You know you're in the Mother-Hood when...

You Know You're in the MotherHood When...

You've sniffed a spot on your shirt and been able to determine the origin of said spot with CSI efficiency.

You let someone see you basically naked because he said he was an anesthesiologist.

It's a good day if you actually had time to shower, without interruptions or an audience of any kind.

Your meal plan has consisted of eating whatever mac and cheese is left in the pot after you've served it to the kids.

A drawing of you with a head the size of a watermelon is the prettiest picture you've ever seen.

Everyone but you being asleep counts as "alone time."

You feel a sense of accomplishment if you read an entire article in People magazine in one sitting.

You can name 3 out of 5 Backyardigans - you know you can.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mommy's Christmas Carol

Twas the week of Christmas
The holiday was drawing near
Mom just finished cleaning
But Dad already drank the last beer

The laundry was washed, the groceries bought
The random fruitcake from a neighbor
Was beginning to rot

The children were wrestled, finally, in bed
While threats of "Santa's watching"
Still rang in their head

More wrapping! More baking!
More parties to go!
More mittens, more hats!
Who's gonna shovel that snow?

Alas, Christmas morning arrives
Brimming with holiday cheer
Thank your lucky candy canes
This only comes once a year!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sprinkles Anyone?

As I wade my way through what is probably the most difficult week of my life to date, I am amazed at the simplicity of what can make an otherwise tidal wave of grief ebb back a bit.
I started with a way past necessary grocery run (we're talking almost out of diapers, milk so sour it was on the verge of walking out of the fridge itself and if I didn't get lunch meat, my daughter would have been forced to take a can of garbanzo beans in her lunchbox.)
I weave my way past the pedometer wearing, fast walking moms on a mission drinking their half caff/non fat/soy/no whip fake coffee and ordered my full fat/peppermint/highly caffeinated happy thought, complete with whipped cream. Because sometimes, you just got to have whipped cream.

Later that day, I was begrudgingly mixing the sugar cookie dough for the holiday cookies I had promised my kids we make; I kept thinking of excuses I could make up to get out of decorating.
The cookies burned (no good, would stink up the house and possibly set the fire alarm off.)
The dough's no good (feasible, believable, and relatively easy to pull off.)
Spatula in hand, I debated the cookie con with myself and decided that my own funk was not my kids' funk to bear and decided that 7-9 minute baking time wouldn't infringe on my funk too much. I could be funky later.

Then something miraculous happened. Two year old perched atop a stool, frosting spread (however unevenly) on the cookies (some that looked more like internal organs that ornaments), we started shaking on the sprinkles.
Red sprinkles, green sprinkles, gingerbread man sprinkles, confetti sprinkles...
The squeals of glee from my kids combined with the unsolicited compliments on my frosting abilities multiplied by the explosion of sprinkles on my counter top and suddenly...
I was smiling.

So, even when if you're feeling so blue, you're nearly "Smurfy" - you don't necessarily need a weekend in San Diego or an all day spa appointment (although, if my husband ever reads this, those things are great too.)
All you may need is a little whipped cream, maybe a few sprinkles, and I dare you not to grin.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lint & S*#%

June Cleaver managed to have a spotless house, polite children and an impeccable wardrobe.
Claire Huxtable was a brilliant lawyer with a houseful of good kids and a hilarious husband.
Jill Taylor held her own even with a zany, tool obsessed husband.
Granted, those are t.v. moms with t.v. set homes kept up by t.v. prop masters.
It's all fake. No one can possibly be that put together all the time. Impossible.

Those same words echoed through my hastily ponytailed head as I leaned against the wall, waiting to pick my daughter up from gymnastics. I had just set my toddler down in time out for an attempted bludgeoning of another child with their Scooby Doo Thelma action figure. I was trying to remember if the sweatshirt I had on was the same one I wore yesterday when the June/Claire/Jill mom sashayed into the foyer. Uber-trendy, knee length bubble trench, knee high black boots. Make up that looked like it was freshly applied, as opposed to what didn't rub off during the night because she was too tired to wash her face. Very cute, very hip mom haircut.
All I could think about was there had to be a spot in her (most likely) spotless home that was disheveled. Perhaps a linen closet with a toppling tower of Egyptian cotton towels. Maybe there is a sticky mystery spill in the back of her stainless steel sub zero? As her Escalade passed by me in the parking lot, I had to remind myself that, at least, my car was freshly detailed. Well, if vacuuming snack crumbs with the shop vac counts as detailed (hey, beggars can't be choosers!)

Later that evening, as I was cleaning up our dinner from a to go sack (I'm telling you, the mother of the year committee WON'T stop calling me) I was figuring there was a very good chance that uber-mom in the Posh Spice Trench was cleaning up take out tonight too.
So even as I fantasize about my closets looking like the aisles of Linen 'n Things, my reality is staring me right in the face. I take out the half full trash with the Def Con 4 diaper in it, and in order to make it worth the trip, I empty the bathroom and laundry room trash into it only to have the laundry room trash spill out over the top, causing an avalanche of dryer lint.
Well, at least the lint smells of lavender or cool breezes or whatever box was on sale and that is lowering the Def Con level of the diaper odor.

My life is messy, it's crazy and it's very, very real. It may be more "Lint and S*#%" than Linens 'n Things, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Well, okay, a few Hollywood prop masters in the house wouldn't hurt.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I'll Tackle the Health Care Reform - Right After I Make the Play-Doh

I am a college graduate. In fact, I double majored and got two undergrad degrees in four years.
I distinctly remember two very interesting assignments I tackled in college. In Non-Verbal Communication I decoded the "real" meaning of a president's words just by evaluating his gestures and eye movement (little did I know I could've gotten a job on cable news doing that for a living!) Another assignment had me assume the role of company PR spokesman, writing a press release for my fictitious airline employer in the wake of a horrific crash. Aced those. No sweat.

After college, I bounced around in a couple of short but horrible jobs that I had no prior training in, but managed to think on my feet and get things done. Including a stint as an assistant to a Financial Adviser, and anyone who knows me knows that me working with numbers or money is a dangerous endeavor. Those took me to my education career, which I started by teaching full time, finishing my certification at night and on the weekends AND I was pregnant with my first child at the time.

My reason for this barrage of background information is to grasp what shards of dignity I can manage given my disastrous failure this week.

Being the very willing-to-help stay-at-home-mom that I currently am; I am not only trying to use as many hyphens in one sentence as possible, but I am hoping to make myself as useful as possible to my children's teachers as I always appreciated when parents offered to help me out when I was teaching. Although, that didn't happen too often, as I taught 5th graders and most adults avoid loud, hormonally imbalanced preteens, even their own.

So I have signed up to volunteer in my daughter's class once a week, helping kids with reading and finishing any work they are behind on. I think I qualify for that.
The school's library also has a bit of my attention, as checking in and shelving books in a nice, quiet library is actually quite therapeutic. The job starts, finishes, and when you're done, an entire stack of books has been returned to the shelves. It's kind of the same, temporary high you get after you stand back and gaze upon a freshly cleaned room in your home. The trick is, I leave the library before the next group of kids stampedes through, so I can imagine that the pristine condition I left it in remains (and then I go home and look at the aftermath of my own, personal stampede that my children left for me.)

This leaves the vacant volunteer slots hovering on the sign up sheet at my two year old's nursery school. I resisted the urge fill the void left next to "room mom" as I knew that would be biting off more than I wanted to chew. However, there WAS room to autograph next to "making play-doh." They use a new batch every month that is whatever the color for that month is, and the recipe was right there with just a handful of ingredients necessary so...
How hard could it be? Double major. Fifth grade teacher. Piece of cake.

I should have sensed impending doom when I had to send my husband to the store twice for supplies. The first time was for flour, which I knew I was out of, and Cream of Tartar, which I knew I didn't have. I am assuming this is the secret ingredient of the dough to make it play-worthy as there's not anything real special about flour, salt, water, oil or food coloring. The salt was the second run. I was 1/4 cup short of one batch worth, and I was attempting to make two batches.

I'm no Ace of Cakes, but I've done some recreational baking and I have to say that mixing dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another was less than challenging, elementary even.
The next step in this process was to combine the ingredients in a large pot over low heat and stir. Got it. So I combined. And I stirred. And stirred. And stirred.
The directions stated that I was to stir until thickened, and then a bit longer.
Remember when President Clinton pointed out that it depended on "what your definition of IS, is?" I felt the same way about "a bit longer." What was a bit longer? Ten minutes, half an hour? I lost track of time and eventually took the pot off the heat to let the blue dough concoction, which looked like the soup Bridget Jones made (you know, the leek soup that turned blue because she used blue yarn to tie the leeks together?) sit and magically become dough.

A bit later, pun totally intended, my husband decided that the dough needed to be kneaded. It was needy dough, but turns out, not real kneadable. He called his mother, who used to make her own all the time, and she assured me that hers was always a bit sticky until it was kneaded. I held out hope that my efforts were not in vain and the aqua blue sludge in the bowl was just in the tadpole stage of development. Yes, it was aqua, because no matter how much food coloring I put in, the albino flour/salt/Tartar mixture lightened it up to aqua. (but these kids are just learning their colors, and I figured it was in the blue family, so good enough, right?)

Several hours later, after lumping the sticky mess into large balls and resting them on parchment paper (hoping that being on actual baking material might encourage them to embrace their inner doughy-ness) I decided that leaving them out overnight would be the essential component in completing this process.

Um, yeah. By morning, a thin, lighter aqua/white crusty edge had developed but no real improvement. Remember when ET, at the end of the movie, gets sick and gets all pale and gross? Yeah, like that, but the color of a 1984 prom dress.

With hopes still high that my son's teacher knew some magic trick to make this stuff usable, I dumped each gooey ball into a ziploc and took it to school. I apologized for the consistency problem and, as sweetly as you can imagine a preschool teacher being, I was thank you'd but no thank you'd - this dough wouldn't work. Maybe if I put it back on the stove for awhile longer? His teacher told me she leaves it on there for a long time, long enough to make it hard to stir it's so thickened. Her "a bit longer" was a lot longer than my "a bit longer." Oops.

So I left school, baggies of aqua blue in hand and headed, after two good friends assured me it didn't make me less of a helpful mom, to WalMart. I was in search of blue Play-Doh. Already made, in the container, not the least bit aqua, blue.
My slow filling ego balloon began to spring a small leak when I stood in the arts and crafts aisle, only to gaze upon everything EXCEPT single containers of Play-doh. Packages of 12 colors, 24 colors, neon colors, but no single containers. Shot down yet again, I was walking out when, at the end of the aisle, I spied a wire rack of, you guessed it, single containers of DOH!
Redemption! Salvation!
Or not.
No blue. No dark blue, no light blue, not even any aqua blue. There were a few containers of yellow, white and black. Apparently, I was not the only person who needed Play-doh this week, I was just the only person who tried to make it at home while everyone else was buying it for eighty-seven cents a pop. Sadly, the cost of my sanity was less than a dollar.

With a glimmer of hope that what I needed was out there in the universe, I steered toward Target and with great confidence strode right towards the toy aisle, maneuvered into arts and crafts and saw, yet again, everything BUT single jars of Play-doh. I would NOT let the "Doh" get the better of me. So I grabbed two generic four packs containing blue, white, red and green. They could use the blue and then they have extras for when those colors and their corresponding months came around.

A bit embarrassed, I picked up my son and dropped off the play doh. I explained that I tried to get single jars, that I went to two stores and I could get more if they needed it. Again, as sweet as you imagine nursery school teachers can be, they thanked me and told me I shouldn't have gone to so much trouble. Honestly, trying to make the stupid stuff was way more trouble than driving to two stores. But I just smiled, told them they were more than welcome.
And then, like the dumb ass I am, I offered to try again later in the year when a different color rolls around.
Better hope Wally world restocks that stuff, because I am buying it in BULK!

Monday, August 17, 2009

It Could Be Worse

You want to know why restaurants don't play the sound of a toddler crying nearly incoherently for a cookie as background music while you're eating? Because it's not fun to listen to a toddler crying nearly incoherently for a cookie while you're eating. Trust me, I tried it at lunch today. It will, however, force you to finish your food and clean up quickly, doing everything you can to avoid caving in and giving that baby a cookie.
Turns out, he was exhausted. As was I by the time he finally gave it up, succumbed to the drama and fell asleep; without lunch, but sleep trumps lunch when you can have a snack later.
It could be worse.

Every time I find myself thinking that the day is just not what I had planned it to be, that I was not going to have any chance of getting everything I wanted done; I begin to feel the slightest tug. After the seconds pass and I realize that tug is not the elastic giving out on my Victoria Secret's, I realize my memory is trying to recall something important, something buried deep in the folds of gray matter. Somewhere amidst my mother's secret for getting grout clean (no, REALLY clean), my childhood phone number and the name of the really good pedicure place is a fuzzy anecdote just waiting to be recalled. The little morsel of information that I seem to keep stored for days just like today, when the best laid plans get blown to smithereens.
As with most juicy morsels of information, this one came to me via the Oprah show. I was either very pregnant or I had just had a baby, which is where I lay the blame for my brain storing this info away. Those damn hormones are potent little suckers.
I don't remember the theme of the show that day, but I do remember seeing a woman who had contracted some horrible disease in the hospital after giving birth to her second child. In order to save her life, they had to amputate her legs. Now, I think I am remembering this correctly; remember I saw the show when I had serious baby brain. I just remember watching her do everyday tasks that I have on my list, but for her they were painstaking - for me, I dismissed them as pretty easy, just a pain. Watching that made me realize that I was (am) so lucky to be able bodied to brush my daughter's hair or even reach the counter tops to wipe them off.
As much as I occasionally (alright, frequently) loathe mundane household chores, I find myself remembering that woman, and marveling in how much she can get done, with much larger hurdles that I have.
It could be worse.

By some wonderful twist of fate, I have managed to dupe many people into not only becoming my friend, but due to my mediocre ability to crack an opportunistic joke, and that I often offer to drive when carpooling (and, I hope, a few other hidden talents) I have roped several of these poor souls into an ongoing friendship with yours truly.
My circle of friends is as diverse. But I can tell you without a doubt, I am not friends with many people who don't have a good sense of humor. This is for two very selfish reasons.
1. I have very little tolerance for those who take themselves too seriously.
2. I like when people laugh at my jokes.
See, I told you it was selfish. At least I'm honest!
I tell you this not purely to make you jealous of my fabulous friends (but you can be if you want to, they are pretty great) but I feel it necessary for you to know that the fabrics of my friendships are woven with some tough ass material.

Next time you don't feel up to a challenge, consider this.
Earlier this year, a friend of mine went to the doctor for what seemed like the millionth time for unexplained aches, pains, and minor illnesses he'd been plagued with for months. He left that doctor's office and was checked into the oncology floor of the hospital with bone cancer. In an instant, he went from thinking about deadlines at work and paying the cable bill to learning more than he ever wanted to know about cell counts, CAT scans, and how no matter how many doctors are on your team - none of them are as good looking as the cast of Grey's Anatomy.
It could be worse.

Next time your spouse does that thing you can't stand and you want just want to pull your hair out, consider this.
One of my girlfriends kissed her husband goodbye for work and the next conversation she had with him was in the ICU after his horrible motorcycle accident. Days later I talked to her, at his funeral. Two years later, she is raising their three beautiful children and showing me, and everyone who has the privilege of knowing her, that truly remarkable people are out there. Of course, she'd be the first one to tell you she's a wreck most of the time and politely deflects accolades bestowed upon her; but that's just another reason she is so remarkable.
So your husband left a water ring on the coffee table you just refinished.
It could be worse.

As your tiny world seems to be falling down around you, just take a moment to sit back and think about those people who have a virtual avalanche around them. Who aren't whining.
Laundry could be piling up, your AmEx bill could be twice as much as you thought it was, the dessert you try and make for the neighborhood potluck may be a total disaster. You might be bickering with your sister, disappointing your mother; hell, you could even be contemplating whether or not to get divorced...
It could be worse.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cheers, Tears, & Back to School Fears

If you are a parent, chances are you've seen the movie "Finding Nemo."
Chances are you've seen it so many times, that you've contemplated filleting a few cast members and serving them with drawn butter and a nice chardonnay, but I digress.
There's a scene before Nemo gets lost, when he wakes up exhilarated at the prospect of going to school.
"First day of school! First day of school! Let's go, let's go, let's go!"
His father, Marlin, reluctantly drops him off to venture out on his own and, in true Disney fashion, an incredible adventure ensues. After dueling sharks, riding the EAC with surfer turtles and mass transit via a pelican's mouth, Marlin is reunited with his son and learns the value of letting your children out into the world to experience life on their own.

Talk to (almost) any parent mid-August and you'll find they've not so secretly started a countdown to the first day of school. They can't wait to get their kids back on a schedule, and if they are stay at home-ers, they are envisioning all the projects they started over the summer that they can now actually finish. Or, more realistically, at least catch up on the laundry.
All those days when I was pulling my hair out, tripping over toys, praying that those Playhouse Disney songs would somehow find their way out of my head; all I could think about was how much I was going to get done once my daughter was back at school. Plus, I had the added bonus of my toddler starting nursery school, which meant two days a week, for two a and a half hours, I was on my own. All moms know that two and a half hours child free is like 10 hours to most people!

First day of school and I don't know who's more excited. Me or the kids.
Outfits picked out, lunch box packed, and I send my newly minted first grader on her way.
I think she waved goodbye before virtually sprinting toward the school bus. I guess the fact that she was dressed and ready almost two hours before the bus came was a good indicator of her excitement level. I know she's going to love everything about school, so the pulls on my heartstrings are limited and overshadowed by my pride in having such an independent, self assured little girl.
Then there's my son.
He's almost two and desperately in need of some peer group time not to mention time away from mom. When we get around to finishing our basement, I want it to be enjoyed by all, not the future home of my 40 year old son who lives down there and hosts Dungeons and Dragons tournaments. It's time to start slightly severing those ties that have become knotted as he's been at home with me for two years.
He's met his teachers, seen his classroom, which is a virtual wonderland for those three feet and under. I drive there Monday morning, confident that this is going to be so good for him, that he'll become more like his independent sister and his emotional and cognitive development have nothing to lose and everything to gain from this.
Two whole hours on my own! The possibilities were endless!
I could plan more elaborate meals using those dusty cookbooks.
I could finish (okay start & finish) some scrapbooks that I have been putting off for, well, ever.
I could be all Martha and reorganize my closets by color or season or at least what fits!
I could hit the elliptical and be Angelina's stunt double by next month! (then more would fit!)

As I pulled into the nursery school parking lot, I was giddy with the prospects of all my accomplishments that were just waiting to be achieved.
My son was excited to be there, literally ran to the door, his tiny personalized back pack the only thing slowing him down.
This is great! This will be a piece of cake!
He ran into his new classroom overwhelmed with the choices. Let's face it, it's hard to decide between the plastic kitchen, puzzles, and sit and scoot toys - just ask some past presidents.
I stood back by the door, so proud of him and ready to walk away feeling nothing but sheer joy (both for him and me and my coveted alone time.)
Then, of course, the inevitable. I literally see the realization cross over his face that I was, in fact, LEAVING him there.
So yes, there were tears and lots of cries for "Mama!"
But still, I left - not wanting to be one those mothers that stays, and stays and stays.
I left, knowing that, just like with babysitters, he'd be fine seconds after I left, probably knee deep in play-doh and happiness.

So, imagine my surprise, when I got into the car and felt the tiny stings of tears behind by sunglasses. What? You're going home to sit on the deck and soak up the sun, oh yeah, right after the hour long elliptical set. What's with the waterworks? This is the same toddler terrorist who bursts into the bathroom, interrupts every shower, takes EVERYTHING out of your make up drawer EVERYDAY, violently swipes magnets off the fridge in a rage over snack rationing... so what's the deal?

Here's the deal. As cool and collected and ready for some "me" time as I appeared to be. I couldn't help but feel the slightest bit, oh, ship adrift on the empty house ocean. As elated as I was that both my kids were going to make new friends and be learning things other than what I have been teaching them (like when I nearly broke my toe on the coffee table and taught them a whole list of words NOT to say at school); I had a bit of a mushy, Hallmark moment.
I remember hearing someone say that having kids was like having your heart walking around outside your body. I realized that as excited as I was for them, part of me would really miss them while they were gone.

Well, I'd miss the sweet, snuggly, freshly bathed kids that squeezed my neck and told me they loved me so much.
Those dirty, cranky, "Can't I have just ONE more cookie" kids can stay at school as long as they want.
To all you mom's who have released your Nemos back into the world, or who are still counting down the days; I say to you, go ahead, shed a tear or two and remember when they were just your tiny babies.
Then wipe those frickin' tears away, make a pedicure appointment and eat the rest of the raw cookie dough for lunch. That bus will be back before you know it!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Expressing myself - or trying to anyway

Express; adj. without unnecessary stops

There are unlimited ways to speed up life's little mundane tasks. You can pay your bills online, you can renew your car registration online, 24 grocery stores with self check out lines, ATMs, drive through (almost) every kind of food there is and most people have a phone that doubles as their computer, GPS and address book.

What I find irritating and therefore blog-worthy, are those individuals who appear to want to utilize these convenient short cuts, but have no business attempting to do so, as they have no "express" etiquette. Go with me on this...

Let's start somewhere simple. The drive thru (I hate that spelling error, but you KNOW that's how they are referred to) at the bank.
Personally, I only use the bank drive thru when I have to cash or deposit a check. I either fill out the slip before I go, or I pull off to the side or get in a line with a few cars already in line so I have time to fill the slip out before it's actually my turn. On those rare occasions that I am ready prior to pulling into the bank, I inevitably get in line behind someone who is already at the "tube" but apparently, they missed the memo about being prepared. They don't have a slip, they didn't sign the slip, they didn't send a photo id with the check, they want to know about mortgage rates, they have five different transactions to make, and they are sending them all separately. Oh, and they pulled up too far away from the "tube" so they have their door cracked open and they have to hang out the open door to reach the "tube." Seriously? There are bored tellers inside begging these high maintenance customers to come inside, plus, there's a good chance you'll score some weak coffee or at least a dum dum sucker.
Anyone else catch the irony in that?

Don't even think about the people in line for the ATM next to you that are digging in their stuff for their card, trying to figure out what they want to do... hmmm.... withdraw money maybe? Really? You didn't have a plan for how much or out of what Swiss or Cayman Island account you wanted to withdraw from? Just hit the quick $20 button and call it a day. Thank you. Drive through.

One of my new favorite petri dishes of dysfunction is the self check out at the grocery store. For those of us grabbing a few items we need for dinner or a quick birthday card and a coke for the ride home, these lines are a God send. If you've never dared to venture to this new land of "express" check out, let me be your virtual guide. There are usually 2-3 checkouts per side, with an grocery store employee manning a lookout like post in the middle of these check outs. It is supposed to be understood that you wait in ONE line, each person in the front of the line going to the next available register. So if you are one of those people who walks past those of us in line to an open register, you are NOT following unwritten grocery store law.
Here are a few ways to know you should not be in this line:
You have multiple produce items, you have a coupon for every item in your cart, you have to write a check, you can't easily find the bar code on your items, you are the person who was next to me in line at the bank, and you couldn't figure out the ATM - trust me, the self checkout will be slightly more complicated than the ATM. These people should feel free to move one line over to the manned express check out line, behind all those people trying to sneak 18-20 items into the 15 items or less line.

It goes without saying that those people who use the drive thrus at fast food restaurants should do so if they are truly getting a quick bite on the go. If you like me, you've got children in car seats and the thought of unbuckling them, walking in, ordering, carrying all that out with your children without getting sucked into the vortex of the indoor playground is pretty much mission impossible. If you are the person in front of me at the drive thru who is ordering 12 different meals for all your co-workers with special instructions, extra napkins, sauces, drinks with no ice and, oh yeah, then you've got to figure out what you want to eat - know that I may very well hit you with my car. I've got hungry kids in the back and my two kids meals and a vat of diet coke takes 15 seconds to order. GET OUT OF THE CAR AND GO INSIDE.
Your order is too complicated for the drive through.
Thank you, drive through.

Now, my favorite new express vestibule. The Automated Postage Machine (yes, another ATM) at the post office. LOVE THEM. I loathe long lines at the post office, especially when the person who finally greets me on the other side of the counter is not exactly thrilled with their job. There's a reason the phrase "going postal" exists people.
If this machine has intimidated you, don't let it. It's so easy. Get your envelope or package, slap it on the scale, enter the zip on the touch screen answer "no" to all the questions, unless of course, you are mailing hazardous materials and you would like delivery confirmation on that.
Scan your credit or debit card and BAM! Postage printed, no scary postal worker to not piss off. Beware the tentative screen toucher. Those people who look like they're afraid every time they touch the screen it may electrically shock them or they may somehow initiate WWIII by pushing the wrong button. Also, never, NEVER get behind someone with more than 3 items. They'll be there forever. And you will surely go postal.

What would be the greatest is if they had more drive thru windows for those of us who
(a) could really use them and (b) know HOW to use them.
Imagine a whole drive through shopping center. You get your kids in the car and go, your first stop might be to drop off/pick up your dry cleaning. Then you go over to a Starbucks and get a little caffeine injection before you head through the car wash and then it's off to the drive through at the grocery store, where the groceries you purchased earlier online are loaded into your car while you finish your latte. Hey, I know it sounds lazy, but it would save me a bunch of time and you wouldn't have to hear me tell my two year old to, "hold my hand, hold my HOLD MY HAND!" Crying, yelling, slobbering - and my son isn't too happy either.

I'll get my exercise some other time. Give me an express lane or some kind of automated vestibule any day. But don't you dare get in front of me if you can't roll with the express lane!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Screw Diet Red Bull, Give me a Donut!

People lie. Sometimes it’s an innocent white lie told to spare the feelings of another human being. Sometimes it’s a colossal fib that totally destroys someone’s life.
I am tired of reading about all these celebrities that lose their baby weight just by “running around after my little ones” or “breastfeeding” or my favorite “I’m just so busy being a new mom, I don’t have time to eat huge meals.”
Whatever. Liars.
I’ve had two, rather large babies. I gained 40+ pounds each time, once without trying to hard to manage my weight, once trying to keep it under control, to no avail.
I breast-fed both. I even went back to work full-time after I had my first; so nine weeks after she was born, I was back in the classroom. Basically on my feet all day, walking, stressing and one would think burning calories all day long. Not only did I have time for meals, I had to eat, I was STARVING at the end of the day.
Fast forward to baby number two. Now I am a stay at home mom, on my feet, “chasing after my little ones” and, shockingly enough, maintaining a weight about 12 pounds higher than I would like.
I just don’t get it. How do these women not eat? I see them in the magazines. Purse as big as a Volvo in one hand, Venti non-fat, no whip, double shot soy latte in the other. Or they go to a big premiere and eat one piece of sushi and have a diet Red Bull and vodka. All that caffeine and no food. - how does that work exactly?
This morning was a three cup of coffee day, minimum. I had started the dishwasher, fed the kids breakfast, cleaned those dishes, refereed the first of several conflicts of the day and had moved upstairs to begin the oh so fun task of putting laundry away. In the middle of sorting shirts and matching up socks, I found myself coming off my caffeine drip and suddenly feeling extremely hungry. How could this be? We just had breakfast two hours ago? Wait.
The KIDS ate two hours ago, I was too busy loading the dishwasher and feeding the dogs to eat my own breakfast. Unfortunately, no one told my blood sugar level that being busy is supposed to render you hunger-less and therefore cause you to skip meals and look like a postpartum Heidi Klum.
I hate that feeling. That shaky, I could eat an entire box of Entenmann’s donuts feeling. How do these women walk around all day and not feel like they are going to fall over any minute, fainting from hunger. WAIT A MINUTE! That’s why they carry those big bags!
It’s so they have something big and soft to fall on if they DO faint from hunger!
Well, if it’s a choice between having a constant headache and feeling faint or eating something that may or may not be on the Atkins list of foods that will send you straight to hell, I’m eating. I’m not saying that I will eat Entemann’s donuts everyday (but I WILL have one every once in awhile!) but I’d rather be fed and happy then starving and cranky! Maybe that’s why Naomi Campbell is always throwing her phone at her assistants… sister needs a DONUT!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Calgon, Shmalgon

Remember those old Calgon commercials - "Calgon, take me away?"
I think the truth is, we don't want to be taken away, we want to hang out in our house, watch what we want, eat something that WE like and have everyone ELSE taken away, if only for a little while.
Hot stone massage, Shiatsu massage, seaweed wrap, ancient dinosaur mud mask, exfolliation... who has time for all that stuff? All it does it make you realize you'll only feel that relaxed for as long as your car ride home takes, while you're simultaneously calculating the cost of the sitter.
Let's face it, spa treatments are great, but it's not what we REALLY want.

I give you, The Mom Spa Day.

A stealth-like team of experts arrives at your door to give you what you really desire.
First, babysitters so your kids are entertained/worn out all under the watchful eyes of capable teenagers who don't care how late you are because they can sleep as late as they want the next day. Try not to be bitter - they'll get theirs eventually.

Second, a pack of sturdy women who remind you of Alice from the Brady Bunch descend upon your house wielding toilet brushes and spray bottles to make your house so clean and tidy, it looks like you don't even have kids - forget coordinating place mats, you could EAT off your kitchen floor! (and not just because of the "Five Second Rule.")

Almost instantly, you feel like Sleeping Beauty surrounded by your Fairy Godmothers who have fluffed and folded until every bedroom has clean sheets, all the laundry is put away and there's even a neat little stack of things to be donated that are two sizes too small that you haven't had time to pull out of drawers.

Meanwhile, a very Rachel Ray-ish type wonder is not only cooking dinner for you that night, but preparing several freezable meals to pull out when you are in a bind while simultaneously reorganizing and restocking your pantry and refrigerator.

Of course, you are oblivious to all this, as you are napping on the sun drenched deck with a cold drink perched next to your fruit and cheese tray.

We don't need a break from reality, we need our reality to give us a break!

So no, your children may not appreciate that you tried a new recipe and your idea of a pedicure may be to paint over your existing chipped toe nail polish, but as long as you take the time to do something for yourself every once in a while - you may actually capture that Calgon feeling of rejuvenation and relaxation.
That is until your kids start banging on the bathroom door because their arguing over who got more snack and the dog just pulled the meat you were defrosting off the counter so your husband is now meeting you at McDonalds for dinner!

May I suggest that you have your husband drive the kids home, so you get that ten minute car ride to yourself? That plus those fries may be just enough to recharge your maternal batteries to face another day.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

'Tis the Season

Okay. I am playing the no fair card. Seriously.
Go with me on this. To quote Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, "I have a point, I promise."
Big events seem to correspond with a "season."
For instance, hunting season. Mostly men partake of this yearly ritual of buying a bunch of crap that makes them feel like GI Joe or a pioneer or whatever. Then they layer on camoflague and hide out in the woods to shoot "wild animals" - or animals that are so used to seeing people that they aren't concerned enough to run away from the beer drinkers in the bushes.
They have boots, pants with a thousand pockets, vests, jackets, hats - they are covered from head to toe in gear. That's a manly thing to do. Or so I've been told.
Football season. It's fall, it's chilly, we layer our favorite team t-shirts and sweatshirts and hats while we eat chili dogs and nachos and drink beer. Then it gets really cold and we add the parkas and the team colored scarves and gloves, well, except for those crazy people that go shirtless with the team logo painted on their chest who get treated for hypothermia after the game.
The Holiday season. Festive sweaters, warm coats and eating, eating, eating.
Then a few weeks go by and what is it? "Swimsuit season." Really? A whole season?
People start talking about it right after the holidays, as if to tell you, "we know you just had a wonderful time celebrating with family, but the clock's running, you better put down the homemade cookies and pick up the celery stick, because in a few months, you'll be walking around basically naked."
Why do the "guy" seasons require layers and layers of clothing and "swimsuit" season is on us? You know why? Because guys can wear their trunks (for the love of God, don't wear anything speedo-ish) and get all tan and look good, well passable, even if they aren't exactly Matthew McConaughey.
Now, the women.
I am only talking about GROWN women. Not teenagers. They make their own fashion mistakes all the time and most of them are just starting to feel bad about their bodies (it's what women do, unfortunately) and these girls don't realize they look amazing. I don't remember wearing a two piece as a teenager, because I didn't think I could pull it off - if I had my teenage body now, I'd be wearing a two piece EVERYWHERE!
Now ladies, I am not judging (much) I am just observing. There are few things more entertaining than people watching. At the pool there is the added bonus of hiding behind your sunglasses so people can't tell you are judging, er, observing them.
I'd like to present the following as evidence, your honor.

The Granny-Jock
This is the "more mature" lady at the pool in the modest one piece, swim skirt optional, usually with a swim cap of some sort. She waits for that "adult swim" whistle and starts her laps while sneering at those kids who are taking their time getting out of the pool. She does not want to be splashed or bumped into with swim noodles while switching up her mall walking routine by hitting the pool. Hey, you gotta respect a woman at least twice your age who can kick your ass swimming laps.

The Gym Junkie
This is the woman who either doesn't have kids or her kids are old enough that she is able to live at the gym and visit home enough to eat her 1200 calories just in time to get her nails done after she goes tanning. Face it. Her body rocks. I want to cry plastic surgery, but basically she's just way more motivated then me. Or, her body issues are way worse than mine and she works out as much as I like to drink wine with friends.

The Anti-UV-er
Why does this person come to the pool? They have so much sunblock on, that they look like a film of Elmer's Glue has dried on their skin. Their sun hat could double as a helicopter landing pad and they are sitting in the shade. They read and sit and don't get in the water, because then they'd have to open up another tub of SPF 80 and reapply. I'm all for protecting your skin, but, unless you're playing a vampire in the next Twilight film, I say let a little light in!

The Paris Hilton bathing suit on the not-so-much Paris Hilton body
I am SO the first one to applaud women for being okay with their bodies. We all should take a page from those womens' books. I do have a problem with women who have what I like to call "Mariah Carey Syndrome." When women who are well over 35-40 shop in the Juniors department. The minis and the bejewled halters and everything else that screams "Forever 21" on a 40+ year old woman just looks wrong. There are too many options for women to look sexy and feel good about themselves to succumb to the Mariah Syndrome. Look at Demi Moore, Halle Berry, Julia Roberts - they are all gorgeous and I can't recall a tabloid that showed them wearing the same outfit at Mariah*, ever.

*I am sure Mariah is a very nice person. I'm sure her and her future daughters will love sharing each others' clothes - even when she is pushing 60.

The New Mom
She can be seen holding onto a baby floatie in the pool. Her child has three layers of sun block, a hat, and a floating fort with a visor - there's no sun in there, so that baby is probably getting a little chilly, actually. I think back to when my kids were that little and remember how fun it was to just watch them discover the water. I didn't feel that great in my bathing suit (wait, I still don't) so I totally know how she feels. Until she gets out of the pool to reveal she's one of those alien freaks who had a baby recently and has no stretch marks, no muffin top - no nothing! Damn her. Her post-baby bod is kind of making me want to eat my Pringles right in front of her.

Then of course, you have the moms who are totally comfortable with their bodies. They may not be in perfect shape, but they are rockin' the cute suits. I always want to ask them where they find those suits. And then ask them where they find the confidence to strut their stuff. Never had it. Not even when I should've had it. What a cruel joke that is!
So I sit in my suit that doesn't totally suck and think about the fact that as I look around, envious of many of the bodies around me - someone else is looking around the pool from behind their sunglasses, their eyes pause on me for a moment, and they are jealous of what I have...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Negativity can be fun, try it, you might like it

Being negative is fun sometimes. I'll be the first to jump on that train. Who hasn't critiqued someone else's unfortunate outfit choice or uniquely horrendous driving skills? Sometimes a gal's just gotta vent, or else the elastic in our granny panties will blow like Old Faithful.
Recently, I have had an ongoing, annoying experience with a major retail chain that shall remain nameless. We will call it, Schmall Mart. I had ordered an item from those Do-It-Yourself kiosk photo machines and was attempting to pick up said item (after receiving a call from Schmall Mart telling me it had arrived.) First attempt, I arrived to the photo department only to be met with hand written signs posted everywhere that the photo lab was closed... sorry for the inconvenience. It took every fiber of my being (and those pesky security cameras) not to go open the drawer behind the counter to retrieve my purchase. I mean, I ordered it all by myself, with no assistance from a Schmall Mart employee, why couldn't I pick it up all by myself? Alas, my better judgment prevailed and I left empty handed, except of course, for what I bought as I walked through the store on the way to the photo lab.
Round two. I arrive at the photo department to, once again, find it lacking... oh what's that called? Oh yeah, STAFF. I am standing there, trying to decide if the pre-pubescent looking teenager working in the camera department or the scowling employee near the tv's would be the right person to ask for assistance. Really all I need is to borrow someone's blue vest so I can pop behind the counter and open that damn drawer! It's right about then when the one of the ladies that had been working on those crazy kiosks next to me stepped around the counter and instantly became a Schmall Mart employee. (I would have made this revelation sooner had she acknowledged my existence in the 10 minutes I was standing at the counter waiting, but alas, she kept the suspense up to the last minute.)
I handed over my claim ticket, explained that I had received a call three days ago that this item was here and watched as she looked through two drawers of envelopes, boxes and bags for my name. Nothing. Nowhere. Not there. "You say you got a call saying it was here?" she asked, as if I must have confused the Schmall Mart call with a call from my sister telling me about the pants she found on sale last weekend.
"Well, it's not here." Again, I envisioned myself leaping over the counter like an Olympic vaulter, pushing her aside and combing through those packages myself. But figured that was not the best idea, the most fun for me, but not the best.
Suddenly feeling like Schmall Mart was conspiring against me, forcing me to return time and time again so I would keep putting things in my cart on the way back to the photo lab, I called later that same day thinking that maybe someone else knew the secret location of my now phantom package. I got the manager this time, who looked and looked and looked. Nothing. Then, "Wait! What's that behind the refrigerator?" I knew it! My package WAS there and had slipped into some kind of Schmall Mart Bermuda Triangle.
"Oh, sorry, that's just an employee's jacket." Buzz kill. I then listened to the manager explain that he's been fielding several calls from customers claiming they received calls confirming their items were ready for pick up when they were not. What kind of bored Schmall Mart employee makes those kind of prank calls? Maybe I am judging too quickly, maybe someone named Spiffany Frizzle ordered something too, and maybe she has a phone number that's the inverse of my number but the employee is dyslexic so she read it backwards and called me by mistake. Yeah, that could happen.
At this point I am making so many negative observations about Schmall Mart photo lab employees that if I were in a tight fitting t-shirt you could call me Simon Cowell.
So now we come to the pivotal point in this tirade. My original claim ticket said that my purchase would be in today, which is May, 27th. I asked the manager if it would indeed be in as scheduled. He told me he couldn't guarantee that because the photo lab was taking longer than usual. The photo company, which rhymes with Sugi, downsized from 10 plants to 4 and apparently their kiosks sometimes lie about when items will be ready. So now I have hostility toward Schmall Mart, Sugi and the friggin' recession for my purchase not being ready. As if I need more to do! The manager is supposed to call me today as soon as the truck comes to let me know if this now very anti-climatic purchase has arrived. Of course, it's for my daughter's teacher, and it's a shirt all the kids were going to sign at a party today, for the LAST DAY of school - so if it DOESN'T arrive, my daughter's teacher will get a plain t-shirt with student's signatures on it today and a photo t-shirt sometime this summer. If it ever makes it from the Sugi warehouse to Schmall Mart that is.
So here I sit, surrounded by purchases I made at Schmall Mart on every trek out there - child's flip flops, Granimals t-shirts, new foundation (to cover the frown lines I have acquired this week from making so many trips to Schmall Mart.)
I am waiting, as if the photo lab was the maternity ward and that kiosk is giving birth to my silly photo t-shirt. If that baby is late, my inner Simon Cowell may rear his perfectly coiffed, tanned head. But, if I can honestly say that this is my biggest problem this week, then I can pour myself a glass of wine, that I bought at Schmall Mart, and sit back with some yummy snacks, bought at Schmall Mart, and lounge in the sun - with sun block on of course, that I bought at Schmall Mart and be glad that it's really not THAT big of a deal and wait for my next minor problem to come along. So I can vent. So that elastic doesn't burst. Or I'll have to go buy more comfy panties at, you guessed it, Schmall Mart.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I'd like a non-fat, no whip, mocha, vodka, crack latte - to go

Forgot legalizing marijuana.
I need some kind of amphetamine to keep me going, preferably one that has side effects including, but not limited to weight loss, clear skin, shiny hair and a cheery disposition. Okay, maybe that's a bit far reaching, if a mom had a cheery disposition all the time, everyone would know she was on drugs. Dead give away.
I used to teach elementary school. I used to be the person parents sent their children off to who spent more hours of the day with those children than their parents did. Parents are smart.
Then I gave birth to my second child and we (my husband and I) decided that I could stay home this time around. FANTASTIC! I thought. I'll be able to devote myself 100% to the kids and our home and won't be walking through the door with work stress stuck to me like Velcro.
I will take up baking and cook more and still manage to lose all that baby weight... because I'll be home all the time.
Insert visual of crack head here.
I wish I still had a stash of what I must have been smoking then.
It's not that I thought it would be easy. It's just so different than what I thought it would be. I don't miss the work stress, but I do miss the camaraderie of co-workers. I don't bake regularly, but some of the refrigerated cookie dough actually makes it into the oven to fulfill it's purpose of becoming a cookie - the rest of the dough never had a chance. I do cook more, but not as adventurously or exotically as I wish I did. Wait, do fish sticks count as exotic if there not in an actual "stick" shape? As for the baby weight, please refer to the cookie dough eating segment of my ramblings. I have (in spurts) done a better job of carving out time to do my impression of a hamster on a wheel in my basement on my elliptical. I reference a hamster because they are still considered cute when they're a little pudgy, and I am a little furrier than I would like as my eyebrows are screaming for a waxing. I applaud those moms who I see out there with their Baby Bjorns, power walking while talking on their blue tooth (I suspect scheduling their eyebrow waxing.) I find myself looking at the other mom's at kindergarten drop off who are in an "outfit," not just clothes that are clean with hair that is styled (no, pony tails don't count, I asked.) Then I start to feel this tugging on my heart strings, well, actually, it's my son tugging on my pant leg, scamming for more Goldfish crackers. I realize that there was a time when I painstakingly chose my outfits, styled my hair and spent several minutes deciding what shade of gloss I was going to wear that day. That all led me to dating, getting married and having children! So I'll wear my t-shirt and yoga pants that may or may not match with my ponytail flying like the flag for motherhood - because the guy at the Starbucks drive thru might actually think I'm wearing yoga pants because I just got out of an actual yoga class. And that plus my grande latte will get me through the day.