Monday, March 29, 2010

Isn't That Perfect

I have spent my life in an ongoing mission for perfection. So far, it's not going so well. Let's review the quest thus far:

The Perfect Daughter~ Not me. I kept my room spotless as a child. Like, seriously, white-glove spotless. This only seemed to freak my Mom out most of the time and give my brother even more reason to call me a nerd (neither of them are particularly neat). I made excellent grades. Yet, I still didn't go to Harvard or Yale or some other awe-inducing university covered in figurative (and literal) ivy. I didn't end up unmarried and pregnant. Okay, so that's a lie, but I was twenty-six and eventually married the baby daddy, making everything copacetic and creating the perfect little nuclear family. (On the plus side, I also didn't Lizzie Borden my family or join a cult, so perhaps we can call it even.)

The Perfect Wife (take 2, the starter marriage doesn't count)~ Not me. I cook. It's usually edible, although there is the time I threw the crab cakes out the back door and cried until B ordered Chinese, and the time I became angry when my crepes kept falling apart so I threw the entire batch on the kitchen floor and cried until B convinced me to try it again. I clean. My house is usually very clean, although all this has gotten me is ridicule from the neighbors who find it amusing that I vent my frustrations by spot-cleaning the carpet. I can't sew worth a damn. I do not enjoy socializing, particularly at B's work-related functions because they make me nervous (I use a different side of my brain than all of those freaky engineers). I'm extremely organized and focused, but can become agitated when disorder enters my domain, therefore becoming at least mildly bitchy (maybe a lot bitchy). (Plus side: I'm frequently naked and give great back rubs. Not sure how that evens everything out.)

The Perfect Mother~ Not me. I play with the kids if it involves books or things that interest me. I'd rather be tortured than play Barbies or trucks. I keep them fed, but am frequently a Nazi (though not as bad as B) about what they eat, therefore depriving them of many fun kid foods like Cocoa Puffs and Cheetos. I take my library book to soccer practice because I get really bored watching them run around the field. I'm just now learning from a friend how to relax and not freak out when they run with sticks or eat mulch at the playground (I'm more than a little overprotective). There are many days when I like them best when they are sleeping, and I can snuggle them up and smell their sweet smells and not have to listen to them ask for something every two seconds. They are clean, happy, fed, safe, healthy... but sometimes I yell at them when they fight over the booster seat with the red stripe or won't stay in their beds at night. (Plus side: I would die for them, in a heartbeat. I would do anything to make them happy, when it comes down to it. That counts for something, right?)

The Perfect Friend~ Not me. I hold the title of Worst Matron Of Honor In The Universe. I was pregnant with Sutt when my BFF Ray got married. I bailed on her bachelorette party because I didn't feel well. She had to jump through hoops to get extra fabric so I could have my bridesmaid dress maternity-ized. I was bitchy at her wedding (in my defense, it was July in Chapel Hill, hot as hell, an outdoor wedding, and I was ENORMOUS). I have missed the births of two children (so far). Pretty much, I suck. (Plus side: There is none. Ray's a saint.)

The entire time I was growing up, I watched my Dad do this same thing--strive to be perfect. And it didn't get him anywhere. Frankly, it only made him unhappy. When his father passed away, it almost seemed to set him free--he didn't have to keep working to be perfect for this person. But since my Dad died, I only feel it more. I have to be this person that he absolutely would have been proud of, no matter what. Everything has to be perfect, even though I know he didn't expect that of me, and he loved me despite my flaws. It's a lot of pressure. So I'm still plugging away, trying to be perfect. Gotta be perfect.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Little Bit of This

Last week was one of those weeks that left me contemplating exactly how wrong it would be to fake my own death, then hide out in the islands until 2012 when the world up and explodes are whatever the hell everybody thinks it's going to do. (For the record, there are people who have built concrete bunkers in the mountains of Turkey and think they are going to ride out this Mayan apocalypse. I say, go for it, dude. Because, first of all, the Mayans didn't say the world would end, it just happens to be when their calendar ends and when they believed "a change" would come about. Second of all, if I have to live in a concrete bunker in Turkey indefinitely in order to survive whatever the Universe had in store, I'd rather just keel over and die from the apocalypse. I don't even like to camp, in a camper with electricity and a shower. I'm most certainly not going to live off jugs of water and Spaghetti-O's while I recycle the same two pairs of underwear. I'm not even sure exactly where Turkey is on a map, or why they think these mountains are a safe place to hide. But I digress.)

So last week sucked hardcore, and rather than bore you with the details, I will talk about other things, like the few parts that didn't suck. As a matter of fact, because there are so few of them, I will make a list of the parts of last week that did not suck. A list seems like a pretty decent way to wrap up the week anyway.

THE PARTS OF LAST WEEK THAT DID NOT UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY BLOW, ALTHOUGH THERE WERE NOT MANY OF THEM, AND THE ACCEPTABLE PARTS THAT DID COME TO PASS WERE NOT ALL THAT FABULOUS, BUT SEEMED MORE FABULOUS THAN THEY NORMALLY WOULD HAVE BECAUSE THEY HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE TO LAND WITHIN SUCH A SHITTY WEEK, HAVING PRETTY MUCH THE SAME EFFECT AS WHEN B ACCUSES MY YORKIE OF BEING FAT, AND I POINT OUT THAT IF YOU STAND HER NEXT TO A HIPPOPOTAMUS SHE'S ACTUALLY QUITE SMALL, WHICH IS TECHNICALLY TRUE, THOUGH ONLY BY COMPARISON

1. My Pleasure~ Friday night I attended a Pleasure Party at a friend's house. We kicked off the night in a circle, passing a large rubber pink penis around using only our legs, partly because the rules of the game dictated no hands, and partly because we were holding glasses of sangria. This was followed by a spiel from the Sex Toy Lady, who passed her wares around and let us all handle them (at one point I got a great neck massage from a giant blue vibrator with a face on it), and some lovely snacks, including a delicious chocolate cake with a large penis on top (made out of cookie dough) and cupcakes that looked like boobs. Eventually we all ended up in the master bed with the host and hostess and a bunch of vibrators. While I give you a moment to work on that visual, I will mention that we were all dressed and stayed that way, and merely checking out her new mattress she got for Christmas. (Sorry to disappoint.)

2. Smile~ Wednesday morning I had my teeth cleaned. For many people, going to the dentist is a traumatic experience. I, personally, rather like it. Nobody is asking me to do anything but open my mouth and occasionally bite down or turn my head a little. My teeth feel great after it's over. It doesn't hurt, and I never need dental work. Plus, the dentist likes to say flattering things to me the whole time about what great teeth I have, which is a nice little ego boost. (I may not have had time to brush my hair this morning, but I have great teeth!) All in all, I'm down with the dentist, yo.

3. I'll take Manhattan~ On Tuesday, I discovered that Netflix had shipped me the newest season of Mad Men on DVD, for my viewing pleasure. I love Mad Men. I love that Don Draper sleeps with everything in a skirt. I love that his crazy wife, Betty, chain smokes and drinks martinis while she neglects two of their children and is pregnant with the third. I love that Joan Holloway makes me consider becoming a lesbian just because I think she's so freakin' gorgeous I could probably be happy batting for the other team. I.Love.Mad Men. Yes, I do.

4. Ace in the hole~ Last week it all become official that I would be working for Pearson, scoring first the 8th grade OSA essays, then, a few weeks later, the 7th grade essays. I did the hours of stupid training. I took my qualification exams (and kicked ass by scoring a perfect score on both). I got the okay that all is ready for me to begin working this Wednesday. High-five for Haley. None of my friends understand why I am excited. They think we must either seriously need money, or that I have lost my mind. The idea of voluntarily working when I could just keep doing what I do now (kids, laundry, waiting to die in the apocalypse) is appalling to them. I'm working so my brain doesn't shrivel up and die. The end.

5. Tumbler Troubles~ I have long thought that the perfect cup would be much like the plastic cups with lids and straws that Starbucks gives you for their shaken teas, only reusable. Light weight, a straw, dishwasher safe. I don't have to worry that a bug will land it in at soccer practice because it has a lid. I don't mess up my lip gloss because it has a straw. I don't have to throw it away when it's infested with bacteria (a kid sneezes on it, the dog decides to have a taste) because I can throw it in the dishwasher and disinfect it. Alas, this product has always eluded me. Until yesterday. HALLELUJAH, TARGET! Yep, I found it. It's perfect. It's like Jesus heard my plea, went to Starbucks, thought, "Damn, that's a great idea!" and created it, much like the sun and the moon. (For the record, Jesus, I love the cup but I can think of lots of other requests I would rather have had answered. Just so you know. But, anyway, thanks man.) It's plastic. It's sweat-proof. It looks like soda cup, and has a sturdy straw. It's awesome.

So there's five for you. Clearly, since one of the high points of my week was locating a plastic cup at Target, you can't begin to imagine what the low points were. And I choose not to discuss them at present. But I must say, take heart. Because if I can get through last week, I can sure as hell survive a concrete bunker in Turkey, should I so choose. All is right with the world.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Supermarket Smackdown

A few Saturdays ago, I ditched the family and went grocery shopping solo. This is pretty much equal to a vacation to me, being able to study labels and peruse aisles without someone yelling that they want the cereal with the Transformer on the box or announcing when the cart is half full that they need to go potty. I see it as my little corner of Mommy Paradise. Some Mommies get pedicures (I'm not that fancy--I do my own), this Mommy looks forward to choosing what scent laundry detergent she wants to buy without any little people opinions in her ears.

As I put the last few things in my shopping cart and headed to the check-out lines, I noticed that as usual, there were only three lanes open, each with approximately thirty-seven people in each line. Though I am not one who enjoys standing in lines (who is?), I wasn't too distressed--since I was alone I could stand there and flip through a magazine and patiently wait my turn. No big deal. I chose the line that appeared to be the shortest, and settled in for the wait.

The woman directly in front of me was a petite Black woman, dressed in jeans, a furry jacket, and a snazzy hat. ("Apple Bottom jeans, boots with the fur, the whole club was lookin' at her....sorry, I digress.) Girlfriend was wearing more jewelry than I own, and day-glo fuscia lipstick that could have been spotted from the space station. Her arms were filled with random toiletries--toothpaste, shampoo, the biggest bottle of hand sanitizer on the planet, etc. I could tell by her demeanor that she was irritated about something, she was shuffling and tense and muttering underneath her breath. As the minutes passed and the line neglected to move, she finally dumped her armload of stuff onto the floor and whipped her cell phone out of her purse. This caught my attention, because her fingernails were roughly the length of my arm and painted bright orange, with a rhinestone of some sort glued onto each thumbnail. (We all know that flashy never fails to catch my eye. Why have I never had rhinestone nails???) She tapped away at the phone with her nails, then stood waiting for an answer, lips pursed, eyes wild.

This is where it gets good.

The phone was loud enough that I could hear a female voice say "hello." That's when Flashy Nails lost her shit. Seriously, yo. I mean, full-on, psycho bitch, LOST HER SHIT. It went something like this:

"WHORE! FUCKING SKANK-ASS WHORE! WHAT YOU DOIN' ANSWERIN' HIS PHONE, BITCH? WHAT YOU THINK YOU DOIN'? I AM GOING TO KICK YOUR FAT ASS! I WILL COME TO YOUR HOUSE, DRAG YOU OUT BY THEM NASTY-ASS EXTENSIONS, AND BEAT YOUR ASS, WHORE! YOU A WHORE! YO MAMA A WHORE! I'M GONNA KICK YOUR MAMA'S ASS TOO, BITCH. I GONNA KICK ALL YO WHORE ASSES!"

(Imagine this being screamed in the middle of the check-out line, please, complete with hand gesticulations and foot-stomping.) I was fascinated.

At this point, the lady on the other end of the conversation must have hung up. Flashy Nails then turned to me. "Can you BELIEVE that bitch? She hung up on me." I chose not to answer. I'm badass, but there's no way in hell I plan on tangling with a mentally unbalanced Black girl who's all riled up about some dude in the middle of the supermarket. There are security cameras there. That's an episode of COPS in the making, and I don't want any of that action, yo. I do not need my 15 minutes of fame.

Luckily, Flashy Nails was too excited to notice my feigned indifference. Chances are, with my unpainted nails and lack of rhinestone adornment, designer labels, or hair extensions I wasn't really worthy of her recognition anyway. Snapping the phone open again, she hit "send," redialing the previous number.

The genius female on the other end answered again. Clearly, she was either a dumbass, or found this whole situation as entertaining as I (secretly) did.

"YOU WHORE! YOU WHORE! YOU DONE ANSWERED AGAIN? HOW STUPID ARE YOU, WHORE? HOW STUPID ARE YOU? YO MAMA'S A WHORE. YO MAMA'S A WHORE. YOU MAMA'S A WHORE."

Click. Hang-up.

By now the manager had arrived. Gently, he explained to Flashy Nails that she was causing a disturbance, there were children around who didn't need to be exposed to her language, etc. He had a very soothing voice (you could tell he thought F.N. was as bat-shit crazy as the rest of us did). She agreed to come to Customer Service, where he went behind the counter and immediately rang up her purchases before escorting her out the door and on her way.

I was still standing in line.

Next time I'm in a hurry, I am SO going to fake some sort of crazy so that I can skip the line and get an escort to my car. Hell, if my kids are with me, I won't even have to fake it.

Lesson Learned.

Monday, March 15, 2010

(Un)Comfortably Numb

I'm told it's March.

I didn't actually realize this in the kind of way that allows it to sink in until I was at the bank getting something notarized last Friday and the notary kept screwing up the date. Then she started laughing and talking about how she couldn't believe it was already March.

Well, hello, March. I'm so glad you came.

Do you ever wonder what makes "good" good and what makes "bad" bad? Like, who decided that stuff anyway? Who was it who had the authority to make those decisions? To decide that if you don't yell at your kids and feed them properly you're a good mother, if you don't sleep around you're a good husband, if you don't FaceBook at work you're a good employee?

It's sure as hell nobody I would have enjoyed knowing.

You see, I have my own ideas of what constitutes good and what constitutes bad. They may not always match the world's proverbial moral compass, they don't necessarily follow the Bible or the Constitution or the Golden Rule. But, you know, that's pretty much the norm for me. I think it takes more than making sure your kid eats his or her broccoli to make you a good Mom. And I don't think if I accidentally swear in front of them it makes me a bad one (nor does it make me a bad Mom if I swear on purpose). I think honor comes from being true to yourself, and respect is something that we have to work for, but not always in the way that we think we should. There is a lot in this world we can do, make, have--but we have far too many rules that we try to follow. Words change, thoughts change, feelings change. People change. You don't have to hurt anyone else, but you do have to be fluid. You have to be malleable. You have to take what you're given and make it yours.

Just like time.

Hello, March.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Not To Do

A little bit of my newest list:

THINGS I SHOULD REMEMBER NOT TO DO, REGARDLESS OF HOW DRUNK, DESPERATE, OR TIRED I AM, OR HOW GUILTY I MAY FEEL, NO MATTER WHAT THEY ARE, EVEN IF MY MOM OR B TRIES TO CONVINCE ME IT'S A GOOD IDEA AND THAT I'LL BE HAPPY I DID IT LATER WHILE I'M SECRETLY AWARE THAT THEY ARE FULL OF SHIT AND I WILL NOT BE HAPPY I DID IT LATER, BUT RATHER WILL BE THINKING "WHY THE FUCK DID I DO THAT?"

1. Cut my hair into anything that might be construed as "soccer mom-ish," even if my Mom REALLY likes my hair better short

2. Drunk dial ANYONE, and sing "Wind Beneath My Wings." Nor should I do this sober.

3. Wear yellow. I look terrible in yellow.

4. Drink Long Island Iced Tea. Not only does it make me take my clothes off in public, it makes me take my clothes off in public THEN vomit. Not a pretty combination.

5. Speak French when B is near. He just laughs at me because his accent is better.

6. Read anything by Fenimore Cooper. He's, perhaps, the most boring writer in the history of American Literature.

7. Get my nipples pierced. Ick.

8. Allow the FedEx Man to tie me up when I invite him in for hot sex. You never know when he might leave you there for your husband to find you, tired, sweaty, and still bound to the bed. (Not that this has ever happened. Nope. Not even once. Or twice. Or with the UPS man.)

9. Buy the kids musical instruments, or encourage them to learn to play one.

10. Marry a third time.

11. Take up golf, particularly if it involves wearing a sweater vest and one of those weird little hats.

12. Say hurtful things to midgets. Or dwarfs.

13. Cave (this will only mean something to some of you--sorry to the others).

Friday, March 5, 2010

Marching On

It never ceases to amaze me how, despite what may happen in the world, life goes on.

I don't remember the first time I actually considered this, but I know I was young. Likely, it was elementary school, when my fourth grade teacher sent me home for being a smartass (imagine that) and my parents grounded me for the first time ever. I can't really remember. But I know I've thought this through break-ups, divorce, births, deaths--I specifically remember thinking it after September 11th and the Tsunami in Thailand. It doesn't matter how bad things get for me or for someone else, life pauses for no one.

I still haven't made up my mind as to whether I think life is long or short. People say it passes in the blink of an eye. Other people say it is endless. I think it is what it is, filled with moments you want to hold onto forever that pass in the blink of an eye, and moments you think you'll never survive that linger on for what feels like forever. It's the way of the world, the nature of life. I look at my children and think of how I long for the days when they can give themselves baths without my assistance, then I think of how I love how Sutt still looks like a baby when he sleeps, on his stomach with his bottom pushed up into the air. I yearn for freedom, but once it arrives, will I actually lap it up? Or will it turn out to be not nearly as sweet as I remember? I won't know until then, and by then it will be too late to change anything.

This life is hard. It's survival and it's lessons and it's full of mistakes. But I'm trying to learn to embrace it. To own it. To just accept it for what it is, and make the most of it. To just be. And that, THAT, would make all the difference.