When it comes to camping, my motto is, “5-star or No-star”—which essentially means I don’t camp. As a kid, my family and I camped our asses off. Every weekend from May through September we were parked in a trailer (or in a tent when I was really young, but I’ve repressed those memories).
Many of these trips were fantastic, especially if our campground had a pool or was near a beach. Unfortunately, this rarely happened. My parents were purists when it came to outdoor pursuits and we were often stuck in the sticks with nothing but dormant train tracks and a backgammon board to amuse us.*
As an adult I tried dating outdoorsy guys—I did live in the Rocky Mountains after all—but they inevitably wanted to go mountain biking or cross-country skiing or camping. It’s not that I can’t do these things; it’s that I would rather not. I can be a total Sporty Spice, as long as it involves water sports or intermittent snacking (thus, windsurfing+slurpee=heaven).
Part of what drew me to the Serb was our shared disdain for outdoor adventures. One of our first dates involved watching The Amazing Race while scarfing DQ Blizzards and yelling at the slow competitors.
After one tenting trip as a family, I made a crucial discovery: moms do all of the work. It’s like being a pioneer woman, what with the cooking and the cleaning and the washing and the lack of flush toilets. This didn’t matter when I was the kid camping with my mom. But now that I’m the mom? It kinda sucks balls.
Thankfully, the Serb’s fascination with the great outdoors can be foisted upon shared with our eight-year-old son. This past weekend they went camping while the girl and I stayed home. I left the planning and packing up to the Serb because he waits too long to do it and if I followed his lead, we would be divorced by Monday.
The night before they left he dropped a hundred bucks on gear. The morning they left he spent two hundred more on food and “a bit of beer.”
Here are the results…
The gear included (but was not limited to): battery-operated fan, 3 flashlights, flint, matches, lighter, portable DVD player, walkie talkies, mini stove, mini bbq, 4 tarps, 3 jugs of water, frying pan, frying pan with grill markings, electric pump (for the air mattress), pillows(!), and 87 bungee cords. If I hadn’t put my foot down on buying the solar-powered shower, they would have needed a U-Haul.
If Survivor Man went to Club Med, he would be my husband.
*My folks eventually saw the light, ditched the camper and bought a timeshare. Just in time for my sister and I to move out of the house.
Inside my purse there exists another dimension, one defying the logic of physics, space and time – similar to the one that devours socks in the dryer. No matter how sparse its contents are in the morning, by mid-afternoon my bag suddenly looks like something from that hoarders show on A&E.
Today was a pretty typical example: leave the house in a manic rush to get the kids to school; come home and deal with the wreckage left behind; realize there’s nothing for dinner; spend ten minutes at the supermarket check-out burrowing through my purse looking for my wallet.
I ended up dumping the contents of my bag on the conveyer belt in desperation until I finally spotted my wallet amidst all of the mom-crap. The pre-pubescent cashier stared at me, her gaze a disconcerting fusion of fascination and disgust. I shovelled everything back into my bag, mildly mortified, apologizing profusely to those in line behind me.
Then I saw another frazzled-looking mother give me a knowing look. She, too, was sporting a purse that could conceal a howitzer. I know I’m not alone.
That is why, in the spirit of sisterly solidarity, I’m now going to share with you the contents of my craptastically-stuffed purse:
- Kleenex (I am, after all, a mother)
- My wallet (which, as you can see from the busted zipper, is a blog entry unto itself)
- Four MAC lipsticks (none of which I wear)
- Body Shop lip balm (which I always wear)
- A plethora of receipts (aka my income tax filing system)
- An expired coupon for a free DQ Blizzard (because a girl can dream)
- My manuscript (of which I’m doing a final edit before sending out my query letters)
- A mini globe (because…sorry, I’ve got nothing…)
- A fly-fishing implement from my son’s birthday that I need to take into a store and find out how to use (fyi, his birthday was in May)
- A toy car (see first point)
- An envelope full of cookie fundraising ideas for the hippie school (I’m a class rep)
- A Cars viewfinder card (viewfinder was lost in 2008, but my daughter wants to marry Lightning McQueen)
- Pearls (in case I get invited to a state dinner)
- Nail polish (see above)
- A mason jar (What? Like you don’t have one?)
- An extra mason jar lid (D’uh)
- Tea light candle (Ummm…blackout?)
- Chalk (see first point)
- Strawberry shortcake figurine (see first point)
- Case for sunglasses (empty because I lost sunglasses in Serbia)
- Eye drops (expired last April)
- Check book (because apparently I live in 1985)
- iPhone (to obsessively check comments on my blog…HINT!)
- Grocery list written on a Kleenex (because I keep forgetting I have an iPhone)
- Lid for baby teapot (which broke last month)
- Letter magnets from the fridge (not sure of the significance of S and V)
- Antibacterial wipes (see first point)
- Coupon from Mr. Lube (sadly, not a euphemism)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go organize myself (with a little help from my friend, Mr. Smirnoff).
Ho. Lee. Crap. You guys – I won an award! I’m still in shock that people want to read about my sex-obsessed, naked-party-loving children, let alone reward me for it…but a big, juicy ‘thanks’ to Morgan for doing just that.
This is serious business and as a recipient, there are some rules I have to follow:
1. Acknowledge the person who nominated me:
Morgan over at http://thelittlehenhouse.wordpress.com/. We just discovered each other and it’s like a shlockey romance novel from the 50′s how much I adore her. Her writing is delicious.
2. List ten things I like (I’m not gonna include my family, because they’re a given…just don’t think I forgot them a la Hillary Swank or Sean Penn):
1. Winning awards for blogging
2. Dairy Queen blizzards (strawberry sundae topping and oreo cookie)
3. Sleeping past 7:00 a.m.
4. Pinot Grigio on a hot day
5. Merlot on a cold day
6. Gardeners (cuz I kill green stuff)
7. Tina Fey (cuz she’s funny and smart and has hips)
8. Going to a Saturday matinee with my husband
9. Being in, on or near the water
10. Calling myself a writer
3. Now I have to nominate ten other bloggers. Only ten! I read so many awesome blogs every day, but here are a few faves in no particular order:
http://ohthatmeredith.com/ Meredith is relatively new to the blogging world, but a legendary mad demon on Twitter. Her writing is simply sublime.
www.ironicmom.com Leanne lives by the motto, “If you can’t laugh at yourself, laugh at your kids”. ‘Nuff said.
http://sweetmercifulcrapandotherthings.blogspot.com/ Because anyone having a bedazzled disco toilet on their home page is someone worth knowing. Queen Momma brings the funny.
http://www.urbanmoms.ca/diy/ Sara continually amazes me with her ability to not only cope, but also thrive as a single mom in Toronto. Her mommy rants are da bomb.
http://slightlyoffbalanceblog.com/ Like me, Paige is a newbie blogger, but she writes like a pro about all sorts of topics, like Wii drama and her so-perfect-sounding-it-makes-you-want-to-kill-her-except-she’s-so-darn-nice husband.
http://lisahgolden.blogspot.com/ Lisa is hilarious even when she’s despondent. Check her out and fall in love like I did.
http://mollyonmoney.wordpress.com/ Molly chronicles her family’s attempt to wipe their debt by cutting their expenses in half while still having fun. Also, she had a family wedding officiated by Elvis. Intrigue!
http://www.meandmine.org/ Allison is a bad-ass Texan and funny enough to make me do the pee laugh on a regular basis. And don’t get me started on her Tweets… #weardependswhenyoureadher.
http://conflictedmeangirl.wordpress.com/ What happens when a mean girl becomes a mommy? Read Andrea’s blog to find out (hint: she reforms without leaving all the good snark behind).
http://sarahcasm.ca/ Don’t let the handle fool you, Sarah’s blog is full of beautiful musings on motherhood, womanhood and her Kanye West devotion. I want to be like her when I grow up.
http://bernthis.com/wordpress/ Jessica is a social media goddess with all sorts of goodies on her blog, including some dating horror stories that had me spitting water on the keyboard.
(Ok…it’s 11…sue me for loving you all too much!)
(Directed, Produced and Performed by: A Three-Year-Old*)
The exposition provides the background information needed to properly understand the story and ends with the inciting moment, which is the incident without which there would be no story.
My daughter (girl) has the face of an angel, mouth of a trucker and propensity for nudity. She is three. Her brother (boy) has the height, appetite and obsession with procreation of a teenager. He is seven. He finds great sport in antagonizing his sister. She is sweetness personified…unless things don’t go her way. Last night, we went out for ice cream (can you see where this is going?).
During rising action, the conflict is complicated by the introduction of related secondary conflicts, including various obstacles that frustrate the protagonist’s attempt to a goal.
Girl squeals with delight when presented with an enormous strawberry cone. Boy is too busy devouring his own chocolaty goodness to notice. We all walk to a bench in the middle of a very busy park to enjoy our ice cream.
As we sit down, boy has already finished his cone and now, with sugar and caffeine coursing through his veins, he eyes his sister’s treat. Is anyone looking? He doesn’t care. In a flash, boy pounces – his tongue extended like a dog hanging out a car window – ready to pillage girl’s dessert.
The third act is that of the climax, or turning point, which marks a change, for the better or the worse, in the protagonist’s affairs.
The entire scoop of ice cream, bigger than a baseball, falls to the ground. Boy looks at girl. Girl looks at lost ice cream.
The moment of reversal after the climax, during which the conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist unravels, with the protagonist winning or losing against the antagonist.
Girl loses her freaking mind: throws ice-creamless cone at boy; drops to the ground and begins to wail and flail in equal measure. Mom offers to get her a new one (“NOOOO – WANT THAT ONE!”). Dad offers his own cone (“AGGGHHHHH! NOOOOO!”). Girl is completely out of control and now rolling in the smooshed ice cream on the ground. Mom and dad look at girl, then each other. “Bail?” mom asks. “Definitely,” dad replies.
The final resolution of the narrative plot.
Mom grabs boy by the arm, whispering in his ear that if he ever does that again, he won’t eat ice cream for a year. Dad grabs girl and holds her horizontally to avoid being kicked in the nether regions. He gently rocks her and murmurs soothingly in her ear until she finally settles down, sniffles a few times, and goes in for a snuggle. “Feeling better now?” Dad asks. “No,” girl replies. “I need a puppy.”
*NOTE: This is the same girl who, when I lamented forgetting my purse in a store, told me to suck it up.
Here’s another confession*: last week I ate half a Baskin Robbins cake. I don’t even remember the exact flavor, but there was a lot of caramel. ‘Nuff said. Ice cream is a big weakness of mine. So is cake. And don’t forget those chocolate nuggets confiscated from my kids’ Halloween candy. Let’s face it: sugar is my sweet mistress and I am her bitch.
This became a problem recently when I had a situation (not contagious, but also not pretty) that required me to severely limit the sugar in my diet. And not just obvious stuff, like the pack of Skittles in my bathroom drawer. Nope, I mean everything – bread, dairy, fruit – the works.
The first two days weren’t fun for anyone in my house (or anyone on the road when I was driving, or at the store where I bought rice cakes, or at the park, etc.). I felt like I had the flu, PMS and morning sickness all in one twitching bundle. I mourned the loss of Slurpees and DQ blizzards. I coveted watermelon and margaritas. I told my husband I would cut him if he dared to bring Doritos into our home.
My kids were ready to start hiding chocolate chips in my plain porridge (aka gruel) when something very interesting happened: I began feeling kinda great. My energy level shot through the roof. My memory (I’ve been known to put groceries away in the washing machine) became practically photographic. My hair went from Oompa Loompa-on-acid to L’Oreal-commercial-worthy. And what of my little ‘condition’ that necessitated this whole experiment? Gone. (Stop asking – you don’t want to know, trust me**.)
It’s been over a week now, and I’m loving this new way of eating (I’m sure a big part of it is the booze loophole I found). Not only am I resolved to stick with this no sugar thing, I’ve actually got my family doing it, too. The best part is, they don’t even know.
* My husband is nervous (he should be) that this will be a recurring motif in my writing.
** Fine, I’ll tell you, but only because my Grandma will think it’s something bowel-related (‘cuz that’s how she rolls). I had a super gross eczema thing on my hands. There. Happy?!