Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Sensible Shoes

Have you ever caught your reflection in a mirror or a store window at the exact moment you look the most unattractive you've ever looked in your en-tire life? That moment when all the planets in our solar system have aligned and all your stars are in the house of ugly.

I mean that moment when your mouth is hanging open, your eyes are half shut, you have hair sticking up here and there, and your chin has sprouted other chins. Your posture is so bad you look like you should be ringing bells in a tower somewhere. Your gut is hanging waaaaaay out in front (I call it my front butt) and your bra has creeped way up in back because your back boobs keep pushing it up there. (Which means your front ones are safely wedged into the elastic waistband of your skirt. Thank God for elastic - that way I don't have to worry about the bessies going about un-tethered.)

I experience that moment on a daily basis.

When did it happen? When did I turn into Frumpy Spice? I don't recall the progression from cute girl in her 20's to overweight matron with bad hair in her middle 30's. It happened so gradually that I didn't notice it. It certainly wasn't my goal to wind up this way. I didn't wake up one morning and say to myself with gusto, "As God is my witness, I will wear long boxy shirts with big skirts every single day. I will make sure there are two or three separate front butt rolls visible on the front of my shirt, because it will give people something to stare at. My make-up will sit untouched in the drawer, and my hair will hang from my scalp like dead fish."

I'm feeling very scuzzy lately, and I think I might be having a bit of an identity crisis. Can you tell? I stand in front of my closet and just stare at it, mesmerized, as if Billy Blanks were in there doing his best Tae Bo. I'm uninspired by my life, my clothes, I'm bored with my shoes, I have no accessories. My hair is blah, my body is double blah. I am the biggest loser. And not the good kind.

My perfume. I like my perfume. I've been told I smell good. But that's it.

I've tried a new hair color in hopes that a darker do would solve my funk issues. I needed something to do during the babies' naps anyway, so it was me and my Clairol in the bathroom together. "Hm, what would happen if I leave it on for just five more minutes? How dark is too dark?" Well, when the only comment you get on your hair is, "ooh, Goth!" then you have your answer.

So what's a momma to do? How do I get out of this rut? Oh, I already know the answer. Get off my dead patoot and go for a walk. I suppose so. But finding inspiration is difficult lately. I could exercise and lose 80 pounds, get a new haircut and dust off my make-up case. But I'll still be the same person when all is said and done. I'll still be Dan's roommate, Ashley's doormat/teacher, a slave to the babies, scrubber of toilets, runner of vacuums and mixer of meatloaves. I won't suddenly have a life just because I've proven I can stick to an exercise program for more than 45 minutes. I'll still have the same frumpy skirts and stretched-out bras and sensible shoes.

Some days I wish I could have excitement and intrigue as a daily menu option. Wouldn't it be fun to be a spy? Chase the bad guys and use my SuperSpy karate skills to kick their butts with a "ha!" and a "high-ya!" And then wring 'em dry of information with my voodoo mind powers. Of course I'd have nary a hair out of place, and I'd do it all in fun wigs and disguises and sexy high-heeled shoes. (Hellooooo, who ever heard of a SuperSpy wearing sensible shoes?)

But I think I'd probably suck at being a spy. It'd be like having THE coolest house on the planet, but on the South pole where nobody can ever visit you. I'd want everyone to share in my fun life with me and I wouldn't be able to keep any secrets. So being a spy is out.

Oh well. Not a thing in the world I can do about all of this tonight. Can't afford the gym, can't reverse the Clairol, and the elastic on my skirts will hold for now. I think I'll wallow in self-pity for a little while longer. I'm used to that. I like to stew, it suits me. It's comfortable, like a big warm cushy blanket.

I love blankets. They hide front butts. And they go great with my sensible shoes.

UPDATE: I joined the gym yesterday. I haven't actually worked out yet but I feel tres sporty with my membership card riding around in my purse. I'm not looking forward to the mandatory fitness evaluation - that torture session where Adonis calculates your body fat percentage and cardiovascular limits - even if it is free.

I'm treating this like a lifestyle change, not a "new thing" so I'm hoping to stay motivated. We'll see how it goes, eh?

Just a quick note to the phonetically challenged...

Please allow me to vent a little bit. If one of these applies to you, I apologize in advance for offending you. If one of these applies to someone you know, vent with me! and then pass this on to that person.

1. There is no "m" in sandwich.

2. There is no "x" in escape, ask, especially or espresso.

3. The word wheelbarrow only has one "l" and it's NOT at the end.

4. The word thorough doesn't have even ONE "l" in it. (No really, I swear!)

5. The phrase is "case in point," NOT "point in case."

6. The word Nike on your shoes does NOT rhyme with bike, and there are only three syllables in the word Worcestershire.

7.  It's Reese's.  Like, it belongs to Reese.  Reese's doesn't rhyme with feces.

8.  Jaguar is not pronounced jag-wire. For the love of all that's holy, it's jag-wahr. Jag-wahr!

OK. I'm done whining. I feel much better. I think I'll excape to the bafroom for a bubble bath.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Toddler Logic

Is there any such thing? Isn't the phrase "toddler logic" an oxymoron? Jumbo shrimp, government intelligence, comfortable underwire, toddler logic.

Toddler logic. You've seen it in action in grocery stores, I'm sure. Employed by toddlers driven by a fundamental need to be up, eat cookies, have juice, get that toy, annoy the dog, be in Sister's room, whatever. It's a genetic defect at the most basic of cellular levels, so there's no spanking it out of them. Especially in this day and age of "*gasp* that lady just spanked that angel of a child!" Barf.

Every toddler makes it his enterprise to get his way by any means necessary, obstacles and nay-sayers be damned. The Marine Corps has "Semper Fi" and toddlers have "I want what I want when I want it!" It's their battle cry. And emblazoned on their crest and boldly declared on their flag are the words "If at first you don't succeed... you aren't loud enough!"

Toddler logic - no means ask again. No means ask louder. No means ask repeatedly. No is actually an invitation to brush up on your negotiation skills. As a matter of fact, no is practically an answer in the affirmative. You may as well skip all the preliminaries and just say yes!

Um, no.

Take, for instance, the scene that unfolded in my kitchen a few days ago.

Jonah: "Uh up, Momma."

Me: "No baby, Momma is fixing lunch right now. I can't pick you up."


Jonah thinks to himself, "Did she just say no to me? I believe she just said no to me. Hm. Maybe I've forgotten something?... oh yeah!"

Jonah: "Pwease?" Big smile, blink-blink go the eyes. (Oh, I've been blinked at by bigger and better than you, pal.)

Me: "No son, I can't pick you up right now. As I told you, I'm fixing lunch. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup! You like cheese!"

Odd. She seems amazingly unaffected by my cuteness. I laid it on pretty thick with my signature blink-blink but elicited nary a twitch. *sniff sniff* My baby lotion is still fresh. Was it my smile? Not big enough? Maybe I have graham cracker in my teeth. She nearly distracted me with all her cheese talk, oh she's a clever old biddy. But I can't let the lure of the perfect grilled cheese take me off course. Hm. A different tack, perhaps?

Jonah (now tugging on my skirt): "Uh up, Momma. Uh up. Pwease Momma, up!"

Me (somehow managing to keep the cheese knife away from my fingers with all the skirt-tugging): "No honey. Momma is still making lunch. We'll sit down and read a story after lunch, okay?"


Maybe she didn't hear me? Does she know I'm down here? How does she manage to deny cute, lovable, persuasive little me? I dunno, but she's entirely too easy with her "no" and her "not now" business. It's maddening. I think it's time to ramp it up a bit.

Jonah (grunting, forcing his way between my legs and the cupboards, skull first which causes his face to be all stretched back towards his ears): "UP! UP Momma, UP!"

At this point I'm pressing my legs closer to the cabinet in an effort to stop his curly head from pushing through to the other side. I treat it like a gym workout - 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and breathe in, breathe out, suck it in 8. I've spent the last few years building up an immunity to whining so I can barely hear his skirt-muffled voice. Just as well, as I've decided to ignore him. After all, I think I've been pretty straight forward about why I'm not picking him up. I feel that I've explained myself clearly and concisely. I've used plain English, and I was careful not to use any big words. I see no reason to get into it again.

Alright, clearly I've underestimated my mother's ability to withstand the siren song of my comely cuteness. I see I'm dealing with a master here. I'll need to reach deep down and give it all I've got. Noise, brawn, cunning, everything. OK, deep breath...

Jonah: "UUUUUP! Up up up UUUUUUUUP!!!! Up up up up Uppy uppy uppy uppy uppy uppy uppy uppy UP Momma!"

Now he's hanging from my apron strings and crying the deep gutteral cry of the unfairly judged, the glibly dismissed, the smugly scorned, the mortally wounded. I look down at him and watch in amusement as Jonah descends fast and furious into a running-in-place slobbering fit. His mouth is wide open and his eyes are clamped shut. His tongue is hanging out of his mouth like a dog's. It's difficult to hold back my giggles but I manage to swat his fanny (just once - no cops, please) and set him in the Naughty Spot.

See what I mean? Toddler logic. Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

Say, isn't that one of the definitions of "insanity?"

Friday, December 02, 2005

It's a Lost Art

Alright, I know this has nothing directly to do with being a momma, beyond the fact that, as the momma, I spend lots of time at the grocery. Or the department store. Or the Starbucks drive-thru. But still it's valid and that's why I'm bothering.

Whatever happened to counting back change? It absolutely makes my blood boil when some gum-chewing dull-eyed half-wit just plops a handful of coin and paper into my hand. blam. take it or leave it. thanks for nothin'. are you still here?

It seems as though the digital cash registers of today have removed the thinking from the process by telling the cashier the right amount to give back. (Check your brain at the door, please.) A great disservice if you ask me.

Yes, it's wonderful that you can now move 12 customers instead of 7 through your line in 15 minutes. Yes, I'm glad your cashiers are no longer standing there staring blankly at that open money drawer, wondering what to do next. That part of the transaction makes everyone uncomfortable. Still, this inevitable influx of technology doesn't exempt your employees from displaying the most basic of customer service responsibilities... to say nothing of second grade math skills.

Consider a recent experience I had with the jolliest of fellows at a local gas station.

"Three gallons of low-grade unleaded? 'zthat all? Why that'll barely keep your car running, ma'am. Ah. I see your minivan is powered by dual overhead hamsters, so maybe you'll be alright. Just remember to toss a handful of hamster feed down the heater vents once a week. Oh. Y'say you already knew that? Wonderful! Those little fellars'll most likely survive the winter then.

"Well, thank you Mrs. H, that'll be $15.47. Out of $20? Oh my, I'd better get my counterfeit detection marker. Never can be too careful. And I see you've got a van-load of babies --- shall I bring back a few lollipops as well? What's thatchya say? Babies don't eat lollipops? I did not know that. Well, maybe next time then.

"Okay, here ya go, that was fifteen forty-seven. Here's forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty, seventy-five, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, aaaaaaaaand twenty. Now you have a nice day, Mrs. H."

See? So simple. That young gas station attendant was so polite and engaging! He was very knowledgeable about the care and feeding of hamsters, although I worry about the health of his future children. But still he was careful to give back the correct amount of change, and he's proven that he's passed the second grade. I was so distracted by all those numbers flying about that I didn't even feel it when the oil company reached in and extracted my right kidney as payment for its crude.

You would think that a store owner or manager would quiz his or her employees on the giving of change. It would be in their best interest to do so, in my always humble opinion. But alas, many an employee with the Store Manager name tag has thrown change at me with the best of them.

I've recently taken to standing there in line (or sitting there, if it's the drive-thru) and manually counting the change back to myself out loud whenever some clod presents me with a sweaty fistful of mystery change. Hopefully the display isn't lost on the cashiers, although I know it annoys them. Especially at Starbucks! Apparently the super-trendy feel they're above such nonsense.

How rude! I can't believe she doesn't trust me. Hellooooo. Am I not excellently sporting my black "Expert Barista" apron?

Well, no Junior, I don't trust you. But don't be offended. I suspect you didn't complete the second grade as evidenced by your lack of basic counting skills, black apron not withstanding. I'm only looking out for you. If (or rather, when) your register comes up short today, you'll know it wasn't because you accidentally tossed a twenty at Mrs. H.

But if you did, I promise to spend it at Starbucks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Under construction...

Coming soon to The Momma Chronicles -- "The Master Multi-Tasker"

In the meantime, I was told by my friend Kareen that The Gipper was actually Ronald Reagan. I said to her, "Who knew!" and she said with a cute little smile, "Practically everybody knows."


Well, whoever he is... I still haven't gotten a thank you card.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Because I'm in a bad mood...

I've done them, you've done them, that idiot three cars ahead of you in traffic does them. They're things that almost everybody hates.

1. Those crumbly leftover bits at the end of a bag of tater tots. The kind that burn in the oven and stick to your baking sheet. And you have to pour them out all over your cookie sheet in order to get that laaaaaaast tot out of the bag. Because God knows it'd be too difficult to actually reach your hand inside the bag and fish it out. Because then you have to wash all those crumbly leftover bits at the end of the bag off your hands!

2. After 3 days you finally get to take a nice long shower, actually DO your hair, put on a shirt Downy-fresh from the dryer, spray a little "come-to-me" on your wrists and neck, then pick up the baby and promptly get puked on.

3. Discovering you're out of coffee filters at 5 a.m.

4. Stepping on a Lego or wooden alphabet block in your bare feet. The pain is magnified ten-fold when this happens in the dark.

5. Having a full cart at the check-out, but no wallet.

6. When you take a bite of a Saltine cracker and it crumbles to pieces in your hand.

7. Changing the baby's diaper before she's done pooping. Niiiiiiiiice.

8. Remembering you're out of shampoo... when you're already in the shower.

9. I hate how the hair dryer sounds just like the phone ringing.

10. Discovering that you could tie your nipples into your bathrobe belt and it doesn't take much slouching. If you've breastfed three babies then you know what I mean.

11. OK, why is it that I stub my toe and then wind up bumping that same stupid toe all over the house all day long?

12. Misplaced apostrophes. "So, how many birthday's have you had?" Or this one that I saw on a billboard: "Always the lowest price's!" Or how about mixing up "your" and "you're" - that one really bugs me. I don't care about it in a message board setting, or even in a handwritten letter or email. Those are meant to be casual and have immunity from scrutiny, IMO. It's when I see it on a public school website (!!! I swear to you, there's actually one in my town that has countless errors), billboards, in the newspaper...

13. Burning yourself with the curling iron.

14. Catching a hangnail on your sleeve, or when one on your toe catches on your sock.

15. Finding out you're out of toilet paper after you've already gone. And nary a hand towel or washrag in sight.

16. If I can dance to the music emanating from your car, it's too loud.

17. Realizing you forgot about a birthday, and that you actually talked to that person ON their birthday. Just makes me want to wear the "I totally SUCK" button.

18. People that have nothing better to do than make lists about stuff they hate. ;-)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Boobie Strike

Yes, you read that right. The Momma has finally lost her marbles. She's flown the coop. She's gone to the zoo. She's tiddled her last wink, so to speak. That's it. No more. The kitchen is closed. The milkshake machine is on the fritz. It stops here and it stops now. It's a full-fledged boobie strike!

Rrrriiiiight. Easier said than done.

You've heard it said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Well, imagine what a roadmap to hell would look like if it were drawn on a dirty sliding glass door. More red lines than my 8th grade math final. Throw in some jelly smudges and ketchupy finger prints inside and doggie licks outside. Now lick your finger and draw a picture of the neighbor's broken-down truck in the ketchup. And just for good measure, throw a handful of dirt at the doggie licks. Step back and take a good look. Now you have an accurate picture of what my eyeballs look like these days.

What is wrong, you ask? What has caused such a rift in my sanity? While the facial tic may be entertaining for some, others wonder where it came from and "please God make it stop!". Well reader, wonder no more. I'll tell you. It's Mary-Beth, our youngest, almost 6 months old now. She was born to happy people...

Well, we used to be happy people. We used to smile. We used to go places and do things, see people. When someone came up behind us and scared us, we used to jump like any other sucker would. Now we hit the deck and play dead, hoping to sneak in a nap before anyone realizes we're faking it. If you twitch a little while you're down there on the floor somebody'll leave the room to call 911 - you're guaranteed at least 5 minutes of shut-eye. You might catch hell from the paramedics, but if they send good-looking ones that don't button their shirts up all the way, it's almost worth it. ;-)

Anyway, Mary-Beth couldn't have been an easier newborn. Truly. We were so proud! Surely we had Miss Einstein on our hands. Surely no other infant on the planet was as advanced as she. Our baby smiled early, she pooped only once a day, she latched right on as if she'd been nursing for years. (Brilliant... just like me.) She would nap anywhere, never fussed during bath time, started sleeping through the night at 7 weeks old. What a lovely child, we remarked. How lucky we are, we exclaimed to all who would listen. What an angel is our sweet Mary-Beth!

Yeah, the Angel of Death!

At 5 months old --- to the day --- Mary-Beth started waking up every single blessed night at 2 a.m. At some point she got the idea --- I don't know how or why, I didn't ask and she didn't say --- that she didn't have to sleep all night anymore, that if she screamed loud enough her momma would bust out the "kitchen" just to keep her from waking Bubbie (a.k.a. Jonah). She was right, but that's beside the point!

Where did she get an idea like that, you ask? Good. Question. Maybe it happened at baby school? (Who's been driving her to baby school?!) When they gave Mary-Beth her copy of the International Rules of Baby Conduct I forgot to insert my own little chapter on sleeping through the night. (CRAP! I knew I was forgetting something.) I know she's told her little friends in the nursery at church, but no amount of binkie torture made anyone spill her beans.

At first I decided to just get up and feed her. What the heck - it only takes about 15 minutes and she'll outgrow the need for this little feeding soon enough. Right?

Wrong! (Are you new here?)

Once a night turned into twice a night in short order. As in midnight and 3. Then twice became thrice - 11, 2, and 5. "You've got to be kidding me!" I said. (Actually both Dan and I say it three times a night - at 11, 2, and 5.)

Have you ever tried to convince a baby that it doesn't need to eat in the middle of the night? (I hear you laughing, but I'm serious.) There's just no reasoning with Mary-Beth. And she doesn't just belly up to the bar and politely ask for a drink. The whole neighborhood knows that she's awake. She doesn't cry, she screams. Shy, retiring, petite dew drop? No sir. There's just no taming this shrew!

So I've made a decision. I'm going on a Boobie Strike. It worked with Jonah!

One night (or rather, one morning) when Jonah was about 8 months old, I just couldn't physically or emotionally make myself get out of bed at 3am again - no, not even ONCE more. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I'm no spring chicken. I'm barely hanging onto my looks with my fingernails as it is - I need my zzzz's! Every single morning I wake up and count at least 50 more pterodactyl claws where my petite little crows feet used to be. Even the ones that got filled in by fat are coming back!

So I called a boobie strike. I gathered together every last frayed and weakened fiber of my barely-there sanity and called a boobie strike! Only God and chickens are up at that hour!

In a fit of slobbering mumbling apoplexy that had my hubby raising one eyebrow, I put a pillow over my head and ignored the 3am jabbering, which turned into 3:15 fussing, which turned into 3:30 crying, but resulted in 3:45 sleeping! He slept until 6am!

I was so delighted that I did the same thing the next morning. This time he jabbered for 1/2 an hour and slept until 7am. From then on, he didn't even wake up until 7! YAY! With my best touchdown end zone dance, I cheered and declared victory for all the tired mommies within earshot... which consisted of... me. And waaaay over there on his side of the bed was my hubby, surveying the madness... still with that eyebrow of his. I was tempted to stab it with a salad fork. Why I had a salad fork on my nightstand is still a mystery to this day.

So back to the present day, the big plan was to call a Boobie Strike on Mary-Beth. I use capital letters now because I had a feeling it would be a battle of epic proportions. One you tell your grandchildren about when you're old enough to be able to set your teeth in a cup next to your bed at night. ("Granny, tell us the story about when you taped Momma to her crib with only a hamster water feeder!")

Her Highness wouldn't like this strike business. The neighborhood would hate it. I was sure her therapist would even hear about it someday. But I was determined. I made my plans and set the date for last weekend. Until...

IT happened. dang. A reason to postpone the strike. dang dang! The only reason a mother approaching my level of insanity would ever dare postpone a strike. A cold. A wicked snotty sniffly slurpy cold. The kind that keeps you up all night because you can't breathe. Dangit!

Oh well. Someday I'll do it. I'll get her back to sleeping all night. I'll do it or die trying! There's got to be a plan out there I just haven't thought of yet. After all, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Of course, it's easier to just shoot the cat.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Why why WHY with the shopping carts!!!

Few things chap me more than to see someone leave their shopping cart next to someone else's car and then drive away. One of my all-time biggest pet peeves. Why do people do that? Why litter the landscape with your leftovers? Do you allow your kids to leave their shoes out so someone else has to deal with them? No! It's a matter of respect for those around you. Just walk it to the Cart Caddy, it ain't that hard! (Or Kart Kaddy - it's an east coast/west coast thing... I believe Southerners prefer Buggy Corral).

One day not long ago I was in line behind a lady at the Winco store who, upon emptying her grocery order out of the cart, left said cart at the end of the conveyor belt and proceeded through the line. I was instantly irritated when I realized that, not only did she have no intention of putting her cart away but she was just leaving it there in the check-out line!

She was fashionably clad in her yoga pants and teeny tiny hoodie sweatshirt, all cuteness and health, quite easy on the eyes I must say. I'm secure enough in my womanhood to say quite frankly that she was enjoyable to look at. But you could tell she knew it. I hate that. And she had that intolerable "my car is bigger and better than yours and my kids are smarter" attitude about her and I hate that even more. Two strikes - prettier than me AND snobbish.

I locked eyes with the kid in the cart behind me, who incidentally had his index finger knuckle-deep in his sinuses picking for all he was worth. We agreed: this lady was goin' down. I swear I could hear the music from "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly" in the background.

I decided right then and there that she wasn't going to get away with it. I took one look at her and knew this woman had been leaving empty grocery carts in parking lots all over town for years. Well no sir, not this time! I was going to win one for the Gipper! (Okay, by the way, who the heck is the Gipper and why can't that guy win anything on his own?)

Anyway, I smiled sweetly and pushed her cart over to her saying, "here ya go." (cue a cute little chuckle and another sweet smile.) She just looked down at the cart, then glanced smugly up at me and kept moving through the line. Unbelievable.

When she was paying for her groceries, I pushed her cart to her again (because she'd completely ignored it sitting there in the line) and I said, "boy, this thing just keeps trying to get away from you!" (chuckle chuckle smile smile.) Again, she just looked at me! I couldn't believe it. I looked around to see if I was the only one noticing this. Even The Picker was speechless.

It seemed as though my patented smile-disarmingly-distract-them-with-my-super-cute-baby-in-the-carseat-nicey-nice approach was getting me nowhere. Dang. It always works on old men. But apparently this lady's hearing and eyesight were better than that of the last old man I'd encountered. Oh well, that's fine. I can be direct. I looooove to be direct. heeeeee!

Now the woman had finished bagging her groceries and was walking away without her cart! I called out, "just a moment ma'am, here's your cart." Still polite but very direct. On the Emily Post scale of 1-10, I'd say I rated an 8. Yoga Pants had the nerve to whip that perfectly highlighted blond ponytail of hers around and snap, "I was done with it!"

This was it --- the moment! My opportunity to win one small battle in the war fought every day by grocery store employees the world over. Nobody asked me to be their poster child but I volunteered for the job! I love a good fight! I strapped on my pink flack jacket with the batenburg lace utility pockets and the little sterling silver heart thingy on the zipper pull and marched straight to the front lines.

Yoga Pants pivoted on her Reeboks and faced me, clearly irritated at having to explain the obvious to the likes of me. I gathered my skirts about me and set my feet, I squared my shoulders, flared my nostrils and retorted "Well what makes you think the rest of the world wants to clean up after you? Put.. your cart.. away!"

There was a collective intake of breath the likes of which I've never heard. The Picker stopped picking. The checker stopped checking, her fingers poised above the cash register keys, and surveyed the scene, no doubt wondering if Olaf from produce was within earshot. Nobody moved. Nobody breathed.

It was at that moment that I realized I hadn't been breathing either. I was busy planning my hasty escape via the back door. If I exploded my bag of flour in a cloud of smoke I was sure I could outrun her.

It seemed like an eternity but in reality it was only a few seconds before she grabbed her cart and with a mighty "hrumph" flounced off in the direction of the Cart Caddy, perfectly highlighted blond ponytail and all.

The Picker resumed his picking, the checker resumed her checking, and Olaf went back to his asparagus display. All was quiet again. Dellaina the Great had fought and won. I rewarded myself with a double tall hazelnut mocha at Starbucks and wondered if I could expect a thank you note from the Gipper.

I've since wondered if Yoga Pants continues to leave her carts for others to shag up or if she actually puts them away. I'll probably never know. Hopefully she thinks about me every time she picks up her husband's underwear.

I've also wondered if The Picker's finger would stick like that if I smacked him on the back. But some things are just better left alone, eh?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"Step away from the oven...

...nice and slow, and nobody'll get hurt."

I had to trade in my apron for a strait jacket and go quietly with the nice men in the white coats. Pleasant fellows, cordial and all politeness. A bit strong-armed with the buckles, but still they'd make a lively addition to any coffee circle.

Why is it so hard to bake bread? Why is it a science? Either it won't rise very high, or it takes all day to rise at all. My loaves are more often than not heavy enough to press leaves. Or they don't bake in the middle. Or they taste too "yeasty." It's starting to get to me, really.

I read somewhere that, rather than try 10 recipes once, you should keep trying one recipe over and over again until you get it right and keep a journal tracking your progress. Good grief. Whoever wrote that has never seen me in action. Journals and pencils all over the place.

So I'm a bread idiot. Like, somewhere out in the world there's a village called "Bread" and they've come knocking at my door looking for their idiot. Every village has one, and I'm theirs. But that's alright... no really, I'm okay with it. Sincerely.

Someday I'll finally get this bread thing figured out. I've got to keep at it, I'm no quitter. (Okay, except when it comes to cross stitch projects, afghans, cleaning out the closets, organizing the pantry, pulling weeds, snipping off my split ends, dieting, and cleaning out the car. But those things don't count. We're talking about bread here!)

Why, you ask, don't I just give up and buy some Wonder? Cardboard in a bag, nasty stuff. Sticks to your teeth and virtually circles its wagons in your stomach. Only good for feeding the ducks at the park. Or let it get stale and use each slice as a disposable trivet! When that hot skillet hits the bread it'll make the whole house smell like you've been baking!

Still, somebody else does all the mixing, rising, baking, slicing and bagging. It probably would be easier. I'm sure I'd save a bundle on Prozac. Why keep trying to impress my family with my bread-baking prowess? When will I just stop this madness?

When shiny pink pigs fly past my window.

Monday, September 26, 2005

There's nothing quite like...

...the smell of coffee and toast in the morning.

...the sound of your kids laughing and giggling together.

...being greeted at the door by your dog, who undoubtedly did nothing all day except sit and stare at the door waiting for you to appear.

...finally turning onto your own street after a long road trip.

...finding money in the laundry, in a jacket, in the couch.

...Jonah outside, pressing his face up against the screen door so that his eyebrows are pushed up into his forehead, his nose looks like a pig's snout and his teeth are bared, yelling "Momma! Momma!"

...new car smell.

...getting a card or letter in the mail.

...the smell of a brand new Longaberger basket, fresh out of its wrapper.

...cheering with Ashley when she does "the perfect, I mean the sweetest cartwheel EV-ver!"

...hot cocoa in front of a Christmas tree with your kids and family around you, 1940's Christmas music playing in the background, snow falling outside.

...the smell of a roast in the oven on a gloomy day.

...the blessed sound of silence when the babies quit crying. *sigh*

...finding a rose from your honey in your car.

...spending an hour on the phone with your bestest bestest girlfriend talking about absolutely nothing, laughing so hard you spit coffee out your nose, and feeling like you could take on the world when you hang up!

...spending an entire Saturday on the couch watching movies, complete with popcorn, blankets and hot cocoa.

...THUNDERSTORMS! The bigger and louder the better!

...the perfect hair day, when it also happens to be a perfect make-up and clothes day.

...realizing you have so much to be thankful for and deciding it doesn't really matter that your windshield is cracked, your crows feet look more like eagle claws, and you're carrying way too much junk in your trunk.

Thank you God for all You've given me when I least deserved it, when it delighted me most, and in spite of the fact that I appreciated it very little.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

"Howcome I'm always the poop checker?"

My favorite line from the movie "Ice Age" - so short, and yet it says so much.

There's a poop checker in every house, isn't there. There are two in our house, myself and my husband. He's a pretty helpful guy, is Dan. If you toss a diaper in his direction, he'll dutifully ask to be pointed in the direction of the baby with the full britches. (I just love that man o' mine.)

He's a super guy. If there are dishes to be done, he does them. If his shoes stick to the kitchen floor, he'll mop it. If he can't see through the sliding glass door, he'll wash it. Truly, I don't deserve him.

But let's face it, there are some things that only a mother can do.

We are the keepers of the Cheerios, the washers of bottles (or boobies), the finders of blankies. We pick hair off binkies, gum out of hair, and toys out of toilets.

We cut the crusts off the PB&J, put a dot of ketchup on every single tater tot, and make sure the peas aren't touching the mashed potatoes (the horror!).

We always have juice in the fridge, crackers in the purse, and tissue in the pocket.

We make sure the lovey is washed and dry by bedtime. We know exactly how toasty you like your toast. And somehow our macaroni and cheese is perfect every time.

My point? I guess I don't have one. I didn't think that far ahead. (My coffee pot is empty and the brain matter is a little sluggish this afternoon.) I'm just hoping that, as I journal the ups and downs of my mundane little life, you might find yourself saying, "Yes! That happened to me last week!" or "I totally understand what this woman is saying!"

You might find that you aren't a crazy whacked-out mess after all. Won't that be nice?
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