Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some phases are more irritating than others

When my daughter was around two, she started calling her dad "father."  It was just about the cutest thing ever, of course. It all started when she asked me a question and I responded, "Go ask your father." For nearly a year after that, it was "Father, can I have a fruit snack?" and "Wait until I show this to Father!" Eventually, the phase ended. There have been other phases: the orange juice phase, the Dora phase, the "I'm a kitty" phase, and so forth. The newest phase is by far the most trying: the "my mom is a dumb ass" phase.

Lately it seems like my adorable little cherub is hell-bent on proving me wrong about, well, everything. Or at least catching me in a mistake.

"Mom, you forgot to get me something to drink." 

(Through lightly clenched teeth) "I didn't forget, I just didn't DO IT YET."

The examples are plentiful.

"Mom, this isn't the way home from the Y."
"You picked that tomato too soon."
"You didn't put enough milk in my cereal."

Well, it's a wonder I manage to get myself dressed and feed myself every morning.

We are planning to go to Disney World in May. Last night she asked me, "Mom, do you even know where Florida is?" Now, I will be the first to admit that I am not great at geography.  Some of the squarish states in the middle of the country do throw me off a bit (I'm looking at you, Colorado) but I think I can confidently say I know where Florida is. Plus, I have a GPS and trust the voice implicitly.

I responded: "Well, I thought I'd just drive all around the country until I find it. Don't worry."

She cocked her head. "Really?" I nodded.  Two can play at this game, Little Miss Bossy.

What I fear most about this phase is that I suspect it won't end until she's in her thirties. Maybe, just maybe, she'll recognize my competence by then.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On Being Patriotic

The list of adjectives I assign to myself is pretty long: clumsy, organized, competent, uptight, etc. One that might surprise you: patriotic. I fully understand what it means to be an American and am darned happy about living here. But, I have a beef (that part won't surprise you). I've grown tired of certain segments of the population thinking that they've cornered the market on patriotism or that they can dictate precisely how the rest of us express ourselves when it comes to our shared country and flag.

Sometimes it seems like the Toby-Keith-boot-in-yer-ass brand of patriotism drowns out the rest of us. For the record, I don't believe that patriotism requires a love of NASCAR, a disdain for immigrants, a Republican voting record, or a preference for country music. Nor does it require adherence to a specific religion.

I've seen Facebook posts from some of my friends and acquaintances that call for all of us to return to the "Christian principles on which our country was founded." Did you know that John Adams and John Quincy Adams were Unitarian? It's a little presumptuous to believe that every person walking around New England in 1776 subscribed to precisely the same religious beliefs. I know a lot of nice Christian people but have trouble with the whole American = Christian = Incontrovertibly Good Person scenario. I have a friend who's Buddhist - is she allowed to fly the stars and stripes on her flagpole?

The other common refrain is for immigrants to "learn the language, damnit!" Or at least that's what the bumper stickers tout.

As Jack White (in the White Stripes song "Icky Thump") so aptly sang:

White Americans
What? Nothin' better to do?

Why don't you kick yourself out
You're an immigrant too.

Who's using who?
What should we do?
Well you can't be a pimp
And a prostitute too.

It's hard to say it much better than that.  Should recent immigrants learn English?  I don't know. Maybe. But if they choose not to, they're really only inconveniencing themselves, don't you think? Honestly, I'm pretty well convinced that there are plenty of red-blooded Americans born right here in the U.S of A. who speak the language so poorly that it's barely recognizable as their native tongue. You should see some of the adoption applications we get through the rescue. Sometimes we have to read them over and over again and take our best guess as to what the applicant was trying to say. (As a side note, if you cannot spell Shih Tzu, you may not own one. That's my proclamation.)

I feel fortunate that I grew up so close to the nation's capital. It was a diverse environment, to say the least. I had friends whose parents hailed from Vietnam, Korea, Japan, China, Mexico, Spain, and India. In my mind, an American citizen is an American citizen (and, in fact, passing the citizenship test requires a greater knowledge of American history than most of us have stored in our brains). I don't get to be "more American" because my family got here a little earlier than some. I found it so disheartening, after 9/11, to learn of the rampant violent acts that occurred against American citizens who just happened to be brown. There were reports of hate crimes against Sikhs, Pakistani-Americans, and others who had no connection whatsoever to Islam, Al Qaeda, etc. For that matter, declaring open season on Americans who practice Islam is another shameful chapter. Sure, there are people across the globe who hate Americans and some of them are downright dangerous, but throwing out the baby with the bathwater seems awfully short-sighted and, well, un-American.
 
I have an American flag and fly it proudly. I married a Marine who gave four years of service to our country. I stand when I hear the national anthem and raise my right hand to my heart. I don't support the war but I do support the troops. I vote. I appreciate the fact that I can freely criticize my government if I feel like it, work wherever I want, and practice any religion I choose. Just don't tell me you're somehow a better citizen than I am. I'll shove a boot in yer ass.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Brother can you spare a lung?

Short Stuff helped out at our rescue's fundraiser yesterday. She also ate enough cupcakes to throw a mastodon into sugar shock.
I've been horking up a lung for the better part of a week. It's been frustrating, because I haven't had an asthma flare-up in 18 months. For a second there I almost wondered if it had somehow gone away (maybe all those inversions in yoga or something?) but alas, I'm still afflicted.  The kid caught a cold a couple weeks ago. We scarcely knew she had one, to be honest - she sniffled for a day or two and that was it. By the time it got to me and her dad, however, it had evolved into something much, much worse. You'd have thought we were both in the throes of advanced tuberculosis, emphysema, and pneumonia all rolled into one. I pulled my beat-up albuterol inhaler out of my purse and within two days was abusing it so badly that my hands were shaking like an alcoholic enduring the DTs. So, I gave in and called my asthma doctor.

The doctor hooked me up to a machine meant to measure the nitric oxide in my lungs. I had to breathe into an apparatus while trying to follow a cartoon on the screen.  On the monitor was a girl in a boat on the water (no kaleidoscope eyes, in case you wondered) and the objective was to blow the sailboat across the water at a steady pace. First I had to inhale, which caused the cartoon sun to rise in the cartoon sky, then I had to exhale to maneuver the boat. It was like a video game except, you know, not even remotely fun.  Anyway, I guess a normal reading is something like 20 and I was at 55. What this tells the doctor, in short, is that there's a lot of shit going on in my lungs. He sent me home with a couple different inhalers (plus a prescription for Zyrtec) and I'm supposed to call on Monday if I'm still coughing.

I'm still coughing. I think I've worn out my welcome in a few different places. When I left work on Friday, I said to my cubicle neighbors, "my cough and I are leaving now" and a few of them broke out in applause. Co-workers send me IMs throughout the day with questions like, "Are you SURE I can't give you some cough syrup or something?"  If my desk weren't attached to all the others, I'm pretty sure they would've relocated me downstairs to Storage B* by now. I went to yoga on Tuesday and all but left a lung on the mat. Nothing breaks up the zen like a woman trying to expel all of her internal organs - through her mouth. By candlelight, no less! I've also coughed my way through the library, Target, and church.  I'm spreading the joy far and wide.

I guess I'll see how I'm doing tomorrow and then decide how to proceed. I've been coughing so hard that I seem to have a few ruptured capillaries in my left eye. This looks as sexy and alluring as you'd imagine.  I worked at a fundraiser for the rescue yesterday. It was a long day and my lungs were on fire by the time it was over, but I lived through it. We could really see the effects of the sucky economy this year. Fewer attendees, less revenue.  We were down about $1500 from last year, but were still glad to have so many people come out and support us. I think the highlight of my day was meeting a Boxer named Obi who recently lost his lower jaw to cancer. His tongue hangs down to his chest but it doesn't seem to bother him. He won our "best kiss" contest by planting that tongue on his owner (who was very cute, by the way). I guess you could say Obi was a ringer, but it was really a sweet moment. It was also nice to see so many former adopters and long-ago foster dogs that are still going strong. 'Twas a good day.

Well, I'll sign off now, as I feel another round of convulsive hacking coming on. I may have to take some Nyquil later. That stuff is potent, though, eh? You can't cough when you're fully unconscious.

Baked goods named after my brown son (we have a bake sale as part of our fundraiser)

*Random "Office Space" reference - if you missed it, you and I are no longer friends. I'm sorry. And, I believe you have my stapler.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Claudia's List of Awesomeness

You know how Oprah makes her list of favorite things? It's mostly stuff like $500 cashmere sweaters and Coach bags, but she throws in the occasional CD. You know, for us po' folk. Although my level of influence does not extend very far (I can't even influence my child to brush her teeth before school), here is my list of stuff I like, in no particular order (note that I am purposely omitting people, however):
  1. Bath bombs from Lush.  If you can find a Lush store near you, check it out. Also, get me a Sex Bomb while you are there! It is also worth noting that the vast majority of the bath bombs are vegan.
  2. Hoop earrings. I cannot be convinced that hoop earrings are ever out of style (they may not be perfectly IN style at any given moment, but are seldom out).
  3. Keebler Fudge Sticks. I haven't tried the new jumbo ones yet. Maybe I'd better not.
  4. Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade.  I only drink these in the summertime, but man, do they go down easy!
  5. Yoga. I have only been doing yoga for about ten months, but I am hooked. Although most of the time I feel like I am hopelessly uncoordinated, I have noticed some changes. My core is now strong enough that I can pull myself into a headstand fairly easily. My flabby arms have gotten a little stronger (lowering myself from a plank over and over has to have some effect). The most important benefit, however, is that it helps me to clear my head.
  6. The Muppets. I have been a big fan all my life. I guess most people are - I mean, what kind of jackass hates the Muppets?  I'm pretty excited about the new movie coming out in November.
  7. Tarts from Yankee Candle. I like the fruity/floral ones in the summer and the spicy/warm ones in the winter, but never the ones that are meant to smell like food. That's just gross.
  8. Being a Unitarian Universalist. For years I tried churches on for size, just waiting to find one that spoke to me and my true beliefs. It just wasn't happening. As soon as I walked into the UU fellowship, I felt like, "Here are my people!" I'm also very proud of what my daughter is learning about working for social justice, embracing diversity, and questioning everything.
  9. Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. I seldom buy it, because I will basically eat it all in one sitting, but oh I do love it so.
  10. Wine. You knew that already. Over the past year or two, I've slowly migrated from sweeter wines to less sweet wines (I hesitate to say "dry" because I don't care for the really dry ones either).
  11. Boxers.  They're too energetic, they jump up on visitors and french kiss them, they have doomed genetics that often lead to an early death from cancer and/or cardiac issues, but I do love them. I'm proud to be part of a rescue organization that has saved over 700 dogs to date.
  12. Stand-up comedy. I love a good comedian. I adore Brian Regan and Jim Gaffigan.  I'm also a huge fan of Bill Maher, although in his case it's more for his political/religious views as anything else.
  13. The iPod. I love my iPod more than I love a few of my blood relatives. Sure, I do the "cloud" thing some, too. I use Spotify and Pandora. But I always come back to my own personal music library and my iPod. XOXOXO
  14. Cola Slurpees. Maybe ICEEs really do taste the same, but I'm convinced they do not. 
  15. Honey Crisp Apples. They maketh me so happy.
  16. Gourmet Vegetarian Pizza from Papa Murphy's. I would eat this constantly except that I'm living with a small child for whom anything other than cheese pizza is unacceptable (and, in her mind, inedible).
Note that there are 93 days until Christmas, in case you wanted to start stocking up on bath bombs, tarts, and wine - for me, I mean.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Close Call

My daughter owns a slew of Barbies and one Ken. She's got at least half a dozen of the standard-issue blond Barbies (ballerina Barbie, some kind of fairy Barbie with wings in her back, etc.) and a bunch of the Disney princess dolls. All of the females are basically interchangeable. It always startles me a little to see Belle wearing Ariel's dress and Snow White wearing Belle's dress and so forth. More often than not, however, everyone is naked. They all hang out in one big obscene jumble inside the plastic bin I bought for storing all of the dolls and their microscopic shoes. Princess Tiana, in particularly, has not bothered to get dressed since last Christmas. Also, I have to wonder how many moms out there are trying to figure out how to (surreptitiously) get rid of the big matted wad of hair that is . . . Rapunzel. I know I am.

When A is playing with her Barbies, I can hear lots of conversations going on, but she clams up when I walk by or even when she can tell I am in the vicinity. When I ask, "What were they talking about?" I get dramatic eye rolls and a "nothing, Mom!" response delivered in a tone of voice meant to convey that it is really none of my beeswax.

My curiosity persists, however.  Yesterday I was in the kitchen and could hear the dolls "talking."  I tiptoed down the short hallway and stationed myself around the corner so that I could eavesdrop. Hey, she could close her door but she doesn't - fair game, I say. Here is what I heard:

"Hey, get off my boyfriend!  Do you even know her name?" Something unintelligible followed.

I felt the blood drain out of my face.  Get off my boyfriend? Oh my. My mind was racing. What does she know or think she knows?  Maybe the shows on Nickelodeon are racier than I realized.  My sweet, innocent baby! I stood there for a moment, trying to figure out what to do. Finally, I took a deep breath and then willed myself to poke my head around the corner to see the shameless dolls for myself.

There stood Ken, held up by my daughter's hand wrapped around his calves. And there sat Ballerina Barbie . . . right on top of Ken's shoulders, her legs dangling past his armpits. Just like A sits on her dad's shoulders. Ha ha! Right! Get off my boyfriend.  I am not sure which doll Ken is dating these days, but apparently she doesn't approve of the other Barbie trying to get a better view of the stage at the Big Time Rush concert or something.

Just then, my daughter saw me peeking. I smiled like I was an Alzheimer's patient just wandering the halls with no purpose. I turned on my heel and took my dirty mind back to the kitchen.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Summer, where art thou?

I guess the party is over.  We shut the storm windows, locked the regular windows, and turned on the heat. Blah. It was downright chilly in the house this morning.  The dogs were all snuggled up on the bed in the guest room/office. Well, the boys were all balled up like cats. Gretchen just worked her porn star pose. Like so:


I also caught her humping Gideon in the back yard earlier. Never a dull moment around here.  I made the mistake of taking both knuckleheads for a walk the other day (Kaiser, our foster dog, stayed home because he got to go last time). Now, Gideon and Gretchen are not dog-aggressive. They are both fine with other dogs.  However, they saw a Beagle standing placidly in his yard and they both lost their shit. Since they couldn't get to the Beagle, they decided that they would just kick each other's asses.  Gideon jumped on Gretchen and bit her in the head with his one good tooth.  She, in turn, whipped herself into such a frenzy that when she shook her head, white foam (from her own mouth) was flung onto her face. She looked rabid. I was waiting for Atticus Finch to come by and shoot her. Anyway, I just turned up my iPod a bit and kept walking, pulling them behind me. Not mortifying at all, nosirreee. 

Anyway, it was kind of a crazy week. I had a lot of rescue paperwork to catch up when I got back from my road trip. We have a lot of adoptions pending, so that is a good thing. I also spent much of the week horking up a lung, as did my better half. The last two illnesses to pass through our home, I failed to contract. I credited the volume of fruit I eat each day (let's hear it for Vitamin C, yo). But this one, I got. We just cough and cough. It is, as you can imagine, quite the turn-on. Speaking of turn-ons, I went to one of those Pure Romance parties last night. For some reason, most of the invitees did not show. It was kind of awkward with just a couple of us, so I had to chug a couple glasses of wine just to get through it. The Pure Romance consultant was also training a new person named Courtney, who looked exceedingly youthful to me. I finally had to ask her if she is even old enough to vote. She claimed to be 30. After the party my friend lit a fire in her fire pit out back and we sat around and tossed a tennis ball for her Lab. It was a nice way to wrap up the work week. In case you are wondering . . . no, I didn't purchase anything smutty. I just bought some bath gel and lotion. They claim to have pheromones in them. After I took a shower this morning, I asked P if he could perceive the pheromones. He took a sniff in my general direction. "What, am I supposed to start humping your leg or something?"  So romantic, that guy. I still have an unopened bottle of massage oil from the last party I attended.  So that gives you an idea of how many massages are being doled out at our house. 

Today's excitement consisted of a trip to the grocery store and then seeing "The Lion King" with Short Stuff.  We saw the 2D version. I am so over 3D. Plus, I can't see adding 3D to a movie that was not made to be 3D originally. The movie theater was full of very young children. I think their parents remembered liking the movie as kids and were anxious to share the experience with their wee offspring. I totally expect to see squirmy kids at an animated film, I truly do. What I don't expect is for the toddler in the row behind me to (repeatedly) reach over the back of my seat and PAT MY HEAD. Her parents made no attempt to stop it either. I just tried to scootch down in the seat so that the little cherub couldn't reach me.  A didn't seem that enamored with the movie. Kids have such a high thrill threshold these days.

I just realized that I never made dinner and that my child essentially ate popcorn for supper. Mother of the year right here, ya'll.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You can visit her in juvie in a few years

Rebel without a mute button
I think my kid might be . . . kind of a badass.  School started on September 1st.  She made it through the first day without incident.  On the second day, she found herself "in the yellow."  Her school uses a warning system based on a standard traffic light (made out of construction paper). Each kid has a clothespin with his/her name on it. The default is to have one's clothespin clipped to the green light.  When a student talks while the teacher is talking or screws around in the hallway, his/her clothespin is moved to the yellow light and a verbal warning is issued. If things deteriorate from there and more infractions pile up, the clothespin moves to red and a written notice is sent home.

My daughter spent a lot of time in the yellow last year. Her Kindergarten teacher adored her but couldn't overlook the fact that this kid o'mine . . . Cannot. Stop. Talking. She simply cannot. There is a progressive  school here in town that stresses engagement and alternative learning styles, and I've often wondered if she might fare better there - perhaps her gregarious nature is actually a benefit and not a hindrance. However, I'd have to provide transportation and just don't have a way to do that (pesky day job and all). So for now, we are trying to make her current environment work. After all, there are a lot of features of her current school that I really like. It's fairly diverse and the staff and teachers are great.

It's a struggle to find that balance between "you're awesome just the way you are" and "you have to listen when it's time to listen and not run your mouth during those times." So far it is not going all that well.  She was in the yellow on the second day of school and almost every day since. One day, she hit red and had to bring a note home. The note indicated that she had "screamed out" in class (which got her in the yellow) and then was horsing around in the bathroom (which got her a ticket straight to red).  I had to sign the written discipline notice and send it back to school. 

Her dad and I have tried a few different approaches. We've taken away TV and DS on days when she has gotten in the yellow. We've tried guilt-tripping her by telling her that she is making Mrs. S's job harder than it already is. Now we're back to last year's incentive program since we had moderate success with that. If she stays in the green, she gets a sticker. Eight stickers and she'll receive a reward. If she gets in the red, she loses a sticker. She made it one day in the green and then fell off the wagon the next day. So, I'm pretty sure I won't have to deliver on that reward anytime soon.

I told my sisters that they can visit their niece in Juvie in a few years. My youngest sister wondered what the security regulations will be and if she will need to leave sharp objects in her car. Of course, I'm just joking about Juvie. Or at least I think I am. I emailed A's teacher the other day to ask her about a reading assignment. I also mentioned that we are aware of our daughter's talkativeness and that we are trying to address the issue. She sent me a nice response. She said that A is "sweet as pie and very affectionate."  And she's right. The kid does not have a mean bone in her body. She's not getting into trouble for tripping kids on the playground or calling in bomb threats or something. She simply places a LOT of emphasis on her social life.

I am truly frightened about the teenage years. Truly.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Heart Cleveland

I'm sure you've been on pins and needles wondering how my road trip went. It was fabulous. I did a lot of driving and made several observations:
  1. Some cities in the Midwest have more country radio stations than they should be allotted.
  2. Some people think nothing of chit-chatting the day away with a toll taker regardless of how many dozens of cars are piling up behind them.
  3. Some people are still very confused about the left lane. 
  4. The guy driving a Traverse on the tollway yesterday is a colossal douche. Keep an eye out for him. 
I drove about 2/3 of the way to Cleveland on Thursday and then stopped for the night. I'd gotten a room on Priceline. I then got up Friday morning and finished the drive, arriving in Cleveland by late morning. I met my friend Rachel at the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. We ended up spending most of the day there. It had been a few years since I visited the museum and there were lots of new exhibits. We also paid extra to see a U2 concert experience in 3D. I've always been a fair weather U2 fan (I love the very early stuff like the "Boy" and "October" albums but have been less enthusiastic about some of the releases that followed), but the movie was really good. Check it out if you get a chance. The "women who rock" exhibit was also worth seeing. I was happy to see that Kim Deal was included, because she truly does rock.

After the hall of fame, we checked into our hotel room. Rachel hooked us up with a nice room right downtown. She had some travel points saved up or something. I think it's pretty well established by now that I am not opposed to freeloading.  We spent the next hour looking at our combined technology-related devices (two smartphones, two GPS units, a laptop, and an iPad) in an attempt to figure out where to eat dinner. We finally just got in the car (she took the wheel) and drove around downtown to see what we could find. My dear friend has a tendency to believe that stop signs are optional, so I thought I might end up being returned to my husband in a body bag.  We finally stopped at a joint called Bar Louie's.  It's a chain restaurant and we were sort of trying to avoid that (we wanted to get some local flavor, literally) but we were tired of driving around and besides, it was happy hour and the drinks were cheap. It turned out to be a really good dinner, too.  We also found a liquor store and stopped there for supplies. Later, we just hung out in our hotel room and watched TV.  I was really tired because I'd only gotten a few hours of sleep the night before and I think I lost consciousness mid-sentence.

Let me just say that the beds at the Doubletree Hotel in Cleveland are awesome. Lots of pillows and the mattresses struck just the right balance between firm and soft. I immediately vowed to live in the hotel forever, or at least stay there until Rachel's credit card was maxed out. Also, I really need room-darkening curtains at home. Also, a room with no dogs in it.  At home, it's not the kid who wakes me up. It's the bleeping dogs. 

Anyway, we were game for just about anything on Saturday and we found plenty to do. We had an early lunch at a vegan restaurant called The Flaming Ice Cube. It was really good.  After that, we went to a little wine and gift shop in an area of Cleveland called Tremont. There was a little dog in the shop. A puggle. I am not a "little dog" person but I was in need of a dog fix and tried my best to befriend her. She was totally over me after the first two seconds and went behind the counter to stand with her two dads. We then walked next door to a candy shop called Lilly's.  Rachel had done a bunch of research in advance to find some cool places to go, and I must say she succeeded.  Lilly's serves little handmade chocolates, many of which have unusual ingredients (or at least ordinary ingredients in unusual combinations). I tried five different truffles. I mean to tell you that a couple of them changed my life.

One of our goals for the day was to hit the garlic festival, but we had a couple of problems. One was the intermittent rain. Two was that we had been eating all day and weren't hungry.  So, we headed to the natural history museum instead. We also checked out a planetarium show while we were there. I picked up the book Stiff in the gift shop. I've been wanting to read it for a while.  I also picked up some souvenirs for my daughter, because I know better than to go home empty-handed.  Finally, we ended the day by having dinner at the House of Blues. Back at the hotel, we drank wine and watched Bridesmaids. We briefly considering going down to the pool and/or whirlpool.  However, there was at least one wedding going on and we didn't want to walk around in our swimsuits or ride in an elevator next to someone in a tux. Also, we noticed a bunch of young women milling around out front, all wearing tight, short dresses and pink pageant sashes. They were all smoking. We hadn't heard of a smokers' pageant in town, but who knows. We decided to stay in our room and not think about it too much.

Before I knew it, it was time to drive back home. Another ten hours in the car and voila - home again. I found out today that my daughter wore a glittery red Christmas sweater to school on Friday, but I'm trying not to think about it too much.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Road Trip

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I'm about to embark on another road trip. I'm headed to Cleveland. Why Cleveland, you ask? Well, several reasons. Allow me to start from the beginning.

My friend Rachel and I met on the first day of school in sixth grade. We attended Garfield Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia and were both in Mrs. Crawford's class (the best teacher ever, hands down). As of September 2011, Rachel and I have been friends for thirty years. Holy cow, we are old. Well, she is ten months younger than I am, if you must know. However, she already had boobs when I met her. I'll never forget when she and Sharon advised me, at a sleepover later that year, that I didn't actually need a bra at all and shouldn't bother to wear one.

Rachel and I came to be good friends during sixth grade.  She was friendly and smart and gregarious - the type of person you couldn't help but like.  We hung out at the mall, had sleepovers, all that jazz. Our friendship was, at times, a bit tumultuous. One time she got mad at me and informed me that she had taken a poll and that, indeed, the whole sixth grade hated me. To this day I'm still not sure if a poll was actually taken, but I'm pretty sure it was less than scientific.

Over the years, we've lost touch at times. However, I've never worried that our friendship has fizzled out or died. It is a constant. She was my Matron of Honor at my wedding. Two of her three sons are my Godsons. I figure we'll always be connected, in some way, for the long haul.  The challenge is that we live so far apart and don't get to spend much time together. Even finding time to chat on the phone is difficult at times. She's a Twitter girl and I've never really taken to it (be sure to subscribe to my Twitter feed so that I can dazzle you with my clever semi-annual tweets). I seem to have chosen Facebook as my official time-waster. So, it's high time we spend some quality time together and we're meeting in Cleveland to celebrate our anniversary.  We're leaving husbands and children behind.

There's quite a bit to do in Cleveland, it seems. We were elated to learn that there is a garlic festival happening this weekend. Apparently it is quite the shindig. We can't wait! Our goal is not to leave until we have garlic coming out of our pores and our collective breath can be detected by innocent bystanders on both coasts. We are also headed to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. There is a new "women in rock" exhibit that I'm excited to see. The last time I was at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, my daughter had learned to walk exactly one day earlier. So, that's all she wanted to do - practice her new skill. P and I tried to read the various plaques and exhibits as fast as we could while chasing a fourteen-month-old. It was less than ideal.

I'm not sure what other types of trouble we'll get into this weekend, but I'm confident we'll think of something.  I hope my family can live without me. If you live in my town and if over the weekend you happen to see a little girl with uncombed hair who is dressed like Punky Brewster on a bad day, just give her father a sympathetic smile and then look away.

************************
On a side note, P informed me that he has some change that I can use for the tolls. Then he said, "Maybe you should, you know, earn it." Seriously. At work my time bills out to clients at $115 an hour. What, exactly, does he think a handful of quarters will get him? I told my mom and she suggested that I offer just to look at it* for a couple minutes.

*You know what she means.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The things we do for our children, eh?

I took the kid to an amusement park today (I should get extra credit for the fact that it's three hours away, too). As you may have surmised (possibly because I have stated it, in vivid detail, in countless blog entries), I am not big on rides these days. I can handle a wooden roller coaster (because, to date, they have not figured out a way to work in spiraling inversions or to force you to stand up while riding) and maybe a carousel, but that's about it. I don't think I'm the only one because at one point today A was on a teacup-type ride and as I was waiting near the exit for her, a lady turned to me and said, "I can't even watch. I'll just look over here until it's over."  She then proceeded to busy herself by poking around in her purse. This particular ride was pretty much my worse nightmare. Each individual cup (they were more like bowls, I guess) spun, each cup was part of a pod of three cups that also spun, and then of course the whole shebang spun around as well. Three levels of spinningness. My kid sat in a cup with two other gluttons for punishment, and the three of them used the wheel in the middle to spin themselves so fast that most of the time I couldn't even pick out my own child as the cup whirled past me.

My daughter is petite for her age. She is 43 inches tall . . . by the skin of her teeth, I think. She was tall enough to ride a couple of rides by herself this year. However, in most cases, I had to ride with her whether it was required or not.  This is because I just don't think I can send her into a line by herself. Not because I think she's going to get abducted or something, but because I have seen what she does while standing in line: picking grass and tossing it around, swinging from/sitting on the guard rails despite a loudspeaker warning all "guests" not to do that under any circumstances, and finally, absentmindedly (and repeatedly) walking into the adult in front of her, such that her face makes direct contact with that stranger's butt. So yeah, I just don't think I can let that act proceed without supervision.

We rode three roller coasters today. The first two were fine. The third one, not so much. The minimum height is 43 inches, so she just barely hits it, but she was super-excited to go on this menacing metal behemoth. We got in line. I read a sign about the ride that made mention of "multiple inversions." Well, a dream come true, no doubt . . . for masochists. As soon as the big harness thing came down over my head, I remembered why I hate this type of ride. No matter how you attempt to prevent it, your skull slams from side to side until your brain oozes out your left nostril. A was delighted, I lived through it. I had a colossal headache almost instantly and later stopped at a Walgreen's on the way home. ("Mom! You're going to take aspirin right here in the parking lot?!")  The other thing that caused me great pain at the amusement park: a $9 funnel cake. I can't figure out how that is even legal.

So, you may be wondering why I would go to an amusement park when I really don't care for such things. In short: I did it for my daughter. She'd been talking about it for weeks and had a blast. I think next year I will probably invite one of her friends to come along, though. Then they can ride together. Now that she is getting a little older, that seems more feasible (I'd rather take two second-graders on a trip like that than, say, two four-year-olds). Also, I'm going out of town next weekend . . . by myself (I'm meeting a friend, more on that in my next entry). So, I'll get three days to myself and figured I could "take one for the team" by suffering through a few rides. Her dad got the house to himself for the day.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I picked up a bottle of two-buck-chuck at Trader Joe's on the way home and I think I can kill off this headache for good . . .