Friday, July 27, 2012

Remodeling your Parenting

Have you ever lived in a house that is in a constant state of remodeling? The sounds of cutting wood until 10 o'clock at night, even though you've been trying to get the kids to bed for hours. Having to wear shoes when you get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because you don't want to step on an errant nail. Drywall dust everywhere.

You sit happy, breathing deeply and decompressing for a few weeks until 'lo and behold, another project begins. More pounding and cutting, more nails and slivers, more dishes in the bathroom linen closet because your kitchen is currently destroyed. More drywall dust.

I'm thinking parenting is like that. A constant state of improvements and fixes and adjustments and learning how to make coffee in the bathroom sink. A constant dusting the drifting through the air until it decides to settle. Then you see it, take a deep breath and do what needs to get done... clean it up.

It's frustrating and annoying and exhausting; just when you get used to something it changes. Just when you think you've figured out how to get the laundry on the main floor you discover a major problem with the plumbing. Just when you think you've got the perfect day care providor you discover the kid who bites is your very own.

Just when the entry foyer is complete there's a problem with the bathroom. Just when you figure out how to play Just Dance they turn into teenagers and are too cool to speak to you.

"I just want to move some place where everything is done! and perfect! and I don't have to walk through these stupid plastic sheets duct-taped to the doorway!"

"I just want my kids to be happy! and healthy! and not freak out every damn time we're at swimming lessons!"

You picture the house complete. Perfectly arranged furniture, designer plates on the dining room table.

You picture your children complete. Married to the most fabulous faceless spouces with the most beautiful grandchildren.

 And you realize that one day the house actually will be complete. And quiet. And still.

And you realize that one day your children will be grown. Leaving you in even more quiet and stillness.

And you realize that time is going way too fast and there is nothing you can do to slow it down.

Meet the powder from last night's Fun Fest.

The toddler removed his pull-up and dusted.
Powder on the bedroom floor.
On the bed.
On the stuffed animals.
Powder in the hallway.
Powder on not one, but three upholstered chairs.
Powder on the CD player.
Powder on the cat.

I swept.
And mopped.


And still there is a fine dusting of baby powder
settling throughout my entire home.

Needless to say,
Mommy has decided Big Boys
don't get powder anymore.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What was that population typo in Twin Peaks all about anyway?

I've been super busy making sure Big V installs the toilet (which he has), reading a ton of books (which I have) and fighting cancer through my just 99 cents blog. [HUGE shout out to everyone who has donated already! For some reason it's not letting me update names/amounts...but I will prevail! I promise!] Because I believe that if everyone donated just 99 cents we'd have a shit ton of money that could actually make a difference.
Really. Think about it. I have 654 friends on Facebook. If they all donated just 99 cents, we'd have $647.46 to donate to cancer research.

About 805,000 attended Milwaukee's Summerfest this year. If all of them had donated just 99 cents, we'd have $796,950 to donate to cancer research.

The population of the fictional town of Twin Peaks was 5,120... if they'd all donate just 99 cents, we'd have $5,068.80 to donate. Of course, if we went off the "typo" on the sign in the series that read Population 51,201, we'd have $50,688.99.

The point is, if a lot of us work together we can each do a little bit of work that yields some big results. I kind of wish I would have figured this out as a child when it came time to clean my room, because my room was always a disaster and I had three siblings. Surely, I could have persuaded them that many hands make light work. But whatever. Now I have children of my own, so if something's messy I just get mad at them and tell them as a punishment they have to clean it up. (So far the teen and the 10-yr old have caught on to this. Only the toddler follows through and he doesn't scrub toilets so well.)

So, do me a favor. Read my recent post: What Difference Can We Possibly Make? and think about donating. Then do it.

Me? Well, I'm going to go slather on another layer of deodorant because I'm starting to smell like onions. And that is never good.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Porcelain God, Dethroned.

Last night, at 8 o'clock pm, as I was attempting to get the toddler to sleep, Big V decided to rip out the toilet in our only functioning bathroom. Because 5 years ago I had walked out of that same bathroom and, after sitting on that same toilet, announced that it was wobbly and probably would need to be re-set.

Of course, I had mentioned the wobbliness, the rocking, the fact our toilet could perform a complete 180-degree swivel and how there was no longer any trace of the caulk that once sealed the base of the toilet at the floor which meant I was now getting a puddle dripped on to my washing machine in the basement below every single time one of the kids took a bath and created their oh so fun tidal wave storms, perhaps once or twice, or roughly 8,762 times throughout the past 5 years.

But he picked 8pm on a Thursday.

Armed with the knowledge that all local hardware stores were closed for the evening and there was a 99.3% chance he wouldn't have all the parts he needed, Big V forged ahead. See, he's not a "jog around the block" kind of guy. He's a "run 16 miles barefoot across broken glass with angry half-starved bears chasing after you" kind of guy. The man likes a challenge.

Thirty minutes later he called me into the bathroom to point out all the ridiculousness that used to be our toilet. He hammered on about how it had been cobbled together, how it wasn't installed properly, how obviously they didn't know what they were doing.

And I pointed out I didn't have a working toilet.

And he pointed out how the subfloor was actually rotted and thank god we hadn't fallen through to the basement below but now this was going to add some time and expense to the project and, well, maybe he could just find some old two-by-fours in the garage and nail them in from the basement ceiling side for support instead of actually replacing the rotten wood like I'm assuming any normal person would do.

And I pointed out I didn't have a working toilet.

And then he told me that really the toilet was old and they don't make them like that any more and actually he'd never really seen one designed like this and so maybe he'd just have to get a new toilet but that would mean ripping out the whole plumbing system and then what kind of tile would I want on the floor because if he ripped out the plumbing system he would just go ahead and redo the floor because he wanted it to flow.

And I pointed out I didn't have a working toilet.

And then he started pacing around the house muttering to himself while I stared at the mess in the bathroom and then he stopped and said, hey look! There's a plumber's van parked across the street at our neighbor's house where those two guys are drinking beers. One of them must be a plumber. I'm just going to go over there and ask him to take a look at this...

And I pointed out I was going to my mother's.

And at 10:30pm I pulled back into the garage and was greeted by my toilet sitting in the middle of my parking space.

And I made a note that I didn't have a working toilet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Eat 80 Sugar Cubes A Day. And you?

This morning, at the only store open on my way to work, the normally crabby Check Out Clerk again, robotically scanned my items: much needed case of Coke (for the caffiene), much needed bag of PopChips (for the crunch), and much need small bag of M&M's (for the PMSing beast getting ready to rage inside my body).

Except this time, instead of heavily sighing before she rattled off the total in sales, she changed things up. Today, as I was rummaging through my purse for my debit card (mostly as an excuse to avoid eye contact) she said to me "You are just the cutest pregnant girl I've ever seen!" And I looked around to see who she was talking to because I. am. not. pregnant.

And she went on, "Just look at that cute little baby belly! You know, I've always hated girls like you - that look so cute pregnant. You an't even tell you're pregnant from the back. Me, well, I ballooned up so big no one could tell if the baby was coming out of my belly or my butt! hahahaha! So, how far along are you?"

"Not far enough." And then I swiped my card and typed in my pin number as she gushed on...

"So, is this your first?"

"Actually, I already have three children."

"Wow! You are going to be busy!!" And she handed my receipt.

So, I did what any normal 38-year old used to eat anything she wanted and never gained weight but who now sports the Bagel Belly of epic proportions mother of three who's youngest was over two and a half years old.... I called my Mom.

"So, I suppose this isn't the right time to tell you your father asked the same thing after you stopped over the other day." Umm... WHAT?!

And then I vented to my co-worker at work who said, "...but when you wear maternity clothes it's kind of misleading..." and I had to awkwardly explain how the shirts aren't actually maternity but rather cute and in-style but only if you imagine someone with an obviously nonexistant gut in them because it's my blubbery belly that's turning them into maternity shirts. Like that maxi dress I wore the other day thinking I was in style? Apparently not.

Although he did offer me a banana at lunch and offered to start walking with me to the top of this ridiculously tall cliff that's outside our office.

This intervention originally left me angry: they're so rude! Then depressed: what's happened to me? I'm hideous! I'll never leave the house again! To realistic: Alright. Let's make a plan.

I've only had 2 cans of Coca Cola today. This is my weakness. I love soda. Love. Love! LOVE! Like, I'm totally gonna ask it to marry me. For real! And I could probably drink a litre of soda in a day if I wasn't thinking about what I'm drinking. But then I thought knowledge is power and I calculated it and I drink three to four cans a day and that's up to 48 ounces which is 6 cups of soda a day. And then I looked at the sugar content and on one can it says 39 grams of sugar in one can - which is like 20 sugar cubes. So, basically today I learned that I eat 80 sugar cubes a day.

I am an addict and I need help.

My first goal is to cut the soda down to 1 can a day. This may get ugly. I could do the whole sugar-free stuff but it's in my best interest to stop the sugar.

My second goal is to get a pair of tennis shoes that don't cause blisters.

My third goal is to actually get in the pool and not sit on the side reading while the rest of the family swims.

My fourth goal is to research local fitness classes. Because one thing I know about me is that I have no self discipline. However, I am competitive. This means that if I'm running on a treadmill in my basement I'll quit the second I start breathing hard. But if I'm in a class with 10 other people I'm all heck, no, I ain't quitting!

And my fifth goal is to go to sleep at a decent time because I stay up way too late reading and then I have no energy to do anything... but man, do I read some good books!

Maybe as time goes on I'll add doing sit-ups. I'm still on the fence about that one.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I Saw Neil Diamond In Concert And Have The Back Sweat To Prove It

Last night, Big V and I went to a concert. A real grown-up concert at the World's Largest Music Festival called Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI.

I actually thought we'd be the youngest ones there - but we weren't! (We were close to being the youngest ones there, of course. But we weren't.) It was a lot of fun to yell out "we weren't even born yet!" when Mr. Diamond would introduce a song he wrote/performed back in 1960-something.

Anyway, since The Jazz Singer's in high demand we could only afford the bleacher seats. Bleacher seats (1) have no back, and (2) have no defined sides so Big V was all don't get all weird if you accidently touch someone. And I was all what are you even talking about? It's not going to be that bad...

That's Big V's funky assailant knee on the right. It tried to kill him. 
 ... but, my god, it was. It was VERY bad. It's accepted ettiquette to put your knees on either side of the person sitting in front of you, but I got stuck in front of Green Shirt Guy who happened to be extra wide. He threw the whole Stranger's Back Wedged in Between My Crotch System out of whack. So, the person to my right was sitting crooked and I was sitting crooked and needless to say, it was uncomfortable.

I tweeted:

Bleacher seats @NeilDiamond! My knees are currently embedded in some guy's back fat. #summerfest

 .... but it was never shown on the jumbo screens flashing all the sweet tweets. Suck ups.

Neil is going to come on stage rriiiiight there.
Big V agreed that this was the biggest melon he ever saw but we were too wedged in to switch places. Plus he pointed out that his knees were naked and mine were protected by my capri's and he would totally vomit if that guy's back sweat touched his flesh. And I was all who's getting weird now?

Eventually, though, Neil came out and everyone stood and cheered with wild abandon! Which is mostly just a lot of excitement about seeing a living legend helped along by the 4 beers you downed waiting for the show to start.

Except Green Shirt Guy. Green shirt guy did not stand. Ever. Instead, Green Shirt Guy took that opportunity to push further back in his seat and get comfy. Meanwhile I was standing as far back as humanly possible. (Note how far back my footsies are compared to the two next to me. And I ain't got dainty feet, you know what I'm sayin'?) There is now a permanent etching of the bleacher in the back of my calves. While we were all standing and clapping and singing Sweet Caroline at the top of our lungs - bah, bah, bahh! - Green Shirt Guy read up on B-1 Bomber Missions (I peaked over his noggin to his brightly lit iPhone screen) and gruffly reminded the patron to his direct right that you're not allowed to videotape the performance. He was a gem.

Overall, it was a good night, back sweat trickling on my knee caps and all. We did decide that from now on we're splurging for seats with clearly defined backs and sides. Which is why I purchased pavilion seats to see Demi Lovato at Ravinia. Because I'm a person who needs my unintruded personal space.

Also, am I the only one who confuses a young Neil Diamond with David Copperfield?

Cracklin Rosie... or disappearing rosie?

I saw Neil Diamond, with his black guitar and his sexy voice ... and I have Green Shirt Guy's back sweat to prove it.

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...