Thursday, December 28, 2006
1) Wash the dog.
2) Get the brakes fixed on my van.
What are the first two things my father said to me?
1) "The dog needs a bath."
2) "You need new brakes."
(Number of times I misused homonyms and had to edit this post: 2)
My mother to me: "Can I please take just a second and go to the bathroom?"
Patrick, now you know why I'm always apologizing for going to the bathroom. It's a big imposition, you know.
Number of times I've gone to the bathroom just for a break so far: 12
In fact, I was legitimately using the facilities when my husband walked in and sang out, "Stop hiding."
Number of doughnuts my diabetic father has eaten: 5
Number of pieces of chocolate cream pie my diabetic father has eaten: 1
Plus ice cream, chocolates, and french fries.
Number of my diabetic father's empty soda cans I've had to pick up and throw away myself: 6
Then my mother got quicker on the pick-up.
Number of times I've seen my mother covertly give my father the finger: 1
Number of large mammals my parents killed with their mini-van on the way down here: 1
They are getting way too old to be driving so far.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
It is a miracle.
And I'm not even wearing underwear, so all of my underwear is clean.
Let me just revel in that for a moment.
Feels so good.
It won't last long.
For one thing...
*cue the flying monkey music*
...my parents are on their way.
They decided on the spur of the moment last week to drive down for Christmas.
Yes, you read that right. Drive down. Almost 3,000 miles. Because my father doesn't like to fly. Note that I didn't say "is afraid to fly." I said "doesn't like to fly." He has control issues.
But their Christmas Eve departure was delayed until Tuesday evening so that my father could visit his eye doctor.
Oh, yeah. Did I mention that?
He's going blind.
But he's going to hop right in the car and drive across country to see the kids. (I originally wrote to see "me" but clearly that isn't the case.)
Having a father who is going blind puts a hell of a lot of guilty pressure on me to let him "see" the kids.
Oh! And the next time my mother kvetches at me for not calling her while I'm traveling I'm just going to say, "Hey, yeah. Remember that time you drove across country with your half-blind husband? Mmm hmm. Yeah. Thanks for the phone calls."
Parents. They're like children with better accessories.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
It's a question I've heard from my husband a thousand times before. I guess it makes sense seeing as he is a military man and all. (Come to think of it, he actually specializes in planning.)
This time, his query was followed by a suggestion.
"Shall we fire bomb the house and just move?"
Good suggestion, Baby.
I think anyone who spends Christmas with kids can understand that post-Christmas chaos of new toys and packing materials that never seems to go away. And anyone who knows me understands that when my house is messy, I am moody. So I was all over that suggestion.
"Sure! We can move into field grade housing and I get all new stuff. Sounds like a plan to me. In fact I think I subconsciously tried to do just that with the tea pot last week!"
It's true. I almost burnt the house down on my son's birthday. For real. That's how things have been going for me lately.
I woke up that morning and felt the need for instant coffee. So I turned the kettle on. I then left base to take the kids to school. But I forgot my purse (with my military i.d. in it, of course) so I had to go to the base Visitor's Center and call my husband to bring it to me.
I went home for a few minutes and then set out again to complete the thousands of tasks that needed to get done that morning.
When we came home after my son's birthday party my husband asked, "Did you know the kettle is on?"
Well, duh. Of course I didn't. The whistle and handle had melted and the metal was scorched. Thank goodness Marc and Jess gave me a Hot Shot for Christmas or I'd have been sans coffee all Christmas break. (Thanks, guys! My husband thanks you too.)
For now the plan is to try not to burn down the house. The plan is to clean and organize and get back in the groove. The plan is to revel in how cute the kids are playing with the new scooters Santa brought them.
The plan is to make it to New Years.
Anyone else have a plan?
Monday, December 25, 2006
How could I have forgotten about Santa's cookies? Luckily, I had leftover baking supplies on hand.
The boy thinks this is the best part.
The girl loves to mix.
Mostly they love to do things together.
Merry, merry Christmas from our family to yours!
I'm sending my love to so many of you. May you all have a very happy holiday.
P.S. Miss you tons! Mwuah.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Do not--I repeat--do not under any circumstances do the unwrapped nasty in the month of March. Get yourself a chastity belt or super glue a condom, I don't know. But sex in March? Just don't do it.
Having a kid with a December birthday sucks.
All my love and XXX and OOO,
P.S. I'm off to another kid's birthday party and then another kid's Christmas pajama party. If I survive, I'll post more later.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
When we were kids and something had to be decided my brother and I would always shoot odds or evens. We would hold our hands behind our backs say, "Row, sham, bow," and shoot.
The first time the opportunity to shoot for something came up with my husband, I naturally sang out, "Row, sham, bow," before I shot out two fingers. He looked at me in horror.
"What the hell was that?" he asked.
I explained about my brother and "Row, sham, bow" and he declared me insane.
"You're supposed to say, 'Once, twice, three,' before you shoot. What kind of weird ass childhood did you have?"
But tonight while he was taking a bath, I was watching My Boys on TBS and they said, "Row, sham, bow." Vindication! I'm so glad we live in the age of TiVo. I hit record as fast as I could and waited for him to come downstairs.
I sat there with a huge self-satisfied grin on my face as they said the line.
"Ah ha! See? Row. Sham. Bow!"
"What are you talking about?" he asked me, again giving me that look.
"Row, sham, bow. See. I told you we weren't they only ones to say that. Vindication, Baby!"
"Ah, Honey. I hate to point this out to you but you said you and your brother always said, 'Sha, sha, sha, bang.'"
"No. No. It was 'Row, sham, bow.'"
"Hon, it was 'Sha, sha, sha bang,' Believe me. I remember."
"Row. Sham. Bow?"
Damn it all! He's right. I did claim to always say, "Sha, sha, sha, bang." But I'll be damned if I tell him that.
Side note: Tomorrow is Little Tuna Boy's 5th birthday. His outdoor party is getting rained out. And we'll be taking a trip to the doctor's office because he has an ear ache. Poor little guy.
Friday, December 15, 2006
My husband and I loved going to the movies. If there was something out that looked interesting, we'd be there to see it. Some of our most memorable teenaged dates were in the Rt. 3 Cinema where we got all pissed off when they raised the ticket prices to $4.
Now whenever we have a babysitter, we run right out to the movies.
Every year before Christmas, we finagle a babysitter and go out sans children to go Santa shopping. It usually takes us all evening, but this year we were done in record time. So we decided to go to a movie. We parked in the parking garage and bought tickets but were somewhat early. So we walked around the mall.
We ended up in a kitchen store. They had this really cool stainless steel waffle iron that I've been wanting for a while. And because I'm a spoiled princess, my husband bought it for me. But we didn't have time to go back to the car before the movie started.
So we took our waffle iron to the movies.
When the hell did we get so old?
In the last couple of weeks I've seen four movies, and they could not have been more different from each other.
Apparently, my husband is a James Bond fan. I really had no idea. How could I be getting schtupped by the same guy for...doing the math...carry the one...fifteen years and not know that he loved James Bond.
James Bond is not really my cup of tea. Until now. Hot damn! How hot is Daniel Craig? Those eyes. That face. That square cut bathing suit. When he appeared naked my husband whispered to me, "Now I know why your friends liked this movie."
I was too busy drooling to reply.
I've also recently seen Happy Feet (loved it), Rent (eh *shrug*), and Adam and Steve (funny!). Could those movies be any more different from one another? Actually, if you stretched first you could conclude that they are all based on the theme of belonging.
Except Casino Royale. That was based on sex.
And thank goodness.
In other completely unrelated news, I really miss my husband.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
My children had a beginner violin concert yesterday. It was rather cool because they got to share the experience. My son was the youngest beginner on the stage and my daughter played the most advanced piece.
The boy was so cute. He didn't suffer even the slightest bit of hesitation and was nothing but attentive and happy. The girl did pretty well herself. A piece actually fell off her bow, but she ignored it and played on. I was really proud of them. They were mostly interested in getting cookies at the reception.
As we were getting in the car, a man called out to me. He seemed familiar and I thought he might be on the school board. So rather than ignore him, which I am known to do (because my dad was a cop and taught me that all strangers are to be feared) I spoke with him.
He explained that he was the "editor" of a blog. My first thought was that he recognized me from here. Talk about a freak out moment! Then suddenly I remembered where I had seen him before.
Last year our violin school had a private concert with a famous cellist. This blogger had come in and started taking pictures and it made the director nervous. When she suggested that he get the cellist permission first he explained that he wrote a blog like it gave him some kind of press pass. He spoke of his blog like it was the New York Times arts section.
I was laughing hysterically on the inside. And when I got home I checked out his blog. Um, yeah. Nice blog, dude. I was going to write about it at the time, but never got around to it. (Or never found a way to make it interesting.) (Still haven't.)
Knowing the extent of his readership, I agreed to let our picture be taken for his blog. He explained how I could find it and asked us our names. He asked me if I was their mother because I look too young to be anyone's mother. GUFFAW!
When we got in the van my daughter exclaimed, "I'm finally going to be famous!"
"Well, not really, honey. I'm sorry but it just isn't that big of a deal."
"I'm going to tell my teacher that I'm going to be in the Arts Blog!" she said. "I'm going to be on the Internet!"
"Well, honey, your picture is on the Internet all the time. I'm always putting pictures of you guys up to share with my friends." I just couldn't think of how to explain a blog to her.
She's not convinced that I know what I'm talking about. How could her mom have any clue about something as hip as blogging? She's just sure that this will be her launch to fame. That this is how she will finally be known!
Combine this with the fact that she read an e-mail over my shoulder and has figured out the whole Tuna Girl thing and I think I'll soon be forced out of my blogging closet.
Shit. Fuck. Damn. Piss.
I better get it all out now before I'm forced to clean things up.
Note to self: Look into Net Nanny!
You know what's really going to suck? When she gets a blog of her own.
Shit. Damn. Piss. Fucking hell!
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
I woke up shaking this morning because of just such a dream.
Now no matter what I try to write about, or talk about I can't get it out of my mind.
Some nameless, faceless people were tormenting me by torturing and killing people I love. And they were concocting situations out of some horrific reality show where I would be responsible for how my loved-ones would be tortured or killed.
The one thing I knew for sure was that there was no way out.
When the dream woke me this morning, I could remember every detail. Now, all these hours later, I can only remember the worst parts.
Near the end, a friend was hanging so that his weight was supported by the top of a freight elevator. Every few minutes the elevator would rise up and then drop. My friend would fall only to be stopped by a rope tied around his chest that would stop him from crashing to his death, but would break his ribs.
The elevator would rise again and the whole tortuous process would repeat itself over and over and over again and the rope would get weaker every time.
When I finally found my way to where this friend was, I was elated that it was not who I thought it would be. They may have gotten a friend of mine, but he wasn't someone I loved and couldn't live without. So I set to work with the other people there trying to save him, but the entire time I kept repeating in my head, "Oh, thank god. Oh, thank god. Oh, thank god."
We somehow knew that the only way to save him was to replace his exact weight on the top of the elevator before it fell again.
Another female friend of mine grabbed some heavy debris and jumped on the elevator, simultaneously pushing the man off. We all stood there in horror waiting to see if she had miraculously gotten the weight exactly right.
Just as we were expecting the elevator to rise again, I got this gut feeling that she was nowhere near heavy enough. I spied some crumbling bricks in a corner and threw them on with her just as the elevator rose up to start its plunge.
It wasn't enough. Not only would she fall to her death, but the elevator shaft would explode to punish us for our insolence in trying to mess with "fate".
She jumped off, but sat in shock. I screamed to her and to everyone to run for their lives, but nobody moved. Except me. I ran away from a group of my friends knowing that every one of them would burn, or fall, or be crushed to death.
As I ran I saw the very person I had expected to be on top of the elevator being pulled and pushed at gunpoint to the center of a room.
And I knew. This was the whole purpose. To make me feel so guilty that I was glad he wasn't on the freight elevator, only to torture and kill him right before my very eyes.
Even though I knew I was running toward him to see him die horrifically--and probably be captured, tortured, and killed myself--I couldn't help it. I had to tell him I loved him before he died.
So I ran. And screamed. But I didn't have enough breath and the words came out as just a squeak. "I love you. I love you. I love you." But he couldn't hear me. He was suffering.
And I knew he would die because I loved him. And he wouldn't even know it.
That's when I woke up. It was like my psyche just couldn't handle conjuring up the exact way he would die.
I've been carrying around the guilt and regret all day long, like it was all real. And I should warn my friends right now. If I melt into a sappy puddle of affection out of nowhere, this is why. I don't want anyone to die without them knowing how I feel.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Want to hear something fucked up?
Because my husband is away and unreachable, I had to text Patrick tonight and ask him, "Am I due for PMS?"
To which he replied, "Yes, actually. For the next five days."
That's fucked up! Right?
But it's most fucked up for my kids who have to live all alone with me right now.
Anyway, that started an evening of occasionally texting back and forth with Patrick. The first of which from me read, "God fucking damn iy! I knew you'd know. ROWR!!! I can be such a biych."
Oh, I should mention that the "T" key on my Treo is broken. For some reason it will only type a "Y". Ain't that fucking annoying?
Among Patrick's texts was one that began, "You won't believe where I am and what I'm doing right now!"
I don't know. Ay yhe Riyz geyying fisyed by Neil Payrick Harris?
That's a fairly common theme for us. (The texts, not the fisying.) Remember his evening with Debra Messing? Or Cyndi Lauper? Or that one night stand he had with...
Oops. I'm not supposed to share that.
These little adventures of his almost always happen on nights when I'm all alone at home, gorging on twice baked potatoes and waffles and feeling especially trapped and whiney.
You know what would go good with twice baked potatoes and waffles? Turkey bacon.
Where the fuck was I going with this?
Oh, yes! At least his confirmation of my hormonal state gives me an excuse for the bad thing I did.
Did I eat an entire cheesecake? No. But thank you for that guess, Patrick.
Did I sleep with the pizza delivery boy? No. But the pizza sure was good.
So I didn't eat something. And I didn't sleep with someone? What else could cause me so much angst?
I bought something. And you wouldn't guess what it is in a thousand years. I got caught up in a bit of a bidding war on eBay and I just had to buy it out from under the asshole who made an automatic max bid of $600.01. Fucker.
I bought a professional ice skate sharpener.
But hey! We only have to sharpen our skates 137.002 times and it will pay for itself.
Merry Christmas, Honey.
I would have gotten less screwed if I was ay yhe Riyz geyying fisyed by Neil Payrick Harris. At least then I wouldn't have screwed myself.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I sat on my knees in the grass and laughed maniacally.
Just call me Grace.
But at least I have a good sense of humor.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
A note, to all of you parents out there: Doing an Internet search for horse tails will not yield what you expect.
Damn, there are a lot of different kinds of butt plugs.
Monday, December 04, 2006
I can't stop cleaning. And if someone doesn't hide my credit card, I'm going to buy Target out of every contemporary/Modern/Thomas O'Brien/Isaac Mizrahi/Design for All (including frumpy housewives) piece of crap they sell.
Not only have I bleached, dusted or vacuumed every surface in this place, I've hauled out the Christmas decorations and gone hog wild.
Unfortunately, every piece of country casual Christmas crap I pull out of the box reminds me of how far from my personality my decor has veered. Since I rarely buy stuff for my home myself, my house is full of gifts and hand-me-downs. And frankly, it looks like my mother lives here.
As for the outside of our house, if it were up to me every window and the roof line would be lined with white lights. The trees would be full of tiny, white lights and I might even go as far as to let them twinkle. There would be a wreath in every window and door.
Clearly, it's not up to me.
And look! Our snowman has erectile disfunction. We can't get him to keep his candy cane up no matter what we do. Sounds like my last boyfriend.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
The other day, CB e-mailed me about a mutual friend of ours. Her sister had been killed by her husband. Her husband!
Allegedly, he had beat her up over a text message, then made her sleep in the garage. When he went to carry her in the house in the morning (so sweet of him) he couldn't wake her up. So he called 911.
While it is not my place to make suppositions, (will that protect me in a libel case?) I think the truth is somewhere more along the lines of he beat her to death and dumped her body in the garage. But as anyone who watches CSI knows, he was afraid he'd never get away with it. So he dragged her in the house, and started composing his, "It was an accident! I didn't mean to kill her!" story.
How does this happen?
Friday, December 01, 2006
It is World AIDS Day. For reasons I can't explain, I feel profoundly thankful that my family and friends who are negative continue to remain so. And while I don't think about it so much anymore, there are times when I am reminded to be incredibly thankful that my friends who are positive continue to stay healthy. But I worry. It's what I do.
My friends have lost people they love this year. Specifically, two friends have lost their fathers. I am thankful that I have yet had to tell my children that a grandparent has died. My father and my mother-in-law are not healthy people. But they continue to live productive and happy lives. Even my grandparents are still alive and relatively well. Yet a book titled I Miss You, A First Look at Death sits on my bookcase waiting for the right time to be read. I don't think I can handle a loss anywhere near as gracefully as my friends have. My heart twists for them.
I know too many loving couples who are struggling to conceive a child. I was goddamned fucking lucky to be able to conceive, carry and deliver two children with relative ease. I know it. I am thankful for it. I am even more lucky that my children are very healthy and happy. And I am luckier still that my husband has always been a true partner and wonderful father. And that he was by my side while both of my children were born.
My husband got a notice about non-voluntary deployments to Iraq this week. Isn't non-voluntary such a nice way to put it? One of them is for a job as a liason to the new Iraqi government. I told my husband that didn't sound like much fun. "It sounds fucking dangerous," was his assement. I am abso-fucking-lutely grateful that at the bottom of that notice in very fine small print was an explanation that officers of his rank were welcome to volunteer, but would not be non-volled for the assignment. He's been deployed enough since 2001 to do his duty, but not so much to be in excessive danger or change the dynamics of our family or our partnership for the worse. When he flies out on his next TDY (next week) to a nice safe continental base, I will be thankful he is safe and close. And I will feel deep gratitude and respect for the families of soldiers who are deployed all over the world.
There is so much more. My friends struggle to pay rent, and I am thankful for all that I can afford. I wish I could do more. My friends are ill and I feel so lucky to be healthy, even when I don't take care of myself. People I love are hurt, alone, scared and in pain. And I feel for them deeply. Yet it is only my empathy that causes me pain. Sure I have been hurt. But I have always been able to forgive or move on. I'm good at moving on. I'm thankful for that.
All of this gets in my brain and I can't let it go. Lately I've been spending the hours after my husband is in bed, but before I am exhasuted enough to fall asleep looking for distractions. Any distractions.
Tonight Brian gave me the idea to Google me ex-boyfriends. I had honestly never thought of it before. But Patrick and I happened to bring up the "Oh! Duh! He's was so gay!" moment I had about one of them recently. So I thought it sounded like a good distration.
The first one is the same rank as my husband but in the Navy AND an M.D. He is an orthopedic surgeon. I knew he'd be a doctor someday. I'm surprised he went the military route though. Especially since he probably had to get off the steroids to pass the drug tests.
Two of the others have such common names that they happen to share will celebrties that finding a web identity for them was impossible. But I did find one more. I had briefly dated Brian in high school while my best friend was dating his brother.
I knew what had become of him before. But it was like someone out there felt the need to remind me one more time of just how lucky I am. I found him here. And here.
29 was too fucking young. Rest in peace, Brian.
I swear, I will never be anything but thankful ever again.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
While I was unpacking from our New York trip I noticed that my top secret nightstand drawer was ajar. I tried to close it, but something was stuck. So I eased it open to find a note taped to my much-beloved Magic Wand.
"I fixed your vibrator. You owe me..."
Yeah, you know. I don't think I'm going to tell you what I owe him.
If you'll remember, my magic wand had died a tragic death back in February. But I found that if I held the cord in a very specific position, I could still get it to work. Vibrators ain't cheap, people. Lately, though, it was getting harder and more frustrating to coax it to do it's job.
My first thought was that he had bought me a new one and only claimed to fix it. When he assured me that he had, "...opened it up and fixed it," I started to laugh. I don't know why. I just think that his performing electrical surgery on my Magic Wand is fucking hysterical. If only I had known he possessed such skills before.
"I can do things, you know," he told me, somewhat affronted by my laughter.
"Sure, you can fix my vibrator, but you claimed you couldn't install the ceiling fan."
Busted. "I could install the ceiling fan. I just didn't want to. What a pain in the ass." Now he was starting to laugh too.
As I marveled over the wand, he said, "You want to plug it in, don't you? You don't trust me."
I have to admit, as far as I'm concerned, fixing an electrical cord on a small appliance is akin to voodoo magic. I did want to see if it really worked. But I was laughing too hard and I didn't want to insult him any more, so I said that I trusted him and I'd try it out later.
It wasn't until the next morning that I had time to test his workmanship. I plugged that sucker in and got comfy in bed. I flicked the switch and...nothing.
But it had only come unplugged. So I leaned over the side of the bed and plugged it in again. But when I rolled back over in bed, it came unplugged. Over and over again, I rolled my naked ass around in that bed trying to get it to stay plugged in.
Suddenly it hit me. The cord was shorter.
Sure, he fixed my vibrator. And in the process made the cord too short to use it in the comfort of my bed.
I guess the last laugh is on me.
And he owes me one extension cord.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
And the next thing I knew, I was waking up almost two hours later.
How freaking exhausted do you have to be to fall asleep sitting upright in a kitchen chair?
Monday, November 27, 2006
"Ahhhh!" I am child-free.
Our trip to New York was great. Sadly, my husband wasn't able to join us because of work, but we were so busy there, and he was so busy here, that we barely had time to miss each other. But shepherding two kids around the Big Apple can be a daunting task. Thank goodness for Uncle Patrick.
Sunday -- Day 1
Before the race
Sunday was all about the Race to Deliver. My son was a little nervous while we were waiting to start. He kept telling me he was scared. But when the race organizers walked us out to the start point and I pointed back to the finish line, he exclaimed, "Oh! That's easy!" and his nerves were gone. Though he was confused by all the adults at the start, once he started, he loved it. He ran with a big smile on his face. He got his ribbon at the finish line, and I've never seen him so proud.
My daughter had the exact opposite experience. Uncle Patrick took her to her start line. He told me that she was really excited and into it. And she started with a smile on her face. By the time she crested the hill before the finish line, she was behind the pack. We don't have hills here on the bayou. She was getting that distressed look on her face that I know so well, but she wasn't stopping. But that face made some woman jump out of the crowd to run with her. Which embarrassed her. And she started to cry. But she didn't stop. She just cried all the way into the finish line.
Between me, Patrick, and Jase we convinced her that by not stopping and finishing the race, she did awesome. I also had to assure her that she was the youngest in her division and probably the only first-time racer. Once she got her gift bag she was back in good spirits and ready to run more races here at home. Everyone has to start somewhere. Oh! But I'm in trouble for not starting her racing when she was three-years-old. Only my kid.
The important thing is that the kids helped Patrick raise $535 for God's Love We Deliver. Thank you so much to everyone who supported us. Patrick and Jase's team raised $1978.99 and the kids learned a valuable lesson about charity. Extra special thanks go to Marc and Jess for their very generous contribution.
After the race we had a huge brunch at Fred's then headed back to the park. We explored Belvedere Castle and let the kids play at Heckscher Playground. We saw the statue of Balto, rode the carousel, and skated at Wollman Rink. We stopped off at Artie's deli on the way home and crashed for the night.
Monday -- Day 2
Monday was work day for Uncle Patrick. So I turned on PBS and slept in a little while the kids vegged out. Then we met up with Patrick for lunch and dessert at Serendipity. The kids had read about the famous Frozen Hot Chocolate, but decided they'd rather have sundaes instead.
But there was no way we were going anywhere else before my son got a chance to ride on the Roosevelt Island Tramway. Patrick headed back to work and we headed toward Roosevelt Island. It didn't occur to me to take pictures there.
Then we headed toward Fifth Avenue. First we headed upward to the Top of the Rock where the kids were more impressed by the elevator ride than the view. They were much more impressed with Build-a-Bear workshop. And because I and my wallet are gluttons for punishment, we braved the crowds in Times Square and went to Toys R Us. After riding the Ferris wheel and letting them pick out $20 worth of toys each, I practically ran out of there and down the steps to the first subway station I could find. Dinner that night was bananas and popcorn, because I am Mother of the Year.
Tuesday -- Day 3
In Central Park
My daughter kept reminding me how much she likes science, so after violin practice on Tuesday we visited the Museum of Natural History. They comp the suggested donation if you show a military ID. Yellow school busses circled the entire block and I have never been so overwhelmed by other people's children. It was a good thing Uncle Patrick was working. We blew through there faster than the kids realized. After a quick lunch, we headed back to Central Park.
It is the simple things that kids often enjoy the most. I sat on a bench in the Diana Ross playground and watched my children play on a tire swing for almost an hour. Then we enjoyed a leisurely walk south over Bow Bridge and past Bethesda Fountain. We found Balto again then enjoyed the Central Park Zoo and Tisch Children's Zoo until they closed. The zoo in central park is tiny but it was perfect for two little one's who are just waiting for Uncle Patrick to get off work.
While we were waiting for Patrick to walk across the park we found a perfect little playground near the zoo. It had the coolest slide built right into a hill. I have a feeling that when they think about their trip to New York years from now, their fondest memory will be of playing on that slide until dark.
Because Uncle Patrick is the coolest uncle ever, he took us to FAO Schwarz where the kids got to play on the giant keyboard. After my daughter drooled over the costumes, and my son drooled over the Thomas trains we headed to Union Square for dinner at the Chat 'n' Chew. We took a cab home, because the kids had been dying to take a real New York taxi ride.
Wednesday -- Day 4
On Wednesday morning, Uncle Patrick was my savior. He took the kids out for breakfast and let me sleep for an hour more. Ah, sweet, sweet rest. Then, because I figured it was time to send Uncle Patrick out of the frying pan and into the flame, we visited the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Good sport that he is, he accompanied my daughter to a basket making class where she spent most of her time. I just followed my little boy around and watched him try to make friends.
Then we headed to Times Square again, (What were we thinking?) where we were the very lucky recipients of a backstage tour of Spamalot. I'm trying not to think about what payment Uncle Patrick has to make to his friend for that favor. The kids were more impressed than I thought they would be. My daughter started to dance and my son started to sing. But they don't quite get the significance of standing on a Broadway stage. As my daughter said, "I perform on stage all the time, Mom. What's the big deal?" I think someday she'll appreciate it.
We had dinner that night at Dave & Buster's where the kids had a blast in the arcade. And Patrick beat me at air hockey. But my high score at Skee Ball was 240 which I think beats him. So it's okay.
On the way home, we walked by the balloon inflation area for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. That was very interesting. Especially when we saw that the balloons all look like they are assuming the position. By then it was starting to rain and we were very happy to get home to Patrick's apartment.
Thursday -- Day 5
Asleep at MAK and K's
We woke up to pouring rain on Thursday. We had planned to get up early and stake out a good spot on the parade route. But our late night and the cold rain changed our plans. We stopped for hot coffee and made our way down to 75th Street. We were more than a dozen deep in the crowd, but after Uncle Patrick's shoulders got tired from holding the boy, the lady in front of us offered to let the kids stand on her step ladder. Who says New Yorkers aren't nice?
When it started to really pour, it was pretty easy to talk the kids into heading home to Patrick's warm apartment and watching the parade on TV. By the time we got home, the parade was just reaching Macy's and we watched the whole thing warm and dry in our pajamas.
We all went a little stir crazy on Thanksgiving Day and we were so thankful to head out to Queens for dinner at MAK and K's with a bunch of their friends. We had a wonderful dinner and a great time. The kids loved MAK and K and especially loved snuggling in their bed and watching the Little Mermaid. We had a hard time dragging my sleepy kids home, but that night was the highlight of my week. I always love seeing MAK and seeing him hold my sleeping son just affirms that he is indeed the most adorable person on the face of the Earth. It's amazing how family can be made through this silly blogging thing.
Friday -- Day 6
On the ferry
By Friday we had checked-off every item on the kids' New York To Do lists but one: a boat ride. So we headed to the Village for lunch at Peanut Butter and Company and then to the Staten Island Ferry. The kids were momentarily impressed by the Statue of Liberty (something I had been waiting 33 years to see) but then were distracted looking in the water. "Oh, look! A piece of wood! Hey! There's a cup! Wow! Medical waste!"
We then headed toward Chinatown for my daughter's favorite moment of the whole trip: seeing the tiny turtles for sale. She did everything she could to convince Uncle Patrick that we needed a tiny turtle. To no avail. But those kinds of crowds and a three and a half foot tall Tuna Boy don't mix, so before Mommy blew a gasket we found a subway station. We headed to Grand Central Station, mostly to use the restrooms, then to Times Square (again!) for dinner at Carmines.
Since we had to get up in the middle of the night for our 5:30 a.m. flight (Hey! I saved almost $1,000.) we put the kids right to bed and packed. Then Patrick and I cracked open a bottle of champagne (which I never spell correctly so I should just call it sparkling wine!), toasted a wonderful week and spent the evening talking. 3:15 a.m. came too damn soon.
In the car on the way to the airport, I asked the kids what their favorite part of the trip had been. My daughter's favorite was Chinatown. And my son's favorite was riding the subway. He could have happily ridden the trains all day long. And by the end of the week, he could probably navigate them better than me.
For me, my favorite part was having Thanksgiving dinner with friends. But I also loved that Patrick and I got to spend our evenings quietly talking and enjoying each other. It was nice to have that time together. Having a best friend who lives so far away is hard. But having this time together makes it easier.
Patrick's pictures are here.
More of my pictures are here.
Friday, November 17, 2006
As independent as I am (and I'm just a little, tiny bit) there are some things even I can't do for myself. Some things require my man's doing.
Which is how I found myself flung over the arm of the couch last night, trying in vain to muffle my cries so the neighbors wouldn't hear us. But I found myself helpless to stop the flow of exclamations.
I gasped and cried, "Ah, ah, ah." "Oh. My. Lord. God," I exhaled. And we got the giggles.
"You can't make me laugh. I can't do this right when I'm laughing," my husband told me. Then, "Ah. There's the place."
But it seemed to go on forever and soon enough among my moans were a few hastily muffled "Ow!"s.
There's this place where a little pain can actually start to feel good. It makes your body warm, even hot, and there is something freeing in giving over to the sensations.
"It's deep," he remarked.
Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore he started to talk again. "Oh, I think...yes...there...right there...that's it! I'm done."
"You're done?" I asked. "You're sure? I need proof."
So he held out his hand to show it to me. The splinter he had dug out of my heel.
I'm sure my cry of, "But it is so small!" really impressed the neighbors.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I was also excited because there was a playground right behind our house in the alley/field separating officer housing from enlisted housing. I pictured spending many happy hours playing with my little girl in the sand-filled park. A military base is the safest neighborhood in the world.
I have never been quite so wrong before or since.
That thrice-damned playground has become the bane of my existence. Not only do hordes of unsupervised children scream their heads off out there well past ten o'clock most summer nights (and some school nights too), but I've had to see some things going on out there that no mother ever wants to see.
And so I kept my kids away.
We bought a huge playset (that my neighbors called the apartment complex) and later a huge trampoline so my kids and their invited friends could get exercise in the safety of our fenced in yard. I had to turn into the neighborhood ogre to keep the hordes of brats out of our yard, but it worked.
For a while.
That damn litter box of a playground became the Garden of Eden to my kids. They would beg me to let them go out and play there. For a couple of years, I was able to satisfy them by sitting on the (usually vandalized) bench and keeping an eagle eye on them as they played. But then my daughter turned seven.
Seven-years-old is when they really start to make their own friends, regardless of your opinions of suitability. And I knew I had to start letting go. My daughter is far from independent. I knew that it was important for her development to take a step outside of my comfort zone and make her own friends. Even in our neighborhood.
So rules were established. She has to tell me when she leaves the yard. She must never be out of eyesight of my kitchen window. She can never ever go in anyone else's house. Our family rules must be abided by at all times. She has to keep an eagle eye on her little brother. And she must immediately come inside if things get out of control.
As they play out there, maybe 100 feet from my kitchen, I do housework and check on them every few minutes. I leave my back door open, regardless of weather so I can hear every word they say.
Last week I yelled at brats for tearing lumber off the benches and using it to chase each other. The military police came out the next day to document that destruction. Four days ago, I yelled at two boys who were chasing my son with sticks. As much as that bothers me, I know that they are just playing. In their very-unsupervised way, they don't consider consequences. I know that's just kids being kids.
But the other day while they were outside, I wasn't feeling well. And I wasn't as vigilant as usual. So of course, bad things happened.
My daughter came in and told me that some boy was chasing them with a stick, so she told her brother they had to come inside.
"Okay, honey. Thank you for looking out for him. That was a good decision." I figured it was just another incident like the other day, so I looked out to see if anyone was about to hurt anyone else. But the playground was deserted, and I didn't give it too much thought.
As I was putting them to bed, my daughter told me, "Mom, I didn't like what that boy was doing at all. I was worried about my brother."
So I asked her what happened and she told me the whole story.
"That boy was calling my brother something like haggot. Or haggard. Or maybe it was fomo. I don't remember. And I told him to stop. But he wouldn't. And he started to chase my brother and then he caught him and hit him."
"What did your brother do?" I asked.
He sort of put up his arms like this." She put her crossed arms up by her head. "But I stepped between them like this and told him to, 'Stop now!'" She demonstrated her moves to me.
She continued, "But he wouldn't stop and he tried to hit my brother again, so I told him to stop like this." She stomped her foot, made her meanest face, crossed her arms and yelled, "Stop!"
"He pushed me and put his fist up at me."
I had to stop her there. "He put his fist up at you?"
"Yeah, like this." She stood in a fighter's stance with her fist right in my face. "And he told me, 'I'm not afraid to hit a girl.' So I told my brother we had to go inside right then. And we came inside and told you."
I swear, maybe I was over-reacting, but I could have happily killed someone in that moment. I tried to stay somewhat calm for my kids' sake. And I asked a whole lot of question.
I found out that he always wears the same shirt--a teal soccer uniform shirt. I've noticed a kid out there occasionally in just that shirt. I also found out that he doesn't live here. He's only comes on base to visit his grandmother. So basically, when his grandmother signs him on base, she takes full responsibility for his actions.
"Do you see him out there right now, honey?" I asked her.
"No, Mom. It's too dark."
I was so enraged that I stalked outside. The playground was empty but I swear I was ready to start knocking on doors.
When I came back in, my daughter was clearly impressed that I was ready to kick butt. "Nobody treats my children that way," I told her. "Nobody."
As mad as I was about the fist, I was even angrier when I was telling this story to Patrick and suddenly realized that the "haggot" and "fomo" were most likely "faggot" and "homo". Whether my daughter transposed the consonants or he did doesn't really matter to me.
So the next time she sees him out there, she is immediately going to identify him to me. Oh, have I mentioned that the rule on base is that no child under ten can be unsupervised, ever? We'll be having a discussion with his grandmother. And then her commander. That's a given. And then any time I see him without parents within a hundred yards or so, I'm calling the police.
That means my days of watching my kids out my kitchen window while I do the dishes are over. But that's fine. The days of the hordes of unsupervised children thinking they can do whatever they like are over too.
Oh, and when I finally got my husband on the phone to tell him this story, he didn't really react much. I'm the reactionary one in this family. It wasn't until I implored him, "But what are you going to do?" that he finally told me.
He calmly answered that he'd be tracking down the family and the squadron. "My daughter should not have to deal with that. Ever." I hadn't realized it at the time, but he was actually in a van full of his friends while we were talking. It turns out his squadron-mates are all enraged too. Especially his commander. Who is going to bring it up to those that matter.
You just expect better than that on base.
I know I have high expectations and I'm over-protective. But these are my children. Nobody gets to hurt them or intimidate them. Nobody.
And through all of my anger, I realize that I am mostly angry at myself. I should have been sitting on that vandalized bench.
Can you imagine how I am going to be when they are pre-teens? We might not make it through.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I hope my husband isn't reading my blog on his TDY because if he finds out that I let Buffy sleep on the bed, he's going to kick my butt. But I feel like she deserves to be pampered a little after her life was threatened.
On Friday night, I gave my daughter a copy of Where Did I Come From. (Thanks for the recommendation, Pete.) She's been asking for it for a couple of months.
She's fascinated. She's taken the book to bed with her every night since and even included it in her school reading log for Monday.
But it's not the sex part she's fascinated with. No, all of her questions are based on the childbirth part. She wants to know why it doesn't hurt when the umbilical cord is cut and how the baby can even fit in the mom's tummy. I think she's making life plans and is really trying to decide if she wants to go through the pain of childbirth or not.
I fervently hope she finds a very special man to marry.
Since we had the big gay talk before the big sex talk and I know how her mind works, I think the next question I need to be prepared to answer is, "But how do gay people make love? And how do they get babies?" This is especially true since Where Did I Come From refers to sex as making love.
Who knew parenting would be so complicated.?
I have a story to tell about a boy who called my son a faggot and then threatened my daughter when she told him to stop. But I'm too angry to tell it just yet. And it still doesn't have a satisfactory ending. It might never. If I write about it now, I'm afraid of what I might say.
When I started blogging, it was to share things that I couldn't or wouldn't tell anyone else. Now I find that I have friends who hear these stories and problems before I ever even consider sitting down and writing about them. It has changed my blog and the way I write for the worse. But it has changed my life for the better.
I set out to make friends. And I have. Thank goodness.
We're leaving for New York on Saturday and I haven't even begun to pack. I haven't even done laundry. In fact, I haven't even unpacked from my last trip. The little rubber duckies* Aaron gave me are still sitting in my suitcase on my bedroom floor.
*side note: when I first wrote this I typed "little rubber suckies" which sounds intriguing but would make this an entirely different kind of blog.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Betty, David, Lee and Simon for sponsoring my brood in the Race to Deliver. In fact thank you to everyone for your support. I really appreciate it.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Soon after I made the resolution to run the Race for the Cure next fall, I talked with my husband about strategy.
"You know, hon, the only way I'm going to make running a daily part of my life is if I get the kids involved. I know myself well enough to know that I'm more likely to stick with it, if I feel like I'm doing it for them."
And so began our afternoon walks. Except they don't walk. They run. After a quarter mile or so, they become nothing more than distant pink and blue blobs bopping to and fro and stopping at corners to look both ways.
They leave me in the dust.
Which got me and Uncle Patrick to thinking.
Patrick had signed up to run a race this Sunday when we'll be visiting New York City. It turns out that they have kids' races too. So we signed my little guppies up.
But this isn't just any race. It is the Race to Deliver, which benefits God's Love We Deliver. God's Love We Deliver provides nutritious meals, free of charge, to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses throughout New York City and nearby Hudson County, New Jersey.
Patrick and Jase are part of a team raising money through sponsorship. Rather than have the kids form their own team, we decided to have them run for Uncle Patrick.
If you haven't already, go here to read Patrick's blog post (with pictures).
Or go directly to his sponsorship page here.
The kids have been training for weeks and they are very excited to run. But they are even more excited to help raise money for a good cause. Will you help? Every little bit ads up. (You can select In Support Of and type in "Tuna Kids" on Patrick's sponsor form.)
And I'll do my part by holding coats and cheering. Because like I said, they leave me in the dust.
Monday, November 13, 2006
The last time she lost a tooth, the tooth fairy (or at least the male component of our tooth fairy team) forgot to show up. The female component had to make a swift excuse and exchange in the morning. "See, honey. It was still dark out. The tooth fairy must have been really busy last night." My excuse held up in court when a classmate told everyone that morning that the tooth fairy didn't make it to her house because of the fog.
This tooth found its way into a baggy on the kitchen counter. I left it right where it was so that I wouldn't forget to fulfill my fairy duties.
Just before bedtime, I suddenly realized that the fairy was not properly funded. A quick peek in her purse told me that she only had one $20 bill. My kids might be spoiled, but they're not that spoiled.
So it was time for treats at the Shoppette. Who wants a pre-bed sugar high?
With singles in hand, this fairy figured she was all set to fulfill her duties. And after much discussion about the best place to leave a lost tooth, my daughter went happily off to bed.
But this fairy didn't flutter off to dreamland so easily. In fact she fell asleep watching television. Only to be drawn out of a fitful sleep by a voice.
"Be sure to leave your foreskin under your pillow for the foreskin fairy."
Huh? What? What the fuck?
The fairy shot up in bed. "Damn it! I almost forgot."
In her half-asleep, foreskin-drawn confusion she made quite the racket entering my daughter's room. After coaxing her back to sleep, the exchange was made and all was well.
And this fairy has to thank the fucked up writer's of Freak Show for reminding her of her duties. It would be awful hard to blame the male component of the fairy team when he's already flown so far away.
Friday, November 10, 2006
1) I am extremely competitive. When I play sports I work myself into a vile hatred of the members of the opposing team. If I'm running a race, I want my competitors to trip, fall, knock themselves unconscious and maybe even pee themselves in the process.
This competitive nature bleeds over into every aspect of my life. In the past I've done things--major things--only because someone said I couldn't. Have you ever wondered why I don't have any really big name bloggers over there in my sidebar? Because I hate them.
But when it comes right down to it, I don't think most people can tell just how competitive I am.
Question: What is your worst personality quirk? The one you're most ashamed of, but maybe secretly proud of at the same time.
2) I've become hooked on Postsecret lately. I get a voyeuristic thrill out of reading other people's secrets. Though I wonder how many of them are fabricated for dramatic effect.
Every week when I check out the site, I start composing my own postcards in my head. But I don't have any secrets. So I fantasize about revealing other people's secrets. For some reason, people trust me with their most private thoughts.
Maybe they trust me because I am trustworthy. The writer in me may be composing in my head, but the person in me would never reveal a thing.
Question: Have you ever sent a postcard to post secret? Would you? Have you ever told someone else's secret?
3) When I was in my mid-twenties and it was looking like we might not ever get pregnant, I seriously considered joining the military. I was already living the lifestyle, living and working on base. Why not make it official and become a dual-military couple?
Two things held me back. One, if I did get pregnant, I knew I'd be stuck working. And two, I was afraid of what job I'd be assigned. Logically, it would make sense for the military to keep me in the same career field--marketing or public relations. But the military is rarely logical.
At the time, they were so short on pilots that if you were qualified, they'd send you to pilot training no matter what. And that would have been me. With my husband as a navigator and me as a pilot, the chance of us being stationed at the same base was slim.
I think I would have been a good pilot and officer. But I knew it would break my husband's heart. He swore he would support me. He swore he'd be proud of me. But can you imagine having to watch you wife live your dream? When she didn't even care about it that much in the first place.
Besides, I was terrified to go through water survival, wilderness survival, and POW training.
So many of my friends are struggling with fertility. It is heartbreaking. I am incredibly thankful that we were able to conceive with relative ease.
Question: Have you ever chosen a path out of sheer desperation? Have you come close? Do you regret it?
Your turn. Go.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
He left this morning on a TDY (business trip). It's supposed to be a cushy one. They're going to put on an Air Show display in Vegas. I'm picturing mornings on the tarmac signing autographs for starry eyed kids and night's on the strip drinking JD and tipping starry eyed strippers.
But with one thing and another, this trip is turning out to be tortuous for him. He has been DE-pressed.
His comforting started out with a trip to the grocery store. And now I'm left with half a box of Krispy Kreme's, the better part of a half gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream, a quarter bag of tortilla chips and an empty house.
It's the PMS special on crack.
Luckily his comforting finished out with some really great see-you-next-Thursday sex, or I'd be diving head first into that ice cream right about now.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Just know that I was crying while I wrote. I've been blaming my husband's DNA for my daughter's overly-sensitive nature. But maybe it is just me.
All you need to know is that it ended like this:
But today I decided to throw in the towel. I am just a mom. My kids are my life. And when my daughter put her arms around me, kissed my shoulder and told me, "I know you've been having a hard time lately, Mom. It's okay. We love you," it made every agonizing second of parenthood all okay.
I can be an adult tomorrow.
Monday, November 06, 2006
My daughter just completed her seventh season of soccer. She started playing four years ago, when she was barely four-years-old.
This weekend she scored her first goal ever. (In my mind, this one doesn't count.)
We're having a lot of fun with soccer this year. Both kids are playing on teams with their classmates. I've made very good friends with the other parents from my daughter's team. After every game we ask the kids two questions. "Did you have fun?" "Did you get good exercise!" We've never worried about goals.
But in the back of my mind, I was always thinking about how happy she'd be to finally score a goal.
I didn't even realize it, but their record was 10 wins and 1 loss. For their last game, they were playing the one undefeated team. Some of the kids (and the parents) really get into it. The story on the other team was that they started the season with no coach. When a local college player tore her ACL she volunteered to coach and the league assigned her to this team.
She was obnoxious. She was coaching a bunch of seven-year-olds like they were in college. I wanted to scratch her eyes out. Those poor little girls.
There was absolutely no score after the first quarter. Our kids were playing nothing but defense. I thought the other team's coach was going to pop a vein in her head.
Then our girls started scoring and scoring and scoring. Our parents were way more into it then usual. An obnoxious coach can cause that.
In the last quarter, I think the score was 10-1. My daughter (who loves to play defense because she doesn't have to run as much) was finally playing up. And I did something I never do.
When the kids were walking back to the middle after another goal, I yelled out my daughter's name. When she looked, I said, "Come on, Honey. You can do it." She smiled at me.
Moments later our girls had a throw in. My daughter quietly faded back toward the goal. Her teammate hurled the ball over the defenders' heads. My daughter controlled the ball, turned, and shot past two defenders into the net.
The crowd went wild.
My whole family jumped up screaming. So did all of the other families. These parents have known (and loved, if I do say so myself) my daughter since she was a tiny preschooler. They knew she'd never scored. They were more happy for her than they were for their own kids to win the game.
I'll admit it. I cried.
She barely reacted. Her friends hugged her. One head-butted her. And they ran back for the next face-off.
On the very next possession, she had an assist.
And on the next possession her friend passed it to her right in front of the goal and she scored again.
Four years of nothing, and within two minutes she scores twice? That is so typical of her.
After the two teams shook hands, all of the parents went out on the field and hugged and congratulated my kid (and us too). It was sweet. She's just the kind of kid who is so sweet, polite and happy that other people love to see her succeed. I was unspeakable happy for her.
We let her choose a restaurant for dinner that night. She called my parents and told them all about it.
When we were alone later, I asked her if she had just decided to score. I was wondering what was so different for her this game. It was like she had found the Eye of the Tiger.
"My coach told me to score," was her answer.
Oh, okay. Is that all it takes?
My husband laughed and said, "We tell you to score all the time. Why would you listen to your coach and not us?"
"That's not true," she told him. "You tell me to have fun and get good exercise."
Damn new age, feel-good parenting.
Maybe we should have bribed her for goals four years ago.
Friday, November 03, 2006
He's tired. I'm tired. Add in a brand, new $350 violin and it is not a good combination.
He was pouting because now that he's graduated from his foam violin to a real one, the chin rest isn't as comfortable. Usually I'd say, "Pout all you want. We're still practicing." But pouting while balancing a violin on your shoulder results in a violin (did I mention it costs $350) smashed on my parquet floor.
Sometimes I just want to be rescued. I know he doesn't need to play the violin. Or do any other activity, for that matter. But he usually loves it. And I usually have patience.
Okay, that's a lie. I never have patience. I suck.
I rarely, if ever, dream about life BC (before children). I love my life and appreciate it beyond measure. But just now, while my son is throwing things and screaming in his room I mourn for my twenty-six inch waist, restful nights, carefree weekends, and sanity.
I need a break.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Well, lately I have been sleeping. A lot. I'm doing what I need to do to make sure the kids are getting what they need, and then I'm going back to bed. I'm exhausted.
Just yesterday I dropped the kids off at school and then came home for a three hour nap. I set my alarm for eleven so I could get up and take a shower before I had to be seen at pre-school car pool. But I pressed the snooze button for 11:10. And 11:20. And 11:30.
At that point I rolled out of bed, grabbed my purse and my keys and headed out the door.
Just as I was rolling into the school parking lot, I checked the voicemail on my phone. One of them was from school. Great. It figures. Which kid is throwing up? I looked toward the windows in the front office and there is my daughter with her teary eyes and snotty nose pressed up against the glass waiting for me.
I quickly took stock of myself. Bare feet in sandals. Track pants, an overly huge t-shirt, uncombed hair. And, of course, no bra.
Now I don't know about the rest of you, but for me going without a bra is not an option.
But well, how many people could really see me as I did a little speed walk (keeping my upper body as still as possible) from the car to the office?
When I opened the door my daughter threw herself into my arms. And I felt...wet. Huh? Wet? Please, tell me she didn't have an accident.
She had an accident alright. She spilled chocolate milk all over herself. And now I had a chocolate milk child imprint on my smokin' hot outfit.
She was crying because she didn't want to miss recess. So being the understanding mother that I am, I walked her back to class, asked the teacher if she could stay, and then ran to Target to buy her a new outfit.
And, of course, just as I pulled into the Target parking lot, because I had left my umbrella at home, it started to rain. And you know that t-shirt I was wearing? It was white.
I thought I could cross my arms over my chest and perform another speed walk. But, oh no. My son had to hold my hand. And he had to run.
I had to go back to school like that and drop off my daughter's clothes. All the while I was swearing to myself that I wouldn't ever sleep late and let that happen again.
Until today. When I got to school and all of my friends were there waiting to ask me out for lunch.
The housewife life has never looked so glamorous as it did out for Mexican today. With me wearing the exact same outfit. And carrying a Louis Vuitton purse. Because I am all about class.
Monday, October 30, 2006
She's had careers on her mind a lot lately. From her seven-year-old point-of-view, Mom has a job where she works for one week every year. And when Mom works, Grandma comes to spoil her rotten.
It's win/win, as far as she's concerned.
So she's been asking me a lot of questions about careers, money, and having children. Last week she announced that she had come to a decision regarding her future.
"When I grow up, I'm just going to marry a man with a really good job."
Yeah, sure, I went on to talk to her all about women's liberation and how she could do anything she wanted and how money wasn't happiness and blah, blah, blah.
I don't think she bought it.
I can't imagine where she might have gotten that notion.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Tonight is our school's annual community event. We host a pumpkin celebration in a park and donate the proceeds from concessions to improving the park facilities. My daughter's class is providing entertainment.
Except it is raining. So our event gets pushed back to tomorrow night.
Which is when we were supposed to go to our costume party.
The hosts have decided that we'll all just gather after the event, sans costumes.
Well, I mean we'll have clothes on. We're not planning an orgy. But, hmmmm. There's an idea for an alternate use for our costumes. I hate to waste money.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
They've been training for this walk for a few months now. I've been watching them all get thinner and thinner (and they were all skinny to start with). They are my heroes.
Every September when I see all of the pink ribbons lining the residential streets to mark our local Race for the Cure, I swear that I will train to run the race the next year. I've been swearing that since 1996. And I've never done it.
That's ten years.
Every year I end up sponsoring friends who are running. I tell myself that I am at least helping the cause. But there is something very deep inside of me that will not consider my life well-lived if I have not run that race.
This year, on the Monday morning after my annual missed opportunity, I got an e-mail from my friend telling me about her plans to walk in the 3 Day.
I was overwhelmed with a mixture of pride in my friends, grief for their loss, disappointment in myself, and resolve.
Running is something that I hate. Yet I desire to excel at it with every fiber of my being. I dream of racing.
I have some deeply personal reasons for wanting to run. And at the core of them all is that I was told by doctors that long distance running is the one thing that I shouldn't and couldn't do. And that makes me want to do it all the more.
I will not fail in 2007. I will run that race. Even if it kills me. But the journey to that place and space isn't a sprint, it is a marathon.
And it begins today.
If you'd like to sponsor my friends, e-mail me and I'll forward the link.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
It's out now.
Isn't it too bad that I don't have something brilliant and funny to say?
The kids are off of school today and tomorrow for parent/teacher conferences. It's hard to write with them around. Even when they are outside playing, my mind is concentrating on listening for their screams of terror from random squirrel attacks (or random obnoxious neighborhood kid attacks).
In fact, I just took about an hour break from writing because they wanted to play on the computer. And I only have eight more minutes to write before I have to run off to my daughter's orthodontist appointment and group violin lessons.
And I just wasted two minutes of it trying to think of what to type next.
I think I blew the magenta head (ha ha ha) on my printer. And when we lost power the other day, the printer never would recover. I love my printer. It is an HP all-in-one with a scanner and fax and all. My husband says I have some kind of invisible force field that mucks up all things electronic.
He spent a couple of hours trying to fix it. I was stressing because I had a lot of paper work to complete for the parents' association. Last night I asked him if he had managed to fix it and he told me he had. "I kicked it," he explained.
So I came up to my office to make some copies and there sitting in the old printer's place is a brand-new, extra-spiffy HP Officejet 7310 All-in-One. He had kicked the old one, all right. He kicked it right to the curb.
What was I saying about blowing magenta head?
Three hours later and I'm back from the orthodontist (she's on hold for six months) and violin (she's playing a solo next week) and I still have nothing to write. Why couldn't the cutie orthodontist have done something inappropriate? Oh, that's right. Because he's sweet and polite. My next husband is going to be an orthodontist. They're loaded and they don't keep long hours like doctors. I had to go and fall in love with a military guy.
Who buys me printers. And cruises. And trips to New York.
And who's damn good in bed.
And who doesn't have to wait until Halloween to wear a hot uniform.
Speaking of which, we're going to my friends' Halloween party as a bandito and his senorita. Every time I tell someone that they laugh. Aaron suggests I wear a push-up bra and really play up the sexy part. I don't think I need a push-up bra to achieve massive cleavage. We may have to save these costumes for a private party at home.
I appreciate all of your costume suggestions. I really considered them all (well most of them). I ended up going to a costume site and buying the first couples costumes I found in our sizes that covered my matronly upper-arms and didn't require him to wear tights.
Don't even think of asking for pictures.
Monday, October 23, 2006
"Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something," I thought.
Lately, on the outside I have been all joy and light. But on the inside there is nothing but seriousness. I'm not faking the happy. I don't do fake. But I just find that in my quiet moments, I can't stop thinking about life's grand mysteries.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself spewing anger at my husband. I'd say I had no idea where it even came from, but that would be a lie. There have been a few things in these last few years that I haven't been able to let go. And my resentment of them has been growing quietly and steadily over time.
I've never felt like I could express my anger over these things, because I didn't have the right. He can't control how much of his time is spent. I can't blame him fully for decisions we made together. But still, right or not, my anger was there.
And then, pop. Out it came. In one not-so-sterling moment, I let it spew forth.
I called him less than an hour later. "I'm sorry I yelled at you."
That's all I said. He forgave me. If there is one thing my husband is amazing at it is asking for and bestowing forgiveness.
But to be honest, I was still waiting for my apology. I was still waiting for him to ask for forgiveness for things he didn't even know were bothering me. And then I realized something.
Forgiveness is not something we give to other people. It is something we allow ourselves to feel. I didn't need for him to apologize. I didn't even need for him to understand. I know that he loves me more than ten women deserve. I know that he would never do anything to hurt me. In fact, I know that his main goal in life is to make me and the kids happy.
It was time to let it go. All of it. The petty and the important.
It was time to forgive him, and myself for being angry at him.
And it feels so good.
So I decided to give wings to my other feelings of anger and hurt. I thought I had learned some life secret. I thought that if I could make the decision to forgive my husband, I could do it with everyone.
And for a few days, I really believed it. Until the night my power went out.
I tossed and turned that night trying to sleep. I was exhausted but my brain wouldn't shut off. It took me a while to realize that I was playing possible scenarios over and over again in my head. I was imagining confrontations with people who hurt me. I was imagining making them understand why I was angry. I was imagining them asking me for forgiveness.
What am I stupid?
Just because letting go worked with the man I love doesn't mean that I am mature enough to make it work in every situation.
Or maybe it shouldn't work in every situation. Maybe it only works in my marriage because my husband is the embodiment of honesty. It makes him easy to trust. And easy to love.
Maybe I shouldn't even try to forgive the others who have hurt me. Maybe the power went out as I was writing about forgiveness as a sign. To protect my heart? To learn from the hurt?
But remember that lesson I learned? Forgiveness is not something we give to other people. It is something we allow ourselves to feel. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves.
I'm going to try to forgive. I'm going to try damn hard. But I won't forget.
And I'll never trust again.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Flying solo is standard for military wives. There are even times when I feel kind of weird having my husband along for the ride.
Last night's event was a social for parents of second graders. I've known most of these parents for a few years, at least, and I count many of them as friends. But I still spent most of the day yesterday with my stomach in knots trying to think of reasonable excuses not to go. Why?
Because I'm a dork. A great, big, honking dork.
No matter what the social occasion, or how I behaved, I get back home and shake. I repeat the stupid things I said over and over again. I rehash how stupid I must have seemed when I did this. And how lame I must have been when I did that. I never sleep the night after a party. My brain gets all tied up in knots.
I think I have most people fooled though. I told a very good friend today about my social anxieties and he said, "But you're so good in social situations."
Isn't it amazing how we can see ourselves so differently from those who know us? It's like we're all looking into a carnival mirror designed especially for our psyches.
Last night's party was especially surreal because it seemed like everyone was singing my praises. SW even made a little speech (whenever she speaks, it's like a monologue from a Broadway show) about how I was not only wonderful, but modest. I was mortified. Pleased, indeed. But mortified too.
It seemed like everyone was talking about me last night. Everyone told me how great I looked--because I had actually done my hair. Everyone raved over the cheeseballs I brought--because my best gay friend walked me through making them. I didn't even like them. (Patrick, what the heck were those things called, anyway?) Everyone was talking about what a fabulous job I had done with the parents' association fundraiser. But, you know, all I had done was trudge through it all. My co-chair and I had made mistake after mistake. We just kept fixing our botches as we went.
Patrick says I was Bree Van De Kamp.
And then my husband came home from the school board meeting (Did I mention that he's on the school board?) and told me that everyone was singing my praises.
With him, it's different. He knows what an insecure mess I can be. So with him I can ask, "What exactly did they say?"
With him I'm not afraid of coming off like like a deep sea compliment fisher. "You're my husband. You know that I need to know exactly what they said, in what intonation, and with what body language."
Of course, he's my husband so his answer was a shrugged, "I don't know. It was just all kudos for you."
So I've been thinking (and writing and re-writing this damn post) all day. It's so amazing how we see ourselves. Sometimes I think I'm pretty awesome. But most of the time I think I am a giant dork. Maybe it's just because I fly solo so often.
But I like piloting this plane.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
By Sunday night, I was ready for some hot tuna loving. But first I needed a shower. I had grease and dirt in places you don't want to think about at parties.
So I went upstairs to take a shower and get the engines revving, if you know what I mean. But I think I revved a little too much, because the next thing I knew my husband's alarm was going off. Damn, it was six in the morning.
"Aww, man! We were gonna fuck!"
Next time, I'll put the engine in idle until he catches up.
And now I owe him not one, but two.
Monday, October 16, 2006
I can't even think of anything else to say. I didn't realize how much weight I was carrying on my shoulders until it was lifted off.
The fair is over. I don't have the final numbers yet, but it looks like we made a record-breaking profit. I realized today that I made at least two new friends. Now I just need to write thank you notes and prepare the continuity binder for next year.
Oh, did I mention? Woo hoo!
Now it's time to turn back to real life.
During a break last week, I met my husband at Joe's Crab Shack for lunch. The kids were cavorting in the playground when my husband walked up from the parking lot. He sat next to me on the bench, said, "I love you with all my heart," and handed me an engagement ring.
His sister the jewelry designer had sent him a new band and he had my diamond set into it. I thought I would be upset that I'm not wearing the ring that he proposed with, but I'm actually really happy with this ring. It's just slightly different and it goes with my wedding ring a little better. It's really more comfortable.
Hoping that he would give me my new ring in some dramatic, romantic way was probably just a little too much to hope for. That's just not him. Expecting him to change now is only going to hurt me in the end. Besides, how many women can say that their man loves them with all his heart? If I have to have my man tell me such things at a crab shack, well...I should just feel really lucky that he'll tell me such things at all.
In other news, we're popular kids now. Every year a couple of parents from school throw a costume party for their friends. (Does anyone remember SW?) This is the first time we've been invited. It's one of those social things that we just can't say no to. And, I wouldn't even want to say no, except that we have to wear a costume.
This is my nightmare come true! What the HELL should we be? This is when having gay friends is supposed to come in handy. I'm no good at this shit. Suggestions are very welcome.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Except on this particular visit, the girl couldn't seem to make up her mind. She kept walking by the Littlest Pet Shop section and talking about what she'd like, but then she'd move on. Frankly, it was driving me batty.
Finally, I asked her, "What's going on with you? I know you love the Littlest Pet Shops. They're all you play with. Why can't you make up your mind?"
"I'm not allowed to get any more Littlest Pet Shops," she informed me. "Veruca only has nine pets and I have twelve so I'm not allowed to get anymore until she has more than me."
Veruca is AH's kid.
Now, if my kid were anywhere near typical, I would have probably laughed about it. Maybe even rolled my eyes at the crazy things kids say to each other. But this is my kid. My overly-sensitive, sweet, polite, appreciative, friendly, caring, bullied kid who let's other kids boss her around like no child I have ever met.
I lost it right there in Target.
"Don't you ever let her boss you around like that. Don't you ever let any kid boss you around like that. I brought you here today to buy a toy specifically because you are well-behaved and unspoiled and I am not going to let some little brat dictate what you can and cannot have!"
Okay. I may have lost her there a little at the end.
To make a long story short(er), she walked out of there that day with a Littlest Pet Shop toy tucked safely under her arm.
When Veruca moved away, AH gave all the kids in her class little packets of cards and envelopes so that the friends could keep in touch. We received our first letter from Veruca last week. It went something like this:
Hi. I have fourteen Littlest Pet Shop pets. How many do you have? I'm getting a Whirl Around Playground. Are you?
My daughter read the card to us and then went upstairs to count her pets so she could write back.
My husband turned to me and said, "If she has less than fourteen, I'm going right the fuck out to buy her another one." I had to laugh. Especially when she came running down the stairs and announced that she had eighteen. My husband put up his fist for me to bump.
And then Grandma came to visit (and take care of my kids while I run these fucking food booths) and the spoiling got serious. Between the pets she brought with her and the pets she and my son picked out to give to my daughter when they picked her up from school, my girl now has 24 of these things.
Somewhere it crossed from funny to excessive. But I swear, no matter how much of a bad mother it makes me, I'd buy my kid tons of these things. Just on principle.
Want to join my petty parade?
*Confidential to Santa and gay uncles: Topping her Christmas wish list this year are the Whirl Around Playground, Maltese puppy, and the Digital Pet. There are only 74 shopping days left 'til Christmas.