Thursday, April 7, 2011

watch out over in that general area

Last night after I put my boys to bed, I felt something squishy on my foot. I wasn’t sure what it was but it certainly didn’t belong there so I got a washcloth and sat down in the chair. As I was washing my foot, Wesley came back into the living room to ask me something very important, like “What is the main ingredient in mayonnaise?”

Then he noticed that I was washing my foot and asked what I was doing. I told him, “There is something that looks like a booger on my foot and I wanted to wash it off before bed.”

He looked thoughtful for a moment and then asked, “Have you been walking over there?” as he gestured towards the half of the living room beyond the coffee table. I didn’t like where this was going…

“Yes, Wesley, I have. Is there something you need to tell me?”

“Well,” he explained, “sometimes I get a little disappointed and can’t remember where the Kleenexes are, so I just have to wipe my boogers on the floor.”

I just about threw up. Clearly we need to discuss a couple of things: what the word disappointed means, and acceptable places to put our boogers.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I brake for butterflies

I wasn’t one of those lucky kids who turned 16 and got a set of keys to her very own car. Instead, on my 16th birthday, I got a key to my mother’s car which I was welcome to use any time she wasn’t using it herself, and I had asked for permission, and the moon was full and Mars and Jupiter were in perfect alignment. THEN, I could drive the car.

One night when all those things made it possible for me to drive the car, I was driving home from some kind of late night practice at school. I can remember this so well: I was driving down the highway and out of nowhere a huge raccoon ran in front of me. I didn’t know what to do so I just plowed over it. The sound and feeling of plowing over that animal made me feel terrible. Of course, I went straight to the car wash to wash away any evidence of my “crime” and never mentioned it to my mother.

Years later I was driving down a highway in Colorado. Surprisingly, it had been almost ten years and I hadn’t hit anything since the unfortunate raccoon. Well, on this snowy morning I was driving to church and a prairie dog ran out in front of me. Remembering how it felt to hit that raccoon, I panicked. I swerved hard, lost control of the car, and crashed into the concrete barrier separated me from oncoming traffic. My car was totaled but, darn it, that prairie dog lived.

So there I was in the emergency room in a state where I had no family, having an EKG while a police officer was writing me a $400 ticket. I no longer had a car and wasn’t even sure how I was going to get home. But I promised myself something that day – the next time an animal ran out in front of me, I would not swerve. Especially not for a cannibalistic rodent which is known for carrying the plague.

I had my chance on Valentine’s Day. I was driving to meet Bryan for dinner at a restaurant about an hour away. The boys were with me and my dad was in the passenger seat. As I drove past a house in the middle of nowhere, I could see a little cat running out towards the road. It was all happening in slow motion. I didn’t know whether to slow down, speed up, or swerve the car off the road and into the woods. But then I remembered, “I will not swerve!” I kept on a-going and closed my eyes, hoping desperately to miss the cat. Not because I am a lover of cats or anything but because I had just washed the car. Ha ha. Then a THUD, THUD and I opened my eyes. My dad said, “Well, I don’t think it was that cat’s day.”

I was sick But I have to say I was relieved that I hadn’t swerved and totaled another car.

Sorry, kitty.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I am reading a book right now about a woman who is a mother of five children. I would love to have five children, in theory. Reality is that sometimes my two boys use their magical powers to produce the same effects as five children. It’s a talent they have, really. But I am getting off the subject. In the book, the mom suggests that every mom make a list of 25 “things” about herself. She says that we should all make this list every few years because it will likely change as our phases of life change. I know it sounds kind of silly, but I really enjoyed reading her list and have been thinking about what would go on my own list. (And how a mother of five small children had time to make a list of 25 anything is beyond me…)

1. I love to make lists. Bryan thinks it is an obsession and maybe it is, a little. I love making them – especially when I am bored or feeling motivated. I usually carry a purse-sized notebook with me and make lists of every kind – groceries, people I need to call, places I want to go this summer, etc. And isn’t it ironic that I am currently making a list of my lists?

2. Despite the fact that I post on this site about once every three months, I think about writing every single day. Probably five or ten times a day, something happens or I hear something and want to write about it. I love, love, love writing and posting on okiemom. I like the satisfying feeling of “publishing” a post that might make someone laugh. I dream of having a site that lots of people read every day. What keeps me from actually writing more regularly is lack of focus. I can waste a whole evening better than anyone I know. I need to remedy that in the near future.

3. The stack of books that I have and plan to read is taller than the Jolly Green Giant. I could probably get through them faster if I would throw a brick through my television.

4. I want to be a runner. I used to subscribe to the magazine, “Runner’s World” just to read what real runners do. Unfortunately, it’s not like a club you can just pay your dues to and become a member. You have to actually RUN which takes a little more work that subscribing to a magazine and reading the articles.

5. I like to look at my boys when they are sleeping – they are so cute when they are unconscious!

6. I don’t understand why anyone would ever have their nipple pierced. Ever.

7. I have always wanted to adopt a daughter from China. (Okay, maybe not “always” but at least since I was old enough to know that it was an option.)

8. I like to watch movies with the subtitles playing. English movies. I don’t know why, but having the subtitles to read while I listen helps me follow the movie better. I know – I’m like an old man. Next thing I know I’ll be watching the weather channel for fun.

9. I like to watch TV shows about true crime. I hope this is never used as evidence against me in court. As in, “Well you know, she was always interested in watching all those shows about crime…” I think it’s the psychology part of the cases that I like to ponder. Yes, I’m going with that.

10. When I was in middle school, I wanted to be a dentist. I’m not sure why this was my goal at the time. Especially since my dentist growing up was a gruff man who smelled of cheap cologne and cigarettes. He was not a “kid person.” I think my dream of becoming a dentist faded after I realized I would have to spend all day looking at other people’s teeth. And that I would probably have to start flossing daily.

Okay, I am going to continue this list tomorrow. I don’t want anyone suffering from “Laura List Overload.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Abstract, schmabstract

Conversation heard today in our minivan:

Wesley: Mommy, what does “disease” mean?

Me: Well, it’s when someone gets sick. And it’s hard to get rid of.

Wesley: Do diseases have names?

Me: Yes, most of them have names.

Wesley: If I ever get a disease, I want to name it Sparky. And keep it forever.

It must be nice to be four sometimes.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Last night was New Year’s Eve, in case you just came out of a coma and weren’t aware of that fact. And in my usual party animal fashion, I rang in the New Year while watching taped episodes of Dr. Phil by myself. (Bryan was working and not able to attend the Dr. Phil marathon, which was probably okay with him.)

I didn’t take any time to sit and reflect on 2010 or to ponder what kind of resolutions I need to make for 2011. But here are some of the highlights of 2010 for anyone who cares.

1. Winnie came back home. Since the home daycare ended, there was no danger that our ferocious nine pound shih-tzu would bite someone else’s child while attempting to steal a chicken nugget. My dad brought her back from his house in Arizona and the boys were thrilled – I think the whole first week they took turns ”walking” her around the yard with a lasso around her neck. Winnie was probably in a state of shock after her relaxing time at the retirement park, where my father rubbed her belly constantly and gave her treats for difficult tricks like breathing and having a pulse.
2. Following the advice of a friend, we got a DVR. Her words were, “Laura, you have to get one – it changed my life.” And she wasn’t kidding. My life has changed, too. Now while I am watching Diego for the zillionth time, I don’t have to fume about the fact that I am also missing Survivor because I can record it!!! And then I can watch it whenever I want and never watch a commercial for Progressive again. I still watch the Geico ones though, because they are funny.
3. As I write this, I weigh thirty pounds less than I did one year ago on New Year’s Day. And that is a good feeling. It has been a long year of choosing popcorn over ice cream and spending my free moments at the fitness center but it has been worth it. And at the break-neck pace of losing two and a half pounds a month, I should be ready for bikini season just in time for my 85th birthday party. I can hardly wait.

Happy 2011 to you all!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

low prices at a cost

Before you even start reading this, let me apologize for the tone of it – I usually try to stay away from topics that could be considered political but this time I just have to open my big mouth, er… keyboard, and say something.

A new Walmart Supercenter opened in our town. It happened a little over three weeks ago. I haven’t been there yet – and I plan to hold out as long as I can. You see, I am a reader of statistics and I know what a new Super Wal-mart in a small town means – it means that some small family owned businesses will probably close. And statistically, for every Supercenter that opens, two grocery stores will close. I’m not making this stuff up.

I think Wal-mart started out as a well-meaning store. But over time it has become a dirty dealing, no good, yellow-bellied store. It is the retail equivalent of Satan’s little brother. If you don’t believe me, read some of these statistics!

These low prices are really available because they aren’t paying most of their workers enough to live without government aid. People, if you think you are really saving money by shopping at Wal-mart, you are being Punk’d! What you save there, you pay back in taxes to support the workers and their families in aid programs. Besides, when did it become so bad to support local businesses?

This situation is complicated by the fact that we have a very, VERY short list of “other places to shop” in our town. I wasn’t opposed to the old Wal-mart – it came with the town as far as I was concerned since it was here before I was. But this new giant monster of a Wal-mart makes me mad.

I remember once when I lived in Boulder, Colorado seeing some hippie women who demonstrated their distaste for the new Borders bookstore in town. These women chained themselves to the front door, which also chained the doors shut. I’m not this extreme (maybe because the doors at Wal-mart are automatic and there aren’t any handles to wrap the chains around…) but I do want to take a stand.

So in the last three weeks, I have found other places to shop. At one point I thought I was going to have to break down and go – I couldn’t find those little metal hooks that hook Christmas ornaments onto the tree. But I used my amazing imagination and made my own from a box of paperclips. I felt like MacGyver!

I will give Wally World one thing – they make it convenient to get everything you could possibly need in one place. NOT shopping there means that I have to make more stops. Like, instead of being able to go into one place to get canned beets, a big screen TV, and fishing bait, I have to go into (gasp) two stores. I know, I know – I am wasting so much time!

You don’t have to jump on my bandwagon. I’m “just sayin….”

Saturday, October 2, 2010

there's a long line of cars...

I worry. I am a worrier. I don’t deny it – I worry that people would see right through it if I denied it. I worry that the ceiling fan will come dislodged from the ceiling and fall on my head while I am sleeping. I worry that if I play Frisbee, it will hit me in the mouth and knock out my front teeth. I worry that the world will run out of instant mashed potato buds and that the wheel will come off my car while I am driving and that my husband will have the cable turned off without giving me fair warning. Phew!

So this year Wesley started preschool. And as you can imagine, it gives me a few more things to worry about. But not the kind of stuff I should be worried about - like will my son pick his nose during circle time? I think I know the answer to that one already.

The preschool he goes to is a great one with a genius setup for pick up and drop off time. Parents form a line around the block and one at a time, we drive through the preschool driveway where the director gets the child out/puts the child back in. This eliminates all that pesky crying time that would normally happen at drop off. The line of cars goes halfway around the block– and therein lies the problem for me.

Flashback to Laura’s past: (this works best if you darken the room and turn off all background noise…) I am in high school. I have just taken a month-long trip to Germany. The other high school students and I had a great time but are more than ready to get home, see our families, and sleep off our jetlag. Our trip ends with a school bus ride from Chicago to our hometown, Metamora, IL. After the comfy two hour school bus ride, we all step off the bus to be greeted by our adoring families. And everyone is – except that my adoring family is missing. This is the time of life before everyone has a cell phone so I try the high school’s pay phone to call home.

Getting no answer at home, I stand there with the German teacher who was the trip’s chaperone and wait for
anyone I know to drive by. Eventually all the other kids are gone and the teacher asks me if I want him to drive me home. And just as I am about to take him up on this, my mother drives up.

I don’t remember what the reason for her tardiness was but I’m sure there was a very good one – like that she had been hijacked by an albino three-legged clown who forced her to drive in circles around a Wal-mart parking lot and wouldn’t let her leave until he was sure she would be at least half hour late to pick up her sweet daughter. But even with such a good excuse, it was a little embarrassing to be “the kid whose parents forgot”.

The thing is, I don’t know when to pick Wesley up for preschool. I can’t be the first parent in line because that says “I’m a helicopter parent who hovers over my child and has no life of my own.” But if I am the last one in line, it says, “I am a crappy parent” or possibly, “I was hijacked by an albino three-legged clown on my way here.”

So I need to be in the middle somewhere. Right? Because that doesn’t really say anything. But how do I time getting there in the middle of the line? Do I park across the street and wait until some cars have gotten in line and then get in line myself? I don’t know.

All I know is that I never want Wesley to be telling his therapist how his mommy was the last car in the pick up line in preschool.

Lied to him about Santa Claus giving his pacifier to newborn babies? Fine. But last car in the pick up line? Not if I can help it.