Oh yes, it’s ladies night. Oh, what a night. (The Bon Voyage)

Alternate title: Moms Gone Wild

Alternate alternate title: Leaving on a Jet Plane

When you’re socially inept, like myself, it is often challenging to find friends, especially good ones.  I am ridiculously fortunate to have some amazing friends.  The kind of friends that make you feel as if you’ve known them forever from the moment you first meet.

Two of them are leaving for Holland very soon (the country, they are moving to Europe, not kidding).  The divine Ms. SheNayNay is  permanently returning to her mother ship land and the sensational Ms. Libby is staying  for 18 months. *sigh* I’m going to miss them terribly.  And my kids will miss their kids.  And I will miss Mr. SheNayNay’s Oscar the Grouch pajamas.  And I will miss Coffee Talk with Mr. Libby…. well, maybe not the last bit.

So what’s a gal to do when two of her friends are going on an amazing adventure in the Nether-regions?

HAVE THE MOTHER OF ALL LADIES’ NIGHTS, THAT’S WHAT!

Begin at the beginning, shall we?

The limo arrives at my house around 5:45PM.  Libby, SheNayNay, and….. (Here’s the part where I wish everyone involved had chosen their own pseudonyms, but since they didn’t, I’m forced to either create my own or leave them nameless.  Apologies in advance.  I remember every one of your beautiful faces and I am glad that you were there, but I won’t name anyone without permission.) 101 Ways to Wear a Scarf were already on board, wine glasses in hand.  2 other friends and I jump in and open the second bottle.  We pick up 2 more friends, so now we are 8.  It took almost no time at all to drain the 2 bottles of wine that we started with, so we ask the driver to stop for more.  A total of 4 bottles of

Blurry Limo interior

wine were consumed in just over an hour between home and the restaurant, so many (all?) of us were a bit buzzy by the time we sat down for dinner.  We were having such fun in the limo that I was a little disappointed that we were at the restaurant so soon.  A word of advice: if you ever have occasion to text the word “limo”, please be aware that auto-correct may change it to “limp”.  Awkward.  (I’ve included a blurry picture of the limo interior for your enjoyment.  I didn’t occur to me to wait for the vehicle to stop moving before trying to photograph it.)

Another friend met us at the restaurant for dinner, and so now we are nine at a table for ten with a single sad solitary chair at the end of the table.  I reserved a table for 10 knowing there would only be nine, but my brain can’t process an odd number reservation.  How lucky.

As it turns out, yet another friend was surprising us for dinner.  It was, I believe, a surprise for our guests of honor, but one among us spilled the secret to me in advance.  Hooray for the Hail Mary babysitter that made it possible! It wouldn’t have been the same without her.

Full table, full bellies and empty bottles.  Dinner was wonderful.  I do not remember what I ate, but I think it was good.  Someone, during dinner, may have drunk dialed Mr. Libby.  I can’t remember clearly who that might have been (Why are you looking at me? I would never…) or even why the call was placed.  I… ummm, I mean, whoever it was, may have tried to procure a ride in a police cruiser, just for fun, from a friend’s hubby who was with Mr. Libby for the evening.  Truthfully, the details of dinner are sketchy at best for me.  Someone else might be better able to recount them.  Feel free to fill in the blanks in comments, ladies.

Mary Anne

I do recall being chastised for excessive phone handling, but as my phone is my camera, if any pictures were to be taken, phone handling was required.  At some point in the evening Libby declared that my phone needed a name since I spend so much time with it.  Allow me to introduce you to Libby’s phone: Mary Anne is a trusty steam-powered cell-phone, who will have to finally be retired upon leaving the country because her cell phone company will not support that phone any longer upon her return to the states.  Mary Anne’s final fate is unknown at this time.  I vote for a shadow box to permanently display her in Libby’s home.  Or she could become the furnace of the new town hall in Popperville. (What you cannot see about Mary Anne, is that she is actually taped together at the back.  Can you believe that phone can make a phone call and actually text?)  I thought that naming my phone seemed like a good idea and suggested Tangerine or Clementine to reflect her fabulous orange case.  Libby seemed in agreement, but a few hours later referred to it as “Mandarin”, and that’s what stuck.

After dinner, the ten of us walked to a nearby club.  We chose this club specifically because it promised fun 90’s music for our inebriated enjoyment.  It was dark.  It was a little seedy.  It was nearly uninhabited except for the DJ, the bartender, and a handful of random characters.  The music was decidedly mediocre in spite of our efforts to guide the DJ by way of repeated requests. (Hey, did he ever play Regulators like I asked at least twice as a tribute to the late Nate Dogg?) Libby was especially vocal about demanding that he play the whole song.  I do not understand why he kept lopping off the last 30 seconds or more of every tune.

Back to the point.

When we first arrived a young man offered (or was coaxed? I wasn’t party to this, so I have no idea) to buy shots… except that there were 10 of us and he only had $12.  The bar tender was handing out some delightful (ick) shots in plastic tubes with foil seals (faux test tubes, I suppose) that came in a variety of colors, none of which are found in nature. Yet another friend joined us, and now we were 11.

Mostly there was a great deal of dancing and merry making.   I am certain of this because my right knee was suffering mightily the next day.  Somewhere around midnight, with my buzz waning and sleepiness descending, and the failure again of the DJ to play Regulators,  I heard that the Secret was heading home and opted to hitch a lift with a sober human instead of calling a cab.  3 of us jumped ship with the Secret, leaving 7 behind to continue the dancing and DJ abuse.  I’m told that they rolled in around 4am…. I think I would have been asleep by then.

It was a memorable night for all, at least I hope so, because a wonderful memory is what we hope Lib and SNN will take with them across the world to start a new chapter with their families.  Damn it.  I’m getting all weepy, again.  Your absence will be felt, ladies.

And, yes, I’ll consider getting a passport if Scarves, and Lashes (and anyone else who wants to go) think they can tolerate the excessive hand-holding that will be required to get me there.

I just saw Halley’s Comet, she waved.

An image of Halley's Comet from 1910.

Image via Wikipedia

I am a giant pain in the rear to live with and I marvel that my husband has continued to hang around for over 12 years.  Perhaps he’ll stick around for 64 more.

When he asked for my help packaging an item he needed to ship out, I told him I’d be happy to assist after the kids were asleep.

We put the little ones to bed and set about finishing up the usual day’s chores: straighten the living room, start the dishwasher, pre-load sippy cups with milk for the morning.  Standard tasks done, I waited for him to finish the dishes so I could help him with the box.  I’m not a patient person.  My impatience is visible no matter how hard I try to disguise it.

Hubby looked over at me from the sink, “Oh, you’re ready now?”

“It’s fine.  Take your time.” I told him, using my most sincere voice.

“You don’t mean that.  Let’s do it now.  It’s like Halley’s Comet, I don’t want to miss it.”

Startled, I said, “What do you mean, ‘Halley’s Comet’?”

“I mean it only happens every 76 years or something that you have spare time in the evening.”

I was stunned, and he is absolutely and indisputably right, which is a pity because I’d really like to deny it.  He wasn’t angry, although maybe he should have been.  It was stated fact and nothing else.  The evenings, like this one, are often spent catching up on email, …ahem… blogging,  playing video games, studying, or working remotely.  And if I’m not somehow tied up on an electronic device, I’m likely not home.

That isn’t to say that he is 100% engaged all the time either.  If he isn’t attached to his laptop, or phone, or outside working on his car, he’s probably not home.

I’m not complaining.  It’s all very equitable.  I just can’t help wondering if it isn’t somehow wrong.  I love my technology.  I do.  My iPhone connects me to the universe.  I check it often.  Really often.  Too often?  I mean, just because I check it in the middle of the night if I happen to wake up, doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem.

Right?

Just in case, I’m scaling back.

Don’t worry, the blog, the email, etc will carry on as usual, just perhaps a little more slowly.  I’m starting with small manageable things like leaving my cell phone upstairs and out of earshot from dinner time forward, and wearing a watch when I go out so that I don’t have to handle my phone to see the time (which becomes a legitimate excuse to check for messages while I’m at it.  That’s reasonable, isn’t it?).

So far, so good.

The point is (of course there’s a point, I just prefer the scenic route) that I don’t often make an effort to connect with people, at least not in a human way (face to face, telephone, smoke signals), but I’m going to start trying… so, if I show up unexpected and uninvited on your doorstep, you’ll know why. (I’m mostly talking to my husband here, I would never show up at someone’s house spontaneously, and since he and I live in the same  house, I can hardly be considered uninvited. Regardless, I should hang out with him more often.)

Cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two

On a recent family grocery shopping trip, Goose saw me put a bag of small chocolate eggs into the cart.  I intended to bring them to my office for the community candy jar.

When we got home, Goose asked if she could have one.  I said, “No.” and explained that I planned to take them to work.

Later that day, the kids had some friends over.

“Mommy, can I give chocolate eggs to my friends?”

The look on her face was so precious and she was trying so hard to be a good hostess that I relented, and handed her enough eggs to give one to each of her friends, her brothers and one for herself.  She ran off to deliver the eggs and returned to me.

“Mommy, can I give Miss SheNayNay an egg, too?” she asked gesturing to her friends’ mom.

“Sure,” I said, “But then that’s it.  The rest of the eggs are going to mommy’s office.”

After her friends left, she asked if she could have another chocolate egg.  I reminded her that they were going to work with me on Monday.  A few hours later, she asked again.  My reply was the same.  She asked again at bedtime. I repeated myself once more.

The following morning, Goose came downstairs and instead of “Good morning” or even just “Hi”, she said, “Mommy, can I please have a chocolate egg for breakfast?”  I said no, and reminded her about the deserving people at my office who would like one.  She continued asking every hour or so until finally I had reached my limit. I believe it was 9am.

“Goose,” I told her with thinly veiled exasperation, “if you say the words ‘chocolate egg’ one more time I am going to explode. Do you understand?”

She nodded slowly… and then… she said, “Later, can I have a chocolate egg?”

Buddy grabs her arm with great urgency and says, “Goosie!!! You better run!!!”

And she did.  She ran away and stood wide-eyed and blinking at the far end of the room.  Buddy was ducking behind the kitchen island.  Both of them were looking at me expectantly.  Now what was I supposed to do?  I couldn’t actually explode, but I felt like I owed them a show of some sort.  After a moment, I started to laugh.  The whole scene was just too funny.

I gave them each a chocolate egg and ditched the rest of the bag.  They were too funny not to give them some, but I couldn’t deal with Goose asking again.  The only way to end it was to eliminate the source of her obsession.

Now, I’m left to contemplate various methods for creating a faux explosion should such a famous opportunity present itself again.  I wouldn’t want to disappoint them.

All the women who are independent….

A few weeks ago, I used the snow-blower.  It was the first time ever.

I just heard half of you say, “Big Deal.”  Step off.

I decided that it was time I learned how to use the damn snow-blower earlier this winter.

Typically, this is hubby’s “job”, and I am happy to wait patiently in the house while clears the driveway, but lately, I’ve been thinking.  Why is it his job?  Why can’t I do it?  What if I needed to do it?  I don’t even know how to start it.”

I tried to think of things that I do that he doesn’t so I could justify my continued ignorance.  There are the usual things: scheduling the doctors appointments, keeping up with preschool agenda, choosing the kids’ clothes every morning.   But ultimately, he could do any of those things if I asked him.  I just haven’t.  He already does laundry, dishes, etc.  So really, there isn’t anything that he absolutely couldn’t do without my help.  Certainly, I rely on him to do lots of things that I prefer not to do (take out the garbage, address spiders and other crawly things, etc), but some things I simply would not have any idea how to do without him.

There was the snow-blower, which I’ve already mentioned, but you can add using the lawnmower, the generator, and the grill. How exceedingly girly of me. And how silly, too. I’ve always prided myself on being able to manage basic car maintenance (except changing a tire, that’s going on the list, too), and here I have let all these other things slide by in the convenience of my cozy marriage.

So I asked him to give me a snow-blower tutorial, and I got to test it out a few days later.  We got out of bed in the morning to a pile of snow.  He asked if I was going out that day.  I told him that I wasn’t and he decided he’d handle the driveway after work.  I took the opportunity to apply what I had learned.

It wasn’t pretty.  The driveway had thin strips of deep snow in between the passes that I had done with the blower because I went too fast and didn’t overlap enough, but that didn’t matter.  Pretty wasn’t the point.

The point was that I went out and I did it.  By myself.  And I did it well enough that I could have easily gotten the Swagger Wagon out of the driveway… even though I didn’t have anywhere to go.

It turns out that there was a purpose for all the snow this winter.

It reminded me that I’m a capable human being.  I get it.  And now, I’m ready for spring.

Every Rose…

I mentioned in my last post our guinea pigs, Daisy and Rose.

Weeelllllll…..*sigh*….. Rose has ummmm… passed on.  Poor little thing.

I have acknowledge that I never warmed up to Rose in the few short weeks she was with us.  She was distant and aloof while Daisy is inquisitive and spirited.  In hindsight, I recognize that Rose was distant because she wasn’t feeling well.  Damn you, prey animals, and your insistence on survival by way of pretending that you aren’t sick.  Pneumonia.  If I had caught it sooner, we might have been able to save her.  We tried, her vet tried, but it wasn’t meant to be.  RIP small one.

After I finished the required exercise in self-loathing for letting the creature down, I turned my thoughts to the next problem at hand: what to tell the kids.  Especially, what would I tell Goose.  Rose was her pig, as Daisy is Buddy’s. I momentarily wished  for a religion to reference.  There wasn’t much time to figure it out.  I had to pick up the children from school and they would immediately ask about Daisy and Rose, and I would need to tell them.

So I did.

On my way to pick them up, my stomach did flips, and I felt panicky.  How would they take it?  Would they understand?  I wanted to find a stand-in Rose to make it all go away, but resisted.  A substitute is just that: a substitute.  It would be a cop-out.  What would I say?

I arrive at school, and pile the kids into the car.  They see the carrier and ask.

“Did Daisy and Rose go to the doctor today?”  Buddy asks.

“Yes,” I answer.

“Are they sick?” asks Goose.

Here it comes.

“Well,” I say, “Daisy is just fine. But Rose passed away.”

I immediately hate myself for using a euphemism.

“Is she still at the doctor?  Is the doctor going to make her better?” Goose asks.

“Well, technically she’s still there, but the doctor can’t make her better. What I mean is: she was too sick, and…”

“Then when she’s better, she’ll come home again.”  It was a statement, not a question.  She was sure.

I sigh.

“No, Lovey. Rose was too sick.  She was so so sick that the doctor couldn’t make her better, even though the doctor tried really hard to help.  But 100 doctors can’t fix Rose.  Rose died.  That means that we can never see her again.  She’s gone…. forever.”

I’m trying not to be dramatic, but want to make sure that they understand that “died” means Rose isn’t coming back.  They stare at me in silence.

“Soooo,” I continue, ‘”what we need to do is take really extra extra good care of Daisy so that Daisy doesn’t get sick, too.  Can you guys help me take great care of Daisy?”

“Sure, mommy.  But where did Rose go?” Goose asks earnestly.

“Well, that’s a tough question to answer, but ummm…” I stammer for a second when Buddy interjects.

“Can we get Daisy a new friend?”

“No.  Not yet.  Not until we make sure that Daisy is well and strong.  Then, possibly.”  I pause. “Maybe in a few months.”

Buddy looks thoughtful for a moment and says, “Don’t worry, Goose.  We can share Daisy, and we’ll take really good care of her. And when she’s really strong, we can get her a new friend.  We’ll name her ‘Share’.” (Note: SHARE not Cher, as people have thought in the oral telling of this tale)

“Buddy, I think that would be a beautiful name for Daisy’s friend.” I tell him.

“I think so, too.” Goose nods.

And that was it.  No tears.  No awkward explanations.  They haven’t asked any more questions and I’ve decided to let it be until they do.  They are only 3, after all.   Thank goodness I  have them to remind me that most things aren’t as complicated as they might seem.