Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Day Your Momma Screamed

As much as he'd like to ignore it, today is my best friend's birthday.

Apparently, his birthday is not his favorite day of the year. I'd ignore it completely except I don't operate that way. Apparently, I'm known to be stubborn. (Feel free to deny my stubbornness wholeheartedly in the comments.)

When you're a kid, your birthday is all about you. But as an adult your birthday becomes about letting other people show how much they care.

And I care about him a lot. So, happy fucking birthday, Patrick. We'll drink to your health when I see you next.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Marine is a Marine

Did I ever tell you the story about when my husband was in flight training and he told me he was going to be home studying with a Marine? And when I got home from work he was home alone studying with a Marine. A very beautiful, very female Marine. Named Candy.


That was funny.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Besides the small detail of having my very worst fear realized, it was a pretty nice weekend.

We started off taking the kids to swim class. My daughter has graduated to the next level (Go Little Tuna Girl!) and has a new instructor, Mr. Nathan. Woo hoo! Now I get to spend an entire hour every Saturday morning ogling hot, wet, delicious, Mr. Nathan. I mean, I get to spend an hour every Saturday morning watching the kids develop as swimmers. Yeah. That's it.

At one point Mr. Nathan hoisted himself out of the water to sit on the side of the pool and his board shorts slipped down just a bit...

I can't go on.

On Sunday, after the boy's soccer game we noticing that someone had smacked into the rear of my car and broken our back-up warning system. This could have happened anytime within the past few days, but I am so disheartened. I stood in the parking lot and declared, "I swear this car is cursed!"

We headed to the local super sports store to stock up on t-ball and softball equipment. Practice starts the week after next. The place was mobbed with soccer players and their parents searching for the right baseball/softball equipment.

Now, if you're not a long-time reader you might not know the importance of softball in my life. Let's just say that it's like a religion to me. At one point my husband left us to get a cart to put all of our purchases in. My daughter and I were pouring over glove choices. And my son was chattering away, as usual.

My husband came back to us and said, "I couldn't get a cart. They're all gone. Where's the boy?"

And I had no idea. I know that a moment ago he had asked my daughter if he could hold her softball, so I figured he couldn't be far. But he wasn't in the aisle.

Recently my mom and I were talking about the time I got lost in a store. She swears I wandered away. I swear she wandered away. Either way, it is one of her most vivid memories of motherhood. And I can understand why.

I didn't actually panic. But I wanted to. I made my daughter hold my shirt and we started looking down every aisle for him. I was worried he had gone outside looking for his father.

My husband found him in the cleat section, which is the last place we had been.

A friend asked me if I was ready to kill my son. But I wasn't. I was ready to kill me.

A Saturday afternoon at a sports store filled with little soccer players has got to be a dream come true for a child predator. And a little boy wandering around calling for his mom has got to be a prime target. If someone had held out his hand and told him that his mom was looking for him over here, he probably would have gone with him. A predator could have been out of that store and miles away before we knew it.

I was a little freaked. It was one of those things that I had to let go, just to move on.

We spent the afternoon playing softball together.

My little girl has an arm! I cannot in a million years explain to you how it feels to spend an afternoon playing softball with my daughter. And I had no idea she was so coachable. Why can't violin practice be this fun?

It's funny how life is. Before I had kids, I had good days and bad days. Now I have good moments and bad moments. And sometimes I have stellar moments and horrifying moments.

It's a wonder that parents can survive at all.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Brownstone Dreams and Aircraft Wishes

Patrick and I were talking on the phone yesterday when he happened by this Upper West Side brownstone for sale. While I looked it up online, we were each dreaming about how nice it would be to own a home in New York City.

For a measly 3.8 million dollars, I could be a landlord with a triplex owner's apartment less than a block from Central Park.

I still happened to have the page up when my husband came home. "We should call about it," he said. "How much would the monthly payment be?"

Now before you start hating me, I should mention that it is completely unrealistic for us to buy a Central Park brownstone right now. But maybe someday. Still, owning real estate like that is something my husband has been dreaming about for ages. It is a dream we share.

A guest house in Provincetown. A brownstone in Manhattan. A beach house on Key West. And our own home on Cape Cod. Plus a small aircraft to commute between them all. Those are our retirement dreams.

And retirement in only nine years away. Four, if this downsizing continues and the military offers some good early out packages. (Writing that just completely freaked me out.)

I love to do the math. If we put so much down, and charged so much in rent, our profit would be what? I love to do the math even more than I love to make lists.

Many of my good friends have lists of things they want to do before they die.

It bothers me that my list of things to do is really a list of things to own. Homes. An airplane. And I'll throw a boat on the list to appease my husband.

Besides writing a book and running a race there isn't a single thing I want to do on my life list. Have I really become that materialistic? Have I truly succumbed so blindly to the unfortunate American dream? I've been thinking about it a lot lately.

I suppose the owning of these things is really an indication of the kind of life I want to have. Except for the book and the race, I've already done everything I want to do. I already have everything I want to have. I'm unbelievably lucky that way.

Is it so wrong for me to envision a life where my husband and I get to really enjoy each other? Is it so wrong to picture my friends helping me to run a guest house? Is it so wrong to dream of my family traveling wherever we want, whenever the mood strikes us.

Is it so wrong to picture my grandchildren playing on our beach?

Someday I will enjoy all of these things. While having the resources to start a foundation to support the causes we care about. My husband has worked hard and our family has sacrificed so much in the last eleven years.

Of course he may need to get a second job if we're ever to afford these things. I keep telling him the new Starbucks is hiring. He keeps giving me that look.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Godspeed, Dear Jockstrap

Does anyone know how to bake a cake in the shape of a jock strap?

Because it is time to celebrate. After more than thirteen long, sweaty, stale, smelly, stretched-out years, my husband is finally retiring the old jock strap. He bought a new one for his hockey game last night.

*sidenote: The fact that he's scored fifteen goals in twelve games makes me super horny.

I thought maybe we could have a burning ceremony for the old one, but oh no. He wants to save it. Just in case. I'd assume with his scoring streak that he was saving it for luck. But the last time he wore it he took a slap shot in the nads and the strap broke. And that doesn't sound very lucky to me.

I've got him half convinced to sell it on eBay though. He just doesn't want to pose for an enticing photograph. Anybody have a picture of themselves looking all hot and jocky to donate to the cause?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Welcome to the Bayou. Plastic Beads are Half Off!

I hate this time of the year down here on the bayou. Truth be told, I hate the bayou period, but home is where the military sends us (for eight freaking years) so I make due.

But Mardi Gras season is when I hate it the most.

The streets are lined with RVs, staking out spots for the next parade. The streets are also lined with port-o-lets, litter, beads, beer bottles, and more plastic throw crap than you can flash a tit at. Traffic is fucked for an entire month. And for the record, moon pies and King Cakes suck ass.

This morning when my kids were discussing the Mardi Gras celebration they'd have at school today, my daughter mournfully announced, "We don't celebrate Mardi Gras," the same way she'd state that we don't celebrate Hanukkah or go to church.

The entire Mardi Gras season is based on the kind of excess and extravagance that my puritanical New England heart finds most abhorrent.

You wouldn't find a bunch of Bostonians out drunk in the streets flashing their body parts at each other. Well, except for St Patrick's Day. And St Anthony's feast. And New Year's Eve. And, well, Fridays.

But still.

This time of the year always finds us trying to make escape plans. This year's escape plan involves a year long remote tour with a choice follow-on assignment. We'll see if anything actually comes of it this year.

If I see one more bead whore desperate for a tacky piece of plastic crap, I will consider it a year well spent.

So here's to Ash Wednesday and the entire Lenten season. By Fat Tuesday every year, I am ready for the somber and sacrifice. Maybe in forty days, I'll be ready to live my life on the bayou again.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Just in Time for Valentine's Day

"I'm quite popular with the boys, you know."

I fear that my husband's fervent hopes that my daughter won't turn out to be just like me (after all, he knows I had sex as a teenager) are about to be crushed.

At school she writes in a journal every day. Yesterday the teacher advised them to write about Valentine's Day and who they love. I'm sure girl after girl wrote about her daddy. Or at least her mother, siblings, relatives or friends. Not my girl.

"Who did you write about, sweetheart?"

"Michael Ledbottom."

Michael is a boy in her class.

Apparently, she is quite popular with the boys. As she was writing out her little Valentine cards last night she told me, "I know all the boys' personalities. All the boys like me, you know. Even Brian. He loves me. But he won't admit it. And Sebastian loves me too. He gets in trouble all the time trying to get my attention. He got sent to the principal's office five times yesterday! I don't know why he acts out to try and impress me. I'm not impressed. I should tell him that. 'You don't impress me, you know.' Then maybe he wouldn't get in trouble so much."

Let's see. She writes everyday. She loves the boys and they love her back. She's more long-winded then a preacher on the pulpit. Add in her sweet concern for our faraway friends and yes. I think Little Tuna Girl is only a year or two away.

Won't Daddy be proud?

How Not to Blog, Part 2

I think a commenter at The Zero Boss says it best.

"But engaging writers can generally get away with most anything..."

True dat, Paula. I completely agree. That, being said, let's see how much I can embarrass myself while pulling together yesterday's suggestions.

Don't blog about the weather: Or any of the minutia of your daily life. That's what diaries are for. Only the people who love you the most will be fascinated by your chore list.

My chore list right now includes taking down my Christmas tree. Top that, bitches!

Don't blog about other people's problems: One, they are not your stories to tell. And two, if people are coming to your blog to read about you, they don't care what your neighbors are doing. Unless it relates to you, leave it be.

But I can't leave this one be. A friend of a friend is currently (like right at this very moment) attending a Find a Last Minute Valentine party sponsored by these guys. He's too adorable to be competing for the attention of guys wearing "I'm ready for love!" t-shirts. Gay personals that treat you like a person? Great in theory. Needs some practice in execution.

Limit blogging about blogging: You never hear a bestselling author complain about how hard it was to write a book. Why would you let us know that you have nothing to write? Blogging about blogging is like talking about talking. Just do it. (Unless you're writing a brilliant post about blogging guidelines.) Ahem.

Memes are okay in small doses: We've all been tagged. And it can be fun. But a steady diet of memes makes you no better than a MySpace teenager.

Hell, people. This meme drove tons of traffic my way, thanks to FARB's arch nemesis. (Can I get away with saying nemesissy?) But I've also got bloggers linking to it and calling me a homophobic ass. (I take back the nemesissy.) I didn't write the damn thing. Interestingly, my husband was more angry about that then anything else that's ever been said here about me.

Unless you want to be an advertisement for YouTube, limit the number of videos: I don't know about you, but I never watch YouTube videos from blogs. I don't have that kind of time. If you feel strongly about it, and it is relevant to something you've written, go for it. But post after post of YouTube videos just isn't interesting to me.

Unless you lost a bet and have to go take this dance class. Then I'm going to be real interested and I'm going to post the video.

Don't tell inside jokes: That's what the telephone is for. You'll only insult your readers who aren't in on the joke. It's boring and tedious.

I'm so bored, I think I'll go make some rice. LOL. (Two with one stone.)

Don't gossip about other bloggers. Unless you're linking to their new porn: That's what e-mail is for. Except for my very best friends, I try not to ever blog about bloggers. It only leads to hurt feelings. It is interesting to me how many times I've had other bloggers think a post was about them, when it really wasn't.

For the record, if and when Patrick turns to porn to make rent money, I will post links. But I won't be watching myself. But I will watch him. (NSFW AT ALL!) I miss Billy's blog.

Do not use emoticons or texting abbreviations in your posts: Those are fine for comments and e-mail. But if you have to tell us that you're funny by typing LOL, you're probably not that funny to start with. Write appropriately.

Do not blog as therapy: Let's face it. Writing is therapeutic. But if all you ever do is write as though a therapist were listening, you probably need to invest the money and get some help. (On a serious note, I know nothing about the civilian sector, but I know the military has places you can go and people you can talk to. Start with your first shirt or a key spouse and go from there.)

Really excellent writers make you feel like you know them inside and out, while still maintaining a good bit of themselves just for themselves.

Do not go fishing: We're all guilty of this from time to time. It's best to be honest about it. Saying, "I need some positive reinforcement right now," is more interesting then boo hooing until all your faithful readers can fill you comments with compliments about how wonderful you are.

Let's check out my latest deep sea fishing expedition here, shall we?

Don't take yourself too seriously: We're not journalists. Or rock stars. Let's remember that anyone with access to a computer and an Internet connection can be a blogger. Lots of people around the world think blogging is a joke and bloggers are pathetic. If you're not writing for yourself and having fun, why are you doing this?

Do practice good blog linking karma: I try to link to everyone who links to me. But it can be hard to keep up. I only delete links if a blog hasn't been active for a couple of months. (Deleting a favorite link who hasn't been active can be heartbreaking, like losing an old friend.)

Do not beg: I remember a couple of years back there was quite a debate about how appropriate it was to post PayPal and Amazon wish list links. Personally, I don't care one way or the other. A good blogger can get away with just about anything.

And I completely support my friends who post about a charity project on their blogs. All those hits can generate some excellent support for wonderful causes. I've done it myself twice. But I wouldn't feel comfortable doing in more than a couple of times a year. That's why I pick and choose which charities I will support.

It also doesn't bother me in the least when people have advertising on their blogs. Unless it is so cumbersome that I can't read your content, have at it. But I won't ever have advertising here.

A while back I was lamenting to my husband that all these bloggers I know were getting cool swag. I wanted cool swag! Then I got a slew of offers. From tuna to evening gowns. And I just couldn't do it. This is my place to be irrepressibly me. Hits and money be damned. If I'm going to think twice about broaching such topics as dipping tampons in red wine then blogging just isn't worth it to me.

Do have fun: Unless your fun involves posting pictures of me drunk and drooling.

I think I sprained my ankle jumping down off this soapbox. And I promise, I've had my fill of blogging about blogging until...oh, whenever the mood strikes me again.

But if someone were to come up with Guidelines for Blog Readers, I'd sure as heck link to it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

How Not to Blog, Part 1

"I don't care about your blog."

I may have noticed the woman's stellar rack before I noticed what was written on her t-shirt. Or it may have been the other way around. Either way, it made me laugh.

Like everyone, before I started a blog, I was a blog reader. I was lucky enough in those early days to stumble upon some wonderful blogs. Some of them have gone away, some of them have deteriorated into "Nobody cares what you had for lunch!" drivel, and some of them are still going strong. But I learned from them all.

I think my blog friends and I have an unstated set of...well...not rules, per se. But guidelines. Basically, ways to ensure that your blog doesn't suck. If you even care about such things. We may break these rules all the time, especially when we don't care about sucking, but we still acknowledge that they exist.

Since I am a staunch rule-follower (seriously, it's a real problem for me) this week I am going to be discussing and breaking these rules. But first, in homage to The Sardonic One, let's come up with a good list. Shall we?

Disclaimer: Because enough people hate me already, please take these with a grain of salt. I'm not talking about you. Even Internationally Famous Superbloggers write posts about baby poop.

Don't blog about the weather.

Don't blog about other people's problems.

Limit blogging about blogging.

Memes are okay in small doses.

Unless you want to be an advertisement for YouTube, limit the number of videos.

Don't tell inside jokes.

Don't gossip about other bloggers. Unless you're linking to their new porn.

Do not use emoticons or texting abbreviations in your posts.

Do not blog as therapy.

Do not go fishing.

Don't take yourself too seriously.

Do practice good blog linking karma.

Do not beg.

Do have fun.

Is there anything else you're dying to ad to the list? You know you have blogger pet peeves. What are they?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Deed is Done

I started the morning quite chipper. But by nine I was flat on my back and all I could smell was burning hair. All I could feel was searing pain. It was like being stabbed with hundreds of very tiny, but very real needles.

"How does that feel?" the woman in pink scrubs asked me.

"Like butterfly kisses, bitch. What do you think?" I mumbled back. I don't think she heard me though, since she was stretching my mouth in unfathomable directions.

It feels like a rubber band being snapped against my skin...MY ASS! It feels like exactly what it is. My hair is being burnt off my face. By a laser. And I voluntarily signed up for this? What the hell was I thinking?

The $66 anesthetic cream I put on before my laser hair removal procedure seemed only to make my lips numb. A lot of good that does. My lips are the only skin on my body not covered by hair.

"Do you think it's better with the cream," Cameron Mannheim in pink scrubs asks me.

"Well, I wouldn't know. I've never done it without." It was hard not to add a bitch onto that one too.

"Oh, that's right."

If it hurt this much with the cream, I can only imagine the agonizing hell I would be in without it. Actually, the surface of my skin didn't hurt. It was the burning up of my hair follicles that was a wee bit ouchy.

After twenty minutes of this torture, Cameron handed me a mirror and asked me if there were any places I felt like she'd missed. Hell, bitch! It feels like she removed my face and sewed it back on.

"No, it felt quite thorough," I replied without one whit of sarcasm.

I expected my face to be red all over, as if I had stayed in the sun too long. But it was actually more just blotchy in a few places. Especially along my previously alabaster neck. "Will it get worse?" I asked Cameron.

"Oh, no. In fact, I'll put some Aloe on and it will look even better in a minute." She slathered on the Aloe and then left me alone to...I don't know...fix my hair or something. It wasn't like I had to get dressed.

So I readjusted my ponytail and took a look in the mirror.

Holy shit! That hair that's been along my jawline since I was twelve is gone. It's just...gone. The very dark hairs on my chin are mostly gone too. And the one's that remain are actually fried and singed. Cameron tells me those should fall out in a week or less. And the cowlick in my eyebrow is gone! Gone, I tell you!

Suddenly all the pain is worth it. The worst stabs were just where the laser was doing its best work. In my memory those stabs feel almost satisfying now, like the sharp pain I feel when I pluck out a hair that has been bugging me.

I don't even know who I am without hairs to pick out of my chin.

I have five more sessions and then a two-year hair-free guarantee. Cameron is my new best friend. And the next appointment and I discussed laser procedures while I waited for Cameron to process my gift certificate.

"I'm afraid I'm going to get addicted to hair removal," I told her. And I suddenly realized how true that is. Man, can you imagine never having to shave your legs again? Or your bikini area?

I wonder if they do Brazilians. (My husband's ears just perked up all the way out in his aircraft!) I've got anesthetic cream. I can do anything!

As I walked out of the hospital, ready to show my new hair-free face to the world, a janitor sprayed Windex on a sliding door. A gust of wind blew that Windex directly in my face. Suddenly that $66 cream wasn't worth a fuck.

And I'm rethinking the Brazilian.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sick Day

The problem with five-year-old boys is they don't appreciate a good sick day.

The problem with thirty-three year old moms is that sitting around watching cartoons all day makes them fall asleep.

I don't know if my son is any better, but I've never been so well rested.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Drool Changed My Mind

I am totally changing my tune when it comes to Patrick and Aaron living together.

Now, I love it!

How else would I get Picture Mail of one of them passed out drunk? And drooling? Labeled Drunky McDrunk?

No. I won't post it. But I will make it the contact photo that pops up when he calls me. Oooh, and my screensaver too.

I am positively gleeful.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Go Colts, I Guess

I found this on the kitchen table this morning.

Who knew we had a Colts fan in the house?

Last night when I was putting my daughter to bed she told me, "Mom, when I grow up I want to have an all-girl football team and call it The Foals."

I think she's more interested in the name than the high contact sport. Because this is from the girl who always passes in soccer because she's nice.


I was so proud of my son at swimming class. He did great, despite getting nervous right before class started. He even swung from the rope swing into the deep end twice, while sitting on Mr. Nathan's lap of course.

Lucky boy.

He came up with an analogy for the whole experience. "It's just like when I wanted to ride the log ride at Sea World but I was scared. But I was brave and did it anyway. And it was so much fun."

But something happened after class that had me seething. At a complete stranger.

I can count on one hand the number of times I've yelled at a complete stranger. There was that one time when a woman cut in line and then proceeded to be excessively rude to the clerk. And there was that one time I yelled, "That's some great parenting right there! Why don't you blow some more smoke in your kid's face!" to the pregnant woman who was blowing cigarette smoke right in her toddler's crying mouth. Repeatedly.

It took every ounce of my considerable restraint not to scream at the mother in the dressing room who was smacking the shit out of her kid.

I had noticed the kid earlier when he had kicked and then hit a teacher, not because he was scared, but because he wanted another turn on the slide. He was standing on the edge of the pool and kicked the teacher right in the mouth.

His mother grabbed him and dragged him into the restroom. I was hoping she was dealing with his behavior right there (but doubting it).

A few minutes later my daughter and I were in the changing room. This mother-of-the-year and spawn came in and the mother was giving him a calm talking to.

"We're leaving right now. You can't act like that and expect to stay. You don't yell at me like that. Ever."

I was ready to give her the benefit of the doubt. We've all been there, when our kids behave in a way that completely baffles us. But she was doing and saying pretty much what I would do and say.

And then she smacked him.

She'd smack him and then he'd scream. And then he'd smack her. And then she'd smack him. And this went on and on over and over. At least fifteen times.

You know, I don't care what your parenting philosophy is. I don't care if you have, "Spare the rod and spoil the child" tattooed across your chest. You do not expose my kid to that kind of violence. Especially in a situation like we were in where my daughter was desperately trying to change clothes so we could get out of there.

I was pretty much just mentally rolling my eyes at the whole heart-warming mother and son scene until my daughter looked at me with tears glistening in her eyes. She felt bad for the kid and uncomfortable with the whole situation.

I grabbed her clothes and wrestled her into them myself. I grabbed her shoes and loudly told her, "Let's just get out of here and put your shoes and coat on by the front door."

It was only the fact that my daughter would have been so upset if I had yelled that kept me from laying into this woman.

In the car, I sat my daughter down and had one of those talks with her. I can remember my own mother teaching me about being a mother in the same kinds of moments.

"When you're a mom..." I started.

What that mother was doing was not discipline. Not in my book. She probably thought it was, but whatever. It doesn't matter. If my father had been there, I can tell you exactly what he would have done.

He would have got all big, pointed at that woman and bellowed, "If you hit that kid one more time, I'm going to knock out all your teeth!"

It scares me that I was so close to doing the same thing myself.

Restraint. Discretion. Sometimes it is the better part of valor. The best I could do for my kid was to get her out of there and explain what I thought of the situation.

And I'll fantasize about yelling every quiet moment I get.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I am dreading tomorrow. I am dreading tomorrow with every last fiber of my being.

Tomorrow is swim class day.

You wouldn't think that swim class cold be such a traumatic event. But for my son it is the most terrifying thing he has ever had to face. I think that he really and truly believes that he is going to drown and die.

I put off signing him up for classes again this year because he begged me to. But, well, we have a house with a freaking beach! My father has a boat. My brother has a pool. How can he not learn how to swim?

We decided to bite the bullet and signed him up for the post-holiday session. Now that he is five, he's too old for the class with the mother-type teacher who holds him close and sings Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star to calm his fears.

Now he has Mr. Nathan.

I don't know if Mr. Nathan really is a former Marine or if that's just the rumor, but he certainly has the body for it. If I wasn't going through my own personal motherhood hell, I could sit all class and just watch Mr. Nathan's muscles play under his wet T-shirt.

He also has the Drill Sargent bark down pat.

The first week of class, my son was nervous, but he was excited to have a new teacher and a new bathing suit. When the girl next to him swam back and forth across the pool all by herself, he pretty much just lost it. But Mr. Nathan wouldn't let him get away with anything.

"Put your feet in the water!" And he did.

"Let go of me, now!" And he did.

As hard as it was to watch, I figured that it was what my son really needed. He's usually so brave and adventurous. I really don't know why he is so scared of the water. By the end of the class I was hiding my tears.

For the next week, whenever my daughter would mention swim class, my son would dissolve into a watery, shrieking mess. We finally had to forbid her from even mentioning the words.

On Saturday morning, he was a wreck. About an hour before class he decided he had to go to the bathroom. He may have been scared, but he is smart and manipulative too. He was smart enough to realize that the one thing a parent really can't argue with is a kid who has to go to the bathroom.

And he really did stretch it out for an hour. When his bowels were empty, he just started peeing, little tiny spurts. I was absolutely amazed at how long he could keep that up for. And if you tried to convince him that he was out of pee, he just stated that he was going to throw up. And he'd gag and heave until something came up.

I knew that if we could just get him to class and "trust the process" that he would eventually love to swim. I figured that this could be a defining moment of his childhood. So I joked with him as much as I could, coaxed out a few smiles, and gave him a thirty-second countdown to get off the toilet.

When I finally heaved him up, he peed on me, just to prove that he still could.

"You peed on me!" I honestly couldn't believe he had done that. But I could either dwell on that, or get him in his bathing suit and out to the car. I put on his bathing suit.

With a stroke of genius, my husband called my parents when we got to the parking lot. Having my son talk on the phone to them, and tell them how horrible we were, was just enough of a distraction to get him in the door and poolside.

It took two of us to get his shirt off, and I pretty much gave myself a mental "fuck it" and picked him up and heaved him to his little seat on a turtle.

It was in that moment that I was reminded how strong women can be. My husband may have flown 22 combat missions, but he could not deal with swim class. I was okay, for a bit. I promised myself I would be totally stalwart and strong (and casual) but then my daughter started crying. Seeing my daughter cry because she feels so bad for her brother set me off. I had to dry my eyes with his crocodile towel.

Then Mr. Nathan took over. By the end of the class, my son had stopped crying and actually swam a few feet on his own. He got to ring a big bell (a reward for superior effort) and go down the slide.

As I wrapped him in a big towel and a bigger hug at the end of class, he told me, "That wasn't so bad. That was actually kind of fun!"

Any doubt or guilt I had about traumatizing my own child was gone. Part of being a parent is making your kid suffer for his own good.

But I still dread tomorrow. He's still unsure, and he's been counting the days down on his calender. I'd hate to have to get peed on every Saturday until this summer.

Oh, and yes, cameras are allowed at the pool. But I know from experience that the lens just fogs up.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My Boys

A couple of weeks ago, Aaron (formerly of 1,000 words and more, lately of his phlog, world famous on flickr, owner of the most atrocious pair of purple camouflage pants I've ever seen and one of my best friends) moved from Florida (the country's wang) back to New York City.

Which is great. Except it has been just plain weird for me.

You see, he didn't move back into his old apartment. He moved in with Patrick.

Side note! After editing this post I realized that it sounds like the two of them moved in together because they are romantically involved. Which made me throw up a little. That reeks of incest to me. Aaron is just staying with Patrick until he can find his own place.

Having the two of them living together is...well...I can't find a word for it. It's just plain weird. It's like I'm involved in some kind of trippy fag hag love triangle. All the lines are blurred.

And it makes it way too easy for me to mother from afar.

I ask Patrick, "Is Aaron eating?"

And I ask Aaron, "Is Patrick eating?"

I ask Patrick, "How does Aaron look?"

And I ask Aaron, "How does Patrick look?"

Ugh. I don't know how they stand me because I can't stand myself.

The very first night I met those two Aaron exclaimed, "Wow. You really are a mother. Aren't you?" (Patrick probably doesn't remember that because he was rather inebriated.)

I don't know. I can't help it. But I will tell you this. If Aaron wasn't staying with Patrick, I'd probably be worried sick.

My husband says that I'm collecting "my boys" in New York City. I don't know how they all ended up there. But it sure would be easier to smother the hell out of them if I lived there too.