Thursday, October 30, 2008

Like I am Floating on a Cloud...

There are certain indulgences in life that I have to, well, indulge in. I HAVE to eat Hostess Cupcakes every once in while. They are just that yummy. I have to get a pedicure every once in a while. They feel so good. I have to get a massage every once in a while. They feel even better than the pedicure usually.

Well tonight I had a "spa" in my living room. I know, I know, I usually HATE spas but something about the spa in my own living room changed the whole thing. I hosted an Arbonne party tonight. For those of you unfamiliar with the whole Arbonne product line, it is Swiss made beauty products. Kind of pricey but great products. So my party was a spa party. I was unsure what that all meant but let me tell you, if you have to opportunity to host such a thing, do it! We sampled a whole bunch of products (just on the back of our hands), then we got to soak our feet in tubs of warm/hot water with sea salts and smooth stones in the bottom (which felt LOVELY) and then applied mud masks. All the while I had scented candles burning, music playing softly, I was surrounded by my best friends, ate some yummy food (which I prepared - beer bread, spinach dip, chips and guacamole, iced brownie bites and hot and cold drinks), and to top it off, my skin feels fantastic! I got a bunch of free gifts for hosting and I just just feel very mellow and loved upon.

To all of you ladies out there, I am seriously telling you, take a night with your friends and pamper yourselves silly. This was a great night. I will sleep very well tonight and I look ever-so-youthful!

Fabulous, absolutely fabulous.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

MacGyver, Where Are You?

Every one has a MacGyver moment - "with this paperclip and shoe-lace I can find a source of organic energy that will save the world!" Well, maybe that's not the best example but if you've seen the show, you know that MacGyver was a master at using little, seemingly useless household items and making them in to extraordinary things that always saved the day.

Along those lines (and in a very round-a-bout way) what if he had used his talent for evil instead of good? I mean, let's face it, anything today can be considered a weapon - intentional or not. Where do you draw the line in saying what is a weapon and what is not? According my husband, my words are sometimes like a weapon. Do we take away the right of speech? A clone trooper action figure (minus the chemical spill goo) when thrown across a room simulating his flying through space could hit someone and be deemed a weapon. A person can choke on a chicken bone and either be hurt or die but if you say that he had an enemy who prepared the chicken, now the chicken is a weapon! Do we stop eating poultry?

We had to have this discussion yesterday about weapons and the person who we were trying to explain to our policies on weapons on premises was giving us every excuse as to WHY her child's knife was NOT a weapon. Okay, fine. Give us your opinion but I can guarantee you that I will be able to pull up world wide statistics on weaponry and prove to you why a knife IS a weapon. She reasoned that the rubber trash cans in the store could be a weapon. The dissection kits used in a biology class are weapons. Rubber bands are weapons. And while yes, she has a point, you don't hear a whole lot of death by rubber band occurrences on the nightly news. You DO hear about stabbings. You do hear about seemingly normal people snapping and stabbing people. I mean if you are going to give me an argument at least be reasonable. She argued that newspaper can be turned in to a weapon and she knows someone who can do it. I'm thinking probably the same person who has the big old knife collection and eats squirrel for fun! Be logical, sweetheart. Out in the real world there are people who use knives to kill. There are people who have knives and don't but don't sit before me and tell me that it is not a weapon.

Some other honorable mentions in the weapon department: Sex is a weapon, so will everyone stop having sex? Glass bottles can be used as a weapon. Will glass stop being made? Scarves can be used as a weapon, will we go cold in the winter and stop wearing them? Position is power, power can be used as a weapon. Do we take away power?

Where does it end? Just put the knife away and stop whining!

**I promise to make this my last knife-induced blog**

But it's only for 90 minutes...

We are all somebody. There is something unique about us all that makes us who we are. We are not only defined by our occupations, but our hobbies, interests, religion, personality...I mean, we are complex beings. Do you show every single aspect of who you are 24 hours a day, seven days a week? No, of course you don't because it is not possible.

Here's an example. My husband is a drummer. That is his passion. Does he drum on the furniture? Sure. Does he go to work and do that? No. When he has band time, he plays loud and loves it, but he can also walk away at the end of that time and put that part of himself aside and come home and be a non-drumming husband and father. His drum set is not attached to his body nor does he walk around with his drum sticks in his back pocket at all times.

I am a writer. Do I walk around with a laptop strapped to my body? Do I have a pencil behind my ear and a notepad in my pocket for when inspiration hits? No because that is not practical. There is a time and a place for that type of thing. My good friend Cathleen is a smokin' hot mama (that's right, I said it!). She is also a math teacher. You don't see the smokin' hot mama side come out during math class! She is not here dressed inappropriately or waxing poetic about any romantic escapades with her wonderful husband because...well, math class is not the time for that. Common sense, right?

Apparently not. We had a meeting yesterday with the boy who brought the hunting knife in to the store. He and his mom came but the meeting was primarily with the mom. The boy left after making his apology for being disrespectful. I appreciated the apology. The mom went on for almost an hour on how the knife is who he is! WHO HE IS. Like, he can't possibly be anything else unless this object (and I'll refrain from referring to it as a weapon - I'll explain that in another post) is attached to him. Okay, so like, when you're a baby and carry a security blanket, that's cute. When you are 17 wearing military fatigues and carrying a knife, not so cute. This object is the wrong thing to define WHO YOU ARE. And that is not just my opinion, but I'm thinking a large majority of the population would agree.

She went on to demand that if she had been allowed to speak to the parents who were offended by this knife, she would show them how it is who he is and not a threat of any kind. In the next breath, however, she went on to say children dressed in black are just as much of a threat as the knife.


I'm not making this up for good reading, folks, this is what she thought. So, we can't make a snap judgement on the large knife and the danger it possibly represents, but she is entitled to pass judgement on people who wear black or look "goth". Personally, I look good in black. I'm not a 'dark' person, I don't worship the devil, I just look really good in black. So according to her, my choice of clothing puts her son in peril (spiritually) but his wearing a knife should not make me feel anything but warm fuzzies. Seriously, not making any of this up.

So here's the question...who are you? What defines you? Is there something of your outward appearance that you would be incapable of putting aside for 90 minutes a week because it's the law? I'm not talking about putting religious beliefs aside, I'm talking about things about your appearance, like maybe you enjoy wearing reavealing clothes, would you wear something more conservative to church for 90 minutes? Or if you have some sort of facial piercing but you know it upsets your grandmother, would you remove it for a 90 minute visit? You want to eat at a certain restaurant that requires a shirt and tie but you only wear t-shirts, would you be willing to dress up for 90 minutes to enjoy a nice meal? Ninety minutes a week is a small amount of time to gripe about. No one is asking you to CHANGE who you are, all you're being asked is to follow a rule (and a law) for 90 minutes a week. If you are physically incapable of doing that then perhaps you need to examine why a little more closely.

Monday, October 27, 2008


"Why? A Day in the Life of a Working Mom"
(Famous question asked of me daily that make a bikini wax seem like a day at the beach)

At Home:

Why do I have to take a shower?
Why do I have to brush my teeth?
Why can't I wear this?
Why does it matter if I smell?
Why do I have to do it now?
Why can't YOU just do it?
Why didn't you just tell me it was bed time?
Why do I even have to have a bedtime?
Why do I have to sleep in my bed?
Why can't I sleep on the floor?
Why are you yelling at me?
Why are you still yelling at me?
Why am I always being punished?
Why did you even HAVE me?

At Work:

Why can't I return this written on book?
Why can't I pay late?
Why can't you change the policy for me?
Why does this cost so much?
Why does the copier go so slow?
Why does it take so long for the receipt to print out?
Why do I have to watch what my child is doing?
Why can't YOU watch what my child is doing?
Why do the teacher's need to be paid?
Why isn't there a curriculum that isn't textbook or computer based?
Why does this or that publisher have to update their books?
Why can't you give me the candy now and my mom will pay you later?
Why can't I bring a knife to class?
Why can't I return a three year old book?
Why do we have to pay for classes?

At the end of the day:

Why do you look like you are going to cry?

Answer to it all?
If only there were just one

Sunday, October 26, 2008

...and then the chemical oozed out and killed the clone trooper!

My younger child is forever trying to master the many ways to extend his bedtime. He no longer goes with the most popular trends of "I need a drink of water" or "I have to use the bathroom". No, those days are long gone.

His little mind now tries to come up with way more complex issues. Take, for example, the usual school-night excuse. We send him to bed at the same time each night. This always comes as a surprise to him. It's as if each night he is shocked to discover that it is 9:00 and that he is expected to go to sleep in preparation of the next day. This is no exaggeration, the boy is genuinely surprised by this event nightly. So he goes to his room after a long explanation of "Well, how was I supposed to know it was time for bed?" and then closes his door, shuts of the the light and we think we are done.


For 30 minutes, we are subjected to random items moving about in the room and telling him (at first) that it is time for bed. He says "Okay". By the third time, we are now yelling (which he finds upsetting) and his reasoning is that he is cleaning off his bed "Just like you asked me to". I mean, so in his little 8-year old mind, he is just doing what he was told to do. His timing, however, is making us lose our minds! So we yell, he cries and somehow we come off as the villains. "I was just cleaning up like you told me!" with big ole crocodile tears and you just want to wrap him in your arms and tell him that everything that he does is just fine.

Well, I guess that routine has gotten old because he introduced a new one last night. The good news is that it apparently can only be used once. He went to bed at his usual time and about 20 minutes later he came frantically running out of his room rambling on and on about a chemical spill and a clone trooper. He's heavily in to Star Wars right now and while I understand the clone trooper part, I'm more than a little concerned about a chemical spill. "What are you talking about?" I asked. "Well," he began calmly, "I got this glow stick from Colin and Quentin, you know, from their goody bag from their party, you know, the one I didn't go to but they gave me a left over one anyway." YES, YES, I get it, now get to the point! my mind is screaming. "Well," he continues, "I was bending the glow stick back and forth and back and forth, you know, because I don't like sleeping in the dark and well, I had my clone trooper to play with and then the glow stick from Colin and Quentin just broke! All over the clone trooper." Now Frank and I spring in to action and try to find exactly where the chemical spill was, get the boy cleaned up, take the sheets off, I mean, it was not fun. I'm ready to get a Hazmat team in there and the boy is more concerned about his new clone trooper action figure!

There was an eery green glow coming from the bathroom trash pail in the wee hours of the morning. Suffice it to say that glow sticks are now no longer allowed in the house and I think we scared him enough last night that he will be re-plotting his bedtime procedure.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just when you think you've got it all figured out...

Okay, so my dad got married last weekend. Last Sunday to be exact. Marriage seems to agree with him because when I spoke to him yesterday, he was almost giddy. Weird (and a little gross). So when I asked how married life was and he gushed I felt the need to offer a little marriage advice...don't work together. I say this because my dad has always owned his own deli's, he's always made his wives work with him and all of his wives have hated him. I said "I don't claim to be an expert or anything, but after almost 40 years of being your daughter, it has become pretty obvious that working with your wife does not work for you." Luckily he agreed.


He agreed. He never readily agrees with anything. He usually puts some sort of weird spin on what I've said so that he kind of agrees with me but changes my words just enough that I have to step back and think about what I've said. So, feeling kind of bold because he's in such a good mood, I wanted to make sure that he was really paying attention to me and asked "Can I have a pony?" To which he laughed and said "No." Okay, so he was really listening to me. Huh. Now I'm on a roll.

I've lived away from everyone since 1995 and not once has he been to my home. The first and only time I invited him, he told me that it was not "cost effective" to visit me. (Insert those warm fuzzy feelings here). Cost effective? Isn't that a term used in big corporations when they discuss adding flat screen tv's to the employee lounge or whether to use gourmet coffee in the break room? But when referring to visiting your daughter and grandchildren? Not cost effective? Well, that's just cold. So yesterday I threw out the gesture just so that I can say that I did. I'm like "Hey, you know air fare prices are going down. Why don't you and Nancy look in to coming for a visit after the first of the year so that I can get to know her and, well, since you've never been here, you can actually see where I live?" Wouldn't you know it, he said yes! I mean, again, without any argument, without any qualms or issues, the man readily agreed. AGAIN!

True, there is a LOT of time between now and say February but there is a good chance that he is actually going to come here and visit me. Oh, and did I mention that he told me that I am pretty? Who is this man?? Now I'm going to have to start the "Dad Diet" because I can't take a chance that this new and improved man will be the one to actually show up on my doorstep in 2009. By that time he might have mellowed and the old "Hey, you know you've gotten pretty fat" dad might make a return. I can't take that chance people! I've got to get proactive NOW.

Oh, well. I was looking for an excuse to have to get back in to an exercise routine.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can you see me?

Something weird happened when I went to my 10-year high school reunion (10 years ago). I went to it with high hopes; I was looking forward to seeing old friends, listening to music that represented my youth, all in all, I thought it would all be a great time. When I arrived it was like "Who are you?" and those were not my words, those were the words spoken to me over and over again. I mean, I was not THE most popular person in school but at the time I was pretty confident that I had friends! I mean, I danced on the kickline with 25 other girls, we were part of the music department, I went to parties, I was always with a group of people, I never sat alone at lunch or in class. And yet while all of these people where running up to each other screaming "Oh...My...God...I can't believe it's YOU!", I did not experience that moment. Don't get me wrong, some people DID remember me but it became obvious as the night wore on that I was clearly a forgetable person.

When the twenty year reunion came up last year, needless to say, I made no attempt to attend. You know, a ten year reunion is really the "Look at me!" party. Everyone still looks really good, you've established yourself and for the most part, you are still optimistic about the future. The twenty year reunion becomes more of the "Look at her!" party where you sit around and laugh at how bad people have begun to age. So I decided not to go and while I had some friends tell me that they went and had a good time, when the list of people who were there was rattled off, I couldn't put many faces to the names. I didn't feel as if I had missed much.

So imagine my surprise today when I got an e-mail via facebook from a person who claimed that we were friends in the 6th grade! I didn't recognize the name at first and then realized, that she was probably using her married name. After a few e-mail exchanges, it all came tumbling back. I was who she thought I was and vice-versa. We had been friends and neighbors from like 4th - 6th grade! What a time I had this afternoon laughing with her about our childhood and exchanging pictures. Her daughter is a miniature version of her at the age when we were friends and that just made me smile.

I guess I wasn't invisible after all. Yay me!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

But it's mine...

As a parent, how often do you hear THAT phrase? This morning while we were all getting ready to get out the door, my younger son put on a pair of ratty old sneakers that were begging to be thrown away. So my husband went over and before the boy could see what was happening, he picked up the shoes and threw them in the trash. "But those were my shoes!!" the boy cried. Keep in mind, they were a size too small and had more holes than soles. Hee-hee. An argument begins and the boy was reminded that he had an actual GOOD pair of sneakers to wear. He was not being forced to leave the home and go out in to the bitter morning cold shoe-less. This was not enough reasoning. My son went on to reprimand his father by saying "You know, you say that you do these things for my own good but aren't they really for YOUR own good?" Pretty logical thinking for one about to get punished.

A similar argument was heard in our home last week when I went to take the cell phone away from the teenager because he had broken our rules and that was to be his punishment. When he was asked to turn over the phone we were told "No, it's mine. I'm not going to do that." Ownership is HUGE to some people. Perhaps it is a form of control, I don't know. But what I do know is that when they say it to me (or to any adult for that matter), they are usually being disrespectful.

This morning at the store, a teenage boy came in for class with a knife strapped to his leg. A hunting knife. Not a little pocket knife, but a big "you-can-gut-a-deer-as-well-as-cut-a-tomato" sized knife. He was told last week to not bring the knife/weapon in to the store. He argued with us and said "But it's mine" but eventually relented. Today he came in with it again. When I called his name as he attempted to whiz right by me, he yelled "NO!" and kept on walking. This is not a young child but an 18 year old. I was shocked and appalled by this behavior. So I nearly jumped over the desk and followed him in to his class and he looked at me and said "But it's MINE!" Seriously dude, get a clue here! Weapons in school are a no-no. And at 18 you're a little bit too old to be pulling the "it's mine" whine, too. Man up.

Is it happy hour anywhere yet because as of right now, IT'S MINE!

Cost to run a business? Free

Did you know that you can run a business for free? That you can rent a builiding for no money, get free utilities, free help, free merchandise to stock, free insurance, free fixtures and furniture, free...well anything! Were any of you aware of that?

Of course not because it is not true! If you thought it was possible, then you are DELUSIONAL.

This seems to be the great misconception of the population and I am amazed when people come in to the store and question us about why things cost what they do! Why do we have to pay so much for this? Or why do you charge a fee for that? Um...I don't know, maybe because it cost US this much money and because we need to make money to cover our expenses, we have to charge that amount. Everyone that comes in to the store lives in a structure of some sort (we have no homeless people that I am aware of). They all pay rent or mortgages, they buy food, they pay utilities, they pay insurance...I'm sure they are familiar with either themselves or their spouses getting PAID by their employers so why is it such a surprise that our little business does the same thing? I was told that I should be ashamed of myself today for our policies and what we charge. ASHAMED? Seriously? I have to wonder, do these people call the gas company or the electric company and demand that they not be charged? Or do they call the phone company and demand that they not be charged all of the fees and taxes because they didn't MEAN to use the phone that much in that month? I'm thinking that they probably don't. But hey, please come on by and unload on me because of all of the problems in the world are clearly my fault.

I'll tell you what, someone contact me about how to run a FREE business - how to get that free building with free utilities with no expenses and I'll see what I can do to improved YOUR life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Now you'll be able to see the slap before it hits you...

Before we left on our trip last week, Nick announced that he lost his glasses. Well, he didn't actually announce it so much as confessed to it after I harassed him about where they were for hours on end. We tore the house apart to find them with no luck.

Yesterday he had a friend over and had an "AHA!" moment. He tells us that perhaps he left his glasses at this kid's house because he remembers having them there with him the last time he went there. This is great news for me because it shows A.) that the boy CAN remember something B.) there is hope that the glasses will actually be there and C.) we can now STOP tearing the house apart. So, I am friends with this boy's mom and called her up. When I explained the situation, she seemed to know what I was talking about right away but something in her voice warned me that I was not going to like what was about to be said. "We ran over them." "You ran over them?" I'm thinking this was odd because I was expecting the glasses to be left or lost in a normal place, like the friend's room. But no. Not my child. No, he loses them on someones DRIVEWAY! Always thinking outside the box, that one.

So the mystery of the glasses has been solved. They were run over and destroyed because someone forgot to hot-glue them to his face. A mistake I plan to remedy. Now for kicks and giggles this afternoon, we get to go to the eye doctor and spend lots and lots of money on an eye exam and brand new glasses.

I'm living the dream, friends. Living the dream.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Who Knew?

Since starting this blog (and probably even before that), I have joked about my dad getting re-married. He's been engaged to the same woman on and off for several years and I'm always looking for ways to not go to the wedding. I lucked out for a good-long while because the wedding never actually took place. They'd fight and call it off, then get back together. Then fight, call it off and get back together.

Well, a little over a week ago, dad calls to say that he's getting married Thanksgiving weekend. So I'm like "Wait a minute...I can't come for that". I mean, I told him the honest truth, I just can't come. So he laughed. Yes, laughed. And then said "Well, you aren't invited."


Um...excuse me? Did I hear you correctly? Are you saying that I - your own child, your own flesh and blood - is NOT invited to your wedding? My brain was scrambling to comprehend all of this. I mean, I know I've been saying that I didn't want to go and that I wouldn't go but to not even be INVITED? Well, that's a little harsh.

"Why not?" I asked.
"None of the kids are," he said matter of factly.
"She has kids?" I asked (since CLEARLY I have no information about this woman).
"Oh, biological and two from her first, or was it second, marriage?"

Sort of has that dreamy, living happily ever after feeling to it, doesn't it?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Do you hear the words that are coming out of my mouth?

There is an abosolutely hysterical Sesame Street video called "Elmo's Sing-a-long Guessing Game". When Nick was little, we watched it all of the time and then when Michael came along, we were thrilled to have a reason to bring it back out again. One of the songs on it talks about the face - all of the parts of the face and what they do. Ears are considered part of the face. It is painful when people do not use their ears for anything else but to hear their own voice.

I had a customer call me early in the week to say that her child would not be at guitar class and could she then sit in on another. So I told her yes and then gave her the other class times available. They only meet on Thursdays. "Well, I can't do it on Thursday", she tells me. "That's the only day he teaches," I tell her. "So can I re-schedule with the teacher to sit in on another class?" she ask. "Yes," I tell her again. "When do they meet?" she asks. "Thursdays," I tell her and then give her the times - again. "But Thursdays don't work for me," she says. "Well, you can call the teacher and see what you can arrange," I suggest. This round-and-round conversation went on for five solid minutes where I just continued to tell her to call the teacher because he is only here on Thursdays.

Today I get a call from another mom with a concern about a class. She goes in to a very lengthy description of what she is not happy with and then I ask her "Have you spoken to the teacher about this?" "Well, no," she said. "You really need to discuss it with the teacher because we do not dictate how the classes are to be run..." "I know, I know," she interrupts, "I was just giving you a heads up." And then she went on and on as if I hadn't said a word. I explained our policy to her when I could get a word in and she spoke right over me again as if I hadn't said a word.

People, we have ears for a reason. How about putting them to use once in a while and actually listening to the answers people give you. The answers that YOU asked for.

What a novel idea!

A Few Thoughts...

Those of you who read this daily may have noticed that yesterday's post has been removed. I did it per a request. You see, the information that I wrote about - which was pretty funny and completely in keeping with things that I have written about in this blog - was given to me during a phone conversation and that person was not happy that I shared it.

While I respect that, no names were mentioned, only situations. And I'd like to say that this is MY BLOG. I, personally, do not particularly like it when someone tells me that they've read my blog but did not like the use of the word "hate" the one time that I used the word "bitch". You know what, I do not go around to anyone else and tell them how to speak or act or how to write or how to live. I am only asking for the same courtesy. I don't expect everyone to love (or even like) the things that I write about, but the words and thoughts are mine. I created this as a place for ME. It always amazes me when someone comes along and demands that people do everything one way - THEIRS. I believe I've shared my thoughts on that subject several times.

Not too long ago I posted about a situation where a person we knew totally ripped in to my son because of what he was wearing. Then a friend asked "What if she reads it?" Well, hmmm...let's think about that. What if she does? Will reading about her actions change what she did? Will time miraculously go back and she won't be horrible or do you think that maybe she'll think twice before attacking my child again? I should have e-mailed the darn message to her! And the blog that I erased? What if she (the person I had written about) had read it? Well, yes, she would have known the only person who would have given me the information but at the same time, everyone involved in the stupid situation is SICK of the situation. I say, let her read it! Let her see how her behavior for the last year has come back and bitten her in the butt! Personally, I think it would have been funny. I didn't stop anyone from gossiping about me this last weekend or my family. Go ahead, I'm sure they're still doing it right now. Why are we so afraid to point out someone's heinous and hurtful behavior that effect MANY but are quick to point out small infractions that normally only effect one person?

All I'm saying is that I am tired of everyone else getting to vent their thoughts, ideas, feelings and frustrations any way that they want to but no one seems to have any qualms about wanting to censor mine. No more changes, friends. Whatever it is, it is.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I suck at being mean...but I'm willing to keep trying!

Okay, so this past weekend while up in NY I had the opportunity to be mean. A LOT. I refused to go up there as the fat sister, the poor sister, the inferior one in any way, shape or form. I have come to learn that the only way to deal with certain people in this life is to just be blunt and bold.

The following story shows all of the ways that I refused to be looked down upon by anyone.

Now, all of you know that I 'dislike' my sister's boyfriend. I've been told to stop saying "hate". So for the remainder of my blogs, we will say dislike. To protect the snake, we will call him Bart. Okay? Bart. Bart, who I dislike. Why do I dislike him? Because he used to be my husband's best friend. And when he started dating my sister, we tried to convince him that this would not be a healthy relationship for him to be in and he went back to my sister and told her all that we said and then lied to us repeatedly until we found out that he was merely pumping us for information. Oh, the things men will do to get laid.

So when we arrived at mom's house on Friday, Bart had pulled into the driveway like 30 seconds before us. We all got out of the car, I walked over and kissed mom and sister hello, and ignored Bart's presence. He conversed with Frank outside for several minutes then came in and asked "Hey, who's the blond?" To which I responded "The younger sister" without even turning my head. At any given opportunity over the weekend, I reminded him of how he is NOT a doctor - even though he just graduated med school (and I use the term loosely) and is technically a PA. He has turned down MULTIPLE jobs offers for no really good reasons. So when I grilled him on this, his response was "Well, I graduated....well, I need to get this certificate...well, I've gone on interviews..." Blah, blah, blah. At the end of the day, your still a man (another term I use loosely) who is unemployed, living with your mom (sometimes) and your girlfriend (when not with your mommy) with no real hope of becoming a man. So I'm like "So basically, you can now TEACH people how to INTERVIEW on how to maybe get a job without actually getting one. You seem to have perfected that craft."

Snarky was the word of the weekend.

My husband was asked to clean out the skimmers on their pool because Bart has refused to do it no matter how many times he was asked. My sister actually had the nerve to ask Frank to do it! And you know what, my husband did it! He went out and helped my mom do it. When Bart got back to the house, I asked him to put a dessert out in the refrigerator that is in the garage and he's like "Oh, now I have to do all of the running around?" Now, keep in mind, there were several people around at that moment and so I said - LOUDLY - "Why not? My husband had to clean out the skimmers that you were too lazy to do and he's never even USED the pool. Do you think that YOU can walk to the garage and actually DO something?"

Man did it feel GOOD! Granted, a lot of this is on par with the whole "I'm rubber, you're glue" mentality, but I think we established a long time ago that I can pull that off pretty darn good. Some people just deserve it. I was not violent. I was not cruel. I merely stated the blunt, honest truth to someone who really would not know how to speak the truth if his life depended on it.

The icing on the cake of my sarcastic escapades came when my sister pulled me aside to tell me how she heard that Nick though that Bart was a 'douche' (pardon the filthy talk - her words, not mine). I'm like "Who told you that?" She said her son did. Now, I honestly don't doubt for a minute that Nick thinks that but in my mind I want to slap him for saying it out loud! So rather than deny that the boy feels that way or try to make excuses, I looked her right in the eye and said "Really? You should see the Bart impressions that he does! Now THOSE are funny!"

Good times, people, good times.

What to cook, what to cook...

My dad and I have a weird relationship - in case that hasn't been obvious to anyone. He stopped buying me birthday presents when I was 30, around the same time that he stopped buying me Christmas presents. Why? Because we were so poor at that time and could not afford to send him one. Seriously. He called me one day and said "Listen, we're not going to exchange this year since you can't seem to afford it."

So much for that whole "It's better to give than receive" thing.

Well I am going to be 40 this year. So dad called me last week and said "Listen, your going to be 40 this year so I'm gonna buy you something. So I want you to pick out something that you really, really want. Something that's ONLY for you." First off, I am blown away. Second, I am not even 10 seconds in to my thought when he says "Do you have good cookware?" I'm just not a quick thinker sometimes and I didn't realize where this question was leading so I just said "No". I truly don't have great cookware, but I get by. So he goes "GREAT! That's what I'll get you!" So now, not only do I NOT get to pick out what I want for my birthday, but now it's not even a surprise!

Dad can be very generous when the mood strikes him. His heart can truly be in the right place but more times than not you can end up with some pretty sketchy merchandise. When my sister was getting married for the first time, he shopped a lot for her and everything he bought seemed to come with a "free gift". You know, buy this set of dishes and get a free phone. Now, it wasn't good quality merchandise, but he comes off like he is giving two gifts. It got comical after a while when we were getting these free black and white TV's with everything that we got. So when he made the cookware announcement, I have to admit, I got a little bit scared.

There was a time when I was little that my Nana knew that my mom wanted some new cookware and so she went out and bought it for her. It was cast-iron and weighed like 1000 pounds. She always wanted to know how mom liked them. I don't think she ever had the heart to tell her how unusable they were and I honestly don't remember them staying around long. These are the memories that came to my mind.

When I got home today, there was a gigantic box waiting on the front porch. Nick nearly got a hernia from moving it in to the house. It sat in the living room for a while before I got up the nerve to open it. Oh but wait, here's the kicker, dad called my while I was up in NY to tell me that he had ordered me this set but that there was part of it that he wanted ME to ship to HIM! I'd understand when I saw it and that I wouldn't want it anyway. Free gift, anyone?

My curiosity was piqued and so I cautiously approached the box and began to open it. I'd like to say, ladies and gentlemen, that I was pleasantly surprised. Inside was a set of Wolfgang Puck cookware. It's a really, really nice set and there are about 32 pieces to it and I can truly say that I cannot wait to cook dinner tonight and play with it.

I'm so glad to see that his tastes have changed. Maybe crazy Nancy is not such a crazy influence after all. Thank God for small miracles.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oh, Way too much food (but I ate it anyway)...

Trip day two was a day of the feast. All the live long day. Was I that hungry? No, not particularly. It was just that it was all SO good! The morning started out with a black and white cookie. A somewhat small one but that is a big no-no for me for breakfast no matter what my life situation (Diet or no diet). But I ate it anyway.

We then went to a local deli (which they do not have down where I live) and we purchased $50 worth of food to take to grandma's for lunch. I ate 3/4 of a pastrami and melted swiss on a garlic toasted hero and a LOT of NY Potato salad. Was I that hungry? No, but it was so good, I couldn't stop. We got back to mom's, still felt full, but oh look, Drakes cakes. Well, we don't get those back at home so I had to have a pack of Ring Dings. And milk. Now I'm full. Really full. Really, really full. We were going to a friends house for dinner and we had like 3 hours to kill so I figured I'd be well digested by that time. Well, in walks my sister who procede's to hand me this giant bag with a big styrofoam take out plate in it and a small paper bag. I walk over to the table and what is inside?

**If you've read this blog site from the get-go, you will understand why this next part is SUCH a big deal**

Lobster. TWO lobsters. With freshly drawn butter, a bib, some baked clams and fries. The fries were not mine but I gave them about a nano second of my time before my focus went back to the lobster. She bought my husband a tray, a large tray, of blue clawed crabs. All freshly cooked. I was shocked. I was thrilled. I was really full but you know for darn sure that I was eating! So I ate one whole lobster my self and you know what? IT WAS WORTH IT!!!
By the time we got to dinner at Vinny's, I thought I was going to burst. There was an Italian feast waiting for us that I did partake in but in very small amounts. How do I feel right now, the next morning? So not worth it!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Oh, to be young enough again to slap a cheerleader...

So I am up in NY for the weekend. We arrived here on Friday afternoon and for the most part, it was a good drive. We were relaxed when we got to my mom's house and we were all feeling good. We came in, relaxed, unloaded the car and were looking forward to all of the things we came to do this trip.

Last night I made plans with my friend Lori. We go way back. Our thing used to be going out to eat. At 18, we had made dining out in to an art form. I lived on my own for a while while she lived at home with her parents but I could call her at any time of the day or night and if I wanted to go out to eat and didn't want to eat alone, she was there for me. The poor girl would sometimes eat two dinners just so that I would have someone with me. Now THAT is a true friend. So, of course, when I called her and told her I was going to be in town and would she like to go out, we knew we had to go out and get something to eat. Because of other things going on - like life - we decided to go out for dessert. Our favortite dessert place was Friendly's. They have great ice cream - plus there's the nastalgia factor. So we agree to meet up at 8:15. We get there to find like 47 cheerleaders under the age of 12 waiting for tables! There was maybe 4 adults with them and let me tell you, these girls had WAY TOO MUCH pep. Seriously. I had to fight the urge many a time to not reach over and slap one!

There was a security guard there who would go to these tables of kids from time to time and remind them to keep it down. This seemed a little bizarre to me but apparently, here on Long Island, it is the norm. I was told there was one at the McDonald's too! Lori and I talked of all of the places that we used to go to to hang out when we were younger and all of the fun that we had but NEVER was there a security guard around to remind us to act appropriately.

So we leave the Friendly's after a VERY yummy triple-chocolate sundae (which, by the way, NOT as big as I remembered it) and were just going to 'cruise' around like the old days. That's when we decided to call the friend who used to be our third partner in crime! I hadn't seen Robin in I don't even KNOW how long. Lori called her house and talked to Robin's husband and asked if it was all right for us to come by and he said yes. So as we drove down there block, I'm taking Lori's word that she knows where we are going and once I pulled up in front of a house, she confessed that she was unsure if this was the house! So now it's late, we're showing up somewhat unannounced and possibly to the wrong house! How very 16 of us!

Well, it was the right house and we went in and Robin did not know that we were there and her husband sent us up stairs to surprise her. Oh, she was definitely surprised! It was SO GOOD to see her! We talked and laughed for hours. While we were sitting there all I could think of was that it was good to be home. On a weekend that has a sad undertone, I was having an amazing time with these amazing people who were once my whole world and here we are 20 years later and it was almost as if no time had passed.

It was a great night, girls! Let's not wait so long to do it again!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sixteen years of labor pains...

We are getting ready to go out of town. I am packing like a crazy woman. I scare my family. I frazzle easily during these times and find that at any given time my voice will go up to the point where only dogs will hear it.

Why? you ask. Because even though this is a FAMILY trip, the only member of the family actually DOING anything to get ready for it, is me. I plan the trip, I get the supplies we need, directions, make sure everyone has clean clothes, makes sure that the refrigerator will not have things growing in it by the time we get back, Ladies, you know what I'm talking about. So, last night began the packing ritual. The 16 year old got his own clothes together (with some argument over what was acceptable and what was not) and then I packed for the 8 year old as well as myself and my husband. Before going to bed last night, I TOLD the 16 year old what was going to be required of him for today. Since I was going to be at work for the better part of the day, house cleaning was the only thing on his agenda. NOT schoolwork, NOT ancient Chinese torture, but just his usual chores. My final words to him were "Please do NOT wait until 1:00 to do this stuff. I want it all done by the time I get home at 2:00." Which was met with "No problem."


Liar, liar.

Oh, do I smell smoke because somebody's PANTS ARE ON FIRE!!!

The boy called me at around 11:30 to ask for praise. "You should be proud of me!" he beams. "I'm always proud," I respond. "Yea, right," he said. He then goes on to tell me how he made himself some eggs and then realized that he had used them all up and that I would be needing them to make dinner tonight so he walked over to the convenience store and bought me a dozen eggs with his own money. Sigh. I really and truly WAS proud. Then he goes on to tell me that as it is now approaching lunch time, he was thinking of going out and grabbing himself a bite to eat at the local diner. Now I get suspicious. "So with all of this cooking, eating and planning to eat," I say, "Have you done ANY of your chores?" Without missing a beat, he says, "Oh, yeah, the living room is all clean, I've done the laundry..." To which I interject, "Have you been folding it as you go?" "Yes."


Liar, liar.

Liar, liar, liar.

I got off work early today. Bless you, Michelle! I got home a few minutes before 1:00. I walk in to a living room that looked EXACTLY as I left it this morning, laundry on the dining room floor (the only folded clothes were those that I had folded this morning), the sink is full of dishes, his room is a disaster area, the TV is on and I hear music coming from the bathroom. I truly deserve some sort of trophy for not turning this scene in to a homicide. So I start banging around and he comes out and announces that I scared him. Baby, if you think me banging some drawers is scary, hold on to your freakin hat, because mom's about to blow.

I yelled, I screamed, I reminded him of our conversation last night and it turns out that my husband had the same EXACT conversation with him this morning. And he didn't even KNOW about my comments last night. Scary. The boy looks at me as if I have no right to say a word to him. His excuse? "I thought you were going to be home at 2 so I was going to start at one."

(Insert homicidal maniac music here while you say "Oh, no he didn't!)

So now at the screeching, dog ear splitting tone I remind him yet AGAIN of our conversation and he huffs at me and then yells at me to stop yelling at HIM! Seriously, a trophy would be nice. We go round and round (while he makes himself comfortable on the couch - and STILL not picking a thing up) and somehow he truly believes that HE is the wronged party here.

He is grounded now. His phone is mine for the extent of the trip. He told me NO to that too but I do believe that he does not realize that it is I who has the power, NOT him. I feel so sick to my stomach right now that it feels like labor pains!

Somehow, I don't think there's a shot of Demerol big enough to help with this pain!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

They have my back...

Last night I was at a meeting that I didn't particularly HAVE to be at, but I went because, well, my friends were there! It was at the bookstore and so I kind of worked - but I would use that word loosely.

So, this is a monthly meeting and while I don't get much information personally from them, it is a great time to socialize with the girls. So I'm standing behind the desk with my Beeg when all of a sudden a woman walked in who I really had hoped to never have to see again. She is one of the "circle" moms. She was the mom who ranted and raved at me because she felt disrespected because her husband claims that he saw my son and his girlfriend "making out". All I can say is "Um...Excuse me, pervy-pervison, but what are you doing WATCHING people 'make out'?" They weren't making out and that was my argument to her but ....Oh, just don't get me started! So in this woman walks and I do my level best to avoid making eye-contact. We've already established that I can be immature. I went about my business and, not to toot my own horn, let's just say that I am integral to the proper commencing of the meeting. In layman's terms, that means that I have the biggest mouth and can talk over everyone to get their attention. When I did this, I happened to accidentally make eye-contact with crazy-circle-cult-mom and you know what she did? She smiled. A sincere smile. See, crazy!

I walk out of the room and grab my Beeg and I tell her that this crazy woman was there and then had to REMIND her who I was talking about. I'm not going to lie to you people, the fact that she did NOT remember our every conversation hurt a little. After she DID remember, she looked me straight in the eye and with all seriousness said "She will die tonight!" Like some sort of honor-bound hero in a movie, my Beeg had my back. No, she would not "kill" in the actual sense, but she can give a mean evil-eye when she has to! We walked in to the meeting room and she went and stood directly behind the crazy woman's chair! I just about fell on the floor with the need to laugh. A little bit later on, I was sharing my story with another friend who went and took Beeg's post when she had to leave the room - just to protect me!

**Please note - I was in NO PHYSICAL DANGER at any time. We are just ridiculous**

As the meeting was drawing to an end, I was back up by the front desk. Lots of people were checking out and stopping to talk and while I was standing there "unprotected", crazy-circle-cult-mom stops by and says "Hi, friend! Miss Blondy! You look great!" Two things go through my mind. 1.) I DO look great and 2.) What in the world just happened here? I mean, did she forget about her angry rant at me? Did she forget all of the hateful things she said about my child? Did she not take notice of all of the ways I avoided her all night? APPARENTLY! So I smiled and said thank you and after she walked out the door I slapped Michelle on the arm and said "Do you realize I could have been just killed?"

We got a LOT of weird looks but we found it all to be pretty darn funny. I guess I am the only one who remembers the nasty things that people do - or maybe nasty people just can't keep track of all of the hateful things that they do and say because they do it all the time. Who knows. All I do know is that I felt okay with it all because me friends had my back.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Five cents, please...

My given name is Stacey, but clearly the name Lucy would be more fitting. I am surrounded by books and candy, but really I need a little can that people can deposit change in to and perhaps a couple of bottles of something strong to drink behind me.

My desk area at work is sort of like a bar. People come in to shop or drop their kids off for classes and at any given time I am bound to have people surrounding me with their tales of woe. "Am I teaching enough?" "Did I chose the right curriculum?" "Should I put them back in traditional school?" "How do you make fettuccine Alfredo?" "How do you get such smokin' hot highlights?" And those are the MILD topics. I relish those days where these are the toughest questions. Other days I am faced with things like "Someone is spreading gossip that my child is having sex!" "Did you know my husband had an affair?" "Why do you let students attend classes here who dress like whores?" I mean, THESE days just about do me in!

The unwritten rule of customer service is that it is not all about selling someone a product and ringing it up. It is really 'relationship' service. People come in here and they don't want to just shop, they want to TALK. Because we are a small business, we can grant that need. The thing is, however, we are not really trained to answer all of life's big questions! We can only do the best that we can. I know that's all that I can do. For example, last week I had a mom in here who has been coming in here for almost two years. She talks to me about the SAME EXACT THING each week - is her son getting enough work, does she need to give him more schoolwork, does he need to be involved in more activities (he's a 7th grader in all high school classes - he's a brilliant boy) - I mean my ears are usually ready to bleed by the time she leaves. Her latest dilemma to add itself to her roster is that they don't share the same friends! GASP! This just about threw me over the ledge. I mean, my kids are friends with people that I don't particularly have anything in common with their parents. And that's okay. I am friends with people who have kids that my kids don't like. And that's okay, too! So I'm listening to this woman trudge on and on through her weekly diatribe and I looked her right in the eye and with great sincerity I said to her, "You have to realize that you and your son are NOT one person." I thought it was pretty sound advice. I was feeling pretty good. It was a life lesson that I had to learn when my son was her son's age. And do you know what happened??

She BURST in to tears! In two years, she's never cried! And in one moment where I thought that I was at my level best, I made the woman cry! I still don't know if my comment hurt her feelings or if she realized that the statement was true!

There is a great Peanuts comic strip that I have at home. Charlie Brown is sitting at Lucy's 'therapy' counter and he is complaining about life, how he doesn't fit in, it's unfair, blah, blah, blah. So she takes him away from the desk and up on to a hill and points out the world around them. "Do you see this world? As far as you know it's the only world out there?" To which he replies "Yes". The last frame has her screaming at him "WELL LIVE IN IT THEN!!!"

Oh, to be Lucy for just one day!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bang the Drum!

My husband is a drummer. He's been a drummer since around the age of 12. He's really quite good. He plays in a band that usually meets once a week to practice. For what, we're not sure, but they (God love em!) keep practicing. The band could not meet this weekend - conflicting schedules - and so my dh set up his drums in our shed.

The shed is enormous. He built it himself and it is purely male territory in there. He does not use the shed for musical purposes very often. In the last 3 months, he's used it twice (including yesterday). There are two rental home across the street from us. Their landlord was over there yesterday cleaning up after one of her tenants moved out on Friday. She walked over and approached Frank in the shed and proceeded to launch in to a lengthy rant about how inconsiderate he is and how loud he is and how he had better just knock it off! Now, I am not thrilled when he has these home jam-sessions, but after a little while, you get used to the noise. She claimed that her phone was ringing off the hook (I don't see how it could be when she wasn't at home and in all her rantings her cell phone didn't ring ONCE) with complaints from all of her tenants and neighbors.

Okay, I think we have long-ago established on this blog how I despise a liar. Now, we know most of her tenants in the two duplexes and most of them have come over to COMPLIMENT the man on his playing. Next up, if someone in the neighborhood is making a ruckus of some sort, do you take the time to look up some random landlord who does not live on site, or do you call the police? Um, I'll take option number two for $200, Alex! Then she threatened to call our landlord AND the police! So Frank said "Go ahead, my landlord live just up the block a bit, I'll get you his number!" She left in a huff.

So Frank comes in to let me know what is going on and I snapped. After those two rude ladies in the store two weeks ago, I have had it with being walked all over by other people's rudeness. Why is it okay to go up to someone and DEMAND your own way? What did I do? I called the cops myself! I spoke to a lovely man about what the rules are about playing the drums during the day in your own home (or shed) and he said that between 9 am and 9 pm you should be fine, but he'd have an officer call me back. The extremely helpful officer called me back within five minutes and I explained the whole scenario and when I told him all that had transpired and how Frank only plays once a month, his only comment was "Why only once a month?" He decided to come over and check out the noise level and then go over the town ordinances with us personally.

Now here's where it gets funny - we've met this officer before! We spent part of last Easter with him! He's a DRUMMER!! He asked Frank to play for him and if he hadn't gotten called away, he was going to take a turn on the drums!! In a perfect world, the woman would have still been across the street to witness it all and the proverbial middle finger would have gone up! Bottom line, there in no ordinance that states that you cannot play drums in your shed. From 9 am to 9 pm, you can play. It is no more obnoxious than a leaf blower, lawn mower, or motorcycle - all of which HER tenants use with annoying regularity and I have not complained about. YET.

Thirty minutes later, my landlord makes an appearance. Apparently this woman DID go and see him and almost demanded that we be removed from the neighborhood because we are so rude and inconsiderate. He laughed in her face. He lives four doors down from us (and across a road) and he could not hear a thing. So the woman proved herself to be a LIAR yet again. So let's recap, neighbors to our left, no problem with the drums. Neighbors to the right, LOVE the drums and enjoy hearing him play. There is nothing but a big field behind our house so no one behind us has a problem. Half of the neighbors across the street who live in the duplexes all the time, no problem with the drums. Crazy lady who was there for an hour who doesn't live there or even know us, big problem, and that problem is that she is a LIAR!

Next weekend we plan to invite the nice police officer back for a jam session while Nick mows the lawn, Michael uses the leaf blower and I find a really loud motorcycle to rev. Ah, good times.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bad Kids on the Block

We live in a fairly transient area. Other than one other family on our block, the turnover rate here is staggering. Most families that move in are young couples with no kids or they never seem to have kids the same age as mine. Well, I shouldn't say NEVER, there have been a few exceptions.

There was the single mom with a son Nick's age. The kid wasn't a "bad" kid in the typical sense (no criminal activity) but he was an only child who was over-indulged by his divorced parents and so he had a sense of entitlement to whatever he came in contact with. He annoyed me to no end. We've had a little bit more luck recently with kids for Michael to play with. He had a classmate who happened to live almost right behind us. She introduced him to some other kids to play with in the area. Then another single mom moved in across the street with two boys - both younger than Michael but they play together very well.

And then there is THAT family. (Insert doom and gloom music here). THAT family has been here for a while. They are a large family - LOTS and LOTS of grandchildren apparently. When the oldest grandchild first appeared on the scene, Nick had to be around 8. We were so excited for him to have a friend the same age that we encouraged the friendship. Well that all ended the day someone came over to tell us that they found the two boys trying to break in to cars! Now, you all know that I am fully aware of my child's faults, always have been. But this is my super-cautious child. He doesn't even leap down from the curb without double and triple checking with everyone that it is the right thing to do and he won't get hurt. Well, at least he used to back then. This other boy was left unattended for large amounts of time and the parents were never around so I was pretty sure that this whole thing was this other boy's idea. We were confronted by this boy's grandmother who seemed to believe otherwise. She was rather nasty about the whole thing and I never allowed Nick to play with this kid again.

Fast forward 8 years and two different grandchildren appear on the scene and Michael is drawn to them like bees to honey. I decided that there was a good chance that these kids were not hooligans like their cousin and let him play with them. On my first interaction with them, they came to my back door at least a half a dozen times to ask Michael to come out and play. Each time they were told no because we had friends visiting from out of town. Yet every ten minutes they were back. I was not amused. A week later, they were playing in the yard with Michael and I watched this boy stand on his two-seater swing and kick the backs off of it. I FLEW out the back door and demanded that they leave and told them that they were no longer allowed over. I mean, it wasn't like "Oops, the swing broke" but it was a deliberate action (He kept kicking until each piece was gone).

We don't have much and we don't need people coming over and destroying what we have! Michael wanted to play with these kids yesterday. The swing incident was about a month ago. Frank and I both told him no. He cried, he carried on, he yelled at us about how HE doesn't care that the swing set got broken. So I had to sit him down and explain to him about appropriate behavior. I asked:
- "When we go to someone's house, do we break their toys?"
- "No"
- "When we go to the store, do we knock racks over?"
- "No"
- "Why not?"
- "Because it's not right and we respect peoples stuff"
- "That's right"
Then I had to explain all of the ways that these kids do NOT respect peoples stuff. It was all very draining.

A little later he went out to play with his friend Joe. Within a little while, the 'bad' kids came out and tried to join them. Luckily Joe's mother shares my views and soon, she had Michael back by her house. I really hate keeping kids apart but sometimes it really is for the best. I don't want my child to think that destructive behavior is tolerated. I want him to see and learn that there are consequences for that kind of behavior. It's another one of those parenting moments that I wish we could have lived without because it really broke his heart - he just wanted to play.

Play like that gets expensive after a while and not just monetarily.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Death in Reality

My grandmother is dying. Quickly. Back in early June the doctors gave her 4-6 months. She is on Hospice and is taking morphine daily for her pain. The cancer is just growing upon itself and spreading throughout her body. Her time is growing short.

If there is one thing I could say to describe my grandmother it is that she is a Christian. She was always in church serving. She read her little "Daily Bread" pamphlets daily. She always put others before herself and knew all of the words to any hymn thrown her way. As the end of her life is approaching, she seems to have missed the mark. And please understand, I am not condemning her, I am merely stating some honest facts. For someone who read her Bible every day, she doesn't understand that it is not works or deeds that we are saved, but it is by God's grace. It is not works or deeds that earn us our place in Heaven, but by Death on the Cross.

It always amazed me when I would hear of people dying that had peace. They were ready to leave this world and never utter a single word of anger. Grandma is angry. With each family visit, she talks of how angry she is; how unfair this is that she is dying this way when others deserved to suffer more. I SO appreciate her honesty!! You know what, I don't think that I would feel too kindly about leaving my love ones behind even knowing that I am going to a better place. That better place is unknown. No one really wants to leave their comfort zones. Trust me, there are a lot of people that have come and gone in my life that I have wished bad things upon (I'm not proud of it, but that is the truth). How do you comfort someone at the lowest point in their lives? How can you promise them the peace of a wondrous place when you know that right now, you would not trade places with them?

We are preparing to go up to New York in the next couple of weeks to spend time with her and say our good-byes. I want my children to see her while she still knows who they are and that they are there. I want them to have conversations with her. I want them to tell her that they are okay and that they love her. It's all fine and well to stand beside a casket and say those things when someone is gone but how much more would it mean to say it now when she can hear it and rejoice with them in it? This will not be an easy trip for us. My older son is VERY close to her and she will be the first loss in his young life. Do we really say good-bye when we know that we will all be together again some day? Reminding Grandma of all of the people she will see again in Heaven has not brought her the joy that we had hoped. I am unsure of what we will say or what we will do but I want this to be a time of celebration, a time where we are not so focused on death but on life.

Each time that my mom shares a story with me about a visit that she has with grandma, it makes me sad. Sad because there is regret. For all of us. Time that we should have spent together, but didn't. Regret for opportunities long gone. Does Grandma regret giving her life to a job that gave her nothing when she retired? Does she regret not having traveled? Some of us are blessed with knowing the things that we want to do in this life that we are given and make sure that we life to the fullest. Some of us are too scared to take that leap for fear of what would happen if we played hooky or took the time off to travel when our bank accounts were small. I think that we all will die with a certain amount of regret. I can only hope and pray that mine will be small.

What keeps me smiling through all of this as I try to keep it all lighthearted is a little cartoon that plays itself in my head: it is a cartoon drawing of my grandmother in her white robe, with wings. The light is shining on her from Heaven. Her feet are in the air but her hands are grasping the earth below her - unwilling to go. It's silly, I know, but it makes me smile.

Life life to its fullest, friends. Remember God's grace and that He is with us even when it seems like He is not. Take comfort in the fact that there is a greater place for us all and that He never promised us that it was going to be easy. He never promised that it wouldn't be down-right painful at times. It's a small comfort, but a comfort nonetheless. Pray for my Grandma and please pray for our time together. Remember to tell those around you that you love them every day. Remember to tell God that you are thankful for Him and the people that He has placed in your life. Remember to laugh. Remember to cry.

He who dies with the most regrets does not win.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Parent vs. Parent

I got an e-mail from Michael's teacher on Monday afternoon. He was sent to the principal's office because he threw his work at the teacher WHILE he was yelling at her. Ah, another proud parenting moment. She was just informing us of this "incident" and letting us know that a formal notice will be sent home this week from the front office. Ooo, let me run to mailbox and get ready to scrapbook this momentous occassion.

I'm sarcastic, I know. So, when my darling husband got home that night, we discussed the matter and decided that we would talk to the child together. Well, I guess I need a new dictionary because apparently the new meaning of "together" is "Frank alone". He was helping Michael with his homework and then started talking to him about the incident. So I stood outside the bedroom door, silently fuming. I mean, the teacher e-mailed ME! I should get to be the one to have the conversation alone, not him! Oh, and I'm childish, too. I wait a few minutes and then crept in to the room and joined the conversation while giving my husband the 'look' that said "I'll deal with YOU later". My son cried, he said that it all didn't happen like the teacher said, blah, blah, blah. Like every parent in America hasn't heard THAT line before.

As fate would have it, we had a parent-teacher conference scheduled for the next day already so I will now get to speak to the teacher face-to-face and see what in the world is going on at school. Now just so you know, I am not one-bit surprised by this incident. Michael is easily frustrated. He yells at US all the time. He gets in great trouble every time and yet he continues to yell. So I went to the conference, spent 45 minutes with the teacher, we brainstormed on ways to help him de-stress in certain situations and I walked away feeling really good. My husband could not find the time to make the conference. His schedule is not really flexible, so I understood.

Our children are mini versions of us - separately. Nick is all me, Michael is all my husband. So when Nick does something stupid, I can almost see his logic. His father does not. When Michael does something stupid, I am lost while his father totally gets it. It makes for interesting parenting, that's for sure. In all of the aspects of marriage, disciplining our children is where Frank and I disagree the most. Making the punishment fit the crime is hard to agree on when we each view the crime differently. For example, if Nick forgets his keys (which he does a LOT and it's annoying), I don't get upset because 99.9% of the time, we are home and he doesn't NEED the keys. This is a huge offense to my husband. "Why won't he take his keys?" "Why is he so irresponsible?" I just don't see it that way. So while Frank will lecture our son on being a responsible adult, I'm thinking "Look, he got in to the house! No windows were broken and we're all still sitting here alive to talk about it." See, different views of the crime.

In this case with Michael, I am seeing a child who is disrespectful with his yelling, he sits alone in class (although so do 4 other students) and he had to be sent to the principal's office. This is HUGE to me. To Frank? "He's only 8. He'll outgrow this."


Seriously? He'll outgrow it? WHEN??? Because I'm telling you, it's not soon enough. I don't want my child to be the problem child. I don't want him 'red-flagged' like some delinquent case. I don't want him on a first-name basis with the principal! So I tell Frank about the solutions that the teacher and I came up with , and he's not on board with any of them. Why? Because the boy is only 8 and he will outgrow this. He'll learn to handle his frustration. We'll talk to him. Blah, blah, blab-bee-dee-blah, blah. Okay, because TALKING to the child has worked so well up to this point. Different views of the crime. So I'm back to square one. The teacher is going to go and do what she needs to do to make her classroom run smoothly and I am backing her 100%. At home, it's still a work in progress. I wanted to sort of have some consistency for the boy in both places but clearly that is not going to happen. I can only do what I can do.

But in what was clearly an "I TOLD YOU SO" moment, after dinner last night, Frank asked Michael to do something, he didn't do it and then yelled at Frank and I just sat back and watched everyone's frustration level rise to the breaking point until finally Frank yelled for me and said "Can you help us out here?"

The snarky part of me wanted to say "Why? There doesn't seem to be a problem." But I didn't.

See, smart AND pretty.