Awesome-hot and heating up*

People, I’m gearing up for what promises to be a thrilling month of blog posts of love and free giveaways, beginning February 1! Yes, that’s right – love, free stuff, FREE LOVE* for weeks! CHEAP THRILLS* and shameless promotion, it’ll all be here!

What? The over-hyped holiday of VALENTINE’S DAY makes you want to:

a) scream

b) cry

c) choke on your own vomit

d) choke on someone else’s vomit

d) all the above

e) none of the above [skip to the end and just wait for the next post, m’kay?]

Well, dammit, I haven’t had a fun Valentine’s day in a long time, so regardless of what happens in my love life (and there may be just such a something ;) ) I have posts and contests planned for all of you screaming-crying-retchers! Yes, and even you love bugs! Maybe even a contest to guess how many exclamation points and capital letters I can use in a single stream-of-conscious-consciousness-manic-no clue-where-I’m-going-with-this-ill-advised post!

I will leave you hanging with that little teaser while I figure out exactly what I mean by “contests” and “free stuff,” but I promise we’ll have fun.

In the meantime, I learned on the way to IKEA yesterday that my children know the meaning of “hot” — as in teenager-like, lusty “HOT”:

T-Rex: [we’re talking in the car about whatever]…Mom, did you know millipedes don’t have eyes?

Me: Nope, didn’t know that.

Ashley’s hotT-Rex: starts a long dissertation — wonder where he gets that from? — about Pokemon, millipedes and stuff that makes little sense to me. It all begins to run together in my head and I Mmmm, Yep, Uh-huh along with him until I hear him say… Ashley Tisdale is so hot!

Me: What did you say?

T-Rex: She’s hot!

Me: You’re too young to say that. If you think she is pretty, you can say “she’s pretty.”

T-Rex: I can say she’s hot if I want to.

Me: No you can’t.

T-Rex: Yes I can.

Me: No, you can’t. Pretty.

Drama Girl: I think Vanessa Hudgens is prettier.

T-Rex: Yeah, she’s hot!

Drama Girl: Zac is hot… [i.e., Zac Efron, Vanessa’s co-star and real life boyfriend]

Me:

Edvard, Help!

I didn’t get into the whole – “and everyone’s successful and smart, too, so let’s not focus on looks” bit because, honestly, all it took was turning the conversation back to Pokemon, which I still don’t understand and the kids STILL can’t explain to me, to get back to cool ground…for me anyway. I don’t think the kids were much affected by the experience.

Anyway, we got to IKEA to look for a loveseat for our tiny family room/makeshift office/playroom off of the kitchen. The only word I heard for the next 30 minutes as we walked through all of the pseudo apartments and living rooms was “AWESOME!” What can I say? It was music to my ears.

*If “divorced white women who wear pantyhose” didn’t get me new readers, I’m sure these phrases will.

Maybe I’ll pick up some teen readers, too, searching for their hot hearthrobs. 

Did someone just call me “Zuul”?

evil fridget

I’ve been back at work for 2 days now. Oh, man. I’m a hard worker, but it’s been tough going back.

One of the first emails I saw on Tuesday morning was from our department secretary with a warning about the kitchenette on our floor. I wish I had saved it, but it was something like:

This falls under the “Don’t shoot the messenger” category:

Facilities is threatening to take away our refrigerator and microwave if we don’t start keeping them clean. They say they’ve never seen such a piggy group and there’s only one other floor worse than ours…

I’ve seen the refrigerator. People put things in there never to be claimed again. People use it to store party trays of composting food before and after events…from like 3 months ago. People eat from the biggest darn lunch containers I’ve ever seen and keep piling them in, never finding the spills or messes they create because there are too many layers to dig through to find the bottom.ghostbusters.jpg

I caught a bit of Ghostbusters over the weekend and the refrigerator scene where Sigourney Weaver sees the temple and flames reminds me a lot of our office fridge.

We have a lot of people crammed onto our floor using one standard size refrigerator (probably 75 employees, maybe closer to 100), but puhlease! Can’t we act like civilized humans?

And, yes, on Tuesday after the long weekend it had been cleaned by our poor facilities staff and the shelves were bare. I easily slid my (small) container of homemade soup in there. By yesterday it was packed again. I brought soup in for a second day in a row and had to rearrange a bunch of items to find a spot to squeeze my (reasonably sized) container into. Today I’m buying. It’s just easier.

A thing for Hanes?

As you know, I love checking my blog stats almost as much as I love a good spammy email (although, frankly, my interest in those is steadily waning — maybe this means I’m getting a life in 2008??). I’m always curious how new readers find my site. Yesterday, someone typed this into their handy search engine and found their way here:

“divorced white women who wear pantyhose”

It’s true, but I don’t even want to know why this was search criteria…

Things people say

babblemouthSince being divorced and becoming a single mom, I’ve noticed that people sometimes assume things about me — my relationship status, how I spend my time, who I am. I’ve been collecting these tidbits for a while now and thought I’d share them with you. I know some of the people were well-intentioned; I just find it interesting (and puzzling) about what people will say to a complete stranger. I suppose this happens to everyone, right? I mean, when I was pregnant with Drama Girl I remember the man sitting next to me on the plane telling me (unsolicited) all the reasons why I should quit work to stay at home with my child. His main line of reasoning: “No one can love a child like his mother.” Well, no shit, Sherlock. But that doesn’t mean a child can’t be loved by more than his mother!

We all say strange, silly or just plain foot-in-the-mouth things now and then — I have, too — but next time you see a single woman with children try to avoid these:

Flashback: A few years ago

Scenario 1: I’m out shopping for kids’ clothes by myself. Another mother and I are scrounging through racks of clothes looking for the right sizes for our precious ones. She says, “If only our husbands knew how hard this was!” If only.

Scenario 2: I’m selected to be one of the parent volunteers for my daughter’s kindergarten Valentine Day party. I’m invited to the party planning meeting (sort of like this one — ha, not quite!), which is held at 9:30 a.m…just late enough to be inconvenient for a working parent who commutes over 20 miles each day to her employer. I walk into the cafeteria in my professional dress garb. One of the mothers smiles. “Oh, right. You’re our working mom!”

Right.

Later she was explaining some elaborate craft that included little IOU’s for the kids to fill out — “IOU a hug” or an IOU for keeping the toy room clean, that type of thing. The Party Mom explained that she was going to pre-address all the IOUs to save time — that is, to “Mom and Dad.” But she had decided against this, lamenting that a child might not have a mom and a dad due to divorce, death, one parent being jailed for assaulting a lame-brain homeroom mother trapped in a 1950’s time warp…

Needless to say I wholeheartedly agreed we should let each child decide who should receive the IOU. (Note that the first part of this story became the premise for my essay in the Chicken Soup for the Working Mom’s Soul. Hey, use what you’ve got!)

Flashback: Last year

Scenario: I’m at the unfinished wood furniture store buying a bookcase. I’m going through bookcasethe delivery details with the 70-something man helping me, and I make a comment about having the guys deliver the bookcase right into my family room so I could stain it in there (after everything was prepped and covered, of course). This way, I explained, I wouldn’t have to find someone to help me move the bookcase up from the more logical places people stain furniture, like a garage. The man suggested I should have my husband help me move the piece. I chuckled and said I didn’t have one of those at home.

He seemed confused by this. “Oh, I assumed everyone who came in here was married.”

Is there a local ordinance I’m not aware of?

Flashback: Last month

Scenario 1: On the way back from my grandmother’s funeral I’m standing in line at a Starbucks on the Ohio Turnpike with my very fidgety kids. A mom standing next to me with her own fidgety kids grumbles: “If only our husbands knew how hard this was!” [she may have said something a little different, but it definitely had the same meaning as before]

Scenario 2: The kids and I are dining in the hotel restaurant on the same trip before heading over to the funeral home. The bloated, gold chain wearing night manager comes over and wants to make small talk. (I think he’s also checking me out. Ew.) He asks how we are, what brings us to the area, etc. I tell him why we’re there and try to discourage further talk. He’s oblivious and keeps talking.

“Oh, so dad didn’t make the trip?”

I want to say “no, but I’m sure his girlfriend is keeping him company.” Which is FINE because we’re not married anymore. But that isn’t the worst of it. The worst is when the manager then asks the kids if they’ve tried out the pool – the big pool, the one with the hot tub, the one with the…

T-Rex looks at me. “Mom, you didn’t tell us they had a pool!”

No, son, I didn’t. On purpose. Because I knew we wouldn’t have enough time to enjoy it.

Bastard.

Scenario 3: We’re in the church during my grandmother’s funeral mass. Long story short, the priest is using the analogy of a child being born and learning how terrific life is outside the womb to explain how my grandmother is in a better place now where her spirit thrives and that she would not want to come back. Anyway, he invites Drama Girl up to the front as part of his sermon. He looks at her, then at me. “This is your daughter?” he asks me. I nod. “Dad isn’t here today?” Here we go again. I shake my head and grit my teeth.

He goes on to ask my daughter if she came from my belly and if she remembered being in there. (She doesn’t.) He glances over at me at one point and asks, “You did carry her — right?”

No, Father. My lesbian lover and I had an aging rock star fertilize my Drama Egg in a test tube and hired an atheist surrogate to carry her for us.

need to keep praying

I didn’t say that — you know, considering the circumstances and all. But you can be sure I was thinking it.

(The hands are a little reminder to keep praying for me!)

I don’t know — do strangers ever say strange things to you? Or do I give off a special pheromone that makes me special?

Remembering why I’m off today

I love that young children see differences between people — shapes, sizes, personality traits, colors, body parts, quirks and features — as facts, or curiosities. They don’t see them as being “good” or “bad”.

I wish we would all act like children more often.

Thanks to Elizabeth for finding the link below. I love listening to Patty Griffin and if her song isn’t a powerful tribute today, I don’t know what is:

Lessons learned during my winter vacation

Tomorrow I have to go back to work after more than a week off. Here’s what I’ve learned in the last 10 days:

  • I would not hesitate for one nanosecond if I was told I could quit corporate life and still have a legal way to pay my bills and keep health insurance.
  • I need a half a week to stop feeling like I have to be “productive”. Then, I need the other half to be a sloth before I can get motivated to go back to some balanced, semi-productive state.
  • Pittsburgh in January is not a bad vacation spot when all you have to do is run errands now and then, and spend the rest of your time sitting on the sofa watching Vh1 and E! reality TV shows.
  • My house becomes very clean and organized when I’m home. Sadly, this will last for only another 24 hours.
  • When I’m at home all day, I don’t feel any more inspired to cook dinner than when I’m working.
  • A week off did little for advancing my writing projects, partly due to recovering from my eye surgery, partly because I was just plain lazy. Although this morning I did tape an interview for/with a small local radio station that likes to profile area residents – a great opportunity and experience. We talked about writing, my Chicken Soup essay publication, and future writing plans…which won’t get very far if I don’t get crackin’ again. (I need to keep an eye on #1 up there!) Now I’m motivated — just in time to resume a 9 to 5 job. Maybe there’s truth in the old adage, “if you want something done, give it to a busy person.”
  • I like not having to wear pantyhose every day.
  • I like to spend money when I’m not working…
  • …Which means I definitely need to go back to work.

    Wistful thinking

    My Maui JimsToday I was in the eyeglass store getting new, NON-prescription lenses put into my lovely and too-expensive-to toss Maui Jim sunglasses. As I looked around at the displays of designer funky-hip-pretty-cool frames, I said to the girl helping me, “You know, they never made these kinds of glasses when I was growing up…”

    She told me I could still buy a pair, just to look smart and all. I declined, but felt a little sad — a teeny-tiny identity crisis after having worn the stupid things (but not really hating them like some people) for 30 years. And, ironically 3 guys — 1 friend and 2 would-be suitors — told me just in the last week that they really liked the way I looked in my glasses. Figures. Guess I’ll have to keep a pair in case I need to add sexy librarian to my relationship repertoire one day.

    So am I having buyer’s remorse on the whole LASIK thing?

    HELL NO! Besides, I have reading glasses to look forward to in my 40’s! ;)

    Barring any unforeseen (hee, hee, “unforeseen“) events, this concludes the epic tale of my transformation from glasses to no glasses. Thank goodness for you it was only one week’s worth of posts about lasers, sleep goggles (which I learned today are really called “eye shields”), eye drops, Sharpies, etc. My eyes and I thank you for humoring us.