Ode to the dude

Dear dude in the school pick up line,

Hi, we’ve never met and judging by your questionable taste in music and assorted behaviors I’ve been privy to, I hope it never comes to that.  

Let me start by saying I’ve spent some of my best years held hostage to the drop off and pick up lines of various school campuses and therefore consider myself something of an expert when it comes to viewing the personages of The Line.  These are usually female persons in various stages of dress, makeup, and readiness for liquor.  Yes, I myself have dropped the darlings at school whilst clad in fuzzy pajamas and sans brassiere…only to pick them up hours later similarly attired.  Don’t judge.  Shit happens.  There are the skinny minis who are skinny and mini due to either genetics, a strict diet or an unhealthy meth habit.  These woman actually wear yoga pants to do yoga.  These women also do not wear underpants.  Or else they’re wearing butt floss.  I’ve never been brave enough to ask.  There are your typical workaday moms, office armor fully in place with a visage that conveys anyone messing with her will be dispatched without mercy or last rites.  These are feral women; women on the edge; women whose last nerve is one whine away from being tripped.  These women are busy and you’d best put some hustle in your bustle when dealing with them.  Then there are the bird moms, you know the chirpy, perpetually happy, Starbucks fueled PTA chairs, volunteers and general menaces to the rest of us who’d be only too happy to forgo yet another damned fundraiser if you’d just take a check, thankyouverymuch!

Never, and I do mean NEVER, have I ever seen a man in the pickup line.  You, my good man, are my first and, God willing, you’ll be the only.  Because unlike the ladies of The Line and my sainted Himself, you sir, are a dick.

You do not drive ‘round the corner and assimilate quietly into the line.  No, no.  You arrive with fanfare, your truck engine trumpeting like a fart blazing from the nether region of an octogenarian after an all you can eat Mexican buffet at the senior center.

I’ve observed you for weeks now and with each passing weekday, I keep hoping your current or your ex will arrive in lieu of you to pick up your monsters.  Sure, we women can be spiteful, bitchy and somewhat competitive (ahem), but we aren’t clueless.  We KNOW how to comport ourselves in public.

Point 1:  I can only assume that the large, obnoxiously loud, tricked out diesel truck you drive is compensating for your shortcomings…one which is visible to all in that you can barely see over the steering wheel.  You sir, have a bad case of SMS, short man syndrome.  And by the way, your stinky truck’s got nothing on Himself’s 1968 Roadrunner.

Point 2:  You are aware, of course, that despite your dollar store aviators, I can, in fact, see you? Scowling at me as if I’m a fresh pile you just stepped in isn’t very endearing.  And while we’re on the subject, stop it.  It’s creepy.

Point 3:  Naturally, you also know that the windshield and windows of your vehicle are clear, right?   I see your daily DIY sinus excavation while trolling for those pesky nose goblins that just won’t turn loose.  My, but you are one determined lad.  That, as well as other actions most people consider private, are best completed at home.  Behind locked doors.  Under cover of night.

Point 4:  It is apparent to all present, as well as those living three counties over, that your four-wheeled chariot sports one hell of a sound system.  Personally speaking, I’d rather listen to a herd of cats mating on a metal roof during a hail storm than have my ears assaulted by what passes for country music these days.  I suppose someone else in the line may share your love of the garbage.  I also suppose there may indeed be life on Mars.

Would it be wrong to ask your offspring to ride the bus?

Sincerely,

The Codefendants’ Mom

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Live: From the Linoleum !

Life is all about carpe diem.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the joie de vivre of “why not?”  In my children this was never fun as it involved a Vesuvius-sized mess, blood or other bodily fluid, or one of those infamous “Mrs. Bowen?” phone calls.  Let’s call it a crapshoot and move on, shall we?

Yesterday I decided that the yard needed mowing.  Our yard dude, Matt, an eclectic juxtaposition of redneck and surfer with a farmer’s tan, moved to Florida and no male in my house mows because allergies.  Mowing is no big deal and I find I rather enjoy it especially if I’m peeved.  There’s nothing quite as cathartic as symbolically decapitating someone while chop-chop-chopping down blades of grass and weeds.  Or is that just me?  Don’t answer that.

The weather was gorgeous…around 84 degrees with a nice breeze.  Piece o’cake!

All together now…!

Idiot.

Suffice to say, it turned out hotter than I thought and our yard is huge.  It’s a push mower and paying someone to do the yard work has made me into, well…a pansy.  

I staggered through the back door as His Awesomeness rounded the corner from the hall, his arms outstretched, ready for a hug.

Don’t touch me!  I’m sweating like a hooker at a Friday night tent revival.

My firstborn shot me a look and quickly hied over to the fridge to pour me a glass of water.  I’d like to say he did it because he’s thoughtful but I’m pretty sure it had more to do with the fact that I grunted like a camel headed for an oasis.  It couldn’t have been pretty.

By now, I was wishing I was home alone, free to unleash The Girls like twin swords of Damocles from the confines of my sweat-soaked brassiere, but it wasn’t meant to be.  I gingerly lowered myself to the kitchen floor, prostrating myself across the cool linoleum, His Awesomeness looking on like she’s finally lost her shit but saying Mom, what in the hell are you doing?

No talking; just lower the water down here and back away.  I’m having the mother of all hot flashes.  Being smart and conscious of the fact that Mom exhibited all the signs of a woman on the edge, he handed down the glass and vacated the premises.

I lay there, beached like Shamu on the coastline of kitchen lino trying to understand why I do these things to myself.  My thoughts, like those of Kid Rock in his northern Michigan youth, were short.  I stared, chest heaving, under-boob sweat cascading down my sides, at the kitchen ceiling.  When had that stain appeared?  Tiny specks of dark red dotted the area over the sink.  Sibling bloodletting?  Ritual sacrifice?  Ah, bingo!, splattered marinara from when I’d dropped the pan into the sink.  

The popcorn of said ceiling has never been my favorite feature mostly for the fact that dust loves ceiling popcorn, mocking me and my lack of domestic cleaning skills.  As do spider webs.  And there, hanging like a macabre sticky chandelier, was the web of a daddy long legs.  I watched him, her, it.  I couldn’t tell from way down on the floor and, as I hate arachnids, I wasn’t getting close enough to inspect the bits.

All of a sudden it occurred to me that I lay flat on my back under the habitat of a creature that scares the bejeebers out of me.  What if it landed on me?  Simple: I’d die of a heart attack.  Then from somewhere deep in my subconscious, I heard my mother’s voice.  What if the paramedics come and find you on the floor?  You’re not wearing your good underpants.  What if, in their earnestness to save you, they have to cut off your clothes?  What then?  You want them to see your ratty granny panties?

Merciful heavens!  Not only do I have to concern myself with being attired in my bestest underpants for a potential car wreck, as per my mother’s admonitions, I can’t even have an in-home run in with wildlife for fear of needing to be ready at any hour of the day or night to entertain the presence of rescue personnel, the media and maybe Geraldo in the midst of my plight.

Nuh-uh.  No way.

Tomorrow I’m hiring a new lawn guy!



Culture and the art of not getting it

As a mother I occasionally have a yen to throw something a little different at The Codefendants and see what pans out.  Most times we’re all pleasantly surprised and wind up feeling a little smug and worldly as if to say well, we never had any doubts.  Piece a cake, baby!

Unless it’s food.  Generally speaking, if it’s food what pans out is vomit.  Here’s a tip for ya: NEVER FORCE A CHILD TO EAT BROCCOLI UNLESS YOU’RE COMMITTED TO CLEANING IT UP.

Where was I?

So, school’s out for summer (any Alice Cooper fans out there?) and they’re already bored.  Fortunately, His Awesomeness’ boredom is somewhat alleviated by a little thing called a job.  Sonic slush, anyone?  

Which leaves The Diva.  

She’s already made homemade slime.  Think snot, only purple.  She gave me a makeover because, at forty-three, I have no idea how to apply makeup.  She fussed over my lack of appropriate brushes and primer (isn’t that for walls?) and bemoaned my crepey eyelids and orange-ish complexion a la The Donald.

And then there’s that mecca for all brainiacs…the library.  📚.  It’s the summer of the biography in our house and she’s already devoured tomes on CS Lewis, Audrey Hepburn, Henry VIII’s six wives, and Mickey Mantle while I’m over here speed reading through raunchy romance novels.

Not to cast aspersions on our town, but there isn’t much to do here.  Which means you have to drive.  And hope that what awaits at the end doesn’t require funds from a body part you sold or a bathing suit.

Dallas, here we come.


It’s deja vu all over again!  It’s like Dallas knows we’re coming and just rolls out the welcome mat right along with the crummy weather, traffic accidents and nutty drivers.

Yay.

We finally arrive, after driving the I-35 corridor at 50 mph most of the way, at the Dallas Museum of Art.


Four floors of old stuff (apparently that’s me); really old stuff (pottery, textiles, paintings, furniture); and ancient stuff (as in sculpture).


Homage to Victory Boogie Woogie #1 by Leon Polk Smith.  I see a quilt here. 👆🏻

A Baltimore album quilt with trapunto attributed to Martha E. Keech.  👆🏻

We’d been there maybe thirty minutes when I realized The Diva was extraordinarily quiet and I looked over to find her stone faced, responding to my questions with one word answers.  Are you okay?  Fine.  Are you sick?  No.  What’s the matter?  Nothing.

Sensing a mood swing of epic proportions and not wanting either of us to lose our shit in what was essentially a mausoleum for old, really expensive stuff, I was trying to think fast.  And quietly.  

Light bulb 💡 

Are you overwhelmed?  

I got a look that was part relief and part duh 🙄 and after giving ourselves permission to skip the stuff that made us check each other for a pulse, we more or less hustled ourselves through the remainder of the early American section and most of Africa.  I’m pretty sure there was plenty of other stuff to see, but most of it was a blur interspersed with me asking myself  what is THAT and what does it MEAN?

Forgive me for being a philistine, but I don’t get art at all.  To me, it’s like attending car shows with Himself.  A car’s either pretty or ugly and sounds good.  End of story.

With art, I stand there, head cocked like an eager spaniel and hope I don’t scratch or widdle on the floor.

Like this 👇🏻.  It’s cool and it’d look great as a quilt, but 🤷‍♀️


Or this 👇🏻 by Christopher Wool.  What does it mean?  No more home and no more coats.  Huh?


This (by Leon Frederic) 👇🏻I get, but the gratuitous display of breast unsettled The Diva.  Do we really need to see that? she intoned.  Beats me, but it’s just so beautiful and nurturing and hey, I get it! 


The detail…swoon.

Anyway, we’d made it down to the lower level with all the sculpture.  My favorite!  It never ceases to amaze me how ancient dudes got the drape of fabric, the curl of a lock of hair, the detail just so from rock.

How did they do that?!  Genius.

I’m marveling at it all when I hear a huge sigh, one generally reserved for a climactic final cinematic breath and the words every mother wants to hear uttered aloud in what was a fairly crowded room.

Another penis.  What is it with all these penises?!

I was stuck somewhere between wanting to be zapped by lightning on the spot, hoping for a huge sinkhole to open beneath me and making that ugly braying donkey laugh I generate when I’m really amused and trying not to be.  Nevertheless, I had some splainin’ to do.  She didn’t believe me about the ancients’ love of the human form and isn’t it beautiful, etc, etc.  All she saw was nekkid men.  I’ll admit to never understanding the ancient use of urine to bleach items or grabbing ones testicles as a attestation of ones truthfulness (hence the word testimony) but whatever.  Naked people look good, even the fat ones and can we please bring back the appreciation of such from Rubens?!  Can I get a hallelujah?

Maybe I should just stick to getting my culture from yogurt.

What a (post-surgical) girl wants

So, I’m twelve days post-hysterectomy and having all kinds of fun. 🙄🤢☹️

My doctor told me I’d be hospitalized 48 hours.  I said 24.  Working in a hospital means I want to spend as little time there as a patient as humanly possible.  As luck would have it, my doc was easy to please and all it took to get me sprung was a little crop dusting of the hallways and *boom* I got to go home.  Yay me.

I prepared for surgery by cutting out a few small projects I could work on during my recovery. I certainly wasn’t going to waste any time by cleaning the house!  Haha, the joke’s on me because there’s been just enough energy to get from the bed to the recliner and back again.  Sigh.  I so miss Lenny the Featherweight.  

My mom, bless her, sprung me one day and we and our friend, Marilyn, made a trip to Simply Fabrics.  Hallelujah for a change of scenery!

I did get the yellow squares cut out for En Provence.  Isn’t this the most gorgeous fabric?!  And yes, I know it isn’t all yellow, but it just went so well with my other fabrics.  As a side note, I don’t recommend wielding a rotary cutter while on pain killers.  Not my smartest move and, yes, I still have all my digits.


Prior to surgery, I had horrible thoughts of dying and leaving my family behind.  Who’d be around to nag them?  And I made Himself promise and swear to find a woman who was good as gold to the kids.  Not to mention my fabric stash. Can you believe I made arrangements for its dispersal in the event? Yep, I did. Now I’m worried I’ll die of boredom and wind up on an episode of Hoarders.  Welcome to how my mind works.

I’ve done a little handwork.  It’s been ages since I’ve cross stitched.  When did manufacturers start making those charts so stinking small?!

The dachshund and I have become a dynamic duo of sorts.  She’s my mammalian hot water bottle and my midnight TV watching buddy.  


We have a routine, we two.  Daytime viewing is Matlock, Columbo, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.  Nighttime is Murder, She Wrote and whatever happens to be on the Hallmark movie channel.  All of which are punctuated by those ‘as seen on TV’ commercials.  Not to mention the weight loss ads.  I’ve never been so sick of seeing Marie Osmond and Oprah in my life.  By all means, just eat a damn chip already!!  And then there’s the ‘miracle water’ some TV preacher is hawking.  He looks like a constipated car salesman.  This isn’t your calling, darling; go find something else to do.  I am, however, on the verge of buying the red copper square dance pan and miracle bamboo cushion.  I could sit on my bum while dinner burns to a crisp in my new non-stick pan.  Woohoo!  And don’t get me started on commercials narrated by folks with accents.  I’m all set to buy a lifetime supply of Tena pads just because of the British accent.  Yeah, I’m that easy.  Or drugged.  Sad.

All in all, it’s not been too bad.  Except for the exhaustion and the stomach virus I’ve been hosting for two days.  Yay. 🤢.  Fingers crossed I can actually sit at my machine again sometime soon.  

Happy quilting!

A Word of Thanks…I Think

Dear Similac,

Hahahahahaha, you delightfully quirky folks!  What is there to say other than ‘thank you’ for enrolling me in your Smart Moms program and gifting me with my very own membership card?  Does it come with a coupon for at least one child-free pee for me per week?  Yeah, I thought not.  

Someone in that program has an epically awesome sense of humor, especially at a time like this.  I love people with a sense of humor.  Beats trying to make jovial with folks who believe tree branches are for carting about in their nether regions

I digress.

But seriously, last week’s mailbox offering of aforementioned card and breathless recitation of everything I have to look forward to was plenty for moi.  You see, I’ve been there, done that twice.  Well, I’ve done it more than that, but you know, two kids.  Anyway, the youngest is twelve and I’ve no intention of birthing any more mini-mes.  I have the stretch marks, sagging rack and bladder that cannot/will not make it on a round of errands without visiting at least one public toilet.  I’m good.  Really.

Cue today’s mailbox offering.  Someone, somewhere is laughing.  Hard.  I hope they pee themselves or at least blow soda out their nostrils, because really?!


Next Thursday, I’m finally getting what I’ve always wanted.  No, not Tom Selleck, dammit.

Yes, it’s a hysterectomy!  Score!  I win!  

So you see, I do not need your infant formula.  I don’t want to know about fussy eaters, gas (newsflash: I need help with the husband and the dog on this one), or colic.  I don’t want tips on finding me time, getting plenty of rest, or a cure for cracked nipples.  Seriously, I’m good.

In lieu of formula, please send any and all manner of liquor and chocolates from which I may partake while I’m laid up.  Thank you in advance for this splendiforous act of corporate generosity.

Yours truly,

The Mrs.

Ugh

According to the statistics provided by the ever-helpful WordPress gnomes, my last post was in October.  Hmm…my, where hath the time doth flown? 

I started blogging back when His Awesomeness was a wee-ish tot as an outlet for frustration and angst (and whatever else you’d like to call it) on the parenting front and it morphed into an occasional commentary on life, marriage, and quilting liberally sprinkled with my native tongue, sarcasm.  

Mostly it’s fun.  Who doesn’t like kvetching about offspring, stretchy pants that don’t stretch, and parent teacher conferences where you’d really like to pull a Rhett Butler and ‘frankly, my dear…’ but don’t want to be that mom?

I have a sense of humor:  morbid at times, definitely off color (because vulgar is my second language) and occasionally totally inappropriate for the moment.  So be it.  Or should I say ‘fuck it’?  And yes, I spelled out the entire nasty word.  No asterisks today for you in blog land.

I haven’t felt funny, upbeat or remotely human in ages.

I could point at any number of things, all of which most of us deal with at some point in our lives, so it’s not as though I’m saying I’m special.  I’m just…done.  It feels achingly familiar to the post partum depression I had the pleasure of experiencing after the arrival of the spawn minus the plan to do myself in.  And yes, at that time I gave it serious study.

All in all, things are going swimmingly for The Co-Defendants.  Hurrah!  We are passing with flying colors (grades, not gas…well, both, but gas involves glitter because my little snowflakes are special), getting along (at school, at home not so much) and one of them has even found amor.  So it isn’t them.  I haven’t had to bury a body so you know it isn’t Himself, bless his heart.

It’s me.  I admit to being a Type A personality, as near to anti-social as one can get without garnering the crazy cat lady moniker and not getting in the least that whole human contact thing.  The humor has fled.  I don’t feel funny; I feel angry.  Angry me is unpleasant.  It’s seething and simmering.  Hell, I don’t even like me.  

So if you all will bear with me while I figure it all out, I’ll come back and be kinda-sorta-mostly funny.  And if the f-bomb has run you off, well, I guess I’ll wish you well and you exit stage right.  Watch the last step though…it’s a doozy.

If there’s anything funny about it, just know I’m typing this on the toilet and trying to wrangle a phone and a needy dachshund at the same time.  There’s a visual…and maybe some humor.

Until then, I’m afraid I am one giant stagnant soup of fuck-it-all.

Spring’s Sprung

Better look quick while they’re still alive.  The plants, I mean, not The CoDefendants.  Although given my track record with plant life, it’s a miracle the children are alive and kicking.  And complaining, let’s not forget that.

The Diva and I headed for prey, haha, I mean plants this morning.  She’s inherited a love of them from my mother-in-law, a woman who makes things grow as if by magic.  I’ve descended from a woman who once killed a cactus.  Sigh.  

  
I like hanging plants, mainly because they don’t turn into a haven for fire ants.  Nasty things.  This afternoon I watched a pair of cardinals duck into the hanging impatiens.  Looks like the patio might turn into a hanky panky nest.  Just what I need to go along with a hormonal teenager and preteen.  God give me strength.

I give the plants a month.  Tops.  We chose lemon grass and marigolds to keep the mosquitoes at bay.  At least that’s what I’ve read.  Then again I also believed the story about a white spider hanging out under toilets seats coming out to bite people on the rump.  But considering our mosquitoes are the size of jumbo jets, I’ll try anything.

  
  
For now they’re pretty to look at. Lulu is completely puzzled as she’s never seen anything green on the patio before with the exception of grass trimmings.  She’s recovered nicely from her veterinary adventures, too.

  
Short of finding plants with disclaimers that said ‘Cannot be killed regardless of the ineptness of the grower’, I chose ones that claimed to need little attention and a heckuva lot of sun.  Maybe there’s hope.  The names mean zilch to me: lantana, salvia (reminds me of spit) and whatever the pink things are in the other basket.  Yes, that’s the technical name.  

Maybe I should consider a xeriscape garden instead.

The Great Intimidator 

Move over, Dale, Sr.  I’m coming through!  

Don’t I look intimidating, especially with that mouth full of metal.

Attempting to fix Lennie the Featherweight

Intimidating is not a word that comes to mind when I describe myself.  Let’s face it, I’m a forty-one year old pudgy mom with more than a few gray hairs (the hairdresser, bless her heart, says they’re highlights) crows feet, a bosom that is rapidly heading toward my toes, a potty mouth and a side of sass.  

But I must bear the visage of one mean mutha because intimidating clings to me like a crop-dusted fart.

Case in point: 

The other night I e-mailed The Diva’s teacher about an incident at school (don’t ask) and asked her to call me the next day.  I wanted to say a lot more, but I tend to be blunt (another clinging fart I can’t shake) so I kept it short and sweet.  Hey, I said please! Imagine my surprise when the phone rang about an hour and a half later and it was the teacher.  Hmmm, that’s quick, I thought.  This can’t  possibly turn out well.

She started off by saying she’d prayed for quite some time before returning my call.  

Seriously?  While I’ll admit I may drive some folks, well, Himself anyway, to drink, I don’t think I’ve ever driven anyone to pray before picking up the phone.    Usually it’s me doing the praying when I hear the words ‘Mrs. Bowen?’ on a call from the school.

I think this is something I should work on a bit harder.  If I’m intimidating at my current age and state of physical awesomeness (hahahahahaha), how far up the scariness scale could I get with a few modifications?  Perhaps a facial piercing or spider web neck tattoo….

Good grief.

Inevitabilities and Wal-Martians

People watching: it doesn’t cost a thing, is calorie-free and highly entertaining.  After Tom Selleck and kilts (oooh, a  kilted Tom Selleck!), is there really anything better?

I think not.

Driving to that bastion of dastardly capitalism and questionable clothing options that is Wal-Mart, a fellow driver and I had a run-in with, what I can only call an ‘other’, The Village Idiot.  

He sat astride a rumbling mass of metal, a crotch rocket, (which us car driving dorks are endlessly chastised to watch out for because motorcycle!) behind the lady in the lane to my left, blaring music and oozing what I can only assume he thought was an air of menace.  His taste in music sucked donkey balls, so being the peace lover I am, I rolled down the windows of the old mom-mobile and assaulted his eardrums with Great White.  

Judge not.  

As the light turned green, he zoomed betwixt myself and my lane mate and made a dash for the next light …which the traffic gods saw fit to turn a lovely shade of red.

Score and burn!!

Gleeful at this turn of events, my thoughts turned pious and I prayed the traffic gods kept the light red just to jack with the jerk.  They didn’t disappoint. 

As my lane mate and I pulled up behind him, we exchanged glances that said ‘One day, this dude will imitate cream cheese on a bagel and schmear himself on the pavement’.  And onward we rolled, like bosses.

The Village Idiot is one of life’s little inevitabilities, like being rendered temporarily incontinent while laughing or sneezing (something us moms can appreciate) and that one chin hair that thwarts all attempts at being plucked making one look like a Kung Fu master with a double D rack and mom jeans.

The second highlight of my day was at Wal-Mart.  I do love me some Wallyworld, y’all but it seems I always miss out on what every other Facebook post and YouTube clip shows: The Wal-Martian.

Today my wish was granted.  As if the graciousness of the traffic gods weren’t enough.  Sigh.

Wal-Martian watchers will tell you this breed can be spotted in any aisle in the store, but today I followed it outside.  

It took me a bit to realize what set these ladies apart from the pack as I can be somewhat slow on the uptake and then, boom, there it was….two ladies still attired in pajamas and house slippers, rumps shaking like gunnysacks filled with a writhing turmoil of fighting cats.  Mesmerized, I watched as She of the Well-worn Heather gray Britches, looking like Chewbacca’s long-lost cousin, shuffled about on pants legs that looked like they’d been set upon by rabid chihuahuas.

Sweet baby Jesus, they do exist!  

Now, I myself, being a big-legged gal, can appreciate the comfort afforded by roomy britches but I leave the trailer park at home and put on some real pants when I leave the hacienda.  

Girls, your pajama pants want to stay at home!

Now I’m off to pluck that chin hair.