Monday, March 30, 2009


I have a proposal I've been mulling over for quite awhile. Ever since I became a stay-at-home mommy (slave), actually. This latest recession has really brought it to a head. BTW, are we calling it a depression now, or are we sticking with recession? I can't seem to keep up. Anywho, think about this and tell me if I have not had a stroke of genius: What do people do when times are tough? If you answer "look for a job and drink, you are getting a ding, ding, ding! You got it right! So, my little business should cater to both. I can start franchises (to employ the out of work realtors, don't you know), AND provide a much needed service. If I were really smart, my new business venture would be...

The Martinimobile

These little busses would look suspiciously similar to the ice cream trucks we all grew up with and loved. With maybe a little Mardi Gras float feel to them too. Naturally, we would market to the mommies for starters. No one I know needs a martini at the end of a long day of legos and carpool like my favorite mommies. I can also think of quite a few childless girlfriends who would be digging in their change drawers for this too. I think we should carry a very limited selection- just to make it easy. And, really? If someone is running down the street chasing a Martinimobile, do they really care what the heck is being served as long as it has the word PROOF on the side of the bottle? I think not.

I'm really not much of a drinker. Not because I'm against it. On the contrary, I'm all in favor of a cocktail (or three) at the end of the day. I just don't have the time and have lost all tolerance and so one drink makes me sleepy and renders me unable to morph into the drill sargeant I need to be to get everyone into bed before 9PM. But, I can't help but think often of my grandparents and how they had a drink every single solitary night when my grandfather got home from work. He mixed the drinks and they drank them together while they discussed their days and relaxed. They just had one each and I can remember exactly the glasses they drank them from. I think they were onto something. Just one. To help one relax. And how convenient would it be if you didn't even have to mix it yourself? If it just came to you?

I really think there is lots of room for expansion with my Martinimobile idea. I could rent out for playgroups (is that wrong?), block parties and of course, church preschool holiday parties. Stop it with the raised eyebrows- I'm kidding! Kind of...

On a more serious note, I would definitely have a very, very strict policy against selling to anyone who didn't look somewhat haggard, over the age of at least 30 or who looked remotely like a nanny or babysitter (Not that I would have any clue what either looked like. I don't see many around this fishtank). It is one thing to have a cocktail ourselves at the end of a long day- just to get us through the 4-7 Angry Hour, as we call it. It is a whole 'nother story to pay someone to keep your precious children, only to find that they were using your daughter's school milk money for Long Island ice teas.

I would also have pretty stringent hiring requirements for my "bus drivers." All my drivers would have to be over the age of 30, have vibrant senses of humor and wear yoga pants.

I haven't even drawn up a business plan yet and already I am envisioning my successful business. Women across the Gulf Coast, hearing the tinkling of my merry bus, throwing couch cushions to the ground in their haste to scrounge up the change necessary to get a Screwdriver. Racing down the street, baby on the hip, toddler being dragged by one hand, change clutched in the other, screaming, "Wait for me! Wait for me!"

See, I told you I'm a genius. Now, don't you want a franchise?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Just wait until she has kids

Do you think Kelly Clarkson could have figured out a way to make the same catchy song without using the word "SUCK?" There is just something offputting about an 8 year old belting out "my life would SUCK without yooooooouuuu!" from the backseat of my car. Which is why I change it when it comes on, unless they aren't in the car. In which case I sing along at the top of my lungs.

I'm considering telling them that she is saying "My life's a muck without you" so I can continue to listen to it, but I'm not sure they'll buy it. Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Perhaps I was not clear about why/how we end up eating in every night when The Scientist is away. Contrary to Kelly Bee's thought, it is not lack of guts. Nor is it virtue, as I fear Kristen may believe. It is laziness and a firm commitment to #5 on the list. When one chooses to dine out with children, it is customary to eat at the same table with them, is it not? Dining out solo with children is not pleasurable for me. If it is a buffet (don't get me started on my hatred of buffets...), I spend the entire time jumping up and down to fetch things for various people and by the time I actually sit down to eat, they are all finished. It's not dinner, it's aerobics. If it's not a buffet, I have to figure out how to occupy three children spanning 7 years and keep them from giving everyone around us acid reflux. By the time their dinner arrives, I just want us all to wolf it down as fast as possible and get the heck out of Dodge. Not. Relaxing. Did I mention that Red Fish is going through a SpiderMan phase? Not that he knows who SpiderMan is, but he has a burning desire to climb on anything and everything. Tables are perfect and every one must be conquered. Sitting in a high chair and NOT being allowed to climb out of it and onto the nearest level surface is torture.

For some reason, all these issues are much, much more managable with another adult. In the meantime, however, a dinner out that I didn't have to prepare (or clean up) takes a backseat every time to reaching the end of a long day and sitting down to enjoy a meal by myself, in my jammies, in perfect silence with a great book. You can appreciate? There is no virtue here. I'm the one they make the public service announcements about. "The family that eats together..." There's just plenty of time for that one we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

No tickets to Sundance required

This is the conversation my children and I just had:

Two Fish: Mickey and Jesse are really into Star Wars.

Me: Really?

One Fish: Yeah! Mom, they talk about it all the time and Jesse has a light saber and everything!

Two Fish: Can I have a light saber?

Me: Why do you want a light saber?

Two Fish: Can I watch Star Wars and THEN get a light saber?

One Fish: Why can't we watch Star Wars?

Me: Well, I don't know that you can't watch Star Wars. Let me think about it.

One Fish: Ok, Mom. How about this. You read the book to us first, but skip any scary parts.

Two Fish: Yeah! Have you already read the book? Is it just like the movie?

Me: Guys, Star Wars isn't a book. It's just the movie.


Two Fish: (laughing) Well, then how did they know what to put in the movie?

One Fish: Mom! Of course it's a book! It has to be a book before it's a movie! Just check it out from the library and then tell us if it's OK for little kids!

(insert giggling from my children directed at their most ridiculous and evidently clueless mother)

It doesn't appear that we have any budding film careers here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Mommy Show

On April 8th, we will resume our regularly scheduled programming. That is, The Scientist will return home. Until then, we are in survival mode and have been for several weeks. Here is how The Mommy Show differs from our regular programming:

1) We eat in every single night and eat whatever the heck we feel like it. I like to cook, so sometimes we eat really, really well (ie- I make something delicious that the children won't touch with a 10 ft. pole). Other times we eat sandwiches. Regardless, there's no way in hades I'm taking three children to a restaurant by myself.

2) We go to bed really early. It's 8:54. They've been asleep for over an hour. I have been in my jammies for at least that long.

3) We. Have.A.Schedule. It is not to be deviated from. Unless there is a diaper blowout just as we are leaving the house, in which case all schedules for the next 12 hours can be thrown out the window.

4) We read A LOT. Out loud. The Scientist, philistine as he is, enjoys neither being read to nor reading out loud. He is also a terrible out-loud reader. So, when he's gone, we read out loud at breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, bedtime and during any hurry-up-and-wait activity. They love it. I love it. He'd hate it.

5) I try to never, ever eat with them. Sit with them while they eat? Yes. Actually break bread with them? Not if I can help it. There. Put that on my "Worst Mother of the Year" application. I know it's wrong, but I'm not medicated and do deserve a vice or two. Count "eating in peace and quiet" as one of them.

6) Counter-intuitively, I am much more calm during the Mommy Show. Not that The Scientist stressed me out. But, what's the point in getting all worked up when there is no back-up coming and I am plans A, B,C,D and E? It will just make things worse.

7) There is always some big change while The Scientist is gone. Rooms get completely rearranged. Major purchases are made. Hair gets drastically cut. Nothing so dramatic has happened so far this trip. I was starting to worry that I was due to pull a Brittney Spears haircut or something like it. So, I went ahead and scheduled the puppies to be neutered in hopes that this would satisfy the seeming requirement that something be dramatically different upon The Scientist's return. We've told them they are going to the spa for the day. Because it's sort of like a haircut...but different.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gradeschoolers and Grosgrain

WARNING! The following passages contain shameless bragging by me on my (absolutely adorable) child. This also contains a fair amount of mock shallowness and thinly veiled competitive nature. If you are offended by such, prefer not to read such or take me or yourself too seriously, you are strongly encouraged not to read this or at least to proceed with caution. You have been warned.

We spent today at the regional science fair. I am a self professed dork and loooooove me some science fair. Reading fair ranks pretty low on my list, but we still play along and do it. I can't make it mean much more to me than any other glorified book report, but I understand the language arts teachers love it. So be it. But, science fair? Please... We're in it to win it. With that said, I am a witch when it comes to making One Fish do it herself. I'll teach her anything scienc-y that needs to be taught ahead of time, but when it comes to actually doing the experiment, I'm hands off. She writes it up. She researches it. I won't even type it for her. I taught her to use spellcheck and any other errors that a second grader wouldn't reasonably be able to catch, we leave in there. On the school science fair level, I do look each year to see which categories get the fewest entries so that she can do a project in one of those and have less competition and get to regionals, but that's an embarassing fact that I'd prefer you don't repeat. People might start thinking I'm That Mom (or steal my great strategy, don't you know).

With The Scientist out of town for the month (please stop gasping- it only makes it worse...), I was running the three ring circus solo this morning. All four of us were to be in attendance today and so we had to have things dialed in last night. The doors opened for this shindig at 7AM this morning. (the gasping thing again- stop it.). So, like any of you would, I had everyone lay out their clothes last night.

One Fish chose a most adorable baby blue, brown and pink polka dot skirt with a matching shirt with grosgrain ribbon bow trim. Brown wedge sandals. Then she came walking in with her hair accessory choice. A BIG OL' chocolate brown bow with her monogram on it. She says to me, "I haven't been going for bows lately, but I'm going to go with this one for tomorrow because from what I can tell, judges like a big hair bow."

And you know what? She got second place.

Because really, who can resist a smart pants science girl with a big monogrammed hair bow? Not me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Today's Stellar Parenting Moment is Sponsored By...Me

One Fish's class has been reading the book Charlotte's Web. Their spelling words have come from it, they've studied vocabulary from it, they've watched the movie. They've had spider snacks and pig themed snacks and have done all sorts of diagrams analyzing the book. They've done in -class projects and out of class projects and have generally eaten, breathed and slept CHARLOTTE. The book is now over and we have sadly discovered that...

One Fish has misplaced her book.

Actually, now I think we can safely say she has LOST it. Not just misplaced. It is nowhere to be found. I e-mailed the teacher (while plugging my ears against the wailing and keening from my daughters room) to ask her if what One Fish suspects is indeed true. Will the world actually stop spinning if she never finds the book or is there some sort of simple fine associated with this transgression?

Sure enough, a simple five dollars blood money is all that is required to atone for this sin.

I e-mail the teacher back. I explain that since I am The Meanest White Woman In The County, my daughter will be earning the five dollars to pay for the book ("But, Moooooommmmmm!"). So, do I need to send the $5 in immediately, or can I draw this little teachable moment out a bit longer and make her earn the five dollars slowly, looking at the money accumulate in her bank, knowing that it has already been spent in a moment of carelessness? I have already explained to One Fish that Mommy and Daddy have made lots and lots of bad choices in their time that have led to something having to be repaired or replaced and I want her to know how to work to make up for something when a bad choice has been made. And perhaps to think twice before a bad choice is repeated. Life lessons don't come cheap, ladies and gents.

I have to be honest with you, dear readers. I was pretty pleased with my parenting at this point. I knew I was making a difficult, but practical and just decision. I was teaching my child how to make up for careless choices. I was leading her. I was, by God, being a GOOD MOM. My hearing would be forever damaged because of the reaction of my darling daughter to the sad news that it was HER five bucks that would be sacrificed, but this was a small price to pay, I thought piously. Of course, the teacher was going to recognize this and think all the better for me of it. Not that I didn't think she thought just wonderfully of me already. After all, I smugly told myself, I used to be a teacher, don't you know. If anyone knows how to be an involved, responsible parent that is the dream of any teacher, it is me! Right?

So, the teacher e-mails back that we should just send in the money as soon as possible (not exactly sure what that meant). She also put a PS on the end which read:

"Could you also please clean out [One Fish's] communication folder?"

I stared at the screen for several minutes trying to process what I had just read. I was shocked. Horrified. My heart actually started to beat faster.

'Cause, ummmm...

I didn't even know she HAD a communications folder.

She does, as it turns out. Has ever since school started, actually. And no, it hasn't been "cleaned out" since...well, ever. The past 27 weeks of school, I guess. Luckily, she is a responsible little person (except for losing things, it seems) and had shown me some of the most critical pieces. And, there is a weekly folder that comes home with graded papers and newsletters and bulletins and of this folder I have been well aware and ultra diligent about "cleaning out." So, why is this other communication folder necessary? Well, your guess is as good as mine, but the teacher obviously thinks it is important and has certainly been wondering why I have neglected to take a single thing out of it for 27 weeks.

Its a good questions, isn't it?

Friday, March 6, 2009

We have a winner!

For those of you who thought I might be the biggest dork ever for my HP obsession, allow me to assure you that I have been beaten. My sister just sent me this link. She wins.

And, whether you love, like or just tolerate the HP series, you will be envious that you will not be attending the kick tail HP movie party I am preparing for the fishies. I'm currently on a quest to find Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. Wish me luck...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Nerd Alert

The Fishies and I have been quite busy this week. My in-laws left on Monday (love them!) and my mother comes on Saturday (love you too, Mom!). The Scientist was supposed to leave for month at sea two days ago. But, as is typical, he's still here. The feds move slowly in just about everything and boat preparation is no exception. A problem with this and a glitch in that. They've assured him that he is really, really leaving today. We'll see.

At the rate we're going this week, my mother will be lucky if she has clean sheets on the bed when she gets here. The Fishies and I have been completely consumed by HARRY POTTER this week! They have been begging me to read it to them for awhile and I have resisted only because after the first book or two, things get pretty dark and scary pretty quickly and I didn't want to "go there." But, one of my favorite things ever is reading a favorite book of mine aloud to them and I finally caved. We'll just do the first one. And maybe the second...

They are obsessed. We have decided that we would surely all be in Gryffindor. And Two Fish would definitely play Quidditch. I'm a bit of a Hermione, myself, and can't see loving the flying thing. One Fish has a vision issue that would probably keep her sidelined. They both, of course, know exactly what Harry should do in each situation ("get Snape fired!") and gasp at the appropriate times and laugh uproariously a the antics of Peeves the Poltergeist.

The Scientist is trying to hide how horrified he really is. He's not much of a fiction reader himself and equates HP to Dungeons and Dragons. He doesn't get it at all. But, he knew this about me when we met. When I was 8 months pregnant with One Fish, I did stand outside the bookstore at midnight with all the other middle school students to get the new book when it came out. It should not come as a surprise to him that he married a nerd (in this respect only, of course).

As soon as The Scientis is out of here and we've finished the book (should happen tomorrow or Saturday), we're going to snuggle up in the bed with some Bertie Bots Every Flavor Beans and some Chocolate Frogs (heehee- the fishies don't even know you can buy them- they're going to DIE!) and watch the movie.

We'll see who the fun mommy is now.