Monday, February 24, 2014

A Hotbed of Awkward Situations

Now that my kid is walking we've been frequenting parks - lots and lots of parks.  Why?  Because as soon as my child wakes up in the morning, my sole mission of the day is to put her back to sleep.  So, I feed her, play with her and then make her climb up ladders, crawl through jungle gyms, trudge through sand, shovel sand and chase balls - all in the name of tiring her out so I can have two hours during the day to do meaningful work blog.  That's life as a mom.  They don't show you that on Pampers and Johnson Baby Shampoo commercials, but that's our entire mission.

Anyway, while I've been living the park life, I've began noticing these, seemingly fun filled parks, are actually hotbeds for awkward situations.  For example, you have the awkward situation of packs of children, who come from a cornucopia (always wanted to use that word in my blog) of cultures, who are all incapable of sharing the nasty sand toys scattered around the park.  I hate these moments because in one second your child will be innocently shoveling sand into a bucket, and then in the next second, some crazed, unattended kid, will come running over, yank the shovel out of her hands and run off.  As soon as this happens, I always find myself doing the following: 1. I, immediately, think of a racial slur about the particular nationality of child who just broke my daughter's heart. (I'm not proud of this, but parks bring out the worse in mothers.)  2. I scan the park for the mother, who sired such a disappointment,and when I find her, I communicate through my searing eye contact, "I want you to know, that I know, that you know, that your child sucks."  3. I then steal another shovel from a kid, who's mom is most likely working a 9-6 job, Monday through Friday, and who's nanny is currently talking and laughing with the other over worked nannies.  I figure this child is already dealing with development and abandonment issues, so really, what's another thing taken from him really going to do?

The next awkward situation is what do you do about kids, who are annoying the crap out of your kid?  For example, the other day a particular little girl was semi-terrorizing my child. First, she pushed her off her swing, then pushed her through a tunnel, that she wanted to go through, and then screamed at her for not going down a slide fast enough.  While this was going on her mother just sat underneath a pavilion talking to her friends.  Initially, I tried to be nice by saying, "Hold on a second, Avery (my child) is just about through, and then you can go."  But, then after the third incident I found myself fighting the urge to say, "Listen kid, you come within three feet of my child, I'll follow you home, hide in a closet, and then surprise attack you while you are watching Mickey Mouse Playhouse.  I will.  I'll do it."  Fortunately, I didn't go down that path, but I did "gently" grab her arm and say, "Hey!  Quit it."  Am I proud of the fact that she stayed away from me and my child for the rest of the day and even seemed a little scared?  Um, yes.

The last awkward situation comes from the fellow parents at the park.  I don't know what vibe I'm giving off but parents have said some really strange things to me.  The other day I was just watching my daughter climb up some stairs when a mother walked over to me and said, "My daughter wouldn't let me potty train her until she was four.  Can you imagine that?  Four years old and still in diapers?"  At first, I thought she was talking to someone else, until I realized I was the only one there.  And then before I could respond, she said, "But she is smart, just stubborn.  For example, she tells me I need to lose weight."  Now, I think I'm being punked.  What?  I just looked at her and said, "Kids."  That's always my go to answer with the crazy parents.  (And, sometimes I throw a shake of the head for added emphasis.)  Some parent says, "Sorry my kid always tries to bite other kids at the park."  Me: "Kids."  Another crazy: "Is this your only kid?  I have five.  Four live with their father."  Me: "Kids."

Oh, parks - how I love your child exercise equipment, and how I hate your community.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Someone Needs A Hug

I recently read of a woman in Kentucky who purchased a car for the sole purpose of ramming it into a Kroger supermarket.  Apparently, June Ann Blocker, who was a former employee of the supermarket, purchased a 2006 Lincoln and ran it into the front of the store.  Fortunately, only two people were injured, but the kicker of the story, is the fact that in 1999, she did the same freaking thing to another Kroger store in a neighboring town.

Alright points of discussion:

1. I'm way too cheap to seek this kind of revenge!  I mean, seriously, you buy a car just to destroy it?  And you've done this twice?  Man, June Ann, you are a better woman than I.  Seriously, in the past I've had a hard time buying toilet paper and eggs just to destroy someone's house.  I salute your commitment to not only making a statement, but financial ruin.

2. What in the freaking world did Kroger do to this woman?  Guys.  Seriously, did management not move her from produce after she was asked too many times, "Can I see your melons?"  Was the test of memorizing the aisles too much?  (Am I the only one who finds it amazing that grocery workers know where all the random crap is?  "Oh, you are looking for gluten free salt for cupcakes?  Aisle four, half way down." Amazing.)

3. I'm just guessing here but, after the first crash in 1999, things probably didn't go so well for sweet June Ann.  There were probably some fines, maybe a little jail time, a license revoked, town shame,and possibly some family members' disapproval.  So, what caused her to do this again?  Or I guess the more important question: What went so right the first time that she had to go down this same path again?  Was the impact perfect?  Did it just sum up all the disgruntled feelings you were keeping pent up?  Did someone from Kroger issue a statement that said, "Dear Ms. Blocker.  You got us.  You did it.  We admit it.  We suck.  Had you not rammed a car into our store we wouldn't have said this, but since you win."

Listen June Ann, next time, just drive by and give the store the finger.  It might not cause as much damage or threaten the lives of enough people, but it might be a less abrasive way to go.  Just saying.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Swimming With Piranhas

In a few weeks, the husband and I are traveling to Peru for a little adventure without the little one.  Yep, 8 days of the old Inca ruins, Machu Picchu, hopefully not an intestine breakdown and a trip up the Amazon.  I'm really excited for this trip, but I'll be honest, I'm also slightly nervous.  I mean one, it's South America - so obviously, there's the threat of being kidnapped, forced to be a drug mule or sold to a drug cartel.  (I think that covers all my Tom Clancy Guidebooks of South America.)  Two, I took Spanish from seventh grade to my senior year.  Will the natives understand the love I so desperately want to express to them?  Will they be accepting of my gentle and well intentioned corrections of their grammar?  Will towns be ready to adopt my dialect?  I just don't know how to balance showing off verses speaking their language.*

And lastly, I'm scared to death slightly worried about our trip up the Amazon.  For some reason all I can picture is us floating up the river, when all of the sudden, our guide is hit by a dart gun by some crazy native, an anaconda starts to attack our boat and then piranhas eat us alive.  I know what you are thinking: Why am I doing this trip?  No, but seriously, I'm a little worried.  According to our itinerary one day on the Amazon we are going piranha fishing.  Yes, you read that right.  We are going to voluntarily attempt to catch, reel in and...who knows what...a fish that, according to wikipedia, are known for their sharp teeth and a voracious appetite for meat.  Voracious appetite for meat.   And as if that wasn't bad enough, the following day we are going SWIMMING in the Amazon with pink dolphins.  I don't know if anyone has pointed this out, but how can you one day go fishing for the devil's fish, and the next day take a nice dip with friendly Flipper?  No seriously, is their some Amazon schedule that doesn't allow piranhas to kill people on Thursdays?  If we get attacked, while swimming with the dolphins, is our guide just going to shrug his shoulders and say, "Whoops, I guess we weren't far enough away from the piranhas.  Sorry you crazy gringos!"  What's next drinking out of a cup that was recently storing a cold glass of sarin?  (Yep, just Googled: "Most Lethal Poisons."  Guess I can't kill my husband that way - thanks, internet history!)

* Please refer to this to see my skills.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Disneyland at 34

When I was five years old my parents piled my three siblings into a station wagon and drove us from Pennsylvania to California.  Though I was young, I still vividly remember this trip.  I remember sharing one walkman with my sister and brother, and listening to Genesis over and over again.  I remember the Midwest, and how it looked from sitting backwards in a station wagon. I remember Vegas and its oppressive heat, but fantastic lights, the Grand Canyon, Alcatraz, and of course, our final destination - Disneyland.  I'll never forget pulling up to the parking lot, walking through the gates and riding the teacups.  To a five year old this was the ultimate destination.

However, after this magical trip, the rest of my childhood and early adult life was spent on the east coast, and I was unable to return to the "happiest place on earth."  And then, I had a daughter, moved to Orange County, fought peer pressure for a year, and finally acquiesced, and bought an annual pass to Disney. I was returning.  Almost 30 years later, and I was returning.

So, off I went, ready to regain my adolescent sense of wonder and excitement and experience the joys of Disney with my daughter.  Unfortunately, no one told me that Disneyland is a lot different when you are now 34 years old.  First of all, why did my parents drive across the United States for this?  Back in the freaking 80's there was only Disneyland, and not a very large Disneyland, AND no California Adventure!  What in the world did we do all day?  Do I remember the teacups so well because that's all we did for the afternoon?  Did we never return because my parents cleverly showed us that Disneyland was all hype and show, and convinced us that we weren't missing anything?  Did I somehow forget this presentation and agreement?  Man, thank goodness for more rides and crazier people to watch, because there's no way I could have got an annual pass in the 80's.

Second of all, at five, all the rides were ridiculously fast and and exciting.  Now, at 34, I have to question my sanity for waiting in line for 50 minutes so we can ride along a track and watch a freaky animatronic bang on some drums and sing a well known Disney song.  Seriously, after waiting fifty minutes, I want someone to place me in a flying car, feed me space ice cream and transport me back in time.  But, then I look down at my kid, and she's loving it.  She thinks all the crocodiles, that need some serious 21st century makeovers, are completely real, is convinced the slightly creepy person, who chooses to hug kids all day, is truly Mickey Mouse and has no idea that waiting 24 minutes for a 64 second ride makes no sense in any world.  She just loves it.  And, then in 30 years, she'll return and wonder, "What in the world was my mom thinking?"

Oh, the cycle of Disney.

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Letter of Beef

Well, I suppose before I continue I should clear up some misunderstandings - I love the Olympics.  I'm not a communist.  I support all and every person, who decides to devote themselves to mastering the art of holding onto a tiny sled, while they fly down a tunnel of ice at 70 mph.  I support watching the Olympics, and even pretending to be shocked when I see an event at night, that I already know the outcome to because of the gosh darn internets.  I support it all.

Alright, with that off my chest...can we discuss how come the Russians are killing us on the ice?  Kidding.

No, actually I got to thinking, after a friend of mine passionately responded to my Olympic rant, about what things would get a passionate response out of me.  The following is what I came up:

1. I think I'm going to write a letter to the hit TV show The Bachelor or The Bachelorette informing them that the following has got to stop:  Contestants have got to stop saying, after three minutes of talking, "I really see myself falling for this person and having a future with them."  No, you don't.  You see the chance of holding on for a few more eliminations to either, see more of the world, or to possibly become the next idiot, who after three episodes into the new season, I'm going to hate.  And please stop letting these morons claim they planned the elaborate dates.  A producer rented the helicopter, found the location, hired the locals to dance and made the food.  Not Juan Pablo.  Just be honest.

2. My next letter would be to all people who take credit when they shouldn't.  Case and point: I'm out riding the other day in my Duke biking outfit when some guy pulls up next to me and says, "Ah, a Dukie.  Too bad, I'm from Florida State."  (I'm supposed to care because our schools, to which we haven't attended in almost 15 years, are in the same conference.)  So, I say, "Yep. A Dukie.  That's great you are from Florida State.  We beat you in basketball and you beat us in football - it's a wash."  Put the earphones back in and get ready to move, and then the idiot says, "We don't just win in football, but we are National Champs!"  We?  Really?  Listen, retired college football player Asian man, YOU didn't get recruited.  YOU didn't practice one second.  YOU didn't play or even attend the game.  YOU won nothing.  YOU paid for their scholarships.  YOU attended class so Florida State has a graduation rate that the team can tell future recruits about.  YOU wrote fifteen scathing critiques of games on a Florida State Message Board.  YOU were outside the stadium getting drunk at a tailgate.  That's what YOU did.  

3. Wow, that last one got me a little heated.  Moving on.  My last letter (I've got to end at three because nap time is coming to a close and I can't be a hot mess when the daughter wakes up) would be to the "one uppers."  You know who you are.  And if you don't, let's see if this describes you:  You are the one in a group, who almost wets themselves while you excitedly wait for the speaker to take a breath so you can come crashing in with a story, that totally DESTROYS the other person's story.  You are the one that hears about someone's aunt dying of a skin disease, that ate away their face and then limbs, and then says, "I once broke every bone in my body and was in a coma for ten years while a skin disease healed my bones, restored my energy and then rebuilt my face."  Slow clap one upper - you win.

Ahh...I feel much better now.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Unpredictability of V Day

I got to admit, Valentine's Day is way more boring now that I'm married.  Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have someone, to love someone and have someone to go out with, but blah, it's boring.  Back in the day Valentine's Day was a complete wild card.  Some years it was down right depressing.  I remember one year I got a boutique of flowers, I mean a huge boutique of flowers, from a guy, who I was planning on breaking up with, but because I sucked back then, I hadn't gotten around to talking to him about it.  So, there I sat, staring at this virtual garden of flowers, and all I could think was, "Crap, now I got to kiss the guy and probably date him for another week."  In retrospect, I really wish he had just given me a check for the flowers.  That way I could have at least bought him a going away gift.

And then other Valentine's Days were down right weird. I remember a week later getting a chocolate rose in my mailbox from some anonymous admirer.  Um, thanks for the re-gift?  The "on sale" item?  The federal offense for reaching inside my parent's mailbox?  And a week later huh?  Are we now celebrating our future love, or February - Black History Month?

And then sometimes Valentine's Day was great.  I mean, remember Valentine's Day in elementary school?  All those little cards filled with terrible candy and such heartfelt notes?  Those were the days.  Or the times you had to hide notes and flowers from your parents because they would find out that the "friend" you have been "hanging out with" downstairs, by yourselves, with the lights usually off, is actually someone you've been making out with?  Again, good times.

Happy Valentine's Everyone!  Hope it's filled with a little spice!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Olympics Is A Scam

So, we are a few days into the Olympics and I got to be honest, the Winter Olympics are the worst.  Honestly, it's a total scam.  Tell me any other time during the year, or during the next three years, when you would voluntarily sit down and watch the qualifying round of the ski jump, EVEN THE FINAL round of the biathlon or even ten minutes of the luge?  You wouldn't!  Shut up, you wouldn't.  And yet, because some country decides to spend twenty years worth of its GDP, we feel obligated, ONCE EVERY 4 YEARS, to sit down and ask, as if we really care, "Now, the bobsled is judged just on time, or is there some other type of scoring?"  Rip off the blinders people - you don't care about the ice skating.  You might think you care if he'll land that quad axel, but really in two weeks you won't remember the guy's name, the ridiculous athletic uniform costume he wore or even the music he chose to perform his routine.  You won't.  And if you want to fight me on this, I'll send you two tickets to Disney On Ice.  Still love ice skating?  Didn't think so.

And don't tell me about the snowboarding...listen, you Shaun White bandwagoning-good-for-nothing-lovers, name ONE more snowboarder.  Just one.  From any other country.  Male or female.  Tell me one trick.  Tell me how they are judged.  Tell me what the events are. Exactly. Get off the bandwagon.  Now.

And lastly, if you insist on religiously watching the Olympics please keep these few thoughts in mind:

Human Skeleton: This event would only be interesting if they randomly grabbed people from the crowd and threw them down the track...because let's be honest - what's the athletic skill involved here?  Holding on for dear life?  Closing your eyes and not crying out like a little girl?  Can you imagine if the announcer was like from the Price is Right, "Come on down Boris! You've been chosen to break the world's record!"

Cross Country Skiing: I would watch this event if the theme of James Bond was always playing, and masked assassins chased after the skiers.  Take away either two of these requests and I will not watch this.  Okay, if you have a boy on a bike screaming, "I want my two dollars," then yes, I would watch it. (John Cusack movie.  Look it up.)

Curling: I would only watch this if each team got sloppy drunk.  Can you imagine how excited they would get if they hit the thingy (no research on curling was involved in this post) in the bulls-eye?  Or how many falls there would be as they tried to sweep furiously behind?  It would be awesome.

Bobsled: I would follow this event if there was a weigh requirement to the participants.  250 pounds and up.  It would be fun to hear the commentators say, "Now this will be interesting.  The team from China is weighing a total of 1,303 pounds and there is still a concern about the last man even fitting into the sled...let's now go to this human interest story about how Germany trains with a diet of cheese, chocolate and beer."

Stop the scam Putin.  Stop it.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Can Anything For Our Kids Be Trusted?

I've commented in the past about idiotic children books and their pointless stories, but it's now time to discuss children videos.  (Spoiler Alert: I'm a terrible mom, who let's her 17 month old baby watch videos!  I know, I know, I'm already planning on autism, ADD and developmental issues.)  Anyway, the other day, while we were driving around judging the prices of homes listed for sale, we put on some forsaken Elmo video to occupy our child.  I don't exactly understand the attraction to Elmo, but holy moth to a flame.  As soon as the video goes on our child will go from a babbling, happy child to zombie, drugged baby.  (Oh, wait is this why they don't want you to show videos to your child?)  Anyway, on the video is some character named Mr. Noodle.  I, fortunately, have never seen what this character looks like, but I've heard from the front seat that this guy is a complete moron.  Everyone, from Elmo to the kids, who will be denying its them in an Elmo show in a few years, hate on Mr. Noodle during the entire video.  Seriously, Elmo will be like, "Hey let's read a book," and then a few minutes later you'll hear, "No, Mr. Noodle, you don't eat a book.  No, Mr. Noodle, don't sit on the book."  After listening to the video for a little while I started wondering why Sesame Street, a company that prides themselves on educating kids, would create a character that seems to be only a notch above a severely mentally damaged person, and then place him in situations, where kids and other puppets yell at him for his stupidity?  Are they trying to teach kids the very important skill of bullying?  Because if so, bravo Sesame Street - after listening to this video twice, I was ready to do some pretty terrible things to Mr. Noodle.

And now let's discuss the show Doc McStuffins.  Oh, Doc McStuffins.  Listen, I'll be honest, this one isn't that bad.  I mean, sure one day Doc will have to be admitted to some pysch ward because her parents will finally realize she's been suffering from acute hallucinations involving talking stuffed animals, but hey, isn't it cute right now?  No, my problem with this show is the character Lambie, who's whole mission in life is to offer creepy cuddles to anything that moves.  Honestly, give her a trench coat and an apartment overlooking a children's playground and she will be registered within the week.  Seriously, it's just weird.  And the timing of her cuddles are so weird.  Some toy will receive a pretty bad diagnosis from Doc, with no solution in sight, and then Lambie will saunter over and ask, "Do you need a cuddle?"  No, Lambie.  Geez, give the toy some space.  It would be like hearing you have cancer, and then some creepy male nurse coming in saying, "Hey guy, heard you got the cancer, how about a hug?"  Um, no.

So, I'm at a lost.  Books are full of ridiculous characters.  Videos are full of morons.  Are we supposed to be talking to our kids or something?