Something horrifyingly awful happened on Sunday.
Today is… Wednesday. And it still isn’t funny. It never will be. To me. I’m PRETTY SURE on this one.
It’s still horrifying and makes me panick-y to even think about. But that’s how I feel anytime I think about the time in kindergarten when I got sick in the entryway right before recess. Public humiliation and knowing there was just NOTHING I could have done in the moment to prevent it. Sunday’s Incident could be described just like that.
Sunday morning I stood in my closet and wondered why I never wore this one really cute dress I’d had for years. I’d bought it, had the top part altered, wore it once, and then never again. For years. But there had to be a reason. Right before leaving, I noticed an ugly cut on one of my shins, so I thought of Linda, smiled, and put on a pair of boots.
(That was a boot reference, not an ugly shin reference. I’m sure Linda has lovely shins.)
It was a weird outfit. I didn’t care.
And then I really, really cared.
And I also remembered – quite suddenly and clearly – the reason I never wear that dress.
After church I took Caden-7yr and Seth-5yr to get gas, milk and a few other things. We came out of the little gas station/grocery place and I had my arms full. As we walked, the wind swirled around us. But in West Texas, that’s a given. I had a very large diet coke in a styrofoam cup in my right hand, groceries and milk and car keys and kids and NO CLUE what to do when the wind blew that stupid dress up. (Waaaaay up. Breeze. On. Butt.)
a) drop groceries and yank down on dress
b) make a strangled cat sound
c) clench hands into fists, causing a river of 44 delicious ounces of diet coke to run out of the side of a now- punctured styrofoam cup, run down body, and fill UP a cute boot
d) both b and c
Y’all know me. Y’all know me well. Congratulations for guessing “d.”
However. Someone else knows me a little too well, too. At the same time the wind was swirling and creating all kinds of reminders about DUH THIS IS WHY YOU DON’T WEAR THIS STOOOOPID DRESS, a man and his 13-14 year old-ish son were also walking through that parking lot.
If not for this father/son, I would have lied to myself forever about how probably no one saw that and it was not a big deal and HEY. Whatever. I’m sure other butts have been seen in this parking lot and mine is not the first. Unfortunate Hooch Moment No One Saw. Or something like that.
But the dad called out, “It might be time you and I to start going back to church, son.” He smiled.
It made my eyes fill with hot tears.
It made me think that God probably hated me right at that moment because. Well. Obviously.
Between the 2 boys and I, we got the car door open and I backed into the space next to the seat and dumped the groceries into the floorboard. I turned to see the two sweetest little faces staring up at me. These babes wanted to help.
Caden-7yr said, “Mom, do you want me to go back inside and get a towel?” (Here is a child familiar with his own style of big messes.)
Seth-5yr looked at my watery eyes and said, “She doesn’t want a towel. Look at her. She wants another diet coke.” He laid one little hand on my hip and patted.
I thanked them, kissed them, put them in the car and we got out of there as fast as we could. I wondered if the boots were ruined. I wondered what underwear I had on. I wondered what the cellulite situation was. I mean, really. How BAD was it, down to the last detail?
I got home and closed the closet door behind me and recreated the scene in front of the full length mirror. Because I HAD to know how much I needed to hate myself.
Best case scenario: Bridget Jones’ granny panties. Or Spanx.
Worst case scenario: thong. or hooker panties.
It wasn’t either the best or worst. But they were bright red and lace and certainly more ‘cheeky’ than ‘full coverage,’ but I wasn’t exactly thinking anyone would SEE them when I grabbed them out of the drawer that morning.
I tried not to think about it anymore. I put on a pair of jeans even though it was 104 degrees that day and we had an outside event to go to later. At that event, I told Mike about what had happened. Surprisingly, the boys had not mentioned it first. It’s like they’re used to me doing crap like this, or something, whaa?
Mike said he was very sorry that had happened but to look on the bright side. Maybe that guy meant what he said.
I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “It is not evangelism if it involves a flash of buttcheek. Ever. Like, I’m PRETTY SURE ABOUT THAT.”
I don’t really know what’s going on there with that last post and then you click comments and you go to the archive for august instead…. very strange. Geekwif emailed about it this morning and suggested it was that the original title was 15 and not Fifteen but that didn’t fix it so… Huh. I think I’ll just not worry about it.
Ah, so much to say.
The very most newsworthy thing EVER, I cannot say because it is not really MY news at all, and I don’t have official permission yet. I’ll come back to that in the next days. (But it’s happy news!)
In OTHER news.
Our anniversary was this weekend. 15. FifTEEN. It was an interesting, better than usual anniversary for us. Last year we had dinner and then an argument in World Market, and some years we’ve looked at each other and gone, ‘eh,’ and that was the extent of the official celebration. So. The bar was low. Okay, the bar was scrapin’ pavement.
Mike asked me what I wanted for breakfast. I was still in bed. Awake and quite happy, but not hungry. “Diet Coke.”
He waited for there to be more to this request and when there wasn’t, he asked, “just one?”
“If you’re feelin stingy.”
“Allrighty then. It’s like that, huh?”
I am a JOY in the morning, y’all. He’s had 15 years of that.
But if Mike wants to bring you food, he will bring you food. Even if he asks if you’re hungry and you say no. He will not listen. You don’t know what you’re talking about, of COURSE you meant yes. I know this. Sometimes I even like that. And sometimes… oh Y’ALL.
I’m not hungry and all I want is a diet coke. (Or a cold 6 pack on the nightstand because i’m classy like that.) He brings me the diet coke, goes away, and then returns with a plate that has me GAGGING and frantically pointing toward the door before it comes all the way in the bedroom. I mean. OH. On this plate is a grilled cheese sandwich. Interesting. Sweet. Thoughtful. Creative for breakfast.
And next to the grilled cheese sandwich… sushi. Sort of. The fish was raw and it looked as if it had been mutilated and tortured before arriving there (really thoughtfully) next to the grilled cheese sandwich.
This was one of those times if I’d had just a bit of warning, I could have found a little graciousness and bit my tongue. But the diet coke hadn’t really kicked in yet, and the violent gagging probably would have given me away. Mike was all, “WHAT? I’ve seen you eat sushi for breakfast?!” and although that is probably true – it was probably definitely absolutely MY idea and therefore DIFFERENT and I sure didn’t pair it with a side of grilled cheese.
Sweet, though, right? There was a lot of effort going on there.
Then. The pink gift bag from Victoria’s Secret filled with lots of pretty things that will never fit me. I think he went into the store, panicked, and just grabbed various things in Other Women’s Sizes and thought, ‘eh, close enough, get me out of here.’ (This is the theory I’m going with. No, I don’t want to hear alternatives, especially that those items were for Potential Future Wives Who Are Curvier and Who Would Have Been Grateful For the Sushi) Sweet thought. Will exchange soon.
THEN. A card in which he’d written something about picking out a diamond ring.
(Mike either forgets an event, faux-forgets an event, or goes ALL OUT. There is no in between with him.)
I dug deep for graciousness and kicked myself that I was finding it difficult to get excited about this idea. Girls like diamonds. Right? I should be all over this. But…..? Kinda not. I kept thinking that it would cost a lot of money and I’d probably never wear it (not big on jewelry), and it would sit in a drawer and I’d always wished I’d said something.
Later I texted as much to a friend, and this friend went very caps-lock NUTS on me. “WHAT?!?! THIS IS A MAN WHO IS TRYING. YOU! GO! RING! SHOPPING!”
And she has a point. I know. But instead I smiled what I hoped was a very sweet smile in Mike’s direction and said, “Um…. well…. I’d really rather have… a riding lawnmower?”
And… he said his friend was giving us his since he was replacing it with a bigger one. Same friend who was Mike’s best man at our wedding.
SO EXCITING. I asked for pictures. It’s adorable. Can riding lawnmowers be adorable? This one is. OH SO CUTE. Green and yellow and very John Deere. I cannot wait to try it out! It’s getting blades sharpened or something. Eeee!
And it all worked out perfectly, because Mike said he needed to buy Kim-17yr a car and the ring money can go toward that instead. Win-win-win.
If you’re wondering what I did for Mike… not much. I tend to underwhelm a person. If I DO remember an event (which is almost always, except not strictly always because I just forgot my stepmom’s birthday this month and it’s still bothering me) I’ll usually get something small that I am absolutely sure the person will like. And… this year that amounted to really good chocolate dipped fruit. OH SO LAME. So embarrassed to even tell y’all that. But yeah.
I’m not a Big Gesture type. (Mike could save a ton of money if he really got this about me, but he enjoys the giving of the Big Gestures. Well. That didn’t sound quite right, and I’m picturing a giant hand making a rude signal but I’m too literal and I think you know what I mean anyway.) Just whisper something sincere and sweet and really that’s all I’m looking for. And often, what seems the most natural to give –which is not much of an equivalent force when you’re dealing with Mike’s Parade of Sweetness, starring sushi, lingerie, diamonds and lawnmowers.
That night we avoided World Market, had dinner and listened to music with another couple that night and she and I had a lot of sangria and also a lot of olives. Because we all made fun of her for ordering a bowl of olives but then I ate half of them and maybe more than half of the green ones but they were SO good.
And this really isn’t going to make any sense, probably, but last year’s World Market argument was because Mike told me he’d booked me on a trip to go to Florida by myself and there were writer type people expecting me and I LOST IT, right there by the outdoor dining section because I had not been consulted or heard or anything and this particular Anniversary Big Gesture FREAKED ME OUT. This year, I decided to go to Florida by myself and do some writing and relaxing but there won’t be writer type people expecting me and it’s totally completely DIFFERENT and fine because it’s MY idea, not his, and I consulted. With, like, myself. Really heard my own self out on it and all.
Yeah, I know. That didn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s the best I can do for now. I leave in a few days. Yea!
I think Mike might need the break. You don’t even have to tell me I’m sounding obnoxious – I already know. I mean, you CAN. And you probably will be all, “I woulda eaten the mutilated fish right there in bed and then said thank you, baby, that was delicious and now let’s go to Zales.”
It’s only been 15 years. I have much to learn.
I like my sushi without pickled ginger, wasabi, cucumbers, or crab. And if you lived nearby and liked it that way too, then that would be SO great because I kinda always make too much* and no one around these parts likes sushi.
Although Seth-5yr will always try it and then grimace and smile and say, “uh, thank YOU,” and “that was so good but I don’t think I want another bite.”
But isn’t it pretty?
That’s yellowtail tuna from last week. The pics of last night’s various sockeye salmon sushi items didn’t turn out very well. But, YUM.
* “kinda always make too much” directly translates to, “am brand new at this thanks to studying youtube how-to videos and calling my stepmother with all my sushi making questions, but when I DO get my sushi on, it is always in too large quantities for just me. and Seth-5yr’s one polite bite. and the cat, who suddenly loves my cooking.”
Oh, sometimes I just really hate wordpress. It just ‘ate’ a post and then it regurgitated only:
WHICH I’M, GRRRR, PRETTY SURE I JUST TOTALLY DIDN’T WRITE, HOW CRUDE. I don’t talk like that. I remember distinctly the day my mother informed me what ‘t and a’ MEANT. I think we were watching A Chorus Line – is that mentioned in that movie? I was 11ish. And lemme tell ya, I was shocked. I don’t ever say that phrase, write that phrase, think that phrase, or accidentally blog that phrase. Til now. Thanksalot, wordpress.
I could start the post over, but let’s just do a list because it’s the transitions that just kill me, who are we kidding.
LOVED the surprisingly unified responses there, y’all! “Foretaste of hell,” Jan? HA! And, Geekwif, gardening DOES count as exercise – particularly if you don’t bend your knees much when you weed. Just ask your hamstrings the next day.
So. Yeah, it was HOT and it was HELLISH and I’m definitely going back one day soonish. But I’ll ask the little blond instructor to keep her hands off me even if I’m doing it wrong because HEY THAT TICKLES, LADY, and I just didn’t have the extra breath to say so at the time, what with my being busy dying and all.
Disgusting but fascinating (to me) factoid: one hr hot yoga = more sweat than 2 hr advanced kickboxing class or an 8 mile run. BY FAR. Maria did a noticeable doubletake when I came home looking like that. She was nice enough not to ask me what happened.
I’ve been meaning to tell y’all about Seth-5yr’s last t-ball game! It was AMAZING. Not just because he’s my baby. Not just because he calls the pitcher’s mound the “pisher’s ma’am.” (Which is pronounced pisher’s may-uhm) But all that helps.
Let me describe this play. I’ll try to do it justice. Seth-5yr was playing pitcher, and he caught the ball the batter hit off the “t.” Yea! An out. That’s great. But THEN he takes his little lightning fast feet off to tag out a player at second base and THEN turns and chases down another player before he gets to third and bam: An All Sethie TriplePlay. Except the ump called one kid safe even though he wasn’t, so it was technically a doubleplay.
People in the stands were open-mouthed, asking each other WHAT WAS THAT?! I know, because I was one of them, but there were others.
My word count is NOT where it should be for the month. August and I had goals. But I’ve done lots of weird research projects and there has been much “pre-writing” accomplished and eh. That’ll have to do.
Okay. I don’t think that counts as a list. There’s only 3 sections and I think there was another sorta funny section about the day at a Mexican restaurant I spilled a TON of ice water on me but you couldn’t tell because I was wearing black running shorts and then the water secretly crept down the table and POURED onto Mike – who wasn’t even sitting next to me and who was wearing khaki cotton shorts – and it really looked like he’d had a bad accident… but yeah that’s the short version.
Not terribly funny in this format. But that’s all I got, because any second WordPress will eat this and leave me with b s or something like that and then I won’t have ANYTHING, including the will to try again even though I love y’all and of course you’re worth it.
On the way to school this morning, the boys and I discussed the day ahead. When it was my turn, I told them I was going to take a Hot Yoga class – where the heat is at 90 degrees and the humidity at 60% and you’re supposed to sweat so much that you have to mop up your own puddles before you leave. “Doesn’t that sound like a fun thing to try?!” I asked.
In perfect unison, all three boys said, “No.” (pause.) “No, it does not. ”
One of the voices added quietly, “sounds like what we call a Bad Idea.”
And then they got excited about their favorite part of the drive: reading the very important messages that are on the electronic billboard thing over the freeway right before the exit to their school. Sometimes it’s about construction updates. Or fire bans. No matter what it is, they are interested.
I’ll tell you about Hot Yoga some other time – I’m kinda shaking too much to keep typing and I”m too hungry to think.
Very good, longtime friend Geekwif is back to blogging more often and y’all should go say hi!
Also, good friend with a sweet heart has a blog HERE. (not sure if I can use your name… lemme know)
It was a gorgeous Sunday morning with 8 three year olds. I arrived to take the second shift and the nice woman who had the first hour and a half looked frazzled. She and a friend of hers had taught the first shift and she stood at the door wild-eyed and looking in the hallway for whoever was coming to relieve them.
One little girl in pink was in the corner, upset, three were listening to a story, and the rest were running around screaming.
“You will have… help, right?” As if they were abandoning me with a pack of wolves. Or a large group of unmanageable tigers. Or some other herd of beasts that would require me to have an able bodyguard.
They’re adorable, baby faced toddlers in preppy Sunday clothes and they calm right down when you suggest a fruit snack. I was nice and did not laugh at her.
She nodded to the upset girl in the corner and said, “She’s resistant to… life… today. She’s been there awhile.”
“Oh, I’ve had days like that.” I scooped up the girl, told her she was particularly pretty today and complimented her pink shoes – in a whisper like it was our little secret – and she melted and giggled and told me all about why she liked her shoes, too, and she was through being resistant to life for the rest of the morning. Sometimes it really IS that simple.
I know how that teacher felt, though. Like the time I had to help out downstairs with the older kids. Nauseating. There is no rational explanation for why children singing songs with hand motions scares the crap out of me, but it does. Never again will I venture down there in the name of Jesus, God, ministry, volunteering, or anything. I suspect that’s how the lady felt as she left the 8 three year olds behind in a Never To Return hasty run-walk toward the sanctuary.
Outside on the playground, one boy I’d never met before sat beside me and made many pronouncements about himself. I oohed and ahhed, admired and appreciated.
“I’m so strong I could pick up that slide.”
“I’m a fast runner.”
“I could climb that tree.”
“I could jump from here — to THERE.”
Finally, I asked him if he would get up and DO some of these things. It might be more fun. I’d do them with him if he wanted. He sighed. Leaned back. Said, “Nah.”
I do love a little 3 yr old boy in cowboy boots who can answer with a definite, “nah.” It cracks me up every time.
“You ever heard of the expression, ‘all talk and no action’?” I asked him.
“Okay then. It might be in your future. But you sit here. I’m going to go have fun. Will you come find me if you change your mind?”
He did, and I was glad.
He and I ended up picking the seeds out of dried seed pod things for another little boy and there was much discussion about the seeds and beanstalks and giants, and then everyone needed enough to take home and plant a few so the collection process went into overdrive and they all took home little brown seeds in their pockets.
I have no idea if they ever remember any of the Bible stories we talk about. That would be ideal, but I try not to worry about it. I just like hanging out with them. Or whatever class needs a sub that particular Sunday. Their stories and ideas are fantastically creative. Their mode of self expression is often beautifully direct and honest. They’re entertaining and sweet, affectionate and curious, smart, funny, and so eager just to be heard.
Not that it’s always easy, but it is always worthwhile and rewarding. Today the little girl in pink said, “I’m ready for my snack. My tummy is the boss and it says NOW.” She put her hands on her hips and stared me down.
I smiled at her and said, “I hear ya, but your tummy is not the boss in this class. We’ll have a snack soon, though,” in my most laid-back So Not Intimidated By That So Give It Up voice. She studied me for a minute and then happily went on her way. Because, again, sometimes it really IS that simple.
I’m so glad today was one of those days. But now, I need to go figure out dinner. My tummy is the boss, and it says NOW.
I guess that only sounds right when you’re three.
Once a week after school, we go to my mom’s. She bakes chocolate chip cookies and we play games or do other stuff. My mother finds interesting games and things at estate sales with these times in mind and one of the kids’ favorites is “Masterpiece.” Masterpiece is a 1970s era art auction board game which features famous paintings from all the greats. (Don’t click that link unless you’re my mother. Really. I only put that in there for her. It’s a guy on youtube explaining – very seriously – the difference between the 70s version of the game and the 80s version of the game.)
It’s hands-down the most pretentious game ever – but i think it’s supposed to be. When an 11 and a 7 yr old play it, it’s alternating between excruciating and hysterical.
My favorite moments are when the boys discuss the art.
Jan Steen’s The Family Concert. No one ever wants to bid on this because there’s a rat-like animal in the painting if you look very closely. That’s a dealbreaker. These boys don’t bid on rat art. If you have the rat painting, too bad, you are stuck with it for the rest of the game.
St John the Baptist, by Velazquez. Ethan-11yr’s very serious take on this piece of art: “I always thought of John the Baptist as more… clothed.”
The Circus Rider, Marc Chagall. Sorry, Chagall, but Caden-7yr canNOT excuse the fact that the cupid’s bottom is clearly visible. That’s just inappropriate. (It’s demure considering some of your other works, but still.)
Dancers in the Wings, Degas. Ethan-11yr pointed out that it only looks like different ballerinas, but it’s really just Degas’ wife in different poses. Caden-7yr doesn’t care. It’s ballerinas, so he isn’t bidding.
American Gothic, Grant Wood. Maybe it’s the stern expressions on their faces. Or the pitchfork. But Seth-5yr really, really hates this painting.
This oh-so interesting game is made slightly better by the fact that two of the paintings will be forgeries and you don’t want to be stuck with them. Caden-7yr can’t remember that word, though, and will ask, “Is that a fargo? Yes… I think that’s a fargo.”
The low moments in this game come about when they argue or make bizarre financial decisions, unethical trades, or just outright lie to each other regarding the value of their art and then get all dramatic and worked up over it. During one of these times, my mother sternly said, “If you can’t have good clean fun, then this game is over.”
And I thoroughly undermined her by giggling into a pillow and saying, “Yeah! If you can’t have good clean fun playing a 1970s art auction game, then when can ya?”
But it really doesn’t matter, because we are so done with that game. Mom and I really hate Masterpiece. We’ve tried. And by that, I mean, she’s tried and I’ve sat in the same room and laughed and refused to be involved in any other way. Mom is putting it away somewhere, and we’re thinking maybe we’ll get it out again in five years.
I promised myself if I got lots done today while the kids were at school today, I’d ignore my to-do list on Friday. Friday, I’d read. Write. Paint my toenails, go to the gym, and stretch out in the sun without any guilt at all because I’d done so much the day before. And so I did. (Tomorrow will be sweet.)
I got MUCH done. There was scrubbing and trashing and organizing and laundering, errands to run and no time to relax and enjoy the silence. All the boys have newly organized, folded, inventoried uniform departments in their rooms or closets. They usually have that before the first day of school, but whatever. I was running behind schedule this year. Seth-5yr needed a shelving unit for his, so that was purchased and assembled and there are only 7 extra parts that I don’t know what to do with. Success. Sort of. If you’re going to have extra parts, there shouldn’t be 7 identical ones. Maybe 6. Maybe 8. But not 7.
They got dropped off this morning and no one cried. Including me. It’s usually me. Okay, it’s always me. But not this year.
Today was especially hard on Caden-7yr, poor little guy.
Clue #1: He hugged me really, really tightly in the parking lot when I picked him up and then put on a super concerned voice and said, “Oh! Mom? You lost weight! Are you okay? Oh my goodness. Look, Ethan-11yr — look at her. She’s so much skinnier than she was this morning.”
Ethan-11yr looked at me and then said, “Don’t say that. You’ll make her feel bad.”
My weight is fine. It was also fine this morning. I have no other explanation for this except that Caden-7yr had a hard time being away from his family all day for the first time in a few months.
Clue#2: Seth-5yr approaches, sweaty because he has PE at the end of the day. Caden-7yr starts fussing over him, too, because, “Look at your sweaty hair! My little brother is dehydrated. Oh my goodness.”
Clue #3: Caden-7yr mentions that he didn’t see Ethan-11yr at all that day and that was not what he was expecting in second grade.
He completely fails to mention that he almost cut his finger off while playing with his new scissors, because it ‘s the first year he hasn’t had the babyish safety scissors. And maybe he’s not ready for them, now that I think about it. His finger is a mess. This minor injury is far more alarming than my nonexistent weight loss or Seth-5yr’s sweaty hair or Ethan-11yr’s apparent disappearing act from campus. But that’s Caden-7yr for you.
Oh my goodness, he’s cute.
Life here is fast paced and crazy because that is what happens when you say, “i’ll go out of town RIGHT before school starts but I’ll get everything done before I leave” and then, yaknow, don’t.
And THEN. To complicate matters further, I said the Number One TOTALLY Wrong Thing To Say this morning.
It was time to get everyone dressed and out the door to meet the teachers during Open House before tomorrow – the all important first day of school. I SHOULD have said, “Kids. Get dressed. Now. Please.”
Instead. I decided to complicate All Of Life like crazy by saying, “We are going to meet your teachers. Please get dressed in something that is representative of the first impression you are interested in making.”
Are you just dying FOR me? WAY TO GO, Kels. Why not add a little pressure and anxiety and tell them there will be a test given later on what they choose so don’t screw it up or they’ll never go to college?
What I got:
Ethan-11yr in a full SUIT, including a clip-on tie. (And crazy hair, but he doesn’t have any other kind.)
Caden-7yr in yellow shorts, a stained green t-shirt, and black Paul Frank monkey underwear that allowed a cartoon monkey face to be clearly visible through the yellow fabric of the butt of those shorts.
Seth-5yr aimlessly wandering around the house in just his underwear forever, saying, “hmm, i can’t… make up my… mind.” (hard to be annoyed there, since that’s EXACTLY what I would have done.)
So EVERYONE needed help and styling advice, which is really not my strong suit since i usually care even less than they do. Ethan-11yr tried on FOUR different outfits before we reached a truly adorable compromise that just makes me so thankful that he’s eleven and cute and as weird as he is.
That parental mis-step took up a lot of time we did not have, but in the end we all got out the door without excessive neckwear, nudity, or monkey butts. Their anxiety was at an all time high, but I couldn’t exactly undo that.
Tomorrow I take them to school. And drop them off. And I’m kinda excited.