In life, let’s first get this out in the open and admit, there are vanilla people. Those people who really love vanilla. Plain vanilla. No toppings, no swirls, no syrups or hot fudge, no nuts, and, by all means…believe it or not, no whipped cream. That is the way it is. Just. Vanilla. Please. That is who they are. They cannot help it.
This is the story I wrote for my daughter’s ‘Student of the Week’ presentation at school, which was read by her teacher to the class at the end of the week and which received full Kelley approval for both the class and this blog (because she’s just that awesome). I’m posting it in its original form, lemons and all.
The Mostly True Tale of Kelley
In which our Heroine learns a great deal about Metaphorical Lemons
A long time ago — okay it was a little over ten years — in a galaxy far, far a– fine, in a house down the block — a warrior woman was born.
No, really, her name is Kelley, which is Gaelic for Warrior Woman.
Anyway, Kelley was born, and she timed her entrance carefully, because Kelley, the Warrior, was born on December 24th, thus making sure no one would forget her birthday like, ever.
Her family was thrilled to have this brave, and loud, new addition. Her brother loved her so much, he even tried to help by carrying her while no one was looking, but he only dropped her that one time, and she’s forgiven him for it (mostly) so it’s all good.
Kelley, besides being a Warrior, proved to be a pretty smart cookie early on. She was doing math, reading, and recognizing and re-creating complex patterns before she could walk, which was like, totally awesome.
She also had something called Asperger’s, which is less awesome, because Asperger’s makes it tough for a kid to do things most of the other kids think are easy peasy lemon squeazy, like have conversations with a lot of people at once, or watch movies, or roll with a change in the schedule, or even get to sleep at night. For an Aspie like Kelley, those things are NOT easy peasy lemon squeazy, they’re difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.
But one of the great things about Kelley is, she loves lemonade — almost as much as she loves her family and friends and teachers and pets and learning.
Which is a lot.
Like count-the-grains-of-sand-in-the-galaxy lot.
So when Kelley, and her family and friends and teachers and even her pets got together, they took all those metaphorical lemons and made a HUGE batch of metaphorical lemonade with it, so Kelley will always be able to appreciate how totally awesome it is to think the way she thinks, and how totally awesome to the googleplex squared degree it is to have family and friends and teachers to share the lemonade (still metaphorical) they’ve all made together.
And even though sometimes it might be a little hard to get an idea across, because of the difficult lemons, she never stops trying, and never stops loving the people who’ve filled her life with the best lemonade anyone ever had, like ever.
Because you never know when the kidpocalpyse will strike:
1. Core strength — lifting happens
2. The Double Wipe — actually go Triple. Keep two boxes in the house and one in the car. It’s a messy, messy world.
3. Beware of Bathrooms.
4. Wear Seat Belts.
5. No Attachments — those friends you had before the kids? Yeah, you’re never gonna see them again.
6. The Crockpot.
Light – It starts with the diapers, wipes, bottles and barfbags, moves on to activity books, board books, snacks and barf bags, then later evolves into manga, 3DSXL’s, iPads — and still with the barf bags.
8. Get a Kick Ass Partner — who doesn’t understand why you’re curled whimpering on the floor, surrounded by blue folders, permission slips and a guide to Chinchilla care, but does the dishes anyway.
9. With your Bare Hands — because a plunger won’t get that razor/book/expensive electronic device out of the toilet.
10. Bounty Paper Towels — doesn’t make up for not being able to be in two places at once when both kids fall to the norovirus AT THE SAME TIME, but it makes cleanup easier. Rule number #2 also applicable here.
11. Shake it Off — or someone won’t survive puberty.
12. Always carry a change of underwear — see #9 re: norovirus.
13. Bowling/miniature golf/laser tag — awesome family pastimes.
14. Antiseptic gel — because bowling/miniature golf/laser tag are also awesome ways to pick up a norovirus.
Never Volunteer — how else will you end up agreeing to watch the mother and daughter library chinchillas for Spring Break and end up discovering on Thursday morning they are, in fact, mother and son chinchillas? Or that you shouldn’t make Oedipus jokes in front of the tweens unless you really want to dissect a Greek tragedy while moving mom and baby chinchilla into a new cage because daddy chinchilla’s really proud of himself and wants to try again?
16. Break it Up — before someone loses an eye!
17. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, unless it’s a sprint, then sprint because someone forgot their lunchbox and will NOT eat the school lunch and then be sad for three weeks because there was that one time she forgot her lunchbox and was FORCED to stare at cafeteria food for the WHOLE LUNCH BREAK!
18. Avoid Strip Clubs — do I even have to explain this?
19. When in doubt Know your way out because the loud noises and flashy lights can scare the sh*t out of your Aspie.
20. A little sun screen never hurt anybody.
21. Deep breathing — because someday your ten year old daughter might say, ‘oddly, I found blood in my pee’ and you’re caught praying it’s a bladder infection because she’s TEN YEARS OLD!
22. More deep breathing — as you spend two hours in the doctor’s office trying to get ten year old to pee in a cup.
23. Embrace psychology — because it’s easier to get your ten year old to pee in a cup if you smuggle her and the cup out of the doctor’s office and into a Starbucks, where she no longer feels the pressure to pee on demand.
24. See #21 — when that ‘blood’ turns out to be ‘bits of red fabric from her colorful undies’.
25. Double-Knot your Shoes — and theirs.
26. Check the back seat — and then yell at the kids to get out here and Clean that Mess UP!
27. Enjoy the little things, because the little things are really the Big Things.
*Building from the brilliant and funny Zombieland rules.
Technically, it's been January, February and March madness, but that's because there's a steep learning curve for creating an e-anthology created by and for elementary school students.
The good news is, we've achieved enough parental permissions to start formatting a book, which means I'm hunkered down with Publishing E-Books for Dummies by Ali Luke, trying to format work from kindergarten through 5th grade.
The little boy puppy is named Biscuit and the little girl is Sunny, which confused me because I think of "Sonny" as being a boy's name. Her first foster mom clarified for me that it was Sunny-with-a-"u." I suppose the "u" feminizes the name.
The little boy is smaller, whiter, and a little more cautious than his more rambunctious sister.
.. is knowing we all know where that title came from.
It’s also being able to promise Himself I won’t race out and buy a last minute V-Day card if he promises he won’t, either.
Not to dis the hearts and flowers industry but, we got this.
As we gear up for V-Day, I think it worth mentioning the reason I’m the luckiest woman on the planet.
Of course I also grant the premise there are other women who are, each and every one, also the luckiest woman on the planet because Love is an Alternate Reality, unique to every single person experiencing it.*
In my reality, I’m the luckiest woman on the planet because my husband will spend a good portion of his almost non-existent spare time removing the busted toilet lid from the kids’ john.
Now, before you think what’s the big whup about that? let me explain this was no normal toilet seat — it was the honey badger of toilet seats. Crooked and discolored and holding on to that crapper like it was the holy grail of Pooh. The bolts were so rusted no wrench could loosen them, yet not rusted enough that a good whallop with a mallet would break them.
That’s right, Honey Badger doesn’t give a sh*t if you can… well, you know.
It took over two hours of cutting with the Dremel, a wee little rotating saw thing that… actually, let me let The Man describe how well it worked:
“Unfortunately, my Dremel is battery-operated as opposed to corded so needed to be charged several times during the process.
To get an even better picture, one needs to know our bathrooms are so small you have to step out to change your mind, so he had to cram himself between the sink cabinet and toilet, and then the tub and toilet to get to the offending bolts.
In a bathroom.
Where a 12 year old boy does his business.
But he did it. The Man fought the Honey Badger — and The Man won. The kids woke up to a brand new, functional toilet lid that would not scare the crap out of them.
So as we come up on that paragon of hearts and flowers, the day for which jewelry stores fill prime time commercial space, the chocoholics delight, I say to thee–
Screw you, Cupid. I got a guy who’ll Dremel a toilet lid on his day off.
In my reality, that’s Love.
*Think about it…alternate romance realities are the only way to explain Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, James Carville and Mary Matalin, Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson (I’m still waiting for Kurt to realize Karofsky’s the One), and let’s not forget Roger and Jessica Rabbit.
Siren: I’m going to name my new hotel in Tiny Castle ‘The Painted Lady’.
Muse: You might want to rethink that.
Muse: Painted Lady is often a term associated with a lady of negotiable affection.* Calling your hotel ‘The Painted Lady’ might give people the wrong idea about the place.
Siren: Well, there are a lot of paintings in it, so it ought to have something about paint in the name.
Muse: Or… museum? Or gallery? How about ‘The Gallery Hotel’?
Siren: Great! Thanks for the idea, Mom.
Muse: *air punch*
*Forever grateful to Terry Pratchett for the term, ‘ladies of negotiable affection’
First, let’s make sure no one ever accuses me of burying the lead:
Honey… Darling… Dearest… ’twas I that scraped the car’s fender.
That’s right, it was me, me and only me. No other cars were damaged in the scraping event. It was the 2011 Mazda vs. the 1982 Ford encased in cast iron and some weird white crime scene looking dust.
It was not, as I allowed my loving spouse to believe when he went into auto-rant upon viewing aforementioned scrape, the result of a malicious parking lot serial scraper. Keep in mind, I know my politics, I never actually said someone hit the car. I simply said the scrape happened in a parking lot.*
What can I say? I omitted. Okay I lied. Just like a kid in a sitcom caught with comics in bed, or candy wrappers in the pillowcase or trying to run away from home because the math homework was too hard.
It was the auto-rant (amusingly over an automobile). Once it was clear nothing worse than a scrape to my own fender had occurred, I pretty much forgot about it, because my brain was filled with other issues — like rats, which I’ll get into later — and kids and doctor appointments and Dolphin Tales and writing workshops for Dolphin Tales and the man coming home after nine. But he did eventually get home and first thing barks (his term) over the fender and I went into auto-ommission, just like that kid in the sitcom (or myself, age nine faced by my stepfather [a whole other series of stories]).
Now, had this been a 5o’s sitcom, the kid in question would have eventually Learned a Valuable Lesson after a series of hijinks and a heartfelt “we’ll never stop loving you,” from central casting’s Mom and Dad. But even in the heightened (or lowerend) fiction of Father Knows Best or Leave it to Beaver, the damage would have been localized and the humiliation kept in the house.
Not so much in the days of the internet (or as I like to call it, the worldwidewhingfest). Nowadays, the humiliation can circle the globe before Eddie Haskell could compliment Mrs. Cleaver’s hairstyle. Less than five minutes after my panicked
omission bald-faced lie, a photo of the fender and the rant have hit FB, with sympathy replies and curses for the fictional serial scraper.
Holy expletive deleted.
Of course you understand, I’m the only one at fault here — well, me and the rats. (See, I told you I’d get to them).
Not the metaphorical rodents running too many directions in my brain all the time, but the live, flesh and fur critters running rampant in my back yard. These little
fuckers examples of wildlife made their first known appearance last Friday. I immediately contacted our pest control service but the email must have gone astray because it wasn’t until my second email this morning I received a positive response.
In the meantime, I’ve been attempting to convince the frisky flea hotels they don’t really want to hang in our
weed and twig infested rich and inviting yard. I did this by pulling as many weeds as I dared get my hands into, and using a completely inadequate rake where I was too chicken to grab.
I banged every object they might consider home, removed the leaf bag left by half full by my son and then, because there is no such thing as rat repellant to be found in the pest control sections of Lowe’s or Home Depot (and I hope you both know you’re dead to me, now), took to spreading mothballs all about the house.
This left me feeling a bit high but the yard no less attractive to Rattus norvegicus.
Long story not much shorter, it was these rats, and possibly the naphthalene from the mothballs, running through my head when the aforementioned scraping occurred.
It was also these rats, along with my son’s psych appointment and bass practice and my daughter’s obsession with Harry Potter keeping her up nights that promptly knocked the scraping from my forebrain until the return of the prodigal spouse, and the ensuing rant.
Still, all in all, I was Wrong.
Yes, I panicked in the face of masculine disapproval. Yes, I’m in a state of near constant pre-occupation but, like the Beaver or the perpetually perky Kathy of Father Knows Best, I did a Bad Thing by Not Speaking the Truth.
However, wrong as I am — and I am — I would like to point out to everyone, from the understandably grumpy spouse (it had been a day for him, too) to the FB sympathizers — it’s a car. An object. As much as I enjoy it and appreciate it, I don’t think, even if it had been an act of seditious scraping, it’s worth even the minor uproar it caused in the internets.
Life is filled with bumps and scrapes and far, far worse. The car got an owie, but it’ll be fine.
My grasp of adulthood on the other hand, that may take a few weeks to recover.
*I may have hit overkill when I declared the car never had sexual relations with that other fender.