Archive for February, 2012

Yesterday I got the panic call from my beautiful daughter-in-law, “Mom, I’m sick.  Can you pick up the baby from daycare?”

This is the time when my mouth and brain are totally coming up with different things.  “Sure honey.”  Alright!  Super-grandma to the rescue!!  Can I pick up the baby?  Are you kidding me… I can’t wait to get my hands on that little ball of love!  “Oh, mom, you’re the best.  Thank you!”  “Any time sweetheart.”  Whatever dear, just hand over the baby and no one gets hurt.

So after a night of homework and giggles and snuggles, all the munchkins were off to bed and I crashed.  The alarm went off and I dragged my tired happy backside out of bed and started waking up little people, teens have alarm clocks, so they are on their own.  Made lunches, plus one for my grandson, and got kids off to school.  On my way to work, I bundled up my little man and took him to preschool only to realize his lunch was still on the island at the house.  Nuts, this preschool doesn’t do lunch on Friday’s and I don’t want my baby to starve.  But all’s not lost, I thought.  Honey works from home.

So I call honey, “Do you see his lunch on the island?”

“Yep, right here.”

“Can you take it to preschool?”

That’s where he started acting like my oldest child.  “Are you kidding me?  I have to work you know.  I have things to do, and you think I should just pop up and run a lunch to preschool?”

Well, that conversation didn’t end well, I mumbled something about going to the grocery store to pick something up for him before I hung up.  Strange, because we are typically a good team.  But by now I wasn’t thinking about the team work we normally perform like a well oiled clock, I was just mad.  I was in the car on the way to the shop yelling at poor innocent passers-by, any perceived slight, “Oh, you must be a man, huh?”,  “Too busy for a few manners today, jerk!” and it went on and on all the way down the road as I worked myself up into a pretty heavy-duty kind of mad.  That’s when the phone rang.  It was honey.  He didn’t apologize but he said he had an opening in his schedule and he’d be more than happy to take lunch to preschool.

So by time I got to the shop, one of the more perceptive ladies asked what was wrong, so I told her I was feeling guilty for being so angry with him over something so ridiculous.  This brilliant woman told me that one of her clients is a counselor, and she told her that men’s brains work like waffles.  They are compartmentalized into squares, and they have to do everything in that square before they can move to the next square.  But things aren’t supposed to spill over from one square to the next or they get frustrated.  But women brains work more like spaghetti.  Things in our world are mixed up and intertwined, and we slide effortlessly from one thing to the next.  That’s why men do not multitask as well as women.  Damn.  I don’t want her to be right, but she is.

Yep, it’s a special combination that very few can figure out how to do gracefully.  So next time he says something stupid, I will just need to slow down and remember the most ridiculous picture I have in my head of a waffle covered in spaghetti.  Cross your fingers.


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Leaving your kid in the car

I went to the supply store for fun things for my shop.  The difference is today is a holiday, so moms are out with their kids instead of alone.  When I got there, I saw a car with two small kids strapped in their car seats in the parking lot.  Now, this isn’t about heat and cars… that is a separate issue.  This is when a parent or caregiver intentionally leaves their kids in the car while they shop because their kids are too much trouble.  This is not only illegal, but monumentally stupid!!!  In Texas it’s a Class C Misdemeanor.

I didn’t grow up in the nicest neighborhood.  There was a series of car thefts including cars with kids in them.  The thieves were just grabbing cars as fast as they could.  I had my kids in the car, the two boys were 3 years old at the time.  I ran into the gas station to pay for my gas and when I walked out the door, this plain guy was reaching for my car.  Fortunately my yellow lab was in the car with the boys, she had been sleeping and went unnoticed by the would be thief and went into instant vicious guard dog mode when she realized he was headed for them.   I started screaming and two men chased him until they figured there was no way they would catch him.

A week later a woman had something called “The Club” in her car.  When the would be thief tried to grab her car with a 4 month old baby in the back, she beat him with it, hard enough he ended up getting caught.  This was 22 years ago, and I’m working from a faulty memory, so if the woman’s child was a different age, please forgive me.   Kids can accidentally put the car in gear and get hurt, or any number of unknown issues can happen.   And of course there is always the pesky heat issue.  Just take the munchkins with you, please.  This is one case where it is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry.

The reality is it is NEVER safe to leave your child in the car alone.  Not for any reason.  Be a responsible parent.  Take the extra few minutes to take them with you.

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After many years as a hairdresser and a manager of salons, I have learned that the reason most people are unhappy is a lack of clear communication.  In fact, when someone is unhappy with their hair, 80% of the time it is lack of communication, not lack of skills.  It seems there is a really simple fix for this, right?  No.  Not always.  Case in point, the wrong number.

I was sitting in the living room when the phone rang.  Honey picked up the receiver but couldn’t read the caller id without his glasses, so he did what he always does, he passed the thing to me.  In a quick glance at the caller id, all I read was something “overnight”.  And here is what happened, I swear word for word.

Me: “Hello”

Breathy, sexy, syrupy voice on the other end: “Hi, this is Crystal.  I was calling to let you know that Brandi and Sugar are ready and waiting for you.”

Me: With a strange enough look on my face that honey has stopped what he is doing to watch and listen to try to figure out what is going on.  “Huh?”

Breathy, sexy, syrupy Crystal:  “Oh yes, they are so excited that you are coming, they can’t wait to see you!”

Me: Trying to figure out when prostitutes started calling people when they were late for their appointments, it’s not the doctors office after all.  “I’m sorry, I don’t know what you are talking about.”  Now honey is really staring, HARD.

Breathy, sexy, syrupy Crystal:  “Oh, this is the home number I have.  Hmm, did you get a new number recently, maybe it changed?”

Me: “No, this is my number and has been for a while.”

Breathly, sexy syrupy Crystal: “Oh, well, I’ll see if I have another number.  Bye now.”

After this odd exchange I just sat there for a minute turning over in my mind what just happened.  Honey kept staring and finally, when he couldn’t stand it anymore, asked me “What the hell was that?”  I told him and he and I both just sat there.  I finally asked him when prostitutes started phone calls with a business name on the caller id and called up people that were late for their appointments.  Of course he looks at me dumbfounded and says, “I never called one, how would I know?”

Curiosity finally got the better of me.  I looked at the caller id again, it said “Rover Overnight”.  I picked up my handy dandy laptop, and typed it into Google to find it was a dog groomer that also boarded fido and apparently Brandi and Sugar for pet owners that have to take off for a bit.  Boy do I feel foolish!   Maybe I should get my mind out of the gutter.  Maybe Crystal should explain herself a bit better.  Maybe I should just enjoy the world for exactly what it is.  Something of a mystery.

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My oldest child is 29 years old.  She is beautiful, vibrant, fun-loving and I believe her to be quite amazing.  Her problem, she is the manager of a sports bar.  Because of this, the quality of men she meets at work is less than desirable, so she generally blows them off and ignores them, dating only guys she meets other places.  And for years and years, she has told me she had no intention on getting married or having children.  Not EVER.  But that’s a story for a different day.

Four months ago, my beautiful girl met this guy, we’ll call him Butthead or BH for short.  Gotta protect the not so innocent, I guess.  ANYWAY, BH met my girl, and because she worked in a bar, thought it would be ok to lie to her, because who really falls in love in a bar.  Well, she did.  She fell for this jerk, hard.  They started talking about getting married and having kids.  She’s never talked like that about a man before, I wasn’t so sure about BH, but it made my heart skip a beat knowing she was ready to take such a huge step.  It means her heart has healed, and she truly is the whole woman I always hoped she’d be one day.

At first we thought his biggest fault was being a Redskin fan, in a family full of some serious Cowboy fans that’s a major problem.  I had even told him he had to fake it when he was here so he wasn’t ganged up on.  Her brothers were appalled that she would even talk to him, after all he was a traitor, Redskins?  We Texan’s take our football very seriously.  Turns out that wasn’t his biggest fault after all.  What a heartbreaking disappointment for my sweet girl.

But BH had spent a lot of time spinning his tales and it was finally catching up to him.  One of her friends asked her if he finally kicked his girlfriend out of the apartment, you know, the apartment she’d never seen.  Someone else said, ‘don’t get too excited honey, he’ll be back in jail before you know it’.  Another, ‘don’t give him money, he’ll just blow it on drugs’.  And then there was, ’35, you’ve got to be kidding, he’s at least 40′.  Well, she’d heard one too many inconsistencies, hadn’t met his 15 year old daughter (the one he claimed was 11), hadn’t been to his house, hadn’t met any of his friends or family and was starting to get that feeling in the pit of her stomach, you know the one.  After talking to me, we decided it was time to have a background check run.  Sure enough, he was a 40 year old ex-con with a really long rap sheet, who owned his own business because no one would hire him.  So she went through her apartment and found the few things that belonged to him, packed them up and when he showed up that evening, she handed them to him at the door and told him to go.

During this time, he has supposedly discovered that she’s way more than a barkeeper, and is actually pretty amazing.  I mean, she did get an academic scholarship to Georgetown, so she’s actually a pretty smart cookie.  But sometimes you screw up a good thing before you know it’s a good thing.  And now that she’s told him to get lost, he’s scrambling to convince her to take him back.  Seriously?

SO last night BH worked up some serious nerve, he actually called me and apologized.  You treated my beautiful girl like trash and I’m supposed to just let it go?  I told him if it was his daughter, he’d be the first one telling her to run the other way and not look back.  Really?  It may have made her feel good, and he may think that it will get him off the hook, but there is no way in hell I was going to accept his apology.  He actually tried to play it off as if the only thing he lied about was his age at first.  Um, no, that’s not all and you and I both know it.  He’s 40 years old and lying to mom???  Basically I told him he was an adult and too old to act this way.  He even told me that he did some foolish things from 30 to 40 but they were mistakes.  Um, no, 10 years is a lifestyle, not an oops.  And since he’s 40 now, it wasn’t exactly ancient history.  I ended the conversation by telling him that it’s not ok and I’m not impressed.  In the end, I felt like I did really well having a civil conversation and not cursing him out.

His other problem, dad and one of her brothers was there to hear my side of this conversation last night.  And soon all 5 of the boys will know.  And for all the guys out there, it’s never a good idea to piss off the family of a girl with 5 brothers.  Treating their sister badly is a really fast way to make for some serious hard feelings.

I have the sinking feeling that BH will show up again begging her to feel sorry for him.  And she might, but she won’t trust him again, which means he may as well take his lumps and move on.  I also know that her brothers will be introducing her to some decent guys, and these over protective big beefy boys will be sure to tell BH exactly what they think of him if he has the misfortune of running into them again.

Now I have to call her and tell her that I still think he’s full of beans and no, it’s just not ok.

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I hate socks

I often have this beautiful fantasy, we will pack all our belongings, and move to a tropical beach somewhere.  A beautiful place that’s warm all year round, and, where we can all wear nothing but sandals, flip-flops or even just go barefooted all the time.  What a glorious day it will be!  When that happens, I will “generously” dump donate all my unneeded socks on some poor unsuspecting charity, who will foolishly think they have gained some crazy wealth of socks.

I have 5 boys and 2 girls, who are the bookends.  The biggest fights in my house are over girls and socks.  The girls argue about girls, the boys argue about girls too, but for different reasons.  But they all argue over socks in the same way.  The fact that the dryer eats socks is a fact that is lost on the masses.  The fact that he/she is “stealing” my socks on the other hand is HUGE.  If you’ve ever raised a teenager, you know they buy their own stuff from time to time because “it’s the best”.  So of course, it’s theirs and theirs alone.  Heaven forbid anyone else should look at it cross-eyed.  But if it’s a pair of socks, all hell will break loose.

In my house, everyone gets a laundry basket with their name on it, I shove their laundry in their basket, and they put it away.  If I accidentally put the wrong shirt in the wrong basket, they would give it to the rightful owner, no harm, no foul.  But if I put the wrong socks in their basket all hell breaks loose.  It’s gotten so ridiculous my youngest, who is entirely too small to wear anyone else’s socks, puts them on and pulls them up to her thighs just to hear the boys freak out. I got so disgusted, I came up with a plan.  Yeah, yeah, I know, what was I thinking?  To keep me from being wrong and starting so many fights, I stopped sorting socks.  I just put all the socks in one basket.  Let them go find their own.  Problem solved, right?  WRONG!

I was woken up one morning by a massive growling fight in the living room, which was foolishly located next to my bedroom.  When I walked in the living room, I found 3 teenage boys beating on each other in a heap on the floor.  Of course they are all bigger than me by this point in their lives, so when I tried to break it up, one of them got out of the heap, picked me up, moved me to a safe distance and jumped back in the fray.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry with my kids, not that they didn’t deserve it, but that was just insulting.

I finally figured out that this whole mess was over one pair of socks, and out of sheer frustration I formed a grand plan.  I grabbed all the socks in the living room and threw them in the trash.  By now I was livid, and in the zone, I didn’t realize they weren’t fighting anymore, but, according to honey, they were all silently staring at me.  I pulled out every sock I could find from the laundry room, bedroom dressers, hampers and laundry baskets and was furiously throwing them in the trash.  One of them finally asked me, very gently, what I was doing.  I remember saying “Socks five or six months, brothers forever.  The socks gotta go.”  None of them was foolish enough to try to stop me, not even their dad.  They knew I was done.

I did eventually buy them all new socks, but I made them all go without for a week.  They just quietly buy more when they want socks now without fighting, and without discussing it with me.

I still hate socks.

If someone can give me the name of a really warm place to live where socks aren’t a necessity, please let me know.  I would love to live out my fantasy, sock free of course.

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There are several things that adopted families wish was public knowledge.  But just as the details of how your family was formed, some details are shared and some are private.  I am proud to be lucky enough to be an adoptive mom.  I did not give birth to my adopted child and know every day what a gift my little one is to me and my family.  And some people are curious and have questions that they would like to know the answers to because they would also like to adopt.  I tend to be much more open with potentially adoptive parents than just random strangers.  Then there are the morbidly curious people who, because of the media, believe every detail of everyone’s life is fair game.  Really?  Sigh.

Feel free to ask me anything you would ask any parent.  How’s she like school?  Is she a picky eater?  Did she learn how to ride her bike yet?  Can she swim?  Does she like dogs, coloring, sidewalk chalk?  If you know me reasonably well, how’s school going?  But be prepared, that’s a loaded question.

So with that in mind, here are a list of questions that are not appropriate.

Please don’t tell me how “special” I am for adopting.  Or that “she’s so lucky you saved her”.   It is a beautiful full relationship that we both mutually benefited from. I didn’t adopt my baby to “save” her. I adopted her because I wanted to be a mom. I had grand dreams of hanging out in the kitchen with a daughter, baking cookies together, and I doubt anyone is shocked that she actually likes cookies.

How much did she cost?  First things first, she’s not for sale.  I promise not to ask you how much you make or what you pay in taxes or even how much your last pap smear cost.

Do you know why her birth mom gave her up?  The short answer is yes, I am fortunate to have that information for her when she asks.  The long answer is I know my daughters story, and haven’t even shared that information with family.  I certainly have no intention on sharing it with strangers either.

“You’ll get pregnant as soon as you adopt”  Damn, I really hoped my hysterectomy fixed that option. Maybe I should run out and get on the pill.

She act’s like she’s really yours. Umm…. duhhh.

Please don’t share adoption horror stories.  Odds are I’ve already heard them and they don’t apply to me in any way.  My story has been amazing so far, and I prefer to share the good stories.

Don’t ask where her “real” mom is.  I’m right here, and I am real.  I really get up with her when shes sick in the middle of the night, and I’m really up at the crack of dawn on the weekends when I’d rather be sleeping.  I really make sure she does her homework and she really has what she needs, and I really am there for her every day.  I’m right here.

Have you told her shes (whisper) adopted?  Yes, it’s her story.  Just like my mother telling me I was born in Florida.  I would never withhold such important information from my daughter.   And just for the record, I’m proud to be from Florida.  I hope you will let her be proud too.

Why did you adopt from another country instead of the US?  There are as many reasons as there are adoptive families.  I wanted to be a parent, where she was born was irrelevant to me and holds NO political motivation good, bad or indifferent.  International and Domestic adoptions have fundamental differences.  A lot of time, research and soul searching goes into these individual decisions.  And each decision is made for individual reasons.  But if you want my “political beliefs” on adoption, I believe that children without families should get families with good solid foundations and mounds of love to heap on a child.  If that is a two parent heterosexual family, a two parent gay family or a single parent, they are a zillion times better off than living in the system or an orphanage.

Do the other kids treat her like thier sister?  Um, yeah, she is their sister.

Wow, she’s so normal. Gee, thanks, your kids look pretty normal too.

Which one is yours?  They all are.

So if you have questions, feel free to look them up, or even ask.  But if you expect an answer, make sure you do it with the respect that every child/parent deserves.

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