Thursday, February 14, 2013

How I single-handedly ruined my daughter's Valentine's Day

I should have read the signs. I mean, I've got 6 years under my belt in this parenting gig so this ain't my first rodeo. I KNEW. And yet....

Noelle came home from school on Wednesday hopped up on excitement for her 100th day of school/Valentine's Day party to be held on Valentine's Day. She made Dyl, Noah and me close our eyes so she could hide something under her bed. (No, we didn't peak but I hope she keeps that hiding place always. Muahahaha!) She wanted to tell me the secret about what was under her bed so! bad! but I didn't let her. No no I said, keep your surprise for tomorrow!

This is also known as 'foreshadowing'.

Thursday morning she practically bounced out of bed, quivering with excitement to share her surprise. She rummaged under the bed and pulled out what looked to be a white paper bag. "Let's go get Noah!" she chirped. The poor boy had barely blinked his eyes open when she shoved the package at him, "Here, Noah! Happy Valentine's Day!" Well that woke him up right quick."But you have to save the wrapping paper 'cuz I decorated it." It was the cutest little love bug creature with her picture in the middle. "Mrs. Richmond said to give it to someone special you love a whole lot and I wanted to give it to Noah!" My heart melted into a gooey puddle at that. But knowing my kid, the follow up was coming and she didn't disappoint:

"When do I get my present?"

Now, we aren't raising overly materialistic kids (I hope). (We are actually trying very very hard to raise the exact opposite.) (It's a work in progress.) But she had made a gift to give so in her mind, someone probably had one for her. And we do. Just not at 6:30 in the morning. That wasn't the way things were done in my family; gifts for whatever reason (except Christmas, naturally) were given in the evening so I tended to keep to that.

"Oh baby, you'll get your Valentine's surprise after dinner." Mostly because I ended up spending evening before cleaning up from dinner and prepping for the next night that I never got around to wrapping their gifts. And also because I didn't have bags yet. I'm clearly aces at this whole planning thing.

"Why, Mommy?" she said with a catch in her throat.

Even to my own ears it sounded lame, "Because that's how we do things" but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that with little ones, the excitement is RIGHT NOW and I was an idiot for not recognizing and planning for that. She accepted it but later while brushing Noah's teeth, she came into the bathroom in tears.

"What's wrong baby, why are you crying?"

"I'm sad" she sobbed "because you like Noah better than you like me!"

Again, like an idiot, I responded to the symptom, not the cause. It had nothing to do with Noah and everything to do with how we completely misjudged how important the day was to her.

And this is why $40 worth of candy is now melting in my car.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Being Human Recap: Get out of my dreams and into my mouth

When we last left our intrepid Bostonians, Teen Wolf had run away, Papa Wolf was sniffing after Nora and the Mensch regarding the disappearance of Thing 1 (Connor) and Thing 2 (Brynn), Sally scored herself a date and a job with Max the Undersexed and Terribly Awkward Funeral Home Director and Aiden was having very inappropriate fantasies about Bubble Boy.  Let's do this.

Sally is learning how to massage corpses' faces to make them look more 'relaxed' and 'natural' when up pops Dead Dude #1 because the afterlife still has her on speed dial so she does the only logical thing. She disperses him with a tire iron because she's not going to be Touched By An Angel for no-one, no-how. Mama Max then shows up as she's surprise! dead and pleads with Sally to be gentle with her boy. Aside: Max is a very weird mash-up of a Ferris Bueller Matthew Broderick and Notting Hill Hugh Grant and yet, it doesn't work since I kinda want to punch him in the face. Anyway, they double-date with Zoe the Baby Whisperer and Nick the Waterboy which involves a lot of wine, most of which is consumed by Sally. Making up for lost time perhaps? And as ghostly mamas are wont to do, Mama Max crashes the party where three of the four can see her where she oh so subtly threatens Sally to leave her boy alone by sharing details of Max's social habit. Guess nekkid baby pictures and seventh grade yearbook candids are a thing of the past now.

Aiden is increasingly tantalized by the pure spring that is Bubble Boy and has come up with a plan to get some of that sweet sweet nectar: he's a nurse, he'll just draw some blood for 'lab work' which is what we're calling aperitifs now. The only trouble is, Bubble Boy is, well, in a bubble with nothing but bad SyFy horror shows and himself for company. Come to think of it, sounds an awful lot like our Saturday nights. Get this boy some Twitter, STAT! Ahem. And so becomes suspicious of extra blood draws immediately jumping to the (correct but batshit insane) conclusion that Aiden is a vampire and he is nothing but an all-you-can-eat buffet. Aiden's pretty pleased he's found away around the Bloody Flu Death Sentence For The Undead until he realizes that he's being visited by the ghosts of two girls he lured to help heal Henry after Suren exacts her revenge on his dalliance with a human some 100 or so years ago by having him flayed. Yay for being immortal! Also: gross. And ouch. Now they are his ever present 'conscience' if the role of the conscience is to encourage selfish and hedonistic behaviors but whatever. So between his intense hunger and nattering ghostly 20-somethings, Aiden's slowly losing his grip on reality.

Josh the Mensch and Nora engage in cute, couple-ly things like playing, 'Guess What's In This Sandwich'. The less said about this the better as it reminds me too much of the torture we used to inflict on my youngest sister known as, 'Here, Drink Whatever Is In This Cup'. (Sorry Cath.) They don't seem overly concerned about Teen Wolf's absence as the much more looming threat is Papa Wolf Liam and his Vampire Vengeance Vision. Clan Wolf is hunting down the vamps and it's pretty much a field day for them as the vamps are weak from lack of clean blood and Aiden is next on the list. The trouble was, he'd just had a hit of Bubble Blood and was feeling pretty good thank-you-very-much and administered the beat down to Clan Wolf. Papa was watching from afar and made the connection to Nora and Mensch where he basically says Im'ma telling you to kill Aiden, Mensch retorts with, 'You're not the boss of me!' and Nora's all, 'hmmm'. The Mensch finally finds his balls and tells Nora that there is no way he's going to let anyone kill Aiden as Aiden was the one who helped him and protected him after he was turned. Nora's trying to be practical about how it's dangerous for them all to be together and Liam is really scary like WHOA and Josh pretty much lays it on the line: bros before hos. He then goes and does the only sensible thing: threatens Liam to leave them all alone armed with naught but a handgun and puppy dog eyes. Liam strongly suggests he leave and Josh removes his balls once again.

Back at the funeral home, Max and Sally awkwardly discuss the awkward date which then ends with sexy timez as tends to happen in funeral homes. Sally is feeling pretty damn great, Max is conflicted and Mama is peeping then helpfully steps in to inform Sally that she just stole her son's FLOWER, you HARLOT. Cut to Sally marching up to Max in the garage where he is vigorously waxing his car (sadly, not a euphemism) and basically says, yeah, I'm quitting and that wasn't good enough to hit again so peace out. Turns out that Mama  just performed a hostile takeover of Sally (karma's a bitch, isn't it) so in retaliation, Sally gets some mystical help from Zoe in the form of a Thai butterfly soul lock and is about to exorcise Mama when the ladies have some non-Maury lady talk and hug it out. Figuratively. Sally and Max meet up at a bar (could be the biker bar, everyone was wearing black but no Hubcap Margaritas so guess not) where THEY hug it out and MAYBE can have a non-dysfunctional relationship now that Mama isn't acting as a Virgin Alarm anymore.

Bubble Boy goes through every trick in the book to prove Aiden is a vampire but the old stories are just that, stories so they watch bad old movies together as you do. Aiden is so engrossed in the movie that he falls asleep and dreams of being caught drawing extra blood by the day nurse so has to kill her. Of course. The Slut Sisters are there egging him on and he comes to sporting the black black eyes and big sharp nasty teeth of a vamp in the throes of bloodlust right in front of Bubble Boy. So what does he do? He stumble-runs out of the ward because that's not suspicious at all.

Josh is telling Nora how he went and threatened Papa Wolf that afternoon and aren't I incredibly manly now when she tells him he was an idiot (how new) because dude has ISSUES and Josh howls back I HAVE TO PROTECT THE ONES I LOVE!!! when the doorbell rings and it's Papa Wolf bringing a gift: Teen Wolf. How thoughtful. I usually just bring wine. Papa Wolf threatens the Mensch for threatening him and it's all very  homoerotic. And here we were thinking that Josh and Aiden would be the big couple story this year. Oh well shippers, better luck next time.

Next week! The return of Mother Gothel! Sally's Brother! Wolfy Things!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Jekyll and Hyde

Well hello Monday, you moody bitch. What have you done with my silly, goofy kids? The ones I got this morning were...grumpy. To say the least. I'd like to request the return of the smiling happy Noelle who wandered around Toys R Us with me for an hour debating the merits of Dora the Explorer vs Monster High Dolls (no to both for those who were wondering). The excited Noelle who was SO PROUD of the new parts of the recital routine learned. The friendly Noelle who went to work on her classmates' Valentines with gusto, carefully picking out each card to correspond with how she wanted to tell her friends she felt about them (Jake got the kissy card. Big surprise there.) The one who shared her extra lollipop with her brother and the loony Noelle who wanted to play a bizarre version of Ring around the Rosie with her grandparents and couldn't wait to change into the new pajamas they bought for her.

And what do you think you are doing taking away my crazy Noah? I want the one back who when watching college basketball at dinner on Saturday night yelled at the TV 'Tackle him!'. The one who wanted to know if this was the place that served 'cheese-boogers'. The one who ran pell-mell at everyone to give big huge hugs and kisses over and over again. Who enthusiastically did his homework and helped Daddy un-decorate and take down the Christmas tree. Who wanted to play Jake and the Neverland Pirates and trains with Dada and run crazy after his big sister in his new Jake pajamas.

The children I got this morning were NOTHING like that. Instead of silly, smiling Noelle, I ended up with a 6 year old distraught because even though 'good' and 'food' both have the 'oo', they are pronounced differently. (Related: English is dumb) A kindergartner inconsolable because she couldn't figure out how to change the family drawing picture in her Leap Pad 'All about me story book' app. I'd appreciate the return of the snuggly, lovey preschooler too; the one who woke up in Noah's bed threw a massive temper tantrum as I wouldn't give him more breakfast until he finished his first helping and whined incessantly about not getting to pay with his sister's Leap Pad, him having his own video game notwithstanding.

So Monday, you are now on notice. You've got about four hours to turn this thing around.


Friday, February 8, 2013

My Cat is an Asshole and It's My Fault

For the most part, Jinx is a very good cat. She is snuggly and comfortable around the kids. She likes to play and loves Dylan but she has developed a rather annoying habit and I'm pretty sure it's because of me.

Back at the end of November whilst under a ridiculous amount of stress, I decided that I needed to manage it by getting more exercise. However, the exercise classes offered at work either cost too much (read: anything) or were at inopportune times. It was too cold to walk outside so I embarked on the course of action any sane person would: I started getting up at 4:30 am to work out on the elliptical machine that had been gathering dust in the basement. Jinx stayed with me: didn't matter that I wasn't interacting with her, I had my ear buds in to keep my motivated as I tried not to die and she just wandered around the basement until I was done. She was like my little fuzzy conscience. I started at 5 days a week but soon realized that 3-4 were more realistic as the promised endorphin rush never materialized and I was TIRED. I still kept the first alarm set for 4:30 thinking that I could maybe talk myself into getting up (HAAAAA) and if not, could turn if off and return to sleep for another hour. The only drawback to this plan? Jinx has the ears of a bat, er cat.

As soon as the melody for the early alarm started sounding, she was up the stairs ready to get moving. OMG OMG, it's time to go-go-GO! and while I would be able to settle myself back down for blissful delicious sleep, she decidedly could not which meant that the next hour was spent with her walking up and down the bed, curling up on Dyl, trying to curl up on me, getting on my nightstand, investigating the closet, etc. So then I started not setting the alarm when I knew there was no way in blazes I was getting up early the next morning. Too late, the damage was already done.

She now comes in between 4:45 and 5 am every morning to let me know that Mom, you skipped your workout AGAIN and oh by the way, Im'ma just bother Daddy too to really rub the guilt in. FINE cat, you WIN. I'll start getting up early. Asshole.

I better not go up for my shower and find her curled up on my side of the bed or so help me God, I'll turn her into a hat.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The light at the end of the tunnel

Y'all, I can see a LIGHT. The past 12 to 15 months have been very very dark for us. There was simply not enough money to go around and we had to play the choices game: which bills would get paid this month, which could we delay, put off preventive maintenance for the house and car, run up credit card balances to keep food on the table. No matter how we ran the numbers, what should have been able to cover expenses just didn't. It was maddening. It was frustrating. And it beat us down. To have to tell your kids that they can't attend a friend's birthday party because you couldn't afford to buy a present? That may have been the lowest I ever felt. We made sure that the kids had what they needed and we did without; my wonderful mother in law may have helped us with groceries a time or two, a gesture that nearly drove me to tears because I AM AN ADULT. I am supposed to be able to handle this. The juggling act became frantic and by November we were desperate. There was no way out that either of us could see...until we saved our sanity and our marriage by opening the mail.

It was a simple flyer from Quicken Loans but it planted the seed of an idea in both of our heads; the mortgage on our 3-bedroom townhouse was killing us. We had bought at practically the height of the housing boom when a scant 2 years later, the bottom fell out and we were left owing more than the house was worth like so many people. Then came the kids and once Noah was in full time day care, our outlay was more than $3500 for those two things alone. Dyl's a hard worker but I make double his salary which isn't saying a whole lot. The situation quickly went from uncomfortable to strained to completely untenable. So after the kids were in bed one night, I broached the idea of trying to refinance the mortgage. Rates were incredibly low, we should be able to lower our payment and gain some breathing room and he had come to the same conclusion. We were no worse off if we didn't try. The very next day I initiated contact with Quicken Loans and within a week had a team of great people working to help us. They set us up with a personalized website that would be the primary communication tool making it easy to send required documentation. Sure, there were some setbacks like the needing to take on PMI as the home appraisal didn't come back high enough to cover 80% of the value of the loan but that was okay, it was still less than what we were already paying. Other roadblocks appeared such as confusion over a certain Note from the previous refinancing and how much we needed to bring to closing but those were dealt with and last night, we signed the papers (and signed and signed and signed) that will be the key to our salvation. 

Things are looking up: we have a lower mortgage payment now, I received a nice bonus and we've been able to aggressively pay down one of our credit cards. The breathing room from the not having another payment due until April will help us attack the others and build up our savings again. Our property tax will go down July 1st as we lost another $45,000 in our property value (and you can be certain I will be watching that number like a hawk) and we should get a decent tax refund. I am determined that we will never go through this hell again. The stress nearly destroyed us and would have if we didn't finally own up to needing help and then going to find it. Good things can happen if you are willing to ask.

Next weekend, Noelle will be going to her first friend's birthday party since starting kindergarten. That may be the piece of all this that makes me happiest.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Being Human Recap - The Family That Stays Together

Previously on Being Human: Henry fell off the wagon and is sporting the leprosy spots of shame, Josh and Nora ended up adopting a turned teen girl, Aiden remains conflicted and Sally tried to help Trent find closure so his door would take him to his final reward. We see Henry stagger off into the Boston night led to believe that he dies. OR DOES HE?!?! Trent ended up cheating on his fiancee with Sally but finds out at his funeral NBD, she was cheating on him too so now he's all Whaa? How could someone walk away from 'this' (waves hands at self in disbelief). She's at peace, he isn't so back to the drawing board. Sally in the meantime  is catching the notice of the funeral director and NOT just because she's a crasher, youknowwhatI'msaying? Nora ends up playing Mama Wolf to Teen Wolf Erin which wigs Josh the fuck out. Aiden continues to brood and bemoan his immortal life. Trent finally tells Sally to take a hike, he'll do it himself and voila! His door appears. He goes through the door into the hereafter...or Witch Donna's soup Kitchen which I admit, is a bit of a downer. Girlfriend's looking rough so and zaps him with some witchy mojo turning him to dust. Which she then snorts. As one does. But wait! She's becoming younger, more beautiful, right before our eyes and I dub her Crack Mother Gothel.

Fast forward a week - Beep Boop.

Aiden is still in his woe is me phase and how does one attempt to claw one's way out of the abyss but by throwing a raging kegger featuring Natty Ice in his living room while dancing most unfortunately to 'Thriller'. It was very reminiscent of watching Angel and Wesley dance and I kind of wanted to stake him then the save him from the embarrassment of showing up on You Tube. Aiden has also been playing Russian Roulette with the humans, snacking on anyone with a pulse. Sally is also feeling down seeing as going out pretty much guarantees her seeing someone she knew and killing them to become Regeneriste for Mother Gothel. Playing cards with Teen Wolf, she laments her fate and Teen Wold wisely (I KNOW!) basically tells her to suck it up buttercup, you're an immortal hottie so why don't you move?

Josh the Mensch is really jonesing for some 1:1 time with Mama Wolf but she stiffs him for Grandma Wolf's birthday. Mensch has not given up on the dream of marrying Mama Wolf so sees this as the perfect set up to Meet the Parents. So of course Teen Wold comes along because really, would you leave her at home by herself? I think not.

Aiden shakes himself out of his funk long enough to take Sally to a place where he assures her that she has no chance of meeting anyone from her past. Sally is all about the clothes because let's face it, while yoga pants MAY make your ass look amazing, they really aren't meant for all day, every day wear. It's...a biker bar. That serves margaritas in glasses bigger than your head (though not, for the record, larger than the hubcap margaritas served by Nacho Mama's in Canton. Baltimore, represent!) and while she has some personal time with tequila, Aiden makes eyes at a bald, bearded and completely hammered biker. (Well! Now we know why he and the Mensch haven't sealed the deal; Josh lacks the requisite body art.) Then Aiden and Sally dance and by dance I mean she drapes herself over him because as we've noted before; tequila makes your clothes fall off.) Aiden distracts the clientele with shots (where exactly is he getting the funds for this generosity? A mystery wrapped in an enigma) and sneaks out after Biker Boy for a little lovin'. Or bloodin'. To-May-to, To-Mah-to. Sally finds Biker Boy drowning in his own blood and proceeds to freak. the fuck out.

Meanwhile back in suburbia, the party is rolling at Mama Wolf's house. Grandma Wolf wasn't expecting as many people as showed for birthday dinner so now she has to make more. Way to ingratiate yourself with the fam there Mensch. Teen Wolf's awkward presence is explained that she's the Mensch's cousin. Mama Wolf's brother takes a liking to Teen Wolf who does precisely DICK to discourage this. Grandpa Wolf seems to hate everyone and everything and of course mocks the Mensch who goes to assist in the kitchen where the conversation naturally turns to the dearly departed psycho ex of Mama Wolf. Mama Nora takes off for the sanctity of her childhood bedroom while the Mensch stops licking his wounds long enough to realize OH YEAH, this isn't about me and proceeds to make every man everywhere look like a complete chump with his declaration of love forever and ever amen. Even after Mama Nora says, yeah, I killed him. And Brynn. And...a bunch of other people but you still love me, pinky swear? But of course, my delicate flower, the Mensch loves everything about you!  They hug it out and it's very sweet.

Back at the house, Sally is feeling quite peeved that Aiden ditched her for Biker Boy and goes to visit him in his new abode: the laundry room what with Sally and Teen Wolf needing actual space. She straddles him and places a stake against his chest telling him that if he has a (second) death wish, she'll oblige. There's some nattering about regrets and loneliness and how Josh broke the bros before hos code before he agrees to shake his funk and he tells her where she actually needs to stake him. (No no stupid, you've got it all wrong. It's down here where the shoulder meets the neck.) This is either the best or the worst foreshadowing in the history of forever.

Back at Fun City, Josh works up the nerve to ask Gramps for Nora's hand in marriage to which he's like, eh, do what you want but did you get a load of the mother? You have been warned. He is going to be SO GOOD with Teen Wolf I tell you.

Aiden and Sally go to get jobs; for Aiden it's a bit easier - just fill out an application at the hospital from where he disappeared for a year and bam! Rehired. (Oh, TV, I call shenanigans on that one.) On the graveyard shift but still. Sally has a tougher road seeing as she doesn't actually exist so what does one do in this situation? Visit the funeral home to root around for death certificates for children to use their identity, get caught by the cute funeral direction and walk out with a job. Dressing corpses but still! A job. And possibly a booty call. That won't leave her at a biker bar, giant margaritas be damned. Brother Wolf comes to visit bringing Natty Ice for an engagement celebration which Nora knows nothing about because Gramps can't keep a secret for shit. She leaves him in the house for some reason, Teen Wolf comes downstairs and charmed by his beer hair, invites him upstairs to talk. Josh comes home, hears suspicious sounds from upstairs, goes up to congratulate Aiden for finally getting some again, finds In-Bred Wolf with Teen Wolf in bed and proceeds to unload on him forgetting for a  moment that he is, in fact, No-Wolf and is bailed out by Mama Wolf. Again. Teen Wolf runs off because TWU WUV and Nora shoots Josh down again.

Aiden is getting reacclimated to the hospital when he spies a kid with a sweet set up. Introducing: Bubble Boy. But what is Aiden really without an existential crisis? Just another pretty pretty face.

Next week! Teen Wolf! Romance! Office Shenanigans! Or not. I wasn't really paying attention.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mostly true tales of football superstitions

By now you've most likely heard me complaining ad nauseum that the Christmas tree is still up, lit and decorated in my living room. In February. A rational and intelligent person might ask why but for this, there is only one explanation: NFL Playoffs. Any true fan knows that whatever you wear, eat, where you sit, who sits on you, where your wife sits depending on where she started the game and home decor are all intangible factors in whether or not your team is destined for glory or the dustbin.  Let's break it down.

1A.  Apparel. Plan your game day outfit carefully when the season opens as if your team wins, you will need to recreate it in its entirety every week. Extra karma points for pants that you have walked out of and/or require you to not leave the house for the very real fear of being arrested for indecent exposure. Lucky socks and underwear are key; best results are achieved when you break in a pair of socks each season lest you suddenly find yourself with disintegrating fabric covering your feet midway through the season.

1B. Apparel. As football should only be played on Sundays (I'm looking at YOU, Thursday Night Football), you might find yourself visiting a house of worship in the early hours of the day. Dress accordingly (and not in your best jersey.) Have a favorite dress shirt with a jaunty coordinating team tie for luck AND decorum. God loves a snappy dresser in His Hizzouse after all.

2.  Refreshments. Who doesn't love good game snacks? But the same rules apply, make sure it is something that you will not mind eating every week for 17 - 20 straight weeks. And in the same vein, ensure that it is something that you will be able to get and not a single seasonal container of something as obscure as blackberry cobbler candy corn, team colors notwithstanding. The importance of communicating the power of this critical piece of game watching to your wife can not be understated as she might get a wild hair and clean out the pantry during the bye week thereby sending your team into a horrible spin of ineptitude from which they will be hard-pressed to recover. Cough.

3.  Scope out your seat. Moving your butt cheeks a few inches right or left could spell DOOM for your team so pick your spot and plant accordingly. This might require some negotiation with your children who have also staked out their respective corners for watching Disney Jr. but hold firm! You are in charge and your team needs you! Also, you can distract them with candy; bribery cannot be emphasized enough here.

4.  Seatmate. As fun as it is having a partner who is knowledgeable about the game, provides better analysis than the play by play guys and provides far more entertainment via histrionics over boneheaded moves, it just doesn't beat having your lap occupied by something warm and fuzzy and you can stroke rhythmically when things are going out of control on the screen. Well I mean you can try this with your seatmate but she will most likely get annoyed,tear off your arm and beat you with it so it's best to just invest in a Magic Cat. Magic Cats work best when the Seat of Power is located next to the window that gets the most afternoon sun. Again, strategy.

Dylan demonstrating rules 1, 3, 4 and 6 

5. Wife's Location. Recognize that your wife (or husband or significant game-watching other) might have his or her own Rules of watching most notably that if she (he) does not begin the game in the same room as the TV, she (he) is to NOT spend anymore time than necessary in the TV room because even if YOU don't subscribe to this bit of nonsense, it's HER (HIS) thing and she (he) needs to own the responsibility of using it correctly. Seasons have turned on this rule being followed or not. For example, the reason for the Raven's stellar play against the Patriots is completely attributable to the fact that I sequestered myself in the kitchen with no line of sight to the TV as I was not watching when the game began (kid duty and all that.) This is a sacrosanct rule that you ignore to your team's very real peril. The only times she (he) is allowed in the room is when the outcome of the game is no longer in doubt or if she CAN. NOT. play Jake and the Neverland Pirates One More Time So Help Me God. Ahem.

6.  Home Decor. THIS is where games are won and lost. You think that it has anything to do with the hulking men on the field? Pfft. Not bloody likely. It all comes down to how much you are willing to sacrifice for your team. At Casa de Lange things were kept reasonable for the regular season. Caw, the beloved Raven's mascot pillow pet has the place of honor on the back of the couch right where Dyl's head rests. In a pinch he can double as a lovey for those particularly nerve-wracking moments where the minutest of momentum shifts depends entirely on how tightly one clutches the prophetic polyester. Caw was recently joined by the Bumble getting a Raven-back ride.
The afterparty

But where the true power of the Raven's unlikely sweep to glory lay was with...the Christmas tree which stands proudly in the bay window of the living room. Laziness? Nay, thoust unworthy unbeliever! For as long as the lights bravely glowed on the noble plastic conifer with January clawing its way to February, nothing could vanquish the mighty Raven. Quoth the Dylan, 'Evermore'!

My birthday present better be fucking amazing

Best results are achieved by the utilization of all six traditions as evidenced by the sweet victory of the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl 47; your mileage may vary.

Next year that damn tree is coming down the day after Christmas. So say we all.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Really, child? REALLY?!

On Friday morning I received one of the more bizarre phone calls in my life. Noelle's teacher was on the line sounding absolutely bewildered and flummoxed. She stammered something about Noelle and Justin and scissors and put Noelle on the phone. I asked Noelle what was wrong and her small voice came back, "Mommy, I cut my hand with scissors." Or at least that is what I thought she said. So I asked her if she was okay, was she bleeding, did she go to the nurse, etc. She reassured me she was okay as gave the phone back to Mrs. Richmond who then clarified it was not her HAND that she had cut but her HAIR.

Well. This put things in a completely different light so I asked to speak to Noelle again.

"Did you cut your HAIR?" (I may or may not have shrieked this at her.)

Small voice. "Yes."


Teary voice. "Because I wanted short hair like you  Mommy!"

Taking a couple of deep breaths I informed her that it was not acceptable behavior and that she was never, EVER to do anything like that again.

Mrs. Richmond got back on the line, still absolutely flabbergasted. This was so out of character. She turned to a different table for a minute and when she turned back to the sound of Justin calling her name, hunks of hair were on the ground beside Noelle, scissors in hand. And yet. Noelle is so afraid of not being good in school that for her to act in this impulsive manner was completely not like her at all. I explained to her teacher that I had just gotten my hair cut pretty short and Noelle had commented the previous evening she wanted her hair short too. To which I said yes but THE NEXT TIME SHE GOT A HAIRCUT. Of course then visions of massive chunks of missing hair danced in front of my eyes, imagining pixie cut management or should we go straight to the buzz? So I did what anyone would do under these circumstances. I told Twitter. And Dylan. And my coworkers. And the more I thought about it, the more upset I got. Not because she cut her hair; all kids do that and it grows back but 1) she used her school supplies for that which they were not intended, 2) she did not follow directions and I was certain that hair cutting 101 was not the class project that day and 3) she disrupted the class by her actions as her teacher needed to stop everything to call me.

It turned out that the damage wasn't truly noticeable and didn't affect my being able to pull her hair out of her face for dance class on Saturday but oh, the mental pictures and potential mean comments from kids danced in front of my eyes.

Dyl and I talked and decided the punishment was going to focus not on the act but on the effect of the actions. She received no treats or dessert on Friday (poor choices are not rewarded) and she had to write a letter to her teacher apologizing for her actions and promising to never do anything like that again. There were some tears as she was looking forward to ice cream on dessert (her usual Friday treat) but we reminded her that there are consequences for our decisions and actions and Sunday she sat down with me and we talked about what the letter should say and she painstakingly wrote it. She is required to not only give the letter to Mrs. Richmond but she has to read it to her too. And then no more shall be said about it. Until I need to hold something over her head because hey, parental prerogative and all that.

Cutting hair? In class? Really? GAH child. Just....GAH.