Thursday, December 28, 2006

I wonder if I sat on Santa's lap....

...he'd bring me a big vat of wrinkle cream.  (Yeah, I know it's a little late, and he's probably got rules about that, but still..) 

Today marks a milestone for me.

i am officially the mother of a teenager.  (How can this be?  I'm still a teenager myself.)

Nolan turned 13 today.  I find it hard to believe that that much time has elapsed.  It seems like not so long ago, I was obnoxiously reading the "What to Expect" books and thinking I knew it all, I was prepared.  Right.


If I'd only stopped to really think about it, I'd have realized how much on-the-job training parenting is and how little you really get out of a book (bite me, Dr Ferber).

The lessons I've learned along the way (occasionally at the hands of a two year old) have been interesting, to say the least.  Patience.  Humility.  Humor.  Black crayon will come out of your beige carpet.

Nolan has the honor of putting me through everything the first time.  He is the trial run, my learning curve.

And yet in spite of this, he's still a great kid.

I think we'll keep him.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Does he prescribe something for that?

Ryan had a doctor appointment earlier this week (allergist).

The doctor has a long name, and while it's not hard to pronounce, Ryan has some trouble with it, and he started calling him Dr Smooth. 

When the doc came into the room that day, he said hello, and Ryan said, "Hi, Dr Smooth."

The doctor laughed as I explained Ryan called him that as he couldn't quite say his name.  "That's okay,"  he giggled, "I'm sure I've been called alot worse."

"Yeah, someone could be calling you an idiot,"  Ryan adds from his perch on the examining table.  "Dr Idiot!.."  He was about to go on, but I think the look I gave him made his little life flash before his eyes, so he stopped.  "That's a little rude, Ryan,"  I said, "You need to apologize."

Doc was very good natured about it, and hardly noticed it when the earth opened up and swallowed me.

He was too busy checking the "brat" box on his charge ticket.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

He's on my list for sure

In the annals of husbandom, I am sure there must be some advice along the lines of what not to say to your wife.

Things like, "I found a new babysitter, and she's totally hot."  "Those pants make your ass look huge."  "My mother never did it that way."  "Try it, just for a second."  "Did our neighbor get a boob job?  Because she looks fantastic."  "She's not that pretty, you know?  She kinda looks like you."

Tonight, however, my husband takes the cake.  Now, he's had a long week, as he's been working alot.  Was it sort of my request?  Yeah.  But at the same time, I have handled the other end of things so that all he has had to do when he gets home is hang out in our room and take the occasional "he hit me first" report.  I figure it's only fair.  Work hard, rest alot.  (I realize he probably has a different take on this, but this is my story. :p)

Tonight, I was wrapping presents on our bed.  We'd gotten Ryan and Audrey through their baths, and I was chatting with him.  We'd done the daily rundown, so it was just really chit chat, as I talked to him about some of the presents and whatnot.

The kids have been pretty excited; all week each night has become a new exercise in patience for me; so much so that the bedtime has gotten earlier and earlier.  Tonight being their first night of break, they were totally wound up.  In and out of the room, bickering in the living room...and after the last time Audrey came through, with some new, imagined/real complaint, I said to Mr W as she left the room:

"Tell me it's not exhausting, listening to her."

"Yes, it is.."  he said as I inwardly jumped for joy, that he got it.  I turned my shoulder his way, anticipating that little pat on the back.  Instead, he went on:  "It's exhausting listening to him, him, him, her, and you."

"Excuse me?  Did you say 'you'?  Are you including me  in on that?"

"Yes, you." 

I flip him off with a vehemence I usually reserve for my time in traffic.  I think he's kidding, but then he goes on:

"I know, Anna, that you are here with them alone all day, (no way, I can't believe he's saying this) and when I get home you are just happy to be talking to an adult..." 

"Shut up."

"....but seriously..."

"No, shut up.  Seriously.  STOP.  TALKING.  NOW.  This would be a good time for you to just shut up."  I said to him, incredulous. 

I can't believe he said that.  Especially since I am really good, or I try to be, about not pouncing on him the second he walks in the door with tales of Mommy horror.  I flash him, I get him a soda, then I tell him, for example, how Ryan's teacher called to let me know Ryan wasn't behaving in class that day.  So what if some of it is happiness at seeing another adult? Did he miss the part where I showed him my boobs?  Jackass. 

I finished wrapping what I had out in silence.  I chucked the rest of the wrapping for that moment, and left the room, turning out the light on my way out (he was watching tv).

I haven't spoken another word to him tonight.

Which is exactly what he wanted.  He's sleeping, so it hardly matters.

Whatever.  I'm working tomorrow.

We'll see how he's doing when I get home.

That is, if I don't forget to make a turn, and wind up in Mexico.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


It is both a blessing and a curse that Audrey is too big for the stroller.

A blessing in that I don't have to always have it in the van.  (Less is more when the kids are all in the van and have brought half the house along with them for a trip to my Mom's.)

A curse in that now she also is a bit big for the seat in the shopping cart.  While I will let her ride in the big basket part, I feel like she's a veal when I do that, and don't let her stay in for long.  We've been spending a lot of time out together these days, making lists and checking them twice, and naturally, she gets tired. 

Tell me I am not a bad Mom, that today, she laid down in the cart and crashed out, and I finished up what I needed to do.  Truth be told, she did it a couple of days ago, too.  And I don't feel very guilty about it, either.

Bad Mom!  Bad Mom!  Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when CPS comes for you...

The thing is, though, that if she is awake, and out of the cart, a couple of things happen.  One is she shops for herself, and two is she asks to go potty every ten seconds.  The child who can sit through an entire Barbie movie without budging suddenly has a bladder the size of a thimble the second we cross the threshold in Target.  It seriously tries my patience as she has started spotting the bathroom signs on her own (smart girl!) and seems to think she needs to visit every one, even if we just walked out of one minutes before.

It almost makes me miss diapers.


The other day, she happened to be by the samples, that aisle of tiny bottles that just beg to be picked up, handled, and stealthily thrown into the cart when Mom is not looking.  I have to take this one with a grain of salt as she is putting them in the cart, where they will be paid for (should I not notice them at the register and ask her why she needs a sample of Right Guard) as opposed to just helping herself to them right into her purse, tiny-klepto style. 

I spotted her picking up little colorful bottles, ooo-ing and aaahing.  "Look Mommy!  Hand sanitizer!  We use this at my school!"

"That's nice, honey, let's go."

"I need one.  For my purse.  Because there are germs you know, on your hands and you get them when you touch things 'cause they are everywhere they can live on anything! and you should really clean your hands off before you eat anything like teacher says to do at school...."

I sigh, as I give mentally, feel my heart give a twinge; realizing that the scope of her influences has been expanding outward, and I'm not necessarily the authority I once was.  She's been out of school for weeks, and not due to go back until January, and she remembers this factoid? (smart girl!)  It would not be so bad, to give up the mantle of center-of-her-universe, were it not that Nolan is also in the throes of this, as he crosses into adolescence.  (Which in and of itself would be a reason for me to drink again.  He's thirteen on the 28th of this month.  Girls are calling my house and leaving giggly breathy messages. Tarts!  Where are their mothers???)

I am not as huge a believer in hand sanitizer as I am in good old soap-and-water for 20 seconds, but I can't say no to a cleanliness request, now can I?

She picked out a scent she liked, and it resides in her purse.  Or in the cupholder in her carseat.

She dutifully uses it and lectures all of us on germs with an earnest, concerned look on her face like she's giving a thank you speech to the Nobel committee.  

"Wait!"  she said to me the other day as I handed her her snack. 

"I need my hanitizer!!" 

(omg, that's adorable, I thought.  I'm so stealing that word from her...)

Wonder what she'll put in the cart next.  But in the meantime, anyone need 20 trial-size bottles of Pantene?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

She's just right

One of the last times I was in Target with Audrey, I had to get her some more underwear.  She's had a growth spurt.

I gamely held up packages for her to decide: My Little Pony, The Little Mermaid vs. all the princesses vs. Sleeping Beauty, or how about Dora...

She settled on the Little Mermaid.  I got her a size six.  She's still a little new at the timing of getting to the potty and I try to make it easy on her by having her undies a little roomier.

"Mommy,"  she said, "I'm four.  I need a four."

"No, mija, you need a six.  Four is too small."

"But I'm four."

"I know. But that's not your size.  You need the bigger ones."

"So, I'm four, but my tushie is a six?"  she asked.

I stifled a giggle.  "Yes."

She hesitated for a second, then I guess she got it.  "Okay,"  she said happily.

She is just right, not too big, not too small.

She is wearing her only pair of jeans a bit more now.  "I want to look like you, Mommy."    She only currently has one pair because as she has refused pants vehemently up until now.

(Seriously, she loved the jeans so much, that I had to wait until she put on pjs the other night to wash them so she could wear them the next day.)

I decided I'd get her some more, even though I know she might go straight back into dresses again soon.  I'd been sort of looking, off and on, and once she put a hole in the knee, I knew I had to do something fast. 

So I got her another pair of Levi's, in Sears.  We got home, and I tried them on her (couldn't do it in the store as she was pre-meltdown, T minus five minutes).

Cute, cute...I thought, as I pulled them up. ???

They buttoned under her belly.  The zipper, I noticed then, was really short.  And when she turned around, there was a huge gap.

All the better for her to show off the sacral tattoo and toddler thong, I guess.

I was appalled.

And I took the pants right back.  She's FOUR.  She doesn't need lower-rise anything. And it's not just the low rise that's annoying, either.  The little jeans are straight.  Narrow. 

She is not.

But she's just right.

I'm moving back over to the boys section.

Because those jeans she loves, that she is wearing to death...were Ryan's.

Back to my travels

Now that I've crawled back out of the wine bottle, I should get back to my trip.

We spent most of our time just hanging out with Mr W's Dad.  Actually, I spent a lot of time with the womenfolk, so that Dad and Mr W would have time alone.

Which means I was grocery shopping, hitting the mall, and going to Target.  Just like home.

In the grocery store, I was tickled to see regional things.  Like sweet tea being sold by the gallon.

Georgia is a wonderful state.

As we drove by a McDonald's, I noticed that they had on their marquee, "sweet tea 32 oz, $1."

God Bless America.

It's not like I can't make my own sweet tea, it's pretty easy; it's just kinda cool knowing that if you wanted, you could get it anywhere there.

After our golfing excursion, we had to go home for a barbeque.  Mr W's cousins had arranged one for us, to be held in the church hall (which is right next to Dad's house) so we could see some relatives in one place as opposed to being dragged all over town during our short stay.

It was very nice.  I got to see my favorite person, George.

George is a Maine transplant, he's been living there for over twenty years, and his accent, well, it's original.

The first time I met him, years ago, I was a little offended, as he patted the porch swing and said something to me about it was okay for me to sit next to him, as I was a little round just like him. "You're sporting a little extry,"  I think I remember him saying, as he patted his belly to accent his point.  I got over it in five seconds, as he meant it in a harmless way, and has such a sense of humor, I was totally charmed.

He and his wife (Dad's cousin) came out to our wedding, and they've always been very hospitable--we've stayed with them, and they lent us their RV for this visit.

They rock.

This time, Georgie was quite complimentary, and how could a girl not love that?  Besides, he picked on Mr W.  He called him Beast.  And called me Beauty.

I love him.

Anyway, we had the barbeque, and holy cow, it was quite a spread. 

We seemed to be doing a lot of eating on this trip.  One day, we had breakfast, went to church, which lasted all of forty-five minutes, and then they wanted to go to lunch.

Another night, I went to this church-ladies group thing with my MIL and I'd baked a cake (at her request) to take along.  I figured, oh, a potluck thing, this must be a big group.  Nope.  There were maybe ten women there, who had all brought something.  I joked to George's Mom, "It's a good thing we're leaving tomorrow.  If I stayed any longer, eating like this, I'd have to buy extra seats on the plane."  And she laughed, and said, "We are the eatingest group you'd evah want to meet." 

No kidding.

Did I mention the fabulous bacon, every morning?

Your left arm should be tingling, right about now...

Anyway, all I can say is that we had a good time.  I missed my kids, of course, but we were busy enough catching up that I only got a little verklempt at night when I'd call to check in.  It was a small victory for me to call only once a day.

And now that I've been back a while, I'm missing George.

I keep thinking of what he said to me, as I had Mr W snap a picture of us after church. 

"We're gonna need a wide angle lens."

"Speak for yourself,"  I said, as I scooted in closer.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I'm really not a lush


Well, there it is.  At least I remember the name of the stranger I woke up with, if not necessarily the finer points of the evening.

Sometime during the night, I did manage to have a moment of clarity and unsend some email, yet it appears that that moment might have been better served hitting the cancel button.

Consider it my cyber version of dancing on the table with a lampshade on my head.

In spite of it all, I had a good day yesterday.  I took the kids to my Mom's and went in to work, where surprisingly enough, I managed to get a lot accomplished.

I didn't feel too sick, just a little fuzzy headed.

I took the jabs from my coworkers who had also been at the party and were at work yesterday too.  I figure it's not like I was the only person making friends with the bartender, and today there will be someone else to ridicule. 


As usual, I am right back at it.  Laundry. Kids to school.  Volunteer time, Xmas shopping, and I'm meeting a friend for lunch.

Where I will be drinking...


Saturday, December 16, 2006

We are all the same

I have to apologize

I am at sorority-mating-call drunk

Tonight was my work xmas party

OPEN bar

ha, tell that to a stressed out mommy

I'll take another

and another

and another

Don t

think coworkers want to know

how GIFTED i am


the people I mailed

SO sorry

just a litte out of my league

but really

I love you, man


forgive mein the morning

all of us gtie one on sometimes

no FST for me


just the test of....



it's HOT in here

Where'd he  go???


Forgive dirrrrty email

I am alittle drunk

and sorry

and well

I needed it



Sorority-mating[-call-drunk is only cute in college



What's YOUR name, sailor????  :P

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tao of the Green

As I mentioned, I tagged along the next day to the golf course with Dad and Mr W.

Because, you know, a couple of hours hitting the ball the night before was sufficient enough, experience wise, for me to be able to maneuver the course.


Keep in mind, this was my first time on a golf course.  I'd never gone along to watch anyone, I'd never spent any time as a teenager fooling around on one, it was a completely new experience for me.

Yup.  Total golf virgin.

I mentioned this, to my FIL, thinking this might make him more apt to explain what was up to me, but he didn't.

Maybe he didn't believe me.  (Do they ever believe it's your first time??)

At any rate, once we approached the point we were starting at, which, I think, was hole 9, I sat back in awe.  The course, mind you, was lovely.  Woods all around, just breathtaking.  But that's not the reason I was floored.

You see, at this point, I was still thinking I was going to play along.

Right up until I realized, where is the green, smooth grass with the hole?  What are we doing up here?  What are those markers in the grass for?

Mr W stepped up and then I picked up on what was happening.

Oh, no way.

Reality check to the lady in the golf cart.   Someone, hand her a camera and a drink, that's all she's gonna be capable of today.

I could hear the golf gods laughing at me.  Hooting, in fact.  I decided I'd just enjoy the morning, and spare myself the embarrassment.

On we went, I watched where the balls landed like a good girl, helped hunt them down, and took pictures.

I even drove the cart...but only once.

Come on.  Driving is driving.  How the heck was I supposed to know about the fickleness of the parking brakes on those things?  I think Mr W snickered himself into a charley horse on that one.

It was either that or the jog he took to catch my rolling cart.

By the time we were at the 12th hole, I felt braver.  The laughter of the golf gods had subsided.  We were alone, so the chance of me hitting some unsuspecting person I was not related to were slim.  I decided to try it.

Swing--and a miss.

Swing--and a large clod of turf flies up in the air with the greatest of ease.  Owwwch.  My wrist, taking the force of the smack into the ground, hurt like a motherf--whoops.  In the South, I try to refrain from cursing like a sailor.  Owwwch, y'all.

Swing--and she connects.  For a whopping two yards.  Sah-wing, batter...wrong sport, I know.  But you get the picture.

"Here you go,"  I hand Mr W the club.  "I'm done."

However, they kept at it, even when things turned ugly and I thought they'd quit.  They even went so far as to pick up a hole we missed and replay the one we'd just finished (a hole that was not pretty the first time around).

Dad played way beyond his level of endurance.  Mr W played way beyond his level of patience.

All this led to the biggest lesson of all, at least for me.

Golf takes time.  Whether you are playing on the course or just learning.  You have to do it, a lot, if you are going to be any good at it, even if it's aggravating as hell.

Which is true of a lot of things, isn't it?

Right back at it

We did get back okay.

Last Tuesday.

Ahm, the dog ate my homework.

We got off the plane here, and jumped right back into the routine.  Mr W went in to work, I had to get the kids to school...haircuts, band concerts, Christmasing up the, and taking Audrey to the doctor.

She had a little something, and she passed it on to me.

It hasn't been tooo unbearable, as I have this big, throaty voice that's been entertaining all my friends when they call.

But back to the trip.

I have to say, I am so not a seasoned traveler.  I tried to fake it.

I was outed before we even left town.  Mr W and I packed one suitcase, accustomed to conserving space from when we travel with the kids and all their stuff.

Our bag was overweight.   And the whole computer thing, to check the bag, really didn't save us any time as a result.  Whoops.  Guess I should have looked that up...

Then, we had a one hour layover that was nearly too short.  We got from our gate to the next gate juuuust in time to get on board for the connecting flight.  On a teeny express plane.  You know, the kind where you wonder if there's a kid with a remote control out in the field guiding your plane into takeoff?  Luckily I didn't sleep the night before, and this proved useful--sleeping has a way of taking the edge off of claustrophobia.

One snooty car rental lady later, and we were finally on our way to my father-in-law's house.

Our trip was to visit him.  His health has been questionable as of late, and it's hard to discern from states away if he's worse or worse, especially with my mother-in-law's flair for the dramatic.

Initially, I was concerned when he met us outside his house, he was much thinner than when I saw him last, and a little wild in his golf cart.

But it was really good to see him, and I got over it.

I went outside later in the evening, looking for him and Mr W.  I giggled when I turned around and saw Dad coming down his driveway carrying golf clubs.

It was dark.  What's he up to, I wondered...but knew.

He lives in a large trailer, on a decent sized piece of land.

He came out with a five-gallon bucket half-filled with golf balls.

I should preface, before I go on, that I know nothing about golf.  Nothing at all other than the grass is green and there's a little ball involved.  (I know Remo is cringing at that.) 

Seriously, the only golf I know, I've experienced, has little spinning windmills and gnomes on the course.

But Mr W and his Dad have golf in common.

They hit a couple.  I watched Mr W, I watched my FIL (who is really impressive, considering)...and I took the club from him, as Mr W said, "She has no idea how to hit the ball."  "Bring it on,"  I said.

Of course, Mr W took it upon himself to help talk me through it.  And talk. And correct.

After nearly snapping a wrist hitting the dirt, I caught on.  I hit and hit.

And Mr W kept offering hints.  So much to remember, how does my FIL make it look SO damn easy?  And what the hell am I supposed to do, to work around my boobs?  Straighten your arms; bend your knees, but don't bend them more, wait, you're leaning; rock, don't bounce; keep your eye on the ball...I've learned dance routines that were easier. 

I had a really good time, even though it could be frustrating.

"She's gonna have to go shag all those balls,"  Mr W said.

"Whatever,"  I told him, as we set off to get those we could see.

Suddenly, there's my FIL in his cart, behind me.  With a flashlight.  (And a ball retriever that I threatened to pinch Mr W in the butt with.)

He proceeds to wheel me around his property looking for the balls.  I felt like a princess, and while it was cold, I didn't complain.  I sat next to my FIL, and just enjoyed his vibe.  He's one of the first people I learned to be quiet and listen to, as his body language is more telling than anything he's not saying.  Shoulder to shoulder in the cart, it felt like I'd just seen him yesterday.  Which made me feel a little twinge because it's been about two years and in that moment, I realized how much I've missed him. 

Once we had all the balls, we went back for another go at it.

This time, Dad hit more, and Mr W (much to his dismay) rediscovered his shank.

I hit a few more too.  I got a little frustrated, as I said out loud, "I need to stop aiming for the fences."

"Just try to hit it right and don't worry about distance,"  my FIL noted, suggesting I slow down.  As usual, he was right.  I slowed it down, I got better.

"Here, try this."  "Isn't this one of your titanium dealies?"  I said, nervous, envisioning it bent in two.  "Just try it."

Ohhhh.  Oh, my.  Of course, it felt different, in a good way.  Of course, I didn't want to hand it back, but knowing my record, I did...after a few more tries.

It was just the cat's ass, being out there in the middle of the night, hitting the ball, going after them in the cart, and delighting in the company as well as omg, I hit it over the fence.  And it went straight!

Not bad for a first timer.  I may learn to like this yet, I thought.  Although, I had a few aches and pains due to my mechanical difficulties; I soothed myself with visions of sailing white balls dancing in my head.  Because I'd like to be a natural at something that I can do in public that wouldn't earn me a night in jail or a restraining order.

I tagged along the next morning, when Mr W and Dad went golfing.

My visions of anything sailing went "poof!" at that point...

I'll take "poof!" over the sound of crashing glass any day.

Friday, December 1, 2006

No need to jump out of a perfectly good airplane

We're going out of town in a few hours.  For a few days.

WE.  No kids.

I've been worked up about it all week, getting everything all squared away.

Unless you count hospital stays to have another kid, I have never been away from them for more than a night.

My brother and his wife, along with my parents, have managed to cover the time we are gonna be gone.  As someone said to me, "At least it's family watching them, not someone you found at"

"Helga, the friendly Russian spinster, was unavailable,"  I quipped.

"They'll be fine,"  she assured me.  "You'll be fine."

I'm starting to believe it.


I swear.

No, I'm not drinking.

I schweart!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Eau de Glade

As I sat here at my computer, researching something or other (okay, 'window' shopping) I let out an unseemly noise.

Well, I tooted.  (We all do it.)

Kinda loudly.  (Um, pretty loudly.)

The next thing I hear is a little body flinging itself out of the recliner, then little feet running down the hallway.  Then running back.  And then I felt a little person standing behind me.

Right then, I hear:

Shh.....Shhh....... Shhhhh.

Oh, no she didn't.

Oh, yes, she did.

My daughter ran to the bathroom, retrieved the air freshener spray, and decided she would freshen the air I'd just polluted.

She giggled madly and ran down the hallway again.

"Ewwww, Mommy." 

To think, all the dirty diapers I changed, the butts I wiped....they mean nothing?

She better hope I never need Depends.

Friday, November 17, 2006

That blanket is not gonna cover it

Audrey will occasionally still shower with me.

Mainly because I am chronically running late, what with balancing the managing of my mini-empire and the general sloth that is the hour or so after the kids are off to school. 

It never fails, there is at least once a day that I look at a clock, look down at my pajama-clad, ponytailed self and go "oh, shit."  I've tried all the tricks: the set your clock five minutes, ten minutes fast; set your alarm and when it goes off, stop what you're doing and get ready; get up and do it before you wake up everyone else; lay everything out the night before (as if wardrobe decisions made that much in advance stand a chance of making it out of the house without, oh, say you dropping the mascara wand only to have it bounce down off your boob before angling back and glancing your favorite shirt just enough that you have to change.  Yes, the shirt ruined, I couldn't get it out; I'm no good at that.) 

I'm just always doing too many things at once, or trying to sneak in just one more thing before I go.

At any rate, it also never fails that I overshoot the time I need to get Audrey into the bath, and if it comes down to Mommy getting a shower or Audrey getting a bath, Mommy does take precedence.   Which led to me "saving time" by throwing her in the shower with me, because although she is small, and thus not too offensively stinky, there are only so many times I can ask her as I comb, "What IS that in your hair?" and let it go without my conscience nagging me all day.

I am envious, to the core, of a friend who once told me that occasionally,he showers "until all the hot water is gone."  So deeply envious that if there were a way for me to flush all the toilets in that neighborhood at once, thus depriving his house of all the hot water and giving him a nice cold jolt, I would.  Without hesitation, and I would giggle when I heard the ensuing shout.

And then I'd do it again.

One morning about a week or so ago, I was in  one of my gotta-get-going-shower frenzies, and I was running around in my underwear.  I had to get something out of the dryer and Audrey was coming up the hallway, wondering what was taking so long, why hadn't I called her to come get in yet?

She saw me, and disappeared. 

She came back, throw blanket in her hands, holding it up like she was in Pamplona.

"Here, Mommy,"  she giggled, as she wrinkled her nose, "you need to cover up."

Perfect.  Just what I needed.  As if self-criticism isn't enough.

Does she not realize that I carried her for nine months with these unsightly hips, walked miles around the house with her with these pudgy. dimpled thighs, and were it not for the magic of underwire...sigh. 

Instead, I popped the blanket at her as she passed me, "We can't all have perfect tushies."   I suppressed images, promises to myself that I'd seek out a Stairmaster with a vengeance that very day.  Because I realize I'm not that uber-Mom.

We made it through the shower just fine.

And for once, we weren't late.

Well, five minutes doesn't really count, does it?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

One thing leads to another

I was walking down the hall this morning when it hit me.

No.  Please, no.  I have to wake up the kids, I slept a few minutes late, this is not a good time to have to be cleaning up dog poop.

One big whiff, and it didn't matter.  Fabulous.

My dogs are pretty good about their crates.  It's just really important that they have no late night snacks or I get a present.  Last night, as I put Shadow in, I thought I heard her chewing on something, but I was a little groggy and dismissed it.  I figured that there wasn't anything on the floor that would pose a problem.

I know better than that.  I've swept the floor enough times to know that not everything makes it into the mouths.  Sometimes, it gets "saved for later" and not put in the fridge. 

It's okay to say "eewwww" at this point.  I do.

Anyway, Ben was an angel and he made some waffles for himself and for Ryan, so I could take care of the mess.

I'm working on the crate and decide that I should really, get out the vacuum and get the floor behind it.  Hair, hair everywhere.  I should go into business making doggie wigs.  I finish the crate, collect all the trash in the house, make my trip outside to the trash cans....

Oh, it's trash day.  Roll them out to the curb.

Once inside, I decided that while I'm back here, behind the crate, I should pull out the couch.  Straighten the slipcover, as it always seems to be attached to someone's butt as they get off the couch and never stays nice for long.  Then I vacuum the area in front of the wall unit, where every little crumb seems to find its way.  Then I remembered the sight of what was under the loveseat the other night when Nolan lifted it while looking for something else.  (It had been so traumatic, I'd blocked the memory.)

I look at the slipcover covering this, and decide to throw it in the wash. 

Steeling myself for whatever I might find, I move the loveseat out and (steady, now) look down.  A few m&ms.  YuGiOh cards.  More hair.  Movie case.  Ugh.  So many crumbs, I'm surprised I don't support an ant colony.

I'm working away, vacuum at the ready, and get into the corner that is next to the loveseat under an end table.  Don't look, just vacuum.

What is that on the windowsill?  Vacuum the window sill.  Then the blinds.  Hmm, I should wipe that down...

I'm admiring my handiwork, and wincing at the realization (once again) that I need to replace these sunburned blinds.  Sometime.

As I reach for the vacuum cord to put it away, I notice the blinds in the dining area.  Guess it wouldn't be fair to not take care of these, so I start vacuuming them.   I'm stunned at how the children manage to splash up so high on these.  What are they doing, playing quarters with KoolAid when I'm not looking?

Is that dust on the back of the microwave?  Will the cord reach? I'm in the kitchen anyway, why not the blinds over the sink, too?  Do you, Spazilla, really want to risk that?  I risk it.

I catch myself eyeing the fridge, but I talk myself out of it.  I'm not pulling that puppy out unless they are installing a new one.  Or someone more strapping than I am is here to help out.  Spazilla draws the line.

I still need to clean the blinds splashed with eau-de-KoolAid, but it's a start.

I'm okay with it.  A win, no matter how ugly, is still a win.

You know how some people have plaques outside their door, or inside their houses, like "Home Sweet Home"  or something like that?  I know now what mine should say:

"Anna's House:  Losing the battle to dust, children, and pet hair since 1993."

Monday, November 13, 2006

But I saw the same thing

Saturday night was a good night for football.

The sky was clear, and the air a little crisp.  In Arizona, 'a little crisp' is always welcome.  (It just doesn't feel like a football game when you smell so much SPF 15 and see so much skin you may as well be at the beach.)

In the opening minutes of the game, our team scored quickly; my Dad missed this because he had to make a pit stop.

As he joined us, he asked, "What happened?"

I responded, "There were some good plays, and we scored."

Mr W leaned over me, all excited:  "On the kickoff, we nearly broke through, and he would've scored, but he got tripped up on the 35, 40 yard line.  Then they threw a 35 yard pass, then * another *, and we scored." 

This part, *another*,  I had to leave out.  He spewed so much information, so quickly, I can't remember it all.

I didn't say much, because although all the passing was exciting, I figured all Dad needed to know was that we scored. 

Guess I was wrong.  

And it's apparent I'm missing the ESPN gene. 

Friday, November 10, 2006

Gentlemanly behavior

There is just something nice about men who retain enough of the old school that they make you feel like a lady.

Even if you are wearing a tshirt with a questionable stain and jeans, when someone opens the door for you, you can't help but stand up a little straighter, you know?  They help ease you from point a to point b without making you feel as though you are inconveniencing them at all.

The younger me didn't get it.  I still remember in my late teens going out with Mr W's Dad, and nearly shoulder checking him in my clueless reach for the door as we entered a restaurant.   He is from Georgia, very Southern gentleman...and I sure had a lot to learn.  

It shouldn't have been that way, considering that I grew up around men that would not only open doors but would stand up when a woman would enter or exit the room.  Men who were polite to the ladies, almost painfully formal at times.  I was raised in the Spanish version of "Yes, ma'am,"  and "No, sir" and I should've known better. 

Somewhere in my teens I lost it.  Not the "yes, ma'am" part, but the part where I expected a door opened for me.  None of the boys I hung out with ever really did that.  Maybe it's because I was one of them, the buddy they talked to about whatever friend of mine had broken their heart lately.  Maybe it was a touch of "I'm not some helpless girl, I can open my own damn door" teen feminist rebellion; I don't know.

I do know that one of the biggest things that ever impressed me about my husband was that on the night I first met him, he gave me the nice-to-meet-you handshake. Then offered to walk us to my friend's car, because it was dark.  And when I had a heel-wobble because I was stepping over a flowerbed and lost my balance, he offered an arm so readily and perfectly, so naturally, that I recovered nicely and made it down on the other side without incident. 

The thing is, it was subtle, not something I really noticed until I replayed it in my head later.  It was evident to me then that this was just part of his nature.  I was impressed.  Sure, he slipped in a bit of a vulgar handshake at the end, because he was flirting with me, but I overlooked that because I was so dazzled by the whole package.

To this day, my husband is unfailingly polite.   He still "Yes, sir" s both his Dad and mine.  And he "ma'm" s my friends, much to their horror. 

He's passing it on to the boys, too.  I overheard him recently taking Ryan aside, as we exited a building, holding him back as he tried to sprint out in front of Audrey and me, "Son, you let the ladies go first.  And you hold the door for them." 

I felt myself beaming all the way to the car. 

Where he opened the door for me.

Luckily, there are a few of these guys still around.  They are so naturally good at being a little gallant, that it's nice to walk through the doors they hold.


Hopefully not a dying breed.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Last day of preschool

Today was Audrey's last day of preschool for a while.  She's in a Parks and Rec preschool program, so her classes run about 8-10 weeks or so and then I sign her up again.

This particular class is different from the last one she was in.  It's an hour and a half long, M-Th, and they learn a different letter of the alphabet, and a new number every week.  When she starts up again in January, they will pick up where they left off.

We were invited to class today so the kids could show us what they've been learning and what they do in class.

It was very cute.  Alot of what they do is really kindergarten-ish, too.  Numbers, letters, what does this letter sound like, coloring, days of the week....enough that she's exhausted when I pick her up.

While it is true that what she is learning in class is something I could teach her at home, I have decided to let her learn it at preschool instead.

To familiarize her with playing with other kids her own age.

To familiarize her with the notion of a classroom setting, routines, organization, all that.

To give her a place all her own.

And the real reason, ladies and gentlemen, that I have chosen this route is to help me get used to her being gone.  I'm starting to saw away at the cord, because come July, when we start school for next year, she will be an all-day kindergartner.  I know, I know, it's a long way off.  (But is it, really?)

My heart breaks a little bit at the thought.  AllDay.  Kindergarten.

Watching her concentrate today, seeing how much she's learned, it's easy to see she is well on her way to being ready for 'real' school.

At least one of us is.


Nolan had an important question for his Dad tonight.

Already, his siblings had been in there, rallying for another cat.

Nolan's request was more along the love line, and I'm not allowed to talk about it here.  Fair enough.

I asked him, "Have you talked to your Dad yet?"  Nolan was across the hall, in his room.  I sitting on the floor in our room while Mr W hogg--I mean sat on the bed.

"No."  "Why not?"

"I'm waiting."  "For what?"

"It's three easy steps, Mom,"  he explained.  "1.  Extra work (hubby had a long day) 2.  Lots of food (we just had dinner) 3.  Wait a few minutes.  He'll be tired from all that and he won't want to fight."

I busted out laughing.  I looked over my shoulder to see Mr W laughing too.


I have no idea where he learned that.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Last minute requests are what kids do best

Last Thursday night, at 8:30 pm or so, Ryan came bounding into my room.

"Mommy,"  he said.

"Shh,"  I told him.

"Mommy,"  he said again.

"Leave her alone,"  Mr W warned.

I was watching Grey's Anatomy.  No one comes between me and my weekly dose of McDreamy.  The kids know this.  My husband is good enough to let me have my moment, and keeps the riffraff at bay.

"Wait a second,"  I said, as I knew a commercial was coming up.

"What??"  I asked him.

"I was wondering, you know if you could make some cupcakes for my class.  You know, for tomorrow..."

"Tomorrow ?"

"...Yeah, for tomorrow.  I would like them for the kids that can go to Fun Friday. (the reward for all work done all week, homework turned in, etc.--usually an extra recess)  I asked my teacher and he said it was up to you.  So, so do you think you could do it?  Make them for tomorrow?  And maybe decorate them?"

I sighed.  Heavily.  And I didn't bat an eyelash as said:  "No.  No way.  Do you know what time it is?  It's 8:30 and you want them tomorrow??"

"Can't you just get up and make them right now?  It's not that late."  I must have looked at him like he had 3 heads, because he took a step back.

"Look, man, I need more notice than this.  I'm watching my show, and it's not over until 9.  I am not whipping up cupcakes right now, tonight, no way.  Maybe next week, for next Friday, how about that?"

He actually looked disappointed.  Like I was the one being unreasonable.

I forgot all about it until this morning.  I was reading his class newsletter, and it has all the info regarding what the kids are doing this week, etc. This week, they read a book called "The Hedgehog Bakes a Cake."  And the vocabulary words included buttery, yellow cake, batter, perfect, and recipe.

As I emailed his teacher, I shook my head at myself.  Surely, this something I will be doing at midnight, I thought.

Yup.  I offered to bake yellow cupcakes for the class.  For tomorrow.  With chocolate frosting, as the teacher told me (I asked) that as they read the story, that's what the kids said they would do.

I told Ryan about it when I picked him up from school.  "Yellow cupcakes, with chocolate icing,"  I said.

"Um, do you think you could make them white? With white icing and sprinkles or something?"

I had to stop and take a breath.  He's gotta be kidding.

"How about,"  I responded, "yellow cake with chocolate icing?"

"Moooom,"  he giggled. 

"Or how about,"  I added, "I make none?"

"Okaaay,"  he said, "you win."


I am now, at 11:32 pm, baking cupcakes. 

I haven't made it into the long, hot shower I've been promising myself all day, but the cupcakes are lined up like little golden soldiers on my counter.

I dig it that a little batter, a little frosting, will make his classmates day tomorrow.

And even if I smell a little dicey right now, my kitchen smells great.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

What party?

When I went to pick Audrey up from preschool today, she came walking out of her classroom all excited.

"I voted today,"  she said, pointing at her "I voted today" sticker.

"Really?"  I asked, raising an eyebrow at her teacher.

"Tell her what you voted for,"  her teacher said.

"I voted for cookies,"  she announced.  "See?"

She held up a little ballot, with an blue marker'd "X" in one of the boxes.  (The ballot was marked "cookies"  or "brownies" with little pictures of each.)

"So you're a member of the Chocolate Chip party?"  I asked her.

"Mommy, you're silly," she answered as she dismissed me with a wave of her hand.

If only all decisions we had to make were that easy.

Out and about

Friday night, I went out with a friend and her sister.  In my friend's ginormous truck, with the sunroof open, the light of the full moon shining in, it felt a little odd not to have to worry about whether anyone had forgotten their seatbelt.

We went to one of those boutique-y things where various vendors come to someone's house to show you their wares and separate you from your wallet; all in the guise of a girly party.

It was fun.

I was returned to the nest with nary a scratch on my head, and it felt like I'd been gone for days, but really, it had only been a couple of hours.  It was not even five past 9 pm.

Today, a very good friend of mine flew in to town, and she came over.  Yay!  I adore her.  Mr W likes her a ton too, even though she is one of the few people that can make him blush.  Once we'd had some lunch, off we went, to the mall.  Alone.  Without children.  Just the two of us. 

I introduced her to the crackhouse known as Sephora, where she picked up some makeup and we smelled the men's fragrances until our noses got confused. 

My favorite is Hugo, by Hugo Boss, the one in the container that looks kinda like a canteen.  Oh, wwwwow.  One of the salesgirls saw the look of bliss on my face, and offered me a exchange for me putting down the bottle.  

I guess you're not supposed to nuzzle it like it's a neck.

She was really generous with the samples.  I walked out with a bag full of free pheremone joy.  Oh, I'll be back.

I promised the bottle I'd call.

I'm still giddy.  It's amazingly restorative to be out and about without my posse.

I had an engagement at another friend's house this evening, and when I left, my friend Janna was busy tossing cheeseburgers at my children like frisbees, relieving Mr W of the doling-out-dinner duties.

I knew the kids were in good hands.

Alas, her visit was way too short.  Which I guess means it was ideal--always leave them wanting more, right?

It's a little unprecendented for me to go out like that.  I don't feel too guilty either, which means that maybe, maybe I'm ready to spread my wings a little bit, and leave the children alone with their Dad for an overnight....or <gasp> weekend. 

But until then, I'm Sixing.  

Saturday Six - Episode 134

1. How many trick-or-treaters did you have this year? Were that more, less, or the same as last year?

I have no idea.  We had a few.  Then we left the candy in a bowl out front, and took the kids around the neighborhood.  So maybe we had a few honest trick-or-treaters before someone dumped the entire bowl in their bag.   I like to think that didn't happen, but in all likelihood...

2. What kind of halloween candy did you buy?

I bought this giant bag of fun candies at Costco.  It had an assortment, Nerds, Starburst, Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops, Laffy Taffy, Skittles, etc.--all candy my kids like, in case there is any left--but no chocolate, because I'd eat it.  I wonder if dentists look forward to Halloween like CPAs look forward to tax time?

3. What's the next topic you intend to blog about?

I don't know.  Quest for the perfect red lipstick?  

4. Take the quiz: What is your beer personality? 

Right now, I don't have one.  The hardest thing I drink right now is coffee.  MMMMmocha.  From a particular place, that's not Starbucks; unfortunately not close to my house, but worth the trip. 

For the record, the beer quiz said I was Heineken.  I'd like to say it's 'refreshingly retro' rather than 'so five minutes ago' but we all know the truth. 

5. Do you like the taste of beer? Have you ever tried this particular one?

I like the taste of beer.  I've never tried that one.

6. Which of the following in your home is more full: your dishwasher, your washing machine, your dryer, your sink or your hamper?

My husband just did the laundry, so my vote is the dishwasher.  It seems like we run it once a day!  But with all of us in the house, I'm not complaining unless I have to live without it. 

Monday, November 6, 2006


When I was 8 or 9, my Dad's parents moved in with us. 

My Tata had some health problems brought on by driving the ice cream truck in the middle of a particularly brutal summer, and my Dad felt they'd be better off living at our house.

It was fantastic to see them everyday.

But it was hard too.  Our house turned into a sort of revolving door of relatives and friends who came to visit quite frequently.  It was hard to be on my best behavior ALL the time.  

I was worried, initially, when they moved in, because I didn't know where Nana and Tata would sleep.  I was relieved when they moved into my brother's room, but after a couple of months, I made my brother move into my room.

It is true that my Tata snored like a broken chainsaw, but I initiated the move mainly because early one morning, my Tata had gotten up to go to the bathroom or something, and he saw my brother was uncovered.  He bent over to pick the blanket up off the floor, to cover him again, and instead he fell and broke his hip. 

He did recover, and we went with him everywhere just like we always did.  We'd speak Spanish to all his buddies downtown at the Plaza, and he'd swell with pride when his friends complimented him on his well-raised grandchildren. 

Which made me, Little Miss Overachiever, try harder to be even more fluent, more smooth, and even better-mannered.

While my Mom is the one who actually taught us Spanish, I have to say, my love of the language and fluency came from my Tata.

I'm always grateful that he encouraged us to speak it.

There were other little things, too, that required some adjusting to.  Because my Nana and Tata were the elders in the house, we had to defer to them.  It was fun to do as we were told when it required lighting one of his cigarettes, but not so fun to do when we were required to give up our Saturday morning cartoons for Saturday morning baseball.

I'd sigh, roll my eyes, and change the channel when asked.  My Tata would tease me, "Cuando ya no estoy aqui..."  (when I am no longer here....) because as you may know, guilt knows no language barrier--and I'd have to sigh and apologize for being a brat.

Eventually, I learned to like el basebol.  I have fond memories of listening to the game, sitting on the floor by my Tata's chair, reading a book and looking up in time to catch a good play.

This leads to the reason my eldest son is named Nolan.  I'd first heard the name at my Tata's knee, watching a young upstart pitcher named Nolan Ryan.  When it came time to name my son, that name just rolled off my tongue like it was meant to be.  Perfect.  I'd held it close to my heart all those years, and never even realized it until I chose it seemingly out of thin air. 

Hey, I have a Ryan too.

As well as husband who also loves baseball.

So, in the end, I am grateful to my Tata for making me change the channel.

When we'd go on our road trips, 2 hours to the city, we'd have to listen to his station on the radio.  I remember feeling resentful and being sullen about it, as Radio Viva didn't appeal to my pre-teen tastes.   He'd chide me for not liking it,  "Como no puedes gustar esta musica bonita?  Cuando crescas, te va gustar mucho." 

And he was right.  I did like it when I grew up.  I love it.  I am always drawn back to Spanish/Latin/Mexican music.  There have been periods of time when I haven't listened regularly, but all it takes is the sounds of a cumbia coming to me as a car stereo blares by to draw my attention.  I like the words, the sounds, the way a lyric comes together.  I love the big horn sound of mariachis, the costumes, the whole bit.  Nothing makes me smile like hearing the opening grito of a good mariachi band.  I am recently re-addicted and my iPod is now full of sabor--I've jumped back in with both feet.

I'm sure this knowledge would make him smile, too.

At the beginning of the summer that I turned fifteen, he had a stroke.  He spent a couple of months in the hospital, until really nothing else could be done for him there, and we brought him home.  My Mom, my Tia, my Nana and I took care of him.  I'd do his speech therapy, and he'd glare at me as he reminded me that "no soy nino, no soy pendejo, porque 'ABCDEFG'?"

I waited and waited for him to bounce back, and he'd have good days, but he had a lot of bad ones.  It was hard for him to be unable to do the things he liked, to be so dependent on all of us for really basic things, like shaving.

It soon became apparent to me that the growing feeling of unease I had was because I knew somewhere deep down that he wasn't ever going to be the same, not ever. 

One day, I was particularly overwhelmed by the enormity of losing him, spent, sad; I went into his room and sat gently on the edge of the bed.  He was dozing, and I smoothed his hair back, feeling the ache rise in my throat as tears fell down onto the blanket. 

I looked away to regain my composure when I felt a hand grasp mine, squeezing it gently until I looked back at him.  He was very lucid, moreso than I'd seen in quite some time.

"Mijita, no llores.  No llores mas.  Y cuando es mi tiempo, no llores."

Mutely, I nodded and attempted a smile as he reached up and touched my cheek.  He brushed away my tears.  I sat there holding his hand until he dozed off before leaving the room.

I never had another good moment with him like that again, no matter how many times I'd enter the room, hold his hand, and try through the strength of my will to make it happen.

He passed away that October.

I have had him on my mind alot lately, and it took me a while to figure out why.  I've been listening to a song, and I was singing along one day when it hit me.

It's by Joan Sebastian, and it's called "Recuerdame Bonito."  It's not about death, but the lyric is this:

'Recuerdame bonito, y por favor no llores...por favor no llores, porque me voy, me voy, me voy.....'

(Remember me (prettily) and please don't cry...please don't cry, because I'm leaving, I'm leaving, I'm leaving...)

When my Tata died, it was the first time someone I'd loved so much had passed.  I just couldn't understand how science had failed me, that he was gone, the whole finality of it.  I didn't see then that I would carry so much of him with me, always.

He's with me everyday in the little details that make me me.

Funny how it's taken me this long to figure that out.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Don't try this at home

Mr W and I were watching "Las Vegas" on tv last night.

Although I tease him about watching it for the female eye candy, Mr W insists that really isn't what he likes about the show.  

The official line on why we watch it is because James Caan is one of the stars, and he kicks ass. 

Sure.  Okay.  Like he's not gonna notice the adorable Vanessa Marcil.  (Have I told you how many times he's seen "The Rock?")  Like I don't appreciate Josh's faux-hawk.

Anyway, there was this scene on last night, and really, it should have had a disclaimer on it, something for the rest of us mere mortals; for the rest of us who are, for the most part, less than graceful.

In the scene, there was a couple tossing around under the sheets, oh-so-artfully covering up anything not suitable for network tv or the weaker hearts of the AARP set.   Roll over here, <flash of muscled back> roll over there...with the last roll ending with perfectly poised woman on top, of course, vixen leaning over and reaching into the ice bucket (?) and pulling out a bottle of whipped cream.  She shook it up, and..cut.  

All executed perfectly, not a tousled hair out of place. 

Now, if  this were the real  world:

Roll over here....ow, that's my arm....roll over out, you're crushing me....<flash of oh, god, cover that up> arm is nearly broken trying to get the entire sheet unwrapped from around your left calf...and voila, miraculously, the woman is on top...whoa, nelly, watch it, flexibility has its limits...encouraged, she leans over for the can of whipped cream...which has rolled under the bed..wait, I can reach it, wiggle, lean, fingers feel  the edge of the can only to push it further away, she leans a little bit further and WHOMP! lands on the floor, knocking off alarm clock and phone off the nightstand...<possible concussion>...but it's funny, let's giggle....

<knock knock>  "Mommy, I heard a strange noise."

"It's fine, go back to bed."

<knock knock>

"I'll come check on you in a minute." 

"Are you alright?"

"GO to BED.  I'm fine."

The mood, killed, momentarily.  It's quiet now.

For about a minute. 

Before everyone starts crying, because they need to SEE you.  knock knock  KNOCK knock  knockknockknock!

"Those aren't the pajamas you were wearing when you tucked me in."

Maybe that'd be too-much-reality-tv.

Without a tousled hair out of place.

P.S.  Not us.  Are you kidding me?  I. Am. TOTALLY.  Graceless.  No way I'd attempt that.  I'd for sure have a black eye.  Stitches.  Something embarassing to explain in the ER.  LOL, although,I do recall the crying-need-to-see-you.  It's a miracle I ever conceived more than twice.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Take it easy

I'm taking a little too much time easing into my day.

I still have to get myself ready for work, and here I sit.  Procrastinating.  Making my to-do list and scratching things off of it for each minute I am planted here.

Do I really need to drop that stuff off at the school?  Is the paper place open tomorrow?  What will they eat for dinner while I'm gone?  Will they notice if I steal a Milky Way from their pile of candy?  Are we out of dog food?

Stop, stop, stop, I tell myself. 

Go, go, go, I hear instead.

There has to be a happy medium here somewhere, and I'm pretty sure I won't find it in my pajamas.

But I think the bunny slippers will go well with my lab coat. 

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Mad scientist

My girl is under the weather.  She has a little cold, and to hear her tell it, she will have it forever.

"I dnon't want to be thsick" was the whine of the morning.

"Honey, it's gonna be ok." 

"Nwo, it's not, I'm gonna be thsick forever."  <stifled sob>

Ordinarily, when it's minor like this, I just let it run its course, but a few minutes of that led me straight to the medicine cupboard in hopes I'd find her some relief. 

No relief.  I'd given her the last dose of Pediacare yesterday afternoon, right before I made her take a nap.  

I figured we'd swing by Target on our way back from dropping of the big kids at the jr high, and I could have her back in bed by 9:30 at the latest.

Pediacare is one of those medicines you have to ask for at the pharmacy counter.  Because it has pseudoephedrine in it.  And in these parts, pseudoephedrine screams "meth lab."  

It's annoying.  I'm buying a bottle of cold medicine for the sick four year old on my hip, not running a drug lab in the garage.

They didn't have it in the pharmacy.  

I went to Costco, where they've always had it.  The girl chirpily told me no, that they didn't carry that anymore, and I had to resist the urge to reach across the counter and just smack the chirp right out of her. (Anyone who has ever been frustrated and out with a sick, whiny kid will recognize that flash of rage, irrational as it may be.)

Honestly.  I mentioned to my husband once, that I could see regulating it (pseudoephedrine) in the pill form, but I couldn't understand why they'd need to regulate the kiddie cold liquid.  Pills, I would think, would be readily usable, versus having to distill out or concentrate what you'd need out of a liquid formulated for children that would presumably have a lower concentration--you'd need more of it, and it would be another added step--not to mention the extra components that make the liquid palatable and in suspension, too.  Maybe they dump it in, chemical synthesis be damned, and the meth is cherry flavored because of it.

My grades in chemistry were far from stellar, so what do I know?

I know that Sudafed, the plain old Sudafed, is still something you have to request and sign for at the pharmacy if you are able to find it at all.  That stuff, the Sudafed PE you see out on the floor, is a different thing.  Phenylephedrine.  I guess it is supposed to work in the same way.  (Did I read somewhere that is doesn't?  Or doesn't for everyone?)

I settled for the gallon of Dimetapp.  No way I was dragging her anywhere else.

It tastes better anyway.

But not better than chicken noodle soup.

Which is probably where I should have started.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The posting challenge begins

I've thrown my hat into the NaBloPoMo ring.   Sort of, I have no idea if I've officially made it in, but I still have an hour or two, so who knows.

Even if I didn't make it in on time, I will try it.  An entry a day.  Doesn't sound like much, but you know, neither is remembering to feed the dogs.

A little kibble in the middle of the night never hurt anyone.

Speaking of kibble, last night's Halloween candy haul was impressive.  Audrey's bucket was full all the way to the top.  Her brothers were loaded down, too.

This morning, everyone was tired and not interested in their wake up call.  So I said these words, and everyone was scrambling into their shoes in no time.

"First one to the kitchen can have some candy with their breakfast."

But I'm the one with the tummy ache????

Saturday, October 28, 2006


I never thought I was going to be a cat person.  I'd always had dogs, but dogs aren't the best apartment dwellers, especially if the owner is never home.

I'd resigned myself to the idea of not having pets until I was an official adult, mortgage and all, when Mr W bought me a cat for my birthday.

He figured, I think, he'd better find me something little to love, or he'd have to marry me and get on the parent bandwagon.

Okay, so maybe he was a little right.

I wasn't sure how our cat and I would get along, but things went well and eventually, I decided we'd need another cat to keep the first cat, EG (El Guapo), company while we were busy at school and work.

Enter Otis, a tiny black cat that I picked out at the Humane Society.

To hear Mr W tell it, it was a not so much "picked out" as it was "stolen from the man who put him down and left the room for a HS staff member."

Isn't possession 9/10ths of the law?  He put the cat down.  I picked him up.  I marched right out of there with him cradled against my chest, and that was that.

Mr W insists the man who was holding him first looked incredulous, then crestfallen, as I waltzed by.  Uhm-hmm.  But he didn't stop me, did he?

Otis was a handful at first.  Unbeknownst to me, or perhaps it was a karmic repayment for the way I "took"  him, Otis had guardia, which he promptly passed on to my other cat.   Oh, goody.   He also wouldn't eat, so I wound up bottle feeding him for a while and getting him up to speed.

Yup, like my first baby, in a way.

Otis grew and grew and eventually, was a quite hefty 17 lbs.  He'd sleep against my pregnant belly, he'd sleep against the back of the sleeping toddlers, he would play fetch like a dog.

I was looking at some pictures the other day, and I was amazed to see him in his prime.

And I was sad when I looked at the cat laying near me at the foot of my bed, thinking 'how can that be the same cat' ?  Thin, bony, and losing fur on his nose, old.

He's had lots of issues as of late, aside from the weight loss, and I knew in my heart that it was time.  I just couldn't ever bring myself to do it, no matter how many gentle nudges my friend Jane gave me, no matter how many times I had to wash something he peed on.  I couldn't do it until I saw him, and really looked at him, earlier this week. 

I made "the appointment" and tried not to think about it.  The day arrived, and I made myself really, really busy. 

So busy that I barely had time to pick him up and make it to the vet.

The vet examined him, as I have been extremely lax and he'd not been in for a long time.  I told her how he'd lost interest in grooming, was sleeping for extended periods of time (for a cat, can you imagine?), and his other issues.  She and I talked, and I told her that I didn't want to do any crazy "let's turn this around" kind of stuff.   There were no guarantees for that anyway, and it had taken me a lot just to get to this point. 

I'd told myself I was going to be tough, that I would be fine, but in the end, I was a crybaby like I always am.  Audrey asked, "Mommy, why are you crying?"  "Your Mommy is sad,"  the vet said, "because Otis is her friend and he's very, very sick..." as she patted my shoulder, I nodded I'd explain to Audrey and she gave me a minute or two. 

At this point, Audrey actually made me laugh, unintentionally.  She's just innocent, she's four, and as her father put it when I told him this story, "It's like she's our own little Bart Simpson."

She said, "Is Otis going to DIE?  Why does Otis have to die ?  Otis is gonna be DEAD."  I had to explain to her what was going on, and we found something out of the room for her to do when the time came. 

It was fast, and it was peaceful for him.  The vet said it would be, as it was an overdose of barbituates.  My cat, the rock star.

Nolan took it pretty hard, that evening, as the cat had taken to jumping up on his bed and sleeping with him.   Just like when Nolan was a toddler.

I find myself looking for him, in his usual spots, and putting things out of his reach...and realizing I don't have to do it anymore. 

Then I'm surprised and a little embarrassed to feel a sense of relief.

Audrey made up for her Bart-ness that night.  I was making dinner, and she started going on again, about how "Mommy, you're pretty..but you'd be prettier if you wore a skirt.  Not pants." 

Not that again.

I was crabby, which considering, wasn't so unusual.  So I was a bit sarcastic, and I said, "Gee, thanks, Audrey.  That's just great, for you to think that all I'm worth is the sum of my parts."  

Yeah.  Like my four year old will get that, I thought.

Then I heard her say, "No, Mommy.  All  your parts are pretty."

OH.  Oh, my.

I think I may have to rewrite my will.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A closed door is not a sign of doom

Hubby was late coming home from work last night, so I had my room aallll to myself.

Until Nolan came and flopped himself over the foot of the bed.

He knows he's blocking my view.  I figure he wants to say something to me, so I don't chastise him for it.

"It's hard being a teenager these days."

He's still got a month and a half or so, but I give it to him anyway.   I can feel him thinking about what to say next.

"We've got school, homework, I have other activities...." he's kinda ticking it off on his fingers as he goes ", and divorce."

"Divorce?  Why are you thinking of divorce?"

I immediately start thinking of mine and Mr W's behavior as of late.  No arguments, real or fake; nothing comes to mind that might have Nolan heading down this path.

With the subtle 'friend-of-a-friend' approach, he continues.
"I know these two boys, and their parents go into their room and shut the door.  They're probably arguing and throwing things at each other and talking about divorce.  They close the door for privacy."   He looks at me pointedly, and I'm not stupid. 

Oh.  I know what he's getting at.  And I'm fighting a giggle, a smile that would incriminate me.

"Just because someone has a closed door doesn't meant they are talking about divorce."

Far from it.

"Yeah, but...."

"Nolan, we're not getting divorced."

It's on the tip of his tongue to ask, he wants to ask, but I'm not giving him an opening.  He has, and Ben has, asked before, "Mom, was your door closed last night?"  This annoys me.  It's the middle of the night, why are they policing my door??

"But still..."

I'm still fighting the giggles, and I know I can't ever, ever say this out loud, but my mind is going anyway.

We're not getting divorced, we're just having sex.  Hot, hot, nasty sex.

The door is closed because you are much to old to believe that Mommy 'fell asleep' with her head in Daddy's lap.

That was not a smack...

He's not really  yelling  my name.

Something came loose on the bed, and we closed the door because we had to fix it.

Nope, I don't think any of those things were necessarily something he should hear.

Finally, I lost my battle with the giggles and started smiling.

Nolan sighed.

"I know you're laughing because you're still watching tv."

"Yeah, honey, that's it."

At some point, I will tell him the truth, or he will discern it on his own.   Initially,  I really thought that he was going to say, "I know you guys close the door because you are having sex."  and I was horrified and preparing myself for a response.

To hear his version was amusing, and I'll talk to his Dad about maybe being a little more demonstrative in regards to me.  Nothing inappropriate, but maybe a little hug and kiss they could see would be enough to make them feel better.

Of course, that could lead to something else. 

A little grope in the hallway, a pinch on the ass on the pantry...

And we're behind a closed door again.

Maybe we'll have to stick to "Hi, honey, how was your day?"