Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Flashback: First Kisses

The other night, while watching the Man-Cub play in his first baseball game of the season (we lost), The Teenager and I were chatting about school and track and her braces. The topic of her braces caused me to remind her; again, that kissing while wearing them will inevitably lead to getting stuck to her boyfriend’s face. She laughed and told me I was wrong because her boyfriend doesn’t wear braces to which I replied “Ha! So you do kiss! Ja’cuse!” which caused her to blush fifteen shades of crimson while adamantly insisting that they so do not.

The blushing is a dead give-away, however and; it’s probably time for Hugh to pick out a nice place to dig a teenager-sized hole. Just in case.

Our conversation reminded me of my first kiss, I was The Teenager’s age, pretty much exactly and, the initiator of that kiss was my first boyfriend, Doug.

On the fateful evening of that first kiss, Doug had asked me to the movies; The Muppet Movie, to be exact. My parents were cool with it, provided my younger sister accompanied us. Doug was cool with that because, well, he was Doug; the most laid-back guy you could ever hope to meet.

So, off to the movie we went. There was hand-holding for the first half of the movie and then, in the blink of an eye, Doug leaned over and planted one on me.

It was a good thing the theater was pretty dark because I suspect that I blushed fifteen shades of crimson, myself.

Doug and I would kiss many, many more times between eighth grade and my Sophomore year of High School before realizing that, rather than being destined to be one another's twu wuv, we were better off being friends. To this day, however, I think of Doug and that first kiss whenever I see the Muppets.

Or, you know, someone who resembles one.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dear Mother Nature: You Suuuuuck

Seriously, Mother Nature? Did you not get the memo about it being spring? Do you not see what you are doing to my beautiful tulips, not to mention the fact that you are smothering my tender radish, beet and pea sprouts? The peas, Mother Nature, this was supposed to be my year for the peas! I started early like my friend, the farmer, told me to! I was supposed to have a bumper crop and then you go and pull this! The hell, Mother Nature? I demand an explanation.

Signed, Irritated in Colorado

P.S. Global Warming my shiny white ass.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In a Perfect World

Today my nephew would have been nine years old. Had he survived his cancer my sister would be frosting a cake and decorating it with the M&Ms that he loved so much. She would be indulging him in a snack of Goldfish crackers, his favorite, and she would be experiencing the bitter sweetness that parents go through each birthday as their child turns a year older.

No doubt, he would be involved in sports activities of some type since, even at fifteen months of age, he was a huge Ohio State football fan. In fact, when he was in the hospital, the coach of the team paid him a visit and, while I suspect that the appearance was more for the sake of his father-an OSU alumnus- my nephew enjoyed it thoroughly. He especially liked the football, signed by the team, which the coach brought along for him; that kid was crazy about footballs. In a perfect world, he might get a new one for his birthday.

I remember the year the Man-Cub turned nine; we had a football-themed party for him in the front yard. Hugh spray-painted the lawn with yard markers and goal posts and I baked a stadium-shaped cake. In a perfect world, my sister would have the same opportunity to do those things for my nephew.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where bad things happen to good people and those people are left to struggle through the aftermath.

My sister is a strong woman. She is stronger than I could ever imagine being and, quite frankly, than I ever hope I have to be. She has soldiered on under a circumstance that breaks a lot of people. She has experienced the loss that all parents fear, the one that we push to the inner recesses of our minds; if we don’t think about it, it won’t happen to us and, in a perfect world, it wouldn’t.

But, it does. It did.

Mitch was a precious little person. He was never without a smile. The nurses who cared for him throughout the last five months of his life commented on his joyful personality and his ever present grin. He was the darling of the pediatric cancer ward and he was the darling of our hearts. My family misses him. My sister is incomplete without him.

In a perfect world, there would be a party today; gifts, balloons, streamers and laughter.

And nine candles on the cake.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sometimes You’ve Got to Stop and Smell the Roses. Unfortunately, These are Apple Blossoms

I’m having a rather vexing sort of day; things that can go wrong are going wrong and, things that should be going right, well, apparently they missed the memo. It’s all good, though, the day is almost over and, really, if the fact that my son can’t be responsible enough to bring home paperwork from his Scout leader-paperwork that includes all the information vital to this weekend’s camping trip-is the worst thing to befall me today then I’m actually doing pretty damn good.

Likewise, I suppose I should be unbothered by the fact that the coach of our baseball team just gave us our game schedule and, lo and behold, we have a game Friday night-the same Friday night that the Cub and Hugh are supposed to leave on above-mentioned camping trip-a little gem of information that might have come in useful when we initially agreed to let the Cub go on said trip and yet; I am.

Bothered, in case I lost you somewhere along the line in that run-on sentence up there.


I picked a really bad week to give up bingeing on leftover Easter candy.

Wait, the Easter candy is all gone, anyway? Why, god?! Whyyyyy!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wow, Orthodontics Have Come a Long Way since the Stone Age

The Teenager left the house this morning in good spirits; she was excited about getting her braces put on and, while I remember braces as a social handicap, she has been exuberantly enthusiastically adamant about them being just the opposite.

Granted, back in my day (when the rubbing together of two sticks was required in order to heat one’s home), braces were ugly metal monstrosities encircling the entire tooth and requiring wires the size of drinking straws. Now and days, they are apparently made of whisper-light composites held together with a single strand of gossamer fairy hair.

Also, they now come in a wide range of colors and the patient actually gets to choose their favorite combination. Today's braces are a fashion accessory as opposed to a Medieval torture device created to cause pain and social stigmatism (brace-face!) and to strike fear into the heart of young lovers (one kiss and your faces will get stuck together, forever).

The Teenager has it easy, is my point.

Oh, yeah, except for the part where there is still a modicum of pain involved in the process because, there are some things that being fashionable just can’t overcome.

Also, I am sticking to the whole "getting stuck while kissing" thing because, in case you all have forgotten, The Teenager has a boyfriend now.

Not that they actually kiss or anything.


(The correct reply here is right! Of course they don't!)

Anyway, here's what $4800 looks like up close and personal. As an aside, my first car cost $4200. The price difference makes sense when one considers that my first car was not constructed of magical whisper-light composites and a single strand of gossamer fairy hair.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Continuing Adventures of Jerome the Roaming Gnome

Fresh off his tour of Salt Lake City, Jerome the Traveling Gnome finds himself in the company of a large group of Fifth Grade students from a rural Colorado school, their mission; to explore the ancient ruins of Mesa Verde, ancestral home of the Pueblo Indians.

Despite less than perfect weather, the trip begins with a long journey by car. Jerome has the opportunity to ride the bus with the school children but wisely opts to go the private car route, a decision he will never regret.

Upon arrival at their first destination, the Anasazi Heritage Center, Jerome and his assigned group of intrepid explorers begin their observation of the ancient people. Much discussion of farming techniques, stone weaponry and basic human survival techniques gives way to heated arguments over whom historically worked harder; women who ground corn into cornmeal using a mano and a metate or men, who hunted big game with weapons constructed of sticks and stones. Jerome wisely abstains from voicing an opinion.

Following a number of hours exploring the Heritage Center, Jerome and his group retire to a local hotel where Jerome opts out of swimming in the hyper-chlorinated pool in favor of resting his eyes in anticipation of the long day awaiting him the next morn. His group of fellow explorers is not as forward-thinking and instead exhaust themselves in pursuit of aquatic fun and greasy pizza. Jerome wisely keeps his criticism to himself and, soon, it is time for lights out.

Early the following day, Jerome boards the school bus for the tour of the National park. He pats himself on his shoulder for avoiding the bus the previous day.

Once inside the Park, Jerome and his group begin their explorations of the ruins, learning invaluable lessons as they study the architecture, history and culture of the ancient people.

While on the trail, Jerome is careful to keep a close watch for poisonous snakes, creatures he has been led to believe he might see by one of the women in his group although; the man in his group says that the woman is being ridiculous and that no snake in it's right mind would be out in the cold. Jerome has learned much in his travels but nothing so important as the fact that it is always better to be safe than sorry, thus the continued wariness of reptilian encounters.

Jerome also knows that the key to enjoying a field trip of this magnitude is obeying the rules and being respectful of the other people with whom he is sharing the adventure. Unfortunately, there are a few fellow adventurers on the trip who disregard this basic principal yet, while the woman in his group suggests the possibility of corporal punishment for the few, Jerome wisely abstains from offering an opinion on the matter. Plus, as his hands are molded to his sides, he hasn't much to offer in the way of assistance in the event that corporal punishment is applied. He does, however, mentally endorse the use of a looooong Time Out for two of the most eggregious offenders.

After a long and industrious day, Jerome wearily climbs back into the car for the ride home, wiser, and more educated than ever before.

What adventure awaits the gnome on his next outing? Only time will tell.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saints Preserve Us

Well, we are off to Mesa Verde.

The car is stocked with bottled water and sunscreen, I have packed all the snacks requested by Hugh and the Man-Cub (snacks guaranteed to make their room the coolest room ever; they will be so popular it won’t even be funny). I have my iPod, my camera, a large bottle of ibuprofen and the Traveling Gnome (as requested by the Man-Cub) and I’ve willed myself into my Happy Place.

We are going to have so much fun!

How could we not? I mean, a three hour drive, 100+ Fifth Graders, sheer rock walls with hundred foot drop-offs and 200+ opportunities for poisonous snakes to sink their fangs into a juicy eleven-year old leg.

I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Random things That Are Making Me Ridiculously Happy

-My tulips.

-Cleaning my front porch, rearranging the wicker furniture and happily planning this season’s inaugural Porch Night.

-The fact that I have my vegetable garden started a full month and a half earlier than usual, especially since that means that, this year, I might actually manage to grow peas.

-My new barrel composter. I have never composted before and I am totally geeking out on how good I am going to be at it and how good it will be for my garden.

-That is finally stocking the reusable grocery bags that I bought back in 2007; the six I have are starting to show some wear and I’ve wanted to supplement them with new bags for quite some time. Plus, I always get compliments on the bags when I shop. Who doesn’t love a compliment?

-Justified on FX. Timothy Olyphant, mrrrowwwrrr.

-The first rain showers of spring, they are watering my garden and; the fact that I am stoked to have a fabulous garden does not negate the fact that I am lazy.


-This Dish TV business is the bomb; I don’t have to catch up on episodes of my favorite shows online if I miss them; the Dish records them. I feel so like, techno-savvy all of a sudden. Also, how did I survive the Dark Ages of cable? Seriously.

-The fact that it does not take a lot to make me happy as evidenced by this list.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Omigoshmom! Only two more days! Two More Days! Canyoubelieveit?!

I think what he’s saying is; only two more days until we go on the school field trip to Mesa Verde but, he’s eleven and, for all I know, he is playing the part of Nostradamus today and predicting the end of the world in a fiery explosion, an explosion that will occur in only two more days canyoubelieve it?!

So, yes, the child is excited. I think Hugh might also be a bit excited; he already packed the Camelbaks, made a list of grocery items for me to pick up at Sam’s Club, attended the official chaperone meeting (and got the t-shirt) and he has memorized the entire two-day itinerary provided by the school.

For my part, I have vaguely flipped through pictures of the year we accompanied The Teenager on the trip and made a mental note to pack ibuprofen.

On a related topic, the Man-Cub’s Boy Scout troop is planning to attend an event called the Spring Thaw next weekend. Apparently, it is a tent camping trip and it is a requirement that a parent accompany each Scout. Hugh is totally taking this one because, I don’t do anything that involves the words tent and thaw in the same sentence. Tents are for armies and thaw indicates one degree above freezing, neither of which registers high on my to-experience list for this (or any) decade. Now, throw an event with the words beach and hammock in it and I am totally your girl.

I’m a delicate flower, canyoubelieveit?!

Monday, April 19, 2010

De Pain! De Pain! (In the Voice of the Late Hervé Villechaize of Fantasy Island Fame)

I accomplished a lot this weekend, I cleaned my house from top to bottom, tended to my tulips in the flower beds, planted peas, beets and radishes in my garden (while wearing the cutest pair of rain boots on planet Earth. Seriously, why did I not think of rain boots prior to ruining umpteen pairs of tennis shoes in years past?), did enough laundry to clothe the population of a small country, shopped for groceries, cooked fabulous meals and even had time to finish off a bottle of really good Pinot Grigio all the while in so much pain, it’s a wonder I didn’t throw up.

Seriously; this hip pain is for the birds. I am so tired of constantly limping about like a pirate on a peg leg and of feeling a searing pain shoot through my pelvis when I turn just so and, as much as I hate to admit it; I think it is time to abandon the advice of Drs. Google and Bing and to seek out the advice of an actual physician.

Or, a chiropractor although, my insurance doesn’t cover chiropractic care and I’m not certain that I even believe in it as a viable medical field. And, fine, I admit; I’ve never actually seen what it entails, I’m just guessing feathered headdresses, chicken feet, chanting, and a bill for two meelion dollars upon receipt of services. I could be totally wrong and, if I'm not and a little chicken-foot waving magically takes the pain away, I am in, two meelion dollars or not.

So, yes. A trip to some professional is in order. Unfortunately, I doubt I will be able to see anyone prior to our trip to Mesa Verde so; I will just have to plan on hiking ancient ruins while in pain, pausing occasionally to wail de pain! de pain! in an accent that kids will have absolutely no understanding of whatsoever.

Wow. How sad is that?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Flashback: You Know What They Say About Prom Night

Our local high school is gearing up for the Prom this weekend. All over town, teenagers are picking up corsages and rented tuxedos and scheduling limousines while their poor parents’ minds boggle at the prices. Despite the cost, girls are jockeying for appointments at the best salons and boys are stocking up on Trojans because, only the best will do for Peggy Sue on Prom night.

And, we ALL know what happens on prom night, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Of course, not everyone loses their virginity in the backseat of their boyfriend’s dad’s Rambler; taffeta skirt pushed up around their neck and pantyhose dangling from one foot following a romantic evening of watered-down punch and awkward slow dancing forever immortalized in a photograph taken in front of the world’s fakest sunset.

I certainly didn’t (swear to God, Dad) but, let’s talk about prom night, anyway.

The first prom I attended was at our rival high school and I attended it with the son of my parent’s friends. As a sophomore, I was banned from attending our high school’s prom based on its policy of inviting juniors and seniors exclusively but, since the graduating class of the rival school numbered only thirteen students, they were a bit less stringent in their regulations. I wore a borrowed dress that was burgundy in color and my date wore a silver tuxedo with a burgundy bowtie and cummerbund. We were styling, I assure you. Of course, there was no romance that evening; I was with a guy I had known practically since birth and in whom I never harbored a romantic interest whatsoever. Plus, I had only agreed to go with him to make my ex-boyfriend jealous.

It was high school, remember.

My second prom night was my favorite. It was my Junior year and I was dating The Boy. He was a senior and as handsome as he ever was or, will ever be. My dress had been handmade by a local seamstress. It was dark blue taffeta with an iridescent sheen that flashed green in some lights and purple in others and, while that description probably sounds ugly, I assure you; it was quite beautiful. In addition to its unusual color, the dress featured a ballroom skirt under which I wore a somewhat largish hoop (hello, 1986). The best feature of the dress, however was that it was backless save for three tiny white bows that formed the closure that held the whole thing together; hella sexy and terrifically scandalous for my small town high school.

The Boy wore a white tuxedo with tails, a blue cummerbund and bowtie and his ostrich skin cowboy boots and, when he came to the door in that tuxedo, corsage box in hand, I actually held my breath; he was just that handsome.

The prom was held in our high school cafeteria which had been decorated in a fantasy theme, the specifics of which totally escape me at present. The Grand March was held in the gymnasium and I do remember that we had to walk over a small bridge with a fake stream running below. After we were introduced over the PA system and had made our way down the fake cobblestone path, we were supposed to pause momentarily on the bridge so that the million and ten parents in the audience could take pictures. When it was our turn to face the parental paparazzi, The Boy instead turned to look at me. A piece of hair had come loose from my elaborately styled up-do and he brushed it away from my cheek and said; “You are so beautiful” then, he winked at me, our secret signal for “I love you”. My heart stopped beating and I thought, in that moment, that I would never love someone else so much in my entire life.

The fact that I was wrong about that doesn’t diminish the memory for me in the least, by the way.

At just that moment, one of my friend’s mothers snapped a picture that would become one of my favorite photos of us together. (That same photo would be eaten by the flames of a ritualistic cleansing fire six years-and numerous break-ups-later. And, I digress.)

Later that night, after dancing under twinkling lights and posing for the requisite picture in front of the fake sunset, we changed into more comfortable clothing and joined the rest of our classmates at a campground several miles outside of town. We toasted marshmallows and drank beer which, back then, you were allowed to do when you were eighteen (or, when you were seventeen and were with your eighteen year old boyfriend although, you probably had to realllly read the fine print of the law to know that part). We listened to music, talked about our plans for life after graduation and cracked a few tasteless jokes. As morning arrived and the sky turned from inky black to royal purple to rose and then to gold, the crowd thinned. Two by two our friends disappeared into tents and cars to fulfill, finally, the Prophecy of Prom Night.

The Boy and I stayed near the campfire to watch the sunrise however and, just as it crested the ridge of the neighboring mountain range, he turned to me, again brushing a stray piece of hair from my face, and said “Thanks for going to the prom with me.”

Then we had sex (Sorry Dad).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sometimes, They Do Something That Makes it All Worthwhile

So, parenting, it’s hard, yo. Kids can be ungrateful and demanding and whiney and, well, rotten. They take for granted the things we do for them, the sacrifices we make for them and the hours we spend on them but; on rare occassions, they say or do something that makes it all seem better.

Today, was one of those days.

I think I’ve mentioned a time or two that The Teenager was conceived while on a trip to our nation’s capital. If I haven’t mentioned it, here, I have certainly mentioned it to The Teenager and, every time I do I am met with an exaggerated eye roll, a disgusted sigh and wailing that only dolphins can hear but that sounds something like “Ewwww!!! Stop talking about sex!”

Then, she closes her eyes tightly and mumbles something about rainbows! And, Unicorns! And, puppies! Before wandering away to chew on her hair in the corner; it’s a pattern that I’m certain we will be discussing with her therapist in about twenty years.

And, I digress although, the information will be pertinent in about a minute, I swear.

So, on what will seem like a completely different topic, the Fifth Grade is going on its’ annual field trip to Mesa Verde National Park next week.

Hugh and I both attended the field trip back when The Teenager was in the fifth grade and wanted to do so again this year, with the Man-Cub. Since the trip is so popular with the parents and kids, chaperones are chosen through a lottery system and, Hugh was among the lucky. When The Teenager went, it was I who was chosen and Hugh accompanied us on the trip, paying his own way while helping out like a regular chaperone which, is exactly what I intend to do this year.

A mother of one of the Man-Cub’s classmates was also on the trip the year we went with The Teenager and she was not chosen in the lottery this year but, as she told me today while browsing in the Variety Store, there had been a parent who backed out of the responsibility recently and she had been more than happy to take the spot, such is her spirit of volunteerism.

Then, she asked me if Hugh or I was going and I explained that, while Hugh was chosen to chaperone, I would be going along as back-up, like we did a few years earlier. She said, and I’m quoting here; “I thought about doing that but I didn’t want to be one of those parents”.

What the fuck did she jut say?

Although I'm certain I looked mortified, I decided not to take it personally because I have learned, in my 41 years on this Earth, that some people simply have no filter between their brains and their mouths.

Or, brains at all.

Anyway, her next topic of discussion was the Ninth Grade’s upcoming trip to D.C and, she made a concerted effort to show her obvious superiority over us by loudly declaring “I’ve been there” to which The Teenager, my teenager, the child who can hardly stand to be seen with me in public lest I embarrass her in front of her friends, replied “Yeah? I was conceived there.”

Game. Set. Match.

Guess who's getting a pony for Christmas.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oh. Em. Gee. The Teenager Has a Boyfriend

And, while this is a relatively new occurrence and probably not worth getting the wedding registry ready or anything; she does appear to be smitten. In a totally Junior High-first-boyfriend- kind of way.

I remember that feeling; his name was Doug Schroeder and, when I hung out in the halls with him I was totally 2 Cool 4 Skool and all that jazz.

And, I digress.

Back to the point; I met the young man today at The Teenager’s first track meet, where, by the way, she and her relay team took First Place, and, where the boy in question took First place in the mile run.

He was very polite, this new friend of hers; he introduced himself to me, shook my hand, made idle chit-chat while The Teenager waited for the earth to open up and swallow her and, he even graciously allowed me to photograph him (so Hugh will have a photo to use in the unlikely event that he must track him down and kill him). I’m hoping the relationship stays casual and unfettered by hormones and that he continues to be a nice young man until the spark inevitably fizzles out (or, until Hugh has to kill him).

In less exciting news (depending on your point of view), the Dish Guy showed up at the appointed time today and we now have 280 channels of television goodness.

And, I have a sunburn which has absolutely nothing to do with anything else but, the sting of it does take my mind off the fact that my daughter is crushing over a boy who can run faster than my husband.

Ah. Mah. Gawd.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our Cable Company Went Bankrupt

And, they didn’t even have the decency to let their customers know. Instead, as channels started randomly disappearing from their televisions; people began making frantic calls to the company only to be met with silence. Wails of “I need my Bravo!” and “Donna? Where the fuck is my ESPN? NASCAR is coming on!” could be heard for miles.

When we lost two of the major network stations, it became clear that the end was nigh and Hugh, being the anal retentive control freak master researcher that he is, went into detective mode.

After hours of comparison shopping, including knocking on the doors of homes that subscribed to the Dish Network and Direct TV; he settled on Dish Network. Then, he began the long and arduous process of ferretting out the very best deal that they could offer to him, I think it had something to do with the sales rep's first-born child or something like that.

Anyway, The Dish Guy was supposed to install our system yesterday between twelve and five which, in my humble opinion, made him sound exactly as reliable as the Cable Guy despite Hugh’s insistence to the contrary. Until he failed to show up, that is.


So, after much wailing into the ear of the poor receptionist at the Dish Network, we were rescheduled for installation tomorrow (also between noon and five although, with a guarantee that the guy will show up, woopie!). Also, we have a $30 credit on our account before we even have service.

If more companies employed people like my husband, they would never go bankrupt.

Conversely, our cable company most likely shit the bed thanks to customers just like my husband.

Either way, I’m getting 280 channels, including FX which means that I can finally watch my fantasy boyfriend, Timothy Olyphant, on Justified and; my father can no longer complain about my sucky-ass cable when he visits my home.

Win and win.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Friday Flashback: Reading is Fundamental

When my sisters and I were young, my mother left us in the capable hands of my Grandma Molly and my Grandpa Nick. Nick and Molly’s house was a wonderland for small children and the property it sat on provided access to things that small children dream of including a large yard, a huge and abundant garden, a murky and mysterious pond, a horse stable, a potting shed laced with cobwebs, an old chicken coop and, the Pièce de résistance; my Uncle Donny’s old abandoned car. The car in which my older sister attempted to teach me how to drive at the tender age of six or seven. Luckily for the citizens of our small town, the car didn’t actually run and our lessons were confined to our imaginations but still; I like to think that I learned something.

One lesson I learned at my grandmother’s house came the hard way; always read the labels. The reason that I found this lesson to be invaluable will be made clear to you momentarily.

The summer that I was four or five, while staying at Grandma Molly’s house, my sisters and I decided to raid the garden for strawberries and fresh peas. Molly was already in the garden, outfitted in her customary gardening garb; my Uncle Ronnie’s old military jacket, a large sunbonnet circa Little House on the Prairie, olive green coveralls and heavy gardening gloves. Although the summer days got hot, my Grandmother knew a thing or two about protecting her skin from the sun and especially, from the rabid mosquito population that lived in her garden.

Since we lacked the accoutrements of the master gardener, we were forbidden from entering the garden without being liberally doused with mosquito repellant and, that day, my older sister took it upon herself to apply the spray.

Unfortunately (for me), she wasn’t the greatest reader in her second grade class and she mistook a can of Easy-Off oven cleaner for the can of OFF! Bug spray, a mistake that I discovered by virtue of being first in line to be sprayed.

In case you ever wondered what Easy-Off oven spray does to human skin, let me enlighten you; it burns. Like a somebitch. And, much like the baked-on detritus of the ovens it was meant to clean, Easy-Off melts your skin which could get pretty ugly if, by a stroke of luck, your grandmother doesn’t hear you shrieking like a wounded banshee in time to get your ass into a tub full of vinegar and water which stops the chemical process wherein all your leg hair is being incinerated as you watch.

For the record, my older sister was horrified by her blunder. Or so she said. I had my suspicions, after all; this was the same sister who told me I was abandoned by gypsies, locked me in the potting shed with all the spiders who made those lovely, lacy cobwebs and who stole the candy from my Halloween pumpkin every year.

And, while I do have to admit that the incident left me unscarred physically and, might have actually made it unnecessary to shave my legs as often as most women (the makers of Nair might want to look into the chemical composition of Easy-Off when reformulating their product); it did leave me scarred emotionally, I mean, I came to in a tub that smelled like a douche.

So, my point in all this? A leetle more attention paid in reading class could have spared me the indignity.

Because, literacy is our friend.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Never Say Never

Following an exhaustive conference with Drs. Google and Bing, the pain I have been experiencing in my hip finally has a tentative diagnosis; Itiotibial Band Syndrome. The condition is typical in runners whose feet tend to overpronate and is especially common in those who, against the advice of their podiatrist, ditch their prescribed orthotics in favor of regular running shoes.

Happily, the remedy for ITBS is a combination of rest, ibuprofen, deep tissue massage and, either a change in shoes or, a return to the orthotics.

Since we all know how I feel about my Tools of Satan orthotics, I think we can agree that resting, popping a pill on occasion and surrendering myself to the capable hands of my massage therapist on a regular basis will be my prescribed therapy of choice.

That, and a shopping expedition for a more supportive pair of running shoes is probably in order; I’m considering a pair of Nike’s that will accommodate a sensor chip that will track my stats and report them back to me via my iPod because I am just that serious about the running.

On a related note, pigs now fly. You heard it here, first.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

In Which The Lazymaker Lived Up To Its’ Name

In a sad and unexpected twist of fate, The Lazymaker up and shit the bed last week. Hugh sent it back to HP for a replacement which we were assured would arrive early this week and, if you just read that and thought to yourself “riiiight, those places never send the replacement out immediately!”; you would be correct.

Still waiting.

Now, instead of surfing the internet from the comfort of the couch, I am forced to climb fifteen stairs to use the PC in our home office. It’s quite an imposition considering how spoiled I have become under the tutelage of The Lazymaker and I am considering sending a very sternly worded letter to Hewlett-Packard.

Just as soon as I get up the energy to type it out.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

$190,528.00. The Average Cost to Raise a Child in Today’s Economy, According to the US Department of Agriculture

And, that’s not including college, entertainment, orthodontics, extra-curricular activities or the hours of therapy they will inevitably need thanks to our stellar parenting.

This is all a long-winded way to say; we paid for The Teenager’s braces today and, much like Mary Tyler Moore, that child had better turn the world on with her smile when this is all said and done.

After visiting the orthodontist (who, it should be noted has a lovely smile, himself) (and, is hawt) (and, funny) (but, still, expensive as all hell), The Teenager and I made a brief stop at the sporting goods store where I dropped another small fortune on track shoes, the purchase of which brings the total number of pairs of new shoes that I have financially sponsored in the past six months to seven, count ‘em, seven pairs: volleyball shoes, basketball shoes, wrestling shoes, football cleats, baseball cleats, the above-mentioned track shoes and, running shoes, one pair of which were actually mine (can you guess?).

So, while I respect the authority of the US Department of agriculture, I must question the validity of its financial statistics in regard to child-rearing as I fear that the purchase of shoes alone puts us over their published average.

In slightly less depressing news, The Teenager is using those track shoes for, well, track, obviously. And, despite coming from a long line of people who would rather be eaten by lions than run (present company excluded, you know, recently), she appears to love the endeavor.

Also, the Man-Cub started baseball practice last night despite sixty-mile-per-hour winds and frigid temperatures. His team is, shall we say,” experience challenged”. In fact, with the exception of the Cub and maybe two of his teammates, I don’t think there is a kid on the team who has played the sport competitively. Hugh isn’t coaching this year and, therefore, we don’t feel we have the privilege to bitch openly about the teams being stacked in favor of (or to the disadvantage of) any particular team but, you know, I can bitch about it here because this is my blog.

And, I didn’t spend thirty bucks on new baseball cleats to watch my son play with the Bad News Bears, although, that is exactly what is going to happen.

On the other hand, as long as he has fun, thirty bucks is a small price to pay when compared to the other $190,528.00 we have to look forward to spending on him.

$190,528.00. Damn.

Monday, April 05, 2010

We Interrupt This Chocolate Coma to Bring You the Following Special Report

As evidenced by the above title; much chocolate was consumed this weekend. In fact, the second my religious responsibility was concluded, I dove into a vat of melted chocolate, fully clothed, swam my way to the surface and proceeded to swallow the entire contents on said vat, making certain to lick the sides on my way out.

Ok, Not quite but; I did dip Peeps in chocolate, as well as an entire package of cinnamon bears which I proceeded to consume before the chocolate coating even had time to fully set up.

Then, I got a headache to beat all headaches.

I am, currently, back on the chocolate wagon.

In addition to the chocolate, I consumed three rather large glasses of very good Shiraz which,  may or may not have had something to do with the headache but, I refuse to get on that wagon, too.

In other weekend news, the Man-Cub wrestled in his last regular-season tournament on Saturday and, he finally managed to beat his arch nemesis, a kid who I will call Jamal. For that is his name.

The Cub was, understandably, quite proud of this accomplishment and, I am not too proud to admit that I now owe him $50, having made an agreement with him early in the season that I would pay up if he won.

And, lest you think I am one of THOSE parents who wants their kid to win at all costs and who is willing to bribe them to do so….ok, this time I was. But! In my defense, the kid’s mom hits on Hugh at every tournament and I’m not even kidding. Also, she makes Jamal cut weight in order to keep him in the same bracket as the Cub and, the kid is at least five inches taller than the Cub and should not, for his own health, weigh 65 pounds; honestly, he looks like a Holocaust survivor.

Speaking of Jews (Jesus was a Jew. Happy Easter!), on Sunday, I made a fabulous Easter dinner for my family, including my parents who journeyed over the mountains to celebrate with us. I glazed a ham, baked a dish of sinful potatoes, tossed a mean Waldorf salad and still had ample room for all the chocolate goodies delivered unto us by the bunny. After dinner, we watched Where the Wild Things Are which is about the time that I slipped into the chocolate coma from which I am just now recovering.

Then, happily, Jana and Company made it back from Texas just in time to participate in our flashlight egg hunt in the front yard. Currently, we are still missing two glow-in-the-dark eggs. I predict that the lawn mower will find them right around May 1st.

If the chocolate survives in them that long, I may or may not eat it. You know, depending on whether or not I have fallen off the wagon.

Odds are ten to one in favor of that happening, in case you are the betting type.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Friday Flashback, the Recycled Easter Edition

I first wrote this three years ago and am reposting it today because the Man-Cub was sick with a nasty stomach virus all day yesterday and I was busy taking care of him which delayed the thorough cleaning of the house I had planned to do prior to the arrival of my parents today. Guess what I'm doing now? Go ahead, guess! So, yes, you get a recycled post. Happy Easter!

Go In Peace

Sooo…Sunday Is Easter which means two things; one, we will celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Savior, Jesus Christ and, two, I get to eat chocolate! Thank you for dying for my sins, Jesus! And, thank you, God, for chocolate!

I love Easter. Some of my best childhood memories center on the holiday. My parents excelled at the whole Easter Bunny business, filling our baskets with goodies galore, organizing egg hunts, and buying my sisters and me each a new dress, shiny shoes and an orchid corsage; what wasn’t to love?

One particular Easter, however, is etched forever in my memory for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with jelly beans, deviled eggs or my mythical rabbits bearing chocolate.

I guess I must have been around six or seven and that particular Easter morning, as on every Easter Sunday in my childhood memory, my mother dressed my sisters and me in our new- and matching-dresses. As far as our matching dresses go, that year wasn’t so bad, they were long in length, the fabric was devoid of scratchy lace that might cause itching and it featured a bunny print that would come in handy later in the day, as you shall soon see.

The previous night, Mom had washed our hair and set it on spongy pink rollers (torture devices; created solely for the purpose of making little girls wish, with every fiber of their beings, that they had been born BOYS). The resulting curls were combed out and twisted tightly into buns on top of our heads, pulling our foreheads tauter than a face-lift and tilting our eyelids at the corners, prompting my older sister to chant a forbidden joke that went; Me Chinese, me play joke. Me go pee-pee in your Coke.

Good times.

We whined about the pain but mom would have none of it after all, Jesus died on the cross, girls! What did we have to complain about? And, off to church we went.

The priest of our parish at that time was named-I kid you not-Father Grimes. Father Grimes was gruff and grumpy and I was of the belief that he hated children and me, in particular. Furthermore, I was convinced that he secretly ate small children. Every Sunday, when it was time to present the Body and Blood of Christ during mass, the man licked his chops and stared at me. I’m not even making that up; I lived in mortal terror of Father Grimes, cowering behind my father every Sunday as we made our way out of the church on the off-chance that I would have to shake hands with the man and he would forget himself and eat me alive with a hundred Catholics to bear witness.

To make a long story short (ha! Too late), sometime during the mass, while I tried desperately to avoid eye-contact with Father Grimes lest he signal his obvious intent to dine upon my flesh, my older sister got a little bit carried away while twirling a rosary and accidentally nailed my younger sister in the eye with the cross, causing her to cry. Mom scooped her up, nodded to Dad and headed down the aisle, taking her out of the church so she wouldn’t disturb the other parishioners in their prayers.

Now, the only time I ever got paraded down the aisle and out of the church during mass was when I had done something naughty and the trip generally ended with a swat, lovingly administered by my mother. Not realizing that my younger sister had been nailed in the eye by a religious artifact, I assumed she was in trouble and, being an overprotective older sister, I raced into the aisle and shouted at the top of my lungs…”Please don’t hit my sister!” Or, something equally likely to make a parent wish with every fiber of her being that the earth would simply open up and swallow her whole.

My mother froze like a deer in headlights.

After a few seconds (the time it took her to thaw out), she turned ever so slowly to face me and, the look in her eyes had no place in the House of Our Lord, I assure you. However, she calmly walked back up the aisle, handed my now non-crying-but totally shocked-sister to my father, took my hand and led me out of the church where, to her credit, she somehow managed to refrain from killing me on the spot.

Instead, I got lectured about the inappropriateness of my outburst, how much it had embarrassed her, etc. Then, she informed me that, after mass, I would be apologizing…. to Father Grimes. Believe me when I say; killing me would have been kinder.

We returned to our pew and I spent the rest of the long mass staring down at the frolicking bunnies on my dress. I counted them. I sorted them into colors. I sorted them by size as I mentally prepared myself for the inevitable moment when I would be eaten by Father Grimes.

When the mass ended and we were encouraged to “go in peace”, I followed my family down the aisle and waited my turn in line to apologize to- and to be eaten by- Father. It was a long line what with all the Easter/Christmas Catholics who had turned out for the Mass so I had plenty of time to contemplate my fate and to work myself into quite the state of agitation.

In fact, by the time I made it to the front of the line, I was in tears and my apology was delivered in a whisper, choked with sobs. Father Grimes bent down, took my hands in his and told me that I was forgiven. Only then did I look him in the eye.

He licked his chops and I may, or may not, have peed my pants.

My mother’s version of events may differ, slightly but, in my defense, I was a child.

Happy Easter! May the bunny shower you with chocolate and may you never soil a church with urine. Because, folks?

That is embarrassing; I don’t care how old you are.