Where the hampster wheel always turns

About Me

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Middle aged underweight high school graduate
"It is not advisable James to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener." - Francisco d'Anconia, Atlas Shrugged
"The soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut taxes now." - John F. Kennedy


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Today I had occasion to wonder at what age people develop their "filter." You know, the thing in your brain that prevents you from saying the things you are thinking?

Kids don't have filters, which makes them funny if you are a bystander, shocking if you are their target and nerve wracking if you are their parent. It's always fun to be in the grocery story with your kids and have them point out some obvious, but unflattering characteristic of the person in front of you in the checkout line. All you parents have had this happen to you: "Hey mom, look at the giant nose on the lady the ugly stretchy pants!" Sadly, there are not convenient holes us parents can crawl into at those moments.

A few years ago, our little family was visiting a dinosaur museum with our two five-year olds. We were having a great time when all of a sudden my son came running up to me shouting at the top of his lungs MOOOOOOM! MIDGETS!!! I quickly tackled him and tried to stuff baby wipes in his mouth to shut him up. I had just subdued him when another of my kids came running up screaming MOOOOOOOOOM!!! MIDGETS ARE EVERYWHERE!!!! As I'm trying to figure out what was going on I looked up and saw, midgets. Although I had developed a filter that knew that they preferred to be called "little people" there were indeed little people everywhere. Hundreds of them. Lucky us, we had chosen the same day to visit the museum as the National Convention of Little People and now I had to spend the rest of the visit with my five year olds bound and gagged, their little arms flailing like a T-rex trying to itch his nose.

This morning I walked into the classroom where I teach second and third graders. I happened to be wearing high heels, which is out of the norm for me, but many staff members wear them so it wasn't like these kids had never seen them. As I enter the class the kids run to me and hug my legs. It's sort of cute and creepy at the same time. I pat their little heads when one looks up and says, "You're gigantic!" I peel her off my leg and say, "Yes I am," Another immediately chimes in, "You're skinny too. Really freaky skinny." Ok everyone, let's change the subject.

No luck. A boy looks up at me and says, "You are giant, skinny and sort of weird looking."

Well now, don't I feel a bit like a midget at a dinosaur museum?

"Ok kids, I am taller than you, and yes, I am skinny buy let's start working on our rhyming words now."

"Mrs. Teacher, Mrs. Teacher I have a rhyming word! Tall -ball"

"Nice job, anyone else?"

"Meee, meee big - pig, skinny - ninny, weird - beard."

I have mixed emotions about the theme we're following. The kids are getting the concept, but I am the object lesson. I suggest a few other unrelated words, and they have totally lost focus. "Mrs. Teacher, do you ever eat?" "Mrs. Teacher, how can you get that tall if you don't ever eat?" "Mrs. Teacher, my cousin was as skinny as you and she died."

Yep, nothing like a little community service to make one feel good about themselves.

Tough Mudder

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Recently my husband has taken to running marathons. In a former life I was a distance runner. Then I got better. Somehow he has caught this disease as some sort of mid-life crisis that says, "I've hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim a couple of times. I've completed P90X so now, of course I must run marathons." The actual marathon itself is fine. It is actually pretty fun to sit in a lawn chair gnawing on a Slim Jim and watch the parade of crazy pass me by. Generally I'm not a sideline sort of person, but I'm completely peaceful watching other people heave their guts out at mile 17, pee down their own legs and get carted off by the paramedics. I don't have an ounce of envy over that sort of insanity.

I do, however have a slight problem. Well, actually we all know I have more than one, but for the sake of brevity we'll just deal with one for now.

I have a really hard time turning down a dare. I have a teeny tiny competitive streak that runs over the sane part of my brain when certain decisions are being made. A recent case-in-point was a dare put out there by my little sister. An endurance challenge created by the British army called Tough Mudder. At first I was only mildly interested, until she said she had signed up and was "all in." So, of course I had to as well. I mean, she is my LITTLE sister.

So the first weekend in October I find myself meeting a few of my besties in the Reno airport to drive a 45 mile Lombard Street mountain pass to Bear Valley, CA. No one told me that the biggest part of the challenge would be getting there without puking in the hair of the person in front of you.
The days leading up to the challenge the organizers sent texts to registered participants warning them of snow on the ground, extreme cold, and other harsh conditions. All I could think of is how I had gotten my skinny, uninsulated bones into this madness.

We had a team of six, and arriving at the hotel everything was going well until one of the girls pulled out what was to be our team uniform. Hot pink underarmor, black pants and of course hot pink argyle socks. Nothing says "tough" like argyle socks. In general I'm pretty fashion challenged, but I kept worrying that we were just going to look stupid with these knee-high argyle socks. Let's just say, my fears were unfounded.

Arriving at the registration site there was a guy in a loin cloth. Only a loin cloth. There was a guy in a green unitard. There were kilts and tights and thongs. And there were people dressed like this:

And this:

See, you don't even see our socks do you?

There were even guys dressed up as Mormon Missionaries:

I don't know if they were actual Mormons or not, but it was a great team uniform.

So off we go on our seven mile, nineteen obstacle challenge.

It was an amazing experience and running through the last fire obstacle was almost disappointing since we were having so much fun. While we're not hitting the entire nationwide Mudder circuit, we've pre-registered for Phoenix in 2011!

Maternal Evolution

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I have reached that stage in parenthood when I'm not as cool as I used to be. This realization came as quite a shock since I have been super cool for most of my life, but recently an unnamed teenager has let me know that I'm completely socially unacceptable AND mentally retarded. Despite the fact that I watched countless other mothers go through this rite of passage, I've been caught off guard with how sudden my fall off the pedestal has been.

To my credit, I have remained a safe, un-connectable distance when I'm in public and keep a paper bag with eye holes cut out just in case someone they know walks by.

The challenge with our arrangement is that this teenager still needs me. A lot. So, I hang around.

Because I don't know "anything" it's really a waste of energy to pay attention to what I'm saying. Many of our conversations go like this:

"Hello darling teenager, you should wear a jacket."

cricket chirp, cricket chirp

"Oh, teenager, It's sub arctic temperatures tonight, you might want a jacket."

cricket chirp, cricket chirp, eye roll

I'm getting better at just cutting my losses and waiting by the phone for the dramatic, urgent phone call requesting a jacket delivery, but I'm not perfect yet.

The reality is there are a few times when I have something really important and relevant to say. Things that enrich even a teenager's full life.

This week while sitting in a waiting room I fought a valiant, but losing battle against Entertainment Weekly Magazine, for the teenager's attention. As I made small talk, I mostly got vacuous silence back so of course I started upping the ante.

First I commented on the photos in the magazine. Nothing.

Then I commented on the text of an article in the magazine. Nothing.

Then, I started saying more absurd things to see if they might actually be listening and just pretending to ignore me. "Hey, I have an orangutan on my back." Nothing.
"My molars are wearing kilts." Silence.
"I myself am radioactive and my children came from Mars." Even this news of their origin didn't get a response.

So I sat, trying to entertain myself through other means when of course... Elvis walked in. I'm so not kidding. Some guy, who clearly had a night job as an Elvis impersonator - or a higher than average affection for The King, walked through the waiting room. He was in normal clothes, no jumpsuit, BUT he had the jet black dyed hair, mutton chop side burns and the quintessential fat Elvis sunglasses.

I leaned over into the teenager's space and hissed through the clenched teeth of discretion, "Elvissssssss!!!!"


"Psssst!!!! Hey, Elllllvvvviiiiisssssss!!!!!!"


In desperation I threw an unsportsmanlike jab with my elbow while trying a third time, "el-VIS!!!"

The physical contact was the ticket. They looked up, said "What?" and then "Hey, Mom...look! Elvis!"

My work is done.

You Asked

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Many of you have been asking me what my problem is. Me, being the picture of decorum I am, have refrained from burdening you with my terrible life-challenges. But, since all sixteen of my remaining followers seem deeply concerned about my welfare, I feel compelled to share.

WARNING: The above statement should tip off those of you who have no interest in the personal workings of my life to log off NOW. I will be discussing things that include knives, pain, blood and screaming. Or at least some of those things. If you do not care about my welfare or have a weak stomach LEAVE NOW.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

OK, so many of you have been asking why I have been so remiss in blogging. The biggest reason is I'm finishing up school. I'm so close to finishing I can taste it and I literally spend hours each day reading inane stuff like Faulker and Economics 101. This is neither interesting or funny to the outside world. My ongoing battle with educational bureaucracy has worn even me down to the point that the inanity no longer gets a rise out of me. I think I've turned into one of those third world country people who just stand in a line because its there and it's something to do. Sad but true. So this endeavor has sucked the creative life out of me. (By all means, send your kids to college.)

But also, I have a pain in the butt. Literally. Last week I went to the dermatologist to get little spots and dots checked out. Nothing I had any real concern over, but I was a beach bunny in a previous life, back before sunscreen was invented and we used baby oil and aluminum foil for our sun protection. This being the case I try to be prudent, so I go get checked out. (Stop laughing at the mention of me and prudent in the same sentence.)

So the dermatologist asks me if I have any concerns and I point out a few things, which are deemed normal but marked for freezing. If you've never had anything frozen off, it's pretty cool. So the derm gets out the freezing spray can thingy, which looks like a fancy spray paint can a vandal would use, and primes it...except it won't turn off.

"Oh, dear!" she says, "I'm glad I didn't do that on your FACE!"

Um, yeah, me too. The can keeps spraying and spraying off into the corner of the room while the nurse wrestles with it and can't get it to shut off. You've all been in a doctors office, and the rooms are pretty small. I become a little worried that freezing gas being expelled into the tiny space is going to overpower us and we'll all be found unconscious by the night custodial crew.

My fears were unfounded, and the nurse returned a few minutes later (gas still being expelled by the broken can the Dr. wanted to use on my face) and she froze off a thing on my leg, arm and my temple. Perkily holding the can up like I hold up the whipped cream can for the kids, she says, "Anything else?"

Now, back before I had kids I used to have this little tiny cute flat freckle mole on my backside. If you've had kids, know someone who's had kids or have met a kid you know that kids wreck a lot of stuff. Well, somehow having kids turned this tiny flat freckle of cuteness that sort of made my hiney look like Cindy Crawford - and grew it into a freakish glob of ickness. Because it's on my backside it's out of sight, and no one ever sees my backside, willingly, so it hasn't caused psychological damage outside of my own home. But, here I am in the office being asked if I have "anything else?"

I show her the mole and she gasps in horror. Just kidding, but she did say, "Well, there's nothing wrong with it, but it's easy to remove so why don't we take it off." I ask a few questions about recovery time and she says, no big deal, a few days and I won't feel a thing.

Let me just state for the record: Doctors are liars.

I have this thing cut off my butt - in the glamorous position, face down on the table, pants around my ankles, apologizing to the nurse that it is on my butt in the first place. She laughs and says, "Honey, this is nothing." The doctor comes in, cuts it off and I'm good to go. No big deal. UNTIL THE LIDOCAINE WEARS OFF!

I have injured body parts before, broken a rib - and the pain made me amazed at how often I breathe. Broken my wrist - and was amazed at how much I use my hand. For the record: I had no idea how much I sat down. Here I am, over a week later and I still have this enormous pain in my butt. I'm fine if I'm standing, but man, I am one lazy person: I sit a LOT!

So there you have it. More information than you ever wanted to know about why my blogging has been so dull. I'm being "educated" and my butt hurts.

Please send well wishes, food and flowers to my residence.

Portent of Things to Come

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I know. I KNOW!!! Thank you faithful people who keep hoping I will have something interesting pop into my head. Sadly, my life has been devoid of the inane happenings that usually make up my daily existence. Clearly I need to get out more.

BUT! Today I have a message from the Schawn's guy.......and.......they've brought back EGGPLANT AND ZUCCHINI PIE!!! My world is right again.

I realize this happened because some neighbor who dislikes Mr. Schwan doorbell ditched him with a boatload of end-of-summer zucchini but I DON'T CARE!!!! I can now re-enter the processed food world like other normal people. I'm dusting off the microwave, breaking out the paper plates and singing an eggplant loves zucchini song.

Later, after I'm full, I will work on the choreography.