Saturday, July 31, 2010

75. Jesus CD

So I am in the kitchen, minding my own business, making myself a normal turkey sandwich and Short a "deconstructed" turkey sandwich. Only in this case, the "deconstructed" is not a nod to some haute cuisine method: it is literally two pieces of bread next to a piece of lettuce next to a piece of cheese next to a piece of turkey, and it is absolutely imperative that they not be touching.

Knock-knock-knock. I am puzzled: I am not expecting the UPS Guy, or anyone else for that matter. I glance through the peephole ("peek"? "peep"?), and I see two ladies I do not know. One is holding a book.

I start to quietly slither away undetected, because I just don't want to deal with salespeople, when Short goes blazing past bellowing, "WHO IS IT, MOM?" Before I can stop him, he has opened the door.

Ugh. I do not want a magazine subscription or a free in-home security system nor do I want a lecture on political candidates or someone to mow my lawn (well, actually, I would like someone to mow my lawn now that I think about it). It turns out I need not worry about magazines/security/politicians/gardeners..... these ladies are selling Jesus.

I'm a person who believes in God, but more like, "Dear God, when will these salesladies leave?"

I'm not one to tell you that your religion's right or wrong, I'm a tolerant person, but I want to be left alone and not have religion shoved down my throat while I just want to get back to my sandwich (which the cat may or may not have jumped on the counter to lick while I have been gone and the opportunity presented itself).

The ladies are well into Their Spiel. Sigh. How can I cut this short? And speaking of Short, he is standing there in full rapt attention (how come I never get this attention when I say put your shoes away?).

Now they are forcing a free introductory Jesus CD at me. What should I do? If I admit yes I am already Christian have a nice day they will start inviting me to their church. If I say no I'm not interested, that will make them stay even longer to try to convince me. Just let me eat my Goddamn sandwich!

Fine, I will take the CD if that will make them leave. They seem happy now. I don't want the CD (obviously) but I don't want to be rude either. It does occur to me that they initiated the rudeness as they bothered me in my house uninvited. Argh.

OK, they are gone now. Yummy sandwich time!

The next day, the CD mocks me from the front entry table. I am still here when you want to accept Me as your Savior! That CD has got to go. I plop it where it belongs, right in the trash.

The following day, I go to take the trash out, and the Jesus CD stares up at me from my recycled Target bag. You are throwing me away? Just like that? You don't need Jesus? I have hurt the CD's feelings.

Be quiet, Jesus CD! You are just a CD and I didn't want you in the FIRST place! Isn't there something somewhere in the Bible that says "thou shalt be polite" or "thou shalt be nice" or "turn the other cheek" or "thou shalt not kill the annoying saleslady" or something like that?

Fine, Jesus CD, you win. My guilt gets the better of me (must be a Catholic Jesus CD) and I pluck the Jesus CD out of the trash. I study His picture on the front. This is a Retro Jesus, with a 1970's hip look to him with rainbows and birds flying around.

I put the Jesus CD in a paper bag next to the front door. And pray I won't be struck with lightning as I drop it off at the Goodwill.

("Metaphorically Offering Virtue")

Friday, July 30, 2010

74. Anyone Need A Napkin?

Paint the scene: We're out for a week-end lunch at our favorite local Mom & Pop burger joint. Finding a table to accommodate the four of us proves difficult. We stalk another family who appears to be Almost Finished. They leave, and we swoop in.

In a rare instance of serendipity, our meal order is ready at the exact moment we finally get seated. The husband walks toward the counter to retrieve the food, our de facto Table Savers (Tall and Short) sit squirming impatiently in their seats, and I set out for straws and napkins.

I know an important rule: however many napkins you think you might need, double it. I stand conspicuously next to the napkin dispenser: napkin-napkin-napkin-napkin-napkin-napkin-napkin-napkin. Hoarding.

Before I became a parent, I would always get exactly how many napkins I needed: one. Who AM I now? When did I turn into a Walking Napkin Distributor?

The Husband has all the food on the tray and is sauntering back to the table. He glances my way, spots the napkin-obsession-in-full-force, then averts his gaze. He is embarrassed. Sigh. He misses the Single And Child-Free One Napkin girl I used to be.

We all sit down and start handing the proper drinks and food items to the proper owners. The Husband inadvertently spills his (un-lidded, just broke Rule #471) Coke all over everything. He gasps.

I wordlessly hand him 32 napkins, and he uses every last one.

("Messy Or Victorious"?)

73. The Hijacked Playdate

If you have two children, there is no need to read today's blog, because you already know. Okay, fine, read it anyway. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Let's say you have a son named Short who is So Very Excited to have his good pal NeighborKid over. Now, NeighborKid has been over before, and somehow all the planets have aligned just right because not only is this kid a cutie-pie, but you also like the mom! Yay!

But NeighborMom is not coming over this time, it is just NeighborKid and Short. And Tall. Tall is not supposed to be here, hence, this is the very reason you and NeighborMom pre-selected this precise date and time amidst much shuffling of calendars and clicking of blackberries. Spontaneity is great as long as it's planned weeks in advance. Yes, Thursday at 1:15 til 3 PM will be absolutely perfect. Tall is supposed to be at his swimming lesson. But, due to a possible thunderstorm, the lesson is cancelled.

In some miraculous strain of temporary good luck and minimal intervention from you, Tall has decided to play quietly in his room. Whew. No drama here! Just happy kids, playing happily.

NeighborKid arrives and Short practically starts levitating. Yay, NeighborKid is finally here! NeighborKid and Short go upstairs to the toy room and start playing a game they made up involving trains and dinosaurs ("Dinotrain"?). Things are going well until........... Tall decides at that moment (when everything is blissfully peaceful) that he needs his special car book RIGHT NOW and he forgot it upstairs.

He quietly goes into the room and retrieves the book and starts to make his exit. Uh-oh, too late, NeighborKid sees him. It is as if Brad Pitt and Superman and Mickey Mouse all rolled into one just traipsed through the room. NeighborKid whispers to Short, "You did not tell me that your brother was going to be here!" It is more and admonishment than an observation.

Then, "Tall! Tall! Stay and play with me!" (not "us", just "me"). NeighborKid has morphed into Tall's groupie. Tall shrugs. "Okay." NeighborKid attaches himself to Tall like a magnet, helping him build a new Lego creation. It is as if Short no longer exists. Which he pretty much doesn't at this point. Tall is somewhat flattered, but he did not seek this attention out. He showed up with no ulterior motives, and now a friend wants to play with him. Who cares if the friend is two years younger? It is someone other than Short, who he is sick of seeing and playing with every day for four years.

Short begins to cry. Tall and NeighborKid do not notice. Short runs dramatically out of the room searching for you, his mother, to console him and remove the Vicious Offender. He sniffles through his story, "I was playing with NeighborKid and we were having fun and we made a new dinosaur thing and then," (sniffle) "and then," (trying to regain composure but failing) "and then HE," (pointing in general direction of perpetrator) "came in and wrecked everything! I hate HIM! I hate Tall!" (stomping his little feet for emphasis) "Mommy, make him leave this house FOREVER!" You look into those sad little eyes of this helpless little person, and you, too, feel helpless.

It does not help that thunder is booming in the background, mirroring Short's mood.

So, to recap: Recipe for a Hijacked Playdate: take one thunderstorm, one cancelled swim lesson, one neighbor friend, five dinosaurs and a million Lego's, and one really cool older brother. Mix together violently and stir it all up vigorously. Duration no longer than 45 minutes, an hour at the most. Tears will be produced. Possibly even a tantrum or at least a meltdown if you're lucky! When NeighborMom shows up and asks how everything went, you say, "Oh, pretty much same as always. Just fine, actually." And then you smile a genuine smile, because she is nodding.

She knows exactly what you mean: she has two sons also.

("Melancholy On View")

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

72. Car

My car is a pit, which is difficult for a Virgo to reconcile.

Water bottles and more water bottles (some empty, some full, some with lipstick marks-- why not have options?) share Valuable Real Estate with empty Altoids containers; an ancient pine cone resides in a cup holder as a sort of talisman for my younger son; beach towels mingle with forgotten sweaters; relics from the school year such as random worksheets and papers that used to beg for attention now merely take up their spot in the sedimentary layers that make up my car; all competing with other dinosaurs-- literally-- plastic toy dinosaurs that were so urgently needed in the car at one time, but now have been relegated to that no-man's-land of The Crowded Floor.

An abandoned bath toy (?) cozies up to a rubber snake. A forlorn stuffed pig lounges next to a jumble of small trucks and buses of questionable lineage (do they belong to us? or have they been surreptitiously "borrowed" indefinitely from a neighbor friend?), thus completing the tableau.

Sunscreen and bug-spray inhabit their Special Corner of the vehicle, ready for sunny buggy days. A blanket permanently rests in The Way Back, mocking me now while we enjoy yet another 100 degree day, "Ha ha, that's right, you will DEFINITELY need me in all my woolly splendor any day now!" The Husband has also donated an item to my formerly pristine car: a collapsible chair/stool for watching sporting events-- except that he would rather stand because this seemingly clever item is, in all actuality, quite uncomfortable.

Plus, strangely, my car has a proliferation of extra carseats, including one more than Toyota says my particular vehicle can legally accommodate-- which begs the question: where was I planning on putting the extra child in the extra seat? on the roof?

Don't even get me started on the misnamed Glove Compartment: maps of places we will never go, an old speeding ticket (gosh, I hope we paid that), dried-up pens, an underemployed hairbrush, a small flashlight (a nod to Virgo's Practical Side), extra lollipop bribes from the drive-thru window of the bank, sunglasses for me and a few guests (Virgos are nothing if not polite), and a plastic monster or two, with nary a glove lurking anywhere.

Don't forget the actual trash: old milkshake cups and wrinkled paper towels, a catalog from 2006 (most likely expired) to be used as Desperation Reading Material while I wait in the carpool line, an orange rind, discarded library slips reminding us of impending due dates, some Trader Joe's stickers, and a plastic ruler (not sure why that is in the trash-- looks perfectly good to me. Ohh, yuck, there's sticky gum all over it and all over my hand too, yes, now I remember why we opted to throw it away).

When did this happen? My car used to be a Sanctuary Of Cleanliness and my lucky lucky passengers would even comment on how clean it was-- even going so far as to say my precious car looked brand new. They never once said something like, "Should I put a towel down first?" or "Actually, you know what? I think I will drive after all and just meet you over there." That is code for I don't want to sit in that mud on your front seat if indeed it is mud and not something much worse.

When I hire that elusive maid (most likely a fellow Virgo), maybe I can have her devote a full day's attention to my neglected car.

("Must Overcome Virgo-ness")

Monday, July 26, 2010

71. Gardening Tip

Here's a helpful hint for you, that may or may not be covered in the Owner's Manual For Your New Sprinkler: turn off the hose before you attempt to hook up the sprinkler.

Even though it seems like it would save a lot of time by you not having to crawl under the side bushes to get back to the spigot and turn the handle and it would just be so much easier and less chance of getting swarmed by gnats and possibly pricked in the hand by sharp thorns attached to God-knows-what and probably a fine idea to just hook it up while the hose is already going, it is actually NOT a fine idea at all.

("Manual Of Vegetation")

70. Lawn Cushions

So I receive the latest "Restoration Hardware: The Summer Edition" catalog. Obviously, the Universe has deemed today a "good day".

I eagerly start devouring the pages as if they were chocolate bon-bons (which they might as well be). Then the record scratches: ekrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Lawn cushions? Outside? Princess is confused.

I do not currently own any lawn cushions. I like the "idea" of them, but I just don't understand the reality of them. Practical Princess wonders: Do they stay outside ALL THE TIME? And if that is true, don't they get wet when it rains? and don't they get mildewy? and don't birds poop on them? And how, exactly, is that supposed to be enticing: bird poop cushions?

Restoration Hardware laughs at my concerns. No, I mean literally. I call their 1-800 number, and ask the salesperson how these cushions work. The Customer Service Representative who is lucky enough to pick up the phone for my call is named Marshawna. She good-naturedly says that no one has ever asked her how the cushions "work", and then she follows up with the aforementioned "laugh" (in retrospect, it may be merely a nervous giggle; I mention this information is going in my blog and she may become quite famous). She asks if I can be more specific about the purpose of my call. I tell her the truth: that I am incredibly lazy and I really do not have time to clean these so-called "outdoor" cushions before every use. She sighs a big sigh of relief, and says

Marshawna: Oh! I see what you mean now. No, no, no, you absolutely DO NOT have to clean them every time! Ha ha ha, that would certainly be a lot of work wouldn't it? These cushions are low-maintenance, and you can tell that by the two letter code highlighted in yellow that precedes the SKU number: "LM". See the code? That stands for "Low-Maintenance". You do not have to clean them all the time! These cushions are virtually work-free! Nothing could be simpler. What makes it so simple is that all you have to do is bring them inside or store them in your garage.
Me: (incredulous) You are telling me that I have to bring the OUTSIDE cushions INSIDE my house after every use?
Marshawna: (in sing-song happy voice) Not every use. Just most uses.
Me: But, see, that DOES sound like a lot of work. In fact, carrying them back and forth is probably more work than just cleaning them. I don't know if this is a wise purchase for me.
Marshawna: Hmmmm. (Sound of pages flipping in the background) Well, then one product that might suit your individual needs is located on page 17, a wonderful teak storage bench that houses up to three large cushions. You could buy that too and store them inside. That way, you wouldn't have to move them very far OR clean them.
Me: I don't have enough money to buy all those things. Can't I just leave the cushions OUTSIDE since the description says they are OUTSIDE cushions?
Marshawna: (still perky) Well, it is just the manufacturer's recommendation to bring them indoors between uses, to, you know, extend the life of The Product. You don't have to do it.
Me: But if I don't do it, what happens?
Marshawna: Ummm, it really depends on the type of climate situation you are residing in.
Me: I don't live in Antarctica or anything.
Marshawna: Well, that's good because shipping costs extra there. It is just that, under normal circumstances, the cushions might get wet and possibly dirty if you leave them out all night.
Me: So now you are saying that I have to bring them in every single night? I can barely remember to feed my cat and I will have this new responsibility too if I buy these cushions?
Marshawna: (a little impatient now) Honestly, I don't think it will hurt anything if you skip a day. What kind of climate did you say you live in?
Me: I live in Crazy Town, which has sort of a normal climate: rain in the spring, sun in the summer, wind in the fall, and then some snow in winter. Pretty typical, middle-of-the-road, Average Joe climate. Unless there is an earthquake. Or flood. Or tornado. Or hurricane. (getting carried away) Or avalanche or blizzard or...
Marshawna: (interrupting) The product information guide says that these cushions are not intended for "outdoor snow activities".
Me: I'm not planning on snowboarding with them.
(long uncomfortable silence)
Marshawna: (starting to sound annoyed) Did I answer your question then?
Me: I guess so. So, hey, one more thing then, Marshawna: I just want to know what the exact purpose of these cushions is?
Marshawna: The main function of these cushions is to "provide a comfortable sitting experience", especially if you happen to have wood furniture. I'd say another selling feature is that they look nice. (closing the sale) How many would you like to order?

Poor Marshawna. She is missing my point entirely.

My Inner Princess is none too happy about the extra work these lawn cushions will end up being. Gardening and watering duties have already been delegated to Princess and that pretty much is all she can handle. The cushions go unordered. Besides, I have ultimately come to the happy-and-money-saving conclusion that my patio furniture is actually fairly comfortable and looks okay without cushions.

Excuse me while I go remove this splinter from my butt.

("Multitude of Outside Variations")

69. Eavesdropping Again

So I am in the car driving Tall and Short to their respective summer camps. Tall likes to torment his younger brother, and today is no exception. Tall incessantly reminds Short that he (Tall) is going into first grade and therefore gets to go to summer camp with The Big Kids. Short, by default (and the poor timing of his birth years AFTER Tall) is relegated to what amounts to "preschool". As if that is not enough, Tall decides to share this little snippet of wisdom: Tall: There was only one thing I did not like about preschool: learning. MOV

Saturday, July 24, 2010

68. My Maid Didn't Show Up Again

So my lazy maid didn't show up again today. Or yesterday. Or the day before that. This is getting ridiculous.

So I told The Husband. Predictably, he was not happy about this. Guess what he said?

"I think you should fire her."

Huh. The conversation between myself and this woman who pretends to clean my house (but actually does a pathetic job at it) will probably go something like this:

Me: You're fired!
Self: Cool!

The timing could not be worse. My dad and step-mom are visiting from Colorado, and the incompetent maid has left some obscene number of loads of laundry undone (probably 26 loads).

Sigh. How can I (oops, I mean she) justify that? And how can anyone find anything to wear? Not only that, the sink is full of dirty dishes just calling her name: "Maid! Maid! Come back! We need you!"

Under the circumstances, I have no choice but to post the following job opening:

Wanted: Maid

Effective Date: Immediately

Job Description: Must wash lots of laundry. Constantly. When candidate is finished washing all the laundry, wash more. And contrary to popular opinion, laundry is not done until it is removed from dryer, folded and put away. Unacceptable to leave so-called "completed" laundry in giant wrinkled pile on basement floor. (This is part of the reason last maid was fired). Additional duties include hand-washing dishes (sorry, no actual dishwasher on premises). Also, must clean bathroom. Oh, and, ummm, light gardening required (this involves watering grass and plants for about an hour a day; ideal candidate must know how to adjust a sprinkler).

Hours: 24. Someone who arrives late every day or not at all will NOT be tolerated.

Pay: None.

Terms: Someone with no life and no outside interests is preferred.

Ideal Candidate: Reliable, hardworking, non-complaining, self-motivated, and must never disappear for an hour to "check his Fantasy Football scores on the computer" or to "see if anyone left comments for her latest blog."

Contact: MOV; if I am busy checking my blog, please leave a detailed message.

I expect to hear from several qualified candidates any day now.

("Maid Of Value")

Thursday, July 22, 2010

67. Fancy Kitchen Cabinet Store

So I live thisclose to a Fancy Kitchen Cabinet Store. More like boutique, to be precise. Every day I must drive past this store at least 5 times on my way to (or from) wherever I need to go. In fact, if I prefer to avoid the tantalizing distraction that is this store, I must make a conscious decision about it before I even get in the car because it is literally on my way to EVERYWHERE. I always pray for the traffic light to stay red a teeny bit longer so I can continue to stare into the windows of this cabinet paradise. The name of the store is something like: "Crazy Town Premier Cabinets", and they have their own curly-cued monogram of "CTPC" and some sort of important-looking ancient family crest (it is an overwrought design involving a falcon and branch, maybe a mahogany branch?). They specifically want you to know that they do all kinds of cabinets, not just "kitchen" cabinets per se: bathroom cabinets that look straight out of a Ritz Carlton spa; library cabinets (oh, yes, we all have personal libraries in our homes, n'est pas?); office cabinets (apparently VERY different from library cabinets); garage cabinets (that's pushing it-- I doubt I would pay good money for zebra wood or birds-eye maple if the only one who is going to see it is my car); built-in custom TV cabinets; wet-bar cabinets; and don't forget the wine cellar cabinets, for when you have 35 of your closest friends over for a tasting. You name it, Crazy Town Premier Cabinets will happily produce a cabinet for it. I ogle these beautiful cabinets in their painted or cherry finish through the extra-large, plate glass windows. You can see the sheen off the marble or honed granite counter-tops (your choice) even at 10 at night because the bright lights are ALWAYS left on. The cabinets seem to beckon to me: MOV, your house can look like this! Really! Why not? One gorgeous summer day I am picking up a prescription at the drug store and I am parked conveniently next to Crazy Town Premier Cabinets. At this particular moment in time, I happen to be child-free, so I spontaneously decide to go in to CTPC to see the lust-worthy cabinets up close and personal. It is a Tuesday, around 11 AM. The door won't open. I notice the hours posted on the door say, "Monday-- Saturday, 12noon-- 5 PM". Those don't seem like very good business hours to me. Sigh. My little shopping fix will have to wait for another day. About a month goes by, and I am at the smoothie place. Again, I am parked a stone's throw from CTPC. It is Friday at 2:30, and this time I have Short with me. I cajole him into going with me to look at the spectacular cabinets by bribing him with a lollipop. We walk over to the store and I glance at myself in the window's reflection to verify that I look halfway presentable. I reach for the door. Locked. That's odd, how can they sell anything if they don't even honor their own limited posted hours?! And then one day, the unthinkable happens. Crazy Town Premier Cabinets is closed again, but this time permanently. A big sign outside announces, "Space For Lease". I hear through the grapevine that CTPC has gone bankrupt. I guess I was not the only one in Crazy Town who did, indeed, think it was crazy to put expensive cabinets in the garage. (Either that or they couldn't pay their latest electric bill.) So I wait for them to dismantle my visual nirvana........... and wait............ and wait. The store remains intact, albeit devoid of actual salespeople milling about. It almost looks better this way: just cabinets-- no messy human-beings to mar the image. Then I have a wonderful thought: maybe I could LIVE in the fancy kitchen cabinet store? Really! Why not? It is not as if anyone else is benefiting from these cabinets right now. I know the first thing I will do when I move in: buy curtains. MOV ("Maple Or Veneer"?)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

66. Sprinklers

So, The Husband decides that It Is Time for us to finally do some landscaping. We hire a Landscaping Guru and his company to fix our yard and plant more grass and all that other yardy kind of stuff they do. I think mulch was involved. I did my part, clearly, by handing the Landscaping Guru the check. He looks at the check, blinks twice, and says, "Now, Miss MOV, I will walk you through the watering and care instructions." EXCUSE ME?!?!? Did you not read the part of the contract, Landscaping Guru, where it says, "low-maintenance plantings"? For goshsakes, Guru, you WROTE the contract! You signed the contract and I signed the contract! What is up with that? Watering instructions? Isn't that the part that, oh, I don't know, God and Mother Nature take care of? So, I pretend not to be irked, because obviously it is too late to go back now. I follow Guru obediently around the yard, while he says things like "core aeration", and "acidity", and finally "sprinkler". I am pretty sure I know what a sprinkler is, so I nod enthusiastically to show I am paying attention. Guru confirms with me that I will be REQUIRED to water the yard and plants every day for about an hour for the first month. Ugh. Commitment. When The Husband gets home from work, I try to pawn off the new responsibilities on him. He is having none of it. He reminds me that Guru mentioned the lawn must be watered in the morning, and The Husband has to get ready for work. It's all up to me. Not good. The Husband is nice enough to go to Home Depot to buy the new sprinkler because he has a deep-seated (and justified) fear that I will buy The Wrong One. He returns home with our new little toy and then goes into a long-winded and complicated series of instructions that I am trying hard to follow. "Set it in the yard. Then turn it on." Apparently that is it. The Husband gives me a quick look, and says, "I know you can handle it. You will be awesome at watering." Positive encouragement. This is the Human Resources Director in him coming out. The next morning, I try to commune with my Inner Gardener. I don my jaunty little sun hat and head outside, ready to tackle my new project: Make My Yard Not Die. I set up the sprinkler and turn it on (see: I was paying attention!). However, the sprinkler goes completely past the designated area and instead gets the whole front porch wet (the one area that has no plants at all). Sigh. That is okay, slight adjustment. Now the sprinkler is getting the main sidewalk all wet-- What is this demonic sprinkler's obsession with concrete? NO! Come on, do your job! Get the green things wet! After about 19 more minor adjustments like this, I give up. The sprinkler waters the 30-year- old (already thriving and well-established) tree. The sprinkler waters the driveway (I told you there was a concrete fetish). The sprinkler waters the neighbors windows. The sprinkler waters my car. Grrrrrr. Do I even need to mention that at the end of this venture I am soaking wet? MOV

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

65. If...

If someone is playing really really quietly without bothering you or interrupting you while you are on the phone, it means he is breaking all his older brother's favorite Lego's. MOV ("Mostly Obliterates Vehicles")

64. Eavesdropping

So I am driving Tall and his pal, both age 6, to summer camp. Their conversation in the car goes something like this: Pal: Tall, have you ever gone skydiving? Tall: (without hesitation) Yes. Me: (??) Pal: So have I. Tall: When? Pal: A long time ago. I was five. Tall: Did you like it? Pal: Well, the thing is, my parachute did not open and that is why I have this scar on my eye (pointing to non-existent scar). But now it's healed up. I jumped out of a helicopter. Tall: (nonchalant) That's cool. MOV

Monday, July 19, 2010

63. My Kids Don't Watch TV

So we are out to dinner with friends. Somehow we get on the topic of the general "Morning Routine". Sammi tells us that her mornings can be a bit on the frantic side and that her sons watch a TV show so she can take an Olympic Shower (less than 2 minutes) without interruption. She glances over at me, waiting for some sort of reassurance or acknowledgement that we share Parallel Lives, that my boys are rambunctious and unruly. No such luck, dear Sammi. She is gobsmacked when I tell her our typical routine:
  • wake up leisurely around 8 (never at the UNGODLY hour of say, 5:30 AM)
  • kids go right to the dining room table and draw pictures (it goes without saying that they do not get any marker on the placemats)
  • if they decide to exercise their creativity with Play-Doh, then they certainly clean up every little speck when they are done
  • if they are not drawing, or working on a Play-Doh project, they can often be found taking turns reading to each other on the couch (Tall will patiently and kindly help Short sound out words)
  • if they prefer, they can build Lego's, which they always share willingly
  • they allow Mommy to shower in peace, and it would never occur to them play a mean joke like flushing the toilet not once but 3 times because it is funny to hear Mommy scream when the water gets scalding hot
  • they sit down for breakfast right away when Mommy calls them
  • the boys eat all the food Mommy has lovingly prepared without saying, "THIS IS GROSS!"
  • they do such a good job making their beds that Mommy has to verify with The Husband that the kids did it and not him
  • they get themselves dressed (in the coordinating outfits Mommy has pre-selected and ironed) without once saying, "I HATE THIS SHIRT!"
  • they put their dirty pajamas right in the hamper, and in fact, they actually carry it all down to the laundry room (they definitely do not say something like, "MOMMY, I THOUGHT THAT WAS YOUR JOB.")
  • then they gather up their backpacks that they have carefully put any Relevant Papers in the night before
  • they quickly find an entire pair of shoes that matches and they put them on the correct feet
  • they walk out to the car while refraining from hitting their brother with a stick
  • they get in THE FIRST TIME MOMMY SAYS and put on their seatbelts

Of course this is my life, because my children are Perfect Little Angels.

The table goes silent. The Husband is staring at me, sending me a mental telepathy message of "Do we even live in the same house?" I catch Sammi's eye. She is desperately trying to suppress a smirk. Then the four of us burst out laughing and Sammi says what I knew she would: "MOV, whaddya say we all order another bottle of wine?"


("Made Of Vino")

62. This Is What Procrastination Looks Like

Lists. Lots of lists. In fact, lists of lists.

(I need to inform you right off the bat that I just dropped off my kids at summer camp. I have 3 hours free, in which to accomplish EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD. This is a lot of pressure.)

First, it is Very Important that I re-do my entire calendar (which is done by hand, not on a Blackberry as I am a certified technophobe). My calendar is a blank one that shows 6 weeks at a time, and I can hand-write the dates on it. I Xerox more at Kinko's when I am close to running out (which I am now: add it to the list).

I copy all the relevant items onto the new calendar. This is very time-consuming, which is fantastic for procrastinating. Then, it really helps me a lot (because I am a visual person) if certain things on the calendar are certain colors. So I switch pens a lot. Special events, like girls' night out or doctor appointments, are in red ink. Work is in green ink (get it? I make money at work, and money is green). Tall's and Short's schedules are in blue. If something important like a week-end away or out-of-town guests is coming up, those entire days are highlighted in yellow.

OK, so the Making Of The Calendar can take a very long time as it is very detailed. Then, I must make today's specific schedule (luckily, no color-coding involved). This still takes a while. I find it therapeutic to add things to the list that I might have already done, just so I can cross them off. My list might say
  • make breakfast
  • take shower
  • get kids dressed
  • feed cat
  • remember sunblock for Tall
  • pack Tall's lunch
  • pick up Tall's friend for summer camp carpool
  • drop off Tall and friend at camp
  • take Short to his camp
  • go to Starbucks
Then all those things will have nice slashes through them because they have all been accomplished before 9:30 in the morning and I am X-ing them out while I drink my latte at Starbucks. Before I leave Starbucks, I remember I need to buy coffee beans, so I add it to the list and then X it out right before I walk up to the counter to order the beans.

I get in my car and look over my list. I am a Super-Hero! So many things already crossed off!
When I get back home, I head upstairs to the study. Now I will do another favorite thing which is Make A List of all the stuff I generally need to take care of (but this is on a separate sheet of paper because it most likely will not all be accomplished today). This list will say things like
  • rotate tires
  • research different soccer camps for Tall
  • put together Short's baby album (Short is age 4 now)
  • find really good chocolate mousse recipe
  • learn to play saxophone
  • get Real Estate broker's license (take 8 week class first)
Now since I am so exhausted from just thinking about what I need to do, I might go in the kitchen and start making brownies. I locate the special brownie pan. I pre-heat the oven. I get out the ingredients: butter, chocolate, vanilla, flour, salt. And eggs. Ooops, no eggs. Who ate the last eggs? I notice a dirty pan on the counter next to the sink-- looks like The Husband had scrambled eggs for breakfast. So, we are out of eggs. I turn off the oven. I put away the butter, chocolate, vanilla, flour, salt. Grrrrr.

Maybe checking email would be a good way to Avoid Other Stuff. Drat. Just a couple emails from Old Navy and Amazon, and something about a Nigerian Prince needing my social security number.... hmm, that sounds intriguing.

I am worn out from Not Doing Stuff. I wisely decide to peruse the latest Eddie Bauer catalog in case there is something I Cannot Live Without. Sigh. I have seen all these items before, I think they just switch out the covers on these catalogs just to get you to flip through them again.

I decide my bangs are too long and I should cut them.

Now I decide they are way too short and I am depressed. Why do I cut my bangs myself? What was I thinking? I get them wet and blow-dry them STRAIGHT DOWN. There, that's better.

When I put the scissors away in the closet with the toiletries, I notice the towels and sheets are kind of tipping over. I take every single linen out of the closet and refold them all. I decide towels look nicer on the top shelf and sheets on the bottom. Much better.

I glance at the clock. Ack! It is 12:20! I have to pick up Short in 5 minutes!

Where did the time go?

("Missing Only Volition")

Sunday, July 18, 2010

61. Doctor Story

So I am in California, visiting my mom who has Stage 4 Cancer. We go to Dr. S, her Oncologist, and as we are pulling into the parking lot, my mom confides in me that she does not really like him. This is new information for me, as she has not previously voiced an opinion about him one way or the other. I have never met him, so I decide to put my mom's bias aside and wait until I meet him to form my own opinion. We sit in the waiting room for what seems like an hour, but when I look at my watch it is actually only 10 minutes. Then, we are called back to Dr. S's office. I glance around at his many awards plastered all over the walls. He walks in. He is old. He looks kinda mean. When he starts talking, it is apparent that he is bossy. I immediately like him. He is very matter-of-fact in everything he says. He has zero bedside manner. To me, he is the Perfect Doctor. My mom wants someone to hold her hand and tell her that everything will be okay. That is not Dr. S. He will not say what she wants to hear, and that is the problem. When we leave, my mom nudges me in the elevator and whispers, "What did you think?" It is hard for me, because I can tell she has a problem with him, so I say, "What matters is what YOU think." She nods. In the car, she tells me she wants to get a second opinion about her treatment options from another doctor. I try to be supportive, but I fear that the 2nd or 3rd or 87th doctor will all say the same thing: it is too late for a cure (a complete eradication of the disease), but instead we must focus on treatment (to improve the quality of life and extend life). She gets the second opinion. That doctor is soft-spoken and gracious and a good listener. And he gives the exact same prognosis as Dr. S. MOV ("Morphine Or Vicodin?")

60. How To Score A Good Seat At The Movies

Back a million years ago, when The Husband was merely The Boyfriend and we were merely dating, Going To The Movies was a high priority in our lives. We loved movies! What's not to love: there's popcorn and a good air-conditioning system and previews and candy and a tall Coca-cola and a two-hour escape called "The Featured Attraction". Sadly, other people also realized that going to the movies was fun. But, that's okay, because The Boyfriend and I were smart! If we happened to go to the movies on say, a Friday or a Saturday evening, we knew to get there at least 5 minutes early to snag our seats. The Boyfriend's seating preference exactly paralleled mine: we preferred Good Seats. If Good Seats were not available, then Great Seats were also acceptable. We liked to be smack dab in the middle, so as to become One With The Screen. Or, barring that possibility, half way up and on the aisle, so we could make a quick escape after drinking too much Coke. Now, remember, this is back in the Dinosaur Times, before stadium-style seating. (Let it be noted that I am a HUGE fan of stadium-style seating; it is a such an innovative and intelligent design that I am surprised no one came up with sooner: everyone has a great view, a comfy seat, plenty of room, and a personal cup-holder. There are no bad seats. It is a win/win for everyone.) Even though The Boyfriend measured in at 6'4", I was not as blessed in the height department. If someone tall sat in front of me, I would simply not be able to see. As you can imagine, this could ruin the night for me. Often, we would scope out the Ideal Perfect Seats that met all of our demanding criteria, only to have some inconsiderate Person show up DURING THE PREVIEWS and sit right in front of me! This would, as you might expect, make me mad. What am I supposed to do now? Yell at him? Ask him to be shorter, or at least slouch out of Common Courtesy? Kick his seat the whole time, like a defiant child? Talk loudly during the Good Parts? No. All of these things would just incite more anger and then everyone would pout and have a bad time. Management or at least teen-aged ushers might have to become involved. No. I was forced to come up with an amicable solution on my own. So I did. I would gently tap the Person on his shoulder justbeforehesatdown and whisper sweetly, "Someone spilled a Coke in that seat." The Person, without fail, would thank me profusely and then find a different (far away) seat. The Person was grateful that I diverted him from the disaster-of-sitting-in-a-fictitious-wet-seat, and I was rewarded with my movie not being blocked by a Giant Head. Win/win. MOV ("Movies Outrank Videos")

59. My Son, Age 6, Is Taller Than His Doctor

So we're in Colorado visiting my dad and step-mom for a couple weeks. We are enjoying the weather and the time together to do fun things like go to the park and the aquarium. Unfortunately, Tall gets ill (possibly it is just the flu, but it has dragged on for several days and he might have an ear infection) so I must take him to the doctor.

Since we do not live in Colorado, my dad calls his neighbor (who is an Orthopedic Surgeon) and asks for a recommendation for a pediatrician. Then we book our appointment.

Tall and I show up on time. The receptionist is very nice and efficient. We are shown to the examination room, where we wait patiently. Then in walks Dr. Housechurch. I stare at him. Tall stares at him. Dr. Housechurch is just about the shortest person I have ever seen who is not a midget or dwarf. He is very very little. You could probably put him in your pocket, or at least in your tote bag.

I notice Tall really looking at Dr. Housechurch carefully, studying him. Dr. Housechurch is asking all the usual questions and we are giving all the usual answers. He is very thorough and very professional and very sympathetic. He has a kind bedside manner. But he still reminds me of an elf. I can imagine him in a green hat with pointy shoes; it does not help that we saw the "Wizard of Oz" on TV last night. Oh, God, what could Tall be thinking? I know what he is thinking, but I am willing him not to say it. Don't say it! Don't say it! whatever you do, don't say it! I am sending him a mental telepathy message: TO PLEASE NOT COMMENT ON THE DOCTOR'S SIZE. Children do not intend to be rude, they are just naturally curious and inquisitive. They say things from a place of honesty, not trying to be malicious or hurtful. I am sure Dr. Housechurch has been on the receiving end of thoughtless comments his entire life; the last thing he needs is for some random patient who does not even live locally to waltz in and say some uncensored derogatory thing about his stature, which he cannot help.

Dr. Housechurch is writing out a prescription and joking around with Tall. Even though Tall is still studying him intently, I am feeling like we could be in the home stretch. Now it is time to leave. I grab my sweater and thank the doctor for his time. We are walking out, and Tall turns around and seems prepared to say something to the doctor; I brace myself for what I know is coming next.

"Dr. Housechurch? That is such an unusual name you have," Tall says simply. The nice doctor gives a genuine smile and replies, "You know, I have heard that before."

("Medicine Of Vail")

Saturday, July 17, 2010

58. Christie Brinkley Is Old

Christie Brinkley is old. What is she, maybe 82 now? She should perhaps have great-grandchildren at this point. I realized just how "old" she is, when I was talking with a guy at work and I mentioned something about someone who was very beautiful and then I compared her to (I thought it was a compliment) Christie Brinkley, and Holden said back, "Huh, who?" What do you mean, "Who?" Christie F------ Brinkley, that's who! How can you not know who Christie Brinkley is, for goshsakes! She is an ICON! Everyone knows who Christie Brinkley is! She was married to Billy Joel! (Again, Holden says, "Billy Who?" Nooooooooooo!) Then Holden and I play a dangerous game (a game I will lose): I ask him which model or celebrity he thinks is pretty. He says without hesitation, "Taylor Swift." Now it is my turn to say, "Who?" I am embarrassed to admit that I have no idea who she is (but apparently Holden thinks she is hot). Christie Brinkley used to be the "Gold Standard". And Cindy Crawford. And what about Cheryl Tiegs? Where is she now? And Farrah Fawcett? (oops-- I know where she is: dead.) Elle MacPherson? where are these gorgeous women from my youth? They were on the cover of EVERY magazine. Are they all on portable oxygen and using walkers now? When did this happen? I decide I will be Current and In The Know and Get With The Program. I go on my lunch break and buy "People" magazine. And by the way, since when is "People" magazine $5? Didn't it used to be like, 99 cents? This is crazy! I have never heard of half the "people" in "People". Taylor Swift is plastered all over at least 6 different pages of "People". She is, I realize, quite pretty. In fact, she looks hauntingly like Christie Brinkley. When did I get so out of the loop? Was it gradual? I always thought I was "on the cutting edge" but now I am realizing (thank you, Holden) that I am just sliding off the edge, or more like falling. I must implement some of what I have learned on this lunch break. I get home from work and plop down next to The Husband, who is already firmly planted on the couch. He has been painting the exterior of the house all day and looks beat. I turn to him and say, "Do you think Taylor Swift is hot?" The husband gives a blank look, and then replies, "Who?" MOV ("Mostly Old Variety")

57. Doctors Should Look Old

Doctors should just look old. That goes under the file of Everyone Knows That.  Doctors are supposed to give off an aura of "wisdom" and "maturity"; I'm also more comfortable if they're grouchy and intimidating--that means they're smart. If your doctor does not look old, it's very confusing.

Honestly, I have HAD IT UP TO HERE with these so-called "doctors" (with their Stanford or Yale Medical School degrees) looking like they just stepped out of the latest issue of Italian Vogue, or at the very least, looking like a celebrity-impersonator. It gives off the wrong impression, looking young and nice.

Call Central Casting and give me someone old, kinda gray, maybe even a little bit fat. That's better. Now I can respect this doctor. I don't need no perfect-looking, perfect-talking, totally nice doctor. That just freaks me out!

Reasons I Am Freaked Out By Young And Nice Doctors:
  • It's not natural. They need to be a bit on the bossy side.
  • Instead of listening to them when they talk, I stare at them and imagine they are a doll.
  • I feel intimidated by them. I can't think, "Well, at least I'm younger than you!" or "At least I'm prettier than you!" and I definitely can't think "At least I'm smarter than you!" because, well, they are a DOCTOR, so that part is pretty much a given.
  • I walk out of the appointment feeling bad about myself. Why did I not go to med school? Why do I not go running 10 miles per day? Why was I not born in 1982?
  • I secretly wonder if they passed all their Important Classes, classes like "Operating On People."
  • If it is a woman doctor, I keep thinking that maybe I could set her up with my younger brother. Or my son.
  • If it is a male doctor, I keep thinking he could BE my younger brother. Or my son.
  • I'm perplexed that someone SO YOUNG can spell all those hard medical words they write on your prescription.
  • I'm amazed that they can spell "prescription."
  • I worry that they are writing fake things on the prescription, things like "jelly beans" that will just make the Pharmacist laugh about me behind my back and give me a placebo. A very expensive placebo that Insurance Does Not Cover.
  • Well, that is all the reasons I can think of right now, because OBVIOUSLY I'm not that smart. I'm not a doctor.

56. Contractor-Speak: Part II

When your Contractor says, "Hey, MOV, I know that in the entire history of the world no one has EVER completed a bathroom remodel in less than 30 days no matter what they tell you and that includes even if the pipes are already there and it is merely a tile job with some new light fixtures BUT, I, being the phenomenal Super-Contractor that I am, will do the job in a mere five days!"..... What that really MEANS is, the bathroom will be completed in 30 days. MOV ("Mustn't Overestimate Vision")

55. I'm Sick: Then Vs. Now

Pain Level Then (when you were 25, single, and had no kids): on a scale of 1 to 10, about a 4.

What You Must Do About It: Think about going to the doctor. Call in sick to work. Go back to sleep. Go to the drugstore and try to decide which over-the-counter medicine is best for your particular symptoms. Feel overwhelmed by too many choices of medicines. Call your friend who is in pharmaceutical sales and ask her opinion. Buy what she says. Go home. Eat chicken soup. Call your mom. Sneeze a lot. Feel congested. Call your boyfriend. Call work back, tell them you probably won’t be in tomorrow either. Call the doctor. Make an appointment. Feel nauseous. Go to bathroom, in case you might throw up. Don’t really need to throw up after all. Read a magazine. Start reading a new book. Feel tired. Take a nap. Drink plenty of fluids. Put your latest photos in new album. Listen to a CD. Mope on the couch. Go to the doctor. Decide he's not really a very good doctor when he says you “just have the flu”. Pick up prescription. Get an orange juice smoothie at smoothie place next to drugstore. Lounge around your living room. Watch soap operas. Fall asleep. Sniffle. Cough. Call three of your closest girlfriends. Try to convince everyone you know that you are dying. Whine a lot. Drink wine. Go to sleep.

Pain Level Now (when you are 40, married, and have two kids under age 7): on a scale of 1 to 10, almost a 9.

What You Must Do About It: Suck it up.

("Morphine Obliterates Virus")

54. ...and Gwyneth Paltrow Is My Dermatologist

So I needed a new dermatologist, having moved here from California and not knowing any doctors yet. I asked around. I was thrilled when my friend Janna gave me a recommendation, because her skin is flawless (in fact, I was slightly suspicious: why does Janna even need a dermatologist? does she have some weird skin thing going? should I ask?). Janna happily provided Dr. H's info, and then she went into great detail about where I should park, to make sure I validate my parking, what time of day is best to book the appointment (hint: first thing in the morning-- just like Target!), and if they take my insurance.

My new dermatologist is Gwyneth Paltrow. Janna didn't mention this.

Now, you may have noticed if you have been following my blog that I do not obsess over my appearance (scratch that: I DO obsess, but I make sure to do so retrospectively when I no longer have any control over it). I can often be found wearing the universal standard-issue "Momiform". I have been known to skip a shower if I am in a huge rush. Make-up is generally not on my radar. However, I would like to go on record that, by the Grace Of God and Maybelline Mascara, I looked all right on the particular day in question, the day of my appointment. With Gwyneth.

I walk in. I check in at the desk and fill out approximately 38 forms. Then I sit and wait, eyes scanning the waiting room for clues. What kind of name is "Dr. H" anyway? Is that Vietnamese? French-Canadian? Russian? On one side of the waiting room is a large framed photo of an older gentleman in doctor's scrubs shaking hands with Someone-Who-Is-Obviously-Very-Important. Ahh, that must be Dr. H! He looks about 60 years old in the photo. That's about right: everyone knows that doctors are old. It is one of the prerequisites, like chemistry 101 and biology lab. After you go though about a gazillion years (give or take) of med school, that just makes you old.

Near the photo of old decrepit Dr. H is a framed newspaper article. Maybe about Skin Cancer. Or Baby Ducks. Can't tell, as I am sitting too far away and am feeling too lazy to get up and go over there to look at it. Why should I know what that says, when I am sitting way over here? It's not like I am at the Optometrist's.

The Receptionist/ Helper/ Clerk/ Secretary/ Medical Intern/ Janitor (choose one) comes to get me and lead me back to the examining room. I never actually know WHO it is that I am walking back with. I am just aware that some random person has butchered my name yet again and is holding a clipboard (with my vital information? or this month's Net-Flix options?) and has asked me to Follow Her Down The Hall. I do so obediently, like a little dog.

I try to make quick small talk with the Receptionist/ Medical Intern/ Janitor, but she is having none of it. She is all business, hands me the paper gown, and says Dr. H will be with me shortly. I start to put on the lovely gown (ties in the front? ties in the back? whoa, there are snaps on this one, what am I supposed to do with that? how am I supposed to get myself into this Origami creation?), and then I remember that I am here about my face, so I do not change my clothes after all. Instead, I start flipping through an older issue of "US Weekly" ("Surprise Wedding: Angelina Jolie marries Billy Bob Thornton" to give you an idea of what older means), and wait. And wait. And wait. It is 8:15 in the morning! Just how busy can Dr. H be at this hour?

I finish my magazine and fantasize about Opening All The Cupboards, just to see what is inside. In walks Gwyneth. To say that she is beautiful is an understatement. She has long luxurious hair, the color of a baby chick's fluff. She has big blue eyes, the size of saucers. She is quite tall, almost 6 feet. She is model thin. (In fact, I briefly think: "Hey, Dr. H! If this whole 'Doctor Thing' doesn't work out for you, you can always go back to being a supermodel!") She looks about 23 years old.

I immediately hate her. Then I hate Janna for not warning me. It is like telling someone who is about to go to Paris for the first time how delicious the food is and what kind of jacket to pack in case it rains and if we have a decent exchange with the euro right now but then omitting the small teeny tiny detail that you might want to pack a camera.

Dr. H introduces herself, and sweetly asks about Janna. Then she checks my skin. She leans into my face very close to examine my pores, and I have no choice but to examine hers as well. My job only takes 3 seconds, because she does not have any pores. When you hear someone use the term "Peaches and cream complexion", rest assured this is what they are referring to. She touches my face; I can smell her perfume (something with gardenias). I could kiss her.

I don't. Instead, I say, "Dr. H, what is your opinion of that weird brown spot near my right ear?" She takes a look and then assures me that it is Nothing; but she can use a special laser to get rid of it if I would like it to be more aesthetically pleasing. (She is obviously well-versed in "aesthetically pleasing".) She goes to retrieve the special equipment and tells me this will not hurt and will only take a couple minutes. She returns and gets set up, all the time chatting and joking around. OK, great: she is gorgeous, funny, and obviously smart (she did graduate from med school). Winner of the Great Trifecta Of Life.

While she performs the procedure, my mind is wandering. I rationalize that although Dr. H may "seem" perfect, she must get parking tickets like everyone else. She must step in gum occasionally. Maybe she has a difficult time swimsuit shopping, what with being so tall and all. And you know what? she probably did not even go to a very good med school! Ha! So there! She probably went to University of Can't-Get-In-Anywhere-Else in somewhere like, I don't know, Puerto Rico or North Dakota.

Dr. H is finished and recommends a follow-up visit. We say good-bye, and I go back to the front desk area and write the check for my co-pay. I am gathering my purse and keys and cell phone together and I glance up at the wall behind the receptionist.

That's when I see it. Dr. H's Medical Degree. From Harvard.

("My Optometrist is Vince Vaughn")

Friday, July 16, 2010

53. Chances Are

Chance that Contractor will show up today: 50/50. Chance that Contractor will arrive at the exact moment I am in the bathroom: 100%.

52. Do You Get Better Service If Dressed Nicely?


51. Candy For Breakfast

I am so judgemental. I admit it. This was especially true when I was The World's Greatest Mother Ever, back in 2001.  My first child was born in 2003.

That's right, I knew everything. How to discipline, how to get your child on a schedule, what kind of food to feed your baby, what you are doing wrong (hint: everything), how much TV is acceptable (none), and at what age your child should be reading independently (two years old).

Needless to say, I have had to, ummmm, amend some of these beliefs. OK, not some, more like all.

It is very very easy to be an "armchair quarterback" or in this case, an "armchair mother." You might think you know everything, but until you have actually LIVED it, you do not.

When I lived in California, I had a friend named Mary Ann who had a sweet little daughter named Dylan. Imagine my dismay when I saw Mary Ann give this little girl CANDY on more than one occasion! Sometimes before 10:30 in the morning!

Oh, the horror!

I expected all her teeth to instantaneously rot out of her head. Mary Ann would dole out candy as a reward, and sometimes withhold candy as a punishment. Other times, candy was a bribe. It was the Candy Channel, 24/7.

Did I voice my concerns to Mary Ann like a true friend would? Hell, no. Instead, I sat there smugly, watching her, and thinking exactly what every-woman-with-no-children has thought before me:

"That will never be me. I am better than that. My future child will never eat candy, and certainly NOT before breakfast."

Flash forward nine years. I now am the mother of two young sons, Tall-- age 6 1/2, and Short-- age 4. This morning, after dropping Tall off at summer camp, I drive Short to the bank drive-thru window so I can cash a check. He is whining that he wants to go to summer camp too, how it is NOT FAIR that Tall gets to go, and that four is a good age for camp and not too young. He is talking himself into a frenzy, getting more and more upset. The screechy whining is giving me a headache; I am annoyed. So I strike a deal:

"Short, if you stop whining right now, I will give you a lollipop when we leave the bank."

Ever the negotiator, he pushes, "Two?"

"Okay, fine, sure, two lollipops."

The whining ceases, and a sense of calm descends upon the car. The teller finishes the transaction and places the money in the envelope so it won't blow away. On top of the envelope are two lollipops. One is strawberry and one is peach. I thank the teller as I slide the money into my wallet. I turn around in my seat and reach out to Short. He takes the lollipops and smiles. I glance at the clock on my dashboard.

9:15 AM.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

50. Paradox

If I get the boys to bed by 8PM, I will have just enough energy to fall asleep on the couch.

49. Kitchen Wars

My girlfriends and I have this fun little game we like to play when they come over: it's called, "My Kitchen Is Smaller Than Your Kitchen". It goes something like this: Me: So here is my kitchen. We painted the cabinets gray, you know, to sort of pick up the color in the floor tile beca....... One-Upsmanship Friend: Wow, it is really tight in here! But you know what? My kitchen is actually even smaller. Me: Well, the tile was already here, so we just tried to kind of wor...... One-Up: God, you should seeeeee the tile in MY kitchen! Hideous! But then, we don't need much tile at all because my kitchen is so much smaller. Me: Huh. I highly doubt that. THIS one is very small. I mean, I have seen bigger walk-in closets! One-Up: I'm telling you, mine is smaller. Maybe half the counter space. Probably 6' x 6'. If I have a friend over and she is in danger of losing this fun game, the conversation will go more like this: Me: And we did change out the hardware, see the new handles? they are from Restoration Hardware. And then The Husband painted the existing hinges black, I really like how..... Friend: I had no idea your kitchen was this small! Ugh, how do you even cook? Me: Well, actually, I don't really cook. Friend: I know! How could you, even if you wanted to? But, honestly, MOV, you know what? My kitchen was even smaller than this before we renovated. Me: Well, obviously, we DO want to add on eventually. Friend: Yeah, you totally could! Just blow out this wall, right where the microwave is-- oh, my God, wait! You don't have a microwave! How can you live without a microwave? Me: Look closely, because we don't even have a dishwasher either! Friend: Yikes! You're right! You don't! But actually, neither did we before the renovation. Seriously, MOV, our kitchen was like a closet. Worse than a closet. It was almost like the architect just forgot to put it on! "Oooops-- no kitchen! Sorry! Here, have a hot plate instead!" If the friend really really wants to participate in this great game and I KNOW that she has a stunning new kitchen with marble counters and a Viking range, then the game can turn out this way: Me: So, I am kind of a little embarrassed to show you the kitchen, because, you know, your kitchen is so gorgeous. Really Wealthy Friend: Well, we did totally luck out. But you know, it's all a trade-off because the bedrooms in my house are waaaaay small. But who cares? You only sleep in the bedrooms, but you live in the kitchen. Me: RWF: Uhh, sorry, I mean, you will live in the kitchen when you finally add on in a couple years. It will be great. Me: Oh, yeah, I know. You're right. I have some magazine pictures of what I want it to look like. Actually, I even drew a couple sketches. RWF: You totally should have seen the kitchen in our last house! It was even smaller than this! We won an award for Smallest Ickiest Kitchen Ever! And the linoleum tile was avocado green! Me: You won an award? RWF: No! I'm joking! Who would give out an award for that? It is an exhausting game to play. And what does the "winner" get? A really small kitchen. MOV ("Must Obtain Viking")

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

48. No Memories Here

It is a well-known fact that children do not remember 99% of what happens to them before the age of 5. My own memories from when I was this age consist of me falling off the jungle gym and cracking my head open, and also the exact color and texture of the lunch trays at my preschool. That's it. My mom tells me we went to Hong Kong on a cruise. Nope, doesn't ring a bell. My grandmother used to take me to the toy store and buy me special dolls. No, no recollection whatsoever. Why is it, then, that I knock myself out to provide wonderful "experiences" for my children when merely playing in the backyard would suffice? We have dragged them to dinosaur museums, Air and Space Museums, history museums, the zoo, every park within a 20 mile radius, puppet shows, aquariums, butterfly gardens, the coast, and even the airport. If it is synonymous with "culture", we have tried it. Sometimes I quiz them later to see if they retained anything. Our conversations go something like this: Me: Tall, did you like the American Indian Museum we went to last week? Tall: (thinking hard for a minute and scrunching up his little eyebrows) Do you mean the one with the fountain in front? or, um, no, was it... Me: (cutting him off) YES, that's the one! Tall: Uhhh, I can't exactly remember what I saw there, but the spaghetti they had in their lunch place was definitely better than yours. Next, I quiz Short. Me: Short, what did you think of that new playground Mommy took you to this morning? The one by the Post Office? Wasn't that fun? Short: Shhhhhh, Mom! I am TRYING to watch "Chugginton" and you keep innerupping! Me: (turning off TV) Short! You are being rude to me! I am asking you a question. Short: (mad) Turn my show back on right now, you mean Mommy! Me: Not until you answer my question. I asked you what you thought of the playground we went to. Short: (blank look on his face) We did not go to a playground. Me: (getting frustrated) Yes we did. We just got back 2 hours ago! Short: Have you seen my Avatar toy from McIcky's? Me: (finding my camera) Look, Short, I'll show you. Here. I took a picture of you on the swing! Short: (looking at the picture) Huh, who is that? Me: (triumphant) It's you! Short: It's not me. As you can imagine, I can get quite deflated when my children not only do not appreciate the fact that I took them on some new adventure, but they cannot even remember it from this morning. It is like Alzheimer's, but in reverse. Chilzheimer's. Even though THEY recall virtually NOTHING about it, I vividly remember getting the snacks together, putting the sunscreen on them, spraying everyone with bug spray, getting cold water bottles for them, checking that the camera battery is recharged, packing a change of clothes for both of them (just in case), finding the lost hat, going to the bank to get some quarters for parking meters, filling the tank with gas, printing out MapQuest directions. Tall vaguely remembers the possibility of some sort of fountain. The next day, I take Tall to a local bakery known for its bread. For about one year, I used to go here almost daily with Tall (he was about 2 years old at the time). In the meantime, a new cafe has opened that I prefer, so this one has dropped off my radar. We walk in together and the owner practically jumps across the counter. "Tall!" she screeches, "Is that you? I have not seen you and your mother in, what, maybe 4 or 5 years?" Tall gets a big grin on his face, "Hello, Ms. Marianna. I remember you. My mommy and I used to come here every day and she would always get a chocolate croissant." Ms. Marianna and Tall beam at each other, sharing a memory, like he and I used to share a croissant. MOV ("Memories Of Voyage")

47. Random Thought

Is it really necessary to clean the soap dish? Why?

Monday, July 12, 2010

46. Drive-By Drop-In

Picture the scene: you are lounging around in your pajamas on a Saturday morning, debating which home-improvement project you will attempt to tackle today-- "Painting The Railing" is near the top of the list, but "Rearranging Furniture In Basement" is also a contender.

You have decided to get a jump on the day and knock out a couple of loads of laundry, which you are currently folding in the living room. Additionally, your children have been pestering you to make waffles, which you just did, so all the detritus from that venture are scattered about the kitchen. They have simultaneously opened up the recent birthday Play-Doh (with all its accoutrements) and a new set of miniature Lego's. All of the pieces are hopelessly strewn about.

It goes without saying that your hair is not washed (it is in a sloppy ponytail-bun hybrid, with no princess barrette in sight) and you have no make-up on. The TV is on, and it is louder than you might like. Ahh, the peace and tranquility of this lovely domestic moment.

The door-bell rings, shattering your private and messy bliss.

You mildly freak out (just "mildly" because you are pretty sure it is some Jehovah's Witness and you can usually get away with the twin adult strategies of Being Really Quiet and Just Not Answering The Door). No. The bell rings again, followed by a persistent knocking.

You think, "Wow-- those religious zealots are tenacious! Guess that's why they're called 'zealots'!" Then, your husband (without thinking to consult you first) innocently enough goes to the door and answers. There, in all her glory, is the Relative-You-Barely-Know.

"Hi!" says perky Relative-You-Barely-Know, with her pretty hair and recently-ironed sundress, "I was just in the neighborhood" (she lives about 30 minutes away, so it is not a complete lie) "and so I thought I would just drop by, hope that is okay!"

"Ummm," you think "no it is not really okay at all. Have you never heard of a PHONE for goshsakes, RYBK?"

Instead, your husband-- who you now realize does not possess the powers of mental telepathy-- says, "Come on in!"

You wonder what your husband is thinking. You wonder what RYBK is thinking. What YOU are thinking is, "Can we just go back to the way things were 10 minutes ago? Why don't you just leave right now, RYBK?"

You slip out of the room and throw on an outfit (well, "outfit" in the broadest sense of the definition). It does not even qualify as a standard momiform. Sweatshorts, t-shirt--possibly with cranberry juice spilled on it-- that you wore yesterday because it was laying on the chair and was the closest thing you could grab. All the damn baseball hats are in the front closet, so that is not going to happen.

You glance in the mirror and see a dried clump of mascara just below your eye. Mascara from yesterday.

Then, thru the thin walls, you hear RYBK say to your husband, "Hey, I heard you renovated! Can I get a tour?" Oh, God, nooooooo, no no no no no no, that is NOT what she said. No no no, please no. Then you hear footsteps up to the kids' toy area, not typically described as the "neatest" room in the house.

Your mind is going in a million directions. How can you get RYBK out of here? You need a plan! What is the plan?! You are grasping at straws. It is too late and you know it. RYBK and your husband are now coming down the stairs and your husband is saying (you wish you could just grab his tongue and YANK it out of his head),

"Hey, RYBK, we just finished breakfast but maybe you might like to sit down for a while and stay for some coffee?"

What could have possibly made you marry this man? What exactly? You are now beginning to question every decision that you have ever made that has led you to this precise moment. Your husband obviously does not know you very well at all.

RYBK wants to see the basement. And the garage. And the yard. And "Before/ After" photos. You are starting to hate RYBK more and more.

"THIS is why we never invite you over, RYBK!" you want to say, but don't. Then, RYBK starts to GET OUT HER CAMERA. At this point, you have had enough.

The rage is about to boil over and you are going to say something, you don't know what yet, but chances are, it won't be pretty. Then, as if sent by God, a loud shrieking-- wailing really-- ensues.

"He hit me!" says your one child, "No, he started it!" says the other. The crying escalates and the whirlwind of chaos stops RYBK in her tracks.

"Oh, I have caught you at a bad time," she coos to your husband, "I should get going." She gives your husband a quick pat on his shoulder and then scoots out to her car. You have never wanted to hug your children and thank them so much in your life!

"Cry louder!" you think. And, as if by magic, they do.

("Mentally Off Vortex")

45. Haiku 3

Contractor arrived He said the grout is still wet No work for today. The bathroom sits there Unfinished and mocking me When will it be done? The longest time is: Waiting for your contractor To finish the job. Please please finish soon! I'm losing my momentum Hard work choosing tiles. MOV ("Monday Of Verses")

Sunday, July 11, 2010

44. Dumpster Diver

Yep, that's me. I am a Dumpster Diver and proud of it! Now, to clarify, I am not one of those crazy people who drive around in their husband's truck looking for cast-off treasures. No. I just go driving around in The Husband's truck, maybe on my way to work or something, and THERE IT IS! Eeek, pull over! Perfectly good patio furniture being thrown away! (To put your mind at ease, the furniture is not actually ON their patio, it is by the curb next to the trash cans and there is a "free" sign taped on top of it.) I am some sort of magnet for all cool things free. Toys. Golf clubs. Desk chairs. Wicker patio chairs. Wrought iron patio table. Mirrors. Chandeliers. I kid you not. Sometimes the item in question just needs a quick scrub or a cursory new coat of paint. Voila! If you are good at math like I am, you know that finding great free things is a financial savings of 82%! However, there are times of, how shall I say this? Disappointment. Like the time I stopped to pick up a beautiful dining room table (remember-- I've got The Husband's truck) and on closer inspection, I realized one of the legs was broken! How DARE they throw out a broken table for me to stop and pick up! Or a suitcase with a large hole in the side. Rude and thoughtless is what that is. Inconsiderate. If someone is going to drag an item to the curb because they no longer want it and it is broken, then I think the VERY least they can do is put a sign on it that says "Broken". I'm just sayin'. MOV ("Mom's Other Vice")

43. Date Night

So The Husband and I are out to dinner the other night with another couple, having a social life and being like real people instead of watching TV. My princess life intersects my real life! Yay, me! Acting like a real person with real friends and a real life! I was even wearing a sparkly barrette. So. Much. Fun. Cannot believe I do not do this more often. Great conversation, great company, great food. Just basically great. Then the record scratches. My dear friend Sammi, slim and gorgeous, and her nice husband start talking about their very first date. OK so far. Then, he confides the one thing that immediately attracted him to Sammi: she had eaten her entire meal when they went out to brunch that first time. WHAT?!? All those many years when I was dating and trying to meet a nice guy, I was
  • taking a shower
  • dressing up
  • wearing jewelry
  • washing, blowdrying, and curling my hair
  • working out
  • wearing high heels
  • saying witty things
  • reading women's magazines about witty things I should say
  • wearing make-up
  • reading women's magazines about best way to put on aforementioned make-up
  • making sure no broccoli is in my teeth
  • plucking my eyebrows
  • shaving my legs
  • checking that my breath is OK
  • brushing my teeth
  • flossing
  • bleaching my teeth
  • spending a lot of time on my teeth
  • eating mints
  • not answering call-waiting (don't want to seem rude)
  • reading the newspaper ahead of time to have something relevant to talk about
  • washing my car and vacuuming out the inside
  • straightening my apartment
  • baking brownies
  • leaving work early to get ready
  • laughing at things that aren't really funny just to be polite

and I could have just finished my meal?!?!? THAT'S ALL IT TAKES?

I looked over at Sammi's plate. She had eaten every morsel. Gotta hand it to her.


("Macaroni Omelets Vichyssoise")

Saturday, July 10, 2010

42. Contractor-Speak

Maybe you have been thinking about adding that second bathroom or renovating your kitchen, but you're intimidated at the thought of dealing with contractors who use their confusing "construction words."  Words like geodesic, globe valve, yoke vent, caisson, or door. I have come up with a handy guide for your use to simplify your interactions with your contractor.  Feel free to print it out and use it as a reference, maybe even laminate it (just a suggestion).
  • What Contractor SAYS......What he Means
  • Monday................................Wednesday
  • "Sure"..................................No way
  • Inexpensive........................Expensive
  • "I'll call you"........................I won't
  • Next Thursday...................Never
  • The tile store was closed....I was playing golf
  • 8AM...................................... noon-ish
  • out to lunch..........................might be back tomorrow
  • almost done.........................not even close
Now, to be fair, communication is a two-way street and the average home-owner is not always clear. So, here is a chart for the Contractor to refer to so that everyone can understand each other.
  • What Home-Owner says.....What He/She Means
  • There's a tiny problem with the tile......You're gonna have to rip the whole thing out
  • I'm not really very happy.......I'm livid
  • My husband doesn't like it...... I don't like it
  • Can you finish by tomorrow?....Could you have finished by yesterday?
  • We're having people over.........I want you gone
Crystal clear communication goes a long way toward achieving the desired results. Good luck on your project!

("Millwork Oakum Vermiculite")

41. Momiform


  • Start with one cute girl, thirty-ish. Add one nice guy, same age.
  • Gently blend together for a few years.
  • Add one baby, then another.
  • Now, take away any outfits that fit or that are flattering in any way.
  • Eliminate all working-out.
  • Take away time for showers and washing hair. Substitute one baseball cap and ponytail, if necessary.
  • For any remaining outfits, cover in baby spit-up or cat fur (your choice).
  • Stir into a frenzy.
  • Repeat until no sleep left.
  • Make sure you have the following ingredients on hand: flat comfortable shoes (under NO circumstances should these be described as "sexy" or "attractive"! That will not work for this recipe!), greasy hair (see above: "take away showers"), dowdy jeans that go above the waist, sweatshirt (in summer, you may substitute generic Target t-shirt instead).
  • Do not overlook final crucial ingredient: large purse to fit the world in and possibly some extra crackers.


Friday, July 9, 2010

40. Happy Place--DISTURBED!

So it was around 8 AM on a Sunday morning and I was at My Favorite Store Of The Universe, Target. I had just gone for a quick run, and even though I was grimy I had decided to forgo a shower until later. As a veteran Target shopper extraordinaire, I am well aware that if you don’t go to Target right when it opens, then you have no business going there at all. I had my list, I was Prepared. I efficiently located everything on my pre-printed Target map (I told you, I don’t mess around) and tossed the items into my cart. I was almost done, in the home stretch, when "the altercation" took place. There was a mom with three kids. She was dressed nicely, and the kids seemed well-behaved. There was a boy, around 6, a girl, about 4, both standing next to the cart and grasping the edge, and a toddler seat-belted in front. The mom abandoned her cart with all the kids so she could duck down the office-supplies aisle and grab one item. She passed by me, gave me a quick once-over and loudly stage-whispered to her son, “Spencer, watch my purse!” Wait, wha?????????? What just happened here? Did she think I was going to steal her purse? Huh? Me? A criminal? Just because I looked, well, a little “grunge-y”? I wanted to chase after her. I wanted to say, “Hey, Lady, I speak English and I can hear you! You are only two feet away from me. And by the way, I should be scared of you stealing my purse!” But I stopped in my tracks. Because I pictured the Ugly Confrontation in my head, and I pictured her being my son’s first grade teacher next year. That is how incestuous and inbred Crazy Town is. So I let it go. (I know—kinda unbelievable for me.) When I arrived home from Target, The Husband could immediately tell that something was wrong. I was deflated instead of rejuvenated. I told him my story; I knew he would be flabbergasted at the situation and supportive of me and My Hurt Feelings. Instead he smirked and said, “Would it kill you to take a shower before you go there?” Wha???? Was he taking Mrs. Snobby-Pants’ side? “MOV, it’s just that, well, you do know I love you and we are married, but if you walked past me looking like that I might double-check that I still have my wallet too.” MOV (“Mom’s Only Vice”)

39. Cougar Island

The Husband and I were having a deep philosophical discussion the other day, wherein we discuss what might happen to each of us when we die. Or more pointedly, to the remaining spouse who is still Among The Living: MOV: Just so you know and don’t have any qualms about it, when you die, I am moving to Hawaii and marrying a younger man. The Husband: Which island? MOV: Probably Maui. No, maybe Kauai. I'm keeping my options open. The Husband: There's more to do on the Big Island. MOV: You won't be there! You're dead, remember? The Husband: So, you're marrying a Hawaiian? MOV: No, not necessarily. Maybe. I don't know. The important thing is, he will be younger. The Husband: How much younger? MOV: (a little too quickly) We’re talking decades. The Husband: (miffed) Huh. MOV: Oh, come on, you’ll be dead! What difference does it make? Don’t you want me to be happy with the kids and your insurance money? Think Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore! Be open-minded! The Husband: (sulking) I’d be a lot more open-minded if I wasn't dead! (long uncomfortable silence) Well, you know what, if you die first, then I will marry a younger woman! So there! MOV: How much younger? The Husband: Put it to you this way-- she is probably not even born yet! Ha! So there! MOV: Just don't meet her at my funeral! And by the way, everyone will consider you just another stereotype… The Husband: That's okay, I don't mind. I will be married to Barbie. MOV (“Mom’s Our Villain”)

38. My Life In Paint

I have been having a love affair with paint for quite some time now. I walked into my younger sister Oakley’s (rental!) apartment and noticed that the ceiling was painted sky blue. Had she done that? She had. I didn't realize you could paint a rental. Won’t the Rental Police seek you out and throw you in some (Navajo White) dungeon? Apparently not. The worst that could happen, according to my Einstein-like sister, was that the landlord would make you re-paint when you move out or you could lose your security deposit. That is the precise moment when my addiction to paint began: I, too, needed a sky blue ceiling. Why stop there? We added a mint green hallway. Sublime. Rental agreement be damned. (Random Stock Tip #6: Buy stock in Benjamin Moore.) Soon thereafter, The Husband and I bought our first house, a dilapidated 1913 Craftsman-style bungalow in an “up-and-coming” (read: Crime Adjacent) neighborhood just outside of L.A. The main draw was that we were walking distance to the beach. Drug deals on the corner? Half-way house less than a block away? who cares—look at that pretty sunset! We had been looking at houses for months and months and months in a burgeoning market. Out Realtor was growing weary of us. It was time to act. We settled on this house which was a putrid shade of green with red (!) trim, that can only be described as something from the “Early Chinese Restaurant” era. We did not care, we loved our little house. And little it was. Measuring in at a paltry 900 sq. ft or so (but don’t forget the patio!), it was a tight fit. Our painting projects immediately went into effect. The Husband used up all his employer's generous leave to indulge my color-coordinated whims. The living room would be a muted grayish-lavender. The study, which was visible through French doors, would be a more saturated hue in the same color family. (I know—“saturated!” I was trying on the lingo like I would soon try on beach hats.) The kitchen would become my new obsession. If I was going to comfortably make sandwiches in here, it would need to be appealing. Banish the boring white! In a bold move, we took the swoon-worthy vintage stove (1952 O’Keefe & Merritt) and had it re-enameled in cobalt blue. Stunning. We decided to match the wall color to the stove and paint all the cabinets white. What followed was a series of missteps that could only be called tragic. The first blue we picked was called, “Big Sky Blue” (as in, Montana). What a fun name! How could this not work out? The little itty bitty paint chip the size of a cotton ball looked perfect! Crisp, lively, beckoning. I should have been alerted to a potential problem when the clerk at the paint store mixed the paint and the only color I saw pouring into the bucket was BLUE. Shouldn't there be, maybe, a touch of black or magenta or something? white? anything? Surely there was more to the formula then just blue? Apparently not. The Husband and I soon came to calling the hateful blue “Big Mistake Blue”. It did not remind one of the peaceful outdoors, basking in Montana. No. It reminded one of the need to buy new sunglasses immediately. Like, yesterday. It was, how shall I say this politely? NEON. When you hear someone say the words “electric blue”, be assured that this is what they are referring to. Just by sitting there doing its job clinging to the walls, this "Big Blue Sky" paint assaulted one's eyes. The Husband, ever the optimist, would say soothing and supportive things like, “It might dry darker,”or “Maybe it will look different with a second coat”, or “Seriously, this is f---ed up! Who picked this God-awful color?” We trudged back to the paint store. Little did we know we would soon be on a first name basis with all the clerks there. We tried again. And again. And our perseverance paid off because we finally discovered the (sorta, kinda, good enough, just-pick-one-already-I-don’t-even-care-anymore) right color blue. In our second house, a stately Colonial, we came up with the “vision” to paint the dining room a color reminiscent of butternut squash. We lived with it for all of six months, when The Husband suddenly said, “I can’t take it anymore, we need to paint it.” To which I replied, “I thought you liked it. I hate it, so paint away.” To which he responded, “You hated it? I thought you loved it!” We debated about the replacement color for many days, and eventually we mutually agreed. White. When seeking a kitchen color, we channeled every ounce of what was left of our creative reserves. That's right: beige. "Wheeling Neutral" by Benjamin Moore quickly became our new Favorite Color Of The Universe, temporarily replacing my obsession with lavender. This flattering Uber-color quietly coated the study and upstairs bathroom in rapid succession. It is the elusive khaki that every designer seeks because it is not too green, not peach at all, and has no yellow undertones. Looks fabulous in any light: bright direct sunlight, shadows, artificial light, and it is used to great advantage when paired with black or red. This color is more fail-safe than most marriages. Like a favorite pet, this color has followed us to our new house as well. Our latest house is a Cape Cod style, built in the 1940’s. We have had only one paint blunder (so far) and that was the bathroom paint. In keeping with the era of the house, the bathroom has the original tile which is a black/white basket-weave on the floor and gray tiles up the wall. The Husband and I determined that a deep, mauve-y purple would best complement the existing tile. Uhhh, no. Somehow, there was a slight disconnect from the beautiful color I saw in my mind and the reality of what was now on the wall: Disco-Vegas-Glitter-Barbie. The Husband was kinder in his description, “It looks like the Joker from Batman threw up all over our wall.” I thought it might grow on me, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized it was the color of a bruise. A particularly nasty bruise conceived in a dark bar after an all-night drinking binge capped off with a brawl. Needless to say, we painted yet again. Even thought the new color had the slightly off-putting name of “Sea Life”, it was apt: serene and calming. A medium violet, with strong gray undertones. Gray, but not too gray. Purple, but not too purple. It was the ideal neutral. The Husband is getting a little tired of painting. Although, by this point, he has gotten very very good at it. He no longer needs the blue tape to tape off the edges ahead of time (“Taping Is For Wimps” he likes to remind me, as I tape off my corner). He rarely has to touch things up. Recently, my contractor asked me who we use for our painting, because he was looking to hire someone new for his team. Imagine his disappointment when I told him it was The Husband, and he is under exclusive contract to me. MOV (“Mauve Or Violet”?)

37. Cheating On Your Hairdresser

How To, in 15 Easy Steps
  1. Grow increasingly unhappy with how Hairdresser is chatting on the phone while he is cutting your hair.
  2. Notice that his prices have recently tripled.
  3. Not quite know how to respond when he wrinkles his nose at your photo of Gwyneth Paltrow and says, “But your hair is not that texture.”
  4. Grow irritated when he hands you off to someone else for the shampoo.
  5. Go to Hair Cut Store and pay $15 for a so-so haircut because you cannot stomach his prices right now.
  6. Go back to your original Hairdresser and wait for him to say, “Who cut your hair?!? Did you cut it yourself?” which is what he does say.
  7. Lie. “I was in Florida for my sister’s wedding. I went to the salon at the hotel.”
  8. Catch his eye in the mirror. He knows you are lying. You know he knows. And he knows that you know he knows.
  9. Pretend the whole thing never happened.
  10. Give him one more chance. Write a really big fat check that is more than the rent on your first apartment.
  11. Walk out to your car and cry.
  12. Ask your neighbor who does her hair.
  13. Call this new person and tell her that you are “new to the area” (this is code for “cheating on your hairdresser”).
  14. Schedule an appointment.
  15. Walk out of the new person’s salon with hair that looks like Gwyneth Paltrow.
(“Make-Over, Vindicated”)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

36. My Princess Life

I lead a princess life. At least in my head I do. When fancy crystal goes on sale at the high-end kitchen store where I work, I think, "I need 12 goblets! For when I have all those formal sit-down dinner parties for 12 friends!"

This little fantasy is spoiled only by the nagging realization that I do not even know 12 people, let alone 12 people that could stand to be in the same room with me for two or three hours and eat my cooking. 

I buy the goblets anyway. For my princess life.

I also have an ice-cream maker. For my princess life.

And an espresso machine. (Wait-- let me guess.)

In my princess life, I know lots and lots of people and have lots and lots of friends and have lots and lots of time to do lots and lots of entertaining. And apparently my princess alter ego must also have lots and lots of money to pay for all this fantasy entertaining.

Nevermind that I start sweating like a pig when I remember that my (one) friend is coming over (by herself) for coffee in 20 minutes and the house is still a disaster and I have not even brushed my teeth yet. Noooooo, I don't get stressed out before entertaining! I run around throwing random newspapers into the recycle bin and scooping up shoes of all genders and sizes and shoving them into the front hall closet.

Ugh. Princess needs a maid.

Then, I realize I am running out of time and therefore must take the easy way out-- shut the door to master bedroom and kids' room. The kitchen looks, well, like The Husband made a gourmet dinner last night and I have not attempted to clean it yet. I valiantly start scrubbing.

Oh, to heck with it. I will keep my friend out of the kitchen too.

Why do I have this bizarre princess life with all the accoutrements? Sterling silver flatware? check! Wedgwood china, service for 20? bien sur!

On the rare occasion when we do host friends, we typically eat on the back patio and use the default setting paper plates with flowers printed on them from The Party Place.  Convenient. Realistic. Not very princess.

Did I mention our dining room table can accommodate four people? on a good day? and yet ... I am inexplicably drawn to the Russian jacquard linen and silk tablecloth that mocks me from the shelf at the high-end kitchen store.

Pizza is our favorite meal. How can I align this to my princess life?

As a corollary, I also own about eight thousand sparkly barrettes for my princess life. Really? I need that many? To go with what, exactly? my sweatpants? I realized it was getting a little out of control when The Husband knocked over the basket that I keep all the princess barrettes in. They went all over the bathroom floor. I heard the clanking, and rushed in to see what was going on.  He started scooping them up and said naively,

"Who do all these hair clips belong to?"

("Magical Overstated Venus")