Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Teen

It’s a bit of a blow to one’s youthful pride when your child begins to poke fun at signs of your imminent death (ok, just that you’re getting old), yet last night’s wound was soothed with the salve of delight that cleverness is increasingly abundant in my G. The 45 minute journey home through the winter woods often breeds excellent family bonding. Last night was date night, and after collecting the boys to head home, I was particularly jovial and lively on our trek.
Amidst my singing and goofy outpourings, my eldest spouts from the back seat, “Mom, what did you have to drink?”

Shocked, my initial response is laughter at what must be running through his mind…perhaps it was a touch maniacal, but I managed a “Water. Why do you ask?”

Eyes rolling I’m sure (yes, he is exhibiting signs of the teen species), he says “You are not acting like yourself”

Doubly shocked, since everyone that truly knows me has experienced, also with occasional rolling eyes, my unwavering ridiculousness and love of laughter, I reply in complete confusion now… “What?! When am I not like this??”

There in the darkness of the back seat I, now in hindsight, envision a slow smirk as the 10 year old sets up for delivery. Without even a chance to brace myself, the blow crushes the jaw of my pride with no warning … “Anytime after 8PM”

With my dignity out cold, mom-joy steps in to shake the hand of the crafty opponent.

Well-played, boy. Well-played.

Don’t Mind the Mess

Daunting is the task of effectively expressing a budding idea that’s dying to burst forth. I’m not just talking any idea, but one from my brain in particular. Carefully mixing the perfect combination of letters together by trial and error to form a palatable concoction. One that can be digested easily by the average joe … Or at least those with a craving for the less serious side of life. As the chemist in this equation, I recommend you safely wash down whatever concoction I throw together with a tall glass of soothing milk.

Hmmm…on second thought, a potent wine could act as a viable agent in lubricating the mind’s message cables, assisting in a clearer translation coming through.

Here’s the mole hill which I am tasked to scale the face of. My brain is a hoarder. Yep, just like those people that have religiously kept every single edition of their local newspaper for the past 50 years… Including the coupons, cuz …. You just never know, right?! Minute details of the most mundane trivia, every last shred of fact or fiction I’ve absorbed amongst it. Pictures! Pictures of everything I’ve ever seen! (those are getting awfully faded I must admit)

While all this hoarded information could potentially make me a super genius, I’ve tragically failed to adopt an efficient and logical filing system. In all honesty, Mr. Dewey Decimal would roll over in his grave. Overstuffed tattered boxes, teetering paper piles, a sweet memory of a first grade teacher stuck to the back of an old job interview.

You know when your mom would walk into a room and say “It looks like a tornado ripped through here!”. Well, that ravaged room has the precise organization of an operating room in comparison to my chaos. 33 years of accumulated disaster is the heap I rummage through during an exam! How I ever find anything in here is an enigma. Though, now that I ponder it, superpower springs to mind.

Aside from a shrink ray to fit me for the job of climbing inside my own head and sorting tidbits one by one, writing seems to, at the very least, provide a makeshift organizational solution for a fraction of the new incoming intel. Perhaps not yet a Pinterest-worthy solution, but hey, baby steps.

Now that we’ve given the extent of clutter a nod, inviting innocent bystanders to sip from the concoction cup takes on a far more terrifying form. Actually sharing what I write is much like taking a perfect stranger by the hand and leading them into the great halls of this crammed illogical brain. For safety purposes, average joe access must be permitted to the hallways only.The dime tour won’t get you into the vault of chaos, and, unfortunately for me, having company in here means I’ve agreed to venture in, brave the clutter and dig something decent out of there with which to entertain my guests. Where is that hard hat??

It may be in my best interest to fine print my welcome mat with “caveat lector” …

Latin for “I will not be held responsible for the level of ludicrous you peg me at based on what you read”

So come on in!

The Real Birthday

The churning cogs in my son’s mind are clearly powered by his heart, it gets me every time.

Two more sleeps until his birthday, plans well underway for a bowling party with four super cool school friends that afternoon. Each day this week has been rung in with the announcement of the current countdown to B-day, this morning was no different except for it’s tag-along “huh?” moment. His eyes, inquisitive, look up at me… “Mom, when is my real birthday? Is it before or after?”
Huh?..Slightly confused at the question since I know he knows the party is on his actual birth date, I do a little research before I answer .. “Do you mean the time that you were born?”

“No, mom, my real birthday?!… when is it?”

Now I am officially lost, not that this is uncommon in any hour preceding 7 am (ok, let’s be honest, 10 am),… but again I ask “ like you mean the actual time?? You were born at 10:45 am.”

“Mom, I mean my real birthday, with the family. When is it?”

Warm fuzzy “aaaawwww” love washes over me with the dawning realization of the meaning behind this serious inquiry. His “real birthday”, a true celebration, what holds value above all else in his heart… time with family. While he’s excited about hanging out with good friends, his real birthday is a party surrounded by aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents, all that can come … the more, the merrier… his new year can only truly begin with this.

You know, kid… I think you’re gonna make it just fine in the big world.

Did You Just Get Humble Pie on My Game Face??

I don’t always bowl like a rockstar, but when I do I’m the boss’ wife.
I hate to flog a dead horse with an overused catchphrase, but I just really like that Dos Equis guy. The suave and debonair ambiance in his facial hair alone has me nearly convinced to embrace my future bearded heritage as a Mennonite woman. But, alas, back to being the boss’ wife. Clean shaven, to be clear.

It’s a night on the town. A planned work outing for hubby, his hilarious manager partner, and their direct reports… to up the ante, add the better halves into the mix. So I brush off the rarely used, boss’ wife hat, still in pristine condition, and place it, ever so daintily, atop my excited little head. (Yea, I need to get out more)

With the kidlets squared away, it’s off to the big ole city. Not unlike any other cultured, sophisticated woman of high society, I pass the time on the car ride as a secret agent snapping covert couple selfies. I got this. Dinner is a success as I have the group lulled into a false sense of “she’s normal” as I play out my demure persona… well, mostly.

Next is bowling. Innocent enough right? Hmmm..

With the gang divvied up into 3 teams, lanes side by side ready to compete, who struts in to crash this party?

My game face.

I can’t help it, there is not a hat in my closet that can cover it. I like to win. I’m competitive… and I’m not even that good at stuff!

Demure slinks off into the corner to sulk while Scrappy takes over. *deep breath* …Play it cool, boss’ wife. A vision is painted into my thought bubble…“Hey, there’s the manager who’s wife broke her leg at that work bowling night when lunging over ball returns to showboat in the opponent’s lane… completely sober.” Nobody wants to be that guy. Whispers of this nature could besmirch his good works.

Behold…my saving grace. The cheer couple! What soul can outdo the competitive spirit of a couple comprised of two lively award-winning cheerleaders? None, I say. Naturally, fate would have us on the same team. My dramatic one-knee down/fist pump combo after each strike blends in quite nicely. I’m on fire! Throwing caution to the wind, absurd quantities of high fives and guttural war cries of “Xeeeenaaaa!” became the norm. Not only was team “Hyperactive” beating the other 2 lanes, little miss boss’ wife was bending it like Beckham, only with a bowling ball. Locked in my highest score ever, and yet somehow, did not fall over the foul line due to the imbalance caused by my swelling ego. (ok, there was that once, but I played it off as though I tripped on my slightly too long jeans).

Here we are, the last game of the night. A round of Bingo bowling, 3 teams racing against the clock and each other to clear the screen of the points shown in each Bingo square. The atmosphere electric, Arctic Monkeys rocking through the speakers, adrenaline dripping all over everything, no one is sitting between turns anymore. It’s close. The aggressive cheer kids are a force to be reckoned with and we are clearing off points turn after turn. Hubby, aka, the boss, aka, Professor X, displayed some stunning sniper skills to pick off 3 pins, one by one, to get the very difficult 11. Down to one last square on the Bingo card, a “C”. (it’s ok, i haven’t read bowling for dummies either… the experts informed us it’s the center pin and 2 left pins or 2 right pins in one throw). To get those 3 pins down requires a tricky curve ball. Multiple failed attempts at the “C”, Time is ticking and the competition is hot on our heels.

My turn.

Time to shine. My ego really wants to bring home the imaginary trophy with the most exquisite curve ball in the history of spouse colleague glo-bowling. I ceremoniously select the one odd-colored ball from the return and get into position. Stepping forward, ball reaches back to the top of the arm swing… harmonious fluid momentum brings it to the optimum release point, rolling slightly off my crooked pinky to add the spin that produces that perfect curve. I bowl maybe once a year, so I have no idea what I’m talking about… but this is what I felt like in my head. Down on one knee, I’m mesmerized by the eternity it took the ball to roll down the lane. The triumphant climax playing out before my eyes just as it happened in my mind. The 3 pins… perfectly in line with their impending doom.

Wait?! WHAT?? Why is the pin sweepy thing coming down??! My champion ball takes down the 3 pins micro seconds before they are swept away.

Confusion. crumbling victory. My imaginary trophy being melted down to make teeth caps. I don’t understand. I turn and find an ashen-faced Professor X at the helm of the button table. “I accidentally hit the reset button when the ball was halfway down the lane!” Less than 60 seconds left on the clock and my “C” doesn’t count!

I swallow my pride, brushing off crumbs of humble pie, and do NOT throw a tantrum on the lane in front of 18 of my hubby’s work friends. I CAN be a big girl with a less inflated head and say “that’s ok”. I don’t have to be the hero. I don’t even have room on my mantle for that trophy. I don’t even have a mantle.

Our time runs out, the gang heads out with cheers and thanks for a great evening. My boss’ wife hat is still intact. Looks like a success, Professor… just remember, I see the whipped cream on your hands.

My Soapbox Opera featuring “Debates”

Humor me as I climb up here on this rickety old over-used soapbox… And in heels, no less. The fading stability of the aged timber is far too often called upon by those that exceed the weight capacity due to burdens needlessly carried on their own, like martyrs. I’ll try not to bring too much up here with me for fear of the creaks and groans of the grumbling platform turning into painful shrieks as I become the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. So now, with visions of my gangly alien limbs flailing from the midst of a pile of wooden wreckage, I cautiously, yet with an air of mischief, step on up.

Tap, tap… Is this thing on??

Ahem …
Ok, I understand that people have a desire to be heard, we all have a voice, speak your mind… Etc, etc. It is increasingly clear that social media sets a welcome stage for all that have a passionate, or even tepid, view on something … Anything really. From vaccines to felines to… *shudders*…Justin Bieber. Or, perhaps, immunizing cats to protect them from Bieber Fever? Don’t roll your eyes, this could be a real thing. I digress.
That said, go forth! Be passionate, people. Share, learn, teach. I’m all for pouring out what drives you, and even heated debate can be a healthy process that serves to enlighten and fuel progress. The knowledge that can be gained in the sharing of what we believe is without limit. And hey, wrap it in some clever wit and I, for one, will be a captive audience.

BUT…

The desire to literally claw my eyeballs out and jam them into my ears overwhelms me at the sight or sound of parties of differing opinions throwing all dignity aside and resorting to petty name calling and idle threats… Like are we for reals right now?! If one feels compelled to tear a complete stranger a “new one” because they dress their cat in a sweater vest, they may be doing life wrong. This, of course, only being my opinion.

At this point in my perusing through the scads of ridiculous comments making up such a so-called “debate”, I assure you, “debaters”, I have no clue what the original argument is. You lost me at “tryn’a get this thru thare blankity-blank thick skull”. I’m now choking on the eyeballs that have rolled down my ear canals into my throat, tears of laughter running from empty sockets. The grammar becomes atrocious! There… their… They’re… Thare?? And did I miss the announcement inducting “tryn’a” into the list of legit contractions?

Any valid and honorable fact that may have been previously put forth has now been sullied, lost under a cloak of ugly words.

Consider this comparison:
It’s like wanting someone who is on a diet to try a piece of your delicious cake, but, when they decline, embracing the mindset that icing it in layers and layers of poo will somehow instill them with the desire to take a bite?!

Know what? They can keep thare cake and eat it, too.

Put a Sock in it

Little worse exists than the weekend’s end. That guttural “Mommy, I don’t wanna go to school tomorrow” groan … Only now my mommy lives 300 miles away (which would not spare me from a non-sympathetic “quit your whining” … good parenting doesn’t adhere to the boundaries of time and space) and my “school” now has way longer hours and, gosh darnit, no recess! So I wearily crawl into bed, much later than a sane responsible grown-up would due to a recent discovery of Merlin on Netflix, and pray for miraculously rejuvenating rest before my enemy called Morning sounds it’s battle cry at 6:00am.

But then, on rare occasion such as last night, my own brain decides to add salt to the wound of the weekend’s end by ensuring that sleep eludes me. It fires out nonsensical thoughts and questions like an incessantly chattering 3 year old.

What am I gonna wear to work?
I shouldn’t have had 3 … ok, 4 cinnamon buns.
Who is Merlin’s dad?
Gotta study for Tuesday’s quiz… tomorrow.
…. and on it goes (I obviously left out my really deep thoughts and earth shattering ideas for security reasons)

I lay there trapped inside my mind’s word tornado, the “me” standing in the middle of the chaos, reaching out to grasp onto the tail of at least one random thought as it flies past… Maybe if I can control just one of these runaways, it will calm the storm, since it seems that mentally repeating “please sleep, please sleep” has turned out to be a really weak offensive tactic.

As I ponder new strategies to quiet my oppressor, a side scene begins to take shape… in the little thought bubble above my head lies a snorer, the ultimate sleep thief, played by my brain. Drool crusted mouth falls open, emitting a rhythmic grating, like a dirtbike on the pillow next to you … kickstart, braaaaaaaap… kill switch… kickstart, braaaaaaaap… kill switch. Bloodshot eyes twitching, teeth grinding, the victim, played by a sleep-deprived me, plots a silencing. Quite handily, from the nearby drawer of my imagination, I pull out a super smelly sock and a roll of duct tape… oh, how inviting that open mouth looks now…mwwahahaha! With ninja-like agility, the sock is introduced to the dried out cave of Brain’s mouth as I guarantee the sock’s extended stay by generously applying the duct tape… not in strips.. no,no.. one continuous mummification of the entire head. Ha! Chew on that, Brain!!

Aaaaah…Sleep in heavenly peace.

editor’s note: in light of a freak oxygen deprivation accident, please forgive the author’s scatterbrainedness