Hurricane Plants

Yes. Hurricane plants.

Do you know the ones I mean? When a storm’s coming, a hurricane plant turns itself inside out so all that’s visible are the white undersides of the leaves. It’s disconcerting, foreboding, even, to feel the wind and see the purple-black sky and watch those plants curl over themselves, tucking under that shell. Google says they’re philodendron, but I thought they were hibiscus or some kind of palm. I should ask my mother. She would know.

Dane’s been sick for two weeks with no sign of abatement. His illness is changing, sure, but we’re progressing from one kind of bad to another, instead of into varying shades of better. His issue is not life-threatening. It’s not chronic, nor will it scar him or change his health outcome in any way. He has a nasty, untreatable virus that’s having some nasty aftereffects, and by the time we go to the beach in July, the whole episode will be a blip on the screen of an otherwise sunny spring. But. BUT.

I’m crouching over him anyway. I’m in the right now, and I’m tired and worried and there’s nothing I can do to help. We just have to have patience, which, as you may imagine, isn’t in my wheelhouse. My grandfather wasn’t the only rustic frontier-independent Texan in my family. You get in the way of my child, and like any good parent, I will move you. Only you can’t move a virus. Reason it off a ledge. Threaten it with a broken beer bottle (Stay green, Ponyboy. Stay green.). You can’t make a doctor, or drug, or your mother or husband, fix something when the only solution is time. And most importantly, I can’t fix him. Instead, I’m curled over him, not because I’m mother of the year or because I reasoned out the answer in a spreadsheet, but because it’s the only thing I know how to do. I feel like a failure. Helpless. And let me be clear. That helplessness? I HATE IT.

I’m not asking for sympathy. I know there’s much, much worse out there, and there are much stronger people who deal with those problems. Dane’s virus will pass and he’ll be back to picking up earthworms and rushing toward the future at lightspeed, and I’ll flip over some leaves and signal the bartender for another drink. But for now,  I’ve tucked this baby under me and we’re just waiting, and praying, for the weather to pass.

Always.

Smooch -s

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

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I Was a Senior Hottie (Sibtitled: The Pictorial of Doom, Version 1995)

Well, hello, ladies! Am I late to the party? I can almost always blame my husband for our tardiness, but this time I blame Dane, who has a crazy two-week long viral rash thing happening. Thank you, snugglebuggy. Deeply.

What am I talking about, you ask? (Or, privately amongst each other: Has she finally lost it? Gone the way of the fruit loop? Marbled out?) No, no, you doubting doubters. I’m just linking up with I Was a Senior Hottie at the eleventh hour, because it took me an entire week to dig out my old photo albums and come up up with some pics from 1995 (UGH. REALLY?), and then it took me even longer to come up with pics from the last six months. For real. I have, like, two. So go check out a belle, a bean & a chicago dog, read all those brave ladies who posted their high school pics along with their faces right now, and judge all you want. Because in a world where high fashion means pleated cream pants tapering to the ankle and matching cream clogs, I am Serena Freaking van der Woodson.

(That’s right, I said it. I WATCH GOSSIP GIRL EVEN THOUGH I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL IN 1995. Don’t judge.)

So, 1995:

What am I, the Washington Monument? Yeesh.

p.s. I’m pretty sure this whole outfit is from Express, back when Express sold stuff that wasn’t made out of snakeskin-print lycra and actually covered your butt.

p.p.s. Tapered, pleated pants. Really.

Aw, prom. How cute was my date? (Look away, honey, look away.) In case you’re not from Texas, he’s wearing a Texas tux: all business on the top, party on the bottom. I wore this poofy dress about three years before they were in style. Un-ironically. And even though I was the only one at prom not wearing a sequined mermaid dress, I loved it (which makes me sound way cooler and more forward-thinking than I actually was, trust me).

You can’t see it, but that’s a Spuds Mackenzie t-shirt I have tucked into those high-waisted, ripped jean shorts (shorts that, by-the-by, used to belong to Aunt Brookie, standing to the right). I wore that tee/short combo for at least three years of high school and pretty much all of college. Because they were COOL, y’all.

 Also, John Lennon called, and he’s never wearing his glasses again because, well, I ruined them. (Yes, from the grave. WHAT.)

Also, also, Aunt Brookie, did you really think I wouldn’t drag you into this? That’s what you get for being my fashion icon.

NOW:

Our Christmas pic from last year. I promise, I’ve had all kinds of haircuts since high school; it’s total coincidence that I’ve ended up with 1995 hair again, all these years later. At least now I have a Chi and an assortment of bedazzled hats. Speaking of which:

With the yummy puppy on his first birthday, in a glorified trucker hat and costumed as a dog groomer as imagined by Britney Spears. Y’all. Did I mention the yummy puppy? DEE. LISH.

Hold the phone, y’all, here’s one that more accurately captures what I look like on a regular day: hair all amess, hiding behind sunglasses because I may or may not be wearing makeup, hiding behind child because, let’s face it, he’s way cuter than me.

Oh, and HELL YES I instagrammed the heck out of that picture. We all look better with a little Lo-Fi, don’t you agree?

Did I mention 1995? UGH.

That is all.

Smooch -s

Why, Hello!

Did you miss me? Long for my presence? Pass the time of my absence in loneliness and despair? Take up the banjo? Meet someone and run off to Mexico? No? Bummer. I missed you. Trust me.

Want to know what I’ve been up to? Conveniently, it’s almost Monday. Yay! Well, sort of! Okay, not really! But for Monday Listicles this week, I’ll catch you up on some things I learned about Kansas, leather goods and my child over the last three weeks.

1. I hid from this:

Why yes, Dorothy, that IS a tornado.

I would make some comment about the madness of seeing a tornado out the back window of Aunt Brookie’s house (just before we all dashed into the basement for, oh, an hour), but really: duh.

2. I bought boots. And other stuff, but really, boots. Cowboy boots. Embroidered with doves. Did I mention boots? Oh yes. Boots.

3. Aunt Brookie coined a new phrase: mommystalker. As in “Please stop staring at your child in the video monitor, you mommystalker.” And at first, I was all hey, nice, A.B., and then it hit me. She’s right. Damn.

4. With two nights left, Dane’s last overnight diaper developed a puncture wound (an overzealous diapering mommy might have caused this. I won’t name names, but…). So: duct tape. And you know what? Worked like a charm.

Is a crotch shot inappropriate for an eighteen-month-old?

5. Dane’s cousins tested his masculinity. He passed.

In sixteen years, he’s going to KILL me for this.

6. I discovered I’m raising the next David Beckham. Although I would prefer NOT to see him in his underwear on a billboard. Which is something I never thought I’d say about my child, but there you go.

Fully clothed. (Finally.)

7. We watched a daily live show of construction out A.B.’s breakfast room window. Dane can now identify, by sound only: a cement mixer, a backhoe, a dozer, a plumbing van and a Land Rover. That’s right. My next call is to Mensa.

Delicious.

8. Black beans + Dane bored in a restaurant = Smearage

Also, delicious. I’d eat those beans.

9. Wait, scratch David Beckham. Dane’s going to be the next Paul Tuetel, Jr. Only with better hair.

Why yes, Dorothy, that IS a chopper made out of Legos.

Also, Legoland rocks. There are some words I never thought I’d say, and I lived in Denmark. But there you go.

10. Thank God, his cousins are cool. Otherwise, Dane’s screwed.

Fabulousness is genetic.

Smooch -s

Letter to Dane, 540 (Part Warp Speed, Baby)

Hey, Little Man.

Yes, I’m writing you letters again. No, this time I promise I won’t mention the glad wrap incident or all of your embarrassing nicknames. (Well, I might mention one or two, snugglebuggy. What? I’m still the mommy here.)

You’re awfully busy, friend. Today I looked through a doorway and found you pushing your fire truck down the hall and muttering whee-eww, whee-eww under your breath. You won’t go outside without your ball cap, and you think your basketball goal is the coolest toy you’ve ever seen, except for the motorized Jeep owned by the three-year-old down the street. I would call him spoiled but you’re getting one for Christmas next year. Don’t tell Daddy.

I still refuse to cut your hair, and I’m sure at seventeen you’re going to look back on photos at this stage of life and complain to me about your shag. But I love to run my fingers through those curls and feel the under-damp after your nap, and oh, the smell of it, baby, the smell. I could eat you, if you weren’t so busy with your trains and toy motorcycles and mow-mow, and leaking mucus from here to kingdom come. I love all of you, mucus included, but I’ll pass on getting personal with your snot unless it’s a medical necessity. Some day, you’ll understand.

You’re trying to get words into sentences now, and you’re gleeful over rolling banana slices around your placemat like wheels, and unless you’re asleep, you’re stuck on turbo speed. Every morning and every afternoon, we go out and wave at the school bus, and the driver, Mr. Greg, stops and waves back at us. Today, you opened and closed your fist, asking him to honk. You love lawn equipment of any kind, the mail truck, the garbage truck, your green plastic shovel (DIG! DIG!) and Puppy (who, by the way, has developed an odor despite many, many washings. We’re going to have to address this, posthaste.).

I don’t know, little man, about this growing up business. Of course I wouldn’t want it any other way. But when you’re racing around the house at a thousand miles an hour, all I want to do is scoop you up and breath you in and hold you. We’re not getting these moments back. It’s not always easy and it’s almost never perfect, but as your father has observed in the past, things in our house are at their best when they’re just a little sideways. So when I cover you in kisses or cut off your air supply by hugging you too tight or insist on wiping you down with one last Boogie Wipe, have patience with your mama. You’re headed towards warp speed, baby, and all I want, to paraphrase a country song, is a slow down.

 Dirt, baby.

Love,

Mommy

p.s. That puppy thing has to happen. Sorry, little dude. Puppy needs a dip.

p.p.s. Hey, Yeah Write folks: I wrote this last week and linked up with Alison at Mama Wants This and Galit at These Little Waves for Memories Captured, so if you’ve already read it, I’m sorry! I’m out of town for a few weeks and more behind than usual. Thanks, y’all! -s

 

Because it’s Monday, and I Can

Well, it’s Monday again, and I spent the whole weekend eating pizza and sushi and cookies and drinking beer and doing taxes and BOY HOWDY am I glad that’s all over (the taxes part, I mean) (because pizza, sushi, cookies and beer ROCK). And because it’s Monday, and because The Good Life is hosting Monday Listicles, and because, as I’ve previously mentioned, I love a good list, here’s a new one. Stasha’s topic this week was “CELEBRITIES: THEY’RE JUST LIKE US” (a la US Weekly), but once I started writing I realized I don’t really want celebrities to be like me, because that would make my People really, really boring. So, instead, here are my top ten dream jobs (because, well, I can).

TOP TEN DREAM JOBS OF THE SFB ‘HOOD

1. Nail Polish Namer: When was the last time you had a mani/pedi? And did you marvel at the name on the bottom of the bottle? Lincoln Park After Dark? Pussy Galore? Brazilian Wax Gone Bad? Okay, I made that last one up (see, y’all? TRUE. TALENT). I’ve been wearing I’m Not Really a Waitress since I was, in fact, a waitress, but I may finally switch to the new OPI Texas Collection shade Suzi Loves Cowboys. Because, well… duh.

Oh, and OPI: Call me.

2. Starbucks Taste-Tester: Because: obviously. Also, I’d never have to sleep again. WINNING.

3. Island Sitter: No joke, this was a real thing in New Zealand or somewhere similarly tropical (okay, I did a little research and found the info here. FOR REAL, YO.). You had to make a video and be charming and intelligent and look good in a swimsuit. As you might guess, I didn’t get the job.

4. Suri Cruise’s Personal Biographer: Don’t you want to be a fly on the wall in that house? As a bonus, I’d walk around all day humming Highway to the Danger Zone. As a double-added bonus, I think Katie (Kate? Katie? PICK A NAME, ALREADY.) is still besties with Pacey. That’s right, I said it: PACEY.

5. Ditto (4), sub Ryan Reynolds for Suri: Because, well, see (2).

6. GOOP editor: Oh Gwynnie. For whom do you write this drivel? I’d receive your latest copy recommending the mother-to-be needs $164 bassinet sheets and J-Brand maternity skinny jeans, and send it back to you suggesting that a mother-to-be, in fact, needs a functioning diaper genie, two comfortable nursing bras and a long nap.

7. Published Novelist: I don’t need awards. Really, I don’t even need to get paid all that much (although don’t get me wrong, major publishing houses. I won’t turn your dollars away.). Hey, a girl can dream.

8. Professional Soccer Player: I could run around sweaty and gross in my sports bra, be a role model for little girls AND get to meet David Beckham. And I’m already well-qualified for one-third of those requirements!

9. Donald Trump: Because once, just once, I want to fire somebody on The Celebrity Apprentice. Preferably Aubrey O’Day, but I’d also accept Lisa Lamapanelli or Victoria Gotti (can we bring her back just for that purpose?). Also, because I really want to tell Don, Jr. to LAY OFF THE HAIR PRODUCT ALREADY.

10. Dane’s Mommy: Ahhhhh, that’s right: I’ll stick with my day job.

Dee. Lish.

Smooch -s

Easter Monday and Whatnot

So, in addition to being in a food coma from this weekend (and also from today, in which I ate not one but THREE chocolate mini bunnies), I’m behind on, like, 80% of my life. Part of that 80% belongs to the federal government. This means that instead of my usual wordy wordiness, today I present:

PHOTO DAY IN THE ‘HOOD

Subtitled: Because Words Are More Effective When I’ve Got Some That Other People Want to Read (Instead of Bitching About my Taxes and Stomachache and Calling it Good)

Henceforth, from Dane’s first Easter egg hunt at our neighbor’s house last Friday, in which the eighty degree weather we’ve had for all of March dropped to 40 and sucking:

Dis’? Dis’?

Um, Mommy. You know it’s raining, right?

Photoshop, Mommy. Look into it.

And finally:

AngelBaby

Smooch -s

A Scholarly Discourse on Office Supplies, Swamp People and Jensen Ackles

I have a guilt thing. Blame religion, or my undiagnosed generalized anxiety disorder, or my fourth grade teacher who once lost it and caused a giant fracas by shoving all the books off a student’s desk, giving me a deep, abiding phobia of frosted blond hair and fractions (what’s wrong with a good decimal point, anyway?). Her name was Mrs. Christian. I sometimes wonder what happened to her. And then I have another drink and think: Whatever.

Anyway.

So since I’m all about (a) making lists and (b) following along with Monday Listicles at The Good Life, it was a little slice of heaven to find this week’s topic is guilty pleasures. And that’s right, people: binder clips, once again, make the list. You’re welcome.

TOP TEN GUILTY PLEASURES UP IN THE SFB ‘HOOD

Subtitled: Really, more of a list of my favorite stuff because, well, I feel guilty about everything.

1. Stockpiling random office supplies: Binder clips, for example. Also, mini-staplers that fit in my purse but do not make it through TSA screenings, white-out (more for the smell than the usage), Sharpies (usage and smell, BONUS!) and post-it notes. In fact, if I could wallpaper my house in post-it notes, I would. Hey, post-it-note wallpaper! I smell an Etsy store! COPYRIGHT, PLEASE!

2. (And while we’re in the category of items that make every list I write) Starbucks: Because mine is not an every once in a while Starbucks habit. No, friends. I have a daily tall non-fat no-whip mocha plus a piece of marble cake plus a venti black unsweetened iced tea “for later” kind of habit. And so yes, I could have a much nicer car but in fact, I choose to spend my car payment on caffeine. WHAT.

3. People (the magazine, not, you know, actual people.): If you don’t like it, we’re not friends. Well, okay, maybe we’re friends but we don’t have a drink-too-much-tequila-in-mexico-and-almost-get-kicked-out-of-our-hotel-for-drunken-stealing-of-a-comforter kind of friendship. (True story.) (What do you mean, you don’t want to be friends with me anymore?). Speaking of:

4. A really good, really cold margarita on the rocks. With no salt.

4b. Note to any actual, physical stalkers out there (not the good internet lurking kind, I’m talking the crazy leave-dead-rodents-on-your-lawn kind): I’m leaving you my drink order in case you want to show up at my house stalking me with, you know, STARBUCKS AND ALCOHOL. Which would increase your chances of being well-received by, oh, ONE ZILLION PERCENT.

5. Okay, fine. I watch 16 and Pregnant. And Teen Mom. And Gossip Girl and ANTM and anything on the CW and especially Supernatural (because I’m sorry, Jensen Ackles is DIVINE), and fine, yes, I have been known to zone out to an episode or two of Swamp People and Toddlers and Tiaras. They’re really not all that different, if you think about it.

6. Yummy-lovey Dane’s hair: It’s been time to cut it for two months, and it’s all shagging down into his eyes, and when it’s wet it drapes all the way down his neck past his shoulders, and he’s all Um, Mama, could you please stop sniffing my head?, but OMG y’all, I can’t quit it. There’s something about the curls and the smell and the baby fineness of it all that I. Want. To. Eat.


Look away, people, look away.

7. Re-reading rejection letters from literary agents and journals: Well, God knows I have enough of them, and some of them are quite nice, and so every once in a while when I think I totally suck as a writer, I’ll go back and read the nice ones (like the time The Iowa Review told me I made like, seventeen rounds of their editorial review and jusmissed the cut. F*ckers. But also, like I said: kind of nice).

8. Watching the downfall of major college football programs: What? I never said I was a nice girl. Perhaps you’re mistaking me for the editors of The Iowa Review.

9. Making fun of grad students and sorority girls: Because I’ve been both, and well, I can. See (8).

And finally:

10. Blogging: My taxes are overdue, my Target bill is unpaid, I have forty letters to send to agents and journals, and I’m pretty sure the strange smell permeating our downstairs has to do with my decided lack of personal hygiene, but man, this stuff is addicting. So glad you’re here (and crazy enough) to read it!

Smooch -s