Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bloodhound Retirement

I have figured out that it is a reoccurring theme in my life to be forced to look for something that someone else lost.

Today, It was Justin's wedding band.
This morning he came downstairs with a worried expression saying that he had just realized that after he (and this is where my confusion started)
"let Tessa play with his wedding ring last night"
he never got it back.

I stood there for a second soaking it in.
Trying to work out in my mind why on earth you would give a two year old something that cost $500, is a symbol of your vows, and is also the size of a quarter.
I don't even give her more than 20 raisins at a time because I don't trust what she'll do with them.

I flashed to the Everybody Loves Raymond where Ray loses his ring in a motel room because he took it off to spin it. Yeah. Spin it.
But I don't want to be Deborah, so I told him we'd find it, that it couldn't have gone far, etc. and promised to help.

He was clearly frazzled.
A fact that was not aided any by him following this confession of loss with an attempt to make a smoothie and having the blender blink "error" repeatedly after one pulse.
He unplugged it. Plugged it back in. Unplugged it. Plugged it back in.
He then pushed 18 buttons at once like a crazy person and then
he gave up and decided to drink it half blended with big chunks of ice still in it. This is when he found that he had forgotten to add the protein powder.
It was just milk, ice, bananas and a glob of half mixed peanut butter.
Justin doesn't do well with things like this.
This "ring/smoothie incident" could possess the power to ruin his entire day, which would then ruin MY entire day.

He was storming around the kitchen randomly opening drawers for no reason, and when he gets like that I take it upon myself to bear the burden of coming to the rescue.
I tie on my cape, put all half smoothies in airtight containers and freeze them, and then I make it my mission to find the ring and save the day like Wonder Wife.

I searched all morning to no avail. I mean SEARCHED.

I then got the brilliant idea to just ask Tessa.
This would have been genius if she were three or four, but she's two and asking a two year old to remember that a booger is not a suitable snack is next to impossible, so asking them to remember the occurrences of the previous day is a fool's game.

"Tessa, do you remember when you had Daddy's ring yesterday?"
"Where did you take Daddy's ring? We really need it back."

Then she shrugged.

"Did you put it somewhere?"
"I put it on Phoebe's eye." Phoebe is our dog.
"No. That's not it. Where did you set it?"
"I put it under my bed."

This sent me on a wild goose chaise because she had, in fact, NOT put it under her bed at all.
I only found that out after practically turning the crib on its end and shaking it with the strength of the Incredible Hulk.
Wow. I'm strong when I'm on a mission.

"Tessa, It's not under your bed. Can you remember where you put Daddy's ring?"
"It's ..........around."

And then she stuck her finger in her nose, asked for grape juice, and walked away.

As I scoured mixing bowls and dog dishes and crawled on my knees through the entire downstairs looking at toddler level while I prayed that no one was looking into my house through the outside, I thought again about why you would give a toddler a wedding band.

But then I moved on.

I checked the couch cushions. Something that I will never do again without proper hand protection.

It's like a sheep dog did a science experiment in there.

On the up side I DID find the other Snow White figurine that has been the cause for many a battle and now the girls can stop fighting over the one we DID have. I hope.
I felt along blindly.
Is that it? No. That's a bobby pin. Is that it? No. That's some popcorn kernels.
Is that it? No. That's IS that?!

I had just gone through this a couple months before when my mom took off her watch to wash the dishes and then couldn't find it after that.
We looked everywhere and my mom was on repeat with the same phrase over and over daily said in a wistful voice while she gazed off into the distance.
"What do you think became of my watch?........"
Same phrasing.
I was so glad when we could put that behind us.

REALLY glad we found it.
Or, Chloe did, actually, in the entertainment cabinet with the Wii remotes.
Where all watches should go.
I'm sure Tessa was responsible for that one, too.
That, or we need to have my mom tested for Alzheimer's....

And Alena is also CONSTANTLY losing stuff.
Her issue is more because she has mounds of stuff everywhere like a hoarder and it IS kind of hard to find a small hoop earring in piles of paper and silly bands and happy meal toys from 6 years ago.
I'm forever hearing, "Mama, have you seen my __________________." To which I reply,
"Have you checked the bottom of your level 5 hoard?"

My search help even goes back to childhood when it was a regular almost weekly event for my dad to misplace his checkbook.
The whole family would have to drop everything they were doing because undoubtedly he had an appointment somewhere in 5 minutes, stop and look for it like some sad Easter egg hunt where all you get are some grass allergy welts from wading around the field in chest-high grass looking for a wallet that MAY have been dropped while on a horse-back ride.
Only to find it after you give up and it's getting dark somewhere in the house.

I just don't personally lose things very often.
I have a place for things and that's where I put them.

This afternoon we still hadn't found the ring.
I looked through my jewelry box for a makeshift one for now for him to wear for when he goes to the gym.
I like him to have a "hands off" symbol, at least, even if I have to draw one on with Sharpie.
I've seen the way some of those girls at the gym parade about.
I don't trust anyone who comes in full makeup and leaves with it still in tact.
I'll take them out ninja style.
Anyone who knows me knows this is truth.

I didn't find one, though.
I didn't think he'd want to wear one made of abalone shells or a 3 inch turquoise stone.
That might be hands off for the girls but you never know what that might do for some of the MEN there....
Justin has been known to attract his fair share.

I got the kids down for their nap and I resumed my looking. Driving myself CRAZY trying to find it, all the while getting more and more upset that he'd given it to her in the first place.
Meanwhile he slept on the couch as I broke into a sweat scouring, dumping, sorting through bins and bins of tiny plastic toys and figurines.

Both of our mouths were open.
Mine because I was panting,
his because - well - that's how he sleeps.


The doorbell rang. A daycare mom to pick up her child.
I let her in and then he appeared with sleepy glazed eyes holding up - HIS RING!

Wait. What?
I had looked everywhere.

"Where on EARTH did you find it?!"
"When I woke up from my nap and stood up, I stepped on it."


Standard of me to spend almost my entire day looking for that thing making myself crazy over it while he practically finds it in his sleep.
The next time that ring leaves his finger his flesh better have decayed to just bone.

I am glad he found it, but I have also penned a poem:

Here is a compass.
Here is a map.
Mama's done looking.
Find your own crap.

I crawl my knees bloody while you lay there sleeping
all because you lost something and started moaning and weeping.

I felt bad for you and made your pain my own.
You counted sheep.
I went into "The Zone."

Dumping and rifling, I made myself dizzy
while you didn't even TRY to remotely look busy.

I was just short of descending from the chimney covered in soot
then you just stood up and it stuck to your foot?!

I'm over.
I'm done.
Put things where they go.
Because then when you need them, their location - You'll know!

It's a novel idea. I'm glad your ring's found.
But it's retirement time for Mama Bloodhound.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Appropriate Way to Pet a Chicken

Oh good. I have a few minutes.

The kids are laying around the livingroom rug in a pre-diabetic coma from all the sugar over the weekend, and I realize that's at least good for something.

Yesterday was Easter.
The weekend was full of fun and fatigue.

It kicked off Saturday with the church's annual Easter egg hunt.
Every year it's the same with us bustling around the house in a frenzy, hoarfing down scrambled eggs and combing the girls' hair while walking out to the garage in order to get there on time.
It always starts at 10:00, and anyone who knows my family knows that us getting anywhere earlier than 11:00 might as well be getting there at 5 a.m.
Nearly impossible.
We rushed to get there as it started, only to have the entire thing be basically over in 3 minutes.

I think they make the eggs too visible.

There's not much "hunt" involved when there's a 10 egg maximum and you basically step on and crush 6 upon opening the door to the room.

I could find 10 if I was blindfolded.

Parents everywhere can be spotted slyly taking the eggs their toddlers find and re-destributing them around the room so the kids don't go over the limit.

I guess it IS easier to just fling eggs willie nillie than to actually HIDE them anywhere...

It always seems like the kids don't even care that much about finding the eggs anyway. In my experience it's the parents saying, "Look up here! What is this?! Can you see it? Get it! Get it!" while the kid eats plastic grass or cries because they're overstimulated.

At the end of the egg hunt there's always a pen of some sort of animal, be it chicken or duck or bunny.

That's always a favorite.

There's always a brief discussion with our girls about what is and is not the appropriate way to pet said animal.
Tessa has been pulled aside for refresher courses every year so far.

Because chickens' eyes aren't supposed to do that when you touch their heads.

The girls seemed bored through the actual hunt. They put up with the picture taking by the giant carrots and trees with dangly eggs.
But once they caught sight of the bounce house and craft table they ran to get through, taking out several poofy dressed toddlers.

Big burly Joe sat at the exit like a bouncer waiting to count the eggs and remove any extras that were trying to be smuggled.

Of course Tessa had too many.
When he took her 11th egg, I saw a look pass that I thought nothing of, really, until later when I couldn't find her and realized what she'd been thinking.
Where was she?...........

Then I caught of glimpse of her yellow dress.....

from under Joe's chair.

That little sneak had formed a plan in 2 minutes that belonged in a spy movie.

No one had seen her slip under his chair.
No one was really watching as she grabbed the eggs he discarded before they even landed, opened them like a Capuchen, ate the candy out, then replaced the eggs into the basket.
Sneaky, yet BRILLIANT.

She'll show THEM an egg limit.

And I guess it makes me a bad parent that that kind of action, rather than send me over to scold, only made me smile.
I have to feel SOMEWHAT happy to know that should the world be one day, as my reoccurring dreams make me fear, be taken over by a zombie envasion, my children will have skills to survive.
Nothing if not resourceful.
My little Mini-Me.

I did feel bad, though, when my friend Brian came over to his wife Katie and requested she discipline their daughter because
"she's been grabbing the discarded eggs and eating the candy out."

Tessa had created a prodigy.

I apologized and told them not to go too hard on her. That it was Tessa that had taught her.
Brian just said, "I know." and walked away.

And it is just an approximation, but I would have to guess that Tessa ate about 14 pounds of candy that day.
Again, Bad parent.
FUN parent, but also somewhat questionable on that day.

That sum total was second only to what would be the sum total of the NEXT day.

They bounced, they made crafts, they ate hardboiled eggs in between chocolate ones.

A thought that makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

And while they did that, Alena sat on the stairs to the stage with her head in her hands and made that face.
That pre-teen one.
I knew without asking she was feeling depressed about the fact that she was deemed too old to hunt eggs this year by the youth leaders.
Too old for 10 eggs.
As if she needed the candy with the bucket o' Nutella she eats nightly...

And, we had guests this weekend.
They showed up Saturday afternoon after the egg hunt as the sugar highs faded and craziness ensued. Perfect timing.
Welcome to our home.
Please don't call the authorities.

They are college students from my mom's choir in Oakland.
They came all fresh faced with their texty thumbs and cute clothes.

I felt like I had friends over and tried not to ingest a bottle of pills when I realized, no, I was actually 10-15 years older than they were and in some countries I could be their mother.
A fact that I later bemoaned to Lisa about over the phone.

They were the best kind of guests, too.
Clean, quiet, helpful.

The girls' pupils were the shapes of hearts all weekend.
Well, the little girls over THEM, and Alena's over their i-phones.
She said that's what she decided she wanted for her birthday.
I told her she'd better also ask for a JOB for her birthday, too, then, because
until Mama has more than a $70 pay-as-you-go phone, Alena will not have a phone capable of being one's life partner.

I was just surprised we didn't scare the girls off.

They may never want children after that.
I'm sure they were a bit surprised at the game of Run Around Buck Naked that the girls played before bath time.
The scary part was it wasn't a special show for the guests, it is just a thing we do.
Every bath night.
1) Take off clothes
2) Run in circles naked
3) Bath
4) Bed

Too bad they didn't also get to witness the new favorite game of
Step on Eachother.
We actually could have played that as a group.

They were also brave guests, as they are from Georgia and are die hard Braves fans.

They just happened to be here the weekend the Braves had a series against the Giants and ended up completely sweeping the Giants.
They knew to keep their mouths shut as Justin dove into depression and cried into his ham.
I almost expected him to bring out his grass skirt and cannibal pot to make Georgian Soup, but he was on good behavior.

Easter morning was hectic as well with a repeat of the previous morning.
All that extra hair curling and pinning.
Dusting off the iron and remembering how to turn it on. It probably hadn't been used since last Easter.
Yet another plus of yoga pants and layered tank tops. No ironing necessary.

Posing the girls for a picture where they're all three looking at the camera takes a good 20 minutes in itself and I have even then given up having one where Tessa is doing a normal smile.

I was surprised we got to church on time.
Actually, I always am when it happens.

The service was great.
As was the baby holding and the chatting with friends that feel like family.

We took pictures at church. Justin got razzed about his purple shirt.

And then I proved my theory about tights having the same life cycle as a fly as Chloe ripped holes in the knee of hers when she biffed it chasing bubbles and Tessa came around the corner looking like she'd changed the oil in the van in hers

(It's still a mystery what happened there.)

We had a great lunch that included my famed creamy polenta with mushrooms and mascarpone cheese. My brother called me "Rude" on the phone for making it at a holiday where he wasn't here.
Even the Georgians ate it. I was afraid they'd think I desacrated their beloved grits with the addition of Californian hippie food.

We hid eggs in the front yard and laughed as Tessa repeatedly dropped them on the concrete until they were completely smashed and the air was wafting of boiled egg.
I told Justin his egg salad was going to be full of grass and snails. He gagged with flashbacks of the year he ate 4 giant egg salad sandwiches in a row and swore off egg salad forever while he did those weird puffs of exhaled air he does when he's too full.

We found out Chloe doesn't like the smell, I guess, as we brought out the eggs and she kept saying, "EW! Phoebe!" because she thought the dog had bad gas. Again.

All in all. Great weekend. And now we're back to the daily routine with the addition of telling Tessa she actually can NOT have chocolate with her breakfast.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No burrito for you. One year.

I get it now.

I must have been doing it all wrong.
All this time I've thought that being completely incapacitated by illness was enough to maybe buy me 2 hours of rest, but I now know it takes a virus AND a bacterial infection to get your point across.

I have been SO sick.

So sick that I had to call my mom, in Oakland, Friday morning at 6:20 and beg her to take the day off of work and come home early to just help me SURVIVE.

I was envisioning being beckoned to pour bowls of Lucky Charms as I sat on the bathroom floor throwing up into the toilet. Tiny hands shoving sippie cups into my clammy hands asking for grape juice.

Of course she came.
She always does. Mamas are good for that.

The sickness started Thursday afternoon with a general feeling of blah, and went full blown by that evening as I sat drinking my Weight Watcher smoothie - Something I'm now afraid to ever drink again.

I was up all night.

I will spare you the details.
Let's just say that I sent the bathroom floor a friend request and it hit "accept."

Justin, Master of Sleep that he is, slept through the whole thing without moving, and when his alarm went off, he rolled over and stared at me with his annoyingly well-rested eyes and said,
"Are you OK?!"

I've been fighting back death all night.
I'm surprised you didn't hear the Grim Reaper tap tap tapping his scythe on the tile.
Didn't you feel the bed move every 15 minutes as I got out and then in and then out again?

No. I've definitely been better.

Justin was getting up that morning to go have his first orthodontist appointment.
He's getting braces finally.
Something he's wanted all his life. He was excited and springy. He wondered where his singing woodland animals were.
I wondered why he couldn't have showered in the dark and oh gosh - I couldn't handle the smell of his body wash.
I was willing him to leave faster with my mind powers.

He did leave, and thank goodness my mom showed up just in time as the girls were waking up.

I could hear them starting to stir in their beds through the baby monitor and I froze in fear of having to even TRY to lift my fevered head off the pillow.

Mom saved the day with ginger ale and toast.
(which Tessa and Chloe took turns licking before I got to)

The whole day passed in clips.

I remember Tessa carrying off the two liter ginger ale bottle like an ant at a picnic.
I remember telling her, "No. That's Daddy's toothbrush."
I remember Chloe coming in and asking for band aids and saying something about Tessa's knee while she pointed to her elbow.
I remember that the chiropractor called saying I'd missed my appointment.
I remember feeling worried when I saw Tessa eyeing the thermometer like she was forming some sort of plan.

Then I remember Justin calling and responding, "Are you OK?" when I answered in a weak voice.

Again. No. Remember the Reaper?

What is it with men and their inability to call into reference all the man colds and splinters and boo boos they've had at times when they're wondering why on earth a 102 fever means you don't feel like you can cook dinner?

I mean, do you even WANT someone cooking your dinner who's had their hands on, or within 2 inches of a toilet for the last 12 hours? Aren't places shut down for that?

Seriously, Regis Philbin could have been standing in my bedroom holding out a check for a million dollars yesterday and I wouldn't have had the strength to stand up and grab it.

I got myself into the doctor's office, though, to have her tell me that not only did I have the flu, but I had a UTI and, oh yeah, they wanted to get me in for an abdominal CT scan this week to rule out appendicitis.

Don't be jealous.

I rested the rest of the night -
Well - Rested and watched the Celebrity Apprentice I've had saved on the DVR where Meatloaf just about rips Gary Busey's head off.
Something worth prying my eyelids open for, let me tell you.

Gary Busey's ramblings were like medicine to me.

This morning, however, I learned that one single day is the allotted time for a mother to get over two sicknesses.

Which makes sense, I guess, since a HALF day is what you get if you have just one.

Motherhood Math.

The girls woke up and started screaming that so and so was in their bed or so and so scratched them with a leapster game and crazy ME, I just assumed that since everyone had been informed of my diagnosis, I'd be given a pass on being the peacemaker and the breakfast maker.


Apparently all that sleeping the night before had made Justin, well,
tired -
or something.
He didn't even hear the girls.
Or he was ignoring it and pretending to sleep.....Reverting back to the days when they were newborns, and needed midnight feedings, I guess.

Finally I got up and dragged my stiff, achy body in there with a walk that looked like I'd just finished a three day trail ride on a horse made of roofing nails.

I changed a poopy diaper.
I answered enough preschooler questions to make up for the ones I'd missed the day before.

Then I went back into our room and threw open the shades on Justin before I layed back down in the bed.

He got up for work and went into the bathroom to shower.
In my mind he clicked his heels together, but that's probably just my imagination.

"Hey, Ker? Could you pack me a burrito for lunch?"

Surely, this question was a viral hallucination.


"Can you pack a burrito or something for me to take for lunch?"

I wanted to tell him that the only thing he'd have packed was ice on his swollen black eye, but I didn't.

I packed the stupid burrito.

But on TOP of that burrito,
with my pale, shaky hands, I placed a napkin.
And on that napkin I drew a picture of me sticking my stomach virus infected tongue out at him.

Was this action the type of action that would be given the thumbs up by a marriage counselor or pastor? No. But sometimes you just have to go for it. Let your croaky self be heard in some small way.

Hope he enjoys his lunch, because there probably won't be any dinner again tonight.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Downward Spiral Dog

Justin and I have been doing yoga once a week on Wednesday nights.
Or "Tapioca" as Chloe calls it.

I told her the "tapioca" is what Mommy's trying to get rid of....

I've just been realizing lately that though my heart and body are there for the very truest of reasons, I don't think I'll ever be one of those people who are able to quiet their mind and focus on things like
"imagining their butt has roots and their back is the stalk" and all that jazz.

It might be partially due to the fact that every Wednesday we come screeching into the gym parking lot with 2 minutes to spare.
Two minutes that we spend and then exceed with the 6 minute daycare check in procedure.
We grow more and more frazzled as we put the girls' numbers on them and take off their shoes and sign our names and show our i.d.s and make sure AGAIN that Tessa isn't trying on other kids' shoes.

Racing to do yoga is actually quite contradictory.

We try to hold our breath as we unroll our mats in the room full of already seated, closed-eyed Zen-ians. The music is quiet. All you can hear is breathing, and the sound of our shoes being flung off.

I always use that closed-eye time as a chance to size up the room.

Oh good.
There's an 80 year old man with giant knobby arthritis hands next to me.
Surely he won't show me up, Right?
Oh good.
The girl who can wrap herself in a spiral thrice over is across the room.
Now I don't have to feel like the yoga version of the evolutionary chart compared to her.

That's me on the left.

Oh good.
The mirror is mostly blocked from view.

The teacher's voice is calming enough. The music is nice. I like how she tells us to "make the best of what you've got." Something I do in my every day life.

But for the life of me, I cannot focus on what I'm sure I'm supposed to focus on.

While she's telling us to bend "", I'm panicking thinking surely I just did at LEAST two vertebrates as a SET that time.
Do I need to go back? Do I need to start over?

When she tells me to bend to the ground and let my head and arms hang for a nice stretch, I'm thinking, "Jeez. I really need a pedicure. How does skin even DO that?"

As we fold into downward dog, I contemplate our choice for Mexican food every single Wednesday.

it's quick and Wednesdays are traditionally hectic, but a cup of black beans does not lend itself well to stretches designed to "ring out inner organs."

I'm sure I'm not alone.
I look at Justin and catch him bug eyed with his gaze transfixed on the armpit of the woman next to him. Or is it a beard? Hard to tell when you're in some of those positions...

I think about why it is that there is ALWAYS one girl in every yoga class who was practically BORN in the bridge position. She probably crab crawls herself to work that way every day with a smile on her face.
She ALWAYS has dark beautifully curly hair. She ALWAYS looks great without makeup. She ALWAYS has flowy, "I live for yoga and eat only organic vegan foods" type clothes.
I'm quite sure she probably drives a Subaru.
No matter what class. No matter what gym. That girl is always there.

I think about how funny it is that I once saw our instructor on a smoke break.

I wonder the name of the CD we're listening to, because I really like relaxing music at bed time and I'm always down for a good suggestion....

I think about how I wish Justin had bought me a non-primary colored yoga mat, because I'm really more of an orange or a magenta girl, then I think about how I shouldn't send him shopping alone.

Then I categorize all the odd things he's bought when he's ON his own.

I think about what other people are thinking about.

Then I think that I need to focus.
Maybe looking in the mirror will help focus me.

Now I'm thinking that it's weird that my hair swoops to the left on both sides like a breeze is perpetually blowing on me.

I think about how I wish my tank top were longer.

I wonder what that stain is, or is it sweat, and if it is, why would I sweat there?

I think about plucking my eyebrows.

I think about plucking the INSTRUCTOR'S eyebrows. (And believe me, she needs it.)

I think about the time Justin agreed to let me try plucking his eyebrows and how it ended in the fight.

I think about how we were watching L.A. Ink, then.

Now I think about tattoos and I wonder when that show will be back on then I wonder how Sandra Bullock feels about her ex marrying Kat and then I think about adopted babies and that Sandra looks good in white. Then I think about how I can't wear white because we're always eating Mexican food and on and on and on.

Then I look at the clock and it's only been 16 minutes.

The good thing is that by the end of the hour, I have literally run through every conceivable thought process a human mind can think. Every category. Every scenario.
By the end of it, I'm empty of anything new under the sun.

Maybe that's the whole point, come to think of it.
I end up relaxed from the exercise and almost brain dead from the mind vomit.

I leave feeling like a cave woman.

"I Kerri. Tapioca good."