Laughing Mama's Blog

My inner monologue with myself inside my head put in this blog out in the open for everybody to read.

My kids, my life (AKA: “By the time I’m 16 she’ll be 32 and have 4 kids.”) May 29, 2013

Filed under: Humor,kids,Life,Marriage,parenting — laughingmama @ 11:59 pm

Several people lately have said that they miss my blog. I miss it too. I miss having that voice inside my head saying crazy shit that I have to share with you. It’s not that my life has become any more calm. I had a Brazilian wax several months ago that I never told y’all about. It’s a long story (Surprised? I didn’t think so.) but I couldn’t go full Brazilian (don’t ask why… you don’t wanna know) and the woman who gave me the french bikini lives in my small town (of course she does) EVEN THOUGH we (yes, I went in a group) went to the “big city” to get it done. Humiliations galore and I will never do it again because the results lasted all of about 2 days. That’s all you need to know. It was horrible and embarrassing and expensive and fuck that! I really wanted to act all like “I’m a porn star and yes, you can touch me there stranger and I won’t care, and isn’t this awesome because all my hair is being ripped out and won’t grow back for weeks so who gives a crap!” but really I’m not a blonde, anglo saxon. I’m Irish Italian which means I have shit loads of hair on top of uber sensitive skin so I could really just scrape a razor over my lady bits for an hour on a Friday night, save myself the $60, have the same results and call it a freaking day.

No, that’s not what I’m here to tell you. I’m here to talk about my kids. *SCRATCH… the needle on the record.* I know! I start off a post like that and then want to talk about my kids. It’s kind of all related. Sort of. My life is weird these days and I don’t quite know what to do with myself. I remember when we first had kids. I had a job, not really a career because I never wanted that so I refused to get one. Although, the job I had could have been a kick ass career. I was a website developer. But I always saw that as a (to quote Carrie Underwood) temporary home. I wanted to be a mom more than anything. Always. Since I was a teenager. And I don’t mean I wanted to be a teen mom. I wanted it all. A grown up life with a house and a grown up husband with a job and when the time was right, babies. And thankfully God saw to it that I got all of that. And my days as stay-at-home mom began. And I was happy. I had a purpose bigger than me. I reveled in it. And then something happened. My babies grew up. It was inevitable. I knew it would happen eventually, but you always hear about high school and when they’re 18 and ready to fly the coup. The tween years are rarely covered and can be just as difficult.

My daughter started middle school this year. I always thought I was smart, but I never even considered her kind of smart. I’m ashamed to say she has almost always outwitted me. And I’m SMART dammit!!! But ever since she was 5 years old, I would be perplexed by a problem and she’d saunter into the room with the easiest fucking solution. Like it was absolutely nothing. How do you maintain control when faced with THAT?? Short answer… you don’t. Thank God she also has a good and obedient heart.

And then there’s Drew. He’s incredibly intelligent too, probably not as smart as his sister, but he has something even scarier. He can read people and he knows how to cut to the heart of a situation with innocence and truth and there is just no fucking denying him. It’s aggravating. And liberating all the same time. You can tell him that him talking for 18 minutes straight without a breath is hard to take and he’ll understand because of a self-awareness taught to him by his therapeutic preschool. As long as you are coming from a place of emotional truth and don’t use sarcasm. It’s lost on him and does more damage than it makes you feel good.

I said all this to say, that I miss baby pools. I was at Walmart the other day. It was May and was the first really warm day we were going to have here in NC. I saw a mom with 2 kids putting a plastic baby pool in her car. And I remembered the days when I would do the same thing. I loved the first really warm day of spring. I would venture to Walmart in the morning and get a round, plastic tub myself and put it on the deck. While they were taking their naps I would fill it with water from the hose and let it sit in the sun soaking the warmth from the rays. When they woke up, I would change them into their swim diapers, feed them lunch and then we’d go to the back deck and I’d dunk them in the still tepid water. They would giggle and reach for me and we’d all laugh. I cherished their baby skin in the sun. How they felt wrapped up in freshly washed and dried towels. I could kiss their necks which would bring squeals of delight. Not so anymore.

They’re well past that now. Life happens and changes before you know it. Drew and Mary went to the pool today with a neighbor because I was busy with my new business. When he came home, Drew told me that he had seen a teenage girl there in a bikini. He lamented the fact that he was only 10 and couldn’t flirt with her. He told me that by the time it would be appropriate she would be 32 and have 4 kids already, I’m sure that’s how it seems to him. That’s how it seems to me.

They are so grown. Still young and in need of our guidance, but so grown. I don’t even remember the last time I carried them. When was the last time I held them like a baby? The last time I picked them up and hugged them with their arms around my neck and legs around my waist? It happens too fast and before we know it, it’s gone.

I do appreciate where we are now. I lay down in Mary’s bed sometimes and talk to her before she falls asleep about things that weigh heavy on her mind. But these are big things, not princess things. I don’t have all the answers and it breaks my heart. I miss the days when we would splash in the kiddie pool and I’d give them dinner and kiss them goodnight and be satisfied in the knowledge that they were loved and cared for and wake up the next morning with a bright outlook, ready to take on the day.

It’s different now. It takes more work. Kids are the Brazilians of life- they seem like a good idea, when you’re going though it you’re not sure, and when it’s over you miss what you lost. I wish I could tell you that exfoliating cream could do the trick, but it’s inevitable that you get scars.

 

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Not quite a butterfly (AKA:”My new appreciation for drag queens in heels.”) September 14, 2010

Filed under: Humor,Life,Marriage — laughingmama @ 12:19 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Disclaimer: Sorry about the heavy stuff up front. But sometimes if you slog through shit you can find a golden rainbow. Or something like that. It gets lighter, I promise!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My 38th birthday was in August. My son’s 8th was the week before. It’s fun having them so close together because it feels like the party never stops. But it’s also a difficult time for me because my father passed away almost 2 years ago. Although the day he passed was in November, it was around this time that he began to seriously decline. My son’s 6th birthday party was postponed because we had to call the ambulance to take my dad to the hospital and things only got worse from there. Unfortunately late July makes me a bit melancholy. The past 22 months have been more difficult than I could have ever imagined. I had never lost a loved one THAT close to me before. Most of my grandparents were deceased before I came into the world and the one grandfather who remained passed on shortly after I joined the family. I didn’t really know what grief was. But once I found out, I didn’t like it.

The biggest thing I can say about this process is that you are never the same person you were before your loved one died. There was me, pretty much the same me I had been for 36 years, one second before my dad passed away and then there’s the me the second after he went on to his eternal reward. Completely different person in 0-2 seconds. Anybody who tells you “time heals all wounds” is a fucking liar. Being without your loved one never gets easier. It’s just a new reality you have to get used to. You have to change and adapt and figure out how life makes sense without that person in it every day. I often thought of myself like a caterpillar. I felt as if I was wrapped in a cocoon- confusion, emptiness and despair enveloping me. I knew I would be okay eventually, but I wasn’t sure when or what I would be when I was “done”.

It’s taken quite a while but I can honestly say that, although I’m not quite a butterfly, I’m hatching a bit more every day and breaking through my cocoon to see the beautiful, wonderful world around me. It’s like how I imagine coming out of a coma would be. When you’ve been numb and unaware for that long, you want to feel everything- fully and completely. Sometimes I feel manic- like I can’t laugh loud enough or hug my husband or children tight enough. I have a new “Joie de Vivre” that I find liberating, and intense.

I guess that’s how I came to find myself on stage the Tuesday before my birthday dancing with Lords of Acid in front of all manner of scantily clad women and tattooed men. First let me say that Lords of Acid was one of my favorite bands in college. I was a little bit of an alternative kind of girl but was mostly in the closet about those kinds of tendencies. For those of you who don’t know their music, Lords of Acid is acid house techno with hard, grinding beats and lyrics mostly about dirty, nasty sex. And I stored their cassette tape next to my boom box with the likes of Simon and Garfunkel and yes, even Bette Middler (who is a fairly raunchy broad in her own right so I’m sure she didn’t mind). Lords of Acid is the type of music you would hear at a rave (even though I’ve never been to one) while getting out of your mind high on more than one psychedelic drug (which I’ve never done). Songs with names like “Rough Sex” or “The Crablouse” or “Spank My Booty” on albums titled “Lust” and “Heaven Is An Orgasm” were played mostly in my little white, 2-door hatchback Chevy Spectrum with a decal that read “SPORT” on the side (so hardcore) or in the apartments of boyfriends. I was never lucky enough to see Lords of Acid in person.

And then, for some unknown reason, one day I searched for LOA on Facebook. The very first entry that came up was an advertisement for their appearance in the “Sextreme Ball” along with My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult (A Daisy Chain 4 Satan, Sex On Wheelz) and a couple of not very well known death metal bands. And they were going to be within an hour of my hometown… two days before my birthday. It must have been fate, no? I planted a bug in my husband’s ear. We both grinned about how awesome it would be but then told ourselves it was a weeknight, the kids were back in school, and whatever other grown-up, 40 year old excuses we could come up with.

And then came his e-mail a week before the show. It said, “Play me then call me”. Attached was an mp3 file named “Happy Birthday”. I clicked and was delighted to hear the opening acapella line of “I Sit On Acid” begin playing. I smiled listening to “Darling come here, f*ck me up the…” and then the pounding beat kick in. It meant we were going to be bad. I called him giggling. I had all kinds of plans swimming around in my head and only a few days to execute them. A couple of days later I visited an adult store in our local area. I had threatened to buy a penis shaped temporary tattoo with which to decorate my husband’s arm but alas, they didn’t have one and I had to settle for a black panther… and a couple of things for me. I was determined that this night was not going to be about recapturing youth, but we were going to be people we never were, never have been. We’ll be us, but more bad ass! After all, he started it.

So, we showed up at the club. Arnie with his fake tattoo and me in my “naughty school girl” girl outfit- complete with pig tails, mini skirt, knee high leather boots and garter. We fit right in. Although, our sideways glances at each other let us know we were kind of out of our element and not entirely comfortable. A PBR later (again, not our normal beverage of choice but it was big and cheap) and we were a little more relaxed. And we were definitely selling it. Even though the first band almost made blood gush out of our ears, we hung by the bar like regulars. The second band’s most “famous” song was a barrage of swear words all “sung” at lightening speed. We nodded along and looked at each other. “Cool.” we seemed to say without words. When the Thrill Kill Kult came on, the fun really started. I danced to the beat and used my husband like my own personal stripper pole. A passerby must have liked it because he smacked my ass as he walked behind us. I told Arnie and his testosterone immediately went into overdrive. “Who??!” he demanded to know. When I pointed out the dude decked out in black with chains and studs all over, many, many piercings, long, dyed black hair and freakishly light blue colored contacts, the testosterone magically dissipated. “Well, Satan can have some fun too. As long as he doesn’t do it again…” was Arnie’s very measured response.

During the break, I had an in depth conversation about techno music with an adorable teenager who had never been to a concert before and who I’m pretty sure was brought there by his grandmother because I saw her sitting in the parking lot biding her time. I also fielded many questions from a guy who wanted to know if this other guy in the crowd was Groovie Mann from Thrill Kill Kult. Maybe he thought I was a groupie and had in depth knowledge of the man. I did not. He moved along shortly after my rather tall and broad husband came back from the bar with our PBRs and proceeded to hover over me possessively. This was shaping up to be the best night ever! As a “thank you for being so awesome” present, I went over to the table where the local rock radio station was set up and snagged Arnie a few of their “pin-up” calendars. Although, the girls featured each month looked less like Pamela Anderson and more like strung out run-aways getting their picture taken inside Uncle Rico’s van. I felt like calling their mothers.

Thankfully that’s when Lords of Acid took the stage. I forgot all about the run-aways, the techno loving teenager next to me, “Satan” the ass-smacker and the fact that I was turning 38 two days later. As soon as the music began, my husband took one look at my face and said “Come on…” gathered his calendars, grabbed my hand and made his way from our comfortable viewing spot in the back to the front row. I couldn’t have been happier. I danced, and jumped, and sweated and sometimes came up for air. I pointed purposefully at the hot bass player and he pointed back at me. I turned around to see my husband grinning from ear to ear and motioning for me to get closer to the stage. I would for a moment but always strutted my way back to him like a cat on the prowl. I felt like I WAS high. Maybe our PBRs were spiked. Hell, I didn’t care. I just wanted to go on dancing and throwing my hair around. I was completely oblivious to everything around me, including the girl fight which resulted in at least one of them getting kicked out. (Arnie filled me in later. He doesn’t miss much.)

So, when the music stopped and LOA left the stage I was a bit sad. Until I saw one of their roadies pointing to girls in the crowd and telling them to come up on stage. Suddenly he was in front of me and his thick finger was aimed in my direction. “Wha????” was the look I had on my face. He motioned for me to go around the barricade and said “Yeah, come on up!”. Visions of my children, the PTA at school, my church, my MOM flashed through my head. No, I couldn’t. My husband was pushing me to go when all of a sudden out of nowhere came a woman who literally grabbed me and said, “I’m 40!! We’re GOING!!!”. Well, okay. If I MUST! As soon as I got on stage I knew where I was headed. To say I “danced” with the hot bass player is overstating my movement slightly. Dry humping would probably be a more accurate description. I searched the crowd for my husband. To my horror, when I found him he was smiling like the Cheshire Cat and holding the video camera. Holy Hell! I never wanted it documented. Too late! I reminded myself to threaten him later. Right then he just looked too damned cute. I pointed at him and continued to cling to the bass player’s ripped jeans clad leg. All of us up there were dirty, sweaty and nasty and it was the best birthday present I could have ever asked for. This may sound odd, but it made me think of my dad.

My dad loved having a good time. He loved life. And I know he would never want me sitting at home wallowing in sorrow and grief. I’m not sure he’d want me on stage in a school girl outfit getting low in front of a bass player for the amusement of a club full of strangers either, but he’d appreciate my enthusiasm. My point is this… life does go on. It has to. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. So why not make today the best damn day it can be? You don’t have to act crazy and ridiculous every day, but make sure whatever you do, you do it with passion! There’s nothing wrong with laughing loudly or hugging tightly or crying until snot runs down your face if you feel like it. I think Jim Valvano said it best in his speech while receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the ESPYs in 1993. He said we should do three things every day. “Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

So I’m going to embrace that philosophy and keep that feeling of complete abandon with me. Being free to dance like an idiot and not care is an amazing thing. As I danced off stage, LOA began their final song which was “I Sit On Acid”, the song Arnie had e-mailed me. I hugged him tightly and he shook his head. I interpreted that to mean “You’re a nut case and I love it!” instead of “How did I end up with this nut case?”. The evening was over but the laughing was not. I immediately took off my boots when I got in the car, my body suddenly reminding me that I was going to be 38. I thought about that number. Who cares? It’s the attitude that matters. My sister sent me a refrigerator magnet for my birthday that sums it up perfectly… “Ever notice that ‘What the hell’ is always the right decision?” Unless someone asks you to put a bottle rocket in your ass and then in that case, running away screaming is the right decision.

Copyright 2010 by Me

 

The Top 25 things I learned at my first NASCAR race… (AKA: “Well, would you look at that!”) June 2, 2010

In case you want the quick and dirty version of what I saw during my Memorial Day weekend, I will now count down for you the top 25 things I learned while camping in the infield of Charlotte Motor Speedway at a NASCAR race:

25. When school buses become too run down to ferry children safely, they can still be useful. All you have to do is gut it, build a few bunk beds, add a couple of kegs and a confederate flag and you’ve got yourself a damn fine RV.

24. After having a few beers you will think standing on an elevated platform made of plywood that is built on top of a trailer with wheels is freaking awesome! Oh, and the fact that it is located 2 feet from a chain link fence which is all that separates you and the 43 cars going 175 MPH makes it even better. Also at some point during the race you will stand proudly on this platform, arms outstretched and yell out “HELL YEAH!!!” as the roar from the engines hits your chest and rattles the can in your hand.

23. If you make a big enough scene flailing your arms on top of the platform during a caution, some of the drivers will stick their hands out of their mesh window and wave to you.

22. The fashion rage in the infield: cowboy hat, bikini top, cut off jean shorts so short they would make Daisy Duke blush and cowboy boots. Not everybody can pull it off. I think you have to be a special kind of skank. I only say that because I was jealous.

21. I no longer wonder where they got the girls from the cast of Brett Michael’s “Rock of Love”.

20. A sign outside a campsite declaring “We fart” will make me laugh and will then lead to a pantomime of how we fart between me and one of the campers.

19. After enough Cap’n and Cokes my husband turns into Dr. Phil and tries to counsel newlyweds who are in the middle of the biggest fight of their marriage. And they’ll listen to him.

18. Old men like cowboy hats on ladies. And if they’re drunk enough they’ll lean out of their truck window and tell you about it.

17. Hearing an old man slur “That hat is bad ass” is funny.

16. Setting up a Slip N’ Slide using dish detergent and a hose brings out the people. And other types of hos.

15. Everybody in the infield is your friend. If you stand around for a few minutes without food or a beer in your hand that will quickly be remedied by a total stranger. And you pay it forward.

14. Race fans can cook some damn good food. And A LOT of it.

13. While the bath houses are very clean, taking a shower there in 90 degree weather is pointless. You start sweating as soon as you get out and walking back to your campsite in flip-flops only launches the dirt and grime from the road up the back of your legs. Basically, the only part of you that’s still clean when you get back to your camper is your arms.

12. When a company of Army men and women march in formation in front of you, everybody around stands up and claps for them.

11. After the race, people grab the lid to their coolers, jump the fence and slide down the race track. This is called Redneck Sledding and it’s funny as hell.

10. Air force pilots are HOT.

9. Air force pilots who give you hugs and Jell-O shots are even HOTTER.

8. Air force pilots who give you hugs and Jell-O shots and do the pre-race fly over in F-15s are SUPER HOT.

7. I will drink beer out of a beer helmet. And it’s actually not that bad.

6. We’re all just one bad decision and a bottle of black hair dye away from ending up on the back of a Harley wearing a bikini and combat boots while dangling a cigarette from your mouth.

5. Going through a tunnel that looks too small for your truck is not a good idea. It’s probably made for golf carts.

4. When your friend test drives a Toyota around the parking lot and deftly avoids crashing into someone who runs a stop sign by swerving and then yells “WATCH IT, ASSHOLE!!!” the Toyota salesman doesn’t miss a beat but I laugh so hard I almost wet the back seat.

3. The biggest compliment anybody can give you in the infield is this: “This may be wrong to say out loud, but I can NOT take my eyes off your boobs.”.

2. When a cute 21-year-old boy tells you this you will giggle and say “Thank you!!!” and then silently tell the flat chested “Hooters” girl in the old jalopy school bus 3 spots down from you to suck it!

1. It’s fun to have a weekend without the kids where you can let loose and be silly, but it’s always good to be home again.

Copyright 2010 by Me

 

Happy Anniversary! (AKA: “No, it’s not your birthday so you don’t get to do THAT.”) April 21, 2010

Filed under: Humor,Life,Marriage,Uncategorized — laughingmama @ 7:34 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

On April 21, 1996, in front of God and our friends and family, my best friend and I exchanged marriage vows and committed ourselves to one another for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health until death do us part. It honestly was the happiest day of my life. Arnie and I were friends long before we realized we were MFEO. (For those of you who haven’t seen Sleepless in Seattle that’s “Made For Each Other”.) I was in college and worked at the mall. Yes, we met at the mall. No, I didn’t have braces or have to wear a uniform or a paper hat. I worked at a home decor store which was ridiculous on my part. Just about the only guys that came in belonged in one of two categories: men who were definitely NOT interested in women, and men who carried their wives purses while they shopped. Not great dating potential. But sometimes the women I worked with had sons or knew guys who would come say hello if they were in the mall. Such was the case with Arnie. I worked with his best friend’s wife. He is a nice guy and would have probably come in to see her anyway, but I think Cathi kept him abreast (pun intended) of the babe potential at her workplace.

That’s how the story goes. Oh, are you under the impression that he came in to check me out? Ha! That’s funny! No, I was not the potpourri peddler that first caught his eye. He was instead drawn to someone we’ll call “Slut”. Sorry, that’s mean. (But she was.) I’ll try to be nice. I’ll call her “Girl with loose morals”. So yeah, there she was. I didn’t see the attraction except that she was the type that chose a major in college that was predominantly male because she liked the attention. She knew how to use guys and they stood in line to be used. Whatever. I really didn’t have an opinion since I barely knew Arnie but the more he came in to see “Girl with loose morals”, the more we talked and the more I liked him… as a friend. He was sweet and thoughtful, always complimentary to everybody and even remembered what I had talked about the time before. Questions like “Hey Eileen, how did that organic chem test go last Thursday?” always floored me because most of the guys I knew wouldn’t even remember that I was TAKING organic chem let alone remember that I was stressed about a test. But that’s who he is. I remember him sending “Girl with loose morals” flowers once because she was having a bad day. I will never forget that I turned to one of my other co-workers and said, “Gee, he’s going to make someone a wonderful husband some day.” I never in a million years thought it would be me.

As much as I liked him and looked forward to his visits, he was different from the type of guy I went for. While he was panting after “Girl with loose morals” I was caught up with “Hot guy who didn’t give two shits about me”. Oh you dated him too? That figures, he got around. I won’t bore you with the details, but a spring break trip to visit him at Cornell University didn’t go as planned and I came home swearing off men for a whole year. At nearly the same time, “Girl with loose morals” showed her true colors and Arnie stopped coming around the store. But he couldn’t stay away for long. He would say later that he came back for me, and it might be true, but I think the fact that, when he showed up, I was on a ladder in a very tight, very short brown skirt kind of sealed the deal. He asked if I wanted to hang out and I accepted but only because I thought it wasn’t a date. I had my whole “No men for a year!” plan in place after all. Besides, he liked Yanni for crying out loud. Yes, Pink Floyd and Radiohead too, but Yanni??? I could not see my Lords of Acid, The Sugarcubes, and Tori Amos CDs fitting in very well next to Yanni. So when we were on the phone making plans and he suggested Olive Garden because he “takes all his first dates there”, I was a bit taken aback. First, I guess it was a date after all and second, I wasn’t sure I liked being lumped into the same category as “all his first dates”. And what’s the rest of that sentence? “I take all my first dates there…” “and then they usually throw a drink in my face and storm out because I’ve made a pass at them.” or “and then I take them back to my place and lock them in the basement.” or “but there’s rarely a second date because, although I love their food, it tears my stomach up and I spend the rest of the evening in the bathroom with explosive diarrhea.”??? I remember laughing and saying, “Okaaaay…” His awkwardness about it was kind of endearing and unlike any side of him I had seen before. It piqued my interest. Who was this guy really?

The first date was good. We ate, we laughed, we called our ex’s assholes. He drove me around in his little hunter green sports car with leather seats and I found the way he drove and shifted gears very sexy. He did take me to his house which he had recently bought himself since he had already graduated from college and had a great job. (Thankfully it didn’t have a basement.) I thought he was showing off (which I also liked a bit) but in actuality his motive for bringing me there was to meet his dog. He was pleased Schaefer and I liked each other. According to him, he didn’t date girls who didn’t like his dog. Gotta love that. You also gotta love that he was named after nasty, cheap beer. Poor college dog!

Because we didn’t want the evening to end, we went to a movie and then he drove me home. Through the course of our first date, I found him to be smart and funny and engaging. He treated me like a lady without being condescending, was a good listener and put me at ease, and all of a sudden I was seeing him in a new light. How had I not noticed him being this tall before? Had he always had this amazing head of curly brown hair? How had I not gotten lost in those beautiful blue eyes until now? And how can he make me feel so safe simply by just standing next to me?

The first date turned into a second (the next night) and then a third (the night after that) and the rest, as they say, is history. Flash forward to April 21, 1996. This was before the time when entire wedding parties danced down the aisle to pop songs. I tried hard to be a graceful bride and contain my excitement as I was escorted by my father toward my future husband, but my eyebrows and smile gave me away. I tried to look at each person as I passed the pews and as I did, I arched my eyebrows high on my forehead and flashed a big grin as if to say “OMG! Can you believe it?” “I’m getting maaaaarrrriiiieeeddd!” “Look at you! You’re here! Now look at me! I’m in a wedding dress!!!” “Have you seen Arnie? Doesn’t he look cute up there?”. “THIS is happening right now!!” But when I reached the altar, nerves took over and I became slightly terrified. Arnie, sensing this, took my hand during the ceremony, leaned over and informed me that he was wearing a silk penis sock and nothing else under his tux. He really wasn’t but there I was sitting on the altar, facing my friends and family and the priest, with Jesus on a cross behind my left shoulder and someone doing a reading on my right and I all could picture was Arnie’s penis wrapped in silk. “Love is patient, love is kind…” and MY love is encased in shiny fabric right now. I bit my lip so hard to stop the giggling welling up inside me. I looked at him, he winked at me and I grinned again from ear to ear. I knew right then that everything was going to be okay. And not just at that moment, but for the rest of our lives together.

At our rehearsal dinner Arnie’s dad gave a wonderfully moving speech. I really, really hate that we never got it on video so I could hear it again and quote it exactly, but such is life. I will never forget, though, how he described Arnie and me. He said it was like putting your hand into a box with millions of puzzle pieces, pulling out a piece and then reaching in again and pulling out the exact match. That we are each our own people, separate and unique, but when joined together, fit perfectly and create something beautiful and good. That doesn’t happen every day, he said. I remember being humbled that someone else got what we understood about “us” so completely. That we were MFEO and better together than we ever had been apart.

Fourteen years have flown by. We’ve moved houses, had children and lost people very dear to us. We’ve celebrated and cried and laughed countless times. I had a wonderful example of marriage in my parents who were happily married for 52 years. Through their respectful arguments and frequent kisses I learned that it’s never easy but it’s always worth it. The green sports car has come and gone, replaced with a truck to haul our camper and a minivan. It’s a sign of the times we’re living right now. And I wouldn’t change a single thing. Except… I kind of do wish you had been wearing that silk penis sock, Ace. And I really wish I had landed that punch when I tried to bitch slap “Girl with loose morals”. Happy Anniversary to my one and only puzzle piece.

PS- Thanks for stopping the car and going back that night so I could kiss my dad good-bye. You’re all kinds of awesome.

Copyright 2010 by Me

 

So we joined a gym… (AKA: “I knew group sweating could be fun, but I’m usually not this sore the next day.” April 5, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Humor,Life,Marriage — laughingmama @ 11:43 am
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I’m no stranger to sweat and exercise, it’s just that we haven’t been on good terms lately. There wasn’t one thing I can point to that made us drift apart, but lots of days we just didn’t feel like spending together. Sweat and exercise is a pain in the butt and I’d much rather be in the company of things that make me feel good. Like beer and pizza, or wine and cheese… basically any alcohol and dairy combo. (Except vodka and milk, that’s not as yummy as you would think, but when you’re out of OJ or lemonade you do what you have to do.) Oh sure, sweat and exercise and I had our good days. There was that time I “Jazzercised” with my mom when I was 12 and the time I passed PE 100 in college by running a 9 minute mile for 3 miles. More recently, I “ran” a half-marathon. Those were definitely good times. Until now I was satisfied with the memories and didn’t think about sweat and exercise too much.

And then my very sweet husband took some pictures of me at my niece’s birthday party and there I was. Well, my ass specifically. See, he’s a butt man and you can time-line our relationship all in pictures of my rear end. If he has a camera, my posterior will be on the digital SD card. When I was 115 pounds, that was funny. After my niece’s birthday party, it was a wake up call. It’s not that it’s huge, or flabby, it just didn’t fill out the pants in the exact shape I thought when I left the house that morning. God bless him, he still is crazy about it and I guess that’s why I hadn’t paid too much attention to how the alcohol and dairy were gathering back there. But when faced with the evidence, even in the 3 inch display screen on our camera, it was hard to deny. I needed to get re-acquainted with sweat and exercise.

The very next day I convinced him to go with me to a local health club that was having an open house and running a special with no enrollment fee. Half of our friends are members there and we’ve heard for years about how awesome it is. We’ve also heard about the expense of it. That day I didn’t care. All I saw as I looked around the gym during the tour was my body becoming more fit. The tour guide/membership salesman, Ritchie, called it the “Walk of Life”. I called it the “Walk of Killer Abs and Glutes.” I was sold. Ritchie gave us the run down on the club- price, amenities, rules and regs. When Ritchie asked us if we were on board, Arnie said, “Ritchie, I think it was a foregone conclusion when we walked in the door. Where do we sign?”. It was disgusting how excited I was.

But honestly, you would be too. Let me describe the health club to you, starting at the front door. You walk in to a sweepingly open, airy, sunlight filled lobby. There’s a cathedral like feeling to it and as you look up at the puzzle of skylights three stories up, it’s almost amusing to see that on the second floor, overlooking the lobby are rows of exercise bikes. People already lustily having relations with sweat and exercise peer down at you as you enter. You feel voyeuristic but then again, they’re watching you too – it’s how it’s set up. So, I guess in this scenario the designers of the club are the real creepers. That’s on one side. On the other side are the stair climbers so a row of (mostly) nice, marching back sides greet you from the second floor on the right. Hmmm… maybe THAT’S what Arnie meant when he said joining was a foregone conclusion. Maybe he had his mind made up that any club that would put his favorite body part on such display is a place he needed to be. Those smart, smart, health club designers. Have I mentioned the employees? They’re always smiling, friendly and willing to help. One or two of them are available to take your card and check you in. They almost make you glad you came.

Off the lobby is the “spa”. You can get a hair cut and color, manicure, pedicure, massage, facial, all manner of waxings, and any other spa service you wish here. It’s very tranquil and relaxing in there, right underneath all the people quite literally working their butts off. Also off the lobby is the cafe. All sorts of healthy fare is served there and every menu item includes the nutrition information right on the board so you can make an informed choice. What would be more helpful is an approximation of how long it would take to throw up your healthful dish once you make your way upstairs and hop on the treadmill. I find it funny that both of these things are options for you to choose before you even step foot on the equipment floor. I could spend all day there and never once exercise anything but my fingers as they get polished or my elbow as I eat lunch. I guess that’s what the peep show to the second floor is all about- reminding you that you have a date with sweat and exercise.

On your way to the locker room you pass by the sales offices (give a shout out to your salesman- “HEY, Ritch-IE!!!”) and the “gym” part of the health club. There you can play basketball and racquetball, and hone your rock climbing skills. Yeah, that last one is only going to be used by the kids in our family. It’s an impressive area with many walls of varying degrees of difficulty. But I, for one, won’t be strapping that “guaranteed wedgie” harness around my waist and hoisting myself from hold to hold until I’m so high I’m gripping the wall like it’s my mommy and I’m trying to hide from a stranger. No, I’ll leave that to my children. They’ve already done it and probably had more fun coming down from the heights they reached with the automatic belay than actually climbing. Honestly, I don’t think Mary’s a fan of the wedgie maker either.

They are, however, BIG fans of the indoor pool. It’s a zero entry pool and at the 0 foot mark there are little fountains of water that Drew likes to sit on. I wonder why. There’s also a giant mushroom in the middle of the pool that drops water in a big sheet all around it. I love that. The kids constantly want me to ride them piggy back style through the waterfall. They squeal when I stop directly under the water and then fall off my back. That gives me an opportunity to walk back out through the wall of water and I like to imagine that I’m Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon, running my hands through my wet hair. Thank God no cameras are allowed because I don’t want a picture of what I REALLY look like. The pool also has two water slides. They look like great fun but I’ll never get on it. I’ve seen adults come down it and you could be the skinniest 37 year old in the world but you’re still 37 and shooting out of a water filled tube ass first and screaming is an activity best reserved for the 15 and under set. I really wanted to tell that to the older man I saw the other day in a Speedo but I was too late. And too close to the slide as I watched my kids. Down he came and all I saw was hair and genitals. I’m pretty sure “Balls-in-your-face fun” is not a phrase the club will be putting in their next promotional pamphlet.

So, getting down to the actual purpose of the gym, the equipment floor is well-appointed. There are towel stations strategically placed, as well as towel depositories after you’re done with them. Wipes are conveniently located and I’ve noticed with pleasure that almost everybody wipes down their machines after they’ve sweated all over them. Nice gym etiquette people! There are tons of treadmills, bike machines, ellipticals, stair climbers, and various other machines that are too complicated for me to attempt. Even when it’s been incredibly busy we’ve been able to find an available piece of equipment. There of course are weight machines and they’re all grouped by body part it helps. I’ll be concentrating my efforts in the “my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” section. There are also two studios for group classes and another one dedicated to cycling. Oh yeah, cycling.

I decided on our second day as members that I would do an “Intro to Cycling” class. I’ve heard about “spinning” and thought it sounded interesting but had never done it before. I wanted to get an idea about what it was before I jumped in with both pedals so I thought this class would be perfect. The instructor very kindly helped the newbies get their bikes set up. I had no idea it was this involved. I figured you would hop on an exercise bike and go. Not so. There were at least four dials to adjust and a “cage” for your feet. I should have walked out right then. If I had known it was an hour-long class I would have. I pedaled, and pedaled, and pedaled for a whole damn hour. My Facebook status that day was “Cycling is just another word for ‘numb crotch'”. I’m not even joking. I thought the rock climbing wall was the wedgie’s best friend. I was mistaken.

Last but not least there are the locker rooms. They are, of course, beautiful and spacious. There are plenty of towels, lockers, and… nudity. Now I remember what I hated about college PE classes. At least here there are doors to the showers. But I have yet to find the right combo of showering, drying and dressing with as little skin showing as possible. Not that anybody is checking me out, but I’m not going to go prancing about either. I reserve that for my own personal time at home. Apparently the guys locker room is a different story. My husband said that he’s never seen so many swinging um… “appendages” in all his life. I guess the gym guys are real proud of their endowments. My question was, doesn’t building muscles elsewhere make other things look smaller? “Not in this universe.” said Arnie. He was particularly disturbed by one guy who stood next to his locker, Statue of David-like, not doing anything in particular, just standing there like a peacock letting all eyes that cared to, take him in. Arnie has since made it a habit to keep his eyes forward and down as to avoid all “two eyes to one eye” contact.

Joining the gym overall has been a good experience. It’s allowed us to see how long it takes to walk off one beer so that when we go home and have two, only one counts. Seriously, I’m glad we’re both doing something for our health. We met with a personal trainer who tested our overall fitness and were surprised at the results. He told us to come ready to focus on the negative. (Like I don’t do that every day when I step out of the shower.) But shockingly our overall fitness was in the “average” category. The group they are comparing us to obviously has a problem. The training software also estimated my fitness age as 41 years old. Being 37 I wasn’t completely disheartened by that. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t THAT bad. Our trainer said if sweat and exercise and I “go steady” again, that I could be 31 or better fitness wise. I’ll take that. My ass looked awesome at 31! I know that for a fact. I have plenty of pictures of it.

 

The balance wheel of marriage… (AKA: “Yes honey, I DO want to go camping!!!”) January 12, 2010

Filed under: Humor,kids,Life,Marriage — laughingmama @ 8:24 pm
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Arnie and I have been together for almost 16 years and married for 14 of them. Somehow in those 16 blissful years we have managed to avoid one of the major milestones of family life in America- going to Walt Disney World. That is, until now. Our kids are getting up there in age and are quickly moving out of the “It’s magical” reaction to Disney and rapidly toward the “Yeah, whatever. Where’s my iPod?” reaction. We have to act fast. So, we’ve decided to plan a trip for this year. Our kids are in year-round school so we’ll take advantage of the cool temperatures and (hopefully) smaller crowds and go during their October break. That’s as far as we’ve gotten with the planning.

We’ve queried a few families who have been there and gotten some good feedback. Some we will use, some we won’t. For example, my brother spent months pouring over guide books, scouring the internet for tips and came up with a spreadshit (no joke, I just typed that. I’m leaving it in there because that was such a perfect Freudian slip!)… I mean… spreadsheet which not only detailed each section of every park and the rides contained therein, it noted whether use of the “Fast Pass” was possible, any restaurants available, the times and locations of any reservations he had made, times of shows and parades and all of it was color coded. This was cut down to a totable size, laminated and bound with three rings to make an easy access reference they carried with them every day. It was amazing. I envied it and his planning skills since I don’t possess them. When I told a friend about it, she asked if he was adopted. I told her no, that he was an accountant.

Other people weren’t quite as organized but enjoyed themselves anyway. They, however, waited for long periods in line. I’m hoping we can be somewhere in the middle. We’ve begun to think about where we would stay. Of course, there are several options. We could stay at a time-share condo close by that my in-laws said they would generously share, we could stay on site at an economy hotel and do a budget vacation, we could go all out and stay somewhere like Animal Kingdom and watch exotic animals being fed outside our balcony, or we could pull our camper the 620 miles it will take to drive there and stay in Fort Wilderness- the Disney campground.

Guess which option I vote for? Guess which one my husband wants to choose? Let me qualify my lack of enthusiasm by saying that I love our camper. It has two beds, a kitchen sink, a microwave and an oven, a refrigerator, a stereo/DVD player and most importantly, a bathroom with a toilet, a shower and a door that closes! We take it out every weekend we can when the weather is nice. We have a lovely campground by a lake that’s only 20 minutes from our door and it’s like a second home to us in the summer. Let me clarify by saying that I’m not THAT kind of girl- the “high maintenance” kind. Okay, it’s not like we’re roughing it, but I don’t mind getting dirty. What I do think I will mind is pulling into Ft. Wilderness, getting the kids excited about finally being at Disney and then telling them they have to wait while their father and I park the camper, level the camper, unpack our wares, set up the water and sewer connection, unfold the bunk ends, slide out the couch, make the beds… I can see you making a face right now. It’s the same face I’ve worn when I think of it too.

Until today. I’ve thought about the reasons why Arnie is lobbying for Camp Mickey. He has very fond memories of being there, camping with his family as a kid. He said Camp Mickey was almost as much if not more fun than the Disney park itself. It made a big impression on him and he gets this far away nostalgic look on his face every time he talks about it. It’s actually really sweet. I understand wanting to recreate memories for your kids. It’s the same reason we’ve taken our kids to Hilton Head Island which is where my family would vacation every year. But as an adult and as the parent, it’s just not the same. I’ve warned Arnie about this simply because I don’t want him to be disappointed.

But really, who am I to dash his dream for his family? I have learned something in these 16 blissful years- sometimes you’re the supporter and sometimes you’re the supported. A friend of mine calls it the balance wheel and I love that. Events in recent years have meant that the balance wheel has largely spun toward Arnie being the supporter. You know the phrase “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? I hate that phrase but Arnie kind of embodies it. He has said before that if he can make my life easier, then his life is easier too and everything is better. This absolutely floors my mom who had a wonderful husband for 52 years in my dad, but he wasn’t the most helpful guy. His many strengths lied elsewhere.  But what Arnie understands is that it’s not just taking care of the “honey do” list (which I REFUSE to have- I’m not his mama, he’s not 10 years old and doesn’t need a chore chart.), it’s recognizing when to be quiet, when to give a kind word and when to say, “Here’s a glass of wine, go take a bath, I’ve got this.” when I’m at my wit’s end or in the middle of an emotional meltdown. Oprah once said that foreplay doesn’t just happen 10 minutes before intercourse, it happens ALL DAY LONG. (And no guys, I don’t mean lewd whistles when we bend over to unload the dishwasher. I mean unloading the dishwasher WITH us. You can spank my ass while we’re doing it- that’s fine! Just have your other hand ready to accept the utensil basket.) Arnie gets this. He tries really hard and is very good at taking care of all of me.

That’s why I’m willing to take one for the team. And not in that half-hearted “Okay, I’ll tell you yes so we can get this over with and I can go to sleep.” kind of way. (For the record, I have NEVER done that. I swear. I don’t see the point, actually. Catching a dead, limp fish is no fun for the fisherman OR the fish. Better to stick your pole in the water when it’s more welcoming. Assuming that’s sometime within the next 48 hours. If not, you may have a problem that I can’t help you with.) What’s the use in doing something for someone else if you’re just going to make them feel guilty or terrible about the fact that you’re doing it? You gotta go all the way, and do it gladly. So, when we were sitting at dinner I looked at him and said, “Honey, if camping at Fort Wilderness is what you want to do, I’m on board. Let’s do it! It sounds like fun!” It’s time the balance wheel spun in my direction even if that means the wheels of our camper will soon be rolling down I-95.

copyright 2010 by Me