Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Home Alone

My dad has been on a business trip for over a week now, and my mom has managed to stay out trouble in his absence by not leaving the house. She is however starting to get her days and nights mixed up, like a newborn, because she gets sucked into late night TV programming and can’t quiet the voice that tells her there’s actually no reason she has to get up in the morning; she could sleep until noon if she wants. She hasn’t made it until noon yet, but she’s getting close. And she acts like someone should award her bonus points for showering and blow drying her hair every day, even though she doesn’t have any contact with other human beings. I reminded her a few days ago that most people bathe daily for pure hygiene purposes, and not necessarily to impress their families, and she countered it was the hair styling that was the extraordinary measure. Yes, Mom, it shows real determination to fix your hair every day.

But, I digress; it was the staying out of trouble thing that started this train out of the station. Yesterday, there someone knocking on the front door, and since it’s Christmastime, she assumed it was a neighbor dropping by baked goods and couldn’t open said door fast enough. But, instead of being handed cookies, a stranger handed her a bottle of Tide. Her first thought was that someone had alerted the authorities to the way she’s been letting the laundry pile up while my dad is away, but it turns out that isn’t actually against the law. Neither is eating cereal for dinner three nights in a row because you don’t feel like cooking for just yourself. And we know this because we’ve studied case law concerning the lives of domestic women while their spouse is away on business. (There’s a sweatpants clause that has served me well in the past.)

So, here’s where the story takes a turn and becomes an Oprah Winfrey special on what women should not do when home alone. #1: Answer the door for a stranger. Oops, too late. #2: Say that you’re home alone. The detergent giver claimed to be there to sell vacuum cleaners and needed to come in to demonstrate the product. It is of note here that this man didn’t have a vacuum cleaner with him. My mom spotted this like a trained field agent and said, “No, you can’t come in. I’m here alone.” Great. Next, he tells her he’ll need the Tide back if he can’t come in. Mom considers this. Tide’s the good stuff. She was holding in her hands something close to a ten dollar value. And her life was worth? Yeah, more. So, she opened the glass storm door a second time and gave it back. The man says that he could come back later, when her husband was home. And this brings us to rule #3: Don’t tell the potential homicidal thief how long he has to come and commit crimes against you. My mom said, “Oh, he won’t be home for a couple of days.” And then immediately realizing her mistake changed it to, “I mean he’ll be home tonight. Soon, really.” Sure he will, lady. How’s about you just leave the front door unlocked so I don’t have to break a window?

He went on to deliver more of his vacuum cleaner sales pitch, and I’m not even sure how it got this far in the exchange without my mom mentioning that she doesn’t have carpet. Their entire house is restored hardwood flooring. But it did. And somewhere near this juncture, the man’s “boss”, or, more accurately, accomplice, drove up to the curb and parked. Mom and the bad guy wrapped things up and scheduled a time for them to come back and pillage the house before she finally closed and locked the door. And then, having learned some valuable lessons during her primetime television watching, she moved chairs and other manageable pieces of furniture in front of the door. I understand the concept of a barricade, but since I also know my mom can barely lift a full jug of milk, I doubt it was an effective one.

Dad’s on his way home right now, thank God. Because I’d hate to see what she’d do if someone showed up and offered something even more valuable, like a gift card to Macy’s or something.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What Recession?

Cra-zy (kra’ze) adj. From the Latin meaning, I went to the mall on the Saturday before Christmas. Not that this is news to you. Based on the population of Triangle Town Center Mall, I’d wager all of you were there. And, yes, even my out of state readers. I parked between two mammoth SUVs, with license plates from Colorado and Iowa. I didn’t park at the mall exactly, just an outskirt that may or may not have been in Raleigh, but was definitely in North Carolina (I saw NASCAR stickers). But, anyway, I was thinking that perhaps our mall is the front line of the war against the recession.

Remember when I was ridiculing the people that had their Christmas shopping done by the end of October, yeah, well, that gulp you just heard was me swallowing those words. Because those are the people curled up on the sofa today watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and sipping hot cocoa with tiny marshmallows of satisfaction. Though, to be fair, I wasn’t at the mall to Christmas shop, as there is no one on my list that’s been nice enough to warrant me entering a battle of that magnitude. I was there because my daughter had a lunch date at California Pizza Kitchen, which is at our mall, and she’s not old enough to drive, yet. Or pay. Or wipe her mouth effectively. So I tagged along.

The girls loved that the mall was so crowded and that multiple people were wearing red Santa hats. For them, there was excitement in the air. To me, there was just the heavy stench of too much cologne and perfume broken up by the wafting smells of b.o. and waffle fries. And Santa hats really only work on the big guy himself and possibly the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Other than that, it just looks creepy and sad on adults. Sadder in say February, but still not great in December.

I only went in one store and that was to purchase a gift for my mother, who, for whatever excuse, is still not a follower of my blog, but does read it, so I’ll not name the store I went to. I’ll just say that there was a line and I had to wait in it with two girls who were so happy about their playdate, they were twirling. Twirling and knocking things down. Twirling into people. Twirling and making me dizzy. You get the picture. And that wasn’t the only line we were in. There was also a line to walk through the mall. I didn’t notice at first, but then when the family in front of us stopped short right in front of The Gap, I realized we couldn’t walk around them. It was too crowded. We got into a thirty person pile up because Susie Glitter Shoes and her mom were discussing if they should go in and look for something for her cousin Adrianna. (I’m not sure of the spelling of Adrianna, but the fact that I know her cousin’s name should be enough. Too much even.) “Maybe a vest or a scarf?” Mom asks, as Dad eyeballs The Great American Cookie Company. He’s been there before, I can tell. I really wanted to suggest they step into the store to decide. Because going in isn’t a contractual obligation to purchase, you know. I was even considering taking the dad to the cookie place with us, if they’d just get out of the way because that’s where we were headed anyway. But luckily I thought twice before saying, “I’ll take your husband, if you’ll let us by.”

We purchased our cookies and began the long odyssey back to the van. I was worried both of the girls would have a birthday or two before we made it, but we got there in thirty minutes flat. I auctioned off our parking spot for twenty bucks, and vowed to never return to the mall again.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Limited Choices

I hope all of you voted yesterday; I did. Sadly we didn’t get to try again with the President thing; I feel like four years is pretty optimistic in light of current national problems, but no one asked me. I did get to vote for Senator, House Representative, Sheriff, judges, and even the super-important office of Soil and Water District Conservation Supervisor. The only thing stranger than that being an elected position is that there was more than one person who wanted to do it. Who aspires to something like that? Is it people who spent their childhoods playing in the mud and just can’t get enough of it, or is Soil and Water District Conservation Supervisor a stepping stone to The White House?

And how is that two people were running for that office and only one person wanted to be District Attorney? I can’t speak to the glamour involved in the Soil and Water office, but based on the four hundred seasons of Law&Order I’ve seen, I think D.A. is a fairly prestigious and exciting job and it seems like more people would want to do it. I, for one, was kicking myself for not running against that guy. Granted I don’t have a law degree or any actual experience, but I’ve read the complete works of John Grisham and if that doesn’t qualify me for District Attorney, I’d be shocked.

There was also a proposed state constitutional amendment wherein no ex-felons could become sheriff, and we were either for or against that. Seems like a pretty obvious choice to me; I don’t want felons out there arresting people. I thought that would be a unanimous decision, but then woke up today to find the election results showed over 300,000 voters would like the option of a felon sheriff. Really? I went to Google for answers.

Apparently, some people were against this because they don’t like adding things on to the constitution willy-nilly, and felt there was no need for this amendment. Maybe, maybe not. If you look at the types of people Americans are electing these days, putting Sheriff Reformed Felon in office doesn’t seem outside of the realm of possibility. I mean, have you heard Joe Biden speak? He had to pick up some of that language in the joint and you know it. (Other people were just against the amendment because they think a felonious sheriff will be more forgiving of the crimes they’re planning to commit, and I suppose if I were a criminal, I would’ve voted that way, too.)

And since I fulfilled my voting responsibility yesterday, I didn’t feel the need to fulfill any others. Like, I don’t have to make dinner, I voted today. I’m not one to burden myself with too many tasks in one day. Vacuuming can seem like overkill when I’ve already showered, brushed my teeth, and driven the kids to school. Speaking of adding on random amendments, can we put something on there about skinny jeans and who can and cannot wear them?

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Silence Of The Preseason Shoppers

I have had not one, but TWO friends tell me they’re done with their Christmas shopping! I know what you’re thinking; I need to get some new friends. I’m working on it. But, in the meantime, the ones I have are making me feel really behind. The first time someone claimed this completion, I ignored it. One overachiever doesn’t need to upset the balance of my laid back lifestyle, but the second time gave me pause and I conducted an impromptu interview of the friend in question, trying to isolate and study the mutated gene of foresight and planning that I do not possess. It was kind of like when Clarice Starling interviewed Hannibal Lecter so she could get into the mind of a psychopath and see what makes him tick. But with less discussion of what wines go best with the human liver.

She said that she starts buying gifts the day after one Christmas in preparation for the next, and then she just picks up things “here and there” throughout the course of the next calendar year and is usually finished by the end of summer or early fall. She just happened to notice that Christmas comes around again every year and rolled with it. Well, I’ve noticed that everyone eventually dies but I’m not out shopping for burial plots right now. But maybe these are the kind of people you want evaluating your retirement portfolio or something. Come to think of it, if my husband didn’t put money into that 401K thingy, I might have a little cash to participate in all of this preemptive Christmas shopping that’s all the rage.

I decided I could at least write out a list of who we need to buy presents for this year. And I thought I’d use that list to jot down some preliminary gift ideas, but actually all I’ve done is cross people’s names off because they’ve irritated me in some way or another. The way things are going the only person who’s going to be left on the list in two months is my grandma and, at age 86, all she’s into is warm socks and Pond’s cold cream. That seems pretty doable at the last minute. Overall, I think the less time my family has where they could potentially be moved to a naughty list, the better.

But while I’m not much of a gift planner, I’m very into the decorating. I think Christmas lights make the whole world a brighter place. I only wait until Thanksgiving Day to get ours out because I have this innate fear that the social-norm police will show up and give me a citation for off-season light displaying. And if the social-norm police ever show up here, I’ll have lots of explaining to do. Maybe not as much as Hannibal Lecter when his freezer was raided, but still.

So, I didn’t buy any Christmas gifts when I was Target today. I bought a couple of pumpkin scented candles instead because it seems like we’re going to go ahead and have fall and Thanksgiving first again this year.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Shot In The Dark

I knew there would be tears yesterday; that’s expected when you take three little kids to get their flu shots. However, I wasn’t expecting both my mom and I to end up laughing so hard at the kids that we were crying, too. Even looking back, I don’t know how a trip to the pediatrician turned into a Comedy Central special, but it did.

First let me say that I don’t know what the protocol is for telling your kids they’re going to get a shot. Do you warn them a week in advance? A day? How about 15 minutes prior to departure when they ask why they need to get their shoes on? I went with option C because my son, six years old, is a pathological dreader, and the more time he has to worry about something, the worse that thing becomes in his mind. Like if he gets in trouble and I say “I’m gonna tell your dad about this when he gets home,” if that’s twenty minutes from then, he’s a little anxious, but still functioning normally. But, if it’s going to be another five hours before my husband gets home, then my son has his bags packed for the orphanage and a copy of his last will and testament in his hands. Thus the short notice on the flu shot.

Well, I was shocked at the level of frenzy he managed to work himself into in a mere quarter of an hour. The wailing began before I even put the punctuation on the sentence telling him where we were going. By the time I wrangled him into the van, a la goat herder, he was acting crazy enough to qualify for government assistance. And this is the juncture where I should point out that his four year old twin sisters were fine. One of them was smiling and fairly pleased with the opportunity to get out of the house, the embodiment of “no fear”, and the other one was only concerned enough to have a slight chin quiver, but no actual resistance.

Fast forward fifteen ear-piercing minutes and we’re in the waiting room, garnering looks of pity from other patients who are just glad they don’t have whatever my son has, which unbeknownst to them is only a lethal case of trepidation. The nurse came and escorted us to the room in the back where the shots were going to be administered and that whole scene was like something straight out of Dead Man Walking or The Green Mile. Really, if for whatever horrible reason my son is ever sentenced to execution, I’m quite certain his walk to the death chamber won’t be any more terrifying than the 50 foot march he was subjected to yesterday.

Mom and I finally lost it when all three kids were lined up on the table awaiting the executioner. I was signing that release that asks if they’ve been sick in the last two weeks – No. If they’re allergic to chicken or eggs – No, though I’d love to see that validated by my son actually eating eggs. And the last question “Is anyone in the household pregnant?” – No, but, wait, what kind of shot poses a threat if just someone in the house is pregnant? Does the recipient of the shot emit some kind of harmful radiation post-injection? Is that why my son was frightened beyond words? I looked up and saw that my son had his fingers hooked on his bottom jaw, like he was auditioning for a Scooby-Doo movie and screaming like he was engulfed in flames. He wasn’t. He was however about to cause permanent hearing damage for everyone within a ten mile radius. Beside of him sat two little girls, all dressed in pink, swinging their feet back and forth and smiling while protecting their own ears by covering them with their little hands. I never have the video camera when I really need it.

The twins went first. One of them barely whimpered when they injected her because she’s made of tough stuff, possibly oxidized steel and duct tape. But, when they were done and it was Scooby’s turn, he started begging for his life, literally throwing himself on the mercy of the court. In the span of thirty seconds, he said the following: “Can I just come back tomorrow? I won’t do it! Get away from me!” and here’s where it took a dramatic turn “It’ll kill me! I’ll die!” Mom and I, not having access to horse tranquilizers or a straight jacket, had to restrain him with all of our strength while he got the shot. Which, for the record, is not the same as being shot, though he didn’t seem to grasp that.

When we got him off the table, he started limping out of the room. Full-on dead leg hobble, refusing to even set that foot on the ground. His sisters were giggling and racing out to the van. It was hilarious, even the nurse was laughing at that point.

I’m pretty sure I’ll just risk him getting the flu next year, unless a nurse can be dispatched to my home in the middle of night to administer the shot as he’s sleeping. And let me just say, he’s got nothing left in the reaction arsenal for when encounters an actual crisis. Broken bones, masked intruders, plagues of locusts; I won’t know. Because his screams and emotions couldn’t possibly be more potent than when he was six and got a flu shot. And I will be saving this story for when his younger sisters need to pull it out and level future playing fields.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Holidays I Skip

My mom left a message on our answering machine yesterday to remind us that it was Grandparent’s Day. “Don’t worry,” she said, “we can wait and celebrate when I come down there on Wednesday.” Sure, and while we’re at it, let’s start celebrating Arbor Day, and Washington’s birthday, and Columbus Day. I mean, at least Christopher Columbus discovered America (well, not really, but that’s another blog for another day). All grandparents did was have children that got pulled into the same vicious cycle of parenting as them. And those marketing tyrants over at Hallmark decided to capitalize on this common coincidence. But, how dare them try to shove another greeting card obligation down our throats! I saw on the Today show last week that the mark-up on cards is like 200%. So, their money-lust really should be satisfied by all the birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day cards we buy. I remember one year when my kids got Easter cards in the mail and my initial reaction was “What sucker bought them Easter cards?” Their grandparents, of course.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely against the idea of cards. I got some that I really loved for my birthday this year. But they’ve gone on to that big American Greeting Graveyard in the sky. Cards at my house have about a four day shelf life, which is still a much higher survival rating than they get with my brother. He opens and reads cards above his garbage can to expedite their disposal. Even if they warm his heart or make him laugh, they’re read and gone. Because he’s a practical guy and he has never seen any point in holding onto things like that. I don’t know what the opposite of a pack rat is, a smart cookie maybe, but that’s him. And every time I see one of those Oprah specials about hoarders, I’m reminded of the superiority of this way of thinking. I know his grandchildren will appreciate it when they don’t have to dig their inheritance out of 40 tons of mildewed sentimental refuse. They’ll also appreciate not feeling obligated to send him said sentiments.

On a related note, I’m not a big fan of the written thank-you cards either. To me it’s just Emily Post legalism, plain and simple. If I say thank-you when I get a gift from you, or you do something nice for me, why the big charade over mailing a note? It’s like saying, “I’m so thankful I’m wasting postage.” Can’t we just get by on the verbal gratitude? I got a thank-you text the other day and I loved it. I was like “And thank you, friend, for saving me a trip to the trash can.”

I'm not sure what Mom wants or expects for Grandparent’s Day. Clearly, I can’t afford gifts because I had three kids! I suppose I could make a cake, mostly because I’m always looking for an excuse to eat cake. I could probably loan her the grandchildren in question for a day, or a week, or even a half a month. That seems like an appropriate gift for the occasion, does it not? All I know is that if she’s hoping for some greeting cards, she better not be holding her breath.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Justice Is Blind (And, Apparently, A Cheapskate)

I’m officially a grown-up. I know because I finally got summoned for jury duty, and I’m so excited! I know I’m not supposed to be, that most people try to get out of jury duty, but I’ve always thought it would be a cool gig. Probably because Hollywood glamorizes it and I’ve read one too many John Grisham books. And the letter itself seems so serious and dramatic, with a bar code and at least three levels of bold. A good half of it is in all caps, too, so you know they mean business.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the second page and saw the heading: Payment. Well, that high was short lived because within the first sentence I realized that McDonald’s pays five times as much. I’ll get $12.00 for the first day, $20.00 a day for the next four days, then $40.00 a day for every day after five days. (For the record, I’m gonna have to drag this thing out at least a week and a half, if I’m going to afford those new shoes I want.)

I scoffed, aloud, and asked my husband what $12.00 divided by eight hours is. $1.50 an hour! “THAT’S RIDICULOUS!” I said in all caps. “Honey, that’s a dollar-fifty more per hour than you make right now,” my husband so kindly brought to my attention, causing me to fall into a downward spiral of depression.

But, that’s okay, because I was already counting on some kingpin sending his hired thugs to the swanky hotel I’ll be sequestered at to offer me a bribe. Don’t worry, I’ll find a way to take the money without sacrificing justice. And, yes, I do think I’ll be sequestered at a really nice downtown hotel, and be provided with three delicious restaurant meals every day, because the government was obviously budgeting for this eventuality when they were determining our monetary compensation. I’m sure they know that you can’t put a price on 800 thread count sheets or 24-hour room service.

The summons goes on to say business casual attire is required. Yay! I never get to dress “business casual”. I may even need to purchase some wardrobe additions for the occasion. Then, after some notes of no concern to me, the letter mentions that Children are not allowed. Say no more, I’m sold. And, Absolutely NO weapons (scissors, knives, knitting needles, etc.) Wait, they’re listing knitting needles but not guns? Does “no guns” go without saying? And if someone can turn a juror’s knitting needle into a weapon, I say let ‘em. That’d be worth the price of admission.

So, next month I could be getting paid to sit and listen to people argue all day, instead of doing it for free while I fold the accused’s laundry. I’ll get to dress up and meet new people, people that know how to take a person down with a knitting needle! I can’t wait!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sugar, Spice, And Everything Nice?

This blog is dedicated to my brother’s wife, who is pregnant with their first child and recently found out they are expecting a girl. Well, L, here’s what you’re really expecting: DRAMA! And based on how poorly my brother handled my own female theatrics growing up, I’d say you’ll be managing a lot of these productions on your own while he seeks refuge in an ESPN bubble.

You know how, as women, we all have those days where we don’t like anything in our closet? Well, this morning, my daughter was frantic that her new Hello Kitty shirt was in the clothes hamper, still, a full twelve hours after she had deposited it there. I pointed out that she had two drawers of cute alternatives. “I don’t like those clothes!” None of them? Almost everything she had was clean except for the beloved Hello Kitty shirt. And, for the record, she picked out half of those items herself during shopping expeditions. But, I get it. I picked out all of my clothes, and there are days when I’d like a complete do over with my wardrobe. I finally talked her into a skirt that she loved as recently as last week, but even as she walked out of the room I heard her grumbling that “This skirt doesn’t even twirl.” How is she going to handle something like not getting the lead in the school play if she can’t even handle a skirt that doesn’t twirl?

Next, as I assisted the other girl in her Friday clothing selection, she said, “I’m not going to like J so much anymore.” Two things of note here; first, J, a boy, is one of her closest friends, and second, these were actually her first words of the morning. My response was, “Why?” She started digging through their accessory drawer, putting on several bracelets and headbands and necklaces without choosing a single one that matched her outfit, and then turned to me and explained, “I just don’t want to like him too much, because he likes my sister more than me.” I was speechless. He actually does like her sister more than her. But, mostly, I was impressed at her ability to reason herself out of a crush. Here’s hoping she can keep that up for the next twenty years.

Earlier this summer the girls told me they were going to marry J. Both of them. They were blissfully unaware that this wouldn’t work out and there was no point in correcting them. But, I remember wondering why they were thinking about marriage. They’ve never even been to a wedding, so it was really out of nowhere. My son has yet to give matrimony a single thought, and based on studies of the male species, probably won’t until he’s in his mid to late twenties. Nor does my son act like every injustice served to him (be that in the form of green beans or whatever) is the end of the world. The girls seem to suffer irreparable emotional distress three or four times an hour. “You took the doll I wanted to play with!” one of them will scream through a torrent of tears. “I got it first!” the other one will point out needlessly. “Well, I’m not your friend anymore! And, I’m never talking to you again!” Um, overreact much?

And even at this young age, they talk about their feelings. I’m not sure how my brother will handle this with his daughter, since, as far as I know, the only feelings he’s ever experienced are of disappointment when the Jets lose. But, it comes up all the time. They’ll tell me how they felt nervous the first time they went to the dentist, how they felt sorry for the kid that got in trouble at the pool, or how sad they were when another little girl at church wouldn’t play with them. Once, and I’m not making this up, the twin that was born second looked at my mother and said, “I was so lonely and scared when I was in Mommy’s tummy by myself.” If she’s going to take her mommy issues back that far and be upset over those two minutes, then I give up!

Good luck, L; maybe your little girl won’t struggle with fashion or overactive emotions. Maybe she won’t walk around trying to win an Academy Award for best dramatic performance on a Tuesday afternoon. Maybe her hair won’t get tangled, and her size won’t ever matter. Maybe she’ll never cry about being left out, or have her heart broken by a boy. But, if any of these things happen, and she’s standing there clenching her fists and weeping loudly, and my brother says, “I don’t know why she’s crying.” Please tell him she’s crying because he called me a cry baby. Tell him this is restitution for him always telling me I was too dramatic.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We Were Only Freshman

In about twelve hours, one of my college roommates will be here. The last time we were together, ten years ago, she got married. I don’t think that’ll happen again this weekend, but I do expect us to pick back up where we left off. I, for one, still have some complaints regarding open dorm rules, the poor breakfast options in the cafeteria on the weekends, and the way Dr. Batts kept his classroom at 55 degrees. He said it was to keep us awake, but it always had the opposite effect on me, often putting me into a hypothermia induced coma.

And now that we each have three kids six and under, we can laugh at our collegiate selves and how we thought we were so busy back then. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of what-were-we-thinking conversations. Like how did we convince ourselves we were eating a balanced diet just because we got lettuce on our tacos at Taco Bell. Or why didn't we consider future hearing impairments when we were playing the music in our hoopties so loud the seats vibrated. (If you don’t know what a hoopty is, will enlighten you.) And, of course, what we were thinking with some of our crushes? Did I really like him so much that I hung out in the library? Or, is it possible you actually cried when Mr. So and So dedicated a song to you on the radio? Surely we were not that lame. . . .Oh, yeah we were. And, there are a few pictures, sealed by the courts, to prove it.

Remembering college days is always so bittersweet for me, because I feel like I didn’t appreciate the fabulousness of that life enough while I was leading it. Sure I was having a good time, but I didn’t pause to consider how unique that period of my life would be. It was a short and stained-glass window of time of being an adult without all of the cumbersome adult responsibilities. Turns out, when you’re a real grown-up, you never find yourself in impromptu pajama parties with seven of your closest girlfriends. You don’t go to IHOP at midnight anymore, even when you really, really want to. There’s no more showing up late to something just because it was Happy Hour at Sonic.

That temptress Sallie Mae isn’t bankrolling any more experiments for me. And the phrase road trip isn’t quite so enticing when you have to pack for a family of five heading for the apocalypse. And how is it that my friends and I could do a five hour trip without a restroom stop and sometimes my kids can’t even make it out of town before nature calls? Remember when sleeping in meant “I’ll see you after lunch.”? And now it’s “Don’t call before 7:30.”

If I could go back, I’d appreciate how easy it was to clean one half of a dorm room. I’d spend even more nights talking and laughing with my girl friends until the sun started to rise. And I’d rollerblade everywhere, because you just can’t do that when you’re a thirty-three-year-old stay at home mom without raising some eyebrows.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So Fresh and So Clean

It’s supposed to be 102 degrees in Raleigh today, summer’s way of beginning one last forward assault before he retreats in the face of fall. It’s easy to get disheartened in the dogs days of summer, grieving for lawns that died from heat exhaustion, mourning for swimming pools that have now become tepid, and pondering if it’s even worth it to keep fighting the ants, or if perhaps we should just work out some kind of time-share with them for the house. But, I know if we can just hang on, help is on the way.

It’s like I can see fall on the horizon, and he’s as beautiful as ever. It’s a rumbling in the distance. I hear it in pre-season football, back-to-school sales, and previews of fall shows. And I know he’ll rescue me from this sticky summer situation I’ve gotten myself into. Fall will swoop in and rid the air of moisture, the trees of leaves, and my house of children (three mornings a week, at least). And, one of my favorite things about fall is that he never shows up without zippered hoodies.

I think it was last weekend’s back to school shopping that infected me with this uncharacteristic optimism. Because even though I haven’t been “back to school” in about a dozen years, I still engage in the shopping ritual. It’s kind of like being an alumni and still going to all the football games. I mean, just because I no longer take mid-terms doesn’t mean I don’t need Levi’s and new Converse sneakers.

But, it’s not just the fall clothes, which I won’t even get to wear for months; I also still relish those school supply aisles that are overflowing with things like fresh notebooks, the ones where the paper is so new you can smell the tree it was yesterday, and rows of backpacks to suit any disposition, from the cheery and hopeful daisy printed ones in eye-popping colors, to the black and pre-torn varieties from the Outcast&Troubled line. And, for some reason, I’m always tempted to get a new lunchbox for myself, even though I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for six years now and really have no need to pack my lunch, just so that I can carry it from the kitchen to the dining room table.

I have really fond memories of how this time of year felt to me when I was younger. Mostly, it felt like possibilities. There was the possibility that I’d get to sit in the back of the class because my reputation as a talker hadn’t preceded me. There was the possibility that I could keep my new shoes clean. There was the possibility I would love all of my teachers and some of my classes. (Math always prohibited me from even considering the possibility of loving all of my classes.) There was the possibility that our football team would go undefeated and make state play-offs or that all of the cute boys in school would fall madly in love with me, and, I suppose, there was a possibility that pigs would finally get around to flying, but let’s just say that some dreams died early in the school year and leave it at that.

I’m looking forward to all of the years lying ahead for my three kids where this time of year will mean they still have a full box of crayons, are in good standing with their teachers, and have no overdue homework assignments. It will be fun as they get older to see them break out the corduroy pants and sweaters on the first morning that the temperature dips below 80, just because they’ve been waiting to wear their new threads. And, I predict their mother will be doing the same thing. Their grandmother, too, because Nana still does her fair share of back-to-school shopping.

So, you know what? Bring it on, Summer! You can’t beat me. Fall’s coming and he’s bringing fresh starts and clean slates and football. I hear a pep rally in the distance, and any day now House will be back on and I’ll feel whole again.

(As I reviewed this blog, I noticed that Microsoft Word underlined hoodies, like it just did again, and I thought I’d right click and see what the spelling suggestions were. The list of choices was foodies, goodies, hoodless, holies and hoodoos. I get that hoodies are a somewhat recent fashion trend, but hoodoos? What the heck is a hoodoo and why is that acceptable in a world where hoodies isn’t? Just goes to show that computers don’t know everything and there’s something to be said for human intelligence!)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Silly Trendz

I’m at the pool, giving the three inmates their guaranteed outdoor recreation time, per state penitentiary laws, and I decided that since the sun is M.I.A. and I can’t work on my fledgling tan, I should at least work on my blog.

I actually thought we weren’t even going to make it to the pool today because my daughter, right before our departure, issued a four-alarm scream from upstairs. I ran up there, ready to pack her severed legs in ice and rush her to the emergency room, or maybe even use my newly acquired and untested kickboxing skills on the team of assassins that broke in through the attic. In the midst of the chaos, there was no time to consider why any assassin would value my family as targets. Perhaps, there is a covert operation underway to rid the world of its pickiest eaters.

But, alas, it was no such emergency. I encountered the offspring in question in her bedroom, red in the face, sweat on her brow, tears pummeling her cheeks, and she said, “MOM! I CAN’T FIND MY SILLY BANDZ ANYWHERE!” Are. You. Kidding. Me?!!!? I’ll come back to the patient and mature way I handled this, later.

First, I want to know how an entire nation (and oh how I wish I was only talking about kids) got brainwashed into thinking it’s cool to accessorize with colored rubber bands. Personally, I didn’t even think it was cool when kids were sporting them on their braces. Is this what they call mass hysteria? Is this the kind of brainwashing that brought Hitler to power in Germany? And if there is anyone reading this blog that has not heard of Silly Bandz and has no idea what I’m talking about, then please tell me where you live, because I’d like to move there.

Let me also clarify that the unfolding catastrophe in my daughter’s bedroom was over the loss of one band and it wasn’t even hers, it was just an article of litter she picked up at the park that happened to be part of a global fad. Because, in accordance with my vow to never get sucked into another ridiculous trend after the tight-rolled jeans fiasco of 1989, I haven’t even considered purchasing them for my kids. I’ve approached this as a good opportunity to teach my children the value of individuality and self-responsibility, and how to avoid the dangerous kind of “group-think” that led to leg-warmers, Hammer pants, and acid-washed denim. (And, by the way, I’m awarding 10,000 meaningless points to anyone that can email me a photo of them wearing Hammer pants.)

What I want my kids to know is that just because the boy down the street is wearing a whole sleeve of bandz, it doesn’t mean it’s cool or even makes sense. And so what if the girl at the park was wearing so much rubber she’d be safe in a lightning storm? We could just go inside for safety, you know. And, no, it’s not a dolphin; it’s a blue rubber band! Dolphins are still, and will probably always be, in the ocean.

And I’m no environmentalist, or an expert of any kind on anything, but I’m pretty sure that this Silly Bandz phenomenon is not in line with America’s efforts to “go green”. I don’t know if they’re made from rubber, plastic, or some other non-biodegradable material, but I know that I’ve already seen enough of them discarded, lost or abandoned to max out an entire landfill. And, I think we were better off as a nation when kids were just trading things from their lunch boxes instead of trying to create so many jobs in the rubber industry.

So, when I found out it was one of these over-hyped ponytail holders that was the source of my daughter’s meltdown, I showed no sympathy. I’m pretty sure I showed the opposite of sympathy, which is, of course, sarcasm. I made sure that she understood that we don’t succumb to suicidal thoughts over the disappearance of a rubber band. Even if it glowed in the dark.

Once we were downstairs, I retrieved the old-school rubber band that was delivered to our house around the Sunday paper, and said, “Here. Stop crying.” She looked at it and said, “But, it’s not a shape!” Um, “Yeah, it is. It’s an oval. See.” She got really excited and was like, “Oh, wow!” And then went to show it off to her brother and sister and I was like, man, what a sucker! Which is exactly what that thirteen-year-old girl who invented Silly Bandz is thinking right now as she lounges on her yacht drinking chocolate milk out of Waterford crystal while enjoying her private Jonas Brothers concert. (Speaking of things that make no sense to me.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

This One Or This One?

I went for my annual eye exam today, and by "annual" I mean every three or four years. One of the reasons I had been putting it off for so long is that I needed to find a new eye doctor. Because things didn't work out with the one I originally chose when I moved to North Carolina. I only picked her because of the close proximity of her office to my house. (Any closer and she would have been operating out of my garage.) And, really, what other factors do you consider when picking an ophthalmologist? It's not like you go around scouting out who has the coolest eye charts.

Well, it turns out, that for me, there's one other consideration I now make. Does the doctor speak English? Because it was ultimately my inability to overcome the language barrier that led to the dissolution of my previous eye doctor/sight-challenged person relationship. But, before I start coming off like some kind of ethnocentric bigot, which I'm not, I would like to point out that I was completely open to the idea of a foreign eye doctor. I understand that American eyes probably work the same as Russian ones, but after struggling through that hour long initial eye exam and contact lens fitting with this woman, I was so stressed out I needed a cigarette. AND I DON'T EVEN SMOKE! (And, for the record, never have or will.)

Any eye exam is stressful enough with that whole "this one or this one" test that takes as long as the S.A.T.s and is almost as difficult. Because, most of the time, I can't see any difference whatsoever in option one or option two. But, I've learned, they won't just let you say, "Pass", or even "Can we skip this one and come back to it later?" I usually just pick one at random so we can move on. Though, sometimes, in an effort to give my best optical performance, I'll take it very seriously and debate at length on each choice, saying, "Let me see the first one again." Mmmm. "Okay, back to the second one." Hmmm? "One more time?" Eventually, the eye doctor caves and says, "So, not much difference in those for you?" EXACTLY!

But then try doing this exam and other eyesight evaluating activities with someone who's first, nor second, nor third language is English. I never even knew if we were still choosing between options one and two or had moved on to options three or four. Or possibly even pyat and shest. I never knew what she was asking me to do because I couldn't understand anything she said. During the contact lens fitting, she told me that one brand I was considering was good because I could even wear them if I got kidnapped! I do not exaggerate when I say it took me almost five minutes to figure out she was saying "You could even wear them if you took catnap." And that was the end of that relationship.

Today I saw a new ophthalmologist who was a lot easier to communicate with. For instance, he understood that the accuracy of my prescription would be a bit of a crap shoot because I not only saw no difference between "this one and this one", but I also did not possess the mental faculties or patience to make educated guesses on the subject.

But, at least today, after completing my eye exam, I got to go back out and pick something from the treasure box. New glasses! I forewarned my husband that this purchase would be taking place today, because I've had the same pair of glasses since our troops left for Iraq. I needed new lenses to match my current prescription and new frames to match our current fashion trends.

I perused the racks of frames, with total disregard to brand or price, and chose about ten pair that were cute and I wanted to try on. One of the optometrist's assistants sat down with me as I tried them on. I organized them in sets of two and then modeled the pairs as I berated her with the "this one or this one" question that they're so fond of around there. When we got to pair #8, it was game over. Those were the ones, no question. I pulled them off and unfurled the tiny price tag. $320.oo!!!

I made no attempt to disguise my sticker shock as I passed (basically threw) them to her and said, "Am I seeing that right? Three-hundred and twenty dollars?" There was at least some possibility that I wasn't, since I was sitting in that chair due to my inability to see right. She said, "Yes. They're Gucci and those," she pointed to a thin quarter inch strip of sparkles on the side, "are real Swarovski crystals." Okay? Well, "Do they offer this pair without the bling?" She walked over to the appropriate section then returned and said, "No. Sorry." So I requested she, "Show me something less expensive, like a seeing eye dog, maybe." She did and I really liked them. I won't say love because my heart still belonged to Gucci.

The ones I bought were half the price, so when I came home to share my receipt with my husband, I expected congratulations not a conniption fit. But, when he was questioning my powers of restraint, I climbed up on that high horse with him and said "I almost bought a pair with Swarovski crystals, but decided I would sacrifice so our family could buy groceries this month." He rolled his eyes and I thought to myself that he would really regret overreacting if I do in fact get kidnapped!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Inconvenient Injuries

So, the jury’s still out on whether or not my jaw is fractured. My family doctor thought it might be, so she sent me to get x-rays yesterday. My arm looked so rough that the nice lady at the radiology clinic took some pictures of it, too, on the house. Of course, she owed me a favor after she touched and manipulated my sore jaw so much that I was considering breaking hers.
My family doctor also instructed me to take some time off of all strenuous activity for a couple of days, so that my left bicep could heal. I wanted to clarify that running was still okay, but she said, no, because it was too jarring. I was thinking if I run more, there would be less of me to jar around, so it was somewhat counterintuitive. (Don’t get to use that word every day.) And three miles never killed anyone, so I went for a careful jog this morning. But, I did decide to take a break from other strenuous activities, like laundry, dishes, and making my bed.
I get to return to boot camp tomorrow, where our instructors continue to experiment with ways to make us scream and nearly pass out. The low point in Tuesday’s class was when we had to get in a plank position and jump our feet forward then re-extend. Sounds rough, right? Well, it gets worse! We had to perform this circus act all the way across the gym! I made it six inches from the finish line and face-planted. It took everything I had just to drag myself the rest of the way. But, for the record, I had a fractured jaw, bruised bicep, and two hours of sleep the night before. And, for a different record, I’d really appreciate it if the custodial staff would mop the gym floor with something in a peppermint flavor next time.
I would be remiss not to point out that the class is so intense that we’ve not only lost classmates, but one of the instructors seems to have dropped out, as well. Of course, I’m only assuming they dropped out, maybe they succumbed to their injuries. I’ve never seen the investigators on C.S.I. find a body and determine the cause of death to be hamstringulation or tricepitis, but I guess it’s possible. Maybe I should send out a search party? I’d go myself, but I’m fighting off a bad case of gym floor poisoning.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What Constitutes An Emergency?

What does a broken jaw feel like, exactly? I can deduct the “it hurts” part on my own, but wouldn’t a bruised one hurt, too? The thing is I’m not a big fan of emergency rooms and even though it’s two in the morning and I’m awake and abusing over-the-counter pain medications, I’m still hoping my jaw will rally and I can avoid professional medical intervention. In general, I’m the complete opposite of a hypochondriac, which, for the record, is not hyperchondriac because that’s not a word. Basically, I wait out injuries and illnesses far beyond the point any rational person would. For the most part, it’s worked out for me. But there are a couple of times that it hasn’t. (Don’t worry; I’ll come back to how I might have broken my jaw.)

The first time I really underestimated an injury was in college when I broke my finger playing flag football. I didn’t know I had broken my finger and I not only finished the game, but kept trying to pull my finger back out like the joint was jammed. And, yes, that hurt, and I think I probably even screamed, but I don’t seek emergency attention unless I’m one hundred percent certain there’s an emergency. For instance, I would only consider a headache an emergency if it was a partial decapitation.

The broken finger was on my left hand, so I was able to function normally while it healed. I use the terms “healed” and “function normally” loosely, as it’s a stretch to call what my finger did healing and calling any part of my college life functioning normally would be an even bigger stretch. This “healing” was a month long process that involved a kaleidoscope of bruise colors and ultimately left me with a slightly disfigured middle finger because it grew back together wrong. So, in that case, I should’ve walked off the field and gone to the emergency room, but we won the game that night, and that was almost a fair trade for one measly broken finger.

Once, I had a sinus infection for almost four weeks, and knew that I had one, but didn’t want to pony up a co-pay and find a babysitter just so my family doctor could touch my forehead and eye sockets while I said, “Ow!” Eventually, it got so bad I couldn’t lie down. That was probably a defensive mechanism in my body that was preventing the infection from traveling to my brain and killing me. Of course, if my body was that good at defense, why did it let my stupid sinuses get infected in the first place? I eventually caved and went in to collect my prize of two full weeks of antibiotics.

And then there was the time I let myself get so severely dehydrated that the admitting nurse at the ER couldn’t get a blood pressure on me, at all. She freaked out and I got to go straight back, which is a bonus in the emergency room game. My organs were starting to shut down just a smidge, which explained some of my excruciating pain, but they eventually got me all fixed up and sent me on my way. I really tried to avoid going that time, too, but staring down the grim reaper left me no choice.

So, here I am, in the middle of the night writing a blog when I can’t even close my mouth normally. And I’m dreading how tired I’ll feel tomorrow during my exercise boot camp. I might be able to hold myself in a side plank position, as the jaw muscle is the only one you don’t use for that, but there will be no counting out loud during push-ups, so my drill sergeant CAN HEAR ME! Because, in the most depressing admission of my life, I don’t think I’ll be able to talk tomorrow. Actually, this may be what constitutes an emergency.

But you’re probably still wondering how I potentially broke my jaw. Well, I was playing basketball again with my friend, E. Some of you were privileged enough to see the enormous bruise that she left on my bicep two weeks ago. Undeniably, the worst bruise of my entire life and possibly the worst bruise I’ve ever seen on anyone. It was positioned just right so that people who didn’t know me did a double take to see what my tattoo was of. (It was a large rendering of busted veins, not the state of Alaska.) Some strangers who took note of it had really concerned looks on their faces and I just knew that my husband was probably going to get picked up by the police. He didn’t. Though if I went into the emergency room tonight with that baseball-sized bruise still healing on my arm and a freshly broken jaw, I don’t like his chances. Because who would believe that a 32-year-old mother of three got two serious injuries in one month playing basketball with her friend?

Maybe I can wait it out a few days. I have to admit I’m kind of stoked that I can’t chew at all because I really need to drop these last ten pounds and there’s nothing like a liquid diet to give you a boost in the weight loss department. And since I think emergency rooms are where people go when their arms have been sawed off in construction accidents or they have bullets in their person, I’ll just try the ibuprofen, Tylenol dance for now. I’m normally not a medicine taker either, but with some recent sports and running injuries along with muscle soreness I’ve made quite a dent in my price club sized bottle of ibuprofen. It’s become a staple of my diet, really. But, I don’t think pervasive use of 200 milligram Motrin requires an intervention or treatment at a methadone clinic or anything. I’m pretty sure the best prescription for me would be to act my age. Maybe I should be inside baking cookies instead of taking shoulders to the jaw in a raucous game of driveway basketball? Well, not this week, though, because I can’t chew.

I think I'll save this and post it in the morning because sometimes things seem a lot funnier in the middle of the night than they really are, and I'm under the influence of a lot of Tylenol. Who knows, maybe I'll take my injuries more seriously in the morning when I'm pureeing my cereal in the blender, so that I can drink it through a straw.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Forgive Me My Chocolate Trespasses. . .

Today was the first day of Boot Camp. Not to be confused with Boat Camp, which is what my reading novice son inquired about when he saw it listed on the calendar. I had to explain that it was “BOOT” camp, and that it had nothing to do with boats (or boots either, for that matter). Which is unfortunate, because I love boots and I am completely open to going out on a nice boat two days a week. So, what is it then? Well, officially, boot camp is the intense period of training that soldiers endure when they join the armed services. Their bodies are strengthened and their minds are conformed. For us civilians, it’s basically a modern-day torture device, popularly used in the summer months, where we are punished for our crimes involving carbohydrates and cream sauces. Basically, I’m paying to be reprimanded twice a week for the next five weeks. Reminding me, yet again, that I was born in the wrong era. Why does thin have to be in? Why can’t we bring fat back?
Until someone answers that dilemma, I’m doing my best to blend in with the moderately-fit crowd. I exercise regularly and feel serious Judeo-Christian guilt over indulgences like ice cream. And, I do questionable things like enlist in exercise boot camp. When I walked into the gymnasium today, there was a huge camouflage sign with the words BOOT CAMP 2010 written on it, flanked by two Army-esque white stars. It was almost cute, except it was a little frightening. Especially when viewed alongside the three uber-fit instructors wearing camouflage tank tops and black shorts, their toned arms and cellulite-free legs taunting me from across the room. Once I saw them garnishing their necks with whistles, I started looking for the nearest exit. I didn’t leave; I just wanted to know where it was in case of emergency. Like if the paramedics who had to come and peel me off the floor needed directions.
The class started off okay, with a little jogging for a warm-up. This was very agreeable to me since I’m a runner. Next we moved onto jumping jacks, which are far less agreeable to me. I have the cardio wherewithal to handle those, but I think my knee joints are hand-me-downs. Because even though I’ve only had them 32 years, they feel like they’ve been around at least four score. (That’s eighty years for those of you that don’t speak Abraham Lincoln). I may have to do modified jumping jacks, which I hate to do because I think they make me look like I rode in on the short bus, but if I’m not careful with my antique knees I’ll be riding in on a wheelchair and that’s not going to help me achieve any of my goals, except the goal of getting great parking spots. Jumping jacks are also not my fave because I have the pelvic floor muscles of a woman who’s had three kids. If you know what I mean, you have my sympathies, if you don’t, you have my envy.
Next we moved onto some cardio interval training. This wasn’t too bad either. I especially liked the kickboxing moves we worked on. I’m almost hoping for a surprise attack, so I can pummel my assailant with my fierce upper cut and jab and then take him down with a nice sidekick. He’ll be distracted by me doing everything in an eight count, an eight count I will vocalize for fear of being sentenced to push-ups because the instructor CAN’T HEAR YOU!
After we prepared ourselves for all the hand-to-hand combat that we housewives face virtually every day, on our missions to places like the supermarket and the library, we moved on to some drills. This portion of the class went a little slow for me because we were on teams and had to wait for our turn. And, yes, I know there is no I in team, but there is an I in skinny, which is what we’re working on here, people.
The remainder of the class was devoted to a multitude of tasks that I’ll group together under the heading “You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me!”. I can’t remember the order we did the following activities in because pain tends to muddle my brain a bit. We alternated push-ups and sit-ups in a nine of one, nine of the other, eight of one, eight of the other fashion. The problem wasn’t what we were doing so much as the speed at which we were doing it. I was like, “Gee, do you think you could count any faster?” Drill Sergeant J was shouting “nineeightsevensixfivefourthreetwoone” faster than my hearing could digest it. Can I get a two-Mississippi up in here? And the quick turn from one position to the other was supposed to be achieved in under ten nanoseconds. By the time we got down to the twos and ones, there were ladies that were basically just rolling in circles on the floor with no actual time to do a push-up or sit-up. At one point, during the quick change over, I banged my knee so hard on the floor that I suspected little cartoon stars and exclamation points to be flying over my head in a circle pattern. How I banged it on the floor is still a mystery, since I was performing these exercises on my yoga mat.
We also got to spend some time in the purgatory that is the plank position. Front, back, and both sides. I have to say here that I didn’t even know there was a side plank position. The instructor kindly showed us four different levels at which we could do them. Level One was this-hurts, Level Two was this-really-hurts, Level Three was my-body-is-going-into-shock, Level Four was does-this-come-with-a-side-of-physical-rehabilitation? I attempted Level Three because shock dulls the pain sometimes. There was a woman of more advanced years than me to my right (she was about a score older), and she was practically yawning in the Level Four position! I felt like I just got served.
I’ll be going back on Thursday, but may or may not have recovered the use of both arms by then. Perhaps, by next summer, America will have gotten over this silly notion that less is more and we’ll finally learn to appreciate a large behind for what it is, a symbol of prosperity (I can afford cheesecake) and happiness (I eat cheesecake). And, following the suggestion of satirist, Jen Lancaster, author of Bitter is the New Black, we could introduce a flat abs tax. Then we could all sign up for something more fun in the summer, like Boat Camp.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Yesterday, a good friend from Texas sent me an email and in it she asked if I text. And it’s interesting that she should bring that up, because I guess the answer is yes, I do text. Sort of. I only have two friends that text me, A and E. I don’t know if these two friends hate the sound of my voice and have become anti-email snobs, but in both cases, their main form of communication with me is texting. I know when I hear that beep, beep that it’s either A or E. If it’s A, the text could be about virtually anything; refrigerators, movies, his dinner companions’ table manners, human tracking devices, airplane maintenance issues. But if it’s a text from E, it’s a text about scheduling a game of tennis or basketball. Working out a time that she can beat me, which, now that I think about it, is her main form of communication with me.
Personally, I’m at whatever level comes before novice with this texting thing. I don’t know any texting shorthand beyond using u for you. But, I realize that there is an entire texting language out there that some people, especially teenagers I would imagine, are fluent in. I’m just not that kind of person. I don’t care what my phone, computer, digital cable box, etc. are capable of; I just want to know how to do the basics and carry on with my low-tech life. But, I have friends that utilize every feature their phone has to offer. It goes without saying that these friends are proficient texters, but they also take pictures and videos with their phones – instantly uploading those and sharing them with friends and loved ones around the world, they access the internet through their phones – just for kicks, so they can look up the twenty-eighth President of the United States or how much lime juice to put in their guacamole, and they’re always checking the weather – here and in Bangladesh. And, now, I think there may be cell phone features that let you toast a waffle, dice a tomato, and add creamer to your coffee (cell phone addicts are unanimously coffee addicts). I’m almost positive that my best friend’s husband could launch our nation’s nuclear warheads with his phone, and sometimes I wonder if that’s what he’s doing on there. But, I know if he did, he’d be getting updates on the destruction to his phone and showing all of us the live footage, so, for now, I think he’s just checking on his stock portfolio.
And I feel like when I’m with a prolific cell phone user, I could ask them anything and they’d pull out that phone, to consult with it. Okay, yeah, when I say, “Do you guys want to come over for dinner on Friday?” it makes sense that they would pull out the phone and consult the calendar. (I don’t even use the calendar feature and that may explain my reputation for double-booking and completely forgetting.) But when I say, “Do you have a band-aid?” I don’t understand them using the phone for their answer. Are they texting the answer to me? I’m right in front of them! Or, are they ordering the band-aids? I sort of needed it now, not in three to four business days.
There are other obstacles I need to overcome to become a certified texter. The first one is my phone doesn’t have a full keypad. I have a basic can’t-toast-your-waffles model, and it’s quite tedious to type out replies. It would be easier if I was a succinct and to the point person, but I’m not. Obviously. I live by a the-more-words-the-better code of communication, so texting is a bit of a chore for me. The other obstacle I have is that I get confused when the back and forth texting gets going really strong, like having a virtual conversation. I’ll be in the middle of typing my reply to one topic we’re discussing, and unbeknownst to me, my friend will be moving on to a new topic and preparing that text to send my way. Our messages fly past each other in outer space or wherever and then I read the next message “How are the kids?” and I just finally finished typing out and sending a text on our previous topic of my mosquito bites, saying, “They’re awful. The itching is driving me crazy!” So, now, I’m worried that my friend thinks that was my response to “How are the kids?” and, clearly, that wouldn’t have been my response to that. But, yeah, I text. Sort of.