Friday, August 29, 2008

My hot date

I had a date today-with Jack. He called it "our special date" and Burger King is now "our special date place." Jack was a perfect date. He was happy. He commented on how good the food was; his chicken fries were cooked to perfection. He was a great conversationalist and we had discussion on a wide array of topics.

Jack was genuinely interested to hear what kinds of Bakugan toys I know about. He was delighted that I knew names like Double Headed Draganoid, and Falconeer and Preyus Darkus. He deftly changed the subject to Tsunamis and wondered what they were and asked me if they cause "damage". I told him they did and he proceeded to list off all the things that he knew caused damage. Things like Tsunamis and Tornadoes. He looked excited as an idea formed in his head. "When we get home, can we make a show? You can tape me making a show. It will be called the Damage Weather Show."

"That's a good idea." I said. "What will you talk about during your show?"

"Well, we will talk about weather and damage. That's because it's called the Damage Weather Show."

That's a logical answer, I thought. And I know I may be biased because I'm his mother and all but I thought he was perfectly charming. And the guy sweeping the floor apparently thought he was charming, too. The guy kept hovering around and finally stopped and said, "Is he yours? He looks good."

Uh, sorry? I thought. Is he mine?? He "looks good"? What's that supposed to mean?

I turned my attention back to Jack and we continued our conversation. As Jack took a bite of his food, Sweeper Man came back and said, "You know, you need to be careful with kids. If they eat too fast they choke. I know. I work with retarded people and one time, one of the retarded people ate too fast and choked and we had to call an ambulance and he died."

Uh, what??? I thought. I was kind of annoyed that this guy was talking about this kind of thing in front of my 4 year old. Luckily, he had a really thick accent and Jack seemed oblivious to what he was saying. Jack actually asked me if that guy "spoke another language."

As engaging as Jack was, and as creepy as I found Sweeper Man, I have to admit there was something that had me distracted. It was Sweeper Man #2.

This is Sweeper Man #2. I became somewhat obsessed with Sweeper Man #2 from the moment we pulled into the Burger King parking lot- because I almost could have run him over. He was standing in the parking lot with the broom in hand. JUST STANDING THERE. WITH HIS EYES CLOSED. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARKING LOT. I think he should have been sweeping the parking lot but he was just, uh sleeping. It was very odd. It made me wonder, What is his deal??? And eventually, he must have woken up because he moved inside. But then even inside, he just fell asleep again standing up with the broom in his hand. So as I tried to live in the moment of Jack and all his adorableness since he was such an awesome date and all, I was distracted by Sweeper Man #2. So much so that I took a picture of him sleeping with my camera phone and I pondered what could possibly be his situation. I have come to the conclusion it could be one of 3 things.
1) He has narcolepsy.
2) He is a Heroin addict and shot up in the bathroom at work before the start of his shift. And I watch the TV show Intervention so I know that Heroin does some crazy stuff to you like making you fall asleep standing up.
3) He was practicing for the job he really wants. I played out the story in my head of his life's ambition to be one of those people who paints themselves silver or gold and moves to San Francisco and stands on a crate at Pier 39 and pretends to be a statue for money.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why do I constantly find myself in these situations?

So, I would never claim to be the most social creature on the planet. I don't particularly enjoy meeting people for the first time. I guess you could say that I like knowing people, not getting to know people. Once I know you, I love to socialize, to know what's going on in that head of yours, to know where you are at mentally and emotionally. I'm the person who looks forward not to meeting you for the first time, or the second and perhaps not even the third. But get me past all that mundane, superficial crap and if you are interested in things other than yourself, I'm your friend for life. Sometimes, I can feel my body exhale once I sense we are past all the superficial B.S. and I'm at the point where I know the next time I see you, it will be easy; it will be seamless to slip into a conversation that fits like a glove.

But my job (sigh)... my job requires that I travel, and (ugh) meet new people in strange cities all the time. I have a co-worker who actually enjoys going to networking events whereas, I'm the person who at 4:00 starts to fake the cough so I can get out of the evening networking event because the thought of stepping into a crowded room of people and striking up a conversation about software (gag) is enough to give me hives.

So, I'm not sure if it is the vibe I give off but many times during my travels, I find myself in awkward situations...socially. Like this time, or this one or this...oh, or the time I got busted eating some guy's sandwich. Or like the time I was working a booth at a trade show event and my male co-worker elbowed me and said, "Hey, is that guy taking a picture of you with his camera phone???"

"No way." I responded. "That would be creepy. He must be trying to take a picture of our booth." So I started to lean back to get out of his line of fire. And his camera phone moved with me. So I leaned back even further, and further, and further.

My co-worker audibly gasped and said, "Oh.My.God. He's taking a picture of YOU!!!"

I thought it was weird but my co-worker was fascinated by it and kept asking me how that situation made me feel and vowed to never let me work another trade show without him being present.

But those are just a few examples.

Here's my latest. On my last trip to Denver, I hopped in a cab to my hotel. It started out innocent enough. The cab driver asked me where I was from and how my flight was. You know, all the polite things a cab driver typically asks. He asked me why I came to town and I told him it was for a meeting with some co-workers. He asked what I did for a living. I told him I worked in Marketing for a software company.

For the rest of this post, I will relay the conversation to the best of my ability. And I will tell you that once the conversation started getting annoying and weird, I thought, I must blog about this so I am taking notes from now on. So, the rest of the conversation went as follows:
***Please note- my inside voice will be denoted by text in italics. Because honestly, that's where I do my best work.

Cabbie: You know they need new rules on flights. Like for the big people.
Me: Big people?
Cabbie: Yeah, people who are 500 pounds and think that they can just squeeze into regular seat. They should make them pay for their ticket by the pound.
Me: What the HELL is this guy talking about??? Pay by the pound???
Cabbie: So if you are over a certain weight, you should pay for two seats.
Me: Hmmm. Interesting concept.
Cabbie: So, what you do here? You work here? In office?
Me: Nah, just here for a meeting with some co-workers.
Cabbie: You work with technology company?
Me: Um hmmm.
Cabbie: Ah, I have idea for you.
Me: Uh oh, here we go.
Cabbie: So, you make a machine that read business card. So it have you on it telling about you. You put the card in the computer and it tell about you. I can't memorize faces. I mean, who can memorize all the faces?
Me: Uh yeah I suppose you see quite a few folks. But do they give you their business card???
Cabbie: Yes. I see a lot but I can't memorize their faces. This way they give me card, I put it in machine and it tell me who they are. What you think?
Me: Uh, well, I suppose that could be interesting. Although, that would mean that everyone would need to carry different business cards and everyone would also need to buy a machine to read the new business cards and I'm not sure that's practical. What are you DOING? Are you really trying to reason with this guy?
Cabbie: How many business cards you get a year? How many? Lots? How many?
Me: A lot.
Cabbie: How many is a lot?
Me: I don't know a couple hundred.
Cabbie (whistles): See now you get a machine that scan all the card and their faces and then you remember, right?
Me: Yeah, I suppose. Oh God, please make him stop talking.
...silence for a few moments...
Cabbie: So, when you going to make that machine?
Me: Huh?
Cabbie: The machine... to read faces and cards. When you going to make it?
Me: Well, I'm not going to make it. How much farther is my hotel???
Cabbie: What you mean you not going to make it, you said it was a good idea!
Me: Yeah but that's not what I do. I'm in marketing, not engineering or product development. Why am I explaining myself to this guy?? I knew I should never have started up conversation with saying, "I'm going to the Curtis hotel. Do you know where that is?" Now I'm going to have to pretend like I'm on the phone just to make him stop talking to me.

So that is exactly what I did. I actually got to the point where I pretended to make a phone call and started talking to fake people, "What? What's that you say?" I tried to make it obvious that my phone was in my ear but my plan backfired. Every time I talked to the fake person on the other end, my cab driver would turn around and yell, "What you say???" and then I had to continually lie over and over again, point at my phone to my ear and mouth, "I'm on the PHONE!"

A gem from Jack

A couple weeks ago Jay overheard Jack say this to Megan-

"Megan, I have some bad news. Your friend moved to Texas, and I got a bad toy at McDonald's."

I only hope that will be the worst bad news Jack ever has to deliver. Ever.

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's an oldie but a goodie.

I can't believe I didn't post this sooner. I actually forgot about it until I was looking through some of my videos yesterday. This was the prelude to one of my favorite videos of the kids- when Jack tried to define what jealous meant.

I caught Megan and Jack on tape having a discussion about sharing a hackey sack. Moments before I started taping this, they were arguing about who would get the hackey sack. I finally told them if they couldn't share it, then no one was going to have it. You can sense Jack is a little on edge and the beginning of the video may need some translation if you aren't that familiar with Jack's I'm-about-to-go-ape-shit-on-you-in-a-second voice. My favorite part of this video is the third time Jack says "Megan". It's as if he's resigned himself to the fact that his sister is a total pain in the rear.

Megan:If we don't agree, then we're never going to see it again.
Jack: Megaaan...Megan?...Me-gan...You made my choices; I don't want what you're doing.
Me (needing some translation as well): Whaaat???
Jack: I don't like what you're doing. You're messing with me.
...And the rest of it is pretty self explanatory- Megan doesn't need a translation...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Please give her a warm welcome...

Please give a warm welcome in this here blogosphere to my dear sister-in-law, Lori. She's the pretty one and the cool one and the fit one that I've mentioned in my blog before.

She's actually a blogging veteran and has had a number of blogs over the years. She's back and this time it's gonna stick. Head on over to Life in a Four Lane Highway and check her out.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It doesn't get more pathetic than this. No, I mean it.

So after I commented on a post by Carolyn...Online regarding a socially awkward situation she had recently, I thought I'd share my little example to make her feel better. It does need to be noted that things like this (not this thing exactly) happen to me all the time.

I need to give a bit of back story here. Jay and I went out to dinner recently with my sister-in-law and her husband. A couple hours before we went out to dinner, we were sitting outside enjoying what is surely the last few remaining weeks of pleasant weather in Chicago. But I started to get restless. I started noticing the hedges in front of our house were getting unruly. That started to bother me. A lot. So off I went to the garage to get the ginormous hedge clippers. It does need to be stated that yard work is not, uh... "my thing". It's Jay's "thing". So when I walked out carrying the hedge clippers, Jay shot off a warning shot, "Don't start that project unless you're gonna finish it." Duly noted, my dear husband. And so I began to clip, and clip, and clip, clip, clip. About 1/8 of the way through the "project", I started thinking, Man these hedge clippers are really heavy. But I persevered and clipped all the hedges.

After I was done, I thought, Wow- I didn't realize those clippers would give my wrists such a workout. I should have known something was askew when I tried to fix my mascara before we left. Trying to hold the mascara wand, my wrist started to shake uncontrollably from the workout with the clippers. It took two hands- one to hold the wand, the other to hold my wrist on the hand holding the wand- to make sure I didn't poke my eye out. The shaking will stop as soon as my wrist recovers, I assured myself.

So off we went for dinner. We sat, we chatted, we ordered our drinks. I ordered a beer on tap that came in a very, very heavy glass. (I think you know where I'm going with this). As the waiter set down my drink in front of me I prayed, Please Lord, let the shaking stop.

Now, it must be said that my sister-in-law and her husband are fit. They work out, they eat right. They take their vitamins. So what happened next, I'm sure appeared beyond pathetic in their eyes. Although they were very lovely about it- but of course they are family so they have to be.

Let's just say if you were walking by my table, from an outsiders point of view, it would appear as you watched me lift my glass that I a) had early onset of Parkinson's syndrome or b) that I was an alcoholic with the shakes in dire need of my first drink of the day. Every time I tried to lift my glass to take a drink, my wrist started to shake- uncontrollably. It was unbearable. At first, I tried to hide it by casually lifting my glass with both hands to take a drink but I'm sure I looked, and I certainly felt, like a 2 year old trying to take a drink of my milk.

I finally called myself out. "You guys, I know this is pathetic but I can't drink this beer. My wrist won't stop shaking!" I demonstrated my predicament to the table. My sister-in-law offered to get me a straw to drink my beer. I politely declined. Jay, in his unconditional loving way looked at me and said, "You have GOT to be kidding me."

So, in a flash of genius, I gave the rest of the beer in the heavy glass to Jay and ordered a margarita instead. Because it is perfectly acceptable to drink a margarita with a straw.

See, it doesn't get more pathetic than that.

Did the French invent French Toast

A philosophical conversation from the back seat of the car...

Jack: Where do they speak France?
Megan: Jack, you mean "Where do they speak french".
Me: Well, people who live in France speak french. Also, there are some people who live in Canada that speak french, too.
Jack: Do you think the people in France invented french toast?
Megan: Yeah, like did they invent french fries, too?
Jack: Yeah, if it is called french toast, maybe they invented it in France.
Megan: Well, maybe they just invented the french kind of toast. But I think Americans invented just regular toast.

***Author's note: Did you ever have a moment when you either say or spell a word so many times that it doesn't look right and you keep second guessing the spelling? Well, that's what happened with this post. The word french seems so odd to me right now. I've never given it much thought but it's kind of a strange word. Try saying it over and over and then spelling it seven or more times. Yeah, weird.

Typical conversations with my husband

#1- Jay recently got a blackberry. I, myself am a blackberry vet- a "guru" if you will. I will say that it has been a real eye opener for me. I see Jay frequently checking his email (which by the way is WAY less frequently than I check mine, because I'm addicted but the first step towards recovery is acknowledging the problem) and I look at him and think two things: 1) Welcome to the new millennium my dear, dear husband. 2) Oh. My. Gosh. Is that what I look like?????

It really is an eye opener to see someone completely disassociated from his or her surroundings looking into a tiny rectangular object like it's a portal to another world (which, in a way, it kinda is). At any rate, with the onset of the arrival of the blackberry, Jay entered the world of texting. I must say, it has brought our relationship to a new level. Okay, so maybe that is a slight exaggeration but it does make it easier to communicate throughout the day on the little things. "Can you pick up Jack?" "What do you want for dinner- chicken Caesar or tacos?" "Your new mower is here" etc. You get the picture.

But the other day, Jay texted me that he thought there was something wrong, that some of my text messages weren't coming through. Uh oh, I thought. Unacceptable. I've become accustomed to this new channel of communication and I am not ready to let it go. When Jay came home, he showed me his blackberry. He said, "See, this is what it looks like when your texts come through." I took the blackberry and looked at the screen. The message from me indicated that the message had not been retrieved. "Oh, this is really easy to fix. See, it's just that you need to retrieve the message." I said.

"What did you do? How did you fix that?"

"See the track wheel? You just click the track wheel twice and it will retrieve the text message."

"I love the way you say track wheel."

#2 One of the big differences between me and Jay has to do with self-medication. Jay is of the mindset that if he either drinks orange juice, or gargles with warm salt water, that things will just sort themselves out. I, on the other hand, am a self-professed medicator. I think anything can be resolved with a little "help". Ibuprofen, Tylenol, NyQuil, Dayquil, Alka Seltzer, Pepto Bismol- you name it, I've got it. My latest adventure into medicine was a detox. I've heard a few thing about it and figured I would give it a go. Jay was feeling apprehensive about it. "Why are you going to do it? What is it supposed to do?" But I decided to forge ahead. That was the last Jay said about it...until we were at dinner last night.

We went to our favorite local Mexican restaurant where I ordered my usual chicken quesadilla. While we were waiting we had the chips and salsa. I commented to Jay that the salsa seemed a bit spicier than usual. And after I took a few bites of my quesadilla, I commented again, "They must have done something different with the food. It all seems spicier than usual."

His response... "I think it's just your colon medicine."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The boy loves him some fruit snacks

This much I know is true. Jack loves fruit snacks- any and all kinds of fruit snacks. Anything that is in the "gummy" category, really. Except for actual gum, but that's another video.

For the last couple weeks, he's been addicted to Fruit by the Foot. He wants it morning, noon and night. Besides the sugary taste, he thinks it's fun to eat. So here I give you an example of that, I'm not really even sure what to say about this video. I would like to tell you that my son doesn't usually have this odd behavior but, well he does. But I think it's part of his charm- and I'm blaming it on all the sugar in the fruit snacks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Little musings

Snippets of conversations over the last 24 hours...

Jack: Did you know that microscopic is when something it so small that you can't see it?
Me: Uh huh
Megan (to Jack): Hey! I told you that!
Jack: Uh uh. I already knowed it.

Jack: Did you know that fruit snacks are made from fruit and sugar?
Me: Really?
Jack: Uh huh. And did you know that everything I say that is smart makes my head bigger?


Jack (going potty): Boys stand up to go pee and girls have to sit down.
Me: Yes, that's true.
Jack: But both boys and girls sit down to go poops.
Me: Yup.
Jack: Can you imagine standing up to go poops? Then you could see the super duper disgusting poops!
Me: Yeah, that would be gross.


Me: Megan, you need to go take a shower.
Megan: But I just took one yesterday.
Me: Yeah but you had soccer practice and are all sweaty and gross.
Megan: So you mean I have to shower every Tuesday now after soccer?
Me: Yes. And actually, you should be taking a shower practically every night.
Megan: Awww. Why?
Me: Because as you get older, when you get hot and sweaty, you get stinky.
Megan: Nice joke.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There she goes again...

Well it's time. Summer has ended and another school year is upon us. Megan started second grade today. She woke up very early and was ready at least an hour before the bus was scheduled to arrive. Obviously, this day requires pictures. My baby is in second grade, after all! But in typical Megan form, she was going to make it difficult for me to capture the moment.

First I tried taking a picture before we left our house to head to the bus stop...

You can see she's saying something to me. I think her exact words were something along the lines of, "Uh no way. No pictures!"

So then I figured once her friends arrived at the bus stop that she might pose for a picture or two.

Oh, what's that you say??? That girl doesn't look like Megan? Right... Megan decided it would be more fun to hide behind her friend.

So then I determined I'd need to go for the candid shot. The bus took forever to get there so Megan finally took a seat on the box holding her school supplies.

I know what you're thinking... Compelling shot. Yeah, well I try.

But then I lucked out, she actually posed for a picture.

You may notice that she's not even looking at my camera. My neighbor got a great shot of her though. can see Jack peeking his head out smiling even though he's not even going to school!

As a last ditch effort, I attempted to go for the action shot. I called out to her to turn around and give me a wave.

Well, that worked out well.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Trying to figure out The Story of My Lifetime

We all come from the past, and children ought to know what it was that went into their making, to know that life is a braided cord of humanity stretching from time long gone, and that it cannot be defined by the span of a single journey from diaper to shroud.
Russell Baker

A few years ago, well before I started this blog, I had the brilliant idea to add a book called "The Story of a Lifetime" to my Christmas list. I had grand visions of filling out each section in excruciating detail. I figured I would create a legacy of information sharing for my children. It sounded great in theory. But the book sat on my shelf, gathering dust.

I'm not sure what made me look at it today. Perhaps it is the culmination of a series of events from over the past few months: a friend's son getting the all clear on his cancer diagnosis that he battled, and ultimately won or the medical issues and cancer scares of family and friends. Or perhaps it was simply the horrific, turbulent flight back from my recent business trip where I pondered my mortality while I white-knuckled the flight for the first 40 minutes while the plane bounced around like a puppet on a string from 30,000 feet in the air. Who knows. In any event, I took out the book intending to capture segments of my answers in this blog. This blog that I write for my children so they have a record of themselves, of their milestones, of their wit, humor and even a record of their tantrums.

I brushed the dust off the book and opened it to the first section titled Family Background.

Question: If your ancestors emigrated from another country, from where did they come? When? How did they come? Where did they settle and why?
My heart sank a little and I thought, Hmmm, Finland and Scotland, I think. Not sure when. Not sure how. Not sure where others settled except for my descendants from Finland on a farm in Wisconsin.

I flipped a few more pages...

Question:When and where was your mother born? Where did she grow up? What was her maiden name?
I thought, Yes! I know this one! Kalamazoo, Michigan; Cincinnati, Ohio;Maiden name? Check! I know that one too. I'm on a roll.

I looked at a few other questions in the Mother section.

Question: Tell about the family in which your mother grew up. Do you know what her childhood was like? Do you remember any stories she told you about it?
I thought, This is depressing. I mean, I know the basic facts- mother, father, two brothers, she was the youngest etc. I remember she was a dancer, particularly good at tap dancing and was even featured on TV once. She was raised Catholic and attended Catholic all girls schools. For all intents and purposes, she was a good Catholic girl, and told me once that she would feel guilty after she went to confession and forgot to tell the Priest about a sin. She would have the urge to go back and confess again as she was afraid she was going to Hell. But I don't know much more than that. I'm sure if I think hard enough, I may be able to remember a few more stories, but my window of opportunity to find out more closed when she died that October day 8 years ago.

Question: What memories do you have of your mother during your childhood?
Question: Describe your mother's work, both in and out of the home.
Question: Which of your mother's physical and personality characteristics did you inherit?
Question: Describe her best qualities.
Question: What is the most painful memory you have of her?
Question: If she is deceased, how and when did she die? Where is she buried?

I know all the answers to these questions. I can see her in me sometimes; when I look in the mirror; when I look at my hands and I remember her being the center of my universe during my early childhood.

Now a mother myself, my longing for my mother comes in waves. Sometimes when I least expect it. Now a mature woman, I wish I had the opportunity to know her not as my mother- but as a mother- as a woman. I have so many questions I would add to this book. Questions like:

What was your wedding day like?
What was the hardest part about being married?
How did you get through the tough times?
How did you know he was "The One"?
What was your pregnancy like?
Did you ever experience post partum depression?
What was your favorite movie? Favorite song? Favorite color?
How did you balance being a mom and going back to work?
What were you like in college?
Who was your first boyfriend? Your first kiss?
What kind of baby was I like? Was I difficult or easy?
What regrets do you have?

One thing I know for certain. When I leave this life, I want my kids to know me. Not just as their mom, but as a person.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

She's a parrot is what she is.

A couple weeks ago Jay and Megan were watching TV and this commercial came on...

Megan started to laugh a bit but Jay said, "I don't like that commercial at all." Megan looked shocked and responded, "Why not???"

"Well, they are making it look like parents aren't smart in that commercial and I don't like it." Jay explained. And that was all that was said about it. Since then, we've seen that commercial on TV a lot. I mean a lot. And I hate to say it but it's not because they play it all the time on TV but rather, we watch so much TV that we probably see it almost every time it is aired. But since Jay's comment, we've watched it just like every other 15,000 commercials we see and no one made any further comment.

....Flash forward to yesterday...

The commercial aired and when it was over, Megan acted as though she had the most original thought in the world and turned to us and said, "You know, I don't like that commercial at all. It makes fun of parents like they aren't smart."

I looked over at Jay with my jaw on the floor. The display of the Power of Suggestion I just witnessed was overwhelming. Jay looked back at me with a smug smile and kind of gave me a half nod as if to say, Oh yeah. Did you just witness my awesomeness?

And it started me thinking about this parenting business- how even when you don't feel like parenting sometimes, in actuality you are parenting by not parenting. Does that make sense? These little guys and gals are watching us and listening to us even when we don't think they are. It suddenly reminded me of an anti-drug PSA from the 1980's...

The Ugly Dolls

Megan collects dolls. When we/I go on trips, I usually try to find a doll to bring back so she can add it to her collection. Last night in Megan's room, Jack was looking at the shelf where she keeps the collection.

Jack: Megan, your doll collection is ugly.
Me: Jackson! That is a mean thing to say. How would you like it if Megan said something like that about your stuff, like your Bakugans?
Jack (shrugging his shoulders): I dunno.
Megan: What did Jack say? I didn't hear him.
Me: Nothing. I'm not going to repeat it because it might hurt your feel...
Jack (interrupting me): Your dolls are ugly! I said your dolls are ugly.

We definitely need to work on that boy's verbal filter!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bedtime Happenings

Today Jay made Megan a little hammock out of PVC to keep her Webkinz. I think it turned out great and Megan seemed to love it.

When we put the kids to bed tonight, I walked in and saw Megan rocking her Manatee Webkinz to sleep. It was really first...when she rocked her first Webkinz. But by the 7th Webkinz, it got a bit old.

Meanwhile, in the other room, I overheard quite an interesting conversation between Jay and Jack.

Jack: Um Daddy? Do you need to be married to have kids?
Jay: ...pause...Yes.
Jack (probing a bit further): Can you get kids another way?
Jay: Not usually.
Jack: Well, I'm gonna get kids and always take them to the toy store.
Jay (somewhat sarcastically): That sounds good. You're kids will grow up to be spoiled brats. Goodnight!

Jay shuts door to Jack's room...and scene.

Cul-de-Sac Olympics

The excitement of the Olympics has rejuvenated our cul-de-sac. The kids were out in droves, riding their bikes, running, climbing trees, riding scooters, shooting basketballs- pretty much anything athletic. We were all sitting outside enjoying the nice weather and I called to Jack, "Hey Jack. You want to take the training wheels off your bike today?"

Jay looked at me like I just sprouted another head and said under his breath, "Noooooooo." A few years ago when we took Megan's training wheels off, Jay spent the good part of the afternoon running. After his 6 foot 2 inch frame chased Megan's bike hunched over for hours on end, he spent the next few days with a back ache. So I can understand his trepidation. But in the end, we (and by "we" I mean Jay)took off Jack's training wheels and decided to give it a go.

It was awesome to see Jack ride off on his bike alone on his first try! I was as proud as I would have been had he won a bike event in the Olympics. All the neighbors were cheering him on and it was just a great day.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Entrepreneur vs. the Non-Entrepreneur

The anticipation was high. Plans were made. Cups were purchased. Signs were made. And most importantly, lemonade was mixed. A neighbor in our cul-de-sac had a garage sale and the kids decided that a lemonade stand was in order. Much discussion took place yesterday by all cul-de-sac residents 4ft and under as to what the approach would be for the lemonade stand.

Megan, ever the entrepreneur, thought the lemonade stand should be marketed in such a way that it would have a hook to it, a special offer, if you will. She lamented to me, "Um, well, I um totally think that we should make cards with lemons on them and then when people buy the card, they would get 2 cups of lemonade for *free*. And they will still be able to use the card." She paused for a moment to brush her hair behind her ears before continuing. "But, I um, was like telling XXX about that idea and she was like, 'No. We are selling lemonade and that is it. No cards.'" Then she shrugged her shoulders and sauntered off.

As I watched her go, I thought to myself, That's it little one. Don't let The Man (or 7 year old BFF in this case) get you down. You keep thinking creatively. A big advertising agency or marketing department might need a brain like yours when you are fresh out of college and before they beat you down into submission and force you to color in between the lines.

When the time came to open the lemonade stand, you could feel the excitement in the air. All the kids set up the stand and waited for patrons to come to the garage sale. Jack was particularly enthusiastic. From my window I could hear him screaming to the patrons as they pulled up in their cars, "LEMONADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ONLY 25 CENTS!!!! GET YOUR LEMONADE!!!!"

This enthusiasm lasted a good 45 minutes, until Jack had to pee. He walked halfway to our house and told me that his feet were too tired, he was too hot and no he didn't care about any more money from the lemonade stand and that he just wanted to come inside and watch Tom & Jerry.

So now there is a seat at the lemonade stand. An empty seat where Jack, the non-entrepreneur, has abandoned his post.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Tonight at dinner, Jack and I had a bit of a side conversation. He looked very pensive for a moment and said, "Momma, what's a con... a con... um, a con-shirts?"

"A what?" I asked.

"A um con-shirts. I mean a con-shints."

"Oh! Do you mean a conscience?"

He nodded vigorously. "Yes! That's it- a conscience. What is that?"

"Well, it's that little voice inside you that tells you right from wrong." I said.

Jack thought for a moment and then said, "I closed my eyes and my eyeballs looked everywhere inside my body and all I saw was guts and food. I didn't see any conscience."

I giggled a bit at that. "Everyone has a conscience. It's just that sometimes people might not listen to it as much as they should."

Jack decided to elaborate a bit on that thought. "Yeah, you have to listen to it. Like if you are mean a lot your conscience will say 'stop stop stop stop stop stop stop'. My conscience is like a little person."

The I'm in trouble face

According to Jack... "Momma, kids have a face. It's a face that they have when they make a smile because they are in trouble."

"Really?" I said. "Can you show me what that face looks like?"

"Uh huh. It looks just like this..."

Sunday, August 3, 2008

There's the boy I know and love

Jack made a full recovery yesterday. I didn't need to call for the exorcism, as I originally planned and Jack was back to his usual happy self.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Darn those stupid Jibbits

Yes, we are one of those families. We allow our children to succumb to most fashion trends. We have Crocs. And LOTS of those Jibbits. Those Jibbits seemed harmless, cute even. But I've discovered the dark side of Jibbits. They are dangerous. I have NO IDEA how exactly this happened but Megan went to put on her Croc the other day and her toenail got caught on the Jibbit and lifted most of her toenail off.

I would have taken a picture of it to post here but since I have "issues" with feet, I just couldn't. I can't recall where my revulsion of feet came from but I just know that it's there. It's haunting and every time I get a pedicure, I look at the lovely woman touching my feet and think to myself, I never, ever want to have your job. Feet just look like. Even nicely pedicured ones just look like little sausages appended to stumps at the end of people's legs. Eeew. Gross. And the thought of sausage-y laden feet touching me is enough to make me want to vomit in my mouth. Just a little bit. I have the anti-foot fetish.

So Megan put on her shoe and started screaming about her toe. Whew, I thought when I realized it was her foot and it happened by Jay. Which I know shouldn't be the normal reaction of a mother when her child is in pain. But we are talking about feet here people. Jay was closest to her in proximity so I assumed since Megan was in his zone, he would handle it.

But Megan had a different plan. "I want Momma." she wailed and came running for me and I thought, Oh God please no. But then there it was- the foot- with the toe nail totally not looking like it should. And to make matters worse, her feet were dirty. No- her feet were filthy. Band aids were definitely in order, and pronto! So I got up to get an ice pack and some band aids. And...uh oh...I started to feel queasy. I looked at Jay and said under my breath (so as not to freak Megan out)"I think I might throw up." And I thought for a minute that I might. But I didn't. Instead I gave myself some Exposure Therapy and forced myself to touch her gnarly looking toe and I covered it up with a band aid as quickly as I could.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Exorcist anyone?

I think I'm going to call my priest and ask him how exactly you go about scheduling an exorcism. I mean it. I'm not kidding. Jack started out his day his normal happy self but at approximately 12:20 PM today, he was possessed by the devil, or a demon or something just plain, well...evil. The alleged possession took place at our local Target store. After picking up Jack from camp, I opted to make a quick run to Target for a new vacuum cleaner. (side note: I think my cleaning lady was trying to tell me that my vacuum cleaner was broken yesterday. It was either that, or that she's decided she's no longer including vacuuming as part of her cleaning routine. But she's Ukrainian so I'm not totally sure.) I told the kids that they could pick out a small toy. Jack picked a toy, then decided he wanted a different one. Then a different, different one. And finally a different, different, different one. And when the fourth request came to make another change I put my foot down. "It's the toy you have in your hand or nothing." I said.

And I'm not sure exactly what happened next but this is when I assume the possession took place because before I knew it, there was a lot of screaming, jumping, crying and throwing of his body on the ground. He screamed at the top of his lungs, "I WANT THE OTHER TOY!" I remember my hushed whisper between clenched teeth, "You have got to be absolutely insane if you think you are getting a toy right now!" Then it all gets a little bit fuzzy but there was a lot of me saying, "We are leaving right now." And Megan minorly freaking out saying, "Are we just leaving the cart here with all the stuff in it???" and "Oooh, Jack, you are gonna get it!"

I vaguely remember people in the store looking awkwardly at us and kind of nervously smiling which was either due to Jack screaming hysterically or me carrying him out kicking and screaming while I held him oddly under my arm like I was carrying a football. Which in theory seemed like a good idea. But it really wasn't because it meant his arms were free to scratch my legs to holy hell all the while kicking Megan at the same time. I have to give it her though, she took the kicks like a champ and just kind of laughed it off. After I dragged Jack through the parking lot, she even just rolled her eyes when I was buckling him into his booster seat and he was swinging at me all the while calling out to Megan, "Megan, you are MEAN. You are a MONSTER!"

When we got home, Jack asked, "Can I do anything electronic?" My response was obviously, "No Way!". But I'm not sure who was being punished more. With no distractions for Jack, and me trying to get some work done, he just sat there and asked question upon question.

"When can I watch TV?"
"Can I never watch TV ever again?"
"So you mean I can't do anything electronic?"
"The only things I want to do are electronic."
"Mom, can I pay you some moneys to not be in trouble?"
"Do you want some money? Do you?"

And on and on it went until he totally wore me down. Jack's demon seemed to take a hiatus for a few hours in the afternoon but it reappeared after both kids made their way outside to play. About 2 minutes later the door came flying open and it was Megan. She was whimpering, and she was absolutely soaked. Apparently, Jack took water from the wading pool and kicked it and it splashed up all over her. Poor girl, she looked like a drowned rat.

I told him tonight that I want Happy Jack to reappear tomorrow. If the demon reappears tomorrow, I'm going to have to make a stop at my local church to meet with my priest and work out some type of deal.