Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekend Observations

1. Target makes kids crap. You can take a child that's just filled their pants to Target, and they'll find a way to poop again. Count on it.

2. Ben Gay does not act as a numbing agent for waxing. You'd think it might, but it doesn't. It just makes all waxed parts feel as if they are ablaze. Also, this is also not something to attempt to do in front of a husband.

3. Drinking beer out front on yard chairs in not white trash. It only is if you are discussing your dysfunctional family and picking a front wedgie. But if you are drinking an import, this completely negates the white-trash effect. Sort of.

4. You can't keep all stray dogs you find. It is possible that someone was just an innocent imbecile and let their dog escape the yard. Just because you find it and consider yourself a good "dog mommy" doesn't mean you should call PETA on missing dog's owner. The owner might actually love the dog to pieces. We miss you Vera. (Pictures and complete story to follow)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A very memorable Memorial Day weekend

Today usually marks the beginning of the summer season for our family. Every year, we "open" our 85 degree pool and jump in to cool off from the 100 degree temps. Currently, it's 61 degrees and overcast. The pool is 68 degrees. Weird. By my personal record, I have never witnessed a weekend as cool as this in May. I welcome it. Living in sunny Arizona, you always feel pressured to be outside. We are seldom housebound.

Currently, I can hear Scot watching the Braves game, covered in a blanket. Maggie is on the other computer, and Nora is muttering "there is nothing to do right now. I am bored". I am sitting in my bra and jeans with highlighter in my hair, relishing the do-nothingness of the day. If I get the itch, I just might fold the laundry. Then again, maybe I won't. When the heat in Arizona carries on for 5 months, you take any break you can get. Yup. This is nice. Summer can wait.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Chocolate Whore No More

I'm going pansy in my old age. Or maybe it's called "refined". Most people would say I'm maturing. At any rate, there's been a change a brewin' in me. I'm starting to like vanilla.

This frightens me more than a little. As a long time chocolate devotee, I'm starting to wonder if I'm going soft. Until recently, I would audibly groan when someone ordered Vanilla Bean in an ice cream store. How could someone possibly order the biggest flavor dud, the dull base for all things eventually made tasty with the help of chocolate and nuts? This is how I regarded vanilla. Chocolate is rich, and dazzling. Desserts were created with chocolate that had names like "Death By Chocolate" and "Chocolate Coma". Chocolate is a romantic scene setter and token of love. Surely you couldn't compete with chocolate.

My chocolate life began to unravel at Dairy Queen. In these tough economic times, I have started patronizing the store where an ice cream cone is still affordable. Not to mention the high school kids working there still look like high school kids. At the local gelato shop, I worry about the tempting counter girl giving my husband a free sample. Dairy Queen has vanilla and chocolate. In the beginning, I ordered my standard child size chocolate cup with mixed nuts. After a while though, I noticed a chemical twang that lingered on my tongue. I persevered however, thinking it was me. Surely it couldn't be chocolate's fault. After much consideration and dissatisfaction, I made the leap and ordered vanilla. I jumped off the chocolate bandwagon when I was alone with the kids. I knew what I was doing broke every rule I had made for myself and the rest of the world. Scot could not be around to witness this disdainful, hypocritical act. It hadn't been long ago that I had razzed my sister-in-law for choosing vanilla in her family's Neapolitan ice-cream carton. And here I was, ordering Plain Jane Vanilla. I took my first mouthful with complete skepticism. And was shocked. The vanilla tasted pure, and sweet. The ice cream had a surprising depth and richness. The nuts burst through the vanilla with their saltiness. It was almost as if the vanilla did not compete with the nuts in a flavor showdown. Huh, interesting, I thought. All that, and it was just Dairy Queen. I kept that day's dirty little secret, but decided to further my vanilla experiment. There seemed to be promise on the Vanilla Horizon.

In the month since my Dairy Queen conversion, I've had a vanilla latte, a vanilla cream soda, and a vanilla scone. The vanilla scone allowed the butter to be noticed, and the crumbly exterior to be seen. With chocolate, I wouldn't have seen a razor hidden inside. All of my vanilla test run tastes were delicious . Now,when I look back at my chocolate-laden past, I remember my fondness for plain cheesecake and clotted cream. I'm not sure it's a matter of giving something a chance, or appreciating the understated. I do know this; vanilla is a team player. It lets all flavors sing. Lastly, I look at the long list of people I know and love who adore vanilla. Not one is even somewhat dull or boring. My friend Jennifer is a hip Doc Martens- wearing writer. My daughter Nora is he wildest 4 year old I know. Sister-in-law Amy is charming and uniquely relaxed. They were just in on the magic of vanilla before I was. Keep an eye on me, though. It's one thing to welcome change and embrace something different in my life. If you spot me drinking Earl Grey and petting a cat, I might be in danger of becoming someone other than myself.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

where the hell is my pickle fork? i can't have anything nice with you kids.

For those of you who know me well, you'll know that I'm always looking for my pickle fork. Or my right shoe. Or my turkey baster. Yeah, that one is my favorite( I've got a story about an alternative use for a turkey baster, but I'll save it for later). Nora has an obsession with squirting the turkey baster in the bath. I was looking for it last night, and I found it in the linen closet. The linen closet that smells moldy and has towels crammed in it haphazardly. Once you have kids, nothing is yours anymore, nothing is clean anymore, and strange odors follow you around.

I started the day by leaving my bathroom, which was redolent with Dove soap and Kenzo's Flower Perfume. As I entered the living room, I smelled stale air. Hitting the kitchen, I fell to my knees, praying for smell relief. WHAT THE HELL STANK SO BAD??? Imagining curdled chicken skin clinging to the trash bag, I threw open the garbage in the kitchen, and found nothing. As I got close to the laundry room I remembered the nasty feather pillow I had left in the dryer. For some reason anything that was ever an animal product stinks like holy hell if you wash it. No, that was not the culprit. But I was getting close. I unlatched the garage door and the stench hit me like a dead corpse. POOPY DIAPERS! Over the course of the week, six poopy diapers had been left to ferment in the 108 degree garage. No wonder their stinky magic had started to invade the house.

I wish I could say that was the end of the filth for the day but it was not. Nora has been dragging a 10 foot Memorial Day streamer that deposits paper stars all over the dirt-stained carpet. Suitcases litter my bathroom, waiting for me to pack for Michigan. The back windows have drool marks from my precious charges leaning against them constantly. And if the windows are dirty, I have to flee. The dirt, clutter and insanity have literally clouded up my world. As I was loading up the car, I realized that I found the missing bottle I've been looking for. There is no mistaking that sweet, acrid smell of old milk.

I can't believe I live this way. I used to watch those Calgon "take me away" commercials and wonder what the hell was wrong with those women. I didn't understand how it could be so hard to keep it all together, clean, and smelling-good. I get it now. I really get it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Very Public Love Letter

My mother called this morning to tell me that the news paper was having a contest for Phoenix's Sexist Father. As soon as I got over the fact that my mom finds her son-in-law to be sexy (mother, you cougar!) I asked how the contest was graded. Was it an essay submitted by the wife? Was it decided by Sexy Father's good family deeds? My mom seemed to think it was judged by a photo published online. Whatever father is deemed "sexiest" in their photo by online votes, wins the contest.

Scot is adorable. I think he's beautiful. He had me at the square jaw. I love the fact that he's 5'7. He looks good in his jeans, and he has nice hands. But I'm not sure all that translates in an online photo. It seems to me that firefighters and muscle men always win these types of contests. Can't you see it - a hunky bare chested guy in his rubber pants, suspenders and bucket hat holding a naked newborn in the crook of his arm. The last fire Scot fought was in our toaster oven. Never mind if these beau hunks are good dads or not; these pictures are only tasty viewing morsels for internet-surfing , overworked mamas.

But let me tell you what a Sexy Father my husband is. When Maggie was 10 months old, she got very sick and was hospitalized. As the ER nurses held her down to get an IV line into her skull, I fled the room to compose myself. Scot held Maggie as she screamed and dry heaved, and told her "It's okay. Daddy's here." When Nora was an infant with colic, he took her every other night so that I could rest. Nowadays, with a full-time job and night school, Scot sleeps with Nora when she is sick. He explains that he would rather be tired than deal with me tired. I know this is true, but I also know that he loves spending any kind of time with our kids; good or bad. Every month Scot deposits money into Maggie and Nora's college accounts, and he takes them for hair cuts. He comes home from work every day, and "attacks" them with kisses. Scot constantly tells his daughters that they are "smart and nice" because he knows beauty is fleeting, and that no one's self esteem should be wrapped up in their appearance. My girls are Daddy's Girls, and I couldn't be more proud.

Last night, Scot slept with Nora so that I could get a good night's sleep. Today, Scot went on the computer for a covert mission to buy me Coldplay tickets. I ruined the surprise by being a busy body and hunting him down in the office. I was so excited that he was willing to "suffer for my art" (I know he's not really a fan). At lunchtime, Scot asked me if I wanted to go out to eat because he didn't want me to work so hard. An hour ago, Scot sat with Nora so that I could sit down and write this. These are just a few examples of the kind of husband Scot is. While being good to his wife isn't directly indicative of what kind of father Scot is, it's laying important groundwork for our daughters. It's teaching Maggie and Nora what a good man is, and that they shouldn't accept anything less in a husband for themselves. Because you don't just get a husband when you marry. You also get your children's father.

My husband is sexy as hell. He's on fire because he's good to me, and he's good to our children. Sure, he has muscles. The one between his ears is huge and I marvel at it's ability to store and memorize a life's worth of facts and love. He's a tall drink of "parental patience". And as evidenced by the accompanying photos, he doesn't take himself too seriously. I hope the newspaper does a house call to validate the Sexiest Phoenix Father winner. While I appreciate a shot of a good looking man, it takes more than a picture to be a Sexy Daddy.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Coldplay's New Release

Chris Martin and his talented band of brothers come out with a new album on June 17th. I will be in Michigan when it hits stores, and I will be at Target that morning to get my fix. This band lights me up. From the first time I heard "Yellow" in San Francisco 7 years ago, I was hooked. Chris Martin is about as handsome as a computer tech, but his voice sends me to a dry, warm coffee shop in London. In from the wet, damp streets. He's liquid love. I still don't get what the attraction is to Gwynnie. She just seems like a lofty ice princess. At any rate, they could put out shit and I'd buy it. If it does suck, I will enjoy the CD cover. Nice art; too bad they don't put out albums anymore. I could frame it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Daily Musings


1. The season finale of Bachelor-London Calling was fantastic. Hottie Matt picked sweet bimbo Shayne Lamas, daughter of Lorenzo Lamas. She's 22. He's 27. I started thinking if Scot kicked it, Matt would surely like to take up with me. Then I remembered that he's 27, and picked a 22-year old. Maybe not. It looks like this is another time where my reverse Anorexia and overconfidence is in overdrive. Oh, to be young again!

2. Ya gotta vote for Obama. Won't it be fun to see more stupid white people say "nappy headed ho" again?

3. John McCain is old. Remember when Reagan was asked about the Iran Contra Affair, and he said "I don't remember". He didn't. He was in his 70's, too.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Don't worry- you're 2 years older than you really are.

I've been spending my evenings online. It's all an escape. If I sit in the family room, there is a possibility I could hear Nora cough, and if that happens, I have to poop, and I start hyperventilating. Instead, I take charge of my neurosis, and head into the office to study funky lung diseases and asthma terms. At the end of all this research, I feel it's very possible I could hang a shingle and open my own medical practice. Or at least be awarded an honorary doctorate.

The other night, I saw an ad online for a quiz that approximates your "real age". I'm sure many of you have heard of this before. Two doctors have come up with a litany of questions concerning health and lifestyle . When the "patient" completes this survey, all answers are computed to achieve your "real age". Then you are told what your doing right, and how you are seriously screwing yourself. I had nothing but spare time and an overconfidence when I started filling out the survey. My BMI is good, I eat pretty well, and I have fantastic exercise habits. Sure, there were some tricky areas. I do have high cholesterol, and a tendency to worry obsessively about friends, family, and house plants. This couldn't ruin me, could it? Hell, I still feel 18!! What's the worst that could be said about me? That I don't get enough roughage? Who does? Quickly, it became clear that the little computer program had latched on to my high cholesterol. In an insulting tone, I was asked if I had sought professional help for my cholesterol and my anxiety. Sheesh, that was none of their business! I'm 35, with sky-high HDL and Zoloft coursing through my veins. I am a well-oiled machine of precision and health. When did worry kill someone?

I completed the survey humming a happy tune. I have a good marriage, two nice kids, and an ample social network. I was ready to be told my "real age" was 28. In the back of my mind, I was buying the skirt Glamour Magazine recommends to the 20-something set. I was going to be thrilled with the results. Waiting the hour for the "real age" to hit my inbox was hard. I wanted to know NOW how I compared to the young coeds in Scot's MBA class. Even though I am a mom, I still felt I could hold my own with college girls. And then it came.

37.9 YEARS!!!!!!!

Holy shit! Where had it all gone wrong? I haven't been dropping acid or riding my Harley without a helmet! So why the premature aging? Apparently the cholesterol level scared Dr. Oz and his buddy. Mixed together with a lack of strength conditioning, collard greens and "me" time, my real age is 2 years older than I really am.

Still, I remain unconvinced. I run 4-5 times a week and feel great. My mental health is perky and my good cholesterol is fabulous. Doctors always tell you that you have to come clean with them concerning all your health habits, but now I wish I had lied about the worrying. I think that's what did me in. Funny, because that's the very thing that forced me online in the first place.

Just a little peace and quiet, please.

This morning is the first time I've been able to catch my breath in 3 weeks. I count on the 2 1/2 hours from 8:45- 11:15 on Fridays as mine, for me, and me alone. Today, I'm doing something different than what I usually do. Here I sit in a java house, getting deep with myself. I'm staying out of the stores because I fear my financial future. The retail therapy can wait; this is pretty darn peaceful. Last week at this time, I was busy on the phone, trying to contact the appropriate specialist for Nora and her numerous little health maladies. Two weeks ago, I spent the morning ushering Maggie to the doctor, and then for an x-ray.

So, imagine my surprise today when Nora's preschool invites all the mothers in for a Mother's Day party. Are you shitting me? I cannot sit through a reading of "I Love You This Much" and eat pink cupcakes at 9:00 a.m. I have blogging to do, coffee to drink, brain cells to waste online. Mother's Day is something between my children and me. Please leave the job to my husband and kids, and let it wait till Sunday. Then, strike up the band. While you're at it, pile drive me, give me sloppy kisses, and parade in the lovingly-made seashell frame. That's when I want to be adored as the great momma I am. Because I can't be a good momma if I don't ever get time to be all by myself.