A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Category: pets (Page 2 of 4)

Ambush Wisdom

Sometimes surprises are good. Like finding a dollar on the street or running into a long lost friend.

Sometimes surprises are bad. Like having a dead battery when you’re running late for carpool, or opening a package of raw chicken only to discover that it’s gone bad.

One thing I know for sure, it’s how you react to life’s surprises that can make or break your day, or week, or life.

When in doubt, choose laughter.

And take your calcium chews.

Because it’s really hard to laugh about being knocked down and dry-humped from behind when your hip is broken.

mirthfully yours,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


Judge not.

Just in case you happened to see me driving through my neighborhood yesterday, I feel like you should really give me the benefit of the doubt.

Yes, it’s true, I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt.

And if you got a good look at me, you may have noticed the pit stains on my t-shirt and the mascara streaks on my face.

And yes, indeed, there was a rather large black Lab running alongside the driver’s side of my silver minivan.

And no, your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you. The dog was on a short blue leash, and I actually was holding the leash with my left arm dangling from the open driver’s side window.

And yes, the dog appeared to be very tired and was a little foamy at the mouth.

Yes, that was DaveFM’s Radio Free Lunch blaring from my speakers. Perhaps you got a glimpse of me grooving to Short Skirt Long Jacket by Cake.

And sure enough, my hazard lights were blinking, as I was driving ridiculously slow.

If you saw us, you probably thought to yourself “That is one lazy (and/or crazy) bitch!”

But what you don’t know is that I had just spent the last two hours hanging with my dear friend Christel and her newborn baby who live on the other side of my neighborhood. And that Christel had been loving me through a mini-breakdown about a lifetime worth of emotional baggage that is always bubbling right below a very thin surface.

You probably also don’t know that Christel invited my mildly psychotic dog Ike over to play with her enormous black German Shepherd while we were visiting.

Or that Ike decided to bolt at the end of our playdate before I got a chance to get him back on his leash.

Maybe you don’t know that Ike has a long history of playing “you can’t catch me!” which is why we ended up installing a Hidden Fence three years ago.

Or that I had exactly fifteen minutes to get back to my car and get across town to pick up my two older kids from their last day of Tech Camp.

Perhaps you didn’t realize that I had just run from Christel’s house to mine with a four year old boy riding piggy-back and shouting “Giddy up, Mommy!”

Maybe you don’t know that when Ike used to run away (before we got the fence) the only way to get him back was to drive around, call him to our open minivan, and trick him that he was “going bye-byes!”

Or that the day before I had spent two hours and $150 having my disgusting 6 year old minivan detailed for the first time EVER and that the carpets were still damp.

Or that Ike’s paws and nails were caked with mud from the romping, and chasing, and digging he had just done in Christel’s backyard.

And that I couldn’t possibly just wait for Ike to find his way home on his own due to “the incident” we recently endured when Ike was assaulted in our yard by an unbalanced courier. (And found to be not guilty, by the way, in a court of law.)

So before you pass judgement on me for being the neighborhood crazy lady who drives alongside her dog for his exercise instead of walking him, you should really give me the benefit of the doubt.

Things aren’t always what they seem.

Besides, there are many worse reasons to think of me as the neighborhood crazy lady.

Yours truly,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris

 

This job is crap.

First day of summer vacation and I’m already crying Uncle. And so are my kids.

There’s a very pretty woman in my neighborhood who takes her 6 or 7 children on a structured walk every morning around 9:30 AM, rain or shine. The kids appear to range in age from about 10 to newborn. The older ones are usually on bikes or scooters, the younger ones are often in an industrial grade stroller. And the baby is usually strapped to the mom’s front in a very elaborately wrapped organic cotton sling. She homeschools all 6 or 7 of those kids and I’m pretty sure she gave birth to each of them with her back pressed up against a tree in her yard.

Our paths cross all the time when I’m walking Ike. They look like a preschool on a field trip. She always seems so completely unruffled by all those kids…even the older ones who are up way too far ahead and doing figure eights on their bikes while cars are zooming by, or the littler ones who have dawdled and are way behind. She just smiles and keeps on trucking. I’ve never heard her raise her voice or snap at any of those kids. She just seems so at peace and happy. And her kids seem equally happy just doing their thing, day in, day out.

One time a few years ago, I was in my front yard doing some gardening when she walked by. My kids were in the yard with me and they struck up a conversation with some of her kids. One thing led to another and then next thing I knew, we had a total of 8 or 9 kids in our backyard for an impromptu playdate. It was sheer chaos.

There we were, two very different moms trying to make small talk while our vajillion kids did the human equivalent of two dogs sniffing each others’ butts. And you know me, I’m sure I made some wise crack like “Damn, how much wine do you drink to tolerate all those kids all the time?” or “Shoot, if you ever want another kid, I’ll just give you one o’ mine!” I don’t think I need to tell you that she didn’t find me very amusing. And frankly, the feeling was mutual.

One of the toddler-ish looking ones came up to that mom with a dangerously full diaper full of fresh news. He wanted to jump on my trampoline and Mega Mom said, “Sure honey… go for it.” But I was like (in my head), Aw hell no! That load is already creeping up that kid’s back. Don’t you see or smell it? WTF! I don’t even want this kid in my yard, let alone bouncing that ticking time bomb on my trampoline!

Instead, I kindly suggested: “Why don’t you change his diaper and then he can get on the trampoline.” She looked at me like I was wearing an Abortion ROCKS! t-shirt. Fine, she would change the diaper (reluctantly), but she wanted to use my powder room because they were potty training and little Mr. Stinky Pants needed to actually see his poop go into the potty or it would totally mess up his training process. Whatever.

I was on the spot so I let her go inside while I stayed out and supervised the rest of the mob (just shoot me.) Longest five minutes of my life. What was she doing in there? Why was it taking so long? Ugh, was my bathroom semi-clean? Was there toilet paper? Who was crying and why?

When she finally came out, she was carrying the dirty diaper in a grocery bag she must have rooted through my kitchen to find. And she was very complimentary about my decor. It was weird. Really weird.

It’s even weirder now because every time I pass her on the street and say hello, she always acts like it is the first time she’s ever seen me in her life. I reeeeeeally fucking hate that. Clearly she doesn’t watch Oprah or she’d know that the one thing we ALL have in common is the desire to be loved and validated. Acting like you’ve never seen me before or flushed your kid’s shit into my septic tank makes me feel bad, lady. Damn, I already feel like an invisible vessel for grandchildren and PTA donations most days. Throw me a bone and just pretend you remember me, k?

I want to give her the benefit of the doubt. I think maybe she just has a severe case of Mommy Brain, with all those kids and all. Or maybe she’s vision impaired and can’t see me. Maybe it’s not about me being so forgettable and more about her not having a great memory, or social skills, or enough energy to do anything more than walk around the block and pretend to be so calm and composed. Maybe she’s doing everything she can to hold it together and make the rest of us think she’s so together so she doesn’t break into a million little pieces or drive her Econovan into the Chattahoochee. God only knows. But I desperately want to believe that she knows something I don’t know.

So there we were this morning, the first day of summer: Cartoon Network blaring, dog pacing, kids fighting, and I found myself thinking about Mega Mom and her peaceful daily walks. Maybe that daily walk is THE KEY to parenting like it is with Dog Whispering. Shit, if Ms. Mommy Brain can do it every day with her umpteen spawn and that sweet smile on her face, I should surely be able to do it with my three kidlets and a mildly psychotic dog.

Famous last words.

“Saddle up, Ankle Biters. We are walking the dog as a pack today.” (Groans all around.)

TV off.

Teeth brushed.

Sneakers, check. Poop bags, check. House keys, check. And we’re off!

Not ten minutes in and 4 year old Bucket Head is whining. “My feet hurt. I hungry. I want to go home.” Now I don’t know about you, but there is nothing that makes me want to stick my head in the oven quicker than the sound of a kid whining. It’s torture. I’d rather have papercuts on my eyeballs than listen to that. Honest to Pete.

Then 8 year old Mini-Me starts teasing the Whiner by telling him she is faster than he is. He’s going through a phase where he absolutely HAS TO BE first at everything. She knows this and loves to get his goat by saying “Yay! I’m FIRST! I win! I’m the WINNER!” Naturally, Bucket Head begins to cry. He can’t go on. He just can’t.

All the while, Ike is trying to pull my arm out of the socket and I’m doing my damnedest to channel my inner Cesar Millan and be the pack leader I’m called to be. I’m yanking his choke chain, giving the signature little side foot pop, and making the “Ch!” sound all at the same time, hoping he’ll get the message to focus and stop pulling. Frankly, I think he just wanted to get the hell away from the Teaser and the Whiner. Can’t blame him, really.

Yeah, he’s pretty excitable. And that’s just what he looks like when he sees a squirrel. (Or a delivery truck.)

At one point a rogue Chihuahua charged us to challenge my leadership and I thought for sure someone was going down. And we were only halfway around the neighborhood. Not good. Not good at all.

Finally, Ike pooped. I scooped it up, double bagged it, and handed the bundle to my 11 year old, Nature Boy to carry so I could focus on leading my pack home. Without missing a beat, he turned to me and said “This job is crap.”

I couldn’t agree more.

And only 77 more days of summer vacation to go. Yes. I’m counting.

dreadfully yours, and now without my daily dose of Oprah,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


Blessings Abound

Saturday afternoon was my daughter Mini-Me’s First Holy Communion.

It was an absolutely spectacular day filled with more blessings than I can count.

And today, two days later, I am still filled with such enormous gratitude and wonder, that words are failing me.

Why yes, I do still have PMS. How’djyaknow? Stay away from my chocolate, bitch.

But I know you’re dying for some details, so I think I’ll just give you a quick rundown in the form of a list. Here it is…

My Top Ten Reasons Why Saturday Rocked:

10. My husband, The Gatekeeper, cleaned the kitchen within an inch of its life Saturday morning. It was spotless and the counter tops were freakishly clutter-free. I don’t even care that I’ll be spending the next three weeks trying to find all the shit he stashed.

9. I never got around to ordering a cake for the party. But lo and behold, there was a chocolate quarter sheet cake with buttercream frosting at Publix Saturday afternoon just waiting for us to add “Congratulations Mini-Me.” Thank you, Publix, for planning ahead for mothers like me who don’t.

8. My friend Kathy who met me for a quick cuppa coffee on Friday and made me feel less guilty about not having any decorations or party favors: “Mini-Me is your decoration!”

7. Coming home from mass to a house that was not burned to the ground after I accidentally left my curling iron plugged in and resting on the edge of the bathtub. The worst part? It dawned on me as we were on our way TO the church, “Did I unplug the curling iron? Oh my God, I don’t think I did!”  So I had to sit through the entire mass with the most loquacious priest ever, sweating more than I usually do, wondering and praying and trying my damnedest to not let the undercurrent of panic prevent me from being fully present. It. Was. Torture.

6. Seeing my lovely daughter all clean and gorgeous and truly excited about receiving this special sacrament.

5. Eating my sister-in-law’s homemade Italian cooking and listening to the golden silence of all our guests as they reveled in the deliciousness.

4. Having Mini-Me’s best friend from her preschool (who we don’t get to see nearly enough) arrive for the party in her prettiest dress and bearing the heartfelt gift of an “Angel of Best Friends” figurine.

3. The weather was perfect and The Rapture didn’t occur after all, which would have been a real buzz kill. Nothing spoils a party faster than fire and brimstone. Well, that and my crazy drunk uncle who likes to ignite his farts with a cigarette lighter. He wasn’t invited though.

2. Miraculously completing the slideshow (with only minor technical difficulties) as my gift to Mini-Me, even though my laptop went haywire after several routine software upgrades last week and I haven’t been able to use iTunes or iPhoto since. Listening to our guests roar with laughter upon seeing dozens of pictures of Mini-Me covered in makeup, and pudding, and finger paint, all to the tune of Superfreak, was music to my exhausted ears.

1. Receiving the certified letter from the county Saturday afternoon right before we left for church stating the verdict of Ike’s dog-bite hearing last Thursday night: NOT GUILTY!

So, in summary, God is good, and I am grateful.

Thank you for being here and sharing the journey with me!

yours truly,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


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