Dead Parent’s Club

This year I joined the group I had been dreading for years, the dead parent’s club.  It’s not a club I wanted to belong to; I didn’t ask to join, I would have refused if given the option, and I may have even kicked someone’s ass to keep out of it.  I want to be honest, it sucks to belong but there are others that feel your pain and give you strength.  My parents both made us kids promise two things; first no matter what we do and how much we disagree we would always love each other and second, that we would not mourn their deaths and focus on the good times.  My dad was a funny guy, probably where I get most of my charm and sense of humor.   He was always trying to do things to make us laugh and when we got too old for his antics he just switched to our kids.  My brothers and I had several things about my dad that drove us crazy and made us laugh, my kids love these stories and actually beg me to tell them at least once a week.

My dad loved a good buffet, actually he loved ANY buffet.   The cheaper and dirtier the place, the better – or so he thought.  He had one place in particular that he loved to go, it was a Chinese buffet in a rundown strip mall, and while he got food poisoning every single time he went he could not help but return.  I would try to lay out the logic for him every time he called and said he had gotten the “flu” after eating there, but he wasn’t buying it.  I would tell him he couldn’t catch the flu 6 times in one month and that shitting yourself silly wasn’t actually the “flu”, but he thought I was crazy and would still invite me to go every time he went.  My kids ask why grandpa would keep going there even after he got sick, I finally told them I thought it was some type of diet where he could consume 8,000 calories but crap out 10,000 and other people would probably catch on to it eventually.  We call it the Larry diet!

My dad was a collector of junk and could not physically pass up a yard sale sign, it was like his car was programmed to stop.  When we were kids they would pack us up in the car and we would drive around for hours, hitting every yard sale in our county.  I seem to remember getting a Members Only jacket with someone else’s initials on the front of it and being told to wear it anyway cuz it was 50 cents.   While I don’t think he was a hoarder he would buy things that he knew he would never use.  “Check out this quesadilla maker I got for $6, it was only used once!”  The fact that he hated Mexican food and would not cook anything other than a fried egg had nothing to do with his decision, it was a good deal and he was getting it.  In the garage he had boxes of every size screw you can imagine and all sorts of scrap metal, just in case he was ever going to weld something (did I mention he didn’t own a welder?).  I have a severe aversion to clutter and clean out my closet every three months, I am guessing I don’t need a therapist to tell me where that issue came from.

Sometime after age 50 my father became obsessed with gas prices, weather and certain politicians.  I have no idea what triggered this to happen, it was like an overnight change, and it was how he opened every phone conversation we had.  Sadly whenever he asked me what the current gas price in Virginia was I had no answer for him and I could hear his disappointment through the phone.  He really wanted to be able to get worked up over what I was paying per gallon and all I could tell him was I think I paid $56, and no I did not remember how low the tank was when I fueled up.  I sensed he had a calculator out and was trying to break it down to overcome my lack of gas price knowledge.  When driving from Michigan to Virginia at Thanksgiving, my 9 year old pointed out that gas was $2.07 a gallon and wouldn’t grandpa be thrilled if he were alive.  I told them my best guess was that grandpa got the Gas God in a full nelson and was squeezing him until the prices drop back under $2.00.

Losing him was hard, but remembering him is easy.  I do my very best to think about all the fun we had for more than 40 years and how lucky I am to have had him all that time.   Even now when I have tears forming in my eyes I look up one paragraph and see the Gas God comment and I laugh out loud and I am reminded to give all the love I can to my own little darlings, and to offer up some kind of bribe so they don’t repeat all the crazy things their mom did to strangers one day.


Germcation

This year our family decided to take our family vacation to one of the larger water park resorts.  Actually the kids decided and knowing Disney was their next recommendation, and we couldn’t afford that this year, we agreed on the water park.  Now, I am a germ-a-phobe, things like hotel rooms where 2,000 other people have slept, arcades where kids touch every orifice they have before hitting the one button your kid needs to touch and water parks where everything is possible (pee, poo, vomit) with the rule that you close it down for 60-90 minutes and all the germs miraculously disappear.   The whole thought makes me shudder , but we committed to doing this thing with our kids so I made the reservation and for a mere $300 a night I could subject myself to the things will most likely result in my needing counseling or meds to ward off the nightmares.

You have to enter into this whole thing with the idea that you’re going to be doing a lot of waiting, and you are going to want to punch a lot of people, but cannot, unless you want to spend additional money on bail and Lord knows my kids are going to need that money for souvenirs and the arcade.  It’s not so much the waiting that bothers me, as the fact that people take no responsibility for their kids when they are waiting next to you.  If your kid is zigzagging in and out of the line and whacking people with his magic wand, it is time to sit his ass down somewhere – I don’t really care where, just as far away from me as possible.  Also, to the lady with the kid that just stands behind me and whines the entire time, “How much longer, mommmmmmmmmy”, I saw your husband walk off (as I would have if that were my child) get his ass on the phone and have him remove your brat, preferably outside.

Of course, the first thing my kids want to do after check-in are the things that are not included in the price of the stay; the arcade, rock climbing, mini-golf, wizard game and having their caricature done by some art school drop-out.  These are the creepiest things in the world and where the hell are we going to put it?  You kids want it hang that up in your room, because I guarantee when you wake up at 1:00AM one night you are going to take one look at that thing and start screaming at its giant, malformed head.  We decided to do that wizard game, which includes running up and down four flights of stairs with 700 other kids that have no issue slamming into the back of you and stepping on your feet and apparently have never heard the term ‘Excuse me’.  After an hour of that I offered up ice cream or any other treat they wanted if they were ready to head to the pool (don’t judge, I have never claimed to be perfect).

The water park is the loudest place that I have ever been, between the 10 million gallons of rushing water and the kids screaming it is the equivalent of standing next to a jet taking off.  My kids pretty much get whatever they want while we are in there because I can’t hear them and just keep saying “yes” to everything they ask.  What really bothers me is the attire of my fellow swimmers.  There is appropriate, there is inappropriate and then there is what I would call offensive.  First, swimsuits should cover your body in a way that does not call attention from the people around you.  If you are large, a bikini is not the way to go, and men, a Speedo thong is meant for people in the Olympics, not for chasing your kid around the water park structure when you are dangerously close to that next grid on the doctor’s weight chart.   There are so many things I saw, that unfortunately I cannot unsee, however to the very large woman that wore a long shirt over your bathing suit, your efforts did not go unnoticed and I applaud you. 

While I am on a people observation rant, why is it that the people with more than five kids and really bad tattoos are the ones that get into some kind of lover’s quarrel right after they decide to make out in public?  Of course it was like a Jerry Springer episode and I could not look away, even when my husband kept saying, “Poker face honey, they know you are staring right at them!”  I couldn’t stop, at some point I was waiting for a producer from Cops to have me sign a waiver because I had a front row seat to one of the uglier domestic disputes, sadly it ended in the man stomping away while his wife stood in place crying.  I really wanted to go to her, hand her a kleenex and say, “Don’t worry sweetie, he’ll be back and you will be knocked up with baby six any day now”.

I think what bothers me the most is the people that bring their kids to a restaurant and let them run around.  We purposely leave the resort to go to nice restaurants to avoid the people that somehow lose the ability to see what their kid is doing when they sit down at a table.  One evening we went to a nice place that thankfully had a full bar.  One family had a younger child, about 8, that apparently had a spring in his seat because every time he tried to sit down he bounced back up.  At one point the servers were dodging him, as he was having an imaginary sword fight with some sharp object he picked up and the parents did not even look his way.  Once the sword wielding calmed down, the child started doing karate directed at the people sitting at the next table and then when I finally thought a parent maybe took him outside for a nice “talk” I realized that he had gone to the ground and was rolling from table to table all over the dirty floor (the least of his worries).  I assumed he began digging a tunnel and was going to pop up under our table at any moment, if he had spilled my wine I may be in jail instead of writing this.  At some point apparently I was looking their way with what my husband calls my ‘non-poker face’ and the mother caught my face and said something to the child.  Rest assured, that did nothing to slow him down and she went back to her drink and conversation.  So much for thinking that spending $100+ on dinner would keep you away from the low-class.

At some point in our live we come to the realization that we are going to have to do a lot of things we don’t want to do.  Like most things, we have the opportunity to turn it into something fun and positive and while my silver lining was people watching, I also got to spend time watching my kids enjoy themselves.  So I will continue to go on bad vacations and hope for less than favorable service and bad kids so I have something to continue to ramble on about and entertain you.


Common Senseless

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I am getting older, or that I am just burnt out from the summer, but lately I have found myself with such a short fuse that if I were to take up smoking I would spontaneously combust. I was raised in a home where common sense was a driver in decisions that we made and not some optional topping at the local ice cream shop. Again, maybe it’s just me and the fact that I have been locked down with young ones all summer, but I ask, where has all the common sense gone?

About now you are asking yourself what could have caused me to reach my boiling point. Well, in an effort to seem like a better parent, since I have spent so much time yelling at my kids for the past 5 or 6 weeks (or years, it’s blurry now) I decided to take them on some outings and have some “fun”. This has resulted in my enjoying my kids, but becoming highly irritated with other people and their children. A couple of days ago I took my two kids to an event at the local library and maybe it was the lack of alcohol provided or a sudden rush of hormones, but I found myself actually thinking about hurting people.

My first point of irritation? Bringing infants or extremely young children to an event where being quiet is required. I know your baby is cute, and most people LOVE babies, but not in a 15 x 15 room where we are trying to hear one person speak or give directions. I know that I heard the speaker say at the beginning that crying children need to be removed and are welcome back once they have calmed down, apparently I am the only person that heard this directive. When they said you, they meant YOU not just the one person they were making eye contact with at that very moment. It should have been clear that it wasn’t an option, if your kid is crying you need to leave. I made it a point to make eye contact with these people and give them my best sneer or shake of the head that I could muster.

Next, why have adults stopped wearing shoes in public? I am not talking about in your front yard or running to the mailbox, I am referring to the dozen or so people I saw at the library bare foot. So many questions are running through my head but mostly, where are your shoes? Did I miss some kind of mat at the entrance where we were supposed to take them off? Is there some kind of new rumor that wearing shoes will stunt your growth? Newsflash, you’re adults, you have stopped growing – at least vertically, shoes will not hurt you. Also, stop playing with your feet, there is nothing more disturbing than having to sit next to a 45 year old digging at their nails and peeling off dead skin and dropping it on the floor next to me. It was traumatic enough that I considering counseling to cope.

I am also highly irritated with the most important people in the world, those that MUST use their cell phones not matter what is going on. During the event a woman stayed on her phone talking during the entire show, I don’t even think she stopped to breath (or bother to look for her kid who had come over and was digging through my purse). Once again, when the speaker said , “Silence your cell phones or turn them off” it was a collective YOU. There is always the occasional person that has to make the point loud enough for everyone to hear; “I must keep my phone on in case of emergency”, but let me say that an emergency phone call requires an answer and then I should see you running like a cheetah to get to your emergency situation. When you sit on the phone for 56 minutes talking about yourself it’s not an emergency. Turn off your damn phone or step out of the room – and for God’s sake take your purse digging kid with you (P.S. I would like my roll of Certs back from the little thief!).

As we left I was feeling a bit edgy and thought, it must just be me. However when the first words out of your kids’ mouths are, “Did you hear that lady on the phone the whole time?” and “You would think that lady would have taken her baby out of the room instead of letting it scream”, I felt quite validated. The old motto, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’ is being replaced with, ‘If you can’t respect the people around you, please know I will make it a point to talk about you to anyone that will listen’. Of course, that should just be common sense!


Dark Skies, Brighter Sun

Have I mentioned lately that I don’t have an incurable disease or terminal illness?  Or that my kids are healthy and were born without any disabilities?  That life is good and that I am looking forward to the future?  That’s because most conversations don’t start out this way and honestly I would love it if they did.  Most of us discuss the drama and trauma in our lives because people have come to expect it.   Bad things seem more fun to share than good things and I don’t know what twisted part of our brains accept that, but what would you rather watch Little House of the Prairie or Happy Hookers vs Serial Killers III?

Let me back up a bit here, my husband and I (mostly him) spent more than a month redoing our kitchen and family room, it was hard work.  We had contractors do the countertops and paint, but we burned a lot of time and energy getting it done.   Three days ago it was complete and it looked fantastic.  Twenty four hours later we found that the painter may have pushed our fridge in a tad too far which resulted in a water line break and mass water damage.  You know the kind I am talking about, when you find your ceiling on the ground  and you require a dinghy.  After hours of clean-up and calls to insurance we dropped into bed exhausted and heartbroken.  When I woke the next morning I decided to come up with a list of things that are worse :

  • House burning down
  • Losing sentimental stuff
  • Tornado carrying the house away (and not landing in Oz)
  • Having herpes
  • Diagnosis of a terminal or incurable disease
  • Losing a loved one
  • Pet dying (although I am getting tired of cleaning the hamster’s cage)
  • Losing your job (been there, done that)
  • Losing a limb
  • Running someone over
  • Getting run over
  • Going to prison
  • Living in a third world country
  • Teaching FLE to fourth or fifth graders

You get the idea, there is a whole lot of shit that could have happened and while I was depressed for 17 minutes or so I kicked my own ass and then came up with reasons that we are fortunate:

  • Our family of 4 is happy, healthy and probably could pass a mental health inquiry
  • Both sets of parents are still alive and well
  • My husband has a job, me too but far less meaningful
  • We are able to afford insurance to cover disasters like this
  • The fact that the house has been 95 degrees for  48 hours means I can just stand still and sweat off weight and don’t need to vomit after the brownie I snuck
  • I don’t have herpes
  • I haven’t been run over
  • I am not in prison

So, yes, life sometimes throws you a curve ball and you decide how you want to throw it back or if you just want to keep it, put it on your desk and occasionally glance at it for a reality check.  Heck – all I have to do is open a new tab while I am typing this and go to the CNN page and I can quickly count off 10 things that are WAY worse than water damage.   So count your blessings, kiss your kids, enjoy life or just be happy with the fact that you don’t have herpes.


Elf on a G.D. Shelf

The holidays are most definitely upon us, which is foretold by all the additional shit we have to do or attend during the month of December.  Our family has spent a lot of time putting up the tree and decorating both the indoors and outdoors.  For us it seems like a religious activity, a lot of Jesus Christ-ing and God Damn-ing as we partake in these wonderful family moments.  There is also a lot of Oh My God and begging for forgiveness after that special ornament you asked them not to touch is laying in 2,000,000 pieces.  Truly good times we will remember forever.

The holidays, and most importantly the thoughts of presents, is something I hold dear.  I have the best behaved kids between Thanksgiving and Christmas .  For the past 9 years the threat that Santa is watching has been enough to make them behave.  This year, my very sweet and generous sister-in-law bought my girls an Elf on the Shelf ( I am sure I should be adding some kind of R or trademark after the name, but I am so sick of this elf already that it can get bent).

The “theory” of elf on a shelf is a good one, you bring it out about a month before Christmas and the magic of the elf makes your kids want to behave.  The reality of it is that freaky ass thing has me concerned about my own behavior.  I start questioning if I should have a glass of wine on a school night or if I should be using sarcasm when responding to my kid’s tenth request for something I already said “No” to nine times.  As an adult not much freaks me out, but the few things that do are: clowns, Burger King (the king not the food), carnies and elf on a shelf; not necessarily in that order.  I think I would have an easier time staring down a mass murderer with a knife, than I would waking up to find that smiling elf staring into my eyes.

So I am carrying on the tradition and moving that elf around nightly, or very early in the morning when I realize I forgot.   For me, I feel like as long as the damn thing has been moved from its previous spot I have done my job.  I also want bonus points for having the wherewithal to get it moved after I have finished  my third glass of wine.  The kids have a whole other idea, they feel like the elf should be doing creative things like their friends tell them about or leaving gifts.  By the way, whoever started having their elf leave gifts – you suck!  It doesn’t say anything about gifts in the instructions and you should lose your elfing privileges or at the very least get your ass kicked.

I am all about the holidays and having a good time.  I am less about extra work and being nice to people like my nemesis, June, as she tells me about how every moment is perfect and that she only had to take one picture this year to get the holiday card done (we took 74 before giving up).   Hearing about her perfect world has given me the  bright idea to wait until December 24 when the elf is done here and leave it on her door step in a flaming bag of crap. How is that for creative?   Now that I think about it, I guess the holidays are pretty great!

 


Save A Cell

I don’t know if I am getting old, or if people are just getting more annoying.  Lately I find myself in a snarky mood and thinking unkind thoughts towards people that are more annoying than others.  The target of my snark has most recently been directed to people that publicly talk on their cell phones, loud enough so that we can actually join in on the conversation if we felt so inclined.  The idea of cell phones is for an individual to be available for important matters, not to share your white trash life or bash your closest friend to your next closest friend for all to hear.

I have to say that personally, I hate to talk on the phone, HATE IT!  I am pretty sure that I can do 99.9% of my communications via email or texting; hell even my doctor’s office now sends me a message when my test results are available and all I have to do is log on and check them out.  No playing phone tag, no hoping someone has been trained well enough to give me the right results (what do you mean I have herpes, I didn’t even get that test) and no feeling like an idiot after I have been talked down to by the doctor.

Last week I was at the dance studio, I should actually get my own office at this place, as we are there for 4 straight hours on Thursday nights.  Personally, I feel for what I am paying in dance fees I should be exempt from having to listen to dance moms on their cell phones.  I show up with my Kindle and the strong hope that no-one is going to urgently need me via cell phone.  I want to be able to read without hearing someone use their outside voice to discuss a subject like what they think their husband has been doing.

After 30 minutes of the lady pacing back and forth in front of me talking about how other people should mind their business and she doesn’t care what people think I wanted to actually kick her ass and say, “How can we possibly mind our own business when you have monopolized everyone’s time within a 1/4 mile radius with your shit?  Please explain and I will stop punching you in the face!”  Also, you do care about what other people think because you are talking about it, if you didn’t care you would shut the hell up!

This is also why I despise the nail salon.  I want to relax if someone is taking care of me, because honestly I am usually the one wiping asses, washing,  lotioning, medicating and doing everything that my kids seem unable to do themselves.  What can possibly be so important to discuss in the 45 minutes you are there?  And guess what, if you can’t leave your kids without calling and cooing into the phone about how much momma misses you and what a big girl you are then stay the hell home!  Nothing interrupts my little getaway like having to listen to someone talk to, or about, their kids when  I am clearly there to get away from mine.

For those of you reading this and are now afraid to call me, don’t be.  I like you (probably) and I don’t mind a little check-in when you have something important to say or feed me some juicy gossip about my nemesis, June, that I can use to make her life miserable at a later date.  Just be sure it is cell phone worthy, or else you might be featured in a later segment of Bliss.


With All Due Respect

One of my favorite movies when I just need a laugh is Talladega Nights, not because I think Will Ferrell is the funniest person on earth, but because of all the overused phrases that they use to show us how ridiculous we sound.  At one point the main character makes a completely unacceptable comment to his boss and when he is told he can’t say that kind of thing to his boss he responds with, “But I said, with all due respect”.  This is one of those comments that even when said, does not give you carte blanche to say whatever you want, however I would like to use this opportunity to have some of the conversations  that have been occurring in my head.

With all due respect, you have no business wearing a bikini in public.  I think it’s great that you “workout” three times a week and consider yourself a runner, but it obviously isn’t enough.  Maybe if you tried coupling it with eating less or perhaps taking some speed to enhance your workouts you would be bikini ready.  I am sure there are places that would be more accepting of your decision to show a bit too much skin and they would welcome you with open arms, just not here.  In the meantime if you could cover yourself up a bit, or a lot, the rest of us would appreciate it.

With all due respect, you are a total bitch.  I realize that you think you are being honest and that everyone enjoys honesty, but try flavoring it with a bit of class.  Referring to the non-white neighbors as “those people” is offensive, even to other white people.  You don’t want “those people” at your holiday party, and guess what, they probably don’t want your drunken ass standing next to any flames at their outdoor barbeque either.

With all due respect, you don’t know everything.  Having an opinion on every subject doesn’t make you an expert, it makes you an asshole.  Rehashing those opinions on Facebook until you tire everyone else out by arguing doesn’t make you right, it makes you the person that we will all avoid in the future.  It’s great that you have beliefs and I commend you for standing up for what you believe in, but don’t tell me that your beliefs are stronger or better than mine, unless you want me as an enemy.

With all due respect, I think your kid is average.  I understand you feel like he might be the next Einstein and that you have the need to tell us he is reading 6 levels above his grade and has been doing trigonometry since he was three, but look at my face, does it look like I give a shit?  Let me also add that when your brilliant child  acts like an idiot and disrupts the other 23 kids in the class, you shouldn’t assume it’s because of his super IQ.  There’s something called parenting and discipline, when your kids comes home 12 days in a row with a bad report from school it’s time to kick their ass, not blame everyone else.  My kid would like to be able to get through her math assignment without your kidding licking  her  pencil or being interrupted by your kid yelling, “wee wee” continuously for attention.

I must say getting all that out of my system made me feel much better and about 10 pounds lighter.  Holding in all that negativity really couldn’t be good for anyone and I urge the rest of you to go on some type of rant.  I should add that my outbursts are not about anyone in particular, but just in case you think it’s about you, please remember I said, “With all due respect”.


The Shower Dilemma

I have come to the conclusion that as much as I like being clean, I am disenchanted with the shower process.  It’s not the shower I despise; I love sitting under the hot water scrubbing away the previous day’s filth and smelling, if only for a few moments, like pretty bath wash and flowers.  It’s the process after the shower that leaves me feeling drained; the hair, the moisturizer, the make-up, the fluffing, just typing about it exhausts me to no end.

As a child, I was an avid watcher of The Jetsons and my favorite part was when the mom, Jane, would have that giant helmet come down over her head and POOF! she looked beautiful.  Now 30 plus years later I am still sitting here waiting for that technology.  We can send a man to the moon, we have an “Internet” (still a concept that blows my mind) and we can outsource all our jobs to third world countries (ok that’s just me still being sour three years later), but we can’t supply women with a helmet to do hair and make-up in 30 seconds?  I feel screwed and if I were a conspiracy type I would be sure they have the technology and are using it on all the aliens they have captured.  Let’s be clear here I am talking about aliens from outer space, not the ones that cross the border.

As soon as I towel off and start “the process” I start negotiating with myself.  Well, I really don’t have that much going on today, so do I need to do eye make-up?  I will probably just sweat it off anyway.  Is blow drying my hair a good idea when global warming is happening?  And what about a flat iron, that just seems irresponsible, what if I forget to turn it off and burn the house down?  Again, I need to be clear that I am not that worried about things I can’t control or a paranoid person, I am simply looking for excuses not to complete “the process”.

If I have a crazy day where I don’t actually get into the shower until 4 or 5 in the afternoon (which happens a lot in the summer), I negotiate even more.  I weigh making dinner against putting on a bra, I contemplate putting on make-up for such a short period of time when I will only have to use make-up remover and water unnecessarily to take it back off, and really who dries their hair all the way when no-one is going to notice?

It’s a sad revelation to realize that I am only 41 (yes I said ONLY) and that as I age my willingness to look my best will be more heavily weighed against my desire to forego the shower process.  I am sure there is some mathematical equation that will include the law or diminishing returns in relation to shower divided by year that would tell me at what age I will discontinue giving a shit, however since I have trouble assisting my fourth grader with her math homework, odds are I would never solve that.

 

 


Summer Virus

It’s not quite mid July and we have been off with the kids about what 18 weeks now?  Well it seems like it.  I love summer, as it usually means downtime and that you can get a free babysitter by taking your kids to the pool while you chat with your friends, or moms that you pretend to be friends with because it promises some kind of future return.  This year we chose swim team which includes being up before 7:00AM six days a week.  As the weeks have worn on I feel my level of patience wearing thin and my desire to do something just for me growing.

It really only has been a few weeks, but I am suffering from that pesky summer virus, Annoyeditis.  It impacts millions of people everywhere and sadly most don’t even have a name for it.  Mine started a couple of weeks ago, but today it peaked and I have been fighting the desire to hide in a closet with my newest Kindle find and a bottle of some kind of spirit.  My children have the uncanny ability to figure out what will set me off.   It is simple things, but since they are repetitive and go against all common sense and logic these things make me feel as if I have been stabbed repeatedly in the brain.

My youngest takes off her shoes every time she gets in my car, the house not so much, but the car is a given.  I have asked her not to do this only because she somehow seems to lose the shoes in the two foot area surrounding her seat EVERY DAMN TIME!    I  have even begun every car trip with a disclaimer, “Please don’t take your shoes off, I want to be able to get out of the car without a search and rescue for your flip flops”.  Doesn’t matter, somehow she takes them off, or they “fall off”, or some mystery person took them off because she wouldn’t have done that .   When we are running late for an appointment I give the 2 mile warning, “I am sure your shoes are not on your feet, figure out where they are so you can get them back on quickly since we are already late”.  Her response, the same response every time, “How did you know my shoes were off?”

Both of my girls also have some kind of sensor that forces their body in front of any door I need to open.   I am not kidding when I say EVERY door, it amazes me how they lodge their bodies between me and the door needing to be opened and then just look at me like they don’t know what to do next.  Somehow they also know which way the door needs to open without checking and block it.  I actually had to physically remove one of my kids from the sensor on the side of an automatic sliding door just to get it to open.   Then there’s the doors to my minivan which they cannot pull hard enough on the handle to get it to actually slide open, but they have enough strength to get it to error out when I am trying to open it with my remote.  Here is an example of a usual trip out to the car:  Kids, please don’t pull on the handle while mommy is trying to open the door.  (As they are pulling on the handle) What did you say mom? ** Loud beeping sound as it retracts**  STOP grabbing the handle!  (As they are pulling on the handle) But, why?  ** Loud beeping sound as it retracts**   Step away from the car, before I lose it.  (Again pulling on the handle)  We’re just trying to help you!  ** Loud beeping sound as it retracts**    I walk to the door, slide both kids away from the door and open it.

I am also tired of answering questions that they fire at me while I am trying to drive, talk on the phone or just think.  In the car, fired in rapid succession, “Mom, why did we have to go the store?  Did you check to see if we had granola bars?  If the cashier in the store is slow are you going to yell at them again?  Hey – did you see that green car?  Do you know the person that was driving the green car?  Was it a man or woman driving the car?  Do you think they are going to the store to get granola bars?”   I actually just stressed myself out typing this, so imagine how I feel going 50 MPH and trying not to pass whatever destination I am heading towards.

Yes, I am tired and annoyed and we are only half way through summer.  Don’t get me wrong, there are joyous moments too that I try to remember as I am losing my shit on a daily basis.  There is no cure for Annoyeditis, but there is the fall to look forward to and booze as a bridge until then.  For now, I need to go answer some mundane questions about wet grass and dry sidewalks, wish me luck!

 

 


Sunscreen & Hair Brushing

There isn’t much I despise more than applying sunscreen or brushing my children’s hair.  It is like God’s true test to see if we are worthy or not, and apparently I am not.  I have never once been able to get through either of these activities without crying, screaming and being accused of trying to hurt them on purpose.  There is so much grief involved in these two things, that I find myself excusing us from doing things just so I don’t have to be bothered with these painful chores.

 

It is summer and I know my kids need to be protected from these harmful UV rays.  Our dermatologist echoes this with his scare-the-shit-out-of-you tactic to earn his semi-annual visits and $40 co-pays.  Let me throw in the fact that I have been watching ‘The Big C’ on Showtime and I am constantly diagnosing my family and self with some sort of potential melanoma.  For many years I have used that spray on sun screen that is one of the most brilliant things ever created, however this year the article in the dermatologist’s office warned of any sunscreen containing oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate, as they have a tendency to cause more harm than good.  Of course I take that one article as gospel and on my next trip to the store I find one sunscreen that doesn’t contain these two chemicals and guess what, it’s a lotion.

 

Applying lotion sunscreen to two kids is similar to wrestling a female alligator trying to protect her young.  I am really not sure how I get out alive each time, but there is a black out period I experience and I can’t be sure what happens or be held responsible for my actions.  I begin the process by warming the lotion in my hands before I start to rub it in, before I even touch them their motion detectors go off and they start pulling away from me.  This only causes me to grab them and pull them back toward me resulting in, “You are hurting me” or “I think you dislocated my arm”.  Yes, I am sure I did, you want to go to the pool or not?  Apparently massage therapists have it all wrong, because there is nothing relaxing about having someone rub lotion into our skin, in this case for the rub-er and the rub-ee (are those even words?).

 

I always wind up getting sun screen in the kid’s eyes no matter what tactic I try, so I am not even careful anymore.  “Look, it’s getting in your eyes either way, so let’s just speed this up and go with the squirt and slap around method!”  By the time we finish this entire process, stop crying and making accusations about inflicting bodily harm, two hours have gone by and we can now go to the pool for about 25 minutes before our next obligation.

 

Hair brushing is probably still more painful; for me, not them.  I have bought every kind of brush, comb and spray and the results are the same.  My six year old starts crying before I even finish the sentence, “You need to comb your hair”.  For some reason, even after my kids comb their hair it looks like they just rolled out of a static filled blanket.  I am so envious when I see kids with perfectly kempt hair, are they aliens?  Do their moms comb it using special glue that keeps it in place?  Whatever the secret it, I am willing to pay.

 

I have started to bow out of things, just to keep from having to comb their hair and the frustration that follows.  Even as I type this I know I need to go to Walgreens, but I would need them to comb their hair, so maybe I can just wait until my husband comes home and avoid the trauma.  I am really thankful that my oldest child has chosen swim as her sport of choice as I don’t even bother with her hair in the morning, why would I comb her hair just to have her jump in the pool and mess it up?  I am all about efficiency, spending ten minutes combing out her hair when I know she is going into the water is not a wise decision and would go against all those models I studied in grad school.

 

So, if you are wondering how I am spending my summer, I think it is quite obvious.  I will probably burn as many calories chasing my kids around the house with a tube of Banana Boat or a Goody brush, as I would climbing a mountain in stilettos.  It’s still not enough calories to get me into a bikini, but we got two months of sun screening and brushing to go, and I am feeling optimistic!