Friday, June 28, 2013

Lessons I Learned From a Chalazion Cyst

I woke up the other day to discover a cluster of 4-5 tiny pimples underneath the lashes of my left eye.

I freaked out, but only mildly.  One would think I would have freaked out more, due to my inherent hypochondria and fear of eye maladies.  But I know something important: it's not the end of the world.

First off, my mother has a prosthetic eye.  She got an eye infection when I was around three years old, and over the course of my childhood she had three cornea transplants.  When her transplant rejected periodically, she'd have to get shots in her eye everyday until it improved.  She had cataract surgery. She had her lens replaced.  She had times where the pressure in her eye was too great and they had to remove some of the mystery eye goo, and time shown she didn't' have enough pressure and they had to put some mystery eye goo back in.  My senior year in high school she lost the eye entirely.

It was a relief for all of us when they removed her eye.  For as long as I could remember she had a red, swollen, half-closed left eye, and suddenly she didn't anymore.  She went to sittings with an artist to paint her prosthetic eye to match her other one, and both of her eyes reflect light and change color (they're hazel).  Her fake eye moves in sync and truly no one can tell by looking at her that she wasn't born with it.

However, it is fair to say that I developed a paranoia about my eyes, one that I think is justifiable.  I have never worn contacts, not because contacts had anything to do with the infection, but because they make me squirm.  In Jr. High, eye liner was applied onto the rim of the eyelid (I know you all remember that craze) and at first friends would have to hold me against a wall to put it on for me. Things touching my eyes fill me with terror.

So when I had something that felt like it might be a stye developing on my right eye I freaked out a little.  I did a lot of hot compresses, and when I removed the washcloth from my eye, I saw this:

I Feel Pretty! Oh so Pretty!
It's called a chalazion cyst, and it results from the perfect combination of dry eyes, oily skin, and pissing off Mother Nature somewhere in your recent past.

It lasted for months. By months I mean 10 long months -almost a year- with no improvement.  I felt like history was repeating itself.  Now the important thing to know about chalazion cysts  is that they aren't serious at all.  They rarely hurt, mostly they are just irritating. There is little risk of them turning into something horrible that results in cornea transplants, for example.  They just make you look and feel ugly and deformed.

Eventually the doctor tried to lance it.  That was the worst experience of my life.  Not only did I have to confront my biggest childhood fear - having needles/scalpels invade my eye- but I had a bad reaction to one of the drugs and they couldn't complete the procedure. At first I thought that I had had an emotional reaction to the procedure, until my mother and several other people had the same reaction (basically I almost passed out) within minutes of having the same drug intravenously. 

But after they injected all this fluid into my eyelid it reached a critical mass on its own and within 24 hours of the failed lancing it popped with a little help from me in my bathroom.  The procedure left my eye purple and more swollen, and now instead of looking like I had a deformed eye, I looked like someone had punched me.  Still, it eventually went away, leaving only some residual terror of a reoccurrence. 

During what amounted to nearly a full year of having this thing on my eye, I had to go to work every day.  I had to go to school functions and dinner dates and grocery stores.  Staying home and hiding until it went away wasn't an option. And I realized that I never considered it an option.  My mother had shown me that life goes on, even if you have a gross swollen goopy eye. And that was a pretty awesome job of role modeling. 

This is what I learned from my experience:

1. Very few people noticed until I took off my glasses and pointed it out, which I made sure I did often. Very few people look at you that closely, and it was on my eye, not the tip of my nose.  Mostly, I think people look at your mouth when you talk and your boobs when they are talking. (the other person, not the boobs.  I don't know about you, but my boobs never talk.)

2.  My kids could not have cared less. They did not find it interesting or appalling.  They only cared about how often they were dragged to doctor's appointments.

3. I wanted people to ask me about it.  I wanted to explain that I wasn't born like this and I wouldn't look like this forever.  I wanted to hang a sign around my neck saying:

4. Some of my friends talked about my heroism in leaving the house with a huge eye bump.  It wasn't heroic at all. I had to work and I had to eat and I wasn't going to be a hermit because some people might think my eye was gross.  If they didn't like it they could avert their gaze.

5. The hardest part was after the procedure, when I looked like a beaten woman and had to go to a school activity and no one commented on my eye. I really wanted a chance to explain, but I didn't bring it up.  I felt like perhaps I should sit with the feeling of discomfort in honor of those who had been beaten and didn't want to talk about it. I was proud and noble…until I went to a school concert that night and cracked, telling everyone who saw me that I really hadn't been beaten. I just couldn't do it, and that told me something about myself that I wasn't entirely  comfortable with.

6. Facial deformity, even minor and temporary, really teaches you something about other people's character more than your own.  How people react to you really is about them and not you.  My mother had said that to me while I was growing up, but I never really got it.  My boyfriend still thought I was beautiful. My friends would still go out in public with me.  People who were uncomfortable made bad jokes, but mostly people didn't notice or care. It wasn't really all about me after all. Who knew?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Speeding Elvises

I don't speed much when I have children in the car. I tend to keep it to no more than 5 mph over, if that.  I don't speed for a number of reasons:
1. Not killing the children is my first priority as a parent, and let's face it, I'm not a highly skilled driver. I have had enough moments of terror driving the speed limit as it is, what with other drivers occasionally trying to kill us with their sudden and inexplicable lane changes.  We have a firm rule in the car - if Mama suddenly bleats out an obscenity, all the child-sized chatter must instantly stop.
2. Big Pants has a clear understanding of speed limits and clear view of my speedometer, and that kid is really strict on what constitutes speeding. "Mama! Why are you going 66 in a 65????"
3. I am convinced that speeding with kids in car seats might result in a child endangerment charge.  This might be totally unrealistic on my part, but I never said I was a rational individual. If you read my blog  with any regularity, you already know logic is not my strong suit.
That being said, I drive like a bat outta hell when I am alone in the car.  I tend to rely on ESP to keep me from getting pulled over, but I know sooner or later it will happen.  My vibes will only protect me for so long.

I recently had the experience of being a passenger in a car that got a speeding ticket, and I have several comments on the procedure that I think would be beneficial.

1. Why does it have to take so long?  If I am speeding, I am in a rush.  If you want to give me a ticket, ok, I deserve it, but can we keep it to 7 minutes or less? I'm going to have to drive even faster to make up for the time I lost at the side of the road.
2. If you get a ticket, they should put a mark on your window to alert other cops that you have already been punished enough for one day. A ticket should be a "get out of jail free" card so to speak, and allow you to speed to your hearts content the rest of the day.  Alternately, they could have a "speeders lane" where if you pay $100 you can go as fast as you like.  There are plenty of days when I would pay a ticket in advance not to be slowed down. It would save the cops' time, too.
3.  So now you have a ticket, and you get nothing for it.  They give you a carbon copy of your violation and you don't even get to keep it.  I think they should give you a snippet of something cool, like a velvet Elvis painting the size of a dollar bill. They could become kitschy collectibles.  
A. Tickets cost a lot of money, and they don't deter habitual speeders.
B. Cops have a really crappy job.  They get attitude all day long from people who are breaking the law and know they are breaking the law, and just don't like being caught breaking the law.  People might be friendlier if you give them snippets of Velvet Elvis paintings.  They might thank the cops, even.
C. Getting tickets leads to unhappy people. Unhappy people are bad drivers. Bad drivers get tickets.  It's a vicious cycle.  People who have velvet Elvis paintings are happy people. Happy people are friendlier drivers.  I can't imagine anyone possessing a velvet Elvis painting that can fit in their wallet ever succumbing to road rage. It just wouldn't happen.  Inconceivable. 

Now, I know what you are thinking. Who is going to paint the velvet Elvises? Prisoners are one option, but that might make them too thug-chic. Elementary students would do a bang up job, and I bet there are enough struggling artists that would be happy to contribute. 

You may also think that tickets are supposed to be a deterrent -that you aren't supposed to get anything out of the experience except a feeling of contrition. I contend that tickets do not lead to contrition. Perhaps being forced to display velvet Elvises in your home would be, though, as I am sure they are bound to clash with people's decor.  A decoration of shame you have to display on the mantle might make people a lot more sorry, especially right before a wedding or formal gathering.
Do you really want me on your mantle?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Baseball Savant

Some people have kids that beg to stay up late so they can read books.  Some people have kids that are obsessed with cool things, like dinosaurs, or legos, or chess, or outer space.  My cousin, for example, performed on the cello at age three in Israel.  All wicked cool stuff.

There is this whole nature vs. nurture debate about whether your kids are similar to you because of your genetic material or because you raise them to enjoy things that you enjoy, either way, it assumes your kids are more like you than they are not.

I raised my children in museums and parks. We only watch PBS at home. My television doesn't get sports channels, not even when they are on "regular TV," or at least that's what I tell the kids. 


Apparently their father's genes are stronger, because my child in spite of everything I have tried to do, is not the king of legos, or chess, or swimming, or art.  My child is the baseball savant.

He reads stats like other kids read comic books.  He downloaded and printed all 37 pages of the little league rules for 2013. When the coach talks, he listens as raptly as a wayward sinner in church.  Everyday we devote several hours to throwing and catching and hitting and running outside, then he throws a soft ball into the delineated strike zone in his bedroom for another hour before bed. The kid eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. 

The Strike Zone.
He plays hard and cries just a little when he gets out, but only because he cares so much.  The other day he was on third base as a runner, not a fielder, and the third basemen missed the ball and Big Pants started to leave the base so he could throw the ball back, because he felt bad for them and he really likes to throw. He likes to play more than he likes to win.

I'm not saying my kid is an outstanding athlete.  He's all elbows and knees.  He can't ride a two-wheeler or even swing on a swing without me pushing him, and he's almost  eight.  The reason he is good is because that is all he does all day, every day.

All this is well and good.  I'm glad he has passion about something. But baseball?  Of all the interesting things in the world, must he pick something so ordinary, and something he will never be able to do professionally? There is so much cheating and drugging in professional sports I would never want him to become a professional athlete, even if he beat the odds and was actually good enough.  

He'd much prefer football, but I tell him that we like the shape his skull is currently, and want it to stay that way, so baseball is his second choice.  The kid is a total sports junkie. I try to be supportive.  I even got my own mitt for playing catch. But I was hoping for a swimmer, or a karate kid, or a rubix cube whiz. I would be fine building robot cats or launching a lego toy into outer space. 

I think this is pay-back, because I told his father when I was pregnant that my genes were stronger, and I hoped he was prepared for a brown eyed, brown haired kid like me. Out of spite, I think, both boys are blue-eyed and blond haired.  And as I inundated them with art and music and science, I prided myself that the kids were more like me than like Daddy.  Apparently, I'm wrong about that.

But maybe it's not Daddy's fault.  They say that there is an inherent preference for what we think of as sex stereotyped toys.  Boys often show a preference for trucks and balls.  Girls often gravitate to dolls from an early age.  I'm sure I told the story of how my mother banned all gender differentiated toys until I made my own "doll" by wrapping up a bag of kitty litter in a blanket.  Maybe it's not a mommy/daddy thing as much as it is a girl/boy thing.

Also, if I go back in time, there was a point when I loved baseball.  Back before hairspray and blue eyeshadow, when I reigned supreme over the kickball field, when I was always one of the first picked and often team captain.  When I'd chase down boys that were being stupid and hit them, not try to kiss them.  Back when I rode my bike all day and was sweaty and didn't brush my hair.

Maybe the kid is like me after all.

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Most Embarrassing Story Ever

This afternoon I'm setting up a friend's wedding reception, which I am super excited about. I spent many years working in flower shops and I miss it, especially this time of year.  I was thinking about the good old days in the flower shop, and that reminded me of a story.  If you can't tell the internet at large the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you, who can you tell?

It was pouring out.  I was wearing a white dress shirt, a houndstooth skirt I had gotten at a consignment store, and black patent leather flats, as we were expected to dress up a bit on Saturdays when we serviced weddings. 

I was in college and did my laundry at my moms' and I was running a little low on clean clothes that Saturday, so i skipped underwear and wore panty hose with the built in panty.  Men, this may sound strange but I assure you women do it all the time. I think. 

On the way into to reception site I stepped into a ginormous puddle and shredded my hose and destroyed my shoes.  I couldn't do anything about the shoes, but I got back into the car and removed the pantyhose so I would look more presentable.  It was summer so it didn't seem that odd.

Normally setting up a reception is a festive occasion.  There are caterers there setting tables,  a DJ assembling the dance floor, bakers delivering the cake, and an assortment of other people putting out chairs etc.  This was a small reception, so I was there on my own putting out the centerpieces and votive candles.  Usually there was a lot of friendly banter between all the people, but not today.

Today the staff was unusually cold and distant.  None of the women returned my smiles or said hello.  I had no idea what was up, but I chalked it up to it being a strange hotel that we didn't normally service and perhaps they preferred a different florist.

It was my last job of the day, so after I finished up I went directly home instead of returning  to the shop.  After I walked in the door, I tossed out my completely ruined pumps, and stripped off my still-damp clothes.  It was really pouring.  When I went to take my skirt off, though, I finally understood what no one had told me all day:

I had split my skirt up the back, nearly to the waist.  And I wasn't wearing underwear.  I had spent the better part of the afternoon bending over tables and showing my nether-region to the 30 or so people setting the tables, etc.  I don't mean a quick bend over, either.  I had placed a round mirror carefully in the center of each table along with  three candles and a centerpiece, so I was bent in half for a significant part of the day, with my skirt split.

I had felt like it was a little breezy, but had never stopped to check.  All I could think was gratitude that I was unlikely to see any of those people again, and if I did, I doubted they'd remember my face.  My ladyparts, however, might be burned on their retinas forever.

I learned my lesson. Although I am wearing a skirt for the set-up today, I am wearing a good quality pair of britches underneath, just in case. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tiny Fashionisto

I don't fight with my kids about clothes, or least not often.  Big Pants does have a pair of shorts from Africa that are white and yellow and black in a traditional African pattern that occasionally cause me to intercede in his fashion decisions.  They were handmade in Tanzania and purchased by my cousin who lived there, so I don't object to their inclusion in his wardrobe.  I just think African print shorts on a white kid should be paired with a tie dye t-shirt.  I'm no fashionista and I may be wrong about this, but as long as I can encourage him that way I will. The other discussion the shorts provoke is one on panty lines, as they have a predominantly white background. There are few things I know for sure, but that fact that white shorts can't be worn over superman underpants is one of them.

Left to his own devices, Big Pants would only wear sports-themed t-shirts with comfy shorts all summer.  He would only require one t-shirt for each season: one for baseball, one for hockey, one for football.  He would be happy to wear it all day and sleep in it at night. He only feels things need washing if yogurt spills on them, otherwise he's good to go. The changing of socks and underwear seems to be a waste of time as well.

Tiny Pants is evolving into a 13 year old girl.  No, that's not sexist.  OK, maybe it's sexist.  It's not mean, though. It's accurate.  I was a 13 year old girl, and at age 5 he is just like I was at age 13, except cuter.  

Tiny Pants wakes up and gets himself dressed.  He comes downstairs and has breakfast.  When I announce we are leaving to go somewhere, he goes upstairs to change his clothes, a process that can take upwards of 20 minutes.  When  I say he changes his clothes, by the way, I don't mean he gets a different shirt.  He strips down to his skin and starts all over.  Underpants, socks, shorts, shirt, all of which require deep contemplation, and God help you if what he wants is in the laundry.

If that was the extent of his clothing changes, I could probably learn to live with it, but it's not.  When we get home there will be yet another outfit, as well as a meditation on pajamas.

Now, all of this is probably my fault.  Tiny Pants' wardrobe, being the younger same sex child, has primarily consisted of hand-me-downs. A well-meaning friend expressed concern that Tiny never has his own new clothes, and insinuated that perhaps I should buy him some new stuff, too.  I was planning on it, by the way,once he reached Jr. High, but he's five. 

However, I am totally susceptible to guilt, so I bought him some shirts the next time I went online shopping for his brother. He was ecstatic to have new clothes. I almost felt like a good mother.  Almost.

The problem is he won't wear them.  I folded them wrong, he didn't get to pick them out, and he doesn't want them to get dirty. He loves having them, but won't wear them, and I have somehow failed in pleasing him and I'm out the cold hard cash.

I took him to a consignment store and let him go wild, not because he needed any garments, but just so he could feel some autonomy in his life.  Let's face it, five year olds have very little control over their lives, and if he wants to chose his clothes, so be it.  He went hog wild, and those are the clothes that he loves so much that he needs to wear three outfits a day.

See?  My fault.  If he still hated his clothes, he wouldn't care what he wore.  The upside is that he also likes folding his clothes and putting them away in his new (third-hand, but don't tell him) dresser. If he finds out that isn't new, he'll refuse to put his clothes in it.

Yet, that still isn't the end of it.  He also has a thing for shoes.  I came downstairs one day in a pair of pink pumps and he went nuts for them. 

"Where did you get those shoes, Mama? Do they come in my size?" His inflection was exactly like one of my girlfriends, or a drag queen.

No, he's not a cross-dresser, he just doesn't really understand what girls wear and what boys wear.  Although if he turns out to be a cross-dresser, that's cool too. I just hope he winds up close to my size if that's the case, so I can borrow clothes from him.

We spent the last 6 weeks going around and around about a pair of "high shoes" he wanted me to buy him. Six weeks, and he never forgot or lost interest once.  Every time we went to the store, he brought them up.

At Target:

TINY PANTS: Mama, if we see any high shoes in my size can we buy them for me?

MAMA: High heels?

TINY PANTS: No, high shoes.  Boys wear them too. They go all the way up.

MAMA: High heel boots? Like Mama's?

TINY PANTS: NO, Mama. High SHOES. Not boots. BOYS WEAR THEM, TOO. They are not just for girls.

MAMA: Cowboy boots?

TINY PANTS: No, but can I have cowboy boots too if they have 'em in my size?

MAMA: No. (changes subject)

Six weeks we had variations of this conversation every single time we went to Target. I had no earthly idea what he meant.  FInally, we walked past a display of Converse high tops and he went nuts.  The light dawned. High shoes = high tops, like he saw the kids wear in the movie  The  Sandlot. 

TINY PANTS:  High shoes! Are they in my size? Can we get them? See? I told you boys could wear them, too!

Yes, I bought the shoes.  Not because he needed them - he has sneakers, sandals, crocs and water shoes - but because we had both been so frustrated for so long about the damn things.  And besides, they were for boys after all. And yes, I know I am creating a monster.

Winning. With High Shoes.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Why I Need a Dog, With Visuals

I need a puppy.  I don't mean I want a puppy, I mean I need a puppers, badly. And I need a big one.  I have an affinity for large dogs, well, extra-large dogs, really.  My very best most beloved dog ever was a giant Rottwoofer (Rottweiler sounds too tough and scawwy) who weighed in at 150 pounds.  He was human sized and you could hug him as hard as you wanted without his eyes popping out of his head. This is a very important consideration in my world.

Here's why a puppy is essential to my life:

First of all, I think my blog needs better graphics, and I get all stressed out over crediting other people's stuff and it would be easier if I could just supply my own graphics, for which I need a puppy, obviously.

I can provide many adorable graphics and I don't smell bad. I promise. 
Photo credit:

Second of all, if you read my boob blog, you would know that I am encroaching on menopause.  I had always wanted to have a third child if I could get my life together.  I am having to accept that I didn't manage to get my life together in time to reproduce again, which is probably better anyway, but still is a damn good reason to get a puppy, in my opinion, particularly an 8 pound puppy that is the size of a snuggly baby.

Thirdly, I am the head of my household.  I can get a dog without consulting anyone.  I have the power. I don't need to connive I mean convince any of you it is a good idea, I can just march down to the animal rescue and rescue one. I did consult  with the children, and they concurred that getting a puppy was a damn fine idea. (Have I told you lately how brilliant and well-reasoned my kids are?)

Now, some might argue that I already have a dog, which is true, but not valid.  Yes, I have a dog, but he is old and no longer amusing.  He is also the size of a large cat, so I'm not sure he counts as a dog.  He's kind of like having a big lazy rat that smells bad and lays on the couch all day.

I am useless for providing cute photo-ops. And I look like a giant rat.

Others might point out that the existing dog also hates other dogs, particularly big ones, and therefore it wouldn't be "fair" to him.  This is bull shit.  My dog has issues, yes.  But don't you think it is enabling him to continue being an asshole by allowing his anger management issues to dictate who can live in my house?  Shouldn't he have to confront his fear of inferiority and learn to be OK with being a dog of small stature?

There has also been talk of how I am somewhat domestically challenged and therefore might be overwhelmed by the excessive dog hair/smell/chewing things up aspect of puppy rearing.  Pah, I tell you. My new puppy dog will not shed or smell.  If she does, it will be so cute that I won't mind cleaning up after it, or I can also buy carpet fresh.

See why I should not draw? And look how happy they all are!

The kids will help me take care of it. Hahahahahahaha ok I can't even say that with a straight face.  

Let me try that again:
We will get used to the doggy smell and not notice it, therefore the dog smell will only affect visitors.
  1. I can be antisocial and not have people over for years at a time. A precedent for that has already been set.

2. Worrying about what other people think is negative self image, and I should not plan my life worrying about if people who don't live in my house think it smells too doggy.  What next - will I have to mow my yard to please the neighbors? Once you start down this road, there's no going back. 

The only legitimate issue is that my current yard can not contain the amount of poop a big dog produces.  We dog-sat for my ex-husband's lab for half a day or an hour or something once and he took one shit that covered my whole back yard.  I can say I will walk the dog, but this is me we're talking about.  I am the queen of laze.  I will never walk the dog, and it will be a few years before I can force the children to do it on their own.  But I have a solution - move!  All I have to do is get a bigger yard.  Don't tell me I don't know how to weigh the pros and cons of something. I am excellent at rationalization.  

But, what if someone adopts her before I can move? Better go get her now, before she is adopted. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Note to Gay and Lesbian Parents On Father's Day

As most of you know, my primary parenting was done by my mother and her "wusband."  Damn you, spell check, I did mean W U S B A N D. It's a word my stepmother coined combining woman and husband.  She is a woman, but the one who mowed, fixed stuff, and refused to ask for directions. Seeing my step mother in a skirt is more jarring than coming across many men in drag.  I'm not being mean, I think she would agree.  She's just not that type - never was, never will be.

One of the sadnesses of having lesbian parents was that not only did society not have a recognizable term for gay couples- lover is too sexual and partner is too businesslike - but our family didn't have one either.  We just called her by her first name.  I think she would have felt much more validated if we had a special name for her.  I thought of Alma Mater once - Alma for short - but I was too old to make that stick by the time it came to mind.

One of the giant pain in the asses of having lesbian parents is the freaking Mother's Day/Father's Day dilemma. Here is my advice to families that don't fit into the Hallmark holiday system:  pick a freaking' holiday and stick with it.  Decide which is going to be your special day and let it go.

I have to get them both a gift on Mother's Day, because they are both women, but then I am expected to send Alma Mater a card on Father's Day.  That's what she decided was most appropriate.  I think if all Lesbian Parents subscribed to the same theory, Hallmark's stock earnings would go through the roof.

Now, I contributed to this ambiguity.  I never knew what was expected or which holiday to choose.  I have waffled and gone back and forth between the two, depending on the year.  I do have a relationship with my Father and his wife, so that complicates things too.  I have to buy a lot of cards this time of year.

The problem is that neither holiday will really make my step mother feel accepted or validated.  That's not possible.  And the obligation of having to do something for both holidays leaves me always disappointing someone, somewhere, because I'm just not that on top of things.

I take my kids to buy gifts for my ex husband.  I call my moms on mother's day and my dad on father's day.  I send presents, usually late, but until there is a nationally recognized Day of Significant Other Parents I will always feel like I haven't done enough, which makes me bitchy. 

Can I start a movement here? A screw Hallmark, let's send loving text messages to officially recognize random people who have impacted our lives movement? It could be non gender specific, and could include teachers and mentors as well as parental units.  We could even give people their very own individualized days!  Hmm…we could decide to give them love and appreciation on the day they were born!  The day they did nothing but open their mouths to breathe air and the world was a better place. What could be more fitting?  Oh, wait, Hallmark already thought of that….

Friday, June 14, 2013

Only Mama can't Text

I am one of those people who is permanently attached to their cell phone. It is my electronic security blanket.  I get slightly panicky if I can't hold it and caress it all the time.

I am also one of those people who destroys cellphones on a regular basis.  I love the technology, I'm just sort of impaired.  For example, the first year I was single I went through 6 cell phones.  That's pretty much one every other month, and yes, I always got the insurance.  They will no longer send me replacement phones through the mail - I have to bring them in to the store to see if there is any way possible they can get out of replacing the phone. They have lost faith in me.

Several were dropped on hard surfaces, several didn't like me to use the touch screen in the rain, one took a bath in a gallon of paint, and apparently I am not very gentle when I insert the power cord, as I have broken than mechanism several times. The rest just died under mysterious circumstances.  I feel I have bad luck.  I am sure that if cell phones had little "Most Wanted" posters of chronic cell phone abusers, I'd be on their top five list.

I also sort of suck at the touchscreen.  I mean I really suck at the touchscreen.  The only way I can send a message at all is if I use "SWYPE" which is basically the phone making an educated guess about what I am trying to say.  If you use SWYPE, you should probably proofread your texts.  I don't.  I text too much.  I send over 1,000 texts a month, and that doesn't include message apps like Facebook, Yahoo, Skype, etc. If I actually proof read all of them, I would certainly rear-end someone while driving. Not that I condone texting while driving. I only text at red lights.

My change from a QWERTY keyboard to a touchscreen has left me texting worse than my mother.  Here's an example of an exchange between my sister and I:

You see how she just stopped responding?

People used to use context clues and educated guesses to figure out my texts, now they just ignore me or force me to translate. Except sometimes I no longer have any freaking idea what I was trying to say in the first place.

Now, here is a text from my mom, age 69.

See? Mom is more understandable, I think, mostly. Or maybe not.  We both have big hands, but not larger than a man's hands, so I guess that's not an excuse. In spite of what it sounds like, we are not uneducated people.  English is our native language.  She has age on her side - she is not the target market for texting technology.  Apparently, though I fit the demographic, I don't fit the skill set.  

However, my BFF, Asterisk, can always understand my texts.  At first I thought it was because she loved me more or just tried harder, but I finally figured it out.

She also SWYPEs.  She sees the same suggested words for typos that I do every time she types.  She knows that love can easily come out as ludelube, or life, and that its often just means is, but occasionally means it's or its.  Subconsciously, she has absorbed the list of possible replacement words. She speaks my typo.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

I had a bad day

I had a bad day today.  My house looks like I had a bad day today, because a bad day for me equates a good day for my kids.  While I laid on the couch and didn't accomplish much more than finishing a book I was reading on my Nook, the boys redecorated my house in their favorite accoutrements.  Toys, articles of clothing, various art projects, and empty cups are arrayed in a decorative manner, if sporadic and ever-present chaos is a decorative style.  They had a ball, because Mama wasn't interfering with their mission of spreading shit everywhere. 

Now they are in bed, and I am overwhelmed.  It's old adage about it seems like you don't do much of anything all day and then you don't do any of it and you realize how much you actually do to stop chaos form reigning supreme.  

The good news is that they didn't notice that Mama wasn't in peak form.  It's not that they don't care- they do.  If they think I am sick/sad/hurt/mental they get very concerned, and then I feel horribly guilty for being transparent. 

At least I can say I played bongos in the family band today, and pretended to be a sheep, and read about a hundred early readers out loud.  I fed them breakfast, lunch, snacks,and two dinners.  We ran a few errands, went to the doctor's office, and filled prescriptions.  They got dressed, one of them bathed and the other brushed his teeth.  More art happened than video games.  I taught the big one how to use google maps to find things by proximity, and we attended a political function so I modeled the values I want them to have. 

Was it a stellar parent day? Not by a long shot.  I wasn't a stellar anything.  But we survived and I didn't bring them down with my own issues.  That's going to have to be enough for tonight.  I even managed to take a picture to document the good and bad of it. 

Note the underpants and empty cat food can.

And now that they have gone to bed, this is what I am left with:

At least I picked up the keyboard!

And you know what?  It can wait until tomorrow.  The world won't end if I go to sleep like this.  A good friend will compliment me on picking up the underwear and realizing it was a herculean task.