I just got back from a weekend of
total debauchery genteel jazz music, wine tasting, spa, and very little internet. It was magic. We flew in to San Francisco and drove down the coast for our annual pilgrimage to the Monterey Jazz Festival, this time with three of our best friends in tow.
While we were waiting for our plane we witnessed one of those beautiful moments in life. There was a lady celebrating her seventieth birthday, and five of her sisters, along with an assortment of neices surprised her at the airport and were all going on the trip with her. She was ecstatic; the surprise was a total success. Everyone on the plane was feeling revelatory.
The flight was not without drama. The attendants were mostly on call for the sisters, who were apparently attempting to break some sort of drinking record. There was a medical emergency when one of them ran short of breath from all the excitement. Then something went weird with the plane and we had to abort the landing and circle around San Francisco until we went down for a bumpy landing met with EMS and air field security.
Everyone broke out into applause when we landed. At least those of us who weren’t throwing up or busy cracking out the valium. We were feeling a bit giddy from escaping death (that might be a bit of a hyperbole, but in my mind we were only moments away from being a national tragedy), the general euphoria of a vacation ahead of us, and witnessing the family reunion.
So when yet another sister was waiting for the sisters at the luggage carousel, it was just too much. Everyone was in tears. Mr. Giraffe approached them to tell them how touched we all were watching this beautiful day unfold. As he made his way over the birthday girl yelled “Oh my god, you guys hired a stripper too!”
My inner broad was doing a slow clap with a cigarette hanging out the corner of my mouth. Bravo ladies, you give me hope. And I think the least Mr. Giraffe could have done was take his shirt off.
I have complained about this before, but I am not super domestic. In my head I am this:
In reality I won this trophy last year:
Every so often I get ambitious though and I am going to turn it all around. In my daydreams I plan parties and make magnificent cakes and everyone will be dressed in clean, ironed clothes every day.
This time I focused on the cakes. On a whim I signed up for a cake decorating course, convinced I was probably going to be asked to be the instructor. I was going to spend my nights practicing and making shit from scratch. It turned out to be a mompetition over who could make the best pink icing. I hate pink, so I lost. I was the one squirreled away in the corner focusing on my piping technique, ladies. Anyone can achieve neon orange icing. Anyone.
I ended up making this.
Cute right? Except I totally didn’t make it. I made this instead:
Yes, those are crumbs in the crappy, uneven icing. And the trees I made were heavily depredated by a unicorn.
I had to quit halfway through finishing the cake and skipped the class because we are going camping and I needed to pack and we have house guests and I was really tired and SO MANY EXCUSES. I really could go on forever, but the truth is that I didn’t want to hear the instructor congratulate all the other novice decorators for their gorgeous flowery cupcake designs and charming colour schemes while I was busy trying to make realistic rocks out of grey buttercream. It was so hot in there, you guys, I wanted to stab everything with my piping bag.
Anyway, I had a revelation as my boys devoured the cake. Maybe I am just trying to justify my laziness, but I really don’t think they care if I am a domestic genius. And I can raise them not to care. And their future wives will thank me for lowering their expectations. And I can train them to do domestic stuff for me, which their future wives will also thank me for. I just figured out how to be the best mother in law ever. Best mom went out the window some time ago.
I had a similar thought when my husband turned down boxes of nostalgia that his parents were throwing away. It never occurred to me that I could do the same. When my mother cleaned out her basement and dropped off every single piece of paper that I ever wrote on until the age of 18, I put it all in my basement in case I ever needed to remember how angsty I was when I was 13 (Hint: pretty angsty). It takes up space in my life. And every three years I have an argument with my husband about it. I don’t have to do this to my kids! I don’t have to scrapbook. I don’t have to finish those baby books. I probably will fill them out with the wrong information and crusty advice for them so they’ll have something to remember me by after they shove me in the cheapest nursing home. But I don’t have to; they won’t be upset if I don’t! I’ll show them my boxes full of depressive mournful teenage meanderings and they will thank me for not forcing the same on them. Then we’ll have a bonfire with all those heaps of paper and toast my parenting skills. Bring your marshmallows.
So fuck it. I was totally right to stay home and have dinner with my boys tonight instead of cake class. Beets are better for you than cake and sanctimonious crafters anyway.
We got flooded at Thanksgiving last year and then we had bronchitis and other family disasters at Christmas time. We’ve endured a lot of complicated living situations and crud, so I figured a really fun Easter might turn things around. I was prepared; I had the eggs, the Easter baskets, enough chocolate to put us all in a diabetic coma, adorable Easter cards made and photos taken. I talked the kids into being excited about the Easter bunny, or at least remembering that there is something called an Easter bunny, which they only understood in a vague way. This was going to be the best motherfucking Easter ever. (just like the best motherfucking Christmas ever.. sigh, I should have known).
Then on Wednesday night just as I was drifting off to sleep, early for once after weeks of being an idiot watching episodes of Mad Men all night long (I heart me some Don Draper), I heard the sound that strikes fear in the heart of every parent; the violent hack of stomach contents being ejected all over a bed. If you ever wondered what sleep deprivation sounded like, it’s all summed up in that distinct cough. Immediately you know that you’re going to be tending to the poor soul who just heaved his supper all over the bed and producing laundry at an exponential rate for an unknown quantity of time. If you have multiple kids you might hold on to the faint hope that you can keep them quarantined but deep down you know it’s only a matter of time before the second one falls.
Things went downhill for us leading up to Easter weekend. I couldn’t force enough fluids into Patient Zero and the vomiting would not end. Stupidly, I maintained a high level of optimism that things would turn around and Easter would be resurrected (see what I just did there?). It was not to be.
Expected: Trip to the farmer’s market for ingredients for gourmet Easter dinner! Loads of time with Daddy! Out with some friends for birthday drinks!
Reality: Good Friday started with the haunting memory of being in an ER waiting room with about a thousand other vomiting 3 year olds. It’s not something I will soon forget. Patient Zero spent about 11 minutes awake all day and had to be force-fed pedialyte. I did make it to the farmer’s market where I was served chilaquiles heaping with salsa verde that resembled the impending mess that I was about to discover in my children’s diapers for the next several days. I never want to go to the farmer’s market again. We had now spent 3 days trapped in the bedroom in the vain attempt to ensure that the second kid remains healthy and Easter is saved. I have watched Monsters Inc. eleven thousand times.
Expected: Easter egg decorating! Basket hiding! Getting hot cross buns! Idyllic walks in the park talking about bunnies!
Reality: All is looking good on our quarantine attempts in the AM. Patient Zero is starting to turn around, and the second child is careening around being a flying dragon with no volume control. And then just like that the second child morphs into Patient A by vomiting all over Grandma and Grandpa. Chaos ensues where I force Daddy half rinsed out of the shower to bathe vomity Patient A and myself for good measure. Daddy is mildly resentful for the rest of the day.
I experience the classic control freak dilemma; allow Daddy to do the shopping for Easter dinner or take care of ailing children? I send Daddy off for Easter lilies and ham, knowing that he has never purchased either and that all dreams of a gourmet meal will be dashed by whatever is cheapest at Safeway. Daddy returns with non-Easter lilies and a deli ham. Mommy decorates eggs on her own, resignedly dunking them in colours foregoing the sparkly gorgeous madness she envisioned. Patient Zero takes a mild interest in eggs and dictates colours to put the egg into for a few minutes, resulting in inevitable brown egg. Eventually we all retreat to bed and wait for the vomiting to stop. It doesn’t.
Expected: Brunch! Egg hunt! Thrilled laughs over Easter baskets, bubbles, chocolate for breakfast! Joyfully slaving over a gourmet dinner that my whole family will gather around and relish!
Reality: Bodily fluids, mess, laundry, pre-cooked ham, hot cross buns with that weird gummy dough on the top instead of glistening fresh farmer’s market ones, sleeping on the couch with a diaper perilously aimed at my lap, tears. Patient A curls himself around the bucket of Easter eggs and refuses to let go of his “DIYASAUR EGGS” without tears and flailing, so we let a whole bucket of hard boiled eggs spoil with the body heat of a fevered toddler.
Patient Zero gets into the spirit of things and refuses to remove his bunny ears despite there being no evidence that Easter is happening. Neither child can summon up the effort to look for their Easter basket which is fine because I have now raided most of the candy from them. We all eat in front of the TV with half filled plates because the sheer amount of body fluids expelled has ruined everyone’s appetite. Watching a dude called Bubba win at golf, which was probably the worst part of the weekend.
Expectation: Kids in daycare! Daddy and Mommy having Ferris Bueller’s day off! Happy family reunion at the end of the day with two relaxed and happy parents and two happy and tired children!
Reality: We’ve given up. No one has been outside in days except to schlep over to the pharmacy and perhaps for emergency coffee. There is a mountain of laundry we may never recover from. As 11 am approaches we have a moment of silence for the spa treatments that were supposed to happen and finally resign any hope of adorable excited shrieking children. We eat all the leftover ham and cake. It doesn’t make anyone feel better.
But you know, at least we endured our crap-tastic Easter as a family. And I managed it entirely booze free and without yelling at anyone except fate, which makes it a personal best for me on the holiday front. This is actually the best Easter I have ever achieved.
Now you’re probably expecting something racy, but I assure you that this ends in booze fueled accusations. We are living in a rental place with a very excellent shower. I do find myself bored in there after 30-40 minutes of steam action although my landlady assured me that “ladies love the body sprayers”. I have yet to find out why ladies might like them. Perhaps someone can tell me. So far they just feel like I’d imagine standing in a carwash would feel.
ANYWAY. My husband is obviously bored in the shower too, because I keep finding messages on the wall made with our kids’ foam letters like “FIT SHUCKERS” and “GOOSE LUCK”. Yesterday was:
Some men might want to leave sweet messages for their family, so I am trying hard to find the meaning in all of this.
Today I found this:
This didn’t seem to have any meaning until tonight when I was drinking wine in the shower (STOP JUDGING ME) and saw that the outline of HUGE was still there:
Is my husband trying to say I have a huge boospie? What does that mean? I can’t think of anything singular that you’d want a huge one of (unless, obviously, you’re a dude). Does it mean bum? Does it mean nose? Does it mean forehead? None of these things are good if they’re huge. I don’t know.. whatever it is.. I BORE YOUR CHILDREN, OF COURSE I HAVE A HUGE BOOPSIE.
Although, to be fair, if it means ass, it’s probably all that Halloween candy and goat’s cheese and I can’t rightfully blame it on the twins because I burn way more calories chasing after them than I could ever hope to consume between tantrums. One of our sons kept yelling “BIG BUM” while patting me on the tush at the mall, and I couldn’t even go and sob like I wanted to. I had to congratulate him on his burgeoning language skills.
So to my husband: a simple U R HOT or NICE CAN would suffice. The last thing I need is to be contemplating this while I am standing naked in the shower wondering what ladies like about body sprayers.
I will let my husband have the last word on this one though.