Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains

I am a baseball fan. More to the point, I am a Red Sox fan, but I'll root for any local team even a Little League team. And when one roots for the local team sometimes a wager or two needs to be made in their honor. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, blah blah blah.

Anyway, I lost a bet. To this guy. A Padres fan. You have no idea how much that pains me, but I always make good on my bets.

So I'm over at his blog today. I always pay my dues, but I don't give up that easily. Heh.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bad Mommy Confessional - Part 275,398 in a continuing series

I've made some pretty magnificent fuck ups when it comes to my kids in my four years as a parent. I'm pretty stellar in the fuck up department anyway but when it comes to my kids I try to keep it to a minimum, which only makes each fuck up more of a train wreck.

Also, fuck up.

Take for instance that time two weeks ago when I got Chicky hyped up on the promise of Summer Camp. After being away from it for three weeks due to vacations and trivial things like dwindling bank accounts, she was desperate to go back to her preschool, where summer camp was being held.

For a week I counted down to that damn 3-day camp like it was the end of days, but way funner.

Then when the day finally came we had a spectacularly bad morning where no one (read: Everyone but me.) (Okay, everyone including me but I had to so the choice was taken out of my hands.) wanted to get ready to actually get out of the house and to the summer camp even though everyone (read: Chicky. And me. Please for someone to be taking my child.) so badly wanted to go but apparently not enough to actually get dressed or eat breakfast or willingly have their teeth brushed or anything.

Then the baby slept late. So I had to wake her up in order to get her fed, dressed and out the door.

Let me repeat that - I had to wake up the baby. On purpose.

And then, as we were just about to head out the door - Bowel movements for everyone!

Yes I just went there and I am unrepentant.

So we were late and I was snappy and Chicky was sulky and CC was stinky (Three of the lesser-known dwarfs that were cut when casting the original gang of seven. True story.) and none of this would have been bad or even out of the ordinary if I hadn't messed up my days and brought her to camp ON A WEEK SHE WASN'T SCHEDULED TO BE THERE.

Mother of the Year right here, baby. Now where the hell is my medal?

In front of her friends, their parents, and her teachers - and let's face it, God was probably there to witness it too, judging me. The preschool is in the bottom of a church, of course it is - I had to convince my child, who by now had backed herself in a corner like a frightened doe facing a shotgun, that she had to willingly leave her most favorite place on earth EVER, the place where she gets to run in the sprinklers and do crafts and have snack, to come home with me and her sister to do unfun stuff. Like play in the sprinklers and do crafts and have snack.

Uh uh, she was not going. She wasn't going and nothing anyone could do could convince her otherwise. She's stubborn, that one. Not sure where she gets that from.

So I cajoled - Come on, honey. Please come with Mama? We'll do lots of super fun stuff! We'll watch movies! We'll bake cookies! Anything! Just ask! A pound of flesh? You've got it! Take two, there's plenty where that came from.

And her teacher stood there, giving me that look. You know, that look? That, Aw, this kind of sucks for you, huh? But don't worry, we've all been through it and that alone should make you feel way better about screwing up your child's whole life forever and ever, look?

Okay I may have imagined that last bit. I doubt it, but maybe.

Please baby, Mama loves you. I'll buy you a donut! I'll buy you a toy! I'll buy you a damn pony, just please come with me so I can drown my shame in a chocolate frosted and large iced coffee.

The donut must have been the key because she came with me. And we drove to the nearest Dunkin Donuts while I heard all about how much she wanted to be at summer camp with her friends. How much she really wanted to go to school again. How much she really hated my guts.

Again, maybe I imagined that last part. Maybe?

And as we drove away from the donut shop I handed her the bag that held her precious sugar fix... and she immediately informed me that I had bought the wrong donut. Gee, what are the odds?

That kind of set the tone for the rest of the week. On a scale of one to ten, ten being accidentally mistaking my children for speed bumps and one being not washing a favorite blanket in time for bedtime, this fuck up fell probably around a four. Maybe a five. In the grand scheme it wasn't that bad and I'm sure I'll probably do much worse before my children finally flee the nest. As a matter of fact, I'm positive I will.

This? Was not so bad.

I try to remember the good moments when I'm going through a rough time. Like when I'm missing my mom I try to recall a happy memory and hold on to it because I don't have the real thing. When it comes to my kids, for the sake of this blog anyway, I try to put the good before the bad. This is a sort of diary for them as well as for me and I want them to know that no matter what, I love them fiercely. That's not to say I don't include the ugly bits here. I see no reason to shield anyone from the nasty parts of motherhood and I have always been forthright about this family's low patches.

That being said, things are not easy around here right now. Today was a particularly bad day, and it's not even 3pm. I'm too tired to write about it so I took a reasonably banal moment and documented it with a touch of tongue-in-cheek humor thrown in to make me, if not anyone else, laugh. It's not anything specific, maybe just a case of growing pains, but when people thank me for reminding them that this parenting gig is not so bad most of the time when I'm the one in need of reminding... I don't know. I guess I feel like a bit of a hypocrite.

So quick, quid pro quo - tell me how great this parenting gig really is.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It won't always be this way

We pack the bags, the beach toys, the towels, the snacks, the drinks, the shade tent, and the kids and we head to the beach where we unpack the bags, the beach toys, the towels, the snacks, the drinks, the shade tent, and let the kids have their way with rocks and bits of dead crab parts found while the baby tries to shove great handfuls of sand in her mouth and Chicky complains there's sand in her Goldfish crackers. Soon we're covered in sweat and sand and the rocks have taken their toll on our tender toes and we're tired and wiped out and the kids are cranky and we're cranky and we still have to repack the bags, the beach toys, the towels, the leftover sandy snacks, the bottles with the dregs of warm drinks, the shade tent and the kids and we tell ourselves -

It won't always be this way.

At the ice cream shop, one girl is jumping out of her skin in anticipation, bumping into unsuspecting customers in her excitement, while the other toddles toward the busy parking lot. Ordering takes much longer than it should because we're scolding and admonishing and chasing, we look apologetically toward the college-aged girl behind the counter. Soon both girls are sticky from head to toe with a combination of pink and green ice cream and as a result we're both covered with ice cream too. Over their heads I say to him -

It won't always be this way.

At dinner, CC is not content to sit at the table, she needs to get down and make her own discoveries on the well trodden floor. Chicky whines for her supper. Why is it taking so long? she asks mournfully. The food finally comes and they pick at it like they weren't just starving a moment ago while we devour our food in shifts, first him then me. We leave a pile of discarded napkins and french fries on the floor behind us. As we're buckling both overtired girls in the car he says to me -

It won't always be this way.

It's been a long day and we get the girls undressed and ready for bed. We inhale the scent of their suntanned bodies, the salt in their hair. As we put her in bed, we ask Chicky what her favorite part of the day was. Everything, she answers emphatically, a contented smile on her face. Bedtime stories read, she holds tightly to our necks - I love you Mommy, I love you Daddy. So much.

In the quiet of her room I rock with CC in my arms. I pepper her silky hair and her rosy cheeks with kisses. She sighs contentedly and tucks her arms and legs underneath her while snoozing on my chest. I rub her back before finally, begrudgingly, placing her into her crib. She grabs her lovie and closes her eyes and for a moment I linger, watching the rise and fall of her chest before leaving the stillness of her room. I fall, exhausted, onto the couch next to him and lay my head on his shoulder. I'm quiet while I think about our day, the highs and lows, the difficulties and the triumphs. But most of all, I think about the last few minutes. I think about the love and the need, both theirs and mine. And I say to him with a heavy heart -

It won't always be this way.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grandma's little helper

While preparing to grind my coffee at Trader Joe's this afternoon a nice older woman approached the adjacent bread section.

"I'm sorry," I said, smiling, moving my cart out of the way. "Let me move this so you can get to those muffins."

"Don't worry about me, honey, nothing's going to stop me from getting to my sweets," she replied with the biggest smile. "What you're doing there is important work. And, ooh! I love that coffee! Good choice."

"Yes, I love this coffee too. I'm kind of addicted to it."

She laughed heartily. "Addicted, yes, I can be that way too. Although, these days I drink more tea. Do you enjoy tea, dear?"

"I do but I have two little ones, so I need my caffeine," I explained with another smile. "These days I seem to drink a ton of it."

"I've been known to overdo it a time or two myself," she confided, chuckling.

She was so likable, so easy to talk to! Such a sweet, grandmotherly type. Wow, I thought, apparently I need to come to Trader Joe's more often. It's the happiest place on earth!

The grinder hummed along.

"How old are your children?"

"Four and fourteen months."

"Ooh, you've got your hands full." Her face was full of understanding. She had been there. Long ago, but she knew where I was coming from. She seemed to be remembering her time as a mother, as she stared off into space for a moment. Okay, a long moment.

"I hope you take care of yourself in other ways," she nicely admonished, snapping back to today. "To keep yourself going? Supplements and, you know, things like that?" She had a curious look on her face.

"I do," I assured her. "I try to take care of myself. Can't keep up with two active kids with just coffee in my system, know what I mean?

"So, where do you get your, um, product?"

"Excuse me?" The grinder was still humming along, and it was fairly loud. Maybe I didn't hear her correctly?"

"You know, your product."

She can't be asking me what I think she's asking me. Can she?

"Uh, that little health food store near the independent book seller?"

"Oh yes, I know the place. There, huh?"

Oh God, what the hell is she getting at? "Yes, they're very nice there. Very helpful. You know, with supplements?" If she is asking me what I think she's asking me, maybe she'll get the hint now. Yeah.

"I'll have to try there, then. Yes, I'll go there now. Right... now. Yes." She turned her head slowly toward the exit.

The coffee machine had run its course and I was standing there, slightly gap jawed.

"Ooo-kay then. Well, nice talking with you."

"Yes," she said, slightly absentmindedly. "Very nice."

And with that she wandered away.

I'm not sure but I think I just send a nice, little old lady to my favorite health food store to ask for drugs. But worse, I'm just sorry I'm not a fly on the wall to see that conversation go down.

Monday, August 10, 2009

But I'm keeping my black shit

Friday afternoon, in the car:

Me: So, you heard John Hughes died, right?

Him: Who?

Me: [head threatening to explode] John Hughes? The man responsible for The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and many, MANY other excellent movies? The man who created Duckie and Bender? And "Blane? His name is Blane? That's a major appliance, that's not a name."? The man responsible for the shaping of our formative years?? THAT John Hughes???

Him: Oh yeah, that guy. Yeah, I think I heard something about that. Too bad, huh?

Me: [Boom]

Me: Yes it is too bad that he died - but kind of ironic in a way. I was just writing a post drawing a connection between a character in The Breakfast Club and personal blogging, more specifically my personal blogging...

Him: Come again?

Me: I know, weird, right? But let me explain. You know Allison, how she's always carrying around that big bag...

Him: Allison?

Me: [Boom again] Ally Sheedy?

Him: Right. Go on.

Me: ... She's got that bag and she keeps it really close to her at all times until that scene with Andrew and Brian - sorry, Emilio Estevez and Anthony Michael Hall - where they compare what's in their wallets with each other...

Him: And Anthony Michael Hall's got the bad fake I.D.?

Me: Right! Very good. You were beginning to make me question this whole relationship of ours.


Me: So, Allison steals Brian's wallet and then gives it back and then the guys start comparing the stuff in their wallets and it's kind of personal and kind of silly but most important - they're connecting on a more intimate level...

Him: High school boys do not connect on an intimate level.

Me: [stink eye] It's a John Hughes movie. The boys are very in touch with their feelings. Kind of. Maybe?

Him: Continue.

Me: Okay, so. Wallets, fake I.D., nudie picture... The whole time Allison is there clutching that bag to her chest like her life depends on it and you can see in her eyes that she wants to share so badly she can hardly stand it but she's been so quiet up until now that she's torn -- Don't give me that look. I've seen the movie so many times, I know that she's torn -- so she asks them, Do you want to see what's in my bag? To which they say, No. Like, emphatically. No. She's weird and there's that whole high school social pecking order thing...

Him: You need to get out more.

Me: [ignoring] Finally she can't take it anymore and she, like, dumps her massive bag out in front of them -- and there is, like, a ton of shit in there. Like, it takes forever to dump everything out of that damn bag of hers - and she has to defend why she carries all that stuff with her at all times while the two guys pick through it with this mixture of disgust and curiosity. And in the end you can tell she's totally relieved that she did it. Like a weight has been lifted off her shoulder. But at the same time she's horrified of what she just did... A woman's bag is a very important, very sacred thing, you know.

Him: Yes, I know.

Me: And in the end it's all worth it. She gets the guy and they kiss and she takes a memento...

Him: That scene always pissed me off. Right, in a fit of superhuman strength she rips the patch off the arm of his jacket? How did she do that? My patches were all sewn on by my mom and there was no way some girl was going to rip those things off with her bare hands.

Me: I think it was ironed on. You're mom really sewed on all your patches? Wow.

Him: Yeah, and you're, like, talking like a teenager, like.


Him: So how is this like your blog exactly?

Me: Dude! The bag is a metaphor for all my feelings and stories! People everywhere are comfortable sharing bits of themselves online. Don't you see? They're opening up their wallets! They're dumping out their bags! And even though I've been blogging for almost FOUR YEARS I still play things pretty close to the vest, you know? I keep the contents of my bag pretty secret. I stick to the fringe. Lay low. Keep my hair in my eyes.

Him: Are we still speaking in metaphors?

Me: Sort of. I can't wait until these damn bangs grow out. Anyway, now that I've been to a few of these blogging conferences, I've seen people who have shared intimate details of themselves building relationships with others who also aren't afraid to show their emergency underwear, so to speak.

Him: Did you ever think maybe not over sharing is a good thing?

Me: Maybe. I guess I wouldn't like strangers poking through my metaphorical tampons.

Him: Exactly.

Me: And then Andrew tells her she has problems.

Him: Yep.

Me: And then there's the thing of her being a pathological liar.

Him: Uh huh.

Me: And I never did understand why she had to get all pretty for the guy to like her.

Him: Mmm hmm.

Me: Why did she have to get a Molly Ringwald makeover? She was the same girl underneath all that black shit. Molly Ringwald should have let her keep the black shit! She liked the black shit! Although, I do believe the headband was an inspired choice.

Him: We're not talking about your blog anymore, are we?

Me: No, I guess not.

Him: Can we drop this subject then?

Me: Yeah, sure. I guess. But I'm totally, like, blogging about it.

Him: I wouldn't expect anything else. Will you warn me if and when you decide to dump out "your bag"?

Me: Like, totally. And for the record, your mom spent way too much time on your high school jacket. It's kind of troubling, actually. If at anytime you'd like to talk about it...

Him: Drop it.

Me: Okay, Sporto.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

BlogHer '10 or 20th high school class reunion? Decisions, decisions.

When BlogHer announced the date and location of next year's conference two things went through my head:

1. Yay! It's closer to home next year. A bunch of us New England bloggers can take the train together and bond over mimosas in the club car and get to know each other better by chatting in our large, comfortable, non-airplane seats. Probably via Twitter but you know, still chatting.


2. Hmm, that date sounds awfully familiar, like I've already planned something for that weekend. But that's silly, I never plan anything that far in advance. It's an entire year away, I don't even know what I'm doing next week. Pshaw. I'm sure it's nothing.

And I swatted that notion away like a pesky fly. Until last night when I was checking my Facebook page.

I don't know what made me check Facebook. I hardly ever check Facebook anymore. I mean occasionally when Twitter is down I'll run to Facebook like a fickle lover. I'll whisper a few sweet nothings and send them out into the ether, just to get my fix. But for the most part, the people I have friended on Facebook are either the people I already chat with in on Twitter, friends I see every week anyway, or high school friends I haven't spoken with in almost 20 years so...

Almost 20 years. Wow. That's a long time.

Twenty years. Twenty years?

Shit, my 20th class reunion is next year. I'm not looking forward to attending that reunion.

My reunion. My reunion? My reunion!

My 20th high school reunion is the same weekend as BlogHer '10.

Okay, that's funny.

It's like the universe is absolving me from having to go to my reunion and mingle with people I didn't really much for when I was a naive 17 year old and will probably really dislike when I'm a much more worldly 37 year old.

Hey, I've had my passport stamped at least twice. Maybe more. That totally counts as being "worldly".

But still, I weighed my options. My 20th reunion should be something I want to go to, right? I have this girlfriend who didn't go to hers, and every once in a while, she gets this really terrible feeling--you know, like something is missing. She checks her purse, and then she checks her keys. She counts her kids, she goes crazy, and then she realizes that nothing is missing. She decided it was side effects from skipping the reunion. No wait, that was prom. And if you get that reference we can friends.

On the one hand, I told myself, I could go for four days to New York City and hang out with people I genuinely want to spend time with. Okay, they're people I met in the computer but as far as I know they're not going to slip me a horse tranquilizer and harvest my vital organs. Although, I do have my doubts about a few...

But on the other hand, maybe I should put aside petty differences and hurt feelings and resentments and all that and bury the hatchet - so to speak because, you know, not literally bury the hatchet, even though I may want to take something sharp to a certain girl who used to be my friend before she stole my boyfriend, bitch - and maybe reconnect with the few people I actually liked in high school.

I gave it a lot of thought (five minutes) and actually came up with a pros and cons list. Ready?

"Should Tania go to the BlogHer '10 conference in NEW YORK FREAKING CITY or go to her 20th high school class reunion and stand in the corner and muse over what happened to that hot boy she had a crush on when she was 16 years old and he never gave her the time of day's hair and probably leave after an hour?"
Going to Blogher -

The Pros:
- It's in New York City and despite being just a few hours away I've never been. And yes, I've just admitted that I'm really that lame on the internet.
- Overwhelming, but in a good way.
- Late night parties, good conversation, and you never know where you're going to end up at 3am.
- SWAAAAAG: The steel cage match. Two people go in, one person comes out with a trial-sized bottle of laundry detergent.
- I like to squee.
- Where else can you gush over someone's business card and mean it?
- Seeing friends I only see once, maybe twice a year. Even the ones who live twenty miles away from me.
- *add something here about cultivating my craft and building business relationships and blah blah blahdee blah*

The Cons:
- The price. Wowza. I think I need my own street corner to pay for next year.
- Overwhelming, but I'm working on my social anxiety. One drink at a time.
- Exhaustion. Come to find out, I'm not twenty anymore. Who knew?
- Four days of squeeing when I'm generally done after two.

Going to my 20th reunion -

The Pros:
- Um.
- I'm sure the food won't be too bad?

The Cons:
- Really? Do I need to write it all down? I have kids to take care of before they go off to college.

So after much soul searching and wringing of hands and rendering of garments, I've decided to go to BlogHer.

Who wants to hit the nightclubs at 3am? Because if I'm going, I'm pretending I'm seventeen years old again... And paying for the after affects for the next year. I'll need the company.