Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Will Sing For Beer!

It has been well established that I don’t get out much, so when I do, I need to make it worth my while.  Last week while my girlfriend K and I were escaping dining at a new Irish bar in town, we discovered that they host karaoke every Tuesday night.

Aw, snap.

This kid never had a
chance.  What kinda parents
name their child Mista Fingaz?
A few gals from the neighborhood gathered at the bar after we completed our home-making duties: getting the kids off the bus, entertaining them for a few hours, feeding them dinner, bathing them, reading them stories, and putting them to bed.  Now it’s time for mama to get her groove on.

We arrived at the bar and ordered our drinks, but I'm pretty sure our waiter was thinking we'd never been let out of the house before.  I ordered a beer on tap because, surprisingly enough, I’m pretty low-maintenance when it comes to my beverages.  There’s always one in the group though: she wants to know the specials and how much are the drinks and do you have cocktails.  I gently reminded her that for-the-love-o’-pete-we-are-in-a-bar, of course they have margaritas.  Later in the evening, the same waiter brought us big ole glasses of water.  This is the international signal for slow your sh*t down.

I grabbed the song book and began perusing for my signature song, “9 to 5” by Ms. Dolly Parton.  In my next life I want to come back as a country singer, and specifically, I want to be Ms. Dolly Parton.  She is smart and sassy, and she’s just the kind of woman I like. 

Because I’m known to be reserved, introverted, and shy, I also belted out:
  • "Rocky Top" – My girlfriend, a Kentucky native, sang with me.  I assume that as a child she sang this song every day in elementary school, right after they recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  I realize "Rocky Top" is about Tennessee, but jokes about Appalachia are always a hit.
  • "Paul Revere" by the Beastie Boys – because who doesn’t want to hear a suburban white woman sing about her posse and her license to ill?  I also perform at weddings.
  • "Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw" by Jimmy Buffet – because I’m nothing if not classy.  This is the musical number I sang when I entered the karaoke contest.  And I WON, because I’m THAT talented!  And also because I was the only one who entered.
  • "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba – We ended the evening with this catchy ditty, and we may have been getting a little silly . . . “I get knocked down, but I get up again . . . I get knocked down, but I get up AGAIN!  . . . I get knocked down, BUT I GET UP AGAIN!”

Meanwhile, one of the gentlemen sitting next to us moved in for the kill.  He began with me; I think he started with the weakest of the herd.  Alas, his “charm” was no match for my sharp tongue, and I saw free drinks in my future.

“How old are you?” I asked, and I guessed 25.  Ding, ding, ding!  “Really, you’re 25?  Do you live in your parents’ basement?”

“No, I don’t live in my parents’ basement!  I live over by ***** Elementary School.”

“That’s kinda creepy.  Is that where you stalk your prey?”

“Why are you so mean?” he asked.  And yet he kept hangin’ around.  Some people are just gluttons for punishment.

“I can’t help it,” I replied.  “And yet you’re strangely attracted to me, aren’t you.  So, what do you do?  Personally, I'm unemployed.”

“I bought my father’s business, so I own my own business.”

“Is it Microsoft?” I wondered.

“No.  It’s a painting business.”

“If it ain’t Microsoft, then I don’t give a sh*t.”  Seriously dude.  In my younger days I dated a crab fisherman, a fry cook, and a lifeguard.  You’re trying a little too hard to impress us.

I really am mean.

His friend began meandering over to our table, now that his 25-year-old business ownin’ buddy broke the ice for him.  “So how old are you?” I asked.  So polite.

He said he was 38, which made me happy since I could not POSSIBLY have given birth to someone his age, like I could the child who was now making his way around to the other side of the table. 

“Are you his dad?”  I pointed to Mr. Business Owner.

“What? No!!  We’re neighbors!” 

“Okay, okay, pipe down.  He said you’re his assistant.”  I just had to stir the pot . . .

“I’m not his assistant!  I work at Cisco.”  Or something like that.  I wasn’t really listening.  Maybe it was Costco.  No, it had something to do with technology, blah, blah, blah.

“You just sold him out!  You’re the worst wing man ever!” 

Wing Man wanted to help choose my next song, and he chose Jimmy Buffet, which is fine, but when I asked him how he felt about James Taylor he said he was "okay."  Thanks for  playing Wing Man, but that answer was INCORRECT.

And so it continued.  I tried to convince Mr. Business Owner to sing a song of my choosing, but I wouldn’t tell him which song I chose.  I promised that the song I chose was familiar and that  he’d know all the words.  Alas, he didn’t take the bait.  Good thing for him, because my song choice was “Away in the Manger.”

This is the part that will make Hubby proud:  I lifted my drink, snapped at Mr. Business Owner, and pointed to my near empty glass.  Then I waved to our waiter and announced, “this guys buyin’ me a drink.”  I said to Mr. Business Owner, “do you know what my favorite beer is?  FREE beer!”  And . . . that’s how ya gets the free drinks ladies.

We decided to call it a night, and several of us hit the restroom first.  We walked in only to discover a fellow patron, who was significantly younger than we are, barefoot and vomiting.  Our mommy instincts kicked into overdrive as K asked her repeatedly if she was okay and I brought her boyfriend into the restroom to help retrieve her.  I had noticed earlier that she and her boyfriend were doing shots, so I asked if it was her birthday, to which she replied, “no, it’s a Tuesday!”  Oh honey.  Pace yourself.  THIS is why we don’t do no-it’s-not-my-birthday-it’s-a-Tuesday shots.

And in case you’re questioning how much sophistication I bring to the table, I give you this parting shot:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Making Friends at the Grocery Store

Dear Lady at the Grocery Store,

The following is what I SHOULD have said to you, but I was too gracious to do so in public.  So I’ll do it on the World Wide Internets instead.

I realize this is the line for 10 items or less (which should be 10 items or fewer, but that’s a whole ‘nother subject) which is why I got in this particular line.  It was not, as you may assume, to piss you off.  I have 7 items.  I have just as much a right to be here as you do.  I’m in a hurry too, because, you see, I have a screaming child.

The reason I only have ONE screaming child is because I left my other two screaming children with a neighbor in the hopes that I could run in and run out of the grocery store to get my 7 items.  Small, however, has recently started walking, which means he does NOT want to be confined to a grocery cart, no matter how short the trip may be.

Yes, I can hear him screaming.  No, I can’t make him stop.  One would think this is obvious.  Why yes, I CAN make him stop, but I like listening to him yell at the top of his lungs simply because he likes the sound of his own extremely loud voice.  I choose not to.  Come on.

God makes them cute so you won't
accidentally leave them somewhere.
The first time you gave me the stink-eye, I thought maybe I was letting my own mild embarrassment cloud my judgement and perhaps I was only imagining your eyes boring into my very soul.

The second time you gave me the stink-eye, I was a tad annoyed.  Staring is rude.  Perhaps I should have a conversation with YOUR mother about your lack of manners.

The third time you gave me the stink-eye, I was pissed.  You’re lucky I didn’t ram my cart into the back of your ankles.  I'm starting to feel a little anxious and persweaty.  You wouldn't like me when I'm anxious and persweaty.

I know if I let Small out of the cart he will stop screaming, but at what price?  The knowledge that in the future he can scream and automatically get his way?  The assumption that it's perfectly acceptable to scream when he's unhappy and that this behavior will be rewarded?  The feeling that we never have to do things we don't particularly want to do, like run errands?  Or worse, lying Hershey Bars and ripped People Magazines, which would all be at his eye level should I release him from the cart?  Seriously, who wants to buy torn-up Kardashians?

But, dear lady in front of me, my favorite part of this entire annoying eye exchange was when you switched to the ear plugging and dramatically held your finger to one ear because the noise emanating from my child was SO loud you couldn’t hear the cashier.  She said “cash or charge” just like every other cashier in the ever-lovin’ universe, but thanks for having her repeat it.  The “what did you say?” along with the ear-plugging and the feigned confusion – truly the highlight of your acting career.  Bravo, lady. 

I know this will be difficult for you to believe, but taking a cranky toddler to the grocery store is among my least favorite things to do.  I needed to pick up prescriptions for my other two children, however, and that necessitated the trip.  Guess what, Lady Who Was Totally Unencumbered by Little Ones, sh*t happens.  If you are a mother, (perhaps to older children,) I would hope you’d cut me some slack – you know your children were difficult at times.  Mothers, especially, should not make other mothers feel bad.  A kind smile or a knowing glance would have been much better received.

I hope you had a lovely afternoon.  That is all.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Our Family Beach "Vacation"

I use the term “vacation” lightly, because as any mommy knows, “vacationing” with kids is NOT relaxing.  In fact, it is the exact opposite of relaxing and it requires more work than if you had just stayed home.  I use it in the same tongue-in-cheek manner in which I used it the first week the boys were home after school ended in June.  Let me tell you something right now – MY idea of a vacation involves a lot more alcohol and a lot fewer trips through the McDonald’s drive-thru.

Hubby packed his week’s worth of necessities in one small carry-on sized suitcase.  Underwear? Check.  Swim trunks? Check.  Toothbrush? Check.  

And he was done.

I packed for myself and the rest of the family, which was a 4 day venture.  I had to wash and dry all of our clothes so that I’d have plenty from which to choose.  (I have a propensity to spill on my “shelf,” so I always travel with a LOT of white shirts.)  Then I had to bring the giant you-could-fit-a-body-in-there-if-you-had-to suitcase upstairs from the basement. 

I had a list, complete with little boxes to check off because, well, have you MET me? . . .

This year, as an added treat, my entire family shared a house at the beach.  It was my dad; my brother Slim and his wife; my brother The Redneck (who did not bring any of his ex-wives, hehe,) and his three children; and my family of five.  Collectively, we traveled from Northern Virginia, West Virginia, and South Carolina.

For those of you who are confused already, the important information to glean from this cast o’ characters is that there was only ONE mommy on duty.  ONE. 

The following is an abbreviated list of the mommy tasks for which I was responsible.  (In all fairness, no one asked me to or made me be the mommy, but I've discovered that "Motherhood" is a reflex that you can’t turn off.)

The Parrot Heads called.
They're looking for
their mascot.

  • make sure that six children wear sunscreen.
  • make sure that six children shower/bathe after leaving the beach, wash their hair, and use actual soap AND shampoo.
  • make sure everyone remembers to wear underwear (this mostly just applies to my Medium, and possibly my dad on one occasion.)
  • make sure no one sleeps with the tv on all night.
  • make sure all bike riders are wearing helmets.
  • remind the children that if a car hits you on the Beach Rd. at 35 miles an hour because you weren’t paying attention, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.  (Your mother, however, MIGHT blame me. . . )
  • wash 13 beach towels.  Repeat.
  • make children pay me a quarter for every time they utter the words “I’m bored.”  I'm pretty sure this is how we're going to fund their college education.
  • make sure no one gets overly tired or overly hungry so we can avoid a meltdown bigger than my a$$ in a swimsuit.
  • concede that Mommy made a huge mistake by insisting that the sand isn’t that hot and that we could climb the largest sand dune on the east coast in our bare feet. . . at noon, on a sunny day, in August.  Oops.
  • take Small outside the restaurant to burn energy so that the only dinner he ruins is mine.
  • keep my introverted brother, Slim, from having a massive head explosion once he is exposed to the chaos that defines my everyday life.
  • try to convince The Redneck that unless you’re Jimmy Buffet, you need not be fixin’ to wear that Hawaiian shirt.
  • make sure that when a group leaves the house, the same number of children who left is the same number of children who return.
  • talk Hubby down from the ledge after he tells Medium, who is dying of thirst, (I know this because of the incessant repetition of “I’m sooooo thirsty” and the dramatic collapse into the sand.  I’m quite perceptive,) that “you’ll never drink water again.  No more water for you!  Ever!”  The short-tempered apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, folks.
  • make sure that, while it is common practice to pee in the ocean, (oh stop it, you know you do it too,) that one does not poop in the ocean.  For that, we walk back to the house.
  • make sure no one drowns.  At least not on my watch.
  • wash swimsuits for those attendees who packed only one swimsuit for 7 days at the beach.
  • make sure no one in our party looks directly at my dad’s legs lest they risk blindness, since his gams clearly haven’t seen the sun since the last time he was in the Outer Banks in 1975.  This is also known as the last time I wore a bikini.
  • make sure that Small’s ingestion of sand is minimal, even though his daytime diet consists mostly of sand-covered apple slices, sand-covered grapes, sand-covered goldfish, and a sand-covered sippy.

At one point I wiped out in a giant wave, and I crashed directly into my 69-year-old father.  Once I made sure he was still standing, breathing, and had a normal pulse, the only thing I could think of to say was “that’s a whole lotta woman comin’ atcha, isn’t it, Dad?”

We had a great time, but I am so glad to be home.  I had about all the family togetherness I can stand.

Yep, he dressed himself.
You gotta pick your battles.

Friday, August 12, 2011

High School Reunion: part 2

I debated what I was going to wear to my reunion and even went out and bought a new outfit, but in the end, Hubby said, “why don’t you just wear that hippie dress you like so much.”  It’s cotton, it’s casual, and it’s comfortable, so I agreed.  He kept reminding me that I didn’t need to get dressed up all fancy-like; “you’re going to a bar.  In Manassas.”  Granted, Manassas is not a thriving metropolis like New York City or Los Angeles, and indeed, our reunion was not at The Palm, but still. 

So I wore my hippie dress – a blue strapless maxi dress.  It was a good choice because, as my mother used to say, it covered a multitude of sins.  I tried it WITH spanx and without.  The thing is, my Spanx must have shrunk in the wash because I had a helluva time getting those suckers on.  There was a lot of pulling and stuffing and maneuvering and persweating.  All kindsa sexy.  I’ll pause for that image to sink in . . .

I did my hair and applied makeup.  And by did my hair, I mean washed it and dried it and broke out the curling iron, all on the same day.  I had showered, all by myself, without anyone barging in to ask if I can turn on the tv or reach the cereal or “smell this.”  Finally I was on my way.

We had a great turnout at the reunion, although we were not able to get in touch with everyone with whom we graduated, and many people were simply unable to attend. Everyone seemed so much more laid back. 

SO very laid back.

At one point, someone (who shall remain nameless, but you know who you are) broke the cardinal rule and asked me the dreaded “When are you due?”


My response?  “You bitch!  I’m not pregnant!  I’m fat!  You KNOW better than to ask that question!” 

Rest assured, this exchange was all very good-natured and laid back.

She was SO apologetic and embarrassed, and I kept saying things like
“clearly my Spanx is NOT working!”
“I’m drinking beer!  Of course, I AM drinking for two, you know.”

Later, in the restroom, I looked at myself in the mirror and declared, “ I DO look pregnant!  I look four months pregnant!  Why didn’t anybody tell me I look pregnant in this dress!  It’s a beer baby!  It’s not a real baby!” 

See how gracefully and tactfully I handle a little embarrassment? 

Seriously, I am well aware that I need to lose a few 50 pounds and I have been open about my struggles.  But just to clarify:
THIS is me pregnant:

THIS is me fat: 

You see the difference, right?  Please, tell me you see the difference!

Other highlights of my evening:
  • I apparently told the dentist ALL about my root canal.

  • I told the CPA, whom I have known since elementary school, to be sure to tell his mom that she was “the BEST substitute teacher EVER!  She read us James and the Giant Peach!” So cool.

  • I reminded the Wrestling Coach, the CPA, and the Dentist about a time years ago that we ran into each other at a bar in Richmond, which prompted a discussion on all the different places we had peed in the bar.  Just so you know, I only peed in the restroom.  It was the Men’s room, but still.

  • I was reassured by my girlfriend that yes, my high school boyfriend is INDEED pining away for me and considers me the one that got away, and that he does this while happily married with a wife and beautiful daughter.  I THINK there may have been some sarcasm infused in this conversation.

  • I felt up the Barber.  I couldn’t help myself.  His boobs pecs are bigger than mine.

  • I reminded the Nurse all about the time we ran into each other at the Gynecologist's office, when she politely excused herself from my exam.  Um, thanks for that.

  • I told the Clemson grad her hair is just as big now as it was then.  So tactful.

  • While talking to my girlfriends, with whom I have frequent contact, I told them, “I see you b*tches all the time.  I’m going to mingle.”  It's a wonder I have any friends at all.

  • I came this close to asking the woman in the bathroom stall next to me, (thinking it was my girlfriend,) to help me pull up my Spanx.  It was NOT her.  That could have been embarrassing.

  • I put my name tag all over the Employees Must Wash Hands sign so that it instead said BoyMommy Must Wash Hands.  Apparently I thought this was HILARIOUS.

  • Curious as to how they manage to keep all their patrons straight when a roomful of people is ordering drinks,  I asked the waitress if they used special code names, and was mine “b*tch in the blue dress.”

  • I put my business card (free on Vista Print!) in everyone’s cleavage and/or breast pocket at the end of the night in hopes of promoting my blog.   

  • I also reminded people to click on my ads on the blog because that’s how I make some money.  I’ve made six bucks so far!  I’m gonna have to open up an off-shore bank account.

  • I made a friend re-take a photo because "my arm looks like a thigh!"  Unfortunately, when he re-took it, my response was, "now it looks like a whole leg." 

I guess my arms get fat when I'm four months pregnant with a beer baby.


Monday, August 8, 2011

High School Reunion: Part 1

Holy Hangover, Batman!  I am officially too old to party. 

My 20th high school reunion was this past weekend.  I know what you’re thinking . . . “but BoyMommy, you look WAY too young to have been out of high school for 20 years.”  But, alas, it is true; two decades have passed since I last walked the halls of my high school.

I dropped Small off at my brother Slim’s house, essentially so his new bride could take care of my offspring.  As is the case ANY time I try to treat myself to a night of drinking and general debauchery, the Mommy Guilt is thrown in my face; Small got stung twice by bees, so my SIL called to ask what she could do and to reassure me that all was well.  She kept apologizing, and I kept telling her that sh*t happens.  Mother of the Year . . . again!  I worried about him until that first beer kicked in.  Then I was okay.

My adventure began at the swanky digs known as the Olde Towne Inn.  It’s very fancy.  I know it’s fancy because of all the E’s. 

 The motel was not bad.  You get what you pay for, right?  I’m anxious to see the credit card bill so I can determine whether I was charged for the entire night or I was charged by the hour.  

My first task was to remove the comforter from the bed.  I usually travel with my own blanket so I don’t have to use the hotel blankets, but in my haste to escape my house get to the motel, I forgot it.  I called the front desk and asked for an extra blanket.

I did not ask for exotic truffles or fine caviar.  Just a blanket, thanks.

“Ooooh,” the front desk manager replied.  “I’m not sure I have a key to the Maid’s Closet.”

I was a little surprised that the Maid’s Closet was ensconced in such heavy security, but whatevs.

“What do you need a blanket for anyway in this kinda weather?” she asked accusingly. 

Did she think I was trying to swindle the hotel out of money and that I was harboring unaccounted-for guests? 

Incredulous, I replied, “It’s really none of your business why I am requesting an extra blanket.  I am a paying customer and my wishes come first, regardless of your personal opinion about my sleeping habits.  If you must know, I do not want your semen-encrusted bedspread anywhere near my face because I have watched one too many Dateline NBC episodes.  Furthermore, I’m afraid a black light would reveal “evidence” that would support my claim that the communal bedspread at the Olde Towne Inn has not been cleaned recently and therefore belongs nowhere near the vicinity of my face.”

Except it came out more like, “Um, I just like an extra blanket when I’m sleeping.” 

I mean no disrespect to the Olde Towne Inn, because it served its purpose . . . which was mainly be-close-to-the-bar-so-I-can-party-like-it’s-1991. 

I do, however, have photo evidence of what a fine establishment it is.

To Be Continued . . .
(It was Reunion Weekend and I haven’t even gotten out of the hotel yet.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Things I Have Learned Since Graduating From High School

I’ve had the yearbook out lately, and I have come to several conclusions.

1.  Feathered hair was a BAD idea.  I hot-rolled my loooong hair every day, except on days when I wore it in a ponytail or a French braid, but no matter what . . . I had the feathers.  Feathers with pulled-back hair looks like a girl-mullet.

Exhibit A:
2.  The nerds are taking over the world.  Years later when I became a high school teacher myself, I remember looking at my students – the jocks, the nerds, the popular kids, the kids-who-eat-on-the-floor-outside-the-cafeteria.  I had a student who was having a particularly hard time fitting in, and I remember telling her that, unfortunately, for many of the “popular” kids, this is IT for them.  These really ARE the best days of their lives.  Outside of this little pond, many of them won’t amount to much.

I taught senior English my first year out of college.  One “popular” boy worked at a shoe store in the local mall.  All cool and funny, he entered class one day and announced that he worked with a guy who knew me from high school, “and he said you were a band geek.”  Of course, the class thought this was hilarious; this cocky kid had just knocked the teacher down a few pegs.  My response?  “I went to college, got a degree, and now I’m your teacher.”  I paused for effect and to make sure my voice was as smug as humanly possible, “and he’s working with YOU at the Athlete’s Foot . . . “

Big Hair.  Feathers.
Teeth, post-braces.
Thanks, Mom and Dad!
3.  Our 20 year reunion is fast approaching, and I have several friends who are not attending for various reasons.  I know people get nervous about attending reunions, and I am the first to admit that I went on a shopping spree so I could find something “fat and sassy,” which is how I justified my purchase to my hubby.  I gotta work what I got. 

But you know what?  I’m not the head of Microsoft.  I haven’t even had a paycheck in eight years.  We have all seen varying levels of success, and we measure success differently.  What really matters is the people we’ve become.  (Is that too After-School-Special-Hallmark-Hall-of-Fame cheesy?)  I’m so glad I’m not the girl I was 20 years ago. 

4.  We have all made decisions that have led us to where we are today, and who knows who I’ll be 20 years from now. 

Yes, boys, this is what
you missed out on . . .
rolled jeans, Hard Rock
Sweatshirt, (even though
I had never actually
BEEN to Hard Rock,)
and hair that needed to
be cut about 2 years ago.
I’m glad I left for college as a single woman and that I am not currently the First Lady of Taco Bell.  I treasure my memories of my high school sweetheart, but we wanted different things out of life.  Every boy I ever dated was a step towards finding the man I married.  All those old boyfriends were Mr. Wrong for me, but I bet they’re making damn good husbands to someone else.  (As a sidenote, this is unfortunate because they are SUPPOSED to be pining away for me for the rest of their lives.  You know . . .  Kicking themselves for letting me go and fondly remembering all those mix tapes they made me.)

5.  There’s a reason I never made the cheerleading squad.  If you’ve ever attended an aerobics class with me, you know why.

6.  Wine is SO much better than wine coolers, and Boone’s Strawberry Hill will kick your @ss if you drink two bottles of it by yourself in the course of a few hours.  I have distinct memories of praying for the sweet release of death.  But that’s the only memory I have from that night.

7.  It is an absolute blessing that none of us were killed while driving recklessly on Lake Jackson Drive.  

8.  I DID know gay people in high school.  I just didn’t know it yet.  How 'bout that.

9.  Men look better as they age.  When I look at photos of Hubby when he was in high school, I still see the man I married, but he’s so much more handsome and distinguished now than he was then.  Meanwhile, I’m kicking myself for making my color appointment for the week after our reunion knowing that everyone is going to see my Cruella DeVille grey streaks.

10.  Speaking of hair . . . if we, collectively, as a senior class, could have donated all that big hair to Locks of Love, can you imagine how many wigs that would have made?

11.  Just as I suspected, I couldn’t tell you ONE thing I learned from reading The Federalist Papers.