Friday, September 30, 2011

Just Pull Forward: before I crack you over the head with my Starbucks.

And because you all know school drop off / pick up circles are the bane of my existence I have created a Facebook Page dedicated to the complex rules of the entire phenomenon. It's called Just Pull Forward and I invite each and every one of you to share your experiences, lest you blow your top and go psycho on some poor soul in the drop off zone, thus ruining your child's chances of ever receiving play date invitations ever again.

I'm not entirely sure what makes them so complicated. They seem simple enough. Pull in, kid gets out, drive away. Or, if you're picking up - which, granted can be slightly trickier since kids aren't exiting school in the exact order as the cars are lined up - you pull in, wait until your kid hops in, and then drive away. And if the car in front of you drives away -- and this is the tricky part -- you just pull forward (even if you're kid isn't in the car yet). The reason you do this is to make room for the car waiting behind you.

Like I tell you, tricky stuff.

The whole parking your car in the drop off lane thing? Don't get me started. There is no parking and exiting your car in the drop off lane. However, there IS parking and exiting your car in the parking lot. Do it there. Really. You can stay parked there for hours, I swear. You can feel free to saunter over to your BFF and chit chat about book club or whatever it is you're doing over there in the drop off lane blocking traffic flow. I promise. No one will bother you there or silently curse your super expensive dye job and perky, obviously paid for by your much older husband boob job.

Just Pull Forward: because drop off lanes are hard.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bullies thrive wherever authority is weak.

I was about 16 years old when the house phone rang and my mom said it was for me. I answered, excited like any teen would be to have a friend calling. Except this friend - a girl I had known for years; I had been to her house to play and she to mine - the words she used were cruel. Threatening. And I didn't understand why. As quickly as she began, the call was over. I stood there stunned. Replaced the phone on the hook and walked silently to my room, never saying a word to my mom who stood just steps away.

It was hell at school the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that.

Days turned to weeks.

I was threatened, called names, followed into the bathroom. Not just by the first girl, but by a second as well. Girls I thought I had no quarrel with. [Apparently, they thought I had found out something about them and were afraid I would tell. Except I really didn't know anything about it until they don't me during threatening me. Der!]

It didn't matter though. It was hell. I hated it. I hated them. I hated school. I hated the teachers who sighed and blandly commented to my two bullies to knock it off or get back to work. I hated that my friends sat silently by and did nothing. I hated that the confident kids would give me a look that said I'm sorry, that's just not right but refused to say anything out loud. I hated that I was all alone. Day after day I was just all alone.

Bullying has gotten more brazen and bold over the years. Especially at my old school. It's no secret that parents have pulled their children out of our local high school due to what they have experienced as a lack of discipline; a lack of authority. Violence is common. Fights break out daily. Teens yell back at the teachers. And children are scared to walk the halls. What kind of parent would want their child to be there?

I was talking with a student who goes to my old school ... a beautiful, talented, sweet girl... who was describing her experience with being relentlessly bullied (both physically and verbally) for the past several months:

Everyday she yells "slut!" or "whore!" at me in the hallway with her friends or pushes or shoves me. Today at lunch I was behind her and she turns around with her friends and yells, "you dirty ass slut get the fuck away from me! I can't even be ten feet away from you, you fucking bitch! Get the fuck out of here before I beat your ass again!" And so, without a word I walked to the back of the line while everyone just stared. Do you know what it's like to be like, 'shit, I hope she's not down this hallway so she yells slut at me in front of everyone.' I can't tell a teacher because she'll get yelled at and then find me after school somewhere and hurt me. I just want her to leave me alone. I can't deal with it anymore. I don't think you really understand what I'm going through. There is nothing you can do. Or teacher. Or anyone else. It is what it is.

What?! It just is what it is? I can't accept that.

I can't accept that no one sees what is happening. I can't accept that there isn't one single teacher in the entire school who hasn't caught on to what's happening. Or is it happening so much with so many kids that it's become commonplace?

When I was in school, there were lunch ladies and room supervisors and the principal would walk around making his presence known. Where are these people?

Where is the leader who says enough is enough! This behavior will not be tolerated in this school!

If any of my co-workers acted like that they'd be fired. I'd go to my boss, or my boss's boss and make it known. If I was ever hit or shoved or touched or threatened I'd call the police and press charges. Because that behavior is not okay and I'm going to make sure they know it's not okay.

Why is it that high school is some sort of limbo where kids just have to put up with someone relentlessly making their life hell? Hey, someone treats you like this as an adult and you've got options - but you're just a child so you have to put up with it. That is not okay.

Bullying should be taken seriously. Kids sitting silent, worrying about walking down a hall, or into a bathroom by themselves for fear they'll get harassed are not going to spend their time focusing on homework. They're going to be anxiously planning their survival route between classes. Getting an A in Algebra is not going to silence someone screaming whore! at you while you walk down the hall.

Not to mention, what do you think this bully is going to be like in ten years? Or twenty? How do you think she's going to act in a relationship? Or towards her children? If a 16-year old girl is that full of rage and anger and violence - she needs help. She will not be able to claim her right as a productive member of society if adults keep turning their backs and pretending not to see her lashing out.

It's time to step it up, Educational Systems. It's time to reclaim your authority and knock bullying out of our schools. There should be no place for bullying in our halls.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We're not done yet....

I need a colonoscopy. I know you know this because I already told you about it. Because that's how I roll. Anyway. The first odd thing that happened occurred over lunch. At work. When I was asked in a hushed voice if I needed it because of constipation. And I was like, uh.... no. I would take an enema or a stool softener for that. Again, uh.... no. But you're close.

The first step of the process was to meet with a specialist. And I had all the information printed out for me on a piece of paper. The information included the name of the doctor, the date and time of the appointment and the building the appointment (and the doctor) was located in. It would help immensely if that information was correct. Because pulling up to the valet in a violent downpour one does not want to hear well, that building is located clear across the city. And, knowing there's no way I can get clear across the city in fifteen minutes, I call, ready to cry and complain and reschedule, only to find out the paper is wrong and they're actually located in the building I passed on my way out of the parking lot. Which possibly may have made me conduct an illegal u-turn that may or may not have cut someone off. But then I waved to say sorry but I was still trying to steer and hold the phone so it might have been perceived as a not-so-nice gesture which is probably why the other driver flipped me off. Because I'm sure he misinterpreted my friendly oops, so sorry, didn't see you there, we're all good here, right? wave and wouldn't normally have laid on the horn like that.

The initial appointment was easy. Mostly because he felt there was no need to "repeat the rectal exam" that the first doctor conducted. Let me tell you, that exam'll bring up some hazy college flashbacks. Mostly we just chit-chatted. And then he made me lay down and poked at my belly. Which always tempts me to do the Pillsbury Boy giggle but I always chicken out. Someday, doctor. Someday.

The doctor explained that since there is evidence of celiac disease in our family he'd like to run a blood test real quick. Sure, whatever. Then he sent the nurse in to schedule the actual procedure.

This nurse gave me an option: drink a gallon of disgusting liquid or take a few pills to clean me out. Duh. I'll take door number two! (ew. no pun intended.) Have you seen the size of a gallon jug these days? That's a lot of liquid! She typed the order into the handy-dandy computer and told me the pills would be ready to pick up at my local pharmacy. Isn't technology something? And then she gave me the print out of the Pill Schedule. Because you need a schedule when you're ordered to swallow 32 pills in a 10-hour period.

Thirty freaking two?! She assured me she was serious. She also told me in a very serious tone that I would be setting up camp in the bathroom all day so make sure I don't have any plans.

Well, doesn't that sound lovely.

Then I left. Because I had to get my blood drawn, remember?

Except the friendly, chatty Janeanne couldn't pull blood. That was obvious twenty minutes and several puncture wounds later. She finally decided to call up to the other lab in the other building to see if they could try. And the phone call sounded like this, "Hi, Donna. It's Janeanne again...." Light-headed and slightly dizzy I made my way across the skywalk and through to the next building where I was told Janeanne is new. Very new. My arm alone would make me a candidate for Intervention.

Personally, I can't wait to see what fun and excitement come next because so far this has been a barrel of laughs!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baby's got his blue jeans on!

Big V and I went out in public this weekend and he decided to wear his best jeans. He likes them because they're baggy and long. Meaning that when he sits down the pant legs don't get pulled up into that elusive dorkus zone.

So he comes out in these:

And I tell him there is no possible way these can be his best jeans. But he insists they are. And I say, no, no they're not. And the 16-year old Fashion Diva also says no, no they're not. But he keeps insisting they are.

And so I took a picture (see above) and showed him and he said, "well... they aren't that bad" and I said yes, yes, they are. Because no matter how longish they are in the front they're stupidly short in the back. And I asked how the jeans got that way, which he shrugged off and said simply "the dog got them." Then he promised they'd look better with shoes. 

Except they didn't.

Guess who's getting jeans for his birthday?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Will NOT Fail Bible Study

Because of my new bible study - the one where I'm going to learn how to change my attitude and become a positive, grateful person - I'm not going to complain that my car's a piece of crap needing $3,000 worth of repair. Instead, I'm going to be thankful that I've been blessed with finally paying off my car. Two months ago.

Instead of panicking that we don't have extra money laying around for such necessary repairs (how important can one head gasket actually be?) I'm going to be thankful that we paid off the last of the credit card debt. Last month.

Instead of worrying about how on God's green earth I'm going to get each of the three children and myself where we need to be while my car is sitting in some mechanic's garage I'm going to be happy that Big V doesn't have any employment lined up these next few days so he'll be home and able to assist.

And obviously, I'm not going to worry about the fact that without jobs lined up Big V will not actually get paid any money to put forth towards said mechanical repairs. Instead, I'm going to be thankful that I have an uncorked Riesling and a bag of Cheetos hidden in the pantry.

I will not fail bible study.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My apologies to all my Cleveland readers. I'm sure it's a beautiful vacation destination.

You know how you're getting ready to go on vacation and everyone is telling you how much you're just going to absolutely love it? And that oh my god it's so beautiful in the mountains and I'm so jealous because I have always wanted to go skiing and then you go and you realize it's just freaking cold out and your nose was dripping snot for four days straight and you can't feel your fingers and suddenly you realize that no matter how much everyone else thinks a ski vacation in the mountains is perfect for you it's really not? And next year you vow to go someplace warm?

And so then you tell everyone you're going someplace warm. And you meet someone and they're all I love warm! I want to go someplace warm! And you're all yeah! Let's go someplace warm together! And you get all excited about the warm but when you get there all you see is endless beach with 18 bazillion grains of sand that will surely be touching your feet and you hate sand. And then you spend four days sitting on a beach towel and your back hurts and your eyelids are sun crisped and pussy because you forgot to put sunscreen on them and you're dropping sand every time you pee and your friend is all what is your deal? You said you wanted to go someplace warm. This is warm! You're never happy.

And so you start thinking that maybe it is you and you're just a miserable person who is incapable of appreciating the warm. Because warm is better than the frozen snot of a mountain side so why are you complaining? But then you think that this is America and by God you don't have to like sand if you don't want to, so you finally find your nads and declare: I do like warm. But I don't like sand!

And you think you made tons of progress... except next year you find yourself in Cleveland for vacation and you're all disappointed once again but your friend is all seriously? It's 80-degrees out! Nothing makes you happy!

And then you feel all suckishly failurish.

Well, here's the thing: You are not a suckish failure. You just don't know what you actually want.

And since we've been brought up in a world where there are manners and courtesies we've learned you're not supposed to be all demanding and picky.

But hear me out for a second...... what if you took the time to stop and really think about what you wanted out of a vacation? Maybe you'd come up with a list:

1) Must be warm... but not too warm. Blue jeans and t-shirt weather.
2) Landscape... mountains, or fields or ocean shores... a nice combination of all these.
3) I picture myself eating outside. Or sharing drinks outdoors with friends.
4) Small stores and local shops to nose around in and discover.
5) Not too busy. Quiet. Not a lot of noise.

Maybe if you were honest about what you were really looking for, you would have realized Vermont in the early fall could have given you all that. But instead, you just said you wanted warm. Well, you got warm, but you didn't enjoy warm, did you?

My point is -- if you only want warm, don't get mad when you only get warm.

Relationships not working out for you? Let me guess... you want a nice girl/guy. Someone fun. Someone who loves you as much as you love them.

Then don't get mad when that fun girl/guy who loves you more than the world itself also doesn't care to work. Or doesn't think a retirement fund is that big of deal.Or doesn't remember your birthday (because the truth is it's really not that important to them).

Know what you want out of a relationship before you go looking for someone to fill the position. That way, when you do meet someone you'll be able to tell pretty darn quick whether or not they're worth a second interview and you won't waste your time on someone who isn't qualified for the job.

Trust me, it'll make vacations a lot more enjoyable together.

PS: It works with more than just romantic relationships. Try defining your ideal working situation. Or picture the perfect living arrangements and setting for your home - now define it. Are you where you're supposed to be? Or is it time to make some changes? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Orange for Owen

the color of a warrior

Once you become a mother, there's no going back. Your heart has been opened and the hearts of your children have been poured in. No matter what you do, no matter where life takes you, you are always their mother.

Why "Owenge?"

I didn't know Owen. I don't know his family. But I know the love a mother has for their child and I simply cannot imagine the prayers of strength and peace The Bissing Family needs now and forever.

Monday, September 19, 2011

TAPOUT: Tackling the day with a toddler

I believe in forcing encouraging Big V to spend one-on-one alone time with his son as a form of punishment an opportunity for bonding. I mean, why should I experience all the bonding? I like to share.

Saturday was a day that fried the ends of each and every one of my nerves. The fact that the toddler did not take a nap was of no help whatsoever. And let me tell you, I tried. For the love of all that is holy, I tried to get that kid to take a nap.

Big V worked all day. Which we needed and I'm totally not complaining about. But, I mean, it is kind of his fault that he's not Chief of Surgery at a well known hospital. Perhaps if he hadn't spent all that time in high school playing football... but I digress.

Anyway, the point is I spent a whole lot of hours with a kid that never stopped moving. I don't know about you, but in my old age, I need to stop. A lot. The whole day kind of sucked. I mean, the kid is cute and all - but it kind of went like this:

We do not take food out of the garbage - that's yucky. No, put that down - yuck! C'mon, give it to Mama. You can't eat that, it's yucky. Plus little boys aren't supposed to eat coffee grounds. Seriously - no! Get back here! Give that to Mama! Get back here! Stop! Not on the carpet! NOOOO!!!! That's white carpet! Look what you did? Great, now I have to clean the carpet. 

The entire day was like that. You can imagine how giddy I was when it became bed time. But that giddiness was short lived because Big V came home six minutes after I turn the toddler's light out and he looked around the (messy) house and dared to question, "What did you do all day?"

Every mother of a toddler knows those six words are fighting words.

Except I had no energy to even begin explaining the course of my day. Instead, I faked like I was going to go cuddle up in bed reading a book... when in truth I was plotting my revenge.

Sunday is church day. Except no one likes going. Even I have to admit getting up in the morning is a challenge. I knew for a fact that given the choice Big V would rather stay home. Especially since the Packers played at noon. He wouldn't dare risk missing the kick off for the word of God. And so I came up with this simple proposition: Come to church with us, or stay home with the toddler and pick up a few much needed groceries.

He jumped at the Toddler Accompanied Public Outing Unaided Task. Also known as TAPOUT for a reason, sucker.

I smiled sweetly as I handed him the list of needed items. And the in-store flyer with certain items circled. And the coupons. And then I fell into a deep sleep.

In the morning I sang in the shower. This is going to be so good! I told myself. Let's see how well he does trying to get things done with a toddler.

And then I skipped to church.

I took my time socializing at coffee hour after the sermon. After that, I attended a little presentation about what our church missionaries are doing. In Canada. Really? Canada? Was I the only one a tad bit disappointed? I was expecting something like the Amazon Rainforest. And then I slowly meandered to my car. Which was one of six left in the parking lot. 

I could not wait to see Big V's frazzled nerves and haggard appearance. I could not wait to ask, "What did you do all day?" Oh, sweet, sweet revenge....

I was absolutely 100% unprepared for what I saw when I walked through the door:

Groceries already put away.
Toddler eating lunch nicely at the toddler table.
Big V stirring up some chili, smiling sweetly, "You're just in time for kick off... I got some lunch ready."

There was no mess.
There was no fire.
There was no flooding.

The toddler was dressed.
And his hair combed.

Big V was dressed.
And his hair was combed.

"Oh," Big V turns towards me. "Good call on the coupons. The cart was huge and it came to only $85. I think that's less than when you get groceries, isn't it?"

What was happening?! How is that possible?! 

"Well, did you get everything on the list?"

"Yep. I even double checked. Well, actually..."

Here it was. Here comes the failure. I stifled my smile; held off my not so easy, is it buddy?

"You had a coupon for these Jimmy Dean Breakfast sandwiches and I remember you said to check the price and see for myself if they were worth it, but I thought they were kind of high, even with the coupon, so I decided not to get them."

What?! Am I in some kind of opposite universe?

"Well, how was Cletus? All over the place, right? I bet he didn't even sit down in the cart."

"No. Actually he was really good. He stayed seated the whole time. He didn't act up for me."

Aggghhhhhh!!! This is not how I pictured this. How on earth did this happen? He was supposed to see firsthand how difficult things were. He was supposed to collapse into my arms telling me he never understood how hard it is to get things accomplished until he had to do it himself. He was suppossed to sob, maybe. Just a little bit, because I'm actually a bit weirded out by sobbing men. This has backfired. This is not good. I needed to save this somehow. 

"Well, congratulations," I smiled up at him. "You just bought yourself grocery duty until the end of time."

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Lot Can Happen In Two Years: Like, 24 months can just fly by!

Two years ago today, I was totally ignoring Big V chow down on a slice of pizza because I was busy cracking up via text messages with my sister. For Christmas I hope she gets me a transcript from our phone records because that conversation was epic!

I look totally okay with this whole giving birth thing. Don't I?
I was scheduled to deliver a baby and things were going pretty well - I was laughing, V was eating - when all of a sudden a team of health specialists stormed my room and in twenty-five seconds had me racing down the hall for an emergency c-section. All I heard was trouble with his heart and dangerously low level and so your dad is from Australia? (That last one coming from the super spunky anesthesiologist who gave me my epidural about 45 minutes earlier.)
Someone's a little too giddy to get into surgery.
So cesarean it was! Big V was in charge of pictures. I wanted one the second the baby was born... I am now the proud owner of a pictorial play-by-play of the opening of my gut and filleting of my body fat. It's good stuff.
I remember they had trouble "getting him out." Essentially he was stuck under a rib or something and the act of dislodgement shook the entire table. I don't want you to break him! I screamed out. I wish you could see what your body looks like! It's so gross! announced Big V. (He was my hero.)

He smelled as sweet as he looks.
After they bathed him, I mean.

As it was, the baby was a HE. (Phew! Big time.) And he was fine. I didn't know that in the moment, though. Instead I was yelling at Big V to go with the baby! Go with the baby! because I was scared they'd lose him. They didn't. (Although there have been some days in the recent past where I wondered if perhaps there might have been a more pensive child we could have switched with.)

It seems so cliché but, yeah, they grow up in the blink of an eye. He's now this little man housemate with quirky habits and the insistence that he walk around in shoes not belonging to him. He jibber-jabbers like he's having these intellectual conversations with us except the only words we understand is moo, Mimi, and bees? which is always a question. Always.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for a meeting."

He is incredibly loving, which means he totally takes after his father. He gives big, squishing bear hugs, blows kisses and has just learned how to kiss a lady's hand. And a man's hand. And the hand of the strange woman waiting in line behind us at the post office.

He also bites, which means he totally takes after his mother.

Happy 2 years on this earth, Buddy!
He is temperamental and sweet and obstinate and charming and, well, just about everything you would imagine a child of two years to be. (And he's been working really hard on the obstinate part.)

In short, I wouldn't trade him for all the world. He is the epitome of Alan Marshall Beck's description:

Boys are found everywhere --
on top of,
inside of,
climbing on,
swinging from,
 running around
or jumping to.
Mothers love them,
little girls hate them,
older sisters and brothers tolerate them,
adults ignore them
and Heaven protects them.
A boy is
Truth with dirt on its face,
Beauty with a cut on its finger,
Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair
and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket.
A boy is a magical creature;
you can lock him out of your workshop,
but you can't lock him out of your heart.
You can get him out of your study,
but you can't get him out of your mind.

Might as well give up.
He is your captor,
your jailer,
your boss
and your master.

A freckled-faced,
bundle of noise.

But when you come home at night
with only the shattered pieces of your hopes and dreams,
he can mend them like new with two magic words:
Hi, Dad!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A child is the greatest joy, the ultimate Blessing...

*office phone rings*

Good Afternoon. How can I help you?

Can you get two movies from the library?

(It's the Teen Bean.)

Um, no.


Um... I am working.

OH MY GOD! I JUST --- UGHH!!! --- I CAN'T ---- OH MY GOD!

Or you could walk to the library and get some yourself.... (the library is about 5 blocks away)



Is it possible to actually explode from hormonal combustion?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Boundary Waters Fires: Nothing to Complain About

I am incredibly allergic to smoke. When people who smoke come in the office I start sneezing within two seconds. It gives me a headache and leaves my throat raw and scratchy. My eyes get red and start tearing up. I think it's fair to say I would not have made a sexy smoker. Although I did try smoking. I so desperately wanted to be a smoker because I imagined that first deep inhale to be like an instant calming drug. Which it  is, I suppose, but wouldn't actually know about because I never could figure out that whole swallowing air thing. Really, smoking is much more complicated than what I am capable of.

Before going out to the bars I would pop some allergy meds and enjoy the rest of my evening dancing the night away. The next morning I would wake up sounding like the biggest bar hag you've ever come across. My throat would feel like it had been cut into a million pieces. It's kind of weird, really, but it's me.

And so, when I ventured outside today I thought (1) hmmm... it's kind of foggy... And (2) ah-CHOO!

Apparently the Minnesota Boundary Waters Fires are delivering smoke to good ole' Southeastern Wisconsin today.

Did I put my contacts in the wrong eyes again?

I think there's a Steven King book about this....
 I am now sniffling, sneezing, have a stuffy head and wish I could rest.

By the way, it also smells like burning plastic so it's kind of gross and makes me wonder why I bothered trying to squeeze out the last two pumps of my Burberry perfume this morning.

The whole thing simply baffles my mind. How can there be this much smoke and haze and odor from something so far away? Well, for one, there's about 60,000 acres currently burning (the whole thing practically tripled in size over night). It's quick. Very quick. Dangerously quick. And also, the way wind and weather works, the smoke has been picked up in the jet stream and is flying its way down to us along with the cool air dropping off temperatures we're not ready to get to yet. Can't it be summer for just a while longer? 

For the life of me I cannot imagine what it must be like for all the fire fighters battling the blazes. I cannot imagine the intense smell nor the frustrating blindness the smoke causes. I cannot imagine living any closer to it than what I already am. Godspeed, Minnesota.

That being said, people are not allowed to burn leaves in our quaint little village. This means that everyone and their brother has called me today to complain that someone down the street surely must be burning leaves. Or tires. And that I should go out immediatey, capture them and have them flogged in the public square. And this is getting terribly annoying. And so I say things like, "why yes, actually they are burning leaves.... 60,000 acres of leaves...." This whole business is getting on my last nerve.

I suppose this is as good a time as any to share with you that I've decided to participate in my church's Wednesday Evening Bible Study. They're doing something called Lord, Change my Attitude. Since I happen to have attitude I thought perhaps this would be somewhat applicable to my life.

The first chapter was titled Are you a complainer? and it went on to say how we really shouldn't complain but focus on the positive. And I immediately thought what the hell am I going to write about? Each day we are to read a couple pages and answer some questions. Day Two focused on sarcasm. I'm wondering if it's possible to actually fail bible study.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Toddlers and Tantrums: One Time Out at a Time

I can barely speak in coherent sentences today because Big V left me alone to deal with the toddler. As in he went to the ball field to play softball.

All. Day. Long.

Saturday AND Sunday.

From 8am until 6pm.

Both days.

Absolutely I'm bitter. Like you have to ask?

The kid is going to be two on Friday but I wasn't going to say anything because things happen when kids turn two. But someone must have told him because he quickly put two and two together and came up with terrible two's which he has ramped into overdrive.

I put that kid in a time out roughly 587 times this weekend.

I tried to be all Super Nanny consistent about it, silently cussing Big V's life and soul while attempting to appear nonchalant and aloof that my not quite two year old was screaming hysterically, kicking his feet and pounding his fists on the wall while perched on a time out stool. (And I put that blasted timer on 2 minutes, people, each and every time.)

And then....

Dotter was laying on the couch playing with her Nintendo DS. Her fault for being so low to the ground. Next time I'll have her lounge on top of the piano. Anyway, I spy Cletus the Used to be Fetus Now Complete Terror look at her from across the living room. And his eyes glinted. Yes, there was a glint. And then the right side of his mouth flinched ever so slightly...

Off and running he sped across the room, both arms out in front of him, and with both hands he grabs Dotter's hair... and I mean grabs. He's pulling and yanking, and she's screaming for her life while trying to wail on him with an electronic device and he throws his head back and laughs. He's laughing while she's screaming while he's pulling while I'm yelling Stop it! Stop it! Let go of her hair! while attempting to pry his sweaty paws open and untangle her hair.

I know it probably sounds like I was having the time of my life, but ... I wasn't.

I threw Cletus into his crib, gobs of hair hanging from his fingers, and went back to comfort Dotter and try to convince her that bald is beautiful... when the Teen Bean told me I was so mean for throwing the baby in a major time out because, as she put it, he doesn't know what he's doing! He's just a baby!

"Just" a baby my Aunt Fanny. That boy had a glint! And the start of a sneer! No; he had control of the sneer which is so much more dangerous.

Come with me....

We walked into the bedroom where Cletus was sitting on the edge of his mattress, chubby little legs dangling through the crib slats, head resting forward, hands curled around the slats above his head... a pathetic baby jail scene to say the least (and yet he looked so gosh darn cute).

I turned on the light and he looked quickly up at me, all smiles and grins - "Hi, Mama!" Such a cheerful fellow. (I want to eat his chubby cheeks!)

"Do you know why I put you in time out?" I ask, still playing the part of the stern mother.

He puts his right hand on top of his head: "" He frowns and his eyes are full of sorrow. (Oh my gosh; I want to kiss him!)

I turn to the Bean, "He absolutely knows what he's doing."

"Oh my god... that's so scary..."

I know. Trust me, I know....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...

After whining yesterday about my life being pathetic, it was like the heavens opened up and showered me with blog fodder! (Thank you, Confessions of a Corn Fed Girl for coining the phrase blog fodder. It has come in handy a lot!)

Yesterday I had this little thing planned called an Annual Exam with my favorite snarky gyno. It was a requirement that my doctor be skilled in sarcasm and I found the best. She has a Polish accent and even referred to me as Kermit the Frog due to my lack of those things that hang down in the back of your throat.

Anyway, yesterday she introduced me to the wonderful world of the Rectal Exam after I joked about the return of hemorrhoids and my solemn vow to never do THAT again! Oh, I'm sorry; you're uncomfortable? Imagine how I felt.

Then came the magic words: you just bought yourself a colonoscopy, lady. Because apparently there are no hemorrhoids. Which, means I've obviously got cancer. Because that's how my mind works. And the good doctor looked at me with her head cocked and said, you really are one of my most anxiety filled patients. (I took that to mean I'm her favorite.) And then she told me all about irritable bowel syndrome and all sorts of intestinal issues other than cancer that I can also obsess over. You know, just in case I run out of fear-filled obsessions.

After I left, I realized she never felt me up. I mean, conducted a breast exam. Don't they do that anymore? Or is this something I'm expected to do on my own? Because I have no problem poking my booby tissue, but what the heck do I know about what's supposed to be there and what isn't? What if I miss something? I'm not a doctor. This is just way too much responsibility and pressure for me.

To get my mind off of my certain death sentence things, I talked to my sister who is starting a new job soon. Don't even bother asking me what she does; I have no idea. I just know that she's legally allowed to put capital letters after her signature and that she'll get a company car. To which I believe it would be beyond awesome if her company hooked her up with a 1973 bright gold Impala. And she would totally be game if they threw in a Roy Orbison 8-track. But she hasn't said anything about sporting the hot pink velour tracksuit I suggested as office wear. I'll keep working on her. Because I'm pretty sure if I saw my highly educated sister roll up in a gold tank wearing a pink tracksuit I could honestly say my life was complete. Well, as long as it happens after I share my colonoscopy experience...

Some types of cancer can be found before they cause symptoms. Research shows that using certain screening tests regularly will reduce deaths from some types of cancers. These types include Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer and Colon & Rectal Cancer. Don’t be embarrassed; just get screened.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm all out of Snark. Unless they serve it at Pizza Ranch.

I have nothing to blog about. Because my life is no longer funny. My life is merely pathetic. Mostly because it took me a week to figure out the gross odor wafting through the house wasn't Big V's shoes after all, but rather the oversized freezer we keep in the basement with all the meat in it. We lost a cow. So we spent the day cleaning up stinky room temperature meat dripping gallons of blood. I was so busy cursing I didn't realize the awesomeness of the situation; my sister did.

"Did you take all the meat out of the butcher paper and then wrap it up in a large carpet roll bound with duct tape and haul it to the end of the road?"

What?! No!

Opportunity Lost.

And then one of my favorite older lady person who is really spry and someone I would love to be like when I'm almost 80 (because she's kind of nutty) came into my place of employment and was all I haven't seen you since Thanksgiving and -- oh my goodness! I didn't know you were expecting! And then she placed her hand on my stomach and rubbed it. Yes. Rubbed it.
And I looked at her and said I'm not pregnant; I'm just fat. And she continued rubbing my belly while she leaned in close to my ear and whispered oh, honey, you can tell me! And then she winked.

And then I went back to my desk and fought back tears while eating a candy bar. Emotional eater much? And I was so busy licking the chocolate out of the corner of my mouth that I didn't notice the awesomeness of the situation: my sister did.

"Did you lean in real close and say, "Yes.... but try to keep it quiet because the father is [insert obnoxious politician's name here]?"

What?! No!

Again: opportunity lost.

Something is terribly wrong with me. I'm losing my snark. But don't worry, I've got a doctor's appointment scheduled to look into this. Meanwhile, I'm thinking of asking my sister to guest blog on this site to carry it along until I'm back on my feet.

Here's the latest text my sister sent me:
Did you call me 2x in a row to tell me about Pizza Ranch?

Yes. Yes, I did. And then I'll talk to you about guest blogging.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What do families talk about at Thanksgiving if they're not snarky?

My dad is like a big kid. Always laughing and joking and hanging out with friends and never wanting to come home. But he does. Sometimes under the influence of alcohol, but he always comes home. He's always worked hard to support his family - two or three jobs, and even now in retirement, he continues to work. He's got a pretty great work ethic which makes me wonder why I managed to date every unemployed idiot in our county. He's pretty much had poor health his entire life (many times he had way worse than poor health) yet he never complains about it. You know those people that have to whine and cry and tell the world every time they have an ache or pain or a hang nail; yeah, we get it. You don't feel well. Ever. If my dad had been like that we would have killed him long ago.

Basically, my father has a pretty decent sense of humor. He "gets me." Which can be scary.

A couple weeks ago I gave him some balls for his birthday because he's old and he might lose his. Golfing, I mean. What? The guy has bad vision; those balls are small.

Then it was my birthday. I came home to find some lovely plants and flowers. (My dad is an excellent gardener. I am not. But my sister is. He gets me confused with her. But I still love the plants he gives me because they remind me of him and that he loves plants and that makes me smile. And when the plants die I remember that someday I'll miss him when he dies. It's like the gift that keeps on giving.)

It's like a thousand little hearts beating out my father's love.

Is this a palm tree? I don't live in Florida?

And he even included a card. I thought it was somewhat curious there was one, singular blue ball included in the envelope.

Well, that explains the ball. Kind of.

Big V:  Oh, your dad dropped you off a gift for your birthday? That was so nice of him. Let me read the card.


Big V:  This is the weirdest thing I think I've ever seen. Why would your dad give you a card like that?

Me:  Oh, because I was afraid he was getting old and going to lose his balls so I gave him some for his birthday. He's just getting me back.

Big V:  What? You what? Wait. Your dad is afraid you're going to lose your balls?

Me:  No... read the card. Obviously my dad is afraid I'm going to need something to do in case I get lonely.

Big V:  Couldn't you just read a book or something?

Me:  What?

Big V:  If you were lonely. Couldn't you just read a book until I got home?

Me:  Right. Because that's what you do when you're waiting for me to get home.

And so I called my dad to thank him for the beautiful flowers and the naked man.

Me:  Thanks for the birthday plants! They're beautiful! I love them!

Dad:  I forgot one of his balls. It's sitting on the kitchen counter; you can grab it next time you come over.

I feel so sad for people who don't have conversations like these.

I can't wait until Christmas. Let the games begin continue...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

There are WAY MORE than just 4 things that will make me go insane. Trust me.

If I could guarantee I'd be one of those wearing floppy sun hats while driving my convertible with the top down in the middle of winter, dancing in the fountain at the downtown plaza kind of crazy people, I would gladly welcome insanity. Unfortunately, it's more likely I'll end up one of those haven't taken a shower in eight months, walking up and down main street with my hands clasped together while shouting vulgarities at passing school children kind. If it comes to that, I blame this:

Exhibit A: the ugly coffee table.

Big V had this table before I moved in. Yes, it's real wood. That's about the only thing it has going for it.

He's never used a coaster. So there are water marks every where. And dog scratches. And random Sharpie marks because he never quite got the whole "it bleeds through" concept. It's not pretty. And it's huge. Plus, it's round. And I despise round. Unless it's a chocolate mousse pie. Then round is okay. I prefer right angles. There are not enough right angles on this piece of furniture.

Big V does not care for the table but for some reason he can't bring himself to actually get rid of it. For years it sat banished in the end room of the basement. A room no one ever goes in. Then it moved to sitting next to the chest freezer, which we won't talk about because someone left the freezer door open and we lost half a cow. Which is a lot of meat. That smells bad after its been thawing for a few days. Anyway, now the round table is in the garage next to the lawnmower. Because every piece of furniture you love and can't imagine parting with deserves a spot in the garage. Why is this thing still at our house?

Exhibit B: the office refrigerator

I work where they keep a basket full of take out condiments and 12-pounds of butter in the fridge. This alone would drive a person batty.

Exhibit C: the traveling toothpaste

I never taught my child how to brush her teeth. She does THIS. This is not okay. No amount of asking nicely, reminding, yelling, screaming, public humilation has taught her that THIS is not okay. And so, I have gathered up all the toothpaste in the house and carry it with me. Right now the baggie of paste is resting comfortably on the passenger seat of my car. Because my sixteen year old daughter doesn't know how to brush her teeth without grossing out the entire family. I now ration out toothpaste. Do you see how close insanity is for me?

Exhibit D: the crutches

Dotter has a ruptured bursa sac. It's something on your knee that isn't supposed to be ruptured, therefore, she is in a lot of pain. It's hard for her to actually bend her knee since it's quite swollen. Yesterday, two seconds before the ortho doc walked into the exam room she exploded in the most massive sob storm I've seen in a long time. Why, you ask? Because she wanted to be "cleared" to ride the rides at the county fair. (It was wristband night, after all.) Thank all that is good and wonderful - he cleared her for the fair rides! This meant that I got to walk around with her all day long so she would have someone to hold her crutches while she was standing in line and hobbling up to whatever ride we just waited twenty minutes for. Did I mention it was all day long? Also, she couldn't hold anything else when she was using her crutches. So I became a human pack mule. Lugging around Lemonade Shake-Ups and Funnel Cakes.

As if that wasn't fun enough, the Bean was also at the fair with a gaggle of her girl friends. She kept calling to try to ask me nicely/cry/threaten/hate me into giving her money. Which, I am proud to report, I did not give her. I am under no obligation to throw money at a kid who quit her summer job because it interfered with her social plans and still can't figure out how to clean the bathroom sink, even though I've asked nicely/cried/threatened/hated.

If you need me, I'll be swimming in the fountain at the plaza.

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...