Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jesus and Mary and the MPD

We were just lying by the pool, bitching about how cold it was and trying to figure out whether our wingmen would be able to re-enact the legendary water scene from Dirty Dancing.
"You can't lift me."
"The hell I can't."
"That sounded like a challenge."
"Those are fighting words."
"Let's do it."
"I can just see it tomorrow morning: 'Mommy, HOW did you break your nose again?'"
"Well, that will just add to your character's authenticity."
"Yeah, Jennifer Grey got a nose job."
"And now she looks totally different."
"Stop changing the subject. You can't hold me up in the air."
"Woman, you better get ready to take that back."

And then, from the 3rd floor deck, one of the lusty pirates called out "The cops are here."

Sami was pretty confident that he wouldn't be arrested, seeing as how he was dressed as Jesus. Johnny Castle was looking forward to seeing how his mugshot turned out, and cheerfully debating leaving the wig on.

I was pissed. I didn't have the checkbook, so bail would be complicated if someone got arrested. And we hadn't done anything, but the cop was being perfectly clear upstairs:"If I have to come back here, I'm going to arrest the person who lives here, and anyone else who is causing a disturbance."

The guy who was dressed as Steve-O in a tiger-striped thong bikini quickly tucked his left nut back in his pants.

I was just glad we had already left the vicinity and were safely out of sight...and that no one was holding a bong or anything. The timing was perfect, but it could have been really really bad. We had coincidentally just wandered away from the raucus Beer Pong Semi-finals on the back deck when Maui's men in blue arrived. I was trying to chill out because a random girl in an unidentifiable costume had gotten a little touchy feely with Jesus earlier, and we had moved to a different area to get some distance. Which is good. Because if we had stayed there by the gate, and I had punched that chick right in the face like I had been contemplating, the cops would have shown up just in time to arrest me - and that would have sucked because no one wants to be dressed like Mary Magdalene in a mugshot.

In general, I have a big mouth but I am fairly disinclined to get into any sort of physical confrontation. But on this particular night I was overtired and ornery, and then this chick just came outta nowhere. It started with the typical flirtatious eyelash batting and gooey-girl voice, and then it got personal. As she lifted her hand and ran her fingers through my husband's hair, cooing about how amazing it was that it was his Real! Hair! and OMYGOD! people around us realized that she was crossing some boundaries, and started to step back, just waiting to see what I was going to do.

A friend of mine was watching from above, a lusty pirate's wench who told me later that she had seen it all develop right before her very eyes, mesmerized by what was going down "with Jesus and that crazy chick" and wondering why I hadn't removed her hand from his person already. As she stood, elbowing her husband the lusty pirate while watching and debating whether they needed to jump in, crazy chick continued with her hands on appreciation of my husband and his costume, oblivious to the increasing tension. She began to caress my husband's beard (which is also real, just for the record) and tell him how amazing he looked, and he looked at me like "Um, any time now would be good honey. You know I don't hit girls but you are certainly welcome to". I was about to hand Johnny Castle my bag and get things real clear with this girl, but first I scanned the crowd for Baby. I was going to need backup - there were a lot of people around, and I only knew a few of them. I wanted to make sure that if I started something, I had enough people on hand to help me keep things civilized. Or at least, to make sure I got a good first shot before they dragged me out. But Baby was up on one of the decks with Heidi and Pippi Longstocking and I couldn't get her attention. I turned back around to focus my attention on this idiot who was about to stick her hand under my husband's robe, and at that moment she felt the heat of my burning stare and suddenly realized that Jesus was at this shindig with Mary Magdalene, and he wasn't looking for any new desciples if you know what I mean, and she backed the fuck off. Thank God.
So like I was saying, by the time the cops got there, we had escaped the crowd.

We stayed out of it. We're adults, and our days of getting busted by the cops are over. We maintained status quo down by the pool, trying to keep our voices down (though that was probably unsuccessful). Apparently, beer pong notwithstanding, it was too early in the evening for anyone to get arrested. No one was drunk enough, first of all. And no one was in the mood to go hang at the local substation waiting for a ride to booking. So the cops left, and the party changed gears.....some people went inside, some people took their coolers and left. We were still down by the pool when our host came down and told us we had to go inside if we wanted to stay. I guess he didn't feel like getting arrested due to the Dirty Dancing re-enactment or Sami trying to walk on water.

We stood there for a minute, coming to terms with the fact that we would never know for sure if Johnny could do the lift, and deciding that with a Jesus groper in the crowd we probably didn't want to go we grabbed the cooler, said our goodbyes, and hit the road in Henny the Hot Rod. As we rode off, we must have been quite a vision......Mary Magdalene behind the wheel, Jesus riding shotgun, and Johnny Castle and Baby cuddling in the backseat. 'Cause that's how we roll.

Happy Halloween, and to all a good night.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

migraine migraine migraine goose

A quick word about my migraines. I started getting them around the time that I suspect I started going through menopause. Menopause was a nightmare, and I went though about a year of hell before someone finally figured out what exactly was going on with me. It wasn't cancer (stomach or brain) and I wasn't crazy, or a hypochondriac, and my infertility certainly wasn't "unexplained". There are plenty of posts about that whole nightmare around these parts, and I'm not even gonna bother trying to find and link because dude, I have a migraine. I am typing this with one eye closed (because I am so devoted to you, gentle reader) and in just a moment I am going to jet off to the chiropractor and lie on the floor and wait for my turn, or for the world to stop repeatedly kicking me in the back of the head. Either one would really help me out.

So, migraines. They are awful. This is not a headache, I have had those (but not often) and headaches are indeed miserable and uncomfortable and unpleasant as all hell but a migraine is something for more insidious.

It starts, for me, with this horrible clamping PAIN (all caps required to communicate the level of PAIN) at the very base of my skull, usually on the right side. The pain, after a few minutes or a few hours, will begin to burn THROUGH MY BRAIN. At least, that is certainly what it feels like. And then, my eye starts to throb. And then, without much warning, I throw up. The puking is my sign that we have a serious problem. Because if there is puking, the medicine that will kill the migraine does not stay down.

So, if the migraine develops over the course of an hour I have time to deal with it.

If it just shows up and barges right in I'm screwed. And the next thing I know, I am covered in sweat and vomit, on a gurney, getting a shot in the ass or being hooked up to an IV, or in really special situations...both.

In the grand scheme of things, this has been a non-event as far as migraines go. I woke up, I felt the pain, I got the kids to school, I came home and took my pill and passed out listening to NPR, I woke up and spent an hour feeling dizzy and nauseous, and now ?


I'm good to go. You know, relatively speaking. I'm little woozy, and one eye is still feeling all bulgy and weird and I can't quite turn my head but otherwise I'm much improved and off to the chiropractor.

Soon I will write a long and gratuitous post about chiropractors and chiropractic and how while I do not believe it is the cure-all, and I still embrace all manner of pills and antibiotics and vaccinations, I have found a place for it in my life. A very important place, filled with very important people who have helped me tremendously when I was in pain. And for that, I owe them at least one fan blog. So, see you back here for the chiro-party.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just sitting on a bag of peas and minding my own business.....

What ?

Listen. Today I performed the ultimate sacrifice....I got a bikini wax. (I typed bikini "ax" and boy, was that accurate.)

Bikini waxes are totally worth it. They are worth the 10 minutes of torture that I have to suffer (and let's just all say a silent prayer of thanks that it only takes 10 minutes...I am lucky that way.) I hate the process, but once it is over, and I have hobbled home with my clothes stuck to the leftover wax, and applied anough baby powder to keep my skin dry and smooth FOREVER AND EVER I love the results.

But every time I get a bikini wax, I am reminded of a waxing experience that went much less smoothly. (No pun intended, but there you go).

I got my back waxed once.

Now HANG ON JUST A SECOND. I do NOT have a lot of back hair, and the back wax was completely unecessary, and I only did it because it was suggested to me, and I was concerned that it was suggested because it was necessary, and that is exactly what the aesthetician was hoping for - to feed on my insecurities, and get me worried about the completely innocuous amount of peachfuzz that every person has covering their back.

And let this be a lesson to you - waxing is for real, ya'll. If you do not NEED to wax, you should NOT WAX. Because if you do, your body can (and probably will) serve you up a heaping dose of retribution. This can happen in many ways. The hair may grow back thicker and darker (so that you actually DO have to wax forevermore). The skin may get rashy, dicolored, or slightly burned.

Or, you could end up with what I entire back completely covered with a pimply rash that no amount of powder, cream, Benadryl or makeup could disguise.

So, that low backed dress that my aesthetician was worried would highlight my "back hair", of which as I have mentioned, I have NONE, instead prominently displayed what can only be described as an incredibly unattractive and unflattering breakout - the likes of which I have never (thank GOD) experienced again.

I was mortified, and it was such a lesson to me. Let it be a lesson to you.

For more tales of aesthetic mishap, please revisit the time I burned my cooter off.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Maggie Mason wrote a book on blogging called "No One Cares What You Had For Lunch".

Maggie Mason should not read this entry, because I am talking about fooooooood.

Today I went out and bought non-essential foodstuffs, and then I ate them. And it was good.

I bought 3 pounds of organic apples, and avocados from a local family. I bought soppressata and mozzarella and two kinds of yogurt. I bought fancy salad dressing and organic gelato.

And then I came home and started to eat. Avocado and tuna on whole grain toast. Mozzarella wrapped with soppressata and basil, on fresh tomato slices. Sandy Beach gelato, which involved peanut butter and coconut candy and graham crackers and HEAVEN. I continued to hammer away at the red velvet cake.

And I made gravy. I am linking to a recipe that outlines a technique because I am unwilling to share my personal recipe with anyone I have not raised from infancy. It's a family thing. Or should I say "famiglia".

And tonight I sat down on my ever-widening ass, and enjoyed myself. The gravy was a 6 hour process, and it was worth every second of time I invested in it. Do not rush gravy. That is all.

Monday, October 26, 2009

In which I narrowly escape death (or at least, a very serious accident) in three separate incidents, during the course of a single day.

Today, like every day lately, I am little on edge. And I had stuff to do (as mamas always do) and so I hopped in the littlest Mini Cooper (aka Henny) and buzzed off to town.

Lucy was my wingman, she needed the follow-up set of immunizations, and so we had a First Thing In The A.M. appointment - the one that takes place before the moms who have been up all night have a chance to get to the pediatrician's office. It is my appointment time of choice, only because the room has been recently decontaminated and not yet is but a brief respite to be sure, and one I try to take advantage of.

We zip in, wait a few minutes longer then I appreciated, which allowed for Lucy to get herself into QUITE a lather over the impending shot-getting. And then we had to hang out in the actual immunization room, while we got the doctor's approval to receive the immunizations despite Lulu's stuffy nose.  Eventually, we were approved and the shots were given and received and then we made for the exit.

All buckled in and ready to go, we backed out of the parking space.

Now, I was going fairly slowly. What's the rush ? Clear day, plenty of time, nothing else planned for the morning. Lucy was chattering away about the post-shot smoothie I had promised, and we were parked next to a curb so I was trying to determine whether I had cleared said curb and could turn my wheel. And I looked, from the rear window to the side window to estimate my distance..and then glanced back out my rear window, which was quite suddenly COMPLETELY FILLED with the tailgate of a Chevy pickup.

Oh my heart.

Oh my stars.

Oh my brand new car.

Brakes. Searching for first gear on my new gearbox which still has a few kinks to work out. Finally finding first, pulling forward, only to see that the truck has also pulled forward, back into their space. So I reversed again, and slowly began to back out - all eyes on the truck at this point. And just as I was about to turn the wheel - at pretty much the exact same place as before - the truck's reverse lights came on and the truck was once again heading my way.


I tell you, I damn near burst an artery.

The truck stopped then pulled forward, I continued to back up. Rattled, I drove to the mall and parked. I pulled through so I was facing out of my parking space and would not need to reverse because really, I was all set with reverse for the day.

We walked around, Lucy drank her smoothie, and I wished desperately that mine had vodka in it. I settled my nerves with some fresh air and fruity goodness. Back at home we had a nice time watching PBS on the computer and having snacks.

And then we got back in the car because apparently, we really had to deal with Halloween costumes today.


So we picked up Max from school, and headed back down the hill. About a mile from my house I spotted a pickup truck headed for me. (What is it with me and the pickup trucks ? I hate them. If I'm not wrecking mine, someone else is trying to wreck theirs.) This pickup truck seemed to be going a little quickly for the winding road we were approaching each other on. And then, suddenly, the two tall cabinets standing up (and apparently unsecured) in the back of this truck began to sway. As the driver came around the last bend and was about to pass me, the cabinets came flying out of the back of the truck.

It was very slo-mo action flick style (at least in my head).

I saw the glass of the cabinet shatter as it hit the asphalt. I saw my car reflected in the mirrored shelves. I saw the wood break apart. For the record, it was an UGLY cabinet. But I digress.

As I stomped on the gas and gunned past, I watched through my windshield, then my window, and finally in my rear view mirror as first one and then the other cabinet, in this graceful kaleidoscope, almost ballet-like, tumbled and slid, and missed the side of my car - and my precious son's head within - by inches.......if that.

When I became aware of my surroundings again, and peeled my eyes off the detritous in the road behind me, I realized that I was laying on the horn. God knows how long I had been honking - but my fist was planted there and the RPMS were above 4 and the engine was whining and everything just slid into focus and I took my hand off the horn and shifted gears and thought.......what the fucking fuck.

And then we got to town and I was rattled and I parked. And while unbuckling my seatbelt, like some sort of horrible Groundhog Day, I looked up and saw someone backing into me again - this time into the front of my car. Which was parked. IN a parking spot and everything. I swear.

I am now in the market for a chauffeur. I need a professional driver for all of my errand running and trips to the gym and to drop off and retrieve the kids from their various schools and activities. I have absolutely no interest in leaving my house again, unless I am in some sort of armored vehicle that beeps and has some flashing lights and a police escort if possible. Or maybe I just need to take some Prozac already.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Simplifying by making it complicated

An addendum, at the beginning......
Providing the perfect "in real time" example. Earlier this afternoon, my husband had gone to the hardware store. I asked him to get me something sweet, while he was out. A few moments ago, I went to get a drink (having forgotten my earlier request) and was annoyed.......there was a grocery bag in my fridge, and now my refrigerator was all cluttery (whine) and the bag was flapping (whine whine) and it was annoying me. (whiiiiiiine). After asking him what in the hell was in that grocery bag on the top shelf, and hearing that it was "for me" I investigated....and gasped in delight. The man (the darling, wonderful man) had come back with a Red Velvet Cake. Just for me. And stashed it on the top shelf of the fridge. Oh I love me some red velvet cake. And then he whipped out a Dove chocolate bar and I swooned.


In addition to being incredibly thrilled, and very touched by his thoughtfulness, I also had to wonder "Was that cake on sale? How about the chocolate? He shouldn't have spent so much. I should have told him I only needed a small pack of m&ms. Maybe I can return it tomorrow and just tell him I ate the whole thing for breakfast. I must have made too big a fuss about my day at work, and he thought I was angling for something special. I'm an ass. Poor Sami, however does he put up with me......."

Because THAT, ladies and gentleman, is how my brain works. Yes, I am insane. Clearly. Let's get back to the original post that I wrote while he was at the store buying me several special somethings. Aaaaaand....action.

After my last post, I sat here and stewed for a bit.

Yes, I definitely need a break. Yes, I definitely need a few days alone to eat when I am hungry and sleep when I am sleepy and be quiet when I want to be quiet and get up off my ass and do something when I want something to do. I am tired of living my entire life based on other people's needs, and feeling guilty every time I do something for myself. Because I do. Feel guilty, that is. Every time I go out to eat with the girls or buy myself something or get my nails done or anything else that is just for me and is not for the greater good and won't benefit anyone else now or in the future, I feel guilty. And miserable. And stressed out. But it's not just that. I can't quite put my finger on it.

What exactly IS it that is chapping my ass? Why can't I just freaking RELAX and enjoy my awesome life and amazing family?

People who know me will say I invite - nay, create - a certain amount of chaos in my life. And undoubtably this is so. But I am who I am, and it is what it is, and if I create chaos then dammit, I gotta learn to thrive in chaos. To celebrate it.

I don't see that happening.

But if I am to come to terms with my HAS to happen. Because life as I know it is slightly controlled, but basically fast and loose. And chaotic. And if I want to continue to move forward in my life, to change and evolve and grow and become even more of who I think I am supposed to's gonna involve more craziness - not less. Which may lead to trouble down the line, because I come from a long line of crazy. And who will benefit from all of this madness ? You, gentle reader. Just think of all the blog fodder an even more extreme version of Daffodil Campbell would rain down on this here blog.

Oh Baby.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

When it all just seems like kind of a LOT

You know ? You know when everything just seems really fast and loud and bright and annoying and a teensy bit out of control and you don't know whether to yell or cry or go back to bed ?

You know ?

I have been blaming it on jetlag and "quality time with the kids" overload but I gotta be honest......I need a break. A vacation from my vacation. I am just burned out on trying to multitask. It's embarrassing to admit. I know there are single parents out there that are just plugging away, doing their thing, keepin on keeping on - doggedly working and living and hanging on and holding on and FUCK I can't do it.

I need a break. Everything is setting me on edge. Everything seems to be too much. And I feel like in the past week, about 10 different times I have thought "This is it. I can't do this anymore. Not again."

I came home after yet another traumatic morning of parenting kids who really need me, and need me to be a calm and reliable parent. One is sick, one is acting like a goofball, we had a sleepover and errands and tae kwon do and we had to get pumpkins for halloween and veggies for dinner and I needed to get some more milk and yogurt and by the time we got home I had to pee so badly I literally couldn't hold it for another second and as I threw my purse down and ran for the sweet sweet relief of a quiet bathroom all by myself for 2 fucking minutes both kids were all "I'm hungry and I want my snack and I need lunch and I want dessert and I'M THIRSTY MAMA."

And at that very instant, everything felt like it was just exploding - like a firework, in a thousand sparkly shards of light and fire and heat and cold and I just stood stock still and said to myself only maybe I accidentally said it out loud: "I am sick and tired of being responsible for everyone and everything all of the god damned time".

Because I am.

I have not had more then a 5 or 6 hour span of time alone in 9 years. NINE YEARS. My entire life has been working and working and working and taking brief flickers of time off but always with the kids which is not time off at all. It's not.

I need a vacation from my life. From worrying about the money and the kids and who's hungry and who's tired and who needs to be where when and what needs to be cleaned and bought and repaired and maintained and washed and trimmed and scrubbed and reviewed and signed and paid and discussed.

I. Just. Don't. Give. A. Shit.

At this point, I have to be honest, I am worried that even time off won't get me back on track. What if this is burnout ? What if I am burned out on my life ? On myself ? I might be sick of me.

I am at a place where something's gotta give - and it can't be my bladder.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The dogs and the accessories they require

When we adopted the dog, and then the second dog, I was pretty clear on the expense involved in keeping them safe, securely contained in the yard, well fed and providing day to day care, and comfortable with the "unknown" risk in terms of expense and time involved.

And then I went from theoretical dog ownership to actually having animals living in my yard, riding in my car, and destroying....well.......everything they touch, pretty much. And the bills began to mount.

We started with one.

And he was terribly lonely. I could sit and hold him 24 hours a day and he would still whimper for attention.

So we got the second dog, and literally all hell broke loose.

This second dog is still a puppy, and he does thing like eat entire shrubs and shit under the porch and jump onto the patio table. ONTO the table. As in, I walk around the corner and he is sitting up there, with a candle coming out of his butt.

So yesterday I bought something that may make my life a bit easier, and allow me to keep the beasts with me in the car more often.

I bought a cargo pad, and a pet barrier for behind the back seats.

An unexpected expense, but one that I bellieve will make us all happier in the long run, and may prevent the complete destruction of the interior of the SUV that the dogs adore riding in so desperately.

But they will never, ever, ever ever ever know the joy of my Mini Cooper. Ever.

Just saying. Because I may have shocked everyone I know by getting a dog, and then a second, simultanous dog...but you will never see these dogs in my house, or my car, or my bed or my sofa. They will never eat off my plate, or drink out of my water bottle. I have boundaries, and the good sense to know that if, for even an instant, these beautiful eyes get the better of me, it will be a long, slow decent into hell. With dogbreath.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

To hell in a handbasket. No, wait. To Maui Brewing Company in a Mini Cooper. Better.

Tonight is officially girl's night, and it is the first in a long LONG time and I am, well, pretty damned excited.

Let me rephrase that.

I Am Pretty Damn Excited.

And because I finally got my act together and sold the car, I went right out and bought a Mini Cooper. Tonight is the inaugural ride of the girls in the Cooper. And so, I sat down and thought about places I would like to go, that would involve a long drive. So that we could really wind the Henny (my Cooper) up and let 'er rip.

Since I live on a pretty small island, with very few, well, very few roads at options were limited. So I decided we would just go as far as we could. Kahana is just about the end of the road, so that is where we are headed. And our plan, once we get there, is to hit the Maui Brewing Company for some beer (1 each - let's keep it safe.......and cheap) some food some catching up. And celebrating. Celebrate being together, living in a cool place, driving a cool car, having jobs, and the future. Because that thing I mentioned forever ago might actually finally be happening. Maybe.

It is going to involve a lot of encouragement from my friends, and a lot of support. Which means I'm not telling This Guy.

So wheeeeeeeeee ! We're off !

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And then my mind just went "snap"

Today was One Of Those Days.

It started out alright. Rain, muddy dogs, kids to school, meet a friend and head to the ReStore. And then it all went terribly, terribly wrong.

I should start by explaining that the ReStore is a Habitat for Humanity retail store front, where they sell donated items and the proceeds go directly to Habitat for Humanity. Everything from doorknobs to doors, lightbulbs to light fixtures, cabinets, paint, furniture, sinks, faucets and even toilets (but I don't recommend buying used toilets because, well, just because.) Some of the stuff is old, some brand new, some a little worse for the wear.

We were heading to the ReStore because they had gotten several dozen dishwashers donated by Whirlpool. Brand new dishwashers. I think. At least, that's what they tell me. I guess we'll find out soon enough whether they are actually fully functional brand new dishwashers, because holy mary mother of god do I need a new dishwasher.

Because my last dishwasher sprang some sort of leak. At some point. A long time ago. Only, we didn't know it.

We know now.

It started a few months ago with a surprising cold spot on the kitchen floor - which is tiled. The tile was just, well, cold. In this one spot. Right in front of the dishwasher. Hm.

A few weeks later, the tile started to kind of, well, grow stuff. At first I thought some soapy water had spilled on the floor when we had opened the door mid cycle. I cleaned it up.

It came back.


So last Friday, Sami pulled out the dishwasher at my request. I had a funny feeling. I should pay more attention to those funny feelings. Turns out the reason the floor was cold, and then damp and soapy, was because the dishwasher was leaking and the tile was absorbing and then expelling the soapy water. The dishwasher had leaked so much, and for so long, that it had destroyed the tile, plus the hardy board the tile was set on, plus the wood flooring underneath. We only peeked at the damage - that was all it took to realize that we had a very serious problem on our hands, and Sami promptly disconnected the dishwasher, taped plastic over the small investigative hole we had cut in the bottom of the cabinet next to the dishwasher, the small hole that had revealed the floor covered in mold and rot, and we just tried to pretend it wasn't there until we figured out what the hell we were going to do. It was going to be awful - that was clear. And expensive. And depressing.

As a first step, today I went to get a new dishwasher, and several new cabinets to replace the ones that had been destroyed by the soapy water along with my floor. Since this is what I would label an "unexpected expense" we needed to do this fast and cheap. Ergo, the ReStore. I climbed around in their warehouse, found the things I *needed* and then tried to find a few other things. Like cabinet doors for the rest of the cabinets to match the new cabinet doors on the new cabinets I was buying.

Here's how that went.

I went to a stack of boxes, absent of any identifying information other then a letter of the alphabet to tell me what was inside. And sometimes a wood type would be noted. But not always. So I would start with the closest stack. I would open the boxes in the stack, one at a time, and measure what was inside. IF I found a box with something that would fit one of my cabinets, I would put it to the side. Then I would continue my search, until I came to a box with something else that would fit one of my cabinets. But THAT door would be a different style or color then the first, and they would only have that particular size in ONE style or color. So I would go back to the stack where I had found the first one, to try to find it in a color or style that matched the second one. And I wouldn't find it. So I would start all over again.

After two hours I was covered in dirt, sweaty, thirsty, and extremely pissed off. I needed a drink and some sympathy. That is not something that can be found in abundance at the ReStore, where everything is practically free and they know it. IF you find what you need there, you can only be profoundly grateful.

So when I bought a dishwasher for $130 and a set of cabinets for $30, I knew I had probably maxed out my ReStore kismet for the day. I gave up on finding cabinet doors, and drove home with what I had managed to find, and was met by a friend who proceeded to rip out the rest of the damaged flooring and cabinetry.

It was bad.

Really, really bad.

So it all got ripped out, and the new cabinets got assembled and now the wood floor under where the dishwasher was is (hopefully) drying in preparation for being retiled and then, and ONLY then, we will install the new dishwasher, and the new cabinets, and replace the countertop, and NEVER SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN.

In the meantime, I went racing around trying to come up with the cash to pay my friend for doing all of this work with all of this mold and wet and nastiness. Which is how I ended up at the bank.

Which is where I found out that through some sort of horrible banking snafu, we were terribly, horribly, BADLY overdrawn. Really, truly terribly, where they tell you your balance (or lack thereof) and you stomach goes all in knots and your jaw clenches and you lower your voice because the teller is already whispering apologetically and you say "there must be some sort of mistake".

And then you rack your brain and request a printout of your activity and she tells you there is a fee for that and technically you don't have the MONEY to pay the fee and you just stand there and feel like some sort of criminal even though you know it's all a mistake.

And then you realize that even if it IS a mistake, you still have to fix it, and that is going to involve Dealing With The Bank and all you really want to do is drink heavily and maybe take a nap and wake up and it will all just be one long, horrible bad dream.

But you can't so you wander around Walmart in a daze waiting for your kid to be done with martial arts so you can go home and look online and figure out what, exactly, has gone so terribly wrong but Walmart leaves you feeling so depressed that you decide that honestly it just doesn't MATTER what went wrong and you decide to get an apple pie at McDonalds because FUCK IT. But then you realize at about the same time that you don't have any money, and that buying an apple pie is A. impossible and B. not something you should be spending your money on when you have no money at all to your name.

And that was my day.

We're eating tacos and I'm going to have a few drinks and then I am going to bed. And tomorrow I will figure out what happened to the money but for tonight I just don't give a shit, really. I got a brand new dishwasher for $130 (which I technically don't have but the dishwasher is in my house so HAHAHA) and the moldy cabinets are gone and things are gonna be alright.....eventually.

Monday, October 19, 2009

And then after that, I did a whole lot of nothing. It Was Spectacular.

Yeah, I know I was going to give you all sorts of details but I gotta be honest - I reviewed the rest of my trip and, well, meh. It was fun for me, but it won't translate (I don't think). So in summary, I had a few more days at my mom's and we enjoyed beautiful fall weather and went to Old Navy and Ikea the end. No, really, we had a lovely restofourvisit and we saw HAZEL! again which was, of course, spectacular and well-documented because in case I haven't mentioned it she's the best.

Another fact to be celebrated is that I managed yet another extended stay in a (very) small town without bumping into The Ex.

Despite moving a continent and an ocean and about 6000 miles and at least two airplane rides away, I spend a large percentage of my life reflexively analyzing men of a certain size/age/body type/balding pattern/facial hair/general appearance to be assured that they are not my ex. At the risk of sounding like Jennifer Aniston whining about Brad Pitt (because let's move on already) I do this automatically, there is no thought involved whatsoever, just a completely subconscious and instinctual fight or flight kind of mechanism at work. A constant analysis of my surroundings. It sucks and it's embarrassing but it is what it is and the feeling of relief that I get every time I determine that the man I have just completely stared down is not The Ex is hard to explain.

There are many reasons for this, but the most important reason is that the relationship ended so badly and so abruptly that it is just sort of a black hole of emotion. I have no interest in opening it up and examining it any further, but it is there - right there, the elephant in the room. I live in fear of this black hole exploding in spectacular fashion completely out of my control and at the most inopportune time. It's like being a fugitive, always wondering when it's going to all fall down around you.

So needless to say, being in the same (very) small town as this man is difficult at best, and completely paralyzing at worst. I have to drive by his home many MANY times during my visits in order to get back to my mother's house, unless I go the long long LONG way, which I always forget to do until I round "the corner of no return" and I am staring at his car. And then I try to avert my eyes because I feel like a stalker for driving by, and then I remember I am not just "driving by" to drive by, like some lonely rejected heartbroken teenager that I very definitely once was which is how I know what that feels like. (Pretty awful, just for the record). And then I feel like a complete ass for even THINKING about him because it was forever ago and it's ancient history. But I still don't stop at the farmer's market next door because obviously.

No, I am just driving to my mother's house and I am a grownup and it's a small town with a one way street and there is no other option I have to just keep going I can't turn around and's just awful every time.

Every single time.

So anyway, woohoo for avoiding what would have been a very awkward encounter ! Next time my goal is to not think about it at all, ever. (crickets) Yeah, I know. Not fucking likely. (sigh) Awkward.

And speaking of awkward encounters, here's one I didn't manage to avoid. I took both kids to visit my mother in law without my husband. And while she is a lovely woman and the grandmother to my children and she raised the man that I adore more then anything or anyone, and her sisters are AMAZING and I love seeing is very strange to be staying with his family without HIM. And so it leads to a bit more emotional angst at a time when I am already pretty taxed emotionally.

I must admit that by the time we began the long journey west towards Hawaii, I was ready. Really ready. I missed my husband. I missed my house. I missed my friends. I missed my bed. I missed the dogs. I missed my job and my co-workers and my customers.

I missed my life. My life as it is Right Now. Not my roots, not my history. My current wonderful fabulous life.

The past 8 years have been a revelation - I am always giddy about returning home. My heart starts to race as the plane begins it's decent into the central valley. As we sweep through the sky beyond the waves and between the mountains and over the sugar cane, I catch my breath. I see the brilliant blues and greens, the rich red of the volcanic earth, the incredible coastline and golden sand and jagged peaks.....and as soon as they open the door of the cabin and the sunlight streams in and I can SMELL the salt air and feel the warmth I am home again.

Oh, it's lovely to be home.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Don't get your panties in a twist, I just got a bit disoriented. I'm back now. Or, part two of life at home with my mom.

I can do this two ways (gosh that sounds like a menu item at a chinese restaurant).

I can share every gory detail of my life while staying at my mother's house for a week. OR I can just hit the high points and move along. But then what the hell would I write about for the next week while I attempt to nap and adjust to the time change with the assistance of pharmaceuticals. Plus you like all the juicy tidbits, I know you do.

Lets start with my current state of mind. I am all hopped up on caffeine and dialed down with sleeping pills, and I am so twitchy and short-tempered that my husband is probably already wondering when I am going to get the hell out of here again. Jetlag takes on a whole new meaning post-menopause, when you already can't sleep and wake up at random times throughout the night for no reason at all. When a time difference and extended travel is added to (subtracted from ?) the menopausal life equation, it gets ugly.

Because jetlag is SO kicking my ass, we're going to embrace the details, but I can only do one little bit at a time, because I don't want you to miss out on a minute of the fun, and because I need to pace myself.

First, the Dante Society.

Oh baby.

This is, for all intents and purposes, a big bunch of Italians who grew up together, and get together socially as a group from time to time. I love everything about it. They meet at the Calabrese Club and other locations about town, and do lots of community events. The week that I was there was the week of the cooking demonstration, which I believe was held in conjunction with the celebration of Columbus Day - which is, for the record, Very Serious Business Around These Parts. Dude, Columbus was Italian and you would think he was every families long-lost uncle the way they celebrate him bumping into America.

So anyway, cooking demonstration. I was really excited to be able to go. Meat Sauce and Cannoli. Good stuff. Basic italian cooking. Skills One Should Have. Maybe I'd learn a secret or two about the perfect sauce. Which is like the perfect storm, but with tomato paste.

And the chef who was running the demonstration put cream in his meat sauce.

God that sounds so dirty and I swear I didn't mean it like that. But there it is. Cream. In his meat sauce.
Listen......that shit is just not right. Not right at all. Not even a little bit right. No. Just no. I think he lost half the room when he did that.

So then they went on to making the cannoli filling. And I have to be honest, as soon as the other chef said "cream cheese" I just stopped listening. And so did pretty much everyone else. Just like that, they had lost the other half of the room. People were clucking and tsking and turning up their hearing aids and shouting "WHAT did she just say ?" It would have been funny, if I didn't feel so bad for these nice chefs who so clearly had misjudged their audience.

Here's the thing: I know there are variations. Everyone has their own way of doing things.

But you do not go to the CALABRESE CLUB and make a presentation in front of the DANTE SOCIETY and put CREAM in your meat sauce (giggling, can't help it) and CREAM CHEESE in your cannoli. Because these people will KILL YOU.

I'm kidding. They totally didn't kill anyone that I know of, and I have an airtight alibi just in case anyone goes missing. I AM italian, after all, and I know the value of a good alibi. And I did feel badly about my reaction to these nice chefs and their creative recipes. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, you know, I should be more open minded. It's GOOD to try new things, right ? I mean, let's not stick our head in the sand and refuse new experiences. Right ?  Abso-fucking-lutely.

So we went to their restaurant two nights later and I can honestly say........that I have never thrown up so much in my life from a meal. It was epic. We had dinner, we went home, I was feeling a little strange, I went to bed, and by 2am I was trying to figure out whether I could stop throwing up long enough to sit on the toilet and deal with some other things that needed to be attended to urgently.  It was one of those moments where you realize that you cannot die (even though you want to) because you CANNOT BE DISCOVERED LIKE THIS. And by "like this" I mean sitting naked on the wastebasket Just In Case while you puke in the toilet.

I was so SO sick, and I was trying so SO hard not to wake anyone up even though (let's be honest) I really would have loved some ginger ale to sip and maybe a heating pad or something. It was bad.

And so ended my experience with "trying new things". I like my old things. But not too old, because apparently you can get sick from that.

On that note I am off to bed. I will be back soon with more tales of High Adventure. In the meantime "keep fucking that chicken" and stay classy ! Just like me, and this post.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What happens when you turn into your mother, and then live with her for a week Part One

After being rescued by my mother at the airport in Boston, and whisked back to the house in Rhode Island, I walked into a living room that was filled with HAZEL. HAZEL is my niece, and she's 10 months old but if anyone were to just be walking by and happen to look in the windows (that's not an invitation by the way, freak) and watch us interact with her you would think she was the second coming of Christ. No lie, at any given time three of us are chanting her name in some dopey, singsong voice because we Cannot. Help. Ourselves. There is always almost a camera or cellphone pointed in her general direction, attempting to document every miraculous moment that is her life in general.

SO that was wonderful, and then suddenly my entire body sort of twisted inside itself and reminded me that I hadn't slept in several days and perhaps now might be a good time to do so.

So I made my way upstairs and clibed into bed with Lucy, who also felt like maybe she needed to take a break from the fabulousness going on in the living room in order to rest and recharge. We passed out in short order, and woke up hours later sort of disoriented and cold and confused about whether it was early morning or early evening. Fall in New England can be like that even if you haven't just arrived on a red eye flight.

After our nap, I ran to T.J. Maxx, which is a family ritual that goes back generations. When a family member arrives from the other side of town or the other side of the country, the women folk head to TJ's for a little quality time right off the bat. We talk about our kids, our houses, our jobs, our lives, we stop by the grocery store when we are done, and then we head back to the house for dinner. So my sister-in-law and I took up the TJ torch and kept the tradition alive this weekend. It was fun...but also a little weird to know that we, the kids who used to be left at home with the menfolk, are now the women of the family, heading out the door to buy discounted shoes, some hand towels, maybe a new bra or a pair of socks. Mission accomplished - I got Lucy two t-shirts and an ear thermometer, and then bought a bunch of baby legwarmers that were too cute to pass up.

We had dinner, which I took almost no part in preparing but was thrilled to enjoy with my kids, my brother, my sister in law, my parents and HAZEL. As fabulous and amazing as she is, man, she gets even better when food is involved. That girl loves to eat.

So we had a lovely dinner, all of us but most especially HAZEL and then the kids and I pretty much crawled back upstairs to bed and slept for about 14 hours straight without so much as getting out of bed to pee. I went to bed around 9, and woke up at 11:15 the next morning all sweaty and confused. The confusion cleared quickly enough when I realized that I had about an hour to get my shit together and meet my girlfriends for a lunch that I was really excited about. I was supposed to make an apple pie but with 45 minutes to go, that was just not going to happen. SoI collected the ingredients, blew through the grocery store and the Dunkin Donuts drive through, and headed south to the gathering of the girls.

The afternoon was surreal - it had been a very VERY long time since we had all been in the same general vicinity, nevermind just sitting down to have a lunch for the sheer pleasure of seeing each other and catching up. I have the oldest kids, I think because my reproductive system just tanked earlier theneveryone else's, and I was married and encouraged to procreate when I was just out of high school. All that to say that there were lots of little ones, including one in utero (which totally counts) and three recently freed from utero, available for passing and sharing and sniffing. It was heaven and a tiny little part of my homesickness just floated away right then and there. Yeah, I'm missing the backstories. But when you hang out with people who knew you 20 years ago and have witnessed all of those moments that you remember, or don't really remember, or still have a scar from, or a police record related to them......well. It's a special thing. These people know why I am the person I am today. Because let me tell you something.

A lot of the shit that makes up who you are right now today ? That happened in high school. Everyone saw it happening even if you didn't.

So here we are 20 years later, raising babies with names our mohers would love, in clothes out mothers would wear, in houses our mothers would decorate, parenting our children using the guidelines and catchphrases from our youth.

It's surreal and yet strangely comforting. The kids ae gonna be alright. We turned out just fine, and since we have clearly become the 2.0 versions of our mothers, we are the A-team coming atcha.

Bonus.....still hot. But with better cars then we drove in highschool, and boys who have grown into hot men to take us places and be our partners in grownup land, which is - by all accounts - a weird, fucked up place to be.

We may be the ugraded version of the latest model, but we are indeed our mothers children. And we are raising the next generation even though we frequently feel like our mothers still have some parenting left to do with us. Let's be honest. If someone throws up in your house, isn't your first thought "man, who is gonna clean that up." Like, just for a second, before you realize that you are, that you are the grownup and YOU have to do it. You instinct is to gag and call out "mmmaaaaaaaaaaaa. I need youuuuuu" but she's not gonna come rescue you anymore, man. 24-7, we're in charge. And while sometimes it seems kind of "Lord of the Flies" and we're all comparing piercings and tattoos and debating getting more.....this is it.

We're the grownups.

And for the record, when you kid shits in the tub ? Even though it seems like someone - hell, ANYONE - else should be responsible for this, you gotta clean that up too.

To be continued...........

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In which I take two children to Disneyland and we all lived to tell the tale

So I did it. I took the kids to Disneyland by myself. And in the list of "reasons I am glad I am married" having a partner with which to do things like this is at the top of my list. Because doing it alone is a lot less fun, and a lot more HARDER (as Lucy would say).

We woke up on Hawaii time (which is to say, 3 hours later then usual). We staggered down to the lobby of our hopelessly hip downtown LA hotel, where all the men were wearing black suits and jaunty striped shirts and sunglasses that cost as much (or more) then the suits. They all had cellphone thingies in their ears (which still freak me out by the way - it gives the impression that the whole world is wandering around with some form of Tourettes, muttering and sometimes shouting at themselves.) We had breakfast. They served Nutella on the condiment tray. Max thought maybe he had died and gone to heaven.

We ate a lot of Nutella. How civilized.

Then we went and got Dressed ! For ! Disney ! We packed, we checked out, I found my way to the park (no mean feat, by the way) and we hustled to the gates with our passes clutched in hot sweaty little hands (mine included).

We grabbed a map and formulated a plan of attack. Space Blasters,Starwars, Matterhorn, Princesses, Toon Town, train to Autopia, Mad Hatter's tea party, quick escape with a stop for Princess Dress and Lego Set.

It went like clockwork, we were in and out in 5 hours, and lo and behold the gate was unattended and our parking was free. Hallelujah.

Everything was going so smoothly. So wonderfully. So beautifully. And then we got on the freeway, and the day came to an abrupt halt - along with the traffic. So we sat, and sat, and sat. My cousin called ot find out how things were going., I told her what was going on, and that I would call her again in a bit. And then, from across the highway, I saw it.

In N Out Burger. Yesssssssssssss.

And so ended our adventure in LA. Animal style - how apropos. We made it back to my cousin's house eventually, but with our bellies full of burger we didn't much care about the traffic after that. We caught our red eye out of LAX, and flew on to the East Coast as scheduled with only a brief delay at takeoff. I'm not an LA girl, but LA does have some stuff that doesn't make me sick something for everyone.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Here and there and there and here

Hi. Yeah, I'm here, I'm here and I'm home and I'm wearing warm clothes and taking long naps and eating yummy food and seeing friends and family.

This is day 5 of a 15 day trip, and we are doing just swell.

Day 1 was spent protesting school closures in the morning, then packing, walking to schools to pick up the kids, catching a ride to the airport, flying to Seattle, hopping an over-crowded shuttle to the Best Western, and trying to fall asleep hungry, because everything was closed by the time we realized we had skipped dinner.

Day 2 broke with a free breakfast buffet at the motel that was seriously, like, the nicest free buffet I have ever seen. It involved waffle irons and texas toast and granola and yogurt and was just a reminder that I was in Seattle, the coolest city ever. The rest of the day was a whirlwind of traveling, from Seattle to Long Beach, from Long Beach to LA, from the hotel to my cousin's house, from my cousin's house back to the hotel.

The drive from the airport to the hotel was a white-knuckle Los Angeles freeway affair, with the children taking a vow of silence until I found the place we were staying, which had a sign that was so cool that I couldn't find it. It actually had two - one was projected in small print onto the side of the building, the other was about 100 yards from the actual building, upside down, and not really a "hotel" style sign. I just never even saw that one at all until we had already been and gone several times. After driving around in circles for 30 minutes, I finally figured it all out, pulled into the lot through the exit, and practically threw the keys at the valet.

This was a hopelessly hip downtown hotel,  with a happening bar scene and waterbed pods around the rooftop pool, and retro decor and glass showers in the middle of the guest rooms. The kids were thrilled, I was more realistic about how I was going to have to take a shower with them sitting on the bed watching me through the glass wall. But it couldn't be helped, it was going to happen eventually and I just needed to get over it. Throwing caution to the wind, we changed into our swimsuits and headed skyward to check out those pods and scare some of the beautiful people. Mission accomplished in about 3.2 seconds, which was how long it took the pool attendant to snatch up the menus and inform us that they weren't serving food anymore. My kids weren't fazed, they happily leaped about on the waterbeds, shrieking and rolling and running in circles, while I pretended that they came with someone else. As I debated ardering room service and having them deliver it to the roof, the phone rang with a better invitation and we jumped back in the elevator and headed down to the lobby. As we stood there, on the side of the very busy city street, I glanced at the kids and had a sudden, horrible revelation. We were all standing there in our bathing suits.

Max had on a pair of Converse hightops - no socks - and a wet swimsuit. Lucy had on a swimsuit, and a pair of maryjanes. I had on some ballet slippers and a completely inappropriate beach cover up. It was quite a sight. We were only out there for a minute or three - enough time to scare some metro-suxuals (not a typo) who were totally appalled by, well, our very existance. 'Cause they suck.

We were swept away to an apartment that was just the epitome of LA cool, but without the attitude of the hotel. Let me put it this way.....Johnny Depp lives in the penthouse. There is a rooftop pool (that didn't smell like wet sneakers) and this one had a bonus not found at the hotel - a jacuzzi. They have zebra rugs in the lobby, and lots of fun elevators, and underground parking - the better to evade the paparazzi which I was sure were on our tail. It was a glamorous life that was fun to visit, but at the same time reminded me that I am Just Not an LA Kind of Girl. I would stand out there, like I did in junior high, as awkward and over-eager. SO I tried to rein it in and not humiliate myself, which was a challenge. Because the way I was in junior high is pretty much the way I AM. A complete and total spazz who talks too much and tries too hard. But oh, it was lovely to pretend for a while that I could ever be that cool. We had a lovely dinner with family and then headed back to the hotel for a late night room service binge, some exhibition showering, and bed.

Day 3 was Disneyland, which was, well, Disney. There are a lot of people in this country that find Disney Quite Exciting. I am not one of them. I will try to work up some excitement about it, and then report back. So kids, put on your Mickey Mouse ears and tune in tomorrow.