Monday, June 30, 2008
We were all atwitter over our temporary freedom and couldn't decide what to do with ourselves. We finally decided to go to one of those Japanese prepare-it-in-front-of-you places. They have a pretty decent vegetarian entree so I always get that (as opposed to, well, nothing). And they offer some nice, strong libations at the bar as an added bonus.
We arrived and submitted our name to the hostess. Then we settled at the bar for a drink. P scanned the drink menu and convinced me that I'd enjoy this green "Samurai" drink that had Midori melon liqueur in it. I didn't, but that's okay.
As we sat there, we noticed two families that arrived with mucho small children in tow. In my mind, this isn't a kid-friendly place. That's why we don't bring ours (I'm convinced she'd find a way to burn herself). For starters, the only spot where you can wait for a table is . . . . the bar. There is simply nowhere else to stand or sit. One woman sat there with a sleeping child slung over her shoulder while she sucked down a Jack and Coke. Another mom ordered a Bloody Mary for herself and a root beer for her son (4ish). She sat him at the bar and proceeded to smoke a cigarette, while her son took random sips off her drink.
Now, I don't claim to be a stellar parent but, cripes. I went up to the hostess and explained that we'd like to sit at a kid-free table and that we were willing to wait longer for it. She nodded in understanding. I mean, when I go to Red Robin I expect rampaging toddlers - that's why we bring ours. We went to the trouble to hire a sitter, drive her around, print up a sheet of instructions, obtain cash to pay the sitter, etc. These people should have done the same. And entrees at this joint are $20 so if they can afford to eat there, they could have afforded a sitter. Can I get an amen?
Here's the other thing that happened. As we were sitting at the bar, a bachelorette party poured in. They were almost as smoky/boozy as the parents who were already there. The bride-to-be, of course, was festooned in penis-themed regalia. She had an inflatable phallus around her neck and some sort of penis tiara on her head. The cigarette hanging off her lip gave her whole look that certain "je ne sais quoi."
I don't understand the "ode to the penis" that takes place at these parties. Is it believed to be mystical or scarce or what? Is it some sort of statement about sex? Are they worried about losing access after the wedding? For all young brides-to-be, gather 'round while I tell you the truth about the penis: if you want to see one all you have to do is . . . ask. Trust me on this one. The average guy (and he doesn't even have to be YOUR guy), will probably let you take a gander (or more, if you want). And if there's any mystique left after the wedding, it really does wear off sooner than later. And there's definitely no fear of losing access. (You can take that to the bank, sister.)
The good news is that we didn't have to sit with the unruly children or the unruly bridal party. We had a great time at our grown-ups table.
The last interesting thing that happened was that we decided to head to the comedy improv place and raced to catch the 7:30 show. I was curious to see if this particular venue was listed in my new GPS. It was. However, a bridge got moved since the software was apparently last updated. When I started driving over the bridge, the GPS lady got pretty irritated because I wasn't driving where she thought I should be. "Recalculating!" she said. And then I looked at the map on the screen and it showed our car swimming across the river with no bridge in sight. Okay, maybe it was the Midori talking but I thought it was pretty funny.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
P and I are both fairly modest people. Maybe a lot modest. We don't walk around nakie or anything. The other day I was getting A ready for preschool when she decided she needed to use the bathroom. Her dad had just gotten out of the shower so I asked him to let her in while he was getting dressed. A few seconds later I heard, "Father, you have BIG PANTIES!"
So, we have learned that nothing is sacred. Last week we hopped in the van and headed downtown to the farmers' market ("markets farmer") and the whole boy/girl conversation somehow arose once again. "Father, you have a penis. I have a gyna." And then this: "Mama, you have a biiiiiiig . . . (I stopped breathing at this point) . . . gyna." We were at a stoplight, so I put my forehead down against the steering wheel and tried not to pass out. I'm sure my cheeks were crimson. I glanced over at P and in his efforts not to laugh, he was about to implode. "Okay, thanks," I said finally, glancing at my adorable daughter in the backseat.
I guess she figures that since everything on me is bigger than it is on her . . . that must include, well, everything. I'm just grateful that she didn't make this announcement in the check-out line at Kohl's during a Super Saturday Sale or something.
As a nearly three-year member of Weight Watchers and as someone who has lost over 50 pounds, I don't want to think of me or any part of me as being "big." One time the kid did call me "Big Mama" while the three of us were watching TV. As soon as she said it, P sucked in his breath and whispered, "Ooooh, don't ever say that, kiddo."
If you visit us, I would just recommend that you remain fully clothed at all times and that you not make direct eye contact with Little Miss Running Commentary.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The GPS works beautifully. But there is one downside that I did not predict, and I discovered it on our trip yesterday.
Voice from the GPS: "Turn left"
Voice from the backseat: "Mama, she said to turn left. Turn left. The lady said to turn left. Did you turn left? She said to turn left."
This went on for every command that the GPS lady gave me. We are driving to DC on vacation next week, so you can imagine how I am looking forward to hearing the directions twice . . . for 16 hours.
Anywho . . . after lunch we went to one of those indoor joints where kids get to jump around on huge inflatables. A calls it "the jumpity jump place." We also shared a blue slushie, which is as good as it gets for a three-year-old. All in all, it was a good day.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
There were a few creepy shoppers. One guy grumbled that I only had girl clothes. Then he said his sister had a little boy and that he needed boy clothes. But, oddly enough, he bought a pair of khaki pants with a huge flower embroidered on the leg. Another lady came in and held up a fuchsia Gymboree sweater and a pair of light green Gap pants. "These are perfect together!" she exclaimed. Sure, if you, um, suffer from a very serious visual impairment. Like maybe the one on the poster at my optometrist's office, where your field of vision is like a funhouse mirror. But she happily paid for the ensemble, so who am I to argue?
Two or three brief thunderstorms rolled through during the day, so I had to haul everything into the garage and then out again. P took the kid to the wildlife sanctuary for part of the afternoon. He snuck her out our back door so that she wouldn't see her stuff in the driveway. I had laid out a dress for him to put on her and then fixed her hair myself before opening the sale. Later they brought me some lunch and I couldn't help but notice that her adorable sundress was on backwards. "Didn't you think it would be a little odd for the pockets to be on the back of her dress?" I asked. "No," he replied.
Anyway, I made enough money to pay for gas and tolls on our upcoming vacation to DC. I have some clothes left so I'll be dropping those off at a resale place to see what I can get for them. P told me that I am permitted to purchase only seven outfits for the kid next season. "Eight if she has an accident and craps herself," he clarified.
That would be a challenge because she currently changes her clothes at least twice a day. And she only wants to wear dresses. This morning I made her wear a dress that she doesn't particularly like (she didn't say why). She had a meltdown and wailed, "I don't wanna be this dress!" P calmly told her: "Well, you're gonna be that dress and that's all there is to it. Now eat your vitamin."
Friday, June 20, 2008
Yesterday morning, the kid climbed into my lap just before she had to leave for preschool with her father. I was in the office-slash-guest-bedroom catching up on a few emails before I had to leave, too. She looked up at a round, black clock that's been on the wall in there forever. It's got a red cat's face in the middle and in place of the numbers are the words "nap play eat" repeated around the perimeter. (It is also ticks louder than artillery fire, which does seem to keep visitors from staying too long. A few have been known to take the batteries out. One overnight guest simply took it off the wall and exiled it to the dining room.)
"That clock has a cat on it!" A exclaimed. I guess it took her 3+ years to notice it. "Yes, your Aunt Craggy bought me that clock a long time ago," I said. "Before you were born."
And then she said it. "When I was born in your tummy?" My heart fluttered and tears sprang to my eyes. She didn't really seem to expect a response, so I pulled her in for a hug and didn't say anything. She hopped off my lap and tucked Teddy under her arm. "Bye, Mama!"
I quietly told P what she had said and told him that I guess the time has come. She is starting to understand, it seems, that babies don't just magically appear in one's home. Oh, but that they did!
I imagine that we will sit down with her soon and give a high-level overview of how she came to be. I don't believe she has any inkling that this baby-making thing involves a second party, so I think we'll just leave that out for now.
How how how do we explain our love for her in such a way that she never doubts it for one second her entire life through? That she was never abandoned, not even for a moment, and that she passed straight into our arms when she was born? That she is all we ever wanted?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
But, should something happen to me . . . I'm not really convinced that my other half fully understands my post-mortem wishes. So, I hope one of my friends will direct him to this blog post. (He does not read my blog, in case you hadn't guessed.)
- If I have any body parts that the medical establishment could make use of, it is welcome to them. A lot of my parts don't work right (thanks for nothing, uterus!) but maybe I have a kidney or an eyeball that might help someone out. I'm sure my broken thumb is out of the running. (A side note to my friends: would you people stop texting me? my thumb does not freakin' bend and it takes me an hour to respond!)
- I don't really care what happens to my body after that. I think the law requires that something be done with it, however, so please have me cremated. I do not want to be buried under any circumstances. I mean, how long can we keep shoving bodies in the earth anyway?
- I don't know what to say about my ashes. All I ask is that I not be placed next to my father-in-law in our basement. We've had him down there since he died in 2006 and we have no idea what to do with him. I used to think I wanted my ashes spread in a park in West Virginia. My Pop-Pop lived in WV until his death in 1989 and he was so well-liked in his community that they put up a plaque in his honor at a nearby park. But now I don't remember where it is, so that might be a problem. I love the ocean, so maybe just dump me there?
- A funeral really isn't necessary, but I wouldn't be opposed to some sort of party in my memory. The only catch is that only good music is permitted. Hook up my iPod if you want (but first please delete the Coolio song that my friend Dave put on there - I've been meaning to do that forever).
- Please call my pastor at the UU fellowship and have her come to the party to say witty, meaningful stuff.
- I don't pretend to know what happens to us when we die, so everyone can skip all the conjecture. In other words, none of this "she's in a better place" stuff when I kick the bucket because really, you don't know.
After some respectable period of time has passed, P is welcome to re-marry. However, it goes without saying that she will probably be a slut who will never measure up to my legacy. Ha ha! Just kidding! Maybe.
And finally, someone please tell my baby girl that I love her "big much," just like she always says to me. And that goes for my friends (two-legged and four-legged) and family, too. I don't feel the need to wax poetic about that because, if I have done things the right way during my earthly days, they already know.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I've suggested to P that he take the kid somewhere on Saturday because I'm pretty sure she is going to have a meltdown when she sees her gear in the driveway.
If you know anyone in my neck of the woods who has a baby girl or who is thinking of producing one, send them my way on Saturday! Email me if you need the address.
In other news, A started at a new daycare this week. We moved her to a Kindercare. She has been in an in-home daycare since she was a baby, but we thought it was time for a change. We loved her former daycare provider, but we were having trouble finding coverage for days when the daycare was closed for vacations and special events and such. Plus, she is pregnant and it was going to be tough to find coverage for a solid month in the fall. And the final kicker - the old daycare was 20 minutes away and with gas prices being what they are, we decided that closer = better.
One benefit to having an uber-outgoing kid is that she is not afraid of new social situations. She barreled right into her new class and started playing. I do like the fact that the new facility offers some academic programs, like math and phonics. I don't want her sitting behind a desk all day, of course, but I'm glad that she will be doing some book learnin' along the way.
When I picked her up after work yesterday her new teacher reported that she had had a good day. She was making friends and learning the rules. A pointed to one little boy and said, "That's my friend Riley." Miss Angela looked at me and said, "Yeah, that's not his name. His name is Jackson." There are two Jacksons in the class so I guess A just figured she'd rename one of them. On the way home we had a little chat about how we have to call people by their actual name instead of assigning them one.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Today our little family attended a local festival. I was excited to check it out, because I weighed in at Weight Watchers this morning and was feeling a little splurgy today. I felt confident that some deep-fried goodness was surely coming my way. The festival also included rides, music, dancing, a marketplace, etc. We also got there early enough to obtain free tickets for a 45-minute cruise on a tour boat.
Upon arrival we bought some ride tickets. The kid rode a couple of kiddie rides. And then I said this: "Hey, let's ride the Tilt-a-Whirl." P shook his head and mumbled something like, "You guys go ahead." So A and I hopped on. Now, I knew that my stomach is not what it was in my youth, when I could disembark from a roller coaster and go straight back in line to ride it again. But the Tilt-a-Whirl? It's not at all menacing. It's as American as apple pie, right?
Our car spun around a few times and A squealed. She laughed and held the bar a little tighter. The more we spun, the more she laughed. Me, not so much. As we spun faster and faster my stomach began to rebel. "I thought we had an agreement!" it said. I closed my eyes and hoped the ride would end soon. I kept trying to catch a glimpse of the ride operator, who was busy spitting tobacco into a white styrofoam cup. I was looking for any sign that he was going to push a button or pull a lever of some sort and put an end to my misery. P later said that it was just a couple minutes but I felt like three Christmases had passed.
I made it down the metal steps, fighting waves of nausea all the while, and then handed P our remaining tickets. "Take her on the kiddie rides - I gotta sit down." I sat on a curb (to live out my last moments, it seemed) and waved while A went 'round and 'round on some teacup ride. I thought I would just feel like crud for a few minutes and then it would subside. But no. The other two ate fries and cheese curds and I just tried to keep from turning green. Eventually I felt well enough to take the boat ride, but I mostly sat in one spot inside the cabin and sipped a Sprite. By the time the tour was over, I was somewhat back to normal. However, the kid's behavior was deteriorating to the extent that her father announced that he was "done dealing with her."
So that is the story of "the day Claudia found out she is old." If I do start listening to jazz or becoming overly concerned about things like fiber or buffet coupons, I'll let you know.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
- I will not fill ice cube trays no matter what. If you ask me about it, I will swear on a stack of Bibles that I have never consumed a drink with an ice cube in it in my entire life. (That tinkling you hear is just your imagination.) P makes a big show about refilling them, sighing loudly, making editorial comments, and stomping around the kitchen. I have no idea why I can't/won't refill them, but I can't/won't.
- I will consume almost an entire can of Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi and then put the can in the refrigerator - with one sip in it. Said can will bounce around the fridge for several days until finally it gets knocked over and that one sip ends up on the asparagus.
- I cuss like a longshoreman. I have no idea what a longshoreman is/does, but if the saying is true, apparently they have very filthy mouths.
- I get up very early in the morning and, more irritating than that, usually wake up in a good mood.
- I am very prissy and will not leave the house until I am completely in order.
- I cannot throw a frisbee. I somehow coil my entire arm around the frisbee and then send it in an arc . . . straight over the fence and into the neighbor's yard.
- I am terrible at saving money. P says that I do to our money what woodchippers do to trees.
I would love to say that he is being compensated with a lot of sex or something in exchange for tolerating me and my control freak, bossy, anal-retentive ways but, well, um, er . . .
Sunday, June 8, 2008
We headed out after my Weight Watchers meeting on Saturday morning. We had a two-hour car ride ahead of us, but we stopped several times along the way. My suspicion is that she has some sort of checklist that catalogs every public restroom in the state. And she plans to use all of them. The pet supply store we visited along the way? Check. The outlet mall where we stopped to buy a Father's Day gift? Check. The restaurant where we ate lunch? Check and check. Yes, she had to use that one twice. Five minutes apart.
This particular restaurant is an older joint with just two small stalls in the ladies' room. We were in one stall and some unsuspecting patron was in the other. After A went, I decided I'd go ahead and use the facilities myself. She stood there, hands on hips, as I took my turn. "Mama, YOU'RE PEEING ON MY PEE!" It goes without saying that this declaration was made loudly. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is sacred with a three-year-old. Later we stopped at a mall and of course we found ourselves in the restroom again. "MAMA, ARE YOU POOPING?" I don't know if sound is somehow amplified in public restrooms or what. I promise you I wasn't doing what I had been accused of doing, but I didn't bother to argue. I never win anyway.
The restaurant also has a carousel outside so of course we had to ride. As we were waiting in line the kid went on and on about how she was going to ride the white horse. So it goes without saying that once the gate was opened and we had our pick . . . she climbed upon a grey one.
At first, we had the pool to ourselves. Then, a couple strolled in and got into the whirlpool, which was about eight feet from the pool. I had been telling A that she needed to stay away from the whirlpool because the water is hot and it's just for grown-ups. So as soon as she spotted the couple she got out of the pool, stomped over to the whirlpool, stood over them, and asked, "What are you guys doing in that hot pool?" I mean, she just cannot leave strangers alone. Later they got in the main pool and she had to question them about what they were doing in "our" pool. She asked them about a dozen other random questions and after a while I seriously thought they might slip me a twenty so that I would take her back up to the room.
Later another woman arrived and started swimming laps. A watched her in disbelief and then remarked, "Her is swimming by herself! And she's not dying!" That lady was pretty incredible - I mean, she didn't have floaties on her upper arms or anything.
After swimming we went out to dinner. When we got back to the hotel I stopped in the convenience mart located, well, conveniently in the lobby. I bought the kid some microwave popcorn for later (there was a microwave and mini fridge in our room). She then proceeded to corner every hapless traveler in the lobby and lounge to tell them about her popcorn acquisition. Most of them nodded politely but there was one man who didn't mind chatting with a little kid about popcorn. He even suggested that maybe she could put it in a bowl and come back later. I really need to get her to stop talking to strangers but I also don't want to suppress that side of her, know what I mean?
The hotel had a complimentary breakfast this morning and it was a darned nice one with Belgian waffles and whatnot. After that we headed back home (through another raging storm) and she was able to cross another restroom off her list along the way. And this time, I did not pee on her pee. From now on I think I'll just wait until my bladder explodes rather than to endure the mortifying play-by-play.
Friday, June 6, 2008
The Dome allowed 18-20-year-olds to enter, but only those over 21 were given "I can drink" bracelets. I spotted a tall, skinny, dark-haired (just like I like 'em!) Marine lurking around the dance floor while his drunken Jarhead friends spun manically near the deejay's booth. I followed him at a distance, positioning myself strategically so that he could ask me to dance. Others came up and asked me to dance as I stood there. "No, thanks!" I told them. I was holding out for the shy one with the ever-so-slightly-too-large front teeth (I thought he was cute, but I figured this minor flaw might keep him from thinking he was all that).
I had always dated military guys. My friend Kevin used to say, "Claudia's entertained more troops than Bob Hope." That wasn't entirely true (I swear! Plus, I had never dated a Navy guy. Only Army, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.) Maybe I liked the fact that they were disciplined and neat and could fold their underwear into six-inch squares - I didn't want to risk spending the rest of my life picking up someone's socks off the floor after all.
Finally, on that evening back in 1992 . . . I gave up on the "stand around and look cute" tactic and asked him to dance. I soon found out that he was only 20 and could not buy me a drink. Strike one. But, I liked him. Later he walked me to my car and uttered this fateful line: "You have a blue car? *I* have a blue car!" Clearly, we were meant to be together.
We dated for a year and eventually decided to go ahead and live in sin. I think my mom was tired of looking at him in her living room all the time.
Over time I learned that he:
- Steps into the shower and THEN turns on the water. If this isn't a sure sign of mental illness, I don't know what is.
- Reads comic books on purpose.
- Is a Republican. (Oooh, I just threw up in my mouth a little when I typed that.) I think he is starting to see the light, though. He voted for Obama in the primary this year.
- Clips a V into the toenails on his big toes to prevent them from becoming ingrown or something. I have been stabbed in the calf with those things in the dead of night and it's not a good time.
- Walks into McDonald's and insists on reading the menu from top to bottom as though he has NO EARTHLY IDEA what they might possibly serve there.
- Forces restaurant servers to (verbally) list every single beer they carry and then invariably orders the very first one that was mentioned.
I married him anyway.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
On Sunday night I was on the phone and the kid kept asking me for "a piece of sticky tape." (As opposed to the unsticky kind, I guess.) I took the path of least resistance and gave her several strips. Finally I hung up and went to see what she was up to.
She had hung this sign on her bedroom door:
"What does it say?" I asked her.
Chloe, who is stone deaf, has no idea that she is constantly being admonished by the kid. And I can state with reasonable certainty that she can't read, so I suspect that the sign is unlikely to make a big impact. I am pretty sure that Chloe will continue worshipping the little tyrant. And hanging out in her bedroom, sign be damned.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Anyway, I gave both of the Boxers a bath this morning. I skipped Karl, but only because it is his birthday. Plus, when I give him a bath, his fur doesn't fully dry until Christmas.
The tricky part was getting her to keep it a secret. She and I met her dad at Red Robin for lunch. She ran up to him and yelled, "We painted you a piuakleaaucajrek" (because at that point I had clamped my hand over her loud little mouth).
Last night P drove to the liquor store for some beer, because his child had driven him to drink. (She was truly driving us around the bend yesterday - she kept doing things like filling tiny plastic cups with water from the dogs' bowl and then pouring it in various places in her room.)
When he got back she ran up to him, hugged him around the leg, and said, "I'm so happy you have me!" And then, "I'm so happy to see you, Father." I'm not sure what the first statement means, but it was pretty cute.