Friday, March 30, 2012

The Downside of Winning $640 Million Dollars in the Lottery

With a possible $640 million dollar (and counting) lottery win on the line, the nation is all abuzz with thoughts of what would I do with all that money?

But as we all know (because it's the mantra of poor kids heard around the world - or at least in the house I grew up in) money can't buy happiness. Sure, some parents can buy their kid a new pair of boots but then they wouldn't grow up with those fond memories of sticking their feet into generic bread wrapper bags in an attempt to keep the water out. How on earth could you even possibly begin to think you could be happy with a brand new pair of sparkling white boots with glints of pink and lined with real fur? You would have missed out on all that fun when Chris Hoover spied your plastic bag slipping out of your boot after recess and called you Bread Bag for the entire rest of the school year!

With massive amounts of money comes great struggle. For instance, you might imagine yourself diving into and swimming around your piles of gold à la Disney Duck Tales style, but let's be honest - gold is a solid. You dive into that and you're bound to get a concussion.

Because of Disney I dreamed of being a duck. True story.

Then there's that pesky task of sitting down to make a list of all the people you're never going to give a freaking dime to. Like the micromanaging fun-sucking team leader with buggity eyeballs that you were forced to be nice to for an entire year and probably thinks you two are friends because she happens to be incapable of maintaining an actual friendship for longer than twenty-seven minutes so is completely oblivious to the fact that every person who spends more than twenty-eight minutes with her wants to stab themselves with a mellon baller. She'll have no problem asking - no, expecting some sort of incredibly large and generous monetary gift, and you'll need to be ready. Oh, gosh, I really wish I could pay off your mortgage, you effing hag, but see --? You're on the list. Sorry... but, well, couldn't you tell I didn't actually like you? I thought the bleeding from my ears when we were forced into the same room together would have provided at least a hint.  

And that leads me to I Don't Really Care If You're Related to Big V Or Not - Particularly If You've Ever Come Up To Us And Taken Our Coats When We Walked In And Proceeded To Say In Front Of Everyone, "You Should Really Date (So and So) - I Really Wish You Would At Least Consider It" - And Not Only Could I Hear You Because I Was Standing Right There But Also I Was Pregnant With His Child, then no, you don't get any of my money. You're already on the list.

Which reminds me, if you happen to be one of my family members that thinks you automatically gets hoardes of my winnings just because we swim in the same pool of DNA, think again. If I think you're lazy you won't get a penny. Dude, get up off your rump and get a job. That's what I've been doing since I was 14. And don't tell me there are no jobs, because there are. They're suckity-suck jobs that suck the soul out of you and have sucky pay - but they're jobs. That's what grown-ups do. They get jobs to support themselves and their families. They don't sponge of the government or redunkulously rich relatives. Don't bother trying to convince me otherwise - I once worked as a telemarketer. It doesn't get any suckier than that.

(Free advice: if you think your job sucks, try working the entire day pretending that you're British. Everything is so much grander with an accent, don't you agree? Perhaps you ought to pull your chin up and channel your inner Mary Crawley and make the best of it.) (You read those last two sentences with an accent, didn't you? I knew you would.)

Besides, if you didn't have a relationship with me prior to me winning my millions, what makes you think we'd suddenly have one now?  That means Kim, Jocelyn and Ginger: your mortgages are PAID. And all your children are going to college. And we'll be going on vacation. A lot.

So, actually, now that I think about it, really the only downside to me winning $640 million in the lottery would be to those who won't benefit from my newfound wealth. The way I see it, as long as I steer clear from diving head first into bars of precious metal, I'm golden.

six hundred thirty-nine million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'd like 14 hours of sleep and 4 cups of coffee, please.

I'm tired. Like, really tired. And I have nothing accomplished and no time to accomplish anything and I have four rows left to knit to finish this really cute dishcloth and my books are overdue from the library and - hello?! This is ME. The girl who can read two books in a weekend and I'm not even halfway done? And the dishes are piled up and the laundry is so bad we can't even get down the basement steps (because no one can take the clothes all the way down the stairs to the washing machine, golly no - just chuck them down the stairwell and sooner or later it magically clears) and I keep thinking of these great blog post topics except by the time I sit down in front of a computer my mind is blank and all I can hear is Mom! You forgot about my ortho appointment! We need to be there in ten minutes! Of course you do, kid. Of course you do.

The ironic part is I was wanting to do this bible study at our church about simplifying your life. Not taking on so much so that you can live in the present.

Except then I agreed to do this show. And the rehearsals are Monday through Thursdays from 7:00-10:00pm. And I still have my full time job until 5:00pm. Which means in order to get to rehearsal on time I have to leave my house by 6:00pm, which means I have exactly one hour to gather kids, feed kids, maybe go to the bathroom and try to eat something before I leave. And I'm perfectly okay with eating while I'm going to the bathroom, my standards have dropped that low.

And Big V is is incredibly annoying because life is always sunshiney and cheery and lovely and don't you feel great doing something that you love and don't worry about the house - who cares what it looks like and also he's a rockstar because he's been working like a mad man monring, noon and night which means maybe we'll be able to pay his stupid truck loan off and that would be awesome. And that whole bit just reminds me how much of a simplified, living in the moment type of person he is and ----

holy buckets! He totally does not need to take that class. But I do.

I do.

Because for some reason I'm beating myself up because my house is atrocious. And in all honesty it's not that bad. Things are picked up and floors are vacuumed and as long as you didn't open the door to the basement you'd never know how behind I am on the laundry.

And, yes. I am able to do something that I love. Because people who love me support me. They make sure my kids are watched and fed and tucked into bed. They don't gripe about what the house looks like. They don't make me feel bad about not scrubbing the shower walls.

Except I'm still tired.

Very tired.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Okey Dokey, Dang Nabbit!

As a condition of my employment I'm required to attend meetings. Evening meetings. You know, meetings held during that time when you'd rather be at home picking your toenails while criticizing American Idol candidates and plotting how you're going to successfully convince your husband to run to the store to get a tube of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls just because you have a craving.

Anyway, some meetings offer a change of scenery - ooh! We're in the big conference room tonight! Some offer baked goodies. Oh, wait. Actually none of them do. In any case, all of them evoke the passing thought of I'd rather be doing anything other than sitting here doing this. But we have to look all professional and be aware that there are reporters in the room ready to pounce at any given second and the last thing you want to have happen is be featured on the front page sleeping.

Well, not anymore, pilgrims! I've just stumbled upon how to make even the most mind-numbing meeting so fun and exciting y'all will be clamoring to be a part of it! And, contrary to your initial thought, it does not involve nudity.


TOP-SECRET TERMINOLOGY
So this is what happens: at the start of every public meeting, the players (audience members and office staff) will receive two secret words or phrases - the words will not be disclosed to the voting officials of that meeting's quorum. Players will then earn points for proper use of the secret words or phrases throughout the meeting. The secret words or phrases must be used in a complete sentence when addressing official members and cannot be randomly yelled out or counted if being directed towards a non-voting person. A running score is kept for all players throughout the year. The player who uses the secret words or phrases most often, thus earning the most points, wins.

However, if a voting official believes they know the secret word or phrase for a particular meeting they must, stand up and yell their guess at the top of their lungs. Much like an excited kid playing Uno. If correct, all players totals earned for that meeting with the correctly guessed word or phrase are then wiped to zero and there is no more chance to earn points on that word or phrase.

Tonight's top secret words are:

Okey Dokey!

and

Dang nabbit!


It is important that the top secret words chosen are both interesting yet not too unusal. They must encourage unusual and creative use by the players while not appearing too obvious to the Voting Officials. (Remember, if correctly guessed, totals earned on the phrase for that meeting are reduced to zero.)

However, an unusual term also challenges the players. For instance, let's say the secret term was snollygoster (a person who can't be trusted, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles). Obviously, if a person in the audience stands up under Visitors to be Heard and says I think you're a snollygoster a Voting Official is going to guess that word right away. However, if approached delicately, for example, hidden within a compliment - as in I just wanted to say Thank You for all your hard work. I know that many people complain about politicians; they're untrustworthy, they're only thinking about themselves, they're just a bunch of snollygosters - but I think you all do wonderful work. I, for one, am very excited about the increase in taxes, so, again, thank you! it just might work.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sleeping With One Eye Open...

I can't get anything done because I'm on constant Save The Cat From Death watch, which means I cannot, CANNOT let the toddler out of my sight for half a second. Because no amount of time outs and disappointed looks and We Don't Do That explanations and snapping at and swatting bottoms will get that kid to stop trying to rip the cat's tail off. I am not exaggerating when I say I fully expect that kid to be walking down the hall twirling a tail around while the cat whimpers in the corner with a bloody stump.

And if that's not bad enough he suddenly became the kid of Clawing Your Face Off Seems Like A Reasonable Game To Play. I had to pry chunks of my fleshy cheeks from his punkish paws.

The other day I walked in to my bedroom just as I heard the cat screech and swat at the kid: "Cletus!" and just then, as he turned his head and smiled at me, I realized what he had done. He had bit the cat. BIT HIM. A fluff of cat hair came puffing out of the kid's mouth when he said, "no, no, mama.... nice."

I'm raising a serial killer. What other 2-1/2 year old tries to eat his pets??!

It's like he has moments where crazed energy consumes him and he just has to get that out somehow - and clawing and pulling and biting at flesh and fur seems to be what he does for a release. I'll admit it - I'm concerned. I have never, ever, ever heard of this. Ever. 

Have your kids ever done anything like this?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Score 1 for Magical Mama Abilities

I walked in the door last night a bit after 10pm. (That would be ten o'clock at night. After the sun went down. And the sky was dark.)

Big V was sitting in Cletus's bedroom, in the wing chair we affectionately have termed the Reading Chair, looking all verklempt. That is, if verklempt means that he looked like the walking dead, with his hair sticking out all over the place, exhausted, on the verge of tears and/or a complete nervous breakdown.

And there was Cletus. In his crib. Jumping as high as he could go singing, "AD DEE! AD DEE! AD DEE!" (which sounds just like Daddy without the beginning D. And also in a highly annoying pitch).

I looked over at V.

He looked at me.

I've been in here for two hours. He won't go to sleep.

Why are you just sitting here?

I'm making sure he goes to sleep.

Could you sleep if someone was sitting there, staring at you? Because I sure as hell couldn't. It's creepy.


And then I walked out. Because why the hell would I want to get involved in that nonsense?

But after another ten minutes of listening to jump! jump! jump! and AD DEE! AD DEE! AD DEE! and Go to bed. I told you it's time to go to bed. Stop jumping now and go to bed. I decided to help.

Hey, V, could you come here for a second?

(I heard the exasperated sigh from down the hall.)

And as Big V schlepped down the hall Cletus started with MOM! MOM! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOM! MOM! MOM! MOMMY! MOMMY! MOM! just. like. Stewie.

Standing against the counter I asked for an overall breakdown of what occurred during my absence that might have attributed to the scene I now found myself standing in.

I kept asking him if he wanted to go to sleep and he kept telling me no.

Uh... come again?

It kept getting later and later but every time I asked him if he wanted to go to bed he said no.

You do realize he's two. People who are two never want to go to bed. People who are two want to smash chocolate cake in their hair and lick the cat.

Well, what would you have wanted me to do?!

Might I suggest putting him in his bed at the same time and in the same was as every other night of his life. Feed him dinner, make him pick up his toys, give him a bath, put him in pajamas, read two books - no more; just two, or you'll be there all night - then put him in his bed and tell him to stay there. And ignore him when he kicks up a fuss - don't keep talking to him.

Oh, like that's going to work.

By the way, he's sleeping.

What?
He's sleeping now. Go ahead, go check on him.


And just like that the planets aligned and the kid magically fell asleep. I should have bought a lottery ticket.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Someone bring me my jello and my Geritol.

So, I've been cast in this play, and it's awesome and the people are awesome and I play this kinda younger-than-me person who has a boyfriend, which is always kind of awkward when you shake hands with a stranger and say nice to meet you, I'm looking forward to playing your love interest - what's your name again?

But what's really awkward is when you happen to be 38 years old and your love interest happens to have not graduated high school yet. Not because he's some sort of idiot miscreant incapable of passing a GED, but because he actually still reports to homeroom by 7:05am and has PE class third period and needs to remind his parents to put money on his lunch account.

And just like that I'm Mary Kay Letourneau. Except I'm not a teacher and I probably would never be one because I can't spell worth a darn and also I hate kids. Well, not hate hate, more like I just hate being surrounded by swarms of them for extended periods of time.

Anyway. This whole I'm almost 40 and you're not even 20 yet thing just makes me feel old. And weird. But mostly old. I've been out of school longer than you've been alive old. And so it's really important for me not to act old. Well, at least not act all codger-y, anyway, but rather be seen as hip and cool.

And so the other day, while waiting for rehearsal to begin, I was sitting there knitting - because nothing screams I'm hip and cool like sitting alone in the back of a theater putting knots in yarn with sticks - and my young buck of a boyfriend came up to me and said, "Whatcha fixin'?" and I said, "Oh. I'm making a scarf." And he looked at me and said, "No. Whatcha fixin'?" and he kind of smiled and pointed at my creation and looked at me expectantly and I stared at him and said, "...uhh... I'm knitting a scarf... for my daughter...." And then he just sort of looked blankly at me and walked away.

Fast forward three days later to where I'm taking a break. In the bathroom. Doing, well, bathroom stuff. And as I reached for the toilet paper - BAM! Like a freaking bolt of lightning it hit me: He was quoting the lines from the play. He was being funny. Facetious. Because that's his line. He looks over at the mother, who happens to be doing some sort of needlework and says "Whatcha fixin'?" and that's why he said that to me and he was being funny and I was being the old lady who didn't get the joke.

And now I want to run and play catch up: I get it now! I get it now! Let's have a do-over! Then I can respond appropriately with a spunky, witty comeback and he won't think of me as an elderly, out-of-touch grandmother type.

"Knitting IS my foreplay, honey."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Nicole Hunn is about to save my taste buds. I hope.

I'm not going to lie. Gluten Free breads suck. Really bad. It sort of reminds me of gnawing on cow feed. Not that I would know what gnawing on cow feed actually tastes like but I'm pretty sure I'm close.

This weekend I attempted to make what sounded like a delicious cinnamon raison bread. I had to use yeast. I think that's what attributed to the cow feed taste. Anyway, it smelled warm and cozy and like a big yummy hug. Then it proceeded to sucker punch my taste buds. It was not good.

Then I made a gluten free chocolate cake and poured in an extra cup of semi-sweet chocolate morsels for good measure. It was heaven in a cake pan. Moist, gooey chocolate; except I'm having a hard time getting the lettuce and salami to stay on during lunch.

My point is I miss bread. I miss warm, soft, straight from the oven bread. I miss buttermilk biscuits and French loaves and garlic cheese bread and even that weirdly fascinating bread in a jar: I'm not kidding. It's bread. In a jar. Don't believe me? Check out THIS POST right here!

And so I have embarked on a quest to find the softest gluten free bread ever. No more dry, hard to chew bricks of nastiness. I want the bread from my gluten filled youth! (And by youth, I mean pre-October 2011.)

I typed in a quick Google search:  softest gluten free bread (because I am nothing if not obvious and logical) and 'lo and behold! a link to a post titled "Gluten-Free Japanese Milk Bread - the softest bread ever" written by Nicole Hunn over at Gluten Free on a Shoestring popped up. I don't know who Nicole is, but I'm hoping she is going to save my life and my taste buds.

No pressure, Nicole. No pressure at all. Except know that my entire happiness rests solely on the success of your recipe. (And whether or not I can whip up a Japanese Water Roux.)

* if anyone feels the desire to try this recipe out for themselves and then gleefully hand me a test loaf, I'd be more than happy to accept.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Things I've Been Doing Instead of Blogging

(1) I bought a house.
A small house. My very own small house. It is going to be absolutely beautiful and I cannot wait to share it with all with you.

(2) I watched Dotter compete in a pentathlon.
She swam. In five separate events. She (and we) spent (literally) all day in an incredibly loud confined space and she survived. Between events she hid in the locker room. I was worried about the noise. Oh, how she crumbles amongst the noises! And I worried about all the people. Oh, how she crumbles amongst all the people! And yet, she didn't. Not at all. And this made me so proud. My little girl. The one who needs her world structured just so is learning how to adapt in a world where it most assuredly is not so at all.

(3) We discovered Cletus has hearing loss.
We've been to a few doctors and have another upcoming appointment with a specialist in the city and we have a wonderful speech therapist involved. I've been down the speech therapy road with Dotter so I just needed a little reminder. Cletus is already showing signs of great improvement. Our next step is to determine whether or not he will continue to lose his hearing or if it's what you see is what you get. Or, more appropriately, what you hear is what you get.

(4) I assured a room full of angry citizens that I was not anti-American.
After an innocent miscommunication (or intentional misleading of the public), our office spent an entire day trying to reassure pissed off citizens that we were not attempting to prohibit the display and/or flying of our nation's flag. That evening's public meeting was standing room only and included a display of various flags as well as a family of well-behaved children decked out in Statue of Liberty costumes. The whole thing was as ludicrous and bizarre as you are imagining it to be.

(5) I went to see Ballet Folklórico De Antioquia at Young Auditorium, with my cousin.
Two of my cousins were adopted from Colombia but I always forget that. I forget that they're adopted and I forget that they're Colombian because I just see them as my cousins and sometimes I think they're more a part of our family than I am. Anyway, when I saw there was this Colombian dance performing in our little piece of the world I immediately wanted to go to learn more about where my beautiful cousin came from. I took my girls and she took her husband and we sat in awe of the beauty and grace and energy of these performers. And then I shielded my daughter's eyes as the dancers came out in barely there costumes to perform a tribal dance. Dotter said, "it looks like she's having a seizure." The Teen Bean said, "oh my god! It's like we're at a strip club!" And I thought, "oh, how I would love to have buns of steel."

(6) Big V will never qualify for Medicare.
Big V has worked for the same guy for over 13 years. He hasn't had a pay increase in over 8. Nor does he get any benefits. No vacation, no sick time or holiday pay. Sometimes he gets paid on Friday. Sometimes he doesn't. There's little to no documentation of actual hours worked or what was paid or what is owed. If he ever loses his job or gets hurt there is no such thing as receiving unemployment or disability. It's all pretty much suckage and I'm resentful that he hasn't opted to move on to a Real Job yet. Maybe when he turns 40...

(7) I made the most awesome gluten free peanut butter cookies I've ever tasted.
And I added M&M's. And then I ate all of them. Every last one. Probably because I was so stressed by the craptastic job Big V has and the doctor visits and, oh, I forgot Dotter needs braces, and -- it's just easier to eat.

(8) I finished reading The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.
Read it.

(9) I was cast in the production of Squirrels in the Attic at Beloit Civic Theatre.
I expect to see each and every one of you there; no excuses. I was cast as Lindsay Spencer which is, in a nutshell, bombdiggity. And now I'm stressed because I have a shit ton of lines to learn and no peanut butter cookies to eat. The rehearsal schedule is intense but worth it.

(10) I did a lot of laundry.
And I cleaned out Dotter's room. And vacuumed. And swept. And dusted ceiling fans. And tried to kill off an infestation of creepy ants. And paid bills. And attempted to organize the bookshelves (again). And watered the plants and cooked dinner and bought groceries and wiped down counters and scrubbed the toilet and, well, generally kept the house in running order. It was (and is) tiring. I'm contemplating winning the lottery and hiring a housekeeper.

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...