Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Imposter

Am I the only person who does not, and will not ever, take her children to see the Easter Bunny at the mall?

I think it is beyond creepy--some guy in a fake looking rabbit suit? Some dude who can't even talk? And I'm supposed to take my children there, present this creature to them as the magical, mystical Easter bunny and pay $20 for a photo of them looking frightened and bewildered as they sit on this thing's lap?

How would I explain that the Easter bunny has time to chill out in various malls all Spring? Why he looks different every time you see him? With Santa, it's clear that mall Santas are really Santa's magical helpers who dress up to bring joy to the children of the world while Santa gets his work done up at the North Pole. But the bunny suit would make Big Kid suspicious. He would never buy it. The mall Easter bunny could possibly ruin Santa, the Tooth Fairy and all of the other crazy stuff we lie about and I just can't risk that.

Plan A is to avoid the mall altogether but my back-up plan involves throwing the Easter bunny imposter under the bus if the need arises. If the kids ask me about it, I'm saying it's a stranger in a bunny suit posing for pictures for money and that I think it's weird.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Play Dates

Boys everywhere, people lining up to shower with me, fights breaking out, random nudity, loud conversations that make no sense, sun-burned skin and wet bathing suits all over the place--that's right, it's Spring Break time!

The only thing missing is Mexican bartenders and Tequila!

(But I have until the end of the week to find some of both.)

Big Kid has had two play dates this week, both with the same child, both drop-off events with little interaction between us parents. That's what I've wanted!!

The other mom seems nice, but like a very serious person. I was lying in bed last night thinking of how well the situation was going when I started thinking--what if she has a blog and is writing somewhere about how her kid's new friend's mom is a total nut job? Like this time I'm the crazy one, and a bunch of Martha Stewart wannabes are in another corner of the internet wrinkling their noses and urging her to run fast and far?

Wouldn't that be funny?

(No, not really)

I think I acted remarkably normal around her, but Bus Stop Mom probably thinks she acted normal around me, so who knows?

The first play date was at the other child's house and poor little kid had terrible play date envy. They had a cool backyard set-up and little kid surveyed the tree fort and zip line and swing set as we picked Big Kid up and he kept squeezing my hand and trying to pull me further into their yard. When we got in the car, he was sad.

little kid being sad upset Big Kid greatly. "Ya know, I don't know why they didn't invite little kid. Aiden knows little kid and he knows he's a nice little boy. If you're invitin' a boy and he has a brudder, you should invite the brudder, ya know?"

"Not really. You two will have different friends as you grow up. Don't go bringing that up; you and Aiden are class mates and he doesn't have to invite your brother."

"He should though. That's all I'm sayin'."

Sure enough, Big Kid made sure to mention it once we had Aiden over. "Hey, I was wonderin' how come you didn't invite my brudder to your house. He's really fun and he likes you too." little kid stood nearby beaming with happiness. I quickly changed the subject. I'm pretty sure Aiden was oblivious to the whole thing. Now I feel nervous for the next play date and the possibility of Big Kid confronting Aiden's mom while I'm not around.

little kid really enjoyed having Big Kid's friend over, but is determined to have a play date of his own soon.

"We'll have Georgia over," I promised.

"No! Okay, we will! But first step is I gotta go to her house. You drop me off at her house and I stay for a play date. 'k? You know where she lives? You gonna call her mumum? I go a-day."

"Not today. You can have play dates at our home. We will invite her over, probably with her mom because you two are awfully young, and then maybe they will invite us to their house one day."

"'at's not gonna wook. For a play date, you gots to be dropped off wifout your mumum. You find out where Georgia lives, 'k?"

I said I would but we all know play date politics just don't work like that. Unfortunately.

Even though it has stirred up some jealousy in little kid, I'm really glad Big Kid has found a little boy buddy. Let's all hope his new friend's mom isn't blogging somewhere about what a weirdo I am.

Dear Pearl,

You are my one true love.

Don't tell the kids, but it is your love that is an inspiration to me. You are patient and kind. You insist that we stay close, even when I don't have the time or inclination. You only ask for a bit of attention from me and cause no trouble at all. You are intelligent enough to wait until your competition is in bed before gently demanding your own time. Just sitting near me is enough to end your day happily.

But here I am, letting a strange 2-year-old terrorize you. I am babysitting her. Early in the day. And she really likes cats.

I know you don't really like kids (and I feel you, girl, I really do) and I realize she's slow to take a hint but you're relatively safe up there on the counter, staring her down with eyes of death, and I believe you know that three kids may be slightly beyond my ability. All three of them are being good and she's no trouble at all, it just feels like they are everywhere and it is kind of early and my brain is a little bit overwhelmed.

So, please accept this public recognition of your good duty as payment for your accomplishments as co-babysitter.

And tonight, when you nudge my hands away from my laptop as you attempt to curl up on its keyboard for warmth and attention, I promise not to breathe all heavy and call you a 'bitch' under my breath.


P.S. She's coming back tomorrow...are you available?

P.P.S. I'm dead serious about you and me and that deserted island with internet connection. Just give me time to find one, okay?

Friday, March 26, 2010

An Old Soul, Say?

The other day Big Kid told me that he had left a note for me in the computer room.

When I went to check it out, I found this:

It says:
"Dear mom,
I am always thinking about redeyed tree frog's. Pherhap's you can write about them.

Q: Do they have to be green?"

(that part is typed, where the rest was written with the drawing tool in MS Paint.)

This is so Big Kid--a glimpse inside his quirky, obsessed mind and proof that he says weird stuff like 'perhaps'.

Not long ago, he lost his favorite stuffed animal, a red-eyed tree frog named Zumby. He was devastated and became completely fixated on Zumby and red-eyed tree frogs in general. He drew frogs, wrote stories about frogs, made missing posters of frogs, talked non-stop about Zumby and red-eyed tree frogs.

Mr. Ashley and I were worried that Zumby may have been left in a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale and were feeling a little sick about the whole thing. Then Mr. Ashley found him while we were moving and I thought the fixation could finally end. But no, red-eyed tree frogs are still haunting Big Kid's brain.

He googles them. He watches YouTube videos of them. He still draws them and talks about them...a lot.

But anyway, his plea for tales of red-eyed tree frogs seriously amused me. I opened a new document in MS Paint and wrote the first half of a story about red-eyed tree frogs and told him to come write the rest.

He leaned forward to begin reading and looked irritated. He glanced at me, face scrunched in displeasure and turned back to reading. "Uh..."

"What, Big Kid? You don't like my story or that you have to do the rest, or what?" I was annoyed with his attitude. My idea was a good one.

"No, it's just--What font did you use? It just isn't lookin' good. I don't wanna hurt your feelings, I just don't know why it's gotta look like this...what made you pick it?" He looked mildly disgusted.

"That was just the default font...I don't know what that is, I thought you picked it." I felt confused. It was an unattractive font--but he's six. What six-year-old cares about font? I wrote him a story about red-eyed tree frogs and he's giving me dirty looks over the font?

He looked relieved. "Oh, so I can change it? I was wonderin'..." He quickly switched the font to Arial and started typing the end of the story. (and it did look better.)

And this next part is so bizarre I hesitate to even share it, but he's been saying "say?" at the end of sentences W.C. Fields or something. "It's a good idea, say?" or "So you like Looney Tunes, say?" I don't know if he's going for a Canadian thing and mishearing "eh?" or what's going on there.

Where would he have heard this?? How did I get a 6-year-old senior citizen?

Willy Wonka

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is the best movie in the whole world.

I may have said that about Annie in the past (and I do love me some Annie) but Willy Wonka is my true favorite.

I found it on the library shelf the other day and was practically jumping up and down with excitement. The kids looked on, unimpressed.

"We seen 'at." little kid reminded me.

"We've seen it a lot. Prob'ly 20 times." Big Kid added.

"I don't care, it's my favorite."

"Whose card will it go on?" Big Kid asked, not wanting my movie to count against his 6. I looked at little kid.

"Not mine, mumum."

"On my card! Geez, who even cares? You guys get 12 movies, I can only get 6! And daddy likes grown-up movies." little kid ended up wanting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and it was PG (which he can't rent on his card), so we worked out a deal.

And I've watched it every single day and feel sad about returning it on Tuesday.

I have Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on DVD but Johnny Depp can bite me.

(no really, he can. I'd probably like that)

It's just nowhere near as good. Not even on the same spectrum of wonderfulness. The Oompa Loompa situation in the new movie was a huge disappointment.

And you know what? My kids get sucked into Willy Wonka every single time, whether they've seen it 20 times or not. It's every kid's biggest fantasy! It's timeless!

I think my favorite movies of all time list is as follows:
1. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
2. Annie
3. Pulp Fiction
4. Reservoir Dogs
5. Wizard of Oz

I'm disturbed by how many kids movies are on that list. 6 and 7 would probably be kids movies too (Up and Where the Wild Things Are). Hmmmm. Goodfellas, the Jerk and Forrest Gump would be in the top 10 though. So, 50/50 kid/adult movie ratio. I don't think that's bad. I was a kid once.

This post brought to you by a boring rainy day!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thanks Kids

little kid cannot stand that I have a migraine.

He insists on leaning up against me, kissing my arm every few seconds, asking me how my headache is and wishing headaches didn't exist. It's very sweet, but every time I explain that I need a little quiet time he explains that he needs a doughnut.

And I feel for him, I really do. It must be terrible to want a doughnut so badly, probably almost as bad as feeling like the pressure inside of your head is going to force your eyeballs out of your cranium.

In the midst of this discussion, Big Kid burst from their bathroom and began shuffling to the other side of the house.

"What are you doing?" I asked, curious but not really caring.

"Using your bathroom!"

"Please don't! Use your own. That's my space."

"I can't poop in there! The water level is too low. No way."


"In the toilet! Trust me, I'm gonna need a lot of water. I'm using your bathroom!" he yelled as he galloped into my bedroom.

I was going to go hide in there, but now that plan is ruined.


For the sake of some of my Facebook friends, I really hope mental health is covered under the new health care law.

You would all be AMAZED at some of the barely literate, practically incomprehensible, completely bat shit insane status updates I've managed to ignore. I deserve a gold star for good behavior.

Not ONE word in the past 8 years about this asinine war that we're fighting but now they are being stolen from and think that the threats of physical violence against congressmen are warranted.

Spending trillions of dollars to kill strangers? Yes, that's fine. Patriotic even! But don't you dare tax our right to indoor tanning, motherfuckers!!

One summed it up quite nicely, "Great. 35 million people will have access to health care but now I AM SCREWED!! Real fair, Obama!"

Yeah! Fuck those 35 million irresponsible shit heads. Let's send them over to Iraq and blow them up. Problem solved.

Here's a great summary
of what the health care reform means for the next 5 years. I personally can't wait to round up all of the elderly for the death camps. My city will be practically empty!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


George Bush shakes hands with a Haitian...and then wipes his hand on Bill Clinton's shirt:

He's so much funnier now that he's not in charge of anything.

P.S. The longer version of this clip is even more amusing because you see Bill surrounded by the people of Haiti and he's genuinely listening to them, putting his arms around them, shaking hands with and hugging them and there's George hiding by the white SUV until someone escorts him into the crowd to be infected with the Haitian cooties that he quickly wipes on to Bill's shirt. Next time just send your dad, Dubya!


I just saw bus stop mom again. I was letting Big Kid ride the bus until the lease officially ran out on the other place but bus riding ends today because I just can't risk it any longer.

I had a bad feeling when I pulled up, so I immediately put a book up to my face once I put the car into park. I don't know what made me think that would protect me but I soon saw movement in my side mirror and knew she was approaching. I continued reading. She stood at my closed window and stared at me. I looked up, acted surprised and rolled my window down.

And I tried to remember it all for you. I know how you all liked her and I no longer had any fear about her discovering me online somehow. But God damn if I know what she was talking about.

"You should turn your car off," she said, resting her arms on the car window opening, slapping her hands against the inside near my door handle. "I'm not trying to tell you what to do, it's just that I've been there and I've done it and I actually calculated the savings, you know? I'm not just saying whatever, I know that it adds up and you should turn your car off. I needed to talk to you anyway." She waits.

"Oh. I usually--now that it's nice out I mean to but..." but I can't roll my windows down for fear you'll harass me. I left my car running.

"We had colds. I've been waiting for you. I thought I should stay away so you don't get sick, I've been waiting because I would never want that to happen to you. I'm not like that. I didn't want to let it go this long. I just wanted to tell you, while you move and stuff, if you're comfortable--and if you're not I understand--I could take little kid to my house."

"Oh, thank you--"

"But I know that might be difficult. I'm not saying you would ever do that or ever allow your little kid to go off with strangers so instead we'll come to your house and I'll watch him while you unpack and I can talk to you and help. We've been meaning to come over and I tried to call you, did you get my message?"

"Oh! Uh, no, no I didn't. I lost my job and that was their phone. So, no."

"I have to ask you a favor." She leans into my window and waits.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I'm screaming on the inside. "....okay?"

"I know you used to work in real estate and these people told me things about the people who own this place and these other people moved in upstairs, which was fine, I have no problem with that but these other people--Well, let me start from the beginning. Her father wants me to get a job and as you know, and I'm not saying this because you lost your job and most likely won't find a new job and I don't mean that you weren't good at what you do, you know? Don't take this as anything like that, like I'm trying to tell you that you weren't good at your job but he wants me to work full time and I'm like 'why should I work full time when child support covers my expenses' and we'll never agree on a childcare provider, do you know what I'm saying? That it's the best thing and I won't let history repeat itself. That always happens with women, you know? I'm not saying you'll ever get a divorce or that I think you should! No, that's not what I'm saying at all, your marriage seems just fine!"

and it went on and on. I couldn't keep track of it, even for you all. Something about twin beds, a lot about lawyers, stuff about Asian culture. I don't even know. She never asked me for the favor, we never came back around to the original story about the people upstairs or why my real estate expertise was needed, I truly have no idea what this conversation was about. Fifteen minutes later I interrupted her and said, "I'm sorry to interrupt but I've got to get home and get dinner started."

"Well then, I need your new phone number."

"Uh, my phone number? Oh yeah. That's the thing about my phone number that my phone--I got a pay-as-you-go phone, thinking it would be cheap and easy but it, it broke. It doesn't work at all. I'd give you the number but I don't know if they'll give me a new phone and a new number or...I need to call them. I'll call you. I've got your number." (this is all a lie.)

"What's your home number?"

"We don't have one. We got rid of it when we moved."

"Oh. Your his cell phone a work phone? Because--"

"Yes, it's his company phone. That customers call him on. He sometimes doesn't even have it, his partner has it sometimes." (and another lie.)

"Oh. Well, call me then but make sure you do. I'll come over and--hey! Now that you have nothing to do, you could write a book about me! I have a very interesting life, I'm serious, or about mothers--you know, some who are married and some who aren't and some of the crazy situations they're in."

"......huh. Yeah. That could be interesting. Talk to you soon." and I rolled up my window and got the fuck out of there.

And that's it. Never, ever again. For real this time.

I met my across the street neighbor, who seems like the type of person I wanted bus stop mom to be. She's friendly, outgoing, talkative and seems like she will make sure we become friends through persistence BUT there are no outward signs of craziness this time. However, I'm a little bit scared of her because of the bus stop mom fiasco and find myself avoiding the outdoors because she's always out there. She drinks wine and seems laid back. She walks four miles around the neighborhood each day and invited me to join her. It's a nice offer, but what would we talk about for four miles? Also, four miles is about 3 miles too long for me. 3.5 miles too long on some days.

I'm afraid of moms that live nearby now. I want to give Neighborhood Mom a chance, but I'm not ready for a commitment or any more craziness.

I would like to start going outside again though.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


On August 23, 2010, my wildest fantasy will come true.

I will have 2 children in school.

little kid will only be there for 3 hours a day but I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT THOSE 3 HOURS. I get goose bumps just thinking about that. I can go to the pool and read a book! I can go to the beach without bringing 45 pounds of stuff and 3 bottles of sunscreen! When I expressed this joy to Mr. Ashley, I could tell it hadn't occurred to him that I may use this time for leisure. He looked apprehensive and maybe a little annoyed. "That's not fair," he said joking-but-not.

We tricked the Lutherans into taking little kid for their pre-k program. You may remember that the Jews taught Big Kid the foundation of almost everything he knows. They were awesome, but the Lutherans are very near our house and I think little kid could use a little Jesus in his life. The Lutherans seem very nice and they liked us very much. We were on our very best behavior. little kid did insist on bringing his vintage Transformer in and they all thought he was adorable with his cowboy boots and his toy. He also built an elaborate animal train out of Lego and plastic animals while we chatted. The director was impressed with his imaginative construction skills and hoped he would teach the other children. Ha! Wait until he's taking your stuff apart and teaching the other four year olds to curse, sucker!

But I didn't say that, of course. I agreed that he was VERY imaginative and VERY creative.

I may dance the entire half mile to the community pool each week day, starting August 23. My neighbors will watch me leap and pirouette and rumba down the sidewalk, with nothing but a towel and a book and the pool key. He's standing here breathing down my neck as I type this. He just honked my nose, even though that is expressly forbidden because I hate it more than anything. He's already reminded me twice that I'm not cleaning up if I'm on the computer and he just peered into my face and yelled "A POOL IS HEATED, YA KNOW!" He is telling me that we will talk about puppies on our way to the pool. I guess we're going soon.

153 days until freedom.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Don't worry, I didn't run away. I ended up being super busy. I don't have much to say about that, so here's some interesting reading material:

Results oriented work environments--I think this is an awesome idea. More flexibility and enjoyment in the lives of employees, less overhead for employers, and probably more productivity. Being a big socializer, I get far more work done at home (or I did when I had a job...) than I would if I was chatting up co-workers, taking lengthy bathroom breaks, making trips to the water cooler and starting to pack up my stuff at 4:45 p.m. each day.

Space walk description--Wow! He does a pretty good job describing something that must be indescribable. I wish I could go. It sounds quiet up there and I like quiet.

Math + Fantasy= Alice in Wonderland--I thought this was pretty interesting. I love Alice in Wonderland and I hate math. I'm glad Lewis Carroll was subtle about it.

True story of Zeitoun
--I've been meaning to read the book Dave Eggers wrote about this guy, but now I'm afraid it would make me very angry. Unbelievable.

Bedazzle your vag
--No really, don't. This is the dumbest waste of money I have ever heard of, I don't think it looks that good and frankly, I think it would be uncomfortable during sexy time.

Ellen rocks--She gave a college scholarship to the lesbian student whose entire prom was canceled because she was bringing her girlfriend as a date. Seriously--fuck the Itawamba County School District. Ignorant bastards. A hotel owner has offered to host a private prom for the school but whatever "grown-ups" decided canceling prom was the reasonable solution should lose all future decision-making abilities since they are obviously idiots.

Tea Partiers--Clearly these are classy, reasonable people and are the perfect group to reform our nation to its former greatness. And they aren't racists or bigots! Gentlemen and scholars, every one of them. (/sarcasm)

Owl cam--this is not an article, but we need something warm and sweet and fuzzy so we can forget about the Tea Party trash. So, here's a live feed of an owl waiting for her eggs to hatch. Awwwww!

I'm heading to the pool to work on some skin cancer. I hope you all are having a nice weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I'm in the bedroom folding laundry.

I can hear the kids screaming in the family room and I'm 98% sure I heard a cat puking somewhere out there too.

I'm the only grown-up here, meaning I'm supposed to deal with it...but I'm feeling pretty tired.

What do you think my chances are of escaping out the window unnoticed?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Proposition Uranus

Big Kid's homework last night involved reading a book about planets and I got to thinking--when Pluto lost its classification as a planet, we should have had it switch names with Uranus.

Because who wants to talk about Uranus?

I don't want my kid talking about Uranus. I don't want to hear fun facts about Uranus. I don't need to know that Uranus is 4 times wider than the earth. I am not interested in hearing that Uranus has 12 rings.

Don't try to pronounce it as "Uriness" either, that just gets everyone thinking about Uranus even more.

It would just be way less awkward if Pluto had been allowed to stay and it was Uranus that was kicked out.

Tricks and Traps

The leprechauns came last night and played some tricks on us, as they do every year around this time.

They left Lucky Charms and Irish Spring soap and buttons and cards and coins, and put a chair up on the center island.

They put my flip flops in the fridge.

They tied Big Kid's backpack to a chair with toilet paper.

They filled the sink with green easter grass and stuck the boys' toothbrushes to the mirror.

They barricaded the boys' door with pool noodles.

They blocked the front door with chairs. (I guess those sneaky little bastards aren't familiar with fire safety violations!) And they dyed our milk green.

little kid is furious.

He can't be convinced that this was all in good fun. He thinks this was an adversarial move on their part and he will seek vengeance.

He stomped around with his hands on his hips inspecting their work. "Your shoes are in our 'frigerator? That's it! I'm gonna catch that lepocon and beat his brass for this!"

"What did you say? You're going to beat his what?"



Eventually the story began to evolve.

"I saw 'em. I saw the lepocons."

"Oh yeah?"

"No you didn't!" yelled Big Kid.

"Yep. He was gween."

"It was probably a black man," Big Kid speculated. (wtf, Big Kid?)

"No, he was gween."

"Was he wearing a hat?"


"A green top hat with a belt around it and a buckle?"


"Did he have a beard?"


"An orange one?"


"Was he real short?"


"Mom, I think he really saw a leprechaun! Man, I wish I saw the leprechauns."

"There was lots of 'em. They was havin' a party, IN OUR HOUSE! I caught one wif a net but he got away. Next year I'm gonna get one and keep him! But I gonna need some help with 'at, k mumum?"

little kid is also convinced they stole some of our bananas and he's angry about the mess made with the easter grass. He found a small hole in the screen door and he's pretty sure that's how they got in. "Our first clue!" he shouted.

He will begrudgingly admit that it was nice that they left M&Ms, but they'd better watch their brasses next year.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Following Sean

I just finished watching Following Sean, a movie about a man who was originally filmed in the '60s as a 4 year old running around alone in Haight Ashbury, bragging about smoking grass and how he could identify a speed freak. The stuff he was saying was crazy, but he was completely adorable and spoke candidly with a child's perspective of a grown up world.

When the film came out, people (understandably) freaked out about this child and his future. He would surely be a druggie! A degenerate! THIS kid and his family were the ruin of America! THIS is what those damn hippies were producing!

So the film maker decided to find him again and filmed him throughout his adulthood.

And he ended up just fine. Smart and kind and hard-working and still kind of adorable. Boringly normal almost.

I'm not saying we should all give our kids pot and let them run around alone (that would be a total waste of pot), but I think it was a cool example of how resilient and malleable kids can be as they grow up. He did all that, lived through it, grew up and out of it and appears to have a very conventional life. There are people with good parents and normal families that grow up to be serial killers or politicians.

You just never really can tell what you're going to get.

You should watch it (I didn't ruin it by telling you what I have. His life and family and everyone's perspective are the interesting part of the footage) and feel better about your parenting abilities, and the chance that your children may end up normal after all.

Non-Working Mom

I've been pissing little kid off a lot lately; so much so that he told me the other day that he wished he had a different mumum. I pointed out how incredibly rude that was and angrily asked how he would feel if I walked around saying I wished I had a different baby. "It would hurt your feelings, wouldn't it?"

"Um, I mean a toy mumum. I want a mumum who is a toy instead of a real one." He said it sort of sarcastically, like I wasn't smart enough to figure out what he had meant the first time, but I think he felt bad and realized being replaced by a toy would be less hurtful than competing with a real person.

I pointed out that if he had a toy mom, he would have broken her long ago and that I have had many toy babies and had had better luck with those.

Today as we walked to the community pool, he was telling me all about how his work friend's mom died and how he hoped he would get a new one soon and that she would be nice.

(Did I tell you all that the work friends who were eaten by polar bears are back from being dead? And that they live in this neighborhood and he was going to have to help them move but they ended up having enough people? That they have 25 Transformer trucks and that they paved all of the roads and sidewalks in our new community? I haven't met them but they sound pretty amazing.)

I told him that it didn't really work that way and have been wondering ever since if he's been thinking about replacing me. Getting laid off from two jobs in a row would really suck.

He was completely overjoyed to hear that I would no longer be working. He hooted and hollered and cheered as I tried to smile through tears. I did present it as a good thing, "Hey, I don't have to work any more!" but he would have taken it that way no matter what, even though it didn't change things too drastically for him anyway since I was only working part time from home.

The other day I was taking a bath and I heard him tell Mr. Ashley, "I can always count on my mom and dad." (He says heart-meltingly sweet stuff like this all the time. I think it's a survival instinct.)

"Awwww, that's right. You can always count on your family," Mr. Ashley answered.

"I only wish you guys didn't have wook," he said, sounding sad.

"But mama doesn't work any more!"

"Yeah, but she been lookin' for a new job and I don't like my mumum wookin. I like her just bein' my mumum."

That was one of the days I didn't have internet and took him to our vacant house to borrow some wireless. He kept asking why I had to be on the computer if I didn't have to work and I told him I was looking for work. He had no reaction at the time, but it broke my heart to hear that it had bothered him.

I jumped right out of the tub to hug him and promise him that I was just looking for writing jobs that would let me stay home with him and to tell him that I love being his mom. Yay! he said.

Sweet, right?

Then several days later in the car he said, "Mumum, you could use Big Kid's 'puter. To look for a job. I know you don't got a good 'puter now but Big Kid does."

I felt crushed that he was worrying about it. Although I bitch here, there and everywhere about all kinds of stuff, I truly do try to shield the kids from my worries.

"It's okay, honey. I'm not even worried about a job that much, you know? Summer's coming, we'll go to the beach and the pool..."

"I'm sayin' maybe you can get a job."

"Baby, don't worry about it! You're being so silly. Daddy has a good job and we have everything we need. I don't want you--"

"If you had a job you could buy me some toys."

And then it all made sense. Moments earlier I had refused to buy him an Avatar toy from Publix and that was enough to end the "I'm so glad my mumum doesn't wook!" phase of his life.

I wouldn't take him to the zoo the other day (because we had been to the zoo the day before) and he again suggested that I get a job.

It really is a lot like an abusive relationship--with him as the abuser. He's controlling and manipulative and hates to let me out of his sight.

It's a good thing he provides an endless supply of comedic material, cuddling and compliments.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Since we're broke, we decided to give up television once we moved and I was really worried about that for a while. How would my children thrive without the companionship, supervision and education from their nanny-in-a-box?

I'm a couple of weeks into it now and not only is it going way better than expected, there have been some benefits I hadn't considered.

We've been getting DVDs from the library and Netflix. We get a good mix of tv shows and movies and we can each get 6 and keep them for one week. Here's what's been awesome:

1. No endless reruns of iCarly. I love iCarly but I'm pretty sure we've seen every single one ever made at least 70 times. Big Kid would have to watch them every time they were on but doesn't seem to miss them at all now that they aren't available as constant background noise. Also, it's like the Jonas Brothers were never even born. That's a good thing.

2. I have more control over what's watched. This isn't always true because every once in a while a Pokemon sneaks through, but for the most part we've been watching great television. The kids are hooked on cartoons like the Flintstones, Jetsons, Animaniacs, Loony Tunes, and the Simpsons and have enjoyed movies like the Neverending Story and Princess Bride. We watch Blue Planet and nature documentaries. And we like it, because that's what's on!

3. There are no advertisements. Ever. I have not heard ONE "Can I have that?" since we've moved here. It's nice to watch shows without evil corporations reaching out to my kids every other minute.

4. It's fun to watch things in order. I've been watching the Office on DVD lately and I just got to the one where Jim first told Pam he loves her and kissed her. (*swoon*) I missed that one somehow (season 2, casino party) and it was even sweeter after watching their flirtations gradually progress from season 1 episode 1. I've also been watching a lot of stuff I wouldn't normally pay attention to and loved (most of) it.

5. It's easy to turn it off since things come to a stopping point. I have been reading more and the kids have been playing more. They spend time looking at National Geographics and kid magazines they get, which were quickly forgotten about before.

I'm amazed at how little we miss satellite television. The kids haven't complained one time, it's like they haven't even noticed. Also, now I can be one of those holier-than-thou anti-television moms and can put "restricting outside media influences" on my competitive motherhood score card.

All of that for $70 less each month.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Morning Dreams

"So, how's your day?" little kid asked after spending all of Saturday morning terrorizing the entire household. He asks this several times a day, every single day.

"Not so great." I answered.

"No, you s'posed to say 'good'," he insisted.

"It's not that good, little kid. Today is like every other day and that's a real bummer. You and your brother are fighting, your dad is at work, you're making a mess, no one will listen--I'm tired and frustrated and need a break. I'd like to be having a nice Saturday."

"Well, maybe one day wishes will come twue!" he offered cheerfully.

"Okay, thanks. I won't hold my breath, but maybe one day."

"No, I meant my wishes. I want a monster truck."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oh Shucking Hell

The other day as little kid and I were waiting for the bus, he said "Where is that shucking bus?" in frustration. Although it was amusing, I was not impressed and told him that if he ever used that word again I would wash his mouth out with soap.

(We'll have to avoid oyster houses from here on out.)

He was intrigued by that punishment idea and immediately quieted down without arguing (this never happens--there is ALWAYS a counter argument from little kid.)

Today as we waited, he said, "Where is that hell bus?"


"Uh, I been meanin' to aks you 'bout somefin, mine mumum. Is hell a bad word?"

"Yes! Knock it off with the bad language."

"What should I say then?"

"Something nice like, 'I wonder where the bus is?' or 'Bubby's bus is taking awfully long today.'"

"I wanted to say somefin different than 'at. Somefin mad--but NOT hell since at's a bad word."

"I guess you could say 'heck' if you really have to be angry about it, but I don't see why you can't just wonder where the bus is."

"I'm wondering where 'at heck bus is right now is what I'm wondering!" He answered.

So, his vocabulary is coming along really nicely and I'm clearly doing a great job as a parent.

He talks 150% of the time, only stopping to make suckling sounds in his sleep in between night time mutterings. Every single morning after we drop Big Kid off, we start our day with the following conversation (or some variation thereof):

"I wanna go to a water park a-day!"

"The water park is closed, it's a school day."

"No, it's Saturday! Why you lie? It's Saturday!"

"I'm not lying, it's not Saturday. The water park is closed on week days and besides, it's 57 degrees out."

"It's sunny! The sun is right there! I cannot bewieve you won't take me to a water park a day!"

"It is closed. The answer is no."

"Can we go to the mall?"


"I wanna go to a mall!"

"I'm sorry. We can't today."

"Take me to baby school. Now!"

"Stop being rude to me. Baby school isn't open. Your teacher isn't even there."


"No, she doesn't. She spends 3 hours a week there, only on Monday. Today is not Monday."

"It is Monday! It is too Monday. Mumum, today is Monday."

This usually goes on until I snap and threaten to beat him or turn the radio up ridiculously loud and blatantly ignore him. The other day after we finished the baby school argument, he said, "I wanna go to Bok Bok Bama's house then."

"Barack Obama? You want to go to Barack Obama's house?"

"Yes. Right now."


"Just 'cuz. I wanna see him."

"Well, that would be cool but he's very busy. I'm pretty sure we would need an appointment."

"No, not me! I don't need no pointents, mumum. Do you know where he libs?"

"Where the President lives? Yes, he lives in the White House in Washington D.C."

"Take me there. To his house. I wanna talk to him A DAY!!!"

This led to an entertaining moment where I imagined little kid and I knocking on the White House door and demanding an audience with Barack Obama so little kid could bitch him out about his troubles with the water park and baby school and his brother's shucking bus. But it stopped being entertaining when I had to explain how far away the White House was and how we would have to take an airplane and then defend myself against accusations of lying about not having money for airfare (because he saw $2 in my purse just the other day and didn't even take it from me!).

If the squeaky wheel gets the grease, I think he will grow up to become a man who gets what he wants--if I let him live that long.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Professional Series

Without internet (or money or television), the most interesting source of entertainment I've had for the last 10 days has been my new appliances.

They are smarter than I am, which should be a good thing since I'm domestically challenged, but they are so advanced that I couldn't even figure out how to use them at first and found them ridiculously frustrating.

I was perplexed when I couldn't just put clothes into the washer and hit start. The options are endless: are these every day clothes? Work clothes? Towels? Blankets? Sheets? Comforters? Swim suits? Play clothes? Sneakers? Formal wear? Darks? Whites? Lights? Mixed? Cotton? Wool? Polyester? Blend? Have grass stains? Has it been peed on? Did someone poop their pants? Is it potential murder evidence?

Mr. Ashley walked into the laundry room to find me yelling "WASH! START!" in the hope that it was voice activated because I just needed a "Clean" cycle. (It is not voice activated.) I've got it all figured out now though and am completely amazed by its awesomeness. When I open the dryer door, the washer switches on and sends the dryer instructions--"SHE'S PUTTING IN THE TOWELS NOW. EXTRA HEAT AND DRY. DELICATE," it says and I hit OK, although I don't even understand the need for delicate when it comes to towels but I figure it knows what it is doing.

Mr. Ashley instituted a ban on laundry-watching because he thinks it's weird. The kids love it though and I can see the appeal. You can watch the washer too.

I love the kitchen almost enough to cook in it. My oven has a warming drawer and it does other fancy stuff too, but I don't really know what. I do know that it has a timer so that you can leave food in there and it will cook while you're gone, but that seems insane to me. I'm a little bit afraid of a Terminator-like uprising when the appliances gain super intelligence and revolt against my abuse and decide to kill me, so I'm not going to go and give the oven permission to turn itself on when I'm not supervising.

The pot-filling faucet is even better than expected. Today I was making soup and went to grab a pitcher to add more water when I remembered that I have a pot-filling faucet. And I turned it on right into the pot and that was pretty magnificent. Water right into the pot, no labor from me required.

I'm meh on the dishwasher. It looks all fancy and has 90 zillion configuration options inside but I'm pretty sure whoever designed it doesn't load the dishwasher a lot, or else they load the dishwasher completely wrong.

So there you have it, a house wife bragging about her appliances. Tomorrow we'll discuss my favorite toe nail polish color!!!

Let the record show

Century Link (formerly known as Embarq) sucks donkey balls.

I thought 10 days was a little extreme for setting up residential internet service, but whatever, I was mostly patient about it. I was extra annoyed when I called to confirm our appointment time and they said they didn't need one, that someone would be out before 7pm and would turn it on from the outside somewhere. 10 days for someone to show up outside and flip a switch or something? Oh, but it would be faster if I had a super expensive business line? But I don't, so you can't? Oh, alright.

Then on March 8th, I was excited to see that my home phone worked and then sad to see that my internet modem/router thingy did not. DO NOT CALL THEM UNTIL 7pm ON ACTIVATION DAY the "your shit doesn't work" screen told me, so I didn't.

At 7:15...still didn't work. At 7:20 I figured out that they close at 7 (so basically they're just making sure they don't have to deal with you or your issues until the next morning). At 7:35, I went to bed. At 7:45 the next morning, Mr. Ashley reported that they acted as if they were doing us a big favor by coming out the next day. I cried a little that morning.

(They said the 8th!! NOT the 10th!! There is A LOT you cannot do without the internet, people. I was a trouper about the whole thing for a while there but there's only so much a person can take. My personal limit was exceeded on the 8th.)

Today the appointment was between 10:45 and 12:45. At 10:45, I looked out the window and saw their van so I locked the dogs up. I looked out the window again and saw the guy on his cell phone in my driveway, I figured he was finishing a call and would knock shortly. I looked out one moment later and he was gone! I ran out to the driveway and he was turning around at the end of my street. I waved him down.

"Your internet not working?"


"I knocked and you didn't answer. I was going to fix it."

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't hear you. You may have knocked as I was putting the dogs up. But you can come on--"

"Our appointment was at 10:45," he said, sort of staring at me as if he was planning on leaving now that it was 10:50.

"Between 10:45 and 12:45, so I didn't know when for sure...that's why I was putting the dogs away though, because you were coming. I just didn't hear you knock or I..."

"Look, I'm not about to argue about it," he interrupted, as if he would very much like to argue about it.

ARGUE ABOUT WHAT? I wasn't being argumentative but now that you mention it, you should have knocked twice, asshole, or tried ringing the bell. I have a hard time believing that with the blinds up, the dogs barking, my kids running through the house fighting with each other, me standing right near the front window, with the television on and my car in the driveway, that we were giving off the appearance of not being home.

I wanted to murder him but I needed my internet, so I let him continue breathing.

"Oh no no, me neither. No, I'm really sorry. Can you please come in?"

He did come in (minus the attitude) and he fixed it, but they all (Century Link/Embarq/That guy) are definitely on my list of evil-doers now.

So when we think back to this dark period of Ashley's Closet history (have I ever left you all for so long? I'm really asking--I don't think I have) we can blame Century Link, formerly known as Embarq, and their stellar lack of customer service.

I think it goes without saying that they won't be invited on the Ashley's Closet cruise.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Quick Hi

I only have a couple of minutes before I have to pick up Big Kid, so I'm going to dump some links on you all and go. No theme or organization to any of it, just random crap to keep you semi-busy while you anxiously await my return.

Lion King
Get it?
Old photo of NYC
What if Jesus meant it?
Miracle of life
Picasso art fun
Awesome curtain
1 chicken, 17 meals
Book art
Album Cover tricks
The future
Palin for 2012
So many options

Just real quick--this stay at home mom stuff is for the birds. When I told Mr. Ashley that I was saving some laundry for later so I'd have something to do, he promised to call the internet people and tell them that we have a major emergency on our hands and March 8th is just too far away.

I've been reading a ton (finished Owen Meany, more on that later!) and Wally Lamb's "The Hour I First Believed" is the one thing keeping me (mostly) sane. I also rented (no cable or satellite at new house!) Wonderfalls, Flight of the Conchords, and old Flintstones episodes from the library, and a friend gave me a ton of Family Guy dvds so my bed time routine didn't have to be interrupted.

Other than that it's been nothing but children and pot roasts and lunch making and laundry and dishes.

It's awful.

(and if any of those links are broken, you're out of luck. I don't have time to check them!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Stolen Moment

I miss you, babies! New house is awesome, awesomer than awesome, except for NO INTERNET UNTIL THE 8th!

Not even a wireless signal to steal.

It's tragic and the world is a sadder place because of it, I am sure.

I was filling out my unemployment application at the library (and that makes you feel like a real loser!) when I decided to steal a moment to tell you all hello. I also emailed my hair salon to ask if they need (or will take) a blogger/social media/newsletter person in exchange for getting my hairs did because I've almost got the breakfast house waitress look going on here.

So a whole session of demoralization going on, but hopefully it will all work out so that I can at least look halfway decent as we starve.

I do miss you all and will find a way to spend more time here soon.

(Because I'm bored as freaking hell without you.)