Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

As I am writing this, right this minute, it is Halloween Night! Bwahahahaha! AAAAAAACK!

My neighbor across the street did a major haunted house deal with smoke machines and skulls and scary music, the works. So I went out and bought extra candy to accommodate the extra trick or treaters, and you know what? They are skipping my house to go across the street and check out the haunted house! Can you believe that? They'll be back, OH YES, they'll be back...

I have been feeling nostalgic for the Hallows-ween of my youth, one hundred thousand years ago, when 99% of the costumes were homemade, and 99% of us went as ghosts, witches, hobos, gypsies, and cats. We would watch Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! once, we would dress up once, for halloween itself, my mom would put a little make up on me, give me a black mole, and my dad would take us out trick-or-treating, and ask after every house, "did you say thank you?" Most of the houses did not decorate, and if they did it was a cardboard cutout of a scarecrow. Or maybe that was just my house. There was one house that had a couple of tiki torches going up the stairs and I would not go to their door for any amount of candy, or even a full sized snickers.

We did not collect for Unicef. Halloween was for kids, and was not a teachable moment for anything but avoiding apples with razor blades. Neighbors who you knew actually made home made treats like popcorn balls, and, I don't know about you, but I trick-or-treated with one other friend and that was it. No one went out to eat, no one with little kids went to a party and left their house dark, and I got to eat as much of my candy as I wanted or ration it out to myself, it was my choice. And if I ever became constipated, my mom would rub my back while I sat on the can and tell me it was from eating too much candy, whether it was Halloween or not, and I thought that was true until my twenties.

But, alas, things have changed. A lot of the costumes are store bought (although I have to admit I am seeing some fine examples of mother-sewing at my door tonight) and the kids come to the door in clumps of five or more, and half of them don't say trick or treat. I have to make them say it in exchange for the goods. Two separate kids have actually asked me, "How many pieces?" instead of trick-or-treat and thank you; my response was, "How about no pieces, would that work for you?" I don't ask for much, just that they do their part by saying the magic Halloween words, and I'll load 'em up.

My friend is giving out granola bars. Jeez. Honestly. I beseeched her to please, please just give out the good stuff for once in her life. Don't be the raisin lady, or the granola bar lady, or the toothbrush or spare change lady. Buy a bag of mini snickers, have a sip or two of wine and get it over with. I called her tonight, and she's not even home which means that innocent little children, with store bought costumes and Unicef boxes have to climb the stairs to her front door only to find a bowl of granola bars, for chrisakes.

Yes, its true, I rock.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Suck

I only have a minute. I have a pretty packed day today. I have to make banana bread, or the bananas that I bought for this purpose will go past the point of their usefulness, I am going to lunch with someone I don't know, I have to finish assembling L's costume, I have to tidy up the house AGAIN, and then all the regular stuff like picking the kid up from school, listening to her bullshit, and making her take a bath and do her homework. God, I hope she's in a better mood today. I'm starting to worry that she's having a real problem, and it isn't just sleepiness or something.

I did some time in her room today. Over an hour. It took that long to go through her bin of artwork and her "pink bin." The pink bin is where all the little plastic pieces of shit go. Rubber balls, spider rings, spare change, Barbie shoes, game pieces, plastic bugs, a toy tank and a toy alligator, broken necklaces, hair bands, and today I found a sock that I'd been looking for. Between the two bins I hauled out one whole grocery bag of recycling and another whole grocery bag of garbage, and that's the two bags for today.

The longer I work in that room, and find all the teeny tiny pieces to games and sets of things, and trash, and broken things and all that CRAP, the lousier I feel. I don't know how hoarders do it. Seriously, I don't know how they don't just run screaming from their piles of stuff or just light their houses on fire. I have so let this room go, and the deeper I dig, the worse it gets. We all know I will never win awards for my housekeeping, but this is something entirely different. This child is living in a landfill of her own making, and I am letting it happen. Oh, the shame!

But this is ending. I've now hauled a total of 6 bags of stuff out of there. The big container in the garage is full, and I'm not nearly done. There will come a day when that room is habitable again, and it will be soon! In the meantime, I'm leaving it a mess so it is less obvious that things are missing. So far, she doesn't suspect a thing. I've decided that when I get to the point where she has to notice, like I'm moving furniture and stuff like that, I will tell her that, since she's almost eight, its time to make it an eight year-old's room, and play it like that. I'll let her pick out a new sheet set (from a mother-pre-approved selection) and that will be her great contribution. She'll never know what happened, except that her room is manageable and easier to clean, and her games have all their pieces and all is well with the world.

Now I have to get ready for lunch. Bon appetit!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who Peed in her Cheerios?

This must be the week of crabby. Leila is so irritable and cranky and frustrated, its like she's getting her period or something. Jeez. She was all drama when I picked her up today, so I thought I'd cheer her up by telling her I recorded Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and that we could watch it together when her "stuff" was done (homework, piano practice.) But instead of happiness, I got treated to a tirade about how she HATES Charlie Brown. Who hates Charlie Brown? I mean, maybe Lucy, but she's really just passive aggressive; what's to hate? So I changed the subject and when we got home, she dumped her stuff on the big green chair, and started to open the TV cabinet and I was all "You have to finish your stuff first." and she was all, "You didn't say that!" and I was all, "Yuh-huh" and now she's plinking around on the piano, not actually practicing, just farting around, and there's a sign on her door that says in big rad crayoned Letters, "Leave Me Alone!" Fine, crabby pants, I'll just take a little nap and mind my own bees wax.

What is up her butt lately? I know she's getting over being sick, but she was fine a few days ago, she should be even finer today. I've been putting her to bed early (its convenient when they can't tell time; you say "time for bed!" and they don't argue) so if she's just tired I can't see why. I'm making sure she has healthy, protein-filled snacks, but she's still just pissing all over this nice day. I'm blaming everything on second grade. So far, its been a tough school year.

Speaking of healthy snacks, I'm in the halloween candy. I left it alone for almost two whole days, but last night, while Rob was playing guitar, I had some smarties and a butterfinger. You'd think I would have at least tortured myself about it, hemmed and hawed, bargained with myself, or felt guilty afterwards, but really I just ripped those bags open and got some candy out as casually as if I were getting the mail. Maybe deep down I just knew it was inevitable. Its hard to live with two open bags of halloween candy. Talk about haunting. I think Poe should have written about housewives hearing mini chocolate bars calling to them. Screw ravens. A bag of mini Babyruths is way scarier.

I hauled two more bags of crap out of Leila's room today. Stuffed animals, dress-up stuff and a few odds and ends off her desk. You still can't tell anything is missing, and, luckily, neither can she. Bwahahahahaha! Stay tuned for a mini movie about her extreme room makeover; I'm putting my iMovie skills to work and its all for you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Sea Change!

Something has got to change in Leila's room. I wanted her to clean it up yesterday, and she farted around in there for two hours, and then started to cry because the mess was just too overwhelming. She had one of the over-flowing house days; it was pitiful. She was saying she wanted to get rid of all her stuff because it was too hard to clean up. I asked her if she wanted me to go in when she wasn't home and get rid of some stuff, and she said yes.

Now, I know I am taking advantage of her compromised state; she was crying, she was done with the day, she was having a complete nervous breakdown. But I'm going for it! I went in her room and just sat there for a while, and the truth is, I, as the mother, have let this room get completely out of hand. There is too much furniture, I let her tape all kinds of shit to the walls, there are two many toys and stuffed animals and books and plastic pieces of crap everywhere, she has three or four times the number of crayons any kid needs, she has piles of spent coloring books and empty notepads cluttering her desk, dress up clothes that are past their prime, and with Christmas around the corner its only going to get worse. It is in no way a peaceful oasis.

So, when I was done feeling guilty and berating myself for making my offspring live in such a sty, I decided that I would indeed start to cart stuff out of there, little by little, until it reaches a manageable state. Then, I will review the furniture and make some changes. Everything still lives close to the floor from when she was a toddler, and that's just not necessary now. She's practically taller than, like, Prince, and I think she can reach up a little bit to get a book, don't you? I took two grocery bags of stuff out of there today, books, and some toys, and you can't even tell. I figure if I take a bag or two out every day, she'll never notice stuff is missing. I can't wait for her to go to school tomorrow so I can haul another couple of bags out! This time, I'm hitting the stuffed animals (well, not really hitting them, that would be cruel) and the dress up bin. She has three princess dresses that I never wanted in the first place and they are out-of there tomorrow. I should take some before and after shots.

In a perfect world, I would get her to participate with me, and help me choose what she wants to get rid of, and I would respect her stuff, but I've been down that road before and that dog don't hunt. She used to be really good about letting go of stuff, when she was tiny, but now she clings to her stuff a lot more. There are things she NEVER plays with and she will not let me put them away. I think that as she gets older, she realizes somewhere inside that she really has no control over anything (not that any of us really do) and this space is the only thing she feels like she has dominion over, and this is all the stuff she has in the world. I remember that feeling. I also remember that when we moved in the third grade, my Shrinky-Dinks went missing mysteriously and I was bummed. My mom went a little too far, and I blamed myself for losing them. So, I will put all this crap in a big container (I may need to rent some PODS. Just kidding) and label it with an expiration date. If she is looking for something and really wants to play with it, it can magically reappear, but if she doesn't notice anything is missing, it will all be donated after the expiration date.

This is not a very entertaining blog post, and if I told you what I did yesterday you wouldn't be entertained either (laundry, cleaning - really! - and grocery shopping. Yawn.)

There's an unidentifiable dead thing in my yard, and I know that my dog has been carrying it around and licking it and I'm totally grossed out.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I am so full. I've been full all weekend, and yet I keep eating. Good stuff, too, not crap. By good stuff I mean yummy things like hamburgers rather than fruits and vegetables, and by crap I mean Chex Mix and raw cookie dough.

I have been drinking sodas lately. I know, I swore off them, but here's the thing: I had a cold, and I can only drink so much water and tea (which is to say, not very much at all) and cold bubbly liquids feel good on a scratchy throat. I also have been dead tired. I'm hoping its just the cold that's making me a freaking zombie, but Friday I took two naps, and I almost fell asleep during my hair cut yesterday. And I'm not just cat napping, I am sleeping hard, dreaming, and for at least an hour at a time. So I had a coke. I don't drink coffee, and I needed some caffein to jack myself up until bed time. Oh jeez, I just realized that Mad Men is on tonight and I'm going to be up late. I can't wait until tomorrow to watch it, I have to watch it right when its on, or I feel like I am missing out. Its moments like these when I realize how small my life actually is.

I took Leila and her friend to a Halloween carnival at L's former preschool yesterday. They had a blast, looked adorable (see photo) and Leila won a cake. Now I have a half eaten cake shaped like a pumpkin with sparkly sprinkles on it. Its huge! I'm not a fan of eating random baked goods made by strangers, so I've only had a little piece and I'm weighing whether or not I should send the rest to work with Rob tomorrow. It would be hard for him to carry on the bus, I guess.

Then this morning I was really in the mood for a donut, and I was very annoying until Rob relented at went to get some donuts. I couldn't believe how many he got; like, who can eat THREE buttermilk bites? Well guess what? I did, over the course of the whole day, and we were out of milk which totally sucked. I didn't get off my ass and go get any, I just whined about it. Rob so got the raw end of this marriage deal.

I did get off my ass a little today, though. I took a long walk with the dog and my mom today, about three miles or so, and I haven't done that in a while. It was hot, and the dog is now passed out on his ugly blanket.

Its time for me to beach myself on the sofa and finish watching season 2 of the The Wire, then put on PJs and watch Mad Men and then drag ass out of bed and go to school and do mom-like things. This is the week I have to cobble Leila's costume together. She's going to be scare crow and I need to find a plaid shirt, and old hat and some rope and burlap. Let's see if I can top last year's costume while taking two naps a day.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I have been busy mothering in the past two days, so I haven't had time to write. I've been very parenty, working over time and everything. I did get some naps in, but mostly I've just been negotiating the amount of TV Leila can watch while she infects me with all her germs. I should get hazard pay, don't you think? Actually, it would be nice to get any kind of pay, but the fact that she likes me better than Rob right now is reward enough.

She's sick. She has strep and an ear infection. You'd never know it to hear her singing in the bathtub right now, in an English accent, but this is her second day home from school. She's on antibiotics, and will be driving me absolutely insane for the rest of the day. She got in my bed with me at 7 a.m. and was wiggling and giggling and trying to tickle me and get my attention. I finally had to explain to her that I was going to have a very long day of making toast and listening to her TV programs, so I wanted to start my day with some quiet time of my own. She finally left, and I felt guilty. These kids just get you where you live, with their sad eyes. And then they make their own breakfast while you're listening to your radio program in bed, and you feel like such a loser.

I had to go get a strep test, too, and I'm on nice big antibiotics. (In case you're a new reader, strep and I are arch enemies with a long, bloody history, which you can read about here) So here we are, stuck in the house, with our 7-up and our soup. I feel pretty good, I'm getting over my cold, and hopefully I'm strep free. I plan on getting my hair cut and going out tonight, so I better be feeling ok. Its not every day I get to go out with my NBF (New Best Friend) A. so I'm going to make the most of it.

Before all this illness, I did another parenty-type thing. I drove on a field trip. Actually, I say it was before the illness, but it was really during; Leila did not feel well, and was willing to miss the field trip, but I really wanted to go. Yes, I'm 38 years old, and I wanted to go on the field trip, okay? It was totally worth dragging the kid out of bed. We went to the local recycling center. It was AWESOME. They have a whole "Environmental Classroom" with all kinds of interactive learning stuff, and they showed a little movie about how they make new bottles and paper out of old bottles and paper, and we saw all the stuff that will end up in a land fill (LOTS of plastic bags, people. We really need to do better than this) and then there is the Flying Can Ranch, where they have pigs and turkeys and chickens and peacocks whose only purpose in life is to eat the produce that passes its prime and that the grocery stores can't sell. They have an employee who spends her whole day prepping this food to give to the animals. The peacocks and the chickens have the run of the place, crossing the street, hanging out on parked garbage trucks, its so cool. One kid said it was better than the zoo; I don't know about that, there are no grizzly bears at the recycling center that I know of, but it was super cool, and I'm now inspired to find a place for a dog waste composter in my back yard. I don't currently compost my food scraps, but I really want to. My friend always tells me that Rob doesn't have the time, and she's so right. I would have fun buying the composter, researching all the composting rules, I would dump in one load of scraps, and then I'd never touch the thing again. I'm so predictable.

The little recyclers

Then, last night, I went to a class at my local Apple store to learn who to make and edit my own movies. Also very cool. Its a little overwhelming, but I figured out how I can edit down the three hour video of Leila's birth and cover up the nasty parts. I'm thinking of using a smiley face or a fig leaf to preserve my modesty. No one is ever going to see these movies but me (sorry, I will not be sharing the birth movie with you, no matter how you beg) but it will be fun to make them anyway.

Next time, I'll tell you all about how Rob is a guitar God and how he's obsessing in a big way. All I know is, its cheaper than golf, so have at it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dental Dorkishness

God, I'm the biggest dork.

I went to the dentist this morning for two fillings and here's what happened: I was all chill, reading a magazine in the waiting room, and I even brought my iPod with me so I could listen to tunes while they were drilling. I lay down in the fancy chair, I'm chatting with the cute dentist, he's spreading that topical numbing stuff on me, and then brings out The Needle.

I wigged.

I wigged in a good way, I didn't hyper ventilate or barf or anything, but I got all sweaty and nervous and was all " Okay. Okay. Hold on. Okay. Here we go. Hold on. Okay." The cute dentist is laughing at me in a good natured way, and I finally pry my hand from my mouth and lay back down and breathe deep, and let The Needle in.

He's poking around, and, topical stuff or not, I can feel that thing and it hurts! I'm trying to maintain, and every time I feel it I make a little whining noise like, "Ungggg. Ungggg. UNGGGG!" and he finally takes the damn thing out. I'm all, "Phew! Okay! Got through that!" and he's all, "No, I'm not nearly finished." And I'm still sweating and laughing nervously, and now I'm drooling on myself, but I open back up and he goes back in.

More of the same whining noises, except this time my hand shoots out from my body and violently pushes his hand out of my mouth. Awesome. I look at him, mortified, mystified, and he, cute adorable dentist that he is, says "Yeah, we're not gonna do this today." For a second I thought he was mad at me, but he was grinning, and I was laughing while holding both hands over my mouth, and I said, "Seriously?" and he goes, "Y' know, I've loosened up a bit in my old age, and you shouldn't have to suffer through this. I will do a much better filling if your not being a freaking lunatic." Okay, he didn't say those exact words, but I got the drift. He also said that I was cracking him up, and even when I'm making myself ridiculous that kind of comment gives me a little thrill. I'm so easy!

So he wrote me a prescription for Xanax and rescheduled me. My tongue and gums were numb at this point, but he said he was only about 25% done with the novacain. I was so embarrassed and I told him so, but he told me that if I hung around that office for a while, I'd see that I was not the only one. So, now I have to stress about this for another month and find someone drive me to and from the appointment since I will be too high operate heavy machinery. Such a dork. This has never happened before. When I was pregnant, I had to leave a cleaning before the hygienist had even started because I was a little on the nutballs side at the time, and I couldn't handle laying still for that long, and I DID start to hyperventilate that time. But normally, I don't freak out at the dentist. I don't heart dental work or anything, but I can keep my cool.

So, whatever. I'm home now, my tongue is lolling around in my mouth and I'm afraid I'm going to bite it off.

** Quick note on yesterday's post: The teacher who got her stuff stolen was Leila's teacher! Can you believe it? She startled the person in the act, and even though the robber got away, she was able to act quickly and get all her credit cards and checking accounts canceled. She did lose a sizable Nordtrom gift card, though, and that just sucks. The balls on some people! The noive!

Monday, October 19, 2009

To Catch a Thief

I am hopping mad this morning, kids! I walked L to school, with the dog, in the rain and when I got to the back gate, it was locked! AGAIN! We had to walk all the way around to the front, with the dog, in the rain, to get into the school. Luckily, she wasn't completely late, and a friend held on to the dog for me on the edge of the school so I didn't have to hide him under my jacket. But Man oh man! Then, when I was walking back home, past the back gate, with the dog, in the rain, the gate was wide open.

Seems there was a burglary on campus, and locking this particular gate is the only answer to the security breech. Well, this is very inconvenient for me, and why my personal needs are not front and center I'll never know. Don't they know that I am the PTA Parliamentarian? Doesn't that mean anything anymore?

Joking aside, I did write an angry e-mail to the principal, my first and hopefully last e-mail of its kind, and then got a call that there had been another attempted burglary this morning! Can you believe that shit? You have to have some serious balls to come onto an elementary school campus in the middle of a school day, go into an empty classroom, and start rifling around for cash and credit cards. WHAT KIND OF DOUCHE BAG STEALS FROM TEACHERS? Why not just take the kids lunches out of their hands, or rob a bake sale, or mug a social worker while you're at it? The perp' was chased by the teacher, but got away. Seriously, what a D. bag. I'm so glad no kids were around, I don't even want to think about that. I don't think locking my gate is the answer, but I'll take a shift patrolling the school with a walky-talky, I've been watching The Wire, I know how to stake out a place.

Can you just see me trying to chase down a criminal? Puh-leez. I'd be limping along, "Hold on! Somebody stop that burglar! Help! Police!" Lotta help I'd be. "I woulda caught him, too, if I were in any kind of physical shape whatsoever!" Yeah, I'm a super tough guy.

What's more, this burglar is a woman. One of my own. Perfect cover: look like a mom on campus and then steal stuff. D.O.U.C.H.E. B.A.G.

Its still raining, which I love, but its the kind of rain that can't make up its mind. It rains for a few minutes, then stops. Rains some more, stops. I need to go out and buy a big golf umbrella. The puny one I had didn't keep the rain off any of us this morning. We used to have one of these big umbrellas, but someone stole it. At the school, come to think of it! Who steals someone's umbrella? Don't you think that sucks? I can understand taking the wrong umbrella by accident, but man up and return it to the lost and found. If you're reading this and you came home from school with a big navy blue golf umbrella that wasn't yours, I'm on to you.

My house smells like wet dog, and I have delicious chinese food leftovers in the fridge, but I'm inexplicably not in the mood for chinese. I'm in the mood for cookies. Where does one even buy an umbrella? Is it a sporting good? A piece of hardware? I honestly have no idea...

P.S. Happy Birthday, Laura!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sniffling, Sneezing, Coughing, Aching, Stuffy Head, Fever, So-You-Can-Rest Medecine

I have a cold. I don't have a fever, or a sore throat, but I'm stuffed up and coughing and I've been in various states of reclining all day. I rented a movie on Comcast, I had soup, I let Leila watch TV, and I'm not going to get to go out for wine with my friends tonight. So I'll stay home and whine. ha ha.

If I was able to convince my mom that I was sick enough to stay home (and I had to actually be sick, funny how moms can tell when you're faking) I wasn't allowed to get out of bed and do anything ALL DAY, even if I felt better. That rule is still with me, and I would feel guilty going out and drinking tonight since I've been in my donut pajamas all day. I don't feel up to going out anyway, but I seriously thought about it. Rob was oddly supportive of my going out. What's that about?

I rented Away We Go, which was good, I watched Knocked Up on TV (in three different sessions, I saw the ending, then they played it again and I watched the beginning, and then they played it again and I saw the middle. I think I can string it all together) and I watched some Oprah, and I watched some decorating shows. Early this morning I watched Good Times. It was alright. The acting is not very good, but I really like the guy who plays the dad.

AND! The damn dog pissed on the floor again! Jeez! So now I have to add another element to my morning routine: putting his leash on before he even leaves the crate, and taking him outside and staring at him until he pees. Then I have to praise him and act all excited that he peed in the right place. I have been shunning him today and he knows it.

Once Rob gets off the phone, I'm going to pour some rootbeer (yes, you heard right: I need some bubbles, ok?) and watch an episode of The Wire. I never know what the hell is going on in that show, and I'm not a fan of cop shows in general, but Rob likes it, and I'm such a loving and giving person, so there you go.

Leila doesn't have school tomorrow, so we get to sleep in. I have no idea what I'm going to do with her all day, but I might go get us both strep tested, just in case.

If you're still reading this, I have to wonder why, I can hardly stand myself. But thanks anyway!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Animals are Skating on Very Thin Ice

So, after yesterday's sad little post, I resolved to be more patient and empathetic with the kid. All was going fine until it was time to practice piano, then it all went out the window. My blood just starts to boil when I hear, "I can't DO it! Its too COMPLICATED! My fingers just wont DO it!" I was trying to be encouraging, and nurturing ("I think it sounds great! Remember, its not do-it-perfectly time, its practice time! Its not supposed to be anywhere near perfect! Keep it up!") and I still felt shat upon. So I finally just said, "Y'know, I just can't - anymore." and shut the door to her room where she was practicing and made a new resolution: I will no longer cajole and negotiate piano practice. I will tell her to do it, nag her to do it, reward her for doing it without being asked, but I will not stick my nose in while its in progress, and I will not respond to the bitching and moaning coming from that room. I will seethe in silence, and when piano practice is over to my satisfaction, only then will I say a word of any kind. Either way, I reach for the pinot, so why not save myself the aggravation?

I can't decide if I am being a good parent here or if I'm just taking the path of least resistance. Meh, who cares; I'm sort of destined to squash her little spirit and send her shrieking to a therapist anyway, right? I know that learning a musical instrument is good for her, but why does it have to be so bad for me?!

In other news, I had an awesome morning. It started with not sleeping very well last night, and being awoken by animals - twice - while I was finally asleep. Little shits. Then the awesomeness continued when my dog, probably in a response to all the rain yesterday, took a nice long pee on the living room floor. I didn't see him to do it, but I could tell by the puddle that he had lifted his little leg, and pissed all over the leg of the coffee table. Little bastard. Then, when we got to school the back gate was locked so we had to walk all the way around to get onto the campus and L was late. She's never late, and I make great efforts to make sure that she is never late. Apparently, there had been a burglary on the campus and the the response was to lock the back gate. Not that it makes anyone more secure since kids were scaling the chain link gate and their moms were throwing them their backpacks over the top. Later, I had to take a shower, and you know how much I hate that anyway, but it was leg shaving day so it was extra awesome. Then I meant to go to Trader Joes but I was spacing out and I forgot to get off the freeway, but that wasn't such a big deal.

I have an evening of hors d'oeuvres and wine in front of me, though, so that's cool.

I will sleep tonight! I will start tomorrow well rested and eager to start my day! Right? Right?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Parenting Sucks

I just had the saddest conversation with Leila. I almost cried. She had a piano lesson this afternoon, and her behavior was so crazy, so out of character and so embarrassing to me, that my blood was boiling and I was finding it very hard not to scream at her right there, thus embarrassing myself and her, and making the piano teacher uncomfortable. The teacher even told her at one point, "I don't think you're going to have a very fun ride home..."

We got in the car, and she was nervously guessing all the ways in which she might be punished and embellishing on them ("I'm probably going to lose 1000 beads, right? You're going to take away the Wii forever, right?") but it was even worse because I froze her out; giving her the silent treatment until we were in the car and out of the parking lot. I was so pissed. I just kept thinking about the $46 per lesson I am paying.

So then, I let 'er rip about how shocked and angry and embarrassed I was at her behavior, and she started to cry and apologize repeatedly, which makes me more mad. One sorry is fine, but its more important that she not pull that shit again rather than be remorseful. We pulled into the driveway, and I asked her to tell me what was going through her mind when she was behaving that way, what she's feeling inside, and this is where it got sad:

She pointed to her head and said, sobbing, "My house is overflowing!" I was confused at first, but then I figured it out. To her, her house overflowing means that she feels out of control, and she can see herself misbehaving from outside herself, but she can't stop it. We also agreed that piano lessons make her very excited, nervous and frustrated, and that these feelings contribute to her overflowing house. She said her house overflows at school a lot, and that she keeps it in by holding her breath. That's when I almost cried.

Why does life have to be so hard? I watch these kids in second grade, and they seem carefree and happy-go-lucky, and yet inside they have overflowing houses that they're desperately trying to keep in check.

I felt so bad for her! We talked it all out, and we agreed that next time her house is overflowing and she is out of control at piano lessons: A) she will lose a red or yellow bead (worth one hour of Wii or one dollar, respectively) but not before B) I will ask her quietly if her "house is overflowing" and if she needs to step outside and takes some breaths and try to get grounded. I had to explain the alternate meaning of grounded; not the kind where you have to stay home for days as punishment. Then we hugged, and then we group hugged with the dog, and then we took the dog for a short walk so he could do some dog business, and now we're back to the base level. Its intense, this parenting thing. There is a lot of fun stuff, a lot of seeing the world through a kids eyes again rather than cynical adult eyes, but you also have to watch helplessly as these little kids, these little, tiny kids learn about managing feelings, and squashing their excitement and sitting still, and you can see them get crushed every time they fail to please you, but you wouldn't be doing your job if you weren't displeased some of the time. Its excruciating.

In the meantime, though, we had a nice big rain storm today, and you know how happy that makes me! I stayed inside and made cookie dough (didn't actually bake the cookies yet, I kind of lost interest) and got snuggly with the dog. Now I have to make dinner even though I had a large and late lunch and have no interest at all in food.

Tomorrow night, I'm hosting a party for the parents of Leila's class. I don't know how we're all going to wedge ourselves in here, but I'm sure it will be fine. I'll tell you how it goes...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pajama Lovers Unite!

Bloggers Furious At White House For Anonymous Ridicule

White House

White House "Adviser": Bloggers Should "Take Off Their Pajamas" And Get Serious

I know, I'm asking a lot with two posts in one day, but I virtually slept through the first one, so here's another.

I just read the above article, and, if you read it, you'll see that the Gay activists are up in arms about this comment. Now, without asserting any opinions whatsoever about the plight of gay rights in this country, or saying anything about the need to do away with DADT, and without offending people who actually believe in things and work hard to change public policy for the good, I have to register my outrage, not as a gay American (which I don't happen to be) but a blogging American:

Why on earth would I want to get out of my pajamas?!

Remaining in my pajamas for longer and longer periods of time is one of my life goals! And what is so wrong with pajamas? I would wear pajamas to the grocery store if I could! Leila is wearing two pair of them right now! Hugh Heffner has built an empire in his pajamas! Not one I can share with my kid as a good example of what can be accomplished in sleepwear, but still!

I think pajama wearers everywhere need to stand up, hike up their flannel bottoms, and write their congress person, or the president, or - Hey! A pajama march on washington! Although, this time of year, we would definitely need robes and slippers too. Throw in a big teddy bear while we're at it; we might need something to sit on during the impassioned speeches extolling the virtues of Karen Neuberger and the company that makes the PJs with the monkey stuff on them, whatever the hell their name is.

Pajama Day is an institution in my home. I have done lots of productive grass-roots things in my pajamas. I can't really think of them right now, but my point is still meaningful! In fact, it is high time I put my pajamas back on. I have been in these jeans way too long.

Power to the People! The Pajama People! and the gay people, and vote yes on Measure B...

I'm almost, sort of, kind of Awake

I'm using you as a procrastination technique. I just want to be up front about this. I would really like to take a nap instead, but L has a playdate over and I don't know her mom well enough to be comfortable with the idea that her little girl will go home and tell her I couldn't put out the flames on her arms because I was asleep.

We ordered our sofa this morning. Put down a lot of bucks, and now we wait. This whole experience with this particular purveyor of sofas has been so easy, with such good customer service, and fabric options, and other ways of customizing furniture (want the sofa longer? done. Want it shallower, done and done) that I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Will it get here when they say it will? Will they get the color right? Will the dye lots match? Will it be damaged on arrival? Whatever happens, you'll read about it here.

In the meantime, I am waiting impatiently for the promised rain. Yesterday they said it would be raining by three, now they're saying it will rain by nine. This is what happens: Where I live, they always promise rain; in fact, on the news, the regular weather report is called Storm Tracker! as if we live in the path of a permanent hurricane. But, really, we've had a drought. We don't get a lot of rain, so when there is even the slightest chance of rain, its at the top of the news, we all get excited, and then it doesn't materialize. Like this afternoon. Its supposed to be raining RIGHT NOW, and nothing! Once it does rain, lots of people (myself included, to be fair) completely forget how to behave in wet weather; we forget how to drive and break and merge, we forget how to walk with umbrellas, we don't wear proper shoes, our children are soaking wet in school all day, and we're generally clueless. People native to areas of the country where it rains all the time look at the chaos around them and go, "Are they serious?" Don't really know where I'm going with this, except to say that I am staring at the sky waiting to get hit in the face with the first drop.

The other night, I put deodorant on under my pajamas before I went to bed. I was a little distracted and meant to reach for the lip balm. I'm glad I didn't put lip balm under my arms, or deodorant on my lips. As it was, I was just fresh all night. I'm not sure I can put off that nap. I'm fading, fading, fading...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

La La La La!

Hello, all you delicious readers! Its Sunday night, and I am happy and here's why:

1) I came into a little unexpected money this week, not enough to retire early, but enough to get the new sofa I've been pining for. Yay!

2) I actually found a sofa I love at a store selling it for less than half the price of Pottery Barn, and here it is, with kind of, sort of, approximately the color:

Double Yay!

3) I had a coke today!

4) There is a 100% chance of rain on Tuesday, complete with 20 mph winds. I can't wait! I'm going to bake cookies and drink tea and light a fire in the fireplace. If I get my next bookclub book at the library, I'll be all set.

5) I had a good time with good friends this weekend, and I got to sleep in, and eat croissant.

6) My neighbor, from whom we constantly borrow things, needed an obscure cable, and not only did I know what he was talking about, I had it to lend! Unbelievable!

Not bad, huh? If the rest of my week goes this well, I'll be absolutely unbearable.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

And a One And a Two

Alright, I'm awake today. Not one nap. Not yet. Its still early, though. Here are a few things that are on my mind right now:

1) I have started buying lottery tickets. I've bought four so far, one every time I go to the grocery store and have a dollar in cash on me, and you know what? I haven't won! I've only gotten one number right in four tickets, and I haven't won a thing. I'm a little pissed about it. I have plans for that money, y'know? I have a sofa to buy and piano lessons to pay for, and I was kind of counting on it. I have also started entering the HGTV money give-away every day and I entered Oprah's sweepstakes, and so far, zip, nada, rien. I have made an effort here! I clicked on things, and entered my name, and where's my big reward? These things are rigged, I just know it. That wont stop me from buying a lottery ticket once a week, though. Now that they've been mentioned in this blog, viewed by tens of people on the world wide web, maybe it will be rigged in my favor... Its at $12M, and I am ready for it. Bring it on!

2) My husband has started playing guitar. He was inspired by Leila's piano lessons, and he's dusted off his acoustic and electric guitars, restrung them and is practicing every night. He knows the first couple of bars of a lot of songs. Its kind of cute, but now there are two guitars taking up space in my house, and he's spending money on things like strings and capos and a tuner, and this is money I could be spending on shoes. We're thinking of putting an act together; L on piano and drum machine, Rob on guitar, me on vocals. We will go nowhere fast.

3) Leila has just learned how to make microwave popcorn as a result of my unwillingness to get off my butt and make her a snack. This skill will come in handy when she starts smoking pot. She made me a very fancy thank-you-note yesterday, wanna know why? I told her we were having pancakes for dinner. I only get surly looks and eye rolls when I put her clean clothes away and remind her of who, y'know, gave her life, but pancakes are the winner. Who knew?

4) I tried a different way of cleaning the shower tiles today, and its not even Christmas. I thought I would scrub the grout while I was in the shower, rather than sit on the edge of the tub with my clothes on and scrub it from there. It didn't work. I'll just have to go back to the old way. I called Rob and told him that I have to start over and he suggested we get a cleaning lady. We totally can't afford a cleaning lady, and my mother would have a complete fit, and God knows I need something to do, but his suggestion means that he is so over me right now, and I need to get off my ass.

Not today or anything, but soon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nothin' to see Here

I have nothing for you today. I'm tired. I took the morning off and watched bad TV and took catnaps. I know, I'm a horrible person for not having been productive. I've picked L up from school, and, in a little while, I have to pick up the dog from his hair-do place. In between, I just want to lay back on the couch and veg'. Is it veg' or vedge? Anyway, you know what I mean.

I'm in between books, I'm not overly interested in the Newsweek, I know what I'm making for dinner, and I'm pretty up to date on laundry. God, I'm tired. I'm supposed to, maybe, go out tonight. I'm going out tomorrow night, and Friday I'm busy, so maybe I shouldn't go. But I do so love going out for a glass of wine and chatting with girls. I think I'll sleep on it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I vow to dress nicer. Really. I do.

I have an exciting weekend to tell you about. First though, I want to acknowledge all my readers who are clicking on the ads: Thanks! I've made $21 since Wednesday! Drinks on me!

So, on Saturday night I went to a friend's vow renewal. It was her and her husband's 20th wedding anniversary, and they really put on the dog. It was in their house, with valet parking and a DJ, and an unlimited amount of champagne, and fabulous food, and I was glad to have been invited. The ceremony was brief, and was a standard exchange of vows that you'd see at any wedding, but it dawned on me that it was actually much more meaningful than a first-time-around wedding. I confess that I didn't think too much about the whole thing beforehand, I mostly obsessed about what I would wear. But it occurred to me that, when I got married anyway, nothing had happened to me yet, nor to my husband. We hadn't lost any of our parents, we hadn't struggled to have a baby, we hadn't HAD a baby, we hadn't bought a house, I hadn't almost died yet, and we didn't have anything so we hadn't lost anything, we had no idea what those vows we were making actually meant. For richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and bad; its all theoretical when you're 25 with some valium in your tummy and a white veil over your face. But after 20 years they mean we've been to hell and back together, we've periodically wanted to kill each other, and I still love you, and I want another 20 of whatever you got. So, congratulations to Tim and Jen!

There was also a bitter angry neighbor who called the police complaining that she couldn't hear her TV because the party was too loud, and they came and told us to to turn it down... at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday! Can you believe that? Welcome to the suburbs, now shut the hell up!

The next day, my pseudo-sister-in-law (we're all just sitting around, yawning, waiting for the damn ring) came over to give my wardrobe a makeover. Once upon a time, I had some style. I knew how to put things together, I knew how to accessorize, I knew how to dress myself. That knowledge has disappeared bit by bit, with every little ounce I gain, and now I pretty much hate all my clothes. I buy clothes I don't like because I know I can't walk around naked (no one deserves that) so I just grab cheap, plain T shirts, jeans that don't fit, sensible shoes, and I wear the same boring earrings every day of my life.


K. is a little fashionista. She works in fashion, she has a degree in fashion (and not from some online school based in an industrial park in Phoenix, its a real degree from a prestigious school) she's young and hip and knows her way around a mall. She brought over enough fashion magazines to keep my recycling center busy for weeks, and she had already ripped out pages of "looks" for me. Then we made a kamikaze trip to the mall, and now I'm decked out in dolman sleeves, little scarves, ballet flats, and tops that are not plain cotton t-shirts. I don't think I've ever tried on more clothes in one day. I actually hate shopping, but it doesn't make me want to kill myself when I'm going with someone who knows what they're doing and is honest about how stuff looks on me. AND I think I taught her something about dressing girls with big cans: no boatnecks. Boatnecks = bad.

Then! We came home and I had a margarita. She and Leila sat on my bed and we went through my entire closet. I got rid on a ton of stuff. Clothes that, every time I opened my closet I thought, I hate that effing sweater, and I want it to die. She showed me how to make old boring clothes new and hip, told me what had to go, and didn't yell at me when I put things that are now too small into clothing purgatory, in case I can one day fit into them again. Dare To Dream.

And somewhere in between, we ate tacos.

I think everyone needs a fashionista in their lives. We all need personal shoppers; people who will go through stores and make us try on things outside our comfort zones, who wont judge our huge cans, and a professional discount certainly doesn't hurt... Thanks K!


What would Tyra think? Do I have smeyes? I just have to add here how incredibly lame I felt taking these pictures. I even changed outfits a couple of times. But, for you, dear readers, anything. Now click those ads, I need a second pair of shoes!

p.s. that armoire on the left is for sale. Just sayin'...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Brian's Mom can Rest Easy

I need a nap. I have been such a good little housewife this morning, and now I'm exhausted. I tidied up the house for Brian, who is coming over this afternoon for a second playdate in as many days. If I know you, and you've been to my house a few times, you know that my house is usually not tidy. There is usually paper stuff on the coffee table, wood chip crumbs on the floor from the dog, dirty dishes waiting to be done, clean dishes waiting to be put away. The toothpaste and one or more of our toothbrushes is out, there are jackets that need to be hung up, a laundry basket of clean folded laundry in the hallway to be put away etc. etc. This is a normal day. Sometimes its worse. But when someone is coming over who's never been here, I make a special effort. I figure, if we're still making first impressions, I want them to think that I am a good mom with a clean house. If we make it past the first visit, they'll find out I'm a slob soon enough.

Brian's mom (whose house I saw yesterday, and it is spotless) may not even come in to pick him up. She may honk the horn. But I know that I like to take a peak inside people's houses, so unless she's in a big hurry, she'll probably step inside. But I really did it for Brian.

Now, you're thinking, "A little boy is not going to notice all the crap around the house, he's just going to look at the toys." Not so. When I was a little kid, and I would go to someone's house for the first time, I would always have a little anxiety about whether or not their house was clean. Most houses were picked up, and I didn't do white-glove checks or anything, but I smelled for smells, and I looked around and took in colors and furnishings and siblings and pets and bathrooms, and the over all mise en scéne. It was some kind of safety gauge; If the house was in disarray, and there was a cat on the table and rock music coming from some downstairs room and a lack of rugs and window coverings, it seemed to be a sign that everything was not okay in the house. There was one house I went to that was so disgusting I never went back, and to this day, I don't like the name Cheryl because that was the name of the girl who lived in the gross house (if you're name is Cheryl, don't take this personally, I'm clearly irrational.)

Now, of course, I realize that its kind of bullshit. My cat is sometimes on the table, and I often have crap everywhere, but we're okay, we're safe (except for last night when I was sure that our attic was on fire and I called 911, but that's another story) and I confidently serve milk and snacks to children in clean cups and clean plates. But just in case Brian's mother does come in, or she asks Brian was Leila's house clean? which I often ask Leila when she's been on a playdate in a house I haven't been to, I know that he will say it was clean, and she will know that we're okay. I think I need a therapist.

The other housewifery thing I did today was bake two dozen cupcakes for the bake sale and the school's annual Hoe Down tomorrow. I just tried one, and it tasted weird, so I double checked the recipe and, sure enough, it calls for baking soda AND baking powder, and I left out the baking soda. See what happens when you don't make a boxed cake? So now the question is: do I just frost the suckers and drop them off tomorrow and forget about them, or do I make Rob go to the grocery store tomorrow for some boxed cake and a batch of cupcake liners? What will it say about me and my family if my cupcakes are flat and pale and a little eggy?

I will contemplate these and other Questions of Our Time while I take a little snooze on couch... Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Leila's Got Game

Hey ever'body!
Leila picked up a guy today. I walked to school to get her, but instead of coming home with me, she wanted to have a playdate with Brian (oooOOOOoooh!) and it was mutual. Both kids were talking excitedly to their respective moms, pointing 6 feet away to the other kid, the international symbol for "Mommy! We're newly in love and we want to have a playdate!" So it was decided that Leila would go to Brian's house. His dog out-cooled our Wii. (In case you're wondering, I know Brian's mother, she's a drop-dead gorgeous PTA mom. If I hadn't known the mom, I would not have been so cavalier about letting L tromp off with them for the afternoon.)

Its so sweet that the kids are still at the age where having a playdate with a kid of the opposite gender is no big deal. I don't think I had playdates with boys anymore when I was in second grade, unless you count when my parents had dinner parties and their guest's sons would come and we'd somehow find some common ground, like listening to the 8-track of Funnybone Favorites in their dad's cadillac and running the battery down. But I don't think that really counts. Soon, L wont want to play with boys anymore, or they wont want to play with her, which ever comes first, and the next time she has a date with a boy it wont be of the play variety. It better not be, anyway.

So, I'm picking her up at 5, and until then, I have some free time. I've already done laundry, made pasta sauce, and done dishes, so I feel done for the day, and now I'm going to sit down and read Kathy Griffin's book.