Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm Not Deceased (That's a Fancy Word for Dead)




Hi, this is Ali. I can't take your call right now because it's MY birthday and I'm going on a cruise. Eat your heart out!!!

Please leave your name and wait...

If you're calling to make sure I'm still alive (Meredith) you haven't heard from me because I've been cutting out tissue paper pom-poms for Nat's Fancy Nancy birthday soiree (Fancy Nancy would tell you that's a fancy word for party), visiting craft stores in two different states, making every thing I've ever found on Pinterest, buying real china teacups from Goodwill (only the best for my girl and her classmates), decorating the house with feather boas, making a dress-up wardrobe consisting of 12, count 'em 12 tutus & six princess dresses and making my own frilly toothpicks (because as Fancy Nancy says, everything tastes better with frilly toothpicks and I'm a freaking lunatic who seems to think she's got too much time on her hands)...for a bunch of 5-year-olds.  Oh yeah, and I started a new job.

Please leave your name and number and I'll call you back...not done yet...

I'll probably never call you back, EVER, because as soon as I return from my trip I'll still be cleaning up feather remnants and sitting on my couch admiring the amazing tissue paper pom poms that were hung with love from fishing wire from my ceiling. I'll be taking volunteers for suitcase unpacking and laundry washing.

Because after all...I'm a fancy girl now that I threw this Fancy Nancy soiree. Fancy girls do not have to do laundry. What? Don't believe I'm suddenly fancy? Would a non-fancy Mom ever wear this little piece of Jessica McClintock prom contour?

Why yes, that is a giant pink slut shoe. Don't make like you don't have one of those in your house.

Blog post to follow. I just have to get my feces (that's a fancy word for shit) together.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WTF Wednesday - The "Rick Moranis" Edition

I happen to think my husband is the most handsome man alive (I had to say that in case he ever reads my blog).

He's a very attractive adult, but I've always said that as a kid he looked like Rick Moranis. He never took this as a compliment, which is only appropriate since it certainly wasn't. His mother also wasn't amused by my revelation. I'm just glad he grew into his mouth.

What do you think?

And then what did I do? I went and procreated with the guy. Now my kid looks like Rick Moranis too.

WTF were you thinking Ali?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Business Travel - Heck Yes!

Traveling for work is damn awesome. I'm not going to lie. I was a pretty regular traveler back in the day, lugging a laptop through numerous airports even 8 months pregnant...because I'm super. What always struck me as humorous is how many people suggested “It must be so difficult to be away from the kids.” Um, no. Are you kidding? Forget the fact that I'm not exactly an Earth Mother, but why is this so hard for people to believe? Let me explain.

As a mother of three, I have very little time to myself. Traveling for work gives me an excuse to have a little MANDATORY “me time.” There are no arguments from my husband. It is work and I am required to go. It’s an all-expense-paid trip really. I don’t care if I’m not in an exotic location. Dayton, Ohio is enough for me.

First and foremost, I get to unleash my inner slob for a few days. No one has ever accused me of being tidy. I’m a pig. I’ve always been a pig and I don’t plan on making any major life changes now. And much to the dismay of the man I married, I throw stuff everywhere, but when I’m home I at least do what I call “picking up the big chunks.”

Basically, anything that would seem irresponsible to a moderately tidy person gets picked up. Like blatant paper on the floor, dishes on the bathroom counter (yes bathroom), dog vomit. Anything else can wait until I'm damn good and ready to clean it up.  Here are a few shots of what my room looked like last week. Excuse the ugly iPhone images. Crap everywhere! Shoes kicked off the second I walked in the door. Razor left on the side of the tub. Party supplies on the couch because I also found some "me time" for shopping. It was awesome!

Traveling for work allows me to sleep in a big bed all by myself. Right in the middle. No snoring husband, no possibility of a kid walking in at 3 a.m. wanting to sleep in with me, no Chihuahua between my legs (Chihuahua between my legs is not code for anything dog literally climbs into bed and snuggles behind my knees). It’s just me under the covers in a 68 degree room. Of course I drop the air conditioner to sub zero temps because I’m not the one paying for it.                

I get to watch TV. Yes, a simple concept, but I don’t get the luxury at home. What do you think the odds I are of me sitting in my family room and watching two back-to-back episodes of Dance Moms? I'd never even seen it before. But I certainly wasn't going to get the chance at home. The only thing we watch back-to-back is Bubble Guppies and I have to be on hand to do the DVR for Justin.

And can we please talk about free food? Not only do I not have to cook, I get to eat real restaurant food. And we’re not talking about McDonalds. Since I’m not paying for it I spring for the appetizer. Wooo! Party time. AND I can eat in bed.

Finally, my work travel allows me to continue the affair I’ve been having for years. I'm not proud of this. I really only ever see him when I go away since we can’t rendezvous with my husband and kids around. But thanks to TBS, me and Zack Morris can spend our mornings together at Bayside. It’s a bit of a tradition we have, me and Zack. We only get to see each other when I have a hotel room to myself. I have had to share a room with co-workers upon occasion. They’ve met Zack. They think I’m crazy, but they don’t judge. Today, my boyfriend had to break it to his friend Slater that his pet chameleon Artie died. He’s so sensitive. I love you Zacky. I took a picture of him and Screech right after they figured out that he wasn't just sleeping.

See you in Orlando next month Zacky Baby! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WTF Wednesday - The "Annoying Airplane People" Edition

It's WTF Wednesday again and this week I'm coming to you from beautiful Dayton, Ohio.

On Sunday, I had to fly. Yes, I flew on September 11. I was OK with it. It was just weird. I'm in Dayton for new-hire training which is kind of fun since I've been re-hired to do essentially, a variation of my OLD job. Maybe I'll do it right the second time.

So anyway, for WTF Wednesday, I'm writing about the people I encountered in my travels on Sunday that deserved a punch in the gut if not a hearty WTF from the grumpy mom who was leaving her three innocent children in the hands of their sweet, yet sometimes incompetent father.

- Punchee #1 - Sexy Girl - In the security line at home I noticed her. It was kinda hard NOT to notice an adult woman in a florescent pink t-shirt with the word "SEXY" written on it. Not only this, it also had the bottom and  the neck cut off and was hanging off her shoulder a la Flashdance. No, you maniac (Flashdance reference) that shirt is not sexy and either are you in the leggings. A classic case of false advertising.

- Punchee #2 - Flight Status Lady - During my layover in Atlanta, I was sitting at the gate listening to President Obama speak. It was completely surreal to be sitting with a bunch of strangers in an airport listening to the leader of the free world talk about planes crashing. Soon the football game came on and there was a very patriotic dedication at the beginning with Lady Antebellum singing the national anthem. "THE MONITOR SAID OUR FLIGHT IS ON TIME!!!" Oh my gosh. This place is practically silent. There are people with tears in their eyes having a very moving moment when this assclown decides that it's appropriate to..."NO THEY AREN'T MOVING GATES"...scream over the crowd from the desk to her party sitting next to me..."LET'S GO GET A SNACK"... that although there is no plane at the gate we're still on time. Glad to hear it.

- Punchee #3 - Mr. Booze Breath - Listen people. I am a business person. I get why airports have bars. However, I am completely disgusted by people who get on a plane reeking of alcohol. I smelled you, Mr. Booze Breath, literally the second I sat down. I was thrilled when you took out a cough drop and fell asleep. You must have got my subtle hint of me covering my nose with my hand very deliberately. So to teach you a lesson, I'm going to take a picture of your hands, bright blue shorts and oh-so-sexy knees and post it to my world-famous blog. Try that on for size.

- Punchee #4 - The Linguist - This is my absolute favorite. Before we took off there was a quiet moment where I overheard the following conversation: "Alright Bro. I'm on the plane Bro. I'll call you when I get to Dayton Bro. Love you Bro." This is an actual quote. I know because I wrote it down. If you lost count, he used "Bro" FOUR times. That is a new World's Record. Call Guinness!

I saw him again when we landed. He had a tattoo that said none other than....."Dayton" of course! He literally had a tattoo that said "Dayton". You thought I was gonna say "Bro", didn't you? Gotcha! Not that Bro would have been any less ridiculous than permanently inking the name of one a Midwestern city on your forearm. WTF?

Honorable mention: I'm kind of on the fence about this one. The flight attendant was so pleasant when she handed me my orange juice and said "Enjoy!" Aww. How nice. She's so sweet. The way she wanted me to enjoy my beverage. It's so refreshing to see someone taking pride in her job even at this late hour at night. And then a guy behind me ordered coffee. "Enjoy!" The kid who ordered Sprite. "Enjoy!" Bloody Mary mix Man. "Enjoy!" Gasp! She's an "Enjoy WHORE!." And then someone ordered a Coke Zero. No "Enjoy." Because obviously, Coke Zero is not nearly as enjoyable as a regular Coke. She couldn't fake it. No "Enjoy" for you.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Might Have Overreacted Just a Weeeee Bit

Last Tuesday I picked up my phone to find this text from the mother of Ryan's school best friend.

Ryan spit on her kid's food and she had to drive a new lunch to school. Well isn't that a delight? Once again, I look like I'm raising heathens. I can only imagine the damage control this is going to require. "But you don't understand, he never, ever spits. There must be a medical explanation." Knowing that he's more of a "raspberry guy" than a nasty "hocker spitter," I assumed there was a rational response.

There was. In the car, he explained that Sam was singing at lunch, and he was trying to be funny. And like the typical goofball he is, he began making "musical" sounds in the form of spitting. My son is a musical genius. I should be happy he didn't resort to his favorite make-shift musical instrument, his armpit. 

Innocent enough, but I was pissed at him. This wasn't the first time these two have gotten into trouble at lunch. He had been warned.

Onward and upward I say! We soon found ourselves at the preschool to pick up the little ones. The same preschool we've been to 176 times before. The same preschool where I read him the riot act every single day about behaving. The same preschool where all the parents think I raise heathens (see paragraph 2). The same get the picture. 

So I round up the little kids - and by "rounded up" I mean it literally would be easier with a lasso, but I think that's illegal - and headed towards the door. 

And in walks a mom with the cutest linen pants. Yes, this is important to the story. I happen to be in the market for linen pants. This must be my lucky day. So as I'm knee deep in conversation about the miracle that is TJMaxx, I hear the following:

"Aaah---, Aaah---,Aaah---, Aaah---, Aaah---, Aaah---!"

It took me a few very long seconds to realize that the sound was coming from my children and I turned around to find my son in the lobby annoyingly lifting his sister from behind using a technique that can only be described as across between a pro-wrestling move and the Heimlich maneuver while essentially bouncing up and down. Her feet were off the ground (picture the scene in Grease where Sonny lifts the teacher off the dance floor during hand jive).

And she was screaming in her most phony, dramatic voice. "Aaah---, Aaah---   Aaah---, Aaah---, Aaah---, Aaah---!" Yep, she got my attention. My attention, the attention of three other mothers and the school bookkeeper who was giving me a much-deserved "You're The Worst Mother in the World" look.

I snapped-to and ran to reprimand my two children. I said two, not three. Justin had walked off and disappeared into the bookkeeper's office. So I retrieved him too.

After unsuccessfully attempting to grow six more arms to escort the kids through the parking lot to the minivan, they were buckled in and ready to go.

Here's the part about the over reacting: I turned around and said the following: "Ryan you are an absolute embarrassment. How many times have I told you not to pick up your sister? Those other moms think I'm a terrible mother and I raised a bunch of ANIMALS. Do you know what 'mortified' means?"

I was pretty fired up, but I didn't think I quite made my point. "And Natalie, you have to stop with all the phony drama. It's annoying and nobody believes you. " Nope, still not getting my point across of how mad I am.

So I hastily whip up this little ditty: "And Ryan your birthday is on Saturday. I am not buying you a single birthday present. No birthday presents for mom and dad. NONE. Do you hear me? No birthday presents at all." Yes, pretty drastic, but I'm still mad. "And no TV or video games for two weeks." 

With this he began to whimper a bit. OK, I thought, this made me feel better. At least this elicited a response.

I relayed the story to my sister-in-law. She's a teacher. She said I was too harsh. So what if he's never been grounded before and I jumped right to two weeks?Shit Tanya.

At the pizza place that night where I reminded him of his punishment. He didn't need MY reminder. He didn't have his trusty DS with him and he had no choice but to actually TALK to us. That's punishment enough. Ever the martyr, he suggested that we just cancel his family birthday party. Oh no you didn't Ryan. Don't give ME"martyr" kid. I invented the martyr act. I said I'd have gladly canceled his birthday dinner if we hadn't already invited our relatives.

And yes, I drove that message home several times during dinner. I'm proud to say that he now knows the definitions of the works "mortified" and "heathen."

And shut up: You know we gave him a present for his birthday, but he's still grounded from the TV and video games. Because my kids aren't allowed to make me look like an ass in public. That's their father's job.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

An UnBirthday

***Disclaimer: This is not a funny post. It is certainly not meant to offend. I'm just trying to digest this because I've never encountered anything like this before. ***

Ryan's 8th Birthday on Friday. As the oldest of three kids (all who have birthdays in a 5-week span) it's not his turn for a party this year. His class celebration is pretty much all he has going for him.

Last year, he didn't go to school on his birthday. He was dressed and ready to go when we decided that he was too sick. So his awesome father went to pick up his favorite sprinkle donuts that we already ordered for the class, brought them home to his sick kid and made him a "donut tower" before bringing the remainder to his office for the vultures. We re-ordered the donuts the next week and Ryan was happy.

Here's a photo. Yes, my guys match the kitchen.

This year, I sent his teacher (who I like very much) an email just to make sure she was OK with me sending them again. Really, just from a logistical standpoint.

Her reply: I think that would be wonderful! Make sure we use the words "shared snack" as there are some children who do not celebrate birthdays.  

Wait. What? My kid can't call it his "Birthday"? "Shared Snack?"

As I write this, I'm still trying to wrap my head around something which goes against everything I've ever known. Here are my thoughts:

I consider myself to be pretty politically correct. I usually err on the side of caution. I never talk about politics in any company. I teach my children to respect all people regardless of their race or religion, because I truly do. I like (for the most part) that my child goes to public school where he is exposed to cultures that are different than ours. That's the reality of our society.

I completely, 100% understand not celebrating religious holidays in class. And frankly, I tend to agree with this. It is public school. I understand not celebrating Halloween because of the whole "demon" thing. I participated (with maybe a slight an eye-roll) in the "Dress Up As Your Favorite Storybook Character" parade held on October 31. I have no problem with him making snowflake and snowman crafts in the winter instead of Santa Claus and Christmas trees. I totally get it. Public school is not a place to be imposing religious or cultural beliefs on others.

But I have to draw the line at birthdays. It's not a religious belief TO celebrate birthdays. It's a religious belief NOT to celebrate them. Therefore, I think that another person's religious belief is being imposed on my son and his classmates by glossing over the fact that these donuts are for a birthday. I'm not suggesting that NOT celebrating birthdays is right or wrong. I'm just saying that OUR family does. And so to the vast majority of families I know.

HE'S 8! He gets one big day a year. Everyone has a birthday. Nobody is excluded from being born.

I took it to Facebook (of course) and my friend told me that when her mom taught school they had to be sensitive to a particular religion that she named - which I'm not even going to write here because that's not the point. And there is probably more than one culture or faith that doesn't celebrate.

And part of me is on the fence about this. We all have the right to believe what we want. But I feel that if anyone is opposed to celebrating a non-religious occasion that is commonplace in our society, their child should respectfully decline to participate, not keep an entire class from celebrating what the donuts are REALLY for. Did I happen to mention it's widely celebrated and non-religious?

Several of my friends mentioned that they remember children of one particular faith having to leave the classroom whenever there was a celebration. I hurt for any child that is excluded from anything for ANY reason. I hate the thought of any child being left out. But that isn't my decision, it's the decision of their parents.

I don't like that my kid has to put on a facade and pretend that it's just a coincidence that he's bringing in sprinkle donuts on Sept. 10 which just happens to be the day he was born? Fancy that.

And yes, I'm splitting hairs here, but is "faking it" really what we want to be teaching our kids. "OK, Ryan we know that these are really your Birthday Donuts, but we're just going to call them 'shared snacks'." Wink, wink.

I also feel bad for his teacher. Yes, she could have just told me "no." It has to be awkward to explain this to parents. She was very professional about it and for this reason I agreed and did not give her a hard time. I'm sure you can imagine how much I wanted to deliver a snarky comeback. I also understand that not saying "Happy Birthday" makes it easier for her to coordinate her whole class and I think she completely deserves that.

My guess is that there IS a particular child in his class that this applies to as I've never encountered it in his last 2 years of public school or at the daycare where the little kids go. I don't think this is a school district policy.

So on Friday, my kid will be toting in his "shared snack." I'm guessing there will be no singing either. And I feel bad for him.

What do you think?

***I'm leaving comments open, but I'll delete anything I think is too intense. Please be gentle and feel free to tell me if I'm totally out of line, just be nice about it.***

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Honeymooners or Whatever

11 years ago TODAY, we left for our honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean. A few weeks ago, I posted a picture from our wedding and today, I'm linking up with Natalie again to show off our honeymoon shots.

We have said that Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica was by far the most fun we've ever had together and we stand by that to this day. Here we are as he's pulling my ass into freezing cold water.

One of the ports was Cozumel where, in an attempt to get in some culture, we visited the Mayan  Ruins. Here's my very cultured husband pretending to use what he insisted was a "Mayan Toilet." Notice how FAR back I was standing to take this picture. This wasn't the first or the last time this man would completely mortify me.

Here we are at dinner. Pretty much the best thing about any cruise. Unlimited food. Yes, that shirt is very shiny. Glad you noticed.

Finally, here is the other couple we spent half of our honeymoon with. I think that after a few days they had enough of each other (just like we had) and needed some company. Does anyone know them? Their names are Ryan and Tammy and I think they were from Boston. This was before the days of Facebook and we got their phone numbers and emails, but never connected. I'd love to hear if they're still married.  Clearly, neither of them read my world-famous blog or certainly they'd have reached out, right?

We have never been on another cruise despite numerous attempts. Every time we were ready to go, I'd become pregnant again. So we're going at the end of the month. This time we'll be taking 3 stowaways.

Mommy of a Monster