Thursday, February 4, 2016

Long Ago & Far Away

A&P are 19 today.

I have tried to remember everything I could, down to every last tooth and curly piece of little fly away kid hair. However, that's impossible and I'm the sum of many parts and scraps of memory in entirely the wrong order.

There was the time that I looked at the wrong school calendar (wrong year, genius!) and scheduled a trip to Arizona for a week that was decidedly not Spring Break. We went any way. I think this was second grade. Peter may or may not have nearly fallen into the Grand Canyon.

Once they ripped down all the blinds in their room for the third time and I bought a shade. I was feeling super smart. They ripped that down and used the piece along the bottom of the shade to mutilate their faces.  They were two.

Exhibiting early reactive behavior worthy of a talk show, they would stick their fingers down their throats and throw up at the exact same time to watch us race around like idiots trying to save the carpet, or couch, or random Grandparent. They were 10 months old.

Andrew woke up once when he was four to tell us through tears and screams that Jesus wouldn't stop calling his name. Shortly after Peter lamented that he was to blame for the crucifixion by denying Jesus repeatedly. We switched churches after that to find a Sunday school with a less literal curriculum.

We put them on planes to England, France, Spain, Morocco. We put them on trains to New Mexico and watched them hike down the Appalachian Trail. We skipped down trails in Montana and rode bush planes in Alaska.  And they got checking accounts and left for college. Then, I disjointedly remember that time I overfed them saltines on Interstate 69 to Muncie and they erupted- two sleeves, each, of slightly digested flour, salt and gastric juices. We traded that van in shortly thereafter.

The consistent memory is awe that I hadn't left them behind at the grocery store, or forgotten to feed them, or to pay tuition. And awe that I get to be their Mom.

How cool is that?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Lies: The pig was not buying groceries

I hate car washes. I can't tell you how much I hate them. The cloth tentacles covering your car and the soapy goo are primordial. To get an idea of how much I hate car washes, slam the tips of your fingers in the hinge side of a door while picking up cat vomit. This is how much I hate car washes.

My car was covered in a mixture of road salt and other unidentifiable grime and so it was time, today, sigh, to keep the paint from melting before my eyes in the garage. After pulling into the tunnel of certain death, I immediately started skimming Facebook for something to keep my mind off the sea monster that was eating my Honda.

That's when I saw this: "I'm 28 and I just realized that the first pig was not buying groceries." I'm perplexed. I'm 45 and I don't think her post was age related. I sat there trying not to get motion sick from the incessant rocking of Ursula the evil car eating mermaid and rolling this thought over and over in my head "The pig wasn't buying groceries?"

Then, it hit me.

The pig was not buying groceries.

That pig was a combination of roasts and ribs and lard at the market.


All my life I've had a happy image in my head of a Porky Pig like porcine skipping down the road with a gingham lined basket to fill it with candy corn and figs and maybe a bottle of pig preferred Bordeaux.

Lies. The pig is in the basket. Someone else's gingham lined basket.

I figured out a long time ago that the "Ring around the Rosie, Pocket full of Posey" garbage was about children dying in the London gutters of the plague. For some reason, pox riddled urchins dying in the street is less shocking than my snappily dressed pig friend sliced into easy to fry sections.

Tim says the other pigs were doing happy things and not to fret.

Poor piggy.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Change of Control

If I stare at this boy enhanced log long enough, one of two things will happen. First, I could fall asleep. Second, I'll realize it was long ago on a lake in Montana and there's no going back. What a choice and the first one could be embarrassing.

The plan was easy. Have the children. Raise the children. Throw children out of the nest. Welcome children back for brief periods to ensure that the far reaches of the pantry don't get lonely or that any dish or glass or spoon goes unwashed.

I go to sleep much earlier than the throngs of college students that inhabit our house at various hours of the day. Falling asleep leaves me vulnerable to a few outcomes including numerous awakenings every single time someone opens or closes a door. Those chimes have come in handy to prevent escape from doors and windows, but now I'm not supposed to care that someone is making repeated trips to the garage.

The more acute vulnerability is the super annoying walking in the sleep habit I've had most of my life. Somewhere between numerous door chimes and a half baked dream sequence about needing to cook dinner and lay out towels for a non existent football team passing through at 2 am, I take a stroll.  Sometimes I say things to random teenagers that I encounter. Sometimes I just get water and find myself waking up in the kitchen alone with a box of uncooked pasta in my hands.

Explain that to an unrelated eighteen year old who was just hoping to grab some Oreos from the kitchen, unmolested.

The boys know I do this and are skilled at redirection and sending me back on my way upstairs. Yet something is left undone or uncooked like the pasta.

My nocturnal wanderings are worst when the illusion of control is missing. I never had any control but at one point I was able to get those children to stand somewhat placidly on that log in that Montana lake. For my next trick, I'll try not to scare anyone for the remainder of Christmas break.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Watermelon Shoes: Can I tell you 2 Secrets?

First, this is a repost from 2010 but I think about this guy frequently.

Secondly, I obsessively read obituaries.

I've done this since I learned how to read. I stopped reading them for a while after my Uncle Steve died unexpectedly because I was chicken. Now I'm back to reading them and thinking about what a gift every darned day is.

So there I was, reading the obituaries on Saturday night, in the New York Times. (I am so Tim's dream girl!)The Saturday death notices are easier to tackle and I can read them with less "short attention span theatre" in my brain. At the end of the section was an obituary that commanded me to get up and do something IMMEDIATELY. That's  a new one- when have you been commanded by a recently passed away person to get up and do something- do not pass go- do not collect $200 just go do it right that very minute. 

The direction? Google "Watermelon Shoes." Fine, I'll google Watermelon shoes.

The first article that pops up is a NYC blog from May, 2009 about a cool old guy from Manhattan that wears shoes decorated like two watermelon slices. Eccentric, yes, but here's the best part, he only wore them 13 times a year.

Tim said, "Maybe he should have bought more than one pair and he could wear them as much as he wanted."

I guess, but that's not the point. He savored his watermelon shoes and wore them only on very obscure days that meant only something to him.  The last sighting of the shoes appears to have been some time in August of this year.

Riveted I plastered the instruction"Google Watermelon Shoes" on my facebook page. Not many people saw it or, knew quite what to do with it. I am strange like that. My friend Dan wrote back and asked "what would your 13 days be?"

In my tracks I stopped cold. I have no idea. Boxing day? My birthday? Or something pedestrian like Thanksgiving or maybe historic like April 14th when Lincoln was shot.   Or is every day special enough for watermelon shoes?

Got to get me some of those shoes.

The Watermelon Shoe guy just died of a massive heart attack. He was so proud of his shoes and the blog about him that he commanded everyone he met to "Google Watermelon Shoes."

Do it. Now.

Love from me and mine to you and yours.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Boast & the Cocktail Toast

I don't enjoy tall tales.

Paul Bunyan makes me nervous because he's got the ax and the blueness of his ox must be an optical illusion.

Stumbling across Mr Bunyan at a cocktail party would result in all sorts of problems, especially if he's hogging the cocktail toasts and drinking too many Manhattans.  He would probably greet me with a gregarious guffaw and slap me on the arm, invading my personal space. If I can see the rings of your contacts, even in a dark room, you are too close. The hide color on your ox is not found in nature and that's suspicious.

The ax is swinging precariously close to the picture on the wall- someones dad painted it of a covered bridge. Paul doesn't care and he's got a story- probably a story about the time he invented a super ox feeder or cheese cuber. Even better he's founded something like the Unified Northern Indian Topographical Ermine Development Corp, LLC. (Interestingly, that's UNITED).

I need to found some kind of entity and brag about it at parties.

I think about asking him for cash or cut lumber or even a chance to fondle the ax, but he's pretty wrapped up in the greatness that is Mr Bunyan. He works his way around the party talking to other tale tellers like Mr Worm. This Mr Worm will overpower just about anyone and he's usually manhandling you and trying to kiss you on the mouth despite your repeated warnings that the lip fungus is still pretty active under the lip gloss.

You know you have a situation when Paul and the Worm can't see eye to eye on their carnivorous, competitive cocktail toast eating. But Paul has an ax and he might just use it on something other than the cracked acrylic "Sunset over Covered Bridge" by someones Dad.

The Worm drinks and texts. Maybe there's a better party out there somewhere with no competitive foundation stories and more finger food. (Note to the Worm, we can see these because we share them with the other party goers.)

I knock over a cup of cocktail onions.

Bunyan loudly regales us with his tales of the formation of UNITED making everyone, including the Worm wonder why he's bothering with our little party anyway. It must be exhausting to remember all of those details about stuff you make up and I can independently verify on the Internet- remember though that Al Gore invented that last item.

It's unlikely that  Mr Worm or Mr Bunyan will find my little blog.

Or that I picked their pockets when I knocked over the onions.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hey Kid

I have no idea where I've been. That's a lie. Sorry.

Why did I start this line in November, 2012...

You know which one you are so sit down and listen. First, you're killing me. Your eyes

I know exactly where I've been. I started to be afraid of writing and of words. I was afraid of my punctuation and sentence structure.

I was actually more afraid of what you might think about what I said.

The neighbors are watching, I thought. If there was something wrong with the kid's eyes, then everyone at the high school would know and that's about the least cool thing ever.

Maybe I was trying out some kind of wacko poetry. In fact, this is why I like Twitter so much. If you only have 120 characters it is kind of hard to offend some one or get in any kind of trouble. Although there was that one girl that threatened the entire city of Dearborn on Twitter.  Note to self: don't threaten cities.

Let's just get out with it. I've been hiding - living in the pictures posted on Facebook and in 120 character tweets in a massive tableau of generally useless missives. I did hear recently that you can order a pizza with it though so I don't think that's a useless exercise if your blood sugar is low and your really want pizza.

Back to the kid, whomever it was, I don't know what you did but we obviously moved past it. I'm not in prison and neither are you.

Did you sit down to listen? This is highly unlikely, but our household has tended to be loud so I'm certain that I got my point across. I wonder if I actually got up mid sentence to holler at you. You know what? Let's go with that and then I disappeared.

But I'm back.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I went to get my hair done this morning. I was pleased to see a Town & Country magazine on the shelf by the chair.  The hairdresser said "I knew you would like that. That's my Mom's favorite magazine."

Her mom is 45.

That's just ducky. But I'm over it now that I typed it.

You know what I'm not over? Being personally attacked. Someone out there really thinks I'm evil and surprisingly, it's not one of my children. 

So I talk to myself a lot. "It's OK," I say,"not everyone has to like you."  "It's OK, you're still a good person even though this person apparently wants you dead and fired and living in a van down by the river."

Even worse, you extend an olive branch. You try to be the bigger person and they further attack you and use your goodness as an example of more evilness. It's so twisted you are starting to wonder if you're living inside the Old Testament but without the tents.  Are people really this awful when they're supposed to be all grown up? Yes, yes they are.

You know what else I'm not over? Someone telling me that I look like a soccer mom. My kids don't even play soccer. I don't drink Starbucks and drive around yakking on my phone. Do soccer moms even do that? What is a soccer mom anyway? Seems to me like she might be in better shape because no one's trying to ruin her reputation except for the other evil Moms on the PTA.  That is probably worse- all hail to you Soccer Moms who have people on the PTA attack you. I stand in solidarity.

I show up for work every day in high heels and I even wear seasonally appropriate lip gloss. I say smart stuff (sometimes) so why do you care if I've got grass clippings on my floor mats and mummified french fries in between my seats? By the way, don't blame the kids for those. That and the dried up dripped ice cream is from me. Have you ever tried to drive 75 mph, talk on the phone and eat an ice cream sundae? Not recommended.

I may need to show up at church tomorrow to revel in the whole Jesus loves me this I know stuff otherwise it's going to be another long week. I may also spray myself from head to toe with nonstick cooking spray and let that crap just slide right off (the bad stuff, not the Jesus stuff).

Maybe I'm over it now.