Sunday, April 29, 2007

Blogger on blogger...

blogger interview notes
I'm sure most of y'all who read other blogs have seen the "interview meme" that's been going around, the one where the blogger has been interviewed by another blogger and must then offer to interview other bloggers after answering the interview questions. While I've thought it'd be fun to have some other bloggers ask me questions, I couldn't commit to asking other bloggers questions. I envision some obscure scenario where bloggers that never comment here will come out of the woodwork asking to be interviewed by me. And, then I think, "What if I've never read their blog?" Now I'm obligated to search through someone's archives when it seems lately I can barely keep abreast of the new posts on blogs I already read. That unlikely and unfounded fear has kept me from participating in this meme. (Me not participate in a meme? What? I know.) That is until my favorite Texan, Fringes, put a twist to it. Rather than her asking questions of us and expecting us to pass along the interview option to others, she's paired up those of us amongst her readership who want to interview with those who would like to be interviewed, no further strings attached. So, I elected to be an interviewee and was asked the following from Dagromm:

How tall are you?
I sprouted to 5'3" by the age of 10. My growth was stunted there for years. Some physical fitness program in highschool, I believe it was my sophomore year, involved recording numerous measurements and readings, one of which included height. They declared me to be 5'4". I was so excited to have grown an inch over the previous 5 years. This was also the year that I began wearing heels regularly (because even 5'4" isn't tall enough to wear pants designed for women that are 6 feet tall), so there was never a question as to whether or not I was 5'4"...until my height was checked at the doctor's office last November. Still 5'3" after all these years. I'm pretty certain my growing is done, too. I might get shorter, but it'll only be heels that make me taller.

What is in your car that probably shouldn't be?
A huge red bag filled with maternity clothes. I loaned a co-worker a ton of my maternity clothes after Baby Angel's delivery since I obviously wouldn't need them and she was just starting to need them. Since she delivered her son in January, she's returned my clothes and added some of hers as well. I'm hoping not to need them for another year, so they've sat in my car since I can't really figure out what to do with them in the meantime.

Why did you start blogging and why do you continue?
I'm going to cop-out a bit since I've actually written about both of these before. For those that haven't read them: why I started a blog and why I keep it up

Who do you talk to in the real world about your blog life?
Every once in a great while, I will talk to my bestest friend about something to do with blogging. She gets the privilege since she was the person that drew me into blogging. Also, NS gets the "I read about this/that on someone's blog" stuff. Other than those two, my real life people are on the "don't ask, don't tell" plan; most of them don't even know there is a blog (one friend that knows no longer reads or blogs), and some may not even be sure about what a blog is.

How do you tell when it's time to throw a pair of underwear away?
When I'm trying to make room in the drawer and realize I no longer have clothing or a bra that matches them.

Who do you think it would be cool to meet, but would be too intimidated to talk to in the real world and in the blog world?
I'm intimidated by bloggers that receive nearly a 100 (and often over 100) comments for each post, and I'm uncomfortable commenting on such a blog even though I enjoy her posts immensely because I feel there is nothing left for me to contribute. So, although I think we'd have a ton of fun shoe shopping together, I would be afraid the cool Mist1 might have better shoes and doubt I could ever muster the courage to find out.

What blog post have you written that you are most proud of?
I'm just going to pretend that you forgot to pluralize "post"...

Ones where it became clear that I was going to become a divorcee -
The end is near and Taking the plunge

A post that I had to dig into my memory banks to write and liked the final result -
3 Coins

An understanding of why an event in my life was so significant that I never understood until I decided to write a post about it -
When my world was still untainted

I spent hours reading every single comment on an article, taking notes at the same time, to properly express my opinion about mothers drinking during playdates -
I'm only a couple months late with this

If you tragically died in the next ten years, what would you want your best friend to dispose of for you before your parents or kids could find it?
I can't think of anything I have that is too weird for my parents or kids to know about. I'm dead, what the hell do I care what they find in my nightstand?

If you could go back in time and meet any person from history, then how exactly would you accomplish that?
Um, time machine?

What is too big?
Something that doesn't fit.

Now that your married does that mean that you are going to stop taking pictures of yourself in the dressing room? If so I'm against your marriage.
If the picture deserves to be taken, then I'll be happy to take it, wherever that may be. Are you offering me a new camera??

What is the one prejudice that you're most ashamed of?
I have very negative prejudices against smokers. I lose some amount of respect for anyone once I find out they smoke. I cannot understand why any reasonably-minded person would smoke. I have particularly foul thoughts regarding those who smoke in the presence of children, especially their own. I know the extent of my judgements of smokers is sometimes overly harsh, and that is what I'm ashamed of. I'm not so out there that I can't be friends with a smoker, but I would like them at least a little bit more if they chose to quit.

What have you accomplished that you never would have thought yourself capable of?
I fell in love again, even when I didn't intend to.

Don't you think my blog kicks ass?
I like the colors, and those black swirlies at the top are definitely kick ass.

Why am I not in your side bar?
Why am I not in yours? Don't give me any lame excuse of not having anyone on your sidebar.

Are you going to put me in your side bar?
I'm a momma of two boys that are told to say "please" when they ask for something, so I'm not inclined to add you without use of the "magic word". Honestly, I add to my sidebar after at least a month of enjoyable reading through Google Reader, so we'll see how that works out for you since I just managed to click over to you last week when Fringes posted the interview list (smiling sweetly and batting eyelashes, hoping you're not suffering from low self-esteem).

If you could only have one blog in your side bar besides mine which one would it be?
Easy, k8...because she doesn't have an rss feed available for me to use in Google Reader;>

What was the best blog post that you've ever read of mine?
Being a new reader and all, I'll go with the post a couple weeks ago about stuff that bugs you. I have a personalized plate that most people misread because they think I'm obnoxiously using a 1 as an i or am being more than liberal with spelling. And, I'm happy to read that I'm not the only one who is intimidated by roundabouts.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Heels are armor for my joints...

narcotics
I twisted my knee last night. Yes, I said, my knee. Considering I wear heels roughly 350 days a year, one might think this sort of thing would happen often. But, one would be wrong because I am quite capable of normal walking functions with heels. It's without them that I become clumsy.

I sprained my ankle in high school while breaking the fall of a cheerleader that didn't quite keep her balance in the air. Since I was the spot, her lack of injury meant I did a stellar job. I was wearing sneakers then.

How exactly did I twist my knee last night? From getting up off the floor, of course. Let me elaborate...

We are slowly moving forward in this potty training two 3 year-old boys business. So, J was on one potty doing his thing. (Yay, J! He's been doing such a great job, especially at daycare. He even gets to go to the preschool room during the day!!) M was on the other toilet. I hear something that could have been nuggets of stinkiness falling into the water. I get a little - or maybe it was more than a little - excited about this possibility and ask him if he's just gone stinky in the potty. (Yes, I am that silly about it.) He gets excited back at me and declares he has, even glancing back into the hole. Naturally, I must leap up from my place on the floor, barefoot, to see this miracle. Yeah, well, I totally leapt up the wrong way because I knew before I even made it half way up to standing that my knee should not have moved the way it did. What makes this even better? There was not a damn thing in that toilet for me to marvel or squeal with glee about.

It wasn't too bad last night. I hobbled around, but it wasn't collapse on the floor in agony kind of pain. I could put some pressure on it; it was just sore.

This morning was a whole 'nother kind of pain. Big Dog likes to be immobile precisely where someone needs to be, whether that be in front of the refrigerator, the living room floor, or in the doorway between my bathroom and bedroom. This rarely bothers me. I think my heel-wearing habits have taught me to be cautious of where I place my feet, so I rarely just walk foot in front of foot haphazardly, not knowing exactly where my foot will land. So, I just lift my legs over him. Horror of all horrors, THE PAIN! Lifting the leg is not pleasing my injured knee. I'm pretty sure there were tears in my eyes. I spent today limping about. A pimpin' cane would have made this all so much better.

My mom brought over some ibuprofen with a bit of vicodin mixed in. Two was too much and yet, not enough. Despite having taken the medication with my dinner, I felt as though dinner might be making a reappearance shortly after. My head seemed very foggy and groggy. Yet, the knee still hurts very much; I just don't care quite as much. I care enough to not want to move it but not enough to cringe and wince and hyperventilate when I do. This should make for fun times at work tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

To lighten the load on my mind...

I want each and every day to write something here, yet I can't seem to find the motivation or energy to do all the things I actually need to do, so the writing here never seems to get done, either. Right now, I'm saying the other stuff will wait for a bit while I write a little something here. The desire to write something here should then be satisfied for enough hours to allow my mind to focus on work...and dishes...and laundry...and vacuuming...

Enough of that. I'm not really trying to push myself into a depression.

Randomness during this first week of marriage:

* The U.S. Navy is not inclined to believe I am divorced without proper documentation. While they have no reservations about issuing me an ID card or allowing me to enroll for insurance benefits without this documentation, they are certain that NS is not permitted to change his paperwork to reflect a status of married without it. This really shouldn't have been a problem. An inconvenience since we'd wasted an hour at one base only to find out that we had to go to his home base and then driven half an hour to his home base to be turned away, yes; a problem, it shouldn't have been. Except, we had about a day and a half to make the changes to his paperwork before he had to go to sea again, and this was a good part of the day of that day and a half. By the time we left the place on Thursday, it was highly unlikely we'd get back before they closed, but we were going to try.

I raced inside while he waited in the car. Then, I found that I have no idea as to where my divorce paperwork has been stored. The place I thought it definitely should be, it was not. The next best place? Not there, either. Under the bed? Behind the bed? The kitchen cabinet? The boys' closet? My suitcases? With the Christmas bows? Anywhere in the apartment? No. Apparently, not in any of those places, either. Perhaps in the tote bag I drag to work on Mondays and take back home on Fridays? Nuh-uh (went into work just to check on that one). I cannot fathom what I have done with the folder in which this paperwork was kept. I know the deed paperwork that was also in that folder has been conveniently filed away with other FL house paperwork, but I don't even know when I did that. Maybe when I was doing my taxes? Clueless.

I frantically searched for any possible way to obtain this divorce documentation via fax or at least by overnight delivery to be received Friday morning. No luck. Of the minimal items that cannot be viewed and printed from the county website, domestic relations cases are on that short list. I was able to rush-order a copy to be received in 3-5 business days, so I did that; even if it wasn't going to get here before this deadline, I'd still need to have it when NS returns in 4 weeks and goes to update his paperwork. My best bet was my former attorney that handled the case, but they have not become more competent or less forgetful since the divorce. I called Thursday afternoon before 3. I explained my urgency (married into military and need copy of divorce decree overnighted to me for their records to be official). She seemed very understanding. She took my name and address and assured me she would pull my file to see if the paperwork was there and if it was, then it would be mailed to me, and if it was not, then she would call me back with information on how to request a copy from the county. Great. I could almost feel relieved. I received no call back, so one might think it safe to assume that the paperwork was in the file and in the mail. Nothing arrived on Friday. Still nothing has arrived from them, and still I have not received a call. So, they must train their staff to do this empty promising with failure to follow through because the glimmer of relief I let myself experience Thursday was only because it was not the same paralegal I'd dealt with during my divorce.

The copy that I rush-ordered arrived Monday. At least it wasn't as big an issue as NS thought it was going to be.

wedding band* Speaking of packages not arriving on Friday, the FedEx carrier did not appear at the front door to deliver my ring, either. When I called last week to check on the status of my order, my sales person promised overnight delivery once the work was finished. She said I should have it by the end of the week, by Friday, and that she'd email me updates on the progress. As of Friday morning, I'd still not gotten an update from her. I checked my email Friday after I got home from work because I was getting a little miffed with this lack of communication, and lo and behold, there was the shipping confirmation. Wonderful news that my ring was finally on its way to my hands, but not so wonderful that now delivery was going to be attempted on Monday when no one was going to be home.

The tracking information on Monday showed me that the package had been returned to the FedEx location around 3:30 that afternoon. If dinner with my friends, A and T, and T's hubby and baby was quick, then I might be able to make it there before 7. Considering we were meeting at 6, I was aware this was a very unlikely possibility. We don't finish dinner until almost 8. I come home to find nothing from FedEx. I mean, no door tag to even tell me they'd been there with a package for me. Why would they do this? I swear FedEx really doesn't want intended recipients to have their packages without having them first sent back to the sender to be reshipped. I think they may experience some sadistic pleasure in knowing they can cause people stress with expecting packages and not knowing when they might ever get them even though it was an overnight delivery. They may be trying to teach all the procrastinators of the world a lesson. Well, no big deal. The ring already missed the ceremony and didn't arrive before NS left, so one more day doesn't really matter at this point.

Last night, after I picked up the boys and stopped by the apartment to see if there was a door tag from FedEx since I didn't have the tracking information on me (no door tag, by the way), I drive over to the FedEx location. She finds my package's information, but although it was returned to the facility around 3:30 the day before, it won't be back until after they close this time. She asked if I'd like to request a hold to ensure that I could pick it up the following day. Trying not to sound too irritated, I told her, "Absolutely."

So, I rushed to the FedEx place early this afternoon, and now I have my official wedding band. It is rather gorgeous, all sparkly in the light;> Thank goodness the company I ordered it from is kind enough to inform me of the shipping and provide the FedEx tracking number because it seems FedEx was trying to hide my package from me.

* I was nodding my head a few times as I read RSG's co-dependency post. NS doesn't have boobs for me to be obsessed over, so that part was not one that I was nodding along with, but I have noticed an unpleasant change in myself when NS goes out to sea. I feel completely out of sorts, for at least the first week. Last time, I found myself up at all hours of the night, into the wee hours of the morning, doing random and useless, mind-numbing stuff, like ordering individual pieces of flatware or odd items of palm tree-adorned eatery so that we have a full eight-person service. I've complained about the cramped quarters of our living space before; my table seats only four, which pretty much excludes any guests; yet, I felt compelled to have these items. I also ordered some Threadless tees for all of us (1 for me, 2 for NS, 4 for M and J) when I saw a link to them on Sarcomical's blog. (Hope she got some sort of credit for my impulsive, sleep-deprived splurge.) What am I doing this time? Sleeping. I crashed Monday night, long before I wanted to. I should've crashed last night because I just felt exhausted, but I kept trying to convince myself that I'd feel better in another 15 minutes and then I'd do all that stuff I need and want to do, like dishes, yogalates, reading the book (check the sidebar), reading blogs, and oh yeah, writing something for my own blog. Instead, I didn't do anything until 11 o'clock, which is when I decided to look at some of those vacation rentals for our wedding reception party in June. I fell asleep a few times during that before I had to surrender to slumber and put the computer away. I have proclaimed to myself once again that tonight will be different, that tonight something productive will be done...we'll see.

* On the topic of vacation rentals for a wedding reception party, I am totally digging the way NS and I have gotten married. We tied the knot, just the two of us, last week. I'm striving to get pictures done in the first week of June. The party for friends and family in this area should be able to be held near the end of June. August, we fly up to Illinois to have another wedding reception party for the friends and family in that area. The honeymoon will probably be next year. That is the way to celebrate getting married, people. Spread that love and joy over the course of a year;>

* While we're talking about wedding pictures, I need to figure out whether I'm really okay with buying a wedding gown for the sake of the photos or just buying a less expensive non-bridal dress for them. I'm not quite sure yet. I'll probably go to a bridal shop this weekend to get a feel for the gowns available and whether or not anything captures my heart.

That's some of what I needed to get out. There is more, but time's long past up.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Enough with the procrastination and anticipation...

Husband and Wife - Kiss the Bride
Yes, I am Mrs. NS now. (And, heather, it is a non-hyphenated Mrs. NS.)

I got home from work Wednesday around 5. NS was not there. This is not usually the case. I'd say he's home before me somewhere near 99.9% of the time. Since he'd had duty on Tuesday, this was exceptionally peculiar. I changed my clothes and started putting away the laundry I'd folded the night before. In case it isn't clear from the picture, I wore my butterfly shoes. He got home a little before 6...turns out it had been a rough couple days for him, which had resulted in no sleep for about 36 hours and no food since lunch the day before. You'd never have known how awful he must have felt, though. We arrived at the park on time, and our priestess (found out that was her title after she signed the marriage license) was waiting for us.

There was a chill in the air, one that I was hoping wouldn't be too bitter. Definitely completely cloudy rather than the partly cloudy that was forecasted. We started with a quick picture before the ceremony. We opted for the short and simple (or maybe it was short and sweet) vows. I'd never heard this version of vows before, but I liked them. A lot, actually. Most memorable are the last two phrases to repeat before the "with this ring, I thee wed":

"I love you,
And I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

Words that couldn't have been more simplified to convey this perfect message. Poignantly, the same words used in the sudden proposal the week before.

While it could have been warmer, it wasn't unbearably cold, and while it could have been a prettier sunset, it went unnoticed as we stood on the pier facing each other, listening and repeating and, finally, kissing, and so we left the park as husband and wife half an hour after we arrived.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Countdown...


The date's set. This Wednesday evening, a sunset serving as a backdrop, NS and I will exchange vows and rings on a pier at a local park. I know he'll get the right ring, but I'm getting a little anxious about mine not arriving in time. Although the company mine is coming from has 2-day FedEx delivery, I failed to realize there was no mention of processing time, and I haven't gotten a shipping confirmation as of yet. I do have a ring that could work as an alternate, one that I purchased several months ago and meant to exchange because it didn't have as much color as I'd expected and could be mistaken for a different type of ring, a ring of the engaging sort, upon short glances and fleeting glimpses. Seems like it'll be suitable for the wedding ceremony if mine doesn't appear by Wednesday night.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I'd like to thank the judges and, most of all, my fans...

thinking man image
What can I say? I'm honored to have been included in anyone's list of thought-provoking bloggers, especially anyone as great as heather. Good to know someone else's mind gets invaded by my thoughts; comforting that this stuff isn't confined only to my head;>

Now, on to my awards...

ariel - This lady's got, like, 15 jobs and still manages to work on a relationship with her guy, Eric. Mostly, the reason I have to think when I read her words is because those posts get totally cryptic yet revealing all at the same time.

cagey - The host for the online book club in which I've vowed to participate. Books dealing with women's issues are not normally on my radar because I generally pick books that are pure fictional candy for my mind, and I'm looking forward to having reasons to discuss what I've been reading with other people.

melissa - She makes me think about writing more often and persuing freelance writing gigs. And, three kids born in her home with another planning to keep up the tradition. The post she wrote on that subject led to great resources for information on that topic.

nikki jo - Her experiences with giving her first born child, her only daughter, up for adoption have given me a long, drawn out pause on some things I'd previously believed about adoption.

recovering straight girl - I may not be a lesbian or ever be a recovering straight girl, but reading the thoughts and feelings of this woman help me appreciate a world outside my own, and I love that.

Congratulations to these five fantabulous bloggers!

The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to the Thinking Blogger Awards post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (silver and gold options available).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

You should just see my smile today...

http://manolobrides.com
I was asked last night to to become Mrs. NS, and I couldn't have been more eager to say yes. While I was just hoping we'd be married before we moved, he'd been giving everything a great deal of thought and realized there are much better benefits to us being married sooner than later, so we should be official before the end of the month. Neither of us wants the traditional wedding ceremony, which was a relief for me to hear. We'll do a simple civil ceremony as soon as we can; when he's back in town for a decent amount of time, we'll have a reception/party to celebrate with friends and family; we'll have wedding pictures taken (my request); and, most important, we'll have an awesome honeymoon relaxing on a tropical island for a week or so. I am so incredibly excited right now, I can hardly contain myself! Of course, I'm not trying too hard to contain myself, not now after the reality of what transpired last night has enveloped me with this sheath of euphoria;>

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chi-Tonw ink...

http://www.etoys.com/genProduct.html/PID/4719948/ctid/17/INstock/Y/D/?_e=461ba&_v=461BAF62kuYRaF1BBBE234B0
A good reason that one should avoid wordy tattoos and opt for pictorial representation in their skin art is you might not get the words you asked for.

One might reasonably think either the tattoo artist or the living canvas would have recognized that "tonw" is not the same as "town" before it was permanently embedded with ink under his skin, but, in fact, it wasn't until he got home (and after his wife pointed it out) that he realized what his new tattoo said. What I found funny about that was the quote from the tattoo artist regarding the humbling phone call he received hours after the tattoo's completion because it almost seems as though the man wasn't sure it was misspelled - "...she just saw it and she said you spelled it wrong."

Even great spellers have words that give them problems, words that no matter which order you put the letters in, they just don't look right. So, I wouldn't disagree with the guy's statement that he would never call himself a bad speller. It has only been a very recent freedom for me to spell "occasion" and "occasionally" without having to look it up. The thoughts that used to run through my head each and every time: One 'c', two 's's? Maybe two 'c's and one 's'? Or is it two of each? Now, after many (oh, so many) spellcheck corrections and dictionary references, I am confident in my occasional use of the word;>

What really raised my ire about this story...

Ultimately Duplessis had his tattoo altered to say "Chi-Town," though his lawyer says that is not enough.

"It doesn't represent the vision of the permanent tattoo he wanted on his chest for the rest of his life," he said. "So he is not a person who is whole."

If it has been corrected, I don't see a problem. Not a person who is whole? Seriously? I cannot imagine being so intrinsically tied to a city that a tattoo displaying their moniker would be necessary to make me a whole person. Most of my tattoos have no significant meaning, but the one that does is the one on my chest. It represents my children, human beings who will forever embody parts of me, being close to my heart. The tattoo is nothing more than two daisies on a shared tribal-style stem. I love tattoos as much as anyone who's got them, but I never dare put words on my body. I prefer symobolism in my artwork. Words change spellings, morph meanings, and evolve. Tattoos are forever. What happens if people stop referring to Chicago as Chi-Town? What if Chi-Town becomes a derogatory reference for Chicago? What if Chicago changes names? (That last one's a stretch, but it could happen.) What will his tattoo mean then? In my opinion, a representation of what he admires and adores about Chicago, or Chi-Town, would have been a better tattoo choice. The people of Chicago who have embraced "Chi-Tonw" are aware that tattoos are a matter of the art and often what the art means to the individual, not the words or letters themselves.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Color me fatuous...


A local radio station changed its format several months ago. It is the best format ever used. Usually when stations claim to play the best of the 80's, 90's, and today, they don't play the songs I loved from those decades, much less the best mix of songs from today. Not this station. It isn't just that I can get the warm fuzzies while listening to Michael Jackson's Billy Jean (because it is one of my moms' favorite songs) or that they will immediately follow that with "It Ends Tonight" from All American Rejects and then careen into Akon and Snoop Dogg's "I Wanna Love You" with a healthy dose of reality by way of "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot. It is the fact that they play Color Me Badd songs.

Did you know that I once had a crushing obsession with Bryan Abrams as a pre-teen? You didn't? Well, yeah, I did. I believe I was the most dedicated fan CMB could have had in an 11 year-old. If I'd been older, I would have stalked followed them on tour, but I had to settle for buying every Bop, Big Bopper, All-Stars, Tutti, SuperTeen, etc. magazine that had even a mention of the group, collecting them all into what eventually amounted to three personally decorated binders full of clippings carefully preserved in page protectors. Not one of these posters is unfamiliar to me. I recorded music awards shows, Arsenio Hall show appearances, and even that 90210 episode they did. Bryan frequented my non-nightmarish dreams for those few years before high school. I wanted to grow up to marry him and birth his children.

It might be a good thing that never happened, though. While scouring the internet for flashback visuals, I came across a rather unflattering news article from August 2005 and some harsh criticism on a blog post regarding that situation. But, then maybe the anonymous comment made on that blog was right about the real story behind the legitimacy of the deadbeat dad allegations because I couldn't find one single follow-up story on that case. Nothing.

Anyway, back to my point. I love the new format of this radio station because every time "I Wanna Sex You Up" makes it to the playlist, I am no longer driving around in my SUV with two carseats in the back; I am an 11 year-old girl sitting in her bedroom with a mass of teen magazines as well as scissors, paper, and a glue stick littering her floor while she sways back and forth, bopping her head to the beat, as the voices of Color Me Badd escape her stereo speakers and embellish the air. That man's voice still makes me quiver and swoon to this day.

I am not alone in this undying infatuation, I'm sure. Please make me feel less crazy for thinking, "Oh my God, I could actually contact him!," as I discovered that he has a MySpace profile; please tell me someone you once had a crush on does this to you, too;>

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Homecoming...

joy
I could barely sense the phone ringing over the music on the stereo. I say sense because it wasn't so much that I heard the jazz melody ring, but I may have heard a sound and then thought it just might have come from my phone. (While I am pleased with my Treo purchase, I really wish it would ring louder on all the rings, not just the annoying ones.) It was the phone. What a thrill to see the caller ID display with NS's name and number! Sounding as though I was receiving a call in which I would hear I've just won millions of dollars in a random drawing, I answered. He asked where I was. The question didn't sound like he was expecting me anywhere, more like a curiosity, so I simply stated I was on my way home. His next couple of comments about what time it was and how he'd thought I'd be home already peaked my own curiosity, and I ask where he was. He's at home. My heart deserves gold, silver, and bronze Olympic medals for the back flips and aerial gymnastics it performed in my chest at that moment. I hadn't expected him home until next Monday, so I was overjoyed with this news and may have gotten a bit giddy after that.

The boys are also happy to have him home again. They busily talked to him and showed him their new books and toys. It's the best Monday I've had in five weeks;>

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I'm only a couple months late with this...

But, in my defense, I've never even attended a playdate, so I don't really keep up with the latest playdate controversies.

playdate wine
While browsing the links to pearls of wisdom from other "real moms", I read one that reminded me of something I'd wanted to blog about when I'd first heard the "breaking" story of playdate happy-hours. Rereading the "news" article and then reading through the comments people made, I found myself diligently reading each and every one because I needed to see that the non-judgemental people out-witted and out-numbered those who don't seem to realize that there is no way to be a perfect parent, no way that one choice is the right choice for every family. Several themes of opinions had me torn between gaping-jawed shock and a feeling of pity for misguided philosophies.

A few claimed that parents should never use a mood-altering substance in the presence of their children. This is laughable. The term "mood-altering" can encompass a multitude of substances we all use without much consideration. So, should parents no longer indulge their caffeine cravings except on occasions where children aren't present? Aren't we afraid that children are going to start using caffeine earlier and more frequently, in larger doses, as they continue to witness parents drowning in caffeinated beverages? As often as many people hop themselves up on coffee and energy drinks to stay awake, perhaps a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, or even a small cocktail is in order to maintain balance.

The suggestion was made for these mothers to opt for a diet cola over a glass of wine. Yeah, because diet soft drinks are such a healthy alternative. Carbonation is not good for the body, and sugar substitutes are certainly not great for us. At least moderate wine consumption, such as a glass or two per day, has been shown in study after study to have significant health benefits.

Would you let your babysitter have a drink? While this might be a legitimate case to present since during the time you employ that sitter to care for your children, you are basically bestowing to them the same duties of childcare you normally assume, I doubt it even needs to be contemplated in most situations. I think it's fair to say most (I know, not all) babysitters are not above the legal drinking age in this country. I only know of one person that continued babysitting for families past the age of 21, but she had been working for them already and just continued to do so. Still, there is also a valid point in that babysitters shouldn't be allowed to drink because they are "on the job"...

Others comments tried to equate the playdate moms drinking to people drinking on the job. Well, parents are always employed as parents, even if the child is temporarily entrusted to someone else's care. The child that is rushed to the emergency room by an alternate caregiver for a possible broken bone from falling out of a tree is still the responsibility of the parents. Ultimately, the hospital must contact the child's parents because of this inherent, absolute responsibility. So, in this situation, all parents should be required to forever abstain from alcohol since there is never an off-the-clock time for parents...never. But, that is exactly the reason that parenting shouldn't really be viewed as a "job". One of the perks of being able to be a parent without having the outside job is incorporating social gatherings with your "job". For someone to question whether teachers or bus drivers be allowed a drink before starting their job for the day is simply a display of ignorance for the entire discussion of playdate happy-hours. The comparison can only be fairly made when asking if the teachers and bus drivers are allowed to have a drink during a break when connections with their peers are made, specifically if children are also present. You see, it is rare for people in those careers to have the opportunity to have a social gathering in the course of the work day, much less to have an hour-long break period in the middle of the day to socialize with their colleagues. And, as for the theory they may have a drink before their work day begins? Well, if there are teachers and bus drivers getting up at 4 in the morning to socialize with each other before school, I wouldn't begrudge them a mimosa or a bloody mary.

One man asserts that children will emulate even questionable behavior. Questionable as determined by whom? If none of the parents partaking are questioning the behavior as safe and acceptable, then how is it this behavior would be one of those that children would emulate? And, any 14 year-old that comes home drunk from a binge trying to blame it on the influence of seeing their parents enjoying one or two drinks at a neighbor's barbeque, during a playdate, or with a meal will surely learn the meaning of "comparing apples to oranges".

Even though children rank high in priority for parents in almost every scenario, children actually shouldn't be the center of their parents' world forever. Once a child begins to be able to gain independence, usually starting between the ages of 2 and 3, their place as numero uno in the universe should be relinquished. Parents should show that their wants are equally as important and valid (if not more so) than those of the children. The key word there is "wants". Parents will always put the "needs" of their children first, often sacrificing their wants to do so, like not getting your highlights touched up when your kid needs a new pair of shoes, a pair with intact soles and plenty of toe-wiggling room. But, to tsk-tsk a mother who can and does relish some moments of enjoyment that don't directly relate to her children although they are present is a mentality I cannot understand.

The only way I could find a problem with these playdate happy-hours is if the mothers are "needing" the drink to relax and socialize. Relaying a message to your children that alcohol is a necessity for de-stressing or quality companionship is probably not a good idea. In my opinion just choosing non-alcoholic refreshments on some occasions and opting to unwind by reading or exercising or watching a movie some nights will reinforce the responsible drinking image that is able to be demonstrated by parents who imbibe.

None of the points above are the real point, though. I'm not advocating that parents should drink in front of their kids, but I also don't believe that those who do, myself included, should be thought of as less concerned with our children's well-being based solely on this choice. I only hope that those parents who decide not to drink will make their choice known to their children based on their own experiences with alcohol, such as they don't like the way alcohol affects them or because of an alcoholic family member and the theory that alcoholism could have hereditary foundations, without passing judgement about other adults who don't have those same experiences.