Thursday, February 28, 2008


Since dropping the kids off at school this morning, I've had a completely free day. I have no appointments or commitments until 6 p.m. tonight because my friend is ushering my kids through their after-school activities.

That sounds awesome! But what have I done today? Absolutely nothing! I have completely wasted an entire free day. Why?

Because I am seriously terrified about what I have to do tonight. I've done nothing but worry about it.

At 6 p.m. I am attending a Little League softball coaches meeting. Yes, I am coaching my daughter's softball team this year. And I am absolutely sick about it. Why, oh why did I volunteer to do this?

I am so nervous. Tonight I'll get my roster and schedule and then I'll have to call all of the parents and tell them that our first practice will be on Monday. I'd rather eat sawdust. I'd rather drink lighter fluid. I'd rather wear a bathing suit in public!

I'm afraid I'll suck at this. I'm afraid the parents will all hate me the way we hated my daughter's coach last year. I'm afraid everyone will think I'm a bitch for having practice so soon. I'm afraid they'll think we practice too much. I'm afraid they'll think we don't practice enough. I'm afraid they'll think I'm too harsh. I'm afraid they'll think I'm too easy. I'm afraid they won't like the uniform shorts and visors I'll pick out.

And although I have a soccer field scheduled for practice after school on Mondays, I have yet to find a softball diamond to practice on. Our school doesn't have one.

My husband says that in the eighteen years he's known me, he's never seen me like this.

It's ridiculous! Move me across the country? Sure, bring it on. Husband goes to combat in Iraq and gets shot at by rockets and mortars? Eh, whatever. I'm sure he's fine. Coach a team of seven and eight-year old girls? I'll be curled up here in the fetal position, thanks.

Of course, it's not the kids I'm scared of, even though I think they're all aliens. It's the parents.

Why, of why did I volunteer to do this?

Traveling Up

It's Patrick's birthday today.

Do go wish him a happy one.

Don't mention the numbers 3 or 8.

Happy birthday, Patrick!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Le Troisième Petit Cochon

Today my daughter played the third little pig in a play presented all in French. Her version of the brick house-building pig was also a rockin' country singer.

Sometimes the things my kids do amaze me.

Oh, and shiny pink ballet tights and black flats as hooves? Sometimes I amaze myself with these last minute costumes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Anal Sex and the Power of Dude

My husband doesn't listen to me, I swear.

Today we were engaging in our new favorite lunchtime hobby, looking at real estate listings online, when I made a comment to him.

"Exit Realty. That's a stupid name for a real estate company. It makes me think of anal sex."

He completely ignored me.

So I went on, "You know, most husbands at least look up when their wives mention anal sex."

"Eh. It's old hat," he responded without even lifting his eyes.

Moments later he was lamenting that he had to go back to work. Work is wearing on him right now. All either one of us can think about is moving. So I played devil's advocate.

"Aw, so don't go back. What do you have to do that's so pressing? Stay and play with me. We can look up some more Realtors."

"I have work to do," he replied. "Besides, we don't even know where we're moving yet."

"So, go find out!" My voice rose. "Pick up your phone. Call your commander and just ask him!"

"I can't do that," he said.

"Sure you can," I answer. "Just use the power of dude. As long as you say 'dude' first, you can say anything! Say, 'Dude, I need to know where I'm going.' and he'll say, 'Dude, alright. I'll find out.' Guys can say anything as long as they use the power of dude!"

And he laughed at me. He laughed!

I'm glad he thinks I'm funny, but, DUDE, go find out where we're moving, will ya?

I'll give you anal sex.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Running with Bacon

Have you ever wanted to trip a runner?

I have. I do every time I see one. They think they're so awesome in their tight little pants.

Sometimes I go to races just to fantasize about tripping them all on their way to their post-race brunches.

On Saturdays, we go to the downtown YMCA for my daughter's basketball games. This week a whole group of runners was chatting by the door after their run.

They all had tight little pants.

I was quietly working hard at suppressing my urge to trip them all when one announced, "Come on, you guys. Bacon's waiting."

Where are my machete arms?

After we entered the Y, I turned to my husband and said, "Did you hear that? He said bacon! I hate them!"

"You don't really hate them," he replied. "You just want to be them."

I think he's wrong. I think he just underestimates my love of bacon.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Biggish Tuna, Tiny Pond

The last couple of months have been a very strange time for me. I'm not even sure if I can put it all into words. It has just been strange...yet tremendously flattering.

A couple of months ago I wrote an article for my paying gig that got floated out there just about everywhere. It ended up in the newspaper, online, in a local magazine, and in a publication that the kids' school puts out. (As an aside, I got paid approximately ten bucks for this article. That is why we'll never be rich.)

The article was basically about how I cried during a ceremony at the kids' school honoring our military families.

It doesn't sound all that exciting, I know. But coming right on the heels of my husband's Iraqi deployment, it created a lot of buzz. The folks at school fell in love with it.

And suddenly I couldn't go anywhere or do anything without people gushing at me. They love me. They love my writing. I'm wonderful. My kids are wonderful. My husband is a hero.

It's a huge ego boost, I'll admit it. It is unbelievably flattering and I am grateful for the outpouring of support. But I am very much humbled. It has all been just really weird.

This whole year I have felt like I've been living under a spotlight. It's a flattering light and somehow manages to hide all my flaws, but it is always on. I have, like, fans. But they aren't fans of my work. They are fans of me!

There is a part of me very, very deep down which thinks, "Hey! I rock. I deserve some attention. Get down with your bad self." (My inner voice is a dork.) But mostly I think I am a dork and, well, everything they are praising me for is complete bunk.

All of these civilians think I am so awesome for just living through a deployment. But I know that countless other military wives are doing it better and with a hell of a lot more grace than I did. They didn't yell at their kids. Still, the kids and I never missed a day of school, an after-school activity or a single appointment. That's not bad.

I got all these amazing kudos for planning and hosting our school's Grandparents' Day. I was able to throw a luncheon for 900 people and only spend $217 of the parents' association money. I was told that the whole day had my "magical touch". Yet, all I know is that the catered food sucked. I mean SUCKED! People paid ten bucks a head for a plate of cold noodles. SUCKED! Still, I need to give myself credit. Most people wouldn't even volunteer for such an undertaking while they were dealing with a deployment.

And then there is the article. You see, the school's communications director had asked me to write something for the school magazine and I happily agreed. But that article wasn't it.

This article was something I sat down and just spewed out because I was missing a deadline for the publishing company. It's not my best writing, by far (much like my blog posts of the last, oh, say, year!) but the school still asked for permission to publish it themselves. Seriously, a day doesn't go by when someone doesn't tell me how much they love it. Strangers stop me in the streets!

In the midst of the craze I turned to my husband and said, "You know, I feel bad. I was going to sit and write something much better. This isn't even very good."

"I know," he replied. "It's kind of boring."

And that's why I love him. He tells it like it is and keeps me grounded. I guess we keep each other grounded. You've just got to love him.

It has felt like the "Year of Me" and it has been amazing, but weird. The only compliments I really take to heart are the ones about my kids. They are constant too, but I least I know they are true. They are special kids.

Now I've had to tell all of my (sarcastic air quotes) fans (sarcastic air quotes) that we are moving and it has sent the attention into a frenzy. People are mad. People are upset. People are sad.

Every day I get people asking me to find a way to stay here. But there is definitely a part of me that is looking forward to moving away from all this attention. My blog friends give me enough of an ego boost as it is. (My husband is laughing at that one.)

I have learned one thing though. I very seriously and very secretly always wanted to be a famous writer. Now I've only had a tiny touch of fame in a very small pond, but I'm not sure I would ever really want to be famous. Sure it must be gratifying to earn a living doing something you love, but responding to fans can become a full-time, uncomfortable job.

I have learned to say, "Oh, thank you! I have fun writing," in the most sincere way to people I don't even know. I'm not good at faking it.

When I did our taxes last night, I actually had to fill out a Schedule C for my self employment as a freelance writer. I used to take pride in that Homemaker in the occupation line near my name. Being self employed is totally not worth the 1200 bucks I earned.

I don't think I'm going to bother searching out another writing job when we move. As flattering as the attention of the last few months has been, I'm looking forward to being just another shy, anonymous mom.

My alter ego can do all the hard work.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Allegro on Stage

I have been trying to use the Blogger video feature for a while, just out of curiosity, but I never have been able to get it to work.

So, I finally gave up and tried out the evil YouTube.

Here's a little video of my kids playing Allegro at their violin workshop earlier this month. I love when they get to stand next to each other on stage. It makes taking video and pictures so much easier, even though I suck at doing both those things.

Oh, and just to make note...Little Tuna Boy is the youngest kid on stage during this song.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

One Track Mind

Even my TiVo knows that I am a giant dork. Early, early this morning it taped three hours of Classic VH1. And I'm watching it!

Remember when videos mostly consisted of the singer bopping around in different costumes? It was a kinder, gentler, Stacy Q sort of time.

So, I have been missing out on quite a bit of life lately. I feel like I fit right in with Samantha Fox and her ripped jeans right now and not just because I Wanna Have Some Fun. By today's standards, Ms. Fox would be considered quite chunky.

I spent the majority of the last three days in bed. I can't seem to stay awake no matter what I do. For someone who barely ever sleeps, it's actually a little scary. But I feel bad enough to take medicine (and that's saying a lot) and in my old age medicine puts me to sleep.

I pretty much only have one thing on my mind these days and that is moving. We still don't know where we're going, though it now at least seems clear that we definitely are going somewhere.

I've noticed that I am already starting to distance myself from our life here. I always do that when we move. Not on purpose, but it happens. But I still have months and months to go here. I need to get my shit together.

And sitting on the couch watching classic Wham! isn't going to get it done. Although...maybe the cosmic message in meaningful. Wake me up before you go-go, will ya?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day to Me

My husband did it! He actually managed to surprise me.

When I got in the car to drive the kids to school this morning, I found my Valentine's Day present.

Sweet, huh! Especially since yesterday my trusty old 3rd Generation iPod turned into a very expensive paperweight.

Go, Tuna Man. He had it hidden in my car all week.

Oh, and in case you happened to notice, that Valentine's Day gift is sitting inside my Christmas gift, a new Mazda CX9.

Spoiled much? Hell, yeah!

Great Moments in Motherhood

After two whole days of flying and interviews and tests, my son was really looking forward to a "Mexican grilled cheese" (known to the rest of the world as a cheese quesadilla) during our layover at George Bush International.

So when he was only half finished and tipped his plate onto the floor and started crying in grief I had absolutely no qualms about picking his tortilla up off the floor, wiping it off and handing it back to him.

"It didn't hit the floor. I caught it," I lied for the benefit of anyone who might be watching.

What would you have done?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Our Virgina Adventure

We're back from our whirlwind tour of Virginia Beach. My son and I actually had a pretty good time together, despite the stress of testing, interviews and sleeping together in one room.

We arrived on Tuesday evening, grabbed a quick dinner, learned that the indoor pool was under renovation and both were in bed and asleep by 8 o'clock.

But at 2 a.m. my son woke me up. "Is it time to visit the schools yet?"

"No," I grumbled. "It's the middle of the night. Go back to sleep."

This happened every half hour for the rest of the morning until I finally turned the television on at 6:30 and told him to leave me alone. He was excited.

And then we showed up to the first school an hour early. We were there before the admissions people. I could have sworn she said, "I have your son scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon on Friday." Apparently she had said 9 a.m. to 11. Whatever. Being that early makes almost as bad an impression as being late.

But they let us sit in the office and wait for the 9 a.m. testing to begin. They had some blocks with numbers and math signs on them in a basket. My son sat on the floor and starting writing equations with the blocks. 6+5=11 and so forth.

You know what I was thinking! Is anyone watching this?

When my son and the other five kids who were going to be evaluated in a group that day gathered in the lobby, the admissions director sort of led introductions. Most of these were the kids who were applying from out of town.

She introduced a Canadian boy and asked him if he had taken a plane to Virginia. The kid buried in head in his dad's leg and sort of mumbled something. She introduced another boy and asked where he was from. He sort of mumbled, "Florida," but then refused to say another word.

Then she said, "And here we have Little Tuna Boy..."

He took two steps forward and declared, "I'm from Louisiana and I had to take two airplanes to get here!" He even made accompanying hand gestures.

Well, I had told him to just be himself and he was certainly doing just that.

I have no idea how his testing went, because parents were not invited to watch. But I was very proud of him. He handled himself very well. We had a little interview and individual testing the next morning. He loved it all.

And this school was amazing! It had everything we love about our own school plus an unbelievable facility. And they even have a school orchestra and violin program.

In the meantime on Friday, we grabbed lunch and headed out to another school. At the first school I got the tour while he tested, but since this second school is going to use the testing scores from the first, he was able to tour with me.

He was very impressed with how big the school was. He asked pertinent questions and introduced himself to everyone he saw. Before we left, the admissions director actually offered us two spots at the school.

It's hard because I was constantly comparing that school to the one we had seen that morning. And that first school wasn't only one of the best in the area, it was one of the best in the country and it fit in with our family philosophy and style. I was as little put off that this second school was so eager to have us.

I mean, sure. I know I have pretty great kids, but they haven't even met my daughter yet. The recommendations our teachers and headmaster sent to this school must have been stellar.

Since we've been home, I can't stop thinking about the choice we need to make. The first school accepts 80 first graders so I think my son has a decent chance, plus he won't be the "new kid" there. But they currently have no room in the fourth grade, so unless someone moves, there is very little chance my daughter will get in there.

And the more I've thought about it, the more I think I like the second school. It can't quite compare to the first, but it is still a very good school. They have more military people than the first school and it definitely had a less "moneyed" atmosphere. It felt more homey but less academically outstanding.

Do I want send my kids to different schools?

I guess I should wait until we find out where we're accepted before I get myself all wound up about it. But I really do hope that by some stroke of luck, they both get into the first school. Still, it is comforting to know that we have a good school to go to there no matter what.

Of course, we STILL don't know if we're even moving to that area!

The stress around my house right now is absolutely palpable. This "not knowing" is the worst.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Off to the Beach, sort of


I have so, so much to say but I just realized that this will be my last post until next week. I'd like to leave you all with something meaningful or well-written, but it ain't gonna happen.

Oh, and did I mention that my mother-in-law has been here for the last few days?

My son and I leave early tomorrow for Norfolk, VA where we will be visiting and interviewing at two private schools. We'll be home Saturday night but my husband and I are spending Sunday acting as tour guides at our school and then going on a date.

An honest to goodness date.

Woo hoo.

I'm not really feeling a lot of pressure about the school visits. Funny. I probably should be. But I have utmost confidence that my son will be very much himself and everyone will fall in love with him.

(Please cross your fingers and hope that is true for our sakes.)

Also, I'm still not sure that we'll even be living near these schools. Maybe that helps to relieve the pressure.

(I'm thinking about sending cookies to our friend at the assignments office. Do you think that would help?)

I'm looking forward to having time alone with my son. I don't think we've really been alone together since my husband left on his deployment.

I have some posts in the queue. Maybe they'll come out to play. Be good while I'm gone.