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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Sidetracked by Sandy

Hey all,
I’ve been MIA since hurricane Sandy hit our town hard. It’s a miracle I’ve found a small pocket of service. If this goes thru, tell my mom I love her.. No i’m kidding.. We’re fine, we just don’t have power for who knows how long! Anyway, enough about me. This week is Pay It Forward week on blogger idol. Our assignment was to pick 4 blogs we love and highlight them. If you want to see who I picked, go to www.writersarenewrockstars.blogspot.com
Hopefully, I’ll be up and running again soon. Power to the people! Really, people, someone get me power.

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We’re a Super Family*

*This was my Blogger Idol Essay #4,  just in case you voted (of course you did!) but was too busy to read. The assignment was to write about my family as super heroes. Oh, and we had to use the words Ukulele, Horse and Frazzled. I’m going to post BI assignment #5 later, as soon as I get it together. 🙂

I’m still in the game! Thank you guys for supporting me.  I’m already hard at work on my next assignment (#6). You can see it and vote on Wednesday…

The Adventures of Superrrr Helpfulll Mommmm…..

It is an ordinary day in the small town of Sport Sloshington as Super Helpful Mom quietly tip-toes down the stairs. She wants to get an early start packing lunches for school and making breakfast. Plus, there are dishes and laundry that need to be done. She heads into the dark, quiet kitchen and flips on the light. AAAAaaack!! Someone is sitting at the kitchen table! “Oh my God, Boy Who Never Sleeps and Barely Eats! You scared me!”

“Sorry, Mama.”

“Can I get you anything?” she asks, but she barely gets the words out before a rush of wind whooshes past. He is gone. She shakes her head affectionately, “That boy is like air.”

She gets busy, packing Boy Who Never Sleeps and Barely Eats’ (BWNSABE) lunch first because all he takes is milk. Next, she flips the laundry and places breakfast on the table. She is about to cut apple slices when she feels a resisting hand on her arm. It is Safety Patrol Dad. “Knives are dangerous!” he warns. She carefully places the knife down, and instead, bites the apple skin off like a squirrel and cuts chunks with her helpful front teeth.

As she works, something small and strong wraps itself around her leg in a vise grip. It’s her 4 year-old son, Cling Boy! Super Helpful Mom walk/drags him over to the table and uses his secret weakness to successfully detach him – her iPhone. As Cling Boy grabs the phone to play, she places him in his seat.

She turns at a gust of air. BWNSABE is back at the table, licking the cover of the butter tub like a cat.

“Er, Boy Who Never Sleeps and Barely Eats, can I get you some toast?”

He shakes his head no and continues licking.

Just then, her oldest son schleps into the kitchen, leaking socks, candy wrappers and crumpled papers. His shirt is backwards and inside out, he has one sneaker on and his hair simultaneously stands straight up and falls down over his eyes. “Good morning, Disaster Dude.”  She kisses his head and her lips touch something hard. She pulls out a lego figure tangled in the mess. “Hey, I think you forgot something.”

Disaster smiles and sits down. She helpfully forks eggs into his mouth.

“Okay, gang.” Safety Patrol Dad announces as he unplugs the coffeepot and then the toaster. “I’ve got an early meeting at work.We leave in 12 minutes for the train.”

Super Helpful Mom forks the eggs in faster. “Mom! Too much!” Disaster gags.

Like lightening, Safety Patrol Dad is on him, throwing him over his shoulder and pounding on his back!

“Dad! You’re killing me! I’m not choking!”

“Glad to help, son!” Safety Patrol Dad booms.  “Now let’s move! Daddy has a train to catch.”

Finally, they all settle in the car. “Seat belts!” Safety Patrol Dad orders.

“I forgot my backpack,” Disaster says. “… and I, uh, volunteered to bring in cupcakes today.”
“No problem!” says Super Helpful Mom. She jumps from the car and races back to the house.

“Be careful!” screams Safety Patrol Dad, as Super Helpful Mom hurdles over scooters and baseball bats scattered across the lawn. In the house, she quickly finds Disaster’s back pack and eyes the cake mixes in the cabinet. There’s just no time!!! They will just have to stop on the way to school. Super Helpful Mom notes the dishes still in the sink. “Oh, why can’t I be more helpful?” she sighs.

In seconds, Super Helpful Mom is back in the car. Four minutes till train time. Safety Patrol Dad takes off. And then he stops for a full three seconds at the stop sign. They’re off again – and then stops for another three full seconds. Off again. Stop. Off again! Stop!

“We’re never going to make it!!!!!” Super Helpful Mom cries, totally frazzled! “Please let me drive!”

But Safety Patrol Dad wags a finger. “You know you drive too fast.”

Amazingly, they pull up to the station just in time, but there’s trouble across the street – a group of blind, old ladies are walking straight towards a construction site! And there’s a school bus full of children headed right at them! The bus driver is talking on his iPhone and not paying attention!

“Holy Ukulele! We must save them!” Safety Patrol Dad shouts, and he and Disaster Dude leap from the car (after coming to a complete stop and activating the vehicle’s hazard lights). Disaster runs to the construction site, and in one swirling mass, litters piles of dirty clothes into the dangerous open road. Within seconds, the old ladies safely fall into the soft cushion of mess that Disaster has spun. But, wait! The school bus filled with children is still heading straight towards them! Safety Patrol Dad looks both ways, and then jumps in front of the ladies. “STOP!” he yells, using his super megaphone voice; but the bus driver is deep in his conversation and does not hear!

Disaster Dude hurls crumpled homework papers at the bus to get the driver’s attention, but it is no use! The bus keeps coming!

Using his Super Safety Powers, Safety Patrol Dad mind channels the number of the bus driver’s cell and quickly dials. The bus driver clicks over.

“LOOK WHERE YOU’RE GOING!” Safety Patrol Dad yells, and the stunned driver looks up just in time to screech to a halt!

Whew! That was close!

But wait, now the train is about to leave! Super Helpful Mom needs to help! She runs with little Cling Boy and sets him loose on the conductor. He quickly latches himself to the man’s body. The train conductor is polite but appalled, and tries unsuccessfully to pry the child from him.

“Thanks honey,” Safety Patrol Dad says, coming up next to Super Helpful Mom. “Cling Boy, look what Daddy has?” He flashes the iPhone he confiscated from the bus driver. Immediately Cling Boy detaches and reaches for the phone and his mom.

There is a whoosh of air. “Forgot your briefcase, Dad.”

“Thanks, Boy Who Never Sleeps and Barely Eats! You’re a lifesaver.” With another whoosh, BWNSABE is gone. “We really have to get him a better name,” Safety Patrol Dad whispers to Super Helpful Mom.

The train gets off only minutes behind schedule.

They return to the car where BWNSABE already sits, quietly licking the leather of his seat. “Good job team!” Super Helpful Mom cheers. “Next stop cupcakes!”

From the departing train, Safety Patrol Dad’s megaphone voice echoes out to them. “Watch out. There’s a nut allergy in the class!”

“I don’t eat cupcakes.” BWNSABE says.

“You don’t eat anything!” Disaster Dude teases and they drive off laughing.

“Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha!”

Tune in next week and you’ll hear Safety Patrol Dad say, “Hey, don’t walk behind that horse! It’s dangerous!”

It’s Blogger Idol Voting Time…Final 5!!!

www.writersarethenewrockstars.blogspot.com

Hey there all – unbelievably I am still in the contest for the next Blogger Idol! This week’s assignment was to get on my soap box and rant!!

I wrote about our “everyone wins” culture and the values it teaches our children..

Check it out and if you like – (i’m kidding, like it no matter what – ha ha) VOTE – from as many IP Addresses as you can.

I’m not the judges favorite, so i definitely need your support. Pretty Pretty please… With ice cream on top???!!!!

Click here…. www.writersarethenewrockstars.blogspot.com

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! I so appreciate your support. You’re the sweetest!!!

La La La La La La – I can’t hear you!!!

La La La La La La – I can’t hear you!!!

“I didn’t do it,” my middle son looked at me with over-sized cartoon eyes swearing his innocence.

“He’s lying, mommy,” my oldest shouted in frustration. “He did do it!”

“Did not!”

“Did too!”

I rolled my eyes. As usual, I had no idea who was telling the truth and who was lying. They are such skilled manipulators, that I don’t even think they know what the truth is; they are just so intent on proving the other wrong and winning, which, of course, is the most important thing.

It’s like, well, it’s just like the Presidential Debate I watched last week.

Do they ever answer any questions?

Moderator – How exactly do you do plan on improving the economy, Mr. Romney?

Romney – Well I appreciate that question and I’d love to get everyone jobs and I’ll be getting everyone jobs because there is nothing I’d rather see. So you see, that’s what I’ll be doing. It’s my job to get you jobs. Heh, heh.

Obama – I am not just talking about getting jobs, I have been getting you all jobs as you can see by all these statistics that I’ll grossly exaggerate as I nod and smile real smart and presidentially.

Romney – You haven’t been getting any jobs, just ask that woman Mrs. Joann Redizzio of Wakaramazoo, Mississippi. She hasn’t had a job in over a year. And ask Mr. Stewart Gorrreno of Mercy, Ohio. I know these people. And Mr. Obama you are not getting them jobs.

Obama – Am too.

Romney – Are not!

Obama – You have NO plan how to get anyone jobs.

Romney – I have a five point plan!

Obama – I haven’t seen you make any points. You know what I’m saying America!

Romney – I’m just going to keep pointing this finger at you – Five Times until someone asks a new question.

Moderator – Can you be more specific on your plan, Mr. Romney?

Romney – I can be very specific about the specifics that I’ll be specifically speaking of. I just want to be clear about my specificity of the specifics.

Obama – You’re not saying anything.

Romney (Point! Point!) – You didn’t say anything about Benghazi!

Obama -I did!

Romney – You didn’t!!

I roll my eyes. They’re little kids in expensive suits playing a game of “My daddy’s stronger than your daddy!” What do we really learn in the debates anyhow?  Certainly, nothing about the issues. It’s kind of like watching my addictive Housewives shows; just good TV, with the purpose of putting on the drama to keep all those people with short attention spans entertained. Will Romney put extra grease in his hair? Will Joe Biden smile inappropriately or throw out an F-bomb? Will Obama’s head fall off from all the bobbing? How will they answer all those questions without answering a single one?  And that’s what it all comes down to. A lot of posturing and a lot of show with no tell. Because when the only goal in someone’s head is winning, the truth gets lost in the battle.

I hear my boys arguing in the other room. I go, as I am required to do by law, to break it up. It’s the same old game.

“What happened here, boys?”  I ask and they both point a finger at each other and start screaming heatedly at once. I nod. Well, of course, now it all makes perfect sense.

*This was the essay I almost used for this week’s Blogger Idol assignment. Go to www.writersarethenewrockstars.blogspot.com  now to see the one I did use and VOTE. 🙂

The best writing and stories are always at Yeah Write!! http://yeahwrite.me/80-open

Weight of my World

Weight of my World

I just did it moments ago. I do it every Friday morning. It’s generally before 7 am and I’m naked. I pee first, then close my eyes and mentally prepare. I tell myself, “It’s going to be good. It’s going to be okay.” Then, cringing with fear, I step on the scale.

No, I’m not going to tell you what it says. I may be confessional, but I have boundaries, people. But honestly, the number doesn’t really matter (except to me of course, where it HUGELY matters), what matters is how my entire mood changes by 7:01am. Depending on that flat glass surface with a digital screen, I’m either fabulous or frumpy. Happy or miserable.

Friday after Friday, I’d cringe, exhale as much breath out of my body and step. Often, the number is happy, smiling up at me. But lately, it’s been two to three pounds up – and when it’s up, I am most certainly down.

Three pounds may not seem like a big deal, but it is to me, or to anyone in my house who has to deal with my cranky, fat ass. Don’t judge me too harshly. I grew up surrounded by the body disorder disease – my mother has it, my aunt has it, my cousins have it. It seemed to affect every female member in my family.  Only my tall, skinny cousin seemed immune, living on a diet of Oreo cookies and chocolate bars, until well after her third child was born. Then, she too, succumbed.

I remember once, as a young girl, noting my mother’s strange skin color. “Carrots.” She explained. “It’s all the carrots.” I don’t want to know how many carrots you have to eat before you start to turn into one, but my mom was well on her way. I think she tried living on broccoli as well, but she always looked better in orange.

So after weeks of seeing a number that used to be reserved for “I had better be pregnant,” I did what anyone would do – I stopped going on the scale.  I know you thought I was going to say I went on a diet. Screw that. I eat basically vegetables and ice cream, and exercise a solid five days a week.  But something had to go, and it was the scale.

I had always been amazed by people who just ate without fear of the scale. Now I was one of them, and for the first few weeks, not having to see the number eased my mind somewhat. I felt a little more carefree, my clothes fit and for the first time in my memory, I wasn’t my scale’s bitch.  It was revelatory. It was enough to make you want to celebrate! With cake!

As you might guess, my celebratory liberation ended as soon I began to feel that subtle tightening around my waist, my favorite jeans no longer my favorite. I knew, but I didn’t want to believe. So I gathered my courage, got naked, exhaled and stepped. It was a big step, and even though I was no longer happy, at least I knew where I stood. 2lbs fatter than the fat that made me shun the scale. Damn.

As I contemplated my next steps – no more peanut butter, two cups of ice cream a day instead of three – a funny thing happened, I got used to the new number. My old fat became my new average. I hated it, but accepted it in the way I accepted another load of laundry, annoyed but resigned. I didn’t know what to make of this development. For a long while I became depressed, not at the number any longer, but that I had given up and accepted a newer version of myself – an older, fatter one.

Twenty odd years at the same weight (give or take those same up and down five pounds), and I will forever teeter on the edge of weight anxiety. I am always afraid Friday morning when I step on that scale, but I’ve learned my lesson. I will not cover my eyes like a two-year old. I will step. Knowing is better than living in denial. My coping skills, if not my body image, have strengthened over the years. I am more okay with who I am than I ever was. Even though my body is a little softer, I’ve got a tougher skin.

Besides, there’s always next Friday.

Love You Forever

The room swelled with people, some talking and hugging, others laughing and shoving deli meat sandwiches in their mouths. It was a party, except the guest of honor was dead.

We were at our friends’ Aiden and Alyssa’s house to pay a Shiva call for Aiden’s mother who had just passed. A year and half ago, she had been diagnosed with a blood melanoma. Until recently, she had not shown any real symptoms or signs of being sick. The doctors said that it was treatable and until the other day, it had been. She was there in the morning when they drove to the hospital, but 12 hours later driving back, she was gone. Just like that.

At the house, we chatted amiably with many people, about many things, but only very briefly touched upon the reason we were there. Aiden held it together admirably and everyone was relieved to follow suit and pretend. There’s nothing about death and final goodbyes that doesn’t create instant discomfort and clueless awkwardness for those bearing witness. So we ate little cookies and ignored the elephant in the room, or in this case, the small, sweet blonde mother and grandmother who wasn’t.

Now that I’m over 40, I keep running into this problem in life; it’s called death, and no matter how I try, there’s no getting away from it. It seems, and I never actually realized this until my late 30’s, but people die. Yes! I know. I was shocked as well. Of course, I know people die. I’m not an idiot. Lucille Ball is obviously no longer with us, or Dick Clark or Patrick Swayze or Farrah Fawcett, but somehow, when people I knew actually died, it totally threw me for a loop. Not just grandparents, but friends. Young people who were supposed to have their whole lives ahead of them, apparently, did not. They died of unnatural causes at unnatural ages. And now I seem to be at the age where parents start dying. I am not happy with this!

When I got home that evening, I gave my mom who was babysitting, an extra hug and ran up to do the same to my boys. They were almost ready for bed, and by almost I mean, jumping around in their underwear giggling like hyenas. I corralled them all into bed and Michael, my middle child, pushed a book in my hand. “Read this, Mommy.”

“Of course.” I said automatically, but when I looked down I wished I hadn’t.

“Love You Forever” by Robery Munsch. My book nemesis. Someone had given me this book when my oldest was born and I cried like a baby from beginning to end. Back then, I blamed my hormones and new-mom status, but returning to the book two years later, the same thing happened. A few years after that, I tried again, and still could not make it through without breaking down. I have successfully avoided reading the book for over three years, and tonight, fresh from a Shiva call, it was in my hands again. “Baby, let’s read something different.” I tried.

“This is the book that makes you cry, right?” Michael taunted, his elfin face smiling mischievously.

How did the little rat know that?  “Maybe.” I said defensively. “But I just think you should pick something else. It’s a baby book.”

“I want to see if you cry.”

Oh, a challenge. Bring it on. “Fine.” I agreed, secretly steeling myself. I knew exactly what this book was and I was prepared. I could make it through I told myself and started reading.

I barely began, and I knew it was over. Tears rolled down my face and my voice quivered as I read the poem that threaded through the story of a mother’s never-ending love, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.” My extremely sensitive children cracked up laughing as I struggled to finish. By the end, I was a complete mess. My boys loved it. “Again!” they all squealed as I tried to control my heaving.

Exhausted from my emotional evening, I tucked the boys in; snuggling a little longer and hugging a little tighter. The book’s poem played over and over in my mind; its theme penetrating every sappy bone in my body. Even thinking about it now with the book safely tucked away in between a hundred others, hopefully never to be pulled out again, I can feel the tears in me rise. From the moment they are born, our babies are everything. Even when they grow and go, a mother’s heart goes with them, but there’s only so far it can go. Poor Aiden. Poor Aiden’s mommy. Poor everyone.

Damn. I hate that book.

Separation Anxiety – For Mommy

Separation Anxiety – For Mommy

I crouch down to speak more directly into the teary face of my sweet-cheeked four year-old. “Okay, so first you’ll go in the playground, then you’ll collect some sticks, bake a cake and then mommy comes to get you! You’re going to have so much fun.”

He screws up his face unconvinced, then picks up my shirt and sticks his head underneath.

“Julius, honey. I’ll be back so soon.”

“How soon?” His muffled voice asks my belly.

“So fast!

He pokes his head out. “Five minutes?”

“Well not five minutes, but close.” He can’t tell time. Five minutes. Three hours. Same thing.

He sniffles and looks skeptically around the familiar class. I feel him coming round.

“Remember, you’ll play in the playground, search for sticks, bake a cake, then mommy. Hey, like Dora!” He noticeably perks.

“Playground. Sticks. Cake. Mommy.” He gets it and nods, but still remains fixed to my side. I walk, with him attached like we’re in a potato sack race, to where some of his friends are building with blocks. Immediately, he drops to the floor and starts playing. Deep inward mommy sigh of relief. I kiss the top of his head goodbye, and he immediately stops his play to hug me vigorously.

“Kiss.” He orders and I bend down so his little lips can kiss me. “One more hug!” He squeezes the pee out of me, and returns to his blocks. I’m at the door, when I feel him behind me again. “One more hug!” And again we squeeze together, before we are ripped apart by the necessities of normal everyday life. He is four. It is only just beginning.

As I walk out the door and leave him playing contently with his friends, I am the one sniffling.

Which I realize is ridiculous. He is my third child. I’ve done this before, many times, yet each time, I still have the same pang of regret leaving. I even still feel that way watching the bus pull away with my older ones.  “Have fun!” I wave them off with some relief, yet my brain is a jumble of mixed emotions. The most glaring is the vision of the horror movie bus driving off with the children waving innocently from the window. I can’t stand to think of that one, but somehow it’s always there. More reasonably (I think) is that I mourn the fact that they are big kids now and can go off on the big bus to lives outside of my little bubble. While I joyously take my few hours of freedom, it definitely makes me sad. I know, I’m crazy.  No, it’s not crazy. Okay, now I sound crazy.

They say that it’s good for the children to separate and socialize and I’m sure they’re right, especially at the ages of my older boys who are seven and ten, but as I watch my four year-old son bravely hold it together and others in his class falling to pieces, I just have to wonder. Is it really good for them? They always say that once the parents leave, the kids generally settle into their routine and play happily. I believe that to be true. Either they’re happy and enjoying  playing with their friends or they’ve submitted to the inevitable. They have no control, their parents are gone and there is simply nothing they can do but play with their play dough and wait.

I leave the pre-school and head straight to the gym, where I sweat my ass off in spin class. The whole time my brain is working harder than my body. I go through my to-do list. I edit an essay in my head and actually come up with an amazing opening paragraph which I spend at least three songs trying to memorize. And I think about my kids getting bigger and more independent. I’m so proud of them, and protective of them and in love with them, that I admit I’m a bit over sensitive to their growing up and me not being the most important person to them. Oh no – it’s one of my spin revelations. It happens sometimes when I’m sweating in this dark room with loud music with nothing but my own thoughts. It’s me. Damn. It’s me. My boys are doing fine. It’s me. I’m the one who has to grow up and learn how to let go.

Later, when I pick up Julius from Pre-K, his eyes twinkle as he jumps into my arms, but the hug is quick. One of his friends behind me is playing with two lego men, and he leaves me to investigate. My open arms are empty. My youngest boy is off and running. It’s going to take every ounce of effort not to chase after him.