Are You KIDDING Me With This???

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Was Hoping For Something That Paid A Little More

I'm continually surprised by the things Turtle does while playing. It's an education in what he's learning during the day. Like the time we were in the middle of playing go-gos and he yelled "SHIT!" at the top of his lungs. (Note to self: perhaps it would be wise to start watching the language in Turtle's presence.... Oh, and stop letting him watch R rated movies....) Or the way he so easily picked up his cousin's mannerisms the last time they played together and all of sudden started saying "Ohhhhhhhhhhh maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!" whenever he was displeased with the state of affairs in his world. It has become clear that the "my child is a sponge" phenomenon has hit our little family.

Yesterday, though, I was particularly intrigued by what his play was telling me about him. When I picked him up at the kids' area at the gym, he was walking in and out of a playhouse they have set up in the room. When I tried to encourage him to leave with me, he insisted that he wasn't ready to go yet, and being disinclined to argue, I walked over to the playhouse and sat down. The next thing I knew, Turtle was walking back into the house and opening the window near my resting spot.

"Hi Mommy!" he said cheerfully. "You hunee? Eat?"

"Sure," I replied, since my child is frequently given to handing me fake food to eat, and I don't mind playing along since the fake food has considerably fewer calories than their real-life counterparts.

"You wan' cheeseburer, Mommy?"

It was then that I realized that rather than just handing me fake food for no particular purpose, my child was in fact playing "Drive Thru Window Guy." I suppressed a chuckle and told him that sure, Mommy would love a cheeseburger. He smiled and handed me my food, and then said a very perky "Thank you!" The hairs on the back of my neck raised, as I contemplated the possibility that this would, in fact, be Turtle's occupation of choice when he grows up and that, not having enough money to get his own apartment, he would end up living with his parents for longer than their legally obligated 18 years. The shudder that went through my body was not entirely due to overexertion, I can tell you that much.

On the other hand, I suppose so long as he is doing something he loves, I can't complain. Not all of us are able to do things that make us passionate. Besides, if it means that I'll get my damn grilled chicken sandwich with no tomato from now on, it's a win-win situation, from my perspective.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Emergency Broadcast System

If anyone happened to notice one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding by your house and/or place of business today, I apologize. That was me. I went to the gym today. The Horsemen and I straightened everything out, though, and they have promised not to go riding again until I actually lose 5 pounds. And given how difficult that has been in the past, I figure that's a more accurate barometer of when the end of the world is upon us.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I'm Not Even Going To TRY for Boardwalk

For the most part, I try to avoid McDonald's. And not because of some knee-jerk reaction to the "Super Size Me" movie, which I'm not ashamed to admit I haven't yet seen. No, it's more of an unwritten agreement with my digestive system that keeps me away. There are exceptions. When I am premenstrual, I seem drawn to the golden arches. I'm not sure if there is some weird magnetic force generated by that "over a kazillion served" sign that only my hormones respond to, but it never fails. A week before my period is due, I start craving their fries. I try to ignore it more often than not. See: the above unwritten agreement with my digestive system. But there is one thing that never fails to lure me into the drive thru line. And that thing is:

The Monopoly game.

I start seeing the ads for the Monopoly game, and resistance is futile. I am the Monopoly game's bitch. It doesn't matter that I've never won a damn thing collecting those little game pieces. I am all about the large fries, large drink and the chicken sandwiches (not only because they're the only sandwiches worth eating there, but because they have extra game pieces on the boxes.) So it should come as no surprise that with a little extra time on my hands, a growling stomach, and access to our car today, lunchtime found me in line at the McDonald's drive thru.

And it is here, in the McDonald's drive thru, where we come to the point of my story, which centers, yet again, around what I learned today. Today, I learned that I have apparently been misunderstanding the meaning of certain words as they apply to food. For example, when I order a grilled sandwich, I expect that I will receive a grilled sandwich. And when I order a sandwich with no tomato, I expect to receive a sandwich with no tomato. This is apparently faulty logic. Because when I ordered my grilled sandwich with no tomato today, what I got instead was a crispy sandwich with no tomato AND no bacon. I found this to be completely unexpected.

I must have missed the memo that described how to order using the new system of code words. How else to explain the fact that I ordered clearly and concisely, the person taking my order repeated it back to me clearly and concisely, the receipt for my food shows the correct order, but my sandwich was irrevocably flawed, except to say that when you order something "grilled" it now means "crispy" and that tomatoes and bacon are now inextricably linked? Does anyone have a copy of the new code? Because if, in order to get a Grilled Ranch BLT Chicken Sandwich, minus the "T", I need to now order a Big Mac, no pickles, and extra ketchup, I would really like to know that.

What really galls me about this whole thing is that, with an almost three year old to worry about, it's not so easy to head back to the McDonald's and raise holy hell until they offer me free food. By the time I sat down with my sandwich and realized the problem, Turtle was tucking into his macaroni and cheese and applesauce and didn't want to be stuffed back in the car so Mommy could conniption fit herself up an apple pie. And if you're going to say, "Why didn't you just call?" you can just leave now. Because who has time for that, really? The fact that I was in the drive-thru lane to begin with should tell you that I am all about the convenience of getting lunch with as little effort on my part as possible. Do you really think I'm interested in looking up the number for the McDonald's, calling them, explaining the situation to at least two people, and having them tell me to come by and explain the situation to someone else so they can offer me....what? A free sandwich? That they'd probably mess up a second time, starting this whole vicious cycle all over again? No.

I just want them to get my order right the first time. Is that really so much to ask? I mean, every time they bust out their Monopoly game, I'm there, throwing money at them like it's going out of style because this might be the year I FINALLY win something besides all of those Best Buy Bucks. The least they could do is fill my order correctly and without me having to double check it. It's a simple thing I'm asking. (Oh, and if they could give me Tennessee Avenue, too, that would be great. $1500 could buy me a lot of combo meals. Thanks.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Wiggles + Violent Death = I Probably Need Therapy

I don't usually think of myself as a particularly creative person. I mean, I'm clearly batshit crazy, but that's more attributable to the effects of a childhood spent with a mother who never wore anything but panties and a t-shirt around the house, even when my friends came over for the first time and hadn't had time to emotionally prepare and/or invest in brain bleach, and a father whose answer to every question was "Very nice, dear" than it is to any above-average amount of right brain activity. However, I do have a rather active imagination, particularly as it pertains to dreaming up scenarios in which I, or someone I love, might die a violent and disturbing death. And in that context? I can be extraordinarily inventive.

For example, I do remember a particular day, driving down the freeway with Oscar, who was at the wheel. I was blankly staring out the window, until I noticed the tires of the car next to us. I don't know if it was the angle of my view or a genuine issue with the wheels, but the hubcaps appeared to be shaking. I stared at it for quite a while, until Oscar looked over at me and asked the most dangerous of all questions husbands can ask their wives: "What are you thinking over there?" In my mind, I chuckled, and then I asked Oscar if he really wanted to know. He did, so this is what I told him:

Well, I was looking at the way the hubcap seems to be shaking on the car next to us. And I was wondering what would happen if it came flying off, and if it came flying off right at us. And I was wondering if I'd have enough time to notice it and react. And if I did react by, say, ducking, I was thinking how awful it would be if it decapitated you. And if it did decapitate you, I was wondering if the car would crash immediately or if I'd have time to crawl over and take the wheel in time to prevent the accident from getting any worse. And then I was thinking that even if I had time, I don't know if I'd be able to do that, because I'd probably have your decapitated head in my lap and I'd be so devastated that I couldn't move. And even if I wasn't completely devastated from having your decapitated head in your lap, I was thinking I certainly wouldn't have it in me to try and work around your headless body to get control of the car. So I'd probably end up in an even worse accident. And I'd probably either die then, from the impact of the accident, or I'd die of grief, because who gets over having their husband's decapitated head in her lap? Not me, I'll tell you that much.

There was a brief silence before Oscar shook his head and laughed, either from disbelief that he had somehow married a woman with no basic comprehension of physics, or from discomfort after realizing for the first time that I might have the makings of a serial killer.

So you see, my mind takes me to weird places, particularly when left to its own devices. Of course, not all of these violent musings start out being quite so elaborate. Tonight, for example, it started out small. We were driving somewhere when Turtle requested that we turn on his Wiggles cd. But of course, simply turning it on was not enough. Mommy had to start doing all of the hand motions that go along with all of the Wiggles' songs. So as I'm be-bopping along to "Hot Potato," it occurs to me that I must look ridiculous to anybody who might happen to see me as I'm passing by. And then I had another thought. So I turned to Oscar.

"You know, I wonder how many moms get gunned down by gangs because they think those moms are flashing gang signs, when in fact, they are just singing along to the Wiggles with their kids?"

Yeah. I know. But this is how my mind works. In fact, if I'd given that thought any room to develop instead of sharing it with Oscar immediately, it would have turned into a Lifetime Movie meets "Saw" in my mind. And as disturbing as that thought is, I have to admit that it does take a certain amount of creativity to make those two genres work together. So despite my humble belief that I am no more creative than the average person, I guess I do have some peculiar talents. Granted, I wish I didn't share them with the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson, but beggars can't be choosers, right?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Pressure To Be "On"

Most days I don't mind my reputation for being a complete nutjob. Being completely sick in the head sets me apart from all of those normal people out there. I relish feeling distinctive. But there are other days when I just wish I could blend in with the masses. Because sometimes? There's a lot of pressure in being as adorably quirky as I am.

On one of my first dates with Oscar, or should I say "dates" considering that we never really went the traditional "dinner and a movie" route, we went to a grocery store at midnight. I was in search of something healthy to snack on and Taco Bell wasn't going to cut it. So I wandered into the produce section, on the hunt for the perfect apple. As Oscar watched me pore over the red delicious selection, the perplexed look on his face grew more and more pronounced. Finally he asked me...."What are you doing?" Well, clearly, I was checking the points of the apples...the feet of the apples....trying to make sure they weren't soft, because the rest of the apple could be crisp and crunchy, but if the apple points were bruised, it wasn't worth the bother. So I explained all this to Oscar, who looked at me with a bemused, indulgent look on his face, because even after only a handful of dates, he knew he had gotten himself involved with a complete fruitcake, and set about the business of helping me check apple points.

For a while, that was great, but, you know, sometimes when you go to the grocery store, you want to get in and out as quickly as possible. So sometimes the apple points are not as important to you as they might normally be. But when you're known for checking the points....when that's what makes you cute and distinctive...when it's your can't just run in and pick out the first decent looking apple you find. Because then your husband looks at you with that bemused, indulgent look on his face and convinces you that of course checking the apple points is worth the extra few minutes. And you're stuck wasting time on the apple points when all you really want to do is go home and have a glass of wine.

A similar situation befell us this weekend. We made our special trip up to a farm outside of Prescott to seek out the perfect pumpkin for Halloween. Traditionally, I search the entire patch, poring over each and every damn pumpkin on the ground, and end up picking out at least 3 "perfect" pumpkins, not to mention a dozen or so smaller pumpkins or gourds with which to decorate. It's a long process, and Oscar finds it adorable they way I tromp along, on a serious mission, and turn down several perfectly acceptable pumpkins before settling on the perfect pumpkins. This time around, though, being on the tail end of a cold and dealing with a grumpy two year old who would scream "No WANT cheese!" at me every time I tried to take his picture, I just wanted to pick a, SINGULAR, damn pumpkin and get out of the patch as quickly as humanly possible. Unfortunately, I had made the mistake of telling Oscar what kind of pumpkin I was looking for.

Having a long history of dealing with me at the pumpkin patch, he remained unconvinced that I could ever be satisfied with anything less than the perfect orange gourd. So we clomped along through the field for much longer than was really necessary, trying to find the biggest, roundest, veiniest pumpkin with a stem we could find. And while Oscar did ultimately find me an awesome pumpkin, I really would have been satisfied with the smaller, round, less veiny pumpkin I had seen earlier. But again...the 3 hour long process of locating the perfect pumpkin is one of those things that makes me "Me", so by all means....let's wander aimlessly through the field some more.

I know...I sound ungrateful again, don't I? Seriously, I love that Oscar finds these little quirks of mine "cute" instead of "mind-bogglingly annoying." I'm not trying to look a gift Oscar in the mouth. It's just that sometimes, I wear myself out with my odd behavior. I don't know how he can not only tolerate it, but so cheerfully indulge it on a continual basis. Then again, perhaps this is how he exacts his revenge? He refuses to allow me a moment's respite from my quirks, so that I am made even more aware of what an angel he is for putting up with me? Yeah, I bet that's it. Well, I'm on to him now. No more bonus points for him. And next time we go shopping, he can check the damn apple points if they're so freakin' important. I'll be in the liquor section, stocking up for the evening.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Good Morning, Class!

You know that old saying, "You learn something new every day?" Well, I tend to feel, for me anyway, that this is a blatant overstatement. Most days I'm lucky to learn ANYTHING...unless you want to count how many times and in how many different ways I learn that Rachel Ray needs to untuck her shirts so as not to appear so short or stocky. Seriously, honey, I cook with my shirt untucked all the time, and the tragic consequences of getting the hem of your shirt caught in the oven door are neither as tragic nor as consequential as you may have heard.

In any event, when I find that I DO learn something new, it is such a suprise and of such note, that I can literally (well, okay, not literally, but the literally that actually means figuratively) see the lightbulb over my head. Today was one of those days. And because I love all of you....all six of you...especially you, Stalker Boy (thanks for joining us)...who come here to read the sometimes witty, often completely random, thoughts that run through my head, I thought I would share what I learned with you today, so you can say that you learned something today too. Are you ready? Here we go:

What I learned today is..........

....Balthazar Getty is NOT, in fact, Liev Schreiber. I know. Stunning, isn't it? And yet, I only just today figured that out.

I started watching Brothers and Sisters with McMama during my vacation to her homeland. It only took one episode for me to get completely sucked in. It has its flaws. Being a new show, it's still trying to find its footing. But it's got potential, and some incredible actors starring in it. And for the last month, I have thought that one of those actors was Liev Schreiber, playing one of the titular brothers. "OH!" I would say to McMama, "Did you see how Liev's character totally turned his back on his other brother in that last episode? That was cooooooooooold!" And then we'd move on to talking about something else and it would never occur to me that I had not seen, in any of the credits, Liev Schreiber's name pop up. Until I was sitting on the couch today, doing my best impression of a bump on a log (an impression I have perfected through many, many hours of intense practice,) watching the episode I taped last night on my new lover, the DVR, and I saw the name "Balthazar Getty" flitter across my screen.

"Hmmm..." I thought to myself. "That name sounds familiar. I should imdb him." And imdb him I did. And boy, didn't I feel like an idiot. Because this guy?


Is not the same as this guy.


This guy?


Is Balthazar Getty, one of the stars of Brothers and Sisters...the show I've been watching for the past month.

This guy?


Is Liev Schreiber. Star of other things, but not one of the stars of Brothers and Sisters...the show I've been watching for the past month.

You can see how I made the mistake, right? I mean, they DO look sort of alike, right? It's not just me, is it? I mean, I know that in the face of overwhelming hotness, my brain cells are in the habit of freezing up like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming, yet overwhelmingly hot, car. But confusing Balthazar Getty and Liev Schreiber is not a complete stretch is it? Well, even if it was, today I learned the difference. Which is probably a good thing, because with these pictures up on my blog now, I doubt I will be doing anything but looking at them for the next week, and while I'm okay with not learning something new EVERY day, I like knowing that I can still learn something new every once in a while.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Little Message For McMama

Hi McMama,
The internet seems to think I should be giving my voice a rest, and considering that I am still firmly in the grips of my laryngitis, I suppose I agree. But that means I will, unfortunately, be unable to call you again today. And while normally, this would be troubling because I feel that my Project Runway viewing experience is not complete until you and I have had a chance to analyze each and every moment, today it's troubling because I understand that Oscar's Sister The Youngest is taking her driver's test this afternoon.

I know that you have a very busy schedule of vacation planning and cookie baking this week, but if I could trouble you to e-mail me after the test and let me know if we are in a pass or a fail position, I would greatly appreciate it. Not that I will be trusting my only vehicle to Oscar's Sister The Youngest while you are all in town, either way. I just need to whether or not to engage her in any kind of conversation for the next couple of weeks. Thanks. (Also? Jeffrey won. Bleh.)

Much Love,

Blessed Silence

McMama and I are in the habit of talking to each other every day. I'm the one who usually makes the phone calls. When Turtle wakes up in the morning, and goes potty and then deposits himself on the couch to watch the Doodlebops, I grab the phone and get down to the business of catching up with my mother-in-law. Oscar often asks me what we have to talk to each other about for an hour every day. Most of the time, I don't really have an answer for him. We talk about everything and we talk about nothing. That's pretty much the nature of our relationship and it works for us.

But this morning I woke up with full-blown laryngitis. I knew it was heading in that direction yesterday. When Snark's Mistress called and I answered with a low, throaty, "Hello?" and she came back with "You sound like shit!" I resigned myself to the fact that my voice was going to get worse before it got better. Sometimes I hate being right. In any event, being that I couldn't make myself heard today, I knew that a phone call to McMama was out of the question. But how to make her aware of that fact? Well, considering that we had spoken yesterday, I kind of figured that when she didn't hear from me, she'd assume I was probably not feeling up to our usual conversation.

I'm sure that would have worked, too, if McMama hadn't decided to cook chicken for dinner tonight. She called me to report on her intended menu because she knew it would make me laugh. Honestly, the thought of McMama cooking any kind of meat gets me laughing these days. She can be trusted to bake and boil water and that's about it. Anything else and you are asking for trouble. Unfortunately, I missed her call by a few seconds and had to call her back. "Hello?" she answered. "Hello," I semi-whispered. "Hello?" she said again. "Hel-LO!" I tried in a somewhat louder whisper. And so it began....our daily phone call, but with a twist.

It didn't take long for her to assess the situation. "You have laryngitis," she pointed out, helpfully. And so I do. We discussed the fact that my colds always seem to lead inexorably to that state. It took McMama pointing it out for me to realize that. colds always lead to laryngitis. I wonder why that is....? A small portion of the back of my mind started churning on that question while the rest of my mind occupied itself with finishing up my conversation. McMama and I said our goodbyes, and I bundled up Turtle so we could head out the door. But that question still haunted me.

The answer came on the freeway as I was on my way to pick up Oscar from work. Most people, at the first sign of a cold or flu, will start taking medication, sucking on throat lozenges, and generally avoiding behavior that will further inflame whatever bacteria or virus is causing their discomfort. But at the first sign of a sore throat what do I do? Continue talking at a rapid-fire pace, loudly and without regard for my poor vocal cords. Why do I do this? Because I? Have Things. To Say. Most of them to McMama, but whatever. I. Have Things. To Say. And thus, my poor inflamed throat is left to cope with the swelling and irritation with no help from me, and when it can't take any more, I find myself with laryngitis.

Not that knowing all of that helps me very much. Because the fact that I end up getting laryngitis several times during the year is not enough to slow me down. I am opinionated and I am loquacious. That isn't going to change. So I will continue to talk, despite the warning a sore throat provides, and I will not rest my larynx, despite the inevitable outcome, and in the end, my vocal cords will turn their backs on me, and I will fall silent for a few days. And I suppose that is only fair. After all, Oscar looks forward to these little silences throughout our relationship as his only opportunity to get a word in edgewise. Who am I to deny him?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I Have Found God

Did you know God can be found in a charming little box, packaged for your convenience:


I'll be worshipping this God for a while....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Joint Session

So, I'm not sure if I mentioned this or not, but Oscar is in therapy. At my request. Actually, it was more like my demand. Kind of one of those "Get your ass into therapy or be prepared to find me packing a bag and moving the hell out" things. Because things around here got kind of bad for a while, and while I had been encouraging him to get therapy for a while, he had hemmed and hawed about it and found excuses not to do it. But then something really crappy happened, and I won't get into what that was because while I'm all about telling poop stories and revealing why I am a complete fruitcake, Oscar didn't ask for that kind of notoriety. Suffice it to say, the crappy thing happened and I told Oscar if he wanted me to stick around and support him through the crappy thing, he had to throw me a bone and get into therapy.

Which, thankfully, he did.

So he's been going every week for quite a while, now. In the process, he's come to realize that wow, he really DID need the therapy, and things have been gradually improving. They started improving even more when he quit resisting my other suggestion that maybe it would be a good idea if he got on anti-depressants. (When he finally figures out how brilliant I actually am, we'll be in excellent shape.) It's been really good, not only for him, but for our marriage.


(You knew there was a "but" coming, didn't you?)

Oscar's therapy was kind of stagnating a bit, because while he recognized that things were still not as great with him as they could be, he was having a hard time figuring out what needed to happen to make things better. And his therapist, recognizing that Oscar is an incredibly intelligent, very logical man, but that maybe he has a harder time vocalizing what's happening with him emotionally, suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea if Oscar's wife came in for one of his sessions so that we could identify some key issues and get some perspective on how to move forward. Which is how I found myself sitting across from Oscar's therapist last night.

Now, before I go on, I just want to say that anyone who is consistently attending therapy sessions and dealing with their issues in an effort to get emotionally and mentally healthy? Is So. Very. Brave. I KNEW I wasn't the focus of last night's session and I was still nervous walking into the room and sitting down to talk. It's daunting, the idea of opening yourself up to another person and risking their judgment. So I have all the respect in the world for Oscar for doing it week after week.

In any case, there I am, sitting down across from Oscar's therapist, waiting to find out what it is she wants to talk about (and secretly wondering if perhaps Oscar had misled me and she is ACTUALLY wanting to talk to me about what a stark, raving bitch I am....which....clearly.) She starts off by telling me what her goals for this session are, which basically include getting my opinion about the way things are going and how to better direct their progress. And of course, she's doing her best to make me feel comfortable, but if there's anything you, my readers, should know about me by now, it's that I am not afraid to express my opinion, even when it hasn't been asked for. The fact that she was actually soliciting my opinion about things? Well, she has only herself to blame for the flurry of words rained down upon her supporting my various and assorted viewpoints.

So we talked, and talked, and talked some more and she nodded her head a lot and said "That makes a lot of sense" to me, which, HELLO with the VALIDATING! I felt so brilliant and put-together! Because here's a therapist! And she is asking ME how to fix things with Oscar! And when I tell her, she's nodding and saying "yes!" Oscar should be giving ME his co-pay every week! Except that I'm his wife! And since when, in the history of marriage, has a man ever taken his wife's word as gospel when he could instead pay someone else to tell him the exact same thing! And why am I still using exclamation points! Because I can, that's why! Vive la exclamation points!

Ahem. It was a very good session, made even more so because there wasn't a single thing that I said in that room that I hadn't already discussed with Oscar. He wasn't surprised by anything, and it was all calm and rational, and I think both of us walked away with the sense that things can only get better for us from here. I think we were both feeling relieved. And I've been invited back anytime. I told his therapist, much as I appreciated the offer, that I think they have enough material to marinate on for a while and that I wouldn't consider intruding again for some time. Truthfully? I think the last thing Oscar or his self-esteem need is to have his therapist AND his wife ganging up on him every week. Isn't that every man's worst nightmare? After having his Mr. Happy chopped off? Right. That's what I thought.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Well, sports fans....It seems I have caught whatever cold/flu/virus is currently being passed around the blogosphere. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming when it no longer hurts to breathe. Until then, please feel free to mingle and partake of the coffee and pastries in the guest lounge. See you on the other side.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Love Affair For The New Millenium

We got a DVR installed on Sunday. It's a wonder I've gotten anything done since then. Well, technically, the only reason I have gotten anything done since then is that it does take time to build up a library of recorded shows. But I don't think I'm too far away from giving my first born child to the DVR gods. Seriously. It's the most totally awesome piece of technology I think I've ever owned or wanted to own. I'm so in love with my DVR, Oscar is torn between elation that I finally have a love affair with something technical and despair that he'll probably never pry me away from the television to have hot monkey sex ever again. I have a nagging sense that this may cause problems in our marriage down the road. But so long as I get custody of the DVR, I'm okay with that. We can negotiate on custody of Turtle.

So what took us so long to succomb to the siren song of the DVR? Well, I blame it on our cable company. For a long time, we were in a small section of the city that was only serviced by one cable company. And that cable company sucked. Hard. The signal was never great, and their customer service was barely helpful. We often lost connection for hours at a time for no discernible reason. But it was all we had so we dealt with it. We paid our bills, we hoped that the signal wouldn't be lost in the middle of Grey's Anatomy, and we prayed nightly that the larger, better, more popular cable company in the area would one day start servicing our little neighborhood. And until they did, we didn't want to get sucked in to paying for more equipment or more service from a company who had a hard time even providing us with the basics.

Then, one bright sunny day, while the birds chirped and the flowers bloomed, we got a letter in the mail from the larger, better, more popular cable company in the area. And in this letter, they informed us that they had bought out our crappy little cable company and we could soon be welcomed into the loving embrace of their faster, more reliable service. I could hear the choir of angels singing their Hallelujahs. And when the angels were done singing, they encouraged me to finally order the DVR. So order it we did.

I have now had the DVR for a week, and as I mentioned, I am in love. We're still in the beginning stages of our romance, so it's all giddy and breathless anticipation for the moment we are next able to see each other. I haven't known him long enough to learn his faults. Right now, all I can see is how he's going to change my life for the better. And I can't even imagine how I lived my life before he came into it. But if I were to place bets, I'd say that this is a love affair that's meant to go the distance. I know a lot of people don't believe in love at first sight, but this is the real thing. Cymber + DVR 4Eva!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Random Musings From An Ungrateful Mom

Sometimes I suck. And not in the fun way that Oscar likes, because he's a dirty, dirty man. But in the way that has me complaining about things that for which I should instead be immensely grateful. I mean, I know that I am extremely lucky that I get to stay home with my Turtle and be present for all of the milestones in his life. I know that I am blessed for this time with him when he is actually happy to have me around and not asking me to walk 25 paces behind him because his friends might see, and oh, he hates me. I also know that there are many women (and not a small amount of men) who would kill to be in my shoes. But there are days when I just don't have it in me to feel grateful.

Don't get me wrong. I am crazy in love with my child. It's extremely difficult not to be. Sure, every parent thinks her kid is the smartest, cutest, most well-behaved, but in the case of MY child, all of those things are actually true. He's a great little boy. And I am loving every stage of his development. He was an adorable baby, and a fun toddler, and he's a fascinating preschooler. But when he's climbing all over me because I dared to spend a minute too long on the phone? And when he's whining at me because he hasn't gotten enough sleep but is too stubborn to go take a nap? When he's insisting that we play go-gos for the fifth time that day and all I want to do is sit on the computer and read blogs and play frickin' Pogo? The selfish takes over and I just want to go find a nice room with a door and a lock that actually works, put in some ear plugs and just pray that he hasn't figured out how to make fire yet.

The thing is that I recognize that I have these urges and when they occur, I do my best to really focus in on Turtle, because I know that half the time he just wants a few minutes of my undivided attention and then he will be more than happy to go play on his own. It's just that there are more times than I care to admit when I just don't want to focus. I want to fast forward to a time in his life when I can negotiate with him instead. "Listen, kid, all Mommy is asking for is 30 minutes of uninterrupted computer time, and in return, I'm offering a trip to the zoo and a new toy. Do we have a deal?"

And what's worse is that I can't just chalk that up to the fact that just because I'm a Mommy doesn't mean that I stopped being human. I can't just give myself a break because all of us need time to ourselves now and then, and it's tough taking care of someone who wants what he wants when he wants it, not to mention the energy it takes to care for Turtle. (Heh.) No, instead I go through the immense feelings of guilt because I know I'm not the Mother of the Year...far from it, and although Turtle is growing into an amazing boy (in no small part because of the way Oscar and I are raising him), I just know I could be doing better. And yet....I'm not.

Pile all of it together and you get a big pile of "I suck." And if this is what it was like every day, I guess I'd have to start seriously thinking about going back to work so that we could afford day care. Because if it was like this every day, I would have to believe that Turtle would be better off with people who actually got trained and paid to play games with him all day and stimulate his mind and encourage his social development. But it's not like this every day. In fact, sometimes, it's so much better than this that it's literally like living in a house with rainbows and sunshine and unicorns and all of those other things that are so beautiful and happy that you want to vomit from the sugar shock. And on those days? The days when Turtle finishes going potty, flushes the toilet, and then waves and says "Bye Poops! I love you" and blows his excrement a kiss? On those days I want to bitch slap myself for being ungrateful for even a second.

Monday, October 09, 2006

So This Is What Adulthood Looks Like

It's taken me three days to recover. On Friday night, I embarked on a little project I like to call "growing up" and I did so with a bang. How did this happen? Well, it all started when the doorbell rang a few weeks ago. I made the mistake of opening the door, and found a slightly rotund, balding man on my doorstep holding pamphlets for his company. He was offering to give me a free estimate of what it might cost to change out our windows and doors. Then I made the mistake of saying "Sure, I'd love an estimate" and gave him my phone number.

Now, I'm not a complete idiot. I gave him my house number, being as it is the one phone I NEVER answer, and I told him to call me once I returned from my trip to New York, so I had plenty of time to rethink whether I needed my doors and windows replaced. But when I returned from my trip and a week later noticed that there were calls from his company on my phone every day since my return, I started to feel a little guilty. And when the phone rang and I happened to look at the caller id and notice that it was this company, calling again, the guilt returned enough that I actually picked up the phone.

The conversation was odd. The woman who called to set up the appointment was obviously reading off a script, and the more it went along, the more creeped out I was by the whole thing. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I wouldn't have been surprised if they estimator had come by and tried to get us involved in a multi-level marketing thing for windows and doors. It was really awkward. But I went ahead and scheduled the appointment, thinking that 8:00 on a Friday night would be a fine time to talk windows and doors. After all, what else would I be doing, now that my favorite babysitter is sequestered away in Flagstaff?

But then Friday night arrived, and neither Oscar nor I had eaten, and we were both exhausted and all I wanted to do was cancel this stupid appointment that I was stupid enough to set up because I stupidly answered the phone. Though, as Oscar rightfully pointed out, when else were we going to do this, and really, we DO need our doors replaced at least, and let's just listen to his pitch and send him on his way so we could think about it. Heh. We're so naive.

Because the estimator got here and we started talking, and he educated us about how much energy we were losing through our current orifices and how much sound was coming in, and before we knew it, he had samples on the table and was showing us how this side of the window is 275 degrees, but THAT side of the window...the one that is presumably inside your house...THAT side didn't even raise a full degree. And before I knew it, I was nodding vigorously. And then Oscar was nodding vigorously. And at that moment, I knew it was all over.

As you can probably guess, before we could blink, this guy had paperwork out and I was filling out an application for a five-figure loan amount. And the thing was, by the time he left, which was after midnight, people, I was so exhausted, I couldn't even hyperventilate with buyers' remorse. In explaining this whole situation to McMama the other day, she made all the sympathetic noises and then said, "You just bought windows and doors for your house. You're making home improvements. Do you feel like an adult now?" And yes. Yes, I do. In fact, I feel a little TOO much like an adult. I'd kind of like to mitigate this "feeling like an adult" experience. So I'm thinking I need to get McMama and Mama Jo to go ahead and assume the loan payments for these windows and doors. That will go a long way towards helping me retain my youth. Because nothing says "immature freeloading infant" quite like getting your parents to pay for your expenses. I feel younger already.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Project Runway: The Reunion

Before I start on the reunion show, I just wanted to mention, for all two of you who rely on my Project Runway recaps every week, that I am sorry I did not have anything to say about the last episode. The fact of the matter is, nothing really happened. Nobody got auf'd. All four of the remaining designers are showing at Fashion Week. There was, therefore, no point to that episode. Besides, I'm still perplexed how Uli can make the same damn dress she's been making all season, except for having cut a foot of fabric off the skirt, and have the judges beside themselves with love for her "originality." Please. Give me some scissors and I can transform my wardrobe, too. That doesn't make me a fabulous designer. GAH!

Anyway, on to the reunion show. As anticipated, any scene including Keith was awkward and uncomfortable. I loved that Tim and Heidi were all over his ass and wouldn't let him get away with the delusional crap spewing from his lips, but at the same time? It's very discomfiting to watch a man so determined to accept zero responsibility for his actions. They put the books in my room? Are you kidding me, Keith? She pointed to the door, like I should leave? Really? I was set up? I was just a blameless victim? Give me an effing break. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, Keith, and say you are a grown up. As a grown up, you do not enter into a contract that you expect to govern your life for any period of time without reading all of the provisos and quid pro quos. You check the fine print. And you abide by it. If you brought books to the show, even to the first day, even if they were taken away from you at the door, you have already violated your contract. If you leave the show, you have violated your contract. So don't even, buddy. We're not buying what you're trying to sell. You're a big cheater. You got caught. Own it and move on.

Next up, the other delusional nutjob on the show: Vincent. Oddly enough, I think I understood what he was trying to say with the whole "amateur" discussion, which either means that I'm living in the same parallel, insane universe Vincent is or that I just happen to speak "Crazy." But that still doesn't change the fact that he really needed to shut his trap. His career in fashion was decades ago, and while I appreciate that he may have enjoyed a degree of success then, things are different now. And he can talk all he wants about how much better he is than everyone else, but his ass was still auf'd before the final four. That said, watching him lose his shit over the damn laundry was priceless. Particularly when you have Kayne and Michael both looking over the railing going, "Is that Vincent?"

Then, of course, we had the Mommygate Redux. I found it quite interesting that Laura attempted to defend Jeffrey during the discussion of that whole situation. And I honestly want to believe that not even Jeffrey would intentionally set out to make someone's mom cry, even if that someone is Angela. So I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he wasn't deliberately trying to make her feel like slime. But still. The man needed to take some responsibility for his appalling behavior, and I don't believe he did. Saying he didn't set out to make her cry is not exactly admitting that he didn't treat her very well and should have been nicer. We'll call that whole thing a wash.

As for the funny? Well, I don't think anything is going to top Santino's Tim Gunn impression. I still can't pass a Red Lobster without chuckling. That said, the clips on Tim Gunn's vocabulary were pretty amusing, as were the ones featuring the designers and their own special phrasing. As though I didn't already have enough reasons to love Laura, her "serious ugly" clip made me worship her anew. But my favorite was the word count on Kayne's Miss USA pitch session. Kayne always had a special place in my heart, and listening to him talk a mile a minute was a big reason for that. Seriously though? Almost 1000 words to Miss USA's 7? That's got to be some sort of a record.

All in all? The show had enough Dra-ma in it to whet my appetite, as well as the funny to keep things from getting too uncomfortable. But honestly? It's all about the previews for next week. Did I see correctly? Is Laura accusing Jeffrey of cheating? Scan-dal! It's all so deliciously fabulous. God, I love this show.

Carry on!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Our Hope For The Future?

For the most part, I like to believe I really have my shit together. I try to keep a healthy attitude about this crazy ride we call life, and for the most part, I'm successful. I mean, don't get me wrong...I have my moments when I go off the deep end (last night being a glaring example...Oscar is still in the fetal position under the bed. He asks you to please send help immediately.) But with the exception of some hormonally-feuled psychotic breaks now and then and the occasional glitch in my self-esteem, I'm otherwise quite balanced. I'm at peace with myself emotionally; I consider myself reasonably intelligent; I have good friends who appreciate my quirky sense of humor. Put it all together and I seem to have the whole package.

There is, however, something about motherhood, or perhaps it's something about being the mother to my particular brand of almost-three-year-old, that makes me wonder sometimes if I'm not as put together as I think I am. I often think, after Turtle has chastised me yet again for not doing something that he specifically instructed me to do and "Holy Hannah, Mommy, what do I have to DO? Spell it out for you? Use smaller words? What?" that maybe I really SHOULD have finished college, because I'm obviously not smart enough to keep up with his Sesame Street-level brain.

It's very lowering to realize that your child, who can't even speak English 100% of the time, thinks you're a flaming idiot. It's so sad, it's almost comical. I spend half the day listening to him impatiently explain, YET AGAIN, what he wants me to do, and "Do you have it this time Mommy? Because if I have to explain this again, I swear, I'm gonna blow!" and then the other half of the day listening to him patronizingly say "Good job, Mommy" when I've managed to do something of which he approves.

And okay, sure, I said that it was kind of good for my self-esteem when he was congratulating me for using the potty properly, but that was before he started rolling his eyes and heaving a big sigh when he had to tell me one more time that my left hand goes on the bottom of the grip to stabilize and my right index finger goes on the trigger. Believe me, the eye-rolling and big sigh-heaving is happening a lot more often than the high-five for figuring out how to wipe my ass.

I'm concerned about this for more than one reason. First, I don't like the idea that I'm raising Turtle to be so smugly superior. I want him to have more patience, compassion and understanding. I don't want him to get pushed around, but I don't want him to be doing any pushing, either. Second, if this goes on much longer, I fear the psychological ramifications. Not for him. For me. I'm walking on eggshells around this kid. If he keeps this up, well, I don't think it will be a very long downward spiral before I'm self-medicating with alcohol and cheap, meaningless encounters with sleazy men. (Hmmm.....! I may have to do that anyway....)

But the biggest red flag for me? THIS is the kid I'm going to be relying on to take care of me in my old age? He doesn't have any patience with me NOW! How bad are things going to be when I can't control my bladder, I think Metamucil is a food group, and he has to spoon-feed me dinner? It doesn't inspire any confidence in me. I know he's only two, but if he can't learn a little more sympathy for my inability to keep up with him, I don't want him to be the one to pick my nursing home. He'll put me in a facility with a contemporary Nurse Ratched. I don't need that kind of aggravation. It's going to be hard enough making sure Oscar doesn't try hitting on the candy stripers before he puts his teeth in every morning.

So I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm thinking it's a little too early for a military academy, and I can't say that they're particularly well known for teaching compassion, anyway. I would go the therapy route, but the kid's already got enough to deal with in therapy without adding this wrinkle. I guess I could try bribery. I didn't have to use the M&Ms to get the kid potty trained. Maybe I should just go ahead and use them to start treating Mommy with some respect. One M&M if he manages to go 5 minutes without the eye roll. Two M&Ms if he can go 5 minutes without the eye roll OR the long-suffering sigh. I'd worry about him gaining a few extra pounds with this system in place, but then again, I know my kid. I doubt he'll be eating enough M&Ms to make it an issue. There has GOT to be a better way. Hey, does anyone know if electroshock therapy is "in" again? Just curious.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Another True Confession

So, I think I've mentioned that I'm a compulsive planner. I wouldn't normally make a huge case of it, because as Oscar likes to point out, we all seem to be compulsive in one way or another. And my compulsion is a little more understandable when you realize that my brother plans NOTHING, and does everything last minute. Big things, small things, it doesn't matter...he waits until the last minute to put things together and then relies on his family and friends to handle the details and make it all work. It's very annoying, so it's no surprise to me that I've compensated by going in the opposite direction and planning everything.

It's just that yesterday, things took a turn for the odd, and I thought it was time to revisit how completely neurotic I am.

There is, for instance, the fact that I planned having children down to the week...(This didn't happen yesterday. I just kind of felt it was important for me to establish my history of being a complete nutjob before getting down to what happened yesterday.)

Oscar and I had been together for 7 years when Turtle was born. I agonized over when to get pregnant for at least 5 of those years. It took me at least that long to run the proper mathematical equations to calculate when it would be best for us financially. It also took me that long to run the proper psychological testing to calculate when it would be best for us emotionally. And when all the tests came back and indicated that we were good to go, I still had to think about what our schedules were like for the next year and determine when it would be appropriate to tell Oscar to get his swim team ready.

We were planning a cruise for February of 2003. I told my closest friends and family that we'd start trying then, though "trying" isn't a completely accurate description of what we were going to do. "Trying" implies some sort of active participation in the process, whereas all we planned to do is stop using birth control and leave the rest up to fate (whose sense of humor I have come to appreciate.) Well, okay, that's not completely accurate, either. Being me, after all, I had calculated the patterns of my menstrual cycle and determined that while on the cruise, I'd be ovulating, and I thus told Oscar to be prepared to have lots and lots of sex, because I figured he would assume he was going to get lots and lots of sex on vacation, anyway, and at least this made it seem like all the sex was my idea, and I could earn some serious spousal points that way.

Regardless, Oscar figured we'd start trying on the cruise and if we got pregnant at any time after that, we'd be in good shape. I don't think he really counted on the amazing power I have when I start planning things, because I'm pretty sure I got pregnant on Cruise Day One. Coincidentally, that day also happened to be Mama Jo's birthday, so I like to tell her that the baby we created that day was especially for her. It gives me no end of amusement to think that her birthday gift was Oscar giving it to me like the cheap hussy I am.

In any case, fast forward to yesterday. I've been trying to get back to the gym on a regular basis, which hasn't really happened for a variety of reasons, only some of which stem from the fact that I'm a lazy ass. I've also been trying to get better about my eating habits, because I figure if I'm ever going to lose weight, I'm going to have to come to terms with the fact that Ben and Jerry's is not a food group, and therefore does not constitute "lunch" in this or any other universe. On the other hand, I also have an almost-three-year-old, who makes it difficult for me to make healthy decisions spontaneously, being that he will often ask to shoot go-gos at the precise moment I am contemplating what to have for breakfast. This creates a problem, i.e. in a remake of Return of the Jedi, I could be asked to be Jabba the Hut's body double.

But of course, there is no problem so large that it can not be solved by my compulsive need to plan, Plan, PLAN! Which is why, yesterday, I could be found on my computer, setting appointments in Outlook that looked something like this: 6:30am - Wake Up. 7:00am - Eat Breakfast. 8:30am - Go to Gym. 10:00am - Eat Second Breakfast. 11:00am - Outside Time. 1:00pm - Eat Lunch. And so on, and so on, and so on. I suppose it wouldn't be so bad if I printed a sample day out and wrote these little notes in the margins so that I would have a general idea how to structure my day. But no. I set these as actual appointments in my calendar and what's worse....I set the recurrence to "daily" so these appointments show up all day, every day. Just looking at my calendar, you'd think I was the busiest person you'd ever met. least until you actually read the details on the appointments. Then you'd realize I'm not busy. I'm just a freak.

Still, fate continues to have a sense of humor. Because I didn't get a chance to keep any of my appointments today. I stayed up a little too late with Oscar last night, watching Dodgeball. And then Turtle woke up in the middle of the night with a nose bleed. And then I couldn't get back to sleep, so I ended up sleeping in this morning. And now Turtle has a cold, which means I can't take him to the daycare at the gym. So it doesn't matter how many times my computer tries to remind me of my master plan. It ain't happening. I'm so glad I put in all that time, planning my life out in exquisite detail. Ah well, if nothing else, it provided me with the opportunity to prove that yes, I really am that big of a freak.