...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.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

everybody's got to grow up sometime. apparently.

When last we met, I was all cried out (I'll pause a moment to give you time to engage in the requisite singing of that song, safe in the knowledge that I, too, got my Lisa Lisa on)(here's some help if you need it), had tucked my collection of old love letters back into a large storage container in my basement, and was faced with a few decisions. Did I want to:
  • put on my Velma glasses and, through a series of treacherous internet searches, find out what my former paramour is up to these days
  • give up the ghost and watch season 2 of Dexter
  • say "Hmmmm?" and/or "Wha?" in regard to another old letter I found while going through the treasure chest of my past

If you answered "All of the above," you're right! With a few keystrokes, I learned my former love has never tried to scare pesky (his word, not mine!) folk away from old ghost towns, but he has amassed an assortment of mundane traffic tickets over the years. Also, season 2 of Dexter, although bogged down a bit by the annoying British girl, was quite good, if not a smidgen predictable.

And what of the mysterious letter, you ask. What about the letter?! It was from a large state university that didn't award me my original journalism degree, and based on the jaunty way in which the registrar employee prefaced the letter, I wrote them first to inquire about graduate degree programs. In family and consumer science.

Apparently, I thought I wanted to be a dietitian.

(sidebar - at various times, I've also thought I wanted to be a zombie hunter, but they apparently hire them in-house because I never see help wanted ads for that position, or a king crab fisherman on the vast Bering Sea, but as I write this, I'm sitting in front of an open window and a brisk 65-degree breeze is wafting in, making me want to wrap up in the loving arms of my slanket, so those long hours toiling in arctic temperatures perhaps aren't ideal for my soft, cubicle-conditioned exterior)

I don't remember inquiring about graduate school, but based on the postmark on the outside of the envelope, I can understand why I thought it might be a good idea to spin my world a little more off it's axis at the time. I was sinking in the aftermath of the previously mentioned break up, and my father was in a hospital attempting to recover from a stroke we'd soon learn he'd never fully be able to. Why not toss another dash of chaos and potential remorse into the pot and see how it tasted, hmm? Since I thought I wanted to be a dietitian, I must have thought it would taste fantastic.

That moment - at 25 - was perhaps the first time I gave serious thought to what I wanted to be when I grew up. I spent the majority of my college years clueless to life afterward. There were two years in the education program thinking I'd be a teacher. God bless those who do teach, because the fact it took me two years to learn I didn't want to be a teacher was a strong indicator of how effective I'd have been getting a lesson across in a classroom. By junior year, I thought graphic arts sounded fun, but in the olden days, you had to know how to actually draw, so my first attempt was a sloppy straight line - with a ruler - through that option on my list.

Don't we all grow up with ideas of what we want to be when we grow up? Whether it's something attainable or a grand dream, don't we all imagine such things? Or is that something I've picked up from television programs? Because I honestly can't remember ever having a thought, big or small, about what I wanted to be when I reached adulthood.

(zombie hunter not withstanding, of course)

When I received this particular letter, I'd been working as a newspaper reporter for two years. A degree in journalism seemed like the last feasible option on my list when I decided to pursue it, and when I was offered the reporting job after graduation, I told anyone who'd listen I'd only be there a year because I absolutely didn't ever want to work at a newspaper, thank you very much. Hear me now, I'd say, I (who) don't want to be a news reporter (what) when I grow up (when)!

A year later, I was named editor of said newspaper.

I held that position for five years. Add that to the two years I spent as a reporter, subtract the part where I kept saying I didn't want to be a news reporter, and, well, you can see I was a news reporter for seven years. If you needed help figuring that out, remember to be sure to thank a math teacher, not me! Apparently, I'd decided reporting WAS what I was going to do when I grew up, but it wasn't want I WANTED to do.

While working as a reporter, I once spent a day in a preschool classroom for a feature story. As I scribbled notes and snapped photos, I overheard a boy tell a friend he intended to be a turtle when he grew up. Not a fireman nor policeman nor doctor. He only wanted to be a turtle. As he mapped out his plans, I felt envious of this five year old and his resolute goal, impossible as it was. By now, that boy has likely gone on to decidedly non-reptilian ventures (of which I hope he wasn't too disappointed), and I have tried out a few others, too, but I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Finding this letter reminded me of that. From time to time, I've chalked this disconnected feeling up to the fact that, in all honesty, I don't feel like I'm a grown up. I mean, come on, I have an imaginary 14 year old boy living inside me, for god sake (hey Seth)! However, I'm 41, and I do grown up things and have grown up responsibilities, and I quite imagine it's about time I have a grown up plan. At the very least, it would be nice to have a plan that doesn't end in me floundering around clueless and/or afraid.

I love my primary job of being a stay-at-home mom, and I'm going to pretend I didn't call it a job even though many days it absolutely feels like work. I also, for the most part, love my part time bookseller job. However, my boys are fast approaching a time when they don't always need me around and I can't always work for minimum wage. It feels like I have to consider how to fill in the blanks created by not being part of the full time work force and how I can use that information to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life. Tonight we had take out food and ice cream for supper, so that dietitian's job may not be the first option that comes up. Tomorrow I'll return to my day shift at the bookstore while the boys are in school.

And if you know any turtles, would you maybe consider putting in a good word for me?

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Monday, August 24, 2009

do you remember when, yeah, we used to sing...

Among the things I love to do is throw things away. If our huge garbage and recycling containers aren't overflowing each collection day, I feel we've failed. The sound of the garbage truck making it's squeaky, lumbering turn onto my cul-de-sac each Thursday morning has occasionally prompted me, Pavlov's dog-style, to scurry around my kitchen one final time to find some errant bag of fuzzy baby carrots or a carton of questionable cottage cheese. Somewhere in a landfill out there is a $100 Home Depot gift card we got when we purchased our Dyson (pause for appropriate muck sucking reverence) two years ago my Tool Man insists I tossed out in a fit of filth purging fancy, but to that I say nay. I am committed to clean, but I am not crazy. Tool Man misplaced that card and can't admit it, but that's a discussion for another day.

Today's topic is tossing things. Over the weekend, I began the long-term job of tackling our basement, that half-space of our house serving double duty as a hovel for our children and a catch-all for paperwork and other life items we have no other place for or that Tool Man refuses to toss out (I'm not talking to you, mysteriously lost, very worthy gift card, but I'm definitely talking to you, Marvin the Martian items too numerous and unnecessary to count). Opening the basement door is like unleashing a challenge deep within me. Amid the chaos, I stand beholden at the top of the stairs and envision the final scene of Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark. You know the one. That infinite warehouse of mysterious and yet perfectly arranged crates lining the walls, forklifts silently whirring down aisles to tuck things like - in my dreams - toy dinosaurs and pirate ships back into their properly assigned places. Mmmm...give me a moment, won't you...

While I was toiling away in the depths Saturday, I collected a pile of newspaper clippings and photos my children have been featured in and some other assorted mementos of their childhoods to date that I keep in a large plastic container tucked away in the basement's lone storage closet. Also in that container are several packets of letters written to me over the years. Several years ago, in an even bigger cleaning flurry, I went through the container and tossed out stacks of letters I received from pen pals when I was in junior high because I assumed I'd obviously never have contact with them again (this was before I learned Facebook was the great uniter AND my brain allowed their last names to vanish)(so, hey, if your name is June and you're from Virginia, or you're a red-headed boy named Stephen from Scotland, hello!), and a few mundane notes from college friends I once felt compelled to keep but determined were clearly unnecessary.

Among wedding and birth announcements (some not necessarily in that order) and letters from my parents sent to me while I was away discovering everclear and determining what to do with my life are also a small handful of cards and notes Tool Man gave me while we were dating, and under those? Under those is a massive tome of rubber-banded memories from the man I dated through most of college and for three years after. The collection begins with his high school senior photo and the ticket stub for the first movie we saw together (Parenthood - nothing like a light-hearted comedy about family quirks and the love of children to not put any pressure on a guy you barely know but can envision having babies with one day) and ends shortly after the inclusion of two ticket stubs to U2's Zoo Station tour the last time they dared enter my state (which, it should be noted, were quite shockingly affordable, yet provoke the type of memories in me that make it difficult even to this day to listen to Achtung Baby with anyone else in the room or car with me) and is padded by letter after letter after countless letter. Our relationship dates back to the days before the internet, my friends. OK, that's not entirely true. There was the internet, but it was big and bulky and involved things like dot matrix printers, and this cowboy boyfriend and I were just two broke drifters who counted our pennies post-graduation so we could pay our rents and make long-distance phone calls to the other in between postal packages. Considering we were mailing each other letters every other day, you can fairly assume our telephone bills were massive. I don't think my savings account has recovered yet today from all the times I had to visit an ATM to steal money from myself to cover monthly expenses.

I've tried at least twice before to toss these letters. Perhaps more. I don't purposely ever wander downstairs to paw through this part of my past, but there are many tucked within that particular rubber-banded packet that I could almost recite by heart even though I've not seen this former love in nearly 17 years. There are many ink-smeared pages that include plans for the wedding we never had, the life together that was advertised as nothing short of amazing, and the children we one day hoped to raise. There are the letters sent to me after we broke up that include lines about figuring things out and hopes for my happiness. I can recite those, too, plus the letters I received filled with his heart break when he learned I was involved with Not Yet A Tool Man. Those envelopes are flimsy and thin and bent along the edges, and the quotes he wrote along the outer edges seem faded because I often carried them for weeks - sometimes months - in my bag or tucked away in the pages of a book, pulling them out often to re-read them.

The last letter I received from him was in 2003. In it, he told me he still had every letter I'd sent him, and in closing, told me he was marrying. That letter was one I only read once before I put it away among the others. Once, that is, until this past weekend, when I sat back against an old crib mattress and amid the chaos of Legos, old baby clothes, and this life, and snapped the rubber band off a part of my past. Here's a tip. If you have even the slightest hint of PMS, if you know you can't watch a 'Hallmark Presents' television movie because the commercials will slay you, if just the thought of puppies and kitties makes you weak and prone to say things like kitties rather than kittens, DO NOT read old love letters! Seriously. But if you do, come prepared. No half-assed box of tissue will likely do. Say what you will about time and space, but seriously, when you've given your heart to someone, I quite think that they retain ownership of that part of you even you don't end up sharing your days together.

So, by now you're perhaps wondering if, after reading these letters, after having the ugliest of ugly cries, if I finally tossed these old letteres away. Why, just think of the number of tissues that could be made from all that notebook paper! To the moon and back! The answer is no. As much as I love throwing things away, there's something about this bit of trash or treasure, depending on how one wants to look at it, that I can't seem to bring myself to cart up to the recycling bin. Maybe one day. Or perhaps 6,205 more. Silly, perhaps, but at my core, I'm a bit of a silly girl.

How about you? Any old love letters lurking around in your drawers? Or did you get rid of them? Ever regret it, or have you never given them a second thought after dumping used coffee grounds and perhaps the last of any fuzzy-skinned baby carrots atop them?


Thursday, August 20, 2009

a letter to my son on the occasion of his 12th birthday

My oldest son started seventh grade Wednesday. Pedaling down the street on his bike to all points middle school, he stopped at the corner, turned around, and waved to me as I stood at the end of our driveway, where I stood attempting to be nonchalant, per his request. I was delighted he remembered to wave because he and I have made the school day wave a ritual since the bike he rode came standard with training wheels. For years, most of these mornings involved so many waves I'd have to finally stop and signal him to carry on, that his apparent love for me, while appreciated, wouldn't be the best excuse for a tardy. Today was a one and done kind of morning.

We've come a long way since he was 5 and preschool drop-offs were a special recipe of his tears of perceived abandonment blended until smooth with a heaping scoop of my guilt, and that's fantastic because this boy of mine also turned 12 years old Wednesday, and if ever he cries now, he certainly doesn't want anyone to witness the myth of his cool demeanor tarnished by salt water saboteurs. However, a few of those no gooders may have rappelled down my cheeks while I was watching him take the corner en route to school.

Twelve years ago, I sat on a couch for hours with this boy's tiny tush cupped in the palm of my hand, reading him books and promising him the world, and by some freak of science or the audacity of time, he now occupies the bulk of that sitting space when he sprawls out on it. Helping me up from said couch last week, the top of his head grazed my chin, and he cheered "I'm almost as tall as you now!" "Unacceptable!" I countered.

Unavoidable, too, I suppose.

My son is fearless. He wants to barrel down roller coasters and jump out of airplanes, whereas I like to pace the nice, solid, low to the ground kitchen floor and fight the urge to say no when he asks if he can ride his bike uptown to get ice cream with friends. I want to say no, but I say yes because we've reached a point where I'm supposed to. "Spreading their wings" is what I think they call it. While talking to my Mom yesterday, I mentioned my son had ridden his bike to school. "YOU LET HIM RIDE HIS BIKE!?!" she yelled at me. "He'll be alright," I responded, not yelling. As she ticked off her concerns, my head was singing "Your concerns are my concerns, too," but I just kept repeating "He'll be alright. He'll be alright. He'll be alright." The irony of my thought wasn't lost on me considering last week, I nearly assigned him a PowerPoint outline of 20 reasons why I should allow him to cross a busy intersection to go to the bowling alley. He'll be alright. I can't always be the one making sure of that, but I have to trust that he'll ensure it.

Because 12 years ago, I sat on a couch and promised a little boy the world, and every day this boy - now all angular lines, sharp edges, and filled with delight at the thought of being almost as tall as his parents - has been inching his way out into it even more. "Sometimes people don't always think things through and end up making the wrong decisions, don't they, Mom?" he asked me out of the blue a few weeks ago. His question made me smile for this is a boy who regularly needs to be reminded that underwear and socks shouldn't live to see another day, but I decided to use that moment for one of those teachable moments grown ups get to have with kids, and when we were finished and he seemed satisfied with what we'd discussed, he turned back toward the car window to stare out at the world.

Happy birthday, amazing boy. My world changed when you came into it. You deserve every bit of that world you create.


Monday, August 17, 2009

...and school comes along just to end it

My boys start school on Wednesday. In fact, later today, we'll be taking both of them to their respective schools (after blindfolding them, spinning them around in a circle 30 times, then driving away like we're high-tailing it from a heist, all while cackling "Good luck finding yer way home now, sucka!") to meet their teachers, practice locker combinations, and deposit rainbow-hued pocket folders and pencils sharpened to glinty points as fine as those on a mythical unicorn's horn (or makeshift prison shivs)(middle school can be rough!), which is perfect, for that makes this all seem like a wonderful fairy tale, and I think for many parents, the end of summer and the return to school is just that. We've kissed our handsome prince in the form of our child's seventh grade advisory teacher and danced through the halls singing of how one day, we knew this time would come.

However, I must make a wee confession - I'm not exactly thrilled that the time I've spent with my boys this summer has reached this conclusion.

If you've been playing along here, you know that when school ended in early June, I declared this "The Summer Vacation Where I Don't Tell The Boys No!" (alternate, far shorter, 'Why didn't I think of that?!' title - "The Summer of Yes!"), and I'm proud to say that, despite some perilous thoughts that attempted to worm their way through my central cortex - most specifically the voice of wisdom that tried to warn me within the first week of this affirming experience that taking a trip down Slip-n-Slide Junction may not be wise - it's been an amazingly fantastic summer! To quote Ric Ocasek - music's poetic Jack Skellington - and his cohorts, the Cars, summer, summer, summer! It's like a merry-go-round!

In this rapid-fire Summer of Yes, the boys and I have enjoyed several picnics and exploratory haunts to parks far beyond the boundaries of those in our town. We've been bowling, rock wall climbing, and arcade going. I've said yes to more donuts for breakfast than I can ever imagine, which means I must definitely say yes again to my workouts. We've also visited the zoo - where I touched a vulture - the science center - where I held a snake (thus capping off my previously unknown desire to live each moment as though I was cast in an 80s heavy metal music video), and the library - where we checked out books my boys ultimately never touched (thus, my 80s heavy mental music video is for a song titled 'Brain Drain').

Because my boys don't like to play the type of games I like, such as "Hey! Let's Sleep In Late Today!" or "Wow! I'm So Tired! Let's Take A Nap! (the person who yawns the most or the widest wins!)(reigning champion right here, friends), I ended up playing a lot of board games with the boys. In case you need a Clue, Guess Who? loathes board games? This girl. Sorry! But I guess that's Life. Them's just the Apples to Apples, I guess. In an effort to shut game play down quickly, though, I often claimed a Monopoly on the day (it was part of my Stratego), so we could move on to something else. It was often worth the Risk, because more often than not, we moved onto baking or craft projects, and while those may sound worse than playing board games, I assure you, they weren't, because when have you ever enjoyed delicious, fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies or a firecracker hand-crafted from an empty Pringles can, some paint, kitty litter, and pipe cleaners after a few rounds of Boggle? I'd venture to guess never.

Despite my protests (which were so quiet as to almost be considered silent) there were a few points during The Summer of Yes! when I didn't have to be the cruise director of this ship. Tool Man took the boys for a long weekend of cave exploration, museum haunting, and frog touching (snakes and vultures, yes, apparently, but frogs? there's a line I just won't cross), leaving me home alone to enjoy the silence. Also, when my Mom morphed into someone I didn't recognize and actually offered to have the boys spend several days and nights at her house last month, I screamed yes so loudly I quite nearly terrified the lot of them. Sure, I love my kids, but those few days of respite meant not having the doorbell or the telephone ring constantly with the hopeful inquiries of my boys' friends on the other side, and they refreshed me for the waning days of summer I still had with them.

So, to sum up, I am quite honestly sad to see The Summer of Yes! drawing to a close, successful and exhausting as it may have been. Perhaps that sentiment is bolstered by the fact that, when I announced this goal 12 weeks ago, so many of you offered to pray - or drink - for me. Heck, I even offered to pray for myself because I wasn't sure I'd make it out of the first full week of summer vacation. Oddly, none of you offered to pray for my children, which, if you knew how wacky I can get from time to time, I'd have strongly advised! How delightful, though, that the only tears shed this summer were the result of my crazy hormones and not because of any inflicted blood shed. Will I attempt an annual go at The Summer of Yes!? Based on these preliminary results, coupled with how happy and helpful my boys were, I think so. Knowing how quickly this summer has already drawn to a close, it will feel like the opportunity will be here before I even expect it.

However, rest assured, on Wednesday, after the school bus has pulled away and the house is silent for several hours once again, there will be a moment when I pump my fist in the air and cry out "YES!!!" Because I've earned it. Yes, I have.



Thursday, August 13, 2009

if i'd just told him most of his toys came from there, it would have made sense a lot quicker

Oldest Son - "Mom, look at this. This color is called 'Vet nab.'"

Increasingly Aging Mother - "What??"

OS - "Look. It's called 'vet nab.'"

IAM (Sasha Fierce): "What??"

OS - "How would anyone know a vet nab is red, anyway?"

IAM (Iron Man) - "The better question might be 'What's a vet nab?'"

Youngest Son, stage left - "A vet nabs dogs! And cats, too, but I think they mostly nab dogs."

IAM (a believer) - "Heh...good one, youngest son!"

OS - "So this is a color for vets? Why do vets need their own color?"

IAM (what I am) - "I have no idea what you're talking about."

OS - "LOOK!"

IAM (the walrus) - "Vietnam. Honey, it says 'Vietnam.'"

OS - "What does 'Vietnam' mean?"

IA (making a note to call the optomotrist) - "..."

OS - "..."

IAM (amazed) - "It means that colored pencil was made in Vietnam."

OS - "..."

IAM (speechless) - "Really??"

OS - "..."

IAM (now stunned) - "Vietnam. It's a country, not a color."

OS - "Oh."

IAM (did I mention stunned?) - "Oh, it is so good that school starts next week..."


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

just take the damn picture already

Have you ever been somewhere when someone pulls out a camera to capture the memories of that particular moment in time and all you can think about the instant you see that time-freezing device in their hands is "Of course, because this zit on my chin is something I want you to look at in the future and remember fondly," or "Sure, but first let me find a bunch of strangers to stand behind because I made an unfortunate shirt choice today and also, I'm feeling a tiny bit fat and I think just having my enormous zit-encrusted face floating on the shoulders of others hides that fact, so hold on, won't you?"

Or your camera-wielding friend spends 20 minutes imploring you to "Smile! Just smile already!" and you think you are but their constant, never-ending, incessant urging to say cheese or "Smile right already!" have really started to annoy you, so as you're thinking of how awesome it might be if your head could split in two and a giant robotic arm could spring forth straight from your lower cortex and grab that soul-capturing device from their now trembling, terrified hands, you say through gritted teeth, "Just take the damn picture already!"


Well, my face aches from that kind of smiling lately, and actually, it's probably good that there is no photographic evidence of this fake smiling me being recorded because I kind of rather think that when the photos were developed, all you'd see is this black, knotted up, noxious vapor cloud. Kind of like what those so-called ghost hunters claim is actually the spirit of a troubled soul wandering the recesses of some poor unsuspecting new homeowners' basement. The kind that would have those so-called ghost hunters urging the poor unsuspecting new homeowner to get the hell out because, Mr. and Mrs Poor Unsuspecting New Homeowner, that think DOES NOT look nice and we cannot be held responsible for what that thing might do to you while you attempt to drift off to sleep tonight.

So I have some things I need to exorcise, I think.

But in the meantime, I offer up vague ramblings because my head aches from all the stuff in it, and my body is exhausted because said stuff likes to hold all-night cranium raves complete with glow sticks and while I've never actually been to a rave, I've seen them on TV, and surely TV doesn't lie to me, so I assume there's other poor choices being made up there.

And also? My face hurts from smiling when I don't want to, so I have to work on that, too.

Does this post sound pissy? Kind of thought so. Sorry. Makes no sense to me, either. However, don't be scared. My jaw has been so clenched lately that it would be impossible for me to bite you.


Actually, I'm just as tired of this version of me as I imagine everyone around me is, which is another reason why I cringe when the request to smile is made. I think I am, that I have been, but I clearly haven't been for awhile. Probably good there's no photographic evidence, too, because it feels like it's going to be an ugly process.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

a night that was some kind of wonderful, except it wasn't actually 'some kind of wonderful'

Last summer, on a particularly perfect late August night, I prodded my two boys through the aisles of Kum & Go for boxes of Milk Duds, Reese's Pieces, and giant vats of pop. So eager was I to get them to the place that would answer their unending queries of "What are we doing?" that the prodding was absolutely necessary. It's amazing how long children given the combined magic of $3 and free will can spend pondering the perfect chemical-laden confection. I'm not being superior, friends. I just know that Snickers really does satisfy, so I'm able to pluck the holy grail of snacks from the sea of impostors faster than an 11 or 6 year old.

Sustenance and seat belts secured, I resumed responding to their need for answers with an eager refrain of "You'll see! Just wait! You'll see!" until the moment I stopped the mini near a vast, grassy park, then retrieved lawn chairs from the back and strapped them to my back like the hardworking pack mule I am most days. "Tonight, boys, is a magical night. Tonight you shall become men!" I cried, leading them through the park until we reached the summit of a small hill.

"Is that a movie screen?" the boys asked, equal parts delighted and dumbfounded by the aberration before them.

With glee - pure, magical glee - I affirmed their query, then challenged them to a race down to the front of the screen, a feat, it should be noted, that was made somewhat challenging by the addition of the aforementioned lawn chairs and the fact I was double-fisting 44-ounce refillable cups of liquid gold in the form of Diet Mountain Dew. It was, however, completely necessary, for on this particularly perfect late August night, I was introducing my two boys, just days away from starting school, to the magical world of a fictional teenage boy determined to play hooky from his own classes. On this night, my children were to receive their formal introduction to Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Oh, yes. Leisure does, indeed, rule!

While some of the credit to their slack-jawed enjoyment may have to be given to the fact I was letting them maw down caramely nuggets of chocolate-covered fantastic (I love Snickers, but who am I to turn my nose up at a Milk Dud?) at 10:30 p.m., I do believe they were as equally charmed by the free-wheeling Ferris and his friends. Intrigue, wild rides through the streets of Chicago, art museums, baseball games and the Beatles. My boys loved it. My oldest also took a bit of delight in the fact that, for a few days at least, I allowed him to get away with what passes in our house among the under 18 set as a dirty word by saying to me, "Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you'd have a diamond."

I was, to say the least, quite pleased and very proud.

Then I was also rather cautionary, informing my boys that I could not, under any circumstance, condone the rampant disregard of authority, a less than exemplary school attendance record, the trying on of another's identity ("You're Abe Froman? The Sausage King of Chicago?"), nor the stealing of vehicles for the purposes of joyriding through the community. That particular brand of behavior can only lead to one thing and that one thing may very well end up being an extra eight weeks of detention.

But that's an entirely different movie and I'm saving that one for another particularly perfect late August night.

On this particular August night, I'm mourning the passing of John Hughes, who, for an unfortunately long period during my senior year of college, compelled me to quote "Their dog's a ball sniffer" and also "Waiting for your sex?" from Uncle Buck. Honestly, it's a wonder my friends are still my friends. I was REALLY enamored with that ball sniffing line, and, after catching a Christmas Day airing of Uncle Buck on HBO last winter, I found myself kind of chomping at the bit to reintroduce it my daily life, but I didn't and you're welcome. Instead, I've kept it tucked in the back of my mind until tonight. However, if you've been around here any length of time, you know how much I love me some John Hughes (and that's just a very small sampling of the posts I've written over nearly three years that have a little of that hot beef injected into them), and if you follow me on Twitter, you'll note my avatar is a nod to Sixteen Candles where Farmer Ted displays Samantha's panties to a sea of wide-eyed geeks.

So in memory of that particularly perfect late August night last year, on this particular August night, I quote my friend, That Girl From Shallotte, and say I'm lighting 16 candles in memory of John Hughes.

Danke shene, Mr. Hughes. Danke shene.


Monday, August 03, 2009

...and then i wondered if my coworker thinks i'm as old as his mom

Coworker, after commenting on my reading glasses: "My mom had to get glasses a few months ago. She was diagnosed with a stigmata."

Me: "She was diagnosed with WHAT?"

Coworker: "A stigmata. The eye doctor said she has a stigmata."

Me: "Your mom's eyes are like the wounds of the crucified body of Christ?"

Coworker: "Huh?"

Me: "Is your mom a nun?"

Coworker, waving hands over the length of his body like a game show hostess: "Um...hello? I'm the oldest of six kids."

Me: "I think perhaps you're confusing stigmata with astigmatism"

Coworker: "Are you sure?"

Me: "How lucky we work in a bookstore! Follow me to the reference section and let's have a chat with Webster's, shall we?"

--- a few moments later, confusion abated ---

Coworker: "Could you imagine if you had an astigmatism and your eye was really bothering you, so you reached up to rub it, and when your pulled your hand away, you discovered it was covered in blood..."

Me: "...and you were all, 'Crap! First an astigmatism, but stigmata TOO?!' and you were always having to clean your glasses, but it was difficult because your hands were such a mess?"

Coworker: "Exactly!"

Me: "That would totally suck."

Coworker: "It would also make it really tough to be a thief."

Me: "Because it would be so hard to see, what with the astigmatism and all?"

Coworker: Sure...but mostly because you'd be likely to be caught red handed."

(I know, I know...so I won't tell you that this absolutely went on our entire shift)(and maybe I shouldn't tell you I taught preschool-age Sunday school this past weekend)(but both are true)