Subourbon Mom


My “Senior Project”

yougotthisAs the end of Daughter #1’s Senior Year approaches, the final sprint towards final exams, AP tests, and Senior Project has begun. Not to mention prom, graduation, college selection, and the never-ending game of Senior Assassin (more on this later). For Seniors this means tearing themselves away from watching vines and shopping for prom dresses and studying for exams, throwing together last-minute power point presentations and agonizing over roommate selection. ugly prom dress For parents this means panicking when you realize you never ordered graduation announcements, approving and paying for the last prom and graduation dresses, and deciding how to celebrate this momentous of times – do we have a keg at the party for the adults or not?

It also means attending the Senior project presentations. At our school, Senior Project is a year-long process involving learning a new skill or challenging yourself in a new way (like learning to make cheese, hatching and raising chickens, trying to understand the lyrics to Rhianna’s songs, etc.), documenting it, doing a research paper, and presenting the whole thing in front of a small group of parents and teachers.

As I sat there watching these impressive young adults show how they started their own yoga classes, created scholarships, ran half-marathons, published their own international blog on Russian politics and even learned how to fly fish, I wondered What the hell have I been doing with my life?

I was impressed and depressed all at the same time. These young people were avidly exploring new ideas, challenging themselves and getting out of their comfort zones in ways that many adults never will.

Thank goodness these kids will be in charge of me when I finally become an adult.

I was depressed because I took an inventory of my recent years and realized I haven’t done much in the way of challenging myself other than to start a new job. Somehow I don’t think trying new food at the local Iranian restaurant counts.

And then I realized that my Senior Project isn’t done yet. I’m still researching how to raise successful women on a daily basis. I’m nearly always out of my comfort zone. My PowerPoint presentation is currently still housed in my laptop under “Pictures” and in the copies of report cards and assignments I’ve kept over the years. And, I present my project in front of my parents every time they visit or call.

I don’t know what my final grade will be, but I’m no longer depressed. I’m more and more impressed with my project every day.

Now if I could just figure out how to cite all those parenting how-to websites I’ve visited over the years.

 



Chick Flick Fail

Once in a while I manage to get the house to myself and have a chick-flick night. Nothing’s better than settling down after a crazy week with a glass of wine, a warm, fuzzy blanket and 2 hours of watching a hot guy seduce a woman in the most unrealistic ways.

Trailer picSo the other night I had a little bit of alone time (Hubby was out of town, and the Daughters had plans), and settled in to binge watch my new favorite show “Outlander.” And best of all, the episode I was on was going to be the climactic wedding.

Jamie MacKenzie, the hot Scottish Highlander character in the show, explains how he has somehow remained a virgin in his mid-twenties in the 1740s (yeah, right), and is staring at his bride Claire with smoldering eyes and perfect dimples.

One of the cats walks in front of the TV screen.  It’s ok – I can rewind. I have that power. I start over, and take a sip of wine.

Jamie and Claire finally put their whiskey down and have sex, the first time for Jamie. It’s not pretty, but Jamie’s auburn curls and charming smile amply make up for the lack of finesse, although he certainly had more finesse than one would have thought. They lay on their backs in the candle light, breathing heavily –

Cat walks across my lap, stopping to put Old One-Eye in my face.
Shove cat to the floor. I rewind again, take another sip of wine.

eyesex

 

 

Jamie and Claire relive their wedding day, with smoldering looks, tentative touches and candlelight everywhere. He carries her to their room –

 

 

The cell phone rings. I put my wine glass down.
“Mom?” Daughter #1 asks.
“Yes?”
“Is there any way you can bring me the concert tickets I left in my backpack? I’ll meet you close to the house.”
Seriously? I think.
Sigh… “Ok. I have to pick up your sister soon anyway. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”

45 minutes later I bring Daughter #2 home, where she disappears into her lair, not to be seen again until morning. I get a glass of water to balance the wine, pick up the glass of wine, ignore the water and settle back under the blanket and rewind.

eyesex2

 

Jamie lets Claire see him in all his glory, scars from English torture showing his vulnerability and flawless musculature. Claire reaches up to caress the scars –

 

 

 

 

Cat sharpens claws on back of the couch near my ear. Shove cat to the floor, spill some wine. Go to kitchen to get towels and clean up the wine. Rewind.

Jamie and Claire, after an agonizing amount of carefully orchestrated removal of layers and layers of clothing, finally make non-virginal love, loudly and with gusto.

The back door slams. Daughter #2 comes in, cautiously yelling, “Hellooooo?”

Sounds of pleasure are blaring from the TV. I hastily try and find the pause button in the dark but only succeed in turning the volume up. I finally manage to hit the power button and turn the damned thing off completely, but drop the remote somewhere in the blanket and cushions.

“Hello! Mom?” Daughter #2 calls again.
“What?” I bark.
“I can’t find my learner’s permit and I have Drivers Ed tomorrow.”
“Did you look on the floor of your room?”
“Yep.”
“Car?”
“Not yet. I’ll go look.”
I sit in the dark, waiting. The door slams again.
“Find it?”
“No. I’ll go look on my floor again.”
“Ok.”

Search for the remote, and find it on the floor under the couch. A cat paw grabs my hand as I retrieve it, drawing blood. I try Attempt to unsuccessfully stomp on the cat paw.

Rewind – watch the love-making scene again – because you can’t stop half-way through. Just sayin’.

Jamie and Claire reach their climactic finish again, and Jamie is asking if she liked it. (Um…really?) How could she not? Like I said, unrealistic. Claire says she did, and Jamie –

Cell phone rings.
Heavy sigh….I not-so-gently put my mostly empty wine glass down.
“What?”
“I found it.”
“Good girl. Now please go to bed.”

Claire decides to show Jamie what making love can be like when the woman is in charge. Jamie is clearly enjoying himself, looking at the ceiling and groan—

Cat walks across coffee table, spilling the glass of water.

“Oh my God!” I yell.   I clean up the water and settle down to try one more time to get through just one entire romantic scene. But seeing the spilled water made me have to go to the bathroom.

Minutes later, I rewound the scene and tried again. But going to the bathroom made me start thinking about UTIs, and how no one ever seems to have one in romantic shows, despite the fact that they had sex all night long, and no one ever had to pee. I’m pretty sure cranberry juice wasn’t available in Scotland in the 1740s. What did they use? In fact, where did they go to the bathroom? What did they use for toilet paper?

So I missed most of the last love scene, thinking about UTIs.

And that’s how I spent my romantic night with Jamie from “Outlander,” — plus one glass of wine, the cats and two intermittent teenagers.

Jamie1

 

 



Disney’s Space Mountain–It’s Not the Tunnel of Love, People

Okay I meant to post this earlier in the year since it’s about New Year’s resolutions, but I couldn’t get organized. So,

Resolution #1: Get organized. Yeah, I’ll get on that–right after I fold those 12 loads of laundry still in a pile on the spare bed, figure out what’s stinking up the fridge from Christmas, and write those thank you notes that are hanging over my head like a guillotine axe (thanks Mom, for that good ol’ Southern guilt).

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because I suck at them. By February, I’ve usually given up and gone back to eating Rice Krispie treats straight out of the pan. But while we were briefly at Disney World in Orlando this holiday, I realized you can get ideas for New Year’s resolutions just by waiting in the 80-minute line for Space Mountain (and yes, my super-helpful FB friends, we tried Fast-Track, but the earliest spaces available were at 11:00PM).

Here are the resolutions I came up with while waiting in line:

  1. Have patience. Disney does a fabulous job of keeping you entertained in line for the Space Mountain ride—while you are jammed into the cattle shute with hundreds of other folks, they are are worth observing because, let’s face it, people are just weird. Unlike cattle, though, the people in the shute are aware that they may soon be facing their deaths in that dark cavern of spiraling humanity called Space Mountain; in fact, they go willingly.
  2. image002PDA is cool—but not in a line with five hundred of your newest friends. It’s especially not okay of you’re over 20—the couple next to us was easily in their 30’s. That’s just nasty. I don’t need to see anyone’s tongue that close up. And the hands groping the muffin top? Nobody wants to see that, no matter what age you are.
  3. Keep your hands to yourself. Not in a PDA sense, but more for Ebola’s sake. Just looking at the handrails skeeved me out.
  4. Crop dust whenever possible. Always fun, but especially fun when you’re stuck in a dark room with nowhere to go. Be sure to wrinkle your nose, turn around and glare at innocent people—your children are the best target, especially if they’ve been bugging you for souvenirs all day—so are older make-out couples.
  5. Face your fears. I’ve been afraid to go on Space Mountain, since we first went to Disney probably 35 years ago. This year, Daughter #2 wanted to ride it—it was the only thing she wanted to do while we were there, so I reluctantly said ok. It was awesome. I also felt like a wuss afterwards for being so terrified for so many years.
  6. Don’t be afraid of the dark. Whether you’re riding a rollercoaster in a pitch black room or dealing with a personal darkness, the ride always comes to a stop. It’s up to you whether you choose to wave your arms in the air and shout “I survived it!,” grit your teeth and stoically step off the ride, or burst into tears. Also, in the dark, you can crop dust to your heart’s content—no one will see you blush.image003
  7. Take a second before the next freefall and look up. In Space Mountain there are tiny constellations lit up in the “sky,” just before you plummet into the blackness. It was oddly beautiful, even if it was fake. When you know things are going downhill, take a second and look up—you might see some pinpoints of light.images
  8. Always know where the bathrooms are. An 80-minute line—seriously, Disney? No bathrooms? Let the crop dusting begin….
  9. Savor the anticipation of doing something new—we had 80 minutes of anticipation, but sometimes you don’t get that much. Take one breath and enjoy your rapidly beating heart, the pump of adrenaline through your veins, the knowledge that you’re really living. You only get to do something for the first time once—hopefully that something new will be fun, not watching strangers making out in front of you and your kid in line. I totally should have blamed the crop dusting on them.


Three Juans Don’t Make a Right

collegeThere are times when every parent worries about their kids—not because of grades, or because they play a sport, but because sometimes they say things that just make you shake your head and wonder how they managed to live this long.

Daughter #1 and I were sitting at the kitchen table the other night, pouring over the stack of college brochures she’d brought home. We finally got down to the last three. She was leaning in close, looking at the brochure for a big university down South—which I encouraged because neither she nor I have any interest in going father north than where we are right now.

I asked her, “So what is it about that school that makes you want to go there?’

Daughter #1 glanced up at me, leaving her finger on the picture of a girl sitting on a green lawn with a book in her lap. “Look Mom, I’d wear that outfit. She looks like me.”

Seriously, that was her answer.

Not to be deterred by her answer, I asked why she was looking at another southern school.

“I like red.” she answered.

Sigh….and that’s how a teenager with a 4.5 GPA decides how to spend thousands of dollars on their education.

But I don’t know what we’ll do when they’re out of the house. How will I survive without conversations like the following?

Daughter #2, Daughter #1 and I were all sitting at said kitchen table, when Daughter #1 started making fun of how Daughter #2 says some words. “Milk” is pronounced melk, and she says I Juan instead of “I won.”

Daughter #1: “You do too say it that way. Juan is a Hispanic boy’s name.”

Daughter #2: “No I don’t.”

Me: “Actually, you do.”

Daughter #2: “Mom!”

Me: “But I think you’re not saying Juan, you’re saying wan, which actually means looking all washed out.” I tried an example: “You look wan today.”

Daughter #1 and Daughter #2 just stared at me, used to my random insertion of pointless facts into conversations. Sometimes they’re even true.

Daughter #2 thought about it for a second.  “That’s one of those words that sounds like what it means.”

Daughter #1: “Yeah, like faaaaaat. Or thin.”

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Daughter #2: “It’s an onomatopoeia.”

Me: “No, onomatopoeia is a word that is a sound, like Bang. ‘Wan’ isn’t a sound.”

Daughter #2 looked deflated.

Daughter #1: “C’mon, Mom, let her have it.” She looked at her sister. “Good job! You Juan!

 



Big Girl Bathrooms

Working at my Big Girl’s job has brought to my attention the fact that preschool bathroom rules are not the same as Grown-Up Office Bathroom rules. While we recently moved offices and now have private bathrooms, our previously public bathrooms illuminated several differences (and some creepy similarities):

  1. In a Grown-Up Office Bathroom, you don’t need to worry about someone who is 3-feet-high squatting down, looking under the stall door and talking to you about her Hello Kitty Halloween costume.images-3
  2. Grown-Up Office Bathrooms do not have step stools tucked under the sinks so you can reach the soap.
  3. It’s not cool in Grown-Up Office Bathrooms to chat with your co-workers while you pee; in preschool bathrooms, this is usually the ONLY time you can chat with your co-workers about what’s going on.images-1
  4. Grown-Up Office Bathrooms do not have signs reminding you to sing the Happy Birthday Song the entire time you wash your hands—weirdly (and often incorrectly), it’s assumed people will wash their hands without reminders.
  5. In Grown-Up Office Bathrooms, it is assumed that everyone knows what the little wastebaskets on the side of womens’ stalls are for. In preschool bathrooms, many things can be found in these baskets: Legos, Tinker Toys, Barbie heads, and pretend cell phones, to name a few)…
  6. In Grown-Up Office Bathrooms, no one will ask you to help them wipe—if they do, it’s definitely time to get to know your HR Department.
  7. In Grown-Up Office Bathrooms it’s also not cool to take the stall immediately next door to the person who’s already in there—apparently not everyone is comfortable with the knowledge that the person next to them is probably evaluating how badly they had to go. (You can’t un-think it, can you? You’re always going to wonder now if that’s what they’re thinking as you let it go.) In preschool bathrooms, you rarely get to leave the room, so when you pee like you’re a miniature Niagra Falls, everybody knows why.
  8. Which leads me to similarities: all public bathrooms have the thinnest toilet paper on the planet, that breaks off square by square. After several frustrating tugs, you’re left holding what looks like handful of lottery tickets with the consistency of peeled skin, instead of a satisfying and reassuring wad of toilet paper.images-4
  9. Sometimes, your body is kind enough to forewarn you that things are about to get pretty nasty. Most workplaces, whether it’s for adults or children, have at least one bathroom that is far enough away from the others that you can go (run) to when that unfortunate day happens; however, re-entering the world often involves a walk-of-shame, especially if the hidden bathroom had someone else waiting to use it.
  10. All women’s public bathrooms, no matter what the median age of the users, seem to have at least one toilet that all of the women use who can’t aim when they squat.

Whether you’re five or fifty-five, bathroom rules are simple:

Clean up your own mess (that includes the seat);

Give others their space; and

Provide and/or properly use the right tools for the job.

If we all do this, no one will have to put up signs like these:

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