Are You KIDDING Me With This???

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Well, all I can say is that it went better than I expected. (Okay, that's not all I can say. Clearly. We've all seen how wordy I can get about a subject. But I was being metaphorical. Or something. I digress. Let's move on.) The Ex-Boyfriend called just about the same time I was getting ready to pack Turtle into the car and head out to the restaurant where we would be meeting. I kind of rolled my eyes when I saw the caller id, expecting that he was calling to blow me off. Again. But instead, he was calling to confirm that we were still on. That scored a few points, considering I was always the one trying to pin him down before The Great Disappearance of 2005.

We hit the parking lot within 2 minutes of each other, which was perfect timing. I did not greet him with what used to be our usual hug and kiss on the cheek routine, but I was cordial enough. We were quickly seated and I initiated the conversation, by asking him what was going on at what used to be our mutual work place. I knew this would be safe ground, because he had given me enough information in our phone conversation for me to determine that a) there was a LOT of ground to cover in catching me up on the goings-on of my former office and b) it was juicy! (I had decided, while I was getting ready this morning, to get him to talk about himself first. I didn't want to start by talking about myself first because there were a lot of crappy things that have happened to me in the last six months, and while I was more than happy to have lunch with the Ex, I wasn't committed to whipping out my life story right away, particularly if he wasn't going to stick around after this.)

(Turns out, that was the perfect strategy, because while he talked, I started remembering why I liked him so much in the first place. The easy chemistry. The natural way he has with Turtle. The sense of humor. The self-deprecating way he discussed his disappearing act. Dammit, he made it really hard to hold a grudge, not that I'm prone to that. {Okay, I'm prone to grudge-holding if you've wronged someone I love [I'm looking at you, Oscar's dad!], but if you've wronged me, I'm pretty forgiving. Just don't make a habit of it.})

Catching me up on what's been happening in the Ex's life took up about 75% of our time, which I appreciated. Then it was my turn. I glossed over a lot of details, because, again, I'm not ready to commit my life story while he's busy getting my trust back. But I gave him enough to, if he's smart, make him feel a bit more like crap for disappearing when he did. (Heh....I may not hold a grudge, but I'm certainly not above sending him on a little guilt trip before he earns my blanket forgiveness.)

In the end, we parted with a hug, and went our separate ways with vague commitments to "do this again soon." I don't know if he'll call again, and I haven't decided yet if I should call him. (I can hear Snark's Mistress in my head saying "I don't know how you can call someone who is dead to me.") But even if we never speak again, I'm glad that we had this lunch and that he felt I was important enough to get in touch with after such a long absence. That alone means quite a bit to me. (So does the fact that he picked up the check for really doesn't take that much to impress me.)

(Parentheses, for example? They impress me.) (A lot.) (Okay, I'm stopping now.) (No, really.) (I'm done.) (I promise, this is the last one.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My Boyfriend's Back...

So. Before the current Boyfriend, there was the Office Boyfriend. We had met at my last job, where I was an administrative something-or-other and he was a construction manager. We worked together over the course of five years, but it was during the last three that our relationship really developed. We became very good friends, with a fascinating chemistry and a mutual love of making the tongues at our office wag. In fact, when I was pregnant with Turtle, we took to telling everyone that Office Boyfriend might be the father. (And I think some of the people in the office actually believed us, which just made us laugh that much harder.)

But sometime last fall, Office Boyfriend started getting "busy." As in, "I'm sorry I couldn't make it to lunch with you today. I got 'busy.'" Or, "I would have called you back, but I was 'busy.'" We scheduled lunch dates every week for two and a half months and every week, he found a reason not to meet me. A lot of the time, he never even called to say he couldn't make it. I left him one final voice mail to see if the relationship could be salvaged. "You don't have to take a lot of time," I said, "but a five minute phone call here or there isn't too much to ask, is it?" I never heard back. I guess it was.

So imagine my surprise when I saw his number pop up on my caller id last week. I briefly considered not answering it, but my curiosity got the best of me. The salutations were awkward. Thankfully, after the initial "I don't remember how to talk to you" feelings subsided, it got progressively easier to talk. And we briefly updated each other on what was happening in our lives and what the last 6 months had held for us. Finally, he proposed that we meet for lunch. This time, he went so far as to nail down a date, place and time while I was on the phone with him, which was something he hadn't done in the 2.5 month period of missed opportunities. I'm still not holding my breath. But it's progress.

The lunch is scheduled for tomorrow. I haven't said anything about it up to now, in part, because I'm not expecting it to happen. I'm still waiting for the phone to ring and for him to tell me that he can't make it. I have also been waiting for Snark's Mistress to bitch, er, I mean, blog about it on her page, because when I mentioned that Ex-Boyfriend had called, her response was as follows: [Ex-Boyfriend's Name]? I don't think I know anyone by that name. But if I did, I'm pretty sure he would be dead to me.

Meanwhile, I mentioned to the current Boyfriend today that the Ex-Boyfriend might be back in the picture. His overwhelming concern? "Who's or him?" I'm glad that some things are consistent.

So I don't know what the afternoon will hold for me tomorrow. But I'm very curious to find out.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Under Construction

I traded several e-mails with assorted friends before the weekend, as we all discussed what the next three days would hold for us. A couple friends were heading up to their family's cottage. Others were going to the beach. Others were hosting parties. I was pretty sure my parents would want to have a barbeque at some point. But the general theme running through all of these plans seemed to be rest and relaxation and a fun kick-off to the summer season. Oscar and I? We thought it might be a good idea to get embroiled in a really nasty, dirty home improvement project, and run around at a breakneck pace until we started snapping at each other out of frustration and fatigue. I can't think of anything that sounds better than that...can you?

When Hotass moved out of the house, Oscar asked me what I wanted to do with the room that had served as her bedroom for a year. We have no plans to have a second child yet, so we don't need to convert it into another child's room. We considered creating a play room for Turtle, to get all of his toys out of the living room and so I could simply close the door on it when I didn't feel like making him clean up the mess. But given how desperately Oscar needs an office with a door, we decided that ultimately, the room would be much better put to use as Oscar's base of operations.

Before we could move his desk, files, computer, etc. into the room, however, some work needed to be done. Like getting a better lighting situation worked out in there. Currently, there is one 3-light fixture (think track lighting) up on one wall of the room, and it doesn't brighten the room much (not to mention the fact that it's ugly as homemade sin.) And of course it needs paint. It's one of the few rooms in the house that we haven't freshened up since moving in. And while we were thinking about it, the popcorn ceiling needed to be removed.

Of course, Oscar had planned to do a lot of this work while I was in New Jersey last, but for many reasons, that didn't happen. So I have been needling him and harrassing him for the last several weeks, trying to figure out when we could get all of this done, partly because I'm excited about him having his own room, but mostly because I'm tired of listening to him whine about how he needs his own room. Finally, as we were discussing our plans for the weekend, we determined that we could make quite a bit of progress on these projects in a three day weekend. And so, a plan was born.

We'd scrape the popcorn ceiling off on Saturday, install the lighting on Sunday, and paint, if possible, on Monday. How's that going, you might ask? Well....we scraped half the ceiling yesterday. We weren't sure what size the room was when we purchased a drop cloth to help deal with the inevitable mess that comes as part and parcel with taking a ceiling down. So we purchased a 10' x 20' drop cloth. Should be sufficient, right? Except that the room is 10'1" x 11' and we couldn't figure out any way to make it fit over the whole floor without a lot of cutting and pasting. So we decided we'd just go buy another drop cloth. We might have been able to finish the rest of the scraping last night, but we had Hotass's housewarming party to go to, and in the end, neither of us had the energy to worry about it when we finally got home.

We scraped the rest of the ceiling this morning. Then, Oscar spent most of the rest of the day back and forth between the bedroom and the sauna-like crawl space above the bedroom. His friend came over to help us install the lighting tonight, and as of this moment, we have working canister lighting in our front bedroom. On a DIMMER SWITCH! I can almost hear the choir of angels singing. The painting, on the other hand? Well, that's just going to have to wait. I don't think either of us has the energy to deal with that tomorrow. Because even though Oscar had the hot, dirty, difficult job today, I had to deal with Turtle. And even I had to call in reinforcements, just to be sure my kid lived to see his third birthday.

On the other hand, how can I really complain about what a pain in the butt these toddler years are when he does something cute like this:

5-28-2006 5-00-34 PM

Do you see what he's doing? My kid is vacuuming up little ceiling bits. Oh, yeah, baby....slave labor starts early in the Cymber household. If he's going to be as big of a brat as he was today, he's going to start paying his way somehow. (Oh, and I know I vowed not to post pictures of my child on this blog, but being as you can't see his face, I'm thinking I don't need to worry about the paparazzi showing up anytime soon.)

So long story short, our weekend is consisting primarily of some Home Improvement 101, with a little Toddler Management thrown in for good measure. And miraculously, we're all still alive. Please feel free to pray that stays the case.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Such Is My Karma

I'm thinking that G-d is a "Van Helsing" fan. After brutally ripping that movie to shreds, I went to the gym for my daily workout. Now, my workout clothes were a little on the ripe side, to say the least. I just haven't had a chance to do laundry in the past couple of days, even though Oscar could really use some clean underwear, I'm sure. But I didn't want to use that as an excuse not to work out, because I have a goal, and I'm going to achieve that goal, even if it means never eating chocolate again. (Though I'm sure you can understand why I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that.)

Not only did I have ripe workout clothes, but I hadn't shaved my legs in over a week. So I was smelly bad, and hairy bad. But I was committed. I was going to the gym. I couldn't let foul aroma and hirsute legs hold me back.

I walked in, focused and determined. After getting Turtle dropped off at the kids' care area, and putting my purse and such in the locker, I headed upstairs for my warm up. That went well, so I moved on to my floor exercises. I wasn't able to do those as well as I would have liked, but I got through it and then headed back downstairs for my regular workout on the machines. In passing through the weight room, I noticed Trainer Guy doing his workout. *sigh* So cute! But I didn't stay and ogle. I had my own workout to finish. I settled myself on the abs machine right next to the drinking fountain.

And this, my friends, is where Karma came right up and bit me in the ass. Because as I was sweating profusely and adding to my stench, with my legs up in the air, exposing all of my pasty hairiness, who came up to get a drink of water but Trainer Guy. How am I supposed to make Trainer Guy my new boyfriend if I'm sweaty, stinky and hairy when he's finally in my personal space?? He's supposed to notice me as I'm walking out of the locker room, having taken a shower and blown my hair dry to tousled perfection, smelling faintly of my favorite perfume. He is NOT supposed to come up to get a drink of water while I'm polluting the surrounding area with sweaty gym clothes smell.

I told Boyfriend this story in an attempt to gain sympathy. Boyfriend argued that, first of all, I was in THE GYM. Nobody was expecting me to smell like lilacs. And as a guy, it's unlikely he even noticed my smell, considering the kinds of smells guys make. As for my hairy legs, guys don't even notice them unless you NEVER shave or they're currently running their hands up your hairy legs, in which case it registers, and is quickly disregarded. All of which is fine and good, but I'm a GIRL. And I will obsess and worry about this until the next time I do something completely embarrassing in front of Trainer Guy and we start this process all over again. I mean, come's not like he's ever going to notice me because I've done something sophisticated or classy. This is me we're talking about, after all.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wow. That Was Crap.

So, last night, after a particularly grueling day, Oscar and I sat down together and watched "Van Helsing." I really wanted to like this movie. I mean, I know the critics eviscerated it, but I had really hoped that perhaps they just didn't like it because critics are too caught up with defining movies in terms of their "artistic value" to appreciate a decent "popcorn flick" when it comes along. Besides, it stars Hugh Jackman. And Kate Beckinsale. And David Wenham, who is best known as "Faramir" from the Lord of the Rings movies. (His presence was a very pleasant surprise. I had no idea he was in this movie going into it.) It had so much potential. Too bad all of it was wasted.

I don't think we were more than 20 minutes into the movie when I looked over at Oscar and observed, "This movie kind of sucks." My opinion only got worse as we went along. And yet, we stuck it out. Through all of the scenery chewing, and the poorly done CGI, the atrocious dialogue, and the lame excuse for a plot. As the credits began rolling, I flicked the DVD player off, snickered a bit and mentioned to Oscar that that was by far one of the worst movies I've ever seen. He quickly agreed. And then we proceeded to have a 20 minute dialogue about how awful that movie was, truly.

I feel kind of bad for Hugh, because he kind of looked like he was thinking, "How did I let my agent talk me into this....? Oh yeah....Kate Beckinsale. Next time, I'm not signing on unless I know Kate's doing some nudity or I'm getting paid a huge percentage on the back-end," throughout the whole movie. Plus, he never really seemed able to overcome the liability that was his hair. I'm not against long hair on a man, as a general rule. But his hair was pretty bad in that movie. I couldn't take him seriously. And this is the same man who makes my panties all wet when he's playing Wolverine in the X-Men franchise. It doesn't seem right, somehow.

Then there's Kate Beckinsale. Her hair? I was kind of in love with. And her wardrobe? Might have been a touch overdone, but it was really one of the few bright spots in the movie. She was rocking the corset and the boots. But she looked a little vacant throughout the movie. Probably because she was thinking, "Next time, I need to actually READ the script before agreeing to do the movie."

I won't even get into the rest of the cast, or the script (which was beyond banal), except to say that this movie could have been campy and fun and a hell of a lot better if it just didn't try to take itself so seriously. Oh, and that David Wenham reaffirmed my love for him, as his character turned out to be the saving grace of the movie. He had the only funny lines, and his delivery was so perfect, it almost made me forget I was sitting through the cinematic equivalent of a root canal, absent anesthesia.

But in the aftermath of this piece of dreck, I've decided that there's nothing better than watching a really wretched movie together to bond a couple. It was kind of like going through some sort of traumatic event together. Like living through a car crash... All of a sudden, you feel like no one else could ever understand you like this person does, because they've lived through this experience with you. We were still talking about how horrible the movie was as I was driving Oscar in to work this morning. Bemoaning the fact that we spent two hours of our life on that movie that we will never get back. Seriously. Those two hours? Gone. But I will be remembering this experience the next time Oscar and I are going through a rough patch in our marriage. We don't need couples' counseling, honey. Just throw Brown Bunny into the DVD player and we'll be fine.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I check my stat counter pretty regularly. I like to see who's dropping by to visit me. Oh, don't panic...I'm not working closely with the federal government or anything so if there's any wire tapping going on in your home, it has nothing to do with me. But I like to see how many people are visiting me in a day and where they're coming from and that sort of thing.

The most fascinating part about that is finding out what people are typing into search engines in order to get to my little corner of the blogosphere. Usually, it's just a one or two word phrase, like "married boyfriend" or "epileptic ducky." But yesterday, a really interesting search string led to my blog. It was "Deedee nude Doodlebops." I was trying to figure out what would possess someone to do a search on something like that. The only thing that I could figure out that made sense was if someone was looking for a picture of Deedee without her makeup. Well....that's the only SANE thing I could figure out. The alternative is a little scary to contemplate.

First of all, strip poor Deedee nude, and all of a sudden you've entered into some weird universe inhabited by caricatures, because that hair is going to make her head look obscenely large for her body. At least with clothes on, the A-line of the dress she's wearing somewhat offsets the poofiness of that cotton candy hair. Take that away, and she's going to look like a bobble-head. And she's already scary enough with pink skin. (Apropos of nothing, I had a dream several years ago that I was performing cunnilingus on a woman with gray, clammy skin and no hair....anywhere. I wasn't sure which was more disturbing: the fact that I'm a heterosexual woman and never really considered performing cunnilingus before having this dream, or the fact that when I DID end up performing cunnilingus in my dream, the woman had gray, clammy skin and no hair.) (Was that an over-share? I'm never sure about these things....) Secondly, she's a character in a childrens' show! On the Disney channel! Is anyone else getting an "ick" factor from the idea of seeing a Disney character naked? Because I am. I see her every morning, entertaining my kid. Turtle dances along with her and sticks a crayon in my face to use as a microphone, demanding that I sing just like Deedee. Seeing her naked would be like watching my best friend have sex. I just don't need to be a part of that.

But that's not to say that I judge. If you are here because you happened to type something unusual into a search engine, well, I'm just happy you're here. And I promise I won't mock you for your interest in seeing Disney characters nude. Unless of course, I have a weird dream I want to discuss, but there's not enough material there for a full blog post. Then I'll just use you to pad my story. But I'll still be glad you stopped by.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Wanna See What's In My Box?

I love getting packages in the mail. Have I mentioned that? I love it. LOVE. So when the Boyfriend mentioned he was sending me a package, I was extremely excited. I didn't want to assume he'd get me anything, just because we had sent him something for his birthday. But I hoped a little. And when he told me he had taken it to the post office and it was on its way? I couldn't wait to get it.

Except that I could and I did, because the United States Postal Service was in no hurry to bring that package to my doorstep. I don't know when they reinstated the Pony Express, but tired horses meandering across the country are the only reason I can think of for a package to take that long to get from New York to Phoenix. Still, it was worth it, because when I opened up my box, I found some really great stuff.

Like this:

5-23-2006 9-16-49 PM

First of all, let's take a moment to admire the packaging, shall we? Each little bottle was nestled into the potpourri, with gold tissue paper holding it all inside the sturdy box. It was a beautiful presentation. But the beautiful presentation was nothing compared to the ACTUAL gift. Massage oil, people. My Boyfriend gave me massage oil. Can you imagine? Too bad he's not here to rub it into my sore muscles after my grueling trip to the gym today. But he did give instructions to Oscar to do him proud. My back is tingling just thinking about it.

So that was the classy part of my gift. The next part of my gift was decidedly less classy, but a hell of a lot of fun. It's, let me just show you:

5-23-2006 9-15-34 PM

Oh, yeah, baby....this isn't Turtle's rubber ducky. I don't know what it is about my boyfriends giving me vibrators, but Oscar's first gift to me when we started dating was a vibrator. I don't know where they get the idea that I'm THAT kind of girl. probably stems from the fact that I AM that kind of girl. Right. It should come as no surprise that I have wanted that particular "personal massager" for a while. Call me twisted, but I think there's something incredibly appealing about a rubber ducky in a devil suit having battery-operated epileptic seizures. Now that I've taken the appropriate pictures, I can't wait to rip it out of its packaging, stuff those batteries in it, and see what it can do. As a matter of fact....I think I sense a bath coming on. I'll be back in a amongst yourselves.

My Boyfriend Totally, Like, Loves Me

So, like, I have this Boyfriend. And he's totally, you know, cool and all. And for my birthday, he, like, totally sent me a package. But because the post office totally blows, I so didn't even get it until today. And that was, like, a complete buzzkill. But then I was thinking about it, and I was all, "But hey, it's almost like it's been my birthday ALL WEEK LONG, instead of for, like, only one day!" And that totally cheered me up.

Anyway, he was, like, online when I got my package, so I totally IMd him and was all, "Can I open it?" and he was all, "Sure!" and I was all, "Cool!" so I did and you know what? My Boyfriend is, like, the best present picker-outer EVER, next to McMama. And I totally can't wait to share with you what he got me, because it's so totally awesome. But I'm, like, so fried after spending time over at Snark's Mistress's house, so I will have to take pictures tomorrow morning and post them then, instead. You're not mad are you? We're still, like, BFF, right? Sweet. Catch you later, then. MWA!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Quickie

Oscar and I were in the kitchen last night, putting together our strawberry shortcake when I realized I needed something from the living room. And in between the kitchen and the living room, we have a large mirror hung, so I caught my reflection in passing. And in catching my reflection in passing, I realized something disturbing. So when I got back into the kitchen, I shared it with Oscar.

"Honey, I just noticed something. The way my hair is right now? With the poofy on top and the slightly longer underneath...I kind of have a Carol Brady thing going on. I mean, without the flip, but still... I mean, it's updated, and it's still cute and I still love it, but are you seeing what I'm saying here?"

The spoon clattered to the counter, as Oscar lifted his head with a pained expression on his face. And with all the solemnity and seriousness he could muster, Oscar replied, "I can't fuck you tonight."

Good thing our room gets really dark at night, or I might actually have believed him.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

And Before I Knew It, I Was A Stalker!

So I've been going to the same gym for over a year now. And one of the best parts about this gym is that along with my membership, I get free personal training sessions. When I originally signed up, I was training with this REALLY. HOT. GUY. Seriously, he has the whole package...he's built, completely adorable, and utterly charming. He's also extraordinarily good at what he does, so in the past year, he has been moved to 4 different locations within the network. And every time he moves, I am devastated, because really, I'm totally in love with this guy, in a (mostly) platonic way.

However, my devastation has been offset by the fact that there is another trainer at my gym who has been a constant presence. And this other trainer? How can I describe my feelings about him.....? Oh, right. I just kind of want to lick him. All over.

I don't know what it is about this guy. I mean, he's cute, but not hot, if you know what I mean. He's got a nice body, but not one that you would expect to see on the cover of a magazine. He seems to have a great sense of humor and a great personality, though I don't know him particularly well. But I swear, there is something about him that just captivates me. Actually, it's not just me. Snark's Mistress is also completely enamored with him. When we're working out, both of us find that our eyes are constantly drawn to him. We can't stop staring.

SM has a theory that he is exuding some sort of pheromone that makes him irresistible. I don't know if that's it, but I don't seem to really care much either. All I care about is that he sticks around so I can have something to focus on when I'm doing my 3 sets on the tricep machine. Well, and if he smiles "hello" at me every once in a while, too, that's a nice bonus. Although, I think he's caught on to the fact that I am having some impure thoughts about him, because he seemed to be avoiding me last week.

It seemed like every time I was there, he was on his way out as I was on my way in or vice versa. I took to looking for his car as I was on my way in, just to get a feel for whether or not I would see him. (SM says that perchance that is why he's avoiding me....knowing what his car looks like is the first step to Stalkerville. But I have a perfectly good excuse for knowing what his car looks like. I do. I DO! Oh, shut up.) But even knowing that he was going to be there when I walked in didn't seem to guarantee that I would get my fix, as he seemed to be primarily in the racquetball courts while I worked out, and the racquetball courts are on the other side of the gym from the machines I use. It made me very sad. I mean, I'll go to the gym whether he's there or not, but I must say, he's excellent motivation for dragging my lazy ass off the couch. I'm kind of starting to feel like I'm in high school again, trying to figure out the object of my affection's schedule so I can make sure to pass him in the hallway and hang out by the drinking fountain near his locker when I know he's going to be changing his books out.

And you know what's really funny about this? I mean, aside from the fact that I'm a happily married woman who is completely disinterested in trading Oscar in for a new model? If I WAS interested in trading Oscar? I can't think of a place I'd be less likely to pick up a guy than the gym. Where I am in completely unflattering clothes. With a baseball cap covering my oh-so-hot hair. And no makeup. And I smell REALLY REALLY bad. The odds are not in my favor there. But that's okay. Because for an hour every day (except the ones when he's avoiding me...) I can escape the reality of my sore muscles and sweat dripping down my back and can dream of having sore muscles and sweat dripping down my back for a more satisfactory reason. Thanks, Trainer Guy! You're the best!

Friday, May 19, 2006

But Then Things Got Weird...

Okay. So. We had a great party on Saturday, and then we lazed around the house all day Sunday, and before I knew it, it was Monday morning. Turtle woke up at 7:40 and we played our little "time to wake up" game. (The rules of the game vary, but basically it entails Turtle handing me all of his stuffed animals and his pillow and then jumping up and down on his bed, while I try to convince him that it would be a really good idea if I could change his diaper.) I shuffled him out to the living room and picked up the phone so I could call McMama. The conversation was just starting to get animated when the doorbell rang. It was 8:00 in the morning. The last time the doorbell rang that early in the morning, it was the Peruvian exchange student trying to sell me educational materials for my kid...and even HE didn't ring the doorbell THAT early...he at least waited an extra half hour and rang the doorbell at 8:30. I bitched to McMama about who in the HELL thinks it's a good idea to ring the doorbell at 8:00 in the morning, a sentiment with which McMama heartily agreed. But I told her to hang on while I peered through the peephole. "It's a cop," I said. The phone went eerily quiet as both McMama and I had the same thought, "What happened to Oscar?"

I quickly opened the door, with McMama still on the phone so she could find out immediately if she needed to fly out here to be with her son. Luckily, we soon discovered the reason for the officer's visit had nothing to do with Oscar. In fact, a 1-2 year old girl was found wandering the neighborhood, sans supervision, and they were going door to door to see if they could figure out where she belonged. This is literally the second time in a year that we've had police looking for the parents of kids found in our neighborhood. The first time, they were broadcasting a message about a lost boy from a helicopter. This time around, we got a personal visit from a police officer. (Am I living in a responsible parenting black hole???) I gave the officer a run-down of the families in our cul-de-sac. I don't know if it helped him any, but it was the best I could do. Another officer was watching out for her at another home not far from us, in which a day care is run, or I would have offered to look after her for a little while. Turtle would have enjoyed the playmate.

Once the officer left, I explained the situation to McMama, who was understandably appalled. Neither of us could quite understand how something like this could happen. But thankfully, I have Mama Jo around to put things into perspective. We were talking later that afternoon about the whole situation, and she reminded me how quickly kids learn to open doors, and how we had our own experience with that with Turtle. Luckily for us, his unexpected door-opening experience happened when both of us were watching him, so he wasn't able to go anywhere. But still...if it had been any other time, he might have wandered right out of the house without anyone knowing about it. So I'm trying not to judge. I just hope they found that girl's parents.

In any event, that's how my morning started you can just imagine how the rest of the day went. I think some days we're just meant to stay in bed with our bon-bons and Stargate SG-1 dvds. I'm going to have to try that the next time my doorbell rings before 9:00. Because I'm 0 for 2 with the early morning doorbell ringing so far, and I'm thinking that somewhere, somebody is trying to tell me something.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Word About Hair 4 was that time of the month. Again. Time to go get my hair cut. And while I was originally quite smitten with the style Andrea gave me, over the last month or so I became disenchanted. Not that the hair cut was bad...just that with my features and my lifestyle, the hair didn't quite say what I wanted it to say about me. So when I sat down and Andrea asked me what we were doing, I looked at her and shrugged. She asked me how I felt about my cut, and being that she is completely awesome, I had no hesitation about telling her that while there were days I loved my hair, there were also days when I really didn't like it all that much. So she asked me what bothered me about my hair on the days when I didn't like it so much. gets kind of flat, and it's almost too pear-shaped, and it lacks body and it doesn't frame my face well. And Andrea looked at me and said, "I can agree completely with everything you just said. It's too conservative, I think. Your hair right now is more saying 'Soccer Mom' than 'Sassy Tramp' and that's maybe not what we want to say."

I can't tell you what a relief it is to have a stylist understand in a few words that you're tired of looking like the good girl, and instead want to start looking like the slutty whore you are.

So she cut it. And I couldn't tell that there was much of a difference happening, until I put on my glasses and went, "Holy shit, that's cool!" Because my hair is now a zillion different lengths. And it looks completely different from the way it looked before. And it is nothing like any style I've ever had in all of my 30 years. And it's totally frickin' cool! Again, no pictures, because you would be so enamoured, you'd start stalking me, and I'm already busy enough doing some stalking of my own (at some point, I'll actually get around to telling you about the trainer at my gym.....) But trust me....I'm a hottie.

Then There Was The Swag...

First of all, I realized after I posted yesterday that I forgot to tell you about a key feature of my birthday party. As soon as I walked into our private room, Hotass walked up to me and put a pretty, pretty, pink tiara on my head and I was suddenly transformed into a pretty, pretty princess! And, you know, being the attention whore that I am, I wore that pretty, pink, fluffy tiara all night long, even when I went to the bar to pick up the chocolate martini Oscar bought for me. I'm just that way. No pictures of me looking like a pretty pretty princess, but here's the tiara:

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Obviously, one of our cats is quite taken with it. He seems to think it's an oddly-shaped mouse. If I leave it in one place for any length of time, he's all over it, and there's nothing like cat slobber on your pink fluffy tiara to ruin your pretty pretty princess feeling. So I have learned to keep it out of his reach. Except when taking pictures of it. Ahem.

Anyway, if that was all I had gotten for my birthday, that would have been outstanding, but there was MORE! And when I got to the gifts from McMama....well, you have to understand that McMama sends the best gifts ever. EVER. I love getting packages from her, even if they're not even for me, because she is just THAT good at finding the perfect gifts. And every time a special occasion rolls around I think there's no way she can improve on her last present, but every time, she exceeds my expectations. Seriously. She's got a gift, people.

So I get to the small pile of gifts that she sent me, and of course they're all wrapped perfectly, with adorable bows and ribbons. And I can tell from the shapes that I have a cd and a dvd in there, so I start with the obvious, and I open the cd. And do you know what I find? This:

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Which, given my love of all things Grey's Anatomy, was so perfect. Even more so because I then knew that the dvd had to be this:

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But what was really unexpected was this:

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Oh yeah....I have a Grey's Anatomy "Seriously." shirt to go with my Grey's Anatomy cd and my Grey's Anatomy dvd. And the reason it's so wrinkled? Is because I totally wore it to watch the season finale early this week. Without washing it! Because I couldn't wait to put it on. That is how much I loved it.

But the crazy thing is...that wasn't even the best part. For you to understand the best part, you need to know two things: first, in addition to being a fabulous mother-in-law and present picker-outer and all around cha-cha chick, McMama is an outstanding baker-type person. She's had her own business doing wedding and birthday cakes for many years (she did our wedding cake and it was so beautiful, I can't even tell you) and recently started doing cookies for special occasions. (She even has a website...please visit her here.) Secondly, my birthday gift last year? Was this:

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Which makes more sense when you understand that McMama and I share a love for The Amazing Race (just not this season or the family edition) and the Travelocity Gnome has featured prominently in that show recently. Also? I can't get over the "One's in danger of getting bubbles up one's whoopsy-daisy" commercial. Because that's hilarious. Anyway, I laughed so hard that I almost started crying when I opened up that box and saw my gnome last year. So you can imagine what happened when I opened up this year's box and found this:

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All of those little gnome faces looking up at me out of their little box with identical looks of "Am I going to die?" FABULOUS. It does not get any better than that. Truly. I want to turn 30 EVERY year! Heh. And you know what? It's not even over yet. I heard a rumor my Boyfriend put a package in the mail for me. I'll have to report on that later, provided the stuff he sent me isn't too dirty.... Hee! I love my birthday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

First Up...

Okay, kids, sorry for my absence, but I had some very good where did I put them?....Oh yes, here we are. I decided to take the day off on Sunday because it was a) my birthday, b) Mother's Day, c) all about ME and I decided I'd rather nap than post. Then on Monday, the day was absolutely surreal, what with the police officer ringing the doorbell at 8:00 and all...a story I will get back to later...and I didn't get a chance to do any writing. And then yesterday, I spent most of the day running errands and doing work around the house that absolutely HAD to get done. But today, I'm ready to get caught up. Are you with me? Okay, good...let's go.

So I found out Oscar was throwing me a birthday party when I was up in New Jersey and McMama called to vent. She was having a particularly trying day with her kids, and was feeling like a pretty crappy mom all the way around (which, by the way, is impossible, as she is one of the best moms I know.) So of course, it just made me laugh when she said, "The only way this day could get worse is if I started talking to you about your birthday party only to find out that it was supposed to be a surprise and I'd completely ruined it!" and I said, "Party?" The groan that was emitted after that innocent inquiry was pretty heart-wrenching, to be honest, but I still found the whole conversation vastly entertaining. In any event, she made me promise to keep my big mouth shut and pretend to be surprised anyway, which was fine by me.

Luckily, that ended up not being an issue, because as soon as I got home from New Jersey, Oscar let me know that he was planning a party in honor of my birthday because, as he put it, "You only turn 30 once!" He wouldn't give me any details...THAT part of it WAS a surprise. But he did dangle it in front of my nose from time to time. "Do you know what's happening yet?" he would ask. And every time I would answer in the negative, he would practically rub his hands together with glee and twirl his imaginary mustache. It got pretty annoying pretty fast. But finally, we got down to Birthday Week and Oscar let me know that Saturday was D-Day.

So after a day of lazing around the house and writing a post for McMama, we all piled in the car and set out for the party. I had a couple theories running on where we would be going and what my birthday present from Oscar would be, but I sat back and enjoyed the ride. It wasn't long before I figured out that my venue theories were completely off the mark. Instead of ending up at a restaurant, which was what I had expected, we ended up at Gameworks, which is this very large arcade in Tempe, except that it's more than just an arcade. It's two stories, and in addition to hosting all sorts of video games, they have skee-ball and air hockey, and the upstairs has a large bar/restaurant area with billiards and lots of televisions for your sports-watching pleasure. And then, of course, they have rooms in which you can host private parties.....which is what Oscar had booked for us.

It was So. Frickin'. Cool. One big screen television and two smaller televisions lay before an arrangement of plush leather chairs, with a sprinkling of bar stools and tall tables in the back. The requisite video game graced a back corner of the room and the table featuring our catered meal was up in front next to the tv. The lighting was subdued and the drapes were pulled back, giving us a bird's eye view of the games being played. And my closest friends and family were all there to celebrate with us. It was outstanding. So we ate a little, and talked a little, and watched tv a little. And then, one by one, our guests trickled out to start using up their game cards...and Snark's Mistress and I were left in our private party room, holding our baby nephews and wondering how, at a party in honor of us, we ended up being the ones left in the room with the kids?

To be honest, though, that situation worked to our favor, because when it was time for the kids (and their grandparents) to go home, Snark's Mistress and I were left with everyone's leftover game cards, and uninterrupted time we could use to blow shit up. And blow shit up we did. After taking everything down to the car, we sauntered back into Gameworks and set up shop in front of House of the Dead II, our blow shit up game of choice. There is nothing like shooting a bunch of zombies until their guts spill out to make you feel like you've had the BEST. BIRTHDAY. EVER!

But we could only shoot so many zombies before we decided to head upstairs to where the old-school games are located. Snark's Mistress parked herself at Centipede, while I sat down at Frogger. Before long, we both ended up at Tetris. I am saddened and ashamed to admit that Snark's Mistress kicked my ass in a head-to-head competition. But we did end up with the 4th and 5th spots on the Best Score list.

All in all, it was an excellent evening. Oscar did such a great job of giving me...well, both of us really....a great birthday party. And we both carted home some excellent swag. My theory on my birthday gift from Oscar turned out to be 100% on the mark, as I ended up with a digital camera small enough to fit in my purse, so I can take all sorts of pictures when Turtle decides to be spontaneously adorable. I got a beautiful blue topaz ring from my parents, which features a Celtic knot design and which matches nicely with a necklace they bought me years ago. And the birthday package from McMama? Well, that's a whole other story. With pictures. But we'll get to that later.

Until then, I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped make my 30th birthday so very special. And even if you think you didn't have anything to do with it, honestly, just the fact that you're here and you read the randomness that comes out of my brain every week is such a gift. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And I promise I'll get back to posting regularly again....I SWEAR!

So Much To Say...

It has been a crazy few days, as evidenced by my absence here of late. But I promise to have stories for you soon, like the one about my awesome birthday party and pretty pretty princessy pink tiara. Or the one about the police officer who showed up at 8:00 in the morning the other day, after Oscar had left for work. Or the one about the trainer at my gym who seems to be exuding some sort of pheromone which makes any woman in a 3 mile radius completely smitten with him. Oh yeah....I have some stories to tell you.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Nothing Much Happens In May

There is one week in May that is always crazy here in the Cymber household. It starts with Snark's Mistress's birthday and usually ends with Mother's Day. And in between, Oscar is screwed. Why is Oscar screwed, you might ask? Well, you might, if I gave you time, but we're on a schedule here, so I'll just go ahead and tell you. Oscar is screwed because in between Snark's Mistress's birthday and Mother's Day, his wife and his mom both have birthdays.

Not only do his wife and his mom both have birthdays, but he has no grace period in between the two, as his mom's birthday is the day before his wife's birthday. And since one of us has a birthday ON Mother's Day every few years, he's got serious gift-procuring issues. Well, that's technically not true. Because his wife and his mom talk at least twice a week for several hours at a time, and they are practically the same person, anyway, so all he has to do to figure out what to get his wife is talk to his mom and all he has to do to figure out what to get his mom is talk to his wife. It's a nice system, when he uses it.

But Oscar doesn't always use it, and this year, in fact, he tried to go directly to the source to figure out what his mom wanted for her birthday/Mother's Day. Big mistake. She, being the mother of a grown son, naturally said all she wanted for her birthday was a card, which is, hello, lame, and which she would have gotten anyway. So I started thinking of other things we could give his mom for her birthday/Mother's Day that a) she would appreciate, b) wouldn't cost too much money and c) would be really cool.

And here's what I came up with:

I would like to challenge everyone who stops by here today to leave a special birthday message for can be lyrics (if you're really uninspired, even the lyrics to the Happy Birthday song would suffice,) poetry, top ten reasons why McMama is the coolest mother-in-law EVER....anything really. But she reads this space regularly, and she loves being famous, so in honor of her birthday, please show her some love. If anyone deserves it, it's McMama.

For my part, I'd like to leave off with the following:
One of the best parts about marrying Oscar was that you came as part of the package deal. We joke that we're essentially the same person, but with your talents and many special gifts, I would consider myself blessed to be thought half the woman you are. I can't even begin to tell you how much you mean to me. Happy birthday, McMama. I love you.

birthday quilt

Friday, May 12, 2006

Come Here! Go Away!

You know what's great? Birthday packages that arrive in the mail. You know what sucks? Not being able to open those birthday packages because not everything in the birthday packages could be wrapped and you're not allowed to see everything until your birthday. You know what's totally cool? A husband who is so completely excited about your birthday, he plans a huge party for you. You know what kind of blows? A husband who is so completely excited about this birthday party he has planned for you that he rubs your nose in the fact that it's a "surpriiiiiiiiiiise" and you can't know anything about it, nanny nanny boo boo. You know what's kind of outstanding? Having a birthday that falls on Mother's Day every few years so nobody can claim, even for a moment, that the day isn't completely about you. You know what's not so outstanding? Having no clear idea how best to take advantage of this twist of fate, and therefore not having any plans other than making your husband fix you breakfast in bed.

You know what's funny? Watching your son watch "Sleeping Beauty" and drag out the swords you bought him from the Renaissance Festival, so he can help Prince Phillip battle Maleficent. You know what's not so funny? Cringing when he hits the tv screen a few times in his earnest attempt to save Sleeping Beauty and wondering if you're going to end up at Best Buy this weekend, buying a new television. You know what's satisfying? Looking in your refrigerator and realizing that it's finally full again, having survived your three-week absence from the grocery store. You know what's not as satisfying? Trying to find something to eat and realizing that even though your refrigerator is full, you have no desire to eat anything in it. You know what's nice? Having your close friend tell you that you look thinner and all of the working out must be paying off. You know what isn't so nice? The fact that you haven't been to the gym all week and have been eating cheese puffs and vanilla soda for breakfast lately, and realizing that the thinner thing isn't going to last.

You know what's fantastic? Having a zillion blogs bookmarked so you always have something new to read when you're on the computer. You know what's annoying? When all of those bloggers decide to take a vacation from writing at the same time, so you just end up banging your head against the desk, praying for new content. You know what's even MORE annoying than THAT? When you can't think of any new content yourself, so you just end up throwing up a point-counterpoint on things that have been on your mind lately and calling it a real post. least it's SOMETHING.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Once Upon A Time...

When I was in high school, there was this girl who was kind of on the periphery of a group of people I hung out with once in a while. Or maybe I was on the periphery of her close friends. Yeah, that's probably more accurate. Anyway, I knew who she was, and had the impression that she was a pretty cool chick, but I didn't know her particularly well. Just that we both enjoyed Star Trek: The Next Generation and shared a goofiness that kept us from ever being a part of the popular crowd. But then, most of my friends fit into that category.

In any event, the summer before our senior year, when schedules came out and we all called each other to figure out who had classes with who and when, I found that this girl, the one I had always secretly admired, the one who was pretty cool and liked ST:TNG, was the only person I was going to know in this stupid class I was required to take for graduation. I was so relieved that I wasn't going to be alone in this class, I think I might have squeed. When school started back up again, and I walked into this class for the first time, I found that not only was fate kind enough to put her in class with me, but it let us sit together. And thus began a rather unusual friendship.

It started out innocently enough. We bonded over a mutual dislike for our classmates, judgmental bitches that we are, and a shared love for science fiction. We passed notes to each other that probably started out normal, "what are you doing tonight?", "did you finish the homework from Mr. Tu's class?", "what is she WEARING?", but ended up being full of inside jokes and random insanity that only we could appreciate. We had sleepovers and ditched classes together. Before we knew it, we were helping each other through AP tests, coping with the idea that we couldn't afford to go to the colleges we really wanted to go to, and trying to figure out how to be grown-ups. (Sadly, that last part has never really come together for us....)

But it was at the end of my freshman year of college that our relationship took the defining step towards being what it is today. I had been, in essence, dumped by my former best friend and I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather cry to about it than this really cool chick I'd been hanging out with. She was there for me, both to hold me while I cried and, later, to dry my tears and tell me what a stupid bitch my former best friend was anyway. It was then that I realized what an idiot I had been in the last two years, clinging to a relationship in which I constantly felt insecure and unhappy, and not recognizing the value of the one person who not only let me be myself at all times, but actually really enjoyed who I was without expecting me to change. Duh! THIS is what friendship was supposed to be.

Since that moment, we've gone through a number of life altering events together. I've gotten married and had a child. She's gone back to school and is working on her degree. Star Trek: The Next Generation has turned into Stargate: SG-1. But one thing will never change and that's how I feel about her. She is the smartest, bravest, strongest person I know. She is loyal and fair and constant. She is beautiful, both in her outward appearance and inside her soul. And if I could choose to have a sister, I would choose her a million times over. I love her as a friend and one of the best parts of my family.

So. Today, on my best friend's 30th birthday, I just want to say thank you, Snark's Mistress. You can't even begin to know how much I treasure having you in my life. Enjoy this day, and all the rest to come. You deserve all of the very best life has to offer and more.

30th cake

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New Jersey, Part The Third

So. As I was saying. Not everything about being in New Jersey sucked royally. We did have some fun moments. Like the time MOU came racing upstairs from the basement, asking if I'd made my bed, because he hadn't made his, and he had a meeting with the real estate agent later that morning. As I had not made my bed, I ran upstairs with him to get things in order very quickly. I finished before he did and calmly walked back downstairs. When I got back to the breakfast table, I looked at Mama Jo and asked, "So, do they REALLY lower the sales price if they show up and you haven't made your bed?" Seeing as she almost spit her coffee out at me, I felt validated that I was not necessarily wrong in my lack of panic over the status of the sheets in the bedroom I was using.

Not too much later, I was sitting on the couch, trying to get an internet connection. MOU walked out and announced that the real estate agent would be here any minute. "I suppose I should actually get dressed, then," I said, being as I was still in my pajamas and completely unmotivated to move. MOU said he didn't think it mattered, so I pulled out the sarcasm again. "Oh, so they drop the sales price if your bed's not made, but not if you're in your pajamas when they show up?" We all got a chuckle out of that, particularly when MOU mentioned that he thought they might actually raise the sales price if you're in your pajamas and they think you're cute. "OH," I said, "the real estate agent you've got coming over is a man?" "No," he replied, "it's a woman, but you never know...." I told him that I don't usually swing that way, but for him, I might be persuaded...particularly if I get a cut of the SHE cute? By this point, we were all laughing pretty hard. Of course, that meant that the Wicked Witch had to come in and ruin it by assuming, as she often does, that we were laughing at her and the possibility of her "kicking the bucket," but you would have been proud of me. I refrained from mentioning that I only laugh about the possibility of her kicking the bucket when I'm safe in my own home.

A few days later, after we had been through the pantry and thrown out the 6 bags of sugar (as everyone living in that house was diabetic and didn't need the damn sugar anyway) and the 20 year old food items, a letter came in the mail for my uncle. The dead one, not MOU. The return address was from a company called "Gold Medal." As I looked over my uncle's shoulder at it, I speculated that perhaps it was from the flour company. "Dear Sir, It has recently come to our attention that you have cleaned out your pantry and now only possess one bag of our flour instead of the 5 we require." I'm not quite sure what it was about that comment...whether it was the delivery, or the idea, or just the absurdity of everything we had been through over the last several days, but Mama Jo lost it. Completely lost it. To this day, if you mention the flour company to her, she starts laughing. It was a little victory, but it was mine.

To me, though, the best part of being there was watching Turtle romping through the yard and playing in the fields. We took a walk one day and I let him go wherever he wanted to go (provided where he wanted to go didn't mean "into oncoming traffic.") This, naturally, meant that we took a very winding route through the neighborhood. It was great, though, because as we walked down one of the main streets, whenever a car passed by, Turtle pointed at it and said, "THERE!" to me and then waved and yelled, "HI!" at the cars. There is nothing quite like watching your child charm the pants off of perfect strangers, and I can tell you with absolute authority that's what he was doing. I would watch their faces as they drove by. Most of them were intent on where they were going, or the conversations they were having on their cell phones, but you could tell the minute they caught sight of this little boy. They all brightened up immediately, and most of them waved and said "hi" back. And when they did, Turtle got so excited. That little victory was all his. And I wouldn't have missed that for the world.

So now we're home and life is back to normal (or as normal as it gets here in the Cymber household.) The trip was difficult and it took a lot out of all of us, Oscar included, but I did learn some valuable lessons while I was there. If I was a packrat before, I've certainly been cured now. And as much as I hated to be away from Oscar for all that time, I think I appreciate him more now that I'm back. So as much as I bitched and complained and drank a lot while I was there, it was only a week. And I think my whole family is now on board with the idea that I've done my duty so I will not be going back there again. And that is definitely something to be grateful for.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I haven't eaten anything of substance today. I've had maybe 4 chocolate eggs, but that's it. I was kind of waiting for Oscar to get home so we could have lunch together. But Oscar came home and put his head on my lap. And within a few minutes, he was snoring away peacefully. But that was okay, because I figured when I was done on the computer, I could wake him up and we could still eat together. Until one of our cats jumped onto the couch with us and curled up on my other leg. So I have Oscar snoring away on one leg and the cat snoring away on the other leg, and I seem to be the meat in this unusual little sandwich. And although my stomach is growling and I really, really need to eat, I will be staying put until one or both of them wakes up. Because I? Am a sucker and a pushover and a sap. Who is hungry, but not hungry enough to move my guys, apparently. I'm more content to BE the sandwich than to eat the sandwich. For now, anyway.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


How much do I suck? A lot, I suppose, if McMama's opinion is anything to go by. We spoke briefly on the phone today and she mentioned that I've been letting her down. She checks in here every day, and I have not been living up to my end of the bargain by posting new, witty and clever content. You know, I had a sneaking suspicion that having a life outside this little web world was no excuse for not posting every day, but it is so nice having a McMama to confirm that.

I told her that I had been working on a post, and had intended to get it up yesterday, but didn't have a chance to finish it. That was "New Jersey, Part The Second," for those of you keeping track. But before I get into the next story of life in NJ, we're going to take a brief intermission so I can tell you what I've been up to.

Today, I was finally able to attend my first Diamondbacks game this season. We were given some great tickets along the third base line by a good friend of Oscar's. It was a heartbreaking game, because my boys lost the game by a point, with bases loaded at the end of the ninth inning. But we had a fabulous time. Particularly at some point during the third inning, I think it was.... See, we had been given some posters on our way into the stadium. We often get these freebies when we go to the games, and I'm not sure why, but I never turn down the free stuff. Anyway, at some point, Oscar was eating his peanuts and threw the shells down on the ground and either hit the posters with the shells, or kicked the posters in the process of trying to get the shells out of his way. In any case, he seemed a bit flustered about hitting the posters. I kind of scoffed at him and asked if he was really all that worked up about keeping the posters nice and neat. He asked me, "Well, what if the poster is of your baby?" (Craig Counsell. Everyone else can take Luis Gonzalez or Chad Tracy or Shawn Green. But Craig Counsell? He is mine, and I love him, so keep your grubby mitts off!!! MINE!) I looked at him with my patented, "Are you KIDDING me?" look and said, "Oh, come's not going to BE my baby on the poster, and even if it is, do you honestly think we're going to hang that poster in our house?" So Oscar shrugs and tells me to open it up and see who's on it anyway.

Are you sensing yet how this ended?

I quickly unrolled the poster and Oscar started laughing uncontrollably. It took me a few more moments than it did him to register the fact that yes, indeed....that WAS my baby on the poster. And he was looking mighty fine, too, if I do say so myself.

I looked back at Oscar. "Okay, so maybe we will hang it up."

So, that was today's adventure. Yesterday, we had lunch at Native New Yorker, which is a sports bar type establishment with some really great wings and lots of televisions continually tuned to sports programming. When we first arrived, they were playing some sort of Kentucky Derby show....not the actual Derby, I believe, but like "pre-game" stuff. I was disappointed. I was hoping for something with some action. Thankfully, about halfway through our meal, the programming changed, and we ended up watching......I'm not sure I should admit this.....because we didn't just end up watching it; we ended up getting sucked into we wouldn't even leave the restaurant when we were done with our meal because we were so invested in this, when we finally DID leave the restaurant, we sped home and Oscar turned the television IMMEDIATELY to the station on which they were showing this while I put Turtle to won't judge me, right?.....okay, I'll tell you, but don't laugh.....we ended up watching bowling. Not regular bowling or even tournament bowling, because that would be lame, and I'm lame, but I'm not THAT lame. No, we got sucked into watching the Skills Challenge. Which involved bowling over ramps and through chairs and across multiple lanes, among other things. It was FASCINATING STUFF! I'm serious. Really cool. Yeah, okay, I'm lame. Whatever. We had fun.

As for Thursday and Friday....I'm sure some other really interesting things happened, but I can't think of what they were. But suffice it to say, they were interesting enough to keep me from you for a while. If I can come up with them (or an interesting story that borders on the believable well enough to pass for truth) I'll let you know. Until then, I'm so sorry I was so selfish as to actually go get a life for a few days. It won't happen again, I swear. (At least for a week or so.....)

New Jersey, Part The Second

So. We get to the house and knock on the door. YooHoo answers. She's the Wicked Witch's home health assistant. We all introduce ourselves and dump our luggage and then...there she is. The Wicked Witch. Who takes one look at us and starts thanking me up one end and down the other for coming to help her and proceeds to ignore that Mama Jo has even entered the house. This would be the first step in her process of systematically refusing to see that Mama Jo is breathing the same air that she is. I start fuming. I've only been in the house for five minutes. I think this might be a new record.

It's not just that the Wicked Witch refuses to acknowledge Mama Jo's presence. It's that Mama Jo had to reorganize her life and sacrifice FAR more than I had to in order to make this trip, and to not only ignore that sacrifice, but go so far in the other direction as to praise ME for everything I've had to do to be just bugged. But whatever. We were in the house; we got settled; life went on.

The next couple of days were spent trying to figure out what exactly we were supposed to be doing in the first place. MOU was supposed to have left us detailed instructions of what he wanted us to accomplish. We found his instructions, but detailed they were not. His letter mostly consisted of vague ideas of what he thought might possibly be required before they moved, but certainly nothing concrete, and he was, sadly, unavailable for consultation for the first couple of days, due to a problem with his cell phone. *cue the rolling of my eyes* So Mama Jo and I decided that the first order of business was to go grocery shopping (as the last time Mama and Papa Jo had been to New Jersey, the Wicked Witch insisted on eating out every day, but steadfastly refused to recognize when the check arrived because she's "not rich like [you] people".) (Side note: I should mention that the Wicked Witch has more money in her regular bank account than the rest of the family combined, and yet, insists on acting as though she is on the verge of poverty whenever something comes up that requires that she spend money. UNLESS, of course, that thing that requires her to spend money is the newest catalog of whatever random flotsam catches her eye this week. THEN she has all the money in the world.)

With the grocery shopping accomplished, we moved on to the more pressing order of business: organizing the house based on what needed to be moved, what needed to be donated and what needed to be thrown away. This was no small task. Every square inch of that house was CRAMMED full of all of the aforementioned catalog finds. And naturally, it was in no way organized. I don't think I can adequately explain how depressing it was to go through every nook and cranny of that house, never feeling as though we were making progress, and finding so much junk that HAD to be kept (at least, according to the Wicked Witch.) It was not only the enormity of the task that was was all of the waste. And not just the waste, but the compulsive buying.

Just to give you an example, we went through every room in the house before we even stepped foot in the Wicked Witch's bedroom. We found her clothes in every single room, except possibly the bathrooms. In going through those clothes with her, we ended up with 7 full boxes of summer clothes that she insisted on keeping. BEFORE WE EVEN STEPPED FOOT IN HER BEDROOM. It would not be an exaggeration to say that she had enough clothes to wear a different outfit every day of the summer, without ever having to do laundry. She had 30 coats. Mama Jo convinced her to donate 5 of them, and even that was a struggle. She has 25 coats she is taking with her. And she NEVER leaves the house. She has severe arthritis in her feet, which has gnarled them and disfigured them to the point that very few shoes fit her. But she insisted on taking all of her shoes (even though she only wears maybe 2 pair), which consisted of at least 20 pairs. I went through the purses with her. I would say she had at least 40 purses. She donated 12. Did I mention she never goes out?

Mama Jo works in healthcare, and not long after our arrival, she mentioned that in her professional opinion, the Wicked Witch suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. I was skeptical at first, but the more we were there, the more the evidence mounted. In the end, I had to agree with Mama Jo...It doesn't excuse her behavior, but it certainly explains a lot.

Anyway, the BEST day was the day we started going through the kitchen. And when I say "best," I'm counting on you to read the implied sarcasm. I started in the pantry, Mama Jo started with the cabinets. We figured the best way to approach things was to start with two boxes. One box for the items that could be donated, and one box for trash. We were mostly looking for food well past its expiration date and things that the Wicked Witch wouldn't eat, but had bought anyway. It took us a few hours to go through the pantry and all of the cabinets, but at the end, Mama Jo looked at me and asked me how old was the oldest item I had found? 1996 was the expiration date, if I recall correctly. She snorted and said she had me beat. I quirked my eyebrows at her. "1981," she said, "and I have you beat for the second-oldest with another item from 1986." To put this in perspective, you need to understand that the Wicked Witch used to live in Arizona near us, and actually moved back to New Jersey in 1996. So those items that Mama Jo found? Had to have expired in Arizona, been packed to make the move to New Jersey and unpacked once they were settled in. Do you understand yet why I felt the need to drink so much?????

All of this, and I STILL don't think I can adequately convey to you how hard we worked or how depressing it was to do all of this. Some of this you won't understand simply because you don't know the Wicked Witch and can't really grasp what it's like to have her talk AROUND your mom, and subsequently you, because you get so pissed at the idea that you and your mom are here, taking time away from your family and your friends and your LIVES, and she is still so self-absorbed as to think it's perfectly okay to treat your mom like trash. Some of this you won't understand because you don't know what it's like to look at a house and see all of its beauty and potential wasted. Mostly, you won't understand because I can't explain it. But it was heartbreaking. And I'm glad I will never have to do it again.

Mama Jo and I stood outside the house before driving to the airport on our last day. She looked at me, and said, "The next time I come here, it will be for the Wicked Witch's funeral." I looked back at her and said, "I don't even know if I'll be back for that."

But that's not to say that it was all bad. When MOU arrived, we found a lot of things to laugh about, because somehow, against all odds and despite his horrible role model, MOU managed to grow into a man with a sense of humor on par with our own, and a world-view that is very outwardly focused. He's a good man, and we had some good times together. But those are stories for another day.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New Jersey, Part The First

I should have known this trip was going to be a stressful disaster from the moment we landed and had to find our rental car agency. Have you ever BEEN to the Newark airport? It's confusing under the best of circumstances, but when you're tired, and you're towing too much luggage and a 2 1/2 year old who hasn't gotten enough sleep and has had to sit still for 4+ hours, and you aren't really pleased about being there in the first place? It. Sucks. So. Bad.

We had to take the Air Train to another terminal. From there, we had to ask a million people where to find our rental car agency, because despite the many signs pointing us in the direction of this new terminal, once we got inside said terminal, we were lost. Why were we lost, you might ask? Because it was not readily apparent where we had to go next. Why was it not readily apparent where we had to go next, you might then ask? Because DIRECTIONAL SIGNS CEASED TO EXIST IN THIS NEW TERMINAL. But the lack of signs directing us to our rental agency made more sense when I realized that our agency was NOT inside the terminal, as I had been led to believe, but inside a Ramada Inn somewhere nearby. Clue #1 that this trip was going to be filled with unexpected delights.

But hey, we got on the shuttle and made our way to the Ramada Inn. Of course, we made our way there through a long, convoluted path involving getting on a freeway going one direction, only to exit and get on the same freeway going in the other direction, and then get off at an exit and turn onto what I can only assume was the frontage road to yet ANOTHER freeway. Which made me dread the idea of finding this Ramada Inn again when we needed to return the car. (I was right to be afraid, but that's another story.)

Anyway, we got our car, and made the hour-long journey to the Wicked Witch's neighborhood. But before we got there, Mama Jo and I realized how hungry we were. So we found a Quizno's and got lunch/dinner. Lunner? Whatever. In any event, we ate and geared up for what we knew was going to be a long week. Part of that process involved taking advantage of some of the unexpected delights featured at this particular Quizno's. Such as, for example, its proximity to a liquor store. While Mama Jo took Turtle to the drug store to keep him occupied, I wandered in and tried to pick a poison both Mama Jo and I could enjoy.

So, $30, 2 bottles of wine, and a bottle of vanilla vodka later, I walked out and we made our way back to the car. And then? It was time. We couldn't avoid it any longer. It was time to go to the house the Wicked Witch built.

Monday, May 01, 2006


So, I was thinking of posting about my trip today, but then something funny happened. See, I went to the gym earlier. It was my first time there in over two weeks. I knew it was going to be tough, but I really had to push myself to get through the workout. Still, I felt good about myself for going, and I was very happy about getting back in the swing of things again. HOWEVER, being that it was my first trip to the gym in over two weeks, and being that I didn't cut myself any slack on the weights and pushed myself to complete the same workout I was doing before I left, once I got home and relaxed a little, I realized how sore I was.

How does this relate to my inability, once again, to post about my trip? Well, I'm glad you asked. See, it was in dealing with my sore and aching body that I realized something about my anatomy. I mean, we always give men crap about how their brains are located in their "happy snakes," but why did nobody mention to me that my brain is located in my ass?

Every time I thought about getting up to compose a post, my little tushie would start twinging in pain, and all of a sudden, I couldn't think of anything but a nice jacuzzi tub and scented bubble bath. Everything else was pushed aside. I couldn't form another coherent thought. It was all hot water, bubbles, and scented oils. No "Let me tell you how my last two weeks sucked." No "Really, you can't make me go to New Jersey again EVER." Just hot water. Bubbles. Scented oils.

So. The only thing I can think is that my brain is located somewhere in my ass, which is why, when it twinges, I can't think of anything but how to make it feel better. And I think this is a good thing, actually, because I think I passed this anatomical anomaly on to Turtle. That kid gets hit in the head more often than I can count, and yet, it never seems to phase him. Then again, it wouldn't, if his brain wasn't in any danger of being damaged every time he ran into the wall or fell off the coffee table. Also? If my brain actually IS in my ass? Even with all of the working out I've been doing, it's still very well-protected in the ample padding in that area. No brain damage for me, no sirree. Not that you can tell that from reading my blog.... But whatever.