Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Club

Tonight is Book Club. That's what we call it. Even though it's not mandatory that you actually read the book. Or any book for that matter. Heck, you don't even have to know where to get a book. Don't get me wrong, most of us read books - and sometimes they're even the book that was suggested for the actual book club monthly meeting, but mostly we're there for the wine. Which is necessary when trying to run away from the hecticness which is called Being A Mom.  It's pretty much the only place I can go that doesn't require a diaper bag and for that reason alone I refuse to miss it.

I used to fix dinner and make sure the girls' homework was done before I left, but now I just leave them to their own devices. I'd be a hypocrite if I forced them to eat a healthy dinner while I feasted on cucumber dill sandwiches and a chilled Riesling.

Being a memeber of a Book Club is mandatory for survival, especially if you're a working mother. Not just for the one night out a month, but also for the countless 'opportunities' it provides within the month:

"Honey, can you switch the loads of laundry? I'd do it, but I've really got to finish this book for Book Club."

"Why don't you and the kids just go ahead to your mother's - I'm in charge of coming up with the questions for Book Club and I haven't even started thinking about them yet."

"Sex? Right now? That truly sounds amazing -- it's just that I have so many chapters to read for Book Club... I guess sex will have to wait until I'm done. Darn Book Club and their ultra strict reading requirements."

Monday, May 24, 2010

The First Blowout

There we were, Big V and I, sitting peacefully side by side, grinning like maniacs because (1) The Bean was not at home, (2) Dotter was exhausted and taking a nap in her bedroom, and (3) Cletus was playing on the rug in front of us, blissfully unaware of our presence. Life was good. The house was quiet. Too quiet. Like the calm before the storm.

"HE POOPED!" V screamed. And yes, I mean screamed. Not spoke loudly. Not yelled. Not bellowed or shouted. He screamed. Perhaps even shrieked. "HE POOPED!" he screamed again, jumping up and at least three feet away from the baby. I stared at V as he stood pointing a shaking finger at the innocent little bundle of joy who was our son.

"OH MY GOD! LOOK AT IT!"

Sure enough... up the back of his diaper, down the side of the leg. Oh. My. God.

Suffice it to say, V and I do not handle emergency situations well.

"Do something!"
"Me? What about you?"
"Why me?"
"You've been through this before!"
"That's exactly why I shouldn't have to go through it again!"
"What? You're his mother - you should be there for him."
"I know I'm his mother. I had layers of flesh and fat and muscle sliced away in order to give birth to him, remember? The least you can do is go get him and clean him up!"
"Why don't you get him?"
"You're closer!"
"...by like four inches."
"Oh, so you're saying four inches isn't that much? Yeah, I don't think so either."

Thank God we have one of those spray hoses in the bathtub. They remind me of old people and I've always hated it, but it sure came in handy. We stripped the baby down and hosed him off as he laughed and giggled the entire time. Then I bleached the hell out of the bathtub because that was downright Dis. Gus. Ting!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Does Size Really Matter?

I sympathize with the writer who struggles with a small chest. Boys can be cruel. Especially those idiot ones in high school. I was a barely budding high school senior, so you can imagine the horror I went through. I was so self-conscious of my chest. My sister was the complete opposite of me: tan, full of curves, radiant. I very much resembled a stick. With a potato for a head. My sister was worldly and knowing where I was awkward and clueless. My sister had bras from Victoria's Secret where the only things that fit me were those cotton training bras from ShopKo. (I took off the little pink bows to make them appear more womanly.)

One summer day, my sister and I lounged lazily around the family room flipping through magazines and television stations. I picked up a Victoria's Secret magazine, studying the plethora of choices. (Yes, plethora, noun: overabundance; excess.) And the multitude of sizes... sizes I had never seen before. HUGE sizes and -  ...small ones.

What's this? I thought. It says also available in AA. What is AA exactly? There's an A and  then there's an AA. How would I know if I'm an AA versus an A? There has got to be something in this catalog that defines it.

But I couldn't find the definition. Great. If I really wanted to know I'd have to ask my sister. Who would probably laugh at me because I'm not as worldly in the art of bra manufacturers as she. I sucked it up and asked:

Hey - what's the difference between just an A and a double-A?

"Oh," she replied, matter-of-factly. "A's are shorter and fatter; double-A's are long and skinny."

I must have sat staring at my chest for twenty minutes before I realized she was talking about batteries.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Yes, These Dots Certainly Can Be Connected

To start off with, I was totally congratulated on my pregnancy. A big, excited, "I see congratulations is in order!" complete with extended arm finger pointing at my paunch. Except I'm not pregnant. And it's unlikely I ever will be if Cletus keeps up the Every Hour Through The Night I'll Scream Out In Obvious Pain And Then Keep Screaming While You Comfort Me For The Next Twenty Minutes shit he's been pulling lately. Not that I blame him. The kid's stuck in a cage. With teddy bears doing somersaults all the way around him like some sort of Grateful Dead Infant Tribal Dance. I'd take the bear crib bumper out of there but I can't. The sitter gave it to him. She insisted that he needed something "for a baby" in his crib, that the eco-friendly breathable crib bumper (that matched perfectly with our decor) was not encouraging happy slumber. Now he can't sleep because he thinks he pissed off Jerry Garcia and he's about to be attacked by bears. Except I don't know that for sure since he can't talk. But I know the sitter can talk and she'd feel sad and we really love her and so if we have to sacrifice our nights with the crazed bears scaring the hell out of Cletus, then so be it. As long as she continues to do our laundry, clean our house and make us dinner on the days she watches Cletus. Have I mentioned how much we love her? So you see where we're at.

Anyway. I'm not pregnant, I only look like I am, which explains why I ran into Big V's truck while backing out of the driveway. First of all, Big V can't figure out how to park on one side of the driveway or the other. He parks not quite in the middle which is his way of getting back at me because I can park in the garage and he can't. But it's not my fault that he can't park in the garage. He's just too lazy to put things back where they belong: like the lawn mower, tools, grill, sweatshirts, bats, and Gatorade bottles, so there's a burial mound of items blocking his access. As soon as he puts his things away he'll have room to park his truck. He thinks I'll clean it up, like I do his dirty socks in the living room, but I won't, because I don't care what the garage looks like because I'm not sitting in it watching television. He's being petty when he parks his truck deceivingly over the center line (which I've tried to paint in the driveway, but he kiboshes every single time I drag the paint can out).

I knew his truck was more than likely parked where it shouldn't be, so as I was backing out of the garage I jockeyed back and forth to somehow get around the truck which was very difficult to do. Well, you can imagine all the torso moving and self-talk that goes on - "twist right, look over your shoulder, back towards the left - watch the mirror, slowly... check the rear view mirror, over to the right again, make sure the back quarter panel clears the truck, back to the driver's side mirr -- what the heck is that? Oh my gawd!! I am fat!! Look at my gut!!!"

And just like that the passenger side mirror of my car screeches across the side of V's shining bright red truck leaving a long, jagged black scuff mark ... just like the giant black scuff cut into my self esteem from the guy who congratulated me so excitedly on my nonpregnancy. I blame him. I'm pretty sure that his insurance company will agree with me once they hear what he did to cause all this damage. More than likely they'll pay for V's new paint job and liposuction for me, because it is just not okay to act like that and people need to learn.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mini Me

This just in... The Bean has a personality just like me! (As if I didn't know that was the reason we're constantly butting heads.) Any-whoo... So I'm sitting at work when my cell alerts me I have a new text message. It's from the Bean - and it's a video... Obviously, it's important.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Julia Child-less

No, your lasagna is not that good. In fact, it's anything but good. Actually, after thinking about it, it cannot even be considered lasagna at all.

Layers of noodles, jarred spaghetti sauce and prewrapped slices of Velveeta cheese is not lasagna. It's just meatless spaghetti with really wide noodles. And prewrapped slices of Velveeta cheese. No matter how many layers you add, it's still not lasagna. So stop trying.

And while we're on the issue of stopping, please stop baking steak. Cuts of steak are beautiful. But not when thrown on a cookie sheet into a 350-degree oven. Just stop.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I said PRIVATE!

Today I was requested to attend a private meeting. An attorney requested our department's time and advice in a private meeting. So, my co-worker and I attended this private meeting.

Did I mention it was a PRIVATE meeting?

Private meetings are held at the request of a potential buyer who wishes to research options before purchasing a property. Sometimes they have wild ideas and you kind of have to reign them in and explain zoning restrictions. I'm sorry, sir, but a twenty story water park with an adjacent nuclear power plant next to the daycare center you're proposing just isn't going to work. More often than not, they're usually a normal person who just doesn't want to deal with the rumor mill quite yet. Sometimes they just don't want people to know their business.

And so, the private meeting was scheduled.

Now, I ask, would you take it upon yourself to join in a private meeting that you weren't invited to? Would you invite two additional friends along?

Talk about awkward.

And so my co-worker and I sat. Surprised to see the additional invitees walking in, taking a seat. I'm sorry, sir, but we did not breach your confidence. See, it was on the company's network calendar and some people just really, really wanted to experience first hand all the fun and exciting things that happen in private meetings. You know, the balloon animals, hand puppets, and finger sandwiches aren't available at open meetings. Hope you don't mind. I promise - they won't say a word about who you are and what you're plans are.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wrong Holiday, Dude.

Don't ask... Don't ask... Darn it. You just had to ask.

Mother's Day: Also known as "Didn't You Read The Memo?" Day.

It started really early in the morning. Like really early. When it was still dark out. And I woke up to this horrendous stench. Something that was so awful and foul... and I went walking down the hall towards the kitchen until I found it. And it wasn't hard to find. Because Satan the Dog had diarrhea. Lots of it. All over. So I woke V up and made him clean it. Satan did NOT read the memo.

Dotter did not read the memo, busting through the bedroom door at 7 o'clock on the dot with her tray of breakfast goodies. A bowl of Cheerios which had been soaking peacefully in the milk for what must have been at least thirty minutes based on their soggy factor, and a piece of chocolate cake. Because who doesn't love chocolate cake when you're shocked awake by an eight year old and the smell of dog poop is still in the air? Start eating, is what I say!

I hate breakfast foods to begin with. I abhor breakfast foods force fed to me before I can even focus and rub the sleep from my eyes. But like the good mommy I am, I gushed and gobbled and loved that girl like there was no tomorrow! (I should be expecting many more early morning breakfasts in the future from that child.)

With a full gut (and an urge to vomit) I had no choice really but to wander out to the living room with Dotter for Hannah Montana, the Early Edition.

The Bean wasn't aware there was a memo. I don't think she even understood there was a holiday, supported by Hallmark cards at the local WalMart, which was in honor of women who happen to be mothers, aptly named Mother's Day. If she had read the memo, she would have surely noticed the part where it said all eye rolls, stomping, insults and name calling is not allowed on the Day of Mothers.

Cletus the Used to be Fetus was the only one who read the memo. He shared his knowledge with Big V. They both slept soundly until just about 10am.

Big V had nothing planned. I know, because I asked him when he got up. By this point I was giddy with excitement waiting to see what fun was in store for me. He said he just figured he'd "talk to me about it" sometime during the day. Mentioned something about dinner and a movie. When? After his softball game.
See,  the league starts on Mother's Day each and every stinking year. His game this year was at 5pm, which meant he had to be at the ball field no later than 4pm (his rule). And since we live 47 seconds from the park, he had to start getting ready at 3:00pm (again, his rule). And by "getting ready" I mean proceeding for the next hour to primp like a prom queen trying to color-coordinate his yellow team t-shirt (with black writing) with every element of his outfit.

"Do you like these shorts with our shirts better? Or these?" They're both black with a little bit of yellow. Essentially they are the same pair.

"Check out this armband I got... see, it's black and has the D in yellow - that D is a logo for a certain type of bat." Thanks for the oversimplification. I had trouble connecting the dots, making the assumption, and - oh, yeah - CARING. Because it's MOTHER'S DAY not WEAR A GARANIMALS OUTFIT FOR BASEBALL DAY!

"Should I wear my hat forwards or backwards? I kind of like it backwards, only because I couldn't find a black and yellow hat I liked so I have to wear this one, and it's black and orange, and I don't think the orange with the yellow shirt looks that good." For the love....

Eventually he was able to dress himself and get down to the park. He was back five minutes later for the bats he forgot. Then he left again. I busied myself with doing all those pesky duties that Mother's are responsible for every other day of the flippin' year: cleaning Dotter's room, the bathroom, doing laundry, mopping the kitchen floor and ensuring Cletus wasn't repotting any of the plants in the house in the process. Around 7:30pm I summoned Big V with a telephone call that went something like this:

BIG V:  "Hello."

ME:  "You have been gone for three-and-a-half hours and this kid has not quit screaming since you left and I can't put him down and the girls need to be picked up from dance and I have twenty eight loads of laundry waiting to be folded and your dog keeps crapping and vomitting all over the damn floor and I still haven't made dinner and Cletus needs a bath and it stinks like ass in here and I haven't even peed yet and the bottles need to be washed and what the hell are you doing anyway?"

BIG V: "...well... a few of us wanted to watch the next game so we're having a couple beers...."

-click-

(That was me hanging up, see. Because it was MOTHER'S Day. Not FATHER'S Day. But don't worry. I'm already planning my outfit for Father's Day so I don't waste an hour trying to coordinate my clothing options before my much needed Father's Day departure from my family. And yes, I'll have a matching armband.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day and All That Jazz

Mother's Day is Sunday. I'm a mother. I guess I should be looking forward to this, but the truth is, I'm not.

I don't want to be home this weekend. I don't want to have to fight with the Bean about how yes, she does actually need to clean her room, whether it "works" for her or not. I don't want to listen to her ranting and going on and on about how bored she is, or how ridiculous I am, or how dumb her sister is. I don't want to have to sit through her insulting every member of the family until one of her friends calls her and asks her to hang out and then suddenly she switches personalities mid-thought into happy, cheerful, and I have to pretend to not be confused and stressed about her mood swings.

I don't want to be home and stand in front of mountains of dirty laundry, and unswept floors, and dirty dishes and the fact that no matter how many times I ask people to take off their shoes on the rug, they still feel the need to leave them in the doorframe of the kitchen, where they stood supported while they kicked them off.

I don't want to watch hours upon hours of the Disney Channel. I want to trade Hannah Montana in for any  Law & Order actor, regardless of how scary and inappropriate that show might be for an 8-year old.

I don't want to change diapers, or spoon fruit, or fix bottles, or give baths, or wipe up baby vomit.

I don't want to pay bills, or worry about paying bills, or pretend not to think about the bills when clearly, I'm thinking about them.

I want to get my hair done. And my nails. And get a pedicure while sipping wine and laughing with my friends. I want to go out to dinner with girls only because guys just don't get why I'll be so unbelievably proud that I managed to shave my entire leg and not just around the ankles so I could throw on a pair of heels.

I want to go dancing and drink fruity drinks and laugh so hard my ribs hurt.

I want to be at least twenty pounds lighter than I am and look like I did before I had the baby. I want to wear the clothes I wore before I had the baby.

I want to stay up late and fall into bed utterly exhausted with a smile on my face, with the only explanation being, "That DJ rocked!" I want to sleep until noon and pull on sweats and watch Sweet Home Alabama for the 678th time uninterrupted. I want to pull on a hat and meet a friend for a late lunch before I go home, shower, and get all dolled up again.

*sigh*

As much as I appreciate the Hallmark cards and the tissue paper covered vase, I really just want a Mother's Day that gives me a break from being a mother. I suppose that makes me about the worst mother in the world.

Purlpe Pain

At work, as in life, one should find joy in the simple things. Like writing with purple pens.

It started innocently enough. We have this insufficient database that we totally overpaid for and it basically is as effective as vacuuming your living room carpet without the hose-sucker-upper-thing connected. Anyway, last year I jotted my important info the inefficient database spits out at me in red ink on all my reports. This year I thought I'd jazz things up a bit by using purple ink. The purple makes me happy. Distracts me. "I hate this stupid program, it doesn't even work right - hey, Purple Pen! I missed you! You're so pretty..." I even purchased three identical pens, thinking what would happen if I ran out of ink in June and they discontinued my pen of choice? See, I was thinking ahead.

What I didn't think ahead about is what would happen if my purple ink plan caught on. Like, what if someone I didn't necessarily care to be associated with liked my purple pen and went out and bought one just like it, so they, too, could write in purple. And now we're like some sort of sorority sisters where purple is our identifying gang -- ... er, uh, club color. I'm way too antisocial for the "oh, how cute. You both use purple pens" commentary. Next thing you know we'll be wearing matching outfits and swapping handmade gifts. A purple bulletin board for you, and a vase with a purple ribbon for me! Yippee! I'm so excited I could just squeal myself to death!

I don't want to be President of the Purple Pen People. I want to be the sole member. I can't kick this person out. I mean, let's be honest, I'm a little old for the "I had it first" argument. (But I really did have mine first! Copy catter.)

Do I switch colors mid-year? I'm too OCD for that. I can't just switch colors mid-year. I'll hyperventilate. I'll have to start breathing in brown paper bags every time I reach for a green pen knowing the other reports are inked in a different color. I wouldn't make it more than three weeks tops.

This is seriously bad for my health. I think I might need to take some time off; a sort of medical sabbatical. A mental health extended vacation. I wonder where the Request For Leave forms are kept... I'll fill it out in purple...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mow & Blow, Baby. Mow & Blow.

Tall Overbearing Bald Guy: [obviously angry and annoyed] When is it illegal to mow and blow?

ME: [umm... when it's videotaped with a minor?] Excuse me?

TOBG: Don't you have some rule that says people can't mow and blow their lawns at ridiculous, ungodly hours of the day?

ME: [Ah, we're talking about lawn maintenance!] Unfortunately we do not. However, many private associations have rules governing such activity so you should check with the association.

TOBG: [increasingly loud & angry] I don't care about other associations! I only care about where I live!

ME: That's fair. Except I don't know where you live.

TOBG: [ignoring me, getting louder] People shouldn't just be allowed to mow and blow whenever they want.

ME: [distracted by the knowledge the term "mow and blow" has been used three times in less than a minute, and all I can think of now is low budget porn] .... Uh, well, you can contact the police department with a noise complaint. I assume a neighbor is doing yardwork at an unreasonable hour?

TOBG: [yelling loud, red in face, some spit can be seen flying] My idiot neighbor is out there mowing his lawn at 6 o'clock at night! I can't hear the nightly news! I've got to SHUT MY WINDOWS to hear the damn T.V.! What the hell is he doing mowing the lawn and blowing yard clippings that late at night?!

ME: [6 o'clock is late?!] Well, I actually work full time until five, so that's actually when I mow my lawn.

TOBG: [pausing] .... Well.... How am I supposed to know if he works full time?.... Anyway, he knows I watch the news every night at six. He should be considerate of that! I guess I'll just have to call the police since you refuse to help me!

ME: Yes, I think that would be your best bet. [silently thinking, "Thank God you'll be THEIR problem now!"]

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mum's the Word!

Were you just about to call the police to try to locate me? I haven't gone missing... I've just been stuck with writing material. Ever since I promised Big V I wouldn't print hate-blogs about his stupid dog I'm at a loss. I can't tell you about how V had to reinforce the dog cage again. And again. And again. (Including his creative use of chairs, mops and vacuums - don't ask, because I can't tell you.) I can't tell you about the dog getting out of not only his pen but the actual house, or how Big V woke to the dog barking in the back yard, patio door wide open, and Satan hosting his own doggie party. I can't tell you about coming home and finding the dog sleeping peacefully on our bed, with the bedroom door shut, and his dog pen in the exact same order it was when we left. How he's getting over a 6 foot wall I have no idea. (That's how tall we reinforced it. There's cement board, plywood, duct tape, deck screws - you name it, it's in there.) But I can't tell you about any of it. And it's killing me that I can't say anything.

The One in which I take my Father for his Covid Vaccine

I got a voicemail the other day from the hospital saying ‘since you’re the contact on record we just want you to know your Dad can get a Cov...