What The F…?

I usually plan out what I’m going to write about a day or two in advance.  I don’t know why, and I am guessing that will decrease the more I blog.  I haven’t had anything that I have really wanted to write about the last couple of days, but there is something that has been on my mind since yesterday afternoon.

I was at the mall with Kamryn and Rory yesterday.  (Gymboree is having a fantastic sale!)  Before we could get to the store, I agreed to let the kids play in the little play area for 5 minutes.  You can’t be over 42 inches tall to play in the area so it’s pretty much for kids 5 and under.  Kamryn is 4 1/2 and she was EXACTLY 42 inches.  These details are necessary for the story.

Kamryn and Rory were having a good time.  Rory even made a little friend who liked to tackle him.  As Rory got bum rushed by his new buddy, Logan, I looked up to see two girls, roughly 16 years old, walk into the play area.  My first instinct was to give them the you-are-to-old-to-be-in-here look, but then noticed something around one of the girl’s necks.  It was a dog collar.  I followed the collar down to a leash, and further down to the hand of the other girl.  Girl A was being lead around like a dog by Girl B.  Girl B was directing Girl A to do tricks and to get on top of the play equipment.  And before I could even think of something to say, the Westminster Dog Show was over.  They took off up the escalator, hopefully never to be seen again.

Now, take every image of these girls out of your head because I can almost guarantee it won’t match what these girls actually looked like.  They both had long blond hair, dressed conservatively (by today’s standards) and looked like girls I would trust to watch my kids.  So I ask you again…what the f*ck???

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Make Room For Big Blue – Ode To The Exploder

Yesterday my husband (and I guess, technically, our 2 kids) did something we have never done together. We bought a new car. Ryan and I have been married for almost 8 years and yet, we were still driving the same cars that we had right after we met. We had a ’98 Ford Explorer and a ’01 Honda Civic. We weren’t on each other’s titles, although we both probably paid equally for each car.
Initially, I really liked the Explorer. We lived in Iowa at the time and it had 4WD so driving in the winter was a piece of cake. Shortly after Ryan got his SUV, and we were still in that love sick, gaggy, farts are funny stage of our relationship, we did a little off-roading in his neighbor’s snowbanks. I sat in the passenger seat giggling with delight. We were 24 years old and stupid, but it’s one of the first memories I have of being in that SUV.
Ryan and I got married in 2003 and made the decision to move to San Diego. We thought it would be best if we sold the Explorer and use the money to get established in California since neither of us had a job waiting for us. We cleaned Bessie up and got her ready to sell, but decided against it after realizing we wouldn’t have much left once the loan was paid off. Instead, we packed her full with some priceless wedding gifts, threw our cat, Shmoopy, somewhere in the middle and made our way West.
This is where my feelings about the Explorer started to change. We were living in one of the most expensive places in the country, filling up the gas tank was outrageous and we didn’t have jobs. Instead of blaming myself for my lack of planning, I chose to take it out on Bessie. Eventually, we did get jobs and a few years after that; we discovered we were expecting our first child. It was about 7 months into my pregnancy that I started struggling to get in and out of my Civic. It’s a manual transmission and my growing belly was making it difficult to step on the clutch. Ryan and I switched cars so I wouldn’t have to “fall” into the low riding Civic and once again my feelings started to change.
I started to not only like Bessie, but really love her. Slowly, Ryan’s car was turning into my car and my car was turning into his. Our little girl was born and she came home in the Explorer. A few months after Kamryn was born, we decided to move back to Iowa and we again struggled with selling the Explorer. We had just paid it off 3 months prior, and having the extra money in our account each month was going to be hard to give up. We decided to drop a few bucks into Bessie and hang on to her.
Fast forward a couple more years and baby #2 is on the way. Bessie was still my car, and got a lot of much needed rest since I was working from home the first 2 years we lived in Iowa. I quit working completely when I was 6 months pregnant. In March of 2009, we had our little boy and he too, road home in Bessie.
Sometime during the past 5 years or so, Bessie’s name changed from Bessie, to The Exploder. She’s a beast. Things were starting to break – little things like the side mirror or the fold down cup holder in the back, but she was starting to show her age. We talked about buying something, but just couldn’t justify the expense since I didn’t actually drive that often or very far.
In July of 2010, Shmoopy took his last ride in The Exploder. Shmoopy had been sick for months and was so miserable that it was time to put him down. I cried the whole way there and the entire way home, but found some comfort in the worn fabric of the driver’s seat that I had been sitting in for years. I was sad, but old Bessie was standing strong. And again, in less than 6 months, she would be heading back West to San Diego.
She’s been a good car and she’s taken care of me and my family for the last 10 ½ years. She has moved our family ½ way across the country…twice. She has safely transported both of my newborn babies home from the hospital and was extra protective when I wasn’t on one of those trips. She’s been reliable with little intervention from us and has been a source of amazement by our friends that she was still around. Yet, today, we bid her farewell. With 153,000 miles, she was traded in for a measly $650 and we introduced Big Blue to our family. Big Blue, is just that…big and blue, but she has even bigger wheels to fill.
Kamryn and Rory waiting for  Big Blue
Ryan humoring my request for a last picture with Bessie

You Are Driving Me Crazy!!!

I have a lot of issues with other drivers. It doesn’t really matter who it is. I may be riding along as a passenger or driving and bitching about observing the others on the road with me, but it’s almost a certainty that I will encounter something that I find irritating.

Here are my top 5 annoyances in no particular order.

Overly cautious drivers. I know you are saying “But Amy, you have 2 small children, you should be thankful that there are cautious drivers.” WRONG! Overly cautious drivers are more of a danger than those speeding (me) down the freeway. I’m not a crazy speeder – for one, I’m driving a ’98 Explorer, she just doesn’t have the pick up she used to. And two, yes, my kids are in the car with me 95% of the time. So when you are slow poking it along, you are putting me and my children at risk because now I have to pass you and give you a dirty look, thus making me take my eyes off the road.
Vanity plates or bumper stickers that aren’t funny. Just think of how much less excruciating it would be to be stuck behind a car in traffic or just at a light if they had something funny to read on the back of their car. I recently saw a license plate on an old red minivan that simply read: AREDVAN. I laughed for 2 exits.
Drivers that creep up to a traffic light regardless of the displayed light color. I live close to a fairly busy intersection and I almost never go straight through the light. I am usually turning, which means sitting in a turning lane. If I miss the turning light, I will sit for up to 4 ½ minutes, depending on the time of day. Four minutes! Who has that kind of time?! And what is even worse is if your slow ass gunned it at the last minute to get through the light and left me sitting there. Grrrrrrr
People that don’t obey traffic signs. I know, this whole thing sounds like a contradiction, but really, I’m guilty of speeding and that’s it. There is another corner, not far from my house where 3 lanes merge into 2, but then a turning lane opens up literally 20 feet after that.
The street doesn’t even really narrow at all, but the sign says to get your ass over to the left and then you can get back over to the right to turn. Without fail, whenever I drive this way, some jackoff completely ignores the huge white arrows painted on the street, the bright yellow sign with the merging lane picture and just barrels through to the turning lane.

Inevitably, I get stuck behind said vehicle and there are certainly no funny anecdotes on the back of the car to bring my blood pressure down to a normal rate.

Lane budgers. You know who I’m talking about. The people who see the huge line of cars exiting and drive as far as they can outside of that long line of cars and try to squeeze in at the last minute to avoid sitting there like the rest of us. To quote George Costanza, “We’re living in a society!” Some people actually do miss the exit and are forced to pull this little stunt, I actually did on Saturday and I was so embarrassed! I gave the customary wave and even mouthed a “THANK YOU”! to my fellow driver to let him know I wasn’t one of the inconsiderate d-bags that he was probably expecting.

OK, so I’m guilty of speeding and taking pictures while I drive, but I knew I would be driving that way today and had my phone ready to snap a couple of pictures.

Rapture This!

Actually, rapture is a noun so I have completely misused the word in the title, but just like The Rapture, I don’t really care.  One thing that has been fun about our pending doom is the jokes!  I have to be honest; I really don’t know much about any of this besides an article I read online and a brief story on the news.  From the bits and pieces that I have picked up, apparently there will be a rolling earthquake that will conveniently hit each area at 6:00 pm in everyone’s respective time zones. 
As I joked about not getting milk and agreeing to move my BFF’s 3 kids to San Diego because I certainly was going to be spared, I discovered there was entertainment to be found!  People much funnier than I have taken time out of their busy day to make sure there was plenty of comedy to fill my Rapture Day!  Below are some of my favorites.

 

I have no association with someecards, but this is the only site I use.  AWESOME!
This is an actual business. 

This might be.

This is not.

Happy Rapture Day!!

All My Friends Are Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Looking

Kamryn & Bug
I have a friend.  Let’s call her Mo ‘cause that’s her name.  Mo and I met in January after our daughters hit it off at preschool.  Kamryn and “Bug”, as her mother affectionately calls her, were practically instant BFF’s and love to play together.  Unfortunately, next year they will be separated.  Bug is heading off to kindergarten and Kamryn is going to a pre-K program at a yet undetermined school.  While Mo and I still intend on getting the kids together for playdates when we can, it’s our tri-weekly playdate that is going to be most missed.
For the last 5 months, Mo and I have sat on the playground at our daughters’ preschool and had some grown up conversation for at least an hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  We even took our friendship to the next level and went out one night to see if we could tolerate each other outside of our familiar setting.  As it turns out, we didn’t need our kids as little safety nets.  We could actually maintain a conversation all by ourselves.  We didn’t even talk about kids!
This may not seem like a big deal, but riddle me this: When was the last time, as an adult, you made a new friend?  I’m not talking about a casual acquaintance, but a real friend, someone you actually enjoy being around.  I’ll admit, having kids and then meeting someone who also has kids, opens the door of communication.  If you find you have nothing to talk about, it’s always easy to revert to some discussion about how you went about potty training or some other mundane child instruction when there is a lull in the conversation.

As my newest friend, there are things that Mo is still finding out about me and me her, but she made me aware of something after reading my penpal post.  I have no ugly friends.  Now, granted, not everyone is Miss USA material, although, I do have a friend who was asked to partake in the pageant, but I do not associate with ugly people.  I don’t feel like I have done this intentionally, but I’m a little concerned that maybe I need to seek out a few bottom dwellers to diversify my friend assemblage.  Or, and this may be more likely, I do have unattractive friends, but their wonderful personality has blinded me to their repugnance.  Mo swears that isn’t the case, but she’s from Poland…and you know what they say about Polacks.

Things my kids have taught me

My true colors come out in this post a bit.  If you are offended by some creative language, you may want to pass on this one.

-Never buy day of the week underwear.  Oh sure it’s cute to see a little “Wednesday” printed all over your kid’s butt, but what isn’t cute is when it’s really Sunday.  And contrary to When Harry Met Sally, they do make Sunday.  Not only is it a glaring reality of the last time your child was bathed, but you also have to search for the correct day when they actually do change their drawers.  It’s a pain in the Wednesday, if you know what I mean.
– Most children will be able to say son-of-a-bitch, clear as a bell, by 2 years old.  No real explanation necessary.  Kids will repeat just about anything that you can throw out there.  I actually think it’s hilarious, but it’s only hilarious up until the point when your child really knows what they are saying.  So I say enjoy it for a few months, have them say stuff that makes you blush and then never say it again.  By some miracle, my daughter never swears.  I never told her not to, she just figured it out.  And for the record, I didn’t follow my own rule of never speaking the words again.  I guess she just has a little more couth than her mom.  On the flip side, I’m pretty sure Rory is saying “Oh Shit” a lot, but it’s not clear enough for me or anyone else to be sure.
– Cleaning is an unbelievable waste of time.  Subtext, there is no point to having anything nice for at least 10 years.  You may have trained your children to be really clean, but I didn’t.  My kids will be your kids’ friends and my kids will spill shit all over your couch. 
– Crayola Crayons are the best.  Rose Art can suck it.  If it looks like a Crayola, smells like a Crayola, but says Rose Art, then your mom got the shitty crayons. 
   
– Introduce new foods to your kids early and often.  I have a 4 year old that asks for and eats sushi!  This is awesome for a few reasons.  For one, I don’t have to fix extra dinners when we eat something that most would consider “not kid friendly”.  Two, there aren’t huge melt downs if there are no chicken nuggets.  Three, we aren’t limited to eating in chain restaurants all the time.  T.O.G. is great, but I have to cap the soup, salad and breadstick meal at 2 a year.
– If you want an honest answer to the question “Does my butt look big in these jeans?”  Don’t ask a friend or spouse, ask a kid.  They are undeniably honest.  Actually, you don’t even need to ask, they’ll just tell you. 
Not my butt.

– Conversely, answer all of your children’s questions honestly.  There is one real reason I say this.  If you take the time to thoroughly answer a child’s question, I almost 100% guarantee the number of follow ups will be much fewer, if any at all if you bore them before they can irritate you.
– You really can tell if your child is ugly.  There is an assumption that if you have an ugly baby, you won’t know it because you are too blinded by the overwhelming love you have for the little tot.  This just isn’t true.  Now, I haven’t experienced this because my kids are absolutely adorable, but I have heard other people acknowledge their ugly baby.

So there you have it.  I’m not offering up any parenting advice, suggesting you do or even acknowledge any of the above, ie if you are a parent of an ugly baby, I’m just saying it would be really cool if you did.

Schadenfreude

This is my favorite word. Pronounced, [ shaad’n fròydə ], it is defined as enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others. Believe it or not, this is the kindest definition I could find. There were a lot of other definitions that included words like malicious, smug and gloating, but I felt those to be a bit harsh.
I have a habit of laughing at something on impulse before I know exactly what is going on. For example, sometimes when people fall, it looks really funny. I’m not talking about a little humorous, but a really hilarious tumble. What I find funny is the actual fall. I’m not laughing at the pain that person may be in, the embarrassment they probably feel or the humiliation of trying to regain their composure. It’s just that complete out of control look of a person that gets to me. It may be why it always puts a smile on my face when I see Woody from the Toy Story movies run. His limbs are all crazy and seemingly uncontrollable, but his head and body are fairly stationary. It’s unnatural and subsequently, I find it funny.
My schadenfreude sickness does not discriminate. Nor race, nor sex, nor age will save you from my laughter. Case in point, please enjoy the following:
That is my son. My flesh and blood. He face planted himself right into the sand and all you hear from me is laughter. Was I concerned that he was hurt? Sure, but I couldn’t help myself. It just comes out of me! And for the record, Rory was fine. He didn’t even cry. Having tough kids only encourages me to laugh first and ask questions later.
Another frequent victim of my inappropriateness is my husband. He’s going to be mad about this, but he trips on occasion. The house we used to live in had a lot of steps and every once and awhile, I would hear a loud thump, some scrambling and then a continuation up the stairs. I usually didn’t get to witness these stumbles, but the sound alone was enough to send me into some uncontrollable hysterics. I also laugh when he steps on the kids’ toys. He is somewhat dramatic when it comes to hurting himself. A little too much Peter Griffin, if you know what I mean.
Now, I’m not saying I’m the most graceful, far from it. In fact, I have fallen, tripped and injured myself more times than I care to admit, but I try to laugh at myself or at the very least, blame someone else for tripping me. The fact of the matter is, I try to find humor as often as I can and unfortunately, it may come in the form of your misfortune. I guess you can take this as a warning and maybe you can also look at it as a preemptive apology because as hard as I have tried to contain my gut reactions, it just seems to be getting worse. Shows like Tosh.0 and my new favorite, An Idiot Abroad, only fuel the schadenfreude flame. I can at least say that I’m not profiting from it.