Thursday, January 30, 2014

He’s Going To Be Just Fine

It seems like adults are forever asking kids what they want to be when they grow up.  It sometimes strikes me as odd.  Are they really supposed to be thinking about that already?  Then again, I guess it’s just conversation.  I ask my son sometimes to just to see where is head is at these days.  For a while the answer was fire fighter, then police officer.  Then for a while it was guy who drives the little train at the zoo.

I admit that last one worried me at first.  What if he doesn’t have high aspirations?  He’s already 6 and in no time he’ll be 30 and have a house payment.  I kid, but it did get me thinking.  Would that really be so bad?  It’s an honest living.  It makes people happy.  You get to wear cool overalls and a kickass hat.  Then there’s the whistle.  Who doesn’t want a job with a whistle?

It got me thinking about the definition of success.  I don’t think it’s about the college he goes to or the prestige of his job.  I came up with this-I want him to be happy. I want him to contribute to society in a meaningful way, big or small.  I want him to make the world a better place.

Today I knew he would be successful.

Today Hudson gave every cent he has saved since birth to the Penny Drive at school.  He gave every cent to help some kids at his school go to the Special Olympics this spring.  Just because he wanted to.

I worried at first he wanted to do this because the classroom that raises the most money wins a party.  I want him to give, but I want him to give for the right reasons.  I told him that I didn’t mind him giving it all away, but he shouldn’t do it if it was just to win something.  I reminded him that he might give everything away and still not win the party.  Would he be ok with that?

He cut me off in the middle of my speech to say, “Momma, stop talking about this please.  I want to do it.  I don’t care about the party.  I don’t care if we win.  I want to give my money.”

I stopped talking.  He took a Ziplock bag up to his room, opened his piggy bank and took all the money out.   He put it in the bag and brought it down.

“Can you put this in my backpack?”

I wondered if he would change his mind in the morning.  He didn’t.

“Did you pack my money?”  He was beamed at how heavy his backpack was.  I told him I was proud of him and he shyly looked away.

Although I wanted to, I didn’t take his picture with his bag of change because he’s extremely shy and doesn’t like his picture taken.  I couldn’t talk about it too much because he doesn’t like that either and asked me to stop.  But as he carried his heavy backpack down the hall to class I saw him smile.

He was happy.  He helped make the world a better place.  He was the very definition of a success.

I couldn’t be prouder.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pretending To Be a Psychopath is Calming to Upset Children

This Saturday my niece spent the night at our house.  The kids decided they wanted to sleep in the playroom and all three of them wanted to sleep on the trundle bed.  I tucked them in and told them they could watch one cartoon.  They chose Frosty.  I talked them into this choice after Rudolf.  The snow monster causes one of them to have nightmares.

I left the room all warm and fuzzy with the thought of the three cousins all snuggled together.  For a moment we were the Waltons, if some of the Waltons wore Dora pajamas.  That was until the movie ended and all hell broke loose.  Suddenly Hudson was afraid of the dark even though it wasn’t really dark (such details don’t matter at bedtime) and Madison was crying because she missed her mommy.  My brother-in-law was still at our house and went to lay down with Madison. I laid down with Hudson and we tried to restore calm.   Then there was Kenzie.

“I want more hearts,” she said matter-of-factly.

(This needs a bit of a back story.  My mother-in-law had brought them all a box of conversation hearts and they ate them after dinner.)

“I want more hearts.  We should go to the heart store and get some more.  The store will have a big heart on it.”

Kenzie lives in her own world.  She’s not bothered by much.  I love this about her. Until it got creepy.

“Ok Kenzie, let’s be quiet and go to sleep.”  I closed my eyes and hoped that her and Hudson would do the same.  Then I felt a tiny finger petting my eyelashes.

“I want to pet yooouuuu,” she whispered in the most demonic way possible.
“Kenzie, please be quiet.  Everybody is trying to go to…”
“I want to pet yooouuuuuu…..I want to play with yooouuuu.”

I closed my eyes again.  When I opened one eye to see what she was doing I found it covered with her hand.  She decided to lighten the mood with some demonic peek-a-boo.

“Peek-a-boo mommaaaaaa…….peek-a-booooooo.”  If she were auditioning for the part of one of the tricycle-riding twins in a remake of the Shining, she would have had that part hands down.

In the end, Hudson and Madison drifted off to sleep while Kenzie kept talking about who knows what. I guess is turns out that pretending to be a psychopath is very calming to upset children.

She's good with babies too.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Caution Sign Didn't Have a Caution Sign

This is a caution sign.  Why am I sharing a picture of a bathroom caution sign? Because of this.  See that hole at the top of the caution sign?  That bottom part is just big enough to fit the index finger of a 3-year old.  It is not however big enough for a 3-year old to get her index finger out again.  That's right. My daughter got her finger caught in a caution sign.  There was no caution sign for the caution sign. Who do I sue over this?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Oklahoma Lawmaker Says Stuff. Again.

Oklahoma state representative Sally Kern is known for saying some wacky stuff. Not to disappoint, she recently had this to say about homosexuality:

“Homosexuals are saying this is who we are, this is how we’re born,” Kern added. “You tell a lie long enough, people start to believe it.”

This brings back a flood of memories of the day that I decided to be a hetero.  Like all preferences on sexuality, it was decided upon after much deliberation with my spreadsheets and pro and con lists for homo- and heterosexuality.  Now on the con side to homosexuality was obviously “evil” and “Jesus will hate you” on the pro side to heterosexuality was “always have someone around to kill spiders”.

Then there was this gem also from Rep. Kern:

"Studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than, you know, a few decades. So it's the death knell of this country. I honestly think it's the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam – which I think is a big threat, okay? 'Cause what's happening now is they are going after, in schools, two-year olds...And this stuff is deadly, and it's spreading, and it will destroy our young people, it will destroy this nation!"

Now in the end I did choose heterosexuality, but I admit that a con for me was “cannot destroy a civilization”.  I pictured myself in a Storm from X-Men type outfit yelling, “Let the power of Gay-skull reign upon your straight city!”  Then Jesus would show up and he would be all, “Dude, why you gotta be all gay and stuff?  You know I have to hate you now?”  Then I remembered that sometimes I get tired driving and I couldn’t piss him off because I occasionally needed him to take the wheel.

This brings me to a recent concern.  In March I will be traveling to Portland with my friend Ann and we will be visiting a friend from high school who is gay.  I’m not sure exactly when she sat down with her spreadsheet and decided to be gay, but I’m really hoping it was less than ten years ago otherwise Portland might be due to implode while I am there.  Also, I am not sure if Expedia’s travel insurance covers “travel destination destroyed by gayness”.

Another thing that I did not know about until Sally Kern told me was that homosexuals are teaching 2-year olds to be gay.  I have friends and family that are gay parents and I will have to ask them about this.  Do they home school using ABC Gay or Hooked on Gayness or do they have to take their kids to some sort of learning annex?

I would also like to thank Mrs. Kern for reminding of the danger that homosexuality poses.  I'm wondering, if it truly is a greater threat than terrorism shouldn’t we have some sort of early warning system? Perhaps a siren that shoots out rainbows and glitter and plays Elton John songs when we’ve reached a certain threshold of gayness.  Like if Neil Patrick Harris has been on TV one too many times.

As you can see, Sally Kern has been pretty forthright in her views.  However, I do have to wonder how she truly feels about sodomy since she seems to be just fine with her head up her own ass.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Photo Friday: A frosting fact

Guest Post from Ann

Children will pick whatever frosting color will stain most horribly. That's Kenzie adorably proving this scientific fact at my daughter's birthday party. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Do Not Store Your Baby in a Box

Warning: Do not store your baby in a box!  This is so scary!  Who knew?  I mean, who doesn't do this?  Eventually, you run out of things to do with your baby.  You can only search Pinterest for so long for things to do until you run out of ideas.  And then what?  You have to put your baby somewhere.  I had no idea how dangerous this was.  Sure my baby would look funny when I got her out after the laptop recharged and I was able to go on Pinterest again, but I just thought she was turning blue because she really like Blues Clues and wanted to look like the dog.  I didn't realize I was hurting her.  I am a good parent.   I do go on Pinterest regularly for to find out how to shape my child's lunches into cute animal shapes.  What more do you want from me society? Now your taking away my baby storage system?  God, parenting is so hard these days!  First I have to watch to make sure my child is only eating organic and non-GMO and then I have to make sure my child's sunscreen isn't toxic and now this? Next I'm going to learn that it's dangerous to bath my child at the coin-operated car wash.  Sigh.  Ok.  I guess I'll look for something different for baby storage.  Hanging fruit baskets it is.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Grass is Greener Under the German Wiener, Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

So we met my friends for lunch despite consulate man’s displeasure.  Ann’s husband asked if we found this consulate on Craig’s list, which was a valid question.  After lunch we to headed to the FedEx store for part two.

Nick retook his pictures.  He went back to his original rapist look.  Then the staff went back to being completely confused as to how to print off the pictures to the proper specifications.  We went back to perusing obscure office products.   Mom learned some phrases in Spanish from the Spanish cheat sheet for sale.  I read a chapter out of a book about killing clutter (tip: Ditch the coupons.  You don’t need them.)  After what I believe was a brief meeting with the UN, they were able to print our pictures and we left the store.

On the way out, Nick’s phone rang.  It was a Dallas number.  He doesn’t know anyone in Dallas.
“Umm, yeah…we’re on our way.  They were still confused.  It took about four of them to figure it out,” said Nick.
It was the consulate man.

We arrived back at the office/apartment and he was now more than irritated.  He made several comments about Murphy’s law and how it feels like Friday the 13th and how he needed a drink.  It is for reason that when asked to review my application and make sure he has entered everything correctly I was afraid to tell him my name was wrong.

“Umm…this is my maiden name.”
“That’s what it said on your old passport.”
“I know, but I’ve had it changed since then…”
“You have to have it legally changed.”
“I know.  I did.  I got a new social security number and…”
You know that deep breath that people take with their eyes closed that says I am doing everything in my power not to rip your head off?  That.  He did that.  He also laced his fingers and placed them across his stomach as he said with as much control as he could muster, “You. Have. To. Change your name with the GERMAN GOVERNMENT to change your name on your passport.”
“Ok, so if I want to…
“ALL you do is travel with you marriage license.”
“Ok, I understand but if I do want to change it what…”
“You HAVE TO GO to the website and it’s $80 and it’s just EASIER to travel with your marriage license.”

I stopped talking.  I did not want to die that day.  My mother was trying her best not to laugh.  She was failing miserably.  She asked him a question as he spun around in his chair, which prompted more comments about needing to drink.  Scotch.  He prefers Scotch.  I mouthed the words “Do not piss him off” to my mother, which prompted another fit of the giggles.  She had pulled a tissue out of her purse to hide her uncontrollable laughing.

He asked me one more time if everything was correct and OH MY GOD my eye color!  My eye color is wrong!  Shit.  Cringing I told him.  To avoid looking like an idiot I explained that because I got in late my dad filled it out for me.  He must have gotten me and my brother confused when he put blue.
“Well, your dad’s German must not be so great any more either because he put your first and last name in the wrong boxes!”
I couldn’t help it.  I am laughing now too.  I have never seen anyone so angry.  Mom was still covering her laughs with a tissue.  He must have thought she had the world’s worse sinus infection.

He told us he would like to move to Colorado where he can smoke pot.  Scotch is now definitely on the agenda for his after work plans.  He printed out the new paperwork and asked me again to look.  He said something about how his head is up his ass today, which I didn’t hear because my reply was “That is correct.”
“My head IS up my ass?!”
“No!  God no!  I mean the paperwork!  It’s all correct now!”

My mother was losing her shit, I was following in her footsteps and finding it more and more difficult to control the laughing and we hadn’t even got to Nick’s application.  It did not go any better.
“The street address is wrong.  There’s supposed to be an S on the end of Oak.”
“I know.  It needs one.”
It now seriously looked like his head might explode as he rifles through his paperwork.  I prayed that this one was not my dad's mistake.
“Oh.  Sorry,” he says, “that was my typo.  I entered it wrong.”

We finally wrap up.  Mom asked him some questions about maintaining duel citizenship, which increased his annoyance level even further.  Nick and I chimed in with, “Hey mom, you know let’s just Google it?  It’s ok.  We’ll just Google it when we get home.”

And we got the hell out of there.  The good news is that I wasn’t offered drugs and I wasn’t sold into a prostitution ring.  The bad news?  We will have to go through this whole thing again in 10 years when the passports expire.  We can only hope that pot is legal in Texas by then.

Laughing our asses off post-consulate.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Grass is Greener Under the German Wiener, Part 2

Continued from yesterday.

We found the German consulate clearly marked with a cut out piece of paper stating “Honorable German Consulate” taped to a window.  We went in and hoped that we weren’t about to be sold into a human trafficking ring.

Inside we found a nice gentleman, probably in his sixties.  He wasn’t German and he wasn’t wearing wire-rimmed glasses or black socks with sandals.  He had set up an office in the living room.  On one of the walls hung the German coat of arms over a table holding various German magazines and books.

He explained that he was a lawyer but had half-retired and now only did honorary consulate work.  He had given up his office downtown.  He used to have interns from Germany that used this apartment, but now that he didn’t have interns anymore he converted it to his office.

So far, so good.  He started to look over our applications.  Mom asked to use the bathroom.  She came out drying her hands on her pants.  I found out why after I went as well.  Hanging on the towel racks were bath towels.  I initially thought that maybe that’s just what he had and didn’t necessarily mean that someone was showering there in the…consulate.  That was before I saw the washcloth hung over the shower curtain rod.  Okay.  Bit odd, but okay.

I came out after drying my hands on a piece of towel I though least likely to have touched someone’s ass and went back out.  The consulate was now on a phone call.  A phone call which prompted a lot of eye-rolling followed by complaining about “ignorant people” and about how nothing was going right today.  I guess the people on the other line were trying to enter a phone number into their phone while he was talking to him.  Seemed like he was overly effected by this, but I don’t know.  Maybe he was just having a bad day.  Maybe he was jealous of his neighbor’s wiener mat.  I know I would be.  It was a nice wiener.

Now it was time to get our passport pictures taken.  He explained how to get to the FedEx office that he frequently worked with.  Directions involved “across from the liquor store”.  We were assured that he sent people there all the time and the people there knew exactly what to do.

We found the FedEx.  It was past the donut shop, tattoo parlor, and across from the liquor store and one-legged hooker as promised.  Only one of those is made up.

 I seemed to remember something about how you are not supposed to smile in passport pictures anymore.  I told Nick about this and he took his first picture, no smile.

“I look like a rapist.  Can I try it again?” he asked the FedEx lady.  Her eyes got big, but she smiled.  She took his picture again this time with Nick’s less rape-y more smiley face.  I took mine, no smile.

That whole part about “they know what they’re doing”, yeah…not so much.  There were about three people having a conference about how to print pictures to German passport requirements.  I believe at one point they had Angela Merkel on the phone.  While they discussed and contemplated, I texted my two friends that work in downtown Dallas and arranged to meet them for lunch in 20 minutes.  This would turn out to be a mistake.

After looking at every product offered for sale at the FedEx store including an assortment of cheese spreaders and “Glossary of Emoticons” cheat sheet, we finally had our pictures in hand and left the store.  We arrived back at the office to a less than happy consulate man.

“I was wondering what happened to you guys!” he said visibly irritated.  We explained about the confusion at the FedEx store and handed him the pictures.

“SHHHHH…..OOOOTTT!  I almost said the other word!  These aren’t right!  You’re not allowed to open your mouth,” he said looking at Nick, “and I think your’s is the wrong size!” (Mind ended up being okay after some measurements.) “This just pisses me off because I send people to them all the time and I expect them to know what they’re doing!  They constantly have new people and I just don’t understand why they can’t keep the same people!”

“It’s okay.  We’ll just go get them redone, but if you don’t mind we’re going to eat lunch first because we’re supposed to be meeting some friends in a few minutes around the corner,” I said.

This was answered with an icy stare.
 “Is that a problem?” I asked.
“I’m going to have to shut down my program and re-enter everything,” (dramatic pause) “but it’s fine,” said in a way that implied it was anything but fine.  At this point, we noticed a man sitting in the waiting room/chair under the front window.  We are guessing he had been keeping this man waiting until we got back to avoid closing down this program he was talking about.  (I will point out that there were two computers on the desk.)  We left and that was our second indication of the day that this man had some anger issues.

To be continued…

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Grass is Greener Under the German Wiener, Part 1

As I mentioned in my last post, I took a trip to Dallas Monday to visit the German consulate.  My brother and I had to get our German passports renewed and my mother is considering becoming an American citizen.  She wanted to ask some questions about maintaining duel citizenship.  We decided to make a family trip out of it and all go together.

I imagined the German consulate would be a little piece of home.  I imagined nice people in wire-rimmed glasses that harshly pronounced their R’s.  Maybe there would be a little old German man wearing black socks and sandals that looked like my Opi.  He would offer me hard candy.  I may be getting my childhood confused with a Werther’s commercial.  In real life, my Opi would have been smearing goose fat on a roll while I suppressed my gag reflex.  Either way, I was very wrong about what the German consulate would be like.

“Are you sure this is right?” I asked my mom as we pulled up to a shady looking apartment complex.
“He said it was in a suite when I talked to the guy on the phone.”
“Mom, these are apartments not suites,” said Nick.
“It’s the right address,” answered mom, double-checking her directions.

We stepped out of the car and began our search for the consulate aka suite aka apartment.  One of the doors had trash bags in front.  Some had worn lawn furniture.  We passed by one apartment where a lady was practicing the piano.  I started to wonder is this person my mother had talked to on the phone was not so much an honorable consulate as much as crazy person who lures people to his apartment to wear their skin as a coat but we kept walking anyway.

There were columns so I guess that's pretty stately.

Nick and I are 14 years apart so we didn’t really grow up together.  Now that we’re both adults we relive our lost childhood by acting like we’re 13-years old when we’re together.
“I wonder if we can buy drugs and illegal guns with our passport,” I wondered out loud.
“Hey, we’re going to see Saul!” said Nick.
“You guys are so goofy,” said my mother.
I proved her wrong by singing, “We’re going to get raped in the ass…doo da…doo da. We’re going to get raped in the ass…all the doo da day.”
Ever the optimist she said, “Guys, this isn’t so bad.  I bet this pool area is really nice in the spring.”
“Yeah, this is really nice!” said Nick laughing and pointing out the doormat he had just discovered.

I guess it’s appropriate that we found the wiener mat next to the German consulate seeing as how the dachshund is a German dog.  Now I use the word consulate loosely because what we found was an apartment with the words “Honorable German Consulate” and a small picture of the German eagle printed on a piece of paper, cut out, and taped to the window of an apartment.

To be continued…

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How to Discover Your Inner Diva

Monday I drove an hour and a half in the car by myself to my parents' house.  I was picking up my mom and brother.  The three of us were going to get our German passports renewed at the German consulate in Dallas.  That time alone in the car was blissful.  I love my kids but the fact that I never once yelled "Keep your hands to yourself!" or "Don't eat that, I don't know how long that's been in the car seat!" was pretty great.

Another highlight was that I could listen to whatever I wanted without the sounds of "Despicable Me" in the background.   I chose Adele for this road trip.  I'm going to assume I'm not the only person who thinks they have the potential to sound just like the next American Idol while in the car.

Since I am now a self-proclaimed expert in car singing, let me tell you how you can get in touch with your inner Mariah Carey for your next road trip.  First you have to scrunch up your face on the high notes of the song.  You want to really feel the emotion.  The look you are going for is "my dog just died and I just ate a lemon." Next you want to get comfortable with the song and start humming and dancing. You should start sounding a like a musical prodigy in your head. Give it a try and sing a few notes.

Now, you may find yourself sounding like a 13-year old prepubescent boy instead. Rest assured that it is not a sign that you can't sing.  It's a sign that you are not singing loud enough and are probably holding back.  Really belt it out and you will surely sound like the diva you know you are.  If you still sound like a dying cow, it is perfectly acceptable to blame it on your cold...or snot nose...or not being properly warmed up.  It's okay because you know the true talent that lies within you.

Don't forget to throw in the jazzy hand motions and to let the emotion show on your face.  Soon enough you will have the people in neighboring cars saying, "Wow.  I can't hear that person, but they look really crazy."

I know that at this point either my husband or Ann will remind me of that time in college that they made fun of me for singing a monotone version of "Momma Said" by Lenny Kravitz in the car.  This doesn't count because a) I must have had a cold and or a snotty nose and b) I was not giving it my all.  If I was, I would definitely sound just like Lenny Kravitz (if Lenny Kravitz had voice immodulation disorder, but that's not important right now).

Turns out I actually can do a pretty good cover if I do say so myself.  I can do an exceptional cover of Bobcat Goldthwait doing a cover of Adele.  And that is something to be proud of.

Friday, January 3, 2014

We Would All Be More Fit With Waffles On Our Feet

Everyone makes fitness New Year's resolutions they don't keep.  I personally think I would be a lot more successful with these sweet kicks I found in the Nike outlet store...

Waffle trainers.  When you think fast, think waffle trainers.  When you think of strong, think waffle trainers.  When you think of training harder and jumper higher, think Air Waffles.  Because everyone knows that waffles are the speediest and most aerodynamic of the breakfast foods.

It is a wonder than that these gems were marked down not once, not twice, not three times, but four times.  I would expect that of Air Crepes or Sausage Link Trainers, but these are motherf-ing Air Waffles.  They are wonderful and waffle-y and they surprisingly do not involve velcro.  You should buy some today.  Well, maybe in a few days when the suggested retail price is "please just walk out of the store with these".

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

This Has To Be On Purpose Now

My kids’ goal in life is to see me arrested.  I’m convinced of it.  Just look at the evidence.  There was this and this and this.  Then there was this most recent episode just this week.

The day after Christmas we decided to meet up with some old friends at Logan’s Steakhouse for dinner.  Hudson was thrilled when he found out it was one of those places with peanuts and rolls.  I’ve never seen this kid ask for peanuts, but for some reason being able to throw the shells on the floor makes them delicious.

At some point Kenzie whispered to me, “I have to go to the potty.”  This was about 30 minutes after I took her to the bathroom at Dick’s Sporting Goods store.  One of my least favorite things to do in life is take this child to a public restroom.  It’s like taking an octopus with Tourette’s syndrome.  She insists on touching everything and trying every time to shove her hand in the feminine hygiene disposal box. Meanwhile I turn into the Karate Kid using my best ‘sand the floor’ moves to keep her hands off of the toilet seat.  She peed, we washed hands, and went back to the table.

Another twenty minutes passed and I felt a tiny tap on my shoulder.  “I have to go to the potty.”  For a brief moment I wondered why I thought potty training was so necessary.  We walked back to the bathroom.  Correction: I walked, Kenzie ran/galloped nearly running into a waiter.  Back we went into the stall.  This time the bathroom was busy and somehow Kenzie had to know that this would be the best time for stunt.  Just as I was pulling her pants down, she said loudly, “ARE YOU MY MOMMY?”  Cause of course.  Of course right as I am pulling her panties down in a public restroom would be a perfect time for this.

We finished up and I got the hell out of there in record time.  The only thing that makes me feel better is to think how much worse it would have been had she done this with my husband in the men’s room.

So have a happy new year’s folks!  If you don’t hear from me it’s because I’m having a lovely chat with DHS.