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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Small Town Surreal

I walk around trying to be normal...most of the time.  I mean, I drive a mini-van, I drink Maxwell House, my "everyday" doesn't usually lead me places...like where I wound up last night.  You know how sometimes your best intentions can go wrong pretty fast?  Yeah, that was last night.

So my 11 year old had a "pool party" to attend at a hotel in a small town adjacent to our small town.  The coolsies mom of the birthday girl was awesome enough to pick my kiddo up, saving us the 35 minute drive out of town....but of course my daughter left her birthday gift for her little BFF behind... and I, ever the effervescent opportunist, thought to myself "Self, things in your life are about to be much more stressful and busy, what with starting college and all, so take this opportunity to go out with your hubs. Hubs and you could use a night out."

So we delivered said gift, and headed to a little hole in the wall bar we go to when we want to go somewhere  that isn't local to chill in a clandestine fashion.  I sort of skipped my youth, and I never hung out anywhere "cool" ever.  So I get this little thrill out of flirting with my hubs from a bar stool.  When we go out, I embrace my inner chick.  You know...wear my cool black leather, ankle-zip boots with the tall heels...some cute jeans and a black shirt, mated with actual jewelry.  Then of course I rock my hair with some semi-Farrah, hottie, waves.  To shellack the whole look, I wear actual lipstick touched with gloss.... instead of Carmex.   

Me and my hubs spent good portions of our younger years in sales.  We're people...people.  Striking up conversations with people is kind of our thing.  Within 20 minutes of being there, we met this guy wearing bib overalls who told us he was celebrating because his 16 year old son had "got hisself some p&*#y" then he bought us drinks.  

After sucking down my white russian, I wanted to dance.  Eventually an older chick with Clairol 12G blown out blond hair hit the dance area over by the pool table. 

My hubs was learning all about oil rigs, and how to work your way up the ladder in oil from our new friend.  Finally the DJ, a funny little white guy who spent the better part of an hour making MTV type hand gestures while adjusting his beanie, coke bottle glasses and crotch, decided to put on some hip hop.  

Blown Out didn't mind if I joined her, so I got my groove on.  "Where do you dance?" she asked.  "Oh, usually in (my town) at (the only bar where people dance)" I said.  "Yeah, but where do you daaance?" she asked again.  "Sometimes at weddings, or in my kitchen." I said, trying to use humor because she might be slow or addled from do-it-yourself hair color application.

It wasn't until the song was over and I made my way back to my stool that I realized...SHE THINKS I'M A STRIPPER!

I wish I could say the evening didn't get weirder.  

We got pulled over on the way home.  I ALWAYS tell my husband to use the speed saver buttons on the steering wheel. He always tells me I overuse it.  He could gift wrap a nice sized box of jewelry for me with all of his speeding tickets. But he can't buy me jewelry because we're broke from paying speeding tickets. I myself have never been ticketed for speeding. Just saying.

A Girl's Best Friend
As we sat in the mini, watching the blue and red cop car lights lite up the falling snow (the most romantic part of the night) I looked to my right and saw a graveyard.  In the graveyard was a BIG stone, with my husband's (unusual) last name etched on it.  Suddenly, out from behind the stone, I shit you not, ran a black cat, which crossed in front of our mini, and darted across the road at lightening speed.  That's kind of when I knew we were really in trouble.

Sometimes the strangest things happen when you're just out there, doing the most normal everyday things.  And sometimes you have to be really really careful when you pray to God for signs, because you actually get them.  I've been freaking out about my college plans, asking God to send me a sign telling me I'll be able to balance everything I have on my plate. "I can do it God, can't I? Oh just let me know I can do it all! Send me a sign!"  

Now I have to pray to God to send me a sign that this sign wasn't an actual sign. 

I suppose it could all boil down to bad luck. According to my new Facebook Ap, "check your Lucky or Unlucky" I'm just shit out of luck at the moment... (actual result follows;
check your Lucky or Unlucky
...And luck can change at any time...right?

Best wishes,

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sweet 16 Driving Permit Intervention

My Lazy River Child turned 16 last weekend.  Of course you know what everyone wanted to know as her birthday approached.  "Are you taking her to get her driving permit???" 

The answer is no.  No I'm not.

As her Sweet 16 approached, her uncle surreptitiously brought home a study manual for "the test."  

Like my daughter, I too was an eldest child.  I was well behaved, but my mom didn't always handle my milestones with ease.  She wasn't too hip on handing over the mini-van wheel to me. This didn't stop her from doing the old "wink, wink" at my daughter as she loudly suggested to a room full of family that she feels her granddaughter, her oldest grandchild, is definitely ready to drive.  

If my boobs were as perky as they were when I was 16 my jaw would have hit them.  This is MY MOTHER, the same woman who referred to my car as a 3000 pound bullet and encouraged me to wait until I was 18 to get my license, who had me stop at a stop sign on a hill before I had fully mastered driving the standard car we were in. She thought it was pretty funny, but I'm still convinced she did it to scare me out of going for my license...because she loved me and was scared of me driving.

At my girl's family birthday party, my 8 year old nephew gave my daughter a key chain "for someday," then turned and looked over his shoulder at me, with a "shame on you" type of look that only the youngest kid in the family can give.  

I felt almost as bad as when the kids found out I threw the guinea pig away instead of burying it. (It was January and I didn't  want to keep a dead pig in the freezer till' thaw.)

The worst part of me not feeling she's ready to drive? The fact that if my hand was severed in some sort of pergola building fiasco (this is entirely possible if you know me) I would have my 13 year old son drive me to the Emergency Room.  Thanks to his grandpa who taught him to drive the riding mower, the hundreds of hours he has logged on the Playstation playing Nascar racing games and Need For Speed, I think he would be my best chance for a speedy hand re-attachment.  There's also the fact that he has his wits about him, he pays attention and can multitask (he can skip note taking in science class to watch a cute girl and get a 20 out of 20 on the end of class pop quiz).  He can make a full breakfast from scratch...pancakes, eggs, bacon & sausage and have it on the table hot at the same time.  I can't even do that.

My River child...she's creative.  She's HILARIOUS.  She's empathetic and sweet.  She also forgets to tighten the tops on her nail polish bottles when she's done with them, regularly locks the cat in her bedroom, and she actually forgot to take the macaroni out of the strainer before she added the foil packet of Velveeta cheese. Yes, she put liquid cheese IN the strainer full of macaroni and stirred it up.

....And people want me to put her behind the wheel of a 3000 pound bullet.  The ONLY 3000 pound bullet this family owns.

I'll admit, being the mother of a 16 year old has me feeling a bit out of my league.  I mean, I wasn't much older than she is now when I graced the world with her.  My parenting skills teeter-totter between stuff I've learned from used parenting books, well meaning school teachers, and well honed seat-of-my-pants flying skills.  So, when something is big, as big as this, I go with my gut and my gut has a lot to say about this particular subject. 

I think when the steady the stream of input from her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and the waiters at Applebees who sang "Happy Birthday" then asked "So, ya getting your permit?" dies down...maybe then she'll figure out that this is an adult step in her life, and she might pony up her motivation and shake hands with her inner grown up to meet this goal.  
How I see it
How they see it
As for when she'll be doing that... my gut is screaming "WAIT!  Wait till' the hoopla of the Sweet 16 dies down.  Wait until she decides on her own that this is a step she wants to take because this is an adult step, and she has to take it on her own, like an adult. Wait until she picks that driving study book up without your prompting. That's when you'll know she's ready."  

I'll be 38 when my youngest turns 16 and I'm certain she'll provide me with annotated notes on the study book along with a print out of the business hours at the DMV.  She's sort of like that.  So, please say a prayer that L'Oreal continues to make their Express Kit to color my silver streak back to blond and provide me with sumptuous highlights and please pray that all of this stressful driving business only takes you know, like 3-5 years off of my already dented lifespan.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How often a week did you say practice was?

I harbor a silent guilt. My kids don't do sports.

One tried lacrosse when he was 5 and spent the better part of "practice" performing some form of interpretative dance on the back 9 (I could have gotten a cut and color or three for what we spent on that helmet and stick).

Soccer happened at one point for two out of three of them, but nobody liked Gatoraid or running.  

My oldest child, a daughter who is now a Sophomore in high school, has signed up for track because "even if I drop out I'll be looking good in my size 6's by summer." That's the same kid who did dance classes once a week for a few years.  I pulled her out when the dance moves started to look more like a "shimmy" strip tease than ballet plies. (Younger daughter may never forgive me for keeping her out and away from those sequined $100 outfits but Coyote Ugly in the under 7 set rubs me the wrong way and always will.)

My son gave football a rip one fall.  We drove all over the countryside, hours away to games where he played for five minutes and I learned the hard way that you have to take the foam things OUT of the football outfit thingee before you wash it.  I also couldn't watch as my kid got crashed into and battered about. I think he would play again but worries about what a helmet would do to his current Justin Bieber hair-do.
You know how people are all "I run my kids everywhere like craaazy" well, I don't.  When other moms start ranting about their insane schedules and how their husbands have to leave work early to help them get kids to "extra-curricular activities" I nod sympathetically.  They never notice my watery smile or the lack of sport related bumper stickers on my mini-van. 

I'm okay with not being a super mom.  The kids and I never really got into the sports/lessons habit partly due to one kid who had a lot of doctor's appointments. Our after-school hours that weren't in doctor's offices were spent deciding what to snack on, wandering aimlessly, sitting in the creek, volunteering, wandering the vineyards, playing video games together or trying to figure out what the dog ate to make it's barf smell so ripe.  Yeah, we do "other" stuff.

My youngest, age 11, 6th grade, joined Drama Club this year.  She's a "cook" for Augustus Gloop in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.  So she has been staying after from 3pm - 5pm a lot.  I miss her.  Also, going to get her in the cold really sucks, especially on top of the fact that the dog ate $20 worth of the chocolate bars she was selling for the play and I'm still really pissed off about that.  

I've received an email request to do hair for the dress rehearsal and the play. Short of manning the book fair, or a field trip getting back late, this is officially the most after-school effort I've ever been asked to put in, and my kids are 11, 13, & 15 all soon to "age up."

I picked my 15 year old up from mid-term biology review today....

Total Tangent: my kid was the only kid who went can you believe that? Oh and the young bio teacher who is quitting her teaching position (in THIS economy???) to join the air force discussed her divorce...due to "dishonesty" with my kid...weird right??? Not so appropro...  My lazy river child tends to be a person people confide in, but JEESH...TMI creepy bio teacher... please prepare her for the exam and leave discussing the merits of divorce with her in MY lap... am I right here? Am I???

And we're back; So, I pick her up at 5pm and there are sweaty sports kids leaving too.  I had this moment of guilt...maybe I should have pushed my kids into sports...isn't PARTICIPATING like...super important?  Those kids look so sporty, exhausted and sporty (I wonder as I type this if sports practice was why there was only one kid at Bio mid-term review...hmmm).  Then I looked at my girl, who will be 16 Sunday, with her cute hair-do and her artistically devised, yet modest, "outfit of the day" and pondered as she told me all about her bio teacher's "fresh start."  I realized she IS participating.  She participates in being my kid and a great sister and apparently she's such a great listener that a 27 year old soon-to-be-divorced future Air-Force pilot can confide in her.  She's really close with her family and that's pretty cool for an almost 16 year old.  She's A okay, and hey maybe she'll like track and while I wait for her turn to run I'll get some knitting done.

Truly though, I've spent more time with my kids due to skipping out on after-school sports...than anyone I know.  Seriously, the hours I've had to teach them to cook, sew, or stop fighting and bickering with each other...my God, one day memories of those things, those life lessons, might even be precious to them. Here's hoping.

So, I guess this summer when everyone is running their kids to sports I'll be sprawled out on the lawn with mine.  While other parents are yelling "hurry up or we'll be late and you'll have to run a lap" I'll be sitting in the sun eating a Popsicle asking my kids if they want to go for a swim in the lake, before or after we visit grandma, and the kids...well they'll probably be busy trying to see if the dog will eat ants covered in melted Popsicle juice...while recording with a DSI for later uploading to Facebook.  It's really no wonder why everybody else's kids want to come stay at my house. It really isn't.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Six figure dream and a punch in the face

Okay, so I'm totally aware that my sad little blog is a freaky alternate reality.  One minute I'm Martha Stewart "paint your lamp" and the next minute I'm all "throw your other woman down a drainage ditch."  Yeah, frankly that's MY life.

Sooooo, I am returning to college. Before you "woot" and celebrate the whole "smart woman" thing... I gave up my long term goal of teaching... and I'm reaching for psychology.  Yeah, my husband's wayward ways, as much as I treasure him and his ultimate amazement and love for me... Brought me to the point where I want to tear down the human psyche to bits and pieces of fish tank stones....

I also frankly want to understand people, and eventually make a six figure income.  Let's face it, I LOVED working in Real Estate... I loved the whole vacation home rental process, like a wildebeest obsessed with outfoxing the cheetah (who was better educated and knew how to drag a carcass up into a tree), I worked my way up the ladder.  However, without a proper degree experience and an obsession deep enough to destroy my own marriage just didn't cut it.

Soooo, despite living without the obsessive compulsive, send a card, bring a dinner support I would personally have provided to someone I loved...should she be abandoned and left to manage on her own with three kids and a laminectomy.... I am reconciling with my husband sullying forth, into the unknown world of self discovery and education.

(Please Lord don't let this be some crazy pipe dream...all of it.)

I want to be in a place where I can help myself, my kids and my spouse... have hope for the future, and a bit of non-worry for a change.  Non-worry being the ability to not break out in a sweat over an upcoming mortgage, mini-van, or electric bill payment.

Sometimes, it amazes me when I realize the look on my husband's face is so open and full of love.  He knows my choices..even if they are tough in the now... are really, truly "future building opportunities" even if he barely responds when I try to discuss my plans with him.

Man, I have been working SOOOO hard not to be co-dependent.... Hello Father time and baby New Year... for the first time since 2009 a few tough, rotten, people (aka skeezy & threatening phone calls from the other woman, and support for her from her warped family, along with ostracization by his family) have stepped into our lives, trying to cut the healing Achilles Tendon of our recovery... repeatedly, even last week. Buuuuut, here we are....wishing every day was a day off we could spend together.

I really like my husband. I really love my life....and his additions to it.  I hope with every breath in my soul that a day will come that my daughter (with my help) will out bake her grandmother, my teens will all be on honor roll, and my little life will bring pride back into our sullied little clan....

What the heck am I rambling about...? On this week when the enemy stepped in and tried to boil the bunny....? Really? Nothing important.  Prayer can work when the dawn is at its darkest. So that's my plan of attack for all things not "Fly."

Someday.... I have no idea how but I will overcome this pain.  I will sleep in my husband's arms without worry... or terror that "she" is still angry and in "whore-bot retaliation" mode... ready to hurt me and mine just by picking up a phone or driving by in a pink vehicle.

Just please promise me...all of you who may read here... promise me as friends, that any make-up you buy will come from the grocery, drug, or dollar store. Never, ever, ever from a "home based" business based on a pyramid scheme and built by a woman who looks like Tammy Faye "Lite."

Oh and say a prayer for me as I head into 2011...I'll say one for you too...

Hugs friends....

P.S.  Wow, I'm too excited about being assigned a college adviser today! I hate "teen moms" on VH1, but Lord if those filthy little so and so's aren't trying to do what I've already done... without welfare, with a diploma and two full time jobs...  Good luck ladies....My kids are awesome little wonder bots.... Let's hope yours are too!!!!