Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Hindsight Columnist

To say the least, my husband was a bit surprised when I told him about my newspaper gig. “A humor column?” he asked. “You?”

“Yes,” I said, defensively. “I’m a hoot!”

“When it comes to funny,” he said. “You’re not even first runner-up in our family. It goes me, then Zack, and maybe you.” Zack, remember, isn’t even 3 yet, and apparently his humor-ranking exceeds mine. But this comes from a man who trained our daughter to say on cue, “Dad, you’re a comedic genius.” He’s just jealous.

But I have to admit that I am “humor delayed.” I’m that person who thinks of the perfect comeback 5 hours after the conversation in question has ended. I have great arguments with my husband while I’m driving. Of course he’s not in the car at the time. “Are you talking to yourself again?” Kaleb, my oldest child, will ask from the backseat. “Yes, son,” I answer. “Mommy’s talking to herself again.”

I’m a basket case, a stress monger, an anxiety queen. In fact, for about three years I referred to myself as Worst-Case Scenario Mamma. I think that’s self-explanatory. So I don’t believe many people describe me as laidback, careless, witty. But hindsight is hilarious. I can look back on most hectic experiences and belly-laugh.

Here are some examples. Somehow your 2-year old daughter makes it to church wearing a cute little sundress and no diaper. When she throws a tantrum, you haul her from the chapel with her dress hiked up to her waist. Unbeknownst to you, she’s commando, mooning the back half of the congregation on your way out the pew. In the moment? Not so funny. Hindsight? Hilarious.

Here’s another one. You take your son to the doctor because his pee is pink. Now this one’s really not funny in the moment. The doctor’s nervous. The nurses are nervous. When you bring the pink specimen to the hospital, even the technicians are nervous. But the tests return negative. On your way home your son says, “I ate a red crayon yesterday. Could that make my pee pink?” Hindsight? Hilarious.

Or how about this? Your basement floods just five months after you move into your new home in Idaho Falls. The plumber comes, augers both your basement and your toilet drains only to break the news: you need a new sewer main. In the moment? Not so funny. Hindsight? Okay, so that one’s never funny no matter how much time passes. But you get the point.

So don’t come to my home expecting the housewife comedian, because I’m never off-the-cuff funny. To my husband, however, all the world’s a stage and he is (if you ask my daughter, anyway) a comedic genius. Me? I’ll be talking to myself as I drive my son to kindergarten.

“Are you talking to yourself again, Mom?” Kaleb will ask.

“Nope,” I’ll say. “Mommy’s just writing her humor column.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I visited my family over the weekend and one of the first things my brother asked was, “Is Zack any better?” My youngest child, Zack, has not been sick. But my brother wasn’t referring to his health; my brother was referring to his, uhm, behavioral issues.

Zack, I’m told, is a typical 2 and a half year old, although the people who tell me this are somewhat consolatory. They say it like an apology, shaking their heads and clicking their tongues. Poor, poor woman, they’re thinking. She’s got a monster on her hands.

Okay, so Zack’s not a monster. In fact, I see him as an advanced child, somewhat of a prodigy. The boy has superhuman destructive capabilities. We call him DestructoBoy (costume with cape forthcoming).

Most of the destruction takes place while one of us is in the bathroom. Once, in the middle of cleaning out the fridge, I took a break for less than three minutes, leaving Tupperware containers filled with spoiled food on the kitchen counter. I returned to find Zack standing tall on the countertop, throwing Tupperware to the floor with zeal. It took two moppings and one roll of paper towel to clean up the leftover Thanksgiving gravy, lil smokies in barbeque sauce, and moldy broccoli.

Whenever I turn the shower on I can hear a wooden chair scrape across the kitchen floor.

“Zack,” I yell from behind the shower curtain. “Put that chair back!”

I rush through my showers to find him stuffing cake, cookies, or stale Halloween candy into his mouth. He’s found all my hiding places, twice over. The last time I made hot cocoa I couldn’t even find the marshmallows.

And then there are Zack’s quiet moments in the bathroom. In two bath’s time he emptied one 40-count box of panty-liners, sticking them to the shower wall like spitballs to a ceiling. And if Guiness had a record for quickest toilet paper unrolling, that kid would be a contender; he’s gone through 5 rolls in the last two weeks.

It wouldn’t be so discouraging if I didn’t think that Zack was calculating, stealthy, and strategic in his raids. While I’m rerolling the toilet paper, he makes a break for the kitchen where he taste-tests all the yogurts, dropping spoonfuls of chocolate and strawberry whips onto the floor. While I’m mopping up yogurt he runs downstairs where he pulls folded laundry from their baskets and peppers the stairs with detergent.

Recently I’ve considered contacting the Office of Homeland Security. I think Zack would work well as a consultant. As my own little weapon of mass destruction I think he might be able to help our nation establish world peace. Nevermind peace at home. I’m guessing, however, that the government might pay him for his time. At least then I could be reimbursed for all that toilet paper.

Monday, March 19, 2007

River City Weekly Column

Just last week I got a column with a new Idaho Falls community newspaper, the River City Weekly. It will read just like my blogs. I'm waiting for more information from the editor to see if I can post the pieces I write here. As soon as I get the go-ahead, I'll upload them to the blog.