Thursday, June 30, 2005

Mommie Fully Loaded

I am a bad person. I lose children, and I make them cry, too.

Here is my story.

Yesterday I took the girls to the movies. We had all sufficiently recovered from our trauma at the hands of the Conflagration Of Crotchety Book Hags so we decided that some fun was in order. Besides, Rigel was going to see a movie, too, with some friends from work. He was going to see ‘War Of The Worlds.’ (Did you hear that Tom Cruise is dating Katie Holmes and he really, really loves her? Did you know that he’s a Scientologist? And that he knows lots, more than you and I and Matt Lauer PUT TOGETHER, about psychiatry and vitamins and like, life in general?) I didn't want to see this movie anyway, but it was a grown-up movie, and he was going with adults, and then afterwards out to eat with adults to a grown-up place to talk about grown-up things. Not that I'm bitter.

The girls and I, on the other hand, were going to see ‘Herbie Fully Loaded’! With Lindsay Lohan! Sure, she's a little on the emaciated side, but at least I haven’t been pushed to the brink of nausea with photos of her kissing Katie Holmes. Although, that would make a tasty story! You heard it here first!

We got to the mega multi-plex, and after spending our usual $150 at the concession stand, I issued my pre-movie warning, "If you need to use the bathroom, please go now so we don't have to leave in the middle, thereby missing what could possibly be an essential plot element. I don't want to be left guessing whether Herbie is really magic, or in fact, just a car." This is said while standing in front of the restrooms, before we make our five-mile trek down the hallway to theater 94, but there were no takers. It is a long way from the bathrooms to the theater. Hold this thought - it will come in handy later in my story,

We were enjoying the movie, (SPOILER ALERT: Herbie IS magic!) and as it approached the big race at the end we were all glued to our seats. All of us, except for Kira, however, as I noticed she was now squirming uncomfortably and then whispered to me,"I have to go to the bathroom! NOW!" I could tell by the quiver in her voice that she had waited a little too long, obviously riveted by this tale of girl/car love unfolding on the screen, and now it was an emergency. I told Kiyomi that we were going to have to all go, as leaving a seven year old unattended in a movie theater is not considered good parenting. Do not leave seven year olds alone in a theater. Hold this thought - it too will come in handy later in my story,

This didn't go over well with Kiyomi, since going to the bathroom meant we would miss the big race finale. And me, I didn't spend two hundred dollars for tickets and snacks just to up and leave before I found out who won! Would good triumph over evil? It was a Disney movie after all, so you just never know! I asked Kira if she could possibly wait five more minutes, but by now she was practically in tears, so I scooped up all our things and we left.

As we started our five-mile trek from Theater 156 to the restroom, Kiyomi began to voice her discontent, subtly. "I CANNOT BELIEVE WE'RE GOING TO MISS THE ENDING!! I DO NOT WANT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!! DEAR GOD, GET ME OUT OF THIS FAMILY!" Sandwiched between a hissy-fitting seven year old and a near-bursting nine year old, I made an executive decision, and told Kiyomi to go stand inside the door of the theater and watch the end of the movie while I took Kira to the bathroom. (Parents! Begin judging!) And, as we were only around ten feet from the entrance to the theater, and as Kira was now howling, "I have to go BAAAAD!" I didn't actually LOOK back to make sure Kiyomi went into the theater. Tarnations!

As I was walking Kira into the bathroom it hit me - Sending seven year old alone into theater - Bad! So, I told Kira to STAY RIGHT HERE IN THIS STALL DO NOT MOVE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES and ran all the way back to check on Kiyomi.

Only she wasn't in the theater. Anywhere. So I started calling her name, trying to be heard above the cheers of the NASCAR audience on the screen, but NO ANSWER. So now. Panic. And running, back to the bathroom to check on Kira, who was now completely in tears because I had left her, and the door had swung open and someone had seen her sitting on the toilet and so these were tears of embarrassment, too. And I'm yelling at her to STAY HERE DO NOT MOVE BECAUSE NOW I HAVE LOST YOUR SISTER!

(If any of you parents out there have ever LOST YOUR CHILD, even for a minute, you know what an awful, indescribable feeling this is. Seconds seem like hours, and horrible, horrible thoughts race through your mind. LOGIC or REASON do not come into play.)

And now MORE running, back to the theater, wondering if she had gone into the wrong one, or even worse things that I couldn't wrap my mind around. And I'm frantically asking a stranger, a woman who was sitting at the end of the row, if she had seen my daughter come back in, and she's looking at me confused and shaking her head. (Hey lady - sorry about shaking your arm so hard! I didn't mean to break it but I was really panicked!)

Then I see, way over on the opposite side of the theater, behind the wall that separates the aisle from the seats, a stuffed animal being thrown up in the air. And I realize it's Kiyomi's.


I hug her, tell her to SIT DOWN AND DO NOT MOVE BECAUSE NOW I HAVE TO GO GET KIRA WHO I LEFT CRYING IN A STALL. Then BACK to the bathroom, to extricate Kira from her potty hell, and skipping hand-washing JUST THIS ONCE, I take her by the hand for my FIFTH trip back to the theater for a joyous family reunion. And we got to see the end of the movie! Herbie won! A good time was had by all!

And that is the end of my story. Berating commence!

Archive File: Offspring

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Monday, June 27, 2005

We Had A Bad Experience At The Library And I'm Sure As Hell Going To Tell You About It

Today was the first official day of summer vacation. I decided to take the girls to the library, which we haven't done for at least two years. Everyone knows that books should only be obtained in places where a coffee can be bought and consumed, hence the millions of dollars this family spends annually at Borders and Barnes & Noble. But the library called out, because well, it's FREE, and I felt a pull to perform my civic duty and support these venerable institutions, which offer knowledge and adventure to the people! The library card is your passport to fun and learning, boys and girls! Or so I thought.

The girls were giddy with the sight of the bounty of books before them, but our joy, it would be shortlived. As we walked through the glass doors and into the cool interior, I guess I failed to see the sign warning 'DEM SOME BITTER ANGRY BITCHES HERE!' The first thing we did when we got inside was to walk up to the desk and bother the first of the Bitter Angry Bitches (BAB) sitting at her desk. We didn't mean to interrupt her intense internet surfing, but well, the big eight foot sign above her desk, it said 'INFORMATION' and we took it at its word. Silly us! Kira wanted to know if there were any Manga books to be found here in this hall of learning, so she politely asked her, "Do you have a Manga section?" whereby the BAB replied with a thoughtful, helpful "No." NO. Not, "Well, no, ladies, but maybe, seeing as it's my job, I'll look up from my 'Hot Lickity Librarians!' porn site and help you!" but just "No," then a quick stare and back to her computer screen. By now I had time to examine this unhelpful lump before me, this Bea Arthur incarnate (no offense to Bea, I swear. I love you, Bea!) and noticed she had hair. On her chest. Peeking out from her V-necked dress.

But I digress.

I decided to press her further for information, figuring that she must have more words for me, more insightful words perhaps, FOR THE CHILDREN, for heavens sake! So I dared to ask her another question. "Can you look it up? On the computer?" And then I felt sad. Maybe it wasn't hair. Maybe it was just some fancy, furry lingerie, put on this morning in a moment of daring, now emerging to express her Secret Self, and who was I to judge her? Me, here, with my offspring, one yuppie hand discreetly in my purse, searching frantically for my Readers Advantage card, ready to bolt for the comfort and pleasantness of the nearest Barnes & Noble, while her job and that of millions of librarians all over the land hung in peril. I should stay, and try and understand these wide divides between us.

Without looking at us she sighed a heavy sigh and pressed a few keys with her heavy fingers. "We've got one." she replied. Then she scribbled some numbers on a piece of paper and, still not ever looking up, motioned us dismissively away.

Whereby I said to myself, (or maybe not to myself, maybe just loudly enough for the few people in line behind me to hear) "Goddamnit, it's HAIR!" A whole tuft of it, snaking up from between her bosoms and leading up to that cold, angry, UNHELPFUL visage! Making a coiling, flame-like pattern on her chest that paired nicely with the horns I noticed were now starting to present themselves, curling up from both sides of her imposing (did I mention UNHELPFUL?) head.

But then we found some books, and the girls were so excited to use their own library cards! Because they were on their way to adventure and learning! But then, the two BABs we encountered at the check-out desk, they couldn't stand all the happiness ensuing, this glee which was a foreign and uncomfortable emotion to them, and made sure to CRUSH THEIR JOY! They didn't speak - just held out their craggy hands for the girls' library cards and begrudgingly scanned their books, never cracking a smile and only speaking to bark at Kiyomi when she didn't take her library card back fast enough.

What happened to the cheery librarians of yore, always there to greet you with a smile and willing to spend hours guiding you through the maze of the Dewey decimal system? Eager to come out from behind their desk just to help you find that book on ponies you wanted, or that book on macramé when you were in that weird phase where you thought all your friends actually liked those belts you were making them. (Not that I ever did that. I'm just saying!)

Where are they? I'll tell you where they are - gone, departed, finito, replaced with cold, mean, heartless book schleppers who really just wish all the children would go away and stop asking them questions and checking out all those books that will have to be put away in three weeks. And did I mention how UNHELPFUL they are? And the chest hair? DID I MENTION THE CHEST HAIR?

Archive File: Offspring | This Life

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Oh The Fun To Be Had!!

There is much celebrating going on today for it was the last day of school!! I say this with double exclamation points because as joyous a day as it is, the exclamation points!! just make it all so much more exciting!! I started singing that Alice Cooper song, but then the children, they began to stare, so I stopped!!

Although, now a feeling of panic is engulfing me, for although it is the joyous last day of school!! we are now left with long days ahead of us, long days of no academic diversions blending into long nights of no homework and no shoebox-diorama projects to fill up the time. In a few weeks they will be starting some stimulating activities!! such as science camp, swim class and ice skating lessons, but until then I have come up with some exciting amusements!! of my own:

Watch Mommy Sleep Slumberland Dream!!
As riveting as it sounds, only more so!! First person to wake mommy loses!! Those who find humor in dancing around her singing "Ding dong the witch is dead!" while she is unconscious may lose GameCube privileges!!

Magical Starbucks So Fun Adventure!!
Explore the coffee displays with educational stickers bearing names of exotic places even though we are certain all the coffee comes from the same place, while Mommy stands in line for her double-half-caf-percent-cap!! A magical potion of milk, chocolate syrup and whipped cream awaits at the end of the counter for those children able to hold themselves together!! Can only be played between the hours of 3-5 pm.

Red Hot Fire Burning Sidewalk!!
Refuse to put on shoes even though patiently suggested by Mommy hundreds of thousands of times!! Run from backyard to garage during hot midday sun while barefoot and cry out "Ow ow ow ow!! Sandals sandals sandals!!" while Mommy stands at back door and watches impassively!! Not to be played within earshot of any neighbors with proclivity to calling Child Services!! Ha ha!! Just joking!! Really!!

Little Girls Soft n' Fluffy Fight Club!!
Fill up as many spare hours as possible with new bickering and arguing techniques involving propriety of Polly Pocket clothes, hurt feelings over repeated affronts of "Poop head!" and "Duh!" and excessive fart-blaming!! Entitles forced spectator to ground said offenders while wielding phone like a crazed ding-a-ling and threats of calling paternal parent!! To be followed by compulsory consumption of alcoholic beverages by maternal parent!! Let the games begin!!

Archive File: Offspring

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

And Another Thing

Five bags of Oreos (Double Stuf)
Two bottles of Hawaiian Punch
Twenty cans of soup (estimate)
Fifty packages of Oscar Meyer wieners (estimate)
Four gallons chocolate mint ice cream (I counted these)
Two packages of toilet paper (double rolls)
Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits

What the eff are you doing in the '10 Items or Less' line? Can you count? Do you care? What planet are you from? Who are you people? Do you come in peace? Are you the same person in front of me in line at Starbucks who orders TWENTY FREAKING CAPPUCINNOS?

Still, hugs for everyone! And Double Stufs!

Archive File: Cranky

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

How To Avoid Having Me Call You A Turd
Under My Breath, Volume 2

STOP writing, singing and recording songs that have the words 'My DJ,' 'Mr. DJ,' 'Hey, Mr. DJ' or anything remotely resembling the 'I'm Down With The DJ' theme. You all know who you are. Stop it already.

DO NOT cut in front of me in line when I look away for a moment to ask my chlidren a question. The next time you do, check the back of your head - I have a bag in my purse that contains a mixture of pre-chewed gum, Nair and fish tank scum and I won't hesitate to use it. You will rue the day you stepped between me and my McFlurry.

DO NOT grow your fingernails to a length of 1-1/2 inches, paint them bright pink and then put some of them fancy butterfly decals on, especially if you work in a place that sells FOOD. I'm afraid, very afraid, that I will find one of your neon claws rattling around with my salad greens, or worse yet, floating like a teeny raft on the surface of my milk. I'm not sure how it would get in there, but my fear, IT IS REAL.

A short list today! Me, Now With 20% Less Crank! Hugs for everyone!

Archive File: Cranky

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Saturday Night Part 1: Fear and Loathing In Bel Air

Saturday night we went to a party in Bel-Air. The only other time I've been there was when I was on my way to UCLA, missed a turn and had to cross the sacred threshold of the Bel-Air arch off Sunset. I could have made a quick U-turn and continued on my merry way, but truth be told I was so excited to be in the rarified air of the rich and famous that I decided to take a little tour. I planned to drive on up a few blocks and let my tires luxuriate in what I imagined to be not gravel but billions of tiny exotic hand-cut stones shipped in by the boatload from Italy. I would then turn around at the next stop sign, which is not a stop sign at all but an octagon cut from solid platinum and festooned in millions of red Swarovski crystals, the word STOP spelled out in huge five-carat diamonds. I didn't get far, though, because as I drove past the security booth the Prada-clad guard stared at my van as if it were a a space ship sent from an alien planet to dispense toxic fumes throughout the colony. He immediately got on his radio and called ahead, alerting them to the fact that there was a woman wearing what appeared to be clothes from Target and driving a vehicle identified only by the moniker 'Non-Mercedes.' He put an end to my little joy ride when he pulled me over at the next corner and, using a device similar to a breathalizer that calculates your net worth, exposed the fact that I was indeed an imposter. And he banished me and my inferior vehicle out of there, out onto the road made of common tar! And domestic concrete!

I guess you could say I hold a grudge, because Saturday night, as we drove up the winding roads flanked by gargantuan mansions, I felt an uneasiness churning up inside me and I turned to Rigel and proclaimed, "I HATE RICH PEOPLE." Thank God he had some duct tape and rope with him because it stopped me from going postal on that blonde getting out of her Jag with her Blackberry in one hand and sweater-wearing chihuahua in the other. I tried to flip her the bird but with my hands restrained it must have looked like I was giving her the 'thumbs up' sign because she blew me a kiss and tucked her headshot underneath our windshield wiper.

Not surprisingly, the home was beautiful and huge - I estimated it to be roughly the size of three Costcos - and one of their eighty bathrooms was as big as our entire house and had a shower the size of our living room. I believe it had around five hundred bedrooms, twelve separate kitchens and sixteen jacuzzis, one of which was filled with champagne and naked movie stars, although things were a little fuzzy after my second glass of Sangria. I vaguely remember sitting in a chair that I know cost as much as both our cars, and thinking that it was the most expensive thing to ever cradle my ass but I kept it to myself, as well as restraining myself from dismantling the frame and stuffing the whole thing in my oversized purse. Go me!

Saturday Night Part 2: Do NOT Show Me The Money
After the party we went to dinner with some friends because nothing soothes mansion-envy like big plates of hot steaming food. Our friends had the restraint to order a small pizza and a salad while Rigel and I each ordered pasta served on enormous platters the size of wagon wheels, on which we goaded the waiter to grate "More cheese! More I say!" I guess the fact that, having kids we rarely get to dine out, let alone at a place that doesn't have chicken fingers as their signature dish, causes us to try and make the most out of every dining experience. We have to live la vida loca! in case the opportunity doesn't present itself for another six months. In fact you can usually tell the couples at restaurants who are out for a rare night sans progeny: We're the ones who are a little too happy to be there, asking the waiter to repeat the specials ad nauseum, gleefully calling out, "Bread! And butter! And water!" obviously delirious to have someone waiting on US for a change - and, yes, we are the ones begging the staff to let us hang out way beyond closing just to have a few moments alone, the valets eventually having to remove us from the premises, kicking and screaming and still clutching or menus.

We had a great time, until the check came.

Now, I know it's always easiest to just split the damn thing in the middle, thereby avoiding laborious minutes of itemizing each and every main dish, drink and dessert. That is, easier UNLESS you come from my family, where fighting to see who gets to pay the tab has been elevated to a violent gladiator sport. I grew up watching my mom and my aunts argue vigorously over who was going to pay the check, sometimes resorting to elaborate and devious means. "I've got it, I said," my mom would shout as she wrestled the bill from my aunt's tightly clenched fist while distracting her by knocking over the ketchup dispenser. "Back off. I've got it this time," my aunt would argue as she held a butter knife to my mom's throat, her other hand desperately waving a stack of bills at the perplexed waitress. If my aunt lost she would attempt to make me complicit in this crazy game by trying to stuff a wad of money into my pocket, whereby I'd yell at my mother, "She's trying to pay!" and my mom would end the battle by knocking my aunt unconscious, leaving her bruised and battered body under the table, a twenty-dollar bill folded neatly upon her chest.

So it would stand to reason I would inherit this insane trait. When the bill came on Saturday night, Rigel promptly figured out the tip, added the whole thing up, split it in half and threw down a pile of cash to cover our portion. This could have been the end of the story if I didn't feel the pull of my ancestors rising up, beseeching me to restore honor by covering the tab, or at the very least pay for our gluttonous ways. I encouraged Rigel to 'put in a little more' since we had had the pricey pasta dishes, but both he and our friends refused, saying it was easier to split it down the middle.

Now, I have to inject here that Rigel has never wanted anything to do with my family's psychopathic head trips over money. I've tried to explain to him that when my mom or one of my relatives offers to pay, it's not actually an offer to pay but a battle cry to start the haggling, but he just looks at me incredulously and says, "They offered, and I accepted - did I miss something?" This has resulted in more than one wrestling matches of our own, but on this night he wasn't going down easy.

"Give them ten more dollars" I whispered to him.
"What for? We've already paid. They're fine" he replied, not so quietly.
"Our food cost more than theirs did. Give them the ten dollars!"

This resulted in a mad volley of two five dollar bills being tossed back and forth across the table, as our friends were stubbornly declining the bounty, unaware of my fierceness and resolve in matters of this nature. Other diners must have thought we were playing a demented version of ping pong, as the bills flew through the air and we yelled things like, "Take that!" and "Score!" In between came my explanations of familial traditions and lunatic relatives, my cause finally being somewhat justified as we each decided to keep five dollars to pay for our valet parking. As for our friends, they left, shaking their heads over the spectacle they had just participated in, and fearful for our next dinner date when I will surely resort to more violent means culled from my years of experience with my clan of overzealous check-paying loonies. To those of you out there who have yet to dine with me - prepare to hand over the check! Do not attempt to pull out your wallets if you value your limbs! You have been warned!

Archive File: This Life | Eating

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Friday, June 17, 2005

With Apologies To Any Of You Decent Contractors Out There, And If You're Reading This Can You Send Us Your Number

We are trying to get our backyard re-landscaped. I guess I should re-phrase that, as by using the words 're-landscaped' it would infer that there exists in some vague form an actual landscape that would lend itself to being re-done, when in fact what there is is a vast expanse of dying lawn, a hundred year old sprinkler system who's pipes are visible ("Very industrial!", I like to tell our visitors), a couple of annoying berry-pooping trees, and a four-foot tall shrub that resembles a hitchhiking thumb ("Pruning bushes into the shapes of animals is so passé!" I also like to tell our visitors.)

What started out as a fun, simple home-improvement project has turned into a brain-sucking chore, as it seems that finding a decent, affordable landscaper is about as difficult as finding a refrigerator repair man shy about showing his butt-crack. We recently called one who was recommended by a friend to come by and give us an estimate. He showed up for our initial meeting and looked around, took some time asking us questions, stroked his chin, grunted and said he'd get back to us. He seemed interested to do the job, but when I called him Tuesday to inquire about his fees, he acted puzzled, as if I had asked him to spell his name or something equally vexing for someone of his mental capacity. His response was that he "needed to come back and take a good look around" which I found odd - hadn't he JUST DONE THAT, or had that been his evil twin, casing the joint and plotting his heist of my substantial dead-plants-in-pots collection? I was eager to get an estimate though, so we set up a time to meet the following day. When he didn't show up, I called him and he apologized, saying he had forgotten, so we set up another meeting for yesterday.

Well, golly gee, he didn't show up yesterday either! Imagine that - forgetting to show up not one, but TWO days! I figure he must have had a Mensa meeting he had to hightail it to, and decided not to come or call, since everyone knows that women who work at home, with two kids have absolutely nothing better to do with their time but wait for troglodytes with big trucks and bad breath to invade their living quarters.

I immediately started writing him a nasty email, but Rigel forbid me to send it, fearing Mr. Contractor would get his thong all in a bunch and come burn a cross on our lawn. (I'm tempted to print his name, phone number and home address here but Rigel - he is serious about the cross burning thing.) Here is what I wanted to send - don't know what Rigel's afraid of since I tried to keep it subtle and professional:

Dear Jackass,
Thanks for coming by yesterday, after forgetting about our meeting the previous morning. Oh, wait – you DIDN'T COME. Anyways, thanks for calling to let me know you wouldn’t be coming, as, contrary to your behavior, my time is just as valuable as your time – oh wait, you DIDN'T CALL either.

So, I'm just curious - was there a TwoFer special on corn dogs at the AM/PM MiniMart you didn't want to miss? Were you not able to call because your dialing finger was stuck up your nose? Whatever your reason, I didn't appreciate wasting two whole mornings waiting for your hairy ass to show up.

Truth be told, we weren't going to hire you anyway - I have to admit I just wanted the opportunity to watch your almost-human form saunter around my backyard, your knuckles scraping the ground and your big paws leaving soft tracks in the earth. We were all amused by your advanced behavior - when you uttered, "Me. Do. Building. Stuff." it was all we could do to keep from clapping our hands in delight and throwing you some unpeeled fruit to drag back to your cave. And what a learning experience - to be able to show our children a living example of the impressive, yet unrefined capabilities of the early primate! For this I must say thank you, thank you Mr. Contractor!

A Fan

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Notice To Man In Ralphs: I Am, Though Uninformed About the Appearance Of Jicama, Neither Single Nor Desperate.

Is it possible for a six-year old to make their mother, the very one that gave them life, look like a cheap dimestore whore? Here, let me show you how.

There I was at Ralphs, loading up at the salad bar, happy to pay the $5.99 per pound for cut-up vegetables, ‘cause you know, I'm a busy woman and I don't have the five minutes it would take to chop them myself. Plus, then I'd have to wash the knife, and the cutting board, and well, you know. I had the girls with me, and they were busy, or so I thought, salivating and licking the packages of fluorescent cookies that were stacked nearby that I refused to buy. (Hey, $5.99 for some pulverized veggies, okay, but $2.99 for a dozen cookies - do I look like a millionaire?) As I was trying to decide on the cornucopia of produce laid out before me, I innocently asked a man next to me if he thought that the odd-looking, stringy white objects in one of the bins was jicama, to which he replied no, and then spent the next .005 seconds speculating on what it was; Noodles? Onions? Cheese! That was the end of the human-to-human interaction, that is until Kiyomi came rushing around the corner and said in a voice loud enough for the entire south end of the store to hear, "Mom, did you meet somebody new? AGAIN?"

Now, call me paranoid, but this sounded like something a child says to her desperate single mom, after witnessing her trolling the supermarket aisles, repeatedly trying to hit on unsuspecting man-targets at the salad bar. I glanced up to see him giving me a smug smile, and I tried to remain cool, mumbling some incoherent response. Ha! Kids! Must Kill! Ha ha! What I really wanted to do was throw myself into the deli-slicer nearby and get sliced into thin thin pieces along with the pastrami, but thought that would be a tad too dramatic. So instead I got out of there, fast, depriving myself of the entire last third of the salad bar, missing out on the tempting bins of cauliflower, slivered radishes and three-bean medley (Oh, they call it ‘three-bean’ but yet I only saw kidneys and garbanzos – the third bean ominously absent. I should have taken this as an omen.) Later, in the car, I asked Kiyomi where her comment came from and she explained that "You always meet someone in the supermarket! You know, last week you met Benjamin's mom there." I tried to explain the fine nuances between 'meeting someone' and 'seeing someone' but I was preoccupied, thinking up ways to fashion a muzzle out of the grocery bag in my hand.

I hustled them both off to the bakery counter to get them cookies - because I wrongly assumed that plugging Kiyomi's mouth with a blob of dough and sugar would stop the madness and allow me to compose myself and appear as married and un-desperate as possible. I also took this opportunity to give her a lecture about saying things that were "Inappropriate and may give someone the impression that I was trying to 'pick them up.'" Unfortunately, I failed to notice that we weren't out of ear-shot of my salad-bar john, and also that I was talking to a six-year old not well versed in dating slang, and Kiyomi replied even louder, now so that the other, north end of the supermarket could hear, "What? PICK THEM UP? What do you mean by PICK THEM UP?!" Being an idiot, I looked back at the salad bar, you know, JUST TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE OBVIOUS, and saw Mr. Not-Jicama looking over at us again, with a look that distinctly said, “Stay away woman. I am not available to support you, your brood and your escalating crack habit.”

Can it get worse? OH, YES IT CAN, because, the questions, they kept coming, and I frantically tried to clarify myself by explaining in a hushed voice, "You may give them the wrong idea, you know, that you LIKE THEM" which piqued her interest even more, and she exclaimed, digging my grave even further into the linoleum floor, "Huh? You LIKE him? You don't even KNOW him!"

At this point I considered running up to him, showing him my wedding ring and and shouting "I AM NOT A DESPERATE SINGLE WOMAN PICKING UP MEN IN THE SALAD BAR. REALLY!" but luckily I stopped myself, as I noticed him starting to inch ever so slowly towards the checkout, now looking very nervous. In fact, soon he was actually running away, obviously eager to call his wife on his cell phone and inform her that he had just narrowly escaped the conniving clutches of a lettuce-toting welfare hussy seeking love in Aisle 7.


And she bought all her groceries online from that day forward. The End.

Archive File: Offspring | This Life

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Here's the story
Of a cranky lady...

There is this joke that I hear often, and by often I mean at least two or three times a day. I hear it from different people, but it usually happens when the baristas, or Distillers Of Life-Sustaining Sacrament, as I like to call them, at Starbucks ask for my name to write on my cup. (You know, so they don't accidentally give my double-tall-half-caf-percent-cap to the single-vente-skinny-mocha-with-whip chick, cause that would be catastrophic.) When I tell them my name, they get all clever and say, "Marsha Marsha Marsha." GET IT? Like in the BRADY BUNCH? Isn't that JUST SO DAMN FUNNY? I mean, isn't that freakin HYSTERICAL? Exactly.

When you've heard the same lame joke for years it starts to get tiring. Usually I just say something like, "That's SO original, and only the five gazillionth time I've heard it...TODAY." It's hard for them to answer since it's almost impossible to talk when I'm pulling their liver up through their throat, but they manage to eek out an apologetic, "Uh, I guess you hear that alot, huh." Lately, though, it's really starting to get on my nerves, so I've come up with a few witty comebacks for the next time some moron decides to subject me to their putrified brain spittle:

"Dickhead Dickhead Dickhead. No, it's not from a movie."

"I see you needed to repeat my name three times. Your medication must not be working."

(As said to the PTA District Council President Who Thinks She's The Queen, who uses the piece of Brady Bunch comic genius every single time she calls me and then actually laughs at her own cleverness:)
"I'm going to put that joke in my box labeled 'Old, Tired Things That I'm Sick Of.' Oh, look. There's some room left for you."

"I'm going to kick your ass."

Any other suggestions would be welcomed.

Archive File: Cranky

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Dance Little Sisters Dance

Yesterday was the annual 'International Dance Festival' at the girls' school, where each grade level performs a dance from a different country. We were there with all our electronic gear: Rigel with the video camera, me with my digital camera and camera phone as backup because God forbid we should miss even a millisecond of our children's life being recorded! Rigel hates having to videotape - he always wonders why we can't just live in the moment and enjoy the occasion without having to see it through a viewfinder. My answer to this is, no way would I be able to enjoy the moment, let alone LIVE, when I would be too distraught over the fact that their actions weren't being recorded for all posterity.

I always spend a good chunk of time the night before an event making sure all my life-recording devices are all in working order; the digital camera disk is cleared and the battery is charged. Then I expend a great deal of energy nagging Rigel, asking him frequently and repeatedly if the video battery has enough juice and if there is enough tape in the camera. He tries to ignore me for as long as he can, but then I remind him how fun it is to watch the videos of the girls when they were little, and without the tapes I would be compelled to relive those times by having another baby. This usually gets him flying into action, getting the batteries charged and the camera bag fully packed at warp speed.

It's always hard trying to elbow your way through the crowd to get a good vantage point to photograph from. Rigel is tall, so he's able to shoot over everyone's heads and get a pretty decent view, but I always end up having to elbow some parents out of the way and wrestling someone's grandma to the ground to take her spot. This time I only had to scratch out two people's eyes to get a good vantage point, and I had my camera, zoom lens fully extended and pointed right at the spot I figured the girls would be so I could pop off a series of shots for that scrapbook I'll never make.

But what's this? I've only taken one shot and it's already telling me 'Memory Full.' This can't be - I spent half my night prepping the camera and emptying the disk! I figured it must be jammed, so I started examining the camera, trying to re-set it, the whole time they danced on, doing a very good job, I'm sure, but I DIDN'T SEE IT BECAUSE I WAS TRYING TO FIX THE DAMN CAMERA.

What we discovered when we got home was that SOMEONE (probably one of those old ladies I stepped on) had changed the camera setting from 'Photo' to 'Movie' so it had actually taken a short movie instead of a still, and used up all the memory. It's a good thing Rigel has both the girls' performances on tape so I can actually see them, because by the time I got done making the following masterpiece, cursing at the camera and then smashing it with my bare hands, Kiyomi's dance was completely over:

        Click here to watch captivating video

I am grateful for the impressive view I got of the underside of the pavilion roof, and I think the end shot of the lady's pretty white sweater is hot stuff. Don't tell ME I'm not living in the moment.

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