Friday, August 31, 2007

12 Things That Mildly Suck

  1. Pimple in the ear canal
  2. All these idiotic shows about bounty hunters (which, by the way, cops make fun of, especially Dog the Bounty Hunter, which, who wouldn't? It's blatantly obvious that they're all hamming it up for the camera)
  3. A 500+ piece puzzle nearly completed with one piece missing from the box
  4. 35 minutes for lunch, 20 minutes of which are spent waiting in the lunch line
  5. Being hungry and having no idea what snack to fix
  6. Insects destroying the last of my summer crop, thus eliminating the kids' hopes for a "Giant Vegetable Competition"
  7. Screwing up a sudoku puzzle . . . in pen
  8. Bunk-ass rhymes get featured on CSI: Miami, when people with better flow go unnoticed
  9. A MOUSE!!!! EEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!
  10. David Blaine and all the other Houdini wanna-bes (I'm looking at YOU, Criss Angel) who basically do nothing of use and get paid for it
  11. Five-year-old daughter has barely been at school a week, and already there's some boy poking her shoulder softly in the lunch line and pressing up against her in a weird little "I want to hug you but I can't so I'll just not use my arms" way
  12. Having to wait ten years before I can use the traditional threat of Mexican mothers: "Touch my daughter and I'll hang you by your balls in my front yard"

Monday, August 27, 2007

Edgy Mommy

You know that feeling you get when you're nervous about something but you're trying not to show it, but it keeps on popping out anyway?

That's what I'm like today, on my oldest child's first day of school.

There were no tears, just a few moments of agitation when I realized that my daughter was listed as a car-rider instead of a walker, at which point I began to freak out just a little bit at the thought of my poor five-year-old being left to wander in a sea of car-riders at the front of the school, doing battle with traffic and older kids all alone. I tend to exaggerate negative scenarios when I'm nervous.

Walking home after dropping her off this morning was sad. Little Sia, who wanted to wear her backpack just like Gina, got upset with us for not letting her stay at school. This made me even more freaked out, until she started asking us to carry her on the way back, and I realized she's still got some baby left in her.
My mom, who lives across the street from me, "just so happened" to be out mowing her ditch as we trudged home. When she saw us pass by, the mower magically disappeared and she walked over to inform me that she'd already cried this morning and that my daughter now belongs to the school district, not me. I don't know why she keeps telling me this. Maybe because that's how she felt when my brother or I started school. Or maybe she just always felt that I didn't belong to her because I was a Grandma's Girl, and she wanted me to know what that felt like (i.e.: rub my nose in it). I get paranoid about the intentions of others when I get nervous.

As a nice surprise, we brought over the old-fashioned desk from Grandma's that I used for my homework when I was in elementary school.

Solid wood and metal construction, with a swivel seat and a hinged desktop that opens to storage space. Notice the black circle in the top right corner. That's not a painted-on circle, my friends. It's a hole. For an inkwell.

I focus on something minute when I'm nervous.

Mom stayed with me for part of the day, doing me the favor of distracting me with unrelated subjects, like income tax evasion. The rest of the day, however, dragged on like a recital of the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles. And Azariah begat Helez, and Helez begat Eleasah... I had to do something with all that time and jittery energy, so I made a coconut pie. Yes, that's right, I have turned into Kitty Forman.

Every time the phone rang, I thought it might be the school and jumped about six feet in the air (a feat to be applauded, as I am less than five feet tall). Fortunately it was always a family member calling to ask a question or keep me informed of good news. For once I am thankful that my sister-in-law is an active busybody with so much influence in the school, because it means she was allowed to go check in with my daughter's teacher without needing to make an appointment first. Turns out I gave birth not to a girl, but to a Chatty Cathy doll.

Finally, thank Father Time, 3:00 rolled around and our whole family once again made the trek to the school. And waited. And waited. And stood around waiting some more. It is apparently school policy to wait until ALL the cars picking up their kids are gone before dismissing the walkers. We were there for a good half an hour.

And what happened when they finally let my baby out of there? First of all, she walked out into 90 degree weather wearing a sweater, because it was so freaking cold in that school. And then they made her go the long way around to the small gate (about 40 yards away) instead of bringing her to the main gate (where the cars would be entering, if there were any cars left, which there weren't, because they waited FORTY YEARS to make sure there were no moving vehicles). But my poor Gina, she was having none of that. She caught sight of us as I was trying to take her picture, and she wrenched herself away from the older girl holding her hand and came running to me in tears. I rushed out to meet her. It was just like on TV, when you see two people running to each other across a field in slow motion, only the grass wasn't as high, and her father was yelling "Go back! Go back!"

As I walked her back to the rest of the kids (after all, she must get used to going the right way, no matter how stupid it is), I found out why she's so upset.

"Mommy, they took away all my school surprise!"

"Your school supplies?"

"Yeah, I lost them, they're missing! I want my school sur-plies, Mommy. I let them down."

Cue Bizarro Dad and me trying very hard not to laugh and failing.

I would post a picture of her highly upset face as she told me "We'll talk about it later," (which, by the way, when the heck did she start saying things like that? What are they teaching her in that school?) but the picture contains too much private information. Apparently on the first day of school, they not only put your name on your clothes, but also your grade level, classroom number, lunch card number, how you get home, favorite ice cream flavor, and the names of the last five places you used a public restroom. Paranoid much, Principal Geometry?

Well, at least it's over. And at least I got to tease my mom by telling her that since she's the first of three generations of our family to attend this school, that means Gina is referring to her when she says "My ancestors went to this school."

Oh, hell. I just remembered: I have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ridiculous Commercials about Private Products

Quilted Northern
A mother and her 7-year-old daughter emerge from the shower, towel off, and begin their daily beauty regimen. A narrator blathers on about the way we take care of ourselves and the people we care about. Random shots of packages of Quilted Northern toilet paper are woven in with shots of Mom and Girl using every hygiene and skin care product known to man EXCEPT for toilet paper. Girl carefully takes note of how Mom applies lotion. My problem: Where does the toilet paper come in? Obviously they don't need toilet paper to comb their hair. Was there a cut scene riddled with toilet conversation?

Mom: Oh Sweet Pea, are you ready for Mommy to wipe your ass?
Girl: No thank you, Mother, I think I've got that part of the bathroom routine down pat. Let's move on to moisturizing, and then I have to do my multiplication tables for school tomorrow.
Mom: (tearful) My baby's growing up!

Hanes, featuring Michael Jordan and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Okay, I have to admit, I am a major fan of Michael Jordan underwear commercials. (Yes, I know all my readers are men and you don't want to hear it. I dig bald dudes in drawers. Deal with it.) But I can't say I'm liking the addition of Cuba. For some reason his behavior in these ads mirrors the type of buffoonish characters he's been playing in film lately. It's annoying, and it distracts, nay, detracts, from anything good I might otherwise have gleaned from whatever he's appearing in. Seriously, would you (if you're straight) yell across a crowded room of people (with cameras) to a member of the same sex, "I'm wearing your underwear!" Nice to know he's putting that Academy Award winning talent to use.

Then again, we should perhaps call into question Mr. Jordan's initial action of leaving Mr. Gooding a gift basket full of boxers. With a bow on top. And a hand-written card. I'm willing to accept that guys talk about which underwear are comfortable (although that might be a stretch of the imagination bordering on foolishness), but giving them as gifts? And not as part the obligatory Christmas gift swap that invariably includes a pack of socks, cigarettes, and a bottle of Jack Daniels? Oh, Michael, how could you betray me for the other side!? I defended your baldness as sexy for YEARS.

Viva Viagra
The only pill Elvis never took, and they use the tune of his song, "Viva Las Vegas," to promote the damn thing on TV. Curiously enough, I don't ever recall seeing this commercial, but I always hear it loud and clear from the kitchen, just as I'm getting ready to start preparing food. No wonder I keep skipping meals. Can you imagine trying to handle a package of meat (heh) and hearing this crap? And Bizarro Dad is confused as to why I've stopped cooking the sumptuous meals.

I would like to thank Bizarro Dad for staying up late one night and calling me over specifically to laugh at this strange infomercial. A product is discussed (is it a pill? a cream? a machine? what? oh, it's an herbal supplement), the results of use being the lengthening of "his special place," "his certain body part," "his pathetically small penis," etc. Someone with a microphone and a cameraman randomly walks up to couples in the street and asks if they've used this product, and whether it's effective. Oddly enough, several people of many ethnic backgrounds (and even a foreign couple with an exotic accent) all admit, ON CAMERA, that they have not only heard of this stuff, but they've used it and had noticeably effective results. Most, if not all, of these people were on the same street. Must have been an International Mangina Maintenance convention in town.

I can't watch any further than that without cracking up or changing the channel in disgust, so I couldn't tell you all the statistics and test results, none of which I'd believe anyway, since I already don't believe that many people on the same street have tried the same penis-enhancing herbs and admit it. In front of their women. And total strangers. ON TELEVISION. In the interest of thoroughness, I found that you can buy a 3-pack of 180c bottles of this stuff. In the product reviews, a self-proclaimed professional nutritionist declares (in nearly all caps) that this product is unsafe for human consumption due to both absurdly high levels of some herbs and the presence of a known toxic herb. Too bad Greg "Dr. Safe" wasn't on the same street as all the ExtenZe users getting interviewed. He might have injected some much-needed reality into the proceedings. Then again, judging by the body of his comment, perhaps he was listening in on the "Surgical Enhancement" lecture.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

For those of you who think the rodeo has nothing to offer...

I present to you:

Celebrity Bull Riding

No, seriously.

Sadly, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton will not be part of the spectacle, nor will Dr. Phil or that asshat from Grey's Anatomy.

Dude, St. Gabriel and I need to have a conversation very soon. I fear he has been neglecting his post.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

St. School House Rocks

Even with all the wacky saints in the Catholic church's saint index (St. Eligius, patron saint of cab drivers), it's nice to know that there are still some saints who you can pray to (if you're so inclined) for something that makes sense. If I were the type to pray to a saint (which I'm not), I'd be directing my prayers to St. Martin de Porres, patron saint of public schools.

I count myself fortunate that my daughter is enrolling in one of the highest-scoring elementary schools in the state, but that doesn't mean I'm not nervous about sending her to a school that relies on the local property taxes of a poor neighborhood for its funding. They've been using the same trash compactor for 20 years (yes, I did recognize it), and who knows if that thing's going to explode and shower all the children with mystery meat and chocolate milk?

Of course, this may all be just my delusional, insomnia-driven brain ramblings, brought on no doubt by receiving a phone call this morning telling me that my daughter has to come in for a test next week (two weeks before school actually starts). At first I thought it was a placement test. Silly me, thinking that just because my husband, who took the call, SAID it was a placement test, he would continue to say the same thing eight hours later. He's changed his story to "They didn't SAY what kind of test it was, I just THOUGHT that might be it, but I never SAID THAT."

Which I countered with, "Dude, I WROTE DOWN WHAT YOU SAID. Are you saying you MADE IT UP?"

Now for all I know it could a freaking TB test or something. That's all she needs, for the school nurse to stick a needle in her arm and inject her with fluid. I'm sure Gina will LOVE going to that nurse for her scrapes and cuts after that.

And can we talk for a minute about the paperwork I had to fill out? I know the school system has to be thorough, what with all the crazy allergies kids have these days and trying to make sure you actually live within the proper district boundaries, but you just KNOW they aren't handing that Migrant Worker Survey to the white families. The last time anyone in our family did migrant farm work was sixty years ago. That's why it didn't even occur to me to fill it out, and I had to stand there stupidly in the office and answer the questions verbally after handing in the 40 tons of papers I had to fill out and sign. Surely they saw the paper I filled out that said my daughter already HAD a TB test, right?

And will somebody please tell me why I can't pick up my five-year-old directly from her classroom? I'm walking the child to and from school, so why do I have to wait out in front, at a distance? I'll tell you why: two years ago there was a sudden surge in the number of divorces among this school's parent pool, and suddenly dads were walking in and picking up children even though it wasn't their assigned custody day, and by law the school had to allow it because both parents were listed on the registration card. But the moms were getting all pissed off, with the "Why would you let my child be picked up by her own father on the fourth Tuesday of the month, don't you know the intimate details of our private custody agreement?"

So the principal (who I really do admire, as she was my high school geometry teacher AND my husband's guidance counselor later on) said "To heck with this meshugas, I'm not having our classes disrupted because these people can't handle their own private affairs. Everybody wait out front for their kids, and there are no more after-school conferences. If it's that important that you tell the teacher what's going on, you have to make an appointment during the day, and if there's a problem with your custody agreement that doesn't involve having your ex removed from our registration card, tell it to the family court." To which I say rock on, except for the part where I can't go stand outside her classroom door and make sure no strangers try to take her before she makes it all the way to wherever I'm allowed to wait, if she even remembers where that spot is.

Then, of course, there's a whole set of papers you have to clear if your child was born in a foreign country, particularly if s/he's not a citizen of THIS country. Thank God my kids weren't born any farther away than North Carolina. I kind of feel sorry for the children of undocumented workers. Heaven knows what kind of lies those poor kids have to tell in today's anti-immigration political climate just to keep from being deported back to a country full of drug lords and mara salvatrucha.

Wow, they really have to deal with a lot at that school. Maybe if I have any Catholics in the readership, you could say a prayer to St. Martin for my school, that the teachers and administrators not go postal just trying to keep things running smoothly. I'll just be standing over here in the parents' waiting area with Gabriel the Archangel, patron saint of postal workers, radio, and television. Apparently he knows why FOX cancelled Firefly, and what better place to learn of the mysteries of fate and television workers than in the nearest House of Learning?

Monday, August 06, 2007

For the Firefly lovers

Best fan-video EVER.

I don't know about you, but I feel immensely cheered up after watching this.

Please direct me to any fun videos you know of. I just went and registered my baby for kindergarten in the same school as her ancestors (by which I mean myself, my husband, and both our mothers), so I could do with some laughs to make me not feel like such an old fart.