Family

My son was talking about his New Year’s “Revolution”, and in a flash it came to me. Something truly revolutionary for New Year’s; extend the selfless tradition of giving from Christmas, and hand out New Year’s resolutions to my loved ones.  Like gifts, these are well thought out, and meant to make those around me happier and more successful, putting them on the path to self-improvement in 2014.

1)   For my son, “Rain Man”, clean your room, and keep it clean. And since neatness counts, I’m adding legible handwriting to your list.  It won’t be long before you can use a computer for all of your writing, but until then, your teacher’s need to decipher all those jumbled and unintelligible thoughts you have in your head.

VintaframeImage2)   For my daughter, “Saffie”, you already keep your room spotless and are type A in all things, why not resolve to take a little pressure off yourself?  I am giving you permission.  But please continue your good work on keeping mommy organized, making the lunches in the morning, and keeping us on schedule. “Honey, where did I set my martini?”

3)  For my beloved husband, “Lars Lindstrom”, honestly dear, not a lot of room for improvement. But since I’m handing out resolutions as if I were the Wizard of Oz, I think a regular workout routine would be a great idea for health and well-being. I’m here to support you in any way I can, short of getting you a hot young female trainer.

4)  For my neighbor who allows the dog to do his business on my lawn, but doesn’t bother to clean it up, your New Year’s Resolution is so simple; clean up after your dog. I’m not sure who you are, but rest assured, if this situation doesn’t improve, I will find you. My cousin Salvatore offers a flaming bag-o-dog-doo-doorstep delivery service at a very reasonable price.

5)   And in all fairness, I have a New Year’s Resolution of my own; to swear less, maybe eradicate it altogether. I need to find a really good swearing rehab facility. My profanity is not my fault, it’s an addiction,beach and I really want to own up to it, and I am very sorry to all of you that my foul language has hurt or shocked in the past. But I am ready.  I realize I can’t do this on my own. Preferably I need a small beach town in Mexico with white sands and rolling waves.  I think a rigorous routine of yoga and good clean living to cleanse mind, body, and spirit, would cure me. It will take about three weeks.  I am ready to do the hard work to rehabilitate.  However, I am a little concerned about repatriation into the real world after rehab, and the pressures that cause me to swear in the first place.  I will require several follow up visits throughout the year.

chain gang 2

Kids Incarcerated, that is. My son and I saw this chain gang of preschoolers at the park.  I explained to him that they were very naughty children. Their main crime was not listening to their parents.  I’m not sure what work detail they had been on that day, perhaps digging ditches or picking up litter. They were singing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” as they passed by, which I thought was a little cliché. I wonder how much the parents have to pay for this wonderful disciplinary service? It sure beats shipping the problem four-year old off to military school.  It also made me realize there really is a market for my Toddler Straight Jacket line of products. I will be offering them in an array of fashion colors and textures. I’m starting product development, and will be looking for investors soon.

kids bath (2)Many of us have experienced vivid memories triggered by scent.  Researchers attribute this to the proximity of the olfactory nerve to the amygdala, which is associated with emotional memory.*  Science lesson aside, the feeling can often be very powerful, transcending time and space.  We smell a familiar scent that evokes a strong memory from childhood; the bubble bath we used when my sisters and I would pile into the bathtub; all three of us. My father, his early childhood through the formative years spanning the Great mr bublesDepression, was extremely frugal. We were allowed about three inches of water in our bath, but we made the most of it with lots of bubbles. No wonder our skin was dry and itched like crazy.

To this day I associate “clean” with the chemically smell of Lysol, Pine-sol and Comet Cleanser. Our clothing smelled of White King D, Fels Naptha Soap and lot’s of Clorox. My dear mother prided herself on how white her whites were. When I think of my own children and the scents they will associate with childhood, I think a musty smell will play a prominent role in their olfactory triggers.  I tend to have a 24-hour waiting period between the wash cycle and remembering to put the clothes in the dryer. Adding half the box of Bounce sheets does very little to freshen things up. I’ve given up on re-running the washing machine, because another 24-hours elapses so quickly! I just can’t break the cycle.

As for other scents that will cause a misty-eyed, nostalgic response from my children, dare I mention my car? It’s for good reason we call it “The Family Dumpster”.  The Jeep has its own special brand of decaying snacks, sweaty soccer socks, and spilled coffee with cream. It’s an all natural blend, like a Joe Malone perfume. Certainly my children won’t be able to walk near a dumpster 30 years from now without thinking of Dear Old Mum barreling down the freeway, hip hop blasting on the stereo.

* Source: 10 Facts About Memory: Scent Can Be a Powerful Memory Trigger by Kendra Cherry, About.com

“Stop, collaborate, and listen, lice are back with a brand new edition. Lice, lice, baby, in your hair, in your hair.” Sing this ditty to the tune of Vanilla Ice’s (AKA: Rob Van Winkle’s) smash early 90’s hit, Ice Ice Baby. Hey Rob, if you don’t sue me for copyright infringement, I won’t mention that you forgot to negotiate the rights to “Under Pressure” with David Bowie. shower cap

But I digress. The topic is lice. I have had many discussions with parents of my generation about the confounding nature of lice, and the fact that nobody remembers anyone getting lice when we were growing up. Fast forward to the 2000’s and they are pervasive.  Our family has had the honor of having them twice.  I asked our local lice removal service if we could join their frequent flyer program.   I’ve also considered getting a chimpanzee as a family pet.  He could munch on our lice and nits all day, and I could make a lot of money renting him out to other lice-ridden families.

If you aren’t planning to acquire a chimpanzee as a preemptive strike against lice, I have outlined the six phases of lice infestation and provided a helpful protocol if you find your family in this predicament.

I went dumpster diving this morning, Seattle-style, which means it was our MASSIVE recycle bin, not a garbage can.   It really made me thankful to live in a city committed to saving our planet, where each item of waste is carefully separated.  I practically climbed inside that giant bin.  In spite of getting soaked by all the empty-ish wine bottles, I did manage to find what I was looking for; my daughter’s outdoor school permission slip. I recalled filling it out and signing Sunday night, then it just disappeared.  I looked everywhere on Monday and could only conclude that in an effort to see my kitchen counter tops, I had swept it up into a pile of recyclable paper. 

It’s hard to explain the elation I felt upon finding that sacred purple piece of paper.  My daughter had worked abfab2herself up into a frenzy, convinced she would not be attending outdoor school with the rest of her 5th grade class. If they really threw the book at her,  she might be expelled.  My daughter and I have sometimes been compared to Edina and Saffy, the mother and daughter in the BBC series, Absolutely Fabulous. While this comparison may be hyperbolic, I admit I see some truth in it. I’ve been known to fly by the seat of my pants, while she is punctual, organized, and the complete opposite of a procrastinator. Incidentally, there is no true antonym in the English language for procrastination.  Is this because it’s a rare gene mutation?

So dumpster dive I did, and off we went to school.  My feelings of goodwill after finding my needle in the haystack of recyclables carried forth through my commute.  I actually let a car turn left onto Mercer in front of me, waving the gal in, enthusiastically, as if she were my long-lost sister. I was feeling the need to give back to the universe kharmically.  Of course, I immediately regretted that selfless act, as the driver was slow and disoriented, but I did it! And I refrained from cursing at her.

I recently purchased yet another polyester onesy for my son to wear for Halloween.  He assured me that this new ninja costume is way better than the ninja costume he wore last year, and it’s great to add to the already overflowing costume box. Children love wearing fabric made from coal and petroleum, and it makes mothers feel so good. Luckily, I already have next year’s costume figured out.

photoAt the Catholic grade school my children attend,  the third graders dress up as their favorite saint on All Saints Day.  When my daughter was in third grade, I was campaigning for St. Pauli’s Girl, the patron saint of the beer buzz.  Say what you will about  the Catholics, they really do know how to get their party on, and I figured this saint would have “broad” appeal (sorry for the bad joke). My daughter wasn’t all that keen on the idea, so we settled on St. Helene, in honor of her maternal grandmother.

If dressing up like a saint sounds like a boring prospect, think again.  There are over 10,000 Catholic saints, and this motley crew consists of some of the most macabre, strange, and downright crazy characters in history.   These guys are better than Spider Man, Iron Man or any of the Star Wars characters combined.  So who is in the running for my son? Here’s the short list. And the great news is these guys didn’t wear polyester, only natural fibers, for maximum softness and environmental friendliness.

St. Lawrence, Patron Saint of Cooks.  No doubt we will include a jaunty chef’s hat and oven mitts.  St. “Larry” was martyred by being roasted on a gridiron and famous for saying, “it is well done, turn me over”. Who doesn’t love a saint with a sense of humor?

Santa Claus as “Pimp Daddy”, rocking the fur on the collar and cuffs.  St. Nicholas dropped three bags of gold down the chimney of a poor man to provide as dowry for the man’s three daughters, saving them from a life of prostitution.  Apparently career options were limited for unmarried women in the 3rd century A.D.

And finally, my personal favorite, St. Polycarp, the patron St. of Diarrhea.  Typical martyr story, he was burned at the stake but didn’t die, so they had to stab him with daggers.   Why he gets the dubious honor of patron saint of massive colon blowouts,  is a mystery. As we know, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and  Catholicism in out-right weird ways.  But what an easy costume to assemble. A white toga with strategically placed brown stains. Done.

 

IMG_1241This is the Ikea cubicle shelving I purchased to really get my sons room organized. Knowing everything is in exactly the right place really helps me keep my helmet on straight. No more wasted time looking for his baseball cap or his favorite Star Wars shirt!

You might be asking, wow, I wonder what other organizational tips and tricks she has up her sleeve? My favorite is dumping the contents of the junk drawer into a grocery bag and starting over.

 

pumpkin2When I was a child, my sisters and I carried the same pumpkin candy carriers for the 10 or so years we trick or treated.  I suspect my mother kept them, and I really should have asked her to give them to me after I had my daughter.  I can never remember to buy those darn things, and it seems that every year my kids endure the humiliation of using a Target plastic bag or grocery bag for trick or treating. 

Approaching my daughter’s 3rd Halloween, I finally had the where-with-all to buy her a hard plastic candy receptacle, and boy, I was sure glad I did! Just before Halloween, we were playing at the park, and my daughter declared she had to go “numero dos”.  My daughter was an early potty trainer; signed, sealed, and delivered at 2 years, 2 months.  This was by no means a reflection on my brilliant mothering skills.  My son finally trained at 4-and-a-half.  I was convinced that kid would be wearing diapers to his senior prom. 

At any rate, we were in a desperate situation, and the Parks and Rec folks had already locked down all the bathrooms for the winter.  I thought I could get her to squat in the woods, but she refused.  The nearest bathroom, in my estimation, was a mile away.  I’m sure you can guess where this story is going.. In a moment of inspiration, I ran to the car and grabbed that smiling jack-o-lantern.  Well we really gave him something to smile at, and he made one heck of a potty chair.  Needless to say, my daughter once again trick-or-treated with a paper bag as candy carrier that year. Some things are just not meant to be when you grow up in my family.

I tried so hard to clean up my truck driver mouth once I had kids.  The problem is that kids make swearing not only a necessity, but an imperative… Each morning, I resolve not to swear.  I state my intention out loud.  I drop a fork, or spill some milk, and I say “oh crumb cakes” or “Cocoa Puffs”.  Then we start our commute to school, and I’m suddenly possessed.  I can’t really help the fact that the streets of Seattle are congested, there are so many bad drivers, and extremely aggressive pedestrians and bikers.  Next thing I know, I’m dropping F-bombs right and left.  That is why I’ve invented the amazing “Bleeper Plus” app.  Please take a moment to fill out the NDA before reading further.  You see, I fancy myself as some type of genius inventor; I’ve just never gotten past the idea phase. Here’s how the bleeper+ will work. The user selects from an array of happy voices, like Mother Theresa or the Fairy God Mother.  My favorite is the Yoda voice downloadable. When I yell, you “douchey-mother-shit-bag”.  The bleeper says, “Do or Do not…there is no try.”   My other favorite is “The Hail Mary” prayer recited by Stewie Griffin any time I say a simple “God Damnit”.

© 2017 Napadaisical
%d bloggers like this: