Monday, December 28, 2009

Dining Out.

We've all been there. Sitting in the restaurant waiting to be served like queens on a throne, only to be ignored by the servants. Or as they're called now, "servers." But here's the thing...we're not queens and no one has servants, so why do some people cling to this notion of being served supremely at restaurants?

Many times I have sat at a table with people and there's always one that gets a little pissy if their water gets low or they haven't received enough attention from the servant. What is this phenomenon? Are we in such a state of instant gratification that we expect someone to serve a good time to us instead of creating it ourselves?

It's as if the server is personally assaulting the diner. Everyone at the table can tell the bitchfest will begin when the angered diner starts looking around for the servant. At this point, there is no conversation to be had with this person. They're playing hide and seek with the servant, bobbing their head back and forth, checking every corner of the restaurant. "Where the hell is he with our wine already? How hard can it be to fill a glass of wine? And I'm starving, have we even ordered the appetizer yet?"

It goes on and on as if she is crawling across a desert, dying of hunger and thirst. (And yes, I do say "she" because strangely enough, I've never experienced a man reacting to a lackluster server this way.)

Look, we have Luna bars and protein water these days. I think you'll make it.

You're not hiking a mountain; You are sitting in a four star restaurant after yoga class. Trust me on this, you'll be fine if your glass of water gets a little low. You can always run to the bathroom and scoop some water out of the faucet if you get dehydrated.

And by the way, the "servant" has more jobs than serving you as we can see by the way he's running his ass off from table to table, gasping for air.

So really, the situation is this: The server may die, but you the angry diner, will not.

I don't go to restaurants to be served. I go to enjoy the company of my friends, family, or my husband. That's a treat for me. If my water gets low, I'm not going to dehydrate right there in my booth. I'm not going to shrivel up and fall to the ground like a raisin. I'll make it.

If my server is smacking gum and doesn't give a shit about me, I'm cool with it. Sure it's rude, but I have a wide net of people that care for me, so I really don't need the emotional support of someone serving food to me anyway.

Frankly, I'm just enjoying the treat of having a meal without neededing to wash the pots and pans used to create it. And more importantly, I go out to restaurants to enjoy laughs that cannot be served by anyone other than the person laughing.

Maybe it's time we get so engrossed in our good times that we don't notice our water getting low or whether our server has checked the status of our hunger and thirst.

Maybe going out to restaurants isn't about replenishing our bodies after all. Maybe it's about replenishing our hearts instead.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Anti-Clean Floor.

We're entertaining tomorrow night, so like all the other suburban moms out there, I decided to clean my house so no one will find out how messy I really am. Anyone that knows me understands this is "fake clean". It lasts for the time of the party only, then the house returns to mayhem.

By the way, does anyone really give a shit if there is dust on the brass toilet paper holder? Just curious.

Anyway, I scrubbed the kitchen floor and it looked like chocolate milk in the bucket. That's what happens when family members trample across the floor with boots in December.

I went to throw the water out and tripped over an annoying chair that always sits right in the middle of our kitchen. The "chocolate water" spilled everywhere, including the lazy susan, the coffee maker(better not be broke now), my peanut butter toast, and maybe the dog. Although I think he moved quick enough to escape the tidal wave of dirt.

Son of a bitch.

I was pissed at that chair, so I tossed it to the side of the kitchen where it landed so perfectly that there is now a hole in the linoleum. That's nice.

I cleaned everything that was drenched in the filthy shower and re-washed the floor. As I successfully dumped out the dirty water, I looked over to watch my dog rub his ass across the floor as if it's toilet paper. Streaks of "chocolate" were left behind.

My once-clean floor lasted thirty seconds.

So I washed it again.

Then changed the garbage, which leaked turkey juice and fat all over the floor. At this point I was laughing like a crazy clown yelling, "You've got to be fucking kidding me!"

Colbie Caillat sang in the background, "If you just realize, what I just realized..." She was mocking me. Oh really? What did you realize, Colbie? That it's impossible for me to have clean kitchen floor? Is that what you want me to realize? Is that it? Argh!

I ejected Colbie and her perky attitude and promptly inserted Ninch Inch Nails.

If there was ever a time I felt like a gerbil on wheel, it's today. But hey, at least the floor is clean.

Until the kids come home.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Band Aid For The Holiday Heart.

Here it is...another first holiday after losing a loved one. We made it through a birthday, Thanksgiving, and now here's Christmas. The Big Dog. The holiday that packs the biggest punch to my heart. My husband and I were going over our Christmas list and I said, "Okay, so we have Corey, Ethan, Hanna, Holly and Jak..." No Jake. Jake passed away in March. My Christmas list looks horribly emaciated with four letters missing. J-A-K-E. The letters are still here, so why can't he still be here? It's not fair.

Last year I gave him a floor mat that read, "Caution: Nietzsche May Be Right." I explained the meaning behind it. Maybe life is only perception. Maybe none of it is real because it's all at the mercy of our perception. Jake agreed and said, "Yeah, totally. Kind of crappy for the people though that see everything all negative and bad. You know, like they never catch a break and nothing is good enough. Like, they should just change it, you know? It's not that hard."

It was a great conversation, but a mat? That was my final gift to him? A fucking floor mat? How embarrassing. If I knew it was my last gift, I would have handcrafted a monument in marble or something magnificent. Something unforgettable, so he won't forget me.

Anyway, Christmas marks the last time I hugged him. I will never hug him again and there is not a damn thing I can do about it.

I don't handle lack of control well, so I'm a counter. It's an OCD thing I do when I lose control. It's how I exert my pitiful amount of tiny control over the situation. And when Jake passed away, I was left with no gas pedal, breaks, or steering wheel.

So I counted, starting with the first week back in March when he passed away:

"Last week he had breakfast, lunch, and dinner like the rest of us."
"One month ago, he called to chat about the philosophy of life."
"He was here six months ago, but now he's not."
"I hugged him one year ago."
Tick, "He was here."
Tock, "He's not here anymore."
Tick, "I want to hug him."
Tock, "I can't hug him ever again."

I try to pick through the devastation to make sense of this. I can't begin to answer why our loved ones die, but I do know what ripples out to the rest of the world when it happens. When people heard my sister lost her son, I guarantee everyone hugged their children extra hard when tucking them in that night.
When a friend of mine lost her sister in a car crash, I called both of my sisters and told them I love them. When my friend's father passed away, I called my dad and told him I loved him and explained that the world feels safer to me just because he is in it with me. When my friend's husband had a brain tumor removed, I grabbed my husband's hands and told him that he is my favorite person in this entire world.

Gratitude happens when loved ones pass away. It washes over people and softens their hearts. That can be beautiful. Maybe Nietzsche (and Jake) was right. Maybe perception can help us deal with heartache. I'm going to try this one on for size: If one person leaving this world inspires a hundred people to reach out and express love and gratitude to their loved ones, then maybe this world is left a little better. That's quite a gift.

It never feels fair that our loved one is the one that had to leave, but maybe we can mold our perception to help move us through the pain. Maybe we take a moment to honor the ripple effect they have on the rest of the world and notice that others are reaching out and appreciating each other.

I'm going to give it a go and see what happens. A little golden thread to pull me through what I'm anticipating to be an incredibly difficult day. He left the world a little more loving and grateful. That's quite a gift. Better than any floor mat I've ever seen.

Friday, December 18, 2009

ADHD or Holiday Chaos?

The other day I was overwhelmed with what needed to be done, so instead of doing anything, I retreated to the basement and drew on the bare brick walls. As I stood back admiring my artistic chalkwork, it occurred to me that it may be evidence of ADD or ADHD.

So I ran up to the office and googled an ADHD test. Or was is an ADD test? I didn't take the time to decipher between the two. I answered the first six questions with a vehement, "HELL YES!" and then got bored and did laundry.

Let it be known there were thirty fucking questions for an ADD/ADHD test. Am I the only one seeing the irony in that? Thirty?

There should be question-stoppers such as, "You are currently on question #5. If you're bailing now, you have severe ADHD." If a person makes it to question #10 perhaps the test could show some encouragement. "If you make it this far, congratulations! You are mildly ADHD."

If they make it to the end, the test-taker should win a trip to Mexico or something. Thirty questions should be rewarded, especially if it's for someone with possible ADHD. "Congratulations! Good news is you won a trip to Mexico! The bad news is, you're sweating, shaking, and smoking a cigarette which indicates you are definitely ADD/ADHD."

I've concluded that I have a handle on my shit 355 days of the year, but the holiday season tends to fast track my thinking. I call it "holiday static". All the channels in my head are running at the same time.

Because indeed, everything is happening at the same time. Gifts, parties, gatherings, potlucks, hostess gifts, Christmas programs, Fed Ex...it's all for the holiday, which requires all the channels to be ON in order to bring the chaos to order.

Thank God January is a time for hibernation, recooperation, and rejuvenation and whatever other "tion" word you care to incorporate there.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter Wonderland.

Ask my husband. I've always had issues with this song. I remember a few years ago trying to decipher the meaning while he shook his head in disbelief. I demanded an answer. "What exactly does Bing mean when he says that he can do the job when he's in town. What is he, a traveling salesman looking for some booty calls?"

I know I should just let it lie, but I can't. Check these lyrics out:

Gone away is the bluebird (husband),
Here to stay is a new bird (pool boy with abs)
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

He'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man,
But you can do the job (THE job. Let's get naked.)
When you're in town. (No strings attached.)

See what I mean?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Polar Plunge.

It's cold in MN. Scratch that. Cold is feeling a little uncomfortable, then slipping under a blanket. This kind of cold freezes your ass and makes you cough when you breathe it in. But Minnesotans have thick skin.

To prove it, we jump in one of our 10,000 lakes in January.

I did this last year after slamming about twelve bloody marys. I was slurring by lunchtime, but it was worth it. There was no way in hell I would jump into frigid waters of death while sober.

To say it was cold is a massive understatement. It's motherfucking cold. Your skin screams in pain as it submerges into what feels like cardiac paddles electrocuting your entire body. Your head feels like it shrinks to the size of a raisin.

I can't even begin to wonder what this kind of trauma does to a pair of testicles. It must takes weeks for them to make an appearance again. "No you go back down and see if it's safe! He's trying to kill us!"

I was worried my breasts would look like ziploc bags of ice cubes, but they came out okay. I was proud of them. My hair didn't break off and I didn't lose a toe.

In fact, I didn't lose anything but fear. I felt liberated! I cheated death for crissake! I felt free to skydive, rock climb, fly to Greece, pole dance, and sing karoke. Anything that invited fear before was gone.

Will I do the plunge again? No. Will I go and cheer everyone else on while they toggle that fine line between life and death? Hell yeah. It's a life-changing event that unlocks a fearless streak in each and every person that completes the mission.

That, my friend, is priceless. Even if you do lose a testicle.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Toy parties.

We've all been invited to the "Sex-Up-Your-Marriage" parties. It's a bunch of women giggling and passing around various bedroom toys, acting like they're in 7th grade. Okay I admit it, I was probably the only one taking pictures on my phone and sending it out to friends with messages like, "Merry Christmas you Ho, Ho, Ho!"

The poor host had her own personal heckler (me) and barely got through her script on how to keep our marriages spicy and alive. I was embarrassed and anxious, which meant my mouth was running without brakes. I kept singing, "That's what she said" to cap off almost sentence spoken from the host. It was like adding punctuation to her vocabulary. Like a period to sentence. Like a knife to a tomato.

I left with a brown lunch bag filled with shit I don't need, but felt compelled to buy since I treated the host so rudely.

As I dumped out the contents at my husband's feet, I realized everything looked a little different in my own home. The Coochie Cream looked a little out of place next to my Aveda shampoo and the sex toy I bought looked ridiculous. My husband pointed to it and asked, "What the hell is that thing? I answered honestly. "I have no idea, I was too busy heckling the host." It was basically a squishy pink coat for a penis.

Needless to say, that toy was never used. By us. However, it was used by our daughter Paige. About a year later I was cleaning up her room and weeding out old toys in her closet when I noticed the sex toy on her Barbie fashioned as a strapless dress. Bright pink in all its glory. On a fucking Barbie.

Now, the fact that a year had gone by makes me wonder if she brought this Barbie to playdates, softball games, school, or perhaps allowed other friends to dress their Barbies in the magnificent pink strapless dress.

The lesson learned is this: If you can't handle the spice, don't try it. It will come back to haunt you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Message From A Recovering Control Freak.

I knew I had control issues when I grabbed the steering wheel from my boss last year. We were on our way to a fun-filled trip to Lutsen. The drive to get there wasn't so much fun. It was snowing, which made me a little on-edge. We're not talking delicate little flakes here, it was more like man-made snowballs were catapulted from sky. I could fucking hear them coming. Each flake crashing against the car. Boom! Shit. Boom! What the hell? Boom! Did that one dent the fucking door??

I was jumping all over the place, gnawing my fingernails off, and white-knuckling the door handle. I was trying to be a good little employee and not mention the fact that the grim reapor was sitting in the back seat waiting for a crash.

My boss, on the other hand, was seaching for radio stations, changing cd's, and cracking jokes. I wasn't laughing. He was passing cars as if it was 75 degrees and sunny and we were out for a casual drive in our Sunday's Best after church. He kept talking and looking over at me. I couldn't take it anymore. I had to tell him what to do because there was no way we were getting to Lutsen without being zipped up in a body bag first.

I said, "Hey, you watch the road. You're weaving all over the place and passing cars like we're on deadline. I don't give a shit if we don't get there until midnight, I just want to be alive. What? What's with the face, what is so funny?"

He laughed and said, "You have control issues."

I started to contemplate his statement when I noticed (or had the delusion) that we were going to get clipped by another car. I reached over, scolded him like a child, and grabbed the steering wheel and pulled us back to safety (or to "Psycho-ville" as my boss would describe it).

Shit. Maybe he's right. I grab the steering wheel all the time from my husband. I sat back and realized all the other stunts I pull: I introduce myself to pilots and ask if they're hungover with the shakes and remind them that we need a steady hand at the wheel. And shit, I really do correct people's grammar when they're speaking. And I like to lead conversations so I have control over the topics we discuss. And, and, and...the list goes on.

But it can't be that bad. Can it? Maybe I just like to be the person of authority that has voice and veto power over everything that happens in my life.

Maybe I just have control issues.

That happened a year ago. Since then, I've learned to give it a rest already. I haven't grabbed the wheel from my husband since that insightful Lutsen trip. And I kind of like sitting back and enjoying the ride. Even when it's snowing.

Being in control isn't about safety, it's about insecurity and lack of trust. Trust that other people do have my best interest at heart and good things will happen even without my insufferable control.

I'm happy to report that everyone is healthy, happy, and safe without me spinning the earth and all its wonders on my shoulders. And truly, better things have happened without my control. Things manifest at a higher level when I don't try to plan, control, and police every step and movement. My tiny efforts at control actually limited my dreams because I couldn't conceive the vastness of opportunity.

I used to be the girl that sat down at the dinner table of life banging my fork and knife yelling, "Where's the fucking meal already? It's been 2.3 minutes! It's late!" It was exhausting. Now I pull up a chair and stay a while. I enjoy the other guests sitting with me. Their grammar has no effect on me because I'm listening to their hearts now instead of their words. And while I have no idea what's on the menu, I know it's all good for me.

Friday, December 4, 2009

X-Rated Sauna.

I hit the gym today for the first time in forever. "Sauna therapy" is supposed to be good for lowering blood pressure and releasing toxins, so what the hell, I slammed the rest of my Hot Pocket and went to the club.

I can't seem to get a good experience in the sauna. A few months ago I was ridiculed for smelling bad. Apparently everyone else on the planet sweats out rose petals, while I release body odor.

I have since learned to use the sauna before my workout.

Anyway, today I sat in there before my workout so as not to offend anyone. But today was not my turn to do the offending. I was the victim.

A few older ladies around seventy joined me in my "sweat bath" and proceeded to chat. Grateful for the company, I loosened up and started talking about how saunas can relieve depression, lower blood pressure, and sweat the fat off our asses.

And then I got a glimpse of one of those asses up close and personal. Mildred took off her towel and proceeded to lotion her body next to me. As she bent over to lubricate her ankles, I could have reached out and slapped her ass (but didn't).

Her visit with me was about ten minutes, but it packed a traumatic punch.

I was alone again trying to meditate and spin the image of Mildred's ass out of my mind when another guest arrived.

With a thong in her hands.

I must have looked shocked or maybe even said out loud, "What the fuck are you going to do with that thong?" Because she immediately started explaining herself. "I'm so sorry, but this is the only underwear I have today, so I washed them in the sink and now they need to dry out."

She gently laid them out next to the coals on the wooden frame and left to get dressed and blowdry her hair. I, on the other hand, was held hostage to staring at it for the rest of my sauna therapy.

That was it. I left and decided to take an extra-hot shower when I got home. This is not therapy. This is what causes anxiety, depression and high blood pressure (and OCD in my case). People's total lack of care for other people in the world. There is no need to expose beef curtains or thongs to strangers. Ever. There is simply never a reason for it.

Unless I'm in dire need of material for another blog, I'm officially done with the sauna. It's too traumatic for my delicate emotions.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Morning Mayhem.

My morning began with a fierce competition between the girls fighting for my attention. It's like cracking an egg and trying to split it perfectly down the middle because if one daughter gets a drop more, I'm screwed.

Everything was unfair and God forbid, one of the them stole the other's chair while one went to put something in her backpack. "I can't believe you stole my chair! You knew I sitting there, why would you take my chair? WOW, I can't believe you did that."

We have plenty of chairs and none of them are missing. Nothing was stolen except a front row seat to me making breakfast, 10:00 snacks, and lunches (which by the way, gets a little old day after day making three meals before I finish a cup of coffee, but that's another blog).

Then Parker requests that I look at her recorder music which prompts Paige to immediately ask if she can read her book out loud and asks for help with a word. They were both speaking at the same time with increasing volume and frequency.

I said, "You guys, listen. I love you both the same regardless of who's getting the attention. You're not loved less just because I'm listening or speaking to one of you at a time."

That didn't work.

Putting on boots proved to be a challenge because apparently Paige's butt was too close to Parker's face while she leaned over to strap on her boots. After a lifetime of groans, yelps, grieving sighs, and a million tattles on each other we were out the door.

As we ran for the bus, Parker announced she forgot to put her shoes in her backpack, Paige needed her homework folder, and I was having a nervous breakdown.

I shut the door and said, "You two are acting like idiots this morning. How about we kick off the day with you scratching each other's eyes out? Sound good? You can just rip each other's faces off and save us all from the headache of listening to you verbally attack each other."

Paige said, "Well, then I would get a down arrow on my rewards and consequences chart."

Nevermind that her sister would be missing her fucking eyeballs. She's worried she won't be able to cash in her points for a "Movie Theatre Madness" reward.

We got to the garage and our wussy garage door opener stops halfway up if the temperature dips below 40 degrees. This requires me say "Shit!" and lift it as the automatic motor tries to push it up. It's like hauling a dog's fat ass up into a truck because he can't do it alone.

My tirade lasted the entire trip to school. "See how negative energy is contagious? I feel like going to a gas station and yelling at the clerk for spending more time with the customer before me. I could explain how unfair it is that she talked more to the other person in line than she did to me and she must love that other person more than me. Then that clerk could go home and scream at her kids because now I spread it to her and her kids will kick the dog..."

I capped it off with explaining that they were acting like a couple of jerks this morning and I couldn't wait to drop them off at school.

Parker said, "I'm feeling really mad that you called us idiots, jerks, and you can't wait to drop us off at school."

To which I replied, "I'm sorry I called you idiots and jerks, but you two were acting like imbeciles this morning."

This got a smile on everyone's face, including mine. I said, "Look, I'm not proud of the way I behaved. I wasn't responding with an open heart and it's never okay to call anyone names, much less a mother name-calling her own children. I'm embarrassed and I'm sorry. You two are great kids, I just want you to treat people with respect, and that includes each other. I certainly wasn't doing that myself ten minutes ago, so I understand how difficult it is."

And it is difficult. Containing another person's anger is hard work. It takes skill and practice to stay neutral while someone rants and raves. It's so easy to jump right in, strap on the boxing gloves, and take a self-absorbed swing. It takes strength to stay out of the ring and remind them that you love them.

After all, no one remembers what was said during a fight. They only remember how you made them feel. I'm guessing that instead of making my girls feel secure and loved, I made them feel like jerks. Isn't that the exact opposite of my role as a mother? I certainly didn't hold them as newborns and stroke their cheeks and say, "I hope one day I make you feel like a complete imbecile."

Intentions and actions sometimes get tangled up. Life isn't a straight trajectory with a constant move toward higher evolution. We trip, stumble, and apologize. This morning was definitly a false start with a fumble on the sidelines. All I can do is be accountable for my actions and kick off a new game when they get home.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pictures. I'm Not In Them.

I'm guessing that when I die, my children won't know what their mother looked like. In fact, they may wonder if I attended graduations, plays, or even family trips. You see, I never make it into the pictures. I have no evidence to show that I was a part of this family because I'm cut off, cut out, or simply not photographed.

I'm always trying to smash my daughter's faces next to mine so I know that least my nose will make it into the picture. I have a home video with Parker playing underneath a toy and I actually maneuvered my body underneath it next to her body so there could be footage of me next to her. My husband actually moved the camera off my face and focused the video camera onto plain carpet instead of me.

What the fuck?

There was also the time when she was in her Bjorn, attached to my body, and he still cut out my head. Our Disney cruise pictures from 2003 are filled with slices of me...a nose, a ponytail, an arm. I'm like a distorted mannequin that came along for the fucking ride.

Does he not see me smiling and posing through the goddamn lens of the camera? I am a human being trying to capture a moment in time so when I'm 98, I have proof that I haven't always been a decaying bag of bones. I need to remember that indeed I had white teeth and bright eyes. I had energy and strength. I was a mother that played with her children.

But when I'm 98, I'm going to look at pictures that may or may not resemble my eyelid, nose, hand or collarbone. I'm sure it will be confusing to go through old family albums while I sit in the nursing home wondering, "Who the fuck is that? The nanny? Did we even have a nanny?"

We sat down and talked about this, my husband and me, because I couldn't take it anymore. I don't need a sigh of grief when I ask him to snap a shot of me with the girls and I'd really appreciate it if he could possibly get my head in the fucking picture.

He didn't understand this. "I don't get it. Why do you need the picture? You're there. Why do you need a picture to remember the day?"

Okay, so there it was. He thought I was being an egotistical snob that loves looking at myself. It was time to set him straight. I went into my exhausting tirade about how, as a mother, I need to remember how it felt to hold their little bodies next to mine. I need to see the glow on my face when I smelled the jelly on their lips. It goes by so fast! I need to document as much of it as possible so I can remember it. It's how I'm wired.

It's not about having a picture of me. It's about seeing me with my kids and remembering the day and what we said and how her little 5 year old laugh sounded when I laughed with her.

I need to remember that I was there and I was a great mom that loved being a part of their lives as long as they allowed me in it. Lately, I find myself grabbing as much as I can before the precocious teenage years when they don't need my hugs, kisses and attention. It's not about the picture, it's about the experience.

I think he gets it. We went on a Disney Cruise a couple years later and every picture had me standing loud and proud with our kids. Sometimes I still get the sigh of grief when I ask him to take a picture, but that's when I remind him that I love him for doing it.

I didn't marry a photographer, I married a man who loves an experience and doesn't like that experience to be interrupted by finding a camera. However, I do. I like having proof that I was here on this earth with my family. I existed. I loved. I laughed. I will see these pictures when I'm 98 and allow myself to sink back into the memory more clearly.

Thank you honey for having the patience to give me the gift of remembering. When I'm old and struggling to remember our family when we were young, I'll have pictures to ignite my memory. It's priceless.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas On 'Roids.

Christmas cards are apparently very important to some people. We didn't send cards in 2004. I was working sixty-hour weeks and stressed to max and since my husband doesn't give a rat's ass about the cards, we decided not send any. It was so liberating! I felt free! Why hadn't we done this before? It was heaven.

And then the calls and emails came in.

"Where's your card?"
"Did you gain too much weight this year?"
"Are you getting divorced?"
"Family troubles?"
"Are you sick?"
"You must not have my current address, it's..."

It was more work controlling the damage than it was to just send the fucking cards. Does the card really say "We're a happy family?" Because we all know the chaos that ensues before everyone says, "Cheese." The baby spits up, the toddler is screaming, the husband is bitching about his sweater, and the teenage daughter is sexting her boyfriend. Even the dog is pissed off.

I would love it if someone would just send a card with a little more reality: "Happy Fucking Holidays! May your dreams come true in 2010 so we can live vicariously through you. Please ignore the stain on my shirt. I made chili before we had this picture taken and it fucking splattered everwhere. I'll never wear white again, goddammit. Here's what we were up to in 2009: Heidi (14) is pregnant, Johhny (10) was kicked out of school for saying "shithead" in class, and Bethany (5) was caught playing doctor with the neighbor boy and accidentally ripped his testicles with a stick. As for us, Bill was laid off six months ago but we're not telling anyone and I'm seeing a therapist. Wishing you zen in 2010!"

Now that's a card I'd keep around.

As for the lawn decorations, I'm not certain what's happening, but there's a competition going on. I went to my friend's house the other day. We stood in her front yard as she pointed to her neighbor's house. "Kelly, look at this. What am I going to do? It's like 'Strip Club Christmas' over there. The fucking music plays all night long and the sleigh is a strobe light. A strobe light! I feel like I'm having a migraine all night long. What am I going to do?"

It wasn't dark yet, so I didn't get the full effect of the holiday mayhem, but for the love of God (literally), his yard was filled with plastic and lights. There is a snowglobe the size of my entire house sitting in the middle of the yard. (Apparently, that's the offensive decoration singing the Nutcracker theme all night long.)

What is this new phenomenon where people can't take a year off from cards and the neighbor is displaying strobe lights and music all night long? Shouldn't it be okay to just be quiet and let the peace soak in?

It's a beautiful time of the year, but I fear that people are running too fast to enjoy it. Trust me, I've been guilty of it too. But this is not a competition of holiday spirits, it's celebrating the spirit inside. You don't need to hang lights on it, we can see it in your smile. We hear in your laughter. That's all I'm asking. Make sure you take the time to show everyone your "inner christmas lights" that blink all year long.

It's much more beautiful than strobe lights, cards, and blaring music anyway.

And p.s.
If we don't send cards this year, we're not getting divorced. I just didn't get my shit together fast enough to make them happen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Year Of Firsts.

This is the "Year Of Firsts". Anyone that has lost a loved one knows what this means. It means you limp along with a broken heart and holidays hit the hardest punch. My nephew Jake died in March. So far we made it through his birthday (the first one since his death)and now Thanksgiving.

I was crying on the treadmill, crying on my Frosted Flakes and crying in my coffee. So I figured I'd just blog it out.

My family hasn't gone through a shocking loss as we did with Jake, so we feel a little lost and dizzy. He had a grand mal seizure and that was it. How dare he leave without asking for my permission, dammit. I'm his aunt; the one he called when he was having a tough day, worried about his internship or had a new philosophy on life. And now he's gone. Forever. Fucking FOREVER! That's insane.

Anyway, we're all stumbling along trying to figure out how to live and breathe when he isn't. It sucks ass. March flew by in such a blur, but I do remember my brother-in-law being surprised at the lack of choices in urns. He said, "I know Jake would hate this urn, but it's not like we can walk down the street to 'Urns-R-Us' for crissake."

It must be noted that at this point we all had a break from reality. We simply lost our minds.

After the "Urns-R-Us" comment he said, "Kelly, it's ridiculous. We put the urn in the backseat next to Holly. Before I started driving, I turned around and said, 'Holly, buckle your brother in. He's obviously not going to do it himself.' So she did. She seatbelted his urn in the backseat. What the hell are we doing?"

What are we doing? We're trying to live. We're trying to laugh. We're trying to repair our hearts. And we're learning compassion.

I never realized people walked around feeling this way until my sister and I went to the airport to pick up our parents. We wore sunglasses and basball caps and choked back our grief until we weren't in public anymore.

People that seem crabby or unhappy probably have good reason. Who knows what kinds of heartbreak people are dealing with? Who cares if they don't greet me with a thousand-watt smile. Maybe they're barely keeping it together while they recover their spirit. I used to walk around feeling so offended when someone didn't return my smile. I don't take things personally anymore. People are entitled to their emotions; the entire spectrum of it.

Anyway, my brother-in-law was right. Jake would hate that urn. My sister is currently taking a pottery class to make a new one. One that represents his passions and interests. I think it's been incredibly healing for her to have a part in creating a home for him.

She had a rough day recently and I asked, "If someone could offer you the opportunity that Jake was never born, therefore you wouldn't feel this pain, would you? Would you take it all back and not feel the pain?"

She didn't even hestitate. "No. I wouldn't take back one minute of loving him."

We hurt because we love. And love is always worth it. I wouldn't take it back either. Today I'm thankful for the twenty-two years he was here. I loved Jake when he was here and that love isn't taken away just because he's not here anymore. I get to keep that love I have for my nephew tucked safely in my heart.

So there we have it. Be thankful for all the people in your life today. Whether they're here or not. The love you have is never worthless or a waste of energy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Minute Clinic. RIGHT NOW.

The other morning I woke up with a bladder infection (I'm aware that every man reading my blog just dropped off after that sentence). I tried doing some meditating and energy work on it to see if I could cure it without popping pills. Screw the western world and all the fucked-up pill-popping. I'm going holistic, dammit! To my astonishment, it worked.

For a day.

Today I woke up convinced that someone was pouring lava into my crotch. My bladder was pissed (literally and figuratively) and fought back. And won.

I played Paige's Nemo Memory game with her until Minute Clinic opened at 8:00. Tick, ouch. Tock, fuck. Tick, shit. Tock, motherfucker! So while I was totally preoccupied with my excruciating need to pee every three minutes, I was trying to remember where that fucking Nemo and Dora card is so I can make one pair to Paige's eighteen matched pairs of cards. She said, "Mom, how can you NOT remember where the match is? It's right here!"

I don't know where Nemo is, but I sure as hell know where the bladder infection is. For God's sake, why must women have to go through all the shit? We push watermelons out of our crotch, we menstruate, we get yeast infections (those are superfun), and of course urinary tract infections (what I call bladder infections). At this point, I'm ready to trade in my crotch for a penis. Honest to Christ, my husband pees pain-free and that right there is worth it.

Anyway, I raced to Minute Clinic after my intense game of Nemo Memory and I swear to God, the doctor was thirteen years old. He had braces and proceeded to pull out a handbook complete with Post-It Notes and writing from what I believe to be his college classes. Since he's my gatekeeper to the goods, I had to listen patiently (because I'm literally a patient, so patience is required). He explained every possible bacteria and what meds target which bacteria. We were figuring this out together.

I don't give a shit what targets what as long as something targets my pee zone. Give me M&Ms and call it a medication and let the placebo effect do its thing. I don't care about medical terms, side effects, and certain bacteria. I do care that I'm peeing liquid fire.

I wanted to grab tiny his wrist and march him over to the pharmacy like a mother scolding a child. I would have explained to the pharmacist that my son, er doctor, isn't understanding that I need to feast on every antibiotic available. Pronto.

Instead I waited until his incessant, insecure, rambling came to an end and he finally wrote out my beloved prescription. I ripped it out of his hands ran to the pharmacy where I tap, tap, tapped my fingers on the counter until the angel came forth with my shiny bottle of medicated goodness.

I don't care if he was thirteen and I was his first Minute Clinic client, I am grateful for that man/boy beyond belief. Yes, I could have held him on my hip while he wrote that prescription, but I don't care. I'm on my way to a pain-free life again and I owe it all to him

Friday, November 20, 2009

Goldfish.

Parker's goldfish Daffodil is dying. This is not good for an OCD thinker such as myself. I'm sitting here wondering how she's doing. Is she in pain? What is she thinking? Is she aware how bad she stinks? Is she pissed she's not as shiny as she used to be?

It probably doesn't help that I tapped on her tank a few hundred times asking, "Daffy? You okay, Bud? You alright in there? DAFFY!?" If she could talk, she'd probably say, "Fuck off with your tapping and staring already. I'm trying to die in peace, bitch."

I can barely eat knowing she's suffering just on the other side of wall. My appetite is gone from that "death smell" that's hanging in the air. Well, maybe just a couple more Pringles. It's not like Daff would eat them anyway. She's not even eating her food shavings.

Now what? How long does this go on? I can't handle the lingering death vibe that's reverberating throughout our house. I refuse to flush her down before her time is up. That's just not right.

But could I put her bowl in the basement until the big event happens to clear the air out a little bit? Is that cruel?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Open Mouth Insert Foot.

I have difficulty censoring what I say. Words fall off my lips without my permission, and sometimes, without my knowledge. I won't even realize what I've said until I see people's reaction. Then I have to endure this awkward moment before I ask, "Wait. What just happened? What did I just say?" Then someone will repeat it back to me and I'll want to crawl into a cave. Forever.

Remember meeting your spouse's parents for the first time? I do. It was Christmas at his mother's house and I noticed something like a carved wooden stick in the corner. I thought it was a gag gift. So while surrounded by my future husband's extended family, I thought I'd crack a joke about it. Because that's what I do when I'm nervous. I crack jokes. It's not good.

Here's how this one played out:

I laughed and said, "Oh nice. So who got the stick for Christmas?"

My husband-to-be leaned over to me as everyone witnessed the unraveling of my confidence. "My mother has MS. That's her cane."

Fuck.

Then there was the bowling event with my future husband, his brother and father. I was trying to be helpful when I said, "So, can I help anyone carry their balls for them?"

They all stopped and stared, which made me panic more. I said, "Oh God, not those balls (as I pointed to their crotches), the other balls, you know with ones with holes, I mean the ones you stick your fingers in, I mean the colored balls, the ones that are not attached to your body, the balls that ..."

I cannot believe he had the balls to marry me after committing such verbal crimes to his parents.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Lucky Ones.

Yesterday I created a "Dream It, Live It" board in the kitchen. It's like believing in Santa again. We posted our dreams on the board and every time we walk by it, we see our hopes right there in front of us. And every time we look at it, more energy is poured into it.

It's just a matter of time before my husband gets a '62 Corvette, my daughters "skydive" in a wind tunnel, and I'm on Oprah promoting my book and helping thousands of people heal anxiety and depression.

I also wrote a check to myself for $250,000 for good measure. That should help cover our sailing trip in the Virgin Islands and our long, drunk weekend in Ireland.

It's fun to dream, hope and play. And it works. I met my knight in shining zubaz in 1990 because I dreamed of finding someone to love.

And here's the trick: Be grateful for what is...whatever "it" is." It's important we don't feel lack while roping in our dreams like celestial cowgirls. We don't bang our forks and knives on the table while complaining that shit isn't falling into our laps quick enough. That's Paris Hilton's job, not ours.

Two years ago I wrote a note to myself when I was feeling trapped in a job that wasn't right for me. It said, "I am writing a book and thrilled to finally be an author! My life is flexible enough to get the girls off the bus every single day."

Guess what I'm doing these days? I'm writing a book and my life is flexible enough to get the girls off the bus every single day. And I didn't do anything to make it happen.

Damn, it's a beautiful thing when dreams manifest. I can almost feel that blue-green water beneath me right now. AAaaahhhhhhhh....

So go on now and toss your rope to the stars. Make your wish and believe it's yours. Because it is.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bring Sexy Back.

A few months ago, I was on a date with the hubbs. We found a postcard for a Boudoir Portrait party laying on the bar. Free drinks, 8x10 framed portrait, hair and makeup, psychic readings and chocolate.

I emptied the contents of my glass and said, “Honey, let’s go.” He slammed his beer and nodded. He was ready. I was wearing his favorite lingerie and the party was right next door. It was meant to be.

Women ranging in age from twenty-one to sixty were smiling, laughing, talking and drinking. Husbands were draining their beer bottles, watching their wives transform into sex kittens. Sweet magic was injected back into a lot of marriages that night.

My hair was Brigitte Bardot and my makeup was set on “whore”, but I didn’t care. I’ve always been the conservative good girl next door and wanted to break out of my shell for once, goddammit. After knocking back a couple glasses of champagne I was ready to rock. As I made my way to the private studio for my personal photo, women were hollering encouragement and support. "You GO girl!"

But the bubbly wasn’t the only thing intoxicating that night. It was the vibe of women supporting other women. I think that's missing in the real world. We're so busy comparing our asses to our friend's asses. Our muffin tops to our colleague's abs. Our thin lips to our neighbor's full lips...

Men don't do this. My husband has never said, "Is my ass bigger than Tom's ass?" He also doesn't stare at other men's abs, thighs, arms or backfat. Men don't give a shit about other men's bodies. They don't feel "less than" if a ripped twenty year old walks by them on the beach. They understand they haven't lost value just because another guy does a million crunches every morning.

I think women forgot they're on the same team. Just because your neighbor is a tennis star and certified yogi, doesn't make you less than who you are. And when women unite instead of compete, it's a powerful thing. The Boudoir party was an example of that. No one cared if someone had bat wings (underarm fat) or muffin tops. We were too busy feeling proud of each other and ourselves for having a picture taken while relatively naked.

It was a slice of time where we stripped down the walls of competition that night and became emotionally naked too. It was an extra gift that wasn't included in the price, but by far the most valuable.


p.s.
I think it would be an amazing way to celebrate turning forty. I have a lot of friends ringing in the new decade this year. What a fun way to celebrate your forty years of fabulousness!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Bus.

When I worked in the city I took the bus. Most days I didn’t mind it, but around this time of year, people were coughing and hacking all over me. Kleenex was hanging out of purses and threatening to touch my arm. I tried to make my body as narrow as possible so nothing touched me, but let’s face it, you can't escape germs when you're riding a germ tube to work.

Once, I sat next to a woman with dirty fingernails. I swear little insects were crawling out from under her nails and onto my book. They were "pretend nails" and apparently baked too long because the french part of the manicure was yellow. It seemed to me that she was scraping cheddar cheese with her nails before work and didn’t bother to wash her hands. I have to wonder if it stinks underneath the fake "topper" nail.

There was one man on the bus that coughed into a handkerchief. I’m so confused about the handkerchief phenomenon. I want to know how many handkerchiefs he owns and how often he washes them. I don't understand the concept. Shouldn't expelled mucous be disposed of immediately? And aren’t 'kerchief users just jamming their faces back into all the germs when they use it over and over and over and over again? At some point, I have to figure they’re reversing the progress and shoving bacteria back into their noses.

Some are handkerchiefs are monogrammed which kills me. No one is going to steal it. Trust me. How does that even happen? Does the crazy aunt give them out for bad Christmas gifts? I can't imagine opening a Christmas present to reveal a square of fabric with "KSN" on it. I'd be like, "What the fuck is this, do I roll it and smoke it?" I can't imagine.

But since I'm a radical optimist, I have to admit there was good stuff too about public transportation. It was thirty minutes of being just me, without owing anyone anything other than the seat next to me. I wasn't a wife, mother, daughter, sister or employee. I was free to read a book, listen to music or just appreciate the changing leaves from my little window.

Handkerchiefs and fake nails aside, the germ tube actually has the opportunity to be a peaceful break from the day. Set the blackberry aside and just be free for a little slice of time.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Note To Introverts From A Recovering Extrovert.

It's interesting to me how introverts and extroverts always come together like magnets. I figure the introvert is looking for someone to take the edge off and produce small talk for them. And the extrovert is looking for someone to listen to their incessant rambling without interruption. It actually works quite well. What's interesting is that both of these, when severe, is considered social anxiety. They're just on opposite sides of the spectrum.

My husband and I were the perfect example of it. We used to go to parties and when we got home I would ask him, "Do you think I offended any one of the million people I was talking to tonight? I just rambled on and on about my thong because I couldn't stand the silent gaps. At one point I started talking about our checking account and I rambled off our PIN number. Dammit. I'm sure they think I'm a coke addict, but I hate those few seconds of silence when no one talks..."

To which my husband would reply, "Are you kidding? I was in the corner rocking myself in the fucking fetal position because I was so terrified of all the small talk. There is no way I can monitor your conversations when I can't even greet someone. Christ, I'm exhausted."

I overcompensated to relieve my anxiety and he was catatonic. We made quite a pair. I was busy jamming persectives of myself into people's heads: "Please see me as a strong, independent, witty woman!" I forgot that what people think of me is none of my business. My husband on the other hand, couldn't even peel himself off the wall to care about perspective. He just wanted to make it through a party without being petrified.

The thing about parties and the socially anxious extrovert is that we can't imagine someone not wanting the spotlight. So we exhaust ourselves, trying to gush and shine our intense light on every introvert at the party to make them feel welcome and happy. We don't realize we're terrifying them, we think we're making them feel special.

You see, the anxious extroverts of the world want to make sure you introverts are getting enough attention. Because frankly, we can't seem to get enough of it. If you return from a trip, we want to shower you with attention and maybe even burst out in a "Welcome Home" song for you (I have done this). It's difficult to let you slide into a room without creating a big party for you. Because if we create a big buzz, we get to share the spotlight with you. So you see, we're not actually doing it all for you. It's more about producing attention-getting schemes so we can bask in the gregarious social cluster with you.

I'm happy to report that my husband and I have outgrown our social anxieties for the most part. However, if I have an intense listener that takes more than 4 seconds to respond to my babbling, I tend to fill in the excruciating silence with meaningless babble. And if there is a social gathering of strangers, my husaband may take a few bathroom trips to break up the pain of it all. But for the most part, we enjoy ourselves without exhausting all our energy.

I've recently learned to sit back and listen to other people. It's heart-warming to discover how incredible people are. I had no idea I had such amazing friends. I was so busy talking, I didn't have time to learn about their hopes, dreams, and challenges. Nice friend I was. But hey, everyone is work in progress right?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jelly Side Down Days.

I refer to sucky days as "jelly-side down days". It dates back to when our daughters were two year old and "infant-screaming-with-an-ear infection". I was toggling back and forth all day between them, trying to minimize the screaming that began the previous night. I was pulling my hair out by morning snack.

I even pooped on the toilet while bouncing my baby in the Bjorn while changing the shirt of my toddler. I was aware of the sanitary issues, but the screaming from both mouths would have been too much if I tried to go alone. Dignity is simply something a woman gives up when she has a toddler and newborn. I know I'm not the only that has done this, ladies.

Anyway, back to the original jelly-side down day. I didn’t have a morsel of food until 7:00 pm because I was so busy feeding, cleaning, changing, playing, singing, and rocking. So I made an English muffin with strawberry jelly for myself and as I walked across the kitchen I dropped it. Jelly side down. It was the last straw.

I yelled, “MOTHERFUCKER! JELLY SIDE DOWN! PARKER (my two year old), LOOK AT THIS! JELLY FUCKING SIDE DOWN! OH MY GOD!”

The good news is my children stopped screamining due to sheer shock and terror. The bad news is, they were shocked and terrified. I apologized and admitted that I wasn't proud of my behavior. Paige didn't give a shit since she was three weeks old, but I still thought she deserved an apology. Parker just stood there, paralyzed in fear.

But God, the one “meal” I made for myself was now lying on the floor, jelly side down. If it landed jelly side up, everything would have been fine. I would have picked it up and shoved it in my face. But I couldn’t pick it up and eat it because I hadn’t washed floors in at least three weeks. Damn it.

It's the little things that knock us off kilter, isn't it? We hold it together for the big things like surgery, ER visits, and the croup. But goddamn it if a an english muffin lands jelly side down. Why is that? You would think we would fall apart on the big things, but it's always the feather landing on top of the pile that releases the volcano.

During this phase of my life, I entertained a certain fantasy. It had nothing to do with an orgasm. That would produce another infant-with-an-ear-infection, which was not fantasy material.

Instead, I dreamed of being sent away to a resort where talking was not permissible. Meditation was the only activity allowed. My room did not have windows and no one cared if I emerged from the room or not. I could sleep for sixteen hours if I wanted. And then, when I was well-rested, a healthy dinner would be waiting for me. And if an English muffin was served with that dinner, it would be jelly side up.

What can I say, sometimes a girl just needs the little things to line up before appreciating the big things like health, love and security.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween.

Halloween. A day that encourages children to take candy from strangers. And not only from strangers, but strangers with fake blood and a noose around their necks. I have to wonder what my kids think as we make our way around fake headstones, say hello to skeletons, and ring doorbells on a porch that features death on a zipline.

Last year they witnessed my husband and I doing a jello shot with a vampire and his "dead" wife. That must have been traumatizing on some level.

It always feels weird to walk my children up to the doorstep that includes the fake dead body with a knife stabbed in its chest and say, “That’s okay girls, yes, it appears the owners of this home stabbed someone to death. Now let’s beg for candy. Fingers crossed for Reeses cups!”

I'm trying to teach my daughters to respect and compassion. But what they hear loud and clear on Halloween is that it’s okay to step over a dead body to beg for candy.

I have to admit, there are some good costumes out there. What about the ones splattered in blood that don't say "Trick or Treat"? They freak me out. I get the shivers wondering if it really is a costume or if they just finished someone off in the field with the kitchen knife and now they have the munchies.

Then there are the princesses crying on my front doorstep because they are "fat", meaning their parents were forced to jam a winter coat under their costume and strap a hat on their head. We live in Minnesota, so we don't have a choice. Some kids are in snow pants with a Spiderman costume stretched over it. Trust me, it looks fucking painful.

And the poor parents are sprinting from house to house trying to rush the kids through the loot, rubbing their hands together while drinking spiked apple cider. “Okay good! Keep it going, keep moving guys, keep walking, let’s go, Jesus Christ it’s freezing, keep going…”

As a Minnesotan, you really have to search for a kid’s costume. I’ve had a few kids standing on my doorstep in full snow gear with a, "Hello My Name Is: FIREMAN" sticker to indicate that they are indeed a fireman underneath all the layers.

But through all the guts and gore, it's worth it. I can't deny the excitement that fills our house when they return from their "Sugar Walk." They feel brave to have conquered the house with bones reaching out of the ground/snow. Courage and Bravery are other things I'm trying to teach my kids and if Halloween gives them a little of it, then it's cool with me.

Besides, you can't beat those red, smiling cheeks when they return.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Secret Swearing.

You may be surprised, but I don't swear much in real life. I know, I know. When I run into people, I think they expect me to pull out a cigarette and start cursing like a sailor. Wait. To be honest, I called my dog Rocket a fat ass a few seconds ago, but he just sat on my zip drive and broke it. No kidding, as I was typing the first sentence of this blog, he hopped on the sofa and sat his big, furry ass on the zip drive and cracked it. It's hanging like a used condom from the side of my computer. Trust me, he deserved that comment. And since he's a dog and can't process words, I'm convincing myself that it's not verbally abusive.

But honestly, I don't swear a lot. This blog is kind of my alter ego. The bad ass I wish I could be, but don't have the guts in real life.

My kids, on the other hand, are desperately trying to find the wiggle room when it comes to swearing. Paige will drag out, "HELL-o!" just to hear herself say the word "hell". When I was their age, I used to say,"Ah Ship!" and then when my dad stared at me with disgust, I'd say, "I said shiP! With a P. You can't ground me for that."

To this day, my dad has a difficult time reading my blog because of my potty mouth. "I like your blog, but I didn't think my little girl used that kind of language." My mom chimed in and say, "Well Ron, if something is shitty, then it's shitty."

I don't think he appreciated me spreading the contagious sailor talk with my mother.

My oldest daughter, Parker, recently admitted to a brilliant loophole I never thought of: Flipping the bird with her hands jammed in her pockets. She sat us down at the kitchen counter and said, "Mom? Dad? I have to tell you something and I may get in trouble for it, but I can't keep it in anymore."

We looked at each other with apprehension. Drugs already? She's only nine!

She said, "Well, I wanted to see what it was like to put my middle finger up, but I was so nervous, I did it with my hands in my pockets. It only lasted for a second and I didn't like it, but I just had to be honest with you."

Whew. We explained that it's not classy to flip people the bird, nor is it classy to swear. She has choices to make, but our guidelines are to treat everyone with respect and swearing doesn't fall into the respect category (unless you know how to use it for comic relief, which I refrained from saying out loud).

We haven't had an issue since, but I'm definitely aware of watching where she's putting her hands when I ask her to do her homework or clean her room. I don't want her using the "Pocket Bird" stunt on me. Man, kids are smart these days.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Not-So-Clean Kids

I was running errands with my daughters, ages nine and seven, this week. I gave them gum to keep them preoccupied so they wouldn’t realize we had three more stops to make before going home. I looked in the rearview mirror ten minutes later to see them not chewing gum. I asked, “Did you swallow your gum?”

The both looked at each other in a conspiracy, like, “Should we tell her?”

I started getting alarmed. Was it in their hair? Did they throw it out the window at the police car next to us at the red light? Was it smeared on the back of my seat? Were they choking on it? Where did the fucking gum go??

“Well, we put in the “secret garbage".

Apparently, the secret garbage is the little area on the car doors where you put maps, change, and apparently half-eaten doughnuts, suckers, crackers, jolly ranchers, gushers, and chewed gum. I’m not sure if I’m grateful they weren’t actually eating all the sugar I’d been giving them or if I was disturbed that I would now have to scrape and pick all that carp out of the plastic holders.

And to think I was scolding Paige for putting princess sticks her on her window. Which, by the way, took about four hours and a razor blade to get them all off.

But hey, I’m not the only one with kids that have secret storage places. My friend recently moved her son’s bed to the other side of the room to change it up a bit and was horrified to see that he had a “Booger Wall”. That’s right. His wall was filled with chunky, green crust and boogers. She was horrified. Of all the vacuuming, dusting, and washing of the floors, it never occurred to her to scrub the walls free of boogers and snot. How many times do we say, "Get a kleenex?" Never once have I heard a mother say, "Just wipe it on the wall."

I'm happy to report that my kids’ bedroom walls are clean. But since I'm an obsessive compulsive freak, I still searched everywhere: Under the bathroom counter, bedsheets, the tops of their dressers. Any area that would allow a booger to stick.

But alas, everything was clean. Thank God. Except, of course, my car. I may need to get that razor blade out again to scrape off all the bubblelicious.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sirens And The Babysitter.

I was pulled over tonight while bringing the babysitter home. She said, "Wow, I never thought this would happen on the way home from a babysitting night!"

Then she asked, "Does this happen a lot to you?" I think she was trying to wager whether or not my $7 an hour is worth it. Either that, or tell her dad, the fucking SHERIFF by the way, that I drive too fast.

But here's what gets me every time: "Any idea why I pulled you over?"

I need to know if anyone answers this question. No one in their right mind is going to say, "I was hauling ASS. Sorry about that."

And then the dreaded insurance card requirement. It's beyond me why I can't keep the current blue cards in my car. They expired 7/7.

And every single time I'm busted for it, I explain that my uncle Jimmy is my American Family agent and I'll get him on the case right away. I don't know why the hell I bring my uncle into this. I must think the cop will appreciate that I'm loyal to family or something.

Last year, when I was pulled over for expired tabs, expired insurance, speeding, and
no seatbelt, I asked the cop if he'd like for me to call uncle Jimmy on my cell and speak with him directly.

He said "No", but he wanted to say, "I don't give a SHIT who uncle Jimmy is, you need to get this taken care of. Now."

But I always seem to get off with a warning and I don't know why. Maybe it's because I am truly frightened of anyone in uniform and think they're going to kick the crap out of me. Maybe sensing that fear is enough for them.

When I was sixteen, fresh license in hand, I took my mom's red sunbird for a spin. Like, sixty-five in a thirty, kind of spin. It wasn't long before the red and blue lights twinkled in my rearview mirror. The badged man screamed, "WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR LICENSE, A CRACKER JACK BOX!?"

I got off with a warning. And peed my pants a little.

Another policeman pulled me over for expired tabs about ten years ago. Or so he thought.

"Oh. Got it." I explained, "No, they're not expired, I just put both stickers on the front."

There was a stunned silence while he wondered if I was kidding. I wasn't. Honest to God, I just slapped them both in the front and called it a day. The front of my car had "99" and "99" on it. No month.

He gave me a warning and secretly wondered if I was mentally handicapped.

And you know what? After reading this blog, I'm beginning to wonder that myself.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Sex Talk.

I'm not sure how it evolved, but the girls and I were having breakfast and they started talking about how they'll be women soon. They're 9 and 7.

Indeed the oldest will be changing soon, so I thought this was a great teaching moment. I launched into a long diatribe about the law of attraction and how you want to attract a healthy, trustworthy, confident person into your life when you get older.

I explained that you need to love a person's heart and soul and trust them with an intimate experience. It's not something that will complete you or give you worth. Confidence and esteem come from within, not a boy.

Wanting to keep the lines of communication open, I said, "So do you have any questions? I want to be open with this topic because it's an important one."

Paige, my youngest, shoved a pancake in her mouth and said, "So when can I get some of this sex and when will we get boobs?"

Fuck.

I replied, "Not until you're 30 and never".

That went well, no?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Imposter Parents.

I'm getting to the bottom of a strange phenomenon happening at our house. My daughters yell my name out of the blue and when I answer, they say, "Oh okay, I just wanted to see where you were."

Apparently, they think I'm playing a sadistic game of hide and seek when I fold laundry upstairs, write my book downstairs, or wash any number of floors that aren't under their feet. I wasn't aware I needed to check in like a teenager.

This morning it was the same thing, only this time the reply was, "I just wanted to make sure you were still here."

Still here. Where the fuck would I go?

So I sat them both down to discuss. They poured out all their anxiety of abandonment, hitting the crescendo with, "When you and dad go back downstairs to watch TV and we're upstairs in bed, we sneak down to see your toes to make sure you're still there. But even then, we think you might just put up cardboard cutouts to trick us."

To be sure you heard me right: My daughters think my husband and I have cardboard cutouts of ourselves and we painted slippers and toenails on them, to trick our daughters, so we could get in the car and bolt.

I was stunned. I said, "Where do you think we want to be other than here?"

They looked at each other and confessed, "Valleyfair."

Valley-fucking-fair.

Let me tell you something. If we go to that much trouble to duck out on our parental obligations, the last place we will go is Valleyfair.

Anyway, I explained that we're not peeling out of the driveway with glee as soon as we tuck them in. We're decompressing, which is essential for being good parents.

I explained that we love them and they're safe and protected, even when we sit on the patio in the evening.

"But what if you get hit by lightening?"

I explained the patio is safe. While I don't understand the psysics of it, we will survive a conversation on the patio.

They "What if'd" me about a hundred more times: What if you die in your sleep, what if a car runs you over on a walk, what if someone shoots you, what if the house burns down, what if a tornado hits the house...

At then it occurred to me. I used to live my life like that. I "What if'd" myself into a life of fear. I didn't realize those girls were watching so carefully.

Damn it. Sometimes I wish we could put an "R" rating on our lives to prevent them from seeing some of the shit we do.

But there are no filters or screens and our kids are sitting in the front row of our lives with popcorn and Junior Mints watching our even move, word and action.

Now I've got some work to do. Because life is meant for risks and adventure. Not "What if".

And besides, what if it's GOOD?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Circles Of Motherhood.

I was at McDonalds yesterday and met a young mother. Before I saw her infant, I knew she had an infant.

It looked like nighttime punched her the face, creating those dark circles under her eyes. Her thong was crawling up out of her sweatpants and her hair was was barely in a ponytail from the previous night.

She was beautiful.

We've all been there. But when I visited this place of chaotic Toddlerinfantville, the competition was less.

These days, it seems you need to enter a club before associating with other moms. The ticket includes organic food, breastfeeding, sleek strollers, and wooden toys.

If you don't have all of them, you're judged, criticized and outcasted before you can say, "My nipples kill."

C'mon ladies, play nice. There's no need for a verbal throwdown if someone allows their child to play with a plastic toy.

My new McDonalds friend summed it up by saying, "I was prepared for motherhood to be hard. And it is. But what's harder, is the judgement from other mothers. That part isn't in the books."

What is this phonomenon? Why are new mothers shredding instead of supporting? Are we all so fucking insecure that we need to rip someone a new asshole to make ourselves feel like we're doing it right?

That can't be the answer.

I'm going out on a limb here, but I think new moms should try a new route for a while. Give others permission to make their own choices and be the person they need to be. Lighten up for crissakes and enjoy paving your road.

Let others make shitty mistakes. Your job is to be there when they learn from them. Because we all make shitty choices along the road. No one is exempt from mistakes.

And we shouldn't be. It's how we learn and grow. It's expected and needed.

How else will we become wise old grandmothers with rollers in our hair?

Friday, July 24, 2009

City Girl Camping.

I'm taking my family camping in about a month. We tried this for the first time recently, and while we forgot the rain-preventer-covering-the-tent-thing, we did a respectable job.

And that's saying a lot, since the people from whom we borrowed the tent, had no idea how to set it up and lost the instructions.

Apparently, we're not the only amateur campers.

It didn't rain (thank God), but I had other worries on my mind. I was terrified a bear was going to jump on our tent and eat my babies like Junior Mints.

So I remained awake listening to cracking branches, rustling leaves and what I belived to be footsteps. Bear footsteps. Big ones.

This was probably unecessary worry, since we staked our tent on the lawn of our friend's cabin. To say we were "camping" is a far reach since we had 2,000 square feet of convenience at our disposal.

But still, we were lying there like fucking bait for wolves, bears and other evil creatures that growl and howl. We looked like mouth-watering burritos rolled up in our sleeping bags.

My anxiety surprised me a little because I'm not necessarily a city girl. I attended keggers in the hayfields growing up. I've peed behind bushes on the way home from parties.

So you see, I'm not averse to nature, I've just never slept in it.

Unless you count the time my boyfriend and I pitched a tent and I wrote, "You're cute" with my fingers on the tent. I had no idea tents were so tempermental. Apparently you're not allowed to touch them?

It rained. No, it poured. I woke up all pissed off thinking someone was throwing water at my face. I was barely awake before I was yelling, "What the fuck! This is stupid. I have a dry bed IN A WARM HOUSE and I'm choosing to sleep on fucking mud? This is ridiculous...."

To which my boyfriend replied, "You're the fucking idiot that touched the goddamn tent. Oh my GOD, you are dumb."

All the other campers were a little annoyed at our domestic dispute at 3 am. I know this because someone yelled, "Either shut the fuck up or leave. NOW!"

We left. Covered in mud, mosquito bites and the bitter taste of a break up.

I can't believe I'm going to do it again, but the faces on my daughters when they woke up in a tent for the first time was priceless. They couldn't believe they survived a night in the "wilderness". They walked with their chests puffed out a little more, proud of their courage.

And I have to say, there was something about the trees and breeze that filled me with peace when my fear stepped aside and allowed it in.

Besides, since I've already experience the worst camping trip in the world, everything else is bound to trump it. Jellystone, here we come!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow.

Apologies for the sporatic posting. I'm writing a book, so my free time is spent writing the book instead of the blog (aka "Hyper-writing").

Today's topic is hair.

I got a wild hair up my ass one boring day at work, so I grabbed a spot at my salon over lunch. My very gay stylist explained that I'd look so fabulous with short, blonde hair.

I replied, "Sure, what the hell, go for it". He almost died of a heart attack. A transformation! Finally, after all these years of trimming my bangs he was allowed to make me over. He actually gasped with delight.

After shaving my hair like a landscaping tree and dying it bright blonde, I was indeed transformed.

Into what, I'm not sure. I gained about 15 years. I went from a young, vibrant woman, to The Old Woman In A Shoe.

I don't mind aging, but fifteen years in one hour was a little fast. Dark circles even appeared under my eyes, a direct symptom of this disease of a hairdo.

I screamed at the mirror, realizing there was nothing I could do. All my beautiful brown curls were dead at my feet. Tombstones of younger, better, sexier days.

My husband was suckerpunched. I left the house with long brown hair and came back looking like Edie Falco with a twist of Little House On The Prairie.

Take Edie's hair, add a little bit of mullet, but tendrils on the side. Honestly, I can't explain it.

He slapped his hands up over his mouth and just stared. Blank. I stood there, looking like a psychotic lawn gnome.

All I could say was, "Yeah."

He stared at me the entire night. Watching me pour Lucky Charms into a bowl, watching me brush my teeth, watching me watch TV...this went on for days until the shock wore off.

I had no choice but to wait it out. For-fucking-ever.

Unfortunately I was in three weddings that year. It's horrific to think these couples are looking through their wedding albums and seeing the disaster on my head.

I over-drank at their receptions to make myself look better...to myself. It's a shame when you have to wear your own beer googles.

But, what can I say. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

I explore. I try. And I learn.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Kid Is DATING?!?

If this isn't happening to you right now, be prepared. It's going to happen and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

Your sweet little baby is going to date.

My friend is experiencing this right now. Her son is 13. He has a girlfriend. So now what? Do they force him to tag along on all grocery trips? If she grabs dry cleaning, she fears the girlfriend is going to sneak over for a quick make-out session with her son.

I can imagine my friend paying for her bill at the cleaners, "Here's my fucking card. Hurray! My teenager has the run of the house!"

It may be ironic that while my friend is paying for her clothes at the cleaners, her son's girlfriend could be rushing to grab her shirt off the floor before The Mom returns. Sweet Jesus, this is too much.

This is a whole new set of fears. Wasn't it just last year my friend was worried he'd choke on a Lego? How is he kissing a girl already?

My sister recently experienced this "passing of the torch". Her son, 20, had an accident and was rushed to the hospital. He asked for his girlfriend before anyone else. Ouch.

There was a mild tug-of-war between my sister and the girlfriend over the hospital bed, deciding who was going to give him his juice.

"Here's your juice, baby."
"No, he likes it with ice cubes, I've got it."
"But he told me he didn't want apple juice, so I've got it."
"No really, he's always liked apple juice, since kindegarten..."

But in the end, my sister waved the white flag. It's time. Her son doesn't need his mommy for juice anymore. Plus, his girlfriend is amazing. She's an inspiration to all of us and a great addition to our family.

My sister released him gracefully, realizing that if she gives him space, there will be space for her. If she crowds him, she only crowds herself out. It's a sick truth.

But what about those tender years between 13 and 20? I dated an incredibly religious boy throughout high school and even we carved out that special time when his mom ran out for groceries.

"You're alone? I'll be over in 5 minutes." I raced my '72 Valiant down Highway 61 faster than you can say, "Hormones". I now understand that I wasn't fooling his mother, since every time she returned from an errand, I was standing in her kitchen. Blushing. Sometimes with my shirt buttoned incorrectly.

It wasn't a major deal, condoms weren't being ripped open with our teeth or anything, but there was something cool about having the parents out of the house. We were pretending to be adults and it felt good to be trusted.

Did we make out? Hell yes. Did we do things we shouldn't have? I don't know, maybe.

Let's face it. It's natural to have hormones rushing through your body when you're a teen. It's normal to have your insides burn up and melt when you connect with someone.

And frankly, I know a lot of mothers/wives who would love a "Re-rush" of hormones to kickstart their marriages, but that's another conversation.

So what are we to do? Trust and hope our values and morals trump the fiery hormones blasting through our teenage children?

Or demand they tag along on every errand like a fucking 3 year old? My God, the regression would be painful, wouldn't it? You'd look in the rearview mirror to see your 16 year old son sucking his thumb. Creepy.

My daughters are 9 and 7, so I'm not quite there yet. But I'm guessing that if I don't trust them, they're going to give me good reason not to trust them.

It's the 'ol self-fulfilling label prophecy we learned about in psych 101. If we label someone, they eventually live up to it.

So I'm going to hold my children with an open palm. They'll define themselves, and re-define, and re-define again, throughout their life. That's what life is...evolution.

I'm hoping they never give up their self-worth or dignity while trying new things. Yes, it's important to explore. I just hope they remember the moral compass I installed in their hearts.

You know, the one that says, "KEEP YOUR SHIRT BUTTONED AND YOUR JEANS ON!!!!"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shameful Techno Catfights.

A few years ago, I IM'd my friend a backstabbing note about someone in the office.

I sent it to the victim instead of my friend. That was classy.

She stood up, looked into my cube and said, "I wasn't supposed to get that, was I." Uh, no. She wasn't supposed to receive that little nugget of acid on her screen.

My blood ran cold, my heart stopped, and I think I began twitching.

The world stopped and jammed its finger in my face and said, "Shame on you, Kelly." If only I could have crawled into a dark cave. Forever.

But instead I defended myself. Against what, you ask? I have no fucking clue, but no one puts baby in a corner and I was in a corner.

Nevermind that I deserved to be there and I was the idiot sending scathing messages about her, to her.

I'm happy to report I've matured greatly since this harsh lesson in bashing other people. It's never worth it.

It didn't really didn't matter if my victim knew about my shitty little attacks or not. I knew, and for that, I paid the hefty price of self respect.

And not-so-surprisingly, technology isn't novacaine. Trust me. It hurts the offending party whether it's via text, IM, facebook, twitter, or vmail. It rips up their feelings all the same.

There's also the realization that other people may not want to hear me rip someone a new asshole. Let's face it, I wasn't tarnishing anyone's reputation but my own.

Plus, there's karma, man. We get what we give. It's truly that easy. Give good, get good. Done.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Boundaries.

There are all kinds of classes available when you have a baby. Baby & Me, Toddler Town, Crawling Creatures...whatever, I don't really remember the names, but you get the point. There were shitloads of advice out there when we had babies.

But what happens when our kids get older? What about the gap of 9-15 years? We're on our own?

Good Christ, I'm here to say that I could use some trained help in this area.

I may not be the only parent out there having a hard time setting boundaries with older kids. When they were babies, it was easy. "Don't touch that or you'll be electrocuted." Life or death situations are simple.

I mean, I want them to live for crissakes.

But when they're older...oh man. Now they negotiate and I find myself counter-offering showers, meals, and cell phones. This isn't life or death, it's preferences, choices, and contributions.

I'll ask my 7 year old to pick up her shit (trust me, there is plenty of it), and somehow she'll turn it around not do it.

Four hours later I'm looking at the same pile of shit that I requested to be removed.

Sometimes I get confused...is this the same pile of shit or did she put it away and take it back out again to form yet a new pile of shit? I didn't recall seeing Barbie in that position this morning.

So yes, I tend to be a walking mat. It's my deseperate need for approval. It knows no boundaries, which is why I have a difficult time establishing them.

My first clue was when I pulled up to a store and starting walking to the door. I looked back to see the girls still sitting in the back seat.

They were waiting for me to open their door like a fucking chauffer. Nice.

Yes, I have created this beast, but I'm determined to turn it around.

Kids feel safe when they have boundaries. Otherwise, they wander aimlessly trying to find the line. Is the line here? Nope. How about here? Nope.

At some point they have to wonder, "Does anyone fucking care?" They need to know that someone is looking out for them. I keep swirling that little nugget of information around in my head when I start backing down like a wet washcloth.

So that's what I'm working on. Being the Mom, with a capital "M". The Head Honcho. The No-Bullshit-Rule-Establisher/Maintainer.

It's difficult, but I'm getting there. I'm not their friend, I'm their Mother. They have plenty of friends, but only one Mom (again with the capital "M" - I can't help it. It's the way I'm rolling today).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ginger or Mary Ann? Desperate For Attention Or Sexy?

This is not new news. Everyone preferred Mary Ann to Ginger on Gilligan's Island. You know, the one that wasn't slamming her tits in everyone's face or staring at the Professor with a "come hither" look.

And according to a Sex & The City survey (yes, there is one out there), not many men preferred the sex kitten, Samantha, either. In case you never watch TV, Samantha would be the modern day Ginger.

After all, if a woman is wearing sex on the outside for everyone to see, what's left to be special for him?

So why are women wearing the look of the sex on their faces everywhere they go? You know the look I'm talking about. The pursed lips and sideways glance that seems to say, "I'm a tiger in the sack."

Yeah, yeah. Whatever. We're all tigers, get over yourself.

I mean, why else is Kanye West singing, "I want a lady on the street, but a freak in the bed"? Men (or partners) want to have something special for just them.

There's also the case of "faux gay" behavior to get attention. I honestly don't get it, but that could be because I'm 39 years old.

Christmas parties are filled with pictures of women grinding on their friends, making out with their friends, doing body shots on their friends' breasts...And hey, for record, I know these women are indeed not gay.

It was all about shock value. But what about true value? What about being who you really are?

And by the way, what happened to hugs and laughter?

I meet my friends for Happy Hour, but there's no tongue and I like it that way. I can't imagine waking up the next day saying, "Sorry I bit your nipple last night."

Save it for the sack for crissakes. Some things are meant to be private.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bitter Old Peeps.

My husband and I were dining out recently next to a group of geriatrics. One was sick and started barfing. This was alarming. Chaos ensued. Staff was huddled around the old man with washrags and buckets, asking if he was okay. Busy little bees swarming around the hive.

My husband leaned across our table and said, "You know what I'm loving about this situation? The other grandpa that's still eating his dinner."

He was right. The other old guy at the puking table was still shoveling salad into his mouth, oblivious to the drama around him. He paid $10 for his salad goddammit, he was going to finish it. He didn't care if the paramedics made an appearance. He had a meal to finish.

I'm thinking there's an unwritten rule that once a person hits 80, they're exempt from etiquette.

I was waiting for prescriptions the other day when this little old lady budged in line. She marched right up to the front as if to say, "Fuck you, I'm old and need my shit more than you."

She may be right, but the rest of us in line looked at each other wondering if anyone was going to call her out on this offense. No one dared. Karma can be a bitch.

Then there was the time of the "Michael's Craft Store Debacle". The hubbs and I went to a store and parked next to an old woman. He smiled and waved at her. I knew immediately she was not happy.

She pulled out and parked on the other side. My husband was still undisturbed by her fury and smiled at her again. She said, "Do you have to park that close to me? You were inches from me, you asshole, and another thing..."

So there we were, in Michael's parking lot, my husband getting a verbal ass-kicking from an 80 year old woman. The end result was her flipping him the bird and telling him to fuck off.

Talk about being suckerpunched. He didn't know what hit him. As we walked through the store he kept saying, "I still don't know what I did to invite the 'fuck off' comment."

Personally, I wasn't aware old peeps still flipped the bird. I was impressed and disturbed at the same time.

The key is respect. I do think there's a loss of respect for the older generation. But I'm confused as to why they're not respecting each other. (Or other people for that matter.)

It's as simple as either aging with grace and dignity, or bitterness and scorn. Everyone's journey is separate and individual. I'll have to remind myself of this if I ever get into a tussle with a 93 year old.

On a personal note, I'd like to thank my lucky stars that my parents and in-laws are choosing the route of grace and dignity.

And let it be known that I respect the hell out of them for it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Boom Boom Pow For Y'all.

Recently, I was in a parade with my daughter and we put together a cd for our float. We blared "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas, as well as some other little goodies.

I'm realizing too late the lyrics were incredibly inappropriate. I didn't realize we were blaring, "Shittin' on y'all with the boom boom", at all the good citizens of our suburb.

Shitting on y'all. The singer is claiming to be shitting on me, yet I can't help but pump my fists in the air and sing along. What is wrong with me?

And there wasn't much improvement with Lady Gaga's Poker Face since the lyrics speak of bluffin' with my muffin, which apparently is my crotch.

I have never referred to my crotch as a muffin and probably never will. "Morning honey, would you like a muffin for breakfast?". Give me a break.

We seem to be listening to music younger than we are and we love it. I wasn't the only mom popping my hips to that simple beat.

When did this sharing of music happen?

When I grew up, my parents listened to Barbara Streisand while I was grinding to Prince. There was a total disconnect, a chance for me to rebel against my parents via music.

I had a poster of Prince in my bedroom and my mom said, "Who's the little black man on a purple motorcycle?" Hello.

I'm thinking it's a way for us to dip our toes into our children's lives. After all, the unknown can be threatening.

So what if we peek into their world a bit to see what's up? Perhaps it makes their entry into the teen years a little less scary for us.

Plus, that simple beat can be a nice break from our responsible lives. I listen to every genre and language of music and my family is usually held hostage to my choices. But sometimes that easy boom, boom, boom, can hit the spot.

But from now on, only clean versions will be downloaded.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Drama Mamas.

"Hey Kelly, I hate to tell you this, but..."

Stop right there. I'm guessing I'm going to hate receiving this information, more than you hate telling it to me.

Everyone has this person in their life. They're the grapevine, the news-breaker. The drama-lover.

I hate drama. There's just no need for it, yet I always seem to be cast as a starring role in a lot of other people's drama. I need to figure this out so I can stop attracting this situation.

And really? Do they really hate telling this to me? Because the drama-lovers seem pretty pumped up about being the first to break whatever shitty news they're about to tell me.

I always feel manipulated when they begin their conversation with the 'ol standby, "I hate to tell you this, but..." Frankly, I'm guessing they're incredibly grateful they're not me.

They seem to want to share the shock/shame/embarrassment with me, which is confusing to me. I'm pretty good at feeling any one of those emotions, so I don't need a co-pilot. I can drive that ship pretty well myself, thankyouverymuch.

Life already has all kinds of organic drama baked into it. Why do drama mamas create more of it? What is behind this over-inflation of information? Are they bored?

Perhaps they should try skydiving or heck, I don't know, focus on their own life instead of mine. That could be helpful. I'm a big girl and can handle my own life without a personal reporter narrating all my experiences for me.

So there we have it. Drama mamas, take a break this week. Look at the glass half full and enjoy everything life has to offer this week. No crisis, no emergencies, nothing to panic about. It's all good.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Copycat.

It's no secret I muddled my way through postpartum depression/psychosis. Here's the interesting part about surviving it...the aftermath sucks.

I felt like I woke up from being drunk on a neurosynaptic cluster-fuck. I disengaged from life and it had the audacity to go on without me.

Where was the fucking rewind button? Now that I was back from my sabbatical in hell, I wanted to go back and re-experience birthday parties, happy hours and anniversaries with the real me.

Through the depression, I became a shell mimicking authentic life. A copycat.

In the haze of delusions and depression, I forgot how to be me, so I became other people. A chameleon of the masses so no one would think I was different. If could I act like a normal person, then I could convince myself I was normal too. Nevermind the psychotic thoughts of death, I was laughing like other people at happy hour. If they were happy, I was happy. If they were sad, I was sad.

And trust me, it's fucking exhausting trying to be someone other than who you are. And it made me feel even more alone. Because not only was I lost in the company of other people, I lost my own self.

I've lost keys, money and shoes. But my own self? Isn't it supposed to be tucked inside our bodies for safekeeping? How did I fucking lose that?

But maybe that's what survival mode is about. Drawing into yourself to take a look around inside. Find yourself again. Repair the wiring and hit the reset button.

After all, no one can fix you, but you. Sometimes the road is a journey of one, but when you come back, it's worth it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sibling Rivalry.

I'm not confident we'll make it through the summer without my daughters kicking each other's ass. Yesterday in the car, this is how the conversation went:

Paige (7 yrs old): "Mom? Remember when you and I went to the bakery and had a doughnut and it was just you and I and not Parker? And we laughed and looked at the cool tables without Parker being there? That was so great.

Parker (9 yrs old): "Mom? Remember when I was a baby and Paige wasn't even born? I had you and dad all to myself. Remember that? Paige wasn't even alive. That was so great."

Then we went swimming and they begged me to evaluate their jumps. I wasn't going to fall for that. I explained that under no circumstances was I going to rate their jumps, which would result in having one child conclude they are not loved and not the favorite.

No fucking way. If I participated in "Evaluation Of The Jumps", I would have to make damn sure I set aside money for a good spot on a therapist's couch.

One of them would be laying there explaining, "It all started that day at the pool. I knew she loved my sister more than me. I mean, give me a break, she basically stumbled into the pool and my mom gave her an 8 out of 10 which was bullshit. I completed a fucking somersault and got a 6? Bullshit."

They'd also talk about how once I gave one of them 12 chocolate chips on her ice cream and the other got 13. Or that I made one brush her teeth and the other one just rinsed with water.

They count everything. Is the barometer of my love based on how many M&M's I pass out? Or who I enlist to feed the dog? "She fed him last night!" To which I replied, "Who gives a shit who feeds the dog? Seriously." For the record, no, that was not my proudest parenting moment.

One day Parker, the oldest, had a confession. "Mom? I have to tell you something. There's a reason I eat fruit and let Paige eat all the cookies. Because then she won't be as healthy as me and she'll die sooner. Is that bad?"

Uh, yeah, wishing death upon your sister is not cool.

So I'm at stalemate. There is no way I can make sure everything in their lives is perfectly even and matched. It's impossible.

But the shit that can't be measured is what's always important. Love, esteem, confidence, self-worth...those are the ingredients I give them in spades. They can't be counted or weighed because they're endless. Thank God for that.