10/25/08

A Lonesome Heart

It's a foggy Saturday afternoon and I'm cozied up on the sofa in front of the fire with a cold beer and my trusty laptop (aka ALONE). Most girls would kill for this but I recline here with a heavy heart laden with guilt.
Today was a rare family day as John had the entire day off (a semi weekly happenstance). We had planned to spend the entire day on the beach, basking in the sun and playing on our new longboard. Apparently, mother nature had a different plan because we awoke to fog thicker than clam chowder. It hung on the eaves and dripped down our windows.
John cheerfully grabbed his surfboard and headed out into a sunless horizon for his morning exercise. We reunited mid morning and munched on bacon and toast over the kitchen counter. The minutes sped by as the impending return to John's work week and my single parenting loomed. We paced across the living room anxious to make the most of our time together, yet equally confused by our unfortunate weather circumstance.
Noon. Where did our morning go? What about lunch? What about Ana's nap? We needed to get out of the house and we needed to get out now. We loaded up our surfboards, buckets and snacks, and then bundled up in our winter gear before heading north in search of sun and some lunch.
If you haven't been to Ruddell's Smokehouse in Cayucos, their salmon tacos are to die for and they can make a sunless day more tolerable.
We spent the next few hours living up our afternoon together before teeth chattered, diapers sagged and stomachs growled. Ana was asleep before we had finished packing up the sand toys.
Upon arriving home, Shelby had a second wind, fixating on her "Snow Princess Costume" and the mention of her cousin's pumpkin party this evening. I agreed that although her sister was fast asleep and in desperate need of a nap (considering the vibrant shades of snot pouring from her nose today)there was no reason why Shelby couldn't wear her costume.
Skip to the part where my over worked husband pulls out of the driveway with his Snow Princess perched in the back seat. Heading towards the pumpkin party on the same winding 45 mile road he drives twice daily...on his one day off. Enter guilt laden, heavy heart.
I'm at home with a sleeping baby, a crackling fire and a cold beer. And I feel terribly alone...and terribly guilty.

10/24/08

The Gummy Bear Attack

Ana had attached herself to the Trader Joe's Gummy Bear Vitamin container and it was well past bedtime. Choosing my battles, I decided to just do bedtime routine with her and her jar o' sidekicks. We walked around the darkened room with her slinky blanket until she was nodding off (slinky in one hand, gummies in the other). I laid her down in her crib and tip toed out the door. When John came home from work (at the usual time-8:00) both kids were soundly sleeping and he snuck around their beds to wish them good night(therefore fulfilling his role as parent for the day).

"Hey, have you checked on Ana since you put her down?" John whispered.

"What? Oh, oh yeah, I know she still has the gummies in the crib. She was emotionally attached to them at bedtime so I didn't fight it."

"Yeah, well, you may want to go in there and look at her," he persisted.

I reluctantly got up from the sofa and poked my head into her room. There she lay, sound asleep, splayed out in a pool of Gummy Bear Vitamins like some bizarre child magazine cover shoot, a yellow child proof cap gripped tightly in one hand.

"You have got to be F@#$ing kidding!" I gasped.

I gathered up the bears and carefully evaluated the volume to determine just how many she may have eaten. The jar was half full (optimistic) before Ana's gummy bear picnic and it seemed to be just that afterwards. CUT TO NEXT SCENE

It's the following morning and our household is in "GO TIME" mode. We have exactly 64 minutes to pack a family lunch and get everyone dressed and ready to go on Shelby's preschool field trip to the pumpkin patch. Thankfully, Shelby awoke early and Ana was still asleep, giving mommy time to shower and get two out of three dressed and ready. Departure time is 9:00 and the lunches need to be packed up and loaded into the car. My clock reads 8:37 and Ana squawks at the very moment I'm starting to worry about my gummy estimating.

"Phew, she's awake and alive!" I proclaim, as Shelby and I march into her room to greet her.

"Man, there are still more gummies in your bed, Little Mischief!" I laugh as I pluck and pull smooshed gummies from the folds of her blanket.

Shelby helps me change Ana's diaper and pick out her clothes (the preschool suggested something orange so Shelby is rummaging through every drawer like a fashion tornado).

We hustle into the kitchen to pack up the lunches...8:51 What the HELL is that? Ana is toddling across the living room rug and I'm staring at a dark gooey lock of hair on the back of her head.

Upon closer inspection I discover it to be the one gummi bear casualty in Ana's midnight picnic. A lone gummy has been smeared and double smeared into her white frizzy bedhead at the nape of her neck.

"Mommy! Is it time to go on the field trip?" Shelby hollers.

"Auugh! LUNCH!" I change gears, heading to the kitchen to throw our lunch together while pondering an approach to the gummy crime scene. Should I cut it out? She's only 14 months. I can't cut her hair yet! Should I use peanut butter? Olive oil? Soap and water?

9:00.

I grab Ana's sun hat in hopes that today, for once, she'll just leave her hat on so no one else has to witness the gory gummy dreadlock.

The entire morning I noticed people taking double takes at Ana's head-because, of course, the hat did not stay on. First they'd look amused and doting at the cute little girl with the shocking white spiky hair, and then, just as they turned away they'd look back again. You could see their mind spinning, "What was, did I just see, what the hell is on the back of her head?" And they'd glance back to get a gander at the gummy lock. Depending on how long they stared, I would either dismiss it, or I'd say, "It's a gummy bear. It's a long story. I didn't have time to get it out this morning." And then, on cue, Ana would happily shake her head, bouncing the gummy lock back and forth.

After a few explanations of this I realized what a crime this phenomenon really was because I looked like the poster child for "How NOT to raise your second child". I held my banana crusty faced baby with the gummy lock in her hair while my preschooler swirled around us in an ironed dress, matching sweater and pom pom hair bands in her pigtails. It was the first day Shelby had allowed me to part her golden curls and comb her hair into two flawless pigtails. I, too, had blow dried my hair and applied makeup. And then there was Ana.

OMG I am a terrible mother. Not only did I put my child to bed with a jar full of choking hazards, but then I dragged her into public unkempt and gummy-locked. I may as well just write across my chest: I was not cut out to be a mother of two kids.

And then on my back: Beware of the Gummy.

10/22/08

And Did I Mention?

I have exactly six people from high school that I keep in touch with. We call and email regularly. We get together at least once a year for a girls' weekend. At which point we gather up all our gossip that we've come across from any former schoolmates and dish out the latest news for everyone to devour. This year I arrived with only a morsel of gossip. I had recently encountered an old tennis rival who we'd all deemed to be a little ditsy. I ran into her at the dentist's office-more specifically, her dentist's office...as in, the office had her name on it and she was reviewing the charts on my daughter's latest dental x-rays. Yep, Hello Cathy Rassmussen! So great to see you! You're a dentist! WOW! wow. (Who knew)
After my brief but shielded surprise, I made small talk with her. She informed me that not only had she married another fellow classmate, but that she regularly met up with other class mates who now lived in the area. There are others? YOU are neighbors with the B. Twins?
Okay, rewind, let me give you some background to explain my less than enthusiastic response to this unwanted reunion. I was the chunky athletic girl in high school. Not fat, just pudgy. For my lofty 5 feet 8 inches of height, I was toting a good 150 pounds (or more) my junior year and it only got worse when I went off to college. I played every sport and I played them all fairly well (I didn't sit the bench). Wow, give a girl a topic and it takes her right back to high school. Amazing!
Needless to say, I was not the epitome of cool, I was fair to middling or somewhere in between. Sometime during my college career, I gave up A&W Rootbeer Floats, french fries and binge drinking and shed my pudge. About the time I was metamorphasizing from a Rollie Pollie to a woman, I met John, got married and found myself. I have never looked back. Aside from my hair color, there is virtually nothing about me that looks the same. And no one from high school I care to reminisce with besides my six friends.
This brings me to the B. Twins. The Twins were the antithesis of my high school experience. They were water polo players with the bodies of Gods. They were a pair and a cool pair at that. They were ultra social and ultra high school. They knew all the parties, they threw the parties, they were the parties.
Back to the present: On one perfectly unassuming day, I walked the girls back from the beach and just as I rounded our driveway I heard a scratchy man voice shout, "Hey G! What's happenin'?" Out of the corner of my eye there was a flash of sparkly black sunglasses over tanned skin, a silver SUV, and a mop of thick wavy brown hair. I would know that voice anywhere. I turned to face Twin #1 who was perched in his SUV with two tiny rat dogs panting over the steering wheel, his sleeve of tattoos hung out of his window.
You have got to be friggin kidding me! I moved 3 hours from home and this guy is driving down my street and picks me out of the line up with my two girls?????? Who told ... ??? ugh, the dentist!!!! I'm sure that's a breach of confidentiality to share my home address!!! WTF???
Oh yeah, it gets better. He goes on to tell met that he's getting married this weekend (woopee) and he and his fiance just bought the house 4 blocks away! Did I do this !!!!!!!!!! enough? I said four blocks away, right?!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like the paparazzi just set up camp in my bathroom.
Is there anyone else out there who has had this experience? B. Twin #1 has driven past our house several times since this first meeting and stopped to talk. I am friendly but uninterested in a neighborly alliance. I don't want to get together over a beer and talk about "the old days". I don't have anything in common with him besides my high school. I'm sure I'm over reacting. Am I over reacting? FOUR BLOCKS!!!!!!!!

10/21/08

A Low Moment

I awoke yesterday morning severely hungover. I know, I know, I'm too old for this ridiculousness....on a Monday. John's friend, Mr. Hollywood descended upon us at dinner time and unexpectedly accepted our invitation for dinner. The wine flowed and apparently my conscience, which usually steps in at some point to remind me that I am the mother of two children and I have around the clock responsibilities that do not include hugging toilets or midday napping, stepped out for the night. Yes, I blame my inadequate conscience for this blunder and no one else.
Getting back to the poignant moment I'm sure I will pay for...
I struggled to pack Shelby's lunch before preschool and upon bagging the pb & j felt the urge to purge. I ran to the nearest bathroom and kneeled in penance ("Heavenly Father, Please forgive me for my sins -Huiugghhh!-I will never try to keep up with Mr. Hollywood-Huugghhh!-I am not 21 anymore-Uggghhhhh!") and then, the pitter patter of tiny feet. I now have an audience, one perched upon her big girl stool looking down at me and the other climbing up the toilet to dive in. Oh my God, how many things are wrong with this picture? Today I am a shitty mom.