The Roller Coaster

You must be at least 4-feet-tall to ride this ride. Please remain sedated seated and keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times. Do not attempt to exit the ride until happy hour it has come to a full and complete stop.

7am: Aaaaw! Look at him sleeping. What an angel! I adore him. How lucky I am to be his mother.

8am: You wanna wear this shirt? No? Okay, don’t cry. How about this shirt? No? Please, don’t cry. How about this shirt? No? Okay. You’re crying. Don’t cry.  You want to wear this? Okay, but that’s not a shirt, it’s a bandana. This is not a fun game. I don’t want to play anymore. It’s someone else’s turn to be the mommy. I want to be the lady who goes shoe shopping.

9am: Ooooh! Thank you for the kiss my sweet little soldier. I wuv oo too punkins! It’s so great to be a mom!

10am: What do you mean mommy’s purse is in the toilet? WHAT was I thinking having a kid? I have no business having a kid. I shouldn’t be left in charge of anybody with less than four legs!

11am: Aaaaw-uh! Look at him quietly watching Elmo, his little eyeballs glued to the TV. He is such a good boy! I love being a mom!

Noon: Why is the VCR smoking? You did WHAT? You put your juice box in the VCR? Good gravy I’m not even a competent baby sitter – what am I doing with a kid?!

1pm: Aaaaaw! Look at him sleeping! My precious boy! What a blessing it is to be a mother!

2pm: Throwing Macaroni and Cheese is NOT an acceptable form of dissent! DO YOU hear me buster? Neither is throwing the spoon! Neither is throwing…. Okay! O! K! FOR YOU MY FRIEND! I am not mother-material! I do NOT! look good in Macaroni and Cheese!

3pm: Aaaaaaw! Look at him coloring in his coloring book. How he loves to color! He is artistic like me! Motherhood is so rewarding.

3:05pm. X#%*&! That’s not a coloring book! That’s my new book on Post-Impressionist painting! So help me! Whose kid is this?

5pm: For the 10th time, I don’t know WHY, okay? I don’t know the answer to anything! Is my shift over yet? This wasn’t on the motherhood syllabus!

6pm: Aaaaaaw! Look at my precious boy helping mommy set the table for dinner. What a good boy. Being a mom is such a joy. Hey can you bring the spoons back please? Hey… where ya’ going with those spoons. Hey….

7pm: It would be better if you kept the bath water in the tub. The water needs to stay…. I’m just saying…. What the hell AM I saying? I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. Am I still speaking English?

8pm: Aaaaw! Look at him sleeping in his little footsie pajamas like a little mookie wookie! He is so darn cute I can’t stand it. I adore him. I wish I had ten more just like him! Being a mom is the greatest thing ever.

Please watch your step as you exit the ride. The next ride starts tomorrow at 7am.

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This post was originally published in October of 2006.

Some Assembly (And Tequila) Required

Hi. I’m hiding out down here in the archives with a bottle of Merlot and some cheese and crackers. Want to join me? Oh lookee! Here’s a post from last August.

We are officially in the dead of summer here in Texas.

My flip flops have melted into the pavement like bubble gum. What the mole hasn’t destroyed of my lawn, the sun has burnt beyond recognition. I can barely stand the sight of my shorts and tank tops that I couldn’t wait to wear back in April. I have soured on summer. I am ready to break up with summer. If summer were my boyfriend, I would beat him to death with my electric bill. The thrill of summer is gone folks.

Because it has been so miserable outside, Sean and I have been spending a lot of time indoors together. A lot of time indoors together. Which has given us both a bad case of cabin fever, the primary symptom of which is repeating ones self. Repeating ones self.

One afternoon last week, in a state of Freon-induced dementia, I decided to get out our Ryan’s Room Mambo Combo Tent Playhouse and assemble it in the den in an effort to occupy and amuse my child thus alleviating the symptoms of cabin fever and so that I might avoid cannibalizing my child for yet another day. Although my precious little spawn is mighty tasty – a little like cheese enchiladas.

In my mind, my very tiny blonde mind, I imagined my child sitting quietly and patiently nearby assisting me in the construction of Ryan’s Room, handing me the little white framing tubes upon request like a surgical nurse. Delusion is another symptom of cabin fever. Another symptom.

What Ryan doesn’t tell you about his stupid room is that the assembly of the 147 parts requires an advanced engineering degree, the flexibility of a Chinese acrobat and the patience of Mother Teresa. I have none of these things.

Because I am a methodical person when delusional, I dumped out all the parts and sorted them putting all parts of similar shape and size together. Because Sean is also methodical, he resorted all parts of similar shape and size into one big pile, which he stuffed into the bowels of the sofa. Yet, I managed to assemble one whole tent frame without losing it. Too much. It was a feat of engineering and personal restraint.

As I stood back to admire my work, Antique Daddy walked through and asked how I planned to get the frame inside the nylon tent form. Some people are so annoyingly logical. Of course I had a plan. My plan was to curse Ryan and his room and his tents and his mother and father. Then I would locate the nylon tent form, which Sean had filled with Brio train tracks and taken somewhere. Then I would disassemble the frame, afterwhich I would wedge my antique behind into the flaccid boneless yet cheerfully colored tent form and finally I would reconstruct the frame from the inside. Right after I remembered where I last put the Tequila.

So I disassembled the frame, resorted the parts, crawled into the deflated tent and asked Sean to hand me one of the long white plastic rods, labeled A so that I might begin constructing our afternoon of summer fun. As I stuck my hand out to receive Part A, I felt Part A beating me on top the head. Beating me on top the head. And then I lost it. I tried to get out of the tent and have a word about respect with the boy, but I was trapped like an angry cat in a pillow case.

And then I realized I was craving a Margarita and cheese enchiladas.

Laundry Interrupted Again

(beeeeep!) Sean and I are busy playing in the sandbox and can’t get to the computer. Please leave a message at the end of this recycled post and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. (beeeeep!)

In my washing machine right now, there is a load of musty-smelling bath towels that need to be washed. Again. For the third time in a row. You would think that a modern woman like me with the modern conveniences of a washer and a dryer in her home could manage to get a load of laundry washed and dried, if not folded and put away, in less than three days. You would think that if you didn’t have kids. If you do, well, then you understand that even your interruptions are interrupted by interruptions. And unlike a two-year-old, laundry will just sit quietly, steeping in it’s own mildew, waiting patiently for you to come back.

Before I had a child, laundry was a day and not a state of being. Now laundry is not only a state of being but a decorating scheme. There is laundry on the laundry room floor waiting its turn for a weekend in the washer. There is laundry in the dryer waiting for Godot. There is laundry in the basket on the sofa waiting to be dumped out and jumped in for the umpteenth time. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. There are piles of laundry on the breakfast bar hoping to hitch a ride to the bedroom. And yet another pile of laundry positioned just so on a sofa table where a lamp used to be, where you might expect to see an artful display of books or a vase or even a Tonka truck. But no, that would be so expected, so pedestrian. A stack of gym socks and underwear says so much more about who we are.

Here at the House of Antique, we are on the on the cutting edge of design. Laundry chic, the next decorating trend. You heard it here first.

This post was originally published in April of 2006.

Sticky Prayers

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have followed me always. They have clung to me all my life. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Sean’s first school year officially ended last night with a little graduation ceremony for the five year olds who will be leaving the pre-school and moving on to kindergarten. The younger kids “sang them out” just as the losers on American Idol do. Well, more accurately, all the other kids sang out the grads. Sean stood on the stage and did an impression of Lot’s wife.

As all the five year olds marched across the stage in their adorable little caps and gowns, I wept. I don’t even have a kid in the graduating class and I cried. I am pathetic. I am normally not that much of a cryer, but lately ceremonies seem to prick that tender part of my heart and remind me that time slips like water through my fingers.

As each child marched across the stage to receive their diploma, the teacher announced where they would be going to school next year and what their career plans were. One boy wanted to drive a dump truck, another wanted to study to be a ninja. One girl wanted to be a princess, another a ballerina. Perhaps Abraham Lincoln wanted to be a ninja too.

The path laid before Sean may lead him to drive a truck or drive him to lead a nation — it is not mine to know or to choose. I know God has a plan for this boy and I’m going to try my best to not get in the way, but rather to walk along side him, holding his hand for as long as he’ll let me.

After that, I’ll just have to hope that my prayers follow him and cling to him always.

This post was published in May of 2006 ~ Antique Mommy

More Fungicide

My weekend involved a dust storm, sewage, a vanishing monkey and a trip to the ER. And that calls for a for a trip to the archives, if not the liquor store.

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Fungicide – Not Just For Plants Anymore!
September 11, 2006

Sunday afternoon, the temperature dipped below 100, so Sean and I ventured out into the backyard to putter around and enjoy some fresh air. Having been indoors since the 4th of July, we both immediately began hacking and coughing. Apparently our lungs were no longer familiar with this fresh air stuff and were trying to reject it as a foreign substance.

After we acclimated, I got busy pulling weeds and stomping down mole holes and trying to spruce up our sorry yard. Sean got busy dragging every toy he owns out into our sorry yard. I noticed that what few leaves remain on my fern, have little black dots on the back, so I foraged around in the garage until I found some sort of fungicide. I gave the fern last rights, made the sign of the cross and then anointed it with the fungicide. I don’t think it will do much to deter its demise, but I will know that I did all I could and that it’s going to a better place. And it makes me feel like I’m doing something in the same way that stomping down mole holes makes me feel like I’m doing something. The black dots and the moles laugh at me. This I know. I hear them chuckling outside my bedroom window after dark as I’m trying to go to sleep.

After administering extreme unction to the fern, I noticed my neighbors strolling up the jogging trail with their 6-week-old infant. I was at their Christmas party when they announced they were twenty minutes pregnant, so I have been waiting to see this little fella for quite some time. I set down the fungicide and ran through the gate wiping my hands on my pants as I hurried around to greet them and get a look at their new little guy.

They both sported that glazed-over walking-dead expression that all new parents wear. They proudly told me they were getting four straight hours of sleep now and how that has made them feel so much better. I told them I remembered what those first months were like — the lack of sleep and the non-stop crying. And the baby cried a lot too.

I tried to offer her encouragement, telling her that I’d been there and that I know how crazy it can be. “If you ever need a break, I’d be happy to come over and help you out,” I offered. She raised her eyebrows and her eyes grew wide, so I continued talking, thinking she must be thrilled to have an offer of help from someone like me who knows what they’re doing. “If you’re having a tough day, just give me a call and I’ll pop over and watch the baby while you take a nap or get out of the house for a little while or whatever.”

I noticed she was looking past me as I enlightened her with all of my fascinating mothering know-how, but I assumed that with so little sleep she was probably having a hard time focusing. She finally interrupted my blathering and asked, “What’s that bottle of stuff Sean is holding?” I turned just in time to see Sean spray fungicide into his ear.

“What? Oh that? That’s nothing. Just a little…um… fungicide.”

I ran through the gate and tried to wrench the bottle away from Sean. We wrestled it back and forth for a while like two actors in a bad movie trying to gain control of a gun. After a brief scuffle, I finally snatched it away from him, but not before I sprayed myself in the eye in the process. When I victoriously turned back to my neighbors, I could see out of my of my one good eye that they were hurrying on down the jogging path.

After that display of skillful parenting, I’m sure she’ll be calling me real soon to help her with her baby.

Part-Time Pet

My neighbor thinks I am trying to take over his cat. And it’s partly true. I’m not trying to take it over completely. It’s not like I want the responsibility of vet bills, flea collars and a litter box. I just want to have a fling with his cat. I just want some “no strings attached” pet affection. I just want an opportunity for my son to learn that cats do not normally kill little boys. That’s all. And if lovin’ this cat is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right.

Photo Temporarily Unavailable

The neighbor claims that the cat is named “Smokey Joe” but I gave him the unusual name of “Cat”. He responds equally well to either name as long as you are holding an open can of tuna.

The first time we saw Cat was early in the spring when we were out for a stroll in the neighborhood, a few months after we lost our dog of 13 years. In the interim, Sean had inexplicably developed an irrational fear of cats and dogs. If it were not for the thought of potty training a boy and a puppy at the same time, we would have another dog by now.

Anyway, Sean spotted the cat about a block away and started screaming like he’d seen a lion. With all that screaming, the cat figured surely a baby bird or mouse was being served up for appetizers, so he sprinted our way to check it out. And one thing I think we all know about cats is that they are most attracted to those who like them the least. Which reminds me of an episode from my teen years, but that’s another topic.

In Sean, the cat correctly figured he’d found someone who couldn’t stand the sight of him. So he followed us home to find out where he could terrorize him on a regular basis. Which he does. And even though I am a dog-person, I think I’ve fallen for Cat.

After he followed us home, Cat started coming around to the back door every afternoon for drinks (milk for him, martinis for me). Then he started staying around for dinner. And then one day I found myself in the grocery store stocking up on Fancy Feast and I realized that maybe it was getting out of control. So in a moment of clarity I emailed my neighbor to confess that I had a thing for his cat. I admitted that over the summer we had engaged in some heavy petting and that at this point, I couldn’t promise that with the temperatures dropping, that I wouldn’t ask him in to spend the night. I am not a home wrecker, just a woman caught up with a very charming and handsome cat, and I just thought he should know while there was still time to call Dr. Phil.

Photo: Although it appears that the fear is mutual, Cat is purposely terrorizing Sean by exisiting.

This post was originally published in November of 2005. Smokey Joe and I continue to this day with our illicit affair.

Nothing To Complain About

After three months of freezing weather, too much cookie dough and entirely too much plenty of togetherness at the House of Antique, I am feeling the urge to complain. I am not a winter person. It seeps into my bones and settles into my soul. Like a chest cold. (Correction: Someone just mentioned that it hasn’t been three months, just three days. Sorry. My bad.) Ironically it was just this time last year I was feeling the same way. After I dislodged my nose from my navel I wrote the following post.

Ode To Granny McKee

Dear Granny McKee,

You had long passed away by the time I married into your family, but I feel like I know you from the stories your children and grandchildren like to tell of you. Now that I have a child of my own, it is all the more that I admire you.

On those days when I’m exhausted from the constant struggle of trying to shape one pint-sized caveman into a civilized human being and I’m up to my eyeballs in self-pity, I try to imagine what your life was like living out on the North Texas prairie in the early years of the century with seven children. It is then that I sober up and laugh at the absurdity of my mistaken notion of hardship.

Sometimes I feel put upon to have to make yet another trip to the store (in my nice car and with my bottomless credit card) to buy disposable diapers and wipes to manage the never-ending cycle of diapers. Then I think of you with your two sets of twins less than three years apart. No indoor plumbing and no electricity — nothing but a bucket of water from the well and a scrub board. I know you could tell me a thing or two about never-ending diapers.

Then there are times I imagine myself a martyr because I occasionally sacrifice the few hours of free time I have in a week to lend someone a hand. But then I recall my mother-in-law telling me how as a little girl she would hear you leave the house in the middle of the night to go deliver a baby or care for someone who was sick or to sit up with the dead, as they did in those days. I guess the fact that I no longer have time to sit down and read a novel anymore doesn’t really qualify as a sacrifice, does it?

You would probably find it ridiculous that I groan about having to go to the grocery store when everything on your table was put there after a season of planting, tending, harvesting, peeling, chopping and cooking. And when the Texas skies were stingy with the rain, as they often are, then even all that work didn’t yield enough to feed nine mouths sufficiently. Your children like to tell of how never a Sunday passed that you didn’t invite the traveling preacher and his family home for Sunday dinner and then how afterwards you would send them on their way with a basket of leftovers. In spite of having to work so hard for so little, you shared what little you had, often at the expense of your own family.

And after you had raised all of your seven children and were at a point in your life when you could indulge your own desires, you raised your oldest grandson, who in my book is one of the finest men I know. Except for Sarah Lee pound cake in your later years, self-indulgence was something with which you were unfamiliar.

Thank you Granny McKee for the example of your noble life. I am so proud that my son shares in your heritage. I pray that he has inherited your steely spine and your heart for sacrifice and service.

Love,

Sean’s Mom