Frozen Hair And Bad Coffee: A Memoir

Well, not really, it’s just a tweet I lifted from my kid because I thought it was funny. I actually found it so funny that I texted her to ask for the background story. And THAT was so hilarious that I simply had to try to obtain authorization from her to share it here. And I did.

You’re welcome.

Basically, she stayed up REALLY LATE the night before last doing some school work and she didn’t have time to shower before bed as she normally does, so she showered in the morning. And apparently she got so little sleep that she determined she needed caffeine, which she typically avoids, so she walked all the way across her frigid, snowy campus to get some coffee, and as she walked, her hair froze, as in rock-hard-solid-FROZE. Plus, the coffee was disgusting, she felt like death, and she was on her way to a class about death. IRONY. And then, immediately following, she had to take another long walk across campus during which her hair REFROZE because it had thawed – but not dried – during the death class, which meant that she had to conduct an interview for her research project with the VP of her college with frozen hair, which I guess is a bad thing? I don’t know, but I laughed. Is that bad? I’m happy to report, however, that the interview – the first of many – went beautifully well and as a bonus, the VP sent warm greetings to me and told Girl about the great conversations we’ve had via phone and email about an “issue of concern” on campus (which I am in the process of writing about and will share if/when I can do so respectfully and maturely). So anyway, my kid isn’t blacklisted or anything because of my mouth and that can only be good. She still has to interview the President at the end of the week, but still.

Oh, college.

It looks SO GOOD on her.

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No, I Do Not Want To Build A Snowman

Could it be any colder out there? Well, actually, yes, of course it could, but you know what I mean. A real feel temp of -10 degrees means it’s freaking cold as **** out there. I am so beyond over this winter that a continuous loop of GET ME OUT OF HERE! is playing in my head and it looks kinda like this:

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Because channeling Boy’s energy in an enjoyable and productive manner is way more important than my physical comfort, we spent some time on our front steps yesterday working on a video idea for his YouTube channel. It involved smashing some ice with a hammer, specifically an icebound action figure that had been imprisoned in a Tupperware bowl filled with water and left out to freeze overnight. It was pretty fun actually, but cold as ****. Afterwards, his energy was still bubbling to overflowing and he was UP IN MY FACE all evening which happens sometimes and then the 2 hr delay for this morning was announced and I was not particularly lady-like or motherly in my response to any of it. Sometimes I feel like a horrible mother.

Speaking of horrible mothers, there’s nothing that can make a mother feel like she’s the suckiest mother in the history of all mothers like getting the evil eye from another mother, am I right? The lip bite is pretty bad too. Both of them together could probably knock a poor mother unconscious. This reminds me of when Girl started kindergarten and I was SHOCKED! by all of those BAD BOYS! in her class and I admit I gave my share of the evil eye to their respective mothers because obviously those ladies had some pretty serious deficits in their parenting skills. And then I had a boy. My Boy. Paybacks. Yeah, so anyway, I let him wear shorts to school yesterday and I got some intense evil eye action at pick up. But ever since Boy was born, I’ve been operating under the parenting model called PICK YOUR BATTLES, SUCKERS! and besides, he was wearing knee socks, so just stop it.

I did end up texting Girl to tell her that her brother was driving me out of my mind and also that I was slightly bitter about the whole evil eye thing, which turned into a very entertaining conversation that I’ll save, as I do all of our others, and I’ll pull it up to read now and then when I need a little boost. I also got the added pleasure of hearing about the way she is continuing to SOAK UP AND LIVE HER LIFE which is so thrilling it nearly makes me weep lately. Maybe I should periodically publish carefully selected portions of some of our text conversations, in the context of blog posts, you know, because there are some doozies. And she DID inspire me to start this whole blogging thing up, remember? I’ll talk to her about it. And BTW, where do I draw the line on what and how much to share, especially when it comes to my kids? I’m still trying to figure that out.

I do know that I don’t want to become a blogger who exploits her real life for page views or feels pressured to one-up herself or others just to keep readers. And I don’t want to stumble down the path that seems to swallow up so many bloggers lately – selling out to sponsors, developing a Messiah complex, stuff like that. Being human, I think I understand how it happens, but still, PLEASE promise me you’ll pull the damn plug and put me out of my misery if things get too weird. And yes, as a matter of fact, I’m currently working on a post about that very topic because a GROUP of bloggers I read regularly are together right now on what looks to me like a poverty tourism trip hosted by an organization that empowers women in developing countries, and also possibly seeks to convert them to Christianity. Not sure. Its a form of marketing I guess, paying for bloggers’ expenses to visit the developing countries and programs, and then counting on the bloggers to bring attention and financial contributions to the organization. I’m all for empowering women but something about this bothers the hell out of me. I’m not exactly sure why yet, but it does, it just feels so YUCK. I know, I’m so articulate. Amazing. And yes, THIS from a woman whose own daughter has been on multiple mission trips, my view of which has also changed drastically over the last couple of years. It’s just that before money is spent sending white, privileged women with cameras over to impoverished countries, I think there better be skill sets involved that aren’t available locally and/or that justify the cost. And I’m not trying to unfairly criticize these bloggers – their writing talent remains without question – it’s just that the reason I usually follow a blogger is because I want to keep reading HER unfolding story and it seems more and more that HER voice gets lost somehow in the monetizing and marketing and celebrity. It makes me sad. And on some level I find myself starting to question her integrity or something. I don’t know. Anyway, whether I’ll ever finish the post is anyone’s guess because of my ongoing editing problem. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy with my writing hobby and my little rookie blog and all 7 of my readers who pick it up from my FB page because it’s the first thing in a long time that I’m doing just for ME. I simply want to write about stuff that matters to me. And/or makes me laugh. And I’ll decide what that is. And what I do with it. And as Emily Dickinson once said, I’ll “tell it slant.” These are just my own little stories and experiences and observations with my own little twist.  If you like it here, if it helps you somehow, I’m glad. But I’m an idiot just like the rest of the human race, so don’t expect too much from me.

But anyway, another annoying thing about this cold as **** situation is that I can’t get warm inside either. Must be the two story foyer and family room. Looks nice and there’s lots of light and I can finally breatheeee but I don’t recommend it to the extent we have it because it’s hard to keep warm and it’s noisy as all hell. It’s a freaking echo chamber in here sometimes. Literal boys bouncing off walls. I’m not kidding. Or maybe it’s that I’m being cheap with the thermostat. I’m so proud of our energy analysis that just came in the mail. We’re freezing our ***** off way more than anyone in our neighborhood. Booyah. Either way, I swear I haven’t taken off my coat in days and I ended up like this during Boy’s bedtime routine last night which he found ridiculous and hilarious. And then he stopped laughing and read a book:

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And hey what about that coat? Best $60 I’ve spent in a long time. I wasn’t looking for it, but I spotted it while shopping at Costco, tried it on and it was done. It’s the heaviest, puffiest, warmest coat I’ve ever had. You know there are no mirrors at Costco, so it didn’t become apparent to me that the coat is so huge that it’s not terribly flattering until I got home. But I DON’T CARE. It’s awesome and I wish I could buy one for everyone in the whole wide world.

At some point last night, my husband said something to me about letting a faucet drip to prevent a frozen pipe calamity and it triggered my intense ruminating and researching issues. You don’t just say stuff like that to me and walk away. Especially at night. Sheesh. So anyway. Internets blahblahblah. Following water pipes through the house, behind walls blahblahblah. Figuring out the best course of preventive action blahblahblah because do it right or you deserve what you get.

Then I decided to take a hot bath and there wasn’t enough hot water in the universe to keep me warm in that tub which makes me sound like a privileged ******, I know. I didn’t give up, though, and I kept letting water out and refilling until all the hot water in the house was gone so I guess I AM one, about which I’m feeling pretty ashamed this morning. But to be fair, if those freaking hot flashes had stayed around maybe I wouldn’t have resorted to THIS.

On the other hand, I’ve been worrying about people on the streets without shelter or proper outerwear or cars and I know I need to do something more about it but I don’t know what exactly. I never do, because it’s never enough which makes me so sad. In the last few weeks, I’ve randomly picked up several people walking in the cold as **** weather and offered to drive them where they needed to go. Most accepted the offer, a couple didn’t and I don’t blame them because let’s face it there’s a bunch of wicked people out there and you can’t tell who they are just by looking at them. And I admit I’ve picked up only women – both with and without kids – because I’ve been alone. The safety thing is big with me even though I kind of feel guilty about it, but I try to kick that guilt crap off my heels as quickly as possible because I’m not stupid. One time Boy was with me when we picked up a lady and I was late getting him to school by about 10 minutes. He told the office why we were late but they gave him a tardy slip anyway. Whatever.

Husband is working from home today so our perpetual weekend continuesssss which means I’ll do a few things around here but I’ll go out in this cold as **** weather to run some of the errands I’ve been putting off because it’s cold as **** and I’ll waddle around like a Yeti or Sasquatch or something in my gigantic $60 Costco coat.

The end.

The Neverending Weekend

Or Wednesday Is The New Monday, Maybe…

Or Doctors Who Don’t Call Back SUCK…

Or I’m Getting Ready To Unfollow Most Of My Former Favorite Bloggers…

Or Let Us Keep It Simple And Publicly Shame Ourselves By Photographing And Sharing Our Tupperware Cabinets In Hopes That It Might Motivate Us To Get It Together…

Yes, the last one. Here, I’ll go first:

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Maybe I’ll come back around to the other topics later…

The Real Housewives (and Husbands) of Brookeville

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We are.

And it appears we just delivered this week’s episode to our girl and at least one hallmate while we were on SPEAKER PHONE without our knowledge. It was no biggie, just keeping it REAL like always. We might have turned a chill discussion about a research paper she’s working on into a spirited debate between the two of us about politics, religion, diversity, what we think of her college’s president, stuff like that. ON SPEAKER PHONE. I can’t remember exactly. But pretty much the usual.

Cheese In A Can

I remember reading an interview with Gwyneth Paltrow a few years back in which she claimed she’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a can. I remember thinking, oh shut up Gwyneth, here’s a pipe and here’s a can of cheese, which are you inhaling? Pretty sure it would be the cheese, maybe in a back alley, but whatever.

Anyway, my kid was home sick this week and he was feeling especially sad because he missed his big sister who’d gone back to school up north. Late in the day, I had to go to the grocery store to pick up his antibiotic, and on my way out the door he asked me to buy him a can of “spray cheese”.

“What for?”, I asked, knowing he’s never had that crap on my watch and even if I’d ever bought such a thing, which I hadn’t, he would never, ever, eat it. He said, “Well, believe it or not, I’ve always wanted to try it. You know I’ve been working hard to try new foods and I really want to expand my diet so I’ll be as healthy as possible….and plussss….”

I waited patiently, because there’s ALWAYS a plus.

“And plus, I really, REALLY need it to help me fight the forces of EVIL!”

Ah, yes, Captain Awesome and his sidekick Nacho Cheese Man. Ever read the series? It’s a collection of goofy, action-packed, short chapter books about little boy superheroes with plenty of the requisite little boy humor. Even though my kid read the whole series a few years ago, he still picks up the books now and then, especially when he’s tired or sick and wants to read for comfort.

Anyway, we had a brief conversation about what fighting the forces of evil with a can of spray cheese might look like. I swear I tried not to squash his spirit as I shook my head no…no…nope…NO. And then I reminded him that our kitchen and family room look like a full blown recycling center because he’s building an arcade or something out of boxes and assorted trash and I’m not allowed to touch it! And I have a rubber frog soaking in a pot of water in my bathtub while we wait for it to grow to three times its original size!

His eyes lit up. I swear I saw those little thought bubbles full of wild ideas floating in the air over his head. You know the ones. He rubbed his hands together as he let loose a dastardly cackle too (eh, I made that last part up, just thought it sounded good, sorry). But anyway, spray cheese and a rubber frog. In a bathtub. Bingo.

After an already longggg day, I was pretty much screwed when the negotiations began, so I quickly said ok to one – I said ONE – can of spray cheese. I might have been able to shut the whole thing down if Husband had been home to help me. But he wasn’t. He was on work travel. So yeah, here’s your can of spray cheese, son. Knock yourself and the frog and the whole wide world out.

And then I went to the grocery store and started actually looking for the crap.

Stay with me for a minute and picture this….First, I went to the cracker aisle because where else would it be? But no. Then I went to the chip aisle because I thought maybe I’d find it next to the jars of queso. Nope. I stopped to think for a minute and then continued my search. I went to the pasta aisle thinking I might find it near the grated Parmesan cheese, but not even the Parmesan cheese was there. The condiment aisle. Nope. The deli area. Wrong. Even though I know damn well the crap doesn’t EVER need to be refrigerated, I checked the dairy aisle. Zilch. I stopped again, completely lost, and then realized I was embarrassed to ask an employee where I might find it for fear I’d be judged as the Mom who buys spray cheese for her kid. I might have caved about the Poptarts and Fruit Loops I swore I’d never buy, but c’mon, cheese in a can has to be crossing some sort of line, right? Even if I think Gwyneth is full of shit with the whole crack comment. I stood there wracking my brain and then I pulled out my phone and Googled, “In what section of my local grocery store might I find spray cheese?”  Just then, another shopper turned down my aisle with her cart and we exchanged smiles. She was a fellow member of the mature demographic and seemed friendly enough, so I thought what the hell and asked, “You know that spray cheese in a can? I have no idea where to find it or what it’s called because I’ve never bought it and I wouldn’t be trying to buy it now except my kid is home sick and he really wants it even though he’s never had it because I swear I’ve never bought it. He read about it in a book and its just that he’s really sick again and he misses his sister and my husband is on work travel and I’m all alone and I’m so freaking tired, otherwise I wouldn’t be buying it and I’ve looked everywhere….” And then she goes, “Cheez Whiz! Wow, I haven’t thought about that stuff in years! Did you look in the cracker aisle?” I told her I’d looked there and in all of the other places she suggested, but I couldn’t find it in anywhere. We laughed about the whole cheese in a can thing for a minute, she wished me luck, I thanked her, and moved on. I finally broke down and went to ask a kid at one of the registers for help and he had absolutely NO IDEA what I was talking about. I guess his Mom never stooped to buying him cheese in a can. I guess his Mom didn’t let him skip baths on pool swimming days because she didn’t realize that chlorine is an antiseptic. I guess his Mom didn’t count pizza sauce as a vegetable or Edy’s rainbow sherbet, made with real fruit juice, as a fruit. Too bad. So, anyway, I did what any desperate Mom with a chronically sick kid at home would have done. I started at one end of the store and went up and down every blasted aisle until I found it.

Just so you know, it’s not called Cheez Whiz anymore. It’s called Easy Cheese and I found it exactly where I should have known it would be:

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In the deodorant and personal needs aisle.

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I nearly peed myself laughing. Doesn’t take much these days, but still.

I triumphantly returned home, gave my kid his first dose of antibiotic, and then sprayed a wad of Easy Cheese directly into his mouth while giving Gwyneth the virtual finger. He gagged, just like I knew he would. As we ate dinner and then got ready to call it a night, he planned the details of his battle against the morphing frog in the bathtub, armed with his can of spray cheese. But when we got up to the bathroom he said, “Mom, would it be ok if I save the spray cheese for something else? I think taking it into the tub with me will be really gross and it will probably make me gag even worse than earlier.” I breathed a sigh of relief, told him I thought he was right, and we talked about other uses for the crap that wouldn’t include gagging, or attracting bugs or rodents, or requiring a cleaning crew on steroids. Or worse.

He woke up with a brilliant idea. He’s planning to take it to school for his Valentine’s Day party and wants to line his friends up for Cheez Whiz shots straight into their mouths. I understand that his new plan might not go over well with his teacher, but I just want to be there when he asks her about it because THAT’S the kind of Mom I’ve become.

Self-Portrait

I trimmed my own hair yesterday. Eh, ok, maybe a little more than a trim. It was getting really long for me and it just keeps growing UP and OUT if I don’t do something about it. But thinking about sitting in that chair, in those close quarters, listening to all of that talkingtalkingtalking, pretending that I give a damn, letting my stylist cut my hair while having to pay close enough attention so she doesn’t keep cuttingcuttingcutting until I look like GI Jane, well, it was enough to make my skin crawl, so I said fuck it and just cut it myself.

Risky, I know, because it could have gone big time BAD. And yes, deciding that the risk-taking was the better option is a pretty good indication that I’m not feeling my best, but hey I’m not feeling so bad that I wasn’t motivated to do something about the clown hair, as my boy calls it.

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The cut turned out surprisingly well ENOUGH – although I do need some emergency deep conditioning and some color and hey how about those eyebrows and maybe some new and improved anti-aging cream for those 50-something jowls and neck, but to be fair, I took this photo in the drop-off line at Boy’s school this morning, meaning I was straight up thrift shop material, down jacket over pajamas, slippers, sheet wrinkles, eye boogers and all – and can I get a HIGH FIVE because maybe my attention to detail and OCDish tendencies are actually good for something. And it was free, and solitary, and QUIET.

So yeah, I guess I’m gonna go ahead and call the last few weeks a little dip into depression, maybe a big fat belly flop, I don’t know. Not surprising given the tough time my boy’s been having and the worrying I’ve been doing about it and the shorter, wintry days which always start to mess with my psychology come February and blahBlahBLAH.

But here’s the deal…the two things I’ve learned about depression over the last 30ish years are that its a total fucking liar and it’s temporary.

No matter how well I’m taking care of myself, the sneaky bastard still creeps up on me every single time and when I finally realize what’s going on, I have to back way up and break things way down into SIMPLETON so that I can do what I need to do each day to deal with it. Obviously, I have a dealing system set up by now, even though it always takes me a little while to fully implement it because, you know, DEPRESSION. Yes, its hard and it pisses me off to no end and I know I’m not alone. I’LL NEVER GIVE UP – don’t you either – because it will pass, again and again, just like it always does.

There’s one more thing too…this blogging operation…it helps. Just writing it down – whatever the IT is – soothes my soul. Nowhere near everything I write gets published on my blog because TRUST ME, no one wants that. But I’m writing much more because of the blog and I do keep it all. My point is that it helps and I’m grateful for Girl who saw something in me and pushed me to move beyond my comfort zone a little. A LOT, actually, but whatever.

Thanks for reading, you guys, all 7 of you:)

A Boy And His Keyboard

He’s really coming along with his typing. He’s plugging away on a graphic novel he’s writing in Google Docs; he’s writing first this time, adding the comics later. He’s using his new email account quite a bit and last week during the school day, he sent me this:

Is it kosher to send your Mom emails during the school day? Not exactly, but he worked the system after rushing through his “boring” work by promising his teacher he was still writing. Which he was, even though I’m pretty sure she thought he was working in Google Docs. Anyway, I sent him this in return:

Tonight after his trampoline party, as we sat together on the couch RECOVERING, he sent me this:

And I sent him this:

And then he goes:

We got upstairs at about 7:50, went thru the whole bedtime thing and he was asleep by 8:55. Earliest knockout in over a month. THANK GOD. Or SkyZone. Whatever.