Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Awww...He Has His Mother's Fangs

There have been two moments in my life when I could not laugh at the situation. The one I am going to tell you about is the birth of my first child, and it’s taken me thirty years to finally see the humor. Please don’t stop reading because you are squeamish, or because you are a man. There will be no gory details, and a man is really the subject of this story.

Now, I have to start by explaining what I thought childbirth was going to be like. I pictured myself lying in a soft, comfortable bed with half a dozen fluffy pillows, my hair cascading around me like an angel’s halo. My cheeks would be flushed to a magnificent shade of rose, perfectly matching the bouquets of flowers placed around me. Hubby would be at my side, gently caressing my hand. I would slowly close my eyes and drift off, and when I awakened, a perfect baby would be in my arms. I was SO sure this was how it would happen, because that’s how it happened in movies.

No one warned me that the intense pain of contractions was capable of completely transforming a person. My first clue was when Hubby drove over railroad tracks on the way to the hospital, causing my pain to increase. I glared at him with flames shooting out of my eyes. “You drive over one more railroad track and I’m going to kill you!” He must have believed me because I could see him thinking hard about how he could do that. He was much relieved when we pulled up to the hospital, and he was still alive.

I tried so hard to be a tough little trooper, because I wanted to be the best woman in labor the hospital had ever had. Nowadays, women get epidurals in the parking lot, but thirty years ago they only gave them to the screamers. But, screaming was not part of my pretty little picture, so I remained quiet. Until I glanced at Hubby, sitting next to my bed, looking almost smug. I whispered something in his direction, so he would come closer. I then grabbed his shirt by the collar, and with Herculean strength, pulled him right up to my face and told him “YOU, go find the doctor and tell him I’ve changed my mind…I...DON’T…WANT…TO…HAVE…A…BABY!” He smiled nervously and wiggled out of my grasp as another contraction consumed me.

Moments later, I could hear him whispering with the nurse. I could imagine their conversation. “Is it normal for women in labor to display a lot of anger?” he asked. And, the nurse told him it was a perfectly normal reaction to the pain. “What about her head spinning all the way around? And, I swear I heard her speaking in Latin.” Now, now, this is a tough time for fathers because they feel so helpless. Why don’t you get a wet washcloth for her forehead, and I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.” Just then, I pointed at him from my bed and snarled “WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?”

Fast forward--more contractions, ouch-ouch, time to push, push-push, baby is born, and placed in my arms. There, this was what I had been waiting for. I was finally going to get my Hollywood moment. I looked lovingly at Hubby “We did it…we have our brand new baby.” I could see he wanted to say something. I knew he was searching for just the right words. “Sweetheart, I need to tell you something…when you were pushing, your face was DARK purple! I didn’t know a face could get that color!” CUT!!!

"Vintage Images courtesy of"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What Won't Kill You Will Only Make You Fatter!

When I turned fifty, I really didn’t want a big fuss made. In fact, no gift would have been the perfect gift. But, I did receive a gift—anonymously. Twenty pounds. And, I have been trying to return it ever since. I have tried a few diets, all unsuccessfully, and I thought I would share them with you.

The South Beach Diet- this one was recommended to me by my doctor. I did lose weight during Phase One, or as I liked to call it, suicide watch. But, as soon as I was able to reintroduce carbs, I went a little crazy. I almost lost 190 pounds, but I talked him in to staying.

The Anti-White Diet- this one may have been too simple. If you know your colors, you can do this diet. You cannot eat anything white--no white bread, white potatoes, white rice, sour cream, mayonnaise, or wedding cake. Okay, I just made up the wedding cake part, but it does make sense. This one might be a good one, but if you want to reach your goal weight while you are still alive, this one might be too slow.

The Smoking Diet- it’s based on the premise that if people gain weight when they quit smoking, they should lose weight when they start smoking. This one sounds good in theory, but it does come with some risks. Like lung cancer…and premature death.

The Worked in High School Diet- I lost 18 pounds on this one the summer of my sophomore year. Very simple to follow. You can only eat hot dogs, and you must boil them, throw out the water and boil them again. And, you must drink eight glasses of water a day. The only side effect to this one is irreversible brain damage. Oh, and, all your teeth might fall out…but, you will lose weight.

Right now, I am on the Rainbow Diet (if it’s a color, you can eat it) and I will report back to let you know how it’s going. Meanwhile, if you want to share a diet I haven’t tried yet but am sure to fail, please feel free to contact me at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

From Rhymes To Crimes!

My son was interested in video games as soon as he was old enough to hold a controller. I loved to watch him play as he rescued princesses, found magic mushrooms, and rode around on little clouds. As he got older, the games became more complicated, but I was happy to see him continually improve his fine motor skills, and develop the patience necessary to see a game through. Until one day……….

He was sitting with a controller in his hands, eyes focused on the 3000 inch projection TV his father thought we needed in our ten foot wide room. I asked him what he was playing and he said it was a new game. I had some free time, so I decided to sit and watch for awhile.

“So, what are you? Are you a hedgehog, an earthworm?” I asked him.
“I’m just a guy” he said.
“And, what do you do?”
“ I steal cars.”
“Oh, are you an undercover policeman?”
“No, I’m a thief.”
“Are you stealing a car right now?”
“No, I’m driving to my boss’ house to get a new assignment.”
“Doesn’t your boss have an office?”
“No Mom, he’s not that kind of boss.”
My mind drifted off, as I fondly remembered the old games he used to play, with their cute little creatures and fairy tale lands.
“Now, where are you going?”
“I’m picking up his cousin at the airport….”
“Well, that’s nice of you.”
“…and dropping him off at a restaurant so my boss can whack him.”
I let this slowly into my brain.
“I don’t suppose by whacking him, you mean hitting him over the head with a rolled newspaper?”
My son gave me the eye-roll. The same eye-roll I gave my dad when he asked why I ruined perfectly good baseball cards by clothes-pinning them to my bicycle spokes.
Just then, there was the sound of screeching tires and a flash of light.

“What just happened?”
“I hit a lady with a baby stroller.”
“Oh my God, that’s awful!”
“Not really. I get points for that. And, if I hit enough of them, I level up.”
“Level up to what? Launching grenades into preschools?”
The eye roll again. I stood up indignantly.
“I demand to know where you got this game!”
“You gave it to me for Christmas.”

Needless to say, from that point on, I tried to monitor his video games more closely. I have no idea if playing video games like that one is harmful. All I do know is that my son’s fine motor skills have been an asset in his career in the military. AND…he’s on our side.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Grilled Chicken...Hold The Cleavage!

They say that the number one issue couples fight about is money. Yes, I can imagine that’s true in most relationships. Not mine. What do we fight about? Where we’re going to eat. Here is a typical dialog:

Him: Should we go get something to eat?

Me: Sure!

Him: Where would you like to go?

Me: I don’t care.

We have had this exact conversation so many times, we could just hold up flash cards.

Him: Pick a place…I don’t want to drive around.

Me: I’ll eat anywhere.

This is where he pulls out his trump card.

Him: Fine, then we’ll go to Hooters.

I play along. I know he’s bluffing.

Me: I don’t want to go to Hooters!

Him: You said you didn’t care where we eat, so we’re going to Hooters.

Me: They don’t even have good food.

Him: I know.

Me: Okay, how about Chinese?

Him: I had Chinese for lunch yesterday.

Me: See! I made a suggestion and you shot it down.

I’m in full sulk-mode now.

Him: Make another one.

Me: No, I don’t want to.

He tries another tactic.

Him: Fine, we’ll stay home and I’ll make myself a bologna sandwich.

Ha! This is really feeble. We don’t even eat bologna.

Me: Okay, I’ll come up with three places and you can choose one of them. The first one is….

Him: Wait, I know where we should go!

Me: (silence)

A therapist would probably say that we aren’t really fighting about where to eat just as money fights are not about money. I don’t really care. We have been doing this dance for years…and I’m sure if I mentioned finding something else to fight about, his first words would be “Fine, pick something.”

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Year Resolutions: My Shame Exposed!

I know what you're thinking...wasn't the New Year celebrated last month? Why are you writing about resolutions in February?

Because, my resolutions may be born in January, but they die in February. And, the amount of time I mourn them is equal to the amount of time it took me to create them. For the past ten years, I have used the same list of resolutions. All I do is cross out the year at the top of the page, and scribble in the current year.

Resolution #1 is lose ten pounds. This is an oldie, but a goodie. And, I can tell you the exact moment when this one goes in the can. It’s when the Girl Scouts set up their little card table, stacked high with boxes of cookies, outside my grocery store. I throw up my arms in surrender, give a huge sigh, and pillage through my purse looking for cash. Like a junkie, I hand her a wad of bills, and ask "How many thin mints can I get for this?" The little girl’s face lights up as she fills my arms with boxes. I try to convince myself that she is not the devil, and manage a weak smile.

Resolution #2 has an even shorter life span: exercise more. This one is a little misleading because it implies that I already exercise. It’s just my little joke with myself. I snicker every time I see it. To give you an idea about how quickly this resolution evaporates into thin air, let’s go back to last year. First week of January, I was feeling super motivated to work out. I got into my “exercise outfit” (don’t ask), grabbed my iPod, and a bottle of water. Treadmill, here I come! I headed to the basement where my mini-gym is set up, and in gazelle-like fashion, I flew down the steps two at a time. Miscounting the steps (apparently gazelles can’t count), I came down hard at the bottom and twisted my ankle. My dreams of a slimmer me vanished as my ankle started to swell. My doctor said I had to stay off it for a couple weeks. The silver lining? I was up and around in time for Girl Scout cookie season.

Resolution #3, the final one I’m willing to share with you, is not worth the paper it’s written on. It’s a travesty. Keep the house clean. There is only one possible way I could achieve this goal, and that would be to move out and live somewhere else. I can’t even keep the kitchen table clean. If we need to eat there, I just take everything from the kitchen table and move it to the dining room table. If we need to use the dining room table, I move everything to the basement, and the truth of the matter is, I haven't been able to see my treadmill or other gym equipment in a very long time.

Making these resolutions every year, knowing I can’t and won’t stick to them, may seem like an exercise in futility...but hey, at least it’s an exercise.