Monday, June 25, 2012


I work in the employee benefits industry.  One of my functions is to facilitate the implementation of various benefit plans.  I receive many enrollment forms and lists of employees and because I'm terribly nosey I tend to pour over the names of the participants and the names of the children.

I think it was 8th grade, though it may have been 7th, when I had a boyfriend who lived three towns away from me.  One of the towns between our homes had a main street with many stores, eateries and a parking deck behind it that was good for making out in.  I met quite a few boys walking up and down that strip after school, on weekends and all summer long.  Most of them were interested in my much prettier friends and it didn't take long for the boys to figure out that I was a drag compared to the other girls.  Every now and again though, one of the boys would fancy me and we'd begin a courtship.

How would a tween boy court me?  Well, we'd talk on the phone and find places to make out.  We would only go to first base though, because, as I mentioned, I was kind of a drag.

I certainly wouldn't want to divulge the identity of some kid I used to kiss, even though he probably doesn't remember me.  For the sake of anonymity and to keep this story moving, let's call him Joey Bagadonuts.  I grew up not too far from the land of the Sopranos, so wandering around the streets half of the kids I met were named Joey.  While this is not his name, please just take me at my word that this is a very appropriate alias.

One afternoon, we set a date for him to meet me at my middle school.  He was going to walk over four miles just to hang out with me.  This made me like him more, even though I had been growing increasingly bored by him.  I didn't think he was very smart or particularly funny or even cute.  At that age, my standards were pretty low and as long as a boy met the requirement of liking me, I'd go out with him.

He showed up at my school with a friend.  The friend set about flirting with my friends while I made it a point to hang on Joey so everyone would know he was my boyfriend.  I probably giggled like an idiot.  He started showing off with feats of strength and general asshattery that middle school boys partake of to show they are better than one another.

Joey trying to prove he was more man than the boys from my school was about the most disgusting display I could imagine.  I made up my mind that despite his affection for me, when I got home that afternoon I was going to call him and dump him.

Somehow, in the midst of his displays of machismo, he cut his thumb.  He made sure we all knew how litttle it hurt and he proudly held out his hand while we marveled at his bleeding finger.  He squeezed it and a blood bubble rose up out of it, forming a near perfect orb on his flesh.  The girls were squealing that it was gross while the boys tried to protect them from this grotesque sight.  Joey put his finger in his mouth and licked the blood away, laughing.

The thought that he was going to try to kiss me later practically made me vomit on the spot.  He asked me if I had a Band-Aid, but I did not.  He continued to suck his thumb and the bleeding slowed.  I decided I'd had enough of this tom foolery and said I was going home.  He looked at his thumb again and before I knew what was happening, he left a bloody thumbprint on the brown paper cover of my English book. It wasn't an accident, he didn't just smudge his blood-finger in an effort to perform an act of chivalry.  He deliberately wiped his DNA on the book cover.

I let him walk me home, but as he leaned in for he kiss, I turned away and went in my house, leaving him standing on the sidewalk asking what he did to piss me off.  I simply told him he did nothing. He eventually started walking away.  I called him before he had time to get home and left a message on his answering machine requesting that he not bother to call me anymore.

Rather than re-cover my English book, I circled the blood and wrote next to it, "Joey's blood.  Do NOT Touch!"  Then I crossed out all the hearts with our initials in them that were also on the book.  I left the blood there so that I could continue to get angry about it, day in and day out, for the rest of that year.  It turned from red to brown over those last weeks of school and when I finally ripped off the cover to return the book to the teacher, I was so glad I wouldn't have to avoid Joey's blood stain any longer.  It was a relief, really.  I was finally released from my this passive-aggressive grudge I was holding.

The company I work for is only a few miles from where I grew up and we have a fair amount of local clients.  As I was sorting through a stack of forms from one of these clients, one jumped out at me.

Employee Name:  Joey Bagadonuts

Thankfully, the forms had been scanned and emailed to me by my client and I could safely touch them without wondering what Joey had wiped on his.

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Friday, June 22, 2012


There is very little about me that could be considered middle ground.  I tend to operate on one end of any given spectrum or the other.  And in some cases, I operate on both.

My coworkers know me as someone who is super organized.  I have always said that my desk, emails and work in general will always be kept in such a way that should I drop dead today, someone will be able to pick up where I left off tomorrow.  When I had to start my maternity leave a week early, every thing was in order because I was preparing for a "just in case" departure for weeks.

My house, for the most part, tends to look like people don't live here.  Sure, we have our hot spots and there is one room that is the dumping ground for all the homeless items, but I likely won't let you in there.  My kid's room could use some straightening, but aside of one stray dog toy and a sand art necklace, I see nothing else out of place on my first floor.  It's still never neat and clean enough, but that's another matter.

There is, however, one place that despite my best efforts, I am an absolute disaster.  My purse is like a black hole.  I have a tendency to just throw everything in there.  If someone hands me change after a purchase, I just drop the receipt and the cash and coins into my purse.  When my jewelry starts getting on my nerves, I take it off and toss it in my purse.  When I'm done with my credit card, I don't bother taking my wallet back out (although, why did I put it back in the first place?), I just put the card in.  There are stray receipts, hair ties, pens, crayons, toys, snacks - wrapped and unwrapped, paper clips and feminine hygiene products all free-floating in there. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll find some fruit and some rocks.  One Tuesday or Wednesday, I found a pair of balled up damp socks that I had taken off after wearing them outside in the rain the previous Saturday.

My purse is gross.

Knowing that I tend to suffer from chronic headaches, I often carry Advil or Excedrin Migraine with me.  Recently, my bottle of Excedrin must not have closed properly because when I was looking for something I found only the empty bottle.  Where was the top?  Where were all the pills?  On the bottom of the purse, amongst the crumbs, salt from an old bag of pretzels and loose change.  Rather than rectifying the situation as soon as it was discovered, I shrugged my shoulders and went back about my business.

Several days later I awoke to that familiar ice-pick-through-the-temple feeling.  Sighing, I used my patented move of tipping my purse to the side so I everything rolls to one corner and I fished out two Excedrin.  I still did not put the rest back in the bottle.

About a week went by when my office mate asked if I had any pain relievers.  I told her I did, but, her options weren't great.  I offered up the one Advil I had left or she could have as many crayon coated, crumby, linty Excedrin as she'd like.  She didn't understand how this could happen, so I showed her my purse.  I started pulling out the contents onto my desk. This is not even half of it.

She covered her mouth in horror and then couldn't stop laughing at me.  Of course I took a picture of it.  I want it noted, that despite her disapproval of this situation, she did decide to go with 2 Excedrin.  She wiped them off as best she could and so far she hasn't gotten sick.

Here's a close up of the Excedrin.  The dark spots are either black crayon or something else.  It's best you don't ask too many questions.

I did at this point gather up the Excedrin and put them back in the bottle.  The rest of my purse, on the other hand, is still a mess.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Put. Keep.

When Nathan was a baby, I started playing a game where I'd pretend to put him places he didn't belong.  He was probably about 9 months old when I'd hold him up and put his back up against the wall and say, "I will PUT you here!" and he would giggle.  I'd turn my head like I might walk away and I think he really thought he could stick there.  As he got bigger I started putting him in other places.  On the kitchen counter, on top of my dresser or I'd pretend I was going to put him on top of a door.

Once he was able to sit up on his own and could be trusted not to fall over, I'd put him in places and let go.

I'll PUT you... on top of the dryer! I'll PUT you... on top of the car!

As he got bigger, it got sillier always with the warning to never, ever try to put himself in places.  Only moms can put their kids places.

Head first, I'll PUT you into the freezer!  Gimme this soup pot, I'm going to PUT you in there because I'm hungry for Natey Soup!  I'll PUT you on top of the mantle and you can be my new decoration!  Come here, you, I've got some PUT-ing to do.  Where can I PUT you today?

He trusted me and it was silly and he giggled.

When he started getting too big and squirmy to be put places, I started a new game.  I'd sneak up on him, wrap my arms around him and say, "I will KEEP you!"  He'd run away laughing and I'd pretend to be angry.  I'd snarl at him, "Get over here, you're mine and I'm going to KEEP you!"  I'd squeeze him too tightly and he'd wiggle away and laugh.

He always says, "You have to let me go!  You can't keep me!"  We both laugh because it's part of the game, but it's so true.  I can't keep him.  Someday I do have to let him go.  But I won't think about that now because he's mine and for now I will keep him.
This morning we were sitting on the couch together.  I was trying to read and drink my coffee; he was trying to make me solve a new level of the The Lorax on my iPhone.  I put the laptop and the iPhone on the floor and grabbed him.  I smothered him in kisses and he laughed.  I cradled him, his enormous limbs flying all over the place as he tried to get away.

"Stop it.  Be my baby again," I said to him.
"Goo goo ga ga," he replied.  Goofball.

I placed his head gently onto the throw pillow. I told him when he was my baby I would put his head on a pillow and he would stay like that and let me snuggle him.

"I'm not a baby, Mama, I'm a boy!"  He was all wiggly.  He is so big.  I was feeling nostalgic.  I miss my baby sometimes, the baby that always wanted my cuddles, even against my will.

"Let me snuggle you." I said to him sweetly.

"Lean in," he said in a hushed tone.  "I want to whisper something to you."

I leaned in, close enough to feel his hot breath on my cheek.

He coughed in my face.  Then he laughed wildly, pushed his way off the couch and ran.

Yup, he's a boy all right.

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Monday, June 18, 2012


This week's Monday Listicles topic is what I'd do with a $1,000 allowance.  I was trying to think of ten things I could do with $1,000, but either I have expensive taste or $1,000 doesn't go very far.  So here are 10 different things I could do with $1,000.  I think it should be noted that coming up with this list took me all of about 10 minutes which means that I could spend money in a heartbeat.

1.  Clothing shopping spree.  I can always use new stuff since I tend to abuse my favorite items by wearing them several times each week.

2.  Pay off $1,000 towards my car.  I HATE that we have a car payment right now and that would take a nice chunk out of what's left.

3.  I would use it towards replacing my kitchen floor.  The floor, when we bought this house, was brand new vinyl garbage.  Brand new anything looks good, but it seems that even looking at this vinyl crap puts a hole in it or a scratch or a stain.  No amount of cleaning it makes it look good anymore which is just terrible.

4.  I really, REALLY want a new computer.  Since the one I have is passable I can't really justify spending money on it, but if someone was just giving me $1,000, that would be a different story.

5.  I would spend a weekend away with my husband.  We haven't been able to do that for a long time for a variety of reasons.  $1,000 would certainly help.

6.  I would pay a professional organizer to help me organize stuff in a professional manner.  I'm sure I could do it on my own, but a pro would be helpful, don't you think?

7.  I would buy new running shoes and I'd pay someone to watch my kid so I could go running whenever I wanted.  I know it wouldn't be long before my money ran out, but hopefully I'd have a good habit by then.

8.  Maybe I'd buy some personal trainer sessions.  It would be better if I could buy the fat off myself but  this seems unlikely to actually work.  How much is lipo anyway?  Is it less than $1,000?  What about just a little lipo?

9.  I feel like I want to spend $1,000 on food.  I'm thinking Cracker Barrel breakfast or cupcakes.  Bakery shopping spree?  Or cheese and wine.  That would be good.  Or Mexican food and margaritas!!  Or maybe a fancy Italian dinner, also with wine.  (Can you see why #8 popped into my head now?)

10.  I'd hire a cleaning service for as far as a grand would take me.  I really hate cleaning.  Or landscapers, my front yard looks terrible.  Or laundry service.  I don't really like doing laundry either.  Or kitchen help - cooking, cleaning.  Because even though I don't mind cooking, I'm tired and I don't want to do it anymore.

In a nutshell, I'd take $1,000 and pay people to do stuff I don't want to do or I'd pay to make myself look better.

I'm not being honest with you.  If I found extra money just hanging around, I'd save it or use it for practical stuff.  I'd wish I was blowing it on fun stuff.  I don't really spend money frivolously, unless you count take out.  If I considered that frivolous and stopped doing it, we would be millionaires.  And I wouldn't need the personal trainer or the lipo.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have an enormous portion of baked ziti and meatballs to devour.

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Friday, June 15, 2012


The other night, my son graduated from preschool.  I don't think he understands in the least what that means, particularly since the following morning he had to return to the preschool where he will spend the summer.  We've talked about him going to kindergarten in September, but since I know the change of scenery is going to cause him some stress, we're not talking about kindergarten too much until we have to.

The graduation was really cute.  They sang songs, some nonsense about painting rainbows in their hearts and making a better world one kid at a time.  I loved the song they sang about being friends forever and how they all held hands while they did it.  It simultaneously made me laugh and get teary when I realized that the song is only true if forever lasts until August when these kids all go their separate ways to kindergartens in neighboring towns.  But sure.  Forever.

The graduation was held at 7pm in order to accommodate the working parents.  While this is preschool, it truly is full time day care and if we had our afternoons free to watch a graduation we wouldn't need the day care in the first place.  Of course, that doesn't stop them from having the holiday show in the middle of the day, but it's all good.  I'm not a fan of schedule deviations, so it hardly matters when they hold it.  I joked though with his teacher that my gift to her would be Nathan's lovely disposition the following morning after he was up far past his bedtime.  She thought I was kidding.

When I arrived to pick him up from school yesterday, I was informed that Nathan was "busy with his hands" all day.  This was her nice way of telling me he was hitting his friends.  This was the first ever report of my son hitting a classmate ever and he's been in day care at least part time since he was 18 months old.  Proud mommy moment.  The day after he graduates and he gets handsy.  Miss V did tell me that they were all pretty awful that day because they were so tired, but I'm still not happy about the report.  And after last week's episode requiring a costume change I was really starting to question his kindergarten readiness.

As Miss V and I were chatting, Nathan had gone into the bathroom.  All of a sudden we heard the loudest shriek and scream ever to leave my child's mouth.

"I FELL IN!!!!"

Miss V and I went running into the bathroom to find my kid, shorts around his ankles, dripping wet from the waist down.  The seat wasn't down on the toilet and he actually fell inside of it.  He was embarrassed and had hurt his back and legs falling in.  Miss V ran to get his spare outfit from his cubby while I dried him and helped him get undressed.  Tears were pouring down his face and in between gulps for air he wailed that he got so scared falling like that.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to not laugh at your sopping wet child who just fell in a toilet?  It's very hard.  I promise you that.

Please, please let none of the past week's events be an indication that my kid is going to be the kid in kindergarten who hits his friends and falls in toilets and needs to change his clothes.  I thought we were ready.  I mean, he graduated and all.  They wouldn't let him graduate preschool if he wasn't ready, right?

Seriously though, I couldn't be more proud of this boy.  He's such a great learner and he takes his scholarly duties very seriously.  He will make a fantastic kindergartner and he will love the new challenges of real school (though that's going to take a little time, I think).  I know he will shine in all that he does and I am really looking forward to his new adventures.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Someone said to me to be kind to myself.  She said, "You deserve kindness and love."

She is wrong.  I do not.  She doesn't know me.

She only sees what I let her see.  She sees the person who does good, who is friendly, who is supportive of others.  She sees what I pretend to be.

She doesn't know that inside I am a terrible person.  She doesn't hear what I hear.  I am rotten and miserable, straight into my core.  If she knew, she would be done with me.  If she knew, she'd understand why I am so hard on myself.  She wouldn't waste her time on this lost cause.

I push the loathsome parts of me down so far in the hopes that all that can come out of me is good.  This is how I fool people.  I am dishonest about who I am.

It passes.  The bile in my gut, instead of rising up this morning, sinks back down until it's gone.  I am not angry.  I am not sad.  My head is quiet this morning.  Today, I do not hate.

I wake up to my heart racing.  Before I can even blink I am ready to conquer the world.  I will go off and do wonderful things.  I will be spectacular.  I will shine and you will take note.  You will be in awe of all that I am.

I do not need your love or your kindness or your adoration.  I don't need anything from you.  I know I am amazing.  I don't need you to tell me.  I don't need to seek your approval.

I need to act on these impulses.  I must do everything there is to be done and I must do it all now.

I must take hold of this, before it's too late.

Soon, the cycle will begin again.

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Monday, June 11, 2012


This week's Monday Listicles topic was selected by the wonderful writing team behind The Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, Ellen and Erin.  If you've never visited their site, I highly recommend!  Their list topic, Things That Make You Go Hmm, is a throw back to that lovely hit song from the 90s.

I remember lamenting some tale of woe to a friend of mine back in the day.  I suspect it was something about unrequited love, but it hardly matters.  And when I got done telling her the atrocity that I perceived had been committed against me, her only reply was, "Things that make you go hmm."  Every time I hear the song, I think of her.

But on to the list.

1.  Why is it that of late every time I'm out driving I encounter someone who seems to think that just because they put their turn signal on they can just make the turn?  The signal doesn't give you the right of way, waiting for those who actually have it to finish doing what they're doing gives you the opportunity to go.  Oh, and BTW, just because you want to make a left turn onto a main thoroughfare out of a fast food joint or the gym doesn't mean you can just inch out into traffic and block it so that you can MAKE a way for yourself.

2.  Here's some office life head-scratchers:  When you pick up your stuff from the printer, why don't you check to make sure it's just your stuff?  Why don't you check to see if all your stuff printed or if it ran out of paper?  Same with the copier?  And if you're going to turn on one printer, why don't you turn on the one directly next to it, even though you don't use it?  When you use the last of the water, why don't you put on a new bottle or find someone who can?

3.  When did the general public forget that you should stay to the right, not just on the road, but everywhere?  In the grocery store, for example?  If you stay to the right going in your direction and I stay to the right going in my direction then when we're walking down the aisle, we don't have to engage in a game of chicken.

4.  When did it become OK to intentionally go out in your pajamas?  And when did winter snow boots like Uggs become something you wear in June?  I can't tell you how many girls I saw wearing them in the herd the other day.  Seriously, it's getting warm out.  Their feet must stink.  I hope they aren't hanging out with a boy after school.

5.  When I was a kid, if it was your birthday, you brought cupcakes in to school.  The end.  These kids still bring in cupcakes swirled with at least 35% more icing, but now they also bring in a bucket of candy and stickers and crayons.  These goody bags resemble Easter baskets and I don't get it.  Why are the parents out-doing each other?  Why do you have to give your kid's classmates gifts on your kid's birthday?  You gave your kid life and cupcakes, isn't that enough?

6.  Why must everything that tastes good be so filled with fat and calories?  And why is falling off the diet wagon so delicious?  AND why is climbing back on the diet wagon on a Monday so dreadful?

7.  How did my child, who is 5, forget how to put on socks?  One day a few weeks ago, he completely lost it over his socks being uncomfortable and he ripped them off in a fit of rage.  I put them back on, straightened the offensive toe-seam and we were good to go.  Now, every morning, he stands before me crying, socks in hand, because he doesn't know how to put them on.

8.  Mayonnaise.  Just in general.  You guys, it's eggs and vinegar.  Why does that sound good to you?  It's all whipped up into a gelatinous goo and then put into perfectly good food to ruin it.  And why, WHY for the love all that is good in this world, does it always end up in a little clump in the corner of someone's mouth?  It is a most offensive condiment.  Its popularity will always be a mystery to me.

9.  There's a gas station along a route I take with relative frequency that has a sign near the side of the highway.  The sign reads, "God Bless America NFL Exxon."  I get the America part.  I get the Exxon part.  But the NFL?  Really?  I mean, sure, you can ask God to bless whatever you want, but why is a gas station (or, ostensibly, its owner) seeking blessings for the NFL?

10.  I was putting my grocery items on the belt today when some woman threw the order separator bar on the belt and started putting her stuff up.  I wasn't even halfway done emptying my cart.  Her stuff kept falling on mine and I was quickly running out of room as the belt advanced and her stuff took up more and more space.  It became apparent how annoyed I was to have to keep moving her Cheerios when this happened:
Her:  Did I do something wrong?
Me:  Yes.  I wasn't done putting my stuff up and you are taking over the belt.
Her:  That's what the bar is for.
Me:  No, it isn't.  It's for when I'm done.  Then you put it on the end.
Her:  You have a real problem.
Me:  Listen, we're all in a rush.  There's just no need to push me out.
Her:  Guess what?  I'm not in a rush.  You can take all day for all I care.
Me:  OK.  I'm not in the mood for anyone's crap today.  Maybe it's your first day in a grocery store.  You're supposed to wait.
Her:  Are you an IDIOT?
Me:  {Sigh}  You're really obnoxious.
So much wrong with that exchange.  It's really just one of many things that makes me go hmm.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012


Yesterday, I shared with you all how terrible a day and week it has been. That was all before 4pm Friday.  Here's how it's been since then.

When I picked up my kid at school, my fourth trip there of the day, he jumped for joy when he saw me and skipped across the playground to the child-fetching gate.  His teacher came over and said, "Oh, Nathan is so glad you're here!  He's been talking about his 2 night sleepover at Grandma and Pop's all day.  And you, Mommy, getting 2 nights off with your husband.  Have fun, Mommy!"  She waved her hand at me and gave me playful smile.  She has kids, too.  She knows the deal.

I promptly shook my head no and gave the "cut" motion and she went white.  Because like I said, she has kids and she knew if something went wrong, there was about to be disaster.  We said our goodbyes, gathered our things and headed to the car.  Nathan was skipping and jumping and finally he said, "So you packed all my things and we're going straight to Grandma and Pop's?"

"Uh, about that buddy..."  I explained the power outage and how we wouldn't be going anytime soon.  He was crushed.  Devastated.  It was as if I said he'd never go again, never mind just until the next morning at worst.

And then he turned on me, as any irrational pre-schooler would.  He yelled it was all my fault. It was mean of me to not let him go.  Why couldn't I just turn the power back on?  I made the power go out.  I never let him do anything fun.  He ended his tirade with, "You just like to make your kid sad."

Yup, Kid, that's right.  This was what I was hoping for.

And then I realized we forgot his lunchbox at school and I had to turn around and go back for a fifth time and retrieve it, lest it get stolen or misplaced or just simply fester with whatever fruit he didn't eat all weekend.

I explained that everyone was disappointed, but when the power came back on he could go, probably in the morning.  He wanted me to wake him in the middle of the night if it came on then.  I told him as soon as I knew it was on, he'd know.  After the nonsense of the drive home and the continuing back-talk and and the last thread of patience I had inside of me completely wiped away, he finally calmed down and got distracted with a book.  I set about the last few chores of the day when the message came in:

The power was back on.  We could now have the 2 night sleepover after all.

And as much as it pained me to give the child what he wanted after all of the carrying on, I packed him up and dropped him off.  There was a 2 hour stretch in there about dinner and dessert (which wasn't candy, also making me mean) and his shoes being uncomfortable and me not remembering a toy he wanted to bring.  By the time I gave him that last hug and told him I loved him, I was so emotionally spent.  I wanted to strangle him and squeeze him with love at the same time.

It wasn't his fault I had a bad day before I had to ruin his.  I should have had more patience.  I yelled and I felt horrible.  That really sums up the week - I felt horrible about just about everything I did.

So my husband and I went to dinner.  I fell off the diet wagon hard.  I slept in this morning until 8:08, a full 2 1/2 hours after my wake up time with the boy the last 2 weeks.  I watched Mad Men this morning with 2 cups of coffee.

I missed my boy terribly.  But his grandparents brought him over so he could pick up some toys, including the one I forgot to pack him last night.  I got to squeeze him super hard and I told him I loved him and I missed him so much last night.  He said sweetly with a smile that melts my heart, "I love you and and missed you too, Mama."

I feel better.  He's not mad or upset anymore.  He missed me, too.

I gave him one more big squeeze and too many kisses.  I held his beautiful cheeks in my hand, gave them a little pinch and said, "I look forward to missing you more tonight.  I'll see you tomorrow, buddy!"

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Friday, June 8, 2012


This week has been awful.  Today was supposed to be the day the week turned around.

Monday was incredibly busy at work with me firmly up against a tight deadline with a very important and complicated task.  There is one aspect of my job that I loathe and I've been asking for 5 years to have it reassigned and this task fell squarely into that category.  It was for the president of the company.  At the end of the day I had the horrible realization it just wasn't going to be done on time and properly.  I made a mistake, plain and simple.  I know this happens, but it was the worst possible project for a problem to happen with and I felt like a giant tool about the whole thing.  I still do.  

Tuesday was spent reeling from spending Monday on my epic screw up and then dealing with the fallout from it.  I was now behind and upset.  I cried at work.  I don't like people to know that I can do that, so that made me cry more.

Wednesday and Thrusday were more of the same.  I worked like a demon trying to make my next round of deadlines, up against clients who don't provide the data I need to do the work they want by the time they want it.  And of course in between each step I had to deal with someone who all of a sudden needed something that couldn't wait.  I just barely finished getting the last thing done on Thursday when I had to run out the door to fetch my kid from preschool and then fetch my husband from the train.  My husband, who I had not seen since Sunday morning because he was on the other side of the country for work, had flown in on the red-eye and was at work all day on zero sleep.  The last thing I wanted to do was to tell him about all the of the crap from the week so I tried to put a smile on (I failed, in case you're curious).

I should mention that there was other drama and ridiculousness, but none of it is fit for the blog.  So suffice to say I had pretty much had it at this point.  I had to not do things I wanted to do, things that were important to me, because of other more important things and I was feeling terrible and beaten down and I was just so glad that tomorrow was Friday.

Oh Friday, how you've let me down.  I am not supposed to work on Fridays, but I was going to go in to attempt to catch up on the things I didn't do because of the other things I needed to do.  The scale didn't move this morning, so that was disappointing.  Yeah, did I mention that I've spent the week trying to reduce my dependence on cheese and caffeine, cutting all alcohol from my diet and lowering my calorie intake?  What a week to try to discontinue eating my feelings.

I arrived at the child's school only to realize that we forgot his blankie, which is required for naptime.  Then I got to work, only to realize that the person who usually gets there earlier than I do and unlocks the doors wasn't coming in this morning so I sat in my car waiting for someone else.  When I finally started working, I realized that my client didn't get me the thing I needed last night so I could finish his stuff this morning.  I left work at 9:30 to run home and get Blankie, then ran to acupuncture.  Thank goodness for the 1 hour in my day that was not irritating.

I headed over to the kid's school, getting stuck in a traffic detour because of roadwork.  I dropped off the blanket to return to the office.  I got stuck in more traffic and more detours.  I was trying to get stuff done and eat an orange (did you ever try to type while eating an orange?) since I was ravenous.  Stupid diet.   Then I find out from my manager that the VP called and the thing I crammed in last minute for him and the president had an error in it.  Effing beautiful.  I don't make a lot of mistakes but when I do, they all happen in a neat little cluster for the most important people.

Cue the tears!  Did I mention yet that I have now entered my mid-cycle hormonal craziness?  Well, yes.  I remind myself that I just need to get through the day, do some laundry, pick the kid up from school and I can drop him at his grandparents for the 2 night sleepover we've all been dreaming of for weeks.

Then the phone rang and it was my father in law.  There was an explosion somewhere and the power is out.  They can't take the kid until it comes back on.  You have got to be kidding me.  I finished up what I could at work and left.

I went home and made myself a STUPID salad at 2:15.  I'm beyond ready for lunch and I'm about to eat a salad, as if that's going to help my mood.  I sat down to write a blog post for today when my phone rang again.  I saw the number.  At first I didn't recognize it, but then it was clear.  It was the school's number.

My kid needed new underwear and apparently his extra undies from his cubby were not there and he refused to wear school underwear.  Now, I don't know what the hell school underwear is and I'm glad that my kid had the good sense not to wear underwear that doesn't belong to him.  But the last thing I wanted to do was drive back to the school with friggin clean underwear.  And where the hell did his spare pair go?  He is not the kid who has accidents all the time. This was my first call ever for this purpose.  Today.  Of all days.

I got in the car and drove.  The high school just let out so there were herds, HERDS, of teenagers everywhere.  Sigh.  They don't even look, they just walk right out into the street.  They pull out of the parking lot as if they own the town.  I'm scowling and cursing when I realize that one of them is my neighbor.  I smiled at her, then went back to giving those other creepy kids dagger eyes.   They were completely nonplussed about it, by the way.

When I get to school, I see one of the classes is practicing for graduation, the same ceremony my son will be in next week.  They were announcing names and calling them "graduates" and I got all teary again because remember I'm hormonal.  And this day has sucked.  So I had to run away before anyone noticed I was crying over kids that weren't even mine practicing for graduation from preschool.

I drove back home, still dodging the slowest of the herd of teenagers.  I pulled up to my house, intent on finishing my salad and the laundry and this post (which is now entirely different from how it started).  My neighbor (not the teenager) saw me and while we were chit-chatting, a bug flew in my eye.  Then my father in law texted to say the power is still out.

I want to curl up into a ball and go to sleep until tomorrow.  But it's only 3:44, the house is a mess, I may or may not have to pack my kid up for the weekend and I may or may not have to get dressed to go out to dinner with my husband and I may or may not have to make dinner for my husband and my kid.  

I will need to leave in less than an hour now to pick up my son from school.  This will be the fourth time today I'll be going to school.  And, on top of all the week's papers and his nap sheet and his homework book and all the other end of the week garbage I have to cart home, now I'll also have a pair of soiled underwear to tend to.

Sigh.  I'd make some sort of comment about how things can't get worse, but you know what happens when someone says that, don't you?

Edited to add:  You can see how the next 18 hours or so went here
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012


My kid doesn't eat like a normal kid.  He used to until he was about 13 months old.  Now he doesn't.  It isn't really that simple, but that sums it up.

Frustrated by the fact that he eats only a handful of things, all of which must be prepared a certain way and must look a certain way, Friday night I decided that I'd had enough.  Something needed to be done.

Some children can be bribed, cajoled, bargained with or in some way convinced to try new foods.  Nathan isn't one of these children.  If you offer him an incentive, he will provide you with a counter offer.  The counter offer usually involves him getting the reward without doing the desired action.  Or he will simply tell you that the reward is of no interest to him, therefore he doesn't need to do what you want him to do.

This isn't new.  He's been honing his negotiating skills since he could talk.  His first word was at 9 months.  He's 5 1/2 now.  There has been much practice.

One day when he was about two years old we were having a battle of wits over dinner.  I told him he had to take one bite of one of the things on his plate.  "Just eat something," I said to him.   He pointed to the dining room wall and said, "Da sign on da wall says, 'Nuffin.  No dinner!' "

In case you were wondering, we didn't actually have a sign on our wall that said anything, let alone one that said, "Nothing. No dinner!"

I asked him on Saturday what foods he might consider trying.  Name anything, I told him.  It didn't matter what it was, I'd cook it or buy it or whatever it took.  He told me there was nothing he'd try because he was never going to try new foods in his life, not ever.

Without anything to go on from him, I bought sliced deli chicken and Kids Wonder Bread.  He likes chicken nuggets and he likes toast so this seemed like a fairly innocuous challenge food.  But knowing my child, I offered up the following reward.  If you take one bite, chew it and swallow it, I will take you to the toy store and buy you one small pack of Mighty Beanz for your collection.  If you eat the whole sandwich, you can have $20 worth of Mighty Beanz.  You can even have some soda to wash it down with.

The offending sandwich.  Can you even see the chicken?
Do you need a magnifying glass?

I should note that the child is rarely allowed soda, though he loves it dearly.  He is his mother's child, after all.  We have these mini cans left over from a recent BBQ, so I thought a toy and sugar combo would be enough to get him to try one bite of this stupid sandwich.

I presented the sandwich and he immediately covered his mouth and started screaming that it smelled horrible and he was going to puke.  We sat down at his toddler table and he shoved the plate away.  I tried to get him to even touch it and he took off running.

I caught him and brought him back to the table.  He started dramatically gagging.  I offered to hold it for him, to cut off a piece or to even let him sit on my lap.  Seriously, what's a woman gotta do to get her kid to eat a bite of a sandwich?

"I'm AFRAID!!!"  Over and over and over.  He climbed into my lap.  Now two of us were sitting on this toddler-sized chair.

In my head:  It's a @*&%ing sandwich!!!  It is one slice of chicken and Wonder Bread for crying out loud.  It's not even a WHOLE sandwich.

From my mouth:  I know you're scared, Sweetie.  Just take one bite, grab the soda and wash it down.  No biggie!  Then we go to the toy store!  You're a big, brave boy.  You can DO this!  

I reached out to pick up the sandwich, naively thinking that if I held it up towards him, he'd be so wrapped up in my perky speech that he'd take a bite and then we could all rejoice that my 5 year old FINALLY ate something that a 2 year old could eat.

He vomited in my lap.

And so, he did not eat the sandwich.  I did get him to eventually agree to lick a piece of the bread, so that earned him hugs and some praise for his bravery.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my boy is brave because he licked bread.  Sigh.

I don't know what I was expecting.  I don't know what I'll do next.  I do hope I'll sleep through the night tonight, because I find that 3am is a most excellent time for worrying that he'll end up with scurvy or rickets or whatever else a kid can contract from not eating properly.  And I will dwell on the fact that it's all my fault.  3am is also the perfect time for Bad Mommy Guilt.

For now, I'll consider the small victories.  He DID lick the bread.  That WAS big for him.  And tonight he tried a tater tot, even though he only likes french fries and even though he was hesitant.  He beamed when he ate it and he liked it.  And when I asked if maybe he could try a potato a third way, since now he knows he likes them two ways, he shrugged and said maybe.  It wasn't a definitive no.  That is a sign of hope.

To many this sounds silly, I'm sure.  Many kids are picky, I know this.  This is worse than that.  This is way beyond picky.  He's such a smart and wonderful and funny boy.  Why?  Why won't he just eat?

read to be read at yeahwrite.meLinking up again with Yeah Write, a wonderfully supportive community of writers who blog and bloggers who write.  Consider joining us.  At least come back Thursday to vote, OK?
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Monday, June 4, 2012


It's been a while since I've participated in a Monday Listicles.  It's not that I don't love participating, I do.  I've been overwhelmingly busy and though I've started posts for the past few weeks, they never quite got off the ground.

The topic this week is summer memories.  Since I've lived through 36 summers, I have lots of memories.

1.  Just about every Saturday when I was a kid was spent at my grandparents' house.  That meant ice cream cones on the front steps, walks with my grandfather and running through their sprinkler.  There was also bike riding, roller skating and ball playing.

2.  Usually once a summer, my father would make barbequed chicken.  My mother never grilled anything and she hated when he wanted to make the chicken.  She said you had to parboil it, but it was years before I realized she wasn't saying hard boil like you do to eggs.  She felt that if you have to cook it inside before you cook it outside, that was too much work.  But the chicken was so good and it was the only thing my father ever cooked for us.

3.  My brother and I shared a bedroom on the second floor. We had one window.  My mother would put a box fan in there pointed out to "draw out the heat."  I thought she was insane.  It was still hot as hell up there and I remember being up well into the middle of the night before it was cool enough to sleep.  She used to tell us to "lie still" and that would help.  She was full of shit on that one, but that didn't stop me from saying it to my son when his old room didn't have AC.

4.  Continuing the air conditioning theme, eventually we got one in our dining room.  It was someone's old one, which basically meant it barely worked.  My mother would hang sheets over the dining room doorways to keep the cold in.  At night, my brother and I would sleep under the dining room table in our sleeping bags because we wouldn't fit anywhere else.  It was sort of like camping.  You know, if instead of a tent people camped under tables.

5.  One year they dug up the small lot next to the apartment building across the street from our house.  They were paving it for a driveway.  I still don't know why, but my father told the people doing the digging to put the dirt in our yard.  There was a mound almost to the top of our swing that whole summer.  The swings were buried, the yard was useless.  My mother was furious.  The dirt was fun to climb on.  Less fun was discovering the hard way that there was glass, nails and rocks in it.  We spent that summer playing kick ball and dodgeball in the street.  I assure you, that was safer.

6.  At the end of the dead end street I grew up on was a vacant lot known as The Lot.  We were absolutely forbidden to go play in there, so every day we'd go up there to play.  There was an old rusty set of stairs like you'd find in a warehouse and lots of other junk that people dumped there.  We picked crab apples (presumably to throw at one another) and looked for snakes.  My mother didn't really appreciate when we would come home with pets.  She also didn't like the day my brother came home with a cocaine vial that he found in there.  Or when I came home with this cool thing that I thought looked like a mini toilet seat but was actually a birth control pill container.

7.  We used to put the snakes we found in an old fish tank.  One morning we woke up and the snake was gone.  My mother made us look all over the house and basement for it but we never found it.  I still laugh when I think of the look on her face.

8.  The first summer my mother went back to work I was only 11 and she made us spend days with our grandparents.  My grandfather took us to some historic castle and to the Thomas Edison museum which was actually pretty cool.  We went to a diner and I ordered a hot dog but they were out of hot dog buns so they cut it in half and put it on a hamburger roll.  I thought this was pretty funny.  What's funny really is the silly stuff that one will consider a special memory.

9.  We drove to Maine from NJ one summer - my grandparents, my mother, my brother and I.  It took about 8 hours.  My grandfather would step on the gas, speed up, take his foot off, let the car slow down. Repeat.  For 8 hours.  Our heads would jerk forward and back, over and over.  Then the car broke down and we stood on the side of the road for awhile.  My brother collected lichens in a Burger King cup and he saved them all summer.  We still make fun of him for those stupid lichens.

10.  And speaking of that trip to Maine, it was my one and only actual summer vacation as a child.  It was wonderful.  We went to restaurants and we spent time with family.  We hung out at some cousin's farm,  and then at another cousin's barbeque.  We played badminton and flew this handmade airplane in my great-uncle's back yard.  My brother and I wrote a play that we performed with the weird little country stuffed animals that my great-aunt made.  They tried to get me to eat baked beans and brown bread from a can (both were nasty) and then they let me eat Frosted Flakes for dinner.  We swam in a lake and went to garage sales and the ladies went to Bingo at night.  The kids stayed behind and caught lightning bugs or some such.  I read a whole bunch of Choose Your Own Adventure books plus a few others I brought with me (in one week. I loved to read!).

That last one, that's probably one of my favorite childhood memories, summer or otherwise.  Be sure to check out Stasha's page and read some of the other Listicle participants.

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