Thursday, March 31, 2011


I spent 8 years dating before I met Big Poppa. When I met him I decided I needed to lock that ass down and FAST. That one wouldn't be on the market for much longer. He saved me from the dating pool which was infested with slime, eels, sharks and various other flotsam and jetsam. I met a handful of fish I enjoyed spending time with but it never lasted. After I married Big Poppa I realized that the dark days of dating where behind me. Or so I thought.

Some years later I realized I could not stay at home all day. I would need to meet other moms. Apparently to meet other moms you have to go to places where they hang out... parks, gyms, coffee shops, the playground at the mall (only early in the morning when the mall walkers are out) and children's libraries. You scan the crowd quickly and decide who you will not be talking to and you may try to engage in conversation.  With any luck your child and you will pick a matching set: mother and child. When these stars have aligned you can now make pleasantries.

I am reminded of why I disliked dating so long ago. The first meeting is actually interview #1. If you both mutually agree on a first play date then you exchange contact information and wait for the other person to make first contact. Luckily these days we have texting and email which makes it sooooooo much easier to reach out without the worry of rejection.

You make contact, you make a date, you make a plan and you're on your way to a "play date". This is interview #2. The children play but you and the other mommy must see if you have enough in common to make this foursome last. (or fivesome, sixsome etc depending on the number of children involved) After the play date is over you wonder if you did ok, if the other person felt the same, if you'll do a second play date and generally over analyze the entire thing.

So you both decide on a second play date. This I like to have in my home, and here is the reason why... I can offer them wine. This is my equivalent to first base.
If she declines then I know there will be no third play date unless it is at 8 in the morning.

So play date after play date, you are officially "play dating". Which turns into  a relationship. You talk on the phone, you text, you shoot each other emails. You are no longer mommies, you have now become friends. Enjoy it while it lasts because ALL good things come to an end. Someone asks for something back, returns a gift or stops returning your phone calls. In same cases you get a nasty email. In some cases you get a face to face confrontation. Call it what you will.... You and your mommy friend are breaking up.

I have had 5 years of play dating. I have made a handful of friends. Most of which I no longer speak to. I don't mind. I figure, I enjoyed their company while I had it. They have all had an enormous impact on my life which I am grateful for. I am grateful for the friendship, the laughs, the cries, the worries, the recipes, the hospitality, the recommendations, and the time. I can't say that about any guys I dated so that's a plus.

Dating is dating. If companionship is the name of the game then you have to be willing to do some courting. If you're lucky, your kids will get along too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Airplane Etiquette

Ok, ready for this? I think ANYONE who has ever flown on an airplane has their own idea of airplane etiquette.  While it is not my place to tell people (other than my kids) what to do... I just will just share with you my thoughts on the subject.
I will also judge and criticize those opinions that are not the same as mine. -Just giving you fair warning.

There was an article on this subject matter in the Wall Street Journal today. They asked a panel of people some questions to get varying answers. More likely is was so they could get a definitive answer for the questions but that didn't happen. So I'm going to prove them all wrong.

1. The armrest
Why is this even an issue? If there were no armrests you would have more space. So I say lift the armrest and cuddle with your neighbor. If they don't look like the cuddling type, then feel them out. The panel says the middle person gets the armrests because middle man is a poor unfortunate soul so they get the "treat" of both armrests.

2. To wake or not to wake to pee.
Well obviously to wake. Are you going to hold your pee? No. Are you going to climb over some unsuspecting slumbering passenger? No, you need their help to get out! We're not all lap dancers who enjoy straddling strangers. sheesh. That one's a no-brainer.

3. Stinky food
Don't bring stinky food on the plane. If your neighbor does then there's not much you can do. Then again, maybe when they get ready to take their first bite you can side sneeze on their food. If you're lucky they'll throw it away. Or maybe get out the barf bag as a hint.  Keep looking sideways and start heaving.

4. The Talker
OMG- THE TALKER.  Solution: Headphones. Even if you're not listening to anything. Sometimes I actually enjoy talking to my neighbor (surprise!), but not always. You need headphones even if you don't use them. The book trick doesn't work anymore unfortunately.

5. The drunk.
Then don't sit by me if you don't like my dragon vodka breath.

6. Shoulder bags
Ever get smacked by a passerby who has a shoulder bag? Doesn't feel good. Solution: wear it as a backpack or hold it in your hand in front of your body. If you see a bag coming at you, then just grab it. Say "whoooooa there!" like it's a horse. Then they'll get the picture. You need reflexes like a cat!

7. Space invader
I'm not a very large person. I take up minimal seat space and use up less leg room. I actually OFFER up my leg space. I'll even give up my arm rest if i know someone else needs it. But not all passengers are my size. So look, if you're flying on an airline where you get to choose your seat, then do the math. If you're on the bigger side, find a seat next to a smaller person. If you're small then find a seat next to a larger person, or not... maybe they're hoping no one will sit next to them so they'll have more room. Oh look at me... assuming the best in everyone. We all know that we are selfish and self centered once we set foot in the airport and we only look out for ourselves.

8. Noisy kids
Look, people with kids have to fly. Before you take off and are strapped to your seat find out if you have little people behind you. If you would like, find an empty seat somewhere else. Or, make friends with the child-laden people before you take off. See what you're getting into and maybe make a joke like "oh i'm SO looking forward to getting kicked in the back by your little ones" then let your smile fade lighting fast into a dead serious glare.

I make a lot of jokes but honestly, MANY if not ALL problems can be solved by just SAYING something. Vocalize, but don't complain. The words "excuse me", "please", "thank you", "may I ", words we learned around the dinner table at a very young age, go a long way. Why does everyone turn into an asshole on an airplane? We are all in this together. We're all going to the same place, at the same time, in the same plane. Let's complain less and help more. The amount of eye rolling, heavy sighing and tattle-telling I see on flights is ridiculous. It's akin to watching a bunch of 1st graders on a school bus. although they're probably having more fun. There is no such thing as "AIRPLANE ETIQUETTE". It's more like "common courtesy".  Treat others how you want to be treated and don't, for a second, think you are above anyone. Unless you are in the air.... then go ahead because you literally are above everyone. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

After you, good sir

Look, we need to talk about something. It's a growing epidemic that we need to bring more attention to. It's affecting more and more people.
- We need to stop trying to out-nice each other when we drive -
(this is the other side of the coin. another blog one day will be about all the A-hole drivers out there... and it will be a long blog.)

Let's say you're driving down the street and you see a pedestrian at the corner wanting to cross as you turn. You wait for them. They wave for you to go. You're thinking "it's your right of way, walker" so you wave for them to go. Then they wave to you for you to go thinking "you're in a car, you're going faster than me". Back and forth until you both start to go at the same and then you're back to square one.

or what about this one:
you're backing out of a parking space and someone was about to drive past you. You stop and wave them to go but they already stopped and are waving you to go. The "you-go" volley goes until you both go at the same time. Then someone gets pissed and puts the pedal to the metal and tires screech and then they get mad that the jackass didn't just go because they were too busy trying to be nice by letting the other person go.

I'm sure by now you know what i'm talking about. People, if someone waves for you to go then just go. Go, wave and say thank you. Plain and simple. Pay it forward next time by being the first to offer the "you go" wave. If someone offers me the wave, I smile, mouth "thank you" and GO.  I get to where i'm going so much faster.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

i don't give a $hit

That's not true. Of course I give a shit. But in my coffee induced euphoria this morning (after i cleaned up a huge mess of shit) I decided i'm going to omit this word from my vocabulary. It is just so unnecessary. case in point:

"i beat the shit out of him" really? did he have poop running down his legs when you were done? no? hey, don't look now but your pants are on fire.

"He's a piece of shit" no, he's a human being. not a very good human being, but a human being none the less. He in no way resembles fecal matter.

"Oh Shit!" Now, unless you literally just walked into a pile of crap.... you don't need it.

"Holy shit balls"  This makes me think of a pope who doesn't clean himself well enough after going number 2.

"i don't give a shit" And this is supposed to make me think you don't care? because you won't give doo-doo?

"Shit's about to hit the fan"  Unless you threw a big bucket of feces up into the ceiling fan I think we can stick with saying 'it's about to get ugly' because THAT actually makes sense. (think... Jerry Springer)

"he doesn't know shit" maybe he does. What if he is a lab tech and studies microbes found in fecal waste. don't go around jumping to conclusions like that.

Obviously the shit list goes on and on (ha, get it? shit list? don't even get me started).
The point is: it's an ugly word that means poop. The only time we should be using it is when we're referring directly to ca-ca. (ca-ca.... who came up with this charming nugget of a word? It actually SOUNDS like it looks)

Let's stop being so lazy with our beautiful language and start using it for it's intended purpose... to communicate. talk to everyone like they're visiting from another planet and take everything you say literally. That would be a fun challenge for a day, wouldn't it?

So scrap the shit, and clean this place up. You'll be fucking glad you did.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday's random thoughts

  • We've lived in this house for 3 years now. We have hardwood floors. Last week i put foot pads on all my chair legs for the first time. My landlord is going to hate us when we leave. 
  • Do I have anyone fooled into thinking I have a fresh batch of cinnamon rolls in my bathroom, as my air freshener would have them believe?
  • How many crazy people do you have to encounter before you start to think... maybe everyone else is normal and your'e the kook in the bunch. 
  • Where the HELL are Max and Ruby's parents?
  • When I go around the house collecting laundry, why do at least 6 socks elude my grasp? jeez if I wanted to work out I have would have gone to the gym. 
  • One kid goes to public school, the other I pay for. The school I pay for has the brass cajones to ask me to volunteer my time to clean the school. 
  • I love when my daughter sings "Boys Boys Boys" by Lady GaGa in busy, public, multi stall bathrooms.
  • I'm proud to say I've never seen an episode of Jersey Shore.
  • I'm not proud to say that I try to never miss an episode of Real Housewives.
  • Why do people ask you where something is before they even started to look for it?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My summer daughter

I met Haley when she was 10. Blonde hair, big blue eyes and a curiosity for life that could kill 100 cats.  She was smart, mature, thoughtful, caring and like any 10 year old, wanted to be part of everything.

I was 23 at the time and thought "oh cute! a 10 year old! This will be fun." I moved in with Daddy the beginning of June and Haley flew in for the summer very shortly thereafter. I was in for the biggest surprise of my life.

It had always been Daddy and Haley ever since he and her mom split up. Daddy and Haley were the 2 amigos. Best of pals. Driver and Navigator.  Yin to Yang. Peanut butter to jelly. Sonny to Cher.  She never had to call shotgun, it was a given. He gave her all his time, it was a given.  Road trips, camping trips, Krusteaz blueberry pancakes and Ragu. They were fine with this arrangement. It worked for both of them. Happy as clams they were.  How bad could it be with  new person in the mix? A fiance, a step-mom, a new friend.

For the first month we were all trying to figure out this new arrangement. Who sleeps where? Who sits in the front?  When do we get private time? Who's running errands? Who's going to get ice cream with who? Who gets date night? It seemed like instead of doing everything as a threesome everything was getting done as separate teams. Somebody always getting left out. Each female wanting private time alone with her main man. When we did do things as a family unit who sat in the middle? who got to hold hands with who? To say there was competition was a HUGE understatement.

I was not cut out for this. She was 10 years old and was way more mature in this situation than me. She was patient, kind and understanding while I was mean and selfish. I couldn't take a step back and look at it from another perspective. I had no right breaking up their happy twosome. I was the outsider even though I treated her as such.

The end of summer came, we all survived but some major damage had been done. Irrevocable damage. Daddy and I were not sure this was going to work out. I went back home to clear my head and sort some things out. Although this part of our lives is up for much debate. He thinks I left him, but I really just needed to get a handle on the situation. that's a whole different story all together.

We decided we would make this work. Summers and holidays brought Haley back to us. It was a difficult dynamic for us. I was too young to be a mom, too old to be a friend. Somehow we made it work. It's taken a long time for us to build our relationship, as most good relationships do. Seeing someone once a year can make it hard.  We've found our groove together and found a closeness i'm sure we both wish was there since the beginning. With 4 people vying for his attention, Daddy has had to stretch himself very thing at times but we're a family. The 5 of us. Every summer we are whole. Haley completes us. When she leaves, she leaves an emptiness with us.

Today is Haley's 18th birthday. She lives in Germany with her "school year" family. Her mom, step dad and 2 siblings. (coincidentally the same age as Aiden and Sarah-Eve)
We have spent the last 8 summers together. Last year being the last. She graduates in June and will be off on her own going to college.

I wish I met Haley at a different time in my life. I wish I had treated her better. I wish I been more patient, kind and understanding like she was with me. I will never be able to give back the time I took from them, though I wish I could.

She is a wonderful young woman with big ideas and a big heart. With a family as big as hers... you have to have a big heart. I love her tremendously and couldn't picture my life without her.  It has been a wonderful thing to watch her grow into the person she is today.  She would most definitely give you the shirt off her own back.... as long as her undershirt matched her shoes and earrings. If not, then forget it. But she would figure out a way to get you a shirt no matter how hard it was. She wouldn't give up.

She worries too much, she studies too hard, and cares too much. But I admire her for these things.  She get's straight A's, scored sky high on her SAT's, plays sports, is kind to everyone she sees, gives without expecting anything return, she's unbelievably thoughtful and just wants to see everyone around her happy. She is loving, sweet, funny, happy, caring, charismatic, smart and has a thirst for life I wish I could bottle up and keep in my medicine cabinet. She's one amazing girl.

When I grow up, I want to be just like Haley. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tips on cleaning your child's room

while some over-achiever mom's do this on a daily basis (or have their kids do it on a daily basis) i'm guessing most of us aren't like that.  Today I rallied (with a cold-mind you) and cleaned both of their rooms. so today i will supply you with some tips and tricks on surviving the cleaning of the bedrooms.

Tip #1- you will need supplies.  A vacuum, disinfectant wipes, washer and dryer (with time to do 5 loads), putty, putty knife, high pressure sprayer, HazMat suit optional.

Tip #2- While is seems easier to just plop down on your hand and knees to pick everything up so you save your back... DON'T.  Children are notorious for having invisible toys that will gouge you in the knee cap. You are better off wearing construction boots while cleaning. Don't kneel, squat. Your knee caps with thank you.

Tip #3- Regarding clothes: if it's on the floor it's dirty. You are wasting time sniffing. My son with pull out a perfectly cleaned and folded shirt just to blow his nose. If it's on the floor- into the laundry basket it goes. In the end you'll save yourself time and embarrassment. Who wants to see their kids walking away to school only to find a snot smear pinching the back of their shirt together? No one, that who.

Tip #4- There is a place in a child's room that you wouldn't give more than a passing glance. But! If you look hard enough you will find a mess. A mess, worthy of a putty knife. I am talking about the wall nearest the side of the bed they sleep on. It is covered in boogers. Hard, crusty boogers. They fling 'em, toss 'em, smear 'em and sneeze on them. You'd be amazed at the velocity of a booger shooting out a 6 year old's nose. Get out the knife and start scraping. Don't bother using wipes or sponges... they will only rip.

Tip #5- Children have an uncanny ability to hide things. Things that can rot. Things that can smell. Things that can attract bugs and critters. For this very reason we instilled the "no food in the room" rule, which miraculously works. We haven't had this problem in a quite some time. Although I have it on good authority (mine) that teenagers need help with this rule. So when cleaning, ask yourself "if I was 4 and I wanted to hide a peach... where would I put it?" get low (squat) and check under everything and then behind everything. You'd be surprised at the things you find behind a dresser. Fuzzy furry things, and i'm not talking about an animal.

Tip #6- The vacuum can be your best friend. My son had a toy set that came with a treasure chest. The chest contained small gold coins of varying sizes. For 18 months whenever I found a coin I would pick it up and put it in the chest. I would find them in the couch, under the couch, in nooks, crannies, pockets, dryers, under dryers, drawers... EVERYWHERE. And like a good mother I collected them and placed them back in their cherished chest where they belonged. Then one day it hit me "my kid doesn't even PLAY with these!" Enter Vacuum stage left. If it's small enough, up it goes. My new theory; I give toys a 6 month life span (long, I know). After that time period it's anyone's game. Instead of squatting I now reach level 2, vacuuming. This will save you time and knee caps later down the road. Just vacuum those tiny pieces up. Your kid will never notice. And if they do... ice cream is a very good distracter. Always have some on hand.

Tip #8- Kids track dirt. I wish I could  take my kids to parks that only had that soft rubber ground and grass. Unfortunately they actually request the sand parks. My daughter has sand at her preschool. We live next to the beach. Dirt and sand- unavoidable.  Now while there is a certain satisfaction in the sound of sand getting sucked up a vacuum, it still hits you that there was this much dirt and sand in the carpet and in the BED. The only way to avoid this is to take their shoes off at the park. They will not be the only frozen toed, shoeless child running around in the sand. If they don't have a place to put the sand, then they can't track it in. Unless they are my son, who fill his pockets to the brim with sand only to have me  grab his ankles and turn him upside down. Entertaining and effective.

Tip #9-  This is a good opportunity to sort through their toys.. while their room is messy. go into the toy chest, toy cupboard, toy bin, whatever. Any items that have remained inside can get tossed. They obviously don't care enough about them to play with them, they're obviously the toys have been left behind. Don't feel bad about sending them off to misfit island. They will love it there! And I bet your kids will never notice. If they do... then hey, you have that ice cream in your freezer.  This tip also works for getting rid of clothes. When all their clothes are dirty- anything left in the drawers you can donate or toss.  They wear their favorite things first, ALWAYS.

Tip #10- Red wine goes well with cleaning a child's room.