Scarring Your Children - the Wax Edition

My mother is Irish and Ukrainian by decent, and has gorgeously deep olive skin, huge hazel eyes, and shockingly jet black hair that doesn't grow back after it falls out, which has most likely rendered her bald in the 21 years since I last saw her.  

My father is Scotch-Irish by decent, and has skin the color of fluorescent lighting, salt-water blue eyes, and red hair (now white with age) that covers his entire body, and I do mean entire, excepting three spots: One club-shaped spot on his lower back, one circular area in the middle of his right forearm, and the entirely of his head. Every other spot on his body is a plush matte of man-fur. I learned to french braid down my father's back, not kidding.  

Ask me how happy I am that I took after my father when it comes to my coloring and body-to-hair ratio. ASK ME.  I'm really not sure what's worse: having to tell me kids I'm going to get my beard waxed off, or having their reply be simply, "oh, okay."

My 13 year old used to be my Official Waxer because he's better at it than anyone I've ever met because (I'm guessing) I went and had that other kid and bumped him out of the baby-spot in the family and ripping hot wax and tiny hairs off my eyelids apparently gives him a nice, sanctioned opportunity to pay me back for ruining his life. 

But then I found a woman who was just as good at shaping my eyebrows but wasn't so hell-bent on making me paypaypay and I started sneaking out to her table in the middle of the afternoon when 2of3 was at a friend's house, or in school, or at his dad's for the weekend. When he found out what was going on, I watched the therapy bills piling up behind his big, doey, puppy dog eyes.

I'm not really sure what's worse: needing therapy because you used to wax your mother's jawline for her, or needing therapy because she found someone else to do it. 

Tools for Efficient Winning

My mother always joked that we had eight dishwashers in our house. In fact, we had four children and an in-sink-erator. We grew up in the hood, where no one I knew at all ever had a dishwasher. I once knew someone who had a kitchen sink hand held sprayer, and I remember standing at their sink for hours making lush, soft tufts of bubbles. I still do it today, actually. I am easily amused, shut up. 

I didn't have a dishwasher in my a home I lived in until my first son was six months old, in 1998. I regarded it with suspicious eyes, and used it as a really large built-in drying rack, and occasionally to sterilize bottles (but I always felt guilty about that.) In my mind, if you couldn't feel what you were scraping off, it wasn't getting scraped off properly, and until AI was perfected you weren't going to catch *me* using one of *those things*. 

And then I had another kid. It's scientifically proven fact that all sense of justness and moral integrity a person ever had is pushed out with placenta #2. 

But now my kids are older, and I live in a rental house with a really old dishwasher in the middle of a place where water doesn't naturally occur, and so I have a bit more time and a lot more motivation to hand wash my dishes again. Plus, I have a sink sprayer. 

So I've been hand-washing my dishes exclusively for the past year, and it's surprising how quickly you forget about a dishwasher once you stop using it. It's also astonishing how fewer glasses your kids will use in the course of a day if they know they have to hand-wash them at night.  

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The only problem with it is that this was my dish rack. I had paid exactly $2 for it at a yard sale or something. That's not actually  a photo of my dish rack; I was going to take one, but there's internet judgement and then there is asking for internet judgement. It was gross, that's all I'm saying. 

I have two teenage boys and a daughter. We fill that dishrack in 17 seconds. It wasn't fun.  

I kept using my dishwasher as a built-in dishrack, but then I'd forget the dishes were in there and then totally freak out of my kids for losing all of the [expletive expletive] side plates and spoons, and they'd get all afraid of the side-plates-and-spoons-gremlin who was clearly coming at night and framing them, so something had to be done. 

Something like this.  

I first saw it when I visiting simplehuman HQ a few months back. (Because I'm an ambassador. #disclosure I drooled for a while, then set out to get me wunnadoes. I mean, really, they have a separate wine rack *and* a separate knife block. They completely get me/my inability to unload a dishrack. 

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But I didn't have to get one because see mysterious floating finger in the picture? That is Mr SimpleHuman himself and he MAILED ME ONE. I swear, I love it more than I love hand sprayer bubbles - and I think we've established how much I love those.

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And we want to send you something, too. Because presents are nice, and life should be simple, and your trash can should totally match your dish rack. Or is that earrings and chonies? Either way, my fellow ambassadors and I want to give you whatever simplehuman product you you find the most innovative or efficient or just plain crazysexycool. Whether you are into apocalypse/puppy-proof bulk food containers, or soap pumps that squirt soap out faster than your dirty kids can dodge it, or paper towel dispensers that give great hugs, or a laundry basket that makes you like laundry again, we (and simplehuman) got yo back. 

Go poke around the simplehuman site and let me know in the comments which item would rock your world, and you'll be entered to win it. If you want extra entries, you can tweet about it to, just be sure to @simplehuman and me (@mrlady) so we see it! You can enter on each of our sites (click the links above to visit Clay, Kristen, Sarah, and Tim's posts.) We'll choose winners randomly, so you don't even have to be clever or anything. You can just say WANT and a link. 

Happy exploring, and good luck!

 Updated: Congrats to Casey who loves disgraces and wins a dishrack!

Word(less) Wednesday

I like to pretend I can not-write stuff but I can't not-say that I was just running out for early morning coffee on Sunday like I never ever do and as I drove back from Starbucks I noticed that I had a companion. I actually stopped in the middle of the road to take a picture of this dude.

The joys of living in an almost-totally Mormon community include having the nicest neighbors on earth, and having absolutely no one on the road with you on Sunday mornings because everyone but your heathen ass is at church, but that's okay because Bug is *my* co-pilot.

And yes, I'm aware I should wipe down my windshield, shut up. 

Mmm Mmm Mmm, For the Smell of It

Way back in the 1900's, my family had splurged on a pizza. (This was a re-heally big deal for us.) The pizza came, a big, greasy, Philly- which- is- close- to- New- York style beast, and in the middle of it was that dollhouse table thing they started using in the 80s' (which are only 67 years away, have fun with that one tonight) that keeps the cardboard box from sinking into the middle of the pizza. This was in no way remarkable except that instead of calling it a dollhouse table thing, they called it a pietrod. 

I fell in love with that pietrod right there on the spot, partly because I am dyslexic but no one knew it and that word felt right in my head the way no other word ever had before, but mostly because it introduced me to the radical notion that the words I was so reliant on for stability and sanity were simply a bi-product of complacency, that language itself was being created as it dripped from our lips and fingertips - and that I could, if I really thought hard about everything I knew about words without breathing or blinking or anything, break almost any rule and do anything I wanted it to.

Pretty powerful stuff for a kid growing up at the bottom of a patriarchal cult. That was my Frankenstein moment, the moment we all have that pivots us and changes everything to come after it. I think it may have been a Domino's pizza.  I also think this guy totally gets what I'm talking about. 

Photo and epic level of obsession credit: http://brndnwdy.wordpress.com

Photo and epic level of obsession credit: http://brndnwdy.wordpress.com

[Domino's isn't paying me to write this, but Clorox is. Beating Jim at disclosure statements is hard, but I'm giving it my best shot. ] 

I just like to make up words, making up words is my favorite. In fact, I think my last site had a category called Is Too a Word.  However, aside from the few cute kid-words my then-babies made up, I have been hard-pressed to find new word as witty, necessary, and just plain perfect as pietrod.   

Until this.  

I know, right?  I have a few words in the Clorox Icktionary, and I was going to add some more, but really, I think it's over. Shoop just dropped the mic and gangsta-stomped offstage. Next time your kids come in from playing outside, you can do a Shoop-check. If you smell something at a restaurant, you can check the carpet around you for Shoop stains. If you go on a horrible date, you can tell them they make you wanna shoop, shoop ba-doop, shoop ba-doop, shoop ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop at the end of the date and mean it.

Shoop is the perfect word, and it gives me the same tingle in my both my Broca and Wernicke that I did when I was a kid getting my mind blown by some marketing copy taped to a cardboard box surrounding an extra-large heart attack with pepperoni.  It makes me want to play with words again, to see what I have missed because I've been too lazy to look for it.  

It also reminds me that I need to mop my floors in the worst kind of way. Bygones.

What's your favorite not-word-but-should-be? Tell me in the comments, and if it has something to do with ickiness (most of the best ones do, really) you should totally submit it to Clorox's Icktionary at www.icktionary.com

This Week in Gratitude

The first time I saw my kids' father, he was sitting in the solarium at a Bennigan's in suburban Denver, where I worked and he was about to. I will never forget that moment - the clothes he was wearing, the jewelry around his neck, the angle at which he leaned in his seat, and the way my ovaries lept out of my abdomen and tried to drag him back inside with them. It wasn't attraction, it wasn't nerves, it was my 20 year old body saying MAKE BABIES WITH THAT NOW. 

It took him a really long time to acknowelge my existence, and a longer time to tolerate my presence, but something deep inside of me, something I was wha-hay too young to understand at the time, knew from the first moment I saw him that I was going to have a lot of children with him one day.  

Seventeen years worth of moments later, he and I are teetering somewhere between not acknowleging each others' existence and barely tolerating one another's presence again, but what we have that we didn't have then is three perfectly amazing children between us, and while maybe I don't actually like him anymore, and he doesn't actually like me anymore, I really am glad that my ovaries got what they asked for, and we - he and I - made these extraordinar(il)y (ridiculous) people together.

I watch him with our children in his new-found sobriety and as much as I wish they'd had more of this, more of him, when they were younger, I am so happy they get him now. I am so glad he didn't manage to drink himself to death, I am so glad that they get to know the father I chose for them to have, the man underneath those demons he had to battle his way out from under, and maybe still is. 

I am grateful for the way he loves his children, for the silly things they share even though I am no longer a part of them. I am grateful that he is working so hard to be present for them, to be an emotional support for them, to be a healthy and productive man so that they will have a father in their lives for as long as a normal child should, until he grows to a ripe old age surrounded by grandchildren and/or grandpuppies, depending on who's future plans you're working off of. 

Almost every alanon person I've ever met had also at some point wished their qualifier dead, and I am so grateful that those late-night wishes made over my tears and his gugrling, gasping, nearly-asphyxiating body were not granted. I am so glad that that I was so very wrong about so very many things, and my children, his children, our children get to know that their father is wonderful, good, and so very madly in love with them. I am so glad that they will come to think of his stuggles with alcoholism as an inconvenient bump in the road of their lives, because they will love him, and be loved in return by him, on the other side of this journey. 

I see glimpses of him in their faces all the time - mostly when they are annoyed as all hell with me, but also when they are completely captivated by some new thing they are learning, and when they read or hear something so funny they laugh until it hurts. I hear him coming out of their mouths, in bursts of intellectual snobbery and cuttingly-sharp sarcasm. They are as smart as he is, as hilarous as he is, and at least one of them is as tall as he his, plus a hellofalot.  

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The easy thing, in the throes of this divorce stuff, is just to hate him. Mostly what I hate is what I let myself become with him, and that oh right, a lot of that was your bad pill is an awful one to swallow. I don't know that I would bother to swallow it, were it not for these kids. Hating him is easy. Remembering the shit is simple. I'm a professional people hater, born without a forgiveness gene. Our kids, however, force me to be gentle and kind when I am talking about him, and that forces me to remember the good while I tally up the bad.

I'm not saying I have this all right - I was nothing shy of a flamming bag of shit to him today when we switched kids for his visit, and I probably will be about the same to his face into the indefinite future. And in a lot of ways, it's desevered. But when I look at these three children whom I love more than any one single thing on this earth, and I see him bursting out of their hair and their eyes and their fingernails and their voices, I remember that once upon a time, I loved him that much, too. And in a lot of ways, it was desereved. I am reminded of everything lovely and captivating and and endearing about him, and I am grateful that it was him, they they are of him, and that my children get to have him as their father.