Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Menace II Society

Anyone who knows me is well aware of my sarcastic, often inappropriate sense of humor. I value a sense of humor in people over any other trait, even honesty or bravery. Because while I do admire the person who returns a lost wallet or dares to fight off a pack of wild grizzlies with a flashlight, show me a person who can put on a puppet show using a maxi pad and a condom and I will bow down before him.

Much like the circus freak who finds good company in the bearded lady and the lobster-clawed boy, I tend to surround myself with people who appreciate the same sort of buffoonery as me. And yes, I married a man who consistently outperforms me in the inappropriate humor category, but I find it comforting to know that when I say things like, "I'm going to sell a kidney to the gypsies so I can buy a new Nikon" he knows that I'm joking about the gypsy part.

Unfortunately it also creates a false sense of security, and we tend to forget that not everyone shares our moronic sense of humor. We forget that the innocent stranger happening upon our house may not see the comedic genius in farting and then blaming it on the cat. Not that that ever happens around here. I'm just saying.

So I guess I should have been watching my tongue a little better when I was having a conversation with one of the other moms at the school a couple of weeks back. We were talking about what we had done over the winter break, and I mentioned that we had taken a trip up north to see friends, and how many a dinner was saved by the fact the girls had gotten GameBoys from 'Santa.'

Nice Mom: Oh, does that keep them busy for awhile?

Me: Yes! We call it 'Crack In The Box' because it's so addicting. Hahahaha! HA!

I remember hearing a sort of nervous guffaw escape from her throat, and then a judgmental arching of the eyebrows as her lips stretched into a tight smile. Then she slowly backed away, reaching into her purse for her cell phone where she had Children's Services on speed-dial.

I'm not sure what she was thinking, but the mere fact that I mentioned the word 'crack' in a conversation involving my children seemed to shock her and get that righteous mothering blood boiling. Did she think I was a crack user, and therefore well-schooled in its addictive qualities? Did she think I regularly gave my kids crack and had thereby tested it's ability to render them mute during stimulating adult dinnertime conversation? Or, more unfortunately, WAS SHE ABSOLUTELY BEREFT OF A SENSE OF HUMOR?

I mean, even the idea that I would actually give my kids drugs is preposterous, since everyone knows I wrap them in duct tape and lock them in the garage when I need a little 'me' time.

Whatever the reason, the Nice Mom has now cast her judgement on me, and I have been flung in the pile with the crack whores and the child-beaters and the overdue library book offenders. While she used to greet me with a cheery smile and stop to chat, she now gives me a wide berth and pulls her children a little closer when we pass on the yard. Call me paranoid, but I could have sworn I heard her whisper to her son the other day, "It's the drug lady. Remember, just say NO."

Dear God, please don't let her see my blog.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Vernacular Schmacular

Me: Where did you put the rest of the leftovers?

Rigel: In the plant drawer.

Me: Do you mean in the vegetable bin?

Rigel: Yes. Whatever.

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Friday, January 20, 2006


Yesterday I went on a field trip to the opera with Kira's fourth grade class. It was part of this excellent program. Seated a few rows in front of me on the school bus was another mom, and as we started to drive away from the school she turned around to talk to the two boys who were seated behind her (but loud enough so that most of the 66 kids on the bus could hear):

"I've always wondered why school buses don't have seat belts. Cars have seat belts, so why don't we? Isn't it weird, how we are just sitting here, nothing holding us down? I mean, if we got in an accident and this bus were to tip over, we'd fly out of our seats! We would all just go flying out the windows! We'd all be dead! THINK ABOUT IT!

I mean, not like anything is going to happen."

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Brokeback Mama

This past Monday I spent the day with my mom. You know, the Vince Vaughn fan. She had a doctor's appointment in an unfamiliar part of town, so she decided to drive over to our house and I would take her from here. Her appointment was at one o'clock, so I told her to be here around eleven and we would have lunch before we left. She lives around forty five minutes away; maybe an hour if there's traffic. In her usual fashion she arrived early, in this case a whole seventy-five minutes early, at 9:45. She always allows herself anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours to drive to our house, even though in the three years we've been here the trip has never taken her longer than an hour. Upon her early arrivals she always says the same thing: "I left EXTRA early, because you just NEVER KNOW!" As to the issue of why she is still driving at 84, I've tried asking her that same question but she couldn't hear me since she refuses to get a hearing aid because "they just don't work." I suspect you're starting to get the picture.

On an unrelated note, we had these conversations on the way to her appointment:

Mom: I've started drinking!

Me: Huh?

Mom: The doctor said it's good to have a glass of wine a day! I had one on Saturday, and boy did I get woozy!

Me: How much did you have?

Mom (using her thumb and forefinger to indicate a five inch tall glass): About that much.

Me: Wow. That's kind of alot if you're not used to drinking.

Mom: Like I said, boy did I feel woozy! Then I fell asleep.

Me: Hmmm...


Me: What are you doing this week?

Mom: On Friday, Grace and I are going to see The Gay Movie.

Me: "Brokeback Mountain?" Really?

Mom: I don't know what it's called. I just know it's a western with gay people.

Me: Hmmm...

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

These Aren't Knitting Needles, They're Pokers To Gouge Out Your Eyes

Even though it happened a few weeks ago, I couldn't go without telling the story of my encounter with my insane elderly neighbor. While I have great respect and admiration for those in their golden years, I make exceptions for those that are raving lunatics, those that, if I were a waitress at Denny's and she walked in, I would not hesitate to flick a wad of ear wax into her Senior Grand Slam. Besides, I seem to have a psychotic need to tell stories that paint others and/or myself in an unflattering light, sort of like the one about the time I was working at NBC and entertained a bunch of my co-workers in the advertising department that I hardly knew by putting my entire fist into my mouth. See there I go again.

We've lived in this neighborhood for over three years and until now have not had any problems with anyone. So we were surprised when we had some neighbors over and they told us about the difficulties they'd been going through with an elderly woman who lives on the corner, one house away from us. Although she lives alone and has only one car that never leaves the garage, she has apparently laid claim to all curb parking within fifty yards of her house. They told us that their Latina nanny, who parks her car on the street, had been repeatedly harassed by this woman, including being the recipient of some racially slurred notes containing threats to report the nanny to immigration. Now, I've seen this old woman working in her garden, and I can tell you she never looked to me like anyone who would be threatening, except maybe to come over uninvited and bake you up a nice blueberry pie or knit you a sweater that you would never wear.

A few weeks ago those panty wastes over at Adelphia decided to do some work on the cable in our area without telling us, which resulted in losing cable TV and modem service for five whole days which of course sent me into a tailspin and forced me to interact with other humans and parent my children. To Rigel's horror I took to following any Adelphia trucks I saw driving in the area until they stopped at which point I would slap them about the head until they told me when service would be restored. I think I saw my picture posted on the Adelphia website.

On this particular day a truck happened to stop directly in front of our house, and the technician said he was going to personally fix the cable to our house in the next five minutes. It might have been the big butcher knife I was carrying and the slitting motions I was making across my throat that did it, but he seemed very eager to get the job done. I was getting ready to leave on an errand with the girls, but decided to stick around and make sure he was telling the truth. Ten minutes later our cable TV came back on and my modem light started blinking and I felt the blood once again start to course through my veins. My furry claws turned back into hands, my pointy ears were gone and I was a real girl once again!

The girls and I hopped in our van and started to leave, and the Adelphia truck slowed as I was passing him. I thanked him, and then he apologized for not doing it sooner, but he said the woman on the corner was 'crazy' and wouldn't let him on her property to climb the utility pole unless he showed proof that he "worked for the government" but he did it anyway. As he was telling me this story I looked up to see our elderly neighbor walking toward us at a brisk clip, not in a friendly, 'Hey neighbor' kind of way but more of a 'Wait till I sink my partial into your ass!' kind of way. The worker that I was talking to waved and called out 'Happy Holidays' a little too sarcastically.

I saw the old woman raise her hands in what I initially thought was a cheerful salute (hope springs eternal) but then realized that she was GIVING US THE FINGER. WITH BOTH HANDS.

(Say what you will, but there is something downright poetic about seeing an 85-year old woman hoist both her cardigan-clad, thin, veiny arms to flip you the bird.)

The Adelphia guy, apparently having seen one too many Scooby Doo episodes thought the old bag was a phantom and jumped in his van and left me to fend for myself. Here is what took place:

Me (cheerful as can be): Helllloooo!!

Her (Getting a little too close to my van window): That man trespassed on my property! Did you put him up to that?

Me (cheerful as can be): Well, no, he doesn't work for me. He works for Adelphia. He's fixing the cables so that we can all get back online and continue ignoring each other!

Her (excited now, as if she had just witnessed someone fitting their ENTIRE FIST into their mouth): AHA!! So they work for YOU! YOU called them! I see now that you started this whole damn thing! This is all YOUR fault!

Me (just a wee bit less cheerful now): No, you see, they have been working in this area for FIVE DAYS because we have all been without cable. The entire neighborhood. Men in vans. Working. Everywhere. Bad Men.

(She had a pen and paper in her hand and started writing down my license plate number.)

Her: Don't tell me that! I live on the corner and I SEE EVERYTHING and I haven't seen any vans. You're lying! You ARE LYING! YOU called him to fix YOUR stuff! I knew it! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!!

With this she started really screeching and was extending her arm and waving her craggy finger in my window, so close that she could have reached out and plucked out one of my nose hairs. In hindsight, I wish that I had grabbed that wrinkly appendage, closed the window and drove around the block a few times with her flailing body flapping outside. But I didn't. Instead, I gritted my teeth, and attempted to end the conversation:

Me: Okay! WHATEVA! I guess it's ALL MY FAULT! That's right! ALL MY STINKIN FAULT!! Now, you've got my license plate number so GO CALL THE POLICE! Oh, and HAVE A NICE DAY!

With that I started to slowly drive away, while hearing her screech her parting words:


I looked in my rearview mirror to see her, once again, raising both her hands to me in a triumphant, one-fingered salute.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

When They Sang 'Happy Birthday' I Could Have Sworn It Was To The Tune Of 'The Golden Girls' Theme Song*

I really, truly am not liking the idea of getting older. It hasn't bothered me in the past, but for some reason this birthday has me asking myself deep, probing questions such as, "Where exactly do they TUCK the tummy into? And once the face is LIFTED, how long does it stay ALOFT?" In spite of these nagging questions and the fact that I spent most of Wednesday combing the pages of People magazine looking for celebrities that were older than me, it was a wonderful birthday.

I got lots of birthday calls.

I waited in line for forty-five minutes at the post office. (Hey, wait! That was NOT FUN.)

I got these:

And these:

And these:

When the last one was delivered I tried to make myself feel better by telling the delivery man that now that I was finally 21 I couldn't wait to hook up with my posse, and you know, have a highball or two! Then my girdle snapped and he backed away slowly, an unmistakable look of pity in his eyes.

We went out to dinner that night to a sushi bar that we go to often. Lots of age-defying antioxidants in green tea! Kiyomi pounded down her usual fifty orders of octopus sushi** (she threw some scraps to Rigel and I) and we had to stop Kira from ordering one of everything on the menu. She insisted on getting the calamari with raspberry ponzu sauce which we resisted at first because, hey, isn't calamari Italian and what self-respecting Japanese restaurant would add raspberries to ponzu but it ended up being the Best Calamari. EVER. We applauded Kira on her wise choice as she smiled smugly and wondered how long she would have to put up with our pedestrian tastes.

At the end of the meal we were talking about ordering dessert when all of a sudden the lights went out and the owner had the entire restaurant singing 'Happy Birthday' while the waiters brought out a huge dessert concoction with a candle in it. I wanted to hug everyone in the room and exchange numbers but I remembered one of my New Years resolutions was to be less needy and pathetic and I stopped myself.

And even though I was still dreading the thought of being another year older, I stopped obsessing for a moment about how that cup of sake was already etching its name on my liver or how the light from the candle was so unflattering. I realized that, God willing, I would be spending all my future years with the three people at my table and that there were no better companions for my journey, one that would take me through even more birthdays, life changes and the desperate search for expensive face creams. And I relaxed a little bit, blew out the candle and proceeded to lick my ice cream plate clean.


*What's that you say? Not OLD enough to remember this? Thanks. That makes me feel ALOT better. You can take your young, spry, anorexic Lindsay Lohan ass here to listen to it.

**Eats raw marine life with visible suction cups but won't touch mashed potatoes because they're "ick."

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Friday, January 13, 2006

The Sad Thing Is, I'm Not Sure Which One Takes After Me

Kira pops into my office and sidles up next to me while I type.

"What's up, sweetie?"
"I just wanted to hug you."

A little while later, Kiyomi runs in and plops down on my lap.
"What's up, sweetie?"
"I just farted."

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Many Years Ago Today I Was Born

A few weeks ago I was tagged by Jen to do a '10 Random Facts About Me' list. I am finding out that this is one of those things bloggers do to one another, sort of like calling you down the Soul Train line to shake your booty, only with words. Or, more precisely, Another Forum In Which To Blabber On Endlessly About Ourselves. I thought the anniversary of my birth was an appropriate time to do just that:

1) I am older than her.

2) But younger than her.

3) This is one of my favorite places to eat. No, seriously.

4) I like coffee. Alot.

5) It took me four months of all-consuming research and careful analysis to buy my cappuccino machine. During that time I bought and returned three different models from three different stores. One of those I rejected simply because the foaming wand could not be rotated a full 360ยบ, necessary, in my opinion, to achieve a pure and incandescent topping to my liquid stimulating beverage.

6) We bought our last car without even test driving it.

7) I have slept through a 6.6 magnitude earthquake.

8) I fear bugs and insects of any kind. Even those ones that are dead and behind glass in a museum - I'm scared of those too.

9) I am insecure and anxious about boring people when I talk about myself.

10) Not insecure and anxious enough, however, to shamelessly post a '10 Things About Myself' list on the internet.

As a birthday gift from you to me, please post your own Shamelessly Self-Lauding 10 Facts Lists in my Comments* section. You'll feel thinner and prettier, I promise!

*Also, this is International De-Lurking Week so really, you are obligated to come out of the shadows and leave a comment or else all your hair will fall out and you will grow a chin.

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

My New Year's Gift To You: A Rambling, Incoherent Post! Oh, And A Picture Of A Pumpkin With Syphilis!

It has been awhile since I've written and I feel bad about it, you know, disappointing the three of you out there reading. Oh wait I forgot my mom doesn't have a computer. This post is for the two of you.

Before plunging into the New Year and all the excitement of our vacation (that we are still on. We will be missing the first day of school tomorrow. Don't tell the authorities.) I must do the obligatory Christmas wrap up!!

The holidays were awesome, in spite of the following:
1) Lost internet and cable TV for five straight days. ADELPHIA SUCKS.
2) Got screamed at by a senile, 500-year old neighbor
3) Accidentally invited my gynecologist to our holiday cocktail party

But first the awesomeness!!

This was my favorite day. It was the first weekend after the madness and we mustered up the balls to say 'NO' to any plan that required us to be anywhere at a specific time. This day we stayed in our pajamas most of the day, and then baked cookies for around three hours while we played Christmas carols and Rigel finished putting up lights. It felt like a scene straight out of "It's A Wonderful Life" except without all the sad parts.

We baked up these beauties.

Unfortunately the girls thought they were too pretty to eat, so they are still sitting on our kitchen counter. We haven't been home for a week, so I'm a little afraid of what they look like now. Here's what happened the last time we forgot to take care of Organic Foodstuffs Decorated In Celebration Of A Holiday:

Further confirmation of my poor housekeeping skills! Although, in my defense this tragedy was covered up by a construction paper antler hat that Kiyomi had worn in the school holiday show, so it wasn't like I just was ignoring this putrid pile of rotting squash sitting on the shelf in my children's bedroom. The girls screamed when they saw it, and then I came running in and screamed, too, and then we all made gagging noises while Rigel picked it up with his bare hands and threw it away.

To get your mind off that disturbing image, feast your eyes on this present I bought myself:

I have been wanting one of these for years and now I feel like a new woman. Rigel says he is worried that I'm using words like 'lust' and 'love' when referring to a cooking vessel but I've seen the way he looks at that guitar of his.

I was going to get into the stories about my encounter with the shriveled, feral neighbor and my mistaken invitation to my OB/GYN but that is just too much excitement and intrigue for just one post. I'll save it for when I get back from our trip, when I will upload some fascinating pictures of us eating breakfast in our hotel and sitting with pigeons Union Square. I'M HERE TO BLOW YOUR MINDS, PEOPLE.

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