Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Want It So Bad My Teeth Hurt

Have you seen this Rose Petal Cottage thing from Hasbro? It is my Barbie Dream World, all in one pretty little house.



Here is the outside.











This is the inside. See how neatly everything stacks together?







This is me having coffee with my friend.







When I saw this a few months ago, I drooled. This is my dream toy. It would have been the only thing on my Christmas list back when I still believed in Santa. Hands down.

I tried to figure out a way to justify buying this for my two boys, but it just screams "Girlie Pink Girlie Chick Toy". And my boys aren't so into the Girlie Girlie toys. So far they seem to be most drawn to balls, books, trucks and drums. And the drums, they are so loud.

But if my boys wanted it, I would run to the store for it. Because I dont think there is anything wrong with boys playing with girl toys and girls playing with boy toys.

You heard me, I said "Girl Toys" and "Boy Toys". And I meant it. Because try as I might to expose my kids to all toys, gender-free, my boys just seem to like the "Boy" stuff more. Just like my sweet nieces, all of whom grew up in houses filled with their older brothers "Boy" toys at their disposal, wanted nothing but Barbies, Baby Dolls and Princess Dresses. And no, its not the result of gender marketing, because these girls also had to watch their older brothers "Boy" shows, where the commercials all leaned heavily toward Nintendo, Play Station and all matter of motorcycles and cars.

My dear Sherry wrote about the fuss some people are making about the way marketing of the Rose Petal Cottage seems to want to throw girls back into the 50's, making meatloaf and ironing tablecloths. Presumably this will also make any boy who plays with it (gasp) Gay and way too interested in whether his slipcovers match his drapes.

My take on this is that if all it took to make my boys gay, or throw one of my nieces into a Doris Day frenzy, was one silly toy, I would have to seriously questions how strong a foundation we are providing for them in their real world. The world where, try as I might, I cant stack my sofa on top of my washer and my chairs on top of my dishwasher, and close it all up and tie it with a pretty pink bow when I want to go kick ass on the soccer field. Which is exactly where you will find my nieces, when they aren't playing princess.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Want Frost on My Pumpkin!

I have had it with this hide and seek Autumn weather. It is late October, but my kids wore shorts and t-shirts to daycare today. Last Monday they wore jeans and sweatshirts.On my lunch hour I stopped by my parents house and my mother was wrapping Christmas presents, while my father cut the grass in shorts. My office has the AC cranked up to “Blizzard”, apparently to chill all of the Halloween candy that we should be consuming while wearing our new fall sweaters, not while rocking our faded summer attire and the “last, really the LAST” pedicure of the summer.

I want blustery winds to blow crisp leaves around my street. I want the smell of a wood fire wafting through the air as we pick apples from the orchard and rush home to warm up with hot apple cider. Instead I get humidity hair, capris that should have been burned on Labor Day, and the distinct pleasure of walking through yet another swarm of gnats.

PS – a gnat can land IN your eye, stay there until you walk the 30 or so yards from the parking lot into the ladies room, and then FLY out of your inner eye and into your hair.

I want a big killing frost tonight, Oh Great Pumpkin.

Cross-posted later today over at DC Metro Moms, because I needed a bigger audience for my complaining, apparently.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

NSDW, QRTE, PKJH, and SNGCT. WTF.

I just got back from a conference. The new job.

So since I have only been in the new job for two weeks, I spent much of the conference trying to decipher the acronyms and project code names. When I wasn’t mentally conjuring the image and smell of my boys just to torture myself for having to leave them for 3 days.

What seemed like a good break in routine and a chance to get some much-needed “Me-Time” two weeks ago when they asked me to go, turned into an exercise in kid-hunger. I would call home at night and hear their sweet voices and my arms would ache to hold them and my heart would catch with unrequited hugs and kisses. They were happy with Daddy, chasing and playing ball in the house. Mommy was “at work”.

It doesn’t matter how nice my hotel was or how great my bed was (and it was, my soul, divine), this working mom stuff is so overrated.

I got home in time to pick them up from daycare yesterday, early even. Lots of kisses and hugs. E followed me around for most of the night giggling and hugging my legs and chattering about everything and nothing. J preferred intermittent drive by hugs and squeezes. I even got a few head butts to my leg, in his little boy way. There was only one little hitch, when I picked up my keys to put them in my purse. E looked at me very sternly and said “No more go bye-bye’s Mommy.” When I reassured him I was just putting my keys away, he grinned and said “You home now Mommy. You stay home”

Home.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Eight is Probably Enough

I was tagged by Kristy to do an 8 Random Things post. I love Kristy. She makes me laugh and makes me think, which is exactly what I like in a blogger. I think she picked me because I scoffed at her anti-Delaware stand. I don’t really think one semester is enough to judge an entire state, and like I told her the nachos at the Deer Park alone are worth the trip. And this weekend, the annual Apple and Scrapple Festival. Can you stand it?

So here we go:

1 – I was attacked by a llama
Ok, attacked might be a bit strong but he did try to eat my ponytail. I was about 3 or 4 and we were at a petting zoo at the mall. A llama tried to eat my ponytail and for weeks later I could swear that same llama was looking in my bedroom window. My second floor bedroom window. I still think llamas are pretty shady.

2 – I once worked in a tampon factory.
No, I was not a tester. I worked in the mailroom. It was my very first summer job. I was 15, and my Dad worked there in senior management and he got me the job. I did fine there for the first few days until one of my co-workers figured out who my Dad was. Then they all shunned me. I went from being the sweet new girl who was doing great to the mole who was spying on them who only got the job because of my Dad (ok, that part was true, but I was no mole!). It probably didn’t help my case that when they all went outside to smoke on break, I went and laid on the couch in my Dad’s air conditioned office.

3 – I can’t whistle.
Really, I can’t. If you were here right now you would probably say to me ‘Sure you can, just go like this and blow (making the universal face for whistling)” As if I have never tried that.

4 – I once was a “dresser” at a fancy schmancy fashion show
I was assigned to one model and my job was help her out of and into her outfits in the 8.7 seconds they got for each wardrobe change. I had to literally strip her and shove her into the next thing, even if it meant I had to touch her boobs. Which was not as awkward as you would think because they were nearly non-existent and she was so pissed off about not getting to wear some of the best outfits that I probably could have given her a cavity search and she would not have noticed. What she did notice, however was when I had to tell her to suck in so I could zip her dress up. That was the only time she bothered to make eye contact with me and she nearly bit my head off. How dare I insinuate that she needed to suck in? (me in all of my size 18 glory). I was tempted to just leave her unzipped but I was also kind of scared of her.

5 – I am afraid of clowns, snakes and bugs.
But not of death, public speaking, heights or flying.

6 – I like Willie Nelson
I know! But as a kid my Dad was a big fan, and so I learned to be a fan by proximity. My Dad and I even went to concert when I was 12. My first concert and people were smoking pot all around us. I felt like my Dad and I were just so wild. I have seen Willie twice more since. I just love his raspy old voice.

7 – My dream jobs include – being Oprah (but not the current Oprah, more like Oprah ten years ago), owning a coffee shop/hair salon, doing a talk radio show with my friend Jackie.

8 – My kids complete me.
I know most people would say their spouse does, but mine doesn’t. He complements me and makes me happy and I am crazy about him. But when my kids were born, I finally felt like I was really 100% alive. I wrote more about it here. It may be my very favorite post.

Hey, if you got this far, you are TAGGED!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Feel Me Up, Scotty

Do I really need to remind you why I am all pink all over?

If you have boobs, and judging from my stat counter 99% of you either do or are looking to see some, you need to take care of those babies. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you work in an office, you might be decked out in jeans and pink shirts today. Or you may be scoring some of those special pink M&M's at the Acme later today, or slapping one of those pink ribbons on your car. All fine and good, but dont make me have to come back next year and buy one of those specifically for you. Schedule your mammograms, do your self-exams, and take care of The Girls.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Weird, or Ready for Anything?

I am intrigued by the story about the guy(s) who lived in a mall. If you haven’t already seen it on the news, you can go to their website here. Apparently he is an artist and he watched the mall being built. He noticed an area that was used as storage during construction but was left vacant once the mall opened. At some point he and friends endeavoured to live there. They had furniture and rudimentary cooking equipment, everything but a bathroom so they just used the public ones. They did this for four years. Four years!

I love this story for two reasons. First, I love the idea that in this day of total surveillance, you can still pull something like this off. Just the thought that they did it for four years is mind-blowingly hysterical and perhaps the best prank-as-art-form ever.

The other reason I love this story is that it totally feeds into my life-long fantasy world. When I read “Where the Heart Is”, about a girl living in Walmart, it just formalized something I had been doing for years in my head.

Call it an over-active imagination but I have always looked for places to live or hide, ever since I was a kid. Places where if I suddenly found myself homeless or on the run, I could seek shelter. I had a normal, happy, well-fed childhood so it isn’t like I needed this information. It’s just a weird secret thing I do. Some people redecorate rooms or makeover people in their mind, I mentally set up a bunker.

Maybe it started when I read The Borrowers as a kid, I don’t know. But even now, as I live the American Dream in my four bedroom, two bath 3000 square foot mortgage with a husband and two kids, I still find myself eying up that little nook in the fancy schmancy furniture store or that empty storage room in the basement of a ginormous model home, and wondering if anyone really checks the whole place before they punch out. I take walks in the woods and see secret places where we could build a cabin, and I have mentally debated the merits of taking out or leaving in the third seat of the van should we ever need to live in it on a cross-country road trip. I know my yard sale habit isn’t just about bargain hunting and saving the earth, it is also kind of thrilling to see what you can get for virtually nothing, should I ever have the need to start procuring say, a camping stove, a solar radio or a bed I can roll up and carry on my back.

You would think having two kids would have halted my flee-strategy sessions. If anything they have only made them more dramatic. Now I factor in whether I could deal with home-schooling by candlelight or would we wing it and let them learn by life experiences and flash cards? Live in a hut on the beach, or in a cabin in the Appalachians? Perhaps in the furniture department of a Neiman Marcus, or in a vacant vacation home at the shore? Am I the only one who watched The Riches and thought seriously about how I would have pulled it off?

Hey, it breaks up the commute in the mini-van and my search for the perfect shower curtain.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Hi, I'm New Here

So remember yesterday, when I was all "I have no responsibility yet, la, la, la, la" ?

Today I had my first training session , meeting , 10 minutes with my predecessor during which we were interrupted three times. We started going over what I am going to be doing. It went a bit like this.

My Predecessor: "So you will need to come up to speed on all of this blah-blah-blah-gibberish-greek-farsi-yada-yada because you have a bunch of reports due November 1st on all of this data."

Me (throwing up in my mouth a little): "OK, so where should I start?"

My Predeccesor: "You will just need to read and interpret this three foot thick binder of reporting requirements, translate them from Urdu, into Aramaic and then into Hebrew and then multiply them by the square root of the the exact number of times that a blue bird has flown over the Washington monument, subtracting any flyovers that occurred during a period of rain or social unrest in Denmark. Then, you will just have to rewrite the queries so that they all match, and so that they can be sung in perfect pitch to the original score of "Madame Butterfly", preferably in German but they will also accept Dutch."

Me: "Hmmm. OK, so do you think you will have some time to go over some of this with me again?"

My Predecessor: "I don't know. I will just have to see. In the mean time, go ahead and start memorizing the periodic table of elements while standing on your head and predicting 2008 batting averages for the Cuban national women's baseball team, and have it ready by the end of the day."

Me: "Uh, wow, this is not exactly the way this job was presented to me in the interview. I thought there would be more training...."

My Predecessor: "Really? Good luck with that."

I am typing this from the floor of the ladies room, sitting in a puddle of hot fudge and my own bitter, overwhelmed tears. And that, along with the fact that my period also started yesterday, is pretty much the way my first few days of work go on any new job. I will do what I always do, which is one part lamaze breathing, one part eating through the fear, and two parts taking this out on my husband because he is not Bill Gates.

Edited to add - My predecessor is actually a very nice person, but she is bogged down with learning her new job, likely from someone else higher up the food chain who is also speaking Spanglitalian to her. 'Tis the circle of life.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Knowing Where I Stand

I started my new job today.

My sisters and I have this running thing about how on the first day of work you never know where to stand. Someone walks you around and introduces you to people and they shake your hand and then have to go on to their meeting/office/cigarette break and you are always in their way. Its like "Hi, nice to meet you! Welcome Aboard! We'll talk later! hahahaha" and then the awkward fumble to get out of each other's way.

But so far, not so bad. I have a new office, with a door and real walls. A regular Cinderella at the ball office. But the best thing of all about today, is that I have no deadlines, responsibilities or tasks yet. I am revelling in the freedom.

Check back in next week when I am hiding under my desk crying.