Friday, September 26, 2008

Can I see your double-X chromosome, please?

I’ve determined that I might not really be a woman. This revelation came to me yesterday and I just had to share.

It had been a few days since I’d left the house other than to get my daughter to school and back. I’d had a great lunch at The Corner Bakery on Monday with The Writing Women—some friends who write and now we get together every other Monday to eat, talk, discuss writing and occasionally chat about ourselves. Just occasionally. It’s sort of like therapy without all that annoying advice on how you should change.

Tuesday—stayed in. Wednesday—stayed in. Then on Thursday I had a few chores nagging that just had to be done. Blockbuster called. Where are our movies? Fine. I’m coming. The shoes I’d ordered online for my daughter needed to be returned. (The website cautioned that they ran large. Well, gargantuan might have been more accurate.) And then my mom called. She’d been looking for a particular piece of fabric and found one at my local store. Could I run by and look at it for her? Then buy it? Then mail it? Sure. I was just on my way out…

So, I showered, pulled on a skirt and T-shirt, slid into some sandals, said good-bye to the confused dog, and away I went. I ran my errands and then thought, While I’m already out… I poked my head into a consignment shop and took a look around. Came out with a Beatles T-shirt for my son. (Abbey Road—he loved it.) Then went in another shop to see if they had any clothes for my growing daughter. Sorted through racks and racks of black, glitter, and sequins and managed to find three dresses that didn’t scream, “Hey I’m five and already a trampy whore!”

No, I’m not a good shopper. Therefore, probably not a real woman. I don’t mind going out with my girlfriends on our annual weekend out, but shopping once a year does not a woman make me. And on those trips I usually end up buying stuff I wouldn’t if I were alone. Peer pressure? At my age? I guess. It would explain the I Had a Nightmare I Was a Blonde T-shirt currently hanging in my closet.

Grocery shopping? Only the worst chore there is, or maybe a close second to cleaning the bathroom. Shopping online? That I can do but I don’t do a lot of it. (Not like my neighbor who brings the UPS truck to our street almost daily.) Because you never know if the stuff you buy is going to fit. And then you find yourself having to shower, having to get dressed, having to leave the house, having to go to the post office to return it. And that’s almost as bad as going out shopping.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where's the fun in a fundraiser?

It has already started. My daughter came home this week with a slick packet along with a DVD to get us all pumped up about a Booster-thon Fun Run. I know marketing and I’m sure the first thousand or so they raise will go to foot the bill for the expensive campaign they’ve unleashed. A DVD? In a plastic pouch attached to a lanyard? Really? Can’t someone in the office just run off a bunch of copies and call it a day?

I dragged my feet for as long as possible. On the way home from school yesterday she started in. “Mom, I have to bring in my Fun Run paper and then I’ll get a bracelet and my teacher says then I’ll be awesome.” To her I said, “Honey, you are awesome even without a bracelet.” She wasn’t convinced. “Yeah, but if I have a bracelet I’ll be even awesomer!”

So this morning I bypassed the per-lap sponsor section. (Do they really expect her to run laps? She still rides to school in her stroller!) And instead I donated a flat $20. And put my mom down for another $20. (She’ll learn about that here.)

I also stayed up late last night attaching BoxTops for Education pieces to a paper so that her class can compete with the others in her school. They’re currently not even in the top ten. Luckily I’ve been tossing those suckers into an empty butter tub for the past year and had about 40 of them to send in. I stared at the sheet that took me about fifteen minutes to complete. First I had to trim each coupon and then glue them on. At ten cents a pop, I filled up a sheet worth $2.50. I have that much change in the bottom of my wallet! I'm letting her do the rest over the weekend.

Then earlier in the week she came home with a sticker on her dress reminding us that it was Chick-fil-A night. And of course we had just eaten there the night before.

Maybe it’s third-child-syndrome at work here and quite frankly, I’m just tired. But I know when I pick her up from school today she’d better have a bracelet on and be smiling from ear to ear since she will most definitely be awesomer than she was when I left her this morning.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Note to my Daughter's Kindergarten Teacher

Dear Mrs. L:

Thanks so much for the packet of papers welcoming us to your class. By now you might have finally sorted through all the information you requested from your students and their parents. But I can do the math and know that six pages times nineteen students is…is…well…a lot of papers to read. Here’s some more information I thought you might need.

On the form asking for volunteers, I offered to buy extras for the room as needed. No problem. I make it to Target at least once a week, so provided I remember to write down what you need, remember to put it in my cart, remember to set it aside so that a child doesn’t make off with it, remember to put it in my daughter’s backpack, that should be no problem.

I notice that I can’t send in home-baked items for parties. Darn. Your loss. Yes, ma’am, I’m well aware that children have food allergies and you really can’t take chances, but my cookies are the bomb! Just ask my daughter. Besides, I never bake with peanut butter or put nuts in anything. I’m probably a safer bet than Kroger’s bakery in that regard. I know. Rules are rules, so I’ll let it go.

I didn’t sign up for cafeteria helper. No, thank you. Light my hair on fire and toast marshmallows on my smoldering scalp instead. Please. I don’t like a lot of noise, and my children have long ago forgiven me of my absence in the lunchroom. I know some parents have lunch with their kids on a regular basis, but not I. Sorry. I’m sure therapy is just around the corner for my three kids, but it’s a chance I’ll take. They know I love them. Just not all their noisy friends who eat with their dirty little hands and chew with their mouths open.

I will happily come in and read to the kids. Better yet, let me bring in my own books. I have quite a collection. If I do have to read yours, I must warn you I have mastered the art of skipping pages. Rarely do I get busted for it. Especially if it’s a Dr. Seuss book. The man was a genius but had a tendency to ramble. If you don’t agree, try reading “A Wocket in My Pocket” without a glass of wine first. It’s a doozy.

I must also warn you about my daughter. She’s an absolute joy, but she also has two teenage brothers. Go ahead. Giggle. Everyone else does. She might not know all the Raffi songs her classmates do, but she can sing every line of “Taylor” by Jack Johnson and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. Also, if you need to know all the verses to “The Diarrhea Song,” she’s your go-to girl.

While other children might politely tell you that they need to go poop, she’s been known to say she needs to take a dump. I know. I’ve tried to correct her, but it is what it is. I pick my battles; you are free to pick yours.

In closing, I need to say thank you for embracing such a noble challenge. I wouldn’t trade places with you even if you stripped me naked and promised me the cast of Ocean’s Eleven as a blanket in return. You’re my hero. Just please don’t expect me to be your room mother.

Mia’s mom

Monday, September 1, 2008

Musical memories

The other day on the radio, the morning drive-time crew was discussing songs that should be banned from the airwaves. Not those that are obscene or distasteful, but tunes that turn your stomach. Bad dates, bad memories, bad times that a particular song brings to mind.

I have a few, but I also have many more songs that make me smile when I hear them. Songs that remind me of good times, good friends and good feelings. So, when I first heard that the songs of ABBA were being made into a musical, I knew I had to see it. I never made it to the Broadway show, but today I finally got around to seeing the movie Mamma Mia.

It wasn’t the best movie I’ve seen. Not by a long shot, but the music was awesome. Flashback to eighth grade. I was a nobody. Well, I played volleyball, ran track, was on student council and had friends, but I wasn’t a cheerleader, so therefore—a nobody.

But one night at a middle school dance, Don Heintzelman—a somebody—asked me to dance with him in a dance contest. The song was “Dancing Queen” and we won. Our prizes were gift certificates to a music store. I bought a Barry Manilow album with mine.

Don and I became friends, served on student council together in high school, worked together at the Water Bowl in the summers, and in our senior year we dated. After high school, I stayed home and attended Ball State; he went off to Notre Dame. His family still lives in Muncie, but I haven’t seen him since high school. I’ve been to a few of my class reunions and apparently, the one or two I’ve missed, he was there.

I still have fond memories of Don, of ABBA, and of course, of the one night in eighth grade when I was a dancing queen.