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Archive for the ‘peeves’ Category

As we approach the Labor Day holiday weekend, I find myself feeling at odds with a number of things:

1. the fact that my birthday is coming up

2. dog days

3. bugs

4. my to-do list

5. my should-do list

By the time we reach this point in our calendar year, I have just about had it with all of the above. I’ve long since noticed that the morning light has moved past watery and into bleakness at my 5:30 alarm. The birds have stopped their morning chorus. It’s fairly silent pre-6am. I suppose I could embrace all of that and develop a routine in which I sit down to write for thirty minutes, but you know and I know that’s not going to happen. See also: not a morning person.

While I don’t necessarily hold a grudge about having yet another birthday, I don’t particularly feel inordinate joy about it. I don’t have a burning desire for a big party, but I also don’t want the wah-wah of no fuss made, either. Which is to say, I don’t really WANT a big pile of gifts, but I would enjoy a little bit of planning on someone else’s part to celebrate my birthday. Asking me “what do you want for your birthday?” and then “what do you want to do for your birthday?” both bear the hallmarks of consideration, but also are just a big coverup for the fact that NO ONE has thought about it. Believe me, I’ve thought about it. It’s all I’ve thought about for a month now. If I have to plan my own birthday celebration, then what’s the point?

I’m also starting to see people my age in the obituary column these days. Sobering.

Can we talk about the heat? August is traditionally a hot month, yes, and this one has been no exception. But I’ve had it with having to keep all the blinds pulled in the house just to keep the house cool and keep the a/c from running all the time. I miss seeing daylight. I’m tired of being in a cave.

Let’s also talk about mosquitoes and spiders and ants. Three of my least favorite bugs. The humidity, paired with popup thundershowers, has brought all of these critters out with a vengeance. In fact, we had to have a window frame replaced in our bathroom because moisture had gotten into it and rotted it away, and boy, was it loaded with ants. I am so freaking sick of ants. I am also enormously tired of walking into spider webs. This is the time of year that spider webs seem to be floating through the air. Nothing will turn you into a ninja like walking into a spider web, face first. If we could just get the spiders to eat all the ants and capture all the mosquitoes in their webs, I could live with that.

I have a to-do list that continues to grow exponentially, and I am only doing the musts on it. Which is to say, when we need cat food and toilet paper, I go to the store. Priorities.

My should-do lists contains items like “weed the flowerbeds” and “trim the shrubs” and “sweep the porch.” The fact that I am not doing any of these things makes our house look abandoned. Not to mention that my husband has fallen behind on mowing the grass, so yeah, it looks seedy around here.

I reach this point every year, and I recognize it, and frankly, it seems to arrive earlier and earlier each year. I drink too many cokes, too much wine, I eat too many junk food items, I sleep poorly. It’s slashing the other three tires because the first one is flat. It’s only a matter of time before I meet this mood coming and going.

In short: I am done. Please wake me up when spring arrives again.

 

 

— Mox

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Vermin – 1, Mox – 0

Of all the mysteries that exist in my world, the biggest one at the moment is this:  how is it possible for a household that boasts six cats (four in, two out) and a virtually empty larder to have mice?  Do the mice not realize that there is usually nothing to eat in Mox’s kitchen?

New Year’s Eve:  open the “junk” drawer in my kitchen to grab the scissors and discover that both of my (nice, thick) oven mitts have been chewed up.  Investigate the utensil drawer (the scene of the last murine crime) to discover… ahem… little turds.  Spend the rest of the afternoon furiously scrubbing the insides of both drawers, washing/sanitizing the contents, and pitching wholesale the unsalvageable (goodbye, perfectly seasoned but now splintered wooden spoons! farewell, brand-new but nibbled silicone stirrer! au revoir, entire collection of rubber spatulas!).  Curse feline populace.

New Year’s Day:  host annual Health & Wealth gathering, replete with black-eye peas, cabbage, cornbread, and rice.  Spend entire time shuttling back and forth to cardboard box being utilized as ersatz utensil drawer.  (Dog will eat the corners off the box if it’s left at his level, so it has to sit in one of the dining room chairs.)  Use damp tea towel as oven mitt.  Continue to curse feline populace.  Set old-fashioned snap mousetrap in now-empty utensil drawer, bait with peanut butter.

January 2, 2013:  Open utensil drawer.  Discover more little turds, a hole chewed in the drawer lining, and…. an empty mousetrap, cleaned of peanut butter bait.  Curse feline populace yet again.

2013:  off to an auspicious start, no?

 

— Mox

 

 

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This past weekend I journeyed back to my alma mater to help my sorority with their fall recruitment.  It’s been 20(ish) years since my college/sorority days, and while I was excited to be back on campus and soaking up the youthful energy, I was also reminded of just how far I’ve come in the interim.

Translation:  I do not have the energy I once did.

When you are in the age range of 18-21 you tend to want to be as independent as possible, and that’s all well and good, but as you get older you learn that there are people out there who are willing to help you.  And you figure out that when people help you it doesn’t diminish your independence unless you let it.  And when you have passed a certain benchmark in the “getting older” part of your life (say, past the age of 40), you are more than happy to help people who are half your age.

It’s too bad that when you’re in that 18-21 age range you don’t really understand any of that.

When I arrived on campus on Saturday, I found the sorority girls in a full-blown panic over things that should not have been panicked over. That is to say, if they had their ducks in a row ahead of time the panic wouldn’t have taken place at all.  The alums that came to help the girls with rush (me included) were pretty much groping around in the dark for answers, and very much wanting to take some of the pressure off the girls with all the little party details, so that they could focus their energies on the recruitment part of the thing.  But no, these girls were trying to do it all themselves, and they were starting to lose their shit.

Rush is a pretty stressful time for everybody involved.  Party planning, decorations, refreshments, skits, lines to learn, figuring out what to wear… it’s a lot to keep all those balls in the air.  When you’re an 18-21 year old woman (girl?), all that stuff can take on a level of importance akin to national security and you tend to get a wee bit peevish and a lot of times there are tears.  When someone else comes along and offers to help, you should happily take that help, yes?

You would think.

To be fair, when you’re under a lot of pressure it’s not always easy to see an outstretched hand coming to your aid.  When we finally were able to wrest some of the little detail stuff from them, the stress level went down a bit and they were able to get in there and do that recruitment thing that they had been training for all summer.  And once the last party attendee was out the door, the girls were so very thankful for our help.

The fly in the ointment here is that there were representatives from the national headquarters of our sorority “helping” with all of this.  Things would have gone so much more smoothly if they had involved us alums from the get-go, but they didn’t even seem to want to acknowledge us.  It really put a lot of the alums into a snit.

And here is where I tend to differ from the rest of the women in the room.  While I want this fall recruitment to go well and our sorority to maintain a strong presence on campus, I am not heavily invested in how they treat those of us who are old enough to be their mamas.  I mean, yes, I was a bit put out about the lack of communication — mainly because I am not a big fan of flying by the seat of my pants — but I didn’t necessarily take it personally.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I much prefer the company of men.

 

— Mox

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Ten invitations went out.  NO ONE called, although I did actually talk in person to three parents, two of whom said yes, their children were coming, and one whose child had another committment (boy scouts, pffft).  NO ONE else bothered to contact me.  Not even after I had made phone calls and talked to their stupid answering machines.

And how many do you think came to the party?

Four.  Count that out.  One.  Two.  Three.  FOUR.    This does not include one who said they were coming who didn’t come after all.

Four out of ten is a 40% return.

(Yes, I am still talking about this.  I have talked about nothing else for two weeks now amongst my friends and family.  Because it just irritates me so.)

I have tried to gently explain to Spawn that this will be the last year Mama will put up with this nonsense, that all the kids in the peer group are living busier and busier lives and not everyone will be able to come to a party.  And Spawn has responded with essentially sticking fingers in the ears and saying la-la-la-Ican’thearyou.

I suppose the reason it haunts me so is that it feels like a judgement.  And maybe it’s really not, it’s just my overactive imagination, but I do realize that with the issues Spawn lives with there is a lag in maturity level when compared to peers.  It doesn’t help that the kid doesn’t have any siblings to help galvanize emotions and reactions.  Kids just don’t want to hang around a kid who is emotionally a couple of years behind the curve.

And kids are like that, I get that, but what I don’t get is why the parents don’t use this as a teachable moment, that we don’t shit on others just because they’re not like us.

I dunno.  Maybe it’s just me.  Except, I don’t want to believe that it’s just me, since we go to this hotsy-totsy private Catholic school where they talk/teach all day long about doing unto others.  Somebody isn’t getting the memo.

Look, fifth grade is hard enough, what with the uptick in teacher expectations and all.  Spawn is really struggling with that.  Parent-teacher conferences this year were painful.  Then there’s the whole business of “popular kids” and “unpopular kids.”  I’ll let you hazard a guess as to which group Spawn is in.

It hurts me, as Spawn’s mom.  And it makes me angry.  Yes, kids will be kids and kids can be cruel, but who is raising these kids?  Where the hell are the adults in this scenario?

I suppose I should be thankful for the 40% turnout we had.  It would be a helluva sight easier to do if some of these purported grown-ups had just done the right thing and called their hostess to start with and beg off.  If you’re coming, great.  If you’re not, please own up to it.  My feelings (and those of my child) will be much less hurt if I know, going in, who to expect.

The way I was raised prohibits me from going all ape-shit on these people, but it does not prohibit me from spewing invective all over my anonymous blog.  I am sorry you must witness this, and someday I hope to be past it.  Until then….

 

— Mox

 

 

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Oh, y’all, why do I do this to myself?

I loathe giving a party.  Loathe.  And the reason I loathe it is because no one has the common sense or decency or proper manners to respond to a RSVP.

If you’ve been with me for any length of time, I have already covered this.  But people don’t know what to do with an RSVP.

As far as the rest of the party stuff, it’s a piece of cake compared to getting someone, anyone, to commit to coming.  Decorations?  Food?  Games and activities?  Those, I all enjoy doing and planning for.

Spawn is having a Halloween party this year.  Against my better judgement, I said yes to this — knowing that at the 11th hour I would be having a nervous breakdown about the RSVP part.

Spawn is not what you’d call a social butterfly, so the guest list for any party is usually pretty small.  How I wish the kid would invite more kids to these things, because at least then the law of averages would get me a fair sized count.  But the list is usually small for us, and therefore, if I don’t hear from anyone I really get anxious.

I don’t understand how people in good conscience can leave a host(ess) hanging like that.  I mean, there is food to buy, for one thing.  But just the flat-out rudeness of people to not even acknowledge the invite one way or another, well, that really gets my hackles up.  How would these people feel if their child invited people to a party and then no one responded?  Don’t they think their kid would wonder if anyone was coming?

My project this evening has been to call each of the invitees and ask if they are coming.  I’ve talked to a lot of answering machines.  I am quite annoyed.  The fact that I am calling and following up when clearly I should not have to do so is not helping matters any.

I hate to lower the boom on my kid, but I think this may be the last year I put up with this nonsense.

 

— Mox

 

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Pretty much says it all.

 

 

 

 

 

Our annual fall break/family vacation is fixing to commence.  I have a feeling the question will be “who let the dogs out” before it’s all over with.

 

 

— Mox

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I love the fact that birthdays are a really big deal as far as Spawn is concerned.  My upcoming 44th annus horribilis has got the kid all a-twitter (in the old fashioned way, not the social media way) with the notion of me celebrating something, anything.  There has been mention of a surprise, though with Spawn that could mean just about anything, and considering the fact that The Day falls on a Thursday this year, the biggest surprise I could (and do) hope for is no homework and a lot of “yes ma’am” spread liberally through my house.  I don’t want much, you see.

Well, besides the above-mentioned, my mother’s homemade German chocolate cake would be nice.

My husband is neck deep in a new store opening, and won’t be home for the actual day, and I must actually be getting older because I am all kinds of fine with that.  I don’t remember when birthdays started to be kind of “meh” for me, but I’m just not all that het up about it.  I don’t really want anything — at least, not anything that someone could actually give me — and I don’t want a big fuss made, which has been my mantra for several years now.

Truth be told, this year I’m just not all that into it.  My husband will be working for the next week to ten days and therefore out of town much of the time, my best friend is working majorly sucky hours (3-11pm shift), my favorite cousin lives in Chicago (and she’d certainly show me a good time), and my dear sweet friend Denise has her kids this weekend and is unavailable.  It’s times like this I wish I had googobs of friends, but it’s not my nature to be close friends with more than a few people, and that means that when everyone is busy with their own lives around my birthday, I end up on the couch by myself.

I’ve sort of made some tentative plans to take Spawn on a little road trip this weekend, since my husband won’t be home.  As much as I’d love to have a “me” weekend, filled with lunch and drinks and shopping and general low-level hedonism, my Plan B is to road trip somewhere and spend money on my kid.  Do I know how to live it up or what?

The only problem with Plan B is that my mother seems to be hell-bent on sucking what little joy there is out of it.  Joy-sucking is one of my mother’s specialties, and though I don’t know exactly what the issue is that she has with Plan B, it’s probably fairly safe to assume it has something to do with her not being in control of it.  I love my mother, yes of course, but the woman is a big-time major controller.  (Though if I were to be fair about it I would have to admit that I tend to have control issues too, and thanks mom for lending me those particular genes.)  If she doesn’t like something she rains all over it, which means whatever enjoyment you were going to get out of it gets tainted.  She’s worried that Something Will Happen to us out on the road, and yes, Something might (might! maybe! statistically speaking!) but good lord that’s just no way to live life.

At any rate, the one thing I have semi-looked forward to since I pieced together the fact that I was going to have a dull weekend otherwise has now been rained on by my mother and I am pissed off about that.

(Dear God please don’t let me do this to Spawn amen.)

So I’m going to do what I always do:  go ahead with my plans, perhaps even more stubbornly so, with the slow burn in the back of my mind that comes from being pissed.  Because that is how I deal.  And dammit, I’m (going to be) 44 years old — at what point do I get to do what I want without my mother weighing in on it?  And even that wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t just automatically dump all over everything just because it’s not within her control.  Weigh in with a “good for you!” once in a while, just to balance things out.  But no, my tentative plans got firmly concreted pretty quick.  Whatever ambivalence I felt about Plan B is now pushed aside in favor of Doing It No Matter What.

Can we say passive-aggressive?

— Mox

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