Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Preview of My High School Reunion

Today at work, I thought I saw someone I knew. She was someone I had gone to school with almost my entire school career. I remember going over to her house a few days after school. She sat behind me in my homeroom class for an entire year.

At first, I wasn't 100% sure it was her. Her hair was different, and it's been almost ten years since we graduated high school. So I just stared at her a lot. I'm sure she thought I was a freak. I would smile if I saw her look back, hoping to see that she recognized me too, but that didn't happen. She just thought I was a freak who liked staring.

Why didn't I go introduce myself, you ask? Well, I would have. Except that neck rash that I got from wearing sunscreen to Scarlett's birthday party is still there. And I'm afraid to cover it up with makeup because it might make it worse. And it itches like crazy, so I'm pretty much either rubbing or scratching it all day long. (Now that I think about it? Some of the customers probably think I am a freak, too.) So I didn't want to walk up to her and remind her of who I am while I have pizza-face, a crazy neck rash that looks like a hickey, and a little extra pudge that makes people wonder when my baby is due when I actually gave birth to her three months ago.

I could just see this girl - well, woman now - talking to other people that we went to school with. "Remember that girl? You know, the one who never talked. The girl with glasses! Well, she's a total freak. She has this neck rash? And she stared at me, like, all day." This is not the impression I need to leave people with while our ten-year high school reunion is looming so close.

That is, if I even decide to attend. If they even remember to invite me. I am not the sort of person who leaves an impression. I can just see myself, hypothetically, wearing a name tag with my maiden name and senior yearbook picture (ohmigod!) and still having people say to me, "Oh. You went here?" Yes. Yes, I did. I was your lab partner.

One time? There was this other girl that I have known since elementary school? We were both at the same bar. And I called her name and said, "Hey." She said "Hey" back to me. And then she turned to her friend and said, "I have no idea who that is." But we had just seen each other at graduation that morning. Sigh.

I could always pretend to be someone else. Apparently, I have a doppelganger. I have heard about this girl for years. People have come up to me, calling me her name, and seem all confused when I don't know who they are. Her former teachers insist that I attended her high school, when I know that I didn't. When I worked at a restaurant, one of the customers asked if she could take a picture of me with her cell phone, because my resemblance to this girl was "uncanny." She probably has no idea I even exist.

When I conveniently dispose of the name tag that announces my invisible identity and instead, introduce myself as her? I imagine people will be all excited. "Oh my god," they will exclaim, "what are you doing here?" I will claim I am the guest of various people, and they won't even contradict me, they will be so pleased to have doppelganger claim them as a friend. I won't need a Romy and Michele I-invented-Post-Its lie. I will instantly be fabulous.

But first? I need to see a dermatologist. Fabulous doppelgangers do not get neck rashes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Scarlett Saves the Day

Just when I start thinking I am a loser and I have nothing to post? Scarlett comes to my rescue.

The Scene: Scarlett is eating dinner. I have given her some milk in a sippy cup instead of her usual Capri Sun. I am puttering around, cleaning the kitchen.

Scarlett: "Mommy, can I have a 'Pri Sun?"

Me: "No, you need to drink your milk."

Scarlett: "Hunh?"

Me: "You need to drink your milk."

Scarlett: "What?"

Me: "Drink your milk!"

Scarlett: "Okay, Mommy." Pause. "Can I say Mommy and Daddy words if I grow big and strong and eat all my lunch?"

If you'll recall, "Mommy and Daddy words" is code for swearing. Apparently? We have taught our daughter that the only perk of being a grown-up is that you get to swear. A lot of days? I'm not sure I would argue with her.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Kitchen Sink, Vol. Four

My professor showed this in class during my last semester of college. It has to be my favorite documentary ever. The lesson? Friends don't let spiders do drugs.

I have now had four people ask me when my baby is due. Uhh... three months ago, jerk. I figure I have about three more months of getting away with the "I just had her" excuse, and then I'd better be skinny again. Ab flab? You're on notice.

For Scarlett's birthday pool party? I had to put on some sunscreen. My skin is all Irishy. If you believe my husband, it's "alabaster" and gorgeois. If you believe other people? It's practically translucent. Phlebotomists never have trouble finding my veins. But I digress. I needed sunscreen, and we only had old stuff. So I bought some "Sport" kind, because I thought, Hey. I'll be sweaty. Big mistake. Not only did my face kinda sting the whole day? But now my neck has these dry, itchy, burny red patches on it. Ouch. They look like hickeys, but getting them was way less fun than getting a hickey. Sigh.

I've been seeing these commercials on TLC for a new series called DC Cupcakes that's supposed to be premiering soon. On the commercial it says these two sisters quit their jobs and opened up a cupcake bakery and now people stand in line for over an hour to buy their cupcakes. I turned to Michael and I said, "Let's both quit our jobs and open up a cupcake shop." He didn't respond. Clearly he must be thinking it over, though, because it is an awesome idea and who wouldn't consider it? Right?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What's In A Name?

Today, I am being featured on the baby name blog Appellation Mountain with the story of how we named Scarlett and Sosie. A big thank you to Abby Sandel for showcasing us!

And now some funny things Scarlett has said lately:

The morning of Scarlett's birthday. We are looking for the comb.

Me: "Scarlett, what did you do with the comb? Did you take it with you into the living room?"

Scarlett: "I don't know."

**Looking, looking, looking. I find the comb under the blanket on my bed.**

Me: "Nevermind, I found it."

Scarlett, watching me comb my hair: "Mommy, I want the comb. I want to take the comb with me."

Me: "No, honey, I'm using it right now."

Scarlett, making an angry face: "But I want to take it with me!"

Me: Sigh. "No, Scarlett, I only asked if you 'took it with you' when you went into the living room. You can't take the comb anywhere. It stays in the bathroom."

Scarlett: "But I want it!"

Me: "No. It is staying in the bathroom!"

Scarlett, throwing up her hands: "Aargh! I give up!" She stomps away.

This morning, Scarlett is eating her cereal. I am on the computer. WonderPets is on.

Scarlett: "Mommy, can I say 'boat'?"

Me: Huh? "Uh, yeah, you can say boat."

Scarlett: "But I can't say 'shit.'"

Me: WTF? "No, honey, you can't say 'shit.'" The penny drops. "You can say ship. Ship, you can say." I over-emphasize the "puh" of the P.

Scarlett: "Okay, Mommy."

I'm sure there will be more. Give her time.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hindsight Is 20/20

Our original plan for Scarlett's birthday? Throw some money at an establishment like Monkey Joe's, invite some kids, and let them run wild. But my older sister, knowing how we suffer from too-much-month-at-the-end-of-the-money syndrome, helpfully suggested that we have the party at her pool.

Done! Now all we had to worry about was the cake. My plan? A cupcake cake, from our local grocer's bakery. My sister was all skeptical. "I can make cupcakes," she offered.

"Lemme just see what they have," I said. I flipped through the look book. We had wanted something with Yo Gabba Gabba, since that seems to be Scarlett's favorite show. Of course, they had no YGG. It seemed my options were either something Scarlett actually liked, but with a crappy toy (like a Dora cake with just a plastic Dora figurine) or an awesome toy of something that Scarlett didn't care much about (like a Hello Kitty cake with a bubble-blowing figurine[!!!!]) Hmm. So I asked a baker the price of a cupcake cake with 24 cupcakes. The verdict? I called my sister. "You can do the cupcakes."

The day of the party came. We arrived at my sister's place, gifts and kids in tow, to help set up. My sister was not happy with the cupcakes, which, it turned out, she had ordered from some other bakery. Ordered? Bakery? I thought she was making them herself. I said nothing.

"Look at them," she said, her contempt undisguised. "The frosting is two inches thick. The circles are all the same size. And they're the wrong color!" Apparently, my sister had requested that the cupcakes be decorated to match the drinking cups she had bought, which had a pattern of differently-sized, overlapping circles. The cupcakes did not match. It was like our own mini-Cake Wrecks moment.

Then it was time for the party. Scarlett kept posing in the mirror in her new bathing suit, flipping her hair and talking about how "stylish" she looked. Snort. She had some new arm floaties and she was beyond excited about how well she was "swimming" with her floaties and tube ring.

The other moms marveled at how Sosie was being so calm and smiley sitting in her car seat. "What do you do to make her so calm?" they asked me.

"I think God knows I'm terrible with children, so He gave me some easy ones," I said. They laughed. I wasn't joking. Oh, well.

The kids swam and splashed. We had pizza. Then it was time for presents. Scarlett is the best. Present-opener. Ever. She squealed in delight over everything, even the clothes. We're thinking of employing her to open all of our presents at Christmas so that the appropriate amount of gratefulness is displayed.

When most of the party guests had gone home and it was time to clean up, there was more lamenting from my sister. "I forgot all about the goodie bags! And the ice cream!" All of my sister's plans had slowly gone awry.

Later, Mom called. She had just spoken to my sister, and she was all giggly about how things had gone wrong. "Your sister is too funny," Mom said. "She wants to do everything herself so that it will turn out the way she wants it. She is just like me!" Really, Mom? You are just noticing this now? She has only been like this since I've been old enough to form coherent memories of her.

Then, after that? I received this text from my sister: "Maybe it would have been easier to give Monkey Joe's $100." There's always next year.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"It was... soap poisoning!"

Since today is Scarlett's 3rd birthday? I was going to post the story of my labor. But then I decided that would be way boring. And I'm not even going to comment on the fact that yesterday's post got no comments. I believe that's called irony, y'all. Well played.

So, instead, I will post about how Michael has accused me of swearing too much in my blog.

He read yesterday's post, and he frowned. "Why are you using the F-word all the time? Shouldn't you have said Allie-freaking-Brosh, instead?"

WTF? "Why?" I said. "I swear in real life all the time."

For some reason? Michael was all skeptical. "You do?"

"Yes." Hello? Has he not known me for like, five years? I swear. "I typed the F-word, and then I erased it, and then I thought, 'No, that's how I would really say it,' so I put it back in."

"Say it," he said. Now he needs proof that I swear? So I say it. But when someone demands that you swear? You do not sound at all natural. He frowned. "I don't know, babe. It just doesn't seem like you."

"Did you read my post about making dinner? When I said I planned ahead like motherfucking adult?"

"Yeah. And I was like, 'Why is she swearing so much?'"

Sigh. "If I type out 'freaking' instead of saying the F-word? It looks retarded. Because that's not how I talk. And I'm talking to adults. Adults read my blog. Not five-year-olds." He shrugged. He didn't look convinced.

So apparently, I need my mouth washed out with soap. Sigh.

I remember in one of my Psychology classes, our professor would show us episodes of "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" And one of them was about swearing. They spoke to this lady who had a campaign against using profanity in public places, and she had this cute little sign made up with "$*@!" and a "NO" symbol over it. She took the sign around to businesses and asked the owners to post it. And you know what else? She wanted people to stop using swear words. "If you have the urge to swear," she said, "you should say, Santa vaca!" And she proudly explained how that means "holy cow" in Spanish.

WTF? If everyone said Santa vaca when they wanted to swear? Then Santa vaca would be a swear word. Duh. But substitution seems to make people happy. It worked for Norman Mailer, who had to change every single "fuck" to "fug" to get The Naked and the Dead published. And Battlestar Galactica could say whatever the frak they wanted, as long as they were saying "frak."

I stewed over it all day long. I started thinking that maybe when Michael said my swearing sounded "wrong," what he really meant was that it sounds like I am trying too hard. Trying too hard to be funny. Trying too hard to be "cool." (I am so not cool.)

I am trying hard. I want my blog to be good. I want people to keep coming back, to see what I will say next. It's like in Juno, when Juno tells Paulie Bleeker that she's in love with him, and he asks whether she means she loves him as a friend, and Juno says, "No... I mean for real. 'Cause you're, like, the coolest person I ever met, and you don't even have to try, you know..." And then Bleeker says, "I try really hard, actually." Doesn't everyone try really hard, when something is important to them?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

No Comment

Once again, y'all? I am sooo jealous of people. Certain people. I'm sure you know at least one of them - her name starts with Allie. And ends with Brosh. But this time I'm not whining about how much funnier she is than me. This time, I am whining about something else.

When you start a blog, and you come up with a clever name, and you start planning out your super-cool post ideas, it is hard not to imagine that before long, you will be famous. You will get millions of blog hits. People will follow you. You will be offered book deals, just based on your hilariosity. You will "win the Internet."

But y'all? I have been here for like, a few months? And the Internet has not been won.

What really makes me sad, though, about these people of which I am jealous? Like Allie-fucking-Brosh? And Kris at Pretty All True? And Scott at Zodi's Blog? And juggernauts like Cake Wrecks and Bakerella? They get comments. Lots and lots of comments.

I love comments. I answer every single one. And I try to make the answers entertaining, so that if people do actually check back to see my replies? They will be all amused.

So, why do 99% of my lovely, precious readers not comment? Is my comment form annoying? Do my posts not compel you to share your own stories? I love stories. Love them. Read them all the time.

One day? When I have finally become famous? I will have so many comments that I will not be able to personally answer them. And then you will so wish you had gotten in on the ground floor. Snort.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Buuuuuuurrnt, With Seven U's.

Dinner in our house is kind of an afterthought. I tend not to plan ahead. [**snort** Understatement of the year! **cough**] Who asked you, Universe? Jeez. Anyway. Like I was saying.

Usually, I wait until I feel hungry for dinner and then go and stand in the kitchen, lamenting that I have not planned ahead. Nothing is defrosted. Cook times are too long. Ugh. Let's just go to McDonald's.

Yesterday, though? I planned ahead like a motherfucking adult. I put a roast in the oven around four o'clock, so it would be ready around seven o'clock, which is usually when I just start thinking about dinner, not having it all ready. So I am all pleased with myself.

Around six o'clock, Scarlett finally wakes up from her nap. I start making Father's Day calls. I am all distracted with the Father's Day calls, off in our bedroom coaching Scarlett through going potty, and generally not paying attention.

Near the wrapping-up of my phone call? Michael comes to me and hisses, "I think it is burnt." Are you kidding me? The roast is not burnt. The roast cooks for 3 hours, and the timer has not gone off yet. The roast is always delicious. The roast is not burnt.

I march out to the kitchen. The timer goes off just as I get to the oven. Perfect! I open the oven door. Oh, dear God! The roast is not burnt. It is buuuuuuurrrnt, with seven u's. Blackened roast. The lovely juices the meat and potatoes and carrots are supposed to cook in have hardened into black tar that will probably never completely wash off. Sigh.

I didn't wrap the roast in foil. Always, I put foil under the roast to keep the dish clean. And I put foil over the top, to keep the meat from drying out. But this time? We didn't have enough foil to do either one. I thought it would be okay. The directions helpfully say that covering the roast is optional. Y'all? It is not optional.

I am all dismayed. Yet again, I am standing there in the kitchen, lamenting that nothing is defrosted.

Michael is worried that I will have a meltdown. He comes to save the day. He is all, "What do we have, what do we have?" looking through the fridge and the pantry. He determines we have chicken and bacon. "Those two things go together," he says. He goes to Google recipes that include chicken breasts and bacon.

He finds some. Success! He tells me we will make bacon-wrapped chicken. He is all, we have to pound out the chicken to a half-inch thickness. I say, "How are we going to do that? I don't have one of those mallet thingies." Michael is disbelieving at first, but he concludes after a quick search that I am right. (Duh.) We do not have a mallet thingie.

We open up the package of chicken. Michael is all, "Hey. These are chicken thighs. Not breasts."

Now I want to be the helpful one. "But they're boneless and skinless like chicken breasts," I say. "And look! They're already cut thin. We don't need to pound them!"

Michael is all skeptical. He goes back to consult Google. He decides that we are going to make bacon-wrapped chicken thighs, with cheese stuffed in the middle. He starts seasoning the chicken. He grabs two shakers from the cabinet and shakes them over the chicken. Then he lets out a dismayed gasp. He has grabbed two salt shakers and shaken gobs of salt on the chicken. "I thought one of them was pepper!" he moans.

Dismay can be so funny. I laugh like Muttley.

The recipe (which he has cleverly mashed together from several recipes) says that we need to dredge the chicken roll-ups in flour, egg, and bread crumbs. This will be my job. I set about making it happen.

"What does it say about the egg?" I ask. "Just egg?" I am wondering if there is supposed to be a little milk mixed in, but Michael says it says just egg. So I crack two eggs.

Michael is all, "Is that the best you can beat those eggs? And maybe we should put a little milk in it." Sigh. Then he says to me, "The recipe says you definitely shouldn't use brown eggs."

WTF? He knows we have brown eggs. "What? Why not?"

He grins. "I'm joking, babe." Oh. Duh.

I get two plates and pour out some bread crumbs on one. Then I pour some flour on the other. I start to roll the flour bag closed. Poof! There is a cloud-bomb of flour in the air, and it rains all over me, the floor, the diaper bag on the floor, and Scarlett's art desk. I forgot to let the flour settle back into the bottom before I tried to close the bag. There is more Muttley laughing. Way more.

Scarlett: "Why did you make that mess, Mom? Why did you make that mess?"

Me, still giggling: "Because Mommy is clumsy." [**snort** Understatement of the- Shut up, Universe!]

Eventually, we accomplish the bacon-wrapped, rolled-up, cheese-stuffed, bread-crumbed chicken thighs. We bake them, and, they turn out pretty yummy. Except Michael is all paranoid about the bacon. Not all of it has crisped.

"It said to broil at the end, to crisp up the bacon," I remind him. "We didn't broil." We never broil. We are not really sure how. Is the bottom drawer supposed to be for broiling? We don't know. "We'll probably live," I say.

And if we keep having this much fun just cooking dinner? Our lives will be so awesome.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Kitchen Sink, Vol. Three

This week coming up is an exciting week for us! Scarlett will be turning three! Yay, Scarlett! Plus also? The story of how Michael and I named Scarlett and Sosie will be featured on baby name blog Appellation Mountain on Saturday, June 26th. (Never fear, I shall remind you when it goes up and post a link.)

I am so damn jealous of Allie Brosh. So jealous! I think I need to rename my blog "The Allie Brosh Fan Club." Like she needs my help.

Michael wanted me to hear a new single from Eminem's upcoming album. I was all, "Meh." And he was all, "It's like he sings my life!" And I was like, "You know who sings my life? Taylor Swift." She's my other creativity crush. She is such a talented songwriter. As my bestie so nicely put it, "Every woman has felt, at some point in their lives, the way she sings about feeling." Preachin' to the choir, bestie.

I checked out two Nancy Drew books from the library the other day. Nancy Drew is the business, y'all. I got excited because they had a "The Nancy Drew Files" mystery on the shelf, and those are the very first Nancy Drew mysteries I read, courtesy of my older sister. I have major book nostalgia. Happy sighs.

Oh, and apparently it's Father's Day! Happy Father's Day, Michael! (And assorted other fathers.)

Michael, I will always love you for giving me our two perfect, beautiful girls. You are awesome at pretending your feet have been magicked, and at making up silly songs ("Oh, yeah!"), and at tickling. Plus also? You think of things that I never would have thought of. Like using Craiglist to find what turned out to be the best. Babysitter. Ever! Yay!

Sorry I can't get you a present. Perhaps you would like a brownie? **snorts**

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Apparently, I Need a Good Ass-Kicking.

So I was perusing Freshly Pressed today, and I came across this post. The basic idea is, you do a Google search for "your name" plus "needs" (i.e., "Megan needs") and then you record the first ten hits that come up. The only drawback is that if you have a very popular name, you will get lots of hits of other people posting their lists from three years ago. And if you have a very unique name, you might get nothing at all.

Megan Needs:
1. A very quiet home with few or no thunderstorms and lots of sunshine. (Ohhh yes please!)
2. To come back. (Aww, you miss me, do you?)
3. Facebook. (Do I need it, though?)
4. Update. (Yes, lots of updates!)
5. A theme song. (That would be so awesome!)
6. An ass-kicking, now!! (Yes, but why? And why the urgency? Can't we talk about this?)
7. A summer intern. (To do my laundry and clean all the things!)
8. Another ass-kicking. (People, violence is never the answer.)
9. Help in the area of responsiveness. (Responsiveness? To what?)
10. A millionaire. (Cha-ching!)

I also Googled Michael, Scarlett, and Sosie. Apparently, Sosie is so perfect that she needs nothing! Yay! I won't do the whole list for Michael and Scarlett, I will just share the highlights.

Michael Needs:
1. A girlfriend. (No he doesn't!)
2.To stay out of public restrooms. (Bwaaahahahahahahaha! Agreed!)
3. More photo time. (Yes! Stop deleting pictures of yourself! You are really, really ridiculously good-looking!)

Scarlett Needs
1. A clone to cope with a heavy workload. (Hahahaha! It is sooo tough playing all day and being cute. Plus also? She has a clone, and her name is Sosie.)
2. To watch out for "Nancy Stephens." (Who is this Nancy? Mama won't let her get to you, Scarlett!)
3. New music to like. (I guess we can't listen to the Laurie Berkner Band forever. Sigh.)

This was too much fun! I know what you're thinking right now... "I wish I was like you. Easily amused."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Are You My Grandma?

When I dropped Scarlett off at Bible School for the last time, there was a white-haired lady standing in the hallway. Scarlett ran to this lady, squealing, "Grandma!" and gave her a hug. Then she went into her classroom. This lady? She was not Scarlett's grandma.

The elderly lady and two of the other Bible School teachers were all giggly, and "Grandma" said, "She has been calling me 'Grandma' all week! Do I look like her grandma?" She was all smiles.

And I said, "Yes." And nodded emphatically.

But y'all? I told a lie. In a church. To a little old lady. I am so going to Hell.

Scarlett has four sets of grandparents. And that's not including the "greats." So, pretty much, if she sees a white-haired or otherwise elderly-looking person? She figures they must also be her grandparent.

But I could not tell this smiley, nice lady, "No, you just look old." So I lied.

At a work-related baby shower, Scarlett decided one of my coworkers must be her grandpa, and she said, "Mommy, I'm going to go sit in Grandpa's lap." I had to physically restrain her until I could convince her, in frantic whispers, that he was not her grandpa.

If we are at the store, and nice elderly person stops to comment on how cute my girls are? Scarlett will practically scream, "Momma! That's my Grandma!" Usually, I just smile and shrug, hoping that their old-person hearing will confuse them and make them think she must have said something else. It works every time.

So, if you are out somewhere, and a sweet brown-haired toddler comes running up to you, shouting about grandparents? That's my Scarlett. And also? You look old. Sorry.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Brownies Are Not Nice. Not Nice at All.

Have you ever thought you were doing something nice for someone, and then been shocked to hear that they were actually upset with you for doing it? This happens to me a lot. Since I would rather not talk about my job on this blog (wouldn't want to get "dooced" like Heather B. Armstrong) I can't tell you about the times this has happened at work.

Instead? I will tell you about the time that my ex got inexplicably, extraordinarily, foaming-mouth mad at me over a brownie. Yes, a brownie.

Here's what happened.

I was living with my ex, who we'll call "Stan." Stan used to have a roommate, who was also one of his best friends, who we'll call "Kirk." When I first started dating Stan, he and Kirk were roommates. They also worked together. So the three of us were hanging out quite a bit. Then Stan moved out and, eventually, I moved in with him. But we still saw Kirk quite a bit, especially since they both worked in the same mall.

As you would, I considered Kirk to also be my friend. If I went to the mall to visit Stan? I would also say hello to Kirk when I happened to be passing by his store, which was on the way to the food court.

One day? When I was passing by, on my way to the food court, and I stopped to say hello to Kirk? He mentioned that it was his birthday. I was all, "Happy Birthday, I had no idea." Because I didn't. Then I continued on to Chick-Fil-A. While I was standing in line, waiting to order my chicken salad sandwich, I was staring at the menu board. And I noticed the brownies. I thought to myself, "Hey. I will buy a brownie. And I will give it to Kirk for his birthday." Everyone likes brownies, don't they?

So I did that. I bought my food, and I ate it, and then before I left the mall, I gave Kirk the brownie. I said, again, "Happy Birthday."

When I went home, and saw Stan? I said to him, "Hey. Kirk told me it was his birthday. So I gave him a brownie." Because if I hadn't mentioned it, then it would be weird. Right? Like the giving of a brownie was something that should be all secretive. I didn't want that. So I told Stan about it, all happily, like listen-to-what-your-awesome-girlfriend-did. Because I thought it was nice. Nice, people!

But Stan got all frowny. And then he started yelling at me about how wrong it was to give Kirk a brownie.

I was all, WTF? It was a brownie. From Chick-Fil-A. That cost, like, $1.69 or something. It's not as if I heard it was Kirk's birthday and went all Betty Crocker on it, whipping up a batch of homemade brownies. I bought it. On a whim. From a fast-food establishment.

But that made no difference to Stan. Apparently, this was something that I needed to apologize for. Apparently, this was something I should never, ever do again.

All these years later? I am still baffled as to what, exactly, I did wrong. 

Things That Are Annoying Me Right Now

1. Accordion-style Post-It notes.

Um, what exactly is the point of these? Are they supposed to be more efficient or something? Why would you want the stickum on the bottom of the note? How is it more efficient if you have to flip it around so the stickum is at the top? I don't get them. Maybe I'm overthinking - I tend to do that.

2. Noises from the apartments adjacent to ours.

The other day, I'm in the bathroom, and I start hearing this scrabbling noise. I start freaking out because it kinda sounds like little bug legs scurrying across the floor, and I'm thinking any second now a giant cockroach is going to appear and attack me. (No matter where they come from? They go straight for me. They have a vendetta.) Then? I realize the sound is coming from the apartment behind ours. Someone is digging around in their cabinets, and I can hear it through the walls.

Then I have to think about the fact that if I can hear them, they can hear me. Then I have to wonder what exactly they're hearing. Screaming matches between me and a two-year-old? Highly probable.

3. My Pizza-Face issues.

I'm sorry to keep whining about this, but the fact that I have acne like a sixteen-year-old is really bothering me, especially since when I was sixteen? My skin was awesome. Only since I started procreating has my face decided it should look like it's hosting a pepperoni family reunion. No wonder people constantly mistake me for a teenager.

There's other stuff, but if I mention it now? I'll be whining. And whining is very annoying.

On the plus side, though? Kris over at Pretty All True has given me the "Best Words Strung Together in a Comment" award for my contribution to her "Donkey Balls" post, in which I said that some people go on about IKEA as if it has beer-flavored nipples. Yay!

Don't be too jealous, y'all - you'll win something awesome one day, too. And if you go check out Pretty All True? Please come back. Because I would miss you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Commuter Drama

I have been in the car all day today, and it is only one o'clock.

This morning, before nine, I drive Scarlett to Bible School. Sosie is with us. It is beyond heavy lugging her around in her car seat, but I cannot send Scarlett inside alone. It is so hot that just being in the car for the five minutes it take for the cool air to start blowing from the vents leaves us sticky with sweat. There is a fine sheen of sweat over me, leaving me slick enough that I imagine if Scarlett tried to run and jump onto me, she would simply slide down my body like a piece of hair on a shower wall.

Sosie and I come home. I manage to vacuum and start folding yesterday's laundry when the phone rings. It is Michael. "Babe, is my wallet on the counter?" he asks.

I look. "Yes, it is." Pause. "Do you need me to bring it to you?"


Michael works on a military base. He cannot get to work without his photo I.D., and it is sitting on our counter. I put Sosie back in her clunky car seat, we drive to the front gates of the base, and we deliver his wallet. Then we turn right around and drive back home.

There is about an hour left to feed Sosie and watch a little TV before we must go back out again, this time to collect Scarlett from Bible School. When we get there, and I have huffed and puffed my way to her classroom, in the heat, carrying a giant, heavy car seat and a chub-chub baby? There is drama.

Scarlett, again, does not want to leave. She is sobbing over some kind of bean bag toy that she wants to keep playing with. I explain, again, about "toys for everyone" and the fact that we must leave the bean bag here. She can play with it again tomorrow.

Finally there is acceptance, and we walk to the car, uphill, in the baking sun, one hand clutching the car seat and the other clasping Scarlett's tiny hand. When I start to drive away? Scarlett bursts into fresh tears.

"But I want to go to Bible School!" Sigh.

"Honey, we have to go home now. Bible School is over. You can come back tomorrow."

This exact scene plays itself out three times before we get home. Three times in about fifteen minutes. I don't know what all they get up to at Bible School, but whatever it is? REALLY makes Scarlett tired.

Now we are home. I have about an hour to get us all ready to leave again. Sosie will go back in her car seat. We will all go back in the hot car. The girls will go to my sister's. I will go to work. And we will do most of this again tomorrow.

Monday, June 14, 2010


At long last, Scarlett is going to school. Vacation Bible School. I'm not sure how she is going to take it when it ends on Thursday, but I'll worry about that later. Now? She is loving it.

It started on Sunday night, with a bouncy house, painting, necklace-making, and more. When I brought her to her room and said goodbye? She didn't bat an eye. Then, today, her second day? She didn't even tell me goodbye. Just disappeared into the classroom and engrossed herself in the toys. When I came to pick her up? She was mad. She wanted to keep playing. Sigh.

Ever since the idea of her going came up, I have had the song from the Bible School session that I attended over ten years ago stuck in my head. The song involved a lot of repetition... "Vacation Bi-ble School, V-B-S! Vacation Bi-ble School, V-B-S!" I hadn't thought about that in years. Weird how things just come back to you like you heard it yesterday.

When I found out that Scarlett would be at "school" from nine in the morning until twelve? All sorts of visions ran through my head. Visions of me Accomplishing Stuff. If you have been reading from the beginning of this blog? You can probably guess how that has turned out. Yep... I have accomplished nothing! No cleaning, no errands, and certainly no Writing My Novel.

Y'all, I have wanted to become an author since I was eight years old. And except for a pitifully small handful of short stories? I have finished absolutely nothing since then. Oh, I have ideas. I've begun a million stories, give or take three. But I never finish them. And you know what? It kills me. I am majorly depressed that I am a hack, that I am not living my dream, that I am not going for it. All those reality competition shows that I just love, like So You Think You Can Dance? Make me want to cry when I am watching them. Because there, right in front of me, are thousands of people who are going for it. Reaching for their dreams. Taking a chance. And a lot of them are soooo talented. And they're all, already, so much younger than me.

So what is my problem, then? I think it is that I am Scared Of Sucking. That's pretty much the reason I don't do a lot of things. I'm scared that I will fall flat on my face, look like an idiot, embarrass myself, make people think, God, what a loser. I'd rather just not try.

The other day, when Michael made that joke about my period being an ellipsis? I was all, "Hahaha, that's so funny, I am so putting that in my blog."

And Michael said, "Sometimes I wish I had a blog. But I can't, because you'd get all sad."

"Why?" I asked. "Because yours would be more popular than mine?"

"Not really that, just that I would do it. Just like I couldn't write that book I told you I wanted to write, because I would actually finish it."

Ouch. (The people who love you most? Know the quickest ways to hurt you. How fucked up is that?)

"Well," I said, "if you know you can finish it, then do it. Make us some money." God knows I probably never will. And that? Sucks.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Kitchen Sink, Vol. Two

About a month ago, Miss Allie Brosh posted "Things That Make You Feel Like an Idiot Almost Instantly." I'd like to add one to her (genius) list: When You Step Into a Room (Or Get in a Car) and Your Glasses Instantly Steam Up.

Whenever this happens to me, even if no one else is around, it makes me feel like such a dweeb. I have worn glasses since I was in the second grade. I love my glasses. I need my glasses. I am blind and strangely un-me without my glasses. But when they steam up and make me look all dweeby? I would gladly toss them in a wood chipper. Except they generally cost me about $400 a pair. And also? I would be all blind. So I really wouldn't.

This guy, Kevin Cotter? His wife left him. And when she packed up her stuff? She left her wedding dress in the closet. Kevin was all, "You forgot your dress." And his ex was all, "You can keep it. Do whatever you want with it." And then Kevin was all, Game on, byotch! So now he uses the dress for handy things like pasta straining. Check it out.

Michael said the funniest thing to me today. He wanted to know if I was "available" for some "quality time." I told him no, I still have (TMI!) my period. And he said, "Still?" And I said, "Yes." My birth control pills? Really jack up my menstrual cycle. I hate them and I will be switching brands immediately (just as soon as I schedule that lady parts doctor appointment.) But I digress. And then Michael said, "That's not a period, that's an ellipsis!" Ha! Touché, honey. Touché.

I was reading Scarlett a new library book, Time Out, Buzzy, by Harriet Ziefert. I got no further than the very first page, in which we discover that Buzzy's mother tells him to eat his dinner and Buzzy crosses his arms and says, "I don't want to eat!" when Scarlett bursts out, "His family is mean to him!" WTF? Apparently, we are mean to her because we give her time outs. That's what I take from that. She knew where that story was headed.

Dear Coke, why do you torment me? Why are you so refreshing and yet so, so evil? I don't believe that you no longer add cocaine to your syrupy goodness, because you are more addictive than... than... okay, I've never tried drugs. But you are addicting. And these caffeine headaches are killing me. So stop, okay? If you loved me, you'd let me go.

Does anyone who has a family watch ABC Family? Please say no. You couldn't possibly. "A new kind of family" my ass. The shows they have on that channel? Do not count as family programming. In fact, I think they should rename it ABC Skanks. It'd be more honest.

Well. It is very late now (or is it very early?) and my head hurts, both from getting schooled by a teenager at Scrabble and the two Cokes that I was too weak to resist enjoyed along with it. Join me next Sunday for more "Kitchen Sink" (and in between for some mildly amusing anecdotes.) Zzzzzz....

Friday, June 11, 2010

Flopsy and Mopsy's Day Out

I think I'm in love! New Miss Babysitter is awesome. Today? Because Sosie spit up? She gave her a bath. And? She washed her clothes. Even the outfit that she wore yesterday that I had lazily left in the diaper bag! Whaaaaat! I have always been lucky enough to have nice babysitters who seem to love my kids. But this one? She does laundry. She wins. Not that there was ever a contest. (But she so wins that imaginary contest. She is that good.)

When we came home today, I did some laundry of my own. I was inspired. I decided that I would wash both of my bras at the same time. I wasn't going anywhere else today! [insert sound of the universe laughing, e.g., Muahahahaha!]

Then I started cooking dinner. Apple chicken with couscous. I started thawing some frozen apple juice concentrate. I seasoned my chicken thighs. Then? I measured out the couscous. And discovered that I did not have enough couscous. In fact, I didn't even have half of the amount the recipe calls for. Couscous, as you might imagine, is kind of an important feature of apple chicken with couscous. Sigh.

I was without backup dinner plans. I had to go to the store. With no bra on. And hope that no one would notice my boobs flopping. My boobs are short on perk these days. I just thought of new nicknames for my boobs! Flopsy and Mopsy! Ha!

When I was pregnant? I left the house quite a few times with no bra. But I would cover up with Michael's thick sweatshirt hoodie. Now? It is waaaaay too hot for that shit. So I do some strategic arm-crossing and hope for the best.

At the store, I run into problems with my genius arm-crossing plan. If I get a cart, it will look weird if I push it with one arm and keep one arm crossed. Plus, I can't steer those things one-armed, and I would crash into things, and call all sorts of attention to myself, Flopsy, and Mopsy.

So I don't get a cart. I go to the couscous aisle (otherwise known as the rice/beans aisle.) Only I'm not seeing any couscous. My eyes search the shelves wildly, but I don't see the little boxes of couscous. Only eighty thousand varieties of rice. Incidentally, the first time I served apple chicken with couscous? Both Michael and my stepdaughter asked me if couscous was "rice cut in half."

After almost having a panic attack that I might actually have to drive to another, larger, busier store without my bra to buy couscous because this place doesn't have it, I finally see it on the far end of the shelf. There is only one brand, and it costs seven dollars. WTF? I'm accustomed to paying more like three. But I'm desperate and braless, so I go with it.

We also need milk. We are completely out. Even though I don't need it for tonight's dinner, I might as well get it. But that means I will have to go to the refrigerated section of the store. With no bra. And I will not be able to do strategic arm-crossing because I will be carrying two big, heavy things and I would look ridiculous and off-balance trying to cross my arms. Ack.

I get the milk. I choose a deserted aisle in which to pause and dig out my money so that I won't have to dig for it in the checkout line and maybe give someone the chance to notice Flopsy and Mopsy. As soon as I reach the conveyor belt, I dump my stuff and resume arm-crossing. Since my stuff goes into one bag, I can continue a one-armed cross all the way out to my car. Success!

Now, I'm not saying that no one noticed I was braless. But since I didn't notice anyone noticing? I can live with that. And people? Never wash all of your bras at the same time. Even if you think you are not going anywhere. [Muahahahahaha!]

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Plot Psychic, Drip Pans, and Dirty Diapers

I hope I'm not the only one who watched last night's finale of Glee through a haze of tears. I'm not sure what made me more verklempt - the thought of Tuesdays without Sue Sylvester's snark, or my own high school choir days nostalgia. In either case, I still managed to be scandalized that New Directions got robbed lost to Vocal Adrenaline despite the fact that Michael plot psychiced it months ago.

Michael has proclaimed himself the Plot Psychic because he watches so much TV (and movies) that he can pretty much predict the ending of anything that we happen to be watching. My talent lies in guessing the criminal in whatever mystery/crime drama is on by paying attention to the guest stars' names during the opening credits and deciding which one is the most famous. Famous people generally don't do "red herring." They do "murderer." Between the two of us, it can be a race to guess what is going to happen. Once, we spent the entire commercial break of American Idol arguing over which Bryan Adams song was going to be sung in the next segment. He said it was going to be the Robin Hood song. I said it was going to be The Three Musketeers song. That time? We were both wrong. But that rarely happens.

In other news? The drip pans on our ancient stove are driving me craaaaa-zy! They are dirty. And filthy. And nasty. Did I mention filthy? I live in constant fear that the burners are going to ignite some leftover gunk and start a massive electrical fire. Ack! They are beyond help. They must be replaced. Why don't I replace them, you say? Oh, gee, it might be because my stove is old and no one seems to sell the kind of drip pans that it requires. I'm kind of hoping it will break, and they will have to give me a new stove that has normal easily-replaced drip pans.

In other other news? We have found our New Miss Babysitter! Yessssssss! And? Scarlett loves going there. She liked Old Miss Babysitter, but she is way more excited about New Miss Babysitter. When I picked them up today, she did not want to leave. And I know Sosie likes it there, too, because... she pooped!

In the babysitting arena? Life is good.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Highest-Strung Kids in the Universe

You know how they say the older you get, the more you turn into your mother? I think Scarlett is starting early. Very early.

The other day, I promised her we would go outside and take a walk after her nap. So we did. It had been raining that morning, so there were puddles. Scarlett loves puddles. Ordinarily, I must steer her around them while saying, "No splashing, no splashing, no splashing" to make sure she doesn't jump right in with her flip-flops on. Sigh. But since we weren't going anywhere? I figured, let her have fun.

So she splashed. And jumped. And stomped. She soon had mud splattered all the way up to her little ankles. The laces of her pink tennis shoes were soaked brown.

Then, with wet shoes? She started to run. I was on my cell, having a serious conversation with my best friend (also a mother of two) in which I had to get everything out as fast as possible before disaster struck and someone's kid started screaming. That someone's kid? Turned out to be mine.

Scarlett tripped and fell on the sidewalk, dramatically scraping her knees and her right palm. Sigh. I can't run either. So I don't. Ever. Ask Michael.

Fixing her up required a whole lotta Neosporin and four Bandaids. That's the most Bandaids she's ever needed at one time! A record!

So today, it is naptime. Scarlett will burst into tears at least once about going to sleep at the best of times. I have finally managed to get her in her bed and close the door. Barely a minute passes before she starts freaking. Out.

Michael goes in to see what is wrong, and I follow. What is wrong? Is that she has been picking at the bandaid on her knee, and it is starting to come off. Sigh. We reassure her that her bandaid is fine, that she needs to leave it alone and go to sleep, and if she needs it, we will get her a new one when she wakes up. All is well. We close the door.

Sosie has fallen asleep sitting in her swing. But she also has a poopy diaper. I can't leave her like that. Sigh.

I lay her down to change her, hoping that maybe she will stay asleep through the whole thing. Sosie has other ideas. She opens her eyes... and starts projectile vomiting. She is spewing up formula in dramatic arcs that shoot across the room. She is like Exorcist baby. All I can do is hold her up so that she doesn't choke on her own vomit and wait until she stops. While her diaper is off, and her little butt is still poopy because I wasn't finished wiping it. Sigh.

Michael is not so good with bodily fluids. It is all he can do not to vomit himself. He is no use to me.

Once Sosie stops being a Fountain of Formula, I finish wiping her and then lay her down so I can go run her a bath. While the water is running? I hear Scarlett start screaming again. I go and see what in the world is wrong now.

What is wrong? Is the goddamn Bandaid. I pull it off entirely, tell her that she can have another one when she wakes up, and tell her to go. To. SLEEP. When I come back out to take Sosie to her bath, I feel like saying to Michael, "We have the highest-strung kid in the whole friggin' universe!"( It should be "most high-strung" but when I am all exasperated? I don't think grammatically.)

But I don't say anything. Because you know who she takes after? Me. Damn.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Kitchen Sink, Vol. One

I am thinking that Sundays might be an excellent day to start "kitchen sink" posts, in which I just kinda throw everything in there.

For those of you who saw my post about my sister, and my sister's initial (and subsequent) response, here is an update: we talked. And I talked with her grandmother, who saw my blog and emailed me. And even though it was emotionally draining? I feel much better. And while, sadly, my self-imposed Coke ban did not stand up to all that emotional drainage, I hope it will be the start of much more closeness with my sister.

If you are not my Facebook friend? You missed my awesome status update yesterday. It said: "So I was just squeezing honey into my mouth straight from the squeeze bottle? (Yes, I'm a child, meh.) And an air pocket in the bottle? Made the honey sploosh all over my face. You know how Marge Simpson laughs? That's how I laughed." It was very amusing. But my face was sticky.

I was thinking about the word "fugly" and how awesome it is. It's economical and yet, highly descriptive. So I started wondering, what new words could I make from combining 'fuck' and an adjective? Fuppity? It made me see the word "fusty" with fresh eyes (fucking musty? Is pretty much the definition of "fusty." Really. Go ask Merriam-Webster.) Sadly, I didn't come up with much more. My swearing is not all that imaginative. Sigh.

I learned that this orchid attracts bees by looking like a bee. Yowza. I hate bees.

For those of you who saw yesterday's post, here's an update: I saw Miss Babysitter today after work, to give her the money she is owed before she leaves. She was very apologetic. She told me how much she loved watching "the girls" and how when she came back (when? I was not aware a four-letter word could carry so much surprise and promise) she would love to see them. Hunh. I guess the move is not as permanent as it first appeared. But I still have to find a replacement. Sigh.

While I don't really have a favorite children's author, I do have a favorite illustrator! Whenever I am drawn to the illustrations in a book because they are just so-darn-sweet? I find that they are by Caroline Jayne Church. One of the books she has illustrated, called I Love You Through and Through, is Scarlett's bedtime favorite.

To borrow a bit of hyperbole from Allie Brosh, I would shank an infant for a snack right now. I have to go. But next Sunday? There will be more "Kitchen Sink."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Missing Miss Babysitter

Y'all? I am so screwed.

Last week, we arrived at Miss Babysitter's house at the usual time. But there were no cars in the driveway. Uh-oh. I unloaded the girls and their stuff, all the while keeping an eye on the front door, hoping that Miss Babysitter will magically appear there to usher us inside. She does not.

We ring the doorbell. No answer. I call her cell. No answer, so I leave a message explaining that we are "here" and she is not.

We sit on the porch, and I feed Sosie a bottle while we wait.

I realize it is unlikely that Miss Babysitter will show up, at least not in time for me to get to work. I must call backup. I arrange for Scarlett's previous babysitter to take the girls, just this one time. It will only be for four hours. Sosie will likely spend the entire time sleeping.

Scarlett's previous sitter? Wonderful lady, but as an older, retired person, she felt that she could not handle Scarlett and a newborn. I understood, and we found Miss Babysitter, who lived much closer to us. But I digress.

I don't hear from Miss Babysitter, so I call Michael. I ask if he will be able to stay home long enough the following day to allow me to go to work. I have a computer skills test scheduled with one of the higher-ups, and it would not do for me to miss work. He agrees.

I discover an email from Miss Babysitter explaining that a family emergency called her out of town. She is very sorry she cannot watch the girls this week, and she will let me know if she is coming back. If? I had no idea a two-letter word could carry so much... ominousness.

Today? A voicemail message informs me that, sorry, but Miss Babysitter is moving several states away to be with her family. She would like the pay that she is owed, thankyouverymuch.

And I? Am screwed. Thank you very much.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Homicidal Questions

Scarlett and I are going to the store. She climbs in the car. I buckle her in her car seat. I get buckled into my seat. I start the car. And then? The questions start.

"Mommy, can we go to Walmart to buy food?"

"That's what we're doing, sweetie."

"Mommy, can we go that way?"

"We have to go this way to get to Walmart."

"Walmart is this way?"

Sigh. "Yes."

"Mommy, do you see the spaceship?"

There is a school between our house and Walmart. Their sign proudly proclaims they are a "NASA Explorer School." Whatever that means. But they have a small (compared to the real thing) rocket ship out front, and Scarlett loves to point it out. "Yes, I see it."

"Mommy, did we make the spaceship?"


"Did other people make the spaceship?"

Sigh. "Yes, baby, other people made the spaceship."

"Did the man make the spaceship?" My sister took Scarlett with her to get her toenails painted at a "real" nail shop. Apparently, once, it was a man who painted Scarlett's toes pink. Since then? She likes to ask if "the man" has done this or that.

"I don't know, honey. People at the school made the spaceship."

"The school made the spaceship?"

Sigh. "Yes."

"Can I go to school?"

At this point, I feel like my nerves are being slowly murdered. Each question is like a merciless stab from a razor-sharp hunting knife and my poor defenseless nerves are pooling blood into my tired brain. "It's summertime, Scarlett. Nobody's going to school. School is closed."

"What's summertime?"

Aargh! "Summertime is when it's hot out and nobody goes to school and it's when your birthday is."

"What's a birthday?"

"Your birthday is when you were born from Mommy's tummy and you turn a year older and you get cake and presents."

"Mommy, what's cake?"

"You know what cake is." I say this a lot. Except with other words in the place of cake.

"Did the man make my cake?"

Sigh. "I don't know. I don't know what the man is doing. Can you please be quiet and stop asking me questions for five minutes? Mommy has a headache."

Scarlett is quiet for all of two seconds. Then, in a whisper: "Mommy, what's a headache?"


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kid Quips, Starring Scarlett

The Scene: Dinnertime. Scarlett has a plate of peas and pigs-in-a-blanket.

Me, seeing that Scarlett has a small scattering of peas and one piggie left: "You did a good job eating dinner, but you need to finish what's on your plate, okay?"

Scarlett: "Okay, Mommy."
Scarlett: **busily smashes her peas into tiny green pancakes**

Michael: "Scarlett, quit smashing your peas and eat them."

***five minutes pass***

Scarlett: "Daddy, I'm done!"

Michael, seeing there are no peas left on the plate: "Great job, baby!"

***As he goes to let her out, her plate slides up on the high-chair tray to reveal some sneaky, stealthy smashed peas***

Michael: "Hey, you weren't really done."

Scarlett: "But I'm done now."

The Scene: Morning. I am getting ready to leave for work. I have styled my hair and put on my shirt, but my freshly-ironed pants are still waiting on my bed.

Scarlett: "Can I have my special cereal, Mom? With marshmallows?"

She means, of course, Lucky Charms. I say yes, fix her a bowl, and she sits in her high chair to eat it. I continue to scurry around, setting up a few bottles for Sosie to have while I am gone and cleaning up our mess from the night before. Scarlett watches while she eats marshmallowy goodness.

Scarlett gasps, her spoon halfway to her mouth. "Mommy! You almost got-for your pants!"

"Got-for" is how she says "forgot." I have no idea how this word - and only this word - got its dyslexic switcheroo in her mind. I have only halfheartedly tried to correct her. Why does my child believe I might leave the house without pants? Especially since I am very rarely pantsless inside the house? It is a mystery.

The Scene: I have spent the car ride home quizzing Scarlett about animal noises, e.g., "What does a cow say?" We tell Michael.

Michael: "What does a doggie say?"

Scarlett: "Woof, woof!"

Me: "What does Baby Sosie say?"

Scarlett: "Waaaaaah!"

Michael: "What does Mommy say?"

Scarlett: "Mommy say, 'Oh my gosh!'"

We grin. We think we are very clever.

Me: "What does Daddy say?"

Scarlett: "Umm... Daddy say, 'Fuck.'"

I laugh so hard that I am crying. Michael scolds me for laughing and "encouraging" her. Michael busily tries to brainwash Scarlett into responding, "Daddy says 'I love you very much!'" Fortunately - or is it unfortunately? The brainwashing has been successful.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

To-Don't List

Here's all the stuff I really should be doing, but I'm not. Feel free to feel all superior because you actually do stuff.

1. Going to the Health Department to get a copy of my two-month-old baby's birth certificate.

2. Thinking up witty and hilarious blog posts that will win me new followers.

3. Writing the YA mystery I have in my head and have barely started.

4. Calling the maintenance people to get my leaky sink fixed, so that I no longer have to keep a sodden towel on the kitchen floor to catch the runoff from washing bottles.

5. Calling the cable company to fix our OnDemand so that Michael doesn't have an aneurysm when he sees that I haven't done it, again, for the 17th day in a row. Although, if he called them himself and claimed his name was Waldo? He could get it done. Just saying.

6. Taking a shower. Yes, I am as smelly as you're imagining right now. **hangs head in shame**

7. Paying attention to Scarlett, who is dancing to the songs playing on "The Channel" and giggling, "I'm wiggly!" and is a black hole as far as attention is concerned.

8. Cleaning something. Anything. Oh, the humanity.

9. Reading the stack of library books I have checked out instead of letting them sit in my house for a few days and then turning them in because I admit defeat in the face of my procrastination tendencies. Plus, thinking up blog posts takes up a lot of my time.

10. There are so many things that I could put here that I am finding it hard to choose. Or else the hunger gnawing at my stomach is also addling my brain. So instead, I will give you a preview of the scene that will unfold when Michael gets home from work today:

Michael: **picks up remote, punches OnDemand button.** Here? OnDemand will give an error message. It will helpfully suggest that we call the cable company, which by this time will be closed, and whose answering service is so useless it might as well not even exist. **shoots wife a look of long-suffering bemusement** "You didn't call them today, huh?"

Me: **watches with wide-eyed look of a child who is about to be caught forgetting their homework** "No. But I blogged about it."

At least he can't whine, "You didn't post anything today, either?" Because I find that really irritating. Just saying.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Lost Sister

I have a younger sister. I had a younger sister. Most days? I feel like I have lost her.

About a billion years ago, when I was in middle school, our parents told us they were getting divorced. I remember it clearly. It was the weekend. I was supposed to go to a sleepover at my friend Chelsea's house, but at the lat minute, my parents told me I couldn't go. They said they had something to tell us. I remember my friends asking me whether I thought it was anything serious. And I remember saying, "I think they're going to tell us they're getting a divorce."

And I was right. That's what they told us. Dad seemed mad. Mom was upset. Our older sister, Amanda, was mad. My younger sister Rachel was upset. And I? I had already accepted it. I said to them, "I'm okay because I saw this coming a year ago." Can you imagine saying something like that? But that's what I said, and it was true. I had gone to see the school counselor one year earlier and said, "I think my parents are getting a divorce." The counselor reassured me I was worrying about nothing, All parents fight, she said. But she was wrong. And I was right.

Parents getting divorced was not new for any of us except Rachel. This was her father that Mom was divorcing. He had been our dad since I was four. I remember being confused as to why everyone was so upset. Didn't they know this was the way it was? That parents always divorced? Didn't they see it coming, like I had? Hadn't they heard the screaming fights, and known what they were leading up to?

Amanda told me to get my stuff, that I was going to my sleepover. And she drove me there. And she told me how mad she was. The blame seemed to be aimed at Mom - even Dad had said that he wanted to try to work it out, but Mom didn't. I remember thinking that was unfair, to put all the blame on her. As I've grown up and married someone myself? I know that's completely unfair. But back then? I was just barely a teenager. I didn't know what to do.

After they told us they were divorcing, our family imploded. Dad was gone. Mom was gone, too - she couldn't deal with everyone upset at home, so she went out. Rachel was inconsolable. She wanted Mom, and Mom wasn't there. I didn't know what to do or say.

I remember going back to the school counselor, and telling her my parents did, indeed, divorce. There was a counselor trainee there. They said I should role-play, pretending the counselor-trainee was my mom and telling her everything I wanted to say to her. I don't remember what I said, but I know it was about Rachel being upset and Mom not being there. When I finished? I felt a lot better. But the counselor-trainee? She was dabbing at tears as I went back to class. I've always wondered if I was part of some breakthrough moment for her. She invited me to be a part of her counseling group (all the trainees had to form one, and choose students to invite to participate) but I didn't go.

I thought the divorce would be the worst of it. That everyone would accept what happened. But then Dad wanted Rachel to go live with him. And Rachel? She wanted to go, too.

I sat outside the courtrom with Rachel while Mom, Amanda, and Dad were inside, fighting the custody fight. We weren't allowed inside, but Rachel got to speak privately with the judge about whom she wanted to live with. I asked her who she was going to choose, and she said Dad.

"Why?" I said. I had never actually considered that she would want to leave.

"Because I'm mad at Mom," she said.

I sat there like an idiot, speechless, like I so often find myself. I should have argued with her. I should have explained that it was not all Mom's fault. I should have begged her not to go. But I didn't. So Dad won, and Rachel left. Dad got stationed in Germany soon after that, and then she was really gone.

Sometimes I thought that if I had been a better big sister, she wouldn't have left. If I hadn't done all those mean, older-sistery things to her. If I had been better at making her happy after the divorce. If I had told her, outside the courtroom, that I didn't want her to go.

I don't know if that would have made a difference.

I have seen Rachel a handful of times since then. And it always feels strange. I keep expecting her to still be eleven, and she is not. I hope that she will feel like my sister instead of more like a distant cousin. But she doesn't. It seems like she feels awkward with me too.

Our older sister, Amanda? She sees Rachel a lot. She can afford to go and visit, and she does not have the obligations of small children. They seem to talk to each other a lot, and act like normal sisters. Close.

Why can't I talk to her? I have a phone, and so does she. We are Facebook friends. I just discovered this morning that she has a blog, too. So why don't I reach out?

Maybe I am afraid of what we will say. What we will not say. Maybe I'm pathetic and jealous and hurt that Rachel and Amanda can still be close, but not me. Maybe the lost sister is me.