Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Hunger Games.... just made me hungry.

              So I read The Hunger Games, and it was a quick easy read. There were a lot of political undertones, and complex character relationships. Also, even though it is set in the future, the combination of futuristic elements of The Capitol intertwines in the most fascinating way with the dire need for survival in the Districts. To think that such advanced technology was available to some citizens, but hunger and starvation could be such a widespread plague is mind blowing. The story had a few clever twists and turns, and was pretty entertaining, however it is clear from the beginning that Katniss will win the games one way or another. (I'm not ruining anyone's life here who hasn't read it... there are two more books in the trilogy so clearly the main character doesn't die..)  Did it blow my socks off? No. It's pretty hard to shock a 28 year old mother of three. My version of The Hunger Games is when you are so bogged down with keeping other people alive, clean, and happy (and obviously doing it with your Happy Mommy Face on) you realize you haven't eaten in the last seven hours.  Also, I think this was a little intense to be classified as a Young Adult novel; add some more sexy time and make it for grown ups. Peeta's love for Katniss is evident from the beginning, and although she is preoccupied with the probability that she will be killed in the games, she was just a little too clueless in my opinion. 

                The Hunger Games themselves are absolutely horrific, but well thought out and creative. The fact that the Gamekeepers can change the dynamic of the game at any moment left me guessing, and kept it interesting. The thought of being hunted absolutely terrifies me; I always cried when I played Man Hunt as a kid. The thought of other people looking for me just makes me want to pee my pants. I also have made Mr. Wonderful promise me on several occasions that in the event of an apocalypse (especially a zombie apocalypse), he will just smother me and then try to beat all odds to survive. I am not a fighter, I am not a survivor. Katniss is one bad ass character, and even though she is launched into a world of trouble at the end of the book, it will be really interesting to see how she does in the next installment. The worst part about the whole book is the food. If you haven't read it, there are vivid descriptions of giant feasts of all kinds of delicacies, and this doesn't work well for someone who is 20 weeks pregnant. I have probably gained 10 pounds in the last four days by reading this book.
                   I am beginning the second book, Catching Fire, which I have linked here on Amazon. I hope that I will be a more enthusiastic reviewer after reading it, since obviously this trilogy's popularity is blinding. I haven't seen the movie yet, not only because I rarely go to a movie that's not for children, but because I always read the books before seeing the movie. My fifth grade super fan has explained to me in a forty-five minute lecture each and every difference between the book and the movie, so I'm pretty sure I can wait for the DVD. Looking forward to getting your thoughts on The Hunger Games, and I hope you will steal a few minutes for yourself in your day to read a good book. Keep your brains sharp and your vodka chilled! 

Check out this really great cause!

Please check out the new page on my blog, The Daniel Liss Memorial Foundation ... his sister is busting her ass to help the families of people who are going through hell, and she rocks. Pediatric cancer is one of the many shitty things in life that just aren't fair, and it only takes a few minutes to get involved or make a donation. They also hold an amazing 5k called Torbethon in the fall, so if you need to get your booty in shape, you can start now and do great at the 5k!

Just in case you didn't believe me...

In reference to my recent post, The Mullet and The Joy, I was hell bent on finding a picture of The Mullet.. and boy did I ever find a flattering picture....

                             ...and yes, I thought this was the most beautiful dress that ever existed.

Haven't read The Mullet and The Joy? Check it out here:

The Mullet and The Joy

Monday, March 26, 2012

Crate and Barrel, the trendy bane of my existence.

                       The Money Pit is my home. It was built in 1920, and hasn't been updated since roughly 1950; I love our house, but it has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears in order get it to a point in which we can actually move in. Now it is time to start the roughly five million projects it will take to turn The Money Pit into The Dream Home That We Love And Worked Our Asses Off For. One of these projects is to slowly start decorating, and of course the girls room was completed first; it is a purple princess dream, complete with bunk beds that took six weeks to paint, by trial and error. Their room, however, is the only one that is even close to finished. 

 This is a wall in the girls room, before things were moved in. If you don't absolutely adore this princess castle, you can just stop reading now. Also, this is a sample of Mr. Wonderful's prized wood floors. They used to be covered in 80 year old carpet, with the disgusting carpet pad melted into the floor. I prepped this floor for finishing myself. (Applause) 

                          One sunny November day, Mr. Wonderful and I decide to browse our local Crate and Barrel. We had some gift cards for the store, and thought we would surely find a million things we wanted. Decorating is freaking exciting! We walked in, and within 10 seconds, I saw what I wanted. Right on the first display was a trunk designed to be a coffee table. It opened up to have a ton of storage inside, and it was basically amazing. Perfect for our living room. Mr. Wonderful adored it too, and we decided just to walk right up and buy it, because we also had a 20% off coupon. Luck was on our side. 
       The Hunter Trunk. It would have made my living room look like something out of a magazine. You know, if magazine living rooms have playpens and Cheetos rubbed into the carpet. 

                       I walk right up to the counter and say, we would like to buy the trunk in the very front of the store. The sheer terror and panic that fell over the face of the associate made me realize instantly that this would not be a normal day. Just like everything else  that ever seems to happen, this will be some sort of ridiculous nightmare that could only possibly happen to me. I wasn't disappointed. She stammered that she had to get the manager, and then high tailed it into the back of the store. The manager came over, with her super fake retail manager smile, and told us that the trunk is not for sale. The trunk is not for sale, because they made a new model with slight changes and now the price is $100 more. Also, the new trunk is not for sale until FEBRUARY. She looked all over the country, and there are no more of this model of the Hunter Trunk available for sale. She would be willing to sell me the slightly damaged floor model at a 15% discount, but I would need to leave it on the sales floor until February, possibly getting damaged further; I also could not use my 20% discount in addition to the 15% discount for selling me a damaged trunk. 
                      Now clearly, I blacked out. I *calmly* explained to her the following:
"This trunk is not for sale; it is in the absolute front of this home goods store , but it's not for sale. It's there in order to tell people that the exact same  trunk with minor changes will be for sale three months from now, and it will cost $100 more. You will sell me a damaged trunk, but expect me to leave it on this sales floor for three months in order to give people the chance to scuff it up and break it further; you will not give me a new trunk at the old trunk's price, and you will not allow me to use my discount on this damaged floor model. You are also telling me that you are the absolute highest manager at this store, there is no one else I can speak with, and there is nothing else you are willing to do for me. Right?" 

The manager said, "Yes. You're right."

LATER ASSHOLES. I mean really. I also contacted Crate and Barrel customer service to tell them that I have never experienced such terrible customer service in my entire life, and they offered me 20% off the new trunk, without the ability to use my own 20% coupon on top of that. 

                        Fast forward to now, and I am just to the point where I can even consider going to the Crate and Barrel website without my blood boiling. We still have these gift cards, and we just got a fancy schmancy new grill that needs all kinds of accessories. I also scored a 10% off your whole purchase, so I'm thinking finally I will get some new stuff and be done with this store. No such luck. After loading up the online cart, I come to find that the shipping is almost $100. Now, I live in 2012, not sure about you. I haven't paid for shipping on anything in at least three years; all major retailers either offer great deals on shipping, or free shipping after you spend a certain amount. Once again, not Crate and Barrel, the company that is completely not concerned with customer service in any way. I couldn't even ship the items to the store for free, which many other retailers will do. Of the 11 brand new spring items that I wanted to order, 3 of them were available in the store. 

             I am exhausted, Crate and Barrel. I have tried twice to make major purchases for The Money Pit with you, and twice I have failed. I really have never had such a hard time spending money in my life. This has been a one-sided relationship, and I can tell you just aren't that in to me. So here I leave you, just another rant on my blog, and hopefully at some point enough dissatisfied customers will give you the bright idea to revamp your customer service policies, instead of revamping a product as an excuse to increase the price. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

... And this is why five year olds don't make dinner plans...

          Uncle GQ is my uncle, but he is a year younger than me. If you don't know us personally, this will make no sense to you, and you will assume I am from West Virginia; however in reality, this makes perfect sense. Uncle GQ is my father's much, much younger brother. We grew up just like brother and sister, and I love him more than I have the emotional capacity to express in words. (I avoid having feelings whenever possible.) He is the kind of person who congratulated me on the success of my blog, then will text me weekly to see when I will write an article about him. He will like this article, but will want to know when the next article will be that is completely about him. There is something charming about that kind of blind narcissism, and I don't think there is another person in the world quite like him. (The world can't possibly handle two of him) 

            Uncle GQ, being the youngest (by 17 years) of seven children, has been a little spoiled over the years, and in turn, lives the lifestyle of a GQ cover model. He lives each day as though it's his last, he doesn't believe credit cards are real money, and he truly can do anything he sets his mind to.There are many amazing things that Uncle GQ has taught me, and one I take to heart is the fact that he rarely eats at chain restaurants. With a few exceptions, chain restaurants don't have scratch kitchens where dishes are put together each day completely from scratch, and they pump entrees out like a factory. There are many delicious restaurants in and around my town, and Mr. Wonderful and I love to try new kinds of cuisine any chance we get.
                When you allow your five year old to choose a restaurant, however, you sometimes end up at Friday's. Mr. Wonderful and I decided to be good sports, and honor the dinner choice of Princess Particular; how bad could it really be? Just as bad as you might expect.
....and how many pieces of flair do you have?

          We walked in, and someone who was way too happy to be working there greeted us and got our table; Mr. Wonderful and I wistfully looked at the happy hour that was taking place at the bar, and watched as we were put in the furthest possible corner from happy hour; can't have our children upsetting the adults' fun, you see. For a split second we consider setting Princess Particular up with some mozzarella sticks, Squeakers up with some cereal puffs, and making a beeline for the bar. But alas, we chose the high road and started in on the menu. 
          Our waiter was average, aside from the fact that he ignored us for most of the time we were there. I completely preferred this to the waiter at the table next to us, who walked up to the table and asked to sit down with them. Yes, sir, I would love for you to awkwardly sit at our table and make polite conversation while you suggest the freaking potato skins and a Berri Acai Sour. (Sick). Our appetizers came, but no appetizer plates. No problem, I enjoy acting like a Neanderthal and just eating right off the serving plate. No refills on drinks either; Mr. Wonderful has a funny little trick in restaurants when we are being ignored to accidentally drop his glass to the floor. He says that it's amazing how much attention he gets after that happens. Fortunately, he didn't follow through on this occasion. The food was salty, mediocre, and everything you would expect from a bunch of people who most likely do not want to spend their nights singing Happy Birthday and serving a bunch of high school students, families, and early birds. We high-tailed it out of there, after waiting 15 minutes for our check, and vowed that we  will choose the restaurant next time. We miss you, happy hours everywhere; see you in about 20 years. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'm a fancy smart reader! You can be too!

                So Mr. Wonderful and I were talking about how our brains are turning to mush, and that we should start reading again. He likes brainy 1,000 page novels like Game of Thrones (which is excellent, both as a show and a book) and I like things that don't make me think too much and are a little porny. I decided to order The Hunger Games as a treat, since the movie is coming out and it gets such rave reviews. Since Amazon is the best thing since sliced bread, I decided to check prices there, and was pleasantly surprised to find that Amazon Prime members can have it delivered to their Kindle for free; no Kindle? You can also get it on your iPhone or Android, and if you aren't a Prime member it's only 5.00! Just another reason Amazon rocks. Here's a link right to The Hunger Games, read along with me and I will do a super smarty pants review of it when I'm done!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Well that sucked.

            Today, I was lucky enough to go to the grocery store by myself- or so I thought. No husband, no kids, just me, my coupons, and an hour in Shop Rite to get enough food to sustain us for a week. (Or until tomorrow, when I forget something... I am at Shop Rite nearly every day.) I don't even have to get that obnoxiously large cart with the stupid ass truck on it that can't navigate a runway, let alone around all of the old ladies at Shop Rite. Literally, all that is missing is a nice cold cocktail, and if I ever get to do this again in my lifetime while not pregnant, I will absolutely be packing a libation. Honestly, I can't believe that I never did that before I had kids.. and if I sound like an alcoholic, don't tell me that doesn't sound like an amazing idea. (Liar) 


This lady is silently screaming behind that fake smile. Five bucks says she loses her mind once she hits the cereal aisle.

          So at any rate, I start my shopping trip and score enough razors to last me the next year for $3.00. Sweet, I'm feeling good. I smirk and give my best judge-y face to the woman with the kid who spilled the whole pint of blueberries on the floor- control your child, woman! I walk along and see a cute baby that is actually behaving, which I appreciate, so I make a happy silly face and try to make the baby laugh. Problem #1. If I don't have kids with me, I just look like a creeper  who is probably trying to steal your kid. Mom of cute baby quickly decides she doesn't need to eat fruit this week and high tails it to the other side of the store. Shit.
        Then, I hear the silence all around me.. no Squeakers demanding my attention, throwing a toy only for me to pick it up so she can throw it again, no Princess Particular asking for things that are not on my list, and no Mr. Wonderful "helping" me by trying to embarrass the crap out of me. His signature move is to wander down the aisle and randomly scream, "I need something to tenderize my meat, do you see anything I could use to TENDERIZE my meat". Yikes. Lucky for him, I don't embarrass easily. (eh hem.) 

        So all this silence is weird to me, and I know that while I am alone, I'm not really free, because Mr. Wonderful is home with the girls and at any second I could get that fateful text, asking me how much longer I will be. I did great through the produce aisle, and as I passed the health and beauty aisle, I remembered how, before I had kids, I would just peruse the health and beauty aisle and pick myself up a new product, grab a magazine and check out all the fancy, pretty clothes that I would be willing to pay for. I literally don't even go to the healthy and beauty section any more, because #1, everything is cheaper in Target, and #2, nothing about grocery shopping with a 5 year old and 7 month old is leisurely. 
                                             Hey, I remember this magazine.. do they still publish it?                

         Then comes the snack aisles. I have gotten very good at bypassing them and somehow grabbing what I need while Princess Particular is at school. I also don't normally have a problem with telling her no, that something isn't healthy, but that doesn't stop her from asking for every single sugar filled cookie topped with ADHD sprinkles on the shelf. The problem today, is that I'm pregnant, hungry, and have no one to set a good example for. Pop Tarts look pretty fresh today, I will just open the box and help myself to one right now! And they are on sale- even better. Normally, I would never open anything in the store, for fear that not only is it really rude, but with my luck there would be some problem with my debit card, and I would have to call Mr. Wonderful and ask him to pick me up from the police department for eating Pop Tarts and not paying for them. Today, however, I had cash.  

"I have no idea how this entire empty cheesecake box made it into my cart, sir"

       I realized that maybe shopping alone wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I almost welcomed the 911 text from Mr. Wonderful that came three minutes later- "The wheels are falling off".. I sprinted to the frozen yogurt, got my vanilla bean (maybe with another Pop Tart later?) and got on the first line I saw... then changed lines when I realized the Lady with the Cute Baby - who now thinks I am a stalker in addition to a baby stealer- was on the line in front of me. Get. Me. Out. Of. Here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Won't you be my neighbor? And not an asshole?

             It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day... oh wait. No it isn't, because my neighbors' dog has once again shit on my front sidewalk. This is after the dog has torn up my garbage, and thank God Mr. Wonderful was home for that incident, or it would have been strewn all over my lawn until he actually did come home.

          Now, I love dogs. I love them. I always had two growing up, but a dog doesn't fit my lifestyle at the moment. People will always watch your kids, but no one wants to watch your dog. If we got a dog now, I may as well chain myself to my house for the next 14 years, or be willing to pay for boarding that will probably be the equivalent or exceed any price I'm willing to pay for a hotel. For humans. The last dog we had was Mr. Wonderful's dog in college; her name was Coco and she was an ADHD untrained chocolate Lab that used to bite me and love him. Look who won that battle biotch.

           I mean really, people. How much poop do I clean up on an average day? Not to mention spit up, and a thousand other horrifying things that you can't imagine ever touching if you aren't a mother. And even then, I gag 4 out of 5 times. Who wants to walk out of their house and see dog poop on top of it all? It's down right enraging. Maybe it's the fact that I am now 18 weeks pregnant and still have 24 hour a day morning sickness; maybe it's the fact that I am just an enormous monster bitch; I don't know. Either way, I dared myself to write the following letter and stick it in the mailbox of the people too lazy to take care of their own dog:

        Since apparantly I'm way too stupid to figure out how to make this letter face the right way, (believe me, I've tried for the last 20 minutes and now I'm bored)
       The letter reads as follows:

Dear Neighbor,
         Your dog has now gone to the bathroom on my property three times. I do not have a dog because I do not want to clean up poop. If it happens again, I will be forced to go to the bathroom on your property. Consider this your only warning. Also, he has torn apart my garbage once. If you do not leash your dog, I will call animal control. Please be considerate of the people living around you.

Your Neighbor

Probably won't be invited over for a barbecue any time soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The best freakin advice I've ever given.... so far.


       Your kids are going to leave you. They are going to grow up, go to college, and if you have done your job correctly, your fairly well adjusted children will figure out what makes them happy in life and do their best to get it. I think part of the reason that I keep having all these kids is to postpone the day in which the last one will drive off to college. When that day comes, I will either rock back and forth in the fetal position, begging them to stay, or drop them off in my brand new Audi convertible (my future 50th birthday present, complete with huge red bow, preferably sparkly) and scream, "See ya at Thanksgiving!" and head off to the airport to some exotic location with Mr. Wonderful.
             The point is that we owe it to ourselves as people, not just moms, to examine the lives we are living and ask, "Who the hell are we?" We are moms; yes, and that is an extremely important job, whether you are a stay at home mom, a working mom, or some combination of the two. However, you are also a person. A person with interests, a love life, and goals and dreams outside of potty training your toddler. Who are you?
          The best advice I have ever gotten first sounded like it was coming from a crazy person. This person, whom I dearly love, told me, "Put your husband first." Ehh what? Your children are helpless, little clones of you who need help clothing themselves and learning how to act like civilized human beings. Your husband is pretty hot, but probably has the ability to annoy you more than your children, and definitely should be able to bathe, feed and clothe himself.
              Looking back, however, this advice makes all the sense in the world. Your kids are going to leave you one day, and if you spend every second of every day devoted to them, you are going to find yourself with a pretty empty life while you wait the 10 - 15 years between college and when you can babysit your grandchildren (and tell your children how they are doing every single thing wrong). You had better keep up some type of healthy relationship with that guy who falls into bed exhausted next to you each night, or you will wake up next to a stranger.
                 Now believe me, I am tired.  In the last year I have gotten married, taken college classes, had a baby, got pregnant again. bought The Money Pit, and sent Princess Particular off to kindergarten. There are days where Mr. Wonderful and I don't see each other, and that's when he actually is in town and not traveling for work. At any given time, we have a running list of about 40 things that we need to talk about immediately, and add things to the list faster than we take them off. However, we still try. Mr. Wonderful has a deep passion for craft beer, so I try them all, even the nasty ones and listen to him talk about  hops and triple blah blah and fruity whatevs. He knows that I have a major obsessions with coupons, so he goes every Sunday and gets me four newspapers so I can cut them out while having my coffee. He also listens to my endless rambling about the dish soap and shampoo and lifetime supply of sponges that I got for $.40, and believe me, I get freakin excited about free shampoo.
                So, even though raising kids takes a lot of work, maintaining a worthwhile relationship with your hubs takes even more work. Because it's easy to say, next year we will do________, go_______ and try_____. But there will always be the need for plumbers, travel baseball teams, and buying stupid homeowner shit such as landscaping; wanna know what I say to that? Smack your guy on the ass, steal his credit card, and book an adventure neither of you have been on. The bills will be there when you get back, and if you are like me, you don't remember half of the things you charge on credit cards anyway, so it won't matter in the long run. And buy yourself a new outfit while you're at it. Thank you Queen Ann, for the best advice so far; she is a mother of seven and married for fifty years- to the same man. He even still likes her, a lot.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Mullet and The Joy

            Squeakers is seven months old and in one of the best stages of raising a child, in my opinion. She is  adorable; she can't walk, crawl or get into anything dangerous that we don't accidentally leave within her reach, and she is giggly, happy and looks at everything with complete wonder and amazement. Therefore, she doesn't give me much material to write on this blog. More on her in the near future when she becomes mobile, and I have to chase her around all day, much in the same way you would babysit the drunkest person you have ever seen. On the other hand, Princess Particular gives me plenty of things to talk about. 
            For example, a daily battle in my house is The Hair War. Princess Particular wants long hair, partly from my brainwashing her, and partly due to the movie Tangled. I demand that she has long hair, and I trim her hair myself; she has never had a real haircut. Unfortunately for me, her hair grows incredibly slow, which I assume is just to annoy me. Why am I crazy psycho when it comes to hair? Because when I was in kindergarten, I had long, flowing, curly adorable hair. However, I never wanted to brush it, or wash it, or basically do anything that didn't involve it naturally turning into dreadlocks, and my mom decided to cut it. Not just cut it, but fashion it into a full on mullet. I was scarred for life, and I am still growing it out to this day. (OK, not really, but damn did I look stupid) 

This guy can barely pull off a mullet, imagine how the five year old me rocked one.

          What I have come to find, is that my mother was right. It is a total pain in the balls trying to take care of Princess Particular's hair, when she is just determined to let it grow without ever brushing it again. Every single day, there are tears, screaming, and begging. And that's just me. I threaten her every.single.day. to shave her head. No bob. No shoulder length cut; SHAVE. There is no other option in my world. I know what you're thinking- "Use no more tangles~! Braid her hair the night before~!" No more tangles is for people with normal hair. Princess Particular has soft, loose curls that seem to get forever tangled until the point it's much easier to cut her hair than deal with the screaming. Braiding her hair makes her look like an 80's pop star, something I was definitely not interested in doing after my stint with the mullet. 
           On the other hand, I had a great moment with this little monster the other day. Since I can't function before 8 am, it is common in my house for Princess Particular to pour herself a bowl of cereal until I actually make a weekend worthy breakfast of pancakes and sausage or something equally delicious. She had a brand new box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch on Saturday morning, and I was laying in bed waking up when she came speeding in and jumped on the bed. She had a completely exhilarated look on her face, and she was waving a small package in her hand. She literally looked like Charlie from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory after he realized he had won the Golden Ticket. (The 1971 one version, not the freaky Johnny Depp version. He's such a creeper.) 

              There was a freakin prize in my Cinnamon Toast Crunch. 

        Princess Particular went on to tell Mr. Wonderful and I that she started to pour her bowl of cereal, and all of a sudden this little package fell out. She didn't know what it was. Six years old and she didn't know what a prize in a cereal box was. Now this is partly due to the fact that I normally buy cereal that no one would actually choose to eat, mostly Cheerios and Rice Krispies. Those cereals never have prizes. However, when we do buy the occasional box of hyper sugar turbo boost cereal, they don't come with a prize, because companies are cheapo's and only include the instructions for mailing in 47 box tops and $32.95 in order to get a whistle. And it takes 18 weeks to arrive. 
                 Mr. Wonderful and I sat in bed, sun shining on a Saturday morning, and told Princess Particular stories of when we were little, hoping to be the ones who poured the prize into our bowl, being so disappointed when our respective siblings found the prize instead, and how I was never allowed to search for the prize in a new box. It was an amazing few moments, and something I will remember forever. The  joy in her face reminded me that there is pure and innocent joy in the world, and maybe I should take some time in my day to find joy in the little things life has to offer. Her prize? A silly straw. I didn't brush her hair that Saturday; The Hair War was at a stalemate, just for that day. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Power of Yes Mom


         Maure (like everyone else on my blog, this is not actually her name. Obviously) is my very dear friend who has three kids of her own, Soulmate, G-man, and Super E. Soulmate is six and  Princess Particular's soulmate; in so many ways they act like a couple that has been married for 50 years. We joke that if they did get married, their wedding menu would be buttered noodles and chicken fingers. G-man is four and the best superhero I know. This kid has more energy than anyone I have ever met, and on top of that he's an adventurer and the funniest kid as well. For example, he loves to try my Thai food, and he is known to wear full football pads on a Tuesday morning. And Wednesday. And Thursday. Super E is one and a half  and a miracle baby if I have ever seen one, and perhaps Maure will do a guest spot and write the Story of Super E on Moms Are People Too, because I could never do it justice. She is a bright ray of sunshine, and best friends with Squeakers. She makes you believe in puppies and rainbows and smiles and all the happy things in the world. Maure and I are friends because she seems like kind of a bitch when you first meet her, and I like that. She is fancy and drinks champagne. Also she's always up for an adventure, even with all of our kids, and she allows me to be all crazy and overwhelmed without telling me I probably need to be on medication.

       Me and Maure, when all of our kids finally grow up and move out.                                                               
           Maure has inadvertently taught me an excellent parenting skill, which I will now pass on to you. There is a point in each mother's day, from the time your children can talk, that you think you may just lose your mind if you hear the following words; Mom, But, Why, Can I have, and _____ (insert your particular favorite here). You have told them "no" more times than you care to admit, and the persistent little buggers just will.not.stop. Previously, this would be the point in which I would feel myself floating above my body, doing my best crazy mom face, and scream until they forgot what they actually wanted in the first place. The other option would be to give in to their demands, and I don't negotiate with terrorists. After meeting Maure, I stumbled upon a glorious tactic that I take joy in employing on a daily basis. The YES MOM.
     The Yes Mom is the only acceptable response in order to save me from losing my mind, and it gives me great pleasure each time Princess Particular says it, mainly because it kills her to say it, and she knows that I've won. For example:

Princess Particular: "Can I have ______" (Doesn't matter, it could be anything from a snack to a pony)
Me: "No, it's almost time to________"
PP: " But MOOOOoooOOOOMMMM, I really want_____"
Me: "I said no. And did you brush your teeth today? And where did your sister go?"
PP: "But...."
(this can go on from five minutes up to the better part of an hour, but now I know I just have to say..)
PP: (grumbling) "Yes Mom" (staring hateful daggers)

And that's it. The argument is over. I don't know why it works, it just does. No need to say, "Because I said so", no need to scream. No more hours of mental warfare, until your little darlings have worn you down to the point you are happily willing to give them ice cream for breakfast every day until forever if they will just stop talking. So cheers to you Maure, you are an upstanding citizen and have taught me well.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tricky tray strategies of 2012

                  Last Friday night, Tricky Tray season began. I feel like they are native to New Jersey, so let me give you a quick rundown of the glorious disaster that is a tricky tray, just in case you've never been or you're feeling like it's something porny. A tricky tray is a fundraiser, usually by a school, in which you buy sheets of tickets for baskets of prizes. There's usually lower level prizes, and higher level prizes. Lower level prizes consist of such things as some children's toys, or candles, or a holiday theme basket that will just go in your attic until that holiday rolls around again. The higher level prizes are things like Coach bags, Amazon Kindles, huge baskets of miscellaneous house stuff, and the Jack Lalaine Juicer that my Mr. Wonderful has had his eye on for some time now. You buy tickets, and put them in the little buckets next to the prizes that you want to win. There's also a table of super huge prizes, like an iPad 2, a giant TV, a fully stocked bar's worth of liquor, etc. Then you sit there for four hours while they pull the prizes for each basket. This is one of the few things that I like to do, as a grownup, with other grownups. We smuggle copious amounts of alcohol if it's not otherwise allowed, and bribe people around us with wine so that they don't tell on us. We also bring whatever food we can manage to grab before our husbands realize we will be out for hours and hours while they are stuck with the kids. There are snacks and gambling... I'm not really sure who wouldn't enjoy a tricky tray. 

           Here's how my night went: I attended the tricky tray with The Grammie and Queen Ann, my other grandma. Not sure how my only two friends on a Friday night were both my grandmas, but hey. The Grammie has never been, so I felt like I could introduce her to the wonder and awe that is the tricky tray. I forgot, however, that The Grammie can't sit still for more than 10 minutes. As soon as we sat down to start calling numbers, she got this pouty look on her face and it seemed like she might run from the school cafeteria screaming. I love her, but she just can't hack it. 

           Then there's the psychology of the tricky tray. When you put your ticket in the basket, if it's something you really really want, you assume that obviously, you will win it. Guess what. So do the 500 other people who put some tickets in the basket. Then you have your hard core tricky trayer. These people dress up, with headbands that have things bouncing off of them, hand clappers and whistles and fireworks and any other obnoxious item to indicate that they've won a basket. And since they spend their life savings at these events, they win all the prizes. As the night wore on, it became clear that we were a bunch of losers; we couldn't even win a door prize. Everyone was cranky; it's not fun at all when you don't win... Queen Ann told me that she will be busy when I invite her next year; I told her not to hold her breath for an invitation. (Love you!!) 
            The next tricky tray is next week, and I have decided that if I am going to survive an entire year of these nervewracking events, the only way I will make it out alive is if I convey an "I don't give a shit" attitude. If the baskets don't know I care, then I will win them. I will act completely non-chalant as I take prize after prize, and when I get my truckload of stuff home, then and only then will I jump for joy- right before I demand that Mr. Wonderful brings most of it to the attic. I think since last year was also a huge losing year for me as well, I believe that since I have been pregnant forever, that directly correlates to my luck. (More importantly, my lack of alcohol consumption directly correlates to my luck) If this doesn't work, I will be investing in many many sparkly, poufy headbands and clappers. Those bitches win everything.
      Does it need to go this far? Because I'm a grown ass woman.