Friday, November 07, 2008

The Best Chicken Jokes EVER

WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?

SARAH PALIN: Before it got to the other side, I shot the chicken, cleaned and dressed it, and had chicken burgers for lunch.

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MC CAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. Thechicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am
now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken doesn't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart-warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken 2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken 2008. This new platform is much more stable and will never crash or need to be rebooted.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Things That Cause me to Sweat EVERYWHERE

This morning I had a conference call with my three New York editors over at the Nickelodeon site as to what, exactly, I'll be doing for them over the next three weeks.

Talking with younger, hip women who make casual references to The Hills is intimidating enough.

Talking to them while trying to take notes - the sweats start to take over.

Talking to them while taking notes, trying to follow all three of their conversations, and their three visions for what I'll be doing ("This is a pilot project. So we want you to do X but not really do X - and make it lively and cool and make things up but be authentic and real, k?") is enough to cause me to sweat in very bad places.

Talking to them, understanding them, taking notes, trying not to sound like a total doofus and simultaneously trying to silently entertain my two year-old - I'm starting to reek.

Juggling all of the above then trying to swiftly evade my now shrieking two-year old by sprinting up the stairs with notes in hand and trying not to sound like a panting doofus - I may as well call it a day and start over.

People wonder why I am not always readily available by phone, and until you have crouched in a corner of a locked bathroom with a phone in one ear and your finger in your other while trying to write with your feet while your child pounds on the door - you won't get it.

Never let them see you sweat. Or hear you drop the telephone into a toilet.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

When You're Done Celebrating Tonight...

I will be living, breathing, and doing little else but thinking of Thanksgiving for the next three weeks. Because I'm Martha incarnate and it takes at least fifteen days for the decoupage to dry and the marzipan likenesses of my family that adorn the pumpkin pie to be completed? Not really.

For the next three weeks (starting at the end of this week, thank goodness, because I will be watching my man Obama take the election tonight) I will be talking about all things Thanksgiving over at Nickelodeon's parenting website, Parents Connect. Come on over and grab a great recipe, share a horror story from Thanksgivings past, give some advice to new moms making their first turkey or just heckle the moderator...

See you guys there.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quote for the Day

Whatever you give a woman, she's going to multiply.

If you give her a house, she'll give you a home.

If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.

If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.

She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.

So - if you give her crap, You will receive more shit than any one human being can handle....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Drama Dilemma

There is nothing like school-age drama. Nothing. Since the day my oldest started school I have witnessed the queen bees in training as they selected lucky recipients to sleep overs, or the coveted spots at the lunch table, or the order in which team members have been selected for recess teams. For the past decade or so I have felt thrust back into the schoolyard drama I thought was long behind me. Come to find out, when you have kids, you get the exquisite pleasure of reliving all of the good and bad stuff of childhood. Yippee.

With girls I always expected and have often witnessed cutthroat behavior. It's in the estrogen, right? My first two are girls - so I have had years of tears, joys, slumber party highs and lows and all the ensuing in-between.

But boys? Come on.

My oldest son is six and in first grade. Granted - he goes to a verry sheltered school that eschews media, television, computers and basically the outside world. There are some perks to this - kids retain their sense of magic longer. Of course, when you want to brag to the parents at playground duty that you're now writing for Nickelodeon, it's not nearly as satisfying when they look at you with a blank stare and then politely inquire who Nick O. Lodeon is. Sigh.

The other day one of the other first grade moms approached me and was concerned because she had heard - get this - that my son had brought a knife to school, had threatened to stab himself, and had been sent to the Principal's office. Um. None of that happened. As it turns out, Jacob and some other six year-old boys had been huddled around the tractor tire on the playground and were working themselves up in what I would consider to be "typical" boy behavior and decided they wanted to talk about dangerous things, to include knives. Dangerous things have always fascinated Jacob since we have a pretty strict policy on what they watch, what they can play with (laser guns, yes - semi-automatic pistols not so much) and how they interact. But trust me - you can hate the NRA all you want but your son will still take his peanut butter sandwich and form it into the shape of a handgun and attempt to kill you with it. This is what they are hardwired to do.

But this mom, a sweet and wonderful person, has just one child - her daughter, and has been able to live a life very different from the chaos that is my home. So she was understandably concerned that my son was the next up and coming serial killer. I sat in my minivan and assured her that my son, a gentle and kind soul, would never do anything of the sort.

In the meantime? The dual-screened televisions in the second row of my car were blaring the distinct lasered sounds of a light sabre fight from the Star Wars DVD and the plastic Disneyland sword my toddler took in to the restaurant the other day? In plain view of this woman just as I uttered the phrase, "I don't even let the boys play with knives."

Swords aren't knives, right?

Now I feel like I have to encourage this soft, fluffy kitten and rainbows side of Jacob whenever we approach the playground in the morning.

"Here's your backpack, son. Oh, forgot your lunchbox? Or did you just donate it to another homeless man again while you were busy saving that robin that fell out of its nest? Give me a kiss and tell me how much you love Jesus."

I need a nap. How about you? Any tale-worthy drama with your kids? If not - how are you avoiding it?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And She Emerges from her Silence...

Well.

I knew I was ready to poke my big toe back into the pool of blogging after a particularly hellish day last week that began with my toddler sneaking a sword (plastic, from Disneyland, but still foolish for me to let him carry it in public) into a restaurant at a breakfast meeting and impailing innocent diners and ended in me calling my oldest daughter a sociopath.

It was then when I knew I needed this like a junkie needs a fix was ready to come back. So to my two and a half readers left - I'm baaack!

When your family encounters a crisis like we did this summer, priorities seem to crystalize, and suddenly time spent away from my family clacking away on the computer just wasn't making the list. I really needed to get away. I can report that although my brother-in-law is still paralyzed, he makes progress every day and is able to live and work from home and be with his wife and boys. And of course, the passage of time, the healing of sadness and the re-adjustments we've all made have enabled me to resume a lot of things put on hold.

Some of you may know that I'm working on a book on blogging with some talented ladies. It's an amazing project and while I can say that as the co-editor I have a lot of work ahead of me - the bulk of the talent is coming from our contributors. If you have an amazing story to share relating to how blogging has changed your life, or if you want to point me in the direction of an incredible blog written by a mom I may not know about (and I haven't been reading a lot of blogs lately) please send me a note! Maybe you or someone you enjoy reading will be in bookstores near you next year!

I'm glad to be back swimming again with all of you.

Splash!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Like a Vacation, Only Without the Gin and Blackouts

I've been on a bit of a self-imposed sabbatical from blogging. My plans are to resume things...but maybe a little differently.

I dunno - life, work, other writing jobs...doing the big thinking thing and wondering where blogging fits in and why...and who, exactly, I'm writing for. Do I spend the blogging time watching Oprah and giving myself facials doing other productive ventures that are suffering due to a crazy schedule? Because anyone who reads and/or writes a blog knows what a time sucking vortex it can be.

So...gathering my thoughts (at least one has solidified and that is that I am just too damn old for Twitter. Count me out. No one cares that I am carpooling and on my sixth Diet Coke of the day) and will be regrouping soon.

One thing will remain constant, and that is my need for an outlet to mock my children and vent about my marriage partner all in an effort to feel like I'm part of a team. A team of people who enjoy drinking, manic exercise, bad puns, and the smell of Clorox on a clean toilet seat.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Watch Out! His Wife Can Give You 'Roids!

File this one under "I read this on the news and suddenly I despair for the plight of human beings who will sue/be aggressive and mean at the drop of a hat" or, just file it under "dumb."

Apparently this man:

You know, Joel Osteen from the Live Your Best Life phenomenon? The Texas preacher who has changed the lives of a lot (I say a lot because I don't know - thousands? millions?) of people has a wife with a bit of a pretty princess complex.

Here's the Pretty Princess with her prince:

And here is the flight attendant who says that Pretty Princess elbowed her in the breast and basically gave her the smackdown, because there was a stain on Pretty Princess's first class seat. A...a...stain? On public transportation? Especially over-priced transportation that serves to make rich people feel like they're getting something better First Class?

My favorite part of the AP news article? In the lawsuit, the flight attendant claims that as a result of the incident, which granted - must have been a pain in the ass to endure, was literally a pain in the ass for her to endure. She is suing because she says the resultant stress has given her anxiety and....HEMORRHOIDS.

Haven't we all been there at one time or another? The kids are yelling and giving us a headache and we sit down to just catch a moment and wham! out pops another hemorrhoid.

I totally hate that.

Wedgies, Man Parts, And Uh, Other Weird Stuff.

Yesterday while on the phone with my cousin, I could hear her two kids shrieking like banshees because they share my DNA and are thus a little crazy boisterously playing. We both ignored the background sounds until a lull in the conversation allowed me to hear this exchange between my cousin's five year old daughter (I call her my niece) and her two year old son (again, my nephew)...

"Mooom! Ewwww! Ryan just put his penis on me!"

To which my cousin just dryly commented, "Yeah. Ryan's kind of going through a naked phase. It helps with the potty training, but his man junk is everywhere. Anyway, where were we?"

So, you looking to keep your kid (or someone else's. Heh) man junk in its proper place? The good people at Hanes were kind enough to send me a box of manna from heaven and one less trip to Target their awesome underwear and socks for girls and boys.

Want to read about man junk coverage? Okay - how about Hanes...yeah. Whatever...just go over here for more.....

Friday, August 01, 2008

Sweet Lord...We Have some Winners

I went over to random.org to generate the two winners of the prize and I'll be contacting lady_msnow and Jenn at Juggling Life for the two main prizes.

Here are the people who won a consolation card with a packet of chocolate face mask.....look for an email!

Michelle (commenter #9)
Reeva (#21)
Lisa (stormy5475)
Robin_Titan
Angie (quilly silly)
Estelle (commenter #63)
The Green Yak
Kyra
Pierce
Maypole :)

I'll track you all down, but if you read this first, send me your address and full name to the email on the profile!

As for me, I will be packing my girls up today and getting them ready for a two week vacation to visit family....without me or Bob. What was I thinking?

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for playing!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jumping in to the Big Bloggy Giveaway! Yay! Free Stuff!

Okay everybody - there is a huge Blog Carnival going on and if you want to win a buttload of awesome prizes, go on and waste some work time pour through all of the great prizes you can win this week.

Here is where you go. But wait! You can win something here, too! Today through Friday if you leave a comment at this post, you will have a chance to win....

1. Two winners will each win skin care products from the Wrinklerexic Suggests files, guaranteed to lift your spirits and maybe even your skin! See, I told you if you left a comment your skin would be taut and poreless! I'll be putting over $50.00 worth of skin care in this adorable bag here:




Brought to you by the good people at Payless Shoes, who will be mailing the bag to each winner. If you want your own, you can always head over to Payless Shoes and get one with a $25.00 purchase for only an additional $5.00...or you can enter and get it here! With lotions and pretty girly stuff to put inside!

Have fun! Good luck!

*****Edited to add: Ten readers who don't win will still get a consolation card from Get in the Car! to include a sample pack of Muddy H2O's fabulous chocolate face mask....visit their site for retail locations where you can buy their organic, luscious products - totally used and approved by yours truly.*****

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How Long Before You're Driven the the Brink?

What's the longest distance you've ever driven with your family? How did you while about the hours/days and arrive at your destination in one piece?

As a former Air Force family, we are used to the punishing drive. When Jacob was four weeks old we took a leisurely drive from Oregon to Georgia so that Bob could report to his new job at Robins Air Force Base. Our girls were entertained with movies and frequent stops and stays along the way and only bickered once or twice an hour, as compared with the every 14 seconds rate they currently have going. Jacob was in the barracuda stages of nursing, so each state we visited was punctuated for me based on where my nipples were. North Dakota will always have a special place in my heart, because that was the first time I nursed Jacob without needing to clench my jaw in pain and pray to the mother of Jesus for the kid to never get teeth.

On a particularly long, arid stretch through Montana Chloe had to go the the bathroom. Why I haven't just invented the traveling catheter for children is beyond me, but even with our strict limitation of beverages while traveling, the children always have to potty eventually. But when you're in the middle of Montana, there may be 6,243 miles before the next rest stop, unless you count the pasture filled with bison. When we finally found an exit with facilities, we found ourselves parking next to hundreds of Harleys in front of a bar that said "No Minors and no Assholes Allowed." Jen's traveling tip # 7: When you're the whitest family in America, and you think it's fun to travel in matching Old Navy patriotic t-shirts - don't expect to walk into a biker bar without rendering the entire place silent. As it happens, we had pulled off to the only place with facilities, and it was also knee-deep in the Annual Testicle Festival.

I also remember Kentucky as the first state where I ever ate catfish and the first state where I lost my Cracker Barrel virginity. I had never even heard of Cracker Barrel, and then just like that I was loving gravy and Old Yankee candles.

So you how about you, mom reader? What's the longest road trip you've taken? Any tips that don't involve alcohol? (those can just be emailed to me, k?)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dirty Talk: Now With Extra Cupholders

For years I was one of those women who proudly (and loudly) stated that she would never in a million years own a minivan.
A minivan? Horrors! As a younger mom whenever I thought of the offending vehicle, I pictured this:

I held on to my little Saab until Jacob was born, at which point I succumbed to the inevitable lineup of SUVs...until Al Gore came along and guilted me into squeezing me and my four kids into an ancient Volvo sedan.

Let me tell you - when you have more than two kids, you need that extra row. I have no buffer row and now when Jack is mad (read: always) and throws his sippy cup/ball/hot wheels car it hits my head. While driving. This is not fun, and has forced me to daydream a little more than is considered healthy about running away to that shrimp shack I keep threatening to open.

So last night, when Bob was making the moves, he knew exactly how to seduce me. He mentioned this:


Then he whispered that he wanted me inside of this:


And just like that, I was his.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The View From Here

I cannot bring myself to watch The View. The combination of Whoopi's superior air, Elisabeth's whiny Republican blather, Babwa's speech impediment, and Sherri's diarrhea of the mouth ("I've had too many abortions to count") don't compel me to tune in to the funny musings of Joy Behar (I've always loved her as a comic). Can't. Pull. The. Trigger.

Of course I do catch snippets of The View when they make the news. Who hasn't seen angry pinch-mouthed Rosie and Elisabeth go for each other's throats? And recently? The whole 'N' word furor? Oy.

I'm such a WASP that I should have a stinger coming out of my butt, and even I can see where Whoopi and Sherri were coming from when they said blacks and whites live in separate worlds still, and that blacks can use the word if they want to take it back from the white man's original intent. Elisabeth nearly burst a pipe sobbing that we do all live in the same world and that gosh darn it why is it so necessary to say such a horrible yucky word? Whyyyyyy? Whaaaa.

A few years ago I wrote and sold my first piece to a feminist magazine called Bitch. Whooo boy did the inlaws have a hard time understanding that one. Why on earth would I read, much less write for a magazine that had such a naughty word printed in such large, bold font on its cover? I did the same thing then that Whoopi tried to do with Ms. Republican Convention - I told her bitch was a word that feminists wanted to take BACK from the misogynist vernacular. In other words, if my best friend wants to affectionately/jokingly call me a bitch - who the hell cares. If some man, on the other hand, calls me a bitch I'm going to be integrating his balls into a Rachel Ray 30 minute meal.

So Whoopi, Sherri - y'all irritate the coffee right out of my bowels - but I totally get what you're saying. Elisabeth just needs to go needlepoint a John McCain pillow and make sure her highlights are extra blonde for the upcoming election coverage.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Try and Find the Guest Blog

Hi all. Today I guest blogged for a friend. Due to its content, I won't be linking over to her blog, but if you're interested, and you know who Sunshine is, go on over and have a read.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And There's Also No Santa. Or Tooth Fairy.

Jack was in the backseat of the car watching an old Sesame Street movie, the one where Big Bird gets lost. It was either that or his non-stop incessant shrieking that would render the nearest canine deaf until we got home from the doctor's office. Maddie, agahst that Sesame Street has been around since I was a kid, quizzed me non-stop on which characters I liked. Finally, she got around to Big Bird.

"Did you like Big Bird?"

"No, I told you. I pretty much only liked Grover and Kermit. The journalist and the smart nerd - you can't go wrong."

"What about Big Bird's friend? That elephant?"

"You mean Snuffleuppagus," called Chloe from the backseat.

Under my breath I muttered, "You mean Big Bird's lover." Oops. I may have said that aloud.

I turned, horrified, to see that Maddie had heard me. And worse, she burst into loud guffaws of laughter.

I hate it when I have to back pedal before noon.

"Mom! Big Bird wasn't gay!"

"There's nothing wrong with that. We have no idea what Big Bird's sexual orientation is. And for the record, that's not why he bugs me. He's an arrogant bird who barely hides his contempt for slow learners. Haven't you heard the way he talks down to Baby Bear?"

Just another good wholesome conversation while stuck in construction traffic.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Good Summer Chicken Salad

Shred the chicken from one roasted chicken (I grab a pre-cooked one at the deli to save time and keep my kitchen cool)

Dice one avocado

Blanch one (or two if you wish) ear white corn, cut kernels off.

Chop one quarter to one half of a red onion

Chop a generous handful of cilantro

Cut a pint of grape tomatoes in half

In bowl, whisk together the juice of a large lime, two tablespoons olive oil, and a half capful-ish of Chipotle chile powder

Mix all ingredients, drizzle chipotle dressing and stir. Serve over crushed tortilla chips (I like the lime ones) and have a cold margarita ready.

Enjoy! This takes no time at all if you buy the chicken and it feeds a crowd. If you want more heat, dice a jalapeno in there - yum!

Monday, July 21, 2008

You Say Anal, I Say Just Cut Me Some Slack

I've been squeezing in some half days at work this summer in addition to my weekend schedule and it's been nice to have the extra adult time and income. We've basically cancelled most of our pre-existing plans for the summer so we can be close to home and available to travel to see Bob's brother, and working is something I can do to help offset some of the travel expenses. There are a lot of upsides to this arrangement, and my girls have benefitted from this, too.

While I'm at work, they have jobs at home, work to complete (the dreaded summer curriculum I come up with as I panic that their brains are leaking out of their heads with each episode of Hannah Montana they watch while consuming god knows how much food coloring and preservatives), and babysitting of their younger brothers to help with. Of course I pay them, and the big reward is an airplane trip out to stay with cousins in Minnesota next month.

My girlfriend, Kristi, came by the house a couple of days ago to drop off the hamster we will be trying not to kill babysitting for the next two weeks. I wasn't home, and Bob had already come home and taken the kids. So it was natural, when she saw the typed letter on the counter addressed to my husband, that she would read it. And then later mock me. And then mock my husband. What else is a good friend going to do with the following?

Bob:

Please leave the house no later than 3:30 for the club. The girls have swim team in the outdoor pool from 4:00 – 5:30 and Jacob has swim lessons in the indoor pool from 4:30 to 5:00.

I have packed a brown bag with a protein snack for the kids at the pool. Each child can have half a piece of cheese toast and some apple. If you want to let them buy something additional after they have eaten the healthy snack, feel free. DO NOT FORGET TO PUT THE SNACK SACK IN THE POOL BAG. It is in the ‘fridge labeled “pool snack.”

When you get home Jack needs to wake up, pronto. The kids should have their summer bridgework looked over for quality and completion. Maddie should have completed six pages in her book (two for each subject tab), Chloe should have done her three pages plus instructed Jacob on his short “u” page, the money page, the letter “g” sound and the work page covering relative size.

Maddie should have started reading her book for her oral book report next week. She should show you the book and tell you how many pages she read.

I will come home with dinner, movies, and a treat. The movies and treat are contingent upon successful completion of their jobs and NO BICKERING, HARM or FOUL PLAY. You should call me at work immediately if they did this, and in that case I will only bring home dinner.

There is a cold soda in the snack bag for you to drink at the pool – we are short on food and I will pick groceries up before I come home.

LASTLY: THERE IS NO MORE SUNSCREEN. Please buy some at the store before the girls get in the outdoor pool – they will burn up (as will Jack) if they are not protected.

Thank you.

Your wife,

Jennifer

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Good Read

I just read the best post today over at my pal Rima's place. If anything, the title alone will grab you. As for me, today I've got nothing. I feel like a lot of things are coming to a head and catching up with me and I need to just be as quiet as I can today. Just be. Always a challenge with four "bored" children home. Enjoy the read (and her blog if you haven't ventured over there before).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Just a Typical Morning

8 AM: Rise to smell of coffee, wonder why I am so fatigued. Remember that daughter #2 woke in the middle of the night and threw up grilled shrimp on the guest bathroom rug.

9 AM: After two loads of laundry, a to-do list, and three phone calls are made, change enormous poop on two year-old while on telephone with friend. Agree to babysit her daughter for the afternoon.

9:30 AM: Smell paint - wonder why this is so, since the bedroom I am painting is closed off to children. Investigate, and find a dozen or so toddler-sized footprints of tan latex paint on wood floor leading to bedroom. Clean paint off of toddler. Field more phone calls.

10 AM: Friend's daughter steps on needle in office. Remove needle, dry tears, and bandage foot while shielding child from ball-throwing antics of two year-old.

10:30 AM: Sit older children down to do summer bridgework activities. Try and explain gerund phrases to thirteen year-old while six year-old picks nose and forces me to wonder if he will ever read or if we should push sports more aggressively.

11 AM: Second glass breakage of the day. Didn't feel like washing toddler's plastic Sesame Street cup and paid for it after he threw cute Cost Plus World Market glass tumbler at the wall.

11:30 AM: Feed the kids an early lunch and explain the necessity of quiet time before swim lessons. Friend's child, an only child, has perpetual look of shock on her face and you wonder what she says about your house when she talks to her mom. Make lame joke about how calm your house is, so much so that Buddhist monks come to your kitchen to meditate. Child just looks more stunned.

11:59 AM: Place call to husband and remind him that the children will be home alone tomorrow since I plan on going to work. Do not laugh when he jokes that I am escaping children through part-time work.

Fantasize about draining checking account and running away to the tropics and opening a shrimp shack on the beach. Decide I am too tired to drive to the bank, and the children are another day with an intact family.

Monday, July 14, 2008

When Breeders Meet

Although the following could be a camp photo, or classroom picture - it's not. It's simply my family and my girlfriend's family (minus us and the men) getting together before the Fourth of July Parade. Her uterus wins top prize for overtime, although you should all know my sickness and know that pictures like this make my ovaries twitch as in just one more? But my brain tries to shut them down with a simple for the love of god no, please no - you'll be the death of me, woman.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Brother in Law on His Way Home Today

Today my husband is flying in a private plane, owned by a friend of his brother's, to accompany his brother home.

He is being taken directly to the hospital for potentially months of physical therapy, but we are so excited for him to be home, to see his boys, and get better in a familiar environment. Thanks to all of you who sent your well-wishes, prayers, emails of encouragement, and calls - every single one has been appreciated.

Everyone's lives involved may be vastly different from here on out, but in some ways already better - it's amazing how life's priorities can be made stunningly clear in just a single moment.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Good Wholesome Fun or Lord of the Flies? You Decide



My girls have been conducting a "camp" this week for my friends' kids. It's a way to help out a girlfriend who is strapped for childcare this week and allow another one some time to get errands done without the extra fun of dragging unwilling children along. The camp members have a rigorous schedule that includes play practice, dance class, jewelry making, and - uh, marching and running laps around the yard. No harm no foul, right? It wears them out for the moms. And, they hire cheaply.

I did have to draw the line at the slip-n-slide being placed on the treehouse slide. I know, no head wound trauma at my house if we can help it. I'm such a spoil sport.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Teenagers: Can't Live With them, Can't Use them as BioFuel

For my 300th post I thought I should post something short, sweet and snarky. I also forgot to mention that you can all now reach my site by typing in getinthecar.net - soon I will have the entire blog over there, and be entirely free of blogger once and for all. Free, I say! But for now it's a lot less cumbersome to type and certainly easier to remember...and for those of you using readers, if you wouldn't mind adjusting your browsers sometime I would greatly appreciate it.

Last night The Teenager had a friend stay for dinner. In the past year The Teenager has gone from a drooling carnivore to an animal hugging vegetarian. Coincidentally, many of her friends are also vegetarians. I get it, I do. She's trying on one of sure to be many personas in her efforts to find herself. I also get that karma is a total whore because I did this to my own mother and forced her to create tofu dishes for me at holiday dinners. Because we all know how easy it is to create a Thanksgiving feast, why not whip up a Thai peanut tofu noodle dish, as well?

For the five-sixths of the family who still consume the evil flesh, I had cooked a jambalaya with turkey sausage. On the side I had a spinach salad and fresh sliced nectarines. A cold pitcher of iced tea also sat sweating on the kitchen table. It was a simple summer meal, but one that made me happy to prepare in light of all the hospital cafeteria food we've eaten recently. Before I added the turkey sausage, I carefully made a veggie jambalaya with black beans and chick peas and topped it with grated cheese. I called everyone in to eat and told them to hurry up - we planned on catching a family swim before bedtime. The Teenager and her friend, Surly Political Teen, came into the kitchen and sniffed the air like a couple of knobby-kneed Meerkats.

"Um, is that meat I smell?" Grumbled The Teenager.

"Yes, it is a deceased turkey that is flavoring our rice. I have a vegetarian dish on the table for you and Surly Political Teen. Now wash up."

Surly Political Teen rolled her eyes with my daughter and tapped her fingers disdainfully on the bowl of our carniverous fare. "You're the only one in your family who is a vegetarian?" My daughter nodded her painful assent, acknowledging her lone status as the only sane and good member of the family. Surly Political teen looked at me. "You know, Kentucky Fried Chicken tortures their animals before cooking them."

"Well, honey, this is turkey. I just slapped it around a little before frying it."

Five years to college and counting.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Everyone Was a Baby Once

The following is a reprint from a guest post I did this weekend for Anna over at Hank and Willie.

These past ten days have been surreal for my family. In the midst of the regular summer crazies the most unexpected tragedy befell my brother-in-law. This post won't be about what happened, although I can tell you he is alive and with a spirit intact and filled with generosity, love and gratitude.

No, this post is about the child in all of us. And it came about in the most unexpected way. Today I worked at the hospital (I've been MIA since the PTA Convention and then with my brother-in-law). Late this afternoon I walked onto one of the ICU floors to get some paperwork filled out by a patient. The first thing I noticed was the grim-faced police officer sitting outside of his room, clacking away on a small official looking laptop. I did a double take on the patient's chart - oh. Meth overdose. No wonder.

I felt myself harden inside as I judged this young man for his foolish choice before even crossing the threshold to his room. I'm a mom. I protect my own children from this kind of trash. I stepped in and took a good look. He was only twenty-four, but nearly unrecognizable as a young man. His skin was pocked and eaten away by Meth sores, and he had white streaks slashed across his cheeks where the acidic vomit ( imagine what your body would do if you regularly consumed Meth) had left its angry mark on his ravaged skin. I asked his nurse if I could talk with him and she shrugged her shoulders and looked at him with contempt.

"He's sleeping it off. Wake him up."

I understood why she felt this way - all the sick people needing care and this delinquent eats poison and gets some of the best care in the state. Her attitude may have been wrong by medical ethics standards, but I can understand.

"Mr. Meth Head?" [not his real name] "I need you to wake up so that I can speak with you."He slowly opened his swollen, bruised lids. He was obviously confused as to where he was, and for a brief moment, his vulnerability shone through him like a beam of light. Almost instantly, and very unexpectedly, I felt overwhelmed with compassion. What kind of life led him to this path? What was he numbing inside of him with drugs? Maybe nothing. Maybe he was just a junkie who had been given every opportunity and screwed it up anyway. Or maybe he had an unspeakably painful past.

I put my hand on his arm. "This won't take long. I know you're feeling sick and I'll be quick." I looked down and saw that his hand was handcuffed to the bed rail.

After I finished up, I turned to leave and I heard him croak out to me, "Has anyone told you you're beautiful today?" I quickly smiled and left. The cop gave me a grin and joked that I had a date as soon as he got out of jail.Later, when I got home today and hugged my children hello, my six year-old son brushed past me and then turned, almost as an afterthought. He looked up at me with clear, blue eyes. He drives me crazy with the longest eyelashes you can imagine - they nearly rest on his perfect pink cheek and I joke that it's a tragic waste on a boy. "Mama? You look beautiful today."

I felt my knees nearly buckle as I bent down to give him a squeeze. I will do my best by him, but no one knows where he'll be in twenty years. I whispered into his soft ear, "Thank you, baby. You're beautiful, too."

I'll bet that young man handcuffed to the bed was once a beautiful boy, too.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Gratitude

Today I am so grateful.

I am grateful that plumber shots of my two year-old never get old.



I am grateful for badly taken pictures of lazy cats.



I am grateful for a teenager who still calls me Mama and lets me hold her hand sometimes.




I am grateful that a rescue kitten made my daughter happier on her birthday than an iPod could have.


I am grateful for six year old-boys who turn around in their chairs and pretend to be embarrased when I cry at kindergarten graduation.



I am grateful for a stolen moment together at a pool with my entire family.




Thank you, universe.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Quick Update

I am back home to get the kids - friends have had them for the past four days. I am taking a quick breather to check the mail, pack, and get things settled and then we're back on the road to the hospital.

Thank you, thank you thank you for your thoughts and prayers. It means so much to everyone and I believe that so many people are praying for his recovery that something good is bound to come out of this.

There isn't a lot to say, other than everything seems upside down right now. Bob's brother is in a very good neurological institute. His legs aren't moving, but his arms are, and that means there is hope. He had an Arterial Venous Malformation on his spine, along with a blood clot. Surgery took care of that, although another MRI has revealed potentially another AVM on the spine. He's alive, he's mentally here, and that's the biggest blessing of all.

He has family and friends by his side at all times, and that won't change. Our lives may be upside down, but the good thing about that is it shakes out all the extraneous clutter that doesn't matter.

Only the love sticks, and that's what we have.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Call for Prayer

My husband's brother is badly hurt and had to be life flighted to the hospital.

He collapsed while hiking and hasn't been able to feel the lower part of his body since this happened. We don't know what, exactly, is wrong, and although many doctors have consulted and scratched their heads into the night, all we know is that he has to be moved to another hospital where they can diagnose and treat him.

Please send your prayers of healing to this dear man as he, his wife, his kids, and the family all try and cope with this. My husband is racing across the desert into Utah to try and see him in Idaho before they move him. His brother is his best friend, and he us understandably both distraught and yet determined to be of any help to my sister in law and her boys. Before he left this morning I heard him tell his brother, "Just stay positive, okay? We're going to figure this out. Do you hear me?" And I watched his shoulders slump, then almost instantly straighten as he threw a bag into the car and blew a kiss to me as he peeled out of the driveway.

Prayers of healing, swift and pain free recovery, and of course an accurate diagnosis would be most gratefully received.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chaos: I Can't Quit You

In the past month we have had a child turn from a 'tween to a teen (as in TEENAGER, as in I now have a child the same age as Juliet, as in TEEN.AGER, as in where's my flask?) another become a solid 'tween (with the requisite mood swings firmly in place, natch), a wedding anniversary to mark 15 years of marriage and another June date to mark 19 years together, a couple of quick trips, a few weekend shifts at the hospital, two writing projects that keep me glued to the laptop when I can hide from the kids, nearly a dozen playdates at the pool and of course the rest of it which is just life as we know it.


Whew. Oh, and we got a cat. Because what's one more living thing in this house, anyway? The nice thing is, the kids actually slow down long enough to enjoy Princess Clarissa Socks (her full name) so that I can take a non-blurry photo.





Monday, June 23, 2008

Paging Dr. Gupta

Paging Dr. Hotty McHotterson. Dr. Hotness? Are you in the room? I told you I would get a photo op at the PTA conference with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Meow.


But the PTA convention was so much more than posing with hot men informative guest speakers, all of whom we listened to with rapt attention.

For example, we had to keep our strength up for all of the seminars with health beverages, which we wisely packed. It's a well-known fact that scurvey can suddenly strike while at conventions.
We had to take in all that the convention center had to offer.



And we had to conference with friends who lived in the area local experts who guided us on the best way to drink mimosas with lunch digest the informative lectures we had attended.
PTA - somebody's gotta do it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Business in the Front and Party in the Back

A few days ago I made last minute hotel reservations with a genial young man on the hotels.com hotline. I requested a single room for four days in San Diego, starting today.

"Will you be needing a king or two queens?" he asked, not entirely innocently. He had been chatty throughout the entire process and I found it amusing to be flirting on the telephone with an agent named Brandon while holding tube of diaper rash ointment in one hand and a handful of cotton underwear from the laundry pile in the other.

"Oh, two queens. My girlfriend and I are traveling together."

"Oh yeah? Party time or work time?"

"Brandon, it will definitely be a party to remember. We're headed to the National PTA Convention. I get to meet Maya Angelou and Dr. Sanjay Gupta! [hot doctor who writes for Newsweek and is on tv all the time] Whoo hoo!"

He was all business after that. But I did make him laugh.

PTA - Partying T & A? Not quite. But I hope I get a picture with Dr. Gupta.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Girlfriends and Sex

I need a cigarette. Yeah - it was that good. I think I'm even glowing a little.

Last night my girlfriends and I donned our cutest skirts, slung our summer bags over our shoulders and made the pilgramage that was long overdue for all of us. We finally went to church Sex and the City. Oh mah gawd. I can tell you that if I had waited to see it on DVD or pay-per-view I would have found it to be a good movie. But the electricity between my girlfriends and me was on high excitement, our giddiness to be out of the house/dressed up/at a chick flick made the energy palpable, the movie was suddenly great and when our friend, Heather, casually whipped out a dainty silver flask and topped our Diet Cokes off with a little somethin' somethin' it turned the evening into a rare thing: pure girliness.

We shrieked at the right moments, we squealed when Mr. Big bought Carrie the palatial apartment, we sighed over the first appearance of the Manolos and we clapped and hooted at the brief, but steamy, full frontal scene. Have you seen it? An Adonis in an outdoor shower made a naughty appearance that nearly caused my contacts to dry up - I was that loathe to blink and miss it.

Afterward, in the theater restroom, we met up with four other girlfriends. They instantly knew it was our group that was the loud and raucous gaggle of women in the front of the theater. "Wow - and we thought we were crazy," they said. "We actually smuggled in a bottle of wine." That set us off - we let out a simultaneous scream of laughter and Heather whipped out her flask. Which sealed the deal - none of us were going to head home and finish the last load of laundry or clean the dinner dishes inevitably left for us to take care of or crawl into bed and watch reruns of Sex alone.

No, we all made our way to an adorable Japanese joint and had cosmos and sushi. Which was even more fitting than you think (if you haven't seen the movie) because Samantha at one point makes homemade sushi and lays on her table, artfully covered in California rolls in order to surprise her boyfriend (the steamy but limp noodle Jared). She had a tiny little lotus flower topped with sashimi on her hoo haw which made me snort out loud. I elbowed my friends and said it would definitely be eating sushi in the rainforest if I tried to nestle a roll there. My husband would have to do some major clearcutting to get to his lotus flower.

We spent the next few hours at our joined tables talking sex, perimenopause, and childbirth. We debated the, er, deforestation of our rainforests - whether or not massive clearcutting is sexy or just weird. The age divide definitely played into that vote - and we clanked our martini glasses together in the spirit of girlfriends.

Our kids will grow up and leave us, and we may or may not all be married to the same men in twenty years - but good girlfriends will be with us until we die - in my case with a martini glass in one hand and a bottle of tanning lotion in the other (I am taking up excessive drinking, tanning and smoking once I hit 75).

Now, does anyone have a light?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I am such a P*ssy

And I don't mean pissy. I mean that every time Bob goes out of town - every time - I am up late listening for every little creak that could signify that an intruder is going to crash his way into my home and attempt to ravage its contents (me included) unless I can save us all.

Never mind that we live out in the country, on a dark road that is lit only by the Big Dipper and the rest of the stars. Never mind that there are signs posted all over our property warning potential ravagers of my guard dog. Never mind that when my dog does muster up a bark with her 110 pounds of muscle, she sounds like a lioness guarding her cubs.

Because when I'm up working on the computer and I hear a squeak, or a creak, or the wind rustling a tree branch against the house, I go into fight or flight mode. I sleep with my cell phone and my land line. I double check the locks. I look in the kids' closets (because of course someone has been hiding there all along just waiting for the time when Bob may be out of town), and I hone my hearing skills so that they are probably as good as my dog's. It's exhausting.

Of course, I'm only this way the first couple of nights that he is gone. By the third or fourth night I am so weary of the routine that I fall into bed and I just think - screw it. If tonight is the night a band of burglars breaks in, so be it.

But last night two of the kids slept with me and for some reason I, too, slept like a baby. Why? Do I think that should something happen (and it could, right?) these two little kids, weighing less than a hundred pounds together, are going to join their mother in fighting for safety - kind of like the kids in the Chronicles of Narnia who go from pasty English children to mighty warriors alongside the God Lion, Aslan?

Seriously, folks. I need to do some more self-talking before going to bed. But I must say I get a hell of a lot of work done on these business trips.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bunko Post Script for Wordless Wednesday

You know how I went and subbed for that Bunko group? I won - both pots of cash. See the money stuffed in my cleavage below...THIS is why I don't get asked back ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Like Butter

I woke up this morning to the clanking sound of dishes and glassware. I went downstairs to investigate, still so tired that my contacts felt glued to the back of my eyelids, and as I went into the kitchen I saw Jacob standing on the counter.

"What are you doing? Get down from there!"

"Mama I'm getting breakfast ready for the sisters."

I looked around. He had set plates out for everyone, napkins, glasses, and even Jack's plastic monkey plate at his highchair. I looked down at my son, now six years old, his hair sticking up from sleep and just melted.

Sometimes it's really easy to get caught off guard with this parenting gig.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Dreaded B Word

If you invite me to your Mary Kay or Pampered Chef or Stampin' Up! or even Creative Memories party - I will come. Once. I get that there are a lot of good women out there trying to carve a living for themselves while managing a home and doing something they love. Get it with a capital G. Go women. Rah.

When I was a young mom I actually loved Creative Memories. I bought stickers and funky scissors and die cut thingeys and over-priced acid-free scrapbooks because my God what if the paper wasn't acid free? What if it was all acidic? WHAT THEN?

But then something happened. And one day I woke up and I was no longer aroused by my shiny folder bursting with Stickopatmus stickers. The scissors just lay there with a dullness I hadn't noticed before. I saw the stacks of thousands of sheets of colorful, patterned paper and thought, Maybe Bob should take over the historian role in our house. Or maybe I can just get some plain photo corners and store my photos in an album without stickers and borders and artfully penned journaling under every single stinking memory. One day I just stopped.

My girls grew older and I gave them my stamps. I bought them their own albums and said "Have at it" - and you know what? They did. They are able to record their own memories, and I don't feel like it's a little lame that I am collecting stickers at my age.

But there remains something I thought I had also put behind me. Something I thought was long dead and buried. And it keeps rearing its ugly head and snarling my name - Bunko.

Tonight I am illustrating how dear my lovely friend Kristi is and how much she means to me by acting as her Bunko sub. I have been totally up front with her and told her I am coming for the free drinks and food. I can't even remember how to play the game, and when I try to conjure up the memory of the last time I shook the dice with a bunch of women, I just hear chopper blades in my head and everything goes dark. Bunko.

Years ago my best friend Sarah and I bonded over our mutual disdain for the game. We were probably rebelling against everything else in our life that was structured, social, and involved gaggles of women. We both endured the Officer's Wives Club, the Key Spouse responsibilities, and all the other "have-to's" of officer's wife life. So we drew the line at Bunko.

But we got sucked in anyway. And then we were promptly kicked out. Is it just me? Or is it really hard to get kicked out of a Bunko League? Anyone?

Sarah and I were blatantly silly at the Bunko games we attended with the other medical and logistical wives. New to the game, we refused once to switch tables because we were both so enamoured with how the track lighting made our new jewelry sparkle. Why did we have to move? Why did we have to roll the dice so quickly? Why couldn't we just talk? Couldn't we convert the whole thing to a book club? And then we went on to win the entire pot and all the prizes anyway. People weren't thrilled. The last straw came when we had to bring a Christmas present for a gift exchange at the December Bunko. It was maybe 30 minutes before we had to leave and Sarah was on my porch drinking a cold glass of wine when she shot me a panic-stricken look. "Jen! The gifts! We have to show up tonight with a gift!"

"No problem," I slurred said. I'll just have Bob swing by the local Kroger and pick something up - they have candles, right?" Buoyed by our wine and our inventiveness , we agreed that it was a genius plan and Sarah ran home to grab some gift bags.

Just in time for our departure, Bob showed up with two very cheap jarred candles that were Kroger brand, and Sarah and I hastily threw them in two foiled Valentine's gift bags. "It was all I had," she said, "but it's red, so that's Christmas-ey, right?" Of course. Yes. It would all work. We arrived at the home of the Bunko hostess in our newest clicky shoes and let ourselves in.

*Cue Psycho horror music*

Lined up in the foyer, were piles of beautiful, artfully created gift baskets, decorated bags, and elaborately wrapped gifts. And there we were, looking fabulous, but bearing the equivalent of a porn mag at the birth of Christ. We hid our bags and went in to the game, more subdued than usual, won anyway, and then endured the shame of the gift reveal. The women didn't even try to hide their disdain - and it was finalized that another woman would take the candles home and regift them in a near-constructed teacher gift basket for the holidays.

We were never asked back.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

June

You know you're in a bad mood when you start ripping on adorable five and six year-olds in the form of kinder graduations. Heh. But, today is another day - and clearly yesterday my moon was in retrograde (which I have no idea what that means - but if it means dangerously close to being up my ass - that's where it was).

June is always a delicious, yet bittersweet month for me. It's hard for me to take the time to savor and enjoy all that there is - we're right off of Jacob's birthday, and we have Chloe's and Maddie's nine days apart this month; there is Father's Day (and I'm working - but don't cry for him Argentina because Mommy worked on Mother's Day, although most of you get why that was a present in and of itself), our fifteenth wedding anniversary and of course a trip squeezed in there for good measure, and as soon as we exit this month, which will surely fly by, Jack turns two. It's a whirlwind and I'd like to slow things down this summer.

This month my oldest officially (as opposed to her hormonal write-in) becomes a teenager, Chloe enters junior high, and I face the fact that it was fifteen years ago that I shakily said I Do to Bob. Of course it was nineteen years ago this summer that I met him at a party just a couple of months before my freshman year in college - but I'll just pretend I spent those four years of college with my nose to the grindstone instead of lots of wild monkey sex at his fraternity being in love and skidding into my senior year with less than a 4.0.

So much to think about, so much to do, and I feel this almost visceral panic that it's just going by too quickly. I love the ride, I really do - I just feel like dragging my feet right now and taking it all in.

Drag your feet with me, will you?

ps regarding yesterday's post - when I said I wanted a drink and something else, I meant SEX. Hello! I received an email asking if I was going to start the slippery slope into harder mind altering substances other than wine or a gin and tonic. Uh, NO. I just needed to get laid so I could relax. I would never do drugs; I will always stay a respectable borderline drunk, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Don't Read This if You're Feeling All Pollyanna Today

Oh the graduation season is well upon us. I can get really worked up over a good college graduation - easy enough. Especially since I struggled so hard to complete my own education - working full-time, getting married - all of that makes things like taking Structural Functionalism and You a little less palatable and a lot more rewarding when you do it anyway.

High school graduations? I can still work up the enthusiasm. I have friends who have sent me announcements for their child's graduation and it's with some nostalgia and joy that I send the requisite card and check. Of course, I also think we go a little overboard celebrating the step which is still in my mind the minimum expected. But I get it.

Junior high graduations? Forget it. What's to celebrate? Really...they HAVE to go on to the next level. It's like taking your next breath. Yeah, congrats for doing what basically every American kid can do.

And as for kindergarten graduations? One of which I had to attend today for my own child? It was sweet. He was met in the arms by his new first grade teacher - it was ceremonious and sacred and very - sweet. Did I already say that? At least they didn't subject us to the kids in mortar boards and robes - sweet Mother of Jesus save it for college (and high school). But I was less than weepy at this one. Plus, the entire time Jack was on my lap conspiring to make an already craptastic day even more so. Jacob had a special wooden star wand that he received to represent the magic of school (which I appreciated - at least it wasn't a diploma for cripe's sake)...which Jack promptly yanked from his brother mid-ceremony and proceeded to beat me with.

It's the kind of day where I was actually happy that he didn't draw blood from my face. I considered that a huge plus as I attempted to keep things down to a dull roar as the other children matriculated from paste eating the hallowed halls of kindergarten.

I need a drink and something else....

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Could Just Go Amish on Your Ass

Good lord - five days with no blogging. I have been bizzy bizzy bizzy with some awesome projects that I can't wait to talk about - but not yet....
It has been a challenging week for parenting for me - and I have had several close friends tell me they're knee-deep in things, too. Sarah just had to tell her three teenagers that they were to limit their cell phone usage or she would take them away - needless to say there is a revolt in her house. When she made the rookie move of saying that when she was a kid she didn't even have a cell phone (Motherhood code UMC 41.44 states that thou shalt not bring up thine childhood to thine own offspring as they could give a rat's ass) they just gawked at her and said that if she wanted them to live like she had to as a kid they might as well "go Amish." Not a bad idea, frankly, and a slogan I just might use in my next campaign against my own rugrats.
On the home front here, my future lawyer is at it again...she and her sister have been bickering non-stop this week and yesterday Chloe thrust this into my hand....


I had to black out our last names, but for a ten year-old this girl slays me.

Okay - I am off to work on some things - but remember, as you embark on a summer home with your children - you could just go Amish on their ass.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Justification for a Gin and Tonic

After a full day away from home you come home to dog poop on your rug. Did the dog poop on the miles of wood floor surrounding the rug? No. On. The. Rug.

The dog also threw up in your son's room.

You have an hour to clean it up, jump in the shower, and greet the sitter who will relieve you and your husband for a two hour date. The first date in way too long.

Your toddler hasn't napped and is clinging to your leg like a spider monkey while you clean up dog fluids.

You remember your kids have to eat dinner while you're gone so you whip up something moderately nutritious. With the spider monkey, now also part howler monkey, still attached to your leg.

You hear your older son screech, "Oh, no! Fire! Uh, FIRE!" from the guest bathroom. Apparently the lit candle, burning to help diffuse the scent of dog fluids, was the perfect opportunity to burn toilet paper...for a six year-old.

I had mine on the rocks, hold the tonic.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mini-Date

This morning before Bob left for work we were trying to take a moment to talk. Obviously, with four kids, there isn't a lot of time for romance, private chit-chat or dates - we take what we can get.

We stood outside of one of our daughter's rooms, our voices were lowered and we just chatted softly for a few minutes about non-child related things. It was nice.

Then we heard the sounds of our daughter waking, and within a few seconds we heard another sound: that of her loudly and obviously using the restroom. I looked at Bob, my lashes lowered. "It's almost as if we're in a private cafe, talking over candlelight, huh?"

He smiled back. "Yes, and we're listening to soft jazz being played - I do believe that was the trumpet solo."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Logging the Miles in the Clicky Shoes

I have never not worn high heels to work or to meetings. Hell, I wear high heels to the PTA. It is what it is. Some women can't imagine life not lived in comfy shoes, and I can't imagine life not lived in a pair of shoes that make me feel great - even if the rest of me is spat up upon, mussed, and otherwise "motherized."

I know that when I wear heels to school I get looks from some of the moms. I'm used to that. Some will even ask me where I'm going, My! You're awfully dressed up. Where are we off to? Sweet mother of God, comments like that can be so transparent. They really should just say, I do not like that you are wearing what you are wearing. Why don't you look/dress like me? I can only be nice to people who are EXACTLY LIKE ME.

So now there's work. I work with killer people - amazing professionals who have managed to train me in a field I never thought I would work. At least half of my day is spent around these good people. Then I get to run (very literally) around the hospital to just about every floor. It's dynamic, keeps me hopping, and it can be the favorite part of my day.

Except for some of the nurses. Nurses, people whom I adore and revere as having one of the coolest jobs around, have by and large proven themselves to be high heel haters. I can enter a floor that is frenetic with activity - medical staff running around, machines beeping, phones ringing, staff jostling and walk past a group of nurses in search for a patient's chart. In a way that is almost scripted, they whip their heads around in confusion and irritation - what IS that sound? Then they quickly see me, one of the few or only people not in scrubs and they nearly crack a vertebrae again as they snap their heads downward to investigate if the source of the clicking sound that has lodged itself nastily in their ears. Then, and this has happened every single time I have entered certain floors (there are areas of the hospital where my footwear goes blessedly unnoticed), they pause, give me the up-down appraisal, and either settle on my feet again or turn back to their work. Intimidating? Sadly, yes. I feel like the new girl in high school who has not pre-investigated the dress code. The new girl who even if she knew about the mandatory Croc/clunky clog rule would still have found a way to find Kate Spate clogs.

Even the men notice, which cements my theory nicely. Yesterday, while waiting to enter a patient's room as he chatted away on his cell phone (hello! Cell phone in the CVICU?!) a nice young man who was charting at his nurse's station gestured at the chair next to him. "He looks like he'll be a while. Why don't you have a seat?"

I gratefully sat next to him, mostly because when a nurse is kind like that I lap it up like the sweet honey that it is, and flipped through my papers on my clipboard. After a moment, I felt uncomfortable, because I could sense that this man was staring at me. I looked over to give him a smile, striving for something like, "What a day, huh? Old Man Leland is busting my hump" when he interrupted my thoughts. He pointed to my feet with his pen. "That's a lot of miles to log in the pointies," he said.

I looked down at my adorable Nordstrom slingbacks with the top stitching on the upper, all the way to the saucy little point where my toes should be. I sighed. "Yes, but these are actually very comfortable for me. I could play basketball in these things." (I was shooting for an oblique reference to the 80s commercials for Easy Spirit Pumps but my guess is that he wasn't born then).

He went back to his chart, but then stopped at looked at me again. "You know, you really need to get yourself a pair of these." He was pointing to his behemoth rubber Crocs. I swallowed back the nausea.

"Yeah, I just can't go there, okay?"

I am looking for the perfect pair of stilettos for next weekend. Sometimes you just have to man up and blaze your own trail.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Birthdays, MRSA, and Mother Power

Few things feel worse than cancelling a child's birthday party. Last year Jacob got so sick and ran such a high fever that at the last minute I was forced to cancel his fifth birthday celebration. It was awful. The whole time I kept thinking, "I wish I could just be sick for you - take it away from you so you feel better and get to eat cake with your friends." What mother hasn't thought that? I think the desire to take on all the bad stuff for our kids is hardwired into us. This year, a particularly bad year for illness in our house, I watched nervously as yet another super virus swept through the schools.

When I had to keep Chloe home last week due to a fever, I got an ominous feeling as I looked at the calendar and saw how close Jacob's party was. He seemed fine, though, so fingers were crossed. We celebrate tomorrow and so far he seems healthy as a horse. Me, on the other hand...I woke up this morning for the first time all week and felt good. My fever broke sometime early this morning, and although I woke drenched in sweat and still thick-headed, I felt like a millions bucks - because since Sunday night I have been sick as a dog. I like to think that somebody up there heard me and said, "You betcha. We can make you as sick as you want..."

Fine. Just as long as he gets his party. I feel well enough today that 800 mgs of ibuprofen and pot of coffee are all I need to get up and get things ready.

Of course, I also can't help but wonder if I've picked any of this up at the hospital. The thing I love most about the new job is that I get to be all over the hospital. I get to interact with patients on just about every floor (except Behavioral Health - thank God, because I am so done with my social work days). Last weekend I needed to talk to a patient who was confined because she has MRSA. You know MRSA, right? That terrible super-virus that kids are getting in locker rooms and half their arm or leg or what have you gets eaten away? Well, this young woman had it. So I gowned up, masked up, put on the gloves and held my breath as I went into her room. After I left, I was outside of her door and I Purelled every surface of my body that was exposed. I caught a nurse looking at me with a funny look as I slipped off my heels and Purelled my feet.

Hey, I'm not taking any chances. Embarrassment or MRSA? Easy choice.

I wonder if they will notice that this weekend I will be covered in a thin sheeting of saran wrap....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Global Warming Has Killed My Garden

I woke up this morning to drooping trees, a dying garden, and pots containing frozen flora and fauna. I am so demoralized....I live in one of the southern most states and it is snowing. In fact, it has been coming down in big, fat chicken feather flakes for the past two hours. My apple trees, just starting to bud, will likely not bear fruit again this year. Here's what they looked like an hour ago.

And here is what the BBQ corner of my courtyard looked like around the same time. In three days we're supposed to be roasting hotdogs and marshmallows with friends and family in honor of my son's birthday - it definitely feels like I should dust off the carols and whip up some hearty soup instead.

Sigh. Back to the drawing board, folks.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sweet Sweet Empathy

It's one thing to hear your husband tell you your job is the most important one in the world, then scamper off to the safety of his office while you actually do the work. Words of praise, however well-meant, do not help with the dishes, the toilets, the poopy bottoms and the chaos.

Being admired, being told how wonderful I am as a parent, listening to my dear husband mention how busy I am at dinner parties has always rung hollow with me. I am not ungrateful, but I just couldn't quite wrap my head around how he was always so spilling over with the kudos regarding my domestic duties, but when pressed - well, he was quick to admit that even if I could out-earn him, he would never stay at home. He just couldn't, you know, he'd go crazy. Uh, huh.

This has engendered a lot of bitterness on my part over the years. And I don't like being bitter. It's unattractive, feels rotten, and causes premature wrinkling. So when I decided to return to the workforce, I knew I wanted to alleviate those feelings while creating a balance within. A balance that allowed me to pursue grown-up interactions, earn some income of my own, and mitigate as much mommy guilt as possible by working when Bob or at times a close friend could watch the younger kids. I talked a lot about finding this job, and after a long time, I think I may have found it.

Although the job is stressful, requires a lot of new thinking on my part - it has given me a break from domesticity, made me appreciate my life, and created an outlet for me to have my adult time without any of the guilt.

As for Bob?

"Jen, you have no idea what yesterday morning was like. I couldn't find Jacob's other soccer sock, right as we needed to go to the game Jack had a huge blowout, while I was changing his diaper he knocked a box of lightbulbs to the floor with his foot and glass shattered all over the laundry room floor. On top of that, I had to get those flowers planted for you and take the kids to the store for groceries."

I have no idea whatsoever what he is talking about - but it sure sounds important, doesn't it ladies?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Channeling Barbara Kingsolver

All I want for Mother's Day is for my family to get outside and weed. I will be working the weekend anyway, and I want to know that my spawn will be doing my bidding. This year, as I have done before, I have started a garden from seed in my office. Six weeks ago I sat two large trays of watered seeds on my window seat and said a small prayer, although I don't know why because that is the easy part.

The hard part is once they're in the ground. It's arid here, though we get all that snow and summer brings monsoons, but because we're floating 7,000 feet above sea level - growing things presents a problem. But I am optimistic - after all we have one of the few apple orchards around and they actually yield enough fruit for us and all of our friends. So I have taken stock of the apple blossoms, the Aspen leaves that have finally began to unfurl, the patch of green grass in our courtyard and I have declared this the year we see our garden to the end.

My dog had better not dig up the spinach. The prairie dogs had better not nibble my peas. My kids better remember to do my bidding and water and weed at my request. My husband better remember to pick up the organic fertilizer and I had better remain vigilant.

If I am picking pumpkins to carve this fall, I shall declare Mother's Day 2008 the best in history. How about you? What do you want for Mother's Day?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Philanthropy Thursday - And it's About Shoes!

As we edge further away from the holidays, I think it's even more important to give some time and thought to those in need. Especially given the abysmal state of our economy both at home and abroad, I know that even though I, too, am feeling the pinch at the grocery store and the gas station, at least I can still feed my family and fuel my car. Hell, at least I even have a car. There but for the grace of God go I - especially these days.



When I was talking to Sarah the other day, you know - my shoe whore best friend - she told me about a charity that just needs to be talked about. It's Soles 4 Souls.

Did you know that over 300 million children around the world have never had a pair of shoes? Ever? That women in other countries routinely walk 50 miles a day to retrieve their daily water with nothing on their feet? Have you thought about victims of the Asian Tsunami, Hurricanes Katrina or Rita and what they might do to protect their feet after their homes and even loved ones had been washed away? Soles 4 Souls knows this - and they also know how many unworn shoes are sitting around in the average American's closet. I'm not even "addicted" to shoes, but I can guarantee that if I took stock of our home's shoe situation, I could easily box up a dozen pairs of shoes for children, women and even men.

As I think about the global economy, and people all over the world who go without the most basic necessities while I have a closet stuffed with my heart's desires, I feel compelled to act. I hope you do, too.

Today I am boxing up our shoes. You can do it, too. Summer is coming - and we all know that for most of us that means cute summer sandals. Even if it's just a cute pair from Payless - why not clear out your closet and make room for the new, while taking your gently worn shoes (or new if you're feeling really generous!) and sending them to Soles 4 Souls.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Stinky Target Woman - I Curse Thee

I was just in Target, rushing around with the boys trying to get a few necessities (jumbo box of tampons being one of the necessities) before picking up the girls from school. It was well past Jack's nap/lunch time, but I was stuck, since it's an early release day.

Jack was very unhappy with the situation, and instead of using his words to indicate his displeasure (boys in my family start using their words around four, anyway) he decided it best to convey his incredibly pissy mood with a series of eardrum bursting shrieks and screams. I was already on edge (note previous reference to tampons) and had just cut the hell out of my thumb on a whiffle ball set that I was trying to beat my son into submission with placate my son with - so I threw the last couple of purchases into the cart and hot footed it to the nearest checkout.

I was second in line, and the woman who was being waited on turned and looked at me. Then her glance rested on Jack and she asked me, in a way that let me know she wasn't full of compassion for her fellow woman, "Is that him?"

I knew what she meant. But I just looked at her and forced a pleasant smile on my face, and arched my brows as if to act confused. Clearly, this irritated her.

"Is that the kid who was, uh, exercising his lungs?"

I smiled a little bigger and nodded my head. "Mmmm hmmm," I responded. I just wanted her to leave, to pay for my stuff, and get closer to home so I could put him down for a nap.

She gave me the once over - you know the classic look to assess just who it is you're about to be bitchy to - and grabbed her receipt from the cashier. "Well," she huffed, "my head is still splitting." And she marched off.

Honest to God I deserve a medal for not pushing the cart (with Jack still in it) toward her and pinning her to the ground with it so he could really give her an earful. I'm sure that some time tonight I will bolt up in bed and scream out the PERFECT RETORT in my sleep. But as is my luck, I simply froze and stared at her retreating figure and thought how very much her skirt looked like upholstery you would have found on my dead grandmother's davenport (they didn't have couches pre-1979). And how much makeup she was wearing.

So yeah, take THAT Mary Kay upholstery woman.

Happy Feet...Sort of

"Mom?"

"Yes, Jacob."

"My legs are happy inside."

"What?"

"My legs. When I think about my birthday party, my legs get all happy inside."

Someone turns six soon.....

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Moms Whine Too

There are rare moments in parenting where I am allowed glimpses into the adults my kids will soon become (and I say soon only because I am old and I know that the time will whizz by regardless). For a brief shiny bit of time I am allowed to push back the curtain of adolescence and gaze into a future that holds a funny, sharp, neat person. Not that they aren't all of those things now - they are - but let's be honest. Junior high aged girls aren't exactly known for their consistency and all around likeability for a couple of years.

Yesterday I had a hard time getting back into the mom groove - compounded by my ever present peri-menopause PMS, a grouchy baby who decided it was best to shriek much of the day, and my desire to crawl into bed and nap for four hours, it wasn't a good day. In my attempt to alleviate some tension in the car on the drive home from school, I joked around with Chloe, who was sitting in the front seat. We quickly started an exchange that had me as Maddie and her as the annoying little sister. I could feel the tightness in my shoulders ease up just a little bit as I pretended to hit her shoulder and whine, "Chloe, stooop telling me what to do! You're not the boss of me!" I must say, my teenage whine is nearly perfected - and that unique inflection of the young is fun to execute in a mocking manner. I came to a red light and sat there, a smile playing on my face. Teasing my kids happens to be one of the best ways to brighten my mood.

As the light changed and I drove through the intersection, I heard a long, pained sigh from the backseat. It was Maddie.

"You kids are driving me crazy. You have no IDEA how much I have to put up with. What with your bickering, my job, your father....I'm going to need a glass of wine with dinner."

She was dead on - I couldn't stop laughing all the way home.

Hey Sunshine! The random number generator picked the number one - which is you - so congrats! You win the Real Simple sub! Shoot me an email!