Before I Leave I’ll want to have a Meeting in the Den like the goddam Brady Bunch

Preparing for a trip whilst leaving the children and husband alone in my absence stresses me out to the inth degree. Because of the routine that Mr. Farklepants and I established long, long ago, where he goes to work and earns the bacon, kills the bugs, and performs the home improvement projects that require power tools…and I, with the luxury of getting to stay at home, do everything else. This is an arrangement that works well for us and is rarely cause for concern (sorry, Gloria Steinem) until I want to do something that requires my being away from the household for more than twenty-four hours.

Contrary to popular belief around here, this house that runs like a fine oiled machine does not happen by magic. Or maybe it does, but I’m that genie in the bottle. And it’s not until moments like these that I realize one of my major failures as a wife parent. Because of my control-freakish nature and everything having to be done. this. exact. way. my family knows how to do precious little for themselves. So now, before I leave, I have to make sure the kitchen is stocked with everything they’ll need because the thought of Mr. Farklepants running out to the store to pick up milk for cereal makes me giggle. There needs to be enough toilet paper. All of the laundry needs to be done, folded, and easy to find in their drawers and closets. Because with out me around for a few days they will run out of clean clothes [pauses to consider the vast amount of laundry to be done upon her return].

Then there is the school morning routine to worry about and whether or not they’ll manage their time wisely to leave the house at that magic hour. With their backpacks. And jackets. And lunch money. I know I’m not a single parent and there is another parent in this family equation that is quite capable and it’s not like he’s going to misplace one of our children.

Except for that one time when I was in Seattle. Well, he didn’t exactly misplace a child so much as he was operating under the assumption that said child was in one place when said child was actually in another. See, Boy-Child#2 has two friends by the same name and we’ll call him Joe. And in my absence asked permission from Mr. Farklepants if he could go to Joe’s house. One of the Joes’ lives on our street. The other lives in the same zip code but far enough away that I would never let our son walk to this Joe’s house. But our clever son, knowing full well that Mr. Farklepants was none the wiser, did not distinguish between the Joes, and was granted permission. It wasn’t until later that afternoon, when our oldest son was sent across the street to retrieve Boy-Child#2, that the jig was up. Add to that, Mr. Farkelpants has no idea where other Joe lives. No matter. EVERYONE SURVIVED.

Someday we’ll look back on this and laaaaaugh. Hey! Remember that one time when I lost our kid for half a day? Good times. Goooood tiiiiimes.

So you understand my concern.

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Scenes from a Mall (NOT starring Woody Allen)

Girl-Child was eager to spend her Justice gift cards that she received for Christmas and suggested what she refers to as “a girl’s day” trip to the mall.  After she purchased two shirts and hoards of Webkinz and girlie crapola, we headed outside to a sitting area where she could enjoy her cherry Icee in the sunshine.  It was there, while I wrestled a tag off one of her stuffed animals, a fashionably dressed young woman approached us.  In her thick British accent, positively dripping with dahhhlings and lovelys and brilliant! she began to ask us if we were locals, explained she was with some child’s performing arts thingy and kept telling my daughter how absolutely gooooorgeousss she is…

I think she’s gorgeous too and I also smell a scam coming at me from a mile away. In fact, it’s the same scent I whiffed when approached in a Sports Chalet about five years ago, only that time it was my goooooorgeoussss son…

This woman proceeds to tell us that they’re holding some kind of sales pitch “audition” at the Hyatt across the street and that it’s “today only!” and “until 4:30 we still have time!”. She asked my daughter to read a line about visiting Disneyland that my daughter stumbled through in monotone and with no personality whatsoever as if she just learned to read because SHE’S NOT AN ACTRESS. She then handed me a card filled with photos of popular Disney actors and the date, time, and location of the “audition”, and curiously, with no company or business name in sight. Moments later she was on her way but not before filling my daughter’s head with just a bit more “you could be a star!!” pseudo-promises.

If I was a better mother I would have cut the woman off immediately with a we’re not interested move along before she had a chance to get my child’s hopes up at all. But I’m not a better mother. I was being polite and didn’t want to ruin our Girl’s Day by turning into a right bitch in the middle of a cherry Icee. Girl-Child was flat out beaming and couldn’t wait to tell her brothers that she was going to be in a commercial.

Then I lowered the boom.

While I watched my child go from elated to deflated to understanding my explanation of how these people operate on a child’s excitement and a parents wish to fulfill their child’s dreams I was pleased that I hadn’t told the woman to take a hike. Here was an opportunity to demonstrate, to her, one of life’s certainties: that when something seems to good to be true, it usually is exactly that.

Right, son?

If I had any sort of Photoshop Skills, Whatsoever, I would Plant Gerard Butler atop that Pile of Sunglasses

I should start by saying that I have always had a problem wearing sunglasses and for most of my adult life have never worn them, at least not on any kind of consistent basis. So I spent most of my adult life squinting into the California sun. My aversion to sunglasses wearing started to become apparent on my face in the latter part of my thirties. Not so much the crows feet around my eyes but the lines that were formed starting to appear near the bridge of my nose from scrunching up my face. It isn’t that I don’t like sunglasses. Quite the contrary. I think they’re super cute and can be the perfect accessory, not just practical but fashionable. The problem is that I’ve never found a pair of sunglasses that didn’t cause me great amounts of pain. I almost always get a headache from them sitting on my nose or ears. I don’t know if I’ve got a narrow head or a fat one. If the bridge of my nose is too shallow or to sticky-outie. If my ears sit too high or too low. But once the wrinkles showed up I realized it was high time to endure the pain or at least train myself to get used to wearing them and maybe eventually the irritation would fade.
I’ve gone through several pairs attempting this accomplishment until one day my sister picked out a pair and said, “try these.”

And you know what? They were perfect-ish. I could wear them at least a few hours before I had to rub my temples or the bridge of my nose. It was as if they were invisible-ish. Since I can’t convince myself to spend more than twenty dollars on a pair of sunglasses because I know how sensitive my head is and that they would eventually find their way into the glove compartment, ignored for eternity…I loved these cheap sunglasses. Yes. Lov-ED. Because heading out of a parent-teacher conference just before Thanksgiving, I reached into my purse to grab my best-ever sunglasses and one of the “arms” snapped clean off. And there they were. Dead in my hand. Rest. In. Peace. I’ve now spent the last couple of months rifling through my old forgotten pairs and also adding to the collection. And they are all? Useless.

How stupid is this? How many pairs of sunglasses does one person need? The pair front and center should be ashamed of itself. I think they’re from the era when JLo was still Jenny from the Block. And also, Bennifer. The pair in the back on the right are to Paris Hilton the reality tv show years bug-eyed.  The pair to the left of those are too blinged out on the sides and may or may not be missing some of the said blings. Front and to the left are too tight and squeeze the life out of my head and may lead to a stroke someday. Front and to the right are nice and wide but rub the inside tops of my ears so much that I often reach up to see if I’m bleeding.

The pair in the middle have the most potential, comfort-wise. The problem, aside from the leopard-print-esque-ness, is that the clear acrylic in the pattern distorts my peripheral vision. For instance, I see cars backing out of parking spots when they aren’t actually moving. It makes everything all wonky and objects are closer than they appear -ish. Which is not conducive for safe driving.

The irony here is (and yes, there is irony, though the term is being used loosely…I’m a stickler for the proper use of irony*…see below) that I have probably spent just as much, collectively, on these cheap-y versions as an expensive and perhaps custom fit pair that would most likely fit quite comfortably. But can you imagine that if I’m still mourning my fifteen dollar sunglasses…a broken pair of a pricier version would have me positively frantic!

[Side note:  *One of my favorite uses of irony is in the movie 300 when King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) delivers a speech in a bellowing voice about what savages  Xerxes and his Persian army are…as he stands atop a pile of dead Persians that the Spartans hath done slain. This movie also displays my favorite use of abs.]

If They Ever Cook Your Goose, Turn Me Loose

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Several days have passed since the 69th annual Golden Globes aired on Sunday, and entertainment reporters, news sites, and bloggers alike have all done their recaps, and coverage of the best and worst, favorite and least favorite gowns of the evening. So I won’t bore you with mine by recycling what has already been done. There was one dress, however, that spoke to me worn by the lovely Missi Pyle from the movie The Artist:

The color of the custom designed gown is a bold choice but I like a little risk in my red carpet fashion. I appreciate the homage to 1950’s Hollywood in the style of her dress. And speaking of 1950’s Hollywood: When this dress spoke to me it said it in Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance’s voices…

And it was singing It’s friendship, friendship, just the perfect blendship…when other friendships have been forgot…ours will still be hot…Lahdle-ahdle-ahdle-dig-dig-dig...

Anything that reminds me of the brilliant Lucille Ball gets my vote. It wasn’t my favorite of the evening but I appreciate the hell out of it. And I would have loved to see her tear the giant bow off Charlize Theron’s dress.

Her Dior gown would have been so amazing without it. It looked like a designer fanny-pack. Not a fan of giant bows, people.

*Photo of Missi Pyle and Charlize Theron By Steve Granitz/WireImage
*I Love Lucy photo Google Images

Turns out it wasn’t PMS

I make every attempt when I’m writing to honor, not only my privacy and anonymity, but that of my friends and family as well. I often exercise restraint for fear of over-sharing, embarrassing, or revealing something that isn’t mine to share…or is mine but something of which I want to remain mine. It’s the same etiquette that we reinforce in our home- that every member of this family is entitled to their privacy and that they should take comfort in knowing that whatever private matter they’re grappling with, respectively, is safe within the confines of these walls. A person’s home is where they should be allowed such a luxury.

I’m not gonna lie, 2011 was a shitty year in many respects. For the most part I haven’t adequately addressed my feelings on certain events that transpired but rather have pushed aside, ignored, or shoved deep down altogether. Because there’s no time to do it and doing it doesn’t change the outcome of the events at. all. And they’re not even my events but are matters that people extremely close to me have to bear. For me to lament, to them, MY feelings seems the epitome of selfishness. But as I sit here in this quiet house, with the children finally back to school after their long winter break, my mind reels. It races with constant “what ifs?” and “why” and only reinforces that my feelings matter little in the grand scheme of things and still nothing changes.

A good friend of mine is fighting cancer. Still. It will not go away. My heart breaks when she’s told, “just one more chemo treatment” only to be told again after the next PET scan that another is needed. It was supposed to be “simple”. They caught it early. And I don’t know how to act around her. I try to keep her spirits up then worry after that I’ve been to flip. My stomach sinks when I think back to her early diagnosis and my cheerleader-like response of, “you’re gonna kick this cancer’s ass and make it your bitch!” …because, initially, learning this news about someone so relatively young, of course I think they’re going to do exactly that. But I have to keep a positive attitude, for her. Because this is not about me.

Remaining vague but still getting things off my chest: The long-term marriage of a couple very close to me ended which resulted in one of the party moving a greeeaat distance away. Birthdays were celebrated last year without this person. Thanksgiving was missing someone at the dinner table. Christmas was minus one. Christmas was the hardest. Christmas Eve afternoon it all hit me; however, I didn’t realize it at the time, and I broke down completely. Mr. Farklepants, puzzled by my spontaneous bad mood, asked what was the matter. And because I didn’t know what was wrong I could only choke out what I was feeling, which was that I felt something in my gut was telling me that my life was about to go horribly horribly wrong and that when it happens I should have seen it coming.

To which he wondered if I was PMSing. It’s okay. Normally that would be an accurate observation because usually when I just bust out crying that is the reason (even though I won’t admit it at the time, dammit!). It wasn’t until later that I realized my outburst was because I hadn’t dealt with my feelings about the events of 2011. Because the kids still needed my love and attention. They needed to go to school and do their homework. The meals still needed to be prepared. The groceries still needed to be bought. The laundry still needed to be done. The house still needed to be cleaned. The car still needed gas. Birthdays still needed celebrating. Dog poop still needed picking up…

Life still had to go on.

Just, Stop it.

While leaving Walmart on Friday I was confronted by an unwashed, greasy version of a hipster-doofus, petitioner who hollered, “Mom! Stop predators from molesting your children!”, waving his clipboard in my direction. First of all, take a bath. And for the love of god wash your hair and throw away that hat. And shave that thin beard that projects how deep you are to the world. Plus, it’s 70 degrees out. Lose the scarf. Secondly, you may want to try a new tactic that doesn’t involve screaming predators molesting your children in public, in front of children. You PSYCHOPATH.

The new Facebook Timeline looks too much like MySpace. All that is left is the ability to customize your background and add music, and we’re there. I like my social networking sites clutter free. Where are the Winklevosses(Winklevoss-i?) when you need them?

Check yerself before you Tweet yerself. Michael Ian Black tweeted on Friday that John Lennon’s solo work was “shitty”. To which I say (deeeep inhale in), Imagine is quite possibly the world’s most perfectly written and executed song. If the chords don’t bring tears to your eyes and the lyrics don’t rock the very core of your being…you have no soul. This is not open for debate, people. The end. (aaaand, exhale)

And in other news: Things that need to stop. Companies advertising things that aren’t actual things. Like, Mazda and “Skyactive Technology”. Rite Aid Pharmacy and “Care One-on-One”. And Blue Buffalo dog food proclaiming they’re the only dog food manufacturer to use “Life Source Bits”. You all made this stuff up as if they’re concepts that consumers have been searching for….O.M.Geeee I’ve been looking long and hard for some dog food with Life Source Bits, I can’t find it anywhere….I would buy this Mercedes but let me ask you, Mr. Carsalesman, does it come equipped with Skyactive Technology? Because otherwise I’m walking right out of here, Mister!….I would go to Walgreens but they don’t offer Care One-on-One. What is that? I dunno. But Rite Aid has it so I’m going there. STOP IT.

And Here is where I Tell My Sister-in-Law: This is why We can’t Have Nice Things (also see: inside joke)

Pictured below is the chair that Mr. Farklepants purchased as my Christmas gift. I was not expecting this because my real present was the airline ticket to go visit my brother later this month. I didn’t expect it when I first stumbled upon it in Cost Plus World Market (I know I just mentioned them in the previous post and I’m not trying to plug them it’s just that they’re literally walking distance from my house and I’m there A LOT…so is Urban Home…beware, me), drooled on it, took a picture with my phone and sent it to him with a little note that read, I want this. I also didn’t expect it when he asked for a Christmas wish list and I was all, but I already have my plane ticket and it’s what I really REALLY want, and he was like, you need stuff to unwrap. So, of course, I immediately sent him a link to the chair because they’re so easy to wrap.

Dear Me: You can be so exhausting.

It wasn’t under the tree Christmas morning. Not until all the gift unwrapping festivities were over and the kids were on box-wrap-trash-disaster clean up patrol while I baked the traditional Christmas morning cinnamon rolls…that is when Mr. Farklepants snuck (huh, totally not a word…look who’s learning!) sneaked it in and hid it on the corner facing side of the tree. It should also be mentioned that I walked right by it about three times before it caught my attention. I jumped up and down, excited like a little kid on…well, Christmas…I was.

Then what came next is what happens every time Mr. Farklepants does something nice for me. I have to accessorize. After almost 18 years together he should know this about me. For instance, when we bought the new couch for the family room, our only intended purchase, next came the lamps and the new coffee table. And also, artwork. So now I have this new dilly of a chair that goes with nothing in the room save for the little leather couch…did I mention the couch was my birthday gift from Mr. Farklepants? Did I also mention that we’ve been slowly but surely acquiring grown up furniture as opposed to the stuff you don’t mind getting destroyed when the kids are young?…so I have this chair and couch that goes with nothing in the room.

What comes next? A trip to IKEA and two bookshelf/cube/thingys that are PERFECT. And new artwork. And a shelf. A lamp. A trip to Marshalls because, great chachkies. And a phone.

That phone. Because it’s cute. And not cordless. And I’ve yet to use it.

The Complexity is Buttery with a very Tight Nose and I don’t know what I’m Talking About

For the past couple/few years, Mr. Farklepants and I have attended a holiday wine tasting party hosted by friends.  Wine tasting is a cute mature way to describe mid-life grown ups getting together to get drunk while all the kids hang out in the family room playing video games (calm down, CPS, we always have a designated driver). And since Mr. Farklepants isn’t really one for wine, I’m the glassy-eyed, slurry one by the end of the evening (who’s shocked?!). Unless he’s drinking gin and tonics and spilling the contents of his glass while he gestures wildly, then I abstain.

The wine tasting is blind, meaning, the bottles are wrapped in tinfoil to mask their contents (you probably are already aware of this, but just in case) and everyone is given a score chart to rate them and add comments. For instance, a (5) indicates how fantastic it is and a (1) means it tastes like ass, which, I may have written once or twice. Mr. Farklepants and I have always come in last place with the wine we brought which includes a bottle of Opus One that I thought completely tasted like…dirt mixed with more dirt and maybe compost heap. One other year we picked up a bottle of…I dunno, the name escapes me at the moment but no matter…from Cost Plus World Market that assaulted one’s taste buds and olfactory with the distinct flavor and scent of wicker. True story. It was horrible. It was as if the bottle of wine had been shipped in with a set of rattan patio furniture. I think some of the guests may have even skipped the tasting part because they couldn’t get past the smell.

Past experience has taught me that I tend to be drawn to the moderately priced wines in the fifteen to thirty dollar range. So this holiday season we brought a 2009 bottle of Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve, Pinot Noir to said party. And guess who’s bottle was the favorite? I should say that Mr. Farklepants and I are not big drinkers. We never drink at home unless we have company and neither of us knows a thing about wine. Our friends are big into wine. Many of them are members of wineries and spend weekends away at local-ish California wineries and while they often invite us to join them, all I can worry about is how are we all going to get home? I like to do my wine tasting either close to home or somewhere with a hotel room involved. I did take a little satisfaction in the fact that our little grocery store wine beat out all of the special ordered bottles that accompanied it. Because I loved the wine so much I went back and bought two more bottles on my next shopping trip…which are still cradled, unopened, in the wine holder a month later. But perhaps you wine drinkers would be happy with this little tip!

~Tootsie xoxo~

Bienvenue! They Tell Me Forty is the New Thirty

Why the new blog, you ask? Well, aside from the fact that I felt I needed a change because I bore quite easily – I mean, I paint the walls of my home a new color every couple of years and would do it more often than that if I had the physical motivation, am constantly considering new furniture and decor to go with the new wall color, and so help me god! If we could afford it I would tear this dreadful carpet up with my bare hands and lay glorious new hardwood floors. Hell, I’d move into a new house every year or two if I didn’t have an aversion to, well, the actual act of moving…Aside from the boredom, a significant event took place in the latter part of 2011. I turned forty. And Vintage THIRTY didn’t seem to suit me anymore, embracing FORTY as I am.

So join me, will you? I’ve made a pact with myself to write more and promise to update daily frequently. What served as my inspiration to get back into the writing game, you wonder? I’m so glad you asked. See, I’ve gone back to school because this SAHM doesn’t need to be so “at home” as much anymore because the kids are getting older and spend a major portion of their day in school and not at home. That left me with a whole bunch of time on my hands without nearly enough to do to the point I was considering that perhaps it was time for me to go back to work. That is all fine and good but what type of work was I going to do? I’ve been a SAHM for the better part of fifteen years and those Bizhubs scare the crap outta me! I mean, there wasn’t even email for goddsake the last time I was a big ol’ working girl. I could go back to my previous industry, still having connections and all, someone would hire me. But here I had an opportunity to seize the day, as it were. I’ve gone back to college and for the past year I’ve been working on my prerequisites to gain eligibility into the registered nursing program. (I swear I’m getting to the writing inspiration part) One of those prerequisites was English 101 (I know, wth?) and while I was initially seething about what a complete waste of my time and money this class was going to be, I ended up enjoying it immensely AND at my professor’s encouragement entered one of my essays in a writing competition sponsored by the sociology department and won first freaking place! AND it offered a cash prize that will pay for my books, for the next couple of semesters at least.

So here we are. And here we’ll be. And I promise it will get better than this.

~Tootsie~