Thursday, July 28, 2011

Don't Get Your Bun In a Knot

I brought Monkey Man to the library today to get his summer reading hours logged from the past 2 weeks. He’s in their summer reading program, which, and I’m going to go way out on a limb here, was designed to give kids incentive to read during the summer. We write down how many minutes he reads every week and then we are supposed to go at the end of each week to get the hours checked in the library’s Super Secret Log Book. Here’s how it works: get your hours checked, pick a piece of plastic crap out of the prize box, enter your name for a chance to win an iPod Shuffle, and off you go. Out the door for another week of wanting to read to get a piece-of-junk-toy made in China that Mommy will throw away when you are not looking. No, just kidding, Mommy would nevvvvver do that.

We haven’t quite made it to the library at the end of each week, but the teen volunteers have been very nice and checked off Monkey Man’s hours for two weeks worth of reading. It is all about getting kids to read, right? Like, “Great job, reading! It doesn’t matter that your only mode of transportation, your mother, keeps forgetting to bring you here so we can make our notes in our Super Secret Log Book. Nope, we just care that you are reading! Because that is what this program SHOULD be all about – getting you lazy, video-gaming kids to use your brains instead of just your thumbs on a Wii controller.”

Well today, we didn’t have the cheerful and helpful teen volunteers. Nope, we had the librarian. She walked over to the Summer Reading Program table and took a look at the front cover of Monkey Man’s log book. First, she read his name. He only wrote his first name, and Miss Librarian felt the need to be snarky and said, “Oh, is Monkey Man your last name? Because I need to know your last name to crack the freakin’ code in my Super Secret Log Book. And I have to write it on the front cover.” The cheerful and helpful teens pleasantly would ask Monkey Man his last name and use their alphabetical orders skills to quietly look up his name. But no, not Miss Librarian. After 5 weeks of this program, she asked him to spell it out for her as she wrote it on the front cover, making sure to once again tell him that he really should have written his last name on the cover. And I told her she really should have taken a job that kept her locked in a room without human contact.

Okay, fine. That was annoying, but then, when she opened his log book and started stamping, she noticed that 2 weeks were not stamped. “It looks like we do not have his hours logged for these weeks. We cannot count those hours,” she announced with a scowl on her face. Or maybe it just always looked like that.

Oh, now, shut the front door, Miss Librarian. Time for Mama Bear to retort, “This is a reading incentive program, right? The purpose of this program is to get kids to read, correct? I’m sorry that I did not get my son here for 2 weeks, but he reads and should not lose those hours because his (slacker, forgetful, absent-minded) mother didn’t bring him here for the Powers That Be to check off his hours. And the cheerful, helpful teens just logged his hours.”

“Well, I’ll give him the hours (Oh, Thank You Your Library Highness! All Hail! Great One!) but he cannot fill out a raffle ticket to win an iPod Shuffle,” was her masterfully created reply. The one reason she did not want to log his hours was because it would be unfair for Monkey Man to enter the raffle for the week.

And what did my dear, sweet child say, under his breath, to me? “Mom, I don’t care about an iPod Shuffle. I have an iTouch.” Side note to readers: He bought an iTouch with his own money. He saved for about 6 months between chores, birthday, holidays, and panhandling from my parents.

Well played, Monkey Man. High Five. Obviously, the iPod Shuffle was not the draw for this kid. Lucky for me he just enjoys reading and decorating my home with tiny plastic pieces of junk. And witnessing the occasional verbal altercation between Mommy and Miss Librarian.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Look at All the Singles, Ladies

Hubby and his brother had a Geek Sale, um, I mean, a Collectibles Sale last week. This is basically a high-end yard sale in which if someone offered them a quarter for an action figure, the neighborhood would have heard a deafening, “Hells to the NO!” After 30 years of collecting what I lovingly refer to as clutter, they finally decided to go through all of their Star Wars, action figures, baseball cards, comic books and other crap-that-takes-up-precious-space-in-my-basement. Praise the Nerd Gods.

In preparation for this highly organized sale of childhood memories, Hubby asked me to go to the bank and get 100 singles so that he had enough money to make change. After the sale (which was quite successful, but we still had a lot of that change left), we had 91 singles. I had 3 choices: hit the local strip joint, go to the bank and trade them in for bigger bills, or just use them.

Guess what I chose? After long deliberation, I decided to not spend the evening shoving bills in some guy’s G-string. I also was too lazy to go back to the bank. So, there I was left with 91 singles.

In the past 2 weeks, I have been given a curious and suspicious eye by several people in Target and Shop Rite after paying for a few $20 orders in all singles. During one checkout, when I pulled out a $5 bill in those singles, I announced, “Well, look at that! Someone tipped BIG!” The lady behind me in Target didn’t find that as funny as I did.

And then there was the guy at the gas station. He was ready to ask me on a date when I paid him in all singles. I pressed the pedal to the metal faster than Danica Patrick before gas guy tried to pump more than my gas.

Alas, my faux stripper days have come to an end. With only about 6 singles left, it really wouldn’t have the same impact. Instead of being known as the stripper mom in town, I’d just be the stripper mom who makes no money, and that is not a reputation I want.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Spelling Lesson of the Day

While I was out tonight teaching kickboxing, my husband was left to care for our child. To teach him the ways of the world. To help our son become a responsible man.

Or just to teach him jokes like the two of them are in 6th grade.

As told by Hubby:

They were standing in the bathroom, each taking their turn to do their business when Hubby got the grand idea to teach Monkey Man a joke straight out of his Middle School Joke Book.

“Hey Monkey Man, spell ‘I cup,” Hubby oh-so-wisely instructed Monkey Man.

Our unsuspecting son paused, then answered slowly, “I – C-U-P.” He said it again, putting it all together. “I C U P!” Uproarious laughter filled the bathroom, or as Hubby described it to me, Monkey Man done lost his shizzle.

After catching his breath, Monkey Man told Hubby, “Dad, I thank God that he made you to teach me inappropriate things.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Great (Brita) Depression

I replaced my Brita water filter today. Thanks to this otherwise unmeaningful and mundane task, I was reminded that the next time I replace it will be September 1. The end of summer. The beginning of school. And I know the next time I replace it I will remember fondly the day I put it in, July 14. It was just an otherwise unknown day, but it was summer, school was out, the sun was warm and bright and I didn't have to make lunch at night. Or get up and run around the house trying to get ready for work, get Monkey Man ready for school, get our clothes ready...

Damn you Brita. I should just drink unpurified water for the rest of the summer and save myself the anxiety attack.

Thesis: The Philosophy of Pitbull and How it Directly Correlates to Rick Springfield. Who Knew.

I’ve been hearing that song “Give Me Everything Tonight” by Pitbull, featuring Ni Hao Kai Lan from Nickelodeon, or somebody like that. Maybe it is Ne-Yo. Oh, whatever. It’s some rapper and I have no idea since I am clearly not immersed in the rap culture. Word.

Every time I hear that song, I think, “What a nice message,” because they say “We might not get tomorrow, let’s do it tonight.” I just thought it was a fun go-out-there-and-party message, you know, like live for today because you don’t know if there will be a tomorrow. Okay, so I ignored the following catchy little ditty in the middle of the song:

Excuse me
But I might drink a little bit more than I should tonight
And I might take you home with me if I could tonight
And I think you should let me cause I look good tonight (awesome self esteem!)
And we might not get tomorrow

Hmmmm. Okay, I will give him that if I, indeed, do not have tomorrow, because, say, the Earth is going to swallow me up whole, then I might knock back a few glasses of wine and chase them with tequila just so the sting of feeling the Earth’s burning core around me won’t be so bad. I might even think Armageddon is somewhat humorous if I’ve had one too many.

But it got me thinking. Is this song really about going out there and skydiving, or giving money to the needy, or making sure you give your kid a kiss each night before bed? Well, I listened a little more closely this morning when I heard the catchy tune on the radio (yes, I still listen to the radio. I love the spontaneity, the “Hey, what song will be on NEXT?" My iPod is too predictable).

Well, upon closer auditory investigation then confirmation after googling the lyrics, this song is most certainly NOT about living in the moment. Let me correct myself. It IS about living in the moment. Like having sex. Right. Now.

Put it on my life baby (say what?)
I can make you feel right baby
I can’t promise tomorrow
But I promise tonight
(Big promises. Hope for the girl’s – or guy’s sake – he delivers)

And over and over again, he urges people to grab somebody sexy:

Grab somebody sexy tell ‘em hey
Give me everything tonight
Give me everything tonight
Give me everything tonight
Give me everything tonight

At first I thought, that just isn’t safe. Just anyone sexy? What about diseases? Background check? Just because they’re sexy doesn’t mean they won’t take you home and lock you in their basement. But then again, if we don’t have tomorrow, we don’t have tomorrow, so I guess a basement isn’t a big deal because he or she is sexy, and it’s all going to end by morning anyway.

However, I think the biggest thing that bothers me about this song is what exactly I would do if I might not have tomorrow. Do I really want to spend my last night grabbing someone sexy? I might want to go to Target. I might want to eat 4 boxes of Pop ‘Ems with no regrets. I might want to listen to Jessie’s Girl right before the world ends, or at least before my world ends.

Which then brought me full circle to the point of this song – By God, YES! I would grab someone sexy. I would grab Rick Springfield, bring him to Target, sit my butt down, and eat my Pop ‘Ems as Rick serenades me with “Jessie’s Girl” into the great hereafter.

Apologies to Hubby who is also sexy, but he’s totally on board with the whole Rick thing. I’ll give him the night before the last night. And on HIS last night? He can have Rick’s wife. I’m generous.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Twilight Zone: Target Episode

I dropped Monkey Man off at his Science Summer Enrichment class yesterday morning then headed right to Target. There is not much that can be accomplished in detail during a 1 hour and 30 minute class (with a 10 minute drive home then back to school) that is actually shortened to about 1 hour and 10 minutes. You see, his session is supposed to start AT 9:45 a.m. However, by the time the first session comes into the cafeteria, eats their snack and they announce the second session, it’s about 9:55. His session is supposed to end at 11:15, but when I arrive at 11:13, parents are walking their children through the parking lot, having signed them out already. So basically, I hit Target down the road, or the dreaded Shop Rite, or I walk the dog for 30 minutes when it’s not 9,000 degrees like it was today.

But really, that all has little to do with my Twilight Zone experience yesterday, other than it occurred at Target. During my quick trip to pick just a few things up, I stopped by the women’s workout wear. After looking at a tank top that I really didn’t need, I turned back to my cart to head to the check out. When I looked down at my cart, it WAS NOT MY CART. Holy $&#! What the F%#@ happened to MY cart? This cart was filled with toys and stuff that looked like an employee was stocking shelves. This cart did not have my striped bag, waffles, paper towels, Morningstar fake buffalo wings and Hubby’s new bathing suit.

Panic set in. Although I knew this was not my cart, I started looking through the stuff thinking maybe my things were underneath all this crap, as if this nonsense had fallen from the great Target Heavens on top of my stuff. Nope. Definitely not my stuff. So I took off like a lunatic through Target for one reason – Monkey Man’s brand-new iTouch was in my purse. The iTouch that he purchased after saving for months. The iTouch that I have told him if he loses it, breaks it, so much as scratches it, it’s done, over, finished. My kid was totally going to kill me. Forget the fact that I would also have no way to pick up my child who was just two miles away because, oh yeah, in addition to his coveted iTouch, my car keys were in my bag. And my wallet, which was not a huge deal in the cash department, but a gigantic deal in the “I’m now going to have to spend hours calling all the companies linked to my credit card” department.

As I raced through the aisles retracing my steps, I saw mom after mom look at me, probably thinking I was looking for my lost kid. I guess the fact that I wasn’t yelling someone’s name made it appear otherwise, but I’m sure I looked pretty panicked and crazed. I could not find one Target employee, but when I made my way to the front of the store, hey, look! They were ALL up there, clapping and cheering and having some kind of Target Orgy.

I ran up to one of them and explained my situation. I am pretty sure he thought I lost my mind, and honestly, I was thinking I did, too. He had another employee announce on her walkie talkie my situation, asking if anyone mistakenly took a customer’s cart. That answer was a big fat no due to the fact that every single employee was involved in some weird tribal dance by the registers. I’m all for “Go Team Go” but c’mon people, there is an iTouch out there and a 6 year-old who’s gonna have me sleeping with the fishes!

I ran back through the store one more time while some of the Target natives tried to help me. And there, by kitchen appliances, I saw my striped bag peeking out at me. And then my waffles. And all my other stuff. Quick check through the bag – WHEW. iTouch – check! Cash – check! Credit card – check!

I found my original Target contact and let him know I found it. Then I paid at a register that was all the way on the opposite end of where the Target posse was still hanging out – seriously, there had to be about 20 of them – because I was a bit embarrassed that this could have been my early dementia setting in.

And on my way out, Rod Serling, dressed in a red polo and khakis, thanked me for visiting Target and suggested I stop by again.

Cue Twilight Zone theme…

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Needs & Wants

I was on my way out the door the other day to Toys R Us for a few birthday gifts. When Monkey Man heard me tell hubby of my destination, a 6 year-old’s paradise, he asked me, while batting his long, blonde eyelashes, “Will you buy me something?” Now, I am usually programmed to say, “NO” to these questions. I will not have a child that expects a toy or something every time I go shopping. I will not have a spoiled child. ESPECIALLY because I ONLY have one child. And we all know how every single only child in this world is spoiled rotten. Oh, and they don’t know how to play with other kids. And they can’t share. And my fingertips are not oozing any kind of sarcasm whatsoever.

I usually say no, but on this day, I was feeling good. Hubby got good news at work, so I felt like I could pick up a little something (and by a little something, I’m talking $2 or less, people). I answered his angelic plea for a toy with, “Maybe, we’ll see.” Because I took the “Advanced Mom Course for Children in the Age Bracket that Can Ask For Things.” And I learned that all important, noncommittal response.

Monkey Man looked at me, with shock and delight. I know he was thinking, “Did my mother just NOT say NO?” Then he said, “I know you’ll get me something. I get whatever I want.”

To which my reply was, “No, you do not.” Now, I will defend Monkey Man and add that he was joking a little. This was not said in a bratty way. He was trying to be funny. HOWEVER, due to the fact that those words even came out of that child’s un-spoiled, you-will-work-hard-and-appreciate-what-you-have, mouth, I had a lesson to teach.

I went to Toys R Us, bought the birthday presents, and some school supplies that were on sale (which, I must add, was the most depressing thing ever. Buying school supplies just one week after school ends is wrong. But they had a sale and I’m just starting to learn that if the store has it now, I must buy it now. Not wait until the week before school starts when they have nothing left). When I arrived home, Monkey Man greeted me with a, “What’d ya get me?” oh. Oh. OH. I will show you what I got you:

“Here you go. I got you a new pair of scissors,” I answered. His reply? A scowl. Geez, maybe he wasn’t joking.

“And a new box of crayons and markers,” I added with much enthusiasm, and maybe just a little sarcasm. Little bit.

“Oooo, and a supply box! Yes, and a new sharpener!” I was actually enjoying how totally annoyed my child was at me.

“Why did you get me this stuff?” Monkey Man asked, totally pissed at me, but I think mostly because I looked so damn happy about my retaliation.

Because you NEED it for First Grade. And I WANTED a good laugh for the day.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Where's the Beef?

We celebrated my niece's 6th birthday tonight at her grandparent's house. When we sat down to eat, I offered Monkey Man some steak. Although Hubby and I don't eat meat, we give Monkey Man the option, and as a chicken nugget lovin' All American boy, he clearly has not been on the path to vegetarian-ism. Hubby and I enjoyed veggie burgers in lieu of steak, with all of the other sides including salad and corn on the cob.

After I cut Monkey Man's tiny sliver of steak - he really is not a red meat eater, so he was just "trying" it - he asked me what steak is made from. I told him cow. He looked at me in horror as if he had just seen his pet cow Clarabelle sent off to slaughter. I said, "You don't have to try it, it's okay. Mommy and Daddy don't eat meat." Although we don't push him to not eat meat, we are hoping one day he makes the decision on his own. He replied, "It's okay, I'll try it."

He put a piece of medium-rare-ish looking steak into his mouth then looked at his plate. Before chewing, he asked me, "What's the red stuff? Is it blood?" I answered candidly, "Yes, it's blood." The child looked like he just found out the truth about Santa Claus. He picked up his napkin and promptly spit that little piece of Clarabelle into it.

Looks like he made his decision. Welcome to the world of veggie burgers and beans Monkey Man!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summertime and the Living is Easy!

Hello loyal readers - I'm BACK! You see, what happened was, a little thing like a job got in the way of my blog, and although life has been happening around me at an alarming speed, I've been too busy to write it down. Fine, I'm a liar. I've been too tired and lazy to write it down.

But, it's summertime, and in teacher-ese that means sweet freedom! Days of still getting up at 6 a.m. because Monkey Man has not gotten the memo that I've taped to his clock a sign that states, "You must sleep until at least 7:30. Please. I beg of you. You are slowly killing the woman who gave you life. Thanks so much! xoxo Mommy." But after I bring my zombie-like body back to life (this happens sometimes around 8:30ish) we will be ready to hit the pool, the park, museums, the library, meet up with friends for playdates - the list goes on. It is 2 months of pretending like I am a stay-at-home mom. And I love every single second of it. Plus I get to go grocery shopping and do laundry any time during the day instead of during my precious evening and weekend hours like the other 10 months.

Thanks for hanging in there and I promise you lots of summer posts filled with Monkey Man antics and other observations of life and its craziness. Happy Summer!