Revelations – What I Learned This Week

  • My classmates from high school look pretty damn good after 25 years.  I remember when I was graduating, my mom was about to go to her 20th and I was all like, “that must be so weird mom… how will you know who is who?”  She succinctly explained to me that everyone looks the same, just older.  Good older, not bad older.  The slightly immature me was kinda like, excited to see old friends – and kinda like, glad they were happy to see me.  It was like high school all over again! Except no one was getting arrested for drinking!  I had such a good time, and I loved seeing old friends and I enjoyed seeing the people who have become friends to me today.   The revelation hit me that I really didn’t care who wasn’t there.  I am SO glad you were there and SO glad we had a chance to chat, even if it didn’t seem long enough.   I especially enjoyed meeting the wives.  Okay, I’m done gushing.

  • It’s difficult to drive the speed limit in a Mustang.  After finally acknowledging my issue with speeders (not to mention the a-holes who have no idea how to drive 15 mph in a school zone), I decided perhaps I would try driving the speed limit for a while to see just how difficult it is.  The result: driving the speed limit in the Mustang, with not only a lead foot but extreme nervous energy, is not only damaging to my nerves but apparently pisses off quite a few other drivers on the road.  Well, Todd did say as how the majority of drivers on I-95 are quick to get out of his way when he’s driving it.   So perhaps my driving the speed limit in said Mustang is just irritating enough to those motorists who would sooner pull out in front of you than show an ounce of kindness by giving you your legal right of way… because in my case they realized they’d made a terrible mistake.  This is no ordinary Mustang driver.  The first day I executed this, I noticed a white sedan riding so close to my bumper I could see the wrinkles on the elderly driver and the huge white sunglasses on his equally gray companion, in my rearview.  Jeesh!  Even old people drive too fast.

  • Inappropriate laughter is a chronic affliction nationwide.  The most common being  inappropriate, if not disturbing, laughter at funerals.  I have a terrible inappropriate-laughter tick (as evidenced earlier in the week in a separate incident that shall hereafter be stricken from my record as less funny, more my bad) that, thankfully, has never reared its goofy-goober head at a funeral but first emerged at a small, intimate piano concerto in California.  By small I mean no more than 40 people attended this event I was invited to by a friend I was visiting.  Personally, I think classical piano falls way below the parameters I have set for lively entertainment.  And there was no wine.  So there I was, sitting in one of those padded folding chairs lined up in several rows, sort of spacing out and thinking about what we were going to do to wake up my nerve cells before they shut down completely when what to my delicate ears should assault… but the sound of keys striking suddenly and loudly…to a halt.  The man to my left was apparently three or four notes ahead of me into a coma and so his whole ENTIRE body jerked like he’d been hit with a defibrillator.  Oh shit.  It started in my shoulders, and then my face started to twitch.  My companion shot me a look like, don’t you dare.  Not one to attract attention, I sat there trembling as the tears welled up in my eyes, but I’m sure no one missed my silent hysteria.

  • I could make a living doing my husband’s laundry.  Quarters, nickels, dimes… last week I found a twenty dollar bill!  It’s awesome – like playing the lottery, only I don’t have to play to win!  Seriously though… it occurred to me that if he keeps leaving change in his pants, and I keep collecting it… by the end of next year we could go to Disney!  Or, perhaps, if I keep announcing my finds loud enough – maybe one of the kids will want to do laundry too!  We’ll create a new childhood myth – the laundry fairy.  Look kids! You don’t have to pull your own teeth out, just fold the laundry! 

  • I am NOT a good sick person.  I don’t act polite, I don’t behave selflessly, I don’t jump for joy to meet my kids’ every need.  I”m actually quite not joyful.  Really, it HAS occurred to me that there are some things the kids can do for themselves that I continue to handle myself… and, while I am mostly a willing slave to their constant demands, it has recently dawned on me that I could have so much more timeif they’d just take their own showers without a chaperone.

  • And while we’re on the subject of parenting – sometimes I just don’t want to be “the parent.”  (Particularly when I’m sick.)  They say we have to choose our battles… and frankly, some days I don’t want to pick a battle at all.  I get so tired of that whole you have to be consistent shit.  I don’t want to be consistent!  It’s exhausting.  When the kids were messing around the other day before practice and Ava told her brother to “open the fuckin door,” I just didn’t feel like hollering at her about it.  They both know bad words are bad, and that they’re not allowed to say them – what the hell else can I do??  Todd said, “and she got to go?” So, ever the sarcastic one, I said, “of course!  I laughed out loud and said good job honey!”  She is, after all, a chip off the old mamablock.

More interesting tidbits…

The cost of admission at Hershey Park is $56.95.  The cost of admission for a 7-year-old is $35.95, which is cheaper than riding the Community fair’s rides for an entire evening.  Unless you purchase an unlimited-ride wristband for $18, which is good for Friday only and then only from 11am-2pm.  But that’s only cheaper if the kid you bought it for actually RIDES anything.  My kid went down the giant slide twice. Translation: $9 per burlap sack.  Most expensive slide.  Ever.

The Eagles beat the Ravens last week in an undeserved one-point game, and lost to the Cardinals 27 – 6 yesterday in a much-deserved loss.  Our Mighty Mites team (now 1 for 3) lost to the opposing team yesterday 33 – 0, but they played their little hearts out.  The cheerleaders, on the other hand, can’t be beat: they are 3 for 3.

The average cost for dog sitting services per dog: $15.00 (for a 30 minute visit, with or without a walk), add $2.00 per additional dog.  Average cost of gas to drive 40 minutes round trip to transport two dogs PLUS 50 minutes roundtrip unsuccessful attempt to let two other dogs out in a different location: $35.  Total spent:  $35.  What I earned:  the Joy of temporary dog ownership and a relaxing drive in the country, doing the speed limit.

Last year the IRS reported that 99, 123 refund checks had yet to be collected as of November.

And finally, the awesome 6th grade vocabulary word of the week: prevaricate.  Don’t know it?  Neither did this BA graduate of English.  Look it up.  My son says his sister is always prevaricating.  And that she has the audacity to be pompous and impulsive.  Well, sometimes, he’s not far off the mark and at others – he’s just being facetious.  

A New Season

Change is in the air again.  The summer saw a change in schedule for the children – from my primary care to alternating weeks with dad and the mid-week overnight switch.  The initial shock of the Judge’s order, from my disbelief that my ex could actually work the flexible schedule he claimed to Ava’s surprisingly vocal declaration to my attorney that she “did not like the arrangement,” turned out to be a good thing for all involved – the kids got more time with dad (which, by the way, they saidthey wanted) and I got some time to spend in my “other” state and time to focus on my schoolwork uninterrupted by relentless bickering over personal space violations and the merits of Regular Showversus Max and Ruby.  My kids adjusted well to the summertime schedule – they shifted seamlessly from one household to the other – even Ava.  And then – just as fast as we were catapulted into summer by a whirlwind of court proceedings and a wedding and pool days and a couple of warm summer nights deckside with friends at the local watering hole –  it was suddenly the last week of August and we were preparing for that first day of school.

This will be Ava’s second year in public school, and the little girl known as “smiley” by the entire hoodwinked elementary school staff leapt out of the car on the first day with such unbridled excitement she stepped full on into the rain puddle outside the car door.  I am excited because it only took 6 years and three principals for someone to realize how much more sensible it is to redirect the student drop off to the back of the building, rather than have us parents and the big yellow school buses volleying for lanes like traffic on I-95.  And while we’re on the (sort of) topic of school administration, it seems each elementary principal – like a political candidate – has to have their own “issue” to drown and perplex the parents who don’t really give a shit so long as our kids get to start school on time and actually learn something besides who likes who in the second grade. 

The last principal was a wonderful and attentive educator – and she went above her call of duty to connect me with a friend and formal school board member who could possibly connect me with a rental at a desperate time when the custody battle was heating up.  But she had her “slogan” representing her reign – her issue was security.  Every school year begins with the typical Open Houses, and during one such open house for our two youngest starting kindergarten my girlfriend and I almost got thrown out for giggling over Mrs. X’s vehement concern that we recognize the orange paper taped to the windows as a “lock down” in progress and to…Just.  Keep.  Driving.  Every year we had to listen to the lock down procedures, how the kids are taught to evacuate the building, and how no one – absolutely no one – volunteers on school property without FBI and state clearances.  You know – just in case one of us is a rebel terrorist planning to blow up the manure field next door, and take all the chickens hostage.

Nevertheless, this year we have principal #3 – who was actually Vice Principal #2 for the last couple of years.  Nice guy.  If he were running for president of the United States, he’d have my vote just for the change in drop off procedure.  Meanwhile, our new assistant principal (I’m sorry – they are now called assistant principals) is actually a longtime servant of our district and is now charged with the awesome responsibility of not one, but two schools – as if a man isn’t crazy enough to want to help run an institution full of K-5 kids, he’s gotta step right off the deep end and take on the middle school too.  And he’s already had his share of interesting situations – I happen to know, since the brilliant offspring of my Open House cohort wound up in his office the second week of school for “hitting” another student who was trying to steal his lunch envelope.  Or so he said.  Actually they were just “horsing” around and it was an accident.  But dude still had to call these two buddies in for a sit-down and try like hell not to crack up at the stupidity of it all. 

So, folks, over the years the hot topics on the elementary school campaign have been the (surprising) Anti-Bullying program (this should be a topic for a whole other blog post), security and lock down procedures, and now…. moms, dads, grandparents, and guardians… if you’ll direct your attention to our Powerpoint presentation above ….the newest political racket of your beloved school district is… drum roll please….   the school district Attendance Policy!  As dictated by Pennsylvania School Code 1732.  Now, I’d already been to the Middle School Orientation, and heard Assistant Principal’s lecture to those parents who apparently haven’t figured out after 6 years that their kids actually have to attend school or else end up in the local magisterial court.  I tried to listen to this lecture again, this time at the elementary school’s open house and – again seated next to my giggle-sister – once again found myself daydreaming about what could be better than being confined to the stocks in the town square if your kid gets more than 3 unexcused absences this year.  You need to write the note people!

Meanwhile, my friend J had also slipped into the lazy in-one-ear-out-the-other listening strategy and skipped ahead in our open house handout to suggestions on building your second-grader’s math skills.  She silently pointed to the idea at the top of the list, of playing darts.  We both started snuffling like a pair of middle school girls in the back of the classroom, except we’re in the front in this particular case and the formidable Mrs. H (a 60-something grandmother with a tattoo, that everyone sees as a cold-hearted warden) shot us a questioning glare mid-intro into the curriculum.  Both of us wordlessly knew what the other was thinking – we can play darts with the kids at our favorite watering hole – the kids count their darts, we count lagers – it’s a win-win!

And then we both couldn’t stop cracking up.  We caught the attention of some of the other second grade teachers and I started to feel a little guilty, particularly after I found out  that we couldn’t just sneak out the back as soon as it was over, because there were special little notes on our little angels’ classroom desks that we just HAD to read.  If J and I had actually gone to school together, they would have separated us long ago. 

So the fam and I are also adjusting to extracurriculars for the first time since Owen was Ava’s age.  Back when he was in kindergarten and first grade, Owen played soccer and tee ball with great enthusiasm – that is, until someone else’s comparisons sidelined him for the rest of his elementary career.  Like all soccer moms I enjoyed the time spent on the fields for practice and games that forced out us out the door no later than 5:15 three days a week – and like all soccer moms I also anxiously counted the days until it was over.  To say I’m sorry my kids haven’t been too involved in sports or after-school activities is a bit too generous.  I freaking celebrated it!  And so now here we are again – and this time it’s my daughter who’s decided she really wants to be a cheerleader – thus recommitting me to three months of after-school chauffeur service,  concession stand donations, not to mention concession stand duty.  My favorite thing!   If I was a shameless and immoral opportunist, I’d use my daughter’s condition as a reason to be excused from this simple obligation – but there’s no denying the concession stand’s proximity to the cheerleaders lends me a much better position to monitor her.  Dangit!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have prepared myself all summer for the first day of school – for my firstborn and most beloved son to step onto the bus that would take him to Middle School.  Millions of emotions here.  Collapsing at the busstop as he boarded his ride and screaming “no! don’t leave me!” was a fleeting thought, but… I smiled and waved.  The other mom in the driveway with me, who I had just met, asked me if I was okay.  Oh yeah, I said.  I’m fine.  I thought it would be emotional, but really – it’s not at all.  By the time I got to my door, I was hyperventilating – and, like a true drama whore I kept visualizing my little boy carrying his kindergarten bag as he hopped on that very first bus to school 6 years ago.   And the tears fell harder than the rain that greeted the morning. 

Thank God for Todd.  Again, my savior who called me shortly afterward talked me down off the ledge – reminding me there was another kid in bed upstairs who needed to get ready for her first day too.  My favorite educator had already begun his first day of school driving two hours to work.  Yes, that’s TWO hours.  He does this several days a week and not only do I think he’s out of his mind, I think he must really love me to have sacrificed so much of his sleep, sanity, time, and gas money. 

So we’re settling in, we four.  To mathematics, and reading, cheerleading and football games, commuting, studying, working.  And calendar watching.   Because Fall is my favorite season – when everything new begins to settle into something aged, when we celebrate milestones and birthdays and holidays – cozying up to fireplaces, enjoying family get-togethers, and giving thanks for what we have.

Revelations and What I Learned This Week

Revelations and What I Learned This Week

  • The thought of people looking at me with lust and desire makes me extremely uncomfortable.  Well, ok, except for my husband – I mean, he’s supposed to look at me respectfully like a three-decker peanutbutter-frosted chocolate cake with lust love in his eyes.  But ordinary people I encounter out in the public world?  It’s one thing to suspect it, but a whole other thing when they are blatantly obvious about it – and when it’s not just a man, but a man and his wife.  It’s been four days and I’m still feeling a little queasy. 

  • Gallbladders can determine the attendance or continuance of a court-ordered hearing.  And, apparently, the ability to pay off long-standing debts and the purchase of miscellaneous school-fundraising items.   

  • The school bus drivers are not employees of our school district.  Never knew this – just read it in my son’s middle school handbook.  Not sure whether to be concerned about this or not.  The worry wart in me would be wanting to know who hires them, who they answer to and whether this is the same bus company that hired some guy who went bonkers and abducted a bus full of Christian-school kids from our high school campus and made a straight line for Washington DC about 11 or so years ago.

  • All in one day, two different people I know – who don’t know each other – reported a dog emergency whereby immediate medical care was necessary to preserve the life of the animal, or at the very least, the sanity of his owner.  One dog secretly ate half a bag of dog food, which made his stomach three times its normal size, and displayed the alarming symptoms of bloat.  An x-ray revealed he had eaten a very large amount of something, and, after some investigating the discovery of his transgression was made.  Another friend’s dog inhaled a corn cob and had to be rushed off for stomach pumping.  I would like to note the odd coincidence that both of these dogs have “human” names, so therefore I have to wonder if there’s a connection between this and their obscene gluttony.  Carl and Derek are – thankfully – recovering at home and will live long enough to do it again, if experience has taught me anything. 

  • The road I am currently living on is a very busy roadway.  I am grateful to have a nice home to live in, but a little less grateful about residing on the Los Angeles freeway.  I have thus far managed to tolerate the 15 minute wait to exit my driveway and the live version of Frogger with myself as the star – dashing for my mail between tractor trailers and pickup trucks.  This game has changed, however, with the advent of a new school year and my kids now riding the bus.  I am so afraid of something happening while they’re out there waiting for the bus I insist on embarrassing my newly minted middle schooler by standing out there with him. I lost sleep the night before the first day worrying about it – what if the opposing traffic doesn’t stop when bus lights are flashing?  (And believe me – I’ve seen this happen several times at our old house on a far less busy street.)  Thus, I am searching the internet for suggestions on what I – the single peon on a state road in a township with no police department and a limited resource of state troopers – can do to put an end to the madness.  In England a whole neighborhood decorated their street to look more like a backyard soiree, with oversized planters containing trees placed right on the road, to slow traffic down.  Here at home, apparently we Americans prefer radar speed signs (very expensive), drilling holes in the road (sounds illegal to me – call me crazy), putting tacks on the road (definitely illegal), and screaming at the offenders (which, by the way, makes you look like a complete ass since they can’t hear you anyway).  Our fantasies of throwing soccer balls into the roadway or letting an empty baby stroller drift out there were quickly extinguished by the possibility of causing the very thing we are trying to avoid – a multi-car pileup in front of our house.  That and a very long prison sentence with a very large, very lonely cellmate named “Butch.”  Hence, I imagine I will write the proper citizen’s letter to the authorities who will explain the lack of police enforcement and the high cost of the aforementioned radar sign.  They might as well just say, “We’re sorry, there have only been two motorcycle accidents in a week on your roadway, and no children have died yet.  We must have at least 10 fatalities on this stretch of road before any further action can be taken.”  Well, since only one person has given their life here – that leaves 9 more.  Any takers?   Puts a whole new perspective on things, doesn’t it?  Maybe THAT’s what I should put on the sign by the road.

  • And on that note, I am a terrible passenger.  You may recall that my husband was also my high school boyfriend – so that means I learned to ride with him when we were still new drivers.  Well, being a teenager with my, my-boyfriend’s-a-bad-boy-cigarette-smoking-artist-in-his-cool-motorcycle-jacket-and-earringattitude lent me a certain invincibility during hairpin turns on backroads in a VW Beetle at whiplash speeds.  Today, however, I am not only 25 years older but have also acquired a bit of nervous anxiety (that could be helped with a healthy dose of valium) without my hands on the wheel.  He is a better driver – though on our first ride out in the ‘stang last Fall he was all Mario Andretti on this really curvy back road near my dad’s house and I was all, do you see that 90-degree turn up there?   That left me feeling a little faint and beseeching God not to let this gift He sent back to me kill me before we could truly find happiness again.  Nevertheless, we drove out last weekend to visit some friends and out here in the Northeast they were calling for a vicious storm and don’t we just decide to leave just 3 minutes before the hurricane blew in.  I noticed on this drive that not only were my palms sweaty and my heart palpitating with each bucket of water to hit the windshield, but that my wonderful and talented husband seems to drive faster in a torrential rainstorm.  On pleasant, sunny convertible-perfect days – he drives at a meandering pace like a Sunday driver, and has a frequent tendency to drift right as he looks at his listener during long meaningful conversations.  He’s a wonderful driver!  I just prefer to see less of the white lines on the road from my particular vantage point. 

  • Crystal Bowersox, a runner-up on American Idol and also a Type 1 diabetic, doesn’t offer her performances for nothing.  Well, at least, she requires a very large monetary compensation to perform at a T1  fundraising event – the news of which I found so appalling I had to post it here.  I don’t care what it costs for her to put on a show – the very fact that she too suffers from this debilitating, life-threatening disease should motivate her to allot at least ONE appearance at any Type 1 diabetes event a year without charging the non-profit organizations $100k*.  Yes, she did appear at a non-profit’s event this year – but she did not do it for free.  Not saying she should do every single T1 fundraiser in the country – that’s unrealistic – but, to ask for money – at least an astronomical amount of money- in exchange for performing is just downright wrong.  We want our research money to go toward the cure, not padding her wallet.  (*I don’t know the exact $ amount she commands, but it’s a lot.)

More interesting tidbits…

The gallbladder is a small organ that plays a role in digestion.  If the flow of bile from the gallbladder is blocked, this is called cholecystitis, a painful inflammation which may also include infection.   Gallstones can cause acute cholecystitis, for which the only escape is gallbladder removal.  SO… if your right abdomen is hurting for more than 6 hours (with/without right shoulder pain) after eating and you are nauseous, vomiting, febrile and have painful breathing… go straight to the doctor or hospital – do not pass GO or stop at the local courthouse.

Bloat is a life-threatening condition that occurs suddenly and can affect dogs of any age (more likely in middle-aged and older dogs).  Large breed dogs with deep chests are predisposed to bloat. According to WebMd (pets) symptoms or signs include: restlessness, pacing, salivation, retching and unproductive attempts to vomit, and an enlarged abdomen.  Your dog needs immediate veterinary attention!!

A “Caution – Children at Play” driveway safety sign retails for about $15.  I have an artist/signmaker friend I think I will ask to make me something larger and more reflective.  Perhaps incorporating my earlier question of who wants to donate their bodies to the science of traffic control?? 

Bret Michaels won the 3rd season of Celebrity Apprentice, earning $640,000 for the American Diabetes Association.

Adultfriendfinder online has over 40 million members.  But apparently, for some, you don’t have to look past your very own neighborhood for swingers.