October 2013 archive

The Bird is the Word

This is an actual conversation that just took place at my house

Scott: Do we have any tape?

Me: Yes, in the drawer. What For?

Scott: This (holding up a then unidentifiable bunch of construction paper)

Me: Oh, who made that?

Scott: (Looking at me like I was a complete idiot) I did. I am now doing a lot of arts and crafts at work.

 Well, aren’t you hilarious. You look really hilarious now….      
Here is the real artist, Handsome #1
My precious love, Handsome #3

Sadly, Handsome #2 could not be reached to show his Cardinal pride, he was thinking over the decision to chuck train tracks across the room narrowly missing his infant brother’s head

Go Cards!

You Better Work….

Sweet Mary Mother of God. Have you ever had one of those days when you walk out the door looking fierce, or so you think, and in a matter of minutes you deteriorate completely. You spend a great deal of time on your look, particularly your hair, because your physical appearance is important for your line of work and you need to be on trend and put together. But, then the planets shift and your are in trouble. Not like you forgot your lipstick, and need a pick me up. No, I am talking more of the holy $h!+ if Stacy and Clinton saw this they may reincarnate “What Not to Wear” just for you.

You catch a glimpse in the rear view and notice a problem

The scarf seemed like a good idea when I left the house, but after further investigation the color and tie technique is resembling an infected goitor. But, that isn’t the worst of my problems. Take a look at that lipstick. It looks as if I put it on with my feet or let Handsome #2, my three-year-old, give it a shot.

Hmm, did you style your hair with a fork, Ariel?

Here, you can really see how great that lipstick application is.I appear to be hemorraging, but just on the sides. Somehow, the center has nothing on it, at all. Shall we discuss the hair? I am quite sure that I used AT LEAST five different products to keep my faux hawk in shape, but somehow it looks more like I just got a fresh trim from a flowbee.

Excuse me Eric Carmen, can we discuss those Hungry Eyes

Holy $h!+ this was the shock of the day. I knew that I looked terrible, but when in the hell did I develop a lazy eye? Looking at this makes me nervous, I am not sure which one to look at. They both look like they hurt and could induce instant vertigo and vomiting….Make.it.stop.

Just cover your whole face and no one will know it’s you

I figured that putting on my sunglasses would make things better. Let’s see about that, idiot. Not only does my hair look like Blanche Devereaux after a romp in the woods, but those damn glasses are so big, they are nearly wrapping around my head. WTF is going on?

Since there was nothing that I could do to make things better from my car, I did the only reasonable thing that I could. I drowned my sorrows in a 440z Diet Dr. Pepper, drove to my office and hid. I suppose it could have been worse. I could have been standing on the beach in a bikini thinking that I was really hot stuff….oh wait……

Oh look, an awkward boy in a bikini with a popeye…..

There’s no place like home…..well, kind of…..

It is Sunday in St. Louis, so the boys, Maurmi, Grandpa and I headed to Strange Donuts, a new culinary hot spot, for a breakfast treat. As is typical for any adventure, we weren’t in the car five minutes before someone starting to torment someone. Today’s pester fest starred Grandpa and Handsome #2.

Handsome #2: Guess what? We are going to Strange Donuts, Grandpa.
Grandpa: No, we are going to familiar donuts.
Handsome #2: No, not furmilyur, Strange Donuts.
Grandpa: I think familiar sounds good.
Handsome #2: AGGGGHHHH! Not furmilyur, we are going to Strange Donuts.
Grandpa: I think I like familiar donuts.
Handsome #2: (Crying) I hate furmilyur donuts, Grandpa.

This went on and on for twenty minutes until we arrived. There was a line out the door and inside was a tight squeeze. The line moved fast, and once waited on, we swiftly made our selections and were out the door. As we headed home, we listened to a Halloween CD and attempted to make friendly conversation.

Me: Handsome #2, how old are you?
Handsome #2: I am three.
Me: Handsome #2, when is your birthday?
Handsome #2: May 28th.
Me: Handsome #2 what is your address?
Handsome #2: I don’t have one.
Handsome #1: Yes you do! It is XXXX LollyDolly Lane.
Handsome #2: No it’s not! I do not have a LollyDolly! You are a LollyDolly.
Handsome #1: Yes it is. We all live there!
Handsome #2: No!I!Do!Not! I do not have an address, Handsome #1! Guess what? You are a girl.
Handsome #1: Mom! Handsome #2 called me a girl.
Handsome #2: You are a girl, Flanagan, with a bow in your hair!

PS: We do not live on LollyDolly, but I don’t find it necessary to give the entire Internet, or the 25 of you reading this, my real address.
PPS: Flanagan is what Handsome #2 calls Handsome #1 when he is really pissed off.
PPPS: A three year old should probably not have the cognitive ability to figure out how to really anger his older brother with name calling and use it to his advantage every.single.time.
PPPPS: I did nothing about the above conversation but laugh and be sure that I didn’t forget the good parts. And, yes, I am working really hard for mother of the year.

Your kiss is on my list…….

When I heard Mika blaring “Love Today” in my ear this morning at exactly 6am, I wanted to punch him in the face. I had no desire to crawl out of my comfy cocoon, but hitting snooze isn’t an option when you have to be in a high school gym by 7:30, so I drug myself out of bed.

I knew it was destined to be one of those mornings when I found this in the shower.

Good Morning, have a nice day
Seriously, WTF is that? Why is it so hard to get the kids to clean up after their bath? If I have told him once, I have told  Scott 700 times, “I am the one who has to shower in here in the morning and I don’t want to have to step on this crap. Please be the responsible adult and make them pick up their toys!” And then I realized, $h!+, I was the moron who gave the boys a bath last night. And the reason that the toys remain on the shower floor is because someone attempted to drown someone else in the tub because he stole his washcloth and the only way that I was able to keep three children alive and not just two was to swiftly pull out one boy in each arm, and airlift them to their bedroom. At which point, I did a quick towel dry of their heads, put pajamas on wet bodies, which is about as fun as dressing an early 80s rubbery Barbie, and said a quick, “See you tomorrow.” I still had to feed the baby, clean the kitchen and fold the laundry that will NEVER end up in a drawer.

When I finally went to put said baby to bed thirty minutes later, I found this behind the rocker.

Surprise, I may or may not be dead under here
 Had the windows been open someone would have called 911 and reported multiple murders.”911 what is your emergency?””My neighbor across the street, the Grillin’ Fool’s wife, she appears to be in trouble. I think he may have had enough of her crap and thrown her on the Charbroil. They are all screaming. You better send several ambulances.”

This morning was a struggle, to say the least. The last few weeks have been this way……

          First there was this
Sharpie instead of lipstick, perfect….
And then this
Haven’t quite mastered shoes on the right feet….perfect
This morning, I did the unthinkable. I left home without my signature tube of slutty red lipstick. Talk about a WTF moment?!?!!? I don’t put lipstick on before I drop the boys at school and lay a big fat one on them for fear that the teachers will mistake my love and affection for child abuse or a nasty case of ringworm. So when I reached into my purse as I left the school parking lot, I was in a state of panic. I had two cell phones, a wallet, fruit snacks, diapers, wet wipes, three pairs on socks, tampons, a pair of Thomas the Train unnerwears, an iPad and a lint roller…..not a single tube of lips……
OMG

$h!+, I had to be in a high school in 15 minutes. No time to go home, no time to stop at Walgreens. No time for anything! I was forced to do the unthinkable, I had to go to school naked. No before you get all, she is so dramatic, on me, let’s be fair. The last time that I attempted to wear a different COLOR lipstick, Handsome #1 said,

“Mom, what is wrong with your face?”

Too bad, so sad, I had to go to work. I was angry, frazzled and not feeling myself at all. As I was setting up my table, a group of kids from a special education class were making their way through the gym early before it got too busy. A sweet-looking boy, maybe 15, came over and said hello.

He looked at my setup and said, “Oh, this isn’t for me.”

“That’s OK. I hope that you have a great day,” I replied and went back to getting organized.

He walked away, but swiftly turned around. He came back looking like he had left a book or a pencil behind. “Ma’am. I forgot. I forgot to say, you look pretty today.”

And off he went.
So simple, so kind and a total day changer. It was a slap in my face, and one that I needed today. A change in perspective. It isn’t about the lipstick, or the shoes, or the hair. It is about a smile and being kind. I would love to tell his mom, you are doing it right. I am sure that she worries, we all do. But when he is on his own, he is kind and loving and I truly hope that my boys are like that. Thank you God for sending him my way.
I’ll duckface the hell out of some red lips
As I left the parking lot, I smiled. But, as I caught my reflection in the rearview, I realized that I still looked like the Walking Dead, so the Odyssey made a quick left into Walgreens and soon, everything was right in the world again….And there is an extra tube in the ashtray, in case of an emergency……

Ain’t Nuthin But a C Thang……………

Along with pregnancy comes several fabulous side effects; including, but not limited to, vomiting, pimples, swelling, heartburn, cravings, sudden urges to empty your bladder and sleeplessness. This last one has to be one of my favorites. When I was pregnant with Knox, I would lay awake for hours daydreaming about the wonderful life that I would have as a mother of three and how my perfect little children would be super stars academically and athletically, that latter is hoping that there has been a genetic mutation somewhere along the lines because they aren’t getting that one from me. Yeah, well, that is what a normal person thinks about. I, on the other hand, concentrated mostly on my irrational fears and keeping my children safe from the Litarians of the world.

You see, as a young girl growing up on the mean, tree-lined streets of St. Louis Hills, I was exposed to, well, nothing. Not a damn thing…ever….And I liked it that way. That was until Nancy Reagan starting daring kids to stay off drugs and the nuns in the office decided to scare the $h!+ out of every child at St. Gabriel the Archangel. I can still remember the purple ditto that I brought home from school. I couldn’t read it, but I knew that it was bad and that I was likely going to end up dead because of it.

My mom explained that there had been a very bad man spotted in the neighborhood in a white van with no windows, perfect for nabbing, giving out lickable tattoos laced with LSD to children. *Editor’s note, this may be the combination of several dittos, regarding separate instances, but this is how my memory sealed it, so press on. And right then and there, I knew, that I was soon to be abducted, drugged and left to a life on the streets. There was nothing that I could do to protect myself, so I might as well get use to it.

As a child constantly being compared to Punky Brewster, I was also always concerned that my mother was going to ditch my brothers and I in a parking lot someday. Let’s think about that one for a second, shall we? In the 1980s, prime time television taught us that if your mom left you, you could simply climb into an old man’s apartment, with your dog no less, and life will be just fine. As long as another young girl and her old-as-hell grandmother are across the hall to help out. Sounds perfectly safe and logical, plus you get an awesome loft bed…..perfect….I could certainly fend for myself if I could just find Henry Warnimont……

So smart, yet so very, very stupid

As I grew older, I realized that my mother wasn’t really going to ditch us, even though she did leave people behind here and there. Well, just Jimmy on a vacation and sleeping in a hot car in the Schnuck’s parking lot one little time. I felt a bit safer in my skin. That was until daytime talk shows got a hold of me. I learned quite a bit about the average teen from my good friends Sally Jesse, Phil, Jerry and Jenny. I tuned in as much as I could and learned that, “just say no” was nothing compared to the thug life. I would sit in horror listening to tales of young girls being ripped from their happy, innocent lives and thrust into a culture obsessed with race, sex and drugs. What was a high school girl to do…..Wait, WTF did you just say? High school?

East Side, West Side, Irish Mob?

Yeah, I was pretty much on the fast track to loserville at 14 because I sincerely believed that I was going to HAVE to be in a gang. I was so naive and f%^)@ng stupid, that I was certain that not only was I to be recruited, from St. Joseph’s Academy, but that I would have to participate in an initiation. That is where I really started to get scared. I was pretty sure that I was not going to be able to beat someone up with a bat, or put cigarettes out on their face, and I probably couldn’t tattoo anyone, but if I had to, I guess that I would. I worried about where they would find me and what I would do when I was approached. In the early 1990s, we all wore bandanas. I made conscious efforts not to tie a red one around my head because I didn’t want to show affinity to a blood if the crips were around……

I was fearful of strangers, particularly females because I knew they wanted me. I was extremely cautious of the girls in over-sized hoodies and scrunch socks with the crunchy ramen noodle perms, huge bangs and the top portion of their pony tails pulled back so tightly that their eyes began to squint. Those were the ones that Sally Jesse made me fear the most. They lived the seemingly-innocent lives and then, Bam!, they were suddenly passing around the chronic and shoplifting for a living. I would walk to Target near Hampton Village, certain that any person standing at the bus stop would quickly break from the BiState line, throw a bag over my head and my initiation would begin.

All too soon, I would be living in a crappy apartment covered in newspapers with a dirty microwave oven and a Coleman cooler to chill my cans of Colt 45. I would change my name to Dimples Dark Eyez and hang out at the Bus Stop just looking for fresh meat. Young women would fear my tear drop tattoos and gold-capped teeth, but be equally in awe of my fingernails studded with diamonds and as long as eagle talons. This was my destiny and I had accepted it and perhaps started to look forward to it. At least with a gang, there was job security and a family, something that I was missing in my real life!?!?!? Hmm………

From the cradle to the grave….thug till I die…..

As an adult, who somehow escaped the thug life, I still find myself compelled to watch Lockup and wonder what could have been had things gone the wrong way on Hampton. For years, I wondered if any of my brothers had felt the same way, or if my mother feared me getting involved with a bad crowd. So, one night at Sunday dinner, I asked.

“Were any of you ever afraid of being able to participate in a gang initiation when we were kids?”

The blank stares were alarming. Oh my God, had one of them actually been approached? Did somebody get knifed and I wasn’t told? Who from the parish was part of the underground culture? WTF was going on?
Then the laughter started. No not just laughter, hysteria. Sort of like a pack of hyenias on methanphetamines.

“You can’t fight.”
“You have zero street cred.”
“What do you know about being a gansta?”

And then Big D chimed in…..

“Colleen! What the hell are you talking about? That is the dumbest thing that I have ever heard you say. For God’s sake! What gang would want anything to do with you? Now do the dishes.”

Yep…that’s me..well, as a white woman, and make that about $6, on a good day……

 

This is f*&@#%! Awesome…….

It is bedtime at the Thomas house. After reading a story, saying prayers and every other sweet Norman Rockwell photo detail, the boys are slumbering soundly teddy bear in the crook of their arm and dreaming about waking up tomorrow to a fresh stack of pancakes.I don’t know this group of Thomases, but being that the name is quite common, I am sure it is happening somewhere.

The people under the stairs have nothing on this guy.

We read stories and say prayers here too, but it isn’t all rainbows and flowers. Actually, it is none of those things because I have a house full of boys, so think more lizards and trucks, but it isn’t that either. The routine here is certainly consistent, but it always ends with at least one person being threatened, someone screaming and Scott and I playing rock, paper, scissors to determine who has to go up and wipe snot off of the weeper’s face. Sometimes, they even attempt to escape their horrible living conditions, but sadly, they can’t quite make it out.

I have been fighting a cold for a few days that has degenerated into a sweet case of laryngitis. My voice is not completely gone, much to my husband’s chagrin, but has taken on a more raspy, high-pitched tone, think Kathleen Turner with a side of Cyndi Lauper. Although I don’t really feel like talking, my boys don’t give one $h!+ about that and expect me to continue on with my daily responsibilities, on top of working a full-time job, that include, but are not limited to, answering 16,000 questions, making meals, answering a few more questions, doing laundry, telling stories and, of course, singing lullabies. I think it is sweet that my boys still let me sing to them while I rub their backs and I cherish every second because I know someday soon they will only want me to speak to them if it is to tell them how much money I will be handing over. Since Handsome #1 was an itty bitty baby, I have sung the same songs to him using his name sweetly, I then changed the tunes to have Handsome #2’s name included, and they are on their third incarnation with Handsome #3.

Tonight, as 7:30 approached, it was time to get the boys moving. They swiftly used the bathroom, put on their jammies and got into their bunk beds with very little difficulty. This is when I should have become suspicious. After we sang our evening prayer, the Casey Kasem request and dedication lines opened.

Handsome #1: Momma, will you sing me a song?
Me: Honey, my voice is really gone. How about tomorrow?
Handsome #1: Momma! You promised a song.

I never made any promise, but I knew that the tears were coming, so I might as well comply.

Me: Mommy loves her Finnegan. Oh she wonders what she did without him.
Handsome #1: Stop! That is not what we want.
Handsome #2: No, we want $20 in my pocket.
Handsome #1: Yep. That’s the one. Go!

Seriously?!?!?! They want me to get my Mackelmore on? The simplest of phrases coming from my mouth sound like the sacrificing of a small animal and they want an upbeat rap?  Under normal circumstances, it is a reasonable request. I have mad skills at the mic, but I didn’t have time for a cup of tea with lemon to coat my throat or even a Luden’s and they want rap?

Me: Guys, come on. Let’s sing our prayers again and go to sleep.
Handsome #2: WE WANT $20 IN MY POCKET!

His eyes were red and I swear I saw little fangs starting to grow. I was looking at a miniature Teen Wolf and thought for sure the next request would be for a keg of beer.

Would you mess with that?

Me: OK…..I’m gonna pop some tags
Handsome #1: You forgot the bada bada part
Me: Bada, bada, bada
I’m gonna pop some tags Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I, I, I’m hunting
Looking for a come up
This is awesome

Handsome #1: Um, that’s not right. It’s being awesome……
Handsome #2: No! It’s ing awesome.
Me: Guys, it’s just awesome.
Handsome #1: Nope it is being awesome.
Handsome #2: Handsome #1!!!! It is not! It is ing awesome. You mean head.
Handsome #1: Handsome #2 called me a mean head, so I am going to punch him.
Me: No body is punching anyone. (First punch is thrown, followed by a sharp kick to the kidney)
Handsome #1: Brennan kicked me!
Me: You punched him, what do you expect? I have had enough. It is time for bed.
Handsome #1: Nooooo! You aren’t finished.
Handsome #2: Momma. You haven’t done my favorite part yet about the moccasins.
Me: Oh, my God! Lay down and be quiet. I will finish it, but so help me God if anyone touches anyone we will never listen to this song again. Do you understand me?

Walk in the club like what up? I got a big sock
Nah, I’m just pumped up, bought some stuff from the thrift shop
Ice on the fringe is so dang frosty
People like dang, that’s a cold ash donkey
Handsome #1: Momma it’s cold ash honkey
Me: No, it’s donkey.
Handsome #1: Definitely, defintely honkey. What is a honkey?
Handsome #2: Handsome #1. It is a cold ash.
Me: OK. It is time to go to sleep.
Handsome #2: Oh yeah?!?! You are a cold honkey.
Me: It is time for bed…..good night…..I love you…..
When I am alone in my minivan enjoying my day, there is nothing I love more than a filthy rap track loaded with f bombs, dotted with sexism and layered with gang violence. But, when I am saying goodnight to my innocent toddlers, I have to bring things down to a G rating. It ruins the integrity of the tunes, and frankly, I would much rather keep rapping 8 mile style, but if they repeated the lyrics in the middle of music class, Sr. Mary Catholic Teacher would likely send home a note, so instead, I censor.
Right before tonight’s bedtime adventure, I decided that I had better run to Walgreen’s to the Healthcare Clinic to see what is going on with my voice. I left with a diagnosis of a virus and no prescription, but was told to drink plenty of fluids, including tea. I decided to head over to Target for a few things, but figured I had better let Scott know. Instead of texting and driving, I thought I would use Siri to help.