Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm staying up til midnight to make sure 2009 really leaves

New Year’s Eve 1999. Do you remember where you were? I don’t recall exactly…but it’s not that important, I was probably with one of the many no good boyfriends I accumulated over the years. Today I was driving around and I happened to catch a piece on NPR about the past decade and also about New Year’s resolutions.  I had to turn it off after awhile because it not only depressed me but it made me really angry.  I started to think about the past 10 years and how much has changed in my life and in the lives of people everywhere.
This decade gave way to new vocabulary, words like “unfriend”, “fan-fiction” (a personal favorite), “frenemy”, “staycation”, “carbon footprint”, the list goes on.  The other day, my husband used the phrase “flash mob” and I’m such a dumbass I had to look it up.  Go ahead. I am hoping there are a few of you who will run over to Google it right now. We also added some words I’d like to NOT mention, but can’t avoid: “war on terror”, “earmark”, “waterboarding”, and, of course, “post 9/11”.  The last one makes me stop in my tracks and really think about how much has changed in the past decade – for me and for my family.
Ten years ago, I was 24.  I thought I had the world by the balls.  I was skinny and cute and could get by on some of that…and that caused me to think that my shit didn’t stink.  A lot has changed since then.  In the past decade I met my silly husband and had two beautiful children.  I lost a few close friends and I met a few people who would become closer to me than some of my family. I gained a lot of weight and I lost most of it.  I graduated from college.  And then, for some insane reason, I decided to go back! I lost an amazing set of grandparents but I gained a niece, a nephew, and a set of in-laws that most people would be envious of.  I have seen some of my best friends get married and divorced. I’ve seen my friends experience the ups and downs and the lack of sleep that motherhood brings.  Early in the morning of September 11, 2001, I lost a smart, tall,  handsome and funny cousin.  That is the one day I would like to erase from the past decade.
And what did I take from all of that? Well, first, I would like to say “suck it” to those people making New Year’s resolutions. I mean, seriously. Do you really think you’re going to go to the gym after January 23rd? Really? Are you going to give up fast food? Come ON.  I know, I’m both critical and cynical, both important qualities to have, I think, but I get super irritated when I hear people drone on about what they’re going to change this year.  I might not look like I did on New Years Eve 1999, but I’m that same girl on the inside, and I like to think I’m a bit wiser. I put my sweet girls to bed tonight and it struck me that we only really have what is right in front of us at any given time.  So much can be taken away in the blink of an eye – your children, your home, your sense of safety, your money…Bernie Madoff  and the stock market taught us that lesson – and even if you have money, chances are you’re an insufferable asshole anyway, and you don’t count.  All you can really change in 2010 is what is inside of you, and that isn’t the stuff of resolutions. 

he might knock four times...or not

My husband is having a love affair. There. I said it. I should be happy because the person he’s so taken with is a doctor. Doctor Who to be exact. I’m just going to let you all in on a secret, it’s something that no Doctor Who fan will want you to know – they don’t like to talk about their love. It’s very private and weird. Well, I added that last part, I think it might only be weird to me. When he was courting me, I had no idea of his infatuation with the Doctor, and the agony that this affair would one day bring me. I like to think I was a victim of a terrible scam. Ours was a perfect courtship, but it was full of false advertisement. I really had no idea how deep his love was for this flawed dorky Time Lord, until after we’d been married and it was too late for me to run for my life.

For Christmas this year, Zoe thought Santa should bring Daddy Doctor Who movies, and that he should bring Mommy “pink Doctor Who.” Lucy can name the tune to the theme song in three notes or less. As I was driving home from St. Louis today, I began thinking more about his insane fascination. In the car, I asked Steve how old he was when he saw his first episode of Doctor Who. Silly me. So many other conversations with him begin, “hey! Guess what they’re filming…” “hey! When David Tennant leaves…” “…the fifth doctor…” and typically as soon as I hear what he’s talking I totally tune out. So, why was I starting this conversation? Why was I opening this can? And why did one single little question spur 38 minutes of Tom Baker this and striped scarves that and Daleks…

I digress. I guess my point is that there is never really any rhyme or reason to people’s interests. I don’t like to talk about my creepy love for stinky old book smell. How, when I visit the library at UMKC I like to sit in the aisles and just sniff. I wish they would bottle that smell, only I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who would love it. Also, I love more than anything to sit and curse in my head. I try to see how many different ways I can drop the F bomb. I’m a weird chic. I do weird things. Who am I to judge Steve? I do think it’s a bit strange, however, that whenever Doctor Who comes up in conversation with other people, they’re always like, “Oh yeah! We watched that show! Didn’t you ever watch it?” Uh. Nope. Never heard of it before Steve came along to enlighten me. And I’m not really all that upset about the false advertising – it was a bit shocking but it would never change my feelings for him. But, his feelings for me? I have to say I worry sometimes. To put it simply, if a blue call box (it’s not a phone booth, duh) were to show up on our front lawn, Steve would for sure leave me for it. Hands down, without a doubt, I would be left in the smoke from that damn Tardis.

It’s okay. I’d just tell everyone he pulled a Tiger Woods on me, with eleven different…doctors. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

sort of like that Hank Williams tune

My Aunt Karen used a word the other day during our phone conversation that I’d never heard. It didn’t surprise me that she used it – she called it a “Gerty-ism.” Gertrude was my maternal great grandmother and apparently she was nuttier than a fruitcake. Not nutty in a crazy way, I assume. I like to think she was just odd. A Gerty-ism is something like a superstition, like “don’t tell your dreams before breakfast or they’ll not come true” or “if your ear itches, someone is talking about you”. Families all over the place have these superstitions, but for some reason Gertrude Andrews also made up some crazy ass words, too. My Aunt Karen was “ganushing” (gah-noosh-ing) which apparently means she kept crunching crumbs and sprinkles, which had fallen to the floor during cookie baking, with her bare feet. I get it. I ganush all the time – but in my house it just means that I’m a terrible slob. Seriously, what is the point of sweeping and mopping the kitchen when it’s just going to get dirty again within the hour? That’s why we have a dog.

I wish I had met Gertrude Andrews. I don’t know much about her, but I like to think we’re a bit alike. For years she was a guard at an all women’s penitentiary in upstate New York. I run an all girls penitentiary right here in my home. Anyway, my point is that over the holidays I’ve been thinking about the sorts of family traditions and values that we’re passing along to my girls. Like the one where I wait until the last minute to pack my bag when we go to visit my in-laws in St. Louis. This is the tradition in which we arrive and I realize quickly that I have packed seventeen different outfits for the children and five shirts for me. That’s it. Count ‘em: five shirts and NO fucking pants. So, my choice is to wear the pants I wore on the car ride here where we slid across I-70 on the ice and I nearly shit them three times, OR, go buy new pants. Seriously, people. This happens EVERY time we go to St. Louis.

We’ve been watching old home movies this week. And just as I wish I had met Gertrude Andrews, I wish wholeheartedly that my children could have met my grandparents or the people in my husband’s family who are no longer with us. I wish my Grandpa Bloom could have “Uncle Berted” my kids (the tradition in which he let his 5 o’clock shadow grow enough that he could rub his cheek against ours and make us holler in pain), or that my Grandma Jeannie could have had a burping contest with my Zoe, who would totally give her a run for her money. And my kids could learn all those made up words, like “ganushing” to teach their own children when I’m no longer here to teach them good stuff – sans pants.

ta da.

I’ve never thought I wanted to blog. It always seemed obnoxious and self-serving to me – I mean, really? Does anyone really care what I think? And then, guess what? It turns out that I don’t care – and self-serving and obnoxious are two of my better traits. So: here it is, internets. This is my Christmas present…to me. I should preface this by saying I’m a part time preschool teacher and a full time mother to two children under the age of five, so I do a lot of censoring myself on a daily basis. I will NOT censor what I’m saying here. And so? If something offends you? I’m sure you can find a bazillion other self-serving, obnoxious blogs out there to read instead of this one – get on it.

I’m married, I have two kids, I work part time outside the house, full time as a mom, and I go to school part time as well. My life is very much what you might expect it to be – a mess of epic proportions – and so, when my husband asked what I wanted to write about, all I could think to say was, “NOT my life!” So, here you have it – perhaps it’s the beginning of the end? Or, perhaps it’s the beginning of yet another mess of epic proportions. Either way, I hope you enjoy whatever this turns out to be. And if you don’t? Keep it to yourself.