Friday, March 26, 2010

Little Lessons

A few little lessons I've learned recently--

People like to be asked & they like to be thanked.

Despite its name, the garbage disposal is not the place to dispose of garbage.

I have been using way too much laundry & dishwasher detergent for my appliances.

Wearing a proper-fitting bra causes people to ask me if I've lost weight. I haven't.

There is this dessert called "Crack Pie" because it is supposedly as addictive as crack cocaine. It is.

Children still play Bloody Mary, and Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board at slumber parties!

On a related note, I have an old Ouija board in my upstairs closet that I suddenly feel an urge to part with...

We recently got upgraded to business class on a flight, and soon I realized what that old yarn means: "The luxury, once sampled, becomes necessity."

It is hard to find cute, non-clunky, affordable shoes for boys. That's why DS has several of the same pairs in multiple sizes & colors. And also why I love thrift stores.

It saves so much time to mix baby formula in a pitcher, then pour it into bottles. I'm a failed breast feeder, and I'm making peace with that.

DS just attended his first Easter egg hunt today. I didn't know that these days, most kids hunt for plastic eggs with goodies inside them. I brought real ones, hard-boiled & dyed with simple vinegar and food coloring. I swear I wasn't trying to be Martha fucking Stewart. Kids fought over them. Who knew? Must be their novelty.

Your comments, your tips, and/or your own life lessons are welcome!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mommy Pick-Up

I've been waiting for it to happen, and today my time finally came. When I was least expecting it, in the middle of a large, bulk-buying retailer.... I got picked up by another mom with a same-aged kid! And she was coolballs! And liberal! And lives right here in Podunk-motherfucking-ville, but is originally from a large city, just like us! Hooray!

I really have my charming, defiant son to thank. My DS ran away from me in the food court and sat at the table next to this cute pregnant lady and her son. Her boy was sitting in one of those portable kid chairs that clips on to the edge of a table. We have the same chair at home! In the same color! And it is not available here in Podunkville, so I knew she must shop a lot online, and that there just had to be many common threads between us. And I really liked her son's shoes. Random - I'm not really into appearances, but for some odd reason I care about boys' footwear. But I didn't say anything.

Then her son threw a cup of ice everywhere, started screaming, and I was thinking - I should say something helpful? But then DS flipped a piece of pizza on my leg, so I got distracted...

Then suddenly she turned to us once the screams stopped, and she opened with "how old is he?" And we ended up sitting there for over half an hour and our boys played - really nicely. Turns out we know some of the same people and think the exact same things about them - isn't that a key basis for friendship? Not only that, but she's about to have her second baby in a month or so and I have a 5.5 month old. We're both Catholic but not religious. And I shared my tip on how to clean the clip-on chair: put that mofo in the dishwasher! We exchanged numbers & emails, and free days. Pretty sure the rest is going to be history.

So I can only imagine that this is what it would feel like to meet some of you in person. ;) Got any good friend/mommy friend pick-up tales?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Median Voter Theory

Democrats, Health Care Reform, And The Center | The New Republic

The above link is to a really interesting piece critiquing "median voter theory" vis-a-vis health care reform. One of the best comments was by @blackton: "I hope the Democrats label [the next bill attempting to get a public option] the "No abortion on demand Public option," since the Hyde amendment would prohibit it anyway it will be the truth, and let the Republicans stand up and be forced to vote no for it."

That would be genius.

Then they should repeal the Hyde Amendment. The fact that it is good law today is so effed up I can't even fully express it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Historic Vote

The House votes on health care reform today. I can hardly believe the day has finally come. Maybe that's why I am awake before 6 am on a Sunday. It is a rare thing that I wake up before my kids.

On these issues, I am 100% for everything the liberals want to do. In fact, I'm even for many of the things the liberals never said they wanted to do, but Fox News warned us they wanted to do. I don't think the current bill goes far enough to reign in the powerful insurance industry. Call me a Socialist.

I have an ethical problem with the existence of for-profit health insurance companies. They incentivize ripping people off and sending sick people to an early grave, all because it benefits the bottom line.

For those of you who get HBO, (and I don't mean 'human body odor' heh heh... I kill me) and feel like I do, I recommended watching this past Friday night's episode of "Real Time With Bill Maher." It has nice Gavin Newsom eye candy to boot. Note: the non-sleep habits of my kids make it so I have to tivo all of the tv I watch, and don't always get to it before the tivo runs out of room and starts deleting shit. But the gods were on my side on Friday night, when the kids actually fell asleep around 8pm, so DH and I got to watch Bill Maher together. First and last time that will ever happen!

In other political news, have any of you read "Game Change"? I hear it rips Elizabeth Edwards a new one for being abusive to campaign staff. She can't catch a break at all, can she?

Oh, by the way, I totally won't be offended if you disagree with me. Some people don't think Gavin Newsom is very attractive. Everyone here is entitled to their incorrect opinions, I promise!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Shitty Book Club

I think I need to break up with my Shitty Book Club. When I joined a year and a half ago, I was the 12th member. We met once a month, worked around everyone's schedule, and chose decent books. Back then, only about 6 or 7 people showed up each time, so I felt I got to know everyone pretty quickly. Which was just the perfect thing when I was the new kid in town. But then suddenly, things started to change last summer. New people started showing up each time. Including the one woman in town I am supposed to be especially friendly with (because we're close in age & our hubbies are colleagues), but who I totally cannot stand! By last September, we had 21 freaking members. We started reading these atrocious books that the new members picked. I won't mention them here, but they sucked. What I'm trying to say is I have clearly outgrown this Shitty Book Club, and want to start seeing other people.

However, here in Podunkville, I don't think it can be done without some emotional fallout.

Because, well, people gossip about stupid shit here. As in I went to a brunch today at the home of a woman who is not in Shitty Book Club. One of the other women there, Ms. A, who is also not in Shitty Book Club, mentioned that a mutual friend of ours, who is in Shitty Book Club with me, had told her that she felt Shitty Book Club is now too large (I agree), and that she (Ms. A) had originally hoped to join but now that we've closed it at 21 people she can't. Hmm..... And the hostess, Ms. T, then mentioned that she wanted to join a book club. So I said to Ms. T, "Then perhaps we should start one of our own" - at which point Ms. A quickly made it clear that she did not want to be a part of such a club with Ms. T and me. Weirdness! Ms. A is an odd one, always trying to sell you random things, so no loss really. And I'm not sure Ms. T is what I'm looking for either, though she is totally nice, she wouldn't enjoy reading "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" with me.

I asked DH what he thought I should do. DH said, being a guy, he'd just stop going if he didn't like it. I tried to tell him it's not quite that simple when it comes to female friendships.

What would you do? Ever been in this kind of situation?

EDIT: I found an old NYT article that is a neat summation of typical book club dysfunction: "Fought Over Any Good Books Lately?" by Joanne Kaufman, Dec 5, 2008. Word.

2nd EDIT: I am toying with the idea of emailing the 3 original members and saying "Hi, um, folks are saying this group is too big. I'm partially to blame for that, and it has to be hard on you to organize everyone (as @Jac said). Here are some ideas for splitting the group that would hopefully avoid hurt feelings: 1) By seniority, 2) Alphabetical By Last name, 3) Geographically, or 4) By Random Drawing from a hat. Peace!: And I will give it until the end of May. If nothing changes, I will just Be Perpetually Busy.

3rd EDIT: So I sent an email as described in the 2nd edit. Within minutes I got an impassioned phone call from one of the original members saying "I was so surprised to get your email! We hope you don't want to quit!" and also making odd assertions about not being political or cliquey or even being an organized group. I don't think I made myself very clear. Or perhaps I did and it was too harsh a reality to confront. We meet again on Monday - it may be my last. If it doesn't go well, should I communicate my quitting or just let it be (Be Perpetually Busy)?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pondunk Moments

We went to a rodeo this weekend with the kids, in the company of our sweet neighbors who have same-aged kids. The ages of the kids are about the only thing we have in common, but yet we have fun together. Even at rodeos. Where we do not belong. The rodeo was a total trip though. I could not believe how people were dressed. Actual cowboys running around with ginormous golden belt buckles, devoid of any irony. Mall hair everywhere. Princesses in sashes, tiaras, and fancy denim, with their hair spiral curled and sprayed to death. Ever see the movie "Borat" where he gets on the mic at the rodeo? It was like that! Only there was no Borat. Just a scary looking clown in a barrel, like in the movies. And a fat emcee who made jokes at the expense of President Obama, gays, and people who enjoy beastiality. We forgot to laugh.

In the local paper, the big story is about the county increasing the cost of marriage licenses to help defray the cost of divorces, where an increasing number of people represent themselves and keep misfiling the paperwork because they cannot read and follow the instructions. Which means the courts have to schedule multiple hearings for each case, and apparently it is all very expensive. Locals are enraged that the courts would "attack marriage." I have no idea where these people come from. That's the big story today. The big story yesterday was that a 17-year-old woman was abducted and murdered last month and police have no leads, and a 17-year-old boy was charged with attempted murder for plotting the next Columbine because he was bullied. Of course he wasn't targeting the actual bullies' houses; his target was a school none of them attended. I live in a crazy ass place, what can I say? I think it is fairly typical, sadly enough.

Do you like where you live?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Too Much

This week I reached several personal limits:

Too much dog urine in the living room carpet
Too many tantrums from 28-mo-old DS
Too many hours of DH away from home, plus too many hours of babysitter on vacation = way too much time alone with my kids
Too much yelling and general hateration from me towards DS
Too long before I was able to finally take a fucking shower

I think I'm done having kids. Not feeling certain enough to give away all outgrown baby clothes and have DH get a vasectomy... but I'm done with feeling overwhelmed. Definitely see the benefit to the concept of LESS IS MORE.

...But talk to me again in a year, and I might have changed my mind. Again.

How did you know you were DONE? With whatever?

p.s. This may have sounded overly harsh. I didn't mean it to. I like my kids. I just had them too close together and in perhaps the wrong gender order. I know things will improve with time. But right now, I just really need more time to myself that does not include my work or running errands, that's my lesson from this oh so shitty week. In other news, the Oscars are tonight. And DH is making Chicago style pizza. Cause we cashed in a bunch of credit card bonus points and finally got a stand mixer. In tangerine. That's what I'm happy about at this moment. (Lame-o.)

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Crazies

I love me some scary B-movies. Especially zombie movies. So I was pretty excited when DH told me he wanted to see "The Crazies" instead of "Shutter Island" for our Thursday date night. Oh, man it delivered. "The Crazies" was brilliantly scary. It gave me the same uneasy reaction I had for a few days after seeing the remake of "Dawn of the Dead" in '04. I had a damn hard time sleeping - and not just because my 2 year old was kicking me in the head all night.

"The Crazies" has actually gotten pretty decent reviews, including a "SEE IT" from my 2 favorite critics. I'm an avid watcher of "At The Movies" on the Reelz channel. Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott are two of the best movie reviewers out there. I usually put their recommendations on my Netflix queue because I usually can't make it to the theatre very often. They both disliked "Shutter Island" so we gave it a pass, though we are huge Scorsese fans, they said it was his weakest film since "Bringing Out The Dead," and said some of the film's Holocaust imagery was borderline offensive. Enough said. Glad we went with "The Crazies."

I'll let you IMBD the plot. I thought Timothy Olyphant was great as the tiny Iowa town's sheriff. The film had some interesting critiques of America today, as zombie movies often do. Of course it was gory to an extreme, and there were lots of really good jump out of your seat moments that worked, because they were somehow believable despite the genre.

If any of you out there actually go and see these kinds of movies, or have other recommendations for me, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

DS Hurt DD

My heart is heavy. My 28-month-old son managed to take my almost 5-month-old daughter's bottle and pummel her little head and nose with it while I was in the bathroom (with the heaviest period ever). Thankfully her bottle is lightweight plastic. I came running out when I heard her screaming. She has a huge purple knot on her forehead and about 8 bright red lines across her forehead and nose. And she cried like I have never heard her cry before. Then she drank some milk and went to sleep. I've been checking on her constantly.

I feel like I see my son much differently now, all of the sudden. He didn't seem to even realize that she was hurt. Or care. I'm grappling with how to discuss this with him. He is usually so loving and wonderful. It is just so shocking to me.

And I am also regretting having my kids so close together. I know this spacing has worked really well for others, but my son is turning out to be quite a handful. Even compared to other boys, he is a bit more wild, and yet always very sweet and full of spontaneous hugs & kisses.

Somebody please tell me things will be ok.