Thursday, September 27, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday. Or Thursday, if you're lazy.

Hello, I have a ton of stuff to do.  Busy busy busy lady over here.

Kids to shuttle to activities, dinner to make, shopping to do, weekend plans to finalize and prepare for, floors to clean.  The list goes on because I let things go.

I don't know about you, but all this to-do paralyzes me, and my reaction to paralysis is laziness.

It's too overwhelming, so I sit.  And browse the internet and drink coffee.  And ignore all those things that are screaming my name.

And spend my time doing stuff like this instead:

Come closer and tell me that I'm a lazy ass.

Aw, crap.  I am a lazy ass.

Man, I wish my hair looked better on this side.

I guess I should get out there and do something.
It's important, right?


Monday, September 24, 2012

First Love

It was the end of a long weekend, and when I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things, I figured it would be a good night for movie night, and scrolled through the Redbox offerings.

There wasn’t much to choose from.  It WAS Sunday night, after all. (Or are we the last family to still rent movies from an external source, and there just isn’t a good selection in these machines anyway?  I always assume I’m hopelessly old-fashioned in every way.)

Anyway, I snagged an Australian movie called Red Dog.  The Australians have been good to us in the past, what with Duma and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  I figured this movie would be okay for us.  I didn’t even read the synopsis.  Family movies about dogs are pretty safe all around, so I took it home and announced that tonight was Red Dog night.

Groans and whines and defeated sighs were heard all around.  Why is mom so uncool?  Why does she still act like we’re babies?  What is with her and these crazy foreign movies?

And when my husband quit complaining, the children started.

I ignored their rudeness and fired up the movie, and watched the heck out of Red Dog and his exploits, which were amazing and touching and maybe one of the best family movies we’ve seen in a while.  I won’t spoil one detail for you, because you should see it.  We all loved it in different ways.

In particular, my daughter, age 9, was totally taken with the main character in the movie, played by Josh Lucas, American actor.   
He’s smoking hot, as told to me several times by my daughter, age 9.  Mr. Lucas is 42 years old.  She thinks he’s 30.  Which is, whoa, way too old for her to think he is smoking hot.  Why does my 9-year-old use this term, anyway?

When I mentioned that he’s probably close to 40, she said no problem, can you Google him and print out a picture of him for my wall?  Because he is smoking hot. 
Josh Lucas, at 42, is probably the oldest dude in the world with the youngest fan ever.

So Josh Lucas is my daughter’s first celebrity crush. 

It makes more sense when you look at this picture of my husband, who resembles him a little:

The girl thinks her Dad is handsome.
Who doesn't?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Labor Intensive

It’s been a couple of weeks, and I think I can talk about it now.

On Labor Day weekend, my family and I attended a college football game. Labor Day Weekend is the first official week of college football.

Is it?  I don’t really know.

But each year, a few weeks before Labor Day, my husband gets that look in his eyes that I try to avoid at all costs.

Not the one you’re thinking about, ya pervs.

The one I’m talking about is the one where he gets all dewy eyed thinking about men crashing into each other wearing tight pants and big shoulder pads.  The one where their masculinity is highlighted, as if anybody needs more of that nonsense.  I don’t get it.  If you’d like an idea about how much I don’t get it, see here.  Or here.  And here.  Again.

Anyway, every year my husband makes a big deal about our whole family going to see a live college football game, and he fixes me with a different look, the one that implies that my life will be a living hell full of football talk and football tickets and sports bars and beer and football parties at our house just out of spite if I don’t agree to it just once IT’S JUST ONE GAME FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IS IT REALLY SO BAD?

Um, yes.  It is that bad.

It’s that bad because I hate football, but also because we tailgate, which is just like camping, which really isn’t what I call a good time.  I don’t like to spend much time outside anyway because of bugs and wind and rain and unpredictable weather patterns and unreliable weather forecasts but when you add packing up so much stuff to entertain yourself and eat that there is barely enough room in your car for four people, I get a little twitchy.

As my mother-in-law put it as we were readying the coolers (yes, coolerSSSSS) to transport all manner of food and drink and inventorying the grocery bags full of snacks and paper products and water for drinking and water for cleaning and rags and knives and kitchen utensils and condiments and special beer can holders and chairs and a tent and grill and propane and footballs and custom collegiate official tailgating beanbag game and tablecloths and OMG is there anything else a family of four could possibly need to take with them to a football game, “Isn’t this a lot of work just for a football game?”

I have never loved my mother-in-law as much as I did at that moment, when my husband was practically squeeing with excitement, completely lacking the realization that his wife would rather do anything other than attend a football event for twelve hours, not to mention we were doing all this work for said football event.  My mother-in-law got that this was madness.

And I tucked this small validation into my back pocket, and away we went to the football game.

We set up our campsite (let’s call it what it is, shall we) and cooked and ate and drank, and two hours later we cleaned up and packed up the truck again to walk five miles to the stadium.  When we got there, we took our seats with the hundred thousand fans around us, and my daughter, who had taken a Benadryl to combat the allergic reaction she had to a bug bite, promptly put her sweaty head in my sweaty lap for an antihistamine nap.  When she came to, she and I left our seats and walked around the stadium for three hours and ate ice cream and put our heads close to the mister fans which served as our in-stadium entertainment until our hair was wet.  We met the boys back at our seats at the end of the game where we learned that our team had lost.  We walked back to the campsite where we unpacked the truck and re-set up camp and cooked and ate and drank again.  Did I mention porta-potties?

And when we were finished, we cleaned up, packed up, and left.  We unpacked once more when we got home.

And once we got there, it was MY turn to give the look.  You know the one I mean.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

I am a reader, and always have been.

I love to read.  Books, that is.  I don’t have a reading device or iPad or anything.  I KNOW.  It’s the best thing ever.  I don’t have it.  Get off my back already.

When I was a kid I had this series of Peanuts comics that I borrowed and then stole from my grandmother’s neighbor and I read them until they fell apart.  I read and re-read Sweet Valley High, all the Judy Blumes, and all the weird terrifying novels I could find about teenage girls finding themselves in dire situations.

I’m still like that.  I read anything.  I re-read favorites.  I totally judge a book by its cover – if it looks interesting, I’m on it.  I don’t have a favorite author.  I’ll read classics if I’m in the mood. I do like specific kinds of books – biographies and novels, mostly.  Many books I read have some sort of love situation in them but most of them don’t have a picture of a fair maiden in a bodice with a hulking casanova holding her from behind with his hand resting on her belly, which is the perfect spot to approach me if you would like to be punched in the neck.  Just ask my husband.

About two years ago I bought a bunch of books at our local bookstore that was closing.  I was so excited to read these books and thought I’d read them all within a month or two.  That’s how much of a reader I am.

At least I was.

I just finished reading all of those books.  Like last month.  And I am just now getting around to reading the book I got for Christmas last year.  It’s taking me forever – I’ve been working on it for a month, and I'm only halfway through.  It’s interesting enough – the life of Cleopatra – but because it’s been taking me so long, I am starting to doubt myself as the ultimate reader, book junkie, bookworm, or whatever smarty-pants label I have been giving myself all these years.

My confession is that I guess I'm not much of a reader of literature after all.  It’s hitting me hard.  How can I pass the love of reading to my kids if I can’t even get through one measly book in ten months? 

Maybe this has something to do with it:

Darn, you, Vogue, and your nine hundred pages of beautiful ads and articles about Paris and art and all manner of hoity-toity things.  Darn you.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Dig it

I use the internet to learn about the world around me, and I love it more and more each day.

I wish I could say that I use it to learn about important things, like the state of the environment, or how I can reduce my carbon footprint, or even to learn what a carbon footprint is.  I might use it to better understand political nuances, to mine information about the upcoming presidential elections, or even to learn about important world events, like wars and economies and upheavals or even changing weather patterns and new technologies.  I might even use it to keep up with pop culture like TV shows or sports events so I could follow conversations that normal people have.

But of course I don’t use the internet for any of these things.  Not on a regular basis, anyway.

Most of information gathering I do via the internet is for looking up obscure words and slang phrases, keeping up-to-date on stories on events like beard and mustache competitions and ugly pet contests, catching up on news stories like when a woman sat on her toilet for so long that her butt grew around the seat, or just looking at pictures of animals in compromising positions or outfits, like this one:
Somthing tells me this guy hates the internet.
For obvious reasons.

Or this one:
There's just nothing about this picture I don't like.

I am a girl who likes her internet light, like carbonated cotton candy.

Which is real, by the way. 

And Wikipedia.  Even though it isn’t the most reliable reference, I could spend – and have spent – hours there.  What I Know Is is that I love Wikipedia.  I especially love when topics are badly represented.  A large part of my personal enjoyment thrives on human errors.  Once I spent several hours learning about Vanna White’s life.  I don’t remember how I got to her Wiki page.  I found myself mesmerized by it.  Her autobiography is surely a pageturner.  Of course now I don’t have to read it, having saved myself a little over nine dollars by using Wikipedia.  Incidentally, my Vanna White research trip had to be cut short when I found myself clicking a direct link to Wikipedia’s Wiki page because I felt my mind start to implode.

Don’t even mention Stumbleupon.  I had to stop.  So much time lost.

I'm not going to pretend that I have even scratched the surface of what is out there to discover on the internet.  I try to avoid Pinterest and Tumblr and Reddit because I would lose years just by opening those floodgates of nonsense.  Facebook is enough for me, what with the never-ending layers of photos to be seen of my friends' friends' friends' friends.  And maybe even their friends, too.  I only allow myself occasional doses of Youtube.

How do you lose yourself in the internet?

mad kitty photo credit
anderson fat cat photo credit

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

My kids have fifty five thousand, one hundred and seventy eight stuffed animals. 

Oops.  HAD.

Now, they have fifty five thousand, one hundred and thirty five.   And I'm not done yet.

Seriously?  Seriously.

Barbie is included here for reference, but also for color commentary.


Monday, September 10, 2012

10 Ways I Drive My Husband Bonkers

My husband and I have been together for one hundred and ninety seven years. 

Not quite, but close.

Anybody who’s anybody who’s lived with another human being knows that when you spend a lot of time with another person and you know them inside and out and backwards and forwards, some things get easier. 

Like knowing what kind of beer he likes and how he likes his underwear folded and that he can only be around your one friend who wears that one shirt all the time for about an hour before he starts to twitch.

What is wonderful about being in a committed relationship is that one other person knows you almost as well as you know yourself.

It can also be a bad thing, if your partner likes to use what she knows about you against you.  Or if your partner is a little bit unstable or more likely just thinks she's hilarious.

My husband is the straight guy in our relationship.  He is to the point and diplomatic, easy-going, friendly, and confident.  He is gracious and smart, smiles a lot, and never talks badly about anybody.  Ever.  He’s usually right and does well at nearly everything he tries.  He refuses to lose an argument and will argue any point well.  He wins every game he plays.  He’s not mean about it.  Almost every person he meets falls in love with him immediately.  It’s like freaking Everybody Loves Keith around here.

Because he is everyone’s favorite and does everything perfectly, it can be little hard to live with him if you’re a repeat offender like me who constantly seems to be getting into trouble and screwing up daily tasks. 

So even though he would never say so, I drive him crazy.  Most of the time it’s not even on purpose, but sometimes I totally retaliate.  I’m not proud.  I think I might be here on earth to make sure he doesn’t get a big head.  Here are ten ways I drive my husband bonkers:

1.  When he borrows my stapler and then sighs in disgust, I ask him what’s wrong and then I do a little singsong “Ha, Ha” when he says there was only one staple in it.

2.  When I’m out, I leave messages for him asking if he wants me to pick anything up for him.  Then I leave my phone in the car when I’m shopping.  Then I forget that I called him in the first place and don’t check the messages.  And then I come home and find out that he needed one thing that I totally could have picked up for him.

3.  If I’m out running errands and he calls me to pick something up, I will agree, and then come home having forgotten to get what he asked for.

4.  When I get money from the bank, I take some and give him some.  I always take more than I give him.  When we are shopping together, I ask him to pay.

5.  I have only mowed our lawn three times.  If he can’t mow because he’s too busy, I let it grow into a jungle and save the task for him even if I’m not busy at all.  I call lawn mowing “Man’s Work,” just like lightbulb-changing, bug squishing, wood hauling, and grill cleaning.

6.  I never put his clean laundry away.  I pile it on the floor near the bed, even if he’s away.

7.  I play Devil’s Advocate when he confides in me about an issue he has with someone else, even if the other person is clearly wrong.

8.  If we have a party at our house, I don’t let him eat any food that I’ve prepared until everyone has arrived.

9.  I make him get the kids ready for bed just because I don’t want to miss any of the TV show I happen to be watching.  I need a break for goodness’ sake.  Meanwhile, they were in school all day while I was home and my husband just wrapped up a fourteen hour workday.

10.  My husband asks me to help him with color coordination when he dresses for work.  I say everything looks fine, then when I see him later, I’m all, “You wore THAT to work?”  Then I tease him with a little ditty I made up:  “Light on top, dark on bottom.  Dark on bottom, light on top.  Light, dark.  Dark, light."  I wave my hands over him Vanna White style.

I guess I’m kind of a jerk, but he knew that one hundred and ninety seven years ago.
Don't let the smile fool you.  Inside he's screaming.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dinnertime is Dilemmatime

My kids have friends over frequently.

Most every day I hear the words, “Mom? Can I have a friend over?”  On the days where I don’t hear these words, I’m away from the house.

Anyway, I love that my kids have friends, because it means that my kids are liked, that they are well-adjusted, that they are not sociopaths – all good things I had hoped they’d be as they grew and things that I wasn’t when I was their ages.

It’s always great when my kids have friends over, because when they have friends over, they play with their friends and THEY DO NOT FIGHT WITH EACH OTHER.

The only problem with having friends over is when friends come over during dinner time and I am already several minutes an hour into the hot dogs and fish sticks gourmet meal that I am preparing lovingly for my family and my kids say, “Can my friend stay for dinner?”

Because I don’t often make enough food for leftovers, let alone a whole other person.

I am not selfish with food, and I enjoy feeding other people’s children.  But for the most part I don’t make enough for extra.  Because as everyone who is familiar with the pigs and hogs rule knows, the more food you make, the more you eat.

And none of us need to be eating another serving of whatever I’m serving up for supper. 

If it’s sitting on the table, eventually someone will say, “Well, let’s just finish that up,” or “I might as well have some more,” or, “I’m not really hungry but it’s right there.”  Fast forward and we’ve eaten our savings account and we all need cranes to lift us out of bed.

I used to make enough food for Jon & Kate and their eight rugrats, plus the Duggars and their ninety-seven kids.  We’d eat some and then put the rest in the fridge, and eat it until it was gone or it grew legs and walked off.  But after food got so freaking expensive that mac and cheese became a luxury, and my husband and I realized that we felt horrible from eating large volumes of food, I pared the food prep – and resulting intake – down some.

Now I only make enough for us, so when a friend is calling, I don’t have enough.

The first solution I came up with was that the sibling with the friend and the friend decide which one of them gets a peanut butter and jelly, or a turkey sandwich, or a Hot Pocket or something more appealing than fish and green beans.  Usually those kids are so jazzed about not eating fish and green beans that it’s not a problem.

It became a fight to the death about how the sibling or friend gets the good meal and we have to eat the gross one.  A fight that we deal with during dinner when all I want to do is eat my dinner in peace OMG CAN WE HAVE PEACE AT THE TABLE FOR ONCE?!?!?

Then I thought I’d keep enough of whatever is healthful on hand so if someone has to give up their meal for the friend, at least there is something else healthy to eat that no one will fight over.  I started to make a huge salad in a big ass bowl that holds about 150 cups of anything you have 150 cups of. 

Until my husband started to eat salad for lunch from the big ass bowl, and since that’s what I eat for lunch every day, and we have it for dinner most nights, we never have enough salad.  Evidently the pigs and hogs rule applies for salad, too.

So I’m not sure what to do about the dinner dilemma.  I guess the obvious solution would be to refuse friends for dinnertime, but is it really worth my kids becoming sociopaths and outcasts?

Maybe we should just eat Hot Pockets for dinner every night.  There always seems to be enough Hot Pockets.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

We got a bad bag of Twizzlers at the grocery store, and I’m a little bit upset.

The problem isn’t the quality, or the freshness, or the taste, or even the price.

It’s that they are, well, they are all twisted up.  Some lazy Twizzler stuffer stuffed those Twizzlers in the bag all willy-nilly.  They are not in neat rows, ready to be peeled from the giant sticky blob of Twizzlers one at a time.  It’s like the Twizzlers were twizzled into knots.

This is offensive.

So that when I am sneaking a Twizzler or two (or five, if I’m being real), I have to remove all the Twizzlers from the bag to get one out without ripping it into pieces, which is noisy and makes it harder to sneak, and therefore I must share with my children, who are candy pigs with supernatural candy-bag-opening senses.
This has me in a twizzy. 
Sorry about that.
I guess what I’m confessing here is not how much this current Twizzlers predicament annoys me, nor that I hate sharing candy with my children, but I eat buy so many Twizzlers that I know when I’ve got a bad bag.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Now and Then

My son is in middle school.

The term conjures up images of institutions filled with hormonal preadolescents, smelly classrooms, messy lockers, social divisions, mean girls, bullies, and teachers who had to have drawn the short straw in the teaching pool.  This age is so difficult.  How do they manage a whole school filled with people who cry at the drop of a hat, have a propensity for melodrama and test every possible boundary?  How do they teach them anything in this mess?

Do you remember middle school?  I went to junior high, and I remember it being a little nerve-racking because I switched schools my second year in and had to make all new friends, which was tricky because of my questionable social skills.

It was difficult in different ways, too.  I remember wanting desperately to fit in outwardly; my hair and clothes had to match everyone else’s.  Looking back at my old yearbooks, I think I accomplished that goal.  It was the 80’s.  We all looked terrible.

My son and his friends wear a uniform of brand-emblazoned T-shirts, shorts, and sneakers, or athletic slides with black socks.  There is no deviation from this uniform.  I remember all boys dressing alike in junior high, and the current trend toward everything 80’s makes everything feel a little familiar.

I remember wanting boys to like me; back then, girls waited around for boys to like us.  Now, a girl will take matters into her own hands and tell a boy she likes him and that they are now going out.  Now, just as it was back then, they don’t go anywhere.  Relationships begin and end in record time; true love is proclaimed and hearts are broken before lunch period is over.

I remember the drama of friendships, fighting, acting silly and obnoxious to get attention, feeling as if all adults were against me.  My son is starting to act this way.  I remember feeling as if my parents had suddenly aged fifty years and were shockingly unable to relate to me.  What’s ridiculous is that when I was in junior high AND senior high, my parents were younger than I am now. 

Teachers were an afterthought; they were all the same: old, weird, and badly dressed.  These days all my kids’ teachers look exactly like I do right now, except for the young and newly-minted teachers, who just make me feel terrible about myself.

Sigh.  Middle school.  I guess it never gets any easier.