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Month: February 2007

Tormenting the Teens

Tormenting the Teens

What two words can strike fear into the hearts of teens and tots everywhere?  Okay…I admit there are a lot.  But the two I am thinking of are SPRING CLEANING!

You heard me right.  Next week is the infamous Spring Break.  I want my house clean and shining for this break so that I don’t spend the whole week tripping over clutter, crying over messes and basically being that insane mom who freaks out over the CLUTTER.

Here is where I am asking you for help.

What are you best organization tips?

How do you get your kids (remember mine are ages 5, 11 and 13) to get motivated (HA!) enough to clean house?

Do you do rewards?  Chore charts?  Threats?  Bribes?  Circus animals?  (Yeah, that last one is a stretch, but you are looking at a desperate woman here!)

Help me help…you well, actually..ME!  I am calling upon the wisdom of you, dear Internets for your best and most helpful cleaning tips and motivational tools to get the kids to help.  Because if I have to do it myself then they will have a miserable Spring Break because Mom will become Super Freaking Out Because This Place is a Mess Mom.

Who knows?  Maybe the most effective idea submitted will win a prize.  Or something.  ANYTHING to help me get these kids off the computer and helping to clean.  I have threatened to put the house on the market because, let’s face it, that was when my house was the cleanest and the kids helped the most.

Bring it, friends.  And don’t be gentle.  I am all about the tough love.  (Unless it is aimed at me.  Then I cry!)

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Thinking things

Thinking things

When my Mom got sick–I mean really sick– I sort of checked out.  Checked out of my online “life.” Checked out of my personal relationships.  Checked out on being a person, really. When she died, it got worse.  I was not living.  I was existing.  Every now and then I would throw myself into something with a passion in hopes that something would ignite, but rarely did it.  And when it did, I didn’t last for long.  I was moving through life underwater and holding my breath.  Hoping I would emerge on my own and soon.

Now, here I sit, over a year later and when I start to feel like I am emerging, I realize that I don’t recognize much around me.  In fact, who the hell is this person and what has she done with my life?

I look around my house and wonder if I just woke up as the house-mom to a fraternity after a kegger.  Chaos and a smell no one really wants to identify.  Where is my clean house?  My friends?  My social life?  What happened to my job?  My goals?  My dreams?  While I am at it, where is the person my husband married and the mother these kids deserve?  Hell if I know.

I feel like I have been in a coma all this time and as I emerge, nothing is like it was.  Nothing stays the same.  Nothing can.  But how in the hell do you not become overwhelmed when you are just emerging and not one damn thing in your life is as it was?  Not one person is as familiar as you remember.  Not one routine feels right.  The passion you used to have for something isn’t there anymore.  The friends you counted on had to go on with their lives.  They couldn’t stay in the same place with you. 

And now, as you look around you wish you never emerged.  When you were under water or in that mental coma, it didn’t matter.  You were untouchable because “fuck you, my mom died and this shit just does not matter!!

How do you regain your life?  How do you recover friendships?  Can you? Or do you just replace them?  How do you make up for a year–a whole friggin’damn year– of lost time??  Can you?  Do you?  How do you fix it?

Well, I can tell you that posing those question to an addict will give you far different results than if you place them in front of a normie.  A Normie will find a constructive way to fix this.  An addict?  Well, she will look at you as if you have gone 7 different kinds of crazy and then find a way to numb it.  Or at least try to find a way to numb it.  When she can’t, she will be bouncing off of the fucking walls trying to make it better.  And you know what?  You want to know the horrific fun truth in it all?  She will NEVER find a way to make it better or right or normal and that will just make her all the more crazy trying to find a way to do so.  Amazing fucked up reality, isn’t it?  My world and welcome to it, my friend.

I know I have been going through the motions in a lot of ways.  In a lot of areas.  With a lot of people.  And god help me, I don’t know how to reach through the haze, the depths of this drowning water and grab onto someone I can trust to pull me out.  Without lectures.  Without telling me how to fix things.  Without the “I told you so’s” that make it harder than it has to be.  How?  I swear I don’t know how to do that.  How do people get through shit like this and not leave behind them an inordinate amount of destruction?  Lord help me there must be way, but hell if I know what it is.

You want to know the truth?  I almost wish to have the drowning back.  The coma that left me unable to move forward.  At least then I was existing and not feeling so overwhelmed with all I need to do to make life right again.  Because overwhelmed does not begin to cover it.  At all.

For some reason, as I was surfing in the middle of the night rather than sleeping–as I am known to do– I came across Rosie’s blog. Now, there are not a lot of times I really get her, but this time (though she is referring to Britney Spears) it made me laugh and then hit me in the gut. 

many moms –

of kids in ur sons class

want to shave their hair off

and get a tattoo

they dont because they cant

noone is there 2 watch the kids

what would the neighbors say


the pta meeting

would be humiliating

on many levels

real life

can save u


u have to – no choice

Real life can save you.  Hmmmm….I suppose that is truer than I realized.  Real life kept me from sinking under the water.  Real life kept me from letting go.  Real life kept me from giving into the numb I know is there. 

Real life has changed.  But it has waited for me.  I will admit to not really recognizing it and being scared shitless of it, but it is there nevertheless.  And, seeing as it pretty much saved me, I owe it to find a way to get to know it again.  For real this time.  No going through the motions. 

It’s like having to get sober all over again.  And trust me when I say the first time sucked enough for a lifetime! 

Trust me on that one.

[Update:  I got an email asking if I turned comments off because I wanted to be left alone.  No.  I turned comments off because the last thing I want is anyone feeling like they need to make a comment when they really don’t.  This is the kind of post where I certainly don’t want anyone to feel the need to “make me feel better.” With comments on, I know some friends will think they should.  And really, you don’t have to!  That’s all.  No leave me alone sign hanging on this door.  Just to be clear.]

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If a writer writes in an empty house, does the sound of her head slamming the keyboard make a sound?

If a writer writes in an empty house, does the sound of her head slamming the keyboard make a sound?

Today was the first day in over TWO weeks that I was all alone in my house.  Not one person was home sick.  Except me, of course, and that doesn’t count because I am the mom and we don’t get sick days.  So, I did what I knew I had to do.  I gorged myself on forbidden food, drank too much coffee and fought it out with the Office Assistant.  Oh, yes, we had our words.  Okay, mainly they were my words and most of them unfit for publication.

To say the least, my mood was horrific– much resembling a baby who realizes the smell making his eyes water is coming from his own diaper.  Oh, I was in a poopy diaper mood for sure.  But why?  I had the house to myself.  To. Myself.  I was on a roll with my book.  I had things going my way.  But I was hurting over something that I couldn’t place my finger on.  Angry at anything that moved a few choice things that didn’t. (Hello, Lego that jammed into the arch of my foot.  I am talking to you!) I was lonely, but the last thing I wanted to do was to talk to anyone.  I mean, conversation?  I was so not going to do small talk with anyone.  Unless of course you are a bill collector and then I could tell you all about your questionable parentage in words that would make you cry.  Oh and for the love of all things sleep deprived, I was tired.  Bone tired.  Trying to get over the flu tired. The kind of tired that makes you ask “Are you SURE there is not a newborn in this house somewhere because I am demented and definitely have crazy eyes!”

In other words, it’s that time of year again.  Every damn year this happens and every damn year it takes me by surprise.  (See?  Addicts can be forgetful and face it, we have probably lost a lot of brain cells.) So I did what any responsible writer would do in these circumstances. I wrote.  I deleted.  I wrote. I deleted. I drank coffee.  I wrote.  I actually liked that sentence and didn’t delete it. Then drank more coffee.

By then the whole routine had me worn out.  And I heard it.  Silence.  Not one person asking me for anything.  Except in the distance, there was this slightly eager voice calling out “Come to me. I bring you peace, harmony and comfort.” It was my bed.  (No, I was not on anything.  Doesn’t your bed call to you when you are so freaking sleep deprived you can hardly stand upright?)

Again with the need to be responsible, I ran with open arms to my bed and jumped in.  I love you!  I love you!  I chanted. Then promptly fell asleep until it was time to pick up the kids. 

Of course, I woke up with the intense desire to hurt anyone who spoke to me.  That usually does not bode well when you have a school function that night.  It was Reading Night and you could wear your pajamas.  So I threw on some sweats and grabbed my kids and went and had stories read to me.  Nice change. 

But still, not so fond of this time of year.  So if I get all up in your kool-aid in a bitchy way, tell me to back off and go pound on my keyboard.  I may bite you, but I won’t be saying anything mean.  And if I do, bite me back.

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Today Show Clip: Should moms have cocktail playdates? Again.

Today Show Clip: Should moms have cocktail playdates? Again.

I have done my best to stay out of this entire Today Show and cocktail playdates issue.  For one, my kids are too old for play-dates.  Secondly, I think it was blown way out of proportion after the first segment was aired.  Today they aired a second piece as a follow up in which my friend Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay was in studio.  Now, if you read her book or have read her blog, something you are bound to come away with is the fact that she, too, feels that moms really need to stop with the judging already.  Hoping she would bring it up, I watched this morning to see how the whole segment would play out.

In case you missed it this morning, here is a link to it.  (If that one does not work, there is a clip of of the segment that aired this morning on the Today Show main page.)

I believe that Stefanie did a great job at trying to lighten up the attitude and brought up the PERFECT point:  It’s just another hot button issue that people are using to judge each other.  And, yes, sometimes that judgment comes out of our own insecurity.  The entire “Am I really doing this mothering thing the right way?” Motherhood is tough.  There are bound to be times when we question ourselves.  But do we really need to question everyone else, too?

I think Stef said a wonderful thing that we need to all hear:  “Let’s stop using this as here is another thing to feel guilty about.’” (Slightly paraphrased.) But her point is the same.  Stop judging each other and for goodness sake, stop judging yourself so harshly as well!

Isn’t it time to stop pointing fingers?  Time to band together?  Time to stop selling tickets to the mud-slinging, mommy wars that others are fueling?

I am so over Moms looking at each other and trying to find fault in their parenting or new ways to tell moms how they should be doing things a different way because obviously they have not read the study on blah blah blah.  To me, it just seems that every time we do this to each other, we take a giant step backwards.  The best advice I ever received as a Mom is that you need to do what is right for you and your family. 

I adore Stef and think she handled the whole segment like a pro.  She kept it light, made jokes and even got Meredith to admit that after the beating this issue has taken she, too, could use a glass of wine.

All in all I just wish we would start working together as Moms and start supporting each other.  The finger pointing?  So last year.  The mommy wars need a cease fire.  Feel free to bring the beverage of your choice to the celebration party–coffee, Diet Coke, wine–who cares.  Let’s just do this thing together


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The Today Show hoping to clear the air

The Today Show hoping to clear the air

I told you earlier in the week over on Mommybloggers and now I am telling you here, after all of the buzz and backlash that was created after the Today Show’s “Cocktails and Playdates” story, Today Show invited my gal Stefanie Wilder-Taylor to come back to the show (in studio this time) apparently sensitive to the fact that the previous segment stirred up the situation way beyond what I think anyone could have imagined.  I don’t think anyone expected the chaos that followed that segment.  Quoted in the LA Times last week, Stefanie said:

“I hope that I can straighten it out,” Wilder-Taylor said Tuesday from her Encino home as 2-year-old daughter Elby played in the background.

“I’m not mad,” she stressed. “They called me and invited me back. I didn’t call to say I was misrepresented.”

So, if you are one of the people who had a few things to say about the segment, see what Meredith, Stefanie (and I am pretty sure Dr. Janet) have to say to clear the air around this topic.  Knowing Stefanie, she will be witty and lighten it up and hopefully represent in a way that will smooth a few ruffled feathers.

She will be on The Today Show tomorrow morning (Wednesday, the 7th).  TiVo (or if you are like me without TiVo), record it.  Just tell the kids Dora is sick and won’t be on tomorrow morning and make sure you tune in.

So just grab your Sippy Cups And Your Chardonnay and forget the whole thing and let’s just stop judging each other and get back to arguing over the hot issues.  Like Matthew or Brad and is George still in the running?  I am talking HOT issues, people. 

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Why I had to go all Donald Trump on the Assistant’s Arse

Why I had to go all Donald Trump on the Assistant’s Arse

Let me just say this, Microsoft Word wants me to lose my mind.  I swear it!  They do!  Let’s face it, the life of a writer can get a bit lonely.  And yes, there are times I talk to myself.  Especially now that I am in the homestretch with my book.  I am writing more now than I have in ages, so I get a bit wacko.  However, the very fact that I got into an argument with that damn paper clip in Office means I am probably in need of a break.  He mocks me.  I swear he does.  He is in total cahoots with that BIG LOOMING blinking cursor.  They like to tag team me.

*blink blink blink blink*

Paper-clip rolling his eyes, looking bored with my lack of words on the page….just waiting to pounce on me and say something stupid like, “You seem to be having a problem.” Then to just get all arrogant with his plethora of answers for me. 

I couldn’t take it.  I had to change my assistant.  I have no problem firing assistants.  I can go all Donald Trump on their ass with the ease of a champion.  I decided to take a chance on the Red Button.  How threatening can a red button be?

Oh my holy mother of annoyance!  He is way too happy for me.  Getting all studious when he looks up my answer then becoming the Perk Master Zen Freak when he finds it as he spins in circles and contorts into exclamation points.  No way.  Too much pep for me.  Bite me, red button.  You’re fired.

So let’s try the cat.  I, personally, am not a cat person but I will pretend to be just to get rid of the Red Dot.

That damn thing MEOWS.  At me.  While I write.  I have thrown shoes at the neighbor’s cat for less.  I don’t need one doing it on my computer screeen while I am writing.  The cat has GOT to go!  Next!

Dog? Should I try the dog?  I have a dog.  My dog is trained. Let’s go with the dog.

The dog didn’t seem too bad, but you know what?  He’s a bit of a smart ass.  I don’t need a smart ass dog trying to tell me what I am doing wrong while I am writing.  That is what I have critique partners for!  My Doberbutt is enough of a distraction. Buh-bye doggie. 

Looks like I am going to hate all of them.

My husband says to just (and I quote) TURN THE DAMN ASSISTANT OFF!

What does he know?  It’s not like he is a writer with a book deadline or anything.  (But maybe he has a point.)

Nah.  Without the assistant, I never would have been able to kill this much time bitching about it.  (And yes, I am getting back to work.  I know I have deadlines.  And my critique-rs (It is a word if I want it to be a word no matter how many paper-clips argue with me!) are not easy going on the deadlines.  That’s why I love them so much!)

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