For the past few weeks, my seven-year-old son has been asking me what it would take to bring a butler into our house (not to be confused with an ass butler, which we already have). I informed him that only people with gobs of spare cash and humungous houses – two things we’re currently lacking – require such accouterments, but he is determined to get one, ASAP.
I discussed an allowance with him, but he has no interest in a measly buck here or there: the kid wants cold, hard cash – preferably in bills of sizeable amount. I told him he could rake leaves or do other jobs around the house for extra money, but apparently that would take too much time and effort (seriously – was Wall Street on Nick at Night when we weren’t looking?)
He decided to open a store, setting up shop on our front step. He had a sign (“Come Buy Stuff”) and a table displaying his wares: a plastic jug with the lid cut off that had been repurposed as a wasp trap ($10); two sticks from the back yard ($20); a rock (actually, it was just holding down the real offering – an empty bag, $25); and, a piece of plastic from a Playmobil pyramid featuring hieroglyphics (the showstopper, $50).
He then put me in charge of marketing and tasked me with phoning our neighbors and friends to beg demand invite them to purchase something. Needless to say, the store was only open for a couple of hours…business was sluggish and then a rain storm ruined the price tags. He did manage to sell the wasp trap (his daddy is a sucker for entrepreneurship) and rather than dampen his spirit, this brush with commerce has only whet his appetite.
Tonight my son accompanied me to the Dollar Store – a.k.a. where stinky plastic crap goes to die – with his latest must-have accessory: a wallet. My son, who last week couldn’t tell a penny from a quarter, was now a comb-over away from tycoon status.
And what did he buy with his newfound wealth? A toilet brush. For his butler.
Nope, I am not making this up.
My three-year-old is a jock. She’s fearless and eerily capable when it comes to climbing, throwing, catching and kicking. I, on the other hand, am a cross between Charlie Brown and Arrested Development’s George Michael when it comes to athletic prowess (i.e. awkward).
Her hand-eye coordination has been called superior, while mine is best described as…lacking. The first time I golfed, in high school, I pulverized a classmate’s hand on my back swing. I was once removed from a ski hill on a stretcher (granted, I slipped on a french fry in the lodge, but still – skiing accident!). I’m like Jerry on that Seinfeld episode where he’s forced to re-run a big race: I choose not to run. Or, um, catch…or throw… (You get the picture, right?)
My seven-year-old is a fish in the water and was scouted by a swim club when he was five. On land, like me, he’s a bit of a disaster (seriously – he can’t walk five steps without ending up flat on his back with his shoe in a tree), but in water he’s strong, graceful and assured. Same goes for his daddy, who’s like Aquaman (minus the waterproof leotard) and has a black belt in Krav Maga, but never really played football, basketball or hockey. The last one could’ve been a deal-breaker (I live in Canada, people), but my fella’s foreign, so he gets a pass.
Plus, I’m not one to talk: we once went snowshoeing in the majestic Rocky Mountains and – after traversing what we assumed were many kilometers – we stopped to rest for a brief moment, ended up gobbling our lunch, and decided to summit an upcoming crest before turning back for the car. Peeking over the drifts of snow, we realized that, rather than exploring the untouched wilds of the Canadian Rockies, we had yet to leave the parking lot. No, I’m not making this up.
So where did my little angel pick up her mad athlete skillz? I’m guessing my sister, who is also a jock and my daughter’s doppelganger: they’re both blonde-haired, blue-eyed Nordic-types, while my boys and I look like extras on the Sopranos. When I go out with my sister and daughter, many assume I’m the mother aunt.
This bodes very well for my daughter’s athletic development, but if she follows my sister in other respects, we are so screwed when she hits puberty.
I’ve held over 20 jobs in my life, and while some were of the boring, cube-farm variety, many others have been downright spicy - my resume reads like vanilla ice cream with jalapeño sprinkles. So without further ado, here is but a brief sample of my various vocations:
1) Tarot card reader
I’m a sucker for a good psychic, but I’ve never claimed to be one. I was given a deck of tarot cards in my 20′s and then a bona-fide white witch give me some tutorials. With over 15 years of practice, I’ve told people they’re pregnant, losing a job or getting a relationship right before they happened (I freak myself out sometimes). Pretty soon I had a clientele of sorts – women who paid me for private readings or brought me in to read at parties. Kind of like a stripper. Which brings me to my next bizarro job…
2) Strip club waitress
Despite my earlier claims, I will never be described as buxom – above the waist, anyway. But when I was a broke, twenty-year-old backpacker in Australia, I briefly worked at Playbirds (class-say!) in King’s Cross, which was the Times Square, circa 1975, of Sydney.
To appreciate the astronomical level of irony this presented, consider the following: my perm and Sally Jesse Raphael specs gave me the air of a fashion-backward librarian (not the naughty kind); the closest thing to porn I’d seen was the underwear section of a Sear’s catalogue; my exposure to carnal relations was, ahem, limited; and, I’d never waitressed in my life.
At Playbirds, I served drinks while girls stripped onstage, then hung out with them offstage, with porn playing continuously on screens around me. The circular, metal tray I inherited for serving was covered in dents from unruly patrons’ foreheads, and I added a few of my own (sending one turd-burger to the floor with a well-placed shot to the ear was a shining moment). And, most importantly, I learned to swindle patrons with my sob story of needing money to get home for university (always in response to their question, “What are you doing here?”). I finally did make it home, bought contact lenses, grew out the perm and became a…
3) Hair model
My lid is ridiculous. It’s coarse and thick, and no matter how I cut it, there’s always a hint of vintage Eddie Van Halen to it. Stylists see my mop as the ultimate challenge: I am their white whale (from the neck up, bitches).
I hooked up with a trendy salon that put on these fashion-hair-show things; I simply let the stylists to have their way with my tresses before I paraded down a runway wearing monstrosities made of burlap or pleather. When I finally bailed from that gig, my hair was fried, purple and still looking like it belonged in an 80’s garage band.
Much later, after marrying, having kids and moving to the ‘burbs, I ditched the cube farm and did what any self-respecting soccer mom would do: I became a blogger.
I just came in from doing some “gardening”, and by that I mean, I just pulled out some thigh-high weeds and threw out a decimated hanging basket. Saying that I’m not much of a green thumb is an affront to the color green and thumbs everywhere. I kill cactus, people. Like, regularly.
When we bought our house seven years ago, our predecessors left us a lush oasis of emerald lawns, towering sunflowers and fragrant rosebushes. Prior to this, we’d only lived in apartments, so gardening was as foreign to me as size 4 jeans.
Having a baby right after moving in, we could only focus on one living thing at a time, so the garden was left relatively untouched. My neighbor had to inform me, towards the end of the first summer, that the assemblage of beautiful wildflowers running along the side of my house was, in fact, a smorgasbord of weeds.
In the last few years I’ve tried to rectify this sad situation: we’ve hired a lawn dude to deal with the plethora of dandelions and clover; I invested in gardening tools to help me pull weeds (although, in my zealously, the sunflowers accidently met an untimely end); and, we even bought a sprinkler (full disclosure: the boy was two-years-old).
I recently attempted some landscape artistry with a bush (shrub?) thing and decorative stone plaque. I thought it looked spectacular. My friend assumed it was a commemorative gravesite for our dead cat.
I still don’t know the difference between seeds and bulbs, annuals and perennials, or mulch and peat moss. What I do know are my limitations and disinterest in all of the above.
My husband can’t understand why it’s impossible for me to keep a few measly plants alive for a couple of months. I tell him it’s the same reason he can’t manage to put a new roll of toilet paper on the holder – there is zero appeal, little will and absolutely no way.
Tomorrow we will be resuming our regularly scheduled programming of blog entries featuring such insightful topics as my bra size and my son’s preoccupation with what’s in my bra. Today I want to share the experience of having my blog chosen by WordPress to be Freshly Pressed.
Basically, it went something like this:
My morning starts as it always does: too fricking early.
(side bar: why do kids sleep in on the mornings you’ve been woken up by your lovable but klutzy husband, and then when you’re having the sleep of the century, they’re all up in your face wanting, like, breakfast?)
With a few moments to myself, I load up my blog, which I’ve written the night before. I already have three views and wonder if my grandma couldn’t sleep last night.
Answer a few e-mails and see a blog comment awaiting my approval:
OMG, I love this entire post, including the illustration. Congrats on the front-page feature. (I am comment #1 of what will amount to hundreds!)
6:47 ½ a.m.
Wonder briefly if this person has been drunk-commenting, then see my stats: they have jumped to 320 in approximately two minutes.
Stare like a large mouth bass at the WordPress home page.
Consider having a seizure, or a stiff drink. Decide instead to respond to lovely comments (there are now two more), a la thank you cards, and marvel at my new readership record.
Send quick e-mail to writing group, bff and grandma squee’ing over my good fortune. Also, ask if they know how/why the hell this happened to me. Hit refresh on dashboard and see my stats escalating. Giggle uncontrollably.
Seven-year-old son begins wailing upstairs. He has a wicked fever and feels “barfy”. Three-year-old daughter demands equal commiseration over her mosquito bite. Re-consider seizure/drink option.
7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Initial thrill and wonderment morph into mild queasiness: stats are now in the hundreds, then thousands, with comments coming faster than I can reply. One goofball sends a diatribe about death to moms, but all others are incredibly supportive, hilarious, touching and generous.
Can’t believe that all of these people have read and enjoyed my words. Any chance of swollen ego is dashed by bouts of random puking from my son.
Hastily throw together a dinner of baked beans and toast for family. Not a high point in the kitchen, but my fans need me. It turns out my son also needs me. To stick a couple of Acetometaphine suppositories up his butt. Once again, humility is kept in check.
Shower and dress for the day (that’s right…don’t judge).
Hit refresh. Respond. Visit blogs. Follow Tweeps.
Head out to buy groceries (arrived home from a trip yesterday to find cupboards and fridge bare…you can bet there’ll be a blog about that coming down the pipe).
Talk to mom on the phone while shopping. Assure her that I have not made money from this turn of events.
Buy ice cream. And a donut.
9:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Hit refresh. Respond. Visit blogs. Follow Tweeps.
Start new blog posting. The pressure is on.
p.s. I’m still in awe at my good fortune to have been given this small moment to shine (gracias, oh mighty WordPress powers). To all who took the time to read my little blog, thank you. To those who felt compelled to leave a comment, you made a special day absolutely extraordinary.
Anyone reading this blog knows (in more detail than could ever be imagined) that I have two kids: a seven-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. They are, to put it mildly, a handful – a naked, potty-mouthed, pervy handful.
I can’t imagine life without them (though the odd weekend, weeknight or trip to the bathroom by myself might be nice), but when people ask if we’ll be having more children, I can unequivocally declare that my breeding days are over.
It’s not that I don’t love babies, and I’m fine with the no-sleep, diaper-changing, omigod-if-I-see-another-wonderpets-I’m-gonna-barf ennui of the toddler years, too. It’s the pregnancy that I can’t deal with. When I’m knocked up, I’m your worst frigging nightmare.
The first pregnancy was a complete shock – I only peed on a stick to support a co-worker who’d thought she was pregnant (I blame Cuba…specifically, their all-inclusive resorts…and, uh, rum).
I dealt with the surprise, and nausea, by eating everything in sight: I gained almost 60 pounds, most of it by month four. I was consuming six meals a day, was tested for gestational diabetes three times and everyone assumed I was carrying twins. All of this combined to make me a cranky, hungry, bitch.
I once freaked out in front of a Taco Bell that dared to open 10 minutes late when I was having a fierce Chimichanga craving. To this day, if someone has a meltdown, my friends refer to it as a Taco Bell moment (i.e. “Did you hear those Mel Gibson tapes? He went all Taco Bell on her ass!”).
My labor lasted three days and the epidural only worked on one side of my beached body; which was a significant concern, since my kid came out weighing ten pounds.
My second pregnancy was once again unplanned (I blame red wine), but this time my load was kept in check, mainly because I was working while taking care of a toddler and had no time to eat. Also, my olfactory senses were in overdrive, so even thinking about a gross smell sent me retching (I once puked in a pre-natal yoga class after another preggo stunk up the joint).
The downside to this form of weight-management was that my exhaustion led to a litany of ailments: strep throat; bronchitis; pink eye; impetigo; flu; and, the kicker, pneumonia. Then there were some potential issues with the baby that necessitated weekly ultrasounds. So, to sum up: I was a fat, pukey, hot mess.
My husband liked to joke that after the last kid, all he’d have to do was smack me on the ass and the next one would shoot right out, but alas, he never got the chance – a week before my due date, my daughter decided to do the hokey pokey and go breech (think Sigourney Weaver in Aliens) so I had a c-section.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why, until my husband can guarantee an on-call plastic surgeon along with a housekeeper and cook, my babymaker is on permanent hiatus.