Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Things My Mother Never Had to Tell Me

Day 13 of Free Agency....

Sitting home, rebalancing my life, certainly has its moments. Suddenly you need to review not only your job goals, but everything in your life. It's like a big microscope has pryed open your eyes. Nothing looks the same. Everything needs to be reordered.

It seems the Piggly Wiggly family has taken up residence and I never really noticed. Who else could be leaving the finger prints everywhere, or leaving the dust bunnies behind the doors and under the beds or leaving dirty laundry trails throughout the house? Certainly, its not my angels.

And just what is that smell upstairs? At first, I figured it must be the dirty laundry. So I got them in the habit of kicking it into the laundry room a little more often. Hmm, still stinks. Next, I thought it must be that they haven't been changing the sheets (I noticed the cleans ones all under the beds.) So, I started making Tuesday sheet day. Nope, that's not it. Still stinks like homeless people moved in.

Today, I figured it out. They keep pulling off the top sheets. They've gotten in the habit of sleeping on just one sheet, since the comforters are just so cozy. Great, it's the blankets. They all have body rot.

So at dinner, I started saying a new rule for less piggishness would be....and then I couldn't stop.I had to start explaining some things they had to know about life. Things they needed to understand so people would get along with them when they are older. They have to know these things, and stop being so piggy... I just had to say the things my mother never seemed to have to tell me:

1. Brush your teeth when you get up. Pee, brush your teeth, and then hug me. No one wants to
smell the jungle breath of the night before.

2. Shower every day and wash the hair. Use lots of soap. Use deodorant. Comb the hair. People don't want to smell you or look at dirty hair.

3. Stop leaving your underwear in the bathroom!

4. Aim when you pee. If you miss, clean it up. We don't like looking at random pee on the floor.

5. Put the seat down and flush when you pee. When in doubt, see rule number 4.

6. Put your dirty laundry in the laundry room. It smells.

7. Sheets need to be changed weekly, or maybe twice weekly in the summer. They smell.

8. You need to use the top sheet and sleep between the sheets. Otherwise, the blankets start to smell like body rot. Body rot makes the room reek. Rooms the permeate odors of 3rd world countries make the whole house seem unclean.

9. Dirty dishes reek. Pick them up, rinse them off, and put them in the dishwasher.

10. Stop eating in bed! Stop eating in my bed! Stop leaving food wrappers everywhere, we fired the maid when we had you!

And the twins looked at me in shock and said....

"Mom, stop breaking rule number 3!"

Oops. I guess I've been getting piggy too. Good to be the child once in awhile.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Food Network

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom acts as one with our very soul.

"Wow, you must have really been stressed out, the ice cream looks like a tiger attacked it"--Luke

After days of peanut butter sandwiches and cheese slices, my food gene finally kicked in. I went shopping and you would not believe the food that jumped into my cart. Yesterday, I made the kids french toast for breakfast. Then I made pot roast for dinner, and apple turnovers for dessert. Today, I was laying around in the bathrobe so long, I forgot to cook. I was actually surprised that it was 5 o'clock and everyone was home. Jeesh. I made hot dogs for dinner, but then a whirlwind took over.

Beef stew. Chicken corden blue. Lasagna. Banana milk shakes. Chocolate chip zucchini bread in the oven. I started to feel a little sick with all the aromas (and "tastes equal to a small dinner"), so I did make salad for the week and lowfat vegetable soup for my lunch. At this rate, I'll be shopping for mumus and fuzzy pink slippers and babushkas.

I redid the budget. Hmm, maybe I should get rid of the gym membership. No, I think not. I need to do something to compliment the 7 course meals I'll be cooking next. I should get rid of cable so I can't watch the Food Network 24-7. Or home remodel shows. Who knew a house like mine in California is worth $750,000? Can I just put it on wheels and take it out there? The new kitchen is almost done. I am sure they won't notice the fact that you still can't hang drapes because the woodwork is missing.

I went to my first group meeting of other lovely outsourced people. And they had pizza. And regular, corn syrup consistency pop. My sugar and cholesterol levels had been starting to drop since I don't have Robin's candy drawer to dip into every other hour, but what the heck, I need to comfort myself. So I dug in.

Why is that all life alterating events involve lots of food? Why don't we change our course as society and give people running shoes when stress hits, followed by a push out the door to make them learn to comfort themselves another way. Why is it food? Hmm, let me grab a cookie and go find out.

Some people actually lose weight when stress hits. Not me, I am still wearing all the stress from raising 3 kids. If this keeps up, the next remodel will be widening of the doors.

Actually, my plan is to take my time here and digest my lifes purpose. Where do I go next? What do I like? How can I feel fulfilled and get a paycheck? I actually had a job interview last month. Much less pay, but...she mentioned they have free food, like all the time. Lunches, breaksfasts, sweets. Hmm, maybe I can get there and destress some more. Maybe I can volunteer while I look?

Have a bake sale coming up? I have some time to cook. Just let me know what you need, and I'm in. My friend the queen thinks I should make cookies for people, I love it that much. My friend Mrs. Supermarket wants me to write a book "Borscht soup for the trampled mama's soul." I said it would have to be more like "Menopause mama runs you over and feeds you borscht soup." You know, I have to keep the cooking going. Another friend, Mr. Clancy, wants me to join in some adult activities to destress. 3 what? Sorry, I am too timid a catholic girl.

But if you want to reenact the food scene from "9 1/2 weeks," I'm in. After all it's food, and I have some time.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A New Door

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom acts as one with our very soul.

"When one door closes, another one opens."

Last Monday, I started the week with an overnight visit to an emergency room. Everyone is fine, but it was the staying awake all night and then working part that killed me. Called in, went in around 11 finally. Started the drill on the phones during breaks and lunch to call doctors, check coverage, make appointments. This was at the end of a very long 4 weeks, some of the hardest in my life. So bad, that I told a work friend on that Monday, that I would be declaring the month from hell over at the end of week by raising my glass in a toast of an adult beverage to ring in the new day.

I just didn't know I would be doing this at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

My day job went global, half to Manila, half to India. Outsourced. Restructured. Eliminated due to computer upgrades. Finished, told to by a manager from France who didn't even learn the American social skill of shaking someones hand goodbye and wishing them well. I wonder now as I write this, if they will call themselves "Jane" or "Kathy" or some other American name to try and fit in.

A new day. A fresh start. A do-over at mid life. One door is closed, and God will open a new one. Just look for it friends tell me. You won't be able to miss it. Well, maybe I need to be sure not to miss it.

Have you ever been to see the Space Shuttle door at John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral? Wonderful, amazing park. You get to ride a bus tour and see the "garage" where the shuttle sits, waiting for the next launch. It has doors 10 stories tall, and it gets pulled out of there, and moved at a nice slow pace, 1 mile an hour, to the launch pad. No mistake there where it's going when the door opens. Huge. See, that's what I need, doors that large and a forklift on my behind leading me to it. I don't want to miss it. I want to be sure to see the clue. I want to get it right. Put me on a platform and pull me there, please.

I have a 235 page book from the outplacement service to get me going. Lots of fun, frilly exercises to help me determine where to go from here. But see, I have it all figured out already.

Reality TV. That's the ticket. Everyone loves drama and screaming. I can do that. Show the kids running around killing each other over who gets to watch what TV show or who gets the last of the Cocoa Pebbles. Piece of cake, tune in any day at 5, no writing needed. What to watch a temper tantrum? Watch me take Wild Child's skateboard away for failing 4 classes. Need gore and tears? Stay glued to your seat in while I open the mail, pay bills, and balance the checkbook. Need to see the before shot of desperate makeovers? Catch me everyday at 5 A.M. as I head to the gym.

And the theme? Never before on modern TV, a sure winner. Big hit, lot of marketing sponsorship possibilities. Millions of viewers possible. Gore all the way, just what we love.

Aging Supermodel. You see, no one knows what they might look like without all the plastic surgery. They could have stretch marks the size of Rhode Island. There boobs might really need a fork lift to hold them up. Maybe they need to buy hair dye in 5 gallon buckets to keep up with the white hairs from having 3 teenagers. Maybe they need to shave to get rid of their mustaches on their upper lips. Maybe the thighs do become one large body part.

And if reality TV doesn't fly? Well, there's always a dollar and a dream. Hey, you never know. And food during this transition time? (<--see, I'm learning the lingo already)
Well, I told the kids, every day at 5 put on their coats, and get in the car. It's the friends feed the family plan.

What are you cooking today? I'll be over.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Chick Flick

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom acts as one with our very soul.

"Food for the soul is Salt (we are the salt of the earth), Sugar (draw your energy from the sweetness of the honeycomb), Grease (nothing bad can float out of you when you eat grease), Caffeine (you need to stay awake to feed the soul) and of course, chocolate, because we are women (no explanation needed)."

Chick flick day with Maggie and company.

New snow brush to rid the car of 18 more inches of dreaded snow--$8.
Gas to drive myself to work all week--$3 (it's only 1/2 mile)
Gas to drive the munchkins to their friends houses this week--$53
Tickets to see Penelope on a snowy Saturday--$21
Cost of 4 food groups, Salt, Sugar,Grease, Caffeine & Chocolate for Penelope--$29
Number of patrons in movie on snowy Saturday--8
Length of time we had to wait for the BIG KISS--1 hour 29 minutes
Cost of female bonding time on birthday--PRICELESS

Fun movie day with Maggie and BFF. Ate most of the salt item by the previews. Chewed on the Milk duds until 3/4 into movie. Sucked on 32 ounce Diet Coke until next Tuesday. Laughed and cheered. Movie ends, I yell: "That was good, but I really need to pee." One can not bear twins in a lifetime and expect to have bladder control ever again. Actually, I think it pretty much happens with any birth. They should give you a warning label at the hospital "Patient may now experience a sudden need to pee anytime she in bides more than 4 ounces of liquid. Should this occur, please try to visit the nearest bathroom within in 10 minutes."

Of course, the reality is, that once you have kids, your pee schedule is never again your own. Oh no, you must defer action quite often, but you find you can't. Coffee goes right on by your bladder, needing direct attention now. Diet pop, forget about it, you need the express lane. And God help you should you go to a hear a jazz band, in a small Niagara on the Lake English Pub, and feel a tiny bit British, so you drink the quart lagers. And you mistakenly drink another. And want to go pee, but the Pub now has 300 people in it and the loo is way on the other side of the crowd. It's easier to go back to your hotel room, pee and lay down comatose, so you do.

And then there's the problem of peeing at home. I have seen my DH disappear into the men's room everyday when he gets home from work for 45 minutes at a pop. He's never disturbed. I can't even try to brush my teeth for 30 seconds without the Battle of Imo Jima starting in the kitchen. When they were small, I tried to teach the twins not to talk to Mommy through the door when she is in the bathroom, that she needs the peace of the time alone in there. I thought I really had it figured out, when the notes came under the door.

No, Mom's can't ever expect to pee in private. Once that door shuts, your kids think it just means they have your undivided attention now. They can say anything they want, and you can't pretend to hear it. "Going to Nick's Mom, pick me up at 10." Love it, like it's the express ticket booth at the train station and you can just order a ride.

Well, I did buy a house with 2 bathrooms. And I recently figured out they are all too lazy to run upstairs and see where Mom is. They actually think I've left if they don't see me downstairs. It's like I am in a foreign country when I run up those 12 steps. Or maybe that was just the pile of laundry and books I wadded in to find the bathroom door. And the weird thing, because they hate running upstairs, it's clean in there. And quiet. Oh so quiet. I think I actually spent 7 minutes in there the other day.

Cost of second bathroom on small cape cod house-- Priceless.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Clutter Fairy

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom acts as one with our very soul.

Birthday time again. Seems like it keeps coming every year, how is that possible? Isn't there a limit? Can I just pick a number, and keep living, but not have the number change?

A close friend wondered what I wanted for my birthday. Some really amazing, slow, awe inspiring, super satisfying, memorable, tender, intimate, stress relieving, conversation perhaps? Conversation? No, I would really like the Clutter Fairy to visit my desk, my bedroom, my kitchen, my car, my desk, my purse. Can someone zap a wand and organize me? Can someone take away all the crap I own?

I swear the clutter reproduces at night. The gremlins must come and feed on the little bits of food left out by the mutt. They take the good leftover spaghetti, eat it, and leave a noodle in the dogs' chair. Honest, I found an egg noodle from the Tuesday Chicken Soup dinner in the chair. And it's not just the weird pieces of food I can't understand, its the multiplying receipts.

If I never have money to buy things, where are all the receipts coming from in my purse? And why if you have the grocey receipt from 1995 in your wallet, can you never find the one you need to get full credit at Kohl's? Do you know they only give you the lowest price an item sold for in the last 20 days, if you are missing your receipt? I went to return a $40 pair of sneakers, imagining, I would get full store credit, when low and behold, no, they give me store credit at the lowest price. Amazingly, this was $11.95. Have you ever seen Tony Hawk skateboarding shoes for that little? I would buy 10 pairs if I did, believe you me.

And what about the stuff in the kitchen? Shouldn't it just be, like, kitchen stuff? Dishes, cups, a cereal box or two? Why do green plaid boxers end up on the floor here? Why do I have every coat we own lying on the kitchen floor, except the one they want to wear at that minute? Why do tools only reside on the center island, and not in the toolbox? And how come every brush we own is in the junk drawer with the rubber bands, but not on the day you want to wear a pony tail? Then they seem to take a hike to Grandma's house, to hide with the matching glove and missing sock from the living room.

I don't even understand how stuff ends up where it does. Some scientist a hundred years from now will try to show the Waldmiller home, all neat and pretty. Modern 21st decor perhaps. Pergo and hardwood floors. Grandma's cedar chest. Library table desk. But now add: snow googles, flashlight, shoelaces, candle from Christmas, battery back to yet another toy, washable markers, one green snow boarding glove, backpack, winnie the pooh blanket, water bottle, stuffed bunnies, extra flooring, pink snow glove, phone book; open to pizza page, snowman, stereo, and belt. All left by the clutter fairies. They must party at night with the snow stuff, snuggle with the bunnies, hide in the Winnie the Pooh blankie.

And of course, add in the Tony Hawk sneakers. Don't they look great on me? I'm really just 11. The perfect age. I don't have to clean and I don't have to work.

Ah, the good old days. Can I have a root beer float after my conversation?