Sanity or Patience: choose one.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you think, "HA! I am sane!" Then you step in dog poo with your bare feet and remember it was your idea to get the puppy...?

Thursday, February 6

A Polar Affair

It's winter in Ohio, and you never know what you're gonna get. Just a couple years ago, I sent my son to school with not even a jacket because it was so warm - in February! But not today.

This year, we met Mr. Polar Vortex. He doesn't have many friends in these parts, but to be honest, I'm rather enjoying his company. Don't tell anyone, but I've invited him to stay a while. In fact, I can almost feel an affair brewing.

Believe me, I've never felt this way about any weather pattern before. I never expected to get caught up in snowy romantics, but when a situation presents itself at just the right time, well... sometimes that's when magic happens.

I love my husband. I do. But he can't compete with my new love. Mr.Vortex has the power to freeze air! I cannot fully describe what this gift means to me, but I'll try.

Layers of blankets and fuzzy socks. Snow days full of snuggling up with my boy and good read-together books. It's an excuse to not drive, because I'm a horrible winter drive (I hit a house, for goodness sake! I wreck every single time I try to drive on icy roads). It means fleece pajamas and a bathrobe! Which in turn means cookie dough, bean dip, pizza and potato chips, because I cannot feel how constricting my clothes have become. It means winter hats, so I don't even have to comb my hair (let alone dye it) and scarves that cover my face so there's no need for makeup. Boots! No uncomfortable dressy shoes. It's not having to get the dog groomed because she needs her fuzz to keep her warm. It means being free of guilt for not taking Monsoon for a bike ride or to the park. Actually, it's a freedom from guilt of almost any variety.

I've heard how affairs can ruin a person. When my Polar Vortex leaves me and the days become too warm for sweatpants, I'll try to unstick my jelly-rolled body from the electric blanket and move on. Maybe I'll even be able to use my bathing suit as an article of clothing again, instead of a napkin (not really - I dropped caramel on it last week, so I ate it. It was really good caramel).

Three cheers to winter. I'm dreading shorts season.

Monday, September 30

I'm losing him

He's slipping away. I can feel it in the way he lets his hand - so big now - fall from mine as we walk down the sidewalk. When, if I'm lucky, he will freeze in place as I lean in to kiss his cheek. Or worse, he pulls back or turns away, and I only graze a few hairs on his head. I miss that soft cheek and those grasping hands.

Those hands once squeezed my face and pulled me in for a slobbery kiss a hundred times a day. They would reach for me at all hours of the day and night. Those sweet chubby fingers that held onto as much of me as they possibly could, because somehow I could never be too close.

It's good that he doesn't need me, that he's growing independent. I know this in my head, but the rest of me is having a moment. The rest of me isn't finished being that person he used to call "The BEST Mommy in the world!" The rest of me is not at all prepared to be the equivalent of a blinking red nose on the face of my son's social life. I need more years. I've still got so much mommy awesomeness to give.

So forgive me when he skins his knee and I brighten a little. Don't judge me when I revel in his next sick day. Bare with me if I look forward to hearing a terrified voice scream, "Mommy!" after a 2 a.m. nightmare. Let me have these things, because even though my brain knows they're bad, the rest of me needs to recover from days like today, when he calls me MOM (eye-roll included) in front of his friends and does not want me to stay and have lunch with him at school.

Wednesday, September 18

Nomommy's Perfect

"Mommmmmmyyy! I spiiiiiiilllled iiiiiit!"

I bump and stumble out of bed, my 7 a.m.-zombified self, trying to find the door. 

Monsoon is sitting on the couch with a full bowl of Lucky Charms and milk, which would be fine, except it's upside down in his lap. He isn't moving, he's just waiting for me. He looks mildly uncomfortable, but not at all harried. "It's cold," he says, and he just keeps sitting in it.

Clearly, he has no intention of rectifying this situation himself.

It's early. I'm not even awake, really. I get distracted with daydreams of a new couch; one that isn't a secret patchwork of dog barf, baby poop, bean dip, fruit juice, sticky granola crumbs, and now milk.

He's staring at me, and I'm pretty sure I can tell what he's thinking. I'm interrupting his morning cartoon with my laziness. How can he enjoy himself with this cold mess in his lap? Come on, lady. Get it together. You're staring.

I decide, being that I'm offended by my perception of his thoughts, that I do too much. He's 8. He should clean up his own mess. I pump my fists in the air and stomp to the bathroom, screaming unintelligibly at the ceiling. I stomp back and throw a towel at him.

He just keeps staring.

I take a breath, explain that he needs to clean it up, and walk away.

Two minutes later, there are soggy cereal parts smashed into the cushion, milk spread and soaking into three different pillows, white crumby footprints covering the floor, and rehydrated rainbow marshmallows glued to the clean-up towel.

...And the towel was in the laundry hamper. I'm calling it a win.

Friday, September 13

Grown-Up Things

Responsible. Reasonable. Mature.


I don't want to be any of those things today.

A grown-up wakes up at 4 a.m. with heartburn and it takes a half hour of middle-of-the-night introspection to realize she's anxious because she is halfway through her thirties and what the hell has she done with her life?

A mature wife doesn't make her husband drink the "other" coffee because she wants the good stuff all to herself.

Reasonable women clean the 5 dog turds off their kid's bed right away this morning - and while the good coffee gets cold - because waiting would be gross. A reasonable mother would not dump the dog at a farm, tell her kid it pooped itself to death, and quietly celebrate the end of having to worry about dog barf seeping into her couch.

A grown-up would agree to take her son Subway for lunch, because he wants to celebrate her birthday with her. She wouldn't even think about how she doesn't really even like Subway and she might want to stay home and read a book and pretend her house is still as clean as it was yesterday before anyone else came home!

Just for one day, I'd like to be the opposite of those things. One day to be selfish, childish, immature and completely unreasonable. Just one day to pretend I'm not closing in on middle-age. Channel my self-consumed 19-year-old self who would simply throw the mattress out with the sheets and not even know the difference between great coffee and gas station decaf.

I want to talk my husband into skipping work and lounging around the house with me, eating Spaghettio's from the pot and wearing nothing but a blanket.

I want to get in my tiny car and race through the back roads in the boonies where I grew up, and the words "safety" and "insurance" to not even occur to me.

I want to feel embarrassed by my mother, because that is absolutely less humiliating than being the mother in that scenario.

Most of all, after that one day, I wish for everything to return to normal, because suddenly I remember that I like myself better now than I did when I wasn't quite grown-up.

Happy birthday, self. May your candles blow and your day not suck.

Thursday, May 30

The Incredible Doofy Gardener

Mostly when I see people doing yard work, they look like they're enjoying it. They have big, beautiful landscapes and weedless yards. I see ladies in pink pants and matching gardening gloves, gently patting the ground with their tiny hand-shovel (I know it has a real name, I just don't know the name of it). They wear clean white visors and only get dirt on their floral-pattern aprons. They smile, for goodness sake. They're not even sweating!

When I attempt yard work (I won't say "do" yard work, because that's not entirely accurate), I look like I'm putting on a one-woman circus show with way too many acts.

I don't have cute gardening gear or matchy yard work clothes. I have my husband's elastic-shot boxer shorts with a scrunchy tied around one end of the waist to hold them up. I wear a gigantic t-shirt with red paint stains and a stinky baseball cap to shield my eyes. I have a pair of kid's winter mittens instead of gardening gloves. My tools are rusty and the handles fall off. I have a wheel barrow with a flat tire and broken cardboard boxes that serve as a tarp for dragging stuff around when it's too heavy to life into the barrow.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you... The Incredible Doofy Gardener.

Act 1: The Forgetful Clown - It doesn't matter how many times I prep for yard work or how organized I leave my tools from the day before. I will inevitably make fifteen back-and-forth trips from the front yard to the back garage, and once I finally get it all set to work, I'll realize I did the front yard yesterday and it all needs to be moved to the back. There's also an angry dance, but I won't describe that here.

Act 2: The Sweaty Lady/Mud Man - Please tell me other people look like they took a shower with their clothes on during yard work. Sweat+Dirt = Mud Monster. Maybe don't wait til now to ask an impressionable young child for help - he might lock the doors on you.

Act 3: Elephant Weeds - Have you ever pulled a really, really big weed? Like a weed that's as tall as you if you count the root? When we moved here, not much had been done with the yard in years, so the weeds were pretty deep. I'm 5 feet tall and I've never had a functional equilibrium. It goes likes this: Pull, pull, pull, pull, nothing. Change footing. Pull, pull, pull, pull, a little budge. Secure footing, grasp root with both hands, put my back into it. Pull, pull, pull, pull, fly backwards and land on my head with my butt in the air. Weed's out! Thank myself for remembering underwear under those boxer shorts and move on to the next job.

Act 4: Balancing Act - Sometimes when you dig with a big shovel and you're maybe not as strong as the dirt, you have to jump on the shovel to get it into the ground. It's kind of like a pogo stick, without the bouncing. Due to my above-mentioned lack of equilibrium, this is about as tricky as walking a tight-rope, and just as dangerous. Shovels fall over - they don't have an equilibrium, either. On the few occasions when I do manage to step off the shovel before I hit the ground with it, I usually over correct and end up spinning around to land on my face.

Curtain Call. I'm pretty sure I hear Sprinkles barking from inside the window until I drag myself back up. It could be the neighbors laughing from across the street, but I'm gonna just keep pretending Sprinkles has my back.

Friday, April 12

Leave? Ha!

The week of preparation before 2 days of relaxation is like running a marathon just to eat a slice a cake.

Leaving my boys at home while I go have fun on a girl's weekend should be exciting - and I'm sure it will be, as soon a I finish cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry washing... oh, and actually packing myself for the trip.

Why do I feel like I need to do all that? Is it some form of OCD that occurs only for mothers - or maybe only mothers of boys? Because let's face it, boys are dirty creatures and if I leave the house a mess, maybe I'll come home to a landfill instead of a home.

Lawd-a-mercy, what if they run out of milk? Heaven forbid somebody orders a pizza (which is what they're gonna do anyway - even if there's  perfectly respectable casserole made up in the fridge with simple instructions called STICK IT IN THE OVEN FOR 30 MINUTES  AND THAT'S ALL!). Make sure the toilet paper holder is stocked - They couldn't possibly figure out how to open the closet door to get more. Put a box of tissues in every room so Monsoon doesn't "redecorate" the wall (because really, that'll help. Sure).

Maybe I just like pretending they can't live without me.

Probably I'll forget to pack myself underwear and a toothbrush, but at least Monsoon will be able to tramp mud onto a sparkling floor. It's all about having straight jacket priorities, you know.

Thursday, April 4

Mean Girl Karma

What are the odds that the girl you tortured in high school would have a kid at the same time as you? Apparently, pretty good.

There were plenty of pros and cons we went back and forth with before we decided to send Monsoon to the same school in the same town that we grew up in. Him becoming best friends with children whose parents I physically and emotionally abused... well, that didn't come up in one single list. If it had, I'd have skedaddled across the state line and changed my name.

I'd like to thank Monsoon for the lessons I've learned in the past year+.

1. Hiding from the girl you tortured in high school is not an appropriate way to deal with the fact that your son is friends with her kid. You look like a creeper.

2. Pretending to talk on your phone to avoid awkward conversation with her (or lack thereof) while waiting on school to let out... is dumb. Your phone will ring. It just will.

3.  When you tell your kid he can't go to So-and-So's house because you have to wash your hair (every day for three weeks) does not discourage him from wanting to play with So-and-So. Probably he just figures you're an idiot.

4. Discussing your guilty feelings with your husband is unhelpful. "Wow babe, you were a _itch."

5. Hoping she doesn't remember you is unreasonable and highly unlikely. Even if she didn't, her new first impressions of you are "creeper" and "idiot."

So let me ask you this: How far does sharing a few bottles of wine and slobbering profuse apologies go toward convincing someone you're not that mean anymore?