If You Can’t Laugh At Your Friends, Who Will?

Every once in a while…. On a weekly basis…. Every day…. In every email I receive senders from all parts of the country tell me I’m weird/strange/not right. (Apparently my reputation does not extend beyond the borders of the United States. Yet.) In my defense I offer the heads of my friends and family on platters for your enjoyment.

PAULA

1. After a business dinner with her bosses in her office as well as the big boss from another city, the whole party exits the restaurant and wanders to their respective vehicles. It is winter. It is icy. It is cold, so Paula is hurrying. She reaches her car, keys in hand and unlocks her car while sighing a small thanks that the lock was not frozen. She is standing on ice. As she lifts the door handle up to get inside her car, the movement causes her feet to slip out from under her and propels her very succinctly beneath her car. She is trapped lying face up, wedged at the waist, feet out of sight under her car. She manages to call out for help before blushing in embarrassment. (Me? Laughing hysterically.)

2. Sitting on her foot at her desk, Paula answers a request by the visiting big boss. She stands to retrieve a form for him, totally unaware that the heel of her shoe has caught in the hem of her elastic waist skirt. As she stands she inadvertently pulls her skirt down. Thankfully, her slip stays in place and once she has arisen she trips over her skirt on her way to the file cabinet. Everyone blushes in embarrassment. (Me? Laughing hysterically.)

3. Watering can in hand, Paula makes her way from office to office watering plants. In one office she is watering cacti. She waters the front row then leans slightly to water the back row. Cactus needle + breast = loud intake of air and high pitched scream. (Me? Laughing hysterically.)

JULIE

1. [This one is first because it’s a Julie/Paula combo.] My son had a birthday. (Still does, actually. Every year.) I invited Paula because we worked together and my kids loved her. I invited Julie because she was one of my best friends and her kids played with my kids. I was in a new apartment, and although she had directions, Julie was not at all confident she would find us. For that particular birthday I bought my son a trampoline. (Innertube with a mesh thingy over it that you bounce on.) Because I like the kids to open presents instead of having them set up I didn’t blow up the innertube. Once my son had opened it, Paula offered to take it to the gas station to blow it up. I was greeting people, running the party, handing out food…so Paula went. Paula came back with Julie and her children. (They had never met.) Julie explained that she saw Paula walking down the street with an innertube on her head and ASSUMED she was with ME and just followed Paula to my house. [Wait…does this make Julie weird, or me?]

2. Julie once lived in the same apartment building that my mom lived in. So, I was visiting Julie who was baking and said she saw on tv that if you want your pie crust flaky you should poke holes into the pan so the heat gets to the bottom of the crust. So, she was in her kitchen with a regular pie tin trying to smack a nail into it with a shoe or something. Being helpful I run downstairs and ask my mother if she has a hammer.
     MOM: Yes, why?
     ME: Julie’s making pie. ((0.o))

3. My mother (I’ll get to her) and I are sitting in her car at an intersection. I look out the window and see someone I think I recognize as Julie’s dad. The man walks down the block to the intersection, crosses the street, crosses again to the second corner, then crosses back the way he started only now he’s on the opposite side of the street. He walks away. I tell myself, “Yep. Julie’s dad.”

MY MOTHER

1. One winter my mother calls me and asks, “Who does snowplowing?” I wonder why she thinks I would know this. We live in a very small area and the only idea I have is for her to call the local radio station (who does commercials for absolutely everyone) and ask if they know.
     MOM: I can’t call them now.
     ME (confused): Why not?
     MOM: Because they’re an AM station.
     ME (more confused): So?
     MOM: It’s PM and they won’t be there. (Me? Slapping my forehead.)

2. In the days when the VCR was high tech, my mother borrowed my VCR to watch a movie. That she bought. Knowing she had no way to watch it. Uh huh. She calls me at 1am.
     ME (asleep): Hello?
     MOM: The VCR doesn’t work.
     ME (out of it): Okay.
     MOM: How do I fix it?
     I’m thinking I have no freaking idea since she hasn’t told me what was wrong with it, I can’t see it and I have no idea what’s going on. Then my mean streak kicks in.
     “Open the door where the tape goes in and blow it.” (Laughing hysterically on the inside.)
     She hangs up and the next day tells me this worked fine. She watched her movie with no further problem. This is funnier when you find out that she had a tv stand that her tv was on, so the VCR was below it and to blow in it she had to lean over with her rear end in the air and her face practically on the floor and BLOW! [Hey – you wake me up you take your chances.]

3. A couple of nights after she gave the VCR a blow job she calls again. This time? 1:20AM. (Some people don’t learn.)
     ME (asleep): Hello?
     MOM (annoyed): How long IS this movie??
     ME (thinking I have no idea what movie it is, how long ago she started watching it or what scene it’s at now): It’s almost over.
    MOM: Okay, cause it’s going on forever and I have to go to bed.
    ME: I know the feeling. (mentally slapping my forehead and physically unplugging the damn phone)

4. At one point in time I moved into the same apartment building that my mom lived in. It was old. It did have electricity (barely), but the apartment I was moving into had two outlets. Two. I needed more. I mentioned my lack of electricity supplying holes to my mother who shrugged it off and said, “It’ll be okay, just buy some lamps.” The HELL?
     ME: And what will I plug them into?
     MOM: Oh. (Me? Slapping my forehead.)

5. For the longest time my mother couldn’t locate the post office. Seriously. We’ve lived here since 1974. She claims they keep moving it. Then one day she couldn’t find the library. We realized she had lost locations beginning with P (Post office, Public library). After her mother died she was in tears on the side of the road because she couldn’t find the reception hall (St. Paul’s). She’s also lost Pizza Hut. Anyway, one day she happened to be walking down the street RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE POST OFFICE. Julie drove by, saw my mom, and said she had to fight the urge to yell out the window “There it is! You found it!”  I told my mom this later and she said, “Oh. I was there, wasn’t I? I wasn’t going to the post office. I was going to the building across the street. I guess if I want to get to the post office from now on I have to pretend I’m going somewhere else.” (Me? Slapping my forehead.)

There are more, but it’s late here now and I’m tired. In the future when you’re convinced I’ve lost my mind, please remember some of the people who have influenced me (for better or worse) and for god’s sake…I GREW UP WITH THAT WOMAN.

(Slapping my forehead.)

RANDOM with an E

V8 Splash Berry Blast tastes like my childhood: fruit flavored ice pops purchased at the local swimming pool during adult swims, pixie sticks bought with my own money (allowance), the memory of hot sun warming chilled skin. And it gives me heartburn. (Much like my childhood.)

One man’s bacon is another man’s swordfish. Not everyone likes the same thing you like. ADAPT! Although, if everyone liked the same things I did life would be so much simpler.When someone asks me to dinner I wouldn’t have to ask what they were having before deciding whether I’ll stay or if I have some vinyl siding to polish. Also? I’d always get something I like for my birthday.

Bacon is the new crack. (Self-explanatory.)

I have second degree bacon burns. If you haven’t figured it out, I LIKE BACON. I also had some today which is why it’s featured predominantly in my thoughts. There is no moral to this one. Unless I can just tell you “hot bacon grease” is just that: HOT!

Kia’s new Black Cherry isn’t like the old Black Cherry. I’m so disappointed. I had a Kia Sportage picked out with features that I want and I had chosen the color “black cherry”. It is now more black and less cherry and looks like a Goth girl’s fingernails. I don’t like it now. Back to the drawing board.

Why is it you don’t want something until someone tells you you can’t have it? I don’t have a quip for this…just WHY??

Stop to smell the roses today. The sun is out! 🙂

Ode To ADD

Her eyes are clear and quick
also beautiful shiny and smiling
Her face is clear porcelain
her cheeks like the pillows of angels
Her smile grabs my heart
and twists until it causes pain
She is too beautifully amazing to comprehend

Her laugh makes me smile
even if I hadn’t considered such a thing
When she looks at me I want
to drop everything and hold her
I crave the scent of her hair and skin
I need to have her near me

She comes to me and I manage to amuse her
She wants to be with me
I feel instant bonding
but then in a heartbeat
someone else has caught her attention
She cannot be bothered with me any longer
She moves away and I am lost
Elmo is on

The Gods of Customer Service and How My Brain Disfunctionated

I keep saying or doing things that make ME wonder about me. First, my day today? I went to the post office in need of postal assistance. I went today. TODAY. April 15. INCOME TAX DEADLINE DAY. I CHOSE INCOME TAX DEADLINE DAY TO STAND IN LINE AT THE POST OFFICE! WITH MY BABY!

Dear God. To get the stroller out of storage and walk to the post office it takes five minutes. Ditto on the way home. So, I’m thinking it’s a 15 minute trip. No biggie. I grab cute baby (mine, lol), and plop her in the stroller and take off. No bottle, no toys. We’ll be right back! No problem!

We arrive at the post office and are 16th in line. SIXTEENTH. Also? One window is open. ONE. The gods of customer service do not smile upon post offices, banks or the DMV. Well, ANY government related office really….

So we wait. And we wait. And we wait. And we watch people come and go. And wait. And watch. And wait. When we got to 6th in line the baby had had enough of sitting still, not having anything to do and being told how wonderfully gorgeous she is by her many anonymous admirers. *rolling my eyes* She began her demon howl. Being the quick-thinking mommy that I am, I handed her my house keys. Jingly. Shiny. Not her usual toy. Ewww, germ-wise, but okay. She was quiet, happy, and adorable once again.

I get to the window only to be told he can’t help me I need to talk to THAT WOMAN OVER THERE (head jerking to his left where a woman from the bowels of the US Postal Service has just emerged apparently just for my benefit).

*sigh*

I push stroller to THAT WOMAN. My mission was to hand in my post office box keys, pick up my mail and have a forwarding order cancelled. I gave her the keys, didn’t get my key deposit back or my mail because she was frazzled…or at least frazzled at the thought of possibly becoming frazzled. (Did I mention it’s INCOME TAX DEADLINE DAY?) She takes my keys, writes down on paper what box number they’re for, and promises to cancel the forward “as soon as I get back there after I’m done helping out here”. (So, basically…never.)

Then, as I turn to leave, an old old old old OLD man standing in line (I wonder how old he was what he started standing in line?) yelled, “WATCH OUT! THE BABY!” I thought she was taking a header onto the cement floor or had just burst into flames or something that would warrant a YELL in a very echo-y building. Old man points to baby and YELLS AGAIN, “SHE’S GOT -” and was apparently SO upset he couldn’t finish. I look at the adorable, safe, happy baby playing with my keys. I patted her on the head, told the old man, “Yeah, she’s okay.” and we left.

So me today? No mail, no money back, and yelled at by an ancient pedestrian. ARGH. Then the meat for dinner that had been sitting out all day is still frozen, so now I’m rushing. 😦

(Um…yeah. I’m sitting here talking to YOU, but I’m rushing.)

I’m ready to resign.  I was also spent some time pondering me and my life and decided I’m not right. So, below please find actual conversations between me and my sister-in-law as proof of my insanity.

L: I gotta make dinner.

Me: Cool. Whatcha havin’?

L: I’m making lasagne.

Me: I HATE making lasagne!

L: I know it’s a pain, but it’s sooooooooooo good!

Me: Yeah, but I still hate it. 🙂

L: I’m just making a little one.

Me: Well…make a big one too. Then, when the little one burns you’ll know the big one is done.

L: ROFL! Where do you come up with this stuff?

Me: *blinking innocently* What? That’s how I make meatloaf.

L (stunned): You aren’t right.

*********************************************

Me: Hey! There’s a farmer outside with a flatbed!

L: Uh huh.

Me: No, really! There is!

(long pause while I go take a pic and send it to her cell phone)

L: OMG! There is! How do you know he’s a farmer?

Me: Cause he’s wearing overalls. DUH.
My Gramma was a farmer.
She could grow anything.
She could grow things from PIECES of things.
She was amazing.

(pause)

She didn’t have overalls though.

(slight pause)

She must have been part-time.

L: You aren’t right.

After the Storm

“After every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul’s indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer.”    William R. Alger

I suppose it all started with a heart storm: the urgent winds of change, the charge of electricity in the air, the pounding rain of uncertainty…emotions swirling around my feet, sometimes leading me forward to my destination, sometimes becoming so strong I could no longer see my destination. They choked me, scared me, overwhelmed me with their intensity. The storm died down eventually. The emotions were still there, only on a more even keel. I could see around them and through them. I could keep the swells of negativity and doubt at bay. I could steer, I could think. I could be.

It’s been two years since the heart storm picked me up, turned me upside down, shook me out of my old life and set me down in the middle of something newer and better. Something I had only hoped for. Something I thought was left to television episodes and romantic comedies. Something only other people could experience. It’s been two years since I was tossed out of my comfort zone; two years since I was shaken out of my protective shell.

Then something else happened — a tornado from left field. Unexpected. Uncalled. Something not prepared for. But I wasn’t alone. The heart storm had brought someone to me. Bound me to someone, pushed me…pulled me…. Something else was working behind the scenes. Driving, guiding, pushing, waiting. It took a heavy storm to bring me to my guy.

It’s almost exactly a year and a half since the tornado struck. Gale force winds threatened to knock down what I had shakingly built up, but my guy was there. In the shock and surprise and fear of the tornado my guy helped me plant my feet firmly, helped me believe in myself and happy endings, helped me breathe when I couldn’t do it on my own because I was too stressed, upset or overwhelmed. It was my guy who helped me keep my head together. Helped me stay sane when I felt like everything was pushing me over the edge to insanity. He was my voice of reason, my reminder of all I hoped, dreamt, and knew. He was my rock, my best friend and my hero.

From the first drops of rain until now, he and I have weathered many storms of different varieties. We’ve seen more than our share of weather, of life, of love. We’ve overcome many obstacles, both real and imagined. We’ve learned what we can expect from the world around us and what we can depend on from each other. For the past two years I’ve been lucky enough to lie next to my best friend every night and to wake up with him in the morning. I’ve been blessed to have my best friend with me to share my tears, obliterate my fears, laugh hysterically in the face of the inane and someone to walk through the fire with me.

Our road seems long. Our journey has been bumpy, has thrown one or the other of us at different times, but has brought us closer together. Made us stronger.

I am a better person because of the love of one man and I love him so much more than words can say. “I love you” doesn’t seem to come close to expressing everything I feel, but it’s all the English language has to offer.

I love you, Matthew. Thank you for always being here for me. For always trying to understand, for pretending you understand when you don’t, and for never making me feel like I’m weak or wrong or hormonal. Thank you for making me feel like, finally, I belong.

I love you greatly. I pray for many more years at your side and on your side guiding our little tornado forward on her journey through life. You and Abigail are both the best unexpected storms I’ve ever had.

Happy anniversary.

Mother Nature/Fate/The Gods of Hilarity Are EVIL

I woke up this morning feeling like I was run over by a truck in my sleep. I don’t even remember running out into the street, or climbing up all our stairs and tucking myself in again.

Every muscle hurts, it hurts to swallow, I have a headache working itself into a migraine, my nose was stuffy, is runny now, I didn’t sleep well and my face is puffy, and? I’m having stomach cramps!

Awesome. Great. Shoot me.

I don’t know what the stomach cramps are. The pain is right under my rib cage where my stomach is. So STOMACH CRAMPS. I’m not getting diarrhea or having some digestive problem. In the past I’ve gone to the ER, been checked for everything (including…not anorexia…the other A word….appendicitis. I DID mention I didn’t get much sleep, yes?) and everyone shrugs and hands me a little plastic cup of Mylanta. Which doesn’t work.

So today? Lying low, taking drugs, hoping my face doesn’t stay puffy, and definitely napping when the baby naps.

And? I’m thinking about blaming Matt for this. Two days ago he said he didn’t feel so hot. Yesterday he came home from work and went to bed. Didn’t change his clothes, didn’t eat dinner, didn’t play with the baby. Went to bed. Woke up at 4:15 this morning.

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. If you need me I’ll be on the couch praying Abby will catch African Sleeping Sickness so I can go back to bed. Ugh.

UPDATE: Now I’m also dizzy. Head hurts more. Eyes watering. Small children yelling outside my window. UUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH.

My Way or the EASY Way (Condensation revisited)

I just look around sometimes and realize I’m doing everything the hard way.

FEEDING ABBY:

We don’t have a table and chair thing going. Mainly because our apartment is set up so weird. They have a room for the dining room with open space into the room for the living room. That means the living room has 3 walls: wall one – long uninterrupted wall with cable for tv; wall two – long wall with huge window almost to floor faces the street (and fire escape); wall three – wall with door to balcony right in the middle.

Soooo…to use the tv cable you’d have to put your couch on the opposite wall…which is the one with the door in the middle. Couch doesn’t fit. (Awesome.) You could move the tv to the wall with the window, but you’re advertising to the street that HEY THESE ARE OUR ELECTRONICS, COME ON IN!

Um. NO.

So, what we did (and it’s working for us) is put our tv, couch and loveseat into the dining room (also had tv cable??) which is carpeted anyway. WHO HAS CARPET IN THE DINING ROOM? No one with children should. BTDT. And the would-be living room with odd assortment of door and window is now the office. Works great. Except we don’t have a table and chairs for traditional sit-down meals.

That was working fine for us too. Matt and I eat dinner sitting on the couch watching tv, watching Abby play.

Problem is feeding the baby. On cooperative days she will sit on my lap while I feed her with her spoon. On non-cooperative days she’s trying to grab the spoon or the bowl or the wipes or everything else she sees and I have to put her down on the floor so we don’t get food all over the furniture or carpeting.

With her on the floor, if all goes well, she’ll sit while I feed her and we’re done in minutes. If it’s one of those days, I feed, she grabs, I wipe her hand off, she crawls away, I chase her waving the spoon saying “Come on Abby, I know you’re hungry” and then I get a spoonful in her mouth while she stands up holding onto the loveseat and wipes her face on the cushions. I get a wipe while she looks at me for food. I feel bad for not having any ready and feed her another spoonful. She sits down and grabs toys while I frantically wipe the couch cushions. I take toys away and wipe them off and repeat the whole guilt thing for not having food ready when she opens her mouth. And this is lunch: feed, grab, wipe, crawl, chase, feed, stand, wipe off couch, feed, sit, grab, wipe off toys, feed, crawl, chase…. I need a nap just thinking about it.

Repeat twice a day and this is how we eat. The other eating times go better. She’s still taking bottles which wipes out breakfast and afternoon and evening snacks. She also eats puffs (cereal-like things for babies, not facial tissues) which she likes because they’re handy, she likes to grab and she can do it herself. I like them because they dissolve quickly, they don’t stain the carpet when she dumps them on the floor…which she has to do before she eats any..and they go right up the vacuum. Daily.

In the end, carpet in the living room isn’t such a good idea either.

DRESSING ABBY:

…goes a lot like feeding her:  lay her down, put one leg in her pants, try to put the other leg in while she pulls the first leg out. hold first leg still while sticking it back in the pantleg while second leg frees itself. With first leg redressed, grab second leg while Abby tries to roll over and crawl away. Roll Abby over and attempt to be funny so she’ll look at me and not roll. Put leg one back in pants, grab leg two, roll Abby back over, hold leg. Dress leg one, roll Abby back over, make faces, put pants on leg two. Roll Abby over, put pants on leg one while singing “Banana Phone”, put leg two in pants while Abby kicks off pants and rolls over. Roll, insert, grab, laugh, make faces, insert leg two, pick up Abby while holding waistband of pants. Hug Abby with one arm while skootching her into pants and pulling them up with the other. Put Abby down, watch her crawl away. Collapse.

Matt said dressing her is like trying to dress a squid. I can’t argue.

MAKING DINNER:

Hopefully remembered to thaw some meat. If not, insert frozen meat into hot water in sink to thaw. Wonder what goes with said meat while checking freezer, cabinet and cupboard. Find sides. Put thawed meat into greased baking pan. Sprinkle with festive assortment of spices in all colors. Sprinkle with salt for good measure. Put in cold oven. Damn. Forgot to preheat. Decide to leave meat in longer to compensate. Check on Abby if she’s awake. (She’d be in the gated living room with toys, out of harm’s way.) Play, bottle, puffs. Return to kitchen to find pans for side dishes. Sigh heavily. Do dishes. Check Abby. Tickle, chase, distract with remaining puffs and different toys. Put sides in pans and set on low on stovetop. Check on meat. Check on Abby. Play with baby, practice walking, watch for any sign she’s going to sign at me someday. Kiss baby. Stir side dishes. Check meat. Damn, there’s no tea. Boil water for tea, open tea bags, pour sugar, check Abby. Play, kiss, throw teabags in boiling water. Stir sides, put dry dishes away, check Abby. Play, tickle, chase, kiss, puffs, pour tea in pitcher, put sugar in pitcher, stir, add cold water. Put tea in fridge. Stir sides, check meat. take meat out of oven. Dance because somehow I forgot the pan would be hot and used my bare hand. Hold hand under faucet. Swear.

Get out plates and silverware. Empty sink. Stir sides, turn off heat. Put ice cubes in cup for Matt, pour tea. Tea in fridge. Watch for car out window. Check Abby. When I see car, I put meat on plate. If cold, microwave for a few minutes. Put sides on plate. Put bread on plate. Dinner assembled and waiting on counter when he walks through the door.

**Small triumph**

EVERYTHING ELSE:

In between THAT every day. EVERY day. EVERY DAY. (Okay, I feel better now.) In between all that, I’m also vacuuming the apartment, wiping down the bathroom mirror and sink, sweeping floors, picking up dirty clothes, making beds and sometimes vacuuming the apt building hallways and sweeping the stairwells.

Oh also? Writing articles, making money, talking to my sister-in-law, and bathing and getting dressed.

And yet I can’t sleep.

I’m thinking I need to condense things.

Yes.

I’m all for condensation.