Friday, January 29, 2010

Classic Blog-o-vision

This is one of my favorite posts from Mother's Day 2007 while my friends and I were waiting for our China daughters, and I thought I would dust it off and re-present it to those of you who may not have had a chance to read it the first time around.


What started out as a lovely day to be spent with friends and celebrating a delightful little girls 4th birthday evolved into a day filled with heavy breathing, nausea, embarrassment, shame, discomfort and looking into the eyes of death and all mixed for some odd reason with uncontrollable fits of laughter.

Not the good type of laughter where you giggle and move on...this is the kind of laughter that grips you so tight your entire insides clench up and you physically cannot breathe - where you mouth the words STOP IT...I CAN"T TAKE IT ANYMORE...but no one can (or they choose not to) hear you.

My warning to all who read this is simple: DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES attempt to or actually enter a "BOUNCE HOUSE", these innocent-looking castles of air....seem so simple and fun loving...but they are Lucifer in-rubber; primary colors beckoning you to enter for a little fun and carefree abandon. But once inside, the evil is released and death comes a-knocking.

It all started when the "cool kids" shouted my name...".Valerie, come inside with us, we'll take a picture; come on "it's fun" (I've had more fun at a colonoscopy exam).

Let me preface this tale with the fact that the party had broken up and there were but a few stragglers left behind, including the infamous "M-3 Posse", which I now believe stands for Masochists, Morons and Maniacs. It had rained and the bounce house was wet and all but empty. The girls and, when I say girls, I mean full grown women who would usually be sipping iced teas and exchanging recipes, decided to find their inner child and enter what I now refer to as the House of Doom.

I must say watching them attempt entry was very comical from the outsiders perspective. It was easy to watch and giggle at the antics of Robyn the Radical and Crazy Christie. The view of them just entering thru the trap door (for that is truly what it is) was worth the price of admission; I even remember thinking to myself..."that is something I WOULD NEVER DO" (You will see later that this follows a long pattern of lying to myself, i.e., the Farrah wings I sported were still cool in 1994, nobody will notice my two different colored shoes, I haven't gained weight, my clothes just shrunk)! Anyway, I digress, they were screaming and carrying on and started to call my name; now usually when a bunch of crazies calls to me, I just ignore them...but this day was different, because the call of their voices was being driven by the evil power of the "House of Doom"....that evil within made their mad requests seem fun, inviting, and enticing, so I kicked off my shoes and walked toward the "House of Doom".

The classic Angel/Devil debate was going on in my unclear head as I approached the inflated balloon of death.

ANGEL: Where are you going...didn't you see the position you have to assume to enter the balloon of death? People will see you, there are many witnesses; many with cameras just waiting for an opportunity to catch you in a very unflattering and compromising position. Turn back NOW!

DEVIL: Go on, don't be so uptight, they did it, no one said anything about'll be fun. Don't be an old fuddy duddy.

I ignored the warning of common sense, thinking, "What is the worst thing that will happen?" It's just a bouncy house, children love them; they represent youth and carefree days of yore. I chose not to hear the theme song from "DEAD MAN WALKING" as I approached the "House of Doom".

You would think that the fact that upon arrival I had to mount this big wet foam block thing on my knees in white pants, lift up a flap and then crawl under a net would have disuaded me, especially when I knew full well the view I was going to be presenting to all those unfortunate people behind me. I have to be honest here - my days of being called "twiggy, slim and beanpole" are far behind me. I left them back somewhere in the early to mid nineties when I was still trying to pull off the Farrah Fawcett wings. Those days have been replaced with words like Big and Beautiful, Just My Size, Women's Department, Full Figured, and Extra, Extra Curvy.

So I proceeded towards the Temple of Satan. Upon approach I can hear the debate of good and evil once again:

ANGEL: Just peek inside, point to your white pants and tell them they're nuts!

DEVIL: You've come this far, don't be a coward! Get in there; they did it...come on WUSS!

Well, nobody calls me a wuss. So, I attempt to gain entry into Satan's Den. 1st attempt: I slide down the HUGE WET FOAM BLOCK...WTF! This didn't look that hard before. 2nd attempt: I slide down the HUGE WET FOAM hard is it to climb into a hole? 3rd attempt: I slide down the HUGE WET FOAM BLOCK...WTF. Now this is a point of pride....I'm going to get my full figured ass in there if it KILLS me. (Which you will see later, it almost did).

Finally, I somehow manage to claw my way into the Belly of the Beast. The first thing that struck me is that this was a huge mistake because once inside I notice there are 2 little children jumping in youthful abandon and oblivious that they are encased in evil along with my "friends". I was greeted with the vision of Radical Robyn on all fours, doggie style if you will, and Crazy Christie steadying herself near the sidewall made of netting and laughing uncontrollably and screaming for Robyn to get up. Meanwhile, Robyn seemed incapable of talking, but I think she was motioning for me to get down doggie style with her, which a prudish upbringing forbid me from doing. I knew I had to stand up quickly and make my way to the wall if I had any chance of holding onto my dignity. I thought Crazy Christie had the right idea, and knew I had to somehow steady myself along the "wall" which is simply netting...that same stuff used in your trunk to keep your milk from rolling around.

The first thing that came to my mind as I stood up was how quickly I was aware of everything I had eaten earlier in the day; it seemed to be floating in my stomach looking for an escape hatch. The second thing I remember was looking at the tattoos on Robyn's feet and marveling at how much they were moving almost like they were lifting up from the skin where they were attached. The third thing I noticed was that the children weighing in at a combined weight of probably 75 lbs. were creating a G-force in Lucifer's Lounge that was really irritating me.

I made it over to the "wall" which is funny when you think of it because a wall would give one the impression that there is stability and safety and protection to be found there. The truth is, this netting was really a web of morbidity, and once you came into contact with it, the entire structure is designed to give way like a house of cards.

I think I must have "leaned" upon the web for about 2/10ths of a second before I was encompassed in a sea of primary colors...RED/YELLOW/BLUE, and I think I saw a glimpse of Nemo, but can't be sure as I sunk into the depths of hell on earth. Apparently, and this is just my opinion, the "walls" are connected to the floor and if a person larger than an 8 year old takes down the wall, the entire structure will collapse upon itself. I noted that the roof was suddenly on me and not 10 feet above my head.

I was soaked from a fluid I can only surmise was the grim reaper's bile and I saw my life flash before my eyes... I thought "This is not how I thought it would end, not encased in a rubber tomb drowning and suffocating all at once". I didn't think my body was capable of obtaining the flexibility and contortionist moves required; my feet aren't that high above my head in the gynecologist's office.

I begged for some sort of help...desperate like drowning people are. My "friends" Robyn and Christie, were nowhere to be found I could only hear their laughter as I fought for dear life. The larger, older child tried to walk my way, but I knew there was no way in hell she could possibly pull me out. But I had the forethought to think "grab her in here with you...maybe then someone will help and at least you won't go alone!" I could see her eyes register the futility of her errand and she stayed just out of my reach.

To this day, I don't know how I righted myself, but somehow my will to live another day allowed me to belly my way up the "roof" onto the floor and the air started to re-circulate. At this point I was like Britney Spears in a rehab center: "I JUST WANTED OUT". I made my way to one of the corner pillars and couldn't decide if the wetness on my pants was rain water or urine and didn't much care.

I made my way back to the place where I had entered from. I could smell freedom and taste it in my mouth, but the fallen angel had other plans for me. You see, somehow, after my trauma from a mere 4 minutes before, I somehow forgot that I was not supposed to lean on the net wall. As I approached the trap door, I planned to back out and did so by presenting myself ass first to the entrance point and proceeded to grab the "net wall". Well, I hope you enjoy re-runs, because the exact same thing happened all over again. RED/YELLOW/BLUE/NEMO, bring the house down, fluid everywhere, laughter from Crazy Christie and Radical Robyn, feet up thinking "You can't escape your destiny" when I felt my opal earring get ripped from my ear. Well, do what you will with me, but keep your mitts off of my jewelry!

It was a split second decision. Rise up and get some life sustaining air or push the bloated rubber aside and go back for your family jewels. If you know me, and I think you do, I went back and reclaimed my earring, grappled my way back up the roof/wall/floor thingy and birthed myself from the doors of purgatory and deposited my big, beautiful butt directly onto the lawn.

Did I mention that the entire time this was going, on the party paparazzi were there snapping pictures!!! Robyn's husband (and I believe first cousin) took this opportunity to make a "snuff" film.

I will most likely post some pictures here, as I am sure my "friends" will already have them up on their sites so I might as well steal their thunder.

I escaped with a little less dignity and a new-found respect for the extreme sport of the Bouncy House.

Happy Mother's Day....and to Robyn and Christie, you know what kind of MOTHER'S I think you are!!!

Welcome, Come on in "friend"

Holding onto the "Pillar Of Strength" (not)

First Down "Penalty"

Caualties, Robyn and Christie (you reap what you sew)

It was much more traumatic from the inside.

First time shame on you,  second time shame on me.

Erin, aka "The Afterbirth Position"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Out Damned Spot and Out of the Closet Too

Exhibit "A"

There was a time in my life, not so long ago, that I considered myself a person who cared very much how I presented myself to the world. My nails would be polished and trimmed, my hair coiffed in an appealing manner, my grooming top notch and I would dress in a lady-like and presentable fashion.

That was b.c. (before children) I now find myself scrambling for spare seconds to brush my teeth un- interrupted or a stolen moment to run a brush through my hair. I was in a room of my home yesterday and I had a strange feeling of not comprehending exactly where I was. Things were strewn all over the floor and shelves in disarray, bags of seasonal decor and children's items long outgrown. What used to be organized clothing hung neatly by type, color then season was now a hodge podge of items no longer recognizable to me; could this be MY closet?

When did my wardrobe go from luncheon outfits and night on the town ensembles to a literal rainbow of t-shirts and stretchy pants. Everyone of which, upon closer inspection is stained with some unknown substance which coincidentally matches the same stains I have struggled to remove from my children's clothing?

My mouth was agape by the horror of items in front of me, there wasn't one thing I would give you a $1.00 for at a garage sale and yet my closet was filled with shapeless, tasteless, waist less clothing that appeared to have been handed out as napkins at a Medieval Times Festival and then re-purposed as clothing for street people of the world; how it all came together in this one small room is a mystery to me.

Is this what it has come to? I struggle to insure the children are always looking their best, most coordinated and up to date, and hope that nobody notices the two adults that accompany them to various excursions around the cityscape are wearing clothing circa 1995?

Exhibit A. We had a week of freak weather here recently where it was very cold for Texas. I went to the thrift store that is my closet and sought out a warm outfit to wear. I came upon an outfit that I know I wore on our first house hunting trip to Texas, 11 years ago. I blew the dust off the shoulders and tried it on...the tight white velour corded leggings and overly long peach sweatshirt looked just like they did back in the day (ridiculous). I stood before the mirror and noted that the name brand on the shirt front was one no longer used by the store from whence it came and looked even worse upon the person, who unlike the ensemble, had aged in the last 11 years.

My husband came in and I said I wore this 11 years ago and he said great it still fits! Of course it still fits, it's like a one size fits all plethora of fabric; stretchy leggings and a shirt big enough the Octomom could have worn it in her 9th month; it wasn't like they were my "skinny" jeans.

The sad part is, I actually went out in it, what choice did I have? So long have I neglected my wardrobe, the choices are virtually indistinguishable. I have to make a concerted effort to update this wardrobe before the kids are savvy enough to be embarrassed by their parents. I remember well my mom in her bright floral moo-moos and white nurses shoes (she wasn't a nurse, but thought they were "comfortable")

I obviously have a hard time throwing things away if there is technically nothing "wrong" with them. Somebody call the What Not To Wear show, I need an intervention.

I would donate them, but just because you are down on your luck doesn't mean you have no taste. I'm going to need a bigger rag bag! Unless....I wonder if these qualify as "vintage" yet? You know they could come back in style.

Please use this cautionary tale to prevent this from happening to you or a loved one, bad clothes happen to good people.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where Is The Love?

It has been 9 weeks since you started pre-school.  In those first few days, you would cry as we dropped you off, clinging to my neck or leg and pleading with me not to go.  When I would disengage myself from your chubby little hands and kiss that tear stained face for our final good-bye, I had to will the tears to keep from flowing out of my own eyes.  You would then immediately seek out your sister and two of you would cry and hold one another while we walked away.

This behavior went on for the first week and every Monday for an additional 2 weeks thereafter.

For a little over 2 weeks when I picked you up and would ask "What did you do today", you would report sadly "I cried" and "Sissie cry too".  My poor heart was cut with each admission of your sadness.

But the bright spot in all of those days was picking you up in the afternoon: I would eagerly walk towards your classroom to watch you both unobserved through the classroom window.  You were always with one another and so immersed in whatever task held your interest at that moment; but the second the door opened you would both swing your heads around with anticipation and scream Mommy/Daddy and come running to us with such enthusiasm the sad heart from the morning would sing with joy to be greeted with so much love.

Then there was yesterday.  We arrived at your classroom and opened the door, there were no tears, no regrets, neither of you looked back in our direction, but you, Lil Dude, you went running with open arms to your teacher and gave her a giant hug and Aubriana went to find a book.  I waved bye bye and blew you a kiss.  I gave a half hearted smile towards your teacher and wondered if she could feel the ice behind my stare?

I convinced myself, this was good, you were forming bonds with others and felt comfortable here. I looked forward to picking you up from school all day and when it was time, I went to the window to gaze at you both once again.  You were playing in different areas, no longer needing to be within each others grasp, completely engaged in your individual activities.  We opened the door, and Aubriana looked up and smiled and showed me her magnetic blocks.  Lil Dude never bothered to lift his head to even see who had entered the room; clearly, he wasn't expecting anybody.  I waited in the doorway for someone to notice me, I walked over to Aubriana and touched her blocks and hugged her shoulder.  I kissed her head and said "Hi princess"; Lil Dude was still oblivious to our prescence, so I said his name out loud and he turned and looked at me for a second and looked back at the toy in his hand.

Is it just naturally part of human nature to take those who love us and treat us better than any other people on the planet for granted?  My deepest sorrows come from people who were by birth or choice in my life because we loved one another.  Once we allow someone into our lives and to share our love with them we in exchange give them great power to wound us with that love.

To love a child is to commit to someone that is constantly in a state of change, they are different people from morning to nightfall.  Evolving before our very eyes at such a speed, it is hard to describe their personalitites and character traits from one week to the next. 

I never knew becoming a mother would involve so much sadness, disappointment and hurt feelings.  I have never loved anyone with this much loyalty and devotion, my expectations were it would be exchanged in a circle; but I am learning that my love flows out straight to my children and is non-stop in it's purposeful direction.  Their love ebbs and flows it's way back to me. When it washes over me, it lifts me up and bathes me in warmth, when the tide is low I selfishly want that feeling again. 

I often feel that being a mother is a greater learning experience for me than growing up is for my children.
Unfulfilled expectations are a direct route to disappointment.  I must teach and live that giving for giving's sake is a gift in and of itself.  If love comes full circle, than you have been twice blessed.

My apologies to Miss Sandra for the icey stare.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another Year Cometh and I recall The Old Chinese Lady

Many years ago I was leaving a beauty salon after having my hair cut.  I found myself behind a very elderly little Chinese lady hunched over, as if gravity was pushing and pulling on her at the same time; she was wearing black baggy pants and an asian overdress accompanied by very tattered slippers.  She shuffled along so slowly, like a tortise in the sand but I did not want to insult the lady by overtaking her; respect for her age and the fact that I was in no hurry allowed me to pause and take my proper place behind her.

I had plenty of time to notice her thinning gray hair in an unkempt bun, her arthritic fingers grasping the walker she clung to, the long yellowish nails.  I thought to myself, I bet she was once a great beauty and the picture of grace and femininity. 

As I pondered these thoughts to myself, wondering how we go from young and beautiful to old and unnoticable....I was interrupted by two of my senses.  One being the sense of sound intruding upon my meandering thoughts to try to decipher what was causing the muffled rumblings I was hearing in a very distinctive rhythm.  These harmonic discords coincided perfectly with the shuffle of the lady in front of me.  The second sense to tap into my mind was that of smell, specifically the offensive odor of the expulsion of bodily gases. 

The sweet, aged creature to my bow was a one man band of sound and smell and any kind thoughts I had of her quickly were erased and replaced with the survival instinct to exit immmediately stage left.
I quickly found my escape route from the establishment, my thoughts turned to how do we get to that point in our lives where our age allows us to break all social rules and just let it all hang out?

What freedom to no longer worry or fuss about our hair, or clothing.  If your body needs to do something, anything,  you either have no choice about it or no longer care about impressing anyone, anywhere.  You are long past trying to capture a mate, find a friend, or secure steady employment. 

I decided right then and there, that I would not fight the life cycle when it delivered me to that point in time.  That is not exactly the next stop on my journey, but when that time comes, I will ring the bell and exit the bus of  life with a positive attitude and embrace the gifts of being counted amongst the elderly and frail of society.

As we age we need to be kinder and more forgiving of ourselves and be realistic about our limitations both physical and mental. Therefore, with that in mind, I submit my New Years Resolutions for 2010

1) I resolve to seek out and enjoy any carbohydrate that my mind summons up as desireable.
2) I resolve to not jog/fast walk/run in any way unless someone or something is chasing me.
3) I resolve to sleep if  I am tired and not worry about cleaning up some obscure mess for guests that  never come
4) I resolve to stop and get down on the floor with my dog when I notice she looks bored and lonely. I will scratch her and baby talk her and when I grow weary of this I will extend it for another 10, 5 minutes, because this brings both of us joy and peace.
5) I resolve to laugh when the kids break things in my home (it is like getting mad that the sun rises, it happens everyday, you might as well embrace it)
6) I resolve to be happy with who I am on the inside and the outside (with the exception of coming into some big money in which case I resolve to have an extreme makeover and be happy with the new me).

I feel my expectations this year are truly attainable and look forward to seeing that this year, for the first time I actually keep all of my self promises. 

Happy New Year Everyone.