Monthly Archives: August 2014

When Fun Goes Grumpy

With the holiday weekend upon us, I would like to share an oft-occurring long-weekend-ish problem with you.  This happens to me frequently when we have holiday weekends or otherwise generally less productive times.  Yay, 3-day weekend, right?
On long weekends, it’s sometimes popular—and even considered fun for some—to rent movies, to hit up Ye Olde Red Box, so to speak.  (Especially if you have a gazillion kids and no social life outside of the home.)
But this is what happens.  When we get to the Red Box, everything sounds good.  I want to watch everything that I have not yet seen!  So what do we do?  We rent 50 gazillion movies.  Ok, probably more like 3 or 4, but still, that’s a lot of movies for us.  So we rent them and take them home.
And the first movie is relaxing and great and fun.  But then it comes time to put in the next movie, and I’m reluctant but agreeable.  So we put in the second movie, and halfway through it, I lose interest.  And about 5 minutes past halfway, I decide to get out my laptop, and I get completely distracted from the movie.
And then I start to get irritated because the movie is too loud and I can’t concentrate on what I’m reading on the laptop.  I suppose I got out the computer in the first place because I feel the need to get up off the couch and DO something productive instead of watching yet another movie.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy the movies.  I do.  But then they just don’t end.  And then if the second movie is something like The Hobbit, I get really, really grumpy because that thing went on and on and I’m pretty sure gray hairs grew out of my head as the ending credits were rolling.  I felt like I needed to scrub the kitchen floor while Gandalf was smoking his pipe.
So I guess my thing is this.  One movie is fun.  Two movies = grumpy time.  I can’t really explain it except for the fact that I’m just not a very stay-in-one-spot kind of person.  I move.  I travel.  I do things and see things and need to feel somewhat productive (unless it’s nap time), and I just feel like the day is gone if it’s movie marathon time.

On the other hand, I could spend an entire weekend reading a book.  Why is this?

Helpful

I was very helpful yesterday, which can probably be attributed to the many years I was forced to wear a Girl Scout uniform and go to camp and smell like bug spray and still get eaten alive by mosquitos.  (Also, thanks Girl Scout Camp for making me view camping today as its own sort of hell-in-the-woods.)
Anyway, we were in Jason’s car, and he was driving.  He was also talking on the phone to some business contact about very spreadsheet-y sounding things.  (He has approximately 12 phones, 4 laptops, 16 chargers, 8 headsets and pretty much can talk to about 7 different people at the same time.)  So while he was otherwise occupied with driving and working, I did my good deed.
I happened to look over and see a tarantula crawling up his gas-pedal leg.  (It might have been more like a little furry woodsy looking spider, I dunno.)
Anyway, EVEN THOUGH I, too, was busy organizing my facebook page and twittering about, I had the bravery and wherewithal to POINTnonchalantly at the spider.  (Don’t even go thinking I was about to touch it.)

And I was impressed.  He continued his conversation, stayed centered on the road and decimated a tiny little spider that was probably just trying to make a nest in his leg hair.
So my point is this:  If you were talking to my husband at about 6:00 p.m. last night, he probably has no idea what you were saying because there was a spider crawling toward his man-region.

Also:  If I ever see a creature invading your personal space, I will slowly back away, all the while pointing and calling the matter to your attention.  I am an outdoorswoman like that.

Things That Plague Me…That Probably Shouldn’t

This one has been bugging me a LOT lately, definitely more than it should, but it’s entirely spurred on by the fact that my dear husband went to the grocery store last week and bought the WRONG KIND OF CHEESE.
This may not seem to be a big deal to you.  If it’s not, you are a cheese hater, and we may not be able to continue our friendship.
If it IS, however, a big deal to you, then you will understand the following question:
Why does that super-thinly shredded cheese not taste as delicious as the thickly-shredded stuff?

I know, I know…it’s not as dense.  But even if I smashed a handful of the thinly-shredded stuff into a ball and then shoved the entire thing into my mouth, it still would not taste as good.  WHY IS THIS?
And why did Jason buy the wrong kind of cheese?  Does he buy the thin shreds because he KNOWS I like the thicker shreds?  Does he enjoy seeing me in cheese-agony?
On to other things that plague me:
  • Books with no ending.  (It can be happy.  It can be sad.  It can be TERRIBLE, but please for the love of all the cheese in the free world, give it an ending!)
  • Entertainment systems that force the user to operate a minimum of 6 different remotes at once.  No good.  On.  Off.  Channel.  Record.  That’s what I need.  Don’t complicate it.
  • Telephones.  If you know me AT ALL, you know that I’m a writer, an emailer, even an in-person talker.  But if the phone rings, it’s sort of like an alien ship just landed, and I need to immediately find the safest place in the room to hide.  I would honestly rather send you communication via carrier pigeon, and trust me, that would require a lot of training and skill.  Not to mention the fact that I’m not even sure where I would get a carrier pigeon.  (Note to self:  Ask Jason if subdivision rules allow us to have pigeons.)
And that’s about it for today, although there are several things that should be on this list.  I probably am just not thinking of them now.  Once I solve all of these problems and irritations, I’ll toss more your way.

Career Decisions

When I was in college, I went through a phase where I wanted to be a psychologist.
I will wait for you ALL to stop laughing before I continue this post.
All done?
Ok, good.
I feel that we can all thank every lucky damned star in the entire solar system that the shrink thing did not pan out, because as you know, there are days when I can barely guide myself through the soul-emptying process of deciding what to wear.  I cannot even imagine attempting to help someone with a real problem.
There are lots of things I wanted to be.  Let’s go back (like WAY back) to a more innocent time.  I was about 7 years old when I declared to the world that I wanted to be a cook at Hardee’s, and my sole purpose for this career decision was based upon the fact that I held dear the belief that I—and only I—could vastly improve on the hot ham and cheese sandwich.  (I will now confess that when I was in college, I worked at Hardee’s for ONE day, and it sucked hairy balls.)
Other things I wanted to be:
  • Political Science Major Person (I’m not sure what they do, but the classes were WAY cool.)
  • Writer (“But they are POOR,” my mom would tell me.  I can now confirm this.)
  • Veterinarian (Let’s get real.  I can barely handle my own dogs’ vomit.  There is NO WAY I’m looking at the asses and inner-workings of the dogs of strangers.)
  • Botanist (Not the drug-dealer kind.  Also, those of you who know that I barely scraped by in Botany 101 with a C-, you may stop laughing now.)
  • Person Who Works at an Embassy.  (Because how cool would that be?  Except if you get bombed or have to dress up in suits all the time.  Eww.)
  • Teacher  (Yeah, that sucked almost as much as the job at Hardee’s.)
  • Rancher (Specifically, horses.  Ok, now I am laughing at myself.  I get grumpy when my boobs sweat in my own subdivided front yard.  I’m pretty sure those rancher people do a lot more sweating than I do when I pull weeds.)
  • Writer  (Yep, that’s the one.  Whew!  Finally, a decision, and it only took me…well, a LOT of years.)

So, hypothetically speaking, if I had a daughter who was 17-years-old and had absolutely NO idea what she wanted to do with her life, I should not be concerned, right?  That would be totally normal, right?
Because, damn, I’m thinking this could very possibly be how people end up with 30-year-old adult children living on their sofas eating cheese puffs all day.  Please tell me I am wrong.  It’s totally ok not to know, right?

I mean, I turned out just fine.  Oh, crap…

Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em

Green Day, 21 Guns
When you’re at the end of the road

And you lost all sense of control

And your thoughts have taken their toll

When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul

Your faith walks on broken glass

And the hangover doesn’t pass

Nothing’s ever built to last

You’re in ruins
I’ve been jammin’ this song all afternoon, and I still haven’t exactly come to a resolution.
Except for maybe this.  I’m a grudge-holder, which isn’t exactly a resolution, because I already knew this about myself, so that’s sort of like cheating, right?
So maybe the conclusion is that I can’t come to a resolution.  Which sounds a little bit on the insane side.
Well, crap.  That leaves me with the only resolution that I, as a human being, seem unable to make.  And it’s this.  As mad as I am, and as upset as I am, I think my dad would want me to forgive.
But here’s the thing.  I’m really, really mad.  And it’s not like it’s over something that anyone can undo.  So that sort of leaves the people in the situation at an impasse.
I used to have this semblance of faith.  I think.  And that’s why this song resonates with me now, because whatever is left of that faith is definitely on broken glass right now.  Like giant, gleaming, sharp shards of glass.  It’s fragile.  And there are questions.  And doubts.  And levels of pissed-offed-ness that I can’t begin to articulate.
And someone—I can’t remember who right now—once said that if you didn’t want your story (or pieces thereof) to be written, you probably should have behaved better.  That can definitely apply to me, too, so write away.
But here’s the deal.  I was Dumplin’, and I’ll never get to be that again.  I was a Daddy’s girl, and no he wasn’t a perfect man, but he was a perfect dad and the only one I ever get to have in this life.  So if you take that away—or play a part in that being taken from me—then, yeah, I’ma gonna be a little pissed.
So, I’m guessing this is the part where I get past the sad.  And past the frozen feeling.  And now I’m at the mad.  And when does that get fixed?

Might I Interest Sir In An Appetizer?

“Chips & salsa, perhaps?  Sampler platter?”
“Just the couch then?  Will that be with the cushions or without?”
So the little shits ate my couch.
Not the kids.  The dogs.  The damned dogs.  Ate.  The.  Couch.
And did they even have the decency to look like they had indigestion or heartburn or constipation or ANYTHING?  Nope.  In fact, when I walked in the house after work yesterday, the entire furry crew looked just pleased as punch with themselves.
The kids, however, looked scared shitless as they stood there in the living room surrounded by mounds of shredded couch cushion.  “We didn’t know what to do with it, Mom,” was the only explanation I got.
Hmmm, well we could either put it in a pot with some water and cook it for dinner, or we could pick it up and put it in a trash bag.  Call me crazy…just a thought.  But even my sarcasm failed me at the moment, and I couldn’t get those words to come out.  I’m pretty sure I spluttered something more Tourrettes-y like, “Shit-Damn-Ball-Crap-Shit-Hell-Balls,”while the kids stood there waiting for my eyeballs to pop completely out of my head.
And then, like Wonder Woman, I picked up the couch (damned heavy thing, too), flung it over my head, spun it around three times like a baton, and tossed it in the garage.  Ok, what really happened was that I dragged it, huffing and grunting as I felt sweat drip between my boobs (which, by the way, makes me grumpier than having my couch eaten by dogs) out onto the sidewalk.
It bumped down the two steps to the sidewalk, fell into the flower bed, and clumps of fluff poofed out of the place-where-my-butt-used-to-sit.  All of this was in full view of the neighbors, and all of this was done braless, because once I get home in the afternoon, that’s the dress code—no shoes, no bra, hair in clippy thing on top of my head.  So yeah, I looked insane…what with my boobs flopping all around and my couch in the middle of my flower bed.  But I had it damned handled.
My dogs were not going to get one more scrumptious bite of cushion if it was the last thing I did on this green earth.  Midway through this event, Marissa asked, “Mom, do you need your inhaler?”  So I’m assuming I looked like a crazy woman with the lung capacity of a 90-year-old lifelong smoker.
I did not need my damned inhaler.  What I needed were pets that had less of an affinity for polyester filling.
Oh and also, we already had a call in to Nebraska Furniture Mart because we purchased the replacement policy or some such crap for this couch.  So we called to let them know we had a tiny hole in the seam of the couch.  Guess what?  Now the hole is NOT so tiny.  And they, too, are going to think we are crazy, because what we previously defined as a small hole now looks like the Grand Canyon of fabric destruction.

And now I have a half-eaten couch in my garage and a treadmill in my living room.  And probably a husband who may or may not have donated my dogs to some prison pet program.  Also, welcome home from out of town, Honey.  I know you’ve been gone for a week, and you were really looking forward to coming home and maybe sitting on our comfortable couch, but about that…

Fart Island

Life on Fart Island is good.  It’s a magical place, really—a place where 7-year-old boys can make blanket forts out of poofy blankets squired from their parents’ bedroom, a place where Legos come to life to form magnificent towns filled with dragon-slaying man-beasts that drive square-wheeled wagons, a place where smuggled Dorito crumbs mingle with discarded socks.
Fart Island is OFF LIMITS to:
  • Girls
  • Rules
  • Homework
  • Timeouts
  • General Seriousness

You should know that Fart Island is a real place.  Do not discount the existence of Fart Island, lest you be forced to face the wrath of the Kings of Fart Island, who just so happen to be quite ruthless in doling out whatever punishments they deem fit.  (The punishment is likely, however, to be farting.  Just giving you a fair warning.)
The thing is, Fart Island is the bed in Jadon’s room.  And only the boys are allowed on the island, except at bedtime, when parents are invited onto the island to tuck stinky, unruly little boys snugly into the poofy tent-covers they have pilfered from around the house.
It is a giggly place where stories are told and tickles are abundant.  So if ever you are invited onto Fart Island, it IS indeed an honor.   But be warned, there WILL be giggles and stink bombs aimed your way.Not many are allowed to tread there. 
I should point out that the parents of this particular realm did not come up with the concept of Fart Island.  We probably would have named it the Book Boat (or some other dorky alliterated name), but since we are dealing with 7-year-old boys, and their universe seems to consist of farts, burps, and loose teeth right now, I’m not too surprised that we ended up with an island named after their favorite bodily function.
I hope that you, too, someday have a Fart Island—or something like it.  Because it’s magical.  It’s where we spend a few special (albeit sometimes stinky) minutes before bedtime getting to chat about our day and just giggle for a few minutes.

And maybe sometime, when someone asks what we’re up to, I can just say, “Eh, we’re just going to home and hang out on Fart Island.”  Because that’s just how we roll.

If I Were a Soccer Coach

If I were a soccer coach, there are a few things I would need:
  • Booze.
  • Throat lozenges.
  • Punching bag.
  • Anger management counselor.
  • One of those people who follows you around with a big leaf, fanning you.  (You know, like in Egypt or in the movies.  Do they really DO that in Egypt, because if so, I totally need to go there.)
  • Aspirin.
  • More booze.
  • A nap.

And that’s just the beginning.  After this past weekend, when I watched the very first two soccer games my 7-year-old boys played in—EVER—I have a new respect and admiration for the people who coach pee wee sports.  I mean, for the love of all that is sacred and holy, either those kids are all deaf, or they don’t know their right from their left yet.  (I’m guessing it’s the latter.)
I heard a few things repeated numerous times.  One of them was, “Left wing!  Left wing!  Get to the LEFT WING!”  Now, either little Johnnie needed a hearing aid, or he had no flying fuck of an idea what a left wing even was.  And I don’t blame the kid, because I was thinking it was something I might find at KFC.  (Clearly, I have not previously been a soccer mom.  I’ve spent the majority of my time in the gymnastics realm.  So if you ask me what a rudi-ballout is, I can totally tell you, but don’t ask me to tell you how to get to the left wing, mmmm kay?)
Another thing I kept hearing was something along the lines of, “Nooooo, Joey (names have been changed to protect the innocent—and my kids),kick the ball the OTHER way!”  I personally think my boys would be really awesome at defensive offense or offensive defense…you know, kicking goals for the other team.  Because it was only their first weekend, and already they were coming REALLY close!  It was edge-of-the-lawnchair exciting!
Also, did you know that when little dudes are standing out in the grass, all bored with nothing to do, they will FIND something to do?  And when they have no toys to play with, can you guess what they play with?  Yep…IT!  They play with IT.  The little fishing worm in their pants.  They wiggle it and jiggle it and fondle it, and then, when the ball is finally kicked in their general direction, they are so busy playing with themselves that they have no idea what to do about a damned soccer hurtling toward their little heads.
One of the funniest things I think I heard this weekend was,“There’s no SKIPPING in soccer!”  Well, guess what, Coach-er-oo?  There IS skipping in soccer if you are 7 years old and the coach calls you to the bench and walking sounds boring.  Then, there is most definitely skipping in soccer.
If you are watching little dudes play soccer, you should also be prepared for the sudden and abrupt exit of one or more players from the field without warning.  This could happen for any number of reasons.  In our case, little dude apparently needed to take a shit, and well, everyone knows you can’t do THAT on the soccer field.  Duh!  And when the deed needs to be done, it doesn’t really matter that the coach might be yelling “LEFT WING!” at you.  When you gotta shit, you gotta shit.  And the best way to take care of this is to saunter off the field like you don’t have a care in the world.  Just wave at Mom, Dad, and the coach, and wander off on your merry way.
All the while, the coach kept yelling something about the left wing and coverage and forming a wall and attacking the ball.  And I’m pretty sure the boys were still trying to figure out where the wing was at the end of the game.  Was it his left or their left?  I was even confused.  The coach was sweaty and seemed to be suffering a heat stroke.  He really, really could have used a leaf-fan-wielding person and a large vat of water.  And booze.  I’m guessing he went for the booze when he got home.
Note to self:  google left wing.  And soccer.  Definitely google soccer.