Read My Lips: No More Tequila Before Bed. Period.

Tequila = long sleepless nights with bad dreams.  Sure, it can make anyone the life of the party, but when it’s all said and done you’ll have nothing left but yourself and a week’s worth of bad juju to work out.

Todd and I decided to make Sunday night our “Mexican night,” with nachos, quesadillas, and … of course… margaritas.  It all sounded like a good idea.  We’ve both laid off the alcohol in recent months – for different reasons – though I found once I quit drinking I lost 6 pounds.  This has been highly motivating for abstinence.  Nevertheless, it seemed timely to celebrate the advent of warmer weather and really – who needs an excuse for margaritas, and because Idecided they are the harbinger of sun, fun, and deck parties.  I’m sick to death of cold air and wind so powerful it could penetrate a bomb shelter. 

So, I started with the margaritas, because duh.  Everything cooks and tastes better after margaritas.  Todd disappeared into the living room for crisis management via cell phone.  (Really – I want to know who the hell gave Satan a hall pass for the universe these last 2 weeks.  But, more on that another time.)  I heard the sound of straw hitting rock bottom and the rattling of lonely ice cubes not more than 20 minutes after.  I nursed my glass of luscious limeness while I chopped peppers and onions and broiled the chicken for the quesadillas. The kids went outside and played basketball while I danced around the kitchen like the old days, no bickering and no one climbing up my ass with constant questions. 

Todd and I ate over candlelight (provided by Miss Ava) and finished a second round of margaritas.  The kids had already eaten dinner, having swindled their dad into buying them the “World Famous” chicken at Royal Farms.  (If you haven’t – you must.  Best chicken.  Ever.)

Eventually it was bedtime for the school children, and I rustled up some nachos for the two of us to go with another margarita we shared.  It was a lovely stress-free evening, topped off with a good movie we’ve seen a hundred times.

But, I would soon discover, the peacefulness ends when the lights go out.  Todd woke the next morning to tell me he was immersed in another episode in this series of dreams he keeps having, about the world coming to an end and no one knows it but him and a handful of other people and they’re trying to figure out how to save it. 

I, however, disappeared into an alternate universe where my house looked nothing like my house and I was having a party of some sort – the house was filled with people, everyone was there.  Including my mom, who stood across the room from me and told me (in front of everyone) that the best thing I could do is to put our dogs down.  Our beautiful and healthy, albeit smelly and of questionable taste buds, poodles.  And I am incredulous that my mom – a shameless spoiler of dogs everywhere – would suggest such a thing to me.  

Are you kidding?  You must be kidding.  And she so totally wasn’t.  And I was like, how could YOU suggest such a thing??!  We’re not putting the girls down! 

Fast forward this dream to a car ride – mom is driving and I’m in the passenger seat, and we’re having it out.  Yelling at each other about I-don’t-know-what, and then I just reached over and punched her in the mouth.  Just like that – only my arm wasn’t strong enough and felt more like I was flexing an inflatable baseball bat.  And she looked over at me and sucker punched me before I could react.  So – this is my dream – having a fist fight with my mom in a moving car.  Presumably triggered by her earlier suggestion that I murder my dogs.

Dream #2 – I am at a gym somewhere, and testing out a treadmill.  But these treadmills are more like video games – they’re all different – they have different designs and different screens to view your stats (like a game format).  There’s a portable foot pedal you have to use to change your pace.  I change treadmills and forget the foot pedal, so I leave it running and go to retrieve the foot pedal I was using.  When I get back, there’s this girl hanging on my treadmill, so I say excuse me and ask her to move.  She tells me her friend is using this treadmill, so no – I can’t have it.  So I told her I was the one using it, and it’s still running on my settings and that I had to go get the foot pedal.  And she called me a liar!  Then the friend comes over and they’re both snarky and rude and I suggested that perhaps I should just go get the manager. They told me to go right ahead.  I decided to leave the gym instead.

Dream interpretations aside, I am not mad at my mom for anything, and I don’t belong to a gym – though I keep thinking I might like to give the treadmill thing a go again.  The foot pedal thing is something related to my chosen profession – medical transcription – and there’s more to relate on this journey that most likely inserted itself into my dreams (again, another post, another time).  Furthermore, Todd insists the world is not really coming to an end any time soon, though in the dream he is sworn to secrecy so maybe he’s lying to me?

And this is why you don’t drink tequila before bed, people.  You’ll dream about beating up your mom and fighting with gym b*tches and trying to save the world.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor. ~ George Carlin

A lady came up to me one day and said ‘Sir! You are drunk’, to which I replied ‘I am drunk today madam, and tomorrow I shall be sober but you will still be ugly.  ~ Winston Churchill

The Best Conversations Happen In the Car

Ava:  Do you have to get married to have a baby?

Me:  (Taking a long breath)

Ava:  Because Melitza’s parents aren’t married…

Me:  Well, you don’t have to get married, and some people choose not to, but I think it’s the best thing to do.  And you want to make a good choice in who you share your life with – someone who loves you and who you also love, because having a baby with someone ties you to them forever.

Ava:  Yeah, I want to marry somebody who treats me good and doesn’t hit me.

Me:  (somewhat stunned)  Absolutely.  People who truly love each other don’t hurt each other like that.

We continue in silence a few minutes as we pass through town.

Ava:  So you get a baby from making out, right?

Me:  (my palms starting to sweat) No.  Making out means kissing.

Ava:  Morgan said to get a baby you have to have sex.

Me:  (by now wondering what the hell these little girls are talking about this for) 
          Yes.  You have to have sex to make a baby.

Ava:  How does the baby get made?

Me:  (glancing meekly at Owen next to me, obliviously jamming out on his iPod)  You wanna take this one?

Owen:  Huh?  What?

Me:  Ava wants to know how babies get made – you wanna field this one?  (I know – I’m wicked.)

Owen:  NO! (jamming his earbuds back into his ears, and throwing me one last dirty look)

Ava:  A baby comes from an egg right?  But how does the egg get in you?

Me:  You know how girls and boys have different private parts?  Well, girls have eggs and those eggs are kind of like flowers – they need a seed to grow, you know what I mean?  And boys have the seed that makes those eggs grow into babies. (cut me some slack – I was on the fly)

Ava:  How does the seed get to the egg?

Me:  (Oh shit.)  (Deep breath) So girls and boys have different private parts, right?  Girls have a vagina and boys have a penis – you already know this. (I get a “yes” from thebackseat)  Well… (swallowing hard) these parts are made to, uh, fit together  (gulp)… the penis goes into the vagina.

Ava:  Ew!  That’s gross!  Does it hurt?  It has to hurt.

Me:  (Oh for the love of God) Um, well… (how does one answer this one?) (and now – feeling the hysterical laughter burbling up my chest)

Ava:  Did you have to do that?

Me:  Well, I have you and Owen don’t I?

Ava:  So you had to do that with my dad?

Me:  (unfortunately yes) Yes, of course.  That’s how we had you and Owen.

Ava:  Ew!  Gross!  Why would people want to do that?

Me:  Well, to have a baby, for one.  And someday it might not sound so gross to you.

Ava:  Do you and Todd do that?

Me:  That’s noneya.

Ava:  (a  dramatically resigned sigh)  Well, I guess I will have to do it too, if I want to have a baby.

Me:  Yes, if you want to have a baby when you’re all grown up and married. 


You know what they say about how kids are like sponges – they absorb your words and actions and learn from them?  Well – pay heed, my friends.  If you’re always well-mannered and easygoing, always kind to others, never say a profane word, never lose your shit on stupid drivers, and never have an ill-timed meltdown, then this isn’t for you.  For everyone else – read on.

I’ve known for years that my 9-year-old daughter couldn’t keep a secret if her life depended on it.  I don’t even remember when I knew – perhaps it was when she told her then 8-year-old brother about a Christmas gift she’d seen for him.  But I have learned not to punctuate any piece of information with “it’s a secret.”  I attributed it to her age, being so young and not understanding what is and is not appropriate to share.  However, she hasn’t changed her M.O. and I know better than to say anything in front of her that I don’t want anyone else to know.

Case in point:  I know way more about what’s going on in her dad’s life than I care to.  She tells me everything.  And I have to remind her that that’s her dad’s business and that I’m sure he would prefer that not be shared with me, or anyone else for that matter.  That I don’t need to know what’s happening in his personal life, unless he wants to tell me himself. (And, let’s face it, I really don’t want to know then either.)

The real underlying problem with her lack of discrimination is that it’s hereditary.  Her dad used to be (and I say “used to” because we are no longer married and I have no idea if he’s changed) (stop sniggering – you know who you are) very nosy about other’s lives, gossipy, and worse – downright judgmental.  So I fear that she is becoming that way and I want to yank that train to a screeching halt.  She is very inquisitive – but there is a very fine line between inquisitive and (as Todd always says) noneya

What did [the tenant] say about the dogs in the garage?  Noneya.

Where is [family friend] going? Noneya.

But instead, I start with something more like – that doesn’t concern you. Or, that’s an adult conversation you aren’t involved in.  Or, it’s really none of your business.  And when all else fails – NONE YA.

So, anyway, imagine the mild-mannered me, otherwise having a lovely day, driving the kids home from their dad’s, enjoying the luxury of heated seats on a frigid evening, the 80s-on-8, Ava in the backseat regaling me with tales from 4th grade, and Owen up front, next to me, bobbing his head to the beat inside his Skull Candy.  The roads are clear and I’m traveling a safe distance behind a car driving the speed limit.  Cue asshole Jeep from nowhere.  The headlights were coming up fast behind me, and I knew it was a Jeep because hello!  Everyone knows a Jeep.  So I’m watching my rear view to see at what point he slows down.  Apparently, safe driving distance for this a-hole is – oh, I don’t know – 5 feet off my bumper

We’ve all encountered people like this – who have to prove a point that they were traveling so much faster until they got stuck behind you.  But usually they back off and put the distance between you so you can actually see their headlights again.  Not this guy.  He was so close to me that I couldn’t see them.  I didn’t like it.  And it went on like this for miles.  Eventually we came upon a red light and – in not one of my proudest moments – I opened my car door and leaned out to look at him through his windshield and…. I started screaming at him that I had children in the car and *&^%$# @$%^&# %^&*(*&^$ !!!  And the little bastard (cause now I saw his face and he was young) just stared passively ahead.  And then the light changed.  We began to move and…. He continued to ride my bumper for another several miles.

Common sense (and the State Police, by the way) will tell you to pull off and let them go around you.  When I finally did, he stopped behind me on a state road and wouldn’t go around.  Eventually he turned left and the nerve endings in my limbs stopped tingling.  And then I realized I needed to tell my kids how wrong I was for doing what I did.  How dangerous it could be.  And for them not to ever do that.  End of story, right?

Nope.  Ava has a friendship circle once a week with her guidance counselor and 6 other girls.  She came home that afternoon the week after this incident and told me that she told Mr. M what I had done and how I shouldn’t do it because it’s dangerous.  But in her version I’d actually gotten out of the car (which I did not).  OH. MY. GOD.  If there was ever a reason to THINK before you act in front of your kids – this is The One, folks.  And all I could think was, this guy is going to think I’m a nutcase – and all the credibility (and maturity) I established at the 504 meeting just went out the window.  I’m still mortified from this – and it happened weeks ago.

But how could I forget it, since Ava told me on Tuesday that she told Mr. M that I broke my toe and “he felt so sorry for you”?  Oh Lord.  I’m never walking into that building again.  

The lesson here is two-fold.  One – be careful what you say/do in front of your kids.  Two – teach them a lesson for being a busy-body and telling all.  No conversations are sacred in this house – and Todd and I have taken to the bedroom to have them when we want privacy.  But we are working on a lesson for her that will hopefully shut down Little Miss National Enquirer.  Stay tuned.

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. ~ Will Rodgers


That Stench Is My Foul Mood

There are days like this.  They don’t happen very often, at least not anymore.  Everyone has them.  A mood so foul the day itself screams – for the love of God, woman shut the hell up!  It was all going so well, too. 

While everyone complained loudly about the impending snow storm last week, I did a remarkable 360 and was actually happy about it, because for once it happened at the best possible time for us.  It started late after we returned home from our routine Wednesday night trip to PA, and we had nowhere to go Thursday or Friday – no appointments, no obligations – and it was my weekend, so the kids were home with me anyway.  Perfect.  I worked Saturday night for a few hours, because the restaurant is short staffed, again.  Really, how’s about I just stop reporting that?  It should be the tagline on the restaurant marquee. 

I look forward to Monday like a prisoner looks forward to parole.  You see, I’m a person who loves – no, NEEDS – her time to herself.  It’s how I stay remotely sane.  Everyone goes back to work and school on Monday – that is, everyone but me.  So – imagine my joy as the bus pulls away with my youngest on board.  But it was short-lived.

When left alone to my own devices, particularly during very specific periods of the month – a snarky demon moves into my domain and breathes complaints into my ears that make me seethe inside, and no amount of chocolate will fix it.  I’m usually laid back about most things, but soon enough, something, somewhere along the way, causes that tight cord inside me to snap.  I have at least learned to avoid people when it’s at its worst and, if they know better, they will steer clear of me until the darkness passes.  I see things that bother me – and they just latch onto my soul like a leech, sucking the patience out of me until all that’s left are eyes dark with fire and a razor sharp tongue.

And so.  Here we are in the silence of my kitchen, which is destined to end soon because there is currently no predictability to my time.  The snow outside is finally melting, but is flooding the yard and the side yard with muddy trenches because there’s simply too much.  I have phone calls to make, but I don’t want to talk.  To anyone.  I need the quietude to hear myself and center.  And then the day is over too quick – and soon one child, the rapper, bursts through the front door and the dogs go apeshit.  Stupid dogs bark at everyone who comes through the door.  Well, everyone but me.  They have learned better.  Ah, the power of the treatkeeper. 

I digress.  An hour later, after hearing more Biggie Smalls trivia from #1 on this anniversary of his death, #2 comes home with a grumpy look to match her momma’s mood.  God, she can be so bitchy!  I don’t know where she gets it from….

Things turned around okay enough.  The evening was pleasant.  And then I ran down the hallway to the kitchen and slid into the corner of the doorframe to a bellowing stop in another of those “freak accidents.”  So now I am injured with a broken toe, or maybe it’s a compression fracture, or maybe it’s “just bruised” like Todd said.  Nevertheless, I am NOT walking well, and my toe is swollen, black and blue, and not enjoying the confinement of a shoe.  So, I have been sitting around with an ice pack and an elevated right foot.  Shouldn’t complain, except that apparently I’m not allowed to stay sitting for long. 

I can’t drive.  But I ventured out anyway, because we’re out of coffee.  And because I had to mail a package to a friend I’d promised over a month ago (sorry J) and the tax docs for the accountant.  My development opens to a road that is frequented by speeding cars and today’s was a red pickup doing about 60 as my car stumbled to a halt.  I drove slowly (did I mention it’s my right foot?) and tried to avoid jerky acceleration or stops.  I was only going into town, where the speed limit is a strictly-enforced 25, so I figured it was a safe trip. 

I pulled through a stop sign and this old guy starts pulling out in front of me, so that I had to slam on the brakes (not easy to do with half of a foot).  What an ass!  Now I’m pissed off as all get out, because moments before, this woman decided she wanted to go first on the circle and cut me off.  At the traffic light for the store, I almost lost round three of the who-has-the-right-of-waygame when another geezer tried to make his left turn ahead of my right one.  By this time I’m sweating, because – my foot.  And, it’s beautifully warm at 53 degrees but not warm enough for a sleeveless top I saw some woman wearing on her way in as I parked the car.  But hey – it’s her life. (See what I mean?  Wth do I care what she’s wearing?)

I hobbled through the grocery store, careful to avoid eye contact – because these moods I get in make me hate people – and hobbled back to the self-checkout so that I could experience the please place the item in the bag 18 times for 3 tins of coffee and a head of cauliflower. I smiled weakly at the attendant since I know it’s not her fault, and limped back out to the car and collapsed.  Exhausted.  One trip to the store – just 10 miles round trip MAX – a short walk inside and back out – and I needed a goddamn nap.  And my pull-through opportunity was lost when a woman parked in the empty space directly in front of me.  Really.  Nine empty parking spaces and she picked That One.

And to top off an otherwise stellar day – I am happy to report that my ex is coming here today, after I adequately convinced him that driving his children for a 3-hour round trip was potentially hazardous to their health, given the present condition of my 3rd metatarsal.  However, having not forgotten the whiplash I got last week from an unexpected telephone blast, and considering my present state of mind – I am reluctant to invite him to stay for dinner.  THAT may be hazardous to his health.

The Axe Man Cometh

It all started one day when his bedroom door closed.  It’s still closed.  Every day.   All day.  And he’s in there – I know he’s in there, because I hear the faint sounds of Xbox drifting through the walls.  Some days I see so little of him, I wonder if I would recognize him when he finally emerges.

He rushes off to school with the urgency of a doctor on call, because, he has to be on that bus.  What is on that bus that is so important?  Suddenly a ride to school is a concession only allowed when he turns off his alarm in the morning and oversleeps.

The contacts came first.  One day he decided he had to have contacts now. Which secretly thrilled me – not that there’s anything wrong with glasses, but at the tender age of 4 he got his first pair and I felt so sad to see that his beautiful brown eyes with the enviably long lashes would now be forever contained behind them.  I have been waiting for the day he would be old enough, and responsible enough, to make the choice.

Now that he has, there have been many a morning filled with the drama of uncooperative stupidcontacts – intensified only by the deadline of the bus.  I have learned to keep to myself and my coffee in the kitchen, and wait for the smoke to clear. 

And GOD FORBID the hair isn’t right.  O. M. G.  The Hair.  We have now reached the point of no return.  It has become a separate entity, causing no small amount of fierce stomping about the house and preoccupation with styles and …. OMG it’s too long again!!  And back to the haircutters we go, four weeks after the last cut.  One time it was a mere two weeks, and he was complaining it just wasn’t right and we HAD to go back.  I asked him if he had the twenty bucks it was going to cost me.  I’m sorry guys – but I have never understood how a guy with hair no more than an inch long can have a bad hair day.  It doesn’t move.

Before all of that though – there was a day several months ago that came from out of nowhere – where he woke up and decided to “clean up” his room.  Now I was excited, since 7thgrade saw this phenomenon infect my son’s bedroom.  I don’t even think it has a name, but we all know it.  Some of us might remember it ourselves.  It’s like a clothing volcano erupted inside this one room, its explosions leaving casualties on every surface, and seeping out from under the bed.

Anyway, this “clean up” was really a purge.  He was in there all day and when he was done – 4 totes filled with Legos (really, this kid has easily acquired $1000 worth of Legos in his short life) and miscellaneous toys of youth were standing outside his door.  Like a criminal trying to trump the investigator, he was systematically getting rid of all the evidence of his previous life. 

Meanwhile, the room has taken on the distinct smell of BOY – hard to describe but instantly recognizable by anyone unlucky enough to have lived in a dorm.  It’s not bad.  But it’s… it’s… boy.  But that is nothing compared to the piles of clothes that have yet to see the inside of a closet or drawer.  But the drawers remain perpetually open – I assume because it’s easier?  I have to at least give him credit for separating clean from dirty – clean on the desk/chair/bed, dirty on the floor. 

And apparently the culture-growing gene is hereditary because he has taken on my own teenage hobby of leaving used dishes and cups strewn about his room for days until I have to come knocking for a bowl to eat my cereal in.  Last weekend – while he was away at his dad’s – I went in there.  I wanted to change his sheets (since it’s not worth the trouble when he’s home and barricaded in there) and counted 4 bowls, 2 mugs, 3 glasses and 3 empty soda cans.  We will run out of dishes if he keeps this habit up.

His music tastes have changed.  It started subtly, with an Eminem song here and there, and suddenly morphed into Rap fever.  Tupac, Biggie, Naz… are whispering tales of the ‘hood in my son’s ears… and he is absorbing the lyrics and spitting them out in sudden bursts as he passes through the kitchen, or as he’s entering my room to say goodnight.  Am I concerned?  Not too much – since he is still sharing with me.  He runs songs by me to see if they’re acceptable to add to his iPod, and he often plays his favorites for me on the kitchen computer.  I’m appeased to know I am not only mom, but that I am trusted.

Fashion has changed.  Not to hip hop – though he bought himself a newsboy cap (like Biggie) – but to Sport Dude.  It was an Under Armour Christmas. Now my lawyer will know why his check was late. And with the Sport Dude comes the sports.  Basketball.

Personal appearance has taken on a new priority second only to good grades.  He suffers the typical breakouts of his kind, but lacks the motivation to be proactive and so is often seen with smears of Spot On – which I have to remind him he just might want to wash off before we leave.  He’s been shaving the fine dark hair on his upper lip for over a year now, but I have seen perplexing little hair clippings around their bathroom.  He has lots of leg hair and, claiming to be the only one who does, has requested to shave it off.  I’d say that was the highlight of my week – The Leg Shave – with the rap tunes going and the chemical smell of Veet in the air.

But, like the signature on the dotted line, the last step in this transformation is what seals the teenage-boy deal.  Like Pig Pen’s stink cloud, the sweet smell of Axe follows him.  Sometimes it’s the only way I can tell he’s been here.  Sigh.  

I’m a Writer, Dammit

I stumbled across this article today called How to Know If You Are Really a Writer  but, truly, If You Have to Wonder If You Are Really a Writer Then How Can You Be One?  But wait!  That’s not true – since one way to know is if you are plagued with self-doubt.  Check!
Lose myself in imagination?  Check.  Introspective people watcher?  Loss of concentration and/or drifting away from reality to the dismay of others?  Lying awake in the middle of the night as the creative mind keeps spinning tales I must remember to remember in the morning? Check, check, and check.  The author simply states that if you write – anything – you are a writer.

Real life does get in the way of the creative mind.  Which is why there are few words falling from my fingertips of late.  I have all these thoughts whirling around inside my head, ideas to write about, things to flesh out… but they get lost in the day-to-day. 

I’m hoping to change that.  I’m trying to be productive while the transcription companies are in a hiring freeze and winter plods on with this ridiculous weather.  I’m getting punchy.  Too many snow days with kids home bickering with one another – really, how hard is it to just shut their bedroom doors?  You know it’s bad when you’re making conversation with the mammogram scheduler on the other end of the line.
I’ve got a lot to say, but getting it into black and white is another issue.  And always – that nagging little me on my shoulder saying I have nothing worthwhile to say.  I’ve got one on each shoulder.  One says go ahead – you can do it, it’s funny, and the other one tells me my writing is self-absorbed and no one cares.

I’ve been tossing around the idea of leaving Blogger. I’ve been thinking about starting a second blog, maybe even a third.  I’ve been thinking about blogging anonymously.  THIS is what the creative mind does, it keeps coming up with more and more distractions.

In other news, I started writing it.  I decided to choose a direction for a long-piece, aka novel, and sat down one day and just started.  And then I got sidelined by an unlikely source, causing me to doubt the words I wanted to say, and fearing the repercussions of writing something so personal and damning.  I guess that’s what lawyers are for.

Aaaaaannnnnd……… another work soon to be in progress is a collaboration with my mom that is long overdue.  Let’s hope this one gets off the ground quicker than my imagination.