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!