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Archive for January, 2007

Veni. Vidi. Vici.

There is a reason I do not write haiku. This reason has less to do with my ability than it has to do with my verbosity. And while it’s obvious that my verbosity does know a few boundaries (because I could really write reams but I choose not to, I am a ruthless on-the-spot editor), I nonetheless hate the idea of the restrictiveness of a haiku. I like lots of exposition in a story, and that’s probably because I grew up listening to and reading lots of southern storytellers who can paint some pretty vivid pictures with their words.

However, John over at Disappearing John RN tagged me last week to do a meme called Six Word Stories. And because I value the thoughtfulness of a link, and I also don’t want him to think I am ignoring his request because he has been nothing but nice to me… I am going to try it, by god.

And I just want to go on record for saying this was HARD.

And so I present: Three six-word stories that have come from the pages of my life here in this little podunk town:

Strong perfume; negative reaction; hurt feelings.

Purse snatched; Grandma chased; embarrassed thief.

Late bedtime; early rising; grumpy child.

There you have it, nine words that have summed up the goings on around here. A coworker offended another coworker with her (probably too-blunt) assessment of the second coworker’s perfume. A string of purse-snatchings in which one of the (elderly) victims gave chase and summarily thwarted and embarrassed the snatcher. (Don’t mess with Grandma’s purse, is all I’m saying.) And a pattern that we have fallen into as of late around the Mox household, whereupon Spawn stays up entirely too late and then gets up in the morning for school with the demeanor of a bear.

It’s all fun and games around here, folks.

I’m not in the habit of tagging others for memes, but since I also would like to share the pain, I think I will tag Brooke (who is a honest-to-god real writer who also oddly enough hasn’t written anything on her blog in a few days), Mark (because I am jealous of his tropical locale), Mike (and I am expecting something very clever from him, no pressure, though), Jas (because he will rise to the occasion as only he can) , Snagley (who has admitted to a blogging dry spell as of late), and Bridegroom (who needs a good excuse to post, anyway).

Go egg them on. Or, you know, just egg them. Whatever gets the job done.

— Mox

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If you have a kid in Catholic school right now you know that this is National Catholic Schools Week. I don’t know about anywhere else, but here at our school that means fun and games, no homework all week, and a relaxation of the dress code.

Call me crazy if you want, but I like the uniforms that the kids have to wear. It’s so much easier in the morning to get out the door when you don’t have the quandary of what to wear. I don’t have to supervise the assemblage of outfits, and there is no need for me to veto clothing selection. Spawn puts on the khakis and the polo shirt and off we go.

However, this week the school is having special dress days. Today is Mix-up Day. Which means that whatever the kids wear, it’s not supposed to match.

Yikes.

I helped Spawn pick out an “outfit” last night, and it was painful to me. I am a matchymatchy type of person, Mrs. Coordinate Your Colors, that’s me. I find it difficult to mis-match stuff on purpose, green-and-purple stripes with red plaids and yellow polka dots and what-all. These people who can put on the first thing they grab out of the closet in the morning, well, I just don’t understand them. I get the hives. More than once last night I caught myself trying to coordinate Spawn’s outfit rather than purposely making it mismatched, and finally I just had to give up and let the kid do it without my help. A six year old can really get into the spirit of such things.

Back in the day I could have gotten into mismatching clothes on purpose, and I could have dreamed up some pretty wild combinations. I used to love it when we had special dress days at school. But over the years I’ve become so used to “dressing for success” that that part of my brain has atrophied and creative dressing is far beyond my grasp anymore. I suppose what this means is that I have crossed a threshold and am now firmly on the path to old-ladydom.

It was a little harder than I thought it would be to put together a mismatched outfit, because upon close inspection, Spawn doesn’t have too much that isn’t coordinate-able. I looked long and hard and discovered that most of Spawn’s clothes are without patterns, mostly solid colors and mostly colors within the same color family. I also discovered that I have entered into a phase in my life whereby all fabric in my house is solid colored and/or subtly patterned.

Translation: I am dull.

But still, Spawn got the job done, where old Mom just couldn’t bring herself to do it. So this morning we walked into school, me with my perfectly coordinated business attire, right down to my socks, and Spawn, who was wearing an orange shirt, fuchsia and blue embroidered jeans, a pink belt, one lavender sock, one red sock, two different shoes, a purple lei, and a hot pink straw hat. God, it’s great to be Six, because at Six in an outfit like that you can’t help but look adorable.

I love the fact that having Spawn in my life means that I have to stretch my brain every once in a while.

Mox

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Defining pathetic.

How bad is it that I filched five bucks from my six year old because I didn’t have any money of my own?

And related to that, how bad is it that my six year old has more cash on hand than I do?

— Mox

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Photo Friday: Chawklit

I like sweets just as much as the next person, but I can also live for quite a long while without them. They are not normally my downfall, because I don’t feel like a failure, diet-wise, if I give in to the temptation once in a while.

Here lately my craving has been for chocolate. Now, I am a chocolate snob of the first order, and I much prefer the pricey stuff over the stuff you can buy at any corner get-n-go. But I am also not ashamed to go slumming with the cheap stuff, and when a craving hits I will eat a handful of Hershey kisses and not bat an eye. I’m not too proud.

It occured to me last night that while I did very well watching what I ate and getting good exercise during the holidays, and therefore entered the new year with none of the guilt that a lot of people do (which causes them to make unrealistic resolutions), I had since slacked off and consequently have been feeling like a giant slug. Clearly, something must be done.

And as long as I can do it with a bar of chocolate in my hand, so much the better.

— Mox

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Looks cute with jeans.

Of my many and varied personal flaws, one of the smallest and therefore the one that takes up the most space in my brain is the illusion that a certain item of clothing will look good on me given the right circumstance.

I can’t tell you how many tops I’ve bought with the thought “it’ll look cute with jeans.” It’s the reason I have so many white shirts, for one thing. I like the look of a white shirt with a pair of jeans.

I caught myself doing just that thing yesterday, except it was a cute pair of jeans.

Wonder if I’ll look cute in them or it’s all my imagination.

Mox

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My parents are right now on their way to Florida to visit relatives. For two weeks.

That pleasant sensation you are feeling right now, just by casting your eyes on this blog? Well, that’s what serenity feels like, my friends.

Now look, before you get the wrong idea, let me say that I love my parents. Very much. Love them with a capital L and also don’t want to think about the inevitable day in which I no longer have them around.

But.

My parents are retired. My dad for a little over six years, my mom for just about three. They have forgotten, I think, what it’s like to be a (relatively) young person who has to work, to sing for their supper. And the world that I inhabit, well, it’s not the world that they knew. In the world they knew, you went to work for The Man, and The Man set you up a pension plan, and you stayed there for 40 years or until you died and The End. You got regularly-scheduled raises, two weeks of paid vacation, and health insurance. Talk about your golden apples.

My parents pretty regularly shake their heads at me and my situation, how I have none of the traditional perks of gainful employment and yet still manage to work for the same people day in and day out. Sure, I’ve gotten shat upon, but at this point in the game it’s more about the money (what little there is) than it’s about the golden apples.

And of course since they don’t quite “get” what it is that I’m doing, they seem to think that I’ve got all the time in the world. Well, sure, if you count commuting, I’ve got lots of down time. So they put a lot of extra pressure on me to do stuff for them and to make extra trips on their behalf, and then they’re mystified as to why I get peevish sometimes. It’s especially tough when they start planning one of their trips, because I think they forget that just because their life locally is being put on hold, mine is still stroking along at full speed, as always.

It’s always like this in the days before they go off on a trip: my dad will get super-involved in a project of some sort and work like a madman to complete it before departure, while my mother will start to wring her hands about all the Stuff she has to get done before they leave, and how she really doesn’t want to go, and then before I know it somehow she’s focused in on some character flaw of mine and suddenly she’s all on my case about something.

I really do love them but they make me crazy.

So the first few days of them being gone is a little weird, but at the same time liberating. Sure, I have to reorder my days a bit, because they help me out by picking Spawn up from school a couple of days a week, but it’s also very nice to not have to be nice. I can really hunker down and get some stuff done while they’re gone.

To take this a few steps further, my husband also gets a little break because I’m getting my stuff done and that’s making me a little easier to deal with. And Spawn, though pining for grandparental company, also gets a perk or two that comes from Mom having some extra time and not so much clutter in her brain.

And when my parents get back they will be tanned and rested and very glad to be home, and all of us will have had a break from one another. What’s not to love about that?

Mox

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Some like it hot.

My husband and I are at war with one another.

The issue we are warring over? Temperature. Specifically, the ideal temperature for comfort in our house.

The thermostat wars started right about the time it got really cold around here, and they likely won’t abate until spring. Then there will be a brief resurrection of the battle during the hottest heat of summer.

See, I like the temperature in the house to be just this side of 70. My husband prefers it to be way on the other side of 70. Since he has lost 80+ pounds over two years ago, he’s always cold. (Insert joke about the insulating qualities of blubber here.) While I appreciate the fact that he’s 75% of the man he used to be, and therefore has likely extended his life expectancy and increased his chances for living a life free of debilitating health issues, the fact of the matter remains that he is smoking me out of the house.

Once upon a time, I was always the cold one. But there was a point at which our body temperatures made the swap, and it happened just about the time I got pregnant and gained 42 pounds (mmmm, cheeseburgers!). The nice thing about being hugely pregnant in the dead of winter is that at least you don’t have to deal with the miserable-ness of the heat that moms of summer babies have to endure. Still, I was warmer than usual during those days, and could often be found standing barefooted out on the stoop, fanning my t-shirt, trying to cool off. And once I had Spawn, my personal heat wave continued, mostly likely because I had an 8-pound baby and was left with nearly 35 pounds of extra blubber of my own.

I was recently looking at the photos from those early days of Spawn’s life, and they could be accurately titled The Most Excellent Adventures of the Chubby Family. All three of us were porkers. Spawn was the only one it looked good on.

So. I lost the weight. Then later my husband lost the weight. And still, I am the hot one and he is not the hot one he used to be.

Back and forth the thermostat goes, from 68 to 75 and back again. And what we do is change the thermostat and then deny that either of us has touched it, like we have poltergeists tinkering with the mechanics in this house. Oooh, we are so innocent and sneaky.

I maintain, however, that if he would get up off his butt and move around a little bit he wouldn’t be cold. Seriously. I’m the one working in a hot kitchen to fix dinner every night. I’m the one cleaning up after the meal. I’m the one getting Spawn into and out of the tub, supervising homework, making lunches for the next day, getting the kid off to bed. I’m the one making fifteen trips a night up and down the basement steps to do laundry. I’m working up a sweat. He’s sitting on his butt in front of the TV. With an afghan thrown over his legs. And the man wants to wear shorts in the winter, so of course his legs get cold. The only movement he makes is to raise the clicker once in a while and change the channel. No wonder he’s cold — he’s practically catatonic.

And so I change the thermostat because to me the house is so hot I can’t breathe. I have ceased to have any sympathy for him and his perception of cold. I’m up moving around, I’m hot, and he’s not.

I win.

Mox

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