Thursday, February 28, 2013

dinner: a narrative

This morning, Harper donned her duds of domestication and whipped up some french toast for Brandon.

The result is art imitating life. Specifically mine.

Allow me to explain:

"Sure, my entire kitchen looks like a disaster and I spent a ton of money on obscure grocery items, but I know this Pinterest recipe will be worth it. I just know it will.  MAN, the house smells good. Everybody's gonna love this! Even Harper!"

Pause to appreciate coordinated ensemble: Tulle, silk, velvet,. . . the gang's all here!
Proceed, domestic genius, proceed.

Aww, snap! Let's turn off the timer before it buzzes. I'm all over this.
Timers are for busters.

Wait.. wait now. Is that done? Yeah. Wait. No. Maybe another minute.  How long has it been in there?  Oh. I turned off the timer. Yeah. Yeah. Probably ready. Looks fine. ...Eeehh, maybe not.
((((((Long stare at oven...))))))
lasting infinitely long, or, if one were to count, approximately 7 seconds

close enough. giddyup!
...minding the exposed wrist. no time for burn care whilst presenting your family with the most wonderful meal ever.

looks gross.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Animal Instincts

This is more of a public service message than anything else.

It isn't funny. It's serious and important.

..So, as much as I've been avoiding it, I need to give you the talk.


The birds and the bees,

or more specifically: the pony, crocodile and narwhal.

Wait. You're not familiar with that last move? That's ok. I'm not embarrassed to tell you and I will even provide pictures.

Just because I waited until my mid-twenties to stumble through the weeds doesn't mean you have to!

No blushing. We're all adults, here.

The facts:

1. An adult horse is a horse. A baby horse is a foal. A PONY IS A SMALL GROWN HORSE. Not a baby horse.

2. Alligators live in the United States. Crocodiles DO NOT live in the United States or anywhere even close to the United States. No. They do not. The Everglades have no crocodiles. They have alligators. JUST alligators. Not both.

3. The narwhal is real. Despite having a horn like a unicorn, it is not a mythical creature. It exists.

And since you never really forget where you were or who set you straight, a sincere thanks to:

Katie, that night at Bowl Club when you told us how your brother didn't know the difference? I laughed along with everyone, but. . . . only in relief. Phew.. those horses in the Kentucky Derby are grown.

And Brandon, for that long, first confused, then sympathetic pause last weekend after I told you about the crocodiles that have been known to mistakenly swim up the Cape Fear River.

And finally, PBS Kids Animals of the Artic, yesterday. The world seems a little more magical, now.

Class dismissed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oh hay Mom.

I'm just eatin' my apple after incapacitating a boot-wearing intruder. I shoved him into the bathroom so that only his boot would be ominously sticking out when you quickly rounded the corner. You know. . .so it wouldn't scare you as badly. You didn't need to see all that.

Thanks for looking out for me, Hank. Not scary at all.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Little Talks..with Harper

Don't listen to the male, I say!
The screams all howler say!
But the true may buddy dis, ship will carry off whammy safe to shore.*

Harp, who is singing this song?
Monsters. A lady monster and a man monster.

How do they feel when they're singing this song?

Why are they happy?
Cause they're singing!

What makes you happy?
Being a princess makes me happ-eh, happ-eh, happ-eh!

What is Valentine's Day?
Glue and glitter.

Who do you give a valentine to?

Because I said it.

* Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men, lyrics courtesy of Harper.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Type B has a pet.

This probably isn't going to be very interesting.

I probably shouldn't open a post with that.

But a few days ago, our neighbor across the street told us that he'd had a cat in his back yard for three days and asked if it was ours. Really fluffy. Grey. Very nice cat. Looked to be a show cat, he said.

My interest was piqued, but not enough to actually want a cat. No sir.

Three days later, the cat came to our house!

..Not a show cat. But really fluffy. Grey. Very nice.

And much to Harper and Henry's excitement, she stayed the whole day!

Harper took to calling herself Harper Fluffy Kitty and rolling around a lot.

Henry stood at the door and talked to the cat.

We had to go out the back door every time we wanted to go anywhere, because the cat would try to get inside when we'd open the door.  She thought she was home.

I was worried something fierce about this cat. Clearly an indoor cat. Clearly lost for quite a while. Clearly wanted to be our cat.

Back where I come from, this is now.. our cat.

But it's not.

And I tossed and turned all night thinking about the cat curled up on our side porch on our door mat.

Brandon reminded me multiple times that this is, quite possibly, the fluffiest cat in history so she needed neither A. A pillow. or B. A blanket. ..both of which I wanted to take out there.

I also considered taking some baby food out there for it. Since we didn't have anything a cat would really be able to eat.

I've never actually had a cat. I don't think it's necessary to say that, at this point.

The next day, I fished out my least favorite Fiestaware bowl (burgundy. yuck.) and gave the cat some water.

My resolve was fading. I knew I was mere hours from steering a cart onto the pet food aisle of Harris Teeter.

And for two hours, she walked around the yard, all cute and friendly-like, while we all played outside.

I took fortyleven pictures. The cat did not look this terrifying, but these were the only two I got of her face.  Out of fortyleven. Seriously. In retrospect, it appears I was a few inches from getting a claw across the face.

Also, let's talk about the Valentine's Day mantle display, which includes both Christmas tree greenery and mini pumpkins. Or not. Maybe we shouldn't talk about that. Maybe just the cat. In a defensive stance.

I planned to annoy any and all Facebook friends who have not yet blocked my mommish updates with a four alarm alert about this lost cat. I imagined it going viral. Obviously.

And then the former city-dweller in me said to to myself, "Self, check Craigslist."

And I halfheartedly did, knowing it would lead nowhere.

But it did! There was an ad about this lost cat! From a week ago!

After a flurry of texts and emails and calls, after much jubilation in general, we found the cat's family.

Turns out, the cat's people are our age, have a 3.5 year old little girl and a baby. They live close to us.

Obviously, Lacey the cat thought she was home. ..Or at least found a decent replacement, as it seems a cat would do, but she happily abandoned my burgundy Fiestaware as soon as she saw her 'dad,' and hopped right into his arms.

Case closed.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Possibly Unpopular Opinion of the Week

Now, I'm not going to begin to delve into the impoliteness of chewing gum in public, because, well. . . I admit. I like gum. And while I don't buy it, if it's there, I'll chew it. In a heartbeat. And unless it's all wagging out of your mouth and you're drooling and slobbering, I just don't find it offensive.

But that's not my opinion of the week.

I spent the better part of middle school with a piece of gum in my mouth. . . Mom, a teacher, even bought it for me. I think she felt sorry for me because every day from 5 PM until 7 AM the following morning, I had to wear orthodontic headgear. Every kid should have to wear headgear. Builds character, and neck muscles, that big ole strap around your head.

That wasn't the opinion, either.

Sugarless gum is good for you. It fights cavities, but not if you swallow it.  

Like you haven't. 

Besides, I think unintentional gum swallowers might have stronger survival skills. Tastes good? Eat it! No thinking involved! Survive!

..That wasn't my opinion of the week. 

And now that all that weirdness is out of the way, I want to talk about some small-mouthed people with a big problem. Gum splitters. As in, "You want half of this? I just can't chew a whole piece."

The absurdity stops me in my tracks. Every. Time.

Bless your heart!

I just don't understand! I feel so sorry for you! 

How long must it take you to eat dinner? 

Do you use a baby toothbrush? 

What happens when these people have children? Lord, I hope this is a recessive trait, because, what if two small-mouthed gum splitters make a baby? Will the baby only be able to fit in a 1/4 piece of gum? 

Chew on that. The whole thing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

how to understand your mom: the step by step guide

1. Have children.

2. Raise them.

3. Repeat.

When I was a kid, my very favorite chore was cutting the grass because it carried the hallowed perk of moving the cars around the yard to do it. And when you're 12 years old? There is absolutely nothing more exciting than driving a car by yourself. Even if it's only 100 feet.

Y'all, I had been driving since I was 6 or 7. I've mentioned this. I was...highly confident.

And one particularly hot afternoon, I sat in Mom's 4 door Honda Civic and contemplated the conditions:  Dad was off doing whatever it was he did, Mom was napping (Mom never napped?!), the air from the A/C was ice cold and smelled like freshly cut grass. The smell of freedom was intoxicating. R. Kelly was loudly and convincingly telling me He Believed I Could Fly.

Yessir, it was a perfect day to take my first solo spin around the block.

Unremarkably, I did so. I wore my seat belt. I observed the speed limit, I stopped at stop signs. I checked my rearviews. Hell, I even used the turn signals. I met nary an automobile or pedestrian. The trip was approximately 35 seconds.


R. Kelly, I get it! I DO believe I can fly!

And as guided the stealthy Civic into its final right turn back onto Park Avenue, I pondered the end of my maiden voyage.

If an unlicensed driver operates a vehicle around a city block and doesn't see or hit another car, did it actually happen? 

No one would ever know of my expert navigation. . .well, until the next day at school, when it would be the first thing I told my friends. Unless I couldn't wait that long and I told them immediately.

And then I saw her.

In the middle of the street in front of our house. Pointed in the exact direction I was coming from. As if she knew exactly what I was doing. Hands on her hips, with literally, the scariest look I've ever seen on anyone's face.

As I pulled carefully and responsibly into the driveway, I avoided her stare. (She was also yelling, but the windows were rolled up and R. Kelly was still mocking me, thankfully).

I knew...I'd never leave the house again. ...I'd never see my friends again. ...AOL would be canceled. ...I might never live to see another episode of Friends or ER. We'd only had cable for a year.. That would be gone, too...She'd dance crazily around a fire in our back yard, stoked with my most favorite articles of clothing: Adidas striped track pants and Nike AirMax shoes...and lucky hair scrunchies. Those were goners, for sure.

My hand hesitated on the gear shift. Throw it back in drive and never come back? My fate was written, anyway.

As I recall, she got herself together fairly quickly, but nothing prepared me for the next few weeks. Sure, I was 'grounded.' No TV... or computer.. or something.

But Mom. . . she walked around the house like a kicked puppy. Wouldn't really talk to me.  When our eyes would meet, I saw only sadness and disappointment. (Obviously, she knew what she was doing.)

She was baffled. . . never thinking I was capable of such irresponsibility and stupidity.

In retrospect, this is probably more equivalent to the time I spent the night with Papa Kes and Grandmother and cut my own hair after I was supposed to be in bed.

In any case, I was officially out of the circle of trust.

She came around eventually. She had to. I was an only child. A one-shot deal. She couldn't afford to toss the baby out with the bath water.

Still, I didn't understand it for many years.

used turn signals! No one even saw me! It was an entirely calculated risk! I didn't drive to the beach! I was gone for 30 seconds. It was all rather. . .responsible!

Yesterday, I herded Harper and Henry into the door while I juggled bags filled with the components of dinner. As I wrangled Henry into a high chair and armed him with enough snacks to get us through the ground beef browning process,

Harper clomped upstairs to get..something.. "I be back in a second."

I didn't think another thing about it.

For years now, I've been following her every move. Since we moved into our house, I've followed her upstairs mere seconds after she's made every such proclamation, only to find her sitting on my bed reading books or playing with toys in her bedroom. While she be fierce, a naughty girl, she isn't.

When she'd been gone a couple of minutes, I called up to her, "Harp, come downstairs and tell me what you're up to."


A minute later, she unassumingly, innocently & excitedly slid into the kitchen. . a pouf of yellow, glittery polyester Disney's Belle. . .which is the norm.

"Whatcha doing up there?"

"Momma, I made your dress (brand new! never worn! 90% off coup from Belk!) gorgeous! I snipped snipped snipped with the snizzors. It's just your size!" 

..delivered so proudly, that I absolutely couldn't even be mad about the dress or the..

three air holes in the arm of my favorite pink and white striped oxford Polo, as well as my brand new pink tshirt, a black turtleneck, three maternity shirts, two tank tops, Brandon's red Polo and also some new fringe on one of his t-shirts.

All of which is rather remarkable, considering I didn't even know she could use scissors. . . or that there were any upstairs - hark!, under the sink enclosed in a box filled with Brandon's hair-cutting equipment.

I get you, Mom. I get you, now.