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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Water

My hatred of water has been well documented.  Here, here, here , here, and here, to be exact.  I'm not a fan.  May have something to do with some sort of early trauma in my life, wherein I almost drowned with a lifeguard watching me and my sister pulled me to safety, or maybe I'm bitter about all the times we went swimming in Lake Erie and came out with sediment and God knows what else all up in my crack (like, literally.  Ohio is the state where a river caught on fire; of course our lake is full of rusted pieces of metal and communicable diseases.).  Or perhaps it has to do with 9th grade when a guy picked me up and threw me into the pool during free swim and I was able to get to the edge of the pool in the deep end, thereby nullifying my excuse of "I can't swim" to the gym teacher and my free pass to have grossly modified expectations for swim class. Fucker.

Anywho, I'm not a fan of water as I said before.  I generally don't go in past my waist, and it usually involves much wailing and gnashing of the teeth for me to get into the water with the children, along with some pretty serious negotiations that simultaneously makes me teary eyed with pride and frustrated as hell at their tenacity. Bathing suits aren't exactly my friend, too. I have body image issues anyways, and plus I am a 36 year old woman who's been pregnant more times than most and who nursed three children.  Shit only stays where it is supposed to because of a lot of Spanx and a solid underwire bra, plus a lot of strategic placement of body parts.

(And yes, I know I am supposed to be a feminist and all that shit, and that worrying about how my body looks in a bathing suit is a function of societal pressures to look perfect, and that my children don't care how I look.  I know all of this.  But I still feel it and by God, I'm honest if nothing more than super crazy.)

So what the fuck made me think that it would be a good idea to get the kids a fucking swimming pool for Christmas last year?  Not like the little 24 inch pools that we used to splash in with our dad when we were little.  No, a fucking 14 ft wide, 42 inches high pool with a real filter and ladder and everything.  And what made me think that my children would be ok with me NOT getting into it with them?  Seriously, if I didn't know that eggs are the devil food and I never eat them, I would question if I got into a whole gallon of egg nog the day I decided to get this thing.

(Though not gonna lie, we got one hell of a deal on it.)

I have been swimming more this summer than I have the last two, possibly three, combined.  Not even hyperbole there.  And the pool has only been up since Saturday.  My children know that I am a sucker for them, and they tend to exploit this to get me to do things that I wouldn't normally.  Like willingly put a bathing suit on and get into water.  Luckily for me, their willingness to exploit me has not extended to things like buying them meth or hacking the school's computers to change their grades.

I suppose that it is part of being a parent though...this willingness to do shit for your kids that takes you out of your comfort zone.  Whether it is learning to use a booger sucker to becoming a dance mom to educating your children about the importance of locking doors to avoid murder,  my kids are constantly making me grow as a person and to expand my thinking in new ways.  Even if it means getting over my hatred of water.  And my fear of stabby murderers coming into our house while waiting up for the teenager to get home from "working a late shift".

Mama may have been born in the morning, but it wasn't yesterday.  I may be willing to allow my children to talk me into believing that water is fun, but I sure as hell ain't gonna get talked into believing that my kid always headed straight home from work after her shift.  Remember, this is the lady who had her gym teacher believing for almost an entire semester that she could not swim.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bedtime

My two younger children have decided that they are going to do a reprisal of the toddler years with regards to avoidance of going to bed, and have recently begun doing all that they can to postpone the actual event of going to bed itself, let alone actually falling asleep.  They like to whip out all of the classics, such as I need a drink of water or to go to the bathroom, as well as some creative new ones such as I just realized at the exact moment I am supposed to get into bed that I may have potentially possibly broken my pinkie toe earlier this week and it now needs immediate medical attention (Alexis) or I just realized that I don't have every single stuffed animal in my room on my bed and we must bust out a search party for said missing stuffed animal and tear apart my whole room RIGHT NOW (Charlie.)  They have also taken to begging me to lie down with them for a while, and since I'm pretty much a sucker for them I will do this as long as it does not involve TOO long of a conversation on their part to avoid going to sleep.

I might be a fucking sucker for those girls, but I'm not a dumb sucker.  I KNOW their sudden desire for Mama cuddles has nothing to do with the actual cuddling itself and more to do with getting an extra 3-5 minutes of awake time so they can see...what?  What their father and I do in the mysterious hours between 8:30-9 PM and 7-8 AM?

It's a whole lotta not-exciting, that's what.  It usually involves some sort of lunch packing, cleaning, and prepping for the next day.  The excitement comes when we are able to eat or drink whatever crap we want without having to inhale it so the children don't see us making poor food choices and therefore irreversibly scarring them for life with food issues.  I also will get on the laptop at that time uninterrupted to binge on the news online, Facebook, and to pin things that I will likely never make/do, and Charles will go watch shit on the iPad because I am a bad wife and can't/won't watch TV or movies with him.  We are ANIMALS, I tell you.  Don't be jealous.

Today's conversation with Charlie, though, takes the cake.  She started off by asking if they could get a mini fridge for the upstairs.  She tried to sell me on the idea by saying "We won't keep pop in it.  Maybe cheese sticks.  Or stuff you keep in the fridge downstairs.  Like healthy stuff."  Uh, OK, playa.

She then also asked for a "small kitchen area" for their bedrooms as well.  Apparently the new thing for kindergardeners is to have your own apartment.  Nothing like starting independent living fresh outta preschool, amirite?

So I'm lying next to her in bed, grateful for the dark to hide my silent laughing, when she then makes her last request.

She wants a fucking underground bunker.

I shit you not.

She wants it to be equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, bed, and a lot of pajamas.  Plus there needs to be an underground tunnel going from her current bedroom (which is upstairs, so not quite sure how that will work, but I guess all the details have not been hammered out yet...) to the bunker.  For what, I'm not sure.  Is this going to be like a situation room for when her attempts at world domination fail?  Is she privy to some intelligence regarding nuclear warfare that I am not?  Or perhaps she is just terrified of the idea of a Trump Presidency during her grade school years and is just planning accordingly?

I'm trying to avoid thinking that perhaps it is to hide bodies.  I mean, I am pretty sure there's NOT a body count yet so this is what we are working to maintain here.  But perhaps she is just trying to be proactive here.  A preemptive plan for hiding bodies and fugitives, if you will.  Contingencies.

I am not sure if I should be slightly terrified of that idea, or proud as hell of her foresight and planning and organizational skills.  With the added bonus, of course, of putting off falling asleep for another six and a half minutes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Changes

As I was driving the little girls to school today, a bird came out of nowhere and suicide bombed my car.  It was all like "Cash me ousside" and I was all like "Go home, Robin Redbreast.  We ARE outside.  You're drunk."  I managed to not hit the stupid thing, but it made me think of other encounters I have had with birds.

Once, when I was a lowly undergrad intern at a chemical dependency treatment center for women, I had to get out to a 5K fundraiser to work at like 5 AM, somewhere on the east side of Cleveland.  Now, I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, and I have the navigational capabilities of a deaf drunk bat.  T his was also circa 1999, way before GPS's, smart phones, hell, even cell phones weren't so much a thing then.

Naturally I got lost.  I am a very definite West Side girl here (and people from Cleveland will probably be the only ones who appreciate this...) so I was firmly convinced that I was going to die because that is what happens on the East Side.  In fact, when I stopped at the gas station to get directions, the clerk looked at this young little white girl and gave me very clear directions as to how to get the hell outta dodge and instructions to not stop again.  Later found out after the fact that I was in one of the worst sections of Cleveland.  Alone.  At 5 AM.  Yeah.

Anyways, I finally get to the 5K and there is a dead bird inside the grill of my car.  Just casually hanging there from it's wing, like "Heeeeyyy, wazzup?", all waiting for the par-tay to get started.  Except for the whole being dead thing.  And being a bird.  I don't think birds party all that much, to be honest.  They seem kinda lame.

Fast forward about 8 years...very different life.  I'm married, two kids, and in grad school.  I make the god awful 90 minute drive to the University of Akron several times a week.  I do now have a cell phone, so I am talking to my husband on the phone when a bird literally drops out of the sky on my windshield.  Dead as a door nail.  For some reason, my first thought was to turn on the windshield wipers, but before I could even do that, it got blown off my car as I was going 60 MPH.  I was left there like, "Uhhhhh...."

Again,a bout another 5 years...I'm at work in a mental health agency.  There is a cardinal that keeps running into my window.  Over and over again.  I name it Insanity because it seemed fitting and I like to think I am a clever lass.  I tried everything to get that stupid thing to stop...partially out of concern that it would hurt itself, partially because I was afraid I would have a paranoid person in my office (well, besides myself, of course) and they would lose it.

Different times in my life.  Different circumstances.  The nebulous "they" say that the only constant is change, and I can certainly believe that.  I've had a lot change in the last 6 months or so, and I am about to have even more change.  I'm going to be stepping outside of my comfort zone in a big way, a way that will impact my family.  It is simultaneously terrifying and exciting and anxiety provoking in a way I have not had anxiety provoked in a long time.

Yes, change is coming whether I like it or not.  I certainly could do without the birds though.  They are kinda creepy and I am not convinced they do not have dubious intent of some sort.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Murdering

So today we went into BFE (like more than we already live in...) to purchase a new to us table and chair from someone.  I refuse to buy any brand new furniture until my children are past the asshole "let's destroy all the nice things" stage so this was the next best thing as our current chairs had a habit of falling apart when one sat on them and the table is almost older than Charles and I combined.  On the way home, we were discussing with the children living out in BFE (especially after we went through a particularly creepy town where literally every business was already closed at 7 PM and it looked abandoned and meth lab-ish).   The following conversation ensued:

Me: I would not want to live out here.  All there is is farm land.  No neighbors anywhere in the distance.

Charles:  I would love it.

Me:  Nope.  No one would hear you when you get murdered.

Charles:  What are you talking about?  There's no one around here!

Me: Exactly.  The murderer can waltz right in your house and off you and no one will hear you scream.

Charles: Are you even serious right now?  Look at all the open ground...all kill shots are open.  No one will get to the house.  All vitals are exposed, even in an army crawl.

Me:  Duh.  They come to murder you at night!  While you are sleeping!


Later that evening, after my sister texted me about a police standoff around the block:

Charles:  Well, that is why you need to live in the country.

Me: NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU SCREAM!!!

Charles:  You go to bed late and I wake up early.  They would never have a chance to get to us!  You are in bed at like 2 AM and I wake up at like 4 AM...

Me:  That's a 2 hour window!  It does not take that long to murder someone!

Charles:  We have the dogs.  Maximus would just have to start sleeping in our room.  And anyways, you are so wrapped up with the three blankets and your blankie (yes, I am 36 years old and have a blankie.  Fucking judge away, Judgy McJudgerson.) no one will be able to get to you.

Me: Well, I don't really want to wake up and find you dead!  Out in the country you could be dead for three days and having cats eat your body before someone find you!

Charles:  Well, you would not have to buy any dog food for a while then...

Me: (after a long minute just staring at him): That would be the one time our bedroom door actually stayed closed and the dogs couldn't get in. (We've been having problems with the door popping open even after we shut them...the joys of living in a house built in 1928...)

Charles:  Well, we will just put a dog on a chain outside every 20 feet around the house.  Or have your brother set up a perimeter for us with bombs and landmines and we can give the girls a map.

Me:  That would be educational and shit, right?

Charles: Yep.  We'd have to get more dogs though.  Charlie would get behind that.

Me: No.  More. Dogs.

Charles:  Well, what about an attack goat?  Or a fighting chicken?

Me: I'd rather have the dogs in the house to defend us.

Charles: Well, we could have the goat or the chicken in the house...

Me: No goats in the house.  Or chickens.  Remember people complaining about how they stink?

Charles:  Well, this would be a special fighting cock.  An angry one, with special 3 inch metal spurs on his feet.

Me:  We already have one angry cock in this house, thankyouverymuch.  We don't need another one.


I like to think I won this argument.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Perseverance

My sister-in-law, Kris, and I had decided that it would be a good idea to run a 2 mile race last weekend.  As we Ohioans like to do things like grill outside when the windchill is negative and set the house on fire (OK, maybe not all like to do the second part...) it seemed like a solid plan to run 2 miles outside in March.  In Ohio.  Where within the last month we have had thunderstorms, snow, sleet, and spring temperatures.  Usually within 48 hours of each other.

It was 19* that day.  Nineteen.  Fucking. Degrees.  It was cold as Kellyanne Conway's heart and we were running.  Voluntarily.  For long periods of time.

I'm trying to establish that we are crazy.  I mean, you already knew that about me but my sister-in-law is a little too.  For God's sake, she married a blood relative of mine.  The certifiably sane do not do things like that.

Now I had been running a bit in the summer before I decided to pop my pelvis out of place.  I was getting back into it but was still pretty slow.  As in I could likely get lapped by walkers, really.  Definitely nowhere near where my times were for cross country in high school, when I was young, in shape, and blissfully ignorant of the need for extra absorbent pads while running because you leak urine because childbirth ruins you in so many, many ways.

Through a series of events over which neither of us had control, we ended up having Charlie and my niece Halle with us.  They are, as Charlie says, best friend cousins and the two of them together is about the cutest fucking thing since that kid from Jerry McGuire.  They weren't registered for the race, but we brought them anyways because we are totally law breakers like that.  And really, what were they going to do, kick us out?  It was 19*, no one was fucking policing this race.  We had told them that we were going to walk most of the race, but I was hoping that we could talk them into running at least some of it.  When I told Charlie this, and reassured her that we would go slow, she asked, "Like more of a slow jog, Mama ?"  Yes, child, yes indeed.

We got to the race and promptly started to freeze our asses off.  The girls thought it was great fun, and even tried to convince us to let them take their hats off.  Uh, no.  Nineteen degrees.  I'm a pretty shitty parent generally, but even I draw the limits at frostbite. The race started, and we convinced the girls to run for at least the first quarter mile.  They made it for .39 miles before walking.  We then went through a series of walking and running, surprisingly more running than walking.  We finished with a respectable 13:37 mile time...not bad, considering we were running with two 6 year olds who have never run that far in their lives.

Both would have had you convinced they were dying, though.  At one point, when we told them they were going to have run in their first race, the response we got back was "I'm never doing this again!"  Another time, I was trying to convince Charlie to run for the last quarter mile and I told her she was my warrior princess and could do this, and she said "I don't want to be a warrior princess.  I want to stop!"

All that being said, though, they both soldiered on through it.  They were so proud at the end of it, and of course we totally talked that shit up to them.

Our girls, marching on. Or, as Charlie says, slow jogging on.

I was so goddamned proud of the two of them.  I really think that they provided inspiration (as well as humor when they were dramatically "dying") to all of the runners around us.  It was so gratifying to see them pushing through to accomplish something.  Society has not gotten to them yet and told them they are less than capable, that they should just give up, that since they weren't first their effort does not matter.  I truly hope that they remember that cold March day when they ran with their mom and aunt and completed the race, and how that effort and perseverance felt.  At least, I hope that is what the remember from that day and not the free banana, bottled water,a and granola bar they got, along with a pair of shamrocks on a headband some guy gave them at the beginning of the race.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Crafty II

I enjoy doing artsy-craftsy kinds of stuff.  It's a good creative outlet for me when I can't summon enough crazy to write on this blog, and it keeps me off the streets.  And also it's a good excuse to drink wine because when you drink wine while crafting it is called "enjoying me time" vs. "maybe it's time for an intervention".  I occasionally decide to go all Martha Stewart for the kids' holiday parties, and I decided to go full frontal for this Valentine's Day.

I found this cute idea for secret decoder cookies here and decided to put a little Valentine's Day spin on it.  And because I am generous and kind and V-day is about love, I also decided that I was going to give you the play by play of how exactly I made these fucking cookies.

First of all, I totally copped out on the cookies.  I did not make them from scratch, using only all organic, non-GMO ingredients.  I bought a fucking mix:


Why yes, there are two different types of mixes there.  I read the box of the Great Value ones, saw that it made 40 servings at 2 cookies a serving, and figured I was golden.  I forgot I used one of the packets for a trial run when I did that math.   In my defense, this was also the same night I discovered lemon blueberry rum...


I whipped up some of those bad boys and prepared to Martha Stewart-ize them.  Rolled them mothafuckers out, then cookie-cuttered their asses and prepared to fill them with the crushed cinnamon fire Jolly Ranchers I took a lot of my pent-up aggression about my daughters both suddenly deciding to go on a jag of forcing me to listen to only Katy Perry in the car on.  I recognize that cinnamon candies might not be the best thing to put in cookies going to children, but goddamn.  I'm not going for taste here.  I used fucking store-bought cookie dough.

Filled with crushed candies.  Crushed, similar to my hopes and dreams.

Now I had mentioned a trial run.  I was not about to make all of these without attempting it first.  If it was going to go down in flames (hopefully not the literal ones, but I swear that would be our luck...) I needed to come up with a backup plan.  Obviously it had worked or I wouldn't even be telling you about this (though that might make for an entertaining post, fo' shure...).  At any rate, I had already made up a little trial of the message these cookies would be used to decode.  The blog I linked to above talks about using a blue pen to write the message, then covering it with squiggles of orange, red, and pink.  Fuck that shit.  Twenty five children plus one teacher in each kids class equals 52 Valentine's and I am not going to lie...the idea of handwriting all that shit makes me wanna stab my eyes out.  I fully intended on printing that shit out on the computer, so that is what I did:

The hidden message.

The message decoded.  Much easier to see in person, but it did work.


Holy fucking shit on a cracker, it worked again, bitchez.  Some days I even impress myself.

This victory was short lived, however, as I soon came to the realization that the math that meant that I needed to go to the store for more mix is the same math that means I have to make 52 of these fuckers.  Cutting those things out soon became a exercise in maintaining my sanity, and we all know that I teeter on the edge there frequently.  Soon, however, I get the last few cut out and start to fill them up when I realize that I am going to be short crushed candy.  "Fuck it", I thought.  "I'll just toss in a whole one.  It's not like I need that one cookie to make sure I have enough."  (Note, however, that that same logic did  not lead my to just, oh, I don't know, NOT PUTTING ANY CANDY IN.  No, by God, ALL the cookies must have candy.  ALL OF THEM.)

Poor little cookie, there in the upper right.  Different from the others.  You embrace your uniqueness, little buddy.


I popped that last bunch in the oven and started cleaning up.  Timer goes off and I pull them out, and notice this:

Bottom right, this time, but look at how nice that fucking cookie looks.


That is right.  All that time I spent crushing the candy that the children are not likely to eat, then painstakingly pouring it into each little hole...I could have just unwrapped the candy and tossed it in and been done with it.  And this, bitchez, is why Pinterest is the devil.  Not only is it a time suck, it totally leads you down the path to crushing candy when there is no need.

Next time, the only candy I am crushing is on my phone when I am trying to ignore my children while pooping.  After that I was pretty Martha-Stewart'ed out, so I grabbed some lemon blueberry rum, resisted the temptation to just toss back a few shots, mixed it with a glass of lemonade, and remembered a time when my Saturday afternoons were not spent covered in flour to make cookies that children probably won't eat on a holiday I really don't even celebrate.



Thursday, February 9, 2017

Fire

I seem to have this weird propensity to attract fire.  Like, literal fire, though there's been plenty of metaphorical fire in my day, not gonna lie.

I'm not a pyromaniac or anything.  I'm only the kind of crazy that makes me fun to get drunk and commit minor misdemeanors, not felonies.  It just seems that I get all kinds of crazy fire-related shit all up in here.

For example, when I was in college one of my roommates caught the burner of our stove on fire with some grease.  Luckily for her, I enjoy baking and had some baking soda available (none of my other roommates did) and knew enough to toss it on the flames.  I then proceeded to leave to go to church, where the sermon was about, you guessed it.  Fire.  Though thinking back on this, the fact that I was in a church and it did not catch fire is kinda miraculous in and of itself...I was really only there for the extra credit for a religion class I was taking to be completely honest here.

Fast forward a few years in college.  We had this big old dead tree in our front yard that it took the college forever to cut down because single mothers trying to get out of poverty and their children aren't a priority, so who cares if gale-force winds come in and send it crashing through the roof, amirite?  I look out the window and see that at the base of this tree, there is a little fire going.  I go out there with a cup of water and douse the flames.  Or so I thought.  I then go to a family party for something or another (possibly Christmas?  a winter birthday?  It was during winter break, so your guess is as good as mine).  I explained why I was late and we laughed at the whole "burning bush" thing and joked about looking out for locusts.  I come home and I am telling my roommates about this when I look out the window and the fucking tree is back on fire.  For some reason, I opt to call for security vs. 911.  They tell me to put it out myself.  So that is how, on a cold winter night, I am out in the front yard of the house I lived in with a fire extinguisher trying to get the fire out.  It just kept re-kindling.  Eventually a security guard came to check it out.  Like a half an hour later.  They realize that I have just about emptied the extinguisher, so they decide that perhaps this is NOT something a single person equipped with chemicals can handle so they call the fire department.  It then takes the firemen another half an hour and sticking the hose into the center of the tree for the damn thing to finally quit.

I then meet my husband.  He's quite the lovely man and proposes and we live happily ever after and shit.  But, he failed to mention during our courtship that he routinely sets himself on fire at work. (He's a welder.)  And he always is so nonchalant about it when he tells me, like "Oh hey,  Aaron got a new derby car, and they fired that idiot they hired last week; oh, and I caught myself on fire.  And do you think you can get me some more nasal spray for my tool box?"  Like it's no big fucking deal that a steaming hot piece of weld landed on your shirt and it went up in flames.  I'm pretty sure he doesn't tell me about most of the times he does this because, well, he's married to a crazy woman.

Another time fire and I crossed paths, it was not quite so direct-like.  We were going to Connecticut, I think for my nephew's birthday, and a storm hit back at home.  Now my brother in law was planning on coming with us but at the last minute changed his mind.  Good fucking thing he did, because a goddamned storm came roaring through and lightening hit their house and caught it on fire.  Luckily the damage was limited to mostly cosmetic outside shit...but cheese and tap dancing rice, WTF?

Which brings me to the event that precipitated this post.  A few days ago, my husband was going to cook some ham on the grill.  He went out to pre-heat it, and then came back into the house to get the meat.  (Snickering cause I'm secretly a 12 year old boy.)  As he is prepping it, I happen to look out the window and I see flames.  A lot of flames.  Like a little mini hell burning in our back yard.  It scorched the siding and broke the window on the mudroom because it was cold outside.  That's how we do winter in Ohio, bitchez.  We grill even when frostbite is imminent.  Hell, most winter nights my husband can be found outside with the dogs in front of a fire, hiding from me. I don't blame him.   I'd totally hide from me too.


Apparently I'm being retaliated against for the church not burning all those years ago...

I am almost wondering anymore if I have mystical fire starting powers I was previously unaware of or something.  Like a dragon, but of course I am way cooler.   And not as scaly.  I swear to God though, our backyard has flooded on more than one occasion and now the grill caught on fire.  There better not be any fucking locusts or Imma have to bring my new found dragon powers out on their asses.