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Saturday, July 31, 2004

I'm scary. Booga booga!!

I've just come across another blog that is referencing me as proof of why divorce is scary. "Please tell me it won't happen to me!" she pleads.

In the words of my esteemed, dearly-departed grandmother: Oy. Vey.

Apparently, as I am highly educated and obviously brilliant (no, I never joined MENSA; those people have no sense of humor), it is just so wrong that my life didn't work out precisely as planned. How do marriages go wrong when you're so smart is the implication I get.

Last time I checked, there were precious few guarantees in this life. Would I have liked things to be different? Hell yes. Is this the way it worked out? Yup. Will I still be fine? Yup. Am I grateful for my blessings? Every day. Is my life a cautionary tale? Not particularly. It's just a life. Do I know far too many people who've been forced to endure way more hardship? Sadly, yes.

I'm not scary. I'm human. And I'm going through exactly what I need to go through to get to where I'm supposed to be. I won't claim I always do it with grace, but I'm doing the best I can. Sometimes I wish it were easier, but the truth is that I tend towards being an ungrateful pain in the ass... and I need a good smattering of difficult to juxtapose the good stuff and make me appreciate it. I have absolute faith that I'm where I need to be.

You can sit around being afraid of the things that might happen, or you can live. Seems like a pretty easy choice, to me.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Embrace your inner screw-up

I believe I once characterized my town as "not exactly a Stepford community," but something close.

I lied.

It is, in many ways, worse than Stepford.

Tonight I had a new friend over for dinner. D and I met through another dear friend, and upon discovering that we are both newishly (is that a word? she brought wine; consider yourself forewarned) divorced, we bonded instantly. So we've known each other a while, but it has taken some time to finally coordinate a get-together. We ran into her at the beach today... and when I discovered that we were both going to be kidless tonight, I invited her for dinner. I was thrilled when she came over.

D and I both know a third woman--also through the same friend who introduced the two of us--who is also newly divorced. This third woman, let's call her Cleo (that's short for Cleopatra, Queen of Denial), is quite something. She's been separated and (I think) even legally divorced much longer than either D or I have, but downplays that fact quite a bit. And by downplay, I mean she boldface lies about it to most people. She's told us the truth, because we're divorced, and part of her really does want some acceptance and kinship with other women like her. But to watch Cleo in action at a party is mind-boggling. She pretends she's still married. She cannot abide the thought of being rejected by anyone she perceives as the "elite" of our snobby little town.

Cleo also confessed to me and our mutual friend, one night, after quite a few drinks (her, not me) that she was sleeping with her divorce lawyer. Oooooh, classy! This was, mind you, after she'd insisted to me on multiple occasions that she was nowhere near ready to date. I guess I just misunderstood. Technically, she didn't say she wasn't ready to screw.

Needless to say, I wasn't halfway through my glass of wine before I felt the need to share with D the story of Cleo spilling the beans about schtupping her lawyer. We laughed until we cried. D has also been present for many of Cleo's long, intense soliloquies about how she just isn't ready to get involved again. For some reason, dissing this poor woman over pizza and wine was a fabulous evening.

So, okay. We made fun of this woman who so desperately wants to fit in with our town's "society" that she will lie, deny, and otherwise cloud the realities of her life to appear more acceptable to the ladies of the Junior League. I'm a very cheap date, and one glass of wine will do that to me. Mea culpa.

The reality? I feel so sorry for Cleo. I do. Life is too short to pretend to be someone you're not.

Guess what? My marriage crumbled. I'm divorced. I'm still a worthwhile person, I still deserve to live here, and if you so much as look at me sideways like you feel sorry for me in any way, I will occupy myself elsewhere, thanks. This is my life. Good, bad, indifferent, it's mine. I'm not going to lie about it or dress it up for anyone. You don't like it? Fine. Enjoy your self-appointed time as judge and jury. But you're not worth my time.

Even here in Stepford, I've had no trouble finding myself a plethora of friends who love me for who I am. I think it's beyond sad that Cleo is so unsure of herself (or is it of the rest of us?) that she dare not chance embracing her reality, lest she be rejected. And her inability to be honest infuriates me, because she's condemning me and D and all the other imperfect women along with her, in her refusal to risk being herself. I want to shake her. I want to tell her that anyone who can't deal with her reality--my reality--isn't worth it.

But of course I have no control over her. So I will just make fun of her behind her back. All the while, reaffirming my decision to basically write off anyone who can't deal with me on my terms.

I didn't say it was rational. Or mature. But really? Pretending you're not divorced? Continuing to wear your big-ass diamond? Lying to people so they won't think less of you? It makes my skin crawl. Is there any greater self-hatred?

Hi, my name is Mir, and I'm divorced. I'm also a cheap date, and well-buzzed on a single glass of wine. I'll make you a deal. You be yourself, and I'll be myself. Flaws and all. Doesn't that make it all more interesting?

Eighth Installment: Facts and Fiction Friday (part two)

We fought the beach, and the beach won. A sandy time was had by all. Monkey and I are still the whitest white people on the planet. (Chickadee has browned up a bit, but Monkey and I are still casting a fierce glare off of ourselves.) The children are now exhausted and "resting" in front of the TV, and I am finishing up your queries rather than looking in the mirror to see how badly burnt I became through the SPF 45 sunblock.

Genuine wants to know what we would be writing about, if we were collaborating on a book.

"You Too Can Overcome Your Obsession With Nudity," by Genuine as told to Mir (fully clothed). (Fiction.)

Hmmmm, Gen, I dunno. Is that an offer? I think I could probably put some sarcasm into that Genuine Romance for you and double your readership ya know.... (Fact, maybe.)

Angela wants to know what superhero I've always dreamed of being or having.

Remember Gleek, the monkey on Superfriends? Mmmmmmm. (Fiction. Ewwwwww.)

As a child, I often dreamt of being part of the G-Force from Battle Of The Planets. I don't know why that particular show caught my interest so much. I think I liked that they were a family and fought crime together. Or maybe it was just the part where the one guy would put out his magic watch (or whatever it was) and shout "TRANSMUTE!" and they'd all change. Who knows.

Now that I'm grown-up... hmmm... Spiderman is kinda cool (Monkey told me so). Tobey Maguire isn't too hard on the eyes, either. (Fact. Heheheheh.)

Tonya wants to know the secrets of Target markdowns, like how do you know if the price is as low as it will go, and why would one size be red-tagged but another not.

Stick with me, grasshopper. I shall teach you the way.

First of all, there are scanners all over Target for a reason. Always scan everything. Items that are marked down corporate-wide will be reduced in the computer system regardless of whether the markdown team has gotten to them or not. Items are often lower than marked, if already red-tagged. So, scan, scan, scan.

Second, it used to be true that final markdowns at Target always ended in a 4. I'm not positive that that's the case, anymore. But if something was $3.74 or whatever, you knew that was the last price drop. Those little red tags? Have a number in the upper right corner. That's the percentage off. It's usually 15, 30, 50, or 75. The stuff that hits 90% off rarely has time to be retagged before it's sold. If you see something you're dying to have and it's at 50% and there's an entire wall of them, you can probably wait. But if you want an item and there's only a few left, it can be a gamble to wait.

As for some sizes being tagged and not others, sometimes that's on purpose and sometimes it's an oversight. Always ask. The day that my friend and I bought all the cute Sunny Patch Kids stuff, the entire display was clearly marked 75% off and several items my friend was buying were in the computer as 50% off. The cashier gave us the additional markdown with no problem. But occasionally they do intentionally not mark down everything in what seems like it ought to be a "set" of the same stuff.

I heart Target.

Alrighty, I think that wraps it up. Looks like everyone else is out enjoying their Fridays as well. My snippet of good news is that one of the resumes I sent out actually yielded a request for further info, so that's sort of exciting. I'm trying to pretend it's exciting and might actually turn into a job. Play along with me; it's fun!

As always, thanks for playing Facts and Fiction Friday with me. Answers to your queries are crafted from organic materials right here in the good ol' U.S. of A.

Eighth Installment: Facts and Fiction Friday (part one)

(Apropos of nothing, I feel compelled to point out that BlogSpot has endorsed me for the position of Shoe Shopping Wife. My banner ads are now for shoe stores! Sweet.)

This week's edition may be a bit briefer than usual (I can hear you cheering there, in the back!); the kids and I are getting ready for a jaunt to the beach. That pretty much means that they are busy piling up every toy in the house by the beach bag, and I am sitting here wondering if I remembered to shave. Anyway. Let's get started!

Heather asks, what's the most peaceful place I've ever been?

This one time? When someone locked me in the trunk of their car? It was nice in there. I fell asleep. Curled into the fetal position. (Fiction.)

I have never considered myself a terribly outdoorsy sort of person, but during my first cross-country drive I was seriously tempted to stay in Jackson Hole. My dad and I went horseback riding on a mountain, and I could've believed we (along with our guide, and his dog) were the only people in the universe that day. It was very Zen. (Fact.)

mc asks, would the people who know me in real life recognize the person I am here?

Well that's easy, since my blog is triple-top-secret. No one else here at the correctional facility has any idea that I have a laptop stashed in my cell's commode. (Fiction. Sorry for the visual.)

Quite a few folks from my "real life" read my blog, including my parents and several friends. I have been told on multiple occasions, "I could just hear you saying that!" I think I'm pretty true-to-life, here. The difference perhaps lays in my willingness to expound on my neuroses. Most of the time, when I get really tied up in something that's bothering me, I will self-censor with my friends--at a point--because I realize I'm whining and I don't want to drive them away with my incessant complaining. Here, this is for me, and you can read it or not. So I'm more likely to let it all hang out. (Fact.)

Jules asks a long, convoluted question about watermelons growing in my stomach and regenerating uterii, but points out that I don't need to answer.

In the interest of soothing the minds of anyone who was worried after my post from last night: I posted about my spotting/cramping to a hysterectomy support board, and someone said it was probably internal stitches dissolving. Good enough for me. Also, so far so good, this morning. (Fact.)

Alektra wants to know my favorite babyword from my kids that we still use.

Sorry, there are no baby words around here. Both of my children popped out with 5,000+ word vocabularies and impeccable diction. (Fiction. Wasn't that a really bad movie, once?)

I gave this one a lot of thought. Sadly, most of my favorite babyspeak has gone the way of the highchairs and diapers. Chickadee used to hold up her arms and say "Uppy doo!" when she wanted to be picked up. She never just said "up." Cracked us up something fierce. And my favorite with Monkey has always been the various permutations of him pronouncing his sister's name. She used to get so angry with his mispronounciation and I tried to tell her she'd miss it once he could say it properly. Now sometimes I catch them playing and her telling him to call her what he used to. Heh. We do still call Oreos "yo-ee-yos" just for fun! (Fact.)

Janet is sucking up to me something fierce, complimenting my intellect, visage, and feet, and wondering just how insane my ex is.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. (BWAHAHAHAHHAAHAHA Fiiiiiiiiiiiiction....)

My ex went through a really difficult time, handled it badly, and I think now--as he puts his life back together--also realizes that we weren't a very good fit for one another. We might've made it, had he not had such a huge crisis... but I'm one of those "everything happens for a reason" kinds of people, ya know? He's not insane. He's just really different than I am. I hope that in the final analysis we'll appreciate our time together because of the two fantastic kids we got out of it, but that both of us will find greater happiness elsewhere. I was not the right person for him, nor he for me. (Fact.)

Marcia wants the dirt on the ex's new woman.

She's a mail order bride and rodeo clown. (Fiction. I hope.)

I know very little about her, and the ex is being very tight-lipped so I'm not asking. I know she's working out-of-state on a 6-month assignment. I know she's a chemist. I know she was nice to my kids. I know the ex seems much happier. I very much doubt I'll learn more prior to hearing either that she left him or that they've set a wedding date. When I'm not feeling sorry for my pitiful single self, I'm very glad to know she's around.(Fact.)

Kimberly wants to know where I would live if I could live anywhere in the world.

I believe someone asked this before, and I joked about Alaska (because really, someone who hates the snow as much as I do should just not be allowed to live where I do), but said I'd go to Maui. Weather-wise, that's true. Culture-wise, I'm not sure. If price wasn't an object, I think I'd move back to northern California. I miss it there, both for the weather and the culture. (Fact.)

Shelly wants to know how the job-hunting is going, and what's the worst job I'll settle for?

Well, I've just been hired as the new CEO of Victoria's Secrets. Free thongs and angel wings for all my readers! (Fiction. Ow.)

Since resuming my search, I've sent out two resumes and felt out three possible contacts in addition. It's slow going. Should I be unable to find something along the lines of what I really want (blogging for pay aside, I'd like to get back into technical writing), I will probably apply for a job at Target. I'm sure the job itself sucks, but it's Target. And I'd get an employee discount. But yeah, it's not exactly how I pictured my life. Maybe I can hang up my diplomas in the employee break room...? (Sad, sad fact.)

Aurora wants to know if I'm closer to my real-life friends or my blogger friends.

I don't have any real life friends. Also? All the comments on my blog are just you, and my other personalities. (Fiction. No offense to Sybil.)

On the whole, of course I'm closer to those friends I can hang out with in real life. I do have a few "internet friends" from waaaaaay back, pre-blogging, with whom I have a very strong bond. I would say I'm as close with a couple of them as I am with my "real life" friends. But blogging friends? I'm meeting fabulous folks, here, but I've only been blogging for a few months. Relationships take time to build. (Fact.)

Jennifer asks how serious I am about working in daycare.

I am serious in the sense that I would like to pay less for daycare. I am not so serious in the sense that I do love children, but I have never felt "called" to work in childcare as a serious gig. I'm good with kids but I don't see it being my career. (Fact. Thank you for the offer of advice, though!)

Jen wants to know where she can get a Wife application.

The form is about twenty pages long, and needs to be filled out in triplicate and notarized. Send me a self-addressed, postage-paid mailer and I'll get it riiiight out to ya. (Fiction.)

I had no idea that my commune scheme was going to generate all of the enthusiastic interest that it did. And now I feel I'm caught with my pants down, completely unprepared to organize our progress as necessary. Who's gonna be Paperwork Wife? This is her job. (Fact. Inasmuch as the commune becoming reality is fact, that is.)

My current time is up; the beach is calling! I will answer the rest of the questions later today. Enjoy your day and don't forget the sunscreen!!

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Pass the Advil and ask your questions

Well, the bubble burst a little. Surprise! But those few hours of contentment were nice.

So, you know how thrilled I've been about finally being on the right medications and hormones and all of that, and feeling pretty much myself again? It's been great. Right up this evening, when I started cramping and spotting. And... uhhh... not to get too technical here, but that area is no longer connected to anything, supposedly; so I for one am kind of puzzled as to where that blood might be coming from, ya know? Plus... cramping? From what? Phantom cramps? Or maybe my uterus grew back? (This is when I totally need to have a Medic Wife on hand.)

Now don't go getting all worried on me. I'm gonna ride out the evening and call my doc in the morning if anything weird is still going on. Right now? I'm practicing my denial skills. La la la!

So! In lieu of detailed discussion about my bizarre and embarrassing medical issues (whoops! too late!), let's start getting in those questions for Facts and Fiction Friday. Ask away, and I will answer your queries with truth, or humor, or by scraping the bottom of the barrel in such a way that you wonder why you bother coming back here. That's the excitement--wondering what you'll get. You know you want to play. Leave your questions and prepare to be amazed! Or possibly perplexed! I cannot promise talking meatballs, but I can promise you... words. Lots of 'em. ("Oh, I was totally hoping for talking meatballs, but lots of words sounds even better!")

Oooookay, time for me to stop talking now. Ask away.

Life is Good (six ways)

At last check, I had 50 58 comments on the "bloggerhood" post, many from folks I never would've "met" otherwise. Thank you again for coming in, hanging out, and being willing to share yourself with me!


Chickadee asked me this morning, "Is my sandal supposed to do this?" This was the sole opening up from toe to mid-arch like an old leather taco. Um, not so much, hon. I was thinking of trying to glue it, but then I noticed her toes hanging off the edge, too. That kid just keeps growing. Ran out this afternoon to the same store where I'd gotten my strappy heels and found her the last pair of sandals in the next size on clearance. $5 I can do.


Zoot has generously offered up Mr. Zoot for the good of the commune. I figured it would've been too forward of me to ask for this, but now that she's offered? I have only two words: HUBBA HUBBA. And he can build a deck! (Yeah, that's why I want him... his carpentry skills.) (Don't you love how Zoot loves me even though I blatantly drool all over her husband at every opportunity?)


My darling children are with their dad for the afternoon/evening. And speaking of him? I am being duly rewarded for my calm, adult attitude about his new paramour. He's being downright nice to me. Which--I won't kid you or anything--is a wee bit creepy, but on the whole, good. It also makes it easier to see that this is a Good Thing for everyone involved. It's true that if he's happy I end up happier.


Through one of the couponing boards I frequent, I signed up for a diaper study. I'm now getting about a month's supply of pull-ups for free in return for filling out a few surveys about them. Sweet. (Yes, I have completely given up on the notion of getting Monkey nighttime trained, thanks for asking.)


Right now? I'm sitting on my deck, in the shade... it's a beautiful day... I have my laptop and big soda... and I am so spoiled that you would hate me if you didn't loooove me so much. There is clean, unfolded laundry upstairs calling my name. But I can't heeeeaaaaaaar it!

This is the life.

Commune House Rules

I knew the wisdom of this idea would resonate with the thinking women out there (and with Genuine, who not only skipped over the bit about polyamory not being a requirement, but also forgot that I am also still on double-secret 6-week probation!).

Now all that remains is to figure out some of the particulars. To this end, I had a long and serious discussion on the phone with my friend Marcey this morning. She is also a single mom, and we have long toyed with the idea of merging our households, except for the part where it ends up being less like "Kate and Ally" and more like "Thelma and Louise" (cliff-diving optional, but not out of the question). We came up with some salient points I want to share, since everyone seems so interested.

1) There must be at least four wives. What two women get along 100% of the time? No one, that's who. Only two, you still have some lonely times. Three wives, and two are talking smack about the third behind her back when she does something dumb. Once you reach four, everyone has a decent shot at having at least one confidante at any given time.

2) The husband is completely optional. As was pointed out in both the comments and by Marcey, with enough career wives, you have the money to pay for whatever man-related services (gutterbrained or not) you might need.

3) Women with undisciplined brats need not apply. Is there anything more aggravating than a mother who looks at her child whomping on another child and coos, "Oh Junior, play nice," and then goes back to painting her nails? You must believe in firm discipline for your children. You must be perfectly okay with other women disciplining your child if you don't catch an infraction immediately. And you must be willing to do the same for the other kids, too. It takes a village to keep a child from becoming a spoiled selfish brat.

4) Menopause Wife is not one of the positions. Marcey and I were arguing over this spot until we realized that, technically, that wasn't going to be a position. Unless there are so many wives that it is decided by concensus that someone is needed to have hot flashes for the entertainment of the younger wives. But by the same token...

5) Some of the wives need to still be fertile (read: of sound mind) and not have killer PMS. It's a known fact that women who live together tend to--after a while--cycle together. If everyone has bad PMS, there are going to be some very unhappy times at the commune. So those of you out there who say things like "I've never understood the big deal about PMS"? I hate you, and will talk smack behind your back, but come on over, because someone has to keep things running when everyone else is bawling into their ice cream and I've run out of hormone patches and am swinging from the chandelier.

6) Kira and I get the first turns with either the husband or the stud we hire. Just because. I'll even let Kira go first.

7) Laundry Wife gets to scold the children for stained clothing left in bizarre places. (That one doesn't even need further explanation, does it?)

8) Cooking Wife is not allowed to utter the words Atkins, low-carb or wheatgrass. Tofu will be voted upon, and organic is fine. (Likewise.)

9) I totally get to be the Shoe Shopping Wife. But if there's enough interest, maybe we can periodically rotate positions. Or not. Because it was my idea, dammit.

10) No Mormons allowed. Okay, I know that's discriminatory. But they'd probably suck all the fun right out of it. And who wants to live in Utah, anyway? Just remember, this isn't about serving men; this is about making our lives easier.

11) There must be babies. Part of the misery of being a single mom is the scarcity of delicious fuzzy infant heads to smell, and the knowledge that that part of your life is probably over. While I realize that most women with babies have husbands they actually like, this is about the good of the commune. We need some babies to keep the place happy. So come on over.

I think that about covers it, for now. Leave me suggestions for additional rules, or feel free to apply to join. Especially if you make lots of money.

I think we're going to need a really big house.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Most wives need... more wives

I feel the looooooove, people! *sniffle* I expected a few introspective, convoluted answers to my "bloggerhood" post below, and instead I found over three dozen "I like you! Lots!" comments. Aw, shucks. I like you, too! Don't ever change! And special kudos to those of you who delurked just to say that. I cannot promise to never alienate any of you with some of my more bizarre ruminations, but I'll do my darndest to keep y'all around.

Speaking of which, what do you suppose a small boy who manages to make "arrivederci" rhyme with "I have a wedgie" (ah-ree-va-DED-gie turns to ah-hav-a-WED-gie) does for an encore, just when you've decided he is perhaps a special kind of linguistic savant? Why, he listens intently to the bedtime story's description of wolves howling at the moon and intones, "I think that may be their way of communicating." Well alrighty then, Einstein. If we could just keep your fingers out of your nose and get you to stop peeing the bed, you'd be ready for college.

Anyway. This post is not about either of these things.

This post is about how polygamy has gotten a bum rap. (That promise? About not alienating people? See, now, why I am reluctant?)

Now I, probably not unlike you, had always assumed that polygamy was some weird Mormon sex fetish thing. Then I saw the story about Tom Green of Utah on Dateline NBC a few years back. They devoted an hour to the inner workings of this polygamist household. The topic of sex was touched upon, but only briefly (the "head wife" is responsible for scheduling the husband's sleeping schedule). Most of the story centered on how the wives run their day-to-day lives with the kids.

Can I tell you? I've had extensive discussions about this with my girlfriends and (now ex) sisters-in-law, and we all agree. The concept is brilliant. How is it that the mainstream has shunned this possibility so? I think it's all the men who couldn't possibly handle multiple wives, who are walking around trying to convince every one that this is a bad idea.

Yeah, I see you, there, shaking your head. Just stick with me a minute here.

First of all, what struck me most about the Dateline special--other than the interesting sight of one "team" of children being driven into town in a van to go shoe shopping--was how much the women genuinely enjoyed one another. They referred to each other as sister-wives and had nothing but praise for one another. I don't think it was an act. Picture it: you've got four girlfriends right there in the house with you. You don't like to do laundry? Fine, hand it over to the sister-wife who loves her some Tide. Need a few minutes to yourself? Direct whichever of those twenty-five rugrats are yours to go bother one of the other moms so you can pee in relative peace. Stuck on a word in your crossword puzzle? The sheer volume of other adults in the house greatly increases the odds that someone will know the answer. (Okay, I doubt any of Green's wives do crosswords. I'm just sayin'.) Once the kids are all in bed at night? You can stay home and actually hang out with other adults, or if you want to go out for something, there is never a need for a babysitter.

Secondly, can we talk about this nighttime scheduling thing? My guess is that the head wife is well-loved by the other sister wives. The ones with more libido slip her extra cookies and hand-wash her delicates for some extra nights with the love machine. The ones who are just as happy to sleep alone and not have to deal with a midnight grope put just the right amount of starch in her crisp blouses in return for more nights "off duty." Who amongst us that have experienced long-term relationships haven't relished a reunion after a few days or weeks apart? It probably keeps things interesting.

Furthermore, who says polygamy must contain polyamory? I have had more strategy sessions than I should probably admit about how to set up a "sister wife commune" based on a friend's happy marriage, where the rest of us put out in every way except in the bedroom. We sister wives would still be reaping 99% of the benefits of marriage, with an able-bodied male around to do things like bring in a paycheck, fix leaky faucets, and move heavy objects. That whole built-in babysitter thing is a huge plus for those of us who are mateless, you know. If I had a few sister wives hanging around the place, I'd feel way less guilty about going out on a date once in a while. ("Oh, I'm sorry, I'm not dating right now. I'm still looking for some additional wives to help me out.")

The benefits for the husband are obvious, too. The beleaguered man who spends a day in the rat race, only to arrive home to no dinner, a frazzled wife, and wild children? He would be no more at the sister wife commune. Heck, I could have dinner on the table every single night if I had four other women there with me every day. No problem. And with five moms to tag-team even the most disobedient children? There wouldn't be any Mommy Meltdowns. You could just hand off to the next in line while you went outside and ate some chocolate and counted to ten. Naturally the entire house would be in order by the time the husband arrived home. Everyone benefits!

I am full of good ideas, I tell you. Especially when I am dreading going back to work.

Ooooohhhhh... who are the people in my bloggerhood?

A couple of posts down, where I confessed trying to Google information about my ex's new ladyfriend, Jennifer asked if my ex reads my blog.

Hell no. That would be the short answer.

The long answer is more complicated, of course. Part of the reason that starting this blog and writing again after such a long hiatus has been so cathartic for me is that my ex never really "got" why I write, or appreciated anything I wrote. I've always found that puzzling, given that he is a bibliophile... but he doesn't want real life in his readings, and I'm kind of a Real Life type. I don't write sci-fi, therefore I write nothing that interests him. Shortly before our marriage started its final descent, a couple of years ago, I entered the American Mothers, Inc., yearly Arts Competition. My essay took first place in the state, second place nationally. "That's great," was his response. That was all.

So, no, he doesn't read my blog. I doubt he reads any blogs at all. He doesn't have a single inkling that I am writing again, and I won't be the one to tell him. If I had to guess, I'd say that some of the stuff I write here might upset him. But the ratio of incriminating, embarrassing things I could reveal about him to the items I've actually shared herein is overwhelmingly in his favor. I think he'd realize that; and if he didn't, I wouldn't much care.

However, the deeper, implied question here is one I'm now considering. Who does read my blog, and how do I censor myself, if at all? Would I be horrified if, say, my ex somehow did find my blog? There are enough troublemakers in the world that it's not impossible that someone will someday put together enough puzzle pieces and appoint themselves the Character Police and alert him that I've been talking about him. Would that devastate me?

Um, no. I talk about my ex here. I talk about my kids here. I talk about my friends here. Sometimes I talk about my parents here. I strive to censor as little as possible, but neither do I print anything that I would be horrified to have the people in question read. At the same time, I don't use real names of people unable to consent to being discussed (either because of age or oblivion). If someone's out there Googling me, they're unlikely to find my blog. Despite my previous suspicions to the contrary, it turns out that I am not, in fact, the only Miriam in the world, or even in New England. But say someone hunts me down and finds my blog. They've found me. What then?

That's great.

I'm grateful for every person that takes the time to read what I write. This blog allows me to keep my folks updated on the day-to-day, stay in touch with friends who are busy and/or far away, blow off steam, chronicle my journey, re-acquaint myself with my love of writing, and meet many amazing folks whom I otherwise wouldn't even know existed. As far as I know, that's why I'm here writing.

According to my stats program, for every comment I receive there are over 10 readers who remain silent. So tell me, readers... you're in my bloggerhood... why are you here reading?

My morning giggle

TV: Thanks so much for your help!
Monkey: Thanks so much for your help!
TV: No problem!
Monkey: No problem!
TV: We need to go now.
Monkey: We need to go now.
TV: Okay, thanks again.
Monkey: Okay, thanks again.
TV: Arrivederci!
Monkey: I have a wedgie!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

When I grow up, I want to be... employed

The time has come for me to resume my job search In Earnest. I resolved to take the summer off... remember my plans for this summer and how great it was going to be? It's been just like I pictured it! Except not at all! Because it turns out that a hysterectomy can really throw a kink into your beach plans. You wouldn't think you'd need a uterus for building sandcastles or anything, and really it's not the uterus itself, but the post-surgical time period where you hope for death for about five weeks just does not put you in a frolicking, beachy mood. Who knew?

Anyway. August is nearly upon us. Chickadee starts school on September 1st. I have about a month to find myself a job. My resume is ready and the panic attacks have returned. All I need to do now is... get a job.

It sounds so simple. It is so anything but. I am remembering why I stopped this routine back in May.

Here's how it goes: Sit down at computer, bring up Monster, search on jobs in the immediate area. Note that I am either not qualified for or break out in hives at the sight of 99% of the listings. Hey! Failure Analysis Engineer! That sounds like it's right up... oh, that's not what I thought it was going to be. Failure Engineer, maybe. It's the analysis part (and the requirement for a degree in Engineering Physics) where I fall a bit short. Okay, no matter. Who needs dumb ol' Monster, anyway? I'm gonna search America's Job Bank. Except that, on AJB, I can't search just by area. I need a keyword. Okay. I try various combinations of keywords that yield no matches until I find myself typing keywords like "royalty" and "dictator" and "piles of money" in idle frustration.

(After that, I switch to trying to Google the ex's new woman based only on her first name and the newest snippet of info--gleaned because she gave the children musical toothbrushes--which is that she is a chemist for a large health and beauty conglomerate. Strictly speaking, this is not standard job search procedure. Also, there are a lot more chemists out there with that name than you might think. I got bupkus.)

And so my hour of job hunting leaves me with... zero leads. Would anyone like a copy of my resume? I'm a highly qualified and experienced engineer, if it happens to be the year 2000. If you're picky and want current qualifications, I write. Lots. And often. About nothing. But that's sort of an art, you know. Also I am an expert shopper, genius room designer, television critic, ice cream connoisseur, micro-manager, bargain maven, and--with the correct hormone patch on my derriere--relatively bright human being. It really seems to me like I ought to be able to shoot a little higher than assistant manager at Taco Bell. And yet, here I sit.

A month is a long time. I'll find something. Something with decent pay, that I don't hate. Right? These things have a way of working themselves out, I know. And any amount of woulda-coulda-shoulda-ing my career choice, staying home with my kids, my marriage, my divorce, any of these things, doesn't change that. But I still think it's a crying shame that there are no local job openings for royalty.

The Shoes

(Or, It's Really Hard To Take A Flattering Picture Of Your Own Leg.)

You asked, and you shall receive. Because I am all about the giving, and the love, and most importantly, publishing multiple pictures of my feet on the internet.

Well, here it is. I do believe even Martha would be proud of me. These are shoes that no sane person would buy. These shoes were originally $46--which is probably a deal for Nine West--and they are constructed of approximately $.65 worth of raw materials. $.35 of that? Is just for the sequins along the straps. Which I was unable to capture well in the picture. Because I was far too busy wondering why my leg ended up looking like it belonged to a large woman named Helga. But taking a picture of your own leg, when you are, you know, attached to it, and trying to turn it at such an angle that the beauty of your frivolous shoes can be properly beheld, it's hard. I considered letting Chickadee snap my picture, and then I had one of those flash-forward moments to her sitting down to dinner with her dad and saying, "This morning Mama let me use the camera! She had me take a picture of her in her pajamas with some really spiky heels on! And then she put it on the computer and sent it to everyone!" And really, that just seemed like a can of worms not worth opening.

So you are just going to have to trust me when I say that not only do I not have Helga legs, in these shoes, my legs go from average to yowza in the time it takes me to buckle them. (When I'm not contorting my ankles to photograph my shoe on my foot, of course.) It's really a pity that these shoes are going to live on the closet shelf. On the other hand, I've never had a broken leg and am not really eager to have one, so maybe it's a good thing....

Monday, July 26, 2004

Spending some money on some stuff

Apparently today was my day to spend money on things.

First of all, this morning as the children were eating breakfast from our endless supply of poptarts (because when I run out of poptarts there is much gnashing of teeth and roaring), I realized that we had No Food. Poptarts are not food. They would work for breakfast, but I had been staring down the barrel of a grocery run for about a week. My first clue was when I offered Blue Box for lunch yesterday and Chickadee started to cry, "Not macaroni and cheese again!" My six-year-old. Said she was sick. Of mac and cheese. That's dire straits, right there.

So I did a quick run-down of the area. No milk. No bread. No yogurt. One egg. No fresh fruit. No cheese. No ham. No turkey. No salad. No goldfish. If anyone was wanting ketchup and mayo on a Ritz cracker for lunch, I was all set; but other than that... not so much.

Off to the grocery store, where I filled my cart with various goodies that either the kids won't eat or I wouldn't be buying if I was a better mother. Ha! Just kidding! It's not like I was buying bags of sugar, for crying out loud. Did you know that many popular sugar cereals are now coming in reduced sugar versions? It's great. There are reduced sugar Froot Loops and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (both favorites around here), and they make me feel all warm and fuzzy until I remember that it's probably the artificial color I should be worrying about rather than the sugar, and then I feel so conflicted that I have to say, "Oh LOOK! It's Spiderman on the box!" And then Monkey commences with the Little Boy Elation Death Grip on the box and I know that despite my most wholesome intentions I could never get out of the store without purchasing that cereal, so I may as well stop worrying about it.

I bought bananas, to hide in fruit smoothies... and veggie medley, to garnish dinner plates and allow me to pretend that my children eat vegetables. It turns out that I spend a lot of money on food that I either throw in the garbage or try to pretend doesn't exist. What a wonder that I don't enjoy my forays to the supermarket more.

I also fell hook, line and sinker for the enormous display of "Buy 1 get 2 FREE!" on Coca-Cola six-packs. It seemed like a great way to try out the new C2. It's gooooood. Damn them and their half-sugar soda. I already regret having tried it. I'd finally made my peace with diet soda, alternating between Pepsi One and Diet Coke with Lime. Sure, neither one is as good as a traditional Coke, but I was at peace with them and--more importantly--I wasn't adding any calories to my life. Now they come along with their regular-Coke-tasting soda, the bastards. I will have to horde my stash and only drink them under the most severe circumstances. Like when I have a migraine. Or when I'm out of chocolate. Or if my TV breaks (for real, this time).

My grocery store also does this very amusing thing that I like to refer to as the Meat Lottery. There are regular prices on items, then there are "Shopper's Club" discounts that change each week that you get with the little thingamabobby you keep on your keychain, then there are these random instant coupons on meat. To play Meat Lottery, you walk down the butcher's case and look for the large red "Manager's Special" stickers on a package of something that isn't tripe or tongue. These coupons start at $.50 and go up to about $4.00. On a good day, a jackpot in the Meat Lottery will yield me half a deep-freeze full of supplies. Today? $2.00 off on ground beef. Good enough. Burgers for dinner!

Eventually I was done shopping, and came home and filled my fridge and my fruit basket and my pantry. Then I balled up the eleventy hundred plastic bags I'd brought my stuff home in and tried to stuff them behind the kitchen trash can where the other eleventy zillion plastic grocery bags live. The trash can jutted out of its normal spot from the force of all those plastic bags, and for the millionth time I considered throwing the extras away (no! bad for the environment!) or bringing some of them back to the store to recycle (no! too complicated and requiring of advance planning!). Oh well.

That was this morning. This afternoon, the sitter showed up, and I went out to browse clearance at a large department store. I found an adorable little necklace with Chickadee's initial for a pendant on clearance for $4. It was surrounded by gigantic bling-bling rhinestone intial pendants roughly the size of Chickadee's head, and I nearly missed it, sitting there all unassuming and tiny and cute. That goes into the stocking-stuffer pile for Christmas.

After some debate I also treated myself to a pair of sparkly, strappy, come hither black heels. They were 85% off. I will probably never wear them, because such shoes would be a bit of overkill for playing Meat Lottery or driving the kids to the pediatrician, I think. But they were a perfect match for a sparkly, strappy, sexy outfit I got at that same store, also at 85% off, two years ago. (That outfit? Still in my closet with the tags on. But trust me, it's killer.) It occurs to me that I may not miss having a mate quite so much as I mourn the retirement of all the really fabulous clothing in my closet. I mean, the ex never took me anywhere, but at least I got to get dolled up for the company Christmas party once a year. The grand total between shoes and necklace? $15ish. And if you saw the shoes--and the outfit--you would totally agree that I needed them.

I picked up the mail when I returned home, and I had a package! Oh boy, a package! Wait, I don't remember ordering anything. I don't recognize the return address (EI Inc.?). Maybe I won something! I shook the box a little. It rattled. Hmmm. I was halfway through opening it when I remembered that I'd called in refills for all of our prescriptions to the mail-in service. That rattling would be the sound of antihistamines and other medications. Not so very exciting. And while I love the convenience and reduced cost of the mail-in service, it tends to mean a large bill all at once. Three months worth of medication for three people who are all on at least one daily med. My family is the reason drug company moguls drive fancy cars. It didn't help that I'd used up my previous three months of migraine medication during the Week Of Migraine Hell, as my chosen migraine prescription costs about the same as cocaine.

This evening, as I was throwing about twenty burgers on the grill (oops... guess that was a bigger package of ground beef than I'd realized), I wasn't fretting over the money I'd spent today. I was enjoying watching the kids play in the yard, practicing walking in my 4" heels (just in case), and calling friends to beg them to please come over for dinner.

View 'em and weep

Just for Genuine, who is always wanting nudie photos and has apparently offered to ride up on a white horse purely for comedic value, I offer you the source of my freakish power and spotty self-assurance. Behold, and be amazed!

Bustin' Out

The sun rises on Monday morning, and I am sane again. Phew.

Thanks for the kind comments on my post from last night. Logically, intellectually, I am fine. Emotionally, even, I'm mostly fine. The thing about being lonely is that it's not a constant thing; it lurks and jumps out and bites you every so often. But it's all good. Just think how much more I'll appreciate the love of my life when he finally shows up! (If I don't deck him and say, "What TOOK you so long??")

This afternoon I'm giving myself a little gift. The sitter is coming for a couple of hours and I'm going out to do... ummm... not really sure, but I'm going out without the kids. I reasoned that up until yesterday, I'd been planning to pay someone to tend to the lawn, and now that I've mowed, that freed up some spare money. Besides, I love our sitter--as do the kids--and I even feel a little guilty that I often pray she starts getting ugly. She's fourteen now and totally gorgeous. There's that whole life-sucking boys thing so many pretty girls succumb to. I figure we'll only get to have her another year, maybe two, unless she gets really bad acne or something.

Anyway, I am woman, hear me roar... or more likely, see me go clearance shopping... but whatever, it's about a little nurturing for me. Which is also why I gave myself my first post-surgical pedicure last night. It's much easier to be brave with blue chrome toenails, ya know.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

But before I played Musical Cables...

... the kids and I played "if we don't start cleaning this place up, Mama's head is going to explode."

I'd say that for a Sunday, today was a total success.

We got up, we ate, we went to church. Where there was a VBS "demonstration," which involved any teachers and willing children who'd attended this past week's festivities going up front to sing along on some VBS songs with the band. So I sent Chickadee up with the other kids (no point in trying to tear Monkey away from his coloring), and she came back to me a verse later. She didn't want to sing alone. (The other twenty people up there weren't cutting the mustard, I guess.) So I went up with her, and we sang and did the required motions to each song. I am so very pleased that I wore a nice shirt and a skirt and my sexy sandals (okay, maybe I should not have been wearing my sexy sandals to church, anyway) to stand in front of the congregation with my arms in the air going "na na na na na na! na na na na na na!"

We came home and had lunch, and then realized that the tidiness situation at Casa Mir had reached Code Red. I set the kids to work on the playroom and family room with the gentle reminder that anything that was still on the floor after the allotted time was going to be vacuumed up. It's amazing how motivated even the laziest child can become, upon hearing that. So! We tidied, I vacuumed the entire lower floor; I considered vacuuming upstairs (because I was feeling pretty good) and then decided I'd better not push it. I brought the vacuum up to remind myself to vacuum the top floor tomorrow. I did dishes and cleaned the kitchen.

Then the kids wanted to play outside. I let them out, only to watch them disappear in the tall grass. Hrm. Okay, I feel alright, I should try mowing. So I mowed most of the lawn. (When the kids lost interest in taking every single toy out of the garage and leaving it in the driveway for me to kill myself on, I called it good and went back inside with them.) After a rest and a snack I still felt okay, so I cleaned the bathrooms. Then after dinner Chickadee and I cleaned her room (which had become frightening) and sorted her miscellaneous belongings into the new storage cart I'd bought her at--where else?--Target.

This is the best I've felt since my surgery and the cleanest the house has been since I was left to fend for myself. Yay!

But... you knew there was a but, right? There always is, with me. And that goes double for Sunday nights. *sigh*

I had The Talk with the ex about Chickadee's meltdown last night, and he was appropriately concerned and apologetic, I guess. But he was still very reluctant to talk to me at all about Inga (at least I have a name confirmation now), saying, "You'll just have to trust my judgement." To which I snarkily replied, "Oh, like you trusted my judgement the night you called me up screaming because there was a car in my driveway?" He did admit that this is a "serious" relationship, and that probably he handled the meeting badly. Chickadee spoke with him for a while and I heard her sounding not very happy... I overheard "Well I'm not used to her, Daddy, and you're just gonna have to give me a little time to be!" and I was very proud of her. But after the phone call I pulled her onto my lap and asked her if she felt better, now that she and Daddy had talked about Inga, and she replied, "I don't want to talk about her any more" and stomped off.

That wasn't really the tidy resolution for which I'd been hoping.

Setting aside my concern on my daughter's behalf, now that it's Sunday night and I have precious little left to clean and I can no longer direct my ire at Excellent Purchase (my television has a really nice crisp picture, by the way), I'm left with my own baggage. And as shallow and whiney as I know it is, I am stunned to hear that my ex is in a "serious" relationship while I'm still single. I'm not jealous in the sense that I want to have him, but certainly jealous in that I wish I had someone.

That would elevate my Dumbass status to Loser Dumbass, by the way. Just in case you're keeping score.

I know that when the time is right I will meet someone. But in case you hadn't noticed, patience is not my forte. But grudge-holding? I'm great at that! And while the conscious part of my brain says "Good for him, I hope they'll be happy" there's a darker corner that whispers "Um, isn't he the guy who blew up your life, kinda repeatedly? He doesn't deserve happiness. Especially not before me!"

I need a bigger nametag. I think I just went from Loser Dumbass to Bitter Loser Dumbass.

The nice thing about the kind of woulda-coulda-shoulda Sunday nights that I have, is that I am probably the only person I know who looks forward to Monday morning.

Hi! My name is Dumbass

Remember that television I bought? The one that I bought because the sound was wonky on my old set? The one that came with a display weirdness, and--as it turned out--also had the same sound wonkiness? Remember how Excellent Purchase brought me a second set, with the very same problem? And then I couldn't get them to answer my calls or figure out what to do?

Remember how I am not very smart?

On a suggestion from a friend, I replaced every piece of co-axial cable hooking up the various devices sitting on my entertainment center. Third time's the charm! The third replacement fixed the pixelated line down the left side, and the TV is just fine. The sound is better, too.

I spent $250 on a new television and lost about four days of my life to the Excellent Purchase Television Debacle because I had a frayed piece of cable.

This entire incident has prompted me to want to fix every area of my life where I am Just Not Very Smart. Because television viewing is a metaphor for life, dontchaknow. (Well, okay, not so much, but I was in a groove for a minute there.) Next thing you know, I'll be changing my oil every 3,000 miles and actually reading the directions that come with appliances. Scary.

Anyway. Now that I've bared my stupidity, and because I'm turning over a new leaf, would anyone like to tell me how to fix my stupid page display? I changed BlogSpot templates, even, in an effort to get my right-hand column back where it belongs... and even that didn't work. Someone who understands this CSS stylesheet stuff, please, please, take pity on me and help me get my page pretty again.

Otherwise, I'm going to start sneaking into your homes and fraying your cable wires. Trust me, it's annoying.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

My own private after-school special

So the kids and I had a fabulous day; we met up with friends and ran some errands at the mall with the merry-go-round. That meant an errand, a ride on the carousel, an errand, ice cream, a couple of errands, a ride on the carousel, and then home again. Not a bad way to spend a day for the six-and-under set. Then we had dinner at our friends' house, came home, had showers, and headed to bed.

I am not one to bill myself as the world's greatest mom. I mean, I get the job done. Some days better than others. On certain issues I could use a lot of work. On other issues I may be slightly ahead of the curve. Who knows. As all my fellow parents know, the kids didn't exactly come with a manual so we're all muddling through as best we can.

Anyway. Chickadee copped an attitude with me for most of the day. At six, this is not unusual, but it felt... different. I wondered. I decided I was reading too much into things or perhaps projecting. Until my friend leaned over after a particularly mouthy exchange and whispered, "Somebody's angry about Daddy's new girlfriend." Well, it was imagining until she said it. Crap. Ooooookay. I figured I'd tackle it at bedtime, if we made it through until then without me harming her.

As she got herself settled under the covers tonight I lay down on the bed beside her and asked her if there was anything she wanted to talk about. "Nooooooo." Oh, okay then. I was just wondering if you felt okay about meeting Daddy's friend today.

Immediate tears. Oy.

"I think Daddy likes his new girlfriend more than he likes me!" I could hear the tender music swelling in the background, I tell you. It was so corny I would've laughed except that it was real and my heart was bending under my little girl's crying.

Then I realized... here I was embarking on this discussion on a night when Daddy forgot the bedtime phone call. Because his "friend" is here. We've been apart for about a year and a half and he's forgotten to call a grand total of three times. Great. I said a quick and silent prayer that she hadn't noticed the missed call. (And maybe added in a few curses towards the forgetful father....)

So I did The Right Thing. I kissed her and hugged her and told her how she and her brother are the whole world to her father and me, and how I know that no one will ever be more important to us than them, but that adults need other adults and what makes Daddy happy should make us happy too. I praised my stepmom and pointed out how happy it makes me that she makes my dad happy, and how great it is to have another person in my life to love. I even conceded (in my best conspiratorial tone) that I hadn't known quite what to think of her when we first met, that of course I didn't love her immediately because we needed time to get to know each other.

I did everything I could think of to act like this was a really exciting thing. And when her sobs finally turned to yawns I reminded her that she can always talk to me, and always talk to Daddy (unless he forgets to call; bastard) (no, I didn't say that), and that we will always help her feel better.

I feel like I ran a marathon. And I have no idea if I did the right thing, or if she really feels any better. At least if this was made-for-television I'd have a commercial break to review the script.

As in, the ancient ruins?

We have our first Mystery Female update.

Chickadee reports that her name is "Inca." I'm guessing it may actually be Inga, but who knows. Sounds mail-order-ish to me, either way.

But Chickadee's hair was neatly combed out and beautifully done up--which is quite a change from the nest of snarls it usually is after swimming--so I'm thinking I can get behind this Inca person.

I also had a nice laugh at the ex's expense and watched him turn all red because he parked waaaaaaay to the side of my driveway at both pick-up and drop-off, as if that would somehow prevent me from knowing about the Mystery Female in his car. I suggested he bring her in to say hello and he almost choked. Heh. And no, I didn't even get a glimpse.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Saturday ponderings

Two items are rolling around in my brain this rainy morning.

First, Chickadee has her first loose top tooth. She's lost three bottom teeth, and as soon as I got used to the adorable little gap, two permanent teeth sprung up and she now looks essentially the same as she did before. (When the third tooth decides to make an appearance is when the fun will begin, as her jaw is tiny and the two teeth already grown in have taken the entire spot left by the three vacancies.) Of the three teeth already lost, she lost one in April, one in May, and one in June. She is determined to lose this tooth in July. I fear finding her tying herself to the door or something similar to try to yank it out.

Second, I am trying to be a mature adult. It isn't working. Because I am a bratty child. I have laid actual money down with several friends on the conviction that if my ex remarries, it will be a mail-order bride type of situation. (He is painfully shy and also has some very old-fashioned ideas about what a woman "should" be.) As he normally takes the kids to Saturday swimming lessons, he conveniently let slip that he was having company this weekend, of the female persuasion. When I offered to cover lessons, he said no, that was fine, because her bus from New York wasn't getting in until late. Later when I asked if it was someone I knew he said no, it's someone he's just met. He's just met someone who is now taking a bus from New York to stay at his house? The mind boggles. And let's be clear: it's not jealousy, it's more like morbid curiosity. And maybe a wee bit of concern for the girl involved.

Of course, there's always the chance that this will turn into some fabulous blog fodder....

Friday, July 23, 2004

Seventh Installment: Friday Facts and Fiction

We have a busy day ahead of us, so I'm going to put this post up early today. Please accept my apologies if you meant to ask a question but hadn't gotten to it yet. There's always next week! But if I don't post now, I won't get to it until late tonight. And why am I explaining this? I'm such a dork. Ahem. Anyway.

Genuine asks, in the book of my life, which chapters are the best reads?

You've probably already read about that time when I was two and I fell down a mining shaft... riveting stuff.... (Fiction.)

This may be perceived as a cop-out answer, but I hope that the best is yet to come. I strongly suspect that my late thirties and my forties are going to be the most interesting, yet. But, okay... if I have to stick to the chapters already written, I'd guess my freshman year of college makes the best read thus far. Keep in mind that I'm a sucker for a coming-of-age drama, but there you have it. I turned 17 the week before I started college. I was an old soul but a young kid, and it was my first big grappling with reconciling the two. I screwed it up rather badly, but it makes for an interesting story, I suppose. (Fact.)

Angela asks, what did I want to be, as a child and then as a teen, when I grew up?

I've always had a fascination with large axes. People made fun of my desire to be the first famous female lumberjack, but I didn't care! (Fiction; I'm lucky I can use scissors without hurting myself.)

Oh how I hate to be a cliche, but sadly, that doesn't stop me. As a child, I debated to myself--often--whether I would settle for a life as a famous actress, or whether I'd take the high road and be a famous novelist. No joke: in fifth grade I wrote a short story for Mrs. Simons (in the first person, natch) about a little girl with an unhappy home situation who considers killing herself, but whose problems are basically all solved because she manages to get to an open casting call for "Annie" and lands the lead. On Broadway. Mrs. Simons disregarded the cry for help that this piece so obviously was, and gave me an A+++++. (Yeah, Mrs. Simons was a little loopy that way. I got lots of pluses in her class despite being a mental health train wreck.)

As a teenager, I decided that nothing would stand between me and the Broadway dream. My older brother wanted to study music, in college, and my parents threatened not to pay his tuition if he didn't major in something more practical. He got his degree in civil engineering and is now a jazz musician. Having watched my brother's situation before mine, when I announced that I wished to major in drama I was not surprised when my parents threatened not to pay my tuition. I countered with the suggestion that if I could not pursue my major of choice, I simply wouldn't attend college. Checkmate. I majored in theatre, and went on to become a software engineer. (Fact, and proof that truth is stranger than fiction.)

Regular Cinderella asks, when the summer ends and I turn back into a pumpkin, what do I plan to do for work?

I was thinking of getting a job at Hooters. I hear the tips are awesome. Heard of any specials on push-up bras over at Fishing For Deals lately? (Fiction!)

Well, it's been made abundantly clear to me that I will not work as an engineer again. And freelance writing feeds my soul but not my bank account. I am trying to find an entry-level job that could potentially lead to more writing, but so far I haven't found much. The other possibility is that if I work at the daycare center we've used for years--although the pay isn't superb--I get half off tuition, effectively rendering that a very cost-conscious choice until Monkey starts public school. I've discussed working there with the director several times, but so far they've had more employees than openings. And, um, barring those options? I may just go work at Target for a while. For the discount. (I need to concentrate on the discount, and not on the fact that I hold a Masters degree from Stanford and I would be working at Target with all the local teenagers.) (Fact, *sigh*)

She also asks how I'm feeling, because she is a sweetie!

I'm feeling pretty darn good, thanks! I'm giving a big shout-out to the Vivelle Dot, as I think for the first time in a month, my hormones are actually regulated again. The anti-depressants aren't hurting matters, either. Heh. The migraine situation seems to be under control, finally; which is good because I was about one headache away from the padded room. (Fact.)

Aurora asks, did my children understand what surgery I was having and why, and why did I have to have a hysterectomy, anyway?

It was fairly straightforward to explain to the children that they had poisoned my insides when they'd lived there, and that I now had to submit to a painful and potentially deadly procedure thanks to them. (Fiction, don't get all ruffled. No therapy fund in the world could cover that.)

I discussed the history behind the surgery in this post, if you'd like to catch up. My son is a very happy-go-lucky kind of guy, and young, besides, and so was happy with the explanation that I had an owie the docs were going to fix. Okay, Mama, tralalala, was pretty much his reaction. My daughter--older, and more sensitive, to boot--was a harder sell. She actually remembers several previous, smaller surgeries I've had to deal with the endometriosis. So in her case it was a matter of saying, "Remember how Mama gets lots of belly aches and they've done some little surgeries before to try and fix it? Well now they're going to do just one more thing, and it will fix me up for good and after I get better I won't have those belly aches ever again." She worried about it a lot, because she's like that. But they were away visiting my ex-laws for the first week, so by the time they came home I was up and around and they could see that I was moving a little slow but perfectly fine, otherwise. Someday when it's time to have the birds and bees talk with Chickadee, I will explain what they actually did.(Fact.)

She also asks what state I live in.

I am a proud resident of the Live, Freeze, or Die State. Here in New Hampshire we know how to have a good time... in the snow. (Fact!)

Jennifer wants to know if she should get her own blog.

Well, Jennifer, that depends. Do you like to write? Can you happily prattle on about all manner of minutiae in a way that compels people to read your blather despite its inherent lack of import? Would you like to get sucked in to a huge time-waster? Do you want to be one of the cool kids? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need a blog! But, uh, don't forget me when you're famous.

Chewie is so brain-drained from four children, she asks a series of questions about how I manage my orgasmic Target jaunts, and how do the kids handle them?

I just lock the kids in the bathroom with some snacks whenever I need a Target fix. Cuz shopping with kids is impossible, as you know. (Fiction. I swear that I only considered doing that once.)

As it happens, yesterday I was kid-free for my trip, as the ex takes the kids one afternoon a week. Of course I try to limit my purchasing of stuff for the kids to the trips when they're not with me. However, I have been known to take them to Target with me, and they know the drill. We get one of those bench carts so they can both ride, and they either ride or walk (but they must stay right beside me or get strapped back into the cart). They know I only buy items with red tags, and further know that if they behave they're likely to get a small bit of bribery (usually a special snack, because my kids are all about food). And as I rarely get out of Target without a cart full of stuff, I have sometimes bought future gifts for them while they were with me... I just distract them with something and shove the items in question under other stuff in my cart. And I'd love to tell you that they're perfect angels there, but sometimes they act up. And then we leave. And there is lots of crying. Mostly by me. (Fact. Please pass the Kleenex.)

Janet wants to know what, short of a brain transplant, would make her blog funnier.

Ummmm... a sex change operation? I would come laugh at that. (Fiction; I would never laugh at you. Maybe with you. And please no hate-mail about transgender stuff because I'm joking for crying out loud.)

I don't know, Janet. My guess is that you just haven't had enough trauma in your life! I don't exactly set out to be funny, most of the time. It's more like I've learned that humor is a great coping mechanism. I'm a huge proponent of the "Well, ya gotta laugh or scream, and laughing is more fun" philosophy. My MO is basically to turn all of the annoying aspects of my life into blog fodder, thereby robbing them of their ability to drive me nutty. While I appreciate that others' enjoy my writing, the truth is that I do this as much for my own sanity as anything else. Humor heals. (Fact. I feel a little bit like L. Ron Hubbard right now.)

That concludes this week's installment of Friday Facts and Fiction. I hope that you found enlightenment; I didn't, but I lose things all the time and find them later, so there's still hope.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

But Target is not a substitute for...

... Friday Facts and Fiction questions.  As Jules just reminded me.  So leave your questions here and I will address them tomorrow.

By the way?  Tons of people are now doing the open-forum questions thing.  But as far as I know, I started it, and I'm the only one who actively wastes time coming up with fake answers in addition to the real dirt.  So accept no substitutes!  Pick my brain and behold the debris it spews forth!

More about Target, my one true love

It's true; I am a wanton slut for Target.  I will do unspeakable things to get to spend half an hour cruising the endcaps there.  Now you all know my weakness.

In addition to the Slip-N-Slide that is going to make me very popular here this weekend, I picked up several other have-to-have deals, and my heart went pit-a-pat as I did so.  How adorable are these??  I didn't want to make the picture super-gigantic, so you may not be able to see, but those kiddie-sized gardening gloves actually have a different bug finger puppet on each finger.  I may have in fact cooed while I was putting them in my cart.  I mean, the kids' "help" with my gardening is spotty at best, so they may as well enjoy their gloves, right?  All 4 items shown to you here?  Under $7 for the entire lot.  Because it was all 75% off.  This is why when I grow up, I am going to marry Target and have its babies.  (Yeah, the no uterus thing may interfere, but since it's a fantasy, let's just gloss over that part.)  But while I am waiting?  The pictured items are going into the top-secret Mama storage room to await--here is where I confess exactly how twisted I am--next year's Easter baskets.  (Be gentle; it's a sickness.  I can't help it.)

I also purchased the Sid's Room Toy Story Action Figure Set, mostly because my life feels incomplete without that freaky doll head on the erector set spider body.  But if anyone asks I will claim that I bought it because Monkey is a Toy Story freak and the set was 50% off.

For Chickadee?  Pink rain boots with butterflies on them.  For $3.24.  Are you beginning to understand??  It's not like I could've just left them there.  I'm only human.

There were other things, too, but I'm starting to get all hot and bothered.  I'd better stop talking about it, or before you know it I'll be back there again tomorrow.  But I hope that this has perhaps elucidated for the un-Targeted why I feel so passionately about The Happiest Place On Earth.

By the way, having spent some time there today?  Made me realize that life is too short for crappy customer service.  I'm going to dispute the erroneous charges from The Great Television Debacle through my credit card company, and leave Excellent Purchase to clean up their own mess, because I am done.  The second defective TV has now been in my house for over a week and despite four telephone calls on my part, they have neither arranged for a replacement nor picked up the piece of crap they left here.  Though they did manage to find time to charge me, twice.  The replacement television?  Will come from Target.  And it will love me like a good television should.

Target = Popularity at a Price I Can Afford

Guess who just picked up the deluxe 24' Slip-N-Slide on clearance?

(I'm not above buying my way into the Mama Hall of Fame.)

Is it wrong...

... that late last night, as I stood in my bathroom, waxing the hair off my upper lip, surrounded by piles of boxes of various and sundry hormone patches, I started hatching a scheme to market said patches as dual purpose for hormone regulation and hair removal?

Just remember, you read about it here first.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Call it creativity (or just call for the Calgon)

(I still haven't figured out how to fix my screwed-up page layout.  So I'm going to do the mature thing and ignore it and hope it goes away.  Carry on.)

Children are a never-ending source of a fresh world-view, aren't they?  I mean, they just come up with stuff that some of us stuffy old adults would never even think of.  Say you were... oh... I don't know... say you were perhaps not feeling in top form for weeks on end a few days.  Or that you'd been charged for two TVs--neither of which worked--and found yourself spending all of your spare time on the phone with a large electronics conglomerate trying to convince them to stop stealing your money and, I don't know, maybe fix their error and give you the TV you thought you were buying.  Should you find yourself in one of these situations (or a similar one), do not be alarmed when your offspring find some creative ways to pass the time while you are sleeping otherwise occupied.

My home is just bursting with new games that I know are going to be all the rage very soon.  And because I love to share the joy, here are some soon-to-be-favorites for which you should all be on the lookout:
  • Land mines:  In this game, one small child takes an entire deck of Go Fish cards (the type is unimportant, although the Thomas the Tank cards work well) and strategically places them all over the floors of the house.  Be sure to put at least one card on every stair.  When someone steps on a card, everyone yells "BOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!" loudly enough to be heard in Australia.
  • Emergency:  A game of skill and cunning, this one requires uncanny timing and healthy lungs.  The object is to appear to be playing quietly until any adults in the vicinity have lost interest; then, one child begins shrieking about an alleged injury at a pitch capable of breaking glass.  By the time the resident adult has come tearing to the scene, all children should be loading the "injured party" (usually a Polly Pocket) into the toy ambulance.
  • Pool Party:  If you have anything that can hold water, you can have a pool party.  Extra points for carrying your chosen receptacle out of the bathroom and leaving a river of evidence on your way back to the playroom.  Extra special bonus points for later daring to complain about whatever toy you ruined by putting it in the water!
  • Tornado:  When nothing else seems entertaining, just take out everything.  Go ahead, take it all out!  Scatter it to the four corners of the room, or--better yet--across the entire house.  When directed to clean up, plead fatigue.
  • Covert Art:  Sure, you're old enough to know what you can and can't draw on, and what you're allowed to use scissors for and what you're not... but that's all part of the fun!  Go ahead and use that green crayon on your sister's school forms!  Sure, cut up your little brother's prize art project!  He won't mind!  Or maybe he will, and that makes it even more fun!
  • School For The Wicked:  Take great care in dressing all of your dollies--all 472 of them--for school.  Line them up and begin addressing them as their mother.  Be sure to mimic every obnoxious thing your mother has ever said to you, including any swear words you may have overheard her saying on a bad day.  Make the dollies cry.
  • Bedding Romp:  This game can't be played as often as the others, but it's loads of fun on days you can manage it.  Wait patiently for the one day out of twelve when your mother actually manages to make all the beds in the morning.  Then, don't just play in your bed, make it look like you had a grand mal seizure in the thing.  Be sure to hide your pillow after ripping up all the sheets!

You're very welcome for sharing.  No need to thank me.

Technical difficulties

For some reason, BlogSpot has decided in its infinite wisdom that maybe I only really wanted the left-hand side of my page.  I have no idea where the right-hand column is.  Which means I can't access my blogroll.  *weeping*  Maybe they'll fix it... eventually.

Edit: Thank you, Keri!  I'm a dork.  Apparently my missing column is at the bottom of my page--I have no idea why--but at least you've saved me from my blogroll withdrawal.  Regardless, I am still miffed with BlogSpot.  And my page is Not Pretty which is just going to render me cranky until they fix it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Vacation Bible School: Day 2

Second verse, same as the first....
Not too much different to report, tonight.  Although it's worth pointing out that from the time we shopped for VBS supplies (a few days ago) and the children spotted the 10 little boxes of instant pudding, Monkey has talked of nothing else save how much he was looking forward to the night we would have pudding for snack.  What night are we having pudding?  Is tonight the pudding night?  I can't wait for the pudding!!!!
You guessed it.  He took one bite out of his pudding cup and brought it back to me in the kitchen.  "I don't want any more."
Tonight, by the way, was a Jewish-girl-turned-Christian's fantasy VBS night.  Tonight's biblical hero was Esther.  There was pseudo-Purim happening in our Fellowship Hall, I tell you.  Very interfaith and somewhat odd, but fun!  Plus there was a great song about Esther at the end during the rock-out-with-the-band time, and Chickadee got up and sang and danced as part of the backup singers!  Much fun.
Apparently, I carried the Holy Spirit home with me tonight, and also it is highly contagious.  This is why you should all go to Vacation Bible School, because IM'ing with those speaking in tongues is quite amusing.  I will leave you with the following.  Upon settling down at the 'puter to blog and chat with a friend, I experienced this:
Jules : stll no headace
genericmir: So far so good.
Jules : yaayyy!!!
Jules : I'm not drunk btw..I'm havnikeyboarisues
Jules: brb
genericmir: LOL
Jules : I got my ear pieredagain
genericmir: You have pie in your ear?  Huh?
Jules : pierced
genericmir: Oh, where?
Jules : need a second hole inh rightear
Jules : dmnit
genericmir: LOL
Jules : I SHOLD E EAY ONYOU ICE Iave no bttere
Jules : ROFL
genericmir: English please?
Jules : TESTIN
Jules : yay
Jules : I have a keyboard again
genericmir: Oh good, because I thought you were speaking in tongues.
Jules : was more like speaking in thumbs

The Migraine Report

(Or, Have! some! more! caffeine!)
So impressed was I by the effects of last night's Pepsi, even though I woke up headache-free (a small victory in itself) I decided! to have! some tea! immediately!
It is possible that my caffeine tolerance has changed a bit since all this mucking about with my hormones.
I mean, if you need someone to churn some butter with the spasmodic unconscious shaking and flailing of the arms, I'm your girl.  I should probably not be your first pick if you need someone to carry something breakable, at this point, however.  Or if you're looking for someone calm.  That would not be me.  Because I am about to jump right out of my skin for no discernable reason.
Right now I need to go herd the children through showers (we are switching to morning cleaning routines for the week of VBS).  You might want to pray for them, as I suspect there may be shampoo in eyes and not a whole lot of sympathy on my part.
But! I! don't! have! a! headache!  WOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!

Monday, July 19, 2004

Vacation Bible School: Day 1

We just loooooove Vacation Bible School, around here.  Love it!  It involves staying up late for a week straight (as our church elects to hold it in the evening so that even those who work can participate), good snacks, and someone dressed up as a big cartoon character.  This year's curriculum involves a gigantic dog.  Really, what's not to like?
Back before my surgery, I signed up to work during VBS.  Then I sort of neglected to inform all the Powers That Be that I wasn't feeling so hot.  So tonight I showed up to discover that yes, I was still fully expected to do several hours of kitchen duty every night.  Ohboy.  It wasn't so bad.  We made popcorn tonight so mostly I just stuffed popcorn into little bags.  And it was so hot in the kitchen (with several pots of popcorn going at a time) that when I saw someone pouring a cold drink from the fridge I asked for one, too, without asking what it was.
It was Pepsi.  Full strength, all-the-sugar-and-caffeine Pepsi.  Guess whose migraine is gone (for the moment)?  *cue the cherubim singing the Hallelujah Chorus*
Now the kids, they get to have some real fun.  First everyone gathers in the sanctuary for singing and such, then the different age groups split out to the various "stations" for different activities.  Monkey happily slid in with the 3-and-4-year-old group and made friends with the closest child and was happy as a clam.  Meanwhile, I'm standing in the back having an important discussion with the other kitchen staffers about whether or not we have enough cups, and Chickadee was running back and forth between her class and me, wanting "hugs" and "another hug" and "maybe I could just hang here with you" and "my sensors have detected that your attention has shifted away from me for a minute and that must be rectified."  Yeah.  So I slipped away down to the kitchen as soon as possible.
I only got to see the kids when they came to the station near the kitchen, of course, but I was able to witness a few choice tidbits:
--Monkey sitting backwards during the puppet show for a full two minutes or so, and not understanding what everyone else was laughing about (um, son? didja hit your head?)
--Monkey finding an unravelling thread on his carpet square and commencing trying to pull the entire thing apart
--Chickadee reading the bible verse on the placard VERY LOUDLY ahead of the teacher leading the group (see, I really can't win... he does dumb things and she does smart things and either way I'm left wishing I was elsewhere)
--Chickadee picking Monkey up against his will and carrying him into the kitchen to see me (where they both got sent back out; surprise!)
Later I was informed--by a pair of teachers who could not control their laughter during the retelling--that Monkey latched himself onto one of their legs during a game, and had to be removed bodily after some failed negotiation.  I was mortified.  No, no, they assured me... it was funny, it's okay.  He was enjoying himself.  Um, okay.  More money in the therapy fund.
We got through the evening, and returned home well after bedtime.  For me, it's all worth it because they're exhausted and actually go right to sleep.  But I'm guessing I won't be so patient if Chickadee is still clinging to me at the end of the week... nor will the teachers likely find it quite as amusing if Monkey is velcroing himself to them every night.  We shall see what the week brings.

We interrupt this blog with a message from our sponsor

On days like today, when I am sitting here in migraine-land waiting for my doctor's office to call me back, when I am wondering exactly how many hours of television my children can watch before CPS comes to take them away, I like to remember that I have a fan club.
It's true!  Stop laughing!  I have a fan club.  My dad is the president, of course.  (Hi, Dad!)  But much of his adoration is disregarded because of that pesky genetic connection.  He can't help it, you know.  (Plus, if you'd known me through my tween and teen years, you'd be pretty impressed with how I turned out, too.)
Anyway.  For reasons I cannot explain, I have discovered the natural leader of the Mir Pep Squad.  I don't know why she is so taken with me.  All I know is that every time she sends me an email--as she nearly always does after I see her at church or some other function--I can actually picture her waving pom-poms in the air.  The woman in question has plenty of kids and grandkids of her own.  Her attachment to me is puzzling.  But her zeal is unmatched.
Here's the email I had waiting for me this morning:
Hi lady,
  So good to see you but sure wish you were feeling a whole lot better. Nothing is easy, is it? Just seems like when your down your down!  However, I know you and  you're not going to stay down long. That is not the Miriam I know.  I know going thru the 'change" normally can be difficult but artificially can be a bit more difficult.  Just keep that positive thinking going and the right combination is going to be found.  Also, I am delighted to hear that you are doing something with your writing. I think that there is a hidden future there for  you but, and I do understand this, the real world is first.  However,  you are extremely talented and smart and you are going to land on those two feet and be one super great lady, not that you aren't already but one who has the world by the tail.  Go for it, my friend.  I care very much how you feel so if I can do anything for you please just ask!  Love to  you, xxxxx

It didn't fix my migraine or anything.  But it did make me smile.  I hope every one of you has someone who shakes their pom-poms for you.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Laundry: the great thought-provoker

Hey, it's Saturday night.  Those of you with lives are... not in front of the computer.  Perhaps you are out on the town, or socializing, or just enjoying a quiet evening with those you love.  But not me!  No sir!  Ever the rebel, I have seized the evening to catch up on laundry.  Before going to bed early.  Cuz I'm such a wild one.  Look out.
Moving on....
Here are the things upon which I have mused, tonight:
1) No matter how long I leave the clean laundry in the basket--even if I've moved said basket upstairs to the convenient location of trip-me-on-my-way-to-bed-every-night--the clothes do not put themselves away.  Ever.  They will still be there when it's time to do laundry again.  Well, most of it is still there.  Not the stuff I already pulled out.  Because...
2) It is possible for me to wear all of the comfortable and non-ancient underwear in my drawer and out of the clean laundry basket before either child runs out of clothes.  That can't be right.  I'm bigger than they are. I should get more stuff.  Note to self: stop buying things for those spoiled kids.
3) I have a pair of panties that feature cartoon pictures of... panties.  They make me happy.  I may have giggled while I put them in the dyer.
4) Bras do not like to be alone.  When the washer stops, I open the lid and begin my routine.  Grab a handful of clothes... shake them apart and put in dryer.  Grab another handful... shake apart... hang shirt that can't go in dryer... put the rest in the dryer.  Grab a third handful... which is actually a huge mutant knot of bras that spent most of the spin cycle having an orgy... and one of Monkey's socks.  Put sock in the dyer, spend 20 minutes disentangling the bras and hanging them up.
5) How many times do you suppose I will have to find coins, rocks, acorn caps, and assorted unidentifiable tidbits at the bottom of the washer before I will remember the check Monkey's pockets?  Whatever number you said, you're wrong.  Add at least a dozen.  I'm slow.
6) The bras flaunt their mating, but the pajamas are just sneaky.  They multiply in the dryer.  How many kids live in my house, anyway?
7) If I stick my head in the dryer and ask politely, can I trade in some of the extra pajamas and get back some of the missing socks?  Please? 
8) Oh, look!  There's all the stuff I hung up to dry, the last time I did laundry.  I wondered where it was.  I should take it upstairs.  Well, maybe later.  Or maybe I'll just forget.  ("A boat?  Hey, I saw a boat!  It went that way!")
9) The ex has his own stash of socks, undies, and pajamas for the kids.  Naturally, sometimes I end up with things from his house, and he with items from mine.  We do our best to launder and return.  So far we've been pretty good about buying things that are different enough to easily identify as belonging here or there.  But there's this one pair of Buzz Lightyear underwear.  I didn't buy them; he did.  I keep sending them back to his house.  He keeps sending them back to mine.  They've travelled back and forth--unworn--at least five times, now.  Somehow Monkey got his hands on them and wore them this week.  That's fine.  But I seriously considered throwing them away rather than putting them in the dryer.  They're not mine, and the ex is too dumb to recognize them as his.  Those tiny Buzz undies are irking me.  (But I didn't throw them out, because that would be wasteful and cause me to howl at the moon in anguish.)
10) Sheets and towels left in the dryer?  Also don't put themselves away.  But they do make me say colorful things when I toss the first handful of wet clothes in on top of them.

Mmmmm... toes

Last night I took lots and lots of (prescribed) drugs and slept for about twelve hours and today I am... better.  Not completely, but mostly.  Hurray!
Although this is the ex's weekend, our little social butterfly has two birthday parties to attend, today.  I handle birthday party detail (no matter whose weekend it is).  It makes sense, I guess.  I'm the one who shops for and wraps the gifts, I'm the one who knows the kids and moms in question, and I'm the one who can get through these things without making an ass of myself.
So, today--still feeling a wee bit headachey and more than a bit hung-over-ish from the meds--I got the birthday stuff in order, shuffled Chickadee inside when the ex dropped her off, got her dressed in her party finery, did her hair, and set out to Party #1. 
Everything went fine until I bid her good-bye (along with my standard admonishment to use her very best manners) and she sped off with the pack of other 6-year-olds.  I then turned to the mother and offered her my cell number, in case of emergency, and we chatted a bit as she wrote it down.  No problem.  With joy in my heart, I turned to leave and said, "Thank you so much, Esmerelda!"*
I was halfway out the door when I realized.  Her name. isn't. Esmerelda. 
"NO!" I whirled around in a panic.  "That's not right!" I exclaimed, still wracking my brain.  "JEN!  Your name is Jen!"
"I wasn't going to say anything," she said with a wry little chuckle.
"Oh my God!" I continued, both feet stuffed in my mouth, now, "What is wrong with me?  I know your name is Jen!  I know that!  I'm so sorry!  Esmerelda is someone else's mom!"
It was at this point that I saw the first glint of fear in her eyes.  But you see, I couldn't stop talking.  I had already crossed the line from flustered to full-out babbling.
"You know, I had a hysterectomy a few weeks ago, did I tell you that?  I did!  Just about three weeks ago.  And my hormones, oh you wouldn't believe it, it's crazy, my hormones are all screwed up and it's affecting my mind, I forget things, I call people by the wrong name!  Obviously!  HAHA!  I can't stop talking!  Help me!  I am discussing my ovaries with you and we barely know each other!  Please, I need help!"
"If you leave right now, I will pretend your daughter was adopted and therefore free of whatever mental illness you are clearly suffering from."
"It's a deal."
And away I went, whispering this solemn prayer to myself as I drove away: "Dear Lord, please give me the strength to be silent when I return to pick her up."
* No, I didn't call her Esmerelda, nor is her name Jen.  You never know what some freak is going to Google.  But the real names in question?  About as disparate as Esmerelda and Jen.  Truly a noteworthy social gaffe on my part.