Saturday, July 30, 2011

Attention, Walmart Shoppers

Remember when Walmart put that little yellow smiley face on everything? It seemed so friendly and reassuring. "The number of falling prices I just encountered was borderline obscene! I can't pay the electric bill now, but this happy fella on the receipt kind of eases the guilt..."

In more recent years, their logo has been changed into an asterisk which I personally find to be a more appropriate emblem. "My total is HOW MUCH?! F***!" 

It's like the Walmart Stockholm Syndrome:
  1. You make your (short) list of things to pick up, muttering to yourself that you should've already done the shopping when you were in town the day before. Now you'll have to fight lake traffic/Friday Payday shoppers/the heat/etc. You hope for the best though: quick and cheap - that's the goal.
  2. Pull into the parking lot and realize that there are, in fact, a million people there shopping. Awesome. There aren't any close parking spots and it's 150 degrees outside and you have little kids to haul inside. Plus your 30lb purse. Plus your 70lb diaper bag. That's OK, you're getting exercise.
  3. The prescription isn't ready yet, so you need to come back and wait in line again in 15 minutes or so.
  4. You have to look at the toy aisle with said kids. Of course they want something or multiple something. The baby throws his prize out of the cart more times in a 30 second span than you imagined to be humanly possible. And only keeps it in his hands when you stop fighting him on eating the price tag.
  5. Someone has to pee. You forget something on the opposite side of the 'Super Center'. Now you have to pee. And you prefer the bathroom at the back of the store - where you just were. 
  6. Make a circle around the grocery section to grab the necessities - cringing because you really prefer the big lovely grocery store over Walmart. Try your best not to step on the toddler's heel as she "wides the cart like a skeetbod"
  7. Pick up prescription. Try to discourage toddler from picking up the most embarrassing items within her little reach. (Marlee:"Mommy, what's that?" Me in a whisper:"It's an enema, Mar. Put it back. We don't want that." Marlee: "But what's it for? For sick? For throw up?" Me with teeth clenched: "For people that can't poop. DO NOT PUT IT IN OUR CART!" Marlee: no words, just hysterical giggling) Discreetly put it back on the shelf and knock two others onto the floor. 
  8. Finally head to the register after being in the store for two hours, which is about an hour and a half longer than you'd planned on being in the store. By this point, all you want to do is leave and the only cashier with a short line is the express cashier. You tell yourself that it's alright to go to the line because even though you know darn well that you have more than 20 items, they're all small things so it's alright. Plus, the cashier looks new, so surely she'll be more friendly than the old beasts you usually end up with. (Someone please explain to me how one finds the inner zen to keep from busting an old lady in the chops when she barks at your kids to stop touching the bag carousel? It's a miracle I haven't been charged with elderly abuse at this point.)
  9. "Your total is $***.00, Ma'am"  F***! And she called you Ma'am. Double whammy!
  10. Load all of your unnecessary purchases (plus the 5 items you came for) into the car. Pull out of the parking lot and immediately think of something that you forgot. Plan to come back within 48 hours to pick it up.
Walmart: Draining people of their hard-earned money, and their will to live since 1962.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Times They Are A'Changin'

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'

I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. Whether life's chain of events are the work of a higher power or simple circumstance, things happen because they're supposed to happen - and each event shapes the person you allow yourself to become.

My theory is that people go through three phases of life that are on a continuous cycle: breaking, blending, and basking.

You are broken as a child; taught to conform to your environment to make it easy on everyone else, whether you like it or not. With age and a little confidence, you learn to blend; build relationships based on common bonds and maintain - to belong. The basking comes at a point when you weigh your options and consciously start living without regrets.

I'm in a basking phase right now, and does it feel good? Damn right it does. Life is excellent and I'm looking forward to the future.

The times they may be a'changin, but whether you break, blend, or bask? That's your own decision to make.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dream a Little Dream

I sat down a few nights ago, fully intent on creating a side by side comparison of my weekends pre-motherhood against my weekends as a mama. 

Here's the short hand version of that post: I'm a grown up now and though it sometimes sucks to be on the receiving end of responsibilities, it beats the hell out of battling hangovers and over-draft fees.

Instead, I'm going to write about something I know every single one of you cherishes right down to the core: S-L-E-E-P!

When you think about it, is there any beautiful specimen that you lust after more than sleep?

Any meal as satisfying as the moment when you pull the covers up to your chin after a long day?

A job offer in which you would eagerly vow to never again hit the snooze button?

I seriously doubt it, friend.

Personally, I'm a get up early and stay up late kind of gal. I go to bed between Midnight and 12:30AM and wake up for work at 5:30AM. Yes, it's kind of early, but I'm a morning person. (The annoying kind - the kind who says things like "Rise and shine, Valentine!" to people who are still warmly snuggled in their beds.) On the weekends, I usually sleep in until the kids wake up, and I sleep deeply and undisturbed for as long as possible. I surprised myself last night though and got up with the baby; not once, but twice.

For the most part, I don't have to get up with the baby in the middle of the night. 1.) Hubs is awesome. He almost always gets up with the baby and lets me sleep. I just love him! 2.) Once I'm awake, it could be a few hours before my body is ready to go back to sleep. I get sucked in to whatever is on TV or looking on the internet, and before I know it, I've got an hour left until the sun comes up. 3.) I freak myself out when the house is all dark and quiet and spooky. I wish I were lying about that one, but I'm pretty skittish.

This is my typical thought process for night duty:
  • "What is that God-awful noise?"
  • "Is that a baby?"
  • "Whose kid is that, and why haven't they shut him up yet?"
  • "Grrrrr.... seriously? SERIOUSLY? Maybe he'll go back to sleep..."
  • "Alright! I'm up, I'm up and I'm coming. I'm up!"
  • "Look at this guy, he's so cute even when he's crying! Awwwww!"
  • "All better. He just needed his Mama."
  • "Please let him go back down quick before I get sucked in on this Time Life Music infomercial."
  • "OMG they're so right! I really DO love all of these songs and I can make five easy installments..."
  • "Probably should get back in bed. Baby's been asleep for 30 minutes and I'm still listening to the 'Singers and Songwriters' collection."
  • "What's the best process for turning off the lights & TV so that I'm not in total darkness for very long? Yep! Turn on hallway light, turn off TV, lay baby down, turn off kitchen light, turn hallway light back off, run like a crazy lady into the bedroom and silently hurdle into bed. "
  • "Please don't wake up when I lay you down!" (Mental repetition X10)
  • "You are an adult, Jennifer. You're too old to be afraid of the dark. Grow up. Jesus! What was that noise?!"
  • "I would have so much more room in this bed if I didn't have a toddler Velcroed to my back side...snore........."
To say the least, I watched 3 episodes of 'Sex & the City' last night, but I fought off the urge to indulge in a Lifetime movie. I read an article on the heiresses to the Clairins skincare fortune instead. At 4AM. I'm a sicko. But I slept until a blissful 9AM after that, and so did my happy babies. 

Sweet dreams, everyone.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Crash Course in Realism

Why do things happen the way that they do?  
"I don't know, go ask your Daddy."
"Because I said so."
"Karma; I'll tell you more about it when someone hits on your first boyfriend..."
"Because I'm the mom, that's why."
"What?! You're 6, ask me again in 5 years."
I'm not an optimist by nature, nor am I a pessimist. 

I am a realist, and I believe that everything happens for a reason simply based on cause and effect. 

I may not fully grasp why certain things happen in the moment, but reflecting back on it later? That little dome light in my head eventually kicks on telling me why I had that chain of events all lined up and waiting for me with a big, glittery bow on top - like it or not. 

That being said, these are a few hypothetical situations that may or may not have occurred today... 

Hypothetical Situation #1:
A certain someone wakes up on time, gets themselves looking fabulous in the pair of black pants that finally got washed over the weekend. They leave the house with plenty of time to spare before work, so stopping at the gas station for coffee seems ideal. Sun is shining, not too hot outside (yet). The nice clerk at the counter might say "What kind of perfume do you have on? You smell amazing!" while hypothetical person is paying. "Oh, thanks! It' this perfume...", may be the reply because let's be honest, hypothetical person is awkward as hell when on the receiving end of a compliment. Totally could have been an awesome start to the day though.
  •  So the compliment is going to serve as a reward for some type of do-gooder deed that the hypothetical person carried out - like maybe being an awesome mom and making homemade boxed chocolate chip banana muffins for breakfast on Saturday. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That's not a direct quote. I didn't Google it. The perfume really does smell amazing though. It's something I'd imagine a wealthy hippie would wear if she were to trade these in for these.
Hypothetical Situation #2:
A completely different person might happen to show up on time to work on Monday (the most evil of all days of the week). On time, revved for the week, feeling good about clean black pants outfit. Time to start the work day...Long story short, this could have been the mid-morning scenario that unfolded: While fetching some water for another person, this poor unsuspecting soul reached up into an overhead cabinet, spotted a plastic cup - NOT KNOWING THAT THE CUP WAS FILLED WITH MOLDY TOBACCO SPIT - and proceeded to spill it all the way down her their clothes. From. Collarbone. To. Ankle. The person might've threatened bodily harm to the unknown owner of said plastic cup'o'nastiness. Person would then continue working in stinky, disgusting, stained clothes until task was complete before hauling ass to Wal-Mart and buying a change of clothing.
  • The spilled Skoal cocktail is going to serve as payback for ... What? I'm sorry, but I can't think of anything to warrant that kind of retribution. Straight up, flat out, disgusting. If good things come to those who wait, I swear by all that is mighty - something spec-f'ing-tacular ought to be headed my way quick, fast, and in a hurry. The silver lining? I was forced to buy a new bra during the whole ordeal. Hi, my name is Jen and at 27 I think I've (finally) figured out what my bra size is.
Moral of the story: there is no perfume in the world that smells good when layered over someone else's moldy saliva. I'm taking a personal day tomorrow. It's a wonder I don't drink heavily. 

Monday, July 11, 2011


Growing up, there were a lot of times when I longed for a sister. A sister would willingly play Barbies with me. A sister would tell me the truth when I asked if I looked fat in something. A sister would help me come up with the perfect scheme to reel in the guy of my dreams.

Instead, I have brother Jimmy who is a year and a half younger than I am.

Jimmy, who would only agree to play Barbies if the Ninja Turtles could kill them. Jimmy, who would say something along the lines of "Not as fat as your friend _________. She always looks like she wants to eat me..." if I asked him how something fit that I knew was too small. Jimmy, who took it upon himself to ask a boy to take me to Homecoming in 9th grade, and told everyone EXCEPT me that he'd done so. I'm pretty lucky to have him though, and if I could go back in time I wouldn't change a thing because I can honestly say that he is and has always been my best friend.

My daughters are 6 and (almost) 3. Mia and Marlee are my very own live-in versions of "Ramona & Beezus". Mimi is the overachieving big sister; in an almost constant state of irritation yet fiercely protective over her pest of a little sister. Marlee is the ornery little sister; she is a tornado of trouble both accidentally and intentionally who thinks her sister hung the moon will do anything just to make the older girl giggle.

Marlee has had a lot of "I want Sissy" moments lately. Mia goes to her dad's every other weekend and at other various points throughout the week. Sometimes Marlee goes over for a few hours too, sometimes she stays home. At this point she's pretty used to the fact that Sissy's not always at home with her, and we can distract her quickly with a little undivided attention. This weekend was different though...

Mia spent the night with her cousins last night, and then spent the afternoon with her dad. It just about killed baby girl. We're talking real puppy dog eyes, sweet toddler voice begging for Sissy, followed by the most pitiful sobs a mama's ever witnessed. "I just want my Sissy, Mommy. Not yoooooooou. Not bruhyaaaaa. Just Sissaaaaaay..."

I don't remember having that kind of emotional pull as a child. Is that the magic of sisterhood, or is it the age gap that I never experienced? I never wanted to tag along when my brother spent the night away from home - I lack the necessary attention span for video games, can't throw a ball to save my life, and I never thought it sounded like fun to have someone tie me up 'for practice in case I ever get kidnapped' and then try to escape my bindings. Also, since Jimmy and I are so close in age there wasn't really a point where one of us was big enough and the other had to wait a few more years.

All in all, even as my heart was breaking for Marlee, I had to smile a little. If she's this crazy about her big sister at age 3, just imagine the love she'll feel in 20 years. And as for Mia? She had a great time this weekend doing her big sister thing, and I'll bet in 20 years she'll have an even better time doing the sister thing - nothing big. 

'There is no better friend than a sister, and there is no better sister than you' - Author Unknown

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

C'est la Vie

  1. Wake up fully energized before the alarm goes off. Tip toe out of bed as not to wake my precious family.
  2. Leave the house impeccably dressed, with lovely coffee & a healthy lunch in hand.
  3. Arrive at work 10 minutes early and dive in to a productive yet stress-free day.
  4. Eat healthy aforementioned lunch while reading a historical nonfiction on loan from the library.
  5. Finish afternoon tasks and get a jump start on work for Tuesday.
  6. Come home to find my sweet family simply ecstatic that Mommy's home. Big kiss from the Mister.
  7. Cook nutritious dinner that results in 'happy plates' for all diners, do supper dishes immediately after.
  8. Bathe beautiful babies, PJ them, tuck them into their beds with sweet kisses on their brows.
  9. Fold laundry, pay a few bills, party plan for August birthdays.
  10. Spend some grown up time with the Mister, fall asleep in each others' arms by 10PM.
  1. Alarm goes off @ 5:30AM. Roll over and groan for Hubs to turn it off. Alarm continues. "Turn it off, PLEASE...". Alarm continues. Roll over. Careful not to bump the sleeping toddler splayed across the bed. Realize that Hubs is no longer in bed, but has been replaced by 6 year old daughter.
  2. Make a not-so-graceful exit from bed. Bump sleeping toddler "I get up? I need more choc-milk..." Groan. Shhh toddler back to sleep. Find Hubs sleeping in living room on chair. Leave him there.
  3. Start coffee. Favorite mug is clean! Spill coffee grounds on counter putting bag away. Shit!
  4. Look for outfit. Planned black pants? Not clean. Settle on too-short skirt and cardigan that are both resemble a crumbled paper bag. Spray with water & throw in dryer.
  5. Get in shower at 5:50AM. Hurriedly scrub off white paint from yesterday's big home improvement day. Get out of shower and grab clothes from dryer.
  6. Get dressed. Hate outfit. Search for something decent. Wake up sleeping toddler "I watch Bolt?!" Shit! Settle on too-short skirt with a different shirt, pantyhose, killer shoes that make the feet cry tears of agony. Jewelry box is one tangled, sparkly knot. Skipping accessories today...
  7. Skin is super broke out. Thank you, Missouri humidity. Bust out the big guns makeup. Not working, looks like cement with a little suntan colored paint over it. Toddler eats half a pot of lip gloss. It's apple flavored- FRUIT GROUP!
  8. Pour coffee, throw instant oatmeal into bag. Throw extra shoes into bag. Head for door. Forget phone. Head for door. Forgot to kiss Hubs. Head for door. Have to go to the bathroom. Kiss toddler who is coloring in Tinkerbell coloring book... with markers. Pray that toddler doesn't color on freshly painted walls. Leave for work!
  9. Drive to work, thankful gas tank is full. Realize it's Tuesday. Shit! Realize lunch was never packed. Shit shit! Realize brother is expecting lunch too. Shit shit shit!
  10. Clock in 15 minutes late. Boss gives reminder about REALLY busy morning. Oh yeah...knew there was something big going on today: TUESDAY.
  11. Work like crazy. Feet are dying. Pimples glaring. Stomach is rumbling the chorus to 'Sweet Caroline'. Keep on working because the stopping point is within sight.
  12. Finally break time! Smoke a glorious cigarette. Remember it's not the usual cigarettes, but 100s. Takes twice as long to smoke, but not willing to waste it. Look down & realize there's still white paint on left knee. Can't get it off because of stupid pantyhose. Try to scrape with fingernail. Get a run. Shit!
  13. Change out of killer heels and into flats. Someone comments "Didn't you have on heels earlier?" Admit defeat. 
  14. Work work work. Eat delicious pretzel/chocolate chip/caramel treat one of my buddies brought in from home. Mmmmmmm.... remember oatmeal in bag, toss into desk. Wash treat down with room temp coffee.
  15. Take an early lunch with my mama! Yea! She pays! Double yea! Lunch is a bacon cheeseburger and tater tots. Eat way too much, feel close to upchucking... Smoke cigarette. Too impatient to finish the entire thing. Stupid 100s. Remember unopened library book is due back next week.
  16. So sleepy from too much lunch. Need to wake up. Head to snack machine and buy M&Ms. Really want a popsicle. Vending machine doesn't sell popsicles, only burritos & Hot Pockets. Return to desk & sort candy by color. Enjoy the John Hiatt on my Pandora station. Work work work!
  17. Remember it's a 3 day work week and the next two days need heavy preparation. Off site work day on Wednesday. Meetings Thursday. Two reports need to be typed from last week. Shit!
  18. Get off work a little early. Stop at the store & pick up fruit. Almost buy a delicious quiche. Feel guilty about the price & put it back. Buy a Pepsi instead.
  19. Come home intent on surprising family with my early presence - nobody's inside. They're swimming and fighting over an inflatable inter tube. Con everyone into coming inside. Wailing ensues. Toddler who woke at 5:30AM? No nap. 
  20. Get super pissy. Hubs gently offers to let me nap. "What do you mean I'm in a bad mood? I'm in a great mood!" Take a glorious 2 hour nap. 
  21. Wake up to find Hubs bathing kids. Yes! 
  22. Hubs also fed kids! Yes yes! Left food out for me too? Awesome! Realize there are no clean forks due to yesterday's cookout. Grumble, start to wash a fork. Bicker with Hubs. Eh...
  23. Sit down to plate of delicious leftovers. Kids without towels come dripping over supper plate. Put plate down, get towels for soaked kids. Pick up fork, kids pounce on plate. Have a hissy fit. Hubs makes kids dessert. He's so nice!
  24. Watch Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Pray that once old age kicks in, genetics are kind like Shannon's and not like Gene's. Shhh reading 6 year old. 6 year old is so loud - adorable, smart, charming, and loud. Gene's crying at his father's grave. Hmm...deep.
  25. Flip through party supply catalog. Stress about time and money. Remember that payday is tomorrow! Remember phone bill needs to be paid. Eat a piece of chocolate cake. Forget about phone bill.
  26. Tuck kids into bed. Our bed. No snuggling with the Hubs tonight. Again. Give lots of kisses & snuggles. Lay with kids, giggling at Daddy being silly.
  27. Work a little trickery on the toddler. "Mommy has to go pee pee. I'll lay down with you in just a minute. Lay down..." Toddler falls asleep instantly. Yes!
  28. Continue drinking Pepsi from 5 hours ago. Smoke cigarette. Curse stupid 100s cigarettes. Thank God tomorrow is going to be the day to stop smoking.
  29. Half listen to Hubs as he talks about sunflower seeds. WTF? Where is this convo going? I don't even know. Just smile and nod. Occasionally say "Yeah..." Get caught not paying attention. Shit! Sunflower Seed 101 is over - Yea!
  30. 11:47PM. Might want to think about taking a shower & getting to bed. After another cigarette. Remember cigarette is a 100. Shit! Remember tomorrow is stop smoking day and there's only 13 minutes left of today. Today is TUESDAY, not Monday as initially believed.