Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bracelets of the Heart

I once dated a guy who, to quote that dumb book, just wasn't "that into me." Um, you could say that literally, as well as physically, given our romantic encounters were less than passionate (gay schmay, he was sensitive!) On the outside, it was more clear than Jennifer Hudson's voice that this man was insecure and financially broke, but to me he was charming, childlike, sweet and simply confused. I suppose I should have realized that, while he remained under house arrest for driving away from the scene of an accident (not his fault...come on! he was drunk!) he didn't really love me when his excuse for not wanting me to come over was that he "was just too busy."

These memories all came flooding back thanks to the photo above, taken after an excursion to an indoor playground. (The idea with these tracking devices is that you and your toddlers wear the same colored bracelets with matching numbers, so when the $7.00 hour clerk is too busy to play security guard due to planning a blow job with Little Miss Muffin top at the juice box stand, another psycho can don the same bracelet and take off with your kids. I'm sure you all think of these things while pretending not to be bored in the ball pit and munching on overly stale pizza - that you found in the ball pit. (Hey don't knock it until you tried it. It's not bad. Okay kidding. Sort of.)

My point: How many times have we worn these same sort of bracelets? Here's my top 5. Can you think of any more?

1. My first concert - the Michael Jackson Victory Tour. Oooh, it was a thriller. It was my first date. I was 14. My date went on to be a lead dancer in the Disneyland Main Street parade and now lives with a boyfriend in Vegas. (Gay, schmay, so he likes sequence and has a roomate who flips his hair!)

2. When my rug rats were born. The best bracelets of my life.

3. When I went in for a DNC for my miscarriage a million years ago. I had a different name back then and a different life. My husband at that time (not Rex, that's another story) was super sweet about that whole thing. Looking back, although I was way too young for marriage, I regret that I didn't appreciate his kind heart more than I did. J, if you're reading this ever, you were a class act when so many others would have run. Thanks.

4. When I first went to a beer garden. I suppose I needed it to identify myself along with the other hung over Freshmen. Of course, it was last year and I was 36, but I always was a late bloomer.

5. When I stood in line to get tickets to Richard Marx. If you weren't moved to tears by the feathered mullet and the love songs, then you don't deserve to live.

In conclusion, I am grateful that I've never seen one of these on a dead body. I hope I never will. Though I'm sure some of you have. Let's hear about it. Or, if that's too morbid, how about some stories about your teen music crushes that you longed to be under house arrest with, have babies with, go to beer gardens with, and have DNCs with. (Okay, not that last part.)

PS: Mrs. V., if you dare make fun of me for this before I thrust my toddler in your arms tomorrow, I will release your identity to the world quicker than you can say, "I'm 36 and shaking my bootie at a Justin Timberlake concert!" Oh yeah, you're a laywer and Sunday school teacher who's "bringing sexy back.... da da da da da daaaaa...."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cinderella's Real Words

Lest my decadent posts of late give you the impression I am nothing but a mere Valley Girl Princess, let me assure you that, while I am indeed a princess, my glass slipper is now shattered. It's around this castle somewhere, but good luck finding it under the post ball wreckage.

You see, after one week of being wined and dined by the finest of high steppin' soul sisters, one comp geek prince and one spell casting mailman bearing cards and flowers, reality has finally struck in the form of HCV: The House Cleaners Virus. Beware of that tricky temptress: she'll make you feel like you're on top of the world, but while you're floating on Cloud 9, she lobbies the toddler bomb into your abode, pulls the trigger, then laughs like Cruella De Ville at your De la Valley confusion.

In fact, pop in Disney's classic for yourself. Press the pause button on the scene featuring Cinderella sitting on the ground in her tattered dress, her carriage now nothing but a moldy pumpkin. If you look closely, you can almost make out the royal words: "Oh, shit..."

Those Disney writers were so clever.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Spoiled Brat...

...As in moi, not the kids.

Cecelia came by on my birthday at 8:30 am with a homemade cake and a gift certificate to a spa - Burke Williams, no less.

The irony did not escape me that while she was plying me with a 2 billion calorie confection yesterday, she expects me to put on a bathing suit next week. Just one of womens' many double messages that make us so complex.

This combo goes along with me wanting a third baby so bad I could spit (even though I'm teaching my kids not to.) The fact that Rex had his tubes tied and one more child would up my Zoloft dosage from 100 miligrams to "Ingest One Bottle/morning followed by vat of Vodka at night" does little to quell my desire for more rugrats.

Nary a night passes, as we sit toe to toe on the green sofa (my first, and last, new furniture purchase from Macy's - pre children days) where the following conversation does not ensue:

Me: Honey, the kids were so great today. I love them so much I could put them on the William Sonoma casserole dish from your mother and eat them for protein.

Him: I love 'em too, babe.

Me: I mean, doesn't the joy they bring us... the laughter... the closeness... the familial warmth make you want to have just one more?

Him: (Not glancing up from his tech manual). Not one bit.

Me: This conversation is not over.

And until women aren't crazy, conversations of all forms never will be.

Now excuse me while I sniff their sleeping heads so much that I risk waking them up or passing out from too much oxygen.

I wish I was kidding.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


On the eve of my 37th birthday, I am filled with a sense of gratitude: for friends close by who spoiled my tummy with lunches and cake, for gift cards to some favorite spots (as well as much needed destinations like a facial - thanks Mrs. V!), for premade dinners from Stella (as well as a cake and... the best part... two hours of sleep in her tiny bed, my 6'1 frame curled into a fetal position while she entertained the rugrats in her rock garden), coming home to tea from Rex (including a cat tea set I didn't even know I needed but looks so lovely on my vintage table cloth), yummy conversations with my sister-in-law on a crowded freeway, the thrill of a babysitter tomorrow followed by my mother's childcare - equaling 7 hours of free time to be spent writing and crashing in Topanga T's cabin in the woods (photo above with Stink on her couch), memories of a wonderful Saturday with the family, Papa pointing out turtles to a little girl who came out of her shell the day she was born, a surprise sale of a Grace Under Fire tee shirt that I randomly put up for $19.00 from my stage days...

Today was one of laughter, snoozes, good company and delicious surprises...

Thanks to all of you who will undoubtedly make my 37th year more spectacular every day.

PS: The Chia Scooby pet? That's there for no other reason than, like my kids, he makes me laugh with it's goofy grin and curly locks. Also, it's one of the few plants I have managed to grow from seeds and not kill. Who says the fro is out? Like my 70's ceramic containers, Scooby is groovy and makes me feel outta site every time I look at him.

Monday, February 19, 2007

An Oaf of Bread

I saw a friend yesterday who is pregnant with her third baby. She looks fantastic - like Polly Pockets with a bubble in her belly. I'm always in awe of women like this. They remind me of baby fawns who, despite little tiny limbs, still manage to pop out of the womb and walk around quite gracefully. (At 36 I can barely manage a barefooted stroll across my kitchen floor without jamming my toe into a cupboard, fracturing it at the tip, but that's a story for another day.)

I write about our meeting because, in leaving, I put the initials together of her soon-to-be-named child and realized it formed an acronym that wasn't entirely pleasant - not a bad word, but not a complimentary one either. The word? OAF - meaning a character who is dull and dimwitted.

Here is the dilemna: Was I out of line to email her a link to the word, giving the history of its elf like origins? Would I have been better off keeping my mouth shut, assuming that she had indeed understood the acronym and decided not to worry about it?

I mean, kids are mean in school, but this word isn't exactly in an 8 year old's vocabulary. It's unlikely they will run around the playground screaming, "Hey, oaf, move your ghoulish ass!" Why would they, when they could simply make fun of initials such as the ones my parents so lovingly gave me: ARF.

No joke.

And yes, this explains a lot.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Invasion of the Husband Snatcher

Yesterday Rex woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed, announcing he "was in the mood to hang out with someone! Maybe we should call Mrs. V! What's her husband's name again?" Me: "Given that you don't remember his name, perhaps we should aim for someone you do know." Rex: "Good idea." Silence. "How about we call my parents?" Me: "That works." He did just that, then followed up with a phone call to a couple who he very much likes, but rarely initiates meetings with (for no other reason than it's specifically stated in the computer hermit's handbook 'do not call people on the phone for social occasions... they might sense that you like them.")

What transpired since his deliverance was a few phone calls to friends, lunch with his parents, dinner with friends last night and tonite and some mumblings about hiking tomorrow.

This, combined with my niece and son having a sleep over in the same bed while Pipsqueak crashes in the pack in play in our room has me afraid.

Very, very afraid.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Let Them Eat Cheesecake

My husband, who is a man of little words, sat down next to me near the computer tonite. He's trying very hard to ask me about my day, how I am feeling, how I did with the kids. Basically, he's doing quite the opposite of what his Star Trek computer chipped robot brain had programmed him to do for the first 30 years of life and dealing with how it has been forever befuddled in the Confusion Chamber since his Microsoft Windows shipped crash landed onto the Planet of Crazy Artist Wife.

I had to laugh, because after about the fifth "Oh, that's great, babe" he says, "Don't take this the wrong way, but that picture of you? From your blog? That is really really, well, not to be blunt, horrific."

Hmmmm, nothing blunt about that.

I asked him why. His response: "You look like you're trying to do some cheesecake pose to show off your new hair, and that's not really you." He then added (saving him) "You're so much prettier."

So, in a nod to my husband (and I'm so sick of fighting with this damn photo deal, so don't expect a change any time soon as it feels so self absorbed... which it is... but I hate that) I am putting in a classic family shot taken at Mrs. V's son's party last year. (Side note: The theme was "Construction", hence the tape. But me? Oh, no. I see "DANGER" tape across the front door in daunting bumble bee yellow & black. So I stand there 15 minutes thinking I came on the wrong day, "Maybe their pipes burst?... Maybe a gas leak?" Oy......)

On random notes: Think good thoughts for KD in San Francisco who is hoping to become KD of Sacramento very soon with her first home purchase. Good luck! The Vespa Club and Dykes on Bikes won't know what hit them!

Mrs. V - thank you for watching Pipsqueak today so I could sit at Kaiser and be told that, yes, my toe is fractured, but no, they can't do anything about it. I would have much rather had them do nothing about it over the phone so I could thrift shop, but that's fine.

Speaking of thrifting, thank you to my online writers' forum friends who turned me onto two possible gigs this week - one for a national online site looking for (and this is such a stretch for me) a mother who blogs who can do things on the cheap. Say it with me as a rhyme, people: "I have just one thing to say! N-I-R-V-A-N-A!" If they don't at least consider me I will just bury my head in sauna of Diet Coke and spit patuey on the gods who have it in for me because that job would be PERFECT for me!!!!!!!

Cecelia, little news junkie, thanks to you, I am reading the newspaper once a week. It might only be the Sunday paper. It might take me a week to read it cover to cover, but I do it. Car ads, Real Estate, Coupons, West Magazine, Parade, even the crossword (I am so proud... I figured out 5 of of 99 boxes... I'm a freakin' genius.)

Bride That Was - Thank you for submitting my script to whoever you submit it to and having faith in me. I love that.

Kids are asleep. Rex is studying German. I am having a most excellent Ebay week - I think I sold $39.28 so far. Woooooooo! I am not doing well on the caffeine this today (unless you count 3 Diet cokes and 3 cups of coffee as doing well) hence this rambling post. But if feels good to feel good.

Keep me posted, everyone!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

One Good Deed Begets Another

On a whim I made heart shaped turkey sandwiches and apples for the rugrats today. Moments later the doorbell rang and I received a dozen red rozes from Rex.

This kind of karma works for me.

Happy Valentines Day. In the spirit of the season, I love you all!

Monday, February 12, 2007

I Am Alive

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In case any of you were wondering where I went, I am still here. On an up note, my first national magazine essay is almost done (for the THIRD time... I like it a lot and have a good feeling the editor will, too.)

On a down note, my babysitter canceled AGAIN for this Wednesday. This royally irks me because it's not like I casually hire childcare. It took a real mind shift for me to get into that "I deserve it" mode, affordability be damned. So to have my "Go Mama P!" roll interrupted because she's going to Disneyland is less than thrilling. (And I wish her no ill will... I LOVE this gal and wish I were going to the Happiest Place on Earth myself. That said, I'm not, and if I want to ride the E ticket to self-employment I need someone here to keep the kids safe while I hole up in a coffee shop and write the brilliant American novel. Or an article on the rise of the toe fetish. Whatever assignement lands me some cash.)

Next order of business is to find someone else to watch the kids instead. Who? Not sure, but preferably a creature of human origin with no toddler eating habits or bad breath. (Though a court would find me guilty on both of those counts, so I might need to rethink my qualifications.)

Had a busy weekend hanging out around the house, kid swapping with the hubster, going out for Mexican food with Rex, seeing family members and doing house repair. The kids made beds out of crates, donned wacky sunglasses, rode in shopping carts shaped like racecars and did their best to destroy any attempts at organization I was working toward. It was all good - one of those weekends where I just feel lucky to live the life I lead.

On that note, I'm off to organize my goals for the week. Can we say "Classic Overachiever for 200?"

Can't wait to catch up on everyone else's life.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mind Games

So the babysitter didn't show. Sad, sad, SAD day for Mama P. However, on a good note, in joyous expectation of her arrival, I swept floors, did laundry and moved my booty more than I normally do before 10am. With hope of a break came a good attitude, which made the fall less difficult. Especially the fall onto shiny floors.

The sitter eventually called - from across the street (where she lives... that's funny in itself) and told me she forgot due to illness. Fine. She'll come next week for 6 hours instead. SIX hours alone? What am I going to do then? Write a novel? Solve Global Warming? Actually dye my hair? I'm skeeeeeeeeered, peeps.

Knocking Around, not Up

No, not knocked up people. My only future children will be books, magazine articles or whatever else the future holds for me. Maybe I'll open an Ebay business? Maybe I'm destined to be a plumber? Maybe I'll go back to school and become a midwife or an attorney? Who knows. That's what makes life interesting. (That, and forgetting to take a birth control pill and ending up with PIPSQUEAK...) Sorry for the miscommunication, there. Like that fateful pill a few years back, one step missed and a whole bunch of new excitement pops out!

Keeping it short today. Babysitter comes for her weekly 10 am call. (A new treat I have scheduled for myself!) I have a shower to take, and a list a mile long to accomplish. Do I sit in a coffee shop and rewrite my Child essay? Do I go to the post office? Do I walk? Do I get the car cleaned? Do I get a hair cut or my eye brows mowed? Do I just go upstairs and sleep? Three measley hours... so little time... but so needed!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Back to the Womb

This week Rex was gone for the second week in a row, hence the lack of posts. I was good to myself in many ways, though: didn't get up at 5am to write. Didn't cook much. Called friends when I needed company. Said yes to dinner invitations and showed up on time. Took naps and treated myself to junk food here and there. But tonite? I'm tired. I'm ready for the hubster to be here already.

Random notes:

* I dropped a friendship this week. I never do that. I'm sad about it, because it is an unnatural move for me. But it wasn't working for me, and with two young kids and only so much time, I made a clear cut decision. I hope I don't go to boil pasta next week and find a dead bunny on my stove. What a shame that would be, with the new cookware and all.

* I did about 100000 loads of laundry. I'm going to have to put Scooby Doo on the case of "Why I have 29 mis matched socks and only 3 pair of underware."

* I had a little leakage accident at Cecelia's. To be brief, about my briefs, let's just say that 2 kids in 2 years wasn't kind to my bladder. Nor to her beautiful slip covered chairs. Why tell the world this? Because half you women probably have the same issues and might relate. At least Cecelia was a good sport about it. Her husband even loaned me a pair of his shorts, at which I responded, "Wow, Slim, I've always wanted to get in your pants." (Tip for the wise: if you're going to urinate on a friend's chair, at least be funny about it.)

* I cleaned out the garage. In doing so, the kids found their old bath tub ring and walker. They are so big for them that I had to pry them out afterwards. Ironic that they want to be in them now when they weren't so thrilled when they were younger. It must be the human condition to look back and want what we've outgrown, even at a very early age.

* Sophie is well on her way to being potty trained. I'm so thrilled to not spend money and time on diapers, but I'm also sad. Again, this only goes to prove that I am crazy - wanting some time to myself, but missing the baby stage. Also, tonite I pointed to something in her duck book. It was clearly a sleigh, but no, my 2 1/2 year old daughter has to say "No, Mommy, it's a tightrope bridge." Damn Dora.

* I managed to get in and out of Chuck E. Cheese today while only spending 5.99 on a pizza. The reason? I had a refill cup from Nick's party, plus 30 left over tokens that I actually remembered to save. Why can I not remember to take a birth control pill but I can always remember bacteria infested coins? I'm frugal, but retarded all at once. Which inevitably leads me, in this case due to the lack of birth control, back to the womb...

Speaking of back to the womb, I'm rambling. Time to get under the covers and sleep like a baby.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Doctor Stink

Thanks to Kaiser, today I had my bi-annual medication checkup for my Zoloft. Since I didn't remember about it until twenty minutes into a park playdate, I had to bring the rug rats. Our conversation in the car went like this:

Pip: Where are we going?

Me: To the doctor.

Stink: To my doctor? For my body?

Me: It's actually my doctor. For my... head. He helps me when I get nervous.

Stink: I get nervous, too.

Me: Really? What do you think it means to be nervous?

Stink: When you have to jump alot because you have to pee and you're not near the Scooby toilet.

Me: What should Mommy do if, even after using the toilet, she's still nervous?

Stink: You should try to keep your brain in your head. You know, not give it up. And not sing so bad.

Me: And how can I do this?

Stink: Think happy thoughts.

Not bad for a four year old.

When we finally arrived at the waiting room, Pip sat herself at a plastic table and began eating grapes. Stink, on the other hand, scanned the room, looked at one somber lady, then yelled, "Hey, why is she so sad?" At which everybody laughed. Except the lady. She really did seem sad. (Stink's insistence on turning the faux glass divider into the Indiana Speedway with a Happy Meal car did not improve her condition.)

Stink eventually found a co-driver for his Hot Wheels thanks to a chatty senior named Chuck. ("Not Chuck E. Cheese" Stink confirmed, "Just Old Chuck.") Turns out Chuck's wife has been seeing Doctor K for four years now. "Maybe five." He couldn't remember. All he knows is that his wife is a lot happier having someone to talk to. Lucky for him, he gets to talk to Doctor J. Between both their doctors, I'm guessing they don't have to talk to each other very much, which is perhaps why they've been married for 45 years.

After about a half hour, my doctor, a short, shiny man who never quite looks me in the eye, brought us into a conference room.

Our five minute evaluation consisted of him going over my anti-anxiety dosage. It's pretty minimal, and I told him that it seems to be working, unless I'm premenstrual - then I'm a bitch on wheels. At the mention of my period his hand seemed to shake. I stifled the urge to scream "Vagina for 400!" and instead launced into a dissertation on the reality of balancing motherhood, selfhood, marriage. If he heard me, I couldn't tell. He was too busy scrawling down notes on a legal pad. Perhaps he was afraid that locked eye contact would somehow transfer ownership of the two screaming toddlers to him.

While I rambled, Pip demanded pencils, Stink wrote X's all over the thank you notes that he fished from the bottom of my bag, a sippy cup was spilled, and plans were drawn for a tent city to be erected under the HMO couches.

I finally said, "Look, I know you don't have a lot of time, and I'm not against drugs if my brain is truly deficient in 'happy genes', but I really want to consider the option that perhaps much of my 'nervousness' is due to the constant demands of motherhood - demands that can be dealt with through exercise, postive thinking, prayer and support from my husband and family/friends.

Without looking up, he nooded in 100% agreement. Then Stink started yelling at Pip, "Look at my butt! Loooook at my butt!!!!!" With that, the doc forked over an additional prescription for anti-anxiety "just as backup".

I should have handed it back to him as I'm pretty sure he was projecting his own emotions, but I couldn't catch him. He was too busy running out the door, stepping over apple peels and shuddering, "Take your time leaving... just exit through the waiting room."

I currently have no cash in my wallet, but I do have a certificate for a new drug. It's taking up residency with a $2.50 Wendys gift card. Like the gift card, I probably will never use it, but it's nice to know it's there. But between you and me, I'd take less meds and more Old Chucks any day of the week.