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.…..

$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.