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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, Part III

It has been awhile since I've publicly humiliated myself with a trip down the memory lane of hairstyles (see Part I here and Part II here). Don't worry, I can take it and will see this series through to the bitter end.

Lest you think I'm "so brave" for doing this, I'll preface this post by saying that these next few shots are from a period in my life where I was pretty happy with my hair, or lack thereof. Going super-short (and super blond) was freeing and fun and kicky and spirited and all those other obnoxious adjectives you'd expect to see in a Keds ad.

Here is the first photo, taken in the early 90's, about 1992. Please note the absolutely hideous outfit that I am wearing. It was one of those voluminous one-piece, flowing pant suits, so, yes, that pattern goes all the way to the floor.

Moving on, this was also a time of lots of drinking; in this photo, I'm in a baby-doll type dress (channeling Courtney Love, minus the authenticity).
Oh, and then, just because the puppy is cute, there was this photo:
Finally, we shoot forward to mid-1996, a mere six months before I met Fairly Odd Husband. You can tell that I'm getting tired of 'short-short' and starting to grow out the back a bit (yes, I miss those sunglasses, and, no, that is not the same dress as in photo #1).

Next up: Lady in Red (hair).

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Can I Get a Second Chance?

A homeschooling family we don't know very well came by to borrow a curriculum we aren't using. Before they arrived, I told the kids to pick up their toys a bit since we were making a "first impression".

"When you meet someone for the first time, you don't want to be wearing dirty clothes and have food in your teeth. Well, the same goes for your house."
(I believe this is a Confucius quote).

"Yeah, yeah", they grumbled as little cars were thrown into a basket.

The family arrived, and we all crowded into the living room as the two youngest (our sons) decided they wanted to play trains. Belly tried to help set up the track with them as we watched. As she was about to finish the track, she noticed that she was faced with two pieces that would not join together.

"Mommy, we have two female ends, but we need a male or they won't go together."

Oh crap. At that moment I realized that most families probably do not use genitalia to describe their train tracks (hey, think of how easy explaining reproduction will be! "The mommy track waits for the daddy track. . ."). I cringed but said nothing.

Shortly after, the girls all ran giggling upstairs to play with dolls. I resisted the wicked urge to say, "boy, I hope they stay away from the guns, needles and porn" because I liked this mom and was not looking to scare her off. For the rest of the visit, we were all on our best behavior (except for D who refused to share his helicopter for no amount of bribing, begging or threatening).

After we were done discussing the curriculum, I took the mom upstairs to tell her girls it was time to go home. We entered the room, and I saw the girls happily playing with Barbies and horses and Little People.

And then my eyes traveled up the back wall of the room that used to be our office, but is now the kids' playroom. Here is what I saw:

Oh, hell.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Where in the World am I?

I'm turning Japanese over on New England Mamas this morning. . .

And thank you to everyone who has commented with encouragement, good wishes and goofiness lately. Things are looking up: D's fever is starting to fade, the sun is out and April is just over the bend.

Now, a request: we are planning a trip to Disney World in early September. I'm already all over the internets but would love more personal recommendations, advice, tips, etc. Other than the Magic Kingdom, SeaWorld and Epcot, I've never been to any of the other parks. I'll be with my husband, my three kids (who will be 4, 5 & 7 when we travel) and possibly my mom.

You can leave me your thoughts in the comments section of this post or email me directly at fairlyoddmother-at-inbox-dot-com. My hyper-planning self thanks you.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter, Interrupted

Me, not quite 2, but quite sure I don't want to be on this rabbit's lap

There is a reason I do not host Easter in my home:

Easter 2004: Home with a vomiting and feverish baby Jilly-bean. Send Fairly Odd Father & a 2-year-old Belly to Easter dinner.

Easter 2005: Home with my infant D who is feverish and sad. My sister picks up Belly & Jilly and brings them to Easter dinner since FOF is visiting parents in Florida.

And, now, Easter 2008: I already know that D will not be able to make it to Easter festivities. He is running a high fever, not eating, and pretty miserable. This year, FOF will stay home with him, while I watch the girls eat their weight in candy.

At least there are no major holidays to celebrate for a while after this.

(Easter morning update: D. is still running a fever but is in a great mood. The girls are in seventh heaven since breakfast has consisted of all the candy they want to eat. So far, so good.)

If you like IKEA like I like IKEA, you can read my ideas here for how to turn a store into a playground.
And, if you have older kids, check out this site that was started by one of my fellow New England Mamas, along with some other great writing moms. The focus is on parenting teens and young adults---boy am I glad I have some years before I'm dealing with a teenager!

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Good One is Hard to Find

Bad contractors deserve all the crap they get (just ask my mom who is fighting to get a bundle back from one jerk who stopped answering her calls).

The good ones, though? They are priceless.

We are lucky to have a good one. Take this phone call today (for the purposes of this story, let's call our contractor "Steve"):

Me: "Hi Steve! Hey, I wanted to tell you that our bathtub came in and I've called the plumber to come install it but can't remember if we're supposed to put in green board first or after the tub is in?" (punctuation is left out because this is how I talk on the phone----fast and to the point lest some child decide to pitch a fit before I get off the phone).

Tiny pause and then,

Me: "Oh, whoops! I should've asked if this was an OK time to call? Am I getting you at a bad time?"

Contractor Steve: "No, no, not a bad time at all. I'm actually at (large New Hampshire) mountain skiing right now. But, I can talk."

Me: "WHAT? No, no, no, I'm not talking to you while you are on vacation with your family!!!! It's not that important. Call me when you get home, whenever".

Contractor Steve: "You sure? It's OK!"

Me: "No! I can't believe you answered this call while you are skiing. Forget it! I'll talk to you later!"

Contractor Steve: "OK, call me Saturday morning; I'll be home then."


I've experienced the 'other type' of contractor as well.

When we were redoing our master bathroom, we hired a guy to do our tile work. He came highly recommended and was a really nice guy (which is probably why I put up with this). But, time and time again, this is how our calls would go:

Me: "Hello?"

Tile Guy: "Hey! Listen, I know I haven't been by in a few days, but I'm on (nearby highway) and will be at your house in 15, maybe 20, minutes."

Me: "OK. Sounds great. We really need you here because the tile work is holding up everything else."

Tile Guy: "Totally understand. I'll see you in a few minutes!"

And, I wouldn't see or hear from him for a week.

It became a (sad) joke to see if his "proximity" to our house correlated with how long it'd take for him to actually show up. For instance, "15 minutes away" meant "1 week later". "I'll stop by on my way home from this other job" meant "See you in a month". Oh, and "Yes, I can do the job for that price" meant "I didn't mean I could do the entire job for that price!" (thank goodness for written quotes).

Isn't home ownership fun?


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Bumpy Ride

I know a few homeschooling moms who, when faced with a child who will not cooperate, threaten, "If you don't change your attitude / listen to me / do your work / (insert specific request here), I will call up the school and enroll you tomorrow!"

And, for many kids, that works like a charm.

For us, though, it does not work at all.

I know Belly doesn't hate being home, but there are days when she'd rather get on the yellow bus with her friends and spend the day in a first-grade classroom. I can see her bounding off the bus at the end of the day, full of stories and papers, telling me which child she now wants to have a play date with that afternoon. She'd have a new best friend every week and would probably get in trouble for talking in class.

I've tried hard not to 'demonize' school. I tell her the hours are a lot longer than what she has at home, and that a teacher will not let her hang upside down from her chair while listening to a story. But, I don't try to scare her into thinking school is "all bad", or that teachers are mean. I know that for her, first grade would probably be pretty cool, and she'd slide ride into it easily.

I know all these things because we've been there, to some extent. Belly was in daycare by 18 months old, in two-day preschool by three and five-day preschool by four. The plans was that she was going to public kindergarten at five, and she'd be more than ready.

But, then, I started reading about homeschooling and thought it sounded ideal. Far from being isolating, it has opened our world to a new way of life, a new group of people, a new daily rhythm. I would never, ever do this if I truly believed it was harmful to my children either socially or academically.

And, yet, there are those days. . .days when we are so out of sync that I can barely stand to be in the same room with her. When a ten-minute math game turns into 30-minutes of torture. And, before I know it, I've said the words. . .

"I'm calling the school tomorrow!"

As if on a dare, Belly shoots back, "Do it! Go ahead!", and then, a half-beat later, "I know you'll never do it!"

Later, we'll sit on the couch and lick our proverbial wounds as we talk. I tell her that, as a parent, I decide what is best for her. That someday she may go to school, but for now, we are doing things differently.

I vow to change my expectations. She vows to change her attitude.

And, on we go to the next day, optimistic that we will soon be in sync again.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

I Am Ated.

I find it hard to write something for my blog when the children hate me.

For the past few days, one of them says, "I hate you Mommy!" at least once a day. Even my three-year-old son, the little blond cherub, will tell me, "I ATE YOU MOMMY!" (he can't say his 'h's).

This, naturally, does not put me in a very good mood, especially when these words are accompanied by lots of stomping, door slamming and overall crappy attitude.

I try to be fun and playful. When that doesn't work, I switch to stern and firm. Finally, I'm on to pissed off and taking no prisoners. So much for consistency.

I've done everything I've sworn I'd never do. I have sat kids on the "naughty step". Banged on doors demanding they be opened. Canceled Friday's "movie night". Said the dreaded words, "Do you want me to call your father?"

Oh, how far the (not so) mighty have fallen.

Each night, I go to bed and say that tomorrow will be better. I will have more patience. I will not raise my voice unless absolutely necessary. I will follow the rules I've read in this book. I will be the mother I want to be.

And, by 10am, I look at the crumbled remains of the day and wonder what happened.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Driven to Distraction

Hey all! I'm over at New England Mamas talking about audio books, a subject I started here in November. Our newer titles are listed as well, in case you want to know what we're doing in our car when we're driving all over creation.


Monday, March 10, 2008

We're Going Like Sixty!

Ever on the lookout for things to do in my spare time, I signed up for Citizen of the Month’s Great Interview Experiment. Each person who signs up becomes both interviewee and interviewer. I’ve already shown you what happened when I was interviewee. Now, I get to show you what happens when I get a hold of the microphone and have all the control.

Meet Going Like Sixty who is, like, 60. He is a funny, opinionated and happily married Baby Boomer who also happens to be a professional haikuer!

Why do you blog? (and, Happy Anniversary on your one year blogging!)
I blog to release my inner smart ass (and thank you).

Do you still respond to everyone who comments?
I try to respond to everyone, I will put them in my RSS to test to see if they keep my interest, and comment on their blog. I often cruise WordPress tags to see what's out there.

Do people who know you in real life know about your blog (meaning neighbors,co-workers, distant relatives)?
Yes people around me know I blog. They don't care, they don't read me. I also have blog cards that I pass out to acquaintances who I think might read blogs.

Other than mommy bloggers, what other 'group' of bloggers bugs you the most?
Mommy bloggers don't really bug me as much as people who whine about school or their life. Also sick people blogging. I have yet to read a sick blogger’s post all the way through. I have a couple of great mommy bloggers in my blog roll because they write funny stuff which may or
may not include their kids.

I love the diversity of my blogging buddies: redneck diva, lesbians, black women, white men, Irish, Canadians, rural, urban, suburban, professional, unemployed, moms, dads. I just would not have the chance to know these people otherwise.

I wish lurkers would once in a while reveal what they are thinking. It is always more fun when more people get in on conversation.

How did you end up in Kentucky? I know very little about this state; could you tell me what you like the best about it? Where else have you lived? Do you miss Michigan?
My job brought me to the Sunbelt. I love the weather and scenery. I absolutely do not miss Michigan and its one week of summer (the week of July 4th).

How did you end up with four dogs?
Ha, I just said that last night. Nancy wanted a lap dog. The first dog was runt of the litter, but grew to 65 lbs, next was shit zoo 20 lbs is a lot for lap. Third was just a total whim, he's 20lbs. She has always wanted a Yorkie, we ended up with Yorkie Maltese mix. 5 lbs.

You wrote about A&W Root beer in a post, and now I can't get the memory of it of from my head. If you could bring back a few favorite products from the past, what would they be? What products do you wish would go away?
Not a product, but I wish Coke still came in 16 oz. bottles. 12 in cans just isn't the same and 2 liter plastic is too bulky. Go away: Viagra and the ilk--then the commercials would go away too.

Other than your love of green M&M's, what do you think of this 'going green' movement?
I like it. I'm not a freak about it, but we have put CFL bulbs in our house. But I drive a gas guzzler. I love some of the new building designs that are being done in Dubai and the middle east. Unfortunately they are the only ones that have the money - which came from us using so much oil.

Politically, my dad went from being "Mr Independent" to "Right of Attila the Hun" (his words) as he got older. Have your political beliefs changed as you've gotten older?
I campaigned for Nixon in college. I have marched in anti-war (Iraq)and have become more left leaning in the past decade with Bush in White House.

One of your forecasts for '08 was that you'd perform an act of civil disobedience. Please name a couple of things that could get you riled up enough to do this.
Oh hell, anything: new stop signs where there shouldn't be one, dumb speed limits, etc. I would get arrested for protesting more restriction of civil rights. ie: marshal law after a disaster.

What major U.S. tragedy has had the biggest impact on your life? War in Viet Nam. I didn't know anyone that died, I didn't go, but the turmoil it caused had an impact. Also, Kent State murders by National Guard still piss me off, and I can't watch documentary without blood pressuring rising.

The Godfather is your favorite movie but how do you feel about the sequels? Do you hope that a "IV" will someday be made? Did you see the Superbowl commercial by Audi that mimicked the horse-in-the-bed scene?
All the sequels were great too. III was the weakest because of Sophia (sp) Coppola. Girl cannot act! I would go see IV if it was made, but I'm OK if there is none. I think commercials that imitate movies/music/television from decades ago are lame and uncreative. The latest is Mr. Bill for Subway!

Are you a little bit country, or a little bit rock and roll (I loved the Donny & Marie show too)?
My music taste is eclectic (I did do a blog post on what was in my CD player) and I lurvs Because it will play from any genre of music. Techno, Classical, Metal, I think my jukebox has at least a dozen genres.

And, your blog is the first place I heard that Paige Davis (Page) was FIRED from TLC! What!??! Did you ever hear why?
Paige was fired because the new owners wanted to go in a different direction.

Which celebrity do you wish would disappear from this planet?
Celebrities are that way because somebody likes that stuff. I don't care what happens to them.

Anything else?
I tried to join and was "that" close to being in, but they decided not to allow men. I met a wonderful woman blogger who works for and her daughter is a founder.

Also, I tried to get to use me in their "men's room" but never heard back from them. I'm still hoping she will contact me, so I can tell her to buzz off.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and come up with some good questions.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Why I Was Never a Copywriter. . .

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month! Let's see if I can come up with a slogan:

Be Kind to Your Behind: Schedule Your Colonoscopy Today!

Fifty is Nifty (and time for a colonoscopy).

Make a Booty Call and Schedule a Colonoscopy Today.

Don't be an Ass! Schedule a Colonoscopy Today.

Colorectal Cancer: Don't Take It Sitting Down.

Colorectal Cancer: A Bum Rap.

(somewhere, I know my dad is groaning)

If you didn't get a chance to read about my colonoscopy experience last fall, I'm sharing it with the good people over at New England Mamas. Click here for that post.


Despite the title to this post, someone I know and love dearly entrusted me to write this for the coolest mom shopping site there is.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

How To Feel Like Scum at 7:28a.m.

Belly came down to the kitchen this morning and immediately burst into tears. Thinking she may have had a bad dream, I held her and asked her what was wrong.

"The tooth fairy forgot to come last night!", she wailed.

Ahhhhhhh. . .fuck.

Looking out the window of our kitchen, I saw the snow and came up with this explanation:

"Ohhhh, she didn't forget you! See the snow? It snowed all night, and she can't fly when her wings are wet!"

The hiccups and sniffles continued as I babbled on about the tooth fairy and her supposed struggles with Mother Nature. About 10 seconds into it all, I thought about revealing the truth ("Mommy is just a forgetful idiot"), but sensed that would be even more upsetting to her right now, so I kept the story going.

Memo to myself: pick up a little something 'extra' to tuck in with those two dollars tonight.