Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weekend Stats (Four days late.)

Weekend Stats:

Number of times I heard the word "Mom": (Data extrapolated from first 60 minutes of being awake, at which point the day became blurry and fuzzy, and the kids colored on the notepad I was using to keep track.)
-Whining voice: 44
-Angry voice: 16
-Crying voice: 29
-Hysterical voice: 51

Number of times I had nose wiped on me: 11

Number of times I said the sentence: "Alex! No hitting puppy/mommy/kitty. Puppy/mommy/kitty
ouchy!" or similar: 14.

Number of times swept kitchen floor: 7
Number of times mopped kitchen floor: 3
State of kitchen floor: Baffling. Still very dirty. Looks like was trampled by farm animals.
Number of times chased dog down street: 4 (very good day! Dog getting old and lazy, possibly sick- YAY!)
Number of times stepped in untoward substance: 4 (two times dog puke, 1 time mashed banana, I time USNOS- unidentified substance not otherwise specified.)
Number of times watched ICarly reruns: 8
Number of times cursed the invention of Moon Sand: seven million
Number of times kid had meltdown in grocery store or other: 4
Number of snotty looks from other store patrons: 11, approx, maybe more, stopped making eye contact with anyone after a while.
Number of nice store patrons: 3
(Young man who extracted a BBQ scrub brush from Alex, which he had been stubbornly holding onto,  by saying in excited tones "Hey buddy, I was looking for one of those. I looked everywhere! How did you find it? Could I have that one from you? That would be such a good help to me!" Alex beamed and handed over said tool. He smiled and winked at me, commenting that you could never have too many of these things, anyways. Also nice couple in Superstore who walked with  Alex when he ran away from me down an entire aisle discussing Toy Story with him, very animatedly. Apparently they are HUGE fans of Buzz Lightyear)

Anyways. This is what my weekends are made of.
Let me tell you, I don't dread Mondays anymore. In fact, I'm becoming rather emotional that there's another weekend bearing down on me so quickly, and a long one at that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Confessions from an Ex Soccer Mom

I felt relaxed, for a moment.
Alex was watching TV with Gage. Payton was at a friend's ball game. It was quiet, however temporarily, and I planned on enjoying it, as I turned the jets on in the tub and put my toe in the steaming, lavender scented water, glass of wine in one hand, Kindle in the other.

I sat poised to read, but instead  felt uneasy. Payton was at a friends ball game, and suddenly I wasn't sure that I liked that at all. I realized that I was feeling majorly stressed over  it, for two main reasons:

1) Guilt that I hadn't signed Payton up for ball herself. Now she's the neighborhood tag along kid while her mother gets drunk in the tub. Although, in fairness, I did ask Payton if she wanted to play ball and she did say no. However, as it turns out, ALL of her friends are in it this year, which hey, how was I to know that?  HOW???
Also, I wasn't planning on getting drunk in the tub. Just maybe slightly tipsy.  I wonder if it's too late to call the coach and beg him to let Payton play. But then I remember that I still haven't done my taxes, so there's a slim to none chance that I'll actually get around to calling the ball coach before the end of ball season, being the short season that it is.
Now I'm feeling guilt about the taxes. And possibly panic.
And then a hideous realization hits me hard.

 Oh God. I've become that mom.

 I've gone from being the quintessential minivan equipped with Granola Bars and 30% less sugar fruit snack driving soccer mom to drinking Chardonnay in the tub at 6:30 pm mom while kid goes out with random neighborhood people.
Which brings me to point number 2.

2) The fact that Payton had become a near resident of the house across the street. It suddenly seemed ironic that if they were going to say babysit her for a few hours a day or even a week, I would have done my due diligence as a mother and done a background check, home interview and contacted references. OK I wouldn't have actually contacted the references, not strictly speaking. I would have asked if they had them, and then basically taken them at their word.  But being the parents of other seven year old girl, I have given them carte blanche to take Payton on outings and even have her for sleepovers, after only brief encounters which consisted mainly of nodding and/or waving at each other from across the street. Although I did check out the mother on Facebook, and she does seem to be on the up and up, translation: She hadn't 'liked' any sketchy pictures of scantily clad kids or posted any threatening sounding status updates: in the vein of, for example: "Another home visit with Child Protective Services today, wish me luck!! Must remember to hide contraband this time."
So clearly,  she's a good person. Also, she has nice, shiny, hair and if there's one thing I know about pedophiles and/or other members of the criminal element it's that they mostly all have stringy, clumpy hair.
And conversely, I am also worried that Payton might be harassing the nice neighbor people  by popping by at random and inserting herself into their family outings. Must make myself more appealing so that Payton spends less time hanging off neighbor people.
 I vow to myself as I get out of the  tub that I will spend some serious--very serious,  mother daughter quality time with her when she gets home, perhaps even doing a craft.
A craft!!
Yes. That will make me feel like alpha mom again, and will also be a good opportunity to chat with Payton AKA interrogate her to make sure that there's nothing hinky going on over at the neighbour house. I picture trying to weave "have they ever asked to look at your panties?" into a casual convo but then decide against it, at least for the time being. Although I will do the craft, at least, for sure.

Except that when she comes home, I am no longer in the mood for a craft at all, on account of watching Bridget Jone's Diary on TV.
Also: do not really have anything in the house that constitutes "craft supplies"
Except for possibly a tampon and peanut butter. Am thinking bird feeder but not really sure how to execute.
Also: might kill bird, traumatize kids, etc.
Just screw the alpha mom. She just annoys everyone else, anyways.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Puking On The Side of The Road: The Downside of Lady's Night

This weekend was Lady's night at Candle Lake.
I was the girl with the sensible shoes. I felt at a distinct shoe disadvantage when we were preparing to leave. The other girls slipped into their stilettos, zipped up their knee length boots. I slipped my feet into my dingy flats. "I have to wear these shoes," I said in my defense. "I have corns on my feet."
Okay. That did not actually make me sound, look or feel any cooler. If anything, it made me feel less cool.
"You're wearing medicated shoes?"
"No. They're not medicated! I just have to wear flat shoes," I said, feeling defensive about it. Why did I have to wear these shoes? I asked myself? Or a pair of gray slacks?
Do I always have to be so practical?
Apparently, yes.

And yet, I was the one who ended up squatting in a ditch the next day, retching and heaving. The practical, sensible one. How did that happen? I don't really know.
But, apparently, an eighties cover band and cheap drinks will do that to me.
Now I know for next time.
Still, I couldn't believe it was happening to me.
Driving home, I began to feel queasy. The road seemed bumpier. It seemed curvier. Almost  roller coaster like. My stomach lurched. I put my head back, closed my eyes. That did not really help.
Nothing seemed to help.
Finally, I had to admit out loud what I did not want to admit to myself.
I was about to be sick.
"I think I'm going to be sick," I said.
"Should I stop?" My sister in law asked me, a note of panic in her voice.
I hesitated. "I think, maybe," I said.
That hesitation would cost me. I made it out of the car just in time. Even as I opened the door, a stream of pink vomit spewed forth. Then I stood at the side of the highway, which felt awkward. But I wasn't practiced at this roadside vomiting thing.
I need to lower my center of gravity, I thought, adopting a squatting position, which felt better.
Cars zoomed past, and I felt like--
well- like the kind of person who pukes on the side of the road.
Assholes, I told myself, as I wiped my mouth on my sleeve.
They don't know. I could be undergoing cancer treatment for all they knew. Gawk at people who are on cancer treatment much?? I asked them in my mind.
Of course, I wasn't on cancer treatment. But still.
That's not the point.
The point is not to judge people, or whatever.

Anyways, there was nothing sweeter than getting home and feeling the comfort of my bed. Or the comfort of having a toilet to hang my head on when I puked, for that matter.
I overheard my daughter on the phone. "My mom can't come to the phone right now," she said. "No. She's in bed because she had too much to drink at Lady's night and now she's been really throwing up a lot, and it's pretty bad. She can only eat crackers but then she puked those out."
I groaned and put a pillow over my head, only hoping that it was my mother and not someone ringing me up for a job interview or something.
She was pretty sweet about the whole thing, though. She patted me on the back when I was in bed. "Well," she said. "You're a nurse. You can look after yourself," she said as she left the room.

Anyways, to the makers of Gravol: you are rock stars with Tiger blood and Adonis DNA. Thanks to some heavy doses of Gravol I began to feel a lot better as the day went on. I even felt skinnier, too, which was nice. Even though, I noted, as I looked at my cracked, bloody lips in the mirror, dehydration isn't that sexy of a look.
So lessons learned from ladies night:
Next year- hotter shoes, less shooters.
Actually no shooters.
Just to be safe.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Principles of Operant Conditioning Gone Terribly Awry

It sounds complicated but its a simple thing, really, operant conditioning.
You reward (or reinforce) good behaviour with positive reinforcement.
You use punishment for bad behavior.
Using this simple technique, you could, if you were so inclined, train a mouse to run a maze.

But could you get a two year old to go to bed at a predetermined bedtime.
Hell no.
Not even close. You could get him to bed, perhaps, within a ninety minute time frame surrounding said predetermined time. But, then again, you could also do that using no intervention at all, which I found out one time when I fell asleep at 9pm and woke up at eleven, half expecting the house to be on fire or the windows to be smashed out. But instead, I found my little buddy asleep in a playpen. He had moved his pillow and blanky in there, climbed in and curled himself to sleep.

I know exactly what I'm doing wrong. Inadvertently, I reward bad behavior. He comes out, asks for a drink of water, I get it for him and send him back to bed. He comes out a minute later, asks for a hug, I hug him and carry him back to bed, tuck him in, perhaps even massage his back a little, cuz I know he likes that.
But what am I to do?
Deprive him of water?
Deprive him of hugs?
That's harsh. He's a toddler, not a lab rat.

Anyways, the other day, this had gone on for quite some time. I was feeling exhausted. Geoff was working late. Both Alex and Payton had been coming in and out of bed for over the two hour mark, and my patience was worn very thin. As thin as my husbands hairline, and that's thin indeed.

And then came Gage, my thirteen year old. "Watch and learn," he told me as he went into the room. He was in there for less than a minute. "They won't be back out," he said as he pulled the door shut behind him.
Sure enough half an hour went by and there was no sign of Alex or Payton.
"What did you do, put a sleeper hold on them?" I asked. Because if so, awesome, I need to learn the sleeper hold.
"No," he said. "I told them that whoever fell asleep first would get a prize in the morning."
"Actually," I said. "That's pretty brilliant."
Principles of operant conditioning, applied correctly.
Thirteen year olds will rule this world one day, I thought to myself. For once that thought actually seemed optimisitic rather than terrifying.

Nevermind the fact that I now have to give my kids chocolate bars for breakfast. That's another issue entirely. I'm planning on phasing that out by switching the chocolate bars to bubble gum flavored multivitamins. Then they'll be getting thier rest, and a vitamin as well.
Superkids, they'll be!!

Anyways, I really must apologize for not being around more- on here or on any of your blogs. Life is complicated for me right now, and I must admit that I am seriously contemplating the future of this blog. Too many things, too little time. But we'll wait and see on that.
One day at a time I guess.
Hope you have a good weekend.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Technology and Tupperware

I wanted to buy a photo album. A simple photo album.
I didn't realize that this was a fools mission until it was too late.
I walked into the photo department. Walked around and around. Didn't see any photo albums. There was memory cards, scanners, all kinds of discs, ink cartridges, USB cables, flash cards. No albums.
Puzzled, I asked the photo lab employee, who was a teenager with pink streaks in her hair. Actually, she wore them quite well and looked charming like that. She was friendly and polite. But when I asked about the photo albums I saw something on her face- total confusion.
"A photo- album?" she asked, saying the word 'album' like it was totally foreign to her.
Maybe it was, I realized.
"Well, just to- put my pictures in," I said, suddenly feeling acutely aware that this was, indeed, an antiquated concept.
She looked puzzled. "There might be some in the Tupperware section?" she said, as though she were asking me the question. "Or you could try a hobby store?"
A hobby store?
Was putting your pictures in an album considered a hobby now??
Over in the Tupperware section there was about one third of one shelf devoted to photo albums. There lay a few albums. They looked dusty.
And perhaps for the first time in my life, I felt clued out.
I mean, really clued out.
Like the time when I was staying at my friends house, and her grandma came over.
"So, you girls chum together?" she asked us.
My friend and I looked at each other. We didn't know what to say. We looked at her, and then back at each other. Shrugged and said "yeah, I guess so," real polite like but then we laughed about it later.
Except in this instance, I was on the other side of the equation, standing forlornly in a Tupperware aisle, looking at the dismal selection of photo albums and feeling outdated, irrelevant, where the only other person in the Tupperware aisle was an overweight, graying lady who remarked to me that the price of Tupperware has sure gone up. I looked at her, feeling annoyed that suddenly, I was in her cohort.
Just because I buy photo albums doesn't mean I care about the price of Tupperware.
But actually, I do.
I like Tupperware, kind of a lot if I'm going to be honest about it.
But in my defense, I do also have flash cards and USB cables and DVD plus R's as well as minus R's.

And then it happened again.
Our kids spilled milk on our alarm clock.
Apparently, alarm clocks don't drink milk.
So last weekend I found myself in London Drugs, walking up and down the aisles looking for an alarm clock.
"Get this one," my son told me, showing me one that cost $199 and was also an IPod docking station, as well as possibly some other things.
"That's for an IPod," I said. "I don't even have an IPod. I just want a plain alarm clock."
One was voice interactive.
One was rheostatic. Whatever that meant.
I ended up getting one that has a projection feature that projects the time onto the ceiling. Rather than sitting up and looking at the alarm clock, I can now see the time as soon as I open my eyes.
Technology is actually pretty cool.

And I'm using my Kindle now. The only bad thing that happened was that I was reading a thriller, and right at the climax I got a little box pop out and say "battery power low. Please recharge your Kindle."
And since it has to be plugged into the computer to recharge, and the computer is downstairs, and I didn't feel like sitting in the basement to finish my book, I ended up having to wait to finish it, which was a significant source of frustration.
I really hate it when my electronic devices die right before climax.
But that's a whole other topic right there.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Losing My Spamming Virginity to Fr33 Porn

In my pre-spam days, I took the lack of spamming kind of personal.
"They hate me," I would say to myself, whilst reading blog posts about how annoying spammers are. I would type my comment "I've never been spammed, I guess that's the good thing about not getting any traffic, LOL." But then I was like, why don't I just write "I'm a totally desperate LOSER who blogs in the basement in my pyjamas drinking wine by the box," which is more or less the truth, but still. There's something unsettling about seeing it typed out like that. So then I'd backspace it and write instead, "I hear ya," but then keep the LOL, so then I wasn't technically, actually, lying. If it ever came down to it in a court of law that I lied about being spammed, I could say, in my defense, that the LOL showed that clearly I was joking about hearing ya, although why it would ever come down in a court of law, I don't really know. But the point is-- I was vaguely jealous of the glorious spammed.
What am I chopped liver??
I mean, maybe I want some sex pills, too. I don't, but, still. It would nice to be offered every once and a while.

So, naturally, I was quite excited to get some spam offering me "fr33 porn."

My excitement quickly gave way to  confusion.
What the deuce is fr33 porn?
Is it free porn?
Or do the 3's nullify the word "free" Must be some sort of scam. That's how they get you. You go there and then they charge you some huge dollar amount, and then your like 'But it said free!" and they're like "No, it said fr33."
Or was it actually thirty three dollars? Or 33 minutes?
What, exactly, did the three's stand for?
Is it a sex thing? I didn't know. I pondered that. Probably a sex thing, being a porn site and all. But what??
Is 33 the square root of 69? Could be.
I don't know, I'm bad at math.

And today I got more spam! Even better than the cryptic and indecipherable fr33 porn, which I eventually decided not to go for.
Today I got this: A product so good that you will not believe that it's true. A product that, apparently, if I ignore it now, I will regret it later.
(Is that a death threat there? Kinda sounds like it to me.)
At this point I was bracing myself for some kind of sex product, I scrolled down, half scared to look.
But no.
No penis enhancer or any other such product.
What was it you ask?
It was, and I quote: "The first and only single leg compensation plan ever created."
What, exactly, does that mean?
I don't know.
I guess it's an insurance plan specific to the loss of a single leg.
Which, I don't know, maybe if you're the type of person who's apt to lost a limb somehow, you might be inclined towards that. Maybe you lead a high risk lifestyle- you get into a lot of knife fights or you sleep with your legs on the train tracks and you don't have a very clear understanding of the train schedule, or a watch, or you're a pirate or what have you. But me, myself, I think I'm quite happy to play the odds. Even though, yes, admittedly, I might regret it later.
If I end up with one leg, that one could really turn around and bite me in the ass.
But I'll take my chances.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm not buying it.

A list of things I'm not buying:

1)Chase banking with overdraft protection. On the commercial: Someone's rock climbing and her cell phone rings. She answers it with a smile. Apparently, it's her bank telling her that her bank account is about to go into the overdraft, so she quickly transfers some money around to avoid this financial pitfall.
Here's why I'm not buying it: Because the LAST thing I would possibly want in the WORLD is someone calling me to tell me that my account is going into the overdraft.
Do you have any idea how many phone calls I would be getting?
At work: "Randine, your account's getting close to the overdraft."
On the way home: "Randine, your account has gone into the overdraft."
While I'm sleeping and the mortgage payment comes out at midnight: "Randine, your account has just gone deeper into the overdraft."
I mean, what can I do about it? Maybe some people have other, off shore accounts that they can transfer money into. But I don't. And my idea of having overdraft protection? Is having an overdraft period.

2) Activia yogurt. On the commercial: they make the yogurt sound like a dessert. "Key Lime Pie" "Apple Crumble." "Chocolate Souffle"
Here's why I'm not buying it: Because at the end of the day, it's still frickin yogurt. You can call it 'chocolate souffle' all you want, but it's still just a pile of lumpy, clump, vaguely chocolately tasting yogurt.  And I don't care about keeping my digestive system regular, either. Jamie Lee Curtis can stuff her BF Regularis up her arse. Pardon the pun. If I want a laxative, I'll drink the coffee they make at work.

3) Aflac. Okay, I actually want to buy Aflac. On the commercial: A duck is sitting in the park with his apparent owner, breaks out into a little song and dance, and gives his owner a stack of bills.
Here's why I'm not buying it: Because my husband won't let me. "Ooh, I want to get Aflac."  I told my husband after seeing the commercial. "We can't," he said. "We don't have Aflac in Canada."
"But I want it! You get a duck! A dancing duck!"
"You don't actually get the duck. You get insurance."
"No," I said. "The duck is the insurance. He follows you around, and he gives you money when you need it. The commercial was quite clear on that." But my husband- well, you know how he is. He's always negating my ideas, like I'm crazy.
Anyways, I became his friend on Facebook- the duck, that is, but it's not quite the same thing.

What I did buy: A Kindle! I haven't fully transitioned to it yet, because I still have some paperback books that I'll read first. But so far, I kind of like the Kindle, although I think it will take some getting used to. I usually like to read in the bath, so I guess I probably won't be able to do that. So that'll be different. But other than that, I like it. Buying books is kind of overwhelming. I type in fiction, and Kindle books and get like 23,000 books. I'm not used to having so many options.
But that's not a bad thing.
Anyways, have a good day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Brave New World

Tomorrow will bring big change in our house.
Tomorrow, my  lastest baby will shed his final vestiges of infancy- his soother.
At two and a half, this is long overdue. And it shouldn't be producing the amount of anxiety that it is.
The bad thing is that it's not even Alex who is anxious about it. It's me.
And I'm not anxious for the reasons you might think.
"He'll only cry for it for a day or so," people tell me. But crying? At this point in my maternal career,  I can handle that. Crying doesn't even phase me any more. In fact, I get more concerned when they're NOT crying. When things are too quiet, I begin to fear that something sinister is going on. They're in the kitchen drinking Draino, I think, irrationally. Because I don't even have any Draino. If my drains get clogged, too damn bad.

So what am I anxious about?
I'm anxious about letting go of his babyhood.
"But he'll always be our baby," Geoff told me, gently, when I told him of my fears. "Even when he's old, he'll be our baby."
"I know," I agreed. "But it's just the idea of what the sucky symbolizes," I said, which sound like I'm just all overly analytical about the whole thing, which of course, I am. But still- suckies were some of the first things I bought when I found out I was pregnant with him.I packed them in my bags to take them to the hospital. And he always looked so cute to me, so innocent and angelic, as he slept with his sucky in his mouth- pastel colors initially, which later changed to bolder colors with airplanes or dinosaurs on them, pulling at it at random intervals, sometimes lazily, sometimes furiously, his perfect lips curled into a perfect O.

So naturally, I 've given a great deal of thought to the fanfare with which Sucky should make his last curtain call. The plan for Sucky Quit date is this:

After supper tomorrow, we're going to go on a Great Sucky Roundup, as Alex has Sucky caches all over the house that we don't even know about. The sucky's will be collected into a gift basket. We will, as a collective, work on a letter to the Sucky Fairy, explaining that Alex has gotten too big to use them, and could she please find a little baby who could use them and give them to him? We will then leave the basket by the front door.
In the night, the Sucky Fairy will come. And we can't be sure, but we think that she MIGHT bring a present for Alex for being such a big boy and helping all the little babies of the world. I think it wold only be right and decent if she did.
Simple quid pro quo, and all that.

Alex seems excited by this plan. "I love the Sucky Fairy!" he told me.
I hugged him, and did a fake cry. "My baby boy is getting so big!"
He touched my face, and said "let's not be sad," which made me want to cry for reals.
It's pretty bad when a two year old has to console me. So I pulled myself together. This isn't about me and my need to have an infant to coddle. This is about him, and his need to grow up.  I can't infantilize him just because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Even though, yes, it does. It really, really, does.
But we have to take this step together, and embrace a brave new world. I think he's ready for it.

Bring It

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Truth About Zumba

"I've got exciting news," a coworker announced as she entered my workspace, closing the door behind her.
Not the Zumba thing again, I think to myself, bracing myself, because I know- KNOW- deep in my heart that it's the frigging Zumba thing again. I look up at her, slowly, and the look of wild excitement tells me that- yup it's the God  damned Zumba thing again. Only this particular person could look so excited at the prospect of an hour of exercise.  The only time you would ever see that look of pure, unadulterated enthusiasm on my face?
Maybe if I saw a chocolate fountain on a buffet line.

"Tuesday at 5:30, Meghan's coming back- for ZUMBA!!"

I force a smile at this.

"Really?" I say. "This Tuesday?" I say, thinking to myself, think of something QUICK.

She nods vigorously. "I wanted to give you the heads up. Because I know how disappointed you were last time when that thing came up. Right at the last minute."
"Yes," I say, with a nod. "It was really unfortunate timing that Alex got diarrhea so bad that day."
Because if there's one thing that's fucking awesome about having kids, it's this: A built in excuse note that no one will touch that you can wiggle you right out of any responsibility.
This is the formula:
(Insert child's name) has (insert gross medical condition. Explosive diarrhea works well. Ditto for ringworm.) so I won't be able to (insert duty you want to shirk.)
No body will ask any questions. They'll just pull a face, look all uncomfortable like, and say "I completely understand."
End of conversation.

But now she was standing in my office again, a look of hopeful anticipation on her face.
The thing is that I really do not want to hurt her feelings about Zumba. The first time she brought it up I made the mistake of saying "That sounds pretty cool. Maybe I'll check it out."
Really, I was only saying that to be polite. I wasn't going to check out Zumba any more than I was going to check out anything that might make me sweat. Unfortunately, she took this as wild enthusiasm, and firm commitment. For the ensuing week and a half she talked to me about Zumba every day.
"Try and come early," she told me. "You want to stand in the front row, that way the teacher can be more interactive with you. And that way, too, you can help us clear tables from the board room."
Clearing tables, too.
If there was any part of me that was in any way inclined towards this Zumba class, and believe me- there wasn't-- but if there was, this itself would have been a deal breaker for me.
I'm not moving any tables.

"Well, I'll have to see with Geoff's schedule right now. It's a very busy time."
Frankly, I'm surprised at how smoothly the lie comes out.
He works at a golf course. There's still two feet of snow on the ground.
Peak season this is not.
She looks slightly hurt, so I add, hopefully, "But we'll see."
She brightens up immediately. "You don't need to bring anything. Just a pair of spandex pants to change into."

Oh God help me if I have to go to this thing.
God help all of us.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Contemplating Kindle

So- I never thought I would say this but lately I've been contemplating Kindle.
As in- getting one.
I know, right.
I'm an old fashioned kind of girl. I love the way books smell, the way they feel. The excitement of starting a new one- I always skip ahead to the last page and just skim it. Ever so slightly. Just to see. And of course I read the acknowledgements, to see who the authors agent it.
But two recent events have made me start to think that it might be time to jump ship.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at Wal Mart and perusing the books. The selection was very minimal. Most of the books had 40% off stickers. Some of the books were in bins, one marked $5 one marked $7. Some of the books in the bin were hardcovers.
"I hate to say this," said a stranger who was standing beside me, in the same predicament. "But I think we're going to have to get an EReader soon," he said.
I nodded slowly. "You may be right," I concurred, with a sad sort of smile, though I wasn't quite sold on it.
At least, not yet.
Although I sensed something. That somehow, this strangers words were  important, that things were shifting for me. For us, even, as I felt connected to this person, as book connoisseurs.

And I thought about Under the Dome, which I happened to be reading when I went to Mexico, which was unfortunate, because the book is over a thousand pages, and very weighty. I dragged that ting through the airports, to the beach and back every day. It was cumbersome, even to read,  much less carry  around. I would have preferred, I told my husband one night, if he had written the book in two parts rather than one that size.
And for all of my lugging it around in Mexico, I read maybe only a hundred pages.
In two weeks.
Pitiful, I know.

But in my defense: this is an example of a day at the beach:

Get down to the beach.
Unpack the kids towells and sand toys.
Sit down to read book.
One sentence later: "Mom, I have to go potty!" Alex says, holding himself.
"Okay," I say, getting up and walking the half block or so to the bathrooms. Along the way we stop and observe birds, his bathroom needs seemingly forgotten. He chases the birds for a while, cries when they fly away once he's within a few feet. Then he sees the outdoor showers, and of course he has to go in, he stands in the shower, playing with the water. Doing a version of the hokey pokey, putting the left foot in, the left foot out. I drag him away.

Finally, we get to the bathroom.
I sit him on the toilet. He has to take his shorts completely off, and his shoes as well. Then he sits on the potty, dangles his feet up and down. Looks at me with an adoring smile and says "all done." as he hops off.
"But you didn't go!" I tell him.
"I don't have to," he says, as he tries to open the door. I hold him back, wriggle his little but into his shorts and his little feet into his shoes.

We make the slow walk back to the beach.

Along the way we pass the bar. "I need a drink," he tells me. So we stand at the bar, order a Spiderman, which is a convoluted drink that involves red Jello and blue ice cream.  Alex insists on carrying it himself to the beach. By the time we get there, he has spilled most of it on himself, and it's almost completely melted. He cries that he's sticky, and this necessitates another trip to the shower area. I can't get him away from the shower area. I walk away, thinking he'll follow. He does not follow. A security guard comes over and stands, protectively, beside the shower, observing Alex. I watch from the beach.

 "There," I say, as I pick up my book. "The security guard is looking after him." But then I remember that the security guards are all, apparently, crooked and possibly involved in the drug cartel, according to a lady we met who was either the most brilliant detective since Sara Sidle or completely paranoid and deranged. I look at him talking on his two way radio, and wonder what he's saying, feeling vaguely suspicious about it for some reason.

I sigh and put my book down, walk back to the shower, pull Alex away, causing a slight scene in the process.We get back to the beach, I sit down, poised to read my book again. It feels nice.
I feel the sun boring into me, and I look up at the kids.
"Get your hats on," I tell them. I pull the hats out of the sand, shake them vigorously, put them on the kids, who promptly take them off. This goes on for some time. Finally I convince them to wear their hats, and they do so but  begrudgingly.
Then I remember that I haven't sunscreened them recently, so I go and rub them down with SPF 50.

Then I sit down, poised to read, finally.

"I have to go potty," Alex says, again holding himself and dancing around, and I think- I think this is for real this time, although I'm never sure until we get there.
"Okay," I say with a sigh, getting up.
And so on and so forth.

Would a Kindle have prevented these problems?
No. Nothing could have prevented these problems, except for maybe birth control, but it was way too late for that.
But, still. I wouldn't have had to cart that damn book around with me, everywhere we went, for two weeks, so that I could read precisely one sentence every day.
So here I am, contemplating a Kindle.
I don't know what's happening to me, somehow, I'm becoming current. I even have a Blackberry now.
I even know how to use it.
Well, sort of. I mean, some stuff I can do.
What's next- maybe I'll read the Hunger Games or watch Inception.
Probably not. But you never know?

Anyways, you tell me: how do you read?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Misadventures in Reading

I was standing in the kitchen, playing an impromptu round of "What did I just step in?"
I do not like this game, but being that I'm inclined to walk barefoot in my home and live with three kids, a dog and a cat, this is a game that is thrust upon me quite frequently.
Tonight's rendition seemed too easy. The texture was slimy, the temperature warmish.
"Ugh, dog puke," I thought, as I picked up my foot to see what, indeed, I had stepped in, partly hoping that I was right (for the win!) and partly hoping I was wrong (cuz- ew, dog puke? Need I say more?)
I was puzzled, but pleasantly surprised, by the result. Canola oil. Because trust me, it could have been worse. A lot worse.
Just think of it like an abbreviated paraffin wax treatment, I thought at I dabbed at my afflicted foot with paper towell, which felt kind of gross as it oozed between my toes. I covered the oily splotch on the floor with a tea Towell, wiping it ineffectively with my foot.
Why there was warm canola oil on my kitchen floor, I wasn't sure, but left the matter alone. It's better not to ask questions sometimes.
Besides, the end result is the same.

I poured myself a glass of wine, which is what I had gone into the kitchen for in the first place, and returned to the living room. A few minutes later, I was interrupted by my kids. First the pouty cry of Payton, as she emerged from the bedroom holding her left arm. She was followed by Alex, who was also pouting.
"I'm hungry for a sandwich," he said, in a whiny voice that was not quite a cry, but verging on it.
"A sandwich?" I asked with a laugh, finding it strange that he would be asking for a sandwich at nine pm.
"And what happened to your arm?" I asked Payton, thinking the two incidents were unrelated.
"Alex bit my arm because he's hungry for a sandwich," she said, looking disgruntled.
I couldn't help but laugh at that.

Oil on the kitchen floor, the kids apparently cannibalizing each other out of apparent hunger.
What the hell was going on in my house, you might be asking yourself.
I'll tell you what.
I got my book shipment today from Amazon!!
I started reading, at noon, Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin. I was still reading it at nine, when said cannibalistic act took place. Maybe I have a problem, I thought, but then dismissed that.
What could be wrong with reading?
Besides, it wasn't my fault that the book was so captivating and engrossing that I couldn't, not possibly, be torn away from it, despite my initial misgivings.
I wasn't sure about the book in the beginning. The back jacket made it sound like there was some cataclysmic event, but then I found out a few pages in that said event was a boy burning himself while roasting marshmallows at a sleepover party. Now granted, his burns were somewhat bad.
But still.
This did not seem cataclysmic to me.
I realized with some shock and horror, that I had been fully expecting, and even hoping I think, that the boy would die. I felt oddly deflated when I discovered that no such death was forthcoming (what's wrong with me? I thought). But, in my defense, I mean, really? Four hundred pages about a boy who got burned while roasting a marshmallow?

I felt that I was the one who had been burned.

But then I found that that wasn't the cataclysmic event, but more or less the precipitating factor which led to this event- which as it turned out, was even better (or worse, because for me- the worse, the better) than I thought-
a cheating husband. This topic appeals to me, because I have often wondered why a person would choose to go down that road. It's a slippery slope, I've always thought. More like a series of small transgressions rather than one big one. And the book ended exactly the way I thought it should, which was nice. I hate it when I don't get my way in the end. But I have to say that even I was surprised that I was satisfied with the outcome. Well, I guess I can't say much more than that. Don't want to ruin the ending for anyone who hasn't read it.

Anyways, that was my day yesterday.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Strange Compliments, Part 1

This isn't what I had planned on posting today, but I thought this would be fun. These are some compliments, I think, that I've gotten that have made me go "what the..." afterwards.

-I ran into an old coworker once a few years ago. She was getting on the elevator, I was getting off.
The conversation was awkward at once. I wasn't sure what the protocol was, when she had her hand holding the elevator open, was half in and half out. Should I stay? But that would hold her up. Should I go? But that would seem rude. So I offered I quick, "Hey, long time no see." or something like that as I brushed past.  She was like "Wow, I can't believe it's you," and I was like, okay, yea, this is weird but whatever- because it's not like I was assumed dead in some hiking accident and then come back to life like you see on TV. I had merely switched jobs. I was like "yeah it's been a long time, I guess" 
She still seemed so taken aback.
"You -just-- look --so-- different," she stammered, as she studied me hard. "You look so-- so nice."
Uhm. Okay.
I guess?

-My mom said to me the other day about a recent blog post- the one about para sailing, to be exact. "Well," she said, when I asked if she had read it. "You really do know how to make a short story long."
"Thanks!" I said. Then "Wait a minute- is that supposed to be a compliment? Cuz I'm not really sure."
It's called building tension. Or rambling.
Or whatever.

-At my latest Pap test, my doctor was trying to explain to me how and where to put my feet. For some reason, I was having a problem following her directions. She was like "Just put your," she said as she picked up my leg, "more like this," and then she frowned, moved it back how I had it, and was like "actually this is better this way. I didn't know legs could go like that. You're really very flexible," she said, seemingly excited by this prospect.
I was like "Er, thanks- I guess?"
That was awkward.
Even for a pap test. I refuse to call it a pap smear, because don't you just hate the word "smear."
I don't know why but it sounds gross to me.

Anyways, those are the ones that come to mind right now. I'm sure there will be more.
Have a good day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I have to deal with my procrastination problem, but I'll do it later.

Every year, I promise myself one thing.
Actually, there's several, but for the purposes of this post, one thing.
I promise myself that I won't be that mom- not again-, standing before a near empty shelf, at ten pm on February 13th looking for Valentines for my daughters class, trying to convince her that Thomas the Tank Engine could be for girls, too.

But alas, this year, there I was.

Actually, I thought I had the jump on it. On Saturday I went to Superstore to get the Valentines, I brought Payton with me. "What kind should we get?" I asked, thinking that there would still be tons of possibilities.
But we couldn't seem to find any.
So I asked someone working in the cards section. "Where are the Valentines cards for kids?"
"Like, in the boxes you mean?"
She looked kind of baffled. I nodded.
"We sold out of those. Like last weekend," she said.
"What? Really?" I asked.
My daughter looked disappointed, but hopeful. "Maybe we could make them!"
I groaned. It's not that I didn't want to, but...
OK it is that I didn't want to.
There are twenty six kids in her class, which has to be against the law I think, or against something.
I just couldn't imagine cutting and pasting and coloring twenty six valentines.
It was bad enough just helping her write the kids names on it. You would think it would be easy, but this itself is a long, slow process. Especially when we lost the class list, and had to brainstorm all the names ourselves.

"Maybe we'll try Wal Mart," I said. "I'm sure they'll have them."
"But what if they don't?" she asked.
"Well- then we'll try another store. They've got to have them somewhere," I told her, but I wasn't sure myself.
"OK, let's go," she said.
"We'll go tomorrow," I told her. Because one crazy busy store was enough for me in one day.
So the next day found me at Wal Mart. Luckily they still had a reasonable selection. I remember one year when I went the day before and all they had left was The Wiggles, and my son was in about Grade four he was kind of humiliated, but it was all I could do.
Besides, what are they doing exchanging Valentines in Grade 4? I mean, really. Grade 4!!
Grow up already.

Then there was the 100th day of school. I read something about it, somewhere, made a mental note of it and forgot the whole thing.
And then on Thursday night, I tucked Payton into bed. "But tomorrow's the 100th day of school!" she said. "We were supposed to make a poster with a hundred things on it!"
"What? That's tomorrow?" I asked, panicked.
She nodded. "Are you sure?" I asked her. "It can't be," I said. "I thought that was next week."
"It's tomorrow!" she said, nearly shouting. "My teacher said it is because there were 100 Teddy bears in the jar and today when we took one out and there was only one left so that means the party's tomorrow! And we're supposed to bring a poster of 100 things." I groaned. Honestly, I didn't really understand the whole teddy bears in the jar thing, it sounded kind of out there, but there was enough urgency in her voice that I believed her.
And so there I was, at nine pm on Thursday night, buying poster board.
Sometimes I feel bad for my kids that they have such a scatter brained mom.
But then again- all's well that ends well. The Valentines went out this morning. And we even got pencils and erasers to put in them, so this made her happy.
She had a project for the 100th day of school. It wasn't exactly what they were supposed to have. We ended up making a necklace with a hundred Cheerios, because it was late and I was really too tired to tackle the poster anyways.
But still. It was fine.
And I will deal with my procrastination problem.
Just, you know- later.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Product Review: Sally Hansen Kwik Off

Disclaimer: I did not get paid in whole or in part for reviewing this product.

I don't usually do product reviews, but I really had to write about this, for three reasons:
1) It works really well!
2) It smells like mangoes!
and 3) If feels like a vagina

So if you have, like I do, a six year old daughter who likes to paint your nails really garish colors and do a piss poor job of it while she's at it, painting not just the nail but almost the entire finger, you should definitely check out this product. With one dip of the finger and a quick twist, your nail polish will magically disappear. Now, I never considered using a nail polish impregnated cotton ball laborious. But since using this: I have come to realize that it is, in fact, very labour intensive.

Also, it smells like mangoes, and in my mind- anything that smells like mangoes is worth buying. If they made mango scented QTips I would probably buy those, even though it would be kind of pointless in some ways.

Lastly, and perhaps- most importantly- it feels like a vagina!  Inside the jar is basically a sponge that's soaked in nail polish remover. When you stick your finger in it, it feels warm, squishy and wet. It feels kind of weird, but not entirely unpleasant.
"Stick your finger in here," I told my husband.
He looked at me. "Can I ask what it is?"
"No," I said. "You can't, just stick your finger in it."
So he closed his eyes, winced as though expecting pain (really?? I thought. My own husband, scared of what I would do), and stuck his finger in.
Promptly he withdrew it.  "What the fuck was that?" he looked kind of panicked about it.
"Nail polish remover," I told him, showing him the bottle. "And now your finger will smell like a mango! Smell it!" I told him.
He just sighed at me.
He always sighs in mock exasperation, although lately I'm beginning to wonder about the 'mock' part.

Anyways, if you like mango smelling vagina feeling products, then this is something you must try.
Even if you don't, just try it anyways.

Also, if you have any other products that you want me to review, just let me know. Because I like buying new things. However, preferably,  they should smell nice. I do not want to try anything that smells bad, or contains ketchup (or any other form of condiment, because I just can't deal with that), or could be potentially dangerous or toxic and they should be inexpensive.
Because my husband does not understand the concept of  "you have to spend money to make money." He just doesn't. Although, OK, he's probably right. I'll probably never make any money out of it, at least not in the literal sense.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Parasailing: It's Not as Easy As it Looks (with 33% more swears)

I didn't realize I wasn't entirely serious about going parasailing until it was too late.
It looked like fun, at least, it did when you were sitting on the beach, drinking a daiquiri and watching other people do it.
"That would really be something," I said.
"Yeah, I'd like to try it," my dad said.
"Me too," I said, absently
"I think I'll do it," my dad said, standing up.
"What? Right now?"
"Yeah," he said, as he stalked off towards the hut.
"Right now?" I asked again, trailing after him with camera in hand.
"You going up, too?"
I looked up at the person 200 feet in the sky, tethered to a speed boat by a rope.
"Uhh, I think I'll wait a bit."
"Nah, just do it," he urged me.
"I'll do it on Friday," I said, this being Saturday.
Because Friday was practically forever away.

Except that it wasn't.
I blinked and it was Thursday.
"That'll be you tomorrow," my mom said that morning, pointing at a parasailor.
My stomach clenched. "Yeah," I said. "Assuming, of course, that the conditions are good tomorrow."

Which, of course, they were.
"I'm not feeling so good,"I told my husband on Friday morning. "I think I'll just stay in bed today."
"Oh no you don't," he replied, dragging me up. "You've been putting this off all week. Let's just do it and get it done."
Reluctantly, I got of bed.

I'm not afraid of heights.
At least, not per se.
But the idea of being tethered to a speed boat and dragged around the ocean at great height with only a rope anchoring me was fast losing it's appeal to me.
But- I had given my word. And my word is my word. And I knew that I would probably regret NOT doing it. So I thought, I'm just going to do it. Even I feel like puking. Even if I do puke.

Besides- you could get a free T shirt if you go. And that sort of made me feel happy about it. Of course, I wasn't really sure where I would wear an over sized T Shirt with a giant, cartoon parachute on the back that says "Yo Yo's Parasailing. Since 1968."
But that wasn't the point. The point was, it was free.
OK it wasn't exactly free.
 You could it for the low price of ten dollars. And according to my logic: the sixty forty rule, that is free, because at that price-- they're practically giving it away!
Besides, what exactly, could go wrong?
It was a good thing that I didn't get the chance to google this or this.
Because, as it turns out, a lot could go wrong.

Truly, I probably would have backed out of it. I wanted to.
What kept me from backing out? I don't know. Stubborn determination. The onlookers. The force of inertia. The fact that Pedro already had me harnessed into that thing and had already taken my money and I probably wasn't going to to get it back.  The boat pulled away from the shore, trailing with it the rope that I was now tethered to.
My stomach was turning, churning.

"Has anyone ever gone in?" I asked the guy, pointing at the ocean.
He laughed in response.
But this was no joke.
"Has anyone ever gone in?" I asked again, now terrified and beginning to suspect that the answer was obviously yes if he wasn't going to give me a straight answer about it.
"Seniorita," he said, putting a hand on my shoulder. "Relax, breathe."
"Has anyone gone in?" I asked again, more intently.
The rope before was fast uncoiling and I knew I would be airborne soon. I was beginning to think that I would puke. I imagined chunks fallilng as I ascended. Then I would be shark chum for sure.
And still the guy refused to answer my question.
"Don't worry," he said. "We have very calm day."

Oh Fuck, I thought as I began to walk forward, the rope getting shorter, tauter.
My feet were on the ground one second, and the next second, not.
I squeezed my eyes shut.
Fuck fuck fuck, I thought, tightening my grip on the rope that tethered me to the balloon.
I was told that I could let go, but there was no way I would do that, no way I could. I held tight, afraid that the thing would come undone and I would float away, just like the movie UP, but deadlier.

I peeked open one eye. And then the other.

And it was beautiful. Breathtaking. Soaring above the ocean, with the mountains off in the distance.

That is actually me. You really can't make it out, because my husband doesn't know how to work the zoom button. Hey, what can I say. I'm still working on getting him to put the toilet seat back down. I was nervous and tense the whole time, but I survived! And I hve the pictures, and the T shirt, to prove it.

And would I do it again? Hell No.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Mother Load

You don't get a vacation from being a mom. Even when you're on vacation. Maybe even, especially on vacation. There are a lot of things that could go wrong. Starting with the airplane ride.

I'm not afraid of flying. At least, not per se. But it doesn't make me feel very good when:

-in the boarding area an air traffic personnel person tells me, chirpily, that we'll commence boarding right away. They're just fixing our plane's flat tires.

-once we board, the captain announces that we'll spend a good deal of time de icing the plane. And a distant memory surfaced. Somewhere, sometime, I remember watching on TV- maybe an episode of Mythbusters, I couldnt' be sure- but something along the lines of even a tiny little drop of ice or condensation of the wing of the airplane could bring the whole thing down. I look at my kids, who are innocently and happily licking their lollipops, which were for take off. "I can't wait to take off!" Payton tells me. "Mmm Hmmm," I reply, absently, still watching the crew spray some sort of chemical on the wings. I hope they get it all, I think.

-The flight attendant approaches me and says, again chirpily- why are they always so chirpy?- that "the captain has decided to make this a four hour flight instead of five and a half. So I thought I should give you the heads up that you might want to keep your kids seat belts fastened for the duration of the flight. I'm expecting a really bumpy ride." I force a smile and nod.

Fucking awesome. Our pilot has apparently decided to go Kamikaze on us. Thanks for keeping me in the loop. Maybe I would rather not know that, I think, as my heart rate begins to speed up. I glance again at my kids, still licking their lollipops. For some reason it wrenches my heart to see them like that. So blissfully unaware of my deepening unease. I begin to wonder if my unease is a sign. Something more than just a feeling.

An intuition.
A premonition.
My heart rate speeds up again. And I think what if...
I have a sudden vision of the cabin losing pressure. Oxygen masks deploying. The children looking at me, eyes wide with fear. And I just know that I wouldn't be able to put my own mask on before helping them. The one thing you're supposed to do in an emergency and I don't think I could do it.
The engine revs, and the kids look at me with anticipation. "Here we go," Payton says.
"Here we go," I say. For better or worse, here we go.
And the thought occurs to me: I wonder if they keep on Valium on here- for emergency purposes? I mean, what if someone has a panic attack while they're on board? It's not like you can get off. All they offer is a barf bag?

But that flight wasn't bumpy at all!
In fact, the worst thing that happened was the in flight movie was Eat, Pray, Love. And that was pretty bad.
I was almost wishing that the plane would go down.

Anyways. That feeling cropped up, on and off during the vacation. We got to our suite on the third floor. I felt a lot better about that one than the one that was practically inside the parking lot (AKA possible crime scene.) Until I went out on the balcony. What if?

 I thought as I looked at the table and chairs that were near the railing. Knowing Alex he would try to...
"Keep this door locked when we're not out here," I told Geoff.
Maybe, but bad things do happen, even in paradise. That thought was never far from my mind. I thought of Madeiline McCann often.

And of course, it doesn't help when I meet up with some kook in the hallway (at least I'm hoping she was a kook) who tells me that the hotel has MAJOR security issues. She emphasizes the word major so much that it actually becomes two words. May and Jor. Apparently, the staff is all corrupt and the maids are in it with the security guards and they communicate everything on two way radios- who's in what room, when they're in or out of their room, what kind of stuff they have in their rooms. It was hard to believe that Bertha, our maid, who was about seventy years old, who walked with a limp and had a dowagers hump, could be plotting against me. But then again- you never know.
And not only that, but the locals (read: drug cartell) can and do watch the movements of everyone on the third floor because the shrubbery doesn't go up that high and there's a clear view to the interior of the rooms. "Just keep your shades down," she said. "And you should be all right." Emphasis on should.

And so I felt, among other things, when I got home a sense of profound relief that we were all home and we were all safe. Payton had a slight sunburn on her cheeks. Alex had gotten a rash from his bracelet. Other than that, we had survived, unscathed.

Anyways, I think it's about time that I started to post some GOOD vacation stories, because believe me, there are lots- and I will do that. Mondays post: parasailing.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Gritty Beginnning

Vacation is like childbirth in a way. A less bloody and gory way, generally speaking, depending on what floats your boat. But you tend to, when all is said and done, forget about the bad aspects of it and glorify the good.

Reflecting back on my vacation from last year I remembered nothing but palm trees, hot sun, pina coladas, a stunning view and three kids that might have been a throwback to a fifties sitcom. "Gee Wilikers, Pop, I'd love another soda! That's dandy!" Of course there were moments that were frenzied and chaotic and sometimes even awful - moments where Payton had a temper tantrum or Alex had diarrhea, or God forbid- both. Or the kids spilled their drinks in the restaurant and dumped their food on the floor accidentally on purpose because they were tired and cranky and probably had too much sun.
But those moments, it seemed, were completely forgotten.
Until we went back.

I was so looking forward to that magical moment when our vacation would start, to feel that warm sun our face. We would be glowing under it! Or so I thought.

Strangely, though, I cannot recall with any clarity or precision the moment that I first felt the sun on my face. I was bogged down with three kids, two carry ons, my purse, two fleece blankets, a plush dog and a plush monkey. I trudged down the stairs of the airplane and onto a tarmac, which I realize now must have been hot. Surely it was. But all I remember thinking was "Do I have our passports and our papers" Doing a head count of the kids. Shepherding them onto the bus, holding them close. The thought occurred to me that it was hot, but not in a "Wow this is amazing" way but more in a "Good God could they get some A f'ing C on this  thing? And would it kill the guy next to me to be a little less stingy with his deodorant?" I fanned my face with our passports, but then stuffed them back down into my purse. Would people kill me for my passport? I didn't know. I looked around. They looked like mostly older, white haired touristy people, but you never know.
You never do.

Finally we got to the airport terminal. People were swarmed around the luggage belt, which was spewing out black bags. Thousands of black bags. Ours was one of them. Ours were six of them.

Alex stood too close to the belt and someone nearly took off his head with their suitcase. I picked him up, consoled him, the offending party turned, gave me a dirty look. I wanted to tell him to fuck off, but I wasn't sure if you could be arrested in Mexico for saying fuck or what, so I smiled and muttered sorry while my baby's lip bled on my shirt.

OK there was no blood. I'm just being melodramatic here. But it was not good times in the luggage line. Bloody lip or not.

Then he had to go potty. Then Payton had to go. And then the stroller wouldn't unfold and I was sweating and holding the baby and pushing a now defunct stroller along, or trying to, but the damn thing was being so stubborn. And Geoff was giving me the look, the "I TOLD you not to bring that goddamn stroller!" look.
Yes- we have an "I told you not to bring that goddamn stroller" look. We have a lot of looks.
And did I mention that I was sweating?

And I wasn't sure, when we got to our hotel room an hour or so later, whether to be horrified or proud when my daughter, six, surveyed the room and then declared, quite matter of factly. "This is not acceptable."
"Hey," I told her. "Don't be like that! This is! Just great!"

I looked out the window. It was on the ground floor, facing directly onto a parking lot. Some faded yellow ribbon cordoned off the perimeter, and I wasn't sure if it was crime scene tape or not.
Probably not, I told myself. Hopefully not. It could have just as easily been left over from some kind of a fiesta night or something, although something about that didn't quite ring true. I mean- would you have a fiesta in a parking lot?
I doubted that.
But then again- what do I know about fiesta's?

In the parking lot, a truck pulled up and a couple of lanky looking locals unloaded a donkey (for the fiesta??)off of a flat bed while speaking loudly Spanish. I wasn't sure what they were saying. But they didn't look happy. Neither did the donkey.
The windows didn't lock.
Our room smelled like sewage.
"It's just not what I suspected" Payton told me, hands on hip. "Not at all."
Myself, I find it kind of endearing, but I pity the man who marries her.

But my point is this: all of that stuff was almost immediately forgotten, rather coincidentally, around the same time that I had my first rum and coke on the beach. We upgraded our room and got a beautiful suite with an ocean view. We looked out onto our parking lot (AKA possible crime scene) and said sienera with a stiff upper lip.

 The kids played in the surf, laughing and giggling and throwing sand all around. It was cute- that first day, anyways. After a little while- getting sand in your eye, and most importantly- your drink, not so fun.

We stayed like that until the sun went down and it got cold on the beach.

And, now, honestly, looking back on it- I even think that it was strangely beautiful, being in that crowded airport with the kids, holding them close, carrying that cursed, fleece Monkey blanky around with me, sweating with Alex on my hip.
Because it marked the beginning. A tough and gritty beginning, but beginnings often are?

Anyways- the rest of the vacation?
was perfecto. We went parasailing and swimming with dolphins and on a pirate ship and up in the mountains and to the old down town, our children became performers, we got to know the locals. We had too much fun.

But I'll write more about that later.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Day Before Take Off

So last night I had to get underwear for my son, which was awkward, cuz he's 13.
"Bob the Builder?" I asked him, jokingly. He offered a tense laugh and then replied no thanks, but boxers, not briefs, if you don't mind.
"Oh," I said, feeling a little taken aback. "Why? Whats the difference?"
"There's a difference," he said. "Everyone else wears boxers."
"Oh," I said, again feeling taken aback. "But who sees your underwear anyways?"
"Mom," he implored. "That's not the point. Boxers are cool and briefs aren't."
"Well," I said. "I just don't see how they could support your-" my voice trailed off as I made a cupping motion with my hand. "Your sausage and eggs," I concluded.
"Mom! Really!" he said, now sounding kind of annoyed for some reason.  Teenagers, I guess.
"Actually," my husband said. "Boxers are better. Wearing constricting underwear can lower your sperm count."
"Oh really?" I asked. "And we shoddily be concerned about his sperm count? When he's THIRTEEN!!"
"Well, I'm just saying..." my husband said.
"Fine," I said, "I'll get the boxers."
It felt the marking of some invisible line in the sand. From boy to man.

In other news, finally we are all packed for Mexico, thanks in no part to my husband.
Last night, while having my head in the fridge, sweating and swearing and scrubbing off a bottle of sweet and sour sauce that had apparently spilled at some point, after having already scrubbed the floors and the toilets, my husband was tackling the very serious chore of cleaning out the junk drawer in search of  a peg for his crib board.

"Do you really think you'll need a crib board in Mexico?" I asked, annoyed, both at the congealed pool of sauce- because who does that? Spills a bottle of sauce and then just leaves it to congeal??-  and at my husband, who simultaneously was annoyed with the state of the junk drawer. He threw a cook book in the garbage, with an exasperated sigh.
"Hey that's my cookbook," I told him, pulling it out of the garbage.
"Well when have you ever used it?"
I looked at it. "Easy Casseroles" it said on the cover with a picture of a deep brown dish that seemed to have hotdogs poking out of some kind of pasta, or maybe beans. It was hard to tell. It resembled something the dog puked up after getting into a package of sausage.
"Well," I said, hesitating. "You never really know," although ya, okay, he was probably right. I probably wasn't going to be cooking up a hotdog casserole anytime soon.

But anyways. That's not the point. The point is that of all the cleaning and scrubbing and laundry that had to be done- my husband picks these two chores to focus intently on:
-vacuuming out under our bed and washing the dust ruffle
-organizing the junk drawer
And not only did he focus on them, he complained about these like these were the heaviest, hardest, and most necessary chores. Like I should be thankful to him, because in the event of visiting dignitaries ending up on our bedroom floor for some reason and looking under our bed, he would save us a load of embarrassment. Because apparently I wouldn't believe what was under there!

But I don't care about that.
Because tomorrow we leave!
PS- I gained back the four pounds I lost.
PSS- I really don't care about that anymore, either.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blogcations and Vacation and Unposted Posts

So apparently I've been on a blogcation. I really hadn't intended to be away this long. But then I just got caught up with the holidays and all that stuff. And then after that every idea I came up with to write about was crap.

I was going to write a post called "My year in incidental expenses" but then I thought- do people really care that I had to shell out a hundred bucks to get my dog dewormed this summer? And then I was going to write a post about hand sanitizers, because I don't buy antibacterial soap- don't beleive in it- but it's getting virtually impossible to even find just plain soap anymore, everything has ANTIBACTERIAL written all over it.  But then I thought- do people really care what kind of hand soap I buy? And then I was going to write a short story using all of my blog titles from 2010, but that quite quickly became impossible because I've used such weird titles like "But Stephen King has a penis yo" and "Strange Entrance Paths" and "The sixty forty rule" and the story was really going in a strange direction. Anyways, my dashboard is full of drafts in various stages of completion, and NO published posts yet.
Shame on me.
2011 hasn't been a very good year thus far for me blogging wise.

Anyways. I'm back, and I'm gonna write something whether or it sucks or not.
The main going on in my life right now is preparing for Mexico, which means, for me- losing ten pounds. Or trying to. Easy peasy, I thought initially. I'll just skip breakfast, drink an instant breakfast for lunch, have a sensible dinner, walk everyday, no snacks, no calories in my drinks. The first few days were good. Great.
But then I started gagging on those instant breakfast thingys. Turns out after a few days they don't taste so good.

And then it got cold outside. Like really cold. -20 ish.  And I really don't want to walk outside in the cold. My ears were all red when I got home, and that can't be good for you. Plus there are people that don't even shovel their sidewalks and it's all icy and slippery. Frankly it's just hazardous.  I mean- I want to excercise, I just don't want to break my hip. I mean- what kind of a vacation would that be?

So long story short- I've lost four pounds. And I'm leaving in four days. Six pounds in four days? Doable? I don't know. At this point I'm like whatever. I'll just drink a daquiri- maybe two- when I get there and then all my reservations will fly out the window anyways and I'll be happily prouncing about in my little bathing suit- six pounds or not. I mean- haven't you ever seen anyone who's had three kids before? Yes, I do have a slightly unsighly roll at my waist that looks strikingly like a batch of unkneaded bread dough. But it's too late to worry about that. Oh well who cares. People like bread dough. Don't they?
And if they don't, well, they should.

So I probably won't be around much again for the next few weeks. We leave on Friday for two weeks in Peurta Vallarta. My family is crazy excited about it and the anticipation is palpable in our house right now. Last year we went for first time and were vaguely excited about going. Having never been there before we were excited, but only in an abstract way, like the way that I would- perhaps- look forward to retirement. It's like "Yeah- it'll be nice, but it's a long way off." And then on top of that,  the week prior to leaving I watched a Dateline special called like (and don't quote me on this) "Gone in the Night" and it was about all these slayings in Mexico and abductions and that left me with a seriously bad taste in my mouth.
But this year I have no such reservations. If I get beheaded I get beheaded, what can you do?

I'll leave you with this, the lyrics to a song that we are forever quoting in our house right now: Toes, by Zack Brown.

I've got my toes in the water, ass in the sand
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand
Life is good today
Life is good today.