Friday, June 10, 2011

Mini Facebook Rewind, Part 3

I'm so naughty - I have a TON to blog about, but none of it that I'm sure would be cleared by my attorney at this I've been holding my tongue...errr....fingers?  Whatever the case, you know the drill here.  Condensed Facebook - one stop shop.  More on my scandalicious life later on when things iron out.

March 8, 2011 
Freckles are angel kisses in our house, and Esten threw a random mini-fit last night that "all our dead Grandmas and Grandpas must love Jalen the most because he has more angel kisses than any of us and it's not fair".

March 17, 2011
Lee boys' review of "new Karate Kid": "boring, too much fighting, is it a boy or a girl, looks like a girl, he's too short, why are they all in China, it's taking too long, the old Karate Kid is way better, it had better cars and the guy was cooler and the girl was sooo pretty." Wow. The '80s win again.

March 22, 2011 
Esten:  "Hey mom you know what's funny about hamburgers? They come from cows."
Me:  "You're right, they do come from cows."
Esten:  "Well, but what's weird is that there's lettuce. And there's no lettuce in cows. Only milk."

March 23, 2011
Clayton: "Mommy, two things. Is there towits and is there TVs in jail?"
Me: "Why do you need to know that?"
Clayton: "Well number one is because I don't want to pee in my pants and the number two thing is because I don't want to miss SpongeBob."
Kindergarten registration is today and his long-term plans obviously do not include college, nor being sneaky enough to not get caught.

April 20, 2011 
Esten said you can either look like your mom or your dad, but isn't buying that for him or Clayton..."Daddy doesn't even LOOK like me!" Is Maury Povich in our future?

April 27, 2011 
Let Esten ride his bike to the bus stop while I followed in the car (a whole half a block) and he decided he was going to race me there, but asked me to "please try to don't run me over, Mommy." Oh, okay...THIS time.

May 2, 2011 
Esten's 'about me' writing: "I hav a mom ho wrks ol day. And dad wo is a grat DS playr. And Clayton. And Grampu wo is a coowpoy. And Gramu wo uost to wrck at cosco." To clarify, Grandma has never worked at Costco and we will be working on never using the words "mom" and "ho" together in a sentence again.

May 23, 2011*
Thought Esten's new naughty word was a stuntman move: Ass Fall. And I was mad.
Me: "Where did you hear that word?!"
Esten: "At school, from my teacher."
Me: "I don't THINK so, tell me exactly what she said."
Esten: "The workers are tearing up the ASS FALL then they are going to put in the new playground for the little kids."
Me: "Oh.....but I want you to call it BLACKTOP from now on, okay?"

*Update: I let teacher know about this and she gave Esten a private phonics lesson - he shared with me right away that it's "Asphal-T" (she may have been worried how many other students were doing this).

May 24, 2011
One of Esten's earlier art pieces...he said it was me, but I see no resemblance. My hair has never been that short.

May 28, 2011
Blue playground climbing thingie: 1, Esten's right arm: 0.

June 3, 2011
Esten got his cast on today - the last of the casting material in the doc's office that matches BlueBear~ (nobody else has picked it in a LONG time) A boy and his bestest buddy are a special thing. He proudly proclaimed to the nurse that "BlueBear has been my best friend since I was born."

June 10, 2011
Esten's last learning topic at Kindergarten was dinosaurs and he's good about passing his knowledge along to Clayton, who promptly incorporated them into his prayers: "...and thank you God for the dinosaurs, but thank you for killing all of them before you made me be borned so that I didn't get eated by a T-Rex. Amen."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sometimes Mommy drops the F-Bomb

It has been a very long couple of weeks.  I will not get into the specifics of my woes, but I will say that I have dropped the F-Bomb so many times recently that my very closest friends are likely convinced that I have developed Tourette's and/or need a medication analysis.  One in particular felt responsible for "pushing me over the edge" the other day, but I assured her (and you now) that she did not.  Here are a few of my F's.  Let's get them out of the way, shall we?

Okay, so that feels better now.  Sometimes mommies, even good mommies, need to let those rip.  I do not let them fly around the kids, but I sure do around those few people good enough to make it through the treacherous trenches of turbulent years of friendship with me.  They are the only ones who understand when you're having a F*ing horrid day and need to blast a few out.  Then it's back to business.  If anyone thinks this might not be necessary, let me point out that I only have so much storage space.  The storage that these F's could occupy is already taken up by all the farts I've been holding in - so sorry, it's one or the other.  You make your choices and I'll make mine, and so far my friends prefer my periodic verbal unloading so thanks.
 Anyhoo....Esten melted my heart a bit when I was unloading his backpack and found that Blue Bear had tagged along to school.  I asked about it and Esten dashed to the coat closet,
"Oh please don't be mad at me Mommy, please?  But sometimes I just like to put Blue Bear in there just because he's my bestest buddy in the whole world because he has been my friend since I was born and it just makes my heart feel all good to know that he's there with me on the bus and waiting in my backpack in my cubie during class, I never take him out because if he got lost I would be like so so so so sad, but Mrs. Potts has this lost and found box that if someone found him they would put him in there and then if I found him I could be happy again but I won't lose him so please don't be mad at me Mom, okay?"
And just how could any mommy be mad at that?  All you can do is wrap him up in your arms and be thankful that you have a child who is so sensitive and loving and who helps you to put things in perspective on a daily basis.
Then there's Clayton, equally loved, differently talented.  Mostly in the performing arts, like skating/ballet on wood floors in socks with a superman jammies/buzz lightyear bathrobe/cowboy hat/ski goggle costume while playing the guitar.  I informed him on March 1st that a very special day was just around the corner, coming very very soon, in a couple of weeks.

"Thanksgiving!!! YES! I KNEW IT!!!"
"Well? WHAT THEN?"
"Uhm, well...your Birthday? Remember? March 11th is your Birthday?"
"YES!!! And I'm gonna have a STAR WARS CAKE and my cousins are gonna come, and........"

And it will be an afternoon of chaos and cake, wherein mommy will absorb the essence of all the kids and once again build up her reserves and resistances to all those adults in our stupid dummy-head grown up world where things happen and people cause me to have to launch into F-word-laced diatribes where I sound like Melanie Gibson.  It will be nice while it lasts.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Facebook Rewind, Part 2

A quick and dirty sampling of posts from Facebook for anyone who is lucky enough to be a holdout to that psychotic done better than me.  I'm addicted.  It's the only way for me to feel an instant connect to some of my besties from long ago that now are physically a world away or other moms who don't have time or energy to have an actual telephone (or in person) conversation these days.  Anyhoo - this is just the followup to the first Facebook Rewind, quotes and such from the boys...really just funny stuff I want not to forget.  Thought you might enjoy too.  If you make it through the list there's a visual reward for you at the end.  If you know Esten on a personal level, it may just change your view a bit.

September 10, 2010
It's RODEO time!! Getting duded up this AM for school Esten told me there are cowBOYS and cowGIRLS and they are different. When I asked how, he replied, "duh, Mom, cowBOYS have pee pees." Oh, right. Forgot.

September 18, 2010
Got Dad settled in back home from the hospital, packing up to go on a trip for work, Esten had his first meltdown about it. "I don't want you to go, why can't Chamatoogy be closer to Lewiston!?"

December 13, 2010
Asked Esten what was best/worst about the weekend. Best: "Sledding at Grandma Bucky's on the awesome jump daddy made." Worst: "When Santa breathed in my face. It was the worst and I think the clue was something he ate for breakfast."

December 15, 2010
Yesterday was Jason's birthday, which Clayton refused to believe all day until I brought home cake. He insisted it was "God's birthday". Grandma corrected him, "no, that's Christmas, and it's Jesus's birthday". Before bed Esten was holding the candle from the cake and Clayton warned him, "don't eat Jesus and Daddy's candle, I did that once and it was gross."

December 23, 2010
Two more days...can we make it? Clayton says it's "tho thuper hard to be tho good aww duh time dat thumtymth I-I-I- jutht need a wittow bwake".

January 2, 2011
Esten, trying to put peanut butter on bread: "Mom, could you finish spreading this, because I learned how to in high school but I forgot. I'm kidding Mom, I didn't go to high school, but I did stay at Holiday Inn last night. Kidding again Mom, I stayed in my room last night. I didn't run away in case you were worried." Thanks, I wasn't worried before, but I am a little now.

January 17, 2011
(Esten on Martin Luther King Jr. Day) "It's the birthday of a guy you don't know, Mom. His name was Martin Luther King, and he liked fairness. And this girl with black skin went to school but there wasn't any other kids there, but finally all the kids came back to school, but I think it was because their mom and dad's arms were so tired from carrying the signs. That girl had black skin like my friend Tierra who moved to Chicago, I miss her."

January 24, 2011
As we pull up to the house where Esten's buddy's b-day party is, he says "Mom! I have to go poop!" I told him he could either go there or we could go home first since it was so close. He said "uh, wait, no, I don't think I need to go poop, I think my butt just felt I was afraid of the dog".

January 29, 2011
Boys had KFC for the first/last time last night. Esten refused to eat his chicken leg because there was a bone in it. When I started pulling the meat off and promised no bones were on his plate he still refused, "but MOM, you're not even a DOCTOR!"

January 30, 2011
Me: "No, Esten you don't have to go to Church with Grandma if you don't want to, but can you tell me WHY you don't want to?"Esten: "Come ON, Mom...can I PLEASE just have ONE day for the week that I don't have to put pants on?!"Me: "yes, yes you can, I understand completely."

From the dentist's treasure box, Esten chose a chalk board and Clayton chose a flashlight key chain. A few days later Esten wrote this:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Her Son Is Gay...Or Not

Way back last fall, a blogger mom wrote about her five-year-old son who relentlessly begged her to let him be Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween.  He wasn't normally a wear dresses kind of kid, but he and his bestie girl friend were super excited about being these characters this year.  She gave him ample opportunity to change his mind, mostly out of the normal motivation of any mom not wanting to go last minute to the store with a kid to pick from what's left over from the vultures.  The ensuing treatment of her child prompted her to speak out against what flabbergasted her and really opened my eyes as a fellow mom of boys this age.  This caught my attention for a few reasons.  It was in the news, and typically blogs aren't newsworthy.  She had spoken out because she was prepared and gently braced her son for other kids to jab him for the skirt and purple sparkle tights that were part of his costume.  Thing was the kids thought nothing of it until direction was set by the adults at the "Christian" preschool he attended.  It was the PARENTS who had no problem pointing, gasping, and making this kid feel like he was doing something wrong.  They accused the mom of "allowing him to grow up to be gay".  She retorted with accusing them of "allowing their kids to grow up to be ninjas" and pointed out nobody had a problem with the girls who chose Batman costumes.  Her screen name was also CopWife, so she pretty much had my heart.

Her Church forced her to apologize to the moms who, though not specifically named in her blog, were "libeled and slandered against", and that the Church felt she was walking a thin line with her blog and may possibly be promoting gayness and they thought she ought to take it down or at least publish a clarification on her (the Church's) position.  After all, she had made the statement in her original post that if her son DOES grow up to be gay she will love him all the same.

The reason this strikes so strong a chord with me at this particular time is that my "home" church is embroiled in a congregation-dividing issue of its own.  A Lutheran church, it's part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (the other "governing" mothership is the Missouri Synod).  The ELCA made the earth shattering move to allow "practicing gays" - those who are open and honest about their orientation and who are most often in long term monogamous relationships - lead congregations.  Some of the members of our local church LOST THEIR MINDS when they found out about this, including my mother, who loves to tell me all about how upset she is about it over breakfast almost every morning.  It was SUCH an issue for these people, in fact, that they decided to have a VOTE on whether to even be PART of the ELCA anymore, which only interested me insofar as to wonder who was going to re-carve the sign out in front of the church.  Let's be honest.  EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF AMERICA is a long word, and whoever carved it the first time is going to be pissed off if he's not already dead which is actually more likely given the average age of the congregation there.

It just really sickens me that someone who is otherwise so kind, can hold a hatred for someone or something they don't even know.  And yet I held my tongue, not standing up for CopWife's Daphne kid to people like my mom....until after Christmas.  I will not get into detail because any at all would reveal the person I am talking about and it's not my wish to cause anyone embarrassment because I really do consider this person such a great great friend even though I haven't seen them for years....
MomIs so-and-so married?  I saw them today with their parents.
MeNo, they're gay.
Mom:  Deer in headlights look.
Jason:  Deer in headlights look that I just said the word gay in front of my mom.
MomBut they didn't seem like there was anything wrong with them when you guys were growing up.
MeThere's nothing wrong with them now.  They are highly educated and have a very lucrative job in a large city in another part of the country.
MomWere they like that when they were younger?
MeThey have always been like that.
Mom:  In a total stupor realizing that she has actually known an actual gay person for some 30 years that she thought was a good person and not a slimy shady deviant Devil worshipper.
Jason:  Thinking he is in a dream because that conversation could NOT just have happened.
I have been given the blessed and highest responsibility of turning two innocents into adults out into this world.  So far they have both (Esten by default in his more numerous experiences) surprised me in their insight and wisdom for their short little years.  They are tolerant, color blind, loving, ask questions of the ridiculous things adults do to one another.  I hope I can keep them on this track as long as possible without confusing them with the ideals of this tainted "Christianity" that I frankly am not approving of.

CopWife's church is threatening to kick her out, refuse her communion and revoke her membership.  I haven't heard how that vote came out at "our" church.  Depending on what it is, I don't know that it will be "our" church anymore.  It's a great place, but in the end it is just a building, and at coffee hour the old ladies are really long as they think you're straight.  I just want to be 100% sure that they'd be just as nice to Esten and Clayton if they grew up and flew out of the closet in giant hot pink feather boas waving their jazz hands.

Or to me, for that matter, if I invited Ellen DeGeneres to Lewiston for a slumber party and to do a guest sermon on Sunday.  At least it wouldn't be the snooze-fest we have now....and I'm pretty sure Ellen's never molested an altar boy or a boyscout.  Ever.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Little things happen in my life that make me feel like I just woke up from a coma.  An exchange of emails at work today ended with this one, though I won't bore you with specifics that might also leak high-security-clearance-top-government-secrets:

From: kaylee.mcbubblegumpants
To: heather.lee
Subject: my earlier moronic question that I could have figured out myself but didn't

Hey Heather!!

Thanks a super bunch, that was soooo fast!  What you said makes total sense, and I will get right on fixing that.  Sorry to bother you with this today.  YOU ROCK!!!
So my coma didn't really end today perse, but when I went to work at my current employer I noticed an overwhelming number of the employees used this "YOU ROCK" thing all the time.  Basically it is used in lieu of "Thank You", "Thanks a Bunch", "I Appreciate Your Help", "You Deserve A Promotion", or "Wow, You're Way Smarter/Nicer Than That Witch That Sits Next To You".  When I heard it from someone outside the company, I started thinking maybe I had been living UNDER that rock.

I spent a good portion of my life, which I'll  never get back, at a job surrounded by men.  I can say with authority I never heard any of them say "You Rock" to me nor to each other.  When they weren't looking out for one another to keep from being eaten alive by a piece of machinery, they were cussing each other out or punching one another in the crotch.  I am thankful to them for having prepared me for having two boys, though I must say the majority of them were grandpas but left their ages at the door.  I am also thankful that they excluded me from participation in the crotch punching games, even if they only did so because they knew I would have won.  Every time.

So did "You Rock" become a catch phrase among the popular kids while my ostrich head was buried in the sand at that testosterone factory?  Or is it some cultish propaganda generated by the corporate suits to foster a hip environment?  Whatever it is, I'm not buying it.  It's just not me.  Seriously, if you know me - can you even IMAGINE me saying, "HEY! YOU ROCK!"?  No.  Not happening.

I do not "rock".  Ask anyone.  AC/DC?  Like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.  Can't stand them.  Metallica?  Fell asleep at the concert with my ear plugs in.  I have Conway Twitty and Keith Whitley (God rest both their souls) in my CD player at work.  I listen to most country artists on their first albums before they make their 2nd run at being popular and the rest of them well after their carcasses have rotted in the ground.  Which, by the way, I think "He Stopped Loving Her Today" is one of the sweetest, saddest love songs ever.

Okay so whoever doesn't know who did that little piece of musical history can stop reading now.  My point is just this:  People ending their calls and emails with "YOU ROCK!" makes about as much sense to me as saying "YOU HAVE HERPES!"  It shows you clearly know nothing about me and while I appreciate you owning your cheerleaderesque attitude, it's a bit annoying.

Before you go saying, "WHAAAADA BITCH", rest assured.  I am a very nice person.  I don't have too many friends for a reason, I'm selective.  I like to weed out the fakeys, the posers, the clingers, the liars, the backstabbers, and the brain-drains.  What's left is a heartful of genuine friends who I can be myself with, and who are probably reading this saying:
"Kaylee McBubblegumpants did NOT know who she was messing with, did she?  Poor thing."
And to those people I just say this:  I love you guys.  You Rock.  Eww, it just feels so wrong....but I DO love you.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Damn You, Martha Stewart!

Yesterday I did something so stupid it’s almost embarrassing to admit. However, we all know how I’m the first person to laugh at me, so here goes.

I know I can’t possibly be the only person who has gotten a charley horse, a twisted ankle, and a broken fingernail simultaneously while wrestling a fitted sheet onto a fat mattress. It’s high on my least favorite make-me-sweat activities list. These sheets should have been different. A great deal on a while back, they’re king size, 1,200 thread count and were supposed to fit extra thick mattresses. $80 versus the $700 they usually run got me giddy to say the least. I am now beginning to think the people who determine “extra thick” must come from a 3rd world country where it means TWO layers of woven palm fronds on the floor. We are American and we love all things over the top. Extra thick here means 20 inches, please adjust packaging language accordingly.

I digress. My stupid thing: I ironed my sheets.

Normally I couldn’t give a flat or fitted sheet about this – it’s so far down my list of domestic duties I’ve never done it. I’ve heard of other people doing it, like…probably my Grandma and Martha Stewart, both overly fussy women about the house. Difference is my Grandma actually did her own work while Martha makes her staff do it until the cameras roll, then pretends it’s all her.

This started out pretty innocently. I bought some lavender scented spray starch thinking if I used it on the boys’ pillow cases it might help them sleep. Any mom will try anything at some point, and while melatonin does work, I’d feel guilty doling out doses all the time. The iron was still hot, and the dryer almost done tumbling the sheets from my own bed. I figured I might as well do my own pillowcases too, since Hubs struggles sometimes with sleeping after swing shift. They finished so buttery smooth and smelling like relaxation, I had to go for the whole enchilada.

So I began the ironing process with enthusiasm, which quickly faded as I realized just how big this heavy king-size sheet was, and why I got such a good deal. Apparently the KKK is shrinking and I got what otherwise would have been purchased by the tallest, fattest, Grand-Dragon-Supreme-Top-King-Poobah for the Spring Break Klan Rally in Crossburningville, Middle-of-Nowhere. Lucky for me that racial tolerance is spreading so much it’s driving down market price on white sheets and I could save some money here. (Though, on a serious note, not fast enough for me.)

It took longer than normal for a few reasons: 
  1. We have a built in ironing board that’s about ¾ normal size.
  2. The starch was not aerosol so I had to spray manually. Don’t get excited about this one, I make up for it with hairspray. Screw the ozone layer.
  3. I was refilling the water in the iron with the previous night’s champagne flute which didn’t hold much so required more trips to the sink.
It took me over an hour to get both sheets and pillowcases done. I dragged them up the stairs and let out a big sigh at the prospect of doing battle with that freaking fitted sheet again. However, this time was different. I actually got all four corners to stay on at the same time! Ironing had flattened out all those fibers and gave the eeeextra little bit needed to fit.

Holy Sheet.

I made the rest of the bed which looked unbelievably catalogish and inviting. When I climbed in at bedtime, my body was sending my brain thank you notes. It was like h-e-a-v-e-n. My regret was not having shaved my legs so I could get the full effect. It was like laying on frosting or something, so difficult to describe. This is definitely a problem.
  1. There is no way I can go back to sleeping on sheets straight out of the dryer again.
  2. There is no way I am going through all that work again.
  3. We do not have a maid.
  4. I really do not want to admit that Martha Stewart is right about anything.
So you can appreciate my predicament. To top off the night, Clayton climbed in on Daddy’s side since he was working, wriggled his legs around and said “ooh mommy, your blankets are sooooo comfy.”
"I know, that’s what I was doing in the laundry room all day today, ironing them smooth.”
"Nice, can you pleeeeease do that to my bed too? And Esten's? Pleeeeease?”
If anyone's looking for me, I'll be in the laundry room for the rest of my life.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tight Fittin' Jeans

This morning while in my usual rush to get dressed, an unfamiliar glimpse of denim caught my eye. There in my closet was this pair of jeans I didn’t really recognize, likely because they were in the “when I lose a few pounds” section of my closet. Nothing about them was ringing a bell, like some would that were at one time favorites and brought back any sort of memory at all. I was feeling adventurous this morning, so I tried them on. And they fit.

Now, for any man that might be reading this please let me define “fit” as it pertains to women’s jeans. “Fit” at the store means either we will purchase first and then try them on at home because we are not a lunatic who would voluntarily humiliate ourselves in the unforgiving box of shame (dressing room), or that we’ve been sufficiently medicated to actually pull a big enough size off the shelf in front of other people without fear of embarrassment. “Fit” at home means only that we can 1) zip them up without pliers, and 2) we don’t call out for you to help roll us off the bed after zipping. Breathing may be optional.

So with this small victory I rolled myself off the bed and back to the mirror with reservation for the last deal breaker test, which I passed. No camel hoof. Yes, camel hoof. I once tried to explain camel toe to a female relative who somehow lived to 50 without hearing of such a thing. It quickly became her favorite new phrase which she tried to use in as many sentences as possible. Only she began saying camel “hoof” like she was an authority on the subject. She was beyond correcting. It reminds me of her and makes me smile, so has been changed in my vocab as well.

The sneaky workouts in my life must be paying off. These are the things that aren’t really exercising, but that annoyingly make me sweat nonetheless. Like today’s changing of the light bulbs. Nothing really strenuous from a typical point of view, but some nincompoop put 75 watters in the 3-bulb fixtures over each of the sinks in our bathroom. The blinding light not only puts premature wrinkles around my squinting eyes but the heat these things put off has cracked the glass shades and makes me feel like I’m under the spotlight on Broadway. H.O.T. So I decided to change them out to the 60’s that the fixture insists the max should be. Standing on my tippy toes, my calves got quite the burn going on – and soon the sweat began trickling down my forehead. I also get a little nervous unscrewing bulbs, there’s something about the weak crackling of a bulb that doesn’t want to turn loose of its socket that worries me it will break off and slice me to bits. You would think I’m disarming a bomb or something. So six 75’s out, six 60’s in and a shower later these mystery pants fit over my butt.

Miraculous. Eh, not really. I actually have been hitting the gym more, but I’m trying not to be a maniac about it. I’m telling myself if I don’t make a big deal about it that it might become easier. When I get all gung ho I just end up sore and pissed off about it and stop doing it. I’m hoping that easing into things will bring about more subtle results and with them, more random pleasant surprises like wearing pants and breathing at the same time. It really is the little things in life that we have to celebrate, right?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just A Little Off (the Top)

My boys have always sported long hair.  Their soft golden curls were so sweet, and just unruly enough to give warning to strangers about their ways.  It seemed like the very few times I cut it too short for my liking, half of their personalities got swept away with the fallen locks.  I was the mommy who did a hack job with the junk drawer scissors, but luckily the wavy cow-lickyness was forgiving of my swift clips.  It had to be because by the time I get them to agree to a cut I have about 37 seconds of wiggle-free time to get it done.

Now they're a little older, and as such their hair is changing, but still growing like them, the proverbial weeds.  My dad is the one who typically prompts my trimming schedule, complaining that it's in their eyes at the breakfast table.  Last night was "barbershop night" at our house for all three of my fellas.

I have upgraded to actual hair cutting scissors, and boy are they sharp.  I can't seem to get through one round without taking a "V" shaped chunk out from between my knuckles.  I guess better to cut myself than them, right?  They're both super freaked out about clippers, so I save those for Jason's cuts.  The boys get a lightning-quick scissor trim, but they're starting to turn into mini mullet monsters.  It's my fault, I know that I have to get it out of their eyes and keep going until it's off their ears, but I just can't seem to bring myself to whack too much off the back.  It's not a straight-forward business-up-front-party-in-the-rear setup, because there's not much seriousness in the front at all really.  It's hard to take seriously a bang line that looks like Jabberjaw's dental work.  Still, when I'm done, the curls sticking out from behind their little ears is quite a throwback, Esten's more than Clayton's, pushing memories of a "permullet" even.  Billy Ray Cyrus would be proud one of these days if I let it go much further.

Billy Ray in his Achy Breaky days that is.  I saw him once in the food court at the mall in Panama City, Florida in one of those "don't look now but..." moments.  And so I didn't look even though he was right behind me, but waited patiently until I was done eating and got up to leave.  I tried to eavesdrop, but outside the southern drawl I couldn't make out a word.  As I passed his table I looked back over my shoulder and burst out laughing, and he was not impressed.  It turned out to be an exact Chinese version of Billy Ray, and he was rockin' his chullet (Chinese mullet)with some acid washed jeans.  Probably one of THEE funniest things ever, though I still feel bad for the guy.  I hope he eventually traded that trend for something a little more "Seattle-ish", whatever that means, but I think it would have suited him better.

I'm allowed to laugh about this of course, because I rocked the mullet (permullet) myself and generally think the past is best left there, in the past.  But it's important to learn from our mistakes, and the mistakes of others or we're doomed to repeat it, right?  I just can't understand how a haircut that clearly looked so ridiculous on so many for so long looks unbelievably adorable on my two little monkeys.  Maybe it's because they're carrying half of their daddy's genes, and he was super cute in HIS mullet back in the day?  Doubt I'll be bleaching or shaving patterns into their little sides any time soon though.  That said, I'm glad their daddy finally gave the mullet up since I'm more of a sucker for a clean cut guy.  I'm sure he's glad I gave mine up, too...there's still a picture or two from back in the day that are best lost forever, just like my Achy Breaky Heart tape.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pink Poinsettias

Jason asked me last week how long my poinsettia was going to last. What he really meant was he wanted it out of the house now that Christmas was over. He made the mistake of telling me he had already taken the cedar wreaths off the front doors that the Cub Scouts make for us every year, and that I bust my sister-in-law's chops over perfecting the bows for. All it took was throwing him "the look" and calmly saying, "I don't know what you did with them, but get them and put them back where they were. I don't care if Christmas is over, it's still winter and they're still relevant."

I turned my attention to the poinsettia finally. I happen to like pink ones the best, maybe because they're less December 25th expirational. Who knows? They're just my favorite, and this year I found a big one, three plants in one pot, and it likes the home I picked for it inside our front door. It had shed some of its leaves onto the table it's sitting on, and a few of its petals were whithered. I was prepared for the defeat that I typically experience with my black-thumb gardening skills. I'm quite the plant killer. I guessed its time had finally come. But I took a closer look as I gently plucked away the deadness here and there, and realized it was still quite alive. It just had this thin cloak of death that needed removed to let the life inside shine through.

Just like our lives.

It's so much like the burdens we find ourselves under. Not the ones that are predictable and cliche, not the mortgage and the car payments and performance pressures in life. The real burdens are the things that we forget about, those emotional hanger-onners that have been around so long, we can't see that they're weighing us down. They're really the least important of the things for us to hold tight to any longer because they're hiding the life and beauty that we have inside and dim the light in our eyes. It's not until we pluck them off ourselves and get rid of them for good that they stop dragging us down.

The one-way friendships, the problematic family members, the baseless worry, the past in general. We all try to be glad for what we have instead of upset over what we don't, but it's not easy...just ask my boys.

And so this flower whose time is limited I will keep free of shriveling petals and leaves as long as I can, and I'll try to do the same for myself. No sense in letting any of it dull me. That, and exfoliation should yield some pretty good results. If all else fails, I'll look to my friends, the true friends that see beneath to my true self, and ask them to help spruce me up a bit.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Edgemikated Idiot

We tend to give our full attention to the opinions of experts.  They know the most about a given subject so also must be the best qualified as to form a conclusive decision about what's best.  This is an example of one such expert and my best effort at refraining from making him look like a jack-hole in front of a crowd.  Instead, I'll tell you here.

I once attended an all-day seminar presented by a Psychologist on the topic of Reactive Adjustment Disorders, especially as it pertained to children who were in foster or adoptive homes. The majority of the audience were foster parents, social workers, and associated agencies and service providers for children in foster care or foster-adopt homes. He had some valid points during most of the day, although it was mostly regurgitation of known psychological theories. I do have to mention that he had this ridiculous idea that it had very little to do with the fathers, that many men have abandoned their children and the kids turned out fine, as long as the mom was nurturing. So he kept referring to it as a "mommy thing" and repeatedly said it is critical for these newly placed children to be tied to your "apron straps" for an extended period of time in order to ensure a successful attachment. First of all dipthong, it's apron STRINGS. If he would just think tampons (strings - it’s a mommy thing) instead of boots (straps - which the father should have pulled himself up by) it might be easier to remember. I gave him a freebie thinking he was nervous and misspoke. Nope. He referenced it in three different PowerPoint slides.  Apron straps. Hey Jackwagon, if you're going to love a catchphrase that much, get it right.  That's not even what made me decide he was an idiot.

When we got to the question and answer part of the seminar, I asked what his thoughts were about giving some of these kids access to one another in an effort to alleviate the anxiety of being the "only one" of their peers who were either in foster care or who were in the process of or had been adopted, to further facilitate attachment to their "new" or even "temporary" families. I posed my question first recognizing that our society had gone from being one that didn't talk about anything to one that would litigate over a violation of one's privacy, and added that I was not including those children who were already in a group home atmosphere and who obviously knew everyone else there was in the same boat.

His answer? "Absolutely not". It would interfere with their treatment. All these foster or adopted kids are already too much of a mess to be introducing them to each other. It would be like letting people in Alcoholics Anonymous get together for a kegger. A support group just for the parents would be a much better option in his opinion. That way they could get the tools necessary to go back and handle things within the family unit.

I am still, to this day, regretting not kicking him in the balls at that point. I don't care if he is a doctor. He doesn't know shineola. And he has adopted and fostered kids of his own. He said that they had open adoptions and still let the kids have contact with their biological parents and yada yada, but that he would not consider letting them reach out to other kids in their situation because it would be too damaging.

Too damaging.

I probably wouldn’t even have an opinion about this if I was “normal”. But I was adopted. I was around 3 years old, and I have always known and had contact with my biological family. My adoptive parents and extended family always treated me like I was their own. I was afforded many opportunities I would not have had if I had stayed with the family I was born into. However, I was in HIGH SCHOOL before I ever met one other person that admitted they were adopted. And honestly, I don't think that one counts because it was a boyfriend, and I don't think his friends knew.  He only told me because he knew I was first. To this day, I am flabbergasted by the statistical evidence that there are approximately, well just a buttload of people in this country that are adopted, but I'll be damned if I can figure out where they all went. As an adult, I know OF other adults and children who are adopted, but only one of those adults told me herself. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect people to wear t-shirts proclaiming their status. I know I don't start off conversations with strangers with "Hi, I'm adopted". I guess I've just been forced into it more than others because people aren't shy about pointing out the obvious age difference between me and my parents. I just know I cannot be the only person who's gone through life in that fishbowl, feeling like a freak.  Sadly, I know just how that doctor's adopted kids are going to feel all through school, thinking they're not normal because he didn't want to "damage" them by exposing them to other kids like them (who also would not be normal).

Now, I know this will come off as offensive to someone, but it's the closest example I can think of. I do not and would never consider being adopted a disease. But I think of all the children who are stuck in hospitals battling whatever specific unfair sickness has attacked them. At first they feel all alone. But slowly, as their parents research their illness, they find other families and other children who are affected by the same thing and they connect. They support one another. They cry together and laugh together. They learn from one another what to expect, and their stress is eased as they hear of others surviving the process. They share victories and defeats together. Sometimes, they share death and they grieve together. Here's the kicker; the child is actually included in the whole thing.

Can you imagine a doctor diagnosing a 5 year old with leukemia, then deciding that child should not be given access to other children with leukemia because they're already (emotionally) too much of a mess and it might interfere with their treatment? Let them believe they're the only ones around, alienate them further from their peers, and let them rely on the solidarity and support within the family unit. What a miserable thought.  I'm going to go hug my kids and hope that when Dr. Todall Moran's kids grow up and he's had a chance to hear from them how they feel different from their friends that he'll change his mind about his theory.  Hopefully by then he'll change his presentation slides too.  Apron straps.  Yay for college.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Coupon FAIL

So TLC recently one-upped themselves (the network, not the lady singing group who no longer has the "L") by seeping into my brain with yet another show about wonder women sporting a specialized talent: couponing.  This is now one more thing I didn't realize I was not so skilled in until someone pointed it out to me.

If you missed it I would tell you to set your DVR to catch it next time it's on but I hope to save a friend or two (probably all that's reading this anyway) from the torture they'll inflict on themselves afterward.  Basically it's this: these women are freaks who roll through the checkout with up to nine carts overflowing and walk out paying almost nothing.  Inspirational?  At first, sure.  Maybe I can't store the kind of stash they have, which was estimated to support one woman's family for two years.  The other lady had enough toilet paper for her and her husband for 47 years.  Forty seven years.  FORTY SEVEN YEARS.  I want to know how the divorce decree reads for distribution of assets, each gets a 23.5 year supply?  Who gets first pick at the double-rolls?  There just is no way this marriage is going to work out.  She'll be on Hoarders in three seasons and Sister Wives in four.  He'll only want her for the extra laundry soap.  Stay tuned.

I figured I could baby-step my way into this little hobby with minimal problems.  I started out laying the groundwork, binder and all.  I am pretty good at setting up an organizational system.  Then things went a little downhill.  Okay a lot downhill, like Clark Griswold on his sledding adventure.  It started with needing extra Ben Gay for the arthritic cramps in my hands from the repetitive clipping of the scissors, except I don't have a coupon for Ben Gay.  Then...

I popped into a discount store on my lunch hour to see if they had any of the items matching my coupons.  I was so proud of myself that I literally only bought things I had coupons for, and that with it being a discount store, the $80.00 worth of groceries would only cost me around $20.00.  Everything on the belt, matching coupons at the ready, the clerk sternly looked at me and advised very unapologetically:
"I hope you're not trying to use those coupons here, we don't take them."
Really?  REALLY?  You know, that's one of the things that I would think they would display loud and proud somewhere around the doors, windows, registers, somewhere"We don't accept manufacturer's coupons."  I put it in the same category as "We don't take checks".  You have to tell people things like that up front.  I mean I know Costco doesn't take them, but who in their right mind is going to use a 50 cents off a toothbrush coupon for the package of 82 they have to buy there for $612.00?  Kidding, I love Costco.  Apparently so much so that they constantly harass me to upgrade my account because I have, according to their records, spent SO much money there that I'm really missing out on some cash back deal.

Okay, so fortunately I did have the money to hand over, $42.78, which I, in a past life of blissful ignorance, would have regaled in over saving half.  Somehow in this moment I was too deflated to celebrate.  There are people in the world who would walk away from the mess, say "I don't want it then" and leave.  Not me, I just tucked the coupons away, forked over the money, and schlepped my bags to the car with a black cloud over my head.  I spent wasted a lot of time staring at their shelves to match with my recollection and binder full of products I was looking for.  I could have had lunch with a friend instead.  This is stupid.

But it's not really.  Lesson learned.  I'm not going to be "good" at this for a while if ever, as is evident by my amateur misstep.  I'll try again once my confidence is back, and after my kids eat all that friggin' yogurt I just bought.