Thursday, December 5, 2013

She's Baaaack...

Okay, so I am way of the writing game. But...I'm back. This is new and I hope you like it; I decided to change my title because 1. we no longer have a cat (thank. You. Jesus). 2. The kitchen isn't as dirty as it used to be and 3. I'm in a different place. Literally, we've moved and things are different-good. Don't worrrrry--the bathrooms are simply teeming, teeming I tell you, with dirt, boy pee, and every other kind of amoeba there probably is in Western America. Plenty of dirty talk right there, I say! So...I am calling this Victory In The Making because, I feel very much in my mother heart, I set my sights on victory for our children. Victory for their generation and future ones to come; victory for our world in general. I know what you're thinkin', "No pressure, kids! Just be crazy Christian fanatics and saaaaave usss!" No, no, no--don't freak out on me. I mean, as parents, we personally desire to be victorious (not to be confused with perfect or ever-unfailing) for them in our raising them with good holy, healthy, joyful choices so that they can live by those ways, victoriously. In many ways, this blog won't really change from how it was before...I am still...ME (dammit, really?! I'm outta here!), but with more perspective, comes hopefully more wisdom and thoughtfulness. I dunno; you'll tell ME if it sucks or not ha! Anyway, ENOUGH of all this slow-going mumbo-jumbo--on to tales! Tales of parental woe, tales of grocery treachery; tales of...whining.

This is called, "An American Problem-Kind-Of-Sob-Story":
Ambitious Mama decides to volunteer for not one, but *two* different kids' bake sales. Ambitious Mama didn't realize she was slightly mentally delayed when she made this decision (I mean with that delay, how *could* she?). Then, she forgot half the ingredients at the store. So she went again, where her children single-handedly gained like FIVE consequences for their pooooor poor choices...all before even making it to the King Soopers parking lot.  (Ex of a "pooooor choice": child 1 with the big gut screaming he's about to jump outta his window because he's "staaaaahving" and child 2 chucking his shoe at the driver. Her name at this point changed to Ticking Timebomb Mommy. And none of these bode well for Handsome Husband because the poor guy's a psychologist. Yeah; you'd think he could have had insight not to buy the family package at IKEA that was called, "It Only Gets Crazier".  Wait--they don't sell families at IKEA? Huh. Well then, TOTALLY his fault for marrying me mwamwamwa!)
 Back to the grocery store: Let's just say the highlights of the store were Ticking Timebomb Mommy catching her two-year old in mid-air as he leapt toward the cookies and, being called a pervert from some 9 year old boy because poor ol' TTM had to extract shoe-chucking-child FROM the men's bathroom. He was apparently having a ball in there; dancing nude in a bathroom is, contrary to every parent's belief, fun and "doesn't feel unsafe at all." Now we have Looney Eye Twitch Mommy. Phrases/noises include: growls of anger, prayers of "Dear GOD!", "Raw meat is NOT for biting!" and many things unmentionable. At this point, she didn't care if she was buying jock-itch cream or the chocolate chips that were the intended purchase. It's important to mention that, it took approximately five minutes for all of this crap to go down in the store, and twenty to reload every child back into the car because those confounded coats won't LETYOULOCKTHEFLIPPINGBUCKLE GAA!!! (Ahem. Sorry; sometimes I forget to release my trauma by drinking a hot toddy...)
There was much screaming, crying, and weeping and gnashing of teeth (and that's that the little sinners were allowed back IN for crying out loud!), and mean words like. "You are MEEEAN MOMMY!" because I simply just simply would not whip up a three course meal while carrying a giant heavy baby in carrier with groceries, while it was negative 5 degrees. Yeah, I should totally call myself in. Sigh. I know you folks reading this have gotta feel me, right??
It's not that there is ONE specific thing that is just "soo bad" or negative or awful; it's that over the course of an entire day of every little thing going wrong, one tends to kind of snap and desire to punch one's self in the face and light one's own hair on fire. Well, for those of you who have read my posts of yore, you know how I feel about cooking. I have to say, since learning that I am pre-diabetic, I have given up gluten for the most part, and gone fairly Paleo and am actually...*beginning to enjoy cooking...shhhhh! I am whissspering--don't you DARE read it aloud!* But it's still a LOT to get used to. So, I spent the WHOLE morning making this Easy No Bake All In Five Minutes! recipe, and finally after neglecting my children and losing them to Nickelodeon, I achieved my sort-of Paleo Peanut Butter Truffles. Loaded dysfunctional kids ("WHY do I HAVE to wear a coat, Mommy?!"
Um...because it's cold? Because you could get frostbite? BECAUSE I SAID SOOO!), who really are like herding cats, nearly lost my pants because surprise! Someone left a giant HOSE out before the snow and guess who got tangled in it with her stupid boots?? Then, there were the trash bins. Ohhhh, you sneaky sneaky dastardly trash bins! Okay; I have a problem. It's called, "I don't always look behind me when I back out". Yeah, it's BAD. I know I know--don't judge me. I'm working on it. But in my defense, WHY do the trash people always have to set the bins RIGHT square in the middle of the flipping driveway?! Do they drive down the street just to watch me hit them?!
Anyway, I don't realize until we get to school, that the non-baked-baked goods are...smiggity smashed. Death-by-Sam's-Rotisserie-Chicken smashing. I wanted to cry. A lot. But it was too cold. And my eyelashes would have broken off. So I held onto my falling-off pants, the baby, and my smashed goods (the non-baked-baked ones, not my boobs) and trudged all the way around. Guess what I saw on the door?

"Attention parents: It's ICY! Therefore, this doorway's closed until we can get salt out on it--please go around."

REEEEALLY?!?! I stared at it. I stared at it and half-willed it to explode into flames so that it would cause a fire alarm, and then the doors would open. Luckily, a kind soul helped me carry the kids (God bless that woman!) and I'm pretty sure my eyelashes broke off. The babe and I went back home, and I made a decision. I decided to be victorious. I realized, it really had nothing to do with proving anything to anyone, that I could etc., but it was a tiny moment of a big realization for me. I realized that in these little things, I'm given control (because anyone who sees my house knows I am outta control there). No one would have blamed me for crying and giving up on a bake sale. In fact, I think the preschool director thought I was a little nuts or one of "those moms" that try to be perfect. Well true, I have perfectionism issues but luckily, I generally have so much humility given me by kids, it's nearly impossible ha! I explained to the director when faced with her concerned look, that I did not go through trouble because I felt I "had to please anyone" but because, my name means "victorious in spirit" or "victory among the people" and I wasn't going to let that down today.
I feel very strongly, that when we can persevere in a little trial, it builds us for the big ones, and reminds us we don't have to give up. In this little way today, I just knew that if I could make again what was lost (or smiggity smashed), I'd be choosing victory and conquering defeat. And, I can say, the rest of my day did NOT get better or I should say, it was wrought with challenge that left me fantasizing about knocking myself out with a frying pan--but I carried a peace within that I could do this job. Sometimes, that's the only thing I desire.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Don't Judge Laughter In The Dark

In my time of stories, I have never felt the desire to share about my very personal life (which is funny because I've shared a lot...But I suppose "very personal" in my land is about...parents). That word alone evokes so many different emotions in each person, it's amazing we haven't changed the name 'parents' to something else that doesn't raise blood pressure but hey, it keeps the therapists in biz, right?

*Disclaimer: Take everything humorous and morbid today, with a grain of salt; in some parts of my life, I have chosen to find humor in even the-very-dark but to some people, that is disturbing. I also know that because I, like everyone, bear wounds that are not altogether healed, and so some of my thoughts aren't necessarily true, while my feelings are valid. So, if you're in the mood for a good 'ol Lenten dark comedy, read on peeps.

                                          *   *   *

On this day twelve years ago, I lost my dad to a car accident. A horrific one. One bad enough to make the front pages; one bad enough that a week later, I found myself taking out all of my grief and nineteen-year-old rage on the reporter who snapped the distasteful pictures, revealing my dad inside the car. It's still traumatic, truth be told. Every single thing about my father and the situation at that time including his death, was really...messed up. Painful. Heart-wrenching...awful. My sister and brother were so little and yet too old for their own little souls. My mom was...broken by their divorce and the disastrous wake my dad's choices had left us suffering in. Clearly, right now I speak of things most people don't like reading about, or hearing about; it's nearly too much, isn't it? Don't give up on me--it'll get better.

Sometimes life though, is too much and the worst happens and...we survive. We not not only survive, we thrive maybe, and reforge, and laugh, and grow, and change. In a word, we heal. It happens.

On a day like today though, I recall lots of things bitter and sweet. And the lot of them I think I shall never forget. I recall the shock, the moment the shock ended and when sorrow and recognition hit my heart. I recall much suffering...But more than anything, I recall that I forgave my dad, several days before his accident. He had called and I'd pretended I didn't know who he was, and politely said I'd leave a message for my mom. He said he'd hoped I could forgive him someday and this last bit pulled me out of character and I was taken aback that he didn't know--"I already forgave you, Dad. Long, long time ago and every day in between...It's that you've really hurt us, I can't believe how you've hurt us...And we need space and time to heal." He began to cry, saying, "Thank you! Thank you!" and I knew that was the right thing. In every instance I could, I forgave him. Even in the repercussions that continued. And their were many; there still are many. I recall understanding when I learned about the accident, how profound and important forgiveness is; we need it. Our souls were...created to urge and yearn for purity; the purity of a clean conscious. Being forgiven and forgiving--it's written in our beings. Not just from God either, but from one another.

I'd felt like this huge boulder hit me with the knowledge that if he'd died, he'd stood before our God of Mercy and of Justice and that I, had absolutely no control or right, to judge him therefore. I prayed for God's mercy on his soul but resolved then and there, to forgive in this life to the best of my ability. That's not to say, that this forgiveness and healing hasn't been a life-long journey, and one wrought with loss of all the things he should have/could have been. I still tear-up embarrassingly, when a father of any sort, hugs me in some paternal way or takes interest in my personage; it takes me by surprise that, this longing for a father I never really had will also never be here on Earth. Yet, I want to be quick to say that, God has graciously stepped up to the plate...He's never scoffed or shied away from taking over fully. And in fact, that's one of the most beautiful (if I can call it that) bitternesses that came about: had my father not died, I never maybe, would've forgiven him and loved and understood him as I do now. And, my relationship with God is solidly a father-daughter relationship, with no one in between.

Let's talk about...Hope. I was told not long ago by a beautiful little soul that God meets our hope differently sometimes (than what we'd hoped for). She described the death of one of her twin babies and the thriving of the other (at birth) and how God met her hope still, that day. Perplexed, I said, "How? How did he STILL meet your hope?!" She thought and said, "Well...that [she] is now in Heaven yes; but even more alive and present in our lives there, than she could've been here under my care." If that doesn't blow you away, I dunno what WILL. Geeze--some people and their holy faith. Well, even though a very literal part of my flesh was dying that day, God placed life right there, at that funeral.
I remember with clarity, moments of beauty at the funeral. For example, my then future-husband showed up. And, he looked damn hot. That was unexpected. I remember my little sister crying and I holding her, and she looking up and abruptly, not crying anymore. She said, "Wow--who's that guy?" Gallegos Chicks. We're all suckers for hot guys, no matter what age. It touched my heart seeing Jim there, content to be waiting in the background. He didn't even know me then; we'd been in Psych class together and had lunch a couple of times thereafter. Yet oddly enough, he was the first person I called when I was notified of The Accident during that Spring Break on a charity retreat. His mom tells me still, that she remembers him telling her he'd have to postpone coming home because he needed to be there for a friend, and he was. I'll also never forget, that God also gave me that day, a Real Big Brother. I'd never had one until I met Joey. You know, funerals and death--it's all kind of awkward and he must've felt uncomfortable not knowing what to do with a blubbering teenager but he just, stepped in and hugged me, and let me cry. "I love you," he said. He meant it. That was officially, the first time a *male had said that to me genuinely. Lovingly. I mean it. I suppose I can't judge that my dad never ever meant it; but he was always quick to deflate it. I know my dad had love for me; be saying it? Never.

(*yeah, seventh grade boyfriends, 11th grade boyfriends, and little brothers coercing you to take them to Chuckie Cheese do NOT count.)

A new hope was instilled--a little hope that I was lovable. That I was worth being loved, and that shockingly, someone had chosen to love me. I actually belonged on earth; before that, I'd felt that (a very long) beautiful umbilical tether between God and I in the eternal kind of belonging but...Hadn't known how it was then, that I quite belonged here if I didn't have love. The last gift I received there was...

(And now for it--God created laughter. He created humor and romance and all emotions inside of us. Obviously, there's vulgarity which is a twisting of good laughter and humor but that's not the kind I'm talking about. We can laugh at ugly things; God gives us the grace sometimes to have healing in laughter even when we feel insane sometimes. One of my favorite moments in a story of all time, is in Return of the King by Tolkien, when Frodo and Sam are just waiting for Mordor's fall to encompass them. They are there together, at the end "of all things" and suddenly, Frodo laughs at Sam. The quote is something like, "there had not been pure laughter echoing in that place for a long, long time...but there it was...Echoing against the walls and filth." So, that's my soapbox on humor...)

The best BEST thing ever, was that I'm pretty sure if my dad had been allowed to see the funeral, he'd have told God he was glad to be dead. I'm hispanic; not a very good one but one nonetheless. This does NOT mean, that my dad's side of the family fails to be Hispanic. At all. There was weeping, wailing, people passing out and falling on the ground like some televangelist had arrived and was zapping them with the Holy Spirit. Family that, hadn't even spoke to my dad for six months but there they were, to talk about how wonderful they knew him to be, and all, "we'll-take-donations-for-our-grief-please-and-thank-you." Then, there was the music...Oh dear LORD--the music...*Apparently, my dad's mom was in a harmonica club and insisted in her Mexicana Weeping state, the she was going to play for my dad, dammit. And she did. Amazing Grace by four little ladies whistled through the park, whilst butterfly balloons were released (BUTTERFLIES?!). My dad was a lottttt of things, but never a damned butterfly. The homily had been about some bullcrap about my dad having been in a cocoon and this death, freeing him into metamorphosis and unfortunately (because I'm a little shit), I burst out laughing. During the homily. And of course if you've heard me laugh, you know it makes other people laugh (because it's stupid) and so half of entire section of family and friends were laughing. (Probably, there is a little nook in Purgatory for me for wiles such as these.) Then, there was the embezzling. And the fighting over items. Only when I saw one of my dad's very old aunts actually in a tug-a-war with his mom, over a jewelry box of his, did I understand a little, the evil of soldiers casting die for Jesus' garments (and He wasn't even dead yet!). So we have the harmonica club playing, we have people sobbing, we have people tripping over butterfly tethered balloons, and my great-aunt and grandma (who had abandoned her harmonica) to physically fight over a box. I am pleased to say, that I marched over there, and promptly took the box myself, admonishing both of them. Then I spoke up in my grief-struck stupor and said, "Attention everyone: this music sucks, and I'd like my dad to hear something he'd actually like. This one's for you, dad!" I considered singing Billy Joel's Piano Man, but to avoid further scandal (since I left out the part where I argued with someone at the pulpit during his Rosary--they'd accused my family of being unforgiving and calloused...and too damn Catholic), I sang Shout To The Lord. My friends stared at me, wondering if I'd collapse or keel over or something.
Where was I...Right--embezzlement. Knew I'd left something out...**Apparently, when I'd signed my name over so that my dad's mom could take care of the funeral planning (I'd been assigned beneficiary, you see), one of them forged my signature (and stole some documents I was told by police) and made themselves beneficiary. My dad had left college money for me, and it was gone. Don't fret friends, as some philosopher said (no wait--it was Morpheus from the Matrix), fate is not without a sense of irony. Unbeknownst to all of us, he'd incurred so much debt, his assets were frozen so, my dad's family actually didn't get a penny of that money, and they were stuck paying his bills. Don't get me wrong--I never have nor ever will, wish any ill fate upon them. But, sometimes God's justice is swift, and that was a comfort to us at that time when we had no father, my mother with no husband, no money, and no  prospects of getting much help from anyone. God took care of us though; He really did. Even though my family didn't really feel it, I did.

*Apparently: they have CLUBS for that??!
**Apparently: my family put the ghetto in poor-family-acts-of-crime, who knew?

So, an amazing thing happened as time passed--my sister and I developed a sense of humor. I don't think this is a necessity in grief but for us, it was a sure sign that we'd allowed such pain and grief to pour out of every pore of ourselves (you can't just live every single day with that sort of grief) to an emptiness finally. Not really empty of course, but you know when you've cried yourself out? It doesn't mean there's no more sad, but it's time to stop crying. We'd allowed some of that reality to curl around our personalities, and therein, found our senses of humor about death, the roughest-toughest-ugliest-beautifulest-most-terrifying reality we (feel we) face. My sister and I, we have a lot of jokes about our dad being deceased. It is not to dishonor him but while that wake he left that I spoke of earlier has subsided, there will be ripples probably for the rest of our lives. We can either embrace them and find laughter in the darkness of it all, or go mad. So while there's a great deal of sad still, I'd rather just laugh. My dad loved to laugh. So it may upset, disturb, or anger you, but I called up my brother and sister this morning and sang, "Haaaappy Dead Daaaad Dayyyy!!!" they laughed. I cried. But I reiterate, I laughed. And hopefully today, in some beautiful place were he can spend his time praying for us, my dad laughed too...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Channel Your Inner Butt-Man

I'm serious--when life is like a butt, giving you nothing but crap and bad air, give it a face and a name. Heck, even give it hair. And laugh at it. In my son's case, he named his, "Butt-Man." Literally. Imagine my surprise when after time-out last weekend, Michael handed me this sheet of paper and was laughing hysterically. He explained that he did this during time-out time in his room when I put him in there, and that he did this because he was really mad at me. It doesn't really...make sense but...does it matter? He had a turn-around, and I laughed my head off. Don't get me wrong; I'm not condoning his inappropriateness...In fact, the current rule in the house is, "We may not draw private parts. Butt-Man and Teekee-Man are not appropriate characters for art and playtime."

No; this will not heal wounds, stop horrific acts in the world/make them better, resolve finances, or cure diseases. If I knew what did, I'd be all over it. And famous, I might add. And probably hotter...ooh ooh--and I'd have my own masseuse, chocolatier, Adoration chapel, and hair stylist. (What?!)
Anyway, this is just some good 'ol fashioned coping skills to survive the petty things we stress over. That is currently what I stress over most of the time--petty, stupid things. So, I [try to] laugh at them. Anymore, it seems my kids have better coping ideas than I do sometimes. When they are in the middle of an argument, usually, Matty toots like a tug-boat and sends the other boys into roaring laughter. At first, Matty is angry that he was the butt (no pun intended) of the joke, but then ends up laughing with them, at himself. A good Butt-Man is successful at lightening us up.

Here's an example of how Handsome Husband channeled his inner Butt-Man the other night, my DINNER: I cooked dinner. I hate cooking. Cooking hates me. Oddly enough, I'm still a pretty decent cook. With the exception of last night. I made a meal that is usually fool-proof and delicious. Somehow, it proved to be foolish. I was so distracted and overwhelmed with school night drama amongst the chilin's, that instead of browning the meat first, I mixed everything together. What this means is, I boiled the turkey burger in the tomato concoction. Ew. The turkey burger cooked in the shape it came in, like little lo-mein meat-noodles. Or squid heads. When Handsome Husband got home, as I was nursing the baby, letting whatever energy I lastly possessed be sucked right outta me, he urgently said,
"Hon--did you FEED this to the kids?!"
"Did you know that the meat isn't cooked? It's still looks raw!"
"*sigh* It's not raw. It's just...boiled."
I had to go into the other room to see that he hadn't eaten it, and died right then and there of salmonella poisoning. Farrrr from it. Instead, he was lying on the floor laughing into a pillow, pounding his fist on the floor trying to control himself from laughing "out loud." I haven't seen him laugh that hard since...never. He was actually crying he was laughing so hard. Ass.

"What's SO funny?" I demanded. Angry. Definitely angry.
"It's--it's just that--you tried SO hard and..." more laughter. Bastard. I've about had it.
"You find my devoted time and energy to feed our family...funn--"
"NO NO NO, honey! [in between breaths] It's that I just can't believe sometimes, that your job is for REAL."
Wrong thing to say.

But because the more he tried to talk, the worse it got (like the time he told me my shirt didn't look 'weird', it just "looked like a curtain" but this was 'okay' because I didn't look like a curtain, the shirt did) and I finally cracked and laughed. A lot. We staggered over to the giant pot of would-be chili and stared in silence at the floating lo-mein turkey burger. We burst out laughing again until we both cried (some more) at how ridiculous life can just...BE.

And so, I have two forms of thought on this topic: I. I think back to this day and see that instead of being frustrated that Gabe did NOT have an ear infection (but has been fussy, not eating, and tugging at his ears) and cost us two whole hours and $45 at the tiny doctor's office, (complete with boys yanking out OB stirrups yelling, 'What are THESE for, Mama?") I should be grateful for his pristine health. Instead of being angry that the kids got into all the left-over waffles from this past weekend...and trailed them ALL over the reading room floor, it is a blessing that we have a home they can trail blaze in, and food to spare right now. It has not always been so. Instead of being anxious that the kids probably will be up a lot tonight (because that's how they roll), I should be so enamored that I get to lie next to my wonderful husband tonight.

II. I also think though, that God wouldn't have given us the emotions He did, were it not okay to experience them from time to time. I think it's okay too, to just be pissed about stupid stuff sometimes, until you are in a good enough place to laugh about it. I "should be" all of these things and eventually through the day, have been and will be. It is okay also though, to be human with our discovering virtue. I am in the school of thought that, Mother Mary wasn't just patient because she was Jesus' Mom. Obviously, God created her for the task. But we can't forget that more so, He knew who He was choosing. That when she would become irritable, exhausted, annoyed, sleep-deprived, anxious etc., she was a person who would know the ultimate place to take these emotions, rather than thinking she would never experience these emotions. I believe God expects every emotion but hopes, that we make good choices with them.
As a parent, there are hundreds of times (it seems!) a day when my littler guys cry about the littlest things. "I hurt, Mommy!" "I dropped my cway-on, Mommy!" "I hungry, Mommy!" cry, cry, cry all the day long. Over and over, I try to empathize in their pains because these little things are catastrophic to them. I also sometimes, don't sympathize because, they need to see the measure of what truly is catastrophic, and what is just a little bump in the road. Isn't God that way too with us? He is with us when we whine and throw little tantrums about this and that not going how we desired or planned and yet, I think sometimes He lets us learn and "grow up", to give us perspective. Like, "Yes, you spent all that time on dinner. I see that you are exhausted, my Little Love. That is okay." He never makes me feel stupid, even when I AM stupid. Like later when I turn on the news and see women working in sweat shops in other countries or being trafficked like property. I don't feel shut down or invalidated; I just feel like reality was explained to me. "Yes, your life can be hard. It just can be. So is theirs...Be appreciative of your cross; you are the only one who can overcome it." Thank GOD indeed! If I had to overcome some poor sap's cross that cooked all day AND smiled AND never said anything cynical?! I'd be screwed!! And, He embraces our pains that are big to us. Our pains whether big or little, are real and valuable.

I guess I write about all of this because, in no other season do we honor something so profound and great, in such a small bundle. The birth of a little baby come to change the world also speaks to the forgotten, the helpless, and the broken-hearted. The message says, "There is hope for the helpless, affection for the broken-hearted. The forgotten are profoundly needed." It also says, no person is too small to change the world. So many years ago, the smallest of us took every one of us into His heart...

Well folks, it needed to get deep SOMETIME...I needed to write about Butt-Man in any case and also make this blog my Butt-Man because literally, before I started writing, I called Handsome Husband and said, "GOOD news honey, I opened the fridge and out spilled the ENTIRE pot of squid-lo-mein-turkey-chili. Looks like pizza for dinner." Once again, MY dinner was his Butt-Man, the thing that turned his day around into a better one. Apparently, when I cook, everyone wins.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I wasn't going to write about today's tragedy again. Needless to say, I am sickened, scared, and so very completely grief-stricken. This hits home. In my very home...This wounds my very heart.
It seems like in many ways, the last thing anybody needs is one more person writing about it. Yet, I feel very strongly that, it is important to say a few important things about this day.

First, this is for they; those beautiful little souls that will now shine more radiantly than ever-known on earth. They live now fully alive in Heaven. But maybe we can't think of Heaven yet; maybe the best we can do is grieve and hold on tightly to others and to the last little things they held. So, this is also for those left here without their Little Loves, without their Sunspots, without the Loves of Their Life. Maybe the most we can do is light a candle and love them, and pray for them, and weep with them.

Second, this is for all of us; this is for Hope because without Hope, we will be in one hot mess.

That's what I said: hope. And no, I would not be writing about hope were I one of the many, too many, parents that did not get to embrace their child today. I'd be beating my breast; wailing; cursing. I'd be shattered. But since for some reason today, I have been spared this, I see the that I can't remain as one beating my breast and wailing. Hope is needed. It's needed because there are far too many moments just in one day that I fear for my children's safety. Everywhere. On the street corner, at school, while we're driving, at night before bed. And, the fact that the single most horrific event occurred today without any heed, without any warning, without any possible way for a human to have controlled it otherwise, has me trying to figure out how to uproot our family and start a Christian commune somewhere in the middle of Switzerland. We'll live off of Calliptamus italicus (grasshoppers) and berries. 

But, since I cannot imagine Switzerland taking us into residency any time soon, I acknowledge that it is in these times the remedy usually has to do with something that feels impossible. Hope feels a little impossible right now, doesn't it? Well, I hope that, my precious children can grow up experiencing the freedom to experience freedom...I hope that they can do this unmolested of evils. I hope that they are spared tragedies, such as these. I hope that they can grow and love and create and inspire things all leading back to our Creator...I hope these things with all of my heart. Will I be answered of these hopes? Are they in vain? I believe that, while I don't know the future, it is never vain to hope when our hopes are well-rooted.

I'm not trying to sound more profound than I am capable of being--I am talking about a specific kind of hope here. I am talking about what real hope is: the belief and knowledge beyond all reason that there is good..And, that ultimately, good will win. There is purpose even after the flood. That, even if the worst happens, there is a reason to go on. One of the things I love about Hope, is that Hope is a realist. Genuine hope comes from a little faith, and yet, knows how close despair can feel because hope is often occurring in the midst of struggle. Hope is not necessarily a means to a brief end; I can hope to look like Scarlett Johansen by the next time I get to mirror, but that's just absurd. That's a vain hope because hope is not a "wish", set to come  true simply because a falling star shot out into the sky. It is a real grace that can unfold within us.  So, on the other hand, I can hope to purchase a home that is best for my family and save, save, save money like mad and do all the right things. It's possible though, that my hopes to find it within a certain amount of time even though good and sensible, can be dashed when some other financial thing happens, setting us back into a situation like living with family, that was not part of my plan. Were my hopes in vain? Yes, if the point of finding a home had to do with a specific date and my parameters only. But no not in vain if you then see a purpose even in the chaos. Maybe it brought you closer to your family. Maybe in your insanity of being so close with your family, you discover a heck of a lot about yourself. Who knows. That's the beauty of hope; not one looks like the other, and a fruit of hope is often peace. (Who couldn't use a little peace around here??)

I'm trying to say that, for people like me that are tempted to be so enraged at this helplessness and terrified by it as well,  maybe if we let that tiny, small, minuscule even, flicker of light I call Hope prevail, it might start a flame. Maybe, it will assist us somehow, in not living in fear. Maybe then, I won't let my children live in fear. I realize that I don't have control over insane people who choose to do evil things. Yet, it is a legitimate fear. It may not really even be a choice to fear the things we do as parents but it is a choice as to what we do with our fears and how we direct them around our children. Admittedly, this is tricky as hell; I still don't know what I am going to say to the boys, or how little or how much. It is an evil unholy day indeed when we have to be in situations where we have to share these things at all because they're so rampant. What do the parents in other countries say? Other parents in other countries that regularly hear bombs and gunshots going off because it is simply where they live? I don't know. Is the answer moving to another country, moving to another school, or saying "To Hell with it, we're homeschooling! Those *looneys keepin' their kids at home all day had it right afterall!"? 
I don't know, but you can bet your boots I thought of all of that. Clearly, it's also not enough to just sit around praying and hoping all day. That is not what I'm saying either. I don't think it's about any perfect answer, but hope is a good place to begin. I have a very dear friend that a few years ago, had a great loss. At the delivery of her twins, she lost one, while the other lived. It was a most tragic, heartbreaking event in many people's lives, not only my friend and her husband's. I asked her at the time, "Are you able to...even think about what this all means?" She had said still so eloquently, "No...I can't even pray. But, I know there's a Resurrection. That promise is a promise. It's a done deal. That's where my hopes are." Very recently, she held a party for her daughters; a birthday for the one here on earth, and a memorial for the one she lost to Heaven. She stated, "God, you really have made this something I could have not. We didn't think we'd ever survive this loss...Surely, you didn't desire [our] sorrow and bitterness but, you knew our hearts...The hope from this is that [she] lives though in Heaven, just as alive and present in our hearts, as we could have even hoped for..." 

There is nothing that will be comparable or make less of today. Nor should there be. But, I say that I have seen some who have seemed to have lost everything, only to speak of Hope. 
That is where my hopes are on a day where I desire to offer hope where it is needed...

*Looney: first of all, I think this is spelled wrong. Secondly, let me clarify that this is tongue-in-cheek because while I truly think there is something a little crazy about wanting all of your kids home all day, I kid because, I marvel at the parents that have the smarts, the patients, and seriously amazing organizational skills to pull off something like home-schooling!...!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Brain On No Caffeine

Okay; I feel better. Sometimes I just need to, spaz out in a lunatic-type fashion, about how much testosterone I am daily surrounded by. I'M NOT MORBIDLY OBESE OR PREGNANT! I'M NOT MORBIDLY OBESE OR PREGNANT! ...
Whoops, sorry...I guess Crazy Mama isn't quite ready to be put down to bed tonight...It's just that also, I've been asked more in the last ten days than in my LIFEtime, if I'm pregnant and why am I still fat.

"Seriously, Crazy Mama?!"
"Seriously, Slightly Saner Self."

Duuuuude. I can't be angry, really. I have managed to become filled with, and pop out four rather large baby boys in a short amount of time that I swear, fancied doing infant-womb-olympics when they were in there, and kinda killed my ab muscles. You know, because I looked like JLo before the kids. I had a six-pack. (Yesssss...I LOVE the internet. I can totally LIE that I used to look like JLo because it's the internet and you just might believe me. No you won't. If you read my blog you'll know my life enough to guess that's a lie. Damn. I HATE the internet.) I am making a firm resolve to start intensive working out next week. Yup. I mean it. But, please don't like, start taking bets with your other blogging friends about it, okay? And NO, I'm not pregnant.

Today, I decided, I'm too exhausted of this day to finish writing about that week I promised to finish writing about. But hopefully, it made you laugh, or commiserate, or just be glad about your own life, and we're squared. So let's catch up. Monday, I awoke to hearing my oldest son, Michael, complaining while on the toilet that his poop wouldn't come out.
"Daaaad--it hurrrts. It won't come out!" He proceeded to grunt in vain.
"Buddy--don't hurt yourself. Just calm down until it comes out."

Clearly, Handsome Husband has never been constipated. Calm down? Like the giant one-foot-turd was simply stuck because it was having a little stage fright? Michael thought about this (and I'm listening to all of this half-dead in my I-hate-mornings-stupor), and tried a different approach.

"Poop in my butt, ACTIVATE! Poop in my butt, ACTIVATE! Poop in my butt, ACTIV--"
[one minute later]

Do I NEED to tell you all, that it helps to have a therapist for a husband who apparently taught our oldest son about biofeedback? Do I NEED to tell you all, that I just can't understand why he hasn't managed to teach them (or himself) how to clean the flipping toilet after they pee all over it??? I go to us the toilet and ARG! Next thing I know, I've had myself a little butt bath. EW. That was it. Oh right--and I skipped over the background history about how the night before, Matty had night terrors all night, and kept everyone awake.
I am not a morning person. Never have been, never wanna be. Who invented mornings anyway? Can't we just skip to the good parts where we're all showered, and made up, and drinking coffee and eating omlettes?? Anyway, so there I was, just trying to have the one and ONLY time in the day when I pee without being bothered or followed and I sat in BOY GOO. I mean, I'd rather sit in an Unidentified Wet Puddle. At least that leaves mystery. So, I calmly measured our toilet. I mean it--I walked straight out there half-dressed with my measuring tape and was like, "Boys: there are at LEAST ten inches of peeing space in our potties [insert hand gesture to demonstrate how big ten inches of space is]. Is that a lot, or a little space? [helpful nods that yes, this was a lot of space]. Then WHY, oh WHY is all the boy juice on the FLOOR, surrounding the potty, like an island?!"
Then as usual, they all had hysteria, laughing at me like the lunatic that I was. "Mommy said 'boy juice'! BAHAHAHA!" I suppose I should have stuck to "pee."

Alright, enough about kids. Let's talk abouuut...your temperpedic ultimately being the cause of one intense rug burn. Lemme just say this: friends, if you're considering buying a temperpedic, they're great for sleep. Baaaad for love-making. Bubbabubbabubbaaaad. Imagine making love in quick sand. Not fun, not attractive and in fact, kind of absurd and comical. This causes one (well TWO actually--nothing funny) to wander away from said quick-sand bed. Which, is nice. Until, you awake and can't figure out why your ass is on fire. Oh right; rug burn. Moral of this story: should you carpet-diem, make the wise choice--be on top. Don't be dooped...or I'm crackin' myself up with my inappropriate brain. Caffeine withdrawal can be ugly. Friends don't let friend forget their morning coffee!!

Next topic: a question really. Do any of you ever make your own music videos/dance routines to songs that you hear on the radio? I realized I kind of judge how much I like a song sometimes, by the quality of pretend dance routine I can muster in my head. Yeah, that's quirky but fair. For example, that awful Call Me Maybe, gets NO dance-routine love from me. That makes my teeth hurt. However, it just doesn't matter how much I hear Outcast's Hey Ya, and I can't help but shake it like a polaroid picture. So, next time you see a mom in a minivan dazed at the stoplight, instead of yelling, "It's GREEN, be-yatch!!", smile and think, she just might be whipping up a kick-ass dance party in her head.

*Teekee: in case you are new to the blog, a teekee is the name my boys have decided to call their penis. Yeah. It's really...interesting and...creative in my home.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Self-Awareness: How To Tell When Your Week Is Going Down The Crapper

That's right. The title of this post, should be self-explanatory. I'm forfeiting this week and giving into the inevitable: writing on my couch watching The Labyrinth while drinking a giant Corona. No, not Pan's Labyrinth. I'm not into artistic European schtuff this night. I'm talking da shiz David Flipping Bowie and Jim Henson's hand puppets. And yes, in light of last time's post, I feel it necessary to say, it's the only beer I'm having but it's alllll mine...

 (You've taken my youth but not my soul, November *fists shaking violently*!)

SO, you know your day could have some bumps ahead when:
You awake to hearing your darling spouse shouting, "NOOO! NOO! Computers are NOT for sitting ONNN!!" But you are positive because, it's only 7:30 a.m., and a lot of good things can happen today. After all, you're going shopping and might see Kick-Ass GF and have a reason for living (because God knows after shopping at Sam's Club with all of your children, you'll need some really good ones).

9:30 a.m., fifteen minutes after hopeful ideals.
You know your day might be a little less than what was expected when:
Kick-Ass GF calls and says, "I think *Jesse's arm is falling off...I'm pretty sure we need to take her to the ER." Simultaneously, you remember that you were supposed to take in your mini-van, Lucille the Wonder Tramp to a mechanic because oh yeah, your husband ripped off the **automatic-non-automatic door from it's automatic tracks the day after Glutton's Day (Thanksgiving), and basically your askin' for a helicopter ride experience (because the doors could open on their own AT ANY TIME)...And the door's stuck MOSTLY OPEN and your children scream that "cars are not s'pposed to be WINDY!" It is also at this time, you remember that you are supposed to call your children's doctor, the social security office, fill out paperwork for a new insurance policy, and return that damned child gate that didn't work. "SHIKES!" you think, because if you even think about the things you really wanna think about, it'd be such a long line of obscenities, it'd keep you in the Confessional for a solid three days. That's not doable. That's not fun. The bottom line: Kick-Ass GF is in her own trenches and so are you. The rest of the day is...pretty crappy. I won't even TELL you about Monday night. It is summed up by this: more PHALLIC stage drama, boys smelling each other's butts, a three-year-olds' demolition to an entire kid-bible, and...I can't even write anymore.

You know your week is not, definitely not, going according to any sort of plan...or hope when:
You roll out of bed (literally--"WHO THE HELL was wearing my stilettos?! They're by my bed?! OUCH!!"). Yes. My children *apparently* don't get enough "girl" in their lives, and have turned to cross-dressing. Fantastic. The first thing you do since you're already on the floor is drop to your knees. "Please Father-God," you pray, "I know this day is going to virtue...and pretty much anything I suck at but...Can you please me not to completely lose my temper today when everything falls apart? And, give me something--anything to remind me to laugh?" Next thing you know, your nearly-three-year-old *apparently* has hips that gyrate (yes, that's what I said) and he's flippin' Elvis, dancing for the ten-month-old singing, "I not NAKED, but I do the naked DANCE!" You have several thoughts: first, you stare in awe that these little humans will one day be in charge of things; and they will blame you for how well they survive. Secondly, you remember--"Hot damn! I love my kids!! Thanks, God!" Then you hear the toilet flush to see Gyrate Boy running outta there with a cape on his head, clearly communicating to you that he is: a) being a "villain-girl" (hence the black cape-hair) and b) he's flushed Doc Ock down the potty.

For some reason--perhaps it's the metaphor of things going down the crapper--you recall that your appointment for Lucille the Wonder Tramp Van is in thirty minutes. "Oh my gosh--we have to leave soon! KIDS! GET DRESSED!" you shout. And just like that, the absence of all the brain cells that have been sucked out through breastfeeding, you forget. Again. No seriously--you forget in the next minute about the appointment you just remembered. "Van? What van? I have a van??

Kick-Ass GF calls. You indulge in much-needed venting and womanly comfort. Then your dear friend-with-more-kids-than-you calls. We'll call her, the ***Hope Queen GF. *Enter sentimental, comforting music.* You laugh. You cry. You lament about wifey things and wish you were better rested and more healthy, as you down your third cup of coffee and call the infant's cookies breakfast. You commiserate and form solidarity in just being a wife and a mom and a woman. You feel a deep sense of gratitude and joy that you have been given these loves like Kick-Ass GF and Hope Queen GF on this day, in this life. And all of those women in your life really are a giant part of the fellowship that God has given you to help make your heart tick (I love you the most, Sister Smarty Pants!)--"BEEP! BEEEP!!" Then there's the reality alarm. You were supposed to be the mechanic's. Ten minutes ago. "I DO have a van! SHIIIIKES!!" you actually yell this time. There are no snacks (or lunch for that matter) because you were supposed to go to Sam's this morning before the mechanics (why in the world did I think I would go??! Like, I'd just wake up and become organized or something?!).

Bottom line: you feel somewhat energized but the fact remains that you have half-dressed children with no food.

Tuesday afternoon. 
You know your day has a 70% probability...of sucking when:
Okay, you haven't lost your temper. Kudos. But your dignity: yes, you've lost that. (When your infant climbed to your feet as you answered the door to The Mailman Who's Mom Was A Baker And Tied Him To A Tree To Get Work Done When He Was A Kid), and pulled your pants, A LOT down. *insert FROWNIE*. Wait--I didn't tell you that story?! Well, the high points are obvious but one day, the mail man says to me--he says, "Hi there! THREE boys? THREE boys?! I was one of three boys--"
I try to interject but saying "Four actual--" but he just keeps on going like he's knitting a sweater in his own happy little weirdy rocking chair and smiles serenely saying, "--and we were so bad that my mom--she was a Baker--would put us in these harnesses and tie us to a stake outside HAHA!" he laughs nostalgically. "Can you believe that?! We thought it was so funny." I stare for a long while. "My mom--she was a Baker" he nods reassuringly. "Oh..." I say. "Have a great day!" he smiles and walks away. Yeah. Mail Man Story tiiiiime is the shiz. Okay, that was a bunny. Like, when you are driving and suddenly you see a bunny and it's like you're with him, flopping and hopping all happily. Then you remember you're driving. Bunnies are code for "distraction." Sorry--shoot the bunny! Aaaand, I'm back.
Anyway, you are thinking of what kind of baker this mother must have been when you glance at the clock. Your heart skips several beats--you have NO van. You have to pick up your kiddo in five minutes and you'll have to walk there! GAA!! It's like a Bull Run in your home with you trying to get your kids re-dressed (because every SINGLE time you walk in the door, the first thing they do is strip down to their hero underwear, turn them backwards,"so you can see the heroes," and don capes, tearing through the house. One is dead-asleep, the other melting down that you are dressing him, and the third just wants what guys always want: boobs. "I don't have time to nurse you, buddy!" you try to reason with your ten-month-old. Currently, he doesn't speak
you've also lost several competitions for most fashionable mom--all week and it's only the second day of the week I might add. You're unshowered, braless, and  wearing the type of clothing you used to make fun of your mom for wearing around the house. (Except no giant tube socks. Thank you, God--so far, no tube socks.) You finish the kitchen (score!), finish scrubbing the floor on your hands and knees, finish Magic Eraser-ing the walls of crayon (thank you, Mr. Clean; you're buff and you're bald, therefore you're just about as cool as Jason Statham because I don't recall him ever offering to clean my walls) when: you look up from your hands and knees and see, there's crayon...ALL over the glass in the patio room. To be precise, there are three patio windows, and three doors. You don't like seeing the world from this height; you decide it's overrated. Ignorance is bliss, and baby-proofing or cleaning or whatever, by being on your hands and knees is more like the truth hurting...And is for morons. You decide also, that five-feet-four-inches tall, is the New Truth and all things you really need to see are this high. This next part deserves it's OWN section. And, most of you won't believe it. But I swear, this is my life.

Tuesday night.
You know you have received the 'Your Day's Officially Crap' memo when:
You are convicted about this, until you see: a mouse. That's right. A furry little nasty vermin. Gus-Gus. You think about this; you hope it can't talk, wear little Gus-Gus clothes, or sing. By the time you've thought, it's seen you and you both, freak out. A lot. "HEEELLLLP!!!" you shriek. "But I'm not afraid of mice! Why am I yelling for help? Who's going to help me?!" But still you keep running, much to the alarm of your kids. "Mama--is a mouse chasing you?' your four-year-old asks. "Um...No. No, Mommy was just...running...?" But, you don't have time to think about this because, your five year-old comes bookin' it out of the bathroom shouting, "MOMMY! MOMMY! It's over-flowing! It's gonna drown the HOUUUUSE!!" He's practically right. The toilet's overflowing alright. It's even overflowing some fun looking stuff into the bathtub, and in the main bathroom too. "This is SO...POOPY!" you yell kicking the wall, setting a picture-perfect and shining example of all a parent can be, to your children, and send them into roaring laughter because you said, "poopy." You put the baby down and grab every towel you can find and while your shoes are being filled with cold toilet water, the door-bell rings. The mechanic was so kind and drove your van home so your kids wouldn't have to walk back to the place and then home again in the cold. He says, "Sorry but just to let you know--that van has too many problems to count!" he snorts because he's laughing so hard. But, we did get the door shut; the parts to fix it though only come in a package that is around $700. We are trying to find just the piece itself in a junk yard to help you out." (Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?) "Aaaand the motor mounts are out--all four of 'em. That's estimated at about $600, plus the heating system I fixed today, and not counting the installation of the oil pans." (At this point, you are thinking you will train your children to be a dog-sled team, and pull the littlest one the sled, with you cracking the whip because, there is NO way you can pay $2000 to fix it. You consider asking him if he has a dog sled at his Mechanic Place but instead he stares at you oddly, with your yoga pants rolled up to your knees and your shoes sopping in sewage, and the half-naked baby on your hip.) You take your keys back, thank him for shutting your van door, and making the heat work, and shut the door.

There won't be a dog-sled team made out of boys this week however, because the oldest announces that his tummy hurts and feels like "knives are inside," he's "freezing cold," and says that his throat is "giant inside." You take his temp, feel his neck all over, and peer into his throat. Sure enough, his glands are like little walnuts, he has a big fever, and his throat has blood-red little prickly dots all over. You don't know what this is. Even though you do doctor-ish things, you a) don't get paid a doctor's salary, nor b) actually have the degree. Strep? Viral infection? In any case, this night ends in many respects, even worse than the night before because Handsome Husband had to take an extra client to make ends stretch a little further. You are grateful. And, you are pissed. This is unfair that you're pissed because he is being selfless by working more. But you feel like you need a break. You wonder why all you want to do is shower...then you realize, you can't REMEMBER the last time you showered and think it might have to do with something like, last week. Euew-but-true. You look in the mirror and see: bags under your eyes, dandruff, and splotchy skin, and you conclude, "You don't look so hot, Mama." In effort to make yourself at least feel better and so maybe you won't look like a vagabond to your husband, you put on a new shirt. It feels a little better. You decide it's time to pay attention to Baby who's been stalking you for a solid fifteen-minutes. You pick him up and squeeze him and...other stuff also gets squeezed out. From his diaper. IS THERE ANY END TO THIS DEVILRY?!?!

The good: Handsome Husband gets home, exhausted but walks in holding out Chipotle to you like a steak to a tiger, so it won't attack. "I was even later because I wanted to surprise you," he says. You feel like a jerk for being pissed and thank him for thinking of you. He even makes you a margarita even though your resources are low. He gets creative and makes one out of Berry Blast Naked Juice really good. And later, when you don't get to go to bed until 2:30 am because of kids, you are grateful for his love. And the leftover marg.

I've decided that, I will only put in a teaser to "Wednesday" to leave you hanging! And because it is actually stressful to even write about my last week. Plus, I don't want to stress YOU out! I at least want you to be like, "Thank GOD that wasn't my week!" Or, "Wow--that was TOTALLY my week!" That's what it's all about here at The Kids, The Cat, & The Dirty Kitchen, we aim to please. I desire to make a place that makes you feel better about how you are doing things, and laugh about how I do things. I have to, or I'll end up in a loony bin. So, I am breaking it up--tomorrow night's endeavor will be to write the rest of the week.

A lot of people might say, "After reading these, why would you think anyone would want your life??" I don't. I love my life. I love my kids and my Handsome Husband. If I didn't, I wouldn't be writing about it for your laughter; I'd be in the fetal position, banging my head against a wall instead. So, prepare for more crazy! More mice, more toilet trauma, and a new whammy: The Chic That Hit On My Husband At Mass! For REAL...

*Jesse: Name changed to protect the arm-gimpy. Not Kick-Ass GF's daughter's real name but, I had Rick Springfield in my head (I wish that I was Jesse's giiirl!) so it just came to me.

**Automatic-non-automatic door: Yeah. Our van...Hmm...where to begin...Is a precious gift from some dear dear friends that saved us by lending/giving it to us. However; it's got some quirks. Its...eccentric, really. Like that lady perhaps, that always came through your check-out line when you worked retail, and had crazy clothes pieced from ten different places and smelled funny. You can tell she may have used to be really cute but somehow life, has made her a little scattered. The door got jammed ON Thanksgiving, courtesy of Handsome Husband. (That's another post.) But, it only jammed in that, the back wouldn't shut. So, we had to pay the Mechanic Man to slam-jam it permanently shut. Ergo, only one side of our van doors open now and it's really fun throwing the baby in that corner...

***Hope Queen GF: This gal is...a beautiful soul. (And woman, but we're talking her soul right now.) She...has been through a lot. God asks a lot of her. Somehow, she still desires to give to others. She thrives on giving to others in any way she can. There was a time in my earlier youth, that I was really placed in people's lives to give them hope. Since many things we've gone through, I've needed hope. Not just the kind that wishes for brighter things. I'm talking the real stuff--the kind that perseveres through all things because at the heart, there is a faith that trusts in the absolute good and knows that God is sovereign. That is a gift to see such hope. I love her especially for bringing God to me in this way. Love you!!

                   *                                                    *                                                          *

You know your day just might be suffering from a curse when...
You sleepily trudge down the hall to the front door to get the paper. You are hunched over. You didn't sleep since The Oldest was dehydrated last night and cried about it all night long accusingly, as though you'd stuffed his cheeks with salt tablets. You put your hand out to turn the knob, and a spider lands on it. "GAAAARF!" That's actually what you yell. This is unknown but your husband comes running to see you having a convulsive fit of sorts, and when you spit out the word, "SPIDER!" he shakes his head in disgust and walks away. "IT WAS BIG!" you shout after him. "That CAN'T be a good sign!" you try to explain. It can't, right? Who wakes up and has Creepo The Demon Spider landing on their finger?! You wonder if Handsome Husband called into the school, to tell them you're keeping the oldest home...You start having anxiety because those secretaries already think you're nuts and disorganized, and if they think you forgot to call, they'll think you're irresponsible. "Phone's for you, honey!" Handsome Husband chirps happily. You narrow your eyes to slits and he knows. "I'm SO sorry! I was supposed to call in, huh?" It's The Secretary. The Main One. Like the Lead Gremlin that has that stripe down his head so you know he's the Leader. "We are...concerned, Mrs. Langley. Why didn't you call Michael in? His teacher was worried sick." You consider your options: you can be the funny bitch you want to be and say, "FIRST of all, Grasma, it's only FIVE minutes past the bell and there is NO way that uptight broad of a teach is worried sick when there are twenty-six other students to be counting." But, since you'll probably be seeing her for a long while, you decide to be apologetic and sound responsible. Your mother would be proud. "I am so sorry to have caused any upset--he is very sick you see, and we weren't sure if he was coming or not until--" But she interrupts you because, she doesn't have time for irresponsibility. "Yes well, that's fine. I hope he feels better. Do call next time?"

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Mama Gets Out

Okay, I've been wanting to write about the Time I Went To A Swanky Place, Got Buzzed, Got Stuck In The Parking Garage, And Then Ended Up With Someone Else's Credit Card for a while now. But it's hard to write how funny this really is because, it's possible that what made it funny was: 1. I am not swanky, and the lovely gf that invited me is. (You know "Kick-Ass GF"? Well this one is *Swanky-Barbie-Beauty GF. 2. It also (possibly) might be funny because this bar was at the Four Seasons, downtown, and just might have been chalk full of model wanna-be's that posed every time they bent down to sip their fruity cocktails, (and were wondering what the HELL someone like me was doing in there). 3. I just might have drunk my Cosmo a little too fast, which explains why I got lost in the parking garage for twenty minutes...and had to call to ask for help...Don't judge me. There's NO judging here. 4. I don't really drink so uh...that also might be why this is so funny, in my little brain. Oh, I hear you snickering and muttering. YES, I did admit to bottomless mimosas that one weekend but other than THAT, I don't really drink. Honest. (Okay, I actually FEEL someone judging but you better NOT because, it's not my fault that by the time They *** let me out of this kid cage I'm a raving dehydrated light-weight, loopy lunatic. (Well actually, I'm sure some of that is my fault but can you just flippin' appreciate that I'm trying to write you a funny story here?! GEEZE. Some people just want it all.)

Anyway, so it's a Friday night, when all of a sudden, the Momster Madness hits me; like when you're walking in the rain and then someone drives into the gutter right next to you, and all of sudden, you realize you're soaked, freezing, lonely, and pissed off beyond all comprehension. I realized that actually, my week had been pretty crappy. I had been working really, really hard on this new form of discipline called, Give Up And Beat Your Kids Like It's 1939--NOPE NOPE, just kidding! Just kidding! NOW you're awake. Hehe...I would NEVER, no matter how insane they drive me. No, I've been revamping our discipline system. You know that feeling when you realize that what you're doing is good, but you just need to take a step back and re-vamp some things? Well, I realize this when I see that I'm so overwhelmed, I go into punishment mode. Like, "Just get OUT of my face, right now. Please" or, "STOP IT!" And then, they look at me like, "Hi. I'm...five years old...What are you...saying...?" Instead of remembering that the kids are little but they can learn to take responsibility for their actions and that their choices have consequences good and bad.  When I remember this and re-vamp, I don't get all strung out and grumpy. Well, this is great. I felt way better. But teaching something--sometimes anything to little kids in which you have to repeat yourself so many times--can leave you feeling like a deranged Rain Man. And by the end of a week, Calm Cool Automated Voice Nicole was sick of giving choices and felt like saying, "NO options. NO choices. This is NOKAY!" (Don't any of you ever picture yourselves going all Chris Farley crazy and being like, "There is only ONE consequence: TO SUFFAAAA!!!"?? Maybe not...But then again, I imagine pretend scenes of extreme humor in order to save my already wonky sanity.) I'm getting off-track...but I blame on the little mouse I can't catch in our house, casting it's creep-out-the-humans-voodoo on me because I can hear it but I can't see it. UGH.

Okay, okay--so you get the point--all circuits fried. So when you get to this point as a parent, you need HELP. You need to get out. You need...GIRL TIME. So I sent out a "GF SOS" on Facebook. I whined. I pleaded. "I'm an easy date!" I promised. "A real girl-time hussy! I'm easy! Take me out, take me home. I'll paint toe-nails, I'll drink wine. WHATEVERJUSTHELPMEEE." Well, I got an answer back. I'll only call her *Swanky GF from now on (and you can read the footnote for this one as to why)  and she had a challenge for me. "Walk the walk and get on out here!" This was a challenge...Even though Momster wanted to get out, it didn't change her unshowered homeless smell, or her unshaven legs, or the fact that she felt rather frumpy. "Where are we going?" I messaged her. "Oh, nowhere intimidating...It's a bar. Oh and bring some cash for...valet parking. And a couple of cans of canned goods. Its a charity event." I thought to myself--I can handle a bar! That sounds low key! But then I found out this "bar" was at the Four Seasons...and she was wearing a cocktail dress. A flippin' cocktail dress. NOT intimidating?! Right. I'll just squeeze my little Hispanic-sausage-self into a cocktail dress I have. From three years ago. "Walk-the-walk-walk-the-walk-walk-the-walk," I repeated to myself. If you're wondering what the big deal is, it's hard to explain. You see, sometimes when your role is the same all week everyday, and suddenly you have an opportunity to reveal another part of your super-power identity, (like who you are without kids and your home) it's scary and overwhelming. What if I've forgotten to be normal? Wait--was I ever? Can I get over this frumpy feeling? I can't even monologue in my head--I'm talking to myself and the kids are staring at me. Still staring." For these reasons, it's good to get out of course, but it's also, a Big Deal. Some moms get to stay at home and work a little. Some moms always work outside of the home; some moms always work at home. All of these bring about different socialization experiences. I'm the last of these and I have to really push myself to make time in the insane schedule, to feed my social passions because, it's easy to forget yourself in that way.  It's funny because, I'm an extrovert and I have found that, I simply must talk on the phone often, to reach out and speak with others, to make that connection; it's my form of community which is energizing and motivating for me. I actually can't clean my kitchen without Kick-Ass GF on the phone with me. Sometimes, this freaks people out on the phone, when they hear my children yelling and screaming (because Normal Volume Level is set to: LOUD at all times with my kids) and I just keep talking over it non-chalantly. With obvious respect to giving my kids what they need and sometimes having to end conversations and pause A LOT, this is generally good for them to see that Mommy gets grown-up time too. But letting other people see me? In a Swanky Space?!? The thought of that made me feel like this:

But I did it; I found a dress, squeezed myself into it, and then discovered: the hairy legs. And the stomach. "Shit," I said. "This calls for some **Spanx."

So I took my little sausage-self to the only Land of Redemption I know this side of Santa Fe: Target. Target always has something. Found some tights, hair-covering ones that were still black but see-through-ish and had Spanx. Only problem was, my legs were so short for the tights that they had, so the Spanx were just as long as my dress. Barely. This proved to get me in the arse in the end (pun intended).

Luckily for me, Swanky GF is glamorously similar to me with timing, and understanding when a girl needs some Spanx. "Oh, we all have our tricks!" she said. Indeed. So after driving past the valet like, eight times (because every freaking street is a one-way down-town), I realized the inevitable, and pulled into the parking garage like a bat outta Hell. Well, it's their fault they're parked on the wrong side of the one-way. Hmph. Funnily enough, Glamorous GF and I were parking at the same time, in the same parking lot, in the same section. It's a sign if you ask me. I'm not sure of what exactly, but it's good and awesome, and wicked-genius whatever it is. So, upon entering Swanky Place at the Four Seasons, I nearly laughed out loud. "What the HELL am I doing here?" I thought. I felt like Fozzie Bear from the Muppets in The Great Muppet Caper when they go to a fancy expensive restaurant and he says, "A fancy place like this, ya think they'd have pretzels on the table." And the fact that a line from The Muppets is what I thought of first, just absolutely proves a lot of things about me; the least of which is that this was my kind of place. I have to say though, I had a lot of fun. I observed which was fun; oh, that's the most fun part, really. At the bar, even this was a psychological study in itself: the hottest chicks get served their alcohol first. For some reason, the bartender had no idea what kind of shot my GF was asking for and gave her something weird; so there I was, holding my Cosmo and some random shot that I couldn't hear the name of, because the music was louder than my kids (which is saying something). I was so intrigued by this scene, I just stood there. Two Swanky Skanky girls in ZooLander high-heels and endless Gucci attire stared me up and down and giggled. I heard one of them say in slurred-lowered voice, "Maybe she just wants to get laid?" I burst out laughing, really laughed out loud right at them. Then, I had a catty-college-girl moment. First I slammed my shot, then I said loudly to them, flashing my wedding ring, "Ladies, I've got a LIFETIME of getting laid, RIGHT here. Good LUCK!" I said and followed my friend laughing hysterically.

Swanky GF proceeded to lead me through a series of people she sort of knew, and through the sea of Seekers, whilst holding my Cosmo precariously. Actually, I've always wanted to do that, and it really was like the movies--even when the drink barely spilled, no one noticed. "Huh," I said, "that really works!" Yup. Who's a certified geek? This girl. I will say that, observing this scene really really made me the most grateful wife I've been in a long time. I always tell my husband I appreciate him. But seeing all these Love Seekers and people on the prowl, just made appreciate how holy, committed, and adoring my husband is to and of me. I didn't feel better than anyone else--I mean, I wanted everyone to experience that. I wanted to be like, "Put down your glamor and martinis and listen to me! There's SO MUCH MORE!!" But, for obvious reasons, probably no one would believe me. I mean, their lives seemed a teensier shinier and glamorous. So you know, in case you don't believe me, I'll give an  example: I'll bet if even the waitress had known that earlier that day, I'd had poop under my fingernails from the baby's twelve o'clock blowout, she would not have taken my tip.

Now it gets kind of funny. So, remember that shot I slammed? There is a reason, a really very GOOD reason why Nicole don't do shots and I remembered it all too late. One moment we were talking, and the next I said giggling, "Uh...I need to EAT. Like, now." Well it was like flippin' Mardi-Gras in there so by the time the waitress came with the spring rolls, I downed them like it was my last day. As we talked, there was this couple that sat in the leather chairs next to us. We'll call them Sak's Fifth Avenue Catalogue Couple. They never spoke; they just posed like every move was to be noted and Sak's Lady wore an expression like it either hurt to be that cool, or she was perpetually smelling a deuce. Daper Sak's Dude was about ten years her senior but wore a fedora tilted way back on his bald head and seemed to be trying to say, "I'm like Dean Martin, see? Dean Martin was old...but cool...and wore his shirt open like this..." I was perplexed. I wanted to button his shirt and smoosh his hat. It was weird. As they left, Swanky GF officially turned into Savvy GF because she said, "Did you SEE Giraffe Lady?! What was with that?! And why was that guy all, Fedora Man?!" We were in hysterics for a long while but since our voices were gone and we remembered we had families to go to, we decided to leave.

We parted ways with girl-giggles and "call you soons!" and it was true; I'd be calling her soon. Like, twenty minutes later. It seemed that...I was stuck driving in circles in this parking garage. It got to the point that I considered that perhaps this was a joke, and there was a trap door, or a Star Trek portal that had beamed me up ("How'd I miss THAT?" I demanded aloud) when I'd originally parked there because, I SERIOUSLY followed the signs to no avail. I didn't want to call her and sound so stupid. But I had to. The best part about this conversation, is that I don't really know how calling helped me at all. "Hey! It's me and uh...I'm lost. In the garage." Apparently, she'd been lost too. Apparently, that shot was damn good. Right as she said, "Um, just keep turning right! And, you'll find it!" I did. I seriously did find the exit. Relief flooded me. This wasn't Twilight Zone after all! Then came, the ticket booth. First of all, I didn't park close enough to the stupid ticket slot, secondly, I couldn't find my card. At all. I found $10 and miracle of miracles, my fee was $10 but then, there was a line of two cars who were honking at me. The two girls parked in back of my little Toyota with a Pro Life! sticker had absolute daggers in their eyes as I got out (stupid car not parked close enough, remember?) and I waved a "PSH!" at them. Then I heard their laughter. Apparently (there's that word again indicating that everyone else knows something I don't), my dress lifted its bad self waaaay up and was static-y and I hadn't noticed because my Spanx looked like my dress. Yeah, awesome. Whatever. I got back in the car and called Savvy GF again, panicked. But no fear because, "Dude--I DO have your credit card! YAY!" she exclaimed. "I'll meet you off of Colfax." I think it took me another solid gall-darn twenty-minutes to get out of all of the one-ways, to Colfax. For some reason, instead of parking next to her, I chose to park with a giant landscaping of river rocks separating us. It was like a National Lampoon's movie, with each of us walking over giant rocks in our heels. She handed me the card and I was relieved. Until I saw the name, Gina Steed. Yeah, not my name. "Dude--my name isn't Gina" I said. "I know! I know!" she explained, "I just thought maybe it was a...relatives...card?" Then she lent me her phone to call the place. Then her phone died. It was one of those times where, if Life were a person, I'd pinch It's cheeks and be like, "You crazy little Life, you!"
If you know me, you know that I get lost in my own house. So, not one hundred feet from the exit I needed, I got lost and ended up almost making it all the way home instead of back down town. I was almost there when the security guy from the Four Seasons called and asked that I bring the card back. It hadn't even registered that I had someone else's card; I'd figured I'd pick up our card the next morning. The guard apologized profusely and explained that the waitress had somehow mixed up mine and "Gina's" cards, but the correct charges were put on them. So, I turned my Zombie-self (because Going Out Nicole's magic was gone) back around and drove myself down-town, parked in the valet parking and got my card back. Then, Savvy GF called to make sure I'd made it in one piece and we laughed hysterically about the night, in proper girlie fashion. Vowing to do it again soon. Without the credit card swapping. "I guess this means I didn't really treat you to dinner, huh?" she hooted. "Nope," I said, "If we're lucky, Gina did."

I hope this made you want to go out with an awesome fun GF, and wear clothes you don't feel comfortable in until you do feel like yourself, and embrace all of those things about you, because a GF can. I hope it makes you want to be sassy for just one time (pst--but listen, don't slam that shot, maybe), and branch out. And if I fail at making you want to do that, be grateful for GFs, and especially for the ones you love, and the life you live everyday, even if it's not Swanky, because what it is, is authentic. 
Toodles dahlings!

*Note. A word about the name Swanky Barbie Beauty GF: Because I am pretty sure she and I feel the same about Barbies (we'd both probably like to feed such a false image of girl and woman-hood femininity to some understanding  ravenous wolves) and while I really do believe she looks like the closest thing to a real-life Barbie (in a, "Do you even HAVE pores? kind of a way) I've ever seen, I would hate to offend her legit beauty, or her amazing authenticity and supreme intelligence, or most importantly--her genuine and womanly heart. You know who you are, and I just adore you! I hope my poetic liberties didn't offend!

**Spanx: For you skinny gals, you won't know what these are. Spanx are not really for skinny girls. They're like body-slimmers and smoothers that are similar to those of the 1950's pin-up style. I find them to be practically lingerie-like, and I love them; they smooth out undergarments. Just DON'T FORGET ABOUT STATIC CLING. And, don't buy Spanx that you are too long for your short body. You just might end up showing off your arse to some angry gangsta looking chics in a parking garage.