Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Get Me To The Church On Time

The project started a month ago in a dressing room at Kohl’s. I should have known that the athletic event of trying on a vast array of Spanx in a tiny, hot, starkly white and mirrored cell would be just a glimpse at the gargantuan project ahead. My husband’s brother’s wedding was no longer just a blurb on the calendar. The day was coming and it was now in big bold letters clinking off the cells in my brain. I had a lot to do and a little time to do it. The first necessity and I mean NECCESSITY – was finding some type of spandex/lycra suit to envelope myself in that would make me look 50 pounds lighter. Well, I’m going to break it to you now, if you are as na├»ve as I, there is absolutely no such thing. I know there is no such suit. How do I know, you ask? I spent a Sunday afternoon trying every kind of certified fat crammer inner on, and do you know what my scientific study revealed? One can try all day to cram fat into a tight suit, but the truth is the fat is still there and it will find a way out. I believe it should be added to Newton’s Laws: Squinched up fat will find a way out. I bought one anyways hoping that maybe it would smooth a roll here and there. It may have helped, but mostly it caused shallow breathing and nonhuman-like body contortions to slip it off under my dress to use the restroom.

The big day had arrived. My husband and son had their tuxes hung neatly in their closets. My daughter’s dress was ironed and ready. Presents were wrapped and the camera was charged. The morning was uneventful, and the wedding didn’t start until 4pm, so we had some extra time on our hands. We ran errands. My husband busied himself in the garage, and like any husband who busies himself in the garage he entered into the man-project time warp. It must be some kind of time continuum worm-hole that makes an hour seem like five minutes. Nevertheless, you can predict what happened next. I stepped out of the shower and looked at the time. My husband had to be at the church at 3pm. It was 2:15pm, and he was in the garage. I leapt down the stairs in my towel, and with my very best angry wife voice asked, “Do you know what time it is?” There was a slight recognition on his face, like he might see a connection between my nasty question and something important he forgot. So, I decided to reword my question, “Aren’t you supposed to be at the church at 3pm?” Oh yes, that did it, it was like he was pulled out of his time warp safe haven in an instant. The fear, the stress – it was invigorating. I’ve never seen someone shave and adorn oneself in fancy wedding attire in such a small amount of time.

My husband did it. He managed to get to the church with time to spare, but I was left alone with the task of readying my children and myself. The explanation of the next 40 minutes will not do itself justice. I can’t imagine what my neighbors were thinking of what must have been the best free entertainment they had ever had the pleasure of watching. I got my son dressed first. He is three and his attire of choice on any given day is his Toy Story shirt, underwear, and one sock. I’m finally starting to accept it, but I don’t understand it. He was scowling and complaining. At one point he threw himself down in despair. I had to bribe him with a new train. I never bribe. Um, I almost never bribe. The next thing on my list was to find a screwdriver and battery to set up the new train. I couldn’t unscrew the battery chamber. I couldn’t understand the directions, and my armpit sweat glands started overproducing. Then I realized that it did not matter that I could not unscrew the battery chamber, because the only directions I understood were that the train needed a C battery. We had no C batteries, of course. We had AAA, and AA, and D, and the little tiny disc batteries. Ok, crisis number one without a solution – an inoperable train and an angry, bribed three-year-old.

I decided to get my one-year-old daughter dressed next. Easy! Okay, Then I had to cram my big feet into small, delicate, jewel encrusted, high-heeled shoes. Not too bad, but the procedure caused my hair to start sticking to my sweaty face and neck. I got the bags packed, and presents loaded. Next, I placed the kids in their car seats and buckled them in, so that I could finish the rest of my preparations. The dog had to go out. I had to find the dog and make him cooperate. Everyone with a dog knows that if you need your dog to do his business in a hurry he won’t. He will roll in the grass, sniff around, pretend to sniff, and slowly make his way to find just the right spot. He was probably cashing in on a vendetta he had against me for not sharing a snack with him the night before. Our dog took his time. Oh, was the sweat a pourin’!

Finally, when I made my last trip into the house through the garage I noticed the second crisis – the project my husband had been working on so diligently in the garage was now severely damaged. He had been installing a soft flooring which had been punctured nearly a million times by my heels on my many trips to and from the van. I was in trouble, no I was mad, it was not my fault that I ruined the new floor. I needed help, and if he had not spent all of his time installing the floor he could have helped me with the kids and the whole new floor aeration could have been avoided. I also got a great idea from the ordeal that would help me in so many ways. I could charge people to aerate their yards with my heels – in turn I would make some extra money and quite possibly lose some weight and not have to worry about trying on and purchasing fat crammer inners. I decided I would just play dumb when my husband asked what happened to his beautiful flooring.

On the final trip to the van I managed to complete the most death-defying, exciting stunt of the day. Due to our small driveway and my husband’s placement of newly purchased mulch and flowers I had to shimmy past the trash can and air conditioner in my sagging dress that I did not have time to pin. Crisis number three – a tie on the back of my dress caught the trash can, which I proceeded to drag down the driveway as I slid in my fancy, aerating capable, jewel-encrusted wedding heels. I dusted off the front of my dress as it had done a nice job removing the dust off of the side of our van. I detached the tie from the trashcan. I pulled up the gaping wide open top of my dress, and with what dignity and poise I had left, I hopped into the van and slammed the door.

I made it to the church early, sweaty and stress rash covered, but early. As luck would have it my Mama pulled into the parking lot right after me. She pinned my dress, retied my tie, and saved the day like only a Mama can! The wedding was beautiful and the reception was fun. I think for the next wedding we will be showered, dressed, and packed hours before it begins.

A Day At The Zoo

I was awakened by a boy wearing only jungle motif jammy bottoms and complaining of severe hunger. My eyes shuttered. I grunted and rolled away. My survival instincts were kicking in and my body knew that if I played dead there would be a 50/50 chance that my sleep steeling predator would move on to more lively game, like my husband or dog. Nope. It didn’t work. The restless native used more aggressive measures to wretch me out of my glorious stayed-out-too-late-last-night, probably-haven’t-made-it-to-REM-sleep-yet slumber. I was probed in the back by Buzz Lightyear, and he was saying things, very loud and obnoxious things. There was no way out, not with a three-year-old boy with hunger pangs.

I cricked and creaked my way down the steps whispering loudly to please keep it down since baby sissy was still sleeping. I’m sure it’s normal for three-year-old boys to jolt awake and flit about with as much energy as a frat house hopped up on Red Bull on a Friday night, but it just seems so unnatural. I need time and space. Oh how I need space and peace. Yes. But forget it. It never happens for me. I have to turn it on and try to match the excitement Georgie has for a brand new day. He always acts surprised that the sun actually rose up off the horizon and lit the world. I guess we just take it for granted. I would prefer to be in bed at sunrise and for a few hours thereafter.

Nevertheless, we had to start eating immediately, because this was a day for big things. We had plans and they would take us on the “eventure” of a lifetime. George finished off three bowls of cereal. His baby woke up. George refers to his little sister, Evie, as his baby. Things were really coming together. My husband and I packed. We packed and packed and packed. And anyone with two very small children know that we continued packing and making trips upstairs and to the garage several times. During the packing the natives were getting restless. There was pinching by the toy box, hair pulling and toy stealing by the front door, and dog riding under the dining table. There were stainless steal pot lids clashing as symbols and squealing with joy at big bubby’s ingenuity. And yet there was still packing and some arguing for good measure. And of course, right on cue, when we were walking out the door there was pooping. By the grace of God, a bottle of Alieve, and some kinda luck we were on our way to the National Zoo.

I was giddy as we walked through the entrance. We made it after all. It was like making it to the finish line at a marathon. George insisted upon seeing the farm animals first. Have you ever been there? The farm animals at the National Zoo are probably cleaner than my dog, and for sure cleaner than my children. They must get bathed daily. Oh, and their barn is immaculate. The inside is covered in richly stained, cedar planks, and there wasn’t a scant trace of manure. I was ready to move in. Let me be a donkey here. Show me to my stall please. I’m pretty sure that George would have spent the entire day looking at the goats, but we had more exotic animals to see.
The first treasure George spotted after the livestock was cotton candy. I don’t know how he knows what cotton candy is. How do kids do that? They learn things and you don’t even realize it. Well, he certainly knew what it was and he wanted it. He wanted it more than he wanted to breathe air. I resisted. Only a neglectful mother would let her baby boy eat mounds of fluffy, artificially colored sugar. He became obsessed. Around every tiger, sloth, naked mole rat, and lemur was more cotton candy. It got hot. We ran out of water and nutritious snacks. I was thinking about falling into the Cheetah enclosure just to get a few minutes of peace in the shade and drink some cool water. It was just that bad. There it stood a lemonade/cotton candy cart, and we gave in. George picked his color. He was in bliss, and we won, as well. The walk back to the car was quiet – sticky, but quiet.

The ride home was none to pleasant. I can tell you that that much sugar in a three-year-old body should probably be illegal unless you have about 50 fenced in acres and some kind of harness or animal trainer. I’m still not sure how the seatbelt contained him, and I was pondering ways to sedate him in a humane fashion. When he finally came down from his sugar high and was able to respond in a semi normal way to questions, we asked him the key question of the day. “George, what was your favorite part about our day?” I predicted he would say Amazonia or the Reptile House, the misting machines would even be an acceptable answer. His honest and hurtful response: “THE COTTON CANDY!!!” I even tried asking him later in the evening and before bed, but every time I asked I got the same wretched response.

Needless to say, we will not be going back to the zoo anytime soon. I realized that I have my own zoo at home. I would rather not pack the entire house, drive 40 miles in hoards of traffic, pay $20 to park after preying on exhausted families for their precious piece of asphalt in the city, and be harassed about eating 10lbs of colorful sugar. I think I’ll stick around the house at my own zoo for a while.

The Great Food Swap

As if my life is not chaotic enough with a ten month old and a three year old, I have the most high maintenance, lazy creature best known as a dog for a pet. We have a miniature, long-haired Dachshund slapped with the moniker, Bruiser, that my husband let me get for my birthday right after we got married. He would best be described as a black and tan ottoman as he has the broadest back and shortest legs of any creature this side of the Mississippi. On the rare occasion I have enough gumption to drag his lazy 17 pound (supposed to be 10 lbs) body into the open for public scrutiny I get assaulted with questions about my fury creature. No one knows what he is, and when I tell them the breed I get squinched faces and suspicious “hmmmmms” as replies. People act as if I’ve smuggled a rare, squat, fury, clawless sloth from the canopy of the rainforest in Costa Rica. Or perhaps they are pondering my obvious stupidity for being coerced into believing and subsequently forking over large sums of money to a breeder for a “pure bread Dachshund” of which the poor thing does not resemble. Before we had children I loved Bruiser fiercely. I still love him, but he’s at the end of the line, and these days he just adds stress to every situation.

Poor Bruiser is ghastly overweight and he will not walk. I have to lug him, or in some situations drag him to the grass so he can relieve himself. I am not amused by his tomfoolery. It’s utterly exhausting to cater to his every demand. He will also not walk down steps of any kind. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt and make excuses about his short-leggedness, but deep down I know he’s giddy that he gets airlifted to any location of his choosing and at any time he pleases. His demanding bark is such a shrill, grating sound that you have no choice but to give in just to get a reprieve. He expects to sleep in our bed every night and given a few seconds to roam he will forage and root around until he finds that perfect, cool spot under your pillow. He then performs his nightly ritual of scraping, scraping, scraping, circling, circling, circling, and plop. My husband sweetly barricades my pillow with decorative pillows so our hound cannot penetrate the barrier, therefore leaving my pillow in pristine condition. By nature Dachshunds are burrowers. They will find the smallest nook in your home and make it their lair. My sweetly smelling pillow is Bruiser’s first choice for a sleeping locale with my husband’s as a close second. On most days I too will protect my husband’s pillow from Bruiser. But sometimes, as we all know, husbands can annoy you to your very core. On those weary nights I let Bruiser excavate the little space under my husband’s pillow and make it his haven. I lay in bed awaiting his grunt of annoyance when he surprisingly unearths the beast from his sacred den. I chuckle to myself and think “one point for the home team”.

Lately Bruiser has not been eating his weight management dry dog food. For five years he has gobbled up his dinner as soon as he has been presented with it. In fact, feeding time is so significant to him that he starts his demanding bark and complementing whine at least one hour before his meal is expected, which makes dinner time in our house that much more fun. So, as you can imagine it is quite a surprise that he is not touching his food. He is being aloof about his food even. Me being me, I have pondered and worried about this new phenomenon. Is he sick? Is he dying? Is he tired of the same kibble? Why? I have analyzed and hypothesized… and then I saw it. The answer to my question came in the form of a newly walking baby girl who thinks she lives at a petting zoo and Bruiser is her own personal pigmy hippo or ring tailed lemur, or some type of animal that is allowed to eat senseless amounts of food from sweaty little palms at a God forsaken stench filled petting zoo.

My sweet little baby girl has been walking for two weeks, and subsequently has found new uses for her free hands, which benefits Bruiser in such a supreme way that he must think he has checked into dog heaven a little earlier than expected. His ship has come in, and he is reveling in his own glee. No, I wouldn’t eat dry, crunchy, foul tasting dog food if I was being hand fed the delicacies found left over on a baby’s high chair. I saw their little scheme with my own eyes, and couldn’t help but smile. After Evie finishes her meals I wipe her down and get her out of her high chair, which has been lowered to the shortest setting so she can easily reach her tray when she’s standing on the floor. She reaches back onto her tray takes a bite of any morsel she can seize and gives the rest to the shameless dog who sits expectantly at her feet. The astonishing part of the whole event was that Bruiser tenderly and ever so carefully licks the food off of her hand. I watched in amazement as the pair repeated the act several times. Both were in their glory. Of course I had to show my husband at dinner that night. We quietly observed from afar like spectators at the zoo. The two have such a cute relationship. It almost warms your heart. Almost…but then I discovered what was becoming of the dog food that sat uneaten in the stainless steel bowl. Two guesses…..?

It’s like a food cycle gone wrong. I don’t know what to call it. The only thing that comes to mind is The Great Food Swap! My sweet little baby girl thinks that weight management dry dog food is a delicacy that must be swiped swiftly and quietly in warm, chubby, little baby hands and whisked quickly to a second location to be enjoyed in privacy and quiet. I don’t know how long it has been going on. I don’t know how to accept it. Right under my nose the smallest creatures of the house have been swapping food with a silent understanding and sense of respect for each other’s diet, and they’ve been enjoying it.

I’m sad to say that their fun is over now. The free trade agreement between species has been severed. It means more work for me. For now, I have to put the dog food in a secret location, and I have to clean Evie’s tray immediately. I see the sad, longing glances between them. Had it not been a major sanitary issue I would still be turning my head and ‘ignoring’ the swapping. The relationship between baby and dog was so sweet, so trusting. I realized that as adults, sadly, we have a lot we could learn from a baby and a dog’s relationship. The two cannot speak to each other, do not look remotely similar, but yet they have a pure, loving, kindly relationship in which they are each openly willing to share what means the most to them…food.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Sick Mom: An Urban Myth Debunked

Originally posted on www.dullesmoms.com:

It doesn’t exist. Sure, in theory it sounds perfectly plausible, but stop trying to find one. You won’t. I know without a doubt that there is no such thing. Why? you ask. How? you ask, could I make such a claim. I’ll tell you. I learned from experience – an experience I’m hoping leaves my frontal cortex sometime soon, so I can go on again in blissful ignorance that under some dire circumstance of extreme personal illness I may be able to lay down for more than five minutes after puking a few organs up.

There I stood, half-witted, mostly delirious, ankle deep in vomit, with rags, Lysol, and carpet cleaner in hand. I was the last (wo)man standing - the lone soldier using my one good arm to drag a wounded comrade to the safety of the medic’s tent. Ok, maybe that’s an extreme analogy, but that is how I felt when I was in the thick of it. It had been nine bloody days of battle, and I came to the realization that I was the only one left to fight – not that I was in tip top shape. No, I was the only one left with enough strength, enough fortitude to clean yet another foul smelling explosion from a family member’s orifice off of my white carpet. The virus crippled my family. It held on for 15 days. One by one we dropped like sweat down the crack of my ass on a hot day. But, pardon me, I miswrote…they dropped, not I…not the mother.

Fathers, sons, and daughters have the luxury of staying in bed while sick and having a personal maid, nurse, and janitor all wrapped up into one lovely package called Mom. It’s not that I was the only one who felt well enough to be the caretaker. It was that I was the only one who had no choice in the matter. So, after dealing with a highly contagious and overwhelmingly debilitating virus for three weeks I can confidently tell you, as I am sure all veteran moms know… a sick mom does not exist! Someone in the family is always sicker, has a birthday party that needs planned, or a school project to be completed. The idea of the “sick mom” is much like the idea of the Loch Ness, Big Foot, and Moth Man. People have claimed sightings, there are legends, and tales, but no concrete proof, unless you read the Enquirer, and then you would believe almost anything, like chocolate isn’t at the bottom of the food pyramid and horizontal stripes make the blimp you call an ass look small.

You might get fooled. You might think you’ve spotted a sick mom in the emergency room while you’re there getting beans from an old art project tweezed out of your child’s nose. You will spot her right away. She’ll have dark bags under her eyes and hair that looks like it was rubbed in this morning’s bacon grease, which is swept up messily in an orange scrunchy, circa 1994, that was found in the cabinet under the sink just this afternoon while on a mission to find paper towels. The poor creature will be toting the token puke bucket, and the always attractive torn, stained, blue sweat pants, and a look that says “oh kill me now”. You will stare in disbelief as you arrogantly decide you are the first to spot the elusive “sick mom”. You will be wrong. As you scan the seats next to her looking for caretakers you will spot it. Oh yes. The “sick mom” is not the patient. She is only there to comfort her “sicker” husband. The poor woman will wipe her husband’s brow and pat his back in between bouts of decorating her bucket with pieces of her intestine.

It’s sad, but true. It is a lesson I learned too recently. It has changed my view of the world. I feel like I’ve learned that there is no Santa for the second time. The wound is fresh and new. The multicolored patches all over the carpet in my home are my medals of honor. When I see them I stop to remember the horrors of the three-week virus, my moments of weakness, bravery and strength, and all the other mother’s “who have never been sick” before me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Early Walker Casts The Best Shadow

Originally posted on www.dullesmoms.com

It didn’t happen quickly. I guess that is how it sneaks up on you. Slowly but surely my once svelte body morphed into that of a plump sow bulking up for market. The largest load arrived when I was pregnant with my first born, and much to my chagrin it didn’t leave when he was born or anytime thereafter. Just when I thought the scale had been tipped as far as it could go without me having some kind of a nervous breakdown I got pregnant with my daughter, and that needle on my scale whizzed in a clockwise direction with gusto.

I have yet to lose my composure about the extra person I’m carrying around with me. But, I do realize that it’s time to drop the “friend” that has catapulted me into a double-digit clothing size I never thought I’d see. I knew the situation had gotten out of hand when I saw myself in the mirror by accident, mind you, as I would never look on purpose. What I saw in the mirror jogged a memory from my sophomore year in college when I was required to take an art appreciation class. The professor expected every nincompoop on the roster to memorize hundreds of different pieces of artwork from ancient times to present day. I have somehow managed to keep some of the works of art filed away in my brain, which I thought was most impressive and scholarly of myself, until I realized how it could come back to haunt me. Anyways…back to the vision in the mirror. I’ll cut to the chase. I saw the Venus of Willendorf. It is a statuette of an ideal woman’s body that was created around 22,000 BC. Let’s just say that in the thousands of years since the figurine was sculpted some things have changed. It appears that I am living during the wrong era.

I never used to look this way. I was a runner. I wore tight shirts and short shorts and miniscule pieces of Lycra at the beach. The children did it, and I’m bitter. It’s not that I don’t want to exercise. It’s just that like all mothers, by the time everything and everyone is washed and in its place I have to sit down. I can’t even talk to my husband. I watch my T.V. shows in a blissful, comatose state with my feet propped up. After much encouragement from my husband and more willpower than I thought it possible to muster up, I decided that I would rise at the crack of dawn to exercise. Let it be known that I am in no way a person of the morning. I do not like waking up. Even if I am waking up at 10 am, which hasn’t happened since before May 15 of 2007, I am grumpy. So, the act of getting up at the ungodly time of 6 a.m. to move my body in a swift manner is somewhat unfathomable.
The first day of my new life started with a jolt when my alarm tweeted out a tune I was not accustomed to hearing, as a wailing child usually awakens me in the morning. I made it out the door, beaming with a sense of accomplishment. I’m definitely a snooze button pusher, so the act of trundling out the door made me giddy. My walk was going quite well, but I was mourning my lack of sleep. I was feeling resentment toward my thin family at home asleep in their beds. As I turned the corner on a remote street of my neighborhood the sun was just peeping over the rounded, tree and house covered (it is northern Virginia), piedmont hillside and illuminated my backside with the aggression and fury of a freight train coming down the mountain. In a flash my lengthy, super modelesque shadow appeared out of nowhere, and at that moment I fell in love…with the morning.

Do you have any idea what your shadow looks like in the early morning? I doubt it. I will tell you this: If you are interested in looking like you just stepped off the runway in Paris then you will love your little morning buddy. Yes, your shadow might be 12 feet long, but it is so thin, and has just the kind of lovely elegance you would dream of exuding. The streets are void of life at daybreak. If only lengthy morning shadows were a commodity I could sell. I would be living the high life, and then I could hire a nanny and a personal trainer, so I could be thin and wouldn’t have to wake up early to make it happen. Oh well, I can dream can’t I? I have to have something wonderful to imagine in my head while I’m gazing intently at my morning shadow during my walk. Trust me…it’s worth setting the alarm!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The After Effects of a Day at Chuck E. Cheese

George was invited to a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party. There were so many reasons to not go, but he loves his friend so dearly that I knew I would be spending my Sunday afternoon at the God forsaken, germ incubating, ear drum shattering, over-stimulating, Child's paradise known as Chuck E. Cheese. As a child growing up in West Virginia we were not fortunate enough to have the Chuck E. Cheese, but we did have our own version. It was appropriately named Billy Bob's Wonderland. Is anyone surprised?....no. To add insult to injury I'm pretty sure all of the singing and moving electronic critters were old, decrepit hand-me-downs from Chuck E. Cheese. We had a gorilla playing the piano, a cheer leading mouse, some type of vermin that popped out of a tree stump every now and then. We had a stinky ball pit (they always stink - especially in southern WV when people come down off the mountain for Sara Jo's birthday party), skee ball, whack-a-mole, some other various arcade games, and the illustrious prize counter. Of course, growing up I thought Billy Bob's was a top-of-the line children's mecca. My parent's took us there occasionally and have brilliant memories. Mom and Dad, thank you for the sacrifice! I get it now. I had to include some pictures of Billy Bob's for your viewing pleasure.

I made the mistake of telling George that he would be attending his buddy's birthday party a week in advance. Oh holy hell. What was I thinking - no scratch that - I wasn't thinking at all. My mental faculties haven't been quite the same since my stint as an unpaid waste management employee in my own home last week. I'm not sure if the experience nabbed the extra brain cells clinking around in my head or if it was the harsh chemicals, namely bleach, that caused my lapse in thinking. Anyways, the point is I told the boy we were going to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese - but not for a week. Well....I learned this week that two year olds have no concept of a "week". Every five minutes I was asked when we were going. Any time we went on an outing, George assumed we were going to the party. Which turned out to be a great time when we pulled into the parking lot of Harris Teeter. He even took it upon himself to ask a much younger child at the playground if she could take him to Chuck E. Cheese several times. The girl's mother made a point to share what he said to her daughter. I heard it. I didn't need it repeated. I had been trying to not listen to the incessant begging and whining all week, and now I had a 30 something year old mother informing me that my son wants to go to Chuck E. Cheese. I gritted my teeth and bobbled my head as to acknowledge her important comment. George beamed with joy. He finally found someone that would join his grass roots effort to get him to Chuck E's house. I endured a week of torment that I created for myself. I think it was training for the big day.

We spent three hours racing, and I do mean racing around from game to game. I noticed that games that already have a player are much more enticing. What's worse than watching your child play an arcade game? Watching your child watch someone else playing an arcade game. The party went off without a hitch. When George wasn't looking I threw his coins into any open slot, oh I know....the shame of it all. We would have been there for six hours if I didn't take such liberties at the rate he was going. George excitedly rushed to the prize counter with all of his tickets. We were face to face with a disgruntled, attitude ridden teenage girl who pointed to a minuscule machine with a line longer than the great wall of China of children and weary parents. No longer will the prize giver outers count your tickets. No. Now one has to stand in line with impatient children hopped up on cake and pink lemonade and wait for your turn to cram all of your tickets into the machine, which prints out a receipt with your number of tickets. I thought we were through the worst. To which I say, HA! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

We waited. We crammed in all 114 tickets. George got his receipt, and back to the counter we marched. I thought the big line to the ticket counting contraption was bad. Oh no. It was nothing compared to the non line that we were now in at the ticket counter. It was a virtual herd of exhausted, cranky parents and children shopping for the perfect multi-colored, plastic slinky for 300 tickets. There was no line. It was first scream, first serve, and it was chaos, which is not my friend at all. Eventually we made it up to the front. George told the "wady" that he wanted the finger ball - don't ask. It was just that - a finger ball - which cost 350 tickets, that he couldn't afford. I quickly picked out his prizes for him. He got a lollipop, a crazy straw, and some type of suction cup circular piece of plastic junk, which is probably made of toxic plastic. He was happy with his wares, and now we could leave. I put my time in. It was like serving 5 years in the poky.

We gathered our items and dashed for the doors. We made it through the child check zone - where they check to make sure each person in your party is branded with the same number in invisible ink. I don't know why anyone would wander into Chuck E. Cheese and take someone's monster of a child, but nonetheless, it is a good idea. That's when it hit us. Fresh Air. It never felt so good to breathe in crisp, clean air and see the glorious sunlight. We made it through the party, and we made it out alive. It's all anyone could really ask for. We loaded in the family wagon and drove home. I leaped out of the van when I got home. I was fumbling around with my keys in the door when my husband asked me the dreaded question of all questions when you've just left Chuck E. Cheese. "What is in your Hair"? Oh man. I didn't know if I should come in the house and take a peek or just feel around with my greasy, germ laden paws. I chose the former. Adorning the top of my newly washed, for once blow dried, coiffed, church hair was the stick of a lollipop from one George. We laughed. We took a picture. Enjoy. My husband didn't get off easy either. He crashed on the couch as soon as he walked into our abode. He awoke to find himself being adorned by Chuck E. Cheese birthday party gift bag trinkets by one George. We laughed. We took a picture. Now we have proof to remind us why we don't go to Chuck E. Cheese more often.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I've decided after a week and a half of pure, unabated, maddening torture that potty training is probably the 36th ring of hell, falling right in between contracting the swine flu and having major dental work done. Actually I must say, George is doing quite well with the peeing. He lets me know when he has to go, and we usually make it to the loo in time. That makes me happy, very happy. He is being bribed with m&m's. I'm pretty sure the kid would jump off a cliff or clean my entire house for 3 colorful candy bits. I'm down with m&m's, but I'd need a much bigger prize - like 3 bags of m&m's, or probably a facial and a new outfit, for a feat such as using the toilet appropriately. But, I'm happy he doesn't need a big motivation, and I'm not going to question it. I was quite proud that he picked up peeing so easily. I was giddy even - until the Poopapalooza came to town.

The boy will not poop on the toilet. It's pushing me over the edge. I'm not even kidding. I don't know how to fix this. I have tried bribery on a very large scale - a toy, any toy in the whole world, a trip to Chuck E. Cheese ( I know - that's desperation), a super special home-made marshmallow ice cream chocolate mountain. Nothing has worked. In fact, when I even bring up the prospect of sitting on the toilet and trying to poop - even when I catch him in the act, it sends him into a tailspin of fury. He tries to take me down. It's verbal assault. He goes off in such a tangent of rage and fury, for so long, that I can feel my nerves start to unravel. It turns me into a dishrag. I look for hiding places big enough to envelope me in peace and quiet. Just this morning I caught him trying to drop some kids off in the safety net of his underwear. I promptly and excitedly asked him to come to the bathroom. I got him there okay, but once he discovered, once it hit him like a sledgehammer on the pinky, he flailed and screamed. He went off in a diatribe about how he needed to get to school, because his friends miss him. Hmmmmm..... it's getting worse I thought to myself, as he has never stepped foot into a classroom. He hasn't attended school for one second of his life. The stress of pooping on the toilet has caused the boy to dive off the deep end, and he's got me by the neck. As a side note, I miss my friends, too. Their names are Silence and Sanity.

His big boy underwear have been the receptacle of choice for his pooping escapades. Which is a mess, but manageable. Everyone tells me to let him roam around naked, and he will be potty trained in a few days. I tried it. I thought we had success when he yelled from his bathroom in quite a joyous voice that he pooped. I was ecstatic until I arrived in his bathroom only to find a monster turd on the floor. I have found many a turd right beside of the toilet since then. Lately, however he has been foraging in secret for a peaceful private pooping locale. I have stumbled across turds in the hallway, every bedroom in the house, and in the kitchen. Being the germaphobe that I am, I have to scour these areas. I have a system now. It starts with a sigh, a shaking of the noggin, and a retrieval of antibacterial supplies. During the cleaning process, George proudly stands over his work of art and smiles, as I lecture about the importance of notifying me of his urgent poop needs and the location where the act should take place.

My favorite discovery so far is the "poop perch". I say "perch", because, apparently George climbed up into his windowsill and pooped. Poop was smeared all over the windowsill and window. The sight surpassed my wildest nightmares about the possibilities in this life. I'm sure the neighbors enjoyed the show. I cannot imagine what that looked like from the outside. As soon as I spied it I yelled for my husband. I didn't want to have a break down. I was not going to clean that one up. We had already gone through 5 pairs of pants and underwear during the day. My already too frazzled self just couldn't handle it. I was at my limit. Normally I would clean a mess like that myself for fear that my husband wouldn't irradicate every single microscopic mutant killer poop bug, because he isn't aware enough of all the horrific diseases one can contract from germs. I didn't care. I gave up. I waved my white flag.

I probably could handle George's potty training mishaps, but throw in a crawling baby who puts everything in her mouth, and an obese, embarrassingly lazy, and weasily dachshund who is hopelessly poop crazed, and I'm really at my limit. My fear is that baby Evie will find a stray turd and take to tasting. I'm less worried, but still concerned that Bruiser the poop eating dog will find a delicious tidbit layed by George. Either scenario may cause me to free fall into craziness after a vomiting fit. My husband would surely come home to find me rocking myself and humming under the table.

Bruiser has been adding to the madness lately with his own shenanigans. He dove into Evie's room with the speed and velocity of a torpedo spraying turds like a machine gun in the middle of a battle. One second we were playing with fluffy bunny and the next second we were being unexpectedly pelted by dog turds. I've never seen anything like it, and lucky for us it hasn't happened since. Bruiser didn't want to drag his swollen belly through the snow to relieve himself, so instead he assaulted us with his excrement. The next day he feasted on some animal waste of an unknown origin outside. If that isn't enough to make someone gag, choke, and faint, his next show was a sell out performance. Brace yourself now, for the most vile and unimaginable tale ever. If you're in any way inclined to gagging easily, please skip this part, because I am scarred for life after what I saw and almost stepped in. He came inside after his all you can eat buffet and upchucked on the carpet. I thought there were toys on the ground when I was loafing my weary self through the hallway that evening. I bent down to pick up the "toys" and the odor nearly knocked me over. I have appropriately named the creation "Poop Vomit", and if I ever have to see and/or clean up such a mess again I am going to officially be pushed over the edge. You can send the crazy wagon on over to my house to pick me up. Consider this my consent. As if you'll need it at that point.

I'm hoping that the Poopapalooza packs up and leaves town soon. I've had more excitement than I can take. Never in my wildest dreams could I ever have imagined such a festival! If you see the banners and billboards for the Poopapalooza, and it's headed to your town next - leave. Pack up your belongings, lock your windows and doors, and leave town. And if anyone has good advice for my situation with George, I'm all ears.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

WARNING: Your Butt is Behind You For A Reason

A few months ago I did the unmentionable. Sure, the day started out as normal as any other, but come nightfall I was a changed woman. I shouldn't have done it. I put it off for a few years. Something got into me. I got a wild hair. I had a moment of cognitive dysfunction. I looked at my post baby butt in the mirror. I didn't just do a profile side glance - no I did a full backal. I shimmied that mountainous load on up to the mirror to assess the damage. It has haunted me each day since.

I guess I should start at the beginning. I have never had an issue with my butt. I never thought much of it. It was in the back. It provided me padding for sitting. It fit into my underwear and pants. It remained somewhat unchanged in shape for most of my life. This is really a two part tragedy that began the day after I gave birth to my son. Like I said, the butt was a non issue. I had no idea the problems that could arise with a butt, so I didn't take advantage of really enjoying the fine butt that I had. The day after my son was born, which was May 15, 2007 everything changed for my rear end. EVERYTHING! I was simply taking a shower at the hospital when I had the discovery. I was washing my butt and realized that it was sagging. Overnight, my butt deflated like a camel's hump might, if it ever got out of the desert. My whole pregnancy my butt retained it's shape - of course it enlarged, but that's not any kind of problem compared to what happened after George was born. No, I can deal with bigness - I can't deal with structural deficiencies. I suppose all of the water my body retained for my son drained out after he was born. I don't know how or why it happened, but it did. If it happened to you, you know what I'm talking about. If it didn't happen to you, then I don't want to hear about it. Keep it to yourself for the rest of your life. No one wants to hear anything about your perky butt. I wanted to ask the doctor what the medical term is for SBD, or Sudden Butt Droopiness. I couldn't work up the nerve, because of the last question I asked, which had never been asked before, and I'm sure got spread around the OB office like herpes in an alternative high school for juvenile delinquents. I thought I could hear my baby moving from the outside of my body. I swear I did! It was a clicking sound. According to the doctor it's not possible to hear your unborn baby on the outside. I'm sure my chart was flagged. I got the "girl you're crazy look", and I decided then and there to not ask anymore borderline stupid questions.

So, anyways the first part of the ass tragedy involved me feeling the shape of my newly formed post baby butt in the shower at the hospital. I decided that day that I couldn't look at it. I wouldn't look at it, until I got it in tip top shape. I got used to sprinting my pasty, malformed flesh past the mirror into the shower. For 2 1/2 years I raced to the shower with such speed and fluidity that I would've left Jackie Joyner-Kersee sucking my dust back in the day. There was no way I could catch a glimpse of the nightmare my butt had evolved into. If you can't see it, then you don't know how damaged it truly is.

The second part of the tragedy happened the day I looked. If I could go back and change things I would. I saw it. The image is etched into my brain for the rest of my life. I looked on in utter horror. My mouth agape, gasping sounds coming from my lungs, my mind screaming in disbelief. My worst fears confirmed in a big way. I was stunned. It was the same feeling you have as a child when you unexpectedly get flung over your handlebars and skid into the roadway on all fours shaving off your first layer of skin. You just wanted to ride your bike to your friend's house. How did you end up losing large patches of dermis? The whole event was painful. It pained my brain, my heart, my soul. It's one kind of ugly beast to imagine what the droopy butt looks like, but to actually see it, to actually stop and stare at it, is a whole different monster. So, I am warning you - if you haven't had a baby make sure to admire your butt, enjoy your butt, relish in the perfection that is your butt. If you have had a baby, do not look at your butt. Don't feel around too much, either, you might get curious, lose your way, and take a peek. Don't even do it. I realized that God put your butt behind you for a reason. It is not meant for your eyes to see. Leave it at that, and always remember the warning.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Guess What's Roasting On An Open Fire

Christmas time... twinkling lights, special decorations, cozy house, delicious treats, and the tree. I know, as anyone close to me knows that it is a mistake, and I mean a gargantuan mistake to have me in a room with any kind of glass and, or fragile ornamentation of any kind. The Christmas tree of course is adorned with glass bobbles and priceless ornaments passed down from generation to generation. Well I can assure you that my tree will be the end of the line for any remotely sensitive heirloom. It is expected, ensured even, that I will one by one mistakenly eradicate our Christmas treasures like a herd of wild ass teenage boys will clean out your pantry and fridge of anything that resembles food. I have excepted my clumsiness, I have even made jokes about it. It is who I am. I no longer mourn the loss of coveted items that I shatter to bits. I clean up and move on, and I try to remember that no matter how attractive that beautiful hand blown, one of a kind, glass vase is, it has no place in my home, or any home that I may visit. If you love it, set it free, or don't buy it at all - that's my motto.

I've come to accept my fate with all things fragile. Ask my mother, who in a matter of a few years, lost all four beautiful chickens that brought extra life to her whimsical kitchen, to a serial glass chicken killer. It was a wretched few years. I knew in my heart that each one would die a horrible, violent death. They would eye me when I bumbled by. They knew one day it would be their turn to be slaughtered, and that it would be at my hands. In defense of myself, I must say that all of the slayings took place when I was trying to be helpful. One defenseless chicken was first injured by a laundry basket. I saw it coming, so in the heat of the moment I thought it best to kick the free falling chicken into the carpeted family room, so that it would not land on the hardwood floor. I too was surprised at my cat like reflexes, and rather sharp thinking skills... I guess it was the adrenaline. I glued that blue polka dotted fowl back together with such artistry that no one was the wiser. I had spared myself the ridicule from my loved ones yet another day. She was perched back on the ledge in all her glory... but she knew one day, one day soon she would not be so fortunate. She knew the end of her decorative chicken life was coming too soon. Alas, she was right. The poor bird eventually took a life ending spill. There comes a point that no matter what one's crafting skills, thousands of splintered glass shards cannot be glued back together. I knew that I would have to face my family who would again tease me mercilessly for months...years even. One by one, those speckled chickens lost their lives. Now, all that sits on those ledges, cabinets, and windowsills are the memories of the chickens that once brought such joy to a wife and mother who spent so many hours with them.

Anyways, back to the Christmas tree. So, lets set the scene. Both kids are in bed. The kitchen is clean. The husband is somewhere, I'm not sure where, but honestly does it matter? No, the point is that I was by myself. There was no squabbling in the background, no educational Spanish/math/reading/cultural awareness program chattering away at me, no endless, mind - numbing persuasion about buying more memory for the computer yakking at me as I scrub down the kitchen. I was alone and I was getting ready to enjoy the Christmas decorations by myself on the couch with hot chocolate, or so I thought. It was a tease. It was too good to be true, and I fell for it. I fell hard. I was already smiling, breathing deeply, I had even thought to unfurrow my brow and relax my shoulders. What a mistake. The only thing that would make me more relaxed was closing the shades, so that my neighbors wouldn't be witness to the scene of me in my sweat pants laying on the couch with as much energy as a diseased, beached Orca with days, maybe just hours to live.

I go in with gusto at the task at hand. Now, you must understand that our tree is right in front of a window. The very window that I was attacking. I should have just left the shade alone... really. Who could see me past a giant evergreen in the window? No one, but I just didn't want anyone to see me indulge in my peace as I know some neighbors have admitted to looking in windows. I couldn't risk it. I went in for the shade. The shade that we splurged on when we bought our home. It's of a double honeycomb design that insulates your home from the cold. It pulls down, and has no cords. It was expensive. I had to fight for those shades at the blind store. I won the battle. Looking back I'm sure my husband could see dollar signs floating around the store, as he knew, but was too nice to mention, that I would be breaking them... a lot.

So, as I contorted my not so contortable body around the tree to reach the shade, I set off the most unimaginable chain of events. This feat was remarkable, even with my talents. As i began pulling down the shade I lost my balance. I wobbled and warbled every which way, and I just knew it was going to be ugly. I just wanted it to be over. What's worse than assessing the damage is creating the damage, and I just didn't want to experience the moment. I lost my balance, pulling only one side of the shade down, when I was only supposed to pull from the center of the blind. It made a grinding and gnashing sound - not good, but it was not over yet. I fell into the tree somewhat, knocking down a very heavy, probably the heaviest ornament on our tree. It wasn't just any ornament, no, it was my son's Precious Moment's first Christmas ornament. The ornament fell down the whole side of the tree breaking and shattering any glitzy piece in its way, including big, colorful, retro light bulbs, which popped, hissed, and exploded in a beautiful pyrotechnic display that would make any local fire department jealous on the fourth of July. It was over. I made it through alive, but, I smelled smoke. I smelled burning. I frantically searched the tree for fire, the carpet, the couch, the shade. It was the oddest smell. Something was on fire. I just had to find it. I didn't want to be a statistic. I didn't want to be lumped into the percentage of people who burn their homes down with Christmas lights. I just didn't want this for my evening.

I felt heat. Not just the heat and prickling sensation of my armpits when I'm recovering from suffering through a terrifying event. No, this was a localized, burning sensation on my side. I knew without looking. I had searched the entire tree and surrounding area for fire, but I didn't check my big, dumb self who was inside of the tree during the fantastic light show. There it was. The burning smell I couldn't find the origin to was that of my own favorite shirt and underlying flesh. I caught myself on fire and didn't even realize it. I guess that is a blessing in and of itself. But it left me with many questions about myself. Such as, how can I make it long if I haven't even evolved enough to know the scent of my burning self? Is this just a glimpse of the way I will defeat myself some day? How can my children learn survival skills if I accidentally catch my own body on fire and not even know it? I've thought long and hard, and decided that it is perhaps a defense mechanism. Yes, I have the grace and poise of a pygmy hippo. But I've been given the gift of being completely unaware of my own demise and inevitable injuries, even when it involves the melting of my skin. So, maybe I have evolved, not in the way that you would hope for or expect, but in a way that shields me from my accident prone self.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oh Holy Embarrassment!

The most humiliating and utterly embarrassing things happen to me. Maybe they happen to others, or maybe not. Maybe my fellow walking disasters repress their occurrences with embarrassment. Perhaps I am all alone. Another thought is that I could be the only one who sees the humor in my own humiliation. Whatever the case, I have some lovelies to share. There is no point in keeping my stories to myself. I am choosing to believe I have been given a gift - a gift of wreaking havoc and embarrassment on myself in most situations. A gift is meant to be shared with others, at least that is what is I remember hearing at church one Sunday, in between conjuring up the contorted, evil, you better be quiet or else mom face to a very boisterous, obnoxious 2 year old and trying to fix a bottle for a screaming 6 month old. Whether my mishaps are a gift or not could be debated, but I like to look on the bright side, and since I've mastered nothing else, it must be my gift.

Since we are on the topic of church. I have a classic red faced story to share. It is a recent occurrence, and I'm not sure I have fully recovered, but maybe this will help the process. Every Sunday we round up the posse and head to church, which anyone with small kids knows is quite the feat. Especially anyone who has a 2 1/2 year old boy with more energy than a category 5 hurricane, who does not relish the thought of sitting quietly for over an hour. Whatever it takes, we get there. I realize that now is the time to pound goodness into my sons head. It has to start now!

We have a very revered priest. He is incredibly successful, intelligent, and adored. He terrifies me, in a way that anyone I greatly respect does. I nearly ran into him once coming out of the elevator and I think I almost soiled my pants. What do you say to such a man? Hi? Good morning? How goes it? Hello, most holy man I know? No, I'm not that smooth. Surely I was doing something unholy. Maybe I had on jeans. I'm sure I looked a wreck, because no matter how early I rise on Sunday morning I never have time to get my hair dried. Maybe I'm worried he can see right through me. Not that there is anything to hide. It must be that I consider him to have connections and it scares me. Anyways, I think I made an animalistic, guttural sound and quickly looked down. Whatever - we're so far past that now, it's not relevant.

It's important to know that this particular humiliation occurred after much holiday feasting...and I mean a lot of feasting, as I am quite serious about all of the goodies Christmas sends my way. Another contributing factor to the "event" is that I had a baby a few months earlier. I tend to enjoy elastic pants and roomy shirts, so I may be known to linger a little too long in maternity clothes. So, now we have brewed the perfect storm for embarrassment.

The end of mass is jubilant. It's like surviving the most violent storm and everyone making it out alive, because we have to sit through mass with a boy who would rather be doing back flips off a cliff naked. All we have to do at this point is collect our bulletin and shake the priest's hand without our son doing something that would show us in a bad light (ya, like that would be hard to do). I file out with my son first, with my husband and baby lagging behind. We get up to the priest. People are everywhere - behind, beside, in front, talking with friends, waiting to see the priest...you get the idea. I try to shake the priest's hand and simply say "good morning". I pull it off. I'm feeling relief... and then he doesn't let go of my hand. Oh no! Oh no, no, no! My gut is churning. What is going to happen? Why is this happening? I was good! I just want to mind my own business. I went to mass. I'm a good person...just let me go. Set me free! Here comes the question... loud and annunciated for everyone to hear, so that others can share in the joy of the question and subsequent answer: "When is your baby due?" Oh my hell, no! No! No! No! It just isn't fair. All I could do was shake my head, with I'm sure what must have been a look of utter horror and humiliation, and point back to my husband and baby. All I could get out was "I did that". Oh my! As my face started to turn a nice perfectly boiled lobster red, and my nervous rash cropped up on my chest, I heard laughter. Nervous laughter. Everyone heard the question. Everyone! People were laughing. What else can you do. Even my parents were laughing. The worst part of it was, that I know those people. I have to go back there every week. It wasn't anonymous. I even had to forgo the milkshake I was planning on ordering for lunch, as my whole family heard the question. It was time to face the ugly truth. Hello real pants and fitted shirts, hello gym. I survived it, and mustered up the courage to go back, but I haven't been brave enough to go through the priest hand shaking line again yet. As for me it is more like an American Idol audition that goes horribly wrong, and a very annoyed Simon Cowell to critique me. The good thing about episodes such as these is that the embarrassment does fade over time, and maybe, just maybe, the priest felt bad enough to say a prayer for the church going woman he humiliated in front of most of the congregation. At least that is what I'd like to believe.