Tag Archives: career

The gods must be crazy…

Okay. So I’m back. Hopefully for good, but you know I’ve found out that god has a sense of humor recently, so you never know.

So where have I been? What have I been doing?

Remember all my posts that detail what a good mother I am? Like the one about how I didn’t breastfeed and the one about how I feed my kids McDonalds once a week and how my two year old feels me up in Target?

And then remember how I had that really mind bending post entitled, “Hellz Yaz” about whether its better to have huge puss-filled zits all over my chin or have a sex drive? And everyone voted that I remain a sex kitten with zits? And my big-boobed sister warned me that natural family planning was a very bad idea?

And then remember when I told you the story about when I had to tell Professor Bourbon I was pregnant after they let me into the PhD program?

Do you see where this is going? Yeah. Surprise!! I’m preggers. Not really what I was planning for 2010, or 2011 – 2050.  And my angel didn’t even have the balls to warn me this time. The news hit right after New Years Day (same day I got my new job offer, so my new boss got to be the second to know) and I don’t think I’ve been quite the same since. I can’t figure out whether the nausea is from the pregnancy hormones or the idea that the gods thought it would be a good idea to put another human on this earth who has me for its mother. When I found out, BD was so worried about my mental state (probably because he’d never seen anybody catatonic before) he promised to stay sober with me this whole pregnancy, which is awesome. The other two times I was the designated driver and it was not awesome. It actually does make me feel better to know that I’m not the only one who will be suffering the next nine months, which I think is what makes BD love me so much.

So I won’t lie – the change of plans has had me in a tail spin for the last two months, which I probably could have recovered from in a week if wine could have been involved, but without alcohol, and with nausea and a new job and exhaustion, I could sum up my life perfectly in one non-word: “meh”. Which is why you haven’t heard from me. The juice has been gone.

However…the good news is that I’m over it now. I’m going to be a mother yet again, and red wine no longer calls to me during my long, sleepless nights and now I have a third chance to make a first impression. Maybe I’ll try breastfeeding this time. Or maybe I’ll freak out and change my mind a month before like I did the last time. No promises there.

And maybe this kid will be the one who winds up changing my diapers when I’m 92 and I’ll be like “Oh, now I get it, God. You’re the best!” And lets not forget about the nightly “happiness” I have to look forward to in the coming months. This time I will make buying porn a part of the getting ready for baby checklist, just so we don’t have to go through the histrionics of yesteryear.

So I’m psyched. I didn’t think we’d have any more kids but now that it has been determined that we will indeed, I’m stoked. And I haven’t seen an episode of Oprah in two months, and its given me a strength I didn’t know I had. I think I might be okay when she stops the show now. I think I might survive. And that goes for everything – the pregnancy, the delivery, the new job, the new house we’ll have to buy and even the…GULP…minivan? (okay, that last one was really hard for me to say)

It’s a new world order.

Welcome back to my life. I’ve missed you guys.

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Taking what they’re giving ’cause I’m working for a living

Holy shit you guys.  Not only does my job require getting my ass up an hour earlier, catching a train and walking to an office every morning where I sit in a cube that has my name on it – it also requires….work.  The last five days were like five years.  Office time is like dog years when stuff is actually expected of you and people want you to produce things in a time period that is actually challenging. No wonder Oprah has those bags under her eyes.

My new boss is a great guy, but he appears to have certain expectations of me that I feel obliged to live up to – at least at my first week on the job.  He wants me to help him change the world (well, the world as it applies to my new little company) and I’m kind of like, “Yeah! Awesome! Let’s do it!” when I’m really thinking, “What the fuck am I doing here? Why.the.hell. am I in a suit?”.  On the other hand, I have been very vocal about all things that I don’t like and he tends to agree with me so I think that is why he thinks of me as his brother in arms.  Did I tell you this guy used to be a Green Beret? Yeah, I never thought me and a Green Beret could be friends, but he is teaching me his battle techniques and together we’re raising a shit storm.

There are two other people who have been with the company a couple of years that share my same job, except they just made this new role up, so my boss wants me to “show” them what needs to be done, because he thinks they are too comfortable and questions their fitness for the role.  His take on this is not making me the popular new girl on the scene.  Quite the opposite, I think they want to kick me in the face.  And I get it. They’re all, “WTF? She is here 2 days and she is getting all the attention? (cough simultaneous with a “bullshit” under their breaths.”  I have been nothing but really cool but apparently my Awesomenesss is very intimidating and really hard to play down sometimes.

So basically I haven’t been able to talk to anybody around the water cooler yet, which is probably good because I was too exhausted to watch American Idol or Project Runway.  And I invited myself out to lunch with my 2 new friends that like me so much and are in an office gang clique I’m not privy to yet, which was kind of awkward. So right now I’m kind of a loner.  I think maybe even the administrative assistant who runs the whole office even hates me. But maybe that will make me more mysterious and powerful.  Or maybe a loser. I’m not sure how it will all play out. My only friend appears to be my new boss, but he doesn’t work in my office, so our friendly phone chats are all I have at this point.  Well, and BD. Now we only work a few blocks from one another, so he takes me out to lunch so I’m not left alone at McDonalds wailing and gnashing my teeth over my #2 Value Meal.

So, all in all – the new job = AWESOME. I can’t think of a thing I would change.  So give me a month or two before I’m feeling all the warm vibes I get from retelling ridiculous stories.  I know I still owe you the story about the time the Seal look-alike (but even scarier) held me hostage in a cab.  Hopefully the people at work will stop hating me and realizing that the mountains of joy I can bring through telling them all of the crazy shit that happens to me.  Or maybe they’ll just become the crazy shit that happens to me, and then you guys will win by hearing what happens next.

But stay tuned because I have some stuff that needs to be revealed that kind of breaks the balance of the universe. I just need the time to do it justice.

Love conquers all – hopefully even in an office

Well, first I would like to congratulate myself on escaping the fires of hell my big huge corporate entity job so that I could take a job with a little, itty-bitty, tiny company that hopefully doesn’t go bankrupt. Today was my last day at the former and Monday is the first day at the latter. And much to my surprise and horror, I’m a little freaked out by the big change and I’ll tell you why:

MY NEW JOB REQUIRES ME TO WORK IN AN….AN…..OFFICE.  WITH PEOPLE.  There. I said it.  I have never done that before except when I used to work as a temp in college, but I always knew I would be free of those whack jobs in a few weeks and I didn’t want to starve so I did it.  Oh, the stories I shall tell you about some of my temp jobs!! Not to worry – definitely on my to do list.  But I digress.

I’ve never actually worked in an office before. I always had jobs where everything is really flexible and I can work from home, or from some temporary cube, or I’m on the road, or with clients and nobody bugs me or cares where I am.  And I like that. Total freedom to wear my pajamas to work most days, or watch Oprah when it originally airs. The little girl in me that used to always inform people that they aren’t the boss of me has grown up and she feels exactly the same way.

But this new job…I mean, they told me it was flexible when I told them that I’m afraid of offices, but I feel like the culture is that they expect you to actually go there. Like, everyday.  So in some ways I’m super-curious because I’m not one to shy away from situations that will give me priceless fodder for my best-selling memoir I haven’t written yet, and I’m totally gearing up for water cooler banter/debates by Tivo-ing American Idol and Project Runway, but on the other hand…I mean, will it be like “The Office”? Will I get a desk next to some clown like Creed, or Angela or Kevin? Please, please, please, dear mother of GOD, put me next to Dwight and Jim Halpert.  Or Oscar.  Or even Toby. Toby’s good.

So this makes me think about which Office character I’m most like. Because I guess my new office mates are also wondering what the new chick is going to be like and whether I’m a loud food chewer, or if I don’t wash my hands after I go to the bathroom, or if I’m on the phone all day trying to order a huge new projector thing for my mega-church,  or if my husband works for Vance Refrigeration. I actually am none of those things.  Well, BD might accuse me of chewing too loud, but I’ve convinced myself that that’s more about his hang ups and less about my chewing volume. I’m not really like anybody on “The Office”, because my Awesomeness is hard to capture in just one character, but if you twist my arm I think…and I’m not proud of this, but I’m probably maybe closest to that goofy new receptionist chick.  She kind of looks normal and nice, but she is definitely a little freaky, and weird and clueless a lot. Which I think pretty much sums me up perfectly.  Except that I would never fall for the Nard-dogg. Just saying.  So I guess I’ll be her if a board game comes out.

But so anyway…how does one conduct oneself in the office? I don’t know why I’m asking the Internet since if you read my blog you clearly aren’t at work — or are you? Do they let you do that?! I’m assuming I can’t really blog at work anymore. Or read your delicious blog.  Or check Facebook at 34 second intervals. Or burp loudly after an especially satisfying gulp of Diet Coke. I suppose pouring myself a tall glass of Shiraz at 4 or doing 3.5 loads of laundry is out of the question.  And random lunches with random people at random times — not so much.  How do people do it? I mean, how much of a waste of time is it to be in an office all day? What if I have nothing to do? I think the cubes are situated in such a way that everybody can pretty much see what you’re doing because there aren’t really high cube walls or much privacy, so I think I have to have Excel open all the time to look like I’m officially working.

Also, I have to start traveling again. They told me I didn’t have to go very often when I told them I don’t like traveling, but I might go so insane in the office that I become a road warrior and turn out like that lady in “Up In The Air” who is inexplicably still hot with the worst 70s hairdo ever AND breaks George Clooney’s heart, which, I mean, come on – I would never do. So I have issues. At least at my totally unsatisfying, frustrating, uninspiring current job I just quit didn’t make me do things like go to an office and have a desk all day. I got to go to Cubs games and out to lunches and lots of 3 o’clock happy hours. But my company was an asshole.  Like, if the company could be a person, it would be the biggest ass you’ve ever met.  Which is weird, because the individuals that work there aren’t assholes, but it’s one of those Gestalt things where the sum was more than the parts and somehow the sum of decent, smart people equaled Really Huge Global Douchebag Corporation.

So why did I take this new gig? Well, probably the same reason I voted for Barack. And, no,  not because Oprah said. I would have voted for any damn Democrat, because I was really voting for not George Bush.  And this new gig is like that – it is not old gig.  Once in a while (every three years to be exact), you have to do something completely different.  And I’ve been at this one 3 years, so I had to go.  Plus at this new place, the people seem cool and the company does appear to be laid back, and they seem to actually get the concept that their employees are human beings with feelings and families, but in a work all the time sort of way, since it is small and everybody needs to pull their weight to make it awesome. Which is fine because I work a lot. I do. I just do it when I feel like it. When the mood strikes. And I’m afraid that at 8:30 in the morning, the mood is not normally striking. No. That is about the time when I go to the gym the 7 times I did in 2009.

Anyway, now I’m rambling. I hope that New Job is 100x sweeter than Old Job. It may turn out to be A Job. But no doubt I’ll have a whole host of new and interesting stories to tell you…I just hope I get a chance to write them down. I may have to change my blog name to “Very Important Site for People Who Are Successful and Productive” so when I’m writing in it and someone comes by my desk they’ll see that in really big letters and be satisfied that I am indeed working very hard and I might just be the best new hire they’ve made since the Kelly Kapoor-ish chick from two months ago.

Wish me luck. And I apologize in advance if the posts are coming a little slower in the next couple of months. Demonstrating my Awesomeness will likely take a lot out of me.  It’s not easy to do The Worm on hardwood floors.

Love’s PhD Trilogy: Exodus

***if you are new to the trilogy, it started here.

Despite my grand illusions of who professors actually are and what they actually do (like screw around with undergrads and smoke pipes), my PhD experience wasn’t really all that I had hoped for. I liked all of my classes and I was doing fine, but the stress of having an advisor like Professor Dragon and the feeling that I would be railroaded into a field of study I didn’t even like became overwhelming. Not to mention that I was pretty sure that BD was probably getting tired of being a single father and I heard once that if your husband isn’t sleeping with you, he is likely sleeping with someone else. And I didn’t want him taking up with the cleaning lady because she wore thongs and I didn’t.

So we decided to take a romantic getaway to Napa. Because it would be nice to see each other and talk about something other than how Professor Dragon hates me or how I have to work the weekend or asking him to tell me stories about our son that was in bed by the time I got home. There were many days when I thought I had probably made a huge miscalculation about my fitness for academia, but I kind of suck at admitting when I’m wrong. And I’d already sunk almost two years into the thing, and I knew I was smart enough, so I just felt like there was no going back.

But thank God we were going to a place that was relatively warm and had wine, in abundance. I was so stoked to just drink wine all day, get loaded, have lots of conjugal relations and sleep in. It would be a great escape for three days and then it would be back to the salt mine. But we weren’t going to talk about my work this trip. We were just going to keep it light and have fun.

So off we went. Normally, I wouldn’t comment on the plane ride, because they are generally pretty boring.  Whenever we fly together, we always buy the aisle and the window in particular row, hoping nobody will buy the middle seat. I’m shocked how often this works. But alas, on this trip, some old dude did buy the middle seat, and I offered him the window and I took the middle so I could sit next to BD. The only thing more annoying than the person who buys the fucking middle seat is the person who wants to chat throughout the flight. I do my best not to ever talk to anyone ever on any plane because chances are that you will either fall in love with them or be stuck talking to them for the WHOLE FLIGHT about their god awful boring ass job or family (at least these are the only two scenarios that have ever played out in my life). Since I was already married, the first scenario would have been super awkward with BD sitting on the other side of me, which only left the latter option. And this was going to be a four hour flight, so I sure as hell wasn’t going to open up the lines of communication.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea how Old Balls Who Bought The Middle Seat managed to get me to respond to him. Perhaps he offered me a Take 5 or maybe it was a million dollars? I feel like those are the only two reasons I would decide to start talking to a stranger at the beginning of a fucking transcontinental flight. It was probably a Take 5 bar, because if it were a million dollars, I would remember that more vividly. But anyway, he started talking to me. I’m guessing after he gave me the Take 5 he said something really compelling like, “So….what brings you to San Francisco?” to which I would have rolled my eyes but felt obliged to reply through my very full mouth with teeth covered in chocolate, peanut butter, pretzel, caramel: “Spring break”.  Opening him up to asking where I went to school. And I look like I’m about 22 and this makes me salty sometimes because I really want to be taken seriously so badly that I went to get a PhD and I feel like I have to prove I’m old, so I said “I’m studying for my P.H.D. At [prestigious univeristy].” I thought this clever retort would make me sound super smart and important and he would look at me in awe and figure out how god damn important I was and shut the hell up and let me finish the candy bar that I feel sure he must have given me to talk to him in the first place.

“Oh yeah? What are you getting your PhD in?”. Fuck. Here we go.

“Marketing.”

“Oh. That’s a really growing area in business schools.” Love’s right eyebrow shoots up. Whaaat? He knows something about this? “I’m a business professor at [not a university I’d ever heard of] in Michigan. Boy, I remember my PhD days. What are you doing your dissertation on?”

“Um. I don’t really know yet. I’m just finishing up the coursework.”

“Ha! So you don’t even know what work is yet.”

“What?” He looks at BD and then at me.

“You guys have kids yet?”

“Yes. One. A two year old boy.”

“You ever see him?”

Suddenly the stale, recirculated air leaves the cabin and I feel like I just got sucker punched.
“Um. Well, its hard, but I mean, we make it work.”

“Ha!” He leans over me, taps BD on the knee and says to him, “If you think you don’t see her now, just wait until she starts her dissertation!”

I think BD was probably mad that I wound up talking to this guy, but it was too late now and we were both listening. So I said, “Finishing your dissertation was hard on you?”

“Brutal! Oh it took me a long time. That’s about the time I got hooked on amphetamines and started really abusing alcohol. It took me until I got tenure to realize I had a problem. That’s a lot of years. Actually that’s why I’m going out to San Francisco — to visit my AA sponsor. I’ve been clean for 12 years.”

“Um. Oh. Congratulations?”

“Thanks. Yeah, oh God I remember those days!! How could I forget? I was married back then too. But we got divorced right after I got my first job. I can’t blame her. I was an alcoholic and a drug addict. Plus, I was never around. She left me for a guy at her gym. But I can’t blame her.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. On the one hand, I could already picture BD and I re-enacting this whole conversation as we snorted wine out our noses from laughing at how inappropriate the conversation was. On the other hand, holy shit.

“Well, I’m sure it will be fine.” I said, totally NOT sure it would be.

“Yes. I’m sure it will. It takes a really strong person to be married to an academic. We’re a rare breed. A lot of stress – very cut throat. It’s hard to think about anything else when you’re trying to publish and get tenure. It doesn’t end with the dissertation. You’re fooling yourself if you think it does. The stress. It just doesn’t end. You know, I used to teach at [prestigious university] but I took the job where I’m at now just to get out of the rat race. It’s the only way I could stay sober. And then I met a nice lady and got remarried now and life is pretty sweet.”

That’s about the time when BD and I asked the stewardess for two little Jack Daniels bottles and a diet Coke. It probably wasn’t that respectful to our new friend, the talky-talky-jaded-alcoholic-recovering-drug addict-oversharing business professor Old Balls sitting next to us, but the stuff he was saying was scaring the shit out me, and the only coping mechanism that always works is drinking myself into a stupor. Oh wait….shit. Was I going to be an alcoholic soon too? I have never done amphetamines that I’m aware of, but was I just a dissertation away from that and a divorce too? I mean FUCK. I was already miserable. Was it only going to get worse?

So I told the guy I was really happy for his sobriety and I hope he had a good time in San Francisco, but I really needed to sleep because I hadn’t done that in a while. And as I was switching on my iPod to drown in my self-defeating thoughts, he says, “Ha!…Get your sleep! Do it now while you still can! They don’t just give PhDs away at [your university]!”

Eh. Heh heh? Shut up shut up shut up shut up, Old Balls! I never should have taken candy from a stranger. Here is this living, breathing person sitting next to me basically embodying my every fear in the world about what I was doing. Of all the fucking flights on all the fucking days, this mother fucker is the guy who sits next to me.

But wait…was this a sign? Was this my angel punching me in the face so that I would finally listen to what she’d been telling me for months? I can’t quit! Can I? Should I? I mean, what the fuck am I doing? I could get a great job with my MBA – I don’t need this to have a job. I don’t really need this for anything, except to stroke my obnoxious ego. If I keep going down this road, I’m going to be fucking miserable as a professor. I don’t like to do experiments! I like thinking of questions, but I’d rather have someone else tell me the answer. I don’t like doing lit reviews! I don’t like writing and re-writing the same damn paper 653 times just so some other PhD asshole can tear me a new one. I think I might like teaching, but I’ve never done it and maybe I would suck or I would hate that too. What the fuck am I DOING?

That is what was going through my head for the last two hours of the flight. But BD was going to kill me if I told him I wanted to quit. We had invested too much. So we got to our hotel and then went out to a Chevy’s or something like that for lunch and just as the nachos came, we looked at each other and BD said, “So that dude? On the plane? What did you think of that?”
“Um. Interesting, I guess.” I tried to be coy.
“I mean, what the fuck?” he said.
“Yeah.” I said. Silence.
We looked each other in the eyes for the first time in I don’t know how long.
Then I said it. “I can’t do this. I need to be done with this.”
To which, to my shock and relief and delight he replied, “I agree.”

And that was that. It was over. Thanks Old Balls!! We decided by the time the check came that I only had a quarter left to finish up classes and that I should do that and get the hell out of dodge. Just be ABD (all but dissertation). Forever.

We talked about the possibilities in our new life: we could have another kid! And financial security! And stay in Chicago! And have sex once in a while! And time at the park with our little boy that wasn’t full of guilt and tension! We could be free.  Free at last.  I didn’t realize how miserable I was until I could imagine what freedom from the anxiety and stress would feel like.

And that, my Internet friends, is the story of how I became a PhD school dropout.

**********If your eyes are tired or you’re bored, you should stop here, but for those of you hanging on every word, there is a shocking epilogue I just can’t leave out:

When I got back to school the following week, I announced my decision to my cohort. They thought I went crazy. They tried to tell me it was just miserable because Professor Dragon was mean, and maybe I should just get another advisor. But I knew it wasn’t her. Sure, she wasn’t an easy person to deal with, but it was me. I just wasn’t built to be an academic. Most of the other people in my cohort are. They’re the genuine article. Me? I’m something else. I’m a smart-ass, potty mouth blogger/US Weekly subscriber/Oprah Winfrey stalker. That’s my niche. That’s what I’m REALLY good at.

Word of my decision traveled fast and even Professor Bourbon – all the way from his new University – gave me a call to encourage me not to give up. He conceded that the academic world was full of assholes, but that it also had its bright spots. He told me if I could just hang in there and get the PhD, he’d give me a job and we could work together again, with normal people. Because he was only hiring people who were cool. But as tempting as that was, I know he is also the genuine article. Somebody born to be an academic. I was just faking it and he’d know it and then one day he would stop having me into his lair for chats because I was unproductive and I would lose the respect of a person who I loved to death. So I was resolved. I had to quit.

But I also had to tell Professor Dragon before she found out from someone else. I was at once completely ecstatic and scared to death of telling her I was quitting. I felt like when I told her, her head might spin 720 degrees and then she would shoot fire out of her eyes and nose and my hair would be totally singed off and that would suck for me in job interviews. I’m no Sinead.  At the same time, whatever she did, whatever she said, it just didn’t matter anymore. Because I was free.

So I go into her office with some flame retardant clothes and our conversation begins to take the normal course where she starts off kind of like she cares whats going on in my life, but then she’ll explain its only because she is trying to understand why I suck so bad. So I told her that I had a great vacation and I decided that academia wasn’t for me and that I was going to finish up my classes and finish being her research assistant and I was leaving the program in June. I was going to get a job. Probably back in sales. Thanks for everything, yada, yada, yada.

To which she replies, completely calmly, “Don’t be silly. You just came back from vacation and you’re thinking strange. Now go edit this paper, because I’m not satisfied with the lit review.  I don’t want to hear another word about this until you’ve had some time to think.”

Um. I just quit. It wasn’t a question. It was a fact. But I was quickly shoo’d out of her office and I got back to the PhD room where my cohort was waiting. I think they were as surprised as I was that I emerged from her office with hair and no visible third-degree burns.  “WHAT DID SHE SAY!?” I had to explain that though I had quit in no uncertain terms, in Professor Dragon’s world, I had simply said something crazy and that was probably the direct result of sunshine on vacation, or because I’m a moron, and if I just got used to the flourescent lighting of the business building again, I might come to my senses. Basically, she did this neat move where I tried to quit, but she didn’t really let me. There is very little drama, or satisfaction, in that.

So I worked for her for another three months. We did not discuss my pending departure. In the meantime, I filled out all the necessary paperwork to drop out and they were kind enough to give me another Masters degree as a parting gift. It’s no PhD, but two Masters degrees are cool. I could live with that.

A week before leaving, I finally reminded Professor Dragon that I was leaving. She told me that she wished I would reconsider, but she understood. And THEN — wait for it —- she planned. a fucking. party. for me. I shit you not. She pulled out all the stops and ordered in great Chinese and desserts and everything.  It was a feast the likes of which mine graduate student eyes had never seen, except for when they were recruiting the top PhD talent and we could come in later for the leftovers. Not only that, but it was a complete surprise to me. She kept asking me to come in to get some papers one day and I was like oh hellz no! and she kept insisting and I kept coming up with excuses until she was finally like “Fine. I am having a party in your honor today for all the hard work you’ve done. I hope you can come.” The fuck? And it gets even better – at the party she gets up and gives a short speech to all professors and students who came wherein, with tears streaming down her face, she said I was a wonderful person and student and that she would really miss me and that I could come back any time if I changed my mind.  I felt like somehow the time-space continuum bended and I found myself in an alternate universe called “opposite day”.

I had no idea until that point that she didn’t think I was the very worst student that she’d ever worked with in her entire life and that I hadn’t totally dishonored her by quitting. But she was more than cool on that last day, and I salute her, for throwing me a party after chasing me out of a profession I was never cut out for anyway. I have forgiven her for being from Hong Kong and showing me the kind of Chinese love that in an American context is generally experienced as torture. Now we’re tight. We still talk occasionally and I have nothing but love for her.

After that I got a job, my first son started understanding what a “mom” was, along came Baby #2 and BD and I are still married and I’m pretty sure I’m not technically an alcoholic. In other words:

THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

If you actually read this whole post and this whole quadlogy , you deserve a medal. Or a Masters degree of some sort.  You might even want to consider a PhD….

Cheers!

Adventures in Babysitting, Part III

(I’m incapable of making a long story short. You’ll need to start here for the first part of the story).

Thankfully, Amalia didn’t make us wait too long.  She called two days later and told me that we passed the first round and she would like to schedule time for me to come over to her home to see the daycare and watch her and her sister in action with the kids.  Score! We had successfully come off as the type of parents good enough for Miss Amalia.  I still wasn’t sure how I would break it to her that we needed somebody when the baby was 10 weeks and I wasn’t breastfeeding, but I figured that I’d ingratiate myself to the point that she wouldn’t be able to say no.

I couldn’t wait for my visit. It was like being invited into a Mormon temple without being Mormon, or to Oprah’s show without being Josh Groban.  By the way she had described her daycare, I was expecting to see brilliant, magical 1 and 2 year olds who could totally go from downward dog into Warrior III without missing a beat. They’d probably be signing questions to Miss Amalia about “Goodnight Gorilla”, like why the zookeeper’s wife had to put all the animals back when it was clearly her husband’s responsibility. I taught myself how to sign “yes” and “no” and “I completely agree. I would’ve kicked him to the curb” just in case that question did come up.  I imagined children that did not cry except for when they wanted more homemade organic pureed beets.  These kids probably didn’t poop either. No, that didn’t seem like behavior becoming of a toddler at Miss Amalia’s daycare. I wondered if a child that sprung from my loins could possibly measure up in Miss. Amalia’s world. (Wait. Do women have loins, or is it just men?)

Being around people I don’t know having awkward conversations is extremely draining for me, so I had prepared for my 45 minute visit as if I were training for a triathlon.  I drank plenty of fluids, got a lot of sleep, practiced answers to questions I thought she might ask, like “which do you prefer the most: the farmer’s market on Randolph  or Whole Foods?” or “describe your daily meditation sequence” both of which I formulated an answer to using the Internet. I had a big carb -filled dinner the night before, just so I wouldn’t pass out from exhaustion, or irritation or judginess.

On the big day, I walked over there with butterflies in my stomach. I was still being judged. And I didn’t really know anything about kids or taking care of them, so I told myself I wouldn’t touch any of the kids.  Just in case I accidentally killed one of them.

It was a warm day and I happened to be wearing sandals.  I found out when Miss Amalia answered the door that shoes were supposed to be left in the hall. No shoes were permitted at any time within the confines of her home. But now I had this awkwardness of having bare feet, which I think is much more gross than wearing the sandals. I think Miss Amalia and I agreed on this.  She brought me some socks before I could step over the threshold into the magical home daycare. If you’ve ever read “Grasshopper Along the Road” (which, if you haven’t, you must) Miss Amalia was exactly like the mosquito that obsessively chants “rules are rules!” and cannot fathom exceptions to any arbitrary rule he makes up.  I’m not a big rules person if the rules are arbitrary.  But again, maybe this is how all daycares were? What did I know?  I put on the socks and apologized for not knowing the rule.

The magical home daycare looked a lot like a regular condo with a lot of toys in it. But they were arranged just so for feng shui purposes, I was told.  The kids were adorable.  And from what I could tell, they cried and they pooped, which I was really surprised about.  Even more surprising was that at least one kid thought I was awesome. I think.  One little 18 month old ran up and hugged me as soon as I got in the door. And he didn’t die right after. He spent most of the visit in my lap. Miss Amalia was astounded. She claimed he only acts that way around her and his mother. Really? Nice. Maybe I would be a good mom after all. And I was so relieved that Miss Amalia didn’t have a rule about kids not being able to cry or poop without being dismissed. And that I didn’t kill any babies.

It was a fun visit. Really. Her sister was a lot less hard-core and rules-based than she was and it kind of made it a little less weird to talk to her. I told them some of my more tame stories that made them laugh, which is really about the only talent I have that usually doesn’t fail me. The kids were bright and lovely and having fun and actually, they really could sign. Which was news to me. I thought all that stuff was bogus, like I did about dogs really staying down in down-stays (which they totally do if you spend thousands training them). And Amalia and her sister took pictures of the kids all the time and then would email them to the parents during the day, which is the next best thing to the live camera feed I got from my doggie daycare. I’m probably making some people uncomfortable with the parallels between my dog and my kids.  I’ll stop, but in my experience, toddlers and dogs aren’t that different.

So I left after my allotted 45 minutes feeling like it was the best place ever and our going there was probably a done deal.  Just as I was walking out, they mentioned that another couple vying for my son’s place was coming the next day. Damn. Maybe I should have brought chocolates or some energy drink or something. Damn.         Damn. Damn. Damn. Fuck. I told them I thought they were spectacular and that my son would be lucky to be taken care of by such good people.  And I meant it. I mean, there were no other alternatives, so they really stacked up nicely compared to leaving him by himself all day.

I went home and ate a tub of Cherry Garcia.  Luckily that isn’t called bingeing when you’re pregnant. I think it’s just called normal. I mean, if you can’t drink your worries away, what other alternatives are there?

I called Miss Amalia the next day to ask about where we were on the list and when she could tell me if we were in or out. She said she was going to hold off on a decision until she met the baby. Who wasn’t going to be born for another 6 weeks. If she said no, then what was I supposed to do?  That’s when I kind of went ballistic.

Love: “Umm…that isn’t going to work.”

Amalia: “Pardon?”

Love: “You can’t just decide a week before whether a family is coming or not! I have a baby that needs to be in a great daycare and I have to know now whether he is in or out at your place so I can make other arrangements if it’s not working out!”

Amalia: “Well, to tell the truth, you are first on our list, but he wouldn’t be here for another six months, and a lot can happen between now and then.”

Love: “What if he came in 3 months? I need you in August, not December.”

Amalia: (silence) “I don’t take children younger than 6 months.”

Love: “Because you can’t or you won’t?”

Amalia: “Well, it is very young to be separated from the mother.”

Love: “I have to go back to school! I can’t change the date that school starts. I trust you. I trust you more than I trust me to be honest. Please make an exception.”

Amalia: “I might have to charge more for a baby that young…”

Love: “Listen, we don’t have a lot of money, but we’re willing to pay you whatever you want if you’ll take him in August.”

Amalia: “I would have to talk to my sister.”

Love: “I need that spot in your daycare. I know very little about taking care of a baby but I know a lot about being in school, which is where I need to be in August. I have no other options. I’m literally begging you. But if you can’t tell me by the end of this week whether we’re in or not, I’ve got to do something else.”

Amalia: “I like you.”

Love: “I like you too.” (I think we’re supposed to kiss here, but the phone made it hard.)

Amalia: “I feel bad for you. You really don’t know much about being a parent.”

Love: “No. I know about being a parent. That is what this conversation is about. I need a good caregiver for my baby and you’re it. If you meant I don’t know much about child care, then you’re right on there. That is no secret. Oh and while we’re on the subject I forgot to tell you I won’t be breastfeeding.”

Amalia: (gasps) “What? Why?”

Love: “I can’t. Physically impossible.” ( Psychologically impossible would be more true. Honest mistake. )

Amalia: “I’ll talk to my sister.”

Love: “Tell her to say yes. We’ll be the best family you have. I swear.”

Amalia: “Okay.  This is a lot of information to take in.” (she is wondering who the hell she is dealing with)

So we ended it there. I was sure that was it for us and Miss Amalia. We’d have to hire a nanny if this didn’t work out, and then selling our kidneys wouldn’t cover it. BD would probably have to go out and turn tricks while I did the night shift at Dunkin’ Donuts. I ate another gallon of Cherry Garcia.

After an excruciating couple of days, Amalia called me back. We were in.

I won! I won! She tacked on another $25 a week, but it seemed like a small price to pay to the daycare gods. I celebrated for a month straight. I went over and visited Miss Amalia’s place up until I gave birth and then brought over my son when he was about 6 weeks. I still thought she was over the top about most stuff, but I was in no position to complain. This was what I wanted, right?

Sometimes you need to be careful what you wish for. (Sorry, Part IV is a must, but I haven’t written it yet. Forthcoming.)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Part IV

Leadership school dropout

Over my 30-odd years on this planet, I have amassed a wondrous pile of stories that I love to retell over and over. And I have a whole arsenal that is waiting in the wings for me to spit out on to this blog.  However, the old stories will have to wait as I record for you a brand-spanking-new story delivered to me on a platter yesterday, courtesy of the HR geniuses at my esteemed company and the crazy-ass woman they hired to help mold me into the next top model corporate leader of the future.

GAH! That is the only logical place to start.

Okay, so I wouldn’t consider myself the best employee in the world. I’m kind of a smart ass and I checked out mentally months ago, but if I learned anything from Office Space, it is that as soon as you just don’t care anymore, your career will take off in ways you never knew possible.

So I get an email on Monday from my manager that says that the powers that be had identified me as a woman with high management potential and, as a reward, they wanted to send me to a “professional development seminar series for business women”.  I was kind of shocked and surprised by the distinction since I thought that I had pissed enough people off that they would not want to give me any kind of reward for what they would call my bad attitude and general disregard for the B.S. they hand out in large, inedible chunks each day.

However, on paper I am a wet dream for the The Man because I went to top schools, earned top grades and impressive degrees and I sell a lot of shit, which is my official job. Somehow I manage to help my clients spend millions on the company’s crap stuff — and not just because I’m their walking, talking “hot librarian” fantasy. (I’m actually not lying about this – you wouldn’t believe how much my glasses, coupled with a quick and dirty wit,  turn old dudes on. I mean, its enough to make them completely not notice I don’t have boobs).

But day-to-day, I’m the antithesis of a corporate citizen, since I generally make it my other job to counsel coworkers I like to leave the company. I send them job postings all the time.  Because I think they could do better. We all could.  This recession has brought out the worst in corporate America, or at least in my corporate ghetto, and most days I just want to puke that I’m part of it. They kind of treat their employees like beaten dogs, but I don’t quit because I like going to Banana Republic and having Leonardo, my gay BR sales associate, dress me up in today’s latest fashions. Because I can’t dress myself and if I were unemployed, I’d be a big hot mess. I make a pretty good living for someone who mostly just sarcastically mocks all of the corporate drone bullshit while protecting my customers from my company and making my coworkers laugh.

So anyway, I should have surmised that this “opportunity” to go to this “professional development” seminar for “high potential” women was a boondoggle when I got invited on a Monday and it took place on a Thursday. I mean, shouldn’t high potential leaders have stuff on their calendars a few days out that would stop them from spending the morning at this thing? Well, I didn’t. Not really, because I was able to use my powers of persuasion to extricate myself from yet another fruitless corporate exercise scheduled for that day so I was free to learn how to develop my leadership potential.

I’m not really sure how to explain what happened when I showed up to this thing.  It was SO. BAD. that it will be hard to convince anyone on the planet that this actually happened. I am physically wracked with convulsions as I recall this Thursday.  I can usually laugh at anything, but this one was so totally fucking unbelievable that the fetal position is really the only safe, appropriate response. But – I have a blog, and for my own sake — my own truth — I must tell the story of what happened to me and the other inmates high potential talent held captive in a room for four hours while some random woman gave us her take on what “leadership” is.  Please have patience as take off the straight jacket and collect my thoughts.

Okay, so the only information I had on this seminar was that we have to meet four times a year for four hours each time. We have to read books and network and do all kinds of stuff that corporate people value.  And we’re going to meet all these other beaten dogs women from other big corporate goliaths that we can get to know and just network the hell out of each other and steal away talent when necessary. I guess. I’m an introvert, so I’m not really into meeting random people and talking about meaningless subjects, and you already know I don’t like other women that much either, but for all I knew, one of Oprah’s producers may be at one of these things and then I could give her my “elevator pitch” – another darling of corporate training programs – about how Oprah and I are soul mates and she could hook me up.   And I don’t hate all women – I love the smart sarcastic ones, so I was thinking maybe some of them may have been included in this thing too? I would be able to figure out who they were because when they inevitably play those stupid “ice breaker” games, we would probably collide in our desperate dash for the door and we could hide in the bathroom together swapping 30 Rock quotes.

So I show up and find myself in a smallish conference room with a very big table, that apparently we’re all going to sit around.  There was seating for 15, but barely enough room to walk since the table filled the room. There was a woman at the head of the table that kind of looked like Cruella DeVille. Except she wasn’t wearing a Dalmatian stole, thank god. I think it was fox. And she wasn’t smoking a cigarette through one of those long plastic things either. Probably because it was a no smoking zone,  but I was sure she’d bust one out at break time.  I guessed she was our “facilitator” and the founder of this company that was going to be professionally developing me for the next year.  AWESOME.

Okay, so we were told to show up at 8am. It’s about 8:15 and most people seem to be there, because it STARTED AT 8, and then she says “the seminar actually starts at 8:30, but you can’t tell people who or else they’ll be late. So I always tell people to come a half hour earlier than they are needed – and look! It worked!” Oh! So I busted my ass to get there on time and didn’t feed my children that morning because I had to be somewhere so damn early when really, I wasn’t “needed” for an extra half hour. Thanks, bitch.  I started wondering if I could take her in a cage match (and I totally could). She proceeded to say that as leaders we have to anticipate that people can’t follow directions and work around it, just as she had just done. So in other words, we’re fucking idiots that can’t follow directions. Hmm.

Okay, so 8:25 rolls around and she wants everyone to introduce themselves.  Say our name and who we work for and what our job is.  Easy enough. But then she tells us that many women have trouble with this.  We need to speak slowly and clearly and loudly enough so everyone can hear us.  Really? Because as top talent at our companies, this never would have occurred to us and we’ve never done such a unique and bizarre activity before, like introducing ourselves.

With that hurdle behind us, she starts to rattle off the “rules” about our seminar. We are expected to listen to others. To participate. We have to do our homework. We must conduct ourselves professionally. We have to go to these networking events her company does. No exceptions. She gave us a book, but we don’t have to read it.  She wants us to read another one she wants us to buy for the next class. She will hold phone calls every month from 8 to 8:30 where we will “talk about whatever is relevant”. They may last 5 minutes or 30. It just depends on what people want to share.  Whaaaat?! It kind of sounds like I just got brought to the orphanage with a locket around my neck from my company and Miss Hannigan was laying down the law. I did not see an impromptu performance of Hard-Knock Life coming, but I thought I would begin humming it, just to see if I had any comrades in the room.  Not so much.

Okay, so then she gets to the heart of the matter – women as leaders:

“As women, its very hard for us to be leaders in business because we are so much more emotional than men.  One thing you absolutely cannot do – that I do not recommend – is crying at work.  We’ve ALL been there. We’ve ALL cried at work before. Raise your hands if you’ve cried at work.” None of the ashen faces of women around the room raise their hands. “Well, I know its embarrassing to admit, but if you want to get ahead, you have to stop crying at work.” Ummmmm…. “Have any of you ever seen a MAN cry at work? If you have, raise your hand. Exactly.  His career would be over. But you can get away with it because you’re female, but people will stop taking you seriously.”  Ummm….Whaaaaat?!  Okay. There has been a mistake. This woman was supposed to be heading up the red table in my son’s kindergarten class. Yeah, I’m pretty sure there is a mix-up. But nobody gets up to leave. And neither do I. Maybe this will get better…?

“You know why we as women are disadvantaged? It was because as little girls we were raised to be in the home with our mothers — cooking, sewing, taking care of our siblings — while the boys were doing things outside the home like playing sports and making decisions on their own.  So when women get to work outside the home, it’s often hard for us to speak up and make our own decisions and realize that the corporate world is a game that we need to play because we just never learned that when we were little. Only the boys did, so they know more than we do and we have to work harder to learn that stuff.”  GAH! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? I think Cruella may be a little two-thousand-and-late. 1572 called and they want their school marm back.

“Along these lines, you have to learn to stay neutral at all times at work. Don’t be one of those women who is always happy. And don’t be someone who is always crying. Don’t let your emotion show. Because you know what? People don’t care about all of your drama. They care about themselves. And if you’re always talking about yourself and your problems, nobody wants to hear it.  But the people who get ahead in this world –and as women, we’re good at this — are people who ask other people questions about themselves. If you do that, people will think you care about them. And nobody at work does this. You can really stand out if you do.  I mean, think about it. When is the last time someone at work asked you a question about yourself?”

One participant looks around baffled and says, “Yesterday…?” and everyone murmurs and nods. Cruella isn’t convinced. She says, “Well, that is very rare. You must have some very nice working conditions with companies that are ahead of the times. Most people don’t care about you and don’t want to know what is happening in your life.  But that’s really what people want, so you have to be the one person in your company who does that.  I know we have some sales people here. They are probably much farther along at doing this than the rest of you. But we’re going to practice now.  We’re going to go around in a circle and you’re going to turn to the person on your right, shake her hand, introduce yourself and ask her a question.  The other person isn’t going to answer, because the answer doesn’t really matter.  We’re just trying to get you used to knowing how to ask another person a question.”  Someone asks if we all have to come up with a different question and if the question has to be business related.  “No. You can use the same question as someone else. I just want to teach you how to ask a question about someone when you meet them.   After this, we’re going to go around again and then the person can answer with a short answer and then that person has to ask a question back.”  By golly! This kind of strenuous mental activity was really wearing me and the other ladies down. I mean, however could I think of a question so quickly to ask the person next to me? And then answer a question and ask one too? All together!?  Gee, was she asking us to start a conversation with another person? Isn’t this more Level 2 training? I mean, it’s only our first day of training.

Even though I was sweating bullets along with all of the other MBAs and lawyers and executives in the class, we all somehow managed to ask the person next to us a question without anyone bursting into tears. Amazingly. Cruella was delighted and so pleased. She sees why we were hand selected for her seminar and she decided we could move on to the next exercise.

She asked us to name leaders we admire and she was going to write them on the board. I was first. And you know who I said. Cruella:  “Oprah… Yes… Some think she is a leader.” Some, mother fucker?! I almost jumped across the table and strangled her wrinkly throat. SOME?! More like EVERYONE. Don’t talk smack about Oprah or you’re going to get jacked. So she writes Oprah on the board, correctly, and then says “Did I spell that right?”  Yes. “Oh, because it looks so funny written down like that.” For fuck’s sake.  “Anybody else?” Someone asks if they have to be famous. “No. They can be people at your company if you want”. So somebody is like, “Debbie Smith.” and then someone says “Eric Johnson” or whatever the hell and nobody else in the room knows these people, but I’m sure they are probably the people who hired this demented woman from 1572 to teach us about leadership.  So then somebody suggests the mayor of Chicago. (This took place the day before the IOC bitch slapped Chicago for the 2016 games). Cruella writes, “Mayer Daily” on the board. Ummm….

Okay, I need to just put this out there – I cannot tolerate when people misspell stuff. It’s a mammoth pet peeve. I’m a nerd and I expect that if you’re going to get up to a board in front of people and write something, it sure as hell better be spelled right.  I mean, maybe she is dyslexic or something, but then don’t fucking write on the board. Delegate, bitch. Seriously.  But I digress.

MAYER DAILY?

If this seminar took place in Alabama, I might be able to let this slide. But we live in fucking Chicago. He has been mayor for 21 years. He and his shenanigans are detailed in the paper every. single. day. I had to hold myself back from running up to the board, punching her in the teeth and spelling it right. I don’t know if she spelled all the other people’s names right since I don’t have any clue who the fuck they are, but I guess it was really a miracle she got Oprah right, so I just started my deep breathing exercises, so I didn’t lose my shit in front of my new band of brothers sisters.

So then she says, “now that we have our list of leaders, lets talk about the traits that we admire in them.” People suggested traits, and she recorded them on the white board. Here is a partial list of what she wrote:

  • influncial
  • motavated
  • intigrity
  • smart
  • compasion
  • power
  • love to what do

You get the gist. I feel a panic attack coming on. How did I get here? When is Ashton going to come in and tell me I’ve been Punk’d? Because if it isn’t soon, I’m going to have a fucking heart attack.  And if this thing has the power to kill our company’s burgeoning woman leaders, preventing us from becoming the future Commander and Chief, you can bet HR, OSHA  and the ACLU are going to hear about it from me. I take workplace safety and discrimination very seriously.

It is at this point in the seminar that I blacked out. I really can’t remember anything except floating above my body and kind of watching the horror show unfold. I saw lips moving, but I couldn’t make out the words. I think I may have split into several different personalities at that point as a coping mechanism.  But the young 5 year old girl personality named Cassie that was born told me later that Cruella asked if anyone in the room ever read the New York Times because she thought it was a really “neat” paper because it had stories from all over the world in it!  She said we might want to look into it one day so we would have more to talk about with our male colleagues, because chances are that they read it, and it would make us sound very smart. Apparently you can read it even on the Internet.

At some point, I saw my body walk out of the room. And go into the bathroom and light myself on fire wet my face. And get in my car. And drive away. On auto-pilot. I woke up at McDonalds. Only an Extra Value Meal #2 could begin to bring me back into my own body again. And then I went back to my office and told my boss what took place, trying not to hyperventilate.  She thought I was shitting her. No. I am dead serious. Serious as cancer, something both she and I probably have and don’t even know it right now.  Louise Hay (one of Oprah’s esteemed guests, of course) says that if you get cancer it’s because you have some resentment you haven’t let go of, which is why I probably only have a few months to live.  But the bright side is that if I die next month then I wouldn’t have to go back there again. I told her I couldn’t live another minute if I have to complete the program and that I quit.  NO WAY I was going back there.  I was already recognizing the signs of PTSD.

And, God love my manager, she got me out of it. She made me tell HR about the whole ordeal. It was at that point they revealed that we got this leadership series “free” with our corporate sponsorship of Cruella’s company. So I was fucking Punk’d.

HR – 1. Love – 0.

I am a leadership school dropout.  But now I need a fifth of vodka and some major therapy.

Cruella has her own damn business and is the biggest fucking idiot on the planet. And I’m a “high potential” corporate drone working for The Man and getting Punk’d by HR. I’m the fucking idiot. FUCK.

If you were to tell me that I’m a mother of two, I wouldn’t believe you

I wouldn’t. And yet, the facts show that I am indeed a mother of two. I even have a muffin top that I swear at every day to remind me of this fact, and yet…

Moms are supposed to be responsible, mature and organized.  I am none of these.

Moms are supposed to know how to cook, make scrapbook thingies and keep their kids’ faces clean. Umm…no on all three counts at my house.

Moms don’t let their kids watch too much TV, listen to inappropriate music or play outside by themselves. My kids have seen every episode of Scooby-Doo ever created, can sing every word to both Kanye’s and The Killers latest albums and I’ve had my 2 year old returned to me no less than three times by a mother who does supervise her children.  (I should note that I wouldn’t have let the two year old out by himself on purpose, but he escapes a lot while I’m checking Facebook or watching Oprah. It’s a conundrum.)

Moms with careers are always talking about feeling guilty that their kids are at daycare. I rejoice because I know I am doing them a favor by working. Their daycare is 100% more safe, fun and educational than their time at home with me.

Moms aren’t supposed to bring their kids to McDonalds more than 4 times a year. They are supposed to feed them homemade, organic foods and shop for earth conscious toys.  The bulk of my children’s toys came out of Happy Meals, which I purchase an average of twice a week for them. I am madly in love with the McDonalds #2 meal and whatever addictive drug they put in the Diet Coke, so I feel a compulsion to go there whenever I’m feeling elated or anxious or happy or sad or lazy. Which covers most days. So the fact we only go twice a week kind of makes me a martyr for my children’s health.

Moms know which way they are supposed to go in the school parking lot and whether their kids are legally required to get vision tests before kindergarten and they dress their kids cutely and/or appropriately for school.  Can I just tell you – my five year old picks out his own clothes, which I buy in bulk from eBay because stores confuse me, so nothing generally matches and there are always a few things in there that I wouldn’t have paid for any day of the week, like the oversized dork dark purple T-shirt with this sci-fi D&D dragon on it in neon colors. Its something Napoleon Dynamite would have salivated over, and would get my son justifiably jacked by a posse of 8 year olds for wearing if he were eight, but at five he adores it and insists on wearing it with red and black wind pants. Which don’t match. At all.

I try not to photograph my children when they look like this to save them a little money in future therapy sessions and so I can look back when I’m old and make up stories about what a good mother I was, but I’m sure the other mothers at school are thinking “WTH is the matter with that kid’s mother?” (not WTF, because I’m convinced I’m the only mother whose thought bubbles must always include an F-bomb).  I know I would be thinking that about me if I were them.  But as you know, I’m a lover, not a fighter.  So as long as he has clothes on of any kind and we’re out the door on time to give me the extra 20 minutes I require to navigate the school’s fucking traffic pattern and catch my train, I’m not going to complain.

Moms are also supposed to edit their thoughts around their children. If a four year old asks, “Mom, what is a terrorist?” because he is listening a little too closely to NPR, a good mom says “Oh, honey. Don’t worry about that. Lets go to the farmers market and get some delicious organic beets!”  I go into a 20 minute lecture about who terrorists are, which depending on your religion and politics, could be just about anybody and cite examples from September 11, which of course, he wasn’t even alive for.  I’m sure my 5 year old knows more about war, prisons, and the criminal justice system than any kid his age. If he asks an intelligent question, I give him a totally age inappropriate, (hopefully) intelligent answer, like we’re in a masters political science program together. The other day while he and the neighbor kids were playing cops and robbers, I hear my son protest as he’s being brought to the jail in the backyard:  “COPS don’t decide if robbers go to jail! The JUDGE decides that! And probably the robber’s lawyer will say hes not guilty so it could take forever to figure out if he is going to jail!  I can get out on bail you know!” That almost got him beaten up, but it made my day. Someone in my house listens to me.

I’m just nothing like a person who fits my description of an appropriate mom.  I’m not like my mom and I get the feeling I’m very little like the other moms I regularly crash into every morning in the school parking lot.  Even blogging moms – they have mouths as dirty as mine – but I get lost in all the talk over prescription drug abuse. I have no idea what Xanax or Vicodin or Percocet are — but I hear about them all the time.  From what I gather, they must be sweet. But I’m a weird mom, so I don’t even have an prescription drug addiction worth noting.

So I come up short a lot. And I find myself gasping sometimes when I tell myself, “Love, these kids have only one mother. And that is you. That’s pretty wack.” To which I answer, “I know, RIGHT?” to which I then reply, “Poor kids”.  And then I say a prayer for them and start writing a new blog to try and forget the sorrow I feel for them that they didn’t get one of the totally normal moms.

On the other hand, the kids do have a few things going for them because of the mom they have:

1) If there is ever a b-boy competition in kindergarten, all of the hours my son spends watching ABDC on TiVo and having me rate his performance (pa-fo-mince) with spot-on impressions of Mario Lopez, Lil’ Mama, Shane Sparks and J.C. Chasez, will pay off and he will totally win. (“YO! That was so DOPE! Can I get a slow mo on dat?!”)

2) When the plague comes around again, my kids will survive — and thrive– because there isn’t a germ they haven’t picked up in daycare, or school,  or from a 4 day old discarded half-eaten cheeseburger that they finished off after finding it on the ground in the park.  Seriously, bubonic plague — bring it on.

3) I posted an excruciatingly long video on YouTube for my family blog of my toddler son “playing” the guitar and singing his own made up songs which inexplicably has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and which advertisers now want to pay us for.  So I know how to pimp out my kids so that they can go to college.

4) Each of my sons will be happily married. I find it hard to believe that they could marry anybody who, when compared to their mom,  will not blow them away with her mad skills in any culinary, cleaning, or child care domain. I think I’ve set the bar low enough that if she knows how to make any meal from ingredients that do not come directly from a box, they’ll commit the rest of their lives to worship her.  And the best marriages are those wherein the men are easily satisfied and worship their wives.

5) They’ll never doubt how much they are loved.  One thing I do excel at is telling them how much I adore them, how incredibly special they are and showering them with hugs and kisses.  I do that well. Because I can’t help it. And because they’re awesome  — even if they are single-handedly responsible for this goddamn muffin top.