Subourbon Mom


Stop Over-Achieving – Just Do Your Best

Do Your BestThe New Year is often touted as a time for reflection on the past, making plans for a better tomorrow, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah…

F*#* that.

My reflections on the past come at two or three o’clock in the morning after being awakened by especially searing hot flashes. And, since my hot flashes appear as often as Trump recklessly tweets on foreign policy, I think I’ve reflected a lot over the last 365 days. When I wake up like that, the world seems like a dark place and everything I ever said was wrong…I What was I thinking? That was the worst parenting decision I’ve ever made…Please God, let that email not have been Reply All…My hair does not look like Farrah Fawcett, I don’t care what they said at work…

My plans for the New Year are what they should always have been – just do your best. Note to self: be happy being a 70-percenter.  C’s get degrees, and average lives deserve high-fives.  Quit freaking out that your list isn’t done, you over-achiever – at least you have a list. In fact, at least you have a pen and paper and you were allowed to learn how to read and write.

Some days, doing your best may mean cranking out that detailed, raise-inspiring report for work, driving your child to a specialist appointment and hearing bad news but giving them a reassuring smile, or helping a friend who’s parent has passed away by organizing the wake.  Other days, doing your best may be as simple as remembering to undo the seat best BEFORE you try and get out of the car (yes, I forgot).

Doing your best is relative. One of the things the Orange Theory Fitness program has taught me (besides that I HATE riding the bike and most lunges are worse for me than burpees) is that everyone’s “best” is relative.  You probably don’t know that the man next to you on the rower had heart surgery a year ago, and he’s struggling to make his heart stronger so he can play with his grandkids; or that the woman two spots down who can’t plank for more than 10 seconds has shoulders that dislocate habitually and she’s willing them to stay in place so she doesn’t have surgery again; or that the girl on the treadmill who’s walking flat when everyone else is running on a hill is just trying to get through one class without using her inhaler (that’s usually me).

Just do your best, even if that means wearing slippers on your feet to work because you forgot to change your shoes (yep, did that too).  You got there, didn’t you?  You clearly were not meant to be there, so you’re already over-achieving, right? Way to go!

But for the record, your best better include using your freaking turn signals when you’re driving.  Seriously – the 30% that’s not my best will make an appearance if you make me guess what you’re going to do at a stoplight, or why you’re randomly slowing down for no apparent reason.

So…just do your best.

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10 Commandments of Christmas Shopping at The Mall
December 17, 2019, 5:00 pm
Filed under: shopping | Tags: , , ,
  1. 1362777490homepage_brioI am the mall.  Thou feareth me and loveth me. I am the mall.
  2. Thou shall bring no false values before me, like budgets or credit limits.
  3. Thou shalt not take my name in vain, especially when referring to the unbearably long list of Christmas errands you still have to do because you waited until the last minute. It is not my faulteth you procrastinateth.
  4. Remember Black Friday, and keep it holy.
  5. Honor thy sales and thy markdowns.
  6. Thou shalt not kill…time hanging out in Starbucks or restaurants. Thy shopping list loometh.
  7. Thou shalt not steal thy neighbor’s parking spot when clearly, his indicators blinketh.
  8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against The Mall.  Own up to where you have been; likewise, own up to the time thou killed while chatting with thy neighbor instead of shopping, and the silver thou hast spent.
  9. Thou shalt not covet thy fellow shopper’s loot. They arrivethed first.
  10. Thou shall visit no other retailers but me, especially not Amazon, Wal-mart or Target.


The Best Catalog Ever

The holiday season is upon us. Christmas music plays incessantly on local radio stations, pumpkin spice everything has been replaced with cinnamon everything and the marketing onslaught is in full swing.

Now I’m all for marketing – a store’s got to do something to get your attention amid the mind-boggling Elf on a Shelf displays. But come on, Marketers, every day can’t be “The BIGGEST SALE EVER.”  I don’t care how much your store has to sell by the end of the year – no marketing email should ever be labeled URGENT unless Victoria has decided to reveal her secret, or I’m getting something good for free that doesn’t include shipping or some God-awful tote bag I’ll never take in public.

Along with emails, the catalogs are also rolling in faster than sexual harassment accusations in the media.

In two days I got 19 catalogs in the mail. That’s right…19 catalogs. But the number of catalogs isn’t what I’m here to write about. In fact, I love looking through them every morning while I drink my coffee. (Catalogs are window shopping for people who have an aversion to other people.) It’s funny how at this time of year I will actually consider buying weird, only-funny-to-me gifts that I would never spend the money on at any other time. In previous years I’ve ordered squirrel spray, Sasquatch Band-Aids and key chains with made up nicknames on them.

But in this latest batch of shopper’s crack, I found two catalogs whose marketing teams failed (in my humble opinion).

When I saw this cover on a catalog for toy horse models, I couldn’t decide who the target audience was – was it kids who want to be like this model with the BRF, who clearly would rather be anywhere else? Or parents who want to believe their twelve-year-old still plays with model horses instead of obsessively checking the likes on her Finsta? (I have nothing personal against this model – she’s obviously very attractive and was told how to pose and smile.) Perhaps a better image for the cover would have been a younger kid happily playing on the floor on a rainy day with all the crap in the catalog. To the parents it says, “You are buying yourself some peace and quiet.” To the kid, it says, “This will bring you happiness until you can wear them down and they give you your own pony to keep in the garage.”

The other cover fail was on this American Girl catalog:

Nothing says I’m a stalker like hugging your best friend while also clutching a doll that looks and dresses exactly like her.

But in all of this marketing blitz, I realized there is a catalog I have never received, that I think a lot of people might want to order from as well. It’s filled with all my favorite things that I can’t by in a store, like these:

  • Life do-overs
  • The smell of my mother’s garage
  • Knowing how to speak and understand animals in their language
  • The ability to fly
  • One consequence-free bitch slap on the person of my choice
  • Opportunities to suck words back into my head that should never have escaped
  • Time to spend with those who aren’t here anymore
  • Dog kisses
  • An interview with King Arthur
  • The feeling you get when you snuggle with your kids

 

What would your catalog have in it?

 



Thanksgiving – It’s a Greatness, You’re Lateness
November 15, 2016, 2:47 am
Filed under: Misc. Humor, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

unknownThanksgiving is a time for families to get together, eat too much, drink too much and share WAY too many opinions.

Many folks (usually what I like to call “the Middles”, aka the sandwich generation) try to juggle seeing several crooked branches of the family tree during the holidays without offending anyone. To accomplish this, we end up driving all over creation with our kids texting in the backseat, picking up our assigned foods at the grocery store on the way or juggling a pan of some sort of casserole on ourr knees.
And don’t forget to grab that extra bottle of wine because, frankly, Uncle Jack is going to start in on (fill in a political topic here), and one of the cousins already declared “this time I’m not gonna just sit back there and let him say that shit just ’cause he’s a thousand years old. It ain’t right.”

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It’s what we do.

It’s also why we’re often late (although sometimes that’s by design).

But I will never be able to top my brother’s excuse for why they were late one year.  My brother’s known for being late; in fact we used to plan for it. We would tell him to get there at least an hour before we needed him. One year, he and his family were pushing two hours late for Thanksgiving dinner, and I finally called him on his cell phone to find out where the Hell he was.

“You wouldn’t believe it if I told you.”

(What follows is the best excuse ever):

We were getting ready and heard the cat meowing like crazy. So I followed the sounds into the garage, and there was Jackson (their large calico cat) with a sticky mousetrap stuck to his face…and the mouse still on it!

Jackson had seen the mouse wriggling in the trap and tried to bite it. The cat got his cheek fur stuck on the trap glue, and was running around howling, with a trap and a mouse about a half-inch from his eyeball.

We caught Jackson and tried to pull the trap off – not a good idea.

Then we tried hot water – in 30 seconds we had an extremely pissed off, wet cat and lots of scratches.

In desperation, we tried cutting the mouse free from the trap, but Jackson was struggling so hard we cut the mouse’s tail off. Blood was spurting everywhere, and the mouse was still stuck.

Finally, cold water did the trick. We got the trap of and put the mouse out of his misery.

“So,” he said, “we’re going to be a little late.”

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Myth: Fake Christmas Trees Are Like Fake Boobs – You Can’t Tell the Difference

This year I made it my mission to convince our office manager Lacy that she should get a real Christmas tree instead of using the same old plastic one she’s been using for the last few years. After an hour of nagging and convincing her that a real tree smelled better and was a better way to enjoy Christmas, Lacy gave in and got one. When she explained to the folks at Lowes (she went to a store, not even a place outside – mistake #1) that she had never picked a live tree before, and asked who had the most experience with picking out live trees, a German man said “I don’t” and immediately walked away. I don’t think he got the irony that the live Christmas-Tree-in-the-House tradition comes from Germany.

What I didn’t realize was the amount of basic Christmas Tree Knowledge I have accumulated over the years, and that I probably should have passed on:

PICKING OUT A TREE:

Size Matters:   Decide what room you’re going to put it in BEFORE you go shopping.  A fat tree in a little room is like Donald Trump’s ego in an election – there isn’t room for anything else.image001

Trees are not naturally symmetrical.  Even the trees trimmed to look like perfect cones will never be perfect. The fun part is finding the most perfect one you can. This can be difficult at the places where the trees are wrapped and leaning against the wall, like, say, your local grocery store. To get the full experience of arguing for 30 minutes in the cold over which tree to get, you must suck up the cost and go to a place where the trees are set up on stands, as if they are ready to decorate, or better yet, in the field where you must cut them down.

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Trees Get Bad Haircuts Too – Sadly, the two-week rule doesn’t apply. Most live trees come with a bad side – that side where the branches don’t fall right and there’s a hole.image005

This is the side you turn toward the wall when you put it up, or if it isn’t going against the wall, you find your fattest, heaviest ornaments to make the branches dangle over the hole. (These ornaments, along with the most fragile ones, will be the ones the cat goes after.)

What About Bugs? Some tree vendors will do the Tree Shake, which entails putting the tree on a spike attached to a generator that shakes the tree so hard that it looks like Beyonce twerking, until all the loose needles and bugs fall out – of the tree, not Beyonce. If your vendor doesn’t do that, you can console yourself with the fact that the fallen needles will make your vacuum cleaner smell good for months.

image004Net or No Net?  I recommend getting one, even though it might ruin your Norman Rockwell vision of a Christmas tree strapped to the roof of your car. The net is crucial to getting the tree through the door and easily sitting in its stand. Trying to get a tree through the door without the net is like trying to thread a needle with a sausage.

SETTING UP YOUR TREE

Size matters – again.  Tree trunks come in varying sizes and diameters, and they often come with branches sticking out of the bottom. Trim the branches at the bottom – you’ve heard the adage, “trim the bushes to make the deck look bigger“ – well, we don’t need the stand to look bigger, but we do need the tree to glide into the hole smoothly.

image001Getting the tree to stand up straight in the stand is usually a deal breaker – worse than hanging pictures on a wall. This task is for the patient and determined. If you’re like me and not allowed to go into the car dealership because you get too impatient to sit through the deal-making process, sighing and rolling your eyes for the entire three hours, this may not be the task for you. Some tips:

Wear gloves! Christmas trees look and smell great, but their trunks are covered in sap that is harder to remove from your hands than the image of Miley Cyrus twerking from your memory.

 

image004When you’ve given up and decided that tree that leans is now “charming,” make sure the tree doesn’t fall by tying some part of it to the wall. If you have cats or dogs, this is a must – they will find a way to bring that big green monster to the ground, and then skitter your breakable ornaments over the floor for the next two days.

FEEDING YOUR TREE

To determine if the tree needs water, you have to see how much water is left in the stand each morning and evening. Checking the water level for a live tree requires freakishly long arms and a relationship with your tree. As Lacy said, “I feel like I’m feeling up my tree.” Would that be second base? IMG_0171

Watering the tree requires the ability to slither along the floor and pour a pitcher of water into the stand without spilling any. I recommend placing a piece of plastic under the stand, hidden by your tree skirt to prevent any stains on the carpet from water spills. image005I also recommend getting one of the tree watering tubes that blend in with the branches, the top of which sticks out for easy access.

Check your tree for tree food – some vendors provide it. The tree food is the little white thing on a random branch that you thought was the price tag.

If all of this seems like too much of a hassle, and you want to go back to taking your tree bits and pieces out of a box each year, and putting it together like a Tinker Toy that’s fine. I totally understand. Nothing says Christmas like a plastic tree with “Sensicles” hanging discreetly among the branches so that the whole house smells like fake Christmas.

Perhaps Lacy said it best when she was describing the experience of getting a live tree vs. setting up a plastic one: “It’s like trying to pick an animal out from the pound, but it’s such a pain in the ass I want to give it back.”

Well, I’ll take my temporary, evergreen mutt with its holes, dropping needles and intimate watering/groping sessions. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. Your plastic tree may make your house look like it was decorated by Southern Living, but my tree reminds me that life goes on, even in winter.

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