Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dear Santa Don't GO!

As a child, I was completely in love with all things Christmas.  I lived for the excitement and quite literally quivered in anticipation of Santa's yearly visit.  Santa never let me down, but I never really had many expectations.  I loved every present, no matter what it was, with the exception, perhaps, of the heinous granny panties my parents think are amusing to include in my stocking.  They heehaw over it every, single, stinking year.  Apparently, it's a competition to see which one of them can find the ugliest pair.   If you're a granny in need of some cotton gusset, neon green, leopard print, high enough to touch your boob undies - inbox me.  They're new in package and completely free.  I'll even throw in last year's red velvet and with white fur trim, naughty Mrs. Claus thong as a bonus. (Whoever thought fur hanging off the edge of a thong was sexy may want to rethink that idea.)  Hey, I may not be hip and with it, but I do have standards, People.  Standards.

Anyway.

With the highs come the lows.  After every wonderful, glorious, memory making Christmas, I would bawl my eyes out the next day, when the tree came down, because I didn't want the magic to be over.  

And Miss Chatterbox is exactly like me.  

Christmas morning (aka the 23rd, since The Firefighter had to work both the 24th and 25th), Miss Chatterbox couldn't have been cuter.  She just stood in front of the tree saying, "For Me?  Presents, for me?  Thank you, Santa, so much!  I wuv it!"  It is so completely gratifying to give her gifts because she is so joyful and excited about everything.  I adore that girl!  She made Christmas so much fun!

But, yesterday, we took down the tree and decorations and I thought Miss Chatterbox was going to come unglued!  She just cried and cried and begged us to let her decorate the tree again.  I sat her down and explained that the tree would come out again next year, but it had to come down because her birthday is next week and we need to decorate for that.  While The Firefighter, quickly hustled the decoration boxes out of the house, I asked her what she would like on her birthday cake.  

Her first answer?  "Santa."  Sigh.  She is nothing if not single minded and determined.  

I try again.

"What about Barney?"
"No, Mommy, want big girl panties."
 Slightly pregnant pause
"On your cake?"
"Yeah!" she says, giggling maniacally.

I momentarily panic as I realize that public exhibition is exactly two steps and 15 years away from 6 inch lucite heels, velvet thongs and stripper poles.  Ugh.  Not my daughter.

In desperation, I suggest my most hated, would rather poke my eye out then watch, arch nemesis and public enemy #1.

"What about Dora?"
"Dora?!  Okay, Mommy!  Can it have fireworks and blow up?"

Sigh.  The things we do for our kids.  

I hope each and everyone one of you had as wonderful and magical  a Christmas as we did.  And that didn't include granny panties or strippers.  Unless, you wanted granny panties and strippers.  In that case, I hope you got them.  







Monday, December 12, 2011

The 12 Bills of Christmas

I love cell phone cameras! They help me capture moments like this. 


Look at that precious face.  It's full of pure, unadulterated joy watching the town parade!  Yet, it almost didn't happen because of a little ditty I like to call, The 12 Bills of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas, my Hubby said to me
Whoops!  Looks like we need a new tree.

On the second day of Christmas, my hubby said to me
I can't find our stockings, and it looks like we need a new tree

On the third day of Christmas, my hubby said to me
3 days until rent is due,
I can't find our stockings and looks like we need a new tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my hubby said to me
Did you pay the light bill?
In 2 days rent is due.
I can't find our stockings and it looks like we need a new tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my hubby said to me
NO MORE OVERTIME!!!
Did you pay the light bill?
Rent is due today.
I can't find our stockings and it looks like we need a new tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my hubby said to me
Your daughter wants a scooter.
 NO MORE OVERTIME!
 Why are we in the dark?
 Rent was due yesterday.
 I can't find our stockings, and it looks like we need a new tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my hubby said to me
Work is doing secret santas.
Your daughter wants a scooter.
NO MORE OVERTIME!
Why are we in the dark?
Rent is gonna kill us.
I can't find our stockings and it looks like we need a new tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my hubby said to me
Baby needs more diapers.
Work is doing secret santas.
Your daughter wants a scooter.
NO MORE OVERTIME!
Where are the candles?
Rent, at least, is paid.
I can't find our stockings and it looks like we need a new tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my hubby said to me
Christmas dinner at our house?
Baby needs more diapers.
Work is doing secret santas.
Your daughter wants a scooter.
NO MORE OVERTIME!
It's getting kinda cold in here.
The rent, at least, is paid.
I can't find our stockings and it looks like we need a new tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my hubby said to me
College is expensive.
I'd really prefer a ham.
Baby needs more diapers.
Work is doing secret santas.
Your daughter wants a scooter.
NO MORE OVERTIME!
Where are all the blankets?
Rent is finally paid.
I can't find our stockings and it looks like we need a new tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my hubby said to me
Screw it, snuggies for everyone!
These classes are expensive.
I really want a ham.
Baby needs more diapers.
We're doing secret santas.
Your daughter wants a scooter.
NO MORE OVERTIME!
Yay, the lights are back on.
The rent is fully paid.
I can't find our stockings and it looks like we need a new tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my hubby said to me
Did you get wrapping paper?
Screw it, snuggies for everyone!
These classes are expensive.
I really want a ham.
Baby needs more diapers.
We're doing secret santas
Your daughter wants a scooter.
NO MORE OVERTIME!
The heat feels good.
The rent is fully paid
I can't find our stockings and it looks like we need a new tree.


Gotta love what I call, "the butt pucker effect" Christmas has on your finances.  Happy Monday, Y'all!









Wednesday, December 7, 2011

So, I Hear Your Mom is Dying

As much as I wish it could be hijinks and hilarity around here 24/7, that's just not the reality.  So I'm gonna be real wit ya peeps, and talk about an uncomfortable subject.

Death.

My mom is dying.  She is in 4th stage congestive heart failure.  I'll spare you the gory details and medical mumbo jumbo about her extremely complicated case and give you the cliff notes.  Basically, everything that can be done, has been done and the only option left is a heart transplant.  So we wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.

It's not fair.  She's only 51 years old and should have lots more life ahead of her.  Instead, she spends her days bouncing around doctors' offices and hospital beds, just trying to survive long enough for a heart to become available.

Have I made you uncomfortable yet?  Wait, I'm not done.

Our society, as a whole, hates the inconvenient truth that we all die.  We love to pretend that dying and grief don't exist because it makes us uneasy.  It makes us consider our own mortality.  It makes us examine our own lives and question our actions.   It makes us wonder what kind of legacy are we leaving behind.  Did we fulfill our purpose?  Did we do the right thing?  Were we important enough to be remembered?  What is there beyond death?

So why do we hate death so much, if it's an immutable fact of life?  

Because it makes us feel helpless.  I never offer help, unless I genuinely mean it.  I'm a fixer by nature, (and a frequent offerer of unsolicited advice) but you can't fix death.  It's permanent and that's scary. How people deal with that fear is as varied as the people themselves.  

So, we come to my most hated question.  How are you dealing with it? 

While I don't mind answering, I never actually know how to answer that question.  What kind of answer is the questioner looking for.   I mean, I'm not the one sick and dying.  I'm dealing with it because I have to.  Do I want to?  No.  Does it suck?  Yes.  Am I scared?  Of course.  My mom and I are tight.  She's my homie.  My rock.  My most trusted advisor and confidant.  She "gets" me, the way nobody else can.  Am I scared for my own health?  Damn right, I am.  But I have the advantage of a 20 year warning that I intend to heed.  Am I going to break down and cry?  At some point, yes.  But mom ain't dead yet, and while I acknowledge all the terminal seriousness of her condition, I refuse to fall into a blackhole of grief or to live with a storm cloud hanging over my head.  She still needs me.  My babies still need me.  Being angry and depressed would serve neither and is a terrible way to live.   

So, we come to my point.  Death, with all it's suckitude, is a part of life.  We should treat it with respect, not avoidance, but not let it become all consuming, either.  We should have an open dialogue about death since, let's face it, everyone of us is going to experience it.  

*UPDATE:  Mom is still here and doing well.  :)  Thanks for checking in. 









Finding My Mommy Voice

Every mom has it.  That look or tone of voice that means business.  The one that makes children (and husbands) run for cover and hide.  For some moms, it comes as naturally as breathing, others of us have to work on it.  Much to my chagrin, I fall in the second category.

I had such romantic notions of parenting before I became one.  I would never yell, I would always use "gentle" parenting techniques, processed, non-organic food would never cross my children's lips, and life would basically be filled with barfing sunshine and farting rainbows.

Yeah.  I'm nothing, if not optimistic.

You see, Miss Chatterbox is what they call a "spirited" child.  That would be a polite euphemism (and us southerners love our euphemisms) for -hold onto you panties, Momma, you're in for a wild ride.  She is my stubborn, determined, independent, exuberant, little fighter who is filled with lollipops and unicorns one minute, piss and vinegar, the next.  Some call her difficult, but I disagree.  She has a strong, healthy sense of self that will protect her from being easily swayed by the crowd and fighting spirit that will help her achieve her dreams.

But, I struggle to parent her within the ideals I believe in.

And, a hyper, tantrum throwing, two going on 20 year old is not a pretty sight.  After a particularly rough morning in which she fought everything from, which (identical) spoon to eat breakfast with to which pair of (identical) white socks to wear and basically screamed for 3 HOURS straight, I was ready to surrender and admit defeat.

In that moment of complete exasperation, I called my mom.

Me: (Whiny voice) Momma, I can't make her listen to me! I've tried everything - time outs, rewards, and bribing.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

Mom: (Laughing) Oh Kidsie, you just haven't found your Mommy voice.

Me: Huh?

Mom:  30 years ago, I was in the EXACT same boat.  You think you were a little angel?  Harrumph, guess again!  I figured out that you needed three things. 1 - a strict routine. 2 - Lots of physical activities. 3 - The mom voice.  You have two of the 3.  Just work on the mom voice.

Me:  I have a mom voice!  It isn't working.

Mom: (Laughing) I've heard your mom voice, honey.  It wouldn't keep a mouse out of the cheese.  It needs work.


I hung up the phone resolving to try to hone my mommy voice, but dubious that it would yield any results.  Since it was naptime, I had a few moments to practice my new mommy voice.  So, I stood in front of the mirror making faces and trying out different tones of voice.  Dorky, huh?  The Firefighter definitely got a good guffaw out of it.  He also may or may not have secretly taped it to use for blackmailing purposes.  Bastard.  Remember, Boo, I don't get mad...I get even.

It certainly didn't take long to get an opportunity to try out my new mommy voice.  It was firm, but gentle - perfect- or so I thought.  Miss Chatterbox, however, didn't even stop to glance at me.

"You may want to up your volume and toughen your tone," said The Firefighter.

"Thanks, Coach.  Why don't you get off your ass and try?" I fired back.

"I prefer to be a spectator and my money is on the kid."

Turd.

So I tried again.  This time much louder and more forceful.  Oh, it stopped Miss Chatterbox, alright.  Also made her cry those big, heartbreaking, crocodile tears with a "why doesn't mommy love me" look in her eyes.

"Hmm, a little to much volume, Dear."  said The Firefighter.

If my eyeballs were laser beams, he would have been vaporized.  "Thanks, Captain Obvious.  Don't you have a wall to paint?"

After a considerable amount of reassurance and cuddling, I sent Miss Chatterbox on her way.  A very short time later, another opportunity for practice arose.  I reverted to the first calmer, gentler voice, but added oomph to it.  I didn't just use the voice.  She got sat in time out every single time I used "the voice".  If she tried to get out early, the timer was reset and she was put back.  It was an exhausting 4 DAYS of tears and tantrums because Miss Chatterbox is nothing, if not stubborn.  But, I did emerge the victor!  She now heeds the mommy voice (must of the time), and spends alot less time screaming.   But it's still a work in progress.  They don't call it the terrible twos for nothing!

I look so innocent!

Tell me I'm not alone in this!  Or lie, to make me feel better.  I'm not picky.








Tuesday, December 6, 2011

15 Life Lessons Learned Behind the Bar

2012 will mark 10 years I've been slinging drinks and wrangling drunks.  It might surprise you to know just how much booze can teach you about humanity.  Or maybe I just view life through rose colored cosmopolitans and green apple martinis glasses.  Either way, here's my 15 cents - because 2 just wouldn't cut it.

15.  People show their true colors when they are drunk.  I've found there are 5 types of drunks.
       The Happy drunk - loves everything and everybody and usually laughs the loudest.
       The Storyteller - "You think that's bad... I once jumped off a train going 500 miles an hour."
       The Pessimist - usually mean, rude and the most likely to fight.
       The Sloppy drunk wild child -  The most likely to end up shirtless, on top of a table.
               The Sleeper - any of the above after their 10th Jager bomb.

14.  Hold the judgement.   Just because a dude is wearing a $500 suit doesn't mean he will tip you well.  Just because a dude is wearing grease covered overalls doesn't mean he's broke.  Treat every one equally and with kindness.  It will serve you better.

13.  Have compassion for that grumpy old man complaining about your wine and snarling insults.   He may just have lost his wife of 50 years and is terribly lonely.  You never know what cross another person is carrying.

12.  Trust your instincts.  If that dude is creepin' you out, don't walk to your car alone.  Sketchy Dave, anyone?  He still gives me the heebie jeebies.  Finding sketches of you and your fellow bartenders, naked, will do that to you.

11.  Don't be squeamish.  At some point, you will be cleaning up puke and, no, it won't be your own.

10.  Be tolerant. Even of the lady who says she can see your aura, read your future in the wind, and believes in sextrology.  Resist the temptation to duct tape her mouth shut when she goes on about how your dad must be into bondage because he's a Pisces.  

9.  Be observant.  Catch that spat before it becomes a fight.  Yodeling or otherwise acting stupid is a great way to defuse tension.  Flashing your boobs works too, but I would recommend trying yodelling first.

8.  Be patient and keep a smile on your face with the ones who can't make up their mind what to drink or who tell you the same story over and over and over.  Or when you have to explain for the 100th time why you have to close at 2 and, yes, it applies to everyone.  Think of it as basic training for parenthood.

7.  Be prepared.  Nothing is worse than being 5 people deep and having to fill the Jager machine or change a keg.  And it's a fact that people are terribly impatient.

6.  Multitasking is what separates the good bartender from the rest of humanity.  Yes, I did remember all 7 of your special orders and no I don't need to write it down.  I also remember that the last time you were here, you ended up pole dancing and left with someone other than your husband.   Be nice to me.

5.  You'll be invited to tons of parties... and put to work as soon as you get there.  Everyone loves a bartender.  They also think sleeping with a bartender will get them free booze.  My favorite crappy pick up line, of all time, is, "you're like a loaded baked potato just waiting for a thick, juicy steak - like me." Really?

4.  You learn to keep a straight face while saying things like: how many - pink pussies, muff divers, leg spreaders, buttery nipples, naked girl scouts, purple hooters, liquid cocaine, screaming orgasms, or crackhouses - do you want. You learn to laugh when people order things like:  The 4 horseman, b-52's, cement mixers, and mexican whores, because someone will be puking later.

3.  Keeping business and pleasure separate is difficult when alcohol is involved, but it is a worthwhile skill to cultivate.  Trust me.

2.  You get a really, really, really thick skin.  No, it's not from that dish sanitizer whose dust particles could kill Chuck Norris from ten feet away.  It's from being called every name in the book.  In fact, the last time someone called me a bitch for cutting them off, I actually laughed and said, "Is that the best you got?"

1.  Have fun.  Laugh.  Don't be afraid to talk to people.  You never know who your going to meet.  I've met famous musicians, athletes, actors, politicians and my husband.  You never know how who you meet may change your life.





Monday, December 5, 2011

Why Santa Is Important

There seems to be a raging debate in mommy blog world over whether to let the jolly fat bastard, we all know as Santa, into our children's lives.  The reasons vary and the discussion boards are surprisingly heated.  Who knew ol' St. Nick could inspire such strong feelings?  Some people choose not to have Santa visit for religious reasons.  Some people don't like the "lying" or materialism involved.  And some people are just too lazy.   Scrooges.

Me - I sit loud and proud in the pro Santa camp.  Let me tell you why.

Hope

Santa gives children a reason to believe that good things happen to good people.  How many examples of that are there in today's world?   Santa is a tangible representation of a moral (and religious) ideal.   When teaching a new concept in school, a (good) teacher first gives a physical representation of the topic, then once understanding is attained, the visual cues are slowly removed, yet the lesson remains.  I see Santa in the same way.  I can't expect my 2 year old to understand that Jesus died for our sins to give us the gift of eternal life.  (Of course that is complicated by my negative feelings about religion, organized or otherwise,  but that's a topic for another post.) She can't understand that yet, but she can understand if she is nice to her sister, Santa will give her a present.  That simple lesson can later be extrapolated into a more complex abstract idea.  You have to start somewhere.

Love

The holidays bring families together.  They give everyone a reason to go out of their way to spend time with each other.   Gift giving gives me an opportunity to teach my children to REALLY think about their loved ones.  I teach my children that gifts aren't just a "thing".  They are a physical representation of our love for each other.  How do they want to show their love?

Empathy

The holidays give us ample opportunities to think outside ourselves and to teach our children to do the same.  To teach them to have sympathy and love for ALL our fellow homo sapien sapiens.  How will they show their understanding of another's feelings?  Can they be kind, helpful and loving to someone they don't know?  How will they show it?

Importance

When we give someone a gift, they feel important.  They feel loved, acknowledged and remembered.  And that feeling can make all the difference in the world in someone's life.  Everyone carries a cross....we just can't always see it.  It's an opportunity to teach my children that the gift itself isn't important, but what the gift represents is.

Memories

Some of my fondest memories were made around the Christmas tree.  I don't remember the gifts, I remember the emotions - anticipation, excitement, surprise and unbridled joy.  I remember practically quivering with giddiness on Christmas eve.  I want that same feeling for my children.   Which  if it means embracing my inner fat man and donning the red suit by myself this year, so be it!


See.  I'm really not a crappy parent.  I just play one on this blog.   CPS - please take notes.




So or you for or aganist Santa?




P.S.- Just bought this shirt for Miss Chatterbox.  Appropriate, don't ya think?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hell on Wheels

My child is a force to be reckoned with. Today's destruction tally is impressive, even for Miss Chatterbox.

First thing this morning, The Bun treated me to a poosplotion. While I was preoccupied with cleaning her up, Miss Chatterbox decided to be helpful and "make pancakes." By being helpful, I mean she dumped a whole bag of flour on my floor... the carpeted living room floor. She also told me, "No use it, Mommy. It's got tiny, ugly germs." Thanks, Yo GABA GABA, for making her helpful like that.

After that cleanup, I needed to take a shower. A part time single mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do, right. So I locked both kids in the bathroom with me. Miss Chatterbox, of course, has to get in too (Privacy? What's that?) and makes it her first order of business to piss on my foot. Sigh. At least we were in the shower. So, I get her cleaned up and wrapped in a towel and tell her to wait, I'll be done in just a minute. 90 seconds later, I open the curtain, and find her covering everything with The Firefighter's deodorant....including her sister. I'll let the following texts tell you the rest.

Me: Your child just covered herself in your deodorant. Apparently, she covered the toilet paper too, because when I went to wipe my ass, it smelled like you.

Him: So what's your saying is your ass smells good?

Me: Where the sympathy? Next time she dips your toothbrush in the toilet, I'm not gonna tell you.

Him: When did she do that?

Me: I didn't tell you? Oops, my bad.

We're such a loving couple. Anyway.

Miss Chatterbox got invited to participate in the lighting of the Christmas tree downtown, this evening. It was exhausting, but completely adorable. Especially, when she didn't want say hi to Santa, but felt compelled to shout, "I want a scooter" at him from ten feet away. That's my girl- screw the chit chat, Santa, let's get down to bizness.

After we make the two mile trek back to car, I give the exhausted Miss Chatterbox a juice box. Now, I'm married to The Firefighter, so that means I drive a base model, POS, Kia Rio. Why is that important, you ask? Because it reminds you I don't have extras, like child locking automatic windows. And Miss Chatterbox LOVES to roll down the window. We've lost many things out said window before, like shoes, toys, scarves (I flyin' a kite, Mommy!) and flashlights. So, I wasn't especially surprised to find out that the reason I got pulled over was that she chucked her juice box out the window and it splattered all over the cop's windshield. Damit. I was surprised to find out just how serious SC takes their littering. It's an an offense you can be arrested for. Insert really dirty expletive here. So I did was any sane person would do. I played the firefighter's wife card.

"Oh officer, I'm soooo sorry, my husband's is a firefighter and he's on duty tonight. Im so sorry, I don't know what got into my daughter. I don't know how to lock a manual window so she can't do that. We can't afford a nicer car." If that hadn't have worked, I was totally prepared to flash a boob or two. What? Don't judge, yo. There was no way I was gonna go to jail tonight. Luckily, the cop was sympathetic and actually laughed about it. Phew!

And that my friends, is how my toddler almost got me arrested.

Damn. I can't wait to see what her teen years bring.