Monday, May 31, 2010

Timing is Everything

This time last year I ran in a 5K race. I’m not a strong runner. I don’t run. And yet, as it turned out, I won me a trophy (second fastest time for women ages 30-39). A gen-u-ine trophy! For about a week I was really cool in my hyper-competitive, sports-loving son’s eyes. He even showed off my trophy to his friends.

This year I didn’t run. Wise move. The woman who finished third this year beat my time by more than ten minutes. Don’t tell my son.

p.s. Today my son ran in a one mile long, non-competitive race for the kids. They called it a “fun run.” Isn't that an oxymoron?

I'm Not Shellfish

I was walking by a house yesterday and spied two of these fab lobster Buddhas flanking the driveway. I had to share him :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Funny, funny website

Daniel Boone was an Ass

Wow. If anybody actually read our blog I might be in real danger from the DAR. My daughter finally finished her coffee can biography of Daniel Boone today and not before time. I didn't know much about Mr. Boone other than that he wore a coon-skin hat which apparently is utter bunkum!

So I decided to read the book that my daughter used to make her timeline and cue cards (which reside in the coffee can - isn't that clever?!) and discovered that while incredibly brave and self-sufficient, Daniel Boone was also kind of a jerk. He disappeared for long stretches of time into Indian territory, returning home it seems only long enough to father 10 (TEN!) children, several of whom were kidnapped/killed by the Indians in retaliation. Fabulous.

Anyway, here's a picture of the project for your amusement. And if you think that's funny, you should see the model of Jesse Owens.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm Sorry, I Can't

I live in a society of volunteers and it's SO annoying. I could book myself to the hilt and would still look completely lame compared to most stay-at-home moms in my town. This one woman who has two children who require fairly intense therapy is perpetually out there: class mom, head of publishing center, town clean-up committee, theatre chair, PTA jack-of-all-trades. Omnipresent. Pththpbbthbth!

I'm helping out here and there but my only title right now is Cookie Mom for my daughter's Brownie Troop (I even get a badge ... though no instructions on where I'm supposed to put it).
My therapist has told me not to over commit myself but it's hard! The busiest people attract attention because The Others know they will get things done. No good deed goes unpunished and all that.

A friend of mine whose son was recently hospitalized confessed that the one good thing to come out of her experience was the falling off of sports and other commitments (only one soccer match per weekend!!!). It smacks a tad of Munchhausen Syndrome but sometimes when my kids are not 100% a small part of me loves to have an excuse to regroup and turn down requests. My son is having his tonsils and adenoids removed next week which buys me about two weeks and the best part? I get to spend it all with him.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's OK. He Only Smokes When He's Really Drunk.

While I brush my teeth, I often find myself reviewing that day's events in my mind's eye. [That's before I start squeezing, picking, and plucking things that shouldn't be squeezed, picked, or plucked (guilty pleasure #16).]

Some days are good mommy days-- I rinse and spit feeling at one with the universe.
Some days are less good-- and I practically wag my finger at my reflection, resolving to have more patience, say, or to banish the yelling.

So, yeah, I'm not a perfect parent. Honestly, I don't know whether there exists such a creature. But I've got at least two things going for me (which is nice): 1) I'm always striving for perfection and 2) I'm definitely better than this kid's parents.

Good grief.

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST re-enacted by Cats

I'm surprised some of the more intense Lost fans haven't already made the connection between the Island and Cats. I mean, really, it's so obvious-- check out the lyrics to the only song from Cats that I know:

Midnight - not a sound from the pavement.
Has the moon lost her memory,
She is smiling alone.
In the lamplight, the withered leaves collect at my feet,
And the wind begins to moan.

Memory - all alone in the moonlight.
I can smile at the old days,
I was beautiful then.
I remember the time I knew what happiness was.
Let the memory live again.

Every street light seems to beat a fatalistic warning.
Someone mutters and the streetlamp gutters,
and soon it will be morning.

Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise.
I must think of a new life,
And I mustn't give in.

When the dawn comes tonight will be a memory too,
And a new day will begin.

Burnt out ends of smokey days,
the stale cold smell of morning.
The streetlamp dies, another night is over,
another day is dawning.

Touch me, it's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun.
If you touch me, you'll understand what happiness is.
Look, a new day has begun

Thursday, May 20, 2010

After This I'll Go to Bed. Unless Someone Good is on Letterman.

Morning Me really, really hates Nighttime Me.*

*Years ago I heard a comedian (I wish I could remember who it was) doing an extended bit on this very topic and it totally stuck with me. If I had to pay the guy some kind of royalty each time the thought of “nighttime me vs. morning me” popped into my head I’d no longer have room in the budget for pricey lattes.

Morning Me has lots of things to do in a very small window of time: workout; shower; get ready; make breakfast for the kids; pack lunches; make sure the kids are dressed with teeth brushed and shoes on; find homework folders, library books, and bus notes/permission slips; and, most importantly, get to the bus stop on time.

There is not one task on that list that wouldn’t be easier, go more smoothly or be accomplished more quickly if I could just get a decent night’s sleep.

Yawn, coffee, yawn, yawn, coffee, yawn through the morning and the late afternoon and then… suddenly… I’m up. It’s like once the kids go to bed, Nighttime Me doesn’t want to miss a single minute of blissfully uninterrupted (quiet) time. Somehow, even though mere hours earlier a nap would have been like heaven on Earth, after dinner sleep loses all appeal. There's no reason for me to be up late. I’m not really doing anything important until all hours of the night— mostly just surfing the internet, watching TV, or reading. And, of course, making life harder for Morning Me.

Morning Me likes to quote my dad circa my high school years: “Six o’clock comes very early….”

Nighttime Me is blogging at 11pm.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Welcome to the World

Mr. and Mrs. Robin announce with pleasure the hatching of their babies, Rockin' and Batmanand.

(Isn't this a great shot? My next door neighbor took it. Look at those tiny, helpless, hungry little birds. My first reaction was awwww. Followed quickly by a pang of panic for Mama Robin. Yet another clear clue that I am not in the market for a third child.)

Are You Looking At My Bum, You Cheeky Monkey?

Call me old-fashioned, but I never really understood the appeal of those short/pants with writing on the backside. Do we really need to be drawing sicko attention to this fairly private area? I remember laughing hysterically with my father when we saw a girl with 'PINK' splashed across her bum and he said, 'Well, at least it isn't 'BROWN'! (Sorry UPS). Not the effect she was after I'm sure.

Once, at the gym, I saw a very heavy woman wearing a pair of shorts that said 'Rhand' on the back. Hmm, I thought, I'm not familiar with that school, I wonder where it is. Then she bent over to extract something from her gym bag - an image which, in and of itself will forever haunt me - and I saw the full picture: Rhode Island.

Welcome to Jamaica. Have a Nice Day!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Might is Not Right

Wacky Neighbor calls me from her cell phone to tell me that she might not make it home in time to meet the school bus at 3:30pm. She might make it, she says, but in case she doesn't could I please accept delivery of her second grader and send him down to her house? He knows the code to get in, she says.

Bus arrives, right on schedule. I tell Wacky's son that his mom is on her way and that he can hang with us or head home. He opts to go to his house. I am mildly uncomfortable with this but recognize that I'm about a seven or an eight on the overprotective scale.

We are in the front yard so I know Wacky has not gotten back yet. I call Wacky to let her know that her son chose to go home. I share my discomfort with her and she brushes it off saying that she will call her house in a minute to make sure he got in. Well... okay.... let me know if he doesn't answer.

Wacky calls back and says that her son isn't answering the phone.

I recruit my next door neighbor to keep an eye on my kids while I go run down the street (and up Wacky's ski slope of a driveway) calling for Wacky's son. Turns out he couldn't get in the house so he was kicking rocks in the backyard.

He tells me that one time he couldn't get in and had to wait outside alone for three hours. I assume he has no real concept of time. Kind of like his mom.

On the way back to my house I call Wacky to tell her that her son is okay. "I'm right around the corner," she says. This makes no sense geographically but I'm optimistic.

Wacky pulls up and stops at the top of my driveway. She doesn't even get out of the car. "Thanks!" she shouts through her open window while yelling (!!) at her son to hurry up and get in.

I'm not a huge fan so I can barely stand to look at her. But, when I finally do, I notice something's off. Her hair looks weird. And then I realize what it is: her head is covered in Saran Wrap. She is late because she was getting her freaking color done! Which means that her first call to me had to have been from a chair in the hair salon. In the reception area of the hair salon.

In my life's sitcom, Wacky Neighbor now fills the roles of both dumb blonde (hopefully too blonde after this little episode) and grossly negligent parent. I've really got to talk with the writers about having her dropped from the show.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bring in the Clowns

Right now I am trying to make a Styrofoam ball and an empty coffee can look like Daniel Boone for my daughter's 3rd grade biography project. I'm not actually doing the project I'm just repairing the damage done earlier when it was used as a weapon by child #2 vs. child #3. While the glue dries, I am simultaneously counting what should be $2831.50 worth of Girl Scout cookie money which is mostly in singles and quarters while downloading photos of my other daughter's class for a decoupaged teacher's gift and watching 'Ccriminal Minds'. Cue circus music.

I just need to figure out how to describe this skill set on my resume.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Putting the Ewwww in the Honey Do List

The Scene: T-Ball Practice.

[Man helps Boy with his catching, throwing, etc. Then it is time to practice hitting. Man is fielding balls in the outfield and throwing them in to Coach, who is at home plate with Boy.]

COACH: Okay, so just try to hit it out to where your dad is.

BOY: That's not my dad. That's just my mom's handyman. My parents are divorced. That's just my mom's handyman.

Made me wonder if Schneider ever helped Julie and Barbara with their team sports.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Love a Parade. Fo' Shizzle.

It was a beautiful night in the 'burbs. A group of us got together with our kids, our dogs, and our to-go cups and watched as 25 different fire companies paraded past.

We kept our "hollas" to ourselves, it being a family-friendly parade and all.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Entitled Much?!

Today while weaselsnark and I were waiting for our drinks at Starbucks, a woman walked in with her medium-sized dog on a leash. Our snitch senses tingled in anticipation. What happened next exceeded even our expectations:

"It's ok that he's in here, right?' said the woman to the manager.
Manager: "No, dogs aren't allowed. I'm sorry."
Woman: "I'll just pick him up then, ok?"
Manager: "I'm really sorry. It's not my rule, it's company policy."
Woman: "What about if I carry him on my back?"
Manager shakes his head.
Woman storms out.

Oh, you'll put your dog on your back? Oh, sure, in that case, let me take your order!
Can you stand it?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Late Night Jay Who is Actually Funny!

I was reading Parents magazine last night (shut up! It's guilty pleasure #23) and came across a potty training story excerpted from a book by Jay Mohr.

Jay Mohr, you might recall, is an actor/comedian who is probably most famous for playing the back-stabbing sports agent who steals Tom Cruise's clients in Jerry Maguire. He also created and hosted the show Last Comic Standing on NBC (from which he subsequently got fired as host). He is also the celebrity crush of one of my friends (we all have guilty pleasures).

In the story Jay recounts how, as a first time dad, he was completely flummoxed by the whole diaper thing-- not so much the changing of them as the buying of them.

"A few times I came home with the wrong ones because I thought the baby on the package had to match the baby I had at home, like Garanimals. I would walk back and forth and mutter 'Hey, all these kids are Asian or black. Aren't there any white-baby diapers?'"

My laughing woke my husband. You can't beat a Garanimals reference.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

(Table) Tennis, Anyone?

The ping pong table came yesterday. It’s blue. It’s awesome.

As we set it up, I got more and more excited. I can’t wait to play! Ping Pong is so much fun! It’s blue! I love the sound the balls make when they bounce! Look at these awesome paddles!

If my life were a sitcom it would be time to cut to the montage:

me laughing and playing ping pong;

me smiling as I lunge for a tough shot;

my son asking me to play ping pong and me giving him a big thumbs up;

my son asking me to play ping pong while I’m chopping vegetables and things are bubbling on the stove;

my son lifting up my eyeshade (I don’t wear them in real life but they are sitcom shorthand for interrupted beauty sleep) to ask me to play ping pong;

me looking haggard as I return a ball into the net;

me tearing at my hair and turning the radio up to drown out the incessant ka-plink, ka-plonk audible from all corners of the house;

and, finally, a shot of me on my knees, in the rain, arms to heaven (paddle in hand) begging for deliverance from ping pong servitude.

The thing is, I'm pretty sure that's exactly how the next few months will play out. Well, except for the crying in the rain part (one hopes). It's only a matter of time before I'll want a break, when ping pong does not bring me as much sheer joy as it brings me today. But for now… who is up for a game?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Oh Mickey, You're Not Fine

This is Sienfeldianly petty but I have a real problem with Mickey Rourke's fingernails. Usually, you don't get to see them much in films but they came to my attention years ago in '9-1/2 Weeks' and I have since built up a full-blown revulsion. Compared to everything else that is going go with Mickey Rourke, this might seem a minor issue, but bear with me.

Mr. Rourke's nails cover the entire tip of his fingers, from side to side and over the top. There is something very reptilian about them. So imagine my disappointment, watching "Iron Man 2", when my unbridled enjoyment of the genius that is Robert Downey Jr. is peppered with nauseating close-ups of Mickey Rourke's hands tapping a computer keyboard! Hellagross.

I can't stop thinking about them. And now, thanks to me, neither can you.

The Mother of All Days

Ah, Mother's Day. The day that children all over want to shower their mothers with love and affection and mothers just want to spend by themselves. No, seriously.

I'm not sure how mother's day got so out of hand, but I read an article in the NY Times over the weekend which estimated the number of women's lives that could be saved if all the money we spent on Mother's Day cards and gifts went into causes like prenatal health. It was mind-blowing! In future, I'm going to request that if money has to be spent, it should be in the form of a charitable donation.

My own mother was adamant that we not celebrate Mother's Day in our house. She didn't want any one day to assuage our guilt, she wanted to be treated well and appreciated every - well, let's be realistic, most - day(s). Quite right. Although it is hard not to appreciate those beaded cardboard heart brooches and painted jewelry boxes. And I relish finding out which particular characteristic is the focus of this year's "Why I love you mommy". Sometimes it's spot on: "You do so much for me". Sometimes it's random: "You always help me with my homework." And sometimes it's entirely fabricated: "I love you because you take me to get ice cream every day."

This year I slept in, read the paper while my husband took all three children to church (and pretended I was sympathetic to their having to go), went to see Iron Man 2 (my choice!) en famille, then went out for dinner. No cooking, no cleaning, no worries. Value to me? Priceless.


Not to diminish her accomplishments in any way, but ...

Elena Kagan = Kevin James

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Boy Humor

My son: Mom! Call a doctor quick! There's a crack in my butt!!

Me: (eye roll)

My husband: (hearty chuckles)

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May the Fourth Be With You (Get it? May the 4th?)

I was out buying my husband a birthday present on Tuesday - a gift certificate to a go-cart racing track, thank you very much - and just as I was paying, the Darth Vader theme tune suddenly belted out. You know the one: DUH DUH DUH dum dee DUH dum dee DUH!

The man who was helping me grabbed his cell phone off his belt, grinned slyly, and whispered, "It's the wife."


Food Court

I don’t keep a lot of junk food in the house, but it’s not for any of the reasons you’d suspect.

Sure, I aspire to a healthy lifestyle for my whole family. And, yes, I want to avoid sweet (and salty) temptations.

But, as I realized recently, the main reason my pantry is so paltry is that I think other people at the grocery store judge me by what’s in my cart. What kind of crazy is that? Narcissism? Paranoia?

It’s not like I care, or even notice, what other people have in their carts. (Although I will admit that I like to pass my time in line by trying to guess—from the items on the conveyor belt-- what someone is making for dinner.)

So… want to know where my virtuous, whole grain, no HFCS, rainbow coalition of organic fruits and veggies-filled cart gets me? Desperate for a chocolate fix, I’ve been reduced to scrounging through baking supplies for a handful of semi-sweet morsels. And, more pathetically (or-- a better spin-- more ingeniously!), I’ve now stuck some of those same morsels into a spoonful of peanut butter for an ersatz Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Would it be weird to ask my neighbor for a cup of cookies?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Mother Ship

The weather was absolutely gorgeous today - not a cloud in the sky, no humidity to speak of - so naturally I went to Target for 2-1/2 hours. My brother does a fabulous impression of me going through a shop, touching everything, and discovering all these things I can't live without. He calls it 'The drifter comes to town'. Cue tumbleweed.

Target is my achilles heel. I'd like to think everyone has one store like that, a black hole of shopping ecstacy, a time vaccuum, a mother ship. For my husband it's Home Depot. He makes weekly (and sometimes biweekly) trips and even bought a large flat-bed truck to accomodate his addiction, if not our carport. The fastest way to attain silence in our house is to shout,"Im going to Home Depot. Who wants to come with me?"

At least at Target, there are refreshments (even Starbucks!). And toys. My purchases always ring up like one of those memory games where you put random thingies on a tray then cover the tray and try to remember what's on it - toilet paper, white noise clock, bathing suit, Rubik's Cube, frozen popcorn chicken, toenail clippers, giftwrap - and I've never yet made it out of there for less than $100. Good times!

By the way Target execs, if you're listening, I work on commission.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sit Down in Your Thinking Chair

Just got caught off-guard by a very random, very funny reference to Sir Topham Hatt, which made me want to revisit some of my own questions about kids tv:

1. How come Diego can drive a car but Dora has to hitch rides with a squirrel?

2. Where are Max & Ruby’s parents? Ruby seems to do all the cooking, cleaning and babysitting. She even gets Max to bed. And they don’t live with Grandma. Or that bunny troop leader.

3. Caillou’s hair? Hello?

4. Are we supposed to be reading into the scenes between Handy Manny and Kelly the “I’ve got every tool you’ll ever need” hardware store owner?

5. Same question as #4 except substitute Bob the Builder and Wendy. (OMG. I just realized that Handy Manny is a total Bob rip-off! With Mr. Lopart as that annoying scarecrow...)

6.Exactly how big is the Island of Sodor? Why are there so many trains and railway lines? Is Bertie the Bus the only vehicle allowed on the roads?

7. How come Austin (my favorite) isn’t always around on The Backyardigans? Are his parents divorced?

8.Forget Bert and Ernie, what’s the deal with Toot and Puddle?

9.Is Special Agent Oso, supposed to be… you know, “special?” ‘Cause that’s how it plays to this viewer.

10.Finally, how come absolutely everything (soap, clock, salt shaker, side table, mailbox) in the house can talk to Joe/Steve except for Blue?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Oh, Larry David!

My husband's nickname for me is "Stealth." It's ironic because I am absolutely, 100% incompetent at lying, acting, sneaking or otherwise engaging in subterfuge of any kind. You CAN read my, can read my, you can read my poker face, poker face. I'm crap at cards and usually I avoid high jinx at all costs. However ...

The other day, I was walking home from town when my cell phone rang. It was a very mischievous friend of mine calling to warn me that she had just passed me (in her car) and that walking in my direction was a person I'd rather avoid. What to do? What to do? A meeting was inevitable because there was no alternate route.

Just in time, I remembered my cell phone - epiphany! - and put it to my ear, pretending to chat to an imaginery friend. Now a more seasoned liar would probably have called their own voicemail which would have prevented what happened next: Just at the very second I am passing this person and smiling a polite "hello" (home free!) my phone rang. AWKWARD! So I did the mature thing. I mumbled some version of, "Wellthat'sweirdhowdidthathappen" and ran away.

George Costanza, eat your heart out.