Archive for June, 2010

Sun, Please.

June 29th, 2010 at 2:10 pm » Comments (3)

I believe in, expect, and require LOTS of sunshine. Like a cactus.

I’ve been fighting off a depressed, slow mood as a result of all the cold,  cloudiness we’ve had. It just messes with me. I took the boys to their first day of swim lessons yesterday with swimwear on under my clothes. I was fully ready to soak up sun while they were in their warm, heated pool swimiming classes. I hadn’t checked the weather – what a disappointment! It was so cold I kept all my clothes on, including my “emergency jacket” from the car and I wrapped up in all the kids’ dry towels until I had on so many layers I barely fit in the chair.

Today I left the bikini at home and wore a parka. And needed it.  (Why yes, I DID look a bit freaky by the gym’s  pool in a parka. I so don’t care.)

I’m looking forward to HOT. I want scorching sun. I have a date with it, actually, and it better show! My mom and sister and I are going to Austin this weekend for Willie’s annual 4th of July concert there and I’m thinking it will be HOT. I am SO cold right now that I’m looking forward to the heat, not just to Willie.

Because I know you’ll wonder, the high yesterday was 82. Today it’s 79. And no, that is NOT warm. Here it always feels way colder than it actually is. It doesn’t really even feel hot here unless it’s 100, and even that’s kinda nice. So if it’s 75 outside and it FEELS like 60 and then you factor in my own insane cold natured stuff, then we’re really talking about the temperature of a Slurpee.

I feel really bad about shaving all the cat’s fur off last month. He’s opposed to my putting other layers on him, even though he’s Slurpee-cold. Or maybe he’s just opposed to wearing a 6-9 month size baseball onesie. Not sure.

I Landscape For Free

June 26th, 2010 at 2:13 pm » Comments (3)

There are two catches:

1) Only for my mom

2) I suck

The upside is my mom and I have a LOT of fun.

When I was growing up, my dad mowed the lawn every Saturday morning. He had a hideous lawn mowing uniform of tall socks and a threadbare, flesh colored,  stripe-y shirt. When my parents divorced I was in the 6th grade and my mom mowed our yard for a few years until we moved. I was probably too little to help much, and my mom was at the height of her Jane Fonda phase and could push that mower quite well without any help from me anyway.

My history here, riveting as it is, is to point out that I’ve never mowed a lawn. In my 20s I went from apartment living to married life and Mike mowed until he ‘outsourced’ the task a few years back. (He went through a big ‘outsourcing’ phase. Told me with great conviction I should not do things that are not within my ‘core genius’ and all those things should be done by others. Perhaps that’s all well and good if you have a large core of genius from which to draw, as he does. Anyway.)

But now my mom lives in her own place and her grass needs mowing and she didn’t like the people she hired for the job and she fired them right away and borrowed our old but pristine mower. Mike called it a ‘walk behind mower’ because it is self propelled – no strength required.

He gave my mom a lesson on how to use it and they mowed the yard together. A couple weeks later (grass grew slowly, ‘kay?) I went over and she and I were going to try.

And it was AWFUL. There was a HUGE amount of strength required that I just didn’t have. We sweated. We took turns every other row or so because it was THAT hard. We shoved and pushed and pulled and worked together and about killed ourselves getting that small yard mowed. My mom worried about my knee. I worried about her everything. She has famously weak wrists. Then we collapsed in chairs in her backyard, drank ice water, and debriefed.

I told her that the people Mike was paying to mow our (way bigger) lawn were not getting paid NEARLY enough and I needed to go throw handfuls of money at them any time I saw them. I had no idea it was that hard. We recalled that Mike had said, “self propelled, walk BEHIND, no strength required.”

We pondered aloud what the hell he was talking about when he’d come up with those phrases.

So later, I asked him. And he mentioned this special button that I never saw and that my mother had totally forgotten about that ENABLES all that free wheeling easy lawn mowing ability he’d mentioned. And he said that the way we did it was like ‘pushing a car as opposed to driving one.’

Um? Yeah. It did feel pretty much exactly like that.

So after the grass grew, we tried again. And I take issue with the phrase “walk behind lawnmower.” When I pushed that magic button, the lawnmower TOOK OFF, jet-style, and I was hanging on by the handles and my body, legs, and feet flying behind me like a something out of a cartoon. It is more aptly called a “sprint behind or be flung into the next county lawnmower.”  Scary. But much, much easier.

We collapsed into chairs in her backyard, sipped ice water, and debriefed. What we learned: do not leave grass clippings in bag from last mowing session two weeks prior. gross. And also, spiders live in grass and will run about really quickly and scare you to pieces and make you question your footwear choices. gross.

Mom said that in Australia they call it ‘whippersnippering’ and she wasn’t sure the word for it here, but that we might need to think about adding that into our routine, since the edges looked scruffy. I laughed at her, told her that word sounded positively obscene and she shouldn’t ever use it again. She asked the American word. “Weedeating,” I said.  And then it was her turn to  laugh at me. “Oh right, well THAT doesn’t sound obscene.”  (It never HAD until she said it like that. Geez.)

So she researched and bought a whippersnipper/weedeater.  Before I arrived for our first attempt, she called and suggested closed toe shoes. I thought of the spiders. And I knew she was right, but I did feel overly ‘mothered’ and hesitated before saying, “yes. wise. good note.” And it was wise and a good note and later I was glad I listened.

‘Later’ being when I repeatedly put the little white cord-y thing in wrong and turned it on and chunks of seriously painful stuff flew into my legs and lodged themselves right there in my skin. The kids tried not to look like they were enjoying my hopping and screaming in pain every time this happened, but I know better.

But first, I turned it on and immediately gouged a horizontal line into the bottom of her brand new fence. The fence carving was a bright grassy green colored wavy stripe. Oops.  Around this time, Mom and I were frustrated and I said that I didn’t have the correct chromosome for this particular task. Caden-6yr said, “Dad does,” and then laughed at me.

The weedeater stopped working a thousand times and had to be re-wound or put back together or fussed over in some way. I wondered if I turned it at an angle if it would cut the grass growing over the edge of the driveway. So I tried it and cut a deep, hideous four foot long  gash into my mother’s lawn that ran parallel to the driveway, but was not effective in cutting the grass ON the driveway since it was a good four inches into the lawn. Mom sweetly called this my ‘crop circle experiment.’  Ethan-10yr helpfully asked why I was trying to use it as an edger when the instruction manual specifically said not to do that.

We collapsed into chairs with ice water and debriefed. It was determined that a large amount of replacement white cord-y stuff was needed immediately since our efforts had eaten up more than half of it.  We wondered aloud what the difference was between a weedeater and an edger, and if we had the wrong equipment or just a serious lack of skill. It was silently, but unanimously, concluded that it was a lack of skill.  What we learned: wear jeans. And there should be MORE there under the What We Learned section, since we did so very many things wrong, but I don’t know how to fix any of them so I can’t say I learned anything more than that. Wear jeans, not flip flops, and do not gouge lines into fences and lawns if possible.

Then we bought an overpriced household cleaner from a charismatic door to door salesman from Cleveland.  He seemed surprised at our landscaping attempts, and did not even try to appear impressed with our results. Smart.

I’m thinking this is not within my ‘core genius’ and it’s entirely possible I do not even have one of those in the first place. But it’s fun. And unintentionally a bit destructive, but I’m in it until the petite little boss lady with famously weak wrists fires me.

Or until the spiders scare me off.

Not Really A Post

June 25th, 2010 at 1:13 pm » Comments (3)

(Update to the Lost Underwear Saga in the comments of previous post)

Sometimes y’all write to me and offer family or other suggestions. I like that. I’m good with that. Just so you know.

Sometimes one of you will write and explain why something I wrote was actually VERY dirty and I totally had no idea – I was just repeating something I heard (because I love reporting other people’s conversations, do it all the time, but there is a certain hazard when you do this) and I thought it meant one thing and OH REALLY? You’re kidding?! That’s what that meant thank you for the clue there and WHOAH I appreciate that. REALLY, I do. This has happened, surprisingly, several times. Your explanations never offend me, and always make me SO GRATEFUL because then I can go back and re-read and then EDIT it out of what is otherwise a nondescript sorta Christian mommyblog that shouldn’t be talking like that.

Sometimes you write and give me pep talks that make me cry because they are so sweet and I had no idea I’d sounded so pathetic as to inspire one in the first place. (my sister.)

Sometimes you write and say WOW, Kels, you’re sounding insecure. You should get that Beth Moore book, “So Long, Insecurity.” (But written in a far  more tactful, loving way)  And you know what? I did. It arrived yesterday, via UPS and it’s on my nightstand, and thanks! If I start sounding different, this very well may be why. But I haven’t started it yet, and I kinda like my numerous insecurities, so I don’t know. We’ll see.

Anyway. I listen to you guys, and I appreciate you, and just wanted to say so.

And now I need to get three boys to Target. Because that’s where you can get snacks for the flag football team, a needed gray t shirt for a ten year old, milk, swim shorts that do not fall off a four year old, and underwear for a six year old because he has somehow half the number of pairs of underwear his brothers have, which causes problems when I’m behind on laundry, which is like, always – and you can get it ALL at Target.

If you’re wiling to brave it with three boys. And I am.

(No, I’m really NOT in the mood to do that right now, please forgive me, as that was a lame pep talk to myself to get on some mascara and get out the door already, it’s just that i HAVE to go and I might as well psych myself into believing I adore the one stop shop-edness of Target and I’m ready for it right at this moment.)

In a Way, This Is ALL My Dad’s Fault

June 24th, 2010 at 3:31 pm » Comments (5)

My father lives on the other side of this large state. And he knows nothing about the events of yesterday involving my rescuing a stray pair of men’s underwear, but I’m blaming him anyway.

My dad has an unusual hobby. It isn’t really a hobby. It’s too weird to be a hobby. Let me re-phrase: My dad has this thing that he does.  He picks up stuff he sees on the ground. Not just anything – thankfully – but a lot of weird stuff.  He was thrilled one day to find a woman’s satin and lace camisole in a mall parking lot a couple years ago. That was quite a find. (He didn’t keep it – he artfully draped it across someone’s SUV)

We have joined in, as a family, and at Christmas we gave him a box with our own ‘found items’ and a written history of each treasure. There was a small blue plastic doll shoe – smaller than a Barbie shoe – found in the Target parking lot. There was a set of fake dracula teeth, found by my mother in the library parking lot the week after Halloween. There were other things. It was a unique gift.

As we worked to collect these things, we all got in the habit of looking at the ground and noticing it in a new way. It’s quite common to hear one of the kids yell, “Wait! PawPaw might really like THAT!”  (My kids have learned I do not brake and u-turn for a shredded tire, hubcap, or dirty diaper, regardless of their claims that their grandfather will like it. They’ve also learned I WILL brake and u-turn for quite a lot of other things, though.)

Mike left very early yesterday morning for a quick trip – something he has announced will be necessary every single week for, basically, forever.  Oh. Sidetracked. That was not the original point of that sentence.  ’Kay. Mike left very early yesterday morning for a quick trip – and when the boys and I left the house hours later, we noticed something odd. In the middle of the street, halfway between our driveway and the neighbor’s driveway across the street – was a pair of heathered navy blue men’s underwear.

I drove away from the undies, and left Mike a voicemail:

You know how sometimes weird things can happen early in the morning if you’re not normally an early morning person? Well, there’s a pair of underwear in the middle of the street and it looks EXACTLY like yours. I’m thinking it’s yours. If it’s yours, I feel morally obligated to PICK IT UP. And… how did that happen?

Later, Mike called and asked why I thought it was his underwear.  At this point in time I took a deep breath and held it for a moment before calmly explaining that I am the one who does the laundry and I am quite familiar with the characteristics of his underwear as a result of this role, and am therefore fully qualified for a  drive-by preliminary identification.

“Oh. Well, I don’t think it’s mine.”

“It couldn’t have fallen out of a travel bag or a bag of clothes from the last time you went swimming?”

“Oh…. well…. yeah… maybe.”

“That’s what I thought. I think I should pick it up. I’ll use a stick.”

“Uh? Maybe a bag?”

“Fine. I’ll use a bag.”

So I did. I picked up the heathered navy blue men’s underwear using a plastic bag. And then when I got back to the garage I flipped them around looking at them, still not touching them. And…. then suddenly I wasn’t so sure.  They just didn’t look as familiar as they should have. But that could have been from spending the night on asphalt – I probably don’t look myself after a rough night either.

So I sent a text. To Mike. On the brief weekly business trip:

“Picked up undies. Not sure they’re yours after all. Gross.”

And the return text read:

“I really didn’t think they were.”

So of course I wrote back, “Too bad, they are now!”

But that’s gross and I didn’t mean it. I left them on a trash bag in the garage for Mike to inspect upon his arrival home.

I did not tell the kids not to touch them. It didn’t occur to me to tell the kids not to touch the strange underwear in the garage. And, forgive me if this is sexist, but really? You wouldn’t have to tell GIRLS not to touch the strange underwear in the garage that is sitting on a bag of GARBAGE. They just wouldn’t, yaknow?

And Seth-4yr is not a girl.

He picked up the strange underwear and starts to carry them in the house and I have a full on FIT telling him to drop them, don’t touch them, WHAT DOES HE THINK HE’S DOING?

He freezes in his tracks, gives me a really weird look, and after a long pause, drops them. And then calmly says, “Mom, Dad’s underwear was in the STREET. And you brought them in HERE. And I thought I would bring them in the HOUSE with the OTHER UNDERWEAR.”

And it makes so much sense when you say it like that.

But I told him to go wash his hands with soap anyway and then I chased him with a bottle of hand sanitizer.

Mike is not back yet, so further speculation about the true undie owner is not yet known. I can say that although we do not know our neighbors across the street (thank goodness), they do not seem the type to strip off undies and throw them around.

Hopefully, neither do we.

Although I suppose, that we DO seem the type to go around picking them up. And that is where it’s really good not to care what people think of you, or else blame your innocent father who is hundreds of miles away who probably would have told you not to pick them up in the first place.

Baseball’s Snacks are Dangerous

June 22nd, 2010 at 8:23 am » Comments (3)

Baseball season is over, for now, and we’re on to flag football. This is good for a few reasons:

1. I understand and love football.

2. Baseball is confusing.

3. Although I totally tried and even understood the scoring a little by the end.

4. I tried too hard actually, and one day decided that I should learn to eat sunflower seeds with the shells on since that is somehow integral to the heart of baseball.

5. I almost died. Forget the heart of baseball, and forget ever doing that again. Ended up with five or six seeds WITH shells stuck in throat. Panicked. Forgot to spit. Or something. Lovely.

6. This brilliant idea came to me while I was in the garage, alone, one day, as I walked past the bird food.

7. Do you know what sort of flavoring is used for the sunflower seeds in bird food?

8. Dirt.

9. No one cleans those seeds and salts them because they are for birds.

10. Those seeds are not intended for  impulsive, well meaning, ‘let’s understand the heart of baseball’ sorts of people.

11. All you people who can stick sunflower seeds in your mouth, spit out the shells, not choke to death,  AND understand the scoreboard? Good for you. I will never be you. I am officially done trying.

Reaping, Sowing, Parenting.

June 20th, 2010 at 10:58 pm » Comments (1)

When I was 15, I was really obnoxiously 15. My mom and I were living in Australia – a scenario she was pleased with and I was not. Although I dearly loved my mom (in a 15 yr old way which looks nothing even remotely like love), I very much wished to return to the States to live with my father. I asked. I begged. I intentionally got awful grades for the first time in my life.

Still, my mother knew that if I’d just stay and give it a real chance, I’d be fine. And even today, I know she was right about that. But I didn’t care. I remember thinking (and I’m not sure if I said it to her or if I just thought it), “Let me go back and live with Daddy, or else I will do whatever it takes to change your mind and then you will let me go.”

And that’s what I did.

I behaved badly. Intentionally. In order to thoroughly freak out my mother and shamelessly manipulate her into deporting me, I recklessly befriended* a 38yr old Aussie and gave him our phone number and hoped that he would call. Not because I was interested in him. I was extremely interested in his ability to call our house with his 38 yr old very deep, accented voice and scare my mother to pieces.

I’m not proud of this. In hindsight, the selfishness required to manipulate both this guy and my mother – and put myself at some serious, unknown and unacknowledged risk – is horrifying to me.

He did call. A couple of times, and I made sure I was not the one to pick up the phone. And although I genuinely did not want to see him again, I probably carried on as if he were the love of my life and the only thing that could keep me away from him… would be… hmm… a one way ticket back to Texas….  yeah, that… that might do it.

I was gone within two weeks, one way ticket in hand.

(nooo, never talked to him again. I could have, but I wasn’t ever interested in the first place.)

My mother is seriously smart and probably was onto my scheme way before she ever let on. But if she held her ground and didn’t let me go… what would I do next?  All these years later, I don’t  want to give that much thought.

My dad should have been very afraid of what he was getting into when I walked off the plane in Dallas. And, honestly, he probably was. But we made it through my high school years uneventfully.  Although I didn’t yet have any faith in God, I DID have a perfectionist, self loathing and highly legalistic moral streak that couldn’t quite forgive what I’d done. It helped me get through high school. In a “low self esteem, unforgiving, don’t screw up ever again, and you deserve to be miserable for what you’ve done” sort of way,  it totally helped.

And now. Here we are. My own 16yr old daughter will go to great lengths to avoid living with me. Although the problem here is her refusal to accept me – not simply a geographic preference.  Still, there have been moments where I’ve wanted to say, “tough! you’re going to live here anyway! give it a chance and you’ll be fine! ”

And then I remember how very much more timid (and stable) I was at that age – and how easily I’d gotten to the ‘let me go or I will make you change your mind’ place. And how I’d been so stupid and followed through as only a teen girl with limited foresight –  and no self preservation skills – will.

That makes me want to not push her – I don’t want to nudge her into a corner where she’ll feel forced to do something stupid or reckless. Like I did. And I wonder if already I have.

Maybe I have backed her into a corner where she has felt her only way out was to do something drastic to get her point across. Not that her actions are my fault. They’re not. And my past stupidity is mine alone. But it would probably be wise to approach the female teen daughter type with extreme caution, as they are unpredictable. I wonder if, as a mom,  I’ve too often forgotten that.

It’s Father’s Day, and all day I’ve thought about this. About how parenting is so very hard. Parenting ME was hard, and believe it or not after reading this – I was a pretty good kid. Thanks Mom. Thanks Daddy.  Y’all did a very good job, and your love and support of me now that I’m a mom means the world to me.

Also, not once have either of you said, “remember when you were that age…? do you remember what you PUT US THROUGH?” Thanks for that, too.

*nothing illegal, but still ridiculously inappropriate, unbecoming, and unacceptable

A Water Regret

June 18th, 2010 at 4:52 pm » Comments (6)

So I went. I did the water class thing. It was… not bad at all and if I’d had more time I probably already would have been back.

The water was pleasantly WAY warm. Nice surprise. There were people of all sizes and shapes and ages, so I tried to migrate toward the grandmas. I always associate water classes with my own grandmother. Despite my best efforts,  I ended up next to a creepy guy. He was way chatty. I wasn’t.

Here is where it’s really good not to be one of those people who thinks she has to be nice all the time. I am SO NOT ONE OF THOSE. The chatty creepy guy talked. And he talked some more. I only occasionally gave a polite half smile if I absolutely had to and pretended not to hear him or his questions.

Then he touched my leg in a way that was probaby accidental. I ignored it, moved over, and when he did it again he had the nerve to say, “Oops! Guess I just want to touch you!”

Um… gross.

I’m not big on people touching me, and it’s about impossible for someone to get away with it for any reason at all if I’ve decided I don’t like them for some reason or another.  And I did not like this guy.  (Before he touched my leg, and I was ignoring him, he talked about how expensive his wife’s miscarriage was. It was the most heartless, horrendous, inappropriate observation ever. I was glad his wife was not with him.)

I have a Dirty Look that could wither otherwise healthy plants. I don’t use it often, and never on plants. It’s pretty squinty with the eyes, but there’s more to it than that. I let loose with the Dirty Look and didn’t let up until he turned and went  far, far away to chat up other people about God knows what.

Which was the goal.

When he left, suddenly there were very nice  grandmas, and a lovely lady named Donna.

At the end of class, one grandma in a black skirtini told me that I was too little to be in water that deep using that particular type of foam barbell and that was why I was having a hard time and kept popping out of the water. Next time, she said, I should use the other kind, and go up front.

I wondered why she didn’t tell me that at a time it could have been useful.  But it did bring out my inner 8 yr old and make me want to say, “nuh UH, I am NOT TOO LITTLE for the DEEP END.”

(and hello? I’m not.)

My only regret about this particular water class is that I did not haul Mr. Creepy off somewhere and have a Big Eyed, Dixie Carter style chat with him about babies and money and loss and death and sensitivity and privacy. He NEEDED that. It might not have altered his perspective in the slightest, but when you’re next to someone who is THAT much of a jerk – then probably you have a divine responsibility to lecture/minister to/scare the guy.

I should have.

But I was in a swimsuit, and God, if you want me to confront a bad guy of any sort I am ALL FOR IT, but please don’t make me do it in a polka dotted  swimsuit. I just don’t feel assertive enough.

I’d rather punch a guy while wearing jeans and a sweater.

I am NOT too little for the deep end. I just have preferences.


June 16th, 2010 at 4:51 pm » Comments (2)

Every once in awhile I think that the phrase ‘true confessions’ at the top of the page is misleading and I  should tell you something I normally wouldn’t. Or delete the phrase. And I’m not tech-ie enough to delete it. So I guilt myself into confessing something or other.  Because life is not already hard enough, right?

SooOOooo. True confessions:

1.  When an egg falls from the refrigerator and smashes onto the ceramic tile floor, I take a photo before I clean it up.

And that’s weird and I need to stop doing that.

Although Egg With Cat is a nice, albeit blurry one. I think the 1st and 3rd egg are the same one, actually. There are lots more broken egg pics on my phone that I didn’t bother moving over and posting here. You’re welcome.

(In case you’re wondering why this happens at all, it’s Mike. He puts them in the door. They don’t break for him, but I tend to overzealosly swing open the door with way too much force  every single time because I am just like that – and so his egg placement issues cause problems only for me. I should just open the door like a normal person. I know. But I forget to try to act normal, particularly at home.)

2. This  pic was for a magazine article I wrote but never got published. I think it addressed  male/female roles in sports. Maybe. Something like that. Can’t remember. Mike took it – I like the sky.

3. I dance (badly) when no one is looking. Very difficult habit to break in order to not further injure knee. Mainly ballet-ish. Have whacked shins on kitchen island many a time with impromptu  arabesques.

Do not be fooled into thinking I am graceful. Am not.

4. Can’t bring self to take new photos even though that one over at is old. Have always, always hated having photo taken as long as I can remember. Which is why my face is hidden in the one above one with the truck. haaaaate photos. As a kid, had massive irrational fear of cameras that was way inconvenient on Picture Day at school. But now i have a hilarious collection of school photos of Elementary Kid, Super Scared and Solemn.

5. Kinda dislike people looking at me. Always makes me think I did/said/wore/thought something wrong or else they wouldn’t be looking and I must be in trouble in some way that I just do not know yet.

6. Have strong opinions on the subject of texture, which can be summed up as follows:

Guacamole and facial hair are both swoon-worthy if the texture is right – and not worth a second glance if it’s not.

Right, ladies?

(sidenote to my sister: LaLa, do you remember that album cover we used to have of Eddie Rabbitt? oooohmygosh.)

Am reminded of this, because I met a thirtysomethingish man with a handlebar mustache last week. Wished very much to jump on him with pair of sharp scissors and fix the problem. Or dull scissors. Anything at all. Could hardly talk to him because I was so distracted by my evil makeover-by-force plans.

7. Am crazy-rough on everything. All appliances must be industrial strength or I will break them. Vacuums should be able to pick up all socks on floor, right? So the commercials where they’re so ‘strong’ they can vacuum up nuts and bolts? That doesn’t impress me. I want a vacuum that can suck up hammers and wrenches.

8. Once I ripped the front off Mike’s pickup (and was very annoyed it wasn’t tough enough to withstand my adventure without surrendering off body parts like that.) So he bought me my own truck, and I  immediately cracked all the ‘motor mounts’ because I repeatedly caught air that was a bit too big. Mechanics ‘outed’ me  to Mike and said that was pretty much the only way to cause that sort of damage. Then they installed stronger motor mounts. Whatever those are. (Mike was shocked. He had told the mechanics he’d ask me if I was doing that but he doubted it. And when he asked if I’d been ‘jumping’ in it, I shrugged and said, ” Well, yeah. I thought that was why we got it…? So I woudn’t keep wrecking yours, right?”  His mouth dropped open. He forgets my secret extreme side sometimes, but that’s understandable. I keep it under wraps, and away from the children.)

9. I specifically did not ask how much that repair cost. Mike specifically did not tell me.

10. Am very very careful with people, especially kids. And animals. And am super, unforgivingly tough on objects/tools/appliances/self.

I am the reason behind most of those notes on the gym equipment that says, ‘temporarily broken. We apologize for the inconvenience.’  I don’t mean to break everything. It just happens. (And it’s awful when you DO break something at the gym because it’s usually loud – trust me – and then everyone turns and looks at you because you really DID do something wrong, and then you have to go apologize and confess. It’s awful. It does not get better with practice, either.)

11. Mike brings me food. Just whenever. Says I won’t eat if he doesn’t, and sticks food in front of me. (I WOULD, but it’s very sweet of him anyway. And he lets me put my cold feet on him.)

12. I cannot, under any circumstances, eat in the dark. You just don’t know what has crawled into your food between bites. How dinner theatres survive  - or movie theatre concession stands survive – is beyond me. I just can’t.

13. Last week I spit out the chunks in the extra crunchy peanut butter. I don’t mind the chunks in extra crunchy peanut butter, but I got it into my head that maybe they weren’t really bits of peanut and I was just assuming they were and I should, yaknow, verify. Anticlimactic Conclusion: They were peanuts.

14. I try not to assume too much. Although I should assume chunks in peanut butter are peanuts. My unofficial policy is to never overestimate anyone’s goodwill/admiration/affection/like/love of me. I’d rather underestimate, always, no exceptions, and am bothered if I ever notice I’ve accidentally violated this policy.

15. Even though the knee doctor told me… a month ago…. was it that long…? Gah. Anyway, even though he said a MONTH ago to go do water exercise classes —  I haven’t. This is unacceptable. I know. Forcing self to go – it’s already scheduled. Ick.

If I break the gym’s pool, I’m never going back, no matter what the doctor says.

Let’s Invent Things To Worry About

June 15th, 2010 at 4:52 pm » Comments (5)

Beyond the OH MY GOSH I haven’t planned a summer saga – which continues for a  variety of reasons even though summer has already gotten off to a roaring start and I’m still lamenting its unplannedness…. there’s the fall. Because surely I should now worry about the fall.

The fall is too planned. For the first time ever I will have all children in school morning til afternoon, five days a week. My baaaaaabies.  Busy all day without me there hovering and overprotecting? That’s what I DO. How to function without them, and without all of that?!

What will save me fro doing too much laundry, or cleaning, or going to Target every day? SOMETHING must save me from that.

I could write.

I SHOULD write.

I could go back to school. But… meh. I’d go back for horticulture, but anything else bores me to pieces. It does irritate me that I never finished. I tried once, and went to night classes that were ridiculously too easy and then I got pregnant and  the instructors allowed people to bring FOOD into class and I was constantly nauseous and couldn’t stand any food smells and if you even MENTIONED an Italian dish I would just heave. I was a joy in class. And the school was located behind an Italian restaurant so everyone always brought Italian. So I quit school. Again.  Because of noodles.  (It was years before i could handle anything Italian.)

I could work. Although I am seriously unqualified for pretty much anything. Not just as a result of my not finishing college, but also the many years off, plus my lackluster previous work experience. If anyone ever needs a truly dreadful waitress, though, I am SO IN. I can drop food on you and trip over you multiple times in one evening and STILL forget to bring you your check. While sober and actually, you know, trying.

Okay, so I’ll probably write.

When I’m not at Target.

(This town does not have a Nordstrom, ‘kay?)

special thanks to Nina, various e-mailers,  and Michele.  Michele, no one rides in to  defend me as often or as enthusiastically as you do. No idea why you feel so compelled, but it cracks me up and I’m grateful.

JD Salinger Was Onto Something

June 13th, 2010 at 9:56 pm » Comments (5)

I’m not a social sort. I avoid eye contact and fully embrace the concept of ‘aloof.’ Even though it makes me look like a total snot, I really don’t care, because I’m just not good with people and that way interaction is greatly limited.  Which I like.

I was in the front yard tonight, playing fetch with Duke. A cute preppy couple with a large dog and a baby stroller were near by and Duke went to say hello. I went after Duke. The dogs were sniffing and saying hello, so I smiled and told them my name and introduced Duke. Like a normal person.

Their large dog was also off-leash, but that’s okay around here and there was no problem. No dog drama. No people drama. All was well. The dogs were not near the baby at all, as the mom had left the stroller and the baby quite a ways away in order to help with all the dog meet and greet activity.

I told Duke to come, and he started to, then went back for more sniffing. Again. All was calm. The dogs were fiiiine. No growling. No glaring. No ‘look I’m aloof, don’t talk to me’ vibe or anything. The nice preppy guy was bent over at the waist, holding on to his dog and trying to pull apart the dogs. Then he looked up at me – and because of the bending over and seriously overreacting to nothing body position – he was RIGHT in my face, and he yelled.  In my face. Inches away.

I’m not good with that. I didn’t see that coming. There was absolutely nothing going on with the mom, the baby, the dogs, or anything that indicated he needed to let loose and yell at anyone. What is it about a guy with a deep voice who yells right at you and suddenly you’re a total girl-wuss? Is it just me? Instantly I felt shaky. And I hate that feeling. Maybe he had a reason that I just can’t think of that would totally make that particular tone more  understandable. Or something.

I so dislike social interactions anyway, but ones like that really deepen my appreciation for the hermit lifestyle. I coulda done it, too, but it didn’t occur to me to be totally reclusive until after I’d already had a lot of kids and I think it’s too late now. (Not that I regret the kids.) It’s just probably hard to be a reclusive-ish hermit mom when everyone has to go to school and baseball practice all the time. So that’s out.

Mr. Not So Nice But Still Preppy had yelled, “GRAB YOUR DOG. JUST TAKE HIM. GRAB HIM NOW.”

So I took Duke’s collar and glanced at the mom, who was trying to calm down the baby who had started screaming when the dad yelled.  I didn’t say anything, and just held onto Duke’s collar as we crossed the street and went back to the house. When we got Duke, he was already a highly trained hunting dog – and I knew he wouldn’t run away if I let go of his collar, but I didn’t anyway. I just  didn’t want that guy to yell at me again if he happened to see me let go.

I came inside and sat on the couch and tears rolled down my cheeks. (total girl-wuss.) Mike asked me what was wrong and I told him some guy yelled at me. He asked a few more questions, got a few more answers. He looked completely freaked out and as if he had no idea what to do with me. He kissed me on the forehead and went out to the backyard. And every thirty minutes or so he comes and asks me if he can get me anything. As if I have cholera.

I don’t normally fall apart over nothing. (Or, if I do, not in front of him.) The last time he came in and asked me if I needed anything I asked if I had really freaked him out. (Although, duh. Yes I had, and I knew that, but I was trying to get him to talk because he clearly needed to.) “Well. Yeah. You came in crying and I kept asking if you were okay and you’d just say, ‘I’m fine,’ even though you weren’t acting like you were fine.”


And I AM fine. Some guy yelled at me. This should not be a big deal. It just scared me because it was unexpected and unnecessary and made me dislike the ideas of neighbors and neighborhoods even more than I already do. Okay, it made me dislike interacting with all of humanity. But I was almost there already, so whatev.

I’m fine.

(And that makes perfect sense to me.)