Monday, April 30, 2007

Wedge in the Water Hole

My friend Michele invited The Family Joy over for post nap play, dinnner and a walk in the nature preserve yesterday.

"If it's warm out," she told us, "bring swim suits for the kids because we just got a new inflatable pool..."

Well, it was warm out.

[Of course I totally forgot the bathing suits.]

It didn't matter though. Apparently, I'm raising my little people right because they took one look at the inflatable pool and demanded to be stripped naked.

"Take my clothes off NOW, Mommy!!"

Michele's husband offered The Mayor a swim diaper ( "in case he would feel more comfortable" ) but my boy wholly rejected those good intentions.

Nekkid is IN.

The Mayor frolicked about in the inflated pool waving his host's plastic, toy golf club in the air, smacking the pool toys and splashing the water with it.

Then he turned to Michele and her husband and said,

"Hey! Look what I can do! I can put this golf club up my butt!!"

Just like that, in all his nude glory, he wedged the toy 5 Iron between his butt cheeks, grinned like a maniac and waited for applause.

What on EARTH is Michele going to tell her son today when he wants to play with his toy golf set?

"Sorry, bud. Golf stinks."

Want to have us over?


Cyclops_Boy_by_karichristensen
Art by Kari Christensen

Sunday, April 29, 2007

one plus joy

When I picked Jen up from the commuter rail station she was dressed in an outfit that combined "hooker fabulous" with a National Park Ranger Uniform.

Okay, okay... that's a total lie.

She was dressed just as you would expect her to be dressed - she was both comfortable and stunning.

In truth, she was more fabulously HOT than your wildest imagination.


The Mayor took one look at her and fell instantly and completely in love.

The Rooster, on the other hand, assumed Jen was a new babysitter and broke into heartbroken sobs. (Which I completely ignored. Is that wrong?)

Jen is the first person from TEH INTERNETS to visit The House of Joy and boy did we bring out the southern hospitality.

I welcomed her into our ever so carefully decorated, pure period, Early American Garage Sale Style home and
totally forgot to offer her a drink of any kind.

[It's so refreshing here!]

Then I abandoned her with The Mayor while K and I got dinner together.

[Oh, the hostess that is me!!!]

Meanwhile, out in the living room, The Mayor was so excited about her that I think he might have stopped just short of humping her leg.

In the kitchen, K skewered the Chicken Sate that had soaked for hours in a vat of fresh ginger.

We steamed sugar snap peas.

We pulled the baked sweet potatoes out of the oven and whipped up a cardamom, lime, ginger butter (heavy on the ginger.)

Finally, we cut up fresh mangoes, doused them in lime juice and were about to add an ASSLOAD OF FRESH GINGER when I thought to ask,

"Hey Jen, do you like ginger?"

"Only in small amounts," she called back.

The next thing Jen heard was the two adult managers of The House of Joy falling over laughing.

[Now is that or is that not what you call fine hostessing? I've got skillz.]

[She is going to be mad that I brought up the ginger.]

At some point her cell phone rang and she had to go out onto the porch to take a call from work and this caused her new, two-year old boyfriend to become hysterical.

[She is that good, people. The Mayor is in deep, deep, love.]

As tired as she was, strung out on west coast time, I dragged her out for an after dinner drink for an opportunity to talk to her without competition from my wee, love-drunk son.

I couldn't help but think how strange it was
to walk along beside her.

Because I have read her daily thoughts for six months or more, I might know things about her that
that her everyday friends do not.

At the same time, despite knowing all those things, I walked with a woman whose face was wholly new to me.

I was both as comfortable as I would be with a long-time friend and as akward as I would be on a first date.

I liked her a lot.

I was honored to meet her.

I hope her travels bring her back this way again sometime... because, you know, I have a LOT more ginger.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Baby Shower

Catherine at Her Bad Mother asked me to participate in a baby shower for T B (Soul Gardening), Liz (Mom-10) and Christina (A Mommy Story).

The registry requested that shower guests bring the best and worst advice received before giving birth for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or... time.

Because I'm the eager beaver of joining, I said yes before I really READ the invitation. You know, like the details and stuff. Like who it was honoring, for example.

The thing is... I don't really "know" T B, Liz or Christina.

So I'm the weird cousin of one of the guests that was going to be in town anyway so she had to be invited and now (gasp) she's COMING!

"Hi. Happy intimate baby shower from me, a total STRANGER. I hope you like this here cheese basket."

My outfit is all wrong, I'll surely be the first to arrive and I'll stand out as a complete and total dork...

HOWEVER, I will come bearing gifts for these and other wimmins of the blogville who are about to burst.

I present my HUMBLE gifts...

The Worst Advice:
Walkee Walkee, Hanky Panky


The Mayor was two weeks late so my doctor prescribed (and this is a quote) "walkee, walkee, and then hanky panky."

Uh...excuse me?

I could barely haul my bigness to the Ben & Jerry's container much less go ambling happily around the neighborhood. (I totally made it to the freezer though.)

And let's be clear... The Wah Wah Guitar of Marital Bliss was not making any Bow Chicka Bow Wow music.

[READ: Mister, you touch me and you DIE.}

Only one person at a time pressing relentlessly on my cervix, please.

Who's a horn dog at 42 weeks? Seriously.

"Walkee, walkee, hanky panky? Suck my hairy, big toe right now."

The Best Advice
Beer Makes Your Breastmilk Come in Stronger

I'm reasonably sure that advice is a load of crap, but I was too busy throwing back the Guiness to care.

And I can assure you that sucking back The Elixer of My People took my mind off of the sleep deprivation and the stress.

For a few moments of beer drinking lovliness, there was only me... and Michael Flatley... and we did The Dance of our People... and we were HOT.


The Dance of Our People

Happy Baby Shower T B, Liz and Christina
I hope you celebrate, celebrate, celebrate!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dana has A Problem

Awhile back we held a Hole in Your Butt Consciousness Raising Session here at The House of Joy.

Through that effort we firmly established that everyone has a hole in their butt and that the hole in The Mayor's butt is named Dana.

Dana has proved to be an endless source of joy.

Last night as we were falling asleep I started to giggle.

"What are you thinking about?" K asked.

"Oh, I was just thinking about Dana! Ha ha ha!!"

Then K started to giggle too.

"What are YOU thinking about?" I returned.

"I'm thinking that Dana's DIRTY! She's been a dirty girl lately! Ha ha ha."

Then we were both laughing.

Dana has a problem.

During the day Dana isn't... um... she isn't getting the attention she needs.

She's doing her job, but no one is... I don't know... appreciating her efforts in return.

What is the delicate way to ask the already overworked and underpaid daycare providers to really get in there... to dig in?

Using my monogrammed stationary, a lovely greeting card, a piece of notebook paper, the back of the local sushi take-out menu, I write:

Dear Fabulous Daycare Provider,

I am so grateful for the quality of care you bring to your work and specifically the loving and gentle way you care for The Mayor.

I do have a teensy, weensy favor to ask you.

We've noticed that
The Mayor routinely suffers from unnecessary FLANUS.

Could you please be mindful to give the child's bottom a vigorous wiping?

Thanks so much! (You da bomb!)

Smooches,

OTJ

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Down with Yer Mailbox!

Someone whacked our mailbox last night.

My college roommate Lisa grew up in the city of Chicago and she firmly believes that anyone whose mailbox sits on its own post is a hick.

She believes that to qualify as "urban" your mailbox has to be housed with a collection of other mailboxes (like in the foyer of your building) or mounted to your actual house (near the front door.)

A brief recap of THE HICK MAILBOX THEORY...

If your mailbox looks like this:


Mailbox3


or this:


mailboxes4

Then, in The Worldview of Lisa, you are
NOT A HICK.



However, if your mailbox looks anything like this:
(Which mine TOTALLY does!)

mailbox2

Then Lisa says,
"YOU ARE A HICK!"



The following photo series,
taken at 3:00 a.m. in 1987,
chronicles the
endeavors taken by my
(extraordinarily drunken)
roommate Liz
(from Tennessee)
in an attempt to persuade
(the equally drunk) Lisa
to amend The Hick Mailbox Theory
through sheer physical force.


Throughout the tussle, Liz shouted,

"SAY I'M NOT A HICK JUST BECAUSE I HAVE A MAILBOX!!!
A SIMPLE YES IS ALL IT TAKES."


Hick Fight

Sadly, as the final photo in the series illustrates,
(on the bottom left)
Liz lost that fight
and The Hick Mailbox Theory
got up and put her drunk self to bed

remained standing.


With The Hick Mailbox Theory recapped, I begin my report again...


My damned hick mailbox done got knocked down last night along with all the
hick mailboxes on my hick street.

There was a knock on our door at 10:30 p.m.

Normally we would have been long since sound asleep at that late hour because our toddlers routinely wake us at The Time That Is MANY Hours Before Reasonable People Arise.

But last night...

Well..

Bow, Chicka, Bow, Wow was...um... in progress.


K and I came went to the door in our interrupted, bathrobe clad state to find our neighbor Rusty (owner of Herschel The Great Dane) worked up into a lather over the vandalism.

My first thought was, "Those crazy kids!"

(Followed by, "I have watched way too much Nick At Night.")

Rusty told us that the police caught the "perps" and K wondered if we should pursue reimbursement for costs related to fixing our hick mailbox.

I am against taking punitive action.

First of all, our hick mailbox is the cheapest, most poorly made postal receptacle in the history of the universe AND it is infested with ants.

Everyday I get a bundle of mail and 10,000 ants. (The joys)

Beyond the very low quality of our hick mailbox, there is the karma.

We need to let those crazy kids go!

Looking back, my friends Cindy, Colleen and I did not have to pay damages for trying to steal
the high school drama department girls' bathroom tampon machine by using a crowbar to pry it off of the wall.

Nor
did we get into too much trouble for toilet papering the yards of the members of the senior boys swim team.

(Though I did have to go to detention for stealing all the toilet paper out of every bathroom in the entire high school and trying to hide it in my stadium jacket --- I was busted looking like a
female, teen version of the Michelin Man waddling past the custodian.)

Oh, the vandalism of my youth.

What random acts of teen stupidity will The Mayor and Rooster attempt?

I say we just get a new mailbox.

[K mutters something about me not being the one to have to install it...]

VIVA LOS NINOS LOCOS!!
DOWN WITH THE MAILBOX!!

fist2

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Breaker 1-9, We've Got A Tugger!

I am a VICTIM!

I was driving on the highway in traffic and noticed a Land Rover in the lane next to me.

The driver had his sun visor down and had attached a powerful mirror to the back of it.

He had adjusted his sun shade so that it gave everyone on the road a perfect view of his lap.

His LAP!

And do you know what he was doing? ---With his hand? ---In his lap?

Oh. Yes. He. Was.

He was beating off like a madman and looking around to see who noticed.

He left the flap of his truck bed open so that his license plate wasn’t visible. Grrr.

What motivates someone to do something like that?

What response does he want or expect from me, me the innocent driver to his left?

"Dude! Way to tug it!"

IMG_4748

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fat Baby Ate My Avocados

Here at The House of Joy we have been known to rely on The Horizontal Parenting Method.

Until last Saturday, we reserved this double-top-secret bit of parenting genius for our own children.

But on Saturday we went to a birthday party for a friend's son who turned one.


There is wonderful, large playroom on the second floor of this friend's house and somehow, despite being exhausted, I ended up being the sole adult in the playroom with six toddlers while all the other grown ups drank beers
in the backyard.

[Marscaponing short end of the stick...]

I commenced to horizontal parenting and got comfortable flat on my back.


The six toddlers were busy tapping on the front of a goldfish tank.

"Hey, you over there! No tapping on the tank!" I muttered without moving.

[SO EFFECTIVE this horizontal parenting.]


The moment after I released a rather enormous (and quite fluffy) air biscuit (of the most smelly variety), the playroom door opened and the father of the twin girls left in my charge stepped into the room.

Though busted, I didn't sit up.


Dude, check out my awesome horizontal parenting skillz!
IM WATCHN UR CHLDRNZ!!!

He rushed back down the stairs and sent reinforcements.

Within seconds there were three other moms up there.

[About time, eh?]


[Of course they had to spend the first five minutes checking butts to try to identify which child was poopy while I
remained horizontal and played dumb about the smell.]

Shame? What's that?

Meanwhile, The Rooster entertained herself with the most hideous baby doll ever.

The doll maker should seriously consider attending a Polyfill Stuffers A
nonymous meeting.

Roo asked me to help her get said
FAT BABY into a toy stroller.

I am not kidding, I had to GRUNT to get FAT BABY in (though I did not have to get up.)

"Roo, that is one fat baby! What have you been feeding her? Avocados?" I asked.

Just the day before
Roo ate nearly the entire bowl of guacamole offered before dinner.

Anyway, Rooster obviously thought FAT BABY would enjoy eating avocados and decided to play "Feed The Baby."

Right there, in front of all the other moms, she reached out, grabbed my boobs, harvested them, yelled "AVOCADOS!" and fed them to
FAT BABY.






Friday, April 20, 2007

Air It Out

When I picked The Mayor up from school yesterday Ms. Valerie warned me that he was swinging free, going commando (or "going to Alabama").

He had waited too long to go to the bathroom and then couldn't get his pants down fast enough.

[I don't know about you, but I HATE when that happens.]

These days, when we get home we hang out with our neighbors who are usually outside with their new Great Dane puppy.

It's hysterical that they got a Great Dane because the largest member of the family, Rusty -- the father, weighs no more than 140 lbs. That dog is going to outweigh him by twenty pounds or more and the other members of the family are even smaller.

[Next door: Where the little people dwell...and they do dwell well...]

Anyway, we were standing around yesterday admiring Herschel The Great Dane and The Mayor was climbing on the fence between the yards.

Rusty picked up The Mayor and swung him around and then returned him to the ground.

"Just in case you get flashed, he's going commando," I told Rusty.

Then I heard The Mayor yell, "SEE!!"

I looked down only to find he had pulled his shorts down to his ankles and was waving his package at all four members of Rusty's family -- and the dog too.

Oh. The. Joys.



The Mayor's Joy

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Joy Dearest

I hesitate to reveal the TRUE purpose of our visit to New York last weekend because I don't want anyone to think The House of Joy is, you know, DIFFERENT or anything.

But my
cousin Kathy needed to be taught a lesson.

Kathy introduced me to many new kinds of chocolaty treats and though they are "Weight Watchers" brand candies I don't need to get back in the habit of eating chocolaty morsels of almost-like-almond-joy goodness.

Cousin Kathy is an evil doer!

I believe she was sent by the very wicked Lady Flabina to distract me from the complicated and difficult task of counting all the way to TWENTY(!!!) each and every day in order to track the damned weight watchers points.

Kathy, will suffer at the hands of The Family Joy for this cruel act!!!

We have ways of extracting vengeance!


Cousin Kathy "assumes the position" under the authority The Mayor.

beating



Satisfied with her acquiescence,

The Mayor prepares to administer Cousin Kathy's punishment.

A beating



Commence the whup ass!

"NO TEMPTING MY MOM WITH
ALMOND JOY-LIKE TREATS, KATHY!!!"


Mayor beats his cousin


Way to go, Mayor!


Jessica


Balloons were given as rewards for services rendered, but The Mayor struggled.
He wondered if the paper towel roll flogging life might not be for him. He experienced the dread, "Floggers Remorse."


With Pop


The Mayor contemplated running away with this friendly balloon man.


We Give The Mayor Away to the Waiter


But then Hank...


Upside Down


...and Grandpa...


With Pop

...convinced him that paper towel roll tush tirades
are just part of our family joy.




(The trip to New York had nothing to do with a conference K had to attend. No. That wasn't it at all.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Favorite Thing

During the week I pick The Mayor and The Rooster up from daycare and we go to the commuter rail station to pick up K.

Then we go home and let the chaos of the 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. mayhem overtake our family.

The other night I was busy assembling a curried cauliflower thing while K fixed dinner for the kids.

The Rooster was "helping" K and they were talking.

"What did you do at school today, Rooster?" he asked her.

"Um," she said.

"Did you swing?"

"Yeah!"

"Did you slide?"

"Yeah!"

"Did you play with your friends?"

"Yeah!"

"What was your favorite thing that you did today, Rooster?"

"See Daddy!"

Smart girl.

She is well on her way to wrapping him solidly around her little finger forever.

Oh, we wimmins and our wiley ways...

Roo
The Rooster

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Night

I can not make any sense of cruelty in the world.

I am a person that delights in the wonder and magic of most days.

Today, my heart is heavy.

Last night I wasn’t feeling well, I have a terrible cold.

I got in bed at 8:30, right after we put the children to sleep, filled with sorrow for the families and friends of the students and faculty at Virginia Tech.

I picked up a book I borrowed from my Mother in law while we were in New York thinking I would read myself to sleep.

The book was Night by Elie Wiesel.

I have read many books about The Holocaust, but nothing like this.

It completely traumatized me.

When I finished the book I held it gently in both of my hands as if it was the hand of the author and I wept into my pillow. I could not stop.

The experience Wiesel relays is so brutal, so intense. He does not hold back the truth.

I can hardly contain the story he shared. I want some of his images to leave my head, but I know they will not go. I am horrified.

K had gone out to mail our tax returns and when he returned, he found me crying in our bed.

He asked me about the book.

I tried not to speak of the brutal things I had read, but I couldn’t hold them in.

My voice cracked and broke.

I became increasingly hysterical as I told him about some of the things I had read.

I told him how I couldn’t help imagining the same things happening to The Mayor and Rooster.

I imagined being separated from K and The Mayor, then holding The Rooster’s hand, knowing something terrible was happening and trying, in my last moments, to keep her from being afraid.

I told him things I can not type here now.

I wailed and I keened. I sobbed.

K said nothing, but he held me, rocked me and stroked my hair.

We were still and quiet for a long while.

Finally, we went to see our sleeping children to give them a final tucking in.

I put my finger in The Rooster’s tiny hand and let her fingers curl around mine. I watched her tiny chest rise and fall with her slumbering breaths.

I kissed The Mayor and his eyes fluttered open for a moment. He looked at me sleepily and closed them again.

In bed, I asked K if he would talk to me.

“What do you want to talk about?” he asked.

“I don’t care,” I told him.

He started talking about hope. He wished there were more great stories of hope and redemption that could counter such tragedy.

He wondered what we should tell our children, what we could possibly tell our children, when they discover the history of human cruelty and its ongoing possibility.

“What will we tell them? How will we explain?”

There are no words that make it right.

Still, they will have to learn of it.

Wiesel’s acceptance speech for the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize is published at the end of the book.

In it he says,

"And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever man and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

His words made me feel like I am not doing enough. I know I can do more.

This morning I made a call I have been meaning to make for some time.

I called the local branch of CASA and asked them to send me the paperwork so I could start the process and training to become a volunteer.

I will have no words for my children when they learn of human cruelty.

My wish is that my actions give them hope.

I’m looking for hope this morning.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Weary Joy

The House of Joy somehow made it back from a five day trip to New York, despite the Nor'easter or whatever unbelievable rain storm just happened up there.

Clearly we are Nor'easter magnets or something.

Our flight, so cleverly planned to coordinate perfectly between nap and bedtime, was delayed so much that on the shuttle bus from the airport to our car in the park and ride lot at 10:30 p.m. The Rooster, wide eyed and looking like a zombie, just kept repeating, "I want to take a nap!"

[Amen, Rooster!]

When we were finally on the highway headed home, what to our wonderous eyes should appear?

A smoking engine and a noise, strange to the ear!

Did The Joys stop? Did they pull over to protect the safety of the family?

Aw, hay-ull naw.

[We don't need no engine... let the mother f*cker burn! Sing it with me!]

Yipppppppeeeeeee!

I love travel!

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Path We Walk

The other morning I was swimming laps and noticed a pregnant woman get into the lane next to me.

She seemed far enough along for me to guess the baby would arrive soon.

Something about her convinced me this was her first pregnancy.

Mabye it was the extra careful way she walked or the way she kept stopping at the end of the lane to gaze down at her belly and hold it in both of her hands.

She was unsure of herself and yet hopeful.

I felt overwhelmingly tender towards her.

I wanted to stop swimming, duck under the rope, wrap my arms around her and give her a big gentle squeeze. I wanted to rock her, pet her hair and treat her with the softest kindness.

Of course I didn't do those things, but as I swam along I wondered about why I felt that way.

I remembered when I was pregnant for the first time with The Mayor and mothers of all ages would treat me with such sweetness.

Women I didn't really know would well up with tears of joy at the sight of me.

I remember doubting their authenticity. How could they possibly be feeling such extreme emotion about me when they didn't actually know me?

Three years later, with two children and time to integrate the part of my identity now called "Mother", I think I understand their feelings about my pregnancy a bit better.

I could see the future of the mother-to-be in the pool.

I understood what she would soon face.

Though the specific details of our birth stories and first experiences with parenting are different, so much of becoming a mother is universal.

I looked at her and saw labor and delivery, sleepless nights, hair covered in spit up.

I saw her tears of frustration and of joy.

I saw all that she is about to suffer and the new kind of love she is about to experience.

Seeing the path ahead of her... knowing it... was what made me feel so tender towards this stranger.

I wished I could reassure her that it would be the hardest thing she'd ever do and yet the most worthwhile.

But I know there is nothing, not one thing, I could have said to her to make her understand.

Not really.

She'll have to walk the path herself.

Just like you and me.



We'll wait for you on the other side, Sweet Mama...
OTJ

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Truth Schmooth

The Mayor, so called for his gregarious,glad-handing, “Vote for ME” ways, has become an expert fabricator, a teller of tall tales.

On the car ride home from my Grandfather's funeral he wove a long yarn about how his sister Rooster had thrown up in every room of the house while they were home with a babysitter and how the sitter made HIM clean it all up.

He stressed over and over again how concerned he had been that K and I would get vomit on the bottom of our shoes when we returned home because throw up was...

in the kitchen ...

and the dining room...

and the bedroom ...

and the bathroom...

and the…

(this went on for 10 full minutes.)

The truth is that The Mayor himself threw up (twice) when a babysitter was over when K and I were out (trying) to celebrate our anniversary last fall.

Later, The Mayor admonished me for not cooking his favorite food --– “lamins.”

According to The Mayor, lamins are a food product that are

“kind of like mint…and hot dogs… and ice cream...you cook them... and they come in gallon milk jugs.”
The Mayor called me a bad mommy because I have not been buying and preparing lamins.

Finaly, the other morning, The Mayor told me that at church he saw a man all covered in socks and shoes.

“He couldn’t even sit down because he was so covered in socks and shoes!”

Where does this stuff come from?

The Mayor tells his strange, tall tales with passion, conviction and charm.

K and I are sure that the storytelling doesn’t bode well for the teen years.

Surely The Mayor will be a charming kid who tells us everything we want to hear with a broad smile and a comforting tone and then goes and does just what he wants to do.

Though maybe his way of telling us what we want to hear will be comforting to us when we are parents of a teenaged son.

Perhaps his “stories” will protect us from worry -- in the “w
hat you don’t know won’t hurt you” vein.

The tall tales and the early preference for blondes have
K wondering if this is what Bill Clinton was like as a child.

It will be different with his sister.

The Rooster, whose favorite phrase is I DO IT!!!!!, will most likely just give us the finger and slam the door on her way out of the house.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Horn Goes to High School

One day in Mr. Dowiarz's freshman Geometry class I felt my face.

There was a giant, huge, enormous MASS on my forehead.

I was pretty sure it was a tumor.

I raised my hand and, when called on, insisted that I urgently needed to go see the school nurse.

Released from my Geometry class, I did the super, cool speed-walk to the nurse's office.

Unfortunately, there were 500 other high school students already in there waiting.

[What with their petty, teen-aged concerns and all. Psssshhh. (eye roll)]

I pushed my way past all of them until I stood in front of the nurse's desk.

"Nurse! Nurse!" I yelled loudly enough for all 500 of my classmates to hear, "I have a CYST on my forehead. It could be cancer! I might be dying RIGHT NOW!!!"

The nurse eyed me with a wry look.

She heaved herself up out of her chair, lowered her glasses on her nose and touched the tip of her finger to my giant growth.

Then, with megaphone-like volume and a great, ear shattering echo, she told me,

((((( "IT'S A PIMPLE...PIMPLE...PIMPLE!!!" )))))

[Turn. -- Face class mates. -- Exit nurse's office.]

Oh, I was ever so pop-u-lar at in high school.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Practical in Nature

Recently I made a grave error while naked, on all fours, with the lights on.

Because my proper southern Granny reads this blog, I feel it is important to INSIST that I was NOT performing "Coitus Ontopus" at the time.
Definitely not. Noooooo, ma'am.

Granny - I assure you that I have only DONE THE DEED twice in my life, both times for pro-creative purposes and both times I was on my back, holding very still and clutching my turtle neck night gown to my throat waiting for IT to be over.

Anyway, I was naked, on the bed, in a
semi-on-all-fours position, with the lights on and...

I looked down.

...or underneath as it were.

I should not have done that.

(((Oh. Mah. Got.)))


Here is what I saw:

sharpei2


You know how a mama cat's belly hangs low to the ground and swings from side to side after she has given birth and nursed kittens?


I'm just saying it is a good thing I don't walk on all fours or I would be mistaken for a mother cat.


fatcat


My great and powerful body stretched itself to the limit and beyond to grow and deliver The Mayor and The Rooster - and for that I am grateful.

However, the belly has suffered a great blow from which it seems it will never recover.

I'm far too cheap to have a tummy tuck though.

I mean, I don't have a spare 50 bazillion dollars, and even if I did, old age is going to drag everything south anyway.

I wouldn't spend money on a TEMPORARY solution to a problem.

[That would be illogical, Captain.]

I think it would be a better idea for me to invest in some extra sets of nipples and become a wet nurse for kittens.

Let them suck



Monday, April 09, 2007

This is MY Week

When I first started blogging I joined the Crazy, Hip, Blog Mamas.

Early on I noticed they had a weekly thing called "Mom of the Week" and, as the months went by, I enjoyed seeing many of my favorite bloggers achieve this pinnacle of motherness.

Oh, to be Mom of the Week!

I gazed longingly from the sidelines knowing that the Tiara of Motherhood was reserved for those who, unlike me, had a clue what they were doing.

I figured the award was for mothers who could, you know, bake and stuff...like mothers that make thier children's birthday cakes.

Blogging has taught me that the bar for birthday cake baking is set really, really high.

I mean, look at this gorgeous swimming pool cake that Scribbit made.

I have PURCHASED each and every one of my children's birthday cakes at the grocery store...

THE GROCERY STORE.

I was supposed to BAKE their birthday cakes? Who knew?


It didn't even occur to me to bake.

As a loser mom with no baking skills, I assumed Mom of the Week was simply unattainable, a blogging dream I would never realize.

[insert deep, woeful, martyr-ish sighs.]

Then, suddenly... someone nominated ME for Mom of the Week. ME!!! Dork of Dorks!

Dorks UNITE!!!

But though Melanie nominated me, no one actually VOTED for me and my name stayed on the list of nominated blogs for so many months that I got kind of embarrassed about it.

((((L-O-S-E-R, LOSER! That's what you are!))))

THE SHAME!!

Finally, in an attempt to be at peace with my fate never to be THE CHOSEN ONE, I decided the whole Mom of the Week thing could kiss me right here:

IMG_2706

But lo!

There is an upset in the universal order of all things right and good in the world.

Just about the time I was purchasing plastic buckets instead of baskets for my children's Easter morning sugar tantrum, I got an e-mail that said, "You're up!"

Huh?

Apparently, I am up.

It is my turn.

This is MY week.

I am the Mom of the Week now.

Who's your Mama?

I am.

Oh, yes.

MOTW2


This is the week of the dorky, loser mom who doesn't have a clue what she's doing.

I own this whole week.

I'm not baking a thing.

W00T!


Friday, April 06, 2007

With Apologies to My Neighboring State

The Mayor has been potty trained since Christmas but we still make him sleep in a pull-up at night .

In the morning, K and I insist that The Mayor appease the toilet God with a sprinkle of urine.

To do this, we hold
his morning crack milk hostage.

No pee pee, no milk-ee. Capisce?


He is such a milk addict that I make him do my bidding all day with milk as the carrot on the stick.

"Do you ever want to drink milk again? Ever in your life? Then FOR THE LOVE OF MARY LISTEN TO ME!!!!!!!!!!"
After his forced morning pee he prefers not to re-don the night time pull-up. Fair enough.

Sadly, his parents are usually too lazy to go and get him a pair of underwear so we just tell him to "go commando" to the breakfast table.

The Mayor has been intrigued by this saying and determined to learn it.

Unfortunately, he's not as sharp as usual at the start of the day and for the last few mornings he's marched to the breakfast table swinging loose and free yelling,

"I'm going to Alabama!"
alabama

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Legacy


I was supposed to spend this week with The Mayor and Rooster Girl because their daycare program is closed for Spring Break.

[...and there was no way I was loaning them the car and letting them go to Daytona – not with all the recent “I want cock” talk. No way.]

Unfortunately, because The House of Joy turned into The House of Sick last week and because I am self-employed, if I didn’t work I would have had to fire myself for underperformance.

I somehow convinced The Mayor's daycare teacher to spend her vacation at our house in order to sequester myself in my office and catch up on my blog reading important work projects.

I was disappointed to change my plans.

I had been looking forward to spending the week with them, which truth be told, is a shift for me.

Until recently, caring for both of them full-time routinely wore me down to a nubbin.

Oh, I love them (with all my heart and daisies shooting out of my butt and blah, blah, blah), but two babies only fifteen months apart has been hard. In all honesty, much of it has been tedious, at times mind-numbingly dull work.

Things have (finally) taken a turn for the better at The House of Joy.

The Mayor and Rooster play together a bit reducing the need for constant parental policing.

It is genuinely nice to spend time with them now.

Yesterday, our daycare provider had to leave early so I spent a few hours aimlessly drifting along with them.

The three of us walked through the streets of our neighborhood underneath the blossoming tree limbs showering us with petal storms.

Time stretched out before us, unhurried.

We stopped to watch a flatbed truck load a dumpster on its back.

We watched a squirrel tight rope walk on a telephone wire.

We met a dog who couldn't use his hind legs but had his own rear wheels instead.

We watched a man cut kudzu vines off of a tree trunk.

We threw pebbles in a stream.

We had an entirely unplanned adventure in a simple walk around the block.

I was reminded of my Grandfather, my Ady.

When I was as little as The Rooster he would take me for walks around the block.

Though I was quite small I remember those walks well.

I was so small and everything was new.

Every insect and flower was an adventure. I was filled with a sense of discovery.

I had his attention all to myself! The bliss, the honor!

Roaming my neighborhood holding the tiny hands of my children, I thought of my Ady.

Perhaps his walks are the legacy he left for me... a lesson in love and the simplest celebration.

From now on The Mayor, Rooster and I will take more walks around the block.

I know my Ady will walk beside us.


Walking Around The Block
Ady & Me



Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dance Monkey Dance!

If we stay out too long for a morning activity then the drive home is dangerous.

K and I know from experience that 15 minutes of sleep in the car can cancel out the afternoon nap.

This can't happen.

There MUST be an afternoon nap, G.

If the children appear even slightly drowsy in the car at this time of day whichever parent is not driving The Car of Joy morphs into a performing monkey -- singing, seat dancing, tickling feet and knees -- doing whatever it takes - (((WHATEVER IT TAKES!!!!!))) - to keep the children awake until we can get them home and in their beds.

On the way home from the Church of the Zoo last Sunday morning I was the monkey.

I was doing an elaborate cymbal clapping and singing routine entitled "Poop in Yer Pants" when The Mayor interrupted me.

"Mommy, I don't have a POOP in my pants. I've got COCONUTS."

Oh, the Y chromosome.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Oh, The Shoes

At the shoe store, when I ask K,

"Should I buy this pair of shoes or these?"
K knows to say,
"You should definitely buy BOTH. Definitely. Both."

He is a good man.

Though he doesn't UNDERSTAND about women and shoes, he has learned how to get along with this woman (and her shoes.)


I am despondent about the whole realm of shoes these days.

Shoes, belts, bags and accessories in general have too much bling for me.

It is the era of The Great National Over-Bling.

I am not bling-ity.

[Unless I am making a fanetti.]


I often buy clothes in solid colors because I can't figure out what matches what.

Patterns?

Pssssssshhhhhhhhh.

If only there were adult Granimals.

Because of the reign of the Bling-So-Much Movement I haven't been able to find a single pair of shoes that I like in a really long time.

Not a single pair of shoes.

Sisters, (sorry Mad) that is just wrong.

However...

I bought The Rooster a sah-weet, little pair of summer sandals.

She received the sandals with great enthusiasm and put them on straight away.

Though she is only just learning to talk, she spent the rest of the day looking up at me and saying,
"Sandals!! --- Pretty!! --- I LIKE 'em!!"

It felt almost as good as a shoe score for myself.

Now if only my next move hadn't been to teach her the word "clock."

She spent all of the next day looking for K's travel alarm clock and yelling,

"I WANT C0CK!!!"

Oh, daughter. How the joys do mount up.



IMG_5117

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Apparently This Happened

Mama Loves invited me to the blog prom.

Prom remembered...

[shudder, shudder]

Why did I agree to go with that boy?

I went with He Who Was Not Even Close To Being My Boyfriend.

I don't even think I really knew him.

Who WAS that prom date? Why did he ask me?

Clearly I killed a many a brain cell during this period of my life because I have no memory of prom and the photo evidence is all that remains.



High School Prom Exhibit A:
He Who Was Not My Boyfriend & I

(a.k.a. When I Learned the Meaning of the Word "Peplum")

Prom 2

High School Prom Exhibit B:

He Who Was Not My Boyfriend ...
TOTALLY CHECKING OUT MY FRIEND'S LEG AND NOT MINE!

(a.k.a. We Would Later Learn it was my friend's DATE he was eyeing.)

Prom 4


High School Prom Exhibit C:
Post Prom: When in Rome...er...Milwaukee!

(a.k.a. Where are the guys? WHO CARES?)

DUDE!
Check out these hats we got at the mini mart.
We're so AWESOME!


prom 5

Obliging Janet

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" from Dancing Through sent me the following interview questions after I left her a comment that basically said something like:

"There's NO WAY I'd request to be interviewed by another blogger. I'd be too scared of what they would ask."

So I'm feeling really heard. Ahem.

Dammit Janet.

The Interview Questions
by Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom"


1. What is the most joyful experience you have ever had? (Doesn't have to be from motherhood.)


Taking an ultralite flight out of Zambia over Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls Zimbabwe


2. If someone gave you a park rangers outfit, what would you do in return for that generous person?

If some one gave me a National Park Ranger Uniform in my husband's size (complete with the hat - and I prefer the summer hat, mind you) then I would give them...

...an extra large bottle of pjur -- that they might fulfill their own fantasy unfettered by a sticky hand.

3. Are you a procrastinator? If so, what do you do to procrastinate?

I am not a procrastinator. I am a planner. Recall The Family Plan.

4. Park Ranger or Zoo Keeper?

Psssssssssh.

Oh great and powerful internets, let us help Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" see the difference in the following:

Zoo Keeper: Smells of elephant and gorilla sweat.

Park Ranger: Smells like a cold, starry night under giant pines with a campfire blazing and marshmallows roasting.

Who do we want in our bed?

The National Park Ranger.

heart5

Yes, yes, YES!!!!!!!

5. Complete this sentence: I deserve ___________.

A swift kick in the...?

A knuckle sandwich?

A break today?

Everything I get?

It?

Ah ha!

I deserve the opportunity to grill some other chump from the internet.

Who's game?