Monthly Archives: January 2014

How Objects Get Nicknames

We have a running joke in our family that my camera is the true love of my life. OK, so maybe it isn’t entirely a joke. Perhaps there’s a smidgen of eye rolling, a few shakes of the head, and a shade of two of embarrassment. Whatever.

Anyhow, so the camera became “Mom’s hot Latin lover”, better known as Alejandro. When Alejandro, my sexy Nikon DSLR, turned up with some dead pixels, I couldn’t bear to just cast him aside like a jilted paramour. So I kept him on as a friend, an old love who still makes you smile with good memories. My new Nikon is Javier, and while he is hot and sexy, he respects Alejandro’s place in my life.

We’ve named all the cameras in the house now, except of course, The Bear, whose eyes roll more than anyone would think possible at how weird his family is.

But other objects in our lives somehow wind up with names, too. People name their cars, chefs name their KitchenAid mixers, bikers name their motorcycles.

One such object belonging to me is called the Crazy Drunk Lesbian Hoodie, and this is the story of how I acquired it.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…oh no, wait. No, it wasn’t. It just sucked a monkey back then. I was separate from The Bear. I had been seeing someone else, but she and I broke up. I hated my job, hated my marriage, my father was dying, and I decided to go see a friend for the weekend. The Trainer and I had a great time hanging out, talking, relaxing, messing around in her garden. We went over to a nursery for some plants when she got a text from a woman with whom she was sort of friends. I say “sort of” with reservations, as The Carpenter’s bats had built their own damn belfry. I haven’t met anyone like her since, which is probably a good thing.

Anyhow, The Carpenter wanted us to stop by and see her new landscaping. It was a but of a trek from The Trainer’s house, but we were halfway there, having been at the nursery. Sure, why not? We get there, and The Carpenter is clearly attracted to The Trainer, who is having none of it. I give The Trainer credit; she is always sweet, gentle, polite. But for as many times as The Carpenter struck out, she refused to put down the bat. I’m sure the 3-4 beers she’d enjoyed prior to our arrival enhanced her persistence, but man, it was almost entertaining to watch.

The afternoon wore on, and despite it being a nice spring day, the Northeast gets cool in a hurry when the sun goes down. I had a long sleeve t-shirt on, so I was fine. The Trainer got a bit cool, so she fetched a hoodie from her car. The Carpenter looked at me and decided that I too, was cold.

“Do you want a sweatshirt?” A polite offer, to be sure, but I declined it, as I really wasn’t feeling the chill.

“No, really, I used to work for K Hovnanian builders. I have a whole box of ’em. You have to be cold. I’ll go get you one.”

I thanked her and refused again, but my words fell on drunk deaf ears. She vanished into the house to procure the magic garment, and I just looked at The Trainer with my eyebrows raised. She snickered, and said nothing. Bitch.

A few minutes later, The Carpenter reappeared with a hunter green sweatshirt emblazoned with the K Hovnanian logo in gold. Conceding defeat, I thanked her again and reached for it.

“Here, I’ll help you put it on.”

My stunned response of, “Uh…” coincided beautifully with another snicker from the peanut gallery. Bitch.

I maneuvered quickly and slipped it on before she could set down her beer. The Carpenter looked me up and down, smiled, and asked, “So. You and your husband are separated, huh? And you were dating [REDACTED]?”

“Um. Uh. Well, yes. Um. Those are both true. But, ya know how it goes, sometimes you uh, just need some time alone to kind of regroup…” The background snickering had escalated almost to a giggle. Bitch.

We wound up inside shortly thereafter, having dinner with The Carpenter’s housemate, and then having after dinner drinks in the living room. I made absolutely sure to choose a comfy chair that only held room for my own butt in it. The Trainer and The Carpenter took the couch. At this point, I’d had about half a glass of wine. The Trainer had had a glass of wine. The Carpenter had had 5 beers and 3 glasses of wine.

The evening was getting late, so I caught The Trainer’s eye and raised an eyebrow. She nodded and smoothly dropped the “Wow, it’s getting late. We should go…” into the next available conversational lapse. I quickly agreed, thanking The Carpenter for her generous hospitality. She looked at both of us and smiled.

“Why don’t you guys just stay here tonight? My guest room is trashed, but hey, I have room. Slumber party!”

While I tried not to choke on the rest of the wine I had just chugged, The Trainer chuckled and politely declined for both of us. A valiant effort was made to change our minds, but we were thankfully able to extricate ourselves from the house and head for the car. As we left, I tried to return the hoodie, but was told “Absolutely not. You keep it! That way you won’t forget me!”

Yeah. Like that would ever happen.

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My kids have manners!

The Bear and I feel that while respect is something to be earned, it can also be a default setting in your everyday encounters. In short, be nice unless you’re given reason not to be.

We have raised the kids to be polite by modeling, and expecting them to follow suit. When ordering at restaurants, for example, we say, “May I please have…” and “Thank you”. This sometimes throws off the servers, who are more used to people yelling, demanding, or simply grunting at them, but I promise, it’s a good thing.

Our crew trained in martial arts through the black belt level, so “yes/no ma’am” and “yes/no sir” were commonly heard and used by them. Again, we model this as well. If an older person asks me a question in a store (this happens  more often than you think), I answer with “ma’am” or “sir” out of deference.

However, the kids are now halfway out the door, and every once in a while, a parent has to wonder if the teachings with which they’ve raised their kids “stuck”.

This weekend, I was making breakfast for The Ambassador and the 4 other guys who seem to materialize whenever he comes home for the weekend. He was in the kitchen with me while I prepped. I tossed a dozen eggs in the blender with some cream, and was in the process of adding a hefty dose of vindaloo powder when the tip of the spoon caught the edge of the blender. *poof* It was like a cloud of vindaloo, up my nose, in my eyes, on my counter, everywhere except in the blender. (You can quit laughing aaaanytime, ya jerks.)

“Son of a BITCH!”

And my son answered…

“Yes, ma’am?”

Manners. He has ’em.

Procrastination Logic

The Professor is finishing her Masters program, and also has a job as a Graduate Assistant on a Federal grant project studying the building and loan crash several decades ago. However, in general, she can be quite lazy, and procrastinates until she stresses herself out completely.

And of course, no amount of guidance from her parents has managed to change this, because duh, what the hell do parents know anyhow? But at this stage of the game, she’s nearly 22, so it isn’t our problem. That doesn’t preclude us from giving her shit about it, though; that is one of the parenting benefits that is clearly laid out int he contract. Just look – Section III, paragraph 7.

Last night, The Bear made dinner, and I called The Professor down to eat. She wanders in, unkempt, clad in the latest in Pajama Couture. Our eyes roll, our heads shake, and there may have been mention of a “lazy bum” tossed around.

The Professor’s answer to this?

“It isn’t my fault that I don’t get anything done on weekends. It’s the Republicans’ fault.”

*blink*

I look at The Bear. He looks at me.

“I’m sorry…what?”

“It’s true. I make to-do lists, and I plan to get stuff done. But the Republicans…they’re always trying to prevent the Gay Agenda. See?  Not my fault.”

So there’s The Professor’s reasoning. Now tell me yours. What makes you procrastinate?

Need an example?

I mentioned waaaaaaaaay back in my first post that I don’t quite fit in with other parents my age, or parents of kids the same ages of mine. Or with “mommy” blogs.

But then I wondered if people would really “get” what I meant, instead of just rolling their eyes and thinking, “Here we go. Another special snowflake who thinks she’s unique.”

Well, thanks to the clarity and focus that my new AD/HD treatment plan has granted, I thought of a good example to share. Prepare to be dazzled uh, impressed amused!

I follow a fantastic blog called Life With Roozle. Casey Carey-Brown and her wife have a hilarious 4 year old girl named Riley, who is better known as Roozle. I don’t have a 4 year old, so on a basic level, I have no real connection here. But I love Casey’s writing, the way she prioritizes her family, the way she and her wife parent Roozle, all of it. The first post of Casey’s that I read was about how she got saved at Jesus camp. I was a fan from that moment.

I know, I know…I’m telling you all about this awesome blogger, whom you should definitely be following, but still nothing about the promised example.  I’m getting there. CTFO.

Like many people I know, Life With Roozle has an Instagram page. And lately, Casey’s been posting the most adorable photos of Roozle, after she has fallen asleep drawing at night, tagged with “goodnightroozle”. I love these shots, and according to her mom, so does Roozle! (Yeah, she does, so please do not start going off about Roozle’s privacy, and kids on the internet, etc. Just don’t.)

A friend of ours came over for dinner the other night, and we were chatting about those photos, and how sweet they were. I looked at the Professor, my own adorable first born, and said, “Ohmigosh! I could totally replicate those with you!” I wish I had had my camera at that moment to capture the horrified expression on her face. “Mom. That…that’s just creepy. Just…no!”

After I was done laughing my ass off at her response, I realized that it truly does make a great example of how different the perspectives in blogging can be for parents, depending on the age of the children they have.

In conclusion, I will not be posting any photos of my kid at night, tagged with “goodnightprofessor”. But here’s an old one of the Ambassador, just because it really was cute!

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Eff This

I cuss a lot.

Now, most people who know me will roll their eyes and say, “No shit.”

Some people will cringe and purse their lips, a disapproving scowl creeping across their pinched face. They will say that it’s “filth”, and that it’s “unnecessary”, and that “it shows a distinct lack of class”. I take issue with that last one, as I have a lot of class. It may or not be low class, but I assure you that I have a lot of it!

But here’s one of the problems with that ever-present condemnation of my character. People vary on which words are taboo and which aren’t. Now, many people will agree that the “c” word (four letters, refers to part of a woman) is way out of line at all times, with no exceptions. But there are those who prefer to “reclaim” it as part of their own lexicon. I’m personally not a fan of it, but I don’t judge people who are. To some people, the word “crap” is an “unacceptable cuss word”. People can “damn” someone to “hell”, but the minute a particular deity is brought into the picture, the television censors tweak that “damn” right the “hell” out.

So why do we swear? What drives us to use words that make some people so upset? This page actually does a really great job of explaining why people cuss. Contrary to what people think, the use of such words does not make us uneducated, classless, prurient, filthy, unhealthy, or base. It also doesn’t mean that we are without moral or ethics, that we lack spiritual structure, or that we have insufficient vocabularies.

Most of the condemnation I’ve seen does come from the stricter religious groups. I hate to tell them, but perhaps their sneering derision would serve them better if they reread Matthew; chapter 7, verse 1.

My kids also cuss like sailors. Am I a crappy mother for this? Probably; but the list of things that make me a bad mother is so long. This doesn’t even hit the Top Ten, so if you’re looking for me to show some guilt here, I wouldn’t advise holding your breath.

All of my kids know that cussing in public is inappropriate. They also know that if they ever cuss in front of their grandmothers, I will have their heads on a platter, along with their cell phones for the next 24 hours. Oh, and little kids. I do not ever tolerate them cussing in front of little kids. Ya know what? They don’t. No, I’m not with them all the time. No, I have no spies on their various college campuses. So how do I know? Because I’ve raised them to understand that, like anything else, cussing has a time and a place. I’ve also raised them to have respect for others. They do not go into the homes of their Christian friends and drop an “F” bomb. It would never occur to them to do so, because they were raised correctly.

Yes, I said it. My kids cuss. And I also said that my kids were raised correctly. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

And if, after this, you look at me, look at my family, and purse those lips while mentally calling us names like “classless” and “immoral”?

Well, I guess I can’t change your mind, then. So fuck you very much, have a nice day, and please drive through.

Life After Mommy Blogs

I subscribe to several so-called “Mommy Blogs”. I can’t always relate to them, as the children in question are generally much younger than my own, but I certainly remember enough of that insanity to laugh right along with the rest of their loyal fan base.

But what happens when the kids, the very core of the subject matter that inspires those stories, incites such laughter, move on to their own lives?

What happens when you’re no longer “Mommy”?

My kids are on the cusp of moving out, moving on. They’re in college and graduate school. They’re starting that job hunt that causes such anxiety and excitement. They’re beginning to create their own lives.

So where does that leave me? For 20+ years, my world has centered around raising kids. Yes, I have a career outside the home. Yes, we held onto identities other than “Somebody’s Parent”. But at the end of the day, no matter what job signs your paycheck, your core foundation is that family you raise.

At this point, I look at The Bear and notice how little we have in common. What the hell are we going to talk about over dinner now that it’ll just be us? And speaking of dinner, can someone please tell me, for the love of Dog, how to make spaghetti for just two people? After decades of feeding the crew plus their friends, I am clueless. Is our marriage going to be able to find a niche of its own, without the ties that have held it together all these  years?

People tell me that I’ll have more time for my own hobbies, more time to relax. If someone could point me in the direction of Relaxation Lessons, I’d appreciate it, as that is a concept with which I’m less than familiar.

As much as I’m watching the clock, pining and scraping for 5 o’clock, there is definitely a sliver of confusion that works its way in like a splinter.

“What the hell do I do next?”