Sunday, September 30, 2007

Scary Stuff

I do not like to be scared. I won't go see horror movies, (much to my husband's dismay), and I absolutely refuse to set foot in a haunted house. Right now you are thinking that I am a chicken shit, so let me explain. I don't go see horror movies because I have nightmares that would even scare Stephen King. They are so vivid, and wake up in a cold sweat horrifying, that they usually affect me for days afterwards. When I make the mistake of telling people about my nightmares, they always look at me like I need to seek psychological help immediately. They walk away shaking their head vigorously to rid themselves of the images. It doesn't take much to make me have one of these freakishly scary nightmares. Usually if I see a five minute preview of an upcoming horror flick, I know I'm in for a sleepless night. Just a few seconds of the suspenseful music, as the girl walks achingly slowly, towards that slightly open closet door, is enough to almost make me pee my pants.

Moving on to the haunted house aversion. My dad used to take my cousins and I to haunted houses as kids, and I did ok. I do recall refusing to open my eyes the entire way through one, after a witch tried to take my hand, but I think I did ok most of the time. Then, one year, we went to a haunted hike, which was held in the woods next to a local store. As we stood in line waiting, we heard screams, and then a guy ran past me with a bloody knife, and hid behind a tree about 3 feet from me. We assumed it was part of the act, until the police cars and ambulance showed up, and we were told the hike was closed for the rest of the evening. We found out later that the guy I had seen had stabbed one of the workers in the hike! (SCREAM!!!) Now that's scary!

I don't want Dylan to miss out on the fun of horror movies and haunted houses just because his mommy is wimpy. Luckily, he has Jim to fill the scary void. But, Dylan might take after me regardless of what Jim does. I say that because we took him in his first haunted house yesterday and the picture shows how he felt about it! We took him to a birthday party that was at a farm, and included his first hayride, pumpkin patch, some baby ducks and goats, and the haunted house. We figured that it would just have pumpkins or scarecrows dressed slightly spooky, and that it wouldn't be a big deal. After all, it was for kids! It would be a safe introduction to haunted houses for our 10 month old who isn't afraid of anything but the milk running out.
We were wrong! It was so dark in there I had trouble navigating through, the characters were pretty intense, and when you walked through one area it set off a loud noise and an already uneasy Dylan. We rushed for the door, and I tried to convince myself we didn't just traumatize our son. Luckily, with his memory, he forgot about it five minutes later, as he was climbing over pumpkins in the pumpkin patch, happy as a clam.

He already inherited my itchy, rashy skin, and possibly my allergies. I hope he didn't inherit my wimpiness! I want him to be strong, and have no fears. What if he inherits all my bad traits and doesn't get the good ones that I hope to pass on? Now that is truly scary. I'll probably have a nightmare about it.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dylan's Checklist

Since starting back to work part time, I have been looking forward to an afternoon without an agenda. Yesterday was that day. After Dylan's physical therapy in the morning, we had the afternoon free. What I didn't realize, was that he had his own agenda. This was apparently his list of "Things To Do" yesterday.

1. Push my exersaucer across the room, then pull a piece of it off with my superhuman strength. Check.
2. Eat some cat food. Check.
3. Chew on every book in the house. ("Are books a food group?"). Check.
4. See how many times I can get Mommy to yell, "HEY!", or "NO!". Check.
6. When Mommy thinks I'm taking a nap, reach through the slats in my crib, pull a chunk of hair out of my stuffed lion, and see how much I can eat before Mommy catches me. Check.
7. While Mommy is checking her emails, pull the Kleenex box down, pull out about 30 pieces, and see how many I can stuff in my mouth before Mommy realizes I'm being strangely quiet, and comes to investigate. ("Ruh-Roh!") Check.
8. Suck on Mommy's toes. ("Why are you making that face, Mommy?"). Check.
9. Pull the mail, remote controls, Mommy's checkbook, a calculator, and a pen off the couch and put each item in my mouth until Mommy makes that face...again! Check.
10. Wait until Mommy has just wrestled her way through a diaper change, then take a dump that belongs in the Book of World Records. Check.
11. Pull out some of Mommy's hair and put it in my mouth. ("She doesn't need it right? She's always pulling out those gray ones"). Check.
12. Grow another two inches and gain another 10 lbs since yesterday.

Ok, so maybe it just felt like the last one happened, but the rest are true. I wonder what he has planned for today? I can only imagine.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bats & Birthdays

Yesterday was Jim's birthday. Birthdays tend to be a big deal in my family. My parents always planned great parties for me as a kid, (Thanks, Mom & Dad!). Friends at school would ask, with great anticipation, "What are you doing for your birthday NEXT year?", a day or two after my latest shindig.

Jim puts a lot of thought into my gifts and even makes my cards, so I wanted to return the favor and do something big for his birthday. Unfortunately, with the amount of money I have, or lack thereof, it's hard to do something "big". I tried to think of a big gesture that would really show him how much I love him.

So, we went spelunking. I remember the first time Jim asked me if I'd ever gone spelunking, and I replied, "Huh?!". I thought it was some hick Erie thing akin to cowtipping. For those of you like me, "spelunking" is defined as "exploring caves".

Why was this a big gesture? Because I am a bit claustrophobic, and because I am terrified of bats. I believe it all started as a kid, when a bat landed on my head, and my best friend decided to mess with me, by telling me that bats lay eggs in people's hair. I had nightmares about the bat babies hatching for weeks!

Anyway, Jim was excited when he realized what we were doing, but a bit let down when he realized we were doing the family tour, not the climbing through and exploring muddy crevices with only a flashlight option. He said, "Well, this will get you used to it, so we can do that the next time". I barely nodded as I silently recited my mantra, "Bats are just puppies with wings. Just puppies with wings". (Thanks for the idea, Rachel!)

As I stood in the cold, damp, dark cave, listening to Jim ask our tour guide question after question, I couldn't help but chuckle to myself. He really finds this stuff fascinating! Amazing! I only asked one question, "What are these holes?" - translation: "Are there bats in them?" Luckily, we only saw one bat, and it was tiny, so I just semi-calmly walked past while Jim and our guide stopped to discuss it.

Poor Jim. I think he honestly believes I might go back and do the deep cave exploring. But, really. Should a 5'11", clumsy, claustrophobic, bat fearing individual be crawling and hiking through muddy, slippery rock, with just a flashlight? I don't think so. Then again, never underestimate the power of love.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


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Not A Good Day

Thursday started out like any other day. I changed Dylan, fed him breakfast, and we had fun playing until his morning nap. When I was getting dressed, I decided not to wear my rings that I always wear (my engagement ring, my wedding band, and my thumb ring that Jim bought me that says "Pulse of my heart". The physical therapist from Early Intervention was coming for the first time that morning, and I didn't want to scratch Dylan with a ring while trying to do a stretch.

I am happy to report that Dylan really liked his new therapist, as did I, which I was worried about since he loves his therapist we've gone to at the Children's Institute since he was 4 months old. SCORE! One less thing to worry about. I mentioned to her the problem we have with Dylan's head flopping over when he sleeps in his carseat, and she came up with a possible solution, so the day was looking good!

At 2:15 (I know the exact time because I looked at the clock when Dylan woke up from his nap), we left the house to go for his helmet adjustment appointment, which was at 3pm. The lady was running behind so she didn't come into our room where Dylan was creating chaos until 3:35(I was looking at my watch impatiently every 5 minutes). After checking his head, she said that she feels he will have the helmet off before his first birthday! DOUBLE SCORE!! The day was going great!

We got home around 5pm. When I walked into the house I noticed a basket that we keep our keys, wallet, cellphones, and change in wasn't there. I figured Jim put it in the kitchen, so I put Dylan down to play, and started walking towards the kitchen. That's when I saw the glass. The glass in our back door had been shattered and was all over the kitchen. I grabbed Dylan and my cellphone and ran out the door. Then I did what any rational person would do when they just realized they were robbed - I called my husband! What I thought my protector could do from work, I don't know, but I wasn't exactly thinking straight at that moment. He told me to call 911 (Duh!), so I did, and a policeman came a few minutes later. He waited until backup came before they checked the house, while I stood in my driveway with a very oddly quiet Dylan. I think he could hear my heart beating out of my chest!

After they made sure no one was in the house, we went in to see what was stolen. I must say, the burglar, or burglars were very neat (only a mom would say "At least they didn't trash my house and make a big mess for me to clean up!") Except for the glass in the kitchen I wouldn't have known someone broke in. I barricaded off the kitchen with two chairs to keep Dylan out, which of course made him want in the kitchen more than ever. So, while he was screaming and desperately trying to get into the kitchen, I was trying to answer the cop and detective's questions and search the house to see what was stolen. At the time, I only noticed the two video cameras missing. One was ours and one was Jim's mom's. Precious video of Dylan - gone.

Later, we realized our digital camera, my engagement ring, and another ring Jim gave me was also missing. That means they were in our bedroom rooting through our stuff, which is really creepy. We also noticed that our firebox with personal papers was pryed open. So much for that security - it was locked!

I have asked several neighbors and no one saw anything. We have a fence on one side blocking their view, a shed on the other side blocking their view, and bushes and trees in the back. I guess privacy isn't always a good thing.

I think the worst part of being burglarized is the pyschological. Jim is just angry - really, really angry. I went through many emotions, shock, disbelief, fear, anger, but mostly depression. Friday when I woke up, I was just depressed. Your home is supposed to be your haven, your santuary, your place to feel safe. Now, I don't feel safe, and I don't even want to be at home. I feel vandalized, nervous, and just generally creeped out.

I was sitting there with the depression overtaking me, about to bawl, when Dylan looked at me and laughed. I thought, "F&*# this! It's just stuff. I'm not going to let some a&*#$%^ make me cry", so I turned on some music and Dylan and I danced. We danced and we spun in circles until we collapsed on the floor exhausted and laughing. I won't claim to be "ok" with this, and I must admit the depression, fear, anger, etc. does return from time to time, but I'm fighting it. Life goes on. And on, and on.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Motherhood: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I had a spare moment, (imagine that!), and I was reflecting on motherhood and all its ups and downs, and this is what I came up with... I'd like to end on a happy note, so I'll start with the bad and the ugly.

The Bad:
* Colic!! - like war heroes, moms who survive colic deserve medals!
* Sleeping in is a thing of the past - My husband and I used to sleep until noon on Saturdays! The thought of doing that now makes me giddy.
*Doctor visits/Torticollis/Plagiocephaly/Stretches, etc.
*A complete loss of privacy - I can't even take a shit without Dylan pulling on my legs.
*Wrestling an alligator - otherwise known as trying to change or dress a 10 month old.
*Mommy brain - I can't remember what day it is, or where I put my cellphone, but I can tell you the exact time Dylan last pooped.

The Ugly:

That would be me. I used to have something called free time. I used to have the time to make myself look good. Now, I only have time to shave my legs on Saturdays and Sundays. I haven't had a haircut in over 6 months. I have no time to do laundry, so clothing options are minimal. I can't leave the house without stains on my clothes. I am declaring stained clothes "in" - think the new black. I can't remember the last time I went to the dentist. I had a nightmare 3 weeks ago that all my teeth fell out. You would think I would take that as a sign, but I have yet to make an appointment.

The Good:
*Dylan's smiles - they light up the room!
*When I make him laugh.
*Seeing Jim and Dylan interact - my two guys are so cute I could melt.
*When he is still long enough for me to hug and kiss him.
*When he reaches for me.
*That clean baby smell after he's had a bath - it's like a drug!
*Hearing him babble to himself in the backseat while I drive.
*Being able to act as goofy as I want in public because I have a kid with me.
*Taking him places for the first time, and introducing him to new experiences.
*He makes it so clear what is important and what isn't.
*Experiencing love and joy beyond words.

What else can I say? Motherhood is the hardest job I've ever had. The hours are ridiculous, the boss (Dylan) is demanding, and the pay (at least financially) is nonexistent. But, the rewards are out of this world. I love my job.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Little Monkey?

My son's name is Dylan. Does he know that? I'm not sure. The poor kid has had so many names, he has to be confused. When I was pregnant, Jim and I decided not to tell anyone the name we picked out, mainly because we didn't want anyone to influence our decision. At that point, my mom started calling him "Tiger". "Hey, Tiger! Are you kicking your mommy today?", she would question my belly. My belly never answered, but she kept calling it "Tiger" anyway, until one day I finally slipped and accidentally told them the name while talking to them on the phone. I was talking about how Jim had bought me a zoo membership for my birthday, and I said "That way, Dylan and I can go to the zoo whenever we want, blah, blah, blah". They cut in, "DYLAN!!?? Ooooh, the name is Dylan!". @!*$!@", I shouted.

When Dylan was first born, and slept constantly, Jim and I called him "Rumpelstiltskin" until we realized we had our children's stories mixed up and meant "Rip Van Winkle". That didn't exactly roll off the tongue. When he was about 7 weeks old, we started calling him "Grunt" or "Little Grunt", because he grunted constantly, maybe due to all the gas (Thank God, I survived the colic stage!). Not long after that, we were calling him "Chunky Monkey", because his thighs resembled a sumo wrestlers.

His other grandma sometimes calls him "Snookie". My dad calls him "Little Guy". Jim often calls him "Little Buddy", or "The D Man". We've also called him "Dylan Doodle", or "Doodle", since I used to sing while bouncing him on my knee, "Dylan Doodle, went to town, riding on a pony..."

Several months ago, when he started crawling, I started calling him "Little Monkey". He started out doing a monkey crawl, with his belly dragging on the floor, and his long arms dragging himself along. "Little Monkey" just fits him, so it has stuck. He is always monkeying around, getting into everything, and making us laugh with his crazy antics.

Poor kid. We better start calling him "Dylan", or his first day of school will go something like this...

Teacher: "Ian?"
Ian: "Here!"
Teacher: "Katie?"
Teacher: "Cody?"
Cody: "Here!"
Teacher: "Dylan?"... "Dylan?"... "Dylan?"
Teacher: "Sara?"
Sara: "Here!"
Teacher: "Little boy, there, in the second row. I've called everyone on my list. What is your name?"
Dylan: "Uh, Little Monkey?"

Friday, September 14, 2007

My Son, The Stuntman

My son, Dylan, (almost 10 months), wears a helmet. A blue, space themed patterned helmet, that attracks a lot of attention. Everywhere we go, I feel like a celebrity, because people stare and ask questions. Other kids are the funniest. One kid at the park gave up his swing, and remarked, "Since I gave him a turn on my swing, can I have a turn with the helmet?". At another park, a kid asked me "What can he do?". He thought he was a superhero! Another kid said, "Can I try this on?", as he was pulling the helmet and Dylan's head!

When Dylan was born his head was always tilted to the one side. We just figured babies necks are weak and it was normal. But, as time went on, I started thinking it wasn't normal, and I asked the pediatrician about it. She told us he was fine, and since she's the expert we believed her. For awhile. I had this nagging feeling something wasn't right, so I told Jim I wanted to switch pediatricians and also take him to see a neurologist. By that time he was four months old, and the neurologist diagnosed him with torticollis, which basically means his neck muscles on the one side are weak, causing his head to tilt. It can cause problems if not caught early and treated.

Thus began the wonderful assortment of doctor visits, therapy sessions, hospitals, xrays, waiting rooms, etc, etc. Dylan has taken it all in stride, even when he got the helmet at 7 months, to correct the plagiocephaly (head flattening) caused from always laying on the one side. So, for almost 3 months now, he has been wearing the helmet for 23 hours a day. We are supposed to take it off for only one hour a day, to clean it, and let the stinky head air out!

As nice as it is to see his head with the helmet off during that hour, I always dread it, because Dylan thinks he is a stuntman. He has no fear. None. If he is on the couch, he tries to dive off head first. If he is on the front deck he tries to dive down the stairs head first. If we let him play on the bed, he tries to dive off head first. Today I was carrying him face out and he decided he wanted down that very second, so he dove out of my arms (you guessed it) head first. He did it with such force that he was airborne for a second, before I caught him by his legs on the way down! Lately the hour without the helmet usually involves ice. He is cruising along all the furniture, but doesn't try to get down gracefully. He just flings himself down, which usually results in him bumping his head, and me getting the ice pack. Again. He has a beef with the pillows on the couch for some reason, and he is constantly pulling them off the couch and flinging them to the floor, where he dives on top of them, and wrestles them to submission, again resulting in him bumping his head.

What are we going to do when the helmet comes off for good? Either we live in padded rooms, (sometimes I am ready for that for other reasons), or I start carrying around ice packs in a holster.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

You're Going the Wrong Way

I took care of two little girls one day this week, Grace (5) and Bella (4). They are both in preschool. Grace goes four days a week, and Bella goes 3 days. That day, just Grace had school. It was only the second time I watched the girls, and the first time I would ever go to the school. Since I am totally unfamiliar with the area, and the preschool is about 20 minutes away from their house, their dad gave me detailed directions he printed off the internet. He told me as Bella and I left the house, "Bella knows the way". I thought to myself, "Yea, right", and we took off.

We made it to the preschool with no problems, and I was quite proud of myself, seeing as how I am directionally challenged. Their dad told me to stop at a park on the way home from the preschool, so we did. We were only there about five minutes when Bella announced with a degree of urgency that she had to pee. I couldn't see a bathroom, but I saw a pavilion across the park, and figured it had to be over there. The 3 of us hurried over to find it was indeed a pavilion, and that was it. No bathroom. At that moment, Grace announced she also had to pee, "RIGHT NOW!"

So, I told the girls to hide behind a big tree, I took off Bella's overalls (of course she would have on overalls!), and I bent Bella over my knee so that she wouldn't pee on herself. That was successful, except that she peed on my foot. Meanwhile, Grace decided she couldn't wait for me, so she tried to do it herself. She wasn't so successful, and peed on her underwear and a tiny bit on her skirt. She seemed upset for a brief moment, and said we would have to go home. I told her , "Just take your underwear off, and give them to me. Your skirt has underwear shorts built in, so it's ok. That tiny spot on your skirt will be dry in no time since it is so hot".

By the time we got back over to the playground she decided she was dry and wanted to stay and play. We sat down to eat a snack, when a police car drove through the park slowly. Grace asked, "Is he here for us?" I laughed, said "No", then thought to myself what the scene may have looked like to a passerby. I envisioned the phone call I would make to their dad to tell him to come bail me out of jail! I held my breath until the cop pulled out of the park, and wheew, we resumed playing.

Bella and Grace both tried to go across the monkey bars. They both stopped at the top, looked down, panicked and yelled for me to help them down. A little boy they were playing with decided to show off, and he went all the way across, by stopping at the top to turn around and back his way down the other side. Grace decided to try again. (Way to go Grace! Don't let a boy outdo you!) I encouraged her like I had Bella, saying "You're doing a great job!", and sure enough, she went the whole way across. She was so proud of herself!

We finally left the park, and started home. Grace fell asleep within about five minutes. (I guess the monkey bars wore her out!) I was doing good with the directions at first, but suddenly Bella said, "Miss Jen!!" "Yes, Bella?" "You're going the wrong way!" At first I thought, "she doesn't know what she is talking about", but after a few minutes I realized she was right. I was going the wrong way. I turned around and after a while longer..."Miss Jen!!" "Yes, Bella?" "You're going the wrong way!" This time I didn't think twice. I turned the car around. Of course, she couldn't tell me which way to go, or the names of the roads, but she knew I was going the wrong way! I was starting to get edgy. I hate being lost. I feel totally out of control and I hate that feeling. I tried to remain calm, and figure out what I was doing wrong. "Miss Jen!!" "Yes, Bella?" "You're going the wrong way!" "I KNOW!! Er, I mean thanks Bella". After driving around for a ridiculous amount of time, I was really getting nervous. Will I ever figure this out? "Miss Jen!!" "Bella, I know I'm going the wrong way! I am lost, and I don't know what to do!" There was a pause, then her adorable little voice said, "It's ok, Miss Jen. You're doing a great job!" I immediately felt better. I calmed down, and figured it out, and we made it to their house, where we enjoyed the rest of the day.

Now, I don't know if Bella said that because I was saying it to her at the park all day, or because her parents tell her that, or because her teachers at preschool tell her that. All I know is, those five little words, "You're doing a great job", are so powerful! We should all say them often, not just to our kids, but to everyone! Our husbands, our parents, our friends, our coworkers, our waitresses, our bank tellers, whoever! See how they work their magic!

I was also thinking, wouldn't it be nice if we all had a little voice, who would tell us "You're going the wrong way", when we were about to go to school to get an art degree, about to marry a bozo, about to plunk down money to buy a doomed business, etc? (These are just hypothetical examples, of course!) Problem is, we probably wouldn't listen to that little voice the first time, either.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Universe is Granting Requests

I think I was born at the wrong time. I should have been born during the women's lib movement, because I would have fit right in. Jim says, "What soap box are you on now?", to refer to my rants about women in society. But, even Jim was amazed by what happened a few nights ago.

We were watching tv after putting Dylan to bed, when a commercial for an upcoming movie came on. In it, Milla Jovovich is a bad ass chick, fighting zombies, and that is pretty much the story line from what I could tell. "OH, COME ON! THAT IS SO RIDICULOUS!", I exclaimed to an already amused Jim. He knew what was coming. Let me just say, I really like Milla Jovovich as an actress. I love the fact that she doesn't fit the Hollywood mold. You know, the star with blond flowing hair and huge boobs. How can that woman save anyone with those boobs in the way?! - (maybe I'm a tad jealous).

I was upset about something else. "Why is it that when a movie has a woman as the star she has to be fighting imaginary stuff!! Why can't the heroine be fighting against terrorists or mobsters, or something real?! No, the woman always has to be the one being saved! I'm sick of it! Didn't Jodi Foster start her own production company? She's a bad ass - why doesn't she produce a "real" movie with a woman as the hero?!" I can't remember if Jim said anything. I think he just smiled his "you're so cute when you're irrate" smile, and we continued watching our show.

I SWEAR when the next commercial break came on there was another commercial for another upcoming movie. The movie was "The Brave One " and here is the description..."After a brutal attack, she (Jodi Foster!) begins prowling the streets on a mission of revenge". Jim and I just looked at each other with our mouths open!

I couldn't believe it, so I went online to look into the movie further, and I discovered something even more amazing. Three other upcoming movies with strong heroic women in them! In the first, "In the Valley of Elah", Charlize Theron costars as a police detective who helps investigate a missing soldier case. In the second, "Eastern Promises", Naomi Watts is a London midwife who looks into the death of a patient, putting her in the sights of a ruthless Russian MOBSTER". Yep, that's right, a mobster. That takes care of one of my requests. In the third movie, "The Kingdom", Jennifer Garner costars as part of an elite team fighting TERRORISTS! That takes care of my second request.

Honestly, I am shocked. I will reserve judgement until I actually see these movies, but for now, things are looking good for women in the movies. Lets show the big wigs in Hollywood that we approve. Lets make movies with strong women heroes box office hits. Lets make them the top grossing films on their opening weekends. Lets let the world know women with small chests can be heroes too! And since the universe is apparently granting my requests, I would like a million dollar publishing contract. Or just a million dollars - I'm not picky. Gotta go. I have a bra to burn.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Super Soaker and The Stray

Over the Labor Day weekend, I had my husband dig through the black hole that is our shed, and escape with my super soaker water gun. I told him, "I Need It!". Why do I need my water gun at the END of the summer, you ask? To scare all the cats off our back deck, of course.

You see, it all started over a year ago, when a stray cat started coming around. I think that was in the spring last year. Maybe earlier? Anyway, the cat was pretty pathetic. It was really skinny and its hair was falling out. My cat loving husband remarked, "Jen, we really should feed it". The dog lover (me) remarked, "It's not ours, and if we start feeding it, it will be ours, and I don't want another cat!" (When I married Jim, I inherited a cat, "Newman", that drove me nuts. Remember annoying Newman on Seinfeld? That is how the cat got its name. Enough said? He died right before the stray started coming around). Anyway, the stray kept coming around, and Jim kept talking about feeding it, and I kept talking about NOT feeding it, until one day, I gave in. Or gave up, depending on how you look at it. Jen: "Fine! Feed it! But this is YOUR thing. I'm not involved, ok?" Jim: "Ok".

A year later we still have "the stray" - we still haven't named it because "then it will be ours"(Jim said!) The cat was in our garage for months during the winter when it got so cold even the dog lover realized we couldn't leave it outside. Jim was feeding it. I was busy with the baby and didn't ever go down there. Until, one night my husband took Dylan to his moms for the evening so I could get a break. I went down to feed the cat, and almost fell over. When Jim came home, I asked "Did it escape your attention that the cat is now pregnant?" Jim: "I thought it was just fat!" Men..You gotta love them.

About a week later, on our anniversary, our present was four new kittens. Goodie! Just what I always wanted. NOT! On the evening of our anniversary we were trying to keep one kitten alive by feeding it with a syringe. How romantic. Even though I am a dog lover, I hate to see an animal suffering so I felt that we had to do something. Since the cat lover had to work, guess who ended up driving the sick kitten to the vet? What a trip that was. My dad went along to help, so he had the kitten in a box, but it was trying to escape. Dylan was screaming in the backseat and the cat was meowing so we had a nice little duet going. Then I had to wait one hour looking at the poor suffering kitty while my dad tried to entertain Dylan outside in the grass (where the dogs do their business). Long story short, (yea, right), that kitten and another one didn't make it, so we were left with 2 and momma stray.

Guess who had to find homes for them? Wow, you're good at this guessing thing! So, they went to good homes, but no one would take "the stray", so she is still hanging out on our back deck (after being fixed of course!) Problem is, she has apparently put the word out to the whole neighborhood, because now we have a cat halfway house on the deck, with different cats coming and going constantly. Now, it is bad enough that we have to feed one cat "that isn't ours", but that is where I draw the line. She is so wimpy, apparently, that she is letting the other cats eat her food. I feed her, and go by the door two minutes later to find some other cat enjoying her "charity" (Jim said I have my charities I give to, and this is his). After all the time, energy, and cash that we have put into "the stray", the fact that she wasn't getting the food we were leaving for her, was making my blood boil, and that's never good.

So, now, I'm carrying my super soaker around like a guy in an old western. "Are you feelin' lucky?", I mutter as I patrol the deck. When one of the offending moochers approach I pretend not to notice them, until I can see out of the corner of my eye, that they are within range. Then I spin, and spray them with a steady stream of water. As they run wildly for cover, I think to myself, "Is there something wrong with me? Why is this so strangely cathartic?" So, this is my advice... If you are fighting with your husband, your inlaws are coming to town, your kids are riding your last nerve, your boss has reached new levels of jerkness, or whatever else is stressing you out, grab a Super Soaker and write me in the morning. That's one story I'd love to hear.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Mr. Magoo, and the Innermost Beast

My husband is probably the most laid back person you could ever meet. Until he gets behind the wheel. The Dr. Jekyll part of my husband very rarely gets mad at anyone. Even when I get mad at him, he usually just gets very quiet or gets his feelings hurt. (It is so hard to fight with someone like that!) The Mr. Hyde part of him can barely get out of our driveway without uttering a profanity. When someone does something to offend him, such as to cut him off, he has an out of body experience. He races after them, riding their bumper, and swearing at them, in the hopes of what? That they will pull over, come over to his window, and humbly beg his forgiveness for their stupidity? Not quite. What does happen is his face turns a bright shade of red, his blood pressure surges sky high, his entire body tenses, the veins in his head bulge, and he puts himself in danger, not to mention just wasting his time.

Since we had my son 9 months ago, I've worried even more about Jim's temper behind the wheel. Will he act like a maniac with Dylan in the car? When Dylan learns to talk, will his first word be "#@!*"? I didn't realize until a couple days ago, that there might be someone else in the family to worry about. Me! I was trying to turn into traffic on a very busy road, with Dylan happily babbling in the backseat. A woman in the long line of traffic was looking down, not paying attention to the fact that the light had turned green, so she left a huge gap in the line of cars in front of her. I saw the opportunity and took it, pulling in front of her. As I looked in the rearview mirror, I saw that she was flipping me off! WHAT?! I didn't do anything wrong! I snapped. I returned the favor and screamed "NO, F%$K YOU!" Then she started honking the horn at me. Luckily I was turning onto another road at that point, so the battle ended, and my sanity returned. As I looked in the rearview mirror again, there was my son, looking scared, his eyes wide! Maybe the horn honking scared him, or maybe his mommy screaming like a banshee? Wow, did I feel foolish. Kids have the amazing ability to put things in perspective, don't they?

I call my dad "Mr. Magoo" when he drives, because he is blissfully unaware what is going on around him. Someone cuts him off, he doesn't notice. Someone speeds past him at the speed of light, he doesn't notice. A whole line of cars drives erratically behind his (driving 45mph on the parkway), honking, giving him the finger and shouting out the windows, he doesn't notice.

What is it about getting behind the wheel that releases our innermost beast? What is it that makes normal, calmly functioning adults behave like raving lunatics? I don't know, but I'm going to try to be a bit more "Magoo" from now on, for my son's sake.