Friday, March 27, 2009

The Evolution of my Ears

When I was young, I played in my neighborhood with my friends until well after dark, hollering and screaming and making an unearthly racket. When I was young, I listened to music so loud in my car that the windows rattled and I danced and sang along. When I was young, I would make snide comments about old people who wanted it quiet and went to bed at 8pm. Old people who would come out of their musty houses, shaking their fists at us and telling us to shut up.
I know exactly when I made the transition from young to old. It was when I had a baby. Noise became the enemy. That tiny baby girl fought sleep like Rocky Balboa. I spent so much time leaning over the side of her crib to get her to go to sleep that my back became hunched over and it became necessary to hike my pants up to the bottom of my ribcage to keep them from falling off. I sprouted some grey hairs. My eyebrows lowered until they almost obscured my sight. I became permanently grouchy. I was OLD.
Most of my day consisted of “Putting The Baby Down“. Usually, the process would go something like this: I’d lay her down in crib and give her a pacifier. She’d spit it out and pop up to have a look around. I’d lay her head back down, give her the pacifier, and rub her back. She’d raise up, spit the pacifier across the room, and wail at me. This would go on for at least 30 minutes. Finally, her eyes would start to close. I would hold my breath. She’s….ASLEEP! I would tiptoe out of her room, but alas! I forgot about the squeaky patch in the floor! Damn! Her little fuzzy blonde head would pop up and she’d say to me, “Just WHERE do you think YOU’RE going?“ I’d hang my head and skulk back to the side of her crib for another round of pacifier hockey. When she was finally asleep and I had leapt, ninja-like, across her room, avoiding the squeaky patches and closing the door, anything and anyone that made noise above one decibel was in danger of being destroyed by a bloodshot-eyed, sleep-deprived, new mother. The lawncare workers who started mowing at 6am got the scare of their lives when I burst out my front door, howling for them to beat it or I’d suffocate them with their clippings bags. Shouting children on bikes would watch as my curtains were snatched back and my snarling face appeared at the window, daring them to keep it up. My husband knew that even though he needs the TV volume up at unreasonable levels to be able to enjoy his viewing experience, to do so when the baby was asleep would be taking his life in his hands. Any neighbors who had the unmitigated gall to throw a party and play loud music had the cops called on them, even though a year before I’d been one of the loudest guests. I have never claimed to be fair.
Later, when my daughter was 3-½, I had my son. Like his sister before him, he acted like taking him to his crib for a nap was leading him to the guillotine. I was once again the zombie mother, and it didn’t help that four of my friends had babies around my son’s age and ALL of them slept through the night by six weeks old. We had tried to prepare our daughter for the arrival of the new baby, telling her that sometimes, she would have to be quiet. Unfortunately, sometimes turned into all the time, because even if the baby wasn’t asleep, Mommy was cranky and tired and didn’t like loud noises. Our house became a BE QUIET zone. The rule was that you were always quiet unless you were otherwise instructed. My daughter began requesting trips to Nana and Grandpa’s house just so she could bang a few things around.
My son didn’t start sleeping through the night until he was nine months old. I was being punished for all of the laughing I did at old people who just wanted it quiet, for now I was old. I wanted it quiet, I wanted my sleep, and I wanted it starting at exactly 8pm!
“Yeah, well, we want food”, my children said. “And we’re wearing towels like togas because you haven’t done any laundry and we’re bored and one of us is poopy and we’re developing lung disease because the house is so dusty!”
Now I understand why the older people get, the more welcome death is. At least then you can rest in peace and quiet.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I swear, if this happens one more time, I will LOSE. IT. My bowels can't take the stress. A daily occurance:

I walk in to the bathroom and lock the door. I seat myself upon the throne and choose my reading material, even if I'm only going to be "going number one". (Bail now, kids, if this is too much for you.) Suddenly, I hear the distant rumble of whelp feet. They jiggle the door. They stick their faces along the crack between the bottom of the door and the floor to see if my feet are in evidence.

"Mom?" Inhale. Exhale. Random hairs flutter across the tiles with their breaths.

"I'm going to the bathroom, I'll be out in a minute!" I yell back. I return to my reading.

And then my kids prove why they are smarter than monkeys. They go to the OTHER door into the bathroom, that blasted why-the-hell-did-anyone-even-invent-it Jack and Jill door. (Our bathroom, mind you, is little bigger than a linen closet. It does NOT warrant two doors.) The J&J is the door that slides like a sliding glass door into the wall. It has no door knob, just a metal groove with a pitiful clasp that it "supposed" to keep the door shut if you don't want anyone coming in. My kids have figured out how to hitch the clasp up, unlock the J&J door, and slide it open. They enter, smiling in triumph, but, upon seeing my scowl and bared teeth, they change it to an innocent expression.

"I have to go to the bathroom!" they howl suddenly.

"Go downstairs!" I bark back.

"I can't make it in time!"

They do this constantly. They don't like the downstairs bathroom because the idiot who built it put the light switch halfway across the room and it's big and dark and has spiders in the summer. They only use the downstairs bathroom if the light is already on and people are dowstairs to offer spider support.

So now, I have to rush my bowels, wipe like I'm trying to start a fire without matches, and get out of the way before they pee or poop their pants.

I'm sick. and. tired. of. this. crap. Literally, haha. I plan to put buckets in their rooms so that I can finally have a BM in peace.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Start of It All: Confessions of a Hairwrecker

When my friend Sarah and I were fifteen and attending the same church, we hated each other for six months over some tubby kid with red hair and pimples who thought he was Joey Tribiani. When we finally figured out he wasn’t worth it and started hanging out, we realized we were kindred spirits. Sarah and I were both card-carrying Hair Wreckers.
Hair Wreckers are created by their mothers. When a little girl is forced to endure the humiliation of years of bad haircuts and hairstyles, she spends the rest of her life unable to leave her hair alone, striving constantly to achieve Pantene model status, hoping to alleviate the painful childhood hair memories. What she becomes is a Hair Wrecker.
Sarah and I together managed to attain new heights of bad hair that never would have happened alone. For instance, one day when we got tired of putting scotch tape on the bottoms of the paws of Sarah’s mean cat, we decided to dye our hair. I was already in the advanced stages of hag-head, having tried to chemically straighten my permed hair, perms having gone suddenly out of style. The result was that I had some fried, straight hair, some fried, frizzy hair, and some fried, curly hair. Dying it couldn’t make it any worse, I thought to myself. Sarah and I wanted to be cautious, so we chose dye that was only a few shades different than our natural color. We ended up with hair the exact same color we had started out with, just a bit more damaged.
A few years later, bored with our current hairstyles, we decided to get haircuts. I ripped a picture of Jennifer Aniston out of a magazine. This was after she had grown out the “Rachel” cut and had long, sleek layers, but the woman cutting my hair took one look at the picture and exclaimed, “Oh, I JUST learned how to do this at a seminar last weekend!” and took her scissors to my hair. I stared at my reflection when she was done. What stared back was a sad Afghan hound, short layers jutting out crazily. Sarah, two chairs over, had skipped joyfully into the salon with an exact idea in her head. She wanted the “Maddy” haircut, from the now-defunct “Mike and Maddy” talk show. Maddy had a cute, piecy crop of highlighted hair that showcased her big brown eyes. Sarah wanted that hair, and wanted it BAD. The problem is, Sarah’s hair is a separate entity, not subject to the commands of her brain. It is a reddish-brown, coarse, curly mop of stubbornness that no one person has ever been able to subdue. The Maddy cut was no exception. Sarah ended up with a wavy helmet of hair that was more suited to a 55-year-old Disco King. As we sat morosely in my room, we reasoned that maybe our cuts weren’t as bad as we thought they were. To test our theory, we went to Medieval Times, a monthly field trip for us. Every female in our section, including the ones wearing Depends and Polident, got a flower thrown to them except us. We stared at each other in dismay. If the skeezy Medieval Times knights didn’t flirt with us, we MUST be hideous! There was nothing to do but wait for the haircuts to grow out.
The following years were filled with phone calls that went something like this:
“Um…I did something.”
“WHAT. WHAT did you do? Did you wreck your hair again? You did, didn‘t you?”
I have scorched my scalp so badly it felt like a too-small swim cap when I tried to go blonde on my own. Sarah became a hair-double for Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, complete with two poofs of parted bangs because she took advantage of an $8 Bo-rics sale. We eventually started taking pictures so that when we were tempted to mess with our hair, we could look back on past mistakes and abstain. But, alas, Hair Wreckers are like drug addicts. It is a life-long affliction. Sometimes you fall off the wagon. Every time you see someone with great hair totally different from yours, you are overcome with the urge to dye and cut. Just the other day I stood, scissors in hand, ready to make myself some Salma Hayek bangs, but I managed to let the atrophied, common sense part of my brain have its say, and I put the scissors away.
Maybe Sarah and I will start HWA; Hair Wreckers Anonymous. There will be only three steps in our program:
1. Apologize to your hair.
2. Promise your hair that the only things you will do to your hair on your own is wash it and brush it.
3. Promise your hair that when you absolutely MUST do something to it, you will go to a professional who meets the following criteria:
- charges more than $11
- is recommended by at least two people with good hair
- watches other channels besides TV land and the History channel
By doing this, we will make the world a visually better place by averting our self-inflicted hair disasters. Thank you.

Friday, March 20, 2009

SALVAGED: Washington Dogs

It was Sunday night. I was pumped. I was re-motivated to start Operation Blubber-Be-Gone. So motivated that I couldn’t wait for Monday morning to start my exercise and I told my husband I was going on a walk. I hadn’t counted on Washington dogs.
I’m a Chicago suburbs girl. I’ve lived 40 minutes away from the city my entire life until about six months ago, when my husband’s work transferred him to Spokane. I am trying to acclimate to the differences between Illinois and Washington, and I was about to face a new challenge this particular night.
Now, Chicago dogs are straightforward. They see you, they bark. They see a leaf blowing down the street, they bark. They hear an ant trip over a blade of grass, they bark. Washington dogs are different. They are sneaky. They see you and they stare at you. And they wait. You watch them out of the corner of your eye as you walk and think at the dog, Don’t you bark at me, dog. See? I’m walking past. All I want to do is go on my walk. I’m not a burglar or a psycho. Let me pass in peace, dog. As soon you have decided they are going to ignore you, they let loose with a torrent of nerve-jarring barks designed not only to scare the wits out of you, but to warn their raggedy little pals down the street you’re coming. This is bad enough during the day, but sheer terror at night. At night, as on this particular Sunday night, they saw me, but I did not see them. They’d wait for me to come alongside their property and then launch themselves out of the dark at the fence separating us, snarling and barking like Old Yeller, post-rabid wolf bite. I was soon tiptoeing down the street like the doomed victim in a slasher film, hyperventilating and jerking around with every little noise. That was the last time I walked through my new Washington neighborhood at night.
Thinking I had solved the problem, I took my next walk at 7am. It was either too early for most people to have their dogs running around outside, or late enough that the dogs were indoors for the day, because I encountered no canines of any variety. Eureka!
I had been unknowingly lulled into a false sense of security. The next morning, I walked happily along, daydreaming about all of the evil stomach-pooch fat cells being blasted into oblivion. All of a sudden, a booming, crazed bark just inches from my posterior turned my internal organs to stone. The Darth Vader of sneaky Washington dogs was hurling himself at the chain link fence, slobber flying through the air. This dog was especially sneaky because, from a distance, he was a friendly Golden Retriever with a wagging tail and a jaunty kerchief tied around his neck. Upon closer inspection, however, one could see that the flab of his middle-aged dog face had settled into sinister lines. His eyes harbored a maniacal, Cujo-like glint, and his horrible bark promised pain, should the chain link fence ever give way. I had met my arch-nemesis of the canine world.
“Stop it!” I yelled. “Go inside!”
I clapped my hands at him. I tried to glare. He responded with a lunge that made my heart actually leap out of my mouth and flop onto the sidewalk, silent and still. I hustled out of range as fast as I could with my rear end clenched tight enough to crush aluminum cans.
I decided not to let the beast derail my healthy efforts. I still walk every morning, but I walk prepared. No more daydreaming. As I approach the beast’s territory, I steel myself. I scan the entire yard for him. Sometimes he hides under the deck in the shadows and then hurtles across the yard at me. He is cunning, oh yes, he is. But, I vow, never again shall he catch me unaware. I will not be intimidated and defeated by a crusty old dog. Every time I’m tempted to be lazy and skip my walk, I think, That dog WANTS you to be fat.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I'm going to try to moveon. I posted this the day I got deleted.

I actually tie-dyed my shirt blue, but apparently I got some weak dye because it faded. Some of you might consider that to be a good thing. I happen to love me some tie-dye. Everybody has their unfashionable tendencies, right? I happen to have more than normal; holey underwear (ala MOFM), the occasional flannel, moccasins...I'll stop before I lose you all forever.

Anyway, I have decided to do a Where's Waldo, but with my quirky blogger shirt. I'm going to be going a lot of places this summer, and I plan to take my shirt and take pictures of it in various cool places. Because I owe Steph big-time and because I never thanked her for sending me a Christmas card, which made me so happy I almost peed, but I probably had on holey underwear and didn't want to chance a puddle on the kitchen floor.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Fist to the Face

So yesterday I triumphantly posted a picture of me wearing Steph's t-shirt. Later that night, I tried to log in. I was denied. I tried again. And again. Finally, after many panicky minutes of trying to get to my blog, sweat beading on my upper lip while I tried to figure out if perhaps I had another personality that I was unaware of, who posted porn on my blog, I found out that my husband told our anti-virus software to go ahead and "take care of" any viruses it found. My blog went with it. Everything. My unphotogenic posts, "Prepare for Pain", everything. I feel, maybe not as if a child had died, but certainly a beloved pet. This sucks GIANT...I don't even have the energy to finish my sentence. I will try to recover what I can. I had to pick a new address and everything.