The King is not great with the concept of sharing. That's not a criticism, that is a fact. This is why we have always kept our money separate from one another. It explains why I have always been below poverty level and he is, well, the King.
Anyway, in a burst of generosity, the King presented me with two $100 gift cards for my recent trip with our children to visit my parents. He felt it would be more convenient than cash because I could "pay at the pump" instead of lugging all three of our poorly-behaved children into the mini-mart. Good plan.
Well, my trip cost roughly $78. The remainder of the two cards were mine to do with as I pleased. I went a little crazy at Target...I don't want to get into too much detail but I did get the BIG box of fabric softener sheets. God help me, but I splurged. Wahoo!!
Me and the three Princesses got to the top of the check-out line. I handed the woman the two gift cards and said, "please put $20 on this one and the rest on this one". She did several different things with her register, she swiped the cards in various orders and ways, then she picked up the phone. Here is what I heard (along with my children and the 6 people in line behind me):
"Yes, there is a woman here and I am having trouble with her food stamp cards."
FOOD STAMP CARDS! Now, I have had better hair days, and as my nine-year-old pointed out, I did have a hole in the seam of my shirt, but FOOD STAMPS? I was immediately the same shade of red as her Target bullseye shirt.
The speechlessness lasted roughly 3 milliseconds until the words, "They're GIFT cards!" came spilling out in a very loud manner. She raised an eyebrow, and then just swiped the $100 (which was more than the amount) and handed them both back to me and said, " The whole amount went on this card, call your card company if you have a problem".
As I pushed my cart out to my luxury vehicle and drove to my 4,000 sq. ft house, I tried to put it in perspective. There are lots of terrific women out there who feed their children with food stamps. I'm lucky to not be one of them (at the moment).
It was one of those moments. You know the ones, when the cosmos opens up and you see the path God meant you to take. Often it happens in the bathroom. TMI?
The King and I had taken Princess MiMi out to breakfast and he suggested that I go to our closest college and see what classes they had to get certified to teach. The King has always felt that I should either teach or be a news broadcaster (I don't get it either).
So, I had approximately 40 minutes before the other two chitlins were home from their morning adventure so I drove over to the campus. Small school. Christian Mission. Friendly co-eds who pointed me to the administrative offices.
As I was chatting with the "intake" staff at the registrar's office about their "Cert Pack" (for people who never wanted to teach before but suddenly had an irrational compulsion for a low paying career) I noticed that they had a Human Resources MAJOR in their undergrad. It was then that the angels started to sing. I could teach college level classes on HR!
This revelation took me to the Dean's office, where his admin did some light dissuasive questioning about my credentials. I do have a doctorate, I told her, brimming with confidence. A law degree is a doctorate after all. I do make the King call me Doctor around the house.
She was warm and encouraging after that. She told me how to apply and a few tidbits about the interview process. And then I was off and running. Great fun, great schedule, great career path. Now, all I have to do is decide is what the little undergrads should call me. Here are some ideas, feel free to vote:
I have been invited to go camping. What's that you say? I don't strike you as the camping sort of gal? Well, what's that when there is such an adventure to be had?
First, the real reason is that I need to get the hell out of this house. I am so tired of all five of us being home ALL THE TIME. King George (who hates being mentioned btw) is staying home with our three-year-old hellion, Princess MiMi. I will be taking Princess CoCo (who has developed an attitude this summer) and Princess LuLu (who has developed into the full-fledged maniac that I'd always envisioned).
The other women are 3 School Moms from Saint Whotheheck --where I send the girls. They are lovely, and fertile (they each have 4 or 5 kids). I have to say, fertility is something there is plenty of at our school. Princess CoCo has two girls in her class that are 1/11 and 1/13. Several of my close friends have 5 and one has 6. I am an underachiever with my petite little brood of 3. I'm okay with that, but it does mean that I get a lot of advice because I am clearly in the minor mom leagues.
Anyway, they all camp a lot and thought it would be a hoot to bring me along. Of course, we'll see what they say when they see me without my make-up. My make-up is no joke. This morning Sissy was picking up my girls for something and when she saw me she immediately became alarmed.
"Are you okay" she asked me, as she blinked and tried to adjust her eyes to the glaring homeliness
"Yes, why do you ask?"
"You look.....different" she furrowed her brow and began mentally diagnosing me.
"You aren't used to seeing me without make-up. I'm okay just haven't gotten to it yet. Don't be afraid."
She was in a hurry or I think she would have made me lie down....but seriously it's just that my make-up is the only thing that makes me look faintly human. Otherwise I have kind of and "alien with some horrible skin condition" sort of glow about me. The government has asked me to wear make-up...at least until they can unleash me bare faced on Osama bin Laden. I'm sure he'll have some great camping tips.
I finished the Deathly Hallows this weekend. I loved it. I promise, not a spoiler in the entire post....but you must read that book. It's delicious.
Here are the questions I still have for J.K. Rowling:
10. Have Dumbledore and Minerva McGonigal ever well, you know, it's late after one of the hundreds of winter balls, the pear martinis have been flowing, and they dance the last dance together, she's lovely and he's powerful....are you telling me that never happened?
9. Hermione Granger's parents with their brilliant dental practice never had any doubts about her attending a boarding school that doesn't offer a single biology class? What's that about? Witches and Wizards just learn the birds and the bees through osmosis? Maybe it's different for them. The mind boggles.
8. Where are the house-elf children? Do house-elves just spring up in the garden, fully grown, and step over the wiley little gnomes to get into the wizard house that they will serve for all eternity?
7. Why did Crabbe and Goyle never come out of the closet?
6. Why is Quidditch the only sport? While I appreciate the whole co-edness of it all, why are Wizards apparently monosportatic? Even in Europe they have sports besides soccer, don't they? Maybe not.
5. Why are American wizards not represented? Further proof that all of Europe looks down it's collective nose at the little upstart across the pond. Also not represented: gays, obese, punks, goths, and the learning disabled. Clearly not written for American television.
4. Why was the only wizard that was described as remotely good looking, Cedric Diggory, killed off? There should have been more good-looking wizards or he shouldn't have died, okay. That's more of a comment.
3. Teenagers and pre-adolescents with no television, computers, ipods, or video games....it's the most difficult thing to believe in the whole series.
Have you seen the Muffin post on YouTube? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpwMQ1sj9cU , Check it out. By itself, it's not that funny, but when you look at the hundreds of other people who have also made the exact same video it starts to be the funniest damn thing you've ever seen.
That makes sense to me, I remember in high school the horror with which we first heard our teacher's tales of her girlhood in Hungary. The most horrific story was of her friend who was run over by a tank. Not funny. However, the 563rd time we heard it....well, let's just say there were weight loss comments, road kill comments and "just slide her under the door" comments. Sick? yes. Wrong? absolutely. Funny? you bet your ass.
Everything gets funnier after you've seen it over and over and over again. It's the HBO effect. The first time you saw Taladega Nights you probably thought it was the dumbest movie ever made but after catching it at the same point six times in a row you start to giggle. That Will Ferrell is actually part squirell which makes everything he does funnier.
It seems that in this "sound bite" laden culture we are so inundated with stimuli that to actually get to our funny bone repetition goes a long way. To that end I will be running this same post for the next 63 days.
My darling friend Lola is in the midst of losing her mother-in-law. She is very upset, because unlike 90% of the married women in America today, Lola has actually made an amazing place in her life for her MIL. In fact, not only Lola but Lola's mother have bent over backwards to secure the comfort and expert care that her MIL deserves.
Her husband, Thurston, is a wreck. Because no matter at what age your Mommy gets sick, it's devastating. The fact that this is probably the end for her has him laid out flat. There is no comfort for this loss.
Some Mommies are bad at being a Mommy. They don't have that gene that makes them love their children above everything else in the world. They are not addicted to their children like a drug. Sometimes they are addicted to other things. Rarely, they are able to eat the last chocolate chip cookie instead of giving it to the six-year-old. But even a bad Mommy is a still your Mommy and you only get one.
Friends, Neighbors, Sisters, and my barista at Starbucks. These words all describe women I desperately need but often do without. They also all describe people who only know one slice of me.
My Stepford neighbors know "Funny Girl" who always goes for the easy laugh and the pear martini (apparently since I have taken every one I've ever been offered - the total being either one or two depending on if Bambi is tallying).
My buddies from the girls' private catholic school know "Enthusiastic Woman" the Mom who has boundless energy and a long list of volunteer projects. Interestingly, I am one of the "Hot Lunch" women... a topic that could take up an entire week of posts.
The women in my bible study know, "Scripture Girl", first because I am younger than most of them by 20 years and because I grew up Lutheran which means I've committed 9/10ths of the bible to memory (and all of Luther's Small Catechism)
I have other friends that would alternatively describe me as "intense", "smart", "annoying" and one who honestly tells me all the time that I am "the smartest person she knows". The barista at Starbuck's just thinks of me as a "caffeine fiend" with a nice car.
My best bud, Lola, knows most of the dark stuff but even she gets an edited version of me. Although that would probably shock the hell out of her, given that she does, in fact, know all of my secrets and generally "gets me".
It seems that whoever I'm interacting with gets all pre-packaged and highly over-processed info. Having grown up in the mid-west, in the mid-eighties in the middle class I got the message that presentation is everything. All that crap running around in your head would scare them all away in a heartbeat. So, who actually gets to hear that heart beat.....?
"Is it possible that I'm not as attractive as I think I am?" - Elaine on Seinfeld
So, I've been seeing other blogs. Don't feel betrayed, I'm just window shopping it's nothing serious. I've happened upon a couple that not only look amazing but are full of fresh and funny commentary. One such blog that makes me laugh out loud is Life is Like a Lunchbox at http://writer-mom.blogspot.com/
That Nan is funny. Unfortunately she doesn't seem to feel likewise about yours truly. I can't really take it personally...it's hard to make friends on the basis of only 4 or 5 posts.
Anyway, she has an award that she advertises on her blog that is an image of the leg lamp from "A Christmas Story". I love that movie. I love that movie. I love that movie. It's so funny that I couldn't help myself but beg for the award. Sadly, it looks like I've not been selected to receive it. the wailing and gnashing of teeth will continue for many, many minutes.
For your edification I've attached the image I was trying so desperately to deserve.
In my last post I may have given the impression that I think it's okay to "over-serve" yourself. I don't. I subscribe to Aristotle's approach "everything in moderation" which he came to interestingly after much debauchery... but I digress.
While many of my Christian friends abstain from drinking all together I was raised around social drinkers. Shockingly, my first beer was at roughly age 10. My German grandmother had saved the remainder of a keg of beer which had been used at our family reunion the previous day. She was a frugal soul and had a couple of pitchers in the fridge. She served it to us with the rest of the leftovers. I honestly don't think she considered if it was okay or not....it was only beer after all, and wasn't even pear flavored.
My next "drink" didn't come for a long, long time. During high school and my freshman year of college I didn't drink at all. I'm not going to bore you with the philosophical reasons for that but my sobriety was self-imposed. However, my Sophomore year in college during a holiday break the captain of my basketball team (we were practically the only people on campus during breaks) made a Tom Collins and gave it to me. Delicious (are you seeing a theme to my drinking?). Yum.
Since then I've gone through periods of heavy drinking (the rest of College, Law School and my first two years in Chicago) and periods of no drinking (pregnancy, breast feeding, toddler exhaustion). I don't drink alone (well, maybe once) and I don't generally "over-serve" myself. The other night I was careless but fortunately it was among friends, across the street from my house. When I was clearly over the edge I went home to bed without making a scene or an embarrassing spectacle. My kids just thought I was tired.
Bambi called me after my post and said, "By the way, you only had one Martini, lightweight." Since she wasn't really drinking, I will take her word for it.