Wednesday, October 31, 2012

8th Halloween

It's my baby's 8th Halloween. Ack! Sometimes she seems so grown-up and other times, she seems downright helpless. This morning she asked me to help her get her tights on. "When you're off at college, will you still need me to do this?" I asked, gathering up each leg of the tights and sliding them over each foot in turn. "I'll have to show up at your dorm. 'Oh, hi! I'm here to help my daughter with her tights.'"  She shrugged.  I actually don't think it would bother her at all.

I asked her if she wants to walk for trick-or-treating this year. "No, you can pull me in my wagon," she responded. "I might walk when I'm 13." I don't mind, though. I have some coffee herbal tea mulled wine which I will heat up and pour into a thermos.  It will keep me warm as I pull my child through the streets of our 'hood. Or at least I may not notice the chilly temperatures quite as much. 

On the way home from work yesterday I was driving behind a van that had a set of those stick figure decals. I'm sure you've seen them - they depict the family that owns the vehicle. Sometimes even the family pets are included via stick figure. Anyway, this particular vehicle seemed to have an awful lot of stickers on the back window. There was a mom and dad, as expected. It took me a few moments to count the children, though. SEVEN.  SEVEN CHILDREN (plus three cats).  I just cannot even begin to imagine. We can barely handle the one tiny taskmaster who lives in our house.  When you have that many children, do you just let the little things go? I'm assuming that all of the stuff we hound our daughter about ("Turn off the light when you leave the bathroom. Don't leave the empty wrapper on the table - what do you think the garbage can is for? Did you brush your teeth? Why are you naked?") . . . just sort of flies out the window. With that many kids, I imagine that one would just focus on keeping them all alive each day and not worrying so much about whether they've made their beds.  I'm going to try not to think about it too much.  I have issues with clutter and I think that's why the universe knew I could handle only one child.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to make my daughter work the streets until she gets me a Peppermint Patty.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Buttering Up

(click image to open larger version)

I think someone is planning to ask for a pony for Christmas.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Do you ever wish . . . ?

Last week I watched a new episode of Pit Bulls & Parolees. As a rescue volunteer myself, I fully appreciate what Villalobos Rescue does for animals. The rescue is run by a woman named Tia, her adult children, and a slew of other dog lovers - including several parolees, of course. What struck me as I was watching last week was something akin to a feeling of jealousy. Tia and her daughters sport tattoos, piercings, and rainbow hair. The daughters seem to have piercings in places that one wouldn't normally think of as far as piercing options go (I'm reasonably certain that the youngest daughter has her hips pierced in the back - right at the top of the sacrum).

Now, I do not have a desire to tattoo my neck or anything like that. However, I do imagine that it must be very liberating to be able to roll out of bed and go to work looking however you want to look.  Since no one will pay me to pet doggies all day long, I have to work a legit, office-y kind of job. On days when I don't have meetings with clients, I can wear jeans.  But I can't wear, say, a mohawk. Or vinyl hot pants. Or whatever.  Even if I could, I don't have that kind of "this is who I am so you can just kiss my vinyl-covered ass" confidence and bravado it would take to pull it off.

You may recall a concert that I attended a few weeks ago. I meant to write about it right after the show. I had a head cold, I drove very far, I got a speeding ticket, I was awake for almost 24 hours - it's all coming back to me now! Anywho, the concert was headlined by a band called Gossip. I am a huge fan of Gossip and, more specifically, Beth Ditto. Simply put, she kicks ass.  She really does.  Her voice is one of a kind and she's just . . . I don't know . . . larger than life but not pretentious. During the show, she mentioned that she was suffering from a cold and as she wiped her face with a towel, she made a comment that she wasn't sure if she was mopping up snot or sweat. But, as she happily noted, "they both come from my body."  She put on a great show and her confidence is inspiring. I don't think Beth Ditto ever has to put a dress back on the rack while thinking, "Well now, I could never wear that." I always, always put the dress back.

It was an interesting crowd, that's for sure. I think I was one of about a dozen straight people there. What can I say? I tell my gay friends, "I love the music of your people!" Well, except Lady Gaga. I'm not a huge fan, which probably prevents me from gaining full membership in the club. Well, that and not actually being gay.

Anyway, it was an amazing show and was worth the stupid speeding ticket, the lost hours of sleep, etc.

I'll leave you with a couple of Gossip songs I dig.

Monday, October 22, 2012

How to make your marriage better

On the news program "Sunday Morning," they had an interview this week with a divorce attorney who's been married to his wife for several decades. When asked what factors seem to point to the eventuality of a divorce, he mentioned that spending too much time together is a prime culprit. Each spouse should have their own interests and activities. I've been saying that for years. You don't have to spend every waking minute with your spouse to enhance the validity of your marriage.

So, after hearing that, I felt a wee bit better for abandoning my husband for much of the weekend. On Friday night I met a friend for happy hour. We then went out to dinner at an Indian restaurant. It was really good but I did not feel well at all by the time I got home later that evening. I didn't even finish the glass of wine I'd ordered with dinner - which is not like me at all. I don't know if it was just too many spices my stomach had never met before or what. I went straight to bed. It was 9:30 (yeah, that's right - it's crazy up in here).

On Friday afternoon, I learned that a friend of mine had flown in on a whim.  He's a flight attendant, so I guess he can do that sort of thing. Anyway, I re-arranged my weekend plans a bit so that I could meet up with my friend (he was actually staying a couple hours away). On Saturday morning (since I was so well rested and all), I went to yoga and then to Weight Watchers (I lost half a pound). Then I took my daughter out to lunch at Noodles and then to a Halloween event. It was a lot of fun. We watched a hypnotist perform (my daughter was desperate to be on the stage, but the hypnotizer guy would only take kids 10 and over). She made some crafts as well . . . because we definitely needed more glued-together construction paper in our house.

Once I had fulfilled my motherly duties for the day, I packed a bag and hit the highway. I was going to drive back the same day but decided to get a room on Priceline instead. Ever since the "ticket incident" I've been feeling pretty paranoid about driving around late at night. I didn't really have the spare cash to be staying in hotels willy-nilly, but a speeding ticket costs more than a hotel room. I can vouch for that with certainty.  Anyway, I met up with my friend and another friend from high school, as well as that friend's boyfriend.  We proceeded to walk all over town (it should be noted that I didn't bring walking shoes), to have drinks here and there, and then to stop for a late dinner. It was a lot of fun. I'm glad I re-arranged my schedule for the weekend. I was supposed to take my daughter to a second Halloween event in the evening.  However, her dad took her instead and gave away my ticket. I am not good at last minute changes, so I was pretty proud of myself for not having a panic attack or anything.

When I got to my hotel room Saturday night, I was pretty excited about sleeping in a room all by myself. But then I morphed into my mother and could not sleep.  The room was too hot.  Had I actually been my mother, I would have called the front desk to have a maintenance person override the system and cool it the fuck down in there. Instead, I just slept fitfully and cursed the nice folks at the Wyndham.

On Sunday morning, I drove back home, made lunch for my little family, and then took the kid to a haunted house. I met a friend and her son there.  The haunted house is usually not appropriate for children, but there were doing a special dealio where they leave the lights on and give the bloodied undead the day off.  A thought she was pretty badass and didn't expect to be scared.  However, she did get a wee bit frightened. The four of us wound our way through the different rooms and kids wearing zombie make-up popped out and yelled.  After a few minutes, she started requiring me to walk through first. A woman who appeared to work there then walked ahead of us and asked the ghouls and ghosts to take it down a notch for our group. Of course, as soon as we made it out of the haunted house, my daughter quickly announced that she will do it again next year. After the haunted house, we stopped for frozen yogurt. Then, finally, I took the kid on a pumpkin-finding excursion.

I'd say I made the most of the weekend. And ensured that P and I will be married forever.

Pardon the hair - I had it cut today, I swear.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shield your retinas, mes amis

It is true, I purposely and willingly checked the "green background" checkbox on the order form for school pictures. However, I must have missed the word "neon" in the fine print somewhere. I guess I was envisioning some placid shade of evergreen. This scan doesn't really do it justice. Let me just say that it is BRIGHT.

Fortunately, my child is excessively cute and can overcome even the most obnoxious background.  Word. (Remind me to choose a different color next year.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Well, I think that's it for that

As you may recall, selling stuff on eBay is not going that well for me. First I had to learn the hard way about shipping calculations. Then yesterday I got an email from a buyer. She had checked the "item not as described" option on the email. She told me that there are three stains on the dress I sold her.  Now, I did check all of the clothing carefully before listing any of the items for sale. I noted in the description for each one that "wash wear" was evident. I did not see any stains, however. Otherwise, I would've mentioned it (or, more likely, not attempted to sell the dress at all). I responded immediately and offered a partial refund. I ended up having to give her $3.00. Since I am a new seller (despite a 13-year (!) history with eBay and a 100% rating), eBay is holding the money I've made so far (pending satisfactory completion of all sales). So, I didn't have $3.00 in my PayPal account to give this buyer. I had to transfer it from my bank account and send it to her. So now I've sold ten items (all that eBay will allow me to sell in one month because I am a new seller) but have zero dollars to show for it. In fact, I'm down three bucks.

eBay's business model heavily favors buyers. Sellers have virtually no recourse, no matter what happens. For all I know, this buyer lied about the stains (I mean, what could I do? Force her to send me a photo to prove they existed?). I think this is a significant loophole. She probably wasn't lying, but I can see how others might. They know that as a seller, you have to do whatever is necessary to get that positive feedback rating.

Here's the thing. I buy clothing on eBay all the time - mostly Gymboree dresses for my daughter. A fair number of them show up with a stain or two. Many times, Oxyclean does the trick. But you know what? I never even mention the stains to the seller. I mean, each dress costs me about the same as (or less than) a half-gallon of almond milk. Expectations should not be overly high. I give them positive feedback and everyone goes on their merry way. I am just not one to return things. In fact, my daughter did not even find out until recently that is it possible to return an item. She overheard someone talking about a store's return policy. She looked at me, incredulous. "Mom! You can RETURN something to a store?"

I mean, unless you've poured a bucket of fresh vomit on the dress before mailing it to me, we're all good. However, I worked retail in high school and college and I know how people are. I've seen people drive halfway across the state to return a ten-dollar shirt because it had a loose thread. Just keep it! Or give it away!

So, I just don't know if I have the patience and stamina to sell more stuff on eBay just to get a few extra bucks for vacation next year. I almost feel like prostitution would take less out of me. I called my stad for advice because he sells a lot of stuff on eBay. He told me a couple of horror stories about irate moms he's encountered over the years. He also mentioned that eBay takes a higher percentage on clothing than on other items, so it's hard to maintain even a small profit margin on clothes.  I can't sell anything else until November so I will just wait until then and see if I am still irritated.

In other news, the three of us went to a Fall event at A's school yesterday. Families were invited to run a half mile and then come inside the building for some trail mix and water. P and I had been threatening to gallop or run like the Hunchback of Notre Dame (bearing goofy expressions, of course) and then to proclaim loudly, "WE ARE A'S PARENTS!" Threatening to embarrass your child is almost more fun than actually doing it. Luckily for her, her dad and I just ran it and then sat in the cafeteria like dutiful parents. I have to confess that I am not much of a runner. I jogged the 1/2 mile. I sometimes wish I were a runner, as my runner friends can pretty much eat whatever they want. However, I'm kind of, um, busty. Not really built for speed, as it were. So, I think I'm better off sticking with yoga classes and the elliptical machines at the gym. I may try to start adding a quick run on the treadmill from time to time. Okay, probably not. But you never know!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oh Saturday, you done me wrong

I had such high hopes for Saturday. But, I awoke to ceaseless rain and a long to-do list. And sure enough, the day pretty much went to hell in a handbasket.  I went to yoga, which went pretty well despite my continued struggles with pain in my lower back. After class, I headed to Weight Watchers. Despite careful tracking and lots of exercise during the week, I lost only one pound. I guess it's better than gaining a pound, but still.  I then headed home to pick up my daughter, because her dad was anxious to get to a local Nerdfest (comic book convention). She and I stopped at Best Buy to pick up some DVDs - birthday gifts for one of my many nephews. Then we went to the post office. This is when things started to suck.

I've been selling some of my daughter's memories old clothes on eBay. The goal is to set aside some money for a trip to Chicago in the spring and a beach trip with my sisters next summer. I guess I also need money for my, um, speeding ticket, too. Anywho, I am new to this ebay seller stuff and I guess I must learn everything the hard way. I was selling a classic Land's End holiday dress (it's a velvet affair with a tulle underskirt and all that jazz). Much to my disappointment, the dress sold for just $.99. I had estimated the shipping at $5.00.  So, imagine my delight, when I got to the post office, in learning that the dress would actually ship for $8.75.  So yes, I paid the buyer to take this dress off my hands. Obviously I am going to make a killing off my eBay venture - upgrade me to the penthouse suite for that Chicago trip, please!

So, that was the first thing that put me in a foul mood.  Plus, getting in and out of the car in a driving rain (with child in tow) was not helping matters much. I then drove across town to buy tickets to a Halloween event for next weekend (held at a state historical park). I had emailed the place last week to ask about buying tickets, because the line is always very long (and very slow-moving) if you buy them at the door on the day of the event. I received a friendly reply that yes, they were selling tickets ahead of time. I checked the website. They are open 10-4:30 on Saturday. Great!

The kid and I entered the main building and saw a note at the front desk indicating that visitors should ring the bell if no one was at the desk. Let me just say that I HATE ringing a desk bell. It's like saying, "Hey! Look at me, everybody! I'm an asshole who couldn't wait ten seconds for someone to help me!"  I meekly rang the bell. Ding! No one came. A and I then took turns ringing it every couple of minutes, building to a DING DING DING crescendo. Finally, a man came to the desk.

"Hi," I said. "I'd like to buy tickets for the Halloween event."

"Oh, we're not open." He smiled at me like this should make sense to me.

"Um, the website clearly states that you're open, but can I just buy the tickets?"

"I can't. I don't have a cash drawer."  He opened the drawer to show me that it was empty.

I was getting irritated. "Well, can I just write a check?"

He shook his head no and repeated his schpiel about the cash drawer. My thinking was that he could just take the check and, you know, put it in the magical drawer and then deal with it later, seeing as how none of this was my problem. Eventually, I gave up and left. By now I was soaked and grumpy. "How about we go to Pizza Ranch?" I proposed. My daughter had been lobbying for Noodles & Company but was okay with the change of plan. We had never been to Pizza Ranch but wanted to give it a shot because my wee baby sister went to one in Iowa and said it would change my life.

Pizza Ranch is a buffet joint. When we paid at the front counter, I asked the cashier if there would be cheese pizza on the buffet. I mentioned that we are vegetarian. She said there usually is, but said she would put in a special order for us just to make sure. The kid and I started with a salad. Her definition of salad = iceberg lettuce swimming in a sea of ranch dressing. After that, we headed to the pizza buffet. Each type of pizza is marked with a little placard. I spotted one that said, "Guest Request."  "This must be for us," I told the kid. We each grabbed a slice of the cheese pizza. Back at the table, I took a bite of the pizza. It smelled funny. I lifted up the cheese and found . . . pepperoni. "Son of a . . . !"  At this point I assumed that when I left the restaurant, I'd find four flat tires on my car. Or that I'd run over a kitten on my way home or something.

The kid loved Pizza Ranch and made me promise to take her back again. I gave a vague response so as not to flat-out lie to her. Maybe my sister should take her. The two of them can bond over their shared love of mediocre pizza.

So yeah, Saturday essentially sucked.  Later in the day, we took the kid to a Halloween event at the zoo. It was drizzling the whole time. However, looking on the bright side, we almost had the place to ourselves. Normally this event is crowded beyond all belief. She looked super-cute in her costume. She got a lot of compliments on it from some of the volunteers who were working at the trick-or-treat stations. I think most women can recognize (and appreciate the awesomeness of) a costume handmade by a loving Meemaw vs. the off-the-shelf variety.

Anyway, that was my Saturday. I am going to give Saturday another chance next week but if it's anything like yesterday, we are going to have words.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Yoga-versary

It occurred to me this week that October marks two years of yoga classes for moi.  I dug out my original post about my first yoga class.  I have continued to go regularly since then. Typically I go to classes on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and hit the gym on Thursdays for some cardio action. Sometimes I do a little yoga at home, too. Lately my lower back has been hurting me so I've been doing some stretches at night. My daughter found me on the floor in Happy Baby Pose the other night.

"Mom, I have two questions."

Me: "Okay."

"One: um, what are you doing?"

I think she forgot to ask me the second question after I explained what I was doing.

I've been giving some thought to my yoga-versary in an attempt to gain some perspective on what, if anything, has changed in the last two years.  I do think I've been able to reduce my stress, although I generally credit any stress reduction to the two-pronged approach of yoga and wine. I think I am physically stronger. My core is stronger, but my upper body strength still rivals that of a toddler. I still cannot pull myself into a full wheel without assistance. I can do a headstand, but still need the wall for moral support lest I keel over. I still sweat during class but am not embarrassed by it. Spending so much time wrapped into Eagle pose or perched on one leg in Warrior III has helped my balance, although I'm not convinced I'm aware of any real benefits with that. ("I can stand on one leg for hours, SUCKAS!")  And finally, I think I might have slightly more definition in my arse, but I can't really tell because it is covered by a wad of fat about the size of a cocker spaniel.

A couple of weeks ago I got that cortisone shot in my foot and the doctor said I should not go to yoga that day. I opted not to take his suggestion, but I did decide to take it easy by going to the "gentle yoga" class that is held right before the class I usually take. By the way, if you are interested in trying yoga but aren't sure about jumping right in, see if your local studio offers a gentle class. Typically, there are no downward dogs, no planks - nothing that would be hard on your joints. Anyway, a weird thought crossed my mind as I was following along with the gentle postures . . . "I think I might actually be too athletic for this class." Now, that is the first and last time you will ever hear me refer to myself as "too athletic" so please mark it down ("Dear Diary . . . ")  I was actually pretty relieved to return to the regular class a couple days later, where I could get back to sweating my way through planks and sun salutations.

After two years, I feel like I have only learned some tiny fraction of what it all means. I have so much to learn: how to make the mind-body connection, how to keep static and chatter out of my brain, how to keep the doubts away. As long as my body will let me, I will keep trying.

May the light and love in me, honor the light and love in you. Namaste.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Measure of a Mommy

I saw this postcard on last week. I am guessing that it may have been submitted by someone who placed a child for adoption. It's impossible to know why this particular adoption was closed but it's clear that someone was deeply hurt by this action.

I keep in touch with my daughter's birthmom via email.  She lives out of state, but we do have an open adoption. We signed a communication agreement when A was born, but it is not legally binding (I believe such agreements are legally binding in some states; just not in ours). We have always been willing to honor it. I must confess that when my daughter was born, at times I felt conflicted as far as how much interaction we would have with her birth family in the years ahead of us. In the beginning, we had quite a few visits and spoke on the phone regularly. At the time, I was learning how to care for (and bond with) an infant. I loved and respected J and wanted to do right by her and the baby, but I also had a need to solidify the bonds of our newly-formed little family. I understood that A's birthmom was grieving and that it was important that I do my best to be supportive. There is no handbook for these things, so we muddled through. 

People have funny ideas about women who choose to make an adoption plan for their child. My daughter's birthmom never asked us for money or anything else (well, she asked for photos, a request that certainly seems more than reasonable to me). She was not a drug addict or an alcoholic, nor was she promiscuous. Nor was she a teenager.  She was simply a young woman who was going through some tough times eight years ago (severed relationship with the baby's father, not-so-great job prospects, etc.) Today, she is married and is raising three sons. I know she loves A and thinks about her every single day.

Sometimes, when people find out that J and I keep in touch they say, "Oh, I don't know if I could do that."  My mom gets a little nervous about A sending letters to her birthmom. She worries that maybe one day her beloved granddaughter will reject our family in favor of her birth family. Although I fully expect that when my daughter is a teenager, she will slam doors and dramatically inform me that I am the "worse mother ever," I know I'll still be her mom (and her Meemaw will still be her Meemaw). She will always be a part of me and she will always be a part of her birthmom. These relationships are not mutually exclusive. Plus, there simply would be no purpose served if I restricted my daughter from contacting her birth family.

When someone changes your life and gives you, you know, a human being to raise, I figure the least you can do is to treat that person well.* Fortunately for me, my daughter's birthmom is a very likable person (I don't have to pretend to like her, in other words). I have no reason on earth not to keep in touch with her. Plus, I am very proud of my daughter and want her birthmom to know how awesome this kid is so that she can be proud of her, too. I tell J how well the kid is doing in school, how she talks too much, etc.

While I cannot say that my current line of thinking evolved overnight . . . in the end, I know I must stand on my own merits as a mom. Whether I am good at this mothering business or whether I royally suck at it, restricting other people from having a relationship with my daughter will not enhance my resume in any way.

All I know is that when I look at the curly-haired girl who lives in my house, she who will not get up on time, she who farts at the dinner table, she who is so smart and beautiful and sassy . . . I feel like the luckiest person ever.**

*I acknowledge that such a relationship is not beneficial or perhaps not possible in cases where abuse/neglect/drugs have been involved. OR, where the birth family has decided that "no contact" would be preferred. 

 **I apologize for the schmaltzy sentiment. I promise to go back to my law-breaking ways in my next post.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Date Night (and continued lawlessness)

Last week I got the best possible news.  No, Glenn Beck didn't lapse into a coma - although, yeah, that would've been awesome. My news is even better - our babysitter can now drive. And she has her own car!

P and I had a date night on Saturday. Not having to play rock-paper-scissors to determine who must drive the sitter home was a definite plus. We (and by "we" of course I mean "I") had planned the date night before I knew I would be going to a concert the night before the date. To say that I was tired on Saturday night would be a spectacular understatement. When I got home from the concert, it was after 3 a.m. By the time I got into bed, I had been awake for nearly 24 hours. I don't have the stamina for that kind of foolishness. At all.  As exhausted as I was, my brain would NOT shut down and call it a night. I fretted over when I should tell P about the speeding ticket. My ears were still ringing from the concert, so I'm sure that didn't help matters. I tossed and turned for hours, only dozing off for a few minutes at a time. 

So, I was in rough shape on Saturday. I ran some errands in the morning and then spent part of the afternoon soaking in the tub (while watching "Downton Abbey"). The sitter arrived at the appointed time and P and I headed over to an Italian restaurant in time for our 6 p.m. reservation. We'd never been there, but I won a $50 gift card at the Pride event back in July and could not let it go to waste. The dinner was really good. We had crostini with pesto for an appetizer. I had pasta with vegetables and marinara sauce for the main course. Plus a side salad. Plus two glasses of a nice primitivo. We shared some dark chocolate gelato for dessert.  Before making the reservation at this particular restaurant, I had looked up some reviews online. People seemed to be divided into two camps - they either love the joint or they hate it. The people who hated it complained of stale bread and slow service. My guess is that these folks are used to the Olive Garden and are blissfully unaware that 1) Italian bread is supposed to be crusty and 2) good food takes more than 30 seconds to prepare.  I think I will leave a review myself.  We did end up spending $44 out of pocket even with the gift card, so this explains my initial comment about never having been to this restaurant.

At dinner, I brought up a topic that has been bugging me for a while.  Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is a weird holiday for me since I don't eat turkey. My preference, in all honesty, is to travel either to Virginia or Oklahoma and spend the holiday with my people. However, this year I don't have any vacation time accrued and I don't really have the cash for such a trip anyway. One of my husband's friends always invites us to his home for Thanksgiving. We went last year (and my husband goes over there by himself on years when the kid and I are visiting relatives). I always appreciate the annual Thanksgiving dinner invitation from my husband's friend, but I have to confess that the day is usually a little awkward for me. My husband stands outside with his buddy and they fry the turkey. My daughter disappears upstairs with a bunch of kids and has the time of her life. I sit in the living room, staring blankly at a football game on TV and doing my best to chat with the other women, offering to help, etc. Everyone there is very cordial to me, but I never really feel comfortable. Believe me - it's me and not them. They are super nice people.

So, this year I was prepared to tell my other half that I'd prefer to stay home by myself. However, just as I was about to tell him, he said, "I don't think I want to go over there this year. I think we should just stay home." My heart leapt. I love this guy! I quickly hatched a plan to make all of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner stuff myself - except the turkey. I'll have to look into some local resources in order to find a small, pre-cooked bird or something. But, I can make all the other stuff - homemade yeast rolls, mashed potatoes, and so forth. I am not a great cook, but I ain't half bad either. So, now we can spend a quiet day at home, just the three of us, and then I can spend the evening working on my game plan for Black Friday. Woot!

In case you wondered about the rest of the date . . . after dinner we went to an Irish Pub that was scheduled to have live music starting at 9. We had almost an hour to kill, but we quickly found a way to entertain ourselves: watching some drunk guy in a golf visor playing bad music on the jukebox. Then he sang along, loudly, but with all the wrong lyrics. Mercifully, just as the band was about to start playing, the bartender called a cab for Mr. Golf Visor and he stumbled out the front door (then stumbled back in, then back out again).

When we got home, I dug my contact lenses out of my eyeballs, climbed into bed . . . and was unconscious a few minutes later. Tres romantique, ne c'est pas?

After such an eventful weekend, I decided to take it easy on Sunday. The kid and I went to church and then I took her and a couple of her friends to the jumpity-jump place. I figured I couldn't get into too much trouble at church or at a bounce house mecca. I sat in a corner and read "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote while the girls got their ya-ya's out. But, just so you don't think I've stopped being an unrepentent bad-ass . .. I smuggled in two apples despite the large sign on the door that says, "NO OUTSIDE FOOD OR BEVERAGES."

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Where shall I start?

The report from my weekend:

1. I have a cold.
2. I saw a concert.
3. I was awake for nearly 24 consecutive hours.
4. I got a speeding ticket (my first, I should add).
5. I went out on a date.

I am exhausted, so I just don't think I can bore you with all of these topics in a single blog post. I mentioned on Facebook that I got the speeding ticket and several of my friends "liked" my status. I wasn't sure how to interpret that.  Possibilities:

1. Awwww, that sucks! Here, I will like your status in case that helps you feel a little better. Mwah!
2. I got a ticket today, too. Here, I will like your status in an act of solidarity. Lead-footed drivers unite!
3. You so deserved it, Miss Prissy Pants.  Bitch got served!

I will just assume that the truth lies somewhere between options 1 and 2.

I went to a concert Friday night with a friend of mine. It was 2+ hours away (no band worth seeing bothers to come to our town, believe me). More on the concert some other time. At 1:45 a.m., we were driving home through a small town that is known for doling out tickets to speeders. The speed limit is 30 so I always drive 29 just to be on the safe side. On the other side of the town, the speed limit goes back up to 55. I accelerated to get back up to the posted speed.

At about the same time, I asked my friend for a piece of gum. I had been up since 5:00 a.m. and was starting to feel a little bit delirious. I sang along to the songs on my iPod in order to remain conscious. Before we had passed through the town of many tickets, I had set my cruise control in order to stay on track. Believe it or not, my mom-mobile has a fairly large engine and zips right along at higher speeds without even breaking a sweat. I use cruise control frequently in order to keep us both in line. I was just about to reset the cruise control when Karen and I both spotted the car on the right side of the road. It was pitch dark so we were pretty much right on top of him by the time we spotted the vehicle. Da police (Sheriff's Department, to be more precise). I slowed down but of course it was too late.

In the wee hours of the morning, when you are the only car on the road and you're speeding, yer goin' down. So yeah, it was kind of a dirty trick. He got me going downhill. He got me during the merest second when I had apparently overcompensated for the speed change and had been just about to set the cruise control (disclaimer: I would have set the cruise control for a few miles over the speed limit, but not for anything close to 72 - the speed at which I got zapped). But, you know what? I was speeding. I dood it, as my daughter used to say. I'm not even convinced I was going as fast as the officer claimed, but I knew it was pointless to argue or even to go to court. I'll just take responsibility for my mistake and move on.

I hope you're not horrified by my foray into lawlessness.  Next thing you know, I'll start jaywalking with a vengeance, turning right on red even when the sign prohibits it,  AND KEEPING MY LIBRARY BOOKS FOR A FULL DAY PAST THE DUE DATE.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

15 of 20

Looking extra cute on picture day
I attended the first parent/teacher conference of the year yesterday.  I have had some interaction with A's teacher already, because I had to clear up a pretty big misunderstanding that came into play last month. As you may recall, we recently let our daughter know that she has three bio half-siblings in Texas. Needless to say, she is pretty enamored with the idea of having brothers. I mean, she will hug a perfect stranger so you can only imagine how excited she is to know there are people out there to whom she has a legitimate connection. She has seen photos of the three boys.  A couple weeks ago, she was asking me questions about them and at the moment, I could not remember the name of the youngest child (I knew it started with a B but for the life of me I just could not recall the name). He was just born within the last year. I told A I would dig out an email from her birthmom and give her all three names.

Meanwhile, she decided to use the boys as the subject of her first major writing assignment at school.  She mentioned not knowing the name of the youngest. I asked her, "Um, did you tell Mrs. C that you were adopted?"

"No, but I think she knows from other things I have told her." 

My brain started spinning pretty quickly. I realized that Mrs. C would be left to think that these children are either my children from a previous marriage or my husband's. Either way, WE WOULD KNOW THE NAMES OF OUR OWN CHILDREN.  I realized I'd better straighten things out. I emailed the teacher and let her know that A was adopted and that she was only recently told about her brothers. I gave her all three names in case my daughter still needed them for the assignment.

Mrs. C wrote back right away. She said she had been pretty confused about A not knowing the names of her own brothers (and not knowing too much about them at all), but that she hadn't wanted to pry. Then she mentioned that her children were adopted also. Whew, glad we got that cleared up.

So, we joked about that at the beginning of the conference. Then we got down to business. My daughter is reading at a third grade level, which is awesome (since she's in second grade). Her math skills are pretty good. Apparently the kids are subjected to standardized testing in third grade, so a lot of the work in second grade is done with an eye on that.

Then we talked about the elephant in the room, which is my daughter's excessive talking. Mrs. C stated that she has a pretty high tolerance for it (last year's teacher was great but perhaps had a lower tolerance for the chatter). I mentioned that I was aware that A's desk has already been moved several times this year.

"I put her next to a boy she didn't know," she said, "But they talked a LOT."  I nodded.  My daughter only needs a few minutes to make a perfect stranger into her BFF. For a time, my daughter was moved to the front of the classroom, in a row all by herself (no neighbors at all, in other words). Then, most recently, she was moved again. Here is my favorite part of the whole conference: Chatty McTalkington now sits next to a super-shy girl who is HARD OF HEARING. In our school district, all/most of the deaf/HOH kids are filtered through the school my daughter attends. I think this is really cool, because then the hearing kids learn to work with different kinds of people. We also have a good mix of ethnicities, income levels, etc. Diversity is the best thing for a kid, if you ask me.

I just think it's kind of funny that my daughter is now seated next to a girl who is too shy to interact with her and perhaps cannot fully hear the chatter anyway. Mrs. C told me that A tries to talk to the girl but that the girl doesn't really respond. Ten bucks says my kid can get this other kid in trouble for talking by the end of the school year.

When I got home, I told P about the conference. He was helping A with her math homework and asked me, "Hey, did you know they have to write their number next to their name now?"  Each child in the classroom is given a number. I'm not exactly sure why. A is 15 (she was 15 last year also).  Sure enough, on the top of the math worksheet she had written her name followed by the number 15.

"She's a number," I said. "Just like a prisoner."  I laughed.

"Yeah, she's just a cog in the machine." We both chuckled.

"Maybe we should tattoo her number on her somewhere," I suggested.

"Yeah, on the inside of her lip!" My husband pulled out his lower lip for effect. "I'm number 15!" We were on a roll now.

"She's like one of the Borg. We can call her '15 of 20.' A member of the collective. You must be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

The kid ignored us. She does not think we are funny at all.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Witchy Woman

My daughter's Halloween costume has arrived. It was made for her by her personal designer and seamstress, Meemaw.  A was so excited that she wanted to wear it all night. She selected the pattern herself - a witch but not a witchy witch, if you know what I mean.  More like a glamorous one.

I didn't do it justice with this photo, but the costume is amazing. The skirt is overlaid with tulle, there's something fancy going on with the lacy fabric around the hips (I have no idea of the correct terminology), and it fits her like a dream.

If she came to your door for trick-or-treating, you'd give her a full-size Snickers, right?