Why don’t they just rip out my eyelashes one by one?

The fact that I am blessed with decent health, a pretty great husband and two healthy wonderful daughters is not lost on me. I am grateful. Very grateful.

But I’d be lying if I said there weren’t days when it’s all I can do not to carry the lot of them to the curb, stick a “FOR SALE, ALL REASONABLE OFFERS CONSIDERED” sign in their mouths and call it a day.

Case in point:

Are you guys just messing with me? Making me salivate needlessly over a snack that isn’t really there? Trying to psyche me out or what? Do you really want to come home to a mommy who has not had her chocolate fix? Well, do you? I didn’t think so.

What’s that, Nate? You want a ginger ale? Sure, I’ll get one for you. Oh my goodness, looks like we’re all out. Huh. That’s weird. I mean, the box is in there, but there’s nothing in it. You’re the only one that drinks that stuff in this house and I know I saw you drinking one yesterday. Huh.

Mom, where are my earrings? The ones I got for my birthday? I LOVE THOSE EARRINGS. They were on my dresser and now they’re not. Now what am I going to do? I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR. Helena, did you go in my room? Did you take my earrings? STAY OUT OF MY ROOM. Mom, can I borrow your earrings? I DON’T HAVE ANY. (disclaimer: please ignore the dust. I do.)

I do not allow my kids to eat or drink in the living room. So maybe I should just be grateful they actually used a coaster for one of the cups but God forbid, not both. And yes, that is a toothpick. Hey kids, can you throw me that hay bale over there? That one, next to the horses. Oh, that’s right. WE DON’T HAVE A BARN AND THUS, YOU WERE NOT RAISED IN ONE. I am officially grossed out.

Coming soon to a laundry basket near me. Just to clarify, yes … that is a wadded-with-the-legs-rolled-up pair of jeans lying on my eldest daughter’s bedroom floor. And yes, that is her underwear sticking out of them and a sock stuck to the bottom of them. I don’t know how long she’s been working on the ability to undress in one fell swoop but apparently, it’s been time well spent.

Judging from this photo, I think my youngest has been studying at the feet of the master.

While we’re on the subject Helena, what possesses you to just drop trow in the living room? Am I the only civilized one in this house? And for all of you blessed with 20/20 vision … yes, that is a safety pin in my daughter’s waistband. I bet my mother is having a coronary at this very instant. No, I cannot sew. And contrary to urban legend, duct tape doesn’t fix everything. Moving on …

Mom, where’s my Nintendo?!? I need to take it to Natalee’s! Mom! Where is it? It was right here! Can you help me find it? I did check my room! All over it! I moved everything! I did! I really did! I promise! I’ve looked everywhere and it’s not there. Zoe, did you go into my room? Did you? STAY OUT OF MY ROOM. Mom, I’ve looked for a hundred thousand years and it’s not there. MOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM.

You’re killing me. Just killing me.



Grey’s Anatomy – Home Edition

No matter how much I cry, wail, shriek, yell or stomp my feet in protest, I’m aging and it’s not a pretty sight. Part of the process, for me anyway, is the accumulation of millions upon bazillions of grey hairs all about my head. While these hairs spread out across all regions of my head, their absolute favorite place to hang out and chill is on the very top in the shape of a lasagna noodle. It’s in this very spot where they multiply at an exponential rate. And, if I’m being totally honest here, they’re more of a bright, garish, glaring, oh-my-God-you’re-blinding-me shade of white. Looks just AWESOME against the few remaining brunette hairs that are fighting the good fight but failing miserably.

I don’t know for sure if God got his ingredients mixed up way back when He made me but I’m betting a big, fat YES. I’m thinking that somewhere along the way, GOD GOT A LITTLE DISTRACTED WHILE READING MY RECIPE.

Maybe He had a lot of things weighing heavy on his mind that day, maybe He felt a bit under the weather, or maybe He was just pissed off. Who knows? All I know for sure is that I did not get the “freakishly quick metabolism” and “no sweating” genes that I’m sure were due me. And why I didn’t get a drop of any “athletically inclined” and “thrill seeking junkie” genes while my twin brother got loads of both is simply beyond me. While we’re at it, I would have also liked a bit of that cool “ability to solve quadratic equations so that her teenage daughter doesn’t think she is a moron” gene right about now, but nooooooo. Instead, a befuddled God thought my DNA could use a healthy dose of a gene that causes my hair to be impervious to every dye known to mankind and morph into something that bears a striking resemblance to skunk’s fur about every four weeks or so.

Unless it was supposed to be a joke and if so, who knew God had such a funny sense of humor?

To be fair though, I do believe that the stress of daily life contributes somewhat to my predicament. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

  • “Well, I’m afraid it’s broken.” (declared by doctor while examining x-ray of then six year old daughter’s leg) 57 hairs
  • “Well, I’m afraid it’s broken.” (declared by same doctor while examining x-ray of same daughter’s arm, almost exactly one year later) 112 hairs
  • “Well, I’m afraid it’s broken.” (declared by same doctor while examining same daughter’s wrist three years later) 493 hairs
  • “MOM! MOM! I’M GOING TO RACE MOTORCYCLES WITH DADDY WHEN I GET OLDER!!” (ecstatically shouted by same daughter later that same year) 734 hairs and one migraine
  • “No, a bone scan isn’t necessary. She’s a growing girl who’s just a little uncoordinated.” (declared by same doctor while casting same daughter’s finger, two years later) 88 hairs and brief consideration of creative uses of bubble wrap
  • “Oh my gosh, I only have four more years until I can drive” (said in awe by same daughter) 54, 827 hairs
  • “Hey Mom, do you realize I’m going to turn thirteen the same year you turn forty? (whispered by same daughter) 503 hairs and 2 panic attacks
  • THIS PAGE NOT FOUND (yelled via online message by my Internet provider, after accessing the same page 5 seconds earlier) approximately 62 hairs, give or take those yanked out in frustration
  • “Your call will be answered in the order that it was received. You are caller 96. Thank you for your patience.” 39 hairs and one entire bag of Pepperidge Farms Orange Milano Cookies.
  • “Wow – did you see that?!?” (exclaimed amongst doctors while performing initial incision during c-section for second daughter) 300 hairs and a plea to just shoot me
  • Partially severed ear suffered by second daughter by crashing head first into TV cabinet. 1,632 hairs and 10 years off my life
  • “Mom, don’t freak out … I kind of have a boyfriend.” (declared by fourteen year old daughter) 721 hairs and 30 minutes in total freak out mode, albeit silently

So, maybe I’ll give God the benefit of the doubt about my dubious DNA. But I’m still ticked about the quadratic equation one.

Wii … the odyssey

We’re all familiar with this little gem, right? I give you the Wii, in all its glory:

Last November, my husband wasn’t a big fan. When I broached the subject of getting a Wii for the kids for Christmas by saying “hey, why don’t we get a Wii for the kids” my husband took that to mean “hey, why don’t we get a PlayStation 3 for the kids” because he’s quirky that way. When I responded that the kids didn’t want a PlayStation 3, they wanted a Wii, he tried to dazzle me with techno jargon about how superior the graphics were on a PlayStation 3 and how awesome they would look on our brand spanking new TV.

TV did you say? You mean that 42″ ultra modern, flat-screen behemoth of high-definition that dwarfs everything around it and currently resides in our living room with all of our normal sized furniture? That “bargain” of a monstrosity that was only going to cost this much but actually wound up costing that much because we couldn’t have a TV like that without having the proper stand on which to put it, the appropriate receiver with which to run it, the best speakers with which to hear it and the top-of-the-line remote with which to control it? The TV I didn’t want? That one?

We had a sit-down with the kids to discuss the Wii vs. PS3 scenario. Nate had our eldest almost convinced that PS3 was the second coming while our youngest was steadfast in her desire for a Wii but willing to negotiate in exchange for a later bedtime. I finally convinced the family that the Wii was the better choice as it retailed for about half of the PS3 and was better suited for family time. It was a struggle and there were tears and temper tantrums and hissy fits but Nate got over himself and finally conceded.

Nate thought he would just walk into Target or Best Buy and pick one up after work. I asked him if something heavy had hit him on the head and then dragged him to the aforementioned behemoth parked in our living room so that he could see the CNN sound bites showing mobs of people lining up for days to get one. It then became Nate’s personal mission in life to get us a Wii, come hell or high water, so help him God.

To his credit, Nate did try the conventional approach once. He woke up at 4:00 am, drove through the bitter cold, sleet and snow to stand in line at Kmart for a shipment of Wii Systems expected that morning (by the way, what exactly is the plural of Wii? WiiWiis?) After about an hour, a blithely unaware Kmart employee came out and announced to the 50+ cold, wet, hungry, caffeine-deprived customers that a newly arrived shipment of twenty-six Wii Systems would be available in minutes. I have no idea if that poor guy ever made it out alive. All I know is Nate came home around 6:00 a.m., empty handed and with a dazed expression, mumbling something about mob mentality, rioting and Darwin’s Law.

I told Nate about an online service that sent notifications of newly arrived Wii Systems at local Wal-Marts and wouldn’t it be a nifty idea if we signed up? No, apparently we did not have time for such nonsense and besides, Nate had a plan.

And that plan went something like this:

On November 21, 2007 Nate purchased a brand new, unopened, factory-sealed, receipt-attached Wii off eBay. He paid nearly double the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Approximately 9.2 seconds after submitting his PayPal payment, he became ticked that the seller didn’t immediately respond. Through gritted teeth, I suggested that he calm the hell down and give the seller a break since it was the night before Thanksgiving. Then I left the room before I killed him.

On November 22, 2007, after Thanksgiving dinner, Nate purchased a second brand new, unopened, factory-sealed, receipt-attached Wii off eBay for a little over double the MSRP as a backup plan. I should have known something was up as he had been staring at his laptop for hours, during which time I actually touched and held the TV remote, an act that normally causes him to twitch, break out in hives and have a seizure.

Did I mention that the receipts clearly showed that both Wii Systems had been purchased from a Wal-Mart? I didn’t? Well, they did. And it was all I could do to remain vertical as I literally watched sparks fly off my body and fought the urge to dismember him right there on the spot. Then I disassociated from my earthly body and went to the Land of Denial where it’s sunshine all the time and no one bothers me and I look thin and pretty.

A couple of days later, we were the proud owners of two brand new Wii Systems. And then Nate came home from work and what do you suppose he was carrying? Flowers? Chocolate? A prescription for Xanax? No. He was carrying a third brand new, unopened, factory-sealed, receipt-attached Wii.

When he saw that I was nanoseconds from outright spontaneous combustion, he quickly explained that he had purchased this Wii for only $30 over the MSRP, no eBay/PayPal transactions were involved, and he would list the other two Wii Systems on eBay that very night and recoup our money. I questioned him as to where he got this particular Wii. Oh, funny story this one … his co-worker bought it from Wal-Mart that very day. And how did he know to go to Wal-Mart that very day for a Wii? Nate muttered something about a lucky email. Oh yeah, that extra $30? That was just to compensate his co-worker for all of his efforts in procuring a Wii for Nate. I actually don’t remember too much after this. I might have passed out.

But I’m thinking that it just may have been worth it:

He ain’t heavy …or short or overweight or prematurely gray … he’s my brother

I have a twin brother.

Not that you would know that just by looking at us. We are as different as night and day and you’d never guess we came from the same gene pool. I’m 5’2″, slightly chubby and fighting a losing battle against hair that insists on turning white no matter how many times it’s colored. He’s 6′ with not one inch of body fat on him and what few grays he has are actually silver and look distinguished, damn it all to hell.

However, at one time we did have the same nose. The wonderfully odd, bulbous, strangely disproportionate, utterly huge Psyhos nose, courtesy of our father. My nose entered a room three seconds before the rest of me did and qualified for its own zip code. But it wasn’t anything that a little plastic surgery couldn’t fix and so the one physical attribute my brother and I shared was destined to be nothing more than hazardous medical waste. Thank you God.

Story has it that we were born one minute apart. My brother took it upon his eager little self to budge me and become first born, complete with a healthy set of lungs and good color. I followed immediately afterwards with caution, trepidation and worry, whereupon the doctor took one look at me, pronounced me “tense” and whisked all 4 pounds, 12 ounces of me off to the neonatal unit for a week and thereby set the course of my life.

From the beginning, my brother was outgoing and ready for adventure. I, on the other hand, was painfully shy and constantly worried about something, anything, even if there was nothing to worry about at which point I’d find something to worry about, even if it killed me.

My mother insisted from the get go that we develop our own friendships and not depend on each other for socialization as multiples tend to do. Unless her idea of socialization included beating the snot out of each other, she had nothing to worry about. In fact, any concerns my mother had of our dependence upon each other vanished over the course of our elementary school education as it became readily apparent that not only did we not need each other, we didn’t much like each other.

And so it lasted through high school. My brother acquired a vast array of friends, maintained average grades, mowed the lawn and became one hell of an athlete. I bit my nails, worried about the economy and airplane disasters, earned excellent grades and had a small, very tight circle of close friends. And except for a couple of intermittent screaming matches and an occasional punch in the gut, we pretty much ignored each other.

I can’t remember any specific event that changed all of that, but then again, I can’t remember the names of my children so take that for what it’s worth. Maybe we just grew wiser as we grew older and figured that if Armageddon were to actually happen, as I constantly feared, it might be kind of nice to know where the other one was in case we wanted to hang out until it was over.

We’re pretty close now, even though we live on opposite coasts. We’re still as different as night and day. He’s living the single life in Las Vegas, dating women with legs up to here and hair down to there, chilling out in an ultra modern, sophisticated condo and bartending at one of the most popular clubs in town. I’m living the suburban stay-at-home mom life, juggling playdates and band concerts, battling pool algae and a possessed washing machine. And while he’s rubbing elbows with the likes of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, I’m challenging the basic principles of science by being in two places at the same time with two sets of hands and eyes in the back of my head like all the rest of the awesome moms out there.

Hey Tino … if you read this … call me. I miss you.

I married my tall, dark, handsome rebound guy

It was May, 1997. I was about six months into a separation from my husband of six years, the man who had promised to love and cherish me until death do us part or, apparently as he understood it, until he got a better offer. I must have missed that in our vows.

So I had spent the last six months gathering my wits about me, trying to scratch my way to a surface where I could breathe normally again. My co-worker MaryAnn decided that what I really needed was an adventure and what better way to get the blood pumping again than to go white water rafting down the Black River Gorge? I couldn’t think of anything better to do that Saturday so I said yes.

I met Nate (a/k/a MaryAnn’s nephew a/k/a tall, dark, handsome, soon-to-be rebound guy a/k/a my destiny) in the parking lot of the mall where we all gathered to figure out car pooling. Well, actually “met” is a bit of an overstatement. So is “said HI to.” I wasn’t paying attention to anything other than my own thoughts running amuck. How did I get myself into this situation? White water rafting was as ludicrous as climbing Mount Everest. The only sport I had ever played was golf and there was nothing extreme about it. It was no big secret that I was athletically challenged so what the hell was I doing with these people?

After arriving at the gorge, all of us ran in different directions … some to pay, some to change outfits, some to just hang out until the rest of us were ready. When we finally all came together it became immediately apparent that one of us thought pretty highly of himself. Specifically, my destiny was wearing his very own three quarter length wet suit. He looked ridiculous amongst the rest of us normal people who didn’t own our own wet suits and were therefore outfitted in the glamorous, fluorescent orange, musty smelling, one-size-fits-all full body wet suits supplied by the rafting company.

Did you know that it’s possible for a wet suit to fit so snug across your chest that it sucks the soul right out of your body while at the same time leaving enough wiggle room in your nether regions to hide a bowling ball?

I paid no attention to my destiny all decked out in shiny black and blue down to his knees. I hitched up my sagging wet suit, trying in vain to get the crotch somewhere in the vicinity above my knees and waddled my blazing neon orange droopy ass over to my co-workers who were waiting by the rafts and proceeded to listen to our guide’s survival instructions. And really, the only instruction that seemed to resonate with me was DO NOT FALL OUT OF THE RAFT. That one seemed pretty important.

We hopped into our rafts and as it turned out I wound up in a different raft than my destiny. I was in the raft with my boss and my boss’s husband, a very athletic, strapping specimen of a man who gave me his solemn vow that he would personally ensure my safety at all times. I expressed my concern to him that I NOT FALL OUT OF THE RAFT BECAUSE I COULD DIE AND I DID NOT WANT TO DIE IN THIS SUIT. He patted me on the shoulder, told me to not worry and to stick by him.

About 1/2 hour into the trip down the gorge, things were going pretty well and I started to relax a little, thinking that I might actually live to see what we were having for dinner afterwards when we hit a strong set of rapids. Our guide hollered instructions at us left and right and we feverishly tried to keep our raft afloat. I turned to my boss’s husband for assurance only to catch sight of his ass AS HE WENT FLYING OVER BACKWARDS OUT OF THE RAFT. Hello? Are you kidding me? You can just go find yourself someone else to protect, Mr. Manly Man.

So, what does all of this have to do with a tall, dark, handsome guy in a ridiculous wet suit? Not much, but we had met. At a pivotal time in both of our lives. We knew the other existed. And that was all MaryAnn needed as she became the social director of my pathetic excuse of a life. She organized activities for her family and friends and one volleyball night later, my destiny emailed me at work. A very short email in which he briefly commented on the volleyball, asked about an upcoming soccer game and wished me a nice day. Having been out of the dating game for awhile, MaryAnn and my boss sought to ease my way back in by helping me draft an appropriate response – polite but not too forward, leaving the door open but not yanking him inside: yes, volleyball was fun; yes, we would all be at the soccer game and hey, you have a nice day too.

Eventually, we got better at composing interesting emails.

And then at a soccer game, I committed a major faux pas by making the first move and asking him out on an actual date – drinks after the game. From the expressions on MaryAnn’s and my boss’s faces, you would have thought that I propositioned the pope. WHAT IN GOD’S NAME WAS I THINKING? DID I NOT REALIZE HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED?

We dated.

Everyone was happy that I had a transitional man.

But then we fell in love.

I was breaking rules all over the place and MaryAnn was just beside herself. Just what in the hell did I think I was doing? Did I not know anything? YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR TRANSITIONAL MAN. THEY ARE CALLED TRANSITIONAL FOR A REASON. GET A GRIP ON YOURSELF.

We married almost 2 years later.

We’ve been married just about 9 years now.

The tall, dark, handsome, soon-to-be rebound guy wearing the shiny blue and black three quarter length wet suit was my soul mate in disguise.

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