Monday, October 31, 2011

Why I Let My Son Play Football

In each parent's journey there will come a time when you will have to sit and think about something you believe to be monumental. You will think and think and think and come to some sort of conclusion you have the huevos to stand behind-right or wrong.  And, with the dedication of a mama bear protecting a cub, you will fight to the death for this opinion.  For me (being a pushy bitch) this happens, oh, I'd say daily.  Whether I am faced with "Family Life Education" materials that wrongly leave out birth control, or the parallel parking skills of the idiots near my work, I CONSTANTLY have to chose my battles. Even, or especially, in my own marriage, where honestly things would go much smoother if everyone did things my way. (Not only would everything be done right, it would be done ON TIME.)

Being the fair-minded person that I am, I have to concede a fight once in a while. Especially when it comes to getting my face beat in (like when I want to scream parenting tips at people at sporting events) or when I want to let Sky King think that he has a fair say in our life together.  This happens every once in a great great great (did I say great?) while.  These are things he has gotten to pick:

  • Princess' name (and, I had thoughtfully narrowed it down to 3 for him, so he didn't have to read through all 50,000 in the baby-name book)
  • Our last vacation-he chose a cruise, which turned out to be super fab and the kids still can't stop talking about it
  • What TV shows we watch on a fairly regular basis-ESPN, Monday Night Football, Storm Chasers, Storage Wars, and anything with Kate Beckinsale.
See what a wonderful wife I am?

Well, this past summer, we explained to Monkey Boy that it was imperative that he exercise more than his thumbs, and so he had to think about what sport he wanted to do.  SK hoped/prayed/possibly bribed for football.  I hoped/prayed/possibly threatened for anything else. because football is so violent and dangerous.  (I can HEAR all the moms nodding. I really can.)

I was---what is that word? Opposite of right?  Ring?  Rang? Rung?  Something like that, although I think it starts with a W.  SK confronted me with an ear-to-ear grin and a laptop full of statistics. And when the internets say it, it's true.  Football was NOT #1.  It was #3, ranked after Basketball and Bicycling.  And only slightly ahead of both Soccer and Baseball.  What a blow.  With the wind only slightly out of my sail, I finally agreed, with the condition that, "One concussion, and we're done. DONE."  I think SK's response was either, "Absolutely", or an eye roll.  I can't quite recall.

So, Monkey Boy begins practice.  He gets out there all padded up with 6 men yelling at him.  And they are not yelling, "Get your ass in the car, we are LATE."  so you can imagine he's a bit confused. Plus, his only exposure to violence and aggression has been watching me shop for shoes during the Nordy's half-yearly, and whatever he sees on the PS3.  He's a peaceful Montessori kid, for crying out loud.  The ONLY kid from his school among 80+ other boys.
The first week is rough-he's fast but totally not getting football as a sport-he's never even watched a game.  He's having a hard time with blocking (hitting) and getting blocked (getting hit).  Pretty much 90% of football is totally against everything he has learned thus far in life.  And the coaches don't get it.  It pains me to watch him, and it takes every ounce of strength not to run out and demand they are nicer to my sweet boy. But I don't.  Something deep down says that this might actually be good for him. And I see that Sky King is ready to horse-collar me if I try.
By the end of the second week we are headed to Jamboree which is a giant scrimmage against other teams in the league. It's a day-long event, and we are all geared up. Things are going great. Then, MB gets hit hard.  His knee gets hurt, and he goes to the side. He's down on the sidelines with our conditioning coach working out his injury.  They work for about 10 minutes (in which my head explodes once for each minute my boy is on the ground) and then Coach gets him up and walks him up and down the sidelines. I see the Coach tell the Head Coach, "He's fine, put him back in".  MB goes in, then right back out, with a pronounced limp. 
Still, I'm waiting on the sidelines.  Snapping at SK to "SHUT UP, I'M WATCHING HIM-IF YOU DON'T GO CHECK ON HIM I WILL." to make sure this knee injury doesn't travel up to his brain and kill him dead right there-which could totally happen-check Wikipedia.  But after a while, his walk is fine.  I mean, totally fine, milk-mom-later-for-sympathy-to-no-avail fine.  The game ends, and MB proceeds to cut off his nose to spite his face (a family tradition) by coming to me to sulk, instead of to the cooler full of drinks and snacks. We talk for a bit, and he is pissed.  I finally figure out he is pissed because he was expecting the sympathy of a mommy, not the harsh "Walk it off and suck it up" from a coach. 

Is there room for both?  Are both valid?

YES.  A kid needs to know that he will be loved unconditionally, that it's okay to be yourself and need to lean on someone you trust, someone that loves you. Someone to just pat you on the back and say, "It's all going to be okay".  We ALL need that.

Sometimes, though, we need tough love.  Someone to say, "Yeah, that sucks.  Pull up your big girl panties, and walk it off."  This can be done with love too.  Monkey Boy does not know this yet.

A pep talk from me (actually, a pep mini-talk-he's only good for about 5 sentences before I lose him, so I act fast), and we are headed home to wallow.

The next week, he wants to quit.  he's in for another shocker. he has forgetten our "No quitting" agreement from sign-up day.

Football ain't cheap.  We are in this about $400 plus several weeks' worth of time. And, his sister joined cheer after coming to a practice. So really, $800 plus almost every weekday night and Saturday day for all eternity. Priceless.  I say, "Sure. You can quit Oct. 22nd."  "Why then?"  "That's your last game. We told you when this began, you start, you finish. Your team depends on you. You don't have to like it, but you won't let the team down."  Cue angst. Cue sulking.

That did not go how he planned. Most things come fairly easy for him, and this was a struggle he did not want to have. He goes back to practice, pissing and moaning all the way.  Games begin, with some turn-around, but progress is slow.

Let's fast-forward, shall we?

Now, we are near the end of the season.  He has seen (sorry, I REALLY love bullet points...):
  • Bad sportsmanship from the other teams
  • Dirty plays
  • Bad ref calls
  • Skilled teammates benched for unsportsmanlike conduct
 He has told me that he can't let his team down, that all the players-good or bad-still need to be part of the team and not tell others that they suck, and that he loves football.

We are now post-season.  They won their last game, which extends them into playoffs.  They are all pumped, psyched, jazzed. Ready to win our next game. 

He's confident.  He's fast.  He's good.  Not great, but good. he puts his heart and soul into every play, every block, every catch.  He's elated when he makes a good play, devastated when he flubs. He has become a teammate. A closer step towards becoming a man. He loves the men that yell at him to suck it up. Why? Because those same man slap him on the back or the helmet when he has a great catch.  Those same men slam down on his shoulders and gruffly yell, "See!!! I knew you could do that."  And inside that helmet, he gives a strong nod. 

Which, in guyspeak, is an ear-to-ear grin.

Support Ho's and Bro's

I am incredibly lucky.  Yes, I have some crummy health problems.  Yes, I struggle every day with SOMETHING that sucks. But (another HUGE Aimee but---hey, maybe my logo should be a giant ass---so when I am famous and sponsor stuff like the Olympics, they will have to put a picture of a giant butt on everything.........or, I need to lower some meds doses). Where was I?  Oh, yeah. A nice, genuine post.  That's right.  ::ahem:::

I have an awesome support system.

I have a great family-we are close, live close, and usually enjoy each other's company.  They love me and my husband (me having a husband means I'm not living with THEM, so they were thrilled when he came into the picture) and they spend lots of time schlepping around for my kids.  My brother shows up to play with the kids, telling us to go see something not rated G for once, my parents and sometimes their friends show up to sporting events, performances and other kid miscellany.  Most of it is a bit fun, but a lot LOUD.  And they seem to blend in with all our friends.  Which leads me to:

Friends.  I work with a great bunch of gals that regularly save me from myself.  Two of them run my business for me, and they are all kinds of awesome. They support me and make it look like I'm a together person (no easy trick!).
The moms and dads that I know through my daughter's Girl Scout Troop are pretty fab, too.  They know me, appreciate my quirks, and sometimes even encourage them. A strange lot, and they are led by the strangest-my co-leader.  She is a big ball of amazing, (sorry about the "big" reference, Miss J) and she inspires me all the time.
The parents at the kids' school are pretty awesome, too.  They are a great network, each offering to help the other. I know that, if I have a flare or a bad day, someone is only a quick text away to swoop in and hand-deliver my kiddos to me.
In fact, let me tell you a quick story:
Last week, I had two parties scheduled.  I know, I know, but I had RSVP'd in two different ways, and didn't look at the whole day when i scheduled them, so i didn't realize we had two parties on the same day.  Either way, Princess would not want to miss either one.  so, we were off.  I was having a rough morning.  Like a "stab the door with a giant knife while the family looked at me crazy" kind of morning.  i didn't really stab the door.  but I wanted to, and I guess that kind of crazy is hard to hide.  The fam was giving me a wide berth. Then, it was off to the bouncy place.  Holy crap.  I forgot how unbelievably insane those places were.
I walk in, and there are 3 moms that all know me very well.  Maddy takes one look at me, and is all, "Are you okay? You don't look good."  I'm all, "Meh.  Not feelin' it.  Think I'm gonna get out of here for a while".  She and Caroline are all, "Well, we can take her to the next party, and bring her back home, you just scoot."  The third mom piped in with, "I totally go by your house on the way home-I will drop Princess off".  I'm all, "Super! Peace out, homies.".  See?  Awesome.

Then, I have in-laws.  And, I have an unfair share of 'em.  Sky King comes from a mixed family----step, half, you name it.  There are even some as-good-as-family people like life-long friends and foreign exchange families.  It's a big clan---I have:
  • TWO sets of parent-in-laws
  • A couple grandmother-in-laws
  • 5 sister-in-laws
  • 2 brother-in-laws
  • Their spouses and children
  • Tons of cousin-in-laws we are close with
and much much much more.

You won't believe me when I say this: I get along with them all.  I actually seek out spending time with them, if you can believe that.  They all bring their own thing to the table, and I can't begin to tell you how unbelievably lucky I am that they are as wonderful as they are.

And that's it.  I am one lucky lady.  I have a whole menagerie of people that love and accept me, even when I am sitting on the couch like a slug, wishing for stronger meds (or even worse, telling them to buy me some sculpture made of cheese because it's "whimsical").

Rarely is one of my posts happy, without any snark.  I guess I Just wanted to be different today. I promise it won't happen often.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Halloween Dangers Primer for Parents

Halloween is an incredibly scary time for vigilant parents.  There are so many real dangers out there-dangers that threaten to annihilate all that we hold dear as modern American families.

I'm NOT talking about razor blade in apples, poison in candy bars, germs on apple bobbing apples, or masks that obstruct our children's views forcing them to walk into oncoming traffic where they will meet their violent demise. I'm not even talking about allergic reactions to face paints or future dental caries from all the Snickers, Smarties and Twizzlers.

I'm talking about the new media and the helicopter parents, poised to ruin everything we hold sacred.

This year, I have been especially tuned in to the media.  Maybe I have more downtime, maybe I am online more, trolling parenting blogs and other outlets.  I dunno.  But it seems to me that every group has their problems with Halloween.  Before I get started, please know that I mean no true, heart-stopping, offensive, hurtful disrespect.  If you happen to see yourself, or someone you love, in this post, please do not berate me with scathing comments.  All I ask is that you read the post for what it is-a blathering rant by a mom and educator that really has no major problems (other than health).  And, I am sick of people making everything fun, not.  We are constantly being protected from ourselves, and I am NOT OKAY WITH THAT.  It ruins my fun.  If I want to fry a bunch of ants with a can of AquaNet and a lighter, that should be my prerogative. And, if the can sets aflame and exploded into my face, well, my bad.  That's it. I won't sue the manufacturer of either the lighter or the hair spray.  I will merely serve as a warning to others.  And, I might get a Darwin Award. Which actually would be quite an accomplishment. I hear the after-party is UH-MAYZE-ING.  I digress.....again.  Man, that happens a lot.

First, let's tackle the media.  This bunch of asshats (thanks, Jen, for the word) has been trying to ruin Halloween since I was young.  I remember the first Halloween they fucked me over. I was all set, ready to go out with my friends (and probably followed by a partially sober adult) and gather up as much junk food as possible.  I planned on sneaking a few pieces on the walk.  Then, I would put any full-size bars into my costume.  The rest would be picked over by all the partially-sober adults, and I would be stuck with a baggy of raisins, pencils, Dubble Bubble and Sixlets.  This crap would lay around my bedroom floor until I was grounded, where it would become my salvation. 
Instead, the Media RUINED IT.  They started talking about all the dangers of going to strangers' homes, all the possibilities of poisoning.  Not to mention all the pedophiles that waited for me, ready to shove me into their van and have their sick and twisted way with me.  Surprisingly, my normally sane mother (you're welcome, mom) fell victim to their rants (really, mom????) and she, AT THE LAST MINUTE, told me no.  NO.  I was STUNNED.  As a concession, she ran up to Thrifty's, and bought me a couple $1 bags of candy (Boston Baked Beans, and Butterscotch Discs) to assuage my total devastation.  Now.  Let me straighten one thing out for y'all.  If you ever decide to COMPLETELY RUIN a holiday for a child, DO NOT give them CANDY REJECTS to make up for it.  This was not a $2 candy rectification.  This was more of an "All Expense Paid Trip To Hershey, PA" kind of fix.  (Now you know why I'm in therapy, mom.  Yeah, that's right. This shit just got REAL.) My strange aunt, the one that hoards everything she has ever been given, including flats of Tab soda and more pairs of elevator shoes than you can shake a disco stick at, managed to rustle up some vintage candy corns she got as a consolation prize when she visited the set of the Ed Sullivan show. Perfect.  SO, I got the answer the door (another concession I am STILL bitter about-"Hey, honey.  I know I won't let YOU go out tonight, but why don't you dress up anyway, and answer the door when all your friends come by. Only one Smartie, each, though. We don't want to run out.")
This was all because of you, Media.  I think y'all owe me $20 weekly copays for life. Let's see.  I'm *ahem* 39.  I've been going 9 months, times 4 visits a month.  36 visits, times $20 a visit, is $720.  Plus the rest of my life......I should live to about 85.  That would be 46 more years, times 52 visits a year, which would be $1400 a year, times 46 years, plus the first year of $720, carry the 9, divide by the square root of who-the-fuck cares...let's call it an even Mil.  I take cash or cashier's checks, Media.

You all doubt me?  Why don't you wander on over the Snopes.  Here, I will even reference this shit for you...
Poisoned candy
Tampered-with candy

OK.  Let's tackle the abductions, that will almost certainly happen on Halloween.  Because, if I was a kidnapper, I would TOTALLY use Halloween to window-shop.  I mean, where else would I get to see the kids I want to snatch, but on a night where they are all out, giddy with excitement, AND with large bags of candy????  Oh, wait.  I may have freaked some people out, because that might be EXACTLY what the kidnappers are thinking.  Shit.  Well, I figure I am pretty safe.
My kids?  Well, Princess would get snatched, because she is soooo cute.  But, she talks.  A LOT.  Not unlike her mother.  And she is a curious child.  So the kidnapper that tries to nab her better bring LOTS of duct tape for her mouth. And, she is incredibly squirmy, so hog-tying would be a good skill.  Oh, and she junk-punches.  She has a bad-ass uncle or two, that have taught her some skills for the future years of dating ahead of her.  So, really, I am pretty sure any potential kidnapper will be either:  sick of her jabbering, get poked in the eye by her crazy-sharp elbows, or will be singing soprano.  Monkey Boy?  He's my size now, so I figure he's fairly safe.  And he's QUICK.  At least faster than his friends, which is all I care about if his group is attacked by potential kidnappers.  (Great, now all his friends' parents are going to read this, and make them pick slower friends...sorry, Monkey Boy). Halloween is a time to get out, talk to the neighbors, see all the cute costumes, spy on other parents to see how they transport their alcohol so they don't have to keep going back home. (Red wagons seem to be the best bet, but I'm not opposed to a backpack for hikers (Camelbak, I think) that will hold 60 ounces of jungle juice dripping into your mouth through a flexible straw-thingy. All I'm saying is shop around-check out your options.) We have met some super cool people on halloween. And, we know who has the cutest dogs in the neighborhood, and who has the nicest bathrooms.  Yep, my kids have asked to used the bathroom.  And when Princess was younger, she would walk into most of the homes and hug the person with the candy. She's super-appreciative like that.

What else ruins Halloween?
Oh, that's right.  Costume Police.  The ones that warn us about all the dangers of costumes.  They are:
  • Too dark-cars can't see them
  • Full of chemicals-no face makeup or plastic items because of bpas, pthalates, and such
  • Too long-make sure they can't trip your child who will then wander into traffic
  • Too obstructed-no masks!!!!The masks obstruct their views, once again forcing them into oncoming traffic
  • Too inappropriate--well, OK.  I concede on this one.  I really don't want my daughter to dress up as a slutty candy corn, a slutty witch, or a slutty unicorn. 
  • Too flammable-especially with all those candles in pumpkins, one false move, and WHOOSH.  Your child, up in flames.
The hospitals don't help, either.  Yes, I went there.  Fuck the doctors.  If I hear of another ER offering to x-ray candy bags, I'm gonna scream. 

Then, you have the parents.  These guys are the scariest of all.  I'm a full-size bar kinda house.  Yes, I know, I know.  I wrote an entire post about how I don't let my kids keep their candy. But, I let them have some, and then they get a crappy toyStop judging me. I'm the one who's right, here.
Let's talk quality.  Halloween is about candy.  Yummy gooey candy.  Full-size bar houses are rare, and the word on the street spreads fast.  We all talk-there is an amazing network of gossip that circulates on Halloween, spreading from group to group.

I am so sick and tired of my kids getting:
Apples-with or without razor blades in them
Gift certificates for an ice cream cone
note pads

Halloween is about candy.  Too much candy.  It is not about hating God, it is not about being safe, it is not about reflective tape.  It is a revolution of sorts, for children to truly let loose, and parents to approve of that.  The only admonishments we should hear should be: "Hey! No more Peanut Butter Cups.  Oh, okay, but only if you split it with me."

This post is really starting to piss me off, so I will finish up with my idea of the safest possible Halloween. First, the costume:

Now, the environment...

First, the house decor.  This is what you need, and why, in a helpful chart.  Feel free to print this and put it on your fridge.  But put it up high, so that the corners of the paper don't cut your toddler. And use tape, not magnets.  Magnets are a safety hazard:

Safe Item
Hints and Tips
Plug-in Pumpkin
No open flames to set children afire-CAUTION-put plug-in pumpkin in a window, rather than on the porch, so no one trips
Other decorations
Make sure they are happy, not scary. Children could have nightmares from scary pictures. Also, Wiccans will get mad if you put up images that make them look green or warty. Make sure all witches are hot, and smiling.
If you have any cracked concrete, repair before Halloween. If you cannot, turn lights off to reduce liability, and pretend you are not home.  Better cone off the walkway too, in case children ignore the lights off, which us adults know is the international sign of “Not Being Home”
Make sure there is a 1:1 adult to child ratio.  It is IMPERATIVE that children DO NOT outnumber adults.  And, older children ARE NOT substitutes for appropriate supervision. And, make sure all adults are sober, and in good shape. No fatties, no drunks.
All candy must be carefully inspected before ingestion. Not on the walk, but at home, in full light. Better yet, wait for the sun to come up. You just can’t be too careful these days.
Make sure each child has a flashlight, as well as several glow sticks. Nothing says “death” like a zombie with glow sticks. Safety first, I always say.
·         No apple-bobbing. Trench-mouth, herpes and thrush are REAL, people.
·         No gummy candies or other partially chewy items. These things get lodged in people’s throats every goddamn day.
·         No blindfolds.  Everyone knows this is the easiest way to wander away from the party and walk into oncoming traffic on a freeway
·         No face-covering costumes-adults know people every day that flirt with a bumble bee, finding out the next morning your husband went as a Clown instead of the Bumble Bee costume, and now you’re pregnant
·         No bowls of “brains”, “guts” or “eyeballs”.  They are filled with fecal matter, from the guy in front of you that didn’t wash his hands. Ever.

I think that just about covers it.  If I missed anything, PLEASE, for the LOVE OF SAFETY, leave a comment, so others can be made aware.

If you want to come with me and my kids, we are going with a group of people.  We will be the ones coming from the scary over-decorated house that smells like burning pumpkin. You will know it is us by the open containers of alcohol, and our complete disregard for crosswalks.


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Model of Self-Restraint

I go to therapy.  When I got diagnosed, my Rheumatologist said that my primary problem was depression, with fibromyalgia being secondary.  I guess the Reynaud's Phenomenon is secondary, as is the Rheumatoid Arthritis. Or would that be third, and forth?  I could wax poetic about how asinine it is that depression is the PRIMARY problem, but I will save that for another day.

Anyways-I got diagnosed with depression.  It's on my PERMANENT RECORD, y'all. Which is great when it comes to $125 an hour therapists, but complete suckage when it comes to life insurance.  More on this some other day, when I have a final, final, FINAL answer about life insurance-they have dragged their feet since May, and can't decide.  I guess if I die, the answer will be a resounding, "NO".

But, I am protected by law from getting cut off from therapy!  I guess they figure they have a better handle on my craziness if they can track me weekly.  So for $20 every Thursday, I get to hang out with a cool chick named Dr. M. Certain diagnoses are protected by law from getting cut off from therapy from the insurance companies. I have one of them.  I think that is actually a bad thing, but I am ignoring the societal implications of that, for now.

Last week, she asked how things have been going.

Let me just say that she is magical.  I remarked to her, "It is so weird. I drive over here with nothing on my mind. I walk up the steps, thinking, 'what am I going to say?', then I sit down. Maybe it's something magical about this room, this chair, this incense, that makes my brain come up with all the rotten things that drive me to want to stab someone in the eye with an ice pick".  Although, I didn't quite put it that way-therapists don't have nearly the sense of humor you would expect especially when it comes to discussing people that you would like to kinda stab.

About that.  I have a slight penchant for being a bit humorous.  Some might even go so far as to say, "sarcastically biting".  I have even heard worse, if you can imagine THAT.
And, wouldn't you know, my therapist sees my sarcasm and snotty comment- those things that have endeared readers to me the world over-as counterproductive!  WTF?

Listen to this shit:

She says, and I  loosely quote,
"When you spend your time focusing on the people and things that make you murderous (my words) you take away from the healing process of accepting the things in your life that you are struggling with."
What I guess this is supposed to mean is that, when I rant and rave about other people and how much they deserve to die-preferably by my hand-for their complete stupidity or annoying behaviors, I lose sight of what my focus should be, and dwell more on their behaviors and my judgement of them.

I don't know about you all, but judging others for their shortcomings makes me feel BETTER-isn't that why we do it?   I can be all, "Well, my hands don't work well which makes driving, writing, typing, cooking and reading a book difficult, but at least I'm not that crazy-ass female with a mustache  and back-boobs and a skunk hair-do, leading my rotten children around on leashes though the Wal-Mart, looking like I stuffed my stretch pants with a sack of doorknobs."  See? The mental picture alone is enough to cheer you up, right?

So, we made a deal.  I get to think the evil thoughts. Then I will blog them.  Then I will explore why the look/behavior/smell/driving ability/lack of common sense bothers me so much, because that is where I will find my true peace and acceptance of the hand I have been dealt.

or something like that.

One model of self-restraint, coming up!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm the Emotional Equivalent of the Oakland Raiders

This morning, I had some issues.  I won't go into detail because I am more ladylike than that.  Yes I am, you jackass.  Oh, right.  I see your point.  Either way, let's just say that my husband didn't download the "Period and Ovulation Tracker" app onto his Droid for nothin'.  I think it is the former Boy Scout in him, something about being prepared.

I had pretty much spent the entire morning being contrary, arguing, griping, bitching and ordering, all to no avail-(did these people in my house have a death wish???)

Soon, Sky King had disappeared, and I was finishing getting ready to take Princess to a round of birthday parties.  I figured Sky King was hiding. I wandered around the house, half hoping to apologize for being so horrid, and half to pick another fight.

I found him.  He came over to me (I was thinking he had finally lost it, and was planning on smacking me upside my head, thinking he would dislodge whatever cog or gear in my brain had gotten stuck).  Instead, he wrapped his arms around me, and said, "Don't worry, sweetie.  This will pass."

I'm thinking, "bastard checked his phone!  He is blaming this on my period!  That Jerk...oh, wait.  He's right.  Damn."

Instead, I say, "I'm sorry I'm so crazy.  I have no idea sometimes why you love me."

He responded with, "You're like the Oakland Raiders.  Most of the time, you are awesome.  Every once in a while, you drive me crazy.  But I will always love you."

I'm not sure if I should go, "Awwwwww...." or smother him in his sleep.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Back fat

Now, many of y'all are aware of how fabulously awesome Sky King is.  Even my own family seems to prefer him over me sometimes (can ya blame them?) But he has flaws.  Rarely are they obvious unless: it is football season, or some incredibly hot chick with a nice rack goes by on a pink motorcycle (one of his weaknesses).  Sometimes, however, he puts his foot so far into his mouth, shoelaces shoot out when he farts. 

At the beginning of my most recent quest for less ass, I  was, shall we say, slightly more rotund than I am right now.  I was squeezing into my fab workout gear, readying myself for some zen shit in the yoga studio.  I was pretty happy with myself, because half of the weight loss battle is wearing super-cute workout wear. I had just gotten an awesome pair of stretchy capris, complete with the ties at the calf. And, one of those kinda-sheer burnout shirts, advertising something earthy, like "Love the Planet" or "Stop Buying New Clothes Every Time You Have a Yoga Class".  I was feeling all hip and cool, and totally not 38.  Sky King was getting into his gym gear as well.  He looked at me, and gave me a look that said, "I'm thinking something very important, but I can't figure out how to say something without getting junk-punched."  I turned with a "WHAT????"  He opened his trap to speak, closed.  Opened, closed.  Opened.  "Ummm, that shirt is a little weird.  Are you SURE you want to wear it?"  I'm all, I know this shirt is the SHIT, so what the hell is he trying to say.  Ahhh, it BEST not be about my backfat.  He will DIE if it's about my backfat. "WHATTTTTT?????"  I say.  He ambles over, slowly, slyly trying to cover his "private area" with his hands.  "Well," he starts slowly, "it's just that it.....fits kinda the back.....right here.  Maybe if you.......ummmmm...... I dunno."  "YOU MEAN MY BACK FAT????? I KNOW YOU AREN'T CALLING ME FAT!!!!!!!"

He pales, and looks as if he wants a major earthquake to hit. Tsunami.  Child with spurting blood.  Anything to keep from having this conversation. 

I turn toward him, reach back, readjust my sports bra, tucking most of the back-boob into the Lycra encasement.  He says, "there.  That's better."

And THAT is why he sleeps in a cup.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What Do Ya Gotta Do to Get a Wikipedia Page 'Round Here?

What does it take to get a Wikipedia page?
I'm cute (can women pushing 40 still qualify for "cute"?)
I'm nice, personable.  Funny.  Big boobs. What more could it possibly take?
Snooki has one.
So does this guy I went to high school with that killed some people (well, actually, he just has a reference, but still...)
Even Carrot Top has one.

I want one, too!  I want it to be informative and inspiring.

It must talk about my substantial contributions to:
Girl Scouts
Pinterest Boards
Children and Families
Shoe-tying (I won the "Golden Lace" Award in 1st grade!)
Telling everyone the perfect way to improve their lives, by following my strict regimen of doing what I say no matter what
The ice cream, chocolate and boot industries

And, they must use some sort of amazing software for my photos that makes me 30 pounds thinner.  And taller.   And makes my husband a real homely troll, so no one tries to steal him-he makes awesome Mexican food, and rubs my sore muscles. And, he's one hell of a kisser.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ant Asylum and the Marital Peace Treaty

I am a tree hugger.  Not in the dirty-feet-and-soaked-in-patchouli,-not-shaving-my-legs-forever kind. The more eat-organic-bring-my-own-bags-to-the-store-and-recycle-shit kind. My lack of shaving is more out of laziness than any political statement about feminism. I feel that each person needs to do what makes them feel comfortable-I do what I am comfortable with.  I avoid products I know are tested on animals-honestly, have you ever SEEN a beagle with mascara?  That shit'll keep you up for WEEKS. I eat a lot of organic stuff.  I shop at local stores when I can. I eat produce in season most of the time (it's cheaper, too!). I try to avoid unnecessary chemical exposure, and i take baby spiders outside, rather than let them become one with my Birkenstock tread (Shit.  I don't really wear Birkenstock, I swear.  I'm more of a Frye Boots kind of gal. Or maybe a cute pair of Born Mary Jane's. Shit-shoes always get me off-topic.)Anyways-I'm a bit of a nature freak. I, however, married a man that couldn't give two shits about the environment.  That's not entirely true-but he doesn't go the great lengths to reduce his carbon footprint, if ya feel me.  He is just as likely to throw a can in the garbage than the recycle. He fully embraces disposable everything.  "Energy Star" reads "Expensive Marketing Ploy" to him.  And, he has a deep-seated hatred for ants. It stems from an incident with a very large quantity of ants long ago, and he won't budge.  I accept this, and each rainy season we live in a barely controlled balance. I suspect that he "Raid"s the kitchen regularly, and then stashes the can when I'm not home.

I have tried every manner of natural crap to keep the ants at bay.  I have tried:
  • Wiping the counters with vinegar
  • Sprinkling coffee grounds around the entire perimeter of the house
  • Sealing everything known to man with caulk
  • Some crazy white chalk from the Asian food market that is supposed to keep them away
  • Borax mixed with jelly to kill them
  • Tons of different spices sprinkled around the outside of the house

Basically, nothing works. Certainly not for long, anyway.  I have figured out why.  Our house has become the Ant Consulate.  They flee every other house in the neighborhood, seeking political asylum.  Now that I am home more, I have seen no less than 15 pest companies parked at every house on the block over the course of a month or two.  So, like the  scheming geniuses ants are known to be, they march in their little parades up the street, through our yard, and into every crack and crevice they can find.  They take over the kitchen, setting up mini ant communities, walking up and down our counters with their #OWH signs (Occupy Walker House).  Sky King grits his teeth. I even try to get up early to wipe them up before he sees them, just to have a peaceful morning.

This past spring, the ants had overstayed their welcome by about 3 months. It was June, still raining, and the little fuckers weren't going anywhere. Then, we found rat droppings.  So, rat droppings in the garage, ants throughout the kitchen. The bees in the backyard and the spiders in every corner-everyone but me was DONE.  Then, we found some sort of egg of a yet-undetermined-bug in the garage, and I crumpled like Lindsay Lohan in the cough syrup aisle at CVS.
I said, "FINE!!! Find a company that uses green shit, and get rid of this.  ALL of it."
Sky King RAN to the phone, dialed the first company that had a leaf in their ad, and had them perform total bug annihilation within 2 hours.

And all was peaceful once again.

Incidentally, when you squish an ant, they make an incredibly foul smell. It's formic acid, and it is FUNKY.

You're looking for an ant to squish, aren't you?

Eventually, New People Will Think I'm a Dipshit

I read online a lot. When my pain is mostly in my hands and wrists, that's about all I can do when I want to relax-Lord knows Sky King doesn't give up the remote freely very often. (Why should he? I only want to watch stupid shows about desserts that I can't have, or people that sing. Ick.)

I also belong to a few groups dealing with fibro and chronic fatigue.  What I have been most intrigued by, as has my husband, is the complete lack of support some people get that struggle with an invisible illness. 

I have thought about it for quite some time.  I have pondered, mused and ruminated.  I think I may have came up with the answer. And knowing this scares the ever-loving crap out of me.

Many people have been struggling with their health issues for a VERY LONG TIME. They were first experiencing symptoms way before modern medicine even validated their illnesses, much less believed that any of their complaints had validity-most of the people diagnosed are women, being cared for by male doctors, which has not helped the cause, lemme tell ya.
Add to this many of these people were just normal people BEFORE they got sick. Normal jobs, normal energy levels, normal occasional bouts of dont-feel-like-its and that-mess-will-be-there-tomorrows and my favorite, I-just-don't-fucking-wanna.  You know, that stuff you all experience once in a while.

But.  BIG BUTT.  Like, creepy-fat-chick-fetish-porno-butt.  Then they get/come down with/start to feel shitty/get diagnosed with some crap: fibro, chronic fatigue, lupus, Sjorgen's, take your pick. There's more, but I don't feel like Googling them all. You know what I mean, you know how Google works, do it your damn self.....sorry.  Got carried away AND off track. So not like me.

They are told by their doc that STRESS is the thing they need to reduce to experience a bit of relief, along with pounds of pills jammed down their throats all day long.
Do you know how hard it is to make a conscious effort to avoid stress?  Well, it is about as easy as sending your child outside for several hours right after a big rain storm with the words, "Now, don't get dirty!".  Not very possible, my friends.

Why does this all scare me?

Well, you may remember that I have a teensy little problem with control.  That's why I write this damn blog, so I can control your opinion of me, even if that means your opinion gets weirder, or drops like a lead weight.  At least it was on purpose. 
Now, I have to reduce stress, which involves a lot of saying NO, not planning so much, not going in to work so much, not driving so much, not spending so much time on the computer, blah blah blah.  I guess I am supposed to sit in a quiet clean room in a comfy chair, sipping chamomile tea whilst staring outside into the beautiful woods, adoring the twittering wildlife.
NOT screaming that my son is acting like a complete jackass while he shrugs and walks away, in the middle of helping Princess understand alphabetical order, while texting my sis-in-law about dinner plans in a few days while listening to Monday Night Football in the background and Adele in the kitchen, while the smoke detector goes off because the frozen pizza that might make it into the mouths of my children drips cheese into an already filthy oven.  Check.

Oh, and I have to continue to bring my kids to school-a wonderful Montessori charter school-where it is mandatory that we (meaning I) do 70 hours of parent participation (read: show up for field trips, conferences, classroom events, etc.) all within the midst of other moms (and some dads, don't get all pissy just yet) doing the same thing. Which means I will over-commit, overschedule and run myself ragged.

Here's the big catch:  Almost everyone I currently know knew me "when".  They knew the overachiever that was there for everything, seemed totally together, was on every field trip and every sign-up, was there at work early, leaving late.  Was seen cruising in the Swagger Wagon running errands at an enviable pace, couldn't seem to sit still long enough to breathe.  They all love me and accept me, and surely notice a huge difference in the past year. 

Now though, I am meeting people in my life: the gym, yoga class, Support Group, Kids' school, new families at work, that DIDN'T know me before.  To them, I may be seen as a flaky forgetful chubby mama that seems to be chasing her tail on a regular basis. And each year, more and more people will join the ranks of the  "Never knew Type-A Aimee".  This scares the absolute shit out of me. 

There goes just a little bit more control.

Maybe I need a warning label?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Princess In The Crane Game

My little Princess is thin.  Thin as in, why-didn't-you-let-your-kid-have-some-of-that-food,-fatty thin.  She wasn't 20 pounds till most of the way through her second year of life, and she didn't hit 40 til the summer after first grade.  She's tall, too. (Thank goodness she got the height gene from her father...).  On top of all this, she is bendy, and mischievous.
Let's go back in time to the summer she was six, shall we?

:::travel, travel, travel:::

We had the usual crew visiting for summer.  Sky King has an enormous family-more about this later, I have to go to bed in 3 hours.  Each summer, many of his siblings descend upon our area, and stay either with us, or with a sister 10 minutes away, and we get together most days and/or nights.
One of these days, T called, saying that she and K wanted to take the kiddos to the jumpy house place, because it was so hot and they wanted them to get their energy out.  The best part was, she said she would pick the kids up, and my husband and I would have a couple hours alone.  In the middle of the day.  With the A/C running full blast.  Wink, wink. Naturally, I took her up on it, and took a nap as soon as the kids were gone.  No, no, just kidding.  But it's not THAT kind of post, so I will just walk away from that.

Before they are set to come home, T calls (how very thoughtful to give us a 10-minute warning, right?) and says:
"Everything is fine, but I HAVE to tell you something totally funny."

This does not sound good.

She goes on: "Okay, so we are at the jumpy place, going in and out of the different jumpy rooms. And after a while, I realize Princess is not with us.  So I figure she was in the hallway, because she had seen one of those crane games where you use the joystick to move into position to grab a prize, and i had told her is wasn't working and I didn't want to spend any more money."

I DON'T like where this is going.  Not one bit.

"All of a sudden," she continues, "a woman comes in and says, 'you GOTTA come see this!'.  I KNEW it had to be Princess, so I went out to the hallway, and there she was, with a group of kids surrounding the crane game.  She was in it, and was choosing things for each child, with them guiding her from the outside."  By this time, T is laughing, and I am flushed with embarrassment.  Why?  I KNEW something like this would happen.  I have THOSE KIND of kids.  It's genetic, from my side.  I did crazy things, so they do crazy things.  More on this later.

"So, I say to Princess, 'Princess!!!  That is NOT OKAY.  Now, stay RIGHT THERE while I get my camera'.  Then, I ran and got my camera, and took some pictures.  I will lend you the camera to upload.  Isn't that HILARIOUS?  Oh, and she's fine.  I called once she got out, so I knew she was okay. Holy crap, she is a nut."

Ya think?

This is what I get to upload when I get home:

(To the kid waiting patiently outside) Do you want this one? Or this one?

Busted.  Yes, she is STANDING.

What do you mean, I don't get to keep anything? I EARNED it!

Turns out, she SNUCK A DOLLAR FROM T's PURSE, then put it in the machine, completely ignoring the OUT OF ORDER sign that she can totally read.  Then, she was pissed, so she pushed the little door, realized there was some slack because of sub-par plexiglass, and climbed in.  Then she stood up, being bendy and all, and went about the choosing.  She figures she has the pick of the litter at this point.  Other children get wind of the situation, and decide to take advantage.  Now, Princess may be mischievous, but she isn't MEAN, so  of course she obliges, and begins to allow each child waiting to choose their favorite item, while she's at it.  She's super sweet like that. This is about the time she gets caught.

So, of course a verbal tongue-lashing is completely useless when you are laughing your ass off, and I KNOW IN MY HEART she has learned nothing.

I tell her about the many many problems with her methodology:
Taking money from T's purse,
Not reading the sign
Climbing into a crane game that is clearly NOT MEANT TO BE CLIMBED INTO
Giving other children prizes too, that they didn't EVEN EARN
The next time you might not be so lucky and they may have to call the fire department to cut you out, and you would get hungry waiting for them to come rescue you.....blah blah blah.  What she heard was:
Don't do it again, just because.  But always remember, you are funny as shit.  And cute.  And skinny.

Let's fast-forward a few months, shall we?

:::travel, travel, travel:::

I know you know where this is going.  Yep, there.

So, one day after school (a half day, so we had to scrounge up some lunch) I just didn't feel like foraging in the kitchen for food. So, we head to a burger joint close to home, one that has lots of crap for the kids to do like play video games, and get squishy animals out of the quarter machine. They also get to pick their own burger toppings, and they have nacho cheese that is TO DIE FOR.  Obviously, this is before my diet.

I am cleaning up the table, getting ready to get moving towards home, and the kids have since run out of quarters, but are milling about.  I figure they are looking for quarters underneath the game machines.  Or finding candy.  You know, the usual.

She comes on over to get her drink, and she has a soft pet in her hand (I need to clarify: a "soft pet" is what you all may know as a stuffed animal, or a plush animal).  I say, "Where did you get that???"  The look on her face is confirmation. She did it again. And, just after I had a talk with her about a poor little girl in another state that climbed into a crane game, got stuck, and had to be cut out by the fire department. I even showed a picture to her, and the little girl was crying.  I figured, "Phew, THAT will never happen again."  Damn.  Thanks a lot, Internet.
SO I walk over to the machine, and I really cannot believe that she got into this thing.  the opening for the machine is seriously 7 inches by 9 inches.  I'm totally flabbergasted, and remembering to keep my game face on.  So, I talk her by the hand, and we go up to the counter.

I put the soft pet ducky down, and I say, "Tell the man you're sorry for taking this without paying for it".  The man, all of 17, stops to say something, probably, "No worries, she can keep the stupid duck" when I give him my best withering "Make my child PAY, damn you!" look.
Princess lowers her head, looks through impossibly long lashes, and softly says, "Sorry I took this from the crane game.".  He looks at me with a furrowed brow, and says, "WHERE did she get this??"  I told him she got it from the crane game by squeezing into it, and he should tell her how important it is to never do that again because they don't even have a key.  He mumbles something like that, and takes the duck, walking away. Probably to go tell him that some crazed chubby lady and her malnourished daughter creeped into the crane game and "HOLY CRAP! THAT HOLE IS HELLA SMALL!!!"

And THAT is why I carry a set of lock picks with me.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Everyone has been inspired, at some time, for some thing.  Some of us are inspired to be better people because of, or in spite of, others in our lives. Sometimes we are inspired to pursue a particular career.  For instance, I was inspired to work with children (which included changing majors from Drama (big surprise there) to Child Development by a wonderful woman named Cecilia Alvarado Kuster.  She was the Director of the Children's Center at Santa Barbara City College, and I took a class from her to fulfill a requirement. I fell in love with the center and the material.
At one point, I was inspired to be a food server. I would practice when I cleared the table by stacking numerous plates in my arms when I was seven.  Little did I know at that tender young age that THAT particular dream would come true when I was 21.  (No, really.  I LOVED waiting tables.  Still do.  Would do it for fun if I could.  Don't be so surprised, I have proven how sick I am many times before)

I was inspired to lie when faced with grounding.  I was inspired to move far away my second year of college to get away from a controlling boyfriend.  Many things can inspire us.

I recently fell back in love with writing.  Actually, I have always loved writing.  I just didn't ever do it.  I had a teacher in high school-Jane Juska.  I took Creative Writing from her for two years.  She was inspiring.  She was cool, open, honest.  All those things good teachers never seemed to be, yet she managed it.  I wrote like my life depended on it (sometimes my sanity did).  I wrote about everything-love, as only a 17-year old can-dreams, hopes, family.  I made up stories.  I wrote poems.  I poured my heart and soul into notebooks, journals and word processors (we didn't have a home computer then, just some black floppy thingies we saved work to).
Jane-Ms. Juska-was amazing.  She would bring in articles that were meant to inspire us. We would read a strange news clipping about not wearing blue to the jail when visiting, and ask us to use it as inspiration.  Each student would write, write, write. Each person would come up with something different.  For some reason, that writing class was the Great Equalizer.  People that would normally ignore others in the hall were friends.  Rockers sat by Dorks, Athletes by Regular People. 
I was so close to Jane by graduation (I could finally call her Jane!) that I invited her to my graduation party.  SHE SHOWED.  She was late, though.  Those of you younger than 35 may not remember, but photo processing was a thing they did in a stinky lab, and getting it done in less than an hour was a major feat.  Well, Jane was late because she had taken my photo as I walked with my classmates, and stopped by the 1-hour photo studio to get it developed, in order to give it to me THAT DAY. I remember being hurt she hadn't showed, then elated she showed, then flabbergasted she had gone to such lengths for me. ME!

 That's me, walking with Bill Spain-he was voted Most Likely To Fall Into A Manhole.  Maybe I should look for him on Facebook to make sure he's still okay.

Right before I got married, I talked to Jane-she couldn't make my wedding, but I got to introduce her to my betrothed.  I'm sure she wasn't surprised that he was NOT my High School boyfriend, the one I thought was THE ONE.  Had I known then what I know now...

We lost touch for a while.  I moved away,t hen moved back. We caught up on 10 years or so of info.  Then, lost track again.  I thought of her one day, Googled her.  There she was.  In Print.  She had been published-Twice!

This one is about her life as a divorced woman.  her trials and tribulations throughout her adult life, her quest to finally get laid.  Really.  Reading it was like sitting with her, curled up with a glass of wine, chatting like peers.

She had another:

This one extends her late-life adventures, including a long-term one with a much younger man. Once again, I was captivated.  I bought them both, full price, in hardcover.

Then, I heard that her first book was being made into a play.  I scrambled onto the computer, bought tickets, booked a hotel in San Francisco, and told my husband we were sneaking away for a night.
it was amazing-the play, the people, the actors, the scenes. And Jane was there. After it was over, I caught her eye, and we connected. She introduced me to a friend of hers as the "person that taught her more about high school than an entire teaching career".  My husband beamed behind me, knowing how pivotal that comment was.  I'm sure Jane would be embarrassed by my accolades and adoration.  But, c'est la vie.

Since then, we got together with another classmate for lunch. I got to hear about what happened after the second book. We stil maintain a haphazard email relationship.

When I got my blog up and running and had a substantial number of posts, I sent her a link.
She responded within a couple days with, "you are writing some delightful stuff. I always knew you could." :::beam:::

I know she is JUST A NORMAL HUMAN.  She has had her tough times, made her mistakes. Her books showed me a side of her I was unaware of.  But still, she inspired me.  She taught me a thing or two, she was there for me when I needed her.

smartphone.  Luckily, there's an app for that. I think that is one of the things that makes my posts good.  That, and "write what you know".  I write about what I know-or at least what I think I know.
I always wanted to write something and be published. I had planned on making it a children's book. I have plenty of false starts.  One day, that dream may become a reality, and that first page? It will be dedicated to her.

Until then, this post is for you, Jane.

Super Salve for Pain

In the Great State of California, the voters approved SB 420, allowing for medicinal use of marijuana.  As a result, many collectives (or buying clubs) popped up to meet the demand.
Whether you agree or disagree with California's law-many view it as too lenient with users getting medical recommendations for vague things such as generalized back pain and insomnia (who can't sleep now and then?) few can argue the medicinal potential of cannabis.  Well, you can argue until you're blue in the face, but it will fall on deaf ears.While you may have an opinion, you are always entitled to mine.  No one can argue that marijuana is any worse than alcohol, or pain pills, for that matter. In fact, there are less counter-indications for marijuana use....I guess that is for another post.
Before you jump to conclusions that I'm some pot-smoking patchouli-wearing hippy, let me clarify.  I am not.  I am not a fan of illegal drugs, and with a child in the middle of sorting out deep feelings about moral rights and wrongs, I clearly have to set the example that will help me sleep best at night.  Doing one thing and saying another is not part of that.  You see, I have always taught my children that, even though we may not agree with a rule or a law, we still must have respect for it, or do something to change it.  This means that, I do not want to be 'caught' compromising my beliefs, even to obtain pain relief. 
But.  There are things that marijuana can be used for besides smoking it for a high effect.  It can be used to create a salve.  When used topically, people have experienced pain relief. And, it does not enter the bloodstream, and does not affect users in a "high" sort of way.  Best of both worlds, I say. I have tried Tiger Balm.  I have tried an MSM cream from my doctor $40 a pot, and smells like death).  I have tried numerous topical options, with varying success. However, a $10 pot of THC salve has been my best buy.
Another but.  You cannot obtain it legally, or have it in your possession legally, without proper certification (think: junkie sitting in corner, cramming gobs of rosemary-scented  salve into his mouth).  So, after months and months of thought, I did it.  I went and got my 215 card (that's hip MJ-speak for the ID card that allows one to possess personal amounts of cannabis, or cannabis-containing items such as food and salves). 
Now, I went to college and FULLY EXPERIENCED ALL IT HAD TO OFFER (wink, wink)-I'm not morally opposed to marijuana-I'm more opposed to the illegal use, only due to the legality.  If something is legal, I really don't have much of a problem with it.  I may not like it (gambling in every grocery store and prostitution come to mind) I may not choose to use or do whatever it is, but I will not argue the rights of others to use the substance at their discretion.  This, to me, is one of the bases of our society: the ability to decide what behaviors and substances we agree is OK.  Currently, medical marijuana use-in my state-is legal.  Recreational use is not, especially for someone that does not have medical authorization.  So, like anything else, you are not to share your meds.  Not your birth control, not your vicodin.  And, you are not supposed to take a bunch to get wasted, unless taking a bunch to get wasted is what you need to do to get the relief you need.  Simple enough, leaving things kind of to the discretion of the user, much like alcohol and tobacco, pain pills that recommend "take one as needed for pain, up to 6 pills in a 24 hour period".

One of the things CA gets grief for is the process to obtain the 215 card.  I went, I sat in the waiting room, I met the doctor.  The waiting room was filled with all kinds.  Now, like anything else, everyone is quick to judge based on something we know nothing about.  I was in the waiting room with 3 other people-one older person, and two young men.  Both young men  were dressed in baggy clothing, both had caps on, one with a hoodie with the hood up as well.  EASY to judge.  But, what if one was in a car accident and is waiting for a surgery to give him some pain relief? What if the other was struggling with sciatica? What if the older lady was a stoner, and selling it to the neighbors?  We don't know.  That's the point-no one knows.  

Getting my card was quite the experience. So, I find a doctor that is willing to meet with me to determine if I meet the criteria for a recommendation.  Few traditional doctors will make recommendations.  So, you go to a special doctor that only handles this type of diagnosis.  It's located in a business park/strip mall-type place.  I see a couple guys walk in ahead of me.
I go in, turn over my CA ID, and wait. I fill out some paperwork, and allow them to make a copy of my ID, as well as a copy of my medical record, which I was told to bring in.
My name is called, and I go back to the exam room. I have a slight limp, due to an injury I had gotten over the weekend.
I meet the doctor, who sits behind a desk. He takes my blood pressure, asks me height and weight questions, he listens to my chest and looks in my eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Notes that I have a pulse. Does NOT notice that I have 6 stitches on my left eye, just next to the brow line, into the lid, also related to the injury from earlier in the week.  My confidence in his medical ability is waning.
He looks at my medical record, says "fibromyalgia, huh?  Okay."  Signs some papers, hustles me into the next room, where I talk to a girl that will take my picture and issue my card and certificate. I don't know what i expected, but this wasn't it.  Maybe I expected more thorough questions? Maybe I thought it would be some hippy doctor, fighting for the rights of patients all over the state, advocating for medicinal use laws.  What I got was a guy in scuffed loafers, with little time and little patience.

I leave, then Google the nearest collective.  Feeling like that person that took two rolls in the buffet line instead of one, I creep into the waiting room.  The person behind the thick glass asks if I am a patient, and is it my first time. I say "Yes", then fill out paperwork, giving them my 215 recommendation.  She copies this, takes my CA ID.  I then get buzzed back to the counter, past the security guard (who is not your typical mall cop-this dude's packin'.) I mosey up to the counter, and he asks what I need it for, then proceeds to school me on the varieties and what they are used for. I get quite an education before leaving with what I need.

While many people may not live in states where they may experience this situation, I feel that the tides are turning. The Feds are not on my side.  Many Facebook groups has popped up, spouting their opinions on the subject matter (I bet none of them have had a close friend struggle with the nausea of chemo treatments or the debilitating pain from a serious accident).What abouts are easy to come by, in every political argument.  What about the woman who wants an abortion for the baby she conceived during a rape? What about the person hit by an uninsured driver, without medical insurance, that must rely on public aid for health care, food and housing? Not everyone has a family safety net-just look at any street corner, or stop by your local homeless shelter during a cold wet day.  It's really easy to pass judgement, when you work, have benefits, have no pain, and wish that the poverty-stricken would just go away, or take their problems elsewhere. In these economic times, it's especially easy to judge, to look for a place to point those fingers-the banks, the "illegals", the welfare recipients.  Yes, there is fraud, everywhere. But there was a need when the system was created.  Maybe we should focus our energy into changing the system, the laws, what we will accept, rather than chastise those that have a need we don't.

Let's go back to the guys I met at the doctor's office.  What were their stories? Well, the waiting room was not conducive to chattiness.  But they were there with concerns.  Maybe they were real, maybe not.  However you feel, we, as residents of this state, voted for the right for these guys to come here.  We voted for the right of me to come here, for the older lady to come here.  Like it or not, the legalization of marijuana is coming soon.  Whether the collectives keep getting shut down, whether the feds threaten the property owners that rent to them, whether more and more ordinances try to stop them, the use is there.  The NEED is there.  The potential tax revenue and JOBS are there.

Maybe it's time to jump on the wagon. If not for yourself, then maybe for someone you love.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Things I Shouldn't Do While Over-Medicated

There are things people should not do during certain times in your life. 
For instance, don't accept a marriage proposal and then seal the deal within a 24 hour period in Vegas (or any other city, for that matter).  Also, it's a bad idea to shop for groceries while hungry.  (Some of you are all, "She's funny but I just can't relate. Oh, there's one that makes sense.  Phew!")
I need to add one to the list: No computer-ing while hopped up on pain meds (or when upping one's meds.  I think computers and cell phones constitute "heavy machinery".)
Let me explain.

It has been rumored that there are people out there that get all hopped up on ambien for their sleep problems. Then, they go ape-shit spending money online.  I dream of such flamboyant shopping-without-consequences.  Until then, there is me, hopped up on too much pain meds, trolling the bowels of Etsy. And by bowels, I mean the bottom of the barrel, where the waste is stored.  Etsy is a website created for people who make all manner of handmade craftiness, and don't want to sell them on ebay.  Many of the items are brilliant, artistic, and wonderful. Sometimes, however, there is a fail.  a FAIL of epic proportions. In fact, there is a website dedicated to these fails:  Regretsy.
Ever since I found Regretsy, I have been trying, mostly in vain, to find something craptacular enough to qualify for the site.  Finally, I did.
It went down like this:
I was on Etsy, and had created an account.  Then, I was asked to rate certain items based on how much I liked them. This would allow the website to choose things that would suit my taste.  I must say, considering what I am shown, I probably need to restart my account, and do a new series of picks. But until then, I will troll for amazing finds.  Here is what I typed in:
"spoon jewelry"
Here I was a came across:

Yep.  That IS a mouse skull.  Yep, nestled next to a baby doll arm.  AND, it is even more hideous and disturbing in person. I have yet to broach the idea of wearing it.  Maybe I don't have the right chain? Maybe I value my marriage?  One of those is true, I am certain.

Facebook. Maybe Facebook needs to, after 8 pm, ask a series of questions that determines whether you are of the right frame of mind to be updating your status.  Or, Mark Zuckerburg could steal some algorithm from some dudes from college that will determine if a potential status update is considered too out of character for the poster.  (Or, my even suggesting that technology exists explains exactly how much I DON'T know about technology). Here are a few that caused me to pause the next day:

*Shameless self-promotion is the new "planking"
*Princess: Mom! Look what I found! Me: what is that? P: A squirrel head Me: Drop it. P: I'm just holding the whisker Me: PUT. IT. DOWN.
*On my way to the gym-I'm so healthy even my boogers are organic! (WHY was I on my way to the gym hopped up on meds???)
...and about 100 others, that my wonderful Sky King must've deleted.  Good gracious, he is fab.
*rip*--me, sneaking into the DLand $, cuz I don't have time to hit the bank. Shoulda used glue- sorry kids # vacationnightmares
Good news: finally found the China Markers I needed. Bad news: can't remember what they were for. Bought em anyway-it'll come to me.

Text my mother birthday gift ideas. Case in point:

I will say that my husband told me to NOT text this idea to my mom.  Also, a few days later I thought about it.  But my mom is an incredibly conscientious gift giver, and is always prompt, if not WAY EARLY.  (I inherited this trait.  Sorry, honey.)  So, I felt that it would be bad form to unrecommend the Forever Lazy creation.  Plus, I kinda still wanted it.
Then, on the night of my surprise party, I got it.  It came in this beautiful blue color, AND had matching socks, complete with treads, like they put on toddler socks.  While completely embarrassed, I was also intrigued, which caused me to try it on.  It was amazing-soft, cozy, and very functional-the back unzips for bathroom use. Genius, right?  On second thought, I stand behind this request.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Justify My....Anything

Sometimes, you need a reason to justify your spending, your wastefulness, your swear words.  Well, swearing isn't wasting, it's communicating vehemently, but still. You know what I mean.

In fact, just today a few of my galpals (what am I, Madonna???) and I were talking about effective parenting.  Not that i was justifying my way or anything, but just as the conversation was happening, we had a couple incidents happen all at once. And we all three agreed that, sometimes, anger is quicker.  For instance, I gave my child a chance to come over to us so we could all go on to the next thing-we were at the pumpkin patch. (I guess I should be happy my 12 year old even ALLOWED me to drag him to a pumpkin patch. But, he is fully aware of my precarious mental state, so maybe it's a wash.) All the older kiddos had wandered off while we chatted like hens, barely watching the younger ones push each other off hay bales and pick all the brown kernels out of the Indian corn.  (Can we still call it that??)  Anywhooo, I texted MB-which he ignored, then called. I said, hey, we are going on the hay ride, c'mon over, see you in a sec.  I thought that was effective. Meanwhile, one of the other moms was handling an altercation with her child and another.  She wasn't getting as far as she would like.  I could see in her eyes that at any moment, her quivering hand was about to rethink her current discipline policy.  Or maybe I'm projecting. Either way, there was conflict. The other mom was talking to us about how tough the "tween" years were, and how she hated how her child's behavior made her behave.  (Oh, when you're a mom, blaming the victim is TOTALLY OKAY. They aren't victims when they are your own children, they are lucky to have survived this long.)
Then, we noticed the bigger kids hadn't gotten back yet. So, I pulled out the old cell phone, and called.  Again.  And said, "Hey. That meant now.  Here. Now." :::click:::
Within 15 seconds, they all came over, walking quickly.  See? Anger is quicker.  And effective.

I can justify just about anything.

Expensive boots: They will last forever, they are a "classic" style, they will get you a job

Eating out when we are saving money: It will give us more time to enjoy our meal as a family, and the kids have too much homework to clean the table off at home. Also, kids eat free on Tuesday/Wednesday/whatever day. And, this one place has the most amazing gluten-free dairy-free blah blah blah, and I just want to feel normal for once  (insert puppy eyes here)

Buying more scrapbooking crap I don't need: It's for MEMORIES, you unsentimental buffoon---how are we SUPPOSED TO GIVE OUR CHILDREN SOMETHING TO REMEMBER US BY WHEN YOU DON'T EVEN CARE ENOUGH TO...oh wait, was I yelling? Must've hit a nerve.  Ahem.

Buying this/that/the other thing: It will make our lives easier/faster/prettier/me happy.  One of these always works.

Cell Phone: (This one is easy...) You use it to track your child (on HIS cell phone), you have an app to find cheap gas which saves money, you have an app to find restaurants that have gluten-free food, you check the weather to decide if you can wear your new boots, you have apps that keep the kids happy at a restaurant so you can enjoy a meal like they are not even there, you keep everything in your calender so you don't forget to go to conference/pick the kids up/show up at the doctor, you can figure out the best route home from work because you can look at real-time traffic, you have an app that lets you take notes which will form into blog posts which will get you a book deal which will add to your net worth.....I can do this all day, folks.

I even have a justification for packaging treats into individual snack-sized baggies instead of being less wasteful and pulling right out of the main giant bag. You see, I'm on Weight Watchers.  And, I have to count the Points Plus value of each thing that crosses my lips. Also, I have food allergies, so I am limited in what I can eat.  I want to get all the bang for each point, so I very meticulously measure out individual servings, so I can grab and go in the mornings. This is how I justify the waste: getting to my goal weight puts less wear and tear on the earth, and having everything ready to go in the morning saves my children and husband from additional obscenity-laced tirades from their in-house crazy person. See? 

Go ahead, test me in the comments. What would you like justified?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Things I Never Thought I Would Say, Vol. 1

  • No more sawing pressurized cans in half, even if you cover it with a towel to absorb the shrapnel (truly, said this just 2 weeks ago)
  • Quit body-slamming your sister
  • Don't bring any more things in this house that are alive
  • By the look on your face, I can tell I don't want to smell/taste/see what's in your hand (I've said this more than once)
  • How many more bugs are you planning to kill today?
  • For reals, stop playing with the lawnmower and go read a book!
  • No, you may not have a whipped cream sandwich
  • You're going to have a good time, whether you like it or not 
  • Hello? Poison Control?  Yes, my name is Jenny Babcock/Meredith Smith/Renee Johnson. I hope you can help me, but this one may stump you... (Also, change your phone number each time-that's how they track it...or so I hear)
As a parent, have you ever said anything that made you think, "Holy shit, did I just SAY that?"

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Junk-Punching Forty

    Here is sit in front of the computer, enjoying a cup of coffee with Pumpkin Spice Non-Dairy Creamer.  Trying to decide if I should have a piece of the Vegan Gluten-Free Mocha Cake leftover from a fantastic surprise party.  Fuck it, who am I kidding?  ...enjoying a piece of Vegan Gluten-Free Mocha Cake leftover from a fantastic surprise party.   Musing about another year gone by.

    What has a year brought me?  LOTS of change.  But really, when I look back, what has a decade brought me? I have the battle scars: stretch marks, acne scars, gray hairs yet to be dyed, wrinkles (laugh lines, they call them, sick bastards "they" are).

    10 years ago, I was trying to lose weight in order to get pregnant, with what would turn out to be Princess.  We were thinking about whether we would have enough love and attention to share with another child, whether it was going to benefit us, expanding our little tri-pod of fun.  We didn't know that our hearts would grow along with my belly. We both worked full-time, Sky King commuting over 1 1/2 hours each way.  In fact, he had just moved with his company, so now he came home each night, rather than stayed overnight 3 hours away for most of the week, coming home for a long weekend.  I was working with school-age children, putting in 50 hours a week, plus drive-time. We lived in a little house in my husband's hometown. We worked on that little house on the weekends.  No matter how much paint we slapped on, how much new trim we added, how updated that single bathroom became, we still couldn't get a pizza delivered, due to the reputation of the neighborhood. We were happy though, because our home had doubled in value, and the ceiling seemed limitless.
    We didn't know it, but we were coming up on a big change in our lives. Within less than a year, we would be faced with having to sell our home. We would start a business and then pour the home-sales profits into a business that would fail within 7 years.  My pain would increase to epic levels, and I would try acupuncture for the first time. We would hit financial lows, and struggle with the things many people in their first decade of marriage struggle with:
    Trust, lack of maturity, growing older.  We would seek marriage counseling by the year's end.

    It would turn out to be some of the shittiest wonderful things that ever happened.

    Marriage:  The therapist would tell Sky King to quit smoking, and me to take my diminishing ass down to anger management classes.  I would grudgingly go, and learn nothing.

    Home: We sold that house-our first home. We worked hard to create a warm home out of that shit hole. We had put lots of blood, sweat and cash into it. It pained us-we had made 250% on the sale, and funneled all that cash into our new business. We moved in with my parents, who had retired to the Sacramento area. We had a new baby that had colic, and a son getting ready to start Kindergarten.

    Work: I quit my job due to horrendous sciatic problems during my pregnancy. I was going to run the business we started, with Princess attached to my hip.  Sky King would commute to Hayward for his regular job running a flight school, then come home for long weekends to help me at the business. (We made custom area rugs and repaired Oriental rugs)

    Soon, we were running out of money.  Actually, we were running out of room on the credit card.  The money had gone long ago. Our credit score was about to take a huge hit, and I needed a job. I took a job teaching preschool at a local chain, mourning the loss of our dream: SK's to be our own boss and live on that alone, mine to leave Child Development-it just wasn't my thing.

    I drudged through work, realizing that in order to eat regular meals, I would need to promote. Back to 60-hour workweeks for me.  SK's flight job relocated to Phoenix, leaving us dependent on my pathetic hourly wage and the barely afloat business. Princess was be-bopping through life, Monkey Boy was floundering in the public school system.

    Then, we took life by the short and curlies.  We got our own place, if only to save our relationship with each other, and our relationship with my parents. We needed our own space, so did they.  I promoted, and jumped into 60+ hour workweeks, running a failing center. Sky King plugged away at the business while trying to find side gigs flying. Monkey Boy got ripped from the public school system, and nestled into a Montessori charter school. Things were looking up.

    Fast-forward six years-my body has taken a beating-so has my psyche.  Our entire world has been flipped upside down-roles have reversed, adaptations forced upon us. And we are happier than ever.

    Yes, we closed that first business. But that experience allowed us to make our next business a smashing success. And somewhere along the line I fell in love with children again.  It felt like the first time though.  The first time was more of a crush-I enjoyed showing things to children for the first time, hearing them say their crazy things, telling their parents' business.  Now, I LOVE children.  I have gotten involved in an organization, PITC, that would totally wipe away all ideas about children and child care.  I would transform into a great trainer that knew instinctively the answers to the questions my staff would ask me.  (Rather than trying to remember by rote the Piagetian INSTEAD. It took quite a while for a paycheck to become a habit, but the work was amazing and rewarding, growing a business with a group of people that continually amaze me on a daily basis.
    Sky King has moved into a comfort zone of working for himself when he wants to, and working with an exciting start-up with some men he respects. Monkey Boy is flourishing in Montessori (despite his report card---it's a work in progress) and Princess is still be-bopping to the sound of a peppy internal soundtrack.

    My health sucks.  I know this, I accept this.  I also accept that my health has caused me to pause, slow down, take on less, commit to less.  I recommitted to myself, my children, my awesome husband. I have grown and matured, and I finally know what that therapist a decade ago was talking about.  I have eased up on Sky King-I appreciate what he brings to the table, and the way in which he brings it.  I didn't do that as much before.  I was silently waiting for him to become the man I thought I wanted.  Luckily for me, I figured that out before he got sick of me.  Learned that the best thing for me was exactly what I had in front of me.

    We have lots of free time for our kids.  Lots of free time for our awesome groups of friends, new  and old.  Lots of time to do nothing, which is one of my new favorite hobbies.

    I have made peace with the wrinkles, the grays, the stretch marks.  Not the acne, though.  That shit has GOT to stop.

    I WILL be in a bikini next summer.  Not because I will be at my goal weight.  I may be, I may not be.  But I ain't getting any younger, and I want to have pictures I will envy later.  Have you seen a picture of yourself from the past and thought, "man, I sure wish I had known how hot I looked" or, "I wish I had shown more cleavage back then, when my boobies were so high and perky". So, come hell or high water, low boobs or gelatinous thighs, I WILL be in a bikini next summer. I want to look back when I am 49 and say, "damn, girl. I was one hot piece of ass."  And regardless of what I weigh, I will say that.  We all will. The grass WAS always greener, right?

    Makes you rethink that venti frappaccino you were going to surprise me with, doesn't it?

    I have a feeling this is the start of the best year yet.