The Car Wash

A clean house and a clean car equal complete perfection in my book. So I paid the house cleaners and set off to pick Shelby up from school with a plan to hit the nearby gas station and redeem my receipt for a drive-thru car wash with both kids in tow. I know what you're thinking and yes, I am totally nuts. But, I spent over an hour scrubbing my rims this morning (something to do while my house was being scoured for me) which I had forgotten were once a shiny chrome. Rims? Do I sound like I'm rollin' in a lowered Impala? Whatever you call those wheelie things that decorate your tire. We drove towards the gas station only to discover that apparently everyone in town had the same idea (they probably all have house cleaners). Determined to complete my bizarre agenda of anal retention, I forged on to my spot as #7 in the car wash line up. I turned off the car (smog emissions), busted out the wet wipes, and turned up Raffi. I let Shelby out of her car seat and handed her a wipey. Somehow, we managed the nearly 30 minute wait before pulling up to the automated keypad where I entered my code. "Unauthorized number, please try again or press pound for assistance." I squinted at my receipt and reread the numbers when I noticed the date printed above, Expires: April 29. WHAT THE F&$???? How can my $7 car wash code expire? I stomped on the gas and revved through the empthe car wash garage with Shelby loose in the passenger seat. Forgot about those speed bumps in there, sorry sweetheart. I pulled my car up on the sidewalk in front of the quickmart entrance and jumped out. Whatever I said to the guy must have been convincing because he quickly scribbled a new number and handed it over. Thanks a lot, buddy. Okay, regroup, Round 2. We pulled off the sidewalk and headed around to an even longer line this time. I exhaled deeply and noticed the 75 cent vacuum station beside my car. A light went on and I got out with quarters in hand. I set to work sucking cheerios and moldy raisins off the floor of my car when I heard a car horn beep. Oh no, someone did not just honk at me did they? I glanced ahead and noted that there were still 2 cars waiting and we were stopped a few empty car spaces back. No rush, I'm using up all 75 cents of this crappy vacuum. Beep beep. I looked back to see a scowling woman approach my vehicle. "Are you in the car wash line?" she growls. Am I in the car wash line? Hell yes, for the SECOND time because I just waited behind 6 cars and when I got up there I realized my coupon expired so I demanded a do over and did I mention I have two kids in the car and (am I yelling?) you better believe I'm in the car wash line!!! Auuuggghhhhhhhh! Exactly 68 minutes later, perfection was mine. DING!

Random Thoughts

"Mommy, I'm fat. Hannah says I'm fat." My 3 year old has been repeating this all morning. Every time I start to reply, I can't come up with a descent response that circumvents a larger issue (who's fat? who's skinny?). I finally distracted her with playdough.

So, I finally hired a house cleaner. She's coming tomorrow morning. I should be wallowing in my own filth right now, drinking a margarita and piling dirty dishes up in the sink. Instead, I'm folding laundry and cleaning the kitchen. Go figure.

I can no longer relate to college aged women. I am that old. I am 10 years older than those perky, partying, potty-mouthed post teens and I just don't jive with 'em anymore...especially when somehow one lands in my living room after a party at 11 pm and forgets her "Inside Voice". Don't ask.

I was at the gym this morning at 5:15 am. That is crazy.


Reaching Out

Friendship is like crack. Once you have some, you just want more. I spent an enjoyable evening with girlfriends last night and am suffering the withdrawals today. Having a few kid free moments in the car this morning (Ana was there, but who's counting?) I dialed every name in my phone to chat it up and wound up leaving lonely messages on five thousand voice mails. "Hey, it's me, just had a spare moment and wanted to engage in some intellectual banter before I returned to my regular ass wiping duties where I discuss singing farm animals and apply wambaids. Would love to compare notes. Call me back!" Click.

How did this happen? I can drive my car every other day of the week without dialing for dialogue. I can tea party to the ABC's in a tiara all day long, perfectly content with my life, until I get a taste of the real world and suddenly this mommy mayhem doesn't seem so appealing. In fact, it is downright lonely on days like this. Thanks for today's theme song, Neil, "Sweet Caroline...Good Times Never Seemed So Good...."

Larry the Landscaper

He was cute, tan, and wore cowboy boots with Carhart shorts, this local landscaper was easy on the eyes. Eloquence was not his strong suit, "Yeah, uh, ya see, here in the backyard yur gonna want to have the grass run right up to your retaining wall. Who ever put in yur lawn out front. Ya know that strip a rocks between the lawn and the cement wall? Yeah, well, that looks real stupid." HARSH! I personally love our front yard. Its modern garden wall, the lush green grass, the river rocks and tropical plants. I SHOULD love it, John and I designed it, installed it, planted it, and yes, even put in those stupid rocks along the wall. I fired back, "Those rocks were actually put in for a reason, Jim (his name was James and I knew it), because the concrete footing for the wall sticks out 6 inches and no grass that I'm aware of grows on concrete," (And those rocks look really cool, asshole). He briefly raised his eyebrows and grunted. We changed the topic to my vision of how our yard should function for us and what elements I needed. I rattled off my ideas for curving walls and lawns, and how we wanted it all to look like an exotic resort. He kaboshed my curves by telling me that they would only suit the corners of the yard and anywhere else wouldjust look silly. That the lawn couldn't curve because the irrigation needed to run in 12 by 12 squares. I'd heard enough already! A woman needs her curves! I knew that this guy, no matter what I said, had our yard slated for something out of a local tract development. I decided that watching this good looking cowboy swing a pick axe in my backyard (shirtless, of course) wasn't worth the trouble when my husband arrived home from work. Was it 6 already? "John, this is Jim, oh, hah, I mean, James." After a recap on our discussion, landscaper guy tells John how he likes our front yard landscaping except for the stupid looking oak tree by the front gate. And then says he'd like to "take care of it" for us. Who is this guy? The mafia's outlaw hit man? Last time I checked, insulting clients wasn't in the better business manual. Game over. Bye-bye, Jim.


Disaster Area

Do you have a house cleaner? I don't. I think I'm the last living person on earth that doesn't have the luxury to complain about tidying up my house before the house cleaner arrives (Boo-flippin-Hoo). When the headlines are screaming recession and the housing market has plummeted I'm thumbing through the phone book for house cleaners and landscaping artists. I'm even in the market for a new, bigger (but mind you more fuel efficient) vehicle. I'm a walking poster child for American consumerism. Yoohoo, President George? Yeah, over here, send me that refund check so I can blow it on a bigger SUV and a full body massage. Never mind my kid's college fund. Ever since we embarked on our camping journey I have returned to filth. My car hasn't recovered from the dust encapsulated exterior and the mohair interior (thanks to our dog), not to mention the rotting milk bottles and dirty clothes shoved into every nook and cranny of the back seat. My house is a collection of spider webs, laundry mountains and more mohair floors. YUK!! I'm so far behind in EVERYTHING, I need a Super Powered Clean Team to catch me up. After our house guests left this weekend, I looked around my living room and realized that my standards for cleanliness have taken a turn for the worse. I didn't even apologize for the laundry piles in the dining room or the dirty pans on the stove (that remained for the duration of the weekend). What I'm doing today? Rolling the big black trash bin into my living room and cleaning out my life. Purge! Purge! Purge!


The Green Guest

It was 2:00 a.m. and the guest bed I had made up on our sofa lay empty. I stared at the unlocked back door and finally decided to lock it. Our friend, Jay, had come over for a neighborhood dinner party and had accepted our invitation to stay the night. I pulled the responsible parent card and had to leave the party at 9 to take the kids home to bed. I had packed them both onto my bicycle, Ana on front and Shelby in the bike seat, and we rode home under the stars. John joined us a few hours later, but Jay, I don't know what happened to him. I wandered the house checking on my sleeping babies, straightening their blankets, double checking the locks on the doors, when I happened to glance out of the front door. There was Jay's truck, parked on our street. So where the hell was he? My eyes slowly left his moonlit truck and followed the stretch of lawn, over the green bump and back to our house. Green bump? What the hell is that on the lawn? I rubbed my eyes and focused on the lawn more closely. There was a green sleeping bag in the middle of our lawn and Jay's bald head poking out of the top. I smiled at the thought of our elderly neighbors lumbering by for their daily sunrise walks to discover a giant man sleeping on our front yard. If that's not some worthy neighborhood gossip, I don't know what is. I had just curled up in bed again when I laughed out loud saying, "Hope the sprinklers don't go on!"


Screaming Princess

We headed over to Shelby's dance studio before the annual parade to put on her costume for the "Sleeping Beauty" float. Well, actually there was no float, just a walking sign and a plan. Shelby's teacher barked orders and directed the "Hail Aurora" theme song as we wedged ourselves into the tiny lobby of her studio. Arriving late, as usual, we were hard pressed to locate a princess dress to fit Shelby's tiny frame. Knowing full well that my little girl would not agree to a frill free paige's costume when all her preschool cronies were decked to the nines in full length gloves, tiaras and Snow White look alike gowns, I gathered the larger dresses and found one I could "alter". We slid on the red frilly gown and tied the shoulder straps with a ribbon, then gathered the four feet of lining and tied it in a tight knot under her bum. Last was the gauzy overlay which I grabbed into a train and tucked into the gap behind her neckline. She looked like a giant red, fluffy chicken with protruding tail feathers. She turned around in disappointment as I plunked a shiny tiara on her head and exclaimed, "Oh honey! You look beautiful!" She stared at the floor in silence and murmured, "But mommy, I can't move." I had tied the knot so tight around her knees she had to waddle, appropriate for the Little Red Hen, but not a parade. "Oh crap," I said, and hastily scoured the floor for an alternative as the crowd of princesses shouted, "Hail to Aurora, Health to the Queen..." BINGO, I pulled a pink leotard with a fluffy cream tutu out of the overflowing costume basket and Shelby's eyes lit up. "Gabrielle, don't you want to wear this gown?" asked our neighbor mom, Sue. I turned around to meet a red velvet dress stretched to the max from her middle to her ankles. She was dripping in Mardi Gras beads and had topped off her masterpiece with a giant gold Burger King crown. She looked like a floozy mermaid about to explode. Oh, dear. She raised a fuchsia satin thing in the air and persisted, "Come on, ya know you want to!" I nervously shook my head and grabbed something purple off the floor, "Oh no, I'm just fine wearing this, uh, this little paige boy sack thing." I quickly slipped the purple and green stained material over my cute flowered tank and perfectly fitted denim shorts. There goes my style. Am I really going to walk through the streets of town waving to people wearing this boxy poncho thing? The alternative was to leave my 3 year old alone to walk amongst the throng of dancing gowns clipping along to the tune of, "Hail to the Queen". No, I'm wearing this silly getup, I'm waving to the onlookers, and I'm even screaming, "Health to the Queen, wealth to the queen" while my husband is getting it all on video. Awesome. Shelby's look of shock was a perfect compliment to her over sized tutu and flip flops as we hurried along with the screaming princesses. Wave to daddy, honey!