Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I must preface this post by saying - I love my daughter and I am NOT AFRAID OF HER.
The other night I was sitting at my computer in the middle of the night, typing clickety-clack, clickety-clack and chortling to myself, when I felt this PRESENCE.
I looked to my left and the girl from The Ring was standing RIGHT THERE, two inches from my face and I screamed in terror. Except, OOPSIE, it was actually my six year old.
(See, she’s really pale, with long dark hair, and when she’s had a nightmare, she has crazy eyes. So you see how it could happen... Right? Um... Right? Hello? Is this thing on?)
For years I’ve worried about what kinds of things my children will say about me in therapy as adults, and I think for Sarah, it will probably stem from that moment, when I scared the living daylights out of her.
She cried, and I felt like a monster, and slapped myself several times because GET IT TOGETHER WOMAN, she’s your darling, tender hearted, sweet, kind, brilliant daughter. And then I took her back to bed and stayed with her until she fell asleep.
But then. BUT THEN.
Last night, there I was in my bed, innocently sleeping and minding my own business, when again, I felt this PRESENCE. I woke up and looked to my left, and sweet mother of a badger, there she was again, staring at me with the crazy eyes.
“I had a bad dream,” she whispered, in a creepy zombie voice. (Or possibly it was just a scared six year old voice. My imagination - now and then it tends to run up and down the hall, waving its arms and screaming in terror.)
I bit back my screams, held out my arms and she crawled into bed with me. I spooned her and patted her back while she told me about her dream about a poisonous snake in the house.
“How long were you standing there?” I whispered.
“A long, long, long time, mommy,” she whispered back.
“Why didn’t you wake me up?”
She turned around and looked at me serenely and yet still with the crazy eyes, then said, “I was trying to wake you up with my MIND.”
Um. Ahem. Well. I see.
You know, I love my child, but from 1AM until approximately 3AM (the premium creepy hours), I think I might be just a leeettle bit afraid of her.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I think my vacuum just died. It's sort of a relic - a Hoover Wind Tunnel circa 1996. Oh man, I'll bet some of you were (give me strength) eight years old when I bought that vacuum. (That is just - not right. Don't tell me if you were eight years old, o.k.? Because then I'll have to start with the moaning and the "woe is me, I'm so old, death is soon upon me" garbage.)
So. Recently it started making a really nasty burning smell when I run it, and it doesn't seem to realize that the mission of a vacuum is to suck up stuff off of the carpet. I've checked out all of the obvious things, and nothing seems to help. I don't think it's really doing ANYTHING at this point, other than gathering up the courage to explode.
Now see, here is where I wish my blog was bigger. As I pointed out to Amy yesterday in the comments of her Valspar post, there is no use in having a (sort-of, kind of, maybe-at-some-point-in-the-future) popular blog if companies don't feel compelled to send you free crap. That is actually my whole goal in life right now - to eventually become Shannon from Rocks in My Dryer.
(If I ever were to reach that particular pinnacle, I would regularly hold contests where I "gave stuff away" that companies sent to me, except I think I would actually KEEP all the stuff and just pretend to give it away. Or demand that the companies send me two of everything. And then keep both of them and give the extras away for Christmas.) (Possibly this is why companies don't send me anything.)
So, back to the vacuum. This is the part where the fine folks at Dyson, or Hoover, or - I don't know, even what I've read is the vacuum company of the devil, Kirby, (good gravy, I never knew there was so much inter-brand vacuum drama - it's like Coke vs. Pepsi all over again), should really just dive in and send me a free vacuum. It just makes good business sense.
So here is what I propose: Whichever company offers to send me a vacuum first, then - THEY ARE THE WINNER. So it's like - if you send me a vacuum, you get bragging rights. Because you won. Something. Kind of.
I mean, I can see how it could get out of hand. Give one blogger a vacuum, and soon, all the mommy bloggers are lining up for their free vacuum too. But I have a solution to that problem. Just give ME the free vacuum, and not anyone else. (See how easy that is?)
So Dyson (or Hoover) (or the company which shall not again be named) I am sure you CANNOT WAIT to participate in this fine opportunity. I will just sit here and wait to be contacted.
I'm sure it will be anyday now.
(There's a lot of crap on my carpet.)
P.S. Um, also - Lexus? I once read about how some car company let some blogger borrow a car for a year. If you would like to get in on some of that action, I am totally here for you. And I would promise to write happy little Lexus oriented posts every day for, oh, at least a week. After that, no guarantees because I would probably get distracted by something shiny. So hey, Lexus - CALL ME. XOXO
P.P. S. Oh, lovely readers - I am sure many of you are sitting there thinking - oh, man, I wish I could do something to help Sue in her quest for free stuff. Because it's not like any of you have LIVES or anything. In fact, I'm guessing that what you each really want to do with your precious free time right now is help me get a free vacuum.
Well, TODAY IS YOUR LUCKY DAY because there is something you can do to help. What you can do is just link to my post from your blog, and there will be such a tidal wave of linkage to my blog that it will rise up above all of the other blogs, and the other pleas for free stuff, and Dyson (or Hoover) will be overwhelmed by the mightyness of my blog and they will have to SUBMIT TO MY WILL. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.
Anyone up for it? Anyone? Oh.
No? Not really?
FINE. BE THAT WAY.
P.P.P.S. Is there anyone you would shill for in exchange for free stuff?
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Pretty much the only thing I came up with for today, specifically, was that nobody was attacked by rabid flying monkeys.
(It wasn't really a very inspiring list.)
After that, I made a list of things I could do to improve our situation:
- Find friends for my children
- Finish getting things organized
- Get them involved in activities to keep them busy and happy
- Binge a lot
Oh, I know it may not sound like it, but I really am trying so hard to hold it together. I'm trying to stay positive and trying to encourage them to "bloom where they're planted" as the cliche goes. I know this is a nice neighborhood, with perfectly nice people. I know we can be happy here. I'm not sure how or when, but I know it's possible.
In Relief Society (a church class for women) all of the women were friendly and kind - in the way that you're friendly and kind to new people before you go sit with your real friends. To be fair, I sat down by myself in the middle of the back row and didn't make an effort to talk to anyone around me. I'm not particularly shy, and normally I would have tried to reach out a little, but I was feeling beaten down by life and self-indulgently sorry for myself, so I sat there and pouted instead.
A playgroup sign-up list went around the room and I signed it, my hands clammy with anxiety. A PLAYGROUP. This might solve at least twelve of my problems. I had a million questions for the woman sitting in front of me (WHERE? WHEN? HOW SOON? TOMORROW? TONIGHT? WHEN?!!), but she didn't have any answers. (And possibly I scared her a little with my inappropriate intensity about the topic.)
If the playgroup doesn't pan out, I do have an emergency back-up plan. At church they handed out a list of women in the neighborhood complete with pictures and email addresses and I think I'm just going to make a complete freak of myself by emailing everyone in the ward. (Sometimes having no shame or sense of social decorum is a net positive.)
I even resorted to blog-stalking (after my sister-in-law spilled the blog addresses for a few of the women), leaving messages like, "Um, Hi, I live in your neighborhood, and I'm not weird or anything, but I just wanted to say Hi! P.S. I see from your blog that you have children. Would they like to come over this afternoon?" Oddly, they haven't responded. Apparently, contacting complete strangers on their blogs and inviting their children over to play is frowned upon in some circles.
The truth is, I'm not in the mood to start over - to gradually meet people, to eventually become friends with them, to even more eventually become very good friends with some of them. The thought of it (of having to wade through the small talk and artifice before we can get to know each other; of the whole back and forth and trial and error of developing new friendships) exhausts me. My heart is not in it. I know there are lots of wonderful, interesting people in our new neighborhood, and that in a year or so, I won't be able to imagine not knowing them. I know that.
Right now though? I just want my OLD friends back - people who know me and like me anyway. I miss my neighbors - who don't sprint for the garage as soon as they emerge from their cars. I miss being able to look out the back door and see a crowd of kids for my children to play with. I want my old neighborhood back - with trees and grass and open spaces. I want a fairy to descend from the sky, hand me a million dollars and make everything better. That's what I want.
(Closes eyes, makes wish:) Make it so.
(Opens eyes, looks around)
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Recently, I have had some people* accuse me of never talking about anything important. Why use your blog to discuss so many shallow things, when you could be using it as a FORUM, they ask me. A FORUM for discussing Important Issues. (To which I respond - um, have you read my blog? Ever?)
But I do not want to be accused of never tackling the hard issues, so today, I will attempt to answer an age-old question - one that children and teenagers and certain very immature adults have tried to answer for many tens of years: "What's grosser than gross?"
(I mean - sure - we could talk about world peace, but I think that's sort of been done to death, don't you?)
So please keep in mind - when I tell you this story, I'm doing it FOR THE WORLD.
The other day I gave myself a pedicure. I always have to give myself a pre-pedicure pedicure, to sort of - take the initial winter crust off, so to speak. No way am I going to just - show up at the nail salon with my feet in their natural condition. (The horror.) They give me enough crap as it is, what with the clucking and the whispering and the aggrieved expressions.
On the bright side, the house we are renting has soft water and it's done wonders for my skin and my feet, making them no longer impervious to the effects of the foot razor callous thingie. (I think that's it's official name.) (I LOVE those things. There is something hypnotic about watching the skin peel off. It's like pulling off rubber cement you've let dry on your hand, or peeling off sunburned skin.) (Hmmmm. That last one - that's actually kind of gross. Gross, but nevertheless fascinating and addictive.)
So anyway, I was sitting there using the foot razor callous thingie to unveil the new skin underneath (like opening a present that's been wrapped in REALLY disgusting paper) and flicking the dead skin off onto a towel. My son chose that precise moment to fall or walk into a wall or something (I can't remember what happened exactly), and when I heard him crying I had to very quickly abandon my repulsive little project. As I got up, I accidentally dislodged the towel and dead skin went flying all over the bathroom floor. I groaned, but went to check on Carter.
After ensuring all of his limbs were still firmly attached, I came back into the bathroom.
My dog was there.
And he was LICKING the dead skin off of the floor and eating it.
I think I dry heaved for ten minutes.
(My floor is really clean though.)
(Top that.) (Er, but only top it if it's rated PG.) (Think of the CHILDREN.)
* Fictional people
Thursday, April 10, 2008
(DISCLAIMER: It is possible that back when these conversations took place, they involved more swearing. And possibly they involved throwing newspaper at each other. And then again with the swearing.)
(BONUS DISCLAIMER: That is, unless you are reading this and you are a) my mother, b) my next door neighbor, or c) someone I know from church. Because if you are one of those groups of people, you know that I NEVER SWEAR.)
Packing, Day One:
"Hon, come take a look at this."
I show him my box. "My system. I think it's gonna help us stay organized when we move into the new house."
He looks at me skeptically. "I don't think we need a system."
"But this is a good one. Let me explain it to you. See, first I write the name of the room it goes in, and then I write what's in the box."
He snorts. "That's not a system. That's just - writing down what's in the box."
I stare at him. "Well, I write it on every side of the box. And I write the name of the room it goes in."
"Still not a system."
"It's sort of a system."
"It's not a system."
"O.k. But it's a dumb system."
I throw something at him.
Packing, Day Three:
My husband points to a box. "What's this? There's nothing written on it."
I grab my marker and label it. "Happy now?"
Packing, Day Five:
"We forgot to pack the underwear that was sitting in the dryer."
"We're out of boxes. Toss it."
"The kids kind of need underwear."
"FINE." I grab a garbage bag and hand it to him, mumbling under my breath. "Do we have to take EVERYTHING?"
"That's sort of the idea behind moving." He looks at the bag. "How are we gonna know which bag is which?"
I shoot him an incredulous look. "We AREN'T. Does it MATTER? What are you - the labeling police?"
He backs out of the room slowly.
Packing, Day Seven:
My husband wanders into the room. "Where's the tape?
"We're out of tape."
"Where are the markers?"
"Awww... It's so cute that you think I might know."
"So I'm gathering the system is --"
"It wasn't really a system."
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
When I was little I would lock myself in the bathroom, climb up on the sink and sit there staring at my reflection for a long time. Part of the time I was trying to decide whether or not I was cute enough to be on TV. I thought (with all of the self centered vanity of a six year old) that overall I was pretty darn cute, with big eyes and blonde hair, but I was not quite sure about my nose, which was not buttonish, perky, or upturned. Was it a TV quality nose? I wasn’t sure.
It was important for me to figure it out, because more than anything, I wanted to take over Holly Marshall’s role on Land of the Lost. I thought she was awful and stilted, and I just knew that if the people in charge got a look at me in action, I would be in, and she would be out. No question. After all, I was an excellent actress. I knew this because I was able to tell adults absolute whoppers without ever getting caught. Still, I would practice making faces in the mirror, trying out different emotions and examining my face for believability.
I would start looking in those mirrors and I would become transfixed. Not by my face, but by the reflection of the reflection. The reflections would double in on themselves until they almost didn’t look like me. The girl I saw off in the distance looked different, prettier, richer – luckier. But when I closed the mirror she disappeared.
I was sure the mirror girl really existed. I was sure that when I closed the medicine cabinet she was off in her parallel universe, one with a pink canopy bed, voice lessons and a starring role on Broadway in Annie. Sometimes I would press my head to the mirror and I would think, if I hold my head here long enough, I will get through the mirror and I will be in her world.
It became a game – inventing little tests for myself. If I completed the test and wished as hard as I could, I would get through. If I stay submerged in the tub for twenty seconds without hearing any noise… If I can make my way around the house without touching the ground... If I can walk through the whole house while looking down into a mirror so that it looks as though I’m walking on the ceiling… But inevitably in the middle of one of my tests someone would call my name, or make noise, or ask me what I was doing and it would be ruined, all ruined. It was like that old movie, Somewhere in Time, where Christopher Reeve travels back into the past through sheer force of will, but gets called back to the present and torn away from his true love when he catches a glimpse of a present day penny. For me every stray voice was a penny, bringing me back to the reality of what I felt was a very ordinary, non-shiny life.
After a while, the mirrors lost their allure. As a teenager I felt awkward and ugly and had no desire to look at myself from multiple angles. When I did catch a glimpse of the girl in the mirror, she seemed to be going through just as awkward a time of it as I was. Still, sometimes, on very bad days, I would lean against the mirror and wish for something different, something shinier.
Even now, when I’m stressed, I will go into the bathroom, close my eyes and rest my head on the coolness of the mirror, and until recently, I’d completely forgotten why. (Isn’t it funny how certain actions can be comforting long after we’ve forgotten why they were comforting in the first place?)
This week I'll be at the old house in Utah, wrapping things up and giving it a final scrubbing. If you happen to see me out in the backyard, trying to do three cartwheels and then a somersault, all in a perfect line, or trying to make it all the way around the yard without touching the ground, rest assured that I haven't lost my mind completely, I'm just - wishing a little.
Monday, April 07, 2008
We packed up our moving truck on Thursday night, drove to Las Vegas on Friday, and moved in on Saturday morning. I was relieved to see that the house (which I'd never seen in person) is really very nice. The dining room is carpeted, which perplexes me more than a little, but the kitchen is pretty amazing - full of appliances I have no earthly idea how to use. I'm not sure what to do with a convection microwave or a trivection oven. I don't even know what trivection means. I only know that I'm fairly certain that at some point, something will explode in there.
The kids are a little painfully tender right now. They keep crying over little things - little things that are really all about the same thing when you get right down to it. Carter cried tonight because he was nervous in his new room, and when I sat down next to him he told me he just wanted his old room back, and his old house, and his old toilet. Abby cried because we didn't have time today to go see her new baby cousin, who has the same name as her pre-school friend, a friend she "will never see again, never never never."
But then tonight after dinner my husband puttered around with a screwdriver, I organized stuff, Abby drew, Carter stripped down to his underwear and Sarah practiced the piano.
It was normal. It was good. It was almost boring.
I'm feeling hopeful. Cross your fingers for us.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
"Hey Sue, where's the trash?"
"Right here - Oh. Um. That's my strainer."
"But it's all smashed and broken and --"
"Yeah. Well it still works pretty well."
"Oh. I see."
"Uh.... What about this - melted old spoon?"
"Oh. Well. We still like to use that sometimes."
Awesome friend smiles awkwardly as she tries to figure out what is trash and what is actual stuff.
So, friends - NO NEED TO STOP BY TO HELP. EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL.
JUST IGNORE ANY HOWLING NOISES.
IT'S PROBABLY JUST THE DOG.
P.S. When I find my camera I will have to post a whole series of mushiness about leaving, and my wonderful friends, and the kids, and the whole - moving THING. (I know, you are biting your fingernails in anticipation, aren't you? I can tell.)