Friday, May 29, 2009

Laugh: Good For the Abs And Soul.

We have an ongoing joke in our house that involves a doll. It started at Parker's second birthday party.

She opened this sweet present wrapped in pink and pulled out this satanic-looking doll. It's the kind that closes her eyes when you lay her down, and opens them when you tip her up.

It looks like it wants to kill you, even though it's pretending to be sweet and cute.

My husband was petrified of it. So I did what any loving wife would do, which is torture him with it.

Over the years, I have:
Seatbelted her into his car, hung her from his rearview mirror in a noose, duck-taped her to his bumper, tucked her into his underwear drawer, slipped her into his pillowcase, strapped her to his Coke bottle in the fridge, and set her on his dinner plate during dates. And much, much more.

Hell, I even Fed Ex'd her to Vegas on one of his business trips.

The joke isn't always on him. This satanic creature makes her way around everyone in the family. I'm not sure how long she was tucked under my car wipers, but when I saw her screeching back and forth across my rainy windshield, I almost pissed my pants.

The girls get a kick out of it too. Paige just stuffed the damn thing in my coffee mug earlier this week. I've enclosed a picture, so you can see how terrifying this thing is.

But the idea is that it always brings a smile to the recipient. This is the shit that makes life fun and funny. Humor lifts us up and brings us out. Laughter heals. It makes us feel alive and connected with others.

So enjoy this Friday. Go forth and laugh your ass off. I don't care if it involves renting Dane Cook or heading to a naughty poetry reading, just go for it. Giggle like a little schoolgirl today and know that all is well.

After all, we're here to ENJOY LIFE. It's not supposed to be so fucking serious all the time!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jon & Kate = Insanity.

I don't condone infidelity or greed, but I'm thinking 8 children would put a damper on my judgement. The world seems to be split on who deserves more punishment: Jon for cheating, or Kate for being a greedy, low-tempered, bitch.

I'm going to guess that I'd be a bitch too if I had eight children. EIGHT! I still can't get over that. How does a person potty-train six children at one time? Wiping all those asses throughout the day might make me a bit cranky.

And the older twins trying to co-parent would drive me to drink. "No mommy, he needs to be wiped like this..." Oh my God. I'd be pouring whiskey on my Lucky Charms.

Speaking of wanting to pour yourself into oblivian, how the hell did she escape postpartum depression? I'm feeling a little less than adequate since I was certifiably psychotic after birthing only one at a time. Eight would have secured a comfortable bed in a padded room for me until they graduated from high school.

So what I'm saying is this: Don't judge until you've been there. I hope to God I'll never be in that place. But if I do happen to get pregnant with sextuplets, please have mercy on me. My judgement may be clouded and I may choose to have sex with Ashton Kutcher and blackmail him for Demi's money.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Santa.

As I tucked my 9 yr old into bed last night, she pelted me with Santa questions. Since it's May, I'm totally unprepared.

It was like she had a pistol on each hip, firing away:
Boom! "Is there a Santa?"
Bang! "Be honest. Do you and Dad eat those cookies after we go to bed?"
Crack! "Is the guy at the mall just someone's dad?"

I did what I always do when I have no answer, I deflect questions with more questions.

Boom! "Do you think there is a Santa?"
Bang! "Do you really think Dad and I would eat Santa's cookies?"
Crack! "Don't you think people would beat up someone's dad for impersonating santa?"

Truth be told, I feel like I'm insulting her intelligence. Yes honey, an overweight man rides around the world with flying reindeer and squeezes his fat ass into everyone's fireplaces. Yes, a stranger enters our home while we're sleeping, but don't be afraid. He leaves gifts instead of pulling out a 9mm and robbing our home of all its goodies.

If anything, it's teaching her that strangers are welcome in our home as long as he's in a red suit and claims to fly. "Ding Dong. Hi, I'm Santa. I see you have a fire going, so I need to come through the front door. So...where does mommy keep all those credit cards?"

And I'd like to come clean not only for safety reasons, but for social reasons as well.

I was fucking 12 when I learned there was no Santa. For crissakes, my friends were going to second base with boys and I was leaving notes for a mythical obese man in a flying sleigh.

I think I had cigarettes on one of my lists. How could my parents not have known I was too old to believe in that shit?

So I think I'll tell her. I can't stand the thought of having her put wine coolers and condoms on her Santa list when she's sixteen. It would be too traumatic for everyone involved.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Multitasking

Mul-ti-task-ing
v. The concurrent operation by one central processing unit of two or more processes.

From what I understand, we could remove "one central processing unit" and replace it with "a woman."

Don't get me wrong, men care, they just don't own that mental ticker tape that scrolls across our feminine heads 24/7.

You know the ticker tape. It goes like this: Remember to get cottage cheese, Did I call for sitter for Friday, Is this a freckle or age spot, Is my ass bigger than her ass, Why did I snap at my daughter for singing too loud, Need toilet paper, Is calling someone emotional roadkill too harsh, What does RSVP stand for again, I can't believe people don't hold open doors for the person behind them...

Men don't do this and I don't know why. If I had the answer, I'd bottle it up and sell it for a million dollars.

My husband told me about our daughter's softball tournament this weekend. Date, time, and place. Done.

Not done.

Here's what I need to do:
Wash her uniform.
Find the other orange-striped sock that goes with the uniform.
Pack a snack, book, and jump rope for Paige to relieve boredom.
Did I remember to turn off the iron this morning? Check ASAP.
Pack sweatshirts in case it gets cold.
I wonder if flowers are 30% off this week?
Sunscreen.
Cash for hot dog stand.
Shit! I forgot to get onion for the meatloaf tonight.
Print out Mapquest directions.
How long has it been since hubbs and I had sex? A week? Two?
Call Johnson's, Parker will not be at Ashley's party Friday night.
Fucking dry cleaning, I forgot to pick it up. Again.
Bugspray.
I have to lose 10 pounds by summer.
Email Happy Hour friends and ask to reschedule.

So there's not just a tournament. There's life around the tournament that needs attention. We can't just show up for an 8 hour day of softball in our fucking jammies. It takes planning and care.

And after all of the choreography, I somehow always manage to forget my own needs. Like a tampon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Locker Rooms.

Does a locker room give people permission to indulge in their disgusting habits? I'm specifically thinking about the time I was at the sink and mirror in our local gym. A place where I swish mouthwash, fix my ponytail, and make sure my thong isn't riding above my yoga pants.

Out of nowhere, a naked woman sauntered up, and I kid you not, put her fucking foot up on the counter to lotion her leg.

I don't care if you are the first woman President, no one at the club cares to see your vagina.

Get a fancy merkin for it, tape a birthday bow on it, give your jungle a perm for all I care. Just understand that no one, other than your significant other, wants to see it.

And FYI, a merkin is a pubic wig. That's right. Google it. You'll be amazed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Newborn worries.

I'm feeling a little nostalgic because my oldest turned nine today. NINE! Wasn't her first doctor visit just yesterday?

I remember it so clearly. My husband and I had a list of questions ranging from the number of times she pooped in a day, to why the hell she was screaming nonstop.

Then the infamous question my husband added to the list: "Ask about pointer finger. Cancer?" Nothing like throwing the big bomb out there in the first inning.

So there we were in the clinic. All our questions are answered except that last one. We looked at each other nervously, like this could be it, the answer that changes our lives.

We took a deep breath and asked, "Hey doc, could you look at her finger? This is a new and it looks really weird."

He smudged it off and said, "Oh, it's chocolate."

Fuck.

I forgot I ate Junior Mints during the 4:00 am feeding. One must've fallen on her or they got all melty...it's anyone's guess. I fed her with my eyes closed while shoving handfuls of chocolaty goodness in my face.

We said, "Okay then, apparently we're fucking idiots and shouldn't be allowed to have a child, but since she's here, we're going home to figure this shit out. Thank you and goodbye."

It's such a shame we have to kick off our parenting skills under such intense fatigue, isn't it? Kind of like heading into the Superbowl without a head. Never going to win under those conditions.

p.s.
Congratulations to Kris for winning a pedicure at a Lifetime Fitness near her.

Kris, enjoy your feet treat! Your tootsies will be so happy! All Kris did was opt in for the newsletter to be entered into the drawing.

Next drawing: July 15! Sign up for "Dispatches From the Burbs" newsletter to be automatically entered into the drawing. Good Luck!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Accidents.

We were at McDonalds yesterday for breakfast and I spilled coffee on my daughter. Luckily, the coffee was doused with a million creamers and had been sitting there for 30 minutes. Her legs are fine, thank God.

I wish I could say this was the only time I've ever fucked up, but I can't. My oldest is still talking about how I dumped her out of a golf cart in my parents retirement community.

What makes this story excruciatingly shameful is that I didn't notice for about 25 feet. All of a sudden I looked over and said to my youngest, "Where's your sister?" She said, "Oh, she fell out back there."

Like people falling out of our cart happens every fucking day. It frightens me a bit that she saw her sister dump out of the cart and chose not to say anything. Did she think we'd get to the pool and I wouldn't notice that a human being was missing? I'm guessing she was simply overjoyed with the thought that she'd be an only child.

Back to the scene of the accident, we had the mandatory judgemental onlookers. All of whom were over the age of 70. Shaking their heads asking what kind of mother dumps her child out of a golf cart.

You see people, as with every accident, I'm already swimming in a shameful pool of guilt. I don't need the clucking of tongues and the nodding of heads.

I want to pull my body into itself until I'm the size of acorn, but I can't because I need to tend to my hurt child. In front of people judging my existence as a mother.

After any kind of accident, I lie awake all night playing the "What if?" game, which drives me certifiably insane.

Then I remind myself that shit happens with my husband too. Like the time he steamrolled our youngest daughter while doing the limbo at a neighbor's Halloween party. After coming up from under the bar, he couldn't catch his footing and went sailing into our 4 year old Cinderella. He left the party in shame and embarrassment.

Apparently, there is no getting through this journey of motherhood without a scratch on our babies. I'd like to put them in safe, plastic bubbles, but that's not possible. They would have no friends. And I'd have to clean the damn bubbles, which I'm not doing.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fantasy vs. Reality.

We just returned from a few days in Florida.

In my vaca-inspired fantasy, I thought my pictures would look something like this:
1. Salt-licked, cascading curls.
2. Butt dents and rippling abs.
3. Glowing tan.

In bleak reality, here is what the pictures actually reavealed:
1. Frizzy clown hair.
2. Cellulite and muffin tops.
3. Blistering burns where I missed sunscreen (the rest of my body ass-white).

As if blisters, frizz, and cellulite wasn't enough to scare everyone, there was accidental porn.

As the salty waves crashed in, my top turn sideways. I didn't actually realize it until I started walking back to shore. I don't know if it's the salt or what, but that shit is like novacaine. I couldn't feel my misplaced top at all. Now I know how Tara Reid feels.

My poor 6 year old looked at me and said, "Uh, mom? Your uh, boobies..." and then made a sweeping gesture across her chest in case I didn't get the point that I was currently an involuntary porn star.

But hey, I didn't go on vacation for the pictures, right? I went for the experience and it delivered in spades. We read books, make sand art, bonded with the in-laws, drank Corona (which tastes so much better on a beach), and laughed with our daughters.

If blisters and accidental porn was the sacrifice, it was worth it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Coffee-holic.

I love coffee. It's so loyal and obedient. Every morning I wake up and there it is, my "Cafe Girl" mug waiting for me like a good little soldier.

I don't mind the shakes, heart palpitations, and the fact that I can't concentrate after 2 cups. It's worth it. One day, I strode into work, all jacked up. My hair was even curlier due to the java jolt.

My director stopped me, mid-sentence and said, "Kelly, I'm going to ask you a question and I need an honest answer. How many cups of coffee have you had this morning?"

I said, "Oh c'mon, seriously? Okay, three."

Everyone around me let out a moan like, "Goddamn it, it's going to be hours until she comes down from this high." Then they all left for conference rooms for "meetings" until noon.

I confess, I'm a caffeinated gal by nature. I don't wake up, I fucking jump up. After almost 14 years of marriage, my husband is still startled when I start yapping and giggling 5 minutes into the day.

My husband is not a morning man, so this is an area of conflict. I have to consciously pace myself with 10 words here, take a break, 5 more words, take a break...I have to spoon-feed the morning to him or he'll become catatonic.

I've always wanted to be one of those people that drag out of bed, sliding their feet on the floor, and telling everyone to fuck off, but I can't.

I'm just so damn happy to be here. Every day is like a little present waiting to be opened and I can't stand to find out what it will be.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Braces.

My 8 year old has braces. It's called "pre-treatment", so she won't be stuck wearing braces through high school. Like me. We're trying to keep the trauma to a minimum.

Ah, the memories. I had braces for 6 years. That's right, SIX. I had them from 1981 to 1987. I had what I call, "meat-eater teeth". Jagged, pointy, chops that could maul a tiger if attacked.

Some teeth didn't even bother coming in. They were like, "Fuck it. I can't add to this mess." I'm certain I was born with ten extra teeth. What else could explain the mayhem in my mouth?

My daughter's orthodontist asked if I had braces. "Yes, I had them for six years." To which he replied, "Dear God, I've never heard of that. SIX? Are you sure?"

Yes, I'm sure. Nevermind the binders, sores, and chapped lips. It was the headgear that killed me. Why didn't they just put a fucking helmet on my head and call it a day?

I had a headgear that mimicked a hat of sorts. This contraption was strapped to the top of my head like it was keeping my jaw from falling off my face. Even my teachers were like, "What the hell is that?"

My mother said, "Actually, I can't let you wear this to school anymore. It's just...you can't." She knows social suicide when she sees it. Everywhere I went, people asked, "Does that hurt? Because it looks incredibly painful."

The pain was worth the reward. I now have straight, white chops. I like to smile and show them off because, damn it, I earned these straight racks of chicklets.

Ahhh, it feels good to walk the streets without scaring people.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Life Racers.

A man literally ran over my ankle with his rolling golf bag in the airport yesterday. Am I fucking invisible?

I fell on his luggage, which sadly, didn't slow him down. He just shook me off like I was a dog humping his leg.

Can we all just calm the hell down? This may be news, but we're not running a race. There are no tiny leprechauns waiting for us with a pot of gold if we're the first to arrive at the Arby's drive-thru.

I've seen women sprinting in their heels after being released from the city bus like they're in a triathalon. I call them, "Life Racers". They're racing all the time, but have no idea why.

The race doesn't stop when they get in their cars, either. They're slugging down coffee and screaming into their cellphones like maniacs. "What do you mean Johnny didn't ace his fucking spelling test! We practiced three times this morning!"

I have to assume that a Life Racer's sex life goes something like this: "Honey, it's been 15 minutes, if you're not going for touchdown soon, it's over. I have 5 loads of laundry waiting for me."

So here's the challege to you Life Racers out there. Instead of always looking at what's next, try to enjoy what's now. Even if it takes 20 minutes. Trust me, the laundry will still be there.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Flying.

I'm not a good flyer. It's not only that I fear flying, but I always seem to make such an ass of myself.

During one trip with my sisters we were sitting nicely, waiting for the doors to close and take off.

Then I panicked and thought I left my carry-on in the bar.

I bolted out of my seat, "excuse me, so sorry, I left my bag in the bar, excuse me, I need to get my bag..." Halfway to the front, I remembered I put it in the overhead bunk. Shit.

Everyone was staring at me since I made such a big deal out of retrieving my "lost" luggage. I turned to make my way back to my seat and fucking face-planted in the aisle. Straight down, lying in the aise by everyone's feet. Oh my God.

There was a collective gasp on the plane. I could hear all the murmers, "Is she having a seizure?", "Did she trip?", and "What the hell is she doing?"

As I crawled back to my seat, I'm certain my sisters pissed their pants laughing.

So I drank more to relieve my intense embarassment. This lead to an FAA warning.

An FAA warning means this: "If you don't get your fucking act together, we're landing this plane and kicking your ass off it."

Despite the serious warning, we still had fun. Apparently my sisters and I made some friends on the plane because a week later I received an email with pictures. On the plane.

My fingers were displayed in the "rocker" sign and I had my tongue hanging out like I was at a KISS concert. The passengers in the background did not appear to be enjoying the entertainment.

We landed safe and sound. Barely. My hangover was a small price to pay for being allowed to finish out the flight I started. Thank God for tolerant people.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The 10k Walk/Almost Divorce.

It seemed like such a great idea. My husband and I would walk in the 10k run/walk race with our 1 year old daughter strapped to our backs. Six miles of in-depth conversation, laughing, and losing that extra 10 lbs.

I pictured rock solid abs and sun-kissed highlights in my hair by the time I crossed the finish line. I was pumped.

In my delusional head, I thought 6.2 miles would be nothing more than a leisurely stroll. Anything was possible after pushing a human being out of my crotch. How could anything match the physical endeavor of labor and delivery?

To say that we were unprepared is an intense understatement. For the love of God, I wore jeans with Sketcher mules on my feet. I can't recall, but I think my husband wore fucking flip flops.

I glanced around at the start line and we looked like hungover losers compared to the horses at the gate. These runners were serious.

It was too late to turn back. The gun went off and we started walking. Everyone took off like rockets and we were left strolling in mules and flip flips. People were cheering, "You can do it!" My husband said, "You've got to be fucking kidding me."

Mile 2: blisters on our feet.
Mile 3: hoplessness of never finishing.
Mile 4: blood on our backs from the backpack filled with a sleeping child.
Mile 5: screaming at each other at the tops of our lungs.
Mile 6: the "cone cart" driving 2 feet behind us picking up the race cones.
Finish: considering that if we can't walk 6.2 miles together, we may as well sign the fucking divorce papers.

We were screaming at each other trying to consider who was more of the idiot. Was it me for suggesting the "race"? Or the hubbs for agreeing to it? If we were that stupid, how could we be raising a child?

I was even pissed at my daughter. I almost woke her up and said, "Listen you little prick, it's time you get out of that backpack and carry your own weight around here."

But we made it. After about 3 hours of blood, sweat and tears, we crossed the finish line.

No one was there. The FINISH banner was taken down. But we crossed the spray-painted finish line anyway because we fucking deserved it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mealtimes. Enter Screaming Here.

I didn't realize that being a mom required an advanced culinary degree. If I have a nervous breakdown, it's scheduled between 5:00-6:00.

My kitchen is mayhem. I'm bouncing around clanking pots, pans, and plates. Shit is all over the place. Butter is smeared on Parker's homework, ketchup is splattered on Paige's backpack, and cream of mushroom soup somehow ended up on the window. It's fucking ridiculous.

I'm like a crazy clown gone bad as soon as I hear those three words, "What's for dinner?"

I panic and start opening cans before I even have an inkling of what I'm about to make. And it usually sucks ass.

Last night I layered lasagna incorrectly. Who does that? I got to the last layer and I was out of beef, sauce, and cheese. Apparently, I didn't pace myself. Have you seen lasagna with naked noodles on top? I panicked and spread butter on them. When it doubt, use butter.

And here's a confession, I don't own sugar. I have a tiny box of raw sugar for my coffee, but not the big bag required for baking. My neighbor called to borrow a cup. I explained that I only have raw sugar, which proabably wouldn't work for her cupcakes. From scratch.

I have flour, but I don't know why.

We had friends over once and one of them looked in my fridge and said, "What, are you moving?"

No, I'm not moving, I just don't comprehend what the fuck I need to buy at the grocery store. I wander around looking at everyone else's cart, wondering what in God's name they're going to prepare with yogurt, scotch tape, pork, and Cheerios.

So I beg of you. If you have a recipe that is easy (I can't stress that word enough), please post a comment.

If you have an issue posting a comment, let me know. People are having a tough time with it lately. If you click on Post Comment twice, it usually works. It's more sensitive than a 12 yr old girl.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The "WHY ME?" Reaction.

When we're faced with a challenge, a lot of us think, "Why the hell is this happening to ME?"

Here's my shot at trying to uncover the lesson learned in what seems to be bullshit situations:

For people laid off from work, they learn self-worth. They understand they are still loving, loyal, fun, and caring. A "non-paycheck" doesn't change any of those things. They are just as worthy on Monday as they were on Friday. Same person, same smile, different day.

For people recovering from depression, they learn compassion. Their hearts go out to people moving through their days wearing a heavy, sleepy, dark, coat and trying to smile over the numbness of it all.

For marriages that have survived affairs, they become stronger and more committed. A marriage is reborn. Love is injected into a relationship that was once on life support. The couple soars in security and strength.

For marriages torn apart, they learn to walk on their own two feet. They realize that another person cannot take their love, confidence, and esteem. Indeed, those things were not split 50/50 with their spouse. They get to keep them 100%.

For people dealing with addictions, they learn self-control. They walk through this world with non-judgement and acceptance. They understand that people struggle with things inside themselves that no one else can see.

For people dealing with illness, they learn appreciation. They become stronger, even more grateful, and they love without abandon. When facing death, they learn to live. They teach the rest of us to stop and smell the fucking roses already. It takes 5 seconds, just do it.

And for people dealing with heartache and loss, they learn faith. Faith in the unknown, a place none of us can possibly grasp with our wordly hands. They move in this world with a little less to fear than the rest of us, because they survived what could be the worst fear of all: losing a child, spouse, mother, father, sibling.

All the difficult lessons we learn, all the triumphs we celebrate...it's all here for us to experience.
So when we say, "Why ME?" It's because we're here. We're here to have it all.

And that means there is no filter to pick and choose. There is no lifting of the silver plate topper and saying, "Ah shit, I didn't order this, send it back."

We have no choice other than to grow, learn, teach, and shine. And remember, stop and smell the damn roses already.

Friday, May 1, 2009

College.

My college reunion is tomorrow night. I'm so excited to show everyone that I no longer:

1. Fall down stairs while holding a plastic cup of Busch.
2. Wear a shirt that says, "12th Floor Sherburne Hall: We Like It On Top."
3. Pass out on my front lawn after an all-nighter.
4. Wear black Reebok hightops with every outfit.

I didn't even live in Sherburne Hall, but I liked the shirt so much, I borrowed it. The owner of it was my husband-to-be. He's so classy. He wore it with tie-dye Zubaz. Yep, that's my guy. The father of my children.

I lived in Benton Hall at St. Cloud State University. A dorm that required a minimum 3.2 GPA to live there. My theory was this: if I lived in fear of getting kicked out, then I wouldn't fuck up. That didn't work, even though it sounded like a brilliant plan when I registered.

Regardless of how much of an ass I made of myself, what I truly hope is that I was nice to everyone. I think I was, but to be safe, I'd like to send out a blanket apology in case I was drunk and had some choice words with you.

So, to anyone reading this: I'm sorry if I puked on you, I'm sorry if I jumped on you on the dance floor, I'm sorry if I stole a cup at a kegger and didn't pay the required $5, and I'm sorry if I said your boyfriend was "un-cute". I swear, I don't recall ever doing or saying any of these things, but just in case.

Tabula Rasa, right? Clean slate.

That's the beautiful thing about reunions. It's your chance to offer up a new perspective to people who last remember you singing, "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot, and then falling off the table from which you were standing.

So, here's to the gift of being able to evolve, grow, change, and create yourself. Cheers!