Friday, April 15, 2011

Nanny Jo, where are you?

Today, I took a bath.  For most, that is not particularly newsworthy, but you must remember, I never leave the house.  And no, I am not saying I took a bath instead of a shower. My descent into grunginess was gradual.  I would like to say I was driven by an intense commitment to conservationism but I want you to know the real me.  The more days I work at home, the lazier I get.  I took the first step down that slippery slope when I stopped shaving my legs.  Beware, ladies, beware.

Today was different though.  I felt energized, and I could smell myself.  I thought I would create a mini-spa experience; scented candles, rose oil, bath salts, my favorite loofah.  My mistake was vocalizing my plan, "I am going to take a bath."  Jackson beat me to the bathroom and started stripping down.  I kicked him out but was now trapped in the bathroom with nothing.  My actual experience was soaking in a tub of hot water with a washcloth Daphne slipped under the door and a bar of Irish Spring, while outside, Jackson had a meltdown of epic proportions. 
He kicked the door.  He hit the door.  He slammed his body into the door.  He screamed, begged and cried.  He would not be distracted by candy or the opportunity to go outside.  My bath was ruined. 

I am a prisoner of his love.

So I did what I always do when I get a few minutes alone in the bathroom.  I worked on my tunnel.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Mother's Love

I was watching National Geographic, or some such channel, and a riveting segment came on.  There was a mother grizzly bear with several cubs eating a caribou she had killed.   A larger male grizzly approached to steal the food.  The mother bear never hesitated.  She went on the attack.  What an inspirational testament to a mother's willingness to sacrifice herself to protect her young. I was simultaneously impressed by her selflessness and astonished at her stupidity.  He was really big and she could have other cubs, right?

It reminded me of a nearly identical experience in my own life testing my own motherly instinct. 

We were at the Haunted Fairgrounds.  Cullen was probably three or four years old.   We started through the haunting and Cullen wanted me to carry him because he was very scared.  Cullen was a really big three/four year-old but I was a good mother so I didn't complain.   Then the psycho chainsaw killer came after us.  Cullen suddenly became very heavy.  He was slowing me down. 

There was no way I could save us both from the pretend maniac chasing us.  I did what any mother would do in the same circumstances.  I dropped my baby like a rock and took off.  I am pretty sure if the fake killer had been closer, I would have thrown Cullen at him to make my escape.  Perhaps not my finest hour. 

The mother grizzly won by the way.  She and I both lived to fight, or not, another day.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Over the Rainbow

This weekend Daphne went to visit my nephew and sister in Buckhannon.  This was no ordinary visit, the purpose was to clean out the basement so she and her children can move there next month.  I know, I know.  It happened so fast I can hardly believe it myself.  But it is true.  I may soon be free.

So what did I do with my freedom this weekend?  I used up the whole first day on the house.  I scrubbed pink icing off the bathroom door, vacuumed up pounds of Nerds, did mountains of laundry, and bombed the house after making sure the checkout girl at Walmart clearly understood I had ants, not roaches.  Wasted day, but I kept in mind that someday soon I would scrub birthday cake off the walls for the last time.

That night I went to bed and it was very quiet.  It is never quiet when I go to bed.  I allowed myself to hope as I had not allowed myself to hope before.  I dreamed of a day soon when I would have this peace and this quiet all the time.  That my children and grandchildren would be happy somewhere else and I would at long last be alone.  And I got tears in my eyes!  What is wrong with me?

The next day was Cullen's birthday and I took him and two friends to a movie (Cullen's pick, worst movie ever) and dinner.  There are few things more annoying in the world than teenage boys together.  At the end of the day I thanked them for being there for me.  It reminded me why I wanted to be alone in the first place.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Essential? You be the judge.

Last shutdown I was, by some horrible mistake, deemed essential and worked the 28 days only to have my sitting-at-home-on-their-butts brethren get paid also.  I didn't begrudge them the pay, I knew they had bills and it certainly wasn't their fault.  I did begrudge them the sitting on their butts thing though.  Let me tell you what I do so you can decide if I am essential.

Absolutely nothing.

And to make it worse, I require an army of people to help me do even that.  I work from home which requires a lot of technology; a blackberry, a laptop, a secure token to generate a password, an aircard, etc.  On any given day, I am lucky if I have one of the those things available.  The technology doesn't fail.  I do.  I lose things, I break things, I drop things in toilets, I forget things.  Go in any airport bathroom after I have been there and you will find a treasure trove of my things; my badge, my credentials, my purse, my coat.   I have broken records for password resets. 

My office has written SOPs to deal with such incidents.  When I left my token and government issued blackberry last week they were ready.  One was assigned token duty each day, carrying their phone and my token everywhere so I could call and get my password, several times each day. Another picked the phone and token up at the office and rode the train home.  I met him at the station in a trenchcoat with a briefcase full of cash.  I am back in business and just in time.

I am essential again.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Daddy's Girl

Ask my mother and she will tell you that I am a daddy's girl.  In her version of the truth this was apparent while I was still in the womb, causing her nothing but heartache (or was it heartburn?).   I believe, as the second child, I quickly assessed the situation, recognized my older sibling was solidly entrenched as "Mommy's favorite", so went for what was available.

There were flaws in my logic.  I was my mother's second child, but not my father's, so the position was not vacant.  Also, according to both my parents, I was not an engaging child who demonstrated need, affection or smiles.  My dad called it self-sufficient, Mom called it snotty.   The final strike against me, as you can see, was homeliness.

More siblings followed, one before I even learned to speak.  By all accounts my new, younger sister was born with skills I would have to acquire and had it all over me.  She was cute, charming and loving.  She squeezed me out.  But I took the long view, and I was willing to do what it took.  I went to more football, basketball and baseball games than I can count. I worked on the car, and rode the dirt bike.  I hung on his every word.  When he said Americans don't have to do anything they don't want, I took it to heart and refused to practice cursive in school.  Vigilance and perseverance were key.

The others couldn't keep their eye on the ball in the end.  They lost interest and gained lives, but not me.

That's why I'm a winner!

Me, Deni and Dana

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bad Karma

I do not believe our reward is in this life.  I know too many good people (not me, of course) who are certainly not getting rewarded.  But I do think our punishment is just waiting for us to screw up.

I have two vivid memories of pure evil when I was around 5 or 6 years old.  Once, I pinched the little girl next door even though she was younger and had done nothing to deserve it.  I am not sure why I did it, but I do remember she had blond curls and was an only child - reason enough, I suppose.  I still feel badly about it.

The other was during a visit to Janie Gorden's house.  Janie was in my first grade class at Christ the King. Just in case you haven't already figured it out, it was a Catholic school.  Her hair was long brown ringlets.  I still had my crew cut.  Janie's house had a giant cursive "G" on the front.  It was wonderful.

First grade was hard for me.  I struggled with such things as how many nasty school peas would I have to eat to get my grandfather out of purgatory.  Remember purgatory?   It's gone now.  I think they tore it down when they enlarged heaven, thus no longer needing a waiting room.  Then after learning Christmas carols I was stricken to find out there was such things as "heavenly peas".  I visualized them as much larger than the standard variety and was horrified at the thought that we might be served those one day.  And just how would one sleep in them?

Anyway, back to Janie's house.  Her mom was cooking and Janie asked for a slice of raw potato.  This was new to me, but I was polite, so said yes I would like one too.  Yuck!  I stuck it in the couch.  I have paid for that sin every week of my child-rearing life.  Just yesterday, I removed the cushions to vacuum and found pens, pencils, crochet hooks, chewed gummy worms, enough crumbs to build another couch entirely of crumbs AND.....

It would be poetic to claim there was a rotten potato wedge, but this blog is about absolute truth.  Besides, there is no such subtlety in my life.  No, I found a dehydrated ball of Jackson poop.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nature kicks Nuture's Butt

I inadvertently conducted a psychological experiment last night.  I taught my five year old granddaughter to play cards.  It was very interesting to watch the juvenile human display her predisposed nature.  Here is what I discovered.  She likes to win and she won't hesitate to cheat to do so.  I was not at all surprised about the winning thing.  I am not sure if it is an across the board human quality, but it surely is an Alkire one.

My mother, on the other hand, was above all that.  Just ask her. But for obvious Darwinian reasons that saintly quality succumbed to the Alkire cut-throat gene.

The cheating thing did surprise me a little bit though.  Where was that childhood goodness and innocence I have heard so much about?  This kid was cheating her grandma!  And worse yet, she wasn't very good at it.  It was pathetically obvious and she still lost.  But she will get there.  I have had a lot more practice.