Friday, October 30, 2009

Heidi Klum and Fat Sticks

I want to look like THIS.

I mean, really. Hasn't she had, like, six kids by now?

This is why life is not fair.

. I'm German, too!

But I guess I must come from the lineage that tended to be chubby and feasted on bratwursts, potato salad and dumplings.

(Shakes fist at the heavens.)

Heidi Klum drops a baby and two weeks later, she models in a Victoria's Secret fashion show.

Meanwhile, I was hit with a fat stick and super taste buds and often need blocks of cheese and French onion sour cream dip to even get through my day.

Seriously. Not fair.

End of tantrum.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thelma Minus Louise Moments and Broken Dishes

I wrote this earlier today, but had to set it aside and come back to it later. I was in the middle of a stressed moment, and I was worried that it had a desperate tone to it. I don't want to sound desperate.

I said the magic words super early this morning.

Usually they are reserved for mid-afternoon at the earliest, but I just couldn't do it anymore. By 9am you could stick a fork in me ~ I was SO done.

"Would you like to watch Yo Gabba Gabba, Maggie," I asked.

The response was wildly enthusiastic, as usual. She snapped to attention, did a pivot turn and ran (as much as a toddler can without bending her knees) towards the television set squealing with delight.

Parenting purists, or whatever those annoying people are called, are probably paling and feeling faint. But yes, at times I do use television as a babysitter. THERE. I admitted it.

And this was whole-heartedly, 100%, one of those times.

Chris has been out of town for four days, hence the lack of a "mental" break from the children. They are ALL mine. ALL my responsibility.

Some mothers revel in this kind of shiz and rise to the occasion, but honestly, it sort of freaks me out.
I mean, it is totally up to ME to keep them healthy and ultimately, alive.

If I happened to check out and say "adios," or pull a Thelma-minus-Louise routine, there would be
serious implications.

And folks, it's only 10:02 a.m.

And I am feeling a bit Thelma-ish day today.

I don't know how single mothers do it. Really. They are rarely given the props that they so desperately deserve. Seriously, they rock.

I was a single mother for a while and I fully believe that God blessed me with a dream of a child. Calvin was such a good baby and toddler. The "eleven and twelve year old" Calvin? Ehhh, not so much. But he has rebounded nicely and I couldn't be prouder of him.

Anywho, I hadn't necessarily recovered from yesterday. By the time Maggie went to bed at 7pm, my entire body was buzzing with the uncomfortable anxiety that precipitates the necessity of me popping a pill.

The anxiety was triggered by several things. For one, Maggie lost my driver's license.

I noticed how nicely she was playing with my wallet and made the erroneous decision not to mess with a good thing. Hey, she was quiet and occupied with something that wouldn't kill or maim her.

I let it go on for a little while, but when I looked at her again, I realized that she was taking each card out of the wallet and sliding them under the refrigerator.

"NO! No, no, no, no, no," I shrieked as I ran over and very quickly gathered the scattered contents as fast as I could.

Upon further investigation, I very quickly realized (as I got the wooden spoon out with the long handle) that there was no room to fit the handle. There was barely enough room to get a credit card under, no WONDER she was so quiet.

I fetched a long, serrated knife, slid it under the appliance and began fishing. I retrieved an insurance card, my hair stylist's business card, my Flagler County library card. I couldn't feel anything else and all of the credit/debit cards were accounted for.

It wasn't until later I realized that my driver's license was gone.

This wouldn't be SUCH a big deal, but I find that I am asked for my driver's license so much more in Florida than in Iowa. Got a doctor's appointment? Need your driver's license. Want to sign a kid up for something? Anything? Need your driver's license. They take proper identification seriously in Florida.

Oh, and I have "SEE I.D." emblazoned on the back of every single plastic form of payment that I carry in my wallet.

Shortly after the wallet incident, Maggie decided she was going to empty a cabinet so she could climb inside.
Most of the contents weren't breakable, but she found the one thing that was and tossed it out onto the ceramic tile.

It was a large, Pyrex baking dish with a lid. Was. It is currently in our trash can in no less than 1,000 pieces.

Not even 30 minutes later, she had opened the dishwasher, found a salad plate to toss at the startled dog.

And so it went.

As I have been writing over the past hour or so, she broke another plate. As I was preparing her evening cereal, I heard the "clink" of a toilet seat and then some splashing.

"NO! No, no, no, no no," I shrieked, running to the boys' bathroom. Doors are supposed to be closed in our house, but the bathroom door was somehow left open.

But she was quiet for a moment.

Nothing good comes from a quiet 18 month old.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Plump Wife and a Big Barn

I ripped this off from my cousin Missy's Facebook page because I think it is pretty freaking awesome.

Sorry for not asking before I snitched it, Missy.

To atone, I'll mention HER blog:

Wonder Woman, Regressions and Digressions

The boys had Monday and Tuesday off of school this week.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Calvin went to stay with my parents in the Orlando area.

Grandmother fed him as much ice cream and red meat as his little heart desired. In return, he dug holes, trimmed crepe myrtle trees and moved various plants from point "a" to point "b."

Wesley spent the time, quite miserable, with me.

He was instructed to clean his room on Saturday.

It was clean by noon on Monday .

During that time, the uncooperativeness caused the Legos littering his room to be packed up and put away.

My reasoning was that if he wasn't going to pick those evil little buggers up, they would be taking an open-ended hiatus. The ones left on the floor in the common areas are regularly sucked up through the vacuum hose.

He doesn't know that, though.

The uncooperativeness continued through Sunday, so his action figures were also cleared out.

He cried. He begged for mercy as I threw the Star Wars, the Spidermans
and the Fantastic Four characters in the large garbage bag that will be stored in an undisclosed location until I see fit.

So, basically the current entertainment in his room consists of three shelves of books.

I don't think that taking toys away is a bad thing ~ or mean ~ at all.

I'm not hitting him too much as of late, so given the choice of two punishments, I think he would happily accept the former rather than the latter.
Totally kidding.

And good grief, in the old days, kids played with string or mud. Or rocks.
Or a variation of the three.

The peer pressure on Monday finally broke him. His friends came to do the door no less than three times in less than 30 minutes, wondering how long it could POSSIBLY take for him to clean his room (if only they knew) and why wasn't he finished, already?

As they were waiting, they hovered and rode their bicycles and scooters in circles on the street in front of our house. They looked like deranged little Energizer Bunnies.

Yesterday morning I decided that we were going to Orlando.

I threw the Pack N Play in the back of the SUV and herded the cats. We arrived around lunchtime.
My mother was at one of her numerous doctor's appointments.

I'm not exactly sure why this happens, but I regress the moment I walk into my parents' house. Chris comments on it all the time and asks why my ability to think for and take care of myself completely disappears once I walk inside my parents' home.

My brother and I sat in Mom and Dad's rocking chairs, looking at each other.

The kids tore through the house maniacally trying to tackle each other to perform wedgies. The goal: rip the underwear. Although I very clearly disapproved, this activity was
highly encouraged by Tony. Thus, my authority was completely negated. I am not as cool as he is, nor do I buy them Abercrombie and Fitch clothing.

"What was mom doing for lunch," I asked. It was now 1pm.

We were all hungry and, upon walking through the front door of this house our brains had fallen out and we all forgot where to find sandwich meat and how to make ourselves sandwiches.

Mother returned at 1:30 with Chick Fil A.
And she remembered the extra barbecue sauce for my waffle fries. Something not even Chris always does.

I had an unusual burst of energy (or, rather, lots of babysitters) so I vacuumed out my car. This is no small feat ~ let me tell you ~ as it hadn't been done all summer and we visited the beach at least once a week since July.

I then took the car to the local car wash and paid ten bucks for the "Ultimate" wash.

As we left after dinner that evening the heavens unleashed their fury, in the form of rain, on my freshly washed car.

GREAT, I just flushed ten more dollars down the toilet, in addition to the GI Joe Snake Eyes costume I bought for Wesley.
He shows a great amount of enthusiasm for the costume, but it is too tight in the crotch area and I'm concerned that it is not entirely appropriate for him to wear to school on Friday.

He thinks it is just fine. What to do, what to do.

I wasn't going to dress Maggie up, but I recently saw pictures of a friend's daughter dressed up in a kick ass Wonder Woman costume that I believe I
must have.

My daughter WILL be Wonder Woman, you know, in real life. I feel as if my opportunity to be rockin' and wonderful has passed me by at times, but I am totally not above living vicariously through her.

"You can do ANYTHING! You want to be the president AND a doctor AND a paleontologist? SURE YOU CAN! You are STRONG! You are SMART! You will take no sh**! TEAM MARGARET!"

She'll look back at pictures of herself dressed as Wonder Woman when she was 17 months old and will be all, "This is where it all started, folks. "

Alas...I digress.

It is back to life as normal for Calvin. Back to canned soup, the un-fun cereal (Raisin Bran). There is no ice cream for him to inhale. Wesley's room is still clean as a whistle, mostly because there are no toys for him to throw around.

finally sent a movie on the top of my queue, instead of my crappy fourth, fifth and sixth choices.

So we will all be watching Transformers 2 this evening and eating popcorn. I can't think of a better way to spend a fall evening.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Unusually Accomodating Grandmas and Needy Houseguests

I failed to mention earlier today that Calvin, my 14-year-old, is spending two nights with his grandparents in Orlando.

My 30-ish (and single) brother also showed up there on Sunday evening, with some sort of communicable disease that sounds beyond gross. My poor mother is trying to simultaneously feed Calvin while taking care of my brother, who completely pusses out at the first sniffle.

Anywho, I am receiving a 48 hour reprieve in the atrocious amount of food being inhaled at mind-boggling rates at my house. Zang ("excellent" in Cantonese)!

However, I received this email earlier today from my mother; I'm surprised she could get on the computer with Calvin there. I'm sure to be granted access, she had to do something drastic, like bake him a pie. Or sweet rolls with icing.

Oh, wait....that's exactly what she did.

Can't you just hear the desperation in her voice?

I sat down to write earlier in the day but was called away for something before I got it done. Been busy with the fam. Cal is here, and insists on putting food into his mouth 24/7, and Tony has been here hacking and blowing his nose so I have tried to nurse him back to health ...

Between that I made Cal get out of the house and help with gardening. I figured if someone was going to eat my food for 48 hours I better get something in return. He did quite well but I have a new name for him tonight, "Calvin, are we done yet? ________?"

WE did get a lot done before the sun beat down on us and we were both pretty much soaked through with sweat.

Tomorrow I want to get him out and help with one more big bougainvillea bush that is roof high and has needles at least 1/2 in long. I thought I would let him "help me" by doing the work as I feel it is really too hard for a grandma to do.

I made some rolls (Cal was hungry for those) and
apple pie (also a favorite). He should be happy tonight or too pumped to sleep and sit in front of the t.v.watching horror movies all night.

Tony did go to meet some friends for dinner so it is just 2 boys and myself tonight. That should be easy as Cal eats anything or I should say, everything...

How fun. I'm so glad that Grandma is waiting on him hand and foot because he knows he can't expect as much at home. He eats a lot of canned soup for snacks. I don't provide baked goods, much to his dismay.

Between the unusually needy visitors and all of the gardening they are apparently accomplishing, I fear my mother will be wiped out and burned out on visitors (i.e. children) until at LEAST Christmas.

Ghost Hunters and Stories of the Supernatural

I'm torn between really liking and really disliking Halloween.

Actually, if I am at all honest, the list of "dislikes" probably greatly outweighs the "likes."

First of all, I dislike buying costumes.

This year Wesley wants to be Snake Eyes from GI Joe. Or a ninja. I think that Snake Eyes IS a Ninja, but I'm not quite sure.

It is my scrooge-like belief that the money spent on costumes is not unlike flushing $40.00 or so of hard earned money down the crapper. (
I believe I touched on this in last year's Halloween blog post. )

I dislike having to buy candy for other people's kids.

I don't even like to buy candy for my own kids because usually when candy is involved children turn into little beast-like creatures with only slightly better vocabularies.

It begins with crazed eyes in the check out lanes at the grocery store.

What ticks me off is that stores do this on purpose. They hire psychologists to tell them to set it up this way (I saw Dateline once). They put the candy that ONLY kids could possibly want at the very end of the grocery store journey, when the parents have been so
beaten down and psychologically weakened that they are tempted to say "yes" just to get their kids to shut up.

Mom! Mom, mom, mom, mom," they beg, tugging at some sort of appendage or various piece of clothing/accessory on my person.

"Whatever question you are about to ask, the answer is no." As usual, I'm ignored.

"Mom, can I get the Liquid Bomb Blasting Sour Puss Extreme Razzle Dazzle Raspberry Squirt Pop? I saw it on a commercial! It's actually really good."

I observe the concoction that has been thrust up to my eye level.

It looks positively wretched, both for the eyes and most likely for the health.
The color isn't natural and probably contains no less than a hundred known cancer causing ingredients.

On the other hand, I like Halloween because presents the best television opportunities of the entire year. There is a horror movie broadcasted every single night.

Last night, I donated a sliver of my time to The Shining, much to Chris' dismay. He told me to turn it off because he was eating. He doesn't like to watch anything "out of the ordinary" while he is eating.

Best of all, there are
Ghost Hunter marathons. My very favorite episode was last season when TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) investigated The Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.

A princess was a regular guest at the hotel and her original bed is still in one of the rooms.
They performed the routine EVP's (electric voice phenomenon) in that room.

If you don't want to watch
the 2 minute video on YouTube, I'll recap:

Jason (TAPS): Princess, are you in here?

Princess Caroline: Hello? Is there someone there? (This wasn't audible; it was only discovered after the replayed the tapes.)

Jason: Princess, are you in the room?

Princess Caroline: Of
course I am in here. (Pause.) Where are you?

This interaction was positively brilliant and thought provoking.
I watched it no less than a dozen times that night, thanks to my handy DVR machine. I also made Chris watch it. He hates Ghost Hunters.

Unlike some of my family members, I haven't had anything really supernatural happen to me.

My personal "ghost story" isn't nearly as impressive.

We were house hunting about six years ago, before we bought our first house. We had scoured for all of the available listings in Des Moines.

One of the houses that showed up in our search was a turn of the century gem that boasted four fireplaces, 6,000 square feet and three stories, plus an apartment in the attic. The asking price was under 20K.

It was so intriguing, and probably SUCH a dump, that we had to see it.
We talked our friend/realtor, Gina, into taking us there.

This was probably a mistake.

According to Gina, it had been a brothel. And a drug house. There had obviously been some serious crimes committed inside the house.

I had never, to my knowledge, been inside a house like this.

The first thing that assaulted me when I walked inside was the smell. It wasn't bad; it was different. It was a sweet smell. It didn't smell like air fresheners or detergent. It just smelled

The next issue was that it was freezing in there. We were house hunting on a overcast, fall day and we were wearing jackets, but the temperature dropped at least ten more degrees as we stepped into the foyer.

It was so sad. The once grand house had been completely stripped of everything of value ~ the fireplace mantles, the trim around the windows, the moldings around the doors. Everything was gone. The wood floors were bare and in terrible shape. Whoever bought this house was going to have to gut and replace EVERYTHING.

The smell was off, the temperature obviously dropped and the third thing that happened within seconds of walking in there was that I felt as if someone dropped a heavy cloak on me. My body felt a little heavier, my shoulders dropped. I felt a horrible, desperate sadness that made me want to cry.

"This place is haunted," Gina said. "I have been in thousands of houses and I can just tell by now."

"Okay then, let's go," Chris said. He could tell, too.

"Chris, I really want to just look around in here," I protested. I was morbidly curious.

Gina agreed with me. Chris turned to leave, but thought better of letting two women and a child walk around a house like this alone. He unwillingly joined us.

The rooms were choppy and bare. The sadness and cold followed me throughout the house. We walked upstairs to the fourth story apartment. There were hand prints on the walls.

As we left, the sadness stayed with me.

I wandered through the rest of the day feeling off and perpetually on the verge of tears. The dread I felt as I walked through that house clung to me like a wet rag.
It was a horrible feeling and quite honestly, I felt as if something had followed me out of the house.

I did something that I had never done before. I asked if my husband would pray over me.

Now, we are Lutheran. We are not Baptists, or Pentecostals or any other denomination where this is regularly done. My faith is private, quiet. To ask someone to pray over me took a lot of courage to ask, but the feeling attached to me was serious and required some big guns.

Several years later, Chris asked me if I remembered that house.

I was like,
hell yeah I remembered that house.

"Yes," I said.

Apparently a local Christian group bought it, renovated it and turned it into a
homeless shelter for teenage boys. I was speechless. Here is the picture of the house:

To my dismay, Wesley is asking (read: pestering) me when we can go shopping for his costume.

I'm putting it off, but the money flushing is inevitable. No need to ruin a child's holiday just because
I am the scrooge.

I'm sure when we go through the checkout lane, pleading will ensue for candy. Or a Pepsi. Or Goldfish. He becomes desperate after the first two "no's" and just starts asking whatever crap in the immediate vicinity that his greedy little eyes rest upon.

It should be a delightful trip. If not, I know that there will be great television on tonight.
And that always cheers me right up.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Handel's Water Music v. Katy Perry

Today I accomplished something that I have been wanting to do for a very long time. Or at least since we moved to Florida.

I was able to sit on the beach completely by myself.

Well, not completely. There were the usual suspects around me: the fishermen, the pruned-out 40 year-old-woman who looks 60, the teenage girls in bikinis looking only how teenage girls can look in bikinis. (Yet we as women painfully yearn for that dream and work our asses off, quite frequently in vain, in our efforts to turn back the clock .)

No, I wasn't completely alone, but what counted was that I didn't have the responsibility of running after a deranged Maggie.

"Taking a one year old to the beach," my husband, Chris, explained, "is kinda like being on the edge of awesomeness. We are right there, but soooo not quite."

The responsibility of corralling a child whose only fear (apparently), is that of a terrified gecko on the handle of the shopping cart at WinnDixie, is quite a responsibility.

It's a piece of cake when she sits and plays with the sand and shells. The problem is that this lasts for five minutes. After five minutes she is tearing off into the surf hoping to take a dip. It sucks for her that this is the ultimate no-no for a 17 month old.

Calvin was easily bought off to sit at home with Maggie and watch Yo Gabba Gabba. Chris had taken Wesley down yonder on the beach and I sat on my little beach towel not really knowing what to do with myself. It would have been nice to have remembered to bring a book.

Because I am reading no less than six at last count ~ plenty to choose from.

I then decided to sit and watch the surf while taking deep breaths. Whatever ions were there, I was going to make darn good use of them for an hour or so. Perhaps this would help to bring down my blood pressure a little bit, which apparently is high-ish again. According to my new doctor, or rather, the blood pressure machine in my new doctor's office.

I tried to concentrate on chillaxing, but I couldn't get "Waking Up In Vegas," out of my head. Not a very relaxing or chilled out song.

Dang it

I tried to adjust my internal soundtrack to Handel's Water Music, quite apropos whilst sitting and gazing out at the wide expanse of ocean.

But that stupid Katy Perry kept interrupting the horns and oboes of "Allegro," or "Air," or whatever movement I was forcing into my head.

I laid back and observed the clouds. I was enjoying the sun, the warmth and the sound of the ocean that people pay actual money for via sound machines and/or CD's.

But the sand was terribly uncomfortable and my back hurt. Shiz, I had laid down and I honestly didn't know if I was going to be able to get back up again. I felt a bit like a beached whale, belly up. I probably resembled one, too.

I wriggled around in the sand (inconspicuously, as to not draw attention to myself) trying to make a groove. Sand MUST be like Tempurpedic material, right? I would attempt to make an indentation of my body to eliminate stress points. Totally worth a try if done inconspicuously.

I laid back and watched an airplane fly south over me. It flew above the clouds and was red and blue. Southwest? It wouldn't make sense, because this is the Southeast. But you never know.

I speculated the jet's destination. Orlando? Miami? Cuba? Do they even fly planes into Cuba? Or is it just the United States that has a beef with the country? Maybe it was a Canadian jet.

I don't know and probably won't ask my husband because it is probably a question that will reaffirm his belief that he married left of the bell curve.

My "alone time" was becoming boring. I was ready for a burrito. Or the company of Chris. Both would be fantastic.

We returned home and I returned refreshed and somewhat rejuvenated. At least I felt as if I could be pleasant to those around me which was definitely not the case before we left.

I returned having learned the lessons to a.) bring a book to the beach, b.) leave the 1 year old at home.

Tomorrow we are going back and I have the luxury of neither.

Chris suggested we take the Pack-N-Play to set up in the back of the SUV so she can nap. But I am completely icked out contemplating the sand that permeates EVERYTHING at the beach and the implications of cleaning the bed when we return home ~ a task that will inevitably be left to me.

We'll figure it out.

I'm just delighting in the fact that it is 90 degrees and there is no possibility of snow. Not even an faint inkling.

I'm not going to miss it; not after days like these.

Sick Bugs and ......

It is quite ironic that in a recent blog entry I mentioned that I didn't "know what earaches felt like."

Later that same evening, I felt a sharp little twinge in around the vicinity of my left ear. And then another. And another.

I mentioned my concern to my husband and he expressed a diminutive iota of concern. He was probably have a silent meltdown inside his head that included much fist-shaking directed towards the heavens and wailing, "Nooooo, not her toooooooooooooooo!"

I thought the pain was just a fluke; unfortunately as I tried to sleep that night I repeatedly woke up to persistent series of twinges.

You must be wondering why I didn't truck it to the medicine cabinet for some ibuprofen. I wondered that, too, and came to the conclusion that I would rather just bitch and moan about things sometimes than to actually take action.

By the next morning I was in serious pain and had a microwavable rice shoulder bag, blazing hot, pressed to the side of my head. I was crazy eager for my doctor's appointment at 2pm, at which the doctor took one look up my nose and said " you have sinus problems?"

I wanted to say, "No, I didn't think I did, but since you took a gander up my nose and made a noise that indicated some sort of issue up there, I would guess that I do."

I think that it is going to be my personal mission to get everyone in this house shiny and healthy. By Christmas. Or Valentine's Day at the very latest.

The past few months have been rough and I have chalked it up to our family getting used to these new "sick bugs" in Florida.

After we moved from Minnesota to Des Moines in 2001, I recall that there was a regular parade of health issues as we acclimated to new germs.

2002 culminated in a tonsilectomy for Chris. And back surgery. He was a gimpy barrel o' fun that year, let me tell you.

It is most likely just a "running its course" type thing. As soon as we have blown through all of the sicknesses that our immune systems were not able to effectively fight off, we will be right as rain.

Hopefully right as rain come sooner than later and without too much pain.

Or invasive procedures.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Turkey Babies and Those Who Take Life Too Seriously

This is one of the "do it yourself" baby costumes featured on Martha Stewart dot com.

What makes it so funny to me is not that it it shows a cooked, basted and beautifully presented "turkey" baby but the horrified comments that follow the picture left by the contingency of Those Who Take Life Too Seriously.

Maybe I don't get it? But I think it is sort of cute. People dress their kids up as serial murderers and glorified prostitutes all the time and there is nary a fuss.

I think this costume shows creativity and a sense of humor.

And the kid looks warm, snuggly and comfortable on that serving tray. It's enough for me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Various Rants About Medical Professionals and Our Health Challenged Family

If you have been following my blogs, you know that we have been a bit health "challenged" this fall.

The youngest two children were diagnosed with the nauseatingly hyped H1N1 virus in September.

I am suspicious that the oldest one had a bout of it, too. But he is the "healthy one" in the family, and rarely complains about being sick. It has to be a super bug to take him down.

He had felt sick for several days. Each day of which he would ask to stay home from school. My response was kissing him on the forehead, a la Glennda GoodWitch, to feel if there was any heat. There was not.

After the fourth day of this, much to his surprise, his request to stay home from school was granted by me as I was half asleep.

"You're staying in bed ALL day," I said, then rolled over and fell back asleep.

"Uh, did you tell Calvin that he could stay home from school today," Chris asked when I stumbled out into the kitchen an hour or so later to fetch me some coffee.

Hot damn. As a matter of fact, I did ~ the memory was foggy as if that of a dream.

"I told him he had to stay in bed all day," I told Chris.

He pointed to the lump on the couch with its feet up, watching Spongebob Squarepants.

"No," I said. "No, no, no, no, no! If you are sick, you go back to bed. There is no Spongebob when you are home sick!"

I was assaulted with arguments about what his 8 year old brother was able to do with when he was home sick. I pointed out that Wesley was home from school for a total of five days and after the first three, we were utterly broken and desperate. Thus, we were willing to fudge on the Xbox rules, just to keep him quiet.

Wes was home again one day last week after he stumbled into our bedroom at 2:00am one night, sobbing. Apparently his right ear hurt. I can't imagine what that must feel like, but I am sure it must suck monkey butt.

I gave him some ibuprofen and let him sleep on our floor that night. The doctor confirmed it the next day ~ he had an ear infection.

And then there was little Miss Maggie.

With each year that passes I am becoming more and more conservative about immunizations.

This is mainly because I am developing what I believe is a healthy skepticism about how much doctors really know. As in, I am not sure that they know as much as the general public gives them credit for.

In my opinion, people look at those individuals with the letters "M.D." after their names with an undo amount of veneration. Subsequently the words/advice that come out of their mouths are deified and taken with blind faith.

I think it is dangerous. I could go on and on, but I like to keep my blog light.

For this reason, I had been dreading Maggie's 15 month checkup ~ so much so that I scheduled it two months late. I was ready for a fight: the bare ass minimum on the immunizations, please, and absolutely no flu shots.

Although we are far from an "organic" family, I am feeling that the line between absolutely necessary and hype and hysteria has become rather blurry.

The stress that I had about the checkup was moot because the cough that had lingered since the H1N1 diagnosis was getting worse. The nose was starting to run and her little cheeks were beginning to flush. Indeed, she had an ear infection.

So, two of the children are currently on antibiotics.

Oh ~ we recently discovered that Publix does not charge for amoxicillian, yo. Take that and suck it Walgreens, spawn of satan and owners of the vaccuus drive thrus that cars get stuck in, only to pull up to the window 40 minutes later to find out they don't have the prescription ready.

This snippet of information has been highly, highly helpful to us this fall, both monetarily and stress-wise. We will never go back to the dark side, a.k.a. Walgreens.

It is my turn tomorrow and I am shi**ing bricks.

I am seeing a doctor that I don't know from a hole in the wall. Aside from a few favorable, yet vague, reviews online I know nothing about this guy except he is one of the few doctors in the area that a.) takes our insurance, and b.) would see me before December.

I am going to be praying that he doesn't say too much about my weight, which is never a helpful thing.

The weight battle was waged during two of my three pregnancies: the first and the third. It is ironic that the only pregnancy that weight was never mentioned once is the one that I gained only 30 pounds during. With the others I was hounded about the weight I was gaining, therefore, stressed, I gained sixty pounds with each.

I just believe that a doctor should never tell a fat person, especially a woman, that she is fat. She is already full aware of this every time she goes shopping for new clothes or stands in front of the mirror naked every morning.

She doesn't need a doctor to remind her of this. Ever.

Alas, I am needlessly worrying, which is something I do best.

I hope to report to you tomorrow evening that it was uneventful and pleasant. It already has a twinge of awesomeness to it because one of our members from church is coming over to watch Maggie.

Read: I am getting a mini break from the baby. A spa trip and/or a massage would be greatly preferable over a doctor's appointment.

But hey, beggars can't be choosers and I will take whatever I can get.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vampires and Burritos Surpreme

I am fairly confident with my belief that I discovered the vampire genre long before the lot of you.

My passion for these books began as I read
Fledgling by Octavia Butler.

A friend slipped me the first in the
Undead and Unwed series, by MaryJanice Davidson, along with a copy of "The Becoming" by Jeanne C. Stein.

Okay, admittedly it was not heavy reading.

However, I was reading these books during a time in my life when I needed the lightest reading I could get.

My husband was escorting generals, Geraldo Rivera and Catholic priests around Iraq in Blackhawk helicopters. He was sending videos back of himself poking his over sized helmeted head out of tanks in downtown Baghdad, and doing a little pageant wave to the locals as he motored by. (Okay, I made that up. He did no such wave.)

Yes...I needed escapist fiction.

My interest in these books waned a bit with the craze of the Twilight series.

In general, I tend to rebel against the masses . If something becomes wildly popular, I will refuse to buy it and/or participate in it. Cases in point: the Snugli, the Chia pet, and Dancing With The Stars.

Even though I appear to follow the masses, I am truly a rebel at heart.
That character flaw is to be wholly blamed on my parents who were both preachers. You can't mess with a kid any more than that.

My interest also lightened up as I realized that there are, truly, vampires in this world. They are the ultimate takers, unarguably selfish and self serving. They will mercilessly suck the life out of you if you aren't very, very careful.

I have proof of this in the form of a picture. It is a picture of me, of which I will never,
ever reveal to you. It was candidly and very meanly taken by my husband who thought it was funny.

I have bags under my eyes and a double chin. There is about three inches of re-growth on my once fabulous highlights and dark circles under my eyes.

These vampires are my children.

As delightful as they may be at times when they give me hugs and tell me that they love me, or when the youngest repeats the word "mamma" four hundred times after I leave the house for 20 minutes to purchase a gallon of milk at Publix, they can be the rudest, life-sucking forces known to man.

Lawd help me people, if I begin to utter the words "another baby would be nice" I encourage ~ no I
INSIST~ that you to b***h-slap me and remind me of this blog entry.

The oldest one is the most expensive, I am sure, if I add up all of the food he inhales along with the shampoo and water he uses during his daily showers. I don't know how he goes through so much shampoo, and I probably don't want to know.

He asks for lunch money inappropriately often, begs for Hollister clothing and Nike Shox, and tests our levels of patience with his frequency of detentions for "forgetting" his school ID card.

The middle one is going to give me an early onset heart attack. This is because I know that it is just a matter of time before the neighborhood parents will begin ganging up on me on our front doorstep. The gripe session will be to inform and share with me newest offense he has inflicted upon one of their children.

The most recent report was on Sunday. A mother stopped by to complain that he had kicked her son in the balls. Twice. The boy accompanied her, looking awfully pitiful , crying and hunched over in agony. Sort of like he had been kicked in the balls.

The youngest is currently the the most trying, psychologically, for us. She is the child who, in my opinion, has caused me to age at LEAST ten years in the past 17 months.

When we first moved into the rental house in Florida, we were excited by the entirety of the ceramic tile floors in every area of living space, aside from the bedrooms.

"What a cinch to keep clean," we exclaimed. "How perfect for children," we proclaimed to each other. We punched each other on the shoulders playfully, dreaming and musing with each other about the beauty of the situation we were about to move into.

The red flags went up almost immediately.

We had moved into this house in the midst of a terribly frustrating phase that I will just refer to as "the screaming phase."

We couldn't take Miss Maggie to restaurants for fear she would shriek ~ not because anything was direly wrong ~ but because she could.

I couldn't have her sit with me in church because she would squeal at the most inopportune times, setting off a painful squeal of hearing aids (including the grandparents') in our immediate vicinity.

The vaulted (How airy! How open!) ceilings have added to the noise.

It has become maddening ~
as in drop to your knees, claw at your face and weep to the heavens, maddening.

Tonight, I was
crazed to the point of declaring "I need a burrito!" and fleeing.

I left the oldest bloodsucker in charge for ten minutes as I drove, with the windows completely down and Orlando's hip hop station blasting, to Taco Bell.

I plopped down on the sofa with the burrito and pintos and cheese (to add to Chris' misery ,
no need for him to be happy tonight) and cayenne pepper to sprinkle on each bite.

Because the kids were still awake and checking on me every two minutes, I was unable to order the movie I REALLY wanted (it was of the horror genre).
I was forced to order Bride Wars.

I am only ten minutes into it and want to slash my wrists and gnash my teeth, but dammit, I paid $3.99 for the pay-per-view show and it WILL be viewed.

I probably should just go read a book, but I have been uninspired with my reading material recently. I have no fewer than six books started.

I wish I could find a genre I attacked as voraciously as the vampire genre. But now that it is so trendy, it isn't as fun.
And it reminds me of the little vampires I am currently housing and feeding.

I love and am enamored by them. They are sort of sparkling and glittery at times and it is difficult to tear my eyes away from their adorableness.

But they are taking all that they can get.

You can't get much more vampirish than that.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thin Blooded Floridians and Holiday Decorating for the Decorationally Challenged

I took a nap today in my warm, snuggly penguin flannel sheets.

They don't match anything that we own but they were on sale at Kohl's at the end of the season last year for 14.99. And as you know, I'm a sucker for a deal.

They are soft and warm and I like them.

After I was finished napping, I ventured out into the disaster area that we call the "kitchen. "

I was wearing shorts and a tank top. The sun was shining and the windows had all been flung open. There was a pleasant cross breeze.

I realized, however, that I was freezing. Yes, it was pretty darn cold in this house. I checked the thermostat and it informed me that it was 73 degrees.

I realized with acute dismay I have officially turned into "that person" who moves to Florida and is cold once the temperature drops below 80 degrees. I fiercely disliked that person before, and now that person is me. Bollocks.

I turned right around and went to put on long pants and a cardigan. I put my hair up and set my little JCrew tortoiseshell headband on the top my head.

I wandered back out to the kitchen.

"Why are you all dressed up," Wesley asked.

I was wearing my workout capris, tank top and a cardigan.
The only adornment I could boast was the headband that is probably not age appropriate.

Although headbands probably should be reserved for the sixteen and under crowd, I believe I should at
least get an "A" for effort for an attempt of fun and youthfulness on my part.

I will continue to wear them because I believe they make me appear whimsical. The whimsy effect is wishful thinking, as I am not whimsical by any means. Any whimsy displayed by me is forced; it is not at all in my personality.

I don't have any fanciful stories to tell or dreamy watercolors to paint. My imagination pretty much sucks, which is why I will never write fiction.

I was always envious of a friend of mine in Iowa who was an artist. She could get up and proclaim "I shall paint a mural today!" And she would do it.

She decorated with fancifulness and gaiety, without fail, for every single season and holiday. She was always atrociously bummed out between Easter and October because the only holiday was the Fourth of July.

Apparently for Those Who Decorate, the Fourth of July just isn't too fun to decorate for.

"We don't do primary colors," she stated, matter of factly, as she went through a bag of her girls' clothing that they had outgrown. She was neatly placing the outfits that I might be interested in into a tidy little pile for me to take home.

The outfits that were red, blue and yellow were markedly unworn.

"Gifts," she said with a sniff and a wrinkle of her nose. She examined a red jacket with apple buttons. She visibly cringed as she stuffed it into the garbage bag that she was sending home with us.

She celebrated holidays with a flair and panache that her children will remember fondly when they reminisce about their childhoods. Undoubtedly, they will declare, "Our childhoods were delightful! We
never, ever missed a parade or a chance to celebrate!"

Because I had nothing to set out for Halloween, I bought a Halloween wreath from the crafters at church. It was $5.00 ~ a steal ~ and I felt a twinge of guilt as I stuffed my $5.00 check into the little box set out for payments. It would easily fetch $20-30 at a craft fair.

It is made out of recycled orange trash bags. Someone lovingly knit together little pumpkins out of orange bags. There are fake spiders on it.

I grudgingly put up the Christmas tree every year. I am pretty sure Christmas decorating is not fun for my kids as I am terribly fussy about how the tree looks. The lights have to be "just so" and the ornaments symmetrical, or it bothers me.

I have just begun allowing them to put the ornaments on themselves; I rearrange them after they go to bed.

Last year, Chris insisted upon buying a real tree. This was highly encouraged by our "artistic friend," who considers fake trees, along with primary colors, an anathema.

I cursed her as he brought the snow covered tree in the house. The snow melted all over the hardwood floors and created a mess for me to clean up.

I continued to curse her in the days to come as I got down on all fours and watered the damn thing. Even though I watered it, it still shed. When we moved seven months later, I vacuumed up pine needles that had hid themselves under the furniture and in obscure corners.

This Christmas, we are apparently doing lawn ornaments ~ something I strongly forbade in Iowa. Chris announced this on a 95 degree day in early September.

"We are putting up lawn ornaments," he said. The expression on my face must have been clear that this required further explanation.

"____ is giving us reindeer for the front yard," he continued, "and we are going to put them up." Apparently there are, like, six reindeer. They each have a spotlight.

We are also obtaining a manger from this individual and enough twinkly lights to pull a Clark Griswold on our Florida neighborhood.

"We are putting everything out," Chris firmly informed me. I believe his pointer finger was even up to my nose to punctuate the seriousness of this decorating business. "Everything."

The reindeer were delivered last Monday and they require assembly. They are white and have googly eyes.

____ also brought over a ghost on a stake to add to our meager Halloween decor. The ghost is cute. I staked him in the front yard next to the magnolia tree. The endearing appearance of this ghost makes me a little more hopeful for our reindeer.

I will go along with this because I'm trying to add a little more whimsy into my life, beginning with my tortoiseshell headband.

The attempt will continue with inherited reindeer, lights and decorations done on the cheap from the crafters at church.

Perhaps this is my year to add a little more magic and fun to the holidays for the kids.

Beginning with my $5.00 wreath and my little wooden ghost.

I have to start somewhere.

The next thing you know, I will be painting murals and decorating with marionettes.

Or not.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Executing Crustaceans and Bangin' New Haircuts

Chris suggested that I take some time to myself.

This came after days of the house declining into a cesspool of scattered toys, dirty dishes and dust bunnies. Even though it was several years from becoming as bad as the houses I
regularly gawk at on "Hoarders," it was pretty bad.

The mess was compounded with my inability to speak. I was in such a funk, I couldn't guarantee that the verbal
diarrhea that would forcefully eject itself from my mouth would not be hurtful, spiteful and cruel.

The energy expended from trying not to speak became too much and I started to cry.

Crying generally scares men, especially when a woman can't (or won't) tell a man what is wrong.

Chris asked me if we thought we were being paid back for our childhoods by our children's behavior: Wes pushes buttons, tests us and chatters incessantly, and Maggie is a malcontent. Pretty much "right on" with our personalities if you would ask our parents.
I guess I would have to answer his question with a definitive "yes."

"Wow," he said when he got home from work. "She was yelling at you when I left work and she is still yelling at you when I came home!"
Acute, fascinating observation.

I have always believed that I am a fantastic parent of newborns through age four. I am calm, patient and loving. I would have baby upon baby, then give them away around kindergarten.

I think it would be all right for them to return to me as adults, or very complacent teenagers.

But Miss Maggie is testing the beliefs I have of myself.

The day began badly because Chris got her up and changed her diaper. This apparently pissed her off. Ninety five percent of the time it is I who answers her call in the morning and prepares her bottle.

So the
malcontentedness began early, like 6:45 a.m. And continued throughout the early morning when she dumped out my (lukewarm) coffee onto the couch.

She slept for barely long enough for me to take a mental break to watch "Drag Me To Hell," a movie that I had to save
for nap time because Chris won't watch the horror movie genre.

"Drag Me To Hell" rang a familiar bell. As of late, the rotten behavior of the children makes me feel as if I am in hell.

And if my appearance is any indication, I am being dragged there. I totally got it.

I thought that a trip to Target to browse the end cap sales would improve my mood. Maybe I would find something that had been inadvertently marked down to 95% off. That would put me in a fantastic mood.

Miss Maggie decided shortly after I put her in the cart that she a.) didn't want to be there, and b.) didn't want any one around us to enjoy their shopping experiences, either.

I put cute sweater dress and tights set for her in my cart. They were on sale.

Chris had found us somewhere in the childrens' section. He threw additional items in my cart that I wasn't aware of until I got to the 10 and fewer items lane.
I had more than ten items and my infant girl outfit purchase that I anticipated to be under $10.00 cost me $29.96.

At home, I suggested that we prepare a "restaurant-style" meal at home. Preferably seafood, because I have had the keenest hankering for fried seafood: clams, shrimp, scallops. I am not picky, obviously.

I thought lobsters sounded good, and if all online accounts are true, they are easy to prepare.

But Chris feels bad about throwing them into a pot of boiling saltwater.

I want to tell him, "Dude, if it isn't us, it'll be someone else. Those lobsters in the tanks are as doomed as lobsters can be."

My day is illuminated only because I have a
bangin' new haircut.

When Chris suggested that I take some time to myself last night, I thought that I would either get a pedicure or a haircut. My pedicure history is sketchy. Therefore, I opted for a haircut ~ something
I can't possibly do at home.

It had been six months since my last haircut so I shouldn't have to state the obvious that it was greatly needed.

There is a sale at Winn Dixie this week on crab legs. Perhaps this will be our compromise: seafood without cruelty since the crab's body has already been r
emoved from its legs. We wouldn't be the ones responsible for any pain or death imposed upon the creature.

And the only sauce required for crab legs is melted butter...something I can
totally handle. Even tonight.

I just know that tonight, when the kids finally go to bed, I will feel like breaking open a bottle of champagne. Alas, there is only a small bottle of vodka in the freezer.

So, as Mr. Smith, a.k.a. Brad Pitt, so eloquently said in one of my favorite movies (Mr. & Mrs. Smith), "Champagne is for celebrating. I'll have a martini."

True dat.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Walking Around the House Naked and Cringe-Worthy Moments

A few years ago, I listened to a "This American Life" episode that struck markedly close to home. The theme of this particular show was called "Cringe."

For those of you who aren't familiar with "This American Life", it is a weekly radio show from Chicago Public Radio. It can be heard either on National Public Radio or via podcasts.

The show has a main theme each week, and at least three entertaining/informative stories (or "acts" as they call them) that are told in relation to the theme for the week.

The opening story of "Cringe" was that of a man who accidentally mistook a "little person" for a small child.

He had left his glasses at his desk at work one day while he used the men's room. Upon exiting, he saw a person of small stature walking towards him. Although he couldn't see her clearly, he assumed it was a co-worker's daughter who regularly visited her father at his job.

The mix-up wouldn't have been
so bad if he hadn't playfully gotten down on all fours and did a fun little "crab-walk" towards the girl. By the time he could actually see her and realized it wasn't the little girl, but a dwarf (a temp who had started that same day), the damage had already been done. There was no way to recover.

I have had many "cringe" moments in my life, but the most traumatic occurred at age 12. One evening, I was in search for a towel. I wandered the house and ventured into our family's living room. I found my mother, father and a member of my dad's church ~a man ~ who had decided to stop by for a chat.

Did I mention I was completely naked?

We crawl up Cal's butt when he walks around without a shirt on; yet I apparently walked around the house completely buck nekkid when I was his age.

I flung the living room door open (didn't even peek in to check if the room was occupied) and the scene that followed is burned into my memory.

I recall the following scene in slow motion, like a sporting event that is played and replayed to accentuate the horror of an injury that has just occurred on the field.

All three of them slowly, painfully looked up at me, then slowly turned away with moans/grunts/gasps ~all uttering guttural noises of disbelief and horror.

It was quite the nightmare, as you can imagine, for a 12 year old girl. I was an awkward and self-conscious child anyway; puberty only exacerbated these issues.

I often wonder how the conversation continued after I rudely (and nudely) interrupted them? I only know that I didn't look him in the eye for years after that moment, and blushed furiously in his presence.

Another embarrassing moment happened just yesterday after church. I had recently purchased a shirt off of the 75% off rack at Target. It was comfortable and was a pretty color ~ and, most importantly, it was cheap. I quickly added it into my regular rotation of clothes.

Admittedly, I have been very lazy lately and have not been watching my portion sizes. My weight has gone up and has deposited itself, as it typically does, directly onto my stomach.

As I was standing with my husband and a group of people from church, a woman asked me my due date. I thought I misunderstood. "Your due date. When are you due?"

Dammit. THAT is why this shirt was on the 75% off rack. I looked at it again and it DID have a maternity-type look to it. The shirt's cut, in addition to my pudgy belly, indeed made me look pregnant.

The woman called me shortly after wards and profusely apologized. I wasn't as embarrassed as one might think I would have was more an enlightenment. "Holy shiznit, I will never wear this top again."

"Does this shirt make me look pregnant," I asked Cal as we got into the car to drive home. He looked a little scared.

"I'm not going to answer that."

"No, seriously I want to know." He shook his head vehemently, his mouth clamped shut.

"Is it because of the shirt? Or is it the size of my stomach?" His eyes took on a panicked look and I decided to cease the torture.

Not only did I wear the shirt in question again, I am wearing it right now. It is comfortable and I like the color. And to be completely honest, people were a lot nicer to me when I was pregnant, so perhaps looking like I am pregnant isn't all that bad.

I'll get my act together soon and will start jogging again and eating salads. Until then, I think I will err on the side of comfort.

I'll just keep the "pregnant" thing in the back of my mind and won't wear it when I am buying booze. I don't think the sympathy would extend to a liquor store.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Reality Shows and Personality Disorders

It is not a secret that I watch a lot of junk television.

I'm a sucker for those skill-oriented competition type programs. Pretty much anyone with a talent or a crazy skill fascinates me.

This is probably because I am quite mediocre at just about everything.

I never displayed a talent in anything except piano.

The most interesting thing I can do on a piano is play songs by ear, but mostly only in the easiest scale of "C" (the one doesn't require the use sharps or flats). All of my songs basically sound exactly the same; my piano skills are the equivalent of that 80's band The Smithereens.

Actually, even the non-competition shows are pretty intriguing to me, too. The Rachel Zoe Project has very few of these competitive elements, unless you count the drama between Taylor and Brad. (I strongly feel that Taylor needs to switch her meds. I have had experience with this type of thing and I can just tell.)

My DVR is full of shows I need to watch.

They build up because I try to watch them when the children are not around. I have a thing about not letting the kids, especially Miss M, watch junk television because I think it is a detriment to their IQs.

My IQ, however, is most likely a lost cause. No amount of documentaries or non-fiction books is going to change the fact that I failed math in high school and verily cheated my way through statistics in college.

"Turn Spongebob off, guys," I yell at the boys when I hear the screechy voices of Spongebob and Patrick "You're making the baby retarded! Turn on an educational show, or better yet, Vivaldi!"

Maggie listens to folk, classical and big band music during the day. She watches the occasional Yo Gabba Gabba (the one with Jack Black. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is a brilliant song) and her "Your Baby Can Read" DVD's.

I'm determined that this one is going to be a prodigy.

She will start violin at age three (or as soon as she stops throwing things) and will be reading at 2.5. She just will; I feel it in my bones.

It might be shocking, but not all junk television is "junk." There are some very important lessons to be learned as I have discovered recently.

Case in point: I have just found the A&E program called "Hoarders."

If you EVER want to feel better about your current situation, watch "Hoarders." I kid you not; you will feel like a rock star.

My floors have not been mopped for a week, and there are dishes in my sink from dinner last night.

On the bright side, however, there isn't any dog
crap/vomit/urine on the floor that has been fermenting for six months and there are no mouse droppings anywhere to be seen. You will find nary a squash or pumpkin from last fall decaying in a corner, nor do I have milk that expired two months ago on the kitchen counter.

"Hoarders" makes me feel like a winner (score one for self-esteem), and causes me to get up off my couch-potato ass and clean (score two for motivation).

I watched one particular episode this past week about a couple whose children were taken away from them because their house was such a wreck. As the crew took shovels , yes SHOVELS, in the house to haul away the dirt and trash, rats scampered away to get out of the glare of the cameras.

I didn't even wait for the end of the show to get up and clean my sinks, toilets, bathtubs and showers. I pushed "pause" and scrubbed my little heart out.

Another epiphany I had this week was during "Flipping Out" with Jeff Lewis.

Jenni, Jeff's assistant, regularly takes on a persona of a woman named "Deb" when she makes phone calls. "Deb" is irrascible ~ a bitch ~ if you'd like. She is demanding, kick-ass and tells it how it is. Deb speaks in a low voice and plays rugby.

It's brilliant.

I think that I may create a "Deb."
Perhaps maybe even not only for the phone .

Deb could express her displeasure at Suntrust bank, Walmart, and the DMV. My Deb can be strong, decisive and not so worried about what people think of her.

Deb can be more outspoken about her kids, herself and issues that affect her daily.

I think it's a brilliant plan and I am going to see how it pans out in the next week or so. Some people might call it a personality disorder, but perhaps this is
just what I need. And I don't think I have to worry about psychiatrists down here in Florida since just getting into a regular doctor requires a wait of about two months .

I think "Deb" will claw her way to the front of the line and get an appointment with a doctor for next week. Maybe I should dare her to do such a thing. Perhaps "my" Deb plays rugby, too, and is familiar with clawing, pushing and tackling her way to the goal.

Those are moves that this "Mary" isn't quite so experienced with.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Miss M and Her Little Ditty

*** 17 MONTHS***

I want undivided attention
I really, really do
But Mommy's watching Rachel Zoe
And Flipping Out, too.

She has a glazed expression
So I decided to cause a stir
I ate a bunch of dog food
and even threw a turd.

I licked an electrical outlet
and squirted gels and lotions.
Mixed them together on the floor
I'm causing a commotion!

I try to call my Daddy
On Mommy's red cell phone
It doesn't work; it makes me mad
Therefore it must be thrown.

I've started spitting now
My Mommy's really frayed
I know she will be happy
When Daddy comes home today.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Titanic" and Really Bad Ideas

"This is what we refer to as," hiccup, sob, sniiiiiiifffff.

"Emotionally manipulative," I said as I tried to breathe, sob and speak at the same time.

The events leading up to this moment had began yesterday, when Wes came home from school and announced they were reading a book about the Titanic.

"Oh, I have that movie," I announced brightly.

As I recall, Titanic was PG-13, and not wholly inappropriate for an 8 year old. If I was correct, the PG-13 rating was given because of the boobie scene. I could easily fast forward through those and he would be none the wiser.

Wes is also not entirely unfamiliar with boobies, as I sometimes walk around the house without a shirt on. These instances are probably more disturbing than Kate Winslet's perfect boobies being drawn by a street artist (Leonardo DiCaprio).

I realized, however, as I made a tentative box search in our garage, that I either, a.) sold the movie at one of the many garage sales we had before we moved to Florida, or b.) packed it in a mismarked box and I was never ~ ever ~ going to find it.

As I napped this afternoon, however, my son discovered the movie
entirely on his own.

Not in our garage, as I would have thought, but at our neighbor's garage sale. The VHS tapes were thrown into a box and marked as .25/each. Wes, in his tenacity (it was a big box), found both tapes and spent his own money to purchase them.

As Calvin was at the homecoming dance, we decided to watch "Titanic."

I honestly thought he would lose interest at the 45 minute mark when the boat still had not sunk and Kate Winslet had not yet taken off her shirt.

(I had my finger poised on the "fast forward" button waiting for the moment to happen.)

I realized, at about two and a half hours into it, why it was rated PG-13. It was a little disturbing to see a mother holding her baby, frozen and dead in the Atlantic.

I was shot, rapid-fire, 8-year-old questions: "Why was it named the Titanic," as well as, "Why are those people being mean," and "Why are those people being chased and shot at," in addition to, "Why are there not enough boats," and "Why is that mean man still alive?"

I sobbed in the end, because it had honestly been at least 8 years since I had seen the movie and I forgot how sad it really was. Wes found it (read: me) quite distressing. I feel a little guilty. Again, no mother of the year awards for me.

Do you understand that she died," I asked, sobbing at the end when Rose enters the dining room and sees all of the people and children who had died before her, then ascends the staircase to join Jack Dawson.

A wide-eyed, alarmed look met my gaze. He shook his head slightly. "WTF is wrong with my mother," he was undoubtedly thinking to himself.

"That was her entering heaven," I tried to explain as he stared at me.

"It's okay, they made this story up," I said. Sort of, kind of, but not really.

He is asking to sleep in my bed. Excellent. I firmly believe if I hadn't cried so hard, it wouldn't have been such an unsettling experience.

"My reading teacher," he began, his voice turning up at the end as if asking a question. "Is sending home a permission slip this week," he continued, again his voice turning up. "Can you tell her I don't have to watch Titanic? I don't want to see it again, I don't think."

Since Chris is gone, perhaps I will just allow him to sleep in my room. The guilt, you know. I should have known, really, a movie about a boat that sinks and over a thousand people die?

Not such a great idea.