Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Bad Omen?

I’m sitting at my desk glued to my computer trying to do my good citizen duty of keeping The Office fan chain alive on Facebook when overhear what sounds like 10 women at Wal-Mart on Black Friday fighting over the last Wii. When I realize it is not just one or two, but the whole My Big Fat Greek Wedding family of magpies shrieking on my roof, I hop out of my chair and run for the front door. As I fling the door open, the sky overhead turns gray as the dumb turned smart scruffy birds apparently remember my BB gun from a few weeks ago. As I step outside to observe the damage to the white speckled roof, feathers still trickling down, I suck in a quick breath and put my hand to my throat as I almost step on this!

Judd runs to my side, carefully bends down for a closer look and says, “We wouldn’t want to eat that would we Mom.”

As I look closer, I realize it isn’t a magpie wing with a small socket bone lying next to it, it’s an innocent robin whose wing was savagely ripped off by those bunch of unruly pecker heads! It’s not enough that the magpies are ugly, or that they wake me at sacred times in the morning before any other live creature is stirring, or decorate my roof with white splotches, but they are BULLIES! Oh, I loathe the bullies…kid bullies, adult bullies, bird bullies.

As the day grows old, music becomes irritating noise, the sunset hurts my eyes and makes me snarky, and the taco shells I was going to use for dinner expired two years ago. And to top it all off with a dingleberry, I reach for the tape in the cabinet and the pencil sharpener falls down, knocks me in the head with a high pitched “toink” and dumps shavings all over my hair and face as it finally disburses all over the counter below. Then I sneeze, and it snows.

Was that broken bird wing a portent?


Judd woke six times that night whining and crying. By the sixth time, I was actually stomping down the hall babbling in harsh drunkard language. A state of mind in which I could easily spar with Simon Cowell and win. A guttural growl escapes as I pick him up and rock him rather boisterously in the rocking chair. After I calm down and my rocking becomes nicer, he whispers in my ear so close it tickles, “Mom, fank you fer taking care of me.” Then he kisses me on the cheek. I press him closer to me, my heart melting into his, and continue to rock him - long after he has fallen asleep in my arms. And I get that feeling, you know moms, when you know you’ve nailed it – connecting with your kin even briefly on that supernatural level knocking you so hard on your butt you finally realize how lucky you are even if you have to drink five Diet Dr Peppers the next morning just to make it out of bed.

I hear his whisper echo in my head all through that next day despite the glaring fact that he had just told me my tummy was fat while groping my chest. And I tap into that joy that lives inside and drink from it while it lasts.

And suddenly, music is beautiful, the sunrise magnificent, dinner, well…edible, and night wakings are like a shopping trip to Target where everything you want is half price.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Final Countdown

On any given day of the week I wake around 6 a.m. to either a) magpies doing the hula hoop on my roof or b) Judd dancing in mini pirouettes next to the side of my bed while rapidly breathing, “Have to go potty, Mom.” I hear myself grumble something about how some day he’ll be able to lift the lid and pull his pants down all by himself and then adding something about how after I get my shot gun I should be able to sleep until at least 7 a.m. since those magpies will be a pile of feathers. As we finish at the potty I swear I hear “The Final Countdown” playing somewhere in the background. I dash to the kitchen where I Foreman grill some heart stopping sausage. I hear a certain Whiffen child say, “Eew, this smells funny.” I remind them how lucky they are that I'm even offering this part of the pig to eat. Some kids in third world countries have to eat the ears and intestines, hooves, and probably even eyeballs, and that cute curly tail. In fact, that hot dog you ate the other day for lunch…

I shuffle them into the car reminding them that they may want to change out of their “I know someone from Malad, Idaho” t-shirts they wore to bed that night and they absolutely have to wear socks with their shoes because I almost spilled all of my stomach contents on the floor the other day when I walked into a certain Whiffen child’s room and smelled a stench only Bigfoot can replicate.

I speed to the school - the boys slamming into each other on every curve. This time I hear the clock from “60 Minutes” ticking in my head. I screech back into the garage, grab Judd and plunk him on the couch trying to find the latest tivo’d Sponge Bob. I grab a book from my virgin book stack, set the timer on my watch, and head downstairs to the treadmill. I get halfway down the stairs when I hear Judd scream, “Have to go potty!” I jog back up the stairs, help him go potty, jog back down the stairs. I’m ten minutes into my work out when I hear Judd scream, “I need a drink of juice!” I jog back up the stairs and grab him some juice. Jog back down. Fifteen minutes later I hear, "I need my blanket!" I jog up to his room grab his blanket and throw it on his head while I jog in place. He jogs in place while watching me. We jog together for two minutes until the timer beeps. We high five, and I head to the shower. Ten minutes until preschool. I skip the conditioner and tell myself I can shave tomorrow.

As soon as I drop Judd off at preschool, I peel out of the driveway. Two hours. Go. My tires squeal slightly, but the other moms rubberneck as they watch my perfect start to the Indy 500.
I squeeze in two phone calls on the way to Target and nail a top-notch spot right next to the handicapped in front. I jog through the front automatic doors, almost plowing into them because they don’t open fast enough. I think I hear my phone ring, but it’s muffled. I dig around in my purse until I finally find it, and as I yank it out, a tampon torpedoes through the air and skids down the aisle passed two ladies, an elderly man, and a family of four. Horrified, and still running, I snatch it up and continue to jog until I’m in the automotive section. I put on my big sunglasses and wander the store suspiciously eyeing any witnesses.

I compare it to several other moments that might have made me uncomfortable. Like when one of our young innocent sons rode to school with the neighbors one morning. The mother asked him how we were all doing. “Oh, fine.” He replies. "Except for the poop problems we’ve been having. You know...” as he continued to explain in great detail. Then I would compare that to the time a different set of neighbors came by with a piece of opened, doodled-on mail. Sheepishly, she said, “I’ve been meaning to drop this by sooner.” I take out the letter from our physician decorated with smiley faces compliments of their four-year old and it reads, “Your next specimen is due in our office by 10 a.m. October 12, 2007”. It was January 2008. Then there was the time when I was on a date in college, and I accidentally kicked the guy in the nuts with a soccer ball. He couldn’t breathe right for a few minutes, and he finally had to go home early complaining of a stomach ache or something. Then there was the time I accidentally made my blogger profile public (complete with drug of choice and love my husband to pieces) on the front page of my autism council blog for doctors and legislators to see at first glance. That was just last week. Or, like when Judd yelled in the grocery store a few weeks ago, “Hey Mom, is that a crazy grandma?” as he pointed to a lady next to us who was probably only 45, but looked hammered.

As I screech to a stop in front of Miss Cindy's house the timer is still loudly ticking in my head with two minutes left. And it occurs to me that after having three boys, nothing is really that embarrassing anymore, is it?

Monday, September 15, 2008


I can blame it on the dog we don’t have, or my agitating ability to jump from one to ten thoughts within a ten second period forgetting all about the former nine thoughts and finally hyper-focusing on the third thought. But ultimately, the finger points at me (not the middle, just the index). Evidence of my piles are scattered about the house. It never used to be this way. Before my apparent reincarnation, I was described as a tight “a”, cleany meany, spic and spanner, white glove czar, and donkey. So why, when stumbling and knocking over my chest high pile of books I still haven't read yet, would my sweet Edward Sean, compare me to the “hoarder” -- you know that sick, oh-so-sick woman featured on Oprah a few months ago because her house was so packed with so much stuff, they found rat poop, mold, and rotten food hidden under piles of crapola. I reminded Edward Sean it is just a stack of 20 or so "virgin" books, and it has many important household purposes, like a launch pad for leaping into bed after a long day, bookmark organizers, and a quick way to act busy when the boys ask me the same question four times. Besides, I’m at least 10 pages into all of them. Just give me six more months on the treadmill, and it will dwindle, I promise. "Virgin books?" he says. "Let's read them together..."

I’m certain I’ve passed this crazy obsession onto my beloved offspring. Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants can be found lying in the hallway, on top of the washing machine, under the couch next to the hard piece of hotdog from dinner four nights ago, and my favorite -- on the top of the toilets (which by the way I consider dangerous since I read that horrifying news story about the woman’s hiney getting fused to the toilet seat. Folks, when using the toilet, read in moderation).

My little one has not been spared from this sickness. Bobby Banjo came to me the other day and said, “I want Diarrhea of a Wimpy Kid, Mom. Wead it pwease.”

Hey Jeff Kinney, if you’re reading, and don’t be shy please comment, my boys giggle when saying your name. You are a rock star with purple hair in this house. It is not uncommon for Drew and Clay to burst into fits of laughter multiple times, their heads bouncing behind the artwork on both covers. Two weeks ago Clay got in trouble for the very first time ever at school because he organized a rowdy game of “cheese touch,” a scene taken from DOAWK. We cheered him on for getting his first warning, ruffled his hair and said, “Atta boy.”

I want to know what books you have in your pile, even if there are rat droppings attached.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bobby Banjo strikes a chord

Some events are meant for celebrating with the whole world…women’s suffrage, the day Henry David Thoreau was born, the unveiling of the iPhone, religious freedom, Paul Potts's inspirational American Idol opera debut, the day the tooth fairy finally remembered to take the Whiffen child's tooth and leave a crisp $1 bill…and the day a certain someone who is three years old, and who also likes to be called Bobby Banjo, POOPS IN THE POTTY FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME!

I interviewed Bobby Banjo afterward and this is what he had to say about it. “It’s easy to poop in the potty, Mom. See you just push it out and make a snake one.”

Popping the cork on the Martinelli’s and off for a game of mom sucking up Judd with the vacuum hose until he’s laughing so hard he has to go potty again.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I see the red and blue lights flashing in the rear view mirror on top of the hot, deep blue mustang. I’m sure it’s for the guy in front of me, so I gladly pull over to the shoulder of the road. Angst rushes through me when instead of whizzing by the lights pull over behind me! The officer steps out of his car and yanks his pants up. With his thumbs hooked in his belt loops and as if he just dismounted a large horse, he struts steadily up to my window, peers over his mirrored sunglasses and asks in an unusually deep voice for “the usual.” I frantically search through the glove box tossing old receipts, an ibuprofen bottle, a plastic ninja guy, and an emergency throw up bag to the side only to find it empty. “Sorry officer. Can you look it up? Oh, and do you think I could just, you know…” I start to plead my case for a warning when he cuts me off.

“Stay in the car,” he bellows, as if I’m some hardened criminal. He swaggers back to his squad car. He shows up a few minutes later, just enough time to for me to waive at all the neighbors honking as they pass. He scrawls all over his notepad then rips the paper off the pad with way too much gusto and hands me the ticket. “But," he points out, “see here I wrote you were only going 5 over the speed limit instead of 12 over,” he say as if he’s vying for employee of the month. His crooked teeth peer through his bristly mustache.

“But officer, I really was just following the car in front of me, you know, going the flow. Gosh. I was seriously hoping to just get a warning!" I force a slight shake in my squeaky voice and put my hand over my mouth.

No answer.

Judd yells in the back, “My freakin’ bum hurts, jeez mom let’s go”. The officer pulls down his sunglasses and eyes the backseat.

“Yeah he’s buckled,” I say, feeling rather pissed off. “But my oldest in the way back, he’s been mouthing off a lot today, can you give him a good talking to?”

He stares at me. Then walks away.

I mumble something about a donkey’s butt.

“Mom, you’re a donkey.” I hear Judd say.

I open my mouth to say, yeah, well you’re Aunt Betty. But “shiz” comes out instead.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Weekend Warriors

It’s Friday afternoon. Date night is two hours away, and I’m doing the Mambo #5 with the broom all around the kitchen. Drew and Clay pick up on my euphoric mood taking advantage of me in every way.

“Mom, can I skip doing my homework for the next week?” Drew says.
“Sure honey. I think that’s a good idea.”
“Mom, can I have that Michael Jordan rookie card I’ve been wanting?” Clay adds.
“How much?”
“$500 or something like that.”
“Well, ok. But just this once.”
Judd quicky says, “Mama, I want a twiple scoop of ice cweam wif a mawshmawow on top.”
“Coming right up. Do you want chocolate syrup drizzled over it?” I ask.

Suddenly, everyone is happy and we’re all doing the Mambo #5.

I skip lunch so that I’ll be famished when Sean and I arrive at our favorite local eatery in Park City – The Loco Lizard. After washing down two chipotle chicken mushroom cheese covered enchiladas with two Diet Dr. Peppers, I unbutton the top button on my jeans and heave my Mexican food stuffed self up and out of the booth. Sean and I do a giddy, watered down version of the electric slide to the car as we kick-off our night of kidless fun.

Our first stop – Gap outlet. I spot this and say, "Hmm, this isn’t bad."

Sean spots this and says, “Hmm this isn’t bad.”

We both spot this and say, "Hmm this is wow." Since neither of us have ever seen a grown up onsie, or is it a full body g-string?

Next stop – Zipline at Park City Mountain

I’m flying down the mountain at speeds that I’m certain changes the way my face looks. My nose squishes to the side; my eyeballs become closer to my ears; and my lips are flapping wildly with the wind. I’m fine with the new arrangement since maybe now I can cancel my upcoming cosmetic surgery. I let my limbs catch the air and tip my head back to enjoy the feeling that I’m flying when suddenly the thought occurs to me – I could have a serious head on collision with a bird at any time. And it would probably be one of those freakin’ magpies that have been square dancing on my roof! I jerk my head upright and grasp the cables a little tighter as I envision what might happen. The bird might fly right into head knocking me unconscious and spraying unmentionables all over me. The bird’s beak might stick into my forehead, and it might flap its wings uncontrollably trying to get free. Then I realize a bird probably won’t fly into me. It’s dark and birds usually aren’t out at night. But bats are. BATS!

Suddenly I come to a disturbing stop and fly forward in my seat. My hair is now completely covering my eyes and face. "Shiz," I say to the guy with the orange spiked mohawk operating the zipline. "I about lost my head."

Sean slides to a comfortable stop next to me. I brush my hair out of my eyes and unbuckle my seatbelt. I look over at Sean and say, “Hah. Beatcha.”

He chases me down the rest of mountain, but I don’t get very far because I think a piece of enchilada gets lodged in my ribs. I hop on Sean's back and we wrap up the night of crazy fun by doing the two-step the rest of the way to the car.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Intestines twisting into knots

There are few things in life that make me laugh so hard that I forget that I recently saw a new ding in the side of the car door, or that Judd still isn’t pooping on the potty, or that I’ve spent too much money at Target this week. But this is something special.

So sit back, plug in your headphones (so the boss doesn’t come running, or so your kids don't inadvertently hear) and get ready to shoot that diet coke you’re drinking right out your nose.