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Monday, February 28, 2011

Death, Taxes and Tampons

You know that classic argument between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck: "It's Duck Season! It's Wabbit Ssseason! Duck Season - Wabbit Season!" Well, in my head around the end of February, it goes, "It's Tax Season! It's Dwinking Season, Tax Season - Dwinking Season," it's yet another distraction that helps me to procrastinate filing our taxes.

Early Sunday morning, I woke up with every intention of starting our taxes. But then the six-year old crawled into my bed and asked if he could sleep in with mommy. He never sleeps in. So, really it would have been cruel of me to deny him that luxury on his final day of his mid-winter recess. We slept until 9:45 am.

I wish I could say that the extra two hours were refreshing. Instead, I dreamt the whole time that I was getting out of bed to do other things that further put off filing our taxes. Things like...polishing the stairway banister with a baby wipe. That's right, I cleaned all fifty-two spokes in my dream. If my dream was enjoying a Cosmo at the Four Season's hotel you bet something would've woke me up before I took my first sip. But no, when I dream about cleaning the house, I clean the whole friggin' thing - jeez.

Needless to say, I was rather grumpy when I finally made it out of bed. To top it off, I got my period. Now, normally I don't think there's ever a reason to announce one's cycle but for this particular entry - it is...so fitting. Death and taxes just aren't enough for women. We have to add a third inevitable, pain-in-the-uterus to contend with. Every stupid month.

Have a happy period, my ass. For me, it's more like have a happy bludgeoning. And this was my delightful attitude that morning that caused my husband to wisely sneak out with the boys - leaving me to my own devices to file our taxes.

First, I dilly-dallied. Forty minutes of checking junk e-mails and gawking at our cell phone bill but not paying it - finally, I picked up the stack of paper: receipts, last year's return and my husband's W-2. Feeling sadly nostalgic of the days when I had a W-2 of my own I decided to play some music to set a better mood.

i-Tunes has this funny "Radio" feature that streams playlists from every genre from Country to Rock to Gospel - you name it. Against my better judgment, I chose Jazz. I don't know, somehow I thought the tinkling piano, sultry saxophones and bumbling mumbo-jumbo of skat-singing would be relaxing. And it does create a mood when you're swirling a snifter of bourbon while watching the sun set but while crunching numbers and answering personal life questions to an on line tax program, Jazz music starts to sound well, just a little sarcastic.

While I'm contemplating, how much can we contribute to an IRA this year...some Harry Connick Jr. sounding dude is singing a jazzed version of "If I Only Had A Brain."

Ho-kaaay. Why don't I just jump out of the frying pan and into the fire then. I clicked on the comedy station - The Social Crime Network. Immediately, Hugh Fink's skit on Comedy Central started to stream. Beginning with his dad mixing up gay terminology to the sarcastic Chinese waiter, by the time my husband deemed it safe enough to come back into the house, he found me laughing at the computer with tears streaming down my face.

"What the Hell are you doing?" He yelled.

Thirty-minutes later, we're all sitting around my computer laughing like hyenas listening to Ron White followed by Larry the Cable Guy. Of course, our taxes did NOT git-r-done. Plus our four-year old demonstrated the importance of censorship by mimicking a few colorful phrases perfectly. But for a day attempting to file taxes, I was in a much better mood - Uncle Sam can wait another day before claiming more of our money.

As for the other inevitable punishment in life, I started to wonder - could a "happy period" be possible after all?

Not until a box of tampons comes with a six pack of Heineken.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On Ice

Is it Monday, yet? Three days into Mid-Winter Recess and my entire body is sore. My back, my shoulders, my arms - I actually feel like I've worked out! But it wasn't Kenpo X that's responsible for making my limbs useless. It was a day with the boys, when I introduced them to the wonderful world of ice-skating.


Now, I'm not an avid skater myself. As a matter of fact, the last time I went ice skating, I think I was twelve and that's like three centuries ago. In my opinion, ice is for drinks not gliding over in a pair of shoes with blades on the bottom. But it's just one of those things that I'm determined to master before I die and unfortunately, my boys have to be dragged into it.

With the help of some good-sport friends, we hit the ice - literally. There were tears of frustration from my six-year old  but the four-year old, who is normally a big whimp about these things, did well. Skating with his favorite mommy-friend, he was laughing, falling and acting like a clown on a first date.

I was proud of him watching from a distance. "Wow," I thought, "he's actually skating by himself."

The next second he was down on the ice. "Awww, poor baby."

Then he was back up. "Hooraaayyyy - whoops, horizontal again."

As for my six-year old, he started to have a better time when I gave him my complete attention. Holding him by his armpits, he practiced marching across the ice. Whenever he lost his balance or footing, I was there to yank him back up. Let me tell you, one-hundred squat thrusts, bicep curls and pull ups couldn't compare to the toll it took on my muscles but man did my beer taste good that evening!

The folks at City Ice Pavillion were fantastic and friendly. As soon as one of us sprawled out on the ice - which was every other second - they would swarm over to help us up. The rink was clean and roomy and the best part of all - inexpensive. Well, cheaper than a movie and at least I'm getting a work out.

Besides, neither of my guys are ever going to be like Scott Hamilton. Chazz Michael Michaels, maybe...

First Grade Skaters

Friday, February 18, 2011

Little Authors

Thank God our schools are finally teaching children to overcome a common fear: fear of writing. Seeing that I went to school in prehistoric times, I can't recall exactly how English, grammar or literature was taught but they certainly didn't ask me to "develop a character" in First Grade. Some parents might find this shocking. I think it's brilliant.

As it is, children between the ages of four and six have a very active imagination. Almost everyday, I am subjected to a new story about my six-year old's imaginary friend, Doctor Ripperts. So, when he had to develop a character and write a story about it, including a problem and solution - I figured it would be a best seller.

I have to say, I paid a couple of hundred bucks for a writing course that gave me the same exact steps for writing fiction and that kind of ticked me off. A couple of hundred-dollars for a First Grade lesson, really?

Well, I suppose my instructor had to get paid, somehow. And her comments did help me out a lot considering I didn't have anybody else to mull over stories with. It seems the entire First Grade is developing characters so, last Sunday, when my son had a friend over, that was the topic of discussion over grilled cheese sandwiches and barbecue flavored chips.

"So, what's your character's name?" His friend asked.

"David," my son answered.

"David?!"

David? It's exactly what I thought. David may be a very popular name but we don't know anybody in our vicinity named David. This is Sunnyside - we have a Gali, Viraj, Swapnil and even another boy named Kazuki...but no David. So, where he got this name is totally beyond me.

"Okay," his friend continued, "what is David's problem."

"He goes to Chuck E. Cheese and he doesn't have enough money."

"That's a good problem," his friend commented.

A good problem indeed. Not having enough money at Chuck E. Cheese - can you imagine? What ever shall he do?

We tried to guess David's solution.

"Did he steal the money?" His friend asked.

"No," my son said and I let out a sigh of relief. It wasn't that I doubted my son's morals - I just cringed  at the thought that he was writing a Guy Ritchie film.

"What was his solution?" I finally asked.

"He used a credit card!" My son announced as if he had balanced a trillion-dollar deficit.

I realize that in a nutshell - his answer is how we are balancing our gazillion-dollar deficit. But just because the country does it, should it be David's solution? The practical, realist, stinker that I am, I asked my six-year old if David won back the money and then some so he could pay his credit card bill.

His answer was, "No, but he won a lot of tickets and got some really cool stuff."

Really cool stuff.

Obviously, his market genre is Fantasy.

"Does David run into debt collectors or garnished paychecks?" I asked.

From across the room they gave me a look that could've killed my Unicorn.

Their characters don't have consequences, they just have a problem and a solution - that's it. That's why Sylvester Stallone can fall off a cliff and not die. Not only that, he doesn't even break a bone or bruise - he just gets a little cut on his cheek. It explains how Bruce Willis never runs out of ammunition or why Jason Stratham can run a car off a building and calmly merge onto the highway.

Six-year old boys don't see anything wrong with that. They don't want to know that you need money to hop on a plane to escape the police. No, all you need is a passport. It doesn't occur to them that you can't just jump into a helicopter and instantly know how to fly it by pressing the up, down and sideways cursor keys.

They think that David is born with an unlimited credit card that is attached to his jeans with one of those mitten clips. But if it gets these little authors to write and love it, then what do I care. They just better not make me wait in line for their book signing.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

McHeart

Valentine's - Schmalentine's. A co-worker of mine once theorized that the date was a conspiracy conjured up by Hallmark, Godiva and 1-800 Flowers. Although I see his point, I'm so jaded that I'd even hate to give those corporations the credit. After all, the same theory could be applied to Easter.

Although, Easter has a history. Ask Google what happened and why we do the Voodoo that we do and almost all of the answers will lead to a guy named Jesus being resurrected. The bunnies and the egg hunt...well, nobody seems to have a sensible explanation for that except that it's a conspiracy conjured up by Hallmark, Godiva and Petland Discounts.

But Valentine's? I can't get a clear correlation between this Saint or Saints and the declaration of love. The more I analyze it, the more exasperated I get - like trying to explain love itself.

Valentine's Day, WTF? When I was single, you rubbed it in. When I got married, you became a joke. But I never had to buy into your commercialism...until now.

The four-year old came home with the "option" to hand out Valentine's day cards to all of his classmates. I passed that assignment over to Grammy thinking it would be the more volatile project. Eighteen cards signed in his Pre-K penmanship that resembles a squid mark in an earthquake - that's a breakdown guaranteed right there.

No thanks, I'll go with Big Brother's assignment. Read a Valentine's poetry, draw a Valentine's picture. How bad could that be, right?

I forgot Big Brother's a spaz.

For his picture, he wanted to draw a big heart and failed...miserably. The invested art lessons at SVA are going up in flames as he attempted to draw a simple heart and it came out looking like - well, it looked like an ass.

"No, no, no. You can't use that one." I said while I frantically erased it.

"Why not?"

"Well, for one thing - the bottom of a heart shape is not flat. Just do it again."

I wondered if I was being a bit of a Tiger Mom: the Asian-Nazi of a mother. But I realized we're not playing piano here - do it right, damn-you! No ifs, ands or Butts.

He tried it again and stopped with half of a heart. The top half that looks like a butt. He started to get frustrated.

"Dude, you're making it harder for yourself. Just draw the letter C with a big hump and then counter it with a backwards C - like this," I showed him.

He was determined to draw it his own way. A curvy letter M, a line on the left veering right, a line on the right veering left, over and over again. He worked at a pace so slow, I thought it would be Christmas before we were done. Finally, when he finished, there was a drawing of a heart that resembled McDonald's golden arches.

By this time, I was quite done with his homework assignment.

"Okay," I said, "you want to hand that in?"

"No, I want my hearts to look like yours, mommy."

Sweet, yes, but as I mentioned earlier, I am too jaded for Valentine's activities. I didn't care if they were perfect, I just didn't want them to look like the rear view of J-Lo or the aerial view of Dolly Parton.

He finally got a heart drawn to his liking. And though I wouldn't have cared, in my judgement it passed as G rated.

"Now, let's color it in," he said.

"Sure, what color - black or yellow?"

He gave me a quizzical look.

"No, Mommy. Hearts are red."

"Oh yeah," I challenge my last stand against Valentine commercialism. "Says who?"

He rolled his eyes up like duh and answered, "CVS!"

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Boy Named Sue

Men think they're so cute.

Whenever our four-year old talked about his friend, Luca (spelled with a c), my husband would ask, "Does he live on the second floor?"

I don't blame you for not getting his joke. Perhaps it's a generation-gap-thing but most likely, it's his wry sense of humor. Our four-year old, obviously, didn't get it. I explained to him that "Luka," was a song by Suzanne Vega that was a hit in the 80's. I sang him the first line, "my name is Luka - I live on the second floor".

A few days later our four-year old came home to tell me, "Mommy, Luca doesn't live on the second floor, he lives on the third floor."

I hung my head in despair. "Did you actually ask him?"

"Yeah, Mommy and he said he doesn't live on the second floor - he lives on the third floor."

I told Daddy what he had instigated. He took a step back in disbelief but deep down inside, he was elated. Of course, why shouldn't he be? He manifested his sarcasm through his four-year old son - that's something Satan would do.

Maybe comparing him to Satan is too much but as a newbie dad, he thought it was a good idea to blast Marilyn Manson, Tool or Metallica to get the baby to sleep. Much to my chagrin, it worked. Did I comb through the baby's hair searching for the 666 mark? You bechya!

The apple does not fall far from the tree.

So when our doctor prescribed the four-year old an inhaler for his cough I got a little worried. I wasn't worried about his asthmatic symptoms like a normal mom would be. And it's probably what I should write for appearances. The truth was, I thought about my husband...you know, Satan.

Sure enough, he confirmed what I knew he would think. "It's a bong, man...."

I was perturbed to the point of amusement as I watched the little guy press the pediatric mask against his nose like Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet.

The little guy loves Inhaler Time. He loves Lego's and Star Wars and can't go anywhere without a toy or two in his pocket. Just like Daddy...you know, Satan.

And when it comes to getting a shot, the little guy turns into the Exorcist. It's why I had to split up the four he was supposed to get at his last check up.

"You should prepare him, like talk to him about it before he comes." The good doctor said over the phone.

Prepare him for four shots? Talk to him about the sting of stabbing needles and the burn of whatever-it-is the doctor's pumping into him? How 'bout I rename him Jimi Hendrix. That might be easier. Because a few paragraphs ago, I was thinking about renaming him Damien.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February Happened

Helping my six-year old do his homework is good for one thing: reminding me what day it is. The teachers drill writing today's date on everything is great because it reminds me - even though it's half-past three in the afternoon when I realize it's the tenth.

I get freaked out.

"Oh, m'gosh! It's the tenth already? Half the month is almost over!" I pull my hair back and take deep breaths - think, think, think, think, think!

Alarms and sirens go off in my head, like Sigourney Weaver on a self-destructive ship because I know something is due or something is late and I can't remember what. Damn electronic billing!

What month is this....FEBRUARY?! Okay, there's tax forms, birthdays, Valentines and...Winter Recess!  
"Holy Schnikeys! What am I going to do with you guys for a whole week?"

Big brother finds my preoccupation a perfect time to ignore his homework and fling his boogers. He's egged on by the little guy who is bent over and spanking his own butt. Inevitably the buffoonery gets out of hand and there goes another ten minutes getting them to settle down.

That's why I never get anything done...or so I tell myself.

In truth, the tenth is hardly "half the month". But if the tenth falls on a Thursday, you piss away the weekend and looky-here...it's Tuesday and half the month is over. Is this a "glass half-empty" view, you think?

I guess the key term is "piss away." At some point, with every year I became more fanatical about wasting time. And though cramming every minute with an activity is unavoidable with two boys, I'm sad that I have to re-learn how to relax. I'm sad that my coffee always gets cold before I finish it. I'm sad that my arms and legs have to become a hairy gorilla before I wax it.

Just mention a luxurious "Spa" and I think I have to die to get there.

My brain needs to be rebooted to know the difference between winding down and wasting time. Eons ago, when I was young and single, I was easy going. Yes, like Lionel Ritchie's Sunday morning.

So I decided - after finding enough gray hairs to make a gray-haired pony tail - that I am going to piss away February. It's mapped out for me anyway. I just have to listen for my i-Phone to ring the reminder alerts and tell me where I need to be. And the next time the boys have a spank-fest booger flinging fight, I'm joining in.
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