Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Three Things

A word of advice to any cheating husbands who profess to want to save their marriages: stop talking about how much you love the other woman. It doesn't help.

What's up with all that, anyway? Why does Governor Sanford insist on sharing his feelings with the press? How besotted can one guy be? Has he doodled his and his paramour's initials on his desk in the South Carolina State House yet?


I can't tell you how disturbing it is to me to realize that every single day disgruntled parents are Googling "ungrateful grown children." How do I know that there are so many people dissatisfied with their adult offspring's behavior? Because this post comes up first. They all come here, these Ghosts of Parenting Future, not realizing that I cannot help them.

Go away - please. You're scaring me.


Today I had to submit an invoice detailing what I had done on my new job so that I could be paid. Imagine if I could do that with my full-time job here at home:
  1. Serving and clean-up of meals - 3 hours @ $10 per hour - $30
  2. Wiping down 2 bathrooms - 15 minutes - $2.50
  3. Reading A Baby Sister For Frances - 15 minutes plus the Frances book surcharge of $5 - $7.50
  4. Wiping 2 poopy bottoms @ $10 per bottom (hey, that's what Anna tried charging me once) - $20
  5. 2 loads of laundry @ $5 a load - $10
  6. Showing up at the pool in a bathing suit - let's see, public humiliation goes for, oh, $30 an hour, I'd say - so I'll charge $60.
  7. Settling fights and supervising chores - flat daily rate of $100 (it's a bargain!)
Let's see...that all adds up to....hey! $230! Not bad work, if you can get it. Now if I only had someone to submit this invoice to...

Monday, June 29, 2009

On Top Of Spaghetti....

Okay, appliance verses tomorrow - I've got a headache this evening, so it's too hard to do all that cutting and pasting right now.

Why is it that, the minute I sit down to write a dinner menu for the 2 (or 3, or 4) weeks ahead, I can't remember any meals in my repertoire?

Yesterday, prior to my commissary trip, I was attempting to remember what the heck I cook for dinner every night; when I asked the kids to name their favorite meals, Larry kept chiming in with "Spaghetti!"

Around about the 7th or 8th time, I tried to set him straight:

Spaghetti is not an entree. Spaghetti is one part of an entree. Stop saying spaghetti!

(Sounding hurt) I was just trying to help.

Do you really think that writing "spaghetti" on this calendar makes it a meal? Spaghetti is just white flour. You can't serve white flour for dinner.

Well, you can serve it with something else.


I don't know.

Sheesh - for a man who can make his own pizzelles, he's acting awfully clueless. I suspect it's learned helplessness, and it definitely works. I never ask him to cook dinner unless I want the kids to have hotdogs. Just hotdogs.


I interrupt this post to inform my readers that menopausal hot flashes can make your fingers sweat.


I've spent the day exulting over my blog makeover. When Larry came home this evening, I asked, "So! Did you notice my new look?"

Poor guy. He scanned my hair and clothes for any possible clues and, coming up empty, ventured, "It looks nice?"

You've got to hand it to him - he goes down swinging.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


[Welcome, Women's Colony readers! If you'd like to read more about what I've learned as the mother of a teen daughter, just check out this post, or maybe this one...or, hey! Here's another one! Of course, I like to take my mind off my teen every once in a while by writing instead about vomit, or plumbing, or....well, why don't you just make yourselves at home and look around? There's sure to be something to please everyone. Excuse the mess - we've just gone through a little remodel here.]

Ta-da! I swear, if I had that orange header one more minute, I may have had to quit blogging. You know how you can go along and go along and go along with your same old hair style; and then one day you wake up and realize that you will vomit if you see yourself looking like that one more day?

No? Oh.

Anyway, that's how I felt about my blog layout. Plus, I was hankering after a 3-column set-up and Blogger didn't have any in its free templates. Lucky for me, Dawn just happened to open her blog design shop at the same time I was hitting the wall, template-wise, as it were.

Now, I know there are some of you out there who are thinking, "3 columns? Ads? Custom layout? Is this a change of life thing, or what?" Perhaps. But I prefer to think of it as a new pair of shoes from Target - I don't need them, but they sure as heck spiff up my day a bit.

I mean, look at those polka-dots up there - don't they just scream fun?


Although I desperately wanted a new look, this was not an easy transition for me. Let me just say that Dawn has the patience of a saint, if my sending her upwards of 30 e-mails during this blog design process is any indication. She unwisely tried to encourage my creative side by sending me to these amazing websites which feature approximately gazillion template backgrounds.

Has anyone else noticed that the more choices you have, the pickier you get?

It was hopeless. I ended up just naming my colors and Dawn sent me 3 choices. After she designed an entire layout for the background I chose, I decided that I had picked the wrong one. At that point she should have refunded me my money and asked me to please go away. But she hung in there. That's dedication.


We'll return to our previously scheduled appliance verse tomorrow. Also, I have a new Larry story. Y'all come back now, you hear?

For Better Or For Verse

Larry and Theo returned last night in time for dinner; and Larry made a point of grabbing me and giving me a kiss when he came in. Sweet?

I think not. The man came home with some mystery virus that kept him feverish and asleep on the couch all evening. He claims he didn't realize he was sick until halfway through dinner. I think he was trying to exact revenge for being made to sleep on a schoolroom floor for a week with a bunch of teenagers while I reveled in the comforts of home.

But that's all right - I'm no slouch at revenge myself (18 years of marriage will do that to you). I forgot to put Susie's diaper on last night, which negligence resulted in her peeing all over him at 5 this morning.

Larry changed and relocated (grumpily) to the couch while I dealt with changing Susie and stripping the bed. As I was contemplating what to do about the wet mattress, Susie (who was standing next to me) provided her assessment of the situation. "We have a problem here," she said.

Um, yes, we do, sweetie. As in, you should have peed in your own bed.


I'm impressed with the creativity in Friday's comments (and, uh, did anyone "get" my post title that day? Just wondering...). The appliance poetry ranges from ee cummings to Shakespeare. You really should check it out and send in your own.

If I'm feeling really ambitious, I'll post the entries tomorrow and set up a poll so people can vote for the best one. I should have plenty of time to figure that all out, as I'm still not talking to Larry.

Oh, and Mom On The Verge shared this website. It features appliance-repair haikus. The internet is a strange and wonderful place indeed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Because I Would Not Shop In Debt...

Another comment from Cheri@BlogThisMom (and why don't I just hand this whole blog over to her, while I'm at it?):

Why stop now? I challenge your other readers to do some blender Browning, oven Plath, microwave Cummings, and perhaps even some BBQ Frost. This could be fun.

"oven Plath"? Is Cheri one sick puppy or what? I love it.

Elizabeth suggested "Stopping By My Freezer on a Snowy Evening." How about the rest of you? Send in your submissions (hopefully more than a title, maybe a first verse?) for our all-new appliance poetry slam; prizes not guaranteed, as I am the most unreliable blogger ever.


Larry and Theo are away all week, working on other people's houses (have I mentioned that already? Do I sound bitter, or what?); I took advantage of Larry's absence to hold another Pampered Chef fundraiser at my house. I figured, so long as he was gone, he couldn't possibly sabotage my efforts like last time.

[Again, newbies, click on that link. It's classic Larry...]

I'll tell you, it was a pleasure having a kitchen floor to walk on this time. It was way too hot to bother to clean my oven, but that's okay. I think more than once every 2 years would be a bit excessive, don't you?

Anyway, when Larry called yesterday evening, I casually mentioned the day's activities. Folks, I never knew one can feel panic and apprehension coming over the phone wire. I could almost hear him wondering if he could get in touch with the credit card company pronto and stop all payments.

(Nice try, sweetie - but I paid cash.)

You'd think I had a history of spending all his hard-earned money on Pampered Chef products. Please. Last time (more than a year and a half ago), I spent less than 50 dollars. This time around? I bought a replacement cutting board - my wooden one is so old and warped it curves upward in the middle. A cutting board, mind you, that I use at least once a day. Also? I got a grater. Because the Tupperware grater that I picked up 10 years ago at a thrift shop has gone missing.

My point being, Larry doesn't know how lucky he is.


I'm trying not to babble on about Michael Jackson, about how his music formed the soundtrack of my 20's and I can't hear any of those songs without getting incredibly nostalgic and gosh where has the time gone and wow how did he dance like that and please don't remind me of that weird pedophilia business, okay?

But it's all I can think about. Me and the rest of the world, it seems. Who cares about that incipient revolution in Iran? Or those nukes headed our way from North Korea? Let's listen again to "Billy Jean" and try to convince ourselves that he's not saying, "The chair is not my son."

(Watch this video - it's not all Michael. It's funny.)

As for Farrah Fawcett, I would like to point out that my entire 7th-grade year was ruined by the fact that I couldn't get my hair to feather on the sides like hers did. I know it's petty, but I never really forgave her for that. Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Poetry Slam

Cheri at Blog This Mom commented yesterday on the death of my dishwasher:

Any KitchenAid death diminishes me, because my dishes are in this model too, and therefore never send to know for whom the repairman tolls; it tolls for thee.

My apologies to John Donne.

Apparently I am not the only one who waxes poetic over household appliances.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


As recorded previously on this blog, almost 2 years ago I gave my heart to my KitchenAid dishwasher, with its sleek stainless steel interior; its roomy racks that held everything from dinner plates to 6-qt pots uncomplainingly; its silverware basket tucked demurely to the side, out of the way but useful. For almost 2 years it's been a part of my life, and now....now...the repairman has advised me to move on.

It's over, he said; go to BestBuy and find a new machine, ma'am, one that won't break your heart.

How can I be that callous? For me, a relationship with an appliance is a serious thing, a commitment even (just hush up about that little frost-free fling I had in February, all right?). How can I turn my back on an appliance that served me well for almost 2 years, washing my dishes (and drying them - without bickering) twice a day? Oh, yes, there was that rough spot when it refused to latch shut - but we got past that. I learned to forgive and forget, never realizing - alas! - that our days together were numbered.

O KitchenAid! My KitchenAid! Our fearful trip is done!
Our dishes stacked in every rack, no load left unrun;

Repairman's here, dishwasher dear, the children all exulting,

While follow eyes his steady hand, his toolbag grim and daring:

But O heart! Heart! Heart!

O, empty detergent cup!

On the floor my KitchenAid lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

[With sincere apologies to Mr. Walt Whitman]

Monday, June 22, 2009

Too Trivial To Be Censored

Just so you know... if you ever have an appliance repairman in your house (a long-awaited appliance repairman) and he says to you, "Excuse me, ma'am? We have a problem"....

You have a problem. Particularly if the appliance in question is a dishwasher and there are two meals worth of dirty dishes waiting on the counter because today is the day that the dishwasher is going to be fixed so why bother washing them by hand?

Yup - I jinxed myself.


I think that Larry will find it hard to criticize my blogging habit as a waste of time anymore - that is, not if he believes in the fight against political oppression and the importance of democratic values. Check out this doozy of an article in The New York Times. Here's a sample (boldface emphasis is mine):

As it happens, Mr. Zuckerman said, the Iranian government’s censorship task has been made harder because there is a thriving blogging community there...

...there is something satisfying about a country being assisted by ordinary bloggers who suddenly show their skills in organizing and belief in basic political principles. It harks back to heroes like the Roman leader Cincinnatus, a farmer who had to be persuaded to lead the republic in a time of need and after succeeding quickly returned to the farm...

Mr. Zuckerman emphasizes that it is precisely the ordinary blogs that are important in times of political upheaval - they slide under the wire of government censorship, but are written by people who have already earned the trust of their readers.

In other words, lolcat blogs and mommy bloggers have the potential to be the vanguard in the defense of our democratic ideals. That is, if we can get ourselves to take time away from photographing the contents of our refrigerators and such.

I swear, I'm not making this up. Go read it yourselves. I've got to get to bed. There are dishes to wash tomorrow. And...um....governments to topple...

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I was surprised to wake up this morning to a bright sunny day. So surprised that I thought it might deserve a mention on my blog, something along the lines of "Today was notable in that it didn't rain."

[Yes, it's strange - nay, pathetic, even - that I start composing blog posts first thing in the morning, before I even get out of bed. I don't want to talk about it.]

But then it rained. Again. It's been raining a lot. Every single day, actually...

So! We live on a golf course. This morning I saw a bunch (a school? a club? a clutch?) of golfers who were determined to get their Father's Day round of golf in. They were very wet.

Besides being Father's Day, today is also my birthday. (Like how I buried the lead?) Because Larry and Theo had to leave this morning for a week of work camp, Larry skipped work Friday to take us blueberry picking, just like last year; unlike last year, however, no one pooped in her pants while we were thus employed. Progress, folks, we're making progress...

If any of you weren't hanging around here a year ago, you really should check out that link. I used to be more amusing, apparently.

Yesterday we celebrated Father's Day (it's confusing, I know; just try to keep up). I would have insisted on that particular arrangement - even if Larry were here today - just so I wouldn't have to share my birthday with his special day. I can be territorial that way.

Did I ever mention that I have a friend whose husband's birthday is February 14? And that every year she has to hear him grumble about being required to give her a present on his birthday?

Where was I? Do we need a recap? My birthday, two days early, on Friday; Father's Day, one day early, on Saturday - and today? I've been left alone for the week with the 4 youngest kids. That means that - any minute now -

  1. All the light bulbs will need changing (how many short people do you need to change a light bulb? Punch line, anyone? Shellie?)
  2. an as-yet-unnamed appliance will breathe its last
  3. some rodent (or 2 or 3) will take up residence in my home.

But I'm okay with all that, because....


Oh, glorious day! It's been a looong time.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Conversation Larry and I had this morning:

Wow! Look at that rain!
Coming down in buckets - amazing!
No pool today, that's for sure...

Conversation I wish we had had:

Wow! Look at that rain!
Hey! Did you by some freak chance leave the sliding door open on your brand-new, not-yet-paid-for minivan?
(Slapping forehead) I did! I'm running out there to close it right now, before it's too late!

Sigh...suggestions for drying out a car's interior, anyone?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Food, Exciting and (Not) New....

I am devastated. I wrote a witty first paragraph here and discovered, when I went to link something to a previous fridge post, that I had written almost the exact same witticisms 4 months ago.

In other words, I'm all washed up. Next thing you know, I'll be appearing on The Loveboat.

So let's just get on with it, shall we?

Readers will note that I am once again segregating glass and plastics. I don't know why. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Strike that - I've made that joke before, too.

On the left, from bottom to top:
  1. Mexican chicken with black beans - we love this meal. Everyone eats it. But it disappeared toward the back of the fridge (as I've stated before, refrigerators are built too deep) and now it is past its prime. Hasta la vista! (Did that sentence make sense? I don't speak Spanish.)
  2. Enchilala Duff - everyone used to love this. I don't know what happened.
  3. Leftover sloppy joes - see #1
  4. Leftover skillet lasagna - this one is probably a candidate for radiocarbon dating. You see, we just had skillet lasagna and this wasn't leftover from that batch. Confusing, I know. [Whoops, I made that radiocarbon dating joke before, also. I'm a has-been - a comedic has-been.] [Is "has-been" a word? It looks really weird.]
On the right, from top to bottom (just to confuse you further):
  1. Yogurt that expired June 8th - another victim of fridge depth
  2. Applesauce jar - empty - there's another almost-full one in the refrigerator....I know, I know, I'm destroying a work of art .
  3. Raisin oatmeal - I just can't help myself.

Some limp stalks of celery languish in the foreground of this picture, mostly because none of my children understand the command (given in perfectly good English), "Put the celery in the Tupperware celery keeper, dammit." (Yes, I do speak in bold font when talking to my children. Sometimes I speak in italicized bold font, also. Nothing works, though.) The celery (remember? we were talking about celery) is accompanied by a derelict bag of baby carrots (found, of course, in the back of the fridge).

Let me leave you now with the tune that is currently running through my head:

For those of you who managed to sit through that piece of 70's memorabilia, did you notice that one of the guests was McLean Stevenson? What was up with that? And have I ever mentioned how much I wanted to be Julie? So perky! And pretty! And did I mention perky? As Julie, I could have maybe snagged that cute yeoman (what was his name? Gopher?).

In case you have not yet figured it out, I possessed no semblance of a social life during my teen years. I should ask Larry to give me the DVD set for my birthday (coming up!). I could make Anna stay home some weekend and watch it with me. You know, just so's she can appreciate her relatively fun-filled teenage existence....sort of a Scared Straight for chronically petulant adolescent girls...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

She Works Hard For The Money...

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled subjects. It's raining today, and...


Oh, that! That ad-looking type thing over to there to the left? That Blogher ad, in fact? Do you think it sticks out too much? I wasn't too sure what to do about the code, and then I...


Oh. Oh, yes, I guess I did make fun of all the Blogher convention fuss last year, didn't I? Well...heh, heh...what are a few jokes among friends, right?

Excuse me?

No, I'm not a hypocrite; let's not be self-righteous prigs with the name-calling here, all right? It's a simple business relationship - Blogher puts its ads in my sidebar; people visit; I get paid money. You don't even have to click on the ad, and I still get paid! Isn't America great?

How much money? Well, I hate to boast here, but I might even be able to pull down close to 30 dollars a month. Yup - that works out to approximately a dollar a day - what a great way to make money! Tell all your friends!

Larry was quick to point out that I can make way more at my part-time job, which is true. But my part-time job doesn't let me post pictures of my refrigerator on the company website. And no one there wants to hear me complain about bra-shopping, either...

Where were we before y'all interrupted me, anyway? Oh, yes, it's raining yet again and I'm neglecting the house-crazy children in order to pursue my new career as an armchair revolutionary. I'm obsessed with the Twitpics coming out of Iran; my Twitter profile is shaded green; and I've switched my time/location stamp to Tehran (supposedly that makes it harder for the protest Twitterers to be found, but I sure can't figure out why).

We are all Tehranis? Iranis? This protest still needs a good slogan (although "Where's My Vote?" isn't bad...)

When I'm not busy reTweeting messages from purported protesters, I'm checking out which ads that Blogher sees fit to post here. So far, it's been all about Wii and grocery shopping. That's way better than when I tried Google Ads (a long time ago) - they kept putting up ads for puppy obedience training. I don't even have a puppy. Apparently, someone at Blogher ads (unlike Google Adsense) actually reads my blog. Poor dear...

Then again, she's probably making more than a dollar a day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Taking Care Of Those Who Serve

It's funny, how we Americans argue back and forth about the merits of government v private enterprise. Do we ever consider that either way, things are being run by flawed human beings? Could it perhaps be true that the human race is terminally incompetent? A sobering thought indeed...

Take, for instance, Mary Alice's dilemma - a military wife, in quasi-military housing. You see, a number of years ago, some people decided that military housing might be more efficiently managed if it were privately run. This made sense to many of us who have resided in military housing, in a system that could be, let's say, unresponsive - dilatory - inefficient. "Hey," we thought, "it couldn't be worse! Let's give that profit motive idea a try!"

As a result, many housing areas were essentially auctioned off to the highest bidder who agreed to maintain the houses to a certain standard. In turn, that bidder would receive the occupant's housing allowance as rent. So long, Soviet-style bureaucrats managing repairs! Hello, profit-oriented efficient businessmen!

Only, not. Check out this post of Mary Alice's. Things are the same (if not worse) for military members residing in these domiciles - poor customer service, lackluster repairs, no cosmetic upkeep. And, worst of all, when she complained about the situation on her blog, her husband's commander asked her to please be quiet.

(Actually, he told her husband to tell her to please pipe down. Those of us who know Mary Alice can only imagine with what trepidation her poor husband passed on this message to his beloved. Poor guy...)

In my view, the military should be outraged about this situation and should be yanking the housing contract from whoever currently holds it. What could be worse for a deployed soldier/airman/etc than to have to worry (while in a war zone) that his family is without a fridge? Or that his pregnant wife is having to mow the lawn? Or that an unrepaired leak is now causing mold to grow within the walls of his home?

Talk about a morale-buster, eh?

Yo! Military! You want the rest of America to treat our soldiers right - how's about setting a good example?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Don't Forget To Buckle In

Shannon, of Rocks in My Dryer, is talking about parenting advice at (where else?) Parenting.com today. So I started thinking, what was the best parenting advice I received? There were all the nitty-gritty details, of course: sleep when the new baby sleeps, freeze extra dinners on the weekend, don't neglect your spouse....the list goes on and on.

But, really, the best advice was one sentence spoken to me (by an experienced dad of 4, of course) when I was only 3 months pregnant with my first child. "Don't expect everything to be perfect," he said.

Don't expect everything to be perfect? Well, of course I wouldn't do that! What a nonsensical thing to say. I filed his advice in that section of my brain where I store other useless info and forgot about it.

It took 4 kids and 10 years for that valuable piece of advice to resurface. It took a decade of dealing with fussy babies and dirty diapers and screaming tantrums; a decade of watching, helplessly, as laundry and dishes piled up, and up, and up, despite my best efforts; a decade of Larry and I running ourselves ragged in an attempt to make everything run smoothly...and suddenly I heard, "Don't expect everything to be perfect."


It turns out that life with a bunch of small children is way less stressful if you expect the clean clothes to be found in the laundry baskets, and the clean dishes to be found (if you are lucky) in the dishwasher; it's much less nerve wracking if you expect that at any point of the day there will be one child whining or two children bickering or one toilet overflowing....

Some may accuse me of lowering the bar. I just call it being realistic. And if I should stumble on one "perfect" day, I will have the opportunity of being pleasantly surprised.

Hey, do any of us get on a roller coaster expecting a smooth ride? No! The whole point of the ride are the ups and the downs and the loop-de-loops. So next time things in your house start reaching your breaking level of chaos, just raise your arms in the air and yell, "Whooo-eeeee!"

I guarantee, you'll feel better. And it will definitely freak out the children.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Parenting Ain't A Cakewalk

What? You don't recognize it? I'll give you a hint - it was David's birthday. Now do you see it? No?

Yeah, well I don't either. David was attempting to create (in the admittedly difficult medium of cupcakes) a replica of a Saturn 5 rocket atop his cake. He apparently takes after me in decorating skills, poor dear.

And if you knew how long it took me to get that picture on here, you'd be disgusted. Almost as long as it took to make the cake, all right?

It tasted good though. Totally wrecked my diet.


Job? What job? Am I supposed to be working right now? Bummer.


I received my annual parenting shot in the arm today at our local homeschool conference. That's right, Dr. Ray Guarendi was once more on hand to remind me that

I am the parent.
It is MY house.
It is MY computer.
It is MY television.
It is MY cellphone.

Sometimes I just forget the basics, you know? You can click on that link if you need a refresher. Or go to his website - Dr. Ray has a great sense of humor (let's face it, he needs it - he and his wife are raising 10 children).


My font keeps changing. I don't know why and I can't fix it. That must mean it is time to go to bed....

Friday, June 12, 2009


Gosh, I would love to post something right now; but I'm too busy having a nervous breakdown. I don't understand what my new supervisor at my new wonderful job is asking me to do. Picture that Far Side cartoon where all the dog can understand his owner saying is his name (I'm the dog); I am expecting her to tell me to please go away any time now.

My little girls are bored and I can't fix that. So they spend their time irritating each other (and me): "Stop humming! Stop humming that! Stop it!" yells Rachel. "Hmmmmmmmm," says Susie. On and on and on and on...

I was supposed to do a fridge clean-out post, but Larry went and emptied out all the containers I had neatly stacked by the sink and washed them and dried them and put them away. How dare he?

Now Susie doesn't like what we are having for lunch. Any of it. She is rolling around on the floor by my computer chair and moaning, "I'm hungry." On and on and on and on...

We are still waiting for the appliance man to install our apparently hard-to-get dishwasher motor. I have been washing the dishes by hand for at least 6 weeks now, with the kids drying them. Folks, prior to this dishwasherless experience, I thought that I had experienced the worst these children could throw at me in the way of bickering with each other. I was a battle-hardened mom who had heard it all.

I was wrong. The little darlings have ramped up to the point where they are arguing over each spoon, each little plastic IKEA bowl, each you-name-it - if it exists, it can be fought over. "You dry it!" "No, you dry it!" they spar. Lord help me, I fantasize about using their dishtowels to tie gags over their mouths.

So that is why I haven't been able to write a decent post. I'm sorry. I miss you all. Please visit anyway and tell me this is just a bad day and not the rest of my life. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

She's Leaving, On A Jet Plane...

Anna left on her excellent European vacation today.

Take that, any readers who think we are just so mean to our daughter, by the way...

Yesterday Anna and I managed to get through the suitcase purchase and the shoes-suitable-for-walking-through-European-cities purchase without any blood spilled whatsoever. It was amazing. I began to fantasize that maybe things were getting better between us; maybe, just maybe, she could actually stand being around me. What brought me back to reality was watching her put her packed suitcases in our friend's car (aka the escape vehicle). I swear, I never saw her move so fast.

I made her come back for a good-bye hug, though.

Oh, and you want to hear something amazing? Unlike every other grown person alive, Anna doesn't need to floss her teeth. Ever. Really! She told me so. Isn't that great?

I made her pack the floss anyway. Because I'm an annoying old lady with nothing better to do than harass my teen daughter. It's sad, really. Why don't I get a life?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Rest Assured, It's All About Me

I received a couple of comments on this post from a couple of days ago expressing worry that I am not being fair to my Anna. Ilana, in particular, worries that I am cultivating such a wall of resentment against my daughter that, even when/if she should attempt to reconcile with us (as she matures), I will not be able to meet her halfway.

Apparently, Ilana never read this post. That experience taught me that - hard as it is for my present-day self to believe - when/if Anna returns as a delightful young woman, I will welcome her with open arms. And I qualify that statement with an "if" only because I know women who, although they did mature into fine adults, never really wanted to reconnect with their parents. It happens, folks - so I am a trifle guarded in my expectations.

Truly, I empathize with Anna (but I don't tell her that, because she loathes hearing it). I remember feeling the way she does, wanting to be grown-up and independent and in control of my own life and not being able to, mostly because I was only 15 or 16 and - quite frankly - sort of an idiot, life-skills-wise. I can see my middle-aged self through her eyes and feel repulsed. Is it any wonder I don't mind sending her away for almost a month? I can't stand myself when she's around.

I would hope that it would be clear to most of my readers that in 99 percent of these posts, the joke is on myself (or Larry - sorry, honey). Even in the aforementioned post (where I comment on Anna's toilet-cleaning non-proclivities and the oddness of her giving me a hug), the point is not to criticize Anna - a girl who is, after all, not behaving outside the norm of teenage girldom (that is, if my commenters are any gauge - thank you, ladies).

Rather, the point is to highlight and make fun of how disoriented and discombobulated parents - when subject to this typical teen behavior - can become. In the case of that particular post, the joke was that a teen girl's parents (that would be Larry and I) are often too shell-shocked to accept a simple hug - we are too conditioned to look for the trick behind it. (And don't you love how explaining a joke totally kills it?)

Anna has full access to this blog. She doesn't see the humor in it, of course. She's annoyed by it sometimes. But I persist in talking about her because someday Anna will be a grown-up herself with (God willing) children of her own. By the time they are teenagers, I may no longer be around. (As in, dead - or senile.) It is my fond hope that one of those nights when Anna's teen daughter has shot her the death glare and evinced utter disgust at her mere presence - one of those nights, in short, when her darling progeny has made her feel as hurt and vulnerable as a mother can feel - it is my hope that Anna thinks to peruse these pages.

Dear grown-up Anna, if you are reading these words years from now, you are probably mature enough to be aware that I always loved you (even when you couldn't stand to hear it). I might not have liked you at some points; but with a teen daughter of your own, you can understand that now. I wrote these posts to survive by finding some humor in what was (for me) a dark and hurtful situation. Perhaps you can use them to the same purpose.

Just don't stay up too late reading, sweetheart; and for heaven's sake, make sure the dishes are done before you sit down at the computer. Or, better yet, make your daughter do them. She hates you already, anyway.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Presents of Mind

Larry called me from work the other day.

"Hi, honey! Did a package arrive today?"

"A package? No," I said. I couldn't help thinking, What a romantic! He's already ordered me something for my birthday and he can't wait to find out what I think of it!

"Well, if it shows up, call me and I'll come home to get it. It's for this woman's farewell luncheon at work."

"Oh." What about my birthday, buddy? "I thought you were giving her that other thing that arrived yesterday."

"Yeah, we're giving her that one, too."

"So...did you get me anything?"

"You? Um, no...no, I didn't. I told you, this is a work thing."

"You mean you were online ordering all these presents for another woman and you never once thought, Gee, maybe I should order my wife a little something while I'm at it?"

Give Larry some credit - he can think on his feet.

"Of course I wanted to get you something, but I need to see what hers looks like first. What if it turns out to be some cheap-looking piece of junk that you're too good for?"

Smart answer, honey. You're right - nothing but a Kindle will do.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Mothers And Daughters (And Toilets)

Anna and I had an animated discussion (late) last evening on the various methods of properly cleaning a toilet. I explained that merely waving the Lysol wipe in the general vicinity of said toilet is not effective, as evidenced by the mold growing underneath the seat. Anna was...shall we say...not receptive to this theory. Things deteriorated from there. You moms of teen girls can picture it, right?

This sort of encounter was nothing new, by the way. When (2 1/2 years ago) I first gave Anna the job of doing a daily, 2-minute powder room wipe-down, she was - to put it mildly - incensed. "Oh," she said. "And I suppose that means that you'll just do nothing!"

[Yes, I did laugh. Wouldn't you?]

So Anna came downstairs this morning, apologized (hey, she had a flute lesson she wanted to go to that day), and then....get this... she hugged me. What's up with that?

[I can tell you when she last hugged me. It was September of 2006.]

I posited that it was temporary insanity on her part. Larry, ever the realist, theorized that she fears we are draconian enough to confiscate the plane ticket her grandfather bought her. You see, she's slated to go to Europe with her friend's family for a few weeks this month.

Let me say here that Larry and I are strict; but we're not crazy. That's going to be our vacation, too, you know. But Anna doesn't have to know that, right? I need all the hugs I can get.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Time For The Swimsuit Competition!

Hey, menfolk? Go away. Just...go, okay? This is Ladies' Night.

Are they gone? Good. Because they can't understand. Do you realize that men never have a bad hair day? They never "feel fat"? They don't suck in their stomachs every time they walk past a mirror?

It's as if they are a different species, you know?

So, today was the day. That once-a-year day of reckoning. It was hot. It was sunny. And the kids were begging me, "Let's go to the pool! We haven't been there yet!"

That's right, we hadn't gone to our particular Mecca of summer fun just yet. Because I was dreading that first wearing of the swimsuit, dreading pulling it on and observing yet again that, though it is of the modest variety (thank you, Lord, for tankinis with skirted bottoms!), it can never be modest enough. It can't cover the bulging varicose veins in my calves, it can't hide the wrinkles above my knees. Yet I am required to walk around in it in full view of other people; not only that, I have to pretend that I don't feel as though I am parading around buck-naked.

Sigh. I never want to hear my grown children say I didn't sacrifice for them. Because I did. Every summer, at that damn pool....

[Save yourselves, by the way, and do not Google images for "swimsuit competition." When will I learn?]

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Still Here, Just Lazy...

Who says knitting can't be relevant to our current economic situation? Check out this story on knitting's potential to bring peace of mind to the newly unemployed. All you non-knitters? Watch out. We are taking over the world.

Now I'm just waiting for our venerable First Lady to pick up those needles, during one of those interminable state dinners, say...


Speaking of Mme Michelle, does she have a blog? No? Why not? She's got a chef and a maid and a babysitter - so it's definitely not a time issue. Maybe she's afraid she wouldn't get enough Followers. C'mon, Michelle! We're all waiting for it - MomInChief.blogspot.com! Can't you all picture it?

I don't care if he is the POTUS - I'm not going to pick up his underwear from the bathroom floor.

Sneaked down to the kitchen for some of that great pie late last night and was caught...damn Secret Service...

Don't know if I can go another 3 whole years without yelling at the girls...or my mom...

If one more person comments on my upper arms, I'm going to appear in the Rose Garden naked. That should change the focus a bit.

Hmmm....actually, maybe she'd be better on Twitter....


My job starts next week, I have been assured. Thank goodness. I'm finding (much to my surprise) that I cannot stand being home every evening. It used to be relaxing to sit around the quiet house after all the young ones had gone to bed, knitting or editing photos or maybe just reading; but now that we have teens, there is always some other non-adult who is also awake. And, as all parents of adolescents know, the teens never need anything until after 9 PM. Then they are all, "Oh, I need this medical form filled out by yesterday" or "I was supposed to have the teacher recommendations in by tomorrow, but I forgot" or "Did you sign me up for [fill in the blank] yet?"

Relaxing? I think not.