Friday, February 26, 2010

Hand-Held Mirrors and Other Bad Inventions

Let's Get Physical?

My daughter either plans to single-handedly bring back the early 80s by channeling Olivia Newton-John:

Or she's trying to subtly suggest that her mother should begin working out again. While neither is a particularly attractive option, I fear it's the latter. I made the grave mistake of looking at my bare ass in the mirror the other day. Why I have no idea. I think there's a reason God puts our asses back there where we can't readily see them: to keep middle aged women from viewing their own asses and subsequently ending their own lives.

Up until recently, I didn't have a real hand-held mirror. If I for some reason needed to see the back of my head or similar I used my compact. But that broke recently and I got the crazy idea to buy one of those big hand-held jobbers with one side that hugely magnifies every imperfection. My imperfections are best kept in real size, if not minimized, but certainly not maximized.

So anyway, it suddenly occurred to me after stepping out of the shower that I haven't gotten a good gander at my backside in quite some time. HOLYMOTHEROFGOD. I'd make a reference here to cottage cheese except I see no reason to insult an entire industry that really has done nothing bad to me personally.

I used to have a fairly consistent routine of going to spin class several times per week. But when my house flooded and we moved downtown for a spell I seemed to reason that my gym was too far away (errrr, 15 minutes instead of 5) and simply never went back. That was in August. I'm not sayin' my ass was great before, but if I knew in six short months it would turn into that monstrosity in the mirror, I might have kept going.

People, this is a long-winded way of saying that I am going to start working out again. Soon.

And here's the most depressing part. It's not like I have a bunch of weight to lose. If I could delude myself into thinking, "Well, after losing 15 pounds my ass will look like Jennifer Aniston's ass" that would be most satisfactory. Unfortunately, if I lost 15 pounds my ass would probably still look like my ass only slightly smaller. Like maybe if you had a bowl of cottage cheese and ate some of it.

No, my condition is much more dire and incurable: I'm old.

PS -- If "Let's Get Physical" isn't the world's most embarrassing video ever created, do regale me with what is.

Monday, February 22, 2010

There's an App For That!

Allow me to be the first to announce that I am NOT a tech-y. Let me be the second to announce that I AM married to one. If there is an app, no matter how nonsensical, he thinks it's the greatest thing since, well, the last app he downloaded. He has a not-so-secret crush on Steve Jobs. When Apple has its annual conference where they announce all of their new-fangled products like a phone as big as a bite-sized Snickers bar, my husband salivates and sort of silently begs me to let him buy whatever it is. Um, no. If I'm not sitting ass in the Caribbean for two weeks this winter, then we can't afford a flying, talking, voice-sensitive gadget that alerts us that the neighbor didn't curb his dog's crap or similar.

You know how some women get a "push present" for giving birth like a diamond bracelet or something sparkly from Tiffany's? I got a Mac laptop. Well, it was sort of presented as a "thanks for giving birth to the twins, happy 40th birthday and I'll prove to you Apple is the best company on the planet once and for all" gift. That said, I do love it. But if I said I wanted an iPhone he'd die in peace right there and then. (And don't think I haven't considered it -- we do have a nice life insurance policy...) But frankly, I want a phone that is just that -- A PHONE! Sure, I take photos of the girls eating their feet at dinner every now and then, but I don't need a phone that can "name that tune" in five bars or less (yes, there is an app for that) or that let's me announce a friend's name and automatically dials the number (surely that gets people into trouble -- how is one supposed to gossip with an app like that floating in one's pocket?)

So the dilly of all apps came to my attention the other day when I handed my husband the grocery list and he sat at his phone for TWO HOURS doing something or other before leaving to do said grocery shopping. He got home and had the balls to say, "Wow. That iPhone grocery app made it a lot quicker!" This was said without a drop of irony. I guess he wasn't counting the two hours and six minutes (I timed him) it took to ENTER THE GROCERY LIST into his phone before trotting off to the store. Steve Jobs, are you f@#$ing with me? This app arranges your grocery list BY AISLE for easy grocery shopping? Because grocery shopping is so darned complicated? I mean, really? Why not just high-tail it down each aisle and grab what you need?

When told about this glorious technical breakthrough, I said nothing. I'll let my husband think this app is the piece de resistance of all apps if that will make him happy. Besides I hear there is a crockpot recipe app so I may have to get one of those thingamajigs myself here soon.

BTW -- Is there an app for making your husband turn into Daniel Craig?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Almost as tasty as my mother's sweet potatoes!

Umm. Yes. This is my daughter sucking on her toes during dinner AT THE TABLE. Of course she may have not understood the seriousness of this offense given her mother ran for her cell phone and snapped a photo before gently suggesting eating feet at mealtime is a no-no.

The irony of this is right before the above occurred I was smugly lamenting all of the ill-mannered children I'd come across at Pump It Up Party today. One little brat about 4 years of age yelled at me, "Lady, get out of the way!" because she was trying to jump off of a slide the wrong way and I was obstructing her path. First of all, I don't appreciate being called a "lady." Second, her tacky-ass mother was not two feet away and clearly heard her pint-sized tyrant ordering this lady around. And said nothing. Of course she had hoop earrings so big they grazed her shoulders so maybe her hearing was impaired. I kind of hissed at the girl and she sort of slunk away. It's a really fine moment when you make snake-like sounds at a pre-school-aged child and feel proud of yourself for doing so.

So bad manners run in the family I suppose. And, hey, at least the toe-eater is flexible. Her fatty-fatty-boom-boom twin sister (I will delete that by the time she can read so she doesn't develop an eating disorder and blame it on me) probably couldn't get her toe in her mouth even if I coated it in a hot fudge sundae.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snowed In (and Out)

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the cold? Well, I do. I've never understood that people pay thousands of dollars for a ski vacation when they could be sitting ass on the beach somewhere sipping margaritas. I've been dragged skiing several times in my life and after one turn down the bunny hill, my skiing companions knew they could find me in the lodge, feet up by the fire with hot chocolate laced with Baileys. Then I could say, I can't possibly come back out skiing! I've been drinking! It's dangerous!

I was actually physically assaulted by the metal bar on the bunny hill you are supposed to hold onto. My (not hot -- aren't they supposed to be hot?) ski instructor said he'd never quite seen it before. I was hanging onto the bar for dear life and it was pulling me up the hill. I lost my footing and then just kind of kneeled there. Waiting. Waiting apparently for the next bar to come whack me on the head. Paramedics swarmed and it caused a bit of a ruckus and, well, it was humiliating as I watched 3-year-olds pass me by holding on with one hand and waving to their parents with the other. That's when I decided no more skiing. Ever. Unless Daniel Craig begs me to accompany him to the Swiss Alps. Other than that, no way.

But with the recent snow blanketing our fine city, I knew I couldn't keep the girls from trying out snow balls and freezing their asses off and such. I was hoping they'd hate it as much as me, we'd be out for two minutes and we could make some cocoa and call it a bust. Unfortunately, they loved it. I'm blaming a recent episode of Kipper the Dog where a bunch of animals with English accents all made snow angels and made it look like a lot more fun than it really is. Everything's more fun with an English accent I would imagine.

After the girls realized the temperature was not fit for humans and playing in an alley behind our house was a bit low brow (we live in a condo so we don't have a yard), we high-tailed it inside. And they amused themselves this way:

That's exactly what it looks like. They moved their chairs and little strollers into our shower and begged me to turn on the water. "Shower like Mommy!" they yelled. Right, except Mommy takes off her jammies and doesn't bring her chairs and strollers with her. When I finally talked them out of the shower, they proceeded to tear labels off of every canned good in the pantry. Of course I didn't have the foresight to label the cans with marker so now it's a nice surprise every time I open a can of something or other. Usually other.

Please, God! Make the summer come early!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Okay, Seriously I Need a New Topic...

Parenting 101: Give Your Child the Bribe Whether She Performs Required Task ...Or Not

Dear Lord, if I knew my blog was going to turn into Crockpotting and Potty Training Central, I might have just joined a Mommy and Me group, abandoned what was left of my sense of humor and called it a day.

That said, I have a potty update. Aren't you riveted? Twin B apparently DOES read my blog, because shortly after publicly accusing her of Jan Brady Syndrome, she promptly peed on the potty. The first thing she said as I clapped manically and pranced around their bathroom like one of those Gymboree instructors that freak me out was: "Show Daddy!" She didn't want me to pour the urine in the toilet and flush it -- she wanted to save it for approximately 9 hours until her father returned home from work. Probably not normal. But that's okay! I have two little girls who have peed on the potty!

Now here's the bad news -- they refuse to repeat this amazing feat. This may have something to do with the fact that when their mother sees bodily waste in the potty she acts like Amy Winehouse discovering that the fuzz forgot a kilo of heroin in the previous night's drug bust. Perhaps I need to tone down my celebratory antics a bit.

So it's bribe time. I told them they would get stickers if they both went and sat on the potty. They zoomed into the bathroom diaper-less and before I had a chance to get there I heard the potties burst into music, meaning presumably, if you own the Fisher Price Musical Princess Potties like I do, they relieved themselves adequately. I felt smug. Who says bribes don't work? I walked in and found the potties upside down and the girls repeatedly pressing a button underneath that triggers the music. They are either diabolical geniuses or had such a negative first potty experience that I'll be forced to send them off to college with a case of Depends.

I moved from stickers to lollipops. The deal was they could only suck on their lollipop while on the potty. See the photo above? Does it look like she's on the potty to you? That's my parenting style in a nutshell: Always give in and send mixed messages whenever possible. Some people have a college fund. I have a therapy fund.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jan Brady Syndrome

Don't blame me - I got the lazy gene from my mother.

I have an important announcement -- the skinny, orange twin has been reading my blog. There is no other explanation that she suddenly decided she was going to pee on the potty other than the fact I implied via the World Wide Web that she couldn't. The other twin (above) either can't read yet or doesn't give a crap what you or me or anybody else thinks and a diaper suits her just fine thankyouverymuch. (Who lazes around Pump It Party like this? Shouldn't she be jumping up and down like a deranged monkey or similar?)

So as I was getting them dressed the other morning, Twin A (she was born first, she crawled first, she walked first, she talked first and now she used the potty first -- NOBODY LIKES A SHOW OFF!) said very matter-of-factly "I want to tinkle on the potty." So off to the potty we marched (which I've now placed in the bathroom and I ran the water thanks to a reader's advice) and she sat down and suddenly music started blaring and she looked up quite smugly and said "Clean it mommy." Whether it was her butt or the potty she was referring to I'm not sure, but sitting there was a pool of urine and you would have thought it was a winning PowerBall ticket I was so excited. I clapped and laughed and did a little jig sort of like the one that Ashlee Simpson did after getting busted for lip synching on SNL.

And then I looked over at Twin B, poor Twin B, who surely has Jan Brady Syndrome by now (MARSHA MARSHA MARSHA!), and felt terrible. I congratulated her too and gave them both stickers specifically designed for rewarding potty progress. I see major therapy bills in my future, when as a teenager Twin B will recall feeling like the second banana her whole life. I will sit with her in family therapy and explain defensively that I gave her a sticker too that day and the therapist will bill us $500 for telling me what a rotten mother I am.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

McDonalds, Corner of Broadway and Belmont

"You'll eat me and you'll like me."

Yes, I'm still crockpotting like a deranged 1950s housewife. Yesterday morning, as I gathered up the ingredients for my latest (DELICIOUS) creation, my husband casually asked, "What are we having for dinner?" In retrospect, I wished I'd used that Elizabeth Perkins line from About Last Night when her one-night stand asks what she's making for breakfast: "McDonalds, corner of Broadway and Belmont." That corner is actually near us so it wouldn't have been that far-fetched.

Instead, I answered truthfully and without sarcasm. Beef pot roast slow-cooked in condensed tomato soup and onions.

"Oh... hmmm," he answered. I should have stopped right there. I should have ignored the "hmmm." In my experience, hmms should always be ignored. My husband's and everybody else's. But that's not in my nature -- ignoring hmms and other things that bug the shit out of me, that is. I spun around on my broom stick in mid-air and yelled, "HMM WHAT???!!!"

"Nothing..." he said hesitantly. I knew he had something to say and I was going to gut it out of him if need be, and I just might have given I was conveniently chopping onions at the time.

"Well... umm... that just doesn't sound very good," he finally admitted.

I slammed down an onion, threw the can of tomato soup at his head (I unfortunately missed) and calmly asked what it is His Majesty would prefer for dinner. Like the moron all men are, he actually answered instead of saying, "Dead cow smothered in Campbell's tomato soup sounds practically gourmet, dear. Carry on!" Have I mentioned lately that all men are idiots?

Here's what he dared to say instead: "Why don't you Google 'Alton Brown crock pot recipes' and see if something better comes up?'" Oh, I don't know. Same reason you don't go stick a rod up your ass and go for a trail ride. It'll be a big pain in the ass.

See, this episode just validates my theory that stretching one's self, going above and beyond if you will, just isn't worth it. Pretty soon things are expected. Things like becoming a Food Network recipe-hunting psychopath. Things like having to make a dinner that has more than three ingredients. Things like maintaining a Brazilian wax no matter how painful the process. (Okay, the last one isn't related but probably deserves its own post.)

Learn from my mistakes! If you don't currently cook, don't start! You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Potty Training

The potties are still sitting in the same place... unused.

A common theme I've had in my head since the girls were born is: "Stupid people do this all of the time -- how hard can it be?" Um, pretty freaking hard. I think dumb people maybe don't dwell on the fact they could single-handedly ruin their children's lives by making one innocent but well-intentioned mis-step. Not letting them cry it out so they become troubled sleepers for the rest of their lives (thanks Dr. Weissbluth!) or letting them cry it out and growing up with a lifelong acute sense of abandonment (thanks Dr. Sears!). See, dumb people probably didn't read those books. Making homemade organic baby food or letting Gerber do its goddamn job as the baby food-making experts. See, dumb people (and very very smart people) probably just bought some freakin' jar food and called it a day. Forcing the potty training issue shortly after age 2 or letting them decide around 3 that it's embarrassing to crap your own pants. See, dumb people (and maybe really smart people?) probably just let them crap their pants.

The last issue is where I am right now. Santa was kind enough to bring two pink, musical potties* (that also turn into step stools!) to our home for which he garnered some burnt chocolate chip cookies in return. The girls tore off the bows, yelled "Potty!" and demanded I take their diapers off immediately. "Really?" I muttered to myself. "It can't be this easy..." And it wasn't.

They sat there, bare-butted, pretending to go potty and then demanded I put their diapers back on and have never sat on them again. They always announce when they have to go at which time I gently suggest they go sit on the potty. In response they basically tell me in toddler-speak to go f#$% myself.

Along with their potties they received two potty-themed books about creepy-looking little girls named Hannah and Ashley who have learned to go on the potty which we read every night. The OCD twin even sits on the book pretending she is sitting on Ashley's potty. She tried to jump into the book the other night because dumb-ass Dora did that on a recent episode. My point here is I'm having about as much luck getting them potty trained (in real life, not pretending to in books) as I am getting them to drink milk out of a cup.

I have SEVEN months to get this accomplished because the pre-school we BETTER GET INTO requires the kids be potty trained. I don't like deadlines. Deadlines make me nervous. Especially deadlines that if not met might seem to suggest I am a failure as a mother.

*If potties that light up and burst into song when excrement hits the bottom don't cause a generation of shy bowel syndrome sufferers, I don't know what will.

Pre-School Applications

Hell, yes, we're ready for pre-school! Can we bring our bottles and our mommy?

It's been so long you probably thought I mistakenly crockpotted myself and my family unwittingly ate me for dinner. No, the last 10 days have been much worse than being slow roasted while drowning in barbecue sauce.

Here in the greater Chicago metro area it is pre-school application time. Whereas I don't think Chicago is as ridiculous or competitive as stories you hear about Manhattan, it's a pain in the ass nonetheless. Especially when the deadline for the school you want your children to attend is February 1 and you go to pick up the application on February 1 and learn you have a snowball's chance in hell unless you join the affiliated church (pun intended!!!). Plus, I just don't like forms. Forms upset me. Back when I worked I'd wait months to hand in expense accounts just because a form was involved. Who invented forms? Let's kill them.

I called my husband as I bit my nails sitting on the school steps. What if I go over to the rectory and they grill me, like asking what the meaning of Easter is (the meaning that has nothing to do with candy-touting bunnies), how Jesus turned water into wine (I wish I knew!) and whether in fact I've technically been confirmed (I have not, not even untechnically). I was also not married in the church, instead choosing this man to marry me (NO I AM NOT THE BRIDE IN THE PHOTO) after finding his web site rather clever. Something tells me the church wouldn't find it as entertaining as I do.

Plus, don't you think the church people compare data with the school people and get a little suspicious when one joins the church ON THE SAME EXACT DAY the school applications are due? If I were on the admissions committee (first order of business -- designing a much more thorough school application with questions like "How many tv theme songs can your children recite?") I'd be on to people like me.

But I do love this pre-school, and everyone we know whose kids attend are fun, nice and normal. Fun, nice and normal go a long way with me. And, perhaps most important, it's the only program that will allow children to start in the fall if they turn 3 after September 1, which my kids do. And people, I ain't waitin' til 2011 to rid myself of them two days a week for a couple of hours.

So over to the church I marched, filled out a very straightforward form with not even one trick question and I guess I'm currently the proud member of a church. Now we just have to wait for a month to hear if the girls got in. I'm guessing if not, it has little to do with our church affiliation and more to do with my answers on the application.

What should we know about your children? The skinny orange twin thinks carrots are crack cocaine. The chubby one will gnaw off your arm for a bite of ice cream. Also, they still drink milk from a bottle, insist I hold it and I don't see that changing in the next 8 months. Are bottles and mommies allowed to come to school with them?

Why do you want your children to attend this school? It's really close and I'm really lazy.

Okay, I didn't really say that. They did ask if we applied to other schools. I said no, partly because we didn't and partly because I hope they take pity on us for being so naive as to apply to only one pre-school.

In all seriousness, it's been a rough couple of weeks. The girls have been sick, I was sick, and this cold weather is killing me. I feel like Jack Nicholson in that movie where the creepy kid keeps screaming "Red Rum!" over and over and co-stars that Olive Oil chick. Please God I hope the groundhog saw his shadow or whatever means spring is coming. I've lost my sense of humor and I think only good weather can bring it back. That or a good romp with Daniel Craig. (Can I still say things like that now that I am an official church member?)

PS -- After reading this I realize I came across as a complete heathen. We were planning on joining this church at some point. The pre-school deal just made it that much more urgent... (Read here I'm afraid someone on the admissions committee reads my blog.)