Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Things that make me stabby for $200, Alex.

1. The Department of Motor Vehicles. I had to spend three hours waiting to get my Tennessee license last week. I understand that there's a lot of tedious paper work involved, and they're understaffed. But I'm thinking that things would go a lot faster if A) Five of you didn't stop what you were doing to go stand around and shrug your shoulders and be all, "Beats me. I dunno what's wrong," when someone's computer screen freezes up. And B) If the picture lady stopped taking pictures of all the kids who tagged along with their parents. I get that you're just being friendly, but you're quadrupling the wait time. Also? The whole reason I had to waste a day at the Tennessee DMV was because some genius at the Utah DMV has decided that she knows more than my doctor. I've had to submit paperwork yearly stating that my diabetes doesn't make me a danger to others. My doctor has now sent them two certified letters stating that I'm not diabetic and the yearly paperwork is unnecessary. The response from the DMV lady? "Diabetes can't be cured. Submit the paperwork or your license will be suspended." Bite me DMV, lady.

2. Spam texts. I get all excited thinking I have a text from a friend (Umm, yes. I am that lonely that the thought of a text gets me excited), and then I open it just to find that some company wants to lend me money. Same with e-mails. I see that I have mail in my inbox, and wonder which friend has sent me a message only to find that it's just some Canadian who wants to enlarge my penis.

3. Cat farts.

4. Sylvester Stallone's acting. I've heard that Sylvester Stallone is a very kind and generous man. Sylvester, I'm sure you're just a lovely human being. But for the love all that's good and holy, please, please don't ever make another movie. Apparently there was yet another sequel to Rocky recently. They played it in the cardio-cinema at the gym last week. I had to leave. That's how bad it was. The story itself seemed like maybe it could have been O.K., but the acting was painful. (Oh, speaking of the cardio-cinema, someone must have found out about the back row stationary bike trysts going on, because the whole back row has been replaced with shiny new treadmills, and foot lights have been installed. All the stationary bikes are front and center.)

5. Bieber hair on adults. It's bad enough on 16 year old boys and adult lesbians (click that--it's fun), but it crosses the line into unacceptable on a 35 year old man. C'mon people, even Bieber doesn't have Bieber hair anymore.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tiny Bullies

I try to teach my kids to be nice people, I really do. I enforce politeness and courtesy. I really, really try my best to instill in them the idea that it doesn't matter what people look like or what they believe--everyone is entitled to be treated the way we would like to be treated.

But yesterday, in a spectacularly embarrassing public display of cruelty and bad manners, my kids proved that I am somehow failing at all of the above.

We had to stop by our pediatrician's office to pick up a prescription. In line in front of us was a little girl--maybe 8 or 9 years old--who obviously had some developmental and physical disabilities. She turned around and was smiling and trying to talk with Liam and Amelia.

Immediately Liam and Amelia began their (short lived) reign of terror. They said disparaging things about everything from the way she spoke to the way she held her hands to the way her hair was cut.

I was shocked, appalled, and had no idea what to do.

With every cruel remark they made, I interrupted and told them they weren't being nice and that God made everyone different and look! She's saying hello! Say hello back! The little girl didn't seem to understand that they were being hurtful. She just kept sweetly smiling and trying to tell them about her sparkly light up shoes. But the mother--I couldn't even look at her. I can only imagine how hurt and angry she must have been.

And they just wouldn't stop. I've never been so angry and disappointed in my kids. Not ever. I have to say that this is probably the worst thing any of them has ever done. And I have a kid who conned the entire panel of 4H judges at the county fair, so that's saying a lot.

I finally just grabbed their arms and said, "You are being mean and cruel and it's going to stop." And I dragged them out of there. The prescription could wait.

I got them to the car and let loose with tirade about what it means to be kind and compassionate and that it's normal to be curious about someone who looks or acts differently, but it's hurtful to make fun of them for it, especially when it's something the person has no control over.

But I still can't get the mother out of my head. Did I do enough? Should I have done something differently? I was honestly so shocked that they were saying such things that I didn't know how to respond.

How would you handle it, internets? I know that some of you have children with disabilities--how would you have wanted me to handle it had it been your child? And short of chaining them in their rooms for the next 12 years, does anyone have any suggestions for making sure this never happens again?

And if by some chance you are the mother of that little girl and you're reading this, I'm so very sorry.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When internal organs go astray.

I got the following e-mail yesterday:

I'm a long time reader and I'm coming out of lurker status because I'm worried. You usually post several times a week but lately it's only once or twice a week. Is everything O.K.? Is your husband O.K.? Did anything happen? Sorry for sounding like a stalker or a creeper. I've been reading for years and I feel like we're friends and if one of my friends suddenly stops talking to me as often as usual, I get worried. Hope everything's O.K.

Creepy-stalker Janey

Dear Creepy-stalker Janey,

Thanks for being concerned. Everything is O.K., and my husband is fine.

Do you remember about a year ago when I was whining about my thyroid because it was acting all crazy, and I had to ingest radioactive iodine to find out what was wrong and almost had to forgo the tummy tuck over it? No? I'd link to the posts but my thyroid is making me so tired I don't have the energy to look for it. Long story short: My thyroid inexplicably went haywire and I felt like crap. But it went haywire in such a way (hyperthyroidism) that I lost an extra 20 pounds and got down to a size four. So, as far as medical maladies go, it wasn't so bad.

It finally stabilized and they told me to expect to gain back a few pounds. They also warned me that often it over corrects itself and goes crazy the other way (hypothyroidism). I did gain a few pounds, but for nearly a year my thyroid remained stable.

And then last month it decided to up and quit. Suddenly my thyroid had become about as useful as a college drop out living in his mom's basement laying around smoking pot all day (which would totally explain my constant munchies).

I gained 15 pounds in two weeks (which makes 30 pounds in the past year for those of you keeping score, and I know some of you are). Two weeks. And it's not going away.

I'm living in stretchy pants and constantly praying that my tummy tuck scars don't burst open.

And I'm tired. Like, eight months pregnant in the dead of summer kind of tired.

I've stepped up my workouts to try to combat any further weight gain, but when I get home I'm so exhausted that I really just want to sleep all day. But there are kids to feed and laundry to wash and toilets to clean, so napping doesn't happen as much as I'd like.

Oh, and my hair is falling out by the handful. I have to buy Draino at least once a week.

I'm waiting on a referral to an endocrinologist and hopefully we can figure something out.

So, that's why I haven't been writing as much lately. Not just here but in general--texts and e-mails and notes included.

And Janey? Thanks again for asking. I wanted to whine about it but couldn't find a good excuse.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Guns 'n Nerdses

I'd want this one.

So, Will wants a gun.

I realize this may sound strange considering I'm talking about someone in the Army who carries a firearm daily, but I've never thought of him as a "gun person." I don't even know what a gun person is--I just never thought he was one of them. But apparently he is.

The idea of a gun in our house makes me really uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. I'm not one of those people who thinks guns should be banned. I just...I don't know. The idea of it doesn't sit well with me.

I partially blame Beverly Hills 90210.

If you're between the ages of 32 and 40 you know what I'm talking about.

See? This is what can happen when nerds handle guns. This was etched into my 16 year old brain.

I've taught my kids over and over to never touch a gun without an adult's permission even if they think it's a toy gun. I've explained and explained that if a real gun has bullets in it, they could accidentally kill someone else or themselves. However, when we were standing in line at Wal-Mart last week, Liam spied a toy gun laying on the shelf at the check out. He picked it up, pointed it at Amelia and pulled the trigger. Then he proclaimed, "O.K., it's only a toy gun. I just checked. No bullets came out."

Will says that if we got one, we'd keep it unloaded and locked in a safe. While that would ease my mind, it also seems to defeat the purpose of having a gun. I'm sure an intruder is going to wait for me to open the safe and load the gun before he kills us all.

And then he played the zombie apocalypse card. Which, you know, he has a point.

What do you think, internets? Do you have a gun? How do you feel about them in your house? Scott Scanlon flashbacks aside, do you have any ideas as to why the thought of a gun bothers me so much? I need your insight.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mullet Monday!

I've got a Very Special installment of Mullet Monday for you today, internets.

Behold the awesomeness that is...

...MY mullet, circa 1986.

That's me in the stripes. I thought I was pretty hot stuff in that outfit. I remember that I got it to wear for fifth grade field day. You can't see it, but it had an open back with just a few straps criss-crossing it to keep it all together. Also? That's all one piece. The top and bottom are attached.

Between my fashion sense and obviously cutting edge hair style, I can't understand why I wasn't popular.

It's a mystery.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

That one time my anniversary sucked.

My actual wedding ring. Which I love. So if you don't like it
feel free to shut your pie hole.

So, yesterday was my anniversary.

And I was alone.

But it was still better than the last time I was alone for our anniversary. That was four years ago, the first time he was gone for a year.

It was our 10th anniversary, which is kind of a big deal. I don't know why ten is more important than, say, eleven. Eleven is MORE. But we like those nice, even numbers I guess.

Anyway, I woke up to find that Amelia had had a diaper blow out of massive proportions. Liam was sick. Ben was...Ben. Will was on a British base in Iraq getting the crap bombed out of it. It wasn't a great day.

And then sometime after breakfast I noticed that the diamond from my wedding ring was gone.

On my 10th anniversary.

When I was alone.

I know that it's just a thing. Just a stone that can be replaced. I mean, it came from ShopKo, not Tiffany's, and was bought during an 80% off sale with my employee discount on top of that (Don't knock 80% off sales and employee discounts, people. We saved over $2500. It's better than a fistful of coupons and a shopping cart full of hot dogs and Jello). But anyway, I was really, really upset. I locked myself in my room and cried for about an hour.

Then I searched the house with a magnifying glass. The problem was, I had no idea when I lost it. I discovered it was gone on my anniversary, but it could have been missing for days before that. It was gone.

I sucked it up and got it replaced. I didn't even upgrade to a bigger diamond and it still cost twice as much as we originally paid for the ring.

I had a point here but I don't remember what it was anymore.

Don't pay full price for jewelry? Anniversaries suck when you're alone? I should have replaced it with cubic zirconium and saved a few hundred bucks?

I think it was something like that.

In any case, yesterday was disaster free. It still sucked that we couldn't be together, but it was nice to wake up and realize that we've made it through 14 years without divorcing and/or killing each other.

That's no small feat.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Queen of the backhanded compliment.

Don't let her sweetness fool you.

Amelia, at the tender age of five, has mastered the art of the backhanded compliment. Her only saving grace is that she isn't deliberately trying to leave my ego in a shattered mess. She'll save that for when she's 15 and hates me.

Here are a few of her latest ego-busting observations:

  • "Your hugs are so much softer now that you're fatter."
  • "It's great that that big hair on your chin is white, because it makes it hard to see."
  • "You cook the most wonderfulest food ever, even though it always makes me throw up in my mouth."
  • "You look like just like a famous person--Justin Bieber's grandma!"
  • "Your voice is like an angel...who has a sore throat."
  • "That polish on your toe nails is beautiful! It makes your feet look normal."
  • "I don't miss Ms. Hall [her kindergarten teacher] because you look just like her!" [Ms. Hall is in her late sixties, and looks it.]
  • "Mmmmm! What is that delicious smell like hot dogs? Mom, I think it's your breath!"
  • [While looking at a picture of the Earth from outer space] "It's so beautiful. It's kind of like your legs--all white and blue swirls."
  • "You have whiskers like the cats!"

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Patriotism swells in the heart of the American bear.

(If you know where that quote comes from without looking it up, we should hang out sometime.)

So, today I did what Oprah has referred to as "the ugly cry" on my front porch. But that's O.K., because there were fifty or so burly bikers and a good number of people from our community doing it with me.

I've mentioned that I'm kind of a hermit and I don't really know my neighbors, but this week I have learned a bit about our neighbors across the street. They're Chaz and Jessica Allen, and their two young daughters.

The Allens.
(Image stolen from The Leaf Chronicle.)

Chaz is a Staff Sergeant in the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan. On January 22nd he stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device) which blew off both of his legs and shattered his elbow. But thankfully, he survived. He's been at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. since then.

His wife had to quit her job, and has spent the past several months alternating between spending a week here with her kids, and then a week in D.C. with her husband. Thanks to the kindness of those who have donated to organizations like Hero Miles, all of her plane tickets were paid for.

The rest of his unit came home in April. For those of you who aren't familiar with them, when a unit comes home from a deployment, it's a big deal. I'm sure you've seen pictures of families running across tarmacs, arms open, to greet their returning soldier. That's not just the stuff of movies--that's how it really is. It's extremely emotional.

SSG Allen was finally given the O.K. to come home for good today. Some of his friends felt bad that he'd missed out on the grand homecoming the others had gotten, so they arranged for a surprise homecoming for him at the small, local airfield he'd be flying into.

Local radio stations found out and got the whole community in on it. So, hundreds of people--most who had never even met SSG Allen or his family--showed up to greet his plane with cheers and signs.

And then the Patriot Guard escorted him and his family home.

The Patriot Guard entering the neighborhood.

Everyone in our neighborhood knew he'd be coming, and we all came out to wave and cheer as they came into the neighborhood.

The neighborhood converging to welcome him home.

And that's when I kind of lost it. I didn't cry because I was sad for him. I mean, I am--it's a horrible thing to lose both legs in that way. But he's doing extraordinarily well, and his family is being taken care of. I cried because of the outpouring of love and support from strangers for this family that was happening on my doorstep. Have I mentioned that our city rocks? Because it does. It may not be the prettiest place, and we may have the smallest, crappiest Target I've ever been to, but the people here love the military, and will pretty much do anything to support them.

The Allen's current home is two stories. They've added a ramp to the front, and have made some modifications inside, but what they really need to do is build a single story home to accommodate SSG Allen's needs. Fundraisers are being held this weekend, and ongoing donations are being accepted. If any of you feel so inclined, you can donate HERE.

And if you know a military member, go thank them. Right now. Don't wait for a designated holiday.

Get off my lawn! (Just kidding, large biker men.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No title for you!

Look! I'm not dead!

Sorry about the hiatus. It wasn't planned. The tech guys at Blogger apparently got taken up in the rapture, because I (and thousands of others) couldn't log in for days. And once it was finally working again, I was too busy. Basically, until this moment, I haven't sat down since Sunday.

I don't normally do bullet point posts, but today it just seems easiest. (I haven't sat down since Sunday, remember?)

  • Say what you will about Facebook, but I kind of love it. Sure, it can be terrible if used for the wrong reasons (posting drunken nudie pics of yourself, hooking up with exes, posting drunken nudie of yourself while hooking up with your exes, Farmville), but when used properly it's great. With Will gone, all the little inane things I would normally tell him need an outlet. Hello, Facebook! (Send me a friend request if you don't have quite enough inane rambling in your life.)
  • It's amazing the difference the absence of one kid makes. I dropped Ben off at a week long overnight camp on Monday. Since then, there is no pee on the toilet. There is no screaming in the house. Liam and Amelia have played Wii all afternoon without a single physical altercation. When Ben is home, Wii playing usually ends up looking like a scene from Cops. All that's missing is the trailer.
  • Speaking of Ben's camp, it's nicer than most resorts I've been to. It's quite swanky--vaulted ceilings, skylights, air conditioning, spa-like showers and bathrooms in the cabin. He's in for a rude awakening next week when he goes to Scout camp and has to sleep in a tent (that he has to set up himself), poop in the woods and bathe in a cold lake.

Ben on his bunk at swanky-camp

  • Liam is really, really good at entertaining himself and making the best of his situation. Being the mean mom that I am, I won't buy him a Nintendo DS. So, he made his own. And he's been playing with it for hours.

The front (top) and back (bottom) of Liam's DS. The game on the screen? Super Liam.

  • I don't know what the muscles in your armpits are called, but mine are soon to be hulk-like. I started swimming laps again after taking a year off. Nothing hurts but my armpits.
  • I had to have a discussion about ebonics and making sweeping blanket statements with the kids last week. Ben, for whatever reason, has started saying ain't all the time. Liam informed him that "only brown people and people with missing teeth say ain't."
  • Speaking of Life According to Liam, Batman only wears a cape so no one will see that he's not wearing any pants. Seems like a reasonable explanation to me.
  • As peaceful as it is with Ben gone, I'll be glad when he gets back so I can stop cleaning the litter box. And before someone cries Duggar, let me assure you that he was consulted before I agreed to host the kitties, and was on board with this chore assignment.
  • It's so hot out today that even the cats are laying on the AC vents.
  • I'm freaking tired.