Friday, March 17, 2017

The Vultures are coming! The Vultures are coming!

   My favorite movie “Young Frankenstein” has a part where the brain used for the monster was described as coming from “Abby Someone, Abby Normal”. I’m pretty sure there was more than one of those brains and I got the other one. My particular model, for some reason, continues to lock onto some negative experiences like a pit bull and refuses to get go of them despite my best efforts.
   I have plenty of issues, among them is a pretty bad book addiction. This goes back to my childhood when my local librarians had to order books for me from the central branch because I’d read most of what they had. I bought books for myself at yard sales and flea markets. When my daughter was born, so was another excuse to buy more books. (The pisser is that I now don’t get much time to read my own books unless you count the parenting ones and even then they rarely get finished. )
   The first time I found out about a library book sale, you’d think I entered a crack house. There are very few things I will voluntarily shovel my sorry butt out of bed for but this is definitely one of them. We have been patrons of the library as a family and have no plans to stop any time soon. (If you haven’t been to your local library btw, you really are missing out.) These sales start at 9 am but I will happily stand outside for 40 minutes to wait until they open and make a beeline for the children’s books to thoroughly enjoy the thrill of the hunt. 
   My local friends of the library sponsors these sales a few times of year and you cannot beat their prices. They have a kids section, cds, dvds, audio books and they are reasonably organized. The one thing they have no control over is the behavior of their clientele. I’ve been coming to the sales for years and it seems like every year people become increasingly rude. You may have seen stories on the news about people losing their minds on Black Friday, stampeding and shoving each other for a deal. This is the book nerd version of that.
  What’s good about this version, at least, is that the lunatics are so far, in my experience, limited to a few screwballs. I’d go so far as to venture that a majority of the rest of us would agree with me, that the screwballs in question are of the same ilk. I am referring to the book dealers. 
  It’s unfortunate that there are no laws prohibiting these parasites from infecting an otherwise pleasant experience. These creatures show up with their scanners, and their rude behavior and the rest of us are expected to tolerate it. What’s even more unfortunate is that I’ve seen too many people do just that, tolerate it. I mentioned that I will voluntarily shovel my butt out of bed for this. Recently, I did get up early to get in line to wait. While the parasites were the same, the wait was different.
  When I arrived this particular morning, it was forty minutes before the opening. In front of me was a lovely woman waiting behind a row of bins on the ground. She was friendly and we chatted. She looked at the junk on the ground in front of her and told me she felt like it was cheating since the owner was nowhere to be seen. She was, in fact, the only person there when I arrived. A short time later, we were joined by an amiable man who also felt that leaving things on the ground does not constitute waiting in line. Mr. A invited us to join him in front of the offending trip hazards and rebels that we were, we agreed.
   I’m reminded of an old movie where a bunch of people throw open their windows and yell “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!!” Words fail to describe how sick I am of book dealers at library book sales.
   Roughly 20 minutes later, we were joined by the irate owner of the offending ground cover. “I have a time stamp picture on my phone that I was here two hours ago!”, it fumed. “Do you know how many book sales I go to?” (Nice to know he’s rude everywhere??) It was wearing a blue jacket and earbuds. I’m guessing it’s easier to ignore the daggers being thrown at your back that way. It’s wife/mother (I didn’t get a good look) proceeded to lie to the crowd and accuse the three of us of cutting in line and then called us names. (I’m guessing asking if she left a note for the flying monkeys would have made things worse.) 
   Our amiable friend pointed out that we would all be there at roughly the same time once the doors opened anyway. He also noted that people should be waiting, not things. I made no bones about the fact that his majesty should have been waiting out in the weather like the rest of us. I also noted that we all knew about book dealers who pick these books up for dirt and then mark them up a ridiculous percentage. They got remarkably quiet after that. Once the doors opened, Mr. Iratepants angled around the woman in front of me and practically ran in. “Make sure you knock her over!” I yelled. (I know, my frustration really got the better of me, but in my defense I didn’t throw a rock at his head.)
   Now, because I mentioned in the beginning, I have an abnormal brain, this experience bugged me for days afterward. Is it because I was raised not to ‘rock the boat’? It can take a lifetime to cut off those shackles. Did a part of me feel like I did something wrong? Not really. I know this because the memory of it makes me angry not sad or guilty. The catholic radar never takes a day off. Standing up to bullies and not putting up with other people’s rudeness is what makes people understand their behavior is not acceptable, isn’t it?
   After all that fuss, I did my usual shopping and didn’t really find that much. I can only hope the parasite fared no better. This is one of those things that make me wonder where karma is hiding. Mr. Amiable was right, we all got in roughly the same time so why care? I can only assume it’s the principal of the thing. So I’ll ask you, dear reader. How do you handle it when someone is rude? Do you just put up with it?

       

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hodge Podge

   Recently, I noticed another person’s blog post that was basically a mish mosh of shorter but good pieces that the author felt were too short to be a post by themselves. It’s been really difficult to stay out of politics but I am still trying to keep myself neutral online (like Switzerland). I have also been having a great deal of trouble coming up with topics for my own blog but there is no shortage of random brain farts at my house. To that end, I humbly present the following:

  I am on an old person’s home exercise program. I go upstairs and forget why I’m up there so I go downstairs, then I remember. Why do I never forget what I’m after in the refrigerator?

  In the face of the most recent unpopular management decision (bedtime, in this case), my daughter loudly announced “I”m not happy!” I asked her which dwarf she was “Grumpy? Sleepy? Dopey?” Her response : “MMMooooooooommmm!!!”  Was there a dwarf named Bitter? I’d totally be that guy.

  “Probiotic” - because “Makes you Poop” doesn’t look good on product labels.

  The Orthodontist saw her shadow. My daughter has to wear her mouth guard for twelve more weeks.

  My nephew once asked me what kind of coffee we drink. I told him “Throw-a-shoe-at-your-head-get-up blend” or Formula number 47 Varnish. When we have overnight guests, I am not allowed to make the coffee.

  Sleep, may as well call it mommy crack. The more you get, the more you want.

   My doctor told me he believes my hair loss is due to stress. He didn’t tell me how to stop stressing out over my thinning hair.

  We will soon be going through our things to get ready for a spring yard sale. It used to be that toys would emit a distress signal and suddenly become fascinating when being eyed up for a sale. Due to a video game addiction, regular toys no longer have to disappear by stealth. I miss the good old days bigtime.

   My daughter is writing a book for a school project. Her story is better than mine and there is no writer’s block for her. She hates to write. WTF??!!
  
   Have you ever opened a closet in your house and been attacked? Our freezer is over filled and I was recently assaulted by a crapalanche of frozen vegetables when I was trying to defrost something for dinner. I didn’t even start cooking and my kitchen was dangerous.

    I’m beginning to think I should start throwing wild parties if I’m going to feel like this anyway. I will at least have had fun the night before.

  During a storm last year, we lost power briefly. The next day I remember telling my mother that the storm was scary but we came through just fine. “The television went out, but thankfully not for long. We were in danger of having to talk to each other! Whew! Dodged a bullet there.”

  Thus concludes the mish mosh. I am still scrounging for ideas. Feel free to make suggestions.


  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Drawing a blank

  I have often heard people say that a writer should be writing. They are referring to the discipline required to complete a project.  This is great, especially if you’re working on a novel or your job actually involves writing. What if you’re only writing small pieces for a blog and/or possible magazine submission? I admit that like anything else, if you want the success, you have to put the work in. The problem is my motivation, or lack of it. I am really struggling to find something to write about. 

  Too much has been going wrong at home these days. When you enjoy writing humor and not a damn thing is funny, what do you do? I’ve been looking at my screen going, “I got nothing.” This is  the reason for the lack of posts from yours truly. I live with two walking wealths of material so you’d think this wouldn’t be a problem but for some reason I seem to be stuck.

  I also run into a minor problem of finding little gold nuggets but forgetting to write them down. Slowly, I am getting better at that by using a memo feature on my phone. When I can I try to put ideas for posts there, too. 

  I’ve also been looking at other people’s posts. I admit I am jealous of how prolific they are. 


  Most of these folks aren’t writing in my genre but I wouldn’t think that would matter, a block is a block, after all. It’s a good idea to forgive myself for this, too. I’d rather not put out anything than just a placeholder.  I could just do a political rant. I have been trying to stay neutral and not put my opinions out there on that score. I’ve seen good friends fight too much over politics. I run the risk of ending up even more depressed with all the venom out there. 

  Looking around at my fellow humans should help. After all, if I spoke half of the things I thought about what I’ve observed people do I would probably have been jailed by now. It’s probably the reason people describe my husband as “patient” and “takes abuse well”. He’s always saying that ‘Barb’ is an apt nickname for me.

  If the problem is stress, maybe I can work on some short term solutions to help since a vacation doesn’t look doable in the near future. Alcohol has too many calories and picking up my daughter hung over doesn’t play well with the elementary school crowd. I’m getting my fair share of exercise so recently I’ve decided to try the opposite, meditation. Funny how it actually takes work to relax. It’s an actual effort to find five quiet minutes to do this. 

  I did read a post from someone recently that was a bit of a disjointed mish mosh. I’m thinking this was a great idea. This person had several good snippets laying around that were too short to be good posts on their own and so she put them together. So far, I’m low on snippets but it can take the proverbial heat off by feeling like I have to produce a whole cogent piece right now.

  I’m thinking this is a great idea and who knows, maybe it’ll be just the cattle prod I need to get out of this rut. I know I can’t “force inspiration”, but a little nudge would be nice. In the meantime, I will keep trying.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Family GPS

   It appears that I am the family GPS. “Mommy, can I have my Pokemon Book, my dog pen, my slippers, my hat, my ‘you name it’ ?” I have no goddamn clue what my girl did with most of her possessions yet somehow I am expected to know where they are. My husband’s questions just begin with “Have you seen my.....?” but are otherwise the same. I don’t have the house memorized at any given time. In fact, if it weren’t for caffeine, it’s a miracle I leave the house with pants some days. 

  Through some miracle, mommy radar works remarkably well. Nine times out of ten, I find the missing item and nine times out of ten, it’s almost right in front of the searcher and doesn’t take more than two minutes of looking.  
  Like a bee trying to fly out of a closed window, I keep harassing the farm animals in my home to put their crap where it belongs. I have this insane idea that if you keep something in the same place all the time you won’t have to hunt for it. Why do that when you can just ask Mommy?

   My spouse isn’t much better, in fact, I’m convinced that’s where she gets her “handicap”. My husband is a dedicated purchasing manager and he is amazing at his job. The man not only purchases but finds things for a living. I have heard him time and time again handle things over the phone. He will give elaborate directions that Ray Charles could follow and I am certain that although I have never set foot in his warehouse, I could find whatever doohickey he’s describing. 

  The problem is he shuts down when he gets home. We’ve been in our house for about 10 years and he can’t find his ass with both hands once his car hits our driveway. I live with Captain Oblivious and his sidekick, The Messmonster. 

   I get that in any home there are some things that just sprout legs, like scissors or those “cheater” glasses. It’s the other things that “go missing” that have me scratching my head. “We have a shelf for the keys, that’s where I’d put them.” “Whaddya mean you can’t find the leftovers? Are your eyeballs open??!!” It’s also where I find the hunted for items that mystifies me. I’ve found the remote in the powder room and some items, like his name badge wander the whole house.

   My father, it turns out, had the right idea in one respect. He would say, “Don’t know, don’t want to know”. This was originally meant to apply in cases when my mother would ask him to do something. I think I need to follow that example, just to see what happens. The problem is that a part of me already knows what would happen. My husband would just go out and replace whatever the missing thing was. I find this to be an annoying waste of money, although it usually flushes out the hiding item into the open. Maybe I should hide the atm card first before I test this theory.

   There is also the option of asking annoying questions like “Where were you when you last had it?” and “Did you look where we keep them?” until the seeker decides to leave me the hell alone.

   Perhaps my biggest problem is that I seem to be the only brain in my house that thinks belongings are to be taken care of rather than strewn. It’s also a small house, people can’t be leaving their crap all over the place like a trail of breadcrumbs in case they get lost. It just feels that way. When I’ve gotten really frustrated, I’ve busted out my pointy hat and a trash bag and anything left undefended on the floor was history. I wasn’t expecting to have to do that to my spouse.

   I admit that sometimes I lose things and I am by no means organized. I just try to keep my belongings in logical places. If it takes ten seconds to put something back and that would save you a half hour of looking why not do it? I know, you can just ask mommy.

   

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Small Victory

   Recently, when faced with yet another joyful episode of getting our daughter ready for school, I found a way to fix my problem. Upon approaching the body, I checked the clock. Luckily, there was enough time to execute my plan. I climbed into her bed and grabbed one of her books. As I began to read, I enlisted her help with the story. “Nellie waved to the kids from her boat.” I picked up a dead arm and waved it. “Then cousin Allistair waved back!” I picked up the arm again and this time I said, “Helloooooo!”. “Dan walked up the beach.” I horse clomped up the back of the body. It starts giggling. “The wind was blowing hard.” I grab a clump of blonde hair and wave it around. “Ok, Ok, I’m up!!” Darn, I thought, I didn’t get to the rain storm. Guess I’ll have to skip the cup of water. Score one for mommy, finally.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

RRRRoooooaaaaarrrrr!!!

  It’s time to go poke a bear with a stick, again. This always puts the extra fun in a Monday. Part of the problem is that it’s all my fault, or mostly anyway. My little girl is every inch her grandmother’s revenge and getting her ass up for school is frequently too much fun for humans. My little apple not only didn’t roll far from the tree, I’m lucky it even fell off the branch. Our morning routine could best be described as some warped rendition of beat the clock for the deaf. I am constantly repeating myself louder and louder. “It’s time to get up.” “We gotta get moving!” “Will you get up already??!!” 

   Tuesdays are still painful. Wednesdays and Thursdays are better but by Friday we’re back to ugly since it’s been four days of shoveling our butts up. I’m grateful her majesty is not fussy about what she wears although I try to give her a choice of two things. That’s at least one small advantage of her not being fully awake. I also don’t have to chase her to brush out her hair. She saves that crap for the weekends.

   In a way, I feel sorry that I can’t give my eight year old coffee. The problem is, she’s like an old fashioned plane.  Once she gets her propeller going, she’s off like a shot, it just the wind up that takes a lot of work. Caffeine would cost us dearly later, I’m sure. Mommy, on the other hand, can’t even enter the room without at least a half a cup consumed. I completely understand the hostility I get, too. I don’t expect happiness in the morning, but I’d settle for cooperation. One morning she rolled over and I’d swear she farted at me.

   I suppose it’s good that she’s not one of those happy first thing farmer kids who get up ungodly early. I don’t think I could handle that. The polar opposite, I guess, is preparing us for the teen years. I’m theorizing that this part of the morning can’t get worse. If it weren’t for the snoring I could draw a chalk outline in her bed. The alarm clock is completely ignored. We need a better clock to be sure. I haven’t looked online but if I could find something that say emitted a SWAT team yell, or a howitzer, it may help.

  When I was a kid, I watched a cartoon in which a coyote’s bed stood up and threw his ass out. In our case, it would take some hydraulics, I think, a pantload of money and maybe even a bigger room. Then there’s the matter of breakfast, or to dream the impossible dream. I have tried smoothies but got really sick of our little food critic giving me the thumbs down. In desperation, I have had to resort to powdered breakfast drinks and oatmeal cookies marketed as granola bars.

   The never ending sugar battle has forced a few concessions in order for me to hang onto my sanity and more of my hair. I read a lot of labels and use half packets of drink mix but the main objective is to get something in that tummy before school. It doesn’t matter how cute she is, tired and hungry turns her into an even bigger hemorrhoid to deal with. Her teachers don’t deserve that.

   I am baffled as to why this kid does not do bananas. She climbs like a monkey and occasionally smells like one, so why not eat like one? They are also good for you, portable, and require no cooking. God forbid we get off that easy. I can still manage peanut butter once in a while but I have to try to remind our girl to wash her hands after eating it if she’s going to school. They treat peanut butter like nuclear waste at her school but at least we’re not the ones dealing with the allergies directly. That’s a whole separate hell we are lucky to dodge.

  So, dear reader, how do you get your kids up in the morning? I’m open to suggestions aka I’ll take all the help I can get.

    

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Still more lessons

    It’s been getting tougher as time goes on. Homework is the child equivalent of death and taxes. Resistance is futile, unless you’re Polish, then it’s genetic. “Why do I have to go to school at all?” “Why can’t I just stay home and play video games?” “You don’t need math for video games!” Our worldly eight year old has some how convinced herself that she has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience far beyond her parents. I’m told this comes with the territory. 
   Every day after school, I ask our girl if she has her homework. Frequently, I check the backpack (trust but verify). Once she has had a break and a snack, the harassment campaign begins. It’s not so much the getting her majesty to sit down and actually start it. It’s the dragging out 12 math problems into the equivalent of a doctoral thesis that makes mommy want to drink herself into a stupor, sometimes by Tuesday night. My grown up brain can’t understand why just putting this crap in the rearview so we can move on just does not compute to my offspring.
   The other bonus wrinkle is the endless redirection. I’ve said many times that it feels like you’re dealing with an overcaffeinated squirrel. This kid has a talent for distracting herself with nothing. When there is nothing around her but just a table, a chair, a pencil and paper, that tablecloth had better not be fuzzy. She will have pencils battle erasers, sing songs about how homework is stupid, and suddenly she’s absolutely starving. Is duct taping someone’s ass to a chair illegal?
   I have about a fifty fifty shot at being able to do something else like make dinner or doing dishes but as often as not, I’m the homework gestapo. 
  My husband is blissfully unaware of this. On the rare occasions when he is forced to feel mommy’s pain, it’s almost a drama contest. There’s a monumental effort on both sides. For a person with a college degree, we sometimes have to explain what our third grader’s homework requires. What’s almost funny is that he will tell me about how difficult the whole process is as if I was not in the next room and had never been through this??!!   
   ‘My God, she’s a huge pain in the ass!’ ‘Welcome to my world, Sherlock!’ (Not that I’m bitter or anything.)
   It would be really helpful if we could somehow collaborate on the problem since the homework is only going to get uglier from here. We haven’t even scratched the surface of studying, research papers, presentations or other herculean feats. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m guessing the best way to handle things without too much alcohol is to eat our elephant one bite at a time.
  This is going to be as much fun as forks in the eyes but unless we hit the lottery, my options are pretty limited. This kid is going to have to grow up to support herself, which for now, at least, means a decent education. I have also learned the hard way not to ignore study guides. The first time one was sent home, I figured we had enough to contend with and that anything that even smelled like extra homework was too much hassle.
   I’ve often said, my daughter is in school but I’m the one getting educated. We ignored her first math study guide. Fortunately it took only one epic bomb of a math test to end that practice. I have to sneak that stuff in small doses on days when there’s not a lot of homework or before bed on the weekends. I’m about to find out if this tactic will work, another test is coming soon. 
  If I could only figure out how to get pokemon into her homework maybe she would stop complaining although I’d settle for cooperation.