Friday, April 25, 2008

A Belated Earth Day Post

Those who know me best are exasperated and saying to themselves, "Of course Kristin's Earth Day post is late, Kristin is late for everything!" But they love me anyway : )

My family has been eco-minded and enviro-friendly since the mid 70's. Since I was a precocious infant who could read (not a 3rd grader--because I'm not that old!)

I got the message in 1974 from my dad that we needed to be attentive stewards of our natural resources.

And by "got the message" I mean through carefully chosen literature provided by my father.

And by "literature" I mean a bumper sticker. The one and only bumper sticker my dad (I come from a long line of Bumper Sticker Despisers) ever had.

The righteous, Mother Earth love-affirming message my dad felt strongly enough about to proudly bear on his car?

It was this:
Go Earth.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

IT'S A GIRL!!!!!

Beautiful had an ultrasound today and invited me to go with her. SHE'S HAVING A DAUGHTER!!!! She and Dan are thrilled : )

  • Baby looks healthy and good. All four chambers of the heart were there and looked to be the right size and shape and were functioning just fine.
  • Cute little spinal column.
  • Two little arms and two cute little legs. And she has the sweetest little feet ever!!
  • It looked like she was trying to suck her thumb : )
  • Baby is a little on the petite side--big surprise : )
  • She's about a half pound and, according to the ultrasound tech, is approximately the size of a can of Coke.

Grammy is delighted!

Monday, April 21, 2008

I"ll grade on the curve

[First of all--thank you all for the kind words of support yesterday. Words like, "Life can seriously suck sometimes" and "I can make daquiris for when the kamikazis run out" and "Is there anyone you'd like me to beat up?" and "I'm old but lethal" and "the chutzpah" and "Was Crap Weasel driving your vehicle?" and finally, "I may wheeze, but there's more than one way to skin a crap weasel!" What better friends could a girl possibly hope for? All will be well at the Mouse House. Just another pothole . . . And now--we return you to your regularly scheduled program already in progress.]

Country Mouse + vodka = X

  • where Country Mouse = me
  • and vodka = a Kamikaze. Or three. Which is about 2 and 11/14ths more than Country Mouse can handle.
  • solve for X

X equals:

a) Country Mouse found herself to be hilarious while making up a new acronym for use by the hillbilly locals: SILF.

[Kinda like MILF or GILF but customized for the object of rural menfolks' affection* . . . ]

b) After the first bucket of vodka at a restaurant, Country Mouse got talked into going to the casino where she'd never set foot before and on impact was insulted by the wife of hubby's friend who, evidently, has always been suspicious of Country Mouse's lack of social grace (i.e. refusal to join the gang at low-life local casino) and said, "I think working has been good for you, Kristin. Maybe we'll see you here more often now?"

Extra credit: Was Country Mouse's answer to this insult:

  1. 1. Don't hold your bad breath.
  2. 2. Working is "good for me?" Like I once considered the rest of you to be beneath me but now that I've joined the masses in the workforce I have come down from my high horse and can allow myself to be seen amongst the villagers? Maybe you're onto something . . .
  3. 3. Kiss my superior ass.

c) Country Mouse, in yet another spectacular example of her fine motherhood skills, once again forgot about the existence of her Youngest and on the drive home at 2:30 in the morning turned to Mister and said, "Wait a minute . . . where's Youngest?"

d) The following day, Country Mouse folded not one, but two pair of socks from the 3 ginormous loads of laundry on the couch before snuggling into the warm pile of clean clothes for a 3 hour nap.

e) Two or more of the above.

* Sheep. I apologize. Seriously. It was the booze . . .

Sunday, April 20, 2008

If I get a big enough net maybe I can catch a break . . .


I was working on a post that was actually a quiz for y'all. It involved a complicated mathematical formula combining Country Mouse and Kamikazes and hypothesizing possible outcomes. There were even extra credit points for the reader who could come closest to estimating my response to a thinly veiled insult hurled my way by a jealous and tactless acquaintance.

But none of that seems important anymore because, once again, our life has been enveloped by . . .

[If you are my daughter, stop reading.
Right. Now.]

yet another shit storm

Car accident. Lawsuit. Ex-dumbass crap weasel of a fiance. AAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!

And now? I need a Kamikaze more than I need my bone marrow!!!!

Oh, and? It's April 20th and it's still snowing!!!!!!!!

Stay tuned in the coming months to find out . . .

  • Will the lawsuit reach beyond our lovely daughter and wrap its bastard tentacles around our lives too?
  • Will I have to go to full time and take a second job?
  • Will sweet Mister finally weary of all the bullshit and go out for the proverbial pack of smokes?

In the meantime, you know what they say:

Fiddle dee effing dee. Tomorrow promises to be another craptastic day . . .

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mousie Dearest

We sat in the car together while Beautiful munched on Ak-Mak crackers and peanut butter--the emergency snack I brought to the theater where she is rehearsing.

Beautiful: "Mom, Dan's just been told he has to relieve someone on the sub for a couple weeks because of an emergency medical situation and we also just found out he'll be shipping out early in September--right before the baby's due. I have a terrible cold, I'm having anxiety attacks, I didn't pack enough food to last all day plus through tonight's rehearsal. I just need a nap."

Me: "Dan won't be gone too long. You'll have plenty of time to spend together when he comes back because you'll be done with this performance run. I'll go home now and get you some dinner, some juice, some vitamins and would you like a blanket? I'll come back up and stay for awhile, rub your back--whatever you need. Will that help a little?"

Beautiful: "Thank you, Mama. I have got to stop crying before I go back inside. I look so ugly when I cry."

Me: "No you don't!"

Beautiful: "Yes, I do. I've been told that."

Me: "Who would say that to you?"

Beautiful: "You did, Mom. Many times. And you also told me I can't run fast."

Me: "Oh, that. I only said those things so you wouldn't embarrass yourself in public. I didn't want other kids to make fun of you so I was honest."

Beautiful: "You didn't want other kids to hurt my feelings so you made sure to hurt them yourself? You know you're the worst mother in the world, don't you?"

Me: "No, I'm not. And I have empirical proof! Every January my Grandma W. calls her youngest daughter to wish her a happy birthday. Do you know what her birthday greeting is? 'I never remember the other 7 kids' birthdays, but yours is easy because it's 2 days before mine.'

"And--there's more! My friend A's mom came to visit her daughter after her daughter had a mastectomy. When she came into the house and saw all the flowers that had been sent by friends and family, the mother's reaction was 'Well, this is a little much, isn't it?'

"See? I am not the worst mother in the world!"

Beautiful: "Okay, maybe you're not the worst, but you're definitely a contender."

Me, channeling Mike Myers: "Throw me a frickin' bone!"

Beautiful: "That was a disturbingly good Dr. Evil impression. Yeah, and I notice you're quoting a movie that you wouldn't let me see because it was 'inappropriate.' Good example you set, Almost Worst Mother In The World."

Me: "So what you're saying is that I'm a horrible mother except when you need something or want me to take care of you or do errands for you or help you with your taxes?"

Beautiful, exiting the car to go back to rehearsal: "Pretty much : )

"My stomach feels better now. Thanks for the tidbits!"

Simultaneously: "That's what she said!"

the ugly truth

"Hey, Hubby, I need to go pick up a few things. Do you want to come with me? We can make it a date!"

It was already past 8:00 on a weeknight. After a long day of cleaning up the yard (and by 'cleaning up the yard' I mean neatly arranging the hubcap collection and sprucing up the blue tarps,) Hubby had just sat down in his favorite chair.

At my request for a "date" we both took a glance at his attire: work boots, sweat pants, t-shirt and a Carhartt jacket.

"Just give me a second to make myself presentable," he cheerfully replied. At that, he licked the tips of both index fingers, smoothed his eyebrows and announced, "I'm ready!"

Off to the perfect start.

Wanna know just how white trash we are? Our "date" was a drive thru trip to Burger King (I'm sorry, Clarice--I know you'll be praying for me) and shopping in separate sections of Wal-Mart. And as much as we like to pretend that we're not really "Wal-Mart people," like a mullet at a NASCAR event, we blend in.

Little things about that store irritate me and when it's time for the ordeal that is check-out I'm usually a little bit grumpy. 'Cause you know how Wal-Mart has 60 check-out counters but 59 of them are self-check-out and the remaining counter with an actual human checker is reserved for people with 10 items or fewer? No? You don't know because you don't shop there? Trust me--I'm barely exaggerating.

It's not that the self check-out process is overly complicated. In fact, it's designed so any average 3rd grader can manage it. The real problem is that it takes 14 times longer for me to scan and bag my items than it would take a wild monkey.

Having never attempted the self check-out himself, Hubby misinterpreted my struggle with the bagging step as inexperience.

[The bagging step, by the way, is confounded if an item is either too lightweight or else not in exactly the right position and the sensor doesn't detect that it's been bagged and a supervisor is called and you stand there looking like a below average 3rd grader while the supervisor condescendingly gets you back on track and pats your little head. Meanwhile, the wild monkeys have finished their transactions and are halfway home . . . ]

Thinking I didn't know what I was doing, Hubby had the audacity to ask someone for help. The nerve of that man. I'll be damned if I'll allow strangers to labor under the misguided impression that I can't read instructions and figure out how to bag my own items.

Repeatedly thwarted by the faulty bagging sensor, I was beginning to lose my patience. And by 'lose my patience' I mean swear. A lot. In the middle of Wal-Mart.

And also? That husband of mine? Didn't stand in the right spot! He kept standing to my left. Why would he stand to my left when I was clearly telepathically instructing him to stand to my right and take the filled bags from my hands. Has he been married to me all these years for nothing?

When it was time to pay, I made the mistake of resting my purse on the bagging platform. And finally the sensor worked. Only it was an illegal maneuver to place a non scanned item on the bagging platform and a light started blinking and the computer started yelling at me and an alarm went off and a swarm of security guards suddenly appeared to arrest me and take me to Wal-Mart jail. Trust me--I'm barely exaggerating.

By the time we got out to the parking lot I was so fried at the lack of checkers or anything helpful that there was a visible blue cloud of newly minted obscenities trailing behind me as I briskly walked toward the car. I was so irritated that I spat my gum (oh yes, not only shopping at Wal-Mart but doing so while chewing gum . . . ) into the landscaped island in the parking lot. I know. I'm so sorry.

During the drive home, to calm my nerves and round out our white trash date, we cracked open the Honey Nut Cheerios and ate them dry--straight from the box. Not even waiting until we got home and could eat them properly out of bowls. With beer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Primer

For your enlightenment, a not-at-all exhaustive list of things not to say when your daughter's boyfriend (and father of her to-be-born-in-September baby) meets the extended family for the first time:

Kristin: "Boyfriend, I'd like you to meet my brother, Uncle Brian. Brian, this is the baby daddy."

Kristin: "You know, Boyfriend, that Beautiful is just like me? You can see it in the way we talk, in the way we argue, in our gestures, in our facial expressions, in our temperament . . . "

Uncle Brian, sitting across the table, shaking his head: "Why would you tell him that she's just like you? Why?????"

Me, just as befuddled as my brother: "I don't know, Brian. I just don't know . . . "

Most people would have known to stop talking. I didn't realize words were still coming out of my mouth . . .

My sweet hubby, discussing whether the baby will be a boy or a girl:
"Well, Boyfriend, you come from a family of all boys and you already have a son. I think the chances are high that this baby will also be a boy."

Boyfriend presented his case:
"However, the increased atmospheric pressure I live in as a submariner as well as the ionizing radiation I am exposed to as a Nuke give me a greater likelihood of having a girl. So if this baby is a boy, it would be . . . "

Kristin: "Gay?"

Boyfriend: "I was going to say 'a surprise' . . . "

And then, the piece de resistance. I don't know how this escaped my lips. My brain wasn't even thinking it. The words just formed themselves.

Kristin, during the discussion of Beautiful's current mood swings and craving demands--bearing in mind this whole conversation occurred at the family dinner table with the grandparents present:
"She's this much of a challenge and yet you still want to sleep with her . . . I mean, be with her . . . ummm, I meant stay with . . . never mind . . . "

True story.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Motherhood in an animated nutshell

I saw the original cartoon feature "Charlotte's Web" when I was not yet born. Because it came out in 1973. And I am much too young to have been a 6 year old going to a theater in 1973 . . .

I loved this movie right up until the final moments. But the ending Pissed. Me. Off. I vividly recall walking out during the credits with a bad taste in my mouth. After all that Charlotte did for Wilbur, he didn't even have the sentimental decency to have named one of her daughters after her? Not even her middle name? "WTF?" is what I asked myself. At age 6.

That experience was what I would later learn to recognize as foreshadowing.

Charlotte, for mysterious reasons known only to her and likely part of a HUGE project chick/martyr complex, spent every available moment of her time (and some noticeably-- inconveniently--unavailable moments) trying to save a dumbass, whiny pig from his destiny as bacon.

He never asked for her help, she willingly gave it. He was petulant and bitchy and she, with all the cheerfulness usually brought about only via lobotomy, buoyed his spirits and kept fighting the good fight to save the poor little bastard.

Overly-involved-for-no-apparent-reason-Charlotte went so far as to expend her limited energy saving him at the expense of the provisions she was trying to make for the future of her own children! And for what? For PORK.

And in the end? Charlotte secures Wilbur's safety (and all the credit goes to Wilbur who did nothing more than not crap in public) and then she dies of exhaustion while giving birth.

And Wilbur's contribution to all of this? He bestows names upon Charlotte's three lame, retarded children who can't strike out on their own. And none of them is named after the one who gave her life for him!!! Self-centered, ungrateful son of a bitch.

If this is motherhood--and it is--what's the point?

Please, someone, pass the booze . . .

Saturday, April 5, 2008

tutti frutti

Transcript of Actual Conversation Between
Country Mouse And Her NonSon


Here's Why You're Glad You Don't Know Me In Person

Kristin: Have you been able to see a lawyer yet?

And if you knew something was seriously important to me and there was something easy that you could do to ease my anxiety and if I asked you to do it, would you?

NonSon: I talked to a lawyer...

Kristin: So I'm going to take your non answer as a no? You wouldn't do something simple for me if I asked you to? Alrighty then . . .

I'll let it go. For now. But only because you leave me no other choice : )

Kristin--hours later and feeling like she can't quite get her point across without sounding like a guilt-wielding mother:

Sooooo . . . I can never manage to say things the right way to you . My words always end up sounding like lectures. Or whining. Or guilt. But I never quite mean them that way : )

NonSon: what is your flavor? I mean... seriously?

Oh no. He. Did. Not. He did not just ask me what's my flavor! Like what's my brand of crazy? Like WTF is wrong with me? Oh. Hell. No.

Kristin: I can't decide whether to respond to this with lecture, whining or guilt. Or a hearty f*%$ you.

I think I'm not going to spend any more of my time trying to convince my husband that it's a good idea to be your safety net if you need one--or calling in favors from friends. That was a lot of sticking my neck out only to end up feeling so disrespected. [Yeah--I went with guilt. You earned it.]

So, good luck. Hope you land on your feet.

As always, you can call me if you really need something. I'll just be less happy about it than ever before.

Kristin--only moments later upon realizing what an asshat she's just been:

Subject: I have got to stop smoking crack!

Ummmm, pretend that last irritated message didn't happen. Let's just agree that waking up in a stupor at 2:30 in the morning after going to bed super early because you got no sleep the night before because your 12 year old was awake the entire night throwing up and you had to go to work anyway and then you read your e-mail--while still all blurry from sleep--is not a good idea. In fact it's a seriously sucky idea and might cause you to see the word "favor" and interpret it as "FLAVOR" and then go all "screw him--what's his deal--why oh why do I waste my time with a disrespectful, self-destructive, burn-all-bridges-because-he-isn't-truly-convinced-that-he's-worthy-of-unconditional-love boy."

And if you didn't already know the answer to what fLavor I am, you surely know it now. My flavor is Chock Full O' Nuts.

But the favor? That's another story : )

This is either creepy or touching. Depending on your perspective.

I lose sleep over the thought of losing you and never knowing what happened. So my favor is this: would you please give my name and phone number to someone so if there's an emergency they'll call me?

NonSon: It's funny you should ask that. I was kinda thinking about asking you if I could do that the other day. You're a dork. I love you.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

it's like drunk blogging, only without the booze, or the excuse . . .

It started late last night. I wanted everything and I wanted it right now. I especially needed chocolate.

First thing when I woke up today I tore my sweet Mister a new one because when he arrived at 1:30 this morning after picking up a friend from the airport he had FORGOTTEN THE CHOCOLATE. I think castration is a suitable punishment.

Today it wasn't just chocolate I needed--NEEDED--but potato chips and tacos and anything sweet or salty or both and it occurred to me, "Oh, it's that part of my cycle."

And since I finally figured out what part of my cycle we're surviving this week, it makes sense that I was doing a little hormonal blogging. Kinda like drunk blogging, only without the fun of the booze. And when it happens again--and it will--just nod and smile and have confidence that I will find my way back from around that particular bend.

And a little update: NonSon saw fit to get in touch with me today. Briefly. For his own purposes. Completely ignoring the one little thing I asked him to do. Just like a biological child would . . .

Here are the answers to the questions you're all screaming into your monitors: 1) No, I do not know how to say no. 2) Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. 3) Yes, I have heard of and understand the terms 'co-dependency' and 'enabling.' What's your point?

In other news, Hubby and I aren't getting along right now. It's only partly on account of my mid cycle derangement. It's mostly because of the pork.

With me enduring the grueling schedule of 24 hour work weeks, Hubby is in charge of the meal planning and cooking. I have begged him to let me do the shopping and give him the recipes to work from, but he claims he wouldn't be "comfortable" with my recipes. So he does it his way. And his way is all about what's cheap at the grocery store. In other words, his way is all about the swine flesh.

"You are the Bubba of pork," I told him. "Pork ribs, pork stew, pork casserole, pork sandwiches, pork salad, pork pie . . . " He wasn't amused. What's his deal?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

no good deed goes unpunished

Dang. I was so happy.

After my "walking on water" work evaluation (great phrase, by the way, Jan ; ) I was elated. And then came the news.

Having uncharacteristically forgotten to write down this week's schedule, I called work to find out whether I am supposed to be there on Thursday or Friday.

"I'm so glad you called!" said assistant manager, Pharmacist Rob. "The store director has heard such great things about you here in the pharmacy that he's also offering you a position in the health and beauty aids department for 1 or 2 days a week. If you want it, you're a lock for it--it's yours!"

It's great to be well thought of. It's nice to be rewarded for a job well done. But I don't want the health and beauty position. Because I would have to be near people.

I see the health and beauty aid people hard at work every day. Right in front of my pharmacy window is their large section of the store. They stock shelves and create inviting seasonal displays. All while they're near people. Shoppers. People standing within their personal space.

I prefer the wide barrier of my counter. I find comfort in being hidden from the waist down and luxury in being able to walk a few feet away to have a private conversation with a superior if I have a challenging customer that I need help with.

Health and beauty is right out in. the. open.

Beautiful laughs at my reasons for not wanting the gift that's been handed to me. Then she quietly adds, "Actually, I kind of miss being a barista because of the safety of the counter . . . "

This time the hurt is different than before

My wild mood tides are dictated by the gravitational pull of my fluctuating hormones.

And are captive to my children's happiness.

For thirty-six hours it was bliss. I was euphoric. It was a pain in the ass and it caused arguments between my husband and me. Bargaining. Subtle "streamlining of the truth" as my daughter would say. But it was for the boy. For him. I was worried--afraid--for him and, for the sake of his well-being, I was willing to humble myself.

And the tingly warm best part of the thirty-six hours was that this time he had asked for my help. Usually I don't wait to be asked. Usually I see his trouble and immediately begin to strategize the aid campaign. But this time he asked. He knew the toll it was taking, but he wanted my help and he asked. I wore his need for me like a favorite sweatshirt.

But now he's become distracted. Someone new is in a closer orbit. He's a little bit ADD that way. He's a lot ADD that way. And I no longer exist.

Thirty-six hours of phone calls, e-mails, research, calling in favors, putting my neck on the line with my husband, putting the boy's needs above everyone else's, willingness to change my very home for him, and now there's a new distraction and none of it matters. And I don't exist. Again.

Usually this is the point when I start making my internal excuses. I have to because it does no good to tell him how used and discarded I feel. And how inexcusably self-centered he is. He doesn't like to hear it and punishes me with unbearably long stretches of silence.

Instead, like mothers do, I make my excuses. I twist and torture my perception until I'm convinced that I brought it on myself. Mea culpa.

"He didn't ask for my help," I usually console myself. But this time he did ask and I can't use that threadbare justification. "He's never asked me to be this devoted to him." That's my substitute excuse. Even I don't believe this pitiful masquerade of reasoning. But having told this lie to myself, the stabbing pain in my stomach begins to dissipate. A little.

The admonishing voice is in my head again. The practical voice. CPA's voice. "He's not your son," the voice reprimands. "F*&% you, CPA. I know he isn't my son, but . . . " The sentence goes unfinished.

I lie awake at night haunted by the specter of not knowing. If something bad happened to him--if he died in a car accident tomorrow--I might never know. I am not his family. His next of kin doesn't know me. A few of his closest friends may have heard my name, but nothing more. Nobody would know to call me. The fear that one day he could just evaporate eats away at me. I pull the blankets over my head.


Morning lets itself, uninvited, in through the window. The cloud of sadness creeps over my dawning consciousness.

Let it go. It will work itself out.

I explain away my closed off mood. It's a day of laundry and bills and tending to my children. My real children.

In the middle of something mundane, I am unexpectedly hijacked by the memory of that last moment with him. He hugged me tight, like he meant it. I hugged him back. And I did mean it. That sweet smile and his almost shy wave as I drove away . . .

A disobedient tear sneaks its way onto my cheek. I wipe it away quickly before it can be seen. When asked why my eyes look a little red and watery, it's an easy thing to casually mention my ever-plaguing allergies.

But my husband is no fool. He knows. "You're too good to him. He doesn't appreciate you."

"It's not his fault . . . " I begin. But this sentence too will go unfinished.

I have mourned being abruptly abandoned by my non-son countless times.

But this time the hurt is different than before.

on a happier note

I'm out of jail on work release . . .

Okay, but seriously, I had a great day and needed to share.

Yesterday was my 6 month evaluation. Well, actually it was supposed to be last Monday but they were doing department-wide evals and mine got pushed back a week. So all that time I spent worrying about it last Monday (and the bad dream I had about it Sunday night) were for naught.

Lucky for me, I forgot to worry about it this week.

Alone in the conference room sitting across the table from each other, my supervisor started. She looked at her sheet of notes and said, "You're awesome!"

Any evaluation that begins with that statement can only end with smiles all around : ) She said many, many, many wonderful things about me. I won't bore you all by providing a verbatim transcript--but don't think I didn't want to ; )

It's silly really. That I should take so much pleasure from this? It's a 24 hour a week job. I'm a glorified cashier. I should be able to do a good enough job to get a glowing report.

But here's why it's so gratifying: Before this job, I hadn't had a paying gig in 16 years. There was stiff competition for this position but even without any recent job experience to point to, they had the instinct that I was cut out for it--based on both skills and personality. And they were right.

I am delighted to prove to myself after all this time that I'm worth something. I know I'm worth something--I don't mean to suggest that being a mom was meaningless--but this is different. Between the activities, the homework, the shuttling around between enrichment lessons, blah, blah, blah, it's easy for moms to disappear. I think I just proved to myself that I can take care of myself. Or I could if I had to : )

I'm happy.

This calls for ice cream!