Monthly Archives: April 2011

An Annoying Day In The Life…

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They dont have no stinkin club.

It started off ok. Over slept but that isn’t a big deal. Took the dog to the dog wash. That was ok too, except when he tried to casually back off the waist high table and he almost accidentally hung himself. He didn’t poop in the car so I count that outing as a success. Came home and worked on laundry. This is an annoying project because my 18 month old dryer died so, we wash all the clothes and then haul them down to the laundromat to dry them. You know how freakin heavy wet clothes are? WAY heavier than dry clothes. It’s a good work out I suppose. And FYI: NEVER invest in a Whirlpool Cabrio…horrible company, horrible product, bad investment. Stick with Maytag.

I get the kids together and ready to go. We are planning on going to My Favorite Chinese Restaurant. It’s a beautiful day and off we go. My Favorite Chinese Restaurant is 45 minutes away from my house but in the same town as my best friend which is where my oldest is going to spend the night, so, it makes sense ya see. What doesn’t make sense is that when we get there, I check before we go in to make sure I have my bank card and I don’t have it. I always check before I go in to make sure I have my card because I am paranoid that I will eat, get the bill and not be able to pay. I also have a “thing” about maggots but that’s neither here nor there.

Lo and behold,  I left my bank card in my sweatshirt that I was wearing to bathe the dog! That would be on my bathroom floor 45 minutes away!! What’s worse is I only have one check left in my checkbook!!! Wow, talk about walking a tightrope!!!! What to do…what to do…I have two options as I see it: One, go to My Favorite Grocery Store and write the check for cash or Two: go to Grocery Store I Hate and eat at their hot food bar and write my check to them. I sit there debating. I know it doesn’t sound like it should be a debate, but this is me we are talking about, livin on the edge. Grocery Store I Hate has a “club” and I don’t belong to their “club” so I am not positive they will let me actually cash a check…but, I don’t believe in exclusivity or elitism so I go for Grocery Store I Hate, not really believing that they will not except my check. I don’t even understand this Pluralistic attitude, I guess that makes me a Socialist in some people’s near sightedness, but whatever. I’m not even sure I used those terms correctly so that is probably one of the reasons Grocery Store I Hate doesn’t want me in their stupid club.

The kids and I gather up our food on our tray, we get drinks and plastic wear and napkins and plop it all down in front of the cashier. The cashier who assures me they will cash my last check. I double and triple check before I write on the check making sure that extra sweet cashier guys gets that it is my very last check and I have NO other way to pay for this and we are hungry. 20 minutes later, the manager is explaining to me that I have to be part of their “club” to cash a check. I just smile and nod. I knew this would happen. I HATE the Grocery Store That I Hate for this very reason. Their damn exclusive club crap.  Oh yes, I was a part of their club at one point…apparently my rubber checks weren’t good enough for them and so I was kicked out and banned. But that was 15 years ago. For me, a different lifetime. Not to mention that in the year 2011 it is impossible to bounce a check. So, I know this rejection is personal.

We leave the food and walk out of Grocery Store I Hate with no money and no check and me explaining loudly exactly WHY I hate Grocery Store I Hate to the kids. And the list goes beyond their dumb ass “club” to include the lay out of the parking lot, the volume of traffic, and the blind love the general population has for Grocery Store I Hate’s stock of fresh foods and contributions to the community. If only they knew. And there is a direct connection to the Baldwin but we don’t have to go there right now.

Using my skillz, I immediately start thinking of gas stations that have pizza because I do have the gas card. Contrary to popular belief, I do NOT enjoy gas station food. But,  a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do. And to be honest, I like feeling resourceful and not having to resort to phone calls and explanations. Again, some near sighted people may see that as a character defect, but whatever. 

I have 45 minutes, at this point, before I have to be at my meeting. I know the gas station that has a pizza/sandwich shop and it is 15 minutes from where we are. So, I Go Go GO!!!! We get there and ofcourse the pizza/sandwich part is closed (most likely due to health code violations). I tell the kids to find something in the isle that is reasonable for a dinner food.

We check out and my oldest has a Cup of Noodles. She is psyched because they have hot water there for coffee and using her resourceful brain she sees that she can use that for her noodles. Check out. Get in the car. I am thinking that my kid may have used her smarts in figuring out how to have a hot meal, but loses points on trying to eat boiling hot soup in a moving vehicle. And as I am thinking this she says “they didn’t have any forks…hopefully we have one in the glovebox…nope…but we do have a coffee stirrer and a straw! So I will just eat this boiling hot cup of soup with this stirrer and straw like they are chopsticks!!” and she smiles at her ingenuity! I smile too because I was sick of being miserable at that point. As we hit the first pot hole and swing around the first curve she says “oh yeah, I don’t know how to use chopsticks…” which sends me into hysterical giggles as she is going “whoooooaaaa MOM!!! Can you try to avoid the potholes???”

I see the ridiculousness of the situation but I am also so proud of my roll with it kids and their ability to not whine or complain. They are really great kids. And we laughed so hard at our “dinner”.

So, I would like to thank you Grocery Store I Hate for validating my 15 year resentment of you and forcing me to find another way to feed my family on the run which led to a half an hour of family time giggles, bonding and revelations such as Cup of Noodles noodles can be sucked up through a straw and cheese nips can be a satisfying meal not just a snack. Life lessons that would not otherwise be learned. There ya go!

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Bagels, Pajamas and Tow Trucks, Ofcourse.

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You think I would have learned. But maybe I have.

Every morning I wake up, wash my face and walk out the door and drive to the bagel shop one town over. Every morning for the last 6 years. Every morning. Notice I said “wash my face”…I did not say, take a shower and get dressed, do my hair, put on some make up. I just wash my face (and brush my teeth…didn’t think I needed to include that). I stay in my PJ’s. The bagel shop people love me so they don’t care. And on the rare occasion that I actually have somewhere important to go in the morning and I do get dressed, they are always so impressed and complimentary! I work after school hours so that is when I shower and dress, before work.

Today, I had to drop Emma off to the groomers’ for her tri-annual shave down. Poor Emma was shaking she was so nervous because Spencer wasn’t with her. Spencer got shaved last year and his hair never grew back. But taking the dog to the groomers does not require getting all gussied up. Even though the groomers’ is in the next town over and even though my car has been acting really weird for months now…I live dangerously…from a fashion stand point.

I drop poor shaggy Emma off and head to the bagel shop. I had just been to the Honda dealer yesterday where they put in spark plugs made of gold (I am judging by the price of 4 spark plugs that they must have been made of pure gold or they were put in by a brain surgeon or something cause 179 dollars for 40 dollars worth of spark plugs seems outrageous…but then again, I’m not good at math) so I was pretty sure that the car was going to keep running for a few more weeks. Wrong.

I am driving along and all of the sudden I am no longer driving along. I am coasting…so I hit the hazards and coast to the shoulder of the road. In my pajamas. Ok, so, I call Triple A. Then, I call garage #1 who has a loaner car. They are booked solid till next week. I quickly resign myself to the fact that I will not have a car this week as I know garage #2, although a block from my house, is not quick on the turn around. I call my mother to see if she can pick up Emma from the groomers’ at 3. I call my BFF to bitch and I call the dealer to give them a piece of my mind. In my pajamas.

After an hour, the tow truck guy shows up but he can’t tow me as I have all wheel drive. So, he clears out a spot in his truck, I climb in and we wait on the flat bed guy. For an hour. In my pajamas. We talk about all sorts of things. He is a very interesting, typically unique guy. Marine Corps vet, ex corrections officer, bar owner, tow truck driver, husband and grandpa. His wife calls about every 15 minutes and after he says “love ya” he hangs up and says “she drives me nuts!!” He has three kids, two boys and one girl. His daughter died when she was 4 of cancer. He was called back from Saudi Arabia for that. Later in that same year, he was hit with shrapnel and had the left side of his head blown away. He was in the hospital for 13 months. It was his father (also a marine) who finally told the doctors to go to hell and got him up and out of that bed, walking around. The doctors said he’d never walk or hold a job again, but they were wrong. Ofcourse, he only got 73% of his service pay because he was 3 years away from 20 years. After two tours and total loss of sight in his left eye, he really didn’t sound as bitter as I thought he should. Ofcourse, I was in pajamas….so…..

He lost his brother in the Gulf War. Coincidently, his father lost a brother in Vietnam and his grandfather lost a brother in WWII. They told him there was a family emergency at home and they stuck him on a plane not telling him that his brother was in the cargo bay of the plane and that his brother’s death was the family emergency. I asked why they would do that. He said because he was still in, still dealing with Iraqis and the higher ups didn’t want him to take it out on anyone….wow.

So, now, he works two jobs and gets to have his granddaughter every saturday, just the two of them. And she is the spitting image of his daughter when she was 2. He owns a big bar in a small town and he has a good life. Better than most. He still has his weapons…you can’t train a marine for 17 years and expect him to not still have weapons!! The neighbors thought Rambo was moving in..ha ha ha!! The only thing he wasn’t allowed to keep was the hand grenades. Hhmmmm….although, he used 3 of them to dig his brother’s inground pool…I’d say that’s the best use of a hand grenade I have ever heard of!

So, although I felt driving around in a car that might or might not die, in my pajamas, was an act of bravery, I was wrong. Brave is losing and losing and losing and still being a human being. Still being able to make conversation, still being able to see the miracle, in being able to work 2 jobs and change a dirty diaper and having a wife who annoys you every 15 minutes. And helping out some weirdo who is stranded in her PJ’s on the side of the street. It’s not that this is something I didn’t know…I just didn’t know I would be reminded of it all today, while in my pajamas…but really, how else would I have met this really neat guy?

Anyway, I am not going to stop hopping in the car to go to the bagel shop in my PJ’s just because my car might die. Obviously the pajamas are the key to meeting really interesting people. Maybe you should try it sometime.

My family is nuckin futs.

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"dear Jesus, please help me to not make a face when I drink the wine. Amen."

My family has a unique sense of humor. Or warped, depending on your own sense of humor. And humor is a sense. It is unique and personal. I can’t remember if I ever told you about my uncle’s funeral….

The hospital had left the tube in his mouth too long after he passed so the funeral director had to use body putty to fix his mouth. This might be too much for some of you, if so stop reading, but it does get better…Body putty was once an entire Thanksgiving conversation at our family table. Anyway, when my “aunt” leaned in to give him a final farewell kiss before calling hours started, she accidentally dislodged the putty. As she stood back, wiping her tears, she saw  my uncle had cracked a smile. This made my “aunt” shriek, leap back from the casket and cry all the harder. My mother and other aunt came running forward to see what my “aunt” was so hysterical about and instead of being scared, or grieved, or even grossed out, my mother was annoyed and my other aunt immediately bust into hysterical giggles at my “aunt” and her distress. My mother, being a funeral director’s wife and a nurse said “someone go find the body putty right now!!! People will be here any second” and she and my aunt set about fixing my uncle’s cracked smile. My mother being very serious about the whole process and my aunt laughing so hard she had tears streaming down her face and had to run to the bathroom announcing “I’m going to wet myself!!!!”

That gives you a general idea of not only the kind of situations we seem to always find ourselves in but also what we find funny. Absurd really, but in my family, getting all upset about a slip of the body putty isn’t really a good idea. Now, spill a soda on the carpet or forget a bag of essential coupons in the car and THAT is a major catastrophe!

Today was my youngest daughter’s first holy communion. What could be less funny? What could be more religious and heartwarming than a group of 2nd graders receiving the body and blood of Christ on a lovely spring morning, all decked out in their sweetest sunday clothes? Well, you weren’t sitting with MY family were you? 

First of all, the gospel reading is the one about Lazarus. When I see this one coming I lean over to my middle daughter and tell her this is when Jesus created the zombies. She started at me wide eyed and told her older sister who told her boyfriend. Kids these days love a good zombie story and here is where it all began…they were mesmerized!! Then on to the sermon. Pastor began by telling the story of the sunday school teacher who asks the class “what do you have to be to get to heaven?” He asks this directly to our communion class of 8 year olds. One boy says “a follower of God” the pastor says “well, yes, that is a good to be” one boy says “baptised” and pastor says “Many of us are and that is good also” And as I am sitting there thinking “what DO you have to be to get into heaven? Rich…no….attractive….no….married?….no…” MY 8 year old raises her hand and in total seriousness says “Dead.” at which point the entire congregation bursts out laughing and she kind of smiles at me with the “what? it’s true isn’t it” look on her face. Pastor laughs and shakes his head and says “yes. That is the one thing you have to be to get into heaven. Dead. Thank you!” He’s got our number. He knew if it wasn’t going to be HIS kid to come up with it would definitely be mine….

Next, we hike up to the altar. Just the first communicants and us parents. We are using bread the kids baked the day before and instead of dipping wafers like usual, everyone gets their own little cup filled with wine. I remind my kid NOT to make a face when she tastes the wine and NOT to spill it on her beautiful dress. She gets hers, I get mine and it was everything I had not to turn to her and say “cheers! Bottoms up!” I didn’t. She does her shot and I see her face starting to collapse in on itself with the effort to NOT make a face. I do my shot (which is actually WAY less than a typical shot, but I can sip a shot for an entire evening) and I feel my face also collapsing with disgust. I don’t drink so, after this tablespoon of strong awful wine, I’m drunk. We walk back to our seat and my littlest leans over and says “It burns! Will it ever stop burning? Why didn’t I take the grape juice” Now, being that I am drunk, I am finding her raspy distressed confession hysterical. So much so that I am not keeping an eye on my mother who is one of a kind, truly.

She is up there and the pastor comes with the bread. Apparently that part went off without a hitch, except that he ran out of bread when he got to my daughter’s boyfriend and had to turn back to the altar to get some more and forgot where he was in line when he turned back around and so skipped my daughter’s BF completely with the bread. And here comes the tiniest acolyte with the tray of tiny glasses for wine. There was white grape juice in the middle of the tray and empty glasses on the outside. The idea being that if you wanted grape juice, take one. If you want wine, take an empty and the deacon will fill you up.

My mother didn’t understand the directions. And she was still trying to figure out how to rectify my daughter’s boyfriend lack of bread situation. She grabbed an already filled cup and downed it. Realizing that she just had grape juice, and that she doesn’t like grape juice, she returns the used cup and grabs a new cup and offers that up for a fill when the deacon comes.

I had no idea what the heck is happening up to the altar. They all get back and sit down and my middle daughter leans over to me and says “grandma thinks she used a dirty cup for the wine.” Having NO idea what she is talking about, I just say “grandma’s drunk” which she repeats to her grandma and they all start giggling. My daughter’s BF is sitting there with The Look on his face from the wine. He didn’t even have any bread to cut the taste with, poor kid. I know my mother is sitting there thinking “I wonder if we should just sneak over and grab him a chunk of that bread. I don’t think anyone would mind really. There is alot left over…”

Cut to the restaurant where my mother has brought approximately 150 pictures of her dead cats. I kid you not. To share with us, and reminisce over cute dead cat stories. Remember the three legged cat Whitney? Well, he had four legs but one was malformed and so we had it removed as he couldn’t keep it clean and it was always covered in poop and litter….and there is Edgar. He drooled and shook when he was happy so if you were petting him you would be covered in cat drool….ahhhh yes and Cynthia and Elliot…look, here they are again, molesting each other on the kitchen table.  What else do you do on your first communion? And there is the traditional gift of pink and purple baseball glove and ball….