Saturday, June 30, 2012

Perspective

Our AC went out yesterday.  We live in the Northeast, and it's almost July, so unless you don't get what I'm saying here, let me spell it out for you:

It's hot as balls here.

Sweaty like that, too.

It's like the second heat wave of the summer, or something like that.  I don't know.  All I know is that I am sweating and hot and can't concentrate on anything except how sweaty and hot I am.

Evidently that's all my husband can think about too, because we are wandering around the house, sweating, looking at each other, and silently wondering when this madness will end.  We are at the mercy of the Air Conditioning Rock Stars, who only work from Monday to Friday.

Hello, weekend.

We are not handy people, in the least.  My husband needs supervision changing a light bulb, and as for me, well, I can't fix anything.  Every picture we have hanging in our house has at least two holes behind it.  The insides of the machines that run our lives look to me like they could use a good straightening and organizing. 

We are the people who HVAC people hate.  We are the ones who will get a Facebook tip that you work in AC and will call you on a Friday night at 9:30 and ask you to come to our house to check it out. 

Neither my husband nor I grew up with AC.  We both lived in the country, and AC was not a thing.  I don't remember anyone having it.  Maybe a window unit.  Definitely a fan in the window at night.  We lived in hot houses, and went outside when it got unbearable.  But air conditioning?  That's for movie theaters and funeral parlors. 

And yet, we survived.

I'm not sure the exact moment that we both came to be dependent on artificially cooled air.  Maybe when we went to college.  Maybe when we lived in our first apartments, and it was a novelty and we cranked it all the time. 

But now, we are AC wimps.  The more I think about how we don't have air conditioning in our house right now, the more lathered up I get.  My husband, too.  I am thoroughly grossed out and disappointed in the both of us.  All we can do is wait for someone to rescue us from the hotbox that our house has become.

The funny thing is, our kids don't seem to mind.  They don't complain about the heat - they don't even seem to notice the absence of AC.  Just like us when we were kids.

My husband and I should take a hint and learn from our children: be patient, and stop acting like no AC means the end of the world. 

Either that, or maybe we'll go to the movies.  Or find a nice, comfortable funeral parlor.


Not sure what the official balls-hot
temperature is, but it'll get there.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Talented

Everyone has a talent.  Some people realize it early.  Others spend their whole lives trying to figure out what it is. 

Guess which category I fall into?

When I was a kid, I loved to dance.  I took dance classes for ten years and by age 13 saw way too many home movies documenting my lack of grace to realize that dancing was not going to be what I am known for.

I also loved art and drew incessantly.  Mostly I colored in coloring books.  I was sure that I'd be the next Picasso until I hit high school and watched as the art classes I took slowly dragged down my modest grade point average.

Then I went to college and discovered that I was a good student, but not excessively so.  There was always someone or an entire class of peers who studied less and did better, who succeeded with little effort and made me look completely stupid.

As I matured and grew older, my need to find a niche waned with the business of work and taking care of a home and family.  More recently I discovered that my main talent lay in drinking wine.  Any kind of wine will do.  But I can't really tell the difference between a 1963 pinot from Napa or a 1988 Chateau des Fauginvilles or the kind you get in the box at the front of the liquor store next to the expired pina colada mixer.

I made up those names.  Obviously remembering wines isn't my talent, either.

By now I've learned not to put so much pressure on myself to find a latent talent.  I can paint a wall, draw a picture of Darth Vader for a kid birthday party (for the pin the light saber on Darth Vader game, natch), cook a delicious meal, and even sew up a pretty darn good Halloween costume with reasonable success. 

Earlier this year, I had undertaken a project which I hoped would combine two of my favorite almost-talents: art and wine drinking.  I planned to install an impressive cork sculpture up on a wall in my dining room and failed miserably. 

This week I worked out the problem with this project, and met the challenge with some success.  I am also proud to say that during this process, I discovered another talent that shows hope for my legacy.


Hot glue, baby.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Edge

I’ve been on edge lately.  This edge came slowly and steadily and then gave me a little mini breakdown, like age does when you look in the mirror after being sick for days and your brain has given you a picture of yourself at your touchstone age to refer to because you’ve been facedown on the bed/couch/toilet for so long and you haven’t seen your reflection and you’ve forgotten what you look like.  Then you brush your teeth and BAM your sick face stares at you from the mirror and you think for goodness sakes who put this witch mask on me?  That person is a total jerk and should be punished severely.


Who's the wise guy?

Then you realize that you are at least as old as you look in that mirror on a good day, and this is not a good day.  Age crept up, and one day it slaps you right in the wrinkles, causing your saggy jowls to jiggle in the aftermath.


This is how I feel lately.  Not about my reflection, of course.  I am as healthy as BeyoncĂ© and spend quite a bit of time looking in the mirror, so no surprises there. 

I’m talking about the realization of the edge, and how it kind of just crept up and slapped me.  Right in the part of my brain that says, “Everything’s okay.  Just relax.”

I don’t take to busyness or multitasking well; I was never offered entrance into the exclusive club of Super People, which include subsets of Super Moms and Super Wives and Super Bestie Best Friends.  Too much scheduled action saps my strength and resolve to go on.  I’m more suited to a life lying on a chaise lounge, cool washcloth over my forehead, alternating between mint juleps and valium to calm my nerves.  But because I'm the leader in my little corner of the world, I’m *it* in the game of Who's In Charge? most of the time.

And being *it* makes me a little nuts.

Summer is here, and the kids want to eat ice cream now, swim tomorrow, watch that movie this weekend.  My husband has projects to do, and we have social lives.  Baseball games and practices are attended, and sleepovers arranged.  Dentist and doctor appointments are scheduled and met.  Exercise and vacation and dinner are desired.

These things are not the stuff of a frantic or even troubled life.  But they are always, always there.  Their demands get louder and they clutter up the calendar, each one more important than the others.  It’s like the school year, except we are all wearing bathing suits.

Some days I can keep it together, do tasks and meet expectations with ease and adequacy, and end the day knowing that I accomplished much.  Most days I feel like life is running far ahead and I cannot keep up.  This is the edge, and with it, the fear of chaos.

This is a control issue.  I am only one person, one who preaches to anyone who listens that I do not have to be everything for everybody.  I want to write thank-you cards to everyone who made my life pleasant today, but I won’t.  I want to take my kids to an art class, but I won’t.  I want to finish that project I started months ago, but I won’t.  And it won’t hurt anything not to do these things.  But the edge comes closer, waiting for me to cross it with the overwhelming feeling that life is winning the race, one that I don’t even remember signing up for.

It’s not a sympathetic problem; I am well aware that for every woe that I exaggerate, there is another person next to me who has an exponentially worse one to spin.  I realize that I am just complaining, and for no reason other than my own indulgence.

But I won’t keep up; I can’t.  I can enjoy life; I can forget the edge and all that I think it implies.  Maybe I should just peer over it and see what the big deal is.

It couldn’t be worse than what age has already done.   Stupid witch mask.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

I confess that I have little patience with children who don't sleep.

I haven't gone as far to read her That Book, but I think about it nearly every single night lately as my nine-year-old has been exiting her bed multiple times to tearfully tell me about her nightmares and fear of the dark.

It's heartbreaking and sweet, and downright annoying.

And now I will deliver the lowest blow I can, here on this day after being held hostage for five days straight by a child who refuses to go to sleep on her own.

If you have a baby who just started sleeping through the night, enjoy the silence.  This isn't the end of your nights of wakefulness with a restless youngster.  One day this child, after being a sleep expert for years, will think aliens are going to abduct her the minute her eyes close, and you will have to resort to creative ways of getting her to go back to her bed.

And then please fill me in on them, because I'm fresh out.

You're still awake? 
How unusual.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Magic of Disney

My husband and I went to Disney World last week.  Alone.  Without the kids.

Now, before you go thinking that we are the Worst Parents Ever for taking a trip to Kid Heaven without the kids…

Yeah.  You’re probably right.

To be fair, my husband had work stuff to do while I busied myself with lying by the pool and reading books that my friends were all talking about a year ago.  Those things you just can’t do with kids along.  Plus, the kids stayed with my parents for a week, and because that is so much better than Disney World in so many ways, they didn’t care that we were going without them. 

This is actually true.  I believe the conversation went like this: 

My husband and I:  “Kids, we are going to Disney World, and you guys are going to your grandparents’ house for the week.”

Kids: “Oh yeah?  We don’t give a rat’s ass.”

Our children are angels.

Anyway, we spent the week doing Adult Disney, which sounds so much naughtier than it is.  We ate at all the restaurants that we wouldn’t have if we’d had the kids with us, and skipped all the rides that looked like we might have to spend more than a second waiting in line. No whining, no asking to buy anything, no melting Mickey ice creams on a stick. 

It was great.

I had planned on taking pictures and using them to write blog posts all week, but since I left our camera at home like a chump, and because I don’t have a camera phone, I chose to suspend the blog and get a massage and a mani-pedi instead.

The real downside of forgetting the camera, other than failing to commemorate our unforgiveable transgression against the children, was that we had to rely on self-portraits taken with my husband’s camera phone. 

Florida in June is hot and steamy and sunny, and it is impossible to review photos on a camera phone because of the glare and the general feeling of being hot and sweaty and on a constant mission to find air conditioning anywhere after being outside for two minutes.

So all of our pics are unreviewed, and because my husband is one of THOSE people who loves to instill jealousy in everyone he knows by sending them pictures of whatever sumptuous location he is in, he posted the following picture on his Facebook page of the two of us having fun in Disney on our last day there.  I couldn’t really see what it looked like when it went out, and I will regret it forever. 

Much more than I will ever regret going to Disney without my children.

OMG.  We LOVE Disney without the kids.



Wait.  WHAT is THAT?



I guess I deserve this,
but just in case you were wondering.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Story of My Life

Sometimes a picture captures a person's personality perfectly.  If you are lucky, you'll have one photo to remember a loved one that says, "Yes.  This shot is HER."  And then you frame that picture and make copies of it for everyone so that you can all treasure this person's memory forever.

In my case, my husband got two perfect shots of me this morning that will do a great job of memorializing me forever. 


Oh, dear.  This piece of cake is too big. 
I'll never get that in my mouth.

Ha ha ha.  You're so dumb.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

I confess that one of my favorite subjects to talk to my kids about is sexuality.  I have been looking forward to each stage of their understanding about bodies, puberty, and sex since they were little.

I guess that seems creepy.  But as my kids grow, I am reminded - in the form of uncomfortable memories, mostly - that my own upbringing was lacking in accurate sexual education.

My mom gave me a book to read about sex when I asked her how she got pregnant with my brother when I was seven, but I don't remember much about it.  I kind of knew that she and my dad were up to something completely gross while we slept, but my young mind did not entertain the details for long.

We got the talk about puberty and Your Changing Body in the 6th grade at school.  I remember being so horrified about the idea of blood flowing from vaginas once a month that I failed to learn why this would happen.  I didn't even know that vagina was a word that adults used - I thought it was a punchline to a joke that we girls would write on a slip of paper and pass around the classroom.  As in "Knock, knock.  Who's there?  My vagina." I thought it was extremely embarrassing to be taught about sex and puberty in a dark, quiet library, in a group of 30 girls, where no one would dare ask a question or even make eye contact.

I remember whispering to my friends at slumber parties about who got their period in class, and how she had to go to the nurse and was sent home that very day.

I remember being afraid of My Changing Body and wishing that some parts of it would change faster and that others would change more slowly.

I was such a sex novice that I remember being convinced I would be pregnant soon or that everyone would know just by looking at me that I kissed someone for the first time during the summer before 7th grade.

And I remember being afraid to assert myself about sex, because I was so ignorant about it that I didn't understand when to say no, or how to say yes, or even what I felt about it at all.

So when I had kids, I remembered that much of my sex education was learned not at school, really, but from the kids at school and - yikes - the boys on the bus.  So I vowed that my kids would be the ones setting their friends straight when they started talking about sexuality.

My husband and I read books about how to talk with our kids about sex and Their Changing Bodies, and we laugh and stammer and turn red trying not to laugh when we talk about body hair, body odor, balls, boobs, butts, and pimples, periods and penises, and yes, even vaginas.  But most times we laugh.  Because sex can be embarrassing to talk about with your kids, and it is better to laugh than to cry and run out of the room.  Or to not say anything at all.

My goal is to have my daughter understand that it is okay if she doesn't have sex with her boyfriend, and that no one should touch her if she doesn't want to be touched.  And to have my son know that when his girlfriend says no, it means NO.  I want my kids to learn that puberty is normal, and sex is not a contest or a rite of passage to be attained at a specific age.

So if you drive by my house and you hear us laughing uncontrollably, you know what we're talking about.



photo link

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

If You See Me In The Next 90 Days, I Will Have a Beergarita In My Hand

Ahhh, summer.

Well, not YET.  We still have several days of school to get through, several baseball games to make up (make up games?  for eleven year olds?  at the end of the year?  Why?  WHYYYYYYY?), and several crazy days and evenings to get through the end of school-year stuff that seems to have taken over the life of my family and seemingly every other family in a 50-mile radius.

It's pretty much the only focus I have of late, in case you're new here.

Until now.  I've decided to share my top-secret margarita recipe, the one which my husband I imbibe on a regular basis with our corn-on-the-cob and tomato sandwich dinners in the summer, the one which my friends ask for repeatedly at picnics and barbecues, the one which will eat a hole in your stomach if you do not pace yourself during an especially energetic girls' weekend.  It is the unofficial drink of my family and circle of friends, and it is delicious.  Men like it because it contains beer, thus it is manly, and women like it because well, we ladies love the margaritas.

The beauty of this recipe is that it is simple and requires just four ingredients that you can easily keep on hand.  Also, the measurements are buzz-proof, so impaired judgment is not a problem when mixing subsequent pitchers.  Gather your ingredients, grab a pitcher and a large spoon, and go! 

Beergaritas

1 can frozen limeade concentrate
1 bottle of Corona
7-Up
Tequila

Dump the frozen limeade into a pitcher.  Save the can.  Pour the Corona over the frozen limeade.  Fill the limeade can to the top with 7-Up and pour into pitcher.  Fill the limeade can to the top with tequila and pour into pitcher.  Stir until limeade concentrate melts.  Serve in a plastic cup or fancy margarita glass over ice.  Enjoy with any kind of food, or as a meal itself.  Loco bueno!

Hello.
We are here to show you a good time.


This post was inspired by...




Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #5:  Milkshakes, margaritas, smoothies and more…share your favorite summer time drink recipe.