Monday, November 22, 2010

And The Winner Is....

Yes! I picked a winner this morning using the random number generator at The chances of winning this thing were pretty good, seeing as how I only had 12 people enter! Awesome for you all! I didn't break my goal of 22 (and that was a pretty mediocre goal if you ask me) but I did get to meet some new people here on Musings, and for that I'm grateful.

So the winner was Jen McCarthy! If you live here on the East Coast, beware of a blonde woman with caffeine in her eyes on Black Friday morning. This is the same woman who husband signed her up to bring napkins to her son's Halloween party. You know what lengths she went to finding the PERFECT napkins, so I'm sure she's downright hell-on-wheels when shopping for Christmas. Congratulations Jen!

And thanks to all of you who decided to follow me. I hope you don't "unfollow" me now that you haven't won. I'll post a longer blog later, but until then, read my latest recap of last year's Thanksgiving travels on Good Enough Mother. If you've ever driven a four ton minivan loaded with three children and crap for any length of time, I know you'll be able to relate.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My First Give Away!

Yeah I know. I don't do give aways at all really. They're just not my thing. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE reading blogs that give away cool stuff, or let you know about cool stuff, like my most favorite one Fun Finds For Mom. That really is a great website to read about fun stuff to do with your kids, or the latest and greatest in non-plastic-non-toxic-earth-friendly-lunch containers (among many other things of course).

And while I don't do this very often, I figured right before Thanksgiving would be a great time to give away a $25.00 gift card to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts (you pick) so that come Black Friday you will be sufficiently caffeinated-up to stand in line at 3:30 a.m. to purchase toys you won't even get to take credit for. I hate Santa for that. But I digress.

What do you have to do to enter this fabulous drawing? Well, dear readers, you must subscribe to me. You know that silly little half rainbow looking thing over there in the right-hand sidebar? The one that says, "Never Miss a Post?" Yeah, that one. Click on that and subscribe to my blog, which means you will become: A Follower. Not in a creepy,  Jonestown or Branch Dividian kind of way, but a follower of my mediocre musings. Right now I only have 13 of them. But I would like to give a shout out to the bold people that they are for being ahead of the curve and being a fan before there was even a prize!! However, they're getting lonely and need friends. Hell, I need friends. And honestly, I need a little motivation to blog more frequently than I have been. You subscribe to my blog which allows you to laugh till you pee, and I get to count my followers in the sidebar. It's win-win.

So, bring it on! You have until Sunday the 21st at midnight to subscribe to my blog. Then, please leave a comment below with your name and email. I'll pick a winner (from an online randomization tool) Monday morning and ship off the gift card just in time for the Black Friday Morning!

Tell your friends! All are welcome! Let's see if I can crack 20 followers! No, make it 22!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Life Lesson Cont’d

This past weekend was one of the few weekends in November (or December) that didn’t have tiny writing in the calendar boxes, meaning my husband and I had two full days to do what we damn well pleased. You know, yard work, chores, laundry, and grocery shopping were able to be completed totally unencumbered by sports games, karate, sleepovers, or birthday parties. Which turned out to be a really good thing since the vast amount of our energy, patience, and emotions were sucked dry simply by trying to deal with our son, who has officially morphed into a sad-morose-glass-always-empty-pre-teen.

Since his birth we knew it was coming.

For those who need to catch up a little bit, I guest blogged on the website Good Enough Mother yesterday, about our son’s impending report card status and what is going to happen when he brings home any grade below a “B.” Which I’m praying will happen because if he manages to eeeekkkk his way into all “Bs” it means one thing: that he’ll never change. He’ll think he can half-ass his way right into college with the same amount of effort he gives to picking up his room and folding his clothes into tight, neat piles. I’m sure you can imagine what that looks like.

Last week he mistakenly thought report cards would come home on Friday, but no, it’s actually Monday. Which meant of course, he had one more weekend of video games, TV, and computer, or to be more precise, three more days to breathe easily before he started flopping around, gasping for air like a fish out of water because he has lost technology. Which he tried to work to his advantage.

Every request this past weekend started with: “Since I’m going to lose video games next week, can I…” or “This is the last weekend I have to watch TV, so can I…” which we went ahead and let him do. We’re not as cruel as he makes us sound. We’re happy to give the kid on death-row a few tasty meals of his choosing. He stayed up late Friday night watching a movie. He spent the night at a friend’s house on Saturday, his last tribute to Halo and bonding with his buddy. Sunday morning came, and he was a tired, moody, mess, and angry I called him home from his sleep over so he could attend Sunday morning mass. Apparently the I-need-to-be-thankful-perspective is a few years off.

Sunday was choppy for us all, and I asked him, “Do you have any homework you need to complete today?” He wasn’t sure. He thought he might have a little.
“Don’t you have quite a few tests coming up this week?” I ask. Maybe he does. He thinks so. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the study guides he needs to study effectively. Besides, he tells me, he can always study Monday night.

At which point I send him off to his room to bring me his backpack and folder, while I walked to the nearest wall and banged my head against it a couple times in a repetitive why me motion. Dealing with my son and his homework habits is a little like picking up a drunk relative from the police station after being arrested for a DUI, only to have that relative ask you to stop at the liquor store on the way home so he can buy more beer. And I’m thinking in alcoholic metaphors these days because dealing with a pre-teen has increased my desire to throw a few back. At the end of this year there’s a good chance I’ll have sclerosis of the liver.

My son brings me his backpack, and I proceed to rifle through it just to make sure he was indeed telling me the truth. That he had no homework. That he was all caught up, almost. That the life lesson he was currently swimming through had pushed his little head out of the water long enough for him to gain perspective of the shore. Surely, SURELY, someone who was going to lose four and a half weeks of technology (anything with a cord for heaven’s sake) would MAKE SURE their assignments were completed, wouldn’t they? Faced with the thought of being holed up in our house with only his books and model rockets to keep him company, wouldn’t that encourage him to make SURE he started the new grading period off with completed assignments and good grades?

Do you see where this is going?

I found the weekly letter in his backpack. The one I’m supposed to read on Thursday when it comes home and not on Sunday, three days later. But I’m mediocre and didn’t ask him for his folder on Thursday—or all weekend for that matter—because I decided to be selfish and organize my daughter’s closet and wash the outside of the windows with the 10-foot stepladder.

In this little note home, I discover that my son has a one and a half page essay due on Monday. That he has a graphic organizer “to help with the assignment” and to “please ask your child about this.” So, per teacher’s instructions I say, “Son? What is this about an essay due tomorrow?”

“A what?” he asks. “An essay?”
“Yes,” I reply. “An essay. And you have some type of graphic organizer to help you? Where is that?”
“An essay?” he keeps repeating, like I’m suddenly speaking in tongues and he can’t quite make out what I mean, but maybe if he looks all confused and mopey it will buy him some time to come up with another feeble excuse. He rifles through his backpack and drags out a piece of crumpled paper, a notebook with about seven sentences written down, and he says to me, “You mean, my personal narrative?”

At which point I grabbed the edges of my stained couch and prayed, Lord, please help me not kill my son who is deciding to take this moment to dicker with me over the semantics of his assignment. Is he seriously getting into a pissing contest with me over lexicon? Jesus, hold me back.

“Yes.” I reply, sociopathically. “Your personal narrative. When is it due?”
“I don’t know,” he tells me.
“It says here it is due tomorrow. How much do you have written?”
He holds up his notebook and shows me his 1/8 of a page of chicken scratch and I reply, “Well. Looks like you have a busy day.”

The best part of this emotion-suck-lesson however, was when our son’s best friends pulled into the driveway in their van, hoping to take our son back to their house to hang out and have dinner. His rant suddenly stopped, his smile returned, and he looked at me with hopeful, doe-y eyes. Surely, not even I would say no to this outing! There they were in our driveway, just waiting for him, and it would be rude to say no! But I declined on behalf of my son, thanked them for being salt in his wound, and sent them on their way. Our boy needed to finish his essay. And while it would have been so much easier to let him go play—while the thought of not having to deal with his passive-aggressive harumpfs and deep sighs would have made my day easier, I thought about that cold beer in the fridge, and I held my ground.

He managed to finish writing his assignment, and his father and I forced him to type it up, even though he swore up and down that only the rough draft was due Monday and not the final draft. He was worried he’d get in trouble by completing so much of it ahead of time. I assured him, I would be happy to write a note apologizing to his teacher that he went above and beyond and that his father and I forced him to do it. Blame us for having expectations for our son’s behavior, we can take it. He’s just our minion.

Incredibly, he eeeekkkkked out his assignment at the eleventh hour once again. It took about that long too. There was a lot of crying and nose blowing and used tissue on the floor. And although he told me he was “finished” about five times (each time asking if he could now go be with his friends),we kindly pointed out the other things he needed to complete: picking up his room, studying for his test, working on his math, and doing a final proofing and edit of his essay. Excuse me, personal narrative.

He’s my first child, my only son, and I had no brother’s growing up. I get that I’m new to this adolescent game, especially when it comes to dealing with boys. I naively thought the report card status would be enough to change his behavior in one swift motion. Looks like it’s going to be more of a year-long process. Me, my husband, and my bottle of Merlot are ready for the challenge.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Blast from the Past

I’m not sure why I’m feeling so nostalgic this evening—what exactly is motivating me to be writing this at 11:24 p.m. instead of being in bed, beneath my feather tic, listening to the rain drum on my cheap ass single pane windows. I watched my three favorite shows tonight; my old Sunday night ritual. The first time I’ve watched them all since their premiers this fall. Seems like every Sunday night the past two months has been filled with something.

I can’t blame it on my birthday, having been almost a month ago, or the fact that my 20th high school reunion was on Halloween weekend. I didn’t attend, instead figuring I’d start saving for the many plane tickets we may have to purchase in the next year to bury loved ones. Hopefully not. But you never know.

I can’t even say that it’s the rain, although rain has always made me pensive—made me want to light candles and sip hot beverages in thick mugs while ensconced in my warm fuzzy robe and slipper socks. I lead quite the exciting life. Maybe it was the other night, celebrating with my neighbors over red wine and Chinese take out. That relationship where I can be me and funny and relaxed and family and a guest all at the same time when I’m in their house. Maybe I’m just tired. Or going to start my period.

Maybe it's the fact that my son is 11 and he’s edging his way into his first big life lesson which will officially hit sometime in the next week or so, rendering the next four and a half weeks of my life a living nightmare. And though I’m lamenting the nightmare, I’m mourning the gradual loss of my baby boy and my influence over him while at the same time being so excited he’s finally going to learn to fly. Well, at least he’s taking the leap. This first drop is going to be a doosie. But in all actually it just feels high from where I'm sitting. It's a new perch for me too.

I’ve been known to get sappy at times like these. Late at night when I’m tired. I’d probably write an effing amazing novel if I could channel my words to explode between the hours of 11 p.m. and 3 in the morning. That’s probably one of the reasons I’ve yet to write this novel (to be honest, I’m 1,300 words in but it  hasn’t really progressed past the ovulation stage…my novel that is) because I’m sleeping away my creative genius hours.

But these came to me tonight so I thought I’d make a blog post about them. Things I miss about being a kid. Being young. now that I'm waxing nostalgic, I may have actually posted a blog like this before. It feels a little familiar, though I can't truly remember. Oh, there are plenty of things I adore about being OLD, don’t get me wrong. But that’s another blog post. I have to eek out my ideas when I get them. You know as well as I, these essays have seen more prolific seasons. (What am I averaging these days…two posts a month?) Crap.

Anyway. Here’s my list. In no particular order. I miss:

  • Being able to eat a fast food hamburger, fries, and a coke without indigestion and gas.
  • My memory.
  • My metabolism.
  • Sleeping through the night without having to get up to pee four times. I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night.
  • Sitting down to a table full of food I didn’t have to cook. Every single evening.
  • Being able to stay up until 2 a.m. and still be not only functional the next day, but downright chipper.
  • Believing in Santa.
  • Being able to pick something off the floor without bending my knees.
  • Being able to sit on the floor at all without pain.
  • Not having migraines.
  • Waking up on December 26th to a Christmas tree surrounded by wrapped presents; not being the one who put (and wrapped) them there.
  • Thinking my grandparents would live forever.
  • The simplicity that comes before knowledge.
  • My size four arse. Only occasionally though.
  • Being a self-assured, confident, loud, ignorant teenager. And I wish I could have bottled that chutzpah and sold it, becoming a millionaire.
  • Designing new outfits to wear each day. More than that, the time I had to devote to such creative endeavors.
  • Journaling by hand with a medium point blue ball tip pen.
  • Reading all the V.C. Andrews books thinking those were the worst things that could ever befall humans. How little I knew!
  • Listening to my father play the piano in the evening while I was in bed.
  • Talking to my mother while she sat at the end of my bed every night flossing her teeth.

There are so many more. But age has caught up with me once again. It’s after midnight and my eyes are closing, even if my mind is still racing. I miss that too. I miss being able to sleep when I go to bed, instead of lying awake thinking about to-do lists, paying bills, marketing myself, or finishing projects. And there is a three year old waiting for me in that bed, who’s been up the past four nights coughing and generally being miserable.

So I’m going to go to bed now and snuggle with that hacking child, just so I don’t end up writing about missing moments with my children. You know, when I’m old and looking back on being younger.

Weigh in here. Tell me I'm not alone. What things do you miss from your younger days?