Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dear John - keep your hands off my daughter

Dear John,

Last night, my daughter informed our babysitter that you are her "boyfriend" and that the two of you "went to the Statue of Liberty" last week.
At Night.
Which is why I don't know about it. I was sleeping, apparently.
I knew those damn french doors in the kids' rooms were going to lead to trouble.

John, I have no problem making myself perfectly clear. If you are going to go to the Statue of Liberty for the night, you damn well better bring me back some decent bagels.

We won't get into the fact that my daughter is 5.
Or that we live in Hawaii.

Apparently, you were able to fly to New York and back in one night. As Lucy explained, it only takes two hours.

John, I don't know where my daughter met you, as there are no Johns in her school or her gymnastics class......but I love you already. Tell me, is this your own personal jet, or do you charter? Have you considered fractional ownership? And were you allowed to land right there at the base of the statue, or did you have to helicopter in from Teterboro? Sounds lovely, either way. Hope you had good weather.

I am looking forward to meeting you soon!

your future mother in law (we just couldn't be more excited!)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Why is it that as soon as I *hear* the word lice, my head starts to itch?

The title, by the way, constitutes full disclosure. You know what you are getting into.

For the past few weeks everyone and their mother (father, sister, brother, grandmother, teacher, bus driver - you name it - EVERYONE) has been dealing with lice. Or avoiding lice. Or checking for lice. Or walking around convinced they HAVE lice and it's just that the nurse who checked couldn't see them yet, because OH MY GOD THEIR HEAD IS ITCHING AND YOU CAN TOTALLY FEEL THOSE BUGGERS WALKING AROUND IN THERE.

And the phone calls - these must be worse than the calls you make after being diagnosed with something, uh, personal. "Um, hi, I just went to the doctors and I have the (clap/warts/herpes) and you should probably get checked." Oh, the uncomfortable silence that must follow that announcement. You know, right before the screaming and cursing and the "If that shit doesn't kill you I WILL" and on and on and on.

It's the same way with parents. Sort of.
"Um, hi. The school nurse just called, and um, well......."
And because you know - YOU KNOW - that it's a crapshoot and no matter how careful you are, it could just as easily be you making these phonecalls, you have compassion in your heart - for at least the length of the conversation. But when the call is ended, man, I can guarantee there is some yelling and cursing going on.

Today I had a phone conversation - just a simple phone conversation - about lice, and now my head itches so much I don't think I should go to work. Or even leave the house. I can't check for lice on my own head, therefore I can't give myself the all clear. So I am just sitting here.


I seriously considered asking the mail lady if she would just take a quick look.
I am contemplating a preventative dose of NIX.
Or at least a good scrub with tea tree oil.

I have no idea what to do. I am paralyzed. Stymied.

We have had to deal with lice twice - and both times I was traumatized.
The tiny comb.
All the HAIR we have.
And the bedding.
And the furniture.
And the car.
And the booster seat IN the car.
And the dress up box. The whole thing got thrown away the second time.

I don't think I can go through it again.
Even though I don't have lice.
I know I don't.
None of us do.
Maybe we do.
Oh god, the itching.

I am supposed to be at a first birthday party right now, and then heading (HAHAHA PUNNY!) off to the dinner/late night shift.
But I can't.

Can you call into work itchy?
Because that's all it is. I know that.
But still. And yet. The itching.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Surprisingly, the whoopie cushion just made it worse

This morning it was pouring rain.


And I woke up late.


And I had forgotten to wash the lunch bags that I had thrown in the washing machine last night.

And I had forgotten to put the freezer packs from the lunch boxes back in the freezer.

And as soon as I opened the door the damn dog ran into the house with his muddy feet.

And then I found out I was driving carpool.

And I was racing to defrost a bottle of breast milk for the littlest sidekick so that someone could give her a bottle in her carseat on the drive to school.

And suddenly, in the midst of the chaos and my pacing around the kitchen ticking items off my to do list (which basically is me, muttering under my breath like a crazy person) there was this horrible, awful noise.

I jumped about two feet in the air. The baby startled and then let out a blood curdling shriek. Max was rolling on the floor cackling in hysterics. Lucy had covered her face and her shoulders were shaking with silent laughter.

"WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT?" (note: I did not curse in front of the baby, because she isn't mine and I don't think her parents have a potty mouth like mine so I try to contain myself.)

More laughter. I pick up the baby and soothe her, while I glare at my children. As soon as my son catches my glance, he stands up and stops laughing. "It was my whoopie cushion."

"What is the matter with you? Seriously. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?"

He grinned.

"No, I am serious. How could you look at me, running around like a nut, knowing we have to leave for school in 5 minutes and lunches aren't done and I'm in my pajamas and the car needs to be loaded and I haven't had my coffee and I worked 'til 11 last night and then came home and worked a few more can you look around you and think to yourself 'You know what would be great right now? A whoopie cushion'. How could you possibly have thought that NOW was a good time for that?" And then I grabbed the fucking cushion - which was all wet and nasty - and he went pale.

"Mom, what are you going to do with it?"

"What am I going to do with it? I should cut it in half, is what I should do. But I'm not gonna. I'm just going to take this damn thing and put it BACK IN YOUR ROOM and YOU are going to brush your teeth and get ready for school."

"Here, Mom, I can take th-"

"Like hell you can. Get ready for school."

And I took the whoopie cushion, threw it on the chair in the den where Lucy was curled up on the sofa pretending to read, and marched Max outside to help me load the car. "Lucy," I shouted over my shoulder "you need to brush your teeth too."

An hour later, I came back home and headed into the den to feed the baby.

You know, she looks so damn innocent, but her brother is teaching her EVERYTHING HE KNOWS.
I am so screwed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

iTunes sucks the big one too.

It may come as a complete surprise to you (or maybe it won't, after reading my post from yesterday) but I am a technophobe. Fresh off my rant about the future of printed matter, I sat down to try to download a podcast on iTunes. It was a total waste of my time and bandwidth. It *said* I was downloading. It said the download was complete. It said my iPod was synched. But damned if I could find the podcasts anywhere on my computer or my iPod.

This sort of thing happens a lot.

I was probably the last person of my graduating class to use the internet. I just didn't really......get it. Plus, let's be honest, until about 15 years ago the internet kind of sucked. And even when it started to get good online, I was still clutching desperately to the familiar. The tried and true.

My cassette tapes.

I loved my cassette tapes, and Sami - who is WAY OLDER THAN ME, had even more cassettes than I did. For us, cassette tapes were "modern". Our parents had record players! And 8-tracks! But not us, oh no, we were young and hip with our Walkmen and our mix tapes. But alas, those were halcyon days of yore.
We needed to get with the times.

Which I why I take personal pride in the fact that we finally manned up and got rid of our cassette tapes a few months ago. Yes, I said months. And when I say "we" I mean that when Sami wasn't paying attention I dragged the box of tapes outside during a yard sale  and sold the entire collection for $10. After the fact, he seemed to begrudgingly accept that cassette tapes were a thing of the past. And I saved the tapes he had made himself in case they were irreplaceable. Or evidence. Whatever. But I'm sorry man, it was time to sell that "The Best of the GoGos" album. It was really worn out.

I had no idea he was such a fan.

And we never listened to the damn things anymore anyway. Neither of our cars have cassette players, and we are making the transition (slowly) to the iPod.
It is really not going well. I hate that damn thing. I really, really do.

Considering the fact that it took me a good 10 years to accept CDs as something more than a passing fad, the fact that I was willing to consider the iPod at all is nothing short of miraculous. My MOM had an iPod before I did. I only bought an iPod in the last year or so, and even then, I really only bought it for my husband. It was a desperate last-minute gift for the guy who has everything he wants and when you ask what he wants for his birthday he says "I could use some new socks". So I bought him an iPod, tried to download iTunes, failed miserably, had a friend put 3 hours of music on there, wrapped it up in paper and called it a day. Sam was completely perplexed when he opened the gift, but cheerfully packed the iPod and the charger to take with him on a trip. "This will be great!" he said. He was totally lying, but I appreciated his willingness to give it a try. And then when he got home he put it back in the box, and put the box in his sock drawer next to the new socks my mom had sent him.
(Which he wears every fucking day, by the way. He really does love new socks.)

Eventually, I took it out of his drawer, put a few more songs on there, and used it every once in a great while. But then our computer died, and when I tried to access our iTunes from a new computer a little window told me the only music I could access was the stuff I had purchased because of something called "filesharing" which apparently is, I don't know, bad or something. Anyway, the few albums I had managed to download (upload? I don't care enough to look it up) were history and I was starting from scratch with something like 20 songs. Less than 2 CDs worth of music. And then I fried our portable hard drive. Because I am so technically stunted.

So I went back to the attic, pulled out the box of CDs that I had wisely saved, and put them back in my car, smug in the knowledge that my good old CDs were more reliable than this new-fangled iPod, and conveniently forgetting that just a few short years ago CDs were the newfangled crap I refused to waste my hard-earned money on.

Eventually I put a few more songs on that damn pod-thing, but still, if I manage to remember to put it in the car, I forget the cord. Or the battery is dead. Or something. And then Max got an MP3 player and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get songs from my iTunes onto the MP3 player. The whole thing is some sort of scam designed to make me feel crazy.

Which is why my glove box and the floor of my car are once again littered with CDs.

But not, I would like to reiterate, cassette tapes.
Which is a good thing, because they just retired the Walkman.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I don't want to be a nun anymore, but I still wouldn't say no to Captain VonTrappe.

I was on today, because I fucking LOVE Amazon. (Free shipping to Hawaii? HOLLAH!)  Max has just about finished the Harry Potter series and has already begun to worry about what he is going to read next. So we sat in my bed and cruised Amazon for ideas.

Apparently, their idea is for me to stop buying books entirely.

Every time you go to Amazon these days, it is Kindle this and Kindle that. But not just Kindle. Oh no. You can also download books to your phones and iPods! But apparently buying an actual BOOK is the last thing you should do. They are really obnoxiously persistant about it, offering the first chapter free so that they can take advantage of the increasingly prevalent instant-gratification problem we have as a species. Why wait for the book to be delivered by express mail? And don't go to an actual store - you will have to interact with other people, and you might get kicked in the head. Anything Could Happen. Just download it right now! You can be reading this book in 2 minutes! Why would you do anything else?

Okay, all right. I have to admit - I have been known to succumb to the siren song of downloads and instant gratification with the advent of Netflix.The other day when it took 35 seconds for an entire movie to load I almost threw my laptop out the front door in frustration until I realized that I was being an asshole.The internet is a miracle to begin with, and I should quit my bitching.

But movies are different than books. You always watch movies on a screen - computer screen, TV screen, theater screen - it's an electronic form of entertainment. But not books. Books are a thing. You can hold them and smell them and pass them around. You can grow attached to them. I have a cookbook of my grandmother's that is probably 75 years old, and it has smudges of shortening on the corners of the pages, and notes in the margins, and every time I open that book it is like I step back in time and I am perched on her tall stepstool under the wall phone with the rotary dial and the long cord, whipping meringue for the lemon pie.

Books have a life of their own, dammit. And I am petrified that the next generation of kids won't know the love of a book. I mean, my own kids already missed out on card catalogues - those old wooden drawers filled with the carefuly typed - or better yet, handwritten - cards, directing you through the shelves and shleves of history and yellowing paper.

And it's not just books. I remember lying in a patch of sunshine on the living room floor, surrounded by stacks of record albums, looking at the pictures and reading the lyrics and putting the needle down exactly in the right spot so that I could hear that song I loved over and over again. It's a skill you have to develop - to get that needle down just so. It's a lot more than just clicking a button. Especially when you have a throw blanket safety pinned over your head because you are pretending you are Maria from Sound of Music when she was still trying to be a nun.

But I digress.
Here I was, clicking my way through Amazon.Everything I looked at - music, books, and an increasing number of toys and games - was pitching the electronic version. No wonder newspapers and magazines are going out of business. I can't believe anyone is getting a book deal at all these days, because apparently, reading printed matter is totally passe.

BUT I LOVE PRINTED MATTER. I love books, newspapers and magazines. I love having newsprint on my fingers, I love the smell of paper. I have wonderful memories of lying in the living room with stacks of Sunday papers, drinking mugs of tea and working my way through 2 local dailies and the New York Times. And a dozen donuts STOP JUDGING ME. Oh, I just love a good Sunday paper. I love the Style section, with the clothes and the food and the weddings. Oh, the weddings - made even better by the addition of the gay marriages that detail a shared love of showtunes and decorating, or dog shows and the Indigo Girls.

The idea of reading a book electronically is so depressing. It goes against everything I know and love. The font, the binding, the heavy vellum, the dust jacket of a hardcover. The small paperback tucked in my purse or glovebox to distract me while I wait for an appointment, or in the school parking lot.

Nevermind the idea of having to be even more dependent on my fucking Blackberry. At this point, I can barely function without it - I can't imagine being further tethered to the damn thing. I get a cramp in my thumb just trying to look up a phone number for chrissake. How would I get through a novel?

So tomorrow, I am going old school. I'm walking to the neighborhood bookstore, asking the owner for some suggestions, buying Max a book, and leaving it on his bedside table for him to discover. I know, he's going to have to turn pages and use a bookmark.......but I think he can handle it.

I'll be in the living room licking Crisco off the pages of my grandmother's cookbook, and dreaming of Captain VonTrappe. He was totally hot.

If you actually wanted a drink, you asked the wrong bartender

Last night at the bar we had a huge, ridiculous, insane crowd.
We knew it was going to be like that.
We were prepared to get slaughtered.

But really, I was the only one that got slaughtered because as it turns out, I am slow as shit, completely deaf, clumsy as all hell, and ornery. But I was ornery for a reason. The night went something like this:

random stranger waving hand in my face "HEY HEY HEY OVER HERE!"
Random stranger turns to consult his friends about what they want to drink.
I walk away because I've lost interest.

and sometimes it went like this:
random stranger practically lying on the bar to get my attention: "HEY HEY HEY OVER HERE!"
random stranger: "2 BEERS"
random stranger: "IN A GLASS"
me: ???????

every so often it would go something like this:
random stranger standing no where near the bar "HEY HEY HEY!"
me, walking all the way over to where he's standing "WHADDAYA WANT?"
random stranger: "COKE AND (unintelligible)"
random stranger: "COKE AND WHISKEY"
me; "WHISKEY?"
random stranger: "AND COKE"
so I go to make the drink and I look up and he is screaming at one of the other bartenders "COKE AND WHISKEY" but she is ignoring him so he shouts again and I shout right back "I'M MAKING YOUR DRINK RIGHT NOW, CALM DOWN"
and I walk over with his drink and he says (are you ready for this?) "YOU DON'T HAVE TO SHOUT, I WASN'T EVEN TALKING TO YOU"

And then, my extra-special favorite is when it goes a little something like this:
random stranger with a crowd of people: "WE WANT 3 KAMIZAKE SHOTS WOOOOOOHOOOOOO"
and so I make the shots and bring them over, and the girl who ordered the shots is gone. So I set them down where she was just standing, assuming someone else from her group will grab her and let her know. I make another order. I come back and one of the shots is gone, and still, no money. I bring the shots to the girl and say "these have been sitting on the bar and someone drank one" and she replies (are you ready for this) "WELL I'VE BEEN OVER HERE TALKING" like I really give a rats ass what she's been up to.
(And here's the really sad part. It happened more than once. With different people.)

Aside from the customers, who were annoyed that I was so slow (possibly because I was was wandering around trying to find the people that had ordered the drinks I was making) we had a whole other set of problems.
Like, we only have one soda gun. 1 soda gun, 3 bartenders, and about 300 people. Those are not good numbers,
We also have only one computer. They brought in a new cash register last night but I had no idea how to use it so I stood there punching buttons and trying to get the drawer to open and I finally just gave up and went back to waiting in line for the computer.

And have I mentioned that I am slow?

So yes, last night I came staggering home feeling seriously defeated and unworthy - even moreso because we are talking about bartending. It's not like the peace talks I had organized fell apart, or the patient I had been operating on died. But based on the customers reactions last night, you would think waiting 5 minutes for me to find a clean glass was something that lifechanging and catastrophic.

I took a long bath and cried, and sat there feeling embarrassed and frustrated and then I climbed out of the tub and got in bed and closed my eyes. And for 3 hours I dreamed.
About work.
About people screaming at me.
About how slow I was.
About how I shouldn't have divided the tips evenly with the other bartenders because I was slower than they were.
About how I never did paid for those fucking kamikazes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm with the band

I work open mic night at the cafe, not for the money (because sadly there is very little of that to be made on open mic night) but for the music.

I love music. And bass players. But that is another story entirely.

We have a pretty phenomenal talent pool for such a tiny island - professionals, novices, quiet observers who turn into a completely different person with a microphone or instrument in hand. I love that - seeing another side of a person, another way to communicate. I love that anyone can create music, from the very young to the very old, male, female, deaf, mute, can be a quadriplegic on a ventilator - as long as you are at least semi-conscious you can create some form of music or rhythm. You don't need to have any special skills or abilities to have music in your heart.

Apparently, you also don't need to have any skill or ability to suffer through piano lessons for 4 years, but because I really *wanted* to play music my parents kept up the facade until I lost interest.

In high school I sang some, and performed some, and hung out at the Elks Club and the German Club and the VFW and any other small hole in the wall venue that someone's parents were willing to rent out for a night. Bands would gather, heads would bob, it was a blur of flannel and denim and pulsing rhythms that seemed so much bigger and more exciting when your friends were the ones on stage making it happen.

And for that night, that hour, that set - they were rock stars.

Open mic does that - 15 minutes of stardom. You have the room. You have a mic. You might have a beat up guitar that you borrowed from the dreadlocked dude in the next booth. You might have an ukulele you carry around in your backpack.You may have rolled in 20 deep with extra mics, a drum kit, 2 guitars, a bass and a keyboard. Moms come in and hand their baby to the bartender for 10 minutes reprieve, pull a guitar out of the bottom of the stroller and let loose all of the hurt and pain and anxiety and joy and laughter that they feel but cannot always express between feedings and diapers and naptime. We hear about heartbreak, and about true love, and about family and friends and history. We learn what makes people tick, and what ticks them off. And as the room fills with people, and music, and laughter, it is the same as it was, I imagine, hundreds of years ago. More beer, less mead, but still.......gathered, in a bar, sharing music and food and drink and laughter and calling out support for each performer, holding up lighters and shouting "Free Bird" at inopportune moments. Sometimes, at the end of their 10 or 15 minutes, people are greeted with shouts of "HANA HOU!" (Which means, for the uninitiated, "encore". I had to explain that to a visiting musician who came running up to the bar and whispered "what are they saying?" as people were shouting for her to continue.) Sometimes, they only get through half a song before it becomes too much and they have to stop and compose themselves, or just say "That's all I got, thanks for listening."

It's a microcosm, it is life all summed up in a few hours in one room, and when it is is very very good.
And even when it is bad, it's not so awful.

Except for the tips. The tips suck. But I'm doing it for the music, so it's all right by me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The set up

I have never been much of a match-maker.

It's just not my thing. I think you have to have a romantic, rose-colored glasses, "someday my prince will come" outlook on life in order to be a good matchmaker.

So clearly, that is not me.

I was not waiting for a prince. Or a princess. On a good day, maybe a guy would buy me a beer or something......but that was about the extent of it. I wasn't waiting around for Mr. Right, I was just hoping to meet someone who could tolerate me. Relationships are a bit of an enigma. I have no idea what makes them work. I am always surprised when they end (or surprised that they lasted as long as they did). I don't understand what people see in each other that tells them "this is the one". I don't know if you can ever truly "just know". Too many people get divorced after 20 years of marriage for me to have a lot of faith in that Hallmark moment when the room gets quiet and all you can see is each other and the lights dim and the birds sing and your eyes lock and....well, you know the rest. I don't get it. So I don't have the foresight to introduce people thinking that they will fall in love and get married and ride off into the sunset. The few times I have introduced people, the results have been something like a lab experiment gone terribly awry, wherein everything is going great, the chemicals are reacting as expected, you are relieved that you didn't screw up too badly and maybe you'll pass chemistry after all when HOLY SHIT SOMEONE LEFT THAT GAS JET ON AND NOW THE TABLE IS ON FIRE AND ITS SPREADING RUN FOR YOUR LIVES DUCK AND COVER GO GO GO GO.

In other words? Train wreck. Do not ask me to hook you up with someone - you will live to regret it, if you survive the apocalypse.

Now, on the other side of the coin, the woman who introduced me to Sam (she's his cousin, and my friend) has an excellent record for matchmaking, and she has found some really unlikely pairs. For instance, the day she introduced us, I was just off work, in a suit and heels, chain smoking as I walked - very quickly - through the crowd. Sam was laid off, and ambled up in some really ratty knit shorts and a pair of Converse hi-tops that were so worn the sole flapped when he walked.

She seemed so sure of herself, of our compatability, of the rightness of it all.
I thought maybe she had just lost her ever-loving mind.

While I was not holding out for Mr. Perfect, I did have a few requirements. Like, employment.

OK, that was pretty much my only hard and fast requirement. And he didn't meet it.

But then that thing happened. Where I knew he was the one. It took a while, and everyone seemed to know it months before I did, but I finally realized that I had found my guy. Plus, he got a job.

Even though we were a matchmaking success story, I did not go around trying to make other people as happy as I was. If I needed help to find a husband, who the hell was I to think I could help someone else find a partner? Clearly, I have no natural ability in that department.


Because I introduced my friend Matty to a real, honest-to-goodness, kick-ass rollergirl. While I make no guarantees, everything seems to be going swimmingly. Which is to say, he's not scared of nudity, girl on girl action, unicorns, blood, or vomit. I hope it all works out, because let me tell ya, its almost impossible to find a guy who can handle all of that who doesn't also live in his mom's basement.

Trust me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's not really rock and roll - but I like it, I like it, yes I do.

Tonight I went to town All By Myself.

I went straight to Macy's, where they already have the Christmas trees up and decorated, which means my children are now banned from all retail until January.

Usually the ban begins in September at the first hint of costumes and candy - but because they already have costumes, and because I started buying candy in August, they have been allowed to continue their retail adventures unabated until now.

People who have children will understand the particular brand of anxiety parents get when their young children are near fragile, precariously balanced trees covered in fragile, expensive ornaments. It will come as NO SURPRISE TO ANYONE that I come positively unglued in stores filled with breakables if my children are anywhere in the vicinity. And during Christmas, when I have a while extra set of reasons to eat Xanax like tic tacs, those poor kids don't stand a chance. Which is why they spend most of fall and the first half of winter standing outside of plate glass doors with their noses pressed wistfully to the pane, admiring the decorations from a safe distance.

But tonight no one was standing outside sorrowfully. I was having MOMMYTIME and for 30 minutes I just walked in circles picking up EVERY SINGLE ORNAMENT especially the ones that looked like they would go to pieces if I stared too hard or breathed the wrong way. Then I wound my way through the rest of the housewares, looking at linens and kitchen accessories that people with a lot of disposable income must think are necessary, like the asparagus holder and the tomato knife - not to be confused with the lettuce knife YOU MORON.

It was lovely, just lovely, and when I was sure that I had touched all of the break-y things and sniffed all the smell-y things I got in my car and drove home in 6th gear because no one was there to ask if 80 means we are going fast. And while I was tearing along the wide open highway I had the radio cranked all the way up and a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. There was a loud, fast-paced song on the radio, and I was drumming along on my steering wheel. I hadn't heard this song before but I was enjoying it thoroughly. And then they sang the chorus and I thought I had maybe heard something strange. I turned up the volume just as the repeated the line in question, and there it was, clear as day.

They were singing about Jesus.

Now ordiinarily, I would have felt totally conned, and changed the station immediately. I don't like my music to be mixed up with the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit (forehead, belly button, left nipple, right nipple AMEN) but as my friend Garret tweeted from an orthodox wedding last weekend "these guys hold a beat you could dance to".

And that is how I found myself enjoying Jesus Rock and a cigarette on the side of a volcano in 6th gear.
Peace be with you, praise the Lord, and pass the lighter.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Night Out with Daffodil

Sam took me out last night. We had Big Plans, which means we hired a babysitter that didn't need to be home by 9 o'clock, and we got dressed up. We were headed to the Diva Club, which is a monthly gathering on the back patio of a lovely and very well-respected local restaurant, to benefit a nonprofit. The parties are quite fun - cheap drinks, free hors d'oeuvres, and usually 3-4 merchants selling everything from jewelry to makeup. This time they had a collection of bodycare, bathingsuits, jewelry, and scarfs. The event usually has a theme of sorts - I wasn't sure what the plan was for this month, so at about 3pm I looked at the flyer online. Good thing I did - they had planned a "masquerade" theme.

Damn It.

I am not a fan of the masquerade. I hate masks, first of all. Hate them. The eyeholes never line up with my actual eyes, I am always sure that suffocation is right around the corner, I get all itchy and sweaty, and I can't eat or drink. And god help me if I puke.

Not that I do that very often. But let's just say IT HAS HAPPENED.

PLUS every time I see the word "masquerade" I have an immediate image of that really fucked up movie "Eyes Wide Shut" and I am certain that there is some sort of criminal and/or deviant behavior going on. And that, combined with alcohol, equals INSTANT PARANOIA.

But I didn't want to be a spoilsport. No one likes the guy who comes to the costume party without a costume. So on our way to the restaurant, we stopped at the costume store to get......something. I suggested hats. Sam showed up at the register with this - And MY OH MY that was not what I had in mind.

I grabbed a hat and a fan, because I still have some dignity and self-respect (or at least I did at the beginning of the night) and we were on our way.

When we got there, it was a mixed bag. Some people were really gung-ho with the theme. Most of the elaborately costumed were in their 50s and 60s, and one really adventurous senior was in a backless black velvet ensemble which was, well, breathtaking I think is the word I shall use. I could have become really fixated - much like watching a terrible car accident or something, but I was distracted by the models in masks and bikinis that were dancing around in a very enthusiastic manner.

It was very distracting.

I was also having a bit of trouble focusing because the cocktails were $5 and I had several. And at some point through the swirl of half naked women - young and old - my husband suggested that  perhaps I should eat something. But I was trying to buy a bikini off one of the models - directly off of her, actually - and couldn't be bothered. So he got up and went to see if there was a table available in the dining room, while I smeared a moisturizing glitter bar all over my arms and licked the sugar off the rim of my glass. ("No I am NOT DONE YET there is still sugar on the rim.")

Sam came back from speaking with the owner of the restaurant about a table, and found me staring at 2 models grinding away to Michael Jackson with my straw clenched between my teeth. He gathered up my new bathingsuit, stuck my hat on my head, and led me through the dining room. We were given a lovely table overlooking the water, surrounded by romantic couples whispering and holding hands. I fixed that, though. Between my intoxication and the fact that I was half-deaf from the speaker I had just been sitting next to, I was - I believe - shouting.

"That's okay, Sam said calmly, picking up his menu.
"I know, don't worry."
"BUT I'M FUN." I screamed in the middle of  this well-respected restaurant, startling the tourists at the next table.
"Yes, well, no one can argue that darling. I'm glad you are having fun. What are you going to eat?"
"I think I am going to have the shrimp. Or maybe the duck."
The waiter rounded the corner, speaking to Sami as he approached. "Good evening, can I get you another drin- No, no no it looks like you are all set in that department." he said hastily as I tried to put on my new bikini over my dress.
Sam shot me a look. I put  my bathingsuit in my lap and picked up my menu meekly.
"Ma'am." the waiter looked unimpressed with my bathingsuit and my behavior "Are you ready to order." It was not an option, he was not asking a question - he wanted me to eat something and shut up.
"Yesssssss." I was trying to talk quietly, having noticed the glances we were getting from the other diners.
So I ordered. And then Sam ordered. And then I ate bread - quietly - until my food arrived.

After a few minutes the chef came out to see how we were doing. "How is your dinner Sam" he asked as he approached the table. I swung my head around and tried to bring him into focus.
"My dinner is great, thanks. How are you doing?"
"Good, it's always fun to have these events. And how are you?" he asked, turning to me.
He startled and maybe took a teensy step away from the crazy lady.
"Amazing, Well, haha that's nice. I'm glad you are enjoying it. Please let me know if you need anything."
He edged away and we finished our dinner. Somehow we got out of the restaurant with my bathingsuit and glitter and purse and phone. And when we got into the car I started tweeting.
"Definitely NOT the designated driver. Sweet Mary I'm smashed like potatos."
Impressive. Star of the literary world, obviously.
Smashed Like Potatos.
I read that this morning and felt even worse than I already did - which is saying something.
Sam takes full responsibility for my tweeting while drinking, and promises it will never happen again. The poor man. He already has a long list of date night responsibilities that have accumulated over the years after some bad experiences that we won't go into here. The list includes (but is not by any means limited to):
making sure my boobs are inside my dress at all times
that I am both wearing underwear, and that no one can see it
that I have my purse
and my wallet
and my ID
and my phone

NOW he has to actually take the phone away from me to prevent me from tweeting things like "I'm smashed like potatos." Jesus H Christ on a cracker. I don't know why anyone takes me anywhere, I really don't.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I wouldn't say I wear the pants because let's face it - I never have pants on.

I had yet another conversation yesterday with a bank about why they actually wanted to talk to me, and not to my husband. They did not believe me. No, they were sure. Insistant, even, that they could not speak to me. They needed to speak to THE MAN. Fine. So I marched outside, and into the shed, where Sam was mid-project - I don't know what he was doing but his tools were everywhere and there were pieces of wood clamped to other pieces of wood and it was obviously time-sensitive and  he was not pleased to have to stop and talk to someone about something he knows nothing about. "You have to talk to them." I said sympathetically as I handed over the phone. "I told them I was the one they wanted to speak with, but they said they weren't authorized to discuss this with me."


"I know."

Sam: "Hello? Yes, this is Sam." (long pause, blahblahblah we need this specific piece of information that we can only get from you blah blah blah) and finally he just interrupted them "Yeah, wait, okay, yes, but you need to speak to my wife about this. Yes, I DID send in a letter of authorization allowing you to speak with her, It's on file. Yes, sure."

He handed me back the phone, rolled his eyes, and got back to work.

People, every family works differently. In our family, my husband operates in blissful oblivion when it comes to paying the bills, dealing with banks, applying for loans, and running the checking account. He has a credit card, an ATM card, and free rein to grab my tips out of my wallet before he leaves for work in the morning if he needs cash. The banks may aargue about needing to speak with him about his credit card or bank statement...but since I pay the credit card bill and balance the checkbook, they don't really want to talk to him at all. He would be able to give his full name, his date of birth and social security number.....and after that? Nothing.

I deal with the people on the phone. I deal with the forms. I go to the accountant to do our taxes. I sit on hold for hours waiting for some guy in India to fix the cellphone bill. I make the call at 11pm when I realize that I forgot to pay the mortgage and it's due the next day.

I even buy the cars.

Once I was at Safeway right after Lucy was born, and I returned to our minivan (which I hated with a cold hard passion). I went to unlock the door, and it wouldn't unlock. The power locks had become jammed, or were malfunctioning in some other way. So I called AAA, told them to come get the car open, and then walked down the street a block and traded in the van for a new pick up truck. I told them they would be able to appraise it just as soon as they got the doors open. So they sent someone down to the parking lot to wait for AAA while I took the new truck for a test drive and filled out the paperwork. When I drove home 2 hours later, Sami came out to help carry in groceries, and almost fell off the porch.

"What the hell is that?"
"Your birthday present. Happy Birthday. Can you grab the milk? It's getting warm."
"My what?"
"My birthday present? Are you insane? How much was that?"
"No, I am annoyed. GET THE MILK. What is the problem? Do I need to tie a fucking bow around the truck? I'm not Bob fucking Barker. Don't worry about how much it was - I took care of it."

And I continue to take care of just about everything that has to do with our money. I don't do it well, but I do it all, baby.

And I really took care of that truck.......

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bombing my car (for roaches)

The windows are rolled up tight, and I might only be imagining the clouds of fumes filling the inside.....but they are in there.

I know.

My car is being fumigated. For bugs.


In my car.

This is the second time, the second car, the second month in a row that I have opened a car door and been greeted by antennae that were not attached to the radio. Twitching.

For the record? It's fucking disgusting.
I have no idea why or how they get in there. The theory (according to our Terminix guy, who I love FOR REAL) is that they are stowaways in dry goods. Grocery stores, shipping containers, factories.....they sometimes have, uh......bugs. And then when you put that random box of Frosted Miniwheats or bag of rice in your car, you may be bringing home some extra protein.


They should put THAT on the label. Nutritional facts of the food, and the food when you take the bugs into consideration.

It's the tropics. I keep telling myself that. It's not me. In all the years of driving cars that were literally filled with all of my belongings plus random snacks, years where I never so much as emptied the ashtray..........This is my first experience with having critters in my car.

And I don't like it One Little Bit.

Sami discovered them this time, which is good because I am already in full-blown paranoia over the uku season. I honestly think if I had opened the car door and watched bugs scatter in the glow of the dome light, that they would have had to admit me to the psych ward. I have a feeling I would have just stood there and screamed. And screamed. And continued screaming while the bugs poured out of the car and ran across the driveway and over my feet and up my legs and.....OK, clearly I am over-reacting and blowing this way out of proportion. But there were bugs IN MY CAR.

I went down and opened the doors a few minutes ago - there are still bugs in there, but at least they are dead. I swept most of them out (gagging) and then emptied the trunk and shook out the beach bag and the car seat and emptied all of the cupholders of napkins and crayons and then buckled everything back in and now I am sitting here, staring out the kitchen window at my truck, trying to work up the courage to get in it and drive somewhere.

So if you see a tearful woman talking to herself in Walmart who stinks of teatree oil and Raid, well....that's me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

You are fooling no one with your fake ID, SIR

The summer between my Sophomore and Junior years in high school my parents went to the Caribbean and left me home alone for 24 hours before I flew to Ireland with my grandparents for the summer. It will come as no surprise to anyone (mostly because you were probably THERE) that I had a party. This was back in the day. Back when I was still dating a guy that everyone called Chuck because his last name was Norris, back when my driver's license was shiny and new, and when I thought Rumpleminze was the best thing that ever happened to booze because "you couldn't smell alcohol on your breath - it just smelled like Certs".

Yes, I did throw up a lot of peppermint schnapps that year. Why do you ask?

ANYWAY, I had a party. I had the kind of party where people made plans weeks in advance to "spend the night at a friend's house." Alibis were carefully constructed. Beers were stashed. No one could find a babysitter to save their life that night - every one of them was on my deck listening to Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley and fishing cans of Busch out of a garbage can by the back door. There were no fights - our crowd just didn't do that sort of thing. We had all grown up together and, as happens in small towns, we had all dated each other pretty extensively. Maybe just slightly incestuous, but no one was getting laid so it didn't really count.

My point is, that was one of the wildest parties I have ever had, where I woke up in the morning and people were asleep on the lawn, on the deck, in their cars.....I woke up at dawn - fully clothed - in my parent's bed with Chuck Norris. When I went out to survey the damage and triage the clean up, there was, surprisingly, very little to do. And what was left to clean up was taken care of by the remaining party-goers before they gave me hugs, told me to have a safe trip, and went home to sleep it off.

So my experience with people getting drunk and acting like a bunch of idiots is, quite frankly, limited. There was that one time that Eric threw up Fruit Loops out the car window, but I think that is a story for another day.

Fast forward to this weekend. On Friday night, we had a DJ at the bar, and it was just like having a party in the rec room while my mom was out of town, only no one stayed after to help clean up. I was waiting for someone to suggest playing "3 Minutes in Heaven" in the walk-in cooler. The only thing missing was some Mountain Dew and a fooz ball table. Everyone in the bar had a legitimate, legal ID. Whether the ID was actually THEIRS is a whole different story. Because no one in the bar was acting like an adult. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, and I would be hard pressed to come up with specific examples of why I suspected that some people were not actually 21 despite their ID and being able to recite the matching birthdate. But something was just....not quite right. They didn't quite have the lingo down, ordering "soda and Crown Royal" instead of "Crown and Coke". Speaking of Crown - they were drinking massive amounts of Crown Royal (but surprisingly, no Rumpleminze. Maybe the young folks these days have been warned by their parents about how terrible peppermint schnapps is, and how it must be avoided AT ALL COSTS. And Crown Royal comes with the pretty purple felt bag!) The girls were loud and obnoxious, the boys boisterous and rude. I saw someone giving someone else A NOOGIE. At the bar. We actually had to take people's drinks away for wrestling. Someone started a slap fight. And then a guy started yelling at a girl, and a glass got broken, and people were wrestling, and I had had Just About Enough. I turned up the lights and told the DJ to stop playing. The party? Was over. Mom had come home to ruin all their fun.

So we cleaned up and I went home, and I awoke at dawn. This time I was not in my parent's bed with Chuck Norris, and I was not on my way to Ireland in a few hours. And I definitely did not have Rumplemintz breath.

But I did have a renewed purpose in life. My children - those poor, dear children - will never get away with anything. I know too much. I remember too much. And I'll probably still be working behind the bar.

And I have their birthdates memorized.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I am as pathetic as the chick working the drive thru window thinks I am.

When I last left you, I was recovering from a day where things did not go as smoothly as I had hoped and anticipated. There were cows in the road, babies puking, broken cameras, and a lot of unecessary driving, It comes as no surprise that when I ran in the house and changed my clothes, and ran back out to work with just my apron (leaving my purse on the sofa) I might have forgotten something.

Boy, did I forget something.

I remembered to get the pukey baby tshirt out of my purse, and I even tossed it in the washing machine.

The puke-soaked "burp cloth?" notsomuch. Found it the next day though ! So that was pretty awesome. It's not surprising that I forgot the burp cloth (a total misnomer, by the way. They should just call it a puke cloth. Let's be honest with each other. Don't we deserve honesty? Yes We Do.) It was stuck in a pocket, and I wasn't digging around in my purse until the next day, when I was trying to find change for the drive-thru at McDonalds.

I hate McDonalds. I hate everything they stand for. I hate their advertising, I hate the way they market to kids, I hate how they try to pretend that their menu has healthy options when some of the salads have more fat and sodium and crap than a burger. But I love their fucking french fries, okay? I admit it freely. I get a small fry off the dollar menu, and no one needs to know. This is just between you and me. Here's my justification - feel free to apply this to your own McDonalds patronage:

My one dollar fries are not really "supporting" McDonalds. Those fries do a lot more for my mental health than for McDonald's bottom line. And I always get an iced tea to wash them down because A. I love unsweetened iced tea and B. they have a promotion where all soft drinks - regardless of the size - are a dollar. Even though the iced tea is not a soft drink (and what does that mean, anyway? Soft drink. Makes no sense. I'll google it later.) it is included in this promotion, so I gleefully get an extra-large iced tea for one dollar and even though I only drink half it doesn't matter because it was only a DOLLAR and all the sizes were the same price so you might as well get as much as possible for your money even if you don't need all of it because I AM AN AMERICAN DAMMIT AND THAT IS HOW WE DO THINGS.

So there I am, in line, waiting to order. And I stick my hand in the pocket of my purse, and it comes out all...wet. And oh, the smell. Oh dear god the smell. I *almost* lost  my appetite, but then again, we are talking about McDonald's french fries, and I would eat those even if I had the stomach flu, because THEY ARE LIKE LITTLE GOLDEN STRIPS OF CRACK.

So I grabbed the "burp cloth" and threw it in a plastic bag from the small roll I keep in the glovebox for when I walk the dog (because I am a responsible dog owner THANKYOUVERYMUCH) and I tied that bag up tight tight tight and I pulled forward to place my order, steering with my knees and frantically wiping my fingers clean with baby wipes (also in my glovebox - it's a big glovebox).

"Can I please have an extra large iced tea, a small fry, and...ummmm......a snack wrap."
"Will that complete your order?"
"Yes, that's it. Oh, wait. I thought the tea was a dollar?"
"No, not the iced tea."
"Oh. Didn't it used to be a dollar?
"The snack wrap isn't a dollar."
"The..... the snack wrap? No, I know that isn't a dollar. But I thought that all drinks were a dollar. Any size, one dollar. I was here last week and I-"
"We changed that three days ago." Her voice was dripping with disgust at my ignorance.
"Oh. Oh, okay then. Nevermind."
"Yep, nevermind. Just cancel my order."
 "Cancel it? Don't you want the fries?"
Oh you little minx, tempting me with the fries. Just waving them around under my nose, taunting me.
"Cancel the whole thing."
"Okay, whatever." she said.
HAH! I really showed her, huh? That's right! Standing up to THE MAN!

Only, I was stuck in the drive thru. There was a car in front of me, and a truck behind me. So I couldn't just sail past her window and leave her sitting there, bewildered and humbled by my strong stance vis a vis the end of the one dollar drink promotion and her shitty attitude and disdainful tone.

Oh no.

I had to sit in line.
Right outside her window.
Staring straight ahead.
While she glared at me.
For being such a ridiculous uppity bitch.
Who wouldn't cough up the extra $1.10 for her iced tea.
And who's car smells like a dumpster. "What the hell died in her car, anyway? God, the whole restaurant is going to smell....."

But I showed her. I really showed her. And then, when I had made my point, I drove to another McDonalds and got my damn one dollar french fries. Because why should I suffer?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sweat and Balls or lack thereof

This afternoon I had a schedule to stick to, dammit.

Max was giving a presentation on Beethoven at school, Lucy had gymnastics, and then I had to be at work at some point before 6pm.

So I got dressed for work, and got myself and the littlest sidekick into the car, and headed off to school - stop number one of many many stops to be made today. We live in the country - plenty of hairpin turns ("switchbacks") and blind curves and hidden driveways and, oddly, bicyclists. No bike lanes. No sidewalks. No breakdown lanes. Just two narrow lanes with rather high embankments on either side.

So while I do drive fast, I don't drive as fast as I did on the mainland with all of those wide open roads that call to me. But even using caution, even driving defensively, even driving below the speed limit, I was not expecting to come around a bend and find myself staring at the business end of a cow.

A cow.

I slammed on the brakes and came to a stop. The cow looked over it's shoulder at me as it ambled along. I say "it" because I have no idea if it was a male or a female. I am not good with things like that. Which explains a lot. But anyway. I was busy braking and steering and trying not to scream and wake up my littlest sidekick.

And after I came to a stop, I looked in my rearview mirror to see the person behind me also coming to a screeching halt, all the while looking furious with me, until of course the cow wandered across the center line in front of me and into their line of vision. And then they sat their, the both of them, with their mouths hanging open. I looked back through my windshield to see oncoming traffic swerving and braking and I realized that staying where I was was a very dangerous place to stay. I was either going to end up with a cow flying through my windshield, or a car skidding into my car as they lost control trying to avoid the cow.

The cow.
In the road.

So when the coast was clear, I passed the cow cautiously. The cow stared at me as I drove by, unconcerned with my beeping horn. I was honking in case someone who lived nearby perhaps was missing a cow. This might alert them to the cow's location. But I didn't see anyone come out of any of the nearby houses. So I picked up the phoe and called 911.

Now, you are absolutely not allowed to talk on a handheld device, and wouldn't it just be the ultimate irony for me to get a ticket for calling 911 while I was driving? Yes, I agree. And the dispatcher was of a similar mind. A very unfortunate turn of events. I will be watching my mailbox for the citation.

But citations aside, the dispatcher did take my emergency call very seriously.
"911 what is your emergency?"
"There's a cow in the road."
"A what?"
"A cow. In the road. Someone is going to hit it."
"In the road?"
"What's it doing?"
(It's doing a fucking irish jig. What the FUCK do you think it's doing?) "Um. Walking."
"Do you know who it belongs to?"
If I knew who it belonged to, you can be sure I would be calling them instead of this dispatcher.
"No, no I don't. Lots of cows around here."
"Can you describe the cow?"
"Can I wh...describe it?????"
"Yes. Can you give me a description."
Well, let's start with 'the only cow in the middle of the road'. Let's just start with that. And no, I don't know if it's a male or female, I couldn't see whether it had balls or not. IS that how you tell? Or is it horns I am supposed to be looking for? I have no idea. It's a fucking cow. That's all. A big cow. In the road.
"Brown. It's a big, brown cow."
"Okay, thank you. Can you spell your last name please?"
Oh for fuck's sake.

Eventually I got off the phone, and got to Max's school. I ran in just in time for his class' performance to begin, and I was greatly relieved.

I sat myself down on a chair with my littlest sidekick, who almost immediately threw up on me.
It was hot. I was already all sweaty and frazzled from the Great Cow Incident of 2010. Now I smelled like baby spit up. I was going to have to change before work. When I was going to have time for that, I had no idea. Sometime. Sometime before work.

I stripped the baby while the kids began their presentations, and stuck her pukey shirt in my purse. She was all sticky and sweaty and rashy, poor little thing. Max was actively sweating. He was mopping his head with a towel while he waited for his turn, wearing a velvet blazer, satin shirt and red pashmina (don't fucking ask, okay? Just don't ask.) I handed the baby to a teacher so I could videotape Max's speech. Then I took the baby back and fed her. And then I burped her and she puked EVERYWHERE. Down my back, all over my arm, the seat of the chair I was sitting in, the floor under the chair. Just......just....... EVERYWHERE. So I cleaned it all up as best I could and loaded everyone in the car and headed home. As much as I needed to change, I really could have benefitted from a shower. A long hot shower. Preferably with a hand-held shower head and a bottle of wine. But I digress. Who has time for that shit. I mean REALLY.

We changed, got ready for gymnastics, and raced to town. As I pulled into the parking lot of the gym, it looked suspiciously empty.

Because there was no gymnastics this week.
Of course.

So I loaded everyone back into the car and raced back up the hill and I stirred the dinner in the crockpot and turned on the video of Max's speech for my husband to watch. But there was no sound. I was upset. Apparently, I had my thumb over some miniscule microphone or something.

So I stirred dinner in the pot with a little too much enthusiasm ("Fucking. Stupid. Hidden. Microphone. Piece. Of. Shit.") and sprayed sauce all over myself.

And then, right then, is when I reached the end of my rope. I am finding the end of my rope earlier and earlier in the day these days. It's getting a bit frayed and sad looking. A bit of a tassle now, actually. If only I had it earlier, I would have been able to tie up the cow........

I put on my 4th outfit of the day, got back in the car, and drove to the restaurant. And thank god, there was not a cow to be seen. BUT IF THERE HAD BEEN, I had the end of my rope right there.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It pains me to admit it, but I am too old for this.

Last night we were at the bar, working and talking and complaining about the schedule, the boss, and the "situation" in general. We do this - it's like a little kaffee klatch of old ladies bitching and moaning, and would only be improved if we had some solid gays in our ranks. But sadly, all we have are a collection of MILFS, a few single guys who wish we would all just shut up and run the food, a sushi chef who finds everyone suspect, an insane owner, and his beleaguered youngest brother - the manager.

Last night in particular, we were rankled over the new hires. The simple fact is, some of us are fucking TIRED. Working until 3am in a bar with thumping music, broken glass, people screaming, and few chances for respite (aka "the smoke break" which is basically WHY I STARTED SMOKING AGAIN last week, if only so I would have the opportunity to step outside for a minute.) There is, I have heard, a new night time employee joining the ranks, and this gives me great joy. I thought - for just a brief, shining moment - that a new hire meant that I would have one weekend night off a week.

And people. I need that night off. I do. It's not that I work so many hours that is the trouble - to be honest, I work only at night, and not many hours at that. The real issue is that I work every weekend, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, which is when my husband and children are home. I would like to be with them. At home. Or out - we do love to go to Walmart on a Saturday afternoon. Maybe attend a social event from time to time without having to be working behind the bar. Or without having to work all night, race out the door around 11:30, and get to a different bar just before last call, drink 3 shots as quickly as possible, and then pee next to the valet stand. (Or not. I am not admitting anything.) And while I was trying to explain all of that, to explain that actually, I had no problem with my hours, but wished I could have some personal life, the manager agreed with me.
"Yes" he said.
"We need more people" he agreed.
"Young people, who don't mind staying up late night after night."
And I was nodding along, agreeing with him. But then he said:
"We don't need any more leathery skin behind the bar."

"Yes, yes, exac-Wait, what?"

And that, right there, is when I knew.
I am too old for this shit.
I may still have a hot little ass, but apparently, it's leathery.
'Tis a shame.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Come to Jesus (Christ Superstar) moment

One of my favorite things about the parade last week was seeing all of the drama clubs from the highschools on island. Oh, the angst. Oh the eyeliner and chuck taylors and furry hats in the shapes of animals. As they trudged past eyeing the rollergirls with a mix of curiosity and feigned indifference, we were all locking eyes. "We are your people" I thought to myself. I might even have said it out loud, I was so overwhelmed with the remembering of high school.

I was going to be something, you know. Someone. I was going to do something interesting with my life.

What? Well I really had no idea. I was too busy memorizing lines and singing in choir and coming up with killer costumes and coloring and perming my hair over and over and over again until it simply gave up and broke off.

I had a plan. I just didn't know exactly what it was. Still don't, actually. But it wasn't this......this whatever it is I'm doing. For a few years now, people have been asking me when I am going to write a book. While blogging is pretty much the ultimate in narcissism, even I don't think anyone wants to read an entire book about.....well, whatever the fuck it is I write about every day or so. So when my brother got a book deal, and his book was published, and I read on facebook that he was appearing at ComicCon NY last week (because that is how I find out what he is up to these days) I really didn't even feel a twinge of "I wish I had a book deal." I was so excited for him, and proud of him for being recognized in his chosen field. And the fact that his chosen field is action figures, animatiion, television and movies? All the better, man. Living the DREAM as far as I am concerned. How many times have kids been told to put down that action figure and do their homework? My brother made action figures into a career. Bravo.

And meanwhile, I puttered along here on the blog, reading other blogs and being wholly cognizant of the fact that there are many other better writers online, who also do not have book deals. I was not alone. It was a big pond I was swimming in.

It was OK.

Until yesterday.

On my twitter feed yesterday morning I got two pieces of news from Her Bad Mother that left me feeling so despondant and "my life is now without purpose or reason" that I thought it might be best to climb back into bed and drink heavily for the rest of the week. But I have kids to care for, so I just have to Get On With Things.

First, a woman that made me laugh until I cried, a woman who ALSO did not have a book deal, died. Died without a book deal. World? Not fair. Nancy W. Kappes, paralegal: the world is a sadder place without you and your Judy Garland trail mix.

Second, Snooki (of the bump it and the furry slippers and the shore of Jersey, which, well, YUCK) has a book deal.

And that, my friends, is that. I have been sitting here, for more than 24 hours, shaking my head and muttering to myself. I have no idea what to say. I do know this:

If Snooki has a book deal, there is still hope.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Have castle, will travel

This weekend was full of love and fun and excitement and laughter and beauty and frustration and anger and blood.

Saturday morning dawned windy as all hell, and we headed to the beach with our bouncy castle - we had been invited to a barbecue and I had 6 hours of "free time" with my kids. This seemed like a good way to spend them. Except that the surf was heavy and the wind was gusting and there weren't many children - which was a good thing because we had to keep dragging the bouncy castle away from the grill and I had to tell the kids they weren't actually allowed to play in the water because it was too dangerous. The entire time I spent at the beach was verging on total mayhem, death and destruction. After an hour of sitting by myself on the beach, whipping my head back and forth between making sure Max wasn't drowning, and making sure the empty bouncy castle wasn't blowing across the parking lot, I had to leave. I was so tense about someone A. burning B. drowning or C. disappearing entirely if I looked away for a second, that I was making myself sick from the stress of it.
Yes, I AM fun - you should totally invite me to all of your beach barbecues.

So I rolled up the bouncy castle and wrestled it back into it's storage bag, and I dragged the damn thing back to the car. When I got to the parking lot, I realized that the castle was too bulky to get between the cars, and it was heavy as fuck so I wasn't going to carry it all the way around. I decided to back into the handicapped space at the end of the aisle and load up there.

"Wait here." I told Lucy. "Don't move."
"I want to put my shells in my container." she was complaining.
"I'll get it when I move the car - your container is in your cupholder." I reassured her.
So I backed up and threw the car in park and opened the trunk and ran around to get the kids and the castle. Lucy walked up slowly.
"Baby, I promise, I will get your cup in JUST A MINUTE."
"Baby, please, let me just get this in the car." I was holding my hair out of my face with one hand while I tried to lift the fan into the back.
"Mama, one of the shells was sharp and I did this."
She held up her hand and blood ran down her palm.
Fuck me.
What the fucking fuck.

So I scooped her up and wrapped a paper towel around her hand all in one swift motion. I plunked her in her booster and buckled. There were smears of blood on the seat and the door handle, the towel had a big red stain. Deep breathing time. Small cut, lots of blood. She's fine. But where the hell was MAX?

As I turned around to look for him, Max wandered up, completely covered in sand and soaking wet. I told him to grab a towel out of the front seat - where he had put them when we got to the beach. They were in a basket on the passenger seat. While I loaded the castle into the back of the car, Max went around and grabbed a towel, and then climbed in the car. I went to get in the drivers seat, and realized that it was soaking wet. And my purse had a wet, sandy footprint on it.

what the fucking fuck.

I opened the back door where Max was sitting, his towel next to him in a ball. Sand everywhere. The seat soaking wet. Water dripping off of his nose. His wet rash guard stuck to his chest. He looked startled. And then, nervous. He looked down at the enormous mess, then back up at me. "Oops."

(Here is where I have to divert from the story for a moment. History time. I am not OCD PER SE, but I have.....procedures. I have ways that we do things. We do things this way so that my skin doesn't crawl and my left eye doesn't twitch and my heart doesn't pound. Going to the beach with the kids is hard for me because of all of the variables. Weather, wind, water, sand, facilities, people, parking.........sometimes it is just too much for my admittedly very structured way of doing things. One of the biggest parts of the routine is that we get cleaned up before we get in the car. We take off our rashguards and shower and sit on towels and I try not to think about how sandy everyone's feet are, and hopefully we make it home without mommy bursting into tears. So. Now you know.)

I surveyed the ruin of my backseat. Between the sand and the blood and the salt water and the tears and the bloody papertowels and my fragile mental state, things were falling apart at the seams. More deep breathing.

"Why is my seat wet?"
"I got a towel. You told me to get a towel."
"Towels are not on my seat."
"I know, I reached over an-"
"No. NO. Why? Why didn't you just open the passenger side door and grab a towel. It would have been much easier than climbing through the car. And now the entire front seat and the entire backseat are wet and sandy. Why? Why???? We have nice things. Why can't you be gentle with my nice things? YOU RUIN EVERY NICE THING I OWN I HAVE NO MORE NICE THINGS." Breathe. Deeply.

My girlfriend popped her head in the window. "Hey guys. How ar-"
Sweet Jesus.
I left in a cloud of sand. We got to the house and everyone was stripped and sprayed down on the patio. And then we had "quiet rest time" which means they read books in their room while I lay in bed doing my Lamaze breathing, which quite frankly has proven much more useful after birth than it ever did during the birthing process.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Roar of the Crowd

The rollergirls (and Noa Fantastica, natch) got all dolled up in our fishnets and blood smeared uniforms to skate in the County Fair parade yesterday.

There were a few complications.

Right from the start, the ground was wet, and covered with wet leaves. Wet leaves + roller skates = Daff O'Drill struggling to stay upright and moving in a forwardly direction.

As I was in the midst of my struggle to A. not eat it hard and B. try to find the rest of the team in the community college parking lot (where every sports team, non profit, fireman, cheerleader, gymnast, nursery school and drama club had gathered in a sort of Full Blown Chaos/Staging Area) I almost ran over a bagpiper.

I saw a few people that I knew, but I was feeling a bit shy what with my sequined hotpants and my precarious skating situation. Because I was unable to stop with certainty, I didn't want to try to approach anyone. So I kept my head down, furiously texting.

"We're next to the science building."
"I'M next to the science building."
"We're to the left of the entrance."
"I'M to the left of the entrance."
"We're in the front."
"I'M in the front - I'm behind the rainbow."
I was hiding behind a flatbed truck which held an enormous rainbow made out of balloons. And I was getting agitated. Amazingly, the rainbow was not visible from their location, on the other side of the park rangers.
"What DO you see from where you are?" I typed, hoping for something, anything to help me hone in on their location in the massive crowd.
"We're next to the bagpipers."
Oh. Well, since I had almost ran over a few of those, I knew exactly where to go.

So I found the team, and we stood around sweating in this insane heat and post-rainstorm humidity. I was bitching about how hot I was, when I realized we had a much larger problem.


The air was full of them. My clothes were covered with them. They were in my hair, and my teeth, and stuck in the corners of my eyes. They were - for all intents and purposes - swarming the downtown area.

And as much as I wanted to turn around and drive back to the house, I didn't. Because I was going to be in a PARADE and I love a parade. Oh yes I do. And just as I was remarking about how much I love a parade, I spotted a certain government official riding by, waving at the gathered crowd. A government official I have very strong feelings about. Very negative feelings. Very, very negative.

Because I was once again in uniform, I was not able to respond in a way that normally, I would have. I was representing the team, and the team cannot shout obscenities at elected officials, no matter how much we want to. So instead we all stood, and stared, and made loud comments about how strong our negative impressions are of this particular individual and her policies.

I love these girls (and Noa Fantastica). And not just because these girls (and Noa Fantastica) can rock hot pants like no one's business.

When it was our turn to start parading, we really gave it our all (between spitting out bugs and skidding in the gravel). It was so much FUN. And the crowd, they just went wild! At first I thought they were excited to see the Roller Girls (and their hotpants and fishnets). But then........then I realized something. They were calling out the names of specific Rollergirls.

It's a toss-up, but I would have to say that the educators probably got the biggest response, since there were so many students watching the parade......but the public defenders on the team seemed to have quite a following as well. If the  crowds weren't screaming for their teacher's attention, they were showing unbridaled support to their lawyer.

And since they were all, you know, not in jail, I'm guessing we have some good lawyers on the team.


Because if ever there was a team that needed lawyers, it would be the Rollergirls.