Laughing Mama's Blog

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

New School Year, New Start Time (AKA: “The Walking Dead”) September 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — laughingmama @ 10:27 am

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that I am not a morning person, that I love sleep, I love my bed and I love my pillow. That nothing other than road trips and garage sales and babies has ever gotten me out of bed before 6:00 a.m. And yet here I am waking up at 5:30 for the past 8 weekdays. “Whoa!” you say, “That’s a lot of road trips!” But sadly I haven’t gone anywhere. “Gosh! That must be the longest running garage sale in history! Guinness Book of World Records?” Oh, but if that were true. “OMG! You’re a new mom??!” Nope, I’m an old mom. With a 14 year old baby who just started high school. A high school that has a start time of 7:15. Accounting for traffic and wardrobe showdowns and lunch making and taking the dog out, I calculated our wake-up time had to be… beep boop beep.. half past no time I ever wanted to be aware existed. Ok, I should say here that I KNOW that 5:30 a.m. exists. I’ve stayed up all night and seen it for myself plenty of times. You know why? Because I’m a night owl!! The opposite of a morning person. (See? Mornings are so awful they don’t even have a mascot.)

To add insult to injury, at the same time as I’m waking up before the sun, I also started a carb and sugar free detox. That means no sugar in my coffee. That means no coffee because, ew. The reasons why are long and involved but basically I blame it on my birthday. It was a month ago and I had been celebrating for days. Twenty four of them to be exact. August was my month of “yes”. Dinner out? Yes! Dessert? Yes! Another glass of wine? Yes! Pizza again? Yes! Ice cream? Yes! I’m pretty sure the only thing I said no to was vegetables. Long story short, my body had an idea. Want to shoot pain through Eileen’s abdomen and make her feel like she’s giving birth to a food baby? My stomach’s answer? Yes! The Sunday before high school started I woke up in the middle of the night wondering if maybe I was in labor. Was I pregnant and didn’t know it?? After thoughts like “OMG! My friends will think I’m an idiot!” and “Could an immaculate conception happen AGAIN?!” and “Ugh. I’m going to be the oldest mom on the playground.”, I finally surmised it was probably the Razberitas and garlic knots coming back to say hi. I told you I wasn’t making good choices. But at least I wasn’t pregnant and didn’t know it!

Back to my point, waking up super early and not having access to coffee left me with no ability to care about my appearance. One morning last week, I forget which one- they all run together in a blurry slow-motion blob, we were driving to school. I could feel my daughter’s eyes on me. She said, “So, you’ve got your hair half up, half down. The part that’s down is half curly, half straight. You’ve got nailpolish on only two nails and they’re different colors. And you spilled green tea on your shorts. Mama… you’re kind of a hot mess right now.” I couldn’t deny it.

I am a hot mess. Did I mention my daughter started high school??! I’m emotionally fragile and sleep deprivation doesn’t help. I legit pull over into random parking lots to cry periodically. (And am now using phrases such as “legit” which is a sure sign I need help.) I stare at babies in restaurants and stores and make stupid faces at them to get them to smile because living in a house containing teens, I miss people thinking I’m amusing instead of annoying. I walk out the door without a bra because I can only remember to do two things that early and that day brushing my teeth and putting in my contacts won. (Yes, that means that some days I will only remember a bra and contacts. That’s what they make Altoids for. Also I’ve been wearing my glasses a lot more often lately.) I hit the grocery store at 6:55 with no make-up on and drag myself down the aisles among people with jobs walking with purpose to get their protein bars on the way to work completely put together and in one piece. I guess what I’m saying is please don’t be alarmed when you see me shuffling like a cast member of The Walking Dead with the exact same pallor and fashion sense. I’m ok. I just need a cup of coffee, a pillow and a hug. And a start bell that rings somewhere around 11:30. That would be amazing.

Advertisements
 

Tis the Season (AKA: “Oooooooh That Smell.”) November 18, 2013

Filed under: Humor,Life,Uncategorized — laughingmama @ 1:32 am
Tags: , , ,

It’s that time of year again. Yes, the time of year when you turn on the seat warmers but by the time your seat heats up five minutes down the road you’ve forgotten you turned them on and when you start feeling a warmth rise beneath you, you panic for a brief second because you think you might have pissed your pants. Rest easy. It’s going to be okay. Or is it? Just walk into any grocery store and you’ll soon realize that NO! It’s not okay.

I don’t know about where you live, but where *I* live my grocery store has a vile holiday custom. A tradition that is an assault on your olfactory system. That’s right. I’m talking about cinnamon pine cones. The time has come to speak out. Too many Thanksgivings and Christmases have gone by while I remained silent. The raping of my nose with this noxious perfume has got to stop.

I get it. Cinnamon says fall. It says comfort. It says fall is comfortable. It reassures everybody that summer is done and it’s time to put away the bathing suits and don a heavy sweater or fleece jacket and hide all the body flaws that have been on display throughout June, July and August. I love cinnamon. I eat it in my oatmeal every morning. It’s like the Italian grandmother who says, “Mangia, principessa. You are too skinny.” Cinnamon is awesome. And has restorative powers.

But why the hell they have to douse pine cones with it and make a pyramid of headache inducing bags of it in the lobby of my grocery store is beyond me. One morning after dropping my son off at elementary school I innocently stopped by the store on my way home only to have my nose violated as soon as I stepped through the doors. What did I do to deserve such punishment? I swear, alongside playing Brittany Spears, filling an interrogation room with cinnamon pine cones is sure to bring even the most devout jihadist to his knees and beg for mercy.

The doors of the store slid open and sure enough the scent of cinnamon didn’t just “waft” enticingly through the air like when you pass a Cinnabon in a mall. No. Cinnamon freaking slapped in you the face like a jealous girlfriend after your phone battery died and she hasn’t been able to contact you in 3 hours. All of a sudden you’re looking around nervously hoping you don’t see anybody you know because your eyes are watering and you’re about to vomit like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model the night before a cover shoot.

Why??! Now, don’t misunderstand me. Cinnamon pine cones aren’t the problem per se. They are lovely and add a nice homey touch to a fireplace at the right time of year. What I have a problem with is QUANTITY. There is no reason to have 1,248 bags of pine cones and 20 of the pine cone’s statuesque cousin- the cinnamon broom all in the same place. I don’t mind the broom nearly as much as the pine cones because they are a tradition for a lot of people and they could potentially serve a purpose in case Uncle Billy has an unfortunate holiday relapse and breaks a whiskey bottle on your kitchen floor. Pine cones… well, they’re just… pine cones. Pine cones should remain outside for the enjoyment of squirrels. And never should they be doused in cinnamon cologne which would surely burn the squirrels nostrils and cause them severe damage from which they would never recover and likely die since they would no longer be able to sniff out the nuts they’ve stored over the winter after an encounter with such a thing. It’s an environmental issue, really.

But the thing I think about when I walk into my grocery store and get a whiff of that “festive” display is the workers in the factory where these God awful things are produced. I used to work in Kirklands, a home decor store, once upon a time. Part of my duties was to unpack the boxes of goods that were delivered. Unfortunately we sold bags of potpourri. One bag of potpourri is pretty. A box of 500 bags is highly toxic and upon opening, the stench immediately clings to your very pores and every fiber of your clothing and no amount of scrubbing or bleaching can remove the smell until it’s good and ready to depart. That’s not the worst thing in the world when the scent is freesia. I can’t imagine the men who work in the cinnamon pine cone factory are getting laid anytime soon. Nobody comes home from a shift on the line at the Holiday Traditions company and is greeted by an eager spouse ready for a cinnamon stick. No. Those workers are sleeping alone. And most likely in an outhouse.

If the cinnamon pine cone is something you purchase and have in your home, I say kudos to you! I’m sure the ambiance you’re providing for your family is special and they enjoy your effort to create a place of warmth and comfort in their home. Just maybe keep it to one or two bags lest you begin a new and unwanted custom in your household. That being aroma induced migraines. It’s a real thing. I promise you. I get it every time I walk into my grocery store from October-December. Happy Holidays!

 

Simply, Joe (AKA: “Am I wearing underwear?”) April 2, 2013

Filed under: Humor,Life,Uncategorized — laughingmama @ 12:52 pm
Tags: , ,

There’s a new man in my life. Yes, I’m still happily married and no it isn’t a child or an animal. He’s a real, honest to goodness man. Well, I don’t know if he’s honest or good, but he is real. And he’s even employed! He’s the greeter at the grocery entrance to my local Walmart and his name is Joe. Joe is the sort of man you would describe as jolly. He has kind, happy eyes, is on the chubby side, is bald but has a white mustache and always has a smile and a wave for you when you walk in the door. He might also be a pervert. Something I never really thought about until recently.

See, Joe and I have been “buddies” for years now. I’d somehow gotten into the habit of looking him directly in the eyes as I’m saying “Hi” or “Good morning” or “Heyhowreyou?”. Even though I never stopped to actually talk to him, for some reason it felt as if I knew him. As if my acknowledgements of his presence were an invitation to friendship that he gladly accepted. I often wondered if he thought I was weird. Or if I might have been some distant relative he didn’t quite remember. I felt like my greetings were THAT familiar. I could almost picture him thinking, “Is that my cousin Margaret’s step daughter’s son’s wife?” and it always kind of bothered me that I hadn’t just stopped one time and put his questions to rest and said, “You don’t know me but you seem kind and I like to smile because I want everyone to like me.” But too much time had passed for that to happen organically. Kind of like when you’re introduced to someone but immediately forget their name and then you’re too embarrassed to ask again so you’re left calling them “You” or “Honey” or “Love” until 6 months goes by and then it’s too late to ever know their name. No, our friend-ship had sailed and there was no looking back now.

Apparently this was not good enough for Joe. The time had come. And one day a few weeks ago he literally put his hand out and stopped my cart as I walked by smiling. Normally this kind of take charge, macho gesture would set my lady parts aflutter, but this is JOE. “Hi Honey, how are you?” he asked. See? Honey. He didn’t have a clue who I was but he didn’t have the common decency to be embarrassed about it and fake it like everyone else did their entire lives. “I’m good.” I said and I guess I must have sounded tired. “What’s wrong?” he ventured as his sausage fingers held tight to my cart. I guess he fancied himself a kind of Walmart Dr. Phil. “Oh, not a thing! I’ve just been working a lot. I make cakes!” I explained. “Oh, do you?” he responded flatly. I could tell he really didn’t care about my occupation. I guess you get what you pay for with Walmart Dr. Phil. He continued with what I suspected was the real reason he stopped me… “I just have to tell you, you make my day every time I see you walk in here. Your smile is beautiful.” and then he proceeded to get off the stool he leans on and give me a big hug. Awwww! I love hugs! Even if this public display of affection was a bit sudden for us. I told him thank you and realized that with his arms around me he had to let go of my cart, so I took my leave and he said, “Bye, Dear.” just like always.

I went home and posted something on Facebook about it because nothing exciting ever happens to me so this is as good as it gets. I did withhold names to protect the innocent, but someone from my hometown knew exactly who I was talking about anyway. She even said that she thought he mentally undresses every woman who walks in there. WHAT? My Joe? I hadn’t really thought about it before she said that. I always likened Joe to Santa Claus in that he always seemed like a harmless, possibly lonely, sweet old man. I don’t think he lives with elves and makes toys for children.

So, the next time I had the occasion to be in Walmart, the fact that Joe might be a pervert was on my mind. And I must say, even if my friend hadn’t planted that seed, I might have still been able to harvest what Joe was sowing. I walked in as normal and there he was. Again he stood from his stool as I passed and pulled me into a tight embrace. My husband’s family had a friend who would always make noise when he hugged you. It was always a bit disconcerting and made you wonder what he was thinking about. Unfortunately, Joe has this same habit. “Mmmmm… Mmmmmmmm… MMMMMMMMMMM!!!!” was the groan that came out of Joe’s mouth and directly into my ear as he hugged me. As I tried not to burst into nervous laughter, Joe released me slightly and I felt his wet lips on my face! Santa KISSED ME! Bad Santa! I was so shocked! I patted him on the shoulder, returned to my cart and wandered through the produce section in a daze wondering what the hell just happened. And just how many ladies does Joe “greet” in this way every day? And then I was thinking about what my friend said about him mentally undressing women. And wondering how long he had been doing that to me. And then I became curious as to what kind of underwear I’m wearing in Joe’s mind. And then I came to the sickening realization that maybe it’s none. I’m wearing no underwear. And finally I was lamenting the fact that now I’ll have to use the “home and pharmacy entrance” from now on even when I just want groceries. And I might have to invest in a burka.

But it didn’t stop there. Like all relationships, mine and Joe’s had been progressing and he was ready to move to the next level. Unbeknownst to me. Last week with cake orders and Easter on my mind I completely forgot to go to the Walmart in the next town while also wearing a disguise and using a fake ID just in case Joe happened to be transferred to that store. Luckily when I walked in and saw Joe he was busy talking to another man so our contact was limited to him reaching his hand out and me taking it for a brief second as I sprinted past. There was his jolly face again. And the man he was talking to was a veteran and my heart kind of melted for a minute. Maybe he WAS the Walmart Dr. Phil who people could tell their troubles to. Probably mostly because he couldn’t go anywhere. I mean, he was paid to stay there by the door and interact with whoever came in. Regardless, Joe’s a good guy I decided. So when I paid for my groceries and headed for the door and noticed that Joe was still talking to the vet, I gave him a quick SIDE hug so as not to interrupt their conversation and told him “Happy Easter”! Joe hugged me hard in return and said, “I love you”.

Well, there you go. In Facebook terms our relationship is complicated. I don’t even know his last name. Yet on some level he loves me and may or may not picture me in or out of my underwear. Even with that last bit, I think Joe is a harmless, grandpa-like fellow who is probably just longing for human contact. With a lady. Just because one grows older and loses one’s hair doesn’t mean you stop feeling things. Maybe at one point in his younger years before he started taking on the appearance of St. Nick, Joe looked awesome in his underwear. Not that he doesn’t now, but I don’t think of him that way. Ever. Even just then when I said that. I was actually picturing Adam Levine. Anyway, my point is we’re all human. (Except maybe Adam Levine. And Henry Cavill. They’re from the planet “Nobody can possibly look like that and be real”.) And okay, he probably shouldn’t make it a habit of accosting shoppers, but I can forgive him. As long as that’s where it stops. If Joe starts getting handsy well then we’ll have to work out some deal with the North Pole so I can get better loot in my stocking. A Walmart discount at the very least.

 

Obligatory End of the Year Top 5-10 List Depending On My Material (AKA: “50 Shades of Me”) December 31, 2012

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching. And since the world didn’t end on December 21st, I decided to reflect on the past year and come up with some of my favorite moments of 2012. These are not things that happened in the world- I’ll let Yahoo count those down for you. They are personal to me. They could be good, they could be bad and most likely they’re weird. I’m not really sure how many there are which will make counting down fairly difficult. I guess I’ll just wait until the end and number them then. Shall we get started?

8. Chocolate Boob: You’ve heard of Chocolate Rain, right? (If not, congratulations! You are too busy being a productive human being to waste hours of time on YouTube. Let me save you the surfing time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwTZ2xpQwpA) Well, this story has nothing to do with that except that I’m talking about chocolate “too”. I say “too” because I’m not even sure Chocolate Rain is about chocolate per se, but its been a while since I’ve watched the video so maybe it is. Anyway, in June a high school buddy came into town from Japan and a bunch of other high school buddies got together at another high school buddy’s house to see her. Since I’m the “cake lady” I brought cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes. But for some reason I didn’t have my usual plastic containers for them. I don’t know, maybe I was out and hadn’t had a chance to go get more. Whatever the reason, I lined a sheet cake pan with pretty fabric and arranged the cupcakes in it. I made my way into the house carrying the pan, saying hello, promising hugs as soon as I put the pan down. Which I did. And the first person I turned to hug looked at me and said, “Hey, Eileen, you’ve got something… right… there. You know… there.” as she motioned to her chest region. I looked down and OF COURSE I had accidentally brushed my left boob over the top of one of the chocolate cupcakes leaving a blob of icing on my shirt. I specify that it was my left boob because that’s the big one and it’s always causing more problems than the right one. I don’t know why they can’t be the same size but I guess it’s kind of good because if they were then I’d have two chocolate boobs. My point is that I had not seen some of these people in several years. And then when I do, instead of entering like Martha Stewart I end up coming at them all smiles with chocolate on my shirt like a 5-year-old. I wonder if Martha ever made an entrance with something in an inappropriate place. I’m picturing a summer party in Nantucket with Martha in her best white clam diggers, greeting guests and mingling and when she turns around there it is… a used condom stuck to her rear end! It’s not uncommon. We had a used condom stuck to our car tire one time. It was not OUR used condom, we picked it up on the road somewhere which makes you wonder… who is flinging used condoms out of car windows on the highway? Maybe that’s what happened to Martha. Wrong place, wrong time. Chocolate boob.

7. Swingers: To be fair, I don’t know if they were swingers or not. For all I know, they were just super creepy to everyone. The story is, I was in Charlotte for my sister’s birthday and we had gone to a local Irish pub for a few drinks. As is the case with me, the more I drink the louder I get. But there is a point wherein I’m sober enough to realize I’m being loud but drunk enough not to care. That’s when I noticed a couple in the respectable “restaurant” section of the pub. I didn’t want to full-on stare at them but I could feel their eyes on me. I was used to general contempt being hurled in my direction from others who were not in my party and therefore didn’t realize how hilarious I am. Therefore I thought nothing of the fact that when I did get an opportunity to glance their way, usually when my head was thrown back in a hugely exaggerated open-mouthed laugh, I saw them leaning towards each other talking and gesturing in my direction. Whatever. I decided to hit the ladies room. While in there I took a second to look in the mirror and adjust something- lip gloss, bra, Spanx, I can’t remember. That’s when the lady of the couple came in and saw me standing there. Instead of scowling, her eyes brightened which confused me greatly. “I just have to tell you that my husband and I think you have the BEST laugh! We have been sitting there enjoying watching you. It’s just infectious and you have that adorable dimple. Your whole face just exudes happiness. You are really beautiful.” ……… Now what the hell are you supposed to say to THAT??!!! “You’re getting it all wrong lady, I’m going for obnoxious, not beautiful.” or “Sorry, I’ve got my eye on this other couple at the bar.” or “This is the ladies room not late night Cinemax.” or “Darn it! I gave up threesomes for Lent.” No, I went with the meek “Thank you” and high tailed it outta there back to my sister who I told immediately and then we laughed loudly again which I’m sure made me even more irresistible to the progressive minded husband and wife.

6. Disney: I turned 40 this year and as a present my wonderful husband planned a trip to Walt Disney World for us and the kids. We had gone 2 years ago and had a wonderful, memorable time and he wanted to repeat that family togetherness. We thought maybe we’d add to that memory and bring my husband’s parents along this time. They had been wanting to go ever since their first grandchild was born and we felt like the time was right. At this point, let me say that we went in October and expected unseasonably warm temperatures since we were in Florida, but we did not expect 90 degrees every day and torrential downpours most of the time. The weather was truly awful. But, we made the most of it and had a wonderful start to the week. My in-laws rode the Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster much to our surprise and had a GREAT time. Then my mother-in-law dislocated her shoulder. It’s not even funny, y’all. She fell on the sidewalk and popped her shoulder right out of its socket!! After a long night in the ER, she finally got some relief in the way of her shoulder returning to its socket and vicodin. God Bless them though, they were troopers and were determined to stick with the program. They met us the next sweltering day and only lasted about an hour before they had to go back to their room. That’s when my father-in-law’s body exploded. I’m not even kidding. The man doesn’t get ill and hasn’t gotten physically sick in over 20 years. Disney worked it’s “magic” on him, though and Mickey’s Revenge took him out. At least for a couple of days. They still wanted to participate as much as they could though and did Hollywood Studios with us the last day. They could not have looked more miserable. It was hot, they were uncomfortable and probably just wanted a bed instead of a sling, a wheelchair and a cool, wet bandana to go around their necks to keep their core temperatures down. It was like Grandparent Bookcamp up in there! But they survived, and the best was their birthday card to my husband a couple of weeks later, “Sure did enjoy Disney” it said. What it didn’t say was, “Glad we don’t have to do it again!”.

5. Magic Mike: So, no 2012 countdown would be complete without Magic Mike. I don’t think it’s any secret that I like boys. Make those boys buff, dance to music I like and take their clothes off… well then you’ve just become my new best friend. I think what we’ve found out this year between Magic Mike and that book someone wrote (I’ll talk about that momentarily) is that women aren’t as coy as they once used to be. Maybe it just took this year to figure out exactly how some of us like sex packaged. Ha! I said package! I digress. I think women are turned on by visual stimuli just as much as men and nothing dispelled the myth that we need plot quite like Magic Mike. Were there words in the movie? And they were brilliant at packaging that to women. (Package count: 2) Hell, one of the special features on the DVD is all of the dance sequences strung together so you don’t even have to fast forward! Take THAT porn industry! My point is, Channing Tatum is beautiful and can dance his beautiful ass off and I thank him for making Magic Mike so I can sit in the comfort of my living room with a package (3) of Oreos and stare at him shaking it and humping the floor and grinding against anything and just generally being sexy as hell. This paragraph was approved by my husband.

4. Tudors: So, while we’re on the topic of sexy men, we also discovered a show called The Tudors this year thanks to Netflix. I know I’m several years behind, but we don’t get anything but basic cable so I have to wait. And The Tudors was so worth it! It’s a great show with wonderful acting, amazing costumes and gorgeous, gorgeous boys. I can’t help it, but it’s not my fault. They keep putting these beautiful men on-screen. Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII is stunning. I love him. He’s like this tortured, brooding, complicated Irish soul with intense eyes that (I would assume if he looked at you in person) make you feel naked even if you’re fully clothed. And then there’s Henry Cavill. Henry Fucking Cavill. I’m pretty sure that’s his middle name. He renders me speechless. (Unless you count a guttural “Umph” every time I gaze upon his wickedness as speech.) I don’t even know what to say. What can I say? There are no words. Except thank you, God. I see Henry Cavill and I know you exist.

3. 50 Shades: I told you I’d talk about THAT book. I was right there with the masses for Magic Mike. I succumbed. And I really tried with 50 Shades of Grey. Until I realized it sucked. If I had to read the words “Oh crap” one more time *I* was going to tie someone up. And once I found out it was born out of Twilight fan fiction that was it for me. I never finished the first book and don’t intend to. I’ve heard the second book is better and has some character development which is good because Ana and Christian in the first book are about as deep as the Frosted Mini Wheats I had for breakfast. I’m not saying it has to be great literature and the fact that it’s not and the only redeeming quality it has in it is tons and tons of sex makes my point about women not being as coy as they once were even more solid. And supposedly they’re going to make a movie. I swear, even with all of the above being said, I will be the first in line to see it if they cast Henry Cavill as Christian Grey. Because Henry Cavill on-screen doing dirty things all over the place just might make my head (and other things) explode from too much sexiness. I mean seriously, I can’t even handle how gorgeous that man is. Oh crap! Maybe I should write a fan fiction about him, turn it into a novel and then make one hundred million dollars. *winky face*!!!!

2. Jacuzzi Tub: My mom has time-share points. Well, she used to have a time-share and now she has points. I think they’re the same thing, but according to my mom points are the devil and I tend to agree because there are a lot of rules I have to help her keep straight and sometimes we lose points because we forget to bank them on the 4th Sunday after the Summer Solstice when Jupiter is in Venus and Charlie Brown finally kicks the football. I don’t know. All I know is that sometimes I can book a vacation for her and we get to tag along. Such was the case this fall. Circumstances presented themselves in such a way that I was able to go by myself with my mom. (Those circumstances were my daughter saying she didn’t want to miss the cow eye dissection in her middle school science class, my son being Switzerland and my husband realizing I needed a break and therefore saying, “Go. Please!”) So there I am in my condo room just me and a tub bigger than I had ever seen. The jets on the side and the dial on the wall alerted me to the fact that this was a jacuzzi tub. So, I gathered my magazine, a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers to try it out. Everything I learned about luxury I learned from Lovey Howell’s discussions on Gilligan’s Island. I followed the directions on the wall and set the timer, started the tub water and got in expecting to push the button to start the jets when it got up to level. Well, I don’t know WHAT happened. Maybe I pushed the button getting in, or maybe housekeeping goes around pushing all the buttons for unsuspecting vacationers as a lark, but I’ll tell you exactly the outcome of the button being pre-pushed… when the water reaches the level of the jets, the jets start to spurt water everywhere in unpredictable directions. It was like the tub was giving me very forceful and really unwanted zerberts in irregular intervals. There I was sitting there, minding my business when all of a sudden “PFFFFTTTTFFFTTT!!!”. I don’t know what made the bigger mess, the spitting jet or my spaz attack at being so startled by the noise and subsequent spray of water on my face. I DO know what was more embarrassing- that would be my mom knocking on my door wondering if I was okay because she heard the commotion. “Yes, fine. Just trying to figure out the jacuzzi tub!” I yelled over the cycle of “PFFFTTTTFFFTTT!!!” and me splashing to get out of the gigantic tub to turn the jets off. As if the jacuzzi tub were some sort of ancient riddle not even the brightest minds could crack. Good God. I finally got it turned off and surveyed the damage… magazine- drenched, wine- waterlogged, cheese and crackers- soggy beyond repair and the floor looked like I had just had an epic water balloon fight with my kids. Ah well, I thought as I got back in the water, even if I don’t use the jets, at least I can have a good soak in a big tub. Yeah. No. I sat there trying to relax in the molded recliner-esque plastic “seat” but my buoyancy kept making me drift away so I was constantly fighting my own body’s natural tendencies to float in order for me to sit in an unnatural position in the water so I could “relax”. I felt like I was floating downriver constantly trying to claw my way back to the stubborn La-Z-Boy which was always upstream from me. I finally gave up when my arm slipped on the handrail and I dunked my whole head underwater. Jacuzzi tubs were clearly meant for someone with more coordination than me.

1. Cake: I’m going to end on cake because cake is what I do and what I live almost daily. My cake business was humming along smoothly this year. I was consistently busy every month which is a relief because when you put yourself out there and say, “Hey world, I think I’m pretty good at this and you’re going to want to pay me money for it!” you kind of hope the world doesn’t say “No thanks”. I had the pleasure of being a part of so many celebrations in 2012. It really is a blessing to be able to do this and meet so many awesome people and wonderful families. I love the look on little ones’ faces when I walk through the door with their birthday cake. Or brides almost crying because their wedding cake is exactly what they wanted. Or people clapping with delight when they’ve given me a seemingly impossible task that I meet. So many opportunities to make people happy which is mostly why I play with sugar and flour. I wish I could work for those smiles alone, but my husband won’t let me.

So there you have it, 2012 (or what I could remember of it) in a nutshell. Of course it’s not everything. There were lots of little moments that make the year memorable. My daughter starting middle school and being asked to her first dance, my son’s face when I sang Bell Biv DeVoe to him, “Never trust a big butt and a smile” and then him saying, “If you only knew. People tell me that all the time, mom.” And the thousand kisses I was lucky enough to receive from my amazing husband. At the dawn of a new year I think about the lyrics to ‘Seasons of Love’ from Rent- 525,600 minutes… how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. There’s definitely been plenty of that lately. But to continue… how about love? I’m wishing you much love in 2013. Share love, give love, spread love. Measure your life in love. Happy New Year!

 

I got a Brazillian (AKA: “Blowout that is. Nothing about that sounds like what it actually is.” May 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — laughingmama @ 11:27 pm

I live in the South. It’s summer. That means humidity. Not the sexy, glistening, sweaty iced tea glass between your breasts, fanning yourself while on the front porch wearing a sundress kind of humidity. I have naturally curly hair. In all my 39 years I have NEVER looked forward to summer in the south. Or summer in general. There are too many chance encounters with water for my tastes.

Take for example this one time my best friend and I went to a college party. There was a pool. We jumped in- with our clothes on. (We weren’t drinking, for the record. We were just silly.) It felt liberating. Until I thought… “Oh crap! What about my hair?!” Luckily we got out of there before it dried completely. I left the cute boy in the middle of the living room totally enamored with this soaking wet girl with a head full of dripping curls. So long, sucker!

My hair and I have always had a love/hate relationship. It has a life of it’s own. Sometimes it’s own zip code. Some days it can look fantastic and I’m so thankful to be a curly girl. But most of the time I’m left looking enviously at other women who can shower in the morning. Yeah, women with curly hair can’t do that. At least, they can’t get their hair wet. Okay, they can get their hair wet but they can’t have any morning meetings they have to attend or jobs they have to be on time for. Fuck exercising. You just have to resign yourself to rocking a sweaty pony tail the rest of the day, walking around with wet hair, or putting so much product in your hair after a shower that it’s hard to move your head at all lest you break off a whole section of it.

And this is where the guilt comes in. God blessed me with these curls. Lots of people want them. Or so I’ve been told. My mother included. She has baby fine, straight hair. When shopping for stylists to do my wedding day hair, one in particular looked exasperated as he clutched handfuls of curls as if he didn’t know where to begin. “Yeah, I know.” said my mother… “I gave birth to that.” At that moment I pictured my mom as a smooth, sleek Nala looking at me, her Simba, with a full, unruly mane and shaking her head. Turning to her, my stylist replied, “How is that even possible?”. I don’t know. I always wished I could share the wealth.

But I can’t. For years I was unhappy with hair cuts. I was tired of coming home from the salon crying so I declared a truce and didn’t go back. My new husband cut my hair for years. It was all one length and long- it wasn’t that complicated. And curls hide a lot of imperfections so it was a perfect arrangement. Until I realized I might want to retire my scrunchies and might actually want a little bit of style.This is where the quest for the perfect hair began. I heard about a certain type of cut developed by a woman named Ouidad. The closest salon who had stylists trained by Ouidad herself was 3 hours away and cost $300. It was around my birthday so I gave a present to myself. While there, I found out that they had clients that flew in from California to get the special cut. CALIFORNIA!! That’s how insane us curly girls are in our pursuit for hair perfection! The cut was good and and the resulting curl was transcendent, but something was still missing.

In the subsequent years I had discovered smoothing products, flat irons, thermal protectors, Oscar Blandi’s Olio di Jasmine Hair Serum which smells like what I imagine Ryan Gosling would smell like if melted down so naturally I’m addicted to it and wish I could eat it. I’m pretty okay with my hair IF it’s winter, a precipitation free day and a day when I’ve got an hour and a half to devote to washing, blow drying and ironing my hair. Did I mention that I’m a mom and have just recently started my own business?

And need I remind you that it’s almost summer? Yeah, so for the past two weeks it’s been cloudy with a chance of showers around here every day. Or to put in in my hair’s terms, curly with a chance that it will eat my face. The only choice lately has been to pull it back into a puff ball. Not cute. I was done. And luckily business has been good so I decided to treat myself.

I’ve heard about the keratin treatment (Brazilian Blowout is one kind, but not the kind I received.) and thought I would go for it. My normal (awesome) stylist doesn’t do it, but the miracle worker 2 stalls down does. An appointment was made. I showed up. And it was easy. She washed my hair. She combed the treatment through every strand. It was very relaxing- in every way! Then, after sitting for a bit, she blow dried it and flat ironed it to set the treatment. Then she washed it again and this is when I realized she had actually performed magic. She blow dried it again but this time it only took 10 minutes. 10 MINUTES! And it wasn’t frizzy. She hit it with the flat iron in a couple of spots for good measure, but it was completely done and I was able to walk out of the door in 15 minutes. Insanity! It was like I had new hair. It was soft and smooth and shiny. It rained that afternoon and I went on the porch to “watch lightening” with my son. I was really testing the limits of this treatment. And it passed! No frizz! I even stuck my head in the dishwasher after it was done running. I opened the door and steam poured out. I put my head in thinking my hair would surely absorb all this moisture and double, even triple, in size. But no, my locks held strong.

I feel ridiculous for being so giddy over hair. But, for the first time EVER I actually was able to brush it while it was dry. You don’t even understand. Before, I would never even look at a brush. I didn’t want to anger my hair. But today, I seized a brush in my hands, steeled myself and ran it through my strands. To my surprise, there was no revolt! No rebellion! Just submission and lovely locks that just responded amicably and laid there afterwards completely happy and glowing. Damn! Maybe I don’t have to fight my hair after all. What a revelation!

After the keratin treatment I asked the stylist if I could hug her. I don’t know if she even knew why or how much what she had done meant to me. Of course she agreed and I hugged her as tight as I could without being that creepy client you might need a restraining order against. I’ve always felt like I should like my hair because that’s what God gave me. And there were times when I absolutely loved it and wouldn’t have traded it for anything. But most of the time it’s been a pain in the ass. Hopefully not anymore. I’ve been told that when I air dry it, it will still curl but won’t be unruly. I’m looking forward to that. It’s not the curl I hate, it’s the unpredictability. I’ve surrendered a lot of days to a baseball hat and a pony holder. Hopefully those days will decrease. I’m not giving them up completely because my husband thinks it’s sexy. Even more so than a southern belle on a porch in the middle of July. Hallelujah!!

 

 

It’s Valentine’s Day, Bitches! (AKA: “This is the day Hallmark has made. Let us buy candy and get fat.”) February 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — laughingmama @ 11:56 am

Dateline: February 14th. It’s Valentine’s Day. Big Whoop, I say! Yes, that’s right. Big Whoop! “Cynic” you must be thinking. “Someone jilted her and now she’s got to take it out on poor, innocent Cupid.” Au contraire, mon cheri! I am a happily married woman who has nothing against the fat, flying baby brandishing a weapon. And I am very much in love with my husband. As a matter of fact, he proposed to me on Valentine’s Day. It was tres romantic and the best Valentine’s Day ever! And every day I have known him has been like Valentine’s Day. Okay, now I’m sure you’re thinking, “GAG ME!! Who does this girl think she is? Nicholas Sparks?” No. This is not The Notebook or anything half as dramatic. To me, love is not about the overpriced cards Hallmark sells, or the red roses so abundant in store windows. It’s not about heart shaped boxes of candy that we hope and pray someone special gives us as a sign they love us. I feel a lot of pressure surrounding Valentine’s Day. And I don’t even CARE about it.

“Easy for you to say, you already have someone” you’re thinking. That’s true. When I was younger and without a boyfriend, this holiday sucked. I hated Valentine’s Day. I watched vase after vase of flowers being delivered to girls at work and sat and stared at my empty desk feeling sorry for myself. What kind of shitty holiday does that?? Valentine’s Day. It’s a concocted holiday to celebrate “love” which is all well and good, but why do we have to attach so much importance to it? Guys feel under the gun to give just the right thing to make their girl happy and girls have such high expectations for what the day is going to bring. As if all of a sudden their man will magically wake up on February 14th and be the most romantic person in the world just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Granted, it does fall in between the Super Bowl and March Madness so there’s not a whole lot else for guys to focus on right now. But I digress.. Singles just feel left out completely. Which is why there is now something called “Single Awareness Day”! Totally hilarious. Why? Because it’s just as silly as making up a holiday celebrating love.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a romantic at heart. I confess to loving The Notebook. It’s one of my favorite movies. Along with While You Were Sleeping and When Harry Met Sally. I’m a sap. And I cry at everything having to do with love. I’m a sucker for a bouquet of flowers. And of course, never turn down candy- in a heart shaped box or otherwise. “So what the hell is the problem with Valentine’s Day??” you’re screaming at your monitor. Well, it’s not a problem per se. I just don’t see the need in forcing love to exist on one particular day. Love should exist and be SHOWN every day. Getting back to what I said earlier about my husband… the other day I went out to the car to take the kids to school. He leaves for work earlier than I and this particular morning was cold. And totally unprompted and unknown to me, he took the time to scrape the ice off my windows. THAT is what I mean when I say every day is like Valentine’s Day. Because he doesn’t just think about me on February 14th when the jewelry stores and florist shops tell him he has to, he thinks about me every day. And scraping the ice off my windows is a much more romantic gesture and means more to me than anything he could spend money on for Valentine’s Day.

Except that engagement ring, that was a good move. I hope you have a wonderful YEAR of love showing those you care about how you feel and getting it back ten fold. I hope you get your fair share today and every day. Happy February 14th!

 

PS- I hope this doesn’t give you the impression that my husband is off the hook today. If he wants sex tonight he’s totally going to have to bring me flowers.

 

I See Fat People (AKA: “Shit OCD makes you say.”) January 27, 2012

So, if you’re a regular reader (like I’m some Erma Bombeck or something) you know by now that I have a son, Drew, and we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs in his young life. If, on the other hand, you are blissfully unaware and want to educate yourself, here’s the story in black and white: “My Drew”. But be warned – there are a lot of words. After a period of relative quiet over the past couple of years, Drew’s difficulty processing the outside world decided to rear its ugly head again this past fall. After mulling over whether or not I should write about it, I remembered that the advice you hear most about writing is to “write what you know”. I also rationalized in this way: Drew isn’t aware that this blog exists yet and hopefully he won’t know that I’ve been writing about him until I’m long gone. Then he can’t be mad because being angry at dead people is against the Ten Commandments. Or something like that. If you are mad, adult Drew, I’m very, very sorry. But, you shouldn’t feel too bad because look at you! All handsome and winning at life. Damn, you must have had great parents!

And as your parent, I’m taking it upon myself to share our struggles so that others may be helped. Or at least get a chuckle because even though childhood mental illness sucks huge donkey balls, it can lead to funny situations. Take for example the manifestation of Drew’s “disorder” last October. For about a month prior he had started exhibiting obsessive compulsive behavior. Not the hand washing or checking door locks 100 times type. More like the feeling compelled to say things (in this case, “bad words”) and not being able to stop yourself or getting stuck on one train of thought kind of OCD. The day it came to a head and I realized he needed help was scary for all of us and decidedly not funny. I won’t go into that, but what grew out of that day was a move away from obsessing over “bad words”and towards obsessive thoughts about fat people. I wish OCD and anxiety disorder made sense because it would make things a lot easier to handle and explain, but it just doesn’t. So, we blamed it on his penis. More specifically, the beginning stirrings of puberty, the fact that his crush at school was slightly “round” in a totally cherubic way and the misunderstanding that somehow these feelings he was having about her were wrong and bad.

He began to notice (and comment on aloud) the fact that an overweight person looks like they’re about to have a baby but they’re not pregnant. And he began to wonder (again, aloud) what enormous amounts of food they must have consumed to get that big- possibly even, he thought (aloud), the Hindenburg. Let me interject here that the people he was talking about while not thin by any means were not “Guinness Book of World Records” fat. (Yes, he used that description too.) And when I say “people” I not only mean the people he saw in public, I mean me. I can’t tell you how fucking fantastic it is to have the fruit of your loins- loins which haven’t looked or behaved the same since he sprang from them I might add- point out your every outward flaw and exaggerate them 100 times over. Add to that the mental anguish he was so obviously feeling (as evidenced by the compulsive act of scratching his scalp that had also emerged and which he couldn’t control) because he knew the things he was saying were wrong and hurtful and he didn’t want to say them, but he was literally compelled to and absolutely couldn’t stop and… well, you’ve got yourself a one way ticket to hell.

And then the State Fair came to town. (I told you you’d chuckle.) Promises of rides and bright lights and cotton candy proved too tempting for Drew and he begged and pleaded with me to be able to go. I did not think the fair was the ideal place to be for a child obsessing about people’s weight. Not judging or making a statement about fair goers in my state or any other state for that matter, but I was being over protective and thought the possibility of a high concentration of slightly larger than average people might put Drew over the edge. I explained this to him but he insisted he could handle it. I had a world of doubts, but my sister was in town and my daughter also joined the chorus of those in favor of the fair. So, being outvoted, away we went.

You know how in movies they can convey the feeling of something being amplified in someone’s mind by editing frantic shots of the person looking here and there while sweat pours from their head next to close-ups of the thing they’re obsessing about which is seemingly EVERYWHERE all at once? Yeah, that’s how the first 30 minutes of the fair went. One of the first booths we came across was the “Giant Turkey Leg” vendor. Every single person stepping away from the food cart was grasping this club-like hunk of meat and gnawing on it cave-man style while grease dripped from their chin and down their arm as they made their way to the roasted corn on the cob vendor to fill their empty food shovel on the end of their other arm. I know, I know, smoked turkey legs are delicious (Mary had one) and so is the corn on the cob (my sister had one of those). But when your child is staring wide-eyed and begins to scratch his scalp, you see things in a new light.

We decided to take a break from the midway and go look at some of the animals. My sister and daughter decided to make a potty stop. The minute Drew and I walked into the barn we heard some people saying things like, “Man, I ain’t never seen a pig THAT big!” and “Shoooey! I wonder how much that fat pig eats?!” and “Mmmmmm, all that flab makes for some goooooood bacon!”. Drew looked up at me, pleading with his eyes and I took him by the shoulders guiding him through the crowd saying, “I know, I know. We’ll be out soon. It’s okay.”. We both breathed easier once we got outside, but only for a brief second. We were leaning against a fence waiting for the girls, when a new mother trying to fit into her pre-baby clothes pulled her stroller up next to us. Drew glanced her way just in time to see her bend down to get something from the bottom of her stroller and get an eye-full of everything her pre-baby tank top couldn’t contain. Which was a lot. I heard him suck in all the air around us and his hand immediately flew up to his scalp and started scratching. I directed him to look the other way. But soon that view was filled to the brim with someone who had come over to rest their substantial bones. More deep breathing from Drew and furious scratching. I feared he would leave the fair bald, so I directed his attention to the ferris wheel across the midway and suggested that he count how many times it goes around until his aunt and sister get back.

That seemed to do the trick. All was well and we were back on track until we continued up the path and came to the “Guess Your Age” game. We had stopped because my daughter LOVES flamingos and one of the prizes was a huge, cute, stuffed one. In that brief second we stood there admiring it and debating if she could try to win it or not, my brain suddenly kicked in and remembered that the second choice in this game is “Guess Your Weight”. That, of course was the strategy the next person in line (a very cute 10-year-old boy) opted for and before I could distract Drew again or at the very least cover his ears, the carnie began his very loud schtick into the microphone. “You want me to guess your weight? Well, let me look at you. Geez, you’re a really FAT KID. What’s your mama feedin’ you? You must be 200 pounds, you’re so fat!” I turned to my sister who had just realized what was happening and I said “I’ve gotta get him the hell outta here.” We quickly ushered the kids somewhere else. (As an aside I just have to give my sister props for being the most understanding and supportive sister and aunt. She later took Mary to another “Guess Your Age/Weight” booth by herself and paid for her niece to win a flamingo. That was the very least of what she did that weekend and she was just generally awesome in every way.)

We eventually made our way to the kids section to ride some tame rides and play some outrageously expensive games. As long as Drew was occupied and having fun, he was fine. I hadn’t seen him scratch his head for an hour or two. I kept the tickets (and ATM receipts) flowing because we all were in desperate need of this good time. And I steered clear of the exhibit containing the “world’s largest woman”. With my guard down, I watched the kids get in line for another ride. But then something caught my eye. It was a girl 4 or 5 kids in front of my children. I recognized that sweet, round face. It was the girl Drew had a crush on. You have GOT to be fucking kidding me, right???! I thought. Almost 128,000 people attended the fair that day and THIS is the girl we run into? The girl who my son was obsessing over and who might have contributed to this latest incarnation of his OCD (obviously through no fault of her own)?? Really? Thanks, God. I didn’t say a damn word but watched Drew to see if he would notice. Of course he did. And instead of the sight of her launching him into a shame spiral, it was totally adorable. At first he did a double take and I could see the wheels turning. Then his hand went to his head and began scratching. (Uh-oh.) Then he asked his sister if that was who he thought it was. She was very supportive and said, “What?? I don’t know.” He stepped slightly out of line and called her name. She turned around and smiled and waved and he did the same. His hand came down from his head and into his pocket. (Phew!) He talked to her for a minute until it was her turn and he told her to have fun. She waited for his turn to be over and when he got back on the ground she waved bye to him and told him to enjoy the rest of his fall break. He looked at me and sounding just like Opie Taylor said, “Gee, it was good to see her.” Some of the tension I had been holding in my body started to relax.

We played two more games before we left. At the first one the prize he chose was a light-up ninja sword. At the second his choice was a GIGANTIC inflatable banana. If that wasn’t a sign that this boy was having issues with his penis, then Sigmund Freud was a woman. I laughed… until he gave it to me to carry through the crowd. As we left, we stopped at a booth near the exit which had every fried food they had to offer at the fair all in one place. Fried candy bars, fried pieces of cheesecake, and even fried kool-aid. I handed Drew his prizes so I could help carry our fat-filled goodies. I looked down at my son, who didn’t have a free hand available to scratch his scalp even if he wanted to. Standing there holding his enormous phallic symbol, I knew he was going to be okay. Anxiety disorder and OCD is no fun, but it’s nothing lots of love, a therapist, a giant banana and a fried Reece’s cup can’t make better.