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.
*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.