As a resident of St. Louis, life has been emotional these past few weeks. It’s sad to see heartache, destruction and fear in a time that is supposed to be happy and filled with love and family. While I can’t fix the problems in our city, cure disease or stop global warming, I can give you the next best thing.
I have never considered myself terribly proactive. I have been known to wait until there are so few groceries in the house that I make my children “junk lunches” to take to school. They call this an adventure, I call it a futile attempt to make string cheese, raisins and a handful of cereal flakes a balanced meal. The laundry has piled up to the point of no return and rather than tackle it, I have bought everyone new outfits. So when the change battery light came on in my car a few weeks ago, I looked at it for 10 seconds and then went about my business. It popped up again last week and I almost got concerned, but then forgot that I didn’t care. But when I saw it today a midst the snow flurries and temperatures that make me want to put on what the handsomes lovingly refer to as the coverfeets and keep them on for the next several months, I realized that I better take action.
It was the end of a long day at work and I figured that super big box store that does and sells just about everything was just as good a place as any for a quick battery replacement. Evidently 1/2 of SoCo agreed because the line was way longer than I anticipated. I arrived at about 5:50 and was greeted by a gentleman who said that it would be about an hour and that as soon as my car was finished they would page me. No big deal, I could certainly fill my cart with groceries and at least $100 worth of other crap that I didn’t need.
I walked the aisles grabbing bread, bottled water, pajamas, socks, deodorant, you know, the usual. I was quite enjoying the stroll alone without three little loves nagging, err helping me. I got lost in the peace and quiet and before I knew it, it was 7:15. I hadn’t heard my name called, so I strolled back to automotive to see how much longer the wait would be.
As I turned the corner, to say that I was surprised was an understatement. The department was dark as night, the registers off, the doors closed, not a sole in site. Certainly there must have been a power failure back there causing all of the lights to be off because no way in the world could they be closed, right? Wrong…..
I made my way to the service desk and very calmly, even laughing, explained my predicament. I mean, really, who comes in to the store in a car, asks to have service on that car, and doesn’t expect to leave in that car? I might as well have said that I murdered a family of puppies because the look of horror on their faces was intense. They had no idea what to do. Again, I was calm. They called a supervisor, who suggested they call a manager. Hmm, no $h!+?!?!? The manager then said to call a supervisor. These poor women were playing a game of who’s on first and I was starting to come unhinged.
I could feel myself ready to explode. I called my husband and while maniacally laughing told him what was happening. He wasn’t sure whether to call the manager or the police, but ultimately laughed and gave me a, “Good luck. Let me know how is works out.” A manager finally showed up and when I, once again, explained what had happened, I was greeted with the look of, “I have no f@#^ing idea how to do my job,” on her face. She disappeared in to the night, leaving me with a cart full of a crap and an old man behind me offering to drive me home in a kind of nice, but I could totally be a predator way.
I was finally greeted by a man who seemed even more confused than everyone else in the store because he said that he was back there the whole time and that no one came to get him. At this point, I couldn’t have cared less, I just wanted to get the hell out of there and home to my babies. A cool $110 for the battery later, I was out the door. I had just discovered on my way home from work that Holly was back on satellite radio an I was ready to rock the hell out of some Karen Carpenter.
I turned the car on, all systems go. Well, all except the navigation and sound systems. If there is one thing that is absolutely essential in a minivan to a woman like myself who wants nothing more than to bless the world with her musical styling,it is a fully-functioning stereo system. When I got in the car tonight, instead of seeing my navigation and audio menu, I saw this middle finger right in my face.
|Ha, Ha, Ha, Idiot…We win, we always win!|
Not.a.clue. Not a f%^&!”! clue…..You might as well ask me to predict the Powerball numbers because there was just as much of a chance that I would get those correct as my knowing what the hell this PIN is. I tried everything, every combination of every significant and insignificant numbers, nothing. So instead of singing Christmas tunes on the way home, I screamed, cried and beat the steering wheel. Dramatic? Perhaps, but this on top of the news of Richard Simmon’s depression today. I just can’t even…..If you need me, I’ll be singing along to Sweatin’ to the Oldies 2 while eating a bowl of Cookies n Cream…..
Tonight, I, err, Handsome #1 and I, finished our first real deal school project. He is next week’s star student and along with other privileges comes a chance to let the class learn a bit more about you. There was cutting, pasting, coloring and my all-time favorite activity to do with a child, handwriting. To be fair, he has come a long way from the hieroglyphics that he was turning out in kindergarten, but holy Moses, it is a struggle! The professor, as he is most lovingly referred to by his Maurmi, can tell you anything in the world that you would ever like to know about reptiles, insects, Sponge Bob or Woody Woodpecker. He would love to recount the times that his father has allowed him to flip his steaks on the grill, or the time that I called a woman a b!+ch at the mall, which by the way, she ABSOLUTELY deserved. Just don’t, under any circumstance, ask him to write it down. You might as well be asking for a kidney, as his reaction is just about the same. He will do whatever he can to get out of it. He is shrewd, once telling me that he will never need to learn to write because everyone just has computers and texts each other anyway. He is six….. And yes, I realized about a month after he was born and he started talking that we were likely in trouble.
I was simply horrified today when I saw that a local grocery store, my grocery store, my neighborhood location was the scene of a robbery. Actually, it was a bank satellite office inside of the bank. Perhaps the robber was looking to cash in on Mr. Big Shot $24,000 ATM Slip? I was determined to get to the bottom of it, so I threw on my Nancy Drew hat and headed to the supermarket to sniff out some clues.
OK, so that is a bunch of crap. I was headed home from an event at Finnegan’s school and had to stop to grab a few things for an event at work tomorrow. I gathered my items and made my way to the front of the store and headed to the only open lane, which happened to be right next to the bank. I consider myself to be a friendly, outgoing gal (I hate the word gal, but in the following exchange, it seemed an appropriate name). Per my ususal, I whipped up the following convo with the 17ish male checker and his trusty sidekick, the bagger.
Me: Wow, I can’t believe that someone would really rob a bank, in a grocery store, with all of these people around.
Checker: Yeah, it was pretty dumb.
Me: I know. Who does that and thinks that they can get away with it with all of these security cameras?
Checker: People do dumb things all the time.
Me: Walking in here, to the front of the store past all of the cameras is like walking in with a big sign around your neck saying, remember my face, I am about to rob the place.They are just asking to be picked out of a lineup.
Checker: Yeah, people are dumb. They do all kinds of stuff that makes them stick out and makes them memorable. Some are just like hard to forget.
Me: I know, people are just dumb. It’s like they want to get caught. Thanks so much for your help. Have a great night.
Checker: You too, Mrs. Thomas.
Huh? Did he just call me Mrs. Thomas? I don’t write checks. He didn’t ask for my ID for the Diet Coke and water that I just purchased. I guess that I have shopped at this store so many times throughout the last decade that they have come to know me. What a nice young man. Wow, they really are the friendliest stores in town.
Or….I am the biggest idiot in town….you decide…..
|Upon getting into my minivan I realized that right above my heart was this Godforsaken name tag…..I was just asking to be picked out in a line up…..idiot…..|
There is one household chore that I hate. No, not like I hate to do the dishes, or I hate to pay my bills, or I hate to make dinner for these kids that will likely look at it and say, “I HATE this!” No, I would gladly do any of those things before I have to change the seasons in my children’s closets. I would rather clip their toenails with my teeth than take their itty bitty shirts, off of itty bitty hangers and put them in giant rubber tubs and then unpack other giant rubber tubs filled with things that make me wonder why I ever saved this $h!+ in the first place. How many moms have pulled out onesies from baby 1, 2, 3 etc. to use on the new child and found them riddled with holes and poop stains? I look at this crap and think, “You are a moron. You would never put this on your sweet baby? Why did you save it?” But as I am feverishly throwing dozens of shirts, shorts, pants and mismatched socks into a new bin, it is very clear why. If it is locked away in an opaque bin, it is out of my face and I can forget about it for a number of years. I can stuff it fast, put a lid on it and Scott will gladly take it down the steps and hide it so that I quit crying. Yes, there is crying and screaming, but no one puts me in timeout for the afternoon and lets me fall asleep just to make me shut up. Oh no, I have to keep working.
|Please send the TLC truck away, this is not Hoarders. This is just and episode of ” Hey Guys, nothing to see here. I just wanna kill someone and am crying in the corner.”|
While working on my kids’ room this past weekend, I had my iTunes on random and “A Spoonful of Sugar” came on. This is quite a change from my normal house-cleaning soundtrack, but the iPad was too far away to press next, so I figured I would give Julie Andrews a shot. As the upbeat tune blared through the speaker. I was suddenly a bit more cheery and transported back to being a kid. As children, we were all memorized by Mary Poppins. Her sweet smile, beautiful voice and quick-snapping fingers made cleaning your room a game. Remember how the toy soldiers walked right into the toy box and the blankets flew up in the air and landed perfectly folded on the bed? Why, just a spoonful of sugar will make it all better, right Mary? Wrong! You lied Mary Poppins, not a damn thing was going to make this job a game! I could have downed a 5 pound bag of sugar this weekend and still needed a half a dozen Zoloft to take the edge off. The more I listened the more infuriated I became. No magical bird was appearing on my finger.No cute little boys is short sets were there to help? I would have settled for filthy Bert coming in and tossing crap in a bin with soot-covered hands. But, nope, no one came to the rescue. Sure, periodically I would hear Scott down the hall warning the boys not to come near the bedroom or they may not be seen again…ever…..But that was as much human interaction as I saw for days.
It took me what felt like 72 hours to complete this one godforsaken room, but when it was finished, I had made a large pile of clothes to give to charity. But as I was on my way to the Goodwill bin, I had the brilliant idea to take the clothes to a children’s resale shop to see what I could get for them. Most were is good condition, but older styles that I likely won’t put on Handsome #3, and I was tired of storing them. I went to the store and was offered $43 for the haul, which seemed fair. I headed to the ATM at Schnucks to make my deposit, feeling like a big shot with a couple of Andrew Jacksons for my troubles. I made my deposit and grabbed what I thought was my receipt, but suddenly my big score at the resale shop didn’t seem so great when I saw that the person who had visited the ATM before me, and left their receipt, had a mere $24,000 in their checking account.
Well look at you Mr. Big Shot! $24,000 in the checking, huh? I bet you can hire Mary and her team of snapping clowns to come over and clean your house every week can’t you? You think you are so great with your pinstriped suit and monogrammed cuffs, don’t you? Your fancy spectator shoes that you wipe off on your welcome mat before you walk on your freshly-shined wood floors that glow just like that bald head of yours? I quickly realized that this pompous jerk, who I made up completely in my mind and was hating because of his ATM slip, was built in the image of my own husband, right down to the lack of hair on his head. Well, except for the actual ATM slip and hoarding of $24,000. That and the shined floors. That doesn’t happen unless he shines them himself, I am not a floor person. And he does that…pretty much every time that I ask him to. So in actuality, he is a fair, good guy, who I really love, but sometimes I need to direct my frustration and he is an easy target. Perhaps I had some deep-seeded resentment for the fact that I cleaned the room alone, and the remark, “You did this to yourself, quit buying them all of this crap.” Somehow in my rage I had made my way through the store and picked up a gallon of milk, bananas, a package of tortilla wraps, two cans of black beans, an avocado and a half gallon of ice cream. Whether or not I had a full-on conversation with myself about the a$$hole who left the ATM receipt or just thought it is unknown…..I did however polish off half of the half gallon when I got home…..but that can be our little secret……
I believe that God gives every person unique and special gifts and that He wants us to use those gifts to help others and to make the world a better place. My gifts don’t come in the form that most people would likely consider special. For example, God made Mozart an incredible musician. I quit tickling the ivories after a not-so-unfortunate finger break in fourth grade. I hated piano lessons and wanted to die every time I had to go because my teacher, a nun, would drink soda from a can with a straw and burp the entire time. Instead of playing my songs in the practice room before my lesson, I would puncture the leaves of the aloe plant and watch the clear ooze drip to the floor. The day that my fingers bent back was God telling me straight out to quit wasting my parents money. I would never ever make it to playing “The Entertainer.”
My gift didn’t come in the form of an athletic ability either. No, I was much more concerned with having blue and gold bows in my hair than I was breaking a sweat. To this day, I daydream about running a marathon, OK, a 5K. But instead of training, I eat Peanut Butter M&Ms in bed while sipping a Diet Coke and watching a documentary about a runner with one leg overcoming the odds and I just wonder if I can walk to the kitchen to get more candy with one foot asleep.
God didn’t give me those kind of gifts. Nope, it would take me much longer to understand what my gifts are and how to best utilize them. You see, God made me a storyteller. He gives me such incredible material, it is hard not to spin amazing yarns. He fills my days with wacky inspiration that he just doesn’t seem to give to other people. For example, how many of you have gone for a quick eye exam and left looking like Mr. Potato Head? Or maybe, you used your Siri text to talk feature when you had a cold and ended up with this?
I just don’t think that He gives everyone so much material to work with. Like just last week. I was working, minding my own business, leaving my third appointment, when I felt a little something on the back of my ankle. It was a brisk fall day and there were beautiful leaves of crimson, amber and gold lying on the ground and periodically dancing across the earth with a quick gust of wind. I thought nothing of the feeling on my leg and got in the car. What began as a slight rubbing sensation began to slip down my leg quickly and caused a bit of alarm. I didn’t want to look down because I was sure that some sort of spider, or armadillo, was crawling down my leg. It was bulky and uncomfortable and terrifying.
When I finally got up the nerve to look, I was shocked. I was embarrassed. I was appalled. I was like WTF? How in the world does this happen? How do you go 3/4 of a work day with no one mentioning it? Who in the hell put him there?
|Do you see someone playing peek-a-boo.||.|
At this point, you are likely thinking that I have lost my mind and you are wondering what it is that you are looking at. Kindly resist the temptation to make the photo bigger. You will be instantly offended by the condition of my heels. Instead, just pull your computer closer to your face. Those little green spots belong to Percy good friend of my good friend, Handsome #2. Now before you get all, WTF is going on and why in the world would she have those in her pants? Let’s be fair and honest. As much as we would all like to pretend that we do 86 loads of laundry a week separated by color, fabric, temperature setting and family member, any mom with kids knows, you throw as many things into that machine as will fit and press go. Sometimes that method causes things to get crumpled up and stuck where they shouldn’t be. And if those crumples break free and appear in a public place where they shouldn’t, then sometimes people get strange looks…or arrested….Lucky for you, this happened in the car and I lived to tell the tale. Thankfully, I was able to return them to their rightful owner before he noticed they were missing and had an all out horrifying stage three meltdown…….
|I am so much more of a #1 Engine kind of girl, but whatevs…..|
|We are all fierce from the neck up|
Since I debuted my fiery red faux hawk a couple of months ago, I have gotten a lot of compliments. Here is the crazy thing, these compliments haven’t come from my family. They are certainly not my father, or even really my husband, but from complete and total strangers. I am literally stopped at least once a day and complimented on my do. As a five-month-postpartum mother of three boys five and under, I will take anything to boost my
confidence. I was texting with a friend the other night about my physical deterioration in the past seven years. Now I am not saying that I have turned into a completely useless fat sloth who lives in only yoga pants and a Cardinal cap, though some days I would like to, but I am not the same person that I was at 27 when I walked down the aisle. As I said to him, I am not quite a trophy wife, but more of an attendance prize. I get up every morning, get people dressed, make their meals and remember all of their names, that deserves recognition. Particularly when I hear them wake up and I am so comfy and cozy in my bed and I wait, and wait and wait for Scott to jump up, which he totally does a lot of the time, but realize that he is playing the same game and isn’t going anywhere, so I make the move. Normally I find the two older ones draped limply across the furniture looking like starving Ethiopians. Everyday it is the same thing, they keep wanting meals, the keep expecting me to make them and they keep telling me that Eggo Wafflers are not acceptable for dinner. Ugh….what is wrong with these people?
|They keep wanting me to feed them.every.single.day.|
As I was saying, the compliments from strangers are abundant. But the mass majority of the admirers are teenage boys. Like all teenage boys, everyday. I have had teenage checkers at Target spellbound, McDonald’s Drive Thru kids give me a wink while passing the Diet Dr. Pepper and then there was the boy stocking the yogurt at Schnucks who walked across the room to compliment me. I think if I had stood there three more seconds he would have asked me for my number, which is creepy and sort of amazing all rolled in to one. I am no stranger to the love of a teenage boy, but this admiration from the masses is new. I was never popular with teenage boys when I was a teenager. I was so awkward and terrified that I couldn’t even speak to them. The fact that I wore a larger bra then most of their mothers was exciting and terrifying to them, so they didn’t talk to me either. They would just stare longingly. But if we are being frank, had I let them close to me, which never would have happened, they wouldn’t have known what to do with those Dolly Parton D cups. Looking back, it was a big huge disaster and I may need to make a quick appointment with a therapist just to talk this one out.
Earlier this week, I was headed to an offsite event for work and feeling pretty good. My hair was in place, my lips were on straight and my clothes all matched. Win, win and win.
|Those little drops are big trouble|
|I could see the trouble brewing|
While I was inside, Mother Nature thought that she would be hilarious and change things up a bit. The weather went from cool and partly cloudy to an apocalyptic thunderstorm. While I may have been a Girl Scout in my younger years, I never bought in to that “be prepared” crap. That translates loosely to, girlfriend says, “Forget that. I don’t need an umbrella.” Perhaps you recall what happens when my product fails me on a normal day? My knees were knocking at the mere thought of walking outside, but I knew that at some point a member of the janitorial staff was going to sweep me right out the door, so I had to get moving.
By the time I made my way across the parking lot to the car, my hair looked and felt like it had been styled with maple syrup.We all know that water beats fire. It was an epic battle and water was victorious, leaving fire sad and barely flickering in the corner……
|Did Lucille Ball have days like this?|
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|
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…..|
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.
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