Despite being sleepy and full of continental breakfast bacon, I'm going to spend the next little while writing a blog post for all of you. I'm in Waukegan, Illinois, sitting in a hotel room with more than adequate wifi, ready to attend my manchild's Navy Pass in Review first thing tomorrow morning.
I flew in an aeroplane! I took a snooze in the Denver airport!
The eight weeks of Navy boot camp is over for my oldest son. He got to call yesterday. I hadn't heard his voice for over a month. He's a sailor. It's over. He passed! He's a sailor!
Because the military begins all things very early in the morning, I have to be ready and out the door at 6 AM in my new grey pantsuit with my hair in curls. The hotel has been gracious enough to shuttle us to the event and back. Then into the graduation hall we go, to sit on bleachers and wait, and then to see this:
This is when the bawling will begin.
By the way, I stole this photo from the US Government and I'm not in the least bit ashamed.
Afterwards I get to borrow my boy, my grown man, from the Navy for the rest of the day. There are plans to eat food. There are plans to allow him to use our hotel shower for as long as it takes to get his fingertips to wrinkle. There are plans to let him use my laptop because he needs a technology fix. He may want to take a nap and that's okay. Just have him back by curfew.
Right now the plans are to iron whatever got wrinkled in my luggage and to drink enough water to fix my travel dehydration.
I'm packed and ready to get on a plane tomorrow morning. My son has made it through Navy boot camp and the boohoo-ing at his Pass in Review will take place Friday morning.
My boy needs snickerdoodles. Ever take your laptop in the kitchen and set it by your stand mixer? Creamed butter and sugar on the screen yo.
If your child is a special snowflake, know that eventually your snowflake is going to melt.
The Supreme Court arguments on gay marriage today were fascinating. We live in a great time.
My husband has like 600 million points on a slot machine game on Facebook. To buy that many points in the game through FB credits it would cost us $140,000 thousand dollars. Chew on that a while.
I'm really enjoying my neti pot. There aren't many things that belong up your nose that are as fun as your neti pot.
How come every time I run the water to start the dishes, I have to pee, no matter when I last took a pee? There is no use trying to pee before you do the dishes. Might as well just run the faucet and then run to the toilet.
My cat Beulah has these stuffed cat toys which she bats under the furniture just so she can meow at me to get them. It was cute at first. Now it's a pain in the neck, literally, I cricked my neck trying to reach under the furniture.
Last spring we were all delighted to find these rodents running around our backyard eating all my petunias and decimating my pea plants. Since then, they've been adopted into our family and named. Any moment now our squirrels, Sheldon Cooper, Amy Farrah Fowler, Penny Penny Penny and Raj will become parents. I know this because I Googled Antelope Ground Squirrel reproduction and reference photos tell me that girl squirrels display incredibly swollen and deformed labia when they are pregnant.
If you don't know what labia are, I suggest you look that up directly on Wikipedia and forego the general Googling. Trust me. You'll need a can of Lysol.
Anyhow, I plan on naming the new squirrels "The Wesley Crushers". This letter is from their parents.
Dear Seaman Recruit Kaelan,
We'd like to formally announce the upcoming birth of our offspring. Amy Farrah Fowler and Penny Penny Penny are expecting and fathers, Sheldon Cooper and Raj, couldn't be prouder or feel more studly. Not that we could determine the paternity of any of them. Squirrel social mores are most liberal...boom chicka bow bow...wink wink nudge nudge knowhatImean?
Yet, it is spring and when the buds burst forth a young squirrel's fancy turns to love! There is nothing that makes a squirrel as wistful as welcoming new blind and hairless pups into the burrow. It's the circle of life or a whole new world or a dream being a wish our hearts made. We don't care what Disney movies tell you...we are never going to be anyone's animal sidekick.
We will be holding a shower next week. It makes us squirrels most disappointed that you are unable to attend but we know we're in your thoughts. Your parents have been most generous in catering the event.
Your parents cats are NOT invited.
For your convenience, we are registered at Squirrels R Us, Squirrelmart, Squirrel Depot and the Mr. Peanut factory. We prefer to keep any clothing or toys gender neutral as we don't want to impose any stereotypes or constraining gender roles onto the pups. We feel this is best because then they will be free to explore their world in their own creative ways. Afterall, there isn't just one way to dig a burrow and everyone in the burrow is expected to pull their weight.
Especially Sheldon Cooper. What a little lard.
No, you shuddup Amy. You're just hormonal.
You can both be quiet. This upsets the whole commune. Find yourselves a burrow corner and calm down.
Yeah guys, Sheldon makes a good point. Our pups will be born cranky. It's spring! Fancy! Love!
Can we discuss other people's children for a minute?
I purposely use the plural term "children" because pointing out one specific child on the world wide web is irresponsible adult behavior. As I fancy myself responsible, I don't allow myself to describe the particulars, as much as it would serve the little git right. Crazy people might read this post and then a discussion would disingrate into graffiti and dead pets.
It isn't Fluffy's fault that other people's children bother me, got it? Put the dog treats down.
So, these children, they are the ones that ding dong ditch you right as you're going to bed and then swear they didn't do it even if they are trying to hide behind your tree. These children are the ones that take your kid's scooter, zipping up and down the street on it and calling your kid names when they pass. These children are the ones that knock on your child's bedroom window when they are inside for the night ordering them to sneak out popsicles or extra Halloween candy. These children are the ones who don't knock on your front door and instead just walk right on in without a hello, asking what you were eating for lunch and then declaring they don't like that.
I've sent these children home for being under dressed, under washed and mouthy.
So when my child went out to play Jedi Zombie Killer with his super awesome and somewhat pricey double ended light saber and came back in without it, chances were that other people's children had it.
Or rather, other people's children had "borrowed" it and promised to bring it back in a week.
Then when other people's children borrow your child's awesome toy, other people's children take the toy several blocks away to their friend's house to continue playing Jedi Zombie Killer there, without giving proper notice to your child to where the toy or the game was now located.
It took a couple hours, a car ride, and the responsible adult at the friend's house several blocks away to recover the light saber.
Now, other people's children happen to know from previous experience that this parent has written their names in large red letters on her liste de poop. This parent has no problem telling other people's children that they are not allowed to even think about entering my yard or looking cross eyed at my kids or their stuff when they've shown that they have no manners.
So why did other people's children show up at my house during dinner this evening asking if my kids could play?
Because other people's children must have no brain cells and suffer from amnesia, I swear to God.
It's been my policy on this blog thus far to fess up when I go to the doctor and pee in a cup. It's been a few days but I'm not going to hold out on you....Last week my husband burst a blood vessel in his eye and I'm the one that got to give a urine sample.
Neither my husband or I are pregnant. Oh Lord help us if we were. I've forgotten how to do all that baby stuff. Surely I'd buy the wrong color crib mobile and baby would never get into Harvard.
Look at my husband's eyeball.
If your high school history teacher got up in front of the room with this rolling around in their face, do you think you'd give him any attitude? No. You'd sit up straight and take meticulous notes. You'd ask for a pop quiz. You'd beg to read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States". Then you'd gleefully hand in your book report the next day and apologize for not having time to prepare a Powerpoint to go along with it.
I joked about beating my husband, and that's not what happened because the vessel burst while coughing up a french fry that went down the wrong way, so the universe punished me with a urinary tract infection. To save time we made our doctor's appointment together the next day. One exam room is enough to contain our love and commitment.
When we were called in the nurse handed me my cup and I rushed to the bathroom only to discover the light bulb had burned out. There was no way my angry bladder was waiting for a light bulb change. I peed by the light of my cell phone. Romance AND ambiance.
I don't have any photos of that part. Sorry.
Nor do I have any photos of the new doctor at the clinic. Sadly, the previous doctor, Doctor Huggiepants, has moved on to a less rural location and the next freshly minted resident has moved in to take his place. What this means is that new doc has to show off his training a little bit and take a good fifteen minutes listing all the reasons a patient might have contracted their urinary tract infection.
Wiping the wrong direction after using the toilet can do it, sure.
Wearing thong type underpants.
Dehydration. Holding your bladder.
And the type of sexual intercourse illegal in Utah, Idaho and Alabama. That is, if you decide to have the legal type of sex after you've had the illegal types without properly washing and disinfecting yourselves.
Then New Doc, without the benefit of a chart or graphic, explained just how close some parts of my private anatomy were to other parts of my private anatomy, making urinary tract infections a common occurrence amongst women, so I shouldn't worry too much about it.
Then he apologized for being blunt. I had to laugh. It was my turn to explain to him that this wasn't my first rodeo, that I was plenty familiar with my parts, and that a week's worth of a certain type of antibiotic would be appreciated because the other kind makes my innards feel like they will spontaneously combust.
What's funky about all this is that he did not take a similar stretch of time with my husband to explain to him why a mostly harmless subconjunctival hemorrhage can happen. Can illegal sex cause scary eyeballs?
In a touch over three weeks my son should be graduating from Navy Boot Camp. Mailing back and forth has proven to be an entirely new way to communicate with him. I've enjoyed writing him letters in different voices. It's a nice break from my usual weird meanderings which I'm sure he finds goofy and unsurprising.
I write this letter in the voice of my other cat, Beulah.
I know that while you were at home, most of the time I ignored you. Now I feel like a part of my life is missing. No matter how much I increase the amount of time I ignore your mom, dad and little brothers, I can't seem to match my previous satisfying levels of ignoring everyone in the household.
This has caused me much distress and anxiety but one cannot appear upset. Hiding my emotions interrupts my beauty sleep. Your mother left an empty Amazon box on the floor and no matter how much I turned around in it, I couldn't get comfortable. Instead I've obsessively groomed and made absolutely no eye contact with anyone.
Unfortunately keeping my coat lush and gorgeous has it's down side. I coughed up a hairball in my cat tree. I wasn't so uncouth as to do this in anyone's presence. This was quietly accomplished in the middle of the night when a proper cat can get some privacy. Maybe your mother does understand just how emotional I've been because she's the one that cleaned it up.
What? I can't clean that up! That's work! There is no time for this in my busy schedule.
Now that the snow is melted there are birds outside and they mock me. I watch them. I give them dirty looks. I curse them. Someday they will know pain. They will hurt. I will get satisfaction.
Your family has talked of you learning how to swim. In water. What kind of ridiculous occupation is this? No cat in her right mind would dare touch a paw to water and you human beings think that immersing yourselves in the stuff makes you superior creatures.
My family, my brother Chumlee (that simpleton), drives me into rages and hissing. He will not leave me alone. Shoves food in his mouth all day and then decides to ruin my well earned peace and quiet by moving in slowly to attack me. He watches me every time I need a constitutional to the litter box. It's really quite rude and someday I'm going to do something about it, maybe after my second afternoon nap, when it's not too sunny or to chilly, and the birds aren't out.
I'm looking forward to when you can come home in the future and I can ignore you again, even if you hold me up to the window and attempt engage me in conversation. It'll be a moment I plan to forget promptly.
For the next hour or two, I'm going to be writing this post in eight minute spurts. I'm baking fartcloggers.
I was creaming sugar and shortening for snickerdoodles and my son remarked that these cookies would be heart cloggers. I didn't hear him well over the sound of the mixer and confused heart for fart. From now on a perfectly innocent cookie has taken on the humor of boy children. That's fine. If eating snickerdoodles could indeed clog their farts, home life would be so much fresher.
This story, of all things, is an apt segue into the second post in my series on mommy guilt.
Though I may self title myself as a housewife, and I bake cookies, and sometimes I listen to my children, I don't derive my entire worth from my role as mother and because of that, I don't need to feel guilty when that role doesn't go as well as expected.
There is this myth out there, which is fed from all manner of popular media and political arenas and social and cultural meeting places, that a woman isn't a woman until she has the life changing experience of spawning children. Then, when you've spawned children in some fashion or another, you must put your entire value, being, and soul into the roll or ya just ain't doin' it right. Mommyhood first, everything else is secondary and frankly, not nearly as worthwhile.
And if you ain't doing it right at any given time, according to popular media and political arenas and to the folks doing all their blabbering in those social and cultural meeting places, you are a failure. A failure as a mother, a failure as a woman, a failure to the entire human race.
That kind of pressure and comparison can sure make a mommy feel guilty. Paranoid. Catatonic.
Except, I know I'm going to make mistakes as a mother and we'll move past those. And I know that it's always been okay to pursue interests outside of motherhood, and to fail or succeed when it comes to those interests. And I know it's wonderful to mesh my family and whatever is outside of my family into one big satisfying life.
Just this last week I had interactions with other folks trying to shame me for the way I mother. I've been told that I'll raise heartless children because I have not raised them in a religious tenet. In another interaction I was told that I'll raise sheltered and ignorant children for monitoring their computer use and not allowing them cell phones unless they can pay for them. In yet another interaction I was told that because I drop my children off to school in the morning wearing flannel pajama pants instead of getting dressed in something with more dignity, that I'd embarrass them and thus they'd be teased and bullied.
Whatever. Bring it on. I can handle it. I threw away the flannel pants with the hole in the butt so let's get ready to rumble.
As Popeye said, I yam who I yam, and I don't need permission or approval from anyone to approach motherhood in my own way. I'm a good person who tries to live my life with integrity. I didn't have to adopt a square version of motherhood to fit into my round life because Dr. Spock told me I already had the tools I needed to be successful. I'm authentic. This is me as mother and as person, and that resonates with my children.
So what if my kids go around calling cookies, "fartcloggers". Their mommy baked them warm for them and we all had an authentic moment with smiles on our faces.
...and if they repeat the joke in school the next day, instead of feeling badly about it, I'm going to laugh about the whole thing.
I forgot what I had in mind to write about. I'm sorry. It's okay that I forgot but I'll still apologize.
Because I'm sure it was juicy.
Or lewd and political.
...and there might have been a meme involved.
I am SO glad my mom never made me get that haircut. My older sister cut my hair into a mullet once. If I didn't have to dig that photo out of my attic to scan it, I might have been tempted to make a meme out of it. The temptation passes quickly enough though. The memory is bad enough.
I will tell you that I've had a sinus infection that's made my whole head feel like it was the GOP battleground for the sequestration. Both subjects set your teeth on edge, give you a headache, and makes you think that shoving your entire finger up your nose to remove excess mucus is a good idea.
Oh, lookit, I got to the juicy bit! I win the blog post!