Monday, May 28, 2012

River Truths

This past weekend my family got an offer we could not refuse.
We were invited by friends to spend the day frolicking on the Ohio River.

To protect my friends' identities I am going to choose totally fictitious names for them. I've completely made these names up, and my friends can try to figure out who is who because I am never going to tell.

Kristen Wiig, Amy Poehler, Claire Dunphy and I had a fabulous afternoon. I even met a new friend who I'll call Mia Rudolph.

There are some universal truths about river life. Although I am no expert, and I absolutely MUST research this more, I believe I have unearthed some of these truths.

Again, these are river truths. If you've never spent the day out on the river, you'll just need to take my word for it:

  • Life on the river is in a unique time zone. Time stands still, and then suddenly an entire afternoon disappears in a blink. Strange, right?
  • Everyone pees in the river.  Everyone.  Some people are just more brazen than others.                 Kristine Wiig will squat in knee deep water and talk with you while obviously peeing in the river.
  • There are really smart fish in the river. The fish stay away from those who are fishing but stay close to those who are floating. You can't always see them, but they are there. Just ask Claire.
  • Other people enjoy spending time with your children and you enjoy spending time with other people's children. I considered swimming off with Amy Poehler's baby. That baby is just too darn cute!
  • Tubing should be an Olympic sport. My friends and I would definitely bring home the gold! The gold goes to Claire, Mia, Kristen and me for our flawless tubing performance.
  • Tubing will leave rug-burns on your elbows and any other bodily surface that is repeatedly thrown and tossed around on a tube. Gold medals come at a price!
  • Naming your raft is not required but recommended. Our raft, in the words of Kristen Wiig, is the Moms I'd Like to Friend (MILF) raft.
  • Children can eat whatever they want.  In other words, 6 handfuls of chips + 2 pieces of cake = dinner.
  • Grown-ups can eat whatever they want.  In other words, beer + beer + beer = dinner
  • A bratwurst hot tub is a gourmet delicacy. Amy Poehler showed her cooking brilliancy with that one!
  • The river life promotes sharing. Mia, Kristen, and Amy seemingly share everything like boats, cottages, campers, food and beverages. They are just so generous they share it all (except husbands, of course. One of those is enough for any woman. Who needs 2?) This makes me think I may just need to move my van down by the river. I could hang with my friends while living out of my van. Do you think they would notice?

All of this to say, the river life rocks!
What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I am hot.
Not in a supermodel sort of way.
I am hot in a fry an egg on my face sort of way.

Yes, of course our air conditioner breaks on the hottest weekend. Of course.

Here is what I now know about heat. Heat makes you do stupid things.

I was so hot I went grocery shopping for 2.5 hours. I hung out in the meat section just to be cool.

Ahhhh, the relief a large rack of frozen ribs can bring a women who is nearing heat stroke hotness. Yes, I got some strange looks while clutching the frozen rack of ribs to my breast, but screw 'em. It is H.O.T., people!

I also got similar "What the heck is wrong with that lady" glances in the dairy section when I nearly crawled into the refrigerator unit with the milk cartons. Fortunately, no one was around when I walked the length of the frozen food section with a package of frozen peas balanced on the back of my neck.

Don't judge me when I am hot and doing everything in my power not to return to my own home.

Upon arriving home, my husband proudly announced it was only 88 degrees inside our house. I believe I responded with words that would be bleeped out if this blog were televised.

Did I mention I'm hot?

When I'm hot, people are really annoying. Especially children who are seemingly oblivious to the heat. They actually want to do things. They want and expect me to do things that require moving. Don't they know how hot it is? Moving only makes it worse. Moving it bad.

The only cure for heat is to sit nearly naked in cold water while drinking plenty of fluids. And by "fluids" I mean alcohol. Duh. I'm fairly certain my sweat glands are on overdrive even while submerged in cold water.

The only plus I see in any of this is I am fairly certain I've lost a few pounds.
Sure, it's 2-3 pounds of sweat, but I'll take it. Yes, I'll take it.

Now I've got to go. I am headed back to the grocery store to spend some quality time with that rack of ribs.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Teacher Envy

This is the time of year when I get a bad case of Teacher Envy.
The symptoms range from mild discomfort to full-blown jealousy.

Teachers are wrapping up the last few days of school and looking forward to the excitement of summer vacation. Their excitement is obviously infectious. Both of my children have been coming home from school since April with announcements like, "Just 45 more days of school!"

This week the countdown has been torturous.
"Just 1 more day of school!" my son shouts as he runs wild through the house dropping his book-bag, shoes, socks, and random papers. He creates a path that is easy to track, and I find him in his room.

"Ever hear about something called summer school?" I ask.
He scowls at me because he does not find me funny.

Schools out, schools out, teacher let the fools out. The sing song expression dances through my brain and I refrain (miraculously) from blurting it out.

If I suffer so from Teacher Envy, why didn't I just study to be a teacher? After all, I come from a long line of teachers. My grandmother was a teacher and my mother is a retired first grade teacher.

The answer is quite simple.
I didn't become a teacher because I have no patience, and the filter on my mouth is broken.

Every time I help my children with homework, my patience is called into question.
Ten minutes into the homework battle, and someone is crying and threatening to leave. By "someone" I mean me. The child provides little comfort by saying critical things like, "That's not how my teacher does it!"


Teachers must also have a remarkably good mouth filter. OR they are just nice people.

While trying to teach my children anything (how to tie shoes, ride a bike, bake, set the table, etc.), I realize I cannot possibly say everything that pops into my brain. I need to NOT say what I am thinking. (Incidentally, this is also necessary for happy marriages, too, but that's a different blog post.)

For instance, the following are thoughts I've managed to suppress while attempting to teach my children:

"I could really use a drink. Let's stop while I polish off this bottle of wine."
"How would you like to do 5th grade twice?"
"Well, brains aren't everything."
"Really!? You are not the sharpest tool in this shed."
"Why am I saving for your college education?"
"I would rather poke both my eyes out with this dull pencil than homeschool you."
"You've got to be kidding me."
"Those studies are right! Your frontal lobe really isn't fully developed."

Yes, I would make a lousy teacher.

I suppose this just fuels my bad case of Teacher Envy.
The only cure for Teacher Envy seems to be the start of a new school year and the thought of spending day after day with other people's children.

My Teacher Envy will end...Just 92 days to go!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fifty Shades of...You've Got to Be Kidding Me

It's fiction, obviously.

Fifty Shades of Grey reminds me of Christmas.
EEK! I think that might be blasphemy.

My inner goddess just cringed and made a run for the hills.

Let me re-phrase:

Fifty Shades of Grey reminds me of when I have to wrap large amounts of presents.
There are only so many ways to wrap a present.

1.  You can wrap a present on a table or other hard service.
2.  Presents can easily be wrapped on the floor assuming you can get down on the floor and back up again without hurting yourself.
3.  You can wrap a present any time of the day or night.
4.  You can wrap a present in total silence or while listening to loud chamber music.
5.  You can bag your present. You know, place the present in a nice gift bag.
6.  You can wrap a present with a pair of scissors in one hand and cable ties tape in the other.
7.  You can tie the present up with rope ribbons and put a blindfold bow on top
8.  You can perhaps wrap a present in or around a bathtub, but it can get awfully messy if you go that direction.

In the end, you are left with a wrapped present.
Sure, sometimes the present feels looks better and more satisfying than others, but it is still a wrapped present.

If you've not yet read Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James, you need to do so.
Not because it's a literary masterpiece but because your inner goddess will thank you for it.

Plus, it's better than spending an evening wrapping presents.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fleeting Thoughts of a Father to Be

I recently joined the Ohio Blogging Association which connects me with other bloggers from across Ohio.  The Ohio Blogging Association is hosting a "Blog Swap," and I decided to be part of it. For a complete listing of Ohio bloggers participating in today's Blog Swap check out Poise in Parma.

My Blog Swap partner is Kristian who writes Ohio Festivals and Adventures of a Trapped 300 Pound Man.  As a festival food junkie, I enjoy both blogs. I encourage you to check out both of those blogs.  My blog about Athens, Ohio will be posted on one of them today.  

On a related note, Kristian has been remarkably kind in showing me how this Blog Swap thing works as I am apparently blog-impaired.  Although a picture is included on this blog, I still have no earthly idea how he made that possible.  No clue.  None. 

Here is the blog Kristian wrote for the Blog Swap...Enjoy!

This October (maybe early November), my life is going to change forever.

Here’s the proof.

This is happening during my 39th year of age (I'll be 39 in December)...

...25 good years after my body began producing egg-fertilizing sperm (give or take a year).

So,  if had been with one egg-producing partner since then and been able to  fertilize at least one of these eggs each year, I would be a father of  25 children (+/- for multiples or unfortunate circumstances).
Here  is a cluster of names I may have chosen from, just to give you an idea  of the multitude of offspring I may have flocked around me this coming  Father's Day if I hadn't invested so much time in the single lifestyle,  traveling and condoms:

JoshuaNoahElijahMassimoJacobAlessandra  MariaGiadaClarissaEmiliaAmelieHopeGraceMaxBrandon  AlexanderOliviaMiaJacksonHarperLandonLucasClaraGabrielWyatt  JudePiperXavierCooperOrangejelloHazelArchie

In fact, if I did start way back when, I would easily be a grandfather by now.  In a few years, possibly even a great-grandfather.

Oh Jesus!

Some  of these thoughts keep coming in because, when monumental events are  knocking from the inside of my wife’s belly, it’s hard for me not to  think of...

1.)    ...what could have happened in my life (the past what-ifs)

2.)    ...what can happen years from now (the distant future)

For  instance, in my younger days (#1), I think of all the sperm banks I  could have gone to for extra arcade money, only to later find an army of  my offspring spread all across the United States and possibly the  world.  We could have set a date  to meet at some convention center in Omaha and then draw up a plan to  create the biggest (and only) meatball burrito franchise this world has  ever seen!

And, in the future (#2), I realize that I’ll be getting my AARP card shortly after this kid turns 11? Eleven! On the plus side, this means I may get up to $40 off my Disney World admission.  On  the bad side, I may not be physically capable to ride Splash Mountain.   What if my kid hates me because the only attraction I can bear in my  weakened condition is the Hall of Presidents?

Ugh, I don’t my kid to hate me for dragging him/her into the Hall of Presidents!

Of course, these are all fleeting worries and thoughts.

Good thing I have a loving supportive wife to share this worthwhile adventure.

And, if I asked her nicely, she may even want to split a meatball burrito!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thank You, Mr. President!

What are the odds?

My tween decided to join me this evening as I watched The Nightly News with Brian Williams, who (by the the way) looks less orange to me than he once did.

Anyway, Brian (I'm on a first name basis with all of my favorite news reporters) showed a clip from The View in which the President of the United States shared that his oldest daughter did not get a cell phone until she was 13, AND she is only allowed to use it on weekends.

Upon hearing the news, my tween's eyes bulged out of their sockets and may have even produced actual tears.  This was clearly breaking news in her world.    J.P. Morgan who?

As my daughter's eyes grew to 4x their actual size, my spirit soared.
Woohoo! Score one to moms everywhere who have tweens desperate for cell phones!

Low and behold, turns out not every tween has a cell phone. My tween was actually misinformed about this.

She recently asked me (for the 60th billionth time) for a phone, I asked her why she needed one.

"So I can text my friends (duh)!"
The "duh" was unspoken, but I know it was there. I just know it.

I looked at my little girl who is growing up too fast and said, "Until you answer that correctly, you are not getting a phone."

Just to be clear, I feel the correct answer is something along the lines of, "So I can call you when I need help and tell you how much I love and appreciate you." I can dream, right?

I just think it's lovely the President is such a stick in the mud, too. I'm happy to be in such good company.

Thank you, Mr. President.
Now do you mind talking to my son publicly about the importance of flushing toilets?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Mother's Wish List

Years ago my sweet son created a beautiful Mother's Day card for me.

On the front of the card he created a picture of me made from various scraps of fabric and paper. My card self had shockingly yellow hair and a skirt that suggests I have absolutely no sense of style.

On the inside of the card my son had written the following message:

"Mom, happy mother's day. When can I play more Wii?"

Imagine if we could, for one day, request things WE want. My wish list is rather simple.

I want:

  • To sleep past 6:36 a.m.
  • Children to stop tormenting each other which forces me to use that voice my mother used when I tormented my sister. It's the same voice I swore I would never use with my children.
  • Children to be able to use the bathroom without being reminded to wipe, flush, and wash hands (in that exact order).
  • The opportunity to use the bathroom privately.
  • Children's eyes to be physically incapable of rolling around in their sockets while I am staring into them.
  • People in my house to learn how to use those two mysterious machines that wash and dry clothes. They can stop thinking we have a Laundry Fairy
  • To be left alone long enough so I can read Fifty Shades of Grey
  • To be left alone long enough to find a good hiding place for Fifty Shades of Grey
  • To raise children who will be able to recognize a good nursing home from a bad one and then decide NOT to send me to the bad one.
  • My children to realize that every time I make a suggestion, its because I love them more than air versus merely wanting to make their life miserable.
  • My children to truly understand how glorious motherhood is, and despite all the things I want from them, my day is already complete because of them.

On this Mother's Day, I am painfully aware that some only wish they had one more day with their child or one more day with their mom. I know Mother's Day is a happy day for some, bittersweet for others, and agonizing for those grieving.

Whether we are mothers to 1 or 12, whether we are single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, older mothers, we are mothers.

Happy Mother's Day to all of us overwhelmed mothers who screw up parenting regularly, but remain well intentioned throughout.

For those mothers who can only hold their children in their hearts and not in their arms, you are the most courageous mothers of all.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Throw My Hands Up in the Air Sometimes

My children are of the opinion that their parents are on a mission to ruin their lives. When they are older they can show this to their insurance company in order to validate their need for intensive psychotherapy.

Clearly, my husband and I are dreadful, incompetent parents who derive sick pleasure from ruining the childhoods of our 2 kiddos. Let me prove it...

On some occasions while alone in the car with my children I will sing aloud.
"I came to dance, dance, dance, dance. I hit the floor cause that's my plans, plans, plans, plans. I'm wearing all my favorite brands, brands, brands, brands."
The shrieking and hissing from the backseat stops me mid song.

But sometimes it's hard to get a song out of your head.

"And it goes on and on and on... and it goes on and on and on."

While in public, I've been known to talk to my daughter and refer to her by name.
This. Is. Unacceptable. It embarrasses her and she knows I do this on purpose. Shame on me!

Incidentally, she's also not happy when we are in public and I try to lighten the mood by referring to her as someone else like Sally or Susie. She does not think I am funny. This is really too bad because I think I am HILARIOUS, and it's a shame my humor is lost on my tween.

"And it goes on and on and on... and it goes on and on and on."

My husband likes it when our children listen to us. The audacity!
My children prefer to only listen when we use words like dessert, ice cream, and Disney World. Expecting them to listen at other times is just outrageously cruel.
My husband hates repeating himself, and he says, "'Cause I told you once,
Now I told you twice..."

We actually have bedtimes for our children. If we did not, they would never go to sleep. Ever.

Of course, our kids say, "We wanna celebrate and live our life." They continue saying, "Ay-oh, let's go. 'Cause we are going to rock this house, We are going to go all night. We are going to light it up like it's dynamite."

Their father has already told them once and then he told them twice, they've got to go to bed 'cause its late at night!

So sometimes... I throw my hands up in the air saying, "Aye-O, I've got to let it go!"

I hate it when a song gets stuck in my head!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Worst Job in the Whole Wide World

Question: What is the worst job in the whole wide world?

Answer: Driving around town picking up road kill.

"That's not a real job," you say.
"Really? 'Cause I had that job in college." I say back to you. Yep. Me.

Here's the thing about me. I hate being dirty. I hate blood, guts, and gore. I am basically a prissy chick. I mean that in the nicest way possible. In college I wasn't just a prissy chick. In college I was also a naive, stupid, prissy chick.

When I took the job, which was clearly not advertised as "Road Kill Picker-Upper," I was told I would need "gloves." Well, heavy duty work gloves are bulky and do not accentuate my slender dainty hands. No, I could not possibly hide my petite hands in big, masculine work gloves. Instead I bought a pair of garden gloves. Yep, garden gloves. As you are learning, I'm not exaggerating when I say I was stupid.

The job was attractive because it was a 9-5 Monday to Friday commitment. The job entailed working outside while perfecting my farmer's tan. If it rained, no one worked. That was the summer I learned it only rains on weekends.

I was not the only college student stupid enough to take this job bamboozled into taking this job. Nope, I had company. His name was Marcus, and he was always hung over. Always. I was the young, stupid, prissy chick and he was the young, stupid, hungover, college dude. Together we made quite the pair.

Not surprisingly, when a call came in about a large dead animal blocking a road, Marcus and I were always called upon. Always.

Hungover Marcus drives to the scene of death with his prissy chick side kick in tow. We were totally out of our element trying our best. The problem was, our best was really not all that great.

On particularly hot summer afternoons we smell the animal before we see it. Upon getting close to it, the stench is suffocating. I stop and pull out my garden gloves and rub strawberry Lip Smackers under my nose to mask the smell. Marcus openly mocks me initially, but by the end of the summer Marcus is smearing his face with my strawberry Lip Smackers, too. He, at least, has the good judgement to invest in real work gloves.

Perhaps it's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but even now when I drive by road kill I still think about the best way to move it. Road kill in pieces is always preferable because you just need to shovel it off the road. Road kill in one large piece, like a deer, is never a good thing.

I know you don't want the gory details, but I'm finding this therapeutic. Frankly, writing this saves me a $20 co-pay to a therapist. Don't read any further if you just ate a venison sandwich or if stories about dead deer cause you nightmares or night sweats.

I still remember one particular dead deer. Seriously, this happened 2 decades ago. I can't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I remember a dead deer from 20 years ago.

There she is, sprawled across a two-lane country road. A man stands outside his home watching her and then watching us. Marcus and I approach. I pull my garden gloves from my back pocket. As we approach I see the deer's chest rise and then fall. I look at Marcus and tell him the deer is still alive. Marcus looks at me like I am a stupid, prissy, college chick.

None-the-less, we know we must move Ms. Deer from the 2 lane country road. We bend down. Marcus grabs the hind quarters and I grab the head. We lift her while groaning at her weight (I am also whimpering because I'm holding a deer's head). As we lift the deer, she literally rips into two parts and a flood of maggots and goo spill out. In utter shock and horror, I realize that what I thought was evidence of breathing was actually maggots moving within the dead deer body.

I have not been right since.

No amount of strawberry Lip Smackers can make that image go away.

The next time you see a Yahoo news story about the worst jobs on the planet, just remember it's all poppycock. The worst job in the whole wide world is picking up road kill.

And you thought you had a bad day at work!