Here, There and Everywhere

I'm posting here to tell you I'm not posting here because I haven't finished editing my pictures yet and I have a post up at Canada Moms Blog and I have access to a metric shitton of free Dreyer's ice cream to give away at my review blog and I just spent the past hour on the phone with a bunch of kick ass bloggers and ohmygodItalkedto KatieCouric talking about children and the recession, and suddenly my little day at the skatepark seems pretty damn unimportant to talk about, and perhaps a bit self-indulgent.

Oh, and it's American Idol's last performance tonight, so I've got to put on my random hat for my Mamapop recap tomorrow.  

And I'm trying to organize the Vancouver area's Pre-BlogHer get together.  Because they've asked me to be the BlogHer 09 conference liaison up here.  Because, apparently, they hate you.

And that official turned into a post.  Free ice cream?  Nice.  Mounties?  Oddly hot.  BlogHer meet-up?  Way fun.  Katie Couric and her work for the children affected by the recession?  Yeah, start there.  That actually matters.

At Least It's Not Teletubbies This Time Around

We've had some unusually nice weather here in Vancouver, and by that, of course, I mean we've had some nice weather and that is unusual.  Friday was a Pro-D day at school, and it was actually warm, so the entire neighborhood came out side.  We've got my three kids, my neighbor's three, the three two houses up, the two two houses down, the one across the street, two more next to them, two more next to them, two three houses up from them, and four behind me.  That's a lot of kids.  And they all were outside.  

Everyone came out with their bikes and their scooters and their trikes and their ripsticks and proceeded to tear it up.  3of3 and I went outside, and as I sat on the curb watching everyone she started trying to ride her brother's Razor scooter.  Except she barely has enough of a center of gravity to run, so things were not going well for her.

And that's when I decided it was time for the kid to get her first bike.

We went to Toys R Us and parked outside were a stack of 12" bikes that looked perfect.  They were light blue with light pink accents and some of those tassle things on the handbars.  They weren't excessively girly, but just girly enough that the little Jewish boy up the street wouldn't think Santa had finally come around and left him an extremely late Christmas present.  So I went right over to them, thinking I'd just grab one and be done with it, and that's when I realized that they weren't exactly the kind of sturdy I'd like to strap my only-begotten daughter to in traffic, so we went in.

Friday was evidently British Columbia Bike Buying Day.  Big fun, no whammies.

Every bike they had was either made of PVC and pipe cleaners or was drowning in Bratz.  I found a really awesome orange scooter, but she was having none of it.  And by none of it, I mean she was screaming at the top of her lungs and throwing herself on the floor, shouting, "I CAN'T WIKE A NEW BIKE!!!!"

This is where I should have dropped everything and walked out the door, but I was determined to get this kid outside playing with the kids in the 'hood, so I ended up grabbing the first well-built bike of proper size and specification that I could find a moderately matching helmet for (and goddammit, why didn't they make Paul Frank helmets and pads when my boys were little?  I swear, you people get all the cool stuff these days) and making a run for it.

We arrived home, I pulled out my toolbox, poured a drink, and got started on this.
So ready to make this sucker my bitch.
About 30 minutes later, I ended up with this.
Pretty sure that's coated in Princess vomit.
Holy Gender Neutral FAIL, Batman.

That is a Sleeping Beauty bike with a silver Disney seat and Disney Princesses helmet and elbow pads.  There's even a Princesses bell on the handlebar and a detachable Sleeping Beauty purse on the front, and the whole thing is lacquered in a super-water resistant layer of princess vomit.  I swear, it was the only acceptable thing they had.  Really.

I got done assembling it, tossed her on it and the thing didn't ride.  The problem lay in the one part of the bike that came pre-assembled, and so I pulled out my big guns and took the whole thing apart down to the screws and put it all the way back together.  And I FIXED it.  I felt really big and bad a tough and  all, "Who needs a man, yo?  I can assemble a bike and change my own oil and have sex with myself if I absolutely have to.  I am WOMAN!" and then I realized that I'd assembled a Sleeping Beauty pink glitter-ridden 12" bicycle.  

So it goes.

Anyway, she's ridiculously cute on it and I have grainy proof with terrible audio and you can see that proof filmed on my Blackberry thanks to the magic of YouTube.  Which we didn't have when my boys were little, either, you lucky bastards.

Something Old, Something New

So my husband got me this fancy-pants camera for Mother's Day, because I quite literally ran my last one to the ground.  The kids' god-grandmother and god-grandfather sent it to 3of3 for her 1st birthday present.  Little did they know they'd be throwing her entire party a few weeks later, because god knows I know how to thank someone for a ridiculously kind gesture...by dropping myself and my three children at their doorstep and being all, "Throw us a party, yo!"

3of3 turns one



Which they did, and it was perfect in every way.  And even though I totally suck, and I have no clue why they tolerate me, they do and for that reason I am the luckiest human alive.  I should really start playing the lottery.

Anyway, they sent me the World's Best Point and Shoot, and I have been truly, madly, deeply in love with it.  But dragging a poor, helpless camera with you every single place you ever go takes a toll on it, and for the better part of a year, I've only been able to shoot pictures at a 52 1/2 degree angle, which has made for some really awesome pictures but has grown the slightest bit, well, annoying as all fuck.  And then about a month ago, it went to sleep and never woke up the next day.  I'm not entirely sure it's dead yet; in fact, I think it may feel happy and be up for a nice walk, but until I can find a decent camera shop, I'm shit out of luck.

Was shit out of luck.

Daddy came through big time with a DSLR and gave it to me before Mother's Day so I could hide behind it while his mother was here take really nice pictures of his mom's visit.  This *almost* makes up for him putting three whole people in me that had to come out through, well, that.

I haven't used a manual camera since I was the photographer for my high school senior year book, which was just enough years ago that my underwear from then is officially out of style.  I'd always used one before, though.  My parents were kind of snobs about a few things, cameras being one of them.  We didn't always have dinner, but we had a Marantz amp and a '68 Fretless Wonder and really bomb-ass cameras.  In fact, my father still has and uses all three of those things.  And about 15 Beta desks.  He's a pack-rat and Betas are totally superior decks; shut up.

So I've got this new totally awesome camera and I can barely remember how to use the version of it that took film, let alone figure out digital excellence.  But I'm determined.  Someone sent me a subscription to American Photography and The Donor is insisting I take classes on how to use it to get me the fuck out of this house once in a while so it's sheer brilliance won't be squandered.

Meanwhile, I'm having fun toying with it.  Which means it's a boy.  I'm okay with that.  So far, I've guessed my way into a few pretty decent pictures.  (titles show up if you hover)

Walking on Sunshine
Upward and Onward
Into A Dream
In Bloom
Where The WIld Thing Is
On It's Way

I'm no Mishelle Lane, just yet, but look out woman....I'm on a mission.

See all of Sarcastic Mom's Weekly Winners here.

It's Almost Like Being A Girl

I wore boxers until I was 21.  My top secret hair styling technique was to shower before bed, sleep on it, then pull it up in the morning.  I wore men's Levi's.  And suspenders.  And wife beaters.  Still do that one, actually.  I only drink beer I can't see through.  I didn't own more than two pairs of panties until someone forced me to buy some a year ago.  I only own 5 pairs of shoes.  I like the hair on my forearms.

"Girl" has never been my strong suit.

Now, everyone has their thing that they do that is tragically stereotypical, like me with my secret purse obsession and the metric shit-ton of stuff I need to get ready in the afternoon morning.  Seriously, I jsut went to LA last month, for two days, and the stuff I had to pack into clear Ziplocks so security guards could gauge my levels of testosterone and vanity included, but was not limited to,

  • Eye serum: wrinkle serum; oil free moisturizer; foundation; eye and cheek makeup; 6 different brushes to apply said makeup; q tips; noxema; color-saver shampoo; color-saver conditioner (I woke up grey one morning, shut up); hair silk; hair paste; cocoa butter; hand lotion; chap stick; lip gloss; lip stick; deodorant; super strong deodorant; perfume.


For two days.  Besides that, though, I'm really lousy at the girl thing.  I bite my nails until they're unrecognizable, I sleep in whatever I was wearing after 7 pm, I brush my hair at best every third day, I can't remember the last time I shaved my legs and at home, I don't actually use 1/3 of the stuff in that list up there.

All of my clothes are denim or black.  My underwear doesn't come close to matching.  I have one pair of heels, I don't own a skirt, I have no nail polish and I carry a men's wallet.  And I like it.  I like things that are practical.  I drive my husband insane.

He's been up my ass for years to be more feminine.  He's sent me to the mall and just said, "Spend whatever you need to make it happen."  I usually grab a hoodie and come home.  He's shoved me into the MAC store even though I don't like hot blue eyeshadow anymore and I weigh significantly more than 80 pounds. He buys me gorgeous sweaters every Christmas that I shrink in the dryer and he's started forcing me to buy tailored coats that he thinks I'll get dry cleaned some year.  Every year at Christmas, I ask for a vacuum or a new grill or a sewing machine and the poor guy buys those things and feels like utter shit because he just bought his wife an appliance for Christmas.  It doesn't matter how much I like it; he just wanted to give me some bubble bath stuff and maybe a gift certificate for a manicure.  Because he was pretty sure that 11 years ago, that person he stood in black patent leather shoes in the blistering heat for and signed over his life to contained estrogen.

And then a few years ago, someone gave me a pink shirt.  And I didn't totally hate it.  And then someone took me to work with her and taught me everything I needed to know about makeup.  And then a short while after, someone gave me a daughter.  And I gave her a pink shirt, too.  And then she discovered my makeup And now my life is a pepto-bismal covered glitter bomb, and I don't totally hate it. 

I even bought pink Crocs.  Fuzzy pink Crocs.  Mmmmm.

I am totally turning into a chick.  I have different shades of eyeshadow for different occasions and dresses and three different coats for the winter and everything.  I still don't brush my hair ever, but whatever.  A few months ago, I started having rolling panic attacks and by rolling I mean, 'every ten minutes, lasting 9 minutes and 15 seconds each' and after a few days of that, I swallowed a few of those anti-anxiety pills and within 10 minutes, the panic attacks were over and within 2 days, so was the nail biting.  My nails actually grew out so long that they started to break, and so I had to go Get. Them. Done. 

The Donor did a little happy dance of joy that day, yes he did.

This girl thing is carrying over into other parts of my life as well.  You should see my garden right now.  As in, I planted a shitload of flowers and plants and coordinated what and where to ensure perpetual bloomage all year long.  There are cut flowers on my desk.  I have lemongrass candles going in my room right now.  I found a women's wallet that ohmygod I want so bad.  Yes, it's still my standard brown leather, but it's made for girls, with spots for all the credit cards I don't have and the check book I don't own.  It's $90, so there's no way in hell I'm buying it, but still.  I liked it. 

And I just discovered Zappos, so it was nice knowing you.

And then there are these.
charms
But these fall into the category of things people sent me that I didn't pay for and so I don't talk about them on this blog.  I do, however, talk about them at great length on this blog.  Because dear lord, talk about your awesomely chic.

Dial-An-Enabler

I am one of those annoying people who still hasn't moved into the 20th century and gotten call waiting.  I hardly ever check my voice mail and, until a week ago, I didn't have a cell phone.  Because I just don't care enough.

I only have a land line because I live 1400 miles away from anyone who matters to me, and I have really kick ass long distance.  My kids' gramma decided to lose her mind get all philanthropic with it and join the Peace Corp in Africa, and my one true love moved to Costa Rica for the free mangoes and monkeys.  So I have to keep a landline, but I don't have to love it.

In the rare event that my phone rings, I know with 85% certainty who will be on the line.  It is always either Big Brothers, the guy I work for, one redneck mommy, or the people trying to collect the parking ticket that I just don't seem to ever be able to pay.  If it's after nine, it's my sister in law and if it's while I'm gone, it's The Donor.  He always calls when I'm out, or when my fat ass is sitting on the phone so I don't hear it, or when I'm, well, um, getting the bats out of the belfry, if you know what I mean.  This is noteworthy only because every time I don't answer, he assumes we've all gone down in a blaze of glory and with each recurrent call, his panic grows until the entire fire department shows up at my door.  Or worse, my mother in law, at my neighbor's.

Note for all of you husbands: Never get pissy with your wife and send your mother to find her and handle it for you.  That woman is just waiting for a reason to get all up in your wife's grill as it is.  These things tend to end not well.  For anyone, mostly you.

I mention all of this only because my phone has started ringing.  On an almost daily basis.  The number is always the same and every time I see it, the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.  I used to jump every time it popped up on the caller id.  I used to panic.  I thought something terrible had happened and I thanked god that I am lucky enough to be home all day, because what if I didn't get that call?  What if I wasn't available?  What if I couldn't save the day?

But after enough time, after getting fooled over and over again, now when I see that number I find my eyes rolling back into my head.  I glare at the id box.  I talk to the ceiling.  I get pissy.  

One shouldn't feel that way when their children's school calls.

It started out innocently enough.  One day, someone had forgotten a lunch, and god forbid my over-privileged, excessively nourished children go without a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Another day, one kid couldn't find the other kid and how could I expect a child who plays outside all day every day to be able to find his way down a straight path from the school to our house by himself?  One day one kid had a headache and who in their right mind thinks a child can endure the horrors of long division with a throbbing temple?

Can you tell I'm a little jaded now?

I used to rush to the school to rescue them.  I used to run into their classrooms, burst through the door, sweep them up and off to home where popsicles and Pokemon reruns awaiting them on the couch.  I used to ride large white horses through the doors of the school, bearing the errant lunch or science project or class hamster and save the day.  Now, I'm starting to embrace that age-old mantra, "Suck it up, fool."

They call me All. The. Time.  They call when they forget their homework, they call when they want to go to Tyler's house, they call when they don't like their lunch, they call when they get invited to a birthday party six weeks from now.  And every time, they call me from the school's office line, so I fucking HAVE to answer it.  Because the one time I don't will be the one time my kid gets beat up on the playground and I actually *have* to fix it.

I can't imagine that these children constantly hounding the secretary for her phone is a fun way to spend her day, so I went into the office to figure out why the hell these kids seem to have unlimited access to her phone.  I went in ready to tell her to knock it the fuck off, that those children and fine and she's getting played for a fool.  And then I saw it.  A phone.  In a cubby.  JUST for students.

Oh dear god in heaven, you have got to be kidding me.

When I was a kid, 8 million years ago, there was no phone.  I had to be bleeding out of no less that two orifices to get to call home.  If I forgot my homework, I couldn't call my mom; I had to call on a higher power.  I remember standing in front of my locker in 6th grade literally praying to God that he help my homework surface.  Not the most effective system for locker-organization, turns out.  If I forgot my lunch, or my homework, I was scah-rewed.  And I didn't forget it the next time.

I just wonder what happened between then and now that we can't, we won't, we refuse to let these kids fail occasionally.  Why can't my son, who had his lunch packed for him, put in the car for him, and driven to the school with him go hungry if he cannot take .05 seconds out of his morning to put the handle in his hand before he steps out of the car?  What is so terrible about making him sit at his desk over lunch and start again on the homework he not only didn't do, but left untouched on his desk in his room?  Why the hell do they have a phone line for these kids to use at their discretion?

Because it works, that's why.

Because every time it rings, I answer it.  Every time a sheepish voice says "I forgot...." I hop in the car and bring it to him.  Every time that voice says it doesn't feel good, I go get it and bring it home.  Even when I threaten them with death or worse, loss of YuGiOh cards if they dare call me one more time from that damn phone, even when I sit them down and explain consequence, responsibility and the concept of crying wolf, I still rescue them.  Because, in the end, I feel like it's my job.  I feel like I'm supposed to because I am a stay at home mother and so I've convinced myself that I have to be on call 24/7 for these people.  And though I think it's the right choice for me, for us, I think that in this sense, I am teaching them nothing.  I will never tell them to wrap their sweater around their waist and get back to science class because they were dumb enough to put their maxi-pad on upside down, and they'll keep doing it because they know they can.  I will never let them go hungry at school, just because I spent 16 years hungry and I don't want them to know what that feels like, and they know it..  They know that mom is over-compensating for something and they've got her right where they want her.

And so, of course, I blame the school and the Enabling Phone when really, I just need to let them have one day in front of a locker with stained pants and a grumbling stomach and God.