Friday, October 15, 2010

Fearing Nutella: The Truth Behind The Panic

I may have mentioned that I have never tried Nutella. After which 417 of my closest facebook friends posted I was missing out on the best food invention the world has ever created. Essentially, they said, Nutella can be used anywhere on anything at anytime. In fact, it was so delicious that I could just grab a heaping spoonful and eat it as is.

But I'm not buying it. And here's why....

Nutella, meet Vegemite.



They are eerily similar in color and consistency.



They both get spread on toast.



I've tasted Vegemite before... and I refuse to be suckered into letting anything that remotely resembles that yeasty spread touch my tastebuds ever again.

Going Mad!

"I want to complain about my neighbor. He's building a fence out of trees."

Trees?

"Yes. He's just going around his yard randomly chopping down trees - and parts of trees - and he's creating a fence barrier between his property and mine. He's pulling up tree roots and all sorts of things and just creating this big pile - this, this - well, it's ugly. And he's putting up horrible, nasty signs - signs that say things like private property and keep out and I know they're meant for me because you can't see them from the road, only I can see them from my back yard. He also has a camera trained on me. I think that's an invasion of privacy. Can he have a camera directed at my back yard? You know, he lost a lawsuit to me a couple years ago and now he's just gone mad."

Yet another reason why I insist on buying 100 acres of land and putting my house smack dab in the middle.

Those That Came Back

My mom ran over our cat with her truck. This happened a long time ago when we were little. She was backing up and ran over our big, fat cat, Carmel. I ran over a squirrel once and can only imagine the feeling beneath the floor of the vehicle. Gross. To be fair my mom didn't do it on purpose - it was an accident. It just happened. We lived with lots of animals always under foot. Or under vehicle tires. So it was possible, and also probable, that running over a cat would potentially, someday, more than likely, actually happen.

I suppose the miners in Chile weren't exactly stunned at the collapse. They knew it might, probably, someday happen. Maybe not to them, but still.

Our cat limped off, crooked, bleeding, screaming into the pasture, out to the field and into the unknown. Days passed. We tried to convince ourselves maybe it wasn't that bad. We went out to look for her but found nothing. We told ourselves if we just kept looking we would find her and then we could help her, but more days passed. And then weeks. And then months.

We resigned ourselves to the fact that our cat was lost. Our beautiful white and tan lazy cat was gone. It was just the way it was. With one foot in front of the other we went on.

And then, just like that, one afternoon the cat came back. A little gimpy, but there she was! Looking as good as ever. We hugged her and squeezed her and told everyone we knew the miracle of Carmel. She was alive! We would never know exactly where she went or how she was able to heal herself, but it didn't matter - she was home!
I cannot begin to fathom  the overwhelming emotional roller coaster of those miners and their families. Missing for weeks, underground for months... I mean, I was a basket case over a cat.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Bean Visits the Doctor.

I took the Bean to the doctor today because she found a bump and wanted me to touch it but there was no way I was doing that because (1) I had no idea if that thing was contagious and (2) that's just gross. She's at that awkward age where she's kind of too old for me to go in the exam room with her, but also too young to be trusted to sit in there by herself, because snooping through all the drawers and cabinets and taking cell phone photos of herself with tongue depressors in her nose is just far too tempting. So we waited together in the same exam room trying to be all hey, this is just like hanging out at Starbucks together. Except not all of us is fully dressed.

I figured it was as good as time as any to ask what the disgusting pile of gunk was she left in the bathroom sink this morning before school. She has a habit of squeezing far too much toothpaste on her toothbrush and leaves a giant wad of paste in the sink every. blasted. day. But today, in addition to the paste, there was a brownish pile of gunk. It kind of resembled cat vomit, I told her. "Oh," she answered flippantly. "That was chewed up pizza. I was in too much of a hurry to swallow it."

The nurse came in to document her weight (101 pounds) and height (5'-3") and get the low-down on why we were there, so Bean explained that she found a lump about the size of a peanut M&M and her friend told her about this one lady who used to be really, really fat but had gastric bypass surgery and got really skinny and then had some lumps taken out of her which were actually clumps of hardened fat, and so maybe it was just a ball of chicken fat that got stuck since she eats a lot of McNuggets. The nurse looked at me and I just shrugged my shoulders because it was as good an explanation as any, I suppose.

The doctor decided blood work was necessary. This meant driving a couple miles to the main clinic. And also meant plenty of time for the Bean to grow her fears and anxiety to gigantic irrational proportions. By the time we pulled in the parking lot she was nearly hyperventilating. She hates needles. Just ask the nurses who spent 45 minutes wrestling with her the last go around.

When the lab tech called her name she looked up and said:  "I don't want to go."

And the tech lady laughs, because isn't she cute? Except then she realizes that Bean really isn't doing very well at all and is actually getting quite pale. Tears spring up in Bean's eyes and the lady hands her a box of kleenex, "oh, honey! Don't cry -- you don't want to go all Joan Jett on me..." (I liked her immediately.) Bean has no idea who Joan Jett is, of course, and is somewhat distracted learning about the thick eyeliner the rocker was known for. Bean barely notices the rubber band being fastened around her arm.

But then the needle comes out.

"Hold my hand, mom! Hold my hand!" She squeezes so hard I swear three of my fingers break. "Tell me about your tampon!"

The nurse stops wiping her arm with the little alcohol pad and stares. Um... ok.... I stumble. It's uh, Kotex. Regular absorbency. Why on earth do you ask me to tell you about my tampon?

"No! I said tell me about your DAY AT WORK."

Now that makes more sense. The nurse starts to busy herself again. Uh... not much to tell.

"Well tell me something!" she pleaded.

Hey! Remember when you were little - like six or seven, and we came to the doctor because you had that huge plantar wart on your heel and it hurt really bad? And you were looking at the literature in the exam room? And you said to me, 'I wish I could have a gentle wart' --- and I died laughing because you were reading about STD's?!

What am I ever going to blog about when the Bean goes to college?

Does V know?

From time to time someone will run up to me all wide-eyed after reading a blog post and blurt out something along the lines of aren't you afraid Big V will kill you if he ever finds out you write all about him in your blog? To which I usually respond by looking at them with my eyes all squinty and my forehead all wrinkly wondering what the hell kind of relationship they have with their spouse that they think it's normal to hide something of this magnitude from their spouse. I admit I hid the occasional bag of M&Ms (which he always seems to find) but, um, yeah, I'm making a permanent record. That's public. On the world wide web. Of course he knows I have this, write on, and pimp out parts of our relationship for the sake of a laugh, or the sake of my sanity. One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is run up, grab him by the arm and lead him to the closest chair, you have got to hear what I wrote today! Nine times out of ten he laughs, shakes his head, and asks if anyone commented. (He likes the funny comments the best.) He's got a great sense of humor and a great sense of self. He also can jab me just as easily as I jab him. He doesn't write, but when friends come over he'll re-tell a story of something I did (which I think is mundane) in such a way I'm left rolling on the floor holding my ribs and trying like mad not to pee my pants (which is no easy task after birthing three kids).

My children also know I write about them from time to time. Especially the Bean, who knows that there is no way I'm not going to write about her because she's such a huge part of my life. For as hair-pulling as she can get me, we also share the same sense of humor. This morning she told me she feels bad for people who have no sense of humor because that's what makes life happy and exciting, otherwise you'd just be ornery and hating life all the time. She's a smart kid.

There are times when something crazy and ridiculous will be going on and I'll announce I am so writing that in my blog! And they know I will.

Being blogworthy is something held in high regard in our family. Sort of like being on Elaine's list of who's spongeworthy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

All In The Family

Last night Dotter went to play with her cousin, A, which is my brother's daughter. She lives about an hour away so we're at the mercy of her visitation schedule. When she's here it's a pretty big deal. She's a spunky little ten-year old who is smart, quick witted and very imaginative. She studies hard and loves school. And she likes to write. That makes her super cool in my book. The irony that she may be the smartest grandchild born to the least intelligent of us siblings is not lost on me. But what my brother lacks in  intelligence he makes up for in psychological mischievousness.

I'm picking up Dotter after their play date and giving my brother a hard time because he hurt his foot wrestling one of his friends on a trampoline and now he's all hopped up on vicodin and trying to maneuver on crutches.

"You need to tell your Dad he's too old to wrestle around like that," I tease A.

"Old?" He says, "You're older than me!"

"How old are you, Aunt B?" I tell her I'm 37. "Which means your dad is 36. We all go in a row: Shannon is 38, I'm 37 and your dad is 36.... and Uncle Pat is 33."

"So how old would George be?" my niece asks, tilting her head up at me.

I look at her. "George? Who the hell is George?"

"Your brother," she explains. "You know, the one grandma gave away."

I shoot a look over at my brother, half passed out in his recliner. Mumbling in a muscle relaxant-y voice he dishes out, "Shannon, Bridget, Shawn, George and Pat." As if hearing this list of names will explain everything.

"Why did grandma give your brother George away, Aunt B? What did he do?"

I looked over at this innocent child. This poor soul obviously was buying into some ridiculous story my brother had teased her with - a missing sibling given away because they didn't behave or something. One could only guess. I looked straight into her eyes and said as lovingly and patiently as I could muster, "Honey, we don't like to talk about George. It's just too hard."

Fast forward to this afternoon when I called my mother (who just happened to be driving in the car with A) in order to tattle-tale on my brother. (Some things never change.) "Shawn told A we had a brother named George that you gave away!" I blurted out.

"Oh...," my mother said quietly. "Yes, George ...we don't like to talk about him much."