Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's All Fun And Games Until Somebody Finds the Easy Bake



I am now on Day 7 of SUMMER BREAK (Day 11 if you count weekend days, which I don't, as the minis would be around on those days regardless). Seeing as how I haven't faked my own death and absconded to Mexico, nor have I flipped my lid and taken off on a country-wide killing spree in the Xterra, chain-smoking Marlboro Reds while wearing cutoffs and mirrored sunglasses, and taunting the police from pay phones in really boring states like Missouri, I consider SUMMER BREAK to be a success, thus far. We have spent a great deal of time at the pool. We have been to the water park at the Y. We have seen a movie. We have gone on a quest to locate and purchase both a blue light saber and a green one, we have filled up the Barbie pool and let Barbie and all her boyfriends (Ironman, Batman, Wolverine, the Incredible Hulk, and Darth Vader--clearly the girl gets around AND has a certain "type" of man she prefers) have a pool party, and we've had a good dose of Jesus at Bible School. We've visited the library, the mall play area, and the park (in hundred degree weather, I might add). And what all this means is: I have officially shot my load. (I hope everyone enjoys that attractive sexual metaphor, as every time I hear it I feel mildly queasy and truly only chose to use it in this instance to see if anyone else also felt mildly queasy at the mental image. Please tell me if you did. However, if you merely got excited by it, I DO NOT NEED TO KNOW, SO KEEP IT TO YOUR DAMN SELF, PERVERT.)

Throughout all of these activities, I have plastered on a smile and pretended IT WAS THE FUNNEST THING EVER (yes, I said "funnest,"--suck it up and deal, yo). Why? Because I am a good Mom. As a matter of fact, I decided yesterday I am the BEST FUCKING MOM EVER. And for good reason: Belly found her Easy Bake Oven.

Now, let me explain how the Easy Bake Oven came into existence. (Please note, this is not the history of the Easy Bake Oven itself, but more of an overview of how the McPhail Family came to own said oven, as any Mom on the planet will tell you that EASY BAKE OVENS ARE THE DEVIL AND YOU NEVER PURCHASE THEM FOR YOUR CHILDREN UNTIL YOU ARE ON DRUGS, OUT OF YOUR EVER-LOVING MIND, OR BOTH.) One of my mother-in-laws (yes, I have two) purchased the oven for Bellamy for Christmas. When she told me, I immediately flinched in pain, then dropped to my knees to pray to God that perhaps he would deem me worthy to have just one teeny, tiny little prayer answered and the damn oven would magically disappear. He did not, and it did not. However, he did buy me some time--Barbara misplaced the oven for six months, which means that Belly did not receive it in December for Christmas, but rather for her birthday in June. Bellamy was ecstatic. I had a fourth glass of Chardonnay.

In the midst of the excitement over her other birthday gifts, I managed to swipe the Easy Bake and stash it in the closet. The "closet" being the storage closet upstairs, where random McPhail items go to hide for years at a time, and where no one ever goes unless B decides it would be really fun to go play in the attic for a bit, using tools and man things like air filters and such. Anyway, there the oven rested for a month. Until yesterday. When Bellamy, somehow, located it.

So last night I was forced to Easy Bake. Let me just point out that whoever decided it would be really fun to make an "oven" that "cooked" things like "cakes" the size of sugar cookies and "cookies" the size of dimes by using a light bulb that actually creates enough heat that one can be easily burned if one touches this oven should be dragged out into the street and shot, after being forced to Easy Bake for the duration of the life of an economy-sized pack of 100 watt light bulbs. Creating the batter involved opening a packet, dumping it into a bowl, adding a teaspoon and a half of water, stirring and putting it in the tiniest little cake pan you've ever seen, then shoving it in the damn oven with a big, yellow utensil. Being the watchful eye while all this was done by a seven-year-old and a four-year-old took OVER AN HOUR and ultimately involved one eye poke (Belly to Sutt), one punch to the arm (Sutt to Belly), LOTS of bickering (both) and cake batter on the table, floor, and children. Considering the amount of cake batter produced to begin with was probably less than a heaping Tablespoon, this was quite a feat. Twelve miserable baking minutes later, we had a cake. A very small, very rock hard cake. My children were enchanted. I needed a shot of tequila and a Xanax.

Needless to say, I think I deserve serious kudos for cheerfully Easy Baking the hell out of some yellow cake. I won't even mention suffering through making "frosting" and adding sprinkles. One more complicated Mommy activity down, only a summer full of more to go. Let's hope I'm still standing in September.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Deep Thoughts

Sometimes I sit around and consider the following things:

A LIST OF THINGS THAT I OFTEN SIT AROUND AND CONSIDER, USUALLY WHEN I AM DRINKING OR WHEN I CANNOT SLEEP, AS I DON'T HAVE MUCH TIME OTHERWISE TO CONSIDER THINGS ALTHOUGH I AM INDEED A GURU OF MULTITASKING AND EFFICIENCY AND CAN LITERALLY DO TWELVE THINGS AT ONCE MOST OF THE TIME. ADDITIONALLY, IF YOU HAVE SEEN "THE INFORMANT" (A MOVIE OF WHICH I ONLY WATCHED THE FIRST FIFTEEN MINUTES BECAUSE IT SUCKED SO BADLY) YOU WILL SEE MATT DAMON DISCUSS HIS EFFICIENCY, A MONOLOGUE WITH WHICH I TOTALLY IDENTIFIED BECAUSE SOMETIMES I, TOO, LET THE CONDITIONER SOAK INTO MY HAIR IN THE SHOWER WHILE I BRUSH MY TEETH (ALSO IN THE SHOWER)

1. Playboy Magazine~ I get the idea of Playboy. I am not in any way, shape, or form opposed to Playboy, nor am I disgusted or jealous of it. I once got B a subscription to it for his birthday, because hey, who doesn't want to check out hot chicks? I love hot chicks. The cartoons are often rather stupid, but it's not as if anybody really buys Playboy for the cartoons (that's why you buy The New Yorker, or the Far Side desk calendar). The issue I have with Playboy is this: if you take a random sample of issues from the past five years THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME. The girls pose the same way. They look alike--large breasted, smoothly shaved, either olive skinned, dark-eyed brunettes, or platinum blonds, all with kickin' spray tans and a penchant for looking cute in pigtails. There was one edition a few years back where some tennis player chick was featured and her boobs were tiny. I wanted to high-five Hugh Hefner for giving the under-endowed a chance. However, she's the only one that broke the mold, unless you count Cindy Margolis with her landing strip. Which I don't, because she's still big breasted and platinum blond, so even her minimal (but existent) pubic hair isn't enough to set her apart.

2. What the world would be like if we spelled most of our words phonetically, and how I would lose my importance in our universe~ I know several very intelligent people who can't spell worth a damn. I am not one of them, and I do not judge them. (For the record, I was in hot pursuit of the National Spelling Bee title when I was eleven, but was thwarted by a bad case of chicken pox. Otherwise, that crown would have been mine, ese.) Because I am an excellent speller, I find it both amusing and exciting that some of the words in the English language are spelled in such a complicated and contradictory way. It gives me an internal shiver of delight when I consider how "cataclysm" has no "i," and a slightly giddy tremor when I see how many people misspell "definitely" as "definately." I want to go around teaching everyone to spell with my stellar skills and knowledge, saving the world one poor speller at a time. Not because I am superior to them, but because we all have to be good at something, and this is MY THING. I can't do math in my head, I can't carry a tune, my artistic abilities are atrocious, but I'll be damned if I can't spell the pants off anyone around me.

3. How can claims be made about things that can't be proven?~ Maine claims to be the only state without a single snake within its boundaries. Scientists claim that when a person tells a lie, he or she nearly always glances to the left while telling said lie. Texas officially states that it is home to the best Mexican food in our great nation. But you want to hear something scandalous? NONE OF THIS CAN BE PROVED. Can every inch of Maine really be simultaneously scoured for snakes and declared snake free? I don't care if the climate does not work in reptilian favor or that no one ever runs across a giant copperhead while mowing his lawn. What I care about is that it can't be PROVED. Just like I can look you straight in the eye and tell a whopping lie without ever glancing away, and it's my belief that the best Mexican food on the planet is pseudo-Mexican and located in Carrboro, North Carolina. BAM. There you go.

4. What if~ I once had a chance to run off and marry a marine I barely knew when I was twenty years old. I was angry at B the night I conceived Belly because he had done something incredibly stupid and almost didn't sleep with him that night (damn you, Corona with lime). I had a gun held to my head in high school because I walked in on a drug deal while looking for a bathroom at a party. WHAT IF: I had gone for it, I had stayed sober and gone to bed, I had used my biting wit to oppose my captivity? I might be happy or sad or dead. There's no telling what could have happened. Every day contains so many choices, so many options. Even the tiniest decision (looking for the bathroom when you have to pee) can affect you forever. There is always a "what if," no matter what you choose.

5. What would Maddie do?~ Remember those "What Would Jesus Do" bracelets from the late nineties? Those who jammed for Jesus sported them proudly, looking others square in the eye and daring them with their piety to explain the meaning of "WWJD." It was a way to not only show your devotion to your homeboy JC, but also to minister to others because hey, they asked, right? High five for Jesus. Although I never jumped on that collective bandwagon, I have since created my own: What Would Maddie Do? On my never-ending quest for eternal happiness, I sought far and near for those in my life who exhibited the most contentment, the most happiness, the most true joy in their daily activities. After careful consideration, the winner of the Convivial Award was.......my mutt, Maddie May. In 2002, I rescued Maddie May from the pound in Charleston, South Carolina, TOTALLY BY ACCIDENT. I went in looking for a nice, reserved small dog that would be a lovely, yet docile, companion for my cantankerous Yorkie, Mimipants, while I was off teaching high schoolers the importance of literacy. Instead, I left with this high-strung, high-energy, matted mess of a canine whom the shelter had nicknamed "Chatty," but whom I immediately christened "Maddie" all because I was intrigued by her spastic-ness and terrified she was going to be put down. Maddie is a (potentially) Westie, Poodle, Maltese, Who-Knows-What mix who was captured by Animal Control as a stray and was the HAPPIEST FUCKING DOG THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN. Because of her vivacious personality, she had already been shipped from one pound to this one, rather than being put down, in hopes she would find someone willing to put up with her crazy. Since nobody does crazy like me, I figured we were a good match. A $75 adoption fee later, I hauled her off for a grooming and called her my own.

Maddie was ecstatic. No, really. You have no idea how fully I mean that--MADDIE WAS ECSTATIC. Maddie is the happiest little creature EVER. Maddie does not care if she has to take a bath, if she's not allowed on the furniture, or if the kids put a dress and bonnet on her and force her to be their "baby" for hours on end. Right at this exact moment, Maddie is wallowing in the floor and chewing on my toe, oblivious to the fact that she is being ignored, and has been ignored all day. Maddie is just happy to be alive. Food, shelter, petting, treats, toys--those are all serious bonuses to Maddie. She loves her people, she loves her blanket, she loves EVERYTHING. No matter what. So here lately, when I'm having an extraordinarily shitty day--my laptop gets yet another virus, both kids have a fever, it's 109 degrees outside and the air conditioner in my car isn't working, B has class that night, my IC is all AWOL, AND I forget and call my Dad's cell because I REALLY FUCKING NEED HIM RIGHT THEN (or now, the house phone too, as it has been disconnected)--I try to stop, take a breath, and think, "What Would Maddie Do?" Maddie would be happy, no matter what. And if Maddie can do it, so can I. Maddie is my mentor.

The things I think of are blips. They come and go so quickly that sometimes I can't even remember from minute to minute what's going on in my head. That said, this was your little peek into my brain. This was your Haley Invasion. This was what I thought of today--at least, for a moment or two.