Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Take a Picture of the F#$%ING Paw!"

I have not one coherent thought today, so instead I will share random crap that's happening in my neck of the woods. Don't you hate that expression? "My neck of the woods." Who made that shit up? Only Al Rocker can get away with it. And only because he started using it when he weighed about 500 pounds. Nobody wants to hear a skinny weather man say that crap.

--The girls, as depicted above, like to sit in boxes and are still drinking milk from a bottle. I think bribery is the key to effective parenting, so I've been waiting for them to really really want something so I can nonchalantly, like I don't really care if they accept my offer say, "Oh really? Well Mommy will get you that when you start drinking milk from a cup like a big girl." Then casually go about discussing something else, like if Kipper the Dog's British accent is upper crust or working class. We were at the park when our neighbor who is six went flying by on her new bike. "I want a bike! A big pink bike with feathers!" declared Lulu. Why feathers? We don't know and that's not the point. Moxley concurred except she wants hers to be blue with a big horn so "people get out the way." Here was my chance. In the same casual, I couldn't-care-less tone I used to muster when a guy was breaking up with me, I told them I'd be happy to oblige if we got rid of their bottles. They looked at me, looked at each other and Lulu said: "I love my scooter" followed by "cups of milk are stinky" and scootered off.

--Please note the Christmas pjs. In July. At least we're off the Halloween kick. I figure around Thanksgiving they'll become obsessed with Easter.

--Facebook is a funny thing. I'm not very good at it. I don't know the basic rules, like how to hide my profile and pictures from the world. How to tell everyone I "like" something and why I'd even want to. Recently, I wrote an unremarkable post over at FameCrawler about Gene Simmons going to see his son Nick play at some bar. I made an unfunny comment using a Kiss lyric. It wasn't my finest work. Then I saw someone said they "liked it" via Facebook. So I wanted to see who it could be. Only Gene Simmons or Nick Simmons or the owner of the bar I mentioned could have possibly wanted to share that post with their Facebook friends. So I clicked on the little Facebook logo only to find out now I had a note ON MY Facebook page that I liked it. Except I didn't. Then I had to figure out how to delete the fact I supposedly liked it (which, again, I didn't) deleting several other things at the same time. Hence, I need to a) quit Facebook but I'd never figure out how; or b) get a tutorial so I can be a meaningful participant on Facebook or c) get a tutorial and hope it includes how to delete your own Facebook page.

--So speaking of Facebook, I received an apology via FB from a boy (now man) I dated circa 1983. In case you're not good with numbers, that's 27 YEARS AGO. More than half of the time I've been on this Earth and then some. The relationship, if one could call it such, was a very innocent infatuation and we never went further than kissing. Then my family moved to a new town, we wrote for a while and then he found another girlfriend. Who can blame him? Well, he could I guess. He wrote to me to tell me he "could have handled things better" and it's one of his biggest regrets. Robbing a liquor store and haphazardly shooting someone is a life regret. Dumping a girl when you're 16 who moved two hours away is not. Then I started wondering if this a craze or fad hitting the United States and we're all supposed to make amends with anyone we ever wronged, no matter how slight. I'm a busy person, and if I have to apologize to every single person I offended since the mid-80s, I'm not going to be blogging again for a while. Maybe ever.

--I was just lugging groceries up our back steps and heard one of the hippies screaming to another: "Take a picture of his f@#$ing paw!" I'm assuming he's speaking of the dog. Why do they need a photo of the paw? Why not the whole dog? This mystery might have me up all night. What also has me perplexed: why are these hippies so mean? What happened to put them in terminally bad moods? Granted, they live in an illegally parked rv with a dog on the dashboard. I get it -- life hasn't been kind. But these are the most pissed off people you've ever seen. I'd broach the topic with them but I fear they'd murder me and feed me to the dog. I saw some rather big bones in front of the trailer one day. They might have been human.

--After all my bitching about pre-school, I decided to wait a year. Perhaps they're not ready. Perhaps I'm not ready. Or perhaps the "Going on a life journey? Come fly with us! No baggage fees!" turned me off to the whole thing. Regardless, they will still have two years of pre-school before kindergarten if they start next year and if that ruins their life? Well, they can add it to the list.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Kim Kardashian recently got blasted (by Demi Moore of all people) via a Twitter war about using the term "ghetto." But I think that's because Kim used it like it was cool, like "that party was all ghetto" as if "ghetto" is cool rather than a stark, sad reality in many of our country's largest cities.

So if you're reading, Demi, and let's face it, you seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on electronic technology so you just might be, I mean it in the real sense of the word. The girls wanted to have a picnic, but they didn't want to go to the park. They didn't want to have one on our deck overlooking the squatter hippies (and who can blame them?) and they didn't want to have one at our friend's house who is fortunate enough to have a back yard.

Hence, off to the sidewalk in front of our condo we went. Which just struck me as sort of low rent. Like we're just one step (barely) above the aforementioned surly hippie squatters. (Oh, someone asked why we don't call the police. The police, alderman, Humane Society, ASPCA and a host of other authorities have been alerted to no avail. A woman in the neighborhood with some connections -- unlike me -- is leading the charge and I'm pretty sure she's working up the channels and Obama himself will soon be alerted to the situation. She is actually a radio personality and said she's doing a piece on it soon. If there is a tape of it, I will certainly link as she's hilarious about the whole situation).

But back to our unfortunate picnic. There is a new, somewhat popular restaurant that opened next to us with outdoor seating. I kept feeling the clientele looking at us pitifully, like "Look at those poor children relegated to sitting on the hard sidewalk eating graham crackers for dinner!" I almost wanted to start begging them for bites of their entrees or if they could spare a french fry for the girls for effect.

Speaking of which, I've decided the only snacks I will bring to the park are fruits and vegetables. No more crackers! No more yogurt melts! No more heroin! (Um, can't you take a joke?) So now I get the Spanish Inquisition every time they want a snack:

Them: I want a snack.
Me: Okay, I have carrots, banana and green beans.
Them: Do you have a cereal bar?
Me: No, I have carrots, banana and green beans.
Them: Do you have graham crackers?
Me: No, I have carrots, banana and green beans.
Them: Do you have Elmo crackers?
Me: No, I have carrots, banana and green beans.
Them: Do you have animal crackers?
Me: No, I have carrots, banana and green beans.
Them: Do you have cookies?
Me: No, I have carrots, banana and green beans.
Them: Do you have pretzels?
Me: No, I have carrots, banana and green beans.

Okay, I think you get the point.

This could go on anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour. Yesterday after quizzing me for about 30 minutes, Lulu looked at me and said: "Is this a funny game?" and I said, "No, I have carrots, banana and green beans."

Then she asked to search my bag "just in case" there were crackers in there. Would you believe she f@#$ing found an old squashed-up Earth's Best Strawberry Cereal Bar in some random pocket of the bag I forgot existed which has escalated the whole freaking process because now she never believes when I say I don't have a certain snack item?

Anyway, my point here is: Is it time I pack it up and move to the suburbs so my kids are not destined to having picnics on our city sidewalks while onlookers look at them with sympathy? I hate to admit it, but I might miss our terminally high, illegally parked neighbors and their alley-mates who like to set off an explosive or two. Or at least the idea of them. You won't find that in Naperville, Ill., I'm pretty sure.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Partying Like It's 1776

Independence Day is now my least favorite holiday. It used to be St. Patty's Day. (Do you wear kelly green and look too eager? Not wear green at all and be accused of being a a kill-joy? Why dye a perfectly tasty beer green?)

My hippie neighbors, the ones squatting in an illegally parked Winnebago in the alley behind our condo, usually party like it's 1966. Well, this weekend they partied like it was 1776. I swear, whatever they were setting off couldn't have been fireworks. No, I think they rented a cannon from an outfit that does Civil War reenactments -- because I'm pretty sure they were setting off cannons, not firecrackers. My other theory is that they are time travelers and their RV is one big travel machine and the dog living on the dashboard is the pilot. They didn't have to rent the cannon, they simply showed up at the Battle of Gettysburg and shoved some ammunition into their RV and poof -- back to 2010!

I knew things were going to be ugly when I heard one of them say to another at 3:00 pm on the Fourth -- as their the empty Bud Light cans edged out the dog's nook in the front window -- "ya git the lighter fluid or what?" I thought he was talking about cooking on the grill but now I realize he was referring to fuel for the explosives.

Flash forward seven hours and I'm on the floor in a sleeping bag trying to calm my daughters' nerves as World War III raged outside our window. While, by the way, our dinner guests are having a very lovely evening (without me) eating grilled delicacies. SHOOT ME.

The celebration lasted well into July 5, with me waking up with two toddlers on top of me asking for lollipops for breakfast at 5:00 am. SHOOT ME AGAIN. Because we were out of the Strawberry Shortcake and Banana Spit variety. I lasted as long as possible (7:00 am) until I went storming into my bedroom where their father peacefully slept and hollered as loud as humanly possible, hoping to wake up not only my husband but also the hippies, "YOUR F#$%ING TURN!"

Deliriously, I fell into bed and I later learned the girls were placed in their crib and slept until noon. I am already planning my vacation for July 2010 -- it will be in a country that is not supportive of America's victory (England? France? Iraq?). ANYWHERE will be better than here. I thought of Cancun (how expensive could Mexico be in July?) but I think people who vacation there in the summer are just looking for excuses to blow shit up.

So after naps today (mine and theirs) we had a perfectly lovely afternoon downtown near our old haunt where we lived when our place was flooded by our liquored up neighbor who decided to take a tub at midnight after five bottles of wine but passed out before she had the pleasure. I only add the last part about our Cleaver-esque family time because I think it's sort of an uplifting note on which to end for those readers who think I only complain.

PS -- This is the first time ever I slept with my children. It confirms my theory that parents who co-sleep are: a) mentally unstable; b) masochists; c) unspeakably lonely.

PPS -- The last time I slept in a sleeping bag was 1990 when my college boyfriend of several years took the opportunity to tell me on a camping trip that I was getting fat. That was really fun compared to this.

PPPS -- Oh, our neighbors who I verbally assaulted last year? Nothing. They must have had a family meeting (there are like 98 of them in that apartment, enough for a full-blown debate) and voted, deciding to take the safe route in case the lady who lives behind them is as potentially criminally insane as she seems.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

An Open Letter

Dear Fellow Citizens of the United States of America:

I'd like to begin on a positive note: Kudos on your enthusiasm in commemorating the independence of our great nation as evidenced by your early start! We are indeed on the cusp of the 234th birthday of the Unites States, and dare I say George Washington, Ben Franklin and all of those other guys would be thrilled at the glee with which you are celebrating! So thank you for that. It's nice to know I'm surrounded by neighbors who love these United States as much as I!

However -- and please know I don't mean to damper your spirits or love of country -- might I ask you a few thought-provoking questions weighing heavily on my mind as I was awoken repeatedly last night by nerve-wracking explosions, blaring Ted Nugent music and a peculiar "Whoop! Whoop!" sound? (And also one of those vuvuzela things, but I'll take that up separately with the World Soccer Association.) I checked my calendar, just to be sure, and last night was JULY 2, a full two days before Independence Day. Which makes me wonder if you regale all occasions in such a pre-mature manner. For example:

--Do you open Christmas presents on the morning of the Eve of Christmas Eve?
--Hide your kids Easter basket on Good Friday?
--Leave money under your child's pillow when their tooth is merely loose?
--Bang pots and pans and clink champagne at midnight on December 29?
--Eat a big turkey dinner the third Tuesday of every November?
--Throw a wedding reception 48 hours before marrying?

No? Then lay off the f@#%ing fireworks and associated revelry until THE ACTUAL HOLIDAY.

I would guess, if I had the means or the inclination to do a study in which I gathered the offending parties in one room and asked them a simple question: "What is the significance of the Fourth of July?" the answers would range from "Boston threw a tea party for the Queen of England" to "The South officially seceded from the Union" to "Metallic put out its first album."

An occasional "whoop whoop!" between now and tomorrow I can tolerate. Because I've become a better person since last year. And despite the fact that explosives ARE ILLEGAL IN ILLINOIS I'm willing to look the other way instead of going off on a profanity-laced tirade when your children attempt to blow their appendages off tomorrow. But, until then, in the name of our Founding Fathers, can you keep it the f@#$ down?

PS -- If you don't cooperate, I'm going to force you into my living room at gunpoint in the middle of the night and insist you watch Caillou 40 times with toddler twins when the repeated popping scares the bejesus out of them. And, trust me, watching Caillou 40 times at 1:00 am is slightly less fun than a bottle rocket exploding in your face.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Rules

In the span of about a week, Lulu went from a borderline recluse to a social butterfly. Not just a social butterfly, but one of those annoying people who are too eager to be your friend. Remember those girls? They might have been okay and maybe you would have hung out with them if they didn't seem so, well, desperate?

When I say this metamorphosis happened over the course of seven days I'm not exaggerating. It started last week with "Mommy, what's that little girl's name?" and when I told her to ask the girl she insisted, "You ask Mommy!" and then bashfully hid behind me while I struck up conversation with a four-year-old. Then I served as her go-between wherein I'd ask pertinent questions as instructed ("Do you like ice cream little girl?") and relay the information back and forth, all while Lulu buried her head shyly into my legs.

This gradually progressed throughout the week until the other day when Lulu went storming up to a girl at the park and said: "Hi little girl. What's your name? I'm Lulu. Do you wear big girl underpants and poop on the potty? I love you!" This was pledged in one long sentence without giving the girl (Hannah, age 5, who we later learned does poop on the potty but still wears pull-ups at night) time to answer or breathe. Then Lulu moved in for the kill, hugging the girl tightly and begging, "Please play with me!" It was slightly pathetic.

Listen, in my experience aloof plays better than needy any day, but how do you explain that to a two-year-old? I don't think she's old enough for a copy of The Rules, which in some ways can apply to friendships as well as romances. This unbridled affection, by the way, is only saved for a certain subset of park-goers. Only girls between the ages of 4 and 7. If you are a boy, or are not in the coveted age demographic, she'll have nothing to do with you, possibly even stating very forthrightly, looking you straight in the eye: "I don't like you!" and then for good measure, even if nobody is touching her scooter, yell "Get your own scooter!"

As Lulu indiscriminately invites every girl in her preferred age range to our home ("Want to come to my house little girl? But I love you!") Moxley cowers, and screams, "No little girl come to my house! No No No!" It's like an unfunny Abbott and Costello routine.

Luckily, if Moxley keeps insisting on wearing empty tampon boxes as hats, I don't think I have to worry about anyone actually showing up at our house for a play date. And when a "little girl" denies Lulu's aggressive advances, this is how she reacts:

Lulu is also obsessed with grandmas, routinely and loudly pointing them out as if she's being helpful in identifying the grandma species, "That little girl with her grandma!" she screams proudly. Unfortunately, I fear she's a bit young to explain that thanks to modern infertility technology, oftentimes these are mothers of "advanced maternal age" as my fertility specialist so eloquently called it, not grandmothers. Her own mother (moi) would probably look more like a grandma too if not for the sacred inventions of Botox and bleach. It's terribly embarrassing as she hollers, pointing "GRANDMA!" as I try to usher her away saying, "Yes, we'll go see Grandma soon!" in the hopes the poor haggard mother doesn't understand Lulu thinks she look like a member of the AARP.

She is also starting to notice, shall we say, the size variances in individuals. And while the girls thankfully don't know the word "fat," Lulu will call out, "That's a BIG BIG BIG little girl!" while pointing, just to make sure I see who she's referring to. I die just a bit inside when I see an obese kid coming our way (and there are a lot in Chicago), anticipating that Lulu might feel the need to point it out for my benefit. I try to tell her it's not nice to say that but she doesn't get it. On that note, a friend's son recently said to a larger guest in their home, "Will I have a big belly like you when I growed up?" Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if this was said to a guy, but alas it was a young woman. And then he KEPT innocently pestering her with that line of questioning while his mother (I presume) disappeared into the kitchen to do some tequila shots to take the edge off.

Is there a muzzle on the market for toddlers? If so, and I make Lulu wear one to the park, will Child Services pay a visit?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chicken Soup

An observant, anonymous reader kindly noted recently that I "find fault in everything and complain a lot." And you know what? She's right. And it got me thinking: what am I so damned pissed off about? My life is pretty good and I'm crazy about my girls. My family is healthy. The girls are happy (usually). So I think I'm going to change my tune, my blog, my life. I am going to become a positive person, be grateful for what I have and stop, as the saying goes "sweating the small stuff." I'm going to stop being so negative and start blogging about the spiritual, positive aspects of my life. I am going to have new mottos, oldies but goodies: "live and let live" and "free to be you and me." Readers, welcome to my revamped blog: Chicken Soup for the Twin Mom's Soul.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA! Seriously, no movie line ever resonated with me so completely as when Shirley Maclaine (or was it Olympia Dekakis?) said in Steel Magnolias "If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me." Well, that and "Nobody puts baby in the corner" by the late great Patrick Swayze and "I get a lot of compliments on this, besides it's not a man purse it's a satchel; Indiana Jones carries one" from The Hangover but those are less relevant here.

Okay, so on that note here are my top gripes for the day:

1) Independence Day: July 4 will be here in exactly 3 days. While I like to celebrate the birth of our great nation as much as the next guy, now having kids it only means one thing: they will be awakened repeatedly over the weekend by idiots setting off fireworks WHICH ARE ILLEGAL IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. Last year, I went ballistic (a bit embarrassingly over the top) on our neighbors (I haven't been able to make eye contact since) and wonder if my excessive over-reaction will a) make them not set off fireworks this year or b) set off about 10 times as many just to prove a point. And something tells me the hippie squatters behind us won't pass up the opportunity to make a little noise this weekend. After all, what could be more fun than mixing pot and explosives?

2) The Ice Cream-Eating Nanny: We pretty much go to the same park after naptime very day which has the unfortunate location of being across the street from a Dairy Queen. Which wasn't a problem until recently, when a nanny starting showing up at the park like clockwork every day around 5:00 pm eating a ginormous sundae, and occasionally when she desired candy with her ice cream, a Blizzard. Her charge is only an infant so doesn't really get the ice cream thing yet. But all the other kids do and you hear a dull roar resonate throughout the park of kids demanding ice cream. Listen, I get it's a public place and you can whatever you damn please there. But really? You need to taunt children with ice cream during the dinner hour? Kind of like the mom who sat in a sandbox sucking on a lollipop at 9:00 am. Really?

3) The Jet-Setting Neighbors: Our neighbors who own the comparable unit in our condo building are going into foreclosure. Who would have known they were broke and not able to pay their mortgage when they were going on lavish vacations and recently bought a fancy new car! What suckers we are to be driving a 2004 model and skipping vacations so we could continue to afford ours after I quit working! And because they put no money down, they don't care what price they sell it at -- because they're not getting any of their non-existent down payment back anyway! So guess who is screwed if we want to sell our place because theirs is going for way below market value? Not them! They also have a dog who recently overdosed on Prozac and had to be rushed to the doggy emergency room. I bet that cost a pretty penny... And, no, I swear on my life I'm not kidding.

4) Ali the Bachelorette: And just when I thought I couldn't hate a Bachelorette more than Jillian, Ali exclaims "Bring on the boys!" And it's been downhill since then. Who could have foreseen that a professional wrestler who goes by the stage name "Rated R" might be up to no good? And what's with the guy Cape Cod Chris who has his late mother's signature tattooed on his chest? You get that creepy piece of information and you don't even wait for the next rose ceremony to chuck him.

5) The Chatty, Pretentious Lady at the Park: People, do I seem like I want to make friends to you? Some woman is hell bent on being pals and, quite frankly, I'm more open to Lisa Rinna becoming my BFF --and we know how I feel about her. She uses "summer" as a verb. She says things like she "doesn't shop at big box stores" and brags that she and her husband (who must have been a serial murderer in his past life and this is payback) take their kids to "fine dining establishments" because "that's why we live in the city after all -- for the culture." She's never been in a Jewel (is that a "big box store" one wonders?) only Whole Foods and "Trader Joes only when absolutely necessary." Whatevs. I try not to respond beyond what's completely necessary so as not to encourage further interaction but I am curious why going into Trade Joes would ever be "absolutely necessary." Asking that question, however, might present the false impression I care. She also goes "on holiday," not vacation and no, she's not European.

Thing is, this woman tries to act like she's wealthy but I'm pretty sure if she summers somewhere it's at a Motel 6 right near a major interstate. So anyway, my mom was visiting and after a joint encounter with this woman my mom said, "You were so cold to her!" I was so happy because that's the exact demeanor I was going for. I actually thought I was being sort of too nice. But if you give this lady an inch, she'll never leave. Anyway, this woman just announced she is selling her house and moving to a new neighborhood and she must have wondered what was up because I practically hugged her in glee. She probably didn't know I had teeth before that moment because I'd never before smiled in her presence. BTW, later in the week after we encountered this woman again and she cornered my mom she understood why I give this lady one-word answers. It's not "cold" it's "self-preservation." Oh, and don't get me started on her kid who is like a mini-me and one day asked me if the bananas the girls were eating were organic. She's like four or five years old! When I said no, she yelled, "Ewww!"Again, I'M NOT KIDDING. I didn't know what to say so in a juvenile move I said, "Ewww yourself." I don't know what that means exactly but it's all I could come up with at the time. I was pissed all night I didn't come up with a better retort. I was out-witted by a pre-schooler.

Listen, I don't have a lot of readers, so to keep Anonymous happy I am going to think of an uplifting topic to write about. As soon as I can think of something. Don't hold your breath though -- it might take a while.

PS -- Does anyone else encounter these situations at the park or is it just me? Maybe park-goers are like dogs -- they migrate toward the least friendly people in a bid to win them over and I should be over-the-top hyper friendly and see if that turns people off and they leave us alone?

PPS -- I just thought this photo was a fairly bizarre one from the park and went with it...

PPPS -- Do you think the person who didn't like that I used PSS instead of PPS is happy I switched purely for her sake?