Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lessons from Max

Max has lived with us for one year now. 

I am not really a dog person. I don't like dog smell, I don't like dog hair, I don't like dog slobber, I don't like dog noises. 

Like babies, in a general sense I think they are awesome, and I probably think yours is cute, but I don't want more of my own and spend a lot of time wishing people wouldn't bring them to grocery stores.

I am, however, a Max person. I loved that face the moment I saw it and he loves me with a level of devotion that is both enlightening and exasperating. 

He started school two weeks ago because he barks menacingly at children, visitors, waitresses, people in my space, bigger dogs at the dog park, and generally doesn't listen when it doesn't suit him. Now that he knows there is no chance of becoming a street dog again, he feels comfortable enough to act like a jerk. 

That face though!

The first week went...okay. He couldn't move past the thought that a gathering of dogs should have been a puppy playdate and he was unmotivated by treats. He was mildly obsessed with a Labradoodle and would alternate between trying to play and barking aggressively about not playing. He had to be separated from the group a few times. The trainer had a little girl try to feed him a piece of bacon and he was not having it, not even for bacon. 

I was pretty impressed at the few things he did manage, though, and felt like the first week is rarely better than okay. We left hopeful.

The second week went...less okay. He pooped on a sidewalk. He decided he didn't like the new dog in the group. He did very few of the tasks because he was busy expressing his interest/anger over the new dog (a Doberman that could have eaten him in two bites). He had to be separated from the group. He did accept a piece of bacon from one child but when the child from last week offered him some on the second round, he barked at her and refused to take it. 

He is the star of the show and not in a good way. 

At the end, his trainer (who is very knowledgable, positive and encouraging) made a comment like, "After all, they say your dog is only as screwed up as you are." (I may be misquoting her -- I was hot, covered in bacon grease, and holding a bag of poop.)

Thanks, Max. 

We have two weeks left and I'm not all that hopeful. 

As we got into the car, I was thirsty, regretting the money I'd spent, and annoyed that I was the one taking this project on. 

And then I looked over and saw this: 


He was so happy to be trying something new. He looked so proud of himself and full of joy and gratitude for the opportunity. He did not care whether or not he looked like an idiot in front of the others. Then he drank all of the water from my cup with his impossibly long tongue. 

We should all be so lucky. 

My dog is as screwed up as I am and I'm in good company because of it.

Maybe we'll improve and maybe we won't but we will try to have fun trying. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Missing My Me

Lately I feel like my creativity is dying a long, drawn-out, choking for air, slowly suffocating kind of death.

I'd love to blame the kids since they are easy and distracting scapegoats, but let's face it, they're also my biggest inspiration. I was in a physical funk of feeling constantly sick for about a month, but I'm over that now too -- clean lab work, a round of steroids, and the threat of an MRI fixed me right up. I'm tempted to blame the decline of blogging industry-wide but what we have done here has always been more for me than anyone or anything else. I'd say I have nothing to write about, but the crazy disjointed text messages of conversational snippets I send to myself proves that is a lie.

I feel busy but not in a good way; the other day a good friend pointed out that, much like a hamster on a wheel, I'm constantly running to get to a place that might not even exist and that what I'm trying to have may not even be what I actually want. I need to get back to doing the things that make me happy and let the rest fall into place around that. 

I feel like my "me" is fading.

I feel like keeping my "me" bright and shiny is so hard as a mom, wife, worker and grown-up but maybe it's hard for everyone everywhere and those are just the things I blame. 

I feel like less "me" gets through life easier and then wonder why that is.

I feel like creating an editorial calendar or a blog re-design or a weekly schedule of topics or broadening the subjects I write on -- but, really, I just need to write whatever I want to write. 

And then I'm all, "Don't promise them that you'll write because what if your me doesn't want to?" but my me needs to do things she doesn't want to do. Also, I'm not promising you anything.

And I'm all, "Don't tell them that we're in search of our me! Tell them something amusing about the kids. Make a Kardashian joke. Bring the drawbridge up and fortify ourselves with funny while we figure this out!" but I think that's part of the problem. We've always been about me trying to figure out my me, and hoping it brings some amusement/familiarity/understanding to your you along the way, and lately I've been hiding my me.

I sat down to write a vacation wrap-up post and this is the most awkward and confusing vacation wrap-up post in the world, so we'll try that again later. While we're looking for me. And it won't always be pretty and it won't always be perfect and it won't always be funny and it won't always come out right, and that's exactly how it should be. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

First Week of Summer

I survived the end of the school year. It was dicey there at the end. I skipped out on an end of the year teacher gift and went with a handwritten note from little kid instead -- I feel bad because she was great but my doctor advised me to skip all extra stress once I explained my out of fucks to give dilemma.

I am my own doctor, by the way.

Mr. Ashley's work was sending him away for some job training, so we hitched a ride with him, crashed in his hotel room and are making it a vacation. I bet he's thrilled. I would have sworn there was strict company policy against it and rolled around in the hotel bed ALONE, so GLORIOUSLY alone, but he's nicer than me, I guess.

Or not as smart.

So the boys and I are exploring Jacksonville and St. Augustine for the next few days, all by ourselves. Wish us luck -- and by us, I mean me, because I'm outnumbered, out of my element, and naps will be tricky to pull off here.

In a few weeks, I'll probably have to go out of town for work which means I'll book the cheapest local hotel I can find, lie, and hide from them all while doing no work at all.

But so far so good.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Early Dismissal

I'm finished with the school year.

It doesn't officially end until next Wednesday, but I have zero fucks left to give. Zero.

I am not worried about letting anyone down when it comes to end of the year parties, teacher gifts, summer reading lists, turning random shit in, etc. I am not worried. At all. About any of it.

Today I chaperoned a field trip (I know, I know) and there were still 30 minutes left in the school day when we returned. I asked his teacher if she cared if I took little kid home then and she said she did not -- I secretly suspect she's all out of fucks now, too.

As I was checking him out, the front desk lady asked, "And what is the reason for the early dismissal?"

I realized they wanted a legitimate excuse. I'm not against lying on a good day, but I didn't even have that left in me.

"I'm just done. It's the end of the day, it's the end of the year, and I'm done now. I'm done." She stared at me for a moment of shocked silence. She looked conflicted about what to do next.

"Can you write that on the thing? Mom's done. I just chaperoned a field trip if that..."

"Oh, yeah. You're done then. Go home and have a cold glass of iced tea," she said with a laugh and we both know she meant a big glass of wine.

Because we're all done by now.

Anyone who isn't is a lying liar who is lying through their lie hole.


(I do still reserve the right to complain during the summer about how these kids are driving me crazy.)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sex Ed

I’m supposed to be writing an article but the downside to writing professionally is that if you’re not feeling it, it’s incredibly hard to do. I’ve been sick all weekend and I’ve also been self-diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue of Everyone Else’s Shit syndrome so I’m tired and none of that is my fault.

But anyway.

Today Big Kid got in the car and said, “For the rest of the school year, we’re studying health instead of science. So I opened my new book and on the very first page, I saw a sentence talking about warts on penises, mom. That’s what I’m dealing with. Should be a great way to wrap up the year!”

“OH MY--” little kid exclaimed.

“Well, sex education is important. The warts thing is a sexually transmitted disease and that’s why it’s important to always wear a condom,” I said, never missing an opportunity to scare or embarrass my special snowflakes.

“Mom!--” Big Kid began as little kid asked, “What’s a comdon?”

“A condom is something the man wears during sex to prevent pregnancy or disease -- every single time, no matter what. I will make sure you’ll both have more than you’ll ever need as you get to that age. Instead of a candy bowl, we’ll have a condom bowl!”

“Mom!!”

“How does the boy wear it though?” little kid asked. “What is it?”

“Like a rubber sock for your penis, kind of. You’ll learn to put one on a banana or something as you get older.”

“Oh Jesus. Can we stop NOW? Mom? Can we resume this conversation, like, never? Ever?”

“What? I just want to make sure you guys can talk to me about anything. It’s important to keep the line of conversation open.”

“Well, excuse me for not wanting to talk about rubber socks for my penis with my mom.”

“See why sex ed in school is important?”

 Mission accomplished, one way or another.

Now do you think I can pitch this piece as the childhood literacy post I’m supposed to be writing?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

National Twerking Day

Imagine if Michael Scott from the Office was a Chippendale dancer.

That is little kid's preferred style of dancing. It's both hilarious and horrifying. However, some nights I just can't deal and tonight was one of those nights.

 "Could you stop? That's enough. Really. You're just too weird."

 "If I was the president, I'd make National Twerking Day a holiday," he replied.

 Big Kid quickly interjected. "Congress would have to approve it first to get a national holiday like that passed. And Congress can't agree on anything, which would be a good thing for once." 

Agreed. But just in case, keep your fingers crossed that little kid doesn't end up in the White House.