Thursday, July 31, 2008

Supermarket Sweep

How many times a week do you go to the grocery? How many grocery stores do you go to?

I go to at least two different groceries a week, but try to bundle it up into one day. I like one store because I can get the basics there for pretty cheap, but I like another store because it has the few "Gucci" items that I like as well as a better deli. I think that I'm saving money by going to the cheap place - but I'm not sure I can justify the gas it takes to go to two stores. Sounds like a math word problem to me!

Usually, I'll stop by the store I have to buy the most at before picking up Muffin. Then, when she's with me, we'll stop by the other store and pick up the rest. This way, I minimize the amount of preschooler time in the grocery! Which I think is a favor for everyone because my child can be pretty annoying in the grocery.

She wants to "help" by pushing the cart. Into the back of my feet. Ouch! She wants to "help" by grabbing fragile items, such as eggs, and flinging them onto the check-out counter. She likes to count the square tiles in the floor and jump from one to another as if playing a game of hopscotch. If she gets bored with my label reading and price comparing she will start to whine. And then there is the perilous trip through the deli where she shouts "SNACK" at all the cookies and other baked goods.

Sure, it's probably only nerve-wracking to me - but I have found that both of us arrive home in a better mood if we aren't in the grocery for long.

Of course, this sort of high-speed efficiency is not without it's drawbacks. This week I mistakenly picked up a bag of coffee beans instead of my normal ground coffee. Instead of throwing them out or giving them away, I just took them back to the store and asked if I could use their grinder. The customer service people were a little confused but I pressed on.

"See," I explained, "I have the receipt and the trouble is just that I picked up beans instead of ground. Since I already opened it, can I just use the grinder to grind up my beans?"

Blank stare.

"Here is the receipt." I showed the receipt. "I just want to grind up these beans because I don't have a coffee grinder at home."

Blank stare.

"So, I'm just going to go down to the coffee aisle and grind these up then. OK?"

Blank stare.

"OK!"

I'm not sure if I suddenly started speaking Swahili or if they just didn't give a shit or what, but regardless I marched to the coffee grinder, ground my beans and left the store. The funny thing is that this is the SECOND time I've had to do that!

Note to self: even though you want to rush out of the store in order to avoid preschooler meltdown, it's in your best interest to take a little time in order to ensure you have the right beans. I mean grounds. Damn!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

School's Out For Summer!

Actually, it's more like two weeks - but WHATEVER!!! I don't have any miscellaneous projects, quizzes, exams, postings, homework, anything hanging over my head for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!!

(BTW, can I just brag that I spelled miscellaneous correctly! Without spell check! Damn!)

I was wondering what to do with all of this perceived free-time when I realized that nothing will change much, except maybe my ability to fall asleep without worrying to death about a stupid school deadline. Being the biggest procrastinator I know, I rarely did schoolwork in a timely fashion. Often, I would leave it to the very last minute and then heave great sighs of remorse at my stupidity.

Case and point, my final exam for Information Systems Management was due to be taken by midnight on Sunday, 27 July. We had all week to do it and were allotted 3 Hours to take it. Guess when I started. Yep, about five minutes until 9pm Sunday night. Giving myself absolutely no extra time what-so-ever.

(Oh, and to top it all off there was a raging thunderstorm going on outside - so in between looking up the answers I was praying to the Baby Jesus that the power wouldn't go off and ruin my test. I think I must be addicted to anxiety. I really can't think of any other reason to behave so irrationally.)

Long story short, I have discovered that I don't actually have a whole heap of new found free time after all. BUT! I am going to enjoy these two weeks of non-procrastination none-the-less!

First - a Bachelorette party for Sissy. She's never really had one so we're going to do it up right. I'm getting some naughty frilly things for the honeymoon and make some jello shots. Other friends are bringing margaritas. I figure getting her drunk is a good start, but I'm not sure how to proceed from there. Any ideas? Nekkid men aren't really an option as my four-year-old will be camped out upstairs with Cinderella. Maybe some chick-flicks? I'm hopeless at this kind of thing.

Second - I'm going on a little extended visit to my parents so that they can take care of enjoy time with Muffin. Ah, some much needed R&R.

Third - Muffin and I are going to the beach as much as humanly possible. Whether she likes it or not. Mandatory Fun!

To wrap up: Fun will be had by all - like it or not!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Going to the Chapel...

My sister is getting married!! In two weeks! Holy Cow!

Her relationship with Mr. Sister has been long distance for over a year, but now they will be able to start their life together. I'm happy for her, and I hope that they will be happy together.

When I think about Sissy and Mr. Sister, I'm reminded of a quote from Pride And Prejudice by Mr. Bennet about Jane and Mr. Bingley:

"You are a good girl;" he replied, "and I have great pleasure in thinking you will be so happily settled. I have not a doubt of your doing very well together. Your tempers are by no means unlike. You are each of you so complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on; so easy, that every servant will cheat you; and so generous, that you will always exceed your income."

You are a good girl, Sissy. You and Mr. Sister will be very happy. Congratulations!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saved

I watched the movie Saved today for the second time. The first time I watched this movie I felt justified in my observation that most evangelical Christians seem to be fake. However, the second time around (about 4 years later) I'm of a different opinion.

I used to feel that most evangelical Christians were either incredibly deluded or else the kind of person that preys upon the incredibly deluded. My roller-coaster ride with Jesus has gone through many cork-screws, however I was finally able to meet someone to show me my way. I say "my way" because mine is most likely not anyone else's way, but here goes:

In the past, I equated salvation (i.e. accepting Jesus) as something that can only be attained by attempting to be perfect in every aspect of life. When I met my friend in Washington I felt certain that Jesus, and all that HE implies, would have no interest in me. Mostly because my entire life has been unconventional and self-serving. My friend taught me otherwise.

She taught me that salvation has nothing to do with how perfect an individual might strive to be; it has everything to do with how sincerely a person wants to live! I desire to live sincerely, however much selfishness insidiously infiltrates my person. Yet, how can I present a role model fit for my daughter?

Honestly? It took watching this movie again to make me realize that the element missing from my "I Wish To Be The Perfect Mother For My Child" equation was HUMOR! Of course we all want to be the best example for our children. Even so, I think we all realize that it's "OK" to step back and observe our own humanity. The little quirks which make us feel like outcasts may eventually translate into insight for generations to learn from.

I am thankful that I met Rachel Cassidy. She taught me many lessons about myself and my child. I'll always remember her saying "Well, I comfort myself with the thought that he won't be 18 years old and NOT potty trained!"

Rachel, you showed me that it's possible to have faith without being pushy or preachy. I hate to put it so bluntly, however, your faith helped me to believe. And, I do believe. Thanks very much.
Now I might be convinced that my daughter will be weirded out by the ocean, but that's OK. I think she'll get over it, and I have my faith to see me through. As well as the faith of my friends.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ummm, on a lighter note:

Hmmm, I may have over-reacted in that last post. Oh well, moving on!

In true "I'm without my child let's go see a movie" fashion I went to see Mama Mia. It was cute. I loved the costume design and the location especially. So much fun and definitely much needed.

Also, I ate at the California Pizza Kitchen in addition to Gordon Biersch. Can't say which one I liked better - they were both great.

Oh, and I cut off all my hair. Yes, it is now a short little bob that falls a little below my ears. I didn't intend to cut my hair off when I visited Ms. B, my super-duper hair dresser, for my six-week root touch-up - but I saw a cute picture and decided "what the hell! It's only hair!" Needless to say, my hair dresser was MORE than happy to oblige.

I may or may not post a picture of the new do. If I can figure out how to make it look cute - then the Internet will be the first to see it!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Venting

**Note to readers: I'm not completely neurotic. I'm just drawn that way.**

Muffin's dad was over an hour late for the meet today, AND he was in the wrong place, AND he drove a pick-up truck with a half-cab in which he intended to place our daughter. BECAUSE his other daughter, the two-year-old, was already occupying the equally unsafe front passenger seat.

Ok, I know! I KNOW! When we were kids we all piled into vehicles like puppies, laying on each other (often in order to piss the other siblings off) and without seat belts. Hell, my dad used to ask us to pass him a beer from time to time on long road trips - so I KNOW all about how I shouldn't freak out.

HOWEVER, this is my child. This is my raison d'etre. She is everything to me and she is being shoved in the back of a beat-up old pick up truck (not that there's anything wrong with them) to sit side-ways in her car seat without even a shoulder harness. Oh, and this is supposed to be "OK" because her dad promises not to drive over 60mpr. ON I95?!?!? Guess what Muffin-Dad, I don't give a crap about your driving, it's the other jack-holes I'm worried about!

So... Did I mention that he was an hour late and in the wrong place? Well, it may not surprise you to learn that I was already in a bad mood by the time I discovered his treacherous mode of transportation for our daughter. Which is probably why I let him have it. In front of two little girls.

While I realize that it's patently wrong for our daughter to see us bickering, I was beyond behaving rationally. I savagely explained, in vivid detail, how completely irresponsible and recklessly selfish his behavior was. I explained, at the top of my lungs, how under no circumstances was this transportation set-up ever EVER to occur again. Furthermore, I stated that should this arrangement show itself at the next meeting he should not expect to take MY daughter home.

Of course he had excuses. A belt blew on the Taurus. His mom needed the mini-van for a funeral. To both I countered "THEN WHY DID YOU BRING THE TWO-YEAR-OLD?!?!?" Because the little girl wants to see her older sister? Or because your wife wants her out of the house for four hours? Or, and most likely, because you knew that she would occupy Muffin while you chain smoked all the way home?

I made him promise to call me as soon as they arrived. Then, I wept as I watched my daughter's head through the rear glass in that awful truck turn onto the highway, convinced that it was the last time I'd see her. I drove home in a state of high anxiety and naturally ended up having to call him three hours later to discover that everything was indeed "alright."

If the Powers That Be are handing out diplomas in "Overreacting" I'll go ahead and take mine now. No, no need to walk across the stage. Thanks anyway.

Bye Bye Muffin, Hello Rock Star

I'm packing up Muffin's suitcase for a week at her Dad's. She's protested going all week and while it's hard to bear (for both of us) it's something she has to do. Ultimately I'm hopeful that this type of lesson will benefit her in the long run. Somehow make her more adaptable or at least accepting of change. I hope and I hope and I hope. I think mothers thrive on hope.

While one part of my brain is crying, another part of my brain is waking up. It's the part that still thinks I'm a 24 year old party animal. Stacie posted earlier this week about the different roles that people play and I suppose this is one of mine. Sadly, this diva should have hung up that part a long time ago. When will I learn!

I remember talking to my older and wiser brother about masks and the different persona that people affect depending on their company. He said that he was grateful to have finally turned 40 so that he wouldn't have to wear masks anymore. He said that eventually most people reach a point in their life when all the masks blend together and what you are left with is yourself. With no mask at all.

A scary yet liberating thought. Maybe when I get over trying to "be" something else I'll find that it's ok to "be" me. Or, maybe I'll go on pretending I'm a rock-star! Sounds like fun right now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Report from Lazy-ville

Nothing much going on here in my world, hence the lack of posts. So, in an effort to supply at least one post a week, here is a little tidbit about me that you probably already picked up on:

I'm the laziest person on the planet.

While this natural tendency to find the easiest and fastest way to do things has often been a blessing, I've finally outsmarted myself. I no longer have anything to do at work. I've delegated and automated virtually every aspect of my job which, in turn, leaves me with scads of down-time wherein I attempt to look busy while actually surfing the web.

Want to know a secret? It's absolutely no fun at all. As a matter of fact, it's incredibly boring. Now I'm trying to find ways to alleviate the boredom without actually doing any more work.

Which probably explains why I was squealing around the college, in a golf cart, at full speed, reveling in the breeze blowing up my skirt earlier today... (Ah, freedom)

There is a plethora of reasons why I've reached a point in my life where I am actually afraid of responsibility - but the fact remains that this hurdle must be overcome. Today I took steps towards that end. I volunteered to manage a project. My heart is afraid, but it needs to grow up. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Inappropriate or Insane?

Here's a tricky one:

As I'm observing my daughter's make-up swim lesson this evening (there was a massive thunderstorm on Tuesday) I happened to glance to the side and notice a woman rooting around inside her bathing suit. At first, I thought that perhaps she had some kind of new-fangled bathing suit that featured a kangaroo pocket in the front. Nope, no pocket. She was half bent over with her hand and entire forearm inside one of her leg-holes and God only knows what that hand was doing. Let's just say I was disturbed.

Appalled, I quickly looked away and once again became mesmerized by the way-too young swim instructor with the awesome abs Muffin's water play. In a short while I looked up and across the pool only to lay eyes on the same woman walking along the back of the pool holding her boobs in her hands. Just walking along holding her ta-tas like she thought they were going to get away from her. WTF?

I looked around the pool to see if there was someone who might should be keeping an eye on her and when I looked back at Muffin's class, there she was! Standing behind the youngsters as if taking part in the lesson. She smiled and pointed to the little boat (they were learning boat safety with an inflatable boat) and asked if she could get in as well. When the swim instructor informed her that it was only for the little kids she nodded and smiled before moving on.

She made her way around to where we, the mothers of the little swimmers, were sitting and smiled at us before entering the locker room. For the rest of the lesson I tried to figure her out. Was she foreign? Nuts? Drunk? Who knows! I simply hope that she never shows up AGAIN!

Meanwhile, here are few pictures of Muffin actually smiling in her swim lessons. I have proof that she is enjoying herself despite all noises made to the otherwise. Bwahh ha ha ha....

Caught you smiling, baby! Have fun! :)

Dad the Pilot

My Dad has recently decided to learn how to fly! Here's a picture of him in the friendly skies where, incidentally, I would never be found. Not in that tiny little aircraft! Are you kidding!?!!?




Daddy, I think you're the coolest guy in Pirate Country! Be Safe! Love you!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Burn, Baby Burn!

I'm kind of hot right now. Noooo, not because of any sexual nonsense. (because it's been five years and I forgot all about that shit. Mostly.) I'm all hot and bothered because I just purged myself of some clutter and it literally caused me to break a sweat. How steamy is that! Living on the EDGE, people!!

See, I have a little problem called "magazine addiction." I have subscribed to nearly every magazine on the planet and the proof has been in my living room up to this very moment. I had acquired so many magazines that I could never read them all and as a result, they piled up in "To Read" towers only to languish for months with nary a peak. For some crazy reason I decided, n my commute home today, that the towering stacks of magazines had to go. Enough is Enough!

Actually, this epiphany coincided nicely with trash-night! I was able to quickly dispose of my obsession with the knowledge that in the morning the slate would be wiped clean. Ahhh...

Hurriedly I scrambled, as if in fear of a change of heart, to dispose of the unwanted debris. Finally, all save the cooking magazines (because I'm a good Southern Lady and need to jot down a few recipes) had found a new home in my dumpster.

Regrettably, I only broke out the camera half-way through the purge. So, here is a brief glimpse into the clutter that defines my world. Enjoy.


Bwahh ha ha ha....

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Magical Sea Ponies

Not to toot my own horn, but... I am brilliant.

This time I'm not making fun of myself! I actually pulled an act of brilliance from thin air and here it is: Magical. Sea. Ponies.

(First, let me preface this post with this:

I live in Virginia Beach and have begun to visit the ocean more often because I will soon be moving away and want to appreciate what I have while I live here.

See, normally I'm one of those people that will live like TWO MINUTES from a theme park and not go the entire time I live there because I feel like I could go any old time but actually never do. Does that make sense? To sum up: I'm lazy busy and usually never take advantage of the cool things I live near but I'm trying to fix that. Sort of. Now, back to my brilliance...
)

Muffin, like so many small children, is deathly afraid of the ocean. I don't remember having this all consuming fear, but whatever - maybe I was just weird. Although Muffin may not like the roaring of the ocean she loves some sand. She used to play for hours in the sand, sending me to fetch water for her from the ocean whenever she ran out.

Strangely enough, that game got old really really fast. All I want to do is sit in my chair and watch the water (ok, and maybe worry a little bit about things I should be doing but have blown off so that I can "relax"). Getting up eleven thousand times to fetch water for my lazy scared-y cat kid is not my idea of fun. (because I'M LAZY TOO!) Clearly something had to be done.

I had attempted, several times, to coax Muffin down to the water to no avail. She would stop about ten feet away, plant her feet and state that she would not go any further. If I tried to drag ease her down to the water she began to scream so loudly that Child Protective Services could hear her 25 miles away. Finally, after another one such episode, I sat down beside her in the sand, looked thoughtfully at the waves and said:
"You know Muffin, when I was a little girl I used to see magical sea ponies in the foam at the top of the waves." (insert dramatic pause) "I wonder if they are still there?"
She squealed in reply:
"MAGICAL SEA PONIES?!?! Let's go find them!"
We splashed and waded and now she fetches her own damn ocean water which is chock full of tiny little magical sea ponies, I'm sure.

Evidence of Muffin (with the aid of her Grandmama) searching for Magical Sea Ponies. Do you see them? I still do!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Prissy Pants and Swim Lessons

My daughter is a Prissy Pants.

Even though she literally towers over her classmates, she still walks around as if on eggshells. Daintily stepping to and fro on her tippy tippy toes. She did this even BEFORE the dance lessons, so I think it's just in her nature.

I, on the other hand, was not unlike Godzilla in Tokyo at her age. I stumbled around, knocked children objects over and crushed them. Accidentally. Because I was born bereft of the "grace" gene apparently.

Back to Ms. Prissy Pants... I signed her up for swim lessons at the YMCA again this summer. Last year she was a little timid but warmed up to the idea of swimming and more specifically jumping. Oh, to jump and splash. Much giggling ensued. This year has been decidedly different.

First, she stuck her nose in the air at the very idea of wearing a bubble to help her remain afloat. "No thank you. I want a noodle please. A yellow one," she told her instructor.

Secondly, she refused to jump into the water! An activity that I could barely restrain last summer has become inexplicably "way uncool." Instead, she politely refused the instructor's hands and said "I think that I will use the steps, thank you."

Thirdly through infinity, she found it difficult to loosen up and enjoy the water. She was quite concerned about getting her face wet (and she didn't have the excuse that "she had her face on" like so many Southern Ladies). Also, she was overly anxious that the instructor would let go of her when it was her turn to get motored about while kicking her legs and crawling with her arms. She clung to him like a tiny (ok, not so tiny - actually rather large and cumbersome) starfish.

I was immediately reminded of an overturned beetle when it was her turn to float on her back. Stiff as a board she flailed around with arms and legs and anxiously tried to keep her hair dry. While I thought it was amusing, I'm sure her instructor felt quite differently.

(Upon further refection I believe that during the back floating experiment Muffin came up with a new abdominal exercise. Can't hurt to start young! Speaking of abs... Is it wrong to ogle a 17 year old swim instructor's abs? Holy cow!)

We have six lesson to go and when they are completed I will continue her instruction because no child of mine is going to be afraid to get her damn hair wet! Hmph!


Here, Muffin is praying to the Baby Jesus that her hair doesn't get too messed up. It's a prayer often uttered by Southern Ladies. What can I say, apparently I've taught her well.


In this photo the Swim Instructor is clearly alarmed. I'm not sure why. Maybe some of those "bubbles" didn't come from splashing?



Finally, Muffin illustrates her ability to mimic a beetle. Not relaxing in the least, she obediently kicks her stiff limbs per the instructor's wishes. Poor stiff anxious Muffin. Luv ya baby!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Car Trauma

Since when does a mature four-year-old become a weepy mess that refuses to let go of your leg at preschool? Since she was the second-to-last kid to be picked up the day before, I suppose. Due to circumstances almost beyond my control, Muffin was the second-to-last child to be picked up at school yesterday. I was a little afraid that they would just set her outside with her blanket and pony to wait for me ala Anne Of Green Gables, but thankfully that was not the case. Bad mom? Oh yes - but wait! Let me explain!!

Over the weekend we had a near death experience where a fragment of tire landed smack in front of our car while we were driving 70 miles an hour on the highway. It knocked some shit loose and before you know it, I was dragging my right front wheel-well under my tires. Not cool. Thankfully, I had some duct tape and a pair of scissors in the car (and no, it's not for kidnapping George Clooney - but if I ever saw him...) so I was able to piece poor Paolo back together somewhat and limp home.

After dropping Muffin off at school yesterday I took my car, Paolo, straight to the dealership for some TLC. This dealership has a shuttle that I utilized to go home and lay around on the couch do some housework. They told me it would be about four hours but about six hours later I started to get a little worried. I phoned the dealership and they said something about parts and spark plugs and blah, blah, blah ready between 4pm and 5pm. At that point the little anxiety machine in my mind started up and I began to fret that I wouldn't get the car back in time to get over to the preschool and get Muffin before they closed at 6pm. fret, fret, fret.

(Let me tell you, fretting and anxiety can put a real damper on one's laying about schedule. I wasn't able to properly relax and flip channels at all! Grrr...)

Around 4:45pm I phoned the dealership again and SURPRISE! he was just getting ready to call me to say that Paolo was ready. Oh, and the shuttle stopped running at 2pm. WTF? I called Beach Taxi and waited. Did I mention the anxiety? The burning, churning anxiety that left me completely unable to focus on anything for more than two seconds? Imagine that feeling for half an hour! I called the taxi people back at 5:25pm and asked where the f*ck is my taxi! Is the taxi on it's way yet? Yes, the taxi man said, the taxi would be at my house shortly.

By shortly, he apparently meant 10 seconds because literally as soon as I hung up the phone I heard a "beep" in my driveway. I hurled myself out the door and into the cab begging the driver to please run all red lights, mow down old ladies and baby carriages and generally make haste to the dealership.

From that moment on, it was pretty much a blur. The taxi-man sped through town, dropped me off, got paid and went on his merry way in about 8 minutes flat. Go Beach Taxi! The dealership people swiped my credit card, pulled my car up front and handed me the keys in about 5 minutes which left me all of 13 minutes to get to the preschool.

I flew to Muffin's school, jumped from the car and rushed in the building. Muffin was sitting with another little boy in the main play area looking a little lost and forlorn. Have you ever seen the expression of "forlorn" on your child? I felt lower than low. I had about two minutes to spare but the preschool people were clearly ready to leave. Packing Muffin into the car I promised that she would never be the second-to-last kid to be picked up from preschool ever again.

Then I took her to "Old MacDonald's" because nothing cures a case of Bad Mommy like a Chicken McNugget happy meal right? Gah!!