...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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

pleased to meet you. hope you eat my eggs.

The list of things I have never done is rather diverse. I have never:
  • jumped out of an airplane
  • run with the bulls
  • swam in shark-infested waters
  • snorted cocaine off the rippled belly of a supermodel
  • sung in public
  • used the phrase "True dat!" in conversation (although I think I recently used it in a comment I left on someone elses blog, and if that's the case and that person found it either ironic and/or humorous, then I might consider incorporating it into actual conversation)
  • dined with royalty
  • broken a man's heart
  • pulled off a heist

Pretty diverse, eh? I know. I look at that list and think how amazing my life really is, even though I've never done any of those things. I do actually think I have broken a man's heart before, but the dude in question refuses to admit it, thinking it's cool to have this big strong man demeanor, but whatever. I believe he misses me, and really, sometimes what I make up in my head is all that matters.

Also on the list of things I've never done?

Deviled an egg!

But guess what! This morning, I have to do just that, and not just one egg. No. I have to devil 24 eggs for the Thanksgiving meal my family foisted itself upon. Have you ever Googled the recipe for deviled eggs? There are more than 2 million entries! My Tool Man (his heart - completely intact) looks up from one of the 2 million Facebook games he plays and says, "How hard can it be. Some mustard. Some mayo. There you go." Well, well, well. Check out the Iron Chef over there. However, have you ever tasted his recipe for Jell-O? I suggest you rub your distended belly and say you're full as you back away from the buffet line. Easiest thing to prepare in the world, and I've watched him get confused pondering the one cup hot, one cup cold guidelines.

So I'm on the hunt for a classic deviled egg recipe. I refuse to ask my Mom for her recipe, because she will make fun of me. I can hear her now. "You're 41 years old and you've never made deviled eggs? Who raised you? Wolves? Hell, I bet you can't even make Jell-O, can you?" To which I would respond, meekly, "I make Jell-O better than you, woman!" before running to my bedroom, slamming the door, and turning the volume on my stereo super loud so my Journey Escape album would drown out the sound of my tears.

Here's what I've learned while browsing a handful of the millions of recipes. Deviled eggs should not have meat, barbecue seasoning, pickles, or cheese in them. To all of you who think these would be a treat, I ask why? The thought alone makes me shudder. I simply want mustard, mayo, and maybe (if I remember to stop at the grocery store on my way home from work tonight) a sprinkling of paprika.

Actually, what I wouldn't mind is just having my Mom make them because her recipe is pretty damn good, but I refuse to admit defeat. Only so many tears you can cry, right Steve Perry? Sigh....



Before I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving with your friends and family, I want to say here (because there are just so many wonderful comments below) that I thank each of you who responded to my previous post. This week was another rough one for my son, even though it appears we have the bullying situation curbed (fingers crossed), but if not, I may be looking up those of you who were willing to go to bat for him! The length of time he put up with this and all the time he has spent worrying about it still causes him to stress out every morning. Yesterday was actually the first morning we've gotten through without any tears, which is a relief. We've fallen into a routine where I write him a short note that lets him know I love him and encourages him to think of something fun we can do together after school. He tucks that note into his pocket, and his teacher, who is wonderful, lets him read it at any point in the day where he may feel stressed, and that seems to calm him down. My son, who actually 6 years old and not 7 but sometimes comes across like he's 24, is not typically an anxious or stressed out child, so I'm hopeful this will all go away soon, and also that this three day holiday break the kids are currently on doesn't mean a set-back by the time Monday rolls around again.

Anyway, you all are some truly kind people, and I appreciate your words. I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


In closing, all I really want to say is I kind of wish that I was Pink. The actual Pink. Not the Aerosmith song. I bet that chick can devil a damn good egg.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

that whole mama bear instinct? yeah. totally true.

I distinctly remember the first time I was bullied as a child. I was seven and in first grade. School had dismissed for the day, and I had three blocks to walk from the elementary building to my house. I was at the crosswalk, the dividing line between "school rules" and "let freedom ring," trailing behind a small pack of third and fourth grade boys who were laughing about whatever it was boys laughed about after school, when one of them turned his attention toward me. The next thing I heard was the boy's Evil Knievel lunch box slicing the air just before it crashed into the right side of my face. Still today I have a small dent on my forehead, just at the hairline, where the corner of the lunchbox broke the skin.

I remember crying, in pain and shock, while the boys laughed uproariously at the antics of their leader. I was forced to listen to them the entire, and suddenly incredibly long, walk home because the boy who had hit me? He was my neighbor, and while we'd never shared so much as two words, we shared the space of one yard separating our houses. When I reached mine, I didn't tell my mother what had happened, too afraid of the paybacks that might be doled out the next day if the neighbor boy got in trouble with his own mother. Of course, staying quiet meant the bullying continued. I never provoked whatever was paid to me, and I never fought back. Instead, I wondered what I'd done to attract such attention. I also seethed and worried..

Flash forward several years, and I'm now the mother of a seven year old boy who is in first grade. Two weeks ago, I learned he's been the victim of bullying for nearly two months, and that same seething and worrying I did when I was a child is back, only it seems massive and even more intense because now it's my child.

You don't know my youngest son, but I imagine he's just like any of your children. If that's the case, you already know how awesome, lovable, caring, and sweet he is. He is charming. The comedic foil, and full of love. He wants to be your friend, and if making funny faces with you, reading you stories, telling you jokes, and pondering the world's mysteries while riding in the backseat of the car is how that gets you, believe me, you've got a great friend. I imagine the parents of the boy who has been bullying my son for the past couple of months think he's everything I think my son is, too, but I'll admit that good thoughts about the child weren't the first to fill my mind when my son finally, through body-quaking tears, told me what this child had been doing to him.

That Monday, all I could think of was how I wanted to climb aboard the school bus, get in the face of this other boy and unleash upon him. To bully the bully. For two months, my son hid the fact he was being repeatedly hit by this older child. Hid it from his bus driver, his teacher, and his parents. He's stressed himself out and wondered what it was he's been doing wrong, and, though we hadn't clearly realized until now, his personality has changed, so much so that it provoked his teacher to call me one afternoon to ask if there's been changes going on at home. Last month, he twice came home from school immediately after arrival, claiming to be sick. I brought him home and then gently lectured him on how he couldn't possibly be sick when he'd been healthy an hour prior. The first time it happened, I took it with a grain of salt. The second time in two weeks, I told him this silliness had to stop. I again spoke with his teacher, and learned he'd sometimes come up to her desk and start to cry, but even then, he'd not share with anyone what was going on, and honestly, neither one of us even once considered bullying as a cause.

Then came the Monday two weeks ago when he finally shared with me what had been happening, and all the times I had to encourage him to catch up with me as we walked to the bus, all the mornings my once chatty son refused to engage me in conversation, made sense. Minutes before we had to walk out the door, I found my son hiding in the bathroom, crying. Without question, I felt horrible that I'd not even considered this as an issue. I've gone through six years of school with my oldest son and we've never had to address bullying. It just wasn't a blip on our radar in this situation.
By the time I got his tears stopped, mine started. I was so livid and so sad, I had to ask my husband to call the bus company and let them know what was happening and find out how it was going to be dealt with. I called my son's teacher, and she immediately made the other boy's teacher aware. Changes have taken place, but there's been a few bumps in the road as we've tried to fix this problem. Following a very brief reprieve, the boy again targeted my son, who this time spoke up immediately, and I've since learned that the building principal and guidance counselor have each spoken to the other child.

Every day, I assure him nothing will happen to him, but I know I can't guarantee it, and that sucks. This remains difficult on him. Every morning for the last two weeks, he's been crying. Every night before bed, he curls up next to me, then sleeps fitfully through the night once he's in bed. In the morning, he again crawls up into my lap and wraps his arms around my neck again, and I whisper in his ear that it'll be OK.

And I know it will be, but right now? Right now, I'm still seething and I'm still worried.


Friday, November 21, 2008

i'm fussy, i like my vampires sucky*

*or 'Just one of the reasons I hate 'Twilight' because, good Lord, I hate that book, but I'll spare you my actual list of reasons why because, rest assured, it would be massive.*

I was 20 when I met the boy known as The Vampire. I suppose he was 20, too, though, believing himself a vampire, he may have been 2,000 years old. And perhaps saying we met is a bit extreme, for we never actually met in person. Our paths crossed on a computer message board maintained by our tiny northwestern Missouri college. It was a Friday night, and where else would a 20 year old good girl who never drank illegally and treasured her virginity like a precious jewel kept under glass and a boy who believed himself Lord Of The Undead find themselves on the cusp of a weekend?

The Vampire. His username intrigued my roommate and me. Entering the board as Maurice (me - channeling Steve Miller's The Joker, my lack of creativity in full bloom) and New Cynsation (my roommate - earning a high five from me as I feebly attempted to contain my jealousy that her chosen pseudonym was a perfect play on words on INXS' hit, New Sensation), we sent the first missive inviting The Vampire into our world.

"Hello, Vampire! Does your Friday suck as much as ours?"

Oh, we were hilarious, New Cynsation and I, and we congratulated ourselves heartily on our clever wordplay, so sure we were our parents would be pleased to know how well spent their money was in our pursuit of journalism degrees.

Then the computer chimed, signalling a response.

"'Tis but another night I await to do my bidding. I am a vampire, weary from hours toiling among silly mortals. I crave the dark relief evening brings," The Vampire replied.

We spent hours that evening chatting with The Vampire. Questioning his habits. Apologizing for keeping him from his darkened hunt. Asking if blood tasted as tin-like as we imagined it must. "'Tis the nectar my blackened soul craves," he responded. If The Vampire was the hook and his words were the line, consider old Maurice and New Cynsation sunk. By the time the campus servers shut down for the night, we were convinced our dark lord was a magnificent creature on the other side of the quad. Was it possible he was just a loser like us, busting a gut with his floormates because he'd roped two lame girls into his web? Absolutely not!

We were thrilled when The Vampire asked that we continue our correspondence. The thrill grew when he deemed the electronic means we'd just used "too bourgeois," and suggested we "put quill to parchment" instead and share our words through campus mail. His first letter, filled with words like "doth," and "thou," was fantastic, poetic, and magical. He signed each one with love, and his signature was, plain and simply, The Vampire. Only it wasn't so plain and simple. No. Instead, the points of the 'm' were fashioned into pointy fangs from which drops of black ink blood pooled at the bottom of the notebook paper. From time to time, he'd extend the flourish on his 'e' and doodle a bat hanging from the end of it.

New Cynsation and I often tried to spy The Vampire, casing out his dorm, hoping we'd see him depart his room. I know what you're thinking, and yes, we tried smoking him out at night and in the daytime. We never once saw him that year. Ever. But we kept the allure alive with the letters and dedicating songs to him over our campus radio station. The obvious choice was always Concrete Blonde's Bloodletting (The Vampire Song). Embarrassing? Probably, but I had a friend who was a DJ, and when we asked him to say the song was dedicated from The Maidens, The Vampires chosen means of addressing us in his letters, he'd sigh and play along.

A couple years after we graduated, New Cynsation received a letter from The Vampire. It had been awhile since either of us had heard from the blood sucker. The letter was signed as they all had been, still no real name, but this time there was something new included in the envelope. A picture! Would our fantasy prince be dashing and dark? Towering and gorgeous?


Very much no.

Sure, The Vampire was pale. So very pale. Not because he was ethereal, avoided the sun in order to rise another day, nor because he needed the blood of a hapless stranger to fuel the fury in his soul. No. He was pale because his job as an accountant working at a desk housed within a cubicle left him pasty. And the red smudges on his chin? Were they the faded hemorrhagic remains of a victim or were they just acne scars. Let's take a closer look. Yep. Yep. That's an affirmative on the acne scars, New Cynsation.

Oh, but the best part was found on the back of the photo (which also included The Vampire's wife and adolescent stepson!). On the back of the photo was The Vampire's name. It was Mike.

Mike the Vampire. Which, wow, kind of sucked. No pun intended.

*OK, listen. I have a fondness for vampires that goes way back, so never doubt my love of those damn suckers, but I'll tell you one reason I hate 'Twilight' (which, yep, I know is just a story, a piece of fantasy, and if we were role playing and you were playing the part of a bookstore customer and I was playing the part of a bookseller, I'd preface this explanation with the words, "...but that's just my opinion, so..."). Vampires? They should be vicious! Deer sucking for sustenance? Really? Really? Oh, and look! You can go outside during the day! Isn't that special. Shred someone's face off, turn to a sloppy soup inside a coffin before the sun rises on the horizon, then come talk to me. Or try to bite my neck. Either way. Y'all can have your Edward Cullen. My heart's been staked by Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patric in The Lost Boys. Now there's some hot undead.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

it's curtains for you, cable company. lacy, gently wafting curtains

I'm writing this post under the gun this morning because, if things go as promised, a representative from a Big Name Satellite Company will be at my house between the hours of 8 a.m. and 12 p.m., today to outfit my house as a multimedia hot zone. Goodbye, lame cable company that has never met my needs, hello bigger, stronger, faster Internet service (who knew porn could be less choppy?)(I kid, oh, how I kid!), crystal clear land line telephone service with features I never use aside from caller ID (which I believe to be the greatest invention just after the DVR), and come to mama satellite, glorious satellite.

To be honest, I have no idea if what I'm getting will be better than what I have, because really, is anything ever? All I know is the same core channels I need to survive or bust along on a Weekend Twitter Movie Date (not trademarked, but totally should be) with Backpacking Dad remain intact (dude, The Princess Bride is on at 11 a.m. Central Saturday on WE...)(DAMMIT! Why don't I get Encore!? RoboCop is on at 11:40 p.m.!)

Anyway, we're pretty excited around these parts, and of course, I say that knowing it now lets those few of you who haven't yet figured how stunningly lame I am in on the little secret. You should see how giddy I get watching paint dry, water freeze, and Jell-O gel. "Breath, sweetie!" you'd probably say, whipping a paper bag out of your back pocket in the event I started to hyperventilate. I should totally start watching NASCAR, what with the hours and hours of left turns to lull me into bliss. After you'd gotten me calmed down, you might nudge the person next to you and ask, "Is this really the post she's giving us today? Something about how she's going to have to figure out where all her favorite channels are now? Really?"

Um...yeah. Really. Except wait for it! There's some pay-off coming!

Actually, I plan to confess something to you first. I've spent the past two nights glued to my couch in a feeble attempt to burn off the hours of television programming I have stored on our DVR right now. Remember when I mentioned porn up there a bit ago? Well, my porn is Dirty Jobs, and I've got about 12 hours of Mike Rowe getting nasty and regaling me with double entendre that he whispers in my ear, and believe me, that's the move that really works on me. Last night, thanks to Mike, I dreamt about castrating sheep, which OMG! Reason 2,304 1/2 why I'm glad I live in the suburbs!

I also dreamt about Mike allowing me to give him a sponge bath and remark about his pectorals. I actually have this dream three or four times a week, only sometimes when I glance up from my dream man's hairy torso, I'm staring at FTN, and we just nod in a way that says, "Let's just keep this our little secret, k?"

As you might imagine, watching hours of television doesn't really free you to go out and experience life in a way that allows you to gather post inspiration. Sure, I could tell you about the old man who followed me around the bookstore Monday saying the word "bunny" over and over, but instead, I chose to watch My Fake Baby, which I recorded off of BBC America a few weeks ago (also? OMG!), and when I've not been watching TV, I've been prepping my house for my special guest start.

(here's where you can pay attention because I'm about to unleash the pay-off of this post!)

Why do I have to prep my house for the satellite and Internet installation tech? Well, if you've not been around these parts since the dawn of time, perhaps you don't know that I have a little problem when it comes to repairmen visits, and, even though the word "panties" makes me cringe when I say it, I apparently like to type it. A lot. I've written a post (or two!) that weaves these two subjects together magically, and, in the interest of trying to crank out this week's episode of 90210 (welcome back again, Brenda) yet this morning, I've decided to share one of them with you. Even reruns of Dirty Jobs do it for me, so I hope these do it for you.

P.S.I realize my rambling before the pay-off makes this a huge post. I suggest you approach it like an epic miniseries, like The Thorn Birds, which I watched every damn time it was on TV ("And there's one thing you've forgotten about your precious roses, Ralph, they've got nasty, hooky thorns!" sigh...). If you've read these when they were originally posted, I dare you to comment again. Especially you, Numby, or I'll be forced to write something about your amazing pecs AND quads. For you, sir, I went through this post and started each sentence with an uppercase letter (how I miss you, lowercase writing days...)


he shouldn't see london, he shouldn't see france
In the event a repairman is scheduled to come to your home (sometime between 1 and 4 p.m. never before, more often than not later), let me dispense a bit of advice to you to make the man's task at your home more productive.

Always pick up your panties from your bedroom floor.

Be aware that a repairman may or may not wish to go into your bedroom to check the screens in your window. you won't be expecting it, of course. The windows in question are in the living room. His request to go into your bedroom will be met silently at first, for about a second, as you wonder why, and while you're thinking what the right answer is, you'll be conducting a mental inventory of your bedroom.

And it will hit you. The panties. Tossed on the floor like a pink and purple polka dot amoeba.
Maybe they're not alone. Maybe there are other pairs with them. The pink ones. The pale orange ones. The kicky buttery yellow pair. A couple of black pairs from when you felt "angsty." You're not lazy. You're just trying to prove a point, and that point is yours aren't the only arms that can carry clothes down to the laundry room. But, as the pile has grown, apparently so has your failed experiment, so let me remind you - your bedroom floor is not a laundry hamper. It is not a place where five pairs of panties should just get carelessly tossed aside until someone (but likely you) feels like picking them up and hauling them to the washing machine.

If possible, always try to get upstairs before the repairman. Trip him on the stairs, yank at his back pocket. Compliment his "Texas...where everything is bigger" sweatshirt and how it carries the musky scent of sweaty man and Marlboro Lights like a delightful testosterone bouquet. Whatever you must do, do it. You lead the calvary. There are no exceptions to this.

Do not chuckle if he makes a little joke about the state of your bedroom and said laundry. it likely won't be a funny joke, and honestly there's little need to encourage him away from the task at hand.

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly; "'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy. The way into my parlor is up a winding stair, and I have many curious things to show when you are there," is not a clever retort to his funny remarks. It will only make him glance your way with a look that silently affirms your despair at his unexpected boudoir visit. Glance at the bureau mirror and smirk at yourself for thinking to use "boudoir," maybe give yourself a little thumbs up move, but do not congratulate yourself on using a poem as your comeback. Let me repeat that. Do not quote old poetry.

Be grateful the dolphin had swam away earlier that day. When he's not looking, pat yourself on the back for at least having the smarts to put away the grown up toys. Then work diligently at trying to get the panties kicked under a pile of less obvious work clothes and sensible black slacks (slacks? do people even use that word anymore?!). Curse the fact that you're wearing Eastland slip-ons and the clunky soles make this task a virtual impossibility. While he leans out the window to yell at his buddy waiting outside, do not stop to think "Is he winking at him? Is that the universal sign for 'panties on the floor! yahoo!'" No. While he's distracted, reach down, silently and swiftly, and lift less obvious pieces of clothing up, grab what you can that you wish to hide and jam, jam, jam them out of sight. Smile nonchalantly, while halfway in an upright position and with a pair of flowery panties in your right hand, when the repairman turns around to tell you the bedroom windows are just fine. You knew they were, of course, but by now, you're close to forgetting why you have this man in your home in the first place. Until he asks to return to your living room. where he (and no panties - at least for a very long time. Sigh. Make a mental note to check on weekend childcare possibilities) were meant to be.

I share this advice with you as a girl in the know. Heed my warnings now lest you fall victim to the cable repair man later...


The satellite company just called! Woo hoo! If you're interested in the spin-off post I wrote a week after the above, please visit me here. Same panties. Different repairman!


Monday, November 17, 2008

'you know, i'm getting input here that i'm reading as relatively hostile'

Wow! I planned to respond to each of you who very kindly extended birthday greetings to me in the post below, but apparently, the Internet is filled with very nice people (and one really lame dude, but blech...I mean bygones...), which probably explains why I sometimes have a hard time keeping a connection in the morning. As a result, please accept this as my thanks to all of you who commented, sent emails, or tweeted your good wishes to me. Each one was truly appreciated.

You're probably wondering how my birthday was. If I could sum it up in one word, that word would be "meh," which is the theme my family chose to recognize this one day of the year. The following is a list - in no particular order - of those who wished me a happy birthday before anyone in my family did, including my two children who, if I recall correctly, I gave life to on what I believe could be called a 'birth day':
  • My insurance agent
  • Dairy Queen
  • Macaroni Grill
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • my state's lottery office
  • a former boyfriend
  • a college friend
  • all of you
  • my dentist

What's funny - to me, at least - is I don't eat out that much, nor do I play the state lottery, so their well wishes were quite special to me. So was the birthday greeting from my dentist, which arrived via text message. With a smiley face emoticon. Awesome!

By noon Saturday, I expected to arrive home to find Jake Ryan perched atop my kitchen table, leaning over a flaming birthday cake, and encouraging me to make a wish. By 7 p.m., it was clear there wasn't going to be a birthday cake. Instead, my Tool Man made a hasty retreat (a strategic move for someone seeking safe harbour)(hold up! harbour? did I just totally turn Canadian there for a second? awesome!) and returned 45 minutes later with a tray of store-bought brownies. FYI? They didn't taste that great. In fact, they tasted a little bitter.

And I realize I, too, perhaps taste a little bitter after this experience. It's because of that I hesitate telling you that I spent a huge chunk of the weekend not talking to Tool Man. "Are you a baby or are you 41?" you might be muttering. Sadly, I can totally act like a baby sometimes. Sometimes. Not often. Because I know it's lame.

Besides, Tool Man had the nerve to trick me into talking him when I got home last night from a coffee date with a friend by asking me if I had a good time, and dammit! I totally answered him!

And then I may or may not have had one of those awful leftover store-bought brownies.


It's at this point in the week where I normally would have a totally new post, but I'm trying out this new thing where I go to bed before the next day kicks in and try to read these new-fangled things I hear they're calling "books." For the most part, this plan would be totally awesome were it not for the fact my body is saying it, too, wants to try something out and thus wakes up at 4 a.m. - always 4 a.m. - every morning. Then, for the next couple hours, my body and my mind lay together in bed in an unholy union and then my mind wanders all over the place and my body is all, "Oh, yeah? Well, check this out! My head is killing me and wow! You should have told her to take me to the doctor immediately after we fell down the stairs a few months ago, because seriously? I fear she's going to take a hatchet to her right leg soon if we don't get this crippling problem fixed."

And then maybe one of the kids gets up to puke, or Tool Man saws down a couple big trees and tosses the limbs on the fire that is his personal body furnace, and really all I end up with in my goal of going to bed earlier to wake up a nicer, well-rested, more refreshed version of me is exactly that. But bitchier.


So...well...if my Mom read my blog ("What's a blog? Something where you tell intimate details of your life to strangers? On the Internet? Why would you do that? I didn't raise you to talk about your sex life on the computer!"), it would be at this point where she'd say, "Well. Aren't you little Miss Princess Sunshine today!" and then I would scowl at her and she'd ask me why I was so grumpy, and I'd be, "Duh! Didn't you just read my blog?!", and then I'd storm off, down a couple aspirins, take a shower and get ready for yet another exciting day making book recommendations to people who have no idea what they like to read (which is another reason why I'm trying to dig through more books). Because this has been nothing but a bitchy post, I apologize. I'll do better next time. Truly, all of you out there in the Internet (except that one lame dude) are totally amazing, and once again, I thank you. I'll catch up with you soon. Perhaps around 4 a.m.


Friday, November 14, 2008

'you know i like my girls a little bit older...'

Tomorrow I celebrate my birthday. My Mom will call to sing "Happy Birthday" to me in a voice that will cause me to place my hand over the receiver and whisper to Tool Man, "I think Mom's drunk!" Tool Man will shake his head and whisper back, "Your Mom doesn't drink before 9 a.m., remember?" "Don't be so sure of that," I'll think before responding, "Oh, that's right. Huh. Well, maybe I should!" Then Tool Man will shake his head at me in that exasperated way he has that pretty much says, "You're a nut," but rather than just say that out loud to me, Tool Man sticks to that whole "man of few words" routine he adopted after we got married.

Then he'll hand me a card he printed off the computer approximately 45 minutes before I woke up that he'll have signed "Love, Your Husband, INSERT MY HUSBAND'S NAME HERE," tell me to have a good day, and then take off for points two hours west because he has to work, then I'll gather up the boys and we'll venture to the Big City for a basketball clinic at 11 a.m., return home, then gather back up for a return trip to the Big City for a basketball game at 3:30 p.m.

That's the makings of a pretty damn fine birthday right there. Yep. I believe this is what happens when you get what's commonly referred to as "Older."

Except I hope like heaven there's a cake somewhere in this equation because it goes without saying I love me some cake. Cake buried under glacial mountains of frosting. I love frosting so much that I've mentioned my fondness for it in excess of ten times on this blog (and points beyond at various other blogs), all of which I'd link for you, but let's be honest. How many of you click any links when you stumble upon them in a blog post?

(ahem - I DO!)

Suffice to say, I love frosting. My appreciation to those of you who've put up with me when our conversations have veered in the direction of that topic. You know who you are (And you're probably wishing that, based upon some of the things we've talked about, we'd actually talked about my fondant fondness far more frequently).

Anyway, the point of this post isn't to go on and on about how special my birthday is to me.

(ahem - IT IS!)

No. The point of this post is to tell you why my birthday is so special to Tool Man.

November 15th marks the point in our marriage when I'm exactly eight months and four days older than Tool Man. If you know anything about me at all after spending any amount of time here, you can probably guess what that means:

Yep! It means that until July 19, 2009, I GET TO TOTALLY GO COUGAR ON MY TOOL MAN!

OK, so he's no Joe Jonas or Zac Ephron (But who is? Other than the actual Joe Jonas and Zac Ephron, duh!)(Also, you totally didn't click over to those links to previous posts, did you? I KNEW IT!), but Tool Man is totally cute, even if the only article of clothing he's worn in the last 15 years that qualifies as "skinny" is a black knit tie he wore at his job selling computers at the now-defunct OfficeMax, and even then he shouldn't have been wearing it because it was 1994, and he bought that tie in 1986 (approximately the last time such ties were fashionable) for his high school graduation, and if he'd known me then and asked for my opinion, I'd have shaken my head and been all, "No. Oh no, no, no, Huey Lewis, because that's who you look like with that tie on," but Tool Man starts with 'T' and 'T' rhymes with 'tight' and that's what Tool Man is with a dollar, thus why buy a new tie when one that's eight years old will suffice?

(sidebar - Tool Man shaved off his mustache shortly after we met because he asked my opinion of it and I shook my head and was all, "No. Oh no, no, no!" Think Kip from Napoleon Dynamite. That was Tool Man before the glory of love.)

(p.s. - Tool Man? If by some miracle of the Gods you actually read this post, I'm happy to be stuck with you)

Anyway, for a few blissful months, Tool Man's younger than me - even if it's not within what I assume is the standard cougar operating system of approximately 20 years younger - so he now must spend this time either (A) withstanding the advances of my advancing age, or (B) caving to my powers so I can paw at him as the wise woman I've become. As anticipated, when I informed Tool Man of this, he shook his head at me in that exasperated way he has that pretty much says, "You're a nut" (I know. I just repeated myself. Because I'm old now, and old people like to tell you the same stories over and over again!), but I told him that nuts were optional.

Now...frosting, on the other hand...


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

i make you laugh? i'm here to *&#%@* amuse you? what do you mean funny? funny how?

You know that feeling of pride and delight you have when your child toddles over to you, hands you a stack of books, then crawls up on your lap and asks you to read those books to him? The way you sigh a little as you smile at your child because you just don't know if you have it in you to read Goodnight Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or Dante's Inferno one more time, but you do? Because you love your child, and, deep down, you hope with every page you flip, with every moment you spend saying goodnight to everything in your house or using a super hyper voice to tell your child that if, on Saturday, he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake and one slice of watermelon, he, too, would have a stomachache just like one very ravenous caterpillar (But that, yes, Daddy can eat that way because he's a grown up, even though he probably shouldn't, and besides, Daddy doesn't even like cherry pie, which wth? Who doesn't like cherry pie?), what you're doing is sharing your own love of reading with your child?

Then one day, your little literary lover comes to you and says, "Mother, might we venture off to the library so that I might procure my own library card with which I might use to discover a vast and interesting world and go on amazing adventures, all through the magic of book?" and you think to yourself, "Wow, all those times we read Emily Post's Guide to Good Manners For Kids (a.k.a. No, David! ) have really paid off!" So you bundle up your progeny and you tarry off to the library (not to be confused with The Liberry, where said progeny's Daddy, the one who doesn't like cherry pie, but who does love sammiches, would drive around looking for before giving up and coming home sans library, or liberry, card), where you watch him as his eyes widen in delight at all the books that await him.

But then you realize, ha ha! Jokes on you!


Because your child beelines straight for the kid's humor section, and within a matter of minutes, he's leading a pack mule up to the check out counter and plopping down joke book after joke book, and suddenly you realize those nights when he'd tug at the back of your shirt and ask "Are You My Mother?" and you'd turn around and be all, "Well, of course I'm your mother? Have you seen us? Dude, we look exactly alike! I'm sorry for that time I tore through the house and was yelling how I wish I didn't know any of you. I thought we were good about that already. Who told you I wasn't your Mother? Did your Grandma tell you that?" and then you'd glance down and see both his scared eyes AND the book with said title in his tiny little hands and know those are over. Completely over.

Now reading time is better known by it's alternative title, Evening At The Improv.

Or maybe that's just at my house, where my youngest son has been hitting the stage every night at 7:15 (just after his bath, so you can trust he works clean, folks) and launches into a 45-minute routine that often has me glancing toward the kitchen, hoping to catch the attention of the waitress to refill my drink order because it's time for Mommy to start double-fisting the martinis. Except dammit, I'm the waitress, and I don't have a clue how to make a martini. Plus, if I got up to go try and figure out how to make one, little Dane Cook up on stage over there would heckle me, and I do not like to be made fun of. Especially by some wise cracking 6-year-old.

Which is why last night I was front row center for the latest show. The Funny One had been to the school library earlier that day and brought home a new joke book. Two hundred pages of silly riddles and knock-knock jokes! Awesome! He started his act with silly riddle number 1.

"What did one hammer say to the other hammer?" he asked, smirking at me, his audience, and building up anticipation. "I just broke a nail!"

Dammit if I didn't laugh, because that, ladies and gentlemen, is comedy gold. At least just a bit of it, and, well, my laughing at it meant that my son was going to continue to work on his bit.

"What can you do to help a sick bird? Get it tweeted!"

"What's Dracula's favorite dish? The quiche of death!" (this one was followed by a quick explanation of what quiche is).

"What do hairdressers do at the end of their lives? They curl up and dye!" (this, btw, is the boy's edgier material).

The jokes were so hilarious, it was as if time was flying. Except there weren't any old men tossing alarm clocks out the window to see if they sprouted wings, so not really.

(get it? heh, heh, heh...)

As he began to wind down his act, my son thanked me for being such a great audience, told me he'd be playing a two-night run at his grandparent's house next weekend, and rewarded me with a couple stellar knock-knock jokes which I jotted down on my cocktail napkin in order to share with you.

"Knock knock! Who's there? Hutch! Hutch who? Sounds like you're coming down with a nasty cold!"

"Knock knock! Who's there? Lego! Lego me and I'll tell you who!"

"Knock knock! Who's there? Kerry! Kerry who? Kerry me upstairs, would ya? I'm pooped!"

And because he capped off his show with a poop joke, Sir Silly doubled over in tear-inducing laughter, so very delighted in himself as the stage lights dimmed. Using his last joke as a cue, I brought out my giant hook and pulled him off stage left.

If you're interested in catching his act, he puts on an early bird show around 4 p.m. daily, mostly just trying out new material ("Why was the clumsy cook fired? She spilled the beans!" didn't really go over too well). The longer show fires up no later than 7:30 p.m. I'll save you a seat. You'll know me because I'll be the one waving a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar in the air, asking the headliner if we can maybe just read that tonight instead.

"Knock knock! Who's there? Julius who? Julius just jealous because I know all the good jokes!"

Enjoy the show. Be sure to tip your non-existent waitress.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

'til now, i always got by on my own. except nope, not really.

When I got my first job out of college and moved to an apartment located a harrowing 26.4 miles away from my childhood home, my Mom and I devised a routine that let her know I was home safely. Each time I'd return to my apartment after leaving her house, I'd dial her number and let the phone ring three times - never fewer, never more - and then hang up. It was like the bat signal, minus the distressing undertones, dark lighting, and oddball villains wreaking havoc upon my suburban version of Gotham.

I realize it was perhaps silly that we had this routine, but it let my Mom know I was safe and, I'll admit, gave me comfort knowing someone was looking out for me, even if that someone was a harrowing 26.4 miles away.

"Wow, um, didn't you realize you were an adult now and perfectly capable of taking care of yourself?" you're probably muttering. Of course I realized that. However, I dare you to say that to the 22-year-old version of me who, while living alone for the first time in my life, once faced a tornado warning with no basement within which to retreat by standing in the stairwell of my apartment while sporting a bicycle helmet with one of my bed pillows strapped atop it to protect myself from structural collapse. I didn't know what else to do, and with no one around to suggest otherwise, I came up with a lame way to pacify myself. If I didn't live to edit the newspaper I worked for, at least I'd be a six-column photo on the front page with a cutline remarking on my ingenuity in the face of adversity.

Nearly 19 years later, I'm struck by how often this very ill-equipped version of myself rears its head to say "hey." If something requiring fixing happens in my life, I become a damsel in distress around my knight in a golf shirt emblazoned with the logo of a Major Tool Company. Don't believe how lame I can be? Let me remind you I've called my Tool Man home to unclog toilets in the middle of the day. I know! I promise you right now if he knew I've never changed a flat tire, he'd go outside, shank some rubber on the mini, and have me out there in the freezing cold jacking that thing up, laughing at me as I fumbled my way around the spare. Ultimately, he'd have to take over, and while working with tire changing tools (with names that suddenly escape me and I could ask Tool Man right now but he'd roll his eyes at me and I'm too tired to take that off of him right now), he'd lecture me about how a grown woman should be prepared to take care of herself.

How do I know he'd lecture me? Um, because he sort of did when I called him at 2:30 a.m., Wednesday to ask him what I should do because the carbon monoxide detector we have in our house was beeping like crazy. I had to call him, you see, because he was four hours away, and this problem he'd normally take care of were he at home had woken me up from an already fitful sleep more than an hour earlier. Before I'd chosen to call him, I'd wandered the house frantically, trying to determine if my next move was to keep my children either alive or asleep, while also trying to determine which of the six various smoke detectors and two carbon monoxide detectors had so rudely chosen to act up on me. This job, of course, required I go down into my basement. In the middle of the night. In the dark. Which is not awesome. Even if I had turned all the lights on in the house.

When I finally determined which was the offending device, I was afraid the house was filling with carbon monoxide (because the thing was beeping, but it wasn't beeping in the way it would were the battery low), and that great, just great, the boys and I wouldn't wake up in the morning.

So I started to cry.


I know.

Seriously. I was exhausted. I could once again see the newspaper headlines. I needed to be talked down from the ledge.

So I called Tool Man, who, as you might imagine when you are awakened by a phone call at 2:30 a.m., and answer to hear your wife sobbing on the other end, saying how sorry she was to be calling, was quite shaken. While attempting to calm me down, Tool Man talked me through things, determining through a series of calmly worded questions that there was nothing running in the house that would release carbon monoxide into the air, and suggesting I open a window if I still wasn't convinced things would be OK.

"But...this...damn...thing...won't...stop...beeping!" I cried. Literally. Because I was still crying.

"Honey," Tool Man whispered. "Turn it over and slide the battery cover off and yank the battery out. See? Simple!"

Ah, yes. It was simple. So simple I felt silly having woken up Tool Man to solve my dilemma. As I disconnected the device's 9-volt heart and tossed it across the bedroom, the carbon monoxide detector emitted a final beep and then fell silent. So did Tool Man and I from our distance of four hours. "Think you can get back to sleep and be OK now?" he finally asked. I said yes, but I was thinking no.

No, because I'm lame. Because I depend on my husband too much to take care of things I should be able to without him. Because I'm tired of him having to be gone so often. Because I'm tired.

So, I'm nearly 41 years old now and I really shouldn't be quite this lame. I don't know how to change a flat tire. I still sometimes call my Mom and let the telephone ring three times just so she knows things are OK, and I still plop on a bicycle helmet with a bed pillow strapped across the top in hopes that it will protect me. It's just that the helmet has morphed into Tool Man, and while I know he's happy to help me, inside he's got to be thinking, "Really? You can't just take the batteries out?"

But it was 2:30 in the morning and I - we - were tired.


Friday, November 07, 2008

regrets. I have a few.

In the event life ever hands me a 'do over,' the following is a small sampling of things I've regretted doing and would rectify if given the opportunity:
  • Stealing a completed homework assignment from my second grade classmate and passing it off as my own to my parents (In the column marked "I'm not a total jerk" it should be noted the assignment had already been graded - A+ - and I really just took it because I liked the way my classmate drew his relief map).
  • The life of crime this one act unleashed in me later in life when I'd clean out sections of Walgreens' Wet & Wild makeup aisle as a teenage shoplifter. The irony? Wel & Wild makeup made me break out.
  • My sophomore year of high school when I answered to the poorly chosen nickname Garbanzo Bean.
  • Ruining a perfectly good leather jacket with the salty tears of love lost that poured down my cheeks every time I heard Whitney Houston's version of I Will Always Love You after my college boyfriend broke up with me. Over the telephone.
  • Having a cassette of Whitney Houston's version of I Will Always Love You - and only Whitney Houston's version of I Will Always Love You - that I played virtually nonstop while driving (and crying) mindlessly after said college boyfriend broke up with me. Over the telephone.
  • Suggesting to my not-yet-a-Tool Man we enjoy some Chinese food on the night we planned to consummate our burgeoning relationship, a move that would come back (up) to haunt me a few hours later when he untangled himself from me to dash to the bathroom, where he remained the bulk of the evening, moaning "It's not you, it's the mu shu" between each brief reprieve.
  • Stringing along above mentioned former college boyfriend who came calling (over the telephone) to see if we might be able to repair our relationship and get back together a week after a healthier, permanently mu shu avoiding, not-yet-a-Tool Man had proposed to me. I did this so that I could break up with him. Over the telephone.
  • Holding onto grudges longer than I should. I still can't eat mu shu.
  • Going to a beauty school to have my hair colored and not speaking up when the color seemed far, far lighter than the shade I desired, thus setting the stage for the time known as "The Albino Era".
  • My inability to run like anything other than a girl.
  • The bags (BAGS!) of discounted Halloween candy I bought at Target this week. Get into ma belly, 60 cent bags of peanut M&Ms.
  • All the times I've dropped whatever it was I was doing or stayed up late to watch Titanic on TNT. Psst....let me save you some time. Jack always dies in the end, Rose ends up a wacky old lady, and even though you promise yourself you're not going to duet with Celine Dion when she busts out with My Heart Will Go On, you will. You always will.
  • My growing addiction to FiberOne toaster pastries. Dear Lord, deliciousness encased in a fantastic crust of regularity. What could be better?
  • The fact that my kids only know Heart's Barracuda and Cheap Trick's Surrender as tracks on Guitar Hero.
  • The appalling lack of linkage paid to Backpacking Dad here over the past couple of months.

Hardcore, eh? I know. No one expects a girl who answered to the name Garbanzo Bean to be such a romantic. Oh, you meant petty thief! Yeah, well, we all have regrets. Now I'm just old and have a desire to be regular. Seriously. Those chocolate toaster pastries are the tits. Or words that rhyme with tits.

Anything you want to get off your chest? You know what to do. Do not make me ruin yet another article of clothing with my burning tears of love!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

i believe paula abdul said it best...

Perhaps we don't share the same politics, but we share the same country, and, I imagine, many of the same goals for it - some of which are probably just written on different pages. Perhaps you weren't happy with the outcome of last night's election. Perhaps you were ecstatic. It still boils down to a truly historic end, one I felt was forged with class. I felt it as I sat in front of my television and computer for more than seven hours last night, watching history being made when the man I voted for walked out to address the nation. I watched it through a wave of tears. For me, today feels good. It feels different, and sometimes, when you're ready for it, different feels pretty damn good. You might not feel the same way I do (for real, I had goosebumps so long they started to hurt), but I hope one day we're all on the same page.

So, while I'll admit to being more a
"Straight Up" kind of girl, I'm humming a little "Promise Of A New Day" (...see the wisdom of mistakes from in our past, hear the younger generation ask why do I feel this way...) as I prepare to wake my two sons up on this day after the election, and they, too, are part of why I feel the way I do today.


Monday, November 03, 2008

I'm gonna put on 'the thong song' and we'll tear this place apart

See that title up there? I've had it languishing in my Blogger account for more than a year. I remember hearing it somewhere, 'shushing' anyone who wished to speak to me, as I repeated it over and over in my head while I searched wildly for a piece of paper and pen to jot it down in my serial killer penmanship and one day use it as the title of a blog post. Apparently, I must have wanted to write something about how wild and kooky my life is, and thought referencing thongs would be a great jumping off point.

A couple problems with that. First, I
don't wear thongs (I have shockingly used the word "panties" or "underwear" on this blog 24 times. Actually, that seems really low when you consider I have more than 300 posts up. Either way, you're welcome.)

The second problem is I don't have a wild and kooky life. Shocked? I know. It happens. Learning this is like finding out there's no Santa Claus. I just ask that you keep that information to yourselves because I have at least one kid who still believes those boxes of toys under the Christmas tree have been made by elves, and who cares if they've been made by Target elves, m'kay?

So, anyway, I thought I'd tell you about my weekend. Here goes: I cleaned, took my sons out for Happy Meals, and read a couple book. Oh, and are you sitting down? I made banana bread!

"Wow. You're really living the dream. The rock star life must be super tiring," you're probably saying, to which I'd respond, "Word. You have no idea. Plus, this time change thing is really screwing me up."

Yeah. That's exciting.

Lacking the fodder, I thought maybe I'd write a post about the Google search words that drive people to my blog. I always like those when I read them elsewhere. You all get some great keyword searches. You know what I get?
  • "My wife dresses me in panties"
  • "Can I borrow your panties?"
  • "I'd like to get inside your panties"

A lot of my other search strings are quite pornographic, using words I pretend I don't say, but when my Mom's not around, I use a lot. Some of them are scary pornographic. When you think fetishes and monkey porn, rest assured I'm the first thing to cross your mind! Also, a lot of people really mangle up some Duran Duran lyrics and then land on my blog. However, that's not my point. My point is do you see what happens when you mention panties in excess of 20 times (although I think credit for that second example really rests with my raging love for "Sixteen Candles" and not so much with underpants), and now I've tossed "thong" into the mix.

Anyway, long story short, I am devoid of blog fodder today. I've probably been devoid of fodder for quite awhile now and you're all just far too nice to tell me. The point of this pointless post, though, is I got to use the line I've had sitting around for more than a year AND I've added to my panty post count at the same time. Stellar.

I'm going to go eat some banana bread now. While not wearing a thong. Yeah, I really know how to tear this place up. Totally living the dream. Feel free to go all crazy in the comments.

P.S. Speaking of going wild, I'm thinking of going to go see Hanson when they play here later this week. If you say you don't like "Mmmbop" you're a damn dirty liar. Also, Taylor grew up super hot, and I have a lot of panties to toss.

P.P. S. My birthday is coming up in less than two weeks if you want to start planning accordingly. Woo hoo!