Thursday, January 29, 2009

He's Going to Make Someone a Fine Wife, One Day

Someone doesn’t want you to see these pictures.

Someone doesn’t want you to know that he spends his morning washing dishes in his lounging pants and pink dishwashing gloves while watching Live with Regis and Kelly.

Someone would have you think that this is a random occurrence; happening only because he needed to wash the parts to his electric meat grinder; the meat grinder that he used to grind up the giant elk that he stalked through the woods, killed, and from which he took the still-beating heart. With his bare hands.

As men do.

I, personally, want you to know that real men aren’t afraid to wear pink dishwashing gloves, nor are they afraid to, you know, wash a dish on occasion.

I cannot, however, defend him on the whole Regis and Kelly thing, though; that’s just girlie.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Am Smarter Than a Retarded Monkey

Or, at least as smart as one.

Bunco was a blast, and it really is an easy game to learn.

Last night’s party was held at the home of a woman whom I met through the Man-Cub’s scout troop and she is a very fun person. Actually, the whole group was made up of fun women as the host's only criteria for membership were that the participants be fun and that they enjoy an ocassional drink (I know! My kind of woman, right?)

And, as it turned out; I wasn’t the only novice in attendance, in fact, of the eleven women at the party, only three had ever played the game before but, as I said, it is a relatively simple game and we all caught on quickly, even with a few drinks under our belts.

As a group, we decided to meet the last Tuesday of each month and I will be hosting sometime during the summer months which means one thing; Porch Night Bunco, baby!

As if I needed one more reason to look forward to summer.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hopefully, You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Before the holidays, I was invited to join a Bunco club. I’ve never actually played Bunco before but, the woman who invited me to join the club assured me that it is really easy to learn and a lot of fun to play and, since my current social calendar consists of dates with my couch, the remote control and my good friends, Ben & Jerry; I did not hesitate to accept the invitation.

So, tonight, I will attend my first Bunco party and I am really looking forward to it, especially after several other people assured me that a retarded monkey could learn the game; if the monkeys with special needs can do it, so can I.

After all, I am at least as smart as a retarded monkey. And, I smell better, for sure.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It Only Hurts When I Breathe

Yesterday I attended what I thought was going to be a simple, relaxing yoga class. However, the usual instructor for the class was sick so yogalates was substituted, instead. Yogalates is, as the name implies, a combination of yoga and Pilates, this particular class ran heavier on the Pilates, though. And, by heavier, I mean ohmygod, can we please stop doing Pilates now and do some nice yoga poses, please fortheloveofgod?!

For the record, Pilates, kicks my ass. Honestly, I consider myself to be in fairly decent shape given the numerous beatings that I have endured at the hands of Jillian Michaels and her 30 day torture program but, Pilates, well, Pilates was a whole new level of pain.

I have hope for the future, though; if I stick with the class, I really think I can sculpt my core muscles into steel. Consistency must be the key, after all, there were senior citizens in that class yesterday and, while I was shaking like a leaf in a storm during several of the more advanced poses; they were steady as a rock, not a bead of sweat to be seen and, if the Geritol Crew can do it, so can I, godamnit.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Adolescence Is a Period of Rapid Changes. Between the Ages of 12 and 17, For Example, a Parent Ages as Much as 20 years. ~Author Unknown

After reading yesterday’s post, my Dad accused me of being a tad bit harsh on the Cub Scouts; in his opinion, the fact that a ten-year-old even knows there was a Great Depression elevates him to a higher intellectual level than most of the teenagers my Dad meets in his duties as a substitute teacher at the High School in Mayberry.

I didn’t tell Dad that the ten-year-old also thought that dinosaurs were responsible for the “extinction” of the caveman, Land of the Lost style because; I realize that his mind is still expanding, his knowledge growing so perhaps he will arrive at a higher level of intelligence before he, too, disgusts and disappoints his High School teachers (And, when I say "his mind", I am obviously referring to the ten-year-old as my Dad's mind reached the highest summit of knowledge like years ago).

Anyway, fingers crossed.

Speaking of teenagers, my nephew turned eighteen yesterday. Eighteen wow, where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday that he was born; I was still in college, enjoying my youth and ignoring the march of time. That march is getting harder and harder to ignore, why; the next thing I know, my own kids will be turning eighteen. The Girl will be asking for a tattoo and dancing on a beach in Mexico while the Girls Gone Wild crew films her every move and the Man-Cub lords over the beer bong.

Ha!Ha! Just kidding, Hugh; we both know The Girl is going to a convent the minute she turns eighteen. As for the Man-Cub? Military School, obviously.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Men May Be From Mars but, Little Boys Must Vacation on Venus

Yesterday, I chaperoned our Cub Scout pack’s annual sledding trip. Since there are so many Scouts and we don't have a bus, several parents volunteered to carpool. Thus I was charged with taking the Man-Cub and four other boys to the recreation area, a trip of about twenty-five minutes.

A girl can learn a lot in twenty-five minutes. For instance, did you know that you can identify what type of bears are in the woods simply by examining their poop? I did not know that.

I also learned that little boys are far less phobic of commitment than their older brethren appear to be, in fact, all five boys in my charge discussed, at great length, just how fabulous their weddings are going to be, seriously; ice sculptures! Horse-drawn carriages! Doves, for crying out loud. Plus, I learned that each boy already has his eye on his future Mrs., including the Man-Cub who has developed a mad crush on the little sister of one of The Girl’s friends.

Since the other four boys in the car consisted of two sets of brothers, you can imagine the teasing that went on during the conversation. My favorite part was when one of the brothers outed the other’s crush on, gasp, their cousin. It was totally scandalous until the outed brother whined “She’s not our real cousin, dummy!” (They are adopted so, technically, he’s right and his looove may continue, unchallenged by polite society).

It was, obviously, a very interesting car ride; the conversation almost made one forget the smell of five small boys in one enclosed space. Almost.

But, really, the most memorable part of the conversation occurred on the way home when the boys were discussing the price of gas (such a grown-up topic, I know!) and one of the boys-he of the Love That Dare Not Speak its Name-totally recommended that they watch this “really neat show”; it’s from the Great Depression when gas only cost fifty cents and it’s called Happy Days.

And I say that is the most memorable part of the conversation because that is when my head exploded; the Fonz would be most displeased.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Painting the Town Purple

My trip to Denver this past weekend was wonderful in so many ways. I got to spend some quality time with my sister, I got to reconnect with one of my oldest friends, I saw a fabulous show and got to watch my children enjoying time with their cousin; it was really a great way to spend my time.

The trip itself was uneventful which, for Colorado in the wintertime, is saying quite a bit. We left our house at noon on Friday and, by five o’clock, I was enjoying a glass of wine with my sister while the Man-Cub and my nephew raced around the basement in Jedi costumes, brandishing light sabers and speaking in geek; something that they would spend pretty much the entirety of the weekend doing while The Girl looked on in a rather bored fashion.

After a couple of glasses of wine, I suggested that we watch the new episode of Battlestar Galactica; a suggestion which Barbie met with utter disdain even after I Googled Jamie Bamber’s naked ass from season one just to demonstrate the more “artistic” elements of the show (it’s not all science fiction, after all). In the end, she did agree to watch with me and, by watch, I mean that she sat in the same room with me and surfed Facebook while I watched; eh, good enough.

Saturday we did a little window shopping before heading downtown to meet Melimel for dinner at Maggiano’s prior to the play. Dinner was delicious and it goes without saying that the company was superb. Since we had plenty of time between dinner and the play because someone, and I’m not pointing any fingers here (mostly because it is really hard to point at yourself), got the time wrong and thought the play started at 7:00 rather than at 8:00; we sat at the theater bar and enjoyed another round of drinks while having the kind of conversation that only girlfriends can have.

Then, on to the play which was spectacularly well done. I had expected it to be good but really, I was blown away by the casting, the sets, the production value; it all added up to one of the best productions that I have seen performed and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to see it. Especially with the company that I was in.

The time for our departure on Sunday seemed to arrive all too soon but, there is always work to be done and, even with the kids out of school for Martin Luther King Jr. day; we had to get back.

Hopefully, though, there will be other trips to spend time with two of my favorite women on the planet and, with any luck; those trips will happen sooner rather than later.

Friday, January 16, 2009

In Sync

No this isn’t a post about a washed up boy band but rather a post about how The Girl and I have finally, finally gotten our cycles running in synchronization; sparing Hugh the agony of two weeks of what is apparently torture to his poor psyche and replacing it with just one Really Bad week.

If you are reading this and you happen to be male or, say, my father, your brain has probably just entered the demilitarized zone; and you are no doubt struggling to replace the image of girlie cyclical stuff with some other image, any other image pleasefortheloveofgod and, I totally give you permission to think of a washed up boy band if you must.

You’re welcome.

If, on the other hand, you are a female-say, a mother of an adolescent girl-right now you are probably thinking that I must be quite relieved at this turn of events and you would be right. And, not to brag but; The Girl’s cycle adjusted to fit mine rather than the other way around so; my hormones win. Yay!

Or, whatever.

All I know is that this is the first month in a looong while that I haven’t experienced some weird stuff going on in Hoo-Haville and, for that; I am grateful.

The Girl, it should be noted, is not exactly thrilled with this turn of events since, as I said, her cycle adjusted to fit mine but, you know what? She’ll get over it. I’ve been doing this a hell of a lot longer than she has so, I claim seniority.

Now, let’s put a period to this subject and move on (you see how I just did that, there? Period?, Ha! I slay me!).

The children and I are leaving for Denver today. The weather appears to be cooperating, I’m all caught up at the store, the car is repaired, serviced, washed and ready to go and both kids managed to pack their own suitcases before leaving for school for a couple of hours this morning. Things are going almost too smoothly but, rather than getting paranoid and borrowing trouble; I am going to assume that the universe, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to work in synchronization with my menstrual cycle.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


(Once again, ha! I slay myself)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is It That Time, Already?

Tuesday night officially marked the beginning of what we, in the Ms. Congeniality household, fondly refer to as Jockstrap Season.

It got underway with my attendance at the first Board meeting for the Little League Baseball Association. It is January, I know but; registration for the season starts next month and we had to get our ducks quacking in a row before that so, there we were.

The meeting went about as well as expected; we are a motley crew with no clear direction but hey; I take great notes.

Then, yesterday, I finalized the registration forms for the Pee-Wee wrestling program; we start practice in two weeks. The season’s first tournament is the first weekend in March with a tourney every weekend through the middle of April when the season finally (thankfully, mercifully) ends. This, is really quite convenient considering that baseball practice starts just a week later.

Once baseball season finishes up in, oh, August; it will be time to break out the shoulder pads and, yes- the jockstrap- for football.

After some mathematical wizardry on my part, I have determined that we are engaged in some form of sporting endeavor with the Man-Cub for ten months out of the year.

And I’m proud to say that his penis is protected the entire time hence, the term "Jockstrap Season".

I could also refer to it as That Time of the Year When Chelle is Super Busy and More Than a Little Bit Bitchy but, you know, Jockstrap Season just flows off the tongue ever so much more eloquently.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Almost Feel Bad About Interrupting His Donut Break

If you will recall, earlier this week, I was bitching about having to drive my car back to neighboring city to have the fuckwads mechanics at the dealership fix the fan relay sensor thingie-mabob in my engine. I bitched about having to do it because

1) It meant having to take time away from work, time that I really don’t have to spare this week,

2) it meant driving almost an hour each way and gas, although cheaper, is not free and

3) the fan thingie-mabob was working just fine when I took the car in to have the rear windshield wiper squirter thingie-mabob (not to be confused with the engine fan thingie-mabob) fixed so, what the hell?

It’s like going to the dentist to have a nice routine cleaning and ending up needing a full set of dentures because the hygienist accidentally dropped that giant overhead light on your face.

Exactly the same.

And, now; I really have reason to bitch because, guess what I got while on my way to have (what turned out to be an almost totally unnecessary) “repair” done on my car?

A speeding ticket.

A goddamned speeding ticket.

For going four-to-nine miles over the posted speed limit while worrying that I was going to be late to an appointment which, once I got to the dealership turned out to be not so much an “appointment” as a “vague estimate of a time in which the car should be at the dealership prior to sitting for an hour and a half before it is even looked at”…..

…pause for deep breathing…

….and we’re good.

So, yeah. I got my first speeding ticket in sixteen years.

And the officer didn’t even offer me a bite of his donut.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dr. Spock Neglected To Mention This Milestone

This past weekend, The Girl asked me for a ride to the mall so that she could make use of gift cards she had received for Christmas. She specifically wanted to buy a pair of skinny jeans that she could wear with boots.

So, we went to the local JC Penney where jeans are on sale about as often as siblings annoy one another which is to say; regularly.

Our first stop was in the Girls section which is where we usually buy The Girl’s jeans since they carry slim sizes. You know what The Girl’s department doesn’t carry? Skinny jeans. Nor anything remotely resembling a skinny jean and; The Girl was devastated.

That is, until her heroic mother swept in to save the day by suggesting that maybe, just maybe, she could fit in the lowest size available in the gasp! Juniors department! And, off we went.

Folks? The lowest size available in the Juniors department?

Is a size 0



Do you think there would be a run on size 0 jeans? I wouldn’t have thought so but; do you think there was a single pair of that size of skinny jeans to be found on the shelves? Of course not.

The Girl, woebegone and beside herself, decided to try on a size 3, just to “see”. I could have told her they would never fit but decided to let her see for herself and, while she did that, I pawed through the return cart in the dressing room area, hoping for just one pair of skinny jeans in a size 0 (number of times in my life that I’ve been on that hunt: Zero. Z-E-R-O) and, miraculously; I managed to find not one but two pairs of jeans that fit the bill.

Mother Saves the Day, story at eleven.

And….they fit her quite nicely with a little room to grow. And…they were on sale, buy one, get one. And…she had just enough money in gift cards to purchase them. And…I am now her hero.

Dr. Spock ain’t got nothing on me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Better Busy Than Bored, I Always Say

And, boy, am I busy.

After weeping into my coffee over the Man-Cub’s weak eye muscles for just long enough to feel like an emotional retard; I actually picked up the phone to make an appointment with the behavioral optometrist and I now feel 100% better (thank you for the comments, by the way). I have faith that we will actually get this problem under control and that the Cub will be the better for it.

On a totally different subject yet still on the topic of how busy I am, Friday I drove to the neighboring city to have my car’s rear windshield wiper squirty-thingie looked at since it was not so much squirting anymore. Emily went with me and, while the car was being serviced, we spent some quality time roaming the mall; I would call it shopping but that would require me to have actually purchased items which, not so much. But, we had a nice time window-shopping.

The car dealership took approximately a hundred years to finish the repair which essentially boiled down to tightening the hose that runs from the windshield wiper fluid reservoir to the back windshield. When I picked up the car, Emily and I headed to Sam’s club where we intended to actually shop and low and behold, the Service Engine light came on in the car. So, back to the dealership we went. The service technician assured me that it was a false reading, reset the light and we were back on our way.

Of course, once I got home, the light came back on so; guess who gets to drive an hour back to neighboring city this Wednesday to have the problem “fixed” again?

Yep! Good guess.

So, that makes for one additional chore to do this week. Today is Monday which is, of course, the busiest day for me at the store. Tomorrow I have both a service club meeting and a baseball association meeting (baseball! Already! Kill me. Kill me, now). Wednesday is the aforementioned trip to the “car repairman” and Thursday I have an appointment to see my new primary care physician for a full physical and blood panel (oh joy!).

Then, Friday, glorious Friday, the children and I are driving to Denver.

The trip to Denver is the most enjoyable thing on my To Do list, I assure you. My sister, Melimel and I are going out to dinner and to see The Color Purple at the Buell Theater. I am stoked.

So, I just have to get the rest of this week over with, distasteful duties and all.

As I said, at least I won’t be bored.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Eye Just Don’t Know

The Man-Cub’s tutor cut us loose last night; she thinks she has done as much as she can for the Cub and she recommended that we take him to a behavioral optometrist for evaluation. After looking over the results from a test she gave him using a visual tracking program (very high tech computer pogram, science-fiction goggles-the whole nine yards, the Cub loved it, of course), I can’t say that I disagree with her.

The results from a child whose eyes track normally during reading look something like a descending staircase followed by a long return somewhat like one would see on an old-fashioned typewriter, like this:

The Cub’s results, however, looked more like a lemming throwing himself from a cliff:

The Man-Cub was quite upset by the results and by the fact that his tutor wanted us to see the optometrist for a while before resuming our work with her and, by quite upset, I mean inconsolable; you would have thought he was being dumped by a girlfriend but, after carefully explaining the situation to him, stressing the fact that we really, really need to get his eye muscles built up to the point that they are tracking correctly so that reading is less of a struggle for him, thereby allowing him to breeze through fourth grade and fifth grade and middle school and high school and college and post-graduate work at Stanford and, you know, the winning of that Nobel Peace Prize that we all expect him to bring home in 2026 -he quietly accepted it and agreed that it certainly would be nice not to struggle with reading.

And he has been struggling, he knows how to read, he knows how to decode and how to apply phonetics and how to spell; he just struggles so much with putting it all together, something that will be greatly improved by training his eyes to track along a normal left to right trajectory rather than back and forth, up and down and everything in between before getting tired and retiring to blinking at a rate deemed unacceptable by the super high tech fancy goggle computer program.

And the tutor assured the Cub that seeing this new doctor is going to make it all better, that she will help to strengthen his eye muscles and, when she does; the two of them can pick up where they left off and he will excel.

It was a good speech. Very impressive.

I almost believe it myself except-I don’t know; maybe we could affect the same results by having a witch doctor dance around his body with a fistful of chicken feet. I mean, what the hell is a behavioral optometrist, anyway? Can she even help the Cub? Will we be driving an hour each way twice a week for nothing? Does my HMO cover this?

Would it cover a witch doctor with a fistful of chicken feet?

I’m so in the dark here.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Dear Woman Ahead of Me in the School Drop-off Lane This Morning:

If you have time to braid your daughter’s hair before she gets out of your car; you probably had time to do it at home.

Just saying.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Let's Hope It's Not a Case of the Blind Leading the Blind

Earlier this year, The Man-Cub applied to be part of our school’s Pirate Mediator Program. A large number of students apply for a relatively small number of positions in the program each year so I was especially proud when the Cub was chosen for the honor by the selection team; the principal and a panel of teachers.

The guiding concept behind the program is to train students to be able to identify-and provide solutions for-problems between other students on the playground before they become large enough to require teacher intervention. The program entails a lot of training to teach leadership, mediation and problem-solving skills; training the Man-Cub has been participating in since the end of November.

Yesterday was his first day on the job, so to speak and; he assures me that the one case he had to mediate (two girls arguing over the monkey bars) ended in total success which I take to mean that no blood was shed, no hair was pulled and peace reigned over the playground.

So, my son is officially capable of mediating disputes, providing solutions to problems and stemming arguments before they can get out of hand and; I’m going to say the same thing I said when The Girl was appointed to be a Pirate Mediator when she was in elementary school: why, oh why, can they not apply those same skills to their relationship at home?

Mind boggling.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

The children went back to school today which meant an early morning for all of us; hopefully it won’t take too long for us to get back in the groove because, cracking my eyes open before the dawn just about broke my spirit.

Speaking of breaking one’s spirit, have I mentioned lately how much I am enjoying my daughter’s new attitude? No? Well, I should, Lord knows I bitch enough about her Dark Moods and disrespectful moments; her good qualities deserve some recognition, too.

So, yes, she’s been a doll for the past month or so. Her teachers have all sent reports ranging from “What a nice change!” to “Where have you been hiding this child and, can we please keep her?” and, for the record, we agree and, yes, we can.

I hope.

Hugh is under the impression that the child’s new attitude is a direct result of the tough love stance that we took with her when she was misbehaving but I happen to disagree; I think it is merely a matter of her emotions catching up with her hormones.

I’m right, of course.

Anyway, the change has been welcome and I am really enjoying having an adolescent in the house, now. Her sense of humor is rapidly catching up with mine and her use of sarcasm at the appropriate times and in the appropriate manner is a tribute to her fine genetic lineage and my awesome parenting skilz. Because, you know, I birthed her and it’s all about me.

See? Sarcasm, it’s what’s for dinner.

Anyhoodle, as a reward for her good behavior, I took The Girl to the salon yesterday so that she could get her hair cut, something that she has been wanting to have done for quite some time and, while I was semi-heartbroken to see four inches of her precious and long-awaited hair (child was bald until she was three. True story) fall to the ground; she was delighted with the results.

She looks older now. She seems more mature which, in all honesty, is what we have been hoping for, all along.

And, in retrospect, I kind of miss my baby but, let’s keep that between you and me, internet.

Monday, January 05, 2009

I Resolve To….

So, it’s the first Monday of the New Year, the perfect time to implement strategies aimed at achieving my goals for 2009 or, in layman’s terms; time to get my shit together.

My resolutions are simple:

-Live healthy.

-Love well.

-Laugh often.

-Give to my community.

-Express gratitude for all that I have.

-Live a more frugal lifestyle.

In deciding how to best achieve each of my goals; I have done some soul-searching as well as a few in-depth searches of the internet and I have learned a lot. Did you know, for example, that Jillian Michael’s has an exercise game for the Wii? I did not know that. I love me some 30 Day Shred and thought that the game might be another tool to add to my arsenal of fitness, until; I read the consumer reviews which basically said that the Jillian Michaels game for the Wii sucks ass. So, you know, I didn’t add the game to my Amazon shopping cart and instead blew the dust off of one of my other one hundred workout DVDs and used that to shake up my routine, instead. Thank goodness for the harsh reviews of total strangers.

So, actually, one could say that I have already started on resolutions number one, five and six.

This would make 2009 the first year that I have actually managed even that much.

We’re going to go far together, 2009 and me.

I can feel it.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Brand New Year, Same Old Chores

So far, 2009 is treating us well. Our New Year’s eve party was a lot of fun although, it seemed a lot noisier than last year’s party; it would appear that, the older they get, the louder the children become. I fear for the eardrums of their college friends if the trend continues.

New Year’s Day was spent sledding on Cerro Summit, a tradition we started when the kids were quite small (and more quiet). In fact, the first time we went, the Man-Cub was just over a year old and he and I spent our afternoon sledding down a three foot snow bank on our butts, no equipment required. Times have certainly changed; this year the Cub and Darren utilized three different tubes, an old wooden toboggan, a plastic sled and the seat of their butts when navigating the largest hill in the recreation area.

I got tired just watching them and, other than the energy required to push the shutter button on my camera three hundred times; made no effort whatsoever to physically participate in the sledding.

Jana made a solitary run down the hill, for propriety’s sake but otherwise joined me in watching the fun from the comfort of the camp chairs which were set up between two propane heaters. We sipped Snugglers (hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps), munched on rice krispie treats and generally just relaxed into the New Year while our husbands and offspring exhausted themselves for our viewing enjoyment.

I can think of far worse ways to celebrate the beginning of 2009.

Of course, yesterday, I faced the chore of taking down, boxing and storing the million-and-ten Christmas decorations littering the house but, Jana graciously offered to take the kids to her house for the day and, with no distractions; I had the house de-Christmased in record time. I cleaned as I went and now can proudly say that the house is as clean as it gets all year and I have the rest of the weekend to play with my new Cricut which I fully intend to do right now.

Who knows, maybe I will achieve my first goal for 2009: Catching up on the kids’ scrapbooks.

It could happen, after all; I’m only two years behind on each of them.

And, you know, I have all year.