An Interview with Biggie and Smalls

three_on_a_swingAs part of the 30-day blogging challenge, my assignment today is to write a post that includes a new-to-me element, like an image or video. I’ve already done both, so I’ve decided to conduct an interview which I have not yet done (If you’ll recall, you guys conducted the interview with Kanye West, not me).

In considering who to interview, I looked far and wide, remembered that it’s 15 degrees (Fahrenheit!) outside and recommitted myself to not leaving the house. Luckily for you, dear readers, the witty, charming and only occasionally maddening Miss Biggie and Miss Smalls are here within the confines of my warm house. They’re also bored out of their skulls and ready to murder each other because they’ve been home on winter break for the last 2+ weeks. They’re now stuck here for yet another day with school cancelled due to the frigid weather.

You see, children in Atlanta don’t even own clothing warm enough for standing at bus stops with temperatures in the single digits. The former Chicagoan in me scoffs at the concept of calling off school for a “cold day,” while the former Los Angeleno in me is like, “Aw, HELL no! I’m going to sit my freezing ass down right here by this space heater and not move again until the temperature hits 50 degrees!”  But I digress.

Anyway, as you’ll see below, the girls had lots of insightful things to say about my current and former careers. They also really, really want cookies.

Q: What kind of work does mommy do?
Biggie: Taking care of us and doing your blog.
Smalls: Taking care of us and doing your blog. [Hmm…maybe I should ask Smalls the questions first.]

Q: What does Mommy do to take care of you?
Smalls: Giving us baths, kissing us goodnight, tucking us in at night…
Biggie: Making us food.
Smalls: Cookies! Can we have dessert?

Q: What do I do during the day when you’re at school?
Smalls: I don’t know. I’m at school.
Biggie: Dishes, laundry, clean the house, go get groceries, go get your nails done. Daddy says you just get coffee and tea.
[I give Ad Man a dirty look and kick him out of the room.]

Q: What should I do during the day?
Smalls: Go and get a surprise for us…like cookies or something. Or you should bake cookies.
Biggie: Go look at French Bulldogs. [The ladies of the house want a French Bulldog. Ad Man doesn’t want to clean up poop.]

Q: What kind of work did Mommy do before Biggie was born?
Smalls: I don’t know!  It was before she [Biggie] was even born!
Biggie: You were a lawyer. And you made a movie…a documentary. [At least someone has been paying attention.]

Q: Do you know what kind of lawyer Mommy was?
Smalls: What’s a lawyer? [Sigh.]
Biggie: You were someone who helped people who someone else thought did something bad. And you would defend them. [Yes, like representing the poor major film companies that didn’t want to pay their producers’ royalties.]

Q: What’s a blog?
Smalls: Something that you write down things on on a keyboard. People read it on the other part of the computer [pointing to the screen].
Biggie: Something some people write that goes out on the internet for people to read.

Q: What do you think mommy’s blog is about?
Smalls: You talk about what you do at your house like giving us baths and taking care of us.
Biggie: About your life. Like, a few days ago, you wrote about how messy our house was. [Specifically, Biggie’s bedroom.]

Q: If you had a blog, what would you write about?
Smalls: My family and friends.
Biggie: You could write anything. You could even write about your butt!  I would write about my friends and me.

Q: What do you think I should write about next?
Biggie: Why you started your blog…you know, so you could have something to do when we were gone. Or what you did before you started your blog, like where you lived and where you went to school and stuff.
Smalls: I don’t know. [Smalls is clearly starting to check out at this point.]

Q: Do you think I should spend more time or less time writing my blog?
Biggie: Less time so you can hang out with us more.
Smalls: More time so you can do a better job. Like if you messed up, you could do it again.

Q: What kind of school did mommy go to?
Smalls: A college?
Biggie: You went to elementary school, high school and college. You studied Geometry and Geography and French. [Huh?]

Interlude while the girls show me how they pretend to fall down.

Q: How do you think my life is different now than it was before I had kids?
Smalls: You have to take care of kids. You didn’t then.
Biggie: Mostly the same except for the part about having kids.
[Yep. Exactly the same…except for the having kids part.]

Q: Do you think mommy should go back to work full-time?
Biggie: No, because I want to hang out with you.
Smalls: No. You should stay and snuggle with us…because you do love my snuggling.

Q: Do you think mommy is funny?
Smalls: Yes. You say funny stuff.
Biggie: Yes. You make funny faces at us through the car window at the gas station. [I kill it at the gas station.]

Q: What do you like least about Mommy?
Biggie: You can sometimes be mean. Like about making my bed and cleaning my room.
Smalls: Sometimes you’re so busy you don’t get to play with me. [Like, for instance, when the thought of playing one more game of pretend with Littlest Pet Shop animals makes me want to bang my head against the wall.]

Interlude while the girls demonstrate their “mime-in-a-box” skills.

Q: What kind of work does Daddy do?
Smalls: Advertising. What does advertising mean? [OK…I feel better now.]
Biggie: He makes advertisements and commercials in a big office building.

Q: What kind of work do you want to do when you grow up?
Smalls: I don’t know. [She’ll drive around the country for a year in a smelly van with her boyfriend and his bandmates.]
Biggie: A veterinarian, an artist and a fashion designer. [She’ll change her major seven times.]

Q: Do you want to have kids when you grow up?
Smalls: No, It’s kinda scary because they cut open your belly. Do they always cut open your belly?
Me: Well, either they cut open your belly, which is called a c-section, like I had with you two, or usually the baby comes out of the mommy’s vagina.
Smalls: Eeeeewwwww! [This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed this, by the way.]
Biggie: I want to adopt two girls. [Sucker!]

Many thanks to my darling daughters for providing MommyEnnui’s readers with such a clear, detailed and accurate description of my life before and after children.  I suppose all that’s left for me now is to move on to blogging about my butt.  Stay tuned!

Who Is This MommyEnnui Anyway?

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This month, I’m participating in WordPress’s 30-Day Blog Challenge which means I’ll be posting or doing a new task to make MommyEnnui better every day. (See how positive and proactive I am in 2014?) The challenge is geared toward new … Continue reading

Is a Birkin Too Much to Ask?

hermes_boxes_xmasGrowing up, my Christmas lists were legendary. I truly embraced the concept of a ‘wish list.’  My mom would always have a gentle conversation with me prior to Santa’s scheduled arrival in an attempt to lower my expectations. (Ad Man has now taken up the tradition, much to my chagrin.) She explained that Santa had so many toys to make for so many children, he couldn’t possibly afford to give a Barbie Dream House and a pony to every girl who asked for them.

As I got older, I added things like diamond earrings, an Hermes Birkin bag, Johnny Depp and various luxury automobiles to my annual lists. Did I expect to receive them from my parents? Of course not. I wasn’t stupid, but a girl can dream, can’t she? To this day, I still include a few shoot-for-the-stars items on my wish list every year. Below are my humble requests for 2013. While I won’t be holding my breath, I’m still hoping for a Christmas miracle!

  • A cashmere Snuggie
  • A live-in IT guy (No, unfortunately Ad Man does not fit the bill.)
  • A French Bulldog puppy guaranteed not to chew, pee or poop on anything and never to wake me up before 8 am
  • Butt implants
  • A television that automatically mutes Christina Aguilera whenever she speaks on The Voice
  • The back and neck of a 20 year old…oh, and what the hell…throw in the boobs too while you’re at it
  • A teleportation device so I never have to spend more than 20 minutes in a car with my children ever again
  • Self-cleaning toilets
  • A self-emptying dishwasher
  • A new car just fancy enough so that I don’t continue to surprise valets when I tip them
  • Botox that never wears off…one Groupon and I’d be forehead-crease-free forever!
  • A beach house, a mountain house and someone other than me to clean them (This item is dependent on the teleportation device. I’d like the complete set or nothing, please.)
  • A cabana boy with bad eyesight who’s a good listener, gives amazing backrubs, makes a mean Dirty Martini and never, ever calls me ma’am
  • Sets of dishes, glassware and towels that all match and have no chips or stringy bits
  • If I can’t get a teleportation device, my second choice would be a high-speed rail system between Atlanta and Los Angeles
  • Some goddamn peace and quiet
  • Zero calorie wine that doesn’t taste like ass
  • A new HVAC system (Remember, I’m shooting high here.)
  • Oops!  I almost forgot…peace on Earth
  • My pre-pregnancy memory back

What are you hoping for this holiday season?

I Am Not Worthy

bandaid_handsI want to thank my dear friend Kanye West for filling in for me last Friday.  I hope you found his parenting advice helpful. I must apologize for being a bit of a slacker this week. I’ve been (gasp!) working. Yes, I’m engaged in some seasonal labor. No, I’m not the mall Santa’s new grumpy middle-aged elf. I can barely manage my own children let alone hundreds of kids who are up past their naptime, wearing their itchiest Sunday best, and wired from a steady diet of candy canes and goldfish crackers.

Actually, my friends K and G own an amazing gourmet sweet bread company and cafe here in Atlanta called Breadwinner. I can’t help but boast…their bread was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things in 2011. And you know Oprah is the world’s foremost expert on Things. Anyway, they do a ton of business at the holidays, shipping thousands of breads across the country. So, I’ve been doing some pretty serious packaging and shipping these days. As I sit here, I have a heating pad on my neck and shoulders and band-aids on the bloody stumps that used to be my fingers.

This little trial run as a working mother has been eye-opening. Thus far, I’ve worked a total of three, five-hour days. I’m still getting home in time to meet Biggie and Smalls when they get off the bus, but I am completely exhausted! Granted, as I mentioned, it is fairly physical work (I mean, those bows don’t just tie themselves!), but you’d think I could handle a few measly five-hour days. Instead, until now, I have not managed to write one word for this blog, do a moment of exercise or wash one piece of laundry. The house is in shambles and our dinners this week have been, shall we say, uninspired. As far as experiments go, I wouldn’t exactly call this one a rousing success.

I bow down to working mothers everywhere. I am clearly not worthy to stand in their shoes. When I was first out of law school and working as an associate at a law firm, there were weeks on end when I didn’t get a day off. I always worked at least one day each weekend and rarely left the office before 7 pm. Twelve-hour days were typical. I’m not saying it was fun, but I managed to keep up that pace for a few years without falling apart physically or losing my mind, which I’d say is a win. So I have to question whether I am a weenie now because I’m old or just because I’m out of practice.

Don’t get me wrong, there have also been some very positive aspects to working outside the little fiefdom of my house. I don’t fall into the Today Show/Facebook black hole in the morning while drinking my tea, failing to emerge for hours. I actually get up and shower every day. I’m eating an actual lunch instead of scarfing an energy bar and a handful of nuts between errands. I’m having contact with human beings other than the person working the Starbucks drive-thru. I take pride in my work. My ribbons are tied and trimmed beautifully, my breads are carefully packaged and I only occasionally find a crucial enclosure card left on the table and have to unpack 50 boxes to figure out which one is missing a card.

Most importantly, I get a real sense of accomplishment from the work. You can’t wrap and pack 300 loaves of bread for a corporate order without feeling a certain satisfaction. That is one thing I’ve sorely missed from my days of working full-time. Being a stay-at-home parent is a marathon rather than a sprint, and you rarely even see the finish line on the horizon, let alone cross it. Most of the things you do accomplish in a day…cleaning the house, doing laundry, cooking, helping the kids with homework…just need to be done again tomorrow. I really miss the finish line.

Luckily, in the next few weeks I have, among other things, a birthday slumber party to throw for Biggie, Christmas presents to buy, wrap and either ship out or hide, stockings to stuff, cookies to bake, a holiday party to throw for Ad Man’s employees and a blog to write. Maybe it would help me to visualize all those tasks lined up before a finish line beyond which lies copious amounts of wine, a pint of ice cream and a nice, warm bed. If not, I’ll just take the wine and a few Xanax-laced Christmas cookies, thankyouverymuch!

Ode to a Sixteen Year-Old Marriage

wedding_group_pic_1197On this day, 16 years ago, Ad Man and I were married at a charming cottage in the Hollywood Hills.  The attendees were a ragtag bunch which, even in hindsight, seems appropriate to the occasion.  We’d gotten engaged less than 3 months before and decided to avoid all the drama that goes along with planning a wedding by giving ourselves a short timetable and resolving to make ours intimate and relatively casual.

We enlisted the help of a few friends, some of whom were Ad Man’s customers at the bike shop he managed at the time.  A caterer and a florist were among our cyclist friends and they both performed miracles for us on our measly budget.  Our DJ was another friend who was a well-known club DJ and played an eclectic mix of Sinatra, hip hop and old-school soul music all night.

The one thing that was traditional at our wedding, however, were our vows.  There sure as hell was no obeying and we went light on the religious stuff, but other than that, we stuck close to the script.  Up until the last minute, Ad Man was threatening to write his own vows, the thought of which filled me with horror.  I knew my reaction to his original vows would be unpredictable at best.  I imagined him being uber sappy and me turning into a blubbering mess.  Or, being so nervous anticipating what he was going to say that I’d giggle my way through the ceremony.  One thing I knew for sure, though, was that I’d be crawling out of my skin if his grammar sucked.

So, I begged him to stick with the well-worn, traditional vows, figuring that they’d stood the test of time for a reason.  And, like any wife-to-be worth her salt, I won.  The ceremony turned out to be perfect…a little tradition, a bit of hippie shit and lot of quirkiness.  After 18+ years together, 16 years of marriage and 2 kids later, though, I’m thinking those original vows would need a bit of tweaking if we were to repeat them today. I imagine something like the following would be more appropriate.

OFFICIANT:
Dearly beloved, you have traveled here today from across the country and, indeed, the globe, to gather once again to relive your 20s and to witness the marriage of this often grumpy, middle-aged advertising executive to this occasionally bitchy, middle-aged, stay-at-home mom.  They may not seem familiar to you since you remember them as the young, zen, blue-haired bike shop manager and the hip but ambitious, young and fit, entertainment lawyer, but I assure you, they are the same people.  Believe me, they are as shocked by the changes as you are.

If any person can show numerous damn good reasons why they should not be re-joined together, let them speak now, provide concrete evidence including photographs, and be prepared to break the news to their two young children, or forever shut the F up.

Through marriage, Ad Man and the blogger known as MommyEnnui make a commitment together to face their disappointments, embrace their fading dreams, realize their unreasonable hopes for the future and accept each other’s failures, many of which came as unwelcome surprises since the day they first married eons ago.

Marriage is the union of husband and wife in heart, (flabby) body and (slipping) mind.  It is an act of faith, no less terrifying than skydiving, a personal commitment and, maybe a couple times a month if he’s lucky and she’s been drinking, a physical union.  Marriage has been described as the best and most important relationship that can exist between two people. That may be a bit of an exaggeration in that it ignores the extreme importance of others such as one’s therapist, nanny or barista, but you get the idea.

Anyway, who gives this woman in marriage to this man?

MOMMYENNUI:
I give my damn self!  Actually, I don’t give myself to anyone.  You think just because I’m a wife and mother that I’m not my own person?!  Various overly defensive comments, blah, blah, blah, on and on…

Just Kids 1997OFFICIANT:
Um, OK.  Let’s table that and move on.

Do you, Ad Man, take MommyEnnui to continue to be your wife, to live together in a charmingly untidy home that really needs to have the bathrooms renovated, in the state of holy matrimony?  Will you love her even when she’s off her meds, comfort her when the grocery clerk calls her “ma’am,” honor her, at least in public, and keep her, but not in a creepy, sexist, patriarchal way?

Will you stand by her in mental illness and in health, or whatever passes for health now that you’re both in your 40s, for richer and even when you realize you’ve been paying her student loans for the last 16 years, in sadness and in joy, even through those years when the sadness just seems to pile up and far outweighs the joy, forsaking all others for as long as you both shall live?

AD MAN:
Hell yeah!  I’m the luckiest man in the world!  (Or something like that.)

OFFICIANT:
And, do you, MommyEnnui, take Ad Man to continue to be your husband, to live together with your cute but sometimes evil spawn, in the state of holy matrimony?  Will you love him even when he leaves pans to “soak” for a week before washing them, comfort him when some whippersnapper at work doesn’t get his reference to a John Hughes movie, honor him by not writing about him on your blog, and keep him…on a short leash?

Will you stand by him in sickness, when he’s a whiny pain-in-the-ass even though you had two humans cut out of your uterus without a complaint, and in health, for richer and for when he threatens to buy an expensive motorcycle, in sadness and when he’s gleefully geeking out over some new piece of technology, forsaking all others for as long as you both shall live or at least until you’re so old you no longer remember who he is?

MOMMYENNUI:
Yes, I will agree to everything except for the blog part.

OFFICIANT:
You have pronounced yourselves husband and wife.  What, therefore, a non-denominational minister from 1-800-I-MARRY-YOU, joined together so very long ago, let nothing put asunder, not the death of a parent, infertility, miscarriage, depression, raising two children, changing careers, unemployment, moving across the country, paying a mortgage or the day-to-day crap of life.  You two are stuck together forever whether you like it or not.

MOMMYENNUI:
I like it.  I like it a lot.  Happy anniversary, Ad Man.  I love you!

To Be or Not to Be…A Parent

toy_mess_2When Ad Man and I had been married for a few years, I went through a period of being conflicted over whether I wanted kids or not.  I once said to him, “What if I decide I don’t want to have kids?” to which he lovingly replied, “I would leave you.”  (I have witnesses.) Clearly, Ad Man suffered no such ambiguity.  I think it’s notable to consider who ended up stepping away from HER career once we did procreate.  (Can I get an, “Amen, sister”?)

During this time, I searched for a book that would help me weigh the pros and cons of having children, but I came up empty handed.  The opinions of my friends with children weren’t helpful because, much like a foreign terrorist group, part of a parent’s job is to recruit others to the cause.  As I am nothing but helpful and don’t take orders well, I have decided to break with protocol and give you a real, constructive way of determining whether parenthood is right for you.  You and your partner should sit down and ask yourselves the following questions.

1.  Trying to decide whether to get pregnant?  Are you comfortable discussing the following with strangers?

  • The exact scheduling of your sex life
  • The quantity and quality of your husband’s/donor’s sperm
  • The evils of formula feeding
  • The evils of breastfeeding
  • The evils of starting a child on solid food before the age of 6
  • Whether or not you will circumcise a potential child who may or may not have a penis
  • Mucus plugs
  • The diameter of your cervix

2.  Are you willing to contend with the following?

  • Rock hard porn boobs (I’m guessing your partner will give that one a thumb’s up)
  • Cracked nipples
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Heartburn that makes Flaming Hot Cheetos seem mild
  • Leaking milk in public
  • Catching vomit with your bare hands
  • Having poop in the crevices of your wedding rings

3.  See your young, beautiful body?  Imagine you look exactly the same but for the following small changes:

  • Add dark circles under your eyes
  • Add wild eyebrows, hairy armpits and an unruly bush
  • Delete manicure and pedicure
  • Take your perky B cups and replace them with one of the following: 1) droopy A cups that look like deflated balloons, or 2) enormous D cups that require major structural underpinnings and make all your tops fit like that half-shirt you wore in 10th grade
  • Add stretch marks (this one’s optional, but you don’t get to choose)
  • Add one muffin top

4.  Imagine not being able to do any of the following again for a long, long time…

  • Have sex
  • Poop in private
  • Sleep 5 or more hours in a row
  • Eat a hot meal
  • Be on time for anything, ever
  • Have an uninterrupted conversation
  • Put your makeup on anywhere but in a moving vehicle

5.  To visualize your home, which you’ve so stylishly decorated, with a child living in it, make the following alterations:

  • Add approximately 5,000 garishly colored plastic objects
  • Add a film of filth to every wall measuring from the ground up to approximately 3 feet high
  • See that handy guest room?  Remove guests and add a bunk bed
  • Throw all your clothes on the floor
  • Gather all the objects that are irreplaceable and smash half of them
  • Replace that Diptyque candle with the scent of a teen boy’s feet after marinating in sweaty sneakers all day

6.  Listen to a 72 hour recording on a constant loop that says…

“Mom, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mom, mommy, mommy, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mom, mommy, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mom, mommy, mommy, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mom, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mom, mommy, mommy, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mom, moooooooommyyyy!!!  Now, how do you feel?

7.  A few more considerations that become more important as your hypothetical kid gets older…are you willing to:

  • Have your intelligence insulted on every subject?
  • Be the cause of constant embarrassment?
  • Be viewed as nothing more than a chauffeur, chef, ATM?
  • Receive late night calls from the police?
  • Listen to the same Taylor Swift CD over and over and over again?
  • Age 20 years in the next 5?

If all of the foregoing sounds like a fun adventure to you and your partner…congratulations! You are now ready for some super hot, rigorously scheduled sex. If not, then run!  Run for your life!  That is until your hormones take you hostage and send a ransom note demanding a soft, pink, sweet-smelling, little ball of love who will steal your heart and trash everything else in its wake.

Worst Mother Ever

willa_tantrumLike most parents, I often lie awake at night worrying about what will become of my children and feeling guilty for the many things I’ve done wrong in raising them.  Every tantrum or door slam is due to some failing on my part and is just more evidence that my kids will, most likely, grow up to be psychopaths.  If Biggie gets up 10 times a night before finally falling asleep, it’s because I nursed her to sleep during infancy. When Smalls holds her pee for 8 hours refusing to go to the bathroom at school, it’s because I started potty training her too early as a toddler.

At least one of my children, will freely tell you that I am a terrible mother…definitely a contender, if not the finalist, for Worst Mother in the World.  Poor thing. What are the chances of being born to the very worst mother of all?!  Because of all the psychological damage Ad Man and I have surely done to our kids and because they’re my children and come from a long line of anxiety-ridden depressives, I’m sure they will find themselves in psychotherapy at some time or another.  So, in an effort to save them time and money in therapy bills, I’ve compiled the following list outlining my failures as a mother for future reference.

1.  By quitting my job and staying at home full-time during their formative years, I have robbed them of a professional female role model.  Moreover, volunteering at their schools, meeting them as they get off the bus every afternoon and bringing them to all doctor and dentist appointments mean I am clingy and overbearing.

2.  I moved them (well, at least Biggie) from the hip, glittery, idyllic wonderland that is Los Angeles to hot, buggy Atlanta thereby denying them the careers as actors, marine biologists, surfers or winemakers for which they were destined.

3.  Because I am a vegetarian who doesn’t cook meat, I have kept them from all the meaty delicacies the world has to offer.  If they fail to become chefs, butchers, or cattle farmers they’ll have me to blame.

4.  I lied to them about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny making them believe in magic.  I then abruptly pulled the rug out from under them when they got smart enough to question my outrageous tales.  This will undoubtedly lead to trust issues later in life.

5.  I raised them in a mid-century modern house with weird art and 50s furniture which made them feel different from their friends living in cozy, shabby chic cottages and reproduction Tudor mini-mansions.  Surely, one or more character flaws can be traced back to never having a canopy bed or eyelet curtains.

6.  I refused to let them have televisions and computers in their bedrooms.  I’ve also, thus far, not gotten them cell phones even as they near the ripe old ages of 8 and 6.  Only time will tell, but I suspect my heartlessness will keep them from expressing themselves through naked selfies at least while I’m home or until they leave for college.

7.  I was a wildly liberal feminist campaigning for Democratic candidates, supporting women’s reproductive rights and LGBT rights and defending the separation of church and state in the midst of the Bible Belt.  This could go wrong in two different ways.  I could end up being the clueless hippie mom who is an embarrassment to my daughters when they decide to go all Alex P. Keaton on my ass.  Alternatively, they could agree with my politics and be left with nothing to rebel against…quite possibly a teenager’s worst nightmare.

8.  I failed to sign them up for etiquette classes and never dressed them in smocked dresses and giant hair bows instead allowing them to make their own (often ridiculous) sartorial choices, greatly reducing their chances of success in cheerleading, cotillion and the sorority of their choice.

9.  I stuck them with some pretty crappy genes.  In addition to the depression, mentioned above, I’ve also passed down a pokey metabolism, a propensity to carry weight in their mid-sections and strangely muscular legs that are exact replicas of their Grandpa Jack’s.

10.  But, worst of all, I loved them unconditionally which just set an unattainable bar for future significant others.

I’m sure this list will be expanded to 10 or 20 pages by the time Biggie and Smalls reach adulthood.  So, to my beloved children…for all of the above and for my failings to come, I am sincerely sorry.  Blame mom and get a good shrink.

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Holidays in Hell

Pumpkin HouseI know it sounds crazy, but we’re still in the midst of Halloween planning and decorating around here.  I just finished sewing a tiny, waterproof Marie Antoinette costume for Jacques, our beta fish, and now I have to hand-bead the gown for Smalls’s Donatella Versace costume and carve Biggie’s pumpkin into an intricate Victorian lace pattern.  After that, I will set out luminaria to light the path down our sidewalk, up the driveway, down both sides of the street and around the block.  In an effort to be culturally inclusive, I’ve also cast 100 Dia de los Muertos sugar skulls that still need to be decorated with frosting. I’d have the kids help me, but I just can never count on them to be historically accurate in their decorating.

I’m so thankful I thought ahead last week and already made the beds with our candy corn and skull-and-crossbones patterned sheets and changed out the Columbus Day throw pillows for the Halloween ones.  It’s also a relief to know that the dough for the bone-shaped bread sticks is pre-made and in the freezer with the butternut squash and squid ink pasta lasagna.  I’ll just have to pop the dry ice into our drinks at the last minute and our Halloween dinner will be on the table in plenty of time to get a balanced meal into my family before trick-or-treating begins.

I’m hoping I’ll be done packaging the handmade candy bars in butcher paper and orange and white striped twine so I can join the rest of the family for the evening’s festivities.  I’d really hate to miss it, especially since I’ve been walking around in this green makeup and fake nose with warts all day!  Ha, ha!  Oh, and I can’t forget to change out all the lightbulbs with orange ones before we leave the house.

I sent Ad Man out to replicate the cemetery from ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ in the front yard, but I’m afraid he may need help from the neighbors since I had the headstones and statues hand-carved from stone.  I’m also waiting for the guys with the cherry-picker to arrive so I can finish hanging the faux Spanish moss from the top of the maple tree out front.

Whew!  I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it and this is only the beginning of the holiday season!  I don’t even want to think about all the Indian headdresses and pilgrim hats I have to sew, the organic cranberries I have to harvest from the bog in the backyard, the creche I have to carve from that olive wood I ordered from the Holy Land and the tiny dreidels I have to sculpt, glaze, fire in the kiln and deliver to our Jewish friends.  And, Hanukkah starts early this year!

You know, every year I swear I’m going to scale back, do more with less, volunteer for fewer class parties and just say no to the holiday whirlwind.  But, I just want things to be perfect for my family.  I know the kids will look back fondly at the moments we shared gold-leafing the walls in preparation for New Year’s Eve and they’ll never forget the magic of seeing actual, authentic reindeer shit on the roof on Christmas morning.  I’m not going to lie, it is a lot of work but, it’s worth every late night spent in the kitchen or the wood shop or sitting at the loom.  After all, as they say, a neurotic, overachieving, competitive, control-freak-of-a-mother’s work is never done!

Photo via Apartment Therapy

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Stick a Fork in Me

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These people are lunatics. I blame them.

That’s it…I’ve had it!  I give up!  I would like to be admitted to the hospital, preferably Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.  I am suffering from exhaustion.  It may be a questionable diagnosis, but if it’s good enough for movie stars and rock stars, it’s good enough for me, dammit!  In fact, my condition is so dire, I’d like the Beyonce Suite, please.  Didn’t Jay Z pimp out like a whole floor of the hospital for her when she squeezed out Blue Ivy?  Yeah, that’s the one I want.  (I can assure you, I saw no gold plated birthing tubs when I had Biggie there 7 years ago.)

Since this is a self-diagnosis, I suspect the doctors and my insurance company will require some empirical data before they’ll check me into my suite and begin the massage treatments and bonbon deliveries. So, in the interest of science, I am providing the following documentation of my day thus far.

It began as does every other day at our house…with the morning meltdown.  Alarms went off obscenely early, as always, so we would have ample time to get Biggie and Smalls ready to hop on the bus by 7 am.  Unfortunately, we were not up early enough to provide a sufficient cushion for this morning’s super-sized meltdown.  Today’s drama was due to my utter inability to choose the correct socks for Biggie and Ad Man’s ridiculous choice of breakfast foods for Smalls.  Approximately 30 seconds before the scheduled departure time, we were dragging Smalls out from her favorite tantrum spot under the bed, attempting to brush her teeth through her cries of injustice and stuffing Biggie’s feet into whatever socks were closest to the door…quite possibly the dirty ones she dropped there yesterday.

With two kids successfully deposited on the bus and Ad Man off to work, I began the most pleasant part of my day, the sweet, sweet hours in which no one is whining at me.  As much as I wanted to crawl back into my still warm bed, I had many things to accomplish before the beginning of the afternoon’s homework meltdown.  I ran to the gym for a pathetic attempt at a workout.  I thoroughly researched and bought a new flat iron to replace the one that crapped out this morning leaving my hip-mom shag looking more Carol Brady than Sally Hershberger.  I stalked Goodwill for missing elements of the girls’ Halloween costumes and then headed to the grocery store to purchase the items necessary to make a healthy and delicious minestrone soup for dinner.

I was hurrying home from the grocery store so I would arrive before the school bus when I got a call from Smalls’s teacher.  It seems I’d totally forgotten I’d planned to pick up Smalls in carpool instead of having her take the bus since Biggie had an after-school activity at the other campus.  Instead of unloading the groceries from the car, I immediately turned around and headed to school.  Visions swirled in my head of my poor, abandoned child sobbing alone on the sidewalk as the last car pulled up to the carpool pick-up area and she saw that her mother was not inside.

As it turned out, Smalls was unaffected by being abandoned and was happily coloring in the front office when I arrived at school.  I, on the other hand, slunk in with my head bowed in shame hoping that none of the upper echelon of PTA moms would spot me claiming my forgotten child…in a Carol Brady shag no less.

Milking my guilt for all it was worth, Smalls requested that we stop at the park for King of Pops chocolate sea salt popsicles before retrieving her sister.  So, we went to the park, grabbed our pops and sat down at a picnic table so Smalls could do homework. She, of course, dripped chocolate all over herself and her homework and spent half an hour denying that the dance she was doing was in any way related to the fullness of her bladder.  I checked my phone and saw that we were going to be late if we didn’t leave to pick up Biggie just as Smalls began chanting, “I have to pee, I have to pee, I have to pee!” No shit, kid!  Really?!

diagnosis_kidsWe jumped back in the car, headed over to Biggie’s school, ran into the building and located the closest bathroom where Smalls flat out refused to sit on the potty because the door to the stall wouldn’t latch to her satisfaction.  Because, you know, heaven forbid a stray 2nd grade girl should wander in and see a sliver of her sitting on the toilet through the ever-so-slightly open door.  At this point I was pulling my hair out, biting my tongue to keep from yelling all kinds of naughty words in an elementary school and wishing I had a handful of Xanax to munch on.

We managed to track down Biggie who was the second of my two children to wander around looking for her missing mother today and raced home with Smalls’s overextended bladder threatening to blow at any minute.  We skidded into the driveway, unlocked the front door and Smalls ran to the bathroom just narrowly avoiding a pee disaster.  I unloaded the melted groceries from the trunk of the car and thought, “Aaahhhhh…finally, things are starting to look up!”

I was settling in to start overseeing homework and chopping vegetables for tonight’s dinner when it became clear, after a frantic search, that Smalls’s backpack was no longer in our possession.  FUUUUUUCCKKK!!!  Rather than herding the girls back into the car and schlepping them to every location we’d just been to, I called my friend A, sent the kids over to her house and told her to be ready to drink with me upon my return.  I then texted Ad Man and asked him to bring home Mexican food because there’s was no way in hell I was going to cook dinner tonight!

Really, the only bright spot in this day was when I found the backpack sitting right there in the park where Smalls and I left it earlier.  And now finally, after a glass of wine with A, I’m again able to form a complete sentence.  So, here it is…I’m done!  Stick a fork in me. Beyonce Suite, here I come!  I’ll have my driver drop me off at the secret back hospital entrance usually used for whisking in overdosing celebrities.  Make sure that bed is made with 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and get my bourbon I.V. ready to go!