Monday, November 29, 2010

Things I love, holiday edition: Wassail and nog and Gingerbread Lattes

This week, in an attempt to distract myself from the fact that it is, undoubtably, the holidays, I am going to spend some time posting things that I love that are holiday specific.

I hate Christmas.

Sorry, that's my "Holiday Tourette's".

But I do, truly, hate Christmas. I am not religious, so "the reason for the season" doesn't come into play.
I hate the gnarly case of the "gimmes" that my children get every year. They are egged on by people constantly asking them what they want, and plying them with sugar, and throwing around a bunch of glitter and putting fucking lights on everything.

But there are highlights:

For one, beverages.

Hot Mulled Cider is the best thing ever. Well, besides eggnog laced with dark rum. And Gingerbread lattes.
I drink a lot during the holidays - angst makes me thirsty. I almost always have a travel mug in one hand, filled with some sort of coffee/eggnog/ginger concoction - usually without alcohol, but sometimes it's just unavoidable.

The best blend of mulling spices I have found - and they can be used in cider OR wine - is the mix from Williams Sonoma. Then those bastards announced that they were discontinuing that particular item. So I bought 3 cans.
I have one can left.
Williams Sonoma, you can kiss my ass. You discontinue everything good - like my wedding china pattern. Don't be douchebags. Bring back the mulling spices. And my china pattern.

See? THIS is why I hate the holidays.

Anyway.......go buy some mulling spices. Don't bother looking in Willliams Sonoma, unless you want to file a formal complaint about their insulting lack of mulling spices - in which case be my guest. After the scene I made trying to buy replacement plates, I don't think I am allowed in there anymore. Go figure.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mom, I love liquor

Today was my "fresh start". I put the nightmares of the previous days to rest, got a night's sleep and a meal of sorts into my belly, and woke up to sunshine and roses outside my window.

So I climbed out of our big warm bed, and shimmied into a bikini, grabbed a few towels and threw them in a basket, and walked out the door with my family following me, pulling on shoes and rashguards, tossing buckets and shovels and boogie boards into the back of the car as they crawled in still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes.

We drove down to the south shore, about 35 minutes from my house and well worth the drive. We stopped in to see one of my beloved rollergirls at the restaurant she owns, because I needed to see a familiar face and have an "everything is totally normal" kind of morning. And I needed to be reminded that it is possible to own my own place and *not* get the shit beat out of me. The last 24 hours had been so surreal, I had forgotten that what happened was a fluke, a one-off, and with any luck something I will never experience again.

So I sat down on the front porch of her cafe and put up my feet and sipped a thai iced coffee and relaxed - really and truly relaxed - for the first time in what felt like forever. I got my favorite fried rice with bacon and pineapple because somehow, in yet another sign that all is right with the world, this girl had my favorite fried rice on her menu before she ever even MET me.

The mind, it boggles.

After breakfast and a thorough de-briefing and offers of xanax and moral support, we went down the road a ways, and dragged the gear out of the back of the car, and toddled down to the beach. I passed out face first on the beach towel, with the warm sand settling in around me and the waves crashing just a few feet from my toes. Close enough to feel the spray, far enough to keep my towel dry. It was kind of overcast, so I was warm, but not hot. And I slept the sleep my entire being had been waiting for.

When I woke up it was later then I had anticipated, so we swung by the grocery and went home. I put together a pot of tomato sauce and left it bubbling on the counter, took a quick shower, grabbed my skates and headed to town.

We stopped at my favorite store, a little boutique next door to the cafe. I didn't have the energy to go inside the cafe today. It was such a good day, and i was really letting it all go and finally forgetting, bit by bit, all the details...I needed a little break from it all. So we sat in the warm sunshine that cast across the floor, listening to a children's story and a friend playing guitar. Lucy got her face painted, I bought a skirt and tried on jewelry and caught up with friends. The other bartender from That Awful Night was there, and we decided to meet up in a while with our kids and see "Tangled", the new princess movie based on the fairytale Rapunzel.

I drove to the basketball court where we practice, and got in a few minutes of skating. But my ass was cold (a sad complication of wearing hotpants in the "winter" months) and I was nervous that the movie would sell out, so we headed over to the theater sooner then I had anticipated. As it turned out, we bought the last 4 tickets, and the theater was full. Just another wonderful lucky thing that happened during this glorious day of wonderfulness, thankyouverymuch.

But the wonderfulness ended during the previews.

The collection of movies they were advertising before the film were, in a word, horrifying. There was not one single movie that I wanted to see. Not the Justin Beiber biopic. Not the Yogi Bear monstrosity. Not the Smurf movie, or the Gnomeo and Juliet feature. I sat there for 15 minutes with my jaw slack, watching this parade of awfulness. Finally the movie's opening credits began and i reached for some popcorn. A small arm blocked my hand. I looked down to see me daughter looking up at me reproachfully. "Mom" she said "could you please stop eating all the popcorn. There won't be any left for the movie." I glared at her, thinking of all the times I had to throw out half a bucket of uneaten popcorn after a movie with Little Miss Thing over here. And then I reached for the gallon of root beer that theaters insist on selling to you. As my friend passed me the cup, her little boy piped up.
"What is that, Mama? Can I have some? I want some? Can I have it?"
And she must have given him our go-to answer for no (because you can't just say "no" you have to have a reason for kids these days. The little fuckers just don't give up that easily.) I didn't hear exactly what she said, but it must have been something along the lines of "NO, you can't have any, it's got liquor in it."

Because the next thing I heard was that same little two year old voice, clear as a bell in the hushed theater:
"But mom, I like liquor, mom. I like it. I want liquor, I like liquor, Please mom, please can I have some liquor?"

The snort escaped before I could clap my hand over my mouth. The woman next to me grabbed her rosary. The family behind us snickered.
"He is going to be our BEST CUSTOMER" I hissed to my friend. She was not looking at me though - she was attempting to get her kid to stop saying the word "liquor" and failing miserably.
"Please mom, I love liquor, I really want some, please can I have some liquor?"

And I settled back in my seat to enjoy the movie, safe in the knowledge that I was not going to be serving anyone liquor today. No matter how many times they asked for it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It didn't happen to me.

It didn't happen to me, you know. I have no reason to be reacting like the injured party, hyperventilating on the floor of the shower, and pulled over on the side of the road with my hazard lights flashing in the pouring rain choking into a sandy beach towel. I am sure my manager's nightmares are far more vivid. I have no reason to be sitting here awake for 36 hours, unable to close my eyes because I am afraid of the memories that are playing on repeat in my mind, dozing off for a few moments only to sit straight up with an enormous gasp, as though I was coming from the deepest depths to the surface for air. Nothing happened to me. Not a scratch. I wasn't the one hurt. I was the one who ran and hid and cried and completely lost her shit. I know that. I know it, and I hate it. Because inside, I wanted to climb up on the bar and start breaking bottles over people's heads and pulling guys apart and stopping the whole damn thing from escalating.

At least, I always thought that was what I would do.

But I didn't.

I ducked and froze, was pushed to the side while others jumped in to help. I couldn't think, I couldn't move, I couldn't believe what was happening right before my eyes.

That is what really happened.
That is how I respond, apparently. There was no "fight or flight" response. There was a deer in the headlights moment, and then I ran as fast as my fucking legs could carry me. And the only thing I can say for myself is that at least I didn't run right out the back door and keep on running, with my fingers stuck in my ears to block out the horrifying sounds as they faded away behind me.

I am not the person that I thought I was.

And this is not about me, anyway.

My manager is as well as can be expected. Thank you all for your messages, and the prayers and good thoughts and love that you sent out to him. He is a good man, and it was a terrible thing that happened.
May it never, ever happen again.

This Thanksgiving weekend, we have even more to be thankful for.
I am going to climb into bed with a heating pad and my husband, and take a few deep breaths, and let it go.
I am thankful. I am thankful. I am thankful.

Never, ever, ever again

As I watched my manager's face get smashed against the corner of the bar, the only thing I could think was "Someone is going to be killed."

And it couldn't be me.

It's amazing the number of things that can fly through your mind in an instant. My family, mostly, but also possible escape routes, and where the next fist was coming from. Moments earlier, I wasn't capable of a coherent thought. People were shouting for drinks, the music was blaring, lights were flashing, we were running out of change, and  the crowd had swelled to completely uncontrollable levels - both by sheer numbers of people and by their combined intoxication. It was becoming clear that we needed to end the party and close for the night.

So we tried.

I told the people at the bar that we were done. I had already refused to serve the most abusive. The ones who called me a cunt when I cut them off. I hoped they would just leave, and go to another bar. And never come back to ours. But when the lights came on, and we stopped serving, people who were already billigerant completely lost control.

And that is when the first guy jumped over the bar and grabbed my manager. Followed by another guy. And another. And suddenly people were shoving past me behind the bar, as a roar rose up from the crowd.

And in that instant, as I saw them grab him around the neck, and I saw the first blood, I realized that I was in a very dangerous situation. And I thought of my children and husband sleeping at home, and realized that getting injured - or worse - was not an option. So I turned and ran to the back office to get the phone.

911. I needed to call 911. I needed help.

Hell broke loose behind me. Crashing, shattering glass, wood breaking, screaming, shouting - it followed me as I ran.

Two gogo dancers (GO GO DANCERS!? What the FUCK is going on in here?) were sitting in their half naked glory in the back office. I froze, confused. No one is supposed to be in the office. The restaurant had been completely taken over. On a small island, everyone is familiar. We know, at least by face, all of our customers. But this was a new crowd. And it was scary. We were, in that moment, outnumbered. And the people who were in control had lost all control. I needed the phone. I had to call the police.

And the phone was missing. I ran back out to the bar and grabbed a cellphone. My manager was covered in blood. The crowd was not dispersing, in fact it seemed like there were - if possible - more people then ever. I turned and ran back to the kitchen to call 911. The operator had trouble hearing me over the screaming, and through my tears.

I slammed the office door shut behind me now that the dancers had run out to join the melee.

And I sat on the floor and sobbed into the phone. I begged for help.

Help came eventually, but by the time the officers made it inside the fight was over, the guys who had jumped over the bar were long gone. And so was my ability to say anything more then "Never, ever, ever again."

In all the nights of working until 3 or 4am, I never had any real fear for my personal safety. The crowds could be annoying sure. Rude, absolutely. Out of control, even, on occasion. But I always told myself that I had a wide wooden bar between myself and the chaos.

Until the chaos jumped right over the bar, and slammed my managers face into it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Don't forget the turkey butt.

It is the morning of my favorite holiday.
Nothing can ruin my day. It's a proven fact: nothing can get me down on Thanksgiving - not even an old man throwing up in the bushes right outside the window next to the dinner table (Thanksgiving 2008). I just kept on shoveling stuffing in my mouth. Didn't even slow down. I might have even waved at him when he glanced up, startled, and realized our entire family was staring, mouths agape, from a foot away.

God, I love today.

Thanksgiving is a day where I can completely submerge myself in rituals and memories and traditions - it is so nice to be able to go on autopilot for once. I know what I need to do. I am prepared.

I know a lot of families (mine included) spend Thanksgiving together. Grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles and cousins. I have wonderful memories of childhood Thanksgivings - sitting in my PJ's watching the parade, changing into a new dress and tights with no holes in the knee, and a pair of patent leather mary janes that I shined carefully with Vaseline. With two sides of the family to visit, we spent the day eating and driving to eat more. We went around the corner to Grandmother's house for the first meal of the day - the turkey always slightly dry, but the pies........oh, the pies. We were usually the only kids there, so no one was competing with us for access to the cable television - which was a relatively new development and very very exciting. Most of the afternoon was spent lying in front of the TV while the grownups chatted downstairs. Very peaceful, very dignified, very traditional. The table laid with highly polished silver, all sorts of matching Thanksgiving themed decor (candles in the shapes of pilgrims? Check.) lovely china and serving platters, a proper utensil for every dish. I would whip the cream into stiff peaks, and watch the meringue of her lemon pie turning a perfect butterscotch brown in the oven. Stuffed to the gills, we would load up the car and head to the second meal, at Grammie and Grandpa's house.

The door would open on full-blown chaos. Everyone was arriving from their first meals, or had been sitting around all day drinking and waiting for the rest of us. It was a fun group, raucous and argumentative, and loaded with kids. Grammie was in her element in the kitchen, greeting the crowd and keeping track of when each dish would be ready. Grandpa wandered around with a glass of wine, pausing from time to time to crank up the volume on CNN and make sure he wasn't missing anything good. There were stacks and stacks of mismatched china plates, half-empty paper cups covered every surface, handmade pottery serving dishes from Ireland and local artisians were filled with food, and the older grandchildren were setting the table. Someone's dog usually peed on the floor, and once we had a baby goat in the mix. Aunts and uncles were drinking, or feeding babies, or shooting a game of pool in the basement. The one thing I can remember clearly is the noise. It was so ridiculously loud. With 7 children, their spouses, and 20 grandchildren, just having the immediate family meant 40 people were coming for dinner. And we wouldn't have missed it for the world.

It's different now, of course. Grandmother and Grandpa have passed away, and Grammie goes to one of her children's houses for the holidays now, so the big family dinners have evolved. We no longer have 2 stops to make. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the first time when I was hugely pregnant and unable to make the trip home to see family. There were a few mishaps - please don't tell me I am the only person to forget to pulls the paper bag of guts out of the turkey butt - and I took some liberties with the stuffing recipe (dried cranberries! HOW NOUVELLE CUISINE!!!) and at one point I got wedged into the galley kitchen with my huge belly and couldn't get the turkey out of the oven, or close the oven door - I had to shout for help. But it was empowering and satisfying and comforting to know that I could do it. I could give my own family a holiday to remember. We still have pictures of that day - me in my nightgown because my maternity pants no longer fit and DAMNED if I was buying a bigger pair, Sam in his plaid flannel bathrobe in solidarity. We had video, but Sami taped over it by accident. I might forgive him for that someday.

Now that I live here in Hawaii, far from my New England roots, I have settled into my own Thanksgiving celebration. I still put cranberries in my stuffing, and I have a crowd of my own - friends-like-family, kids, dogs, and the occasional neighbor all show up in the late afternoon. Cases of wine and bottles of rum and whiskey crowd the kitchen counter, a cooler of beer is on the porch. We're about to peel 10 pounds of potatos, and two turkeys are going in the oven shortly. And yes - I pulled the bag of "parts" out of the turkey butt already, thanks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh Hawaiiantel, you make it so hard to be nice

You may or may not remember this post. I switched our phone and internet from cable back to the telephone company a few weeks ago, and regretted my decision while the installation was taking place. I was flooded with emails from friends, family, and total strangers, regaling me with tales of their hideous experiences with the phone company, and their suspicions that they had dealt with the same miserable install technician. EVEN THE PHONE COMPANY EMAILED ME. And I promised the phone company that I would follow up on my post and let you all know if I decided to give them another chance. But I had to think about it. I was really mad, and after hearing all of the horror stories, and being reminded of the hours and hours and HOURS I spent on hold with the phone company straightening out billing issues and trying to get my service to work the last time I was their customer......I just didn't know if I could do it again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me, right? So needless to say, the equipment has been sitting in a sealed box on my kitchen counter ever since that night. I didn't want to deal with it. The whole thing was just so annoying. Plus, my cable internet still works. Because in Hawaii, we do things AWESOME.

Fast forward to tonight - I reorganized my office. Disconnected every power cord and wire, cleaned and relocated every piece of electronic and computer equipment, and started to put everything back together again with cords untangled and everything arranged neatly. Sounds great, and very type-A of me, doesn't it? In reality, it was a terrible idea. I was covered in dust and dirt, I disconnected all of the power cords from the back of whatever it was they were powering, and then had no fucking idea which power cord went to which device, and I ended up with a bunch of wires that - I guess? - were just behind my desk and not connected to anything at all. At least, that is what I am telling myself.

During all of this, I decided to go ahead and hook up the modem from the phone company. The one that was still sitting in the sealed box Sam brought back from the phone company last week.

So I hooked that shit up. Hooked it up real good. Read the manual and everything.
And it didn't work.

I pulled all of the wires out, and started over again.
Nope. Still nothing.
The phone worked, so I knew the jack was working and I knew we had service.......but no internet.
Went to the troubleshooting page of the manual.
Still nothing.
Called the phone number for 24/7 service.
It disconnected me.
Four times.
Then, an automated voice referred me to their website for assistance. Except, I was calling the number to report problems with my internet connectivity. Chances are, people who call that line CAN'T GO TO THE FUCKING WEBSITE.
(this is not rocket science)
I called back, 3 more times. And finally after pressing a random series of numbers, the # and the * buttons, and shouting "operator" and "customer service" into the phone repeatedly, I got a real, live human being. I use the word "live" very loosely - the dude sounded like he was 85. He was doing the old man mouth breathing into the phone, and "tsk"ing and "you don't say"ing and it was like having my great grandfather helping me hook up a wireless modem with all of those "doohickeys" and "thingamabobs".
"Is the light blinking fast and then slow?" he asked.
"No, it's just blinking steadily."
"Hmph. That's not good."
"Yeah, soooooo......"
"Here's what I need you to do" he said. "I need you to hang up, and unplug the phone, and plug the modem into this same jack and leave it for FOUR minutes. And then I want you to plug the phone back in and I will call you back."
"Um, okay."
"So plug it back in at 8:10."
Since my kitchen clock said 8:11, I decided to just set the timer and hope for the best.
And he did call me back about 6 minutes later.
"Sorry I am so late calling you back (breathe breathe breathe) I was checking the line."
"No problem, I was jus-"
"There is a problem with the service. I have scheduled a technician to come out and make the repair. You don't eed to be at home or anything. It should be fixed by Wednesday."
"By Wednesday."
"Yes. (breathe breathe breathe)."
"Okay then. Thanks so much for your help!" I said brightly, as I started unplugging all of the phone company equipment and throwing the wires and cords and plastic bags back into the box.
"Thank YOU for being a Hawaiiantel customer. Is there anything else I can do for you tonight?"
"Oh no (yank) I'm good (tug) Thanks for your help (crash) Have a great night!"
And with that, I plugged my cable modem back into the wall, and fired up that internet connection that the phone company had turned off two weeks ago. Thank god they are so on top of it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Naked Typing

My free time is evaporating as the holidays approach. It's not like I was swanning around before, filing my nails and staring into space......but now I roll out of bed like I've been shot from a gun.

Part of the reason is that I stay IN bed as long as possible. I am not - to put it kindly - a morning person. If you call my house before 8am.....well, just don't. You can be sure I don't want to talk to you.

About anything.
Ever, ever again.

Each morning you will find me in bed trying not to make any noise, because I don't want to alert anyone to the fact that I am indeed awake. There is good reason for this. As soon as I have woken up it's all hands on deck (aka mommy's bed). The moment anyone gets any sort of indication that I may not be sleeping, my room is filled with "Max just took my book!' "She's lying!" "I'm hungry!" "I can't find my jeans!" and my favorite:
"Where's Daddy?"
(Yeah, I still get that fucking question every morning. They are always shocked to learn that he is, indeed, gainfully employed, and has already left for work. And when I remind them that he's at work, they whine about how they miss him, and wish he didn't have to work. They do it at night, too, when I have left for work. But I think dealing with it at 7am might be slightly more difficult then at 7pm, at the end of the day, after a glass of wine and with bedtime in sight. When it starts as soon as you open your eyes, I can assure you: it is an awesome way to start the day - improved only when Lucy bursts into tears - and usually ends with me muttering things like "I wish he was here too, trust me.")

I have no idea why they haven't learned by now that it does no one any good to get me up before I am damn good and ready. They might *think* they want me to wake up and get their breakfast....but when they actually enter my darkened bedroom and wake me up, and then have to deal with the aftermath.....well, they realize that they should have just eaten cereal and left me out of it. But in the heat of the moment, at dawn's early light, when they can't find a clean bowl or they need someone to wipe their ass, they forget how much they don't want *me* to do it. Until they burst into my room and start hammering me with requests and questions and reports and complaints. Then - and only then - do I rise up from my bed and meet their demands with a frosty glare that seems to stop them in their tracks. They back out of the room saying things like "I'll just have that cereal whenever your ready, mommy." and "I am going to go look for those jeans in my drawer - maybe they're in there." And we are all very sorry that I got out of bed that early.

 Which is why I maintain a monastic silence in my room until I have checked my email and cruised facebook for a few minutes. It's a public service. I stay in my cave until I can greet the day - and my children - with a smile and maybe some pancakes or something.

The problem is, we live in a house with no insulation at about 2000 feet elevation, and even on Maui it can get chilly at night. So its cold in my room when I wake up. So cold that I have to type one-handed. Because I have to hide the other hand under the blankets.

I alternate hands for a while - keeping one arm and shoulder under the comforter, balancing the laptop through the covers as I type with the other hand - switching every few minutes until one of my limbs falls asleep or my fingers start to turn kind of blue, either from lack of circulation or the cold temperature of my bedroom. Once I have exhausted all attempts to stay warm and type at the same time, I take that as a hint that it's time to get off the computer and get out of bed. The children come running as soon as my feet hit the floor, so before I leave the comfort of my little nest, I take inventory. Bathrobe? check. Underwear? check. Pants? Over rated. Anything inappropriate for children next to the bed?

Don't judge me.

I get everything in a child-friendly condition and take one last slug of water from the bottle next to my bed. Then - and only then - am I ready to greet my adoring offspring. In green flannel. With lobsters. Hold the pants.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

There has been a serious lack of hotpants lately

I was putting away laundry this morning, and I pulled open the drawer that holds my roller derby garb. Short and tight and sequined and thigh-hi and fishnetted - I was hit with this wave of longing which may result in my putting them on to go to Whole Foods.

If you had told me a year ago that I would have such a drawer, I would have laughed at you uncomfortably.
Because really. I am 35 years old for God's Sake.
Get A Grip On Yourself.
Thigh Hi Tube Socks? REALLY???

Oh yes, really.

Even though my doctors have advised me that throwing myself  (or being thrown/shoved/tripped) down on concrete repeatedly was perhaps not the best life choice I could have made in terms of my neck and back problems, I still got that bug, and I've got that drawer full of POWER  in the form of hotpants and brightly colored stockings and torn fishnets. And I will still have it when I'm 80. I might not wear the hotpants by then (You're Welcome and sorry for the visual) but I am going to keep that drawer to remind me that I can do just about anything once. Or until my doctor finds out and forbids me from ever doing it again.

Derby is like a splinter that gets stuck under your skin. Once you start skating that fast, that hard, for hours on end, you just...can't.....stop. The wind in your hair, the feeling of triumph when you finally nail the crossover and can get some real speed going around the turns, that time that you actually managed to block a much bigger and better and faster skater........those little moments are the highest high. You want to do it again,. And again, And more, better, harder, faster, longer, JUST ONE MORE TIME PLEASE MOM I PROMISE I'LL GO TO BED RIGHT AFTER. You are for that moment just you. No kids, no job, no drama.

I think it is similar to most other sports - and I include dance in that category. When everything goes the way it should, and all of the stars align, and your partner has your is so perfectly smooth and beautiful. And if you end up on your face with a broken tooth, maybe knocked unconscious and bleeding from the nose....well, it's perhaps not as much fun, but you get the same kind of high.

At the last derby event, I wore shoes to be timekeeper. Partially because I needed to concentrate on what was going on. Partly so that I would be able to get out of the referees' way quickly. Partly because I was afraid that in the heat of the moment I might jump on the track and race the jammer in my excitement and enthusiasm. I can't watch standing still. I am leaning forward and rocking to the side around each turn and holding my breath and all the while trying not to scream in my neighbor's ear. I am afraid to look, and feel the longing of being left behind, and I'm afraid to look away and miss a second of the game. Captivated.
You cannot be afraid when you are on the track - it will hold you back and hold you down and keep you from skating as fast and as hard as you can and should. And even if the doctor says that you have good reason to be afraid, that you simply cannot take another direct hit, I can tell you right now you practically need medication to stop. Like, "sign me up at the closest methadone clinic" kind of medication. Being sidelined for any reason is unacceptable. Almost physically painful.

Worse then landing on the concrete, I think..
But when I am not on the track, even in my most desperate hours of wanting to skate, I have to remember that I have a family who depends on me. That I have team mates who love me off the track too. That there are ways I can still be a derby girl, even without my skates on.

Like wearing hotpants and thigh-hi's to Whole Foods at 10am on a Wednesday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Season of Giving: I got something for you RIGHT HERE

I am days away from buying a plane ticket and just getting the hell out of here.
Who's with me?

The holidays leave me exhausted, because people want a lot of you during the holidays. I don't know why - you would think the grownups could all just sit down with a box of wine and some leftover goldfish crackers, and agree that between the months of October and January we need to avoid planning any major events, and just hold it together and BE COOL.

It isn't even Thanksgiving, and already requests for donations of time, money, energy, and gifts are piling up. And I'm no Rockefeller, if you know what I'm saying. I'm not gliding off to the Metropolitan Tree Lighting on the West Lawn with Bernard and Muffy. This is just your average, run-of-the-mill suburban mom stuff. Don't even get me started on the December birthday parties. My son's birthday is 10 days before Christmas, so I know what I am talking about.

I tried to get them to induce me in November but NO. Something about due dates and "letting your body tell you when it's ready" (which, for the record NEVER HAPPENED and they finally had to go in there and pull this almost 10 pound baby out by one leg while he protested mightily at being disturbed because obviously he was HIBERNATING). Those midwives wanted to make sure they ruined every December FOREVER. It's not just that it sucks to have your birthday right before Christmas because then you inevitably get people sending one package for both your birthday AND Christmas - it's that no one is around to go to your damn birthday party because they have that pageant/craft fair/thing for work/flight home for the holidays. I can't imagine it will be better when he's an adult - I will never see him on his birthday, because he'll tell me he's going to see me "next week anyway, Ma" or "The flights are astronomical this time of year".

I'm getting ahead of myself, I know, Forgive me but that is the state I am in, where not only am I worried about everything I have to do in the next 7 weeks, but I am also beside myself with worry about how I am going to manage every holiday season from now until the end of time.
They can't all be like this.
They must NOT be like this.
Have a goldfish cracker.
(*crunch crunch crunch*)

I know, I know.......I don't have to worry about his flights yet - for now, he's still under our roof and the entire month of December is a toy orgy of the first order. It's not my doing, IT'S EVERYONE ELSE. The packages and boxes start arriving the week after Thanksgiving, and sometimes they don't stop until January. I have a habit of buying gifts that will be "perfect" all year long, and saving them. I have stuff hidden in my attic for at least 10 months out of the year Sometimes longer, because I'll forget about it and then find it the following April. When he asks for something, telling him "your birthday is coming" is met with a dark look, because his birthday isn't coming until the week before Christmas, dammit.

Then there's work - all 3 jobs are chipping away at my day until there is just nothing left. Today I actually told a client over the phone that I just couldn't help her anymore. I just couldn't do it. I had a baby vomiting in one arm, I had the cell phone wedged between my clenched jaw and my (very tense) shoulder and my desk phone on speaker while I was parked on hold for 27 minutes trying to pay the mortgage because the bank's website was down. I was staring at a pile of laundry, and wondering when the last time was that I had eaten.


It's's a lot! And some parents just seem to breeze through it all, with not a hair out of place. "What's the problem?" you can see them thinking as you drive off with your tailgate still open and a lunchbox on the roof. The problem? They are the problem, actually. They make it worse. They make me feel like I should be doing it better, when I am already doing the very best that I can. Don't send me your fucking homemade christmas cards that you stamped with cut up potatoes and sprinkled with fucking glitter and addressed in calligraphy in front of a roaring fire. I hate glitter you asshole. And while we're at it, don't buy your kid some huge, stupidly expensive and unnecessary gift for the holiday - why make it hard on the rest of us? It's not a fucking contest.

But if it was, I would totally win. Because I have taken a few minutes and planned out the whole damn season down to the bikini wax appointments.
I scheduled those first, actually.
Priorities, you know.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Got rid of the bugs, but now the car smells like cat pee.

Last month, we had the roach infestation. Which was bad enough.
Or so I thought.

But it turns out, it could be worse.
It could ALWAYS be worse.

Friday, I had a 3 gallon jug of water tip over in the back of the car. Just water, right? No big deal! Triple filtered, ultra-purified water, straight from the water store, even.

It'll dry up, no problem!

And then the car was closed up overnight. And half of the next day. And by noon on Saturday, it smelled like I had a dead body hidden under the back seat.

(Which I don't. Just to be clear.)

So I did the only reasonable thing.
Which was: leave all the windows open, to air out the car and facilitate the drying out process.

Which was a GREAT idea, except that leaving the windows open meant that one of my delightful neighbor's feral cats might have perhaps climbed inside for a nice nap in a warm car on a sunny day. And maybe he got startled, or was simply very soundly asleep, or perhaps just too lazy to leave the car. (I mean, let's face it, we've all had that middle-of-the-night debate: "Do I get up and pee, or wait a little longer? Can I wait a little longer and not piss the bed if I fall back asleep? If I get out of bed to pee, will I be up all night?"
It's not an easy call to make.
Whatever happened, however it happened, my car now smells like damp, hot cat piss.

And frankly, I'd rather have roaches.

I did nothing to deserve this sort of treatment.

My husband, on the other hand, accidentally ran over one of those damn cats last year when it was asleep under the car (??? We think???) and they have had it in for us ever since. I personally believe that cats do exactly what they want, when they want, and where they want, and fuck you, buddy.

I have seen cats pee in shoes, on beds and rugs, in the bathtub, and in corners of rooms right next to litter boxes. January truly is the cruelest month when your cat pisses on your radiator - trust me on this one.

So while it is no surprise that one of these little beasts sauntered over to my car, hopped up on the hood calm as you please, climbed through the open window, and made him (or her)self completely at home, it is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE and if I so much as see a whisker on my property I will get out the Supersoaker and make my feelings known.

But before I spray water anywhere, I will make sure my fucking car windows are closed.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

reasons why I might just bail on my dream of opening my own restaurant

Reason number 1 for why I might never own my own restaurant: nights like tonight.
Reason number 2: nights like last night.

I just worked the 4pm-4am bartenders extravaganza, and while I am sure we are all completely sick of hearing about my job and why it sucks, please indulge me for a moment.

By the end of the night, we are all exahusted. By last call, we are moments away from running screaming into the parking lot and locking ourselves in our car for a good long cry. So when last call hapens, and you order a drink, then rest your head on the bar and begin to vomit all over the floor,'re cut off.

And when one of the girls tries to hand you a bucket and you toss it back at her, then continue to puke all over the wil be going home alone, I can tell you that. Your shot at that hot young thing standing next to you? Blown. You blew it, when you blew chunks, dude.

So not cool.

And I have the hyper-active sympathy gag reflex, so while you were retching, SO WAS I.

But surprisingly, that wasn't the worst thing to happen.

There were the broken tables.
And the fights.
And the girl who said I told her to "come back when she could speak english". Which, um, well.
No. No, I definitely did not. And you would think that I would just say that, and get on with my night.

But after 8 hours of...........well........hell, I was not able to just let it go.

Not like that guy at the end of the bar, anyway.
He sure did let it go. He let everything go.

Sleep now, more later.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The first and last time I am going to say something about this

Tonight, I got stiffed. Twice.

Don't be that guy.

The one piece of advice I offer anyone going to somewhere new is: read up on your destination. When you travel to another country, pick up a guidebook and familiarize yourself with the culture. So that you don't do something obnoxious that affects the people around you unknowingly. You don't want to do that. I know you don't.

I had a family in the restaurant tonight that literally did not know how to work a credit card receipt. But it wasn't as though they just arrived on planet earth. What do credit card slips look like in Europe? Because everywhere I've been, there are 2-3 lines at the bottom of every slip. In the US, we all know that you add a tip to the line that says "tip", and then you do the math and then (and only then) you sign your name. That's what all those lines are for on the bottom of your receipt. ****I was informed by my friend Robin that in other countries, the second line is for a phone number. I had no idea! You aren't allowed to leave a tip on the receipt! So even though the line on our slip is clearly labeled "tip" if you don't speak English and have never heard of tipping, I guess it's understandable that they would be confused.***** Which brings me back to my original advice - know what you are doing before you go out. I know that in many countries, service in a restaurant is just part of your bill. *I know this - so when traveling I always check and see if service is listed somewhere else on the check first. So why is it that people visiting our country, don't know it isn't done like that here? In good old America, we gotta work for it. Earn it. You have to give a tip of your own free will (except parties of 6 or more. Sorry man, but we have to make sure that service is covered) and if your service sucks you have the god-given right to leave nothing for your server.

But don't do that unless you are dealing with a really extreme situation.
When you do get good table service, you *should* leave a tip. Period.
Don't be a dick.
Don't be ignorant.
And to my customers from tonight?
I know you were happy with your service and your food. I know you got everything you needed exactly when you needed it. I know you appreciated it when I repeated everything slowly with accompanying hand gestures. (Have you ever tried to play charades for the words "seared ahi"? It's complicated. But we figured it out together tonight, me and this family!)

And I know, deep down inside, that if you had known that leaving a tip was part of eating out, that you would have left one. A big one. I can feel it in my heart.

I hope - for your next server's sake - that someone has the sense to tell you about tipping, before you eat out again. You are very sweet people, but please don't let your next server be me. Take care, buh bye.

But you, over there at the sushi bar? Fuck You.
You ordered drinks from me, I brought you all of your dishes and utensils, made you your drinks and your miso soup, and brought all of that too. I cleared your place, I brought you your check, I brought you change.
And you took that change - all of it - and handed it to the sushi guy.
I am all about tipping your sushi guy - but you also have to tip the person who brought  (and took away) everything but the actual sushi.

The sushi dude's job is to make the sushi. He gets paid WAY MORE THAN I DO. And he gets part of my tips at the end of the night. The next time you sit at the sushi bar, bring your own beverages and leave me out of it.

Okay, sorry. I'm done. But it just had to be said. I know about tipping in other countries. I expect people eating out to understand how it works before they get the bill. I know I am not alone in this.

And so for you, my gentle reader, a video. This is my life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Love Sick

My boy, my sweet boy, is lovesick.

Oh, he's got it bad.

So bad.

It's painful.

He writes heartfelt love notes. Sweetly mis-spelled poems. He can't think. He can't concentrate.

He's still eating everything in sight and sleeping soundly, so I'm not too worried. Mostly amused. But then, another parent will tell me a story about my little darling and I will get a glimpse - just an inkling - of where we are headed.

"Hey" he said to a friend's husband last week.

"Uh, hey there." The typical response when my boy dials in and starts a conversation. He's an intense little dude. People get that right away.

"You know women?" Max asked, obviously impressed by the guy's wife, a hot derby girl with long blonde hair who tends bar at a restaurant just down the street from the restaurant where I tend bar.

What can I say. Freud knew what he was talking about.


"Do you know a lot about women?" ("you moron" was, as always, not said but clearly implied.)

"Uh, yeah, I guess." the poor bewildered man answered, as he was trying to calculate in his head just how old my son could possibly be.

(He's nine.)

Or this exchange which was related to us tonight.

"So," he asked, sidling up to another friend's husband. "How'd you win her?"

"What?!" (Max gets that reaction a lot. He's used to it.)

"Your wife." (again, "you moron" would go right about here.) "How'd you get her to marry you?"

Not getting the information he needed out of the guy, he went straight to the source.

"Hey." he said to my friend. "How'd he win you?"

"What?!" (Like I said, it's pretty much the universal reaction to Max.)

He's definite;y not afraid to approach women, THAT'S for sure. His patented "pretend you're going in for a hug, then grab their boob" move is legendary among the over 18-crowd. He's got moves, and he's not afraid to use them. And oh, the sweet talking.

Like that time I took him to the chiropractor. He's lying there on the table when suddenly he pops up on one elbow.

"Hey." he said to the woman lying facedown on the table next to him. "How are you? What's your name?" She raised her head up and looked at him, baffled. Not one to be easily discouraged, Max launched into the next question right away, while her guard was still down. "What do you do?" which was said in such a Joey Tribianni-esque "how you doin'?" tone, that the entire room burst out laughing. Turns out, she owns a popular restaurant, and so they chatted about the menu, and by the end of the conversation she was basically trying to convince him to come in and eat sometime. "We have great burgers!" she insisted as she was leaving. "You should come try them!"

Or that time he went on a field trip, and the parents and kids were all swimming. One of the moms took out her ponytail and Max stopped splashing and hooting, mesmerized, and then swam over. "You look beautiful with your hair down," he said, in awe. "You look so different!"

"Why thank you Max." she said, unfazed by his charms.

Ah, so close. Better luck next time, my boy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I have short hair and I still like penis. Shocking.

"You look like a dyke." a woman said the first time I cut all my hair off.
Despite my two marriages, and a very decidedly heterosexual social life between them, she felt that my pixie cut had ended more than my interest in a good conditioner - it also meant the end of my interest in penises.

I had no idea I needed long hair for that. Thank goodness she was around to enlighten me.

For all the years since that one, shocking day when I heard someone use THAT WORD to describe my appearance, it has stuck with me. First of all, why on earth would someone use that word as an insult? I know some pretty hot lesbians. Second of all, when did lesbians corner the market on short hair?


I put it behind me. Chalked it up to someone being ignorant and speaking without thinking. And I thought the whole "lesbians have short hair" thing was just that woman being obnoxious. We all know that a person's "looks" are NEVER an indication of their sexuality. They could be wearing a sign that says "I am a lesbian" and I still would need more proof. Pretty much the only way to know whether someone is a lesbian or not, is to find out if they will have sex with another girl. Not that one night at sleepover camp. Not that wild weekend in Cancun during spring break. Not "I Kissed A Girl" Katy Perry-style. I mean, know what I mean. Sex. With a girl.

For the record, I can guarantee that I am not going to have sex with another woman. Not even if I cut all my hair off first.

Not one to leave well enough alone, I tested the theory repeatedly. Short hair, long hair, still not a lesbian. Today I had over a foot of hair tied up in a poy tail, and removed from my head. With scissors. At a hair salon. I tweeted and facebooked the momentous occasion.
The reaction was immediate. 
My phone started buzzing.
My email was chiming away as one message after another came in on facebook.
And I  was surprised that amongst all of the "Holy SHIT" and "I love it!' and "Sassy!" responses, another of my friends made a joke that equated short hair with a potential change in my sexual orientation. Even more surprising - the friend who brought it up tonight is a lesbian.

A lesbian with long hair.
She must be so confused. How can she like vaginas with all of that hair on her head? IT'S IMPOSSIBLE.

Maybe she was just hoping for some good news. Like, if she pointed out that my new hairstyle may be a portal to my inner lesbian, that she could have first crack at it. I hate to disappoint her. Perhaps I should give the ladies a try after all. I mean, we don't want this short hair to go to waste. But not now.

She wasn't the only one who was connecting my new hairstyle with my sex life. Apparently, I have some other, unexplored options.

"You look like high class woman now" the sushi chef said at work.

I guess that is in comparison to the "cheap whore" look I was rocking earlier in the day? (And indeed, for the past year.) Silly me: I just thought this was just a cute haircut. Turns out it also made me gay AND classy. It's a miracle!
"I take you." he leered at me, giggling. I glared back. Daggers. That's not the way to talk to a high class lady, SIR.
(And even though he has a penis, I don't want to see it.)

So I guess the verdict is still out.

On the haircut, that is.
I'm still not a lesbian.
I'm not having sex with the sushi guy, either.
(I can't believe I just said that. But I just want to be clear, ladies and sushi guys.)
My heart belongs only to my beloved husband. And his penis. Both of whom really like my new haircut.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cutting back? No. I don't know how to do that.

I have learned somethng about myself, lo and these many years. This is crazy, deep-down honesty here.
Are you ready for it?
The truth?
You can't handle the truth. (Sorry. I am so sorry. But I had to say it.)
Okay, here we go.
True confession time:

Restraint is not one of my strong suits.

I know, I know, I can hear the gasp of disbelief from here.

But here's the thing. I like what I have. If anything, I want more. So if, for some reason, having what I have becomes difficult or (God Forbid) impossible, then I would choose to find a way to make it happen, rather than deciding what I can live without.

I would rather work harder to maintain the status quo, then give up anything.

I like eating out.
I like buying new (or new to me) clothes.
I like driving a relatively new car.
I like my house.
I like living in Hawaii.
I like it all, baby. And I'm not giving up NOTHING.

I would be the worst dieter ever. I can't even talk myself out of a Coke Icee.
Even when we were getting WIC, I was still buying brie with quarters I found in between the couch cushions, and toasting the marked down day-old french bread so I would have something to smear it on.

And I think, rather then feel badly (because clearly my issues are very 1st world and I should actually just be ashamed of all that I have when others have nothing) I should stand up and say "I work my ass off for this, and I am going to enjoy it." I would rather live my life to it's fullest and spend every last dime, than squirrel away every extra dollar for a rainy day, then get hit by a bus next week. (God Forbid.) (Note to self, be very careful driving and walking for the next 2 weeks.) (P.S. I am an idiot.)

All this is to say that while I do love to work, and I enjoy all that I have, I am exhausted. And at some point, in the not too distant future, I am going to have to cut this crazy schedule out. Without cutting out anything else.

I am getting serious, people.

Things are going to be changing around here.

And I'm not just talking about the sheets on my bed (but I'm changing those too, just on principle).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Got him a bike, forgot to ask if he knew how to ride one.

Yesterday was Sami's birthday. And I had SUCH a good idea for a present. A bike.

Because for the past few years, Sami has spent a great deal of time running around after our kids as they pedal through the neighborhood, bent at the waist, pushing them over speedbumps and up hills, and then chasing after them trying to keep them from flying at a high rate of speed downhill into someone's mailbox.

Now that both kids are able to pedal and steer and brake, they don't require such vigilance.

And Sami was complaining that he didn't get enough exercise.

And so, the obvious solution was to get him a bike. Right? Of Course. So that he could ride along with them! The family that rides together, uh......I don't know, it doesn't matter THAT IS NOT THE POINT. Cute catch phrases aside, I had a vision. A dream.

Only, like most of my visions and dreams, it was only half formed.

I got him a bike for his birthday, but I neglected to ask him if he knew how to ride a bike. Certainly didn't really consider whether he would want a bike. I just went right out and bought one. It's red. That's about all I can tell you about it, honestly - I should never be trusted with buying any sort of sports equipment. I just choose things that are pretty and/or comfy. Which would explain why his new bike has the "extra cushiony seat". Comfort. And also, red. Pretty.

Flash forward to today. After 24 hours of haranguing, Sami has finally agreed to go outside and ride bikes with the kids, on his new bike.

But with the week of heavy rain, the gates are all swollen shut. So the first order of business is how to get the bike out of the yard, where I stashed it when I brought it home. Which may involve carrying it through the house. Or not. I guess he managed to kick a gate open. Very resourceful. Also? Manly. Less manly? The helmet. Everyone looks like an ass in a bike helmet. Yes, you do. Don't fool yourself.

Now he is on the street. The wind is still strong, leaves are blowing off of trees and swirling around in the street, chimes are clanging, and I can hear Sami shouting directions at the children and trying to chase after the dog who has inexplicably been let out to play with them in the street.

Because the only thing that could make riding a bike with two kids in the rain and wind more fun, is if you have a spastic terrier freaking out and running in circles around you.

But it's okay, because Sami still hasn't actually ridden anywhere. He's just standing there holding the bike and - dare I say it? Stalling. Which is really raising my suspicions. I mean, who gets a new bike and just smiles and says "very nice" and goes back inside? Don't you have an obligation to, I don't know, hop on for a second. Just to "see if it fits?". Take it for a spin? I am concerned. What if this city boy can't ride a bike? That would be terrible. And also much more entertaining than I had anticipated. But in my defense, I did buy him a helmet. And he has life insurance.

OH wait, here he goes. Live blogging at it's finest, ladies and gentleman...the results are in. The man *can* ride a bike. Oh this is exciting. And look at his snazzy coordinating helmet. He's a bit wobbly. Oh this poor guy. It is so obvious that this was someone else's idea and he's j- "CAR!" Lucy shrieks helpfully. Sami just jumped about a foot in the air and swerved off to the side. See, now, don't startle the man, he almost rode into the hedge. Wait, wait, he's back. Crisis averted. Wait - what is that? What the hell....oh boy. The damn dog broke free of his leash and ran directly in front of Sami. More swerving. Cursing. Chasing of dog on foot. Threats of death to stupid fucking dog who is incapable of playing without completely losing his  mind. Dog is locked in the yard. Everyone back on their bikes.The joy, it has been interrupted.

You know, I bought this bike for him. I really and truly did - but somehow I think I am going to be the one most entertained when he rides it.

Not for long, though - after 7 minutes, they are back inside.
Max is visibly distraught. "That bike ride" he declared "really sucked."

Oh. Hm. Well. Plan B. For Christmas I'm gonna get Sami a thighmaster and call it a day. Maybe he can wear the bike helmet.while he's using it, so it doesn't go to waste. Or he could just wear the helmet out and about. Maybe on our next trip to Walmart.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dear Hawaiiantel: Suck it.

****this post has been edited because - shockingly - my local phone company found it and responded. Which I appreciate. It was very kind of them to contact me. They were very kind throughout the order/install process, except for the installer who was a little grumpy - but dude it was like a hurricane outside so I don't blame him, really. And it made for a good story! Anyway, they have been lovely people, I don't envy them for having to deal with disgruntled customers like me. I did try to respond to the email they sent - but sadly, their email address - the one connected to the phone company - bounced back. I guess they are having issues with their email service. Hm. So regardless, I took out the bad words in case thier work email doesn't let them read things that have profanity in them. You're welcome, phone company employees. Hope your email gets fixed soon. Sincerely, I do.****

A few years ago, I cancelled our phone and internet with the local phone company.

Because the bill was ALWAYS wrong. And the service would go on and off with no warning, rhyme or reason. And it was just a hassle dealing with them.

So I got cable internet and phone. Which was great. Except when it wasn't. And then they started jacking up the prices. Higher and higher my bill went. And I wasn't even getting any cable TV. If you are gonna jack up my prices and not even give me some Big Love for my trouble, well...... screw you, buddy.

When I got the flyer from the phone company, the one that was all "baby I've missed you please come back I'll do you right this time etc. etc. and I'll give you 6 months of free intenet because you were the best thing that ever happened to me I can't believe I let you go" well, what can I say? I'm an easy mark. A softy. I like it when you talk sweet to me. So I caved. I called and sold my soul to the the form of a one-year contract with the phone company.

There was a caveat. They needed to send someone out to the house to switch over the service from the cable company to the phone company. And that "someone" wasn't available for a week.

No big deal, our install was scheduled for the following Friday. Only, Friday didn't so much "dawn" as "rise from the gloom and the muck" - after 4 days of solid, torrential, landslide instigating rain the backyard was one big mud puddle. The gutters were overflowing. The dog was racing around the yard like a basket case because he hadn't had a good run for a while. The wind was gusting, thrumming against the windows with all of the energy that was being sucked out of us slowly during the days spent inside in the relative dark, bitching and moaning. (Remember, this is Hawaii. We don't do days and days of rain very well.)

And my appointment window was "sometime between 8 and 5". I laughed when they told me that. "Are you serious? I have to sit here for 9 hours waiting for someone to show up? Are you sure we can't just do this ourselves?" But no, I was informed solemnly. A professional needed to handle this transfer of service. Sometime between 8 and 5.

So I settled in for a day of waiting for the phone company. And as I looked out through the sheets of rain I thought "It's good to have professionals to handle this sort of thing." I ws very pleased with myself, and with my phone company's excellent service.

Only, the guy who showed up was not pleased. Nor was he particularly professional. He didn't like our wires. He didn't lke the location of our jack. He hadn't brought a modem because "no one told him he needed one". He was itching to drill a hole in the side of my house for a cable he wanted to run.

I refused. There were plenty of holes in our house already. Find one and make it work.

He got snotty. My signal was weak, the connection was all static, we needed to rewire, he didn't have what he needed, and had I noticed that it was raining outside?

As his complaints grew, so too did the volume of his voice, until he was practically shouting. And I was not pleased. "Listen, man, I didn't want you to come here to begin with. I told them we would do this ourselves. It's not my fault you don't have what you need, and it's not my fault the wire you chose is not the right one and it certainly isn't my fault that it's RAINING outside. If you can't do this install, then you can go ahead and leave. I'll figure it out myself."

So he stomped out mumbling, shovd his feet into his velcro sneakers, straightened his tool belt, and sauntered off down the stairs, secure in the knowledge that we needed him and would be calling him back shortly.

And I got on the phone about 20 minutes later, to be sure. But not to call him. To call the phone company. Because while they sent the installer without the proper equipment, and had not been able to complete the install order, I suddenly remebered that they had managed to cancel our cable service, leaving me internet-less at any moment.

"I need internet" I hollered into the phone after being transferred for the 4th time. "I don't care who my providor is, but I must have my internet. And tell me, why would you cancel my cable service before you had the phone service connected? So now I have no phone or internet? I can't believe this."

It was the typical lament you hear from girls who take back their ex amid the pleas and promises of how "it's gonna be different this time". Because the only way it was different, is that it was worse. I was only 5 hours into my commitment with the phone company and already completely livid.

They offered to bring the modem to us, but said they would have to drill a hole in my wall to connect it.
There was nothing they could do about the cable being turned off. There were also shades of talking to me like I was stupid, which never EVER flies with me. Conveniently, I am married to a Department of Defense telcom contractor. (You didn't expect that, did you?)

So I put the phone company's customer service department on speaker, and let my husband, who had been patiently trying to help their installer all morning, explain what the problem was. The problem was, we had no modem. Because they were supposed to bring it and install it for free. The problem was, their employee was unwilling to use an existing hole. Because it was easier to just drill another hole. The problem was, THEY SUCK BIG HAIRY DONKEY BALLS.

He didn't say that last bit. (****I was gonna delete it for the phone company employees - HI GUYS! - but it makes me giggle, and it's not a swear, so I won't.)

So I took the next reasonable step.
"Just cancel everything" I proclaimed dramatically.
"Excuse me ma'am?"
"Just cancel the whole thing. I'm sorry I ever fell for this."
"Well, but....."
"No, I don't want to talk about this any more. I"m over it. Just cancel the whole thing."
"Would you reconsider if I gave you two months of free internet?"

And that was it for me. I am not playing games. I am not going to fall for your sweet talking bullshit ANYMORE. I took a deep breath.

"If you would allow us to install your service, we'll give you two months of free internet."

And I have to admit, I felt kind of bad, because I just let loose on that poor, unsuspecting woman.

And then, suddenly, my cable internet hadn't been turned off at all. Oh, no, they never told me that. I still had cable. They had no control over when that got turned off. Why, it could take up to 3 weeks for them to turn it off, maybe never! They might just forget to turn it off at all! I might still have cable next year! FREE! HAHAHAHA they were JUST KIDDING about turning my cable off already.

(This is where my head exploded. 6 hours of my life.....wasted.)

So I still have cable internet.....for now. My darling husband went and picked up a modem from the phone company just in case my cable does somehow get disconnected - because if I wake up without internet I will definitely fall apart. But it was "just in case". Because next week, I will get wireless internet from an independent kiosk at the mall which is what I wanted to begin with. And then I will bring the phone company their modem. And the drillbit their installer left in my den. I'm sure he's going to need it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I have never been so happy to see a porta-potty in all my life.

It's really no surprise that on the very day I vowed to stop peeing in public places, nature would put me in my place.

What was I thinking, provoking the universe like that? Moron.

This afternoon I packed up the car and headed to school to get the kids. I was making my merry way down the highway, my head full of plans for the afternoon and my cupholder full of an iced double espresso breve......a few hours at the beach, dinner at Wokstar, an hour of roller skating, and a drive home through the cool evening air, with enough caffeine in the mix to keep things moving along nicely.

Ahhhh. Lovely.

Just as I was contemplating what I should order for dinner - a salad? Perhaps the soup? I felt something.

Something strange.
Something entirely unwelcome.
Huh. Well, I'm sure it's nothing, just a little twinge and I'l-
Hm. Well, maybe not. Let's wait and see.

So I continued to ponder my dinner choices, and continued on my merry way to school. I popped out, collected children and water bottles, chatted, signed some forms, got everyone in the car, and drove away.
(Rumble rumble RAWR)

Oh Shit. (pun acknowledged and very much intended) What was I thinking, ordering a double espresso. "Keep things moving along", my ass. (again, the pun. Punny.)

I broke into a cold sweat. I started cursing the driver in front of me. I was simultaneously holding my breath and clenching my ass and clutching the steering wheel as though the tighter I held on, the better off I would be.

As my stomach churned I knew, I just knew I was going to be terribly, awfully ill. I just had no idea what form this would take. And I wasn't going to find out on the side of the road. Can you imagine my kids waving cheerfully as all of the families exited school while I was next to the car vomiting and shitting myself?

Yeah. Me neither. Good lord it took me 3 years to live down walking out of the bathroom with a piece of toilet paper stuck to my shoe in 4th grade. I can't even begin to imagine how awful it would be for my kids the next morning.

So no. Not an option. I had to get to a bathroom. A very private bathroom, where I wouldn't have parents and children gathering outside within earshot of my clearly impending doom.

Something awful was going to happen. I had to think of the children.

It was nothing less than sheer willpower that bought me the 4 minutes and 17 seconds it took to drive to the closest park and sprint like a fucking crazy person from the car to a portapotty. I flew. I ran straight through bushes, hopped through spaces between shrubs, leaped over rocks like a gazelle. If the portapotty had been occupied, I cannot bear to think of the photo op I would have provided the unsuspecting tourists who just minutes earlier were shoved to the side in my desperate race against nature.

I believe in the sports world it's called a bear attack. (Thanks Garret) (and you probably don't want to click on that link). I have experienced something this profoundly unsettling only once before in my life, and I had fervently hoped that would be the first and last time. Foolish, really.

Now I am in bed with electrolytes and mashed potatoes, my laptop keeping my aching tummy warm.
But I would just like to state, for the record, that I did indeed make it to the porta potty.
I take great personal pride in keeping my convictions. If only for a day.

The hickey is healing nicely, in case you were wondering.

I know it's Wednesday, and I still haven't really discussed the weekend - and there is a good reason for that. I am only now able to get my head around the debauchery of the past few days, which was not so out of control as to be highlighted on youtube with a title like "Crazy Middle Aged Roller MILF" - but we're getting close. I gotta lock it up. I'm 35 years old, for fucks sake. Way too old to wake up with a hickey on my boob, an enormous bruise on the inside of my thigh, and a vague recollection of possibly peeing in the Jack in the Box parking lot. I am not Courtney Love, I don't care if my husband looks like a rock star - I can't party like one. Two possible* public pees in one month is TWO TOO MANY as far as I am concerned.

(*I admit nothing)

So the next few weeks will be dialed down considerably. I have a lot of stuff going on with both jobs, I don't have any wild roller derby parties planned (except the one I am having at the cafe - and I am working that one, ergo no boozy woozy for me) and quite frankly it took me 3 full days to recover from this past holiday weekend. I don't think I can enjoy tequila with that much enthusiasm again until well into the new year.

In the meantime, I imagine I will still be wandering around in fishnets and hot pants, because otherwise what would we have to talk about, really? I can't let you down. But now that I have finally sobered up I intend to be stone cold sober while doing so. Halloween was a sad state of affairs. The after party for the Maui Roller Girls scrimmage on Saturday lasted well into Sunday - which was Halloween. I spent much of that day sick as a dog, and finally rallied to get everyone into costumes and out the door to trick or treat. As they walked out the door I looked down and realized that while they were ready to hit the road, I was still in my bathrobe with bedhead.

Problem solved with a big wig, a few baby wipes, and another Alka Seltzer - 10 minutes later I was in the car driving through the pouring rain to drop Lucy off with a beloved and clearly much more responsible adult for the evening. Max and Sami headed to a haunted house down the road. And I walked into the bar just as the shit hit the fan.

8 hours later I staggered out the back door, covered in sticky unidentified awfulness, and drove back home, where I climbed in the shower and then crawled into bed. I have been asleep off and on since then, and while a good time was had by all involved - myself included - I think that for the time being I will be having a good time with bottled water and my secret stash of Baby Ruths.

Don't worry, I'll still have plenty of tales to tell - and I'll actually be able to remember the punchlines.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Candy Day

The kids are glazed over in the TV room, watching movies and methodically ripping open packs of candy and shoveling the contents into their little, sticky, filthy mouths. There is a smear of chocolate on Lucy's eyelid from rubbing her sleepy eyes between bites. I am lying on the sofa in the living room, with a pile of candy wrappers and empty Nerd boxes on the floor next to me.
And a bottle of water. And a dispenser box full of Alka Seltzer tablets.
Because my Halloween also involved Patron, fried rice and Jack in the Box.

We are in the home stretch - this Halloween is almost over. Just as soon as I finish washing costumes, and eating 3 buckets of candy. We have 10 hours left of "Candy Day". Tick Tock Tick Tock.

Candy Day is the 24 hours following a holiday, wherein the children are allowed to eat as much candy as they want between balanced meals. By 11am Max was "taking a break" - which is exactly why Candy Day works so well. Instead of having a bag of the less desirable candy (in our house that would be Jolly Ranchers and candy corn) melting on top of my fridge for 2 months, being doled out one piece at a time every day until January, we get it all done in one terrible, awful, nausea-inducing day. Tonight after dinner, the kids will change into pajamas and solemnly dump all of the remaining candy in the trash. Then - and only then - the holiday will truly be over.

While the fishnets and hotpants are in the washer on "delicate" and the alka seltzer is fizzing, I can survey the wreckage for a minute.

Over in that corner, is a pile of clean clothes.
And over there, is a moving box filled with costumes.
The kitchen counter is littered with makeup, silver hair spray, rejected candy (Laffy Taffy, mostly) and plastic spider rings.
There is a huge pile of baby gear waiting to be put in the attic, because I have the week off from nanny-ing.

But first I have a stack of Almond Joys that need my attention. And I think I need to take another shower, my left arm still kind of smells like tequila.