Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wedding Cake Topper, Actual Size

So this weekend is the prom, and my son is excited.

No, I mean the child is really, really excited.

You'd have to know my child to fully understand how trying he can be when he looks forward to something. He tends to get a bit obsessive. In fact, he broke up with his last girlfriend after she told him, "You know, your mom IS right. You do obsess over things."

At least he obsesses over good things, and it's with anticipation and not dread. If that were the case, that child would be the death of me. I've heard about prom and the ever changing plans for months now. I try to be patient, understanding, and not kick my child in the shin after hearing the same details 389 times in one week. I know it's important to him.

I think he finally got his prom budget down from about $1250 to $300 or so. He did want to rent a limo, and when he found out how much that cost, he thought they might go to dinner and a carriage ride before prom. Then he found out how much that cost. The next plan was going to dinner nearby, a nice, but not ritzy place.

The last I heard, he's driving my car and they are going for a BBQ at some girl's house before prom. And yes, he's changing out of his tux while he eats. That would be nothing short of disasterous. I think everything is under control and every last detail is worked out. Now, if I could start bleeding money, life would be grand.

When I ordered the corsages for him, I told the lady she could go the extra mile on his date's wrist corsage. She's a senior, my son's a junior, and they are going just as friends. I hoped a few more beads and rhinestones would make it more special for her because I know all about going to prom with a friend.

I was a junior, dateless, and for some reason, I had it in my head that I needed a date for the prom. Though no one asked me. I was the shy, chubby girl with glasses. I had plenty of friends, a lot of them guys, but I didn't have a boyfriend in my high school career. Couples from our "group" of friends were pairing up, and before anyone got the wild idea to play matchmaker, I picked up the phone.

"Lance, hey, I was wondering," I said. "Would you like to go to prom together? As friends, you know. Just friends."

I wanted him to know he was under no obligation to consider me his date under any circumstances. I knew he got dumped by his girlfriend a few weeks prior to my phone call, and I also had a pretty good suspicion that I was dateless for a reason. I was getting desperate.

"Yeah, that would probably be alright," he said. "I'm glad you asked me because I didn't want to go with someone who was taller than me."

You see, Lance was a short guy, and if I wore the proper costuming, I could be mistaken for being on my way to Munchkinland. It's possible that I was the only one in our class who wasn't taller than Lance.

I told him that I had a white dress, and I was going for light pink accents. I suggested he get a black tux. "I'd really like a white one," he told me.

"No, I'd really prefer that you get a black one. I don't want to look like a bride and groom. Get black with a light pink cumberbund and tie," I suggested heavily.

A few weeks passed. I had my fingerless lace gloves with pink and white ribbon trailing so low it was a good possibility that I might trip over the ribbon. I did my hair up in a bow, as it was the Madonna "Like a Virgin" era.

Lance and I needed to make our rounds to our family to have our pics taken. He showed up just in time, and when he got out of the car, there he was in a WHITE TUX. Not only did we look like a bride and groom, we looked like a wedding cake topper, actual size.

For the rest of the evening, everyone commented on how "cute" we looked, me at 5'1" with my big Madonna hair, and Lance at maybe 5'3". Oh wait, I wore heels, so we were the same height. I dragged him to see my mom at my grandparents' house. Then we were off to see his grandparents.

I could have been given a heads up that his grandma wasn't quite in possession of a full deck. We stopped by, and she insisted that she need to find the old Kodak Brownie camera to take our picture. She asked me several times who I was, and insisted that I was someone she knew as a child. Dementia, perhaps Alzheimer's before anyone really knew what Alzheimer's was. She was ready to go to the attic to get the camera when Lance's grandpa reminded her they hadn't used that camera in years. Then she started digging through drawers to find it.

Lance only gave me a shrug, and I was thinking, "Shit, you could have warned me as to what to expect."

Overall, prom with the theme of "Puttin' on the Ritz," for me was less than enthralling. We ate dry chicken in a decorated gym. At times, one might have been able to forget that the gymnasium and bleachers were behind the crepe paper streamers. We stayed until the formal part was over, and then we were given a half hour to go change, and get back for the all-night party.

The band was horrific, if I recall. They were to the chorus of Reo Speedwagon's "I Can't Fight This Feeling," before anyone "named that tune." The cafeteria had been transformed into a casino, with parents manning the different booths. I gave Lance all my "fun money," and I didn't see him most of the night while I danced with my friends.

Even though there was some angst over not having a real date, I did look forward to prom. I had a great time picking out my dress and accessories to match. While it was fun hanging out all night with my friends, I didn't really see what the big deal was.

As my son goes on and on about prom and how much fun it's going to be, it's taken all I've got to not caution him to not have great expectations that it will be the greatest night ever. Maybe he won't be let down or slightly disappointed. Though I'm sure he'll have a good time going with his friend. At least they won't start out the evening looking like something you'd find on top of a wedding cake.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Death Hag, Anyone?

I've always been accused of being a little out there. A year or so ago, my high school English teacher showed up at our book club meeting to give us a report on a book called Spilling Clarence. You'll have to google if you want to know the author because I don't have the energy.

So, while she's describing the author, she says, "She's a lot like our girl here. She doesn't exactly view the world like the rest of us do. She sees things a bit differently than most of us."

At first, I thought wow, maybe that's not a good a thing. But I've since realized, the one defining difference between myself and others is that I'm more willing to articulate the thoughts I do have. While some might poo-poo and hush concepts and ideas that aren't the norm, I do think most people actually have bizarre, unconventional thoughts. They just squelch them because of that "what will the neighbors think?" mentality. Any more, I don't give a rat's ass, which is one merit of growing older.

That being said, I've always had a fascination with the paranormal and death. When I was a little girl, I flipped through my grandma's photo albums, complete with photos of those who went before me lying in a casket. Tucked right in there with photographs from birthday parties and weddings, there was great-grandpa deader than a door nail. (My grandma actually carries photos in her purse of my grandpa lying in his casket. Is it strange? To most, probably, but I'm essentially immuned to her hobby of death photography.)

I've tromped through cemeteries most of my life. Not because I think a ghost is going to pop up and say hello. I like them because of the history. I love looking at old gravestones. I read the dates, calculate in my head, and wonder why and how the person lived so long or died so young. The only day I missed of high school, a few friends and I used Senior Skip Day to visit the grave of James Dean in Fairmount, IN.

I love a good cemetery. Personally, though, I don't want to be buried. I'd take a masoleum if truly given a choice, but even then I have a problem with my body lying around decaying. I don't much see the point of it. Cremation would be an option, however. If someone feels that I need to be planted and continue taking up space on this earth, I'd prefer that. I suppose it doesn't much matter since I'll be dead, anyway.

I managed to stumble upon I started clicking on various names, and boy howdy, was I hooked. Ever wonder when, where, and how someone died? Interested in their autopsy report or last will and testament? How about how they spent their last days upon earth?

It's worth checking out. This guy Scott has a twisted sense of humor, and a good writing style to match it. But, I will recommend, if you're a bit on the pansy-squeamish side, heed his warnings before clicking on photos of bodies at crime scenes. If you're freaked by seeing photos of the dead in their coffin, don't click when you're warned that something might be oogy.

I'm almost reluctant to admit that I've spent a week now on the site, and I think I've read all there is to read. I was a bit disturbed by the story of G.G. Allin. When it says it's kinda gross in all his glory, it is. But did that stop me? Nope, I couldn't wait to click.

I don't know that my life has been enriched knowing the last moments of Bill Bixby or Tiny Tim, but then again, I'm not quite right.

Another Week, Another Week

Well, it's been one of those weeks in the Phsaw household. It's been one of those weeks for like three years now, if you want to get technical.

I'm not loving this whole getting up early and having to to engage my brain and body before having a pot of coffee. Though I am realizing, getting out of bed is 3/4 of the battle. Once I'm up and moving, it's not so bad.

The oldest child called Wednesday evening from work.

"Uhh, Mommy?" he greeted me. Yes, I knew something was amiss. Either he was asking for permission to do something or he had done something. "I kinda need to go the emergency room."

Kinda? That's kinda like being kinda pregnant. Either you do or you don't. He explained he was playing momma's little Hercules, and managed to drop something on his head at work while carrying too much at one time. He lacerated himself just above his eyebrow. Someone from work was taking him to the ER, and he didn't want me there.

Naturally, my husband wasn't home, but he offered his fair share of parenting advice via the phone. I called the ER and gave them permission to treat my son. And I waited. And I waited. I waited. You see the trend here? His first call was at 7 p.m. He didn't get home until almost 10:30 p.m. They ended up gluing him shut. He's fine.

Anyway, my son works in a nursing home. One evening he was taking out some trash and called because he had to tell me what he'd just seen. In the living room/day room thing they have for the old folk, they were all gathered around the big screen TV watching....get this...the "Rock of Love 2" marathon. My son was giggling like a French Quarter whore.

Ahh, that Bret Michaels...uniting and bringing generations together while searching for love.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Where Did They Go?

These children. Sometimes, I look at them and think, "Where did you come from?" Sometimes, it's moment where I'm beaming with pride over one of their accomplishments. And other times, I'm looking at them with total disgust unable to imagine that their foul mouth belongs to something that I actually birthed.

I mean, I know where they came from. I did take health in school, and sat through through those "You're Becoming a Woman" movies in elementary school. I know the science behind their existences.

They've grown up so fast. And everyone tells you, "Enjoy those younger years. They grow up so fast, and the next thing you know, they'll be off starting their own families." Well, they sure weren't shitting with those words of wisdom. My little ones have grown into somewhat independant young men.

I vividly recall when my youngest was maybe 2 years old, if that. I worried about sending him off to kindergarten. I was a worrier. I guess I didn't realize at that point that he would grow and mature, and by the time kindergarten rolled around, there was a good chance he'd be socially and mentally ready to head off for his first day of school.

I've got worrying down to an art form. Seriously. Every time he gets in his truck to drive, I hope he arrives at his destination and back again in one piece. At 17, he continually assures me that I'm over-protective. I hear all the time that I need to cut the apron strings, sever the umbilical cord, etc. and so forth.

This kid, though...I spend a lot of time shaking my head. After taking Home Ec in eighth grade, he decided he was going to make some tomato soup. My husband had advised me that I needed to let them do things for themselves. Otherwise, they'd be 35, still living in our house, and playing Runescape on our computer.

I thought he could handle it. It was only soup. He opened the can. He poured the contents into a saucepan. He added half a can of milk and half a can of water...a compromise he learned from dear old mom because dear old dad likes his milk, and milk makes dear old mom have a gut ache.

I watched from the living room, which is a direct shot from the kitchen through the dining room. He looked a little confused. I squinted to see which burner he had on. I could have sworn from the 20 some feet away, it looked like the oven was on.

When I intervened and asked why the oven was on, he said he set the stove to broil. "Because that's what you do, right? You broil soup?"

Oy. I'm not saying they don't need me. What I'm saying is that they're way past needing me with every fiber of their being to remain alive. It's not that I'm complaining, but I like to remember those days when they were little and I was "mommy" or "momma."

Now, most of the time, they call me "Pita" or by my name. It's a long story, but seldom have my kids called me "mom." There have been a series of nicknames, which I don't mind so much. When you're in a crowded store and hear "mom" being bellowed, I don't often turn around thinking one kid has ran over the other's one head with a cart or something.

"Pita" derived from "Pepita," which was my Spanish name in my high school Spanish class. I've been called that for three years now after my oldest son had to come up with a Spanish name for his class. I've been "Kiki" and "Monique," for reasons I'm unsure of.

Those "mommy" days seem like eons ago. Like when I'd brush my son's hair and he'd tell me, "Easy on the scotch." Of course, he meant scalp, and wasn't telling me to stop drinking.

There was the time that my youngest looked at me and told me that my eyes reminded him of the primer button on the weedeater.

Another favorite of mine is when we were coming home from DQ one evening. The youngest, who was about 4 at the time, told his older brother, then 6, "Stop antagonizing me."

My husband asked if he knew what antagonizing meant. He replied, "Yes, it means he's driving me to drinking."

Ahh, those were the days when my oldest would sing that Evan McCain song. Instead of, "I'll be your crying shoulder," he said, "I'll be your frog and soda."

Maybe I'm not only thinking, "Where did you come from?" but "Where did that little boy go?"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit

I just saw a commercial for First Response pregnancy tests. No, I'm not in need of one. I think I'd be in need of some heavy duty mood altering substances if I did. I caught the part that said digital reading, and it tells you yes or no. No pluses or minuses. No lines. No tiny balls turning color.

That's sure come a long way since I first peed on a stick.

In fact, the first one I ever used, I didn't even pee on a stick. I had to pee in a cup and transfer it to a little tube. Once I did that, I had to put a little stick with two balls into the vial. Then I had to wait to see if one of the balls turned pink. I'll tell you what, when you're a little nervous about being pregnant in the first place, and you have no comparison to what color of pink the one ball might become, you get a little nutty. Your eyes begin playing tricks on you, and the second ball definitely looks pink. I lived in terror for a few days until my body gave me the deciding factor that the ball had not changed colors. Whew.

When I took a pregnancy test and found out I was going to have our oldest son, I didn't even pee on a stick then, either. I had to pee in a cup, and then deposit a precise number of drops into the top of this little square looking thing. Then carefully, as to not flip urine into my eyes, I had to remove the top part of the square by pulling up on a tab. After five minutes, I would get a plus or minus sign to tell me whether or not I was pregnant.

The plus sign was unmistaken. It was there in all it's glory. But you know what I did? I told my husband I didn't think the one line was dark enough, and I didn't think we were pregnant. He assured me it was a plus sign. What did I do next? I cried. I didn't know nothing about birthin' no babies, and I was scared.

The next pregnancy test I took to determine if our second bundle of joy was on the way, I again had to pee in a cup, and then use a plastic dropper thing to put my output into a little top "window." I didn't wait five minutes before checking on it, and I watched as it seeped through the test to the main window and that plus sign was instant presto! There was no doubt if it was a false positive or a trick of light. But I knew anyway. I was sicker than a dog for two weeks, hardly able to tolerate 7-up.

Come to think of it, I've never peed on a stick, much less one with a digital read out to tell me if I'm knocked up. Well, don't think I'm going to make it a goal of mine. But none the less, technology never fails to amaze me.

Here's an interesting site and another one

Hey, at least I never had to have a little rabbit surrender its life in order to tell me.

The Best Laid Plans Should Never Be Laid

See my nervous tic? I'll tell ya why I have it. It's because every time I try to make plans, keyword being try, I end up sounding like Snidely Whiplash from the "Bullwinkle" cartoons.

Oh curses, foiled again!

I had to get up at the crack of dawn this morning. Well, technically it wasn't even the crack of dawn quite yet. Though speaking of crack, either I might before the day is over...or I could most definitely use some.

I laid in bed a few minutes, and gave some consideration to how the day might play out. I'd get the child to the school by 6:45. I'd come home, get the other kid off to school at 7:30, and then since I was up already, I'd workout. If I worked out for at least 30 minutes, and providing I could stand my stench, I could sit down and do some writing for another half hour. Then I'd hit the shower, do the dishes, start some laundry, make myself presentable, and go run some errands. So long as I didn't get sucked into squandering my time on the 'net, I could probably manage several hours of writing, housework, and sneak in some outside work time.

There was a method to my madness.

I've needed to work out for some time now. This damn fabled middle-aged spread isn't so much a fable as it's non-fiction. How I got old enough to have back fat is beyond me, but there it is. When last year's loose shorts fit fine this season, I figured it was time to get active.

Last night, when I couldn't sleep for whatever unknown reason, I did some writing in my head for the Brady blog. Usually, I retain what was in my head until the next morning. I know I should get up and write stuff down, or even scribble key notes in the dark. But putting a notebook by my bed would be planning ahead, and shit like that just doesn't work or me. I figured I would remember what I'd thought about last night, and I could get it written in record time since I did the ole rough draft in my brain.

The past two weeks have been peppered with gorgeous days. Who would like to guess what the weekends have been like, though? They have sucked with the exact opposite of gorgeous weather. This annoys me as well because you know who is going to get to do all the cleaning up and yard work. Yeah, me. Because the weather is only nice when I'm the only one home. Arghh.

The reason for me getting up before any person should ever have to leave the comfort of their bed was because the youngest son was due to start driver's training, the book part, this morning.

Why mothers drink reason #126 - two teenagers behind the wheel.

But that's another rant. Anyway, I got up at 6. My husband sent me a text advising that I might want to leave a few minutes early to take the child to the school because it was foggy as hell. So foggy, in fact, that they issued a two hour delay a few minutes after I got up.

The youngest was freakin' out. "What about driver's training? Did they have it anyway? Will it be at 8:45 instead of 6:45? If you didn't take me and I needed to be there, I'm going to be screwed. You can't miss one day of it. It will be all your fault."

As if I haven't heard that a gazillion times or more. It's always my fault.

His mini-meltdown was while I was on the phone with the school and their new automated answering system. Ever have a 15 year old drama mama in one ear and a system asking you to press a series of more than one number? "If you'd like to reach the high school, please press 559743832980000." Pressing 1 as an option would be far too easy.

When I realized there was no one at the school to take my call, I hung up and made another phone call to someone who might be in the know. About this time, my husband is beeping with call waiting to tell me there's a two hour school delay. Between the beeping and my son's pacing around, to put it loosely, I was ready to beat someone to a bloody pulp.

The oldest was still in bed, and the youngest went out to roll in the mud before school. I finally got a live person at the school and found out there would be no driver's training today and one day would be added at the end of the course. That didn't matter, however, because they cancelled school due to the foggy conditions. It's not so unusual for that to happen. In fact, 9 times out of 10, it happens on a Monday.

I was left with two children and plans that weren't going to pan out. I know a healthy attitude is to expect adversity, but sometimes, it gets ridiculous.

To quote Styx, "Nothing ever goes as's a hell of a notion." I'm going back to flying by the seat of my pants. It's less stressing. I might even make the oldest take his brother to driver's training tomorrow. I'll stay in bed and not plan out my day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Ingenious One

My husband can be a bit of perv as illustrated by this story.

I sent him a text asking if he could pick up a few things on his way home.

He replied saying only if he got a nipple pic.

I said he was getting homemade potato salad and steak on the grill for dinner, and that really should be enough.

He said nope, nipple pic.

Well, I wasn't about to snap a shot of any of my parts and send it off.

I found the cat that has some kittens, flipped her over, and took a nipple shot.

He sent a text saying he couldn't see it well.

I said it was Baby Girl's nipple, and he didn't say what kind of nipple he wanted a pic of.

He had the nerve to call me sick.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Excitement Abounds

Well, what an exciting week.

I'd like to introduce you to my new bff.

I don't have a picture of it, but imagine if you will a LG Rumor, in the lovely green color.

I don't know how I've lived this long without text messaging. Seriously, I never understood it before, and I always had the undying desire to shove phones into various orifices of texters. But I see the appeal now. It's easy. Lot quicker than picking up the phone and calling someone to tell them something simple.

And the pull-out keyboard? Oh my, I'm in love. I didn't have an unlimited text plan with my old phone, may it rest in peace after being smashed with a hammer for the heck of it. It was utter confusion trying to figure out how to backspace when I typed the wrong letter. I managed to send texts with only a bunch of gibberish while trying to get back to the beginning to start over. It just didn't work for me. I didn't even know how to compose a text. I could answer one, but that was about the extent of my ability.

But this new phone, oh yes, we will be friends for a very long time.

Though I promise I'm not going to become one of those people. You know the sort that can't finish a meal or go through the grocery without using their cell. I don't do that now because I think people look like total idiots walking around talking while tossing a loaf of bread in their cart. What is especially amusing to me are those who are so important that they have an earbud and they appear to be talking to no one as they vacilliate between bologna and old-fashioned loaf. When I see someone blocking an aisle because they've stopped to text, I want to ram their heels with my cart. And from personal experience, that hurts. It would get the point across.

That was the highlight of the week.

The rest involves a bad case of vertigo. I had it last year at about this time, and I was convinced I was dying of some exotic, incurable disease. I didn't know what vertigo even was until I explained the symptoms to my husband.

Whenever I rolled over at night in bed, I got this sensation that I was being flung from a tilt-a-whirl. Unsettling, at best. It tends to make you wake up with a gasp and a scream when you think your surroundings are moving but you are not.

"You've got vertigo," my husband told me.

"Vert-i-what?" I asked.


"Wasn't that a Hitchcock movie? Had something to do with birds?"

After he cleared it up for me, and that vertigo had nothing to do with a movie about having your eyes pecked out by crows, I looked it up on Google. It passed, and I only noticed it while lying down. At the same time, my sinuses were making me nutsy, cuckoo, crazy and my ear was plugged up.

It was no different this time except I got that dizzy, room-spinning, going to fall flat on my ass feeling anytime I tilted my head or stood up. A few times, I was sitting still when it felt like someone spun me around in a desk chair - except I wasn't sitting in a desk chair. It's not been fun, though it's better today. My head and ear are all plugged up, but I'll live, I suppose.

I did head out to the grocery on Wednesday when the symptoms were at their worst. I had no choice. Someone had to go, and my husband was going to be out of town. It wasn't so bad as long as I made no sudden moves, which totally goes against my shopping philosophy of get in, get it done, and get the hell out of there.

But while shopping, I observed this little old man guy. Short little dude, totally white-haired buzz cut. He looked like it'd been a few days since he'd shaved. He walked with a bit of a stagger, carrying one arm folded across his chest. On closer inspection, one side of his face looked a bit droopy. Probably a stroke victim. With my vertigo, I was worrying he and I might end up having something in common besides roaming the aisles together.

I passed him several times in the store, and it seemed like he was carrying something different each time. He had bananas, and the next time I saw him, they were gone. Once, he had a quart of 10w-30 motor oil. He finished shopping when I did, and got in line behind me.

He had denture cream, a half-gallon of milk, and kabob skewers. I wouldn't have asked if I could have. I was waiting for a replacement frozen pizza because it wasn't until I was in the check-out did I see that it was missing part of it's protective covering. This meant he was paying for his purchases while I still stood there.

He made this sound that I can only describe as a cross between a rooster crow and a grunt. The young kid working about jumped out of his skin. Watching the exchange was so worth waiting for the slow pizza retriever.

When the little guy spoke, he sounded like a drunken pirate. Bless his little heart.

He said something about the denture cream, after making the rooster grunt.

"I put it in your bag," the nervous youngin' said.

"It's not mine," the little guy told him.

The checker sort of shook his head and smiled.

"Where's my bananas?" he asked and made the rooster grunt again. This time, there was something so gutteral and primal about it that it struck me somewhere in my fight or flight area of the brain, and not a moment too soon. The ditz who'd went after my Tombstone pizza finally arrived with it.

Whew, I was really afraid to see what might happen next.


Monday, April 7, 2008

And 18 Years Have Passed

Today, my husband and I celebrate 18 years of marriage. Wow, 18 years, I know. In 18 years, one can be born and graduate high school. It astounds me. Nope, I don't know where the time has gone. The last I really remember, I turned 21, my husband proposed to me, and it was off to AZ.

My husband and I met over the telephone in the summer of '89. He was stationed in Darmstadt, Germany in the Army at the time. A boy I met from my area was home on leave, went back to Germany, and called me one time when my husband was with him. To make a long story short, he and I started writing letters, talking on the phone, and then he came to meet me in person on Feb. 2, 1990 with an engagement ring in tow.

He proposed on the morning of my 21st birthday, and then left on Valentine's Day for AZ for his next post at Ft. Huachuca. Two months later, I hauled my stuff out there. Back to IN to get married, and two kids and 18 years later, here we are.

We went out Sat. night to celebrate a little early. We had dinner, and then stopped into a hole-in-the-wall bar in the area where the drinks are cheap and the entertainment even cheaper.

The first instance of being mildly amused was during a trip to the bathroom where another lady sat on the toilet and read her text messages and watched video attachments. The second was a couple of very, very drunk good ole boys.

I don't believe I've ever seen anyone as drunk as one of the latter. It was a good thing he sat in a chair against a wall or he likely would have toppled over. He'd get up, stagger around, and I'm not exaggerating when I say he barely took a few steps and had to get his bearings, what little was left of them, that is.

Once, he got up and approached a guy sitting at the bar who had to outweigh drunken good ole boy by at least 200 lbs. "Izzz hurd you wus talkin' sheeit bout me. I hurd ya when I wuzzz sittin' over dere." When he motioned with his head, he had to catch himself on the nearest stool to keep from falling.

At this point, another bar resident chimed in to say that he didn't hear a thing and he'd been sitting there the whole night. I really don't doubt that even though it was only a little after 10 p.m. My husband tapped me on the shoulder to watch the exchange because there was a lot of hand flailing and body language. Drunk guy knocked his hat off his head in all the commotion of getting his point across. (I had to break my attention away from the NCAA game on the TV. I'd pointed at the TV and informed my husband that this is what we do in IN - we watch basketball. Even though I haven't really watched a basketball game in the 18 years we've been married. That's not a NY thing.)

Someone finally convinced the drunk guy that no one was talking smack about him, so he retreated to his seat once again. Good thing for sturdy walls because when he plopped in his chair, his back hit the wall before his behind hit the seat.

I watched one guy buy two $30 Hoosier lottery scratch-offs. He didn't win a penny on either of them. Geez Louise, $60 down the drain. I honestly hope I reach a point in my life where I don't bat an eye losing $60 in ten minutes. This is how domestic I am - I was mentally calculating things like "That would buy 20 gallons of milk or 20 gallons of gasoline. That would pay over half of the electric bill. That's two months of phone bill. I could buy at least two pairs of shoes with $60."

Though the entertainment didn't end there. Drunken good ole boys must have thought it was pert near time to be gettin' on home. The drunkest guy reminded me of a really old "My Name is Earl" main character. He stood up, and walked like he had a hitch in his getty-up. He walked diagonally, not even coming close to the front door. Instead, he stood outside what must have been a closet or some private room. He jiggled the door knob, and when it didn't open, he yelled out, "Where's da damn door?" This incited giggling and looks of horror throughout the bar. So okay, I was the only one who was truly horrified over what might happen next.

"O'r here," his friend answered. He followed the voice much like a blind dog might follow the scent of food.

They made it out the door, both crawling into the cab of a pick-up. "Who got in the driver's seat?" I asked. The lottery guy answered, "The damn fool who couldn't find the door."

We all sat in suspense for a good five minutes. I don't know what they were doing in the truck, but I did see someone light a cigarette in the dark. They started up, and people were starting to place bets on whether they would successfully back out of the parking space. Egads. It was something else.

I actually like those kind of bars. There's never a dull moment. There's always someone trying to fight someone else. Always someone who's had way too much to drink. You never know who you'll meet. One time, I talked to a youngin' who'd worked in New Orleans helping to clean up after the hurricane mess. I talked to a guy who I'd grown up with, but wouldn't have recognized if my life depended on it.

Another time, I had a mexican busboy approach me from the restaurant where we'd dined earlier that evening. I couldn't understand a bit of his broken English except that he was drunk. I'd take a step back from him, and he'd take a step forward. Getting into my personal space, he was. Finally, one of my friends stood up and told him to beat it, and the little mexican guy scurried off faster than I've ever seen a drunk move.

Yep, yep. Good times to be had at those hole-in-the-wall establishments where for ten dollars you can get a buzz and all the entertainment one can handle for a night.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

IAA Here I Come

It was your average Thursday morning.

I got to bed last night a little late because the husband brought me home some wine from Oliver Winery in Bloomington. I love, love, love love love, their blackberry. "How late are we staying up?" I asked him over my second glass of wine. "I'd really like another glass."

It's a really good thing they don't sell that in stores, and you can only get it at the winery that's about a three-hour ride away. If they did, I'd likely be heading out to AA meetings.

I heard the husband's alarm go off, and like a good wife, I went back to sleep. Good wife only that my husband and I aren't morning talkers. He likes to get up, have his coffee, watch the news, etc. without any interruptions.

When I get up, I must have coffee before I can carry on a conversation that makes sense to anyone but myself. He doesn't mind that I stay in bed. He jokes that I need all the beauty sleep I can get, anyway.

I heard the kids get up and start moving around. Then this child made his appearance in the bedroom. YouTube - ACAC 3rd place (He's in the blue.)

"My boots are wet," he said, a little less than friendly. I think sometimes he wishes he could wrestle me like this YouTube - Southern wells Wrestling

It wasn't my fault his gosh darn gee golly boots were wet. I didn't wear them. I didn't drive through a puddle on my motorcycle and get them wet. I like my boots to be black, strappy and spikey, anyway. His aren't my sort.

We reached some resolution about the boot dilemma, though I don't know what it was in my morning haze, and they were on their way to school. That was my cue to get up. I was minding my own business, getting ready to go to the store, and working on a blog entry for my Brady blog. The next thing I know, the cable goes out and no more VH-1. Then the internet went down. Never a good thing when it doesn't come right back on.

I waited about a half hour and called the cable company. I was able to save my blog post before it got swallowed by an unconnected Blogger. Sometimes, when the cable goes down, and for whatever reason, the PBS station still comes in. This was the case. Barney was on. Heaven help me. I don't know how I survived those years when the kids were little watching that crap.

I got the lowdown on the situation. Someone cut an optic fibre something or the other, and it loosely translated into "you think the internet is coming back soon? Ha. That's a good one."

I finally had to leave my home because I couldn't listen to music because Rhapsody was down, and I couldn't check my email or otherwise amuse myself while online. I couldn't post my blog. I could do housework or I could go to the grocery. I had to do something before Barney drove me to finding a cliff to drive my car off of.

I stopped at the eye dr. and picked up some trial contacts. They gave me some brown colors to try. At the rate I'm going, I'll get around to trying them by the time I'm 72. Then it was off to the grocery. Needing only milk, I walked out $162 poorer. That'll last about half a week with the way these kids eat.

I came home and still no internet or TV. Around 2ish, Flavor Flav came on the screen, I took a break and watched. Just as he was about to send someone home, the damned cable went out again.

So, naturally, the next problem was the Vonage phone. We ditched the landline, and if the Vonage service is down, it forwards to my cell phone. Well, that'd be just freakin' fine if my cell wasn't a piece of crap. Indestructable, my ass. After those two kids have gotten done with my phone, one hinge barely dangles and it randomly turns off on its own. Like when I'm trying to call the cable company to inquire about the internet. Ack.

I really threw caution to the wind today and spent a good three hours on writing. Been a while since I did that. But I was getting edgey. I'd watch the cable modem for the telltale sign that it was working again.

It was after 6 p.m. this evening when everything was up and running. That was roughly 7 hours with no email checking, no surfing, no research, no nothing. It wasn't that I necessarily needed to be online. It was the fact that I couldn't be.

Mr. Merry Sunshine wasn't in a much better mood when he got home from school. His boots were still wet. Shame on me for not using my drying powers while he was gone. He finally shushed and went outside when I asked him if he was on his period.

The oldest child apparently ran his gas tank in his truck down to fumes and wasn't sure he was going to be able to make it to work. The kicker there was that I was unsure how much money he had in his checking account, and because the internet was down, I couldn't log in or transfer some money for him.

When the youngest asked me, "Could you look up something on the internet for me?" I nearly snapped. Uh, no, I couldn't.

It might not only need AA, but IAA...Internet Addicts Anonymous. I'm so pathetic.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

On My Mind

"One, two-three-four-five, Badgers, don't take no jive. Six, seven-eight-nine-ten, back it up and do it again."

That's been running through my head since approximately 8 a.m. this morning. It's basically the only cheer I remember from intramural basketball, or would it be intermural, from sixth grade. There were three schools in our district, so probably five teams total vying for the championship title. We only had one sixth grade class at our school. We were "Biberstein's Badgers," because of course, the name of the team had to start with the same letter as the teacher's name. The previous year, we'd been Mann's Mohawks.

But Badgers? I dunno. Those badgers are known for being some pretty fierce dribblers. Something tells me that collectively, we weren't a bunch of creative sorts.

Onto the point of the remininscing is that I was the cheerleader captain. Yeah, it makes me laugh and wonder what happened to me between then and now. I was outgoing, friendly, and obviously convincing enough to make everyone vote me as captain.

Quite convincing I must have been, and confident, too. I couldn't do a cartwheel. Handstand? Nope. Splits? Hah. I started my career of being a chubby girl a few years before that. There are ways my body didn't bend then and will never bend. I didn't master a cartwheel until I was nearly an adult and it was pointed out that my starting position had my hands at wrong angles. I don't know why I never figured it out, or that no one else ever pointed it out.

I wasn't about to do backbends, either. We had mats in the elementary gym to do tumbling on during recess. A girl named Vicki once spotted me in a backbend and dropped me on my head. Talk about hurting like a son of a bitch. The mats were worn thin and there was concrete under that.

I had the saddleshoes and pom-poms, so that might have been how I was elected into my position. Some moms got together and ordered special cheerleading skirts for us and had t-shirts made with a little cheerleader on front and our names on the back. I'm guessing my dad shelled out a good $25 for intramural basketball, for crying outloud.

The one thing I do remember the most is that a boy named Gary, who I secretly had a crush on, got injured while burning trash. A bottle exploded or something, and he was all patched up on his shoulder, which we could all see while he wore his basketball jersey. He was one of our best basketball players, so there was reason enough to worry. But I worried because I had the warm tinglies for Gary.

The night of our last game, which I think we won, my dad took us to McDonald's. There walked in Gary, still in his basketball uniform. I could see the first aid tape and gauze covering his burns. He walked by, nudged into me, smiled and said hi.

I swooned right there in McDonald's.

Gary was my friend. We sat near each other on the bus. He liked to sing "Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Now dat's the workin' of da lord," like from the Merry Melody cartoon in a black boy voice. We played kickball in his yard, had water fights, and generally just hung out and had fun. Well, that was until high school. To say he fell into the wrong crowd is kinda funny since we were such a small community and there really wasn't a lot of trouble to be found or "bad kids." But that's sort of what happened. We stopped talking mainly because while it was fine to talk and joke around on the middle school bus, not a word was uttered on the high school bus. We sat in silence on the ride to school. That's when I lost my friend the first time.

Gary died in 2002 at the age of 32 from a heart attack. From what I heard, he'd gotten his head out of his ass, stopped the drug use, got married, and had a couple kids. He was a little league coach, worked hard, and loved his family. The heart attack, again from hearsay, was attributed to the drug abuse.

I didn't go to the funeral or calling. I couldn't bring myself to do it. And honestly, I don't think anyone knew or even remembered that at one time, Gary had been one of my bestest buds. Those years had long passed, and I was devastated by the news. Not only because I'd lost a classmate, but because it was a huge reminder of my own mortality. There one minute, gone the next.

I still think of Gary sometimes, as his house that he grew up in is just down the street from where I live now. I wonder if he ever knew that I had a huge crush on him, or if he ever pondered why we stopped being friends.

But I do think of him, the sheepish look when he bumped into me at McDonald's, smiled and said hi. That's the Gary I remember, the one who played basketball while I cheered.

"One, two-three-four-five, Badgers, don't take no jive...."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Who Does the April Fool's Thing, Anyway?

He got me. I was gotten. I fell hook, line, and sinker.

My bachelor brother, the one who has never gotten married, never wanted kids, swears he's done nothing in a past life that merits committing to a "death do us part" arrangement, called me today.

"What do you know?" he asked.

"Uhh, virtually nothing as usual," I confessed. "Oh, wait. I could potentially go blind one day due to my mutant optic nerves and severe myopia. That's something new. Woohoo."

He asked me to explain, and he was quite patient. Usually he's rushing me to get to the freakin' point cause I'm known to tell a life story to get to my eventual point. I call it stream-of-consciousness. He calls it "get to the damn point because you're boring me endlessly here."

"Wow, must be a bad day for bad news," he said. After I hit rewind in my brain, I should have noted he said it with a hint of pleasure in his voice. That should have tipped me off.

"Why? What's wrong? What's up?" I inquired like a good big sister should do.

"Well, I knocked up some chick," he said.

"You what?" I didn't let him finish.

"How the hell did that happen? How old is she? How did that happen? How after 35 years and being told after that accident you couldn't have kids did that happen? Oh, shit. I'm going to be an aunt? Holy shit. This is not good."

"She's 20something. I messed up. They said I probably wouldn't be able to have kids," he said.

"Oh, man. That's so not good. What are you going to..." I was getting a bit agitated.

"Umm, do you know what day it is?"

"What do you mean what day it is?"

"Uhh, April Fool's day, dumbass," he said.

Yeah, that's some funny, funny stuff.

Do I Offend? Apparently So

A few weeks ago, I found myself sitting around with a group of well-seasoned women - read a collection of women, some older than my own mother and grandmother. One noted that I must have had a hell of a time lately after reading more recent columns. Why, yes, it was true, but it was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I confessed that I suspected I was in the throes of a true mid-life crisis. Nothing was wrong, per se. But nothing was sure the hell right, either.

One woman commented perhaps it was hormones. Yes, quite possible considering there are nights I wake up wondering if I've wet the bed only to realize it's a horrid bout of night sweats. Yeah, I do so look forward to menopause. (That was sarcasm.)

Another woman suggested I should have another child. My first instinct was to say thanks, but some days I don't want the two kids that I have. Which experience has taught me, even joking about something as such gets a reaction that labels you as a "bad mom" and not a human being with honest feelings and emotions. God forbid that anyone admit to having bad mom days and wondering why you wanted children in the first place. Heavens no, let's not ever be honest and say motherhood can be trying at best, and it's pretty normal to have feelings of misgiving about it. Let's just pretend life is grand and there's never any strife. I hope those rose-colored glasses aren't pinching your face so tightly it's cutting off blood flow to your brain.

I said, "Two are enough, and besides that, I'm too old to be birthing more babies." I honestly believe that. I went on to explain that I personally (another thing I've learned, point out you're merely stating an opinion, not an ultimate truth applicable to all living beings, but a personal preference) think it can be a selfish move to have children when one is rapidly approaching their 40s.

I went on to explain that I have a few friends that didn't start having children until their early 30s. Now, they are closing in on middle age, have a couple holy terrors, and not the energy to contend with active kids. In fact, I know of two cases of late baby poppers who have their children on ADHD meds because they "just can't control their hyper children." Well, let me tell you. Healthy children are active, and when you're young, you have the energy to get up and do it all over again the next day after you've rescued a cat from the dryer or scrubbed Crayola off the ceiling.

I also noted that it seems unfair to me to have a child in late age because you aren't around long enough to be a good part of their life. I explained I realize that you could be hit by a bus tomorrow, leaving your kids orphans, but still. My mom had me when she was in her early 20s and I grew up surrounded by extended family. I knew what it was like to have great-grandparents. Even though I was 30 when my last grandpa passed away, I almost felt cheated somehow that I wasn't done learning from him. I'm very proud and glad that my children have experienced a sense of family.

So now that I'm 39, I didn't think I was in any position to have another child. I'd be well over 60 when the child was graduating college. And even though we're living longer than ever, it saddens me when someone so young loses a parent to nothing more than old age. I again emphasised it was in my opinion only that I was too old to bring another child into this world.

I understand it's different when someone has tried for a decade or more to get pregnant and it finally happens around the time menopause is sneaking in the side door. I realize women end up with a "surprise, it wasn't menopause, but you're knocked up" baby in later years. But for me, no thank you. The baby factory is closed for business.

This didn't set well with a woman who has to be approaching 90, if she's not there already. She said, "My daughter had a baby when she was 42, and her daughter is now 7, and I don't like what you're saying. I don't like it." She pointed her bony, arthritic finger at me while she said it.

I said, "It's only my opinion. My kids have had the benefit of great-grandparents and grandparents. They've had the benefit of me having the energy to keep up with them as toddlers. I'm adult enough to realize it's possible I'll barely have the energy for grandkids. Having kids at 40 isn't for me."

Before I got shot a look of "don't be a troublemaker" from one of the ladies, I surmised that there will be an epidemic of 40somethings having children, patterning the celebrity maternity trend. But what most don't get is celebrities have the cold hard cash that it takes to pay a nanny, a young woman probably in her 20s who can chase a child down and get the Sharpee out of their hand before the artwork becomes permanent.

"Just my opinion, and I'm entitled to one," I said before I knew it was time to hush.

"I don't like what you're saying. I don't like it at all," the older woman said again.

Well, tough. It's not the first time I offended someone, and I doubt it'll be the last.