Thursday, December 19, 2013

And....... it's dead

I had Christmas spirit. I like to name everything so I named my Christmas spirit Charlie. Charlie showed up around Thanksgiving. I was excited. Charlie was excited. That mutual excitement meant we were going places. This year we were going to carry on old traditions, start new traditions, and of course pepper in a little history behind the holidays and the celebrations so that everyone learned a little something. We were committed to creating the kind of Christmas memories you compare all future Christmas's to. And we were committed to do so in a spiritually gratifying non materialistic kind of way.

The day after Thanksgiving we created giving books with the younger kids. A whole book filled with all their young ideas of ways we could have a positive impact and then they would journal that memory in these home made books. Two of the girls named their journals "My giving book" and seemed earnestly dedicated to filling the pages with humanitarianism. The youngest named hers "turkey love turkey". (I haven't totally given up on a full ride scholarship for her collegiate future despite the obvious evidence that there is a very slim chance)  Charlie and I were off to a great start. We helped my nine year old clean out the pantry and donate all sorts of goodies to a canned food drive. In all honesty it was a lot of cans of crap we don't really like and have no recollection of purchasing. For example cream of mushroom, a very mysterious and very large jar of mayonnaise, stewed tomatoes, etc. But to balance it out we threw in a lot of macaroni and cheese boxes and spaghetti sauce. In hindsight it was less sacrifice and more opportunity, which seems wrong but at the time felt so right. So Christmasy right.

We decorated. We got all sorts of Christmas on this abode. If it was a solid structure we nailed a light to it. We put TWO, that's right TWO Christmas trees up in this house. We hung a wreath on everything. And then stapled lights to those wreaths. We even bought a snow globe and displayed it proudly on the mantel.

And then we were like "kids! you should make a list and send it to Santa!! So much fun. Weeeee!" and the younger kids put pen to paper and their letters were as adorable as they were illegible. And then me and old Christmas spirit Charlie were like "Hey you older kids. You should drop a few hints! wink wink nudge nudge." and the older kids were pretty modest in their Christmas desires which made me proud. Because when your child is so content and so humble that they can't even think of one Christmas wish, you feel like you're doing something right as a parent. It was only later after Charlie and I drifted apart that I realized my older children weren't humble. Those sweet little angels can't think of anything to wish for because THEY ALREADY OWN EVERYTHING!!!

It was around Mid December that I noticed there were "issues" between Charlie and I. We were definitely growing apart. Spending a lot less time together, and the time we did manage to share was not quality. Perhaps we were not as perfect a couple as I had originally believed. I didn't want to accept that Charlie, my Charlie, my Christmas Spirit Charlie, was leaving me. So.....I got really clingy. I gathered the children and we fled to the city to spend a weekend. The hotel had a lobby straight out of 50's era Christmas movies. It was grand and marble and gold and it sparkled and glittered and we stood in the shadow of a giant Christmas tree. We saw all the city holiday displays and lights. We ran around the hotel in our Christmas jammies, we basked in the glory of the elaborately decorated shop windows, we were amazed by a giant ginger bread house prepared by the acclaimed hotel chef. I drank so much hot cocoa by a fire, I started to piss miniature marshmallows. Charlie and I were in love again. Two operating as one. I was in Charlies Christmas spirit embrace as I sung carols. And then we went home.

Then my daughter had her annual Christmas party. (Can I just say completely off topic. Kids smell bad. The more kids you put in to a small space the more amplified that smell becomes. It took me a week to find aromatic balance in the house again.) I noticed Charlie kept disappearing during the party. He was there when we welcomed our guests but disappeared when they decorated cookies. Perhaps Christmas spirit charlie just isn't a fan of sticky fingered kids getting frosting all over the table, the floor, the couch, even the dog. He reappeared for a fun Christmas photo but went missing when those girls with their high pitched squeals were caught jumping on my couch. He was completely MIA during the clean up.

Then the shopping began. I of course brought Charlie along for the drive but once we passed those automatic sliding doors my love for Charlie was no match for my hatred of crowds. I really hate crowds. As soon as there is more than four people in any room, I feel an almost irrational desire to leave. Making any shopping but especially Christmas shopping a heinous chore. But I got out there and I got it done. Because Charlie and I had that goal that was becoming less defined every passing hour but I vaguely remembered it had something to do with having a nice day on the 25th.

I wrapped my gifts and I put them under the tree. But I could still see so much tree skirt. That's when Charlie started pressuring me. He didn't have to try hard. I really wanted to keep Charlie in my life. So I clearly needed to go get more Christmas. And then more Christmas. And then more Christmas, this time "thoughtful Christmas" I really needed to tap in to the souls of my loved ones and fill their voids! And then more Christmas, this time "fun Christmas" because I was being too thoughtful and too serious and I just wanted to make my loved ones smile. And then after the Christmas budget had been depleted Charlie suggested we tap in to my savings he kept screaming "YOLO bitch! Y-O-L-O YOLO!" So I had to get more Christmas. The list kept growing but it didn't feel as glutinous as it sounds. I started with the kids, then my adorable boyfriend, and then my parents, can't forget my sibling, my nieces, my nephews, then the neighbors, co-workers, and the teachers I can't forget the teachers, speaking of teachers what about those outside of school? We've got drum lessons, guitar lessons, bass lessons, voice lessons, musical theater group, jazz, hip-hop. My kids have friends and with 5 kids that's another twenty or so gifts. I don't know what to get any of them! Even my own children. Why have I not gotten to know them better? I found myself asking clerks "Will my son like this? he's 12 and he's a boy and apparently that's all I know about him!" And what about all my planned charity? I still needed to secret toy sub santa for tots!!! I think Charlie left for good when I was contemplating getting the neighbors, co-workers, teachers, and friends a bag of nuts or chapstick. I do not recall why either seemed appropriate but both were on sale. What about my boyfriend? I got him the most amazing gift last year. I peaked. No gift will ever be as sweet and unexpected and now it will just be year after year of total disappointment. He'll open his gift and say thank you but in his eyes I'll see him thinking, "remember that year that you got me something I actually wanted? that was nice"

And then there are those damn elves. Elf on a shelf is as serious as getting a tattoo. Trust me, I have a lot of tattoos and two elves. Its the same. Not just comparable, the same. It's a commitment. A forever commitment. I can't just stop or my youngest will have abandonment issues but it's taken a left turn and spiraling down hill fast. Yesterday she taped a $10 dollar bill to an elf. I asked her why and she said it was so he would tell Santa she was being a good girl. KEEP IN MIND SHE STOLE THAT $10 FROM ME!! These elves have not encouraged her to behave so that Santa gets a good report they have shown her a loophole in the system. She doesn't actually have to behave, the elves just have to say she did and Gwen believes every elf has a price. For the last week instead of brainstorming ideas for staging those two elves in cute and clever ways, I've been brainstorming ideas to make their tragic ending look like an accident. Charlie isn't here to stop me.

There are too many and yet not enough Christmas gatherings to attend. I've got classroom parties, choir performances, dance recitals, family parties, and a work gathering. And here is the great part, 90% ARE ALL ON THE SAME NIGHT. WTF?! I've decided if I ever host a Christmas party it will be on November 2nd and when my invitee's whine "it's not even Christmas yet" I will respond "exactly! That's why this should be fun." Christmas is a week away and I can only assume Charlie is dead. While trying to think of a game for a classroom full of fourth graders the only game I got excited about was a game I call "shut the #@$% up and eat your cookie." I can't play that though or they'll never let me volunteer in the class again. Oh hell. Did you see what just happened? The inevitable consequences just made that game sound more brilliant!

Somehow I have to resurrect Charlie. The way things are going if I continue to Christmas solo I am going to do irreversible psychological and emotional damage to a lot of children. It's officially a crisis. Elves will die. I still haven't bought a single present for my boyfriend. That is going to make Christmas morning sooooo awkward. But I just really don't want to do any more shopping at all and I gotta be honest when I compare the two: Christmas shopping vs no gift for a loved one. The latter seems more tolerable right? Please someone agree with me.

I'm not going to give up. There are seven days left. I am going to enjoy the shit out of all seven of them. I'm going to find that perfect gift for that perfect guy because I still have like $10.00 I think. I'm going to relax and enjoy the moment. I'm going to put the ladder used to nail lights to trees back in the garage before it snows again and I'm going to sit in front of a fire and sip marshmallow pissing quantities of cocoa. Oh wait just a minute! I've been so blind. Wine! Wine is my best friend. I named wine, wine. because I can still say wine after hanging out with wine for long periods of time. I'm going to guzzle marshmallow pissing quantities of wine by a fire. Charlie will probably reanimate just to hang out with us. Because me and wine go together like me and wine. Hallelujah! I think I just saved Christmas!! Sometimes asking yourself "WWJD?" will lead you straight to the answer you've been seeking. Cheers! Jesus and happy birthday.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

That boy has a beard.....

My daughter is dating age. Not really. But she's at that age where boys and girls are really starting to take notice of each other. Somehow screaming "You're 12!" while blasting my car horn during the daily carpool drop off for junior high does nothing to damper their desires.
I've moved in to the realm as a parent where I am forced to acknowledge that many of my child's choices will have a huge and lasting impact on her future! Every step is a slippery slope towards total destruction! She's going to slip and fall and get pregnant because THAT BOY HAS A BEARD!
This is what they look like. When did they start looking like this?
I acknowledge that I may have a tendency to over react. Maybe I am overreacting about this too. Perhaps my daughter will not be affected by her environment.  That environment being 1500+ other students saturated with raging hormones.
There is adult supervision in that environment, at a ratio of 30:1. That's pretty good right? NO! No it is not! At home there is a ratio of 5:1 and I have no idea what the $%#@ is going on!! No idea at all. If I can't keep track of 5 that I dearly love how are teachers looking out for a minimum of 30? Seriously? Those teachers are far less invested than I am. That's not an insult to teachers, that's just a truth. I'm in this for life not just 5 days a week for 9 or so months. I work around the clock to keep these guys in line. I have a slipping grip on my sanity and no end in sight, and I can't give up. Quitting is not an option. Teachers have an entirely different perspective. They only have to survive 35 minutes and a bell signals relief. "Tomorrow is a new day" is their mantra. Teachers float by because they can dream of June and sunshine and never again seeing these %$$#@&#. For a teacher, a few students flirting in class is insignificant, they turned in their assignments that's all that matters to a teacher. I disagree with that. If that bearded man child is sweet talking my baby girl during class you can bet your sweet ass that that assignment, that entire basket of assignments is not getting turned in for grades. It is going to be booked as evidence in a very heinous, yet very creative, assault case. I'll give him a %$#@&% paper cut.
Let's face it folks. I'm not over reacting. A slip and fall and pregnant scenario is sadly and horribly a very real threat at this age. I thought of some preventative measures that while amusing and likely effective are also just mean. Do you remember junior high? Wasn't there always a kid that smelled like urine and cheese? Was that kid really just super hygienically impaired or were we witnessing the madness of a parental genius? Think about it. That kid got teased, but that kid also got great grades, and most importantly that kid did not get ANY ACTION. The teasing thing probably sucked a little for him but I bet the academic scholarship was tits! right? I can not be the only mother that is tempted to pee on her children before they leave for school. It's a reasonable strategy once explained. (just to be clear I ran that idea by a few people and it's not a reasonable strategy, the word unacceptable was tossed around. As well as phrases like "obligated to report....")
I tried testing the water with some professionals. The orthodontist informed me that he would absolutely not be willing to use his knowledge and skills to "wire them up to make it worse" I was kidding but he seemed serious. The lady at the salon will not "go at it blindfolded after consuming her body weight in beer" That was at a great clips and I was volunteering to buy the beer! Good old crazy eyebrows at the tanning salon was all for giving the kids a once over until I said it was because nothing is more unattractive then a spray tan. That might have offended the Oompa Loompa. The lady at the health food store was not aware of any vitamins that would cause a horribly disfiguring rash that had no serious side effects and no accompanying itchiness. She didn't seem bothered by the strangeness of the inquiry. Which I find disturbing. The reality is I can't do any of these things because therapy is so expensive and my daughter doesn't have a job.
If my daughter is going to remain attractive despite my best efforts, and she is going to spend her days in a cesspool of puberty with little adult interference, how do I keep her a child for a few more years? I can't. It's all on her. That is frightening in a debilitating kind of way. I don't think for one moment that she has any desire or plan to...... "grow up too soon" but THAT BOY HAS A BEARD!
The other day a friend of mine posted a question on her Facebook asking other parents if they read their child's texts, Facebook messages, emails, etc. I was the only parent that said no. I don't do that and I don't want to. I'm probably wrong. I'm probably disillusioned about how much trust you can place in your child and how much you have to guard them from "what's out there". But it seems wrong. It seems like exactly the right thing to do to keep your child safe but it also seems so wrong.  When I think about logging in to their accounts in their absence and reading through their private exchanges between friends vs peeing on them on their way out the door. I'd have an easier time peeing on them. Peeing on them actually seems more noble. I would rather pee on them, have an orthodontist distort their teeth, let a drunken barber shave half hazardous, and let a crazy person paint them orange, I would rather do all of that than invade their privacy. 
To all the parents currently using social media to keep an eye on their kids. I don't judge you. I don't disagree with your logic. One of these days you are going to stumble on to a conversation or interaction and you are going to have the opportunity to interfere before poor choices are made. Your rules and restrictions and overseeing is going to pay off. I don't doubt that. I agree, and yet I just can't do it.

BUT DAMN IT THAT BOY HAS A BEARD!! When did junior high students start looking like metro sexual predators? Why can't I walk by one with out gawking at them as if they are carnies. I swear to all that is holy there is a kid at that school that could play Santa. WTF?! Evidence of increasing testosterone is not good for my blood pressure.
My girl is a good kid. A really good kid. And we talk about everything. I really really want to believe that I'm doing it right. That building a relationship based on trust and respect, that encourages open and honest dialogue is enough. All she has to do is keep me informed and follow my advice when its serious, and all I have to do is hold tight to the reins on the insanity horse and trust she'll make good choices.
Plus I Googled chlamydia and I'm going to use those pictures during our next "birds and the bees" talk. I won't mention they are photos of diseased anatomy. She'll be scarred for life. I'm a genius.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What day is it?

It's been awhile since my last blog and I'm not feeling overly creative because I feel like trash. So I thought I would just mention a couple of Gwensday moments. (To answer the obvious question/concern yes I am horribly ill. To some it may just sound like a mild cough, bronchial irritation, maybe seasonal allergy related. But I'm pretty sure it's tuberculosis and all my friends at hypochondriacs anonymous agree. The end is at hand.)

It's Gwensday again. It's always Gwensday at my house. My youngest daughter is Gwen and she has been turning every day in to Gwensday since the Gwensday she was born.

If you have just one child don't read this blog. You won't understand. You'll say sweet silly things like "why don't you spend more one on one time with her?" "keep her busy with educational activities" "try a schedule" or "I would never let my child -" let me stop you right there. not because I have a response. I just want you to stop making suggestions. I'm not trying to be rude. I just think you are an idiot and despite all of your imaginary parenting know how.... Gwen would eat you alive.

Gwensday - CLUE....
Gwen plays clue. The board game. But not like the rules suggest. She places a weapon in every room. You roll the dice and enter a room. Once you are in that room you now possess that weapon and the next person who rolls and enters that room you kill with aforementioned weapon. If you make the obvious choice of just not entering rooms that are occupied by a pawn with weapons, Gwen will roll the dice and come after you. The roll of the dice has nothing to do with how many spaces Gwen can move when hunting you down and everything to do with how many times she can hit your pawn with her pawn during your murder. If you think this game sounds abhorrent just wait until you are playing to win and you find yourself arguing with a five year old the logic that your pawn has a gun and therefor beats her pawn who only has a rope. It is a moment indeed. It sounds as if the last man standing wins. No. Gwen wins. When you play Clue with Gwen she beats you. In the library. With a candlestick. No matter how many times you shoot her.

Gwensday - Robitussin...
Gwen once drank a bottle of Robitussin. Don't judge me! All precautions were taken to keep any and all medicine out of reach. But Gwen is fast and determined and she also apparently really likes the taste of cherry/ass syrup. I rushed her to the ER. It is the one and only enjoyable visit to the ER that has ever existed. Everyone involved enjoyed the experience. The waiting room, the triage nurse, the old man who thought he was having a heart attack. And mostly the doctor. It was an interesting exam. Gwen refused to sit up or lay down. She just stood on the hospital bed with a Popsicle in her mouth while a colorful puddle of drool pooled at her feet. The doctor after repeatedly reassuring me she was in no real danger, listened to her heart. As he did so, Gwen reached out with her finger, pressed on the doctors nose and said "boop". Really loud. Over and over and over. The fun didn't stop that night either. A year later we were at my mothers house. She has a picture of Christ hanging in her hallway. Gwen stood staring at it. And then had the following conversation with my little brother Kevin.
Gwen: "I miss that guy"
Kevin: "Jesus?"
Gwen: "Yep"
Kevin: "When did you meet him?"
Gwen: "The night I drank that cough syrup"
(I told you not to judge me. You are judging me right now.)

Gwensday - This little piggy went to market....
One rainy afternoon the desire for donuts and a popsicle far outweighed the logistics of going to the grocery store. The logistics being a) she didn't know where the store was. b) the closest store was a mile away. c) she had no money. d) it was raining. e) she wasn't wearing any pants.
See what happened was, I ran an errand. I was gone for maybe twenty minutes. Both of the twins were at home with Gwen along with my brother, Kevin. And my father. I returned from my errand and noticed Gwen was not with my father. She was not with my brother. She was not with either of the twins.... Okay, so she walked to the park behind the house again because I had yet to find a threat or punishment that had deterred her from doing that. Nope. Not there. I drove around the block. No sign of her. Searched the house again. Nothing. Started to panic. We all drove around the neighborhood. We ran through the house yelling her name, looking under beds and behind couches. Nothing. It was raining and I had no idea where she was or when she left and I had been searching for at least ten minutes. I called the police. My voice shaking I tried to calmly give the details to the dispatcher. She interrupted me. She had just received a call from a grocery store near my address. There was a little girl there. She was wearing a scarf over her head, large brown monkey boots, shorts and a tank top. A child with a description you cannot give without laughing...could only be Gwen.
I rushed to the store thinking Gwen must be so scared. NOPE. She was shoplifting. Her defense, and I quote "Well, I don't have any money, I'm 4!" Apparently she had walked to the store, a mile, gotten a grocery cart and placed several items in it. Ice cream, soda, cookies.... and then she had gone to the donut case. There she found a nice man to help her reach the donuts on the higher shelf and put them in a box. After he assisted her it occurred to him that a small scantily clothed child wearing giant boots and a scarf tied over her head might be cause for alarm. Before Gwen made it out the door the man had alerted an employee. This is the best part. When the store manager asked for her name, she said "Olivia" The girl gave an alias at four!! A smart one too. Olivia is her middle name, easy to remember, hard to get tripped up when questioned.

Gwensday - Facetime
Gwen loves facetime. Her favorite thing to do is take the ipad and facetime you. The call lasts about ten seconds. She hides. When the call connects all you can see is darkness and a little tiny face. She stares in to the screen and then suddenly yells "Guess where I'm calling you from?!" then disconnects. I don't know why this particular game rattles me so much because I know she's in the house somewhere. The Ipad only works on our WiFi so she is definitely in the house. That knowledge is not comforting. She scares the crap out of me every time. It is just SO CREEPY.

Gwen is my youngest. I learned with the older three that all children have a unique personality. No matter how hard you try to mold them in to your idea of who they should be, it won't stick. Right from the beginning they start choosing their own path and their own mode of travel. Keep them safe, be an example of where that path should lead, and enjoy them. Gwen is a unique little girl. She's sweet, and funny. Some would say she misbehaves or some would even say she is bad. She's not. She's wonderful and she's good where it matters. She would never steal (except for that shoplifting thing) or lie (except for that alias thing) or hurt anyone (unless you're a character in her version of clue). She's perfectly normal and just like any other little girl who happens to also be a fiercely independent genius criminal mind.

I wish you all luck. She started Kindergarten this year which means I've unleashed her. We did give her a little advice...

Be Kind
Be Brave
Be You

Thursday, August 8, 2013

12 Weeks of Summer....or 12 Weeks until I am a raving mad lunatic

May 29th school was finally out for the summer. It wasn't just an exciting time for the kids. For me it meant no more harassing anyone about homework, no more morning panics because we were already late and 50% of my children had not eaten breakfast or brushed their hair or teeth. Maybe it's just at my house, but why is someone always missing one shoe? How does that keep happening? Do they take off one shoe and then run into another room to take off the other? I personally have never come home and then become so caught up in a shoe removing frenzy that I can not later recall what happened. Apparently it's common place around here though since my children seem to do it every time they walk in the door.
In the beginning 12 weeks of summer sounds absolutely marvelous. Freedom. Relaxing. Ideal. And then...... you spend 12 weeks with all of your children at once. This is a week by week glimpse of how my summer has unfolded so far.
Week 1, 11 to go:
My sweet sweet babies, we are going to do so much!!! Road trips and festivals and water parks! I am so excited to spend quality time with you guys. Bring on the sun!
Stop touching him. He asked you to stop toughing him so stop touching him. Where did Gwen go?
Week 2, 10 to go:
Alright little ones, June has started, swimming pools are open. I love the feeling of the sun on my skin. Nothing on the calendar but R-E-L-A-X. Right? Looks like someone spilled some popcorn last night let's get it picked up and head to the pool. By the way guys, I bought six boxes of otter pops for the summer and they're gone. That's SIX HUNDRED otter pops. I bought them yesterday. Please tell me it was a group effort because if Gwen ate all of them herself she now has diabetes. Speaking of, has anyone seen Gwen?
Week 3, 9 to go:
Family meeting time kiddos. I've noticed it's gotten kind of messy around here. No big deal though. I've assigned everyone a chore and if we can work together we can stay on top of it and have more time for fun!! Why are you crying Audrey? Hannah don't call her that, it's just mean. Josh I'm trying to talk can you put down your video game for a minute please? Larissa no one stole your stuffed animal you just need to look for it. Has anyone seen Gwen?
Week 4, 8 to go:
Okay kids, things around the house are getting......sticky. Audrey was finger painting with syrup? Are you serious right now? Is that what happened to the kitchen floor? No? Are you sure? Because when you walk from one side to the other it sounds like Velcro being ripped apart. Isn't anyone else grossed out about that? Just me? I mopped yesterday is the thing... so how in one day is it this bad? It seems like a lot of work had to have gone in to this level of adhesion, but none of you remember if you spilled something? That is very mysterious. Speaking of mysteries. Has anyone seen Gwen?
Week 5, 7 to go:
Children! Pick a location, back yard or front yard. Stop running through the house. Why is everything wet? Where did you guys get water guns? I know better than to buy that many water guns. Why do toy makers even make a child's toy that can hold that much liquid. It's just stupid. I can't even clean it up. All the towels are in the laundry room. You guys have used every single towel in two days. How do we have this much laundry to do already? This appears to be the contents of everyone's closets. Do you guys change your clothes 15 times a day? Why is the linen closet open? The linen closet is completely empty. Where are all the sheets and blankets? Why are all of those blankets outside? No no no no don't use blankets as towels! Oh no that one is a quilt. What did you do with the sheets? Stairs? Okay no. That game is over. That is exactly how I broke my collar bone at your age. Has anyone seen Gwen? Is that glitter?!!!
Week 6, 6 to go:
Listen up guys. I got in to the car this morning to run to the grocery store and I felt like I was driving a dumpster. My car is filled to the brim with garbage. I want all of you to go out there and get all of your belongings out of my car and then I want all of you to WORK TOGETHER and get all of your trash. Hannah you just rolled your eyes so hard I'm worried about your vision. The eye is a muscle ya know, you can strain it. That makes you roll your eyes too? Are you working out? Is that how you flex your eyeballs Hannah? Larissa don't say the mess in the car wasn't you. You are in the car just as much as everyone else and I can name ten things that belong to you just by looking through the window. Audrey! Why are you licking your shoe? That is disgusting! No I wont buy you more fireworks Joshua. Does anyone know why one of our garbage cans is missing. Has anyone seen Gwen? It's been awhile, before we clean the car lets fan out and canvas the neighborhood. Ask if anyone has seen a small child pushing a large trash can. And ask if anyone else is missing.
Week 7, 5 to go:
You listen to me! I don't want to hear one more argument. The next person to argue I'm going to boil. Whoa! I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. I'm not even sure where that came from. I'm a little stressed, go play outside for awhile. Mommy is going to just relax and recharge. Somebody find Gwen. Look in the backyard we still haven't cut the grass back there this year. she might just be standing back there. lost.
Week 8, 4 to go:
We are going on a trip my little minions. I think we could all use a nice break away from the house. Everyone go pack. I'm going to clean up so we can return to a nice clean house. I honestly don't care what you pack. I'm not going to stress. This is going to be fun. I just heard the front door. Gwen? I'm pretty sure she is naked. Run and get her.
Week 9, 3 to go:
You people want to go camping now? After that excursion in to the bowels of hell last week? I know what I promised but come on! We just spent a LOT of time together. In a car. Audrey forgot to bring shoes, Joshua didn't pack any pants, and all that was in Gwen's suitcase was an umbrella. Which at first seemed stupid but who was mocking who when it rained all week? What do you mean that was fun? Oh my sweet mother of pearl. What did I just sit in? It's wet but it's not liquid. There is definitely some shape. It's hard to determine what that shape it is just by the way it feels with my butt and I'm afraid to touch it with my hand. I'm afraid to stand up. I don't want to know. I don't want to ever know. I have no exit strategy for this. Find Gwen and just trap her in her room. Do you think we can get a vet to put one of those chips in her?
Week 10, 2 to go: 
If I could get your attention swine. It's noon...and you all just woke up. Can anyone guess where I'm going with this? Raise your hand if you have showered this week. That's what I thought. All we have mastered this summer is a whole new smell. I've made everyone a schedule. We need to get back on track. This week we are going to clean and try to teach Gwen at least some of the alphabet before she starts Kindergarten. Does anyone else feel like first thing in the morning EVERY MORNING our house looks like the houses you see on the news that have been hit by hurricanes? On a daily basis our house passes the point one could say we need to clean up and settles in to a condition that one could say requires disaster relief. If someone came to the door right now I would be humiliated by this mess. I would pretend there was a break in. I would. That is what I would do. I would make up a story about crazed drug addicted delinquents who like to color. I would claim they stole all of our nice stuff and replaced all of our valuable with these stuffed animals they brought with them in their van. I know they were driving a van because they would need a cargo van for this many stuffed animals, toys, and worthless crap. Our next backyard fire I am using at least 25 things named fluffy for kindling and I bet you won't even realize which ones are gone. Oh! Nice to see you Gwen! I threaten to light your loved ones on fire and suddenly you appear. Big mistake little girl! I have now found your weakness. Take note of that every one next time she is missing just hold a flame to a bear and like magic Gwen returns. WAIT! forget everything I just said. That spiraled out of control. No one is allowed to play with fire or burn anything that belongs to anyone else. I want you all to acknowledge that you heard and understand no one lights anything on fire.

Which bring us to now..
I'm still in the middle of week 10. I miss school. A lot. If I were a teacher this is the week I would go on strike and ask for more money. Because if someone told me right now that teachers were striking and my children might not go back to school in two weeks..... I would be willing to do things. Things I wouldn't even consider doing for a Klondike bar.
Despite the inevitable and seemingly unavoidable slide in to chaos I'm proud. I have made it this far and none of the kids have been beaten (knock on wood) (Knock really hard it helps get the frustration out and it smothers the temptation). The house does, despite all odds, get cleaned every day (One day last week it was only clean for maybe two minutes but that counts. It counts because I refuse to acknowledge defeat) I don't have a serious and understandable drinking problem. (I'm not going to confirm or deny rumors that I have treated myself to a few wine tastings. Alone. In the dark. Just me and the sound of my laughter. Mostly because I only have very foggy recollections and I can't be entirely certain if those are memories or dreams...)
Unlike the frequency of my late night grape juice what can not be denied is at the end of every summer I am a total lunatic. Not because I start making crazy threats to try to force the kids to behave. Not because I have Google searched child sized kennels and hovered over the add to cart button on many many occasions. Not because I really do burn their stuff (Oh come on! I don't know what to do with all that stuff the teachers send home at the end of the year! I tell the kids I'm saving it in a memory box forever but I don't have that kind of storage space and even if I did, that's just stupid.)
The real reason I am a raving mad lunatic at the end of every summer is because I know for certain two weeks from now, once I've dropped them all off at school, I will return home. It will be quiet. It will be clean. It will be calm. And I will immediately miss all of those little A-holes.
I wonder how long I'll really be able to relax until the school calls and some poor secretary is forced to inform me that they have misplaced my kindergartner. I bet the Principal makes the call. I bet Gwen answers my phone.

I don't think Gwen is studying the map to Bear World so that she can give me directions...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's time to juice (not really but that sounds so exciting and dramatic doesn't it?)

In my last blog I may have casually mentioned I was slightly irritated that I'm exercising quite a bit but I'm not getting in to better shape. I've come to realize that I'm left with two options. I can either work harder or find a short cut. I think we both know where this is going......

I'm going to stop you right there. I realize that there is a third option. I can almost hear you all chanting "how's your diet?, how's your diet?, how's your diet?" It's shit okay. My diet is shit. But I'm not ready for that kind of commitment just yet. Right now I'm still courting a healthy diet. I'm taking a healthy diet out a few times a month. I find myself smiling when I think about a healthy diet and I together on a beach somewhere. I may have had a few questionable dreams that I don't feel comfortable discussing about a healthy diet. But I'm not ready to take it any further. I just lost Two-a-day naps, I can't lose donuts right now. I'm not ready.

Look at that. That looks sooooo good. I now want a donut so bad I would gut kick an elderly person and rip it out of their hands and then I would ride in to the sunset on their rascal. Speaking of rascals my grandmas rascal is missing if anyone has seen an abandoned rascal in the West Valley area please leave a comment so we can get that old broad her wheels back. (million bucks says I get a dozen texts or phone calls informing me that I'm an insensitive asshole before sundown. Don't bother mom I already know!)

Where were we.....right. With diet off the table I have two options, work harder or find a short cut. I know the value of hard work and I'm committed to making a positive change for the better. So short cut it is!!

Steroids right? Am I right? NO. We don't even know where to buy those and the last time I whispered something to a meat head in the gym I almost lost an arm. Apparently there are certain words that trigger a hulk like response in those who "roid" it up regularly. Any words actually. Any words at all will create a situation. Stick with grunts and avoid eye contact.

Back to my short cut. my biggest issue right now is I'm always out of breath. During the swim, during the bike, during the run. I can't f@$%ing breathe man! I do have asthma and that might be the cause of my problem but let's not focus on that tiny detail. Let's pretend there is a solution. It keeps me busy. I have a prescription I used to take that helped my body by delaying an asthma attack and I suppose I could just start taking that again BUT the side effects are horrible, one of which is weight gain. Are we solving problems or are we multiplying them ladies and gentleman? Plus it gives me horrible headaches and the shakes. Who can work out when they feel like they are having tiny epileptic fits? Not me.

So I did a little research (that what I say when I google something, it sounds so scientificy and time consuming and I bet you imagine me doing it in glasses. I do) and I came across a few supplements that may be the answer to my little respiratory issue.

Rhodiola - Himalayan root used by the Sherpa people to “adapt” to the stress of living and working at high altitudes. Sherpa climbers chew on rhodiola for an energy and endurance boost when helping mountaineers scale Mt. Everest. One mechanism for rhodiola’s anti-fatigue effects is an enhancement of oxygen efficiency. 
Umm Yeah. I can picture myself popping one in the mouth and then casually mentioning its an ancient secret for scaling everest. How cool is that? (Please let there be a pill I can swallow, in my experience root always tastes like ass)
Cordyceps - Tibetan mushroom used for “lung protection” and to balance the “Qi” – the fundamental “energy of life.” In clinical studies, cordyceps results in significant improvements in fatigue, oxygen uptake, and endurance exercise performance.
This is great because I was telling a friend just the other day how out of whack my Qi has been since the inversion. Like my grampy used to say "You have to go all Tibetan on it if you want results." 
I'm a liar. My grandfather has never been referred to as grampy and I am fairly certain he has never said you have to go all Tibetan if you want results. Then again..... I wasn't there on the wedding night so maybe he did. 
Eurycoma - Malaysian ginseng. Eurycoma contains a group of small peptides that are effective in restoring the balance between the catabolic hormone cortisol and the anabolic hormone testosterone.
I blame everything on cortisol. Cortisol is a real asshole. 
That's the new plan. I don't know where to get any of these things, or how to take them, or if they are legal. But I'm going to do a little more research (googling) and then hopefully take them out for a test drive. Perhaps my next blog will be a plea for fire retardant running pants because of the time my crazy fast running created so much friction in the thigh area I lit myself on fire. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guess what? I'm no Jane Fonda and now he has buns of steel

May 28th already. Where does the time go? It was two months ago that I was going to go on a fantastically ridiculous diet of all meat and I decided to become a triathlete. How's it going you ask?
  • Diet - I now eat nothing but meat and vegetables. and fruit. with dairy. and a lot of grain. a dash of fats and oils...... and an abundance of refined sugar. To summarize, there is some room to improve. Also I have completely abandoned the Paleo diet in favor of realistic goals. and donuts.
  • Triathlete in the making - this is a much longer story.

In the beginning I trained alone. I did not improve in any way whatsoever. BUT I got started which can sometimes be the biggest obstacle.Then something that would change everything happened. I'd been lovingly harassing my boyfriend about going to the gym with me and he finally agreed. Surprisingly after just one trip to the gym he thought we should run a 5k. We did, and I didn't totally suck! He ran with me the entire time and it was very sweet of him because it was pretty clear that he could have ran a lot faster. I was excited. He seemed really committed to working out together and I really needed the motivation to push myself harder and set my goals higher and that is so much easier to do with a partner.

What I didn't realize at the time, 
was I had just released the Kracken. 

Somewhere between the starting line and the finish line something changed for him. He went from supporting my silly desire to finish a triathlon (in the same way you support your five year old sons dream to slay a dragon), to THERE IS NOTHING ON THIS EARTH THAT CAN PREVENT US FROM BEING THE BEST TRIATHLETES THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN. It was subtle. Hardly noticeable at all really unless you caught the little demons that were dancing amid a forest of flames where his pupils should have been.

That week we equipped ourselves, race bikes, trisuits, swim caps, goggles, helmets, padded shorts, gym bags, CO2 cans, magical jelly beans and then after only one actual training session. We did our first Triathlon. I wrote about this experience in more detail in my previous blog. What I didn't mention was the fever that has taken hold of us(him). Since I awakened this competitive beast that lives with in him we have done one sometimes two races per week. Amazingly we have done a little better each time, which is really not all that surprising. As a coach he is sort of terrifying and magnificent. Having been a Marine for 10 years he has this special way of not accepting words like "I can't" or "my legs have gone numb" or "please can I use my inhaler" you know, sissy stuff.

He has been cracking the proverbial whip...... (he refuses to use an actual whip though I have suggested it numerous times and made a well thought out list of reasons that incorporating a whip in at least one of our activities would be very exciting) ........and it has driven me to exceed my own expectations. The Woman of Steel has come and gone almost without fanfare. I DID AWESOME! It's now just a baby step though.

Joking aside, this has been such a wonderful way to begin my summer. I started on this path only thinking of myself and now I've had the pleasure of watching him come to life. Somehow his accomplishments have been just as, if not more, exhilarating than my own. The reward we have found from encouraging each other and watching each other succeed has led us to join a group whose sole purpose is to encourage others to rediscover their greatness.  Look them up

It was all fun and games and unicorns with speech impediments until....

Does someone want to explain to me how we have both followed the exact same training plan and he has transformed in to this hot young thing with a rock hard body and I have gained weight and my body fat percentage has actually increased? He now has abs. I have a smaller chest and a larger ass. Let me give you a visual.

he is going in this direction

I am headed in this one

I am not in any way degrading this woman I am sure she is a lovely person. I am merely demonstrating that my transformation doesn't exactly match what I originally visualized. And I have gotten shorter. I'm not kidding I really thinking I'm shorter and my feet are bigger. Can that even happen? Yes it can, because it has. I'm defying the laws of science ladies and gentleman. If I start turning purple will someone please have them roll me back into the boat and take me down to the juicing room at once?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ready.....Set.......Swim! Or spazz whatever.

I don't know about you but when I was a kid I spent my summers at the pool. I love swimming. I could swim for hours and never grow tired of it. Or so I thought. Years later, I discovered that I had never actually been swimming per se. I had been in a pool. You can't call what I did for hours and hours swimming. Swimming is grace and form and power. We were trapping air in our swim suits to make it look like fart bubbles escaped. Both require talent, but they are not the same thing.

So I went to the pool. I have seen swimming on tv I just needed to mimic what I had seen right? Umm nope. There is techniques you have to master and it turns out that being a complete and total spazz is not conducive to hydrodynamics. I learned that big word after I watched a ton of videos on you tube. 

After watching more 5 minute swimming videos than I care to count, I can tell you what I learned from both of them. I'm doing it wrong.

Proper Form

This is me with my legs and arms at impossible angels and my hair all over the place
I was worried about the triathlon before. Now I'm in a full on panic. I can't even swim 25 meters with out popping out of the water. And he's always there. The lifeguard, ready to throw a flotation device at my head and blow his whistle in a panic. I know he's faced with a difficult decision. I'm clearly not safe in a pool, but I'm fun to look at in a swim suit. He watches me. I can't tell if he's fixated on my boobies or if he's wondering why both knees come out of the water during my freestyle? .... cause it's freestyle BOY!

I've identified my biggest problems. My lower body sinks, my head lifts, and I can't breathe rhythmically. Essentially I can do none of the things required to swim. That's a pretty big problem. I don't have a lot of time for the obvious and reasonable solutions. With only a few weeks until the big triathlon I did what only I would do in this position. I signed up for another triathlon. This one is tomorrow. That's right it's called the Spring Sprint and it's held at an Olympic venue. The swim is harder, the bike is harder, the run is the same. only harder.

Here's my logic. Have you ever tried to give a cat a bath? They thrash, they claw, they flip around while screaming and it takes at least 5 minutes of total submersion before they suddenly relax. Seems daunting, but if you fight a badger first, well then the cat bath seems like childs play right?

For me, the Women of Steel Triathlon is my cat bath. The Spring Sprint was my badger.


It is done. I forgot to post this blog last week. The First Tri is now over and here's how that went -

Spring Sprint Recap:
Before the race I saw an elderly overweight woman and I said to myself no matter what happens I'm going to beat her.
On the swim (400 meters, it took me 15 minutes 52 seconds) a special needs girls with a snorkel passed me on the third lap. It was a little embarrassing but not as embarrassing as trying to throw a little water in her snorkel out of spite. Don't get all enraged I couldn't catch up to her so nobody got drowned.
On the bike (12.4 miles, it took me 1 hour 1 minute and 54 seconds) I quickly realized that I was in the seventh circle of hell. I was dripping wet from the pool, which is miserable with all the dirt and debri swirling around. I was in an industrial area of western Utah which means at times semi trucks were flying past me only a foot to my left. More importantly this eye sore of a location was also a portal into a world that defied physics. What goes up must come down? Right? Wrong! Not in Kearns Utah. The hills. The many many awful hills. I could literally walk faster than I was peddling up the steep incline. When I got to the top of one hill all I could see was........ the horrid realization that this was not the top of a hill but the bottom of the next. I've read about Sisyphus but this was the first time I actually appreciated his plight.
On the run (3.1 miles, it took me 42 minutes and 54 seconds) don't mock me. This is a pretty pathetic amount of time BUT after those hills your legs are numb. I have no shame in admitting I did not run. Like a belligerent child I took my time and thought about what I had done to bring about this strange and completely unnecessary course of events.
The finish line. Wow. That's what its all about. The swim, the bike, the run were all beyond what I believed myself to be capable of. It's two hours of persevering through your own fear and doubt. And then you cross the finish line and it's the most amazing feeling. It no longer mattered how long it took or where I ranked. I F&%$#ing finished!!!! until I found out that fat old tart from the beginning totally kicked my ass. That stung a little.

I fought my badger. Feels good. Now bring me a dirty cat. It's bath time.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Summer of Gump - point A to point B

I signed up for a shit ton of races. All summer long I'll be runnin' and that means I need to be trainin'

Where to start? At the beginning I guess. Identify point A (my current condition) and define point B (my goal)

Point A -
I titled this blog with the intent to reveal all; weight, measurements, etc as my point A. But I really don't want to do that. That's either embarrassing or boastful, I won't say which. Embarrassing. Definitely embarrassing. I've gained twenty pounds since October. Twenty pounds in six months. The last time I gained this kind of weight I was building another person inside of my belly. Now my belly is where cookies go to be memorialized in a wall of fat after they are unceremoniously devoured in a feeding frenzy. OR something like that. That being said I would love to lose a little (a lot of) weight and get my figured back (to stop looking pregnant) The problem with using that information as a measurement of success is that it wouldn't be a true representation of my goal. (only most of my goal) My weight now verses my weight later? What does that reveal? I don't even have a goal weight (120). And as far as measurements go..... I've heard that ideal is 36-24-36 but only if you're 5'3" which I am. To clarify I'm 5'3" not those other numbers. But that's a song about how much that guy likes ass not a realistic number to base a goal off of. So thanks for your input Sir Mix-A-Lot but I'm going to go a different direction. (No I'm not. That is totally my goal)

Truth is I'd be cool weighing in at a twenty stones (only because I have no idea how much that is) as long as I was in "top form". To me "top form" translates to "has a moderate chance of success (while rocking a bikini and heels) in hand to hand combat with a grizzly bear" or penguins. I HATE penguins. Is it just me or does any one else think penguins are smarmy little bastards? Every time I see one I want to punt it. It is extremely likely that if I were an Eskimo I would be known for using one penguin to beat the life out of another penguin. Which would make me an extremely eccentric Eskimo because I would have to have them captured by rogue hunters and then flown in from the South Pole. Probably for some annual Eskimo festival, like...... daytime. And then all the other Eskimos would think it was some sort of Pole war and they would chant "North Side" and make hand gestures but in reality I would only be doing it because I hate penguins not because I wanted Pole dominance. But I would never reveal that. Team Spirit.

Speaking of poles.... this happened yesterday.

Strange Older Lady - Hi we're going around the neighborhood today giving fast quotes for auto insurance, on average we've been saving folks - Oh! Hi! I remember you.
Me - Hi (blank stare)
Strange Older Lady - Didn't you used to dance?
Me - having been told once or twice before (but never directly) that I have the grace of a ballerina, I smile at her easy to make mistake
Strange Older Lady - Where was it? Golden Trails?
Me - Hey! No.
Strange Older Lady - I'm sorry, my mistake (But she totally gave me the don't worry I'll keep your secret look)

So, First! Golden Trails? What the hell is that old lady doing in a strip club? Second, she was blushing, what exactly was she remembering? that sly dog. And finally, just when I think that in a strange way it's kind of a compliment to assume I could make a bit of money gyrating in the nude, I realize she assumed I was a FORMER stripper. She called me an out of work stripper. A "fallen on hard times" stripper. A "you used to be covered in glitter and reek of seduction but now you like NASCAR and reek of french fries" stripper. Rude! and wrong! I don't like NASCAR. But she could save me 20% on my auto insurance. Still I didn't change coverage! Ha! Who's fallen on hard times now!? Bitch.

What the hell are we talking about? I just realized none of this has anything to do with training. So............ yeah, I'm still on step one, set a goal. What is my point B? I don't know. Let's look at the situation:

In two and a half weeks I need to be able to swim 300 meters, bike 12.75 miles, and then run a 5k. I have three and a half hours from the time the race starts to the time the award ceremony begins. So worst case scenario I drown. But less worse worst case scenario, in my current condition I would still finish with in the allotted time. I think. Hey! Maybe I could cross the finish line while every one is clapping for the people who actually won awards. I could pretend they were clapping because they were SO proud of me that it moved them to make loud noises. and then I'll make a speech... FOCUS! I want to do slightly better than that. So this shall be my goal................drum roll..................If I can get myself to the point that I can swim for 30 minutes straight, bike for 45 minutes straight. and then run for 30 minutes straight, then I can be reasonably proud of my success. That is my Point B.

I need to bike for 45 minutes straight, I can currently bike for 18 minutes and that's about 3 miles. If I do the math at that rate 12.75 miles would take me 76.5 minutes (F@#$)
I need to run for 30 minutes straight, I can currently run for 1 minute 30 seconds. I "run" a 16 minute mile. It would take me 48 minutes to finish a 5k (Double F@#$)
I need to swim 30 minutes straight, I currently can't swim, if I float on my back I can do a length in about 12 minutes. it will take me 72 minutes to do six lengths. If I add all of that up there is a strong probability that I will be stealing some one else's applause which means on top of everything else now I have to write a speech. (DOuble F@#$ squared)

Here's my plan. For the next 18 days I will run, bike, and row machine (unless I can make it to a pool) every day. I will increase the time a little each day until a knee or other some other important joint explodes giving me a reasonable excuse to bail out of this entire debacle.

Sweet! I now feel like I have something to work towards. Cheers.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Prelude to My Summer of Gump

Remember that time I was going to get in to better shape through dieting HAHAHAHA yeah me neither. I quickly learned Paleo can go to Helleo (why must I always rhyme with that word)

Seriously though. I have a big problem. I'm in the worst kind of trouble. (Not really. I have an over active imagination that exaggerates the mundane. For example, Whenever I have bananas I eat half of one and the rest go bad, whenever I'm out of bananas I am convinced I'm on the verge of a potassium deficiency that will lead to certain death before I can even make it to the grocery store. In fact I can't make it to the grocery store because the low levels of Potassium have led to a case of the shakes and driving just isn't safe. and I am going to die. 99% of me knows THAT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN but just because I acknowledge that reality doesn't mean I thrive in it so back to panicking.)

I have recently become obsessed. Actually obsessed is a word I am no longer fond of - so let's begin again.

I have recently become aware that I am not physically capable of very many things. I even struggle with basic things. A couple of blogs ago I wrote a little bit of nonsense about my brother Mashu. He has no hands but he still manages to do a lot of stuff. It kind of got me thinking how far beyond expectations he goes on a daily basis. Is it because he really has no choice? If he didn't push himself beyond the minimum he wouldn't have independence. And that's when I realized, I'm such a loser. I never meet or exceed expectations. I have all of my parts and I don't even use them.

Look at this photo. Her and I are exactly alike. We have all of the same parts. What is the difference then? For starters, I don't look that good. Ever. But more to the point, I have never tried that hard at anything. ANYTHING. If I were on fire I still wouldn't dig deep and give 100%. I'd give like 64%, I'd go through the motions but I wouldn't come to a complete stop. I'd likely just lower rather than drop and I see myself wiggling more than the required roll. So instead of stop, drop, and roll. I would slowly bend and wiggle. When on fire I would dance. Dirty dance. Poorly.
Look at her. How awesome is that? Even if this is a picture of her in a race she lost it's still impressive. When you compete, no matter what sport, you fight yourself. You are your biggest opponent. Why? Because every instinct tells you to take the path of least resistance which translates to - accomplish the task with minimal effort. You can walk to the finish line. Therefor anything beyond walking to some degree is unnatural. So you have to overcome that instinct to reserve your energy and instead do the opposite. Force yourself in to a focused explosion of energy and accomplish something unnecessary. And by unnecessary I mean if she doesn't run nothing happens. No one is chasing her, nothing is about to explode, no danger anywhere. She is able to harness that same "do or die" inner force outside of a "do or die" situation. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT. Plus I am constantly plagued with the overwhelming instinct to find the nearest sandwich. Which is rarely the appropriate action. Sometimes though, it's lunch time and everyone is hungry for cold cuts. That's when I shine. And I dance. Like I'm on fire. Slow and awkward.

So what to do? How do I make my desire to do more/be more, become a reality? I will do what I do second best. That's right boys and girls! It's time for crazy cakes dipped in nutter butter! At the beginning of this ramble I mentioned a problem. What is that problem you ask? I'm horribly out of shape and my half ass attempts at dieting and exercise don't seem to be working. So I have done what any sane rational person would do. I committed to a half a dozen feats of physical strength that I am in no way capable of. I spent a small fortune and I have told everyone I know I'm doing it. Leaving me no choice but to follow through. The first of which is a Triathlon in exactly 23 days. The best part. I don't know how to swim, and I know for a fact that an inability to swim is a major problem in a triathlon. This isn't my first stroll down nut bar lane I've tried a Tri before. (It wasn't a very good solution that time either but my unique aptitude for never learning from my mistakes has the benefit of making my life more entertaining for others)
My only hope of not finishing dead last is to come equipped with a taser to take out the competition. The flaw in that plan is that those who know me best will pat me down before the race and take it away.

In conclusion my next several blogs are going to focus on this need of mine to set my self up for failure and then I will lament endlessly about all the ways I could have avoided it. I will share my training, my possible  transformation, my likely humiliation. The difference between this time and every other time I've done this, AKA summer, - I'm going to try. I'm being serious. I'm really going to try this time. I'm not just going to walk to the finish line. I'm going to explode with energy and focus that energy. I'm going to exceed my expectations and impress myself. I'm going to download eye of the tiger and drop kick a Russian in the face.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pinterest. A love hate relationship.

I have come to know one thing with certainty. I love pinterest and I hate pinterest equally.

There are some really fun cute ideas on there THAT NEVER WORK WHEN I TRY THEM. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I only skim over the directions. Maybe it's because I never have the ingredients/supplies called for and substitute things that are not even remotely close to what they're supposed to be substituting. Maybe because instead of following the instructions like some kind of sheep headed for slaughter at the last second I rebel and have to do it my way. Or mostly because I'm some kind of f***ing idiot and I don't even know what directions like "reduce sauce until desired consistency is reached" is supposed to mean. (in case you don't know either, it does not mean pour half of it out. This method effectively reduces the sauce but you'll never reach desired consistency. Ever.)

Recently I had what I refer to as a minor rant on the facebook. I have a tendency for minor rants when I encounter something with two qualities. One, it's just oozing with stupidity. And two, it isn't my stupidity. When it's my stupidity I give it a laugh and move on, no biggie. When it's someone else's stupidity I'm all over it like glitter on a vampire. Speaking of things oozing with stupidity...

FOCUS! That is the third time today my mind has drifted over to vampires. Anyhow the aforementioned rant was caused by this little gem:

When I saw this I thought of all the fun times I've never successfully painted my own fingernails. Also known as every time I have ever painted my finger nails. And then I thought "what if I added glue?" At the thought of it my loins burned with fury. Not really, I just like to say that. For some reason that sentence excites me. What I really thought was what a**hole is putting bullsh*t tips on pinterest and then laughing all day at the idiots who thought it was WAIT A MINUTE! That's not an a**hole that's a genius. And then I came up with this:

 That's horrible. and not very funny. I have a lot of idiot friends and I think some would try that.

I can't end the blog this way obviously. I don't feel any sense of accomplishment. But I really have only one helpful tip that is Pinterest worthy. It's kind of stupid though and maybe everyone already knows this, but, here it is. My one bit of advice.

When you are tanning (SHUT UP! I already know it's bad but I need a base tan before I go in to the sun or I burn like a vampire with a----- I'm going to stop myself)... anyhow, when you are tanning and you forget a hair tie, like I do every single time I go tanning, you can still hold your hair up without getting it all lotiony. When you take your shirt off, don't take it all the way off. stop at your forehead and then twist that bioch like a turban!

The best thing about this photo is the sh*tty nail polish job on my little fingers. I should end this blog now but there's something else I do when I'm in a tanning bed and I am curious if anyone else out there does the same thing. When you look at yourself in the mirror and you're all crazy blue and white etc. does anyone else pretend they look like this?

If so, I have one more piece of pinterest worthy advise. Don't do this while wearing headphones. Just because you can't hear your banshee shrieks over the Pantera you're jamming, the rest of the salon can. One of the snotty little b****es that "works" at the front counter will come in to investigate. Interestingly when they do burst in to find out you were just playing with your own reflection, for one brief moment, the eyebrows they drew on that morning, are appropriate for their facial expression in that situation. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Vacation Packing

I can not pack for a vacation. No joke y'all. I'm really really bad at a lot of things like cooking, parenting, vocalizing only things that are "appropriate" in "polite" society. I'm really really bad at all of that and somehow worse at packing. Or preparing for anything ever.
It may be because I have an unshakable resolve that everything will turn out fine regardless of whether or not I contribute any energy. This ideal has never turned out to be true but I still believe it with all of my little heart. You can call it optimism, positive thinking, faith. Or you can call it what it really is, a sprinkle of delusion with a dash of lazy.

So today I packed. The same way I always do. I start out with good intentions and a desire to be both organized and efficient simultaneously. The results of my efforts can be summed up in one word: NOPE!
I quickly became convinced I had to try on everything I own. The results of this lengthy activity can be summed up with one thought. What happened to my ass?
No really, what the hell happened? Just last year it was spectacular. Did I sit on it weird? Also why is there a tan line at the top of the back of my thighs? There are little crescent shaped white patches right below my ass. Do my cheeks actually block the light when I'm tanning? Forget the dangers of tanning beds for a minute and focus. We're talking about my own personal lunar eclipse back there.

I know exactly how this happened. I tried dieting several times. Just the word diet sends me so far in the wrong direction. The Paleo fiasco was all about cutting out dairy and refined sugar. I ate four cheesecakes while on that diet. Four. I was only on that diet for three days. Then there was the low carb diet. Morning number one I dipped ten chocolate chip cookies in a pan of hollandaise sauce. It started out right. I made myself three eggs, just like the nutrition plan said. But the eggs looked so lonely and I thought just a little bit of hollandaise sauce wouldn't hurt. So I made some and drizzled it over the top. Just bending the rule at this point. Then I lost control and full throttle eggs Benedict was the only breakfast I would accept. But I had no muffins. So I did what any twisted individual would do. I used soft warm chocolate chip cookies. It was both disgusting and amazing. Mostly disgusting. Some people cheat on a diet. Sneak a soda, bite of cake, a handful of chips. I do so much more than cheat. If I try to ban any food at all. Even food I don't like, I go insane. Once I'm insane I don't just simply cheat, I shart in the face of all things culinary.

Umm back to the topic of packing. None of my clothes fit anymore. To be more accurate, all of them fit just fine but I have PMS so there is not even an ounce of me that is going to be even slightly agreeable. I have 15 swimsuits. Why? Because I'm a masochist. I also have fluorescent lighting and a full length mirror in my closet. This is not the only way I ridicule myself. For example, the following is a conversation I had with me. Don't worry it wasn't out loud.
Me: haha why did I pack work out clothes?
Me: I'm gonna work out every morning there is a great facility there and I'm finally in a routine
Me: I'm not going to work out even one time. I'm just going to sleep in those clothes. Look I didn't pack any pajamas because even I know I'm just going to sleep in those sweat pants.
Me: if I'm not going to work out then don't pack work out clothes.
Me: No way! I don't want that to be the excuse for not working out. If I bring my workout clothes and I still don't go to the gym I will be forced to admit I'm a lazy a$$#•le
Me: why are you always so mean to me?
Me: I'm sorry. Lets go buy some shoes.
Me: mmmmm shoes

In the end I have finally gathered all the clothes that will fit in my suitcase and I consider myself packed. I have no idea what I'm going to wear when I get there but I feel like I did a much better job packing than Gwen did. I just opened her suitcase and all she's bringing is moon boots and a spatula.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I loathe parent teacher conference part 2

Part two of my hatred of parent teacher conference is definitely the parent part. Specifically when I stand there in the hallway waiting for my turn and I get the pleasure of meeting some of the other parents. oh joy of joys! There is always art hanging in the hallway outside of the door and parents looking at it proudly like their kid is some kind of prodigy and they're just now recognizing it by the way their little rascal glued the head on their paper leprechaun. "My child colored in the lines!" And I'm like "my kid used a lot of glitter. on the crotch area. in fact only on the crotch area. what the hell? I'm going to go ahead and take this down."

There is absotively nothing wrong with being proud of your kids and I have bragged about the accomplishments of my minions a time or two. But there is bragging and then there is this really weird thing some parents do that take it a step, or more like ten steps beyond pride. They call you out. They compete. They challenge you with their children's accomplishments. And I am not good at this game. I feel like I'm being forced to play dungeons and dragons. Why do I feel that way? Oh I don't know because you say things like, "my daughter scored above average in reading, she plays the flute and won the science fair" and then I get confused and yell "my daughter is half orc, half elf, with six levels of wizard and four levels of theif. And.., and.., and she can heal things"

I really shouldn't feel so befuddled during these impromptu show downs. All of my children do exceptionally well scholastically. All of them have amazing personalities and talents. Maybe I have trouble with the "who's spawn is better" face-off because I'm fully aware that while they are awesome in some ways, they are also total dumb asses. My daughter once got her foot stuck in the toilet because she wanted to see how far she could put it in there before it got stuck. $&@%#!!! Who does that?! Who is sitting around one day and decides they need to finally answer the burning question - can I get stuck in the toilet?

I don't think the parents who start these showdowns are willing to admit their kids are also idiots. All they want to vocalize is their children's accomplishments, which they take all the credit for. Taking credit for the positive is fine I guess. It's when they don't claim equal credit for the faults that annoys the shit out of me. Somehow Little Timmy's ability to spell cat is all thanks to mommy but if little Timmy is also a spoiled selfish little twat it's not because mommy is delusional its because he's been hanging around the neighbor kid............ because the neighbors are liberals of course.

Or maybe this parent jousting is just too foreign to me because I don't take credit for the good in my kids. These little squirts are pretty damn impressive despite my special brand of mothering.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I loathe parent teacher conferences

I've never had a very good relationship with teachers. Not as a student or as an adult. I really have no legitimate reason for this it just comes naturally. I posses a bizarre instinct to mock and belittle anyone who instructs, at anytime and for any reason. Without conscience effort I am always in opposition to whomever stands in a tie surrounded by little desks. If the teacher tries hard I slack off, if the teachers slacks off I become demanding. There really is no way to win with me.

I will admit though that I have encountered a few great teachers, so before I continue this blog I will quote one of my favorite authors, John Steinbeck - "I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit."

It's parent teacher conference time so my next three blogs will address everything I hate about this and everyone involved. Starting with teachers who are total @#$%^&*. It's because of this type of teacher that this is how I see myself every time I enter a classroom

I should probably stop addressing all teachers as Persian cowards though...

The following is correspondence between a concerned parent, the teacher, and then myself writing on behalf of the concerned/enraged parent. I have removed any identifying info. Enjoy.

The concerned parent:

I'm concerned about my daughter ******* *******. Her scores have been very low. Is she not understanding the material? Is she failing to turn in her work? Did she retake the walkway?
When I asked her she said
"I had 4 assignments I had not turned in. I have turned in two of those assignments and will turn in the other two if her class is open during pride time. I haven't retaken the walkway. I'm going to retake it tomorrow if I can get in during pride time. I think I will be able to get in but there is a small chance that it will already be full and I will have to try a different day."
Is that accurate?
Does she have a behavior problem? She told me that you have "yelled at" her. Is that something that is happening or has happened? If you are "yelling" why are you "yelling"?
She feels like she is always "in trouble". Is she "in trouble" a lot in your class?
I want her to do well in math this year and understand the material well enough to be successful in the future. I'm just trying to find out what is going on so we can find the solution.
Thank You,

The response from the teacher

******* has really slacked off this term.  I would think it is a combination of not understanding the material and not paying attention.  I would think that her lack of understanding comes from her lack of paying attention.  ******* has a tendency to be talking during class explanations and discussions.  She has not turned in the past few assignments or they have not been 90% or better.  The problem now is that those assignments are "dead".  Which means they will not receive credit.  We retook the walkaway yesterday in class, but the students were to come prepared with their review complete.  Those that had it complete were able to re-take the walkaway.  Those who were not prepared worked on the review during class and will need to retake the walkaway during pride time or after school, after Christmas break once the review has been complete.  She can always come in during Pride Time, but I am only in the math classroom every other day.  The off days I am in PE.  She can always go in and work on homework even if I am not there.  She does NOT have to be stamped and it has only been "full" once this year.
As far as "yelling" I can not say that has happened.  I have probably "raised" my voice or became a little more firm in situations after I have asked continuously for the class to work and be quiet.  If you would like to bring ******* in and she can explain to me the situation that she is talking about I will be more than happy to listen.  I don't feel that ******* is always in trouble, but I do know that I have asked her numerous times to quit talking and to get busy on her math.
If you would like to meet please let me know and we can set up a meeting after Christmas.

and now my turn to take a stab at this thing they call "communication"

Good morning 

Let me start by saying WOW and I mean all capital letters jaw dropping WOW. There are so many things I want to say after reading your email. First off, I find that I must thank you because you have answered all of my questions and I do now understand why ******* is really struggling and appears flustered whenever I mention math. If my daughter is experiencing even a fraction of the hostility that is just oozing from that email I received, then it all makes sense. I'm going to take a short break in writing this email because I'm overcome with the need to hug my daughter and reassure her that it will all be over soon. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, a light we call summer. 
I'm back.
From this email I can see you are really struggling to capture and keep the attention of your students. I received another email from you that stated none of your students were able to pass a test. If A=your students are not giving you their attention and B=your students are then exhibiting a lack of understanding of the material then A+B= teaching is just not your forte.
******* mentioned some yelling, you claim you're just raising your voice in frustration. Reminds me of that old saying tomato, to-samefrigginthing-o.
It is easy for me to read your discourteous and extraordinarily rude email and mock you. Because I am a grown man, unlike your young students I am neither intimidated or controlled by your bullying. Flippant responses aside I need you to understand you are an extremely hostile and aggressive woman. Hostility and aggression have no place in a child's classroom. I was more than prepared to sit my daughter down and let her know that her recent academic performance was unacceptable. I intended to let ******* know that she needed to increase her efforts and I was willing to accept no excuses from her. That entire speech has been thrown out the window because your email provides the best excuse ever. I honestly never want to interact with you again and can't blame your students for feeling the same way. Hulk Smash!
I would like to give you a little advice and then we should absolutely meet after Christmas Break.
1. children avoid things that make them uncomfortable. Stop making children uncomfortable and perhaps they will discontinue avoidance behavior such as not listening, not asking question, etc.
2. regardless of how frustrated you get with your students, use your inside voice. 

Thank you kindly for your time

**** " not your enemy just a concerned parent hoping to have a productive conversation and work together in the best interest of ******* " *********  

that reminds me. I should probably call and find out how that meeting went.... I bet it was awkward