The holidays bring out the best in me, if you consider irrational expectations, erratic overbuying of useless and unwanted gifts and crying jags, the best of me. Which they very well may be. When child number three was suddenly having difficulty breathing, unable to speak, but looking at me with horror, pointing at his throat and mouthing the words, “help me,” I did what any panicked, overdramatic mother would do — I called 911. His breathing was restored to a normal rate and I had him calmed down in enough time to cancel the 911 call. I won’t give you the actual stopwatch time this required, because that would be embarrassing. Let’s just say I hadn’t yet counted to sixty. We did go to the pediatrician and luckily, for my dignity anyway, Kid 3 had another episode on the exam table — lucky because the ped couldn’t dismiss me as an insane overprotective helicopter mother, which I am, just not this particular time. My six-year old, 30 pound son perched on the edge of the table, stared straight ahead and said, “I’m not gonna make it, am I?” Huh? What the hell is this kid watching when I’m not at home? Back-to-back episodes of House? I assured him that he would “make it” but he didn’t buy it. I told the doc the kid was worried about making it and the doc told him too that he would, indeed, make it. “No! I’m not gonna make it — how do you know?” the little cherub snarled. Doc did a strep test, which consists of jamming a q-tip as far down a kid’s throat as possible. Kid screamed and when doc left the room to run the test, kid said, “He’ll never get it out — it’s in there forever,” What’s in there forever? I asked cherub — “The rattle! The rattle you told him I have in my chest!” Ohhh. Remind me to use more abstract descriptions in the future. We marched out of the office to get cherub’s prescription filled. “I’m not supposed to take drugs,” he informed me. Okay. But I can.
Next day, less than 24 hours later, Kid 2 dared himself to drink hot sauce and since he’s a guy that never turns down a dare, even when he is the source of the dare, he put the bottle to his lips and started chugging. It was so hot that when he pulled the bottle away from his face, he started jumping up and down. Let me emphasize, when he pulled the still open bottle from his lips, he started boinging around the room, spraying hot sauce everywhere, but especially directly into his little eyeballs. Much screaming and careening, blinded, ensued. I resisted calling 911, instead calling my ER nurse mother while shouting at my daughter to google “tabasco in eyes” and throwing glasses of water in the direction of my son as he caromed. Kid 3 helpfully shouted, “New house rule, new house rule! No jumping with open hot sauce!” Happy holidays to the 911 operators and ER nurses everywhere.
Of course she was beheaded, she should have been beheaded and if she hadn’t been, I would travel back in time and do the deed myself. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, I have lost my love of Lady Jane Grey and it is entirely related to the fact that the Tudor teen is the only thing standing between me and graduation next month. True, I’ve been immersed in Tudor history for the past nine years, having read at least 17 books (including the historical fiction bodice-rippers) on Lady Jane, alone. Yet this thesis paper (Religious Zealotry in Pubescent Girls, as Manifested in Lady Jane Grey) is going to be the death of me. All I’m doing is writing this damn paper, ignoring my family, eating junk food and not running or riding — so add that I’m getting fat and you’ve got a pretty good picture of how I’m looking and feeling: not good.
I do find solace in the new puppy, though I would find even more if she was progressing in the house-training department. But she isn’t. And while some may find it difficult to sleep with a puppy on your head, thanks to my love of and commitment to shut-eye, I’m pushing through.
I can still sleep
A week in Greece, touring ruins — old ruins, new ruins, feeling ruined in all sorts of ways. Old ruins like Delos, the Parthenon, Ancient Thera, the usual. New ruins like the hundreds, if not thousands, of abandoned construction sites. Despite the protests of the locals — “each year is better than the last,” the half-built buildings with rusted iron stabilizers sticking out, open bags of concrete and picked over shells of cranes that clearly hadn’t operated in at least 2-3 years, told a very different story. I was ruined because in between racing around ruins and running up and down hills (those Greeks know a thing or two about scenery and the drama of a mountain view) was spent trying not to (once again) rip my skin off. Though for some reason, this time around, scraping it off with a dagger or straight razor was not as appealing as burning it off with a blowtorch. Pointedly asked hubby when getting on the motorcycle “Where is that exhaust pipe that I’m not supposed to press my leg against?”
Spent my jet-lagged nights pondering the question of the ages: is it poison ivy or impetigo? Either way, it was (and still is) a lasting memento from the Super Spartan race on Staten Island — slogging through 8 miles of mud, crawling under barbed wire, climbing walls and plunging into a tunnel of run-off from the lovely, bucolic and oh-so-hygenic streets of SI. Unemployment has its benefits. I just don’t know what they are yet.
Florida is going to force all welfare recipients to undergo drug testing, before receiving benefits, ostensibly so they can’t use their welfare benefits to buy drugs and to save the hard-earned money of those good, law-abiding Florida residents, including those that bet at jai alai, the greyhound tracks and fill their prescriptions for oxy, vicodin and percoset — over and over and over again. Are Floridians worried about enabling addictions, specifically those of lazy no-good drug addicts? Are they testing sex addicts, porn addicts, shopping addicts, alcoholics, members of NAMBLA? Welfare checks can fuel all of these addictions and many, many more. Addiction is a disease, an illness — no one chooses to be an addict, just as no one chooses to have cancer. So why are we denying addicts welfare benefits but not cancer victims? We know that those suffering from cancer are desperate enough to spend their $$ on any treatment at all, no matter how hare-brained. We know that cancer sufferers are prone to using an inordinate amount of pain killers — and god damn it, some of them don’t even go to work! Why are we targeting one illness — addiction to drugs, but not any others — not even any other addictions? And who’s paying for the drug testing? Has anyone given any thought to how much that will cost — supervised drug tests (I’m assuming they need to supervised and by same-sex observers because all sorts of shenanigans can go on in those testing rooms), transport to labs, lab analyses, delivering results and of course, counseling for those who will not be receiving welfare checks. What of the false positives and false negatives? Some will slip though the cracks on both ends of the spectrum. Who tells the five kids of a single mom who left her abusive husband that they will go hungry because a pee test came back wrong? If that isn’t a case for taking a toke, I don’t know what is.
Now that I’ve been laid off for a little over a month, I’ve found all sorts of new and exciting activities that I can add to my resume. Of course, most of these activities require a sizeable investment, but I see it as an investment in my future! Or some such drivel — these career/life coaches are rubbing off on me and not in a good way. Or maybe just rubbing me the wrong way. Whatevs, on with the new skills:
Cross-Country Fence Judge. In the biz, we refer to ourselves as XC Fence Judges, but I thought I’d spell it out for you civilians. I was a XC fence judge at the Horse Trials at Fitch’s Corner. You know you’re impressed. I judged fence #6. A giant carrot with a rabbit head sticking out. Those horse people are a wacky crowd, aren’t they? I wore a swanky, WASP-y straw hat while judging. Though the fact that my hair isn’t blonde, my ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower and my last name sounds suspiciously Eastern European kind of blew my cover.
On-camera talent. Yes, I emerged from behind the camera (where I really belong) and onto the set. While the cameras were rolling! More on that in a future post, but suffice it to say, I am meeting with my director later this week. Sounds important, doesnt’ it? Also sounds like my Botox has become a business expense. And that’s a very good thing.
Fence installer. Now that I can judge a fence, why not build one? It’s a learn-as-you-go type of thing. Fence should be completed by Christmas. One hopes. But it should increase our property value (fully fenced backyard!)
Failed foster parent of rescue dogs. Totally related to my sudden interest in fence installation. Thumper the Bumper was a great dog, until he decided that he was the alpha of the pack and we were all below him in the hierarchy. When he started stealing food from out of our mouths (yes, you read that right) we knew we were not the best foster home for him. The bumper was assigned a new Nurse Ratched-type of foster mom and we welcomed Jerrie/John/George into our home. For three hours. Who knew he was a flight risk? As soon as we got him into the house, he started jumping from table-top to table-top (yeah, you read that right, too) trying to leap out of the closed windows. Smart he was not. As soon as we took him outside to go to the bathroom, he was off like a shot and ran for five miles without looking back. He was found three days later. He, too, was assigned a new (better) foster home.
Artisanal Organic Farming By-Hand Bug Population Control. While installing my new fence with my handy-dandy new post driver (that’s the red thing in the photo), I became distracted by the war waging between my cucumbers and tomatoes. Cukes were wrapping their killer tendrils around my tomato plants and as I was sending them to their respective corners, I found what I thought was a little baby cuke — until I plucked it and it squished black-green goo all over me and I noticed it had about a hundred legs. Ewww! I threw it in the neighbor’s backyard. But I think there’s a future in my gross-out — slap artisanal, organic and by-hand in front of anything and everybody wants it!
if only that’s the way our trips to grandmother’s house would go. But no, our most recent sojourn to Mimi’s place was a lot more like “over the Throg’s Neck and through the puke.” Allow me to explain.
On a sweltering summer day, I decided that it was high time for me, stay-at-home-mom that I have become, to take the kids to grandma’s house for a relaxing visit and swim in their pool. Ha! Loaded all three kids, all of the swimming and relaxing and distracting accoutrements each of them required and added the two dogs. Our own loving and beloved spaniel mix and our current foster puppy, who I am now convinced is not a Golden Lab and Beagle mix as we were told, but a Pit Bull-Jack Russell cross. He is very affectionate, but – well, yesterday I turned around and he was standing on top of the kitchen table. Anyway, said foster puppy was highly reluctant to enter the mini-van, so I added all sorts of toys, treats, bones, etc to entice him in. And yes, I did take water and food away from both dogs about an hour before we were scheduled to leave, to avoid any bodily function disasters. On the dogs’ part, anyway.
10 minutes into the trip and just as we entered the bumper-to-bumper traffic that precedes the Throg’s Neck Bridge, an unmistakable and overwhelming odor wafted through the van. Everyone under the age of 21 began screaming, crying and mock-retching while I exploded into an unprecedented (even for me) string of expletives. Everyone in that car can now make sailors blush on four different continents (not that they couldn’t before).
Pile of dog poop on the back seat, quickly followed by and even larger pile of dog puke. I jumped the curb, pulled onto the median and no, our 6 year-old Honday Odyssey mini-van is not 4-wheel drive, so I had no idea if we’d ever make it out again. I found some old newspapers and plastic bags and with 6 trial-size bottles of Purell, managed to clean up the worst of the mess. Got back in the van, fought our way off the median and into traffic. Every other driver was screaming at me and honking their horns, and I screamed back, until my youngest said “I know why they’re yelling at us! The back door is open!” Yeah, mom of the year drove over the Throg’s Neck with the rear hatch wide open. Luckily, no children, animals or prized possessions were lost, though their innocence certainly was.
Mouse update: dead and flattened mouse seen in location of release. Ironically, flattened mouse appeared to be running back in the direction of our home. Don’t tell me he didn’t know a good thing when he saw it!
Just wondering – how does a multi-addicted, profanity-spewing, hygienically-challenged train wreck like Courtney Love get designers around the world to throw hundreds of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fabulous, free frocks at her? And a Birkin bag for Courtney? Really? Does that sound right to you? Not to mention the fact that I think she’s got stronger feelings for that bag than she does for her kid. And she definitely has a better idea of its location than she does of, well, her own. Not to sound bitter (I am) but I’m a nice person, can’t I score a little swag? And I can promise, I wouldn’t throw up on the stuff at the end of long and twisted night. Well,here’s what I wore today:
Nike running cap, Dirty Heads sweatshirt, blue Tipperary protective vest (no safety rating but is confidence boosting), black Merona (Target’s in-house clothing line – most would not admit to wearing this) turtleneck, black Kerrit’s winter-weight riding tights, Ariat rear zip field boots. Unseen: Enell no-bounce bra – advertised as the ugliest bra you’ll ever own. It is. And, last but not least – Jelly Pantz!!! My latest purchase and they have changed my equestrian life! And my dear hubby’s, too.