Friday, November 28, 2008
Today is Black Friday so my husband and I slept until 10am. We cuddled in our toasty warm bed, and oh so soft flannel sheets and giggled about all of those freezing cold shoppers who spent the night shivering in store parking lots. I can openly mock all of you human shopsicles because I was one last year. You know me, I'll try anything once, twice if it's really dumb.
Last year at this time I was working at Target in Plainville. I was looking for some adult conversation and a few extra bucks. I have always loved shopping at Target, the people are so friendly and I love there stuff, so applying to Target was a no brainer. I was picturing a fun work place, a lot of extra spending money, and a deep discount. What I found there was a lot of great people, who worked out on the sales floor, I was placed in the secluded back office. I only got paid $8.25 and hour which was about 75% less an hour than my previous job. I also was shocked that my deep discount was a minuscule 10% off. My mother didn't raise a quitter so I ended up working there for about 3 months. I did love parts of that job! Well two small parts of the job; I got to read the closing announcements over the loud speaker, I also mentored as many high school and college kids who would listen to me.
I would spend my breaks sitting in their break room surrounded by teens and twenty somethings. They'd tell me their troubles and I'd try to give my young hip motherly advice.
My advice to all of them would always include the speech about how Target was a dead end job and that they all needed to further their education and quit Target as soon as possible.
While working at Target around this time last year I was amazed by the Black Friday frenzy! The Black Friday ads were delivered weeks in advance in a plain brown envelope. I wasn't allowed to tell any of my co-workers about them. I however got to sneak a peak...and of course I immediately called all my friends back home about the deals. I watched the frenzy in the store as the day got closer. I felt this excited crazy energy. I was told about police officers being assigned to keep the peace. I made number cards that would be given out to the first 100 people in line.
I was curious. I couldn't believe that they were expecting hundreds of people to be waiting in line in the middle of the night to just to go shopping at Target. Could there be? I had to see this with my own eyes. The morning after Thanksgiving at 5:00am I woke up got dressed and somehow awakened Dylan. "Oh what the heck" I thought a caper is always more fun with a team. I dressed Dylan and with apple pie still digesting in our intestines we were in the car and headed to Target. We arrive at the full parking lot, the moon still shining in the dark sky. I see a police cruiser parking in front of the left entrance of store and a long line of people so long that it went all around the left side of the building and almost to the corner. SUCKERS!
Finally working at Target had a silver lining, a perk, a reason for me to put up with the pay. Being an employee, my plan was to wait for the employee's entrance to opened at 5:45am, then I'd hang back in the employee lounge until 6:00am and then simply walk out and beat the crowd to the toy department. Brilliant! At least I thought.
Dylan and I sit in the car until 5:45. We go into through the employee entrance. I say hi to half asleep co-workers and go sit in the lounge. Dylan can not sit still and runs out of the lounge down the hall to where the time clock is. I run after him and while wrestling him back into the lounge I bump into the store manager.
He asks why Dylan is at work with me. I tell him that I am not working until 3:00pm, that I am there to shop. BIG MISTAKE! Honesty doesn't always pay.
He tells me that I have to wait outside in the line. The Line? With the shopsicles? It's freezing out there I have a child! I think he is kidding. I am an employee! Where is my home turf advantage? No, Dylan and I are shunned to the end of the huge line. The huge line that now goes all the way around to the back of the building. Damn you Traget, I yell into the freezing night air!
We are half frozen and Dylan is whining, but the doors open at 6:00am, only fifteen minutes to wait right? Wrong! The line is so long that Dylan and I wait until at least until 6:30am before we get back into the warm building.
All and all I got some great deals, but I am never getting up early for Black Friday again. I also quit Target after the Holidays. I still shop there. In fact my family and I went there today. I bought Candyland and Memory for $5.00 each at 1:30pm after a nice long sleep.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Not much progress to report. Like a sweet little puppy my Alice has been piddling all over my house and all over town. Yesterday she marked her territory in Norwood. I finally remembered to go to Hyde Park Savings to pay the bill for our safety deposit box. No we do not have Cartier diamond tiaras or stacks of mafia cash. We used to live in Boston and I am worry wort. I'm not even sure what we have in there and I didn't even have a chance to snoop around. Because as I was writing the check I looked over to see a puddle forming on the rug underneath Alice's feet.
The bank ladies were lovely, they all have grand kids and understand. I take Alice into the bathroom and clean her up and change her clothes. Then on our way out of the bank I spot a mystical vision an apparition in the distance...a Rugged Bear warehouse store...with a "30% Off Everything" sign in the window. Before you can say "cheapskate" I am running across the parking lot with Alice in my arms.
I walk in to a mommy dreamland. Cardboard boxes on the floor marked "Crocs 14.99", "Tights 2.99", "Fleece hats 1.99" and so on and so on. There was also racks and racks and racks of clothes all marked down to the lowest red sticker price and 30 percent off. Thank God I have smelling salts with me or I would have passed out right there on the concrete (That's a lie, but I was excited).
I am not in the warehouse more than 5 minutes when I see a familiar face. One of my Franklin Mom's Club friends. I yell to her. "Hey! I thought I was the cheapest mom in Franklin!" We chit chat and shop. I quickly become engrossed by the boxes and boxes of winter accessories. I have decided to outfit my family and the Christmas family we are sponsoring with hats and gloves. I am so caught up in shopping that I forget about Alice and her pea sized bladder. I come out of the aisle with fleece and knit ware literally piled up to my eyeballs. I glance over at Alice who is shaking the defenseless free standing gumball machine. I see a dark spot by her feet. Since she just peed at the bank about 20 minutes ago I assume that the concrete is simple stained. Then on closer examination I see the dark spot is fresh and following Alice across the floor. My daughter is leaving pee stained foot prints! I do what any mother would do. I look around to make sure no one has witnessed our crime. Then I run up to the cashier and pay for my mountain of mittens before anyone notices.
On a happy side note I end up paying $43.00 for10 hats and 10 pairs of gloves/mittens and one pair of tights. I am thrilled! Then I look down at Alice on her tiptoes and remember that my puppy needs changing! As we leave the store and her puddle behind us I wonder if Alice has made any progress. Maybe she is not ready. Day two of potty training and all we have to show for our hard work is collection of puddles spread across Franklin and the neighboring towns.
Today is Thanksgiving and in a few hours we are taking our puppy Alice on a one and a half hour car trip to Dennis on Cape Cod. Dave and I have decided to protect our car and Grandma's furniture from Alice and her pea sized bladder. Day three of potty training and we will be back in Pull-Ups. No one goes to elementary school on Pull Ups, right?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I have said before that Franklin, Mass, where I live is a sleepy little country town. Well me and my girls just escaped full blown fisticuffs at our local McDonalds. My little slice of heaven turned into the Jerry Springer Show right before my very shocked eyes.
Today being a half day at my kid's school and a day off at other local schools, my friend Carol and I decide to meet there for lunch with our kids. The usual chit-chat while the kids run themselves tired. It is a mom's best defense on these cold free-days. I drive up to the full to capacity McDonald's parking lot and wonder if having lunch here is such a good idea. Did I mention that Carol hates crowds? When their are too many people in a loud confined space, Carol tends to start to get a little itchy.
I walk in and find Carol wedged in the farthest corner, as far away as she can get from the millions of screaming, running, adrenaline saturated kids in the McDonald's Playroom. My kids and I have to eat across the room in the last 3 free spaces in a room that seats about a hundred people. The kids are buzzing around us...the place is too full, and kids are too excited about the upcoming holiday...the perfect storm is brewing.
My kids finish eating and join the buzzing masses swarming in the three story McDonald's playhouse like angry bees in a hive. I go over to sit with Carol since her kids are also in the hive. About an hour later I see Alice in the little kid's play area jumping on a trampoline holding her cheeseburger. I go over to confiscate the burger as that area food is not allowed. Inside the little kid's area is a very big woman. She is standing blocking the doorway. After I have the contraband cheese burger in hand I see that Alice wants to get out. I ask the gate keeper if she can please move because Alice wants to out. The gate keeper obliges but doesn't leave her post.
Then Dylan wants in the area and tries to push the gate open but the gate keeper is holding it closed. Again happy me doesn't think anything of this and assumes that the gate keeper doesn't realize that she is blocking the door. I open the gate and try to let Dylan in. The gate keeper sizes Dylan up and tells me that no big kids are allowed in, that the area is for little kids, but if I am right there to watch she will allow my son in. I think that this is odd, but I know that some mom's are a little over protective so I still pay no mind.
Dylan is playing without incident, I am standing there watching, and then a McDonald's staffer comes over. I am eavesdropping as the staffer tells the gate keeper that many mom's have complained and that she can not stop kids from playing in the little kids area. My ears perk up as the gate keeper explodes in a rant about how her kids are little and older kids shouldn't be allowed in there. That the room is for only little kids and since older kids moms aren't watching their kids she isn't allowing any older kids in. She also said something about 10 year old's running a round in their, but I think she was just exaggerating. Their weren't any 10 year old in the play room, maybe a seven year old or two.
While the staffer and the gate keeper are arguing my spunky blond friend who is the mom of twins picks up her son and then daughter and hoists them into the little kid play area right in front of the gate keeper. I say to my friend.
"This is the best seat in the house." Seriously I felt like I was watching reality TV with out the bikinis. These women are big time arguing now, their voices getting louder and louder. Hands are flying and heads are shaking. The gate keeper has a valid point, but realistically taking your small toddlers to the McDonald's playroom on a school holiday at lunch time is not ever a good idea. The gate keeper's solution was not the best action and getting in a heated argument with a staffer is ridiculous.
I guess my spunky blond friend felt the same way because she starts sticking up for the staffer and telling the gate keeper that if she doesn't want her toddlers to play with older kids she needs to go home. Also a valid point, but not phrased in the most polite way. My spunky friend also added a snarky; "Lady, you need to get a life".
Now the sparks are flying! My friend and the gate keeper are now screaming at each other. The manager and another staffer come running in. The staffer opens the gate and makes the gate keeper come out of the little kids area which quickly fills up with kids. The manager tries to calm down the gate keeper by explaining that McDonald's is an open public play place she has no right to prohibit access to any of their customers.
The gate keeper threatens with lawsuits, calling the state house, closing the place down. Hormones are obviously running high, estrogen is flooding is over all reason at this point. I can hardly even make out what she is screeching about at this point. My spunky blond friend can't resist and tells the gate keeper that since she doesn't like the way McDonald's runs things than she needs to go home. Then she end with saying. "Bye bye." and waving and smiling. Funny? Yes. Entertaining? Heck yes! Helpful in containing the situation? Like gas on a fire, my friends, gas on a fire...the gate keeper throws her hand out palm flat like to signal stop, and warns my friend that she needs to shut up or else. I do not recall the exact wording.
My friend stops smiling and looks at the gate keeper's hand and then very calmly with self confidence looks her square in the face and says. "Or else what?"
I am thinking I am about to be holding my friend back, or standing in between them, smack in the middle of a soccer mom Malay.
The gate keeper yells. "You best walk away now! Shut-up! Mind your own business! and walk way!"
I brace myself for warfare when an elderly woman sitting near by stands up and jumps into with in an inch of my friend's face and starts screaming and cussing her out. Real old school, something like; "Who do you think you are you f'ing B' you need to mind your mother f' business." This lady is dropping F-bombs and all jacked up like my friend slept with her baby daddy. How did this happen? We are a bunch of mommies at McDonalds.
My friend has a bra of steel because she never batted an eyelash. I guess after having twins nothing can scare you. Not even a belligerent senior citizen with anger management problems.
Witnessing all of this my Carol jumps in to defend our spunky blond friend and tells the elderly lady to mind her business and stop swearing in front of the kids. Now the three of them are arguing. Suddenly the gate keeper yells. "Ma! Get the kids shoes! We're leaving!"
The elderly lady is the gate keepers mother? My friends and I all exchange looks of shock and horror. I of course start to laugh. When I am nervous I always laugh.
How can I not? This is grandma cussing like a sailor in front of a room full of kids? This is Jerry Springer and Judge Judy all wrapped up into one live train wreck unfolding in front of a room full of stunned soccer moms with toddler. Gritty grandma goes to get the shoes, then flanked by the manager, the gruesome twosome, and kids are escorted out. Screaming threats and swearing all of the way out. When the door closed behind them the place erupted in clapping.
My friends and I all shook our heads in disbelief that any of this happened.
I learned today that my friends are warriors. They stepped up like amazons! They are freaky and fearless and I love them. They protected our kids and our turf! All we need to do now is go go throw a pair of Merrill's up over the power line to officially claim that this McDonald's belongs to our Momma-gang.
That's it folks Malay in McDonald's saw it with my own eyes!
Monday, November 24, 2008
This year I am thankful...
10. For Fat Free Half and Half...how did our civilization survive for thousands of years without it?
9. For under wires and Lycra...Thanks for supporting me, I couldn't hold it all together with out you.
8. For Estheticians everywhere. You wax my mustache and beard, and kindly refer to them as my "Lip" and "chin". You pop zits and slog off dead skin. You see all of us at our absolute worst and you never even let out a single giggle or snicker.
7. For COFFEE, not for Dunkin' Donuts nor for Starbucks, I am going to thank the unsung Godfather of coffee. That crazy little Ethiopian shepherd in the tenth century who saw his sheep "dancing" in the field after eating magical beans. Like us he wanted to join in the party too so he boiled the beans in water and drank the first cup of coffee. Thank god for our freaky little Ethiopian and his caffeinated dancing sheep!
6. For the Internet. Now we can all stalk ex lovers and ex friends with ease and complete anonymity.
5. My extended family...Thanks for everything. Knowing you, all of these years has given me enough funny material for a lifetime of blogs (You know I'm kidding!) I am so not kidding.
4. My kids...May they find good therapists in adulthood.
3. My husband... May his first and currant wife always be his favorite
2. My girl friends...It takes a village to raise a child, and a good group of girls to drink wine, bitch, and laugh about it all!
1. For you...Thanks for reading! I love you!
Today Dylan is home for the second day in a row with strep throat. Yesterday, Monday was his first day home sick, the same day I promised myself that Alice was going to start potty-training. After the Binky Fairy debacle I felt that I had to wean her from something before her yearly pediatrician visit. As I recall her doctor also mentioned potty training as well as kicking the binky habit before her next visit. The next visit is now only a few weeks away. O.k. I have no idea when it actually is, but Alice just turned three last weekend, so they should be calling to remind me any day now. At least I hope that they call to remind me.
Just in case I do have an appointment I have started potty training. Yesterday was her first day. She wore a diaper to preschool, then she came home and we put her in big girl underpants. She immediately peed and I changed her out of her tights and dress. Then she was dry until we had to take Dylan to the doctor’s office. Once in the nice sanitized waiting room, poor Dylan is laying on the table in fetal position with his bunny Bobby. I cover him with my coat to keep him warm and look over to see Alice’s jeans start to get dark in certain areas. The dark spot ran down her leg and when she turned around it looked like she is wearing dark blue cowboy chaps. A smart mother would have thought to bring a change of clothing, or at least a towel.
We leave the doctor and go home. Dylan has tested positive for Strep and Alice has tested positive for no bladder control. I drive into the driveway and leave Dylan wrapped in my coat sleeping in the back seat. Alice and I run in to change her pants. With new pants and underpants on Alice, we jump back in the car and we are off to CVS. We park right out front and leave sleeping Dylan locked in the car (I am just running in what can happen?). If anyone kidnaps Dylan while he is sick he will be returned very quickly. The boy is miserable with a fever and body aches, he will complain and whine at the kidnappers to the point of instant insanity. If not that the fact that he hasn't brushed his teeth in 24 hours and his rancid mouth will knock the kidnappers unconcious making for an easy escape.
I run in and go back to the pharmacy where they tell me that they just received the prescription from his doctor and it will take 10-15 minutes. I tell the pharmacy lady that we’ll come back later and I go to grab Alice’s hand and leave. I notice that Alice is walking slowly on tiptoe with her legs spread far apart. I look closer and see that she has now wet her new pants…and of course we were just running in so I have no clothes for her. I put her back in the car wer a second time and drive home.
Once home I take Alice home and place her on the potty. She sits there for about 10 minutes while poor sick Dylan is still passed out in the car. After she sits on the potty for about 15 minutes I put her into her 4th outfit and head back to CVS. This time I go through the pharmacy drive-thru window.
Once back home Dylan wakes up and says. “Hey I thought that we had to go to CVS to get my medicine?” I tell him we already went and he stumbles into the house, upset that he missed all of the action. He takes his medicine and crashes on the couch.
About an hour later Alice comes into the computer room to show me that she has peed…in her pants a 4th time. This time I do not put panties on her. I leave her wearing only a shirt and place her on her little pink potty. I turn on Nick Jr. and pray for a miracle. Another hour or so later I hear; “Momma! Momma! Look-I-potty!”
I run towards the play room to see Alice walking down the hall carrying her pink potty. The I see her tilting the potty as she walks and in slow motion I start to scream…”Nooooooooooo!” As I watch in horror as the contents of the potty starts to spill down Alice’s shirt, down her legs, her feet, and landing in a puddle the my rug.
My daughter is now crying because she is cold & wet and when she finally peed in the potty, her mommy yelled at her. Thank God that tomorrow is another day.
I am a friendly person. I talk to strangers in line at the grocery store. I talked to strangers in public bathrooms; I basically talk to strangers everywhere I go. I always say, strangers are friends that I haven’t shared gossip with yet. I do have certain friends who often tease me about stranger danger. I listen but, in my opinion is that the most peculiar deranged strangers, the one’s who talk to themselves while pushing a grocery cart filled with their earthy belongings, these are the best strangers to talk too. I don't have any of those strangers since we moved to the burbs. Mostly here in Franklin, I just chat up other moms and the occasional lost dad or cool Grandma thrown in for a little spice. I know that my friend Selena is reading this and shaking her head in disgust. She is consistently reminding me of the consequences of befriending every Tom, Chick, and Mary that I see. So far I have been lucky; I haven’t been robbed, attacked, or kidnapped and sold into the underground sex trade. However I have suffered a horrid humiliating consequence of my chummy-go-friendly attitude; I meet new people everyday and I can never ever remember who they are!
This doesn’t seem like a big deal, I know you think I am overreacting? I am not. Everyday at least one time, I am approached by who I think is a complete stranger. He or she walks up to me and says.
“Hi Lydia, how are you?” I look at this stranger and start flipping through my mental file O’fax as fast as I can. I try my best to pretend that I know who this person is. As I secretly pray that they give me a hint or at least the context in which I know them so my brain can pick out the right card.
I always respond to their greeting with an enthusiastic “Hi their, Hun, I’m great. How are you?” I say this hoping that they respond by saying something like: “I’m great now that my son Freddy goes to school with Alice.” Or “I am wonderful, because Pastor Chris’ sermon has kept me smiling all week.” The best response that I have in my fantasies is; “How am I-Janice your friend from Zumba class? How is Janice doing? Janice is fine, I’m glad that Lydia is fine too.” Usually I get a “Great. How are you?” Well, I’m terrible because I have no idea who you are or what I am supposed to say next!
I wing it, digging for a clue sometimes I say. “That’s great…um ah…how did that thing turn out?” Then I bite my lip and search her face for a twinkle of anything I recognize. I am hoping for a response like: “Oh, that vase I was making in our pottery class, it turned out great.” Or “Oh, my newborn daughter…she’s wonderful, thank God we were in that birthing class together.” I’d even settle for “Oh my marriage, yeah I kicked him out after I realized that you were sleeping with him, you dirty whore.” Anything to help me out.
What do I get from my newest stranger? “What thing? Lydia what are you talking about?” My eyes widen as I begin to laugh. “Oh you know me… I am always saying stupid things. Obviously it wasn’t you who had the thing-a-ma-jig in the you-know-what, it must have been someone else or so and so, and so forth, anyway…I have to run. I’ll see you where ever I see you!” Just as I start to gather my gym bag forget about working out, and run screaming from the YMCA never to return. Alice looks over from where she is playing blocks points to the lady and says.
“My Missa Bed-E!” The stranger bends down and says hi to Alice. A lighting bolt zaps me in the head singeing my already frizzy dried out hair. Miss BETTY! Of course Betty the lady who led Alice’s toddler music class. I sigh and say. “Yes, Alice this is Miss Betty. She used to sing with you in her class.”
The stranger smiles at me and shake her head no. “My name’s not Betty. Lydia, Alice went to my daughter Julia’s Princess party...” I laugh nervously and smile.
“Of course, Mrs. Betty…Pamela Betty, how could I forget?”
“Actually it’s Patricia Perry” She says with a frown.
"Right Patricia! Patricia Petty with a P. I knew that" I say feigning a smile as I feel my cheeks burning red.
“Whatever.” She walks past me and I know that Alice will never be invited to little Julia's house ever again.
If you know me and you come over to say "hi" please remind me of who you are. If we met at the park this spring or summer and we talked for 3-4 hours a say for a few weeks. If I see you outside of the park, there is no way that I will remember who you are. Perhaps our kids went to school together and I waited next to you 5 days a week for 8 months. I am an idiot and I can not remember your name, I probably never knew it in the first place. There are some things I can remember; useless trivia, pop culture, I know where everything that my husband loses is located. I mean, I am not a complete idiot, I can remember kids, I can remember pets, I can remember how much I paid for shoes in the 1990’s, but I can’t always remember faces and I can never remember names! Please know that this has nothing to do with me not liking you. I really like you. If you see me I'll be happy to see you again...whoever you are....What’s your name again?