Saturday, January 31, 2009

Apropos of Nothing

Daddy: Boys, do you want something to drink?

HRH: Orange juice, with ice, no water, no mix.

MM: HRH, you'll make yourself a fine Starbucks patron some day.


From the backseat:

Gremlin: This is why the Grinch stole Christmas.


Andy: Are you planning on bringing your laptop to Disney?

MM: I was considering it. What do you think?

Andy: Well, you tend not to care about people when you're with the laptop.

MM: No, you've got it all wrong. I care about lots of people when I'm on the laptop.


And with that, I bid you all a fond adieu until next week.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Today, after dropping HRH at school, Gremlin and I went on our appointed rounds, starting with Target. We were doing our usual; negotiating over staying in the cart, discussing not getting a toy whenever we go to Target, saying yes to a bag of M&Ms.

We got to a register with only one person ahead of us. I had to wait longer than you'd expect for the woman in front of me to pay for what looked like a single item, already in a bag. Then I noticed she was paying the $20.99 with a handful of bills, mostly ones, and 99 cents, mostly pennies. She used a Hello Kitty gift card for the remaining one dollar. She initially muffed the gift card transaction and had to reswipe the card. I thought for a minute whether offering up the dollar would insult her as I tried desperately to see what was in that Target bag.

I began forming a backstory for this woman. She was unemployed, out of prospects and out of money. She was literally counting every penny to buy one of life's simple necessities. The bag was too small for diapers (my worst case scenario) but it could have contained wipes, medication, or simple toiletries. She walked away with her purchase, her back straight and her head high. I slid forward and the cashier rolled her eyes at me and muttering "only happens to me..."

I was in the store for about 45 minutes and bought a new stroller, coloring books for the plane, ice melt, kitty litter, sale sweatshirts, Saran Wrap, and more of the general stuff of everyday life. I paid by debit card. I was distracted and forgot to look at the dollar amount as I punched in my PIN.

We're far from rich. I shop in Target because it's cost-effective. But we have enough.

I'm thinking of this woman, thinking of her needs and her dignity, persevering.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What Took You So Long?

When he left the kitchen, I was loading the last of the dinner dishes into the dishwasher. Then I noticed that the paper towel roll was empty.

I started to go down to the basement where I keep the extra paper towels. Then I noticed that one of the Wii controllers had made its way to the counter.

I grabbed the Wii and went downstairs. Once in the playroom, I turned off the TV, put the Wii games that were were strewn about back into the basket, moved the bean bag chair that was on the love seat, put another chair back where it belonged, grabbed a sippy cup off the floor, shut off the space heater, switched over a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, and brought a clean hamper of laundry upstairs.

But I had to go back down for the paper towels.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Preaching, from the Converted

Last April, I wrote my own little Op-Ed in which I lambasted a Boston Globe reporter for his assertion that we should all choose Barack Obama as the Democratic Nominee based on the fact that he is black. In it, I wrote that I was a Hillary supporter because I felt she was the smartest, savviest, and most well-connected candidate. I was wrong.

When President Obama became the Democratic nominee, I knew I would back him. So I listened to him a little more closely and I paid a little more attention to what was going on with him and around him.

What I had failed to realize initially was that he wasn't using the same old playbook. He was writing new rules. Changing the game entirely. And so Barack gained my support and my loyalty. Listening to him inspires. It's not just lofty rhetoric or Q scores, it's substantive and specific.

Tuesday, I sat watching and explaining to my boy sitting beside me. As Barack Obama stood on the steps of The Capital, I could see his jaw clenching and unclenching. He was resolved. He understood the history of the moment and he understood the challenges he was facing. I saw him confident and I saw him ready. I find him more than equal to the task of leading us out of the desert of the last eight years.

I am entrusting him with my ideals, I am entrusting him with my childrens' future, and I am entrusting him with the goodness that is our Country. And I am hopeful.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kicking Him While He's Down

I'll post about this day, my emotions, the momentousness of this occasion later, after I've had time to fully digest it.

For now, I must give this parting shot:

You see it, don't you?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sappy Smiles

My poor Gremlin has a cold. Thursday night, he had a quite a cough and woke up a time or two. The house is dry as a bone with the heat permanently on and humidfiers can only do so much. No other symptoms so off to school he goes. He was fine all day in school but yesterday afternoon, as we ran an errand, he was clearly going down hill. The rest of the afternoon was spent snuggling and dozing on the couch.

He's Daddy's boy. Daddy's "helper" in all things. Except when he's not feeling well. Then he's all mine. I hate it when they're sick but in truth the needing me, the snuggling just fills me up. I know his babyhood is all but gone but in these moments, he's still my baby.

So it was no surprise when last night, I ended up in his bed after a coughing jag, tucked uncomfortably between my boy and the wall, sharing his pillow. We're holding hands and he leans into me, more asleep than awake and asks,

"Mommy, why does Bugs Bunny call everyone 'Doc'"?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

To-Worry List

Am I consistent enough?
Am I impatient?
Am I kind enough to myself?
Am I strict enough?
Am I taking myself too seriously?
Am I taking them too seriously?
Am I too hard on myself?
Am I too hard on them?
Am I too strict?
Are they developing friendships the way they should?
Are they happy?
Are they spoiled?
Are they too physical?
Did I read to HRH more than I read to Gremlin?
Do I change their sheets often enough?
Do I expect too little of them?
Do I expect too much from Andy?
Do I expect too much of them?
Do I expect too much of them?
Do I show enough patience?
Do I spend too much time on the computer?
Do I worry too much about how others perceive us?
Do I yell too much?
Do they eat enough vegetables?
Do they fight too much?
Do they have enough alone time with us?
Do they realize how much they are loved?
Do they spend enough time with Daddy?
Do they spend too much time on the computer/video game?
Do they watch too much TV?
Do we have enough rules?
Do we model behavior correctly?
Have I established clear behavioral guidelines?
He doesn't know all his letters, HRH did at this age.
How do I teach them empathy?
Is he too sensitive?
Should I force him to give up the pacifier?
Should I give them chores?
Should I give them vitamins?
Should we teach them more about religion?
What do I do when I reach the end of my rope?
What do their teachers think of me?
Why can't he play independently?
Why can't I admit I need help?
Why do I feel like I've failed if I get help?
Why do other moms seem to have it more together than me?
Why is this so hard?

Now what?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Was She Thinking? Wednesday

* Photos courtesy of Getty Images and Associated Press

Monday, January 12, 2009

Any Excuse to Celebrate

Do you know what today is??

Now do you know what today is??

Maybe we should start with lurking: In Internet culture, a lurker is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, chatroom, file sharing or other interactive system, but rarely if ever posts or participates. God love The Wikipedia.

So in the true spirit of the "holiday," I'm going to tell you something about me and I invite you to delurk and tell me something about you.

My first "boyfriend" was named Kevin. He lived two doors down from me. I was about 10 years old and he was 11. He brought me lilacs that he cut from another neighbor's lilac bush. He also allowed me to ride his Huffy "Phantom 56" bike when no other girl was allowed to ride it.

Fast forward two summers. Kevin was also the first boy I ever kissed. He was 13/almost 14 and I was 12/almost 13. We were playing Truth or Dare and I chose dare. Suddenly, we're kissing. He smelled like Chaps cologne and tasted like Velamints. I knew right there and then that I liked kissing.

Do you remember your first boyfriend? Who was it?

Do you remember your first kiss? How was it?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

As We Conclude The Week of the Gremlin...

...I give you this:

Scene: Last Friday, headed down to Cape Cod for the day. The entire Manic family is in the truck. We've already played I-Spy, sung songs, found books, eaten snacks, and begged for naps to make the time pass more quickly. Appropos of nothing:
Gremlin: Aww Fuck it!

Daddy (sounding firm but casual so as not to encourage future recitations): Gremlin, that's not a word we use. It's a grown-up word and it's very fresh.

Gremlin: Okay, Daddy. I won't say Aww. Fuck it, anymore.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Harbinger of Future Gremlinocity

While making up my mind to rename RC, Gremlin, I harkened back this email, which I sent out to a bunch of friends and family in August of 2006. Gremlin was just 16 months old. I should have known...

Subject: My Morning

So I'm sitting on the couch putting on HRH's shoes and getting ready to leave. Gremlin crawls out of the front entry hall heading for the kitchen and I notice that he's got what looks like sunblock all over his arms. I stand up to clean him up and learn that (a) it's all over him and (b) it's not sunblock, it's white paint that I had left in the entry hall while I've been painting the stair risers.

Gremlin had managed to get the cover off a gallon of paint and spilled the ENTIRE thing all over the entry hall rug and a good amount on the floor. He'd then left a trail like a snail stretching from the front door to the kitchen doorway.

As most of you know, we just had all our floors refinished three weeks ago. I didn't even know where to start! I grabbed Gremlin and threw him fully dressed (and covered with paint) into the tub and started filling it while I stripped him.

I then left him upstairs naked while I went down on my hands and knees with a canister of Clorox wipes, a roll of paper towels, and a bath towel.

I got to most of it while it was still wet and it came off fairly easily. The drying stuff came off with the wipes and a little rubbing. The rug is of course a total loss having martyred itself for the floors. Amazingly, there are only few splotches in between the floor boards that I should be able to dig out with a toothpick or similar tool at a later date.

Then I got Gremlin dressed, threw them both in the car, and left for work...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Gremlin

Does anyone remember this adorable little guy from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons?

Maybe this will help refresh your memories:

My friends, he is a gremlin. Wikipedia describes him thusly:

Gremlins are mischevious, mechanically oriented, and responsible for sabotage (particulary of aircraft).

Gremlins are used to explain otherwise inexplicable accidents.

Gremlins are portrayed as being equal opportunity tricksters, taking no sides in conflict and acting out their mischief out of their own self-interests.

Are you seeing it yet?

How 'bout now?

Or (my personal favorite) now?

'RC' was a placeholder name I came up with by default for my younger son, based on his penchant for hurling everything with which he came in contact, with the speed of a Roger Clemens fast ball.

After nearly two years of creative destruction that's expanded far beyond throwing, I have finally found a name which truly fits his mischeviousness, his cleverness, his laughability, his 'grem-lin-ity.'

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my second born, my beloved, Gremlin:

Whoops! I mean, my Gremlin:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Nutrisystem By the Numbers

Days on Nutrisystem: 21

Nutrisystem meals eaten: 61*

Number of spinach salads eaten: 42

Most surprisingly good Nutrisystem entree: tie: Chicken Salad and Cajun Chicken and Rice

Number of Nutrisystem entrees that smell like dogfood: 1 (Homestyle Beef and Gravy - eww)

Number of Nutrisystem "suggested" entrees most likely to be donated to a food pantry: 1 (Split Pea Soup - double eww)

Total ounces of water consumed: 1,344
% increase: 200%

Total trips to the ladies room: Incalculable

Total Glasses of Wine Consumed: 4*
% decrease: 73%

Total Starbucks Venti Chai's Consumed: 3
% decrease: 86%

Estimated number of vices remaining: 3

Number of yoga classes attended during first two weeks of program: 0

Number of yoga classes attended in third week of program: 4

Total Weight Lost: 7.5 lbs

Average cost per pound lost: $29.90

Average pounds lost per day: 0.36 lbs

Number of days until Disney World trip: 26

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Mind If I Axe You a Question?

As part of my Christmas present, Andy bought me a really nice pair of Dolce and Gabana sunglasses. So nice in fact, that I initially though the glasses case they came in was actually a really cute clutch purse.

Now I haven't paid more than $16.00 for a pair of Target sunglasses in nearly seven years. I do like the ones he got me but am unsure whether they really work for my current sweater-and-jeans lifestyle. So I need some help deciding.

Here's me, sunglasses-less (yes, my hair is huge, I'm learning to live with it):Here's me in my current, Target sunglasses (please ignore "necky-ness" - trust me when I tell you this was the best of the bunch.):
Here's me in my super-cool D&Gs:
Well, what do you think?

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