Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Don't be THAT guy

A friend of mine told me that the best advice she ever gave her kids was 'Don't be THAT guy'. Don't be the boy who combines Mentos and Diet coke in the parking lot of Rite Aid. Don't be the girl arrested behind middle school, charging $5 a pop for sexual favors. Don't be the dad at the soccer game wearing the too-tight tracksuit with his name embroidered on the chest, who yells so much at their own kid that even the opposing team's parents and coach are cheering the kid on.

My husband and I went to a wedding on Saturday night and had not one but two THAT guys at our table! Or, I should say, THAT girl. One of them, in her late 20s actually introduced herself as "Eleanor, but my gay friends call me Ellie" (So ... 'Eleanor' then). She then butchered my name and had the nerve to ask if my accent was Irish. Even before the main course was served she was three sheets to the wind, telling everyone her life story before barfing, passing out and finding her second wind in time to heckle the best man's speech. When we left at midnight, she was still drinking.

The second woman, who was probably in her late 50s, initially rolled her eyes at the obnoxious behaviour of our table companion but quickly became her dance partner. As more alcohol was consumed she became obsessed with men's ties, particularly those of the groomsmen, dancing over and grabbing said neck wear, then writhing erotically with it. Thankfully, she passed out reasonably early on and had to be escorted back to her hotel.

I'm not a volume drinker so it always amazes me that people of any age can let themselves get so plastered that they literally can't control bodily functions. It's sad, really. So I've got to agree that the advice stands. I think I'll pass it on to my kids.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Oscars: Going to the Dogs

The Oscars were so boring that, without a doubt, the highlight of the evening was Esparanza Spalding's:

a) ginormous afro,
b) missing tooth,
c) moving rendition of "What a Wonderful World,"
d) all of the above.

Wrong! That was a trick question. There was no highlight. It was a show so devoid of entertainment value that I actually felt a little depressed afterwards for having wasted three hours of my life watching it.

I traded emails with a friend during the broadcast just to get through it.

Me: Do you hear like a bell clanging noise?
Her: For real?
Me: Yes. Like weird feedback that sounds like clanging or a bad cell phone ring.
Her: No, Coach, I don't hear that.
Me: You don't? Listen carefully. It's almost constant.
Her: You're insane. Bradley Cooper looks terrible with that mustache. Sad.
Me: I'm not! Search "feedback noise at the Oscars."
Her: I swear we don't have it. That's crazy!

[much back and forth re: JLo's nipple, Billy Crystal looking like an old woman, Barbra Streisand's dead-on Jennifer Aniston impression, etc.]

Her: The noise go away?
Me: No. But I just read something about it online that says they think only 25% of people can hear it. So I'm special. Or "special."
Her: Special like a dog?
Me: Yup. Or an alien abductee.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Here Come the Judge

You may want to sit down because what I'm about to say may shock you: I can be pretty judgmental.

Was that an audible gasp? I did warn you.

I tend to have an opinion about everything and everyone. And though some reactions are educated and well-reasoned, others are baseless and completely wrong. That total attention-seeking bitchy mom that I rolled my eyes about all through kindergarten is now one of my most reliable, generous car-pool buddies. The crazy, pseudo-crunchy neighborhood couple we bended over backwards to avoid having dinner with.... Well, I was right about them.

Having children has really forced me to recognize how wrong I can be about things and how I shouldn't judge others until I've walked a mile in their shoes, or thrown a stone at their house, or insert your own aphorism here. When my son was a baby I would page through the One Step Ahead catalog and roll my eyes at the crazy childproofing gadgets in there. A lock for your toilet seat? A tent-like enclosure for your crib? Who were the suckers buying these things? And then I had my daughter, who started throwing herself out of the crib at nine months and who I once found standing in the toilet (to the everlasting delight of my son, who still tells that story).

I didn't get the toilet seat lock but I certainly became more sympathetic to the plight of those with curious toddlers. Never say never, right?

And, yet, even though my eyes have been opened (repeatedly) to the fact that not all kids are the same, I still think that keeping your kid on a leash is wrong. And I still say that I will never, EVER, let my kids play their devices at the table, whether in a restaurant or otherwise.

Last night we were out to dinner with our children and at the tables on either side of us were kids fiddling with their handhelds while the parents sat silent. Not texting (which I am not naive enough to think won't become an issue at some point), these kids were playing games. And wearing headphones.

Judgment rendered: that's just lame.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Daily Grind

The guys working on my house dug a four foot deep hole in my basement last week. The dirt that filled that hole? It's lying on a tarp next to the hole. Which means that for more than a week the playroom has been off limits. No Xbox. No Wii. No treadmill. I don't know who is having worse withdrawal symptoms, me or my son.

Oh, and over the course of the past two weeks each of my kids has been hit with both a stomach bug and a fever virus. Tag team style.

So, yeah, I'm grinding my teeth at night.

The thing is, I have a mouth guard that I wear when I sleep so it's okay. Last night, as I lay back down after administering some pre-dawn tylenol to my fireball of a daughter, I was thinking about how awesome my mouth guard is.

What other bad habit do you get to continue to engage in without suffering the repercussions? There's no such thing as a tar-absorbing lung shield, no nail tips that provide biting satisfaction while preserving your cuticles, no "do over!" at the craps table, no removable saddle bags to collect the extra piece (or two) of cake.

The humble mouth guard stands alone. It allows my stress to manifest itself in grinding but without hurting my teeth. And I actually sleep better too. If only they could figure out a way to make it a little more attractive....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

100 Ways to get sent to Gitmo

Today was the 100th Day of school for my kids. The elementary schools in our town make a big deal of the event by drawing pictures of themselves at 100 and writing about what they would do if they had $100 or 100 wishes, etc. My son had to do a project listing 100 things.

I had already been through this with my elder daughter two years ago who chose to list "Hello in 100 languages". We found a website called "Hello in 100 languages" and - Bob's your uncle - a bit of glue and a map of the world later, we were finished. My son, who suddenly seems a very long way from his Quaker preschool roots, chose "100 Modern Conventional Weapons".

Unfortunately, this was not a quick project. Making the initial mistake of looking up "modern warfare" we were redirected to video game websites with all manner of weird postings. Between the Internet searches and the local library checkouts the NSA probably has me red-flagged right now. It doesn't help that I am a murder-mystery aficionado and foreign national to boot.

And now I've just mentioned the NSA and weapons in the same blog post. And now I've just done it again! As long as I don't mention the president I should be fine ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yea or Neigh?

My daughter begged me to let her take horseback riding lessons. I wasn't thrilled with the idea (or the cost) but I signed her up because I assumed that precedent would be predictive-- that within a month or two she would change her mind and start dragging her heels when it came time to go, as she had done before with hip hop, swimmming and the piano.

(Cue John Belushi:) But noooo!

Of course, THIS activity is the one she has decided to stick with. Even through the winter. She says she wants to become a professional horseback rider, build her own horse farm and teach other people how to ride. She even asked for horse cupcakes for her birthday celebration at school.

So, I tried. Now I'm thinking these "horses" may be just the thing to turn her off the real deal forever.

Is there such a thing as passsive-aggressive baking?

Monday, February 13, 2012


Weaselsnob's Minx approached me at my daughter's birthday party yesterday:

"Ask me how old I am."

Okay, how old are you?

"I'm 40-something. That's what people say when they don't want you to know how old they really are."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Super Bowl

We're deep in the third quarter here in the Weaselsnark household.

And, by that, I mean that three out of four members of the family have now been struck by the stomach bug.

It started on Sunday night after the Giants victory (woo-hoo!). My husband woke up in the middle of the night and was violently ill. Food poisoning, he surmised, based on prior experience. My mind raced to what food we'd eaten that day. I couldn't think of anything that he had eaten that we hadn't all shared in our Big Game Smorgasbord. Uh-oh.

For the next few hours I vacillated between lying in bed in a state of wide-eyed panic waiting to dash to the bathroom myself and running upstairs to check on the kids to make sure they weren't "going number three" (my neighbor's euphamism for vomiting).

But the night passed without (further) incident.

Cut to Tuesday night. My daughter came downstairs at about 10:30pm covered in foulness. It was even in her hair. So gross. After getting her cleaned up, changed and settled in my bed I went up to her room.

Evolution has favored a special kind of parent adrenaline that kicks in to help in times of severe body fluid events. I know this to be so because there is no way I could have tackled what I found waiting for me in my daughter's bed if it weren't. Suffice to say, one pillow and several stuffed animals made the ultimate sacrifice. Ironically, the one thing left completely unscathed was the bowl I had given her ("just in case") to throw up in.

Whether my husband's food poisoning was merely a coincidence or whether, in fact, he was patient zero, I figured it was only a matter of time before my son succumbed to the stomach bug. So last night I took extreme preventative measures: I removed the comforter, books, extraneous pillows and his one beloved stuffed animal from the bed. And, ever hopeful, I left him with a big bowl and instructions to try to aim for it should the need arise.

And he did! That superstar came down at 11:30pm last night with clean hair, clean pajamas, and a bowl full of puke. My heart swelled. I was so pleased about not having to strip the bed and stay up doing loads of wash that I almost forgot to comfort my poor sick son. Although, in my defense, because he had avoided getting any throw up on himself he wasn't particularly freaked out or upset. He just washed out his mouth and went right back up to bed.

With a clean (super) bowl.

And then there was one.... tick, tick, tick....

Riches to Rags

Stemming from an incident with my father, on which I will not elaborate, my mother established a rule in our house that once clothing had been consigned to the "polish tin" (ie. was only useful for polishing shoes) it could not be retrieved. Along those lines, I feel that my husband's fleece, which I have just spent the last 20 minutes debobbling with an electric shaver, has lived a good life and must be replaced. But my husband thinks otherwise.

Once, he actually asked me to darn his socks! His $5/3 pairs Target socks no less. If it's a small hole - or minor pilling - sure, I'll have a go but where do you draw the line on repairing clothing? What is the effort:result ratio I should be pursuing?

This winter I have inexplicably gone through the toes of every pair of dark socks I own. My feet haven't busted through like the Incredible Hulk, but it is weird that they all went at the same time. They are so bad that I didn't even consider darning them, even if I knew how. Anyway, nobody wants a sock bump. I'll have to go and buy a slew more and throw the others out, wasteful or not.

Maybe I'll be green and keep them for sock puppets (NOT).

Monday, February 6, 2012


My son got a gift card to a sports store for his birthday and had been itching to spend it. It worried me a little that he didn't actually NEED anything but I took him to the store and as soon as we walked in we saw the sign for 50% off football jerseys. The next day (Friday before the Superbowl) was team spirit day at school and there at the front of the rack was a blue Manning jersey!!!! And it was size XL so he could wear it for years. We snapped it up along with some flannel Giants pj bottoms. Score!

On Friday I dropped him off at school. He started looking around anxiously at all the other kids and said to me, "Mom - why does everyone else's Manning jersey say #10 and mine says #18?"

"Maybe he changed numbers?" I replied, hopefully.

Poor kid. Now Peyton Manning is arguably the better player (I'm told) but he is out for at least a year and will probably no longer play for the Colts. It REALLY should have occurred to me to question why an Eli Manning jersey would be on sale three days before the Giants were in the Superbowl. Over the weekend another mom confessed to making the same mistake, although hers was returnable. It's just so embarrassing.