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Friday, December 24, 2010

costco rage

Perhaps you are familiar with the concept of road rage, which is defined as: "aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other motor vehicle".

Now, I would generally agree that this is a bad thing, and not something that one should be proud of. That is, however, unless one frequents Costco.

Look, shopping carts and cars really don't require differing skill... You stay to the right, look both ways before turning into another lane or aisle, and you never, ever just stop in the middle of the road to just spend time contemplating whatever the hell it is that you are contemplating. Never!!

Why do people at Costco not know this? They stop their carts wherever they want, oblivious to the people behind them. They randomly turn carts this way and that into varying lanes like a free for all, and they certainly don't stay to the right. It's more like Rome, or Paris where everyone just goes, jockeying for position. Getting through the warehouse is like doing battle -- battle among driving morons. Infuriating!

Usually by the time I leave Costco, I have fantasized about running numerous people over with my cart, I'm muttering under my breath about how everyone is an idiot, and I'm once again reminded about my fellow Americans and that they vote. A dismal thought.

I think police should be allowed to watch the cart driving at Costco and give tickets where they see fit. It may save some poor schmuck from getting killed in real life by one of those same people driving a car, not to mention create revenue for endless cash strapped states...

Just saying...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

groundhog day, all over again

Life with smalls is challenging.  Yes, for all the reasons you imagine, and then especially for those times when your envisioned day blows up, leaving you stranded.  Take, for example, when one of your smalls suddenly gets sick.  Usually the indication of said event occurs at 3 o'clock in the morning. Many times it involves projectile vomit.  Sometimes, it's just wheezing and coughing.  Either way, aside from feeling badly for your small, you can also kiss the following day, and all that you had planned, good-bye.

With my luck, I usually have an appointment that requires a 24 hour cancelation notice, lest you be billed.  Or, the thing that I have wanted or waited to do for eons was happening just that day -- poof -- gone.  Or a friend is visiting from out of town and you squeezed in a lunch before they headed to the airport.

Also, one must remember the corollary to one offspring getting sick: if there is another offspring, he or she will get sick too.  After the sleepless nights with the first, you now get the added bonus of sleepless nights with the second.  Bonus.

Now, for those of you who have yet to experience sleeping with a small in your bed, or even worse, a sick small in your bed, let me share...

Smalls do not sleep like regular grown up people.  They may be, well, small, but they miraculously take up an amazing amount of space.  Perhaps you are wondering how, so let me help -- this amazing spatial feat is usually achieved by the small imitating the hand of a clock: slowly moving their way around the bed in a circular motion.

Initially the night starts out with seeming normalcy, the small laying parallel to you.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, one is startled with a powerful head butt as the small flings him/herself perpendicularly to you.  Then there is the charming knee to chin, or foot to nose that occurs next, as the small spins again, landing with feet on pillow and their head on your legs.  I think you're getting the picture.  And in case you're wondering, yes, this - continues - to - happen- all - night!  Eventually one finds themselves clinging to the edge of the bed for dear life, like a raft in the middle of the ocean, shell shocked from the beating they've had to endure.

Now,  I've recently been living in a house of pestilence.  Some sort of plague found my two smalls and lasted for 5 days in toto for each of them.  That's consecutive, mind you, so we're talking 10 days of illness.  10 days of getting out of bed bruised.  10 days of all plans going down the toilet.  Day after day; interminable.

All I can tell ya is that it's a good thing my kids started feeling better.  Really.  If it went on too much longer, I might have maimed them.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

time management

Ok, beat me with a wet noodle.  I've been lax in my posting.  I've been MIA.  I've been out to lunch.

I suck.

In my mind I think about posting something...sometimes...  Usually it happens when I'm nowhere near a computer, so the actual pressure to perform disappears before I connect again with technology.  Then there's the stress of having to come up with something pithy, or clever.  And, well folks, lately I'm all out of pithy, while clever left the building, uh, like weeks ago.

The last hurdle to overcome is the fact that I never seem to have enough time.  I know, I know, a banal excuse if ever there was one...  But hey, my lists just keep growing, and my ability to cross off things from said list apparently pales in comparison to life's ability to add to the damn thing.  Then there is the tired factor.  By the time that I actually do have time, I'm knackered; I can barely string a sentence together.  It's embarrassing.

So, today I post this.  My equivalent of "the dog ate my homework."  It is my excuse for being remiss to my blog.

It ain't eloquent, but it's truthful, and I'm gonna try to do better.  Really.  I gonna.  Fingers crossed...

I hope.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the new birth control

I am making a proclamation! Health, Sex Ed, or Birth Control need no longer be taught the old fashioned way we've become accustomed to...

From now on, all that we need to do to help our youth appreciate the responsibility of parenthood is as follows:

#1 - Have them plan and attend the birthday parties of a handful of smalls.

#2 - Have them install carseats in and out of a car numerous times, and to up the ante, time them.

=  Nobody will be suffering with an unwanted pregnancy.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

chaos theory

cha·os the·o·ry (plural cha·os the·o·ries)

theory of apparent randomness: a theory that complex natural systems obey rules but are so sensitive that small initial changes can cause unexpected final results, thus giving an impression of randomness.

            *            *            *            *            *            *            *            *            

The older I get, the more I find the theory of chaos to be true, unfortunately.  I wish it weren't so, but there you go.  

I'd love to cloak myself in the confirmation of karma: that what goes around comes around.  But, this just doesn't seem to be the case. I'd love to wrap it up all nicely with a bow, believe in destiny, God's will, or some such other construct.  That would make living with the chaos so much easier.  In fact, it wouldn't be chaos anymore, it would have purpose, and not feel like a random bolt of lightning just blew up your life, even momentarily.

Whether it be the malfunctioning of an appliance, a traffic ticket, a fender bender, or the loss of some important or valuable bauble, we all have felt the heartache, or should I say headache, of these sudden occurrences.  

And then there are times that make the former list pale in comparison.  The tragedy that leaves its mark for life, whether it be literal or figurative.  If we are a metaphorical nucleus, these are the electrons that we try desperately to avoid.

When and why these things happen when they do, or to whom they do, is anyone's guess.  Sometimes they appear to be deserved because of some moronic decision made in the spur of the moment.  Other times they seem to come out of thin air, somehow directed at you to make your life a wee bit more difficult or just fundamentally rock your world.

I have fallen prey to both kinds.

And while I reluctantly believe in the general randomness of events, I try to remind myself that the randomness isn't always equal to a negative.  There are random acts of kindness that one sometimes encounters and that some espouse practicing.  They might not feel as prevalent as the other, but still they occur.  A small comfort.

Yet, perhaps, the only true comfort one can find in the midst of disorder is perspective.

This comes top of mind given a recent random tragedy that happened at my son's school.  A mother, whom I did not know, apparently died from a fluke accident of the most routine kind.  The sort of thing that no one can believe, but, perhaps, could have happened to anyone.  An e-mail was sent out from the head of school, sharing the sad news with the community.  A wave of shock came over everyone who read it.

This woman left behind two children.  Two high school and college graduations that she will not attend, possibly two weddings where she will be unable to dance, and potentially grandchildren that she will not be able to hold, coochie-coo, or burp.  A tragedy, that, even as a stranger, profoundly breaks my heart, because I am a mother too.

So today I am grateful.  Not for the burden of powerlessness the chaos creates, but rather for the moment, independent of what the next moment brings.  For the day's smiles and the hugs at bedtime, and even for any and all irritations felt the last 24 hours.  

I'm lucky tonight.  And so are many of you.  Because, chaos or not, I have now.  And while I have many problems, none are too big to stop my breath, hurt my smalls, or cause tears to flow that feel like they will never be able to stop.  

Today, we are nuclei that have avoided an electron.  Our world, while problematic, is not rocked.

Hug the ones you love, tell the others that you cannot reach for, that you love them too; know that you have this moment, and chaos can't screw with that.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

you feel lucky, punk?

I know it's uncouth for a middle-aged person to desire retribution on a 5 year old.  Hell, I'm embarrassed to admit it.  I even sometimes contemplate losing sleep over the impulse, but that feeling usually passes, replaced again with a burning desire to give said 5 year old a swirly. (Think toilet water and hair.)

Witnessing the transgression, I'm overcome.  I'm a mother lioness.  And mother lionesses hate to see their cubs hurt, especially by obnoxious 5 year olds who are so entitled, that even at their young age, they don't curb their behavior when an adult is watching.  

I fantasize making a voodoo doll of the little shit and sticking a pin through his eyes.

It's beneath me, I know.  I'm the grown-up, the literal bigger person, but in that moment, watching a small's soul get crushed just a little with some nasty, mean comment, I have an overwhelming urge to forego any thought of chronological age.  I want to channel Dirty Harry, make the little shit pee in his pants, ensuring he'll think twice about ever being that not nice to anyone again.  You feeling lucky, punk?

Come on.  I know you've felt, at least in passing, the same primal urge rise up in you too.

These moments give such clarity as to who these mean smalls are going to grow up to be.  I recognize people I know, people I dislike and, in turn,  I get a clear sense of who they were as smalls.  

Compassion is not the by-product.  I just don't feel it.  Big or small, I wanna punch them out either way.

Somehow, I find the inner strength to control myself.  I dazzle.  

Then, I make a note to self: stay away from the little shit's parents, because I just probably witnessed the kind of people they must be...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Everyone has fantasies. Maybe when you were small it was the fantasy of the purple bike with the flowered banana seat. Perhaps you even went so far as to imagine it with a basket.

Later, it was the fantasy of blue eyes when you had brown, or curly hair if you had straight. Fantasizing about being taller, thinner, prettier, smarter... We've all had some of those.

The college years, and maybe into your mid-twenties, we fantasized about the perfect job or perfect career. We obsessed about a guy or several guys, imagining what it would be like to be with them. Of course, the fantasy of taller, thinner, prettier and smarter still existed, it's just that the list of fantasies grew longer.

Then, when you found the right guy, it was fantasies with him -- your life together, what that life would be like, the imaginary kids you'd have in that fantastic fantasy life...

And now, having actually gotten a taste of some of the fantasies that you wished for, one finds themselves fantasizing about the life you had before it all. Not forever, mind you, just for a day or so, or maybe every now and then.

You know, where you fantasize about a guy you aren't going home to, in a life where there are no consequences or kids or laundry. A life where you go to the spa and the gym whenever you want and look fabulous, so that, even at your age, some guy might still fantasize about you.

But, as I wait to pick up my beloved real life smalls, who are no longer a fantasy, I wouldn't mind a couple of days of the other. A car's horn brings me back to reality, and perhaps, the torture of middle age...

Yet there is one constant : I still long to be taller, thinner, prettier and smarter.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

how's your pick-up line?

Daycare, preschool, elementary or middle school, picking up the smalls is challenging work.

Remember the good ole days?  School buses were a common sight?  Everyone got on 'em and got off 'em?  Well, not anymore, at least not in my asphalt jungle.   We schlep.

If you want to walk-in and pick up smalls, one must first find a parking space.  This can be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack, and usually, with my luck, the space I find has a meter flashing "FAILED."  Every time this happens, I find myself in the same quandary -- to park or not to park, that is the question.  Once I discovered that the meters can automatically reset themselves at any time when "FAILED," hence forcing a kind of parking ticket Russian roulette, I've hesitated taking the gamble.

Sitting in the parked car, no other parking space in sight, it's tempting to throw caution to the wind.  But then, the price of the damn parking ticket crosses your frontal lobe, paralyzing you.  You weigh the scenarios in your head, never able to come up with any sort of good odds either way.  The ultimate result, whether you take the gamble and stay parked at the malfunctioning meter or move on to search for another parking spot, is that you are usually late to pick up your small.  The look on a small's face of both excitement and accusation as they sit waiting for you, the last or next to last kiddo left in the place, socks even the most cavalier parent in the gut.

Then there is the drive-thru option.  Perhaps yours is filled with rules: cars on the left, or only on the right.  Don't block a driveway, or an exit, or extend the line of cars into the street.  Leave room for other cars going the opposite direction, get your child quickly into the car because look at all the anxious parents waiting behind you to pick up their small.  Hurry.  The other parents are watching.  Did I mention that they're waiting.  WAITING.  OMG, I think one of them just took out a stop watch.

The pressure is palpable.

One of my smalls just started Kindergarten.  I wait in a coned off area of the school parking lot to pick him up because I'm too intimidated to attempt the drive-thru while we're still trying to find our way through these first overwhelming weeks of school.  I hold up a placard with my small's name on it, like I'm a limo driver waiting at the airport for an important client.  I look around, realizing that I am in a sea of placards, each bearing the name of someone's small. The atmosphere has a "pick me, pick me," quality to it.  Tension is in the air as I raise my placard a bit higher so that my small's name can be called, and I suddenly feel as if I'm in the pit of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, trading pork bellies as other parents placards block my view...

And, in spite of the ridiculousness of it, I chuckle.  Because, really, who are we kidding?  We are Limo drivers waiting on our most important client -- our smalls.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

and his name is murphy

Have you ever had one of those days?

Wait.  Don't answer that.  I know you have.

You feel like a black cloud is following you around, and you're just sure that you are being persecuted for some past life event that you aren't even aware of.

You lock your keys in your car like a moron, as you are rushing to the most important of meetings -- job interview, private school interview, or seeing your ex-boyfriend who's in town for business and you really want to see how good he looks with an additional 20+ years, 2 kids and dyspepsia, not to mention display how awesome you are looking nowadays -- see what you missed, asshole.

Or, perhaps you've encountered the money hell day, when the noise the car's been making, which really didn't seem like a big deal because it is still getting you where you need to go, but you have it checked out "just in case", turns into a thousand dollar extravaganza.  Then, simultaneously, you get a bill from the doctor much larger than you thought because your insurance didn't cover it (even though when you called, they said they would) and you know what fighting that city hall is like... Culminating in the very unpleasant realization that your property tax is due, like NOW, and since it's been sitting on the bottom of the bill pile for oh-so-long, you thought maybe elves would make it disappear.

I've had too many of those charmers.

And then there is the equipment trifecta, where the dishwasher conspires with the garage opener, who tells his pal the toilet (or insert any other necessary appliance here) to mutiny.  Usually said mutiny occurs at just the most inopportune time -- you're having the boss for dinner, your kids birthday party is about to get underway (and the picture of squatting people using your backyard as nature's toilet is just too scary to think about, especially when you have trouble keeping up with the dog's leftovers) or you are facing the week from hell with not a moment of time available to wait for a service call.

Or the grand finale: no matter how long you wait for that very important phone call, it always occurs when you are on the toilet. (Which explains, I think, the ingenious phenomenon of hotels having phones in the bathroom, but that's another story.)

You get the picture.  There are many models of the same sort of scenario and all of them suck.

And then it strikes you  -- that ole Murphy's Law.  Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.  It's true.  It's like magic.  Everyone knows it, believes it, acknowledges it.

Which led me to this: why, then, isn't good ole Murphy God?  Why aren't we heading into houses of worship to pray to him?  I mean, Murphy shows up every day.  Around the world, everyone knows he's real.  We don't need all those different religions getting all proprietary over their God.  We have Murphy, he's our man!  I declare the new worldwide religion - Murphyism.

Think about it.

How many wars would never again be fought and how many lives would be saved?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

it's okay if you are sans small

I have friends that don't have smalls.  I respect that.  Really, I do.

In fact, sometimes I even envy it, say around that time when your child has climbed in and out of the booth at the restaurant 30 times, and you've told them not to climb in and out of the booth 40 times, which has now only resulted in spilled lemonade on your lap.  Or, when you are on the phone discussing your latest complicated billing fiasco with "Mike," who is clearly in India, and whose real name you probably couldn't pronounce so when they told him to pick a name, Mike seemed pretty good and all-American and although your billing problem really isn't that complicated, the oceans and languages that separate you and "Mike" definitely make it seem complicated and your small is freaking out because they just can't grasp the fact that you are on the phone talking to another human being and not giving them your undivided attention.

Yeah, it's kinda in those times that I'm envying the sans small thing.

But, I do have smalls.  2 of them, in fact.  And while I'm trying really hard to keep up with the days current events, read a good book or two, and actually get my ass out of the house to see a movie so that I could engage in some sort of scintillating conversation with other grown ups, you have got to cut me some slack. I'm trying to get as irritated as you are about the political state of affairs in this country; I'm trying to keep up with your latest mini-drama with your friend who did that awful thing to you so you don't want anything to do with them anymore although I've gotten the latest installments regarding the saga for the past 3 months, and I'm trying really hard to keep up with the newest and latest restaurants in town.  I don't want to be a loser.  I don't want to be a bore.  I'm just a little tired and, frankly, saturated with Monster dreams, explaining why homeless people have no home, and wondering if my kid will be psychologically damaged if I admit that the tooth fairy is bullshit.

It would be great if I was allowed to share a little of this with you without having to endure the glazed look that comes over your face.  I'm not trying to be one of those nauseating people who talks about their smalls incessantly, as if they have achieved nothing else in life or as if it is the most important thing to you too...  But this is my life, and I'm interested in getting your input because I like you and I respect you.

Couldn't we meet halfway?  I mean, you were a small once too.  Right?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

drip, drip, drip, drip...

The Chinese understood the torture of a continuous bother; the drip of water that never ended.  Like an itch that can't be scratched, a question without an answer, heading down a road to nowhere...

Or, the incessant asking of questions that only smalls have perfected.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

mothering is not a competitive sport

I am always amused, and sometimes irritated that some Mothers think that Motherhood should be an Olympic sport.  Instead of supporting each other, some Moms sit in judgment of other Moms, and sometimes even turn on them.  Charming.  My guess is, if one of these women was reincarnated as a gerbil, she'd be the one who would eat the other gerbil's young.

In my experience, it's the Mom who is oh-so- Martha, you know, she makes her own dirt and all, who is the most guilty.

Look lady, I'm thrilled that you only buy organic, make your own baby food, and that your craft projects are like a cottage industry.  I think it's fantastic that you don't allow your child to play with guns, transformers or any other commercial super hero.  It's fabulous that your children only have wooden toys and don't watch TV.  And I'm impressed that the names Dora, Uniqua, and Ming-Ming have no special meaning to your kid. Really.

But, could you just accept the fact that I can't sustain your exemplary standards?  It isn't personal.  I'm actually comforted by the knowledge that your life is harder than mine.

Oh, and by the way, I know what you're thinking, so let me help you out - no, these rules by which you live will NOT guarantee your child a place at Harvard, so lose the attitude.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

in the beginning

I knew that I always wanted children.  It wasn't something I thought about a lot, it just was, kind of like breathing.  It only became top of mind when I had trouble doing it.  Numerous Doctors and lots of money later, I was lucky enough to have my own 2 kiddos.

When I was pregnant, I read every book I could get my hands on.  What was going on in there?  I could never seem to get enough information.  So, it didn't seem too far fetched to think that I kind of knew what was going to happen, and what to expect, ya know, being a mother and all...


While the basic science of what was going on in my body was laid out pretty straightforwardly, the experience with the resulting human being was sugar coated to the extreme, in my opinion.  Yeah, there was the love.  The kind of love you've never felt before.  Better than first love. Better than great sex.  It was real love, the love, and that was kind of that.  There were the other books that dealt with the physical idiosyncrasies of the small that you brought home, for example, the freaky Moro reflex that makes all infants look like Uncle Fester stepping on a banana peel.  But, not one book dealt with the shocking fact that you were actually allowed to bring this strange creature home.  Alone.

I mean, for me, I had no idea what to do.  It didn't matter that I'd read all the damn books.  I just knew that I was responsible for this tiny person.  I felt like I worked in a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and that someone had just handed me a, er, let's say a mongoose, and told me, "Keep it alive."  And how, pray tell, do I do that?  This mongoose is so needy and so fragile.  Surely I'm going to fuck this up and break it.

It is true, the baby was kind of cute.  I knew I was supposed to love it, so I felt some sort of attachment (the thing had grown inside my body). But, the truth is, I felt scared more than anything.  I kept on wondering when someone was going to walk through the door and say, "Just kidding!" and take the poor pathetic babe away and really take care of it.

I spent a lot of time those first few weeks feeling awfully guilty.  Clearly I was a horrible mother.  No one talked about feeling like I was feeling.  It was all supposed to be animated birds, yummy love.  There was something very, very wrong with me.

And then, almost miraculously, one day something happened...

I was sitting, staring at my son, pondering what I needed to do next to keep him alive, and he smiled.  Look, I know he was too young for it to be a real smile, but he looked at me and felt a gas bubble in his belly simultaneously, which resulted in a sort of wince which sort of looked like a smile.  And, in the same way I am SURE that my dog smiles when I scratch his belly just right, I knew that my kid was smiling at me. Somehow my son knew it was ME -- the big, out of focus whale that comforted him when he cried, who changed his diaper and fed him.  I was his whale.  And he smiled (or had gas) at ME!

Then, ladies and gentlemen, I knew of what people spoke.  I was done.

getting with the progam

I never thought I'd blog.  I mean, everyone else does it, but it is so uncool.  

Come on, let's face it, it's the ultimate narcissistic take on the diary, the new technological right of passage for the journal.  Right?  At least, in the past, diaries and journals were usually kept to oneself for posterity. Unless, that is, your Mom or significant other got a hold of it.  Then, well, it was deep doo-doo.  But today, when the world seems to revolve around the axis of ME, ME, ME, letting the cyber world know what is on your mind is where it's happening.  

That being said, I figure if I can't beat 'em, I'm gonna join 'em.  

So, sit back and listen to my fateful tale (or tales) as I come up with them.  Not sure how prolific I will be -- guess the cooperation of the smalls will have something to do with that.

The journey has begun...