...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Friday, August 29, 2008

mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice

The last member in my circle of college friends turned 40 recently. To celebrate this milestone each of us reached within the last 10 months, we're all gathering up our respective spouses and children and meeting over the weekend in Kansas City to attend a surprise party being thrown for one of our group.

I predict there will be copious amounts of laughter, hideous flashback photos, and, assuming I partake in the magic elixir that is an open bar, perhaps some karaoke. I've already called dibs on INXS' Need You Tonight (with bonus encore number Mediate - designate your love as fate, baby. You know I'm talking to you). I intend - in my imagination, at least - to rock that baby as hard as I did in the kitchen of the rundown crack den the six of us - five women and one man who used senior year as a time to prove he was not, in fact, gay (though not by testing on any of us) shared. We'd pop the Kick cassette into the boom box, emerge from the afghan cocoons we'd wrap ourselves in to protect against the lack of heat in the house, and dance on the slanted kitchen floor. One of the best and worst years of my life.

(Before I go on, I feel it only fair to pause so you can all marvel at the fact that I am, indeed, 40. "She acts a wee bit immature, don't you think?" you're probably whispering amongst yourselves. You're right. I can be a bit immature sometimes, so even though I don't feel that you thinking that about me is insulting, I'd like to take this opportunity to say I'm rubber and you're glue and whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you. But I don't mean that in a mean way. I just like to say it. While twirling my pigtails. Let's carry on now, shall we?)

In a shocking twist to my typical straightforward blog entries, this post is going entirely off track (insert smiley face emoticon here). Let's back up and get to the inspiration for this entry. Remember in the first paragraph when I said my friends would be gathering their spouses and children for this KC trip? Well, for my Tool Man and me, this is a CHILD FREE ADVENTURE!

(glitter! fireworks! ticker tape parade! Presidential proclamations! wee!)

Tool Man and I rarely get the chance to be alone together. The last time we attempted the increasingly stealth "Mom and Dad need a little nap! :: BIG YAWN!!:: We'll be back down in an hour or two, so why don't you watch this Ghost Hunters marathon, mkay?", we were bombarded by cries of "Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Daaaad!" by our youngest at the bedroom door. When the invitation for this weekend arrived, we looked at it, then looked at each other, and were all, "You thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?", and I asked "Well, just so I'm clear, are you thinkin'..." and Tool Man answered, "I'm absolutely thinkin'...". So I commenced upon guilting a set of grandparents into taking the kids for a night, and Tool Man hopped on the laptop to score us a hotel room. Then we clasped hands and spun around the kitchen singing, "We're going to be alone together, we're going to be alone together."

He didn't want to do that, btw. I made him.

You might recall that Tool Man spends about two to three nights a week in the finest economical accommodations the Midwest has to offer, and because he feels oh so bad about living the life of luxury on the road while I'm toiling away at home with the kids, he decided to treat me like a queen, willingly tossing aside the chance to use his Holiday Inn frequent guest points on an iPod to instead book our room for next to nothing. He failed at getting us a jacuzzi suite, though, because most of the rooms were already booked for the long Labor Day weekend. Apparently, even though people aren't working over the long weekend, that doesn't mean they don't necessarily have a job to do.

("Wait a minute! Was she referring to...?" "Why, I think she just alluded to...!" "OH MY WORD!")

(Heh. I totally was!)

Our reservation made, Tool Man turned to me, a grin brightening his face, and went on and on about all the things we were going to have the chance to do once we checked in Saturday afternoon. "A big old, king-size bed, baby! No kids to interrupt us! I'm gonna show you what lovin' me is all about!" Like I need a lesson in that! Sheesh!

So, if, when Saturday rolls around and slides into Sunday, and you find yourself bored and perhaps thinking about me (you know you do...especially you in the back), I'm not going to pretend and say I don't think it's a bit weird, but, if you want imagine all the hot, hot hotel action that's going on in my world at that very moment. In fact - and again, weird - let me just give you a hint of what it will be like so you can build up your fantasy:

The two of us (and I mean Tool Man, fyi) spread across a huge disheveled bed, limbs entwined in an inescapable knot. The quiet murmurs of satisfaction escaping from one or the both of us to remind the other that we're in a state of euphoric bliss. Then? Then I'll kick Tool Man in the back to get him to roll over so he's no longer snoring in my face, and while he's shifting, I'll grab the television remote out from under where he laid so I can maybe catch the last hour of Forbidden Temptations on the free HBO.

That's what hotel adventures are like for us. Free premium cable and catching up on our sleep.

Because I'm old and I need my rest.

I am 40, after all!

(insert another smiley face emoticon here...)

U2 - A Room At The Heartbreak Hotel (I 'heart you,' Rattle and Hum)(and you, too, heh)


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

things I think are the tits*

Hello, lovelies (...and my special someone who knows who they are. Wink!). I apologize for leaving all of you very creative people (and the hundreds of you who came around and were perhaps too busy, annoyed, scared, or overcome to want to leave a comment) since Sunday night, when I was all, "Haha! We should totally play a game!" Truth is, I've taken this week off of work to reclaim my house now that the kids are entrenched in their new school year (although, seriously, as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, my oldest has been in sixth grade for five days and they STILL haven't done anything!! I see this as both a pro and con. Con - I've handed over my kid and my cash. Start teaching! Pro - The lack of overall teaching means no homework yet, which is fantastic, because I spend much of my Internet time now trying to break either fade to numb or backpacking dad into admitting they crush on me to suddently have to turn my attention toward finding the solutions to sixth grade math problems. Math is Tool Man's domain, and he's gone for the rest of the week, so fingers crossed on middle school laziness!).

(good Lord, was that parenthetical comment long enough?! Sheesh!)

Anyway, I've taken this week off so I can clean the house (here's a math problem I solved instantly this afternoon when I stepped down into the basement: two boys + three months = OMG!!!) and, hopefully, enjoy some peace to read and catch up on things I've, regretfully, put off (if I owe you an email, I swear, I'll do my best!). Cleaning means I've filled bags and bags and bags of garbage so far this week. Bags and bags and bags. See where I'm going with this?

Yep, the thing I was encouraging Tool Man to shove in or take it out already was, indeed, an overflowing bag of kitchen garbage. Kudos to zip n tizzy (who guessed garbage by the third immediate comment, leaving me wondering "Huh. Well. Hmmm. Now what!?"), and to Brian and Mandy Lou, who pretty much backed up the first guess at it. All of you had some truly hilarious guesses, and it was a pleasure to see Matthew Broderick step up. I also enjoyed seeing so many new faces, and hope you'll come back out. I'd respond to all of you in comments, but basically, it would be a lot of me going "Hey! Great idea!" or "OMG! That's hilarious!", or, in the case of Undomestic Diva, "Oh, HELL NO! NO JAMMING!", so if you don't mind, combine those sentiments, then follow me to what will, finally, be the meat on the bones of this post (this is where you all stand, stretch, and cheer "Yeah! Finally! The BOOBS!" and I say "Hahaha, silly, silly you!") - a list of things I'm enamoured with of late, in no particular order, also known as:

Things I Think Are The Tits

I hate that annoying Jessica Alba and her bitchy "This shade's mine. Go get your own!" Revlon commercial, but I kind of feel like saying that now after sharing my list. Only I wouldn't sound bitchy. No. I'd sound super nice. Like so nice you'd want to sweep me into a tight, tight hug and sniff my ponytails, and then share the things you think are the tits. So here's where I turn it over to you. Feel free to share what's on your list. Seriously, though, you don't have to sniff my ponytails.

* by 'the tits', I mean things I think are cool and/or totally awesome, and not necessarily actual tits, which, it should also be noted, I have no problem with whatsoever, and, in fact, have found to be useful through a large portion of my life. They are, to bring this full circle, the tits. Thank you.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

shall we play a game?

Guess what was going on in my house Saturday night when the conversation between my Tool Man and I wound its way around until I ended up saying the following to him:

"For the love of God, just either jam it in there, or freakin' take it out already!!"

That's right. I went with the seldom used double exclamation point on that one. If you care - better yet, if you dare - please charm me with your guesses!


Friday, August 22, 2008

'come with me friday, don't say maybe'

So, yeah, it's Friday (Happy Friday those of you who like to cheer "TGIF!" and/or are all "Did someone say Friday? Oh, no! It's Beer Day!" or stuff like that), and I'm a little bereft of ideas. It's been a rather random week, and because of that, I thought, "You know what the people want? They want random. You've deprived them of the random for a long time, Doll Face!" and I said, "You know what? You're right. I'm going to give them the random. For them. I will do it for them!"

And then my Tool Man peeked up from playing Space Fight on Facebook and asked, "Did you say something?" because I apparently said that last part outloud and he got a bit excited when he heard the word 'give,' but I told him to just get back to playing with his little computer friends because I had tales of whimsy to write. For my little computer friends. So. Yeah...

Anyway, here we go:
  • I don't really refer to myself as 'Doll Face' when I talk to myself in my head. I use a variety of endearments, some of which include 'hun,' and 'luv,' and (most common) 'Hottie O' McHottenshire of the Scottish highland O'McHottenshires.' You may call me whatever you wish.
  • Yesterday I was watching some cartoon program with my youngest son before we ventured down for his school bus. All was delightful and charm, and then one of the older, wiser characters told the younger that their goal today was lowering the expectations of women, because if you get their expectations too high, you'll never get them off your back. Hold up!! This is what is going on on cartoons today? This is what's being taught? What the hell happened to wily coyotes trying to drop anvils on pesky roadrunners and snarky, closeted rabbits? Why, back in my day, cats and mice played friskily with one another. They didn't pull this type of thing out of their hats! Get off my lawn, you pesky new-fangled cartoon characters! Ever the wise one, Tool Man wandered through the living room and said, "What's the big deal? It's true, you know." And that, my little computer friends, is why Tool Man plays with other boys and their pretend space ships on the computer.
  • I kid, I kid.
  • After the cartoon self-help lesson, I walked with my son down to the corner to catch his bus. After the heinous bus driver my kids had last year, it's like I'm living in an adorable sitcom world this year. My son's new bus driver is waving to us and grinning broadly as he pulls to the corner, and offers a charming "GOOD MORNING TO YOU ALL!" when the door swings open. It makes me want to jump on the bus and give him a huge hug, but I wasn't kidding the other day when I said the driver is my old 7th grade math teacher, and I'm afraid if he sees me up close, as I tend to hug up close, he'll toss out some random geometry question, and if I fail (which, without question, I would), he'd deny safe passage for my first grade son. I've done parent pick up and drop off. I still break out into a cold sweat and shakes when I drive by the school parking lot, even on weekends. I don't want to go through that hell ever again. So I flip my hair a little bit so it's covering my face (Because yes, I look EXACTLY like I did when I was in 7th grade. Only cooler. Sure), adjust my sunglasses, and bid him a good day as he pulls away, thanking him for not being jaded about a bus full of noisy, bouncy kids.
  • And wishing I could be a little less jaded about them, too, but working in the kid's department at the book store has broken me, people. I swear. OK, maybe it's not the kids, but it's the parents. Or the parents who wander in an hour later after their kid has destroyed the department, then announce loudly, often in some sing-songy baby talk voice that makes me want to stab myself in the thigh with a fork, as they're yanking their kids out of there that they can just leave the mess they've made because someone (ME!) will pick it all up (or have to return it because it's been destroyed). Deep breath. Deep breath.
  • I dig kids. I really do. I just don't dig the kid's department all the time. Because I also dig grown ups who don't wander into the kid's department, especially those who don't call me stupid.
  • Speaking of hair, I was getting tired of stepping on my bangs as I attempted to go about my days, so I got my hair cut Wednesday night. My appointment was late in the evening, which is when no good typically happens out in the world. Because I had a hot date planned to come home and put pajamas on and watch television with Tool Man (do not be jealous of our molten hot love!), my stylist decided I should look super fancy. Which is the polar opposite of what she typically does if I get my haircut in the morning and have truly grand plans mapped out for the remainder of the day. Anyway, she cut my hair so I could see now, blew it all dry, secured it into a huge ponytail atop my head, then proceeded to curl waves into said ponytail. By the time she removed the Scrunchee and let my hair fall (nay - cascade down my shoulders like rivers of rich, succulent amber fire), I had big, flouncy hot girl curls. I was, to say the least, delighted! I tipped her handsomely, then made a quick stop at the nearest Kum & Go to stun the clerks with my hot hair and quench that fire with a Diet Mountain Dew. Googly eyes! Success! I got home, ready to bring the thunder with my Tool Man. Ten minutes later, a new space ship secured, he turned away from his computer game, locked eyes with my amber waves of fire, and announced, "You've got porn hair!" Little computer friends, I have seen some porn in my day. I've seen what goes on in the hair of some of those on porn. I didn't have that aspect of porn hair, thank you very much. However, if Tool Man meant that my hair appeared to be like that of the BOOBS! of a porn actress - that is, enhanced beyond the realm of safe, comfortable, and/or natural - then yes, I did have porn hair. So I gave him my patented come hither look, which, apparently, wasn't as enticing as earning space ships, so Tool Man went back to protecting the universe from evil doers. Two days later, my hair is now flat (or, in porn terms, my hair is now flaccid), and I hope that the people in the pretend world of Space Fight feel safer.
  • I've rambled long enough. Oh, I see you, all shaking your head and saying, "No! No! Go on! We love your ramblings!", but I'm hungry, my house is a holy mess, and I'm going to tell you that I plan to rectify both those matters (when in reality I'm going to likely sit around for a bit longer and psych myself up and watch shows on the Food Network. Or listen to the Jonas Brothers. Seriously. I can't stop thinking of that cute Joe...).
  • Oh, but before I forget, the above ramblings? They're really just overdrawn musings on what I probably already rambled about on Twitter this week, and if you aren't already part of this time suck brigade, I say good for you! Hold strong! But! If you are, and you want to sit in the dark of your mom's basement and yell out, "Show me your tweets, Doll Face!", you can follow me there by looking for me under FADKOG. I'm sure I'll marvel you with my random pronouncements of how bored I am, and how I'd take a punch in the face if someone were to share a frozen Snickers with me.

Don't be scared of me. I wish you nothing but a happy weekend. Try not to think about me too much. I'll be around. We're good. I heart you all so hard. Now how about giving me some random in the comments!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

enjoy the silence

Dear Sweet Child O' Mine,

Remember that time I wrote about how much I love you, and the fact you are starting sixth grade today made me all weepy? How I wasn't ready to relinquish what has been a pretty cool summer, nor give you up to take another step toward adulthood?

Yeah, well, listen. I still love you, and I'm still emotional about you starting middle school today. You seemed really confidant in the wake of my stress Monday night while we attempted many (MANY!) unsuccessful spins of your padlock before finally (FINALLY!) getting your new locker open. Sorry you've inherited my tendency to want to bang on things and throw my fists toward heaven as though I'd been personally smote by God himself. That part doesn't make me proud, and that's something I'll help you work past. Seriously, I'm sorry. But then, when you were successful, and we then ventured off to meet the many new teachers you'll have this school year, I watched as you thrust out your arm to shake the hands they offered you, confidently telling them your name. I love when you say it proudly, because honey, your name? Your name is the sort that superheroes, international spies, and world leaders WISH they had. It's cool.

You are, too.

So we're cool on the fact that I love you and am immensely proud of you, right?

Good. Because today, when I came downstairs to find you, my brand new 11 year old boy, hunched over the brand new Lego set you got for your birthday last night (sidebar - WTF, Legos?! Forty dollars and up for some tiny plastic pieces you shove in a hundred bags and then tuck into an even bigger cardboard box? Way to love the Earth, and way to make me crazy with yet more Legos in my house) I was gobsmacked again. Then I looked at the clock and saw it was 7:13 a.m. I added seventeen minutes to that time to get you to when you would have to be leaving for school, then saw you weren't yet dressed, hadn't brushed your teeth or put your shoes on, and that the gel you wanted your dad to put in your newly sheared hair was still in the tub it comes in and not your hair, I got a little freaked.

So I said something. And you said something back. Kinda mouthy like. And I was all, "Umm...What the hell?!" Yeah, team! Great way to kick off the new school year! Also honey, way to assert your authority. I realize I didn't say that when I was all "Oh, I beg you're pardon?! What did you say to me?!" when you growled your disdain for me, then capped that with something that didn't sound like "I love you, too, Mom, " when I reminded you that you were 11 now, not a moody 16 year old. I mean, give me a break. I'm barely wrapping my mind around how my baby went from birth to 11 in, like, an hour, and you're already making me dread the petulant teen years. In that moment, I was praising the powers that be that today is the first day of school, and wondering if it would look crazy to raise a glass of the finest, cheapest wine I could stock myself with at 8 a.m. Would the bus driver who picked up your younger brother for his inaugural day of first grade be compelled to call CPS if he suspected I was drunk when I slobbered over him ('Him' being your brother, not the bus driver. Despite my propensity to love on every boy I meet when I've been drinking, the bus driver was my seventh grade math teacher, and, nice as he is, he made me cry because, yeah, it was math, and, well, even I have a line I can't cross) when I waved goodbye to your brother (who was up, dressed, brushed, and coiffed as soon as his eyes opened, I might add) 20 minutes later?

Seriously, I can get that looped on the drink THAT FAST. I am a cheap date, but this isn't the place to share that information with you, my charming son.

But, back to task...

Ten minutes later, when you'd brushed your teeth, spiked your hair, and threw on clothes that forced me to bite my tongue so as not to ask "Is that really what you're planning to wear?", (um, Mom? Get out of my head), you genuinely smiled for me when I drug you outside for the requisite first day of school photo shoot, and though you shooed away from a hug when I attempted to grab one when you were ready to head to the corner to meet Perpetual Phone Call Girl (DUDE?! You're JUST 11, and yet you are a stone cold pimp!), you did smile at me, and thankfully (you have no idea how thankful I am about this), you turned around several times to wave to me before you rounded the way and were out of my sight. So, though our encounter this morning may have made me say, perhaps a bit too loudly, that I was SO GLAD YOU WERE GOING TO SCHOOL TODAY BECAUSE I CAN'T BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ACTIONS IF YOU WEREN'T, and maybe a few things about how I was going to sit in a state of quiet bliss when you were gone (in my head, what I did end up saying actually sounded like that last part, but, yeah, I'm sorry that it didn't come out that way), I will miss you today. I am proud of you on such a grand level I can't even put it into words you or I could understand.

And I do love you. You couldn't hear me say that as you were rounding the corner with your little girlfriend (and right now, I love you more than she does and don't let her try and convince you otherwise!), but I will keep saying it, even if you growl at me the way you did when I came downstairs and found you playing with Legos.



P.S. I know you've never actually read those things I wrote about you because you don't know about this blog. I hope that remains the case after your Communications class this year. However, trust that I'll keep telling you so you'll never forget.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

the arts. they rhyme with 'farts,' so my kids dig them

The end of last week, the boys were sprawled out on the living room floor, each completing a page out of their respective summer skills workbooks.

Yep. I am entirely "that mom." The one who makes them take 30 torturous minutes out of their weekday to stay fresh on their academics so they can hit the ground running when school starts while meanwhile, according to them, their friends "...get to do whatever they want because it's summer! Why are you so mean?! Has it been 30 minutes yet?! We want to ride bikes, play in puddles, hunt for bugs, vandalize the community, and scare the elderly with our foul mouths! Gah!" Of course, I sympathize with their plight. Kids should be kids. So I respond to their queries and complaints accordingly:

"Wrong! Do it again! If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"

I'm hardcore, baby. Hardcore.

So Thursday, my oldest was working on a reading comprehension lesson, making his way through a paragraph about Michelangelo and his works. I was telling my son about the ornate works he painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and all the magnificence it involved. As I was telling my son that if he dreamed really hard and saved up his money, he might one day have enough for a month's Internet connection so he, too, could one day gaze upon the face of God as imagined by the artist, my youngest son, 6, chimed in that Michelangelo also carved amazing statues.

Rather stunned, I turned to my young art critic and asked him how he knew of these statues. Had Zack and Cody escaped the Tipton and embarked on a madcap Italian adventure during an episode of The Suite Life I'd somehow managed not to see? Was kindergarten art really more than just creating magic with watercolors and some papier mache? He told me he "just know these things, Mom," and I'm not up to doubting him, because the kid is whip smart and I'm counting on him to either wipe away the tears that come with me (and from me) helping his older brother conquer fractions, or he'll be the one to explain them clearly to him.

I just never thought he was that up on the art scene. So we discussed sculpture and marble and beauty and such for a few minutes, up until the youngest wrapped up his workbook assignment, hopped up, and ran upstairs while the oldest and I finished up. A few moments later, I hear my youngest's voice behind me. "Michelangelo's most famous statue was called David," he announced.

Prepared to cheer a knowledge of Renaissance art I failed to grasp even after a semester of art appreciation in college, I turned to find my young art connoisseur standing at the bottom of the steps, naked. One heel was gracefully turned up and toward us, one hand was barely brushing his right leg while his left hand teased at his chin with the hint that he wanted to rest it there. I believe they encourage you to be quiet and respectful in museums, so I was speechless, as was my oldest son as we took in the spectacle before us in our living room Louvre

Remaining stone still, my young David eventually cracked the left corner of his mouth and muttered, "He was probably thinking about how cold it was standing there naked all the time."

"Um, you've apparently seen the statue," I said. "If you paid any kind of attention at all, you'd know that was truly probably the case."

Then? Then the boy farted. As boys are wont to do. The explosion that ripped through his nethers caused his stony facade to crack as he erupted in laughter and fell, crumbling into tiny pieces, upon the floor. It was that part of the lesson that captured my oldest's attention, and he soon joined his brother in a chorus of guttural laughter.

So I told them to gather up, pick up, and, in the case of my youngest, suit up, and get their smart, and in the case of my youngest, noisy, asses outside.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

she's a bitch, she's a tease

See that cute little pooch up there? That's Zoey, and she's our loaner dog again this week. All the fun of dog ownership without all the work! Sure, she still has to be fed and walked, but friends, 11 1/2 years ago, I predicted the day would come when I'd be asked to care for the dog of someone I didn't yet know, so I turned to my husband, then known as my Camera Man, and whispered, "Baby, let's make a baby!", and that is how my oldest son came to be. Now I have a really cute kid who will put sandwich bags on his hands to pick up dog poop, and I get to sit on the couch and rub Zoey's cute furry belly. There's just a hint of a power struggle between boy and beast when I ask one of them to fetch my slippers. Opposable thumbs give my son the advantage.

But just barely.

When she's not with us, Zoey is owned by our pastor and his family. That means when she's home, she's quite proper and abides by the rules. Some people walk with God. Zoey comes pretty close to taking walks with God.

I've seen her in her natural environment, and she's very calm and polite. Every morning, between her numerous naps, she takes some quiet time with her Devotional for Dogs. During prayers, she refrains from barking and squeaking her stuffed porcupine (which...sigh...my kids call Mr. Beaver, and I don't know why, but it makes me laugh. Oh, I know why it makes me laugh. I just don't know why they call a porcupine a beaver. Also? Yep. There's still a 12 year old boy inside of me. No! Wait! That sounded wrong! I'm stopping now, as I've dug a hole AND written the longest parenthetical comment ever on this blog...).

Anyway, at her home, Zoey is a dream dog. One of God's glorious creatures.

Then she comes to my house, and I swear to you, the instant her owners pull out of the driveway, she's hiking up her skirt, tying her shirt into a slutty halter, smearing her lips with blood red lipstick, and trying to bum cigarettes off of us, even though she knows none of us smoke. I know her ways, because that is EXACTLY what I did during my freshman year of college. She's all, "What's up, bitches?? Get it? I'm a bitch, and I was all just, 'What's up, bitches??' Is that beagle across the street new here? Whattaya say we shake a tail over there, check that hottie out? Bark, bark!"

Yeah. Good times. She wants to watch soft core porn on cable, and stir up trouble between me and Maddie, my sister's visiting dog. She also chews her left front paw incessantly, like a little boy who just discovered he's got a permanent plaything tucked between his legs. She tries to hide the fact she's chewing, chewing, chewing, but I am not stupid. I know. Especially when it's 3 a.m., she's stretched out over my thighs, and the chewing, chewing, chewing wakes me up. "They don't let me do this at their house!" her bulbous eyes seem to say when I urge her to stop, maybe get some help "They say it'll make me go blind! But it feels good! You know what I'm talking about! I! JUST! CAN'T! STOP!"

So I push her over to Tool Man's side of the bed, and eventually their snoring falls into such an even pattern, I'm unable to tell which of them is blowing the roof off above me. When she does sleep, she's apparently dreaming of packs of wild, hot dogs of every breed chasing her, because she's fluttering her eyes, softly barking, and paddling her little paws in a flirty dance.

But the most disturbing thing she does? She's apparently hot for my oldest son, the child I bore knowing one day we'd have to take care of a dog. So hot for him, in fact, that she attempts to hump him as soon as she sees the opportunity. "What's Zoey doing?!" he'll ask when she zeroes in on him. "Oh! She just missed you so much she wanted to show you by giving your leg a big hug! Ha! Ha! Isn't that sweet!?" I respond, lunging across the room to pull Zoey McSlutenstien off my boy's calf.

Here's a little something I've never learned despite all the hours I've clocked in on the Discovery channel - (A) I didn't know female dogs humped, (B) especially female dogs that have been spayed. I'm very much the suburban girl, and the dogs we had when I grew up were as chaste as I was.
Oh, but had one of them gone to college with me...

Clearly, Zoey thinks of us as the crazy relatives who let her get away with anything. If she had the opposable thumbs that enable my son to lead the slipper race to date, I've little doubt she'd sneak out at night and go visit the neighbor's beagle. It's a pity she can't, really. It'd give my poor kid's leg a much needed break. She's a little too much my son's best friend.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

you might say it's a crush

Oldest son: "Blech. Only girls like the Jonas Brothers!"

Me: "Honey, I AM a girl. Just ask your little buddy down the street. Heh."

Oldest son: "Mom, you're NOT a girl..."

Tool Man: "Trust me, son. Your mom is a girl."

Oldest son: "Whatever. You're NOT making me listen to them."

Honestly? That's fine by me, because I think I need to be alone when I listen to these boys so I don't feel quite so guilty for all the nasty, nasty thoughts I have when I think about them. Well, mostly I think about that sexy, sexy Joe and his skinny little jeans.

Yes, I am so thinking about his jeans! Or, you know, whatever...

I want to slather Joe Jonas in cougar sauce and casually gnaw on him while enjoying a glass of wine. Of course, he's not yet old enough to drink (but he turns 19 on Friday, which I know because I may or may not have read it in Tiger Beat magazine while on break with my adorable coworker, who is gay and also hot for Joe, but I would totally fight him for Joe, and he knows I would win), so yeah! More wine for me!

Confession - While my family was away on their recent male bonding weekend, I sat in my darkened living room on a Saturday night and watched Camp Rock. Twice.

OK, three times. But the last time, I fast forwarded through that creepy girl's part just so I could get to Joe's subtly superb turn as Shane, the ne'er do well, ego maniacal rock star who learns, through the course of clearly unrealistic nature scenes and what was referred to as hip hop dancing but absolutely was not, that it's more important to be one's self.

Especially if one's self can pull off those tight, tight pants.

And by 'pull off,' I absolutely mean "allow me to admire the quality craftsmanship of your well tailored ensemble."

I know. I know! I'm 40. A few bottles of wine 20 years ago, and I could have kids as old as this trio. Only if I had, my kids probably wouldn't be able to carry a tune, and, like my 10 year old, insist I'm not a girl.

But I am a girl, and whether I like it or not, I've got a big old girly boner for the Jonas Brothers. Rawr!

(Did that sound like a cougar's roar? Yeah? Excellent...)


Monday, August 11, 2008

don't call us, we'll call you

So we're on the downward spiral of summer vacation around here. In just over a week, my boys will scurry off to their respective schools, and embark upon new learning adventures, some of which will no doubt mean I'll be trying to figure out harder and more frustrating math.

I'm going to buck tradition and say I'm not actually looking forward to my children returning to school. We've had a pretty perfect summer. Minimal yelling. Very little crying. Both on my part, mind you.

I am, however, looking forward to all the neighborhood kids who've spent this summer laying about my place like I was the lone youth hostel with beds available on their backpacking adventures around the suburbs. From the moment the sun burst over the horizon on the first day of summer vacation, I've had a steady stream of loaner kids banging on doors, tapping on windows, phoning to do nothing more than breath into the receiver and ask, "What are you doing....what are you doing now....what about now?"

I've fed kids I've never seen before, housed the temporarily homeless, and taxied the unmovable. I've also given my son's brother from another mother another nudie show.




The kid's seen my naked more this summer than my Tool Man.


No, it's not like I'm trying for that!

Yes, I'm tired of it, too!

Then there's the nonstop telephone calls to my house. Somewhere in his grave, Alexander Graham Bell is rolling around in glee that the world is filled with lazy boys and girls who can't just walk two doors down to visit with their friends. Me? Not so much. Here's a little tidbit about me that you may not realize - I'm not a morning person. Were it not for the pesky bit about having to suck the blood of an unsuspecting ne'er do well to sustain my immortality, I'd willingly consider that whole vampire gig. Also, I can carry off all black pretty well. It's the pale skin. It just works.

So anyway, I'm not a morning person. If you call my house before 7 a.m., it better be because you want to tell me I just won the lottery or something tragic has befallen my family. I need the money, so I'm hoping more for the former. If you can't shower me with balloons and gigantic checks, please do not call me to say good morning when I've only just recently said good night.

This, however, is a lesson my oldest son's friends have failed to learn all summer, and I swear to heaven, today I nearly threw on my slippers and trotted up the street to her house to flow chart it out for her. Here's how today's phone call played out:
  • Scene - 6:45 a.m. (A - freakin' - M!) on a Monday (Mon - freakin' - day!) morning.
  • Me - Asleep. Dreaming of some women bitching to me about how the books at the bookstore aren't alphabetized properly (seriously - yep, I do need to get out more)
  • Phone - ringing! ringing! ringing!
  • Me - WTF?

When I answer, the little girl who lives down the lane is all, "Can I talk to..." and before she could finish her query, I've morphed into my mother. "Do you have any idea what time it is, young lady?! It is 6:45 in the freakin' morning! Nobody needs to talk to anybody that early! Does your mother know you're on the phone?! Get offa my lawn! Fetch me my slippers! Why, kids today, I tell ya..."

My ranting, of course, was met with the silence I've learned over the course of the summer comes standard with this year's model of the 10 year old child. Then, fearing my wrath, her little voice quacked as she asked if I could take a message.

"I'm not typically equipped with pen and paper whilst sleeping..." I muttered, thinking how adorable it is that I like to talk all fancy on five hours sleep.

"Please tell him that he shouldn't call my house or come down to see me after 8:30 at night, because that's when I'm going to bed now," she continued.

Then it was my turn to be silent. "Hello? Did you hear me?" she asked. I heard her even though by then I'd pulled the phone away from my ear and was giving it a quizzical look, all "Are you serious with this?"

"Let me see if I got the message right," I finally responded. "You called here before 7 a.m., to say my kid can't call you after 8:30 p.m.? Honey, I hope you sleep well tonight..."

I think she was saying thank you as I was hanging up the phone. Me? I was up for the day. I got her number, by the way. I'm going to call her tonight around 9 p.m., maybe wish her a few sweet dreams (something better than Bitter Bookstore Lady, Crypt-keeper of the Alphabet), sing a couple lullabies. Good times.

And good night.


Friday, August 08, 2008

'you actin' kinda shady, ain't callin' me baby, better say my name'

So the other day, I'm at the YMCA swimming pool with the boys. While they swam in the mysteriously warm waters of the cement pond, I sat out to keep one eye on them and the other on the year old copy of Self magazine I was carelessly flipping through.

I know what you're thinking. "A year old issue? Don't you think it's about time to let go of the past and move on?" People, I still have semi-regular contact with an old boyfriend, so randomly tossing an old issue of Real Simple in the recycling bin would be nothing short of traumatic to me. Call me quirky. Perhaps dependent. Either works.

Anyway, I'm watching and reading, reading and watching, when I sense a presence near me. My boys have started watching all those ghost hunting and scare me stupid shows, so my first inclination is to feel a bit paranoid by this sense of doom I'm having. Steeling my nerves, I dog-ear the Self article on acting upon one's sexual fantasies (FYI - Mine don't all involve my old boyfriend. Maybe two) to look around for zombies or ghostly figures, I hear "Hey! How are you!?" and glance up to see an older man standing in front of me, dripping with what was either that gooey crap Carol Ann came back to her family covered in in Poltergeist or the remnants of that mysteriously warm pool water.

(sidebar - Backpacking Dad? If Poltergeist shows up on TV one of these days, is it a date? Call me, yeah?)

I smile and respond to the hulking gentleman, who by now has placed a tiny towel down beside me on the bench and has shoved over to see what I'm reading. "Hmmmm. Interesting," he says, and I avoid eye contact for a moment, for, while I'm perhaps intrigued at the thought, I don't truly wish to know this person's sexual fantasies. Those kind of things are best shared with a loving partner. And sometimes the Internet. I looked around, but I didn't see either option there at that time.

From there, the man engaged me in a rapid fire conversation about kids, his gout, the weather, his time in the military, and how hot I am. OK, not really that last one, but seriously, they keep the pool area at the YMCA just a tad under 'surface of the sun' hot, and I was becoming increasingly crestfallen the longer I sat there. Between each topic, the man would ask my name, then use it as a transition into the next phase of our conversation. Now, I like my name, but at about the 40 minute mark in our conversation, I was to the point where I was ready to invoke the playground rebuttal of "That's my name! Don't wear it out!" but the dude never seemed to take a breath before introducing the next topic of conversation, thus depriving me of the chance to figure out how I might then be able to zing him with the bonus "Take a picture, it'll last longer!"

More than an HOUR LATER (!!!!) (I'm super nice, people. Also, I'm a former reporter, so when I felt like we were losing our connection, I was right there in the game with follow up questions!), I stand up, stretch, and call out to my boys to come gather up so we can go home.

"What's your name again?" My new friend asked. I glance back at him, my face conveying a full on look of "Are you kidding me with that question? You've just spent the last hour plus saying my name with such affection I was beginning to think you wanted to marry it, and now you're playing fickle with me?"

So I told him again, smiled, tucked the unfinished, year-old Self - now a day older - back in my bag for the next time, and thanked him for spending his afternoon with me. He reached for my hand, said my name AGAIN, and closed our day with "I never forget a name, INSERT MY NAME HERE. Especially those of such pretty girls, INSERT MY NAME HERE. Now, I may not remember it the next time we meet, INSERT MY NAME HERE, but believe me, I never forget a name, YOU KNOW THE DRILL BY NOW."

I stood there, smiling, wanting my hand back, and thinking, "Really? You already forgot my name, even though you used it nonstop. Also, I believe not remembering my name the next time we meet, then following up that declaration by insisting you never forget a name constitutes a FAIL!"

I've been back to the pool a few times since this encounter, and between flipping my magazine pages, I've scanned the place for my new friend, but he's not been there at the same time I have. My guess is he's seen me sitting there, then dashed out quickly because he can't recall who I am. That would also be kind of like how I approached this blog post. I had some idea in mind for it when I sat down to write, but before I could blow the embers of that idea and watch it spark into a blazing post, I was bombarded by the use of my other name.

"Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!"

Yep, it's going to be a good day, my friends.

Oh, it is actually going to be a good weekend. Tonight, my Tool Man and I are ditching the kids (perhaps in a real ditch!), and attending a wedding, where I anticipate doing the Cha Cha Slide with a few of my coworkers. Then, on Saturday, I'm running away with my first real pretend boyfriend because it's the moment I've been waiting for - THE RICK SPRINGFIELD CONCERT! Tool Man has again blessed the never-ending, burning union between Rick and me.

I'll cap my weekend on Sunday by observing the Sabbath. Oh, and also doing something special to recognize National Duran Duran Appreciation Day! I plan to slather on a lot of make-up, ala 80s era Duran, blow the dust off my old grey fedora, and learn to play keyboards. Then kiss my posters of Simon and John. I 'heart' you, Simon and John!

(Yes, and you, too, Rick!)

In conclusion, blame the dude at the pool - whose name, I should point out, I never got! - for my lack of blog topic focus today. Also, you in the back? I know you weren't thinking about the fact I was reading a year old magazine. You were wondering what kind of swimsuit I was wearing. Sorry. It was a one-piece. Maybe next time. Now, all of you leave me some love (especially all of you who come here and bail! I had well over 200 visits the other day, but some of you must be shy. Don't be. I'm nice. And I have brownies. With stick figures of Simon, John, Nick, Roger, and Andy stuck in them, but we can cut around them), and have a good weekend.

video: ABBA's The Name Of The Game. Because I like to pound on my themes AND my obsessions head on!


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

attention shoppers!

  • It's not a display of your own smarts when you reply, "You probably can't help me. You don't have a college degree," when I ask if I can help you locate a book. I may be working at a job that pays just above minimum wage, but I assure you, I do have a college degree. I used that degree for several years to produce and edit a variety of publications. Very successfully, I might add. My framed diploma and awards might now be tucked away in a storage container in my basement rather than on the walls of an office like the one you must work in, but I assure you, I can still use my skills as a writer even if I all I am doing now is selling the works of other writers. If I had the opportunity to edit our conversation, I'd respond to your comment with one of my own that contained an expletive or two, for you pushed me to the point where all I could do was think "Asshole," as I walked you over to the science and technology books. But I like my job, even if it doesn't require me to use my college degree.
  • It's not funny when you throw up your hands in victory and shout "Approved!" before wiping the imaginary beads of sweat off your worried brow when your debit or credit card successfully goes through the system and your purchases are paid for. It's especially not funny if you're the fourth person who does it during a 45-minute shift spent manning the cash registers. I smile because I'm a nice person, but if you put yourself in my position, you'd be annoyed by it, too. Perhaps not enough to blow the dust off my college degree, but annoyed nonetheless.

...'twas a long night last night.


Monday, August 04, 2008

'til now, i never got by on my own

After a week away from home, my Tool Man returned Friday afternoon. I promptly put him to work by sending him running off to the store for treats for me, vacuuming, carting a child off to a birthday party, and cooking for us.

And that's just for starters!

No. I'm kidding. I made out with him, ordered us a little Chinese food for lunch, made out with him again during the 10 minute wait we had for our order (Question - is this 10 minute wait for Chinese food universal? Oh, that life could always be as efficient and packed with the tasty delicious goodness that is hot and sour soup!), and THEN I made him do all those things (plus more!) listed above.

Listen, the dude owed me and I made out with him, so it wasn't like I was cracking a whip. Because we're not into that, OK? I mean, a little spank here and there is fine by me, but I've got a line, and the line says no whips.

By the end of the night, when Tool Man and I collapsed, exhausted from all the making out, so we called it a day and drifted off to sleep. Well, Tool Man did, but it took me a bit longer because Loaner Dog was all up on me, batting her bulging Shih Tzu eyes at me, trying to get a little from me. I shouldn't have to do this, people, but just let me remind you that there's a line.

Early Saturday, while I was still sleeping, Tool Man grabbed our two adorable lug nuts, and together, they ran away from home. Before you can say, "Well of course they did, Hottie! You make him work too hard when he gets home from his tough man job. Hell, I'd run away, too!", let me say that this: (A) You've not seen my kick ass rack, and if you had, the only direction you'd be running is toward it, and (B) it was a planned Man Weekend that they were all looking forward to (but not as much as me). Their departure meant I was going to be home alone (albeit with one horny little dog) for THREE GLORIOUS DAYS of silence, and had I been awake, I'd have pushed them out the door even sooner than they pushed themselves.

My plan during this reprieve from my wifely and motherly duties was to go off the grid for the entire weekend, kind of like Jason Gedrick did in Iron Eagle, when he and his band of ragtag warriors infiltrated the United States military with the help of a hard on the outside, soft on the inside Louis Gossett Jr. (aka 'the poor man's Morgan Freeman'), stole a fighter jet and flew a daring rescue mission to save his father. But you know what they say about best laid plans, right? That's right. So if you and I shared an IM conversation or bantered in emails back and forth at any time this past Saturday or Sunday, just don't blow my cover, OK? As far as these other people know, I sat in the breeze in my narcolepsy chair, finished reading Stephanie Klein's hilariously funny and gut wrenching book, Moose, and spoke to no other living soul for two days.

(Backpacking Dad? Listen to this tape when no one else is around, OK? I think if you wait just a minute or two, the rest of the people here will skim by this parenthetical call-out, then it'll be fine. OK. Now. I just want to say it was truly an honor to fly with you Sunday, and you should know that I would proudly suit up and take the the skies again, for the safety and honor of our people. You are a man of great fortitude and random movie knowledge, and I slept a bit more soundly last night knowing you're out there. Sincerely, Col. Nippley)

I enjoyed my first day of solitude pretty much living up to my dreams. However, if you've been around here awhile, you know I don't particularly enjoy being home alone at night, so Saturday morphed well into Sunday before I braced myself for sleep, which I couldn't even begin to try for without checking to see if the front door was locked (again!). When I did, I spotted something in my yard, and let out a bit of a scream, causing the thing to look at me (with evil red eyes!), and then run away.

Bunnies tend to do that when you make sudden loud noises.

So now it's Monday, my final day of solitude. I've slept fitfully for two nights, never cracked a book, watched enough television to kill me, have no good anecdotes from which to blog about, haven't used my voice in two and a half days, and fear the couch cushion may be adhered to my ass after Pantless Sunday (Why get dressed when you're just going to have to put pajamas on in two hours anyway? Walking up the stairs takes energy, y'all).

Wait! I feel it should be noted that the couch cushion wouldn't be adhered to my ass because I spent the day without any pants on (yes, Backpacking Dad, I fly with no pants on. I guess I should have told you that while we were somewhere over the Med). It would be because I barely moved from one spot on it. I mean, you got that, right? You understood what I meant?

So today I intend to pack a ton in the few hours of solitude which remain before I must go to work and my family returns. I must banishing bunnies, refuel the jet, and finish books. But first I need to pry myself off the couch and put some pants on.


Friday, August 01, 2008

it's apparently fun to stay at the hol-i-day inn

So my Tool Man has been gone working in parts unknown (Or maybe it's just Omaha. It's been so long I've forgotten both his destination and what he looks like. Sort of. I mean, I think he has a goatee...) this week, which means that while he's working super hard at his one job, I've been getting up at the ass crack of dawn (7 a.m. counts as ass cracking, yeah? Well, it does when Twitter is all "Hey, baby, just one more drink and then I'll take you home. Maybe you'll give me your number of somethin', yeah? Oh, Mommy, you are fiiiinnnneee...." until like 2 a.m., on a weekday, but whatever OK? Whatever) and busting my various lady lumps with the equivalent of at least five.

Sometimes 14 1/2!

But who's counting.

Except me.


Yeah. I totally am.

P.S. I love that Tool Man. At least the one with the goatee.

So anyway, a typical day around here involves the care and feeding of two kids with hollow legs and one dog that isn't even mine; lamenting yet another trip to the grocery store - sometimes at 9:30 p.m.; fielding an array of telephone calls - mostly from those wishing to offer me goods and services, but with an occasional friendly voice (hello, my sweet kimmyk!); hurdling the basket of folded clothes that has been in the living room for (cough) a week and is currently flanked by it's evil twin, Basket of Unfolded Undies and Socks, Bwahahahaha!; making childcare arrangements for those evenings when, after a full day of working and entertaining at home, I must then go work at the bookstore; serving as cruise director, doctor, stand up comedian, etc., etc.

Yes, I like it, people, but for the love of goatees, I am frickin' tired! I have nothing but gigantic kudos blazing in lights and multi-colored glitter for people who pull off the single parenting thing full time.

So Thursday night, after a full day of tasks and treasures around the house, a shift in the children's department at the store (sidebar - I will willingly take a punch in the face from anyone if it meant I'd not have to work in the kid's department anymore, btw. I love kids. I love my kids, and I'd probably love your kids. But strangers' kids? They're not as cute), and fetching my kids from my Mom's (which is an experience that requires steeling myself for some interesting self esteem jabs lately, which wtf, Mom?), we return home around 10 p.m., uncage the loaner dog and access the damage of that which I still must get done before thinking about going to bed. All while the kids are exploding through the house and that annoying Zac and Cody show blares in the background and the dog attempts to hump my leg.

Which, yeah, thanks for that, Dog, because it's been awhile AND my self esteem wasn't already a bit dinged after that second trip to my Mom's.

At 10:30 p.m., the phone rings. I rinse the Comet from my hands, knock the Windex and paper towels off the counter, send a million papers (Yes. A million!) scattering across the room, and reach the phone before it can kick to voice mail. Breathless because I know my Tool Man is on the other end AND because I am frickin' tired and cleaning (cleaning!) at 10:30 p.m., on a Thursday night while chaos is erupting around me, I say hello.

"Hey," Tool Man responds, all cool like he's some thug from a 1950s movie. "What are you doing?"

What am I doing? Well, my friends, I ran through the list of all the things I was still doing last night, after the full day of tasks I'd already completed, which was just a small chunk considering all that had been going on here during the previous four days. And you should know that I worked very hard at not making it sound all bitchy and whiny because I know quite well that he, too, works super hard and brings in the bulk of our lavish 4-figure income each month, which is something I thank him for at almost every turn.

So I save my whining for you, my Friends o' The Internets!. You're welcome!

Back to the call. I've finally taken a breath, let the kids talk to their dad (at which time I scrubbed one toilet and a sink!), then got back on the phone, hoping to hear some loving talk from the one with the goatee.

"Well, it's been a tough day, baby," he says.

Thinking he was referring to MY day, I respond with, "I know! It really has been. I'm pretty tired, but there's a few more things I need to do to get done so I can then run a bunch of errands tomorrow, blah, blah, blah..."


Coming out of the haze imposed by the various cleaning agents I've had at my employ, I realize Tool Man wasn't, in fact, referring to MY day. This becomes really clear when he tells me that he's been working hard all week (at his ONE job!) too, yet getting his tasks done early enough to then go out and enjoy a nice dinner and return to the hotel to watch some high brow cable programming.

"Oh, and then I usually soak for an hour or more in the giant whirlpool that's in my suite," he added.



Soak for an hour or more!

It was then my turn for silence. "Are you done talking?" Tool Man asks.

"Yeah, listen, I think so. I'm pretty tired. Been doing lots of stuff. Lots more to do. Kids. Dog. Paperwork. Still need to eat dinner. It's' after 10:30 p.m., blah, blah, blah again..." I say. My teeth, you ask? Perhaps gritted. But in a grin, so I sound all nice and professional.

"OK, well, I guess I'll say goodnight. I'm gonna go soak again, then sleep like a log..."

I trust he did. Me? I went and soaked my hands in the upstairs bathroom. In the toilet. While I was cleaning them.

(I include this musical tribute from the great Bryan Adams because everything I do, I absolutely do for my Tool Man. Or other awesome goateed people. There's no love like our love...)