Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sixteen Candles

No dating until you're 16.  That was the rule in my house growing up.  And short of kissing Mark Marean in my back yard as my brother pretended to marry us, I respected it.  I waited. 

I waited and waited and naturally assumed that along with my great anticipation of turning The Great 16 there were certainly others anxiously waiting too.  Pathetic, really.  I guess I hadn't suffered enough disappointment in life yet to arrive at the conclusion that the world did not, in fact, revolve around me.  I still believed that what happened in the movies was possible, which is why I avoided haunted houses at all costs and fantasized about a dreamy boy showing up in his sports car to save me on my birthday and kiss me through the window light over my birthday cake.  Imagine my disappointment when November 24, 1986 finally arrived, my 16th birthday, and I sat in stunned silence on the stairs of my family home, alone and confused as to why the phone was not suddenly ringing off the hook.  I was genuinely surprised that I hadn't corralled my first date on the exact day of my eligibility.  Oh, how I want to take that 16-year-old girl and smack her right upside the head.  She was kind of a dummy.

Now, that dummy is the parent.  And today that dummy's baby girl turns 16.  That girl has been given the same rule about dating, and she has respected it.  She has used her 16 years here on the planet earth in brilliant fashion - unabashedly trying new things, facing setbacks head on, tackling challenges with determination - that girl impresses her mama.  Regularly. 

I used to hear mothers regale their birthing experiences with pride while conjuring phrases like, "As soon as I saw her I knew her and loved her."  I expected to feel that, and of course I loved her instantly.  But I didn't feel like I knew her.  Instead as I held that little girl in my arms after she was born I felt like she was on loan; like God was giving me a chance.  God was going to let me borrow her - He was trusting me with one of His very own and He was going to let me teach her, show her, love her, guide her.  And then I would get to sit back and watch what she did with all that teaching, showing, loving and guiding.  What a privilege.  As it is, she hasn't really needed me much - I'm not being self deprecating here, just telling the truth.  This girl - I have been getting to know her for a while now.  I like her.  A LOT.  She's too smart to think the world is waiting for her to turn 16, and I guarantee she won't be spending the evening on the stairs waiting for the phone to ring.  Eventually she will capture some boy's heart and I will officially roll into a fetal position and begin sucking my thumb.  I do know one thing, whoever gets this girl is going to have to get past her mama first, and when they do...

...well, I'll try to be nice.

Happy Birthday baby girl.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

On A Positive Note I Got To See Liam Hemsworth On The Big Screen

My first born left me a few days ago for a Spring Break trip with a group from school.  I'm not sure what normal moms think about when their kids leave to do something like that, but every time my son leaves the house to catch the bus I think about Jaycee Dugard can imagine. 

My parting words to her were something like, "Listen, I want you to have a blast and I don't need you to miss me or think about me.  Just, please, send me a text once a day or something to let me know you haven't been abducted by aliens.  Or worse, the Real Housewives of Orange County."  Do you know what she said?  "I'll try, Mom."  I'll TRY?!  Next time you beg me to bring the lunch you left on the counter I'm going to remember this.  It's day four, I've heard from her twice.  Fine, baby girl.  Is this how you wanna play it?  Just for that we are taking Drew to see Hunger Games WITHOUT YOU. 

In fact, we DID take Drew to see Hunger Games without her and as we arrived early and waited for the movie to start he looked over at me and said, "No offense, but this would be way more fun if Samantha were here."  I couldn't disagree, but I feigned a bruised ego.  "I'm sorry," Drew continued, "it's just that if she were here I would be saying something stupid and she would be laughing at it anyway."  His comment helped me recall a small moment I observed last week as we were headed in to church.  I was stuck a few paces behind them as we made our way into the front doors and I glanced up to see the two of them walking side by side, cracking up over a joke I wasn't a part of.  It made me happy - I've given many rousing speeches about their need to be loving and supportive of each other, and it did my heart good to witness those prayers being granted.

At church again today, as I gathered my things at the end of class I went to my normal meeting spot for Drew.  After I corralled him away from friends to join my pace we headed for the area where Samantha is usually waiting.  As we approached we found an empty room and I commented, "Oh.  I came here to get Samantha but I forgot, she's not here."  Drew confessed that he had done the same thing only minutes ago, and the two of us walked out quietly.

It's not these few days that rattles me because truly, I want her to have fun and be happy and fine and not think about home.  (Too much.)  The problem is that I know this is just preparation for the day she will truly LEAVE.  When it happens, I will deal with it.  Drew will deal with it.  Cory will barely notice.  We will be okay.

But man, we (will) miss her.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Some Must Push And Some Must Pull

A little while ago I received an email from the middle school advertising that they were looking for some part time para educators to work through the end of the year.  I applied.  The main thing about it that piqued my interest was that is was temporary - other than determining who to sleep with for the rest of my life and devoting myself to Pinterest, I'm not into making long term commitments.  But, there’s a couch I want and this little stint would pay for it.  (“ARHAUS” currently has custody of my couch, but I’ve been very consistent with my visitation.  We know each other pretty well at this point, and we’re ready to take our relationship to the next level.)  Plus, this gig sounded really easy.  The job description actually listed the following requirements:

"High school diploma or equivalent" - Done.  (Ha, I'll see your GED and raise you a BS.) (Resist the joke.)
"Frequent bending, reaching, climbing" - (So what you’re telling me is the lady on “Sit And Be Fit" could do this job?  Not only can I move both of my thumbs at the same time while tapping my toes, I can skip to my mailbox - weather permitting.  Get a hold of my mad skills.)
"Visual concentration" - (Short of 8th grade boys with ADHD, who do you think they are trying to discourage here?)

“Squatting” – Dude, all my cupcake pans are on the bottom shelf.  I’ve GOT this.

“Occasional lifting, pulling and/or pushing” – They seem very intent on making it clear that the person they hire for this job will have to do something besides get from their car to their desk.  Again, who are they trying to discourage?  I don’t think many 27-year-olds playing video games in their parents’ basements are pining to get their foot in the door of middle schools.  I was tempted to divulge on my application that I’ve set up chairs for Bunco NUMEROUS times, but I didn’t want to brag.

Turns out, maybe I should have played the Bunco card.  I didn’t get the job.

Not only did I NOT get the job that required “excessive pulling, pushing, and reaching” but I didn’t even get called in for an interview.  

For real?  

For real.

People say when God closes a door he opens a window.  I say when God closes a door to the middle school he opens another one that leads to Cheesecake Factory.  Incidentally, right across from “ARHAUS”.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

We're So Cool We Poop Ice Cream

One of the sad realities of my current phase is that most of my social life happens within the aisles of Wal Mart.  I know a lot of people in my community and we tend to shop at the same times, for the same things, in the same places as we strive to score deals with Great Value.

It was during one of these interludes lately that I ran into someone new in my social circle, and she caught me with my eyes glazed over in the skin care aisle.  (Am I the only one who gets sweaty palms in that section?  I never know what product to buy.  I'm old, I live in a climate that is drier than a popcorn fart, and I'm certain my current wrinkles are irreversible.  Despite inflated claims I'm certain no one makes a cream that addresses all that.)  I'm not exactly sure how it happened but somewhere between giving the Clean & Clear products a "to talk to the hand" gesture and throwing some Burt's Bees Night Cream in my cart, I found myself engaged in a discussion about the demise of femininity.  Not to be confused with the Gloria Steinhem fan club, this mom was genuinely concerned about the kinds of women who were interacting with her sons on facebook.  "They're so crass," she lamented.  After citing several grievances she added, "I mean they don't even like guys opening their doors anymore."  I nodded sympathetically and tried to weigh in respectfully, and she wasn't wrong, but my mind kept wandering back to a conversation that took place in my home only hours previously.

Drew:  "Do we have any plans tonight?"
Me:  "Yes, we're going to McDonald's for shamrock shakes."
Sam:  "What's a shamrock shake?"
Cory:  "McDonald's only makes them around St. Patrick's Day.  I used to LOVE them as a kid."
Sam:  "Cool."
Cory:  "And you wanna know the best part?  It turns your poo green!"
Drew:  "Sweet!"
Sam:  "Awesome!"

On the one hand I think it would be sort of awesome for one of my friend's sons to fall in love with my daughter, purely for the social experiment of it all.  But she seems really lovely, so I don't really wish that on her.  What I DO wish, however, is that there's another family out there taking a trip to McDonald's just for the shamrock shakes and their side effects so that my children stand a chance at happiness.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vern: Raw & Uncut

So, I have this "friend".  She's very funny, smart, and great company over an order of cheese fries.  She's launching a new comedy web series  called "Pretty Darn Funny", and I'm excited to see her talents being put to great use.  (I mean, FINALLY.  Because having worked with William Shatner doesn't really count.)  She's asked people to upload videos of humorous personal stories to share on the web, and despite the fact that I enjoy being videotaped about as much as having my butt rubbed with a brick, I relented and posted a video.  I'm hoping Lisa will feel like she owes me one after this because on a cool factor scale of Kathy Griffin to Jennifer Aniston, Lisa's like Anne Hathaway and I'm like the girl who works security for iCarly.  I could use a boost. 

But before you all go on thinking I'm just SUCH A NICE PERSON trying to help a friend, you should know that there's also a free cruise on the line.  As in, the best video wins a cruise!  Which is why this isn't about friendship at all, and more about YOU helping ME because I want you to vote for my video.  Oh, and while you're there you should post one of your own.  (Come on, be helpful!  Get out of your comfort zone!  It's either that or watching The Bachelor on hulu and YOU'RE BETTER THAN THAT.   I DVR'd it, I should know.)  (Jill:  You should have Dave get on and tell his story about resuscitating that mouse.  Ganelle:  Remember when you licked poo off your finger thinking it was chocolate?  Perfect opportunity to turn that lemon into lemonade.)  (Then again, is it really lemonade?)

My story won't be new to those of you who have followed me here for a while.  Remember when I was found with liquor in my purse at church?  This is the same story, just in spoken rather than written form.  I do not enjoy watching myself on video like, ever.  But what the heck?  I'm a 41-year-old stay at home mom in menopause, it would do me some good to try something besides getting to Kohl's before my 30% off discount expires.  If you want to watch it, go here.  Then look for the video "The Appearance of Evil", watch it, and if you want to vote for me (if for no other reason than to repair the damage of never having been asked to Homecoming in high school) (and if that's not enough consider that I was the girl at lunch in grade school whose sandwich was made with whole wheat bread and all natural peanut butter who didn't know a Twinkie until well into my teens) simply click on the orange "thumbs up" in the corner.  That's it.  I'll love you forever!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Did You Hear? iPhones Are Giving Out Hickies Now.

Several months ago I was caught completely off guard by something I never thought possible.  I started to love running.  I know!  I don't even like to say it out loud because I fear it makes me "one of them".  (If you don't know what I mean, you are probably the President of that club.)  It got worse, and I actually started waking up every morning thinking, "I can't wait to put on my running shoes," instead of, "I wonder if Reese's peanut butter cups would be good cubed and thrown in waffle batter with homemade caramel syrup?"  (It SO would.)  It was a refreshing new path.

Then something happened.  In the middle of a run one beautiful, fall morning I felt something betray me in my lower leg; it popped, I froze, and I had to limp the rest of the way home.  I had to stop running after that, and since then I've sort of been ignoring it for months because I was certain that a trip to the doctor was going to result in an MRI, which appropriately translated means "one thousand dollars that I would rather spend on pedicures for life."  It's funny though, what happens when something is taken away from you.  Just like trans fats, real light bulbs, or "Land Of The Lost" when you lose something without your consent you want it that much more, and that's what happened with running.  My body has been missing it, craving it even, (CRAVING it!  I'm like your Aunt Ruth who just woke up and announced she's going to start waxing her mustache and wear dresses from now on.), so I finally relented and sought out a specialist.  He sent me out the door with the name of a physical therapist and guess what?  NO MRI.  We can afford those two weeks of college for Samantha after all!  I've been going for about a month now and as it turns out, there IS a payoff for enduring repeated deep tissue massage followed by having to peel oneself off the ceiling.  Just last week, he released me to do a little running. 

In the meantime, Cory bought me an armband for my iPhone as a birthday gift so I could listen to my tunes while running outside.  I haven't even been able to use it yet, but since it was SIXTY THREE DEGREES in Denver yesterday I took it on its maiden voyage around my neighborhood.  My review on getting back to running is positive - it felt like I was giving my soul what it wanted.  Then again, that could have been the seductive haze of 63 degrees talking.  Still.  I didn't run far, but I felt free again.  My review on the armband however, is mixed.  Yes, it was nice to not have to hold my phone as I ran, but I hadn't accounted for the chafing.  Or the hickey that developed on my underarm from the suction created as I attached it.  I was like, "Hellloooo?  FIRST DATE here iPhone armband, and I'm not about to give YOU more action than everybody else who took me out for the first time."  Loosening it proved ineffective, and tightening it even more was worse than being dry needled at physical therapy.  So, arm in arm we continued around the bend until I was past feeling. We'll work through it.  In the meantime, I'm free.  Today's forecast:  High of 72.