Thursday, March 31, 2011

The itty 'bitay' brain

As I leafed through a home magazine one afternoon, the ad for a beautiful log home in the wilds of New Hampshire caught my eye.

“Ooooh,” I excitedly said to my husband, “it’s 3,400-square feet with four bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, three-car garage and sits on 10 acres. Overlooking a friggin’ lake! And it’s only $179,000!”

He snorted and answered, “So what’s wrong with it? Termites? Flood damage? It’s too close to Canada?”

“What’s wrong with Canada?” I asked.

“Eleven months of winter,” was his immediate response. He leaned over, pointed at the cover and added, “By the way, that magazine is from 1986.”

“What the ----!” I took a closer look at the cover. Dammit. He was right.

“That’s the last time I steal - er - borrow a magazine from your mom,” I said.

I flipped the page and noticed an ad for the “modern” bathroom. At least for one in 1986.

This thing was waaay beyond a place to do “paperwork,” which is how God intended. It was the Taj Mahal of Toilets and the Shangri La of Showers.

Look. I’m a simple girl. Maybe it was growing up on a farm. We didn’t have everything we wanted, but we had everything we needed. So I learned early on what the difference is.

So give me a freakin’ break when I don’t get all tingly about what homes today are supposed to have to make a family comfy.

I sighed. “What is it with people? Spa tubs that fit six. Showers with twelve nozzles. Fixtures that cost more than my first car.”

I looked closer and read from the ad, “‘Sure to be the new standard in master baths - the bitay.’” 

(I pronounced it “bit-tay” as in my brain is very itty-bittay today).

I looked up and asked, “What the hell is a bit-tay?”

My husband, choking on his beer ‘cuz he’s such a classy guy, laughed, “It’s pronounced ‘bah-DAY.’”

OK, Mr. Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless. “Oh, I know what that is,” I answered. “I’ve just never seen it spelled out before. That’s the toilet with the little fountain-thingy, right?”

His shoulders shook with laughter, and he snorted beer out his nose.

Yeah. Real classy, Mr. Fancy Pants, I thought as I headed to the bathroom. Because, you know...all this talk about you-know-what was giving my bladder ideas.

I took one step into the bathroom, made an unfortunate observation, groaned loudly and turned right back around.

My husband called out, “Problem?”

I yelled as I stomped upstairs, “You know what would really be useful in a bathroom? A self-loading toilet paper holder.” Priorities. Yep. I have them.


“Look at this one!” my husband said excitedly and reached out a hand to open the small, circular shaped door.

We had just stepped inside the appliance store and - WHAM - two seconds in and my husband had already lost focus.

I sighed, “We’re here for a chest freezer not a new washer and dryer.”

Ignoring me, he gestured toward the pair of bright red machines with enough buttons, lights and chrome to have been right at home on the space station.

Which probably explains why this country is so damn broke. Anyway....

“OHMYGOD!” my husband exclaimed and stuck his entire head inside the washer. “Look how big it is!” His voice echoed out the steel tub and reverberated throughout the store.

Great. Let the vultures descend.

“May I help you?”

...and there it was. I turned to look the very nice salesman in the eye and answered, “Yes, we’re looking for a new freezer today.”

He smiled and said, “Right this way.”

My husband emerged from the washer’s basin. “We so need one of these. It’s way better than our top-loader.”

“Our washer works just fine,” I assured the nice salesman who undoubtedly smelled blood in the water and was already trolling for the injured swimmer...aka my husband.

“But everything loads in the front, so we won’t have to bend over,” my ever-thoughtful husband assured me.

“We?” I asked. “We? When was the last time you did laundry?”


“Well, if we got a pair of these I’d do laundry a lot more often,” he answered.

Oh, right. Like I’m gonna fall for that one. Again.

New Hampshire, here I come.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Don't use the W word

New blog for young spouses who are widowed

Losing a spouse must be devastating. When he leaves behind a young wife and/or a family? It seems even more unthinkable.

That's why I'm inspired by people like Dana, who lost her husband less than a year ago and forges ahead with their three young children.

Yep, inspirational.

Even though she would probably hate to be called inspirational. She probably thinks her life is just about taking one step at a time right now, rather than being a role model for anyone. So I'll use "gutsy," "smart," "determined," "down-to-earth" and "great mom" to describe her instead.

Dana started a new blog because she discovered there were relatively few sources and/or outlets for young spouses who lost their significant other; as if society doesn't expect anyone under the age of 40 to be widowed. Or - at the very least - we aren't supposed to talk about it.

Much like Dana's husband, my dad's death was quick. One moment? There. Next moment? Gone. The shock is indescribable. It's one of those moments that unless you've been there, unless you've lived it, you'll never truly understand it. The world stops, tilts on its axis and rocks the life out from under you.

Then something amazing happens. After the condolences, the rest of the world rights itself and continues on its way as if nothing ever happened. But your life? Changed forever. After my dad died, I remember being in a store or at work and everyone walked, talked, laughed around me like normal. Because - to them - it was. Life hadn't changed in their world. Just in mine.

I know how difficult it has been to watch my mom adjust to her life without my dad - and it's been over three years since he died. Plus, her children were grown with families of their own. So there's no owner's manual to dealing with this.

So I hope by following Dana's blog I can understand how to be a better friend to those who are living it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thank God for little boys

With all the drama surrounding a certain clothier's new padded swimsuits for little girls (I refuse to name names and increase their Google hit number) makes me even more happy to be mom to a little boy.

Little girls are great. Hell, I used to be one and I ROCKED. But the pressure to grow up sooner rather than later is different for a girl. Thanks to media, peer pressure and an XX chromosome urge to walk in heels before we're 3 years old we've pressured our little princesses to become queens of the ball long before they are ready.

But boys? Sure, they have pressures. Maybe even more difficult ones. But the one thing I can count on is my son not demanding to wear clothes that bare his cleavage or belly button, or wear low-cut jeans that show his crack any time he even thinks about bending over.

At least until he grows up and tells us he's become a drag queen. Until then, he's clueless and that's just the way I like him.

Case in point...yesterday, he put his shirt on backwards. Even though there was a big-ass dinosaur on the front of it. Not sure what was more frightening. That he failed to notice until I pointed it out. Or that it took him five hours before he decided to turn it around.

Thank God for little boys.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

#&!$ Circus...time to cash in the college fund

“Listen up,” I leaned in, grabbed my five-year-old son by the shoulder and whispered in his ear. “Don’t even think about doing this at home.”

It was his very first circus, and he marveled at the multitude of stunts, tricks, jumps and daring moves the members of the traveling troupe performed.

“Big deal,” I muttered to my husband and gestured toward the center ring where a trio of canines jumped through flaming rings. “I could train our Golden Retriever to do that. It might singe her tummy fur a bit, but I’d train her to duck and cover too.”

He chuckled but stopped as soon as he got a glimpse of the tricky dogs’ trainer.

Then he uttered a low, “Whoa.”

She wore a skin-tight leotard with thigh-high black boots studded with shiny, silver sequins that traveled up her long, long legs. Blonde curls rained down her back in ringlets to her waist, and she strode around the ring like the 6-foot Amazon goddess she undoubtedly was.

Damn circus freaks.

I mean, OK, I’m sure she’s a very nice gal and all. But, dammit, I didn’t spend $12 a ticket to get my self-esteem slammed by a blonde jackhammer on a Saturday afternoon.

I bumped him with my elbow and snickered, “Maybe I outta get myself a pair of those boots.” Pause. “Of course, I put on a pair of those things, I’m wearing them as stilts. Probably fall over and break a leg.”

But he never even heard me.

Without taking his eyes off the new love of his life, he leaned in a little closer to the action and asked, “Is she wearing a thong? I think she’s wearing a thong.” He leaned in so close he almost fell out of his chair. “Yep, she’s definitely wearing a thong.”

I laughed and reached out a hand to pull him back, “Careful there, Romeo. She’s not wearing a thong. Do you see her outfit? There’s barely enough room for her in it, let along standard issue undies.” I sniffed in disdain as a woman who’ll never be a Size 2 and added, “She’s definitely going commando.”

And....uh...that’s when his head exploded.


It was the loud thud, followed by a thunk, a boom and a crash that alerted me to danger upstairs.

Damn circus.

Like all moms who have been there, done that, I waited a brief moment to hear if the sounds would be followed by a wail of despair signifying broken bones or the deafening silence that meant something else was broken.

Like a chair, a bed...or a skull.

After a brief moment of silence, I headed upstairs to assess the damage. I walked into my son’s room and politely asked, “Just what in the heck is going on? You let monkeys loose up here?”

He leapt up from his prone position on the floor and landed like a cat on his feet. “Just practicing my back flips, Mom.”

I nodded, “Back flips, eh? What for?”

“I’m in training,” he answered with a smile on his face. “I’m gonna be a trapeze artist when I grow up.”

SighLike that’ll come with health benefits. Guess we can cash in that college fund now.

Damn circus.


“I think I’ll trade you in for one of those bendy girls.”

I looked over at my husband and eloquently answered, “Eh?”

He laughed and said, “Remember those two contortionists? At the circus? Folding themselves into the tiny little box like that?” He paused. “That was hot.”

I was soooo not amused.

“Please,” I sighed. “They were like 14.”


“OK. Maybe I’ll look them up in about six years,” he conceded.

“Yeah,” I snarked. “You do that.”

Damn circus.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No shame

So I'm working on ad ideas today, and I needed a pic of a dog eating homework. As someone who respects intellectual property rights...(snort)...I refrained from swiping one from the Lazy Kid Network (aka the Internet) because I was feeling generous.

What to do? Well...I have a dog. And I have homework.

All it took was a little peanut butter to get things rolling and we were off!

And, no, I have no shame. Bear performed admirably. I might just rent her out. And, no, I didn't let her actually eat the darn thing. If our backyard is any indication, she doesn't need extra fiber in her diet.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Party like it's...March?

Who knew March was such a party month?

Granted, St. Patrick’s Day, the day dedicated to drinking beer and soiling yourself in public, typically gets all the attention.
But - God bless the Internet - a brief search has also revealed the following:

March 2: National Old Stuff Day.
No, it’s not about making fun of grandma or displaying that block of cheese stuck in the fridge since Nixon was president or reminding your husband for the 346th time that he once drove off and left you in a parking lot. It’s about trying something new, letting your hair down and getting jiggy with yourself.  Oh, wait. That probably just works for whatever type of person gets jiggy with himself. Sounds like an easy way to be charged with indecent exposure and given a weekend stay at the local jail.

March 3: If Pets Had Thumbs Day
Our Golden Retriever manages just fine without those extra digits, thank you very much. Give her opposable thumbs, and we might as well throw in the towel and let her take over everything. I tried that once. Not giving her thumbs, of course, but sat her down and explained the responsibilities of being in charge. After hearing the words health insurance, mortgage and colonoscopy, she immediately concluded life is better as a dog and abandoned her evil plan of taking over the world on West Edwards Street.

March 5: National Multiple Personality Disorder Day
What? We have another excuse besides PMS?! Rock on.

March 8: National Be Nasty Day
OK, is this like Zsa Zsa Gabor or Janet Jackson? Because there are days I could go either way. Perhaps I should revisit that Multiple Personality Disorders Day....

March 11: National Worship of Tools Day
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume this has nothing to do with a man’ We live in Missouri, not Nevada, and that kinda stuff is illegal here.

March 13: National Jewel Day AND Earmuff Day
I sooooo wanna combine these two holidays! Grab a glue gun and go wild. Maybe make something pretty enough Princess-to-be Kate What’s-her-name will wear for the Royal Wedding. What? They don’t do that kinda stuff in England? No more beheadings or imperial tyranny either. Stupid old England.

March 14: National Pi Day
A day to honor the number there’s a 2...I it’s a 7. Anyway, Pi, that glorious magical number that guys with pocket protectors everywhere think unlocks the key to, well, I’m not quite sure. Maybe who built the pyramids (aliens) or discovered fire (aliens) or created duct tape (again, aliens).  Let’s just safely assume the answer is always aliens, OK? It’s a hell of a lot easier than remembering a number with no end.

March 15: National Everything You Think Is Wrong Day
Now, does this mean that everything I think is wrong? Or does this mean that everything everyone else thinks is wrong? I’m confused....

March 16: National Everything You Do Is Right Day
So, if things go horrible wrong on March 15 (seriously, how can they NOT?), you have a do-over to make up for all the stuff you pulled the day before. It’s like Undo for people.

March 20: National Extraterrestrial Abductions Day
Grab a Speak & Spell and ask ET for a ride. Pack snacks, and make sure you get Frequent Flier Miles. After all, you should get a little something for your efforts besides an anal probe and a foggy memory.

March 25: International Waffle Day
Wait a minute. My five-year-old’s head just exploded. After inhaling a toaster waffle every day for the past three years, he finally has a reason to justify it.

March 28: National Something On A Stick Day
Just because your neighbor stole your newspaper or the bagger at the grocery store forgot to sack your hemorrhoid cream (again), this day is NOT for skewering people.

March 31: National Bunsen Burner Day
Finish the month with German chemist Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen (Gesundheit). He’s the dude who perfected the device that could catch your hair - or lab partner - on fire in chemistry class. Where else can you mix air and flammable contents next to a guy who flunked the SAT because he filled in the dots to spell out MY ARMPIT SMELLS LIKE CHEESE?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

How does a kindergartner celebrate the Day o' Birth of one of the greatest writers on the planet?

Oh...the places he'll go.....