Thursday, August 7, 2014

Parenting a Teenager- Is there an app for that??

My oldest son turned 15 in June.  I blinked and he was no longer my "talk a mile a minute" 7 year old.  The kid who asked a million questions per day was no longer saying much of anything.  I was now the one asking a million questions, just trying to get an answer that involved more than one syllable.  But, through all of the moods, slammed doors, exasperated sighs (because Eric and I obviously don't understand him), I've always seen my son in there.  My funny, silly, thoughtful, loyal, kind Aidan.  That has never changed.
Aidan has always made friends easily.  When he was three he met his first best friend, Jewel, at preschool.  Jewel wouldn't talk to anyone there. Anyone, except Aidan.  At dinner every night, we heard about Jewel and how much Aidan loved her and wanted to help her "not be so shy."  They were best friends for a long time.  He could be himself with Jewel and she could be herself too. You can see that in all the pictures of them together through their growing up years.
  Over the years, Jewel came out of her shell and Aidan supported her every step of the way.  Now that they are teenagers, they aren't close like they used to be.  That's OK, because they will always remember their first best friend.

Aidan's current best friend has been his best friend for 5 years.  Their friendship even lasted through nearly two years of Aidan living in California and Noah living in Missouri.  These two boys are just the right amount of crazy and I love them.
I think the hardest part of Aidan growing up and becoming his own person is knowing when to let him handle things his own way.  Because, I am always right, you see.  I know what is best for him.  I want to tell him exactly what to do to keep his school stuff organized, what he should eat and drink (it's NOT Dr. Pepper and Sour Patch Kids, by the way), how he should handle kids who are rude or mean to him.  It's an instinct for mothers.  I know I've overstepped a couple of times and Aidan has not been happy with me for doing so.  I try to explain to him that I can't help it when Mama Bear comes out.  "You need to put Mama Bear away," he says, " I can handle it."  So, I'm trying.  I know if he needs us, he will ask.
So, I guess I don't really need an app.  I just need patience and to trust that he will know what to do and how to handle it.  When he says, "Girl, I got this,"  I need to listen to him.

Except when we are driving.  When we are driving, I get to tell him what to do.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Totalitarian Times at the Nail Salon (or BEWARE the Nail Nazis)

Ladies, if you haven't been into a nail salon recently, heed my advice and DON'T GO!  At the very least, take a buddy.  Go in with a plan and stick to it.  The women who run these salons put most used car salesmen to shame.  Their high pressure sales technique is impressive and more than a little disconcerting.  I consider myself a bit of a hard ass and even I was wheedled into more nail than I needed or wanted.

If you've ever had the gel nail polish, you know how hard it is to get that crap off your nails.  It won't chip, crack or peel for weeks (that's the plus) but then you have to turn into some sick version of Wolverine to get it off your nails.  Seriously NOT worth it.  It also peels off your real nail in the process.  The nail nazis won't tell you this though.  You can ask, "Won't this be difficult to take off?"  "You come back.  REAL easy.  You look so pretty!"  Yeah, don't even try.

Despite knowing all of this, I went ahead and got the damn gel on my nails for a wedding a few weeks ago.  My best friend Mary and I went together and got our manicure for the wedding. Two-ish weeks later we went back to get it off.  We agreed we would only get the gel off.  We would not get another manicure.  Here's the playback (condensed version):

Nail Nazi:  You need new gel manicure?
Us:  No, we would just like to get the gel taken off.
NN:  You no like the gel?
Us:  We just did it for a special occasion, a wedding.
NN:  Oh (head hanging as if we have totally ruined her whole day), well you just get plain manicure then.
Me:  No, I just want the gel off, thanks.
Mary:  Ok, I'll just do a coat of clear on there.

NOOO, Mary did not stick to the plan.  She may be my BFF but she has failed as my nail wing-man.  WTF, Mare?

Off we go to get the gel off.  Imagine sand papering your nails, then covering them in acetone soaked cotton and wrapping them in aluminum foil.  Then, you sit for 15 minutes while the poison soaks in there and softens the apocalyptic proof gel.
I give Mary the eye, because she totally caved.  The the nail nazi, sensing that she needs to get me to cave as well, starts in.

NN:  Why you no like the gel?
Me:  It messes up my real nails.
NN:  Well, you need regular manicure.  You get this kind, it's easier to take off than the gel.
Me:  I can take it off like regular polish?
NN:  Yes.
Me:  (Sighing)  Fine, I'll do a basic manicure with that polish.  (MAN DOWN!  MAN DOWN!)
NN:  You want a flower?
Me: NO!!!! (I don't want a damn flower)

My nail nazi isn't nice while she's scraping off the gel.  She keeps pushing my other fingers down as if she wishes she could just cut them the hell off and get them out of her way.  Then, she looks at me and says, "You need eyebrows done too?"  Bitch, please!  I'm still growing out my eyebrows from the last time I got them waxed (18 months ago).  "No, I'm good, thanks."  So done with this!

Mary's nail nazi actually makes her bleed.  I'll leave it at that.

When we go to leave my nail nazi  informs me that this polish cost "a little more" than the regular polish and it is another $5 b/c we had them take the gel off.  That right there is what my Grandpa Joslin would have called a racket.
Shell-shocked, Mary and I leave the nail chamber of death and head to the van and then to Target. Because we know how to have fun.  We are fun gals.  While in Target:

Me:  My nails are still all tacky and I sat there for like an extra 15 minutes.
Mare:  This isn't even a good manicure.  Look at my nails.
Me:  We suck at going to the nail place.
Mare:  I caved at the front desk.
Me: Yes, you did.  I caved in the back.  We are no longer allowed to go to the nail salon.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Don't Mess With Me-Apparently I'm a Ball Buster

My husband and I were at Costco today to get food for a dinner we were having.  We were in line at the checkout and I realized we had a lot of items and I hadn't brought bags.  So I asked Eric to go get a box.  Ya know, they have all these boxes at Costco for you to put your stuff in.  Here's the convo:
Me: Can you go grab a box for some of this stuff?
E:  What kind of box (looking confused)?
Me:  Just a box, I don't care.
E:  Really, because you are usually pretty particular about things?
Me:  Just get a box!

Seriously people, he looked afraid to go and get a box!

Me:  Why are you being so weird about getting a box?
E:  I just don't want to get yelled at for getting the wrong kind.

Mother of Pearl on a stick!  I swear to you that I am not that bad.  I'm not *THAT* wife that would yell at her husband in frickin' Costco about getting the wrong box.

Will someone please tell Eric that he has it pretty good!  Please??  Because, apparently he thinks I'm a ball buster of monster proportions.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

This is the Stuff

As I sit here and listen to my mother-in-law, nephew, niece and son play Apples to Apples this morning, I know this is where I am supposed to be.  This week has been full of ups and downs, but this kind of family time is the handrail I hang onto when things throw me off balance.  This is the stuff that gets me through the hardest times.
Minor daily disasters (and we know I have MANY of those), just do not matter when someone you love is facing a life threatening disease. Through everything that happened this week, I just kept my brother-in-law Philip in the forefront of my mind.  This is nothing, I thought.  This will pass, I thought.  Nothing is going to get in the way of this weekend with family, I thought.
It was the perfect family weekend.  I watched my kids play with their cousins.  I laughed with my sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law as we all made inappropriate jokes.  We ate lots of great food (too much perhaps), the kids swam and played Rock Band.  Philip joined in when he felt well enough and rested a lot.  We all worried.  We are all very worried.  We all want to fix this.  We are willing this "call" to come and save our son/husband/father/brother/uncle from this unfair sentence. So, we laugh as we worry.  We pray and hope as we worry.  We try to enjoy this time with each other while we are screaming in our heads, "We NEED this call, NOW!!!"
Through it all, we LAUGH!  As my mother-in-law said, "Why cry over spilled toilet water?"  Indeed, Sandra, indeed.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Today started like a typical Sunday:   wake up a little later than usual, drink coffee, decide to go for a walk.  Well, perhaps I should have stopped at coffee because that's where the day went awry.  I started out the front door for my walk and this is what I saw:
My husband, the groundhog hunter, had captured another one of our uninvited house guests. I will call this unfortunate event number 1.  After telling my husband of his victory over the 4th groundhog in a series of ??? groundhogs, I left for my walk.  While on my walk, my oldest son Aidan texted me that he would like to be picked up from his sleepover.  No problem, I'll be there after my walk.   When I returned from my walk Eric and Tanner were gone to release the groundhog in my van.  This forced me to take Eric's car to pick up Aidan.  Unfortunate event #2.  I got Aidan and returned home and opened the garage door where Eric's car is normally parked.  Instead I see lawn equipment.  Hmm, ok he must be changing where he parks to the other side of the garage.  I have no opener for that side.  So, I just park E's car in the driveway-unfortunate event #3.  Later when I leave to take Tanner to tennis, I get in my van and back out of my usual garage spot and, you guessed it-completely forgot that E's car was in an unusual place.
This series of unfortunate events led to this outcome.  Please note that my husband just recently got his car (the red one) back from the repair shop for $600 worth of damage done to the opposite side by a pothole the size of a small elephant.  Well, I didn't want this side to feel left out.  For some reason when I look at these pictures, I want to yell, "The van is the winner!  The van is the winner!"  But, I guess that wouldn't be wise.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

We Bought a House

If you've seen the movie "We Bought a Zoo" then you know exactly what my life has been like since moving into this 17 year old house ten days ago.  Except without the tigers.  But, we have groundhogs, which are clearly more entertaining.  We have been very fortunate in our married life to move into 2 newly built homes.  We even rented a newly built home in California.  I feel like we took very good care of all of our homes, even our rental.  We made repairs, updates, kept things clean and well, just acted like a fricking grown ups!  So, imagine my rude awakening upon moving into a home where little to no maintenance has been done in the past 4-10 years.  Everything on this house is original.  The people who built it in 1996 wanted Victorian and custom.  There is a ton about this house that we instantly loved!  The screened in porch, the oversized three car garage, the pool (what was I thinking?).
But, we have just had to fix a cajillion things since moving in.  The water heater sounds like the one on the All State Mahem commercial.  The pool filter is weak and fading fast, the groundhog family living under the porch has a system of holes and tunnels that surely must lead to China.  I know we bit this off willingly and we will fix it all.  One. thing. at. a time.  But, my gawd, I am too OCD for this shit!  One source of daily frustration is in our master bathroom.  The toilet closet has a toilet that is too large to actually get the door past it.  That's as far as the door will go.
I know what you are thinking.  You are picturing me squeezing past the door and toilet.  Yep, that's what I do, every day.  Several times a night, in fact.  It's lovely.
I am grateful to the previous owners for taking down all the ugly ass Victorian wallpaper that used to cover the interior walls.  But, they left us all these wonderful shiny gold light fixtures.  Pretty sure they haven't been dusted in 17 years.  Here's the one I keep hitting my head on several times a day:
I'm pretty sure that's why one of the lamp thingies is tilted.  From my head.
Stay tuned for more exciting episodes of whatever the hell this house has in store for us.  We're all happy to be home, even if the home is fighting back a little.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

There's Shake in Your Hair

It has been a long time since my last post.  While I've thought many times in the last 2 and a half months about writing, I've never seemed to MAKE the time.  But, today I knew I HAD to make the time.  Why?  What's so amazing that I have to share it?  Did I get an award?  No. Did I win the lottery?  No (and I wish).  Did Adam Levine show up at my house and ask me out on a date?  Sadly, no.  But, this story is what my blog is all about.  Who do you want to tell when you really make a mess of things?  Your friends.  So, my friends, here is a little story about how your graceful and talented friend Jen ended up wearing her breakfast.  Enjoy!
I was up and ready in plenty of time to make it to work not just on time today, but early.  I would even have time to drop off Aidan on my way.  Today was to be my 3-month evaluation at work.  Call me crazy, but I was excited and looking forward to it.  I ironed nice pants.  I put on mascara.  I really HATE putting on mascara.  I complimented myself silently about making the effort to look a tad bit better than average today.  
My new morning routine (now that I have a job and have a routine) includes making myself a protein smoothie which I drink as my breakfast.  It makes me happy.  Why?  Because it fills me up, it's yummy and it's easy to take with me to work.   Yep, that's me- all together and makin' my protein smoothie in the morning.  La-dee-da!  Feeling this good about myself this morning, I should have known that disaster was looming around the corner.
Aidan and I made our way to the van and headed off to his school.  About half way there I picked up my QT cup (GOOD GAWD, people, I MISS QT!) to take a drink.  Picked it up, not by the handle, which would have made the morning turn out just fine, but by the lid.  At which point, the entire cup (It's a 34 oz. cup about 1/2 full) dropped straight back down into the cup holder.  The lid was apparently not on all the way (rookie mistake).  But, honestly, this is WHY I carry the drink in a grown up version of a sippy cup.  I am not the most graceful person on the planet (sorry if you had other ideas about me).  I know what I'm capable of and it is not pretty.
The force with which the cup fell was supersonic or something b/c it literally exploded all over me, between the seats and center console of my van, as well as all over the dash and driver's side window.  Aidan, sitting in the passenger seat, was spotless.  I pulled over immediately and tried not to speak.  As I looked for napkins, I glanced at Aidan who looked, well, petrified.  Pretty sure he thought my head was going to pop off.  
After patting at the mess with a few meager napkins (anyone for cleaning up an entire bucket of water with one Kleenex?), I decided to continue driving Aidan to school.  I dropped him off and he said, "Sorry about your shake.  Hope your day gets better" or something to that effect.  Good boy, well played.  He's learning how to handle irate women (a very necessary skill, in my opinion).
Back home I went and came crashing into the house as quickly as I possibly could.  Tanner, who hadn't yet left for school, just watched me with his mouth open.  I explained what had happened and he said, in classic Tanner fashion, "You'll probably need to change clothes."  Really?  Ya think?  
I raced upstairs and peeled off my fruity smelling sweater, shirt, slacks and even my bra.  I threw them in the tub and threw on new stuff as fast as I could.  When I got back downstairs it was time for Tanner to go and I was running late.  I grabbed a couple of kitchen towels and got them wet to wipe off my seat, steering wheel and seat belt (I have one word for you-STICKY).  I told Tanner to have a good day at school and headed for the van.  Tanner says, "Hey mom, there's shake in your hair."  And on my glasses and on my shoes.  
Yep, just another Tuesday.