Friday, August 31, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Roses. Or Raspberries.

We recently had an election in our county. Now, being that I work in a governmental setting and see the politics that go on around me, I make it a strict rule to
  1. never talk about politics,
  2. never mention politics,
  3. never bring up the name of a politician, and
  4. never become one.
There are just too many factors at work to believe that a singular human being can change the system. That being said, I also refuse to have those stupid politician signs littering my lawn - with the one and only exception of a kid I went to school with because he asks so nicely. Also, because we called him the nickname of a type of fish and I feel like I owe him some respect as an adult.


I turned down my street and as my house came into view I realized I was the new owner of a sizable Those Signs and the partner of a very proud Big V.  "Did you see the sign?" he beamed.

I stared at him. It was hard to miss it, that's for sure.

Why do we have that sign in our yard?

"Well, you know how you're always telling me to get more involved in politics?"

I've never told you to get involved in politics.

"Well, you've told me I should be more involved with the community."

I've never told you to be more involved with the community.

"Well, you told me I should watch the news more."

Why do we have that sign in our yard?

"Well, you know how a couple of months ago, I was cleaning out the garage and I had all that stuff at the curb just to throw out but then that guy stopped with the crappy truck and he wanted to take all the old carpet because he puts it around his raspberry bushes? Or maybe it was his rose bushes? I don't remember. I just know that he told me he uses the old carpet to put around some sort of bushes in his garden. I guess he has a really awesome garden. You know, I wouldn't mind planting some stuff around our house but I just don't know what would grow here. Also, I wouldn't want something that's a lot of work. You know, like having to weed it all the time or water it every day. You know I really like those --"

Why do we have that sign in our yard?

"I was getting to that but you interrupted me. Anyway, the guy comes back from time to time because I told him I do flooring and once in a while I might have some small pieces of old carpet that I just toss in the garbage and he said he'd want all the old pieces because it doesn't matter what it looks like; like if it's stained or an ugly color because he just uses it around his bushes."

The sign, V!

"Oh! So, anyway, he stopped by today and asked if he could put that sign up because we're a corner lot and it has a lot of visibility. So I told him he could. And I figured you'd be happy because you're always telling me to get more involved in politics."

I have never told you to get involved in politics. Ever.

"Whatever - watch the news more; I can't remember every single word you've ever said to me."

Do you know what the sign is for?

"What do you mean?"

What office the person is running for.

" but it probably says it on the sign."

District Attorney.


Do you know who that guy actually is?

"... well, no..."

He's the attorney that represented my ex-husband in my divorce.



"This just got awkward, didn't it?"

As it turned out, the sign remained in place for the duration of the election season.

You're probably wondering why I would want a constant, daily reminder in my front yard of the period of my life when I spent thousands upon thousands of dollars waiting for my ex and his not-so-competent attorney to comply with such court direction like show up for a court date. (Seriously, people. Three times. Three different times we had scheduled court appearances where they didn't show up and the excuse was either "I forgot" or "It wasn't on my calendar" or even a blank, vacant stare. And each of those three times I was there with my attorney who had her clock ticking away, effectively computing all those billable hours, and each of those three times my ex was granted a continuance which meant I had to show up to court three more times with my attorney and her clock. And I paid her good money to sit next to me while we waited. And I won't even get into the whole oops, we forgot to bring those documents nonsense. But, hey, I'm not bitter.)

Anyway, the reason the sign stayed in the yard is because Big V felt it would be uncomfortable if Nasty Carpet Guy drove down our street and saw that the sign wasn't there. He would then wonder where the sign went and why it was gone and he had taken all that time to give it to us and we wouldn't want Nasty Carpet Guy to feel uncomfortable, would we?

(By the way, attorney dude lost the election.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I am the 68 Percent.

Research shows that couples who remodel a home together are 68% more likely to wind up murdered. Most likely due to the fact that the logical, cost-savings balanced with aesthetic appeal wife murders her idiot spouse that wants to demo the entire home and start from scratch. Hello! That's called new construction. And we can't afford the amount of wine that project would require.

In other news, my 10-year old daughter apparently qualified for the state peddle tractor pulls that will be held on the 15th of next month. Three hours away.

We're one step away from being Honey Boo Boo's neighbor.

Which means we won't have to keep having these discussions about remodeling that end in stabbings.

Friday, August 24, 2012

More Texts from the Teen. With Pictures.

Text From Teen: You know what song I'm obsessed with that you probably know cause its from back in the day?

Me: We Built This City by Starship?

Text From Teen: Nope. You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates!

Me: Oh.

Text From Teen:
My new obsession? You can bet your a$$ they are!


Text From Teen: Your boyfriend is here at the beach. He can be so embarrassing sometimes.

Disclaimer: this guy is NOT my boyfriend.


Text From Teen: Did you know at least 14 people get raped by dolphins each year?

Me: Can't you just say Hi Mom! I Love You! like normal kids?

Text From Teen:
It's real mom. It's very real.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If I Lived Alone.....

... I'd come home from work and the hidden bag of Butterfingers would still be in the back of the fridge behind the tub of Crisco and jar of pickled beets, and I would eat three of them (because they're the mini sized candy bars) and I wouldn't start crying because all I see are empty bright yellow wrappers strewn about my house.

... it would be impossible to ever find toenail clippings on the end table by the remote control because who does that?!

... all containers of Kool-aid would be filled with the proper powder to water ratio described in the directions and no one would ever pour themselves a tall glass of colored blah.

... toilet paper would find its way to the handy-dandy toilet paper dispenser and not sit on the side of the bathroom counter soaking up splashed water.

... I'd watch television for longer than 3.4 second bursts of time because my brain capacity can handle character dialogue.

... I would never empty my vacuum cleaner canister to discover a strange combination of kitty litter, corn flakes, and what appears to be a pair of shredded boxers.

And, last, but not least:

... all the errant hairs on the bar of soap would be mine.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nothing Can Stop You From Dancing

But a heart can't be helped and it gathers regret
Someday you'll wake up, and feel a great pain
And you'll miss every toy you've ever owned

In a karmic twist of fate, I celebrated my 39th birthday the same day my 66-year old Uncle David was laid to rest. Well, not exactly the same calendar date, but due to an international time zone, both events were held during the same time in space.

I spent the weekend thinking about mortality and about how someone would sum up my life: "She complained about money quite a bit... and never did seem to catch up on all that laundry."

I thought about how I haven't done any of the things I said I was going to do way back in high school. I thought about how many times I had made a decision and then life got in the way and decided things for me.

You'll want to go back
You wish you were small
Nothing will console your crying

And my dad and I sat in his kitchen until way past my bedtime talking about his baby brother who he can no longer touch and how he made promises to himself that he hadn't kept (mainly about traveling back home to Australia more often to see family).

And I listened as he told me about a prank the two of them played on their father that involved explosives and hiding in a ditch and how they almost got caught but totally got away with it and how they giggled in the dark and he can still hear his brother whispering:

Hey, Billy?
We're real lucky.
Yeah, yeah we are. 

And I listened as he told me about the time Uncle David came over to the US to visit and he came home from work to find Uncle David sitting on the back patio. Feeding the chipmunks and gophers crackers. The same chipmunks and gophers he'd been trying to remove from his garden because they were destroying all his plants and flowers. The same chipmunks and gophers he had set poison out to kill. But there sat Uncle David with a box of crackers. "Ahh... they're real cute, aren't they?" My dad smiled. "Yeah," he said, shaking his head. "Real cute."

You'll take the clock off of your wall
And you'll wish that it was lying

I also went out to dinner with my friends; my dear, dear friends who keep me sane and make me laugh until my ribs hurt and intelligently question things and set goals for themselves and motivate others; and it was so pleasant just to be sitting with them, near them, sharing the most humungous plate of nachos I've ever seen in my life, and talking about stuff. Stuff like running a half-marathon (them, not me) and climbing Mt. Rainer (them, not me) and taking a chance on  apossible new business venture (them, not me).

They try to remember
But still they forget
That the heart beats in three
Just like a waltz

But listening to them and thinking about my uncle made me realize something: no one is pushing time out of my way; I've just been letting it slip through my fingers. And everyone has things they want to do before they die, including me (just not climbing mountains or running for hours), and it's about time I just do them.

And nothing can stop you from dancing

lyrics by Regina Spektor, Firewood

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

My ten year old daughter (who I lovingly refer to on this blog as Dotter, which is actually Swedish for 'daughter' - clever, ain't I?) is somewhat, how shall I say, riddled with anxiety to the point she's probably going to have a nervous breakdown in less than a year, or a heart attack, but probably both.

Case in point: she just called me sobbing because she misses me. She's camping this weekend with her father. They haven't left yet.

What if there's a storm?
What if there's a tornado?
What if she misses me?
What if there's no phone service and she can't call me to tell me she misses me?

I told her to write down on a piece of paper what she would have said to me.

And then write down what she thinks I would have said back.

But what if there's no paper?
Or pens?
Or if there are pens what happens if they run out of ink?


My head hurts just thinking about it.

So, here's where I confess that I hope there isn't any phone service. Not because I hope she's tortured with sadness and loneliness... but because then maybe because there's nothing to do about it maybe she'll be forced to just enjoy it and be in the moment.

I know. It's not going to happen because she isn't wired that way.

And I don't know how to rewire her so she can relax and not be so worried about everything.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My how my standards have dropped.

As with any exhausted mother of an incredibly spirited toddler (read: holy f-ing god this child will not quit moving), I signed Cletus up for gymnastics class. Parents & Tots gymnastics class, if we're being specific.

Now, my number one rule of parenting is "don't sign the kid up for anything where I'm required to perform physically." Well, no, actually that's not true. My number one rule is "don't let the kid sleep with anything that might potentially strangle him in his sleep; especially a pull toy" (thanks to my mother who watched a movie where that happened and forever traumatized me with the details). My number two rule is "don't sign the kid up for anything where I'm required to perform physically."

Except this kid will. not. quit. moving.

The two sweet girls I birthed before him sat nicely. And played quietly. And never ventured to far (or too high) away from me.

The boy runs along the back of the couch, swings off towel bars and jumps from kitchen counters.

The girls played with dolls that had elaborate set-ups with furniture arrangements and multiple wardrobe changes.

The boy throws golf balls at my television set, skateboards down the hall and crashes his bike into the dining room table. On purpose.

And so, it was inevitable. I had to do something to break up our Saturdays.

Lucky for me class consists of 45 minutes of racing after a kid who just bolted across the room because he doesn't feel like stretching to the I like to Pike rhyming song. Two kids are signed up for this class: my 2-1/2 year old brute, and the smallest, daintiest 18-month old girl I have ever seen. You know how they have teacup poodles? This is a teacup baby. I swear the mother pulled her out of her pocket and placed her on the mat for warm ups. It's my job to make sure my child doesn't kill her by sommersaulting into her fragile cranium.


Let's just say 45 minutes was not enough time to wear this kid out. Which completely sucked because Dotter had a class immediately after his that we had to sit through. Originally, I planned on taking Cletus for a nice long walk while Dotter was in class, but I was exhausted. All that crawling through tunnels and jumping through hula-hoops and falling off that stupid beam (even though it was only half an inch off the floor) made me tired. And kind of sore.

Instead of pushing Cletus in a stroller I chased him down a flight of stairs to obtain what is referred to as Mommy's Magic Trick in the form of an overpriced Cheddar Chex Mix snack pack from a vending machine that refused to accept my dollar bill until the thirty-eighth try. Then I chased Cletus back up the stairs and back into the gym where I sat on the bleachers watching as he rolled around on the floor lapping up dropped goodies off the floor and listening to the judgmental rolling of the Perfect Parents' eyes.

But here's the thing. I know where my kid is: right here. Laying at my feet picking up fallen Chex Mix from the disgusting gym floor with his tongue, occasionally spinning himself around like a top before skooching over two inches to lick up another crumb. And he laid (and ate) at my feet for the entire time. I call that a win, people. I call that a win.

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