Fall Basturz and Being Thankful

7 Nov

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Fall is my favorite time of year.  It nestles closely to warmth of Thanksgiving and Christmas as the best times for me.  That said, I figure it could be a good time for me to start writing again.

Where to start with the catching up?  Hmm.  I guess I could start with how much I enjoyed my summer.  I was unemployed following graduation for the entirety of the summer.  Allie and I got to spend so much time together.  It was incredibly nice to have so much time to devote to her.  She is 8, and I have been in school for nearly the entirety of her childhood, as I went back when  she was 8 weeks old.  It was a do-what-we-want kind of summer. We slept in when we wanted.  We went to bed when we wanted.  We had dinner when we wanted. We took off to my mother’s home in Florida when we wanted.  And that Allie, she is by far the best road trip companion.  She is even rather lenient when it comes to who gets to control the music, and she never leaves me hanging by nodding off to sleep. She just sits there copiloting our way to our destination and chatting it up while also debating what all of the other people are doing in their cars.  She’s even good with making up imaginary stories about their lives, which keeps things interesting.  “Oh, that lady?  She is a business woman.  She’s running late to her meeting. Her clothes were wrinkled.”   Or, “Mom, we can’t stop there. That place sounds like somewhere that would have hairs in the food.”

It was perfection, really.  I’ll admit there were times when I was frustrated that I was unemployed. And by frustrated, I mean that some days I probably resembled someone who had been sucking on a lemon. However, I will remain eternally thankful for the time I got to spend with her, and also thankful that I didn’t take the wrong jobs or end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.  We had such a nice time, and I was sad to see her return to school.

Shortly after Allie returned to school, I got a job.  Yay.  So I’ve spent most of my time working, and we’ve been adjusting to the role that plays in our lives.  It hasn’t been an easy transition, but we are getting into the groove of it all.  I’m very lucky that Allie has a lot of family members that love her and make sure she is well taken care of when I’m working late or weekends.  In spite of it all, Allie and I can pretty much handle anything.  I feel that by saying that I am inviting some monster of a disaster into my life  Like karma will be like, “hey girl, I know you blogged that you can deal with shit.  SO HERE YA GO.”  But should that happen, like I said, we can deal.  I have faith in the methods behind our madness.

Anyway, in recent Allie anecdotes and possible parenting fails, we were backing out of a restaurant parking lot recently to find out we were completely blocked in by a truck that decided to park perpendicular to us.   When he finally moved and let us out, he pulled around the opposite side of the parking spots and cut us off in a fashion that could be described as dramatic.  I was slightly frustrated, but nothing compared to Allie,  because she yelled from the backseat, loudly, “BASTTTTTTURRR!”

There were a few ways to handle that.  I could yell at her for attempting to curse at someone and name calling.  But I’m not much of a yeller, and first I wanted to clarify.  “Allie, did you mean to call that man a bastard?”

“Oh, is that how you say it? Bastard?  I thought it was just bastur.  Like b-a-s-t-u-r with no d on it,” she replied.

“Well, it’s bastard.  B-a-s-t-a-r-d.  Also, it’s a bad word, and probably not something you should call someone in just any situation.”

“Oh, I didn’t even know it was a bad word.”

Now that you have read the part where you know that I corrected my child for yelling profanity at a man through closed windows, and also read the part where I corrected the profanity she used.  You should probably also know this:  I was honestly just glad the kid didn’t know the correct term.  I was just glad she didn’t know it was bastarD with an -ard.  That said,  I’ll be very candid and tell you that I do occasionally let some road rage profanity fly.  It’s rare, but it happens.  So I was just happy that there is apparently one word I am not abusing when someone nearly causes me to wreck.   Someone may be the reason I slam on my brakes and fear that the vehicle will be propelling through them, but  when this happens, I am apparently not using the word bastard.  My child didn’t know it was bastard. ‘A’ for the day!  Sometimes, particularly in parenting, it’s the little things.

Hmm. What else?  Allie was a nerd for Halloween.  Her costume was mostly made from clothing items she already owned.  I asked her what that said about her, but she didn’t really appreciate it and had nothing to contribute to the conversation, unless you count snide snarls. We also purchased the additional costume accessories before knowing that she was only allowed to go dressed as a character from a  book within her reading level.  So we just found a book character that her pre-picked outfit already resembled.  We ordered the book with two-day shipping and luckily she resembled Fancy Nancy and had added a tutu to her costume. Last minute parenting win.

As for me, I’ve been trying to limit the thing in my life that I can only be snide about.  Like, for instance, every year I always spend my November being thankful for things once a day on Facebook.   People apparently get really bent out of shape about this, because by mid-November or late November there are hateful statuses about looking forward to December so that people are no longer thankful.  I usually just keep doing it, because I’m a thankful person and most of the time it just makes me giggle that people find thankfulness, of all of life’s issues, to be a punk about.  I don’t think anything in this life is guaranteed, and I’m well aware that while I’ve worked exceptionally hard to get where I am, I could have been born someone else without that drive.  I could have not had parents that encouraged me every step of the way.  I could have not woken up with the daily urge telling me that I needed to do something with myself that in some way helped the greater good.  I could have WAY less to be thankful for, in fact I could have nothing for which I could be thankful.  However, that isn’t the case.  I generally sit around in awe that this is my life, and I get to wake up with Allie, who is awesome.  I get to be her mom.  I get to see nice patients.  I get to help people.  I always have groceries (provided I take the initiative to go to the store). I have heat and shelter.  I have people that love me, and for that I’m thankful.  I’m just a thankful person, and I will likely continue to be that way until the day I die. And if there is ever a day I am not thankful for something, I hope someone will ask me what   in the blue hell is wrong with me and, just maybe,  possibly smack some sense into my face.

Before I get off my soap box, I would also like the say that I generally assume that if people being openly thankful for things bothers someone  enough to complain hatefully about it, as if it were a real problem, they’ve probably just been wearing their sandpaper panties too long, and are beginning to chafe. And now, it’s all full circle, because I’m sitting here thankful again that I’m not all chafed from sandpaper and meanness. (Yet.)

Indian Burns & Horse Meat

26 Aug

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“How was school today?” I asked Allie.

“It was pretty good I guess. Learned math, ate lunch, got an indian burn. You know, the usual.” Allie replied while chugging her after school ice water.

I nose-laughed a little for a number of reasons. One being that I’d forgotten indian burns even existed. The second reason, she mentioned it so casually, as if indian burns were just a day in the life, and DUH, of course she got one at school today. Another, I couldn’t believe that in the time since I was a little girl indian burns have yet to be given a politically correct name. Sitting indian style is now called sitting criss-cross applesauce, or at least it was when Allie went to preschool. So I just assumed that indian burns may have been renamed something slightly catchy like the Forearm Twist Ripper of DEATH.

But I was wrong.

Anyway, some parents would probably be semi distraught that their child came home complaining of mild playground violence. However, there were no marks, and she was contusion free. Kids are kids, and I’m sure she wasn’t just on the receiving end of the nonsense.

Plus, nothing surprises me when children are in large groups together. If you told me a group of 100 small children found a way launch frogs to the moon to watch them orbit then rain back down onto earth, I would be all, “UM, YEAH THEY DID!” while considering believing it for a few seconds because those little minds are just working so hard every minute of the day. And, there is really nothing scarier than a group of smart people with too much time on their hands and imaginations that have not been jaded by reality.

Speaking of which, following the discovery that indian burns were still regular elementary school behavior, I investigated what Allie had for lunch. She usually complains that the school lunch tastes like garbage. Which it must, because this kid will eat almost anything. We pack her lunch often, but some mornings we forget or are running late.

But anyway, she was all, “I had the worst hamburger ever. MADE FROM HORSE MEAT!!!”

“What?”

“Yeah, Mom, made from horse meat. That’s what they make them from at my school. HORSES!” She replied, hissing the last word through her teeth to make sure it hung in the air.

“Oh, Allie. Why do you think that? I mean, I wasn’t there when they constructed the alleged beef you ate for lunch today. So I can’t make any promises. However, I’m guessing that it did not involve the slaying of any equestrian creatures.”

“Mom, the FOURTH graders say it is made of horse meat. They’ve been eating it longer than me. They probably know.”

“No, Allie. Again, I’m making no promises, but I think that there is no horse meat in those burgers. At least, I hope not.”

“Hmmph.” She grunted in a manner that suggested she believed nothing coming out of my mouth, and feared deep within her soul the outcome of the impact that my misguided ways may have on her.

“It really is horse meat, Mom.” She then looked at me with the resolve of a gangster that had accepted his life on the streets. Her blue eyes all serious, and her mouth in a straight line, like that awkward emoticon no one should use. All of this because she had accepted digesting alleged horse meat, which was obviously as serious as an initiation in the Latin Kings.

Horse meat, thug life. It’s all the same.

And that’s pretty much an excerpt that perfectly sums up our relationship.

Toilet Chainz

22 Aug

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I spent a large portion of yesterday wearing a bracelet made for me by Allie. It was red and chain like. I really never put any thought into where she may have obtained the bracelet building supplies, and she crafts up random items so frequently that it’s really just something I’m used to, such as the ACE bandage baby carrier seen below.

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Later in the evening, Allie went to her Dad’s house, and Austin and I were eating dinner.

“Did you see this bracelet that Allie made me? I’m trying to wear it more.” I said.

He looks over and laughs a little, “Yeah, it’s nice, but, um, that’s a toilet chain.”

“What?”

“You’re wearing a toilet chain around your wrist.”

I was in slight disbelief as it looked like an actual craft product with its plastic coating and bright red sheen. However, upon examining it closely, it looked very much like the remainder of the broken, red toilet chain replaced a few months ago on the downstairs toilet after it snapped in two.

It was then I faced the reality that pretty red chain bracelet I had been wearing on my wrist for a large portion of the day spent the first years of its life as a fixture in my toilet tank.

Toilet chain or fancy bracelet, I still got a pretty good laugh from it. And, I have also decided that my rapper name may be Toilet Chainz.

Cinder Blocks & Sweet Talk

30 Jul

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Allie begins 3rd grade on Monday. I’ve been trying to avoid the annual shedding of tears as she advances in grades. It never fails that I usually cry, because it really does feel like just yesterday she was a baby. It seems like such a cliche thing to say or hear, almost like a cop out that parents blurt when they are unable to really capture how it feels to see their children grow, but the reason people say it is that it is true. One days she was a tiny baby, and somewhere in the shift of time she became a walking, talking sass mouth that never fails to make me laugh.

When Allie was a baby I remember thinking another cliche thought, that I wished she came with a manual. I’m not really sure even now what a parenting manual would say. However, I feel that if it possessed real wisdom and not the scraps of common sense that you can find in the instruction of any baby product, it would document that the struggle of parenting transfers slowly from physical to emotional in a way that remains steady yet challenging as kids grow older.

In the beginning, it seems like the demand of parenting is largely physical. From carrying a child inside of your body to carrying them around in your arms for hours when they will not sleep, it’s pretty physical. The lack of sleep from nightly wake ups is similar, and while I am not denying that there is an emotional element, I don’t think it is comparable to the emotional pull as they age and the things that trouble them become more than needing their diaper changed.

Eventually, there is a time when the struggle is no longer carrying a sleeping child up a set of stairs or a random back ache from pulling a car seat from the back seat. Parenting an older child is difficult in a very emotional way. I think the aforementioned nonexistent, realistic parenting manual would tell you that there are no words to truly document the heartache of watching your child struggle with change, feeling left out, or hurt feelings. Watching your child in tears over an issue that you can not assist her in handling is heart wrenching in a way that lack of sleep can never touch. You could fill a car seat with cinder blocks and carry it five miles and the physical strain would never compare to the sadness of watching your child’s feelings crumble while dealing with something they find difficult.

Allie’s a pretty tough girl feelings wise, and she will conceal and refuse to reveal her true feelings in an effort to please people. And while I see how that could beneficial to some degree, it’s also sort of a bummer. I feel like she ends up acting like she is okay with things that she isn’t and then having a break down later and acting out in some of the strangest ways possible. The physical to emotional comparison with watching this is probably akin to waking with an infant every 30 minutes and then running a marathon in which your shoes are lined with razor blades. It’s painful, it stings, and you are just waiting for things to heal.

No matter how well you try to explain it, there are no real words to truly describe it and any attempt seems nearly useless. Hugs and reassurance seem to work for cheering her up,  yet the issues churning her emotions still weigh heavy on my mind.

The upside of it all is that she cheers up pretty easily after she falls. Which I guess is why she has currently wrapped her whole body in ace bandages while watching The Brady Bunch like it’s a new show on the DIsney Channel.

Maybe by the time 4th grade comes around a parenting manual will explain it all. Cross your fingers for me.

Truth or Dare: Middle School Complexities

3 Jul

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I saw this today, and it made me laugh for multiple reasons. The obvious being how truly ugly people often look in middle school.  It’s a very awkward time, as everyone is walking around in this puberty laden body that is morphing between child and adult. One day your friends have flat chests and are wearing bras for no reason, and then a few weeks later they are proud of their triple A cups, and while there is only mild pubertal progress, they are undoubtedly convinced they are the next Pamela Anderson.

Middle school was particularly interesting where I grew up, not just because of the essential hell that is the years of puberty, but because in a small town everyone in middle school knows the names of everyone else, even when they act like they don’t.  Also, in middle school, and even high school, your memory works in a very odd way.  While you may never remember the name of a site of battle in the Revolutionary War listed on your 7th grade Social Studies test, you will forever remember the name of the girl whose bra fell off and into the floor as she waltzed down the hallway.  You might forget the capital of Uganda, but you will always remember that guy that as he sat across from you in 5th grade Science, picked his nose as if it was the job of a life time  with full benefits and a rocking 401K, maybe even the kind of dream job that lets you bring your dog to work. That’s how passionately his picked his nose, and that one completely useless, but embarrassing fact, will be forever burned into your memory in a way that special math formulas you can use to calculate the volume of a large swimming pool on the ACT will never scar to the sufficiency needed to please you, if you are an overachiever.

My most embarrassing moment happened in middle school.  It really wasn’t very dramatic.  I just fell out of my ugly clog while walking into the stinky middle school gym where we all had to sit before school started..  It was a shoe in style for reasons I will never understand, a weird brown suede shoe lined with some odd speckled ribbon. The fact that I wore those shoes should be the embarrassing part of the story. But it really isn’t that mortifying in retrospect, yet somehow all of the weird formulas that cook together to make middle school a near hell hole manage to make that moment in time more embarrassing than when a class full of nursing students walked in to see me in the throes of childbirth.  How falling in front of 11-14 year old kids who probably do not remember the event manages to overshadow nearly 18 people watching a child exit my lady-place will continue to perplex me until my last days.

But that’s just it.  That’s how middle school is.  Everyone is basically ugly and misshapen, yet somehow they are dramatically convinced that they either look really good or really bad with that opinion changing within their soul on a daily basis. And everything, EVERYTHING, is a big deal.

My first boy-girl party was in middle school.  It was for my friend’s birthday.  Everyone talked about it for weeks in preparation.  I remember picking out my outfit for quite a while before deciding on a black t-shirt with blue seams.  The best part:  The giant cartoonish flower splashed on the front with a large smiley face in the middle.  I also wore this despicable tasting lip gloss that made my lips itch, but I was very convinced that the extra amount of shine it produced made the itch worth it. I recall some awkward dancing, truth or dare, and lots of people being very sad when a Spin-the-Bottle center piece landed on someone they had no desire to smooch.

I think a crowning middle school moment that encompasses for both boys and girls is the moment that I became friends with my  current boyfriend, Austin.  He had just moved back to Corbin from Tennessee, and because I had transferred to our school system after he moved, we didn’t know each other at all.  But I thought he was cute.  So I thought I would introduce myself, which was a big step for me because I kind of had a strange sort of social anxiety at the time that meant I could talk on the phone with someone and be very social with people I knew,  but I was not always initially very vocal in person and certainly not at all if I was nervous.  With no idea of how to approach him and really no clue what to say when I did because I knew virtually nothing about him other than knowing a few of his friends, I pulled out the smoothest handful of lines a middle school girl could manage; and I topped  them off with a question they mutter more often than not.  I approached him at his locker on the opposite side of the building confidently and I smoothly said, “Hi.  My name is Amanda.  HAVE YOU BEEN TALKING ABOUT ME!??”

Austin looked back at me, in a kind but puzzled way, and said, “No?”

I’m pretty sure shortly afterward I walked off, but I guess it was worth it, because I love him more than Oxygen.

Overall, while I’ve made middle school sound like a real horror show, I had a great time.  There are times when I miss being that age, like today when I texted my friend Leslie about how awesome it would be if we could have slumber parties every night of summer and every weekend like we were middle school kids again, alternating which house we would go to as to not every make any of our parents too crazy to tolerate us.  I also miss going to the old movies in the Trademart Shopping Center in groups so large that we occupied up to four rows, and the unfortunate movie workers had to come tell us to shut up so frequently that they probably never accomplished making the $7 bags of popcorn they attempted to sell. In fact, I think there were several nights when a really feisty worker would finally just tell us that we all had to exit the building, and we did so feeling like total rebels. Was middle school fun?  Yes.  Do I miss being young and care free? Sure. Would I do it again? NOPE. Not even for a free lifetime supply of designer purses.

 

Happy Father’s Day Janice

16 Jun

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When I was growing up, my Dad lived 5 hours away. So my mom had to play both roles fairly often. She did it so effortlessly that I probably rarely thought about the toll it took on her or how difficult it was.

My mom made sure my brother and I always had nice things, clean laundry, and healthy meals. She made sure that we did our homework and that we realized the importance of work ethic. She made sure we played every sport and participated in every single activity for which we signed up. In fact, there were several times my mom ended up going to school and working full time while also coaching those teams. She coached tee ball teams. She coached cheerleading teams. She even coached a soccer team when she knew nothing about soccer, because none of the dads would volunteer to coach it. Which was amusing, because in spite of none of them volunteering their time, they all volunteered to line up to try to tell my Mom how to coach after failing to volunteer to do it themselves. In that instance, my mom taught me how to politely smile when people said stupid things, but also to always wear sunglasses outdoors in the event that you needed to roll your eyes at someone.

My mom led girl scout troops. 3 of them. There were up to fifty girls, and after she fought to get the elementary school cafeteria for our weekly meetings, one of the little girls, possibly her own daughter, pulled the fire alarm because all she (I) could read on the alarm was the word PULL. I followed those directions, because that was something else my mom taught me.

My mom taught me how to drive a car, even if that meant that she banged on the dashboard so hard that I often feared she would suffer burns after activating the airbag with the strength of her fists as they pounded the dashboard as an attempt to tell me to slow down. I did really well on my driver’s test, because driving with the instructor was nothing compared to driving with Janice. The DMV should seriously hire her.

My mom taught me how to ride my bike without training wheels. She even carried me 200 yards after I classically yelled, “LOOK MOM, NO HANDS!” Which, of course, ended in my bicycle hitting a huge rock and me skidding down the pavement face first after somersaulting through the air. My mom picked rocks out of my skin in spite of the sight of blood making her nauseous.

My mom hates meat, but when my brother and I were kids, she would attempt to cook hamburger even though the smell of meat made her sick, because my brother and I loved spaghetti. My mom did a load of laundry before she hit the bed every night no matter how tired she might be, because the idea of her children showing up to school or anywhere in dirty clothes made her soul ache. My mother did so many things as a parent that there were times when I thought she might have a clone. However, I now know that she doesn’t have a clone, because if she did, she would assign her second body to Kentucky so that my laundry would still always be clean.

My mother never minded in middle school when I would invite tons of girls over for slumber parties, and then volunteer her to drive us all to the local movie theatre. She just usually ordered us pizza and hoped that the whatever pranks we planned to pull were not on her. She was even calm the time that my friend Leslie jumped over the backseat to dive into the trunk of my mom’s SUV and Leslie managed to black her own eye on the corner of the back speaker.

My mom didn’t beat me when I was 19, and I told her I was pregnant. Probably because 19 is too late of an age to start spanking your daughter. She was just supportive and concerned. And when I became a single working parent and then decided to go back to school, I knew I could do it, because my mom did it with two kids. Surely I could do it with one. And I did, with lots of venting to Janice.

Also, my mother blew her knee out and had to get a total knee replacement jumping on the trampoline with me when I was 14. I can’t remember if she was helping me with a back-handspring, or if she was trying to be a spring chicken and do a toe touch. She hobbled around on crutches afterward. She kept working, she kept coaching, and she kept parenting. Because she’s Janice.

I’ve called my mom by her first name for the longest time. I think I picked up the habit being around so many other kids she was in charge of by way of coaching or leading in some way. But it stuck. There was once a time when someone told me it bothered them that I called my mom Janice, because it was disrespectful. I probably politely smiled and rolled my eyes to myself, because to know my mom is to respect her. And she has never told me to quit calling her Janice, because she knows that I respect her more than anything, and there many ways to respect your mother. I know plenty of people that call their mother mom and have no respect for her or really even themselves. But I respect Janice, because she is the best combination of parents that a girl could be lucky enough to get. Janice is strong, loving, and wise. She is the funniest person. She is persistent and reliable. She will put me in my place when I need it, and is usually accepting when the roles reverse.

Happy Father’s Day Janice. I’ll get all Bette Midler and tell you that you are the wind beneath my wings, even though it is now me that beats on the dash when you drive.

Spray Tan-gerine

11 Jun

Since I last posted, I passed my PA certification test. I visited my mom. I watched The Lumineers in concert (one of the BEST live performances I’ve ever seen). I watched one of my long time friends get married. But mostly I’ve spent time with Allie, searched endlessly for jobs, and done lots of nothing. I’ve also found ways to procrastinate a list of chores in spite of having nothing to do at all. Mostly, I’ve been trying not to focus on things like doing nothing, and instead, I’ve been trying to enjoy Allie in all of her 8ness.

After spending two years focusing so much of my life on school, it’s so nice to sit around and enjoy Allie’s laughter without worrying about when I would work studying into the day. Not feeling guilty on a daily basis has been incredibly freeing.

On a much lighter note, Allie was perfect companion on our long drive to Florida. She kept me amused on the way down and the way back. But, the highlight was probably when I tried to convince her we should stop for dinner on the way back at a place called Larry’s Giant Subs. Allie boycotted, telling me it sounded like the kind of place “that would have hairs in the food.” And as per usual, she was right.

Allie took in all things beach at my mom’s house. She even got a mermaid braid in her hair. And the best part: A spray tan, which I debated for some time. I feared that if I allowed my 8 year old to get a spray tan, I would probably end up on the news, or worse, some bad TLC reality show that I would watch as if it were my job (which I do not have, ha). However, I gave in realizing that the tiny trampettes from Toddlers & Tiaras already dominated the juvenile spray tan front, and I would likely not end up on the news or jailtracker for letting my pale baby get one.

I should probably also mention that I pulled a Ross from Friends while attempting to get a spray tan. There are four awkward positions you have to stand in to get spray tanned. I was day dreaming for two in which I was not supposed to face the spray nozzles and got sprayed directly in the face a few more times than intended. I did not turn orange. At least my mom said I wasn’t, but mothers do tend to occasionally bend the truth for the self-esteem of their lovely daughters. I sent updated photos to my friends as my orange awkwardly progressed on my wrists and palms.

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This would probably be a good place for a witty conclusion, but I think I’ll just add it to the list of things I’m procrastinating for no reason.

Dirty Dancing & Furniture Polish

12 May

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When I was growing up, every Saturday was usually cleaning day. My mom put on a VHS of Dirty Dancing or flipped it to some Lifetime movie, and we cleaned our already sparkling house. That Janice is a real cleaner, and it is not unusual to find her scrubbing floors she just washed the previous day.

Anyway, my job was usually dusting and polishing the already clean furniture. Sometimes I even got to windex the windows, but mostly not because I had (and still have) a tendency for getting the glass all smudged with finger prints. I could never kill anyone. Obviously because it’s against the rules and I don’t have that sort of anger in me, but also because I’d leave thumb prints all over the place and wind up on Jailtracker quick style. (I’m certain if I ever got a mugshot my hair would look like a rat’s nest and they display your weight on there, which isn’t very kind.)

When my mom didn’t have to spend her Saturday running my brother or I to any of our multiple extracurricular activities, there were plenty of Saturdays filled with multiple viewings of Dirty Dancing or Overboard and the whole house smelling like the caustic mix of lemon scented furniture polish and oven cleaner. So now when I am nervous or sad, I usually start cleaning and watching Dirty Dancing. There’s just something soothing about listening to Patrick Swayze and pre-nose job Jennifer Grey trying to solve the problems of their youth while living the life in the Catskill Mountains.

All of that said, I’ve been very nervous the past few days and will be for the next few. I haven’t had much time to clean, because I’ve been studying like a fiend. However, I’ve watched Dirty Dancing roughly 10 times since last Monday. The only thing it has caused is for me to miss my mom because she lives states away, and also be sad that Patrick Swayze is dead, which renders me seeing Johnny Castle developing any new smooth moves impossible. Plus, I wonder if he would be as disappointed with the nose job Frances “Baby” Houseman is sporting as I am. It’s almost worth shoving Baby right into that corner.

When Did I Become a Ma’am?

8 May

A week and some change ago I was in Nashville for my friend Leslie’s Bachelorette party.  Somewhere in the haze of events one thing was and still remains quite clear, I was called Ma’am by a curly headed, brunette girl that I’m certain I am only older than by a handful of short years.  The kind that do not even have leap year.

I asked her a question along the lines of, “are you waiting in line?” Or some other question that required a one word answer.

And she then said the dreaded words.

“No, Ma’am.”

I caught myself quickly looking around me, thinking someone’s grandmother had stumbled in to powder their nose, straighten their shawl, no doubt ragged from years of use,  or apply cold cream. Perhaps while doing those chores they asked her something which would require such a polite reply to an elder. But as I quickly scanned the room and felt her heinous eyeballs continuing to zero in on me, I realized that I was in fact the Ma’am she was referring to.  Mind you all of this happened within a second or two, but time seems to slow down when you are caught off guard with an unexpected torpedo to the youth that exists inside your mind.

Soon after, I had what I am sure is only the beginning of a lifetime full of moments in which I asked myself:  When did I become a ma’am???  I realize that in the area in which I live and those below the word ma’am is a cornerstone of southern manners.  It’s something people often take pride when their young children grasp the concept of using the term.   And I don’t doubt that somewhere that curly headed demon girl has a proud mama. But still. It was somewhat catastrophic to my soul in the way that a bug zapper is to a fly.

I asked myself several questions regarding why I was called ma’am.  Was it the way the humidity had poofed my hair out enough to resemble a hot air balloon ascending into the evening sky?  Was it that I was wearing a cardigan, a clothing staple that I once deemed old and stale but now regularly wear?  Was it because my hair was too highlighted and I need to go back to being brunette, which my mother claims makes me look youthful?  Could she see the minor line medial to my right eyebrow that I have developed from scowling while studying? Was it my Origami Owl necklace? (It probably was.)  Or:  Was she just a real see you next tuesday?

Manners or not, ma’am just sounds old to me, and I am not ready to accept that I may be a person worthy of such a name.  And that’s that.

Should you ever wonder what triggered my late 20′s crisis, please refer back to this very moment in time. There exists a strong possibility that I drastically change my hair color or pull some other late 20′s stunt that is guided strongly by principles but seems super wild in my mind. Like not returning a library book or drinking out of the milk jug.

(I’m also still trying to solve the mystery of who signed me up for the mass email regarding Thirty-One products.   I’m not sure who you are, but that ranks right up there with calling Ma’am. Embroidered cloth bags are for carrying diapers.)

Harold and the Gemstone

25 Apr

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Allie got in the car after school on Tuesday and looked sad or maybe tired.   This is pretty out of the norm for her, as she is usually happy go lucky. I decided to investigate the problem.  In a matter of seconds, the issue surfaced:

Allie,”Ugh. My boyfriend broke up with me today.”

“Well, Allie, you’re 8.  I think you’ll be okay.   Besides, I think we both know you don’t need a boyfriend. Being 8 isn’t about boyfriends. It’s about playing, having friends, and being a kid. You will have plenty of time in your life to think about how much you want to strangle a boy*.”

Allie,”Oh, I know. But still, what kind of loser breaks up with me? I think I’m cool.”

“That’s an excellent question.  You’re smart and funny.  You’re always happy, and you’re pretty.  Not to mention, you have the best hair out of anyone I know in basically the history of ever.  You, well, you are a total gemstone.”

Allie,” Yeah.  You’re right. What a scum knuckle. Besides, I already have a new boyfriend named Harold?” All of this said while her sad expression morphed into one of cynicism and giggles.

“There’s a second grader named Harold? Does he go by that?” I asked, trying not to lose focus on the subject at hand and go off on a rant in my head about the things people name their children**.

Allie,”Not even close, that’s just what I call him: Harold.”  Then she laughed like a hyena.

And that is why if left to listen to someone for hours upon hours, it would be Allie.

Allie and Harold sittin’ in a tree, R-E-A-D-I-N-G.

*Not all boys need strangled. But some of them do need a slap upside the head.  (Not my boyfriend, because he is a man, like a real one and not just someone who thinks they are a man because they’ve gone through puberty. The latter of which sadly accounts for most men in this area. I think any further rants about that would need a whole other post and would distract from this bit.)

**While what other people name their children obviously isn’t my business, I think when naming a child you should realize how much power you truly have in the initial impression they make. If your daughter is born with a stripper name, it may be difficult for her to become President. I would probably never vote for someone called Precious or Trixie. However, I am only one person. So.

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