Thursday, April 24, 2008

5 going on 30...

We’ve spent considerable time teaching our children their phone number and address in case they ever get lost and have to tell the nice policeman where they belong. And just last week my daughter demonstrated acute recall ability when she began handing out said phone number to little boys in her kindergarten class.

How do I know this? One of said boys called two afternoons ago while my daughter was with her grandmother. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hello?

Little Rico Suave: Hi. Is Leah there? This is Little Rico.

Me: She’s with her grandmother.

LRS: Could she play at my house later?

Me: No.

LRS: I’ll call back later.

Me: 10 years from now would be good.

LRS: What?

When I confronted my daughter she informed me that Little Rico wasn’t a boyfriend. And as any child springing from my loins is wont to do, she turned the conversation into a semantic debate. She explained, “I took the word ‘boy’ and ‘friend’ apart. I told Little Rico that he’s my friend who’s a boy. Not my ‘boyfriend’.” Does she think I fell off the turnip truck? Like that excuse wasn’t around a kazillion years ago when I was in elementary school?

I reminded her that she wouldn’t be talking to boys, distributing her phone number to boys, or going over to play with the Little Rico’s of the world until she was twenty three. Reasonable, right? She pouted.

That night I called Little Rico’s mom and told her that I had not intended for my 5-year old to give her phone number to little boys. The mother agreed, bemoaning this fast-paced generation where kids hook up over their preschool snacks. Apparently she wasn’t so keen on my daughter giving her phone number up so easily. Did she just call my daughter a floozy? No matter. This would all soon be in the past.

The next day I asked Leah if she had informed Little Rico Suave that she is not allowed to give her phone number to boys. She told me she had but complained, “He said he didn’t care what you say. He’s going to call again anyway.” I imagined this five-year old boy defending his love for my daughter passionately, calling outside her window, “LEEEEE-ah” in a very Stella-esque manner.

A warning about this had not been distributed in my parenting materials.

I told my daughter our address wasn’t up for grabs either.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I was honked at today, and I’m still not over it.

Here’s what happened:

This morning I went to drop my kids off at school, determined to remain calm regardless of the chaos that is “get ready for school.” Kaleb and Leah began fighting over who would open the door. Kaleb opened it, Leah closed it and tried reopening it only to be cut off by her brother. And since I couldn’t reach the door myself, this happened one more time before the car behind us honked. I told my children they needed to get out. Now.

Disoriented by the honking, both my dear, dear children seemed to forget how to open the van altogether, so I opened my door, walked over to their side and opened it for them. By this time a string of cars had backed up behind us and the Honker was giving me the exaggerated shoulder shrug. I sent my kids off, finally, and went to get back into my car.

Guess what? It was locked. And all my knocking on the window didn’t rouse Zack from his car seat. I looked back at the Honker apologetically only to be given the I’m-not-going-to-kill-you-now-because-we’re-in-public look . Finally the girl I babysit undid her seatbelt and opened my door to which the woman behind me revved her engine. I was tempted to go back and check for her tread marks.

Really. Why the impatience? Is the car honking, fist shaking and general glaring really necessary? Did she think I was watching TV and eating breakfast in my van, thumbing my nose at her and all the cars waiting behind her? I understand that people are in a hurry, and I’ve had my own hasty frustrations, but can’t we just assume that people are doing the best they can?

Or it is my turn to feel bad for her because, apparently, things upset her fairly easily. That or she was having a bad day, only exacerbated by the hold up. So this is where I take my lesson to the Honker and turn it back on myself. I'm just going to assume that she was doing the best she could, and let it go.

Okay. Now I'm over it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Artistic Musings, by Zack

Zack is becoming quite the artist. To demonstrate, I thought I'd share some of his recent masterpieces:Not only do you get to see Zack's very phallic self-portrait, but you also get a glimpse at the nasty color of my kitchen counters.

And here's a picture of me and my son holding hands. Notice how ginormous I am in comparison to him--something I am currently trying to remedy.

And here's my favorite. Zack and I riding a unicorn.

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Before" Pictures

In an amazing act of faith, my Weight Watchers buddy and I donned our swimming suits and took “before” pictures of one another in my playroom.

Let me preface this by saying that even when I was thin (size 11 is thin to me) you wouldn’t find me dead in a swimming suit. (Unless, of course, I had drowned in a swimming pool and the handsome lifeguard had to rip off my tank top and cover-up shorts in a valiant attempt to save my life.)

But yes, we decided (and without the help of mind-altering medication) to document just how big we are (and by “we” I mean “me” because really, my friend’s a reed in the wind). And isn’t it amazing how your mind often protects you from the truth, convincing you that you’re not as wide as you really are. Because when you see the picture you realize it appears as if you have swallowed a Frito Lay truck. Whole. Generally speaking, of course.

So now I have blackmail-worthy photos on my camera and I’m afraid to download them to my computer. Because my laptop screen is seventeen inches wide and displays with amazing clarity. You do the math.

It’s startling how quickly one can lose their modesty, and not for the reasons you might assume. Last night we weighed in, once again. I showed up in light-weight knit clothing. I went to the bathroom before I stepped on the scale. I would have gotten naked in front of the nearly 15 other women waiting for their turn if they had let me.

First I’m in an amateur photo shoot in my swimsuit. Next, I’m getting arrested for indecent exposure at the local Weight Watchers. I’m on a new slippery slope here, people.

But even wearing clothing we lost ten pounds total. 10 pounds! (And not to brag, but I am. 6.4 of it was mine. All mine!) That’s the size of a baby. And not a newborn either, but a chunky Gerber baby. It may have had something to do with all those light and airy thoughts we were thinking. To quote my friend: “I am light as a frickin’ feather.” I tell ya, that’s the Law of Attraction in action right there.

And as much as you’ve probably enjoyed hearing all about my big ole self, I swear that this blog will not become a weight loss diary. I also promise never to inflict you with my “before” pictures.

The “after” pictures? I can’t promise anything.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

For the record…

The truth is I have no shame. I share far too much about myself and my life on this blog. Often that means I feel the need to reblog and clarify something that may have been misstated in a previous post. I don’t know why I do that. Probably because my perspective needs a little reframing and blogging about it helps me to process my thoughts better. You know, cheaper than therapy.

My last post freaked me out a bit. Maybe because I posted about dating out loud. Your comments, one phone call and my own musings had me emotionally hyperventilating in a corner. So, for the record, I haven’t started dating yet. I have no plans to date anytime soon. I’m still trying to reorient myself following the divorce and a very long winter—so long in fact, those two things have become inseparable in my mind. (Which is why I shake my fists at the heavens each time it snows. And yes, it did snow yesterday.)

I feel like I’ve come out of a coma. It’s odd to consider dating a possibility. And my 20-year old mentality of men doesn’t comply with my current lifestyle. I was one of those women who, despite all my feminist mutterings, would swoon once and ask questions later. I probably spent a good deal of time worrying more about what some guy thought of me than I did worrying about what I thought of me. I have children now. There’s no room for that in my life.

And so when my friend, in that surreal conversation, mentioned she wanted to set me up, it caught me off-guard, and I’ve been shaking in my boots ever since. (And if you didn’t catch it in the comments, that man’s wife is now his ex and she is no longer in critical condition. The unfunny part of that post was that any aspect of divorce and family trauma, including a serious car accident, causes anguish. It was the unexpected nature of my friend’s suggestion, including the surreality of it, that unhinged me and later made me laugh when sharing the story with my sisters. Like you might at a funeral where it’s totally irreverent and unacceptable, and all the more difficult to stop.)

So I’m just going to be for awhile. The sun’s coming out more and more these days, and I’m excited about that. For once I’m going to enjoy the here and now. School will be out in 6 weeks and we’ll have a fresh start at summer, different and apart from the hell that was last summer. There will be swimming lessons, baseball games, fresh-cut grass, long walks, and the smell of barbeques. For now that’s enough to look forward to.

So while the men may line up (stop laughing!), dating will not be on the agenda until I can think about it without feeling dizzy and a little nauseated.

And for your viewing pleasure, I thought I'd share with you the new theme song for my life....

Monday, April 14, 2008

When Friends Try to Set You Up

Warning: If my friend or the man she currently wants to set me up with ever start reading this blog, I will promptly delete this post and any related to it. There. You’ve been warned.

I had been divorced about a month when my friend called.

“Okay,” she said. “I have this great guy I’m dying to set you up with.”

“What?” I asked, because I hadn’t expected this conversation so soon.

“But we have to wait until his wife dies.”


“It’s a long story, but they were filing for divorce before she got into this
accident and now she’s in critical condition.”



“I’m here…”

“He’s great though,” she said.

"How do YOU know single guys?” I asked because she's married, and I had
finally wrapped my brain around the fact that my new friend sees my perfect
match in a married guy with an ailing wife.

“But we don’t have to talk about it until she dies,” she said. “Or their
divorce is final.”

And that, my friends, is how I was reintroduced into the dating arena.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Joining Weight Watchers

I think I realized just how frumpy I’d become when my daughter informed me that the neighbor girl had said I was a “little fat.” My lovely daughter defended my honor and told me that she had said, in no uncertain terms, that her mommy is NOT fat. Bless her heart. I was flattered that the neighbor girl just said a little.

But I’m doing my best to defrump myself. My hair’s been coifed and colored for two weeks now. And while I’ve taken that first big step towards overcoming my Salonaphobia I have yet to tackle that aversion to healthy food. The one that’s made me a “little fat.” And a lot frumpy.

So last night, after one Last Supper at Wendy’s, I joined Weight Watchers.

Shortly after 7:30pm on Thursday night I was weighed in. I was assigned a healthy weight range. I was told about points. I was feeling thin already.

When joining any weight-loss plan one should journey with a friend, preferably the one who’s always told you that you’re not fat at all. I brought mine with me last night. And, happenstance, she weighed in at just .4 pounds more than me. She also happens to be 3 inches taller, but who’s counting, right? The best thing was she had the enthusiasm of someone twice her size. Throughout the entire meeting she acted like a Baptist at a Sunday revival. Only instead of “amen” or “hallelujah” she said “right on,” threatening a very weak hold on my composure.

But the fun stopped there when the facilitator, in attempts to demonstrate just how the point system works, asked me to share with the group what I had eaten for breakfast. Of course that’s what I had been dreading all day long on this, my last day fraternizing with Trans fats and fast food: the food confession.

“Uhm… A Sonic breakfast burrito…”

“A burrito?” She began thumbing through her book.

“Bacon, egg, and cheese,” I added. “With tater tots.”

Still thumbing.

“And a large diet coke with lemon.”

The dear facilitator skipped me and asked the lady to my left instead.

Okay, so maybe I got off on the wrong foot. But I am off. Off and running away from Frumpyville.

And as I was told last night, they’ll be seeing less of me next week (as long as I start seeing less of Sonic. And Wendy’s. And…).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

In Which I Cut the Cable

About three weeks ago I cut the cable. To our television, that is. I wish I could say it was for noble reasons: to end to the promotion of unhealthy social norms, the hijacking of valuable freelance time, and my three-year old’s uncanny ability to recognize the trademarks and ad slogans for all preschool toys. But simply put, it was an unnecessary indulgence. Okay, okay. More simply put, I could no longer afford it.

I expected long and excruciating tantrums after which I would have to explain how important it is to entertain oneself rather than sit mindlessly in front of a television set. I’m proud to say I haven’t thrown one of those tantrums yet this week. So I’m getting better.

My kids, on the other hand, are taking it well. Thankfully, my decision to cut the cable came simultaneously with the first sign of spring. (Now tell me you don’t believe in God.)

So I am the one experiencing withdrawals.

I realized just how bad my—ahem—problem was when visiting my parents over spring break, or as I like to call it, Spring Cable Binge. I watched things I wouldn’t even watch when paying for my own cable. Really, who wants to see an old rock star try to find his true love among scantily-clad women with a foul vocabulary? Last week, apparently I did (but only when “High School Reunion” was on commercial break).

But when not on Spring Cable Binge I watched much more reputable programs like Project Runway and Top Chef. In fact, I waited for the finale of Project Runway to air before I made that fateful call to discontinue our cable service. Someone asked, “Why didn’t you just watch the Season Premier of Top Chef after that? One episode isn’t going to hurt you.” I replied (trying to hide the hand tremors and initial signs of hyperventilation), “Oh, who cares about Top Chef anyway…”

So I’ve cut that umbilical cord to the mother of pop culture and I’m fairing well. There really are a lot of cableless perks, including but not limited to the following: the realization that 24 hours in one day is really quite a lot; my children are no longer aware which toys are currently being distributed with Happy Meals; and most importantly, I no longer waste time looking for the remote.

Come on. Admit it.

You’re thinking about cutting your cable now too.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Revisiting the Frump

You may recognize some of this from a previous post. I stole the first two paragraphs for a column on my frumpiness. But it talks about my new haircut so I decided it was fair blogger game.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve let myself go. I’ve let myself go far into the frump.

At the peak of this slippery slope I was well-intentioned. I had three children in three years; I was surrounded by little people who loved me with or without good makeup and hair; and the only adults I “interacted” with were guests on Oprah and Dr. Phil. But my oldest is now six and I must admit that I’ve slid off the slope to land, belly-up, in the frumpy gully. It’s a sad day, folks. Can’t look away though, can you? It’s like a train wreck. With cellulite.

So as a newly divorced woman who’s had people threaten to set me up on dates (more on THAT later), I’ve had to take a good, hard look at myself and admit that this girl’s come a long way from her highlighted hair and skinny jeans.

Last week, while home visiting my family for spring break I decided to do something about it and get my hair done (baby steps, people). My mom scheduled an appointment for me at her salon and then warned me, as I stepped out the door, that my stylist was a man.

Now, I’m a sophisticated woman—albeit a frumpy one, and although I’ve never had a man cut and color my hair, I’m progressive, open-minded, and very cosmo when I need to be. So as I drove to the salon I mentally prepared myself to have my hair done by someone like Robin Williams’ brother in “Mrs. Doubtfire.”

My stylist was very much NOT like Robin Williams’ brother in “Mrs. Doubtfire.” My stylist was more like Keanu Reeves in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Young, good looking, and the very antithesis of frumpy. Dude.

Visions of having an upbeat conversation punctuated with “that’s right, girlfriend,” suddenly disappeared. They were replaced with 115 excruciating minutes of my stylist anticipating his upcoming getaway to the Oregon Coast where there would apparently be much drinking and crabbing. Actually about 7 minutes were filled with talking, 108 were filled with awkward silence. The little Paris Hilton dog sitting on the neighboring patron’s lap was having more fun than I was.

But it wasn’t completely Dude’s fault. While I can be a fairly chatty person under normal circumstances, I clam up every time I sit in a stylist’s chair. Or maybe it’s the mirror. Having to watch myself talk is very disconcerting and I never have one good thing to say. “Crabbing, huh?” I got nothin’.

But finally, miraculously, my hair appointment ended and to celebrate I gave my stylist a generous tip that left us both speechless. Again.

And while I really do like my hair, I’m still questioning whether or not it was worth it . Which leaves me to wonder if my frumpiness is the result of personal neglect or some odd salon phobia. I am a Salonaphobe. That and I have this strange aversion to healthy food.

See? I’m not frumpy.

I’m just a very sick woman in need of therapy.