was a terrible idea.  It was.  So now I've got a muddy 600 pound ball of feathers...begin to panic because I know there is only one road this baby is taking me and I dread it.....so here it is, my advise on how to get through your next visit to the laundromat. 

First, get contractor sized garbage bag.  Work with children to maneuver comforter into bag.  Drag it down the stairs, use momentum to hurl it into van.  Wipe brow because this is similar to weight lifting.  Pull up to laundry.  Promise kids giant Slurpee if they just cooperate with you for the next hour.  Admonish self for using food as an incentive.  Decide fuck it, people have been bribing other people for years and if buying them a Slurpee is going to get you in and out of this hell hole with the least amount of stress, you will take it. 
Drag your black garbage bag inside...literally.  Realize it appears as though you and your children are hauling in a dead body.    Go to nearest giant machine.  Fight with the muddy beast to get it out of the bag and into the machine.  Wipe brow again.  This is exhausting. Dump $5 of quarters in.  Realize you have forgotten laundry soap.  Again, decide to fuck it.  The dust covered little boxes of Cheer that are behind the counter look like they have been there for years and you're pretty sure if you open it it would just be a giant laundry soap cake bar thing and then you would have used your extra quarters on the Cheer and gotten no cheer...laugh to yourself for  your little pun.  Decide not to share it with kids because they won't get it and YOU ARE STRESSED AND EXPLAINING YOUR FUNNY JOKE OVER AND OVER AGAIN WILL NOT BE WORTH IT.  Point out old pop machine to kids.  Watch them soak in the nostalgia....realize you may have possibly stepped into some sort of weird time vortex because all of a sudden, it feels like 1975 in this joint. This pop machine sells no water and you swear, the owner is drinking a Tab, which you didn't even think they made anymore after it killed all those rats. 
As you take in this beauty, you eyes wander and you realize little boxes of Cheer aren't all that's on the menu...they have a LAUNDRY BAR.  Realize you ARE in 1975 because NO ONE puts brown in rainbows anymore.  Check cell phone to ensure it is still operational, what with the recent time travel it has undertaken.


Watch what you are sure is a serial killer compulsively fold and refold his shirts. Decide you will have to take a different route home just in case he has any ideas about killing you.  Let eyes wander to older couple eating picnic style out of Tupperware.  Realize that you and serial killer dude are the only ones with operating machines and wonder what the hell this couple is doing sitting on the floor eating their lunch.  Start to itch because this?  Is not within the range of your comfort zone.  At all. 

Decide you are being far too judgemental and attempt to lose yourself in the silk flower basket arrangements hung willy nilly on the wall and the artwork:
During your art walk, come upon a Family Guy pinball machine and what appears to be some random arcade game.... that has CENTIPEDE AND SPACE INVADERS AND ASTEROIDS!!! Realize this place just might redeem itself yet.  Do the side purse jiggle to get game quarters.  Teach children how to play the games and during each lesson with each child, push them out of the way to take over because you can't take it...they so obviously did NOT  inherit your wicked Centipede skills.

Transfer blanket to dryer.  Serial Killer Dude takes this opportunity to give son a handful of quarters.  Wish you had bought that Cheer to use as a weapon if necessary.   Watch him pull away in an EL CAMINO.    Wonder when Doc is going to burst through a dryer in his Delorean and take you back to the future.

Dryer is done.  Fold and follow Picnic Joe and his wife out the door.  Realize they HAVE NO LAUNDRY WITH THEM as they hop in their car.  Fight the urge to ask why they wouldn't go to a park for their picnic instead of the floor of a laundry but decide against it.    Drive to 7 Eleven and get yourself a big ass Slurpee, too,  because this experience requires ice cold sugar. Later that night, watch as cat pukes up giant hairball on comforter...and start to wonder if you could get the high score on the Centipede game because you are going back.  Only this time, you're prepared.