Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kids: You Don’t Have To Like Them, But You Gotta Love Them!

First scenario:

My husband took his birthday week off to spend with the family.  I kept reminding the kids that “Daddy’s birthday is coming up.”  After the fifth time or so, I was told by my youngest, “I know, Mommy”.  So of course I was shocked when our older son came downstairs on the special day without saying anything to his father.  We gave him a few minutes.  Nothing.  Finally I couldn’t take the suspense anymore.

Me:  What’s today?

Him:  Wednesday.

My husband and I chuckled, which caused some confusion.

Him:  Is it Thursday?

We laughed.  He checked the calendar.

Him:  It’s Wednesday.  Ha!

We are loling, ready to rotf.

Me:  But what’s the date?

Him:  The 18th.

I look at him in bewilderment, because I could not believe my ears.

Him:  The 19th?

We gave up after about 20 minutes of this painful encounter.  Of course his twin is ignoring him, mostly because she is used to him.  Plus she has already wished her father a happy birthday.

The youngest comes downstairs, and I ask, “What’s today?”  He promptly responds, “Daddy’s birthday.”

My oldest looks at his father sheepishly and blushes.  I say to him, “Don’t you remember when my friend called and spoke to your father instead of me?  Shouldn’t that have given you a clue?”

Him:  And she asked how my daddy’s birthday was so far, but I forgot. 

Second scenario, same child.

I got so upset with the telemarketers’ calls that I gave the children leeway to speak to them and respectfully dismiss them anyway they wanted.

One day I received a call from Proactiv Solution which really irritated me because I had been telling them for years that their products give me pimples.

My son passionately took the call, but panicked when someone answered; so he hung up.  Trying to redeem himself, he pressed the caller id button and called them.  When someone answered, he said, “Don’t call our house again!”  And hung up.  I bet the customer service rep didn't know what just transpired.

Third scenario, older son again.

Me:  I notice you are unusually quiet today.  Is everything okay? 

Him:  I think a kid from my class died.

Me:  The school hasn’t called.  How do you know?

Him:  Well one day I saw him chewing on his pencil, and he hasn’t been to school for over a week.

Me:  (Trying to hold in my laughter.) He’s not dead, baby.  He’s probably sick or went on a vacation.

Him:  My health teacher says pencils are poisonous.

Fourth scenario, older son again.  Do you sense a pattern here?

We were at Five Guys Burgers and Fries when he saw a sign that stated TODAY’S POTATOES ARE FROM SHIRLEY, ID.  He asked me if a woman named Shirley gave them the potatoes.

Fifth scenario.  Guess who?

A few years ago, my daughter mentioned that she was learning about Veterans Day, so I told her that her uncle is a vet.  Her twin looked at me with shock and awe and repeated it.  I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was, so I asked if he didn’t know that.  He said to me, “Do you mean that he takes care of animals?”

Sixth scenario, Daddy’s birthday again.

On our way to Red Lobster, we decided to use the car instead of the minivan and ended up in very close proximity.  The children were in the back seat discussing amongst themselves what they were going to order since they had already talked about it when we heard the youngest saying that he wants the left back leg of the lobster.  My husband asked him if lobsters have legs to which he replied, “If they didn’t have legs, how would they walk?”

In his excitement, he couldn’t stop talking which really drove his older brother nuts.  He claimed that the excitement was giving him a headache.  During one of his outbursts, his brother said to him, “You don’t have to scream in my ear?” to which the younger one replied, “Do you have to spit in my ear.”

Poor guy, even when he tries to be the smartass, it backfires.

Seventh scenario:

We were around the table eating, and the kids were chatting nonstop as usual.  We were having fish, as usual (hubby is a pectarian) when the eldest said, “Did you know that the fish is our relative?” I said to him, “Maybe yours.”  When he realized he could really do some teaching, he said, “Did you know that gorillas are our cousins?”  Again I said maybe yours.  But the youngest didn’t waste any time and replied, “Yeah, you look just like them.”

I know they drive me crazy some days, but perspectively speaking, my life would be so empty and dull without them.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Corporations Are Not People

And dammit neither are dogs!  People are people; and dogs are dogs.

I was at an event recently when a lady had her dog in one arm and getting food from the buffet table in another.  One of those annoying, fluffy, toy dogs I truly adore.  I was extremely disgusted, especially when the dog’s butt hair was about to touch the food.  But I looked away just in time because I wasn’t done eating and didn’t want anything to come between me and my second plate.  (Okay, if you are not laughing right now, you have no sense of humor, and I just gave up on you.)

Anyway the food was great; and the wine was off the chain.  Since I was alone and driving, I consumed only one glass.  I later learned that the vineyard was 10 minutes from my house.  I promptly bought two bottles.  That winery was my new spot, my new joint (pun intended).  And as I chit chatted with the owner, it felt good knowing that she seemed quite nice too.

My neighbor’s birthday was approaching, and I thought two bottles of that delicious wine would be a good gift.  I arrived at my new hang out only to find out that it opened only on weekends.  Luckily I had another week before her birthday.

After my son’s baseball game on Saturday I was heading home alone when I spontaneously went to the winery.  However in my adventurous mood, I took a different route.  After driving through the winding roads, I gave up and entered my home address in the GPS.  At least I would be able to find the winery store on the way home.  It worked and when I arrived, I added the location in the GPS titling it Winery; after all that was THE winery that I was going to shop at for eternity.

Planning on getting a couple of bottles for my son’s coach, I checked the website for selections.  Once I realized buying six bottles would give me a 5% discount, I didn’t see the harm in getting a couple for my stash also.

Since my hands would be full, I grabbed my credit card, locked the car door and took the keys.  This quaint little winery store is on a hill, and the entrance is at the front, but the office door is near the parking lot.

I had been there twice before so I’m casually strolling to the front when I’m accosted by of all things ……….. a frigging dog.  Not a toy dog or a Chihuahua.  Those I could have easily handled.  But I’m face to face with an unfriendly German shepherd.  Guess no one gave Rufus the memo that this was a place of business and not a private residence.  It now starts to bark at me, so feeling trapped and having nowhere to run, I did the next best thing.

I shouted, “No!  Go back!”  I didn’t want to scream, fearing that it might attack, so I kept shouting, hoping that the owners would come out to my rescue.  It stopped barking but stuck its nose to the ground and slowly came towards me.  I realized there was no way I could run to the car and jump in because it was locked.  Plus, as close as it was, it would have gotten to me before I got to the car. So I decided to steadily walk backwards to the car.

I looked around for a stone.  (I’m Antiguan, and that’s how we do).  But I didn’t see any; so I figured the flower pot in the garden was the perfect alternative.  I reckoned if I just hold it in front of me, that would deter my enemy from attacking.  It wasn’t much, but it was all that I had.

So there I was walking like Bruce Lee or Jet Li (insert your favorite Kung Fu master here) and hoping that my strategy would work, which was getting to my car, leaving the pot on the ground and getting as far away from that place as possible.

Next thing I know, that nice lady I had first met came up to me.  “Is that my plant?” she snapped.  Totally oblivious to her tone, I replied, “The dog came at me.”  She then barked, “What are you doing with it?”  I said, “Defending myself.”  She grabbed it from me, walked back to her office, looked back and said someone would take the dog upstairs.

I got to my car, still not keeping my eyes off that mutt, sat down and thanked God I didn’t soil my pants.  I could easily throw my clothes away, but how the heck would I have gotten that scent from my car.  I would have to leave the windows open overnight, and what if it rained?  Then my problems would be compounded.

As I’m sitting down and forcing my heart back in my chest, she returned to the door and said the dog was upstairs.  I waved at her, returned to my stance then took some more breaths.  After a while I was able to think clearly.  And boy did I think!  

“Did that heifer really think I went through all that trouble to come here and steal a plant?  Seriously, she has no idea.  A) I don’t even know what kind of plant it is and 2) I don’t like plants.  Don’t even care much for flowers.  And who was going to waste gas to come and steal an unknown plant in a temporary flower pot?  And furthermore, she didn’t ask if I was okay.  And she must have seen the look on my face----unless she thought I thought I was busted. ” 

Then I continued.  “She has really put me in a pickle because I knew my neighbor would have enjoyed that wine.  Not to mention that was the best wine I have ever tasted and was lucky enough to find.  Should I just buy the two bottles today and then figure out what to give to my son’s coach?  No.  If I go back in there, I would not be able to be pleasant”

And of course I wasn’t done.  “I wonder if she knows that she just missed out on a $60 purchase (well less 5% discount).  And from a lifelong customer at that.  Shoot, where else can I find local wine?”

I considered going in there and giving her a piece of my mind but realized I was way beyond that.  Besides she probably would have thought I had Turrette syndrome because I would not be able to get past this. 


And that is a word I try not to store in my vocabulary.  So I did what any sane but hurt person would have done.  I started my car, drove home and kept my money, but boy was I pissed. 

I don’t know her heart anymore than she knows mine, but long are the days when my people fought to sit at unwelcomed lunch counters. Perspectively speaking, if I am going spend my hard earned money, I shouldn’t have to fight and cuss anyone to take it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It’s Mother’s Day


Alrighty then.

Full disclosure, I don’t look forward to Mother’s Day.  It’s not that I have a complete aversion to it, or that I even dislike it.  I just don’t care either way.  Yeah, apathy.  That’s it.  Okay….. if we could skip that “holiday” altogether, I guess I’ll be happy.

I don’t fully remember my first ten Mother’s Days except that at church, gifts were always given to special mothers – oldest mother, youngest mother, mother with the most children, mother with most grandchildren.  And the oldest mother, for the longest was the same woman.  I swear in the last few years, she showed up but had no idea why she was there or where she was or for all you know who she was.

But 31 years ago on Mother’s Day, my mother was laid to rest.  And since then I haven’t really felt the need to “celebrate”.

I haven’t totally boycotted it like I have Valentine’s Day.  But, it’s just not my favorite time of the year.  Whenever I mention this, people usually say that I shouldn’t look at it that way because I am a mother now.  I am ecstatic that my kids have a mother, but I don’t; so I cannot help but to look at it that way.

Do I accept Mother’s Day wishes?  Yes.  Do I cherish a kind friend who sends me a Mother’s Day card?  Yes.  Do I wish others Happy Mother’s Day?  Yes.  Will I accept a Mother’s Day gift?  You betcha.  And if someone is a mother or a grandmother for the first time or have an unusual circumstance, I’ll sincerely wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.  But honestly, the second Sunday in May is very painful for me.  And I don’t enjoy reliving it every single year.  Some years I can handle it.  Other years, not so much.  And when it falls on the anniversary of my mother’s burial, I’m a total wreck.

I don’t want to be a downer on this day because for some people it is the most important day of the year.  But for people who are motherless, it is different.  And they are not the only ones.  It is also tough for women who have yet to have children, cannot have children, do not want to have children or have lost children.  So I can certainly empathize. 

And in polite settings, it also becomes uncomfortable for the well wishers.  Like at church, people had to be careful not to let the childless women not feel slighted.  People had to be careful not to accidentally tell them Happy Mother’s Day.  (And I say 'had' because I gave up going to church on Mother's Day a long time ago.)  Some people would wish them greetings, with the addendum, “although you are not a mother, you are like a mother to so many of the youths in this place”.  Well, don’t assume that it’s okay with them.

Then the day or two prior to the big day, if you go out, people wish you Happy Mother’s Day, not knowing whether or not if you are a mother.  If you are not, do you explain this to a total stranger?  If you are, do you say the same to you, if it’s a woman, not knowing if she is a mother or not.  Not knowing if she celebrates Mother’s Day or not.  After all, some mothers don’t think there is anything happy about Mother’s Day.  Like, Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother – she will never feel the same way about Mother’s Day ever again.  And the mother of my 15 year old friend who died 28 years ago also comes to mind.

And I admit, if my mother were alive and well, Mother’s Day would probably be in the same caliber like Thanksgiving and Christmas, holidays that I look forward to because I get to spend time with my family.  But she’s not, so for me, it’s just another day. 

Please don’t judge me because I’m not a complete Scrooge.  I enjoy a good old birthday.  And I have never met anyone who begrudgingly wished another person Happy Birthday.  In fact, every time people find out it is someone’s birthday, a smile typically comes to their lips as they genuinely wish that person birthday greetings.  Why?  Because just about everyone can relate to a birthday.  And even if someone is Jehovah’s Witness, she still has to acknowledge that day even if only for identification purposes.

I presume I’ll change my mind when I become a grandmother.  And I imagine I’ll make a big deal when my own daughter becomes a mother, but as of now, it is what it is.

So if I stop wishing all mothers a Happy Mother’s Day, please do not take it personally because perspectively speaking it’s me, not you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Miss Them

The good old days……..

When I was a little girl, when the school year ended, we knew there was going to be eight weeks of bliss.  Fifty-six straight days of fun in the sun.  Sure there would be days when our mother intervened and had us reading, studying our tables, working in the garden or worse ------- napping.  But between those activities, we – siblings, cousins, neighborhood kids – would go to the pastures looking for the sweetest fruit trees. 

Given the chance, we stayed outside for hours playing because we knew that if we ever went home for anything, that would be it.  Once a mother sees her child, it would trigger her memory about some chore she wanted done.  If we got thirsty, we would get water from a pond, (well, not me) or wait to get back in the village to the nearest standpipe.  If we wanted to use the bathroom, we’d better find a tree or some bushes.  But nobody ever uttered, “I have to go back home to use the bathroom.”

These kids nowadays are totally different.  They go outside to play, and every five minutes someone comes inside for a snack or a drink or all available Icee in the freezer.  The last time I checked, there was a garden hose outside……feel free to take your fill.

Then they constantly take bathroom breaks.  Helloooooo, you are standing on a huge lavatory…….again, please feel free to help yourself.

And am I the only one who notices that when these kids have “Field Day” at school, they tend to participate in group sports?  Are the authorities afraid to have them race each other for fear some kid might be offended if he loses? 

Well, welcome to the real world, sweetie.

And as if this isn’t crazy enough, the extracurricular activities are outrageous!

Back in my day, we practiced after school and caught the bus home.  No parent was coming for us – we were on our own. 

Now I sign my son up for baseball and already it’s $70.  Then there is a mandatory $20 for some bingo with an unknown drawing date.  I am just told that the check comes in the mail, if I win.  Surprisingly, I have never had the opportunity to cash that check.  Then I give a $100 bond check so I am obligated to help with the season.  If the parents don’t perform their jobs, they lose their checks.  Okay, I totally agree with that one, because seriously the organization needs all the help it can get; and that is the only way to get parents to help out.  Although watching nine and ten year olds playing baseball for three hours is punishment enough, don’t you think!

Then I transport him to and from practices and games, and we know how cheap gas is.  Since he has to be at the field at 5:00 pm for a home game and the school bus drops him off at 4:45 pm, I have to pick him up from school on game days.  But mark you, this is just one sport; I haven’t even gotten to football, (or as some people call it, soccer,) and basketball.  And this is just one child.  It’s a balancing act juggling all three around the neighborhood after school.

And don’t get me started with the trophies.  I mean even if they lose EVERY SINGLE game, the parents buy a trophy.  For what?  If one gets a trophy for losing 10 games, what does one get for winning all?  I’m sorry, but I don’t condone negative rewarding.

Then at the end of the season, win lose or draw, there is a pizza party.  Again, shouldn’t you get a pizza party if you are the champs?

But I’m not finished; there is also a snack schedule.  Seriously?  These kids can play on their electronic devices for five hours but cannot play a baseball game for 2 ½ to 3 hours without an awaiting snack? (Am I sounding like the old man who yells “Get off my lawn!” as yet?)

I don’t get it, all I know is that perspectively speaking, if we continue to spoon feed these kids, they will never grow up to be responsible and productive adults.  Not to mention, I have to find a cheaper babysitting strategy!