Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just Say No

So many of you have been so kind with your messages of concern because I haven't been around lately.

I almost wish I could tell you that there was a family emergency or that I was in a horrible accident. I wish I could tell you almost anything other than the truth, which is that

I am a rotten, stinking, depraved addict!!

I always thought this only happened to other people. This couldn't happen in my family, and certainly not to me. I have ten years of post-high school education, for crap's sake! What they say, though, is true: No one is immune.

And I'm not talking about a little booze or prescription pain meds here. That stuff is for amateurs. I'm talking about the hardcore, Queen Mother of all drugs.

That's right, people, I'm battling FACEBOOK and I'm neglecting everything in my life because of it. All I can think about is when, and how, I'm going to get my next fix.

I wake up in the middle of the night and toss and turn until I get out of bed, sit on the floor in the corner of the dining room, log on, and "throw" intangible Mardi Gras beads at the girl who sat next to me in third-grade homeroom.

My husband knows I've experimented, but he doesn't know about my problem. I'm careful not to show any signs when he's near. I always make sure I listen for his car in the driveway so I will be cognizant of the exact moment that I need to "X" out of the "Seinfeld" or "Brady Bunch" quiz I am taking, unplug the laptop, and run into the laundry room and pretend to sort the darks from the lights from the reds.

I have to worry about my four year-old daughter, though. She's a little narc. The first time I put her in time-out she'll sing like a canary about what happens when she's hungry and I'm looking at pictures of the husband and baby of a girl I haven't laid eyes on in twenty-five years. I think I need to decapitate her Dora just so she understands that no one better ever find out I make her pull out the kitchen drawers and climb them like steps so she can reach the bowls and the Fruity Pebbles.

You need to know all of this so you can protect yourselves from me. DO NOT TRUST ME. If I am driving by your house and I NEED to take yet another I.Q. test, just know that I will not hesitate to break your window and climb through it to get to your Internet connection.

And heaven help you when I lose my job and my cable gets disconnected because I can't leave my wall long enough to show up in court. Do not doubt that I will steal your grandmother's wedding ring and take it to the nearest pawn shop to get my DSL back. I'll do whatever I have to do to have access to my friends' status updates and the additions to their photo albums.

I know. I need help.

Do you think MySpace works the same as methadone?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"I Feel Hot And My Throat Hurts--A Lot!"

Why do you think my little girl is crying?

Is it because I won't let her have a Facebook and I don't care if she's the only person in the entire school without one?

Is it because I won't let her stay out past 11:00 on the weekend and I'm ruining her life?

If those were your answers, you are wrong; neither of the above is why my little girl is crying.

(However, both are why my teenager is crying.)

My little girl is crying because her school is closed today!!!

Because it's closed? What the...huh?

That's right, the poor little thing doesn't know yet how it works. My little baby has not yet realized that a day off school is one of the most coveted occurrences in all of adolescence, and that she undoubtedly will engage in boundless groveling and unprecedented deceit to experience such happiness.

She has no idea that someday very soon she will be standing in front of the television at 6 a.m. chanting, "Please, God, let it be here! I will do everything you want for the whole, entire rest of my life if you just let my school go across the bottom of the screen!"

My little angel doesn't know that at least one morning a week for six solid years she will curl up in a ball on her bed and claim she has debilitating cramps.

She cannot comprehend that at 6 a.m. one day in the not-so-distant future she will lock the bathroom door (for the security of the impending operation) and fake puke, complete with guttural sound effects. Then she will flush the toilet so that the alleged vomiting can be neither proved nor disproved, and she will marvel at the brilliance of such a plan!

And on those rare, precious days when her prayers are answered, or I decide that I'd rather pretend I believe her than risk accusations of child neglect for sending a sick kid to school, she will weep again. But on those days, she will weep with tears of joy.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kool and The Gang

Have you ever had a 10 year-old threaten to beat your ass?

Have you ever had a 10 year-old threaten to beat your ass in front of his parents???

It happened to my husband today and I was lucky enough to be present for it. Honestly, it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life! Despite the utter sadness of the whole situation, it was absolutely hilarious to watch!

When my husband politely asked to see the Defendant on the legal papers he was serving, "Big Kool" (according to his license plate), "Lil Kool" (according to his license plate) and Juvenile Delinquent Kool (no license plate yet, although I'm sure he will be making them someday soon) walked right up to our car and treated us to a most creative display of obscene gestures and profanity.

Then the 10 year-old future inmate puffed out his chest, spread out his arms and yelled to my husband, "Don't make me beat your ass!"

And Big Kool just stood there and let him say it, over and over again!

I know it's rude to laugh at people right in front of them, but how could we do anything else? The kid literally came up to my husband's chest and he really thought he was scary!

I almost felt bad for not being afraid of the kid. He tried so hard to be menacing and we completely destroyed his self-image. Maybe we should have cowered a tiny bit. Or maybe we just shouldn't have laughed quite so loudly. Or so much.

That was one show that was definitely--definitely--worth the price of admission!

What is wrong with some parents???

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

With Love

Ninety-eight years ago today the world received one of its greatest blessings when my grandmother was born in High Shoals, Georgia. She was the third child, and only daughter, of the town preacher and his quiet, obedient wife.

By all accounts, Grandma was a beautiful girl and, also by all accounts, she knew it. Legend has it that she won the "Pretty Girl Cake" at her town's festival every year for ten consecutive years, and for ten consecutive years, she feigned surprise when the cake was handed to her.

Grandma was full of life and energy, much to the chagrin of her sober father. She had heard the rumors that her own mother was kept from the boy she loved and forced by her family to marry the town preacher. Grandma was not about to lose her spirit to custom, and on December 7, 1926, she ran away to marry the handsome, exciting boy who stole her heart.

Every girl who marries the bad boy lives on a roller coaster with him, and Grandma was no different. But he was her passion and she never regretted her choice to follow her soul's prompting to be with him. Even after Alzheimer's robbed her of her children's faces and her grandchildren's names, she asked, "If Thomas were alive, do you think he would still love me?"

Sometimes I dream that she is still alive, that I have another chance with her. I dream that I go to see her more often while she lives in her tiny retirement apartment and that I pay more attention to the old stories she loves to tell. In my dreams I tell her how much I love her and I thank her for being the strength in my childhood.

In my dreams I hear her story about the "Pretty Girl Cake" just one more time.

I am not afraid to die because I know Grandma will be there to take care of me, just like she always has. She will pat me on the head, take me by my hand and introduce me to all of her friends. She will say, "This is my granddaughter, Missy. Isn't she pretty?" When her friends smile politely at me and ignore her question about my beauty, she will ask them over and over again until they finally tell her, "Yes, Mary, she's beautiful."

And then she will tell all of them how "proud" she is that I thought enough of her to write about her on her ninety-eighth birthday.