Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Joy of Eating Out

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I cannot be the only one…that cringes when my in laws from out of the state come to visit and in a moment of generosity offer to take our little family out to dinner at a “nice” restaurant.  This “treat” they believe they are offering us only sets one of my many neuroses as a mother into red light flashing panic alarm mode.  I quickly review my mental rolodex of the local restaurants and offer a few of our favorite places as suggestions, by favorite I really mean the restaurants than can tolerate a small tornado in the shape of Junior in their midst. When we manage to come to a decision that suites all the different taste and preferences I gather a small arsenal of toys in my purse and I start a slow walk out to the car as only a woman who knows what type of disaster is in store for her can.
Once we have made it to the restaurant I peer into the doorway, with fingers crossed and saying a silent prayer, hoping that there will not be a lengthy wait for a table, for I know that prolonging the actual meal process only means that I will turn into the great entertainer for my Junior’s behalf.  If we are lucky enough to be seated directly after our arrival I sink a little lower in my chair as my son points out all the lovely “different” types of people at the restaurant, it sounds something like this, “Mommy why is that lady wearing such a red shirt” or “That man’s skin is really tan”.  I hope that our giving relatives don’t feel the need to peruse the menus longer than the first stop by the waiter or waitress because I know that will only mean five trips to the bathroom with Junior, just so he can check it out, while are waiting on the waiters return.  Please, dear in laws, do not take time to consider desert and coffee, it can only mean certain exhaustion for me as I follow behind Junior while he waddles around the restaurant checking out the high quality art from the early 80’s on the walls.
As much as I love a good meal, a glass of wine, and great company the days of taking my time at restaurant to enjoy myself in the ambiance of strangers are long gone.  I know I cannot be the only one who secretly dreads the gift of an evening out as a family…can I?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Frankenweenie? Yes, Please

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          My son has been begging to see Frankenweenie ever since it was released in the movie theaters, but between school and the rest of our daily chores we just never got the chance to see it.  Luckily for Junior, and my wallet, Frankenweenie was released to the “Red Box” this week, you know those big red movie rental units that are in almost every supermarket all of a sudden, and we were itching to grab a copy.  After an unsuccessful attempt to nab the ‘weenie on Wednesday, this morning we were able to reserve a copy, so Junior and I made a movie and lunch date.  We popped the Frankenweenie disc in the blue ray player, pulled up our lunch trays with a corn dog and carrots for Junior, and settled in for a bit of kid friendly gruesomeness that only Tim Burton can supply.
            For those of you, who like my son and I, have not yet seen this flick, Frankenweenie is a touching story about a slightly odd boy who looses his best friend, his dog Sparky, in a car accident. After which the boy, Victor, discovers how to harness the power of lightning, during an eerie display courtesy of the new eccentric science teacher, and uses this knowledge to bring back his lost companion.  Once the secret hits the playground, that Victor has successfully brought Sparky back from the dead, other slightly creepier kids in his elementary school class wreak havoc on their town attempting to reanimate their long ago lost pets.
          Tim Burton holds a soft spot in my heart, I remember seeing Edward Scissorhands in my preteens, the age when you feel like no one understands you and quite possibly no one ever will, and I made a connection with Burton’s characters who portrayed that same sense of being misunderstood. Burton relates that same magic of making a connection with the viewer in Frankenweenie, taking the odd man out, in this case Victor, and making him the relate able hero.
            My son and I both enjoyed Frankenweenie, there were a few moments I was worried the film may be a little scary for my four year old, but the truth is the movie shows just enough so you understand what is happening and leaves the rest to your imagination.  I am sure that Frankenweenie will join the short list of movies that my son chooses to watch over and over again, so I will be seeing a lot more of the some-how-still-adorable stitched up Sparky.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Dying Girlfriend Hoax

January 17, 2012
I cannot be the only one…who gets a chill of apprehension from the future of my son’s dating life when I read the headlines about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and his hot hoax of a girlfriend. I fear that my son, with the same silly genes that caused my husband to make horrible love struck decisions in his past, will someday humiliate himself similarly as Te’o, who is being raked through the mud over this "girl".
Manti Te’o “met”his love interest via the internet, like so many of you readers out there may have experienced, but how most people who are enthralled with another person they met online take their relationship to the next level of meeting in person, Te’o and his maiden never actually had a face to face meet. I started to question why this young man's embarrassment is headline news and then I read that antidotes from Te’o and mystery Internet diva’s relationship were being played up in sports media outlets.  The kicker of the story is that the girl supposedly passed away in the heat of their romance creating a beautiful tragedy with Te'o in the role of good ole Romeo.  The very public question now is if this young lady who ensnared Te’o through fabulous online and phone chats was actually ever who she claimed to be or did someone just play this linebacker for a fool, or if he in fact was in cahoots with this enigma of a person.
Oh boy.  I remember the young boys of adolescence and my early twenties that fell for the typical love spell of a pearly white smile and the feminine mystique, or manipulation, of certain young ladies.  I would be left wondering how the boys I called friends couldn’t see past girly charms and always chalked it up to testosterone, although in my friends’ defense at least they had in person chemistry to contend with as well.  This story of Te’o gives me misgivings about my son’s future love life, I am sure that all relationships in the future with have some sort of online presence, I only hope that when I meet my son’s first girlfriend it is at my home and not through a status update on his Facebook page.  I will take extra precautions to teach my son that a healthy relationship also includes eye contact, and Skype doesn't count as actual eye contact, and that what people write about them selves online is not always the truth. As though it is not hard enough to protect our children from online predators but now we must be weary of people who are simply out to make them look stupid, I thought our kids were handling that part all on their own…I cannot be the only one who shuddered for their son’s ability to make good choices when it comes to prospective relationships when they read this story…can I?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dinner is Canceled

         I cannot be the only one…who, as much as I appreciate an afternoon off from creating the evening’s culinary masterpiece, get’s butterflies in my growling stomach when my husband gets ambitious in the kitchen.  The other side effect of my hubby’s cooking adventures is that although he is technically doing the cooking, as in the heating of the food, the prep still falls on my shoulders. Of course, it is also only fair that the chef is not left with the dirty dishes, so I will man the soap and sponge at the completion of the feast.  I almost forgot one very big problem that happens inevitably every time hubby steps up to the stove top, he is not in the habit of checking on the meal along the way, just when it’s too late he realizes something has gone terribly wrong, and at which time he declares “dinner is canceled”.
            I try my best to support my husband in his attempt to provide his little family with a delicious meal, but the disastrous results are frustrating for everyone.  I sympathize with his disappointment when the dish doesn’t turn out the way he had planned, last week I nearly had a soup disaster, but I gave myself ample time to correct the tasteless soup with plenty of time before I served it.  My husband does not take advice well, in fact he is insulted by my suggestions, and I only make matters worse when I try to offer the friendly advice of checking in on the progress before the half-starved family members look to him for provisions.
            This evening was hubby’s barbeque pizza night and needless to say calamity ensued.  After four hours of his handmade dough sitting on the counter he realized that the dough was not raising, instead of thinking of a plan B he decided to wait it out and hope it will in fact rise before dinnertime.  When the time rolled around for him to start rolling out the dough to make the crust he started to panic and after fifteen minutes of working with the dough he gave it one last punch and grumbled, “dinner is canceled”.
            I can say my hubby does not disappoint, he has a steady track record of canceling dinner on those rare evenings that he has taken over the task of furnishing us with edibles, and I continue to give him the benefit of the doubt that one of these times all the elements will align and he will create a meal that we will talk about until the end of days. Although, until that magical evening approaches I will continue to bite my tongue when half an hour til dinner time my husband realizes the tragedy his meal has become and he scrambles to figure out some other semblance of a meal. I cannot be the only one whose husband cancels his homemade dinner at the last minute…..can I?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Here Comes The Flu

January 10, 2013
I cannot be the only one…who noticed that immediately after their child started preschool the potty talk meter busted through the roof and the coughs and sniffles increased ten fold.  This is why when I read in the news this morning that the flu season has not only arrived early but the amount of flu suffers is unrivaled from those who have suffered the aches and pains of the flu seasons of yesteryear. These reports put me on edge, I wring my freshly sanitized hands and wonder when will my son bring home the latest in this year’s flu symptoms.
My son has had a lovely cough that shakes and rattles the walls since right after Christmas that has been waking us all up in the middle of the night and I worry that he will be more susceptible to the flu.  In the effort to prevent the the flu and return to a normal sleep pattern I put in a call to our overwhelmed pediatrician’s office only to be told the same old same old; if he is not running a fever he does not need to be seen by the doctor.  While reading the multiple news reports about the severity of this flu season, the variety of fantastic symptoms, and of course the shortage of Tamiflu, I start to feel sick to stomach and as far as I know I haven’t contracted a single dirty germ yet.
To try to save us all from the gift of the flu this year I will do my best to remind my son to wash his hands, not to touch the other kids at school as much as possible (I don’t see why this would be so complicated), and to keep his fingers out of his nose, at least until we get home and can wash his hands, all in the hopes of keeping the flu season monster at bay.  I think all of us parents with children in school feel like sitting ducks, just waiting for the first grumpy groan from our child that indicates we have officially become a number in the 2013 flu season demographic.  I cannot be the only one who feels that it is only a matter of time before a flu disaster strikes their quiet home…can I?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Last Word

My sentiments exactly
I cannot be the only one…who despises that person who feels triumphant by getting in the last word during a discussion or an argument.  Actually, I am even less fond of the person who, while accusing you of having to have the last word, is in fact getting the last word.  I am sure many of my fellow hard working wives and mothers out there were under the impression that when we signed those legal documents, a marriage license or your child’s birth certificate, that you had entered adulthood, and that your future would be void of childish accusations, such as getting the “last word”.  But, alas, the argument ensues.
Although, I don’t feel this conversation needs an example, as I am sure the point has already hit home with many of you, I will elaborate as a purely selfish gesture of venting my woes. While making pancakes for Junior’s breakfast this past Sunday morning my hubby grumbled something to me as I was washing the dishes from the previous night.  Between his back being turned to me, the washing machine performing its slow drone, and the clanking of forks being washed I was completely unable to understand his musings.  I let my hubby know I couldn’t hear him and received the typical response: LOUD and GRUMPY. As I sighed at the perfect ridiculousness of how asking my hubby to repeat himself could cause such disdain in my direction, I said, “I just couldn’t hear you well, sorry.” To which Hubby pointed out, “You always have to have the last word, don’t you?”
How could such a normal mundane morning, breakfast making and dish washing, turn into something so ridiculous?  I know this miniature misunderstanding that turned into a disastrous morning cannot only be occurring in my house…right?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Welcome Home

I cannot be the only one…who has returned home from a trip with their child to find their husband did not keep up the house while you were away.  I am not asking for much, not major home repairs or cleaning the venetian blinds strip by strip, I just asked for the house to have food so I would not have to visit the market upon my return.  After a glorious five days out of town I returned to a house that was void of any coordinating items that a meal would make.  I asked my defensive husband if he bought groceries while we were away and answered as only a husband could, “Sure, but I ate them while you were gone.”  Huh? How that qualifies for making sure when Junior and I returned that I wouldn’t have to make a trip to the market I know not, but in his manly way it made perfect arithmetic.  Off to the market I go, with recyclable totes in hand, a bad case of jetlag, and whatever cash still remains from our trip.  Welcome home loving wife…back to life as usual, I cannot be the only one who knows there truly is no rest for the weary…right?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Simply Irritated

This morning I felted irked.  Annoyed with my son asking me a question every other minute and making potty noises in between the questions.  Irritated with my mother’s insistence that the word “breaked” is in fact a word, and if it is not in the dictionary it is because those sneaky scholars have a tendency to remove perfectly good words on a whim. Frustrated with my car insurance company that can only manage to get my monthly bill to me two days before it is due date but can get the pink reminder slips to me before the bill’s arrival.  This is the short list of the exasperating issues I was dealing with before nine a.m. this morning and these vexing subjects were not putting me in a good mood to face the day.
Looking at the calendar I saw no womanly explanation for my lack of patience in response to this mornings annoyances.  I think for the most part I handle my son’s persistent talking and queries quite well, I pay the bills in time to beat the due date, and my mother’s grammatical mistakes are her problem not mine, but still there was something about this morning that made me consider a quick exit out the nearest window.
I think as a mother there are times that you are allowed to be at your wits end, even when you have proven yourself able to handle more than what is happening in the moment you are loosing it, and as unfair as it may sound sometimes just being the matriarch of the family is all the excuse you need to vent about the vexations of the day. So, as for today I resolve to be in a sour mood and I am making no excuses for it…I cannot be the only one who has days like today…can I?