Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Juggling Act

As a parent, I spend most waking moments attempting anticipate and meet all the needs of my tiny overlords. Typically, I pride myself on being a exceptional toadie; breakfast ready before their highnesses awake, clothes laid out in the morning, each meal served with a generous helping of ketchup. But, as it turns out, I am human. I have quite a lot of balls in the air. Some are rubber, some are glass. It's inevitable that I'm going to drop one and I only hope, that when I do, it's not a breakable one.

I dropped one earlier this week and I didn't even know it until the next morning when my daughter told me that I forgot to pack her a snack for a library visit with Grandma. Mom FAIL. Technically, I just didn't pack a drink because there was still a box of cheese crackers in the bag. When my daughter told me about it, it seemed innocuous enough. She said "Yesterday, you forgot to pack my snack for the library so Grandma took me to A&P and got me a juice box and fruit snacks!" The way she relayed it, it sounded like it was an adventure. Seemed like a rubber ball. Phew.

The rest of the day was fun-filled. We put up some Christmas decorations, I did some baking, we went to the diner for dinner and the kids sampled the treats I made. About 10 minutes after they were snug in their beds, I heard my daughter calling me. I went in her room and she was sitting up looking like she was about to cry. When I asked what was wrong she said, in the most heart-breaking voice imaginable:

"Will you give me anything AT ALL to eat tomorrow?!"

Freeze. Isolate this moment. If anyone saw or heard just this phrase and how it was delivered, they would think that I had her locked in her room all day with some stale bread and water. This is a kid fresh off a huge dinner of diner grilled cheese, fries and juice followed by handmade chocolates from mom's kitchen! Not some orphan from a Dickens story!!!!

She began to cry and it took me about 15 minutes to calm her down. The impetus for her crying fit was the fact that I forgot her snack the day before. I think, in her busy little brain, she started thinking that maybe it wasn't an accident, after all. Maybe I didn't give it to her on purpose and she was heart-broken at the thought that her evil-witch-of-a-mother withheld her snack in some kind of punishment attempt.

So much for a rubber ball. Hopefully this glass one is only cracked. However, I have a feeling that won't be the last I hear about "the forgotten snack heard 'round the world". About a year from now, we'll go to a library and she'll say, "Hey! Remember the time you forgot my snack and I cried and cried and cried."

It just goes to show how fragile their tiny little psyches can be and makes me fearful for the times that I'm NOT on my best mom behavior and say things like "Why would you do something that dumb?!" and "If you don't listen to me right now you're going to be in time-out forever!".

I must say, the crying fit was a brilliant move on her part. I can almost guarantee I won't forget her snack again. EVER! Way to whip mom into shape!

Tiny Overlord "1" --- Toadie Mom "0".

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Go Bah Humbug Yourself

Hi. It's me. I'm the one you hate because I'm done shopping well before Thanksgiving. I'm the one who starts playing Christmas music at the first sign of a nip in the air. My office-mate just loves it too, so there's it's no problem at all. I'm the one who hopes for a white Christmas (but just a dusting of please!)

I'm a big giant KID! I love it. I love the shopping. I love giving gifts. I love baking and making candy. I love decking the halls. I love tradition. I love getting together with friends and family. I love getting dressed up. I love cutting down a tree so GINORMOUS that needs to be anchored to the wall in my home lest it fall over and crush my family in a horribly ironic holiday tragedy.

Here are the 5 thinks people B&M about the most and why they should stow it:

People bitch that it's too hectic and rushed. Shush! Start shopping earlier. Waiting for the last minute is stressful. I do 95% of my shopping before Thanksgiving so I can cruise leisurely through the last 5% and if I find myself with a extra time and money, I can splurge on something special for someone deserving like the person who makes all the magic happen (in other words ME!).

People grumble that it's too expensive. Double-shush! Don't spend so much. Do a grab bag with family members. Make gifts for each other. Bargain shop. Clip coupons. And, again, shop early! You end up spending too much when the only thing left in the store on the day before Christmas Eve is a $90 coffee maker for someone you would've normally spent $20 on. I know the economy bites this year so even if you decide to forgo gifts entirely, you can still enjoy the season with your loved ones.

People complain that they eat too much and put on weight. Zip it! (Oh wait, maybe you can't. HA HA HA!) Two bits of advice. Either "Live A Little" or "Control Yourself". You can choose whichever bit suits your particular eating style and pant size.

People gripe that the true meaning of Christmas is lost. You know what?!? Shush up, you! Christmas is what you make it! If you make it a capitalist orgy of spending and consuming and hate seeing your friends and family, then yup, your holiday is devoid of meaning. Remember that your supposed to be giving gifts that are meaningful and will lift people's spirits. Don't forget that you should be gathering with the ones you love and enjoying these moments because life is short and precious. Keep in mind that there are those less fortunate and don't forget to help in whatever way you can.

People claim they're not religious or Christian. Note these are usually the same folks who accuse Christmas of being devoid of meaning and a capitalist orgy, so you can see why the "I'm not religious" argument doesn't hold water --- so, shush! I'm not talking about those who celebrate something else like Hanukkah or Kwanzaa during the winter season. I'm talking about those who used to be Christian or still are on paper. I feel, if you do all the giving and caring stuff I mentioned before, you are respecting whatever deity or spirituality you subscribe to. If you subscribe to none, hell, being nice to others is just good Karma. Happiness is good for your health.

The moral of my story is, if you are going to be a Grinch, go stash yourself up on Mount Krumpet with your abused dog, Max. If you are going to be a Scrooge, stay home with your Ba Humbugs and ghosts. Or for the McDuck's among us, go swim in your vault full of money. If your going to act like the Burger Meister Meister Burger, go play with your yo-yo by yourself. If you are going to be as mean as Professor Hinkle, just leave Frosty's hat alone and go practice being a less of a suck-ass magician.

Of course, if you truly are any of these things then you probably aren't getting my classic holiday character references.

In other words, don't come to the office Holiday party and spout your anti-Christmas propaganda. Don't go to the mall and groan loudly about the crowds and this hateful season. Don't invite people over and don't go for visits. Keep your stupid frowny face hidden until January and we'll see you then.

Oh... and Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cujo + Deliverance = My Halloween

I used to live in NYC. I used to work in Greenwich. I considered myself quite metropolitan. So why did I find myself cowering in my car on Halloween afternoon like something out of some scary backwoods horror movie?

We live in a beautiful house in a rural area. We have a lot of acres and we like the outdoors. My husband is an very avid, and very responsible hunter. Having grown up in the city, he always longed for a place of his own on a lot of acres he could hunt. We have that but lately we've been invaded by dogs! Dogs scare deer away and chase them until the deer die of exhaustion (which is illegal). Plus, having strange dogs around is just unsafe.

We have not one, but two neighbors who apparently have never heard of NYS Lease Laws. The first is on our road. Dealings with her have been interesting but that's a story for another day.

The second neighbor is over a road. We'd never been there before but we were told that they'd gotten an electric fence for the animals and if we saw the dogs around, that the batteries must have gone dead. We'd seen the dogs every day for a week so we decided to let them know. This was on Halloween. Before we could get over there, one of the dogs came and stole the head of the 7-point buck my husband got last week. This was the biggest trophy he's ever gotten on our property and he was mad. He asked me to do the talking as he didn't think he could be civil.

We turned down what we thought was their driveway. We were driving and driving through the woods on a dirt road thinking "This can't be right". We passed a few... well... shanties, I guess. Basically, what I'd refer to as "good places to hide the bodies." We came across a teenage boy shooting at a bee hive in the tree. Fantastic. We rolled down the window and I asked if the house up ahead was the family that owned the German Shepards. He said yes and we continued into what was quickly turning into my worst nightmare.

We pulled up to the house, if you could call it that, amongst piles of garbage, old cars, furniture, trailers, etc., etc. To quote the late, great Dr. Seuss, it was an "appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of rubbish imaginable mangled up in tangled up knots."

There was a woman and young girl standing outside the shack and three very large dogs, two Shepards and a St. Bernard mix that I like to call, Cujo, barking at the car. I got out of the car and they were barking and growling at me. The woman shouts "I wouldn't get out of your vehicle if I were you. The big one will kill ya." (Sidebar: Last year, before the electric fence, when these little darlings were turning up on our property, we were told they were harmless. Yup. They sound harmless. I think it's the snarling that makes you just want to go scratch their bellies.)

I got back in the car and beckoned her over. I explained that the dogs are the reason for our visit, that we understand they have an electric fence but the dogs had been on our property every day for a week. She asked if it was just the Shepards or Cujo as well. I told her just the Shepards but that we'd seen Cujo quite a few times before they got the fence. She seemed shocked and stressed again that he's a killer. Lovely. She claims the Shepards are harmless but I told her I still wasn't to fond of them being around and that my mother had opened the door to find one of them right there. Fortunately she was very civil and she agreed.

Of course there was still the business of the snatched buck head to deal with. I couldn't believe I was hearing the words come out of my mouth as I uttered them. What has become of my life that I find myself telling a woman, who could so easily dispose of my body, that her dog stole my husband's deer head? As she reacted with shock, the Shepard ran by with the smoking gun, a.k.a. the deer's EAR in it's mouth. And I used to be sooooo classy.

They promised to go look 'round the pond where the dogs like to drag things, or, as I like to refer to it "another good place to hide the bodies" and we got the flying fig out of there with our hides in tact.

It's been two days and no sign of the dogs, but no sign of the disembodied head either. Whatever the outcome, I am NOT going back there. I wish I'd taken pictures but, did I mention that I'm NOT going back there?

I could not have asked for a scarier Halloween experience. A lonely dirt road, a scary young man with a gun, creepy shacks, snarling, angry dogs, a disembodied head and dismembered ear. Kevin McCurdy's Haunted Mansion has got NOTHING on this place. They should charge admission.