Friday, February 18, 2011

Our First Date

Ten years ago today, I had a hot date with a handsome man that I had been talking to via email and instant messenger for a few weeks. I was beyond excited and the day could not go fast enough so that we could finally meet face to face and start our long awaited first date.

We went to see Sweet November at the theater. It stared Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves, and it was absolutely horrible. But at the time I was high on romance and overflowing with giddiness, and I thought that it was great. My date, however, thought that it was terrible, but he was a gentleman and didn’t argue the point.

After the movie, we went out to have a drink and to get to know each other a little better. We played a few games of pool, flirted shamelessly, and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. Our evening flew by and before I knew it we were saying goodbye for the night. We hugged, promised to see each other again, and went our separate ways.

Ten years later, that handsome man and I have been married for eight years. We have two great kids, and although we don’t get to go out on a lot of dates right now, when we get the chance to get away, we can still flirt it up like it’s the first night all over again.

I love you so much Michael and I can’t even believe that that night was ten years ago. When you smile it reminds me of why I fell in love with you, and when you kiss me I still get butterflies. Ten years ago I was just excited about our first date and hoped that it would go well. I had no idea that it would be the beginning of our story. We still have so many more chapters ahead of us, but for me, I already got to the happily ever after.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Strep Throat: Round Two

So strep throat has wormed its way back into our home once again as we found out yesterday afternoon that Aaron indeed has strep throat…again…for the second time in a month. He was very lethargic most of the day on Saturday which, if you have read even one of my posts, you know that that just ain’t Aaron. That evening we went out to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday and then went back to his and my sister’s house for cake and beer. Well, the adults had beer. Elyse is more of a martini girl and Aaron almost never drinks anymore after that one crazy night…

But when we got home he looked pretty rough and had a 102 temperature. Awesome! I wonder who all we infected while out and about? He was also complaining of a raging headache, so we dosed him up with some meds and tucked him into bed, keeping our fingers crossed that he would be back to normal in the morning. But Mike and I were on high alert because this is EXACTLY the way the whole insane Scarlett Fever episode started a month ago.

“Evening came, and morning followed…the second day.” He was still running a fever and had similar complaints from the night before, but this time he added sore throat to the symptom hit list. Of course, it was Sunday and the doctor’s office isn’t open on Sundays. Why do these things always come up on the weekends? I put a call into the answering service and the on-call PA said to just watch him and as long as he seems ok, just wait and get him an appointment in the morning. The rest of the day went pretty smooth with no other complications, so we planned to call the doctor first thing in the morning.

In the morning, after at least ten minutes on hold, I was able to secure an appointment for 2:40 PM that afternoon, but it was going to be with the other doc and not our beloved Dr. All-Knowing whom we adore and cherish above all others. This doc is alright. He wears a stethoscope and stuff so I guess he’s legit, but no one can hold a candle to Dr. All-Knowing, and in comparison everyone else seems more like Robin to his Batman, Watson to his Holmes, Siegfried to his Roy.

So this guy comes in and examines Aaron and he starts to go over to the counter where the strep test is but he stops and is all, “No, I’m going to wait to look at that,” and then has Aaron open his mouth. He looks around in his mouth, shines the little light around, which by the way, from my seat across the room Aaron’s tonsils were so huge and swollen they practically hopped out of his mouth and screamed, “Hello, I have STREP!!!!”, and then he shakes his head yes and goes over to confirm his diagnosis with the test. I’m like, “Dude, this isn’t a game show. If you are right, you aren’t going to get to spin the big wheel, or go into Final Jeopardy, or meet Vanna and shake Pat’s hand or anything.

But he goes over to the test anyway, sees that it is positive, and gets that “All right, I’m the man” look on his face. I think that if the nurse was still there he totally would have given her a fist bump for being so wickedly awesome at his job.

He sent us on our way with another ten day course of antibiotics and said that if this comes up again, we may need to consider setting something up with an ENT to discuss removing his tonsils. Aaron gets one more day off of school since he is considered contagious up to twenty-four hours after starting his meds which means I get to have both kids at home today with no chance of escape. Yay me.

This has by far been our sickest winter ever and I can’t even begin to tell you how ready I am for Spring. Bring on the warm weather, the cool breezes from wide open windows, and the chance to get outside jacket free. Winter, it’s been real, it’s been fun, but it hasn’t been real fun, you know what I’m sayin.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Snow Day of Doom

Remember as a kid how much you looked forward to snow days? Remember waiting by the radio or TV to hear if your county was chosen by the snow gods as one of the lucky ones that was cancelled which meant that you could go back to sleep and then lay around in your pajamas all day? Well now, as an adult and a mom, snow days kinda suck. I’m not saying that it isn’t nice once in a while to be able to skip the whole get ready for school routine and hang out all together in our warm cozy house. It is nice; for about the first hour. Then the screaming starts and the tattling begins, and before I know it I’ve broken up more fights than Maury on a baby daddy episode.

Tuesday, Aaron was cancelled thanks to the extreme cold and out of no where snow that hit in the middle of the night. But as the morning progressed, the road crews got to work and I spied with my little eye a glimmer of hope to get the hell out of Dodge and attempt to avoid some of the snow day drama that is so typical. We were, after all, approaching the one hour mark and Armageddon was looming.

So I got the kids in gear, bundled them up, and headed for the van. Then it happened; the catalyst that would put into motion the stream of crappy events that would set the tone for the rest of the day. I reached for the side door and pulled the handle, but alas, it wouldn’t open. “Are the doors locked,” I wondered. Of course not silly, they are frozen shut. Super!

I could, however, get the front doors opened, so I loaded everybody up anyway which was quite an ordeal let me tell ya, and hoped that somewhere along the way, with the heater blasting and the jiggling of the road, that the doors would open up. Not while I was driving of course, because that would be bad and stuff. I just meant loosen up enough to….Oh, you know what I meant.

Here’s the kicker though…When you try to open up a door that is frozen, you unlatch the little latchy thingamagig that would normally tell the van that everything is secure and closed up tight. Once the latchy thingamagig has been released, it puts out an all points bulletin to the van in the form of an incessant beep, beep, beep noise. I drove all the way to our first destination with the beeping and the kids in the back yelling, “Make it stop! Make it stop!”

So….that was fun.

To make matters worse, the windshield wipers had ice on them too. Windshield wipers don’t like to have ice frozen to them because then they get all full of themselves and refuse to work properly and then you drive the entire way to your first destination peeking through smudgy smears in the windshield hoping that you have acquired enough skill in the last fifteen years of driving to negotiate the roads semi-blind.

Against all odds, we made it to where we were going intact, and low and behold, the doors had broken free during the drive and I was able to open up both sides. VICTORY! But it wouldn’t last long.

So trip number one to see Mom at work went well. So well that I decided we would press onward and upward and head to the post office. That trip was a little less, um, successful. I had to pick up a box to ship out a monster that I had just knitted for a knitting swap that I was participating in and I wasn’t quite sure what the best shipping option would be. Now you would think that being in a post office would almost certainly guarantee my ability to get some accurate and insightful information regarding my shipping needs, but you would be wrong.

I knew that I was screwed as soon as I saw who was behind the counter. This guy could be a model for all individuals who hate their job and are just aching for retirement. He’s a bit portly, sarcastic tone in his voice, impatience drips from his face like boogies on a toddler. He eyed me from behind the counter, mentally wrestling with whether or not I was the lucky customer who would receive his help today or if he would make me squirm.

He and I went back and forth about my options. He questioned me about the package’s weight. He grilled me about the destination and the zip code. Blah, blah, blah, I squirmed, he was no help, but I left with a box which was my ultimate goal. Of course, in the short time that I was wrapped up with dealing with Mr. Personality, the kids were able to squeeze in a game of Chase Me Until Mom Flips, Hide and Seek Before Mom Sees Us, and Elyse ripped a poster and broke a shelf.

Next stop…The gas station.

Things seemed to be hoppin when we pulled in to get gas, and there were cars everywhere. I pulled in behind a huge truck and there were two other cars next to me. As soon as I got out of the van, another car pulled in behind me. I was completely blocked in on all sides. Not to worry. I’ll pump my gas, these people will all finish up, and we will be off once again on another adventure of destruction and chaos.

So I pumped the gas, got back into the van, and everyone stayed right where they were. I started looking around and I realized that the guy in front of me wasn’t even anywhere near his truck and must be inside paying. “Gee this seems to be taking a while,” I mused. But then a while became several minutes, and Elyse is yelling, “”GO, MOM, GO!” But still no truck guy. He must be buying other stuff in there too. Wouldn’t you move over to a parking spot if you were going to spend any kind of time shopping?

Now I’m starting to get fidgety and I’m trying to figure out what in the world could be taking this guy so long because, you know, when you have been trapped behind a moron at the gas pump for ten minutes, you get curious as to what in God’s name he could possibly be buying inside of a Quickie Mart. I mean, it’s a Quickie Mart. The assortment of inventory is only so big. What kind of a purchase could be so significant that it requires TEN MINUTES of deliberation? Maybe he couldn’t decide between spearmint or peppermint, diet or caffeine free, ultra thin or ribbed for her pleasure, who the hell knows, but you bet your sweet ass that I was waiting and watching to see what the holy grail of the Quickie Mart would be as Mr. Has-all-the-Time-in-the World waltzed out of that door.

So when he finally emerged, I perked up and surveyed his person for the magic item or items that took so long to acquire that I was able to contemplate the meaning of life and sing the entire theme song from Gilligan's Island in my head. Do you know what took so long? Do you know what purchases required ten minutes of my life that I will never get back? A coffee and two Icees; blue Icees, no straws. That’s it and that’s all. There was no apologetic wave or nod. He didn’t even look in my direction. Just gave the Icees to his kids WHO HE HAD LEFT IN THE TRUCK ALONE, sipped his coffee, and got in his truck. Ass bag!

After that there was a trip to Walmart¸ but I’ll spare you the details and just say that it was full of “Can I Have That,” “But Why Not,” and many, many potty trips.

Once finally home, we settled in for lunch and got ready for Elyse’s nap. Aaron wanted to play outside which I was more than happy to allow in the hopes that maybe he would run out some of that boundless energy that had him bouncing off of the walls for much of the day. I went to the kitchen to do some straightening up. How could straightening up the kitchen go bad with one child napping and the other running amuck outside? It goes bad when the boy that is outside left five mini bottles of Sprite out on the counter and in your hurry to get things caught up you move to put the bottles back in the fridge and drop them all on the floor causing one to explode and spew sticky pop over every inch of your kitchen. It took two days, a bottle of Swiffer solution, a roll of paper towels and an undetermined amount of multi-purpose Windex to un-stick my kitchen.

The rest of the day is such a blur I couldn’t tell you anything significant about it. I think after the Sprite incident I went into auto pilot mode and just blocked everything else out.

So snow days, not the happy, fun-time, pajama marathons they used to be back in the day. It’s probably my fault for venturing out anyway. Had I just stayed put and not attempted to achieve anything, maybe the day would have rocked. For now I’m just grateful that it is weekend and Mike is home to help buffer some of the crazy, and if the van needs gassed up or if I need something from the post office, I am totally throwing him under the bus and shipping him out to do my bidding. After all, I’m pretty sure that I just heard that all moms have been cancelled today. Pajamas for everyone! Oh, not you, though Honey. You’ve got to go and get me a blue Icee.

Friday, February 11, 2011

This Ain't Your Typical Game of Candyland

This morning, after several games of hide and seek, a few laps around the house, and a tea party, I flopped on the couch to take a breather. Elyse hopped up on top of me and said, “Mommy, wanna play a game?” Not in a creepy Jigsaw way, but in a cute, little girl way.

Anyhow, I was like, “Urgh, ok,” and then we started playing a game that she came up with all on her own. I’m still not sure what all of the rules were, or what the purpose even was really, but she had a box of all of the little shapes from the Candyland Castle game and she would grab a random shape and ask me to name it. Then once I said whatever it was she would say, “You win, Mommy” and then hand me the piece. Now here’s the best part. When I “won” I got to put my piece in between her toes. By the end of the game she looked like this…

And that’s how we spent twenty minutes of our morning.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Aaron is a kid that NEEDS to be outside. Never is this more obvious than in the middle of winter when we have to pack up the outside toys and spend most of our time inside. But when even the slightest opportunity arrives for him to get out and back to nature, he hops on it like a “monkey on a cupcake.”

This is what he did yesterday afternoon…

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I See One of Two Career Paths in Elyse’s Future: Hostage Negotiator or the One Making the Demands.

Elyse is skilled in the art of negotiation much like Houdini was a master of magic. She knows her craft and she practices it relentlessly. There is almost nothing that the girl does in a day that wasn’t adjusted more to her liking through bartering.

During the holidays when my kitchen counters were constantly littered with cookies, she was forever begging for a third or fourth, and when she realized that I wasn’t giving in, she would turn to, “But I just want to touch it a little bit, Mom.” Or, Can I just look at it?” Or my favorite, “I just want to pet it for a while.” I think we all know that when it comes to cookies, it never ends with just “looking” at it.

While Elyse is an expert negotiator, there is one thing that she excels in even more. As Mike pointed out this weekend, Elyse is a grand master in the art of The Long Con. For example, she may have noticed that I had forgotten to put her pacifier up on the shelf when she woke up in the morning. She is a pacifier addict, but she knows that it would be pointless for her to just go to her room to get the pacifier because I would almost instantly notice the illegal activity and shut it down immediately. So she devises a scheme in which she requests to go downstairs to play with the cats. When we get downstairs she finds a cup of water or some other weapon of mass, mess making potential and creates a gigantic mess that I then have to clean up. I, the one being conned, believe that she just made a mess because she is two and is out to get me, but in reality, when I am busy cleaning up the mess, she is sneaking back upstairs into her room to grab the pacifier and hunker down under her covers until she is discovered and the pacifier is taken away. Getting me downstairs gives her more time with the pacifier.

Do you see what I am dealing with here? I know you’re thinking, “Oh, that’s crazy. She is two years old. Her mind doesn’t work like that yet.” You go ahead and let yourself think that, but it is naivete like that that will find you steam cleaning the milk out of your living room rug while she is off hustling the neighbors in a game of hopscotch for cookies.

I love the girl with all of my heart, but she is absolutely exhausting. I constantly have to be one step ahead of the game to keep up with her and sometimes that isn’t even enough. I suppose that the best that I can do is nurture her “gifts” in such a way that she ultimately uses her powers for good and not evil. Someday, when she is a top agent in the FBI, I will look back at these times as pivotal moments in her development and will say, “See, we always knew that she was going to do something important.” Otherwise I may be visiting her in prison regaling the guards with stories of the world’s greatest con artist when she was just itty bitty.