Archive for the 'Bitchfest' Category

01
Oct
08

Careful what you say …

When my Girl from the West was a babe in arms, I cooed a promise into one of her little pink ears:
“Mommy wants you to grow up to be whoever you want to be. I won’t be one of those mean mommies who forces her daughter to vote Republican or chastises her for not choosing the convent as a career choice.”

If my baby grew up to be a bald, lesbian shot putter, that would be OK. If she aspired to be a minimalist performance artist who wore nothing but sticks and grass and chose to live in a refrigerator box in the town square, great.
It’s not that I want her to grow into someone whose lifestyle puts her at risk for ridicule and persecution. But I told myself I’d let the blossom unfold as nature intended. No making a righty out of a lefty or anything.

However, life doesn’t always play out that way, does it?

Say your babe in arms edges closer to adulthood and suddenly begins taking on all of the characteristics you abhor? Say you are an atheist and she decides to become a Born-Again Christian. Say you are vegetarian and she decides to take up bow hunting? Say you are artsy and edgy and she prefers to try out for the cheer squad?

Get the drift here?

I see my baby spinning out of my orbit so fast I’m not sure I got the flight plan before she launched.

I can’t help but recall my teen years. What hopes did my parents have for me? What was the sound of those dreams as they collided with the reality of who I was becoming? I know one of the biggest collisions had to do with my continued failure to subscribe to their religion. To this day, almost 30 years after leaving their church, I still get subliminal messages that they are not pleased, thank you very much.

Thankfully I have a number of friends who’ve traveled this bumpy road of parenthood. Their advice to me is to stop asking so many questions already! I’ll get more answers if I listen.

So this is my challenge of late: I must cross the razor’s edge. I must keep some distance, lead by example, have eyes in the back of my head and keep my flippin’ mouth shut — most of the time.

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06
Sep
08

Restraining order needed here

Every year beginning in August, one of these sets up shop between our front porch post and a hanging potted plant. Every year.

 


 

It’s not the same spider because I generally squish the August visitor sometime around mid-September when I cannot stand it any longer. When I get entangled in its ever-expanding web. When I humiliate myself one too many times in front of the neighbors by performing the “spider dance” on the front porch in my sleepwear.
Picture this: arms flailing and slapping my head and arms while my legs do the Michael Flatley “Lord of the Dance” number and I’m uttering Tourettes Syndrome like barks and profanities.

 
I spray. I sweep. I perform daily recon on the area. Yet each morning, a newer, bigger web with an even-fatter spider balanced at its center. Is it a clone? A ghost? Perhaps it is a residual haunting.

I’m an arachnophobe, I admit it. But I’ve come a long way. This house helped cure me of a phobia that was once debilitating.
Within the first few months of living in our new home, we realized the toll of the previous owner’s neglect. Since he didn’t clean, there were many bugs in the house. And bugs mean spiders. There were egg sacs everywhere. I recall seeing a few spiders on the living room ceiling on one of our walk-throughs, but didn’t think much of it at the time. Even our inspector commented on the number of webs in the basement.
I’ve suffered every possible indignity with spiders.
I found one perched on my toothbrush.
I’ve had them in my bed. In my clothes, in my shoes.
We eventually hired an exterminator. Since then I’ve learned to harness my fear and rationalize it this way: Any spider that is employed, in other words, in a web or actively hunting, is left alone. Except when one’s place of employment is in conflict with my daily living space or dangling over my baby girl’s bed. One that is found to be in conflict or wandering the walls or floorboards seeking handouts is hastily evicted.
The other morning, as I opened my front door and began reaching down to grab the newspaper, I felt the telltale snare of a sticky web grab my face and neck. I jumped back in time to avoid a quarter-sized arachnid.
Now I’m thinking maybe I need to take advantage of some legal avenues here, such as the restraining order.

10
Aug
08

Internet is sketchy and I am random

Our Internet service has been hit and miss for the last three days.

On top of that, Girl from the East and I have come down with some freakish summer virus. Worst. Ever. Chills, aches and all that. On top of that, Mr. Husband is gone again for a conference. Do I have a day pass to whine?

The most I’ve done is park in front of the TV and watch the world go by through the fuzzy filter of NyQuil.

So, when the haze lifted, I realized I wasn’t hallucinating. Our mayor did spend a night in jail. Somehow this man, Mr. Kwame Kilpatrick, who won the Golden Ticket in 2002, now faces a handful of criminal charges, while the rallying cry for his resignation or at least temporary departure from office has risen to a fever pitch.

In light of all this, he was asked politely by the courts to seek permission before leaving the metropolitan area. Somehow he was spotted enjoying a water park in Canada with his family. He explained all this after the fact by saying that he raced across the international border to attend to some urgent city business. Business so urgent there was no time to consider contacting the court. Yet, enough time to grab swim trunks and goggles. 

Through my cold-medicine induced haze, I cannot help but think of Augustus Gloop, the pride of Dusselheim and special guest of Willy Wonka, who couldn’t control his urges either and ended up over his head in a pool of brown gunk, drowning in his own hubris.
It’s supposed to be chocolate, but you can do your own interpreting here.


 

25
Jul
08

Well what the …?

This is a short post to make note of the fact that at one time in my life I was an independent woman. I worked, I supported myself, I did my own household repairs and dammit, I was proud of my independence.
Then, it happened, as it always does in my life, I meet a guy and just down a whole bottle of stupid pills and chase it with a shot of foolishness.
Little by little I start depending on Mr. Husband to fix this and handle that and pretty soon, I’m left twisting in the wind when he up and goes on a weeklong business junket.
Case in point: I lost my Internet connection two days ago. In fact, the whole computer went haywire. I couldn’t get the scanner to work, the printer was flashing odd messages and I crumpled in a heap on the floor, tangled in wires and cussing up a storm.
Today I tried something different, ’cause this just burned me up to no end that I couldn’t figure it out. And, I did it! Not only did I solve the problem, I also restored my dignity.
Just don’t tell anyone how I confused a tube of cortisone cream for toothpaste the other day …

16
Jul
08

What part of gay don’t you understand?

Recent conversation with person of older generation regarding behavior patterns of the younger generation, as moderated by a middle-aged zombie:

Me: Girl from the West has a gay friend. I think that’s great that kids today can be out and open.
Older: Gay friend? She has a gay girlfriend??? (Subtext: Are you telling me my grandchild is GAY????!!!!)
Me: No. I said: She has a gay friend. It’s a guy.
Older: Ohhh, they’re dating. Do you allow her to date?
Me: No. They are friends. He is gay. That means he is not interested in girls.
Older: Then why are they friends?

Trying a new tack, I steer the conversation toward my middle school days. I say that back then kids were beaten to a bloody pulp in the alley if they were even suspected of being gay. It was one of the ultimate social taboos, next to being poor. I told of a high school classmate who committed suicide when he came out to family and friends and was subsequently rejected. It broke my heart.

I told her I live in a predominantly gay community, have many gay friends and neighbors, although I do not refer to them as that or introduce them as such. I’m merely using the label to make a point. I raise my children to judge people by their actions, not their race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

I’m met with a long silence.

Older: Oh, so that’s why you don’t send her to school here.

Hear that noise? That’s me bashing my skull against a brick wall.

26
Jun
08

Recall rage

When I’m looking to do a little house cleaning, I don’t grab a broom or a dust cloth like most people do, I log on to the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site. It is filled with wonderful news on how I have wasted hundreds of dollars over the years on my children, how much of what I own is utter garbage and probably highly hazardous.

Cases in point:

I pitched a bag full of toys and a lawn chair last summer, all of which were gifts to baby girl and all of which turned up on the CPSC Web site as containing toxic levels of lead.

I had to toss a couple baby shower gifts given to me by friends and family when one-by-one they showed up on recall lists for having high lead levels or dangerous small parts and pieces.

Today, I learn I have to dismantle baby girl’s “lifetime bed.” Lifetime my ass — did they mean lifetime of a gnat? The bed has been recalled because the slats have been known to crack in half, posing a strangulation and entrapment hazard.

In order to participate in the recall, I have to take apart the bed, detach certain key pieces, including the part of the bed that contains the manufacturer’s label, and stuff it all into a postage-paid envelope.

But wait, there’s more! We then get to figure out where baby girl is going to sleep, since what’s left of her bed will be in a million pieces on the floor — while we patiently await the special delivery of a VOUCHER. No, not the delivery of a new bed. A VOUCHER. A crappy piece of paper.

Did I mention my child will not have a place to sleep? Since the store that sold us this deathtrap of a bed is 25 miles away, we’ll have to pump about $250 worth of gas into our car and drive this voucher to the next county.

Did I mention that there’s no guarantee they’ll have a similar style or color bed to match the rest of the furniture? Did I mention that I’ll have to arrange to have the thing delivered –again? That we’ll have to assemble a whole bed –again?

Clearly whoever put together this recall ‘remedy” does not or never has dealt with toddlers and their various sleep issues. It took us a good year to get Girl from the East to sleep in her bed, stay in her bed and like it. Now we will have to find some alternative sleeping arrangement.

I guess the source of my rage is simple. I did the best I could to put together what I thought at the time was a nice bedroom for our child. I acted in good faith that a product that seemed solid on the sales floor would live up to expectations.

So much of what we bought or were given by others has proved to be less-than-acceptable. I know, there are fine products out there if you’re willing to shell out roughly the cost of a year of college tuition. It’s a shame affordable and quality can no longer be used in the same sentence when describing many products on our store shelves.

04
Jun
08

Consoling my lonely

I understand about priorities: My children have more shoes, clothes and stuff than I do.

I understand about responsibilities: Everyone in this house gets more sleep than I do.

I understand about sacrifice: My gas guzzlin’ Jeep drinks better than I do these days.

Do I sound like a whining martyr? Well, good.

Priorities, responsiblities and sacrifice aside, there are some things I really hate to live without: good food, good wine and good music. Until recently, if a band I liked was making a tour stop in the D, I was all about getting tickets. I’d do what was necessary to make it happen.

The last time these guys were in town, I had second row. That’s close enough to feel the sweat dripping from Jack White’s brow.

Perhaps since I had the good fortune of being up-close for the first round, this time I’m not curled in the fetal position under my bed, rocking and moaning in despair that not only am I not going to be second row this time, I’m not going at all.

There’s no simple explanation for the why I’m not going. I’d offer some lame excuses, such as “scheduling conflicts” or “other things going on that have taken all my time and money and cannot be blown off.” But I won’t tell you what they are because then I’d be labeled worst mother ever.

Let’s just say it’s hard being a grown up sometimes, having to give up what you love so that those you love can have something special. Sometimes I feel so immature.