Friday, July 22, 2011

An Inconvenient Truth

I recently went on a GIRL'S TRIP (which should ALWAYS be capitalized) to South Carolina, and my parents watched my three girls while I was gone, and I was going to write a post (and WILL) about my trip, but my adventures in the car, to go and see my parents, and then the dysfunction that went on inside my parents house, ended up warranting it's own post.

Speaking of doors, one of the funniest things, about my parents' house is not only their Sober Valley Ranch Pub (see other post), but the fact that one of their front doors is fake.  I do not mean this, like the door is made of Styrofoam, I mean this, in the way that the front of the house has double doors, but one of them is glued and nailed, I guess, to the living room. Only one of the doors opens, ya dig?   Here I'll just show you a picture to illustrate my point.

Anyway, I drove to Louisville the day before I went on vacation, because I have finally wised up to the fact that it is much easier (for my parents) for me to fly out from Louisville, if they are watching my kids, than for them to meet me in Cincinnati both ways.  I have mentioned that my Mom is on home dialysis, so I haven't talked to her about this, but I am assuming that it makes her life a little easier.

It is NO PICNIC, though, to travel ANYWHERE with my three children, so I definitely need to make a mental note to casually mention what a pain in my ass it is for me, at some later date, because that is just the sort of ungrateful BEEEAAACCHH they raised.

Apparently, I have succeeded in passing along this passive-aggressive trait to all of my children because they are constantly reminding me of how inconsistent I am as a Mother, and everything else I have done wrong in their lives, on a daily basis, this summer.

Finally, one day I asked Mills to keep a running list of everything that is inadequate about me on the our huge chalkboard in the kitchen, so that she can just point to a number, rather than having to strain her little brain to come up with new examples.  If anything, I am efficient when it comes to aiding them in realizing their own smartassnessness.

ANYWAY, among all of the awful, ungrateful things that I have done to my parents over the years, I decided to take along Mills' hermit crab, Tybee, that we got in Georgia that was clearly dead.  You see, while she was away at the lake with her cousins, Tybee's claws began falling off.  We would discover his body parts alongside his painted shell with googly eyes on it that was supposed to resemble a penguin, but I would always compliment Mills on her pet's duck shell, just to irritate her.

SO, Mills comes back from the lake and she is squirting this stuff on him, and is sure that he is still alive, even though he has not emerged from his shell in a week to partake of food or water and he no longer has arms and legs, and I just decided that I would continue with the charade because I was about to go on my Girls Only business trip, and I could not handle the drama that comes along with Mills losing a crustacean pet, again, because it is very painful and arduous for the entire family.

A week before our family vacation, we lost Lilo, the tadpole, who Mills brought back from Indian Princess camp out, which we nurtured for six weeks until he turned into a frog, and then the next day after we had paraded him around the neighborhood as a natural miracle, was floating belly up in his tank.

Therefore, I drove for three and a half hours as Mills sat in the back with Tybee's cage on her lap and listened to her talk to him, and about him. I couldn't help but to be reminded about this scene in Dumb and Dumber.

Now, before you go telling all of your friends that I have the parental coping skills of an umbrella, understand that I had tried to tell her TWICE that Tybee had gone to a better place and she would then break out into hysterics, which caused Hallie to furiously search the Internet for reasons why her hermit crab was still living and then she would acquire HOPE, and her hysteria would subside, so I could get some packing done and she would calm herself down enough to take her tennis lesson, or eat, or swim, or BREATHE, and so finally I just gave up and made the decision to keep the charade alive, so that I could clean the house and get the Hell outta town.

Soooo, we arrive at my parent's house, and I knock on the door that is glued to the living room wall, as I always do, because it gives me sick pleasure, and they open the functional door to greet us and Mills thrusts Tybee and his cage in their face and begins gushing about him effusively, as my parents begin to back away because Tybee's corpse is beginning to decompose while they simultaneously try to mirror her excitement.

"Oh, see," Mills' explains, "Tybee just pooped!  So that PROVES he is still alive and that is why he smells.  He's not dead, he just needed a good POOP!"

There is some glob next to Tybee's painted shell, which in retrospect must have been part of the decomposition process, but she immediately decides that my Dad must clean his cage, and all will be well again.

My Dad immediately gets the look on his face that he always gets when I am pulling some stunt and his eyes scrunch up and he is looking sideways at me and then I usher the kids into the kitchen to partake of the any of the 1,000 varieties of junk my parents stock up on before their visit, and I whisper.  "Look, her crab is dead.  I just can't deal.  This ball's in YOUR court now." and then I ask out loud, "Are we still gonna go to Goose Creek Diner tonight, because I am DYING for their fried green tomatoes and sweet tea."

"Well, sure.  Sure. That sounds good," my Dad says without skipping a beat, because we both LOVE food, and then my Mom comes in, whom we lovingly refer to as Dr. Doolittle, because she truly believes that she can converse with the animals, and then my Dad breaks the news to her I have brought with me a dead hermit crab, and then she gasps, like I knew she would, and says, "Ooooooohhhhh, you're bad." And then, I say, "Well, since you are the animal whisperer, maybe you can bring him back to life."  and then we all laugh and I tell them I am going to take a shower because it has been two days and that I am starving and I go upstairs.

I shower and come down and my Dad says, "I thought you were going to take a shower" because I did not wash my hair because I have discovered dry shampoo, and the kids laugh and we head off in the midst of a torrential downpour because I have a hankerin for fried green tomatoes.

At the restaurant, the kids finish their meals, and I keep feeding them quarters for this ridiculous dispenser that either gives you a tiny floating duck or stickers and the count is uneven amongst the kids, and I just want to eat my meal in peace so I keep digging around in my purse for quarters, as each try is 75 cents, and they each want a duck, but they keep getting stupid stickers, and I run out of quarters, and ask my Dad for a dollar so we can break it with the cashier, which keeps not only my children, but the staff occupied, and you would have thought that I asked him to break a hundred dollar bill.  These are the little nuances that I notice about my parents as an adult, that both miff me and endear me to them as I get older.  And make no mistake, if it were MY childhood, and not my childrens', my Dad would not have given a PENNY for such nonsense, but because he now possesses, as a grandparent, the BEST qualities he ever had as a parent, and then some, he is rooting around in between bites to find quarters to satisfy my girls' every whim.  Unless, he has to break a dollar, that is.

SO, fast forward, I wake up on vacation to see TWO missed calls from my parents' house at 7 am and I panic, and call home and Mills answers on the first ring and whispers in between hyperventilations that Tybee died and that they buried him that morning.

Apparently, Tybee was so stinky that my Dad could no longer keep him in the garage because the stench was beginning to permeate their house and the neighbor's teenage babysitter declared him dead, the night before, when Mills proudly tried to introduce him to her.

I regained my footing because I HATE to see (hear) my child so miserable, and I promptly announced that the day I got home, we would go and get an animal for her because she wanted "her OWN pet" because our 1 1/2 year old Labrador retriever who was delivered at Christmastime and who broke my knee and severed all of my tendons, was not as much fun because she had to share her.

"Okay, when I get home, you can EACH get what you want at the pet store as long as it is not a rodent or mouse-like (we already own these in our garage) and nothing that will die in the next two weeks - so we're talking a fish or a frog and that's it.  Talk amongst yourselves."

Mills perks right up and decides on the spot  that she is getting a goldfish and that she is going to name  it Coco.

I learned later, after I got home, that the morning after Tybee was pronounced "dead" by the babysitter next door, Mills was inconsolable and my Dad took her aside and told her, "Let's just you and me bury Tybee in the backyard and you can make the cross and it will make you feel better."  My Dad, then, fashioned a cross out of two pieces of wood for Mills, which he helped her paint and they buried Tybee together.  When he told me this, I almost cried because I had delivered a virtual shitstorm at the man's doorstep and he handled the situation with compassion, and grace, and love.

It immediately reminded me of all of the times he would hold me when I was a teenager if a boy I liked ignored me at a party, or when I was in middle school and my friends had turned on me and he would take me to get pop rocks and Coke to make me feel better, even though he had NO IDEA what I was going through, but he had the tenacity to empathize with his little girl because she was hurting.

I am so grateful for him and I realize that I have a lot to learn about parenting, but I refuse to let this be an exercise in guilt, as I am prone to do, and instead, I am just going to consider this yet another act of parenting on HIS behalf, concerning ME, because it is summertime, and I am with those kids all of the time, and I am strung out, and he was not only being an ideal grandfather, or "Poppy" as they call him, but also, giving me a break, as HIS child, as he has always done.

My advice to you today, is to value your parents because you just never know how long you will be graced with their presence, and that they always have something to teach you - at every stage of life.  Just as my Dad has taught me to be a parent, good and bad, he is also teaching me how to be a grandparent one day, in a sense.  I just hope I can rise to the challenge and make him proud on both fronts.

Also, don't buy a hermit crab who lives in a gigantic crate with five thousand other crabs and is from a Southern state that is riddled with humidity and then stick them in an air conditioned Mid-Western home by themselves in a crate 1/100th of the size they have grown accustomed to.  I don't care HOW cute the shell is painted. Apparently, even though Tybee was showered with love from his new Human adoptive mother, he died from the temperature change and from lack of interaction with his peers.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Casey Anthony - A Reflection

My manager, Jen and I, were "breathlessly" texting back and forth, when they were about to deliver the Casey Anthony verdict, and then literally right when the bailiff said, "All arise" my four-year-old, Eva, burst into my bedroom, where I like to watch tv, at all times of the day, (weird, I know, yes, I lay in bed) and starts screaming that someone is being mean to her, and that she needs a snack and then everything went black because I was so PISSED that she was yelling and I couldn't hear the tv, that I pounced on her like a spider monkey and told her to "Get out of my room, I said I needed ONE MINUTE to myself!  They are making a VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ON TV RIGHT NOW!"

She then responded in all of her four-year-old wisdom, "Oh, is the President coming on, Mama?" and I deflated and hugged her and apologized for being such a huge Douchebag.  No, I didn't use the word "Douchebag," Your Honor.

The point I am making, here, is that we all have bad parenting moments.  I don't know about you, but if a bevy of detectives started going through my shit with a fine toothed comb, and then it was broadcasted to the Universe, even though I am a decent wife and mother, anyone with very specific information, taken out of context, could make me out to be a DRUG ADDICTED, BOOZING, CRAZY MONSTER, with a good blog, I hope.  He he.

EWWWWW, think of how popular my blog would get!  Maybe I would finally get advertising!  Albeit bail bondsmen and ambulance chasers, but still!

I say "drug addicted", because the other night Brad texted me at the lake, "What are you doing?" and I responded, "Smoking oxycotin, natch."  Now, taken out of context, if someone were examining all of my texts and facebook posts, and blogs, and just extracting anything that could be construed as NEGATIVE, then I would be a goner.

"Hey, you in for Ladies Night tennis, Johnna?" a friend gave a shout out to me on Facebook the other day.  My response, "I am drinking a glass of wine to get ready right now!"  It was 3 in the afternoon.  Ladies Night starts at 6:30.  Nothing further, Your Honor.

Once when my neighbor sent me an email with a picture of my kids playing with her kids, on a playdate that day, I responded, "If I were to ever catch that perve, I will cut his penis off with a butter knife, and put it under glass and display in in the Upper Arlington Municipal Building."  My neighbor's husband had sent me the picture under his wife's email address, and he was all, "UM, OK."

Unbeknownst to him, Jen, his wife, and I had just been discussing the man that was going around our neighborhood exposing himself to children as they walked home from school.  This kind of thing, immediately arouses the "Mama Bear" instinct in me, to want to track down and kill anyone that would ever lay a hand on my child, or take one one hundreth of an ounce of their innocence from them beforw it is time.  However, taken out of context, this email response, makes me look CRAZED and PERVERTED.  The state rests, Your Honor.

Anyway, a friend on my tennis team, we'll call her Shelly, (because that is exactly who she is) who is also an attorney, and I, were discussing the Casey Anthony trial, and I was telling her how I assumed that when the jury only deliberated for 8 hours, that they were going to come back with a "Not Guilty" verdict, because if you are going to give someone the Death Penalty, a jury usually stays out for days, at the very least.

You see, I have devoted a significant amount of my life to watching Law and Order, and this makes me qualified to make such astute observations.

She then, agreed, which made me feel very pleased with myself, because she actually has an advanced degree in Law, from an accredited University, and actually practices law everyday, and all I had to do was watch TV.  She then made a very good point, and that is that even though, she believes, as I think we ALL do, that Casey Anthony is guilty of killing her child, that the State did not prove it's case, and that she would have a hard time "pulling the trigger," on a Death Penalty verdict, given all of the circumstantial evidence, even as powerful as it was.

She, then, went on to say that if, God forbid, anything ever happened to her husband, that all fingers would point to her if they ever got the text records to her phone, because in anger, she has sent messages such as , "if you don't mow the lawn, I am going to slice you up into tiny pieces and throw your desecrated body into the Scioto River. And the searches I have done on my computer would reflect even MORE incriminating evidence." she continued, "I have actually looked up 'How to kill your husband' when I was in an argument with him while I was on my computer!"  She's hilarious.

Coincidentally, I ended up looking up 'oxycotin' for this blog to see if you can really smoke it, which culminated into a full on investigation of Meth Labs (my favorite is the Lab in Texas that blew up on a boat in the middle of a lake), which I have an unhealthy fascination with.  Now, obviously,  I have no intention of doing either, but this just PROVES that having ADD, and a strong curiosity about the illegal drug industry, doesn't make me GUILTY of anything.  ANYWAY, all this got me to thinking, and that is precisely the origin of this blog.

So, now, in this twisted World we live in, Casey Anthony, not only gets to live freely amongst us, after murdering her daughter, but will also most likely receive a lucrative book deal, and the royalties from the crappy TV movie that will be made from it, and hopefully, we will get to see her naked body in Penthouse, as well.

I do not have any answers, People, I guess the point I am trying to make is that I think the System actually worked in this case, because the Jury did not allow things "taken out of context" like pictures of Casey dirty dancing and searches on the internet to cloud their judgment when it came to deciding whether or not she was guilty of the crime she was being charged with.  The System failed, because the prosecution did not wait until they had enough "hard evidence" before they tried her, and that is the tragedy, here.

My recommendation to you, today, is to not believe anything that is taken out of context, no matter HOW intriguing, or attractive, that information may be to you.  You will be surprised at how much bullshit comes your way, now that your senses are heightened to it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Baseball makes me batty

Brad is just about the biggest sports fan I know, and I am probably the least interested person in sports that HE knows, and every time we are at a sporting event and I spy a couple with matching jerseys, I ask him what he would do if I were really into sports, and I wanted to go to hockey games with him, with my jersey on, and my face painted, and I was really into the game, rather than how I REALLY am, where I ask an occasional mundane question, or hold my breath, until the KISS CAM comes on, and he always replies, "At first I think I would really like it, and then I think it would get on my nerves." And then I say, "Why?" and then he stands up and yells because someone made a catch or a goal or something, and the conversation always ends there.

So, Brad and I went with my manager, Jen, and her husband, Jeff, to a Cincinnati Reds game last weekend. We sat in the "Diamond seats," which I later learned are the best seats you can sit in, in a stadium.

I learned this two ways, one, by sitting in them, and the other through , my fav, GQ magazine. They have a seating chart in the back of their July issue, that maps out the best seats in a stadium. It is color-coded, and under "our color". They described the season ticket holders as follows:

1. Karma-free titans of oil and banking industries.
2. Men who can only orgasm on yachts.
3. People who actually know several people taken hostage by Somali pirates.

Well, that describes Brad and I to a TEE! The Somali pirate thing, I mean.

So I have a few baseball stories. Not because they were especially exciting games, but because I acted like a huge ass at them. Let me tell you, people, I did not disappoint in the Diamond Seats, either. I may as well have been sitting in the "purple seats" featured in GQ. They are the outfield seats and bleachers which according to them are:

1. Kids and adults who know in their hearts they will catch a foul ball.
2. Men and women who look like Jim Belusi
3. Guys who would let their girlfriend sleep with Dane Cook, no questions asked
4. People who actually like baseball.

My parents used to take us to Reds doubleheaders growing up, and we always sat way up top at Riverfront Stadium. I remember falling asleep alot, and then waking up to swim at the Holidome.
It was one of our only vacations of the summer. Good times.

The next vivid memory I have of baseball, is going with Brad to Reds games in college. We would grill out in some parking structure and bring a cooler of beer and we had a blast. Again, shitty seats, but then who cares? I would just spill my beer on the people in front of me anyway.

Next up, opening day, Colorado Rockies. Brad and I called in sick to work and got hammered for opening day. What I remember most, as usual, is not the game itself, but doing mudslides at a beer garden afterword, and the guy we were with, also Brad, (but we started calling him, Eddie, when he would drink, because his personality would totally change - you know someone like that, I am sure.  Give their drinking alter-ego a nickname.  It's fun! And it humiliates the person you are giving the nickname to.  Unless, of course, they are drinking and they ARE their other personality, and then they think it's funny.)  inviting his girlfriend out with us after she had been in an day-long suicide prevention seminar for work (she was in social work, like me, but she took it much more seriously than I did) and she met us after work, and by that time, we were covered in mud and doing jello shots. She was PISSED OFF, to say the least, and they got in a big fight and she made the other Brad, or Eddie, go home.  I still remember Brad and I laughing at them as she took him by the arm, all covered in mud, and stumbling, through the crowd of people as they exited the beer garden.  We laughed HARD, and then did another jello shot.

What else I remember, is how hung over I was for MY substance abuse board meeting the next day, and how I was literally wanting to puke, as we discussed case after case of clients who were currently not as hung over as I was at that point.

Next memory, seeing the New York Yankees at Yankee stadium on a trip with my pharmaceutical sales class in the city. We took the train from Morristown, New Jersey, where we were training, and arrived three hours early for the game. We decided to stay and party in the Bronx, which was the ONE place my Dad told me not to go, when I went to new York. He watches a lot of Deniro movies, natch.

Of course, I promptly called him to tell him what I was doing from a dirty pay phone, and as he is telling me to "get outta there or you're gonna get killed, especially with that MOUTH of yours," a crackhead that was waiting for the pay phone banged on the door, and I told him I had to go "cause a crackhead is banging on the door, you know, like the ones in "New Jack City", only this one's real!"  I laughed as I hung up. Oh, and I spilled a full beer on the floor during the game, which saturated the Yankee fan's feet and legs in front of me. Don't know who they played to this day.

Which brings us up to date on my most memorable game - the Diamond Seats.

Sat right here. Jen said I was being arty with my beer and peanuts in the foreground. I concur.

Then it got hot, I mean dripping sweat hot, and Jen and I went here for a while.

Then the sun mercifully moved past our seats and we went back out here.

Then we got talking to some healthcare CEO and his adorable family, and she offered us some chocolate covered strawberries she had smuggled from the Diamond Buffet and I did this

Which is an old sorority house prank, Jen and I share, and in my defense, she was all "I know what you're gonna do!" As she clapped, "Do it!" she kept egging me on, "Do it!"

Needless to say, I'll never be invited back.  Anyway, today's advice is to go to a baseball game and do everything but watch the game.  It is my MO and today's stadiums are what they call "fan friendly" which is a term used to describe people like me, who are looking for other things to do during the baseball game while it is going on.  Genius marketing.